Making an all-world XI, explaining Almiron's renaissance, the duality of Darwin: It's Mailbag Time!

It's been a while, but we're back with another mailbag to wrap up 2022.

Want to feature in a future edition? Tweet at me (@rwohan) while that remains a possibility, or send an email over to ohanlonmailbag@gmail.com. As long as it's at least tangentially soccer related, it's fair game. Hell, the more tenuous the connection, the more likely I am to actually answer the question.

Hope you're all safe, well and enjoying the holidays. Let's get to it.

Hey Ryan, I got a book for Christmas called "Net Gains," about the analytics revolution in soccer. Have you read it? Seems right up your alley!

Never heard of it! Sounds fantastic, though. Wow, the author is really handsome, too. Looks like you can pick up a copy here ...

Big fan of the book, I'm on chapter 8 right now. As I'm reading the book, it has me thinking: if you could adopt a style of play and sign any active player in the world to play it -- what would your starting XI look like? P.S. There are no limits to who you could sign but the team needs to be cohesive and the players have to play in their natural position. No Paris Saint-Germain front lines and no Mohamed Salah at striker!

I've mentioned this quote from manager Rafa Benitez before, and I'm mentioning it again because I think it sums up the push-and-pull of tactics/strategy more succinctly than anything else I've heard. Benitez likens it all to a "short blanket ... if you cover your head, you have your feet cold, but if you cover your feet, you have your head cold". Good managers know where to put the blanket. Great managers know how to stretch it out -- and great players let you do the same.