As the name suggests, a 'Ball-Playing-Centre-Half' is a centre-back that excels in possession of the ball, from passing to long passing to carrying to dribbling. They can simultaneously exist as 'Sweepers' or 'Stoppers', providing another interesting asterisk to the role not found in many other positions. Unlike say a fullback or goalkeeper where we have created clearly defined separations and almost polarizations on a style scale, 'Ball-Playing-Centre-Halves' can also be 'Stoppers' or 'Sweepers'.
As often happens in a tightly contested affair, Washington Spirit's encounter with the Chicago Red Stars saw one team outperform the other in the attacking third, and the other come out in wonderfully matching that intensity in the defensive third. Washington should have claimed victory, having hit the bar twice and dominating much of the play, but Chicago held their own, accumulating chances to put the game to bed themselves.
In quite fantastic fashion, there is an abnormal representation of centre-halves on set-piece duties. Normally associated with banging in the goals from free kicks and corners, several NWSL teams instead have one of their centre-backs as a key taker of set-pieces. This begs the question we should always be asking in analysis - and that is...why?
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.
As coaches, analysts, players, fans, and football obsessed individuals, we all want to grow our tactical understanding of the game. In fact, it's one of the top five questions I get thrown my way on social media or email (links at the end of the article), where people either want to know how I developed my degree of tactical knowledge, or want to know how they too can take their tactical and analytical understanding to the next level. Here is a structured process that you can follow to develop your own tactical knowledge, and continuously learn about the game on repeat.
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.
One of the most common questions thrown my way is the typical - "How do you know what you know?" or "How did you develop your tactical craft?". Well, I finally have an answer for you.
In this special edition Spin The Ball Q&A, Rhys Desmond talks about how to find the balance between being fun and assertive in coaching, how to be more enthusiastic for your players, and gives his thoughts on the CONCACAF Champions League and Man City vs. Tottenham this weekend. Be sure to check out @mastermindsite on social media and everything we have going on at themastermindsite.com to never miss an update.
Domenico Tedesco has achieved wonders in his first few months in charge of Leipzig, with the team accumulating an impressive 62.5% win rate after eight matches. Tedesco's inauguration has been marked by a return to a back-three, where Die Roten Bullen have fluctuated between a 3-4-1-2 and 3-4-2-1 formation.
One of the most tactically complex teams in world football, no other team could change formation and personnel to the extent that Graham Potter's Brighton do without suffering any consequences. Through all the constant change, it's miraculous to think his team have boasted some of the best possession in the league, and one of the soundest defensive structures. The calls continue to come for Potter to move up a level and take on a new challenge, but for now, the British manager has kept Brighton in the top half of the table for the vast majority of the 2021-22 season. Here is our tactical analysis of Graham Potter's incredible Brighton & Hove Albion.
At the start of the 2021-22 campaign, all hope seemed to be lost for Arsenal. After losing their opening matches to Brentford and Chelsea without scoring a single goal, the Gunners suffered an embarrassing 5-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City. To make matters worse, their arch-rivals had beaten Guardiola's men on the opening day of the season, and sat top of the table at that time. Meanwhile, the Gunners sat rock bottom, with Arteta's future in doubt. Weeks later, Arsenal and Spurs faced off in the North London Derby, where the Gunners came out guns blazing, securing a stunning 3-1 victory. Ever since, Arteta's Arsenal have been full of light and positivity, playing some of their best football under the Spaniard. Arteta may not have fully flipped the script on his abilities, but for the meantime, Arsenal sit in fourth place, full of promise for the future. So with that, here is our 2021-22 tactical analysis of Mikel Arteta's team.