The 4-4-2 has fallen out of vogue in European football. The era of possession and overloading the midfield has virtually killed the formation. It's final chapter appeared to be when Manchester City was overrun by Barcelona's midfield and slick passing game in the knockout stage of the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League.
Manuel Pellegrini persisted with a 4-4-2 for the rest of that Premier League season and the Blues ended up winning the league title, outlasting Liverpool and Chelsea down the stretch. But in the 2014-15 season, the limitations of the 4-4-2 even in domestic play were apparent and the Blues were incapable of coping with overloaded midfields and eventually had to shift to a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3.
This season, the Blues have not played 4-4-2 except on a few occasions - one such occasion was the 3-0 win over Norwich on Saturday in the FA Cup at Carrow Road. In that match Sergio Aguero and Kelechi Iheanacho combined well going forward against the Canaries, who it should be noted played without several regulars in the match.
Wednesday, the Blues dropped Iheanacho, who has quickly emerged as a fan favorite and returned to a 4-2-3-1 formation. While the Manager laments the missed penalty call deep into half stoppage time, and the missed opportunities in the second half, the Blues do not look to have the type of cutting edge in the final third required to score goals in tight matches.
While playing a 4-4-2 certainly is risky and opens the side up to the potential of being ripped open in the middle of the park, Sergio Aguero is missing a strike partner, and it has impacted his decision making and scoring rate.
What should Pellegrini do going forward? Stick with some variation of the 4-2-3-1/4-3-3, or return to playing with two central strikers in a 4-4-2?
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