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How do you play a 4-2-3-1 formation?

wish to change my team shape has been said best formation to understand is a 4231 shape

Standard back 4, 2 holding midfielders, 2 wide attacking midfielders / wingers, 1 attacking central midfielder and 1 striker

Agree with Luke. 4-2-3-1 drawn out below using the chalkboard.

4-2-3-1 formation

I'd argue that 4-2-3-1 is actually a 4-5-1 as a midfielder is a midfielder, irrespective of their orientation towards attack or defence.  Just my opinion.  You say potato...

I disagree. The holding midfielders are the 'link' between the defence and the advanced midfielders, so grouping them with the advanced midfielders could be seen as confusing.

Just as the '2' in a 4-2-3-1 can be classed as holding midfielders they could also be seen as advanced defenders, so a 4-2-3-1 is a more accurate description.

The two holding mids are added security, especially if you ask them to be in front of your center halves.not on their toes but connected by the same area of the pitch. where ever your two centers are look 10-15 yds in front of them your two holding mids are. Caution if you allow them to play too deep it becomes a six man back line.......thats a no-no. best combo for the holders are one ball player one tackler.

It works at most levels but organisation is the key.

What would you say an equivalent formation would be @ 9 a side?

A 3-2-2-1 might work for you Rob

It would depend on the quality of your full backs as they would work as full backs when defending and wingers/wide midfielders when attacking

The advantage of this formation is that when defending you have a 5 man defensive line. When attacking you have 2 midfielders, 2 wingers/wide midfielders, a striker and if you're confident one of the center backs could push up as a holding midfielder

Cool. I usually go 3-1-3-1 but I hopefully have a friendly on Sunday so I may give this one a go.

Let me know how you get on!

How did the formation work out for you Rob?

We won away 10-3. 2 players got hat tricks & neither of them was man of the match! To be fair, it was only a friendly against a team a league below us but I will use this again Sunday.  We play a team that beat us 5-1 a month ago in a cup game so it'll be interesting to see if the result is better this time.  I'll keep you posted...


Not bad! Best of luck I look forward to hearing how you get on

I have used a 1331 alternative to give a minimum of 4 defending and a minimum of 4 attacking

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