Talking Tactics: 4-4-2 Narrow Diamond

Greetings! It’s the final part of our tactics project today, and so far we’ve seen three excellent, goal-laden formations. So what have we got to finish with? Well, crank up the Shirley Bassey because maybe diamonds are forever after all…

My appeal for your tactics was answered. You’re all very good like that. Matt Gregory gave me some detail.

Interesting. I laid out what I thought it looked like to Matt, and I asked for the style.


I’m loving direct. It’s my new favourite thing. However, I’ve already tried Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea to try and dethrone Man Utd with various degrees of success. Who to be next? I need someone who fits the formation

Matt Tactic

Ok, so it’s a big ask and maybe a bit unfair. But Villa have decent players, well 7 or 8 of them are canny, so as long as we get no injuries and sign a few, we’ll be fine. I have high hopes for Dwight Yorke in particular and Mark Draper is underrated. Let’s do this.

I think we need another striker, Milosevic and Collymore aren’t the worst two strikers in the world but if I can get somebody to really rely on, we’ll be laughing. Or at the very least not frowning. It’s all we can aim for.

Likewise I don’t really want to rely on Ian Taylor. Good backup but we need more in the engine room. I’ve also realised Fernando Nelson is better than Gary Charles. Gary Charles has England caps. Imagine that.

Anyway, the signings didn’t all arrive in time but I feasted on some CM legends to help bolster the ranks.

players in

Emmers and Sevchenko (who is actually Shevchenko, according to the internet) both get into the first 11 whilst the other three are very able deputies.

Match one arrives and we field this lineup. It’s direct and I think I’d be happier if I could use Yorke as a striker but we’ll give it a chance.

match 1

It’s only a Midlands derby. Coventry can’t handle Sheva

3-1 coventry

A solid start. That’s followed up by a hard fought win in my first home game, and it’s two from two.

Derby 3-2

The thing is, the wins just keep coming. No matter which of our apparent 3 strips we play in

2-1 sheff wedsbarnsley 4-1

bolton 5-2

Not an awful lot of clean sheets around but you can blame Bosnich for that. A 3-1 win over Palace puts us on a ridiculous 6 wins in a row and Spurs become the first team to take points off us, but Savo climbs off the bench to by the SAVOiour. Saviour. You get it?

spurs 1-1

Anyway it looks nice but you have to say it’s been the kindest fixtures you could ask for

7 games

The UEFA Cup gets underway, just to add further strain on the squad, but we carry our form on. On rather Sheva does.


Chelsea are our next visitors, which should provide more of an indication of where we are. We concede early but that just angers us. Never anger Stan.

3-1 chelsea

You know things are going well when Real Madrid want…your right back

Nelson bid

Off to Anfield then and a real test of our credentials.

liverpool 3-0

Oh sweet Lord what have we created here? Even with 10 men Liverpool couldn’t get near us. A trip to Leeds might bring us back down to earth.

leeds 3-1

Nope. 12 games in, 7 points clear. It wasn’t even like this at Ajax. Well, it sort of was, except that was Ronaldo and Zidane against the Dutch League. This is Riccy Scimeca and Stan Collymore against the Premier League!

league 12 games

Just as I’m about to announce Matt as the King, our trip to Ewood proves to be unlucky 13

4-0 blackburn

We were actually lucky to get 0. Blackburn absolutely destroyed us – maybe our European adventures are beginning to take effect on the squad?

Nah, turns out we just can’t defend against Kevin Gallacher.

man utd 4-1

I don’t think I’ve ever won 4-1 at Old Trafford. I’m not quite sure what is going on here, but I like it.

West Ham are swept aside at Villa Par, though it costs us one Ukranian

west ham 3-1

That leads us into a clash with 2nd placed Arsenal. Can we still thrive without Sheva?

Arsenal 2-1

Bjorn! He’s a big game player. The Vieira/Heidenstrom battle is one for the ages but Stan settles the game. It’s just as well he’s on form as Sheva is done

Sev out

Problems there. Still, it’s not like we have to face Inter Milan

Inter 2-1

Collymore has scored a few own goals in his time but at least he atoned for this one.

I’m definitely blaming fatigue for this though:

wimbledon 4-4

Is it ever acceptable to ship four goals to Jon Goodman?


I blame Bosnich. After we pick Everton apart 3-0, that takes us to the half way point in the season. Time to step back and review what the heck just happened.

table 19 games

It’s not bad, I think you’ll agree. It’s a strange concept, I haven’t felt like I’ve dominated teams with this tactic in the way I perhaps did with the first two, but the goals just seem to happen and seemingly at an average of nearly 3 a game. It’s also worth bearing in mind Villa aren’t exactly a title challenging team – I’m interested to see how this goes with a big team. In theory, it should be incredible.

My fears about Yorke were not founded, he ran the show in terms of performance…

average ratings

…and assists (with help from Stan)


The main goalscorer was Sheva – this isn’t a bad record (ignore the DOB!)


The team didn’t get a lot of goals outside of the front 3 but why would they? Playing direct gets the ball forward into the strikers and they’re clearly doing a good job.


Have we stumbled across the next winning tactic? Feel free to give it a go and tweet me your results. Maybe it’s all down to Sheva? Toodles for now. is now on Facebook! Please give us a follow and a like if you get a moment




6 thoughts on “Talking Tactics: 4-4-2 Narrow Diamond

  1. Hi Guys, good tactic, won German League with Schalke and runners up in French & Italy (with Auxerre and Parma – also won the cup with both those teams). Does anyone have a tactic to nullify and beat the dreaded 442 attacking (424)?

  2. I blame this game for runining my GCSE’s. Recently downloaded a version, but it’s been nearly 20 year so feel like a novice again.
    Might have to give this formation a try, from memory I played 442 attacking or traditional diamond.

    Forgot about some of the gems. Only really remember trying to sign players like Bakayoko, Legwinski, Trezeguet, Bisgaard but that’s about it. Was Peter Prospar in the 97/98 version? I can’t find him or Shevchenko (or Sevchenko) as he was named in this game, not even in the database you can edit.

    • Hello
      I found myself wondering this having just embarked on a game as Villa…turns out Sevchenko / Shevchenko is the database that comes with v2.93 (the patched game) but seemingly not v2.81 which I think was the one on the original CD. So grab yourself the patch or the patched version. I take it this database is the version that the blog author likes to use.
      I couldn’t resist popping in to CM2ED.exe to correct his name maybe I’m not enough of a purist 🙂
      Just discovered this blog and re-discovered this game. Excellent stuff.

  3. Does anyone have a good tactic for Roma? I have tried almost every formation and I keep losing. Unless I am doing something wrong 4-1-2-1-2 and I have tried 2-3-1-2-2

  4. This is brilliant. I’m gutted you didn’t finish the season and see how it all played out. I think I will try this one tomorrow.

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