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Why is 4411 the Best Formation on Football Manager?


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4411 and 4231 are very different in FM. The two wingers in 4411 defends a lot better because they are in the midfield strata. However you are limited in roles that you can choose. Because the two wingers sit much deeper it is very easy for good teams that want to attack to constantly pin your two wingers. Unlike in a 4231, counter attacks are much more lethal because the two wingers are positioned more advanced and will run in the box to find scoring chances. To put it simply, a 4411 is just a more defensive version of a 4231 and vice versa. And both are equally good in the right circumstances.

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1 hour ago, zyfon5 said:

Because the two wingers sit much deeper it is very easy for good teams that want to attack to constantly pin your two wingers.

On the contrary, I find that deep wide players exploit the spaces behind the high AMR/L regularly enough, not allowing us to be pinned.

You are pinned when your players have less options on the ball, and this happens to most players playing top heavy formations.

Of course 4411 and 4231 play out differently on FM, but the correct representation of most real world 4231s are in fact 4411s in FM.

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22 minutes ago, engamohd said:

On the contrary, I find that deep wide players exploit the spaces behind the high AMR/L regularly enough, not allowing us to be pinned.

You are pinned when your players have less options on the ball, and this happens to most players playing top heavy formations.

Of course 4411 and 4231 play out differently on FM, but the correct representation of most real world 4231s are in fact 4411s in FM.

Bayern 4231 is probably closer to the 4231 in game but yeah most 4231 in real life does look like 4411 in game. You do not need too many options on the ball if you can just overload with numbers and attack quickly which is how Bayern plays. And eventually you have to push numbers forward when playing against a tight defense.

I am afraid you misunderstood what I mean by pinning. What I mean is when the opposition attacks your wingers are forced to defend them hence you are starting from a deeper position in transition. This makes you vulnerable to counter press in a transition. Whereas in a 4231 your wingers start from a higher position during transition hence can directly exploit the space left by the attacking full back. It is a risky move of course but at the same time you can easily punish teams that attack you. And you can still have the flexibility to set up OI to mark full backs if more defensive numbers is needed.

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3 horas atrás, zyfon5 disse:

I am afraid you misunderstood what I mean by pinning. What I mean is when the opposition attacks your wingers are forced to defend them hence you are starting from a deeper position in transition. This makes you vulnerable to counter press in a transition

Maybe this is what happen with me, I don't know how to analyze It on FM. However the 4411 never worked well with my teams. I was trying a 4411 counter and my team was badly playing, I changed to a 442 - Just moving the AM to the attacking position - and the team started to play well again. I was using a Shadow Striker behind a PF/DLF on Attack and the counters were not working well, the true striker was isolated and the SS didn't really helped him, behaving more as an AM than as a second (or even first) striker himself. And for a strange reason when I used a Treq as a striker and a SS the team was just playing an aerial game, lumping the ball into the area, which makes no sense at all.

Maybe this could work with a Target Man upfront, but I prefer speedy strikers so maybe the 442 is better for me.

Edited by Tsuru
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On 05/12/2020 at 23:45, engamohd said:

 

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY BLOG

====================================================================

It has been said that the 4-4-1-1 is the poor man's 4-2-3-1.

I couldn't disagree more.

The 4-4-1-1 as shown in the tactics creator on FM is in fact THE 4-2-3-1. In my opinion, the 4-4-1-1 is one of the most used formations in football, but one that is criminally underused in Football Manager.

In the 4-2-3-1, the wide attackers are positioned against the opposing wide defenders. This brings an advantage of keeping the wide forwards a moment away from pressuring the wide defenders should they receive the ball.

However, a moment of technical brilliance from the opposing wide defender (a dribble or a pass) could expose a gaping hole behind the wide attacker. A fullback would have to step and cover this space, but then, the team is already at a disadvantage.

These issues are demonstrated below, where Szoboszlai is already exploiting the massive space behind Sarr. The white RM is also enjoying the space behind Kent.

vgkGGDE.jpeg

Therefore, I see that the 4-2-3-1 is the ultra aggressive variant of the 4-4-1-1, used by hardworking, pacey and skillful teams that properly execute and maintain a high press.

