The 4-5-1 formation in soccer is one that is highly criticized by many as a formation that does not believe in the abilities of its players. At first glance, it looks like a choice for coaches who prefer a defensive style of soccer, rather than an attacking one, which can be boring for spectators. This formation seems as though the coach doesn’t have a lot of plans for attacking plays–who’s maybe looking to a draw rather than a win. Many underestimate this formation, but with an instant, outside midfielders can potentially go high up to the field, quickly making it a strong offensive force similar to the 4-3-3 formation.
The 4-5-1 formation consists of four defenders, five midfielders, and one striker. There are several shapes that the defense can take into form: the diamond, the flat, and the flat three with a sweeper behind them. Placing four defenders at the back makes it a strong defensive line as when an attacker gets through the first line of defense; there are still three others who are waiting for him.
The five midfielders can form into many shapes. They can be a flat five, which is rare; a flat four with one defensive midfielder; a flat four with one attacking midfielder; two defensive midfielders and three flat; or as a pyramid, with three flat and two attacking midfielders. The possibilities are diverse and it’s up to the coach to take advantage of the big number of players on the midfield. The wingers or outside midfielders can easily run up to the field to assist the lone striker.
The lone striker’s responsibility is to score the goals. He actually acts as the team’s first defender, tackling the opposition’s defenders for possession of the ball. Though the 4-5-1 will not create a lot of scoring opportunities, the striker has the main responsibility of creating goals out of the passes from the sheer number of midfielders who are assisting him to score that goal.