This may be a cop out, but the 5-2-1-2 is , in my opinion, the best 5 at the back formation, due to it’s similarity with the 3-4-1-2, and the 4-4-2. I would suggest using the 5-2-1-2 if you are very worried about an oppositions wing play, are winning the game, or are simply not that confident in your defensive ability. What it does create is an absolutely solid defensive line of 5,
with two midfielders in front of that. Within this formation , you will not see much in the way of possession, but that is to be expected. if you have a a significantly worse team than
your opposition, it can be worth switching to a 5 at the back to frustrate your opponents attacking intent, and cause mistakes in their defense. This formation works best with a fast striker, and wing backs capable of both attacking and defending, as on a counter attack, they are expected to join in .
Advantages – The advantages of this formation are fairly plain to see, and that is it’s defensive capability. With three Centre backs, and two wing backs, you can be fairly certain that
every opposition will have a man breathing down his neck. The two centre backs that are slightly
wide should be quick, and used as ball winners, and support for your wing backs, if they go into an attacking position , and are caught out. This formation is designed to soak up attacking pressure, and much like in Judo, use this force back on the opponent, and hit them with a counter attack which they are not prepared for. With a fast striker, you can utilise the long ball to get behind their centre backs, as usually they will be the aggressor. Also, this formation will shut down their final third options, making their killer pass quite difficult.
Disadvantages – However, and this will be the same with every five at the back formation, you will have to get used to not having possession . The lack of midfield options means you will have
to play very deep in your own half, and giving possession allows more skillful opponents to pick their attack. You will get very little opportunities to score with this formation, unless
your opponent is very attacking. I would say that the 5-2-1-2 is situational, but it can be a very successful formation, but usually in a niche moment. Also, it can actually appear frail at the back if you push too hard forwards, as the LWB and RWB can get caught out vs wingers. All in all , I would suggest not using a 5 at the back formation, but this is the best of the bunch, so to speak.
Style – As mentioned above, I see this formation as a pure counter attacking formation. It is designed to hold the opponent off, frustrate them in your final third, and when you win
possession, counter fast and hard. It can be very successful vs the right opponent, and this
is the reason I have included it in the list.
Effective vs – I believe this formation to be good vs a player style, not neccessarily a specific formation.
As mentioned, it works vs very aggressive players, who look to push all their men upfield, and with two or three passes, you are behind their CB’s and in a 1 on 1 with the opposition goalkeeper.
So there we have it, my top 5 formations in FIFA 17, along with their advantages, disadvantages and which formations they are effective against!