• The dark arts in the age of VAR - 2023 Advent Calendar Series

    “Is there any place for the dark arts in the age of VAR?”
    I was stunned by this question. Can you have football without gamesmanship? That’s like having hockey without a goon or basketball without the dribble/drive guard who gets 60% of his points from the free-throw line.

    In this tactical analysis, we’ll investigate the underhanded tactics at play in the age of VAR. Gamesmanship is not dead, but it has certainly evolved, mostly out of necessity. Our topics are tactical fouls and rotating fouls, discovering the “where” of yellow card offenses, finding our modern enforcer, and looking at the impact of simulation. Remember the full article will have much more detail, as well as a section on the usage of screens.

  • Resurrecting football's 2-3-5 pyramid - 2023 Advent Calendar Series

    If you have read Jonathan Wilson’s extraordinary book, “Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics”, you are well aware of football’s historic march from attack-focused formations and the general progression to pragmatism. As the book portrays, football tactics started with attack-minded systems, then became more defensive in the pursuit of results.

    In this tactical analysis, “Inverting the Pyramid” will serve as our guide to football’s earliest developments, then I will give an account of my research in the usage of outside-backs, a key cog in this project. In the end, this article will show how modern tacticians have resurrected and implemented the 2-3-5 pyramid formation.

  • Ideologues vs Tacticians: The battle for domestic and continental titles

    Are certain tactical styles more conducive to hoisting trophies?

    Put it in this perspective, Arsène Wenger won four league titles and 17 domestic cups, but he never won the Champions League. The Invincibles conquered England but bowed out of the Champions League in the quarterfinals.

    Do you remember which club won the Champions League in that 2003/04 campaign? None other than a Porto side coached by a young José Mourinho. In the Arsenal ideologue’s most famed season, it was one of the game’s preeminent tacticians who claimed the highest honor.

    Is there something the 2003/04 season is trying to tell us?

  • America's Pro Soccer Landscape Reimagined through an 8-Tier Utopian Lens

    American soccer players have a problem.

    A big problem.

    As of May 2023, we have 101 professional soccer clubs for 6,900,000 male soccer players. An American's chance of going pro in the USA is 131,578:1.

    Our landscape needs an update.

    With ChatGPT's help, I've created an 8-tier professional soccer pyramid for the USA.