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Setting up a 4231 Narrow

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So i  am trying to finally create my own tactic and I am following various guides in choosing a formation. 

The I have a glut of AMCs and MCs with one decent winger and a good all-round striker so I am thinking that a narrow 4231 is the way to go.

I have no experience with the formation or what kind of football it suits.

Does anybody have a few tips to setting up the front six and if any of the presets would be a good base to start experimenting with please?


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Given its narrowness in the midfield, this system is best employed for a patient control of possession with fullbacks providing width and serving as passing options on the flanks. One possible way of how a narrow 4231 could be set up in terms of roles and duties:


AMsu    EG     SS

DLPsu   MEZsu


FBatt    CDco    CDde     WBde



"Optimal" team instructions would vary depending on the quality and strength of the squad, but at least in the possession and transition phases I would start with these:

- slightly shorter passing, play out of defence, work ball into box, (slightly) wider attacking with

- counter, distribute to CBs and FBs

Mentality - positive or balanced



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Without knowing your players and instructions it is hard saying anything for sure. 

What I'd do for balance though: Switching the AP and AM and their respective mentality. Reasons being three-fold:

  • First, the Regista and AP would occupy different half-spaces, giving your build up game more diverse options. Right now you have your creative game on the left and on the right mainly just your offensive wingback. 
  • Second, offensive wingbacks have an insane chemistry with close playmaker roles. This way you could create many natural one-two situations without needing that particular PPM. From a slower buildup this would also give your AP the almost constant option of waiting for the overlap, broadening his options with four Attack minded players close by and the Regista in the backfield; 
  • Thirdly, the AMCR position is almost in need of the 'Comes Deep to get Ball' PPM as the DLP is a rather static role. The AP(S) could work better with that situation as he naturally comes from deeper, and would be a natural passing receiver from the Regista as first playmaker and can then take control of directing the final third of the attack. 

What you'd also need to consider: Choosing to go with DM instead of CM leaves a hole in the midfield. The Regista is a good running role that mitigates this and fills the midfield in transition. But with the DLP staying back the right halfspace has some openings some opponents might try to abuse and that can't easily be passed into (which is also why I talked about the 'Comes Deep' PPM). 

If you plan a short passing game while keeping defensive structures, you might consider going assymetric with the DLP(D) going into the MCR slot. He is still defensively solid and does his job but is a better receiving option. Of course then the area between him and the CWB is a potential weak point when the opponent counters with quick, long balls...


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