My guide to the 433(5)

Content of the article: "My guide to the 433(5)"

After using 442 most of the year and trying 4231, 4222, and 41212(2) I've found a formation that I really enjoy. The 433(5) is not a meta formation, but can be effective and is fairly balanced. Here's what I've found while using this formation for several WLs.

STRENGTHS: easy to keep possession, strong midfield, opponents rarely know how to handle the way players move within 433s that aren't 433(4), allows for creative gameplay.

WEAKNESSES: can be easy to counter, CF must play CAM and ST role, requires a strong team.

MAIN METHODS OF SCORING: 1-2s between CF and CMs, cutback passes from wingers to CMs/CF, cut inside runs from wingers.

MY PHILOSOPHY ON THE FORMATION: the 433(5) excels at maintaining possession by having 2 CMs that help the CF build up the attack. The CDM provides an anchor in the offense that is key against pressing opponents, and protecting against counters if the fullbacks have pushed forward. While quick passes between the midfielders and the CF construct a more narrow offense, the wings provide the width and the aggression in the attack. Overlapping fullbacks continue to push up in the attack as the build up begins, allowing the wings to cut inside to a central area in the box. The middle of the field therefore dominates possession by providing plenty of passing options, while the wide players slowly provide opportunities for deeper attacks. As the ball moves towards the opponents goal, the CF changes from a CAM-esque role to a ST and can aim to get open inside the box. Alternatively, the CF can roam in front of the defensive line and make the final pass forward.


CF: the CF absolutely must be a good player for this formation to work, as it is the key player in the attack. This position requires high passing, shooting, dribbling and some pace. If this player isn't pacey, high strength is a must. Work rates: H/H for a more aggressive approach, or M/M for a more methodical approach. H/L absolutely does NOT work in this position as the player will not roam the midfield. H/M and others are fine.

Recommended players: Neymar, Griezmann (FBDay), Firmino, Messi, Maradona, Raul, Benzema, Alexis Sanchez, Son, WBY, Dybala, Bergkamp.

LW/RW: all that is required here is your standard wing player, although finishing is important. Needs pace, finishing, dribbling, some passing. Work rates: does not matter too much, although having different work rates between the LW/RW can be helpful. H/L on at least one winger is also great.

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Recommended players: any strong winger.

CM1: the creative midfielder. It is this CMs job to push forward and assist the CF in creating chances and breaking down the defense. This player will likely score and assist a decent amount of goals. Passing is the biggest priority here, but shooting and dribbling are important as well. As well, this player must have at least 70 defending. Work rates: H/M is probably the best, although M/M and H/H work pretty well too.

Recommended players: Gullit, Goretzka, Aouar, Thiago, Seedorf, Muller, Pogba, Pirlo, SMS, Valverde, Oscar, Stevie G, Bruno Fernandes.

CM2: pure box to box. This CM is your true box to box midfielder – this player will roam around the midfield, assisting in both the defense and attack. This player must have high stats in all areas (think Gullit gang players). This position is very important for this formation and should be the first area that you should be willing to dump coins into. Work rates: H/H is the absolute best for the position and I would aim to use someone with these work rates.

Recommended players: Modric, KDB, Renato Sanches, Matthaus, Paulinho, Kessie, Wijnaldum, Delaney, Sissoko, Saul, Nainggolan, Essien, Henderson.

CDM: this player must be a true CDM – focus should be on defense, physical presence and passing. Players tend to have a preference between smaller quick CDMs (Kante, Allan) and bigger but clunkier CDMs (Vieira, Fabinho). Workrates: M/H is ideal, but L/H (Makelele) is a more conservative approach. I would not advise using a player with work rates other than these.

Recommended players: any high-quality CDM.

RB/LB: this formation requires attack-minded fullbacks. Therefore, pace is the absolute most important stat followed by passing, defense, dribbling and physical. Having high quality fullbacks is more important for this formation than the 4231 as they will be more involved in the attack. Work rates: H/M is ideal. H/H also works fairly well. M/H or L/H is a bit too defensive, and H/L may be excessively attacking oriented.

Recommended players: any attack-minded fullback.

CB/GK: like the wingers, one simply needs to pick standard high-quality players in these positions. I would aim to have a maximum of one H/M CB as these players tend to be more aggressive, and can be a liability with the 433(5) as many players aim to counter attack the formation.

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Recommended players: any high-quality CB/GK.



Press After Possession Loss

Width: 5

Depth: 6

Press after possession loss works well with this formation due to the abundance of players in the midfield. The 2 CMs can often swarm the ball, leading to huge opportunities for the wingers downfield. 6 depth allows for strong attacking play but is not too aggressive to protect against counters. 5 width is simply a balanced choice; the formation already offers some width, but there is no need to set the tactics too narrow as it will prevent the user from creating chances with the wingers.



Width: 5

Players in the box: 5

Corners: 3

Free kicks: 1

The 433(5) works best with balanced offensive tactics. Fast built up just doesn't work with the tiki taka style build up inherent in the formation. Possession is redundant as the formation already offers a strong base with which to maintain possession. Long ball is a decent, more aggressive alternative. 5 width and 5 players in the box allows for players to move according to the natural flow of the game, rather than trying to force players into positions. Corners and free kicks is entirely up to the user.


CF: False 9. This allows the CF to dip into the midfield to assist with build up play. Come back on defense is a great option if you find that the CF pushes too forward in build up, leaving the CMs stranded.

LW/RW: cut inside, get in behind. Wingers generally seem to resist cutting inside on FIFA 20, however at times it does push the wingers into more central positions. Get in behind is a must as these players provide the main push in your attack.

CM1: free roam, get forward. Free roam allows the CM to move around the pitch, assisting with all areas of the build up play. Get forward allows for another players outside of the wingers to push forward, which can draw defenders off. I've found that this player will often make strong runs into the box.

CM2: free roam. Free roam instruction with all else balanced allows this player to have an impact all over the pitch. Note that both CMs are on cover wing (balanced), not cover center. This is because many players will aim to counter you down the wings.

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CDM: drop between defenders, cover center. With these instructions, the CDM will naturally stay far back in one's defense, positioning itself between the CBs to prevent through balls straight down the middle. Often this player will have to play the role of sweeper while the CBs guard the wider areas. These instructions also allow the CDM to be an anchor in one's midfield during build up play, as the player will rarely push forward.

LB/RB: overlap. The fullbacks are kept on balanced, rather than stay back or join the attack. This allows the fullbacks to assist in attack, but does not needlessly push them forward. Overlap keeps the fullbacks in wide positions, pushing the wingers into more central attacking areas.

CB/GK; standard instructions. Sweeper keeper can be effective on the GK.

This is the team that I use Pirlo is the creative midfielder, Modric B2B and De Jong the CDM.


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