View Poll Results: 4-2-3-1 Wide

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Thread: Why is a '4-2-3-1 Wide' not a Standard Formation?

  1. #1
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    Default Why is a '4-2-3-1 Wide' not a Standard Formation?

    Should this formation not be selectable on the tactics creator? It is one more common in modern football.
    FM2011 only has a deep version with two DMs or a very narrow one with no wingers.


  2. #2
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    I'm not sure about that. These formations always tend to have two DMs. That's a very attacking formation you've posted.

    Either way, no harm in creating it yourself.

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    I was wondering that. A lot of the AI managers use it too.

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    you can create it in the tactics creator, if you're changing a managers preffered formation its called "4-2-3-1 denmark"

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    I agree with the OP. This is the formation I usually use and think it should be a default set.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWaRFeGa View Post
    I'm not sure about that. These formations always tend to have two DMs. That's a very attacking formation you've posted.
    Its the Arsenal formation for sure. Song and Wilshere are not DMs.

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    I use it too, and a lot of AI teams are using it to line up against me too, I'd like to see it as a basic formation, or at least recognise that it's a 4-2-3-1, not 4-4-2 DM which is what the game seems to call it.

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    We know you can create it. What the OP is asking is should it be a default formation to begin with. More of an observation than anything I think.

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    i used it for a couple of seasons and my preffered tactic come up as 4-4-1-1!! i've been using a 4-3-2-1 since the new patch came out, so that'll be a 4-5-1!!

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    this formation is stored under one of 4-3-3's .

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    Quote Originally Posted by ankitthegr8 View Post
    this formation is stored under one of 4-3-3's .
    It is not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ankitthegr8 View Post
    this formation is stored under one of 4-3-3's .
    lol, no its not!!

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    That's Mancinis one as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Blobby View Post
    That's Mancinis one as well.
    I thought Mancini played a 4-3-2-1 with a DM behind two CM’s?

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    use this formation all the time, its awesome

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    Surely the 4-2-3-1 formation normally employs two deep-lying midfielders (DMs) that shield the defence?

    Like this:



    Whenever I've seen a 4-2-3-1 in real life, the two central holding midfielders usually take up deeper positions more in line with DMs in FM terms. You wouldn't call them CMs in the same way that two central players in a 4-4-2 are CMs because they definitely take up deeper positions in the midfield in 4-2-3-1.

    My opinion would be that the '4-2-3-1 Deep' on the Tactics Creator is actually the more accurate version of the common formation we now see in modern football. Having said that, I'd also argue that FM is a bit too rigid and fixed in terms of its positions. In reality, the 4-2-3-1 central midfield positions are probably somewhere between DM and CM, and for the attacking central midfielder CM and AM.
    Last edited by crouchaldinho; 10-03-2011 at 21:15.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crouchaldinho View Post
    Surely the 4-2-3-1 formation normally employs two deep-lying midfielders (DMs) that shield the defence?

    Like this:



    Whenever I've seen a 4-2-3-1 in real life, the two central holding midfielders usually take up deeper positions more in line with DMs in FM terms. You wouldn't call them CMs in the same way that two central players in a 4-4-2 are CMs because they definitely take up deeper positions in the midfield in 4-2-3-1.

    My opinion would be that the '4-2-3-1 Deep' on the Tactics Creator is actually the more accurate version of the common formation we now see in modern football. Having said that, I'd also argue that FM is a bit too rigid and fixed in terms of its positions. In reality, the 4-2-3-1 central midfield positions are probably somewhere between DM and CM, and for the attacking central midfielder CM and AM.
    Even if that were true - which it is only in some of the case - LOTS of AI managers, especially in Spain, line up with the formation posted right at the top. Very few use 4-2-3-1 Deep. So the 4-2-3-1 should be a standard formation - both should be.
    Also, rememeber the narrow version is available with no DMs as a standard formation - how many managers play 2 centre mids and 3 central attacking mids in real life??

    It's not a game breaker, but it does annoy me a little. There's loads of pointless formations in there yet one that lots of opposition manager use - so it must be written in the game - is not one of those. Seems a bit silly.

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    The two central midfielders in the Arsenal side I watch every week out are categorically not playing in DM positions. Have a look at the chalkboards.


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    I have this formation saved myself, don't know why they don't have it in the default as a lot of clubs now play this formation.

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    Jose plays it at real aswell along with other managers for me it should be in the default list. its just a different version of the 4-2-3-1 DEEP

  21. #21

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    I personally wonder if this is actually a weakness of the current tactics system following the removal of the arrows.

