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Pick One Formation For Club, Or Vary Formations By Match?

edited May 29 in Rumours
It seems the thing in football the last few years is that each manager tries to imagine what the other manager is going to do, then change their tactics for each match and often their formation.

And when that manager is sacked, a new one comes in and changes everything again. Given the average manager last just 50 matches, this seems foolish to turn the club upside down every 1.3 seasons.

I see BIG downside long-term for this (lack of) strategy.

Why not do what Barcelona and a few other successful clubs do and pick ONE formation, make sure whole whole club, right down to U11, plays it and then you have a system to build upon?

Kids learn the formation cold, can move up and be slotted right in, and all play their natural postion for years at a time. It becomes easy to see where the club is weak and make changes. Everyoneknows their role and can master it.

Also, you are taking YOUR formation to the competition and making them adapt to you rather than playing to THEIR strategy, which to me breeds lack of confidence.

Am I missing something? Why change from match to match, manager to manager? Is it wrong to look long-term rather than no further out than the next match?

Comments

  • I guess the answer is it depends. If you're a Barca you can go out and spend whatever it takes to get the best players to fit your formation and philosophy. Clubs less fortunate will have to make do. It's sort of the sum of the parts idea, if you can make it so your tactics either frustrate or focus on weaknesses in your opposition but you don't necessarily have brilliant players then that's probably the best route. Obviously the danger is getting the group of players to know each role in different formations and that they will all be happy doing so.

    Or go the Redknapp route and tell the players to run around a bit more.
  • I was talking to a coach several years ago at Sparrows Lane and he remarked that they played 442 at every age group but was surprised the 1st team tended to mix it up depending on the opponent.
    I suppose one school of thought would be make the opponent set up to beat you in your chosen formation however it seems most clubs succumb to fads. Having said that Chelsea switching to 3 at the back won them the title. Arsenal then outplayed them in the fa cup at their own game.
    I think managers need to show they are progressive and can adapt - that seems to be the thing now. No longer will 442 vs 442 be the norm.

    There's probably only one club with a defined way of playing and that's Barca - everyone else has to mix and match but I do think it over complicates things a bit

    Interestingly I hear the "stats" for the last 4 or 5 games were where KR wanted them to be and didn't want the season to end - so maybe you can get a team to play your way but it takes time to adapt and that's the precious thing nowadays
  • I thought Curbs did this at Charlton when we were in the Prem. I seem to remember all levels at the club had to play 352 at one stage.
  • The short answer is that winning (or not losing) is more important than have a style or traditional way of playing.

    Ignoring Barcelona, who still have the neuclous of the side Pep built, both Man Utd and Arsenal have had spells when they just beat all comers. The Arsenal side that won PL titles with Henri in the side played the same way every game. Teams would set up their sides to beat (or not lose to) them and would be just brushed aside.

    What is the point of having a way and a style of playing that you lose every week and get relegated? Just looking at the likes of Curbishley, Pullis and Allardyce you can see uninspiring football that seems to be much more successful, in terms of results, than the likes of Blackpool in the PL where everyone congratulated them on their flair and style as they were relegated and then failed to go back up with the parachute money.

    Ultimately the fans don't really want expansive football, they want to win and the TV money doesn't reward the exciting games it rewards those that don't get relegated.
  • Brian Clough once said he didn't care what tactics the other side were playing he knew what tactics his side were going to play.
    or something like that.
  • Saw a documentary once about Ajax youth scheme and apart from the goalie they would rotate positions every game so they didn't have youth centre back or a youth team left midfielder they just had youth footballers. Don't know if they still do this as this was probably 20 years back.
  • It depends on the playing staff .. IF you have a versatile and talented squad then they will adjust to various patterns of play .. for less talented players it would be best to drum one method into them and make sure that they stick to it and 'hope' that it's successful
  • Lincs hits the nail for me.
  • Should have your main system and ideally it's used below the first team. Need to be able to adapt though, we suffered under Peeters and Luzon as they only played one way. Luzon even tried to fit 3 left backs into a 4-4-2 rather than change the system.

    Think how we won League 1. Powell built the squad around 4-4-2. Jackson played on the left of midfield where he could be a goal threat but of course didn't offer pace. To give us balance the two left backs we signed in Wiggins and Evina were quick and liked to get forward. We started the season looking to pass the ball on the floor with Hayes dropping deep, but Yann came in which gave us the option of going more direct.
  • It doesn't matter with ribbon cus tells everyone what his is an hour before the match anyway
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  • It seems the thing in football the last few years is that each manager tries to imagine what the other manager is going to do, then change their tactics for each match and often their formation.

    And when that manager is sacked, a new one comes in and changes everything again. Given the average manager last just 50 matches, this seems foolish to turn the club upside down every 1.3 seasons.

    I see BIG downside long-term for this (lack of) strategy.

    Why not do what Barcelona and a few other successful clubs do and pick ONE formation, make sure whole whole club, right down to U11, plays it and then you have a system to build upon?

    Kids learn the formation cold, can move up and be slotted right in, and all play their natural postion for years at a time. It becomes easy to see where the club is weak and make changes. Everyoneknows their role and can master it.

    Also, you are taking YOUR formation to the competition and making them adapt to you rather than playing to THEIR strategy, which to me breeds lack of confidence.

    Am I missing something? Why change from match to match, manager to manager? Is it wrong to look long-term rather than no further out than the next match?

    I believe Swansea do this. Or did this, they've gone a bit basket case since the change in ownership. They have a set style of playing through the age groups and sign players who fit a profile in the required positions, as well as looking for managers who fit a certain profile. It worked very well until they stopped investing in players and hired random managers.

    That's just how Swansea do it though. Changing your formation match to match as long as your players are well drilled is an intelligent strategy. Look at Chelsea this season; they swept everyone aside with their new formation after Conte tore up what he was doing following costly defeats, but the teams who beat them either matched up or came up with a way to neutralise their threats. Spurs matched up formation-wise and then exploited the fact that Chelsea's defence is vulnerable in the air, particularly in that area between Azpilicueta and Moses. And lo and behold, they won by stifling Chelsea's three attacking threats with three dedicated centre halves and scored two goals via headers from between Azpilicueta and Moses. Arsenal beat them in the FA Cup final by matching up, and United beat them by getting Herrera to stick to Hazard like glue, stopping their chief attacking threat from playing and preventing them from having a shot on goal all game. Having a way you want to play is great, but there's no point stubbornly sticking to something that doesn't work. Just ask Aitor Karanka, one of the most stubborn managers the Premier League has ever seen. Had a well-drilled team who played the same way every single week. Sacked, team relegated, lowest scorers in the league.

    Failure to adapt to what's happening on the pitch in front of you is failing in your job as a manager.
  • Bolton lasted for years playing one way, they gave up that way and fell apart.
  • There are only so many main ways of playing (apart from tinkering)

    4-4-2, 4-3-3, 3-5-2, or 4-5-1

    It makes sense to have a default - let's say 4-4-2 but if for example, as the game progresses, you are being outnumbered in midfield then a switch to 3-5-2 might be appropriate. So perhaps a default and a second option - that's about it. Professional footballers should be able to adapt from one to the other - any more than two options however will confuse the little darlings.
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