Chelsea and Manchester City show that 4-4-2 is still alive

Alvaro Negredo MCFC

Both Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini have got their sides winning games by playing two up front, prompting a rethink in modern tactics.

Whoever said that strike partnerships are dying?

First Manuel Pellegrini stuck Alvaro Negredo next to Sergio Aguero in Manchester City's attack, with the duo going on to net 16 times in the Premier League.

Then Brendan Rodgers deployed Luis Suarez alongside Daniel Sturridge at the spearhead of Liverpool's creative new formation.

Now, Jose Mourinho has joined the growing list of top managers reverting to the classic notion of playing two up front.

Against Southampton at the weekend, Chelsea were 1-0 down at half-time and searching for answers. No matter what they tried - or how hard they tried it, they could not break down a stubborn Southampton back line, with the Saints' high-pressing game causing the Blues all sorts of problems.

Yet out came Demba Ba for the second half and in went three Chelsea goals. Granted, two came from set-pieces - but there is no doubt that Ba's introduction turned the game on its head.

Alongside Fernando Torres, the Senegalese forward presented Mauricio Pochettino's side with a problem they had rarely encountered this term. With two strikers filling the space in between the lines, Southampton's back four struggled to cope with the extra man putting them under pressure, while they still had to try and stifle the creative threat of Chelsea's midfield.

It was a simple move that had a revolutionary effect.

At the Etihad Stadium, meanwhile, Pellegrini has been using the same tactic all season. And Manchester City's home form has been something to behold as a result.

At home, City have won every game - and always by at least two goals. No defence has been able to stop their front two of Aguero and Negredo, while the creativity of Samir Nasri and Fernandinho, power of Yaya Toure and sheer speed of Jesus Navas have made their midfield four all-conquering.

With both City and Chelsea achieving such success with a revamped version of a classic formation, then, those calling for the death of the 4-4-2 might have to think again.

images: © Leon Queeley

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