Why the 4-3-3 has made football formations redundant

Much is made of formations in the modern world of football, with each and every top team attempting to innovative and reinvent the beautiful game. One of the most popular formations throughout history is the 4-3-3 formation. Those who view the game with a simplistic mindset would tell you it involves four defenders, three midfielders and three attackers. That certainly appears to be the case on the face of it, but is that how it works in reality? Or is 4-3-3 an amalgamation of several different tactics, effectively killing off the concept of a starting formation?

The Most Popular Formations in MLS [Quick Take]

Similar to our prior overview of The Most Popular Formations in Europe’s Top 5 Leagues (2020-2021 season), we now look at the most popular formations in MLS during the 2021 season (up until the time of writing - early September 2021). With most sides over two-thirds of the way through the regular season, it’s prime time to find form and compete for a playoff spot. And while preparation for success is managed differently by all, settling on a formation (or at least a general style of play) is a great sign that a team has found its collective identity. As such, final tallies for the season will undoubtedly change, but here are the numbers as they stand... 

Rosters Reimagined! A Post-Transfer Market Tinkering of the EPL’s Big Six [Quick Take]

The transfer window has closed and we’re left with a week of international football to wonder what money truly buys. So for kicks, let’s incorporate the new lads in alternative formations for the Premier League’s “Big Six” and see what cleverness or calamity results…

Quick Take: Tottenham’s tactical tweaks are a subtle genre switch

Tottenham Hotspur are a team in transition. And with all the surrounding newness, it's easy to expect (or, in some cases, hope for) complete novelty, an immediate replacement of old, bad habits and tendencies with new, good ones. Unfortunately, this forecast is more fanciful than fair. Tottenham Hotspur are a team in transition. And with all the surrounding newness, it's easy to expect (or, in some cases, hope for) complete novelty, an immediate replacement of old, bad habits and tendencies with new, good ones. Unfortunately, this forecast is more fanciful than fair. Squad rebuilds are a function of two factors working in dichotomy: time and money. The greater one becomes, the lesser the other can be. In this way, football clubs with immediate access to financial capital can regenerate a squad in short order. For everyone else, it takes time. But even as a slow reconstruction in progress, managers can face significant pressure in the form of tactics reimagined. Realistically, teaching and optimizing a new system of play takes additional time and risks subpar performance in the interim, while simple replication of previous methods will surely be seen as short-sighted redundancy. Into this predictable but unfortunate conundrum stepped Nuno Espirito Santo, a manager who recently traded Wolves’ black and yellow for Spurs’ white and blue. 

How Freiburg beat Dortmund…again – Tactical Analysis

SC Freiburg beat a bruised and battered Borussia Dortmund team on Saturday as part of Matchday 2 in the Bundesliga, with the Black & Yellows looking completely out of sorts in only their second league match under Marco Rose. Here is our analysis of the match!

Man City 5-0 Norwich – Tactical Analysis – How Jack Grealish Fits

Manchester City demolished Norwich City this past weekend in the Premier League's second round of fixtures, with Jack Grealish grabbing his first goal for the club. Here is our analysis of the match, including a special look into how the former Villa captain fits into the squad.

Man United 5-1 Leeds – Tactical Analysis – Pogba’s Masterclass

We're not sure why his hair is blue, but Paul Pogba put on an absolute masterclass this weekend, assisting four goals in Manchester United's stunning 5-1 win over Leeds. It was an incredible performance all ends up from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team, and one that certainly sets them on the right path toward a title hunt this season if they can keep up this sort of form. Here is our analysis of the match. performance all ends up from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team, and one that certainly sets them on the right path toward a title hunt this season if they can keep up this sort of form. Here is our analysis of the match.

Tottenham 1-0 Man City – Tactical Analysis – Nuno’s First Game

Heading into the 2021-22 Premier League season, we were somewhat pessimistic about Nuno's chances to lead Tottenham to better times. But the Portuguese manager got off to a flying start on Sunday, beating the Champions in a surprising 1-0 victory. The match should now give Tottenham fans plenty of hope for the new season, especially given Nuno's intriguing tactical tweaks that benefited Spurs' ability to win the match. Here is our analysis.

Borussia Dortmund 5-2 Eintracht Frankfurt – Tactical Analysis – Marco Rose’s First Game

Borussia Dortmund got off to a flying start in their opening matchday fixture against Eintracht Frankfurt, with Oliver Glasner's side looking completely out of sorts. Marco Rose's men on the other hand completely took the game to Frankfurt, with Haaland, Reus and co. in full flow. Here is our tactical analysis of Dortmund's first match and all the wonders they accomplished.

Quick Take: Most Popular Formations in Europe’s Top 5 Leagues (2020-21)

With the efforts and emotions of the enormously entertaining Euro 2020 still enduring, it’s hard to believe that preseason for many European clubs is already underway. To further set the stage for the impending season, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on last season’s tactical trends. Tallied below are the most popular formations in Europe’s top five leagues as per UEFA association club coefficient (Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1). Enjoy!