Soccer Formations: 3-5-2
3-5-2 you say? I say I respect your style. This formation promotes beautiful soccer and when shooting on all cylinders can be some of the nicest things seen on a field. Teams such as Brazil, Argentina and Barcelona have stepped on the field with much success in the past, no pressure.
Now that you like this formation it's time to dissect it and learn everything about it. From how your team shape should look like in different situations to individual player assignments, it's all here for you. Go on now, don't be shy to learn something new.
The longer you have the ball the less they do right? Sometimes the best defence is a strong offence and nothing brings heat to the net like a 3-5-2. It's important to remain a disciplined organize side even though it may seem like you're only going for goal in this set up.
Don't be mislead, although the best teams in the world that have strong offences generally are disciplined and organized defensively even if their formation doesn't exactly scream out defend.
The key here is in the middle of the park. The fifth midfielder really gives the team flexibility to defend, posses and attack in numbers depending on the situation. When defending the central midfielder (also referred to as the defensive midfielder) plays a key role in maintaining a disciplined defensive unit in a vulnerable back line. This player alternates from their position to covering for center backs floating out of position as well as being the dominant figure in winning tackles in the middle of the park. Easily the most important figure for keeping this unit safe in terms of penetration down the middle.
The Defensive line can play:
-Flat back 3 (don't get all fancy, keep the back 3 flat)
As a unit the back three should:
-Ability to cover lots of ground as there are only 3 in the back
-Very low rate of error (smart tackles, keeping the ball etc)
-The most crucial organizer on the field
-Stay at home, play within the means of the formation
-Give the shape depth, especially when building from the back
-Provide a safety valve for the central midfielders
The Midfield line can play:
-"V Shape" 1 holding, two wide in front, 2 wider in front of them
-2 holding, 3 in front
-3 flat, 2 in front
-4 flat, 1 in front
-1 holding, 4 flat in front
As a unit the middle five should:
-Without question control the middle from a possession stand point and game flow point of view
-Have the freedom to go forward knowing there's cover
-Ability to be creative in the attacking third of the field
-Cover defensively not surrendering team shape over anything else
-Large capacity for work, being able to play up and down for 90min
-Make selfless runs all game long
-Giving width to the formation trying to pull out opponents into 1v1 areas
The Forward line can play:
-2 flat (most common)
-1 behind, 1 in front (works best with player who has strong posting abilities and a player with pace to play off of them)
-1 and 1 staggered in some variation or wide
-Keep the ball with their back to the goal
-Retain possession for the team for numbers up attack
-In a 3-5-2 strikers are counted on to put the team on the scoreboard
Got too many offensively talented players and you don't know how to manage them all? Implementing the 3-5-2 might solve that problem allowing them all to express themselves freely. By freely I mean scoring goals and giving defenders nightmares. You need to be careful though, too much offence and too many players just looking to go forward can cause problems when hit on the counter, you'll have your hands full on the days the ball just doesn't seem to want to go in.
If you can't win the middle of the park lining up this way then you've got bigger issues then formations and tactics. You play with five clouding up the middle for a reason, that part of the pitch should be a traffic jam where nobody getting through. You've given up your back four to win that part of the pitch so own it. Generally teams combined with the five in the middle will push their opponents inside to stop them from exploiting them in wide areas of the field.
It it's relentless dynamic attacking and asking several defensive questions of your opponents then the 3-5-2 is perfect for your style of play. This does not mean you don't need to defend or you can be lazy on the other side of the ball. This formation takes a cohesive unit to be dynamic not only in attack, but in defence as well.
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