My 3-5-2 'Guide'

1
Orikoru
10712 posts Has That Special Something
edited December 2016
I've called this a 'guide' in inverted commas since I wouldn't suggest anyone take actual gameplay advice from me, but barely anyone seems to use it so I thought I'd write something on it, maybe encourage others to give it a try and discuss the results.


Introduction

This is not going to be one of those guides where an elite Fifa player tells you about their formation despite the fact they have a 5 million coin team and could probably win in any formation going. I'm a fairly average player, who struggled early on to find a formation that worked as I dossed around in division 7 and 8 back in October. I'd started off trying out the narrow formations that worked so well in UT16 - 4-3-2-1, 4-3-1-2, 4-1-2-1-2(2) etc - but I found I was just getting destroyed by slide tackle and interceptions in the middle so I needed some width.

I tried 4-2-3-1 wide which showed signs of improvement, but I felt the striker was isolated, so that led me to 4-1-2-1-2 wide, effectively pushing one of the two CDMs up front. I had some decent results here, and I loved the five-man attacking set-up, but that formation is quite hollow in the middle with just the one guy in there doing all the donkey work, and if he gets caught drifting forward you've essentially got zero midfield. So that logically led me to 3-5-2, where the attacking set-up remains the same, but you sacrifice a defender to get an extra midfield presence.

Since I landed on 3-5-2 in November, I've never looked back. It has taken me from the doldrums of division 7 up to division 2, and there was a big improvement in not only results, but also fun. Mainly because losing often isn't fun. :smiley:


Strengths

A lot of people seem to be put off or scared to use 3 at the back, but with the right set-up it's no more open than say, 4-3-2-1, which a lot of people use but I found defensively much weaker. On 'defensive' strategy and even on 'balanced' I find the wingers track back effectively, and the two CDMs give you sturdy platform in the middle. This gives you good pitch coverage.

Some perceive the threat from out wide to be a weakness, but with your wingers helping out, and using pacey wide centre backs, I don't find it a huge problem. Indeed, stopping a winger with a quick centre back is sometimes easier than using a full back, due to the improved defensive stats - you just need to cut off their angle to goal.

In attack I find you have a wealth of passing options too. Two strikers to give you different options up top, backed up by the CAM and two wingers, you can really move the ball around and find space. If you lose it in the middle you have the two CDMs to try and win it back.


Players

Centre Backs

The centre backs are probably the most important position so I'm going to start there and work forward.
  • Work Rates: If you don't get these right, it will most likely fail. Ideally you want all three to have M/H or L/H work rates, especially the left and right ones, because if either of them drift forward it will leave a large hole down one side of your team. You can get away with the middle one being M/M or H/H though. I personally would avoid H/M completely, unless it's someone immense like Ramos, and you only use him in the middle position.
  • Pace: You will need the left and right centre backs to have at least 75 pace. No getting away from it - if the opposition winger is advanced down the wing, these guys need to get across to them. Luckily there are plenty of 75 pace M/H or L/H centre backs to use. My favourites so far have been Smalling and Barzagli, but I've just purchased Koscielny and I expect him to be up there as well. Manolas is also going to be a popular choice here.
  • For the middle guy you can get away with 70 pace, or maybe even 65 but I probably wouldn't go much lower than that. It helps if they are tall and/or really good in the air, because if you face someone who crosses a lot, chances are most of them are going his way since he's bang in the middle. I've used Koulibaly and Bonucci to good effect here, and I've just picked up Alderweireld to try him out in this position.

CDMs

This will be something that comes down to your preference really, but there just a few things I stand by.
  • They have to be tall. Every opposition goal kick or clearance is landing on one of these two guys so try and ensure they're either 6 foot, or at worst 5'9 with really good jumping. Most of you would ignore this and use Kanté though anyway, :smiley:
  • Work rates - I don't have a specific pairing I use, but I tend to avoid H/M here, and I don't usually pair two M/Hs together, because I want there to be a bit more forward movement than that. Otherwise any combo of M/M, H/H & M/H seems to work.
  • I prefer them to be good on the ball as well as good defensively - all-rounders really, since they will be doing a lot of your passing in the middle. I wouldn't use a small playmaker and I wouldn't use an out-and-out ball winner who can't pass the thing either.
  • Pace-wise, they don't need to be rapid or anything, but it's sometimes handy if one of them has a good 75-ish pace on them. You probably wouldn't want like two 50-pace guys together, but that's just common sense.

