Roberto de Zerbi’s team show us one of the most interesting positional play approaches recently. The concept of positional play became very popular these days, still a lot of coaches and teams misinterpret it and just throwing the concept around without a deeper understanding. Although, Sassuolo is a good example for the opposite.
When it comes to attacking set-pieces, Sergio Ramos is probably the best player in the world right now -along with Cristiano Ronaldo. Over the years he saved Real Madrid a lot of times with his goals from set-pieces – his most famously is definitely the 95th minute goal against Atletico Madrid back in the 2014 Champions League Final. So, we decided to take a deeper look into it in a video analysis (video link at the end of the article).
Just by looking at the numbers, we can see that Atalanta is 3rd (70) in goals scored – after PSG (75) and Bayern (73)- amongst the top 5 league teams, and 1st in shots per game, leading with 20,1 attempts -just for comparison, Barcelona have 12,7 (scored 63), Dortmund have 13,8 (scored 68), Juventus have 17,5 (scored 50), and the closest is Manchester City with 19,4 (scored 68). As these numbers looks very intriguing, this analysis will focus on their strategy in possession (link can be found at the end of the article).
Such as set-pieces generally, throw-in strategies are often neglected, even though some simple guidelines could easily help to utilize them better. A great example for that is Liverpool, who even hired a throw-in coach, Thomas Gronnemark, in order to increase their effectiveness in this part of the game. Since Liverpool has a very high success rate (around 70% or maybe even more) in maintaining possession after a throw-in (just to put that into context, usually the average is around 50% at best). This article focuses on the main principles, movements that Liverpool use during throw-ins.
To turn their season around, Favre decided to switch to a 3-4-3 system, causing huge issues for the opponent’s to adjust (last 5 games: 4 wins, 1 draw). As a reaction, Leipzig started in a modified 4-3-1-2 system, forming a 4-3-3 in defending. Dortmund dominated the 1st half, thanks to exploiting some of the weaknesses of the RBL defensive scheme, which forced Nagelsmann to switch to a 4-4-2 shape in the 35th minute (this analysis only focuses on these 35th mins).
After a chaotic 1st half, Liverpool finally managed to beat Salzburg, thanks to Klopp’s half-time adjustments, to balance the game’s dynamics.
Set-pieces are both under- and overrated in several ways. Some coaches & teams tend to overvalue them, focusing on them too much, whilst there are probably significantly more cases, where they don’t even work on this aspect of the game with their teams. Although there are more interests, articles towards the set-pieces, that show the increasing importance and complexity of a well-executed routine and strategy.
After the last years’ Spanish domination in the European Cup Finals, English football finally took over for this season, with 4 teams representing in this season’s 2 Cup finals. If you followed the development of the english football lately, the shift was quite predicted and inevitable. Both teams have an important thing in common: conscious building in every aspect of the game throughout the last years, mixed with patience, allowing the 2 head coaches to improve their game model -5 years for Pochettino, 4 and half for Klopp.
In the last games of the season, Leverkusen used an interesting approach in their positional play, creating a 3-2-2-3 (midfield-box) staggering from the initial 4-2-3-1 shape, which basically changed the whole dynamics of their positional play.
According to several statistics (expected goals against – xGA, shots allowed, passes allowed per defensive action – PPDA) Eibar is on the top of the rankings in the La Liga. Therefore I decided to take a look into their defensive organization, analyzing their main principles and movements in their main 4-4-2 system (in high-press/mid-block/deep-block, plus their 4-1-4-1 system), whilst also highlighting their main weaknesses.