• How short centre-backs have a big influence - 2023 Advent Calendar Series

    Football has a rich history of undersized centerbacks. One of the poster boys is the Englishman, Bobby Moore, who stood at 182 cm tall. The legendary, two-time Ballon d’Or winning German, Franz Beckenbauer, was 180 cm tall, and fellow Ballon d’Or winner Fabio Cannavaro also stood at just 175 cm tall.

    Defending against flighted balls and tussling with target men are not new concepts. They’ve been around the game for generations, if not from the start. While the game has evolved, football’s rich history not only points to several great, undersized centerbacks, but also shows us the best centerbacks in the history of the game are considered short.

    This tactical analysis goes out to the centerbacks who stand at 186 cm or shorter. We’ll show how top undersized centerbacks in the modern game use their size intelligently, consistently gaining an edge on the opponent.

  • Timeless lessons in defending from Paolo Maldini - 2023 Advent Calendar Series

    Few players can boast the longevity to have matched up against both Maradona and Cristiano Ronaldo. In fact, only one player comes to mind.

    His name is Paolo Maldini.

    Though he played in a different era, Il Capitano’s brilliance on the pitch leaves us with timeless lessons in defending

    This tactical analysis is part retro scouting report, part tactical theory. We’re going to dive into the core principles that made Maldini the defender he was, highlighting those characteristics for a contemporary audience. By the end, the goal is to have concrete ideas to take with us to the training ground, either as a coach or a player.

  • Identifying the best moments to engage opponents - 2023 Advent Calendar Series

    The game’s best pressing teams have an orchestral quality to them.

    Each movement is heavily synchronized and rhythmic. These sides often alternate between low-tempo structural movements and high-intensity chasing. These teams collectively identify the best moments to engage the opposition and showcase hypnotic teamwork to execute the defensive phase.

    This analysis identifies the tactics that makes these sides so special.