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robman90

Creating an effective 4-4-2

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I am playing as AFC Wimbledon in my current save and I can't seem to find the right way to play my 4-4-2 tactic.

My players are not great technically but have above average mental and physical stats (stamina and work rate, especially). Because of this I want to play a system that effectively utilities these strengths and weaknesses but right now I am struggling on how to do it. I am trying to play a higher tempo pressing game with more direct passing to suit my team's strengths and weaknesses. Can anyone offer any suggestions on what type of roles, instructions, system etc to play this kind of style.

My current tactics: 9a96ba2313dc6ef7a801032955408239.png21f66bb0fd19d3639c2db005566d4ba8.png3845298eabc8d9c2a4c5c9cf4dc77d2c.png

Edited by robman90

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Your CM pair should be conservative and usually you need a destroyer and eventually a player who moves forward and links with the attack, like a CM (S). On top of that you also use Attacking Mentality which leaves you completely vulnerable at the back.

Edited by Armistice

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First of all, if you use an Attacking mentality, it means that you only want to score goals.
No possession and an increased risk of conceding goals.

 

With that in mind, a couple of suggestions...

-With a structured mentality, your players will contribute to fewer phases of play.
You mentioned your players' strengths are stamina and work rate.
Why don't you try a Flexible/Fluid shape and maybe "Roam From Positions"?

-In defence, why don't you change your Full Backs to Support duty so that they provide more in attack?
-You should remove the "Play Out Defence" instruction because you need the "Pump Ball Into Box" active.
You are playing a fast, direct game. There is no use building from the back. And "Pump Ball Into Box" is great for the Target Man (who? read more).
-Do you have defenders who are fast and good mentally? If yes, you can experiment with a "Slightly Higher/Higher" Defensive Line and "Use Offside Trap".
Don't use the offside trap with a normal defensive line. And if you use it (with a slightly higher/higher defensive line), don't change the centre-back duties to "Stopper" or "Cover". Leave them as "Defend".

-In the middle, you should have one guy who is the "dog" type and is always chasing the opponents and one guy who is a little bit more creative.
Maybe a BWM and a DLP.
That way, the BWM will win the ball back, pass it to your DLP who will then exploit the flanks.
-With this type of 4-4-2 (because there is also the diamond one) you must "Exploit The Flanks", because there is no other way to be effective in attack.
You don't have enough men in the middle and if you lose the ball, you are in trouble.
-Since you chose Flexible/Fluid, you should also choose "Play Much Wider", so to help with exploiting the flanks.
-Since you want to exploit the flanks, you should also aim for "Hit Early Crosses".
After all, your mentality is Attacking, which means that you don't want to waste time with an instruction such as "Look For Overlap", but to attack as soon as you receive the ball.
If your full backs are fast, have good off the ball and crossing attributes, experiment with the default.

-In attack, the best duo is the "big one-little one", like Mitroglou-Jonas (Benfica).
A "big" target man who is physically dominant and a "little one" who is fast and can connect the middle with the attack.
Here you have two options. Either a TM-A and DLF-S or a TM-S and a T-A.

-You can keep the "Closing Down More" and "Pass Into Space" instructions.


Useful player instructions.

For the Full Backs:
-Stay Wider
-Run Wide With Ball
-Cross Aim Target Man

For the DLP:
-More Risky Passes(if he has good Passing, Technique, Decisions, Flair)

For the Wide Midfielders:
-Stay Wider
-Run Wide With Ball
-Cross More Often
-Cross Aim Target Man
-Cross From Deep/Byline=Experiment with this

For the DLF:
-Move Into Channels
-Roam From Position

 

Something like this:

Spoiler

4-4-2_Formation.png4-4-2_Team_Instructions.png

 

Bear in mind, tactics such as the above should be swapped with another one while in a match.
You can't keep attacking for the whole 90 minutes, can you?

 

One last thing.
I don't know any of your players.
You should experiment with the above suggestions.


Hope this helps.

Edited by ilkork

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2 hours ago, robman90 said:

I am playing as AFC Wimbledon in my current save and I can't seem to find the right way to play my 4-4-2 tactic.

