- The 4-3-3 formation provides defensive strength with 3 central midfielders and is a popular choice. Using 2 midfielders in defensive roles and 1 in an attacking role balances the squad.
- 4-2-3-1 can overwhelm opponents with 4 attacking players but leaves the defence exposed, so it’s best for winning teams. Use defensive midfielders to provide cover.
- 3-5-2 lets you dominate midfield and still attack with wingbacks, while occupying defenders with 2 strikers. It’s a balanced formation.
- 4-4-2 counter attacking relies on quick wingers and a solid midfield duo to absorb pressure and counterattack. It focuses on defence and transitions.
- 4-2-1-3 vertical tiki-taka is extremely attacking but risky, using 3 forwards and fullbacks for width. It requires top strikers and a great keeper.
Finding the right football tactics and formations is crucial for success in Football Manager 24. There is no universally “best” approach, as talented managers can make any system work. However, certain formations stand out and can give your club an advantage if applied properly and tailored to your players’ strengths.
The Trusted 4-3-3 Formation
A common favourite formation for many managers in FM24 is the 4-3-3, which provides exceptional defensive strength through its trio of central midfielders.
By using one defensively-minded midfielder like Declan Rice and two more attacking playmakers, the squad achieves solid balance between absorbing pressure and creating chances. The three forwards allow for dangerous attacking options through the middle and out wide.
Inside forwards who cut inside from the wings work especially well in this system, as do advanced forwards up top. Fullbacks can overlap down the flanks to provide additional width. The key is that 4-3-3 is a proven, reliable shape that many managers turn to when they want greater defensive control in midfield.
Overwhelming 4-2-3-1 Attack
For managers looking to stay on the front foot and overwhelm opponents, 4-2-3-1 can be ideal with its four threatening attackers. However, it comes with risks, as the two central midfielders can be exposed. This formation is best used when a team expects to control possession and spend more time attacking.
The attacking midfielder gives a key central presence between midfield and the lone striker who in the example above is Chelsea’s Nicolas Jackson, while two wingers provide width higher up the pitch. Fullbacks typically stay conservative to account for having just two central midfielders. It’s important that at least one of the two central players is focused on defensive duties.
Balanced 3-5-2 Formation
With its three centrebacks and two strikers, the 3-5-2 formation allows managers to crowd the midfield with five players, dominating possession. On the attack, wingbacks can storm up the flanks, providing width that the two forwards may lack. Those forwards occupy the opponents’ centrebacks, opening space for midfielders to push forward.
The three defenders offer protection given their more limited role getting forward. However, they must have pace to deal with any long balls or counters down the wings. Overall, 3-5-2 provides excellent balance between attack and defence. The midfield superiority lets you control matches, while still offering options going forward through the strikers, wingbacks, and advancing midfielders.
Countering with 4-4-2
If you think you know everything about this formation because of it’s basic approach, think again! Used for managers looking to absorb pressure and break quickly on the counter attack, 4-4-2 formations can prove extremely effective. Sitting deep with two rigid banks of four, the team waits for opportune moments to spring forward upon winning the ball.
This counterattacking style demands pacey wingers, a sturdy defensive midfielder, and a box-to-box midfielder alongside as a pivot.
Up front, two clinical strikers are key finishers once the ball is won. It may not be the most attractive football, but the compact shape and reactive mentality makes it hard for opponents to break a team down. This is a tactic that’s used by teams who’re considered the inferior team that are willing to give up possession of the ball and soak up pressure.
Matches often come down to efficient finishing on the counter and set pieces. For teams facing overmatched resources, 4-4-2 counterattacking can help bridge the gap and level an unfair playing field.
Vertical Tiki-Taka in a 4-2-1-3
Managers wanting relentless attacking football in FM24 can turn to an extremely offensive 4-2-1-3 formation, with its staggered midfield trio supporting three forwards.
This “vertical tiki-taka” tactic made famous by the late 2010’s FC Barcelona team focuses on overloading the final third with bodies to open passing lanes and isolate defenders in one-on-one situations.
Inverted wingers or inside forwards combine with the central attacking midfielder and striker(s) in tight spaces around the box to break down opponents through intricate passing moves.
The advanced positioning requires tremendous endurance and technical passing quality from everyone involved. Fullbacks must provide the entire width, constantly overlapping down the sidelines.
This vertical tiki-taka also demands an elite shot-stopping keeper, as the committed attack will inevitably surrender counterattacking chances. For teams with the personnel to match this aggressive style, the 4-2-1-3 formation can overwhelm nearly any opponent through sheer offensive pressure.
Key Considerations for Any Formation
While certain formations have proven successful, tactics must always be adapted around the current squad. The manager’s style and preferred mentality also shape formation choices.
No single approach will fit every situation. Stamina, technical attributes, and tactical intelligence are vital regardless of the specific alignment.
Crucially, roles must complement each other within any shape chosen. As an example, a deep counterattacking block requires reactive players who can read the game, tackle, and initiate rapid transitions upon winning possession.
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They do not need to dominate the ball. Tailoring roles to suit the larger tactical plan is essential. Finding the ideal football tactics and formations ultimately comes down to aligning personnel, mentality, and execution on the pitch.
The choices should always serve the manager’s strategy. This nuanced understanding will separate the legends from those soon forgotten.
About The Author
Stephen is the proud owner of a popular gaming news website GLN, where he provides the latest updates on everything gaming-related. With a passion for video games that dates back to his childhood, Stephen is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and expertise with fellow gamers around the world.