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FM 2013 Tactics Review: Bigmac’s 4-4-1-1

Welcome back to the weekly post in which we analyse and download FM 2013 Tactics, this time we take a look at a slightly tuned 4-4-2 which takes the shape of a 4-4-1-1, with an attacking midfielder behind the striker. Before going into the  FM 2013 tactics review, let’s recap the testing procedure for those of you who don’t know all about it by now:

We install the tactic and use it through pre-season plus six league matches with Spurs. Then we watch each match closely, see what happens and come up with the best review we’re capable of. We will also keep track of various statistics in order to be able to compare the essential numbers between this and other tactics that have been or will be analysed. It is more or less like a benchmarking tool for FM 2013 tactics.

Now let’s see what Bigmac’s FM 2013 tactic is all about.


1 bigmac fm 2013 tactic formation

The formation features a flat back four and also a flat midfield line, with an attacking midfielder behind the lone poacher. The two central midfielders have different roles, one is set as a ball winning midfielder while the other is a deep lying playmaker, both with defensive duty.

Team Instructions

2 bigmac fm 2013 tactic team instructions

The tactic uses balanced style with attacking strategy, while the playing style options are set to create a team that presses the opponents, uses short passing and directs the flow of the ball down the flanks. The attacking midfielder is the designated playmaker while the striker is the target man.

Average Positions

3 bigmac fm 2013 tactic average positions

The average positions show a compact setup, there are no big gaps between the lines and the players will almost always have short passing options. The two central midfielders don’t have a big contribution in attack, their task is to get the ball back and then forward it either to the wingers or to the attacking midfielder. The defensive line sits pretty high up in order to keep the shape of the team compact.


4 bigmac fm 2013 tactic defending

The defending side of things with this tactic is pretty solid, the four defenders form a perfect line while the two midfielders will always try to harass the opposition midfielders, as you can see in the screen shot above. The two wingers travel back to mark the opposition fullbacks while the AMC will also give a helping hand with getting the ball back in midfield now and again.


5 bigmac fm 2013 tactic attacking

The attacking side shows a pretty clear idea of play, the team will try to pass the ball around the opposition area from one flank to the other, similar to a handball attack. The build-up is patient, the players will rarely throw the ball away through long shots. When an opening comes up, usually thanks to the movement of the AMC, striker or wingers, the ball will be played through the gap. The screen shot above shows one of these cases, the AMC has the ball at the edge of the area, passes it through to the striker who spins past his marker and fires home. The two wingers also cut inside and provide passing options to the AMC as they are ready to sprint behind enemy lines.


6 bigmac fm 2013 tactic results

The results were pretty good, five wins and just one defeat, at Chelsea. And it was a deserved defeat even though Chelsea were unable to break through our defence until late in the game after dominating most of the match. The other matches were firmly in our control, the opponents didn’t really stand a chance due to our possession and solid defending.


Goals scored: 15 (2.50 per game)

Goals conceded: 4 (0.66 per game)

Shots on target for: 6.33 per game

Shots on target against: 2.83 per game

Clear cut chances for: 0.83 per game

Clear cut chances against: 0.50 per game

Half chances for: 1.33 per game

Half chances against: 0.66 per game

Ball possession average: 51.66%

The numbers are decent all around but not exceptional. The main problem is that the team didn’t create a big number of chances, but on the other hand we converted almost all of them because they were really clear cut. Most of the goals were scored by the striker (Defoe bagged 7) and most of the assists came from the attacking midfielder (Sigurdsson had five to go with three goals. You can watch one of the goals they created by clicking here.

Check out our FM 13 Tactics Index to see how this tactic compares to the others we’ve tested up to this point.


Good results.

Puts opposition under pressure inside their own half both through pressing and possession, which leads to quite a few free kicks in our favour.

Effective movement in attack, illustrated by the screen shot below. The right winger cuts inside and the AMC joins the striker inside the area, which caught the opposition CBs a bit off guard. Lennon passed through to Sigurdsson who fired at the far post (green arrow) but unfortunately hit the upright on that occasion. The player movement gave the right back plenty of room to advance down his flank, making the situation even more dangerous for the opposition.

7 bigmac fm 2013 tactic effective movement in attack

Doesn’t create too many chances.

Dominated quite clearly by Chelsea.

Suggested Tweaks

Changing the marking to zonal might deliver better coverage of the pitch when defending, but the team seemed to defend pretty well with the current man marking set up.

You can also play around with the roles of the two central midfielders, a more attacking role for one of the two might result in more chances created.

FM 2013 Tactic Download

Download this FM 2013 tactic by clicking on the image below:

download link

After downloading the tactic follow these simple steps to install it in FM 2013:

1. Put the downloaded file into this folder: Documents>Sports Interactive>Football Manager 2013>tactics

2. Start your game and go to your team’s tactics screen.

3. Click on the little arrow located to the right of your starting tactic name, move your mouse cursor over “archived tactics” and select this tactic from the menu.

I hope you enjoyed this review and I’m looking forward to your comments. We won’t be taking any more entries from you at this point because we already have plenty of tactics on the waiting list (enough for two months). Here’s what’s coming up in the next weeks:

1. Aleksandar Kiselinov

4. Mantorras77

5. Vinay

6. Deano

7. Paris

8. Ryan Daly

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Matt Clark
9 years ago

Thanks for the review Johnny, when trying this tactic with different teams I have found that the results depend massively on the striker, because he is on the end of near enough every chance. My best success with this tactic has been with Lewandowski or Giroud up front, I suppose the perfect type of striker would be somewhere along the lines of a complete forward/target man hybrid as from my experience most of the goals scored are either from a corner, or a cross (excluding the ‘Messi’ goals from the wingers). I hope this helps anyone who may wish to gve this tactic a try.

Matt Clark
9 years ago
Reply to  Matt Clark

My apologies for the typo, I noticed it as soon as i clicked submit.

9 years ago

how do I send you my tactic to review….

9 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

oh thanks…

Darren Smith
9 years ago

Nice review Johnny, and a solid tactic ready to tweak and expand on. As always player selection is huge, I’m sure the author had this tactic revolving around certain players that could make or break its performance, leads me to think in future submissions we should ask the authors to submit a recommended XI also, would be helpful.

As for the tactic itself, I like the way the wingers seem to utilize the space in the middle by cutting inside on occasions, that could really catch the opposition out and the idea of two flat lines pushing possession forward works well, I guess when you achieve that you are bound to struggle for quantity of chances in the opposition area though, it really is a tough balancing act.

I think the roles assigned to the midfielders keeps the line solid throughout, but as you mentioned too many support and defend duties are probably the culprit for lack of CCC’s.

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