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ajsr1982

Is there realistically anything I can do against the narrow 4-3-3?

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A little bit of a vague one this, so apologies for that. The 4-3-3, and it's ridiculous cousin the 4-2-4 are giving me endless trouble. I'm aware of certain... issues when trying to stifle these formations, but is there anything I can realistically do, or is it better to just go in for the high-scoring shootout?

In general, I'm actually defending well with a system that errs on the side of low-risk. In 23 games this season, I've conceded 23 goals. However, 12 of those 23 have been in four games against teams that use the 4-3-3 or 4-2-4. I'm happy with 11 in the remaining 19 games!

Any advice is welcome.

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I don’t like being so reactive but normally I match three strikers with three centrebacks as the full backs don’t tend to narrow enough to make it 4 v 3 

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I tried this. I was 2-0 down after five minutes! :lol::seagull:

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It's incredibly easy to defend against the 433. I usually keep a fullback back to accompany the centrebacks, so he'll pick up a striker pulling wide. I also have a DM covering anyone dropping deep. So FB + 2x DC + DM is a 4 v 3.

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10 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

It's incredibly easy to defend against the 433.

Nothing personal, but I wish people wouldn't say things like this when giving advice. I appreciate you taking the time to reply, but If it was this easy, I wouldn't have asked the question in the first place. 

I've tried what you say works so well, and it didn't work.

I've tried playing three at the back.

I've tried playing with a flat back five.

I've tried playing with four defenders, and a DM, all with a defend duty.

I even tried playing with 3CBs and a sweeper.

I've tried pushing up - I get done over the top. Hell, I get done over the top regardless.

I've tried dropping deeper - I get done by overloads from crosses into the box.

Sorry, I know I come across as somewhat tetchy, and that's not my intention. But I didn't spot something that didn't work and decide to head straight to the help forum. I'm here because I've tried everything I can think of and I've not found anything that works; or indeed anything that comes close to working. I wish it was as simple as you make out, I really do. The reality is I've been playing this game for eight months now and this formation kills me almost every single time across a number of saves.

There is only one thing I've found stops me falling to a 2+ goal defeat: Have significantly better players than the opposition.

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Just now, ajsr1982 said:

Nothing personal, but I wish people wouldn't say things like this when giving advice. I appreciate you taking the time to reply, but If it was this easy, I wouldn't have asked the question in the first place. 

I've tried what you say works so well, and it didn't work.

I've tried playing three at the back.

I've tried playing with a flat back five.

I've tried playing with four defenders, and a DM, all with a defend duty.

I even tried playing with 3CBs and a sweeper.

I've tried pushing up - I get done over the top. Hell, I get done over the top regardless.

I've tried dropping deeper - I get done by overloads from crosses into the box.

Sorry, I know I come across as somewhat tetchy, and that's not my intention. But I didn't spot something that didn't work and decide to head straight to the help forum. I'm here because I've tried everything I can think of and I've not found anything that works; or indeed anything that comes close to working. I wish it was as simple as you make out, I really do. The reality is I've been playing this game for eight months now and this formation kills me almost every single time across a number of saves.

There is only one thing I've found stops me falling to a 2+ goal defeat: Have significantly better players than the opposition.

You should have said this in the OP. Giving as much info as possible always helps. Your question was very generic, so I gave you a generic answer of what I usually do AND the reasoning, beyond just saying it's incredibly easy.

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9 minutes ago, HUNT3R said:

You should have said this in the OP. Giving as much info as possible always helps. Your question was very generic, so I gave you a generic answer of what I usually do AND the reasoning, beyond just saying it's incredibly easy.

That's fair.

I had no issue with that part. It's just... it's not easy. At least not for me, and I'd hoped that much was obvious.

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Can you give us some further detail?  Without knowing who you are playing as, your players, your tactical system or the opponents you have come up against playing these 433/424 systems it's difficult to give you anything other than generic advice - which @HUNT3R and @Fosse did above but are clearly insufficient for what you have been trying.

Sometimes of course there's not much you can do about it.  Coming up against a much superior team and you'll struggle no matter what, but then that's true of whatever system they happen to be playing, 433/424 or not.  But there may still be lessons you can learn even from this type of mismatch.  For example, I remember playing Juventus in Turin with them playing a 4312 formation (which can be very similar to the flat 433) with my newly promoted Monza side.  We predictably lost but only 2-0 and I could see then that my possession based plan was sound - I just needed better players.

So if you give us some context we might be able to give you some new ideas.

