Todays blog is going to go into some detail on the 4-3-3 formation and how it can change completely or transition into other formations depending on player roles.
The standard 4-3-3 is generally set up as below.
LW CF RW
LB CB CB RB
Standard back 4, CBs may both be marking/flat or may have 1 sweeping in behind
DCM- Defensive Midfielder, plays in front of the defense looking to protect CBs defensively or provide easy outlet when with the ball. Will not commit as far forward and looks to provide pivot. Will often be a player who has alot of touches overall but distributes quickly and safely.
LCM and RCM - Left and Right Centre Midfielder, it is important that these players do not drift wide defensively
LW and RW - Left and Right Wingers, in a standard 4-3-3 they will be playing ahead of the midfielder near the touchline
CF - Centre Forward - High Centre Forward
The 1st and most standard transition is to a 4-5-1 when the ball is lost, this involves the RW+LW dropping to a RM+LM position with a lone forward. This has the benefit of retaining 3 players in the centre of midfield while also providing additional support to RB+LB
A downside to this transition is that if your team does not retain the ball well the CF can become very isolated, it is important that the CF is able to hold up the ball if moved forward quickly to allow support to arrive.
LW CF RW
LWB DM RWB
An alternative variation on the 4-3-3 is to change into a 2-3-2-3 when the ball has been won. This involves the RB and LB instead playing as Wing Backs, this requires them to provide assistance when attacking with normal defense roles in defense. This tends to require a high level of fitness and good use of rolling subs to be fully utilised.
In this formation the CBs will play much wider than normal when in possession of the ball and the WB from the opposite side of the pitch will drop round to provide additional support in case possession is lost.
The final variations tend to relate to the roles of the forward 3. These can be played either as a high 3, 2 high wingers with a deep lying centre forward or high centre forward and deeper wingers.
Ideally the front 3 should be changing between these options fluidly as done well it will test the opposition ability to communicate and mark. However in the absence of that the most important rule to remember is that at least 1 of the players should be high and stretching the defense. This provides space for the midfield to exploit and can make it tougher for the defense to watch both the player and ball.
From the advanced position the attacker should still post up and meet the ball but more space will be available to all players because of this.
4-3-3 - Attacking
LW AMC RW
LB CB RB
The last option that will be shown today is when 1 of the central defenders plays as a front sweeper/defense midfielder. This moves that player forward and allows the use of a narrow diamond while maintaining a front 3.
This formation obviously includes more risk of being hit on the counter especially if the RB and LB are providing support going forward or if the DM overcommits. However in a game where possession and territory are in control it allows an extra attacking option and can be a good transition option from the 2-3-2-3 above.
Although just an overview of some of the options there are different ways of playing each system above that have not been covered. It is also worth noting that they could all be called a 4-3-3
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