A 3-5-2 formation is made up of three central defenders, two central defensive midfielders, one central attacking midfielder and two forward players(strikers).

The diagram below shows the basic set up


Advantages of the 3-5-2:

  • The central attacking midfielder (CAM) has a free role.
  • The CAM is the third striker when the team is attacking.
  • The right wing back (RWB) and the left wing back (LWB) are encourage to move forward and put in crosses.
  • Where the two forwards (FW) are active, the opposing defenders do leave spaces for other players to attack.
  • During attack, there are usually about seven players in the opposing half.
  • The two central defensive midfielders (CDM) act as interceptors/destroyers when the team is defending.
  • The diagram below explains better what happen when attacking in a 3-5-2 formation.



Disadvantages of 3-5-2 formation:

  • It leaves a lot space for pacy-wingers to attack from both flanks.
  • It requires defenders who are good with the ball.
  • The RWB/LWB must be fit and willing to run with or without the ball.
  • The three CB must be good in the air.
  • The CDM must be intelligent enough to read the game. With this formation, no passenger is allowed, everyone must work their socks off to regain possession when they are without the ball.

The diagram below shows the positional play of the players when they are without the ball



Recently, in the Euro’16; Italy played with this formation to a great effect.

Every Monday, we will be discussing tactics and various formation with well labelled diagrams to help us understand the basic of football/soccer.