In my article posted the day before yesterday, I discussed why Real Madrid are excellent from set pieces. But can the set-up be broken with a few good plans? I certainly think so. It will require a lot of practice, and I’m not so sure anyone can stop Real Madrid from winning La Liga and possibly the Champions League this season, but it’s certainly worth a shot. Let me say at the outset that his article is inspired by Ted Knutson’s recent article on the same topic. Knutson and Thom Lawrence will be sharing their ideas with clubs through Statsbomb Services.
Three years ago, a team in Madrid scored 18 goals and conceded 6 from set pieces and beat Barcelona and Real Madrid to the Spanish La Liga title. While many small Premier League teams are famous for utilizing free-kicks, corners, and throw-ins, only Atlético Madrid have used set plays to win a title in a prestigious league. Diego Simeone’s team reached the final of the Champions League, too.
There is something about Brazil and great full-backs, isn’t there? Recent World Cup outings of Brazil often featured the greatest full-backs in the world, such as Carlos Alberto, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Maicon, and Dani Alves. They practically redefined the position, making it more attacking-oriented and creative. Even now, the full-back position is ruled by brilliant Brazilians. Marcelo, an aging Dani Alves, Danilo, and Alex Sandro are some well-known full-backs.
It’s holiday time. And manager sacking time. The period right before the January transfer window is when clubs in the bottom-half sack their managers. Although not too many clubs have fired their managers this season yet, Alan Pardew was given the pink slip on the 22nd of December by Crystal Palace.
This year, Leicester City decided to soldier on with the strategy they used last year that won them the title. They bought players from peripheral or lower leagues, which means I can’t say whether Islam Slimani, their most expensive signing this year, was any good. Incredibly annoying. Anyway, for the players I can evaluate, here are their stats.
After the triumph of last season, Leicester City find themselves sitting in a disappointing 14th spot in the Premier League after 11 games. So, what’s happened? How much worse are they performing compared to last season? How much of an effect has the loss of N’Golo Kanté had? Are the additional Champions League games proving a distraction? I’ll investigate these questions, looking at the numbers to try and find answers.
At the very end of the 2015-16 season, Roberto Martínez was fired from Everton and was replaced by former Southampton manager Ronald Koeman. Since taking charge, Koeman has been sensible and hasn’t spent too much in the transfer market; Everton ended the transfer window with a positive net spend of €1.4 million. However, some would argue that a positive net spend would have been all that Everton could afford, given they finished in the bottom half for two straight seasons. The fact that all the players Everton bought played in the Premier League last year shows Everton adopted a risk-free approach this summer.