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A Champions League final win against Liverpool on 28th May 2022 secured Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti's status as the first-ever four-time European cup-winning coach. The Italian has received plenty of credit for his calm, hands-off approach and excellent man-management skills, but he's also a tactical innovator in his own right. One of his biggest contributions to the game is the development of the 4-3-2-1 formation, a slightly...
It's been a busy week behind the scenes in football. With the Premier League fixtures announced and teams across the world gearing up for a fresh new season, there have been plenty of comings and goings both in the UK and abroad. Coaches, technical directors, board members, marketing officers; there are plenty of appointments that give just a little hint of the ambitions of various professional clubs for the 2022-23 season. Read on for our...
As the summer transfer window kicks off, rumours surrounding the world's most high-profile players continue to circulate. Will Raheem Sterling move to Chelsea in search of guaranteed playing time? Is Bernardo Silva on the way to Barcelona, and might Frenkie De Jong be heading in the other direction ? It's always an exciting time of year, and the approach of a World Cup at the end of 2022 only intensifies this feeling. It's not just...
Tactical shifts and trends are inevitable within the world of soccer. As time passes, new strategies, formations, and approaches to the game will develop, and old methods will be left behind. These days, it's rare to see teams lining up with a strike partnership, for example. Back in the day, formations like 4-4-2 relied heavily on having two forwards who were capable of winning headers, holding up the ball, and linking up with each...
In our ongoing series explaining some of the best soccer formations used in the modern game, we've tackled a wide range of systems. Some are currently being used by the world's best teams ( the 4-3-3 formation , for instance), while others are a little less common or tied to a different footballing era. The shape we're focusing on in this article falls into the second category. The 4-1-3-2 system isn't particularly common, and there...
Debates about the best way to mark opposition players have been ongoing for years, and they're not going away any time soon. High-profile sports commentators such as Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have been battling it out over the pros and cons of each system for a number of years now, and key tactical differences continue to play out on the pitch in elite leagues all over the world. Some managers prefer their players to get tight and...
Soccer formations have evolved a lot over the years. For the first half of the 20th century, the dominant system was an attack-minded W-M Formation , which is extremely rare today. In the decade leading up to the millennium, the shape used by most British teams was the 4-4-2 formation . Things are constantly evolving, and one of the most important soccer developments of the past decade is the rise in teams playing with 3 at the back. But...
It's becoming increasingly common for fairly technical terms to be used in mainstream soccer coverage. Words and phrases that used to be reserved almost exclusively for tactics gurus and analysts are now part of casual conversations about the sport. One example of this is the rise of the double pivot, a now commonly used description for an important tactical foundation of the modern game. But what exactly is a double pivot, and what...
Tactical strategy and coaching is absolutely crucial to the modern game of soccer. Things have developed a lot since the early days of the sport when teams were organized in pretty basic ways, their play relying on the skill and creativity of individual players. Today, professional strategies are complex, and one of the most important aspects of any coach's approach to a match is the formation they choose to play. Recently, we've...
Before the Spain and Barcelona teams of the late noughties started to rip up the script and make possession-based football the Premier League norm, there was one system that totally dominated English football: 4-4-2. It still has its advocates today, although its popularity has certainly reduced over the years. But why is that? And what made the 4-4-2 system so widely used in the first place? In this article, we'll take you through the key...
Since breaking onto the world stage at the  2011 FIFA Women's World Cup , where her US team were runners-up, Alex Morgan has consistently been one of, the best players in the game. With 2 x World Cup victories (in 2015 and 2019), an Olympic Gold Medal , a Champions League, multiple league titles as well as countless individual awards against her name, she has won just about everything there is to win and established herself as an...
If you're well-versed in the art of soccer tricks and skills, it's likely that you've heard people refer to a "panenka" penalty before. Only the most confident and technically gifted players tend to try it, and when it comes off, it can look spectacular. But what exactly is a panenka? In this article, we'll give you a comprehensive guide to this special technique. We'll take you through the history of the panenka, and have a look at some of...