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"FM17": The 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow Formation and Tactics

Austin Weather is a Nigerian medical student and a writer. They love playing sports-related video games in their spare time.

Here's a guide to one of the best formations for "Football Manager 2017".

Here's a guide to one of the best formations for "Football Manager 2017".

It’s been a while since I posted about strong tactics for Football Manager, and I never posted any solid one for FM17. But I have been working on a lot of tactics, trying to get the best and effective ones that can work in any team.

So far, I have come to realise that the way the formations and tactics work in FM16 isn't the same for FM17; though the formations are the same in both versions. In terms of gameplay, team shape, and formation dynamics, FM17 is more realistically equipped.

I also noticed that when you set the right formation in FM17, an average team can get a draw or beat any big team easily; which is a bit difficult in FM16. However, annoyingly, it’ll be very hard to pick a point when you set the wrong formation. It doesn’t matter the reputation of the team you’re managing. This is one of the things that makes FM17 more interesting.


There are some tactics that suit a particular team while there are others that are effective for multiple teams. In this article, I will be sharing one interesting formation and its weakness when facing opponents.

This formation may seem common, but the settings are quite different, making it a bit strong in defence, control, and attack. Alright! Enough said. Let’s get straight to business.


The 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow

This formation is one of the best formations I have tried in FM17. This formation is like a legend in football manager, but it works a bit differently in FM17. It’s basically a defence formation, but with the setting I installed in it, it becomes more solid in both defence and attack.

This formation involves a control mentality (but I change to defence mentality when the match starts in order to deceive the opponent that hopes for counters), a very fluid team shape, and 14 team instructions. Changing to defence mentality before kick-off makes the team to guide and control the ball well; it improves the team’s defence capability. So, just leave the team to train under control mentality.

"FM17" formation

"FM17" formation

Roles and Duties

Goal Keeper

You can choose a sweeper (defend) depending on how good his attributes are. But sometimes, the sweeper-keeper makes mistakes leading to a goal than Goalkeeper.

Two DCs – Central Defender (Stopper): I chose stopper duty in order to close down the opponent strikers, preventing them from getting the ball in a dangerous position or placing a perfect shot. Interception is also the key for these defenders.

Assigning the role of Limited Defender to both players forces them to always clear the ball anyhow once they retake the ball from the opponent. Players giving the ball away every time are bad decisions in FM17. However, stoppers do intercept and gain confidence in passing the ball to any available teammate.

Players assigned to this role should have attribute of at least 13 on marking, tackling and positioning; at least 14 on heading and jumping-reach

DL/DR – Wing Back (Attack): With attack duty, the appointed player gets more freedom to move forward to receive the ball in order to launch a deadly cross from byline. The player is always alert and active because he has to go deeper to the opponent’s third and also return as quick as possible when the team loses the ball.

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Assigned players should possess at least 12 on crossing, positioning, and tackling; 11 is good for marking. Acceleration and pace should be considered greatly.

DM – Ball Winning Midfielder (Defend): this role is important in this formation because the assigned player helps in closing down all the loopholes in defence roles, such as the right-backs and the centre-backs. He usually goes forward to disturb or challenge the opponent with the ball in order to allow both the CDs and DL/DR to return for defence.

Two MCs – Advanced Playmaker (Attack) or Roaming Playmaker (depending on the one you found favourable) and Deep Lying Playmaker (Support): These two roles are very important in this formation. Players getting these roles must be good in passing. Vision and decision should also be considered. For the DLP midfielder, marking, first touch, stamina, and work rate are important.

AMC – Attacking Midfielder (Support): This player acts as a false 9 and as a midfielder. He contributes to all attacking movements and provides more dangerous passes for the two front strikers to score. His main job is to create spaces.

This player's dribbling, first touch, passing, vision, technique, anticipation, decisions, and off the ball must never be overlooked.

Two STs – Complete Forward (Attack): This role is more flexible because it allows the striker to drawback like a Deep-lying forward, or move towards the flank to receive the ball. It also allows the assigned player to pass, drop killer balls, dribble, and cross to a well-positioned teammate.

