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Fm17 Tactics: The 4-1-2-3 DM Wide Formation, with Raumdueters

Updated on July 5, 2017

The 4-1-2-3 DM Wide (also called 4-3-3 in real life) is a common formation in FM17. Notable managers such as Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Zinedine Zidane, and Carlo Ancelotti all use this formation but with different tactics. However, I have been trying this formation in Football Manger 2017; trying to use their precise tactics. But they weren't working so well. I had a thought that maybe it’s working for them (the managers mentioned above) because they have the best players in the database. Well, that isn't the particular reason; though it counts. I came to realize it’s not working so great for them because all had received “The Sack” notice in most of my saves, except Ancelotti. The Italian has his own secret tactics which I'm inquisitive to find. "Why is this formation working so well for him?", I always ask myself. So, I moved to Germany to scrutinise.

My intention was to create an exact replica of his tactics. And taking the Leverkusen job was a step to achieve that. With my so-called replica, my team faced Bayern three times that season but ended up losing 2 games with a draw. The next season was pretty the same. But with other teams, the results were good but not great. I later abandoned 4-1-2-3 and focused on Pochettino’s 4-2-3-1.

In Almeria save I created, I took the hot seat at Borussia 09 Dortmund. Suddenly, “4-1-2-3” struck me again. I was like: “Hey! Instead of trying to create a replica, let me develop a better version of the formation”. At first, my main interest was beating Bayern in every game. But on a second thought, creating something that will fortify my team, helping them to prevail in every tournament became the goal.

In this article, I will be sharing about this new tactics I developed.

Tactics

Team Instructions
Team Instructions
Formation
Formation

From the displayed Team Instructions, the width is set to “Wide” because I intende to install very effective AMR and AML roles. A Very Fluid team shape makes both attackers and defenders to contribute in both defence and attacking phases. For the Defence side, the defence line stays deeper, using offside trap. Closing down much more, using tighter marking, and staying on feet while tackling were all part of this formation success. Setting a better Build-Up gave me some challenges but I finally decided to go with Exploit-The-Flanks and Clear-Ball-To-Flanks. In addition, choosing shorter passing yielded better results.

Then, for the Attack, look-for-overlap is brilliant. This influences my right and left backs to proceed with deceptive moves in the opposition box.

Role and Duties

Goalkeeper: Sweeper Keeper (Attack)

The SK proves to be better in this formation. He’s secondary assignment is to help initiate counter attacks to the flanks, using good foot works. You should have a keeper with a reasonable passing attribute.

Goalkeeper Instructions
Goalkeeper Instructions

Defenders: Central Defender (Cover) and Ball Playing Defender (Cover)

This tactics needs to infuse quickness when attacking and cautiousness when defending, especially while closing down opponent’s counter threats. With some thinking, I installed the combination of CD and BPD. Though, they perform similar jobs when closing down. The only thing that separates the two surfaces when the ball is won; the CD plays simple short passes to any available teammate while the BPL has more ability of launching accurate through balls to the wide attackers.

Having the Cover duty, the two defenders drop a little deep to win through balls behind the defence line, thereby making it difficult for the opponent to find One-on-One chances with the keeper.

Key attributes like marking, tackling, positioning, heading, and jumping-reach should be considered. Passing and vision are the secondary attributes to look out for.

Central Defender Instructions
Central Defender Instructions
Ball Playing Defender Instructions
Ball Playing Defender Instructions

Side Backs: Complete Wing Back (Attack) and Full Back (Attack)

As FM17 quoted – “The Complete Wing Back loves to attack”. That’s precisely what I need. A left back role that is technically capable of contributing more when the team attacks, and still defends properly. Just like what Marcelo does at Real Madrid, the assigned player has the freedom to operate anywhere around the pitch. First touch, off-the-ball, passing, and dribbling are important for the CWB

For the right back, a role that can attack wide, still stay narrow in order to help the central defenders defend crosses, and help maintain possession were my focal points. Therefore, I went for Full Back with an Attack duty. This role is cautious in defence. Signing a player with good pace, acceleration, crossing, tackling, work rate, and stamina is the key.

Full Back Instructions
Full Back Instructions
Complete Wing Back Instructions
Complete Wing Back Instructions

Defensive Midfield: Half Back (Defend)

It took me a while to finally make the decision of picking a Half Back. Ancelotti, sometimes, selects a Regista or a Roaming Playmaker in his formation. Both creative roles are quite good, but they are sort of attack more and defend less. A creative role that attacks less and defends more is the right option for me; a Half Back. Any player assigned to this role sits deeper in DM position to help the centre backs shut down the opposition central attackers by closing spaces, making it difficult for their midfielders to connect with them.

When the team attacks, he stays some distance away the central pitch, giving him access to recycle possession in case the attack fails. However, by staying in that position he prevents counter attacking threats. As a creative role, the player makes some intelligent passes to both the wide and midfield players.

Half Back Instructions
Half Back Instructions

Midfielders: Advanced Playmaker (Attack) and Box-To-Box Midfielder (Support)

Just like what I wrote in my 4-4-2 article, these roles function the same way. The Box-To-Box Midfielder always works tirelessly to offer support to both attackers and defenders. Instructing him to Get Further Forward, the BBM makes impressive forward moves to fill in the void spotted in the advance midfield when the team advances to the opponent’s third. He wontedly gets his own scoring chances by placing powerful shots outside the opponent’s box. Thus, any player you choose in this role must have a good long shot attribute.

The Advanced Playmaker’s main job is to distribute key passes to the wingers and fullbacks. His usual way of dominating the game in this tactics is to switch the ball to the flanks for them to attack efficaciously. However, the player operates anywhere around the pitch and always aims to create a lot of chances for the attackers. The player's dribbling, first touch, passing, vision, technique, anticipation, decisions, and off-the-ball are the key abilities.

Advanced Playmaker Instructions
Advanced Playmaker Instructions
Box-To-Box Midfielder
Box-To-Box Midfielder

Side Attacking Midfielders: Raumdueters (Attack)

This role is my key attacking weapon; unlike my inspirator who made Complete Forward (Lewandowski) as his key weapon. It’s like side poachers. And very difficult for opponents to pick up. The two wide players with this role always thrust quick into the opposition box to cause damages. Since my intension is to attack from the wide areas and also prevent the team from relying on the central striker, the RMD is the best choice.

To make the Raumdueters help in defence, you have to individually instruct each of them to mark the rival wingers. For example, the right RMD should mark the opposition AML or ML.

Raumdueter Instructions: left
Raumdueter Instructions: left
Raumdueter Instructions: right
Raumdueter Instructions: right

Striker: Deep Lying Forward (Support)

Because I don’t have any central attacking midfielder and I tend not to choose a role that will isolate the striker, I opted for DLF. This role makes the striker to drop a little deep, making him available to the midfielders. Also, the striker can draw the opposition defence line forward, enabling the RMDs penetrate quickly. However, the striker is technically capable of dropping killer balls to any attack-minded teammate.

Deep Lying Forward Instructions
Deep Lying Forward Instructions

Set Pieces

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Opposition Instructions

Setting the opposition instructions for this formation depend on the type of formation the opponent employs. The following screenshots provide some effective settings:

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Result

The below screenshots show some results I got from using this formation when facing other teams. Borussia Dortmund is placed as an example.

Follow me on Facebook for more tactics updates. You can also download this tactics on the page. ENJOY THE GAME!!!

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