Tactics in the 2000s

10 ways tactics changed

How the 2000s changed tactics #1: The fall and rise of the passing midfielder

April 24, 2012
How the 2000s changed tactics #1: The fall and rise of the passing midfielder

This article was originally written two years ago, but in the wake of Pep Guardiola’s departure from Barcelona, it seems appropriate to re-publish.
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How the 2000s changed tactics #2: Classic Number 10s struggle

March 26, 2010
How the 2000s changed tactics #2: Classic Number 10s struggle

The decade started with the most attacking, open tournament in modern football, at Euro 2000. The four semi-finalists all played ‘classic’ Number 10s in the hole between the opposition defence and midfield. France, Italy, Portugal and Holland had Zinedine Zidane, Francesco Totti, Manuel Rui Costa and Dennis Bergkamp respectively – it almost seemed essential...
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How the 2000s changed tactics #3: The decline of the three-man defence

March 24, 2010
How the 2000s changed tactics #3: The decline of the three-man defence

It’s a shame that the three-man defence has become so unfashionable in recent years, because tactically it’s a lot more interesting and varied than a four-man defence. It essentially did the same job – with one fewer player, allowing the side to dominate the midfield with an extra man.
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How the 2000s changed tactics #4: Off-the-ball movement

March 12, 2010
How the 2000s changed tactics #4: Off-the-ball movement

Movement is not a new thing in football – as outlined by Jonathan Wilson in Inverting The Pyramid, the hallmark of the legendary Hungary side which famously beat England 6-3 in 1953 was their players’ tendency to drift out of their natural position and switch with teammates, thereby confusing the opposition about who they...
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How the 2000s changed tactics #5: Back to four ‘bands’ in formations

March 8, 2010
How the 2000s changed tactics #5: Back to four ‘bands’ in formations

Outfield football positions are still generally broken down into three types: defenders, midfielders and forwards. Go to any fantasy football website, or look at a UEFA squad list, and you’ll see players broken down into these three categories.¬†Of course, this ignores the progression of football tactics in recent years, where the pitch is often...
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