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442 or 4231?

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  • 442 or 4231?

    So, a lot of suggestions have come in saying that 442 is the way to go. Reasons are supposedly more goals in it, better performances, especially at this level. So lets take a look at that. I've decided to look at every team in the championship. I've got all their match data from last season, including the formation they played. So, I'm going to go through it in a few different ways. Here below is a list of teams in the top half and the formations they played most prominently in the season.

    Burnley - 442 - 72.35 - 5
    Middlesbrough - 4231 - 63.31 - 5
    Brighton - 442 - 72.42 - 6
    Hull City - 4231 - 69.35 - 3
    Derby - 4231 - 66.43 - 5
    Sheffield Wednesday - 4231 - 66.45 - 4
    Ipswich - 442 - 53.51 - 3
    Cardiff - 442 - 56.51 - 6
    Brentford - 4231 - 72.67 - 5
    Birmingham - 4231 - 53.49 - 4
    Preston NE - 532 - 45.45 - 3
    QPR - 4231 - 54.54 - 5

    7 of the top half teams play 4231/433. 4 play 442. Of the top 6, as you can see, 4 played 4231. Of the promoted teams, 2 of the 3 played 4231.

    Now, this isn't all, lets look at the bottom half teams now.

    Leeds - 4141 - 50.58 - 3
    Wolves - 4231 - 53.58 - 4
    Blackburn - 442 - 46.46 - 2
    Nottm Forest - 4231 - 43.47 - 2
    Reading - 442 - 52.59 - 3
    Bristol City - 352/532 - 54.71 - 4
    Huddersfield - 4231 - 59.70 - 4
    Fulham - 442 - 66.79 - 3
    Rotherham - 442 - 53.71 - 4
    Charlton - 442 - 40.80 - 3
    MK Dons - 4231 - 39.69 - 2
    Bolton - 442 - 41.81 - 3

    Bottom half there, 6 teams used 442, 4 used 4231, 1 used 4141, one used 352. You can see that 4 of the bottom 5 used a 442.

    Now, this doesn't really say too much just yet, contextually, you could have bad squads that any formation wouldn't work with (a la Bolton, a la MK Dons, Charlton, etc). But one thing everyone who wants 442 says is that you score more with a 442. Well, above on those lists is also the goals scored and conceded by each team.

    So, lets average out goals scored by 442 teams and goals scored by 4231 teams.

    442 - 55.1 goals scored; 4231 - 57.9 goals scored.

    Difference isn't much, again, quality of the team can make a big difference. So lets split it again into top half and bottom half for each case.

    Top half 442 - 63.25 goals; Top Half 4231 - 63.29 goals; Bottom Half 442 - 49.67 goals; Bottom Half 4231 - 48.5 goals.

    Unsurprisingly, both formations scored pretty much the same amount of goals. Better teams scored slightly more with a 4231, worse teams scored slightly more with a 442. The myth that championship teams play 442 and do well with it is brought about by the fact that the championship regulars, teams without ambition, play 442 and stay in this division. If you look at goals conceded, the difference becomes more interesting.

    Top Half 442 - 44.75; Top Half 4231 - 46.29; Bottom Half 442 - 69.33; Bottom Half 4231 - 61

    A whole 8 goals fewer conceded by bottom half 4231 sides, as opposed to their gung ho counterparts. 2 more conceded by top half sides but that is really such a limited value that it becomes irrelevant. The point is, 4231 doesn't spell fewer goals scored than a 442. Here's the thing, a 442 means that your strikers might score more than anyone else. Take a look at the list again You'll also see the amount of goalscorers with more than 5 goals.

    You'll see from those numbers that on average, top half 442 teams have 5 goalscorers with 5 or more goals, while top half 4231 teams have 4.43. Bottom Half 442 teams have 3, while bottom half 4231 teams have 3 as well. And what I observed is that the spread of goals in a 442 side is much smaller than that of a 4231 side. At the start of the season, our captain Nedum Onuoha came out and said that the target is for everyone to get a goal this season. That's more likely with a 4231.

    In any case, the point of this thread is that I don't believe that 442 is the answer to goalscoring, I think getting the right balance in a midfield duo for a 4231 is the key. Get the right pairing and goals will flow.

    The thing about a 442 is that you have 3 banks of players, limited fluidity without risking the defensive integrity of the formation. A 4231 has 4 banks of players with more fluidity if needed without the risk of counters in the same way a 442 would.
    "What stats allow you to do is not take things at face value. The idea that I trust my eyes more than the stats, I just don't buy that because I've seen magicians pull rabbits out of hats and I know I just know that rabbit's not in there." - Billy Beane


  • #2
    Think there's room for both given different opposition. BUT sitting deep with 2 holding mid fielders is a negative set up (as default choice) really isn't conducive when you're looking for a win against a lesser / equal team - it smacks of parking the bus!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by qprdad View Post
      Think there's room for both given different opposition. BUT sitting deep with 2 holding mid fielders is a negative set up (as default choice) really isn't conducive when you're looking for a win against a lesser / equal team - it smacks of parking the bus!
      I think that switching during a match can be handy, but the people screaming out for 442 at home because it will score more goals really need to see the data. If you want to play long balls for days, 442 is a solid option at this level. For football where we spend more time in the opposition half, 4231 is where it is at. The issue is, right now, we're playing a few too many long balls for a 4231, but if we switch to a 442, it will become more obvious and you'll get the same people complaining about hoofing it up.
      "What stats allow you to do is not take things at face value. The idea that I trust my eyes more than the stats, I just don't buy that because I've seen magicians pull rabbits out of hats and I know I just know that rabbit's not in there." - Billy Beane

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      • #4
        Depends on opposition don't it? Should have been 2 up front against Blackburn but probably 1 to start with for Newcastle.

