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Roberto Martinez and the 4-4-2, 4-1-2-1-1, etc

Roberto Martinez and the 4-4-2, 4-1-2-1-1, etc

Wigan Athletic boss Roberto Martinez this week met with the editors of six Latics fans sites to talk football and yours truly was fortunate enough to have been there, as promised there will be a few articles reporting back on what was said and there will be links to the other articles and other sites articles as well.

First up I thought should be the topic of systems, it is something that Latics fans have seemingly become obsessed with this season and a large number of fans wanted to know why the Latics don`t play 4-4-2.

Martinez had a wry smile on his face when he was asked about 4-4-2 or the lack of it but he says that the players need to be coached how to play different formations and his team should be able to switch between systems depending on circumstances during a game.

Martinez also says that the type of player you have can dictate the way that you line-up, playing to the players strengths, he said: "It makes me laugh sometimes when people talk about systems. We should help the players know how to play in different formations, a 4-4-2, a 4-2-3-1, 4-5-1, 3-5-2, the players should be able to switch like that, click, click, click.

"What is the difference between systems, you tell me? People talk about the systems and how they are not working. It is the players that make the systems work, so depending on what players you have, you can then make a system strong."

The Latics boss believes that 4-4-2 is the easiest formation to play against with its rigidity and also that it`s difficult for the two forwards who are always outnumbered by four defenders, he said: "Four, four, two in the easiest system to play against because you have two banks of four. When you get people in between, it is very difficult to deal with. Then to hurt the opposition, having two strikers against four defenders, you are not going to get a numerical advantage."

Martinez believes that the way to get at opponents and create chances and goal scoring opportunities is to get one on one situations by passing the ball quickly in the final third and switching play, he used examples of Charles N`Zogbia and Hugo Rodallega to illustrate this.

Then he mentioned that some people talk about having forwards on the pitch as though the more strikers you have the more certain you will be of scoring, but to re-emphasise his point on systems Roberto used the England Vs Greece under 21 international as an example of this not being the case.

England threw on 5 attacking players in the final moments of the match trying to chase the game, but they found it nigh on impossible to get possession of the ball, I`ll let Roberto explain: "People speak about having strikers, and yesterday was funny. I watched the England under 21`s and they ended up with five strikers and this was the easiest moment for Greece.

"Because although they had five strikers, if they don`t have the ball they are not going to hurt you. So then all of a sudden, they had Lee Cattermole and Jack Rodwell, and Greece stopped those two and the five strikers couldn`t get the ball. So the system is important to try and get the best out of your players."

Getting back to the Latics Martinez says that all the players are comfortable with what`s being asked of them and most are more than used to playing the roles that they have been this season, the defenders he says played in a four man defence last year and that is exactly what they are doing this year

He said: "In our squad we have all different players from all different regimes and they play in the normal positions. There are some players that never change positions. For example if you are playing a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1, the players in defence are the same. They will only change if we change to three at the back.

"All the players that we have from last year, they are defenders really, and my goalkeeper. Everyone else is playing in a new position and they are all capable of playing in those positions.

"It is not the new system that the players are being asked to do something completely different. It is the opposite, we are trying to get the best out of players."

Speaking about the system that the Latics play Roberto explains why we take a 4-3-3 approach: "The way we are, if you are relying on Hugo Rodallega`s physicality to hurt the defenders, that is going to be difficult and so for us we play with a front three. When we have been at our best, we have been playing with three strikers. Jason Scotland, Hugo Rodallega and Charles N`Zogbia who is like striker when he gets in those positions.

"You have three versus four really and although people think 4-4-2 is better, this way we have 4-3-3 which gives us bigger options, especially when you get those quality players in the wide areas with the ball. That is getting the best out of our players."

A big thanks to Paul Farrington of for use of the transcript

The other sites articles:

Ye Old Tree and Crown

Cockney Latic

Wiganer interview part one

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Writer:Barry Worthington
Date:Friday March 5 2010
Time: 2:20PM


Roberto is a very interesting and engaging talker
05/03/2010 14:32:00
Glad u liked it. It would be good if it was done every month
05/03/2010 16:04:00
Agree that 4-4-2 is not the answer & let's face it we've had lots of 1 v 1 situations. We need to take them.
05/03/2010 18:35:00
I agree with him, but the point hasn't been put across too well in my opinion. The main thing about the system or formation is that no matter what, we cannot score goals with a loan striker in this system we play. The goals have mainly come from the wings, the odd pen, and occasional rare headers from crosses/corners. We all know you have to change things at times during a game, but EG. Putting Zoggy in the middle? Comon. Zoggy is a winger. Hugo up front? A lightweight that does not make a very good striker. Moreno, another lightweight, and runs around like a gazelle and can’t will a tackle, header or get the ball, and these players will just come good, just like that. The reason 442 gets such backing is that regardless of what the wingers are doing, the main difference is the two or one man up front scenario and one man for Wigan at this time does not work. If the people asking questions, put the question simply as 442 or 551 then its little wonder he looked weary. I would have preferred to have asked him why we have a goal drought from the system he appears to try and play. I would have also asked him, why is it we have let so many goals scored against us using his style and system. And also why does there seem to be so much blatant lack of movement and no actual desire to get into goal scoring positions apart from Zoggy. As for Gomez, and Scotland. What can I say? Scotland will get his bus pass before his gets a goal. Gomez looked promising in the Villa game at the start of the season, as did Koumas. It’s a pity both appear to be naff now. It’s up to them, and you cannot blame the fans for booing either. Fans all over the country have been booing Refs, bad displays, people who disrupt a 2 minute silence or what ever. I say to those players. Get over it, and get your fingers out. I like most don’t boo, I stay till the bitter end, but I won’t clap a poor performance. Each to their own.
05/03/2010 18:38:00
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