The 4-4-1-1 avoids these issues, although it have its own shortcomings just like any other formation. However, these shortcomings are, to me, more acceptable and easily remedied than the issues caused by top-heavy formations.

Strengths and Weaknesses of a 4-4-1-1

The many advantages of the 4-4-1-1 include:

  1. Simple and Neutral

    The 4-4-1-1is quite similar to the 4-4-2 and is similarly easy to learn and implement. Also, the neutral positioning of the players in a 4-4-1-1 means it is neither ultra attacking nor ultra defensive, providing a solid base to exert control over the proceedings.

  2. Balanced

    The 4-4-1-1 is a perfectly balanced formation that does not place a lot on particular players. It requires the entire team to be involved, and divides the responsibilities between pairings all across the field.

  3. Protects the Flanks

    Unlike most top-heavy and narrow formations, the 4-4-1-1 actually provides a good base to protect the flanks, having two players manning each side.

  4. Solid in the Center

    Although you can be outnumbered in the midfield, especially if the AMC is a Trequartista, the 4-4-1-1 can lock down the center if done right. Actually, most defensively solid teams in real life defend in a 4-4-1-1 or a 4-4-2 shape.

On the downside, a 4-4-1-1 can leave you exposed at the back if the fullbacks are too adventurous. Moreover, if you don't setup the player roles in the middle properly, you can get overrun in the middle.

The central midfielders should be hardworking above all. The Ball-Winning profile of players work well here, coupled with a more rounded midfielder I'd love to have a sort of a perfect Kante-Henderson pairing in the center to destroy opposing attacks and help transition the ball to our attackers.

Forwards also have to be in top form. Besides the late runs by the wide players, the central striker and his creative partner are your consistent threat, and they need to be in top form most of the time.

4-4-1-1 - My Best Tactic for Football Manager 2021

I have recently written about how I reached to my favoured 4-4-1-1 formation and playstyle on Football Manager. I had a lot of success in the beta. However after the full release, I restarted my Brentford, applying the same ideas and philosophies, to massive success.

iA4nZ8B.jpg

We ran away with the league, scoring second most and conceding least. We had a great EFL Cup run, losing to Man Utd in the quarter finals on penalties, after knocking out Man-City in the previous round.

XxCQtET.jpeg

Individually, we had some massive success:

hPJQl0A.jpg

f9tM5cU.jpeg

F4GRAcn.jpg

We are currently doing well in the Premier League:

SD42e3D.jpeg

The Tactic

I have tweaked a bit from the baseline I have used in my playstyle post. Nothing drastic, but allows the team to be more solid and offer a bit more threat.

GSNyjOs.jpg

Player Roles

  1. Goalkeeper: SK-D. Since we defend high, I expect the GK to sweep up the through balls played behind our defense.

  2. Central Defenders: CD-D & BPD-D. A quite standard pairing, allowing one to be BPD for a bit of creativity from our defense. Key attributes to look for are pace, acceleration and the mental attributes, especially anticipation, concentration and positioning. In my setup, I look for pacey defenders that could cover a massive space behind them.

  3. Right flank: FB-S & WM-A. For reasons stated above, I opted for a more conservative pairing on the right, a fullback coupled with a hardworking wide midfielder. I expect the WM to offer a bit of everything, while the FB offering protection, going forward when needed, without compromising his defensive duties.

  4. Left flank: WB-S & IW-A. On the other hand, the left flank should be more aggressive, with regular overlap from the wing-back. The inverted winger should have the inside forward profile, with high dribbling ability, to wreck havoc to defenses. The space vacated by the IW should be naturally exploited by the WB-S without the need for any additional instructions.

  5. Central Midfield: DLP-D & CM-S. I look to have two workhorses in the center. Ideally, the deep midfielder should be creative, and his partner should be of the box-to-box type, able to perform all sort of roles in the midfield.

  6. Forwards: AM-S & TM-A. This was the hardest part to get right. I prefer target men to all sorts of players. I believe that a striker playing alone upfront should be strong enough to hold the ball for the rest of the team. However, I look for a Complete Forward profile for that role, offering pace and dribbling ability beside his heading and physical ability. The player in the hole, on the other hand, should balance his "knitting" role with helping out the midfield to avoid being out numbered.

