Solidity and Balance

Solidity and Balance
November 16, 2009 Paul Tomkins

I’m not one for telling managers how to go about their jobs. I loathe ‘certain to succeed’ advice given by fans and pundits, as if anything is ever that simple.

I particularly dislike formation proposals, in particular the numerals 4-4-2.

While there may be some validity to the debate at times, it is also a fall-back for the logic-deprived, who think 4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1 is negative.

(Read Jonathan Wilson, author of the super Inverting The Pyramid: ‘formations are neutral’. It’s the personnel that make it attacking or defensive.)

It seems to me that 4-4-2 is a stock cliché to solve all problems, even though few top teams bother with it; even Chelsea’s version of 4-4-2, where Anelka drops deep and wide, isn’t that different from Liverpool’s when Gerrard does the same thing. The main point of difference is that Anelka is seen as a ‘striker’, whereas Gerrard is seen as a ‘midfielder’; grey areas are too confusing for some.