Wingers

In all honesty, all you need here is:
  • Pace. Plenty of it. They cover a lot of ground so you don't want them to be late on arrival. Probably helps if they have stamina as well.
  • H/M work rates are ideal and also the most common for wingers anyway. M/M or H/H work fine. I wouldn't use H/L though.
  • It would be a waste of money to use elite wingers in this formation since they're not really going to be a constant threat from wide midfield - unless you have coins to burn anyway. I tend to use guys like Cuadrado, Mirallas, Bellarabi, Berardi, they all do the job solidly. Conveniently this saves me coins to spend on my strikers and centre backs.

CAM

Most of you probably know what to look for in a CAM, there's nothing unusual here. Obviously they need to be good at passing, dribbling and shooting ideally. They don't need to be lightning, 70s pace is adequate. I personally don't like weak midgets but if they work for you, crack on. The best CAM I've used is Pastore, that guy is freakishly good for me.

Strikers

Striker preference is a very personal thing, I find. It's nice to go with two strikers who offer you slightly different qualities, so if one doesn't work then the other might. One big lad, one speedier agile guy is the classic combo. I hate M/M work rates on a striker so I avoid them, but H/L, M/L, H/M and even L/L (hello Mario) are all good. Even H/H seems to work fine as Tevez is one of my best strikers, so weirdly it's just M/M that seems to fall flat for me. One thing I will add is that I try and ensure one of my strikers is at least 6 foot so I can aim my goal kicks at him.

Goalkeeper

Don't need to say much here. Height and reflexes seem to be the most important stats in a keeper.


Instructions

These are the only ones I use:
  • Strikers: both 'get in behind'.
  • Wingers: both 'cut inside' (I don't cross a lot though - if you do I wouldn't use this obviously)
  • CDMs: both 'stay back when attacking'. We know that even with this instruction on they don't stay back 100% of the time, so putting it on both of them increases the odds of at least one of them being there.


Custom Tactics

I'm no expert, but the only really crucial part is the defence bit down the bottom. I find that you must have pressure set quite low. High pressure doesn't really work with this formation in my view as you don't really want your back three charging off past the halfway line. I use 30 pressure 70 aggression. Similarly, I always use 'cover' rather than 'offside trap'.

The build-up side of the custom tactics is up to you to have a play around with. I use 60-40 on the top part, and I can't remember the middle part exactly, they're all near the middle though.



Well that's it then. Never written anything like this before, but I never see much on 3-5-2 so I thought I'd contribute. Feel free to tell me where I've gone wrong, or right, or why I'm a hero/complete prat.

Comments

  • Rumplefish
    18748 posts World Class
    Nice read :)

    I tried it a few times and it always seems to work at first but once I have a bad game I blame the formation and changes teams. I'll probably try it again pretty soon, your 'guide' offers some decent tips I haven't considered.
  • Skeletor
    76 posts Park Captain
    I agree. Its tempting to return to 352.

    Used it in the beginning of Fifa17, but as I reached div 5/4, I got destroyed, and changed to 5212. That helped, but later 5212 gave me no joy. Too few options up front.

    However, today I have Pogba and De Bruyne. The struggle is which one I am going to put at CDM...Leaning towards Pogba, with instructions to get forward...
  • Tesco
    6547 posts Big Money Move
    352 memories <3

    Was my go to in 11/13/14
  • Orikoru
    10712 posts Has That Special Something
    Rumplefish wrote: »
    Nice read :)

    I tried it a few times and it always seems to work at first but once I have a bad game I blame the formation and changes teams. I'll probably try it again pretty soon, your 'guide' offers some decent tips I haven't considered.

