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Thread: Tactics: Is there such a thing as the perfect formation?

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    Tactics: Is there such a thing as the perfect formation?

    In short, no. There isn't. Now to be honest, I'd love to be able to just leave it at that so I can head down the pub to enjoy a quiet pint and a packet of Nobby's Nuts to myself. But I know how demanding people can be, and I'm a man of principle me. So I'm going to hopefully go on now to categorically (and reluctantly) explain the reasoning behind my opinion, with the aid of some funky illustrations to boot. To prove my point, I'm going to post a list of various formations and accompany them with their relative strengths and weaknesses. Feel free to comment after if you don't quite agree with my general analysis.

    4-5-1



    Growing ever more popular with managers as time goes on, this formation is fundamentally defensive in design but can be used as a platform to launch devastating counter attacks on the opponent. It lures teams into a false sense of security, letting them press high up the pitch and thus leaving them vulnerable to attack. A cracking formation, probably one of my favorites but it's generally unpopular amongst supporters who often see it as a tentative way to approach a game.

    Positives:
    Packs the midfield, making it harder for teams to freely move and pass. Leaves the other team vulnerable to the counter attack.

    Negatives:
    You need a solid striker who can play up front alone and a couple of hardworking wingers for it to truly be effective.

    4-3-3



    You could argue that this is just a variation of the 4-5-1 formation, with the only difference being that it emphasizes more on attack rather than defense. Although that may be theoretically true, this is a different beast altogether that when applied correctly can be absolutely devastating (Barcelona provide a perfect example of how this formation should be played).

    Positives:
    ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK.

    Negatives:
    All that creativity and pressure upfront can leave you vulnerable at the back. Also, highly motivated wingers and a disciplined defensive midfielder are needed for this to truly be effective.

    4-4-2



    Last but not least, we have the classic. The 4-4-2 formation. Probably the most commonly used formation ever, this open yet highly adaptable formation covers most grounds when it comes to tactics. The defense is not being compromised to attack, the gap from winger to winger spreads out the play and you've got two strikers up front to implement the attack.

    Positives:
    Loads of width to stretch the play and it's chock full of girth and robustness in the midfield and defense.

    Negatives:
    Due to it's wide nature, this formation can leave gaps between the central defenders, midfield and the strikers. Heavily reliant on the two central midfielders to initiate the attack as well as defend.

    As I said earlier, feel free to contribute and discuss.

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    Wasn't it the 4-3-3 that helped West Germany win the World Cup of 1974? Barcelona has definitely adapted this formation successfully in offense combined with good defense work.

    I am a huge fan of the 3-5-2 that Germany used in 1990. My old soccer coach used to show us videos of successful formations, and I became a fan of it because the power lies in the midfield, and it gives the opportunity for the team to maintain a good defense at the same time. Of course, the strikers have to work hard and communicate, but on a good enough team, communication between members of a team shouldn't be a problem to start with.



    Have you heard of the 4-3-3 trangle variation? I think it lends more to the offensive, and gives a greater opportunity to score, but of course, if your team loses the ball, the forwards and midfield have to remember to drop back. It is still a rather good formation though.


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    Nice shout there, I've never really had the opportunity to play or see the 3-5-2 in action. It's very german in design really. Efficient, robust, designed with defense in mind. Why is it though that many modern managers seem to frown upon it and opt for a 4 at the back system? Is it due to a lack of width at the back at all?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Seager View Post
    Nice shout there, I've never really had the opportunity to play or see the 3-5-2 in action. It's very german in design really. Efficient, robust, designed with defense in mind. Why is it though that many modern managers seem to frown upon it and opt for a 4 at the back system? Is it due to a lack of width at the back at all?
    I think managers are just opting to cover their asses in the back. Sure, the width isn't necessarily there, but if played and formed correctly, the opposing team wouldn't have the opportunity to take advantage of a lack of width. I guess with modernity comes the thinking that the back end needs to be protected at all costs. Of course, it depends on the manager of the team though.

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    More on soccer formations here:

    The formation a manager deploys is vital to every team’s fortunes as it dictates so much of how the game is played. Each system is tailored to suit the players available, maximizing their strengths whilst limiting their weaknesses. Every sport evolves as players and coaches push to be the best, and soccer is no different. Formations have moved on from the stock 4-2-4 of the fifties and sixties to find countless different ways of setting up a team. In the modern era, here are 3 of the main systems employed today:
    http://www.soccer-training-info.com/...formations.asp

  6. #6
    There is a useful article about choosing a style of play and formations depending on your players' skills and the situation they're playing in. http://www.bettersoccercoaching.com/...-style-of-play

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