Ever thought about cloning technology? Well it’s a thing that exists. Now, we haven’t gotten to the point where we can make exact clones of human beings, but we’re getting there (cue dystopia). Anyway, the point of that tortured intro was introduce the concept of a One-Man-Army XI, a starting XI made up entirely of the same player. Yes, one player at every single position!
For a player to be on this lineup, he has to be as versatile as possible. Who can Bayern Munich field in a One-Man-Army XI?
Candidate #1: Arturo Vidal
The first candidate we have on this list is Arturo Vidal. The veteran Chilean midfielder is one of the most complete players in the world, possessing box-to-box capabilities unrivaled both on his team and across the world. Whether it be defending in his penalty box or creating havoc for the opposition defense, the Chilean can do it all.
To get the most out of an XI featuring eleven Arturo Vidals, a flat 4-4-2 would be your best bet. Vidal’s strongest asset is his box to box qualities, and a 4-4-2 means 4 Vidals who get to play in their preferred position. Two striker Vidals up top make a deadly combination, as Vidal is a prolific goalscorer. He averages almost 0.5 goals per 90 in the league this season, superb stats for a midfielder.
The only area where this XI is let down is the defense. Vidal is a good defender, but that’s when he has real center backs behind him. He has played as part of a back three at Juventus, but it’s far from his natural position. The midfield Vidals would need to cover their defensive counterparts very carefully to ensure victory for this formation.
Candidate #2: Mats Hummels
Up next is Mats Hummels. The center-back with an eye for a pass has been a rock in Bayern’s defense this season, but there’s more to his game than just defending. Mats Hummels is one of the most complete defensive players in the world, virtually a modern Beckenbauer. His anticipation and skills on the ball are so good he can play comfortably in defensive midfield. Meanwhile, the former Borussia Dortmund captain has excellent goal-scoring chops, able to pull of a mean header inside the box. While not as prolific as some center-backs (*coughcough* Sergio Ramos *coughcough*), Hummels can certainly lead a line of doppelgangers.
To get the most out of eleven Mats Hummels-es, a 3-5-2 is in order. Yes, the same formation that was used by Antonio Conte to terrorize Italy not too long ago. This system allows Hummels to play primarily in his strongest positions—that being center-back, midfielder, and striker. The aim of the team would be defensive solidarity and dominance in possession, leveraging Hummels’s two greatest strengths, while the wing-backs should fire in crosses for the strikers to head in.
The clear disadvantage of this lineup is the lack of width provided by the wingbacks. As a wing-back, Hummels has neither the pace nor the skills to get up and down the pitch and beat his man, so he will be limited to sending in crosses for his attacking counterparts to head in. While it’s not a crippling weakness, this team could find it hard to score goals.
Candidate #3: Joshua Kimmich
No article mentioning a One-Man-Army XI would be complete without Joshua Kimmich. The young German has already played a plethora of positions in his career so far, under four different coaches no less. While he currently plies his trade as a right back, Kimmich has played at center-back, defensive midfield, right-back, right wing-back, central midfield, right winger, attacking midfield, and even false-9 at different points in his career.
No wonder Pep Guardiola liked him.
A 4-3-3 best suits this young central-defensive-attacking-wide-back-midfielder, where the line will be led by a false-9. The only weaknesses are on the left wing and at left-back, arguably the only two positions on the pitch (apart from goalkeeper) that Kimmich hasn’t played. This is an XI you could realistically field in a competition like the Champions League.
Candidate #4: David Alaba
Finally, we have the Bayern Munich’s Mr. Versatile, David Alaba. While the Austrian plays at left-back for Bayern, he plays in midfield for his national team, and he played on the left wing at the youth level.
A 4-2-3-1 would best suit Alaba, whose versatility has been proven through the years. Arguably the only weakness would be on the right flank and at striker, both of which could be mitigated by good performances. However, this XI suffers from a jack-of-all trades syndrome. David Alaba is not the midfielder or attacker that Kimmich is, which makes it overall weaker than his younger colleague’s XI. However, what Alaba loses out in attack he make up in defense, as he is much more comfortable at center back than Kimmich is.
Which is the best "One-Man-Army" XI?
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