This is an excerpt from "Important Alternative Information on How to Play the 4-2-3-1." We don’t like to change our team shape and way of playing. Rather; we like to force opponents to change their shape to accommodate us. Sometimes against top opponents who may dominate us it is necessary to do so. Here are some ideas we can use against a 4-3-3 which many teams play now. We wont come up against this too often. Get It Now
Dealing with a 4-3-3 who have an extra player in Central Midfield
We lose possession. (6) Stays in his position protecting in front of the back four. They now have a 3 v 2 in their favor in central midfield; almost a 3 v 1 initially. In this case (11) has to see this and tuck in and help (6).
As the ball travels (6) gets tight to the opponents 6 and (11) tucks in the opposite side to make a 3 v 3. This has to happened rapidly and their passing may be too fast for us to adjust in time. Likewise this can be done with (7) tucking in instead of (11). A bit risky as it takes great communication; insight and immediate action.
Creating a 4 v 3 in our favor in Central Midfield
Another way is to play a very condensed defensive midfield 4 to outnumber them 4 v 3. Problem: Their fullbacks then have more freedom. Now our (2) and (3) may be open to 2 v 1’s against them. (6) can still patrol in front of the centre backs and drop back when needed.
Creating a 3 v 3 in Central Midfield
This is the simplest way to sort it out. Just go 3 for 3. (10) Has to take on a MUCH “greater defensive responsibility”. So we get a 3 v 3 match up in central midfield (8) on 8, (10) on 6 and (6) on 10.
The best solution: Still our same team shape but (10) more defensively positioned
The START position of (10) defensively HAS to be picking up the opponents number 6. It means (10) has to work MUCH harder defensively. This way we ensure we match them up 3 v 3 in central midfield. This way we still take care of their fullbacks. If 6 is their playmaker he must NEVER be allowed time on the ball.
The resulting situation is we are on the back foot but at least controlling them defensively.
Our team situation is defensively set up now. We will need to counter quickly when we get the ball; OR; keep the ball to give us time to spread out offensively again and play our game. We will practice this in training.