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Coaching Corner

4-2-4 defending

  • You will have to be very disciplined and astute at the back when adopting this tactic as you will be put under pressure, especially on the wings.

  • Fit full-backs are ideal for this system as they can get out to the wide men and make up for the lack of orthodox wide midfielders that this formation lacks.

  • When one of your central midfielders has gambled and the play has broken down it still leaves you with five players to get past before they can get at your goal.

  • When you have been caught on the break in this fashion then it will require your back four to drop off and remain compact and tight.

  • The opposition’s wide midfielders are not so important in this instance and it is important that your full backs do not venture too far away from the centre backs as you do not want to create any holes for the opposition to exploit.

  • Your remaining central midfielder will try to stall the advance of the attack by staying central and trying to force the play wide.

  • All four front players will be pushed onto the back four when the opposition’s keeper has the ball in his/her hands. This will force the keeper to go long.

  • If the opposition’s keeper is confident enough to try and throw the ball out to the wide men then you will expect your wide forward to back track and put some pressure on the player.

  • It is essential your centre backs are comfortable in the air as they will be having a lot of long balls to deal with.

  • As the ball goes long, your two central midfielders will be dropping back towards the back four so that any second balls from the centre backs are within distance for them to make a challenge.

  • Overall, this tactic is used when chasing a game and looking for a goal. However, this way of playing can be used from the start of the game and can be very effective at grassroots level as it puts a lot of pressure on the opposition’s back four which, more often than not, will result in chances and goals.
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