Any good reason why we don't use "throwback tactics" like yesteryear?

Ronaldo's Love Child

Full Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
503
We've been trying for so long to try possession based football.

Our wide attackers, whoever plays there, tend to cut inside and dribble their way through a sea of defenders or they try a worldie shot at goal. It doesn't work very often.

Why can't we go back to similar tactics from seasons ago? Exploit the flanks. Whip crosses in and around the box. This causes defenders to panic a bit as it creates chaos. Our style of play at the moment is so measured that it allows the opposition to get their players into position and we don't have thecalibre of players to pick those players apart.
 

LawCharltonBest

Enjoys watching fox porn
Joined
May 17, 2012
Messages
14,634
Location
Salford
Football will heal a bit when 4-4-2 comes back into fashion. Two wingers. Two Strikers. Lovely times
 

Theonas

Full Member
Scout
Joined
Aug 2, 2013
Messages
4,729
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
We've been trying for so long to try possession based football.

Our wide attackers, whoever plays there, tend to cut inside and dribble their way through a sea of defenders or they try a worldie shot at goal. It doesn't work very often.

Why can't we go back to similar tactics from seasons ago? Exploit the flanks. Whip crosses in and around the box. This causes defenders to panic a bit as it creates chaos. Our style of play at the moment is so measured that it allows the opposition to get their players into position and we don't have thecalibre of players to pick those players apart.
The main reason they are called tactics from yesteryear's is that clubs have found ways to nullify them. Everything evolves in that fashion. Someone at first figures out let's play with the 3 people at the back, two each side and one in the center, then someone figures out they'll just put in two men in center and two out wide to outnumber them. The next move is someone figuring out we'll need to play 4 at the back and the reaction to that will be how can we isolate the defenders and create some space to exploit. Tactics don't exist in a vaccum. They are a reaction to what's in front of you. So if clubs are not using a certain tactic from 20 years ago, it's most likely because they understand that opponents have gotten much better at nullifying it over the course of a season even if it might work in the odd game here or there.
 

Teja

Full Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
5,588
Generally +1 that we need to cross more. I think the chaos it causes is still a pretty valuable play against rest defences.

The tactical meta currently is that the CMs rotate wide and the wingers cut inside as part of your standard attacking phase. The fullback occupies either the touch line / the half space depending on whether they're underlapping / overlapping at a given point with the CM occupying the opposite generally. So Bruno in half space => Dalot wide and vice versa. The crosses now mostly come from the midfielder / fullback instead of the wingers as a result.

There are a few different types of crosses:

- Crosses from wide
- Crosses from the halfspace (think that KdB ball to the far post)
- Cutbacks

Unfortunately for us, our midfielders and fullbacks are mostly terrible crossers of the ball. Literally zero players in our squad that can put in a ball like Trent / Trippier / KdB on a consistent basis. I think we're improving with cutbacks - Shaw in particular with his underlapping run when he gets found by Rashford does a good job.

Dalot is improving quite quickly with general crossing and I'm really beginning to like him but the easiest thing to do is to replace him with someone of the Trippier mould.

From the left, I'm curious how Mount as the second CM would perform.
 

didz

Full Member
Joined
May 17, 2014
Messages
1,131
This is Erik ten Hag's master plan.

When Licha comes back and has a proper injury free season, every club in England will be out of their minds recruiting technomidget centre halves to copy us. That's when we flip over our pair of aces - Hojlund and McTominay, with the old reliables Fellaini and Weghorst returning to back them up - to batter through the league with brute force.

Ten Hag will win the league, but first he's going to break it.
 

Ronaldo's Love Child

Full Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
503
Football will heal a bit when 4-4-2 comes back into fashion. Two wingers. Two Strikers. Lovely times
I don't get the obsession with the trend for something based around a 4-2-3-1 formation (or slight variations of that). It is like the elite managers of today consider 4-4-2 like the "the earth is flat" school of belief but now everyone is mopre enlightened.
 

Grande

Full Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
6,023
Location
The Land of Do-What-You-Will
We've been trying for so long to try possession based football.

Our wide attackers, whoever plays there, tend to cut inside and dribble their way through a sea of defenders or they try a worldie shot at goal. It doesn't work very often.

