Analysis: Pochettino’s Tottenham and the counterpress

Following an indifferent first season at Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino’s team have clicked into gear. A number of astute transfer decisions have created a deep squad with a number of potential options for Pochettino to utilise. Harry Kane has emerged as a genuine superstar, and Eric Dier has become a full-time defensive midfielder. But one of the key factors in their rise is Pochettino’s tactical system; this ruthless machine of a Spurs team is entirely different from the soft-centred teams of years past.

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The changing game of Philippe Coutinho

Alongside Daniel Sturridge, Coutinho’s signing in the January window of 2012/13 invigorated a previously stagnant Liverpool attack. He continued to blossom and played a pivotal role in Liverpool’s assault on the top of the table in 2013/14.

But despite signing as a tricky playmaker, Coutinho has now morphed into a shot monster. He is well in front of any Premier League player in long-range shots, and also ranks 1st in Europe’s top five leagues for 2015/16.


Basic Coutinho stats and their progression during his Liverpool career

Most of Coutinho’s basic stats exhibit a steady trend. That in itself is important to recognise, but more so is understanding why he’s grown in that way.

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Match Analysis: Stoke 2 – 0 Manchester City

Manchester City took on Stoke in a windy afternoon at the Britannia Stadium in what was a prime opportunity to move away from the pack in the race for the title. Stoke’s status as the Premier League’s archetypal tricky away game has perhaps been lessened with the move from Pulis-ball to a slicker passing style of play, but they remain a difficult matchup for every team in the league. Despite Tony Pulis operating in survival mode throughout his time at Stoke, Mark Hughes has truly consolidated Stoke’s position as one of the premium mid-table clubs in the Premier League.

Both teams operated with their standard 4-2-3-1 formations, with Stoke clearly outperforming City and grabbing a deserved 2-0 win. There were a number of issues that Pellegrini’s team suffered that combined to make this a pretty comfortable day for Stoke.
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Tactical Analysis: Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich

Arsenal overcame Bayern Munich in a match few expected them to win. In a calculated tactical display, Arsene Wenger’s team sat deep and used impressive counter-attacks to cause Guardiola’s team a number of problems.

There cannot be any doubts about the quality of Arsenal’s general co-ordination in the attacking organisation phase. But these are not skills that would be needed often against Bayern; this would be a completely new challenge. When Arsene Wenger’s team have been presented with these challenges previously, they have generally faltered. He has been accused of naivety, but his approach to the game against Bayern proved that Wenger is capable of altering his tactical approach should the situation demand.

Bayern’s main threat, much like Arsenal, comes in the attacking organisation phase. And as a result, Arsenal would spend much of the game without possession. Their approach to dealing with this changed throughout the game.

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Tactical Analysis: Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool vs. Tottenham

Jurgen Klopp’s arrival in England was met with much fanfare, with supporters eager to see whether his Liverpool team would play at a higher intensity than the one Brendan Rodgers finished with. Initial reports suggested Liverpool would operate with a 4-2-3-1, but the roles of James Milner & Emre Can created an interesting shape with & without the ball.

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Match Analysis: Manchester City vs. Chelsea

The second round of Premier League fixtures saw the two top teams from 2014/15 face off, as Chelsea visited Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. Jose Mourinho played down the importance of the match prior to the weekend, but the game would provide an interesting analysis opportunity for gauging the capabilities of both teams for the new season.

Manchester City dominated the first half, and Chelsea were unable to control the game. Generally, Mourinho teams are able to control the game without the ball by forcing the opposition away from dangerous areas. But this time Chelsea’s midfield had several issues that created more problems elsewhere.
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Scout Report: Memphis Depay

Welcome to the second 13steps’ Scout Report. Much like the first piece on Christian Benteke, we’re always looking for feedback & constructive criticism. If you have an opinion on the piece, then leave a comment below or let us know on Twitter.

The focus for this report is Dutch wonderkid Memphis Depay. Emerging on the scene in 2011, he was immediately a hit. Starting as a tricky dribbler who was a handful to deal with on the counter, he has blossomed into a genuine goalscoring threat. On the left of PSV’s 4-3-3 in 2014-15, Depay was vital in engineering their first league title since 2008.
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Scout Report: Christian Benteke

This is the first 13steps scouting report, for new Liverpool signing Christian Benteke. Over the course of the Summer, we will look to create more of these for other new signings. If there are any players you would particularly like to see, then you can make a request on our Twitter account. We will also introduce a few new concepts that will be a consistent theme throughout the reports.

There has been much debate over the suitability of Christian Benteke for Liverpool’s style of play. Therefore much of this report will be detailed towards his ability to fit into Brendan Rodgers’ team.

Benteke moved to Aston Villa in 2012, for a fee of around £7 million. It has since been suggested that Liverpool had first refusal on Genk players at the time, meaning that they must have refused to match Villa’s offer. They went for £10 million Fabio Borini instead.

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Champions League Final Tactical Analysis: Barcelona vs. Juventus

Both Barcelona and Juventus used expected starting lineups for the Champions League final. Once Giorgio Chiellini was ruled out through injury, Bonucci and Barzagli were the natural pairing. This ruled out the possibility of the back three for Juventus, but given the difficulties Guardiola’s back three faced in the semi-final, this always seemed an unlikely option.

The game unfolded in three segments. Barcelona were on top for the majority, but Juventus had a twenty-minute spell after half-time where they were the more threatening team.

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West Ham vs. Crystal Palace: In defense of zonal marking

Saturday saw Sam Allardyce’s West Ham continue a dismal run of form, having won only once in the league in 2015. Alan Pardew’s rejuvenated Crystal Palace secured a comfortable 3-1 away win, with all of their goals coming from set pieces.

Surprisingly (or not), there was no outrage at the man marking system West Ham used. All of the media focus was on the defenders who were responsible for losing their men; Carl Jenkinson, Winston Reid, and James Tomkins. But each goal showed a specific aspect of play that could’ve been avoided with a zonal marking system.

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