The 3-5-2 is one of the most popular formations in world football today. Along with the 4-4-2, the 3-5-2 formation and it’s variations are probably the most common formations used by world club and national managers today. Let’s find out why.

Good Defensive Foundation

With three main defenders, each of which should be good in the air and possess the qualities of a classic central defender, this formation already has a solid base. But there are also a further two wing-backs who can track back and provide, effectively, a five man defense.

This makes it superior to the four man defence in a 4-4-2, as long as the wing-backs do their job and track back often. The alternative is to make sure that one or two of the midfielders are defensive minded.

Great Midfield

Great games are usually won and lost in the midfield. This is where control of the game can be seized and kept. The 3-5-2 is an excellent formation for dominating the midfield. Every formation like this will have wing-backs who are basically wingers with additional defensive responsibilities. They will be zipping up and down the flanks the whole match so they need a lot of stamina and speed.

Variations Of Central Midfield

The centre of the midfield is where it gets interesting. There are a couple of main ways to do this and arranging the three available men you have.

Like Zidane

The first is to have on attacking midfielder and two defensive midfielders. The single attacker will link up with the wing-backs and the two strikers further up the field. He needs to be a very strong player and a great playmaker because nearly everything will go through him. Think of players like Zidane!

The two defensive midfielders provide a rock in front of the defense. This type of defense is very hard to penetrate and most teams try to go around it rather than pass through it.

Lone Rock

The other way to do it is to have one of the midfielders only be defensive minded. You must have a strong and hard as nails player to protect the defense, who is not afraid of tackling. Think of players like Roy Keane Or Gatusso.

The advantage is that this gives you two attack minded midfielders to support the two strikers and the wing-backs in attacking. Expect lots of goals!

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