I often watch the likes of Juventus, Chile and the Italian national team playing a 3-5-2 formation. It often makes light work of a simple 4-4-2 by overloading and dominating the centre whilst tearing down the flanks behind the oppositions wingers.
I do have my reservations though. I wonder why so few teams have used this in English football, maybe it wouldn’t work. Having said that, why not? At home, we often come up against 1 striker. Therefore, we always have 1 centre back marking and another covering. This has made us come unstuck at times, when midfield runners get forward. Having 3 centre backs would mean 1 of them man marking and two covering.
This would allow the wide players (wether it’s Shaw, Rafael, Nani, Valencia- so on) to have a free role and really get around and behind the opponents. Away from home (or against more offensive opposition), two centre backs would be marking leaving 1 to cover. The wide players would then be more defensive, operating as full backs. We would then dominate the midfield by having 3 centre mids (a pick from Carrick, Kagawa, Mata, Herrera, Cleverly, Fletcher etc). Another huge advantage is it would allow us to play Rooney and Van Persie up top (where they surely belong). Lastly, this would allow players like Jones and Smalling to play in there proper position.
The only down side to a 3-5-2 formation would be having to buy more centre backs. I would say we need a direct replacement for Vidic, another warrior. A direct replacement for Rio, someone that can play. Then, a solid, all round defender for the Capital one cup games and all that. 3-5-2. Brave, or stupid?