Over the summer, Manchester United bulked up their front line with the acquisitions of up-and-comer Shinji Kagawa and one of the nation's elite strikers, Robin van Persie. But with those acquisitions came a couple of tough decisions for manager sir Alex Ferguson, who already had Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez in the fold.
Possessing too many elite forwards is undoubtedly a great problem to have, but it's still an important one as they all must gain adequate playing time to maintain a happy relationship with the club. Additionally, putting them together in unfavorable positions can lead to the squandering of their talents.
So it begs the question: Which formation utilizes Kagawa, Rooney, van Persie and Chicharito the most, and where do you put each of them?
There's no perfect formula, but the 4-1-2-1-2 formation seems to give the club the best chance to utilize their four top playmakers and win more matches.
Up front would be RvP and Chicharito. Having van Persie as a pure striker is a must, due to his elite ability to finish.
While Man-U fans would love to see Rooney alongside RvP as the second striker, it's not the best fit for their current arsenal of players. Although Hernandez isn't a striker of Rooney's caliber, he still possesses unique finishing ability from the striker position and can be unstoppable.
Putting Hernandez anywhere besides a striker position is a complete waste of his talent and greatly diminishes his ability to affect the game. He's more suited coming off the bench as a striker than in any sort of attacking midfield position.
This gives the club the ability to put Rooney in the central attacking midfielder position, where he can be more creative and put the ball in the right spot for his strikers. Plus, when the time is right, RvP and Chicharito can set up Rooney to utilize his blistering shot skill.
The last missing piece is Kagawa, who should be placed on one of the midfield wings. He's similarly skilled with both feet, which gives Ferguson the flexibility to see which side suits him best.
Putting Kagawa in a central midfielding position would be a killer to ball possession, as he's too weak to maintain the ball between multiple defenders. Having him on the wing gives him the ability to push the ball and attack the penalty area without having too much responsibility on ball retention.
The 4-1-2-1-2 formation isn't one that coaches flock to. But in some instances, the personnel calls for it, and it can be pulled off with the proper leadership and skills on the pitch.