Notyalcsdrawkcab’s Weblog

November 7, 2012

my 4-4-2 is your 4-2-3-1? 4 – 3 – 3 or 4 – 2 – 3 – 1?

Filed under: Uncategorized — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 8:51 pm

The beautiful game is now the numbers game.  behind the scenes, system has been king for a while.  but now it is seeping into the pop culture of the game.  foxsports commentator points out how far player x has run in the game?  shows you their heatmap?  or their pass map?  fans spend as much time talking about formation as player selection.

One of the bits of inverting the pyramid i took a lot from was a bit about differing interpretations about what a modern brazil nt side was doing.  europeans saw a 4 – 2 – 3 – 1.  brazillians saw a 4 – 4 – 2.  both interpretations are valid.  very rarely in the modern game does a two striker team use two strikers right up on the defenders shoulder, stretching the play.  the big un goes high and the little un plays behind.  but now that little one has to link in with the midfield, contribute with general play and work their socks off defensively.  that little un, is he an attacking midfielder who goes forward to help the forward, or is he a second striker who goes back to help the midfield?  you could interpret someone’s play as being either.   so sometimes oz’s formation will be referred to as a 4 – 4- 2, or someone else might call it a 4 – 2 – 3 – 1 …  what is that player in the middle of the 3 doing?  and just because you are playing one or the other doesn’t mean you are playing well.

to make sense of all this, some rely on the player’s usual role, or usual position.  fabregas playing for spain at the last euros?  well, he is a midfielder, and he is playing as a striker, so that means that spain is playing a false 9.  umm, no.  he didn’t drop deep, or look to draw the central defenders out of position.  he played high and made really good striker’s runs.  dude is multitalented enough to go out and play out of position as a striker and do it well.  better than a lot of strikers can.  nothing false about that.

so there is a bunch of stuff that is open to interpretation … but what isn’t open to interpretation?  how deep or high does a team like to defend, how compact or stretched out are the team vertically, are the “wide” midfielders out wide stretching the play or tucked in packing the middle (which then ties in to the full backs level of attacking responsibility).  is the team’s defensive play based on mugging and getting the ball back, or shepherding the other team to less dangerous positions.  is the striker playing high to stretch the playing area or are they contributing to the buildup, joining in with the midfield.

and none of this stuff is coverred by a bunch of numbers.

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