4-5-1 Formation

A formation which has grown in popularity in recent times, the 4-5-1 is fundamentally defensive, but can be tweaked to provide more of an offensive threat. The essential qualities of the 4-5-1 are a three-man central midfield and a lone striker, typically a target man. By packing the midfield, a technically strong passing side will come unstuck and provide opportunities for counter-attacking football. When on the attack, the 4-5-1 is heavily dependent on the wingers supporting the lone striker.

4-5-1 Formation

Perhaps the best illustration of 4-5-1 in full flow is Jose Mourinho’s system. Both as manager of FC Porto and Chelsea, Mourinho founded his sides on strong defensive line-ups and an excellent holding midfielder, while the attack relied on a hard-working front man and a goal-scorer in midfield. At Chelsea, his defensive stalwarts were the captain and central defender John Terry and the holding midfielder Claude Makélélé. Alongside the Frenchman, Frank Lampard provided the bulk of goals from central midfield, ably supported by Joe Cole and Arjen Robben on the wings and Didier Drogba’s efforts up front. The side was extremely successful, picking up back-to-back Premiership titles in 2005 and 2006, building on Mourinho’s previous achievement at Porto in winning the 2004 Champions League trophy.


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