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The travesty that is the AI 4-2-3-1 tactic - an urgent fix is needed!

95 posts in this topic

I have yet to win the Premier League with Bradford, although this season (18-19) I am closer than ever. Mourinho's Manchester City seemed invincible, rarely ever giving up points and he had built up a strong squad with signings like C.Ronaldo, Alaba, Neymar, Sigurdsson and Modric. He used an Italian-style 4-3-1-2 tactic which was a struggle to break down. Then the 22nd of February 2019 things changed; he left for Juventus, and City hired Laurent Blanc who is using a 4-2-3-1 tactic which I suspected would make things much easier for me in the future.

Lo and behold, his debut match is the Champions League 1st knockout round away vs Inter. They lost 4-2 and were overrun. "Well, could be debut nerves" I thought, fearing strong opposition in the upcoming League Cup Final vs... you guessed it - City-

Nothing to fear, though; they were as chanceless as I hoped they would be. The space my forwards is given is baffling, and the ease with which I create chances vs this arguably stronger side just horrifies me and takes the joy out of the good performance... it isn't me being good it is them not being given a fighting chance. It's like stealing candy from infants!

Look at this image

abadtacticcity.png[/img]

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Fair enough - it is in the 86th minute and they are pushing forward for goals, but that gigantic space in between their midfield and attack has been present the whole match, and after every attack where I win the ball in my defensive zone I get to run straight at their defense with all four forwards/wingers and there is nothing they can do about it as long as their tactic is as unbalanced as this.

abadtacticcitystats.png

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Here's the PKM if anyone wants to watch:

http://www.gamefront.com/files/21345635/Man+City+v+Bradford.pkm

***********

This tactic is supposed to be one of the most balanced ones in modern football! It is used by many strong sides particularly in Spain (Barcelona comes to mind), and it is strong because it is both a 4-5-1 and a 4-3-3 when defending and attacking respectively. In FM it is unimpressive when attacking and horrible when defending because all three midfielders are unable to both find space and to cover space at any given time, while the wingers function neither as wide strikers nor as midfielders, leaving the four defenders and the striker to influence the game in any relevant fashion. Unsurprisingly, playing against this tactic is like playing against a 5-man side and a keeper.

SI needs to tighten up this tactic in order to maintain realism, as it is a common tactic globally. I think it needs to be much more narrow, the two MC's must be set to much more defensive duties and the defensive line must be much higher with more aggressive defenders. Alternatively, they can change the tactic to the version with two defensive midfielders with support duties (minimum), as that is a much better tactic both when it comes to balance and realism.

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The problem with 4-2-3-1 is that if the 3 are AMR/AMC/AML they do not track back or defend as a unit like they do irl & when forming up at a restart (goal kick or free kick) they take up a position too high up the field.

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The problem with 4-2-3-1 is that if the 3 are AMR/AMC/AML they do not track back or defend as a unit like they do irl & when forming up at a restart (goal kick or free kick) they take up a position too high up the field.

Yeah, the four up front are to be considered strikers (just like my tactic), so they do no defensive work at all unless the team defends very deep. On top of that, the two midfielders just runs around doing nothing worthwhile whatsoever! They don't mark, they don't cover space, they don't find space, they don't close down, they don't create chances and they don't finish at goal... They are the greatest problem of the tactic imo - they need to be there for a reason, and right now they are absolutely worthless. As defensive midfielders they would at least close down, be available for passes and cover space.

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IMO the ME is very good at delivering a solid simulation of attacking play, where it falls down is in the transition from attack to defence & it is utterly woeful at simulating even the basics of defending.

Without knowing the make-up of the ME team this is purely guesswork on my part but I have a feeling that like many football fans they are blinkered by a desire to see the perfect attacking game & have less appreciation or knowledge about the art of defending.

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I have yet to win the Premier League with Bradford, although this season (18-19) I am closer than ever. Mourinho's Manchester City seemed invincible, rarely ever giving up points and he had built up a strong squad with signings like C.Ronaldo, Alaba, Neymar, Sigurdsson and Modric. He used an Italian-style 4-3-1-2 tactic which was a struggle to break down. Then the 22nd of February 2019 things changed; he left for Juventus, and City hired Laurent Blanc who is using a 4-2-3-1 tactic which I suspected would make things much easier for me in the future.