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        • #5
          I think it will look like 10-0-0-1.

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          • #6
            Need good players throughout the team to successfully play with 1 up. Think we fall well short of that. Hope the new boys when they get in the team can improve us. If not I fear we are stuck with this mind numbing boring football because Mr safety first is not for turning.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by qprdad View Post
              Think there's room for both given different opposition. BUT sitting deep with 2 holding mid fielders is a negative set up (as default choice) really isn't conducive when you're looking for a win against a lesser / equal team - it smacks of parking the bus!
              I'm ok with this IF one of the DM's pushes up when we attack. There's no point playing a fluid formation (which is what 4231 is all about) if everyone remains static. May as well play a rigid 442 then.

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              • #8
                I don't give a monkeys what supposed formation we play.

                All I care about is seeing a group of players attempting to score a goal, rather than simply attempt to stop the other team doing likewise.

                The more adventurous and positive we are, will increase the number of goals scored. Who knows, we might even score from open play one day. It will probably also result in conceding more too. But I would be willing to bet anyone that ACTUALLY going for it, as opposed to TALKING ABOUT going for it like our manager keeps doing, would have resulted in 6 points from our last two home games as opposed to one.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by brightonr View Post
                  I don't give a monkeys what supposed formation we play.

                  All I care about is seeing a group of players attempting to score a goal, rather than simply attempt to stop the other team doing likewise.

                  The more adventurous and positive we are, will increase the number of goals scored. Who knows, we might even score from open play one day. It will probably also result in conceding more too. But I would be willing to bet anyone that ACTUALLY going for it, as opposed to TALKING ABOUT going for it like our manager keeps doing, would have resulted in 6 points from our last two home games as opposed to one.
                  I remember when Ramsey did that last season and people wanted him out because of it...
                  "What stats allow you to do is not take things at face value. The idea that I trust my eyes more than the stats, I just don't buy that because I've seen magicians pull rabbits out of hats and I know I just know that rabbit's not in there." - Billy Beane

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by knocker View Post
                    Need good players throughout the team to successfully play with 1 up. Think we fall well short of that. Hope the new boys when they get in the team can improve us. If not I fear we are stuck with this mind numbing boring football because Mr safety first is not for turning.
                    Not really... You need specialists in a 442, which makes it much more rigid and difficult to build for.
                    "What stats allow you to do is not take things at face value. The idea that I trust my eyes more than the stats, I just don't buy that because I've seen magicians pull rabbits out of hats and I know I just know that rabbit's not in there." - Billy Beane

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nasser95 View Post
                      I think that switching during a match can be handy, but the people screaming out for 442 at home because it will score more goals really need to see the data. If you want to play long balls for days, 442 is a solid option at this level. For football where we spend more time in the opposition half, 4231 is where it is at. The issue is, right now, we're playing a few too many long balls for a 4231, but if we switch to a 442, it will become more obvious and you'll get the same people complaining about hoofing it up.
                      People are not just screaming out for 4-4-2 or as such, just be more attack minded and have a proper go at turning teams over, whatever formation but ditch two defensive midfielders, even two strikers when things arent working even with one dropping back when needed!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by brightonr View Post
                        I don't give a monkeys what supposed formation we play.

                        All I care about is seeing a group of players attempting to score a goal, rather than simply attempt to stop the other team doing likewise.

                        The more adventurous and positive we are, will increase the number of goals scored. Who knows, we might even score from open play one day. It will probably also result in conceding more too. But I would be willing to bet anyone that ACTUALLY going for it, as opposed to TALKING ABOUT going for it like our manager keeps doing, would have resulted in 6 points from our last two home games as opposed to one.
                        That is spot on.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nasser95 View Post
                          Not really... You need specialists in a 442, which makes it much more rigid and difficult to build for.
                          Well explain why we are so awful to watch then Mr know all.

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                          • #14
                            442 is a formation set up to win games, Where as 4231 is more likely to be a set up not to get beat. We are boring as #### with no imagination at all with the current formation.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 1973 ranger View Post
                              442 is a formation set up to win games, Where as 4231 is more likely to be a set up not to get beat. We are boring as #### with no imagination at all with the current formation.
                              Absolute bs right there. Explain why 4 of the bottom 5 teams last season used a 442? If they set up to win, how bad must the formation be for that purpose that they lost so much.
                              "What stats allow you to do is not take things at face value. The idea that I trust my eyes more than the stats, I just don't buy that because I've seen magicians pull rabbits out of hats and I know I just know that rabbit's not in there." - Billy Beane

                              Comment

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