I am quite satisfied with our play, as we offer a lot of variety as we go forward. Our defensive play is impressive.

However, this isn't a plug and play super tactic. We struggle against 1 AM + 2 ST formations, and teams that play deep and attack with direct passes. Changes are required to counter such systems. I personally drop the CMs to DMs, and micro-manage our pressing and defensive lines. This is up to you as a manager ;)

 

Finally, I leave you with a couple of goals scored by this setup.

 

 

 

I love 4411 and have had success in the past.

Pros - wonderful football and movement.

Great for posssession and pressing based systems.

Largely defensively solid

Cons - playing higher lines make you vulnerable to balls over the top

As you say AMs can cause havoc.

Can be tricky to get the front 2 combo right.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I tend to go for a wide playmaker and a WB (a) overlapping behind. IW (a) is a cracking role, in front of CM (d) and to lock down that flank, FB (s). CM (d) I have alongside a BBM as an extra body going forward but that can make us vulnerable to balls over the top. I tend to use a CD on cover to counter that.

The hardest part for me was the front 2. I've had SS and DLF (s), SS and F9. This has worked for me with Sevilla in the last edition but managing Chernomorets in Ukraine, the players aren't as good. I might try out the AM (s) and TM (a)

Who are most of your chances falling to? I tend to get a spread throughout the team but I want my lone striker to get more of them as he is the best finisher in the side. Does the TM tend to dominate the box more as obviously the DLF and F9 drop off or move into channels? Doesn't the TM role attract the ball to him more? I absolutely batter sides but don't get what I deserve, I need to be more clinical hence why I'm only 2nd in the league. Not quite nailing the forward roles with lesser players.

Edited by bamb00zle
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/12/2020 at 23:20, bamb00zle said:

I tend to go for a wide playmaker and a WB (a) overlapping behind. IW (a) is a cracking role, in front of CM (d) and to lock down that flank, FB (s). CM (d) I have alongside a BBM as an extra body going forward but that can make us vulnerable to balls over the top. I tend to use a CD on cover to counter that.

I find that you don't need to overcommit a WB by making him on attack to overlap. A WB is fairly attacking by default. A narrow moving player ahead of him will generate space that that a WB-S or even WB-D will exploit.

 

On 10/12/2020 at 23:20, bamb00zle said:

Who are most of your chances falling to? I tend to get a spread throughout the team but I want my lone striker to get more of them as he is the best finisher in the side. Does the TM tend to dominate the box more as obviously the DLF and F9 drop off or move into channels? Doesn't the TM role attract the ball to him more? I absolutely batter sides but don't get what I deserve, I need to be more clinical hence why I'm only 2nd in the league. Not quite nailing the forward roles with lesser players.

I look for CF players to play in the TM role, and they absolutely dominate the box if they are fit in. Ivan Toney dominated the championship for me with Brentford, finishing top scorer. My usual goal scorers are the TM and WM-A, and to a lesser extent the IW-A. 

Having a TM to attract balls can be very helpful when you are under pressure, however, you need to make sure that your TM could actually make something we he gets the ball.

 

Sorry for my late reply.

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@engamohd Good thread. I've read it a couple of times and also your The Forest of Nottinghamshire thread (and website). If I am interpreting correctly the WM-At is the attacking threat on the left along with the TM-At. I also noticed you recruited a player who typically wouldn't be seen as a TM (as you state that you look for CF's). While all your TI's make a lot of sense is there any particular player instructions you use to get the movement of Sarr like the gif above (he looks to be sitting narrow before dribbling to the byline before delivering the cross. Neither of those instructions are default for a WM-At)? Even in the second goal Mbeumo seems to be attacking the box a lot harder than I would usually expect from an IW-At and the #6 (Cook?) also seems to be lingering around inside the box looking for the second ball opportunities.

 

I am hoping to transition to a 4-4-1-1 from a 4-1-4-1 with Everton. My plan was to use a SS but after seeing the AMC in the first gif it is making me reconsider my options. He holds his position and three players while the play operates around him, essentially letting the striker do as he likes. It's this type of movement that makes me think either PI's are helping or specific PPM's. Whatever it is I like what I see!

