1. Deep lying 4-4-1-1 4:
What's so dangerous about a deep lying formation? It lures the opposition forward and gives Finlay acres of room to get behind the defense. Higuain would also be able to stay in the number 10 role which is where he is at his best. Playing a counter attack style of soccer requires the countering team to move the ball quickly up the field and Trapp has one of the most accurate long passes in the league. This formation would be ideal for playing against attack oriented teams, as Finlay and Romain Gall would sit deeper to provide cover but also have the speed to take advantage on the counter. (Figure 1)
2. 4-3-1-2 4:
The strength of the 4-3-1-2 is the narrow triangle of attackers up front. With three attacking players running narrow, the formation creates a three v. two situation against center backs, especially in today's game with fullbacks spending so much time bombing forward. When the ball is played to Higuain he can essentially run soccer's version of the read-option. The center backs will need to cover Justin Meram or Kei Kamara, leaving Higuain free to take a shot. One center back could attempt to close down Higuain but this would leave one of the two forwards open (first formation). Higuain plays the open man the ball for an open look (second example). The speed of Finlay and Steindorsson leads to attack from the wings and with a player as creative as Higuain, he should have as many options as he wants to pick apart opposing defenses.
4. The false 9, 4-6-0:
The Black and Gold tried a version of the false 9 last year but results were underwhelming. Berhalter said he would like to revisit this with some changes. The head coach's stockpiling of attacking midfielders has created a roster that could run this formation well. The idea behind the false 9 is creating chaos. In the false 9 the traditional forward, rather than staying near the box, drifts back into the midfield. The advantage of this is one center back will typically track a forward while the other provides cover. When the "9" drops back the center back in charge of tracking him can either drift with him, leaving a large open space (diagram), and putting himself out of position in the process, or stay in his "zone" without a clear assignment. This creates confusion and a defense that is forced to react to whatever the offense decides to do. Center backs caught out of position should lead to plenty of space for Finlay to make diagonal runs, Meram to "post up" for his meat hook, Cedrick to get lost in the mix (he's only 5-foot-6 after all). Higuain has the creative brilliance to exploit whatever mismatch he sees or chip in himself just for fun.
The major drawback to the 1-2-7 is that is it fell out of fashion when the Scottish brought something called "passing" into the game in the 1880's. before this the centerback (Parkhurst) would bomb the ball forward and whichever of the 7 forwards got to the ball first would dribble, while the other six forwards would essentially block for him like an offensive line. This would continue until the forward would shoot or lose possession.
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