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Category: Football tactics

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Manchester City flirt with defensive dark side as Death Star’s flaws emerge | Jonathan Wilson

When Pep Guardiola or Darth Vader’s awesome destructive creations go wrong it tends to be for the same reasonsThere are many issues with Return of the Jedi, not the least significant of which is the fact that it ends in essentially the same way that A …

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Manchester City flirt with defensive dark side as Death Star’s flaws emerge | Jonathan Wilson

When Pep Guardiola or Darth Vader’s awesome destructive creations go wrong it tends to be for the same reasonsThere are many issues with Return of the Jedi, not the least significant of which is the fact that it ends in essentially the same way that A …

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Marcus Rashford the biggest victim of Manchester United fall from grace | Jonathan Wilson

United’s lack of an overarching plan is now clear for all to see, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær not entirely free from blameWhere does this rank in the litany of dreadful Manchester United performances? Not quite as bad, perhaps, as the equivalent game of t…

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Ditching Ole Gunnar Solskjær will not stop the rot at Manchester United | Jonathan Wilson

By now the malaise at Old Trafford has deep roots – only equally deep systemic change can put it rightAll in all, it’s been an excellent week for Manchester United. There was progress in the Carabao Cup and the announcement of record revenues of £627.1…

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Is Arsenal’s strategy of playing out from the back too great a risk? | Jonathan Wilson

Sokratis Papastathopoulos’s blunder against Watford is part of a recent trend that will have many sides questioning whether the adoption of this high-risk strategy is worth itL ast Sunday, when the Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos attempted t…

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Is Arsenal’s strategy of playing out from the back too great a risk? | Jonathan Wilson

Sokratis Papastathopoulos’s blunder against Watford is part of a recent trend that will have many sides questioning whether the adoption of this high-risk strategy is worth itL ast Sunday, when the Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos attempted t…

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Kane, Rashford and Sterling ensure England are ominously short of drama | Jonathan Wilson

England’s forwards proved decisive against Bulgaria and underlined their potential in Euro 2020 qualifyingIt wasn’t thrilling. It wasn’t much of a spectacle. There must be broader concerns about the diminution of the Euro qualifiers as a spectacle sinc…

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Shift from power to possession allows Chris Wilder to set centre-backs free | Jonathan Wilson

Sheffield United’s innovative tactics are derived from the influence of Pep Guardiola and changes in the lawsL ast Saturday, Rochdale scored a brilliant goal against Southend, working the ball from front to back in 16 rapid passes. As is the way of thi…

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Pep Guardiola’s quest for control at Manchester City undermined by VAR

Football’s occasional ability to provide a wrinkle frustrates Guardiola’s dreams of order despite a dominant performanceFootball remains a magnificently capricious sport. You can crush its competitiveness with a self-perpetuating structure that leads t…

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Shortcomings of Lampard the manager echo those of Lampard the player | Jonathan Wilson

The midfield problems at the root of Frank Lampard’s early defeats as Chelsea manager will have been familiar to anyone who followed the ups and downs of his playing careerC enturies from now, when the world is a wasteland and football exists only in t…

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BT’s season predictor shows data leaves football bedevilled by details | Jonathan Wilson

Using AI to script the coming season is novel but data should not be viewed as a deeper magic underpinning the universeOn the morning of 1 April 2000, the Test Match Special commentator and Manchester United fan Dan Norcross woke up next to the West Ha…

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England teams across sports finally value rewards that come with risk | Andrew Anthony

Gareth Southgate has led a revolution that has produced better results and entertainment while England’s cricketers have also benefited from a more aggressive attitudeAmong the myriad skills that are employed in different sports one that is shared by a…

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Champions League final battle on flanks will underline importance of full-backs | Jonathan Wilson

Liverpool and Spurs rely on the role to wreak havoc in attack and Saturday’s game will show how the position has evolvedIt is quarter of a century since Jack Charlton observed after the 1994 World Cup that full-back had become tactically the most impor…

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Premier League 2018-19 review: what we learned tactically from the season | Jonathan Wilson

For the elite clubs press-and-possess remains the dominant mode and the league’s less wealthy simply cannot competeOnce upon a time, not so very long ago, football was a game in which two teams battled for the ball and, when they had it, tried to score…

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Klopp took a risk with his tactics at Barcelona – and Messi made him pay | Jonathan Wilson

Attacking Barcelona is not wrong given it can unsettle them but it leaves teams exposed and Liverpool found that can be fatalContemplating his side’s Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City last season, Jürgen Klopp said that to sit back…

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Klopp took a risk with his tactics at Barcelona – and Messi made him pay | Jonathan Wilson

Attacking Barcelona is not wrong given it can unsettle them but it leaves teams exposed and Liverpool found that can be fatalContemplating his side’s Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City last season, Jürgen Klopp said that to sit back…

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Sarri needs to compromise or risk Chelsea suffering at Manchester City | Jonathan Wilson

Manager likes to play his way regardless but Chelsea’s win over Guardiola’s side in December was not down to his masterplanSometimes things in football just happen. The most extraordinary victories can be achieved by teams whose tactical schemes have s…

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Sarri needs to compromise or risk Chelsea suffering at Manchester City | Jonathan Wilson

Manager likes to play his way regardless but Chelsea’s win over Guardiola’s side in December was not down to his masterplanSometimes things in football just happen. The most extraordinary victories can be achieved by teams whose tactical schemes have s…

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False nine: ancient tactical curveball still retains the power to shock | Jonathan Wilson

It is 125 years since the first false nine and its history since is fascinating as much for its failure to become a dominant tactic as for its many successful applicationsAt times it feels in football there is nothing new, merely the reinvocation of ol…

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Solskjær’s approach shows players are not sets of data, but humans | Jonathan Wilson

The Norwegian’s man-management at Manchester United has been top class – but the game against Tottenham will show whether he has the tactical nous to beat the bestNobody realistically doubts that Manchester United’s game against Tottenham on Sunday rep…