Jump to content
Sports Interactive Community
ClaudioAFC

4231 or How I finished a season without losing a match

Recommended Posts

I've been a long reader of this forum, but never really posted anything.
I've read a lot of the posts here (most notably the Art of Possession Football by Cleon, amongst others) and took a few tips here and there.

I've created a club on a Portuguese Premier League, using Nacional da Madeira (a very small team on FM with no budget for transfers or wages) and it took me a few years to make it a powerful club.
On one of my seasons, I've managed to make a whole season without losing a match.

I did a lot of experimentation with it for several seasons, until it was perfected to my liking.
It relies a lot on the quality of the Wing backs (Pace, Stamina, Crossing and Marking) and also the decision making of the AMC (Decision, First Touch, Passing, Long Shots).
I would like to point out that at this moment, I have a high quality team with great attributes, very determined and fast.
For several seasons I played with a Defensive Midfielder instead of an Attacking Midfielder, but there was always lack of support in the middle for the Striker. So I tweaked it, and it became much more stable with an AMC.
It should work well for medium-sized teams, but the small teams might struggle.

Here's the tactic itself:

Tactic.thumb.jpg.8bafba7d79735862131cbcbf0cbfcc30.jpg

Counter mentality might seem counter-intuitive, but it gives more stability at the back to compensate the high defense.
Structured shape is great to encourage players to keep it simple. However, I do change it to "Fluid" when I'm struggling on a match, this does seem to push the opposite side to areas that they are not supposed to be.

Instructions.thumb.jpg.7f27edacd636b38c07427947955c8b3c.jpg

As you can see, the Defensive line is the highest possible, which congests the space on the opposite side. Width is stretched so that the players can find better spaces.
The problem with high or low tempos was that the players would either loose the ball too often or just waste opportunities, so I kept it normal. "Work Ball Into Box" is due to the same reason, my attackers used to waste too many balls.
I do like to Play out of Defence though, it keeps the possession more stable.
However, due to the space I have at the back, I want my players to press as soon as they loose the ball. This makes the opponents rush or waste opportunities to attack.

For a long time, I used to have an asymmetrical shape (just one Winger with Attack, the opposite winger on Support, etc.) but I noticed that many times, specially due to the Preferred Foot or Player Traits, this didn't always worked well, so I decided to keep it symmetric on both sides.

Another thing I rely a lot is on Player Instructions. The more control I have over the players way of play, the better. So, starting from the back:

Sweeper Keeper (Defend)

 GK.thumb.jpg.1225b32a31b520c351859b7f5db7414f.jpg
- Fewer Risky Passes
- Distribute to Full Backs

- Roll it Out 
Goes out of the goal if necessary, doesn't waste possession, starts the attack from the wings and passes the ball to a nearby player if the wings are marked.

Complete Wing Back Right/Left (Attack)
CWB.thumb.jpg.50e7f54446c232806543cb4493140935.jpg
Shoot Less Often
Close Down More
-Tackle Harder
Mark Tighter
- More Direct Passes
- More Risky Passes
Keeps pressure on the wings, aggressive at the back and closing opposition opportunities, finds opportunities to start the attack and doesn't shoot as much at the front.

Ball Playing Defender (Defend)
CD.thumb.jpg.c871bc17b6918e65e1e61d8730416bca.jpg
- Shoot less often
- Tackle Harder
- Close Down Much More

The Central Defenders always stay at the back, taking the ball away from the opposite attack as soon as possible. Very aggressive as well.

Ball Winning Midfielder (Support)
BWM.thumb.jpg.2f3fd06e532ee87eeb746c48ebb57ef2.jpg
- Shoot less often
- Dribble Less
- More Risky Passes

The main function of the Ball Winning Midfielder is to support the defenders, not wasting possession with dribbles but finding players to exploit the opposition

Deep Lying Playmaker (Support)
DLP.thumb.jpg.a7fed5f305eddfedda24cfbb8627aafc.jpg
- Dribble Less
- More Risky Passes

Another midfielder to support both the Defense and the Attacking areas of the team

Inside Forward Right/Left (Support)
IF.thumb.jpg.a240dbc1ddc72b5de07eb6c5029e1f50.jpg
- Shoot Less Often
- Tackle Harder
- Mark Tighter

I experimented a lot with this. I noticed that, due to the attacking mentality of the Wing Backs, I needed to have the Wingers more close to the center, but every time they were close to the area they were shooting from a distance. So, they are there to keep support to the Striker and the Wing Backs when necessary. They still shoot when an opportunity arrives, but not so often as before.

