Gian Gasperini Possession 3-4-1-2 Tactic at Atalanta B.C in FM20

Creative Team FM20 Tactics, Tactics 5 Comments

Since joining Atalanta in 2016, Gian Piero Gasperini is making history. His era at Atalanta is the best in the club’s history. In addition, their qualification into the 2019/2020 Champions League for the first time in the club’s existence will forever be remembered are their glorious days – thanks to his amazing tactical style. So in this post, we are going to share Gian Gasperini Possession 3-4-1-2 tactic at Atalanta B.C in FM20.

FM20 Tactic: Gasperini 3-4-1-2 Setup (Back 3 System)

Build Up

Atalanta’s style of football is possession-based. Keeping the ball with them and being patient while building up, is what the Italian manager implemented in the team since 2016. However, Gasperini’s possession style is more suitable with his 3-4-1-2 formation; though, he sometimes uses the 3-4-2-1 whenever he feels like overloading the midfield will prove beneficial.

Just like other possession tactics, Atalanta use the play-out-of-defence strategy. When they build-up via the goalkeeper, the two side centre-backs (DCR and DCL) stay wide in the box, while the centre back (DC) positions himself as a DM. Moreover, the wingers move up high and wide, ready to attack.

In addition, in Atalanta’s build-up, they usually focus their play through the right and left sides of the pitch. However, setting it this way in FM20 proved ineffective. Therefore, I had to leave it blank, which means the team will focus on any area preferable.

Attacking Animation

First of all, the attacking width of Gian’s tactic is wide – a strategy Guardiola uses at Man City. But stretching play wide with a 3-4-1-2 formation was a problem in FM20 (i really don’t know why), so I had to set it standard. Gian likes his men to stretch their play and he demands absolute creativity from his team by giving them the freedom to express themselves on the pitch – which is why I enabled Be More Expressive in FM20. In the final third, Atalanta may prefer working their way into the box or use the crossing strategy because of their height advantage.

Under the current Atalanta boss, the wingbacks are very much involved when it comes to attack. Normally, Atalanta attack with 5 men, transforming the formation to 3-2-5. And normally, 3 players (the 2 strikers and a WB) wait in the box when the team tries to make use of the crossing. But sometimes, one player (one of the CMs) joins them in the box to create a numerical superiority over the opposition.

The AM (usually Gomez) doesn’t typically join them in the box. Rather, he moves closer to the crosser to offer a passing option. In case he receives a pass from the WB, he can choose to drop a killler pass or shoot on target.


Gian Gasperini is also a big fan of the counter pressing system. Atalanta defends in a 5-3-2 formation. And they defend compact, which means the line of engagement supports the midfield when defending, while the defensive line supports the midfield when pressing high. For their defensive width, I think it’s just standard than narrow – opponents can still take advantage of Atalanta’s middle areas.

Gasperini’s Role Selections

Sweeper Keeper (Support)

The keeper Gollini has been really good as a sweeper keeper.

Back 3 Defence

The defensive line can feature Djimsity, Rafael Tolói, José Luis Palomino, and Simon Kjær (currently left the club). But under Gasperini, whoever plays in the DC position acts as the Libero. As a fluid role, the DC can fill in the space between the lines since there’s no DM in place. Most times, Palomino is the Libero. He has that instinct and technical abilities needed for the role.

In FM20 generally, it’s a good practice to use Libero when there’s no defensive midfielder. Also, giving him the support duty with the instruction of hold position will prevent him from venturing too far away from the defensive line, which can really hurt your team.


Technically, the wingbacks are attacking wingers under their Italian boss. Gosens and Hateboer have been the boss’s favourite in these positions. In other words, the wingbacks are vital in Gian’s 3-4-1-2 system, especially when it comes to supporting forward play.

Box-to-Box Midfielders

A case where one midfield sits deeper than the partner is not available in Gian’s tactic. To him, both midfielders should be vibrant and able to shuttle from box to box. His central midfielders have good work rate to perform such task. And the performance of Freuler and De Room is top notch in the same role. They immensely support both defensive and attacking phases. Sometimes, the midfielders act as ball winners.

A Playmaker

No doubt, Gomez is the indispensable playmaker placed in the advanced midfield to exploit that space between the lines. Most times he doesn’t come into the box to receive crosses. Rather, he stays outside the box to recycle the ball or offer a short passing option to the player making the cross.

Under Gasperini, Gomez has the optimum freedom to roam. Sometimes, he exchanges positions with a striker, which can also make him a big threat to the opposition defenders.

The AP-S best describes his character. Because in Atalanta games, he usually falls back (while the 2 CMs spread further apart) to help build up play. Defensively, he joins the midfielders to form 3 flat central midfielders.

Double Strikers

Zapata and Josip Iličić have been the main starters upfront. Zapata plays more as the target man. However, under Gian Gasperini, Iličić plays more as a deep lying forward and sometimes as false 9, which gives him the opportunity to exchange roles with Gomez. Though, this doesn’t happen in FM20.

However, Josip Iličić playing as DLF or F9 wasn’t efficient in FM20 with this tactic. Therefore, i had to change his role to trequartista since he has excellent off-the-ball, technical, and dribbling abilities. This role became more suitable for him as a striker, although Luis Muriel performs much better. Josip performs best as AP.

So in FM20 according this setup, while Muriel or Iličić makes more forward runs, Zapata drops to support.

Mentality Changes

As usual, I always use Positive in Home games. In fact, this tactic is really good at home. But Away games is a torn in the flesh. This tactic is not really good on Away games. So you might have to find another tactic for away games. Our Diego Simeone 4-4-2 and Julian Nagelsmann tactic are very good on Away games.

Please Note: We aren’t confident to tag this tactic as a solid tactic because of the way FM20 match engine reads back-3 systems. It’s likely that this tactic won’t work with your team. But if you want to try out how Gian Gasperini sets up his team, this tactic reflects that. You’re free to modify this tactic to make it better. You can share your modification in the comment box below or tweet us @fmtrendgames.

Results and Statistics

All the information you need about Match Results, League Table, Statistics, and Goal Analysis (for goals, if you notice, we got quite a good amount of goals via corners. The routine we used is installed in the tactic file. But in case you don’t want to download this tactic, the routine we used is ➡️ Here) can be found on our Twitter page. Kindly give us a Follow. Enjoy the game.

Click Below to Download Tactic


Comments 5

  1. Could you do a tactic based on Pep Guardiola’s Tiki Taka in Manchester City for this 2020 football manager? I would be very grateful to you, brother. I’m looking for a solid tactics of possession and mastery of the game! regards

    1. Post
    1. Post

Have Something to Say?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.