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FM 2013 Tactics Review: Deano’s 4-4-2

Time to analyse FM 2013 Tactics again, remember that you can then download the tactic if the results and the review are good enough to convince you. This time we take a look at a plain 4-4-2 tactic that was sent to us by Deano, he had pretty good results with it considering that he managed to win the title with Wolves twice in eight seasons and also played the Champions League final, unfortunately lost to Real Madrid. Before going into the analysis, let’s recap the testing procedure for those 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 how Deano’s FM 2013 tactic did during our test:


1 deano fm 2013 tactic formation

As you can see the formation is a plain 4-4-2 with a rather defensive approach considering the roles of the central midfielders. There are two strikers in attack, a target man and an advanced forward, which get some support from the two wingers.

Team Instructions

2 deano fm 2013 tactic team instructions

The tactic employs a rigid style with a counter philosophy, it’s quite clear that you can’t expect possession. In fact, the tactic leaves most of the ball possession to the opponents, the team waits for the attacks inside our own half and then tries to launch quick breakaways. The passing style is direct, can’t be any other way with a counter strategy, and the ball is mainly directed down the flanks.

Average Positions

3 deano fm 2013 tactic average positions

The average positions show a sturdy defence, especially in the central area, a lot of density there. The only concern is that the two strikers are a bit isolated, they don’t get support from the two central midfielders.


5 deano fm 2013 tactic defending

The defence is as solid as it gets, as shown in the screen shot above. The four defenders form a line just outside the penalty area, the two wingers track back to support the full backs while the two central midfielders have the task of pressing the opponents and trying to get the ball back in order to launch the counter attacks. Most teams will face great difficulty in overcoming this defence given the density of players in front of the penalty area.


4 deano fm 2013 tactic attacking

Things are rather simple with this tactic when attacking, there’s no moving the ball around in the opposition half. The two central midfielders will always look to play the ball directly to the strikers or launch the wingers down the flanks, which then try to cross the ball into the penalty area for the strikers to convert.

The screen shot shows one of these situations, Huddlestone has the ball inside the midfield circle and floats it past the opposition defence for Adebayor to run onto. This move resulted in a clear cut chance, unfortunately missed by the Togolese striker.


6 deano fm 2013 tactic results

The results were pretty good, went undefeated through the six matches and won four of them. The defence was as solid as I had expected it to be, we let in just two goals and Chelsea were unable to create any decent chances against us. As for goal scoring, we produced more away from home and that is quite common for counter attacking tactics. However, we did have some problems at home against small teams, only managed a draw against West Ham and won against Aston Villa thanks to an injury time goal.

Most of the goals came from the two strikers, either Defoe, Adebayor or Dempsey, while most of the assists were crosses from the flanks. The two centre backs, Kaboul and Vertonghen, had the highest average ratings.


Goals scored: 8 (1.33 per game)

Goals conceded: 2 (0.33 per game)

Shots on target for: 4.83 per game

Shots on target against: 3.16 per game

Clear cut chances for: 1.83 per game

Clear cut chances against: 0.16 per game

Half chances for: 0.83 per game

Half chances against: 0.5 per game

Ball possession average: 43.33%

The numbers are good overall, a very low number of goals conceded and chances created against us. We didn’t score too many either but we had at least one clear cut chance per match, the only game without one was against Chelsea. Of course, the possession statistic is not impressive but that’s not what this tactic is all about.

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 and stats.

Very effective in away games, this could make a top choice away tactic.

The defence extremely solid, I think I’ve said this before :) But have a look at the screen shot below. In this case the team was under a great deal of pressure, it was during the final minutes of the away match at Swansea. The four defenders rallied at the heart of the penalty area, the left winger and one of the two central midfielders also came into the box to help, while the other central midfielder went to close down the opponent on the right flank. As you can see, we have no less than 7 players defending inside the penalty area, so the chances for the opponent to create danger are pretty slim.

7 deano fm 2013 tactic solid defending

Can encounter problems when playing at home against smaller teams, there won’t be too much space for counter attacks.

The team can struggle when forced to rely on positional attacks, mainly because of the gap between the strikers and the rest of the team. The screen shot below shows Bale having the ball on the left flank with the closest passing options being behind him rather than ahead of him.

8 deano fm 2013 tactic isolated strikers

Suggested Tweaks

I would try to change the role/duty of one of the two strikers to something more defensive, at least for home games, that would ensure he drops a bit deeper to link up play if needed.

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, we have two more tactics to review and then we might take a quick holiday ;)

Coming up in the next two weeks:

1. Paris

2. Ryan Daly

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Darren Smith
9 years ago

Nice review Johnny. I agree with your point that this tactic could be the solution for very tough away days. I don’t however see it working for matches at home against lesser opposition consistently enough based on what you’ve shown. May consider this for my Basel game in certain matches.

9 years ago

Thanks for the in depth review, really much appreciated.

Good results, ideally I would have opted for another big CF next to Adebayor. Although it is an AF I have played Andy Carroll in this position. This tactic plays into the hands of big centre Forwards.

The fullbacks also are unsuited, I prefer to use converted centre halves, they are in truth that.

In many ways this is a tactic for the dinosaur. Think Graham Taylor, Kenny Dalglish, Joe Kinnear, Neil Warnock, Martin O’Neill. Combined with two big centre forwards and two quick creative wingers and I have had great results. Standard is a good alternative in those home games you really want to win but I have always been of the opinion that if you aren’t going to win games make sure you don’t lose. Hasn’t done me too badly in this tactic anyway.

dewa gede
dewa gede
9 years ago

how about shout?

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