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Please help me set up a decent 4-2-3-1


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I am managing Chelsea, the team I support. I don’t have tons of time to play these days so I am playing FMC (which I think is amazing). I finished my first season but did pretty poorly. 4th in the league and didn’t make it past the QF in any of the cups. My only trophy was the CWC. I don’t have massive amounts of time to analyze everything but I would prefer to use my own tactics rather than download one.

I use the TC and try to keep things reasonably simple and not change the player instructions too much. As Cleon and others have said, if you don’t fully understand what effect changes you make have on your team, it’s best to leave things alone. I also change my “starting strategy” to more or less attacking depending on the venue and level of opposition and if you change player instructions too much, changing the strategy will have less of an effect. If I’m big favorites and I’m a home I’ll set to Attacking or Control. If I’m away to a big team I’ll set to Standard or Counter. My home form was pretty good but I was often quite poor away from home. I drew at Citeh but otherwise was outclassed away to the big teams.

To be fair, I think part of the problem was that I had a few injury problems and didn’t have a very big squad and in the second half of the season I suffered a little from that. We lost a few games and morale went down and it’s harder to improve morale in FMC due to no team talks/talking to players etc. However I still felt I wasn’t sure which player roles to assign to certain players and maybe this was causing problems. I also felt like I wasn’t sure what strategy to use and when to change it.

My team settings are: Fluid, More Expressive, Short Passing, Press More, Zonal Marking.

The only changes I did make to that were to reduce my defensive line a bit as we don’t have fast CD’s. This change seemed to help. Also I put counter attack on as I felt this would compliment our fast attacking midfielders. Also I put all players’ long shots to “rarely”. I didn’t use shouts much but would sometimes say “keep possession” when trying to close out a game and “work ball into box” when trying to get a goal or when I felt like we were carelessly giving the ball away.

My intent was to make a tactic that got good possession, passed the ball around well, took advantage of all my quality attacking midfielders, was reasonably solid when we lost possession and had the ability to counter attack effectively when we regained possession.

Team/roles:

G GK (D) Cech/Turnbull

DR FB (Auto) Azpi/Ferreira

DL FB (Auto) Cole/Alaba

DC CD (D) Terry/Cahill

DC CD (D) Luiz/Ivanovic

MC BWM (D) Fellaini/Mikel

MC DLP (S) Ramires/Lampard

AMC AP (A) Goetze/Oscar

AML IF (S) Hazard/Moses

AMR IF (S) Mata/Marin

SC CF (A) Torres/Sturridge

After a while I started thinking maybe Ramires should be in a DLP role as maybe he’s not creative enough? When he got the ball he would often just run with it and scored quite a few great solo goals. All my attacking midfielders did great and scored a lot of goals. My strikers were very poor and didn’t get many goals. We seemed to concede a lot of goals from set pieces but other than that I didn’t really see a trend. However I didn’t watch a ton of games in full – I really don’t have the time.

So…I know I’m not giving you tons to go on. As I’m playing FMC I don’t have access to all the analysis screens etc. I’m not asking for hugely in-depth help. I know that in order to give that you’d need more info on my part. I’d just like to know if it looks like anything I’ve posted looks wrong or ineffective in any way. I’d just like a setup that has a good chance of giving me success with this very impressive squad. We did score quite a few goals but I'd like to be a little tighter and harder to beat.

Thank you to anyone who takes the time to help me out!

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I also set my AML & AMR to “cut inside” and had them swap positions with each other. I would find they would often run with the ball and shoot rather than passing. They would often shoot from the byline – but I’ve read other people complain about this so maybe that’s just a bug in the FM13 ME. I tried changing their run with ball to sometimes but it didn’t seem to make much difference and I didn’t really want to mess with that stuff too much for the reasons stated above. I also tried changing Torres to Poacher and he did even worse. I know neither of my strikers are amazing players but I would have expected them to contribute more goals & assist and get better average ratings than they did.

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My thoughts are:

Your strategies are out of kilter with your duties. The game currently seems to favour strategies further down the ladder, and it is important not to make the assumption that standard or Counter are defensive. I would experiment with trying Standard or Control (at most) if overwhelming favourite, and Counter away from home. Personally, I play Counter whether I'm against the top sides, or against a side in the BSP.

By saying the strategy doesn't match the duties, I mean that you are guilty of being too conservative. I started in exactly the same way and the consequence was pretty bland football.

Chelsea have players who exploit the current imbalance of the latest update to a treat - I'm specifically thinking of Hazard, Mata, your fullbacks and Gotze (the Dortmund youngster?).

If you set both fullbacks to wing back attack, one IF to Winger Support you'll see immediate improvements to attacking movement and service to the Striker. I would also consider experimenting with Trequartista and DLF (S) roles up front, as a CF can be isolated due to his relatively high mentality.

