Why patterns and context are so essential to analysis in football

If you're reading this article, chances are you love to analyze football. So allow me to help with your love for analysis with this call to action. Stop taking information from single-match occurrences, or single-match statistics, even statistics over time on their own, as a mechanism for making inferences about the wider context at hand. Recognizing patterns over time, and the wider context behind those patterns, are the essentials behind analysis in football, allowing you to more accurately assess performance, and improve upon performance problems.

Canadian Premier League Matchday 4 – Tactical Review

We may be four matches in now, but the Canadian Premier League continues to show no signs of slowing down, with four goals scored in both of the weekend's fixtures so far, balancing out a dull midweek affair between Edmonton and Pacific. Ahead of the final two fixtures, here is our ongoing tactical review of Week 4 inside the Canadian Premier League.

Nathan Jones – Luton Town – Tactical Analysis

Luton Town have been the the surprise package of the EFL Championship this season, particularly from a tactical standpoint, where Nathan Jones has his team firing on all cylinders. Furious over his players' love for table tennis, Jones has instilled a perfectionist mindset amongst his players that is challenging each and every individual to reach new levels of stardom. Here is our tactical analysis of Luton Town under Nathan Jones, with added Football Manager insight from FM expert Dhillon.

The myth of Nick Pope’s ‘poor’ distribution

Leading up to both the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020 (which famously took place in 2021), a common commentary surrounded Nick Pope, and the potential reasons for Southgate's favouritsm toward Jordan Pickford. "Pope's distribution isn't as good," was said on repeat, almost as though all the pundits of the English game together as one big monster blob out to slight Nick Pope and find justifications for something that few were willing to admit made little sense. Despite Nick Pope's heroics at Burnley for the past five years, and the potential that he will keep them in the Premier League almost single-handedly for another season, Pickford remains England's firm number one.

How it all fell apart for Sean Dyche at Burnley – 2021-22 Tactical Analysis

April 15, 2022 marks a sad day in football history - the day in which Sean Dyche was relieved from his duties as Burnley boss. The 50-year-old manager played a massive part in Burnley's development as a football club, turning them into a Premier League staple with a unique brand of football. Whether you like that unique brand of football or not, there's no denying that Sean Dyche provided something inherently intriguing to the Premier League, with a different style of play than any other team. So with that, as Burnley could now be doomed for relegation, we take an in-depth look at Sean Dyche's tactics in his final season at the club, and how it all fell apart for the man who spent a decade at Turf Moor.

Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool – Tactical Analysis

"If Manchester City win the match, the title race is over." - every Premier League pundit in existence. Well, Manchester City didn't win the match, so what happens now? First of all, what a match. Second of all, I am of the firm belief that Manchester City thoroughly outclassed Liverpool on the day, and that Raheem Sterling should have been ruled onside from that VAR disallowed goal (surely it's too close to say clear and obvious?). But I digress. I am not here to talk about refereeing decisions. Instead, the tactics! So let's jump into it, and discuss whether or not the title race is over, or in fact, still with everything to play for.

How to stop the long-ball specialist

A little over a week ago, we asked you to give us your top of the line ideas on how to stop the long-ball specialist. Every single professional team has at least one of these players in their side, yet it remains a relatively undiscussed discourse. When you take into account the inherently unattractive dogma surrounding the notion of a long-ball ravaging through the beautiful game, there's even greater negative connotations toward something that in reality, is incredibly elegant. So with that, here is our analysis as to how to stop the long-ball specialist, with your answers intermixed along the way.

Tactical Thinker: How to stop the long-ball specialist…

In all the discussion about tiki taka, possession-based, beautiful football, long passes often get a bad reputation. However, long passes can be extremely effective, and the best teams in the world know how to intermix both short and long passes into their build-up, in order to effectively break down the opposition. The likes of Ederson at Man City, Joshua Kimmich at Bayern Munich and Mats Hummels at Borussia Dortmund frequently utilize long passes to unlock the opposition's defense, giving their team a different edge from all the possession-based football. While these players may not be your traditional 'number 10' playmakers, they play a vital role in creating chances for their team and kickstarting attacks. So with that, today we ask the next question in our Tactical Thinker series. How do you stop the long-ball specialist?

Cruz Azul 3-1 Forge FC – Match Analysis

Forge FC might be out of the CONCACAF Champions League for now, but the club can be proud to have even gotten to this point, and to have put up such a strong showing across the two legs. For a club founded less than four years ago to go toe to toe with one of … Continue reading Cruz Azul 3-1 Forge FC – Match Analysis