Terry Venables was gifted with success at Tottenham using it and Carlo Ancelotti won a sackload of silverware at AC Milan with it. When executed perfectly the 4-3-2-1, more commonly known as the Christmas Tree formation, creates big problems for the opposition’s defence.
It starts deep, with four defenders providing solid support for the midfield. The midfield three outnumber the opposition midfielders, but rely on quality possession with minimal space to control the ball. The central of the three needs to be super creative. A player that can shield the back four as well as dictate play. The job of his two side-kicks is to disrupt the opposition by pressing play, keeping possession or winning the ball back.
Once the ball is with the two advanced midfielders, things get exciting. The pace quickens, they probe the opposition defence, creating space and delivering killer balls to the lone striker.
The beautiful game has gifted us with classic games through the use of this dynamic formation. It’s cause for cheer and celebration. Thanks to the Christmas Tree.