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3 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

@engamohd Good thread. I've read it a couple of times and also your The Forest of Nottinghamshire thread (and website). If I am interpreting correctly the WM-At is the attacking threat on the left along with the TM-At. I also noticed you recruited a player who typically wouldn't be seen as a TM (as you state that you look for CF's). While all your TI's make a lot of sense is there any particular player instructions you use to get the movement of Sarr like the gif above (he looks to be sitting narrow before dribbling to the byline before delivering the cross. Neither of those instructions are default for a WM-At)? Even in the second goal Mbeumo seems to be attacking the box a lot harder than I would usually expect from an IW-At and the #6 (Cook?) also seems to be lingering around inside the box looking for the second ball opportunities.

 

I am hoping to transition to a 4-4-1-1 from a 4-1-4-1 with Everton. My plan was to use a SS but after seeing the AMC in the first gif it is making me reconsider my options. He holds his position and three players while the play operates around him, essentially letting the striker do as he likes. It's this type of movement that makes me think either PI's are helping or specific PPM's. Whatever it is I like what I see!

Thank you, I am glad you like them!

Our attacking threats are the TM, IW on the left and the WM on the right. The WM - Sarr in the above gifs - offers a bit of everything. Coupled with a high mentality, he sees a lot of the ball, dribbling and playing through balls. 

The same is of IW - Mbuemo -, he does a usual movement similar to that of Mane in real life, were he'd attack the channel between the right full back and the right defender. 

These are default movements without PIs, which I believe only affected with the high mentality we play with.

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3 minutes ago, engamohd said:

Thank you, I am glad you like them!

Our attacking threats are the TM, IW on the left and the WM on the right. The WM - Sarr in the above gifs - offers a bit of everything. Coupled with a high mentality, he sees a lot of the ball, dribbling and playing through balls. 

The same is of IW - Mbuemo -, he does a usual movement similar to that of Mane in real life, were he'd attack the channel between the right full back and the right defender. 

These are default movements without PIs, which I believe only affected with the high mentality we play with.

I have to say I didn't expect that answer - I honestly thought I'd spotted some PI's - guess I'll have to go back to learning how to spot those types of things.

 

Your player movement really impressed me to be honest. It also does show what can be achieved without PI's.

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11 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

I have to say I didn't expect that answer - I honestly thought I'd spotted some PI's - guess I'll have to go back to learning how to spot those types of things.

 

Your player movement really impressed me to be honest. It also does show what can be achieved without PI's.

It is really nice what you can do with roles, TIs and mentality only.

 

One more thing, I just looked at Mbuemo and Cantwell -who plays this role in my Forest team-, they both have the Cuts Inside from left wing trait, which could have an effect in this movement too.

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1 minute ago, engamohd said:

It is really nice what you can do with roles, TIs and mentality only.

 

One more thing, I just looked at Mbuemo and Cantwell -who plays this role in my Forest team-, they both have the Cuts Inside from left wing trait, which could have an effect in this movement too.

I was scouting Mbeumo to find out the same thing. Being a left footer will change how he moves as well compared to a right footer (Cantwell) on the left wing. Cantwell would play more like a playmaker I would feel as he doesn't have the pace that Mbeumo has (albeit he isn't that much quicker).

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8 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

I was scouting Mbeumo to find out the same thing. Being a left footer will change how he moves as well compared to a right footer (Cantwell) on the left wing. Cantwell would play more like a playmaker I would feel as he doesn't have the pace that Mbeumo has (albeit he isn't that much quicker).

What I particularly like about Cantwell is his movement (16 OFtB). He offers a lot from the flank on the counters, combined with his skill and fair pace. Below is a prime example against Chelsea:


GWYgdAQ.gif

 

Edited by engamohd
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I guess this is an issue to leave comfort zone of familiar formation 4231, but when you feel comfortable in 4411 this is a free to realize huge potential of this solid shape :thup:
Actually sometimes I play 4141 instead 4141 (433) :mad: Anyway thanks for sharing, great work!

p.s. nice red glasses btw ;) 

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35 minutes ago, engamohd said:

What I particularly like about Cantwell is his movement (16 OFtB). He offers a lot from the flank on the counters, combined with his skill and fair pace. Below is a prime example against Chelsea:

GWYgdAQ.gif
GWYgdAQ.gif

 

Does Cantwell have Tries Tricks? The movement there is really good through the channels. Showing what is possible with few instructions is immense here. Also, it really shows PPM's really well.

