4-5-1 Soccer Formation

The 4-5-1 could be seen as a defensive formation, however if the two midfield wingers play a more attacking role it can be likened to 4-3-3.

The formation can be used to grind out 0-0 draws or preserve a lead, as the packing of the centre midfield makes it difficult for the opposition to build-up play. Because of the 'closeness' of the midfield, the opposing team's forwards will often be starved of possession. However, due to the lone striker, the centre of the midfield does have the responsibility of pushing forward as well. The defensive midfielder will often control the pace of the game. A modification of this formation is also used by Josť Mourinho's Chelsea F.C. side. This modified version is the 4-1-4-1 where only one striker is used and the wingers are given the responsibility of moving the ball forward and attacking. A holding midfielder is also positioned in front of the back four. This provides freedom for the rest of the team to move forward and attack as the defense will be "protected" by the holding midfielder. 

Teams that used this formation

* Norwegian national team with great success in the early/mid-90s.

* Liverpool FC, 2005 UEFA Champions League winner (with Steven Gerrard as the playmaker of the team)

* Arsenal FC, frequently during the 2005-2006 season with Cesc Fabregas as a playmaker and Henry as the lone striker

* Italy, 2006 FIFA World Cup winners

* Olympique Lyonnais, Ligue 1 Winners 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06

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soccer possessionThe many intricacies of the 4-5-1 Soccer Formation

The 4-5-1 formation is an umbrella term used to describe what is actually 3 different formations. Each version of the 4-5-1 is designed for a specific purpose.