Squad shape/formations

Discussion in 'Bluemoon forum' started by WallyA, 30 May 2017.

  1. WallyA


    21 Dec 2016
    In regards to all the potential signings to be done, I couldn't stop thinking about how to best maximize the squad's strengths utilizing the players we will have and use rotation to the maximum.

    4-3-3 is still fine and will probably be used next season (although Pep loves for try new formation, and will no doubt experiment when he gets his new toys), but I think with proper fullbacks he will go 3 at the back, I think this formation also fixes any problem with fullback depth If we assume Pep buys only one LB and RB.

    I think the formation works best when you play with a true fullback on one-side and a winger on the other, you can see this done throughout all the top teams using it:

    Arsenal: Chamberlain LB (winger) and Bellerin RB (fullback)
    Chelsea: Alonso LB (fullback) and Moses RB (winger)
    Juventus: Sandro LB (fullback) and Cuadrado RB (winger)

    This is the squad I can imagine next season assuming all the rumours we have heard about, I have denoted a forward slash for the players they would rotate with:

    Kevin/(D Silva, B Silva or Roberts could also rotate here)
    Mendy/Sane | D Silva/Gundogan | Toure/(Fabinho or Carvalho) | B. Silva/Roberts | Sterling/Walker


    Okay I didn't fill out the defenders or goalkeeper because they weren't what I focused on, whoever we add to our current set should be good hopefully, be we need ATLEAST 1 more CB for this to work.

    The idea of this set up is to use players who are best outwide and stick them there, for example I question whether Sane works best cutting on the left when he has an overlapping LB, Sane's strengths is to stretch the pitch and use pace, he doens't need a fullback to assist him here.

    The added benefit is that fullbacks have cover in the form of wingers, one game Sane and Walker could be used (where Walker is the more defensive one) and the next Mendy and Sterling can be used. This also gives my favourite loanee Patrick Roberts more game time, as both he and B Silva are flexible in this formation to play as the RCM or CAM (and give Kevin rest).

    One BIG reason I like this formation is the four man midfield diamond with: Toure, Gundogan, B. Silva, D. Silva for example, I picked the 4 best players at retaining the ball and Pep often did this at Barcelona with a quartet of Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi

    I know alot of people on this forum dislike the 3 at the back, but what do you think about this with the new signings?
    Last edited: 30 May 2017
  2. WallyA


    21 Dec 2016
    I know Pep doesn't have a preferred system and likes to vary things around, but every season he has managed he has tended to stick to one formation more persistently than others.

    At Barcelona he used 4-3-3, and in his last season, in trying to evolve Barca's play, he used a 3-6-1 formation, or more accurately a 3-1-4-1-1 formation.

    The reason for this transition becomes clear when you think about why teams used 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1, these systems were used to have a 3-man midfield and overcome the classic 4-4-2's 2-man midfield. But after a while everyone started using 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 to great effect, hence the natural evolution was to employ a 4-man midfield, but Pep was unable to get Barcelona to fully fit that system, it was too different and didn't rely on fullback-winger partnerships that Messi and Alves excelled in for example.

    As mentioned above, I say 3-6-1 and not 3-5-2 because if you watched our pre-season you will see that one of the strikers always dropped very deep (Jesus usually did in the Jesus-Aguero partnership), and when Bernardo Silva got his first sub appearance he was played as one of the 'strikers', in reality it was a playmaking role. If you watch highlights of the West Ham game Sterling played as the lone striker and Bernardo was given the role of 'just be everywhere'. I have arguments for why this formation will work for us going forward:

    1. Midfield dominance: As mentioned at the beginning this formation gives us a 4-man midfield diamond which favours Guardiola massively obviously. I think this suits the squad because we have an abundance of midfield players, which would see Gundogan, Foden, Diaz and possibly Roberts get meaningful game time in rotation.

    2. Aguero just attacks: In the 4-3-3 we saw Jesus drop deep regularly and how all City fans loved his energy going up and down the pitch, Jesus going in the midfield gave us a 4-man midfield, albeit with no striker option (usually a winger would stay up). In this formation, Jesus or whoever the other 'striker' is can do this, and Aguero can stay up top and just score goals, I think this suits Aguero more.

    3. No pivots, or 3 pivots?: Toure is the pivot in the 3-6-1, but really, the system works without a pivot, the reason for this is the 3 CBs, all 3 have the freedom to go forward and spray passes to the wingbacks or through to the strikers, hence Yaya's role becomes less necessary. I see this as good news because currently in our system Yaya and Dinho play this pivot role and are very old (34 and 32 respectively) and I think any of our midfielders can slot into this role in the future, Gundogan I'm fairly confident can. In the preseason match against West Ham, Toure regularly pushed into their penalty box, he has this freedom with 3 defenders behind him.

    4. Kevin's freedom: When pressing in a 3-5-2 often Kevin will be the midfielder to join the strikers and press as a RW, this formation affords Kevin more attacking freedom based on simple numbers: In a 4-3-3 there are naturally 3 players ahead of him, so he has more midfield-defending duties, in a 3-5-2 there are naturally 2 players ahead of him... freedom.