My players are not great technically but have above average mental and physical stats (stamina and work rate, especially). Because of this I want to play a system that effectively utilities these strengths and weaknesses but right now I am struggling on how to do it. I am trying to play a higher tempo pressing game with more direct passing to suit my team's strengths and weaknesses. Can anyone offer any suggestions on what type of roles, instructions, system etc to play this kind of style.

Just have a think about your defensive and attacking plans for a second.  Your defensive plan is to press high, you then want to play fast and direct, but if your defensive plan is effective and you win it in there half there won't really be any space to play direct balls behind opponents.

I recommend keeping things simple and gradually building your style, focus on getting the roles and duties right, then adjusting the team and player instructions depending on what you see happening consistently.

I personally wouldn't have all the back 4 on defend duty, I would at least have one FB on support to offer a some extra overlapping threat, especially in a 442.  Since you have two central advanced players typically the central midfield are good defensively+physically, at least one holds position if not both.

Have a read of the FAQs and some of the guides, I think it will help you with what the different settings do.

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4-4-2 isn't necessarily the best formation to press. The Strikers can press the Center Backs fine, okay. But then they can just pass the ball to the Fullbacks, or a Defensive Mid if they have one. If your Wide Midfielder comes up to press their FB, or your CM comes up to press their DM, suddenly that opens up some pretty big holes in your midfield to exploit.

Diego Simeone has his 4-4-2 "wide-press" but that may be difficult to replicate in FM. I think people have sort of done it with Opposition Instructions.

What sort of problems are you having with this formation? I would guess it may be a bit too aggressive at times and leave you exposed defensively.

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Most of the goals I concede is from being outnumbered in the centre of the pitch if the opposition is playing either a DM or a CAM, which shows that I should probably adapt my system to change one of the the strikers in to a central midfield position. I have changed to a higher line to try and counteract this while playing 4-4-2 to reduce the amount of space a DM or CAM has to operate in, but not sure if this will work or not.

Edited by robman90

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3 hours ago, robman90 said:

Most of the goals I concede is from being outnumbered in the centre of the pitch

That 4-4-2 is a bit "90s style".
Olympiacos used to play it very effectively in the 90s.

Nowadays, most teams employ a tactic with 3 at the centre, so you are in trouble...

Why don't you start with the basics:
-Flexible, Higher Tempo, Play Much Wider,
-Normal Defensive Line, Close Down More,
-Exploit The Left & Right Flanks, Pass Into Space, More Direct Passing,
-The PI's I've posted earlier

and build from there?

What you could also do, is to play for some minutes with the 4-4-2 and then switch to a 4-2-3-1 or a more defensive 4-3-3 with a DM (Anchor Man) once you establish the lead.

Edited by ilkork

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18 hours ago, robman90 said:

Most of the goals I concede is from being outnumbered in the centre of the pitch if the opposition is playing either a DM or a CAM, which shows that I should probably adapt my system to change one of the the strikers in to a central midfield position. I have changed to a higher line to try and counteract this while playing 4-4-2 to reduce the amount of space a DM or CAM has to operate in, but not sure if this will work or not.

Mod Edit:-  the following is just nonsense and would normally simply be removed but it's been quoted elsewhere.  See my post below quoting this BS.

Looping Edit: 

The 442 finds it notoriously difficult defending that area, my advice would either be getting central defenders with great mentals, or finding 2 N Golo Kantes for central midfield duty, at least one has to be on defend duty.

I am concerned that you are trying it the hardest way possible with a 442 though. It's technically the most challenging system you could have picked out of the box.

It is the hardest to perfect technically for anyone trying to play FM, because it demands a knowledge of the game few have.

To play it well you have to be a very good player

 4-4-2 nowadays, is much hard to make work than a 4-1-2-2-1, to give you an example.
 

 

@Rashidi

 

In all humility, this is what I was trying to say.

442 is simply broken in fm. It can't be played like many many many teams use to in real life (the way you are trying) and against some opinions, most of the teams in the world do nowadays.

In fm using a 442 is almost impossible to control central areas, unless you have two defensive beasts in midfield and even in this case I'm still waiting for anyone to show me how it works. And don't forget that 2 N'golo Kante in CM is not how 442 is traditionally played (destroyer-creator combo).