Lo and behold, his debut match is the Champions League 1st knockout round away vs Inter. They lost 4-2 and were overrun. "Well, could be debut nerves" I thought, fearing strong opposition in the upcoming League Cup Final vs... you guessed it - City-

Nothing to fear, though; they were as chanceless as I hoped they would be. The space my forwards is given is baffling, and the ease with which I create chances vs this arguably stronger side just horrifies me and takes the joy out of the good performance... it isn't me being good it is them not being given a fighting chance. It's like stealing candy from infants!

Look at this image

abadtacticcity.png[/img]

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Fair enough - it is in the 86th minute and they are pushing forward for goals, but that gigantic space in between their midfield and attack has been present the whole match, and after every attack where I win the ball in my defensive zone I get to run straight at their defense with all four forwards/wingers and there is nothing they can do about it as long as their tactic is as unbalanced as this.

abadtacticcitystats.png

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Here's the PKM if anyone wants to watch:

http://www.gamefront.com/files/21345635/Man+City+v+Bradford.pkm

***********

This tactic is supposed to be one of the most balanced ones in modern football! It is used by many strong sides particularly in Spain (Barcelona comes to mind), and it is strong because it is both a 4-5-1 and a 4-3-3 when defending and attacking respectively. In FM it is unimpressive when attacking and horrible when defending because all three midfielders are unable to both find space and to cover space at any given time, while the wingers function neither as wide strikers nor as midfielders, leaving the four defenders and the striker to influence the game in any relevant fashion. Unsurprisingly, playing against this tactic is like playing against a 5-man side and a keeper.

SI needs to tighten up this tactic in order to maintain realism, as it is a common tactic globally. I think it needs to be much more narrow, the two MC's must be set to much more defensive duties and the defensive line must be much higher with more aggressive defenders. Alternatively, they can change the tactic to the version with two defensive midfielders with support duties (minimum), as that is a much better tactic both when it comes to balance and realism.

just check my thread and see my results with the 4231 deep. since 2 years, its been one of the best tactics out in the community. so its enough to say, that you can have success with this tactic :D

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just check my thread and see my results with the 4231 deep. since 2 years, its been one of the best tactics out in the community. so its enough to say, that you can have success with this tactic :D

But you're not simulated or a machine, or are you?

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I agree and I have previously attempted to open a dialogue about this on the bugs forum.

The problem, as you point out, is that the AML/AMR act like strikers when they should act like ML/MR just pushed higher up the pitch.

The ME, thus, operates under the assumption that the trade-off of using AML/AMR is that you get two "wide forwards" who will only defend under the most defensive settings.

In reality, the trade-off of using AML/AMR is that they will have to expend more energy tracking back to defend, will more often expose the team on the counter, and, due to the game's attribute weighting, will generally be less defensively competent than a standard ML/MR player.

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AI tactics and managers squad building and rotation is something that SI need to revamp for further releases...

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just check my thread and see my results with the 4231 deep. since 2 years, its been one of the best tactics out in the community. so its enough to say, that you can have success with this tactic :D

This is not a question of whether success can be achieved with the tactic. Obviously, players can tweak the formation to make an ultra-attacking super-tactic just as you can achieve success with a 424 or 4-1-0-3-2. Overloading the AI offensively and exploiting its limitations will net you lots of 5-2, 4-1 results, but it's not realistic and doesn't even remotely reflect what a 4231 looks like in real life.

And if you're in a league where almost all of the top managers use 4231 or 433 (like la Liga), then obviously, the AI 4231's defensive problems will make these super-tactics all-the-more effective.

Additionally, due to other factors (man management, generally superior players, etc.), success is conceivably attainable with all but the silliest formations.

