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Tactics Tuesday: The 4-2-3-1 Implemented

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We have talked length about the 4-2-3-1 but now I want to look at in action.

Claudio Villa

I spent some time explaining why I believed the 4-2-3-1 didn't work. Now I am not sitting here ringing the bell of failure on Clarence's 4-2-3-1, nor do I want to this to be a comparison of the last guy. But two weeks into his tenure, I think it is safe to take a look at of some the problems we experienced before and are we seeing progress or is it still the same. Now one thing we can all agree on, there were problems with this team before Clarence and there are still problems today. I want to look at few of them, and share a diagram I created back at Thanksgiving.

Pressurecoverbreakdown_medium

1. Defensive Exposure

The diagram above was to show what happens if pressure doesn't occur high up the pitch. It causes a breakdown and allows an opening for the opponent. With Robinho playing wide left and Honda/Kaka being swapped, I think this is actually worse than better. Having Honda wide is causing him significant issues in getting involved in the play and exposing Kaka a bit. While Kaka has done a tremendous job in working hard, you can't ask a plumber to wire a light bulb it isn't his experise. Even in his hey day he preyed on the wings and the space between the CB and fullback. If Seedorf is boldly claim he plays his players where they play best, then he needs to take a look again or be labelled a hypocrite.

2. Attack

The 4-2-3-1 was supposed to ring in a new GLORIOUS attack, but in four games two goals have come from open play the rest from set pieces. One of the open play goals came from a defender, and while Honda is doing a great job getting into positions to score, he simple isn't. Robinho on the left has been inconsistent, and Kaka in the middle has not been allowed to roam free as noted above. What is occurring is Kaka is taking on some short quick passing and defensive duties and while the passing free flowing the end product has not been.

3. Double Pivot

For those that don't know, the double pivot is the midfield duo behind the 3 man attacking midfield line. It is called a double pivot because of the movement and ability for one to push forward and one to hang back. For Milan right now this is not working. NDJ is no rookie to the double pivot but his partners have not helped the system flourish. Muntari's passing Sunday was a problem and Montolivo's recognition of when to get forward and when not, was a big problem. The point of the dual pivot is to keep the defense guessing and give free runs forward, this is no happening at Milan currently, can it? Sure, but it will take some time to develop.

I am not sour on this move, and with the right personnel, there is hope. But I don't like relying on hope, I would prefer to see a plan and the right players to help the plan along. Thoughts?