The return of the traditional 4-4-2?

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Post by Blue Barrett Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:31 am

For a couple of years now, most teams have drifted away from the 4-4-2 formation to focus more on possession based football in the middle of the park. 4-2-3-1 & 4-3-3 have been the dominant formations for some years now(mostly because of Barca's tiki taka dominance during Pep's years). Naturally, teams playing 4-4-2 against 4-2-3-1 have problems because of numbers in midfield and again, Barca's style contributed a lot to teams moving more towards possession based football.

PSG with Cavani & Ibra. Monaco with Falcao & Riviere. Athletico Madrid with Villa & Costa. Even David Moyes this season has played Rooney-RvP/Rooney-Welbeck together up top this season. Same with Pellegrini at City with Negredo-Dzeko/Aguero-Dzeko.

I think its really interesting to see this formation making a comeback of some sorts and it'll be interesting to see if it all so brings the return of the traditional DM(a.k.a Makelele/Gatuso/etc).


Last edited by Blue Barrett on Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Kick Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:36 am

I wouldn't completely agree, So far it's not working well with Either Manchester team and for PSG I know Cavani hasn't been used solely as a CF so I am not sure you can count them.

I still think it will be a while before it's back but I imagine it will make a comeback one day.
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Post by Art Morte Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:56 am

I wouldn't mind a 4-4-2 at Liverpool with Suarez and Sturridge up front, because both of them like to drop deep and drift wide to gather the ball and can run with it. If you put a 3rd attacking player up there it takes space away from these two who exploit space quite well.

It would also let us rotate Gerrard and Lucas with only one of them playing at a time with Henderson in the center. Gerrard & Lucas partnership hasn't worked this season with both of them playing way too deep. In Moses, Coutinho, Sterling and Ibe we have four viable options to play those wide midfield roles.

I've got nothing against the 4-4-2 when you've got the players who benefit from it and right now at Liverpool that could be the case with our performances with other formations so far unconvincing this season.
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Post by rwo power Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:56 am

Well, against Bayern on Wednesday, ManCity's 4-4-2 fell absolutely flat, so I guess one needs to be able to work with a plan B that doesn't look 4-4-2, too
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Post by ExtremistEnigma Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:10 am

PSG with Cavani & Ibra. Monaco with Falcao & Riviere. Athletico Madrid with Villa & Costa. Even David Moyes this season has played Rooney-RvP/Rooney-Welbeck together up top this season. Same with Pellegrini at City with Negredo-Dzeko/Aguero-Dzeko.
United have been playing with 4-4-2 since Ferguson took over.
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Post by Grooverider Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:36 am

it hasn't made a 'return' it has and will always be the foundation of any team that wishes to build for the future.

Many clubs have had huge success with this tactic, and the two Manchesters and Barcelona have used this to great effect during the domination years
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:38 am

Grooverider wrote:Many clubs have had huge success with this tactic, and the two Manchesters and Barcelona have used this to great effect during the domination years
When has Barca used a 4-4-2 in the past 5 years? Laughing
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Post by Blue Barrett Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:39 am

ExtremistEnigma wrote:
PSG with Cavani & Ibra. Monaco with Falcao & Riviere. Athletico Madrid with Villa & Costa. Even David Moyes this season has played Rooney-RvP/Rooney-Welbeck together up top this season. Same with Pellegrini at City with Negredo-Dzeko/Aguero-Dzeko.
United have been playing with 4-4-2 since Ferguson took over.
The past couple of years Fergie has played Rooney in a withdrawn role to help in midfield, not exactly as a striking partner up top. More like a 4-4-1-1.
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Post by Blue Barrett Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:41 am

Grooverider wrote:it hasn't made a 'return' it has and will always be the foundation of any team that wishes to build for the future.

Many clubs have had huge success with this tactic, and the two Manchesters and Barcelona have used this to great effect during the domination years
Barca haven't used 4-4-2 for as long as I can remember. Not even in the Ronaldinho years. And Mancini hardly played 4-4-2 at City.
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Post by Casciavit Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:52 am

Grooverider wrote:it hasn't made a 'return' it has and will always be the foundation of any team that wishes to build for the future.

Many clubs have had huge success with this tactic, and the two Manchesters and Barcelona have used this to great effect during the domination years
lol wat
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Post by The Franchise Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:33 pm

Its a cycle.

I mean, its not REALLY 442.

Always, at least one of the strikers split and do some heavy duty defending. When they dont, when they want to play really 442, they get smashed like City did against Bayern.

Atletico's "442" really doesnt seem like 442 at all. Koke is REAL narrow and plays closer to the middle than the sides. Almost lobsided. But when you have Diego Costa, you like that because you can narrow the field defensively and he will do so much running and ground work hassling the deepest midfielder. Then on top of it, when the ball is won he is sprinting into open channels wide or in the middle. He and Villa dont play like a front 2 for sure.

