Let’s analyze the 4 ways to overload the centre of the pitch using a 4-3-3:
We start with a winger dropping down into a central midfield area, giving the full-back the responsability of holdingh the width. This is what Xavi did with the box midfield he used for most of 2023 with Balde as the left-back.
The center forward dropping down, a role that players like Harry Kane, Gabriel Jesús and Karim Benzema have performed to perfection. In this shape, the wingers usually move inside and the full-backs are the ones who provide width.
The inverted full-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold is excelling in this role, which has ended up turning him into a midfielder in many games. Other players who have played this role have had freedom to rotate with other midfielderse and attack the opponent’s last line, instead of building through passes.
Lastly, the center back stepping in. Man City is the best example with Stones and Akanji playing this role accompanying Rodri, leaving back 3. Of all the adaptations we have seen, this is the most complicated due to the physical and technical characteristics that the center backs usually have.
Creating a midfield overload to have superiorty is one of the most important strengths to win games playing with a 4-3-3.