In football, 4-5-1 refers to a formation that stands for four defenders, five midfielders, and one striker. This player’s position encourages a defensive mindset of the team. It is also an ideal strategy for when counter-attacking against the opponent. Most coaches use this game plan when defending their team since you can employ various strategic techniques. It is also flexible as you can break the formation as you move further into the field of the other side.

Defensive Strategies

4-5-1 formation has three methods that you can use to play defensively. These methods ideal if you wish your team to build a defensive mentality. Since football is a game of quick thinking and reflexes, the player must learn to adapt strategies that can protect their side of the field while at the same time earn a score.

Flat 4-5-1

During this defensive formation, all five midfielders will form a straight line in the midfield area. Their role is to shut down all passing opportunities from the opposing team. It is their responsibility to hold off the forward players who are making ball passes. Since 4-5-1 is proven to be effective, it has led many football teams to win ball possessions from the opponent.


Football formation 4-2-3-1 is another notable strategy that most teams used when taking up a defensive position. This strategy is used when 4-5-1 breaks down their game plan and use an extra midfielder to act as a playmaker, one that controls the flow of the offensive play of the team. During this tactic, it is the duty of the player to take-up the front position for a strong defensive mid-base position. If the playmaker finds himself deeper into the defensive side of the opponent, the remaining team adapts another defensive plan, which is the 4-3-3.


This type of defensive formation is ideal for a rugged style of play. It can bring out the best playing skills of the players. It also provides a better game plan if your team is trying to shut down the defensive position of the opponent.

The advantage of using 4-5-1 is that you can transform it into a various formation that you deem fit to protect your team. You can revert to your original game plan after gaining the position of the ball.

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