Sign in to follow this Followers 6 Historic Formations in FMM - The Chapman WM. Foxy September 7, 2017 26 replies 2,505 Views Report · Posted September 7, 2017 Historic Formations - Herbert Chapmans ‘WM’ I hope that this will be the first in a series of occasional articles that take formations and tactics from the history of football and try to use them in FMM. Herbert Chapman is considered as one of the first true football managers. He would manage Northampton Town, Leeds City (they folded in 1919 and Leeds Utd where formed), Huddersfield Town and Arsenal. During his time many football teams where picked by committees of board members and the manager was merely an office job. There was also minimal tactics or game plan and only very basic training. Herbert Chapman was a new breed of manager who took complete control of the team from tactics to transfers. Chapman is most remembered for his time as manager of Arsenal who he managed from 1925 up to his death in 1934. He joined them from Huddersfield (after being offered double the money in wages so some things never change) where he had won the title the previous two seasons. During his time at Arsenal he implemented rigorous training regimes, floodlighting at Highbury stadium for training (he supported the idea of night matches but the FA wouldn’t sanction them) and was even involved in the design of Arsenals kit (including numbered shirts) helping to implement the famous red and white they still wear today. It took Chapmans Arsenal 5 years to win the league but by then he had perfected his tactics and Arsenal went on to become the dominate team in England over the 1930s winning five league titles (2 under Chapman) and two FA cups. The name Herbert Chapman is synonymous with a formation known as the ‘WM’. As is often the case Chapman didn’t invent this formation but he was the one who perfected it. In 1925 the FA changed the offside rule which meant instead of three opponents players being needed between the goal when the ball is played it became only two. Chapman originally didn’t adapt to this change and stuck with the 2-3-5 formation most teams used at the time. A 7-0 lose to Newcastle who used a new tactic of dropping one of the midfielders known as half backs at the time back into defence to become a centre back. Chapmans innovation was to bring the inside forwards back into the attacking midfield position. The two diagrams below will show the changes he made. The names of the positions are what they would have been called in the 1920s and 30s. The WM in FMM17 I have started out with something which I think is a decent representation of the Chapman WM. We are talking about tactics that were used 90 years ago but I have tried to base it on what I have read in researching this article. Chapman used wingers that cut inside from their wide position so what we call inside forwards today. It is also thought that Arsenal were one of the first teams to use playmakers especially from deep positions. Arsenal where famous for their counter attacking football but I have stayed away from clicking counter attack as I’m not convinced that would be good with only one CB. Direct passing should bring a certain amount of quick counters. Monreal played as a FB not a WB. Committed passing was a must as I don’t think players held back in the 1920s! The first game I played was vs Man Utd. We lost 1-0 in what proved to be quite a dull game. Zlatan scored an excellent 20 yard strike after 1 minute. I have a couple screenshots that will show my thoughts on this set-up. We look pretty solid at the back here especially as Man Utd aren’t committing many men forward. The area I have ringed is a worry point for me. My 2 attacking midfielders aren’t very interested at tracking back and this area is wide open to a team that wants to attack it. I don’t think any graphics are needed for this one. We are on the attack but we have a complete lack of width in the team. The two FBs have tucked in and are playing more as the wide CBs in a back 3 would play. Up front the inside forwards are doing as expected and have moved into wide striker positions. This means all our play is being funnelled into the centre of the pitch and Man Utd look very strong in the their defensive third. The game was pretty even with only Zlatans piece of magic separating us. We had more possession which was probably because of the numbers we had centrally and plenty of shots. We never created a clear cut chance in the game and many of our shot where from outside the box which reduces our chances of scoring. I think this was because we lacked an outlet out wide so all our attacks where funnelled towards the wall of defenders Mourinho put up. Game 2 was vs Bournemouth I made some changes based on what I saw in the last game. We won 2-1 in an end to end match. The team instructions stayed the same. I moved the IFs back to see if they would start a little wider instead of being on top of the striker who played DLF so he would drop back into the hole and hold it up for the IFs to join the attack. The midfield pair stayed on the same roles but dropped back into central midfield to fill that gap. I did consider a BBM instead of the but decided I didn’t need him dropping to far back as we have 2 DMC. We are on the attack early in the game and straight away you can see that we still don’t have a great deal of width to the team. The gap in midfield has been closed with the CM much closer to the man with the ball. The AP has moved into a more advanced midfield position and is a good option for a pass. Bournemouth played with 2 up top which was a good test of only having 1 CB. Sorry theirs a lot going on in this picture. Let’s start with the IFs who are ringed in black. They have stayed forward and are giving the FBs of Bournemouth something to think about and stopping them from joining the attack which is good. My FBs have tucked in and we look like we have 3 CBs (ringed in red). This leaves the flanks open for the Bournemouth wingers to attack. If the ball goes out to the wings the FB can move across to stop the cross but this can cause confusion in our defence and we are in danger of being overloaded at the back. In this instance our numbers in midfield help as they snuff out the danger. We see again how narrow we are on the attack. I have ringed the forwards in black. Look how close they are together and that they are all being picked up by defenders. It would take a miracle ball to break down the defence in this instance. If I changed the FBs to WBs I would expect our left WB to be where the arrow is and that would help with providing more width to our attacks but could leave us very exposed at the back. On this occasion we look pretty well set at the back with our DM shielding our CB. Again it was a pretty even game. We had more shots but didn’t create any clear cut chances despite scoring 2 goals. The interesting stat to me is that we never completed a single cross. I doubt we put very many crosses into the box due to us being so narrow. I decided to play one more game vs Middlesbrough and see if I can correct the problem of a lack of width whilst keeping the ‘WM’ formation. The game finished 1-1. I changed the IFs to wingers to provide more width in attack and changed Giroud back to a TM as it’s his best role. We are on the attack here with Sanchez dribbling into the box. We have a better spread of players than before where everyone was standing on top of each other. This cross lead to our goal as Sanchez crossed in for Giroud to head home. We are on the attack in the final minute and again you can see we have much more width to our attack. Ozil passed the ball out to the left flank and then got into the box for the cross. Although we didn’t get a goal we opened up the opposition defence better than in previous games where we needed the perfect killer pass to open them up. We actually managed a clear cut chance in this game. It was pretty even again as reflected to the score line but I was more encouraged by what I saw in the game. The added width from the wingers made us less predictable in attack and it would be how I would move forward with this tactic. This article wasn’t about creating a killer tactic but to see how an historic formation would work in game. I’m sure that with some more tinkering and some additions to the squad it could be made to work. It must be remembered that it took Chapman 5 years to build a team and tactic that worked perfectly as one. Arsenal from this period where often described as a machine this is testament to Chapmans methods that he created a team that worked so perfectly together. Herbert Chapman goes down in history as one of Arsenal greatest managers and footballs great innovators and it’s because of people like him we have the game we know and love today. Had he been born 100 years later I’m convinced he would have fitted in perfectly with modern football. I hope you have enjoyed this look back at an historic formation and thank you for reading. 4 Share this post Link to post Share on other sites Share this with others!