Jack Payne & 4-4-2

Yellow River

Active member
To my eyes at least against MK we looked to be playing a 4-4-2 formation, Obika & Thomas up top with Van Kessel & Payne the wide players.

So has Pep stumbled upon a 'plan B'? a formation/line up which enables our best player (Payne) to be on the pitch, albeit not his best postion but it does enable us to play Thomas & Obika up front and maybe that's better for the team as a whole?

Van Kessel and Payne give us more pace out wide than Henry & Mowatt, we looked quite dangerous breaking second half against MK.

Interestingly Pep swapped Payne & van Kessel over after half time, which meant they tended to cut inside more when attacking, Pep does seem to prefer this tactic, he did it with Henry & Hall earlier in the season.

It's good to have flexibility, we don't have to play 4-4-2 all time, we can go back to playing Payne 'in the hole' as and when it suits. Keeps the opposition guessing.

Question - Would plan B/4-4-2 be as effective against a better team that MK.

Below is a post on the old forum which got me thinking about how we accommodate Payne in the side.

Nov 28, 2017 at 6:30pm highlights said:
I was having a think about Payne recently with some colleagues.

The long and short of it is, the team is shaped to fit around him. Now when he's playing well, that's fine. He's clearly the best technical footballer at the club.

But it's become apparent that quite often he either a) has a bad game or b) teams adapt a 'stop Payne at all costs' system. Then it gets problematic.

Essentially the only role Payne can play effectively is ACM - or a second forward - let's examine how that plays out across the team:

- He needs a big forward alongside him. Someone to buy him space. Either someone stretching the line, running off the shoulder (Wes and GVK) or an aerial battering ram (Obika).
- If we were to play 4-4-2 Payne would have to do a lot more dirty work in a midfield pairing, which wouldn't be effective. The only way around this would be a midfield 3 - which means no wingers. (Considering our options right now, I wouldn't mind seeing a 4-3-1-2)

So when Payne plays, we have to play certain type of striker alongside him, to make space for him, and we have to play at least two midfielders behind him. It sort of ties Pep's hands a bit.

The brave thing to do is to drop Payne from time to time when required. Then we could have a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 or more or less anything you want. But when people ask: 'why do we always play one up top?' the short answer is we have to if we want to get the best out of Payne.

Yellow River said:

Another option is to play 4-4-2 with Payne on the left, admittedly not his best position, but he's good enough to be quite effective there.

Tiendalli, Williamson Mousinho, Ricardinho
Henry, Ledson/Xemi, Ruffles, Payne
Thomas, Obika

We know that Henry is better on the right. Payne is left footed so play him on the left and you can be sure he'll work hard and help out defensively.

So you have Tiendalli, Henry and Ledson/Xemi all right footed in one triangle, with the left footers Ricardinho, Ruffels and Payne on the left hand side of the pitch.

Certainly highlights our lack of pace throughout the team though and lack of genuine wingers.

Read more: http://yellowsforum.proboards.com/thread/25996/jon-obika-signs#ixzz531ZSRZPk


Junior Member
Sooner hall gets back the better as we can go 4-1-2-1-2 with ruffels in cdm, payne at cam, hall and gvk wingers and thomas snd obika up top. Assuming hall is back after ricardinho's suspension. However as you said I think it could be interesting to see how we get on without wingers.

Marked Ox

Well-known member
Payne did well, for me as did GVK. Certainly worth persevering with to see how it develops. I noticed they switched a few times in both halves which was a pleasant tactical development.

I actually thought Payne had far more influence in the game as the other players could anticipate where he was likely to be far easier coupled with actually having other options, and mixing short/long passes.

The better teams will probably make the most of their defensive weaknesses but then those teams were beating us with the other players/formation anyway. So it is worth persevering with to see if a different outcome happens as we may outscore them instead.