Is 4-4-2 dead?

lukespurs7

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Thread starter #1
Everyone loving the 4-2-3-1 over the last few years, more recently in the PL the 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 has made a comeback via contes influence and 4-3-3 with Klopp and Guadiola. Gone are the days of Man.U 4-4-2 fast wingers and 2 up top.

Mouriniho famously said how 4-3-3 always beats 4-4-2 because of the superiority in the middle and Cruyff famously said that 4-3-3 is best because a triangle always beats a line but I don’t think it’s quite as straight forward as this. Perhaps a flat old school 4-4-2 wont Work in modern football but most 4-4-2 teams have a CDM and more attacking CM + a CF/n.o 10 and ST so it’s almost a 4-2-3-1 anyway.
A few years ago Leicester won the league with 4-4-2
Juventus fairly regularly play 4-4-2 under Allegri
Barcelona of all clubs have been playing 4-4-2 this season and are undefeated
Athletico play 4-4-2 and are 2nd in La Liga and in Europa final
Burnley play it and have done well this year.

Thoughts ?
 

mano-obe

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#4
You can say any formation on paper but nobody 100% sticks to it on the pitch

What was Jose playing when he first came to Chelsea? Was it 5-4-1?
 

lukespurs7

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No, although they won the treble they only won the league with 79 points that season, so well behind this year's Man City
Never knew that interesting point.
Yea I think this city are better but that man.u would’ve on their day given them a game. Wonder if the dreaded arsenal invincibles would beat peps team mabye a bit more fluid so more ofna chance.
 

mpickard2087

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#9
As ever, any formation depends on the tactical framework/instruction and what the players do.

Most of the examples you list were highly nuanced 4-4-2's, if they are even that shape at all. Barca's version when they have the ball has narrow wide players and Messi dropping very deep at times to flood the midfield. Other teams 4-4-2 shapes change and heavily focus on without the ball - Leicester won the title arguably playing 4-4-1-1, as Okazaki usually played a defensive hardworking role and would sit on the deepest midfielder, whilst Atletico have a narrow midfield and their two strikers get in behind the ball and they act as one unit.

The classic English 4-4-2 of two 'proper' strikers and two wingers would be much harder these days, especially at the top level, because you most likely wont get away with two players stood right up top and not dropping back in (plus two wide players who might have pushed up), it's such an invitation to get outnumbered and be unable to control the centre of the park. So much more of the game/priority is played in midfield these days.
 

mill

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#10
Man U very rarely played a straight up 442 under Ferguson, from McClair to cantona to sheringham to yorke to Rooney he always had a player capable of dropping deeper and getting involved
 

werty

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#11
I think 442 with two wingers and two out-and-out strikers is dead, but 442 seems to be having a bit of a renaissance. France often go that way too.

A recent trend has been dressing a 442 and making it look like a 433 defensively. Real Madrid (before they went with a diamond) and Liverpool have had success doing this in recent years. Both have played 433 with the ball, but defensively the right of the front 3 (Ronaldo and Salah) stay high and wide up the pitch and rarely track back, daring the left back to go forward, while the left of the front three (Bale and Sane) plays like a left midfielder. Both have a hard working striker too. I think Barca will go that way with Dembele in the side.
 

punkisback

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#12
4-4-2 is useful against a wingback system if you play wide. Overload their WBs, the 2 CBs either side of the one at the centre have to go across to cover, leaving your two strikers against one CV>
 

Lilbaz

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#13
Everyone loving the 4-2-3-1 over the last few years, more recently in the PL the 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 has made a comeback via contes influence and 4-3-3 with Klopp and Guadiola. Gone are the days of Man.U 4-4-2 fast wingers and 2 up top.

Mouriniho famously said how 4-3-3 always beats 4-4-2 because of the superiority in the middle and Cruyff famously said that 4-3-3 is best because a triangle always beats a line but I don’t think it’s quite as straight forward as this. Perhaps a flat old school 4-4-2 wont Work in modern football but most 4-4-2 teams have a CDM and more attacking CM + a CF/n.o 10 and ST so it’s almost a 4-2-3-1 anyway.
A few years ago Leicester won the league with 4-4-2
Juventus fairly regularly play 4-4-2 under Allegri
Barcelona of all clubs have been playing 4-4-2 this season and are undefeated
Athletico play 4-4-2 and are 2nd in La Liga and in Europa final
Burnley play it and have done well this year.

Thoughts ?
There are fashions in football. As soon as someone finds success with a system other clubs jump on it. Thing is though that the formations are fluid and depend on what is happening in game, who has the ball and where it is.
 

Lilbaz

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#14
I think 442 with two wingers and two out-and-out strikers is dead, but 442 seems to be having a bit of a renaissance. France often go that way too.

A recent trend has been dressing a 442 and making it look like a 433 defensively. Real Madrid (before they went with a diamond) and Liverpool have had success doing this in recent years. Both have played 433 with the ball, but defensively the right of the front 3 (Ronaldo and Salah) stay high and wide up the pitch and rarely track back, daring the left back to go forward, while the left of the front three (Bale and Sane) plays like a left midfielder. Both have a hard working striker too. I think Barca will go that way with Dembele in the side.
When did anyone play 442 with two out and out strikers though? Bergkamp, shringham, cantona,beardsley were not out and out strikers.
 

mpickard2087

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#15
When did anyone play 442 with two out and out strikers though? Bergkamp, shringham, cantona,beardsley were not out and out strikers.
That's why in my post I tried to focus on the defensive aspect of it..... All those you mention played off the front with the ball, but, although I was a little young at the time and didn't really pay attention to the tactical aspects), I cant recall someone like Sheringham and definitely Bergkamp having instruction to religiously get in behind the ball and fulfil certain defensive responsibilities? In that phase I would class them as strikers..... And that's the sort of set-up you don't really get away with these days, two strikers not getting in behind the ball and leaving you at risk of being outnumbered in the middle of the park and then getting pulled around the pitch trying to cover gaps.
 

EmperorKabir

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#17
I think formations these days have gone a bit beyond the 3 lines system of def/mid/att. And on top of that, they shift depending on whether you are attacking, defending, counter attacking etc.

the 3 5 2 can often shift to a 5 3 2 if the wingbacks are transitioning a lot for example and it's almost impossible to call one of those over another.

Even in a classic 442, the 4 in the middle can be subdivided into a 2 2 or a 1 2 1 mini formation for example.

Today's game favours speed and uses a fast ball. A few roles like centrebacks have a solid purpose and don't move too much, but some other positions like playmaking central midfielders and wingbacks almost have a free role.
 

werty

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#18
When did anyone play 442 with two out and out strikers though? Bergkamp, shringham, cantona,beardsley were not out and out strikers.
Maybe your right. I was a bit young at the time to know what was going on and I'm only judging the players based on those season rewinds Sky do and other things.

That's probably the reason why teams that had those players had more success than others in an era when most team were 442. I'm not sure everyone had that style of player in their team. You stilll had partnerships like Sutton/Shearer, Ferdinand/Shearer, Yorke/Cole, Iversen/Armstrong.

I guess what I also meant is you can't get away with two forward players who don't contribute anything when the opposition had the ball. I don't remember a huge emphasis and your forwards working hard and defending at the time. Seemd like a bonus rather than an expectation.
 

DJS

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#20
I like a good strike partnership.

4-4-2 can work well if you have someone like Sheringham playing just behind the centre forward rather than two out and out forwards and you pick the right type of personnel in midfield.
 
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