Are Traditional Strikers Dying Out?

There was once a time not too long ago that having a dynamic, lumbering striker was almost necessary for success. The likes of Fernando Torres, Carlos Tevez and Robin Van Persie were some of the most prolific goal scorers on the planet in most of the decade spanning from 2000 until 2010.

Since then, however, things have changed. While many of the world’s best clubs still deploy traditional strikers, others have opted for a strikerless attack. In the 2018 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United, Blues boss Antonio Conte opted to deploy a starting XI sans a traditional striker. With Alvaro Morata on the bench, Conte chose to play winger Eden Hazard as a de-facto “striker” instead. The Belgian would go on to score the game’s lone goal in the 1-0 victory.

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Top Right-Back Wonderkids for the Future of Your Strikerless Formation

Football Manager 17 is rife with young talent, and the key to sustaining success at any club is to fill your youth teams with wonderkids. Obviously, the key to growing your youth system around strikerless tactics takes you away from signing the very pricey young strikers, so you can focus your funds on more quality players in other positions.

Looking into the English divisions, there are loads of talented young players, but the some of the best ones play at right-back. So, without much further ado, here are a couple of the great under-17 players for you to sign on Football Manager 17.

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Players Ready to Become Top ‘Trequartistas’ for Your Strikerless Formation

When Spain won the European Championship in 2012, they had to do it without star striker David Villa – who was injured – and despite still having Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo, and Fernando Llorente, they went into the final without a recognised striker. In the final, a group stage game, and the quarter-finals, Spain opted to play without a striker and instead have Cesc Fabregas up top, presumably to aid in their over-the-top possession game.

Particularly in the final, Spain were hailed for the successful use of their ‘false nine’ formation, but Fabregas’ play didn’t mimic that of a man atop this setup. Instead of dropping deeper, the then Barcelona midfielder played very high up, darting around the Italian defence.

Fabregas effectively transformed himself from a central midfielder into more of a striker, very similar to that of the Football Manager role of the trequartista.

Cesc Fabregas at Euro 2012 match Spain-France‘ – Дмитрий Неймырок (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The trequartista is a favourite for use in a strikerless formation, as the player is allowed to exploit the pockets created, often bringing about goals. The role is quite gung-ho, involves very little defensive responsibility, and thus keeps the player ready to attack.

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The Art of the Defensive Midfielder in a Strikerless Formation

For a long time in the world of football, defensive midfielders didn’t receive the credit they deserved. It wasn’t until N’Golo Kante burst onto the scene two seasons ago that the hype returned for these defence-minded midfield maestros.

Everyone now knows Leicester City’s story: rising from relegation candidates to suddenly winning the richest and toughest domestic competition in the world, the Premier League – a story that could’ve been taken right out of a Football Manager save. Among the stars highlighting the greatest of underdog stories, N’Golo Kante’s elite-level play in defensive midfield allowed the Leicester back line to sit deep, where the lack of speed from Wes Morgan and Robert Huth was less exposed.


Watford 1 Chelsea 2 20.8. 16‘ by Chelsea Debs (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The diminutive Frenchman’s play earned him a mega, multi-million move to Chelsea last summer, and in Sportsbet’s most popular football category of news and betting tips, it was predicted that Chelsea would clinch the title against West Bromwich Albion, which they did. He played a pivotal role in Antonio Conte’s three-at-the-back formation, acting once again as the stone wall first line of defence.

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