The Question: do football formations tell the whole story?

Niko Kovac was crucial to Croatia's success under Slaven Bilic
“It is rare that a month goes by without somebody emailing me or tweeting me to point out that John Giles has said on television that it’s not the formation that matters but the players. Many seem to offer the line aggressively, as though the assertion somehow invalidates the notion of tactics in football. To draw that conclusion, though, is to misunderstand what tactics and formations are, to fall into the trap of thinking that players can somehow be separated from the tactical framework. Nobody ever played a game of football without both players and tactics. It’s simply not possible: as soon as there is more than one player, there is necessarily a relationship between them and, however little thought goes into that, that is tactical. But that doesn’t mean, as some appear to think, that the formation outweighs the players whose distribution it describes.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

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