- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins - GB (13 June 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0008291160
- ISBN-13: 978-0008291167
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.9 x 22.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 640 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Zonal Marking: The Making of Modern European Football Hardcover – 13 Jun 2019
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Praise for Zonal Marking
‘A wonderful overview of tactical development in European football.’ Matthew Syed, The Times
‘A fascinating assessment of football in 2019.’ Observer
‘Cox, a tactics obsessive, largely ignores the soap opera of football to explain what actually happens on the field. In this book, speckled with well-told anecdotes, he traces the tactical development of the game over the last 30 years.’ Simon Kuper, Financial Times
’Revelatory stories, lucid tactics and wry anecdotes combine… The secret weapon of Cox’s readability is the use of telling quotes from those who actually play the game.’ When Saturday Comes
‘An entertaining and brilliantly researched look at football tactics.’ FourFourTwo
Praise for The Mixer
‘Thanks to his meticulous research and his focus on strategy, Mr Cox finds a fresh perspective on a story that football fans will think they already knew.’ The Economist
‘The Mixer, by Michael Cox is a very unusual football writer in that he specialises in the game as it’s actually played, rather than the gossip or folklore around it. The Mixer is a tactical history of the English Premier League, with telling anecdotes on every page. It’s deeply informed and a pleasure to read.’ Financial Times
‘Intelligently written. Impressively researched. Fascinatingly addictive. Michael Cox is like a cartographer, remapping the landscape of the Premier League so we see the contours of it afresh. That’s some feat.’ Duncan Hamilton, two-time winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In Zonal Marking Cox looks at how European tactics have changed over the past 30 years by focusing on one European country at a time. He starts with The Netherlands, then looks at Italy, France, Portugal, Spain and then Germany before a shorter look at how The Premier League now has managers from all these countries and now has a fusion of European styles.
The book had an excellent overview presented in The Totally Football podcast over the European League break in 2019. For anyone who thinks they might like the book this a good place to start.
The journey is highly enjoyable for any football fan. Cox starts by looking at Dutch football that he sees as dominant in the early 1990s and then goes onto Italian football and tight organisation and defence as key. From there the focus moves to French football with speed, Zidane and the 'water carrier' role of Didier Descamps. Then the rise of Portugese football and their use of wingers and Jose Mourinho. Spanish football is up next with Tiki-Taka, false nines, Messi and Pep Guardioloa. The last full chapter is on Germany, 'Gegenpressing' Jurgen Klopp and Bayern. Finally the melange of the modern Premier League is described.
The story is a bit too neat and there are some dubious assertions, describing Dutch football as ascendant in the early 1990s is quite a stretch. The mixing of tactics has also been going on for a long time. It's all also complicated because the strongest national and club teams are often strong because of particular players and managers rather than better tactics. The book also mentions quantitative analytics a bit but the rise of this sort of analysis further complicates the role tactics play.
Nonetheless, for any football fan the book really is a treat. The analysis of so many of the great great teams and changes of the past 30 years is really enjoyable. Many readers will no doubt find themselves looking back at highlights of the time.
The way the book also makes the point that national styles do fuse and change in reaction to other changes is also really well made. Football isn't a game where only one country matters and the cross pollination of ideas is genuinely fascinating.
All in all Zonal Marking is a really excellent football book and is highly recommended for anyone interested in football.
Michael has a very particular view of what the game can and should be and this can be either the book's greatest strength if you agree with him (as I do) or its greatest weakness if you come in expecting something else. It also perhaps reaches on occasion when trying to break a complicated subject into easily packaged 4 year chunks, but never enough to take me out of the narrative. Really very enjoyable and informative on the whole.