COMMENT: New formation shows what Beppe Sannino can do in a short space of time

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The 3-4-2-1 formation used by Watford during the first half against Manchester City showed what Beppe Sannino could achieve in a short space of time.

After the match, Hornets midfielder Sean Murray confirmed the players had not tried the new system prior to Monday last week.

Now, the 3-4-2-1 formation may have been used by a few of us on FIFA computer games over the years but it isn't a system used on a regular basis by coaches. So the 3-4-2-1 wouldn't have been ingrained on the players growing up, like the 4-4-2 for English players and 3-5-2 for Italians may have been.

If Watford had dominated Manchester City for nearly all of the first half having worked on a formation for the whole season then it would have been an impressive feat. After all, Premier League managers - young and old - had tried and failed to stop the City juggernaut, with Arsene Wenger, Andre Villas Boas, Sam Allardyce and Chris Hughton all seeing their team ship at least six goals in the last few months.

City made a few changes at the weekend but 17 of the 18 players in their squad were full internationals and their strike pairing of Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko have now scored 41 goals between them so far this season.

So for Sannino to instil a system which would not only nullify City's threat but also open them up with relative ease in just five days of preparation is truly remarkable.

The praise should not be restricted to just the head coach either. Watford's players produced a monumental effort and seemingly implemented Sannino's instructions perfectly in the first half.

With City averaging four goals a game at the Etihad this season, you would understand if clubs attempted to 'park the bus' when they face Manuel Pellegrini's side. But the Hornets not only restricted the Sky Blues' threat, the decision to play Ikechi Anya and Fernando Forestieri off Troy Deeney meant the Golden Boys were always ready to counter-attack with numbers.

Every time a City attack broke down, the likes of Sean Murray and Cristian Battocchio had a forward pass available and the Premier League title favourites could not cope. Watford had two glorious openings even before Forestieri scored the game's first goal midway through the first half.

City were pushing their full backs Micah Richards and Aleksandar Kolarov high up the pitch but that was playing into the Golden Boys' hands as they often found themselves three-on-three - or better.

Joleon Lescott and Jack Rodwell had a rare chance to impress for City as they look to secure World Cup places this summer but the pair - along with their team-mates - couldn't cope with the pace and movement of Watford's play.

The visitors deserved to lead 2-0 at half time and the fact Pellegrini sent for captain Vincent Kompany and the reliable Pablo Zabaleta at the break gave a clear indication of the Hornets' performance.

City took control at the break. After Aguero had pulled a goal back on the hour mark, Sannino tried to stop the onslaught by taking off Forestieri and bringing on Marco Cassetti, as he shifted to a 5-4-1 formation.

This dampened City's attacking threat slightly but it also reduced Watford's counter-attacking possibility significantly, as Deeney was left to plough a lone furrow, working off scraps.

An equaliser, which came in the 78th minute, seemed inevitable but the 4-2 scoreline slightly masks the fact the visitors were less than five minutes from forcing one of the biggest - and richest - clubs in Europe to a lucrative replay.

It was an afternoon which Sannino, the players and the 3,352 Watford supporters will never forget.

For around an hour, the magic of the FA Cup was alive. It was an afternoon which made you reminisce about spending all day watching the FA Cup final coverage as a child. It reignited the emotions which made you fall in love with the beautiful game as a kid. Of playing football all afternoon in the summer.

The key for Watford now is to use the performance as a catalyst for the rest of the season; to kick-start their play-off challenge.

It will be intriguing to see whether, with Nottingham Forest unbeaten since November and sitting fifth in the table, Sannino decides to give the 3-4-2-1 formation another go. If he doesn't, he has another three days to work on a plan.

Comments (19)

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6:54pm Mon 27 Jan 14

VOReason says...

We played 3 4 2 1 v chalton at home and looked all over the place.

Does just show what can be achieved with organisation discipline and belief ...

Well done beppe
We played 3 4 2 1 v chalton at home and looked all over the place. Does just show what can be achieved with organisation discipline and belief ... Well done beppe VOReason
  • Score: 16

7:17pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Kismet110 says...

