Attacking Football

This starter guide will take you through the process of creating attacking football tactics for your team. It includes:

  • How attacking football works – a brief description of the mechanics of attacking football tactics, as well as important player attributes, to help you to decide whether attacking football suits your team and your preferences.
  • Suggested formations for attacking football – tips for choosing a formation to use with attacking football tactics, along with a list of suitable formations. The formations are listed in order of how attacking they are, with more advanced playing positions being considered to be more attacking.
  • The recommended team instructions for attacking football – these are the team instructions that are typically used in attacking football tactics.
  • Other suggested team instructions for attacking football – these are additional team instructions suitable for attacking football tactics that you may want to use. However, it is recommended that you choose your player roles and duties before deciding upon additional team instructions.
  • Useful player instructions for attacking football – these are player instructions suitable for attacking football tactics that you may want to look for in the player roles and duties that you choose.
  • Balancing risk in attacking football – advice on how to balance your use of team instructions and player instructions.
  • Suggested transition tactics for attacking football – these are additional transition team instructions suitable for attacking football tactics that you may want to use.
  • Suggested player roles and duties for attacking football – these are player roles and duties suitable for attacking football tactics that you can choose from. Different responsibilities in different positional areas are covered separately, with a list of roles/duties given that can be used to perform each responsibility. Selecting one or more appropriate roles/duties to perform each responsibility in each positional area should give you balanced combinations. Shown next to each role/duty is a brief description of its own natural playing style. The word “attacking” in these descriptions indicates suitability of the role/duty’s player instructions for attacking football, and the roles/duties are grouped in order of how suitable they are in this respect.
  • Overall forward movement – this is an advised method for checking that the forward movement of your players is balanced. It involves adding up a few different scores for your roles/duties and checking that the totals meet suggested targets.
  • An attacking football example tactic – this is an attacking football tactic that applies the advice given in this starter guide to select team instructions and player roles and duties. You may want to use this tactic for your own team or modify it to suit your own players or your preferences. Reading the rest of the tactics guides can help you to do this.

How Attacking Football Works

With attacking football your team will take a high risk approach by playing in more advanced areas; proactively creating and penetrating space when in possession, and restricting space when out of possession, therefore applying more pressure to the opposition team and forcing mistakes from opposition players.

Attacks will be developed more progressively, with the earlier stages of build-up play involving relatively shorter passes from your more defensive-minded players in order to help your team to create space before penetrating from more advanced areas.

Important player attributes:

  • Good intelligence (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision) – for M/AM(C/R/L)s and STCs in particular
  • Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork) and mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace) – for D(C/R/L)s and WB(R/L)s in particular
  • Good defensive positioning (Positioning, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork) – for DCs and DM/M(C)s in particular
  • Good control (First Touch) and passing ability (Passing, Technique) – for M/AM(C/R/L)s and STCs in particular
  • Good tackling ability (Tackling) – for DCs and DM/M(C)s in particular

Suggested Formations for Attacking Football

Tips for choosing a formation:

  • More attacking formations make it easier to apply more pressure to the opposition team.
  • Formations with three or four AM/ST(C/R/L)s make it easier to apply pressure in more advanced areas.
  • Formations with D/WB(R/L)s and M/AM(R/L)s enable you to create overlapping movement between D/WB(R/L)s and M/AM(R/L)s or between AM(R/L)s and an STC (the former overlapping the latter in both cases by making more forward movement), which can create space more effectively. However, formations with only D/WB(R/L)s on the flanks can still enable off-centre M/AM(C)s to be overlapped, while also making it easier to keep possession and apply pressure in central midfield and central attack, which are the two most useful areas to dominate in.
  • Formations with two DMCs or one DMC (especially if used as a Half Back) make it easier to use D(R/L)s that make more forward movement, such as Wing Back (D(R/L) Attack)s. However, this also makes it more difficult to apply pressure in central midfield and central attack.

Suitable formations include:

  • 4-2-3-1 Wide – very attacking
    • 4 Ds / 2 MCs / 1 AMC / 2 AM(R/L)s / 1 STC
  • 5-4-1 WB Wide – fairly attacking
    • 3 DCs / 2 WBs / 2 MCs / 2 AM(R/L)s / 1 STC
  • 5-3-2 WB – fairly attacking
    • 3 DCs / 2 WBs / 3 MCs / 2 STC
  • 4-3-3 Wide – fairly attacking
    • 4 Ds / 3 MCs / 2 AM(R/L)s / 1 STC
  • 4-4-2 – fairly attacking
    • 4 Ds / 4 Ms / 2 STCs
  • 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – fairly attacking
    • 4 Ds / 1 DMC / 2 MCs / 1 AMC / 2 STCs
    • Instruct MCs to Stay Wider to provide support to the flanks
  • 4-2-4 DM Wide – fairly attacking
    • 4 Ds / 2 DMCs / 2 AM(R/L)s / 2 STCs
  • 5-1-2-2 DM WB – neutral
    • 3 DCs / 2 WBs / 1 DMC / 2 MCs / 2 STCs
    • Instruct MCs to Stay Wider to provide support to the flanks
  • 4-1-4-1 DM Wide – neutral
    • 4 Ds / 1 DMC / 2 MCs / 2 AM(R/L)s / 1 STC
  • 4-1-4-1 DM Asymmetric AM (R/L) – neutral
    • 4 Ds / 1 DMC / 1 off-centre MC / 1 asymmetric M(R/L) / 1 off-centre AMC / 1 asymmetric AM(R/L) / 1 STC
  • 4-1-3-2 DM Narrow – neutral
    • 4 Ds / 1 DMC / 3 MCs / 2 STCs
  • 4-2-3-1 DM AM Wide – neutral
    • 4 Ds / 2 DMCs / 1 AMC / 2 AM(R/L)s / 1 STC
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