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Rob1

Improving my flat 4141 (and getting the most out of my best players)

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Hi all

I'm new to the forums but I've played FM on and off over the years. I have a few questions about my tactics and I'd appreciate any suggestions anyone has.

I'm a few years into my save (2023) and I'm now half way through my second season in the Premier League expected to finish 14th. I've been playing counter-attacking football with a flat 4141 (although the tactic has changed slightly each season).  My aims with the tactic is to have goals from the DLF, IW and CM(a), with assists from the CM(a), IW and W and this seems (mostly) to be working, although I don't score many goals (when I win it is often 1-0).

1) I feel like the W isn't contributing as I'd like (very few assists). Would a role change be good here? And I suppose I would need to change the FB behind him too in that case? Any suggestions about this left flank?

2) The CM(a) is my star academy player and the player I have tried to build the team around. I really want to get the most out of him (goals/assists/key passes etc). My thinking is that using him as a CM(a) helps ensure he is effecting the game high up the pitch and in a position to offer a goal scoring threat (he had 9 goals last season which seems fine I think but he doesn't "run the game" as much as I would like).  In some games he just can't get on the ball or find space and I'd like to find a way to fix that. Would a role change be good here too? I have tried him a little as a RPM(s) and AP(a) to help him get on the ball more but then I miss his driving runs from midfield. I am also unsure on the balance of the rest of the team/roles with him as a playmaker. I've even tried him further forward as a SS but I'd like him on the ball more in the centre of the pitch where he can effect the game the most.  The game is telling me that his best role is a Mez but this is a role that I don't fully understand and is it suited to counter-attacking football? Any suggestions please?

3) I've noticed that my home form isn't very strong and that I struggle to break teams down when they don't leave space (which makes sense as I'm mostly counter-attacking). But I think I'm reaching the time where I need a "Plan B".  In these games I've been experimenting by adding a playmaker - I've tried AP, DLP, RPM and WP options but nothing really stood out. These are the kind of games I'd like the CM(a) to influence more. Would playing him as RPM(s) or AP(a) help with that? Again though, I'm unsure on how to then set up the rest of the team around him.  I have also tried changing the Anchor to a DM(s)to support the midfield more in these games.  I have also been experimenting with the instructions by lowering the tempo slightly and adding "Work Ball into Box" with mixed results. Does anyone have any suggestions for some change to the tactic/roles in matches like this?

Here is a picture of my tactic of my tactic and a picture of the player that I'm trying to get the most of. I'd like to keep a flat 4141 but I am happy to play around with roles to get the best out of this player.

Thanks for any ideas.

4141.jpg

Bellingham.jpg

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Rob1 said:

I've been playing counter-attacking football with a flat 4141 (although the tactic has changed slightly each season).  My aims with the tactic is to have goals from the DLF, IW and CM(a), with assists from the CM(a), IW and W and this seems (mostly) to be working, although I don't score many goals (when I win it is often 1-0)

Well, counter-attacking football essentially is about winning narrowly and (ideally) keeping a clean sheet. So 1-0 wins are exactly about that. On top of that, you use a bottom-heavy formation, which makes it comparatively more difficult to be more efficient in the sense of scoring more goals and/or creating a lot of chances. 

 

2 hours ago, Rob1 said:

I feel like the W isn't contributing as I'd like (very few assists). Would a role change be good here? And I suppose I would need to change the FB behind him too in that case? Any suggestions about this left flank?

I don't know your players, so it's difficult to tell what specifically would be an optimal role/duty combination for you. Besides, I really don't care which of my players will score more or less goals and provide more or less assists, so I am probably not the right person to give you that type of advice. What I only care about is that my tactic makes sense, that I like what I see and that my board is pleased with my team's results.

Anyway, a combination on the left side you might want to try is WM on support (instead of winger) and IWB on support instead of standard FB. However, IWB is a more demanding role than FB, so you need to make sure your fullback is suitable in terms of his attributes.

I would also consider playing the MCR as DLP on support. Or carrilero or BWM on support (if you don't want to use a playmaker). 

2 hours ago, Rob1 said:

Bellingham.jpg

 

2 hours ago, Rob1 said:

The CM(a) is my star academy player and the player I have tried to build the team around. I really want to get the most out of him (goals/assists/key passes etc). My thinking is that using him as a CM(a) helps ensure he is effecting the game high up the pitch and in a position to offer a goal scoring threat (he had 9 goals last season which seems fine I think but he doesn't "run the game" as much as I would like).  In some games he just can't get on the ball or find space and I'd like to find a way to fix that. Would a role change be good here too?

