Hey guys and welcome to the first of our best FM 2021 Tactics series. Today we have a returning favourite from the ever brilliant Knap’s collection and boy is it overpowered in the BETA. BEOWULF is a 4-4-2, offering dynamic attacking Football, plenty of goals and a high pressing style of play.
Tested with Newcastle during season one we beat Chelsea (3 times), Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and even thrashed Man Utd 6-2!
Originally created for last years game, I have tweaked this Football Manager 2021 tactic to suit the BETA and will post further updates on this page as the system is updated.
Best FM 2021 Tactics – Formation
Knap’s 4-4-2 enjoys a simple shape, suitable for most sides with pretty general roles. Two Advanced Forwards make runs in behind often supplied by the deep lying playmaker while two Wingers offer width or even cut inside dependant on their traits.
The Wing Backs are set to automatic duty but with an attacking mentality they fly forward often and usually instigate the attack. Both DLP and B2B stabilise from midfield in a supporting role.
In a nutshell BEOWULF wins back possession efficiently before hitting hard on the counter, before the AI has chance to re-group. Some of the resulting goals and scorelines are crazy. I am talking Newcastle thrashing Premier League elite clubs and sitting top of the table.
As always, player suitability and familiarity is vital. If you do not have fast forwards, Wingers accomplished at RM & ML this FM21 tactic may not work for you.
Note: Do not try and copy this tactic, there are many specific player instructions and important custom set pieces. If you do not download this best FM 2021 tactic, it will not work.
Best Football Manager 2021 Tactics – Instructions
Knap’s best FM 2021 tactic has an emphasis on meaningful attacks with more direct passing, higher tempo and working the ball into the box. The wing backs are asked to overlap and both ball playing defenders pass out from the back.
This is a counter pressing, counter attacking system looking to harass even the keeper out of possession. It forces the opposition out wide and attempts the offside trap due to a high defensive line.
Both defensive and engagement lines were set to maximum last year. I found this problematic during testing so pulled the def line back one notch. This helped spoil the opposition counter and those niggly long balls over the top.
Best FM 2021 Tactics – Player Roles
GK – sweeper keeper (defend) – Just your standard Keeper but one v one ability should be preferred.
CD – ball playing defender (defend) – Ideally find centre backs who can pass and fulfil the role but I’d say its more important to have a towering presence with speed. We have addressed the defensive line but this is a pressing system and can be found out in behind.
DR/DL – wing backs (automatic) – Very important to the success of this tactic. These guys overlap the wingers and instigate attacks. Fast, forward thinking wing backs will do very well in this system. I really enjoyed Thierry Correia from Valencia.
CM – deep lying playmaker (support) – The DLP is your link between defence and attack, probably the most stationary role. We need a great passer of the ball with vision and good long shot ability. Shelvey made mistakes for me but that passing and vision found some exceptional balls in behind.
CM – box to box midfielder (support) – We need an all rounder as the box to box midfielder, he will shuttle from defence to attack but I would favour a forward thinking player due to his late arrival in the box.
MR/ML – winger (attack) – You can use right footed Wingers on the left side and vice versa, but do not adjust the role. If you want the Winger to drift inside this will happen naturally with their nature. I used Saint-Maximin cutting inside from the left likewise Almada to nice affect but also switched Saint-Maximin to the right where he hugged the line. Both options work well. Look for speed demons with ability to carry the ball but end product will raise your conversion rate too.
ST’s – advanced forward (attack) – The main goal threat, I used Callum Wilson and Joao Pedro to great effect. You should look for speed, finishing and good all round physicality. Balls in behind are prominent and these guys should take advantage of that outlet over the top.
IMPORTANT – When to tweak
I used attacking mentality for all matches, even away to Man City but did change to a time wasting system to see games out, usually around the 75th to 80th minute.
You can download here the time wasting tactic in the 4-1-4-1 shape.
Best FM21 Tactics Results & Table
As the screenshots suggest, this is one of the best FM21 tactics against big teams. We beat Arsenal 6-1, Leicester 7-2, Chelsea 5-1, 4-2 and 9-3, United 6-2 and Liverpool 2-1.
Top teams push forward and leave space in behind, falling right into the strengths of this system. Should you struggle to break lesser opposition down, don’t panic, try to turn the game with substitutions on the 60th minute.
Here are the full results, they make for crazy reading. I have to wonder if form is overpowered in the BETA, once we started winning every game felt inevitable.
Not only are we top of the table, but in the League Cup final and still fighting for the FA Cup also.
Even more impressive is the roster of players scoring goals. When Joelinton is scoring a combined 24 goals from 16 starts you know you’re on to a winner! My first choice partnerhsip was Joao Pedro and Callum Wilson who scored a combined 36 from 32 starts.
Find the best FM 2021 players:
Best FM 2021 Tactics: Top Tips
- This has been tested and tweaked for BETA. We cannot predict whether this will work on later patches due to potential match engine changes.
- Change to ‘See The Game Out’ (download here) to see a game out.
- If struggling to score, makes substitutions to the frontline or midfield, this worked a treat for me.
- As with any tactic it needs loading at the start of pre-season. Also avoid signing a whole new team unless you are experienced doing so. These two things will see you under perform not because of a poor tactic but because of poor management.
- I asked my Assistant to take care of training. Opposition instructions should not be set. I took charge of individual training to set each player up in their specific role.
- You must get fast forwards and the best wingers at your disposal for this to work.
- Be aware you need a decent size squad. Two players per position to allow for injuries and bans if you are in Europe.
- You MUST download this tactic, do not try and copy it. There are many individual player instructions and set pieces are vital.
Best FM 2021 Tactics: Download
If you would like to give the tactic a try, follow the instructions below:
1. Click the download link above and download the file.
2. For Windows put the downloaded file in this folder: Documents/Sports Interactive/Football Manager 2021/tactics. If the “shortlists” folder doesn’t exist you will have to create it. Windows users skip to step 2, Mac users read below.
Mac users put file in this folder: Users/YOUR Mac USERNAME/Documents/Sports Interactive/Football Manager 2021/tactics. To access your files on Mac open ‘Finder’, click ‘Go’ from the menubar, press and hold the ‘alt’ key to show ‘library’ in your menu, while still holding ‘alt’ click it, then go to ‘Application Support’ > ‘Sports Interactive’ > ‘Football Manager 2021’
3. Now load the game as normal and enter the tactics screen.
4. In the tactics screen, click the tactic you currently have loaded then select ‘load’ from the drop-down menu
5. Select BEOWULF 4-4-2 and click load.
Every year we test countless tactics and review the very best. For FM21 these systems will be ranked and listed within our tactics index linked below.
Thanks for reading, any social shares would be much appreciated. Follow us on social media for future posts in the series. Please feel free to leave a comment I’d love to hear how you get on. Likewise any questions.