Feb 17, 2011
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This has been the topic of a hot discussion between me and a friend of mine. I always had the belief that the basic 4-4-2 and its variants would require both strikers swapping positions and constantly moving into channels, thus making the target man role kind of useless. I still believe a target man would work best in 4-5-1 formations, standing alone up front and opening space for inside forwards as well as playing with his back to goal and trying to get his midfield teammates into play.

I started to try it recently though, starting a new career with Catania, a team that has two very good target men who are both capable of playing with their back to goal, Maxi Lopez and Plasmati, as well as all qualities required to employ a 4-4-2 formation. It's honestly working quite well especially with the rigid philosophy, but the problem I've found then is that most offensive emphasis is placed on the two strikers, with central midfielders only carrying out defensive duties and wingers setting up crosses to the big target man, with some aid from full backs.

So I thought about asking for opinions. I use Morimoto/Antenucci as deep lying forward-support and Maxi Lopez/Plasmati as target man-attack. Do you think a target man could be capable of leading the offensive line of a 4-4-2 formation?
Well, a standard flat 442 might not be very suitable for a target least I don't see that working in real football. Whenever I hear a successfull flat 442 I think about Man Utd., Bayern M or Atletico Madrid but they are playing with more like Adv Fwd(Rooney/Gomez/Forlan) + Deepl Fwd(Berbatov/Muller) or Treq(Aguero) combo. Tottenham with Crouch seem to be the only exception but they got Modric/Kranjcar playing behind the forwards.
What I am trying to say is that 442 wide diamond(with an AMC) seems to be a lot more suitable for a target men - he brings into play not only his striker partner and the nearby winger but also the AMC.
That's just my personal opinion though.

Thanks for starting this thread btw, it is very interesting thread because there aren't many good tactics with target man around and people(including me) doesn't seem to know how to get the best from that role.
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Very interesting thread, I will try to express my opinion, though I didn't play with a Target Man too much on FM 11. However it was a man I always used in FM 10.

For me, The Target man works best for a formation that has 2 strikers (Target Man+Advanced Forward or Poacher) and an AMC as Inside Forward. This way, the target man can supply both the second striker (amc-inside forward) and his striker partener (ADF/DLF). If you use this combination of the three in attack, then you mush ensure the midfield with at least a holding miedfielder. My favourite target man in the game is Stefan Kiebling (great fitness and hard worker) + he can score a lot of goals himself. You can also look at Brandao (OM).
Not quite on-topic, but Im at Catania in the 3rd season, and finally have success using Maxi Lopez as target man. He's now assisted with a poacher or advanced forward in a 532 formation. He keeps banging them goals in, one goal or more per match, huge difference from last two seasons where he only scored 7-8 per season as poacher. Im currently on second place after 10 matches 2 points behind Roma, with Lopez currently 14 goals from all competitions.

3rd season preferred lineup with subs (not amazing individuals but the tactic works wonders with what I got):

GK:--------------------------------------------------M.Andujar -> GK defence
SUBS----------------------------------------------(S.Lung Jr)
DC:----------------------------------M.Silvestre-N.Nkoulou-S.Coates ->Two stoppers, and one cover in the middle
WB:-------------------------L.Fer --------------------------------------C.Träsch -> Wingbacks on attack duty.
SUBS----------------------------------(S.Aurier) (Jose Goncalves)
MC:---------------------------------Adrien (C)-H.Medunjanin-J.Vossen -> Attacking playmaker, centre mids on attack/box-to-box
ST:-------------------------------------M.López---K.Aït Fana -> One target man and poacher/advanced forward
SUBS-------------------------(M.Okoli retrained to ST) (B.Stancu, J.Chramosta)

I guess López really enjoys 5-3-2. Also a tip for your Catania game, is to retrain DMC Gennaro Delvecchio to striker, hes old but with amazing target man skills.
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Most definitely it works. It has been used for decades in English football, and works a treat in FM. I find pairing a Target Man with a Poacher works wonders.
Thanks to all who have responded, but I believe you misunderstood what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about having any Target Man in a 4-4-2, cause I know he'd work with a Poacher or in a diamond 4-4-2 setup (he'd be given a support duty). I was talking about a Target Man - Attack "leading the line" and being supported by a DLF or Treq., not the Target Man himself supporting a Poacher or Advanced Forward.

Hope you got what I mean! :/
Tried to do that myself, but failed big time. But on the other side, I'm not the greatest tacition and I think thats the main reason I idn't make it work. Well you're post gave me the motivation to try again, tnx for that :D
I always try to play with a bit lower league and the I always use my biggest as target man and a poacher Tall guy/short guy. bit like tottenham with Crouch and Defoe, this has worked good for me but gets less effective against bigger teams i think the 3 man attack combo with inside forward would work better then
I'm actually trying to develop a tactic that is a 442 variant using a Targetman. I'm doing it more of a test to see if it is viable partnership with a poacher, I can't see it not being but you never know.

Interesting thread. :)