The Deuce Abides

Clint Dempsey equalizing against Birmingham

Clint Dempsey scored his 6th goal of the season (5 in the EPL and 1 in the Carling Cup) this Saturday against Birmingham. He’s well on his way of overhauling his single season scoring record in all club competitions of 8 (2008-09 season) and the season is only a third done.

Why the sudden spurt of goals from the attacking midfielder? It’s because, due to the injuries to Fulham’s forwards, Mark Hughes has had to use Dempsey as the other striker in his 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 formations, and the Deuce abides.

5 of his 6 goals have come from the forward position. Not only is he banging them in the net with quite a regularity, but he is also in just about every attacking move that Fulham is involved in.

Gone are the days of Dempsey being absent for large parts of the game (certainly for country, but was accused of this at Fulham as well). In this last game, he (and Eddie Johnson) both had chances to acquire all three points for Fulham, but their efforts went astray. Fulham fans have noticed as one can see from this fans match day recap “Murphy had an OK match, whilst Dempsey worked his socks off as always.”

Now it’s time for Bob Bradley to take note as well.

Up until his injury, Dembele has been a good strike partner for Deuce.

Dempsey’s strike partners at Fulham this season, have not been of the big hulking variety or that of the traditional English center forward. They’ve been either Diomansy Kamara, Andrew Johnson, Moussa Dembele (all fast) and off the bench compatriot Eddie Johnson. With the exception of Eddie Johnson, Dempsey has been taller and heavier than the others, which leads me to believe that he could very well lead the line for the USMNT.

An excellent article by Neil W. Blackmon talks about the duality of Clint Dempsey. How he disappears for country, when for club he is so immense, and I for one agree with all his points. The article is broken up into two parts and the second one hasn’t come out yet, but I think it’s time for Bradley to make Deuce the focal point of the USMNT attack.

This doesn’t mean make him the lone striker necessarily, though I could see him up top with Donovan just behind him, backed up by Edu, Holden, Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley. As Blackmon suggests at the end of part one of his well written article, that maybe Bradley senior should follow in Hodgson and Hughes’s strategy for getting the best out of Dempsey.

In the past year, the USMNT have mainly used a combination of Altidore, Johnson, Findley, Buddle and Gomez as their forwards in Bradley’s preferred 4-4-2 formation. This has yielded satisfactory results at best, but the main attack on the USMNT (aside from conceding early goals) has been their lack of firepower.

When teams play with two strikers, either as two up front or with one withdrawn, they often go with big/tall striker who can knock down/control the ball for their partner (often a speedy goal poacher). This can be effective to a point (Rooney/Heskey, Heskey/Owen, Carrol/Davies come to mind). Bradley seems to try this strategy with Altidore and another striker, but after a year or so of tinkering it hasn’t produced.

USMNT's most potent forward line.

Once again, the age old adage that size doesn’t matter, but its how you use it that counts, is correct. Look at Messi/Villa, Villa/Torres, Sneijder/Van Persie, Forlan/Suarez, etc… These are all partnerships that combine skill and speed versus height and speed/skill etc… often with the clubs or countries two best attacking players. I think it’s time for Bradley to use Dempsey and Donovan as the two strikers.

Sure they will both be 31 and 32 respectively in 2014, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be very effective. Donovan will have a lost a step or two, but he will still be faster than most. Dempsey as we are seeing, is getting better with age and will be a perfect compliment to Donovan’s speed and ball control. With Mo Edu, Holden, Jones and Bradley behind them, there is enough creativity, youth and skill to cover for what the front of have lost.

Personally, I feel this should have been used in South Africa, but hindsight is 20/20. At the very least Bradley should try and partner someone as Dempsey’s strike partner. He has three years to find a winning combination, but what is certain is that making Dempsey the focal point of an attack will bring out for country, the same Deuce that plays for club.

45 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Hercules on 2010/11/28 at 11:48 AM

    Surprisingly, there is one problem with this lineup, and it isn’t the leading line. How do you think that we’d fit Edu-Jones-Bradley-Holden into the midfield. All four are CM for their clubs, and we’ve only seen Holden on the wing (that I remember). I guess we could see a 4-3-1-2 or a diamond with Holden up front, but who would provide the width? Jones and Bradley with Edu holding back?

