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The 4-5-1

Introduction

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.

4𤂿 is a defensive formation; however, if the two midfield wingers play a more attacking role, it can be likened to 4𣛩. The formation can be used to grind out 00 draws or preserve a lead, as the packing of the centre midfield makes it difficult for the opposition to build-up play. Because of the "closeness" of the midfield, the opposing team's forwards will often be starved of possession. Due to the lone striker, however, the centre of the midfield does have the responsibility of pushing forward as well. The defensive midfielder will often control the pace of the game. Dick Advocaat used the very same formation for the Russian national team twice in the UEFA Euro 2012 Group A tournament: first time in the game against Poland, and second time against Greece.

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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