If you are talking about the guy from the picture (screenshot), I would play him as a mezzala on attack. Not only that he absolutely suits the role, but the role would very nicely fit into the setup. In fact, maybe this setup would work better for you (which I cannot know for sure, because I don't know any of your players except for the "star guy"):

DLFat

 

IWat  CAR/BWMsu   MEZat  WMsu

Ade

WBsu     CDde    CDde     IWBsu

GK/SK

 

Edited by Experienced Defender

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1 hour ago, Experienced Defender said:

In fact, maybe this setup would work better for you (which I cannot know for sure, because I don't know any of your players except for the "star guy"):

DLFat

 

IWat  CAR/BWMsu   MEZat  WMsu

Ade

WBsu     CDde    CDde     IWBsu

GK/SK

 

This is great, thanks a lot for the suggestions. I hadn't considered a CAR/BWM at all.

Unfortunately, the wide players I have are almost all left footed so I think I'll have to keep the IW(at) on the right and WM(s) on the left, which would mean the Mez(at) in the CML position.  Am I right in thinking that you suggested the Mez(at) in the MCR position because the player in question is right footed? Hopefully playing in the MCL position will be ok.

Is this also the kind of set up that can work well when in those games when I'm the favourite and teams are defending against me, leaving little space to for me counter-attack? I feel I need to develop a "Plan B" as my team slowly improves.

Thanks again!

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9 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

On top of that, you use a bottom-heavy formation, which makes it comparatively more difficult to be more efficient in the sense of scoring more goals and/or creating a lot of chances. 

I think you are wrong about this. You can have a flat 4-1-4-1 be more aggressive than a 4-3-3. It all depends on the roles and duties and instructions you give your players. In my opinion formations are in essence neutral. Actually you can morph the 4-1-4-1 into various shapes when you have the ball - and those can be really offensive. And the best thing about 4-1-4-1 is that you "naturally" gets a good defensive shape that can be harder to replicate in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. 4-1-4-1 obviously has some weaknesses, as your players starting positions are lower than in a 4-3-3, so if you don't think about that, your striker can be isolated. 

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9 hours ago, Rob1 said:

Unfortunately, the wide players I have are almost all left footed so I think I'll have to keep the IW(at) on the right and WM(s) on the left, which would mean the Mez(at) in the CML position

You absolutely can play a left-footed player as an IW on the left flank (and even more so if he's on attack duty). Likewise, you can - and in this case it make even more sense because of the right-footed mezzala - play a left-footed players as a WM on the right side. And the mezzala should play in MCR, not MCL

 

9 hours ago, Rob1 said:

Am I right in thinking that you suggested the Mez(at) in the MCR position because the player in question is right footed? Hopefully playing in the MCL position will be ok

Yes, I suggested the mezzala in MCR precisely because he's right-footed. Various combinations are possible of course, but in this particular setup - I would rather play a right-footed mezzala on the right side (MCR). 

Another possible option is this:

WMat  CAR/BWMsu  MEZat   IWsu

Ade

WBsu     CDde     CDde     WBsu

But again, without knowing your players, I cannot say if any of these combos would be a good idea for your team specifically. 

9 hours ago, Rob1 said:

Is this also the kind of set up that can work well when in those games when I'm the favourite and teams are defending against me, leaving little space to for me counter-attack? I feel I need to develop a "Plan B" as my team slowly improves

You always need to have a Plan B, but I cannot tell you what your setup could or should look like before I know what's exactly your idea regarding the Plan B. 

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2 hours ago, Gegenklaus said:

I think you are wrong about this

Absolutely possible :thup: 

 

2 hours ago, Gegenklaus said:

the best thing about 4-1-4-1 is that you "naturally" gets a good defensive shape that can be harder to replicate in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. 4-1-4-1 obviously has some weaknesses, as your players starting positions are lower than in a 4-3-3, so if you don't think about that, your striker can be isolated

Totally agreed :thup:

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I played a flat 4141 a few years back with fairly good success. I had the more attacking winger on WMa with stays wide and cuts inside to replicate an inside forward and retrained one of my quick forwards to play the position. It led to a number of runs from deep with the deep lying forward laying the ball off to him and I was very happy with it at the time. The other side had an overlapping full back with a wide midfielder in front of him and I had a CMa running through the middle as well who scored a fair few.

FBs CD CD FBa
      DMd
WMa CMs CMa WMs
      DLFs

 

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