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Introducing the 4-4-2 Pragmatic Flankenspiel

My second posted tactic. It's a defensively solid tactic using the classic 4-4-2 formation, but with the width primarily provided by the full backs, while the wide midfielders primarily attacking channels and roaming inside the box (however they will also cross when given opportunities). The two central midfielders act as playmaker and engine respectively. It relies on quick and technically proficient wide players, good crossers and a solid pair of midfielders. Assist will come from both crosses and through balls, and goals will mostly come from placed shots inside box.

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Origins:

The tactic was developed through trial and error while taking my Blyth Spartans team up through the divisions. I was looking for a way of playing a 4-4-2 without being too single-minded in attack, by combining the advantages of both wing play and through balls in the same tactic.

 

The aim of the tactic:

The aim is to create a solid defensive base, as well as a varied and potent attack. It presses hard and marks tightly, but is not a full-out gegenpress. The aim here is to leave some space to run into once the ball is won, enabling some deadly counter attacks when the opportunity arises. When the team needs to build from the back, there are plenty of passing options going forward. The playmaker acts as the passing hub, while the BBM does the dirtywork.

 

What kind of chances can you expect:

The tactic forces a lot of play through the flanks, but since the full backs provide the width, this often stretches their defense, leaving space in the channels for the wingers and strikers to exploit. The tactic is set to cross low, but you will still see both tap-ins and headers as an end product. You will also see some long balls over the opposition defense from the full backs and central defenders, usually into space for the advanced forward to run onto (as you can see, there are 10 assists from deep passes in the last 50 games). Most goals will come either from crosses by the full backs to the strikers or the opposite winger, or from combination play between the strikers and forward surging wingers.

Your top scorers will most likely be the strikers, with the wingers also chipping in with a fair share.

Assists.thumb.jpg.1a743e8697af2f62e19edb40e94c09e4.jpg

Goals.thumb.jpg.28af9a6064ad9bf1455f08c101cca5eb.jpg

 

Results:

The Spartans have become the dominant team in England, with a significantly lower wage budget than the former top teams. Also grabbed a few CL-wins and cup trophies.

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What kind of players do you need?

GK: Any standard keeper will do. If he's decent with the ball at his feet, that's great, but it's not crucial to this tactic.

Central Def: The two central defenders should have decent pace and aerial presence. It they are also decent passers of the ball, that's a big plus.

Full backs: Pacey and good crossers. They need to cover quite a lot of ground.

Playmaker: Good passing and vision, preferrably also good physique and tackling skills.

BBM: An allrounder. Tackling and mobility. Passing and long shot is a big plus. If you have a great tackler who's not that useful going forward, you can change this role to a BWM(def) or Central Mid(def). You will lose some aspects of the attacking play, though.

Wide Midfielders: Pace, dribbling, off the ball, passing, crossing. You might have to retrain a winger from an AM position. It works with both left footed and right footed players on both sides, but they will perform slightly different. A left footed player on the right will cross less and cut inside more, combining with your strikers and midfield. A right footed player on the right will often surge into channels, with the option of either crossing, playing through one of the strikers or passing it to the overlapping full back. I've had most success using players with a preferred foot matching their side.

False 9: Needs good technique and passing. If he has enough strength to hold the ball up, that's a plus. An AM with good finishing can be retrained to play here. Should be right footed.

Advanced Forward: Your main goal scorer. Need pace, dribbling, off the ball, finishing. Heading is a plus.

 

Download: 4-4-2 Pragmatic Flankenspiel.fmf

 

If you have any feedback, please comment below. I'd especially like to hear if the tactic works well in other leagues.

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Decent tactic this so far.  I like a 4411 but whilst mine did quite well I conceded far too many goals despite being top scorers in the PL, so I tried this but dragged the F9 back to the AM slot and have got the results below swapping between the 4411 and your 442.  Arnautovic scored 4 against Huddersfield whereas I was really struggling to get him firing with my 4411.  He hasn't been as prolific since but has nabbed the odd goal.  The other apparent strength of this is that I haven't conceded as many goals from set pieces which is really annoying in FM19.  Do you just use the default set up or your own?

What I would ask is how do you shut up shop.  It seems really difficult in 19.  Not this tactic so much so far but I find the AI always finds a way too score when I go more conservative or even before.  I go say 2-0 up make a tactic change and they score straight from kick off before my change has been processed, or they will score from a free kick, dodgy penalty, 30 yard screamer or quite often a long punt over the top.  If I try defensive and drop the line or change defenders to a defend role I just get over run, defending just seems impossible.  With these last few results I have just gone with it but am experiencing far too many squeaky bum moments for my liking!!  The Chelsea game I was 2-0 up but was powerless to stop Higuaín.  Aubameyang usually destroys me but I managed to hold on for a rare victory at the Emirates.  Be nice to just close the game down though, defend deep and stop them when you are leading but it seems impossible, any thoughts?

