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Is the sweeper set for a return to prominence?

April 22, 2010
Is the sweeper set for a return to prominence?

Jonathan Wilson recently wrote in his excellent ‘The Question’ series about the possibility of the return of the sweeper to football. The sweeper prospered as the ’spare man’ in a three-man central defence up against a two-man attack, so now we have two-man central defences up against one-man attacks, should one centre-back not become...
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Is this the best season of football in recent years?

March 26, 2010
Is this the best season of football in recent years?

A brief break from the in-depth tactical analysis here, to round-up the major European leagues, highlight this weekend’s crucial table-topping fixtures, and celebrate how wonderful European football has been this season.
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Is Barcelona’s alternative shape really a 4-2-4?

March 19, 2010
Is Barcelona’s alternative shape really a 4-2-4?

Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side have generally played with a 4-3-3 since he took over nearly two years ago. His natural ‘plan B’ last season was to switch his striker, Samuel Eto’o, with his outside-right, Lionel Messi.┬áBarcelona aren’t able to do that this season, because Eto’o has left the club, and been replaced by Zlatan...
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Champions League ties – home or away first?

March 19, 2010
Champions League ties – home or away first?

There is a feeling amongst football fans that when it comes to Champions League knockout fixtures, your side is better off playing the first leg away from home, with the comfort of the second leg back at your own ground. Arsenal’s task against Barcelona is trickier, apparently, because they’ll have to go to the...
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The 1998 World Cup Final – on reflection…

March 6, 2010
The 1998 World Cup Final – on reflection…

Extended highlights of the 1998 World Cup Final is currently on repeat on a particular British television channel showing ‘classic’ sporting encounters. Most famous for Zidane’s two headers and Ronaldo’s pre-match breakdown, it’s not a game that is generally held up as a great tactical victory.
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