Last week we looked at some of the general weakness of the 3-4-3 formation which has became popular in the past two football seasons.

We talked about how the wing backs can influence the outcome of the game. We also looked at the role of the play marker. In this week’s edition of Understanding Football we get in to detail on the how weak the back line is in the 3-4-3 formation.

Unlike in the traditional 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 formations the 3-4-3 does not have a strong defense as we think. This is because the team is always offensive and this draws back the opponents to defense. Generally, it means less defensing work for a team since their main focus is on attacking.

But the big question is how effective does this help the team win matches. Football is about thinking and counter thinking. Whilst attacking the players tend to leave a big hole between the defense and the midfield. This formation needs hard working central midfielders who will cover those areas. One example is Chelsea’s N’golo Kante.

The outside center-backs are also required to be more mobile and comfortable playing out of defense than being in traditional back pairing. This is done to cover for the wing-backs who are always running up and down the flank.

Sometimes the out side CBs are not comfortable with moving in and out of the back line. The coach  might bring in a defensive midfielder to play as a CB because of his ability to move around. Already you can see shifting players from one position to another is required. Sometimes it works but at most times the result is just horrible.

With the ball much concentrated on the wings, this bypasses the central midfield. This is not ideal when playing against teams which play high pressing football – Liverpool is an example of a team which plays that type of football.  With the player holding the ball on the flanks, the opponents will just surround him and the touchline will act as a ‘defender’ forcing him inside. This leaves the player with no enough room to run with the ball along the flanks.

If we consider the roles of wing-backs, play-maker, outside center backs and the central midfielders, we will see that this formation requires more energy more than other traditional formations. In order to bring a good result everyone in the team should be more than fit so that he runs around the pitch doing his role.

This formation is just complex and it needs an overall change that a team has developed. From the back-line to the front line everything will be different. Also, it’s too demanding. Where will the coach get the players who will  suit the formation if he cant transform those he have.

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