Breaking down the phases of the game

Chances are, if you're getting into tactics and analysis, you've heard the word "phase" or "moment" to describe the events that transpire across a football match. But what are these so-called "phases"? As part of our Intro to Football Analysis course, we break it all down. This article will give you a sneak-preview into the course, set to be launched in Fall 2022. Here's everything you need to know about the various phases of the beautiful game, and how compartmentalizing the game in this manner can allow you to achieve greater success in your analysis.

A short corner routine that will guarantee goals (ft. KC Current)

While brilliant, this set-piece won't work 100% of the time. But if your team can properly assess a time to play a short corner like this (such as having a player unmarked at the top of the box) and capitalize on that opportunity, this corner kick routine courtesy of Kansas City may just guarantee you goals.

A brilliant set-piece routine that will guarantee goals (ft. Cavalry FC)

Even despite missing important players and shifting key figureheads out of position, Cavalry fought their way to a 1-0 victory on Saturday against HFX Wanderers. The only goal came from a set-piece (as we're becoming accustomed to when these teams play), courtesy of a wonderfully coordinated routine to steal the victory away. So with that, we break down the set-piece that resulted in Cavalry's 1-0 win over HFX, and the important steps to replicating the routine with your team.

Undervalued Premier League Talents: Christian Eriksen

On Saturday February 26th, the Premier League witnessed one of its most harmonic cheers, heard all across the globe. The day marked the remarkable return of Danish superstar Christian Eriksen, making his debut for Brentford after suffering a heart attack during Euro 2020 for his native Denmark. For Bees fans, it was a momentous occasion. But Eriksen played it cool, almost as though it was just another day at the office.

Why there’s an abnormal amount of centre-backs taking set-pieces in the NWSL

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?

How not to defend set-pieces (ft. HFX Wanderers & Cavalry)

I can't remember another game in my lifetime where four goals, in fact - 100% of the goals, came from set-pieces. I love analyzing team structures and shapes in traditional match analyses, and I could tell you all about Cavalry's almost 3-3-1-3-esque build-up or Halifax's stern 4-3-1-2 press. But ultimately, this game was decided by free kicks and corners. While that may be seen by some as "boring", on this occasion, all four of the goals resulted off the back of both tactical and psychological mistakes, more than worth breaking down in detail. So with that, here is our Match Analysis of Halifax's 2-2 draw with Cavalry, and our case study on how not to defend set-pieces.

A set-piece routine that will guarantee goals

Set-pieces are vitally important to the modern game, with a high percentage of goals being scored from set-pieces in the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A this season. However, we are a firm believer in giving players creative autonomy and freedom to make choices in football matches. Allowing them to have a voice in attacking set-pieces is the perfect spot to allow them such creative input, as set-pieces can often be so different to everything else the team puts together in their formation, style of play and game model. With that said, we want to help your team score more goals from set-pieces, especially if you're going through our game model examples, only to see that we don't focus all that much on set-pieces. So with that, here is my favourite corner kick routine, which can easily be used at both the senior and professional level.

Christian Streich – SC Freiburg – Tactical Analysis (2021-22 Edition)

After back to back top ten finishes, SC Freiburg are now flying high toward a Champions League position in the German Bundesliga. Christian Streich's team have played some fantastic high pressing, high tempo football, beating some of the best teams in the league without any genuine stars in their side. So following up from our tactical analysis of the team last season, we take a look at how Christian Streich has revolutionized Freiburg in 2021-22.

West Ham United – 4-2-3-1 – Tactical Analysis (2020-21)

Recently, I did a second Aston Villa Tactical Analysis discussing how Dean Smith's side went from narrowly escaping relegation in 2019-20 to now being genuine contenders for the Europa League in time for next season. The same could be said of West Ham United. Although David Moyes' side escaped relegation by a greater margin, they've also been better than Villa by a narrow margin again this season, just in a much different place in the table for both. Like Aston Villa, West Ham United are also contenders for a place in next season's Europa League with their performances in the league in 2020-21. With Villa being one of their top challengers for a top six finish, doing the double over the Lions has also boasted well for the Hammers as they go into the final third of the season. Here is a tactical analysis of West Ham United since they shifted from a 5-4-1/3-4-3 formation to a 4-2-3-1.

Why Aston Villa Will Qualify for Europe by 2023 – Tactical Analysis

After surviving relegation by a single point in 2019-20, few would have imagined Aston Villa to have such a stellar season in 2020-21. Instead of battling for relegation, they've been battling for a place in Europe, beating the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Leicester City along the way. Perhaps most impressively out of anything, beyond the results which have unequivocally been spectacular, Dean Smith's side have just been so much fun to watch. They've been tactically intriguing in their shifting systems and styles of play, but also just so full of life this season with Grealish and co leading their charge toward European football. Here is our latest Tactical Analysis all about Dean Smith’s Aston Villa, including why the Lions look destined for European football next season.

Dean Smith – Aston Villa – Tactical Analysis

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.