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FM 2013 Tactics Review: Vodu’s 4-1-2-2-1

Welcome back to the weekly post in which we analyse FM 2013 Tactics that you can then download if the results of the test are to your liking. This time we take a look at a 4-1-2-2-1 tactic that was sent to us by Mantorras77, one of our readers. The tactic wasn’t created by him though, it was put toghether by Vodu, a FM fanatic that has a fan site in Portuguese. Before going into Vodu’s FM 2013 tactic 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 we noticed while testing Vodu’s FM 2013 tactic:


1 vodu fm 2013 tactic formation

The formation is a tweaked 4-3-3, with a defensive midfielder behind two central midfiedlers, two wingers and a deep lying forward. The tactic employs a flat back four and seems to focus the attacks on the wings considering the roles and duties of the wingers and full backs.

Team Instructions

2 vodu fm 2013 tactic team instructions

In fact, the wing focus becomes obvious when looking at the team instructions, passing is directed down the flanks while the tactic uses counter attacks and the offside trap. The tempo is slow, ideal for keeping possession, and the width is set to the narrowest possible. The strategies and playing style are left on default but the style of the tactic is entirely shaped by the individual player instructions, it’s clear that the author put a lot of work into those. There are specific instructions for each player, too many to go through them all, but they seem to be pretty well thought through.

Average Positions

3 vodu fm 2013 tactic average positions

The average positions show a compact outfit, in full control of the middle of the pitch through the three midfielders. The left back dropping a bit below the defensive line might seem strange but that was probably due to his tight marking instruction, so his position did depend on what his opponent on that flank was doing.


5 vodu fm 2013 tactic defending

The defending side of this tactic was very impressive to say the least, you will be even more impressed when you’ll see the numbers. When defending against positional attacks the four defenders cover the area just above the penalty box while the three midfielder and the striker form a pressing punch that often manages to snuff out the attacks before they even reach the danger area. What impressed me is that the striker does contribute to the defensive effort into his own half while counter attacks are launched through the wings.


4 vodu fm 2013 tactic attacking

Normally tactics that bring lots of men in defence don’t do too well in attack. Well, it’s not the case here. The two wingers are the ones who create most attacks with good support from the full backs while the two central midfielders also give a good hand (as you can see in the screen shot above Huddlestone ends up acting as a second striker behind Adebayor). The screen shows a typical attack with this tactic, the right winger has the ball, cuts inside a bit and serves a through ball to the striker who then scores. In some cases the wingers cross the ball to the back post where the winger on the opposite flank is ready to tuck it in.

The two central midfielders, even the one with defend duty, have some contribution in attack as well. All I’m going to say is that Livermore scored the goal of the month against Swansea, check it out.


6 vodu fm 2013 tactic results

The results were very impressive to say the least: won the first five games with no goals conceded an nearly beat Manchester United as well. The striker got most of the goals while we also got some from corners and free kicks as well. And that wasn’t just a coincidence, the good possession that this tactic creates did give us plenty of corners and free kicks in the opposition half, we had 10+ corners in four of those six games.


Goals scored: 13 (2.16 per game)

Goals conceded: 1 (0.16 per game)

Shots on target for: 8.16 per game

Shots on target against: 1.83 per game

Clear cut chances for: 1.66 per game

Clear cut chances against: 0.50 per game

Half chances for: 4.33 per game

Half chances against: 1 per game

Ball possession average: 56%

The numbers are are very impressive as well. Excellent possession, huge number of chances created on average (both half chances and clear cut), low number of chances against, plus a very good ratio of shots on target (the players will rarely shoot from distance, the work the ball around the area until a clear shot opportunity arises).

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.

Pretty close to total football, effective at both ends of the pitch.

The defence is rock-solid, even in case of counter attacks. The screen shot below shows a breakaway for the opponents but with no chance whatsoever of creating something dangerous as their spearhead is surrounded by five of our players!

7 vodu fm 2013 tactic solid at the back

Can struggle when the two wingers are marked tightly, that was the case in one match and we had a few problems creating dangerous attacks since most balls are directed to the flanks.

Suggested Tweaks

No tweaks, why change something that works so well? However, the beauty of this tactic is that almost everything is set up through the individual player instructions, so you can easily alter those to suit your players 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 because we already have plenty of tactics on the waiting list (enough for two months). Here’s what’s coming up in the next four weeks:

1. Vinay

2. Deano

3. Paris

4. Ryan Daly



  1. Charlie Rudnycky

    June 8, 2013 at 13:06

    Do you set team instructions?

    • Johnny Karp

      June 8, 2013 at 13:27

      You mean opposition instructions maybe?

  2. Darren Smith

    June 8, 2013 at 14:51

    Nice tactic Johnny. Results talk and so do stats, despite a rather unorthodox approach with play out wide yet narrow width, counter attack at the same time as offside trap and slow tempo. But I suspect the player instructions are what makes this really tick, must have taken a lot of thought to create such a defensive unit that can explode forward.

  3. Charlie Rudnycky

    June 8, 2013 at 18:08

    Yeah do you get your Ass Man to set OI’s? and do you use any certain match training?

    • Johnny Karp

      June 9, 2013 at 07:31

      Yes, the assistant automatically sets up the OIs. Match training is left to default, also handled by the assistant.

