Part 1 covered the classic 4-2-2. Continuing our Football Formation series, our second edition is about the most popular formation in contemporary football: The 4-3-3
This formation has 4 defenders, 3 midfielders, 2 wide strikers/wingers, one striker.
The defence includes two centre-backs, two fullbacks.
The midfield comprises of a central holding midfielder, a box to box midfielder and an attacking midfielder.
The 3 players in the attack are 2 wide forwards / wingers and a striker.
In 4-5-1 – a variation of the 4-3-3 – the two wingers from the original 4-3-3 drop back into the midfield, leaving one player up-top.
The 4-3-3 can be converted into a defensive 4-5-1 formation.
The central midfielder is assigned defensive responsibilities and is positioned just in front of the back four.
The back four are expected to work in unison keeping the defensive shape and help maintain the lines ahead of them.
The other two midfielders participate in defence as well as in offense. Sometimes one midfielder is given the role of Box to Box midfielder, where he participates in both offence and defence and the other is given the role of an attacking Midfielder, where he is assigned only to play on the offensive.
The midfielders have to stay composed in the middle and not get pulled out of position.
They also have to be dynamic and need to try and exploit the gaps behind the opponents defence while linking up with the forwards.
The wingers/wide strikers play an important role both defensively and offensively. They are responsible for bringing the ball up to the striker, cross or cut inside the box to support the striker.
When the team loses the ball, it is the wide striker/wingers job to mark the opposing fullbacks.
The striker in this formation has to be good at playing with his back to the goal: he can control passes and distribute the ball to teammates or shoot from distance if required. He must also be a good header of the ball for the crosses coming in.
The front 3 have to put pressure on the rivals’ defence, while they are in possession and be creative in attack.
When to use?
If the system that you are looking for is high tempo, high pressure with lot of possession: 4-3-3 would be the ideal set up.
It has a lot of dynamic attacking options, like down the middle through the midfield or from the flanks with the help of fullbacks bombing on.
The backline in this system is also high, retaining the ball quickly.
It is an ideal system for a team with many attack minded players.
With only 3 midfielders gaps may appear in the midfield during counter attacks.
Lapse in concentration can lead to the back line being exploited
Learn more about the most popular formation in contemporary football – The 4-3-3!
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