Connect with us

Bengaluru FC

Tactics: Is Bengaluru FC’s shift to a 4-4-2 vs Dempo a worry in Midfield?


Sami Faizullah has a tactical look at Bengaluru FC and whether there is a cause for worry in midfield given the shift to a 4-4-2 from a 4-3-3 vs Dempo.

When Bengaluru FC let go of Johnny Menyongar, plenty of the supporters gasped in disappointment. It wasn’t that the Liberian was a popular fan favourite (comparatively), but the fluidity with which he controlled the midfield left most viewers starring in awe.

The West Block Bengaluru FC football blog

Westwood Walker Thoi

Coach Ashley Westwood replaced the 34-year-old Menyongar with Joshua Walker, ex-England U-21 captain. And as displayed in the sides’ maiden Federation Cup triumph, the 25-year-old seemed to struggle in the opening games but quickly asserted himself in the side and evidently was a step ahead at reading the game. But that victory in the final over Dempo also saw Walker come off early with an injury concern, later displaying an ice pack on his thigh.

It was then no surprise that the ex-Middlesbrough youth product wasn’t named in the squad facing Dempo in the I-League opener. Instead, Westwood brought Robin Singh into the starting eleven with fellow star attackers Sean Rooney and captain Sunil Chhetri all playing from the kick-off. But rather than going with the regular formation of 4-3-3, Westwood opted to shift to a more traditional 4-4-2 that saw Sunil Chhetri drop into a role on the left wing as opposed to a spot in the front three. Sean Rooney and Robin Singh formed a strike partnership up ahead.

With the 4-3-3 proving to be a dominating system at the Federation Cup, that firstly ensured maximum possession and an added benefit of playing the ball along the ground (as Westwood prefers), a shift way would most likely have been a forced change though also a possible response to Dempo’s strengths.

Bengaluru FC Tactics

Bengaluru FC’s usual set-up at the Federation Cup

Josh Walker’s absence meant neither of Siam Hangal, Thoi Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh or Darren Caldeira could be trusted to fit into the role played by Menyongar last season and Walker as his successor. Westwood opted instead to go with two central midfielders, providing cover to the other, with little to no defensive duties out wide. Thoi and Eugeneson were the chosen duo and though both put in a competent effort, there’s still a general belief that none of the midfield options in line after Josh Walker are capable of fitting into the deep central midfield role, resulting in a complete change of systems.

But coach Ashley Westwood was quick to defend the versatility of his players, insisting his midfield options could seamlessly fit into that midfield role. When asked about the reason for the shift from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 in the goalless draw vs Dempo, he told Outside of the Boot “It’s a combination of things [as opposed to just Walker’s absence] really if you have a look at Dempo, they can run at our back four, they can turn on the ball, and dribble, that’s their strengths”

Bengaluru FC Tactics

Bengaluru FC’s set-up against Dempo

The ex-United youngster turned coach stated that the change in formation came largely as a result of Dempo’s approach, suggesting that Bengaluru FC were cautious in their approach, focusing on not losing the opening game and conceding that it was a “pragmatic approach” but one that could possibly have worked if Sunil Chhetri had converted his penalty at the stroke of half, thus justifying the game plan.

When further pressed into whether the other midfield options are capable of the ‘Menyongar role’, the coach further explained his faith in the squad. “There are a few who can play there, Euegenson [Lyngdoh], Darren [Caldeira] are capable while we’ve even played John Johnson there when needed last season. So as I mentioned, it was a combination of Dempo’s gameplay and Walker’s injury that sought the change in approach. Others can come into that role, but this just wasn’t the game to do it in”, Ashley Westwood told Outside of the Boot.

Although that midfield role does seem a bit of a liability in the absence of Walker, a change in system isn’t the biggest worry, particularly considering the fact that it worked well as a 4-4-2 (though not as effective as the 4-3-3). Dempo did a good job of ensuring the midfield battle went on how they preferred it to, with Artur Papas confirming to after the game that the tactic of pushing their midfield ahead in a bid to keep Bengaluru FC’s midfield as deep as possible was a preplanned approach. This approach ensured Bengaluru FC’s midfield were kept deep in defensive phases, widening the space between the two men upfront and forcing the home side into longer balls over the top.

Both Sean Rooney and Robin Singh’s reluctance to drop deeper further helped Dempo’s case, going on to highlight the need for a player in that Menyongar role to control the tempo of the game and the battle in midfield.

