There is nothing that fascinates me more about tactical team construction than how managers change the job titles of certain players to achieve certain results. That may be to combat a strength of an opposition, to bring out a strength in their own team set-up, to bring the best out of a player at their disposal, or even simply to fill a hole. I created an entire series around this premise called 'Game of Numbers', analyzing the various roles that individual players take up to help their teams achieve success. With that, I highlight some of the best positional tweaks this campaign, detailing how managers were able to get the best out of each player.
Tag: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Game of Numbers #18 – Trent Alexander-Arnold in central areas
Over the past few weeks, Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool have been gaining not only traction in the league, but scrutinized attention over some new principles of play. That "new" principle involves the use of Trent Alexander-Arnold where all of us always knew he could excel, in central areas. I wanted to throw my hat into the mix, partially because there's an argument to make that this is not all that new.
Game of Numbers #14 – Ilkay Gündoğan’s Movement Masterclass
İlkay Gündoğan had a masterclass of a performance against Liverpool, playing a massive part in their commanding 4-1 win over their title challengers from last season. It was vintage Gündoğan at his best, and showcases City's potential to continue putting on top quality performances even without the presence of Erling Haaland. Here is Game of Numbers #14, illustrating Gundogan's movement masterclass!
Analyzing Liverpool’s tactical concerns in 2022-23
It's not been the most incredible start to a Premier League season for Jürgen Klopp's Redmen, and in fact, statistically, his worst on record. The 9-0 flurry against Bournemouth and the hard-fought clean sheet to Guardiola's City serve as reminders that Liverpool are still a force to be reckoned with in the Prem. But as Arteta's Arsenal surge into form and the likes of United and Chelsea gain traction under new management, Liverpool are slowly falling behind in the top four race. With that, we break down the tactical concerns behind Liverpool's start to the 2022-23, and provide suggestions for Klopp's men moving forward. Here is our analysis!
The multiple layers of Trent Alexander-Arnold
Trent Alexander-Arnold is one of the best right-backs in the world of football, and possibly one of the greatest the Premier League has ever witnessed. So for all the extremities that he accomplishes in attack, it becomes very normal for fan-bases across the globe to try and poke holes in his game and conjure up reasons that go against his greatness.
Game of Numbers #7 – Ben White’s Right-Back Revolution
Ben White has been one of the understated members of Arsenal's revolution into one of the Premier League's supreme outfits in 2022-23. The Gunners currently sit top of the table after their formidable win against a dissolute Spurs side, with Ben White performing a pivotal role in the big win.
Explaining the Wing-Back – Player Role Analysis
A wing-back, as the name suggests, is a full-back that operates up and down the wing, holding particular importance in attacking phases. They may contribute to the defensive side of the game, and they may even invert into central areas. But wing-backs do their best work down the by-line, where they can deliver crosses into the box, utilize their trickery and skill to go 1v1, and surge up the field through their dynamic pace and timing of movement into dangerous areas. Here is our latest Player Role Analysis.
Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League Final – Tactical Analysis
Over the past few seasons, we've seen some legendary Champions League finals. This encounter between Liverpool and Real Madrid, in many ways, was more lethargic and leisurely. A chess battle as both teams patiently worked through the thirds and never fully pressed the gas, Liverpool couldn't quite ever get up to full speed in matching Real Madrid's assuredness and steady flow in possession. With Courtois supersonic-ifying his gloves beforehand, the match ended with Real Madrid coming out as winners, claiming an impressive double under the influence of Carlo Ancelotti, and one last hurrah for many of the decade-defining stars from the 2010s. Here is our tactical analysis of Real Madrid's narrow 1-0 win over Liverpool.
Picking the 2021-22 PFA Team of the Year
It's that time of year! In this week's Tactical Thinker, we asked you to name your PFA Team of the Year, as though you were one of the pros making the difficult selection. After a countless number of responses, we compile the top eleven players as voted by our own stack of pros - you, the readers. Here is our PFA Team of the Year, from the TMS community.
Tactical Thinker: Picking the PFA Team of the Year
This past weekend, Mohamed Salah claimed the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year, with more individual awards soon to follow. Individual awards are fraught with controversy within a team sport that relies on all eleven players working in tandem, and sometimes fail to acknowledge those that didn't do the flashy bits on a football pitch, but performed like their lives depended on it week in and week out. On both accounts, that's what often makes the Team of the Year an intriguing award to follow. When it comes to the PFA Team of the Year, it becomes all the more fascinating to see who the pros themselves had the most difficult time playing against this season, and who they felt deserved to be remembered for their role in making the 2021-22 season special. So with that, we ask you to pick your PFA Team of the Year, if you were one of the pros.
Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool – Tactical Analysis
"If Manchester City win the match, the title race is over." - every Premier League pundit in existence. Well, Manchester City didn't win the match, so what happens now? First of all, what a match. Second of all, I am of the firm belief that Manchester City thoroughly outclassed Liverpool on the day, and that Raheem Sterling should have been ruled onside from that VAR disallowed goal (surely it's too close to say clear and obvious?). But I digress. I am not here to talk about refereeing decisions. Instead, the tactics! So let's jump into it, and discuss whether or not the title race is over, or in fact, still with everything to play for.