Content of the article: "WL Formation Review: 541"
Looking to create a new challenge for myself, I’ve decided to play all 30 formations this year, learn to play them during the week and play them in WL, and post a review of them after. I finished Gold 2 three weeks in a row prior to starting this project. Unless a formation is suggested by someone in the comments, I add all formations to a randomizer online and randomize 3 times, then pick the formation on top. For next week, I've been asked to play 5-2-1-2.
Pressure on Heavy Touch
Players in box: 7
Corners and free kicks: 3
GK: sweeper keeper, comes for crosses
Fullbacks: join the attack, overlap
CM1: stay back, cover center
CM2: free roam, cover center, get forward
LM/RM: come short, get into the box for cross
ST: get in behind
How it plays in game:
I really dreaded this weekend because I considered playing 541 to be a real challenge. The major choice came down to playstyle — do you go with Mbappe up to for his speed, or do you utilize someone like Joao Felix as a false 9? I opted for Mbappe up top because I didn't want him so far down the field, and I realized that good passing from my center mids would be crucial to this formation.
In-game, this playstyle actually did create triangles — on the wings! What happens is that your LM and RM will come in and look for more central roles, and that will allow the wings backs room to bomb down the flanks. This really took some opponents by surprise as it created overloads on the flanks where Capa and Alessandrini would find eachother with lots of passes (and Fati/Golovin on the other side) and cross into the box as Mbappe rushed forward, hoping to beat his man.
Defensively, it was just as sound as any other 3-back formation. As long as you are comfortable with those kind of formations, you can just as well play this one.
The reason for using 7 on "players in the box" in custom tactics was to make sure we had players bombing forward into the box since most of the play would be coming from the wings.
If you have the time to regroup, you have a 5-4-1 defensively, while it becomes a 3-2-5 offensively with an overload on the wings.
Weekend League and stars of the formation:
Running short on time this weekend, I had to stop at Gold 3, but had 7-8 games left. I feel comfortable that Gold 2 wasn't out of reach.
Unlike easier formations like 4321 and 433-2 where I reached Gold 2, I feel like the main difference is that you come so far down the field using this formation, and that it can leave your attacker a little bit isolated. I wouldn't be willing to use this as a main formation to play 90 minutes with, but it has a definite advantage as a late option in games. I see its use mainly in this scenarion: You're down a goal in the 70th minute, and your opponent clogs the central parts of the pitch to the point where you can't get anything done. With the 541, you'll overload the wings and go for crosses and cutbacks, and just pray that one of them gets through.
I did not find it particularly strong or weak against any formations. Instead, it comes down to the skill of your opponent. If they are surprised by the offensive fullbacks you'll blow them out of the water.
As for the stars of the formation, there's four of them. The two fullbacks, and the center mids. I used Golovin and Capa as fullbacks, and it really showcased how good it can be with a skilled fullback (Golovin) and how limited it is when the fullback is a bit poorer (Capa). You need good pace and high stamina on the fullbacks, and preferably 4/4.
Also, Acuña and Joao Felix really put on a performance here. You need center mids with good passing attributes, so I used a powerhouse on Acuña, and that really helped him out as a defensive mid. Together, they distribute the balls out to the wings and thus are vital to help your attack.
Grade: C (Changing this from a number grade as this seemed to be a request from readers)
You'll swear at times when you find your striker isolated and you're searching for that outlet pass, but it's a lot of fun if the oppents centre backs aren't speed demons and your striker is. I scored so many crosses this weekend that it pissed some opponents off.
That said, it's better utilized as a late-game option than a standard formation.
- WL Formation Review: 4-4-2
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