When it comes to Football Manager i try to think outside the box everytime a new edition comes out. For Football Manager 2019 i already knew which type of tactic i wanted to try out. My hopes and dreams have been invested in this edition for quite some time as in the previous versions this type of tactic mostly failed. In this post i will guide you through my tactical thoughts and i will try to explain as much as possible.

My tactical setup

In the screenshot below you can see my defensive setup. Yes, i will only be using two defenders. At least for now as i need to make sure that the tactic that my brain has created actually works. My sweeper keeper and two central defenders have the simple task of making sure our opponents don’t score goals against us. Now this task may sound simple but my defenders will only succeed when the players in front of them will be doing their job.

These three need to make sure our opponents don’t score goals against us

My midfield has an intriguing setup. Three players are posted in front of the defense with a play on each wing. The player who is in the middle has the anchor man role. All he has to do is keep the balance by using intercepting moves, winning ball possessio and then pass the ball to more creative players in front of him. Both segundo volante’s are the secret weapon in my tactical plan. They need to arrive late at our opponents penalty area so that they can score goals from distance. They also need to be the creative outlets for the team as their creativity needs to spark our attacking plays. Both wingers have the support duty and they need to provide width in our attacks and i also expect a lot of early crosses from them. Creating goalscoring chances from the sides is always a good thing when you play with a target man up front. Last but not least both wingers need to track back to stop their opponents who try to attack us via the flanks.

My midfield should be the line where all the magic is going to happen

I’ve managed to keep my attacking setup quite simple. The attacking midfielder needs to ensure that he lays off the ball to his teammates who are on the move. in front him i use a target man and an advanced foward. Our target man has a support duty so he needs to win possession and bring his teammates into play with simple passes. He will also be used as an outlet for our attack as he should have the strength and physique to battle the opponents defenders for possession. Last but not least our advanced forward is there to finish of any chances he gets. I also expect him to put pressure on our opponents defenders when they have possession of the ball to force them into errors which lead to goalscoring chances for my team.

These three need to cause havoc in our opponents defense with one single goal in mind; scoring as much goals as they can

Does this work in FM?

So far my tactic has been surprising me a lot. The results so far have been decent and the way my team has been playing has been very satisfying. In the screenshot below you can see how my team lines up when our opponents have the ball. My three attackers are putting pressure on the players with the ball. My right winger is also moving towards the player with the ball and my midfield has dropped back a bit. In my opinion a bit too much so this is something i will have to keep eye on. I might be able to tweak this a little bit with the player and team instructions. Both my defenders are doing their job. One of them is marking his direct opponent while the other one is ball watching.

This is how my team lines up when our opponent has the ball

On the screenshot below you can see a great example of how we build up our attacking plays. On the left side both my defenders and my anchor man are making sure the opponents striker will never get the ball. Both of our wingers are really free as my other players in the middle of the pitch are distracting everybody. As you can clearly see our target man is making a run to the penalty area. Our advanced forward is looking to get a pass into space from where he can score. In this case Hauptmann (Segundo Volante) plays the ball to the left flank. Meling receives the excellent pass, dribbles a few yards and crosses the ball into the area. Where most of you might think that our advanced forward is going to score the goal i can only say that you are dead wrong. In the end it is our target man, who is nowhere near the penalty area on the screenshot below, who finally ends up scoring which you can see in the clip below the screenshot.

This is a great example of how we build up our attacking plays
Image from Gyazo
Nice cross from Meling and a great finish from Modeste

So far our attacking plays have been awesome to watch. But there is a big “IF” to this tactic that i have created. I am currently playing in the 2. Bundesliga so i have no idea how this tactic will hold itself against bigger and better teams. And as soon as our opponent uses overlapping fullbacks we end up in a world of pain. Our winger can’t solve the defensive mess at that moment and as we only have two central defenders we lack presence at the back. To solve this i have been experimenting with three defenders and no anchor man. So far this little “fix” has done the job as one of the central defenders can move to the flank to support our winger with his defensive duties. Only time will tell if this fix is a final solution for this tactical issue.

It is very good that we are able to switch with our setups within this tactic

But the big question remains, does this tactic grants us the results we want on a higher level? For now this question will be left unanswered but i do believe in a successful run in the 2.Bundesliga. On the three screenshots that i have posted below you can find the instructions that i am using. As this tactic is still in it’s experimental stage it doesn’t have a name or download link yet.

Our IN POSSESION instructions
Our IN TRANSITION instructions
Our OUT OF POSSESSION instructions

I can only hope that everybody has enjoyed reading this article. It has been a pleasure to write and it has been even a bigger pleasure to finally see this tactical idea of mine come to live in Football Manager. Thanks for reading! ‘Till next time …

Categories: Tactics


Aaron · January 31, 2019 at 10:41 am

I have found this year, that the use of WP in the wide midfield roles have become very useful. They tend to more naturally drift in to support play when needed rather than a conventional winger who tends to stay wide? I also operate with two CDM’s, bot has SEG but rather with one on support and one on attack.

3-4-1-2 almost as it were?

3 bpd defenders ( 1 on cover, 2 to defend)
two segundo volantes ( one support, one attack)
Two Wide playmakers ( both on attack)
Two CF ( attack)- occasionally switched to one DLF)

    thefmveteran · January 31, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Nice one! And how is this working out for you?

Leave a Reply