Good article, some salient points. GS is no mug and he did his homework on City.

I just pray as you mentioned this performance and belief is carried into the League campaign starting with Forest on Thursday - they are on a great run but we have a fantastic record against them, a smart manager and some talented players so here's hoping.....
Good article, some salient points. GS is no mug and he did his homework on City. I just pray as you mentioned this performance and belief is carried into the League campaign starting with Forest on Thursday - they are on a great run but we have a fantastic record against them, a smart manager and some talented players so here's hoping..... Kismet110
  • Score: 30

8:18pm Mon 27 Jan 14

WFCinexile says...

The difference between Championship players and Premiership players is consistency. Championship players can be just as good as most Premiership players, but only tend to achieve it intermittently. That is the frustration with some of our team, we know they can perform at a high level when they really want to, like against big teams, they need to show that they can perform at that level every game. If they want promotion, they have to step up their consistency levels. The new manager seems to know his stuff, he looks like he won't tolerate anything less than full effort. I am hopeful for a positive end of season, though doubt it will be enough to push for a play off place this time.
The difference between Championship players and Premiership players is consistency. Championship players can be just as good as most Premiership players, but only tend to achieve it intermittently. That is the frustration with some of our team, we know they can perform at a high level when they really want to, like against big teams, they need to show that they can perform at that level every game. If they want promotion, they have to step up their consistency levels. The new manager seems to know his stuff, he looks like he won't tolerate anything less than full effort. I am hopeful for a positive end of season, though doubt it will be enough to push for a play off place this time. WFCinexile
  • Score: 19

10:24pm Mon 27 Jan 14

watford4ever says...

Still think we have a chance of a play off place, 6th on the back of a good run is not a bad place to be. Next 3.games will decide our fate!
Come on you horns!
Still think we have a chance of a play off place, 6th on the back of a good run is not a bad place to be. Next 3.games will decide our fate! Come on you horns! watford4ever
  • Score: 16

10:37pm Mon 27 Jan 14

FestersVespas says...

The optimistic thing for me was the way the team started, as opposed to some previous Beppe matches, where the performance came in the second half. We should have had a penalty (and possibly a red card for goalie) - according to the Man City forum match report, even before the two goals and then Pudil hitting a post in the first half. Unfortunately if you didn't go to the match, you wouldn't have seen anything except the goals on ITV's 'highlights'!
The pitch was excellent for Watford's passing game, something you don't get at many champ sides.
Unfortunately Man City's international stars literally wore us down in the 2nd half, but it still took the free scorers 60 minutes to breech the defence.
I think the manager is someone who prepares well, while still learning about his own team, and will change formation depending on the opposition.
Apart from a superb team performance, it was great to see Tommie Hoban warming up pre-match, welcome back.
I hope the next story is about a nippy striker signing, although Fessi actually linked up well with Deeney in then first half.
The optimistic thing for me was the way the team started, as opposed to some previous Beppe matches, where the performance came in the second half. We should have had a penalty (and possibly a red card for goalie) - according to the Man City forum match report, even before the two goals and then Pudil hitting a post in the first half. Unfortunately if you didn't go to the match, you wouldn't have seen anything except the goals on ITV's 'highlights'! The pitch was excellent for Watford's passing game, something you don't get at many champ sides. Unfortunately Man City's international stars literally wore us down in the 2nd half, but it still took the free scorers 60 minutes to breech the defence. I think the manager is someone who prepares well, while still learning about his own team, and will change formation depending on the opposition. Apart from a superb team performance, it was great to see Tommie Hoban warming up pre-match, welcome back. I hope the next story is about a nippy striker signing, although Fessi actually linked up well with Deeney in then first half. FestersVespas
  • Score: 18

11:13pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Hornankey says...

Let's try to win another game or two shall we?
Let's try to win another game or two shall we? Hornankey
  • Score: 3

7:23am Tue 28 Jan 14

VOReason says...

http://www.bbc.co.uk
/news/uk-scotland-ta
yside-central-258807
58

Fan banned for 2 years for trying to smuggle a smoke bomb into the ground in Scotland.