For this reason, the AI, with proper man management and some luck, can also achieve success with the 4231. However, it is unbalanced due to the defensive problems, overly vulnerable to AI tactics that pack the midfield or use attacking fullbacks and incredibly easy for an experienced player to counter. Ultimately, AI managers that use more balanced formations (442, 4312, etc.) will be more successful on the whole and offer a greater challenge to the player. In fact, I've made my games far more difficult by editing the database so teams like Barca and Arsenal use 4312 or the "narrow" 4231 instead.

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I wrote several times on this issue to no avail. AI AML/Rs do not track back, they don't even close down FBs. At times they seem catatonic. Lack of formation transformation and ability to instruct FBs, MC, WM or W to make forward runs in turns makes it even worse defensively. It should be normal that one FB charges forward while other stays back to form 3 men defense line (as DCL, DC, DCR)!

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I use a 4-2-3-1 and i get my aml/amr to track back. I just set their marking up to man mark the fb.

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I use a 4-2-3-1 and i get my aml/amr to track back. I just set their marking up to man mark the fb.

For players, there are workarounds (setting mentality low helps) but the AI doesn't do this.

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Split offensive/defensive mentality is another badly missed feature. As some tactics need players to take risk defensively to regain possession as soon as possible and then play cautions in offense to retain it as long as possible or the other way around (where it is needed that players defend cautiously but take adventurous and risky approach in attack).

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This is not a question of whether success can be achieved with the tactic. Obviously, players can tweak the formation to make an ultra-attacking super-tactic just as you can achieve success with a 424 or 4-1-0-3-2. Overloading the AI offensively and exploiting its limitations will net you lots of 5-2, 4-1 results, but it's not realistic and doesn't even remotely reflect what a 4231 looks like in real life.

And if you're in a league where almost all of the top managers use 4231 or 433 (like la Liga), then obviously, the AI 4231's defensive problems will make these super-tactics all-the-more effective.

Additionally, due to other factors (man management, generally superior players, etc.), success is conceivably attainable with all but the silliest formations.

For this reason, the AI, with proper man management and some luck, can also achieve success with the 4231. However, it is unbalanced due to the defensive problems, overly vulnerable to AI tactics that pack the midfield or use attacking fullbacks and incredibly easy for an experienced player to counter. Ultimately, AI managers that use more balanced formations (442, 4312, etc.) will be more successful on the whole and offer a greater challenge to the player. In fact, I've made my games far more difficult by editing the database so teams like Barca and Arsenal use 4312 or the "narrow" 4231 instead.

currenty in my everton save, Ive managed to only concede 5 goals in 11 games and only score 18 goals. had a lot of 1-0s 2-0 2-1... in my villarreal save, I had the best defence in the league and the 4th best offence. so, still enough to show, that its not right. it all depends on your settings. can you show me one team, which plays this 4231 as you do? all these big teams are playing a 4231 with 2 holding midfielders and not central midfielders. germany did it with schweinsteiger and khedira, real is doing it with khedira and xabi, inter did it with cambiasso and motta when they won the champions league. no team in the world is playing this formation with two central midfielders. it would mean suicide. would be too attacking and thats, what is unrealistic. how about trying it with two DMCs?

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The problem with 4-2-3-1 is that if the 3 are AMR/AMC/AML they do not track back or defend as a unit like they do irl & when forming up at a restart (goal kick or free kick) they take up a position too high up the field.

The formation you set up is the defensive one.

If you want players to track and defend like the RL 451/433 then you need to set it up as a 451 not a 433 or 4231.

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I wrote several times on this issue to no avail. AI AML/Rs do not track back, they don't even close down FBs. At times they seem catatonic. Lack of formation transformation and ability to instruct FBs, MC, WM or W to make forward runs in turns makes it even worse defensively. It should be normal that one FB charges forward while other stays back to form 3 men defense line (as DCL, DC, DCR)!

my experience tells me, that it all depends on whether your players are motivated or not. its not only for the attacking midfielders, when youve used the wrong team talk, or your players morales are low, then your DMCs, defenders and so on, will also hesitate to go into challenges, to make tackles and so on... I am currently using my fm11 tactic, as its still the same ME, at the beginning, I had a lot of difficulties and got really beaten by lower division teams, because I just couldnt get the right team talks and so on... then Ive found out my own way and now can see completetly different results. not only the results, but my wingers closing down the full backs, my amc is trying to go into these rebound challenges, my DMCs are doing their challenges and my center backs dont watch the opposition striker running free till my own box, much rather try to tackle him away. it all is connected and dependant on morale and team talks. thats what Ive learned in FM12 ;)

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IMO the ME is very good at delivering a solid simulation of attacking play, where it falls down is in the transition from attack to defence & it is utterly woeful at simulating even the basics of defending.

