Variations on a theme

To The Promised Land

Valentine’s Day, 2021. A little more in love with the team. We’re not safe arithmetically, but in practice we’re virtually there.

The thing that’s made the difference I think is tactical variation. When I want to refresh the tactics I usually go for a big change in formation. But this time I’ve had the patience to play around with small-scale variation. Moving a player here, tweaking a role there.

So the base rock has been the tried and tested 5-3-2 sweeper formation.

The variations have been with the strikers: sometimes two-up; sometimes one-up with the second withdrawn to shadow striker.

And with the full-backs: sometimes wing-back support; sometimes wing-back defence; and sometimes full-back roles.

Doesn’t sound much, but if you worked out the total number of permutations that permits, it’s considerable.

This feels like a Japanese way of managing. A matter of quiet and subtle refinements.

Miniaturism has more to be said for it than I’d realised.


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Notts County supporter, at least nominally. Regularly watch Stevenage, Cambridge Utd, and Peterborough. On FM, favour teams from the eastern Med, especially on Greek islands. Addicted to searching for liberos and to signing Darren Lavery. According to Liam Billington, I'm 'the Iniesta of Higher Tempo Press' :)