The majority of teams in England’s top flight utilise the same formation. Since December, Wigan have used a 3-4-3 system that has finally become coherent in recent weeks and seen them have the upper hand over the bigger teams. Salim usually doesn’t like to write about anything to do with the English Premier League as it’s well-covered, but the footprints of Wigan’s haven’t been so well-covered so, naturally, he has decided to write this.
The three-man defence has been ubiquitous with the Italian Serie A in recent times with relatively unfashionable teams, notably Napoli and Udinese, using wing-backs to take advantage of the lack of width in a league where the 4-3-1-2 system was king. Last season, Walter Mazzari’s Napoli finished third and qualified for the Champions League group stages using a 3-4-2-1 system, whilst Francesco Guidolin’s Udinese finished fourth after adopting a 3-5-1-1 system, notably scoring 4 goals at the San Siro in a 4-4 draw against eventual Champions AC Milan (who also had the best defensive record in the league). There was further relative success in the relegation fight, too, as Cesena’s adoption of three at the back saw them finish seven points above the relegation zone.