Without knowing the make-up of the ME team this is purely guesswork on my part but I have a feeling that like many football fans they are blinkered by a desire to see the perfect attacking game & have less appreciation or knowledge about the art of defending.

Given how often this is brought up, I think it's less to do with being blinkered, and much more to do with the limitations of the ME. Which is why I'm not holding my breath for a fix, its one of the big things that need to be address in the new ME

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currenty in my everton save, Ive managed to only concede 5 goals in 11 games and only score 18 goals. had a lot of 1-0s 2-0 2-1... in my villarreal save, I had the best defence in the league and the 4th best offence. so, still enough to show, that its not right. it all depends on your settings. can you show me one team, which plays this 4231 as you do? all these big teams are playing a 4231 with 2 holding midfielders and not central midfielders. germany did it with schweinsteiger and khedira, real is doing it with khedira and xabi, inter did it with cambiasso and motta when they won the champions league. no team in the world is playing this formation with two central midfielders. it would mean suicide. would be too attacking and thats, what is unrealistic. how about trying it with two DMCs?

We're not talking about what teams do in real life and we're not talking about a 4231 with two DMCs. I agree that this is a more balanced formation since the two DMCs will usually provide enough cover to compensate for the AML/AMR not tracking back. Still, this is not quite the same as a real 4231 as it does not collapse into a 451 unless you set the AML/AMR to a relatively defensive mentality (which you can't do with the AI since it uses a universal mentality slider, not individual sliders for every player). The closest to a real 4231 is the AI's "4-2-2-1-1". The problem with this is that many AML/AMR players are incapable of simply playing ML/MR.

What we're talking about is the AI's "4231 Denmark" formation with two CMs. This is one of the most common AI formations in the game and, while strong on the attack, it is a defensive shambles. You are right no team in the world plays the AI's "4231 Denmark" and that is why it needs to be fixed.

The formation you set up is the defensive one.

If you want players to track and defend like the RL 451/433 then you need to set it up as a 451 not a 433 or 4231.

But again, the problem is the AI's use of the tactic and the fact that many players who play in a real life 4231/433 are often, in FM, lacking in positional familiarity with ML/MR, meaning you can't just edit 4231 Denmark/433 out of the game.

Again, before anyone chimes in to brag about how they took Crawley to the Champions League with a 4231... that's not the point. This is not about human players. Personally, I've had many hugely successful games using a 4231 with carefully modified individual settings for each position. The issue is (a) the AI's use of the formation and (b) the fact that AML/AMR do not track back realistically enough in any formation.

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I normally struggle against this formation. Averaging a goal every 88 minutes. So I havent noticed it. You are right about the wingers, I never tweaked the sliders for my wingers and they definitely never track back. The room the fullbacks have when attacking is mad, both for me and the AI.

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SI needs to tighten up this tactic in order to maintain realism, as it is a common tactic globally.

I think the common tactic that is used is 4411, with the wingers given an attacking mentality.

4231, at least the 4231 in the game, is pretty much 424 with a striker and a withdrawn forward in the AMC slot. And perhaps it should stay that way for those instances when you need to be using a 424 formation late in the game.

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The formation you set up is the defensive one.

If you want players to track and defend like the RL 451/433 then you need to set it up as a 451 not a 433 or 4231.

We are talking about AI managers here. Human players can use workarounds such as men marking specific and 4-5-1 with forward runs/attacking mentality.

