Tag Archives for " 3-5-2 "

Three centre backs out of possession roles in 5-3-2

By Alex Trukan Playing with three centre backs as opposed to two, gives many additional options for protection in defense. It helps to prevent the opposition from exploiting half spaces that normally appear between centre back and full back. It also gives more opportunities for centre backs to step forwards and press opposition midfielders. Most

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The Back Line in a 3-5-2

By Alex Trukan Playing with three central defenders and two wingbacks has become increasingly popular over the last years. Having three players positioned centrally at the back gives more room for central midfielders to go forwards and helps to create an overload in midfield. It also provides a better opportunity to use half spaces between

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The Formation of the Future - Part Three

By Stevie Grieve author of, Attacking in the 4-2-3-1  (Read Part One here and Part Two here)

We have also seen Real Madrid over the last 12 months being able to stop Barcelona in La Liga, and win in the Nou Camp, and Bayern Munich destroy Barcelona 7-0 over 2 legs in the Champions League semi-final, that a totally possession based game can be beaten if you set ‘traps’ for the possession team, and win the ball when they enter specific areas of the field. Once the ball is won, the counter attacking team can then exploit the fact that they defend deeper and have more space to play in on the counter attack behind the defense and between the lines to build the attack quickly.

The trap is set by, for example, showing a certain space and leaving it open for an opponent to move into, and when the pass or dribble is made into that zone, the defense quickly ‘flood’ the zone with players, forcing a turnover of possession via an overload. From the trap, 3 or 4 player will know where and when to run, where the ball will be played and attack quickly to the opposition goal.

Mourinho Porto - Transition 7

If we look at Borussia Dortmund, they have bought wisely in the past 2-3 years to ensure they can perform this style effectively – they have a solid back 4 in Piszczek, Hummels, Subotic and Schemmel, with 2 very effective

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The Formation of the Future - Part Two

By Stevie Grieve author of, Attacking in the 4-2-3-1  (Read Part One here)

Recently, Chile played against Spain, and deployed a 3-4-1-2 formation, with Arturo Vidal as the number 10, which performed 2 duties.

  • He was the outlet for central penetration as he is capable of creating and scoring goals
  • He has a great engine and works hard defensively, show in his performances for Juventus

Vidal’s role was to stop Spain from gaining easy possession in the build-up and consolidation phases of play, giving the defence time to reset into shape.

As Spain played with their usual tiki-taka game, and with a mixture of a 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 formations (both with a false 9), Chile’s 3 central defenders could afford to make sure that one can go out to mark the false 9, as there were no players to mark centrally, only wide. The Chile wing backs were asked to mark the attacking full backs of Spain if they came forward, but often they came back to help the defence and mark the wingers, allowing the near side centre forward to play against the full back and stop him from being an outball, or commonly, not moving forward ahead of the ball as Chile would be left

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The Formation of the Future - Part One

By Stevie Grieve author of, Attacking in the 4-2-3-1

Coaches nowadays are always looking to find a way to take advantage of the spaces left by each formation that is commonly used in football, whether it is 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3, 4-4-2, 3-5-2 or 4-5-1. I feel that the way the game is going, the next major ‘trend’ in football may well be the utilisation of a flexible 4-6 man midfield/attack, in the form of a 3-3-3-1, 3-3-1-3 or a 3-2-4-1 or 3-4-2-1.

Most teams play with a lone striker and the space made around the centre backs made by forcing full backs to defend from wider positions means that they either allow more space for flexibility centrally, specifically around zone 14 (the zone UEFA studies suggested most goals are scored from), or they defend narrower, allowing the attack to pass the ball wide and then draw out full backs and wide midfielders, and try to exploit the space in the spaces they have just left to press the ball.

If we analyse Barcelona under Pep Guardiola, when Busquets drops deep, Alves and Abidal pushed into midfield, creating a flat 3-4-3 with Xavi and Iniesta in midfield, Pedro and Villa wide with Messi in the fairly new ‘False 9’ position between midfield and attack – playing as a center forward in a more withdrawn role to play between the lines and either bring out a center back, or pull deeper a central midfielder to pick him up.

3-1-3-3 (1)

If neither happens, he finds himself able to receive and turn with Pedro and Villa making diagonal inside runs from

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Defending Against the 3-5-2

Every systems has it's strengths and weaknesses. In previous posts I've described why I feel that the 4-3-3 is a great system to teach players the game. While I believe in playing our own best game regardless of what the opposition is trying to do, playing against other systems provides challenges that the players need to learn to deal with. In the next few weeks I'll show you how I've taught my teams to handle these differences.

Teams that know you are playing with three in the midfield might try to overwhelm these players by having five in the

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