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4-2-3-1: pretty much ALWAYS! WHY?!?

mpickard2087

Patient Zero
Jun 13, 2008
21,937
32,736
I think in general managers see it as the safest template to work from. Two holding midfielders gives extra security - more of a screen in front of the defence, extra passing option if playing out from the back, and also in theory allows your fullbacks to push on with more abandon.

A 4-3-3/4-1-4-1 can be a bit more difficult to balance. Teams sitting back can often see their striker get isolated, teams pressing high (eg. City) have to be bang on with it because if the initial press is broken then their are big gaps to exploit.

I sense teams playing in that shape often are the ones in a better place, and the teams you'd say are well drilled.
 

SUIYHA

Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2017
1,745
8,681
Lloris

Dier ----Toby----Sanchez

Lucas ---------------------------------- Reguilon

PEH--------Ndombele

Bale

Kane--------Son
That's how we get some pace on the wings, a more solid presence in the centre and an extra man in central defence to cover for the mistakes that the other two will inevitably make.

If we could add better CBs and a proper Eriksen replacement to this side, without losing Kane or Son, we'd do well
 

CoopsieDeadpool

Well-Known Member
Jun 8, 2012
18,257
70,419
Lloris

Dier ----Toby----Sanchez

Lucas ---------------------------------- Reguilon

PEH--------Ndombele

Bale

Kane--------Son
That's how we get some pace on the wings, a more solid presence in the centre and an extra man in central defence to cover for the mistakes that the other two will inevitably make.

If we could add better CBs and a proper Eriksen replacement to this side, without losing Kane or Son, we'd do well


Sanchez AND Dier before Rodon & Tanganga?

Personally speaking, if we did go with what you suggest (and I actually see the reasoning behind your thoughts) I'd have Tanganga & Rodon either side of Toby.

They're both considerably calmer than Dier & Sanchez and, in my opinion, already better 'defenders' and have a significantly higher ceiling than the often calamitous Dier & Sanchez. And they'd struggle to have a better mentor than the almost always calm & assured Alderweireld beside them.

As A&C would say. Onions! (y)
 

SUIYHA

Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2017
1,745
8,681
Sanchez AND Dier before Rodon & Tanganga?

Personally speaking, if we did go with what you suggest (and I actually see the reasoning behind your thoughts) I'd have Tanganga & Rodon either side of Toby.

They're both considerably calmer than Dier & Sanchez and, in my opinion, already better 'defenders' and have a significantly higher ceiling than the often calamitous Dier & Sanchez. And they'd struggle to have a better mentor than the almost always calm & assured Alderweireld beside them.

As A&C would say. Onions! (y)

Sanchez did well as part of a three man defence in his first season but has generally been poor since we switched back to two CBs, and Dier's best two seasons for us came as first a DM sitting just in front of the two CBs, and then as part of a three man CB team. I don't see either fulfilling the potential they looked like they had in about 2017 but I think both would benefit from going back to three at the back.

I would love to see Rodon and Tanganga coming through and replacing them - always good to see young talent, particularly home grown like Tanganga, breaking into the side, but when our defending has poor as it has this season and neither of those two have been able to step up and make a first team spot their own, I start to worry about whether they'll ever be good enough - I know Tanganga has been injured but even still.
 

mil1lion

This is the place to be
May 7, 2004
43,092
80,266
I actually like the system Mason tried to implement Sunday. I hope he sticks to it for the remaining games just with a few player changes. Having 3 in midfield allows the front players to venture forward and not leave us too exposed. Hojbjerg was covering to the right and Lo Celso to the left. That allowed Son and Moura to push on. The trouble is against City we just couldn't get on the ball enough. If we can on the ball more I would look to play Ndombele central but not dropping to deep. Lo Celso and Ndombele putting fires out either side and playing more box to box.

Lloris
Aurier----Alderweireld----Rodon----Reguilon
Hojbjerg----Ndombele----Lo Celso
Bale----Kane----Son​
 

'O Zio

Well-Known Member
Dec 27, 2014
7,405
13,785
So much of the OP is just fundamentally wrong it's hard to know where to begin. Under Mourinho we played various versions of 442, 4231, 433, and 3412 off the top of my head. The idea that he religiously stuck to 4231 is just incorrect. From memory I'd actually say we played more 433 under him than anything.

We definitely played 433 in the final against City too.

Plus as others have said teams will generally switch between multiple formations throughout the match based on whether they're in possession or not. 442 can become 424 when on attack, 3412 can drop into a 532 or 5311 when you lose possession and so on.
 

Shadydan

Well-Known Member
Jul 7, 2012
38,247
104,143
I actually like the system Mason tried to implement Sunday. I hope he sticks to it for the remaining games just with a few player changes. Having 3 in midfield allows the front players to venture forward and not leave us too exposed. Hojbjerg was covering to the right and Lo Celso to the left. That allowed Son and Moura to push on. The trouble is against City we just couldn't get on the ball enough. If we can on the ball more I would look to play Ndombele central but not dropping to deep. Lo Celso and Ndombele putting fires out either side and playing more box to box.

