Every Saturday morning, subscribers to Blueprint for Football Extra, this site's free newsletter, receive an e-mail with the best coaching related articles we've come across during the week. These are the articles included in the e-mail sent on the 3rd of January. If you too want to receive the links straight in your in-box, all you have to do is subscribe to the newsletter.
Juego de Posición under Pep Guardiola
It would seem that no weekly digest can go by without mentioning Pep Guardiola. Believe me, this is not intentional. Yet such is his brilliance as a coach that barely a week goes by without people finding something else about his systems to analyse and it would be remiss not to point it out.
This one is particularly brilliant, looking at the positional play of his team’s and Guardiola’s ideas for them. If you’re going to read just one article from this list, make sure that it is this one.
"We Offer the Best Coaching, Best Staff and Best Way to Develop Players"
Brentford are doing really well in the Championship having gained promotion from League 1 last season. It isn’t just the first team, however, that is doing well as the whole club is being structured in a way to excel. Indeed they've set up an impressive youth system as Ose Aibangee, their Head of Youth, explained to me last January.
Tactical review of 2014: Part 1 and Part 2
It is my personally held belief that there are few better writers out there than Jonathan Wilson. His book Inverting the Pyramid is one of those that any coach should read in order to get an appreciation of the evolution of tactics (as is his under-appreciated book on goalkeepers The Outsider).
Every year, Wilson takes a look back at football tactics and this year’s – which is split into two part - is as always a highly insightful read.
Why Defending Wins Championships
Games with a high number of goals might be entertaining to those watching from a neutral perspective but they’re also symptomatic of a culture that prizes the entertainment value more than effectiveness. The reality, however, is that such big scores are the product of an era where defensive solidity isn’t appreciated, where even defenders have to be fanciful in order to be noticed. It is why this piece, whilst written a while back, should serve a reminder that without good defending, success is virtually impossible.