    Yeah, it is tempting to cast it off as soon as a winger opens you up. But every formation has it's vulnerabilities. When I was using the wide 4-1-2-1-2 for example, whenever my one CDM wasn't in position I would concede long shots galore because no one was closing them down. No matter what formation you use you are sacrificing something for a benefit elsewhere. If we could use 4-5-3 that would be great, haha.
  • Orikoru
    10712 posts Has That Special Something
    Skeletor wrote: »
    I agree. Its tempting to return to 352.

    Used it in the beginning of Fifa17, but as I reached div 5/4, I got destroyed, and changed to 5212. That helped, but later 5212 gave me no joy. Too few options up front.

    However, today I have Pogba and De Bruyne. The struggle is which one I am going to put at CDM...Leaning towards Pogba, with instructions to get forward...

    Pogba certainly seems like the more suitable CDM of the two. He would still get forward from there - in one recent game I very nearly netted a hat-trick with Khedira somehow. :neutral:
  • Orikoru
    10712 posts Has That Special Something
    Tesco wrote: »
    352 memories <3

    Was my go to in 11/13/14

    Everybody was using it in 13 I think. Hardly ever seen it since those days though. I think they really got the balance right with it this year.
  • ZebidyAndIrony
    1391 posts Professional
    i use it.

    2 strikers and a cam so techincally 3-4-1-2

    3 at the backs not a problem wth 2 dms/cms with good defensive stats.

    annoying though like you say when you instruct them to stay back and they end up in the penalty area lol.

    another anoying thing is defenses playing it out blind and always finding their man.

    ea need to sort that out.
  • maps212
    337 posts Sunday League Hero
    It seems like a potentially good idea and one I hadnt thought of. I have primarily stuck with 433(4)/(3) but the lone striker is sometimes a pain. I may test it out this weekend league.

    At the minute my team is 433(4)
    potm hazard potm costa IF robben
    kante cazorla vidal
    shaw baily smalling alaba
    DDG

    if i was to switch to 352 a lot of the players would remain (a lot of them are untradeable) do you think something along the lines of this would work?
    ----POTM Costa Auba
    Cazorla
    Hazard Kante Matic Robben
    Barzagli Chilini Bonnuchi
    SBC Buffon

    I cant remember if the RM has 3 or 4 links I would like every player to be on at least 8 chem.
  • trampo23
    580 posts An Exciting Prospect
    Would naingoolan be good in midfield?
  • Jaedric_Kaine
    1756 posts Play-Off Hero
    Good read. I've always been fond of the 3-5-2 since that is what we played in my high school/college/club. If you can get the defending right, the extra option up the pitch can make all the difference.

    I might tinker with this a bit and see what happens. Right now I've been using 4-1-2-1-2 (2) and I like it well enough, but like you, I find that I'd like a wider option while still being able to boss the center of the park without ditching 2 strikers up top.
  • Viggo 007
    12248 posts Has That Special Something
    edited December 2016
    The Juventus trio is screaming for this formation, thinking of this, I shield a lot so I prefer Firmino to speedy strikers

    a389a015e33125ccd1e7c95e104e07ad.jpg
  • Orikoru
    10712 posts Has That Special Something
    @maps212 the wide mids definitely have 3 links.

    @trampo23 I haven't used Nainggolan due to his inflated price. He's a bit on the short side for my tastes, but if you find him decent in the air then he'll be fine.

    @Viggo 007 nice - I was recently using a back three with Smalling-Bonucci-Barzagli which was really strong, but I shuffled my teams a bit the other day.
  • Passano
    101 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    Thanks for taking the time to put this together. 352 is most definitely a counter attacking formation, I'm surprised it's so unpopular this year. I quite like 352 offline but I have to admit I've never really given it a proper go online. I usually opt for 3421 as it has a flat 4 in midfield and has more passing triangles for my possession style.

    Do you defend with much width? I find a narrow width makes the wingers track back better.
  • blasé
    767 posts Semi-Pro
    I used this for about a month and through 2 weekend leagues and the results weren't pretty. I originally stuck with it to get full chem for a hybrid. Couldn't get above div. 4 so i changed to 4141 & 4411 and now I'm on the cusp of div. 1 with practically the same team. In 352 I found the cb's being too isolated especially against the dreaded 4321. It basically becomes 3 on 3 with one through ball opening the flood gates.
  • maps212
    337 posts Sunday League Hero
    Orikoru wrote: »
    @maps212 the wide mids definitely have 3 links.