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How many players can you commit to defense? I can have extremely solid defense, such as with 6-4-0 or 4-1-4-1, can never concede more than 1 goal. In the end it is about how much resource you have for defense.

A 433 means that it has at most 7 players in defense phase. It is even worse for 424 for at most 6 players in defense. Even with very fluid the forwards wont commit to defense. So in the end you provably could have outscored scored the opponent If you have reasonably well attack.

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38 minutes ago, herne79 said:

Can you give us some further detail?  Without knowing who you are playing as, your players, your tactical system or the opponents you have come up against playing these 433/424 systems it's difficult to give you anything other than generic advice - which @HUNT3R and @Fosse did above but are clearly insufficient for what you have been trying.

Sometimes of course there's not much you can do about it.  Coming up against a much superior team and you'll struggle no matter what, but then that's true of whatever system they happen to be playing, 433/424 or not.  But there may still be lessons you can learn even from this type of mismatch.  For example, I remember playing Juventus in Turin with them playing a 4312 formation (which can be very similar to the flat 433) with my newly promoted Monza side.  We predictably lost but only 2-0 and I could see then that my possession based plan was sound - I just needed better players.

So if you give us some context we might be able to give you some new ideas.

I'm playing as Lyn in the Norwegian third tier. I guess this means you can fill in a few gaps; namely that there isn't a huge gap in the standard of opponents - I'm in the middle of the pack in terms of the standard of my squad. My defenders are fairly strong, fairly quick, and one of my CBs is my best player. I have a good, workmanlike midfield, and my wide/forward players are young, so they're developing.

System-wise, I bounce between a 4-4-1-1 and a 4-1-4-1, depending on what the opposition is doing. The idea is to shut the opposition down in the middle of the park (stifle the supply, if you will) and grab a goal. It's basic, but for the most part, it works okay (too many draws, but my forwards are a work in progress). The only times I conceded more than one goal in the league are the aforementioned four matches.

I'll adjust the mentality of my FBs and wide players depending on what the opposition does, but that's generally switching up between defend and support duties.

The issue, as I see it, is that the opposition mentality is so attacking and so heavily loaded up front, that my players can't cope with it in any single way. The ball over the top seems to be the main route to goal, where the 3v2 in the middle of my defence (my FBs don't get narrow enough) pays dividends despite the fact that my defence is among the quickest in the division. Switching to a three didn't seem to make much difference. I can mitigate this somewhat with a drop in mentality or dropping deeper, but that merely invites the same 3v2 from crosses from opposition WBs.

But there must be a point at which they over-commit and I can capitalise, right? Well, wrong, it seems. They of course have a 2v1 at the back against my lone forward. My wide players are too deep from trying to help out the defence to provide support to the attack, and the high pressing 3v3 in midfield means my players can't play their way out (and their attempts to do so often result in dispossession and a ball over the top). As such, it's not uncommon to see me have fewer than five shots in the game, for the concession of more than twenty. It's literally attack v defence for most of the match, so I can't say I'm even encouraged by things almost working.

If we work on the assumption that I can't get better players quickly, where next? It's 12 points a season that I'm just giving away; even six of those would make a huge difference to my season. The main frustration is that after a lot of hard work and effort, I'm getting to grips with devising a good defensive system, only to see it ripped apart by the 4-3-3.

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ok, still missing detail here about your exact system, so I'll have to be generic.

From what I'm reading, you mention dropping deeper, dropping mentality and changing fullback mentality in an effort to defend better.  But you just get swamped.  There is difference though between dropping deeper / changing mentality and defending with a low block (at least in FM terms).  Simply dropping your d-line or mentality may not achieve that, everybody else needs to get involved as well.

I don't often talk about Team Shape but I'll mention it here as it can be useful in this situation to not only help your team defend as a complete unit but also to spring a trap on the opposition but hitting them hard and fast if caught off balance.  So how can you use Team Shape along with Mentality to your advantage?  If you get caught with a 3v2 overload at the back or by balls over the top, it's too late and won't end well for you, so just dropping your d-line/mentality isn't necessarily the answer.  And giving your fullbacks a defend duty on top means you're basically treating your defenders as a separate unit from the rest of your team.

Further, you're playing with wingers, opposition is not.  That's your strength but you're keeping fullbacks deep with no thought of attacking by giving them a defend duty.  So where's the outlet?  How are you going to take advantage of that strength without giving at least one of your fullbacks a more adventurous outlook?  Giving a fullback a support or even attack duty doesn't mean they won't defend deep when they need to.