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Edited by Sussex Hammer

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Hi, and thanks for your feedback.

I micromanage set pieces, especially corners. I've had good results with those, scoring quite a few and not conceding many, as you can see from the assist stats.

For setting up shop, there are several things you can do, depending on how the opposition are putting you under pressure:

1. You could turn off overlapping and change the full backs to more cautious roles, fx FB(s) or WB(d).

2. You can change the BBM to a CM(d) and the AP to a DPL. This will prevent roaming from central midfield, providing a more solid unit.

3. The most radical change would be to remove a striker and put him in the DM slot, either as a DM(d) or Anchor. This could help shut down your opponents AM, if they have a good playmaker in the hole.

I rarely change the mentality, as part of the point of counterpress is to avoid getting pushed back too far in defense.

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UPDATE: Tested tactic in Bundesliga with Leverkusen with good results. 3rd place in the opening season, and winning both Bundesliga and Champions League second season. Leon Bailey has played very well as an inverted winger. Great start to 3rd season as well.

Leverkusen.thumb.jpg.1315e005011f7a4c95b375246ea7b154.jpg

Leverkusen_3rd_season.thumb.jpg.ebf3bf0a612585b9c188830c81dfdeae.jpg

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Hi there,

Are you able to post your squad stats from the end of season. I'd be really interested to see how many goals were scored and by who.

My holy grail quest for FM19 tactic is to:

1. Have never used AM's or wide players before. Current tactic has two AM's - but doesn't offer too much variety. No AM here, but wide players, so that's good!

2. No set piece exploits. I'd love to get the DC's scoring from set pieces - but not from any short corner exploit and especially not throw in exploit.

3. Variety of goals - headers from crosses, exciting through balls - the occasional long ball!

This seems to cover much of this, hence the interest in your end of season goals scored etc. I'm somewhat committed to the two AM tactic for now, but will try and introduce this and see if it is something worth building my squad on. Excellent post by the way - thanks for your work.

 

Paul

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13 hours ago, swedishchef_uk said:

Hi there,

Are you able to post your squad stats from the end of season. I'd be really interested to see how many goals were scored and by who.

My holy grail quest for FM19 tactic is to:

1. Have never used AM's or wide players before. Current tactic has two AM's - but doesn't offer too much variety. No AM here, but wide players, so that's good!

2. No set piece exploits. I'd love to get the DC's scoring from set pieces - but not from any short corner exploit and especially not throw in exploit.

3. Variety of goals - headers from crosses, exciting through balls - the occasional long ball!

This seems to cover much of this, hence the interest in your end of season goals scored etc. I'm somewhat committed to the two AM tactic for now, but will try and introduce this and see if it is something worth building my squad on. Excellent post by the way - thanks for your work.

 

Paul

Thanks for your feedback. The tactic provides good variety in terms of goals and assists, so I think you've got no 3 covered. It also doesn't contain any set piece exploits, as far as I know. I score quite a lot fro set pieces, but it's mostly due to the high number of corners the tactic creates, as well as good direct kick shooters.
Unfortunately, I just started my next pre-season, so the squad stat page was reset. I had a look at my key players, though, and have deduced the following:

1. Goals come predominantly from strikers, with wingers a close second (my best striker scored 31 goals in 43 apps, and my best winger scored 10 in 32). Midfield duo get a few long shots in as well. Some defender goals from set pieces.

2. Assists come from wingers, strikers and full backs (best winger had 16 in 32 apps, best striker had 14 in 43 apps). Both full backs had around 8-10 in 30-ish apps). Midfielders have fewer assists, but lots of key passes. I should also mention that a lot of the winger assists are through balls and longer passes, so not only crossing.

Edited by killerkoala

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Much appreciated - thanks for responding.

I've played it a few times, but I have to say I don't have the midfield right yet as I've got a squad to suit my other tactic which only uses DM and AMC's. I might need to play this season out with that tactic and re-build over the summer. The games I did play contained narrow wins over lesser teams and defeats against similar teams. That said - I've only been in the top flight for three seasons and limited money - so in terms of player quality, most teams are better than us. I'm just over performing so far!

Thanks again.

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I understand. If you have mostly DM and AM, they might be too specialized for the tactic. The central midfielders really need to be allrounders for the tactic to work. But let me know how it all pans out if you decide to switch in the seasonal break. Good luck!

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A little tip for those of you playing with this tactic: If you are facing way better teams and need to tighten your defense, switch the wide defenders to FB(s) and tell them to take fewer risks. Also, turn off overlaps. This will lead to fewer but better chances, while also making your team harder to catch on the counter.

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