Advanced Playmaker (Support)
AMC.thumb.jpg.6ca220864ff7eec4f326ea08990b35e4.jpg
- Tackle Harder
- Mark Tighter

This is the team main creator. He's always there to support the Striker and the Inside Forwards, but also deviates a bit from position to support the midfield. Plays very close to the Central Midfielders when we don't have the ball, but is there at the attack close to the Penalty Area. Great for second chance shots, or when the Striker is marked heavily.

Complete Forward (Attack)
ST.thumb.jpg.dfccd26170a1d75ca48da70cc0b58669.jpg
- Shoots Less Often
- Tackle Harder
- Mark Tighter

He's the main scorer. However, many times he tried to shoot from a distance or straight away, so the Shoots Less Often does bring some stability to this. He's always at the front, ready to score.


EXAMPLES:
Defending from the front
Example-1.thumb.jpg.41cb6170c363b5cf9f952aaaa8757ad2.jpg 
As you can see, all my team (except the CD's) are at the opposition side. They lost the ball, but the team is pressing straight away. The Wing Backs are coming back to their position, and the Central Defenders are ready to press the Striker right at the center of the pitch.

Defending from the center
Example-2.thumb.jpg.79c53c4787359a23c017dfacafaac4c9.jpg
Now the team is more evenly shaped. The back four are at their marking areas. The AMC is going into position to press the player with the ball. The other two midfielders are marking the opposition midfield. The opposition will either have to pass long, or stop the play.

Attacking from the back/center
Example-3.thumb.jpg.4fb32790f4b80c3bbfc26ae228855e36.jpg 
The midfielder has several options to pass. When attacking from the middle, there's always at least two options to pass the ball. The Inside forward is finding position, and the Complete Wing Backs are getting ready to go forward through the wings.

Example-4.thumb.jpg.68597d34dd636040aa68d21cddebe401.jpg
On another example, you can see that the CWB is already very high on the pitch. The AMC now has an option to either play to the Striker that has no marking, or send the ball to the wings. The Inside Forward is starting to push to the center, as the Wing Back is getting the flanks covered for the attack.

Attacking from the wings
Example-5.thumb.jpg.653c0fabb2940af782805399d1147799.jpg
The CWB has the ball. He's ready to cross. The Striker is there, but if he misses the chance, the Inside Forward is going there as well. The AMC is finding position to cover the hole. Defenders are always at the back in case the chance is missed.

The problem
Example-6.thumb.jpg.fff503744864ef88ec9108f6c4d60a4e.jpg
Here is one of the problems of this tactic. Because we play so upfront, the CWB is going to mark the player with the ball. However, the opposite striker has plenty of space to attack. That's why the team as a whole needs to have high attributes on the physical side.

 

So, this was basically the tactic that I used the whole season. It's based on attack and pressing.
More often than not, my back gets a few yellow cards during the season, but you can always remove the option Tackle Harder and see how it works for you.
The Wing Backs need good physical attributes, and the two Midfielders should be good at defending.

I kept using this tactic the following seasons, but from time to time I had to tweak some options because the AI seemed to figure out some of the way of play (Specially the teams that park the bus).
Also, the updates of FM kept me having to make some changes here and there.
But if I struggle, I mostly change the shape from Structured to Fluid, and also add the option to Retain Possession and Pass Into Space. It does push the opposite team to leave their positions, and my team doesn't waste as many balls at the front but sometimes there's not much you can do.

It worked out for me, maybe it will work out for you too.