Like I said, I'm being generic, but consider how you can use Team Shape to help create a low block and consider an outlet on the wing.

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I play with a lopsided 4312 which should get devoured by a 433 but I have literally no issues against it, in fact when I see the 433, depending on the team I manage, I either get frustrated or I begin waiting to count the number of goals we are gonna bang in.

1. You need to see how the 433 is playing and you need to spot its weaknesses. This is way important than anything else. 
2. You need to have a plan on how you want to counter it based on the system you are playing.
3. You need to know whether your players can defend against it
4. And, this is the hardest thing to tell, you need to know what kind of configuration they have. Do they drop deep and pull you wide? Do they use a TM and knock it down for a "moves into channels". Things like this can only be done via observation, or spending time looking at the analyst reports, which will give you the biggest clue. If you can't put in the time to find all this out and study it, then there is nothing we can do to help you.

 

All these depend on how well you know your own system. @HUNT3R said the right thing, he locks down a fullback which is what I do to, and I aim to hit it where it hurts. So I need a system that can do that. Ultimately, this depends on how well you know your own system vs that of the AI. For my Ajax and Kop Diaries saves, I know those teams so well, that I can just lock one fullback down and decide whether to attack the left or the right flank, in fact in the latest video against Manchester City, we attacked them down one flank before switching to the next. Now they weren't playing a 433, but in matches like those against really good 433s, I sometimes turn my system into a Crazy Gang reincarnation, and tell em to take out as many players in midfield as possible, we finish games with 5 yellow cards and 11 men, they finish it with 9 and a hospital bill.

There are so many ways you can cut this fish, but you still need a plan, and no one can give you a detailed answer without seeing your tactic, so everyone is gonna give you general answers. You say you switch between a 4411 and a 4141, both are systems that are so heavily player reliant to get behind their fullbacks. Your winger has to run the length of the field to get behind their fullback, so how do you plan to do that and can he do it? A 4141 can certainly do the job but what kind of roles are you using? If your wide players are both coming down, then good luck to any useful counter to score goals.  I never have a 2v1 situation, or hardly, depends on whether I lose the ball in a counter press or not. You still need to know your own system and how it can exploit the weaknesses of another, and I want to stop here, cos its beginning to get really general. More information = better advice.

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And finally manage your expectations, if you are a good side and you can take em on, then by all means go for a war of attrition, but if you are a really bad side then play something else. I have a 6-3-1 I use against top sides that play against me, whether or not they are playing a 433 or not

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Okay, my default 4-1-4-1 looks like this:

GK/D

DFB/D   CD/D   CD/D   FB/D

DM/D

W/A   BWM/S   CM/S   WM/S

DLF/S

Now, that's not set in stone in terms of duties, but it's how I'd line up against a 4-3-3. Standard/Flexible is my starting point, but I'll read the analyst reports and start to adjust. Only TI I use is 'Stick to Positions' to try to keep my shape against the onslaught.

Where is their playmaker? Shuffle things around in midfield, and I'll generally tell someone to get tight to their playmaker and stick the boot in on him.

Who gets the assists? Can I rough him up? Is he one-footed? Is he quick?

What about their forwards? Do I need to drop off or get tight?

Do they have an advanced midfielder? No? Then I might change the DM to a Support duty to get him to engage their midfield more.

Are both their full backs pushing on? Can I get in behind them?

Do I really need that CM/S or can I be more adventurous with an attack duty or a BBM? Depends on the configuration of their midfield. Likewise, I might choose an IW or a W on the left if I think it warrants it and depending on what their FBs are doing.

How am I trying to attack? Well, I'm trying to release my winger on the right and get some of my midfielders to make the box. I always play a quick forward as well in these game to try to take advantage of a hoofed ball over the top.

The issue I have is one of control, I think. I can't get the necessary control in the game to release the ball to an outlet.  The real killer is the one where a midfield player is dispossessed - which will happen when they play two Mezzalas and a BWM. As my team transitions and starts to move up the pitch and get wider, the ball is dropped over the top for one of three to run on to.  I mean, that's not even difficult.

I could push my wide men up to make a 4-1-2-3 (and have done), but I find all this tends to do is give their FBs a free run. At best, I'm looking at reducing it to a shootout and what I'm really looking to do here is stifle and then hurt them after they over-commit. I'm finding that hard because they effectively attack with seven players. To stop them, my thinking is that I probably need eight players back before I move into an attacking transition.

