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The Athletic Football Tactics Podcast

Michael Cox is The Athletic's football tactics writer, Mark Carey is The Athletic's football analytics writer, and along with host Ali Maxwell they break down the tactical and technical details of football each week - looking at trends, systems, players, managers and all manner of statistics in order to give you a deeper look at the matches and moments that define football.

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The tactical evolution of Jurgen Klopp

The Athletic's Michael Cox and Ali Maxwell are joined by The Athletic's resident German football writer Raphael Honigstein for a look at the managerial career of Jurgen Klopp and how his tactics & philosophy have evolved from his days conquering the Bundesliga with Dortmund to his current outstanding Liverpool team.Zonal Marking is a podcast where 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  and receive 40% off by following this link:theathletic.com/zonalmarking Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

36mins

11 Dec 2019

Rank #1

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How did the 7-1 affect Brazilian football?

The Athletic's Michael Cox & Ali Maxwell are joined by The Athletic's Brazilian football writer Jack Lang to examine how the 7-1 humiliation at the hands of Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-final affected Brazilian football; breaking down the details of the match itself, how the nation coped with the aftermath, and how the team have rebuilt since. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

41mins

18 Dec 2019

Rank #2

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Harry Kane’s evolution and how Spurs cope without him

The Athletic's Michael Cox and Ali Maxwell are joined by our Spurs writer Charlie Eccleshare for an in-depth look at Harry Kane and how his game has changed in the years since his breakthrough in 2014, and we also assess the tactical options at Jose Mourinho's disposal after Kane's torn hamstring looks set to keep him out for a lengthy spell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

41mins

8 Jan 2020

Rank #3

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How Arteta has changed Arsenal

The Athletic's Michael Cox & Ali Maxwell analyse the key tactical features of Mikel Arteta's Arsenal so far during his first 10 games in charge - looking at the way he's used the players at his disposal, to what extent he's mirrored the approach of Pep Guardiola, and whether what we've seen so far could tell us much about what his team might look like next season. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

5 Feb 2020

Rank #4

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Assessing Frank Lampard's tactical nous

The Athletic's Michael Cox & Ali Maxwell are joined by our Chelsea writer Liam Twomey to analyse the tactical approach Frank Lampard has taken so far in his inaugural season as a Premier League manager, with a particular focus on how he has tackled the games against the other 'top 6 teams' Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

39mins

15 Jan 2020

Rank #5

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The Makelele Role

The Athletic's Michael Cox & Liam Twomey join Ali Maxwell to reflect upon the career of a player so good they named a position after him - Claude Makelele. Why was he so good at playing defensive midfield? Did he have more to his game than just getting it and giving it? And how has his legacy in that position affected those who've played it since? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

35mins

29 Jan 2020

Rank #6

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Rafa Benitez on why Colombia's Francisco Maturana is his hero

Rafa Benitez once cited the relatively little-known Colombian coach Francisco Maturana as one of his biggest influences, but who is he and what's his story? The Athletic's Michael Cox is joined by Rafa Benitez himself and Colombian football writer Carl Worswick to delve into Maturana's fascinating career. It's a story that takes in triumphs, tragedies, and many colorful characters from Colombia's footballing past along the way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

47mins

24 Dec 2019

Rank #7

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Can PSG & THE FANTASTIC 4 win the Champions League?

1. Why do they keep coming up short? - 3:30 2. Tuchel vs Emery - 11:303. Neymar and Les 4 Fantastiques! - 15:304. Cavani the outcast - 16:305. The importance of Idrissa Gueye - 23:40 6. The Dortmund threat - 28:30 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

34mins

12 Feb 2020

Rank #8

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How Ancelotti has transformed Everton

The Athletic's Michael Cox & Ali Maxwell are joined by our resident Everton expert Patrick Boyland to look at the tactical changes Carlo Ancelotti has made during his reign at Everton so far, how he has attempted to fix some of the problems he inherited from Marco Silva, while also casting their eye back on Carlo's long and storied career as a top level manager Sign up to The Athletic now for all of Michael Cox's tactical musings and get a 40% discount at theathletic.com/zonalmarking Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

48mins

4 Mar 2020

Rank #9

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Goalscoring goalkeepers

The Athletic's Michael Cox, Ali Maxwell and Jack Lang take a closer look at the goalkeepers who  made a career out of doing the business at the other end of the pitch. Not just popping up for the odd corner or accidentally knocking in a long goal-kick but those - and there are quite a few - who have genuinely played an attacking role for their teams.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

39mins

22 Jan 2020

Rank #10

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Why Liverpool's success is built on their defence

The Athletic's Michael Cox and Tom Worville join Ali Maxwell to examine why Liverpool's imperious defence has been the driving force behind their outstanding season and not necessarily their glittering front three, uncovering a number of surprising stats along the way Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

36mins

26 Mar 2020

Rank #11

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Away Goals DON'T Count Double!

