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Chat Thinking Out Loud About 352


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Let's try to figure out how tactics work based on what we already know about some of the roles, their interactions, how they move and what they try to do based on those given function and instruction.

As we know when choosing a uniform you can learn about how the team will be positioned when they are working without the ball. For example: at 352 - the team is arranged in 3 lines - defense, midfield and attack.

So when the team is in possession of the ball - this is where the most interesting thing happens, depending on the roles and instructions the players move quite differently from what you would expect them to do.

This begs the question, how can this be used effectively ?

For example, I took this shape ( flat 352 ) :

In which I used static roles (as much as possible) like 3 DC and DLP, and the rest of the roles are worth looking at in more detail. 

1) As we know W + Narrow = gives us an extra forward up front, and without the ball he takes his native position on the wing - what Mario Mandzukic did at Juve (Defensive Winger+Inside). 

2) AP+DLP = vertically positioned playmakers, which gives us a more advanced AP who importantly goes backwards when the team is not in possession of the ball than an AP in the AM position who can be covered by the opposing DM, which can completely shut him out of the game. And so we will have an AP that can take a higher position in the attack, and will also work on defense without the ball because of the MC position, than if we use an AP in the AM position. 
DLP should not only keep the ball in possession but also play on the rebound.

3) BBM - is the only defensive role in this trio that I think should interact with AF, but it's not clear yet how high he can go to do that, and when playing without the ball this role should work out for those two. And also play on the rebounding end.

4) Not sure about DW - as far as I understand this role highly presses the opponent's FB, and without the ball acts as a flank BBM. The choice of this role is due to the fact that we need a pressing player on the flank, thereby eliminating the displacement to the AF flank as our DW is already there. 

5) AF - surrounded on the left and right by pressing players, will be less likely to defend and move to the sides, which should save his energy when he runs behind the opponent's backs, as this is the only striking force in the attack. I don't like to use static roles like Poacher and Targetman, and CF in pairs (in this case a trio) will only hinder and duplicate the partner.

6) PF - Needed to prevent the opponent's GK or DC from playing calmly, forcing them to knock them far forward. Considering that there is also DW against FB and W shifting to the half-flank of the opponent's defense thus making it difficult to pass to the flank of the defense from the opponent's GK or DC, which gives my 3 CMs and 3 DCs a chance to fight for long balls.

So we're done with roles and their functions.

Next, let's consider a scenario where the opponent moves the game to the other flank trying to get away from the pressing DW for example, or moving his MC playmaker to the other side away from your BBM.
In such a case we can also respond by simply mirroring the shape, with the changes affecting only the wing players who will have to switch roles, while the rest will retain their roles and functions, minimizing the damage to chemistry and interaction between players, and for the opponent it will be a complete surprise, especially when it happens at the end of the match.

Do you think it all makes sense, maybe you'll have some criticisms. It would be great if someone would be willing to test it. I'm sure a lot of people care about how the roles actually move with different instructions. 
I would be glad to get feedback and comments.

( This is just how I imagine it to work, maybe it will work differently from what you expect).

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Nice thread! 👍 

Here is how is view this tactic - purely from a pressing / ‘stopping the opposition from scoring’ perspective.

41221
If the opposition plays a 41221 (black ‘X’):

  • red shaded area - their DL + DMC will often be free / have time + space.
  • yellow shaded area - depending on the opposition’s AML player role (IF / Winger / etc), then they could create a lot of chances down their left flank in particular
  • otherwise is pretty solid 👍 

389501FD-95AD-4CB9-8723-ACF1A4137D40.thumb.jpeg.7bdfda4d80cf3377a11bdf0e553ca75d.jpeg

Key:
-  white arrows = their passes.
-  green arrows = our press.  
-  green boxes = our marking.

 

4231 DM
If the opposition plays a 4231 DM:

  • Red shaded area - again their DL + DMLC are free.
  • Yellow shaded area - again depending on their roles, they could create a lot of chances down their left flank.
  • Purple shaded area - however as the DLP doesn’t sit ‘that’ deep out of possession + isn’t a defensively disciplined role, the opposition’s AMC could have a lot of time + space to destroy us.