Thanks for the advice, folks. I understand it was generic, but I have taken some things away from this to try, I think, and writing out some of the issues has helped too. I didn't really want to put my system up because it's been found to be so poor at doing the job that I felt I was ready to try something completely different to face the 4-3-3.

In summary:

I think I need to be a bit braver, which means an attack duty for a FB, possibly with a Structured mentality to emphasise those attack duties. My FBs and wide players have good pace and acceleration (12-16), so they should be able to get in behind.

I think I might also want to bypass the midfield where possible, because it's leading to too many turnovers which are really hurting me. By contrast, being more aggressive with marking and closing down in midfield might gain me the control I'm so sorely lacking.

I also wonder about the wisdom of having my wide players man mark their WBs. The theory being that they're back when they need to be back, and they can hang out and look to get in behind if the WB doesn't push on.

Plenty of food for thought. Thank you. I'll report back on its success/failure.

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Well, I guess we can call this a failure.

Opposition switched to a 4-2-4, which caught me on the hop, but they only played it for about 2.5 minutes (yes, that's two-and-a-half, not twenty five), in which time they scored.

I'm playing a Standard Flexible 4-4-1-1 here, as follows:

GK/D

DFB/D   CD/D   CD/D   FB/A

W/A  CM/D   BWM/S   IW/S

AP/A

AF/A

The following screen shots hopefully show the problem I face.

0S8ADty.jpg

Ball gets switched, and my ML doesn't get close enough to put pressure on the ball. The LB seems more pre-occupied with the CF than the AMR.

FHg3fzQ.jpg

LB has shifted over. Good, even if he's a yard or two higher than I'd like. Ball is played down the line.

w3fMwuq.jpg

My LB has just decided he won't do anything to prevent the cross. I'm not sure why. Trouble is brewing in the middle with a 3v3. But given my system, how can I hope for better?

8qIc9GX.jpg

The free cross is duly delivered. Their AML is 6' tall and matches the aerial prowess of my RB. It's 50-50, and he wins the header.

fQ1g6zH.jpg

The AML has the presence of mind to nod the ball down to the CF, who duly converts after making a yard of space.

1-0, they revert to their 4-1-2-3. I can't respond. Game over.

EDIT: I guess I can't see what else I can do here. My LB could do better, sure, but his pace and acceleration match the AMR's, so it's not like he's just been out-paced. But my three other defenders are in decent positions as the ball comes in. As the goal is scored, I have eight players back in my own box, so it's not like I'm being completely outnumbered.

Edited by ajsr1982

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You could try a 5 defender based formation

541, 532, , 5212, 523

 

These will all give you 3 CD's so man marking becomes an option

These are all no DM strata formations

The last one gives you 3 ST's .. so basically your playing the ai at it's own game

In theory you should still be able to maintain an effective presence in the central areas of the pitch despite being up to 1 CM down depending on the system you use.

 

or you could use a more risky 3 CD based 352 3412 or 343

here you'd be looking to totally dominate the central areas of the pitch, isolating the ai's ST's in the process.

 

there's always an option .. last resort is the hoofball method where you just try to score more goals than them.

Edited by RodentofDoom

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I haven't faced many opponents playing 4-3-3 with 3 strikers, but I remember one game with Blyth Spartans against Stockport who were playing with 3 strikers in front. I was used to play 4-4-2, but I got afraid with the presence of 3 strikers so I started with 4-1-2-3 just for providing some cover to my defence. Was a disaster! Stockport scored 3 or 4 unresponsive goals in the first 30 mins. It was so obvious that 4-1-2-3 wasn't the proper tactic.

What I tried and turned things around? Switched to 4-4-2, increased the mentality to attacking since I wanted to score a lot, put my defensive line deeper cause I wanted the opponents  defensive line to come higher, used DFB in both flanks to provide defensive support on my center backs and used pump ball into the box. I don't remember how many clear cut chances I created. Stockport were vulnerable in every single attack. We ended with a draw, because they equalized in the last mins but it was obvious that my changes worked surprising well. 

I'm pretty sure that this tactic won't work in every single case, but I think that your team is on the same level as mine so this advise might work for you as well. In my opinion, when I face such tactics my solution is not to defend properly, but to score more goals than my opponents. It will still give 3 points in the end. :) 

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Time for an update on this. First, some good news.

After taking on board the initial comments, I decided I generally needed to be a bit braver. Thus, I changed my system to:

GK/D

DFB/D    CD/D    CD/D    FB/A

W/A   CM/D   BWM/S   IW/A

AP/A

AF/A

That's Standard/Flexible. I'll change up the full backs depending on what I'm up against. Same with d-line. I've added 'Play out of Defence' too, which helps a more measured build-up.