    @trampo23 I haven't used Nainggolan due to his inflated price. He's a bit on the short side for my tastes, but if you find him decent in the air then he'll be fine.

    @Viggo 007 nice - I was recently using a back three with Smalling-Bonucci-Barzagli which was really strong, but I shuffled my teams a bit the other day.

    Thanks! I couldnt remember if there was a 4th and I was at work so couldnt check :)
  • Denz
    2046 posts Fans' Favourite
    Nice guide. I've found form again with the 41212 2 which I'm doing OK with in division 1.

    But I keep trying other formations, particularly during the weekend league as I can't play the same way any number of matches without getting bored.

    I recently picked up the Juve defence and Buffon so was tempted into using the 3atb formations with them. Tried the 343 versions which were great going forward but so open going back. Even with wingers tracking back I would find myself dragging my cbs around.

    Like yourself I found some success with 4231 wide but agree regarding the isolation of the striker. I created a 352 squad the other day but not played a game yet, it's good to see it working for someone which is encouraging.
  • Orikoru
    10712 posts Has That Special Something
    Passano wrote: »
    Thanks for taking the time to put this together. 352 is most definitely a counter attacking formation, I'm surprised it's so unpopular this year. I quite like 352 offline but I have to admit I've never really given it a proper go online. I usually opt for 3421 as it has a flat 4 in midfield and has more passing triangles for my possession style.

    Do you defend with much width? I find a narrow width makes the wingers track back better.

    I think I have width on 40 in my CTs, which seems about right.
    blasé wrote: »
    I used this for about a month and through 2 weekend leagues and the results weren't pretty. I originally stuck with it to get full chem for a hybrid. Couldn't get above div. 4 so i changed to 4141 & 4411 and now I'm on the cusp of div. 1 with practically the same team. In 352 I found the cb's being too isolated especially against the dreaded 4321. It basically becomes 3 on 3 with one through ball opening the flood gates.

    I've only been in WL once, but I stuck with 3-5-2 and ended up with 8 wins, 9 losses. Not too bad and no better or worse than I really expected. Didn't have time to play any more games.
  • Antparry92
    17703 posts World Class
    No need for pace out wide personally. Far from it to be honest. My favourites so far have been Joao Mario, Bonaventura and Iraola
  • blasé
    767 posts Semi-Pro
    Orikoru wrote: »
    Passano wrote: »
    Thanks for taking the time to put this together. 352 is most definitely a counter attacking formation, I'm surprised it's so unpopular this year. I quite like 352 offline but I have to admit I've never really given it a proper go online. I usually opt for 3421 as it has a flat 4 in midfield and has more passing triangles for my possession style.

    Do you defend with much width? I find a narrow width makes the wingers track back better.

    I think I have width on 40 in my CTs, which seems about right.
    blasé wrote: »
    I used this for about a month and through 2 weekend leagues and the results weren't pretty. I originally stuck with it to get full chem for a hybrid. Couldn't get above div. 4 so i changed to 4141 & 4411 and now I'm on the cusp of div. 1 with practically the same team. In 352 I found the cb's being too isolated especially against the dreaded 4321. It basically becomes 3 on 3 with one through ball opening the flood gates.

    I've only been in WL once, but I stuck with 3-5-2 and ended up with 8 wins, 9 losses. Not too bad and no better or worse than I really expected. Didn't have time to play any more games.

    No probs against 4321?
  • Hody
    924 posts Semi-Pro
    So whats your complete custom tactic?
  • Satch85
    1099 posts Professional
    Nice guide, I've always found it a really good formation, u can either break fast down the middle on a counter or steadily build it up using your mids to stretch your opponents, gonna build a team tonight and take it for a spin.
  • Tesco
    6547 posts Big Money Move
    Orikoru wrote: »
    Tesco wrote: »
    352 memories <3

    Was my go to in 11/13/14

    Everybody was using it in 13 I think. Hardly ever seen it since those days though. I think they really got the balance right with it this year.

