Inverting the pyramid: the history of football tactics

The evolution of football formations and tactics is examined in Inverting the pyramid. The book starts with the first formation of 2-3-5 and how this has progressed over the years to new formations. For much of history, most teams have played the same formation or a variation of the formation. As well as formations, tactics are also looked at as managers have looked to get the best out of the players they have at their disposal. In most cases, the initial success of a new formation and tactic has brought some early success before other teams have copied it.

Wilson argues that new tactics and formations brought success as others were not aware of them. With the amount of football available to watch and all the video analysis that there is, it becomes more difficult for revolutionary new tactics to be introduced and certainly not as a surprise to opponents. How will the game develop further? That is the unknown question.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review: Soccernomics

Soccernomics looks to explain events in football and dispel popular myths. Club and international football is looked at. As well as trying to explain events, it touches on how other sports use data and how football is slow in comparison to use statistics available. Whilst the book may be slow to influence professional football clubs, it has had an impact on how I play Football Manager and has helped me raise the number of goals I score from corners.

A fascinating insight into how data can be used in football to explain events that happen.

Ratings (out of 5): *****

Book review: Far from the massive crowds

Far from the massive crowds has Mark Cowan following his football team for a year. As the title suggests, they are not a club that everyone may be able to name. His team are Guisborough Town Football Club. They are in the STL Northern League Division 2, but are looking to get promoted. How will the season pan out though?

Cowan details each match he goes to, providing an overview of the towns he visits for away matches. There is a brief summary of the match, with key moments detailed and an overall assessment of how the game was. What is clear throughout the book is the love of the game at this level, both on the pitch and among those who watch and cheer their team on.

Is there a happy ending? Do Guisborough get promoted? I’m afraid I won’t give away the ending to an enjoyable book.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Who will win the EFL Cup?

Dilly Ding Dilly Gone

Leicester City sacked Claudio Ranieri – was it the right decision? Vote below:

Falcao or Aguero

Manchester City won the first leg of their Champions League tie against Monaco 5-3, but who scored the best goal: Falcao or Aguero?

48 teams at the World Cup

FIFA have announced that from 2026, the number of teams at the World Cup will be increased from 32 to 48. There will be 16 groups of 3, with the top 2 qualifying for the knockout stages. FIFA have said that the move is to be more inclusive. I have no objections to FIFA looking to make the game more inclusive, but I don’t think that expanding the number of countries will help promote football. I think that more countries being at the tournament will result in some mis-matches. The World Cup should be for the best countries in the world, but it will be more difficult to claim this as more and more countries compete at the finals. Also, groups of 3 will mean that the two countries who play each other last in the group stage will know what they need to do, which has led to problems in the past with certain results being played for.

Please vote in the polls above and leave a comment and let me know your thoughts about FIFA’s announcement.