    5. Works if you have wingbacks with technical skill, energy and pace: Which Mendy, Walker and Danilo have. This is really the only downside to any 3 at the back system, the wingbacks, if you have amazing wingbacks then 3 at the back becomes the best formation.

    These are just my initial thoughts on the system, please feel free to criticize my naivety and destroy me.
  3. 2bluejacko


    12 Oct 2010
    Can only see positives in this, superb post
  4. Corky


    8 Dec 2005
    I can see 3 4 1 or 3 3 2 1.

    The match Paul Lake got injured Villa had a 3 3 3 1 under Venglos and it raised a few eyebrows - is that like your 3 6 1?
  5. franksinatra


    25 Nov 2008
    Not for me sadly. Not enough goals in that side,lack of pace in wide attacking positions and too many midfielders without the desire to score or break into the box. The formation may work if we had a Deli Alli type midfielder who would hit 20 goals and make the extra man but with the two Silvas and KDB there natural instinct is to sit on the edge of the box.

    For me this system would result in 90 percent posession but sides just defending deep knowing there is little creativity in wide areas. Also with the exception of Aguero and Jesus no players to run beyond the striker or break into the box. It would support the continual recycling of the ball horizontally we see when City are struggling with ideas to break teams down.

    Also I think the side would lose its ability to counter. One of the features last year was seeing Sane/Sterling charging down the flanks and KDB/Silva slipping the ball in behind the fullback. Also as the opposition was concerned about our pace on the counter/transition it made it more difficult for teams to press high, leaving space behind for our fast players to exploit so the oppositions defence was less likely to defend on the half way line which enabled more space for our midfield to dictate the game and find space inbetween the lines to execute that final pass.

    Next season for me it should be a front three with Jesus replacing Sterling to add more of a goal threat as our failing last year was our inability to convert our chances and lack of players inside the box.

    Jesus by instinct will naturally make those runs being a striker and unlike Sterling appears a natural finisher. Its tough on Sterling but sadly Silva is also not a natural scorer, similarly KDB rarely gets into the box so we cannot afford one of the attacking three as well as the two 8s who rarely score.
    Last edited: 6 Aug 2017
  6. KS55


    14 Oct 2016
    Lots to like in this post. Remember when Pep turned out Barca with Eric Abidal as the only recognised defender? He believes in midfielders playing any and all positions. Keep circulating, as Terry Venables used to say.
    I think you can get away without a pivot if you play three at the back, be interesting trying. Use it against a poor attacking side like...er...manure. Only one criticism..if you think 32 is really old, boy am I in trouble.
  7. caseball


    31 Jul 2016
    What I found interesting wasn't so much the formation but the fact that the team played three different types of football during the match. The first half was played in a fairly direct simple style getting early crosses in and pressing very hard. The second half started out less urgent and more patient but we smothered West Ham before developing a really intricate style of short passing at the end of the second half. The personnel dictates how the team plays and Zinchenko and Foden had a big influence on the play towards the end of the game. They obviously love that style along with the two Silvas and KDB. I wonder if we'll ever see so many of them on the pitch again. I thought it was an entertaining 90 minutes, not without faults but promising. Kompany looked a bit ropey but he's entitled to the odd one. We need to improve setting up and taking chances still. Good to see Fernandinho and Walker slotting comfortably into the middle of the back 3.
  8. bugsyblue


    7 May 2009
    Only downside is we only have three first team centre backs. If we play 3 at the back more often this season absolutely need more cover in case of injuries/suspensions.
  9. Mancity1980


    12 May 2011
    The more I think about this, the more I wonder if pep is going to buy mbappe, Sanchez and a class cb (like bonucci but not him obviously)? You could be looking at a transfer window with a gross spend approaching half a billion pounds? As excited as I am for the new season that does not sit easy with me.
  10. Andrew___K


    20 Aug 2016
    Well, that's not true. The RCB and LCB in the 343 system that emerged in Holland and was later developed by Cruyff at Barca are "hybrid" defenders that have to combine CB's qualities (physical power and aerial ability) with a skillset of a fullback (ability to cover large spaces and engage in pressing, quickly moving forward). The second part is more important, no surprise that JC himself used fullbacks like Sergi Barjuan there.
    Besides, RCB and LCB are supposed to have a lot of time on the ball, moving slightly inside and acting like 'pivots', playing a crucial role in the ball circulation. Means serious playmaking qualities are also needed.

    So, potentially an ideal LCB/RCB for such system is a player like Mendy (Abidal, Thuram), not slow and erratic Otamendi.

    Guardiola used the setup with 3ATB for the first time in an opening game of 2011/12 La Liga, Barca-Villareal, it ended 5-0, the effectiveness of an old/new system immediately catched attention.

    There's a couple of articles explaining the advantages of Cruyff/Pep 3CB system, using that game as an example.

    Also, enjoy a video of JC jokingly 'explaining' the reasons for using 3ATB:

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