Lloris
Aurier----Alderweireld----Rodon----Reguilon
Hojbjerg----Ndombele----Lo Celso
Bale----Kane----Son​

I think it was the right formation to play against City but the wrong personnel, you could see what he was trying to do.
 

DEFchenkOE

Well-Known Member
Feb 13, 2006
10,527
8,052
I actually like the system Mason tried to implement Sunday. I hope he sticks to it for the remaining games just with a few player changes. Having 3 in midfield allows the front players to venture forward and not leave us too exposed. Hojbjerg was covering to the right and Lo Celso to the left. That allowed Son and Moura to push on. The trouble is against City we just couldn't get on the ball enough. If we can on the ball more I would look to play Ndombele central but not dropping to deep. Lo Celso and Ndombele putting fires out either side and playing more box to box.

Lloris
Aurier----Alderweireld----Rodon----Reguilon
Hojbjerg----Ndombele----Lo Celso
Bale----Kane----Son​

I would do this as well. But I would have Ndombele getting on the ball from deep and starting our attacks. Almost similar to Pirlo with Hojberg playing the Gattuso type of role. My only concern is that sometimes Ndombele doesn't work hard enough to make himself available for the ball when being marked. But hopefully that would give Lo Celso the option to drop a bit deeper if required and get on the ball. I think Mason had the idea of this on Sunday but Winks is not press resistant and shits himself when someone comes near him. It is a bit risky having Tanguy there as he will try things but I think the potential for reward is greater as he is so good at opening up the space and actually welcomes being pressed.

Either way, we need those 3 midfielders on the pitch from the start for all of our remaining games. The drop off in quality to the other midfielders is just too vast.
 

CoopsieDeadpool

Well-Known Member
Jun 8, 2012
18,257
70,419
Sanchez did well as part of a three man defence in his first season but has generally been poor since we switched back to two CBs, and Dier's best two seasons for us came as first a DM sitting just in front of the two CBs, and then as part of a three man CB team. I don't see either fulfilling the potential they looked like they had in about 2017 but I think both would benefit from going back to three at the back.

I would love to see Rodon and Tanganga coming through and replacing them - always good to see young talent, particularly home grown like Tanganga, breaking into the side, but when our defending has poor as it has this season and neither of those two have been able to step up and make a first team spot their own, I start to worry about whether they'll ever be good enough - I know Tanganga has been injured but even still.


Sanchez was made to look good by having the brilliance of Vertonghen talking him through matches. But he was indeed better in his first season. I can't help but feel Vertonghen had the same affect on Dier also.

But, when it comes to Rodon & Tanganga, they have shown they're able to step up, and could make the first team slots their own. But, unfortunately for them, they made 1 error each. Rodon v Chelsea, think it was his PL debut? And I can't remember the game that Tanganga had a bit of a bad time (though it was in a match that everyone was bad) but it followed his MOTM performance against City, when we beat then & he had Sterling's number. Sterling was ultimately swapped to the opposite wing by Pep.

After those mistakes, very early in their introduction to the first team, they weren't seen for a couple of months, with Mourinho opting to select Dier, Sanchez & The D Word, despite them all being totally error strewn & costing us numerous matches as we went into free-fall down the league.

Long term, whether it's 3 at the back, or a flat back 4. I think Tanganga & Rodon could (should) be at the heart of our back line, building up a partnership that could last a decade & actually provide some consistency in our defence. Hopefully seeing the end of the constant chopping & changing we're getting in recent times.

Even simpletons like all of us on this site are able to realise that the one area of the pitch that requires a constant when it comes to team selection, is the defence. With Reguilon (24), Tanganga (22) & Rodon (23) we have 3 very good young options to build upon. If we can find/add a 4th young option for RB, we really could build on something.

I'm not losing hope that, should or new manager be one with a view to player coaching & utilising our pool of young talent, Foyth could actually provide the young option for RB. The lad has had a very good loan spell at Villareal, with Unai Emery being very keen to make the loan a permanent move (€15M purchase option).

People forget that Foyth only turned 23 in January. So IF a coach like Emery wants to keep him, why wouldn't our new coach want to take a look for himself?

A potential back 3/4 , with the oldest one being just 24 years of age, with the lies of Cirkin also waiting in the background.

There's surely scope to build from those players? In these cash strapped times, utilising these players, who are already on our books, could be a very welcome way of keeping funds available for improving the quality elsewhere in our squad?
 

DJS

A hoonter must hoont
Dec 9, 2006
31,306
21,834
I don’t think it’s the system so much as we need better quality in that central midfield area.

When we were at our peak under Poch we had Wanyama-prime as our defensive midfielder alongside the moosinator.

Games are often won in that central midfield area and if the players in midfield aren’t willing to graft and control games that’s where it’s lost.

I’m really hoping Skipp is given a run next season alongside PEH so we have some toughness in there, I think we need another to compete with them really too.