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1 hour ago, nick1408 said:

@engamohd Good thread. I've read it a couple of times and also your The Forest of Nottinghamshire thread (and website). If I am interpreting correctly the WM-At is the attacking threat on the left along with the TM-At. I also noticed you recruited a player who typically wouldn't be seen as a TM (as you state that you look for CF's). While all your TI's make a lot of sense is there any particular player instructions you use to get the movement of Sarr like the gif above (he looks to be sitting narrow before dribbling to the byline before delivering the cross. Neither of those instructions are default for a WM-At)? Even in the second goal Mbeumo seems to be attacking the box a lot harder than I would usually expect from an IW-At and the #6 (Cook?) also seems to be lingering around inside the box looking for the second ball opportunities.

 

I am hoping to transition to a 4-4-1-1 from a 4-1-4-1 with Everton. My plan was to use a SS but after seeing the AMC in the first gif it is making me reconsider my options. He holds his position and three players while the play operates around him, essentially letting the striker do as he likes. It's this type of movement that makes me think either PI's are helping or specific PPM's. Whatever it is I like what I see!

Unless the OP has made him unlearn it Mbuemo has the "Gets into opposition area" PPM, which is probably having an impact on his movement.

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18 minutes ago, Novem9 said:

I guess this is an issue to leave comfort zone of familiar formation 4231, but when you feel comfortable in 4411 this is a free to realize huge potential of this solid shape :thup:
Actually sometimes I play 4141 instead 4141 (433) :mad: Anyway thanks for sharing, great work!

p.s. nice red glasses btw ;) 

True, I really dislike how most players just default to a 4231, deeper formations offer a lot more.

I hate the fact that FM calls 433 a 4141 DM Wide - maybe we are just a bit pedantic haha

 

These glasses make me feel like Klopp ;)

Cheers!

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15 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

Does Cantwell have Tries Tricks? The movement there is really good through the channels. Showing what is possible with few instructions is immense here

Yes he does.

1 minute ago, zZzZzZzZzZzZzZz said:

Unless the OP has made him unlearn it Mbuemo has the "Gets into opposition area" PPM, which is probably having an impact on his movement.

He does have it, but Cantwell does not, and offer similar movement too. Thank you for the note, I'd start Cantwell on learning it...

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@engamohd Did you use a low/medium height TM ?

I rarely used this role , for now I test a tactic with this. My strikers are high, but I dont focus for crossing
Looks like in this way no difference for TM about 175-185-195 cm?

I really like to use TM because offball moving is amazing, Have no idea why I ignore this role so long :) 

Edited by Novem9
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3 hours ago, Novem9 said:

@engamohd Did you use a low/medium height TM ?

I rarely used this role , for now I test a tactic with this. My strikers are high, but I dont focus for crossing
Looks like in this way no difference for TM about 175-185-195 cm?

I really like to use TM because offball moving is amazing, Have no idea why I ignore this role so long :) 

I like taller ones, ideally 185+cm, although I'd accept 180cm as the bare minimum. The idea is that TM will attract long balls from deep, and if the striker is able to control it, 90% of the time it turs out to a quick dangerous attack.

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2 hours ago, nick1408 said:

@engamohd With the Jansen signing do you plan to adjust the crossing from mixed to maybe low to counter his jumping and height?

He isn't the quickest striker around to go low; I left the crossing at mixed. I am happy with how he is able to win long balls from our defense and goalkeeper and get our attack into the game when we play it long. 

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Nice thread, I've been thinking of trying a 4411 with Roma or AC Milan and was wondering about the WM-A, is it best for their strongest foot to be the side they play on or the opposite? I was thinking Zaniolo could be good for the role and he is left footed

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