    Out of all of our saying that our strength is in the midfield, it is more the central midfield as almost all of the players that we have placed on the wing are converted central midfielders. Donovan, Dempsey, and Holden all fit that mold. Though Donovan and Dempsey have been more on the wing for their clubs recently (except Dempsey’s move to STR), we are posing moving them forward. Even recent developments like Bedoya and (I think) Mix play centrally for their clubs. It’s one of the things that has gone below the radar especially with the play of Donovan and Dempsey, who have been the USMNT stalwarts on the wing.

    I don’t have a solution, but it is something to think about, especially with the thought of moving Donovan and Dempsey up top. One thing that I think that we might see soon (maybe March) would be a 4-3-3 with the full first team.


    It’s very attacking, but we might be able to pull it off, especially if at times it plays like a 4-5-1.

    That’s my thoughts. Great to see more thoughts on this, as always.


    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/11/28 at 11:57 AM

      Good point(s). I didn’t really think about the midfield so much, as I believe it can sort it self out. Holden can play out wide and i would like to see what Bradley can do on the other side. He’s much better going forward than tracking back, so why not have him go out wide. Jones and Edu can plug up the middle and distribute out wide or through the middle.

      I like the idea of 4-3-3, but i want to see Altidore prove himself before we automatically give him the central striker role. Sadly he has not in my eyes.


      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2010/11/28 at 12:35 PM

        Isn’t your article basically an argument for Dempsey in the middle 3 of a 4-2-3-1? As a Fulham fan it seems like that is his best spot with them and whenever they put him out wide he finds his way back into the middle anyway.


        Donovan — Dempsey —— Holden(?)

        Still want to see Holden as a CDM and while I am asking would love to see Lichaj at LB before the Gold Cup.


        • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/11/28 at 12:42 PM

          Ideally Dempsey would be fantastic right behind the “1”, but as off now, that “1” isn’t good enough or hasn’t been found. What I’m suggesting is make Dempsey that “1” (IE Altidore’s spot in your diagram), put Donovan behind him (or as a second striker in a 4-4-2). Finding someone to replace Donovan’s spot will be a challenge, but why not try US’s two best attacking options up top together.


        • Posted by dth on 2010/11/28 at 6:12 PM

          This is my favored lineup, but I think Bedoya is better than Holden as a wing player. Unfortunately, Holden gets squeezed by a numbers game.

          Anyway, I think Dempsey is best as a supporting striker/playmaker right behind the main striker, which should be Altidore, who has gotten an unfair amount of criticism, I think. Altidore’s gotten much better at hold up play and circulation as a result of his Hull City/Villarreal days, which makes him well-suited to play the “1” role. (Yes, I know: the finishing. It’s not perfect, or even what it needs to be. Still: Altidore creates pressure and unsettles defenses, so he’s not as dire as people like to make him out to be. At the moment, it’s Altidore and Bradley who people are most irrational about, which probably bodes well for them: we should all remember the times we unfairly hated Dempsey, Donovan, and Claudio Reyna, and look what happened with them.)

          It’s not an accident, by the way, that the U.S. looked most effective at the World Cup playing this system, in the second half of the Ghana and Algeria games. Unfortunately, Bradley only played this for two of the eight halves, leading us to wonder what would have been had we actually played our best formation. (Bradley’s best right-sided winger at the time was apparently Feilhaber, which may explain why. Bedoya is, I think, gaining in confidence and ability with every cap–I was very impressed with his South Africa performance.)


        • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/11/28 at 7:12 PM

          DTH – I agree that Altidore is not dire, but he has a role on the team in the same manner that Heskey had with England. Big guy, that is asked to hold up the ball, run at defenders and use his size to his advantage.

          I think the same problem with Jozy up front is that he takes the place of a more skilled player. I really think that his seemingly automatic inclusion, takes away from what Deuce and Donovan can really do to opposing sides.

          I must mention, that i do not dislike Jozy at all and hope he comes through as a player, but the fact remains he hasn’t. He does play his best game with the USMNT, but i think, one can do better having skilled players up top, rather then the current set up.