By having a Fluid style, Pressing and high Creative Freedom, your players have too much license to divert from Plan A.

I would suggest setting your Style to Standard - the apparent blandness of this will be offset by the increasingly attacking duties assigned to your players.

Drilling crosses is also effective, as crosses (along with dribbling) are quite overpowered at the moment.

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G sweeper K (a) Cech/Turnbull

DR WB (A) Azpi/Ferreira

DL WB (A) Cole/Alaba

DC CD (D) Terry/Cahill

DC CD (D) Luiz/Ivanovic

MC BWM (D) Fellaini/Mikel

MC BWM (S) Ramires/Lampard

AMC AP (A) Goetze/Oscar

AML IF (A) Hazard/Moses

AMR IF (A) Mata/Marin

SC CF (S) Torres/Sturridge

These are the roles I use at Liverpool to good effect. Control, Balanced, shorter pass, more expressive, press more, zonal mark, drill crosses, no playmaker. I switch to defensive mentality at regular intervals too. The two BWM's are beasts for me i.e. Allen and Lucas. They have good bravery and defensive attributes and unlike some other midfield roles play a short passing game. I just lock down fullbacks if I'm under big pressure or winning by two goals.

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@peleJunior

A BWM for me is always better paired with a DLP in MC, especially if the DLP is set to Defend and the BWM to Support.

This gives a bit more stability as the DLP mentality is lower, and by setting him to defend, it mitigates the BWMs tendency to drift around the pitch to close down the opposition.

Have you not found issues with two BWMs leaving big gaps at the back?

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@peleJunior

A BWM for me is always better paired with a DLP in MC, especially if the DLP is set to Defend and the BWM to Support.

This gives a bit more stability as the DLP mentality is lower, and by setting him to defend, it mitigates the BWMs tendency to drift around the pitch to close down the opposition.

Have you not found issues with two BWMs leaving big gaps at the back?

Yes, the commentary is always 'great entertainment here at...'. The two BWM always rate high though, could be personnel however, it suits Allens ppm's and attributes I think and its the only way I can get anything out of him. Like I said, I switch to defensive quite a bit so that might be offsetting it a fair bit.

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I never play a BWM, let alone two in a 4231. Their high pressing often leaves them out of position, and the main use (for me) of the 2CMs is to keep position, possession and recycle play. So i would set them as either CD(d) and DLP(S or D).

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I never play a BWM, let alone two in a 4231. Their high pressing often leaves them out of position, and the main use (for me) of the 2CMs is to keep position, possession and recycle play. So i would set them as either CD(d) and DLP(S or D).

Agreed.

I actually favour a double DLP one on defend and 1 on support. I feel by using these it allows me to keep possession and recycle play as you put it.

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Agreed.

I actually favour a double DLP one on defend and 1 on support. I feel by using these it allows me to keep possession and recycle play as you put it.

My reasoning was I play with press more, pass shorter and BWM's give you exactly that. I always think of dlp's in a counter strategy, they sit deeper and have greater passing length. It just seemed logical to me, I'm not saying its totally solid but with the players I have I maybe getting away with it.

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Possibly try the fullbacks as supporting wingbacks as your using Inside Forwards so the wingbacks will give more width.......but honestly I can never decide myself whether i should use fullbacks or wingbacks in a 4231 with CM's.

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Possibly try the fullbacks as supporting wingbacks as your using Inside Forwards so the wingbacks will give more width.......but honestly I can never decide myself whether i should use fullbacks or wingbacks in a 4231 with CM's.

I give my wing backs hug touchline to guarantee width when I use IF's.

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Thanks for the opinions. So after reading this and another 4-2-3-1 thread it looks like I need to make my fullbacks more attacking, make at least one central defender more defensive, change my striker role and tone down my strategy. I have also read that making the AMC support instead of attack can free up more room for the striker. It also seems to make sense based on making the CM’s a little more defensive. It also then seems to make sense to make the IF’s more attacking – especially if there are attacking WB’s behind them.

So how about this:

DR WB(A)

DL WB (A)

DC CD(D)

DC CD(D)

MC DLP(D)

MC BWM(S) or B2B(S)

AM AP(S)

AML IF(A)

AMR IF(A)

FC T(A) or DLF(S)

Would you recommend setting any players as playmaker and target man? And would you recommend continuing to check the counter attack box? I am also toying with the idea of making a second tactic with the 2 CM’s changed to DM’s. I might also try to make a third with a DM, CM & AM all in a vertical line. So maybe DLP(D), B2B(S) & AP(S). It seems like this should give you the best of both worlds but knowing this game it probably won’t be that easy.

Any thoughts on any of the above?

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I'm using this setup as Chelsea which i've found works really well.

