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Death to the 4-5-1

4 5 1 Death to the 4 5 1Very early in the 2005/2006 Premiership season, all of the talk was about the 4-5-1 formation and how Bolton, especially, was being effective yet boring after Allardyce used the formation to grind out results.

What we’ve seen in the 2006 World Cup is the 4-5-1 formation being used to similar results, unfortunately to the detriment of the game.

England had been using it for the entire tournament. While it was effective, it was probably the most boring display by England in recent memory. Even France, renowned for being skillful and imaginative in midfield and attack, employed the 4-5-1 formation against Brazil and they eeked out the 1-0 result to reach the semi-finals.

Unfortunately, it’s killing the game. All it does is enable teams to hold on to a nil-nil score and then hope (in the case of Beckham and Henry) that a goal can be scored from a set play such as a free kick.

While it’s a horrible tactic, the bad news is that it is effective. It wins matches. It bores fans, but managers don’t seem to care. In England’s case, it was their eventual downfall. Portugal was there for the taking. England’s entire team possessed more skill and creativity to win the match before it even started. But by playing the 4-5-1, England leveled the playing field and ensured the safe but conservative 0-0 draw. Death to the 4-5-1. Repeat after me, death to the 4-5-1.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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One Response to Death to the 4-5-1

  1. Rampart says:

    This is like the 1995 New Jersey Devils killing offensive-minded hockey with the boring but effective neutral zone trap.

    I agree that the 4-5-1 has really turned off a lot of new viewers to the game. Many of my friends, who gave the sport a watch at my insistence, found the sport to be as boring as the US media makes it out to be.

    So, how do you get away from the 4-5-1? (FIFA President) Sepp Blatter made a comment about the low scoring games, and he seems to be unhappy about it. Could some sort of new rules be put in place to add to the offense?

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