I hear police are close to identifying our culprit from Bournemouth, must be a longer ban as he threw it onto to the pitch.

Crucify him I say, crucify some sense into him!
http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-scotland-ta yside-central-258807 58 Fan banned for 2 years for trying to smuggle a smoke bomb into the ground in Scotland. I hear police are close to identifying our culprit from Bournemouth, must be a longer ban as he threw it onto to the pitch. Crucify him I say, crucify some sense into him! VOReason
  • Score: 0

8:55am Tue 28 Jan 14

inayellowshirt says...

I also see it as players being able to play with nothing to lose, unlike the pressure of their low confidence in the Championship.

A result on Thursday though could get some momentum started
I also see it as players being able to play with nothing to lose, unlike the pressure of their low confidence in the Championship. A result on Thursday though could get some momentum started inayellowshirt
  • Score: 10

10:00am Tue 28 Jan 14

mellow yellow says...

VOReason wrote:
http://www.bbc.co.uk

/news/uk-scotland-ta

yside-central-258807

58

Fan banned for 2 years for trying to smuggle a smoke bomb into the ground in Scotland.

I hear police are close to identifying our culprit from Bournemouth, must be a longer ban as he threw it onto to the pitch.

Crucify him I say, crucify some sense into him!
And while you're at it why not bring back the death penalty for stealing an apple or impersonating a Chelsea pensioner, like in early Victorian times. Jeez.
[quote][p][bold]VOReason[/bold] wrote: http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-scotland-ta yside-central-258807 58 Fan banned for 2 years for trying to smuggle a smoke bomb into the ground in Scotland. I hear police are close to identifying our culprit from Bournemouth, must be a longer ban as he threw it onto to the pitch. Crucify him I say, crucify some sense into him![/p][/quote]And while you're at it why not bring back the death penalty for stealing an apple or impersonating a Chelsea pensioner, like in early Victorian times. Jeez. mellow yellow
  • Score: 7

10:17am Tue 28 Jan 14

Kismet110 says...

VOReason wrote:
http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-scotland-ta yside-central-258807 58 Fan banned for 2 years for trying to smuggle a smoke bomb into the ground in Scotland. I hear police are close to identifying our culprit from Bournemouth, must be a longer ban as he threw it onto to the pitch. Crucify him I say, crucify some sense into him!
What has this got to do with the subject at hand, namely the switch in formation vs Man City?!?

I think you're wasted here, maybe your time would be better spent sifting through all the online videos and pictures of highly dangerous criminal supporters from clubs all over the UK in the vicinity of a deadly smoke bomb.

Just be careful not to stumble across footage from Europe or the Americas - the resultant level of criminality may be too overwhelming.
[quote][p][bold]VOReason[/bold] wrote: http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-scotland-ta yside-central-258807 58 Fan banned for 2 years for trying to smuggle a smoke bomb into the ground in Scotland. I hear police are close to identifying our culprit from Bournemouth, must be a longer ban as he threw it onto to the pitch. Crucify him I say, crucify some sense into him![/p][/quote]What has this got to do with the subject at hand, namely the switch in formation vs Man City?!? I think you're wasted here, maybe your time would be better spent sifting through all the online videos and pictures of highly dangerous criminal supporters from clubs all over the UK in the vicinity of a deadly smoke bomb. Just be careful not to stumble across footage from Europe or the Americas - the resultant level of criminality may be too overwhelming. Kismet110
  • Score: 3

10:37am Tue 28 Jan 14

Harry's Bar says...

VOReason wrote:
http://www.bbc.co.uk

/news/uk-scotland-ta

yside-central-258807

58

Fan banned for 2 years for trying to smuggle a smoke bomb into the ground in Scotland.

I hear police are close to identifying our culprit from Bournemouth, must be a longer ban as he threw it onto to the pitch.

