The 4-5-1 Formation

The 4-5-1 system has been adopted by many teams in recent years. It consists of four defenders, five midfielders and a lone forward. Diagram (a) illustrates a standard 4-5-1 line-up.


While defending, the 4-5-1 offers greater numbers behind the ball making it extremely difficult for opponents to create goal-scoring opportunities.

In attack, the 4-5-1 in conducive to the use of a counter attacking strategy. The lone forward cannot put a lot of pressure on the back line of the opposition with the result being the opponent maintains a lot of possession in their own half of the field. The strategy is to lull the opponent into throwing players forward into an attack before regaining possession and quickly exploiting the space. Successful counter attacking requires a high level of athleticism and mobility since supporting players need to cover a lot of ground quickly in order to offer support to the lone forward.

The 4-5-1 is a favored formation of many teams playing on the road, in a hostile environment and against a superior opponent.

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