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#1   Xabi is the Alpha

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:16 AM

We, as is a sports fan's wont, have been known to engage in a bit of discussion on the X's and O's of football. I figured we might be well served by having a place we can discuss the tactical side of our squad.

Let me start it off by talking about an interesting formation that our current roster would allow us to run: a 5-3-1-1
Thats a base of 3 centerbacks, 2 wingbacks patrolling our flanks, 3 central midfielders, 1 AM, 1 Striker.

With Pepe, Albiol, Garay, Carvalho, plus arguably Ramos (and maybe Mateos; still unproven at this level) we have a strong couple of CB's that can form a strong defensive platform. Out left Marcelo is the clear option for wingback. On the right the obvious choice would be Ramos, but it seems like Di Maria could be an even better fit given his tremendous stamina. Remember that the defensive requirements of a WB include less responsibility for shutting down and more for just closing down/containing.

Three central midfielders would give us a chance to maintain a more powerful presence in the center of the park. Xabi Alonso is the first name obviously but after that is a bit more open. Gago has real potential here, while I don't think he works in a 2 man partnership with Xabi, being in a trio would potentially work. Khedira and Lass are also viable options here depending on who is in form and Granero would fit well into such a system. The final option, which would be more more experimental would be Canales.

The position off the striker is where we are overrun with options: Kaka, Cron, Ozil and Canales in his more familiar role. As for the striker: Bemzema or Cron; maybe Morata if he continues to prove himself.

It is more defensive minded than our usual 4-2-4 formation, but at the same time it gives the outside backs more freedom to express their football and pull the ball wide. With three centerbacks, there is more central coverage if one of our backs wants to push up forward as a few are known to enjoy doing. Additionally, the inclusion of just one more midfielder could really facilitate a more physical presence on the ball. It also allows for the realistic inclusion of Granero and Gago into the side.

Of course there are drawbacks. As already mentioned, the inclusion of just one AM is the bottleneck of talent. At best one of Kaka or Ozil is going to be spending time on the sidelines and that requires Ronaldo to play striker which is something I am not entirely comfortable with. Shifting from 3 AMs and 1 Striker to 1 and 1 also lowers the options in the final third. This formation is also is pretty contingent on the right set of players being available- Arbeloa is not suited for the WB position so two out of Marcelo (L) Ramos ® or Di Maria (LR) must be available... maybe Lass could do it too?

This is definitely not a general purpose formation, but I would be fascinated to see it used in particular situations. Perhaps going into Lyon? Mourinho flirted with something like this in the second half of the Villarreal match, although the two wingbacks were a little higher up the pitch so more like wide midfielders.

We will probably never see it... but wouldn't it be awesome! Or we could just go with that 4-3-3 everyone keeps talking about. But that sounds so boring. :harhar:

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#2   Mike

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:31 AM

You know I was actually thinking about the 5 defender formation, funny that you posted it.

I'd love to see something like this:

-----------------------------------------------------Iker----------------------------------------------------------------
------------------Albiol---------------------------Carvalho--------------------------Pepe--------------------------
----Ramos-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Marcelo---------
---------------------------------Lass/Gago/Granero--------------Xabi-----------------Khedira--------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------Kaka---------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------Ronaldo---------------------------------------------


But this would mean benching Di Maria + Ozil :g:

unc1Fut.jpg


#3   Tre

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:35 PM

Seriously, five defenders? Di Maria as fullback? That is lame man. We need more players in midfield, not in defence.

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#4   Xabi is the Alpha

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:56 PM

Not as fullback, as wingback Tre ;) .
Really the formation could as easily be called a 3-5-1-1, but in Madrid it seems unless you are a DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER then you have pretty much no duties at back and 5-3-1-1 just sounds more exotic. The two wingbacks would certainly have to track back when we lose possession, but wouldn't necessarily be relied on to prevent the counter or maintain rigid defensive positioning . Fullbacks are shackled, wingbacks are not.

Truth be told, I am enamored with set-up that Guardiola has where the fullbacks ARE wingbacks and one of the mids drops back as a CB when they are having those long spells of possession as the two centerbacks spread out wide to close down space for a counter. I just don't think we have the personnel to pull it off nor the team cohesion.

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#5   Nando

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 07:58 PM

I see that 3 defender formation more as a viable resource rather than a first plan of action.

It's clear that something needs to be done though.. I wonder what we'll see against Atleti.


#6   ivan1real

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 08:06 PM

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#7   Xabi is the Alpha

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 09:06 PM

I see that 3 defender formation more as a viable resource rather than a first plan of action.

Yeah its not a firs choice general purpose formation, but tactical flexibility is something to be valued and it is different from the all too familiar 4-3-3

Posted Image

So basically what we do now, but with Ramos in CB and Ronaldo up top, Kaka taking Ronaldo's vacated position?

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#8   El Madridista

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 09:09 PM

I don't understand how that formation would help solve our problems?

#9   Artur Mas i Gavarró

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 09:20 PM

The solution is simple, against tough opponents take off Benzema and replace him with Granero/Gago

VITRIOLIC


#10   Xabi is the Alpha

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:03 PM

I don't understand how that formation would help solve our problems?

Gives Marcelo the freedom to push as a creative wide force where Cristiano is constantly pressing inward, without posing a defensive liability. Lets us put up more of a fight in midfield. This seems like a fix for two issues that our team occasionally faces

The solution is simple, against tough opponents take off Benzema and replace him with Granero/Gago

Playing without a reference up top does not seem like an adequate solution given how we have performed in said scenario so far this campaign. I know I know you will say something about how Benzema is shit- whatevs, he is still one of the few options we have for a necessary position.

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#11   Resurrección

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:30 PM

I see that 3 defender formation more as a viable resource rather than a first plan of action.

It's clear that something needs to be done though.. I wonder what we'll see against Atleti.


We have no midfield, it's even worse with Tiago out. Alonso could do this one on his own.

Derek

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.


#12   El Madridista

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:43 PM

Gives Marcelo the freedom to push as a creative wide force where Cristiano is constantly pressing inward, without posing a defensive liability. Lets us put up more of a fight in midfield. This seems like a fix for two issues that our team occasionally faces


Playing without a reference up top does not seem like an adequate solution given how we have performed in said scenario so far this campaign. I know I know you will say something about how Benzema is shit- whatevs, he is still one of the few options we have for a necessary position.

Sorry, I meant to reply in response to Ivan's post.


#13   Nando

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 08:17 AM

We have no midfield, it's even worse with Tiago out. Alonso could do this one on his own.


Maybe you guys should start Mario Suarez ;)


#14   Resurrección

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 11:51 AM

I hear he's been hanging out with Madridistas, not sure what to think of that.

Derek

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.


#15   Artur Mas i Gavarró

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 09:24 PM

Rewatched yesterdays match, and it seems that Kaka was playing center forward when Benze-Na (as Marca puts it) came off. I was reminded of this article, the 'cat' formation as Mourinho puts it.

Also, Ramos is a brilliant CB, I don't want to see him at RB.

VITRIOLIC