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3-5-2 Tactical Discussion and Help


Nov 28, 2011
Alright fellas I am going to need your assistance for playing 3-5-2. I did my research and played half a season with Juventus to test it out and there are few points to note over here:
1) Zonal Marking on 3 man defence just does not work, the defenders do not spread to cover the areas

2) What is left is to Man Mark, but I am wondering what would be the best set up for 3 man defence:
- curently I am using 2 stoppers and 1 cover
- the stoppers Man Mark but not tightly
- the cover is zonal marking again not tightly

3) The wide players:
- tested with Wide Midfielders and they seem to be unexisting
- tested with Defensive Wingers on a support duty - still no good results
- current settings are Defensive Wingers on attack duty and man marking tightly the opposite wingers or wide midfielders. They seem to have good precence in building up the play and delivering crosses, but not doing much against wingers. When I face a 4-4-2 they mark pretty well the wide midfielders, but the full backs have plenty of space for crossing. Doing well against another 3-5-2.

4) The current 3-5-2 with Man Marking Stoppers and Defensive Wingers seems to work well against another 3-5-2, but failing against a lot of systems including 1 forward and huge precense in the wide areas. In real life this precense is limithed by the 2 forwards that can find space in wide areas and force the opposition's full back to stay deep. Unfortunatelly I do not know how to make my forwards use this space and my center mids and defensive wingers to zonal mark the areas. I would love to get advices here.

5) The Man Marking 3-5-2 system should also work against any attacking mid + 2 forward systems if you use a DM, however in my case the DM either stops tracking the oppisite AMC or he does not go back to cover a Stopper CD. Do you have some recommendations for settings for DM in the 3-5-2?

6) Another annoying part is when you assistant constantly informs you that the space between your mids and the forwards is too big. I put a CM advanced playmaker with Attacking Duty with maximum attacking mentality to cover the zone and link up in oder to cover this zone, but not working really well, just decent.


Jul 13, 2012
I'd suggest keeping all of the defenders to defend duty, or no more than one to stopper with no cover, then use the offside trap. Also, in real-life, it is pretty much impossible to use 3 defenders against 1 lone striker with man marking, because the two players who aren't marking the striker will mark the wingers, leaving 2/3 of the centre of the pitch open to the midfeilders.

You need to use at least one-defensive midfeilder, or wing-back; and what strategy are you using? I'd suggest counter-attack against bigger/similar teams and control against smaller teams.

Also, what pitch size are you using? can't see this working on anything but a small pitch...

My suggested line up:

Sweeper-Keeper (support)
CD (defend)
CD (defend/stopper)
CD (defend)
Def-Wing (d)
Anc-man (d)
Deep-lying-play (s)
Box-to-Box (a)
Def-wing (s) OR Wide-midfeiler (s)
Att-mid/Treq (a)


Nov 28, 2011
I use from right to left:
Keeper - Defend
BPD - stopper (Juve have really good passing defenders and I brough Bocchetti)
BPD - cover
BPD - stopper
DM - DLP (support)
RDW - attack
CM - B2B - support
CM - Advanced Playmaker - attack
LDW - Attack
Complete forward

Using control and very fluid, almost quick tempo, direct passing trought the middle, pushing up very high up the field and playing offside.

One thing is I might need to lower fluidity a bit, but I like my team losing shape. And no I do not want to play counter with a 3 man defense. The idea to play with 3 at the back is to get more people in mid and dictate game. I got no clue on pitch size. Whats the standart pitch size of the stadium Juventus use?


Nov 9, 2010
I'd advise against using a flat 3man combo at the back.

Tested a 352 (532 actually) with Juve for a few games and the results were staggering, although I'm of the opinion my squad was overpowered and then some. Here was my setup:

GK sweeper defend: buffon
Sweeper: bocchetti or dede (both of them unbeatable)
CDs: chiellini&caceres
LWB support: criscito/santon
RWB support: lichtsteiner/santon/caceres

That's the defense. The midfield army is based on a solid BWM or preferably DM, and this partnership:


As you can imagine, Vidal and Asamoah were brilliant as water carriers, while Pirlo and Marchisio (Verratti/Ekdal their subs) were outstanding. This role really fits both of them.

So for the midfield and front two:

DM (can be anchorman or just supportive dm): vidal/asamoah
MCL Adv playmaker support (instructions in the linked thread): marchisio/honda/ekdal
MCR DLP support: pirlo/verratti/poli
STCL: DLF or Treq if he is your best player. For me it was Vucinic/Giovinco (retrained)
STCR: Poacher or CF. Cavani and Paloschi in my case.