Portsmouth - 4-3-3… A lesson in tactics needed… You decide!
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4-3-3… A lesson in tactics needed… You decide!

Although much of it centred around performances of individuals it was apparent from the comments posted on this site that very few of us (myself included) either at the game, or watching live on TV could understand what formation Pompey were playing.

That was until Kanu (on Pompey's official website) enlightened us to the fact that it was 4-3-3.

This revelation posed two questions in my mind; the first, why play what is despite common misconception, a typically defensive formation at home and secondly, how could we play a 4-3-3 with the players selected!

4-3-3 has many origins and variations but the two most recent examples witnessed are Chelsea; who deploy two wingers (SWP, Duff, Robben, Cole & co.) to cross and supply a mobile forward whilst funnelling back to create a 4-5-1 when under pressure or Spain during the last World Cup where they played with three out and out strikers working closely together interchanging positions and splitting across the pitch and spreading the attack by running the flanks for each other.

If 4-3-3 a la Chelsea was the plan on Saturday where was the movement up front? Did Kanu supply it? If Utaka playing on the left? And Benji on the right were to throw crosses in, who was supposed to be there to greet them? Kanu? Davis? Muntari? Possibly Diop? If however the Spanish variation was the plan, why wasn't Nugent playing alongside Utaka and Benji, he'd be far more mobile than Kanu.

Whichever way I look at it, it just doesn't stack up. The bottom line is that if 'arry wants to play 4-3-3 Kanu should not be on the pitch; he just is not mobile enough. Furthermore, I'd question, irrespective of the Chelsea or Spain variations whether we have the players to deploy in a 4-3-3 at all.

Why don't we stick to 4-4-2? Taylor on the left, Utaka (even though I think he'd make a great centre forward) on the right supplying two strikers; I'd prefer Nugent & Benji for mobility alone but if 'arry rates Kanu so be it, use him in a 4-4-2… But not in a 4-3-3.

I should stress at this juncture that although this article appears critical of our style of play and of Kanu in particular, overall I was delighted with a point…… But I can't stop thinking that Liverpool were there for the taking and we missed a golden opportunity.

Written by Chix.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 17 2007

Time: 4:48PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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I knew it was 4-3-3 - but mostly becuase we have tried to play it before, and i recognised it! frankly, we should have stuck to 4-4-2, as we are comftable with it, but i would like to see 3-5-2, as i have said many times!!!
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17/09/2007 17:46:00

totally off the artical but if you fancie a free ps3, xbox 360 or loads of ranges of fones visit www.xpango.com. im not winding anyone up i got my free ps3 in da post this morning just fill out the form and put this number as your refferuell number 90786951. give it a go and find out fellow pompey fans.
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17/09/2007 17:57:00

Our defenders are not quick and both GK and SD and MT get caught lost possession too far up field too often for 3,5,2. I didnt think tactics was so much the issue as a lack of threat to the liverpool goal. Utaka great as he is, is not the answer, i was surprised that half way when it was clear no one had shooting boots on through the second half HR didn't go for Nugent
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17/09/2007 19:29:00

I must admit I sat and watched on Saturday and could not quite work out what formation we were playing. But if it was 4-3-3 I agree we must have a mobile front man to run for 60 minutes and then be replaced by fresh legs. Alas if we had taken the decent chances we created we would have won. Nice article Chix!!
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17/09/2007 19:31:00

bugger sent that before it was finished, my point was Utaka has got two goals but does not play as a striker and we saw why on saturday, i would have thought it was worthwhile subing Benji for Nugent as for Davis, it seems to me that he runs around tirelessly doing nothing but risking a booking or worse for his frequently rash ill times tackles. YEP STILL ANGRY
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17/09/2007 19:35:00

it appears that it will be a case of kanu and one other up front - or that 4-3-3 which wastes both benjani and utaka in my opinion - as 'arry will pick him more often than not by the looks of it, but i just want 'arry to stick with 4-4-2 tbh... utaka always looks more affective when he plays wide right, so keep him there.
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17/09/2007 19:57:00

442. James. Gj, Sol, Distin, HH. Utaka(Wide right), Papa, Sulley, Matty (Wide left). Benji & Kanu/Stevie Wonder. What the fck do I know.
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17/09/2007 20:28:00

storagematt, you know what we all do, and thats how pompey play best!! 4-4-2 the only way for us with the players we have.
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17/09/2007 21:15:00

good shout p4me storagematt you do know what is best 4-4-2... stevie wonder would have converted at least one of our chances the other day, it is funny you should say that as my my brothers' missus' father was watching a bit of the game with us on saturday and he said that stevie wonder would have scored the one that utaka missed, his exact words!
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18/09/2007 00:19:00

we were lucky to get a point off of you lot on saturday kanu had a great game apart from the penalty. the way you playing at the moment the titles could be POMPEY FOR EUROPE what do you think
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18/09/2007 14:50:00

should have been the case last season mate - but i have been backing that for this season, we are playing well on the whole, even if the table isnt showing this - get blackburn out of the way, maybe even sneaking a win then the surge will begin...
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18/09/2007 16:22:00

Always 4-4-2 for me, we always look more solid when we play this way, and i feel we should even do this away from home to try and snatch something. We should not keep changing formations because we are worried about the opposition, let them worry about us for a change.
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18/09/2007 20:30:00

Guys you've siad it all ... But I will add this ... If 'arry persists on playing Kanu (which personally I wouldnt) 4-4-2 if the way we have to play .... Kanu aside our best, most effective formation is 4-4-2 anyway ....... Conclusion 4-4-2 at all times.
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19/09/2007 01:25:00

Wing backs please ! Didn't get to see the game on the weekend since I was down in the States (which is as good as Mars for EPL coverage) but hear we did well by all reports. Agree with Russ about Davis. Don't know how he still has a spot in midfield (if GON was obsolete at the " new " style Pompey....). Anyway, give Matty & GJ a chance as wing backs with Linvoy, Sol & Distin at the back. Roll on mediocre teams, a la Blackburn & Co ! Play Up !
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19/09/2007 03:31:00

dont write off blackburn mate - if we get a point i will be happy with that...
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19/09/2007 18:11:00


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