The first season in Manchester under Pep Guardiola has been a little inconsistent, although the clear signs of improvements are steadily visible. With the arrival of Guardiola a whole adaptation process started for the team, which was basically and most importantly the presentation and implementation of the Positional Play. Here TP in August has already previewed the issues City has had in the previous season, and the possible changes that Guardiola may bring to Manchester City.
After 16 games played, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim remains the only unbeaten team in Bundesliga. Apart from having the youngest coach ever in the German top flight, what is so special about the side from Southern Germany?
Borussia Dortmund finished the first part of the season in disappointing fashion. The Schwarzgelben scored three consecutive draws in the Bundesliga before going into the winter break, confirming that they are still heavily struggling with the losses of Mats Hummels, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gündoğan. Yet the departure of these three superstars has not solely caused Dortmund’s recent issues.
Eleven wins, three draws and two defeats. RB Leipzig have surprised many spectators and pundits with their successful run in the Bundesliga so far. After explaining their football philosophy in a previous article, we now examine a few successful displays in recent months.
When a bull is furiously running through the prairie, the earth is shaking. The fauna is on the alert. Everyone knows that a bull is an unstoppable force of nature once he has picked up pace. It is not surprising that a team associated with the image of that animal tries to emulate the bull’s fierceness. It is not surprising that a team with the ambition to become the next big player in German football tries to establish a catchy identity.
11 games, 11 wins, 25 goals scored, 2 goals conceded, from 8th place and 8 points off the pace to 6 points clear at the top of the table. This is, of course, Chelsea’s record since Conte changed to a 3-4-3 formation. These results are impressive regardless, however, they become even more impressive when the quality of the opponents are taken into account. On this stellar run the Londoners have beaten, Leicester, Man Utd, Spurs, Everton, Southampton and Man City amongst other tough challenges. Formations are, of course, merely a starting point; this piece seeks to analyse the finer details of Conte’s system and why it has been so successful.
After a disappointing end to the season, the future looks bright for Manchester City with the introduction of Josep Guardiola as manager. Following great success in Spain and Germany, Pep now looks to try his hand in the Premier League in what is an eagerly anticipated tenure. The ex-Bayern coach has already had some impact on his side, with the astute signing of Ilkay Gündogan adding much needed playmaking to the 8 position whilst their work on the training ground has already begun to show.
The final day of the 2014-15 season saw Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side get thrashed 6-1 by a mediocre Stoke team. After challenging for the title in the previous season, the transfer of Luis Suarez and poor health of Daniel Sturridge created big issues and performance dropped off a cliff. Whilst Rodgers was previously able to rely on his talented personnel, he struggled to implement a consistent strategy from this point onwards. He was granted the start of the 2015-16 season to rectify the issues, but was unable to do so. He was sacked after a 1-1 draw with Everton in October. A few days later, Jurgen Klopp was hired.
After promotion to the Serie A in the summer of 2014, Maurizio Sarri’s side were considered one of the favourites for relegation straight back into the second division. However, through a fighting spirit and pure grit intelligent football and a particularly strong attacking game they were able to comfortably retain their top-flight status quite comfortably. The odds were further against their favour after a disastrous off-season in which they lost multiple key players and worst of all, the manager who was central to their success in the first place. Whilst Sarri would go on to instil a stark turnaround in playing style at Napoli, Empoli found their replacement in Serie C1’s with Cremonese’s Marco Giampaolo.
Massimiliano Allegri’s appointment in 2014 was expected to signal the downfall of Juventus. Allegri, however, has silenced the critics quickly.