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 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.
They are leading the Premier League by a margin of seven points and seem to be the hottest thing in English football right now. This is the Spielverlagerung analysis of Leicester City…
On Sunday the 31st of May 2015 Napoli lost 4-2 at home to Lazio in their final game of the 2014-15 Serie A season. The result finally ended Napoli’s slim chances of qualifying for the Champions League in the next season as they finished 5th. To make matters worse (so it seemed) head coach Rafa Benitez was set to leave and take over at Real Madrid, and with Lazio’s emergence under Pioli, Napoli fans could be forgiven for feeling pessimistic. It was an all too familiar feeling of uncertainty for the Napoli faithful only two seasons after Mazzarri left for Inter after guiding them to their highest finish since their Scudetto winning campaign of 1989-90.
Whilst Bayern Munich lead a 2-team group ahead of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga, Hertha Berlin have quietly been making strong performances and find themselves in 3rd place, holding a 4-point advantage over 4th-placed Schalke. The side from the capital have developed a strong team despite finishing 15th last year – just one place above the relegation play-off position. Throughout this season however, we have seen a significant turnaround in performance under coach Pál Dárdai. In this article, I’ll be aiming to take a closer look at what has seen them hold such a strong position in the table.
Pressing, Gegenpressing, total football … those are all terms usually associated with the Dutch national team from 1974 or, recently, with Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona and Bayern Munich. But, during history, there have been other divisive figures who contributed to modern football. Valeriy Lobanovskyi has long gone underappreciated but he put his mark on the sport, and his USSR team gave a strong contribution to the game.