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In this practice we will look at Attacking in Wide Areas. The aim of this functional practice is to develop understanding of how to use the wide areas of a pitch to create goal scoring opportunities.

Attacking in Wide Areas UEFA B Functional Practice by Chris Colhoun


  • Playing area: Attacking half of pitch
  • Players: 6 Blues v 6 Reds + GK
  • Setup can be altered depending on your preferred style of play, e.g. Midfield 2 or 3, Forward 1 or 2.

Session Detail

In the example shown the blue attacking team will have the front 6 players of a 1-4-3-3 and will play against the red defending team who have a Goalkeeper, back 4 and two central midfielders.

Play will start with the blue holding midfielder, who can play directly into a wide player. Once the wide player has the ball the reds can apply pressure. Note: The start of the practice should be realistic but as with other functional practices, make it more difficult as the players get a better understanding of the topic.

When the wide player has the ball there are various possibilities which may include:

  1. 1v1 against full back, beat the full back and cross into the box
  2. Play a 1-2 / combine with the striker to get behind the full back and cross into the box
  3. Third man run – Play ball into striker who lays it back for a CAM to play the ball behind the full back for the wide player to continue his run and receive.
  4. Cut inside for a shot

Roles & Responsibilities

  1. Holding Midfielder – Support the play, always provide an option for possession to be retained. Get the ball to the wide players
  2. Central Attacking Midfielders – The CAMs should be encouraged to create options for combinations with wide players and to also continue their runs into the box to receive crosses
  3. Wide Players – Wingers or Wide Forwards should stay wide on the touchline to create space. Encourage open body shape so they can see the whole picture. First, set up a 1v1 and have the bravery to take on the full back and deliver into the box. Next, work on being creative and combining with other players but to continue runs into the space behind the full back.
  4. Striker – Stretch the play vertically to pin the center backs in position and help the wide player create a 1v1. Also look to drop and combine with wide player.

Technical Coaching Points

Wide player:

Attacking in Wide Areas

For this functional practice we are really looking at the basics of attacking in wide areas primarily working with a Winger or Wide Forward.

In the example shown I have set the attacking team up in a 1-4-3-3 where the wide attackers hug the touchlines and look to create 1v1s with the opposition full backs. Primarily we are looking at create space for a cross but if you like your team to play with inverted wingers you could also consider players cutting inside their full back to create a goalscoring opportunity for themselves.

In the modern game attacking full backs have played a major role while attacking in wide areas. When we move this topic on to a Phase of Play I will demonstrate how by adding full backs into the attacking team in the same set up you can look at overlapping/underlapping runs and also third man runs to create overloads in wide areas.

The next and final attacking topic from the UEFA B Licence course is Center Forward Movement.