If you're a frequent visitor to this website, or a visitor at all, chances are you probably love to watch football. For years and years I watched football mainly for entertainment. But increasingly, as I've coached the game more and more, I've developed a love for watching football, not just for entertainment, but for intellectual reasons as well. Football is more similar to chess than most other sports, and like chess, there are so many different ways to get to a single correct outcome. Football is a game that involves a countless number of complex decisions within each and every second for the twenty-two players involved both on and off the ball. This is why I love watching football. If you've read any of our Tactical Analyses, you may be wondering how to watch football with that same tactical lens. So, this article will cover how to watch the beautiful game like a tactical analyst.
Much has been made about Liverpool's start to the season, and a lot of the discussions have centered around Jurgen Klopp's team not being what they used to be, regardless of the injuries they've suffered. The fact of the matter is that the Reds have been better than any other side in the league this season. Liverpool have lost just a single game so far this season, although it was an absolute thrashing against Aston Villa. They've scored 36 goals in 14 games, and currently hold the best goal differential of all teams in the league. Perhaps most crucially, the performances have been good, even despite their injury woes, and they've been able to give young players a chance to perform in the side. For a side that some would say haven't been brilliant this season, Liverpool very well might be on their way to becoming champions again this season. With that, here is a Tactical Analysis of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in 2020-21.
Some things never change, and one of those things is Atletico Madrid under Diego Simeone. The Argentine's team have been one of the most consistent sides over the past decade, not only on form, but on system and style of play. This season, Atletico have been playing some fantastic football, with all of their top stars in full flow. Los Rojiblancos currently sit top of the table, albeit on goal differential, with 8 wins from 11 matches so far. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid in 2020-21.
Jose Mourinho has long been a proponent of counter attacking football. We featured Mourinho prominently in our 2019 article all about how Jose Mourinho killed tiki taka football with his counter attacking approach to big games, such as the UEFA Champions League final with Inter Milan in 2010. But now with his counter attacking approach … Continue reading How to Counter Attack Like Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham
Many young and inexperienced players have the bad habit of kicking the ball away without looking. Sometimes it comes off, but most of the time these players are only playing into the hands of their opposition, as the opposition recovers the ball without having to do any defending. Players of any age need to learn … Continue reading Progressive Possession – Full Session Plan & Key Coaching Points
The popularity of switching play as a tactical concept has long been a dominating strategy in the world of football. Its popularity is exemplified by the many different forms and names it has taken on over the years such as changing the point of attack or playing across the direct game channels. Even at the younger ages, switching play can be an essential tactic to deploy with any team. Concepts like maintaining width, crossing, and shifting the ball from left to right are universal to the sport, regardless of age. Here is an updated session plan all about one of the most essential session topics in youth soccer/football – Switching Play.
Transitional moments are an understated, underrated and under-coached part of the modern game. How a team sets up after winning or losing the ball can make or break a team. As a result, today we share this full session plan on 'Quick Transitions' with a variety of activities guided towards both attacking and defensive transitions.
After surviving relegation by a single point in 2019-20, many would have tipped Aston Villa to go down in 2020-21. So even though it is still early days in this season's Premier League, Dean Smith could not have dreamt for a better start to the season. After beating Sheffield United by a narrow margin, thumping Fulham and then most recently, breaking records in a 7-2 thriller against Liverpool, Aston Villa look a much improved side from even just a few months ago. With their recent performances, many think that Aston Villa could be in for their best season in the top flight in over a decade. Here is a Tactical Analysis all about Dean Smith's Aston Villa.
Playing out from the back is one of the most important elements of the modern game. Not only is it better for development than kicking it long, it is also easier and allows a team fewer risks at losing the ball. As a result, coaches of any age group should be looking to teach players young and old the necessary steps of playing out from the back. In order to help guide these coaches, we introduce a brand new session all about playing out from the back, for youth teams of any age.
Although youth players generally don't have the capability to switch play all the way from one end of the field to the other, changing the point of the attack is a crucial element to any format of the game and essential for coaches to teach to their players. It doesn't matter how old they are, players will always try to go into pressure when they can simply change direction and try to switch play to the other side. Here are the basics of Switching Play, in the quest to help coaches translate the necessary elements of the tactic to their players.
Transitional moments are an understated, underrated and under-coached part of the modern game. How a team sets up after winning or losing the ball can make or break a team. As a result, today we dissect the basics of defensive transitions. Defensive transitions can be defined as the moment of time between a loss of possession and setting up to win the ball back right away. In more complex terms, it involves the reshaping and restructuring of the team to set up and defend. Although the notion of tactical fouling is technically a tactical approach to a defensive transition, this article will explore how to win the ball back after losing it, and how to set up immediately to stop a goal from going in. This is Defensive Transitions - The Basics.
Pressing from the front is one of the most important elements of the modern game. As opposed to a low-block and allowing the opposition time and space to play out from the back, almost every professional team in existence presses high up the pitch, vigorously and rigorously in an attempt to win the ball back and go on the attack right away, closer to the opposition's goal. As a result, coaches of any age group should be looking to teach players young and old the necessary steps of pressing from the front. In order to help guide these coaches, we examine some of the most basic elements of pressing from the front, with example diagrams for a 7v7 team playing 2-3-1.