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my experience tells me, that it all depends on whether your players are motivated or not. its not only for the attacking midfielders, when youve used the wrong team talk, or your players morales are low, then your DMCs, defenders and so on, will also hesitate to go into challenges, to make tackles and so on... I am currently using my fm11 tactic, as its still the same ME, at the beginning, I had a lot of difficulties and got really beaten by lower division teams, because I just couldnt get the right team talks and so on... then Ive found out my own way and now can see completetly different results. not only the results, but my wingers closing down the full backs, my amc is trying to go into these rebound challenges, my DMCs are doing their challenges and my center backs dont watch the opposition striker running free till my own box, much rather try to tackle him away. it all is connected and dependant on morale and team talks. thats what Ive learned in FM12 ;)

Again we are talking here about AI managers.

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I think the common tactic that is used is 4411, with the wingers given an attacking mentality.

4231, at least the 4231 in the game, is pretty much 424 with a striker and a withdrawn forward in the AMC slot. And perhaps it should stay that way for those instances when you need to be using a 424 formation late in the game.

See post #52

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We are talking about AI managers here. Human players can use workarounds such as men marking specific and 4-5-1 with forward runs/attacking mentality.

Why is it a problem for the AI.

The fact they are starting with a 4231 formation implies they are not trying to play a hybrid 4411/4231 formation.

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Why is it a problem for the AI.

The fact they are starting with a 4231 formation implies they are not trying to play a hybrid 4411/4231 formation.

Because it is does not reflect real life use of this formation, because it ignores 40 years of football evolution since advent of dynamic systems/hybrid formations and finally because it makes AI managers that use it weak against many common AI formations and extremely poor against sophisticated human formations.

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May I ask what clubs in real life actually use the 4-2-3-1 formation with two CMs? All the clubs I know that play 4-2-3-1 use the deep varient with 2 DMs. I think this should be changed in the DB, since this is the current "big" tactic, instead of the variant with 2 CMs which a lot off managers seem to use.

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The better quality teams that use 4231 have a more attacking CM pairing but they also have the discipline to shift to a defensive role when required, the default version of the formation used by the AI does not appear to have this level of flexibility & it certainly lacks the fluidity that the 5 midfield players offer irl.

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May I ask what clubs in real life actually use the 4-2-3-1 formation with two CMs? All the clubs I know that play 4-2-3-1 use the deep varient with 2 DMs. I think this should be changed in the DB, since this is the current "big" tactic, instead of the variant with 2 CMs which a lot off managers seem to use.

I think it's fine if you set the two central guys to having defensive mentalities, as they don't need to have a starting position right in front of the back four. Often one will be more of a Makelele type while the other will venture forward a little more. I used a 4-2-3-1 to great effect on FM11 and had a defensive ball-winner and the other a central midfielder either on support or defensive (depending on who we were playing) but the issue remains about the '3' not doing any defensive duties or pressuring the opposition defence when they have the ball.

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Why is it a problem for the AI.

The fact they are starting with a 4231 formation implies they are not trying to play a hybrid 4411/4231 formation.

It is a problem for the AI because five out of ten players (all the five midfielders) are not contributing in any way in any phase of the game. The 4-2-3-1 "denmark" formation is very common among top managers and clubs in FM, and it is so weak that it basically cripples the game. It is not such a big problem for smaller clubs because when the AI defends very deep with it, it actually works as a 4-5-1, but big clubs will be favourites and they will attack and the result is that any opposition with reasonably fast midfielders and strikers will run in space towards a backing up defending four, tearing them apart. The tactic is set up with a 20-meter empty space between the midfield and defense, and any tactic which exploits that space will crush the AI using the 4-2-3-1 Wide. Furthermore, it employs plenty of width, making defense even worse as none of the 10 outfield players are in position to help each other.

It's an absolute disaster. But it should be a very strong tactic - very balanced. 9 men defending tightly, 8 men overwhelming the opposition defense with two of them sitting back providing both cover and passing options.

As a side note: surprisingly many posters have seemingly not understood that it is the AI's use of the formation this thread is all about - it is not a problem for us humans to build a strong tactic using this formation. Basically any setup that manages to close that 20-meter gap between midfield and defense will be miles ahead of the standard AI tactic. A quick fix is for SI to simply swap the use of this tactic with the 4-2-0-3-1 (4-2-3-1 deep?) in the database, for both clubs and managers. It is a much more balanced tactic, and thus more realistic.