    If you remember the games before the arrow removal, the 4-2-3-1 would generally involve two barrowed central midfielders, meaning that they would generally play between positions - the middle ground - between DM and MC. I think this is more accurate than the suggestion that the central midfield holders play at MC (i.e. in the same positions as in the 4-4-2!)

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by WAQ View Post
    Even if that were true - which it is only in some of the case - LOTS of AI managers, especially in Spain, line up with the formation posted right at the top. Very few use 4-2-3-1 Deep. So the 4-2-3-1 should be a standard formation - both should be.
    It's worth noting that the majority of squads in Spain have players who are given positional competency in both the DM and MC positions, despite the formation deployed in the majority of cases by Spanish sides.

    Also, rememeber the narrow version is available with no DMs as a standard formation - how many managers play 2 centre mids and 3 central attacking mids in real life??
    A good question and I agree with your general statement. The narrow 4-2-3-1 with MCs seems quite unrealistic to me personally, however remember that this formation was created originally with barrows and sarrows to the MCs and outside AMCs respectively. This probably created a more realistic shape in the match engine, in fact.

    This image, from Zonal Marking, featuring Holland and Spain in the World Cup final, is also interesting to consider:



    If you look at Holland's positioning - and, indeed, their positioning throughout this tournament clearly featured two DMs shielding the defence - you would argue for '4-2-3-1 deep' as the most accurate reflection on FM. Spain, however, were much more narrow.

    I have quite a few tactical books in which the 4-2-3-1 is discussed. In particular, they discuss the two holding players shielding the defence like DMs in FM terms, even referring to them in old fashioned terms as 'central halfbacks'.

    Finally, my question is, how do you distinguish between the 4-2-3-1 formation and the 4-4-1-1? Generally, the wings are pushed up and the central midfield players are deeper lying in the 4-2-3-1, yes?

    Whenever I've seen 4-2-3-1 played out in a real life match that I have attended (and thus been able to study the player movement) I have always noted that the two central midfield players do not play like MCs, in my opinion, but are deeper lying midfield players. To create the 4-2-3-1 'double pivot' effect, maybe you could use CMs and select a central midfielder (defend) alongside a deep-lying playmaker (defend), to give appropriate mentalities in order to create the same effect. This could work, I'll concede.

    Anyway, it's a very interesting discussion, but maybe what this underlines most of all is the limitation of the current tactics system in Football Manager. I'll confess, I find it problematic and confusing. 4-2-3-1, for me, is quite different to a 4-4-1-1, but to play the formation in the OP is, to me, to play 4-4-1-1 with two advanced wide players. As a bit of a tactical purist on FM, I can't see the realism in the shape posted in the OP, so I don't use it.

    The truth about this is maybe close to the fact that, in real life, the deeper lying midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 blur the distinction between the DM and MC position, while the more attacking central midfield player blurs the distinction between MC and AM.

    It's part of the frustration of 4-2-3-1 on FM for me. None of the options look 100% right to me really. I don't think the rigid match engine positions help at all. Maybe we have an issue here with a match engine primarily built for 4-4-2 that does not cope well with modern formations (or, in fact, even 'older' ones, because it is a commonly observed fact that any three/five at the back formation functions quite badly in the match engine).
    Last edited by crouchaldinho; 11-03-2011 at 11:22.

  23. #23

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    The other bizarre thing is the sort of denial of this formation in all other aspects of the game. Yes, some sides in Spain play with this as default, but it isn't in the tactics creator as default, it isn't referred to as 4-2-3-1 in the TC or in the manager profile (both are, indeed, different - one calls it 4-3-3 and the other 4-4-1-1!) and I've never seen any newgen staff or managers with this formation choice (but they pick bizarre things instead like flat 4-5-1 formations!)

  24. #24
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    It's an increasingly popular formation, it isn't as attacking as it looks as the two midfielders usually drop deep if needed. It has good structure and can adapt well.

    I'd like it to be a standard formation as many people here end up making it in the tactics creator.

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    yeah should def be a standard formation. i use it home and away and the AI uses it consistently against me. i put b2b and DLP in the CM positions, two wingers and an ad playmaker in the middle. only lost 1 game all last season so not exactly too attacking, and my mentality is attacking with rigidity!

  26. #26
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    It's a formation I often use when managing Spanish sides. It's a very common formation used in Spanish football at the moment and one which Fabri - manager of Granada C.F. - the team I watch and research here, currently uses mostly. He only tends to alternate it with an attacking 4-4-2 by simply pushing the AMC into a more defined striker role.

