Louis van Gaal has built up a reputation over the years of being a staunch advocate of the 4-3-3 system but he is set to experiment with a 5-3-2 variation with Holland at the World Cup.
The system is built around the foundations of improved defensive solidarity thanks to a bank of five at the back with the combined counter attacking threat that overlapping full-backs can provide.
It has been seen as a reaction to Holland’s tough World Cup group where they have been placed alongside Spain, Chile and Australia to give Holland the best chance of progressing.
Dutch legend Ronald Koeman has used the formation with Feyenoord this season successfully and Marco van Basten have backed Van Gaal’s decision to try it out. From a tactical point of view, it’s interesting to see that even at 62, Van Gaal is willing to embrace alternatives.
Speaking to NOS.nl, Koeman described how the system works: “Three central defenders, your line is high, there are two midfielders who play for the defence, a real number ten and two strikers up front.
“You can really put your full backs forward. They can play really deep. And there are always two strikers in front of the goal
“Moreover, you can play with a real number ten and you always have three defenders. This can also be very important in Brazil.”
It will be interesting to see if Van Gaal does adopt this 5-3-2 formation with Holland and if he has some success with it in Brazil, could it be a formation he might consider using with United if he is confirmed as the new manager?