Since our loss to West Ham I’ve seen a few articles stating that we don’t have the personnel to make 4-5-1 work properly at the moment and should revert back to a 4-4-2.

They’re not wrong about the 4-5-1 not working, but I think that they are about the second point. The basic problem is that we don’t have a striker available who can make 4-5-1 work. Defoe might, but even that’s a doubt and he’s injured anyway.

That doesn’t mean though that 4-4-2 is the answer to all our prayers. Because with Defoe out, just who are we going to play up front in a 4-4-2 that is going to make an effective partnership?

The out of form Robbie Keane plays just as deep as Van der Vaart does, so it would make little difference if he came in the side, other than to weaken it. So with Keane out of the equation that leaves Pavkyuchenko and Crouch. They’re not exactly Greaves and Gilzean are they?

If Defoe was around and couldn’t cut it alone, then there would be every reason to switch back to 4-4-2, as he is able to form a reasonably effective partnership with both Pav and Crouch. Unfortunately, he’s not, so all we can do is to persevere with what we’ve got.

I think that Crouch will continue to score goals in Europe as a lone striker. His record supports that, but Premier League defenders are more used to him and his strike rate at home has always been far down on his international and European goal tallies.

I’m not Pavlyuchenko’s biggest fan, but to be fair to him, he hasn’t had a proper chance to show what he could do in a 4-5-1. The only games he’s started this season have been away from home, or in the cup loss to Arsenal. In that game Pav was hampered by the fact that he had absolutely no support from midfield in the first half. Give him a go at home to Villa next week, because he’s shown in the past that when he does get amongst the goals, his confidence rises and more follow.

We basically have a very good team and squad of players, until you come to the strikers. None of them are ideally suited to playing alone, yet ironically, we struggle to establish one decent partnership out of four international forwards. This isn’t breaking news. It was perfectly apparent last season and we all assumed that something would be done about it over the summer.

Fair play to Levy and Harry for buying Van der Vaart, because he was an absolute bargain at the price. You’ve got to say though that as good as that bit of business was, not getting at least one striker in who could operate on his own up front, could prove a costly mistake.

It seems that we thought that unless we could bring in someone like a Fabiano or a Dzeko, then it wasn’t worth getting anyone. The fact is though that we’d be in a better position now, if we’d purchased someone who wasn’t necessarily better than the strikers we’ve got, but was better suited to the system that we need to change to.

If we’d signed Kevin Doyle, no one would be wetting their pants with excitement, but he’d be better in a 4-5-1 than what we’ve got. Kenwyne Jones would have been met with equal apathy, but having been bought for an affordable £8m, has now scored in four successive games as a lone striker for Stoke.

That’s not to mention Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who was also transferred for an affordable fee and has scored three in five for Schalke. Then there’s Asamoah Gyan, who was one of the best lone forwards on show at the World Cup and has got off to a good start for Sunderland.

None of those players would have broke the bank, but would have given us an option in a system that Redknapp was openly talking about converting to. All would have represented a gamble in one way or the other, but when we knew for a fact that what we had wasn’t good enough, what was wrong with having a punt?

I don’t think it’s the system that’s really at fault. It’s the strikers who aren’t good enough. Considering that we are strongest in midfield, we should continue to pack this area with quality.



  1. That’s all well and good, but it requires the midfielders to chip in with goals regularly, and they haven’t been doing this in either formation

  2. I think that the fact that Hudd was the one bursting into the box to try and score shows that we are playing the formation wrong. Someone should have a mandate to get into the box as often as possible from midfield. VdV wants to be deeper, and so does Modders. My problem with 4-5-1, is that most people want this formation because other teams don’t play 4-4-2. But those teams still manage to squeeze in 2 strikers – either playing left or playing in a withdrawn role. I do not want to persist with 4-5-1, because we will not score as many goals.

  3. IMO the formation works fine: when we have bale on the wing. The system requires players to go beyond the striker, in our case that fits best with the speedy Bale and Lennon darting into the box. The other SERIOUS issue is the defence: the injuries have forced us into continual rotation and you build a team from the back. Without confidence at the back the midfielders will feel uncomfortable moving forward and the team is hamstrung. We NEED Gomes/Dawson back soon as the addition of either one will dramatically improve the side. Injuries are stopping the team being a team. Having a deep squad is all well and good but no team plays well with this level of changes and rotations: every week is a new defensive partnership, a new formation/system and a new key injury. Most other clubs would be in the relegation zone by now with injuries like this.

  4. Have to agree with the last comment, we r liiiiiiight
    weighttsssss up top. Defoe for me is only just a bit better
    than the other misfit’s of (Scoring)science, reckon we should
    not get carried away with the media biased and spin and except the realistic side to supporting Spurs(Up’s followed by jaw shattering low’s)..

  5. Playing 4-5-1 is fine if everyone chips in. Van der Vaart is all over the place and seems to know what he is going to do or wants to do with the ball. Everyone else isn’t on that page yet. We need to quicken the pace of our movement with and without the ball. Once this is done we will be good.

    Lennon is out of form, but I don’t think he is too far away. We have seen glimpses, so when it finally arrives it will be a drastic improvement; especially if Hutton continues his rise from shit to mediocre and to the player we first saw when he came south. The same can be said of Palacios, but he is forgiven considering what happened to him and his family last year. Who is to say when he’ll come back to the form we know and love. Sandro is another who once he gains full fitness and adjusts to the Premiership and the English lifestyle, will be great acquisition.

    Then again all this doesn’t help when you include our current injury defensive crisis to the equation.

    It will take time and I have no doubt it will happen; however we need it to happen quick because we can’t fall off too far back from the pack. Luckily for us, the rest haven’t taken off as one would expect, except for Chelsea until they met Citeh.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.