  4. Nandez

    June 8, 2013 at 19:31

    I think i steal the player instructions for the defenders and use it in my tactic:)

    • Johnny Karp

      June 9, 2013 at 07:31

      Defending is not only about the defenders ;)

      • Nandez

        June 9, 2013 at 15:13

        Ye i know but if i also use player instructions for my midfielders i will lose my Spalletti playing style D:

  5. Jayliee

    June 8, 2013 at 21:36

    Really surprised to see the GK settings in this tactic – I am setting it up for my team right now – looking forward to seeing if this actual works :P

  6. Matt

    June 11, 2013 at 13:10

    Hi Johnny

    Great test write up as always. That table is really starting to come together! I’m currently using your excellent Spurs testing method as the inspiration to test out all of the pre-set default tactics on FM, which I then hope to collate in to some semblance of a story. (Figuring out the best/most effetive tactic before setting out with a career etc). In my test, I set each team to a Control strategy, Balanced style, Shorter passing and Press more closing down, but leave all other team/player to the games pre-sets.
    Just to help me out, do you let the assistant play the matches whilst you are on holiday and then watch them back or ‘play’ each match as you would normally? If the latter, do you keep all your settings the same, regardless of opposition/what happens in the game?

    Thanks, Matt

    • Johnny Karp

      June 12, 2013 at 09:59

      I let the assistant play the friendlies using the tactic I want to test and then I use it as it is for the league matches, never change anything because that would defeat the purpose of testing, wouldn’t it?

  7. Matt

    June 13, 2013 at 10:55

    Very true! I was concerned with how the AI reacts and that that might twist the results, but if the fixtures are the same then then I guess testing remains solid. Thanks once again and keep up the good work.

  8. andrei

    June 20, 2013 at 11:14

    nice work with this tactic,the best around here

  9. Eric

    July 16, 2013 at 00:04

    Hey bro , can you put here the player instructions please ?? :( i can’t download this file …
    if you want send the players instructions to my e-mail … please

  10. nickdent1990

    August 21, 2013 at 14:23

    Is there a how to guide for installing these tactics? When I go to download it says windows can not open the file. I am running off stream if that has anything to do with it?

    • Johnny Karp

      August 21, 2013 at 14:48

      There are step by step instructions at the end of the post, just below the download link, please read them.

  11. theirongiant

    August 27, 2013 at 15:41

    Double thumbs up from me, moved Celtic into the championship and won it comfortably with 106 pts, would have been a 10-15 more but I had play reserves & youths in a lot of games to rest players for my unexpected run to the CL final (Celtic still had a place in the CL from their SPL win the previous season). Convincingly thrashed Barca, Real Madrid, Juventus & Man City before taking Bayern Munich to a heartbreaking 5-4 penalty shoot out loss in the final.

  12. keysersöze

    August 30, 2013 at 00:36

    No disrespect, but this isn’t a solid defensive nor offensive tactic at all – at least on patch 13.3.3. I’m playing with a gelled and heavily strengthened Dortmund side in 2014 with the likes of Isco, Strootmann, Jovetic, Naingolan, Götze, Ter Stegen, Sakho, Zouma etc.alongside the already very strong team with the likes of Hummels, Reus, Bender…

    I did draw a lot of matches after having the lead. Also when falling behind, this tactic has a very very hard time of getting you a come back.

    My team is almost completely fluid with this tactic, but the resulting football is painful to watch and ineffective. Apart from the less than entertaining football, the many yellow and red cards / penalities, resulting from the whole team being on tight marking + hard tackling, are quite annoying. The set piece setup is suboptimal at best and I advise anyone seriously using this tactic (without save scumming) to change at least corners + attacking free kicks.

    • Johnny Karp

      August 30, 2013 at 07:13

      It is very wrong to imply that people who had good results with this tactic have used save scumming or some other cheating method, you can’t possibly know that.

  13. Louis

    September 5, 2013 at 07:45

    Love this tactic

  14. Rick Boyly

    September 20, 2013 at 14:22

    My results with this tactic managing Leeds:

    Leeds 0 v 2 Watford
    Leeds 0 v 0 Palace
    Leeds 0 v 5 West Ham
    Leeds 2 v 4 Bristol City
    Leeds 0 v 3 Tranmere
    Leeds 0 v 0 Leyton Orient

    Tactic is fluid with a strengthened team in season 2. I have only just stopped vomiting at what I have just witnessed.

    – Defenders & midfielders dwell on the ball, get tackled and the AI score from the resulting break
    – I have played football management games for 20 years and I have never seen more goals conceded from corners and free kicks

    Perhaps it requires better quality players?

    • Johnny Karp

      September 20, 2013 at 14:39

      Probably yes. But not necessarily quality players, maybe just players that are adequate for the respective roles.

  15. tenthreeleader

    March 21, 2014 at 22:40

    When this tactic is fully and properly trained, it’s absolutely dominant. I’m using it with SC Freiburg at the moment and the results so far are:

    Atlanta (friendly) 2-0
    @ Burghausen (Cup) 4-0
    @ Hoffenheim 2-0
    Dusseldorf 0-0
    @ Furth 3-0
    Schalke 3-0
    Augsburg 3-1
    @ Leverkusen 3-2
    Mainz 3-0
    @ Werder Bremen 4-1

    That’s 27-4 on aggregate and three of the goals I’ve conceded have been on set pieces. Freiburg is a relegation candidate at the start of FM13 and right now I top the Bundesliga by one point with a match in hand. I play them Balanced/Control and I average 55 percent possession home or away. Easily the best tactic of its type I’ve seen and I go back to CM 01-02.

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