How to Stop Nullify Palermo and their strange 4-3-2-1 (Your defensive organization)
If you know a top European manager about to face palermo send him this article it would help him alot lol. Im not even kidding.
Before you try to stop your opponent, you have to know your opponent.
Here are some important facts about Palermo.
1. They play a narrow strata(formation with no wingers) 4-3-2-1
2. miccoli likes to drift deep
3. They have great attacking fullbacks(cassani&balzaretti both lead the team in assist)
4. They use 2 trequatistas (illic and pastore)
5. They use 3 ball winners in midfield( good defensively not so much the other way around)
6. They are a counter attacking team
Now we know this information how do we stop Palermo?
Formation of choice 4-2-2-2-I think villareals 4-2-2-2 system would do a very good job in exploiting the 4-3-2-1
How to stifle there counter attack-
This is how i would nullify the 4-3-2-1 with the 4-2-2-2 and its quite simple actually. (i will explain how the formations match up and why a high pressing and narrow 4-2-2-2 will beat a 4-3-2-1)
When defending against their counter keep a high line, press high up the pitch, and narrow your width.
This is because palermos formation is really narrow they are naturally forced to play through the middle, because they have no permanent wide players. By pushing up and narrowing my width i have just reduced the space in the middle. When they are trying to attack they will try to go down the middle but they wont have any room to attack down there.
The effects of pushing up & pressing
1. When you push up you limit oppositions space by compressing them in their own half
2. When you press you completely close down any remaining space they have.
Basically they wont be able to pass there way out of their own half.
This is a very effective when playing against a narrow strata team. (narrow stratas formation dont have any wide outlets to hit balls long balls to. If you put pressure on them and on them and push up they will find it difficult to get out of their own half.) *Note putting pressure is not dropping back when palermo get the ball as inter milan did for the first goal.
The only way palermo can generate width to get out of thier own half would to have miccoli,illic, or pastore drift into wide areas. This wont be a problem though. Remember you are using a 4-2-2-2 this means you have 4 players back at all times. 2 center backs and 2 defensive midfielders. Even if 2 of palermos 3 attackers did drift wide it wouldnt be a problem because your 2 dms can just drift wide to cover that space. By using the 4-2-2-2 you leave palermo with a 3v4 disadvantage ever time they want to counter attack.
As many of us know palermos first goal was set up by cassani. One of palermos dangerous attacking fb.
Even though by pinning palermo in their own half with a high line and pressing you should be able to shut down palermos fullbacks well. (Think about it what can a fb do when faced with a high line. He can either pass long, ((we’ve establish that to be ineffective due to palermos lack of wide outlets and the fact that hitting a long ball down the middle is very hard especially with most teams having the standard 6ft cb who can easily deal with balls in the air)) or he can try dribbling foward and breaking your high defensive line, which really wont happen unless your up against maicon or dani alves)
Just to be safe though by playing a 4-2-2-2 the villareal version of it. You have 2 aggresive wingers effectively pinning back the palermos fullbacks.
Now we still have to deal with the fact that palermo have 5 players in the center of midfield now this could be a problem. But by using a high line and compressing the middle we have effectively reduced it to 3.
( Trequatistas are specifically told to roam around and find space in between the oppositions mid field and defense, by pushing up, pressing, narrowing the width of our shape we have basically gotten rid of the space in the middle. Therefore the trequatista by nature will move out wide to the only real remaining space. ((They will be subdued by our fb when were defending and when we are attacking they will be subdued by our dms.))
Now to deal with the 3 in the middle. When we are defending one of our strikers in the 4-2-2-2 will drop onto palermos deepest midfielders. Than your 2 dms will close down the remaining 2 palermo center midfielders.
Basically we have just completely ruined palermos 2v5 advantage in central midfield! Brilliant lol
Recap just in case you got lost.
1. push up,press, narrow width force palermo treq out wide
2. have one of your strikers drop on palermos deepest midfield
3. use your 2 dms to close down palermos remaining 2 cms
4. use your wingers in the 4-2-2-2 to nullify palermos fbs
5. to nullify miccoli, push up(hard hit balls dwn middle. miccoli cant challenge in air)
have 4 players back when attacking (2dms & 2cms) this nullifies his drifiting
When you are attacking you defend your self with 4 players your 2 cbs and 2 dms who can go out wide to cover up space left by fbs.
With a combination of a high defensive line, pressing, narrow width, and a 4-2-2-2 you can effectively shut down palermos attack.