The False Nine editor James Dutton remembers Doni’s time on Merseyside, and his chastening trips to England with Roma…
How do you assess the impact of a goalkeeper who played nine games on English soil, but only four of them for an English side?
A goalkeeper who conceded seven goals on his first appearance in 2007, and was sent off in his seventh, which arrived fully four years later.
A goalkeeper whose departure from these shores was shrouded in mystery and intrigue, only for it to later emerge that he had suffered a heart attack during a routine medical.
That is Doni’s lot.
The Brazilian was the unfortunate goalkeeper on the receiving end of Manchester United’s 7-1 humbling of AS Roma at the quarter final stage of the 2006-7 Champions League season. His fortunes in this country have followed a similar narrative. Continue reading →
The False Nine’s tactics aficionado Simon Smith discusses the varying uses of strikerless formations…
Watching AS Roma destroy Internazionale last week was one of my highlights of the season, because it felt like a win for the underdog. I’m not saying that I prefer the Romans to Inter, or even that I wanted them to win, but seeing a team who sold their best defender and forward reborn through a collective strategy is hard not to enjoy. If the experiment with Zemen ended in tears, Garcia has been refreshingly simplistic in the way he makes attacking football look natural, instead of requiring a season long revolution. The most obvious change to the attack has been the reintroduction of Totti to centre forward after a season as the trequartista.
Just two days earlier, Sam Allerdici grabbed the headlines by adopting a similar strategy to demolish hot favourites Tottenham Hotspur 3-0. Are we to believe that this is because he was influenced by Serie A, or is the more cynical view that this was a desperate throw of the dice born out of Andy Carroll’s injury more accurate? Increasingly, and perhaps unsurprisingly following Barcelona’s success, the false nine is being used to describe systems in football matches in all the major European leagues. The real question is whether this is because the formation is more commonly used, or whether the term is: and to answer this, we need to look at strikerless formations in the pre Guardiola world. Continue reading →
The False Nine‘s Michael David looks at a formation that is as beguiling as it is controversial and pays homage to it for our appropriately-named website…
One day, approximately four years ago, this writer popped into a WH Smiths before a long train journey, to pick up the customary form of entertainment for such an occasion; ‘FourFourTwo’ magazine. Continue reading →