There’s some debate about who first used the 4-2-3-1 formation that became so popular across Europe in the 2000s. It probably started its development in the mid-90s, and some would point to Manchester United of 1994 as a forerunner, and perhaps Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side and Real Madrid under John Toshack have claims to this award as well. Read more »
Although this doesn’t directly concern on-field tactics, the concept of squad rotation has become almost mandatory for the top sides in Europe, and has a large impact on the team selection of the managers concerned. Read more »
It’s easy to forget what a mess Brazil were in just months before the 2002 World Cup. They had their worst-ever qualification campaign for the tournament, and Luiz Felipe Scolari only took over in June 2001, with Brazil sitting outside the qualification places. Scolari struggled through – he lost his first game, but Brazil sealed their place in Japan and Korea by just three points. Read more »
…and by the same token, if you don’t get shots on target in football games, you don’t score goals.
You don’t really need chalkboard analysis to describe how bad Liverpool are, but here is some evidence for you.
In their past two away games, Liverpool have had a grand total of two shots on target. One in each game. Against Stoke, it was a bundle over the line from two yards from Kyrgiakos. Read more »
In part one, we looked at the differences between the Premiership, La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 in terms of passing. Here, we turn to crossing.
Firstly, the number of crosses attempted per game in the five leagues:
Serie A sees by far the highest amount of crosses, with the Bundesliga trailing significantly. There’s little difference between the other three leagues.
These figures on their own may not be particularly interesting, but with the addition of crossing completion statistics, we can build a more detailed picture: Read more »
Everyone knows that Arsenal went unbeaten in 2003/04, but it’s worth pointing out that Chelsea only lost one game the next season, a surprise 0-1 defeat away at Manchester City. OK so, Jose Mourinho had inherited a great squad, which had been added to over the summer with the likes of Cech, Drogba, Carvalho and Ferreira, but to take charge of a side and lead it so convincingly to the title (they won it by 12 points) should be commended. That season’s Chelsea side also hold the record for the fewest goals conceded in a Premiership season – just 15 in 38 games, whilst 25 clean sheets is also a Premiership record. Read more »
Mourinho 2-0 Leonardo. Or, to use an aggregate score, Mourinho 6-0 Leonardo. They may be two of the most stylish and exciting coaches in Europe, but tonight Mourinho got his tactics spot on, whilst Leonardo’s Milan side seemed rigid and uncomfortable.
Inter dominated the first half hour by virtue of having an extra central midfielder – Milan’s midfield being an inverted ‘V’ (ie with the central player, Pirlo, playing just ahead of the other two) meant that Sneijder constantly found space between the three, and completely dominated proceedings. Read more »
It’s often argued that the major European leagues are becoming increasingly similar, and there are no longer significant variations in tactics. What are the reasons for this? An increased number of foreign players and managers? More television coverage of foreign competitions? A greater number of European matches? Globalisation in general?
That debate is for another day – here, we investigate whether the major European leagues are as similar as is assumed. First, passing. Read more »
It’s a game of two halves, they say – the first one here was so bad you may as well not have bothered. Two similar shapes cancelling each other out, with an incredible lack of width from both sides. Roma started with Luca Toni upfront as a target man, but he was injured and went off after five minutes – with a half-fit Francesco Totti replacing him. Vucinic, therefore, became the focal point of the attack drifting to the left, and Totti playing as a trequartista. Given such an early reorganisation of the side, we can forgive Roma for their slightly purposeless first half. Read more »
When will we get to the point where no-one will bother questioning Michael Owen’s omission from the England squad?
For many, that point has long passed, although certain media pundits insist that Owen deserves his place in Capello’s 23. The reason Owen deserves to be considered, apparently, is that he is England’s best ‘natural born finisher’, but the fact remains that he’s not even the best English finisher at Manchester United.
See this chalkboard of today’s game against Hull. Wayne Rooney only had one more shot from inside the area than Owen, but ended up with four more goals. Read more »