Balanced, Attacking home

Balanced, Counter away

GK (Def)

DR (FB Auto)

DL (FB Auto)

DC (CB Cover)

DC (CD Stopper)

MC (BWM Def)

MC (DLP Sup)

AMR (IF Att)

AMC (AP Att)

AML (IF Att)

SC (AF Att)

I have everything else on default, apart from Drill Crosses.

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I'm using this setup as Chelsea which i've found works really well.

Balanced, Attacking home

Balanced, Counter away

GK (Def)

DR (FB Auto)

DL (FB Auto)

DC (CB Cover)

DC (CD Stopper)

MC (BWM Def)

MC (DLP Sup)

AMR (IF Att)

AMC (AP Att)

AML (IF Att)

SC (AF Att)

I have everything else on default, apart from Drill Crosses.

how is your ap attack performance ?

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I'm using this setup as Chelsea which i've found works really well.

Balanced, Attacking home

Balanced, Counter away

GK (Def)

DR (FB Auto)

DL (FB Auto)

DC (CB Cover)

DC (CD Stopper)

MC (BWM Def)

MC (DLP Sup)

AMR (IF Att)

AMC (AP Att)

AML (IF Att)

SC (AF Att)

I have everything else on default, apart from Drill Crosses.

That's pretty much exactly what I was using and found many problems:

1) My full backs weren't getting forward enough to help out the IF's

2) My IF's were not getting back enough to help out the FB's/WB's

3) My BWM(d) did not protect my defenders at all

4) My striker was getting isolated and not getting involved in the game at all

I have found this to be MUCH more effective:

GK (Def)

DR (WB Att)

DL (WB att)

DC (CD def)

DC (CD def)

MC (DLP def)

MC (BWM sup)

AMC (AP att)

AML (IF sup)

AMR (IF sup)

FC (TQ att)

I am go standard/control home and counter/standard away. I also have a version with DMC's instead of MC's that I use for tougher games. I have had a great start to the season but I think this may also have a lot to do with the fact that I am watching matches on full/comprehensive and really seeing problems/opportunities, changing strategy and shouts as and when necessary, watching carefully what the other team is doing etc.

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Agreed.

I actually favour a double DLP one on defend and 1 on support. I feel by using these it allows me to keep possession and recycle play as you put it.

Cleon, what do you think about using a DLP(D), DLP(S) and AP(A) in a 4-2-3-1? If you have the players for it obviously. Too many playmakers?

Also, never sure if I should be selecting someone in the "playmaker" box or what effect this will really have. I guess this becomes the player your team look to get the ball to to start moves? I tend to always leave that and target man blank.

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I've finally made a effective 4-2-3-1.. Here are the role and duties:

GK (Def)

DR (FB Sup)

DL (WB att)

DC (CD def)

DC (CD def)

MC (CM def)

MC (CM sup)

AMC (AP sup)

AML (IF atk)

AMR (Winger sup)

FC (Poacher att)

Fluid and attacking, team instructions left on default but no play offside

As you can see there are varieties in the role and duties.. On the left I have Wingback overlapping my IF who cut inside so we can overload the flank.. On the right however is less agressive, I have supporting winger whose job is just getting past his man and quickly swinging in crosses/ through balls, behind him is a more traditional fullback that sometimes get forward to support the winger.

In the mid I have the trio destroyer, passer and creator.. I decided to go with 2 CM role , one defend and one support instead of BWM and DLP because the BWM will press high like a mad dog while the DLP just sat deep so there's a huge gap between them, and DLP isn't good to retaining possession because he'll often play long ball forward so it's more suited to counter attacking style. The CM(d) will sat deep to broke attack but doesn't press as high as BWM. The CM(s) role sat beside him and act as recycling possession, I made some tweak for him ( no RFD, through ball sometimes and hold up ball) so he'll just receive the ball and pass it to nearest player.. Much like what Michael Carrick does for Man Utd, it's very effective although he rarely make key pass but he keep possession well and usually has 90%+ passing.. The AMC as Adv Playmaker is there infront of the MCs to dictate the play, sitting in the danger zone (between opp's defence and midfield) . I decided to set my FC to poacher, the reason is he has lots of support behind him so his job is just to finish..

