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Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City: Guardiola uses his full-backs & wingers to get De Bruyne into space

October 2, 2017
Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City: Guardiola uses his full-backs & wingers to get De Bruyne into space

Chelsea came into this game on the back of a midweek victory at Atletico Madrid, probably the tactical performance of the season so far – they showed defensive discipline, midfield control and completely outwitted Diego Simeone’s usually-formidable Atletico.

The key was Antonio Conte’s use of 3-5-2, a modification upon the 3-4-3 that won Chelsea the league last season. This 3-5-2 allowed Eden Hazard to play centrally, and means Cesc Fabregas can be used in central midfield without Conte having to sacrifice one of his two disciplined defensive midfielders. Two big advantages.

But the 3-5-2 also has more of a weakness than the 3-4-3 – by increasing numbers in central positions, it means Chelsea have fewer men down the flanks. The wing-backs have to cover the flanks themselves – and it’s this weakness which Pep Guardiola exploited here, where City dominated from start to finish. Read more »

Real Madrid 4-1 Juventus: Real initially weak down the right, before dominating that flank

June 6, 2017
Real Madrid 4-1 Juventus: Real initially weak down the right, before dominating that flank

Real Madrid became the first club to retain the European Cup in its modern format, after an eventually comfortable 4-1 win in Cardiff.

Zinedine Zidane’s major selection dilemma was whether to pick Isco or Gareth Bale – but it seems Bale wasn’t close enough to full fitness to be seriously considered, and therefore Isco continued. Dani Carvajal was fit to play at right-back, with Danilo on the bench.

Max Allegri picked his expected side, in the flexible 4-2-3-1ish system that has become his established system in the knockout stage of this competition. Andrea Barzagli played on the right of defence, with Dani Alves more a midfielder than a wing-back.

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The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines (out now)

May 25, 2017
The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines (out now)

The Mixer is out next week (June 1st) in the UK, published by HarperCollins.

It’s the story of the Premier League’s tactical evolution, covering its first 25 seasons from 1992/93 to 2016/17.

It’s essentially about the revolutionaries: the innovative managers, the game-changing players, the inspirational teams, the new tactical concepts, the off-field developments that influenced playing styles.

Here’s an extract

Here’s an article about it

If it’s of interest, you can pre-order here…

Amazon / Kindle:

http://po.st/themixer
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Monaco 0-2 Juventus: Allegri uses wing-backs and Alves creates both goals for Higuain

May 5, 2017
Monaco 0-2 Juventus: Allegri uses wing-backs and Alves creates both goals for Higuain

Juventus took control of this Champions League semi-final with an impressive 2-0 victory, thanks to two goals from Gonzalo Higuain.

Leonardo Jardim’s side featured one surprise – Benjamin Mendy wasn’t fit to start at left-back, so Djibril Sidibe switched to that flank and Nabil Dirar played at right-back.

Max Allegri left out right-winger Juan Cuadrado and played Andrea Barzagli instead, a significant move that would shape this game’s tactical battle.

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