I aint seen much PSG so far, but Ibra is only a striker on paper. In reality, he is whatever the hell he wants.

I think its a cycle, people wanted midfield control a few years ago, so it got flooded with 3 man midfields. Now, people use their wingers more defensively, pulling them inside (the key to Atletico's system) and playing almost 4 in the middle and with the bonus of having another goalscorer in the team or "striker".

I think the next logical progression, which is already happening, is the teams that do a little bit of everything.

When its time to press high and a high block, like goalkicks, first 20 minutes of both halves, they do it. Because most teams still value the ball, even the lesser ones, you can still get behind, drop the line and play narrow if they beat your press. Atletico again have become this.

A different times in the game you will see different strategies from the same team. Alternating between high pressing and low block, possession and direct.

I have gone off topic a little but still.
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Post by Art Morte Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:57 pm

City got dominated by Bayern because of the difference in class, not so much because of the formation. City are right now leading Everton 2 - 1 with a 4-4-2 formation (although it's occasionally a 4-3-1-2 with Silva drifting in the middle).
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Post by RealGunner Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:57 pm

Traditional 4-4-2 is dead. The orthodox wingers aren't produced anymore. Not even in England. Strikers are becoming less important and there will always be a no 10 upfront with a striker rather than two strikers like in the past. The demand for a provider is increasing faster than ever.

With the way football is moving, it really won't make a come back for a long time.

I mean we play a version of 4-4-2 at times but it's nowhere near the tranditional 4-4-2. It's different in personnel and in structure. Same can be said about Atletico.
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Post by The Franchise Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:06 pm

Art Morte wrote:City got dominated by Bayern because of the difference in class, not so much because of the formation. City are right now leading Everton 2 - 1 with a 4-4-2 formation (although it's occasionally a 4-3-1-2 with Silva drifting in the middle).
Incorrect.

It was both, but the gap in the game was bigger than the true gap of quality because of that awful formation.

You cant play a team like Bayern with no pressure and playing 2 v 3 in midfield.

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Post by Adit Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:07 pm

Add Madrid to the teams that plays a 4-4-2. Benzema and Ronaldo stays up and dont have any defensive duty to cover the midfield...although i think Ancelotti will change this system to 4-3-3 soon since it hasnt been working properly in a midfield oriented La Liga.

Atletico plays a 4-4-1-1 though. David Villa plays deeper than Diego Costa while defending.

I think teams that plays 4-4-2 are looking to minimize the opposition's threat on the wings by adding two wingers who track back alot and in order to compensate the offensive department they uses a SS/ST rather than an attacking midfielder.
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Post by donttreadonred Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:43 pm

The thing with most of the modern 4-4-2's is that they're hard to define as a true 4-4-2. Look at city today. They've lined up up in what looks like the traditional set-up. However, in practice the players have very different roles. Silva is only nominally "on the left". In fact, he has drifted inside, to the right, over the river and through the woods, etc. Frankly, I think you'd be hard pressed to discern a "position" from his heat map.

I still think the traditional formation (2 banks of 4 and 2 out-and-out strikers) is very much dead. I believe the game has evolved beyond such a tactically simplistic approach. That set-up lacks very little creativity and relies predominantly on pacey wingers, industrious midfielders and at least one bruising striker. (Heskey, anyone?)

That said, there are certainly variations on the 4-4-2 that are very much alive and lend themselves nicely to the modern game. The 4-4-1-1 can work when the "1" behind the out-and-out striker is creative enough and doesn't shirk his defensive duties. The 4-4-2 (diamond) lends some interesting tactical possibilities, especially when the CAM is more of a goal-scorer and the forwards like to drift. finally the 4-2-2-2 is one that has intrigued me recently, and is one I wouldn't mind seeing Liverpool try once our experiment with 3CBs comes to a close.

Essentially, whether or not 4-4-2 is "alive" depends on how loose your definition of the formation is. THe traditional set-up really has no place as a team's default formation. However, its derivatives are still alive, viable, and effective.
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Post by BarcaLearning Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:35 pm

Not an expert but the key these days for a lot of teams is to win the midfield, and that means not just 2 in the CM, the strikers, wingers, everybody sort of have to help out with the pressing, position, in order to win the midfield.

Bayern raped Man C becos Pellegrini had no idea and played 4-4-2 while Bayern had like at least 3 CMs plus Muller dropping back.