Was Gary Lineker right when he famously announced that NO goal should be of greater value than another? It's the debate you never knew you felt so strongly about... Should 'Away Goals' be scrapped? Ali Maxwell & Michael Cox are joined by Omar Chaudhuri, Head of Football Intelligence at 21st Club, to present their arguments... Where did the law come from, is it fair, and what if two teams have the same home ground?? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

33mins

26 Feb 2020

Rank #12

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How Ajax have adjusted to life after De Ligt & De Jong

The Athletic's Michael Cox & Ali Maxwell are joined by Dutch football expert Priya Ramesh to look at how Ajax have adjusted to life after losing two of their star players last summer in Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, looking at their replacements, Ajax's fortunes in Europe, and the future of their much-admired coach Erik Ten Hag Sign up to The Athletic today for all of Michael's tactical insights... Get a 40% discount by visiting the athletic.com/zonalmarking Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

18 Mar 2020

Rank #13

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How has the new goal kick rule changed the game?

Does it really make sense to play out from the back or are you better off hoofing it down the field? The Athletic's new Football Analytics writer, Tom Worville, joins Michael Cox & Ali Maxwell to explore the impact of the latest changes to the goal-kick rule...The trio assess the risks and the rewards of shorter goal kicks, how the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and even Burnley have exploited it, plus, Michael's suggestions for even more rule changes! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

31mins

19 Feb 2020

Rank #14

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Why Atalanta are the most exciting team in Europe - with James Horncastle

The Athletic's Michael Cox & James Horncastle join Ali Maxwell to examine how and why Atalanta have become one of the most exciting teams in Europe over the last year or so, culminating with their recent Champions League victory over Valencia Sign up to The Athletic today for all of Michael's tactical insights... Get a 40% discount by visiting the athletic.com/zonalmarking Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

45mins

1 Apr 2020

Rank #15

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Sean Dyche's Burnley - It's a long 'PASS' not a long 'BALL'

Sign up to The Athletic today for all of Michael's tactical insights... Get a 40% discount by visiting the athletic.com/zonalmarking Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

11 Mar 2020

Rank #16

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What new tactics might we see from Pep Guardiola when football returns?

Earlier this week Michael Cox joined The Athletic's Manchester City podcast 'Why Always Us?' for a chat about his recent written piece where he proposed some potential tactical tweaks Pep Guardiola may choose to experiment with when football returns, and we thought regular Zonal Marking listeners would appreciate hearing Michael explain why he thinks Kevin De Bruyne would make a good right-back or why Pep could make Rodri into a number 10, so here it is. Enjoy! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

24mins

3 Apr 2020

Rank #17

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The Big Champions League & Europa League Preview

The Athletic's Raphael Honigstein, James Horncastle and Dermot Corrigan join Ali Maxwell for a comprehensive look ahead to the return of the Champions League - looking at every single game on the schedule and all the potential storylines that could emerge from this truncated single-leg knockout format. It promises to be a furious festival of elite football and we've got every angle covered.We also dive into the Europa League with teams like Manchester United, Wolves, Inter, https://dashboard.simplecast.com/shows/ba079c3d-1cf0-42ea-9801-64f6137198c0/episodes/theathletic.com/steilcastpodRoma, Sevilla, Getafe and Leverkusen all still in the mix there is plenty to look forward to in that competition too.Sign up to The Athletic now for Honigstein, Horncastle and Corrigan's unrivalled Champions League & Europa League coverage - head to theathletic.com/zonalmarking for a 30 day free trial Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

56mins

4 Aug 2020

Rank #18

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The tactics behind Manchester United's resurgence

The Athletic's Michael Cox & Laurie Whitwell join Ali Maxwell to look at Manchester United's recent transformation from a struggling mid-table outfit into the Premier League's form side with attacking options aplenty.They look at how Solskjaer has managed to fit Rashford, Martial, Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba into the same side, and how the individual roles they are all playing all knit together so wellElsewhere we study the re-emergence of Nemanja Matic as a crucial part of the team, plus the role of the full-backs, the Maguire-Lindelof axis at the back, the form of David De Gea and also how the rumoured pursuit of Jadon Sancho and a new striker could affect the squad next season.Subscribe to The Athletic for access to Michael Cox's insightful tactical pieces and Laurie Whitwell's unrivalled Manchester United coverage - head to theathletic.com/zonalmarking for a 30-day free trial Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

41mins

8 Jul 2020

Rank #19

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Assessing the best performers since the Premier League returned

The Athletic's Michael Cox joins Ali Maxwell to look at the first batch of Premier League games under Project Restart and pick out the teams & players who have best adapted to the unfamiliar conditions - with a particular focus on Tottenham, Man Utd, Brighton, Newcastle and Southampton.Elsewhere The Athletic's Crystal Palace writer Matt Woosnam drops in to give us the lowdown on how Roy Hodgson continues to inspire impressive performances from the Eagles, plus we look at the impact of the new five subs rule, the unexpected benefits of drinks breaks, and how the players have been affected by empty stadiums.Subscribe to The Athletic for access to all of Michael Cox's brilliant tactics coverage and get a 40% discount - just head to theathletic.com/zonalmarking Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

48mins

24 Jun 2020

Rank #20