Thursday, 18 Apr 2024

Resurrecting Football’s 2-3-5 Pyramid: A Tactical Analysis

If you’re a football enthusiast, you know that tactics and formations have evolved over the years. But did you know that the 2-3-5 pyramid formation, which was once abandoned, has made a comeback in modern football? In this article, we will explore the resurrection of this attacking formation and how it is being implemented by some of Europe’s elite teams.

2-3-5 soccer formation

Historic Use of the Outside-Backs

To understand the resurgence of the 2-3-5 pyramid, we need to delve into the history of football tactics. In the early days, formations like England’s 1-2-7 and Scotland’s 2-2-6 were prevalent. The 2-3-5 pyramid formation, with its two defenders, may seem impractical today, but it provided width in attack and defensive cover with skilled midfielders and centre-halves.

The Influence of Johan Cruyff

Johan Cruyff, a legendary figure in football, played a significant role in the resurgence of attacking philosophies. His time at Ajax and Barcelona shaped the modern game, and his philosophy has been carried on by his disciples. Inspired by Cruyff’s totaalvoetbal (total football), teams like Ajax and Barcelona have adapted the fundamental principles of the 2-3-5 pyramid to the modern game.

Modern Applications of the 2-3-5 Pyramid

Let’s take a closer look at how teams are implementing the 2-3-5 pyramid formation today:

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Three Forwards Occupy the Centre

Barcelona, led by Lionel Messi, often features three centre-forwards to occupy the central channel and provide width through the outside-backs. By situating the centre-forwards closely together, Barcelona creates horizontal compactness, freeing up space for the outside-backs to exploit the wings.

High and Wide Outside-Backs

Ajax, renowned for their thrilling brand of football, emphasizes the role of outside-backs in creating width and attacking opportunities. One outside-back stays high and wide on the wings while the other moves more centrally, allowing for positional rotations. This flexibility enables the team to exploit space and disorganize the defense.

Midfield Pragmatism

Modern outside-backs have influenced the way midfielders are utilized. Rather than traditional number 10 playmakers, teams like Liverpool focus on versatile midfielders who excel in both attack and defense. These midfielders offer ball retention, defensive cover, and intelligent positioning to protect the team against counterattacks.

Box-and-One Defense

Manchester City, under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, showcases a strong defensive structure with a shape resembling a box-and-one formation in basketball. This defensive setup allows City to protect the middle of the pitch while pressuring the opposition and reducing the threat of counterattacks.

Conclusion

The resurrection of football’s 2-3-5 pyramid formation is a testament to the creativity and intelligence of modern coaches. By adapting an old concept to meet the challenges of the modern game, teams have embraced attacking football while balancing it with defensive solidity. This style of play prioritizes both aesthetics and results, a belief perpetuated by the late Johan Cruyff. With the return of the 2-3-5 pyramid, we can once again witness the courageous, intelligent, and aesthetically pleasing attacking football that Cruyff championed.

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For more football analysis and insights, visit Pesstatsdatabase.

FAQs

Q: Is the 2-3-5 pyramid formation suitable for all teams?
A: The 2-3-5 pyramid formation requires a commitment to attacking football and may not be suitable for all teams. It is an offensive-minded system that prioritizes width and creativity in the final third.

Q: Are outside-backs primarily responsible for attacking in the 2-3-5 pyramid?
A: Yes, outside-backs play a crucial role in providing width and creating attacking opportunities in the 2-3-5 pyramid formation. They push high up the pitch, either offering width themselves or enabling their teammates to do so.

Q: How do teams defend against counterattacks with only two defenders in the 2-3-5 pyramid?
A: In the 2-3-5 pyramid, teams defend against counterattacks by utilizing skilled midfielders and centre-halves to provide defensive cover for the two defenders. When possession is lost, the centre-halves join the full-backs to numerically match the opposition’s forwards.

Conclusion

The resurrection of football’s 2-3-5 pyramid formation is a testament to the creativity and intelligence of modern coaches. By adapting an old concept to meet the challenges of the modern game, teams have embraced attacking football while balancing it with defensive solidity. This style of play prioritizes both aesthetics and results, a belief perpetuated by the late Johan Cruyff. With the return of the 2-3-5 pyramid, we can once again witness the courageous, intelligent, and aesthetically pleasing attacking football that Cruyff championed.