I think these days it all depends on the game and the opponent ur facing. Hardly any teams would consistently play a rigid 4-4-2 without getting exposed now.
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Post by juventus101 Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:39 pm

The thing people dont understand is that tbe 4-4-2 never really died out. It was just renamed a 4-2-3-1. But for example when Bayern play Muller as the CAM, its basically just a 4-4-2 with a hard working SS. The 4-2-3-1 is rarely actually a 4-2-3-1. Usually its either a 4-3-3 (such as Bayern when Kroos is the AM) or a 4-4-2 (such as Bayern when Muller is the AM). I dont think it ever will die out either. Its simply been too successful over the years.
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Post by VanDeezNuts Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:42 pm

when are people going to realize that its not formation that dictates play its the individuality of the players that dictates the play?

no team ever stays in a strict formation throughout the game, its much more fluid than that. players drop, push up, pinch in, spread out. at any one point in a match a team could be organized in 5+ different formations.

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Post by donttreadonred Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:08 pm

vanDEEZ wrote:when are people going to realize that its not formation that dictates play its the individuality of the players that dictates the play?

no team ever stays in a strict formation throughout the game, its much more fluid than that.  players drop, push up, pinch in, spread out.  at any one point in a match a team could be organized in 5+ different formations.
The individuality of the players...? Really? I suppose you are one of those people that believes in football as an expression of personality. Mind you, I don't mean to completely discredit the concept, but you don't have 11 artists on the pitch. You have 11 players performing roles. Their personality, technical level, attacking/defending inclinations, etc. are what determine how they perform their roles.

5+ different formations... really? Come on now. Formations in modern football are as much about the roles a player is asked to perform than the literal shape of the team at any given point. Perhaps you shouldn't think of things as being a "shape", like a square, triangle, or circle, but as a combination of roles with a general area the player is meant to inhabit. In any case, football formations are dynamic and vary based on the position of the ball, filling the open space, and the tactical situation. If you don't understand that basic point... Well, there's simply not much to say to that.
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Post by vivabarca38 Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:20 pm

Van deez you ignorant scum These are instructions bu the coach that they train in training.They don't do it when they feel like it you bum.
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Post by The Franchise Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:02 pm


I dont know who rattled your cage today but you need to relax.
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Post by Blue Barrett Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:30 pm

juventus101 wrote:The thing people dont understand is that tbe 4-4-2 never really died out. It was just renamed a 4-2-3-1. But for example when Bayern play Muller as the CAM, its basically just a 4-4-2 with a hard working SS. The 4-2-3-1 is rarely actually a 4-2-3-1. Usually its either a 4-3-3 (such as Bayern when Kroos is the AM) or a 4-4-2 (such as Bayern when Muller is the AM). I dont think it ever will die out either. Its simply been too successful over the years.
Completely disagree. The 4-2-3-1 is a completely different formation. Its not a form of 4-4-2.
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Post by Blue Barrett Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:32 pm

donttreadonred wrote:
vanDEEZ wrote:when are people going to realize that its not formation that dictates play its the individuality of the players that dictates the play?

no team ever stays in a strict formation throughout the game, its much more fluid than that.  players drop, push up, pinch in, spread out.  at any one point in a match a team could be organized in 5+ different formations.
The individuality of the players...? Really? I suppose you are one of those people that believes in football as an expression of personality. Mind you, I don't mean to completely discredit the concept, but you don't have 11 artists on the pitch. You have 11 players performing roles. Their personality, technical level, attacking/defending inclinations, etc. are what determine how they perform their roles.

5+ different formations... really? Come on now. Formations in modern football are as much about the roles a player is asked to perform than the literal shape of the team at any given point. Perhaps you shouldn't think of things as being a "shape", like a square, triangle, or circle, but as a combination of roles with a general area the player is meant to inhabit. In any case, football formations are dynamic and vary based on the position of the ball, filling the open space, and the tactical situation. If you don't understand that basic point... Well, there's simply not much to say to that.
Couldn't have said it better.
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Post by Blue Barrett Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:36 pm

RealGunner wrote:Traditional 4-4-2 is dead. The orthodox wingers aren't produced anymore. Not even in England. Strikers are becoming less important and there will always be a no 10 upfront with a striker rather than two strikers like in the past. The demand for a provider is increasing faster than ever.

With the way football is moving, it really won't make a come back for a long time.

I mean we play a version of 4-4-2 at times but it's nowhere near the tranditional 4-4-2. It's different in personnel and in structure. Same can be said about Atletico.  
So basically you're saying the formation is outdated because of the lack of capable wingers to carry out the duties?


And btw, I do remember Fergie's United teams with Giggs/Beckham drifting out wide a lot in a tack but tucking in like half the time to add numbers to midfield while defending.

I don't see how the 4-4-2 can't work in today's game tbh if the wingers are disciplined enough.
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