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Improving my 4-3-3

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I'm almost new to the FM series and want to ask the more experienced FM players for their opinion to improve my 4-3-3 system i use with Bayer Leverkusen. Leverkusen is famous for using fast wingers with good dribbling skills. My goal is to play a vertical tiki taka system and to implement those fast wingers as good as possible. I prefer 1 IW and 1 IF. I like to overload the left side of the pitch to isolate the IF on the right side with moderate success :-( The other problem I notice is that I almost have every time less possesion than my opponents.  So i would like to ask you guys for some tweaks and useful tips. Thanks in advance.

I use the following PIs:

AF: close down more 

IW: stay wider, close down more / Traits: Plays killer balls, switch ball to other flank,  dribble more often

IF: close down more 

MEZ: close down more / gets into opposition area / runs through centre

WBs: cross less often / 


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If you want more possession I'd recommend lowering the mentality and removing the "counter" instruction. It may also be worth experimenting with a striker who is more inclined to be part of the build up (DLF, CF, TQ, etc).

How are your results looking?

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Your tactic is set up for quick transitions from front to back rather than keeping the ball. 

The BPD will be risky with his passing and sometimes will bypass your entire midfield with a pass (also Tah has appalling vision and subpar passing, I'd take him off this role, he will give the ball away a lot). Your DLP has few options, either he passes to the advancing WB or he goes backwards. How many touches does the Mez get? I have a feeling he'll go missing in this set up but correct me if I'm wrong. The AF is a good role in this system but he won't help your build up as much as the DLF-A would. 

The counter instruction doesn't make much sense to me. On attacking with a high line you are pressed into the oppositions half, where is the space to counter? 

I'd take off the counter instruction, rethink the two midfield roles (I personally prefer an AP as one of the 2 in a 4-3-3 rather than a DLP) and try out a DLF-A to see if he can help your build up. On attacking your players will be very risk with the ball, even with the shorter passing enabled. The WBs definitely have high individual mentality so they won't try and recycle the ball. 

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Thank you guys for the first tips. I'll definitely change the BPD to a CD until i have better defensive players with better passing and vision. I will also change the DLP to AP on support and try the DLF with an attack duty,  Counter instruction will also be removed.

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If you want to overload one side of the pitch I would focus play to that side. Rather than the middle. This way your players will move into this space and look to pass here more than the other side you are looking to exploit when the 1v1/2v1 becomes clear.

i would consider making the RCM a DLP(D) to cover so you can add an attack duty to right wing back so that when you exploit that side he backs up the IF and really helps with outnumbering the full back. 

on the other side I would be tempted to use an AP on support to link with the IW you could also ask to look for overlap this side to encourage the wing back to get higher up in the overload and the IW to hold the ball up more. You have a DM to do his covering and with a DLP(d) it gives you two players covering if you are to lose the ball high up with wing backs advanced.

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From my experience, going attacking means you are going to lose possession frequently because your players are playing in a more risky manner: making more forward runs and more direct and quick passes. I always have to compensate by telling players to get stuck in to get the ball back faster.

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This is very similar to what I currently use, but I'm rubbish at the game so no point me contributing. Apart from to say I too call this 4-3-3 as to me it's obvious - but the game (FM20, at least) calls this 4141.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not too dissimilar to my system with Everton and I’ve just won the EPL and got to the semis of the CL. My midfield trio are setup differently but the outcome is the same. The main changes that I would make are:

Attacking -> Positive 

Drop the Underlaps and let your players make their own decisions 

Drop Play through the middle 

add WBIB if necessary to control the ball better in the final third 

add Pass Into Space for away games and home games as underdog


edit- don’t worry too much about possession so long as the opposition don’t have too much in your 1/3 of the pitch 

Edited by facman
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