Crucify him I say, crucify some sense into him!
Would you settle for a crucifixion if it turned out to be truefan?
[quote][p][bold]VOReason[/bold] wrote: http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-scotland-ta yside-central-258807 58 Fan banned for 2 years for trying to smuggle a smoke bomb into the ground in Scotland. I hear police are close to identifying our culprit from Bournemouth, must be a longer ban as he threw it onto to the pitch. Crucify him I say, crucify some sense into him![/p][/quote]Would you settle for a crucifixion if it turned out to be truefan? Harry's Bar
  • Score: 1

12:41pm Tue 28 Jan 14

VOReason says...

Harry's Bar wrote:
VOReason wrote:
http://www.bbc.co.uk


/news/uk-scotland-ta


yside-central-258807


58

Fan banned for 2 years for trying to smuggle a smoke bomb into the ground in Scotland.

I hear police are close to identifying our culprit from Bournemouth, must be a longer ban as he threw it onto to the pitch.

Crucify him I say, crucify some sense into him!
Would you settle for a crucifixion if it turned out to be truefan?
He d be lucky to get away with crucifiction 1st offence ...
[quote][p][bold]Harry's Bar[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]VOReason[/bold] wrote: http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-scotland-ta yside-central-258807 58 Fan banned for 2 years for trying to smuggle a smoke bomb into the ground in Scotland. I hear police are close to identifying our culprit from Bournemouth, must be a longer ban as he threw it onto to the pitch. Crucify him I say, crucify some sense into him![/p][/quote]Would you settle for a crucifixion if it turned out to be truefan?[/p][/quote]He d be lucky to get away with crucifiction 1st offence ... VOReason
  • Score: 1

12:43pm Tue 28 Jan 14

VOReason says...

Best thing the romans ever did for us crucifiction!!!!
Best thing the romans ever did for us crucifiction!!!! VOReason
  • Score: 4

1:28pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Harrydownunder says...

Best thing now is that our opponents won't know what formation we will play....

Great performance and I am confident results will now improve.
Best thing now is that our opponents won't know what formation we will play.... Great performance and I am confident results will now improve. Harrydownunder
  • Score: 9

1:29pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Harrydownunder says...

What about the acquaduct?
What about the acquaduct? Harrydownunder
  • Score: 5

4:29pm Tue 28 Jan 14

VOReason says...

Harrydownunder wrote:
What about the acquaduct?
Ok apart from the aquaduct ...
[quote][p][bold]Harrydownunder[/bold] wrote: What about the acquaduct?[/p][/quote]Ok apart from the aquaduct ... VOReason
  • Score: 4

4:44pm Tue 28 Jan 14

VOReason says...

VOReason wrote:
Harrydownunder wrote:
What about the acquaduct?
Ok apart from the aquaduct ...
Oh and irrigation ...
[quote][p][bold]VOReason[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Harrydownunder[/bold] wrote: What about the acquaduct?[/p][/quote]Ok apart from the aquaduct ...[/p][/quote]Oh and irrigation ... VOReason
  • Score: 4

8:08pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Harrydownunder says...

VOReason wrote:
VOReason wrote:
Harrydownunder wrote:
What about the acquaduct?
Ok apart from the aquaduct ...
Oh and irrigation ...
Education?
[quote][p][bold]VOReason[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]VOReason[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Harrydownunder[/bold] wrote: What about the acquaduct?[/p][/quote]Ok apart from the aquaduct ...[/p][/quote]Oh and irrigation ...[/p][/quote]Education? Harrydownunder
  • Score: 2

5:56am Wed 29 Jan 14

VOReason says...

Harrydownunder wrote:
VOReason wrote:
VOReason wrote:
Harrydownunder wrote:
What about the acquaduct?
Ok apart from the aquaduct ...
Oh and irrigation ...
Education?
Ok so apart from education irrigation and the aquaduct ...
[quote][p][bold]Harrydownunder[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]VOReason[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]VOReason[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Harrydownunder[/bold] wrote: What about the acquaduct?[/p][/quote]Ok apart from the aquaduct ...[/p][/quote]Oh and irrigation ...[/p][/quote]Education?[/p][/quote]Ok so apart from education irrigation and the aquaduct ... VOReason
  • Score: 1

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