    I tend to use either a pair of Deep Lying Playmakers (one support, one defend), or a Deep Lying Playmaker "support" with a Ball Winning Midfielder "defend". The AMC is usually either an Attacking Midfielder "attack" (deep second striker/goal scoring midfielder) or Advanced Playmaker "attack".

    It's easy to set up yourself with the tactics creator, but I would agree that perhaps it's one that should be added as a default formation from the tactics creator in the future. Interestingly, when I've set my tactic up with the TC and go to save it, it always automatically refers to the formation as a 4-4-2. Not actually far from the truth if using an AMC as a deep second forward, but when not using a deep second forward, but using a playmaker in the AMC slot, it should indeed be referred to as a 4-2-3-1.

    Sadly there don't seem to be any examples on Marca.com of the formations they print with every match report in the printed paper here. As I have my usual Monday morning browse through the reports in the Monday edition of Marca, I'll usually observe more than half of the teams in the top two divisions use a 4-2-3-1 of some description though.

  27. #27
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    I line up the two cenral players in the same way heathxxx. Jack Wilshere is my Deep Lying Playmaker "support", Alex Song my Ball Winning Midfielder "defend".
    This is as close to real life positions as you can get.

    Average midfield positions in Arsenal's first 20 games of the season

    Image stolen from arsenalreport.com
    Last edited by djvandyke; 11-03-2011 at 18:09.

  28. #28

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    It might be a bit misleading to look at an average positions chart and then compare that to the tactical positions on Football Manager. A more interesting thing to do might be to compare the average positions chart from a real life match to one from a Football Manager match.

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by djvandyke View Post
    I line up the two cenral players in the same way heathxxx. Jack Wilshere is my Deep Lying Playmaker "support", Alex Song my Ball Winning Midfielder "defend".
    Another thing to say about this is that, with those roles, you are creating the 4-2-3-1 'double pivot' effect. The roles for your CMs give appropriately low mentalities and would probably create a similar 'deep-lying midfielder' effect.

    Further to what I said above, I would be interested in the average positions diagram from one of your Football Manager matches, just out of interest.

  30. #30

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    It would be interesting if someone who worked on the TC (i.e. WWFan!) would comment on this.

    Interestingly, the T&TT guys referred to Arsenal's formation in their document for FM10, suggesting that they saw it 'as a modification of the “4-2-3-1”. Arsène Wenger has characterised his formation as such [...] His midfield is an inverse of the Mourinho triangle – two MCs or DMCs and a single AMC'.

    Not sure what you make of that Djvandyke?

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    It should be included among the default formations especially because so many AI managers use it.

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    It's a definite oversight IMO.

    Brian McDermott uses 4-2-3-1 as posted in the OP in most games at Reading. We played with two deeper midfielders for a few games in November and December, but we've reverted back to central midfielders. That's in addition to Arsenal, Barcelona for much of last season, Real Madrid, Germany...

    Look at it this way: 4-2-3-1 is already more defensive than 4-4-2 (one striker is withdrawn). If the MCs are dropped back to DM, it is a very defensive formation.

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    Don't worry, I'm sure SI are racking their heads far harder than we are over this at the moment

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    From my fist game of my new Arsenal save.
    Alou Diara is playing in place of the injured Alex Song but the play the same role.





    And the second against City





    I’m impressed at just how accurately it represents the real life formation.
    Last edited by djvandyke; 11-03-2011 at 20:38.

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    Im sure SI want people to develop their own tactics, It'd suck if all the premade formations were all unbeatable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveB` View Post
    Im sure SI want people to develop their own tactics, It'd suck if all the premade formations were all unbeatable.
    Certainly, but I think what people are driving at with this thread, is that default formations in the TC are reflective and include, the more popular/common formations and systems used in the real game.

    There's the pre-set "4-2-3-1 Denmark" formation already used by AI teams, if you take a look in the editor. It's not unbeatable by any stretch.

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    I would like to see the 4-2-3-1 Denmark formation represented with the two "central midfielders" shown just below the midfield line - in an intermediary position between that of the DM and the CM.

    These DM's do not play as deep as a Makelele or a Busquets would in a 4-1-2-3 formation.
    Last edited by El Zar; 14-03-2011 at 12:44.

  38. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by El Zar View Post
    I would like to see the 4-2-3-1 Denmark formation represented with the two "central midfielders" shown just below the midfield line - in an intermediary position between that of the DM and the CM.
    This seems sensible. They are definitely deeper-lying midfielders than the central midfielders in, say, a 4-4-2, and they should be represented as such in the match engine and on the tactics screen in my opinion.

