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Peseiro's 3-5-2 formation suits Nigeria best despite failure against Mexico

Peseiro’s 3-5-2 formation suits Nigeria best despite failure against Mexico

The Portuguese tactician deployed a 3-5-2 formation to start the game at the AT&T stadium, a set-up that is fairly alien to Nigerian football.

It didn’t work though as the Super Eagles looked disjointed in the first half and were well and truly outplayed by Mexico until Peseiro switched to the more conventional four-man defence in the second half.

Despite the Super Eagles’ performance getting visibly better as a result of the tactical rejig, here’s why Jose Peseiro should stick with the 3-5-2 formation and its many variants going forward.

The 3-5-2 shape offers Nigeria the best tactical fit with the current squad of players because it offers the room to maximise the deep Super Eagles squad and fit in more players.

Nigeria started the game against Mexico with two strikers, Terem Moffi and Cyriel Dessers while also maximising the offensive threat of Moses Simon and Alex Iwobi.

The previous 4-3-3 used by former managers Gernot Rohr and Augustine Eguavoen was too rigid to fit in that many attacking players and still retain a strong midfield with two central midfielders.

3-5-2 better accentuates the qualities of players like Alex Iwobi who has excelled in the Premier League as a right wing-back for Everton and Calvin Bassey who often plays as a left centre-back for Rangers.

We have already established that the 3-5-2 formation did not work against Mexico but that was because it was the first time trying it out which is why Peseiro must keep drilling the squad till they get used to it.

The manager had little to no time to prepare his team for this game which gives him a pass, ideas take time to get passed across to the players and even more time to implement.

It is not enough to just shelve the formation and never try it again because it didn’t work out well against Mexico, the key is to consistently train and play with it till it becomes second nature to the players.

This will be useful especially when Peseiro gets the full compliment of the Super Eagles squad, it solves many selection headaches when everyone is fit.

With 3-5-2, it doesn’t have to be either Calvin Bassey or Zaidu Sanusi, they can both play on the left as centre-back and wing-back respectively.

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