442 is the worst tactic you can use. If the opponent plays with 3 in the middle you are dead. With a 442 diamond you'll see your midfielders running like chicken without head following both the same player (????) and leaving huge gaps. Even if the AI uses a 442 will  probably outplay you if you are not Albert Einsten of fm. And certainly it seems to me you are not, as long as you are seeking for help ;)

I'm not an expert by any standards (I totally suck) but I've been trying to develop a 442 for more than one year and when I gave up I saw the light. Believe me, it's a total waste of time. 

If anybody doesn't believe me give me some extra time to end a post I'm writing at this very moment explaining it. Yes, I saw the light.

Edited by looping
Utter garbage

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7 hours ago, looping said:

 

 

442 is simply broken in fm. It can't be played like many many many teams use to in real life (the way you are trying) and against some opinions, most of the teams in the world do nowadays.

In fm using a 442 is almost impossible to control central areas, unless you have two defensive beasts in midfield and even in this case I'm still waiting for anyone to show me how it works. And don't forget that 2 N'golo Kante in CM is not how 442 is traditionally played (destroyer-creator combo).

442 is the worst tactic you can use. If the opponent plays with 3 in the middle you are dead. With a 442 diamond you'll see your midfielders running like chicken without head following both the same player (????) and leaving huge gaps. Even if the AI uses a 442 will  probably outplay you if you are not Albert Einsten of fm. And certainly it seems to me you are not, as long as you are seeking for help ;)

I'm not an expert by any standards (I totally suck) but I've been trying to develop a 442 for more than one year and when I gave up I saw the light. Believe me, it's a total waste of time. 

If anybody doesn't believe me give me some extra time to end a post I'm writing at this very moment explaining it. Yes, I saw the light.

Here is an example of 4-4-2 working to near perfection. It can be very effective, but you should not expect to dominate possession. 

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1 hour ago, MarchColorDrink said:

Here is an example of 4-4-2 working to near perfection. It can be very effective, but you should not expect to dominate possession. 

That looks interesting but also confusing.

Play Much Narrower so to counter the "not enough men in the middle" problem?
Combined with Fluid so that everybody defends and everybody attacks?

But if that's the case, what about this quote (taken from this):

On 10/1/2017 at 14:38, herne79 said:

1. The Width Team Instruction influences how wide your team plays when in possession, not when defending.


Also, Use Offside Trap with a Normal defensive line? Not Slightly Higher/Higher?
Where is Pass Into Space?
Only those PIs? No PIs for the full backs or the wingers?

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9 hours ago, looping said:

 

Mod Edit:-  the following is just nonsense and would normally simply be removed but it's been quoted elsewhere.  See my post below quoting this BS.

442 is simply broken in fm. It can't be played like many many many teams use to in real life (the way you are trying) and against some opinions, most of the teams in the world do nowadays.

In fm using a 442 is almost impossible to control central areas, unless you have two defensive beasts in midfield and even in this case I'm still waiting for anyone to show me how it works. And don't forget that 2 N'golo Kante in CM is not how 442 is traditionally played (destroyer-creator combo).

442 is the worst tactic you can use. If the opponent plays with 3 in the middle you are dead. With a 442 diamond you'll see your midfielders running like chicken without head following both the same player (????) and leaving huge gaps. Even if the AI uses a 442 will  probably outplay you if you are not Albert Einsten of fm. And certainly it seems to me you are not, as long as you are seeking for help ;)

I'm not an expert by any standards (I totally suck) but I've been trying to develop a 442 for more than one year and when I gave up I saw the light. Believe me, it's a total waste of time. 

If anybody doesn't believe me give me some extra time to end a post I'm writing at this very moment explaining it. Yes, I saw the light.

Usually I'd just delete the kind of nonsense, but it's been quoted elsewhere so I'll make this post instead. 

Looping, we all know you've had big issues getting your version of a 442 to work.  But to come on here and start spouting such rubbish as "442 is simply broken"; "442 is the worst tactic you can use"; or "it's a total waste of time" is unacceptable.

For you it might be broken; for you it might be the worst tactic you can use; for you it might be a total waste of time.  You also say the AI using a 442 will probably outplay you - but if that's the case our own versions of a 442 can be even better as we have all the advantages over the AI.

