Luciano Spalletti has worked wonders since arriving to the scene of Naples in 2021. The Italian manager helped Napoli to a third-place finish last season, and now prepares to lead the closing stages of their title charge in 2023. With some supremely smart acquisitions in the summer working their magic, Gli Azzurri currently sit ten points clear atop the table, and have more than double the points of Serie A's historical dominator - Juventus. If Spalletti can continue to get his tactics right and maintain the remarkably positive culture he's built since arriving, Napoli will walk away with the title this year. So with that, here is our analysis of the club from Naples so far in 2022-23.
Taking the world by storm in 2022-23, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has come from relative obscurity to join one of Europe's most famous clubs, and now leads their charge toward the top of Serie A. The direct and dynamic wing wizard has been in remarkable form since joining Napoli from Rubin Kazan, contributing to 5 goals in his 7 matches so far this campaign, already close to bettering his tally from 2021-22 in Russia. Here is our analysis of the remarkable rise of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia this season.
Ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season, we endeavoured to answer the question - where should Premier League clubs sign players? In the process of doing our Premier League Transfer Tax study, we've identified a series of trends that existed within Premier League clubs last season, that can help to inform the business of teams moving forward - including questions of where to sign players. Here is our final piece to this four-part puzzle.
After examining fourteen Premier League sides, we are getting closer to the truth. Bundesliga Tax may very well be a real thing. Whether it's the nature of players signing from the league in comparison to others, or simply something wrong with their ability to adapt, players coming over from Germany's top flight have ranked consistently lower than players arriving from other leagues. Our data illustrates player performance on a range of statistical categories in and out of possession, whilst aiming to utilize our Role Continuity System in establishing important traits and characteristics specific to a player's role.
It's easy to use the eye test and conclude that players like Jadon Sancho and Timo Werner haven't lived up to the hype. In a recent video, Tifo Football suggested that this phenomenon doesn't just apply to Bundesliga clubs, but a range of leagues around the world. So with that, we aim to use data from the 2021-22 season to determine whether or not 'Bundesliga Tax' is a real phenomenon, and what leagues Premier League clubs should prioritize in sending their scouts to this summer. Here is our analysis of what we're dubbing 'EPL Transfer Tax'. In Part 1, we examine the top seven sides in the league based on points during the 2021-22 campaign, drawing conclusions around the business that 'Top 7' clubs conducted prior to the start of last season. In turn, this could inform decision making ahead of the 2022-23 season, and potentially the wider future at hand.
Toward the end of the January transfer window, Juventus swept in with a big money move for Dusan Vlahovic, finally securing themselves a Cristiano Ronaldo replacement. The big Serb has made a name for himself in Serie A with his stunning run of goal-scoring form, bagging 38 goals in 58 matches for Fiorentina across the past two seasons. But Vlahovic doesn't just offer a team goals, and that is precisely why Juventus worked so hard to secure his signature at the end of January, for a hefty €82 million fee. Here is why Dusan Vlahovic is perfect for The Old Lady, and an adequate replacement for one of the game's all time greats.
This past weekend, Juventus squared up against fellow Serie A heavyweights, AC Milan, at San Siro for a much-anticipated clash of top-four hopefuls. Despite its potential, the match played out as a midseason stalemate, with players from both sides looking a little listless. But past the lack of goals (or shots on goal in the case of Juventus), the more measured pace of play offers one distinct advantage to viewers: a clear view of formational repositioning based on phase of play. In other words, a game model at work.
On Serie A's Matchday 19, mid-table Empoli faced off against title hopefuls AC Milan at Carlo Castellani Stadium. Despite AC Milan being heavy favorites, Empoli gave themselves every chance to come away with all three points, further proving their recent statement win against Napoli was no fluke.
“Win your individual battles”. This is the mantra of a manager employing man-on-man marking. Win the battle on restarts, when isolated, and with or without the ball. This is because 1v1 success inevitably increases the likelihood of 11v11 victory. And so, paired with each tactical posturing is this personal pursuit. With the many dynamic, dribbling attackers and foul-catching cameras in the modern era, sometimes these 1v1 situations in dangerous areas are seen as a shortcoming or an ill-advised 50:50 from the defending side. Seemingly, to a certain extent, AC Milan and Inter Milan beg to differ.
In the Serie A 2020-21 season, AC Milan showed great promise and performances, having their best season in over a decade. Pioli’s tactics were spot on throughout the season, with the players on the field coming to life in surprising ways. The likes of Davide Calabria, Theo Hernandez and Rafael Leao have all had their best seasons as professional players this season but here we shed light on one of the most important players to the Milan system – 39-year old Swedish veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Over the past decade at Manchester City, Sergio Aguero has established himself as one of the best strikers in Premier League history. After the announcement that he will be leaving City at the end of the season, the Futbol Masterminds examine the Argentine's career and whether or not Pep's team need to replace him with a summer buy. The panel also break down Tuchel's first defeat as Chelsea boss, Timo Werner's lack of goals (again), Liverpool's hot streak, and Lampard's future. To cap it all off, Russell has some strong takes about Serie A and whether or not it's truly a top four league. Follow @futbolmasterminds on Instagram to see more of the show and subscribe via Itunes and Spotify!
Since Antonio Conte's arrival at Inter Milan, the Italian giants have transformed into the most effective side in all of Serie A. Other than disappointments in the UEFA Champions League and losing last season's Europa League final, Conte's start to life at San Siro has gotten off without a hitch. I Nerazzurri narrowly missed out on the title to Conte's old side Juventus last season by one single point, and this season they look favourites to finally dethrone the Old Lady from securing another crown. But the results and the performances are not the only impressive components about Antonio Conte's functional Inter Milan. The Italian manager's tactics have been remarkable as they have been throughout his career, and so many players have taken their games to new heights under the influence of the former Premier League winner. Here is a tactical analysis all about Antonio Conte's Inter Milan in 2020-21.
Juventus have won the Serie A title for the past nine seasons in a row. But this season, for the first time in over a decade, that appears to be under serious threat. The man leading that threat is the current AC Milan manager, Stefano Pioli. Although he performed well for Lazio and Inter Milan in his previous managerial stints, Pioli more recently struggled to manage expectations as Fiorentina manager. He was lucky to even get the AC Milan job in the first place and when he first arrived it was seen as a short-term solution. Now, Pioli has his team playing some fantastic football, en route to a potential title charge. The Red and Blacks remain undefeated in Serie A after 15 matches, ahead of a crucial match later today against Juventus. For all of their fantastic performances in 2020-21 so far, here is our Tactical Analysis of Stefano Pioli's AC Milan.