What is the W-M and how can it help me?
The W-M is a classic formation from the annals of football history, deployed effectively by Arsenal, among many other top clubs around Europe back in the 1920s. Developed directly in response to the 1925 changes to the offside rule it would rule for many years and was deployed as recently as 2018 by Patrick Vieira’s free-flowing NYCFC team. In many regards the W-M is the pinnacle of ‘back to basics football’ and can produce some beautiful, overlapping, direct attacking play, whilst keeping it fairly solid at the back.
Whilst setting up the tactic i decided to slightly modernise it to fit in with the way my squad was built. Swapping the traditional target-man for a more appropriate false 9 and playing the ball slightly shorter were among these changes, however what did not change was the intention. Run at the defence to unsettle them, whilst stretching the pitch wide to pull defenders out of position.
Defensively I opted to keep things simple. Setting my team up in a nice mid block, at times resembling a 5-1-4 formation. With Ihattaren dropping between the lines and looking to start a counter-attack for the wingers to run on to. This led to some brilliant transitions from our box to theirs. Notching up double figures in passes across one swift break.
Having pondered this idea for a while, it was in the 2023/24 season when I finally decided to give it a spin, and it worked. I missed out on the Ligue 1 title, (thanks to PSG once again playing the game on easy mode) but I did manage to collect some rather large scalps in Europe, and amass a highly respectable 92 points in the league. To me, that looks like a job well done.
Next on the agenda. Knocking PSG off of their perch!
What are your thoughts on this setup, have you tried something similar? LEt me know in the comments!