By Lee Jaundrell 3/10/11
Before I start rambling about football tactics, I would just like say that I am not really qualified to write about tactics, I am not Jonathan Wilson of the Guardian and author of various books nor am I Zonal Marking of ZonalMarking.net. In fact, the following analysis will most likely be a load of tosh not worth the paper err Internet thingy it’s written on. And now that I have lowered your expectations, I shall begin;-
4-4-2 used to be the default tactic of pretty much every team in England, nowadays the most common formation is 4-2-3-1, but are we heading back to the old fashioned 4-4-2? A number of Premier League sides have played 4-4-2 this season, from Man Utd at the top of the league to Bolton at the bottom.
Man Utd have obviously done well so far this season, playing Young & Nani either side of Anderson & Fletcher/Cleveley in a 4 man midfield with Rooney up front with either Hernandez or Wellbeck. Going forward it has been very successful but defensively they haven’t been as strong as recent years, although this could have something to do with Vidic being missing and Ferdinand coming to the end of his playing days.
Liverpool have varied their tactics and formation this season and last, but with Carroll and Suarez so expensively put together, it looks likely that 4-4-2 will be the future of this reds team. Liverpool’s form has been indifferent, so far, with a poor second half against (a 4-4-2) Wolves and also a shocking performance away to (a 4-4-2) Tottenham, but they are currently on target to finish in the top 4.
Also playing 4-4-2 is Tottenham who now they have Parker and Adebayor in their team have performed very well and look very likely to carry on this way having beaten their two main rivals (Arsenal and Liverpool) for a Champions League spot.
But Bolton, accepting their difficult start, have underperformed, and West Brom having played very well with a 5 man midfield and 1 up front under Hodgson (and Di Matteo) last season, have struggled this season with the addition of, the very good, Shane Long playing Hodgson’s two banks of 4 and 2 up top.
Will this be the norm as this season goes on? Man Utd have given up plenty of chances to the opposition, but have the players to change their tactics. Liverpool haven’t dominated games as they would of liked, and also have a strong squad this year with options to revert back to 4-2-3-1. Bolton and West Brom don’t have as many options to change things. Once the excellent Stuart Holden comes back from his injuries Bolton’s midfield is strengthened, while West Brom have tried Odemwingie wide in a midfield 5 away to Everton in the Carling Cup and probably played some of their best football so far this season.
It would appear that 4-4-2 isn’t dead just yet......