After relegation in 15/16, Newcastle bounced straight back to the Premier League by winning the Championship in dramatic fashion last season. With Rafa Benitez opting to continue as manager and strong investment in the squad, many expected Newcastle to stroll through the Championship but in reality, it is simply not as easy as that – Newcastle are only the second team to go straight back up automatically in the last 7 seasons. You only need to look to Aston Villa and Norwich to see how difficult it can be to rebuild so they should be given credit for getting it right.
The role played by N’Golo Kante in winning back to back league titles for two different clubs has brought attention to the value of a midfield destroyer. This type of player is proactively looking to win the ball back for his team. He’s not happy to sit and wait, screening in front of the defence and hoping to make an interception (I’m looking at you Michael Carrick). The midfield destroyer is going after the ball and he’s going to get it back. He puts in a lot of tackles and sometimes makes interceptions. Then, when he has the ball, he plays a simple pass to a team mate and his team retain possession. There’s no point in winning the ball back just to give it away again.
The knock-out stage of the African Cup of Nations has arrived. For European clubs, the elimination of big teams such as Algeria and Ivory Coast is great news. The only negative so far is for Juventus, as a result of the injury to centre-mid Mario Lemina, one of Gabon’s main players. The group-stage has shown us what each team can do, and this article is going to preview today’s two fixtures; Burkina Faso v Tunisia & Senegal v Cameroon.
Goodison Park played host to an interesting tactical showdown between Ronald Koeman’s Everton and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in which Everton ran riot winning 4-0. The scoreline, however, was more to do with Guardiola’s set up rather than a complete performance from the Toffees. At the same time it was definitely Koeman’s best game in charge of the Merseyside club.
AC Milan under Carlo Ancelotti were a side to be marvelled at. The team went through a lot of tactical deviations due to Ancelotti’s eagerness to follow the upcoming trends of football. However, his unique approach payed off. During his tenure, he managed to win: