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Useful hints on roles and duties in 4-2-3-1

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NOTE: This is just my personal view. Anyone is free to agree or disagree, and every response that helps to achieve a constructive discussion is more than welcome.

Following posts in this (tactical) section of the forum, I've noticed that 4-2-3-1 Wide (standard, with 2 MCs) is one of the most popular formations among FM players (if not the most popular). As someone who pays attention to almost every detail, I like to analyze various tactics, including of course the 4-2-3-1. So this post is intended to provide some (hopefully useful) hints on basic principles people should take into account when setting roles and duties in a 4-2-3-1 system, especially as this is a tricky formation due to its top-heavy structure. Note that the central midfield duo is the backbone of this formation, meaning that these two players should not be any two that can play in MC positions, but very carefully selected. After all, this is why you should not use a 4-2-3-1 at all costs, no matter how much you may like it.

DEFEND DUTIES:

- You should have at least 3 players on defend duty, including central defenders who are on defend duty by default (cover and stopper are de facto defend duties), and not counting Defensive/Pressing Forward with a Defend duty. So the third defend duty should occupy either a FB or a CM position

- Even the most defensive versions of 4-2-3-1 should not use more than 5 defend duties (including central defenders and excluding PF/DF on defend) 

- You should not have both fullbacks on attack duty

THE CENTRAL MIDFIELD DUO:

- Neither of the two central midfielders should be on attack duty

- At least one of the MCs should be on support duty

- The most offensive role occupying a MC position should be a Mezzala on support duty. In that case, however, it is advisable that the fullback on that side be on defend duty (ideally WB or IWB on defend)

- An ideal combination in the midfield duo should include one holding player (such as DLP on either duty) and one runner (e.g. box-to-box, CM on support, MEZ on support or BWM on support)

- If you use an advanced or roaming PM as part of the midfield duo, the fullback on that flank should not be on attack duty, with the most "offensive" role being FB on support

- If you use an advanced PM as part of the midfield duo, the other MC should be either a carrilero or BWM on support or box-to-box MF

- If you use a roaming PM as part of the midfield duo, the other MC should be on defend duty

THE FRONT FOUR:

- You should not have more than 2 attack duties among your four most advanced players

- If one of your wide forwards (AMR or AML) is on attack duty, the other one should not be

- The striker and AMC should not be on attack duty at the same time

- If your striker is on attack duty, then either AMR or AML should also be on attack duty

- If you use only one attack duty among the front four, then it should not be your striker (though in some cases it can work, e.g. with a trequartista)

- You can even have all the front four on support duty

And one final word: Like (almost) any other formation/system, 4-2-3-1 can be used with any type of mentality or playing style, but it is most suitable for systems that look to control possession and dominate the game.

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You do have a tendency to be umm... overly creative at times, but this post is spot on and I agree with many of your points. :thup:

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I'm back to 4231 and trying some adjustments from my tried and tested of previous years which broke alot of these rules. Left side overlaps while right underlap.

My current set up sees both my full backs as wing backs on support not ideal defensively but I like my wing backs getting forward and at rangers suits the personal. Centre backs both on defend. 

Midfield 2 has mezzala on left on attack but will drop this to support in tough games on the right a bwm on defend. 

Front 4 I've got a winger support on the right, a advanced playmaker on support, inside forward on attack and advanced forward attack. 

It's the first time I've set up this way but really want to compliment my strong wing backs while covering them and offering good support. 

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Been playing around with this in the Beta and decided on a midfield 3. So reads a BBM(left), BWM defend(center)and DLP support (right). Works a treat and gives me more stability against the ball over the top or down the wings AI counter.

Edited by thegoon65

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10 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

NOTE: This is just my personal view. Anyone is free to agree or disagree, and every response that helps to achieve a constructive discussion is more than welcome.

Following posts in this (tactical) section of the forum, I've noticed that 4-2-3-1 Wide (standard, with 2 MCs) is one of the most popular formations among FM players (if not the most popular). As someone who pays attention to almost every detail, I like to analyze various tactics, including of course the 4-2-3-1. So this post is intended to provide some (hopefully useful) hints on basic principles people should take into account when setting roles and duties in a 4-2-3-1 system, especially as this is a tricky formation due to its top-heavy structure. Note that the central midfield duo is the backbone of this formation, meaning that these two players should not be any two that can play in MC positions, but very carefully selected. After all, this is why you should not use a 4-2-3-1 at all costs, no matter how much you may like it.

DEFEND DUTIES:

- You should have at least 3 players on defend duty, including central defenders who are on defend duty by default (cover and stopper are de facto defend duties), and not counting Defensive/Pressing Forward with a Defend duty. So the third defend duty should occupy either a FB or a CM position

- Even the most defensive versions of 4-2-3-1 should not use more than 5 defend duties (including central defenders and excluding PF/DF on defend) 

- You should not have both fullbacks on attack duty

THE CENTRAL MIDFIELD DUO:

- Neither of the two central midfielders should be on attack duty

- At least one of the MCs should be on support duty

- The most offensive role occupying a MC position should be a Mezzala on support duty. In that case, however, it is advisable that the fullback on that side be on defend duty (ideally WB or IWB on defend)

- An ideal combination in the midfield duo should include one holding player (such as DLP on either duty) and one runner (e.g. box-to-box, CM on support, MEZ on support or BWM on support)

- If you use an advanced or roaming PM as part of the midfield duo, the fullback on that flank should not be on attack duty, with the most "offensive" role being FB on support

- If you use an advanced PM as part of the midfield duo, the other MC should be either a carrilero or BWM on support or box-to-box MF

- If you use a roaming PM as part of the midfield duo, the other MC should be on defend duty

THE FRONT FOUR:

- You should not have more than 2 attack duties among your four most advanced players

- If one of your wide forwards (AMR or AML) is on attack duty, the other one should not be

- The striker and AMC should not be on attack duty at the same time

- If your striker is on attack duty, then either AMR or AML should also be on attack duty

- If you use only one attack duty among the front four, then it should not be your striker (though in some cases it can work, e.g. with a trequartista)

- You can even have all the front four on support duty

And one final word: Like (almost) any other formation/system, 4-2-3-1 can be used with any type of mentality or playing style, but it is most suitable for systems that look to control possession and dominate the game.

any tips for mourinho style counter attack 4231 ?

what role you use  ?

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This is just kinda plain if you don’t explain as why you would do a x thing when you encounter a y situation.

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5 hours ago, kpsia518 said:

any tips for mourinho style counter attack 4231 ?

Sorry, but I'm not familiar enough with Man Utd's style of play under Mourinho. I used to follow them a lot more when Sir Alex was the boss. After him, it simply isn't that team anymore.

 

5 hours ago, kpsia518 said:

what role you use  ?

It always depends on what types of players I have at my disposal at the moment. But my (generally) favorite setup in 4231 is this:

DLFa

APMs      AMs       IFa

BtBM   DLPs

 

(I)WBd   CDd   CDc    WBs

SWKs

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4 hours ago, Armistice said:

This is just kinda plain if you don’t explain as why you would do a x thing when you encounter a y situation.

Not sure I understood you. Try to be more specific, please.

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6 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Not sure I understood you. Try to be more specific, please.

- If you use an advanced PM as part of the midfield duo, the other MC should be either a carrilero or BWM on support or box-to-box MF

 

You lay down some theory but it's not always understood by people especially those who are new to the game so how can we help them understand their system and what to change when things don't go right?

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2 minutes ago, Armistice said:

- If you use an advanced PM as part of the midfield duo, the other MC should be either a carrilero or BWM on support or box-to-box MF

 

You lay down some theory but it's not always understood by people especially those who are new to the game so how can we help them understand their system and what to change when things don't go right?

Well, it's impossible to explain each single detail of a tactic, especially because there is no "super-tactic" that suits all teams. This OP was solely about basic principles regarding roles and duties in a 4231, without going into too many details. But anyone can ask whatever question they might have :)

Now, on your specific question... An APM (on support) is a more advanced CM role, so he needs a more conservative CM partner to ensure better defensive stability and balance. At the same time, he (APM on support) is not a runner, but rather a type of player that tends to operate in a (more or less) limited area of space from where he controls the play. And since my suggestion was that one MC should be a holding player and the other a runner, when you take into account what I wrote above (the bolded parts), it should now be more clear why I recommended these three roles as his potential partners (because CAR, BtBM and BWM on support are basically runners, but still enough defensive-minded to provide the kind of balance I was referring to).

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Some good advice overall, but you could write more details why you advice such and such so it's more clear for newer people.

Personally, my rule is that one of the CMs is on Defend duty for sure - either CM-D or DLP-D. 

The other CM is a support role, except a Mezzala. I would never use that role with that formation.

Both rules are because the 2 CMs need to be central and stable. My go to combos are: CM-D + DLP-S or DLP-D + BBM-S

Also, very important is the Player Traits. Neither of the CMs should have adventurous traits like Get Further Forward or Gets Into Opposition Area. The task of the two CMs is to provide cover and stability between the front 4 and the back 4. They are recyclers of possession and link the defense with the attack.

2 Attack duties can work for the STC and AMC if the latter is AP-A or he has Comes Deep player trait.

The more advanced of the 2 CMs should be on the same side as the more advanced AMRL and the more defensive fullback. On the other side the more defensive CM should be on the same side with the more conservative AMRL and more adventurous fullback. The reason is for better balance and link between the players. 

One last thing. The overall Team Mentality should also be considered when choosing roles and duties - as with any system really. It is possible to make it work if you choose Attacking/Very Attacking team mentality and have both CMs on Defend Duty and all front 4 on Support Duty. On the flip side, a Defensive or Very Defensive overall mentality might work with 2 Support Duties in CM. Most of the "rules" about balancing the roles and duties are if one stays within the Cautious/Balanced/Positive team mentality range.

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3 minutes ago, yonko said:

Personally, my rule is that one of the CMs is on Defend duty for sure - either CM-D or DLP-D. 

The other CM is a support role, except a Mezzala. I would never use that role with that formation.

The 4231 is pretty OP in FM19, in most cases now if you have the players for it, you can actually use 2 support players without too many issues. It all depends on your backline as well. I created one for Arsenal and they whitewashed Watford 4-0. Watford stayed in their half with the gunners laying waste to their half. Went to Blackburn made a 4231 there too, and they are romping away at the top of the championship. With both clubs I feel that there are times when you can just play on support. Against some sides maybe you want to keep one on defend, but this will depend on how you want to use the backs in your team. 

The decision on how to use the backline will determine your midfield duty configuration. You are absolutely right about player traits, picking the perfect player for one of the two cm roles is irrelevant if you have the wrong traits.  In FM19 the pressing style you choose to use will ultimately determine how good your 4231, how you choose the players for the role and finally knowing when to go support/support and support/defend will also come into play.

The 4231 and the 442 diamond, are really fun to play in FM19.

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1 hour ago, Experienced Defender said:

Well, it's impossible to explain each single detail of a tactic, especially because there is no "super-tactic" that suits all teams. This OP was solely about basic principles regarding roles and duties in a 4231, without going into too many details. But anyone can ask whatever question they might have :)

Now, on your specific question... An APM (on support) is a more advanced CM role, so he needs a more conservative CM partner to ensure better defensive stability and balance. At the same time, he (APM on support) is not a runner, but rather a type of player that tends to operate in a (more or less) limited area of space from where he controls the play. And since my suggestion was that one MC should be a holding player and the other a runner, when you take into account what I wrote above (the bolded parts), it should now be more clear why I recommended these three roles as his potential partners (because CAR, BtBM and BWM on support are basically runners, but still enough defensive-minded to provide the kind of balance I was referring to).

Well that second part is what I meant, people might take your advice without knowing why and what these roles & duties do and then find themselves struggling when trying to forge a different combination. :) I wasn’t critical of your work or anything.

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32 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

The 4231 and the 442 diamond, are really fun to play in FM19.

I second your thoughts on the 4231, it's obscenely strong this FM, and I would add 4123 to the list.

I'm curious about your 442 diamond, though. I was planning to use narrow formations this edition, but everything I tried lacked any penetration and fell flat.

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In a 4231 I think its essential that both CM's sit and hold, I use a BWM(D) and a DLP(D) and I swear by this combination, this allows cover for attacking full backs and gives a solid base which allows your front 4 the freedom to express themselves, I've also found that the BWM(D) is a lot more disciplined than in previous versions. The 4231 is too top heavy to allow the CM's any freedom, using any of them as Mezzala or B2B is asking for trouble and can leave your CB's exposed.

Edited by shakey.bridge

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24 minutes ago, SD said:

I second your thoughts on the 4231, it's obscenely strong this FM, and I would add 4123 to the list.

I'm curious about your 442 diamond, though. I was planning to use narrow formations this edition, but everything I tried lacked any penetration and fell flat.

I used 442 diamonds to simulate entire seasons to test training out. I never failed to finish in the top 5 with Torino. I almost wanted to start a DOF challenge save.

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1 minute ago, shakey.bridge said:

In a 4231 I think its essential that both CM's sit and hold, I use a BWM(D) and a DLP(D) and I swear by this combination, this allows cover for attacking full backs and gives a solid base which allows your front 4 the freedom to express themselves, I've also found that the BWM(D) is a lot more disciplined than in previous versions. The 4231 is too top heavy to allow the CM's any freedom, using any of them as Mezzala or B2B is asking for trouble and can leave your CB's exposed.

It wasn't as extreme as having both CMs on defend duty and with hold PIs, but I went into FM19 with the notion that you need to stay away from roaming roles and that yo need at least one defend duty.

Turns out I had best results with a BBM-DLP(S) setup, and you can get away with even more reckless combinations as long as you maintain the pressing and make sure the def line is pushed high up.

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When I first started using this formation I made a very symmetrical role layout

AF(a)

W(a) AP(s) W(s)

BWM(d) BBM(s)

FB(s) CD(d) CD(d) FB(a)

 

This gave me overlap on one flank, and underlap on the other

When I changed some roles the the symmetry went, but the intention of overlap+underlap was still there

 

AF(a)

IF(s) AP(s) W(a)

BWM(d) BBM(s)

WB(a) CD(d) CD(d) FB(s) 

 

The overlap is now provided by a very aggressive WB setting. 

After checking the comparison stats my team is rank 9/12 for jumping/heading ability, so I set "whipped crosses" rather than float.

The IF & W held the #1 & #2 spots on assists in the last season.

 

Typically the AF & AP get heavily marked & pressed, the sudden interventions by the IF & BMM help open options in the central areas of the pitch whilst the W, WB & FB cause chaos on the flanks.
Usually makes for entertaining highlights.

 

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2 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

I used 442 diamonds to simulate entire seasons to test training out. I never failed to finish in the top 5 with Torino. I almost wanted to start a DOF challenge save.

Interesting, what style of football did you use? I did two half season test runs with Spurs with instant result and everything delegated.

First run was with various narrow formations, including 442 diamond, and I sat in 9th place by Christmas.

Second run was about 70% 4231 and 30% 4123, using the default tiki-taka and vertical tiki-taka presets, respectively (different role setup, though). By Christmas, I was sitting comfortably 1st place and undefeated in the Premiership, again, with zero man management and the assistant inane team talks.

One interesting bit that I think is telling for the FM19 tactics ecosystem. On this second run, even though the team was playing generally well, I felt the 4123 still lacked teeth somehow, especially compared to the beast that the 4231 turning out to be. Tried a CF(A) to stretch the pitch, tried a DLF(A) to link up play, went back and forth between REG and DLP for the DM but what unlocked the whole tactic was changing the AP(S) on the left flank to IF(S), even though Eriksen is far better suited for the former. From that point on, 4123's goals turned from opportunistic plays likely the result of Kane's brilliance, to teamwide examples of free flowing football.

It's anecdotal, but it seems to me that for possession tactics at least, width is king this FM, and the only way to reliably achieve it is through wide formations.

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Thoughts on BWM(d) + BBM? Not sure I ever used this combination in all those years. 
I usually go with some kind of deep playmaker, but trying to find the right setup for Everton  - Gueye and Davies seem to be the perfect couple for those roles. Although Gueye could work as DLP(d) as well. 

 

as of now:

GK(d)

WB(s) - CD(d) - BPD (d) - WB(s)

BBM(s) - BWM(d)

W(s) - AM(s) - IF(a)

CF/AF(a)

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4 hours ago, Rashidi said:

The 4231 is pretty OP in FM19, in most cases now if you have the players for it, you can actually use 2 support players without too many issues. It all depends on your backline as well. I created one for Arsenal and they whitewashed Watford 4-0. Watford stayed in their half with the gunners laying waste to their half. Went to Blackburn made a 4231 there too, and they are romping away at the top of the championship. With both clubs I feel that there are times when you can just play on support. Against some sides maybe you want to keep one on defend, but this will depend on how you want to use the backs in your team. 

The decision on how to use the backline will determine your midfield duty configuration. You are absolutely right about player traits, picking the perfect player for one of the two cm roles is irrelevant if you have the wrong traits.  In FM19 the pressing style you choose to use will ultimately determine how good your 4231, how you choose the players for the role and finally knowing when to go support/support and support/defend will also come into play.

The 4231 and the 442 diamond, are really fun to play in FM19.

I like to use one attacking and one supporting fullback, so for me having a defend duty in midfield is a must (on the same side as the more attacking fullback, so he can cover for him). Also because most likely I play with Balanced/Positive Team Mentality. 

My favorite set up is:

----------------CF-S----------------

IF-S-----------AP-A-----------IF-A

---------CM-D------DLP-S--------

FB-A----CD-D----CD-D----FB-S

 

I'm interested to know what do you mean about the pressing systems with 4231. Naturally because it's a top heavy formation, I think it's ideal for high pressing set up. A variation might be to let the front 4 press heavy, while the midfield 2 sit back more and sweep behind them. Maybe creating waves of pressing.

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40 minutes ago, Time_Consumer said:

Thoughts on BWM(d) + BBM? Not sure I ever used this combination in all those years. 
I usually go with some kind of deep playmaker, but trying to find the right setup for Everton  - Gueye and Davies seem to be the perfect couple for those roles. Although Gueye could work as DLP(d) as well. 

 

as of now:

GK(d)

WB(s) - CD(d) - BPD (d) - WB(s)

BBM(s) - BWM(d)

W(s) - AM(s) - IF(a)

CF/AF(a)

BWM(D) is way too one-dimensional in my view. If you must use a defend duty, a DLP(D) partners perfectly with a BBM. 

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vor 1 Minute schrieb SD:

BWM(D) is way too one-dimensional in my view. If you must use a defend duty, a DLP(D) partners perfectly with a BBM. 

I mean, "must". I have almost always used one in a 4-2-3-1. An idea would be to try the BWM(s), which also is a role i hardly ever used. Or even CM(d) instead of BWM? It remains "holding" but gets rid of all those crippling other PIs. Here's to 25 years of football managing games and still enough stuff to learn...  I'll tinker away.

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1 hour ago, Time_Consumer said:

Thoughts on BWM(d) + BBM?

I personally tend to avoid a BWM (on either duty) as part of a central midfield duo in any formation that lacks a DM (such as 4231 or 442), but it does not mean that you (or anyone else) should not try. My reason for not using a BWM in a CM position in these type of systems is his hard-coded heavy pressing and hard tackling (at least in FM18), which makes him being out of position too often. Unless I have a really top-class BWM (tackling, acceleration, positioning, determination, work rate, anticipation all 15+), I rather look not to use him in non-DM formations.

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1 minute ago, Experienced Defender said:

I personally tend to avoid a BWM (on either duty) as part of a central midfield duo in any formation that lacks a DM (such as 4231 or 442), but it does not mean that you (or anyone else) should not try. My reason for not using a BWM in a CM position in these type of systems is his hard-coded heavy pressing and hard tackling (at least in FM18), which makes him being out of position too often. Unless I have a really top-class BWM (tackling, acceleration, positioning, determination, work rate, anticipation all 15+), I rather look not to use him in non-DM formations.

If you are using a high pressing style, which is a must with such an adventurous formation anyway, then every player is going to have maxed out pressing. SI have stated during beta that the 'less urgent' or 'standard' designations are inaccurate and that the green bar is what indicates pressing intensity. Also, before FM19 when passing settings were more granular, another thing that set the BWM(S) apart was his hardcoded short passing, but this is no longer the case.

Where I'm trying to get is that in our example, a BWM(S) is really just a CM(S) with hard tackling and that in a high pressure style this role is redundant - every player is a BWM.

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On 01/11/2018 at 23:27, Experienced Defender said:

DEFEND DUTIES:

- You should have at least 3 players

You lost me in the first sentence. Only a sith deals in absolutes. 

FM, nor real football, are rule based, of course you can play two cbs on defend and everyone else on support. Or mixture of attack and support..

Of course you can play another role with AP other than those you suggest. 

The advice is as mad as your choice of fonts...all over the shop and frankly, frustratingly wrong.

------

I kind of get some of your intention, but if you really think about some of your quotes you will be embarrassed to have said them. 

On 01/11/2018 at 23:27, Experienced Defender said:

You should not have both fullbacks on attack duty

Why!? With both cms on defend youd create a nice box defence. (for example) 

Your advice sounds so rigid... There are no rules, but if there were, they would also depend on all the pieces of the puzzle you barely mention... Mentality, dline, pressing line, urgency, tempo, passing directness... Player attributes and ppms... 

All of these items would have huge potential to completely change a tactical situation. 

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I went back to my 4-2-3-1 from FM18 earlier (with DMs rather than CMs) and got some excellent results pulling a team out of the relegation zone with:

FB (s), CB, CB, WB (a)

        Reg (s)  SV (a)

IF (a)       AM (s)         W (s)

              DLF (a)

which canny doesn't play by those rules.

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25 minutes ago, Wavelberry said:

I went back to my 4-2-3-1 from FM18 earlier (with DMs rather than CMs) and got some excellent results pulling a team out of the relegation zone with:

FB (s), CB, CB, WB (a)

        Reg (s)  SV (a)

IF (a)       AM (s)         W (s)

              DLF (a)

which canny doesn't play by those rules.

That left side of yours is vulnerable and a good team can/will exploit it. With WB-A and SV-A on the same side, that left side CB better be Maldini in his prime or I can see trouble there.

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34 minutes ago, yonko said:

That left side of yours is vulnerable and a good team can/will exploit it. With WB-A and SV-A on the same side, that left side CB better be Maldini in his prime or I can see trouble there.

You are right and actually the two DMs are the other way around and that is my 'expect to win' tactic.

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12 hours ago, SD said:

If you are using a high pressing style, which is a must with such an adventurous formation anyway, then every player is going to have maxed out pressing. SI have stated during beta that the 'less urgent' or 'standard' designations are inaccurate and that the green bar is what indicates pressing intensity. Also, before FM19 when passing settings were more granular, another thing that set the BWM(S) apart was his hardcoded short passing, but this is no longer the case.

Where I'm trying to get is that in our example, a BWM(S) is really just a CM(S) with hard tackling and that in a high pressure style this role is redundant - every player is a BWM.

My personal preference when it comes to pressing is to instruct my forward players (and sometimes, depending on the situation, some of the midfielders) to close down (much) more in their PIs, rather than applying Max Closing Down as a TI. But of course, everyone has their own style and approach to the game, which I fully respect.

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11 hours ago, westy8chimp said:

You lost me in the first sentence. Only a sith deals in absolutes. 

FM, nor real football, are rule based, of course you can play two cbs on defend and everyone else on support. Or mixture of attack and support..

Of course you can play another role with AP other than those you suggest. 

The advice is as mad as your choice of fonts...all over the shop and frankly, frustratingly wrong.

------

I kind of get some of your intention, but if you really think about some of your quotes you will be embarrassed to have said them. 

Why!? With both cms on defend youd create a nice box defence. (for example) 

Your advice sounds so rigid... There are no rules, but if there were, they would also depend on all the pieces of the puzzle you barely mention... Mentality, dline, pressing line, urgency, tempo, passing directness... Player attributes and ppms... 

All of these items would have huge potential to completely change a tactical situation. 

Okay, that's exactly why I was using "should" and "should not", instead of "must" or "must not". After all, at the very beginning of the OP I emphasized that "This is just my personal view. Anyone is free to agree or disagree, and every response that helps to achieve a constructive discussion is more than welcome.:thup:

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3 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

My personal preference when it comes to pressing is to instruct my forward players (and sometimes, depending on the situation, some of the midfielders) to close down (much) more in their PIs, rather than applying Max Closing Down as a TI. But of course, everyone has their own style and approach to the game, which I fully respect.

There's definitely a legitimate case for setting closing down settings individually and use that to funnel the opposition into certain areas of the pitch, but to me the 4231 formation demands a high def line, and that in turn requires max closing down on everyone to prevent long balls over the top.

 

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9 minutes ago, SD said:

There's definitely a legitimate case for setting closing down settings individually and use that to funnel the opposition into certain areas of the pitch, but to me the 4231 formation demands a high def line, and that in turn requires max closing down on everyone to prevent long balls over the top.

Where I agree (the bolded part) is that 4231 should be played with a higher d-line (or at least normal), whereas any kind of deeper line is not recommendable IMO (although I don't claim it cannot work, just think it's not a good idea).

Btw, wouldn't high pressing by everyone (and on everyone) actually encourage (and even facilitate) long balls over the top from the opposition? After all, that's how LFC (in real life) conceded many goals from weaker sides last season, when they used gegenpressing to the full.

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This is all so... rigid sounding. No offence intended, but you are treating everything in isolation without really considering how each part of your advice affects the others. If I have two defensive fullbacks, why should I not have an attack duty in my CM, for example? Why should there not be goth wide players on attack duty? Why not have both central players on attack? The question why is never addressed for any of these points. If you say this how you think it best, then you must have experience as to why you think so. This is infinitely more useful to people than a list of rules. There are not rules to tactics. 

Honestly, if you are going to post this, I'd much rather see a post where you set out a specific 4231 you like, and explain to me why you chose each role, each duty, each instruction, the shape, the fluidity. That way you can draw attention to the generalities of how these things work. People then can learn how to spot these things themselves. A list like this is really of questionable use, in my opinion.

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32 minutes ago, sporadicsmiles said:

A list like this is really of questionable use, in my opinion.

Just a more polite version of what i said... But its not questionable... Its nonsense

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22 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

Just a more polite version of what i said... But its not questionable... Its nonsense

I think you guys are missing the point. It obviously should not be rigidly followed however if you're not great at tactics and want to get a decent functioning 4-2-3-1, these tips can definitely help to start with.

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2 hours ago, sporadicsmiles said:

There are not rules to tactics.

This looks like a rule to me. :)

1 hour ago, westy8chimp said:

Just a more polite version of what i said... But its not questionable... Its nonsense

It could be just a list of things he's observed empirically and not the result of tactical theory, but to dismiss it wholesale as nonsense is just as wrong.
Putting your thoughts into words and then up for public scrutiny is a useful learning exercise, if you are not too married to those thoughts.

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25 minutes ago, SD said:

Putting your thoughts into words and then up for public scrutiny is a useful learning exercise

I think @sporadicsmiles was right... To make this kind of post less offensive and dangerous... would have been good to link it to a tactic to make it relevant for... One club, one style.

To think you can write two paragraphs to encapsulate all the intricacies, regardless of situation, of any formation.... LOL 

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I've been running this formation with a Birmingham save I've been playing the last few days or so, only just made it to the end of preseason but thus far it's been successful & satisfying. It's the only formation I could put together to focus on the strengths of the squad

I run with:

GK - SK (A)

DL WB(S)

DC CD(D)

DC CD(D)

DR FB(S)

MCL BBM(S)

MCR BWM(S)

AML IF(A)

AMC AP(S)

AMR W(S)

STR TM(A)

 

Standard mentality with focus on the wings, nothing excited, trying to make the most of the pace out wide & the strength of Juke up top, seeing a good spread of goals between all players & have dished out some hammerings against similar reputation teams   

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2 hours ago, ShirazS said:

I think you guys are missing the point. It obviously should not be rigidly followed however if you're not great at tactics and want to get a decent functioning 4-2-3-1, these tips can definitely help to start with

You actually responded better than I would have. Thanks :thup: ;)

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On 02.11.2018 at 17:17, Experienced Defender said:

Sorry, but I'm not familiar enough with Man Utd's style of play under Mourinho. I used to follow them a lot more when Sir Alex was the boss. After him, it simply isn't that team anymore.

 

It always depends on what types of players I have at my disposal at the moment. But my (generally) favorite setup in 4231 is this:

DLFa

APMs      AMs       IFa

BtBM   DLPs

 

(I)WBd   CDd   CDc    WBs

SWKs

which team shape , mentality  ?  fluid and control ?  how about team instructions ?

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48 minutes ago, yaşar said:

which team shape , mentality  ?  fluid and control ?  how about team instructions ?

These absolutely depend on the team you are managing. I do not have a "super-tactic" that works wonders for any team. So before making any definite decision on tactics, I first need to get as familiar with the team as possible. Then I create a couple of my basic tactics, but am always making certain adjustments for each match (based on the analysis of the opposition), as well as during matches depending on what I see while watching it.

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Instinctively I do not like this thread.  Too many bolded parts that feel like rules but without justifiable reasoning to back it up. 

Someone once told me that is more likely to be good when it's planned and well written, it looks as though it has taken time & been well thought out, easy and clear to understand and is able to demonstrate its meaning with references, examples and maybe pictures.  I think some advice in here is alright but it stops short in places, boxes too many things and crucially lacks a lot of contextual explanation.

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26 minutes ago, Robson 07 said:

Instinctively I do not like this thread.  Too many bolded parts that feel like rules but without justifiable reasoning to back it up. 

Someone once told me that is more likely to be good when it's planned and well written, it looks as though it has taken time & been well thought out, easy and clear to understand and is able to demonstrate its meaning with references, examples and maybe pictures.  I think some advice in here is alright but it stops short in places, boxes too many things and crucially lacks a lot of contextual explanation.

