Apr 6, 2013
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Thought I'd make this thread as I'm currently using a 3 CB formation with Ajax with a DM in front and either wing backs or wide midfielders depending on the opponent. It's an interesting system and one that I'm sure can be very effective.

I'm trying to play 2 normal CBs and a Ball-Playing defender, I want one of these to sweep up behind the defensive line. I have one CB (Alderweireld) who is an accomplished sweeper, should I play him there as a libero to take advantage of him also being my best ball playing centre back?

Also how should the defensive set up differ depending on the opposition front line? Do you use man marking? I've tried it but my centre backs often let the striker get goal side and the "covering" defender.

One of my biggest weaknesses seems to be crosses coming into the box, do you use more defensive wing backs or play wide CBs?

By the way, I've only just signed up so sorry if there's another thread just like this.
I am also currently testing a 3 man defense, but I'm not using wingbacks. I've already seen the thread of this tactic and I think that this is also worth your time. It is a tactic similar to what Conte is doing at Juventus.

As for man-marking, I set up my defense with stopper and cover roles. This way, the CB in the middle serves the role of an Anchorman, giving me an extra position on the field.
I used 3 man defences, it works very well providing you have the right players and they are fluid with the tactic.
I have two tactics using this defensive system and both are zonal, I don't like man marking unless it's someone like ibrahimovic. the first tactic uses two wingback or defensive wingers. these two players need to be athletes basically as they're running miles and miles for you, also they need to be defensive and attacking too. an example is glen Johnson and Jose Enrique. in my defence I play the two outer centre backs as ball playing defenders and the central one is either set as a sweeper or a limited defender - basically there to clean up any mess the other too leave.

the other tactic is narrower. 3 at the back same set up as last tactic and then two DLP's in front - wanyama is a good example here as he's a running beast and won't stop playing for you!
neither seem to be better than the other for me but I just thought I'd give you an insight into how I've used the 3 man defence.
shouldn't chiellini be ball playing defender to do the anchor man rule?