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An Ode to Four Four Two: Football's Simplest and Finest Formation

John McNicoll

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From the publisher:

An Ode to Four Four Two: Football's Simplest and Finest Formation examines how coaches in Europe, and particularly England, settled on the 4-4-2 formation to build iconic teams which would dominate both domestically and in Europe.

Formations have continually evolved since the birth of the game in the mid-19th century. From teams playing with four or five forwards, to the modern era of teams with just the one, arguably the greatest formation has been 4-4-2. Some of the greatest teams have lined up in this multi-functional system.

Flick through the football history books and it is filled with teams like AC Milan, Manchester United, Liverpool, Leeds United and Barcelona, all enjoying glorious eras playing 4-4-2. But it isn't just the elite of world football. Who can forget Leicester City, led by Claudio Ranieri, reviving the system against all odds to outperform the Premier League's big six to claim a historic title in 2016?

Author John McNicoll looks at how and why these teams used the formation to such effect. How they dominated in their era to stand out from the rest. It is the story of how teams, both big and small in status, have played the system to perfection.

The author:

An Ode to Four Four Two is John McNicoll's first book. Having spent the last few years writing for various football websites, John has interviewed the likes of former Manchester United player Norman Whiteside and Sky Sports presenter Scott Minto. With an appetite extend his writing career, he opted to write a book.


Pitch Publishing
22 x 14 cm
256 pages
Includes colour photo section
April 2021