WIth 7 matches to go, we were 2 points behind Liverpool. The title was theirs to lose, for us, every match was a cup final. To make things even more challenging we had to negotiate an unexpectedly successful European Champions League campaign.
I had fiddled a bit too much with my system, and things had to be done. We had gone from leading the league to being left behind by Liverpool. We were now 2 points behind the leaders, and there were 7 games left.
So we returned to faithfully following my 4132 system, no more experiments.
Tottenham by far the hardest of the lot, and then came Monaco and the Champions league, and then time to get all our credentials tested, the league leaders were out to test our credentials, what followed next almost threw me off onto another experimental streak.
Our desire for Champions League success, driving me forward. We started doing some small things with the 4132, only changing our wingbacks instructions in some games. Whenever we went defensive, they were told to play short passes and take less risks. When a chance to attack opened up, we’d unleash them. The goal against Monaco was actually scored when we switched over to control and pushed up higher.
Across the pond my attention was firmly fixed on Liverpool, hoping they would slip up.
And then the unbelievable happened, we lost out last season on the final stretch, throwing away a solid position…and this time Liverpool did us a huge favour.
I went to my 4132, made sure everything was correct, every person playing in the right position, every set piece had each and every person ticked and ready, a 5 nil demolition of Sunderland and a 3-1 dismantling of Chelsea to send us through to the ECL final. 2 games in hand and we could afford to rest our team for the Chelsea league game. We could now win the title against WEST HAM at HOME!
We had used the 4132 in all its glory to bring the title home.
The system employed a CM(S) instead of a Box to Box midfielder, something I had been using at the start of the season. The subtle difference allowed him to be slightly more forward than the other MC. An accidental discovery against Spurs encouraged me to get the central midfielder a more aggressive closing down set up. This unleashed him into opposing sides who were trying to develop play from midfield. Any side that played the ball back between the zone of an MC and a DMC were left hopelessly exposed by his aggression.
The wingbacks became my switch and my barometer. Any game where they spent more time defending and less time attacking would get me worried. So against some of the better sides they would be told to support instead of attack, and they were also told to be less adventurous with their passing. We had some fantastic goals this season, nothing screamed out at me more than this peach of an assist.
We had some great goals from deep, and we had some outstanding performances and Liverpool well all we can say is thank you.
And I was going to end me post here, but we still had a Champions League final against Real Madrid, I am resigned to losing, but decide to follow the strategy we have been using all season long, which is to hold my boys back against the sides who have dangerous flank attacks. It was a match to remember and a perfect way to summarise our season! WEST BROM CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!!!!