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FM18 - My tactical vision a 4132 / 41212 Benfica Inspired Tactic

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This is my first proper game of FM18. I have been playing around with FM18 but not started a serious save yet since I bought it. I missed FM17 completely so quite a few new features that I will need to get used to.
The purpose of this thread will be to;

  1. To develop my own tactical system
  2. Analyse games to see what is going well and what is going wrong
  3. Get assistance from the FM community to improve my tactic and hopefully at the same time help others out who are starting their own saves.

The team I have selected for my career save is Nottingham Forrest. A club with an amazing history, once conquering Europe and being feared by teams across England and Europe. Now struggling to really establish themselves as promotion contenders.
The plan with this save will be to just go with the flow. If I get sacked, I will stay unemployed until another club picks me up. If I do well and get offered new jobs, I will consider them.

Squad Analysis
Looking at the Nottingham squad, I see a couple of positives;

  • Great options in central defence
  • Really strong central midfield options (Bridcutt and Osborn are the standouts)
  • Good options upfront with Zach Clough, Kieran Dowell, Barrie Mackay and Daryl Murphy

And some negatives;

  • Lack of quality wing backs or full backs which are going to be extremely important in a system without wingers (this will be my priority)
  • Lack of quality central midfielder to play the Carrilero role and provide support to the wing backs.
  • Lack of transfer budget to dramatically change the team without getting rid of players first.

I need to sign;

  • 2 Wingbacks
  • A Carrilero (Industrious, hard working midfielder in the mould of Ramires in the Benfica squad of 09/10)
  • Eventually, I'll also need a DLP-D to give me more options in building attacks, but for now I'm happy with a DMC-D

Tactical Vision
So as my username suggest, I’m a SL Benfica supporter. One of the great teams that I enjoyed watching over the years was the 4-1-2-1-2 formation we utilised during the days of Oscar Cardozo,  Javier Saviola, Javi Garcia, Angel Di Maria, Ramires and lastly but most importantly Pablo Aimar.

I will be utilising a 4132 as I believe it will be a more accurate reflection of how Benfica actually played during the 09/10 season. It also provides me with more options to change things up in the game without actually compromising my tactical vision or system. Essentially, the AMC will push back into a MC position and his role will change to accommodate being deeper (likely changing to a roaming playmaker as I still want him to be the focal point of the team). I plan on utilising 2 new roles in FM18. I will be utilising Ben Osborn as a Mezalla with a support role (MCL). He has all the attributes to make this role work and I see him playing a similar role to Di Maria.  On the MCR position, I’ll be utilising a Carrirelo – Support to try and replicate the Ramires role and provide the freedom for the wing back to bomb up the wing and support the attack which will be crucial to the success of a tactic that lacks width. The Carrirelo will be the protection to the space the wingback leaves behind.

The DMC and MC positions are arguably the most important in the team. The DMC will be the ly bridge between defence and midfield. Linking up and recycling possession. Allowing the team to transition from defence to attack.
The MC will be the heartbeat of the team. Whilst I still expect him to contribute to the defensive phase, more important he will be responsible for creating chances and linking midfield with the attack. He will constantly be looking to push the team forward and fashion out chances.

The strikers will be a classic big man / little man combination. One quick striker capable of utilising the channels to create space and fashion out chances for his colleagues. The big man capable of dropping deeper and holding up the ball whilst the midfield moves into attacking positions.

Specifically ill be keen to look into his link up play with the AMC, MCL, MCR and DR.

I want the team to play with the following emphasise

  • Aggressive closing down with the Carrilero and Mezalla and forwards pressing high up the pitch
  • Overlapping wing backs / full backs
  • Creativity provided by the MC and False 9 (Aimar and Saviola in the Benfica squad)
  • Quick transitions between defence and midfield to launch counter attacks (sometimes skipping midfield and going straight to attack)
  • Stay compact (fluid team shape to promote compactness)

Inspiration for my tactic (Zonal marking analysis of Benfica)




The Initial Tactic

Bear in mind that this tactic has not yet been trialed, but here is what I'm thinking.


  • I would also look at alternating the Mezalla from a support to attack role and left wing back from attack to support to vary my attack.
  • In terms of PI's, I want the MC to push further forward to link up better with the False 9 (creating the Aimar / Saviola Combination)
  • The Mezalla will be asked to run wide with the ball and play more risky passes
  • The right wing back will also be asked to play more direct passes to encourage forward play
  • The Carrirelo will be asked to shoot less often (I want him to do the basics well, nothing else, nothing more). He needs to be focused on protecting the flank when the right wing back bombs up the field.

Team Instructions are listed in the screenshot above.

Look forward to a constructive discussion. Next post will analyse my first competitive game.

Also thank you to Rashidi for his posts on 4132 on his blog ad youtube channel. It gave me the inspiration to start this.

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Looks like a good interpretation of that Benfica team. Only thing that's sticking out to me is the positioning of the 10. Palo Aimar was a very old school enganche and I think that role would best recreate how he played, Not sure if it would still work that well in modern football.

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Yeah I agree with your comment. He was definitely an enganche. One of the last true #10 maestro's. Hand picked by another #10 maestro Rui Costa to succeed him at Benfica. I wasn't sure if the enganche and a true 4-1-2-1-2 would actually work, so i opted for a deeper midfielder. Might try the enganche and see how it goes

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A good start, interested to see where this goes :thup:.

One small observation - the "Look for Overlap" TI instructs wide midfielders / wingers to hold up the ball and wait for an overlapping fullback, so as you aren't using wingers this instruction is probably superfluous.

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7 hours ago, herne79 said:

A good start, interested to see where this goes :thup:.

One small observation - the "Look for Overlap" TI instructs wide midfielders / wingers to hold up the ball and wait for an overlapping fullback, so as you aren't using wingers this instruction is probably superfluous.

Thanks herne79. I didn't know that and will be removing the PI.

7 hours ago, jukilo said:

Ah! Nice to see a fellow Benfica fan. 

Of course, I'm Interested as well. That was one of the best Benfica's team in recent years, only beated by the 13-14 season team.


Yes 13-14 team was also an amazing team but this one was definitely my favourite.

3 hours ago, Yoeri said:

Don't know much about the Benfica team. But I hope to learn a lot about it now. 

I am wondering why you didnt take Benfica as testclub?

Would have been to easy a challenge as I would dominate the portuguese league. I wanted a team that would put me into different situations to test my ability to read whats happening in a game and react to it tactically. Which is why i went for Nottingham Forest.


I hope to post another update today analysing my first couple of competitive games.

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