Oct 31, 2010
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The Tactic of Pace 3-2-2-1-2

This is the thread for the tactic. The exact same detail is up on the tactic file, but discussion is easier upon the thread. My main purpose for this thread is of course promotion, but also to get as many people testing it as possible and improve it more and more.

I have been managing arsenal for 5 seasons now and this tactic has been a great success, winning me the treble 2 seasons in a row. As stated by the title this tactic is all about pace, in truth completely dependent upon pace throughout the whole side. So a warning that clubs such as Birmingham or Blackburn will have very limited success with it.

Here is the tactic:



Goalkeeper-Defend- Your preference, would advise good shot stopper as not many one on ones but shots from channels quite often

Right and Left Central Defenders-Ball Playing Defender-Defend Needs pace to defend when the ball is played into the channels and balls over the top. Also they need technical ability as the long ball through to the poacher is necessary. Make sure to train them to switch ball to opposite flanks.
Attributes: Marking, Tackling, Passing, Strength, Concentration, Decisions. Acceleration, Pace Heading useful not necessary.
Perfect Players: Danny Wilson, Phil Jones

Central Defender-General CB-Defend- Pace is less of a requirement, this is the most reserved player in the whole team who is better in the air and strong for general defence against balls in the box. Of course the defensive line so therefore all the defenders must have a lot of pace to cover back.
Attributes: Heading, Marking, Tackling, Bravery, Concentration, Strength, Positioning, Pace, Acceleration,
Perfect Player: Nemanja Vidic

Wingbacks-Attack-Absolutely vital in tactic, in a way most import player in this tactic as they both have the duty of coming back and defending against the wingers and also most dangerous balls which expose this tactic the ball into the channels, but also give the attacking force of the tactics, the majority of the width. Made them more attacking than the default but MUST have pace as they need to be constantly running the channels. Good passing ability also a must especially for the right wingback as if he can play the ball there is a lot of space for the pacy poacher.
Attributes: Pace, Acceleration, Crossing, Passing, Stamina, Workrate
Perfect Players: Gareth Bale, Patrice Evra, Bacary Sagna

Ball Winning Midfielder-Defend- When I first implemented this tactic, I used a defensive midfielder as an anchorman and of course this is an option, maybe with the smaller teams. But, using a ball winning midfielder has become more successful for me as first it gives you a better share of the possession and can be used more effecticvely to begin the attack (play the first ball into the target man’s feet etc…). Passing must be good and although it is not down to them to begin the attack, you can use them to play some through balls.
Attributes: Marking, Passing, Tackling, Workrate, Strength, Teamwork.
Perfect Player: Javier Mascherano, Kwadwo Asamoah

Deep lying playmaker-Support- Used as primary playmaker very useful in playing the ball through passing a necesseity and technically must be very gifted. Stays pretty static not much movement left that for more advanced players
Attributes: Creativity, Decisions, Passing, Technique, First Touch, Agility, Balance
Perfect Player: Cesc Fabregas

Trequartista-Attack- Absolutely vital if you are to choose one player in your team who needs to be extremely talented with great attributes, it would be the trequartista. Must have a lot of pace and be technically gifted as they too lay on a lot of goals. In addition, the poacher moves into channels and the complete forward drops deeper this draws the defence out meaning the trequartista, needs high finishing and composure to expoit the space.
Attributes: Creativity, Dribbling, Passing, Technique, Off the Ball, Acceleration, Pace, Composure, Finishing, Agility
Pefrect Players: Lionel Messi, Javier Pastore, Carlos Vela

Poacher-Attack- Another key player in the tactic, needs Pace and loads of it, finishing also necessary. The use of the poacher is to constantly stay in line with the defence, so whenever a ball is played through either by the deep-lying playmaker, Trequartista, complete forward or ball playing defenfder, the poacher has enough pace to race on to it and finish it off.
Attributes: Finishing, Composure, Pace, Acceleration, Dribbling
Perfect Player: Pato

Complete Forward-Support-Firstly, I would like to exaggerate that this player is not the source of the majority of your goals,so do not be worried if they don’t grab too many goals. The main purpose of the complete forward is to spearhead the attack and drop deep pulling out defence so that either the trequartista or the poacher can exploit this. They often drice from deep and can pop up and score from wide deliveries.
Attributes: First Touch, Off the Ball, Finishing, Composure, Strength, Acceleration, Stamina
Perfect Player: Khouma Babacar, Robin Van Persie

Match Preparation and Training

This is an unorthodox tactic so I suggest implementing this in pre-season in order for the best results to appear as all players must become familiar with the tactic.

1) If you are not using such a fast complete forward, so for example carlton cole instead of Khouma Babacar change the target man supply to feet.
2) Change defensive line according to amount of pace. I recommend an extremely pacy back line but if you don’t have resources but have quite a lot of pace in backline just pull it back a bit will negotiate the attacking benefits but make defence more solid.
3) Play around with it as you like, see how it goes. My default can not certainly create instant success.

Opposition instructions
Mark tightly all wingers and strikers. Show all midfielders plus strikers onto weaker foot with the exception of inverted wingers who you show onto their good foot as this prevents them cutting inside. Close down all central midfielders/ defensive midfielders and others at your discretion.

General Notes:
-Use Maximum pitch size always.
-Will work with any club in time if right players brought in but definitely do not expect immediate success, if you are managing clubs such as Blackburn as it is a complete switch in football style.
-Tempo is set to full wither tweak this or reduce training slightly.

