Date:Saturday December 30 2006
Formations eh, don`t you just love em? As soon a team has a bad result or there is a poor performance, such as the Orient debacle, the 'F` word rears its ugly head again.
England's horrendous performance in Croatia a couple of months ago highlighted this more than ever with every pundit the length and breadth of the country rubbishing the formation. Surely professional footballers (well that`s apparently what they are) can play pretty much any formation if they are good enough? England, are supposed to have so many great midfielders and yet putting three passes together seemed like asking them to achieve a first class honours degree in astrophysics. To me England`s problems are not so much to do with formation but a number of injuries to key players and a problem with motivation/confidence.
Forest have also been the subject of lots of debate regarding the formation as a result of some insipid performances of late, but the cold hard fact is that a few of the players are not good enough to do the job asked of them, regardless of the formation. Equally, despite the size of the squad, there is a dearth of wide players and left footers resulting in a few square pegs in round holes. For example, Holt cannot pass to save his life and seems to remove a lot of the good from Sammy`s game when he plays alongside him to boot. Grant Holt on the left wing and big Wes playing as a makeshift right back are prime examples of a lack of players who can play in those positions. Therefore, in my humble opinion, the Orient game did not expose our tactics as much as the players or the positions they were occupying
Good players/managers dictate games and good tactics/formations help, but they will not paper over the cracks. We play in a poor league where a little bit of simple, good passing football can make you look like Brazil - just look at the Crewe game for example. No-one mentioned the tactics then did they? The fact is that Crewe allowed us to play but Orient and Bournemouth did not. This exposes the limitations of the players more than the formation
When it comes down to it there are only two standard formations anyway, 4-4-2 and 3-5-2, and although both in come in many guises these days they are still only variations on a theme. Chelsea's oh so effective formation is only that because they have world class players in every position.
It sounds like I am being harsh and a little downcast considering our lofty position but I do still think we will get promotion with this funny 3-4-3 formation we are playing. My only plea is that instead of addressing the formation, we should look at a few of the personnel instead.
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