5EEEC609-0CEC-425F-9117-BA4279888DA0.thumb.jpeg.37cc1fdcbe31ca7a1c27feeda1de9fed.jpeg

 
442 Diamond
If the opposition play a 442 Diamond (narrow) - annoyingly like the 🇮🇹 Italians did against me in the 2026 World Cup Final

  • Red shaded area - again their DL + DMC are free.
  • Our press - if their DMC gets the ball, who presses him? If any of our three MCs do, then it leaves one of their central midfielders free, eventually getting the ball to their AMC … 
  • Purple shaded area - … if any of DCs step forward to close down their AMC, then it leaves opportunities for through balls for their STs to have 1:1 goal-scoring opportunities!
     

1B3C9E8B-DADD-4954-BDB8-33D90611861B.thumb.jpeg.e22adce363990ad15724fdeca6b7fbb6.jpeg

 
Thoughts? 🙂 

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10 hours ago, DanEnglish said:

Nice thread! 👍 

Here is how is view this tactic - purely from a pressing / ‘stopping the opposition from scoring’ perspective.

41221
If the opposition plays a 41221 (black ‘X’):

  • red shaded area - their DL + DMC will often be free / have time + space.
  • yellow shaded area - depending on the opposition’s AML player role (IF / Winger / etc), then they could create a lot of chances down their left flank in particular
  • otherwise is pretty solid 👍 

389501FD-95AD-4CB9-8723-ACF1A4137D40.thumb.jpeg.7bdfda4d80cf3377a11bdf0e553ca75d.jpeg

Key:
-  white arrows = their passes.
-  green arrows = our press.  
-  green boxes = our marking.

 

4231 DM
If the opposition plays a 4231 DM:

  • Red shaded area - again their DL + DMLC are free.
  • Yellow shaded area - again depending on their roles, they could create a lot of chances down their left flank.
  • Purple shaded area - however as the DLP doesn’t sit ‘that’ deep out of possession + isn’t a defensively disciplined role, the opposition’s AMC could have a lot of time + space to destroy us.

5EEEC609-0CEC-425F-9117-BA4279888DA0.thumb.jpeg.37cc1fdcbe31ca7a1c27feeda1de9fed.jpeg

 
442 Diamond
If the opposition play a 442 Diamond (narrow) - annoyingly like the 🇮🇹 Italians did against me in the 2026 World Cup Final

  • Red shaded area - again their DL + DMC are free.
  • Our press - if their DMC gets the ball, who presses him? If any of our three MCs do, then it leaves one of their central midfielders free, eventually getting the ball to their AMC … 
  • Purple shaded area - … if any of DCs step forward to close down their AMC, then it leaves opportunities for through balls for their STs to have 1:1 goal-scoring opportunities!
     

1B3C9E8B-DADD-4954-BDB8-33D90611861B.thumb.jpeg.e22adce363990ad15724fdeca6b7fbb6.jpeg

 
Thoughts? 🙂 

Considering all of your comments and the vulnerabilities of this form you mentioned, where it would be worth working on to prevent threats coming from these places. As you rightly pointed out the most vulnerable places are my DM support zone - where the enemy's AM is located, which is very difficult to contain, and the enemy's IF, where the threat comes from, which is also difficult to prevent. So after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that I will have to use a simpler and more primitive role in the center of midfield to be able to include personal guardianship (to the detriment of the construction of my attack).
   For the DC triple, the DC has included man marking - against the opponent's FC/IF/AM. Our DC should go up for AM when the average CM in the triple will cover the opponent's DM, if the opponent plays without DM (3412) then you can turn off Man Marking for the CM. I don't know how reasonable it is to involve so many players in the guardianship of the opponent, for this there should be cohesion and chemistry otherwise if one player fails, the chain will be broken by the opponent. This will have to be tested to be sure it can work, because as I noticed here in the community is not very fond of using Man Marking.

Use man marking - necessarily against AM, IF, FC, FB.
    For our three CMs use - according to the situation based on where the opponent's playmaker is in the center of midfield.

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Edited by till malkovich
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Seems to have found the optimal solution to how to contain AM or DM, change the DLP role to CM + enable Man Marking. On defense, switch the edge DCs to more disciplined NCBs so they can contain the opponent's edge attackers, because as I think such a role doesn't leave their position as high as the DC role. 
  So in what situations should we turn on Man Marking (*) : 

Against 4231/41221/442D - MC*+NCB*-DC*-NCB*

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