  39. #39
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    Just to show this should definitely be a default formation, it was used as the Team of the Year formation on my game, season 2:


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    Weird, I thought the team of the year usually came up in 4-4-2.

    Is that a new thing for FM11 then?

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    No idea, first time I've seen it too, it's always been 4-4-2 for me until now. Still, the fact that it came up as the 4-2-3-1 formation shows this really should be a default.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djvandyke View Post
    The two central midfielders in the Arsenal side I watch every week out are categorically not playing in DM positions. Have a look at the chalkboards.

    ...
    That is why Arsenal sink without trace. 4-2-3-1 should be play with defensive midfielders. Or if you like, one defensive midfielder and one deep-lying midfielder. You still can do the proper 4-2-3-1 if you ask Song to defend more because when he goes up to try to control the game, the team goes backwards two steps.

    By the way, djvandyke, you still have to VOTE.

    http://community.sigames.com/showthr...e-Second-Round

    Now, VOTE. Even just with feeling, VOTE.
    Last edited by georginho_juventusygr; 17-03-2011 at 17:22.

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    old school mega bump .... 4-2-3-1 is what all the cool kids play, make it a default tactic

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    Quote Originally Posted by djvandyke View Post
    The two central midfielders in the Arsenal side I watch every week out are categorically not playing in DM positions. Have a look at the chalkboards.
    That's a wierd statement. The real life 4-2-3-1 is supposed to have about as much distance between the defenders' line and defending midfielders' line as between the defending midfielders' line and the attacking midfielders' line. The fact there are 4 bands is what makes the formation often superior to the 4-4-2: the latter has less bands and more space between them for the opposition to operate in. There is no distinction between a 4-2-3-1 with defending midfielders and one with central midfielders. It's a bit of a weakness of the FM tactics model in that it doesn't allow four bands that are equally distant to one another.
    Last edited by Farina; 23-02-2013 at 11:36.

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    What no-one has mentioned yet is that the formation in the tactics screen is the defensive formation. In that case the positioning of the two CM's is way too high up the field, making it an unrealistic tactic. I think the problem is that there are too few lines in the formation, and/or that the relationship between the three midfielders in the two selected strata changes depending on which two are used.

    In other words, what really happens when you have one attacking midfielder and two defensive midfielders in your formation is that the two defensive midfielders will lie between FM's MC and DMC strata, and the AMC will not be that high up the field - he will be between the AMC and MC strata. Similarly, when you have one defensive midfielder and two central midfielders they are not actually that close together the three of them. The two MC's will be between the AMC and MC strata, but not as high up as the AMC in the former formation. Consequently, there should be 5 midfield strata, not 3. Also, the five horizontal strata should really be seven because the 41212 and 442 diamond formations are both a bit off - the only difference between them is in reality the Width setting, not formational.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BiggusD View Post
    What no-one has mentioned yet is that the formation in the tactics screen is the defensive formation. In that case the positioning of the two CM's is way too high up the field, making it an unrealistic tactic. I think the problem is that there are too few lines in the formation, and/or that the relationship between the three midfielders in the two selected strata changes depending on which two are used.

    In other words, what really happens when you have one attacking midfielder and two defensive midfielders in your formation is that the two defensive midfielders will lie between FM's MC and DMC strata, and the AMC will not be that high up the field - he will be between the AMC and MC strata. Similarly, when you have one defensive midfielder and two central midfielders they are not actually that close together the three of them. The two MC's will be between the AMC and MC strata, but not as high up as the AMC in the former formation. Consequently, there should be 5 midfield strata, not 3. Also, the five horizontal strata should really be seven because the 41212 and 442 diamond formations are both a bit off - the only difference between them is in reality the Width setting, not formational.
    Makes sense, but I don't see SI doing it. I imagine they would say that player duties, roles, mentality, creative freedom, and roaming can compensate for this. True? I don't know.

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    I think the problem lies with the tactics creator. Players can only be given the defensive midfielders role in the DMC position and not the central midfield position. The only way to get the two central midfielders a more defensive role is by giving them the central midfield - defend duty. Even the ball winning midfielder does not sit in front of the defence but harasses high up the pitch leaving huge wholes in front of the defence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shocco View Post
    I think that the problem with the tactics creator is that players can only be given the defensive midfielders role in the DMC position and not the central midfield position. The only way to get the two central midfielders a more defensive role is by giving them the central midfield - defend duty. Even the ball winning midfielder does not sit in front of the defence but harasses high up the pitch leaving huge wholes in front of the defence.
    Or use a deep lying playmaker role.

    The role of the ball winning mid has never been to sit deep, but to chase and harass the ball at every opportunity. He is not a defensive screen by design.

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