Table.jpg

 

 

Edited by ClaudioAFC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This post has really helped me. I too have transitioned from 4-3-2-1 to 4-2-3-1, changing the DM to an AM. However, I was struggling to replicate what i wanted in my head into practical terms on the pitch. You're playing exactly the same way I want to. Fast, aggressive short passing football with a goal-scoring striker and attacking full-backs.

 

I've made a couple of adjustments that better suit my team (no sweeper keeper, one central defender and ball-playing defender, and wing-backs instead of complete wing-backs). I'm also more fond of playing on fluid and being less restrictive with creative freedom. I do feel however that the AM is an important position and I've been unhappy with how mine are performing. Neither of them are naturals in the position though, maybe that is the case. They are also both young (18 & 21) and need time to improve.

 

In any case, I feel like you've given me a good base with some of your ideas and feel comfortable expanding on them to get the most out of my own crop of players. So thanks, and congrats on your unbeaten season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have played a 4231 same as you with my Notts County team in League 2 since i signed a quality AM on a free, a Brazilian by the name of Rafael Bondi, i discovered him after i signed a scout with knowledge of Italy where Bondi was playing...unbelievably for an amateur club so i didnt have to pay a transfer fee or compensation. Won every game since with this formation and playing a possession style, possession has ranged from a minimum of 56% to up to 73% in all the games.

I've read on here that theres' no magic tactic in FM, but now i'm starting to think that isnt true, and that the 4231 possession is maybe somewhat a "cheat" lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/20/2017 at 10:24, Impale said:

I've made a couple of adjustments that better suit my team (no sweeper keeper, one central defender and ball-playing defender, and wing-backs instead of complete wing-backs). I'm also more fond of playing on fluid and being less restrictive with creative freedom. I do feel however that the AM is an important position and I've been unhappy with how mine are performing. Neither of them are naturals in the position though, maybe that is the case. They are also both young (18 & 21) and need time to improve.

I'm glad it helped.
Yeah I kept making adjustments until that season were everything went perfect.
I didn't had any decent AM's (the one I had was too young), but I had a ST that had the attributes that I was looking for on an AM (above average Passing, First Touch, Decisions for a striker) and re-trained him to that position, about 1 season prior to this one. He became one of the most important players I've ever had. 
 

 

On 3/20/2017 at 16:11, cns180784 said:

I have played a 4231 same as you with my Notts County team in League 2 since i signed a quality AM on a free, a Brazilian by the name of Rafael Bondi, i discovered him after i signed a scout with knowledge of Italy where Bondi was playing...unbelievably for an amateur club so i didnt have to pay a transfer fee or compensation. Won every game since with this formation and playing a possession style, possession has ranged from a minimum of 56% to up to 73% in all the games.

I've read on here that theres' no magic tactic in FM, but now i'm starting to think that isnt true, and that the 4231 possession is maybe somewhat a "cheat" lol.

I guess it does work well for smaller teams after all.
I'd like to point out as well that the training and scouting coaches are very important to find the best players for the tactic.

 ATL-Training.thumb.jpg.d66d89e8169ea9aae41ed9790c71530f.jpgATL-Scouts.thumb.jpg.3ea3e85db43553c9266b7d83fcbeeb36.jpgATL-Team.thumb.jpg.c1eac9083dc43fc4eaa3d98a0e89b45e.jpg

Right now, I'm starting the season in 2037 and you'll notice that none of my coaches have less than 4 starts on their assigned department. Even my scouting team have high attributes on the Player Potential and Ability departments, but I don't use too many of them.
I also don't have too many players for the same position, I like to keep the teams small and focus on the players that are going to play, even giving a chance to the youth players.
It keeps the wages lower and the board happy, and the players stay happy too as I end up using all of them on my matches during the season.