So, all good. The result was a Div. 2 title, and now I find myself in the playoff spots half way through my first season in Div. 1 after a sketchy start. I'm a couple of points off the promotion slots and I'm flying, unbeaten in ten.

I hadn't actually faced the 4-3-3 very often, hence the lack of update on this. But here it comes.

I'd set up and trained a system to deal with the 4-3-3, so time to put it into use. It's not a huge move away from the above, I think.

GK/D

FB/A   CD/D   CD/D   FB/D

DM/D

W/A   CM/S   BWM/S   IW/A

DF/S

A move to Standard/Structured, with the following TIs:

- Much Deeper D-Line; Exploit Left/Right Flanks/Be More Disciplined/Pass Into Space.

Note, I've changed the FBs around because their pacy AF was on their right. The LCF was a slower target man, allowing me to have my RB as the out ball.

Now, it's not all bad news. I had my chances, and instead of the 90/10 balance of play I was seeing before, it's now maybe 65/35 or even 60/40. But...

There is plenty of this...

AyqtKQp.jpg

CB gets on the ball and simply belts it forward.

xLJdYn7.jpg

It looks like I have the situation in hand. You can see my 4141 set up there. The attacking RB is in a nice position, helping out. The LB is a bit too wide for my liking, but still. I'm nice and deep. All that needs to happen is the LCB takes a few steps backwards and heads the ball clear.

CbTTv1g.jpg

Alas, no. It looks like maybe my LCB has his eye on the central CF, which means the RCF has a free run, and of course he scores to make it 3-0.

Any thoughts here? This isn't the only instance of this type of situation happening, and it's really frustrating. I went into this game on the following run: P10, W7, D3, L0, F15, A4. In fact, I'd conceded 1 in the last 6, and that because I'd played too high from the start when I shouldn't have. Morale is good, my players are in good form and injury free. And then a 3-0 hiding from a team below me in the table.

 

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7 hours ago, ajsr1982 said:

A move to Standard/Structured, with the following TIs:

- Much Deeper D-Line; Exploit Left/Right Flanks/Be More Disciplined/Pass Into Space.

Note, I've changed the FBs around because their pacy AF was on their right. The LCF was a slower target man, allowing me to have my RB as the out ball.

There may be something slightly off in the match engine that you are seeing.  However I don't think you should have dropped off (much deeper d-line) with opposition playing a slow target man.  The opposition may want to play it long to him and he'll give you aerial problems around your box, they'll be a lot of 2nd balls in your defensive area and he'll hold the ball up for others join.  What a slow target man can't do is run off the shoulder of your last defender as he'll be slow.  Therefore a higher line would be more suitable against such a player.

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1 hour ago, Robson 07 said:

There may be something slightly off in the match engine that you are seeing.  However I don't think you should have dropped off (much deeper d-line) with opposition playing a slow target man.  The opposition may want to play it long to him and he'll give you aerial problems around your box, they'll be a lot of 2nd balls in your defensive area and he'll hold the ball up for others join.  What a slow target man can't do is run off the shoulder of your last defender as he'll be slow.  Therefore a higher line would be more suitable against such a player.

True, but the AF was like lightning.

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On 16/06/2018 at 08:27, ajsr1982 said:

True, but the AF was like lightning.

Kick him!

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On ‎15‎/‎06‎/‎2018 at 21:27, ajsr1982 said:

True, but the AF was like lightning.

Yah sure, pick your poison I guess.

The option you chose was your one forward pressing four defenders.  Your midfield won't press their back line at all as they are deeper, on structured and told to drop off (deeper line).  So their back four had all day long to play out or just belt them up to the big man.  If you are seeing lots of instances like this it may be the reason why, at least in the match you highlighted.

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12 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

Yah sure, pick your poison I guess.

The option you chose was your one forward pressing four defenders.  Your midfield won't press their back line at all as they are deeper, on structured and told to drop off (deeper line).  So their back four had all day long to play out or just belt them up to the big man.  If you are seeing lots of instances like this it may be the reason why, at least in the match you highlighted.

Of course, but the idea is to let them do that, defend deep and hit them when they over-commit.

I'm perfectly willing to accept that fighting fire with fire is the only way to beat the 4-3-3, but I'd like to come up with a (realistic) system that stifles it before going on to play on its (obvious) weaknesses.

