'Special players win you games'. Throwaway clichés such as that are regularly chosen by football pundits, professional and amateur, to explain how football matches are won by one team over another. In reality, playing a tactical game that nullifies your opponents strengths and exploits their weaknesses is how to win.
With that in mind, of the 20 submitted formations on the opening weekend of the Premier League, only two team - Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion - are reported as playing with a 4-4-2. The remaining 18 teams are reported as choosing a variety of 4-5-1 or 4-3-3. There are even a couple of 4-2-3-1 and the odd 4-4-1-1, but still the real change in shape comes from the extra man in midfield or the extra man up front.
What also stands out from the team selections is that the traditional enforcer in midfielder is not a fulcrum around which the wide men move further forwards from or deeper towards. After the Claude Makélelé era of the tough tackling short passing holding midfielder, most teams now have a much more creative player in that role. Michael Carrick performed admirably for Manchester United and even Jose Mourinho's Chelsea 2.0 used Frank Lampard and Ramires in the central midfield positions - neither of which have a reputation for 'nosebleeds past the halfway line'.
Even looking at Manchester City's line up it was hard not to think that Jesus Navas, David Silva and Sergio Aguero weren't acting as an offensive line between midfield and Edin Dzeko.
So, with 90 per cent of teams effectively using the same formation, what will that do for the spectacle of the game? It goes without saying that certain players have a better awareness of the tactics that go with their line up in a match and should be able to outperform their counterpart in a majority of games. But there runs the risk of too many games being left turgid as neither player can exercise any dominance.
Of course for the purist, this might be the pinnacle of football - two teams performing a chess-style tactical swagger where the tiniest of margins might swing the favour in one direction.
The Premier League consistently delivers the most entertaining league season across the globe, however, with everyone playing the same game, it might not feel like a new week every week.
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