Player Instructions

Below, each screenshot displays the instructions assigned to each role. This means that any player playing in that role will carry out the instructions assigned to it.

Opposition Instructions

Setting the opposition instruction for this formation depends on the type of formation the opponent is using. In general, it’s best to set Tight Marking and Closing Down to “Always”. Then set Tackling to “Hard” and Show Onto Foot to “Weaker Foot”. The following screenshots provide some effective settings.


In the training section, I usually hand over the general training to the Assistant Manager while I handle the Match Preparations. The best preparations for these tactics are Defence Positioning and Attacking Movement. You can set to any other focus if you feel there is a need to.

Formation Weakness

It’s true that every formation has its weaknesses. But a solid formation always has very few weaknesses; though, factors like the team strength, ability, and communication can cause its weakness to improve or reduce.

In this 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow, the main formations that cause many problems are the 4-2-3-1 Wide, 4-4-2, and 3-4-3 DM Wide. This is because of the dynamic nature of the attacking wingers and wing-backs. So since this 4-4-2 has no attacking wingers to help support the wing-backs in marking and closing down both AML/R and WBL/R of the opposition, the team’s WBL/R finds it difficult to shut down the attacking-minded WBL/R from making deadly crosses. This is why most goals conceded by Diamond Narrow come from crosses.

However, this vulnerability can be reduced by signing a strong and active BWM for the DM position. Also, setting the opposition instruction for the Wing Backs in the above screenshot can help minimize their effects.


This formation is very strong and can be used in any team. Its effectiveness increases as team familiarity increases. Moreover, once the team blends properly to these tactics, better results surface.

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


Austin Weather (author) on October 31, 2018:

Hi Enrico.. Please DM me at and i will send you the tactic file. You're free to like the page and get my latest posts. I can't post a download link here because of levelskip rules. Please bear with me.

ENRICO on October 30, 2018:

Hi there, very good job , I tried to copy folowing the instruction but it' s hard di read is really small..can you send a link to download the tacic, on facebook pace it's not working any more.

Thanks a lot

Austin Weather (author) on September 22, 2017:

Hi reader, to download this tactic, you have go to my profile (ie beside Kings, click on the "more" and then click on "view profile") and click on the Facebook icon that's under "Also follow me on." It will lead you to my page. But if you couldn't find this tactic on the page timeline, just send a message. Then i will repost the tactic with the download link. I can't post any link here because of the site rules. So bear with me.

Austin Weather (author) on June 20, 2017:

Hi Scott, sorry I couldn't reply on time. You can now download the tactics on the facebook page link i wrote above. I hope that would be better for you. Thanks

Scott on June 13, 2017:

Hi could you list the 14 team instructions please I can only seem to get 13

Scott on June 08, 2017:

Thanks for adding the player instructions hopefully it helps my tactic I seem to be going 2-0 up and concededing goals to draw or even lose matches

Austin Weather (author) on June 05, 2017:

ST 1- shoot less often, Hold up ball, Dribble more, More risky passes, Get further forward, Move into channels, Roam from position

ST 2- Dribble more, More risky passes. Get further forward, Move into channels, Roam from position

AM- no instructions

MC (DLM)- mark tighter, More risky passes, Shoot less often, Hold position

MC (AP)- Get further forward, Roam from position, Shoot less often, Dribble more, More risky passes

DM- Shoot less often, mark tighter, dribble less, fewer risky passes, hold position, close down much more, tackle harder

DL and DR- mark tighter, More risky passes, Cross aim target, Dribble more, Run wide with ball, Cross more often, Cross from byline, Get further forward

DCs (for both defenders)- Mark tighter, Shoot less often, Dribble less, Fewer risky passes

Austin Weather (author) on June 05, 2017:

Ok sure. I'm going to provide them here in this comment box in few hours time

Scott on June 05, 2017:

Hi I Can't really see the player instructions screenshots clearly can you write them please they would be a big help, want to try get the best out of this tactic

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