Here are some Arsenal results:


n.B. I had already won the league when I faced stoke and therefore put out a complete second string


West Ham:




Here is the download

Final Comment

This is my first real tactic and I have had great success with it with my limited testing. This is only the first version and I would like as many people as possible to test the tactic to see how to improve it. So I welcome any constructive criticism and anyone who is willing to give it a go, however those seeking a simple solution to all their managerial problems, without attempting to improvise and tweak the tactic. I am sorry but this will not work.

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looks very good, might just win you the Apprentice Challenge :)
Looks an excellent tactic, similar to how I set up my Arsenal side. Great results too, good work. :)
Do you defend with 3 or do you defend with 5 in this formation? Ideally in a 3 back formation, the wingers push forward as much as possible and join in on the attack. When necessary, one of them tracks back and the 3 defenders slide over in the opposite direction to make a back 4. The problem is you can't emulate this in FM. Most of the time the wingers stay too far back, and you get them defending with 5, which is ugly, defensive football, and leaves you outnumbered in the midfield. If you tell them to push forward too much, they never track back and you only defend with 3, meaning you'll concede a lot. I have a feeling with your formation that you'll either be defending with 5, when the wing backs stay back, or you'll be defending with 3, when they push far forward. Has this been your experience?

I'm trying to do the same formation, but with side mids as opposed to wingbacks (my wingers aren't wingbacks and I don't have time to retrain them)...if I took your tactic and only changed that aspect, would it work?

For a great thread on 3 back formations BTW, check this out:!
In my tactic I have the wbs pushed pretty far forward which is why it is so to use fast wingbacks, as ifthey are fast enough they can pretty much patrol the whole of the wing and tackling back, so the problem you have described for me is negated, yes sometimes a skillful winger will infiltrate the space vacated by my wingback, but this seems to be more of an exception and not a flaw. Unfortunately, I spend the vast majority of my fm time on my arsenal save where i have some of the best wingbacks in the world so with less able ones it could be less effective. About playing with wide mids, I have never tried it out but i'm pretty sure you would encounter the issue of your mid and defense having too large a gap between them, so you'd have to change the bwm into a defensive midfielder to negate this. Other than that my only issue would be that you would have to use the side mids as atleast support to retain the defensive properties which are key to my wbs this could mean they would be less useful offensively. However, I would love you to try it out and tell me how it goes.

Here's a tactic I used with a lot of success with Sporting on FM10. It has side mids instead of wingbacks, and CM's and not DM's. They don't get forward as much as I'd like though, but I might tweak it more. The 3-4-1-2 is really common in the Argentine league (in real life as well) and the CM's aren't pushed back to DM's. I'm not sure exactly what the AI does to make it work.

I can post screens if you want.
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I have used almost exactly this Arsenal tactic for the two seasons I've been managing, posted something about it here only two days ago as well! Though nowhere near as good of a guide as this of course!
I really like it, perfect thing to play as Arsenal. Although I have made some pretty stupid signings, so I'm tempted to restart another game as them, secure good youth players, and see if I can't do better than the original.
What I've sometimes been doing, to push against lesser teams, is move one of the CB's to play in Defensive Midfield, really allowing you to attack more than with this formation :) Free's up both of your CM's to move forward more too!
But it's a great tactic anyway, hopefully I'll be able to post some more success with my similar version in the future :)
yh i'm thinking about trying that. I've tweaked mine by making the trequartista a striker and the dl playmaker, an att mid adv. playmaker been very successful. But I have 2 Ball Playing defenders means that 3 defenders does work quite well
What I've actually ended up doing is starting a season as Tottenham and am giving it a go with them. Obviously there's the advantage of having Bale on the left, even though Wing Back is the position of the 4 he has green that he is least accomplished at. They do have a huge squad to choose from though, so a lot of variety!
One idea I've had too is to set up the centre backs a bit differently (mainly because mine wouldn't really work with your suggestion as they're not too good on the ball!)
I have the Central CB as a stopper, so that he moves forward to break up attacks, and then both of the others are on Cover. All are still set to regular Central Defenders though.
Not played many games in this save yet, been concentrating on securing a few youth players and getting my staff up to scratch first! I'll report back in the future :)
I started out with the stopeer and 2 covers set up, wasn't very successful as the ball with the defense so far up, but if you pushed defense back a bit could work would reduce defenders attacking qualities. Thanks for testing btw =)
No problem, seeing as I already had one very similar on the go myself its no hardship :)
I have deepened the defensive line a bit but maybe I'll have to look into it more. Like I say, not had time to play much yet. **** Uni work with its horrible deadlines :| .......!!
seems a inconsistant tactic for me yes i am unbeaten this season but i conceeded a stupid draw home to Fulham which was very frustrating! 5th in the league with Man city after 5 games
doesn't seem to fit man city too well, and yes it can be but get real quality cbs and you normally keep a clean sheet
Do you make any change in strategy or shouts during the match ????
I usually use a combination of:
-Work ball into box
-pass into space
-hassle opponents
-get ball forward

dependent on the game
and what about strategy ? you keep it on attack all the time ?
I do with arsenal, play control if more than one goal up at half time. But when smaller teams start as control and then move to attacking if need to find a goal, sometimes. It;s up to you
ok man, thanks for the info ;)

I'll try your tactic a little bit more and let you know how i goes !