        • Posted by dth on 2010/11/28 at 7:34 PM

          I don’t like putting Dempsey and Donovan up top because I think it would starve them of the ball and move them off of their best spots. Donovan generally looks best on the wings, left or right, and Dempsey looks great at Fulham as a supporting striker right behind Dembele/whomever is healthy at the moment. Why mess with success, particularly when you have a big striker capable of unsettling defenses available? (And particularly when 4-4-2s look antiquated and your two most skillful players are being moved from positions from which they can help control possession?) I think the Dempsey-Donovan idea in a 4-4-2 or even 4-4-1-1 is overthinking matters considerably.


          • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/11/28 at 7:41 PM

            I was thinking that Bradley, Holden and Jones’s passing skills could give the 2 up front ( I agree 4-4-2 is antiquated, but someone needs to tell BB this) plenty of service. I guess we disagree on the basis of that I don’t think that Altidore as a striker or supporting striker has been a success. Fulham for the most part have been playing a 4-4-2 (from what i can tell), though as we know that can easily morph into a 4-4-1-1.

            This all stems from watching teams with two very skilled forwards, size and power not factoring, over running other teams with speed and skill. Throw in Bradley and Holden’s passing and bossing of the midfield, you don’t need a battering ram like Altidore.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/11/29 at 7:31 AM

          I personally prefer Dempsey playing in the hole or out wide. I know there is a call for Dempsey to be utilised closer to goal after his recent goalscoring form, but he’s scored the goals as a second striker, even though the some of the goals he has scored for Fulham this season have been ‘typical centre forward’ types. He has the gift of arriving in the box and being in the right place at the right time. Not sure I would want to change that up to be honest. Plus the USMNT need width, as his goals (apart from against West Ham) have come from crosses. I do like the look of the above formation, but I do have a question mark about Altidore** – but I guess he’s the man at the moment…

          **Regarding Altidore, admitedly, I have not seen him too much since the World Cup, but unless his first touch has improved immeasurably and can receive the ball to feet when he’s being marked tightly / in a closed space, I fail to see how he can be a viable ‘target’ man. But that’s just me…

          Q: could you see Dempsey being deployed as a lone striker in a 4-5-1 (think Rooney in United’s away CL games last season)for the USMNT against *certain* opponents?


      • Posted by Alex on 2010/11/28 at 4:50 PM

        I don’t think Holden would be a good fit out wide. He never plays there for Bolton, and he doesn’t have great pace. Holden is what he is – a defensive midfielder who is a great tackler and plays a great ball on set pieces and corners. He’s not a playmaker otherwise.

        The USMNT should do a better job of placing their best players where they’re most comfortable – Donovan on the wing, Dempsey up top (paired with someone else), Holden and Jones/Edu in the middle. All the other players are what most people like to call “role players.” Better to shape your team based on your best players and let the others fill the gaps.


    • Posted by michael on 2010/11/28 at 7:02 PM

      well having Jones/Edu/Bradley can work just fine if we have marking backs that cover lots of ground. Currently Dolo can fill this role and it appears that Lichaj will be able to. Bornstein can but once again his consistency is the bigger issue. Bocanegra is not suited to this sort of formation whatsoever, though I’m not a big fan of him playing much for the nats anymore so thats ok.


  2. Posted by phlub on 2010/11/28 at 4:22 PM

    this idea…



    i was watching the m’gladbach match this weekend as well as fulham. one thing that crossed my mind is that i think sweatpants jr was more exciting and possibly more effective as an attacking center midfielder (from his Eredivisie days – 16 goals in 30 app 07-08). i think he is capable of his current midfield role, and great on defense, but his energy really comes out with his attacking mindset. maybe his dad has the opportunity to now try him back up forward with the arrival of jones and edu’s prime form with rangers.

    dempsey and donovan should be given the flexibility to move between center and wing with the fullbacks coming up on wing behind.


  3. Posted by John on 2010/11/28 at 4:33 PM

    I thought Juan Agudelo was going to be leading the line by 2014?


    • I think in 2014, in a best case scenario, Agudelo is starting on the line, unless Davies manages what would still be a miraculous recovery. But I don’t know if he’s leading the line because at best he’s playing as an equal partner to Altidore. In a 4-4-2, in 2014, I think we could see Agudelo up top with Dempsey, and Donovan out on the wing.

