10 Best Soccer Formations

Have you ever wondered how to the top leagues around the world have a deadly combination on the soccer field which helps them score goals against their opponent?

Today, we have pulled out 10 best soccer formation from the top teams and tried to explain why these always work in beating your opponent.

Best Soccer Formations

It is time to break down the best soccer forms that help give the best defense and attack on the field.

These formations are ranked statistically as to which combination gives the best results and is commonly used by the big names.


This is by far the most popular form which is used 1253 times and is most popular in La Liga as they have used it 432 times during their games. Some of the top coaches in the world prefer this form mainly because it is the king of all forms.

What happens in this form is the full-backs usually move forward, attack on the flanks and thus create a nice passing angle. Here, the number 10 player must be mobile in order to drift pass the flanks and create a dominant stance on the opponent.

What makes this formation great is that it offers the best defense and attack which increases your winning chance.


Popularly used by Bundesliga League, more than 94 and a total of 307 times used by different leagues around the world. This is a classic English formation and despite some teams had a hard time getting a hold of this form, still it is the second most popular one on our list.

Here, we have a big man, small man and then a third one who is the mid fielder. This makes the attack quicker and more efficient.

In this form, the target man would hold the ball up, allowing his team member to come forward and play deep into the field whereas the midfielder will keep a backup.


This form has been used 303 times and is most popular in Serie A league who have used it a whopping 113 times. This involves a lethal combination of high energy, fast pace and a proper defense on the back end. Here wingers are placed wide but they nicely cut the ball inside and hover on the corners of penalty area when in attacking stance.

When in the midfield, there three players with one anchor who acts as the defender and to tackle any counter attacks.


This form has been used 184 times and is popular among Bundesliga league, as they have used it a total of 69 times. This is somewhat a picky formation because here the chosen players have to pull it off.

The midfielders would remain in the defensive stance and on the midfield lines, thus playing a fully disciplined game and have a proper hold of the midfield.

Since there are four players in the midfield, they have to be explosive. Though there are some negative connotations with this form but overall, it is a very aggressive style of play.

3-5-2 or 3-5-1-1

Used 182 times and popular in Serie A (168) and mainly dominates Italy and gradually spreading across the rest of Europe. Most of the managers have experimented this form and some big names like Roberto Mancini and Sam Allardyce have tried it on many occasions.

Here we have three central players who act as the aerial titans with two wider and mobile players who will go pass the lanes while the midfield takes various forms.

In this form, the deepest midfielder will have a play area from regista to destroyer. The roles of his partners will depend a lot on him.


Used 181 times and most popular in English Premier League (120). This is considered to be a safe option, a very safe one. In this form, we have four defensive players and four midfield players. The wingers in this formation will work to dominate across the line whereas the central players will usually act as the defense, since they aren’t destroyers nor the trequartistas.

What makes it very safe option is that there is only one striker in the front, allowing one man to get in attacking midfield position.


This form has been used 108 times and is popular in Serie A (57). It is also known as the midfield diamond which is usually 4-4-2 or 4-1-2-1-2, incorporating back four but they have to be extremely attacking.

This is somewhat a modern technique. It demands a wide presence as narrow midfield with the deepest midfielder being a regista, two central players’ workhorses and finally an attacking midfielder.

If someone has truly mastered it, I would say Carlo Ancelotti’s AC Milan have been the most successful. Some other names include Sir Alex Ferguson, Mircea Lucescu and Walter Mazzarri.


A less popular form, used 37 times and is most popular in English Premier League (25). Needless to say, this form doesn’t get a lot of appreciation from managers but only in a few occasion where they found it to be somewhat useful.

What makes this formation great is that it doesn’t succeed nor fails on performance of wing backs. This form utilizes two inside forwards on each touchline who then assist the ball further.

What makes it a not so good option is when a wing back loses his stance, teams, that deploy a three-man defense would struggle a lot moving up the field because there is no width.


This formation has been used 12 times and is popular in Ligue 1 (11). This is quite a fluid formation. Though it offers a mind-boggling movement on the field with the full backs being capable of both offense and defense at the same time.


This is a formation that you can try and is very effective to be honest. This was used back in 1878 Welsh Cup Final where Wrexham defeated Druids with this form. Then in 1930 FA Cup final, the Hudderfield used it. Though they lost to Arsenal but were quite effective.



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