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I think it's fine if you set the two central guys to having defensive mentalities, as they don't need to have a starting position right in front of the back four. Often one will be more of a Makelele type while the other will venture forward a little more. I used a 4-2-3-1 to great effect on FM11 and had a defensive ball-winner and the other a central midfielder either on support or defensive (depending on who we were playing) but the issue remains about the '3' not doing any defensive duties or pressuring the opposition defence when they have the ball.

Yes defensive mentalities and no forward runs will help, but not enough. Defensive mentalities instruct the players to cover space behind them and not take risks in passing and closing down too early. The problem is that this translates to a passive playing style in FM - they will find themselves in a too forward position and will therefore backtrack until they have covered that space, and in the process they will not try to intercept or tackle the opponents. They will not contribute offensively either, and as I said in the OP - this makes them entirely useless in any phase of modern football:

In the defending phase: they will close down but not tackle (defensive), be in an irrelevant position (support) or they will not close down (attack)

In the transition from defending to attacking phase: they will run forward and not be available for passes (any)

In the attacking phase: they will not join the forwards in the box and they will not cover space in case of loss of possession (any)

In the transition from attacking to defending phase: they will run back to a deep position (defensive), run back to an irrelevant position (support), or they will not run back (attack)

If SI is to use the 4-2-3-1 Wide formation, they need to make sure that MC's are relevant to all the phases of football. I think the only way they can do this is to divide Mentality into Attacking and Defensive Mentality, but meanwhile the 12.3 patch must fix this tactic.

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First you need to understand how the AI chooses the Role/Duty for players.

If the AI uses the best for each player, and chooses the best XI in terms of ability, then it might have an unbalanced formation.

Or it will generate a good formation, then fill it with players. The problem with this approach is that star ratings (which I assume the AI uses) are given per position, not Role/Duty. This might lead to inappropriate choices for roles.

3rd case, the smart way, is that the AI generates the best balanced formation that will fit its players abilities. But that should be a challenge, as it is for the human player, so might be linked to each manager's ability.

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First you need to understand how the AI chooses the Role/Duty for players.

If the AI uses the best for each player, and chooses the best XI in terms of ability, then it might have an unbalanced formation.

Or it will generate a good formation, then fill it with players. The problem with this approach is that star ratings (which I assume the AI uses) are given per position, not Role/Duty. This might lead to inappropriate choices for roles.

3rd case, the smart way, is that the AI generates the best balanced formation that will fit its players abilities. But that should be a challenge, as it is for the human player, so might be linked to each manager's ability.

The AI doesn't use roles or duties. It looks solely at CA, reputation and positional familiarity (though the latter is often ignored, as you can see when players like Javier Hernandez end up playing MR for several seasons). Its tactics are determined by formation and universal settings for things like mentality, creative freedom, passing distance, etc. The AI makes no attempt to build a tactic around the players it has or even to buy players that fit its tactics. The tactics creator and its roles are only used by the player and the player's staff (when making recommendations).

There are also no manager abilities linked with squad selection. Staff CA affects coaching effectiveness, detail in tactical advice and man management, nothing more. Attributes like "Squad Rotation" are only tendencies that determine how often a specific AI manager does something (e.g., rotates players).

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As a side note: surprisingly many posters have seemingly not understood that it is the AI's use of the formation this thread is all about - it is not a problem for us humans to build a strong tactic using this formation. Basically any setup that manages to close that 20-meter gap between midfield and defense will be miles ahead of the standard AI tactic. A quick fix is for SI to simply swap the use of this tactic with the 4-2-0-3-1 (4-2-3-1 deep?) in the database, for both clubs and managers. It is a much more balanced tactic, and thus more realistic.

T. Ivic considered that distance between defense and attack should be no more than 30 m at any given moment, A. Sacchi's ideal was 25 meters from center back to center forward!

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Bringing this up in the bugs forum as well would be a good idea.

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The OP mentioned he started a thread on this subject in the bugs forum, but without any response from SI. My guess is they either fixed the issue, or we raised the subject too late for them to include a fix on the next patch.

