In light of Mason Mount's lack of form at the start of the 2022 World Cup and in the recent months for Chelsea, Gareth Southgate has since opted for an experienced pairing of Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson at the base of the midfield, pushing the fresh legs of 19-year-old Jude Bellingham further forward. This has worked like a charm, bringing out the best in each of Southgate's midfield men, and allowing Bellingham to play some of his best football of his career thus far under the freedom of an advanced role. Here is why the balance of England's midfield has been so successful in recent matches, and why the trio could be the key to success in unlocking France.
Tag: Midfield Three
Reflections from Canada’s loss to Croatia – 2022 World Cup
After taking a few days to reflect on Canada's disappointing loss against Croatia, I have been able to take away many positives from the performance. Kamal Miller won't get much in the way of praise after being hung out to dry at the end of the game, but he had another brilliant performance at the back. Alphonso Davies meanwhile bagged the nation's first goal at a Men's World Cup inside just two minutes of action, waking my neighbours up as I yelled of joy. But in dissecting the game further, it's clear to see that Croatia operated at a higher level, with their fanciful one-touch triangulations causing chaos for Canada every time they had the ball. For what feels like the first time ever, a few things will need to drastically change from a tactical standpoint heading into the next fixture from John Herdman's team. Here are my reflections on Canada's 4-1 defeat to Croatia.
Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League Final – Tactical Analysis
Over the past few seasons, we've seen some legendary Champions League finals. This encounter between Liverpool and Real Madrid, in many ways, was more lethargic and leisurely. A chess battle as both teams patiently worked through the thirds and never fully pressed the gas, Liverpool couldn't quite ever get up to full speed in matching Real Madrid's assuredness and steady flow in possession. With Courtois supersonic-ifying his gloves beforehand, the match ended with Real Madrid coming out as winners, claiming an impressive double under the influence of Carlo Ancelotti, and one last hurrah for many of the decade-defining stars from the 2010s. Here is our tactical analysis of Real Madrid's narrow 1-0 win over Liverpool.
How Cavalry’s staggered shape stunned Edmonton – Match Analysis
The Cavs started the season in a 3-4-2-1 formation, suffering two embarrassing losses to York and Atletico, and a stagnant draw against Forge. After realizing the slow-moving car wasn't quite motoring the way he wanted it to, even despite the gas pedal being pressed, Wheeldon Jr. was right to identify a new vehicle. Now in a flexible 4-4-2 shape, Cavalry have been utterly dominant in both of their matches since, both in and out of possession. On this particular occasion, they completely stunted Edmonton's progress going forward, and massively exploited space in exactly the right areas through staggering their personnel across the pitch. Here is a quick tactical analysis of Cavalry's commanding 3-0 win over FC Edmonton.
Finding the next Fabinho – Tactical Analysis
Fabinho has been instrumental to Liverpool's success for almost four years now, as the Reds have won four major trophies - including the Champions League and Premier League, with the Brazilian at the heart of their midfield. It may not be time for the Reds to move on from a man who has made the position his own, but there is certainly an opportunity to recruit fresh, young talent that can learn the role and grow into the side, just like Liverpool have done with Luis Diaz.
Why Thiago has been Liverpool’s second best player this season
Liverpool have been utterly rampant this season on all fronts. With the strength in depth Jurgen Klopp has to offer in almost every position, the Reds look strong contenders to win each and every competition this season - going strong in the UEFA Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup. With an EFL Cup win already under their belts, a historic quadruple remains in their sights with a little over a month of action to play.
Joelinton – Player Analysis
Often seen as the emblem of an overpriced transfer that failed to deliver, Joelinton has seen a complete transformation in position, role, and status under new Newcastle boss Eddie Howe. The former Bournemouth coach has harnessed the Brazilian’s tireless work rate by moving him from forward to central midfield, where he's performed brilliantly as a box to box midfielder. So with that, we decided to take a look at how Joelinton has transformed into one of Newcastle's most important players in the blink of an eye. Here is our latest Player Analysis.
Why the 4-3-3 has made football formations redundant
Much is made of formations in the modern world of football, with each and every top team attempting to innovative and reinvent the beautiful game. One of the most popular formations throughout history is the 4-3-3 formation. Those who view the game with a simplistic mindset would tell you it involves four defenders, three midfielders and three attackers. That certainly appears to be the case on the face of it, but is that how it works in reality? Or is 4-3-3 an amalgamation of several different tactics, effectively killing off the concept of a starting formation?
Frank Lampard – Chelsea – Tactical Analysis (Post-Sacking)
Frank Lampard enjoyed a successful first season with Chelsea F.C., despite no new summer signings coming through the door. The Blues hovered around 4th for the majority of the season in behind Leicester City, and eventually secured 4th behind Manchester United. Lampard relied heavily on young talent in 2019-20 and the club were rewarded with fantastic performances from the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James. In preparation for the 2020-21 season, Chelsea then went on to spend millions, securing the signatures of players like Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy, plus Thiago Silva on a free. For a short period of time, it worked. With nine games in, Chelsea were showing great signs of promise, sat second in the table, and were well in the hunt for a Premier League title chase. Frank Lampard himself was making some astute tactical changes, and appeared to be coping well with the dilemma of how to show faith in his youth, while integrating all the new signings. But as the season wore on, Chelsea failed to make an impact. At the time of his sacking, the Blues sit in ninth, with many nearby teams holding games in hand. Losses to Leicester, Manchester City and Arsenal likely handed Lampard a premature managerial sacking; along with the fact that Thomas Tuchel was out of a job, waiting at the door-step for a call. So a day after a 3-1 FA Cup win against Luton Town, Frank Lampard was sacked as manager. Here is our Tactical Analysis of Frank Lampard's Chelsea in both of his seasons in charge, and an accompanying analysis of where he might land next.
How To Play Against the 3-4-1 (9v9)
9v9 is one of the most exciting stages in the development of young players as it’s the first time they are truly able to understand tactics, positioning, formations and how to play to the strengths of their teammates. With so many different formations to choose from, 9v9 offers just as much flexibility and creativity for coaches as 11v11. But all 9v9 formations have limitations, gaps and disadvantages that can be exploited when played against correctly. In the next few weeks, TheMastermindSite will be taking a look at how to stop every single major 9v9 formation. First, we discuss how to beat the 3-2-3.
Frank Lampard – Chelsea – Tactical Analysis (2020-21 Edition)
Frank Lampard enjoyed a successful first season with Chelsea F.C., despite no new summer signings coming through the door. The Blues hovered around 4th for the majority of the season in behind Leicester City, and eventually secured 4th behind Manchester United. Lampard relied heavily on young talent in 2019-20 and the club were rewarded with fantastic performances from the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James. However, this past summer, Chelsea spent millions to secure the signatures of some of the best players around the world. It has taken a bit of time for some of their new signings to gel together, but nine games in, Chelsea are showing great signs of promise as they currently sit 2nd in the table. Along the way, Frank Lampard has made some low-key, subtle changes that have helped to propel Chelsea back toward the top of the table. Here is our Tactical Analysis of Frank Lampard's Chelsea after nine games in the 2020-21 Premier League season.