U10s 7 A-Side Formation: Why & How We Play 2-3-1

U10s 7 A-Side Formation: Why & How We Play 2-3-1

By Nicky Fox
14 September 2019
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Understanding the formation we play in matches. What to look for when we are defending and when we are attacking.

Hi All

I am conscious that you guys spend a lot of time at matches and training watching from the sidelines. I wanted to share more information on how we are trying to play and why are trying to play that way.

Hopefully with some further insight it will make it even more enjoyable/interesting to watch from the sidelines as you understand more how the team is set up and the position/role your child is playing for the team.

There are numerous formations that we could play but the formation we do play and train for is 2-3-1 (or 2-1-2-1 as we want the central midfielder to be more defensive)
and people play in one of the following positions:

Left Defence
Right Defence
Left Midfielder
Central Midfielder
Right Midfielder

There are only 3 phases of play in football and the players need to be aware of what to do in their positions when we are:
1. Defending: Out of possession
2. Attacking: In possession
3. Transition: adjusting from being "out" to "in" or from "in" to "out"

We focus a lot in training on this as the most successful teams and players are those who "transition" the quickest.

I hope this helps to further understand that whilst we will continue to play everyone in as many positions as possible; naturally, some players become more comfortable or suited to certain positions. Every position has its own nuance and every position demands something different from the player.

For example, the midfielders in this formation need to be super fit as they will cover at least twice as much ground as anyone else. The attackers need to be physical enough to be able to hold the ball up, whilst often outnumbered, and then have enough pace to go it alone!

Finally, I hope the below information helps to feedback positively and constructively to the players after games around how the team played/individuals played and how we can be even better.

For info, the formation headlines are:

What Works Well:
1. This is the ideal formation for moving from 7 vs 7 through 9 vs 9 to 11 vs 11, as you can simply add players to the existing structure.
2. The strong diamond shapes through the middle make it a good passing structure.
3. The midfield is very strong (3 players) and can run the game linking defence with attack.
4. It should also be strong against the counterattack thanks to the midfield/defence diamond.

Where It Can Fall Down:
1. The midfield has to work very hard or the formation breaks down – overlaps with the front player plus support on the wings and from behind are vital.
2. The defence is strong & central but relies on the midfield getting back to slot into any holes in fullback areas, otherwise they are outnumbered.

What Each Position Has To Do:

- It works best with one defender who can cover like a sweeper (hold the middle) and one defender who can go higher up the pitch to support the midfield.
- It is strong centrally but it relies on the midfield getting back to help out.

- The two wide midfielders must work as wingbacks supporting the defence and being active in attack, supporting the lone attacker.
- The central midfielder protects the area in front of the penalty box and must be the creative force behind attacking moves.

- A lone/hard job in the formation, the attacker has to hold the ball and wait for support, and must go it alone for fast counterattacks.
- The attacker needs to be fit and mobile, and needs to receive good passes from the midfielders to create scoring chances.

What The Team Do When In Possession (Attacking):

1. The wide midfielders provide the attacking width to support the attacker.
2. The defensive pair must look for opportunities to pass inside to the central midfielder or outside to the wide midfielders.
3. There are lots of passing opportunities for the midfielders to support each other and the attacker.
4. The lone attacker needs support from behind and out wide, with lots of passes needed for the attacker to run onto and shoot from

What The Team Do When Out Of Possession (Defending)

1. The back two must move to cover all areas – one defender can play as a sweeper to cover the backline & hold the middle!
2. Wide midfielders must drop back and cover wide areas, dropping into the position of fullback.
3. The central midfielder must police the area in front of the penalty box letting no opponents past.
4. The attacker must press the opposition high up the pitch, forcing errors to help win the ball.

This is a great formation for learning the positions and responsibilities – all areas are covered and players must work for each other, understanding the problems each area of the pitch faces when in and out of possession.

Let me know what you see tomorrow!

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