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Formations guide

The 4-5-1 formation

Traditionally favoured by European teams, the 4-5-1 formation is becoming ever more popular in the Premiership.

The 4-5-1 - that is four defenders, five midfielders and one striker - is often seen in European games where teams face a tough away fixture and the manager chooses to pack the midfield.

To see how Liverpool might line up with 4-5-1, click below
To tinker with your own team's formation, go to your club's index and click the green 'squad selector' graphic
It can be very effective, particularly at keeping possession, and with five midfielders covering the defence it provides a solid base.

Sometimes you will see 10 men behind the ball.

But it also means that attacking options are limited.

The poor old striker often has a lone battle up front.

It works best with a big, strong front man, such as Chelsea's Didier Drogba, who can win the ball in the air and hold it up until support arrives.

You have to know when to use the front man so that he doesn't get too isolated or tired

Former England coach
Don Howe
Otherwise it can produce relatively few goal-scoring chances.

This system has a lot in common with the 4-3-3 formation, where the wide midfielders join the lone striker.

Jose Mourinho used this particularly well during his time at Chelsea.

Put simply, they play 4-3-3 when they have the ball and 4-5-1 when they do not.


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