Posted by Each Game As It Comes May 10, Coaching , Favourites 1 The or formation, or at least, playing three central defenders has enjoyed something or a renaissance this season , most notably with the success enjoyed by Antonio Conte at Chelsea once he switched to tactics similar to those he employed at Juventus and as coach of the national team. More recently, Gareth Southgate has experimented with a similar formation for England, a brave move not only in a country which seems to be stuck in variations of , but with an FA advocating a formation. Regular readers of this site will be aware of our previous look at the Diamond Formation — this is probably the most popular post on our site, certainly from a coaching perspective, and our tactical videos on our YouTube channel have also had plenty of visits. From a personal point of view, the formation was one I had used before while coaching teams, and you will remember from the Diamond article , that we had considered using at the same time. As time moves on, so the squad make-up has changed, however we retained some common elements — strength in the centre of the pitch, including new centre-backs and central midfielders, and attacking full-backs who were not out and out wingers. It therefore made sense to adopt three at the back and after some hard work in pre-season, it has been our regular formation.
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The beauty of soccer is that there is no single way to play. For the formation to work, you need tactically astute players who fully understand their role on the team. They must be flexible and know how to respond both with and without the ball.
But if your team does master this formation, you can certainly be on the front foot for a large part of the game and pin your opponents back with the sheer number of players you commit forward. Not every team has the personnel to play the formation as it relies on stamina, tactical discipline, and a high level of technical players to make it work.
When it works, however, the attacking football on display can be amazing to watch! A high level of discipline to ensure that the team attacks and defends as a team. Quick and strong wide defenders who can cover the space left behind the wing-backs. Players must be comfortable on the ball as the aim is to control possession.
A ball-playing centre-back is particularly important for stepping up from defence and supporting the midfield. Wing-backs must be exceptionally fit to support the attack and defence along their side. Disciplined midfielders who can provide cover when the wingbacks are attacking and help prevent counterattacks. Exceptional communication skills as the team really needs to work together to make the formation a success. It also forces the opposition back and stops their fullbacks from joining the attack.
Pressing the opposition and catching teams in possession at the back — With so many attacking players up front you increase your chances of forcing the opposition into mistakes. Winning the ball so far up the pitch means you will already be nearer their goal and from capitalizing on a mistake, the opposition will likely be in disarray.
This helps your team get in behind their defence and cross balls in from out wide. Dominate and control possession — The formation often allows teams to dominate the ball as the width it gives enables the players to stretch the opposition. The formation also allows the players to always have a number of passing options available. It creates a lot of diagonal options between the lines for teams to exploit. Strong central defence — With three central defenders and a defensive-minded central midfielder, the opposition are forced to attack from out wide.
This helps to protect the goalkeeper and reduce the number of shots on goal. Tactical flexibility — One of the best things about the formation is that it can easily be converted into a number of other formations depending on what is going on in the match. When attacking, a defender often pushes up to join the midfield which helps increase the attacking options. When defending, the wing-backs drop back to create a back five.
Create uncertainty in the opposition — With such a degree of flexibility, the opposition can become overwhelmed and unsure of who to pick up in different areas of the pitch. With the wing-backs pushing forward, for example, the wide forwards can either drop into space inside or support them in giving the team more width.
This makes the opposition players uncertain as to who they should mark and follow. Effective against teams that play three or four defenders — By having so many attacking players in the forward areas it can easily overwhelm teams that play three or four at the back as they almost have to go one-on-one against the attackers.
Weaknesses of the Formation You need the right personnel — Not every team has the tactical discipline or right players to fit the system. Players need to understand the spaces they attack as well as when to cover their teammates in this highly fluid formation.
The team must be disciplined and work well together — If just one person does not track back or neglects to do their job, the whole team can disintegrate as players are then forced out of position to cover their teammates. Large spaces for the opposition to exploit on the counterattack — Committing so many players forward can leave a lot of space behind and your opponents can quickly break forward if they regain possession.
A narrow back three means the opposition can attack from out wide — If your wing-backs get caught upfield or do not diligently track back, they leave a lot of space out wide for the other team to exploit. The opposition can also double up on the wings if their fullback decides to push forward and join the winger in front of them. Every player must be comfortable on the ball — encourages ball-playing teams to play out from the back.
If a mistake is made the opposition can quickly capitalise. A diamond midfield can lead to a lack of width — This then leaves the team very narrow and reduces the attacking options available. Reliance on movement and high energy play — The team has to be constantly on the move to give their teammates options when with the ball. They have to also move together up and down the pitch, attacking and defending as a team. In front of the goalkeeper are the three centre-backs who are the main defenders in the team.