      With the personel the US has, it almost makes more sense to play a 3-5-2, since there’s such a glut of interchangeable midfielders. It also relieves the attacking burden of the backs. Based on what we saw this year, a 2014 lineup might look like this:



      • Posted by Kevin on 2010/11/29 at 3:45 PM

        I’m still not convinced that Jones, or Donovan will be up to par in 2014. Jones is a good option for the gold cup, but I don’t see how he continues to get it done in 2014. With Donovan I’m still concerned that he’ll lose his biggest asset in his speed, but I guess only time can tell. With Donovan it’s really hard to call, but I’m about 75% certain Jones won’t be good enough for 2014. Consider that you’re proposed lineup will have an average age of 28.1 that’s not a recipe for success. Obviously if that’s your best lineup you’re not going to not play it because of their age, but I’m saying that I doubt that will be our best lineup in 4 years time.


  4. Posted by Tux on 2010/11/28 at 6:08 PM

    While the idea appeals to me, and while I’m as big a Dempsey fan as anyone, I can’t say I’m comfortable with the idea of placing our attacking hopes on two players who will be north of 30 for WC 2014. I would be upset if Bradley doesn’t tinker with this at all; but there needs to be other attacking options in place. Whether that comes from the kids we just saw two weeks ago in South Africa, CD9, or Big Jeezy…there needs to be a youth movement in place. If it turns out to be unnecessary, great…but it’s foolish to assume two players who are in their respective primes RIGHT NOW will still be fit enough to lead the attack four years down the road.

    Sidebar: Assuming this is a viable option, does Mix get lots of looks out wide?


    • Posted by dth on 2010/11/28 at 6:46 PM

      Think Mix gets looks all along the “3” of a 4-2-3-1. He’s played in all sorts of attacking positions for Staebek, so who knows where he’d be best at for the USMNT. (For example: Bedoya plays centrally for his club, but has looked pretty good at the wing for us, I’d say.)


    • Posted by michael on 2010/11/28 at 7:06 PM

      I agree with what you’re saying about players over 30 but players seems to be playing longer than they used to so I will withhold an opinion on the matter until late 2013/ early 2014 when their form can truly be judged. There’s no way we can currently determine what those players will be like or what the young strikers will be like. Heck, by that time Jozy could be banging in 20 a year in Spain and the discussion is moot. 3 years is a looooong time.


  5. Posted by StevePDX on 2010/11/28 at 6:20 PM

    If I was coaching against the US National team tomorrow, here’s the line-up I’d LEAST like to see take the field (assuming all of the US players were healthy). It’s a 4-2-3-1, in the same basic style that the Netherlands used in the World Cup, with Jones and Edu playing as slightly less “violent” versions of Van Bommel and DeJong.

    –Donovan ——-Bradley———Holden–

    *Or Eric Lichaj


    • Posted by Shane on 2010/11/28 at 9:54 PM

      I wouldn’t mind seeing this.. What could it hurt.. You’re supposed to field your best team right? These are our best players arguably.. Altidore needs to play on a regular basis for me, no more guarantees for him.


    • Posted by Braden on 2010/11/28 at 11:18 PM

      You may be rights, but as the world cup proved we need a MUCH better back line than this. Bocanegra is done. Like Claudio Reyna, he left his captaincy splattered all over the field after conceding a bad goal that saw us out to Ghana. In all seriousness, thanks immensely to Captain America for his amazing service to the USMNT and ratings in the 18-35 female demo. That said, it’s time to move on. Cherundolo and DeMerit have already announced they will be unavailable for service in Brazil as they have been asked by the AARP to serve as ambassadors to the first ever World Senior Cup to be held in Fort Lauderdale, FL the same month.

      Wither Gooch? Here’s hoping he rediscovers his form on a Serie A loan in 2011 before coming back into the fold at Milan. Even if that happens though, man ain’t getting any younger. I’m hopeful, but not brimming with optimism.

      As for the other center-back possibilities, there is a ton of POTENTIAL depth in Goodsen, Ream, Gonzalez, and Agbossomounde but not one has proved it consistently at a top level. We have to hope someone lights the world on fire.

      We do not have the talent or the tactics to possess the ball for long stretches against the types of teams we hope to beat. (Brazil, Germany, Spain, or hell, even against the Uruguays and Chiles of the world) This means we will need to be sound defensively against stronger opponents. Jones and Edu have shown with their clubs they are capable of world class play, and if the center-back stable comes through, we may be strong through the entire center of the field. However, we also need outside backs who while capable of not pulling a Bornstein when tested, can create width and push up into the attack to keep opposing midfields honest.

