While the official announcement is still pending, Ange Postecoglou is set to usher in a new era at Tottenham Hotspur with his preferred 4-3-3 formation.
Postecoglou’s formation emulates Manchester City’s, particularly in how the inverted full-backs are used.
He adopted the formation while coaching Yokohama FC, the Japanese side he managed before taking the reins at Celtic. Fittingly, Yokohama FC is owned by City Group, the same group that owns Manchester City.
Spurs’ new gaffer didn’t utilize the 4-3-3 system before coaching Yokohama FC, leading one to believe that the 57-year-old moved to the formation after studying how Pep Guardiola employs it.
Pep uses various formations and adapts his sides to be malleable and fluid, optimizing the chances of finding gaps in the opposing defence.
How Postecoglou’s 4-3-3 works in possession
In attack, Postecoglou’s 4-3-3 quickly changes to a 2-3-5 or 2-3-2-3. The No. 6, or the defensive midfielder, has one of the most important roles in a system designed to spread the pitch and find alleys to exploit.
With the inverted full-backs advancing into midfield, the No. 6 is the responsible lynchpin, who must cover defensively while maintaining possession at all costs. Coughing up possession in that area against quality opponents will invariably lead to a golden scoring opportunities.
You must also have strong center backs, who are exposed completely if the ball is turned over. They must have pinpoint accuracy with their distribution, too.
The space between the central defenders and full-backs is much greater than in traditional formations, placing more importance on passing accuracy.
The formation is predicated on the two wingers staying wide and not being dragged inside. That way, the opposing full-backs are isolated, creating a one-vs-one situation.
In addition, it forces the opposing full-backs to decide, either venture wide to mark the wingers or stay inside, leaving them on their own. If they go wide to mark up, space is created inside for the No. 8 to exploit.
The formation, when executed well, can lead to an attack featuring up to seven players. With so much support, passing options are readily available and Interchanging occurs seamlessly.