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Utilizing 2-3-1-2-2 formation - aim to score from anywhere

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I am deep into my first (and only) FM 2013 Newcastle United save - season 14, year 2025. After a long period of building we are a real force to be reckoned with. The club is massively successful, the team at my disposal is extremely strong and sadly none of the other Premiership sides are consistent enough with their transfer policy to poise a genuine threat in the long term. For this reason I am looking at further challenges to keep the save interesting.

I tried to forge a free-attacking formation aiming to create goalscoring opportunities for every single position in the team. The purpose is to get any player to score during a season, and score as many goals as possible. Conceding is not a worry. I keep a relatively small squad (22 players) every season and managed to achieve that on two occasions. But looking at my squad I believe there is still room for improvement and would like to ask for advice regarding the formation. I'd appreciate suggestions on anything - individual roles, team instructions, player instructions. Please keep in mind the sole purpose is for every player to get as many chances to score as possible. Not just the offensive players, every single one of them.

This is the formation I currently use:

View attachment 342246

The game acknowledges it as 4-2-4 but it is quite different. It produces no less than 120 goals in the Premiership, once managed 170. I occasionally concede freak goals like 90 yards out but I've accepted it as a due negative. Chances created vary between 15 and 40 shots per game depending on the opposition.

Set pieces are designed to grind chances for the defenders (had a few occasions when one of them actually managed to outscore the inside forwards), the goalkeepers also benefit 2-3 goals a season.

Wingbacks score occasionally.

The deeplying playmaker gets the least chances and may not score for an entire season.

Is there anything that can be done to increase the proficiency of the wingbacks and the DPL without massively crippling the flow of play? While the results are excellent most of the time except for when my keeper decides to let in 3 goals from 3 shots on target, I cannot but wonder how much of this is due to the sheer talent in the squad and whether some tweaks could improve the current style even further.

Any thoughts?
 
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There are two or three roles/duties I would alter. Using two complete forwards seems a little pointless (unless of course you feel the duo are performing insanely well), I personally would try a deep lying role for one of them, and keeping one as a complete or advanced forward. Due to the DLF utilising space slightly off the main striker, I would consequently change the Advanced playmaker to a CM-support. This will give your team someone solely dedicated to being able to receive the ball and play those lovely one-twos with the wide players. This should not hinder the CM spot's goalscoring ability much and it can be mitigated by getting someone with the gets into opp. area PPM whilst increasing the effectiveness of the WBs. (At least my tactical mind is tell me that its the logical conclusion). The DLP will always struggle to score since that role is all about the assist, instead of trying to get the DLP to score, maybe attempt to get a crazy amount of assists with that one playing role via trying different instructions and duty (I often prefer defend, but it does depend on the whole team).

Good luck! These are just suggestions, I'm not predicting miracles from trying these things haha
 
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Thank you for the suggestions, Sterling! I will consider them and conduct some tests.

I have the complete forwards switching positions during the match, I haven't noticed any stable differences in their performance. In my first seasons the attack duty striker used to score loads more, but it might have been the player himself more than the position as when I had more depth and began rotating the team on a regular basis the support duty striker became more proficient for an extended period.

I've considered removing the DPL entirely and pushing him on as an AMC alternating the formation from 2-3-1-2-2 to 2-2-1-3-2 but never tested as I fear it would prove generally counterproductive and the results will suffer.
 
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There are two or three roles/duties I would alter. Using two complete forwards seems a little pointless (unless of course you feel the duo are performing insanely well), I personally would try a deep lying role for one of them, and keeping one as a complete or advanced forward. Due to the DLF utilising space slightly off the main striker, I would consequently change the Advanced playmaker to a CM-support. This will give your team someone solely dedicated to being able to receive the ball and play those lovely one-twos with the wide players. This should not hinder the CM spot's goalscoring ability much and it can be mitigated by getting someone with the gets into opp. area PPM whilst increasing the effectiveness of the WBs. (At least my tactical mind is tell me that its the logical conclusion). The DLP will always struggle to score since that role is all about the assist, instead of trying to get the DLP to score, maybe attempt to get a crazy amount of assists with that one playing role via trying different instructions and duty (I often prefer defend, but it does depend on the whole team).

Good luck! These are just suggestions, I'm not predicting miracles from trying these things haha
That would be the orthodox way of going. Yet the whole idea behind the tactics/formation is unorthodox. I like playing with OVERLOAD formations. That would be unorthodox enuff and suit your intentions ...
 
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MANUMAD - can you tell me a bit more? What does overload formations stand for?

Sterling - I tested the alternations you suggested in a few games, nothing conclusive yet. The AP to CM-support switch didn't take away the goalscoring opportunities from that position yet I have the feeling the wingbacks tend to shoot a bit less in these particular matches. It might be my players but the strikers seem to waste even more chances now (10+ per game) and I even managed to lose to Blackburn away 1-2 with the only goal coming from my goalkeeper... First loss in the Prem in quite a while.
 
