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Soccer today has become the most popular sport with an estimated fan base of approximately 3.5 Billion. The success of this sport in recent decades can be attributed to external factors like the level of investments being made to improve the standards of the stadiums and training facilities. Internal factors like soccer formations and players’ signings have made the sport even more thrilling.
The best ways to choose a soccer formation is by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of both teams involved. This enables the coach to know what style of play best suits their team.
Choosing the formation is an integral part of the success of any team. It’s an important task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In this article, we are going to discuss how to choose a soccer formation as well as the various soccer formations. So read on to find out more.
How Do You Choose a Soccer Formation?
Before you choose the formation you have to access your team’s playing style. Some teams, especially lower tier teams are good at playing counter-attacking football against higher reputation teams. The style of play dictates how you will arrange your team. For instance, popular coach Pep Guardiola loves playing possession-styled-based football which most often suits the 4-3-3 formation; four center backs, three midfield players, and three attacking players at the front.
In most pre-match conferences, managers and coaches of different clubs are often asked as to why they have tweaked their formation. They all answer differently to this but the most common you will hear is that they change their team’s formation and style of play to ones that give them the best chance of winning and being successful.
Some games require different approaches and below are some of the most popular formations at your disposal;
Popular Soccer Formations
1. Formation 4-1-4-1
If you delved into the transfer market and bought a player because of his attributes, this formation will give him a platform to showcase his abilities. The formation mostly is used by managers who have the right players that strive on their strengths. The strengths could range from physicality, ability to shoot from long-range, or the sprint speed of the players.
Going into the first game of the season you will be tempted to use this formation against a higher reputation team with quality players. This formation will ensure that you have a secure and organized unit whereas not neglecting the attacking principles.
Your commitment as a coach should be playing soccer in the right way. Soccer that will win you matches and at the same time leave your fans happy. For instance, if your team should have a powerful defensive midfielder and strikers for it to be effective. The defensive midfielder will act as a link between the attackers and the defenders. He should be intelligent enough to when to advance further forward the pitch or to drop between the defenders.
Besides, you wouldn’t want a defensive midfielder who will always be caught up in no man’s land whenever you lose possession. You will expect him to offer extra shells to your teams’ defensive line. A powerful striker will help hold up the play as your midfield players move up the pitch to offer some support. Most strikers of such technicality these days are referred to as a “target man”.
2. Formation 4-2-3-1
Commonly referred to as the ‘modern formation’, strong teams in most soccer divisions will often line up in this manner. It blends the defensive approach and attacking perspective of the game. If you are looking for your team to play on the break then this will suit you. Apart from the four attacking options, your teams’ full-back options should be attack-minded.
The downside of this position is that you are likely to be caught in several counter-attacks especially if the opponents have incredibly quick players. The pace is an important aspect of modern soccer today. Your team should also have a resilient striker and an attacking midfielder with excellent vision and passing ability.
3. Formation 5-3-2
You are likely to argue that this formation sets up the team in a more defensive set up. If you look at it from a different angle, you can use the two full-backs at wingbacks. Whenever your team has possession, the wingbacks can bombard forward and whip crosses for your strikers.
However, using this formation means having an overcrowded midfield if you include the wingbacks. Your team might find itself unable to defend against a team playing from the back and could loop balls into the defensive area.
4. Formation 4-4-2
Perhaps one of the easiest formations to play especially if you are a manager in a new team. If you watched teams play a decade ago, you will realize that most teams used this formation. The legendary Sir Alex Ferguson used this formation extensively during his years with Manchester United.
This formation will give you a solid defensive backline and your team will be able to play in a disciplined manner. This formation though means that most of the teams’ play will be focused on the middle. Sometimes even your attacking midfielder will be out of position since it lacks width and creativity from wing play.
5. Formation 4-3-3
Being a soccer fan is thrilling but what’s more thrilling is the ability to understand what the coach is saying. More than often, we see coaches shout instructions to the players. You have probably heard them say “Attack! Attack! Attack!” Instructing his players to change to a 4-3-3 formation especially when chasing for a goal in the late stages of the game.
This formation will allow your wide players to control the game, as well as the midfielders instead of sitting back and giving away possession. However, your team will also be exposed or overrun at the midfield. Your front three players should press relentlessly to prevent the opponents from building out from the back.
Soccer formations these days have become complex. Choosing the right formation that suits your team’s strengths will ensure the success of your team. Hopefully, this guide has informed you of this.