6 Most common Tactical Formations in Football

Posted on August 6th, 2019

The most exciting thing about football is that there are numerous ways to play it. A manager has to mould different ways a team plays. You only need to have one look at the elite end of the game to notice the difference in the team formation and how they play. Watching a football game is exciting, and William Hill gives you a chance to make money as you cheer your favorite teams. Numerous tactics and formations are being used by different teams, with many subtle peculiarities splitting off from them. In this post, we will give you a manager’s guide to the common formation and what you require to make it work. You will also get an example of a team you can study to understand better.

Classic 4-4-2

This is the oldest formation in the history of soccer. Regardless of going out of fashion, this formation has enjoyed a bit of resurgence, thanks to Atletico Madrid in La Liga and Leicester City in the premier league. The key to classic 4-4-2 is partnership. The 2 strikers, midfielders pairing and full-back and wingers must have the telepathic understanding of their duties on the pitch.


The 2-3-5 is one of the most accepted formations by the masses. The majority of English football enthusiasts can attest that this is one of the solid formation in the 80s. It includes two at the back and five upfront.


This formation is best represented by Chelsea and Jose Mourinho. It is a playing lesson on how to remain stable and grind out 1-0 wins. The majority of these formations integrate a midfield destroyer. Ideally, the 4-5-1 is set up to counterattack. The midfield destroyer is required to get the ball and then feed it to his playmates quickly. The full-backs will stay alert, and all the attacking task is performed by 3 or 4 players.


Generally, the 4-3-3 formation is considered as a swing away from counterattacking game and towards possession-based play. Different from Mourinho’s pattern, the full-bucks in this formation are tasked to move forward with a free license, and there is no assigned midfield destroyer. However, there is a sitter.

4-4-2 Diamond

This is one of the formations that has received great attention over the past few months. Recently, Manchester United used 4-4-2 formation to battle Newcastle’s prevailing midfield pairing of Yohan Cabeye and Cheick Tiote. The diamond in midfield is tasked to control the middle of the pitch and command the tempo of the game. Even though players playing at the point of diamond and base might have various roles in different formations, the two middle midfielders always move up and down the lanes.

The pattern allows enough room for full-backs to strive forward and AC Milan has used this pattern to impressive effect in the last ten years.


Currently, 4-2-3-1 is one of the most common formations in the world of football. Euro 2012 saw many teams use this formation in different ways since it looks for control and possession while remaining cautiously sound. Joachim Low of Germany was the best exponents of this formation while the holding duo of Batian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira relaxed and allowed Mesut Ozil to do whatever he wanted.

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