The Athletic’s Michael Cox & Ali Maxwell break down the tactical & technical details of football past & present, focusing on a single subject each episode with the help of expert guests. Subscribe to The Athletic using the special promo code zonalmarking and receive 40% off! Also, subscribers will…
Host Ali Maxwell is joined by The Athletic's tactics writers Michael Cox and Ahmed Walid, to preview an intriguing clash of tactical styles as Arsenal and Spurs face off in the first North London Derby of the new Premier League season... The panel discuss Arsenal's progress since the arrival of players like Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko and why Conte might elect to start an attacking trio of Kane, Son and Richarlison, despite Kulusevski's impact. Plus, why set pieces have become a massive strength for both teams, how Xhaka's redemption story is going, Kane's suffering for club and country and much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ali Maxwell is joined by the Athletic's Italian football correspondent James Horncastle and our tactics writer (and Brighton fan) Liam Tharme for a deep dive into the Premier League's newest head coach Roberto De Zerbi. We look at De Zerbi's journey from the very bottom of Italian football in Serie D right up to his recent successes in Serie A with Sassuolo and his time at Shakhtar Donetsk. Known for a strong commitment to possession football, we assess which members of this Brighton team will most benefit from his arrival and how his particular style will fit into the Premier League. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
New York Times' Chief Soccer Correspondent Rory Smith joins host Ali Maxwell, The Athletic's Michael Cox & Mark Carey to reflect on football's data revolution... While its effect on recruitment has been undeniable, the group discuss if data has actually impacted matters on the pitch. High-defensive lines, VAR, tactical fouls, crossing, goal-kicks and more all under the microscope as the search for a key metric for winning football matches continues... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In this bonus podcast episode, one of England's Euro 2022 heroes, Keira Walsh, sits down with The Athletic's Michael Cox to analyse her own performance in the final... Keira talks with fascinating depth and insight about: Sarina Wiegman's tactical plans for Germany Her technique and early Barcelona influences Her relationship with teammates like Georgia Stanway, Leah Williamson & Alessia Russo The nuances of being a deep-lying playmaker and inspiring the next generation to play in midfield The emotions of that historic Wembley final & more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ali Maxwell is joined by The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey to delve into the data and attempt to uncover the modern European stars who most closely resemble some of the biggest footballing icons of the past... Is Harry Kane actually the most Messi-eque player besides Leo himself? What do Ruben Dias and Fabio Cannavaro have in common? And what position would Luis Figo actually play today? Plus: immediate reaction to Thomas Tuchel's sacking at Chelsea. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Host Ali Maxwell is joined by The Athletic's Brentford correspondent Jay Harris, as well as, Liam Tharme and Mark Carey to explore the relationship between 'distance covered' and winning football matches... Do the best teams, also run the most in the Premier League and is there better data to show 'hard work'. What is the Robert Huth Theory and why Paolo Maldini and Jamie Vardy might both have had something to say to TV pundits in the wake of Brentford 'out-running' Manchester United earlier this month! Plus, do centre-mids cover more ground than wing-backs, is the Premier League actually the most physically demanding in Europe and how have those demands changed over the last decade or so? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
After 3 Premier League games, just 5 sides currently have 2 points or less... Host Ali Maxwell is joined by The Athletic's tactics and analytics writers - Michael Cox, Mark Carey and Liam Tharme - to explain the various mistakes a team can make at the start of a new Premier League season... Has Liverpool's high-line been exposed one too many times and why Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez can't play next to each other. Wolves are finally shooting-on-site but should they actually shoot less, why Everton are crying out for new signings and why both Leicester and West Ham are victims of their own success. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Host Ali Maxwell is joined by The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey to explore some of the interesting quirks they've noticed so far in this new Premier League season... The pros/cons of being able to make five substitutes, three-at-the-back formations winning out across the top flight and the consequences of referees 'letting the game flow more' this year. Plus, how the Haaland v Nunez debate is shaping up after just two weeks, if the deepening crisis at Old Trafford is showing any signs of letting up, Brighton's most unlikely wing-backs and if a free-kick is suitable punishment for tactical fouling? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Athletic's giant tactical minds, Michael Cox and John Muller, join host Ali Maxwell to carefully deconstruct their work on how we might redefine modern player roles and why Burnley's relegation last season signals the end of the long-ball in the Premier League... The panel reflect on the long-ball's 'glory years' and debate whether it will ever make a return to the Premier League in the future? Then, John reveals how he developed 18 new player roles, using data to better understand what role box crasher Phil Foden, Progressor Joao Cancel or Unlocker Mason Mount really play in their respective teams. