FM17: The 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow Formation and Tactics
It’s been a while since I posted about strong tactics for Football Manager, and never posted any solid one for the new 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 aren'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 things that make FM17 more interesting.
Going through some tactics in FM17, there are some tactics that suit a particular team while there are some that are effective for a lot of teams. In this article, I will be sharing one interesting formation and its weakness when facing the opponent. 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 go straight to business.
The 4-4-2 Diamond narrow
This formation is one of the best formations I have tried in FM17. For the past 2 or 3 years now, this formation is like a legend in football manager, but it works a bit different in FM17. It’s basically a defence type of formation, but with the setting I installed in it, it became 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.
Roles and Duties
GK- Goalkeeper (defend): You can choose Sweeper (defend), depending on how good his attributes are. But sometimes, the sweeper keeper makes mistakes leading to 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 the 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 returns as quick as possible when the team loses the ball.
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 Wining Midfielder (defend): this role is important in this formation because the assigned player helps in closing down all the loop holes 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- Advance 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. He's 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 draw back 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.
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.
Which version do you prefer?
Set PiecesClick thumbnail to view full-size
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 this tactics are Defence Positioning and Attacking Movement. You can set to any other focus if you feel there is need to.
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 causes much problems is 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 the team familiarity increases. Moreover, once the team blends properly to this tactics, better results surface.