I’ve just read an interesting article in The Daily Mail (one of the few that they have published today that isn’t focused on asylum seekers or the cost of the BBC) which focuses on whether Harry Redknapp will change our formation next season.
The author Leo Spall seems pretty sure that Harry will be switching to a 4-3-3, though as the article contains no quotes or actual evidence, it may just be his own opinion as to what Spurs should do.
I must say that it’s an issue that I’ve been considering this season. We have rigidly stuck to 4-4-2, but it’s actually quite a rare occurrence when we meet an opposition using the same formation. Sometimes we can get outnumbered in midfield and therefore it would be useful to be able to have some different tactical options when needed.
Looking at our midfielders, a 4-3-3 formation would surely suit them better than a 4-4-2. It would allow Huddlestone to concentrate on his role as the playmaker in the middle of the park, with others assuming some of his defensive and attacking duties, which either Modric or Kranjcar could play in the centre, supporting the central striker, while the other played as the left-sided attacker.
The problem is our options up front. We tried a 4-3-3 against Arsenal, with Crouch in the centre and with Bentley and Keane on either side of him. It was pretty obvious from the outset that the formation wouldn’t work, as Crouch is just not mobile enough to play on his own up front.
Jermain Defoe is probably too small to play as a lone striker, though we should remember that Clive Allen wasn’t built like Didier Drogba and that Gary Lineker was able to play in a 4-5-1 (as the 4-3-3 formation was perhaps more accurately known as, in the 80s and 90s).
Pavlyuchenko is I suppose, somewhere in between Crouch and Defoe. He’s fairly big and strong, whilst still possessing some mobility and pace. I’m still not convinced though that he won’t be offski in the summer, despite his return to form. Harry might have come round to putting him in the team, but he’s clearly not Pavlyuchenko’s biggest fan.
I don’t think that Harry will make a complete switch to 4-3-3 next season, as it was essentially render most of our existing strikers useless (make your own jokes here), but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were something that he might be looking to have in the locker. Manchester United often flit between 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 (sometimes within the course of a game) and it would be a good option to have.
Thanks to the likes of Mourinho and Benitez, 4-3-3 is often seen as a dour and defensive formation. It doesn’t have to be that way though and few would say that Barcelona are boring, despite their reliance on just one central striker.
If you’ve got four different forwards on the books, surely it would make sense for one of them to have the ability to play up on his own. As for the likely candidate, your guess is as good as mine. I don’t see many options within the Premier League, but maybe we could pull another Berbatov out of left field.
Hang about… that Berbatov fella. Now he could do a job on his own up front…