World Football: 4 Tactical Trends to Watch for in 2013
2012 was a wonderful year as far as tactical analysis in world football was concerned.
With increased technology and analytical techniques, football managers have never been so well-equipped to see what's really happening and address problems.
What tactical trends will managers pick up on in 2013? Read on for more details.
Three at the Back
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Watch a game in Serie A, and you can't get away from it. Chance upon the odd English Premier League manager, and it's there as well.
The three-man defence is on its way back to the big time after several successful uses in Europe's top leagues.
Juventus, under Antonio Conte, have lost just two league games out of their last 56 using their trusted 3-5-2, while Andrea Stramaccioni, Paul Lambert, Vincenzo Montella and more have tried it out with positive results.
Expect more managers to copy.
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At the top level, it's no longer enough to be skilled in just one or two facets of the game.
Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes are masters of their own games, but they're being trumped in the opinion polls by players who can do a bit of everything.
What's the difference between someone like Fernandinho or Victor Wanyama and Carrick or Scholes? The vertical ability to shuttle forward and force matters if necessary.
Chelsea thought that they had Shakhtar Donetsk wrapped up in a net, but Fernandinho raced forward and forced matters for the Hirnyky.
Is it any coincidence that players like Kevin Strootman are being heavily linked to Manchester United? He's a No. 6 who would thrive as a No. 10.
Talk about versatility.
Out of Position
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There are many who carry the mantra that a player should never be played out of position.
Modern managers laugh at that suggestion.
Kwadwo Asamoah, Javier Mascherano, Gael Clichy and Esteban Cambiasso have all been used out of position this season, and it's not a trend that has pinned itself solely on the elite clubs.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert used Chris Herd at centre-back during November and December, while Roberto Martinez slotted James McCarthy into a Daniele De Rossi-esque defensive role for Wigan Athletic due to an injury crisis.
With players becoming more and more well-rounded, the opportunity to switch positions is becoming ever clearer. David Luiz could set a precedent of his own.
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Football goes through phases, and right now, we're riding the crest of a goal-ridden wave.
The amount of goals per season is steadily increasing, and managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Tito Vilanova have been leading the charge.
When you look at the amount of clean sheets recorded now, it's negligible. As far as football fans are concerned, this is a good decade to be watching the game.
Italy has seen two extremes with regard to football logic, going from Helenio Herrera's catenaccio to Arrigo Sacchi's exquisite Milanese methods. Just short of 10 years ago, the 4-5-1 reigned supreme. Now, we're moving in the other direction.