What I do at the opening of the transfer market, is to see which players my scouts found that are less than 18 years old, see their attributes and potential, and try to buy the best ones for the future.
I also avoid the percentage of future transfers every time, so that I can get all the future profit for the player.
Very often I buy players for about 5 Million max, between 16 and 18 years old, and sell the ones who are not going to take the First Team status 2 seasons later for about 40+ Million to the likes of Barcelona, Manchester City, etc... (I also add the 50% profit of the next transfer if possible when selling players until the age of 26, it adds even more money to the club in case their next club sells them).

 

 

On 3/20/2017 at 18:20, nextqprmanager said:

ClaudioAFC, good post, interesting. Did you test this with a real team?

I do think that good players` will make the difference in most tactics.

Thank you.
I usually start a game and stick with it for several months/seasons.
But I will eventually use it on a future save, once I get tired of this one.
I've been testing it now (in 2037) with the Portugal national squad.
They used to play a Defensive 4-5-1 and it's been taking a while for them to adapt to my type of play.
POR-Tactics.thumb.jpg.103133c940eff839c41e5be190e3cb98.jpg

Also, the ability of them in general is lower than my own squad, although there is potential to some players on the youth ranks. However, except for my Wing Backs, I have good players on the key areas of this formation.
POR-Team.thumb.jpg.3691205e64b6f1cfddedd3b70b8fea9d.jpg
Many of the best players on the team retired early, but I managed to convince 2 of them to return to the National team, and they are making a difference at the moment (AMC/ST).
POR-Schedule.thumb.jpg.bbab73602be7d6d5cbd02ecf75dd1473.jpg

My first match with Portugal was against Russia, and we lost 2-0 (Players were adapting with the new tactic, it was snowing, etc...).
But after that, I've won all the matches so far.
Granted, many of them were against lower national teams, but if you see for instance, the match against Germany (which is ranked 2nd on my game), we kinda dominated them and won 2-0 (9 shots on target against 4 from them, 59% Possession, 81% of passes completed and 86% of tackles won).
I'm gonna keep using this tactic and see how it goes.

 

On 3/20/2017 at 19:07, Martin2007rfc said:

Looks a good tactic i have same accept the two cbs are normal a have one 2 drawn 2 with man utd so far with it

I tried using normal Central Defenders, as it seems to be hard to find good Ball Playing Defenders on my game, but I noticed during the matches that they were wasting too many balls, often throwing them away to the sideline, no matter how much I changed their instructions.
I changed it to Ball Playing Defenders and noticed that they were "smarter" with the ball, often starting counter attacks and sending the ball forward to the correct players.
But if the CD's are working for you, there's no need to change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have just thrown something together following your guidelines, so far so good.

Couple of questions, though:

- Do you use opposition instructions during the match?

- Do you change your set up when playing away from home and the odds are against you?

Cheers for what looks to be the start of a great tactic! :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, mctommyp said:

Couple of questions, though:

- Do you use opposition instructions during the match?

- Do you change your set up when playing away from home and the odds are against you?

Cheers for what looks to be the start of a great tactic! :)

 

Hello.
- I let the Assistant Manager deal with the opposition instructions, and even do the team talks (except when I make a substitution on half time). He has high attributes on Tactical Knowledge, Motivation and Man Management and his Preferred Formation is on a similar shape to the one I use, so he knows what to do.
ATL-Assistant-Manager.thumb.jpg.c893ba8e3b3b5954ba2834578e27cfdf.jpg

- No, I don't change the setup based on playing away or at home.
However, I do change the tactic to "Fluid" when I'm struggling on a match, and sometimes even add Retain Formation and/or Pass Into Space. It's the only changes I do during the match, apart from the substitutions.
As I don't have any other tactic trained on my squad, I don't want to deviate too much and keep the tactic familiarity that they're used to play.
Lately I've been experimenting with changing the Defensive Line to Normal or Slightly Deeper when I'm losing or struggling at half time. Instead of pressing so intensely, the opposition ends up going slightly forward and that opens more spaces on my team to counter attack, or even keep the match less congested at the opposite side of the field (Their attackers/attacking midfielders seem to give more space to my own midfielders to operate). Even if it's just one or two midfield players on my team that get more space, they tend to end up creating better chances.

Edited by ClaudioAFC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...