Sleeps in Firmino's jersey
- Mar 29, 2011
ON THE BALL:
The gameplan revolves around getting Best, Puskas, Gullit and Riva onto the ball in dangerous positions to run at Pat's defence. Beckenbauer is introduced to the midfield to form a robust and energetic partnership with Tigana to gain control of the middle of the park. We will look to find gaps, particularly behind the wing-backs if Pat keeps the 3-4-2-1, with Puskas thundering home any scraps. On the flanks the trickery of Best is as good as it gets and he is complemented in style by the athleticism and directness of Gullit, who, like Riva and Puskas, will relish attacking Best's deliveries.
OFF THE BALL:
Defensively I expect solid work rate from the front through Riva, Gullit and Best with Beckenbauer and Tigana squeezing space to limit the service to Pat's front three. Gullit will drop into the midfield effort to make best use of his supreme athleticism and all-round game. Defending Zico/Cruyff requires some consideration and the double pivot of Beckenbauer and Tigana will help to shut down the areas in which they could potentially be dangerous.
Passarella leads the defence to capitalise on his uncompromising leadership. At left-back Nilton Santos offers class on the ball and defensive acumen off it. On the right McGrain is defensively rock solid and feed the ball early up to Gullit and Beckenbauer. Both full-backs can tuck inside to deal with Pat's central attacking threat - Nilton a former LCB in a three, then recognised as part of the Team of the Tournament in the 1954 Wrold Cup. In the middle Wright's 2nd place in the Ballon D'Or has only been matched by the class of Beckenbauer, Baresi, Facchetti, Sammer and Cannavaro. Together with Passarella the pair match up well to Seeler and possess plenty of spring, dynamism, general class and reading of the game.
- Best looks well placed as a potential match winner as the apex of a high calibre left flank with Nilton Santos against Arce.
- Strong central midfield partnership that should gain meaningful control of the game, protecting the team against Pat's major threat and linking defence with attack.
We're playing a moderate-high defensive line and aim to play the match on the front foot, with a necessary seam of pace and technical ability running through the backline. Elias Figueroa provides a massive injection in quality at the heart of our defence, while our other acquisition Francisco Arce is a stylistic replica of the much-maligned Alexander-Arnold, with the added advantage of being neither a Liverpool player nor a 21 year old - his seven consecutive appearances in El Pais' South American Team of the Year from 1996 and 2002 testify to both his quality and his longevity. Paul McGrath's shift to RCB will provide Arce with the requisite support against George Best, and all three CBs match up well against the bruising power of Riva and Gullit. Ahead of them, Redondo and Tardelli function as a DLP/B2B combo, with Redondo taking the lead in our deeper build-up play.
"That those channels between the centre-back and the full-back are vulnerable is no great revelation. The vast majority of strike pairings would look to probe in those areas. Pulling them deeper, into the gap between defensive and midfield zones, complicated matters for the defending side even further, which is why the Christmas Tree formation, the 4-3-2-1, pioneered by Co Adriaanse at Den Haag, practised briefly by England under Terry Venables and dissected in his Coverciano thesis by Carlo Ancelotti, enjoyed a surge of popularity in the early 90s.The problem with the Christmas Tree, though, was that, even with attacking full-backs, it lacked width and so was relatively easy to shut down...Add a third centre-back and the full-backs could be pushed much higher, as wing-backs and beyond. And so was born the 3-4-2-1."
Deployed in recent years by the likes of Conte and Guardiola, both of whom shamelessly stole the concept from Brendan Rodgers, the 3-4-2-1 was chosen to provide Cruyff and Zico with as much creative liberty as possible. With two genuine wing backs in Demyanenko and Arce providing the width, and the intelligent and selfless Seeler leading the line, Cruyff and Zico are afforded a level of positional freedom to probe for space and interlink that will be difficult for the opposition to handle.
Cruyff and Zico:
The obvious question that pops up whenever someone gets their mitts on two GOAT-calibre players like Cruyff and Zico are whether or not they're compatible. Firstly, I don't see any obvious personality clash there, with Zico seemingly being a modest, amiable sort who isn't likely to get embroiled in an ego-clash with Cruyff. Secondly and more substantively, I don't view Zico as a particlarly dominant playmaker, but rather someone who would often play a more restrained role in the deeper build up and spring to life in the final third, where his interplay with Cruyff would be a treat to watch. The tactical framework should enhance their compatibility too, with the attacking WBs stretching the play horizontally, and the versatility and intelligence of Seeler's movement patterns creating space and opportunities for positional interchange.