The Need for an Advanced Defensive Midfielder

If Jonathan Wilson’s bible of football, Inverting the Pyramid, taught me anything, it is that football tactics are a matter of action and reaction. A constantly changing and ever-evolving realm of innovation and countering. When one method of play appears to have taken over the world, defeating all that come before it, a coach will discover the tactic that nullifies the seemingly perfect system.

Since Jose Mourinho tore up the rulebook on the stereotypical English 4-4-2 by employing Claude Makelele as a defensive midfielder, sat in front of his centre backs, it seems that no team can be without one. Whilst other Premier League teams had defensive players in their midfield, none were as single-minded and as specialised as Makelele. His sole purpose in the team was to sit, break up attacks, and play simple passes to those in front of him. His inclusion in the team gave the more creative and attacking players the freedom they needed, and was the catalyst for the shift from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3.

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Coping In The Dugout – Part Two

Welcome back, and welcome to part two. In part one we looked at the culture of a club, the treatment of its staff and the ambition and hunger of the manager. As was the case in part one, any quotes, unless otherwise noted, come from The 90-Minute Manager. The clock is ticking, let’s get back to the action.

FOCUS ON STRENGTHS
Unless you are at a very talented club, or have hundreds of millions of pounds in the transfer kitty, it is very unlikely that you will have world class talent covering every position on the pitch. The best managers are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their team and they set up the team to maximise the strengths and minimize its weakness.

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Why Liverpool Can Dare To Dream

The dust is only just settling at Anfield after the incredible 5-1 thrashing of Arsenal, but I imagine rumours are already being whispered around Liverpool of an end to the title drought. The victory today sent a very real message to the rest of the league and was a strong signal of intent from Brendan Rodgers’ side.

As a lifelong Liverpool fan I am undoubtedly biased towards the reds, but even an outsider can see that a Premier League title is within reach. The first twenty minutes today was scintillating. Quick pressing, high tempo, passing and moving, not letting the opposition settle, and in truth Liverpool could have scored two or three more than what they did. They were that good.

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