Why can't we go back to similar tactics from seasons ago? Exploit the flanks. Whip crosses in and around the box. This causes defenders to panic a bit as it creates chaos. Our style of play at the moment is so measured that it allows the opposition to get their players into position and we don't have thecalibre of players to pick those players apart.
David Moyes sort of burried that cat.

 

Lentwood

Full Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2015
Messages
6,723
Location
West Didsbury, Manchester
Football will heal a bit when 4-4-2 comes back into fashion. Two wingers. Two Strikers. Lovely times
Jose put an end to this in the Premier League. His early Chelsea teams in that 4-3-3 formation absolutely dominated with the extra body in midfield. Even SAF ended-up switching to 4-5-1 for big games.

Pep then took it a step further by playing in a manner that meant he always had a least one more body in CM than the opponent. Remember that ludicrous game when he played Barcelona as Bayern manager and fielded a 2-7-1 formation?

One of the reasons getting the ball out wide and crossing it has gone out of fashion @Ronaldo's Love Child is that crosses are "high-risk / low percentage" actions and often result in losing possession and dangerous turnovers.

See on Sunday, EtH described the game as being a "tennis match" at times. Modern managers hate that end-to-end, 'you have a go, we have a go' style of football because it creates variance, and variance leads to shock results.

Control is the aim of the game. Its why the best teams now, like City, score more points than the best teams in the 90s/00s...because with his massive squad of clones and regimented style of controlled football, Pep has reduced the variance massively and therefore the best team (his team) nearly always wins.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Theonas

Eddy_JukeZ

Full Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Messages
16,848
We don't try possession based football at all. Our possession stats are 9th in the league and barely above 50% for the season.

It's actually one of the reasons we've failed at being a top team for so long. We've been fairly average at keeping the ball for years now compared to other top sides.
 

ZupZup

Full Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
2,389
Location
W3104
I suspect it's because most elite managers prefer a more risk averse way of building play and trying to create a goal. Generally you find when wide players are making the pitch big and spamming in crosses, you're leaving yourself very open to counter attacks.

Talking about formation is a bit redundant nowadays in the sense that, most top teams actually change in game depending on whether they are attacking or defending. I doubt you would find any that attack and defend in a 4-2-3-1 for example.
 

Shinjch

Full Member
Joined
May 18, 2012
Messages
1,200
So many teams now play 442 out of possession now that it is starting to become the norm again I think. United were doing it for the most part against Villa.

It all becomes a bit more fluid when teams have the ball, but it seems like a lot of coaches are deciding 442 is the best set up for pressing outside of transitions at the moment.
 

wolvored

Full Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2016
Messages
9,836
Until we have a manager that has a style and trains the team to play it, we will never win the league. We are still a team without a style that you could say we play … football. We are still a moments team. If WHU and AV had better finishers we could have lost those games.
 

NinjaZombie

Punched the air when Liverpool beat City
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
10,073
I live for this day to arrive. I fear it won’t ever happen though.
Be the change you want to be. My RC Lens team in Football Manager are rocking a 442 and dominating European football in the 2030s.
 

tenhagsimp

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Aug 7, 2023
Messages
125
Be the change you want to be. My RC Lens team in Football Manager are rocking a 442 and dominating European football in the 2030s.
Me too. I rocked a lopsided 442 spearheaded by two regens with Haaland level potential. The 2 midfielders are Vieira/Yaya level regens. Did the UCL threepeat with Birmingham.
 

Maagge

enjoys sex, doesn't enjoy women not into ONS
Joined
Oct 9, 2011
Messages
11,904
Location
Denmark
If anything we're too happy to give the ball away when we're in the lead.
 

Overhaul FC

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Aug 19, 2023
Messages
188
Teams don't play with simple formations anymore. They have specific formations for different phases of play and it's all very choreographed.

For me it's taken the joy and creativity from the game seeing managers completely control what players do. Ole spoke about it this week.

The current football style of playing from the back is probably the least enjoyable for me to watch. I think the most aligned I am with a managers tactics is Klopp. He wants to initiate attack as soon as his team regains the ball, irrespective of where that is. Whether they win the ball back high or low he wants his team to counter straight away. I like that.
 

