Tactical Trends of 2012-13

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Simon Smith reflects on some of the tactical trends from last season…

The summer of speculation is fully underway as gossip, exclusives, breaking nonsense and rumours replace the reflections team of the year lists and player reviews. It can only mean one thing: enough time has passed for us to properly look at the last year from a few steps back and assess a season that wasn’t quite.

In entertainment terms that is. In tactical terms, quietly and under the radar, there were some big changes taking place. Perhaps the biggest season in four or five years in terms of the changes to playing style at the highest level, 2012-13 won’t be remembered as a classic but certainly will be remembered as the year tiki taka lost its sheen. The event of the season for the purist must surely be Bayern Munich’s demolition of the much heralded Barcelona in the Champion’s League, an outcome some had predicted but executed in so brutal and total a manner as to surprise world football in general.  The death of tiki taka was the talk of the internet, but it was clearly premature.  What we can say with more clarity is that the dominance of tiki taka is over, and even if nothing as coherent and successful has come along to replace it, the one system hegemony of the Xaviesta era is probably over now. Continue reading

Wesley Sneijder and the Problem of 10

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Following Wesley Sneijder’s move to Turkey, The False Nine’s Simon Smith looks at the multidimensional position of the ‘number 10’…

As Wesley Sneijder completes his move to Galatasaray, Internazionale – and perhaps world football in general – need to take stock and ask why a player once revered as a magician of his generation has been allowed to leave for a paltry fee rumoured to be as little as £8 million. Continue reading

What has Scottish football ever done for us?

 

Greg Johnson takes Scotland’s contributions to world football to task…

Last weekend the Scottish Premier League season finally got underway following a tumultuous summer north of the border. Today, the resuscitated remains of Glasgow Rangers FC will travel to Peterhead, beginning a new life in Third Division football.

Their enforced absence from the SPL gives clubs outside the Old Firm a chance to compete for glory, for the next three years at least. However, any such successes will, for many, come with the mental footnote that Glasgow’s duopoly has been shattered through developments off the pitch rather than on it. Some even believe that the triple relegation of the Light Blues could well spell the beginning of the end for professional football in Scotland. Ibrox managerial legend Walter Smith proclaimed, without bias of course, that Scottish football would soon slip to level of the The League of Ireland without the presence of Rangers in the top-flight. Continue reading