Loving how my team play at the moment, usually dominating every statistics and rarely concede, the key is the two holding MC which is very effective in shielding the back 4. I have all player instructions left to default except the CM(s) role. The only thing that bother me is when I face up against formation with a DM which I usually switch to other formation

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I'm playing 4-2-3-1 (2 DMC's) and have been destroying almost anything coming in my path:

Balanced - Attacking

GK (SK sup)

DR (WB att)

DC (BPD def)

DC (CD def)

DL (FB sup)

DMC (DM def)

DMC (DLP sup)

AMR (IF sup)

AMC (TQ att)

AML (IF att)

FC (DLF sup)

The AMC as Trequerista coupled with the DLF on support works wonders in my experience. :)

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I'm playing 4-2-3-1 (2 DMC's) and have been destroying almost anything coming in my path:

Balanced - Attacking

GK (SK sup)

DR (WB att)

DC (BPD def)

DC (CD def)

DL (FB sup)

DMC (DM def)

DMC (DLP sup)

AMR (IF sup)

AMC (TQ att)

AML (IF att)

FC (DLF sup)

The AMC as Trequerista coupled with the DLF on support works wonders in my experience. :)

the treq stays deep and the DLF also drop deep so I don't see how it can work so would you mind to explain it?

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  • 2 months later...

I have struggled since the new update with consistency, I like the way your tactics have been set up and after reading a few of your posts regarding the CM's it makes sense....I will be trying your way on my Bolton save see hpw I go...Hope you dont mind :-)

I've finally made a effective 4-2-3-1.. Here are the role and duties:

GK (Def)

DR (FB Sup)

DL (WB att)

DC (CD def)

DC (CD def)

MC (CM def)

MC (CM sup)

AMC (AP sup)

AML (IF atk)

AMR (Winger sup)

FC (Poacher att)

Fluid and attacking, team instructions left on default but no play offside

As you can see there are varieties in the role and duties.. On the left I have Wingback overlapping my IF who cut inside so we can overload the flank.. On the right however is less agressive, I have supporting winger whose job is just getting past his man and quickly swinging in crosses/ through balls, behind him is a more traditional fullback that sometimes get forward to support the winger.

In the mid I have the trio destroyer, passer and creator.. I decided to go with 2 CM role , one defend and one support instead of BWM and DLP because the BWM will press high like a mad dog while the DLP just sat deep so there's a huge gap between them, and DLP isn't good to retaining possession because he'll often play long ball forward so it's more suited to counter attacking style. The CM(d) will sat deep to broke attack but doesn't press as high as BWM. The CM(s) role sat beside him and act as recycling possession, I made some tweak for him ( no RFD, through ball sometimes and hold up ball) so he'll just receive the ball and pass it to nearest player.. Much like what Michael Carrick does for Man Utd, it's very effective although he rarely make key pass but he keep possession well and usually has 90%+ passing.. The AMC as Adv Playmaker is there infront of the MCs to dictate the play, sitting in the danger zone (between opp's defence and midfield) . I decided to set my FC to poacher, the reason is he has lots of support behind him so his job is just to finish..

Loving how my team play at the moment, usually dominating every statistics and rarely concede, the key is the two holding MC which is very effective in shielding the back 4. I have all player instructions left to default except the CM(s) role. The only thing that bother me is when I face up against formation with a DM which I usually switch to other formation

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I've finally made a effective 4-2-3-1.. Here are the role and duties:

GK (Def)

DR (FB Sup)

DL (WB att)

DC (CD def)

DC (CD def)

MC (CM def)

MC (CM sup)

AMC (AP sup)

AML (IF atk)

AMR (Winger sup)

FC (Poacher att)

Fluid and attacking, team instructions left on default but no play offside

As you can see there are varieties in the role and duties.. On the left I have Wingback overlapping my IF who cut inside so we can overload the flank.. On the right however is less agressive, I have supporting winger whose job is just getting past his man and quickly swinging in crosses/ through balls, behind him is a more traditional fullback that sometimes get forward to support the winger.

In the mid I have the trio destroyer, passer and creator.. I decided to go with 2 CM role , one defend and one support instead of BWM and DLP because the BWM will press high like a mad dog while the DLP just sat deep so there's a huge gap between them, and DLP isn't good to retaining possession because he'll often play long ball forward so it's more suited to counter attacking style. The CM(d) will sat deep to broke attack but doesn't press as high as BWM. The CM(s) role sat beside him and act as recycling possession, I made some tweak for him ( no RFD, through ball sometimes and hold up ball) so he'll just receive the ball and pass it to nearest player.. Much like what Michael Carrick does for Man Utd, it's very effective although he rarely make key pass but he keep possession well and usually has 90%+ passing.. The AMC as Adv Playmaker is there infront of the MCs to dictate the play, sitting in the danger zone (between opp's defence and midfield) . I decided to set my FC to poacher, the reason is he has lots of support behind him so his job is just to finish..

Loving how my team play at the moment, usually dominating every statistics and rarely concede, the key is the two holding MC which is very effective in shielding the back 4. I have all player instructions left to default except the CM(s) role. The only thing that bother me is when I face up against formation with a DM which I usually switch to other formation

I have struggled since the new update with consistency, I like the way your tactics have been set up and after reading a few of your posts regarding the CM's it makes sense....I will be trying your way on my Bolton save see hpw I go...Hope you dont mind :-)

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