Will Teams Play Without Forwards?
With the much talked about ‘no recognised forwards’ formation used by Spain in the recent European Championships proving to be very successful it is now time to wonder, and perhaps worry, if many teams will attempt using it over the next season.
After a certain formation or positional switch has been used during a major tournament and it has proved to work there always seem to be managers who like to get in on the act and use it too.
In the 1950’s a lot of teams played really attacking 4-2-4 formations with 2 really attacking wingers echoing the great Brazilian teams of the time.
Then after England won the World Cup without playing any wingers that became the fashion in football for a while.
Over the years there have been different formations that have been in vogue and the same with certain player positions. Whether it’s playing 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 or more recently 4-2-3-1, or teams playing with 4 at the back or 3 at the back. The introduction of wing backs. The use of sweepers. The holding midfielder role. Playing one up front, and maybe one supporting ‘in the hole’.
These have all been introduced and copied because they have been seen to be successful. But do some managers just copy them for effect. Do they want to be seen as real innovators in the game, or is it a need to keep up to date. Some people like to have the latest, toy, or gadget or car and maybe some want the latest formation.
The thing with a formation is that it has to be for the benefit of your team. The players you have at your disposal must be able to carry out the game plan accordingly and not be struggling to master the basics.
To use the introduction of wing backs a few years ago as an example there are some players who made this role look so simple and they could get up and down the wings all day in both a defensive and attacking sense. But then you would see managers who liked the look of it and would put a player in to that position in their own team and while they might have been a good full back or a good midfielder they didn’t have the necessary skills for that role.
The same goes for Spain’s formation without any recognised forwards. The key word here is ‘recognised’. For while it might look as though they are playing a 4-6-0 formation the midfielders are always looking to link up and attack, pulling defenders all over the place and leaving space for someone to have a shot at goal. With players in this position such as Fabregas,Silva and Iniesta once they are in front of goal they are then as clinical as a good quality forward anyway.
In the hands of an inferior manager with lesser players that formation can easily be turned into the dullest that has been used for a long time where the 10 players are actually mainly thinking defensively. Scotland under Craig Levein used a 4-6-0 formation in an away game against Czech Republic a couple of years ago and was widely condemned for it. Scotland lost the game but Levein stuck to his guns claiming that it could prove to be a formation widely used in the future. There lies the problem with it. When the formations are written down on paper they look like the same thing but out on grass it’s totally different. One can still be a skilful, attacking style of football while the other remains a stodgy,defensive, overly cautious system.
- Spain Beat Italy 4-0 To Win European Championship
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