Alexandre Pato may have stole the show on David Beckham’s AC Milan debut with a double, the second a fantastic chip but it was Roma who were the reason to watch just to see their 4-6-0 in action.
Arsenal’s Champions League opponents reverted from the diamond formation they have played recently and placed former Gunner Julio Baptista up front. The Brazilian so influential for Sevilla in the trequartista role and recently for Roma as the forward point in the diamond but this time he had to translate it higher up the pitch.
He started strongly for Roma but couldn’t impose himself enough on the game. Totti was unavailable through injury but "Il Capitan" is the perfect player for this system; his dropping off and roaming creates space for others and allows doubling up which Baptista failed to reproduced in the same effect.
Mirko Vucinic on the other hand had another great game out wide on the left, scoring two great goals, his dynamism of great importance to the system.
The 4-6-0 works because everybody attacks and everybody defends; it’s like a swarm of bees moving together. De Rossi is the deep playmaker but anyone of the midfield can fulfill each other’s role.
What is really impressive, like Barcelona, is the way they are always a threat even when teams are defending deep. As there is a lack of space behind they utilise the space in front with great effect.
As they call it in Spain, the llegada is Manchester born Simone Perrotta and can now also add Matteo Brighi though to a lesser effect, breaking forward into the box to provide support and in numbers. Having five players in and around the box making it hard to defend because of the movement and the uncertainty on who and where to mark.
The formation the doesn’t work for every team and every time, just as any tactic but when it does it can be so beautiful to watch.
Arsenal play AS Roma in February and it will be interesting to see which formation they go with; the diamond or the "strikerless." With Arsenal’s apparent weakness runners behind and tracking runners in midfield they will look to implement these tactics. It should be an interesting game and one for the purists.
Is this the future as Carlos Alberto Parreira predicted in 2003? An article looking to answer that will come closer to the first leg. Till then make it something to think about. Leave your comments and as always I will read them and try to answer any queries one may have.
You can watch highlights here to see a glimpse of the system in action in AS Roma’s 2-2 draw with AC Milan.