Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Shape Of Scotland

I must admit that I should be thinking about the preview pieces for the start of the SPL and the EPL.  Instead Scotland are playing an International friendly tomorrow in Stockholm.  The thing that had got my ire up though was Chick Young’s piece in the BBC website, in particular his favoured Scotland team of “Allan McGregor in goal. A back four of Steven Whittaker, Garry Kenneth, Christophe Berra and Lee Wallace. A four in the middle of Barry Robson, Darren Fletcher, Kevin Thomson and Charlie Adam. And, up front, the great James McFadden playing off Kenny Miller.
England V Scotland in the Euro 2000 playoff, second leg
Does that not light your candle? "

The question that should be asked is, did Chick actually see any of the World Cup, you know the tournament that saw Spain, the Netherlands and Germany reach the last four with split mid-fields, and Uruguay playing with a diamond four in midfield at times.  One of the tactical developments coming from the World cup was that 4-4-2 just doesn’t work anymore, that 4-1 game should have told you that.

The interesting thing about Scotland is that their best results over the past 16 years have come from deploying a 3 man central midfield.  Craig Brown played with a 3-5-2, while both Walter Smith and Alex McLeish played with a 4-5-1.  I think Voghts went with 4-4-2 for most of his games (i could be wrong here, i stand corrected if I am), which was ironic as many people thought Voghts would be the natural upgrade from Craig Brown, while George Burley varied between a 4-4-2 and 4-3-3.

Three in the middle of the park puts a premium on space, and also enables Scotland to split the midfield, playing McFadden & A N Other (possibly Steven Fletcher) between the midfield and the lone forward (maybe Kenny Miller?).  It’s a tactical trick we have deployed with some success for the past 16 years.  I hope that the 4-3-2-1 formation is one we stick with into the double header with Lithuania and Liechtenstein at the start of next month.

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