So we will most likely see changes in FM 13 if the february patch is the last one for FM 12...

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Bringing this up in the bugs forum as well would be a good idea.
The OP mentioned he started a thread on this subject in the bugs forum, but without any response from SI. My guess is they either fixed the issue, or we raised the subject too late for them to include a fix on the next patch.

So we will most likely see changes in FM 13 if the february patch is the last one for FM 12...

I didn't, but The Hand of God did. It isn't a bug, though - just a tactic that should be changed in order to maintain realism in the game. I doubt SI's programmers are happy with the result.

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T. Ivic considered that distance between defense and attack should be no more than 30 m at any given moment, A. Sacchi's ideal was 25 meters from center back to center forward!

Obviously this will always vary between managers and the players used, but overall for me that AML AMR band doesnt track back enough. Also your general defensive instructions on tracking back are lacking. I dont expect a change for FM12, but i really hope this has been considered for the new ME

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Obviously this will always vary between managers and the players used, but overall for me that AML AMR band doesnt track back enough. Also your general defensive instructions on tracking back are lacking. I dont expect a change for FM12, but i really hope this has been considered for the new ME

The question you need to ask yourself when comparing these formations/players to real life is:

Are these players in real life playing an AML/AMR position and tracking back or are they playing a ML/MR position with high mentality.

Personally I see the hybrid systems in real life converting to players playing ML/MR within FM. As for the AML/AMR positions within FM I can't recall them not tracking the fullbacks when defending and they do take some defensive responsibility when defending. This can be seen when the opposition are in your final third - Your ST in a 4231 is the only player in an advanced position.

The issue then seems to be that different people have a different opinion of how a player in position X should play.

EDIT

Players attributes/style also need to be considered. A player who is a ML/AML will probably track back more from the AML then a player who is a AML/ST.

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The question you need to ask yourself when comparing these formations/players to real life is:

Are these players in real life playing an AML/AMR position and tracking back or are they playing a ML/MR position with high mentality.

Personally I see the hybrid systems in real life converting to players playing ML/MR within FM. As for the AML/AMR positions within FM I can't recall them not tracking the fullbacks when defending and they do take some defensive responsibility when defending. This can be seen when the opposition are in your final third - Your ST in a 4231 is the only player in an advanced position.

The issue then seems to be that different people have a different opinion of how a player in position X should play.

EDIT

Players attributes/style also need to be considered. A player who is a ML/AML will probably track back more from the AML then a player who is a AML/ST.

Thing is I can sort my issues by creating a workaround, but the AI cant. I fully accept that this will vary from player to player and manager to manager, but my view overall, from FM11 and FM12 is that its an area to be worked on. Also that we need more options on the defensive side.

I know there will be some sides IRL who dont particularly rely on their AML/R to track back, but some do, and its not really replicated in FM for the AI

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Obviously this will always vary between managers and the players used, but overall for me that AML AMR band doesnt track back enough. Also your general defensive instructions on tracking back are lacking. I dont expect a change for FM12, but i really hope this has been considered for the new ME

I just tried to illustrate that some FM formations have to much space between the lines as a result of improper implementation of mentality. Mentality directly and indirectly influences player position and off the ball movement along with players defensive and offensive reasoning. This creates all sorts off issues in current ME and huge amount of space between the lines is one of them.

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Personally I see the hybrid systems in real life converting to players playing ML/MR within FM.

I totally agree with this. Most of the "4-2-3-1 Denmark" you see in-game should really be an attacking 4-4-1-1 or 4-2-2-1-1 (2 DMs, ML/MR).

However, for the most part, AI manager tactics are not well researched and do not appear to be well tested. Del Bosque plays a direct passing game, Guardiola uses Messi and Iniesta as wingers (not inverted forwards), Villas-Boas uses a deep defensive line, etc.