Things not working for you is one thing.  Trying to lead others to believe they will also have your issues is something else entirely, and wrong on every level.

Don't bother posting on this Board again unless you have something constructive to say.

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Here OP, you might want to take a look at the discussion in this thread about the 4-4-2.

 

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2 hours ago, ilkork said:

That looks interesting but also confusing.

Play Much Narrower so to counter the "not enough men in the middle" problem?
Combined with Fluid so that everybody defends and everybody attacks?

But if that's the case, what about this quote (taken from this):


Also, Use Offside Trap with a Normal defensive line? Not Slightly Higher/Higher?
Where is Pass Into Space?
Only those PIs? No PIs for the full backs or the wingers?

It was just the first example of successful 442 that came to mind. I'm sure it could be improved upon. 

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I had good success earlier on the year with a very direct and attacking 442. In terms of player archetypes it was a classic 442 with a big man and a little man up top and pacy wingers out wide. In central midfield I had physically imposing box to box players who could run all day. At full back I prioritised defensively solid players, I wasn't expecting anything from them offensively bar the odd cross from deep. The target man is probably the most important player, if he can't win his headers and dominate the opposition then you'll find it very hard to win.

 

Attacking/fluid

More direct, harder tackling, stick to positions

GKd

FBs

CDd

CDd

FBs

Wa

CMd

CMs

Wa

TMs

Pa

 

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12 hours ago, MarchColorDrink said:

It was just the first example of successful 442 that came to mind. I'm sure it could be improved upon. 

Of course :thup:.

After all, there's solid proof there and I think we all confused the OP with our different suggestions.
Maybe he should try that.

Edited by ilkork

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2 hours ago, Toonrock said:

A 4-6-0 or 3-7-0 works every time (according to some) :)

Nah, a 6-4-0 works better.......

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13 hours ago, ilkork said:

Nah, a 6-4-0 works better.......

Or a 8-2-0, with ´Get stuck in´ :onmehead::lol:

Edited by Toonrock

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On 29/4/2017 at 14:59, ilkork said:

First of all, if you use an Attacking mentality, it means that you only want to score goals.
No possession and an increased risk of conceding goals.

I need to question this. An attacking mentality doesnt mean you only want to score goals, and doesnt necessarily increase the risk of conceding goals either. It is simply a wrong interpretation of how the attacking mentality works. The same goes for the comment about no possession, it doesnt necissarily give you 60 % + possession but it definetly doesnt mean the mentality condones less possession. Like any other mentality it depends entirely on your tactical setup.

On 29/4/2017 at 14:59, ilkork said:

Bear in mind, tactics such as the above should be swapped with another one while in a match.
You can't keep attacking for the whole 90 minutes, can you?

Regarding this, I dont see why you cannot use an attacking strategy for 90 minutes for an entire season? I personally almost exclusively play on an attacking mentality with every team that I manage, whether I am relegation candidate or the best team in the league. Again it is just about your tactical setup and having the right attributes to carry out the football you want your team to play.

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6 hours ago, zinedinezidane10 said:

I need to question this. An attacking mentality doesnt mean you only want to score goals, and doesnt necessarily increase the risk of conceding goals either. It is simply a wrong interpretation of how the attacking mentality works. The same goes for the comment about no possession, it doesnt necissarily give you 60 % + possession but it definetly doesnt mean the mentality condones less possession. Like any other mentality it depends entirely on your tactical setup.

You are right. It also depends on which TIs you choose.

But then again, it's a fast, direct and risky kind of football. Who is going to add "Shorter Passing", "Retain Possession", "Work Ball Into Box" and all those TIs which are possession based and less risky?
Someone who is far more experienced than the OP, me and I guess you as well?
Someone who knows what he's doing and figured a way to make those work?

If someone comes here to ask questions regarding tactics, he doesn't fit that profile (referring to the OP), right?
 

6 hours ago, zinedinezidane10 said:

Regarding this, I dont see why you cannot use an attacking strategy for 90 minutes for an entire season? I personally almost exclusively play on an attacking mentality with every team that I manage, whether I am relegation candidate or the best team in the league. Again it is just about your tactical setup and having the right attributes to carry out the football you want your team to play.