Their main aim is to keep a clean sheet in the match by protecting the keeper and stopping the opposition from scoring. Next, we have the four midfielders who all have different roles In the standard set-up, the two wide midfielders act as wing-backs and provide the team with width by bombing up and down the pitch.
In the middle, the two midfielders are responsible for both attacking and defending and have to be tactically disciplined to give balance to the team. Up front are the three forwards who are the most offensive players on the team.
In the formation, players have a lot of responsibilities and the team faces failure if any one player does not fulfill their role. The onus on attacking and defending falls on the team as a collective unit unlike with other formations where the defenders defend and the attackers attack.
In the formation, however, the goalkeeper has more responsibility as they not only have to save shots but also contribute to the team retaining possession. This means that they have to be calm on the ball and technically capable as they will have more of the ball at their feet than in other formations. There is also more emphasis on the goalkeeper to communicate in As all of the pitch is before them, they need to direct the defenders in front of them, sniff out danger, and organise the team from the back.
As well as being a good shot stopper, the goalkeeper needs to be good on the ball and a vocal presence in the team. The central centre-back is usually very good on the ball and is expected to operate as a deep central midfielder. This allows the defenders to double up on an attacker and clear the ball if it drops behind the other centrebacks.
When the team is attacking, they may push forward to support the midfield and provide more options to their attacking teammates.
This can help overload the opposition in different parts of the pitch. As well as being defensively sound, good at tackling, and passing the ball, they also need to organise the defence and communicate well with the midfielders in front. On either side of them are the left and right centre-backs In the formation, these players need to be fast and strong to cover the spaces left behind the wing-backs pushing forward.
Like all players in the team, they need to be technically capable of receiving the ball under pressure and retaining possession by passing it on.
Unlike in other formations, these defenders also need to have good movement and must create space for the rest of the team by dropping wide to give their teammates more passing options. They can also step up and support the midfield if the occasion arises.
All three of the centre-backs have to be safe in possession and communicate well with each other and the rest of the team. They need to be fast, mobile, and tactically astute to ensure the formation is a success. By staying out wide, they help the central midfielders to have more space and time on the ball and allow the forward players more flexibility in the spaces they take up. They have to join the attack and support the defence and if they fail to do either job, problems can arise at both ends.
This means they have to be comfortable both offensively and defensively. They must communicate well with the centre-back behind them and have a good connection with the forward player on their side. This allows them to get behind the defence and the onus is on them to deliver a good cross into the box.
It is also their responsibility to track back once the team has lost possession. These players have to connect well with their teammates and exert their influence on the match by controlling possession. They need to be aware of open spaces that the opposition can attack and fill in when necessary. This means they have to read the game well. Their main job is to protect the defence and defend the centre of the pitch. They might also have to make tactical fouls to stop the opposition from counterattacking.
This player is usually physically imposing and has to be very fit to run up and down the pitch. Along with the other central midfielder, it is up to them to control the tempo of the game. They should also make late runs into the box to create confusion among the opposition and should be a threat to score goals as well. Like all the players in the team, they need to be calm in possession and have good technical skills. As with all their teammates in the formation, they must have a high work rate and lots of energy in their play.
With their high energy, they can stretch the opposition out of position, make them nervous and force mistakes. The attackers have a lot of freedom to drop into different areas in front of the defence or support the wing-backs out wide to overload the wings. These players are usually very quick, dynamic, and good at dribbling and playing in small spaces.
The central striker is often the most physically imposing of the three and can be used as a target man if necessary to hold up the ball and bring others into play. This player is usually the best finisher and is good with their head.
It is their job to score the goals and get on the end of crosses in the box. The wider forwards can open up space for midfielders pushing forward by running wide or open up space for the wing-backs by coming inside.
They also have to be good at crossing as they often end up out wide. Attacking in the Formation As you can see, the formation affords the team many attacking options By controlling possession and creating passing angles, the team can work their way forward, overload the opposition in a certain area and create a goal scoring opportunity.
While the main bulk of the attacking play comes from the forwards, the whole team really needs to contribute for it to be a success. The forward players are supported by the attacking midfielder and wing-backs. This can create pandemonium for the opposition as six players hover around their box! The wide forwards can impact the attack in a number of ways through their positioning, dribbling skills, and creativity With crosses into the box from the wide forward or the wingback, the opposite wide forward, the central striker and the attacking midfielder should all make themselves available in the box.
All of the front line work in pockets of space, which their teammates help create with their movement off the ball. There should always be options available and this helps keep possession in the opposition half.
The forward players should be confident taking people on and working together through quick passing to draw in defenders and pass their way behind the defence.
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