Tactical Analysis 2014
I came across some good articles about tactical trends in 2014 on the guardian that I thought were worth sharing. I also hoped ZonalMarking would have had their usual articles, though it seems the writer is still on a break. Anyway, here's the links on the Guardian:



While the first article is very much commenting on the widespread use of the 3 man defence, it was really the second article that got me interested. Essentially, while it's discussing Tiki Taka, the core of the article is discussing how effective pressing can be adapted to play the game in various ways, with differing results that can often be devastating.

There was a very good comment made about this aspect of the game in the article I posted about the transfer market on the mercato thread (http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog...han-wilson ). The fourth paragraph explains very well how a good pressing game can be key in gaining the advantage over an opponent.

Would be interested in hearing anyone's thoughts on the topic.
I think first and foremost coaches should be flexible and not pre-decide a formation for the team they start to manage. van Gaal deserves credit for not being stubborn. May be at United after he buys his own players he will be more so but still.
The idea of two up front has always appealed to me, it often means opposing CDs are in more danger closer to their goals, it was becoming rare and Liverpool stood out with Suarez and Sturridge.
Giving away possession can not be a permanent tactic, because if your opposition is good enough they can hurt you more often than your successful counter attacks can hurt them.
I agree reza, at first before a manager has the players they need to play their game, they need to show some flexibility to develop with what they have. I'm all for them applying some of their ideas initially, but they need investment and support before they can fully realise their game. I think that's evident in the examples in the transfer market article I linked to, with Ferguson, Clough and Chapman needing time before success. Mourinho, who is usually demanding in the transfer market, always says his teams are best in their second season.

I think your point on giving away possession is also very clear in European competitions. It's often said that in Europe a lot of teams struggle to cope because what works in the league doesn't work at European level. Manchester City are probably the team most criticised in this way over the years, though I think many would argue Juve too.
For me, Guardiola is probably the most exciting coach that I have seen ever since he took over at Barcelona. Not every one agrees with this but I have more respect for coaches who aim to dictate the play and play proactively rather than play reactive football. I agree that there isn't only one way to play football, but it's harder IMO to break an opponent down rather than wait and react to whatever they do. In any case, Guardiola is always reinventing and innovating (sometimes to a fault) and *always* aims to play proactive football, being the one in control. It makes for more interesting football to me.

As for zonalmarking, see this notice: "The site will return at some point with a different focus – fewer post-match analysis pieces, and more sporadic posts looking at long-term tactical trends, focusing on players, managers and teams – that kind of thing – which seems more popular."
Siamo a posto cosi.
I agree with you that I prefer proactive football, though I admit I admire coaches like Mourinho, who are reactive, but achieve great results (both points and on the pitch). Guardiola isn't for me the most exciting coach, that still rests for me with Sacchi, who's approach to the sport changed my perspective on the game forever when I was younger. The fact that his ideas are still considered rather fresh or new today really says the impact he had.

On Guardiola though, I'm not his biggest fan, but it's hard not to admire his impact in football. His ideas about the game changed the landscape and his in depth knowledge of the technical aspects of the sport are at times incredible. I don't think Pep's ideas are revolutionary in the sport mind, I think his ideas have been put into practice in the past, just rarely with such precision.

Speaking of coaches, Pep and Mourinho are often considered two of the modern great coaches in football, but I feel it's often at the expense of many other excellent coaches. Notably, I think Ancelotti's often under appreciated in the press because he's not considered to be an artist like Pep, nor does he have the extrovert personality of Mourinho. However, for a coach to continually get teams to play quality football, at the biggest clubs, under difficult management and usually with rather imbalanced squads, Ancelotti's achievements in football are outstanding. Imo he's right up there with the best, but his pragmatic and almost mundane nature mean he's not valued like Pep or Mourinho.
Well I was just being born when Sacchi coached our Milan team so I'd be lying if I said I saw anything much of that team besides a couple videos of the odd match here or there. I think it's hard to fault Pep for not being revolutionary because for a sport this old, I think it would be hard to find any coach who does something that has not been done before.

Carlo is a great coach but I think what affects his legacy is that he doesn't do anything particularly different to make him stand out. His trophy cabinet is excellent and he has a proven track record. However when you coach the teams with basically the largest transfer budgets in each league ( PSG Chelsea Madrid Milan) and you even though you win a lot, you didn't do anything particularly different from other teams to make your team stand out, that will reduce his value in the eyes of many. Also, he's not controversial either on or off the pitch so it's a bit easier to forget about him lol. Pep plays a very distinct style of football while Mourinho is very outspoken so those two will automatically get more recognition.
Siamo a posto cosi.
I was very young when I saw Sacchi's side, so what drew me to that side was how unique and attractive it was to watch that side, without really understanding the technical workings of Sacchi's methods. It was later, when I was a little older that I went back to watch the side that I understood the tactical game and how that made for the cohesive attacking game that hooked me as a child.

On Pep, I don't want to come off as dismissive of his achievements, I do really respect what he's done in football and think tactically he's had the biggest impact on the game in a long time.

Your point on Carlo is what I was trying to say. He's not got anything to stand out in the press, but it's a shame, because it means a man who is of the very highest quality at his job isn't recognised as he should be imo.
Never was I a fan of Carlo till he left Milan, but witnessing what he did and is doing is just amazing. I think Pep is someone who by far plays the most beautiful style of football, JM is a machine as his team will get the 3 pts, while Carlo is a manager who truly adapt to the players he has instead of his style.

I think it is unfair to say that Carlo got the biggest budget to play around with, 1. both Pep and Jose got huge budgets too. 2. Carlo's team might have huge budget but how often did he gets the players he wanted?

Gabriel is there a reason you weren't a fan of Carlo while he was at Milan?

Going back to the original topic, few bullet points on some noticeable tactical trends last year. Note, not all of these are innovations from last year, but have become more prominent and common in the game.

1) Most teams want a goalkeeper who can play with their feet, a bit like Neuer, though rarely as extreme.
2) As pioneered by Guardiola's Barca, most teams now set up to have their CBs pull wide and deep on goalkicks to build the play from the back.
3) As of direct consequence of point 2, teams often now have their attackers press the defenders who drop deep on goalkicks to force the keeper to kick out.
4) If a team plays a 4 man defence and 3 man midfield, it's almost inevitble the central midfielder will drop back between the CBs when building play from the back.
5) At the highest level, inverted wingers are probably more common than traditional wingers, as the role of the winger has changed to be one of an attacker.
6) The role of a CF is no longer solely focused on scoring as in the past, but rather opening spaces for players deeper moving forward.
7) As of direct consequence of point 6, goalscoring midfielders are much more common. This isn't a new innovation, Lampard for example made his career out of it, but it was more common in the past year than I ever remember.