I’m a very attack-minded player so, rather than get men behind the ball and concentrate mainly on keeping goals out, I prefer to take the game to my opponents from the first whistle. It’s a style of play I really enjoy and the one that seems to work best for me.
One of the main reasons I use the 4-2-3-1 a lot in online games is that it’s very versatile, which allows me to adapt to my opponents’ formation without changing my own. I can play narrow or wide, use my full-backs or my wingers to attack, go for a possession game or look for quick counters. There’s no need for me to change my shape, just my attacking style and I decide on that as soon as I’ve seen my opponents’ formation.
It’s all about identifying where the space is likely to be.
Three At The Back?
If I’m up against any formation with three centre-backs, like the still very popular 3-5-2, then I immediately concentrate on playing as wide as possible and getting my full-backs forward to join in with attacks. If I can get in behind the wing-backs then the CBs will get dragged over to cover and that creates more space in the box for my attacking players.
Five In Midfield?
If I’m facing a 4-5-1 player or someone mirroring the 4-2-3-1 I’m using then I play a more patient possession game. As we’ll be pretty evenly matched in terms of positioning, my game plan here is to move the ball around my team without rushing it, while keeping an eye out for spaces opening up. I think it takes a bit more work than when playing against a 3-5-2 or 4-1-2-1-2 because the spaces aren’t so obvious, but you can still create plenty of them with good possession play or well-timed, simple passing with pace.
With a good idea of where to focus my attacks, the next thing I try to work out is what I should expect defensively, and for that the clues are in the line-up.