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The tactic of the lessers this season? Negativity — “a sacrifice of possession for the sake of having two spare men at the back.” Look for lower EPL sides to adopt the World Cup’s regnant 4-2-3-1…not for its attacking virtues, “but the solidity the two midfield holders offer.” (Jonathan Wilson/The Guardian)

(Image credit: agentkevinski/Flickr through a Creative Commons license.)


Reaction Formations

This World Cup was the death knell of the 4-4-2 as an attacking formation, says Jonathan Wilson at Sports Illustrated — unlike the regnant 4-2-3-1, it doesn’t easily create triangles, which are necessary to maintaining possession. But can anything beat the 4-2-3-1? A W-W (or 2-3-2-3) might be the reactive wave, says Dr. Ted at World Cup College, in which “the attacking midfielder can be shut-out by two defensive midfielders.”