Alright time to make the 442
My team are expected to lose to Bolton, on paper we have nothing to offer. Bolton are physically better than us in every way. Personally if you want to go 442, you need the physical players to dominate, otherwise you are gonna get shot.
Bolton come out with a 4231. The rationale behind me tactic is pretty simple:
I want the right side of my formation to feature an overlapping fullback while the winger lends support to the DLP, on the left side of the pitch I am expecting to see winger runs down the left. My central midfield is weak with only 10 tackling, so they need all the help they can get. So I set my formation to pass to feet, work ball into box, play narrow, hit early crosses. Since I am counterattacking, hit early crosses is a natural shout to use. Work ball into box simply removes long shots and pass to feet should help me with possession.
After 19 minutes I notice that my fullbacks are doing a good job of keeping crosses cut off, we are keeping fairly good control of midfield, we score off some good work down the middle when we score the first goal. My dawdling MCs worry me and rightly so as we concede a goal from play breaking up. Our ratings are still 7.0 so I reckon there is nothing much I should panic over. Its a natural mistake and I shouldnt overreact. We then miss an open sitter and I know that we have got the balance right.
When I look at the heat maps it suggests that I should take advantage over the middle and watch my flanks, the AI manager continues to pour forward and we score another goal off a rapid counter. We go into the break a goal to the good. The second half starts and the pressure begins. I should have gone down to defensive, but we are making some great chances as my overlapping fullback does a complete Glen Johnson, including missing. By now the AI manager is intent to score a goal as he makes substitutions, we continue to concede corners and I know that eventually we will concede, half the AIs shots are from range, and its from set pieces that I am most vulnerable. True enough we concede off a corner thats half cleared, the resulting volley from outside the box is a gem, wished it was ours.
We finish the game 2-2. Its Staffords first time out with a 442, not a bad day in the office all round. The biggest weakness a 442 has is that dangerzone in front of the dcs. If you dont have capable MCs you absolutely need to have players there just acting like a screen. The 442 has holes that are easily exploitable simply because it operates with 2 clear lines of players. Pull one member out and the line falls apart which is why the holding midfielder is important. You also need to make sure that your wingers are physical enough to track the runs of the opposing players. Its a formation that demands you pay attention to player attributes.