past weekend, securing an easy 4-2 win against arch-rivals Atletico Madrid. With the likes of Dani Alves, yes Dani Alves, and a younger version of Xavi himself in the form of 17-year-old Gavi, Barca have a mix of incredible experience and youthful verve to propel them into the top four moving forward. Here is our match analysis of Barca's 4-2 win over Atletico, and Barcelona's attacking variety and balance throughout the match.
After the departure of Nuno Espirito Santo at the end of last season, Wolverhampton Wanderers hoped their next manager would have the gusto to turn the club back into a Europa League challenging team. While Bruno Lage wasn't the flashiest of appointments, the Portuguese manager has surpassed fan expectations, turning Wolves into one of the best defensive units in the league. Despite scoring just 14 goals in 19 league games, Wolves sit 8th place in the table, on 28 points. That in large part is due to the excellent tactical balance of Bruno Lage's team, their sound defensive structure, and the fact that every single player has completely bought into his ideologies. Here is a tactical analysis all about Bruno Lage's Wolves.
Antonio Conte's Spurs, as expected, have gotten off to a flying start. Conte's team have gone unbeaten in their eight Premier League matches so far, playing some fantastic, easy on the eye football in the process. The variety in their attacking play has helped the team to 14 goals in 8 matches, with just 5 conceded in the process. In our recent analysis of Conte's team, we posited that the team only had one key dilemma to solve - what to do against low-blocks who want to sit very deep against them. As opposition teams sort Tottenham out, Conte's quest to combat the low-block appears to be growing all the more difficult by the match. They failed to claim victory against 10-man Southampton earlier in the week, and yesterday had to wait until stoppage time for Davinson Sanchez's winner. So with that, we take a quick look at how teams like Antonio Conte's can disrupt a low-block and generate scoring chances, taking examples from Spurs' own 1-0 victory against Watford at the weekend.
The mental side of the beautiful game is at least as important as the physical side, but is often neglected by coaches in training sessions. In this series, Travis Norsen, author of Play With Your Brain, will discuss small tweaks to standard training exercises and the large positive effects they can have on players’ decision-making and soccer intelligence. This week, Travis explores why you should incorporate double goals into your training.
After the sacking of Lucien Favre in December, assistant coach Edin Terzic was given the interim role at Borussia Dortmund. Unfortunately for the first time manager, things could not have gotten off to a rockier start. Terzic won just six of his opening thirteen matches in charge, forcing Dortmund into a difficult situation heading into the final third of the season with a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League in their sights. However, in recent weeks, Edin Terzic has grown his reputation, with Borussia Dortmund now on a 4 match win streak in the league as they charge toward the top four…maybe even three. So with that, we provide a second tactical analysis on Edin Terzic‘s Borussia Dortmund, and their chances of finishing top four this season.
Former Barcelona man Xavi Hernandez is widely considered one of the best midfielders of all time. In his hay-day with both Spain and Barcelona, Xavi formed one of the best midfield triads the game has ever seen, alongside Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets. He won twenty-five major trophies with Barcelona and three for Spain, before moving to Qatar ahead of the 2015-16 season. He then went on to finish his career in style, winning the Qatari league in his final season at the club in 2018-19. The very next season he was named manager of the squad and soon afterward completely revolutionized Al Saad into a near unstoppable unit in the QPL. The Spanish midfielder has quietly gone about his business at Al Sadd, playing in Guardiola-esque ways and doing del-Bosque-esque things, winning six trophies in two seasons so far. Barcelona are keeping a close eye on the now 41-year-old, and in time we may see one of the game greatest ever midfielders become one of the game's greatest ever managers. Here is a tactical analysis of Xavi Hernandez's Al Sadd.
After a slow start to the season, Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid are now flying on all cylinders, currently on a 14-match unbeaten streak that's propelled them toward the top of La Liga and the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Zidane doesn't have the same squad that won him the Champions League in three back to back years between 2016 and 2018, but he is getting the best out of what he has at his disposal once again. After a massive 2-1 win over Barcelona in El Clasico this past weekend and the side securing a place in the UEFA Champions League semis, the side could be on a path toward victory in either competition. As a result, we now take a look at the tactics Zinedine Zidane has deployed throughout the 2020-21 season at Real Madrid.
One of the main problems facing big teams nowadays is the deep-block, because of the lack of capabilities of most other teams by comparison. Smaller clubs often resort to the deep-block as a solution in their matches against the big teams, and therefore, coaches need to find a solution to this dilemma that they face in many matches.
Recently I have heard much in the way of what I would classify as "misinformation" regarding the readiness of youth players to learn tactical concepts like switching play. Switching play as a tactical concept ultimately comes down to recognizing space and making decisions based on that spatial awareness. Switching play doesn't mean crossing a long-ball forty/fifty yards from one side of the field to the other. It is about recognizing the space to see the opportunity of when space is condensed, versus when space is available and what to do in both of those situations. It is therefore an essential concept that can be taught to players of just about any age. Here is a session plan and key coaching points to match, all about spatial awareness and switching play!