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It is the formation that the class of '92 were blooded on and the tactical setup that took Manchester United to a multitude of trophies.
But 4-4-2 is dead, at least when it comes to talking about the Red Devils.
To play the formation successfully you must have world-class wingers and box-to-box midfielders who can tackle, pass, shoot and run all day long.
United have not had this for a long time, and it was Sir Alex Ferguson's ability to get blood out of a stone that allowed the Champions to carry on with the system as their primary tactic.
But 4-4-2 has been dying a death at Old Trafford for a number of years, with its validity coming into question especially against the bigger teams.
This season, David Moyes tried to stick to tradition and use the formation.
And it ended up with his dismissal.
Louis van Gaal is famed for playing a 4-3-3, and this fits in with the status quo of many of Europe's elite teams.
The Dutchman's system also fits the current crop of United players, who simply do not conform to the bombastic nature of 4-4-2.
A move away from United's traditional formation will allow the club to get the best from players like Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa, but it would also facilitate change with a focus on recruiting new talent to play a different way.