Tincanalley

Turns player names into a crappy conversation
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
10,031
Location
Ireland
We've been trying for so long to try possession based football.

Our wide attackers, whoever plays there, tend to cut inside and dribble their way through a sea of defenders or they try a worldie shot at goal. It doesn't work very often.

Why can't we go back to similar tactics from seasons ago? Exploit the flanks. Whip crosses in and around the box. This causes defenders to panic a bit as it creates chaos. Our style of play at the moment is so measured that it allows the opposition to get their players into position and we don't have thecalibre of players to pick those players apart.
I thought you were too busy managing West Ham to be posing in here. FFS.
 

Borys

Statistics Wizard
Joined
May 10, 2013
Messages
8,996
Location
Bielsko Biala, Poland
Jose put an end to this in the Premier League. His early Chelsea teams in that 4-3-3 formation absolutely dominated with the extra body in midfield. Even SAF ended-up switching to 4-5-1 for big games.

Pep then took it a step further by playing in a manner that meant he always had a least one more body in CM than the opponent. Remember that ludicrous game when he played Barcelona as Bayern manager and fielded a 2-7-1 formation?

One of the reasons getting the ball out wide and crossing it has gone out of fashion @Ronaldo's Love Child is that crosses are "high-risk / low percentage" actions and often result in losing possession and dangerous turnovers.

See on Sunday, EtH described the game as being a "tennis match" at times. Modern managers hate that end-to-end, 'you have a go, we have a go' style of football because it creates variance, and variance leads to shock results.

Control is the aim of the game. Its why the best teams now, like City, score more points than the best teams in the 90s/00s...because with his massive squad of clones and regimented style of controlled football, Pep has reduced the variance massively and therefore the best team (his team) nearly always wins.
Excellent post. Basically the way Pep teams play is they only take a shot once they have a good chance of scoring a goal. This is why Barca used to walk their way to the goal, similar like City create a lot of high xG chances - you either score, but more importantly there is low chance of a counter attack that might hurt you. This is why Pep teams also look so good defensively, because they are rarely disorganized defensively as they don't lose the ball in stupid moments.

What is exactly the opposite to how United play, as apparently we are happy to play the chances game (this is underdog tactic, will get you some freak results sometimes but is not sustainable long term - and that's the reason why so many people are moaning about WH and AV games).
 

Rodgerzzz

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Oct 7, 2014
Messages
212
I thought 4-4-2 was having a resurgence in defensive phases as the good ol' 2 banks of 4 was good at nullifying space in between the lines and easy to shift across the field in a switch of play. Going forward it gets difficult because different players use different movements to overload different areas of the pitch, limit turnovers, and as others have mentioned, maintain control.

4-4-2 seems more to evoke the bucaneering ideas of wing play as opposed to the merits of the actual formation itself. There's nothing stopping a team in a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 having both wide forwards & wing backs whipping crosses in to a big man in the box for example.
 

fps

Full Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
5,456
I feel it must be something as simple as a winger getting to the byline and crossing opens up a space if the cross is no good for the other team to surge into. But I find football pretty dull mostly these days, would love some bold attacking play to come back.
 

Valencia Shin Crosses

Full Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2015
Messages
6,214
Location
"Martial...He's isolated Skrtel here..."
Jose put an end to this in the Premier League. His early Chelsea teams in that 4-3-3 formation absolutely dominated with the extra body in midfield. Even SAF ended-up switching to 4-5-1 for big games.

Pep then took it a step further by playing in a manner that meant he always had a least one more body in CM than the opponent. Remember that ludicrous game when he played Barcelona as Bayern manager and fielded a 2-7-1 formation?

One of the reasons getting the ball out wide and crossing it has gone out of fashion @Ronaldo's Love Child is that crosses are "high-risk / low percentage" actions and often result in losing possession and dangerous turnovers.

See on Sunday, EtH described the game as being a "tennis match" at times. Modern managers hate that end-to-end, 'you have a go, we have a go' style of football because it creates variance, and variance leads to shock results.

