Tactickle Your Fancy: Strikerless sides of a different kind

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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

Hypothetical XI #4 – Papal States

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Philippa Booth brings the Papal XI…

Pope Francis is a fan of CA San Lorenzo in Buenos Aires, so now he has relocated, it seemed only fair to put together a Hypothetical XI for him. Squad selection and eligibility issues mean that the Vatican City national team isn’t very good, and Francis deserves better.

The Papal States were a band of territories across the middle of what we now know as Italy, under the sovereign rule of the Papacy, and constituting the temporal, rather than spiritual, power of the office. Thank you Wikipedia. Continue reading

Serie A 2012/13: Midseason Review

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The False Nine’s Kyle Hulme casts his verdict on how the big hitters in Serie A have got on so far, as well as offering them his own current and predicted grade…

 Juventus

Going into the new season, fans of the Bianconeri were hoping for more of the same. Fortunately, Juventus have delivered so far this season. Continue reading