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Host Ali Maxwell is joined by The Athletic's Mark Carey and pod-debutant - newly appointed tactics writer - Liam Tharme, to put all three newly promoted sides under the microscope ahead of a new Premier League season... How will Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic follow up his record-breaking 43-goal season in the top flight and fill the void left by Fabio Carvalho? Can Scott Parker's Bournemouth afford to shift to a back-three without defensive reinforcements, plus, Billing 'the unicorn' and Lloyd Kelly for England (too soon?) And despite not being promoted automatically, is Forest's style actually the most conducive to starving off relegation in their first season back in the big time? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey, join host Ali Maxwell, to dissect two captivating semi-finals and assess the German threat to England's chances of lifting the European Championship trophy... Who's been the player of the tournament regardless of what happens in Sunday's finale, what are Germany's strengths besides Alexandra Popp, how should we reflect on France's tournament and why Michael has totally given up any hope of Alessia Russo starting the match. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell, to preview the semi-finals, with England facing their toughest opponents to date - Sweden and their set pieces. How exactly did Sarina Wiegman turn the tide against Spain and could Michael's player of the tournament so far - Kosovare Asllani - cause big problems for Millie Bright and the English defence on Tuesday night... Plus, the panel discuss why the current xG model may not be fit for Women's football, why Belgium have paid the price for not investing in the women's game, why Arsenal's Stina Blackstenius is due a goal, how the French lifted their QF Euros curse and more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to preview England's Women's Euros Quarter-Final against Spain... How best to get the ball to Lauren Hemp, why Alessia Russo should start over Ellen White and if England's defence will receive its first proper test? Plus, a review of some of the standout performers of the tournament so far, how Germany have impressed, why Norway fell short, if Miedema can shock an unconvincing French defence and if you can pick a 'dark horse' this deep into the competition! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell, to reflect on England's amazing 8-0 hammering of previously fancied Norway, looking at the stand-out performance of hat-trick hero Beth Mead but also heaping praise on the likes of Lauren Hemp, Ellen White and Keira Walsh Plus, the panel look at the rest of the tournament so far with an eye on whether France's performance in thrashing Italy 5-1 still keeps them as the team to beat, and there's analysis of Holland's 1-1 draw with Sweden
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell, to reflect on England's nervy win on opening night at Old Trafford... Millie Bright's passing range and a selection headache for head coach Sarina Wiegman... Plus, the panel assess England's major threats; whether Group B can actually be described as a 'Group of Death', if Sweden will finally get over the line in a major tournament, if Spain can adapt to missing Alexia Putellas & Jenni Hermoso, Marie-Antoinette Katoto's unbelievable numbers and Viv Miedema's legend.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to preview an all-star Champions League final as Liverpool prepare to face Real Madrid on Saturday... What can Klopp learn from Real's performances in Europe this season, how might they adjust tactically in Thiago's absence, and what has a thrilling, but ultimately draining, Premier League title race done for their chances? Plus, why Ancelotti could deploy Camavinga from the start, Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Vinicius Jr and a mind-blowing statistic about Spanish teams in European finals.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to explore the shortlist for this season's Premier League Manager of the Season... How the award should be judged, who else deserved a nomination and should we be able to use underlying metrics to make a better case for some of them. Is Thomas Frank the best pound-for-pound boss (literally ££), should Eddie Howe even be eligible and has David Moyes become a victim of his recent success? Plus, whether or not it's still too soon to judge Vieira at Palace, if Klopp's incredible cup runs count, does a 'new manager bounce' actually exist and what the numbers can tell us about Antonio Conte and Mikel Arteta's respective progress.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to preview the FA Cup final between Tuchel's Chelsea and Klopp's Liverpool. Our panel explore the key tactical battles, possible team selection and analyse two unorthodox number 9's, in Sadio Mane and Kai Havertz, who will be expected to lead the line for their respective clubs on Saturday... Plus, why Tuchel has failed to find 'balance' in the final third, why Salah has struggled against Rudiger in previous meetings and why Chelsea will have paid close attention to the way Conte's Spurs frustrated Liverpool last weekend.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to take a closer look at Carlo Ancelotti's managerial career, after he became the first manager to win all five big European league titles... Sounds great... but should he have won more? The panel explore the common tactical themes of his title-winning teams, why Michael thought his fourth title would be his last, how he is perceived by supporters and big players and ultimately, whether he should have won a lot more! Plus, an all-time Carlo XI to die for.
