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WorcesterLegend

risks of playing with a 3-x-x(-x)

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i reached championship with a non league team, i was using a 4-2-3-1 wide for most of my promotion runs, changing from time to time to a 4-4-2 (in game was refered as a 4-2-4 since im using Wingers) and ever since i got to league 1 my assman always tell me that my rivals are dominating the midfield due to the number of players there, since i got 2 seasons in championship (saved by goals in the first and saved by 1 point in the second) i think i need to move my formation to have more players in the midfield, i dont want to play with 1 Forward unless i an AMF or Wingers since i think i wont have enough player to attack, on the other hand, playing with a back row of 3 since a little risky because i will have no way to defend against opposing wingers or 4-3-3 formation, am i being too paranoid about the 3 man defense? or a full midfield compesate this?

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1 hour ago, WorcesterLegend said:

i reached championship with a non league team, i was using a 4-2-3-1 wide for most of my promotion runs, changing from time to time to a 4-4-2 (in game was refered as a 4-2-4 since im using Wingers) and ever since i got to league 1 my assman always tell me that my rivals are dominating the midfield due to the number of players there, since i got 2 seasons in championship (saved by goals in the first and saved by 1 point in the second) i think i need to move my formation to have more players in the midfield, i dont want to play with 1 Forward unless i an AMF or Wingers since i think i wont have enough player to attack, on the other hand, playing with a back row of 3 since a little risky because i will have no way to defend against opposing wingers or 4-3-3 formation, am i being too paranoid about the 3 man defense? or a full midfield compesate this?

i think your concerns are very much justified.

playing a 3-5-2 type of system puts a huge burden on the flank players - they have to be the roberto carlos of the league on both sides. not only that you will have huge problems against sides that double up down the flanks, and woes with crosses into your box.

maybe someone else can come in and say how you can deal with that problem.

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You can play a 4-4-2 diamond, but like a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 will require good full backs to make it work.

I also advise not to be completely dependant on that advice about being dominated in the midfield. If you play for example a flat 4-4-2 with a low block you can limit the majority of the opposition attacks to long shots, so even with a 2-man midfield you can be quite secure in defense.

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2 hours ago, kingjericho said:

You can play a 4-4-2 diamond, but like a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 will require good full backs to make it work.

I also advise not to be completely dependant on that advice about being dominated in the midfield. If you play for example a flat 4-4-2 with a low block you can limit the majority of the opposition attacks to long shots, so even with a 2-man midfield you can be quite secure in defense.

I would second this. Assistant manager advice seems to just be the game's way of interpreting the stats for you - if you play like Simeone it'll still say you're being dominated in midfield, but would you care? My own 4-4-2 with Manchester United gets that advice every single game even against League 2 sides yet we're top of the league. If you want to change tactic because you don't feel like you can advance, do it. Otherwise, stick with what works and improve your players / purchase better ones.

As for 3-5-2, I don't know how it'll work to try replicate Conte, but I do know if you play with wide midfielders and nobody in the attacking midfield, wing-back or full-back positions then the game changes their behaviour to function more like wing backs. You then need a lot of stamina and ideally acceleration and pace as well. 

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I completely agree that the assistant advice is usually rubbish but since you are generally struggling in the league a more defensive formation might be a sensible option.  I do however completely disagree that playing a 3 at the back system requires fabulous defensive players to make it work as long as you compensate for the flank weakness with your selection of players and roles/duties in your 3 CBs and midfield.  For example, I play a 3-3-2-2 DM WB formation and both my wing backs are not particularly strong defensively.  This is particularly true of the left wing back who only has 8 for tackling and marking and a whole 11 for positioning (he is a converted winger).  He plays as a complete wingback attack and his primary job in the team is offensive.  I counter this weakness by giving by playing a pressing defensive game, except for the wing backs themselves who are told to close down less.  This means that the wing backs keep their shape while the players to the side of them move over to help them out when needed.  Higher up the pitch this will be the CM on their side and further back this will be the CB on their side.  The side CBs are also on stopped duty and I try to make sure they have plenty of pace, anticipation and positioning so they can get over quick to help out when needed.  In other words 3 at the back is not necessarily extremely weak on the flanks, it all depends on how the rest of your system fits together.  Obviously, no system is perfect and you will still concede goals from wide areas but it can be mitigated and overall highly successful.

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It all depends what the rest of your instructions/tactics are, but while it's certainly possible to be doubled-up down the flanks playing with wingbacks (or wide mids in, say, a 3-4-1-2), it's by no means suicidal and you can to some extent mitigate that weakness by playing to other strengths. If your DCs are big and good in the air, crosses are less of an issue, particularly if you have a defending CM/DM who can tackle back and clean up any second phase ball. If you want to tie up a flank more effectively, playing a WB(d)/DW(d) on that side with either a covering central/defensive midfielder (a BWM(d), say) or the outside DC set as a stopper will make you less vulnerable down that side.

It doesn't take superb players to do it. The only rule of thumb I'd personally apply rigidly would be to pair your D-line to your DCs' speed stats - deep if they're slow - and to try to use reasonably nippy wide players, just to make it harder to be caught out by longer balls.

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