That's a habit OP has. Go through many threads on this forum and he/she will offer very basic advice on what you should do and not why you do should do it. 

 

FM is too complex for hard and fast rules, OP needs to reassess the way they give out advice because it's terrible for new players or inexperienced players who are looking for help. 

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On 02/11/2018 at 22:48, yonko said:

I like to use one attacking and one supporting fullback, so for me having a defend duty in midfield is a must (on the same side as the more attacking fullback, so he can cover for him). Also because most likely I play with Balanced/Positive Team Mentality. 

My favorite set up is:

----------------CF-S----------------

IF-S-----------AP-A-----------IF-A

---------CM-D------DLP-S--------

FB-A----CD-D----CD-D----FB-S

 

I'm interested to know what do you mean about the pressing systems with 4231. Naturally because it's a top heavy formation, I think it's ideal for high pressing set up. A variation might be to let the front 4 press heavy, while the midfield 2 sit back more and sweep behind them. Maybe creating waves of pressing.

Interesting. Many advice against using two IFs in a 4-2-3-1. How do you prevent it from getting overcrowded in the centre? And how would you setup in a 4-2-3-1 DM?

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One way to look at the OP ... 

And it's less of a  "this is the right/only way to do it" post then.

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Okay, let's just clarify something. First, I have never tried to impose my view on anyone, either in this particular thread or the forum in general. Second, nowhere in the OP I made any mention of "rules"; I was talking exclusively about "hints" (as the title says) and "basic principles", none of which are meant to be set in stone. Moreover, I encouraged (in the OP) all those who disagree with me to contribute to a constructive discussion by sharing their views and arguments. I don't think that I'm the smartest FM player in the world, just trying to share my experience of the game. Whoever thinks otherwise is free to express their opinion.

Some even complained because I bolded the points in my OP that I believe are particularly important, which is so ridiculous that it does not even deserve any further comment.

And last but not least, the only reason I did not provide (more detailed) explanations for theses in the OP is that I cannot know in advance what in particular might not be clear to someone. But anyone is free to ask me a specific question (provided of course it's pertinent to the topic). 

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2 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Okay, let's just clarify something. First, I have never tried to impose my view on anyone, either in this particular thread or the forum in general. Second, nowhere in the OP I made any mention of "rules"; I was talking exclusively about "hints" (as the title says) and "basic principles", none of which are meant to be set in stone. Moreover, I encouraged (in the OP) all those who disagree with me to contribute to a constructive discussion by sharing their views and arguments. I don't think that I'm the smartest FM player in the world, just trying to share my experience of the game. Whoever thinks otherwise is free to express their opinion.

Some even complained because I bolded the points in my OP that I believe are particularly important, which is so ridiculous that it does not even deserve any further comment.

And last but not least, the only reason I did not provide (more detailed) explanations for theses in the OP is that I cannot know in advance what in particular might not be clear to someone. But anyone is free to ask me a specific question (provided of course it's pertinent to the topic). 

Don't sweat it so much. There is nothing wrong with what you tried to do. Some people are too eager to pass judgement and label things "nonsense" but they can't press a button on instructions. Don't take seriously what they say. It's your thread and don't let others derail you. Others can make their own threads and pretend there. 

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3 hours ago, hawkgg said:

Interesting. Many advice against using two IFs in a 4-2-3-1. How do you prevent it from getting overcrowded in the centre? And how would you setup in a 4-2-3-1 DM?

Who advices that? It depends on the set up. In my case I have one IF on support and the other one on attack duty. The AP-A is not a role that attacks the space either side of the ST either so he doesn't get in a way of the IFs. The CF-S role is even more mobile this edition as it now has "moves into channels" as selected instruction for the role. Plus he has roaming as well. So he will find his space. IF-S and AP-A are the creators, CF-S and IF-A are the intended goals scorers. 

If I was using AM-A or SS-A things would become congested up top. Instead of AP-A, I could use AM-S or EG, or Treq. If I wanted to use SS-A then the ST would have to be either DLF-S or F9 to create the space by dropping deeper. Or I would change one of my IFs to Winger. You can do both. It's all about creating and using the space to attack.

For a deep 4231 with 2 DMs, I can't say for sure what roles I would use because I haven't used that variation too often. Probably I would try DM-S and DLP-S. You can go with two support roles because they would be starting from deeper positions. If your DLP is more dominant player and has the physical attributes, you can go with RPM instead.  

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