Latest Blog Posts
Tactics Explained – The Switch of Play

Tactics Explained – The Switch of Play

If there’s one tactical trend that continues to dominate football, it’s the use of an increasingly compact defensive block. This applies to both high and low defensive blocks too, as teams look to squeeze the central areas of the pitch and optimise their chances of...

How to Break Down a Deep Defensive Block

How to Break Down a Deep Defensive Block

There’s no doubt that modern football teams are adopting increasingly compact blocks when in and out of possession, regardless of whether this is deep in nature or high up the pitch. This was in evidence during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where sides like...

How to Defend Against Pep’s 3-2-4-1 Shape

How to Defend Against Pep’s 3-2-4-1 Shape

Recency bias is something that often distorts football analysis, with records achieved prior to 1992 and the advent of the Premier League often disregarded by younger fans. Similarly, currently players and managers are often afforded reverential and disproportionate...

Pro vs Zonal Marking – Which is the Best?

Pro vs Zonal Marking – Which is the Best?

While few sides deploy man marking in open play in the modern age, this remains a common and arguably preferable tactic when defending set pieces. In fact, the debate between man and zonal marking continues to rage at all levels of football, with each offering...

Learn How to Defend Against the 3-4-3				    	    	    	    	    	    	    	    	    	    	5/5							(1)

Learn How to Defend Against the 3-4-3 5/5 (1)

Earlier in this series, we discussed the best defensive strategies when playing against a team in a 3-5-2 shape. However, the 3-4-3 is arguably a more contemporary and popular iteration of the 3-5-2 formation, with this having been deployed by great managers like...

How to Defend Against a 4-3-3

How to Defend Against a 4-3-3

If the iconic 4-4-2 formation is synonymous with the previous generation of English football, it’s the 4-3-3 shape that defines modern-day football. This has been deployed with distinction by managers like Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Erik Ten Hag, for example,...

How to Coach a Low Defensive Block

How to Coach a Low Defensive Block

While it’s fair to say that the low defensive block is no longer in vogue, it has been effectively deployed by successful coaches throughout the 21st century. Two of the tactics main supporters are Jose Mourinho and Diego Simeone, with the latter’s defence-minded and...

How to Defend Against a 4-4-2

How to Defend Against a 4-4-2

People almost talk about the iconic 4-4-2 formation with a sense of nostalgia, with this having become less commonplace in an age where midfield dominance and the deployment of fluid attacking lines take precedence. However, this shape has enjoyed something of a...

How to Counter the High Press

How to Counter the High Press

Pretty much all of Europe’s leading sides now adopt some form of high pressing game, from EPL giants like Liverpool and Manchester City to Bayern Munich and Xavi’s Barcelona team. Of course, this philosophy was a direct response to the threat posed by low defensive...

How to Defend Against a 3-5-2

How to Defend Against a 3-5-2

Tactical trends in football tend to be cyclical, with the notion of playing with three at the back once again in vogue at elite level. Certainly, managers like Thomas Tuchel (primarily with Chelsea) and PSG’s Christophe Galtier have deployed a 3-5-2 formation or...

Coaching the High Press – The Key Considerations

Coaching the High Press – The Key Considerations

In recent times, the so-called “high press” has become synonymous with the world’s leading coaches, including pioneers in this respect such as Ralf Rangnick, Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel. While this is highly rewarding and capable...

Is 4-4-2 Back in Fashion?

Is 4-4-2 Back in Fashion?

While many have talked about the demise of the classic 4-4-2 formation, this is a misconception that doesn’t accurately reveal the nature of football’s tactical evolution since the 1990s. More specifically, while we’ve seen well-resourced teams with creative attacking...

Key Coaching Trends in Youth Football

Key Coaching Trends in Youth Football

The Most Important Coaching Principles in Youth Football The ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho has achieved many things in his time as an elite level coach, but outside of his on-field accomplishments, he also arguably ushered in the age of the ‘superstar’ coach. Prior to...

Is Football Better With or Without VAR?

Is Football Better With or Without VAR?

While some trends in football may come and go, the use of the Video Assistant Referee (or VAR) at the sport’s elite level is likely to become increasingly prevalent in the coming months and years. Of course, VAR is also a highly controversial topic for discussion,...

What are Football’s Next Big Tactical Trends? EPL

What are Football’s Next Big Tactical Trends? EPL

Football has always been renowned as a working-class sport, which inspires passion and fervour in both fans and players across the globe. For connoisseurs of the sport, however, the sport’s tactical evolution through the ages has been arguably as fascinating as the...

Should England Play a Back 3 at the World Cup?				    	    	    	    	    	    	    	    	    	    	1/5							(1)

Should England Play a Back 3 at the World Cup? 1/5 (1)

England will hardly approach the 2022 FIFA World Cup in good form, having endured a catastrophic UEFA Nations League A campaign that saw them go winless in six matches and ultimately suffer relegation to the tournament’s second tier. What’s more, fans have been...

What Are the Key Attributes for a Football Coach?

What Are the Key Attributes for a Football Coach?

There are many things that can be coached and taught in the UK, although it should come as no surprise that football is the most popular of these activities. In fact, football accounts for 18% of all coached activities on these shores, with training required at...

Tactics Explained – A Look at the 3-4-3

Tactics Explained – A Look at the 3-4-3

While it’s the iconic 4-4-2 formation that remains the single most recognisable set-up for any football team, it can be argued that the 3-4-3 system has the longest and richest history. Unlike the 4-4-2, of course, the 3-4-3 has experienced various peaks and troughs...

Tactics Explained – A Look at the 3-1-4-2				    	    	    	    	    	    	    	    	    	    	1/5							(2)

Tactics Explained – A Look at the 3-1-4-2 1/5 (2)

As positional play becomes increasingly important in contemporary football, we’re seeing a much wider range of systems and formations being deployed by managers. Take the 3-1-4-2 system, for example, which is a variation of the classic 3-5-2 and utilises a structured...

History’s Most Iconic Referees – And What Set Them Apart

History’s Most Iconic Referees – And What Set Them Apart

Being a referee can be a thankless task, especially in the world of professional football where players have occasionally been known to disrespect and harangue officials. I mean, who can forget Jaap Stam and his Manchester United teammates surrounding referee Andy...

Which Formation is Easier to Coach?

Which Formation is Easier to Coach?

Being a football coach can be a challenging pastime, particularly when it comes to setting your side up in the best and most effective way. While you may have a preferred formation and style of play as a coach, for example, this may not suit either the players at your...

Tactics Explained – A Look at the 3-5-2				    	    	    	    	    	    	    	    	    	    	5/5							(3)

Tactics Explained – A Look at the 3-5-2 5/5 (3)

The 3-5-2 formation is a relatively recent team shape, especially when compared to historically popular systems such as the 4-4-2 and the 4-3-3.It’s also one that tends to experience peaks and troughs in terms of popularity, largely thanks to its relative complexity...

Tactics Explained – A Look at the 4-1-4-1

Tactics Explained – A Look at the 4-1-4-1

Tactics Explained - A Look at the 4-1-4-1 In our piece exploring football tactics, we’re going to cast our eyes over the increasingly popular 4-1-4-1. Despite primarily being seen as a defensive system, the 4-1-4-1 has been reimagined in recent years, largely thanks...

Why is playing three at the back popular again

Why is playing three at the back popular again

Why is Playing Three at the Back Popular Again? The tactical side of football has become increasingly evolved over the course of the last decade, particularly with the renewed focus on positional play and structured, organised pressing. This has also seen a sustained...

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