All goals are worth the same, or are they? The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to try and work out whether it's possible to accurately measure the true value of a goal, and try to find out which players score the most valuable goals. Taking our lead from Mark's recent piece on the subject, we delve into the data to look at the likes of Didier Drogba, Christian Benteke, Richarlison and Christian Eriksen as we attempt to work out why certain players appear more capable of delivering in the big moments than other more renowned goalscorers.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to explore the recent tactical battles between Liverpool and Manchester City and the questions both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp will face, if both sides reach this season's Champions League Final... Why Zack Steffen's FA Cup semi-final-freeze was predictable, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joao Cancelo's impact in the 2-2 draw at the Etihad. Plus, Jesus over Mahrez, Keita or Henderson and whether it's too soon to write this off as the greatest rivalry in English football history?
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to explore what Manchester United fans can expect, should Erik ten Hag become their next permanent manager... The panel analyse the tactical system employed by Ajax in the Champions League and why he wouldn't necessarily be able to just copy and paste at Old Trafford. Plus, wingers doubling up on the same flank, left-footed vacancies in the current squad, whether they will finally sign a defensive midfielder and what his arrival could mean for likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to explore the art of (and the data behind) Free-Kicks... The best and worst FK takers in Premier League history, the cult-heroes, the myths and why the 'knuckle-ball' isn't as good as the 'whip n' dip'. Why James Ward-Prowse is an even better free-kick taker than you already thought, whether or not you actually need a wall, plus, Watford's unwanted record and the ambidextrous exploits of Salernitana's Simone Verdi.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and John Muller join host Ali Maxwell to assess Xavi's impact at Barcelona, since returning as Head Coach... But was the club's 'crisis' slightly overplayed and how do Xavi's team differ to the ones he played in? Plus, the trio celebrate Pique's long-passing, Busquets longevity and the shift in the physical profile of their newest signings.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell, to run the numbers of Gareth Southgate's latest England squad... Will Southgate alter his formation to accommodate the wealth of attacking talent? Mings over Tomori, justifying the omissions of Sancho and Rashford, plus, who starts in goal in Qatar? Our trio shine a light on England ahead of this year's Winter World Cup.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to explore the hype around Brighton boss Graham Potter, which has led to the widespread belief that a 'Big 6' Premier League team, a Champions League club abroad or even the England National Team job are on the horizon... The trio assess the notorious xG underperformance, the bold response to going behind in games, the admiration from the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, as well as, why not all Brighton fans are quite so enamoured by him.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to assess Mikel Arteta's Arsenal - just over two years on from his arrival... Does the club now have an established tactical identity, in which key areas have they dramatically improved and what's next - irrespective of whether or not they finish inside the Top 4 this season. Plus, how Odegaard has helped unlock their attacking potential, being less reliant on Kieran Tierney's relentless crossing, how to replace Lacazette and if Ben White should go to the World Cup?
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to discuss how shooting has evolved in the Premier League thanks to the rise in analytics over the last decade... Have we properly addressed the shared 'nostalgia bias' associated with long-range wonder goals, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes and more... Then in part two, building on the recent revelations made by The Athletic's Dan Sheldon over Southampton's 'manufactured' stoppages; How important is the rhythm of a Premier League match and how might some minor rule tweaks better impact the game.
The Athletic's Michael Cox (tactics) and Mark Carey (data) join host Ali Maxwell to re-open their Premier League notebooks to discuss the sudden outbreak of a genuine title race after Conte's Spurs shocked the Champions last weekend... But will Liverpool's attack or Manchester City's defence ultimately prevail? Have West Ham officially run out of steam and are Arsenal the favourites for the last Champion's League spot? Plus, why Everton, Crystal Palace and Brentford should be looking nervously towards the relegation places.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to explore 'transitions' in football... How are they distinct from counter-attacks, how 'brave' it is to press high, as well as whether or not typically good counter-attacking sides like Liverpool and Leeds are still defined by this style? Plus, which Premier League teams are both the best and the worst in transition and which style is best=suited to Rangnick's Manchester United.
