Arrgo Sachi’s 442 arose at a time when defensive systems were the rage in Italy, Sides we still using a libero, but he was probably the first to deploy a 442 with a high line coupled with naturally high pressing. His system entailed squeezing the pitch to reduce the playable area, and his pressing wasn’t the mad press of Barcelona, but the timed press. Pressing would be different at various phases of the game.
He was also a proponent of the multipurpose player, he looked for all players to be able to play multiple roles in a game, a hardworking side, drilled to perform as a team, but as twin strike partnerships started to fade in the game, this ethos was adopted by a modern proponent : Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern Munich. In the champions league semis against Barcelona, they deployed a 4231 that became a 4411 in defense. It had a defensive line which saw Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery drop into midfield when they lost the ball to become a 4411. Squeezing the pitch, pressing the playmakers and space compression, all hallmarks of Saachi’s 442
So do we replicate the 442 or the system? I frequently find that FM managers get so obsessed with imitating a system that they forget why the system was created in the first place. They are always going to be people who want to imitate, but do we imitate the tactical shape or do we replicate the ethos on which the system was based and then use it in a tactical shape that fits our players.I feel that we should be looking to embody the ethos into systems. You would be surprised how many different kind of teams will start to over achieve.