The 4-3-3 is an ideal system for high pressure (high line of pressure) defending because of its three forwards. The modern 4-3-3 usually features three wide forwards, three central midfielders and four defenders. The defenders are situated in a zonal, “flat back four” (although they will often look like three in the back while pressuring or attacking). The midfielders are situated as two defensive midfielders and one attacking or two attacking midfielders and one defending. The team drops off a bit to bait the other team into playing the ball out of the back on a goal kick or goalkeeper possession (I made the other team a 4-4-2 in the video, as it is a common formation). The defending team can afford to drop off because the ball travel time will be used to cover that ground and put the player under pressure when he or she is receiving the ball. The object is to win the ball close to the opponents goal and keep them pinned in their own half. This is predicated on the principle of defending (pressure, cover, balance, compactness). The player with the ball must have immediate pressure and be forced to keep his 0r her head down. This will limit the player to playing short balls as they cannot look up for a longer pass and do not have the time or space to wind up. The wide forward will be the initial pressure if the ball is played out to an outside back. This pressure should be forced inside due to the numerical advantage we possess in the central midfield and the lack of outside backs. The central forward will look to cut off a pass to the opponent’s center back in order to prevent them from swinging the ball out of pressure. The near side outside back from the defending team will step up as a midfielder and pick up the opponent’s wide midfielder (this is vital as the 4-3-3 does not have wide players). The other three backs will shift to become a three back system while positioning themselves close enough to the two forwards to win any long pass attended for them. The two attacking midfielders shift and pick up the opponent’s central midfielders. The defensive mid provides cover and steps into the passing lane to their forwards. The opposite wide forward drops and tucks in to provide support.

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