I know for a fact, that an overload mentality for entire season will tire your players out.

With that in mind, if you go for an attacking mentality for an entire season, aren't you going to face a, somewhat, similar downside?
Unless you have players with excellent physical attributes, you will.

Ok, the OP said his players are not technically gifted but have good stamina and work rate.
I still think it would be better to play for, let's say, a total of 60 minutes with an attacking tactic and then switch to a "more conservative" one.



I am not an expert in FM. I don't claim I am. I may be wrong about my comments.
I think it would be better if a mod could give an insight into such matters.

Edited by ilkork

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The best way to think of mentalities is varying degrees of risk. 

Could you play attacking for 90 minutes all season? Absolutely, there is nothing wrong 

6 hours ago, ilkork said:

You are right. It also depends on which TIs you choose.

But then again, it's a fast, direct and risky kind of football. Who is going to add "Shorter Passing", "Retain Possession", "Work Ball Into Box" and all those TIs which are possession based and less risky?
Someone who is far more experienced than the OP, me and I guess you as well?
Someone who knows what he's doing and figured a way to make those work?

If someone comes here to ask questions regarding tactics, he doesn't fit that profile (referring to the OP), right?
 

I know for a fact, that an overload mentality for entire season will tire your players out.

With that in mind, if you go for an attacking mentality for an entire season, aren't you going to face a, somewhat, similar downside?
Unless you have players with excellent physical attributes, you will.

Ok, the OP said his players are not technically gifted but have good stamina and work rate.
I still think it would be better to play for, let's say, a total of 60 minutes with an attacking tactic and then switch to a "more conservative" one.



I am not an expert in FM. I don't claim I am. I may be wrong about my comments.
I think it would be better if a mod could give an insight into such matters.

Neither of you are wrong or right, essentially there isn't really a wrong or right here.

You certainly can play 90 minutes attacking football all season as zinedine says, you could even play 90 minutes overload, but as you say, with that comes a high demand over a season.

In this case i can see why he might lean towards attack, or a high tempo set up in general. Tire out and then pick off the opposition, outfight them through work rate.

 

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To answer @ilkork, Mentality is nothing more than a barometer for risk.  It sets the baseline for how much risk you ask your team to play with.  That baseline is then adjusted by your other tactical settings and player roles / duties.

So no, simply choosing a Mentality does not necessarily result in tiring your players out over an entire season.  Referring back to the OP's system for a moment, that tactic uses 2 x fullbacks (defend), meaning they will be quite conservative in their play, even with the Attack mentality.  Unlikely they'll tire out.  Give those same two fullbacks an attack duty, and now you are asking them to do a lot more work.  But that's true of any Mentality you pick.

Players tiring can relate more to their own attributes and amount of games you ask them to play, especially games in quick succession.  Player jadedness comes into play here - a lack of recovery time + a poor recovery rate (Natural Fitness) + lack of rotation is far more likely to lead players being tired during the season than whatever Mentality you happen to pick.

During individual matches you can of course change things if you think your players are looking knackered.  Asking them to play more conservatively by changing Mentality may help, as can other factors such as changing Team Shape to be less involved in transitions; altering roles / duties to influence their own decision making; amending TIs & PIs to encourage players to let the ball do more of the work.  There are of course downsides to all of that, so any choices would need to be balanced against what's happening in the match.

Finally, in terms of possession, for my money Mentality doesn't really have much to do with it.  Yes with higher Mentalities you are playing at a higher tempo and being more direct, but you are also trying to win the ball back quickly with a heavy press + aggressive tackling and high def line to squeeze the space.  Whereas lower Mentalities are the opposite.  Both ways can be conducive to possession football, so long as all of your other tactical settings compliment the style.  Lots of attack duty players with a dodgy formation using the Attack Mentality probably won't win you much in the way of possession (or games).  Change that to more support duty players and a complimentary formation, and your possession numbers (and wins) will likely rocket.  Likewise using a Defensive Mentality with a poor formation, roles & duties / tactical settings will probably see you pinned in your own half with little possession as well.

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@herne79 thank you very much for clarifying, appreciate the effort :thup:.

There, something new learned today.

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