The transition from 5 v 5 to 7 v 7 can be one that can be significant challenge for young players. 6v6 can be used to help with that transition, however regardless of this the more players that you put on the pitch the more complex it becomes for them. At younger age groups children are often focused on themselves and the ball, as they learn the game they will become to develop a better understanding of how to play it and in turn make better decisions.

This blog explores the various formations that could be used in 7v7 and how you may link it to 5v5 to help support with this transition.

(1-3-1-2) – Links to a 1-2-2 in 5 a Side

Strengths

– This formation allows you to go man-man against a 1-2-3-1 which is regularly used in mini-soccer for teams at 7 a side.

– 3 players at the back provide some solidity and can make it difficult for the opposition to score.

– With two players up front, this will help support you in pressing as well as creating goal scoring opportunities

– Full backs are able to join into the attack and help with creating width, quick switches of play will create overloads between them and CF’s

Weaknesses

– 3 at the back can be more difficult for players to understand spacing when playing out from the back due to the width of the pitch

– In central areas you can be played through due to only one midfielder

– With more players behind the ball, it may become more difficult to get players into attacking areas

Out of Possession (Defending)

– Lock on man-man if playing against 1-2-3-1

– If not, encourage the two forwards to don’t allow anything between them and force play wide

– Team to slide across and force play one way

– In wide areas, stop / block crosses

In Possession (Attacking)

– From GK’s full backs to go high and CB to create an angle. CM to try and receive on opposite side of the ball

– Full backs to create width on both sides of the pitch and to join into the attacks

– CF’s to stay close together and try to combine

In Transition (In & Out of Possession)

– Full backs to regain shape quickly when ball is lost, similarly once the team has won possession they must create width

– Forwards most recover to centre of the pitch and not allow passes between them. They must also look to create space by providing depth and making the pitch big

– Team must recover to remain compact and force play wide

Benefits for Players (per position)

– GK’s will be able to play more direct passes due to two central forwards. In addition, the full backs will help them with beginning counter attacks. Due to the numbers at the back, this will also help prevent goal scoring opportunities

– Full backs are required to cover distance at speed and will benefit from this physically, technically they will be given opportunities to defend 1v1 as well as run with the ball and combine

– CBs will be given opportunities to defend 1v1 when both full backs join the attack. They will also be given opportunities to switch play from full back to full back as well.

– CM will be given options in wide areas which will help to allow them to switch play, as well as look to break lines and combine with forward players. This will also create opportunities for them to defend outnumbered as well.

– CF’s will be able to combine between them, full backs and central midfield players. They will be given the opportunity to receive lots with their back to goal, as well as gaining opportunities in and around the goal in wide areas

Against Other Formations

– 1-3-2-1 will help you setting a trap with your forwards to force play wide. You will also have a 3-1 at the back, which will give you an opportunity to be narrow and higher at the back to go create 3-2 overload in central areas by supporting the central midfielder. This will be a more difficult for opposition to play against out of possession, however, you will need to consider how you will defend against the overload in midfield.

– 1-2-3-1 will give you an opportunity to lock on and go man-man. This will help focus your players on winning their 1v1s both in and out of possession.

(1-3-2-1) -Links to a 1-1-2-1 in 5 a Side

Strengths

– Strong base with 3 defenders and two midfielders which will make it difficult to break down when defending.

– Full backs are able to join into the attack and create width.

– A potential overload with two central midfielders which will support you in playing out from the back as well as joining in with the CF.

Weaknesses

– Opposition will able to switch play when playing out from the back as they can create a 2-1/3-1 against CF.

– Fewer players in attacking areas.

– With having 3 at the back it may be more difficult for them to understanding spacing when playing out from the back.

Out of Possession (Defending)

– Team to remain compact and centre forward to force play wide, full backs may wish to press onto wide player, or nearest CM may slide across.

– Keep the ball on one side of the pitch and prevent them switching play.

– Block and stop crosses and in wide areas.

In Possession (Attacking)

– From GK’s full backs to go high and CB to create an angle. CM to try and receive on opposite side of the ball.

– Full backs to create width on both sides of the pitch and to join the attack.

– CM to stay high and look to create space by rotating between them to receive between the lines.

– CF to stretch the pitch and provide depth.

In Transition (In & Out of Possession)

– Full backs to join in the attack and create width when possession is won, likewise recover back into their shape quickly too.

– CM’s to recover to central areas quickly when possession is lost.

– Forward play to create depth when possession is won.

Benefits for Players (per position)

– GK’s are able to break lines more regularly with two central midfielders but also have options to be able to switch play.

– CB will be isolated to defend 1v1 when full backs join into the attack. They will also have opportunities to step in and combine/break lines by playing to CM’s.

– Full backs are required to cover distance at speed and will benefit from this physically, technically they will be given opportunities to defend 1v1 as well as run with the ball and combine.

– CM’s will have opportunities to receive and break lines as well as combine between and with CF. They will also be given opportunities to support behind in advance of the ball when wide with full backs.

– CF will be able to combine with CM, as well as get opportunities to finish from wide areas.

Against Other Formations

– 1-2-3-1 this will allow for you to be compact in central areas and have an overload against their one CM.

– 1-3-1-2 will provide you an overload against their two forwards as well as their one CM.

(1-2–3-1) Links to a 1-2-2 in 5 a Side

Strengths

– Most simple formation for players to understand, particularly when looking to play out from the back.

– Diamond is create between GK, CM and full backs as well as CM, Wide Players and CF providing a number of options for the player in possession.

– Helps the team create width and depth across the pitch when in possession.

Weaknesses

– Can be difficult for the CM to get on the ball from GK as well as from the full back when they receive under pressure.

– Team can get forced wide and find it difficult to switch play and break lines.

– Wide players must recover and support central midfielder otherwise lots of space may be created for opposition when they have possession.

Out of Possession (Defending)

– CF to start centrally and force play wide, once ball goes wide look to keep the ball on that side of the pitch.

– Midfield to shift over and force play wide and not allow opposition through.

– CBS to work as a pair to pressure & cover.

– Opposite wide player to get inside the pitch and not remain wide to make sure there’s no space through the middle.

In Possession (Attacking)

– Width to be created by CBS as well as wide players.

– Depth to be created by the CF, CM to look to create angles when playing out from the back as well as in the attacking half.

– CB to step in and drive with the ball to create overloads centrally and in wide areas.

In Transition (In & Out of Possession)

– When possession is lost, it’s important the wide players recover inline with the CM and get inside of the pitch (not allowing any space between the unit).

– If a CB joins in the attack, they must recover quickly otherwise you will be exposed with one CB.

– When possession is won, the team must create width by the CB and wide players moving wide and the CF providing the depth by making the pitch as long as possible.

Benefits for Players (per position)

– GK’s will have options either side of them as well as centrally. This will help encourage them to break lines but also be available to switch play.

– CBs to split and create width, this will help them with stepping in with the ball as well as receiving & passing off both feet.

– CM’s to create angles and space as well as receiving on both feet and deal with the ball under pressure.

– Wide Players can be positive to beat player’s 1v1 as well as learn basic wide play.

– CF will have opportunities to receive with back to goal as well as combine with team mates in the attacking half.

Against other Formations

– 1-2-3-1 you will have an overload at the back but be underloaded 2-1 in against your CF.

– 1-3-1-2 this will allow you to go man-man and lock onto the opposition when out of possession.