It’ll be interesting to see what approach Ashley Westwood goes with in the upcoming games as it would be unlike him to change a largely successful 4-3-3 approach to contain the opposition, though he has in recent games developed a strategy of cleverly seeing out games after taking a first half lead. Similar cautiousness may not be beneficial in a league season, but could be applied for crucial continental fixtures in February. While the likes of Eugeneson Lyngdoh have been an exciting and promising injection to the defending champions, Talent Radar would love nothing more than to see one of the younger midfielders in Thoi Singh and Siam Hanghal fill into the void when the circumstances demand it.


Written by Sami Faizullah 

Sami Faizullah

Sami Faizullah

Co-founder and Chief Editor here. Obsessed with tactics. Keen follower of young players. Creator of #TalentRadar. Appeared in A Football Report's list of "Best in Football Writing 2012".
Sami Faizullah

100 to Watch

Latest

Talent Radar1 day ago

Talent Radar: Superliga Argentina’s 10 Young Players to Watch in 2017-18

Tom Robinson lists out the 10 young players to watch in the 2017-18 Superliga Argentina season The Argentinian Primera, in...

Scout Report1 day ago

Scout Report: Riccardo Orsolini | Atalanta’s deft winger

Charles Onwuakpa writes about 2017 U-20 World Cup Italian star and Atalanta talent, Riccardo Orsolini

Talent Radar2 days ago

Talent Radar 2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #1: Christian Pulisic & Kurt Zouma feature

Sami Faizullah compiles the Talent Radar Young Players' Team of the Week across Europe's top seven leagues.

Talent Radar3 days ago

La Liga’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Tom Canton lists out the 10 young players to watch in the 2017-18 La Liga season, who could have a...

Tactical Analysis5 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Juventus 2-3 Lazio | Simone Inzaghi exposes Juventus’ 4-2-3-1 weaknesses

Cheuk Hei Ho writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Italian Super Cup final that finished Juventus 2-3 Lazio

Tactical Analysis5 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City | Attacking Patterns & Transitions

Kaushik Goswami writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Premier League opener that finished Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City

Talent Radar6 days ago

Premier League’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

William Sinsky brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Premier League this season. It’s back. The...

Tactical Analysis6 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona | Real’s Pressing Excellence

Om Arvind writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Spanish Super Cup second leg that finished Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona...

Talent Radar1 week ago

Serie A’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Simone Torricini brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Serie A this season. The Under-20 World...

Tactical Analysis1 week ago

Tactical Analysis: Manchester United 4-0 West Ham | Fluidity and exploitation

Ryan Quinn writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Premier League game that finished Manchester United 4-0 West Ham Following the signings...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

Eredivisie’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Mosope Ominiyi brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Eredivisie this season. Justin Kluivert // Ajax...

Talent Radar3 weeks ago

Primeira Liga’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Jose Miguel Saraiva brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Primeira Liga this season.

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Ainsley Maitland-Niles | Arsenal’s Versatile Prospect

Mosope Ominiyi provides a detailed scout report on Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Arsenal’s versatile prospect. Arsene Wenger announced that along with 17-year-old winger...

Specials3 weeks ago

Lazio’s Golden Age: The Sergio Cragnotti Era

Football News 24/7  Sam McKeever has a look back at Lazio’s golden era in the 90’s under the ownership of Sergio...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Analysis: Why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing

Kaushik Goswami has a look at why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing. Having already lured Romelu...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Monaco’s Moves: Why the Football World should pay attention

While the football world is focused on the players being sold by Monaco, Alex Lynch has a look at how...

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Joel Pereira | Manchester United’s Agile Goalkeeper

Mateus Carvalho provides a comprehensive scout report on Joel Pereira, Manchester United’s agile goalkeeper. At the end of the last season, José...

Talent Radar4 weeks ago

Talent Radar: CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017 | U-23 Team of the Tournament

Football News 24/7  Jose Miguel Saraiva gives us his U-23 Team of the recently concluded CONCACAF Gold Cup featuring the...

Opinions4 weeks ago

Blindside Movements And Mental Overloads: Breaking Down Maurizio Sarri’s Tactics

Cheuk Hei Ho breaks down Maurizio Sarri’s tactics at Napoli looking at how the Italian giants use passing, blindside movements,...

Opinions4 weeks ago

Bayern Munich: What’s their game plan?

Alankrith Shankar writes a detailed article of how we can expect Bayern Munich to set up in the 2017-18 season....

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 16-17

More on Outside of the Boot