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Formation Dancing

May 27th, 2010 by · No Comments · Armchair Fan, Features, Football

In the last few days I’ve been assaulted by ‘expert’ opinion on the tactical approach that England will use in the World Cup. I’ve read quotes from Capello saying his favorite formation is 4-4-2 but that he’s romantically attached to 3-5-1 which he used to great effect with Roma. Four Four Two magazine says his default is 4-2-3-1. The Guardian quotes Capello as insisting ‘the usual system is 4-3-1-2’ but suggests the team have lately ‘practised 3-5-2’. As the yoof would ‘say’ WTF!

The set-up against Mexico was 4-4-2 and didn’t look convincing. It also doesn’t explain why he has made such efforts to retain Barry in the squad when that system would have no space for him.

He likes Milner and starts him whenever he can. That means Gerrard plays inside him on the left [He tried it the other way around in the first half on Monday but swapped as it was a disaster]. Lampard plays to Gerrard’s right, and then a wide right midfielder [Walcott, Lennon, even Joe Cole]. So, no place for Barry as a central midfielder.

Whats going on?

My theory….and it’s a good theory… is he’s playing mind games with the opposition. My ‘detailed’ research shows that USA, Algeria and Slovenia favour a standard 4-4-2. Serbia, the most likely second round opponents, also favour 4-4-2. Capello would be smart to use a much more flexible, dynamic, system to gain an advantage.

In possession 4-3-3

My advise to him is to include Barry in a 4-3-3 system when in possession. This gives huge attacking flexibility with Milner [or Cole] and Walcott [or Lennon] playing on the touchlines and stretching the play. This allows Gerrard and Lampard to attack via the left and right ‘channels’ respectively. Barry sits and covers while England go kamakazi.

When out of possession the team reverts to 4-1-4-1 with Barry covering the defense, Rooney pressing up front and four across midfield to protect the defense and regain possession when appropriate. About the only sensible thing Graham Taylor said in the week was that England need to learn that its OK for the opposition to have the ball for a while if it isn’t hurting you. The better teams rest when they don’t have the ball and save themselves for critical periods.

Not in possession 4-1-4-1

So, I can personally guarantee that this approach will take us to the Quarter Finals where we will probably meet France. They are in a bit of a mess lately and under-strength – beatable. Next up would be Holland – tactically cute, strong, fast and talented – not beatable.

Out in the semis. That’s a moral victory if ever I saw one. Can’t wait.

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