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Coaching Corner

4-3-3 or 4-5-1 attacking

  • The flexible nature of this formation makes it popular as there are many variations to the layout of your players within this system.

  • When attacking it is essential that your wide attackers provide the width while your three central midfielders provide depth and angles for the back four to utilise.

  • With an extra player in the centre of midfield when playing against a 4-4-2, it is important that you feel comfortable passing into the midfield. Therefore, you should play three people who are comfortable on the ball in the midfield positions.

  • The lone striker has to be good at holding the ball up as this will be necessary when building any attacks. It will give the team time to support the play, especially if it has been played up to the front player with a long ball.

  • The midfield shape should consist of one of the midfielders coming short to offer an option while the other two stretch the opposition’s midfield by taking up advanced positions, preferably behind their midfield.

  • This causes problems for the opposition as someone will have to shut down the deep lying midfielder if the defender decides to pass it to him/her. If the deep midfielder is shut down, this should leave one of your other midfielders free.

  • When the deep midfielder is shut down effectively, the ball can simply be played back to the defender for him/her to try to find the spare midfielder. This is the basis of drawing the opposition in to create spaces behind them.

  • When the deep lying midfielder is not shut down then he/she can simply turn and face the play and look to attract a player to him/her before passing it off to a teammate.

  • Both full backs should provide width when the team is attacking and they should make themselves available whenever the ball is played into midfield.

  • The more options the midfield players have the more confidence they will have to receive the ball.

  • The front player must always be looking to face up and provide a link for the midfield to play off, unless the ball has been worked well through the middle and the midfielder is running at the back four. In this instance, the forward must look for a ball in behind so that the midfielder can slide him/her in for a shooting opportunity.
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