How has Tuchel utilised Chelsea’s squad differently to Lampard?

Whenever a manager is replaced partway through a season, personnel and tactical changes typically follow as the new coach wants to put their stamp on the squad. Chelsea are no different in this respect. After sacking Frank Lampard in January, new manager Thomas Tuchel has certainly made changes to the team by converting from twoContinue reading “How has Tuchel utilised Chelsea’s squad differently to Lampard?”

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What effect has Jota’s arrival had on Liverpool’s forward rotation?

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino as a forward three were central to Liverpool’s European and domestic success over the past two seasons. However, the Reds lacked viable options to rotate their principal forwards to keep them fresh and prevent burn out, leaving them vulnerable if one of the three picked up a seriousContinue reading “What effect has Jota’s arrival had on Liverpool’s forward rotation?”

Guardiola had a ready-made rotation philosophy for this pandemic-hit season

We need the whole squad, every player of the team, if we are to be successful. Pep Guardiola Pep Guardiola is considered one of the best managers in football. During his time at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City, he has won countless trophies, from his teams’ domestic leagues and cup competitions to the covetedContinue reading “Guardiola had a ready-made rotation philosophy for this pandemic-hit season”

Who had the worse “injury-hit” Premier League season: Manchester City or Liverpool?

This is the third blog in a three-part series examining Liverpool’s injuries this season. The first investigated the direct impact of injuries on Liverpool’s squad; the second analysed the repercussions for Liverpool’s attack; and the third is a comparative piece looking into whether Liverpool’s injuries are (not as bad as / equal to / worseContinue reading “Who had the worse “injury-hit” Premier League season: Manchester City or Liverpool?”

What has happened to Liverpool’s attack?

One reason to explain Liverpool’s significant drop-off in points this season is the lack of goals scored by Jurgen Klopp’s side. During the first 27 matches of the 2019-20 Premier League season, the Reds found the net 64 times. This year, they have managed it on just 47 occasions – a decrease of 26.6%. YouContinue reading “What has happened to Liverpool’s attack?”

Are injuries really to blame for Liverpool’s drop-off in points this season?

With 33 fewer points than they had after 25 league matches last season, it is an undisputable fact that Liverpool has experienced a significant drop-off in form in the Premier League this year. One reason often used to explain this disparity is the impact of injuries on the Liverpool squad. The Reds lost talisman VirgilContinue reading “Are injuries really to blame for Liverpool’s drop-off in points this season?”

Constrained by commercial interests, the UEFA knockout rounds have become a bit of a nightmare

Holding a continental competition in the middle of a global pandemic was always going to be difficult. Yet, with eight matches already moved to neutral venues for the first knockout rounds of both the Champions League and Europa League – and more expected to come in the coming weeks – UEFA’s solution has only servedContinue reading “Constrained by commercial interests, the UEFA knockout rounds have become a bit of a nightmare”

VAR referees are intervening less in games, but is this still problematic?

In January, I wrote a piece highlighting the significant increase in the average number of penalties awarded during the 2020-21 Premier League season. If we continued at the current pace (0.40 penalties per game), we were on track to see 152 penalties given across the full 380-game season, representing a 66.7% on the last seasonContinue reading “VAR referees are intervening less in games, but is this still problematic?”

Have we cheapened the penalty kick?

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of penalties awarded in the Premier League this season. Many journalists and analysts have raised the issue, arguing that a combination of the revisions to the handball law and the introduction of VAR have caused this spike. While I agree that they have contributed to theContinue reading “Have we cheapened the penalty kick?”

Four-Point Plan to Improve VAR and the Officiating Process in Football

“Minimum interference – maximum benefit”. That is the philosophy underpinning the Video Assistant Referee’s (VAR) application in football, with its pioneers hoping that while “it will not achieve 100% accuracy, it will positively influence decision-making and lead to more correct, and fairer, judgements”. Yet VAR consistently dominates in-match and post-match discussion for the wrong reasons,Continue reading “Four-Point Plan to Improve VAR and the Officiating Process in Football”