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This is clearly a major problem. What is maybe even bigger problem is that AI managers does not take into account opponents weaknesses when deciding which tactic they would use and wich players would be playing before match. Taking this in to consideration, this game is not football manager, because it is only one part who is acting as manager (human). Being football manager is about playing on your streghts and on others weaknesses, and AI doesnt do that. AI managers have one philosophy, and stick with it. When AI doesnt know how to build the team neither, or to by players wich fitts in to that philosophy, then we could, with the great certainty, say that this is not footbal manager. To be honest I do not know what this game is.

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Needless to say, I win the Premier League in Manchester, round 37, after Blanc lost the lead Mourinho had built up. You can see why in this image:

abadtacticcity2.png[/img]

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

I paused the game right there. Let's see if I get another easy goal. *play* ... neh squandered that one. Nevertheless. There are plenty more where they came from. Roughly every time I nick the ball off their aimlessly short-passing feet in nowhere-land (the area in the middle of that image above, where you can see 7 blue-clad superstars within touching distance of each other)...

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Only very rarely should an AI team choose this formation instead of two deep DM's but when they do they need to be able to close that gap between def and mid by playing a high line and defensive minded CM's. I'm sure this has already been said but this is just a +1 for a fix.

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i5495931_compare-jpg

These are the heatmaps and average positions from the first 45 minutes of 4 matches between the same teams (used 45 minutes to prevent fatigue impacting player positions since substitutions would distort the pictures). No tactical adjustments are made except those explained below. The mentality is Attack, Philosophy is Balanced.

The 4411:

DCs are set to Central Defender (Defend)

FBs are set to Full Back (Automatic)

MRC is set to Ball Winning Midfielder (Defend)

MLC is set to Deep Lying Playmaker (Support)

MR/ML are set to Winger (Attack)

AMC is set to Advanced Playmaker (Support)

ST is set to Advanced Forward (Attack)

The 4231DAN instructions are the same as the 4411 except it's the AMR/AML who are set to Winger (Attack).

The 42211 instructions are the same as the 4411 except DMLC is set to Deep Lying Playmaker (Support) and DMRC is set to Defensive Midfielder (Defend).

The 42DM31 instructions are a hybrid of the 4231DAN and 42211 instructions. The AMR/AML are set to Winger (Attack), DMLC is Deep Lying Playmaker (Support) and DMRC is Defensive Midfielder (Defend).

For the 4231 DAN and 42DM31, the AMR/AML average positions make it look like these players behave more like forwards than wingers, since they are so high up the pitch (and perhaps this formation should stay just this way so that the formation is a late game option or a formation against much weaker opposition). So rather than 4231 and 42DM31, they look more like 4213 instead. While the 4411 and 42211 look a little a more like a balanced 4231 formation.

However in a 4231, ideally the wingers should be higher up the pitch than the player in the middle. That is easily achieved with a formation which shifts back the positions in the 4231DAN by one slot. So the midfield becomes DM DM MR MC ML rather than MC MC AMR AMC AML. Here is the heatmap below. The only difference between this and the 42211 is that the AMC is pulled back to MC and given an Advanced Playmaker (Attack) role.

i5495930_4231-real-jpg

So perhaps the 4231 that is probably closest to what it should be isn't even available.

Edit: I should also mention that the exact same players were used in every single case above.

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I didn't, but The Hand of God did. It isn't a bug, though - just a tactic that should be changed in order to maintain realism in the game. I doubt SI's programmers are happy with the result.

If the game isn't behaving as it should, then it's a bug.

If the game is doing something that allows you to exploit them like this, it's a bug.

Please mention it there too :thup:

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In some sense, this is just a data issue as 4231 Denmark was evidently programmed to be a late game, ultra-attacking formation similar to a 424. However, at this point, the assumption that 4231 Denmark is the standard, "real world" 4231 has shaped the database to such an enormous extent that it just makes more sense to treat it as a bug.

EDIT: Fantastic post, perpetua.

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I have to say that I'm using a 4-2-3-1 (2 MC AM R/L/C version) in my Newcastle save and it's yielded 2 6th places in EPL, a League Cup and a win at the Olympics for me.

Perfectly happy with that outcome. Have to say though, that I either keep the system rigid or play a counter mentality as otherwise the tactic is leaking too many goals.

In the OP's case there must be further tactical instructions which disbalance City's team.

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