Introduction: I'm just a mid-burst player, bounce between Div 4 and Div 3. I usually stop at Gold 2 for WL, but I can get to Gold 1 if you're interested in finishing all 30 games.
Since I started last year, I have been trying different configurations now and then. However, in a way, she always struggled with 4 formations in the back. I could not defend the back line 4 to save my life, and most of the 4atb configurations do not match the attack method.
3-5-2 was given through TOTS last year and I never looked back. This year I got 4-2-3-1, but found that my attack lacked any kind of threat. I tried 4-1-2-1-2 tight, but my defense was very weak and this formation was topping the pitch a lot because of my desire. I've also tried some 4-3-3 differences, but I struggled to get my wig more involved and the attacker felt isolated.
So … I went back to 3-5-2 and things got good again. Before getting into instructions and tactics, let me briefly explain why 3-5-2 is such a great composition.
First of all, it is unique in the sense that it is a formation that gives you two CDMs (like 4-2-3-1), two players on a large scale (like 4-3-3), two strikers as well as CAM (like 4-1-2-1-2 Narrow). This means that while you will be defensively powerful, your attack may be very diverse and unpredictable because you can attack from the wings or the center.
Second, with the correct instructions, you will always defend 6 players (3 players each, one from CDM, LM and RM), and attack with 6 players (2 STS, CAM, 1 CDM, LM and RM). It is well balanced.
Thirdly, having 3 CBs means you can always pull one CB up a little to the top of the field to break up the attacks even before you start, and you still have two CDMs and two CBs to provide enough cover.
The "problem" in this formation is that you need very specific players to succeed, otherwise you will collapse. Specifically, wide midfielders are the most important. We'll get into the cause soon.
Now, let's start with custom tactics.
Defensive style: Balanced
I kept this balanced because I like the players to be where they should be when defending. I don't like differences in pressure because its aggressive nature means that my players can run out of center once I miss a problem.
I find 4 sweet points because I need 3 CBs for me to be a little far from each other when dealing with counterattack. Very wide, and there will be holes between my tanks. Very tight, and my wings are exposed if the wide midfielders cannot return on time.
I try not to sit deep because I hate giving space to galleries to navigate out of the box. With fast and agile CBs, I love pulling one CB up the field to disable any attack.
Attack style: balanced.
I play the players manually so it works better "balanced" for me. You don't like Long Balls because it put me under attack if I get a pass somewhere.
I left it untouched at five. You don't want to be too crowded and you don't want your players to be far away.
Players in box: 6
I came across up to 6 to give me more attack options in the last third.
Free Corners and Kicks: completely up to you.
Now, the player's instructions.
GK and CBs: everything is default.
Your team players need good speed and perhaps good agility, because when they need to cover the wings when the wide midfielders cannot return in time, they will play just like their backs completely.
Exemplary players: Milito, Varane, Futamas Murillo, Diego Carlos, RTF Joe Gomez, RTF Joan Joan, Baby Cannavaro, Baby Carlos Alberto, Lucas Hernandez, RTTF Konate, Scream Ottamendi, Romani Scrim.
LM and RM: Come to the defense, stay wide.
The most important points for this configuration. LM and RM work as full appearances and flanks for your team, so you need players with high durability (at least 85) and speed, as well as very well rounded stats in defense and traffic. Ideal work rates are H / H but I find H / M acceptable. My suggestion is to start with 5atb formation and switch in the game because their full backs work really well.
Perfect players: IF Telles, League SBC Dalbert, Zambrotta, Mendy, IF Pereira, Mbabu, Alex Sandro, Roberto Carlos, League SBC Aguirregaray.
CDM 1: Center the lid, cut off the traffic lanes, and stay back during the attack.
Mainly destructive. He breaks plays and never wanders until the last third. Work rates should be M / H.
Exemplary players: Kanti, Alan, SBC Tonali League, SBC Patalia League, Witsel, De Jong, Vieira, Makelele.
CDM 2: Center the lid, cutting the passing lanes.
This will be your square to the midfielder box. So you need well-rounded stats across the board and someone with excellent stamina. It will contribute to the attack as much as your defense. The working rate should be H / H or H / M.
Perfect players: Flashback Polino, Sissoko, Wijnaldom, Goritska, Eiffel Delaney, Vidal, Ninggolan, Ballack, Matthus, Juliet.
Cam: Stay ahead.
The player that connects your defense to your attack. It is the focus of your team, so don't hold back in this situation. Work rate should be H / M or H / H. Good tolerability is a must.
Perfect Players: All You Love. Personally, I prefer hasty and enthusiastic players like Scream Insigne. Players like De Bruyne also work well if you know how to make the most of them.
STS: Get in the back.
Your attackers must constantly aspire to break the defensive line and reach the goal, so try to get players at a simple pace. Ideal work rates are H / M.
Perfect players: whatever suits you.
Edit: With this configuration, try to keep your possession and play formation strengths. Keep the ball in the middle of the field, wait for your opponent to start committing players in the middle and then spread it widely, direct it to your CAM, then release the ball as soon as you start STS. I find this gameplay fits well with the composition. Do not expect to be 0-100 mph.
(This is how my team plays in the game) (https://i.imgur.com/9JOAwk1.jpg) for your reference. I know I should be better off with this team, I've actually been one win over Elite WL, so I'm looking forward to Elite storming this WL. For reference, I've tried playing with 4atb squads this year, and haven't gotten more than 15 WL wins.
Explanation: I'm not saying 4atb formations are nonsense, I'm just saying it may not suit everyone's playing style. I know players who can go 30-0 in a tight 4-1-2-1-2 and 4-2-3-1. But if you're like me, well, maybe you could try 3-5-2 to see where it'll take you.
I know it can be scary to play with 3atb formation, but I really think it's more defensive stiffness than 4atb formations as long as you have the right staff, because you actually defend by 5atb most of the time. Give her a push, give her some time and maybe love her as much as I like. Frankly, it's a very fun, multi-dimensional, multi-dimensional formation that never gets tired.
Hope this guide helps some of you who have half thought of 3-5-2 experience on this WL. Feel free to ask any questions!