A bonus chance to hear what happened when The Athletic's Michael Cox, joined The Athletic Women's Football Podcast, to discuss a fascinating title race in the WSL this season, as well as, why he thinks the league might benefit from a 'mid-season split'. Our weekly tactics podcast will be available from Thursday morning.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell, to talk Premier League centre-backs... How to properly 'rate' them, both in and out of possession, playing in different tactical systems, within teams which are more dominant than others and within their respective centre-back partnerships too.
The Athletic's tactics and data analytics writers Michael Cox and Mark Carey, join host Ali Maxwell, to explore the rise and fall of three-man defences in the Premier League in recent years... Plus, the trio discuss their colleague John Muller's article, which encourages us to start giving the pass-receivers some long-overdue credit. How the league's best created 'receiving value' over the course of the 2020/21 Premier League season, what Liverpool's front-three stats can tell us about Trent Alexander-Arnold's passing and how advanced analytics at a Belgian University can help us to better understand a target man's true value.
The Athletic's tactics writer Michael Cox and Spurs correspondent Charlie Eccleshare, join host Ali Maxwell to reflect on Antonio Conte's start to life as Tottenham head coach... The trio reflect on his own personal 'tactical timeline' and explore comparisons between his Chelsea side and the team he is currently building in North London, with reference to the recent trilogy of defeats at the hands of his former employers. Plus, as the January transfer window draws to a close - why outcasts Ndombele, Alli, Rodon and others have failed to impress their new manager.
The Athletic's Mark Carey and Michael Cox join host Ali Maxwell to debate the results of this week's FIFPro World Xi... Have Ronaldo and Messi outstayed their welcome or do the statistics support their continued selection? Do trophies skew the numbers and do footballers watch enough actual football? Plus, Alex Ibaceta (from the Box To Box WSL podcast) joins us to help correct an even more eyebrow-raising Women's Xi - as Champion's League winners and Olympic gold medalists were overlooked.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell to explore a recent trend, affecting goal-scorers in the Premier League... The trio reflect on how their role has changed over the last two decades and put the current crop of leading men under to spotlight, to see how their collective goal output has been affected and why.
Are Man City simply playing against themselves now, did Lukaku have a point about Tuchel's system and why are Arsenal better in Aubameyang's absence? The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey once again open their notebooks and re-join host Ali Maxwell, following a busy period of festive football, to assess the state of play in key areas of the Premier League table in 2022... Is the title race already over, will Burnley's relegation record count for anything this season and has Ralf Rangnick actually improved Manchester United at all?
The Athletic's tactics writer Michael Cox and data analytics writer Mark Carey join host Ali Maxwell for a festive dissection of the 'Christmas Tree' Formation... They trace it's roots from Crystal Palace in the 1970's, Ancelotti's fabled 80's Milan teams, through to Terry Venables 90's England and all the way to modern day Aston Villa and new manager Steven Gerrard. The trio debate its strengths and weakness, and even pick their own 'Xmas Tree PL XI' - one player per club rule!
The Athletic's newest signing and data analytics writer, John Muller, makes his podcast debut alongside Michael Cox and host Ali Maxwell, to discuss the growing trend of UNDER-lapping full-backs... The trio explore what it means to underlap both laterally and diagonally, who the real pioneers of this tactical evolution are and why more and more coaches are setting up their teams in this way.
The Athletic's Michael Cox and Mark Carey, join host Ali Maxwell to discuss what incoming manager Ralf Rangnick's Manchester United may look like from a tactical perspective... The trio assess what they can learn from his old Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig sides and reflect on the nuanced differences between pressing and Rangnick's notorious 'gegenpressing' ideals. Plus, why the age profile of the current Manchester United squad adds another layer of interest to Ralf's appointment and which players might be the biggest winners and losers of his reign at Old Trafford... cough, Donny van de Beek, cough.
The Athletic's Michael Cox, Mark Carey and host Ali Maxwell are joined by German football expert Raphael Honigstein as their European tour extends to Germany... Rafa guides the trio through Bayern's latest anti-vaxx headache and how Jude Bellingham is carrying an entire Borussia Dortmund midfield at just 18 years old! Plus, more on RB Leipzig's identity crisis, why Freiburg are the 'neutrals darlings' and why Union Berlin manager Urs Fischer and Sean Dyche need to grab a pint/stein together sometime.