4-4-1-1 Soccer Formation

Soccer 4 4 1 1 Formation

A 4-4-1-1 formation is a shape in soccer with four defenders, four midfielders, one supporting attacking player, and one primary striker. Read on to learn more about the 4-4-1-1 formation in soccer, including advantages and disadvantages.

4-4-1-1 Formation Responsibilities

The 4-4-1-1 formation is similar to the 4-4-2, except instead of two strikers up front, there are two layers of offense: the center forward and striker. The center forward plays behind the striker and provides added depth to the formation. Read on to learn about the specific roles each player has in a 4-4-1-1 formation.


The striker is the attacking player furthest upfield in a 4-4-1-1 formation. They are the primary goal scorers and must be able to maneuver in tight spaces while being pressured by defenders. They will work together with the center forward on the attack to create goal scoring opportunities.

Center Forward

The center forward plays a significant supporting role in a 4-4-1-1 formation. They are responsible for working with the striker to create goal scoring opportunities. Center forwards will also serve as an outlet pass for midfielders in an offensive build up.


The midfielders in a 4-4-1-1 formation are split between central and outside midfielders. They are responsible for playing on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. When attacking, the midfielders will provide width to the build up and attempt to get the ball to the center forward or striker.

Defensive Backs

The defensive backs in a 4-4-1-1 formation include two center backs and two outside backs. The center backs are responsible for cutting off passing lanes, slowing down attacks, and clearing the ball. The outside backs are responsible for clearing the ball, slowing down attacks from the wing, and feeding the ball up to midfielders on the offensive build up.

4-4-1-1 Formation Advantages

The biggest advantage of the 4-4-1-1 formation is that it is well-balanced. While some formations are rather lopsided for the sake of extreme defense or extreme offense, the 4-4-1-1 has good attack opportunities thanks to its center forward and striker but also has a solid defensive line.

Another main advantage of this formation is its large midfield presence. With two center backs and two wide backs, the entire midfield has full coverage that can switch between offensive and defensive modes based on possession. This puts a lot of weight on the midfielders and their adaptability, but it can certainly pay off if you have the power on your roster.

4-4-1-1 Formation Disadvantages

One of the biggest disadvantages of the 4-4-1-1 formation is the pressure placed on its striker. While the center forward can provide a nice bridge to the formation’s many midfielders, this leaves the striker to make most scoring attempts. Instead of popular formations that have two strikers, this one truly relies on one player to lead the attack.

Ironically, one main disadvantage of this formation is its enormous midfield presence. When its four midfielders take on an opposing formation that has three or more midfielders, that entire zone can descend fairly easily into chaos and passes can fall through the cracks. This leaves a lot of pressure on the midfielders to make the most of their numbers.


What is a 4-4-1-1 formation in soccer?

In soccer, a 4-4-1-1 formation is a particular formation that has four defensive backs, four midfielders, one center forward, and one striker. This is a relatively popular and balanced formation because it has a strong defense and large midfield presence while still having two players focused on offensive attacks.

Is a 4-4-1-1 considered an offensive or defensive soccer formation?

Unlike most formations, the 4-4-1-1 formation is considered both offensive and defensive. This is because it has a center forward and a striker backed by midfield passers when on the offense and there is a full defensive line when on defense. This formation, however, is slightly better for defense because they separate the forward presence into two separate positions instead of pushing together.

Yes, the 4-4-1-1 formation is pretty popular, especially in professional soccer leagues. This is because the 4-4-1-1 is really a variation of the popular 4-4-2 formation, except that it separates that formation’s two forwards into a distinct center forward and leading striker. A big part of this formation’s popularity is that it is so well-balanced.