9 a side formations
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Best 9-A-Side Formations: Ultimate Guide

To begin with, formations reflect your game plan, your team’s mental approach towards the game. So consequently, the formations hold very firm importance in football, no matter what the version of the game is, you need to be very aware and smart if you want to deduce a working game plan in the form of your team’s formation.

Now that you’ve opted for this version of football, you should know there’s a very thin, but fine line, between the 11-A-Side and the 9-A-Side. You will hear a lot of things about 9-A-Side formations complementing the 11-A-Side, as both formats are very similar in many aspects. The 9-A-Side is the closest you can get to the standard football format, so make sure you learn from this opportunity before it fades away.


From here onwards, we will be discussing 4 best 9-a-side formations, and take a look at their pros and cons. It was hard to choose from a pool of formations, and filter out the best four. Here these are:

  • The 3-2-3 Formation
  • The 4-3-1 Formation
  • The 3-3-2 Formation
  • The 2-3-2-1 Formation

Let’s discuss these one by one…


9-A-Side formations

History teaches us a lot of things. This formation is a classic one and there are fair reasons for the vast acceptance of the practice of this formation. It’s a very dynamic formation with very well-defined roles. There are wingers, who can also assist in defence, there are Centre-backs, there are central midfielders, there is a striker, it’s a combination of very well-balanced positions. Let’s take a look at their Pros and Cons.


  • A very well-maintained attacking options, as there is a Centre-forward and two wingers, it’s all you can ask for. The width provided by wingers will allow your team to be offensively excellent.
  • A balanced distribution between the attack, defence, and midfield can be seen in the picture displayed above.
  • The wingers can also act as the full-backs or more conveniently wing-backs if the defensive need arises.


  • There is over-reliance on the defence, unless your Centre-backs are compact, you will face a lot of defensive problems.
  • There is no place for mistakes in midfield, your central -midfielders need to be good readers of the game to control the rhythm. Otherwise, you won’t be able to control the possession.
  • There’s a defensive duty depending on the wingers, and that might leave the Centre-forward alone. This will decrease the attacking options for your team.


9-A-Side formations

This formation will help you get even close to the dynamics of standard football format. It provides a very established defence line, contrary to the previous formation which we discussed. The 4 defenders at the back and 3 midfielders are something we often see in the 11-A-Side football. It will help your players to understand the positioning very well. But, nothing in this world is perfect. What are the Pros and Cons of this one? We’re also excited, here they are:


  • As we said, there’s a very solid defensive line here, the four defenders have an equal number of distributions among the full-backs and the Centre-backs. Oh boy! This compact defence line will frustrate the opposition’s offensive players.
  • The full-backs can contribute to the attacking build-up providing the necessary width required.
  • A very well-established midfield is there to assist the striker and feed him with excellent scoring opportunities.
  • The central midfielder can also provide the role of a number 10 and increase the attacking capabilities of the team, at the same time, the team will always have a strong defence to rely on.


  • There is a lone striker ahead, if there is any disturbance in the midfield, the striker will be left alone and there won’t be much-attacking threat your team can make.
  • Also, the over-reliance on the full-backs might create problems. They have to contribute both with defense and attack very effectively.


9 aside football formation

This is also one of the most popular 9-A-Side formations. It’s very simple to understand and this promotes possession-based football. You need to have the ball and that’s the main idea of this formation. There is a very balanced distribution of players among the lines.

Also, there’s something worth talking about in the attack. We have two attackers, and if they complement each other, your team can create a lot of goal scoring opportunities. Behind the attackers, there’s an excellent midfield line, which can help both in defence and attack. There’s a little lack of depth in defensive lines but midfielders can compensate for that. Overall, if it is rightly executed, your team can be unstoppable in very simpler terms. Take a look at the Pros and Cons below:


  • There are a lot of attacking options available with two strikers up front and a solid midfield to assist those strikers.
  • The wide midfielders can provide the necessary width and help increase the depth of the attack.
  • When the need arises, the midfield can fall back to assist the defence and your central-midfielder can also act as the defensive midfielder.
  • With this formation, you can control the tempo of the game by keeping the possession of the ball, excellent positioning sense, and making triangles can help you do that.


  • The midfield is given a lot of duties, and if they fail to fulfil them, your team rhythm might be broken and both attack and the defence will be disturbed massively.
  • The lack of defenders behind can create defensive problems for your team.
  • Your striker might be left out if the midfield is busy fulfilling the defensive duty. And that will affect your offensive play.


9 aside football formation

In our point of view, it’s the best formation from a learning point of view. It has countless aspects as it provides almost every possible positioning option for your team. This can help your players understand their positions more effectively as they progress towards 11-A-Side football. It’s visible in the illustration above, that this formation has a perfect balance of distribution among the lines.

And that’s important for 9-A-Side formations. The defensive midfielder is there to depth in the defence and accommodates the two Centre-backs. Also, the wide midfielders can provide the necessary width. The two attacking midfielders are there to increase the offensive capabilities of your team and help the Centre-forward with creative passes and scoring opportunities. That being said, let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons of this formation:


  • A very well-balanced formation, and also a versatile one. It can be used for many playing styles like counter-attack, possession-based, and it also complements the attacking gameplays.
  • There is excellent depth in all areas and the wide midfielders will help to exploit the width of the ground and also when the defensive need arises, they can also act as the wing-backs covering the deeper areas of flanks.
  • A defensive midfielder can dictate the tempo of the game while sitting closer to the defence. This will help both in the attacking build-up and also defensive gameplay.


  • The defensive midfielder is responsible to connect the defence with the attack, if he fails to do so, your team might fall apart.
  • The wide midfielders need to be fast and energetic as both defensive and attacking gameplay depends on them, otherwise, both areas of the game will be disrupted.
  • The striker will be left out alone if the midfield fails to synchronize and that will sabotage your attack.


As we said above, here are the key points you should keep in mind when selecting from the 9-A-Side formations.

  • Identify your team’s strength and choose a formation which compliments your strengths and most importantly doesn’t expose your team’s weaknesses. It’s a natural phenomenon that every individual is different from the other, so pay attention to this because it also applies to the football players. Each player is unique, and all of them have their strengths and shortcomings. Your formation should take the most out of each player in their respective positions.
  • As we said, play to your players’ strengths, there’s one more way to look at it. And that is: Play to your opponent’s weaknesses. Always study your opponents, always pay attention to the tactics and ideas they have used in their previous games, that will help you to identify your opponent’s weak sides and strong sides. Once you do that, exploit their weaknesses and strengths to your benefit. It’s quite simple, for example, if your opponents are more used to attack from the wings, all your defenders have to do is to steer them to the more central positions so they can’t use the width of the pitch.


To conclude, these were some of the best 9-A-Side formations, and we hope we made our point. There are of course other excellent formations to use, but these four are certainly the most viable out of all.

That’s it for today, folks. Stay tuned and stay safe!

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Here we will be giving more of an opinion, rather than facts. Are the cleats worth the price that they are being sold at? Should you upgrade from your current cleats, depending on what boots you own? What features stand out in these cleats? If any. Does it do the job? Speed, control, stability etc.

Depending on your needs/preferences. We can also mention its durability, if we have collected enough data on the specific cleats.

What did we expect vs. what we got. Is it maybe overrated/underrated?


Here’s our pick from the very best of the bunch.


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