A Change in Formation

Stay one step ahead of rival fantasy football managers by ‘cashing in’ on formation changes

Successful gamblers are always looking for an edge, that priceless piece of information that enables them to beat the bookmakers.

Fantasy football managers may not be competing against bookmakers but they should, nevertheless, still look to gain an advantage on rival managers by identifying emerging trends that give ‘player picks’ more upside.

The classic example is the ‘out of position’ player. This could be someone who is categorised as a defender but ends up playing in a much more advanced role for whatever reason.

Fantasy football managers should also take note of playing formations and there have been a couple of instances of late that warrant closer scrutiny, which could have a significant impact on fantasy football contests as the season unfolds.

Mauricio Pochettino becomes the latest manager to use the ‘in-vogue’ 4-1-4-1

Spurs put in a convincing display in Gameweek 7, to sweep aside title favourites Manchester City, while an on-field argument between Erik Lamela and Son Heung-min over the right to take a penalty also generated plenty of the headlines from White Hart Lane.


However, from a fantasy viewpoint, two things stood out  – Spurs stuck with the 4-1-4-1 that they had ‘tested’ in the 2-1 win at Boro, while the aforementioned Son, the most in-form player across Europe’s big 5 leagues, played as a number 9, in preference to Vincent Janssen, rather than in his customary wide-left position.

Pochettino cleary wanted to impose a high-press on the City defence and it worked a treat. Harry Kane is expected to be sidelined for another month but Mousa Dembele is closing in on a return, giving the Spurs’ boss a plethora of options. Will he stick with this shape or revert back to his preferred 4-2-3-1 and will Son get the nod over Janssen again if he goes with the former?

The South Korean International actually produced his lowest DraftKings Premier League points tally of the season, in the 2-0 victory over the Citizens, although the strength of the opposition does need to be factored in, while it’s also worth noting that neither Son nor Lamela (who won the argument and fluffed his lines with the resulting spot-kick) had never actually taken a penalty before in European club football.

Antonio Conte finally opts for the 3-man defence

There was plenty of speculation prior to the start of the season about whether or not new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte would favour a 3-man defence, something that had been a regular feature with his Juventus and Azzurri line-ups.

After some indifferent results, in which Conte coincidentally had been using a 4-1-4-1, as illustrated on WhoScored, he finally set-up his Chelsea team with three at the back for the game at Hull City.

John Terry and Kurt Zouma will be back in first-team contention sooner rather than later so it will be interesting to see if Conte persists with the experiment.

Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses were deployed as wing-backs in a 4-man midfield, making the former, who is categorised as a defender, the more noteworthy.

Alonso has previous Premier League experience and is a threat from set-pieces. This makes him a very interesting proposition, providing he can hold on to his starting spot.

Which playing formations do you think Spurs and Chelsea will adopt as the season progresses?