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MANUMAD - can you tell me a bit more? What does overload formations stand for?
.
Its basiclly when you overload a specific ( can be a big) area of teh field with players, often pushing the opponents back.
 
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TheBetterHalf - apologies for posting it in the wrong forum originally, should have looked around a little more.

Any suggestions how to implement that?
 
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Overload: Instead of "attacking" that is the philosophy behind your tactics you have the option of having it as overload. The theoretical effect is what TheBetterHalf has said ie to overload the opposition area with players. Which tends to result in goals (but not always as the players will always look to directly attack when other options are better) or letting in goals on counter attacks.

The orthodox tactical idea is to only use it as a last resort when you absolutely have to score (eg in cup matches) and for short periods. Ive actually managed to have pretty effective OVERLOAD tactics (ie generally from start to finish) both in FM12 (not my own tactic - downloaded a 424 one that I tweaked and was extremely productive) and in the current version with a tactic of my making (a 12412) - Look in my MANUMAD's Box of Sweets thread for further comments.
 
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I explored your thread at the time I purchased FM, loved your Brazil reviews. Good to see you managed to keep it going, will check it out again.

In the meantime I've another question regarding PPMs - I have been training my new players to learn the standard moves for their position but given the formation I am using should I be more creative with those? Or perhaps I shouldn't emphasize on those at all?

I have usually pursued the following moves (by position):

- BALL-PLAYING DEFENDER - marks opponents tightly, runs rarely with ball;

- WINGBACKS - likes to switch ball to other flank, knocks ball past opponent;

- DEEP-LYING PLAYMAKER - comes deep to get ball, tries killer balls often, dictates tempo, tries long range passes, likes to switch ball to other flank, curls ball, dives into tackles;

- ADVANCED PLAYMAKER - runs with ball through centre/often, comes deep to get ball, plays one-twos, knocks ball past opponent, tries killer balls often, dictates tempo, likes to switch ball to other flank, curls ball;

- INSIDE FORWARDS - shoots from distance, shoots with power, tries killer balls often, runs with ball through centre of often, cuts inside, plays one-twos, knocks ball past opponent, gets into opposition area, curls ball, tries tricks, moves into channels, likes to try to beat offside trap;

- COMPLETE FORWARDS - shoots from distance, shoots with power, likes to round keeper, likes to lob keeper, attempts overhead kicks, tries first time shots, runs with ball through centre or often, plays with back to goal, comes deep to get ball, plays one-twos, knocks ball past opponent, tries killer balls often, stops play, curls ball.

Never managed to get Tim Krul to drop arguing with officials despite dozens of attempts. Neither noticed it having any influence in matches regarding yellow cards, etc.

A question for Sterling - do you see these detrimental for the new roles you suggested for my AP and CF?
 
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Mid-season update (01 Jan 2026):

30 games played, 136 scored, 19 conceded.
17 Premiership games played, 69 scored, 12 conceded.

Sterling's suggestions tested in a 10 game streak. It tends to balance the chances between the front 5 a little better giving the CM a bit more shots but also limits the wingbacks and they went nearly completely dry. Generally delivered well against minor opposition in cups and ECC but also saw some substandard performances in the Premiership, including a shock defeat.

Individual players stats - note - due to injuries some of them have had a game or 2 in a different position:

Position
Name
Apps (Sub)
Goals
Assists
SK 1Tim Krul21 (2)30
SK 2
Jaider Vallejo
9 (18)
2
1
BPD 1
Mapou Yanga Mbiwa
17 (1)
4
3
BPD 2
Silvio Ibanez
17 (0)
3
2
BPD 3
Pape Diedhiou
16 (1)
1
1
BPD 4
Santiago Bernal
10 (1)
3
0
WBL 1
Gareth Bale
16 (3)
1
11
WBL 2
Gerardo Soriano
11 (0)
2
5
WBR 1
Andreas Rush
15 (1)
1
9
WBR 2
Darren Donaldson
15 (0)
0
4
WBR 3
Mathieu Debuchy
4 (6)
2
6
DLP 1
Antonio Undiana
15 (0)
0
2
DLP 2
Marouane Fellaini
14 (1)
1
3
AP 1
Scotty Walden
16 (2)
5
13
AP 2
Leomar
15 (3)
6
9
IFL 1
Mario Gotze
15 (2)
6
6
IFL 2
Mickael van der Vaart
14 (2)
7
3
IFR 1
Hatem Ben Arfa
16 (5)
10
16
IFR 2
Paolo Bonato
14 (2)
6
7
CF 1Jim Priestley
17 (2)
19
6
CF 2
Mikael Lampi
15 (3)
15
4
CF 3
Radek Pilar
11 (4)
11
3
CF 4
Papiss Cisse
10 (4)
18
3
CF 5
Dong Dexin
7 (5)
10
5
 
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lunatik56

I doubt it will work universally with any players, I have been building the team around it for quite a while.

