Nigeria has exciting players no doubt. But most of them suffer from the following flaws:
– inadequate response time – questionable decision making – drop in level of concentration – error prone – inconsistent end product – Speedy drop in productivity
As a result, Peseiro has to factor these when considering the formation he deploys. I think we fans overestimate the capacity and capabilities of our players. Our players are neither as exceptional or as technically superior as fans think.
In our last 2 games, the Portuguese gaffer started with the 4-4-2 formation. This formation is truly exciting but the flaws in its design are apparent which Eguavoen found out the hard way against Tunisia.
When you have defenders like Balogun, Ekong, Omeruo and Aina who can crack easily under pressure, not giving them adequate defensive midfield cover for me amounts to suicide.
Yesterday, we had Iwobi as the box to box center midfielder and Aribo as the attacking midfielder. With no recognised defined defensive midfield, there is this fallow land between our defence and midfield for any team playing 4-3-3 or particularly 4-2-“3”-1 to exploit with gusto.
I know Chukwueze on the right and Simon on the left are set up to drop back and support with defensive duties when required. But with the tendency of the formation to morph into 4-2-4 when we are attacking, Moses and Chukwueze and even overlapping Aina would be too high up the pitch to funnel back and help when a swift counter-attack is swiftly initiated against us. They would not be able to act as swiftly as the severity of that situation requires.
That somewhat led to Sierra Leone’s solo goal yesterday. Pressure was placed on Ekong and there was no DM running back to support Bassey and Ajayi. In fact, the corridor of opportunity created by absence of a DM was exploited severally by Sierra Leone yesterday.
The 4-4-2 flat formation is not bad. But I don’t think our players have the level of concentration and the technical abilities to address the flaws inherent in its design (chief of which is the gap it creates in midfield and the need for more players to cover more grounds).
For me, I will still recommend his 3-5-2 formation. It is a most unprepossessing and un-Nigerian formation to some fans but for me it makes up for the lapses in concentration of our players and helps mitigate some of their weaknesses.
When defending, we have 3 center backs and 2 wingbacks in close proximity. Ekong, Balogun and Omeruo will have less propensity for errors and if they err, they have adequate support.
The 3 centre backs are then scaffolded with 2 defensive midfielders and the 2 strikers have a centre attacking midfielder in tow and wing backs to provide width and crosses.
It is not as porous as the 4-4-2 and it doesn’t expose our players’ weaknesses that much which is why Rohr elected for the 3-5-2 when all else had failed.
But, if Peseiro can attend to the glaring shortcomings of the 4-4-2, then maybe he can make it work. In this formation, one of our two strikers should readily drop into attacking midfield to create openings. The yarning gap between the defence and midfield has to be plugged somehow and the full backs have to possess incredible recovery rate when overlapping.
With the right personnel, 4-4-2 can get you goals aplenty. With the wrong work force, their frailties will be exposed and you will concede a basket load of goals.
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