Then Ndombele and Lo Celso will have to fight it out to play alongside the two hard bastards lol.

It’s not use having a team of flair players if no-one in there to do the dirty work and we usually are crap when it comes to quality defensive midfielders.
 

Neon_Knight_

Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2011
4,102
6,893
Everyone always says that but I don't see it that way; formations affect lineups, which in turn affect games.
We have actually played 4-3-3 at times this season. For example, against Man City it was a flat three in CM - Hojbjerg, Winks & Lo Celso. I really wish we had been playing 4-2-3-1, because out of possession City passed straight through us (the 3rd CM was redundant) and in possession we had no CAM to link the attack and midfield.

I think the shortcomings in our play have been far more to do with the quality of our players and the philosophy/approach than the formation. At our best under Poch we had better midfielders (any of Eriksen, Dembele & Wanyama in their prime would walk into our starting XI now) and were one of the most effective pressing teams in world football. It was inevitable that results would be worse if we take away the high press and downgrade key players. No matter what formation we play, our midfield is not on par with Europe's elite. The answer is to either upgrade the quality of our CM or bring in a manager who can develop Ndombele and Lo Celso.
 

Neon_Knight_

Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2011
4,102
6,893
Long term, whether it's 3 at the back, or a flat back 4. I think Tanganga & Rodon could (should) be at the heart of our back line, building up a partnership that could last a decade & actually provide some consistency in our defence. Hopefully seeing the end of the constant chopping & changing we're getting in recent times.

Even simpletons like all of us on this site are able to realise that the one area of the pitch that requires a constant when it comes to team selection, is the defence. With Reguilon (24), Tanganga (22) & Rodon (23) we have 3 very good young options to build upon. If we can find/add a 4th young option for RB, we really could build on something.
I agree that we need a more consistent CB pairing. While I hope Tanganga and Rodon can become top CBs and form a strong partnership, I haven't yet seen anything to suggest they will be the next Toby & Jan or Rio & Vidic etc. I think we need to sign a more proven and experienced CB, with the two of them competing to become the regular partner to the new signing. That's a more realistic way of achieving a solid defence, rather than putting the team in the hands of what would almost certainly be the youngest and least experienced CB pairing in the league. To plan the squad around the hope that two out of two players with potential will fulfil their potential would be extremely naive.
 

Neon_Knight_

Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2011
4,102
6,893
Lloris

Dier ----Toby----Sanchez

Lucas ---------------------------------- Reguilon

PEH--------Ndombele

Bale

Kane--------Son
That's how we get some pace on the wings, a more solid presence in the centre and an extra man in central defence to cover for the mistakes that the other two will inevitably make.

If we could add better CBs and a proper Eriksen replacement to this side, without losing Kane or Son, we'd do well
I have thought myself that Moura would make a decent RWB. A couple of times this season when Doherty was struggling in a back five I thought we should have switched Moura in for him in the second half.
 

Neon_Knight_

Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2011
4,102
6,893
If we appoint Tim our formation could be 4-2-4 and we could line up something like this:

---------------------Hart---------------------- (Tim would start by alienating the captain, so Lloris is out)
Moura----Tanganga--Rodon-------Reguilon (Playing the youth and getting attacking players on the pitch)
-----------------Dele---Lamela--------------- (If Sigurdsson + Chadli made sense against Rodger's Liverpool...)
---Bale---------Kane---Vinicius-------Son--- (Obviously Parrot would start as 1 of 3 CFs if he wasn't out on loan)
 

double0

Well-Known Member
Aug 29, 2006
14,423
12,258
4231 Is the most flexible system going.

It's all about the quality of player not the formation imo.
 

CoopsieDeadpool

Well-Known Member
Jun 8, 2012
18,257
70,419
I agree that we need a more consistent CB pairing. While I hope Tanganga and Rodon can become top CBs and form a strong partnership, I haven't yet seen anything to suggest they will be the next Toby & Jan or Rio & Vidic etc. I think we need to sign a more proven and experienced CB, with the two of them competing to become the regular partner to the new signing. That's a more realistic way of achieving a solid defence, rather than putting the team in the hands of what would almost certainly be the youngest and least experienced CB pairing in the league. To plan the squad around the hope that two out of two players with potential will fulfil their potential would be extremely naive.


In my defence. I've never been known for intelligence.
 

idontgetit

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2011
14,717
31,731
Mason got the formation right against United but was let down a bit by Lo Celso and N'dombele lacking form and Kane being missing. Just play that set up for the rest of the season and we'll start looking real good. Lamela and Bale are way more suited to that line up than Moura so use him from the bench instead, it sounds harsh because he works his nuts off but it really will make a difference. Play Rodon next to Alderweireld and really work on the confidence of the wing backs.

All other options are very imperfect due to not having a well suited partner to Hojberg for a double pivot.

Sissoko and Winks are very much not the fucking answer. They're good guys and servants to the club but they never will give us control in the middle of the pitch.
 
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