9v9 formations: 2-1-2-1-2

With more teams playing 9v9 at Under 11 and Under 12, we take a look at the formations your side could play for this team size. This week we look at 2-1-2-1-2

PROS: This is a very strong formation with diamonds in defence and a midfield directing the ball into the attack. It has a strong front two spearheading the attack and is strong defensively against teams that attack through the middle.
CONS: As it is focused in the middle of the pitch, movement is necessary to get width. It is weak defensively against a team with fast wingers.


With a double diamond at the back, it is strong centrally but leaves the team vulnerable to wing play. Defenders rely on help from the defensive midfielder in front to fill in if one player goes to close down the winger. It is in danger of being overrun in a counter attack if the midfield goes missing.


The midfield diamond controls the centre of the pitch – it is very difficult for opponents to get through the middle of the formation. There are definite roles for each member of the diamond and the wide players in the diamond must work hard to give the formation width to support the attackers and get back to create the defensive shape.


This formation is strong up front but it is heavily reliant on good movement and support play from the players behind. It is particularly effective when the wide midfield players support on the wings and play crosses into the box. The forwards have good support from behind, with the attacking midfielder creating a three man attack when they are in the penalty area.

Player development

It is very good for midfield movement, with players having to work hard to get wide support in front of them and funnel back to get into the strong diamond formation. It helps the defensive duo to build a good relationship for centre back play later in their development. Strikers have very good support in this formation and a lot of balls will come into them from the wings.

Attacking formation


    1. There is a wide target area for passes through midfield with two players up front. The double diamond shape must spread out in support
    2. The attackers rely on good movement from the midfielders to take the ball wide and get behind the opposition
    3. Attacking midfielder can carry the ball forward supporting the attackers and feeding through balls to them
    4. Defensive midfielder must advance and fill in when the attacking midfielder moves forward, clearing up any loose balls that come out of the penalty area
    5. If player movement works well, five players can be in the final third of the pitch to really press home the advantage

Defending formation


    1. With two attackers they must press from the front and hold up play as the defence is very central
    2. The strong double diamond has the ability to rule the midfield when under attack and win the ball back
    3. The defensive midfielder has an important role to play in filling in when two defenders are pulled out of position
    4. It needs hard work from back two, who must work together to support and keep the ball out of the dangerous penalty area
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