Author: Matt Lichtenstadter

Why Tottenham’s away form against big clubs continues to be poor

Under Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs have improved dramatically in so many ways, though there is still one area of performance that still feels like the old Spurs — performances away from home against the teams around them in the table. The performance at Anfield brought back nasty reminders of the flaws Tottenham still has, and how far they have to go if they really are going to be consistent title challengers. After multiple knockout performances against big clubs at home, many thought Spurs could finally translate that form away from White Hart Lane. But in 2016-17, that elusive away form has ... Read more

How Spurs will cope without the injured Harry Kane for the next 2 months

Last season, Tottenham Hotspur had pretty much the best injury luck they could have hoped for. They lost very few players for extended periods with injury, the most long-term being Jan Vertonghen’s absence in early 2016 and he was replaced by an incredibly able Kevin Wimmer. Most of the concern for Spurs swirled around what would happen if Harry Kane was injured and missed some extended time, but thankfully for Mauricio Pochettino and company, they never had to find out. Now though, they’re going to. Kane is expected to miss the next 6-8 weeks of action, and could be ready ... Read more

How USA’s new squad players can help the USMNT advance tactically

On paper, a trip for the US National Team to St. Vincent doesn’t look to be all that difficult. But the last time the US was in this position, on the road at a Caribbean minnow, they needed a stoppage time winner in Antigua to save their World Cup Qualifying campaign. Today, life was much easier, and a few players have seized their opportunities to impress Jurgen Klinsmann while they had what seemed to be a rare chance. Most everyone will focus on the second half after Christian Pulisic and Sasha Kljestan were introduced, and there’s reason for incredible excitement ... Read more

What Tottenham’s Moussa Sissoko signing says about the club, manager and player

Some will call Moussa Sissoko’s last second deadline day transfer to Spurs a Daniel Levy special. Some will question whether it makes sense to spend that kind of money on a temperamental midfielder who always seemed to have his best games against Tottenham. Some will question whether Sissoko fits into Mauricio Pochettino’s younger and very motivated team. All of those are valid questions to ask about what seems to be the most intriguing deadline day signing of them all. With transfer guru Paul Mitchell heading out the Spurs Lodge exit door (despite the signing of Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, a player he ... Read more

Don’t expect this Premier League season to be as crazy as the last one

One of the common narratives for the new Premier League season has been how wide-open the new campaign might be. There are plenty of strong teams, plenty of new managers; an influx of even more cash, meaning what usually is a fairly crazy league might be even more unpredictable. But after Leicester City won the title, can the league get any crazier? Because when one looks closer at this new season, what many of us expect could well happen and “normal service,” so to speak, could resume. Most projections have either Manchester City or Manchester United winning the title, and ... Read more

Pending Tottenham departures of Paul Mitchell and staff a cause for concern

Even when it seems all is sunshine and roses with Tottenham Hotspur, there is always a fly in the ointment. Paul Mitchell, who was recruited to join Spurs from Southampton along with his former and now current colleague Mauricio Pochettino, is leaving the club at some point in the near future, as is the player ID scout Rob McKenzie who Spurs poached from Leicester. At the same time, newspaper reports that Tottenham is trying to block Mitchell from leaving. Is the pending departure of Mitchell and McKenzie a cause for concern, or is the worry mostly due to the timing ... Read more

What Portugal’s Euro 2016 victory means for the near-term future of soccer

Dark memories of that brutal night in Lisbon 12 years ago have haunted Portuguese soccer ever since. The dying embers of their golden generation sparked one last charge in 2006, but since then Ronaldo’s Portugal hasn’t been able to find the guile and the drive outside of their run four years ago. In these Euros, it certainly looked like that story would have a new chapter written in it during the group stage. But as Iceland, Wales, Northern Ireland and even Italy proved, organization and a tactical identity can beat back talented teams with a lack of direction, and maybe it ... Read more

How brilliant managers and tactical systems have been the story of Euro 2016

Tactics and systems matter. This really isn’t shocking or that groundbreaking in terms of soccer analysis, but if there’s any trend that has emerged from this summer in both the United States and France, it’s that talent can only take a team so far. While this hasn’t been elaborated on all that much with regards to the Copa America Centenario, tactics, systems and charismatic managers have laid the groundwork for what turned out to be a relatively unsurprising result. Peru and Venezuela in many normal tournaments would not have advanced, and on talent alone they were third in their respective ... Read more