      As absent from our current national team setup as a lights out striker is any semblance of the defensively solid, offensively threatening outside back play seen on every top level team. (Maicon, Lahm, Cole, and Ramos just to name a few)

      Lichaj might be all that and a bag of chips (I hope he is and I’m optimistic) but needs to prove himself and test his mettle in international and club competition for some time. Here’s hoping in 2014 he’s entering his 2nd or 3rd season starting at outside back for a top half of the table team in the Prem. Unfortunately, we are SCARY short of depth (and talent) at the outside back positions. Bornstein is . . . still Bornstein. Jonathan is a ‘Spector’ (couldn’t resist) of his formerly mediocre self.

      That brings us to the left back question . . . *crickets*


    • Posted by Soccernst on 2010/11/29 at 12:41 AM



  6. Posted by justin on 2010/11/28 at 11:51 PM

    what about this….
    pick your back 4

    we tried this in the 4-3-3 in one of those october games, and looked bad, but that was because we didn’t have great wings to track back and then push forward creating from the wings. I would be fine with switching bradley and holden too…


  7. Posted by Mark F on 2010/11/29 at 12:36 AM

    No love for Charlie Davies???? Anyone??


    • Posted by dth on 2010/11/29 at 10:55 AM

      Probably he should play a professional game before we start discussing his inclusion in the USMNT roster, let alone starting lineup.


      • Posted by Tux on 2010/11/29 at 11:11 AM

        Yeah, let’s make sure Charlie’s speed and touch are back before we put him up on the pedestal. I think he’s going to be fine, but he’s not yet.


  8. Though Landon Donovan is the USMNT’s all-time leading scorer, and has been based on his play in 2001-2008, he has had a tendency to ghost in and out of games when deployed as the second striker. His better performances over the past two years have come as an outside midfielder with a speedy forward, who knows how to make runs, above him.

    Clint is not the man to stretch the defense and create space for Donovan; Deuce is best when he can come back for the ball and try to create and/or running into the box to finish off a move. Having Dempsey above Donovan will only create confusion in the center of the park, and remove one of our best weapons in terms of counter-attacking and wide outlets. I agree that Sweats needs to try out Dempsey up top, but not with Donovan as his partner.


  9. Posted by scweeb on 2010/11/29 at 9:49 AM

    The thing i like most about peoples feed back is that Jozy needs to start proving him self before he gets his spot back. and as far a cd9 he isn’t playing yet. as soon as he finds his form then yea cd9 all the way.


    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2010/11/29 at 10:37 AM

      I think everyone agrees that Jozy isn’t the answer at the current time. I also think everyone feels that he maybe the answer by 2014 and therefore we need to wait on judgement. The question is with the Gold Cup upcoming what do we do between now and then. I am in the camp of Jozy is our best bet for the Gold Cup and we can figure out 2014 when that picture becomes clearer.

      My rationale is that I don’t like playing people like Donovan in a position that isn’t his best. We weaken one area to strengthen another. Whoever replaces Donovan will not be as good a LM. I would rather have a world class Donovan (an over used term) and a weak striker than two middle of the road players. Donovan is not the same as a striker as he is as a wing player. That is my point of view and I can definitely respect the other side.

      The Edu experiment is different for me since I look at CDM as not being weaker without Edu. I don’t think Jones/MB90 or Jones/Holden, MB90/Holden, etc. is any worse than Jones/Edu, MB90/Edu, Holden/Edu.


      • Posted by scweeb on 2010/11/29 at 11:44 PM

        I agree that Lando is are best LM but i think the paring of him and demps up top brings the average of are team up.
        Cause now with Lichaj being an offensive deffender it gives us more of an attack from the outside were we were needing lando for that.


  10. Posted by scweeb on 2010/11/29 at 11:58 PM


    (LM) (RM) probably holden


  11. Posted by nelson on 2010/11/30 at 9:57 AM

    Get the best players on the field and they will figure out the shape. We act like these forms are so rigid but soccer rarely has such stagnant formations, especially with the small creative players you are supporting.


  12. Posted by wixson on 2010/11/30 at 12:47 PM

    solid as always. actually super solid. thx.


