I'm going to approach this post from a different angle to the the
last one-recognising our strengths andbuilding a coherent tactical
formation around them rather than moulding our team to what we want
to do. Sort of making the tactics do what the team wants to do
rather than making the team do what the tactics want them to do.
First of all, I'm going to list our (tactically relevant) strengths
which basically excludes changes to defence because I always want
a 4-man defence. So as I see it our strengths are; an excellent
DM in Zokora, a strong set of wingers in Navas and Co., three
very good strikers and to a slightly lesser extent, 3 solid pretty
good attacking midfielders. I say to a lesser extent because Renato
and Romaric aren't the same standard as the others I've listed
and Cigarini is largely unproven.
So with our strengths addressed I'll move on to the first of two
formations I'm going to discuss; the 4-1-3-2 or 4-1-2-1, which I'm
going to refer to by as 4-1-3-2 to make things simpler. The
formations are slightly different but in the fluid movement which
we hope Alvarez is working on they would become very similar, so
I'll lump them together. In a 4-1-3-2 we put Zokora on his own at
the back to hold things together defensively which I think he
could manage. The '3' would be made up of the same people as in
the 4-2-3-1 (Navas-Renato or Cigarini-Perotti or Capel). Then pick
two strikers to be our frontmen.
A major difference between the 4-1-3-2 and the 4-2-3-1 is that
because there are two strikers in the 4-1-3-2 the wingers should
look to remain on the wings and not drift inward looking to play
off the main striker and be more defensively aware-something which
could prove a bit of a negative for our wingers, especially
considering their performance yesterday. The big change in how we
attack this formation compared with a 4-4-2 is that instead of
playing with two central midfielders with two wingers playing ahead
of them who they will always want to pass the ball to you now have
Zokora with an option to pass it to a more offensive central
midfielder who can look to distribute down the middle to the
strikers orplay it out wide to the wings.
A potential problem with 4-1-3-2 is the amount of pressure on
Zokora to defend and distribute. To combatthis we must take a
man from elsewhere in the field-a striker, in which case we end
up with the highlypopular 4-2-3-1 or we can take the attacking
midfielder and replace him with another DM, creating a4-2-2-2.
Although similar to a 4-4-2 it is more accentuated and is similar
to a more defensive 4-2-4. Itmay seem a bit of a strange idea but
it has been successful at other clubs occasionally. If we playwith
the wingers paying more attention to controlling the midfield (which
they would need to, without aCigarini it could be a stable formation
for us, provided we place importance on using Navas and Other to
link the DMs with the attack and make sure that the DMs take their
defensive duties seriously. Before Ifinish with the 4-2-2-2 I would
like to point out that rather than being an all out attacking
variant ofthe 4-2-4 this is more a variant of the 4-4-2 but one
which can give our wings a licence the roam in theattacking third.
Out of these two formations I think we are more likely to see the
4-1-3-2 in a fluid way, possibly withthe attacking midfielder
dropping back to behind the wingers to ease the pressure on Zokora.
The 4-2-2-2is an interesting idea but I can't see us just dispensing
with creative CMs and clubs who have used it areusually ones with a
surfeit of strikers (Madrid, for example) so a 4-1-3-2 seems the
more likely of thetwo although it is a little more unusual than the
4-2-3-1 which is quickly becoming very popular as afreer footballing
philosophy. Of course with one of these new formations we should
win 6-0 (there-i saidit Jeremy!)
Let me know your thoughts and feel free to disagree.