Floriano Marziali, Vincenzo Mora, 1995, Reedswain Books & Videos
This book was written in the middle of the 90s at a time when Arrigo Sacchi’s successes with AC Milan were fresh in the minds of everyone and the progressive coaches in the major European leagues stopped using a sweeper and were changing to this formation using zonal defending instead of man-marking. In the book the new system is very well described with the focus on defense. First the positional shifts of the defense players are described, then their movements in combination with the midfield and finally including the whole team. That was the innovation when the 4-4-2 was introduced and therefore the focus of the books is on how to use all ten field players for blocking the way to the goal and getting behind the ball. That is described for all positions of the ball on the field and training exercises are discussed as well. There is also a chapter how to use the offside trap and how to make use of triangles of different players on the wings, which can support each other. One third of the book is also dedicated to attacking schemes which mainly use the wings, as expected for the 4-4-2.
All in all this book provides a good overview how the 4-4-2 works and why the the zonal defense with this setup is still used today. At the same time reading through the book one also understand the shortfalls of the system, especially the limited variability of the offense and the lack of players in the center. The book would be a good starting point for training a team in zonal defense. With that respect it is also better than Zonal Defending the Italian way, which had a very limited focus on the flat four defense line in all possible systems, without providing a full picture, which can be used by a team.
Tactics & Game philosophy: 3/3
Next Book: Im Inneren der Haut (German, Nov 27th)