FM17: The 4-1-2-3 DM Wide Formation With Raumdueters

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The 4-1-2-3 DM Wide (also called the 4-3-3 formation in real life) is a common formation in FM17. Notable managers such as Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Zinedine Zidane, and Carlo Ancelotti use this formation with different tactical approach. Judging on how good their tactics are, Carlo Ancelotti’s tactic is the best and very tough to beat in the game. The Italian has his own special style which I intended to see and replicate.

My intention was to create an exact replica of his tactic, and taking the Leverkusen job was a step to do that. With my so-called replica I created first, my team faced Bayern three times in that season and ended up losing 2 games with a draw. The next season was almost the same. However, playing against other teams, the results acquired were good for my team. I decided to abandoned the 4-1-2-3 formation and focused on Pochettino’s tactic, using the 4-2-3-1 arrangement.

In the Almeria save I created, I occupied the managerial hot seat of Borussia 09 Dortmund and Carlo’s tactic came into my mind again. Acknowledging how great the formation can be, I decided to develop a better version of his tactic with the same formation, instead of creating another replica. Designing a tactic that will fortify my team in every tournament became my goal.

In this article, I will be sharing about this new tactic I developed using the 4-1-2-3 formation. .

Tactic: The 4-1-2-3 DM Wide Formation

Team Instructions


From the displayed Team Instructions, the width is set to “Wide” because I intend to install very effective side-attacking-midfielder roles. A Very Fluid team shape makes attackers and defenders to contribute in both defense and attacking phases. In the Defense section, the defense line stays deeper, enabling the offside trap. However, closing down much more, using tighter marking, and staying on feet while tackling were all part of this tactic 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.

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

Role and Duties

Goalkeeper: Sweeper Keeper (Attack)

The Sweeper Keeper role proves to be better in this tactic. Apart from saving goals, his secondary assignment is to help initiate counter attacks using a good foot work when distrusting the ball. You should have a keeper with a reasonable passing attribute.

Goalkeeper instructions

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

This tactic needs to infuse quickness when attacking and cautiousness when defending, especially while closing down opposition counter threats. With some thinking, I installed the combination of a Central Defender (CD) role and Ball Playing Defender (BPD) role. They perform similar job when closing down but 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 BPD has the perfect ability to launch accurate through balls to the wide attackers.

With the Cover duty, the two defenders drop a little deep to win through balls behind the defense 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.

Ball Playing Defender Instructions

Central defender instructions

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

FM17 quoted – “The Complete Wing Back (CWB) loves to attack.” That’s precisely what this tactic needs; a left back role that is technically capable of contributing heavily when the team attacks and still defends properly. Just like what Marcelo does in Real Madrid games, the assigned player has the freedom to operate anywhere around the pitch. So, first touch, off-the-ball, passing, and dribbling are important for the CWB role.

For the right back, a role that can attack wide, stay narrow while helping the central defenders defend crosses, and help maintain possession were my focus for this tactic. Therefore, the Full Back (FB) role with an attack duty is the perfect installation for the right back. It’s cautious defensively. Signing a player with good pace, acceleration, crossing, tackling, work rate, and stamina is the key.

Complete Wing Back Instructions

Fullback Instructions

Defensive Midfield: Half Back (Defend)

Ancelotti, sometimes, selects a Regista or a Roaming Playmaker in his tactic. 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 most appropriate option here; a Half Back role.

The player you assign to this role sits deep to help the centre backs prevent the opposition striker(s) from getting the ball by closing spaces in the central areas, making it difficult for their midfielder to connect with the attacker(s). When the team attacks, he moves a bit forward and hangs around the central pitch to recycle possession in case the attack fails. By staying in that position prevents counter attacking threats.

As a creative role, the player is influenced to make some intelligent passes to the wide players.

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 (BBM) is an indispensable role in this tactic. He usually works tirelessly to offer support to both attackers and defenders. When you instruct him to get forward, the BBM makes impressive forward moves to opponent’s third when the team has the ball. He wontedly gets his own scoring chances by placing powerful shots from outside the opponent’s box. Thus, any player you choose in this role should have a good long shot attribute.

In other words, for the Advanced Playmaker (AP), his main job is to distribute key passes to the wingers and fullbacks. His usual way of dominating the game is to switch the ball to the flanks, enabling the raumdeuters or side backs to attack efficaciously. However, the player operates anywhere around the pitch and always aims to create a lot of chances for the striker and raumdeuters.

The player’s dribbling, first touch, passing, vision, technique, anticipation, decisions, and off-the-ball should be the key abilities.

Advanced Playmaker Instructions

Box-To-Box Midfielder Instructions

Side Attacking Midfielders: Two Raumdueters (Both on Attack)

This role is the key attacking weapon for this tactic, but the Complete Forward role is the key weapon in Ancelotti’s tactic. The Raumdueter (RMD) role is like a side poacher, and a very difficult role for opponents to pick up during counter-attack. The two wide players with this role always thrust quickly into the opposition box to find a scoring chance. Since this tactic is designed to attack from wide areas and also prevent the team from relying on the central striker, the RMD role became the best choice.

To make the Raumdueters help defensively, you have to individually instruct each of them to mark the rival wingers. For example, the right RMD should mark the opposition Attacking Midfielder Left (AML) or Midfielder Left (ML).

Raumdeuter instructions

Raumdeuter right instructions

Raumdeuter left instructions

Striker: Deep Lying Forward (Support)

Because of the absence of a central attacking midfielder in this formation, and I tended not to choose a role that will keep the striker isolated, I opted for the Deep Lying Forward role (DLF). This role enables the striker to drop a little deep into the midfield, which makes him available for the midfielders. Also, the striker can draw the opposition defenders forward, enabling the raumdeuters penetrate quickly.

However, the striker is technically capable of dropping killer balls to any attack-minded teammate. A striker with good technique, first touch, passing, vision, flair, off-the-ball, and finishing is perfect for this role.

Deep Lying Forward Instructions

Set pieces

Opposition Instructions

The screenshots below are some settings you can adopt when setting the opposition instructions.

Feel free to drop any questions in the comment box below

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