Control is the aim of the game. Its why the best teams now, like City, score more points than the best teams in the 90s/00s...because with his massive squad of clones and regimented style of controlled football, Pep has reduced the variance massively and therefore the best team (his team) nearly always wins.
Was about to respond but yeah this post sums it up perfectly. “Control” isn’t just about hoarding the ball, it’s minimizing danger within the game which is what the Pep City teams have done better than almost any team in recent history. They’ll lose the ball but get it back in 3 seconds because they are coached and have the perfect profiles to just choke the space out of the pitch.
 

bosnian_red

Worst scout to ever exist
Joined
Aug 13, 2011
Messages
57,247
Location
Canada
It's not just about tactics... A lot is, but if Sir Alex came in, had the same players as 1999 and played the same way as that 2nd half of the season ... We'd still be an elite side. Likewise the late 2000's team (just scale up the physical advances). That 1999 team had some extremely press resistant players in there and world class players all around who would've dealt just fine with modern tactics. We wouldn't have been as good, as tactical changes would have been required too, but it still would've been a top side.

You don't need to be a Pep-lite to win the league and be an elite side. But you 100% need a quality out of possession, pressing play and you need to be a press resistant and dynamic side ok the ball where your players can dribble with the ball to unsettle systems. Direct wingers who can take their fullbacks on are huge in current football.
 

Oranges038

Full Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
11,423
Was about to post this.
Maybe not the 4-4-2 but the old exploit the flanks and spam crosses to create chaos
Aye, they just relentlessly spam balls into the box and pick up second balls and bits and pieces off the chaos they create. Obviously the delivery and making the space for it is important, but having watched them quite a few times this season I think it's actually quite amazing they are top for so long playing such shite football.
 

Basa1987

Full Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2010
Messages
373
Location
26 years worth of debt!
Teams don't play with simple formations anymore. They have specific formations for different phases of play and it's all very choreographed.

For me it's taken the joy and creativity from the game seeing managers completely control what players do. Ole spoke about it this week.

The current football style of playing from the back is probably the least enjoyable for me to watch. I think the most aligned I am with a managers tactics is Klopp. He wants to initiate attack as soon as his team regains the ball, irrespective of where that is. Whether they win the ball back high or low he wants his team to counter straight away. I like that.
It's very similar to what we are trying to do, except that we are much less successful in doing this, partly due to our deep players not having good passing skills (Casemiro) or some really stupid decision making even if we make it upfield after recovering the ball (Rash, Bruno, Garna).
 

lex talionis

Full Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2017
Messages
13,279
Formation matters far less than frame of mind. We lose composure in the final third where greed overcomes teamwork. Rashford and Antony kills our attacks because their instinct is to look for shots above all else, match results be damned.
 

The Corinthian

I will not take Mad Winger's name in vain
Joined
Dec 10, 2020
Messages
10,983
We’re so behind tactically that we skipped the possession trend totally and are now trying to learn counter pressing and gengepressing.
 

Longshanks

Full Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
1,724
Aye, they just relentlessly spam balls into the box and pick up second balls and bits and pieces off the chaos they create. Obviously the delivery and making the space for it is important, but having watched them quite a few times this season I think it's actually quite amazing they are top for so long playing such shite football.
It's because they commit players to make runs into the box they nearly always have 3/4 attacking the 'spams' in the box, they then relentlessly counter press off the back of it and nearly always immediately play forward back into danger area immediately during the chaos. Opposition teams simply can't reset and get back into position because they do everything very quickly without delay.

It's about being brave and commiting the players to attack the box and press high.

Some teams spam crosses in but don't really commit the players to attack them, including us quite often you will see crosses going in with just the CF attacking it. Most of our players are around the edge of the box normally when crosses are going in. The winner against villa was unusual because we actually had two players attacking the six yard box, the reason Mctom had space in the middle of the six yard box to score was because the CBs were pre occupied with Hojlund. Amazing things happen if your willing the commit players to the box.
 

Superden

Full Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
2,030
For a 442 you need wide players who are wide midfielders rather than out and out wingers...not many of them around...

Suppose we could play a front 2 of Rash and Rasmus and then you'd have Case and Mainoo as CMs and then possible Garnacho and Dalot (?) As RM and LM. No room for the likes of Bruno, Antony, McTominany, Mount etc