my 4-5-1 has never failed me against bigger opposition
two centerbacks, two wingbacks, *1 anchorman/DLP*, 2 box to box, 2 defensive wingers, 1 target man/DLF
if the opposition is playing with an AMC, you should play an anchorman in the heart of your midfield. if your opposition is not playing with an AMC, play with a pirlo-esque DLP in the heart of your midfield. set him as your playmaker and watch. you will dominate possession
4-5-1 with a counter attack focusing on the wings. Flat back 4, DM, 2 MCs, AML/AMR and STC. The central midfielders rarely go forward too, so it keeps me solid in defensive and I just need to catch them on the break once or twice.
It helps that both my wingers have very high stats for dribbling, first touch, technique, crossing etc. and my striker's a physical beast with great stats for off the ball, first touch, finishing and technique.
I play 4-1-3-2, making sure the two wide CMs have zonal marking so that they will push out to cover the wings when needed. Oh, and I have my FBs on Cross often/deep. Quite a few headed goals as the CF tends to find lots of space.
Like most, I go 4-5-1 (a 4-1-4-1 is basically the same thing). But I don't counter or play defensive, because that is asking too much for a 90-minute match. I play a standard game with emphasis on defensive might, but also on possession.