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Avelives

The dreaded 5-3-2

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So Im playing Ajax and last season we played AZ in the league, 2-0 up totally controlling the game, I went into autopilot and click on play after half time. Then it all went pear shaped...

AZ had previously played 4-3-2-1 which I coped easily with, they had 1 shot I think and about 42% possession despite clearly using hard tackling (3 yellow cards in first half)

Suddenly though I could barely touch the ball, every replay (I watch it on extended) for the next 34 minutes was them either with throw ins, free kicks, or dancing through my midfield. They scored I panicked tweaked some stuff, they scored again I totally changed formation from 4-1-2-2-1 to a more attacking 4-2-2-2, still no change.

Then I got annoyed, and forgot that I hadnt checked their formation recently. They had swapped to 5-3-2. Totally flat no funky wingers or wing backs... flat back 5 flat 3 in midfield 2 forwards. So in desperation I changed to 4-3-3 still nothing, by this time I was barely clinging to a draw, so as a final resort I mimicked their formation and hey presto we scored and controlled the final 15 minutes with ease... it was like night and day.

This perplexed me, it seemed an unfairly difficult formation to counter, the issue was their fullbacks and 3CBs provided almost faultless cover and then their FBs were so wide they could charge forward almost unopposed, if my midfield or fullbacks went to close them down they simply laid it into the centre and started to control possesion using the deep central DC to launch attacks. Its sounds rubbish but it worked unatturaly well.

By coincidence I was playing Barca in a week in the CL semi final so I used this same formation and I nearly managed to beat them. Bear in mind my team is not some super duper Lukaku, et all group but a modest Ajax starter side with a few youth additions.

We had equal possesion, we had more shots on target, more CCCs, better player ratings. They only won with a wonderstrike that was total cheating (we kicked the ball out to allow their player to get treated and they threw it back to their defender who launched a boot rocket from nearly the halfway line into the top corner)

That aside it was a good formation, anyone else seen this formation used or ever had any success with something similar?

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I see it a lot now in my save, it's almost as annoying as the 5-4-1 midfield diamond.

The big deal, as you mentioned, is the fact that the formation concedes a couple of wide players for six players playing through the middle which makes it pretty difficult to create chances around the box. On the other hand it lacks numbers down the flanks so if you have good wingers/inside forwards and good attacking fullbacks and maybe a good football playing striker/AMC/MC that likes to pull a bit wide and play football with your wide men you can open them up on the angle of the box.

Also their fullbacks have to do a lot of running, and if you have a good DLP and a good winger/inside forward on the other flank you can tire out their wide players and ping 40-50 yard passes to each flank with your DLP and hopefully catch one of them sleeping when most of their team is still getting back from the other side of the pitch.

Definately not an easy formation to create chances against, but you can use the space they leave out wide by playing goalscoring inside forwards and getting your DLP to switch the ball from flank to flank constantly.

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I struggled to buy decent wide players, so I usually play in a 4-1-3-2 that's not unlike a 5-3-2:

GK

RB CD CD LB

DM

CM CM CM

ST ST

and let me say that most of my conceded goals come from players getting in behind the two wing backs. Have your wingers push up the field and to hell with tracking back!

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