    Not used it at all this year

    Will give it a whirl - enjoyed reading your guide :)
  • Stretch
    497 posts An Exciting Prospect
    I use it, it's versitile if I'm needing a goal I change to a 3-4-1-2 swapping the CDMs for CMs. Sometime use RB/LB on the wings for more defensive approach.
  • Orikoru
    10712 posts Has That Special Something
    blasé wrote: »
    Orikoru wrote: »
    Passano wrote: »
    Thanks for taking the time to put this together. 352 is most definitely a counter attacking formation, I'm surprised it's so unpopular this year. I quite like 352 offline but I have to admit I've never really given it a proper go online. I usually opt for 3421 as it has a flat 4 in midfield and has more passing triangles for my possession style.

    Do you defend with much width? I find a narrow width makes the wingers track back better.

    I think I have width on 40 in my CTs, which seems about right.
    blasé wrote: »
    I used this for about a month and through 2 weekend leagues and the results weren't pretty. I originally stuck with it to get full chem for a hybrid. Couldn't get above div. 4 so i changed to 4141 & 4411 and now I'm on the cusp of div. 1 with practically the same team. In 352 I found the cb's being too isolated especially against the dreaded 4321. It basically becomes 3 on 3 with one through ball opening the flood gates.

    I've only been in WL once, but I stuck with 3-5-2 and ended up with 8 wins, 9 losses. Not too bad and no better or worse than I really expected. Didn't have time to play any more games.

    No probs against 4321?

    Why would there be? That formation is narrow, and in 3-5-2 you have five defensive players in the centre.

    To be honest the only formation it comes unstuck against is 3-4-3 if the guy knows what he's doing, since they can double up on the wings. Hardly anyone uses 3-4-3 though!
  • Orikoru
    10712 posts Has That Special Something
    Hody wrote: »
    So whats your complete custom tactic?

    Well as I said I'm no expert but since you ask, I use something like..

    60
    40
    Organised

    50ish passing
    40ish crossing
    65ish shooting
    Organised

    30 pressure
    70 aggression
    40 width
    Cover

    I used to use free form in chance creation but I found too many times where my CDM swapped with the winger and stuff, De Rossi trying to bomb down the flank while Berardi holds midfield isn't really the one, haha. So I changed it to organised.
  • Orikoru
    10712 posts Has That Special Something
    Antparry92 wrote: »
    No need for pace out wide personally. Far from it to be honest. My favourites so far have been Joao Mario, Bonaventura and Iraola

    That's fair enough if you're happy to use those guys. I usually just go for pace because there's nearly always a decent option who has pace and H/M work rates, and I find the pace is handy in both defending and attacking out wide.
  • Hody
    924 posts Semi-Pro
    Orikoru wrote: »
    Antparry92 wrote: »
    No need for pace out wide personally. Far from it to be honest. My favourites so far have been Joao Mario, Bonaventura and Iraola

    That's fair enough if you're happy to use those guys. I usually just go for pace because there's nearly always a decent option who has pace and H/M work rates, and I find the pace is handy in both defending and attacking out wide.

    Does the defending stat matter
  • Orikoru
    10712 posts Has That Special Something
    Hody wrote: »
    Orikoru wrote: »
    Antparry92 wrote: »
    No need for pace out wide personally. Far from it to be honest. My favourites so far have been Joao Mario, Bonaventura and Iraola

    That's fair enough if you're happy to use those guys. I usually just go for pace because there's nearly always a decent option who has pace and H/M work rates, and I find the pace is handy in both defending and attacking out wide.

    Does the defending stat matter

    Not so much on the winger. There aren't many wingers who good going forward and have a good defensive stat anyway so you'd really be limiting yourself if you looked for that. If they are quite tall and fairly strong that is definitely handy.
  • trampo23
    580 posts An Exciting Prospect
    My problem with that formation is that my wingers arent involved in attack. they only defend
  • aceofknaves73
    954 posts Professional
    I fancy giving this a go. Might be a Silly question but any good for a possession based style?
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