Inspired by causeforconcern's challenge thread from some time ago, and also carrying on from my own 'How far can you go with the 4-4-2?' challenge, I would now like to invite all FM tacticians to take part in a new challenge.
Last time out, the challenge involved the 4-4-2 formation, which was undergoing much criticism as being 'outdated' when compared to modern systems. The challenge was to attempt to take a top flight club as far as you could with the 4-4-2. There were many successes as pretty much everyone taking part reached the conclusion that 4-4-2 still had a lot to offer on Football Manager, especially if you had the right players to make the most of the formation.
This time, I suggest having a go at another so-called anachronism - a formation with a back three! No longer as popular as it was in the 90s, it is still used to great effect by some teams, particularly in Italy. So just how far can a 3-4-1-2 formation take us in Football Manager?
I've picked the 3-4-1-2 for a few reasons. Firstly, because it is strongly associated with Italian football, and the use of a trequartista in the AM position, which excites me! Secondly, because with an attacking midfielder and two strikers on the field, it would seem to have great attacking potency. Finally, because I think this will be a great challenge to get working on Football Manager!
First of all, a little analysis of the formation. At the back, we have three central defenders. In the midfield, two central midfield players and two side midfield players. The two side midfielders are possibly the most significant in the whole team, given that they must defensively support the back three, as well as offer attacking width. We're looking for players here who are quick, mobile, have lots of stamina and a high work-rate, as well as being able to offer something in attack. Retrained fullbacks and hard-working wide midfielders will do the job here but you're unlikely to see any out-and-out wingers in this position. Finally, we have a playmaking attacking midfielder, often a trequartista, behind two central strikers.
My rules for this challenge are outlined below.
The rules of the challenge are pretty relaxed. I'm happy for people to pick whichever side they feel they can get the best out of with the 3-4-1-2.
The simple aim of the challenge is to overachieve with your club. Whether that means winning the league, winning a cup, or successfully fighting relegation with your chosen side.
The other rules for this challenge are that you must play a 3-4-1-2 formation (i.e. 3CDs, MR, ML, MC, MC, AMC, ST, ST), however the instructions, player roles, advanced choices etc. are totally up to you. The 3-4-1-2 will be your formation and your baseline but you can use any options to change the shape you see on the pitch.
You can use an older Football Manager if you want, so if you are still playing FM09 or FM10 then you are free to continue using that. I know the match engines can be different between versions but I've always believed that good tactical and footballing decisions in each of the games brings the same result - tactical success! The idea here is to share some theoretical principles and ideas. I believe we will all learn something regardless of which of the recent versions are used.
There is no transfer or loan restriction this time, so feel free to make whatever changes to the squad you need in order to suit the formation.
It would be great if people could post up details of how they are setting up and the choices they make for certain games. Screenshots are encouraged. The main aim of the challenge is to share information and maybe some of us will approach things differently and make others think about their own choices.
I would hope that everyone takes the challenge in the right spirit. Please do not attempt to use exploits or cheats because the main thing is the tactical ideas rather than 'winning' the challenge. As such, there is no winner anyway.
Finally, just a reminder that the point of the thread is to see how far a 3-4-1-2 can take you in Football Manager. What I am interested in is just how much success can be had while playing with this system.
This is your chance to prove that you are a tactical master on Football Manager!
No doubt you've all mastered the 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. Now for a real challenge - three at the back!
Can the 3-4-1-2 still be effective in the modern game? Just how far can you go with 3-4-1-2?
Anyone interested in taking part? Let me know.