It's not quite at game-breaking levels for me yet, but after the above game, teams have gone on to play the same system against me and I've lost 0-2 and 0-1 after going ten unbeaten. Morale is now shot and my promotion chances are slipping away. Not the first season derailed by coming up against this formation, to the point that I'm seriously considering a return to FM17 unless I can find something (realistic) that at least gives me a fighting chance.

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Update:

Well, I beat it. I beat it 5-1. In the playoff final. What did I do?

Almost nothing. Played my 4-4-1-1 with a Structured shape and pushed much higher up. That's it.

I'd offer some insight, but I don't even know why it worked. There you go.

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On 18/06/2018 at 00:37, ajsr1982 said:

Update:

Well, I beat it. I beat it 5-1. In the playoff final. What did I do?

Almost nothing. Played my 4-4-1-1 with a Structured shape and pushed much higher up. That's it.

I'd offer some insight, but I don't even know why it worked. There you go.

Random all the way.

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Have faced the same struggle on my save in Germany. I play as Chemie Leipzig and usually play the role of the underdog both home and away. At home I often manage to keep them at bay, but away, when the fullbacks come forward my defence can't cope with the numbers or the tempo. Have tried various formations, 442, 4411, 451 and so on. Sometimes I got lucky and played them of the pitch using 442. Next time, not so much. Last season I tried to keep possession of the ball and double up on the flanks, using TI down both flanks and wingbacks, to expose their fullbacks. Offensively it worked pretty good, especially at home. We kept the ball well and got a few goals here and there. In the away games we were exposed on the counter, thanks to some poor passes going forward, leaving our centrebacks in trouble against 3 strikers. It's tricky, to keep pressure on their fullbacks to keep them away from our half and not get exposed for the long ball over the defence. Might consider a sweeper keeper in the future.  

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I always have this problem too. The opposition changed to a 4-3-3 narrow on minute 80 and from then it was obvious that I was going to concede. Even though from this period onwards I had 2 half chances and a CCC, and they only had 1 half chance - guess what? Their half chance goes in on minute 91 and we draw. Like the OP I find playing against a narrow 4-3-3 impossible - even when I'm the better team and create more chances I can't win.

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Here is what I have done with pretty good success so far. I set all four players on my back line to Defend duty, DR and DL are both set to the Fullback role. I then go to the Player Instructions for the Fullbacks and set them to Specifically Mark the outside strikers (DR marks the STCL, DL marks the STCR), and set them to Mark Tighter. My center backs are already on Mark Tighter. That seems to work pretty well for me. I'm yet to surrender a goal in the run of play against a Narrow 3 striker look, but obviously you don't see it a lot.

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I play 3 at the back so when the opposition changes to a flat 433, I still have them marked man-to-man. So really I don't change a thing.

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I've been having success against this formation by lowering my closing down all the was to zero. The movement of the front three doesn't drag you out of position that way.

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Im not an expert, but when Ive faced a 433 team, I play 4 2 3 1 (midfield are CM support and BWM), with attacking wide players, supporting wingbacks, AMC support, Complete Forward Support. Instructions: more direct passing, pass into space. Mentality Standard or counter.

Gets really good results.

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"The AI has problems facing 3 strikers". I have read that somewhere, put it in action and it works a treat. This is also true for your defence.

I've been touring the world with a narrow 433 using 3 strikers in FM18 with great results for about 25 seasons. 

I once won the EPL with only 4 games lost. But those games were against Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Millwall and Rotherham - and all at home no less. Two of those teams got relegated. I first thought it was because my team didn't bother, it was just a fluke or maybe I rotated too much at the time.

But after the 4th loss I went back and looked at the games again and found they all used the same formation and method, countering me to death.

It was 442. Deep, flat lines. Rigid. Directly over the top to the fast striker. Every other team that "tries to play football" I can manage, but these bus-parking ball-hoofing neanderthals I just cannot handle.

You could try to copy that. If you do you also need your striker on attacking duty. 

And due to the average height of the Norwegian players, maybe try and find a fast striker with good off the ball, first touch and acceleration. Direct passing and use low or whipped crosses. That worked well for me on FM17 playing with Tønsberg in the same tier. For Norwegian leagues and players overall (you probably know if you are Norwegian) - the technical skills will never be world class, but physical skills can. So keep it organized and direct, less "playing football".

Or just match the formation with your own 433 and try to out-score the opponent for some silly games. And if you get shut out playing 433, look at what the other team is doing and try to copy that.

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