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Quiet Leadership: 22 June 2022

Wednesday Edition of the Daily Merengue

The Daily Merengue is a place where you can feel free to discuss all things football. Do not be alarmed by the overt RMCF bias. It’s in the name!

Shoutout to the mods who do a fantastic job, Valyrian Steel, Kung Fu Zizou, Ezek lx, NeRObutBlanco and YoSnail.

4-4-2 back in the rumour.

Another source, this time is Tomás González, stated that Ancelotti’s plan for next season is the 4-4-2 with Tchouameni and another midfielder in a double pivot. In this case, Vinicius-Benzema would be the “two” in the attack. It is also expected that Valverde, Camavinga and Rodrygo play more next season.

Regarding the defense line, Rüdiger and Militao will be the starting CBs. Alaba will play both CB and LB, but mainly as LB. He will rotate with Mendy according to the opponent.

Quiet Leadership

When this rumour about the 4-4-2 started a couple of days ago, I remembered that Carlo like the system. Then, to have more insights about this possible idea, I went back to his book Quiet Leadership: Hearts, Minds and Matches. In it, the Italian coach wrote:

My job is to create a system of play using the characteristics of the players and to make the players as comfortable as possible with that system. I believe that, in general terms, the best system is 4-4-2 because it creates the most balanced team, certainly defensively. It mirrors the shape of the pitch, a rectangle. But, as I’ve said, the players are the most important. If it is better for Ronaldo not to play as a second forward, OK, let’s try 4-3-3. At the end at Real Madrid, we were able to switch, during the game, from 4-4-2 defensively to 4-3-3 offensively.

In another chapter, he compared the 4-4-2 and the 4-3-3:

I have now learned to be more flexible although I still believe that 4-4-2 is the outstanding defensive system. You have the best coverage of the pitch, it is simpler to press forward and press high, with coverage behind the pressing players. With 4-3-3, for example, although you can press high because you have three strikers, it can expose limitations in midfield behind those forwards, especially on the flanks. Also, if your forwards are not great at defending it can be easier for defenders to bypass them and get into the next line with superior numbers. This is less likely with 4-4-2, where you can bring in the wide players to bolster the midfield so that your central players are not overwhelmed.

There is, of course, a downside that can be exposed in 4-4-2. When you are attacking you have to use a lot more lateral passes to get forward and then deliver into the scoring zone, whereas with 4-3-3 you can move the ball through the lines quicker and attack more centrally. Perhaps the ultimate will be the Guardiola vision of eleven midfielders – even the goalkeeper. This is not so crazy, because if you play with a high line then the goalkeeper has to be fast and competent with his feet, like Manuel Neuer at Bayern Munich or Hugo Lloris at Tottenham.

In the comments, Juninho said the price tag dictates the chances being given. Even thought the rumours so far give some support that Tchouaméni is a starter , Carlo mentioned the price tag vs starter role in his book:

With Cristiano Ronaldo I initially thought that the easiest way was to play him with Karim Benzema as a striker. That way, I could play James Rodríguez on the right, with Bale on the left and Modrić and another in the middle. People say that I had to play James because the president spent so much money on him after the World Cup, but for me, this was not a factor. The money does not matter once the player is at the club; I wanted James in the side because of his football qualities. He’s unselfish and a hard worker – a true professional.

Short Video

Matt and Kyian discussed the possible 4-4-2: