11v11 formations 3-5-2

Very popular formation that is very attacking with three at the back, and wingbacks that need to work hard to support defence, midfield and attack


Five across the middle of the park means teams can “strangle” the midfield, creating attacking threat as well as doing a lot to protect what is a light defence. And three covering the immediate goal area is a formidable obstacle to shoot past.


As with the 3-4-3, the defence is left exposed because there are only three designated men in place. That should still leave at least one spare man against most strike forces, but the defensive line does require experience and communication, usually from the middle defender, who must also be confident and competent in playing forward.


Great for learning how to play out from the back. Very good for developing responsibilities in the three areas of the pitch, with wide midfield/wing back and centre back play central to the formation. You should ensure your players have the opportunity to experience every position in this formation to help their development and understanding.

3-5-2 formation


A favourite formation for advancing a team that has learnt tactics from 4-4-2. It’s flexible, accessible and different, allowing full backs to unleash their attacking potential. The two attackers have support from right across the midfield and up the wings, so they can play high/low or near post/far post.


The midfield has a certain amount of freedom because behind them are three centre backs. The wide players in the five-man midfield must work hard to support the attack and defend the wings. This formation is not going to get overrun in midfield but players must be aware of the threat from balls over the top.


The success of a back three lies in its rigidity, if one defender goes walkabout, the remaining two will try to compensate, leaving massive holes. The five across midfield will have to tuck in and drop into any holes that are created in the backline. Can create panic in the defence when a goal is scored.

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