Posts Tagged ‘4-2-2-2’

Tactics: Van der Vaart gives Pellegrini food for thought

The first-choice starting XI may have become an outmoded concept in 21st-century football, where squad rotation is now the accepted norm, but Manuel Pellegrini’s tinkering at Real Madrid this season has been enthusiastic even by modern standards.

The Chilean has fielded no less than 16 different combinations in midfield and attack since the start of the La Liga campaign and is yet to name the same team for two league games in succession. Below are the midfield/attack combinations Pellegrini has deployed in the league in 2009-10, in the order in which they have appeared:

1. Lassana Diarra, Xabi Alonso; Kaká, Raúl; Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema (3-2 v Deportivo, h)
2. Alonso, Guti; Kaka, Esteban Granero; Gonzalo Higuaín, Benzema (3-0 v Espanyol, a)
3. L. Diarra, Fernando Gago; Kaká, Raúl; Ronaldo, Benzema (5-0 v Xerez, h)
4. Gago, Guti; Kaká, Granero; Ronaldo, Higuaín (2-0 v Villarreal, a)
5. L. Diarra, Alonso; Granero, Raúl; Ronaldo, Benzema (3-0 v Tenerife, h)
6. Mahamadou Diarra, Alonso; Kaká, Guti; Raúl, Benzema (1-2 v Sevilla, a)
7. L. Diarra, Alonso; Granero, Rafael van der Vaart; Raúl, Benzema (4-2 v Valladolid, h)
8. M. Diarra, Alonso; Granero, Kaká, Royston Drenthe; Raúl (0-0 v Gijon, a)
9. L. Diarra, Alonso; Kaká, Marcelo; Higuaín, Benzema (2-0 v Getafe, h; 3-2 v Atlético, a)
10. Alonso, Granero; Kaká, Drenthe; Higuaín, Benzema (1-0 v Racing, h)
11. L. Diarra, Alonso; Kaká, Marcelo; Ronaldo, Higuaín (0-1 v Barcelona, a)
12. Alonso, van der Vaart; Granero, Marcelo; Ronaldo, Higuaín (4-2 v Almería, h)
13. L. Diarra, Alonso; van der Vaart, Marcelo; Higuaín, Benzema (3-2 v Valencia, a)
14. L. Diarra, M. Diarra; van der Vaart, Marcelo; Ronaldo, Higuaín (6-0 v Zaragoza, h)
15. L. Diarra, Alonso; van der Vaart, Marcelo; Ronaldo, Higuaín (0-0 v Osasuna, a)
16. Gago, Alonso; van der Vaart, Kaká; Ronaldo, Higuaín (2-0 v Mallorca, h)

Pellegrini’s preferred formation, as he outlines in this video from the UEFA Training Ground website, is a 4-2-2-2. The team’s attack is founded upon a two-man defensive midfield pairing, with two multi-faceted attacking midfielders operating behind two forwards (Brazil lined up in similar fashion at the 2006 World Cup, but with less than spectacular results).

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