Ok, I am going to the give you a quick background behind the thinking of this tactic:
I am currently managing in Iceland, having started in the 4th tier I found it nearly impossible to get full backs. I still to this day find it hard to get full backs. Therefore this pushed me into looking at tactics that don't have full backs. The first one I tried was the 3-4-3, this was effective but I didn't like how the 2 outside strikers were playing, they kept drifting wide living a single striker which I don't like. This lead me to the 3-5-2 it is, in my opinion, one of the most under rated tactics in the game. If played well it can really provide some great football.
Anyway now that is out of the way I can get onto the tactic. This is an overview of the formation and the Team Instructions:
What I found with the 3-5-2 was that we would dominate the midfield but we would have too many players there, last season I moved my attacking MC into the AMC slot and it has meant a much more fluid attack.
The theory behind this is to get the ball as high up the pitch as possible and to try and pass the ball into the net. It is also intended to press the opponents into mistakes and capitalise while keeping as high possession as possible.
Now to explain the choices.
This is something I change for when I play against the big teams in the CL but for teams the same size and smaller I always have this set to fluid. I like my players getting the ball further up the field, in most games I win back the ball before half way.
Starting Philosophy: Control
In my experience no matter how good or bad your team is Control is the best strategy to start with, this is my opinion not fact! Also As you can see I like pressing, this helps it.
Passing Style: Default
I like to be able to change in the game depending on how it's going. Also I have a fast striker who can run onto long balls.
Creative Freedom: Default
This is a setting I am tempted to change and my attacking players enjoy a bit of freedom but I haven't as I like a solid defence.
Closing Down: Press More
This is key to making a back 3 work, you want to opponent to never feel like they have time on the ball. You want to break up there game pattern or they will put plenty of attacking player in the box and out number you. With 1 attacking player 3 DC's can stop him, with 2 they can, just, any more and your done.
After last season and the yellows we got I might turn this is Easy but this is personal preference, but harder tackling means the opponents want the ball less.
I saw no reason the change this, my pressing does it for me.
Crossing: Drill Crosses
My strikers aren't great headers but have good finishing, this was changed to suit my team.
My pressing changes this enough, if I like them roam as well I would have no formation.
MCL - Central Midfielder Long shots to Rarely, once again low long shot stat and also I don't want him wasting possession.
MCR - Central Midfielder Long shots Rarely again, low long shots and he also acts as a sweeper for my midfield, a strange role but when I am trying to keep the ball in there half it's more understandable.
MR - Wide Midfielder Long shots sometimes, low long shots stat but did score a cracking goal earlier this season.
AMC - Advanced Playmaker Creative Freedom maxed, I want him to direct play, sometimes he'll sit back and fed my strikers. Other times he will blaze into the box and score. This unpredictability makes him a nightmare for defenders.
STL - Deep Lying Forward Long shots rarely again. He is really there to flick my other striker one or pounce on the rebound.
STR - Poacher Yes, I do see a Poacher as the ideal role for a team that plays CL football. The sheer pace of Soumah and his finishing skill but lack of other talents leads him to be one of the truly great poachers of all time and is up with the top scorers in the CL every season, this season he is currently top with 13. Poachers work.
Now it's your turn, what do you think. What could be improved with the tactic?
The problem with the 3-5-2 or any 3CBs with wide-midfielders for that matter, is that the wide midfielders drop back into the fullback positions too often. They do it regardless of what else was going on around the field. I haven't tried it on 11.3 yet, so maybe it's fixed?
Otherwise, it's a real gamebreaker for me. It's really the only reason stopping me from trying out these kind of formations, which is a shame because they can be very fun to work with.
Played Man Utd earlier in the season who fielded a 3-5-2 which played much more like a 5-2-1-2 so it seems the AI has the same problem with defensive wide mids. I thought it was deliberate until my weak Prem team took a 1-0 lead at Old Trafford with 15 mins to play, surely they needed their wide mids to play like wingers when chasing the game at home against a weaker side but they still sat back behind my midfield, leaving their attack outnumbered and staring at defeat. Their 3-5-2 manager was duly sacked for one who employed a 4-4-2 and saw them rise back up the table.