  13. Posted by chazcar2 on 2010/12/05 at 11:34 AM

    My formation for Chile game: 2-3-2-3


    Or you can call it a 4-3-3 or 4-5-1, but definitely not a 4-4-2
    Watching Holden play for Bolton he is best as CDM that directs the play. For me MB90 is best off the ball with free reign all over the field. Mix would be the creative guy behind the forwards.

    A couple changes would be to put dempsey central and find a true left wing forward. Or put dempsey where mix is and again find a left wing forward. The central defensive pairing could rotate through, but I would like to see more of Ream/Goodson. Obviously left fullback remains a question mark.


    • Posted by Braden on 2010/12/05 at 11:35 AM

      Any reason you’re lineup is without either Jones or Edu?


      • Posted by chazcar2 on 2010/12/06 at 9:10 AM

        I think Jones is just not really worth trying to slot into the team at this point. He is injury prone and will be older come 2014. If he played left back he would be on the team. I just think we have better midfield options that are younger.

        Edu, I would slot into the CDM role with maybe Holden moving up to where Mix is. I left him off because we have too many CDM’s that play a very similar game and I didn’t have an idea of where to put him.


    • I thought about this type of formation too, but I think you need Jones or Edu playing in between Dolo and Lichaj to make this work. Stu does an excellent job for Bolton sitting in the bucket and breaking up plays, but he also has Muamba (plus 3 of the 4 defenders assuming one has pushed up) to cover for him if he pushes up or makes a mistake. In the W-W formation he wouldn’t have that luxury. Holden’s distribution would be excellent in this position but I’m not sure he has enough central defender in him for this work, nor do we have quick enough central defenders. Jones/Edu or maybe even Bradley depending on the opponent would appear to fit this role better with Stuie being pushed up into your MB90o role.

      Also, to play like Barcelona you need a little more possession mindedness in the midfield 2. Mix has shown some flash and skills and would be an interesting experiment in there but I don’t think MB90 would work; his game seems to be predicated on neat 1,2 touch passing and movement off the ball. While that’s a hallmark of the Barca way, Xavi, Iniesta, Keita, et. al. are also excellent at holding onto the ball in order to find and exploit space, which hasn’t been something that our center mids have been as proficient at in the past year or two.

      The last item that would make this formation an issue is our inability to hang onto the ball for extended periods of time. The international game is much fast and more intense which makes this formation much more riskier. If you go back to the FC Copenhagen-Barcelona match in Copenhagen, you’ll see what happens when a well drilled team does not acquiesce to Barca’s greatness; the game ended up 1-1 but could’ve gone either way and Barcelona were left without ideas. Without the possession being 60-40 or greater in our favor, you run a huge risk in completely tiring out your wingbacks and midfield before half-time even arrives.

      All that being said, now is the time to experiment with formations like this, especially against a tough opponent who will likely play a similar formation, like Chile. In watching the U-17s play Brazil through the first 45 minutes, there’s a lot of promise (in terms of possession oriented style of play) coming up through the ranks so it may not be too many more years before we can shift tactics from standard and rigid to fluid and innovative from game to game or even in-game as the situation dictates.


      • Forgive the typos and grammatical issues, it’s early on a Monday.


        • Posted by chazcar2 on 2010/12/06 at 9:19 AM

          While the formation is similar to how Barcelona lines up I wouldn’t suggest we try to play that way. Club sides develop a much better working relationship and flow through positions in a “Total Football” fashion. National teams aren’t going to have that chemistry.

          The problem I see that we have the most is that we don’t have any true midfield wingers, except maybe donavon. Everyone else likes to play more central.


        • I agree that it would insane to expect us to play like Barca given how little time the National teams have to build chemistry. However, I think the base formation for a team should be dictated by how they play. Thus I think the US would have to try to play more Total Football to make this formation work. Without more possession you’re going to either a) hang the center backs out to dry because the wingbacks get caught up field, or b) call it a W-W formation for name’s sake only because the players won’t be playing the way the formation is meant.

          Now I’m not saying we HAVE to be 100% Barca if we line up this way, but the key ingredients for making it work are wingbacks who maraud up the field to create width, a CDM who can play center back when called upon, and a possession based offensive scheme between the front 5 players so as not to expose your defense.


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