As you see I use Bale as a wingback - the general idea is to have them run down the flanks and play as wingers for the majority of time. The idea is to keep possession in the final third and have width while the inside forwards cut inside and look to exchange one-twos with the forwards until any of them gets in a shooting position. I spent a lot of time on attacking set-pieces as well to exploit any chances possible. Since the formation is very vulnerable defensively it demands a lot from the wingbacks in both phases of the game, including pace and stamina to be able to cover for any situations. The same goes for the central defenders as it is usually hard to get tall and mobile players in this position. I looked to retrain wingers with suitable attributes to wingbacks and quick technically gifted strikers to inside forwards. Usually using a very physical player with good aerial ability and tackling in the DPL role to prevent counter attacks and recycle possession, most of my central defenders have been trained to offer cover in that position on occasion.
 
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Is it possible to upload your tactic? So we can test and try it out and supply you with feedback. ;)
 
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Can you apply the screenshot from the first post?

I combine it with the following set-pieces setup - even though I tinker those every time I rotate the squad to put their abilities to better use:

Attacking corners - mixed delivery, GK - default, DCR - near post flick on, DCL - challenge keeper, WBR - stay back if needed, DMC - stay back if needed, WBL - offer short option, MC - attack ball from deep, AMR - lurk outside area, AML - stand on far post, STR - attack far post, STL - attack near post.

Defending corners - GK - default, DCR - mark tall player, DCL - mark tall player, WBR - mark far post, DMC - man mark, WBL - mark near post, MC - close down corner, AMR - stay forward, AML - edge of area, STR - man mark, STL - stay forward.

Attacking free kicks - mixed delivery, GK - default, DCR - mark keeper, DCL - go forward, WBR - stay back if needed, DMC - stay back if needed, WBL - stay back if needed, MC - stand with taker, AMR - disrupt wall, AML - disrupt wall, STR - go forward, STL - go forward.

Defending free kicks - GK - default, DCR - man mark, DCL - man mark, WBR - man mark, DMC - form wall, WBL - man mark, MC - go back, AMR - stay forward, AML - stay forward, STR - form wall, STL - form wall.

Throw ins left - long - GK - default, DCR - near post, DCL - stay back, WBR - forward, DMC - lurk outside area, WBL - come short, MC - lurk outside area, AMR - lurk outside area, AML - come short, STR - forward, STL - forward.

Throw ins right - long - GK - default, DCR - stay back, DCL - near post, WBR - come short, DMC - lurk outside area, WBL - forward, MC - lurk outside area, AMR - come short, AML - lurk outside area, STR - forward, STL - forward.
 
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Alright, but what about team instructions and personal player instructions??
 
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Team instructions on default, personal player I have tinkered slightly from default but that depends on the team you have. Wingbacks roam from position and shoot sometimes, the forwards swap position.
 
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Full season report (23 May 2026):

38 Premiership games - 169 scored, 24 conceded. Won 35, drew 1, lost 2.
67 games total - 297 scored, 43 conceded.

Individual stats - again noting some of the players have had a few games in a different position when dictated by injuries/fatigue:

Position
Name
Apps (Sub)
Goals
Assists
SK 1
Tim Krul
43 (7)
5
3
SK 2
Jaider Vallejo
24 (35)
41
BPD 1
Mapou Yanga Mbiwa
37 (1)
8
7
BPD 2
Pape Diedhiou
35 (2)
6
6
BPD 3
Silvio Ibanez
32 (0)
5
3
BPD 4
Santiago Bernal
28 (1)
12
1
WBL 1
Gareth Bale35 (5)4
27
WBL 2
Gerardo Soriano
26 (0)
5
9
WBR 1
Andreas Rush
33 (4)
1
15
WBR 2
Darren Donaldson
31 (2)
1
13
WBR 3
Mathieu Debuchy
12 (6)
2
6
DLP 1
Antonio Undiana
33 (3)
2
6
DLP 2
Marouane Fellaini
33 (2)
1
5
AP 1
Scotty Walden
33 (3)
13
19
AP 2
Leomar
32 (4)
7
13
IFL 1
Mario Gotze
34 (4)
12
16
IFL 2
Mickael van der Vaart
32 (3)
20
12
IFR 1
Hatem Ben Arfa
35 (5)
14
25
IFR 2
Paolo Bonato
32 (3)
12
18
CF 1
Jim Priestley
34 (6)
39
18
CF 2
Mikael Lampi
33 (4)
30
16
CF 3
Radek Pilar
27 (8)
35
10
CF 4
Papiss Cisse
22 (8)
30
8
CF 5
Dong Dexin
21 (9)
24
13
 
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If you want feedback on your tactic, you should upload it so others can test it out/ tweak it. It's difficult to comment on it without using it first. It looks good though.
 
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It's just the same as the original post screenshot, all settings on default combined with the set pieces setup I posted yesterday. No problem to upload it I just don't know how.
 
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