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Three-man midfield

Developing a three-man midfield is important because it will give your team domination and versatility. Formations that include three players in midfield, such as 4-3-3 and 4-5-1, are the most popular used in the English Premier League.

What this session is about

  1.  Developing a three-man midfield.
  2.  Movement off the ball.
  3.  Passing and combination play.

What to think about

Teams use a three-player midfield in order to dominate positions in central areas of the pitch.

The three midfielders can be played in different ways such as: Flat midfield three, two defensive midfielders and one attacking player, or one defensive midfielder and two attacking players.

In possession, the three midfielders must always be ready and willing to receive the ball.

A defender who can dribble the ball into midfield areas will give the team an overload advantage in the centre of the pitch.

Now it is important that the midfielders are clever in their movement to create space to receive a pass.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10-15 minutes15 minutes10-15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Mark out an area and nominate three players as the starting midfielders, who have a line of players in front and behind them, as shown in the top picture.

The only rule in this practice is: “If you pass to the midfielders, you run onto the pitch and become a new midfielder.

If you pass to a server, you go out of the pitch and join the line.”

To start, a server (S1) passes to one of the midfielders (M), who must quickly combine passes with other midfielders and also use movement in order to pass out to the opposite server (S2).

The server making the pass into the area now becomes a midfielder while the midfielder passing out, leaves the pitch and joins the back of the queue to which he passes.

A server passes a midfielder who combines before a pass is made out. The initial server takes the place of the outgoing midfielder.

A server passes a midfielder who combines before a pass is made out. The initial server takes the place of the outgoing midfielder.


Development

Use the centre circle of a full-size pitch to play a small-sided game.

Two teams (each has three players) enter the circle while four servers surround the edge.

Teams aim to keep possession by combining with their team mates inside the circle or passing outside to the servers, who return the ball to a player on that team. Servers are limited to two touches.

The other team inside the circle tries to steal or intercept the ball to begin their turn at retaining it.

Two teams compete in a game of keepball in the circle, using the outside players as passers.

Two teams compete in a game of keepball in the circle, using the outside players as passers.


Game situation

Mark out an area, split into three zones, with four target goals for a small-sided game, as shown in the bottom picture.

Each team has two defenders in its defensive zone and three midfielders in the middle zone.

To begin, one defender passes across to his fellow defender, who dribbles the ball into the middle area of the pitch to create a 4v3 situation.

The defender must now combine with the three midfielders, on his team, in order to free a midfielder to dribble into the opponent’s end zone and go 1v1 with an opposing defender to score.

When the midfielder enters the end zone, only the defender he initially attacks is able to tackle the midfielder. The other defender can support but not make a challenge.

Swap midfielders and defenders regularly. The team that scores most goals wins.

A defender can dribble forward to create a 4v3, then a midfielder is released to attack an opposition defender in his end zone.

A defender can dribble forward to create a 4v3, then a midfielder is released to attack an opposition defender in his end zone.


What to call out

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