4-2-3-1 (1 - Narrow) Guide - My way to be effective

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Snipguy
12983 posts Has That Special Something
edited May 2016
4-2-3-1 (1 - Narrow) Guide


Introduction:



My expertise with the formation is a outcome of over a decade of playing the sports itself, and football games (first one being This Is Football 03), and thousands upon thousands of hours playing the game. Almost exclusively 4231.

I am a competitive player, who relies on possession. 4-2-3-1 is arguably the best formation for possession style of play.

My stats from last year (in FUT divisions) 95% of the games were played with this exact formation

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Introduction to the formation:



How does it differ from 4231 (2) with the wide midfielders?

The wide CAM's are instructed to stay further up the pitch, and to take part directly in the scoring-phase. Unlike wingers, these wide attacking midfielders wont drop so deep, and offer you controlled quick attacks with 4 players, or allows you to attack with the whole team, by being able to control the game in the oppositions final third.


4-2-3-1, one of the most common formations in the modern football.
It's versatile, it's balanced. It doesn't have weaknesses, and there is no obvious counter against it.

4-2-3-1 Excels in possession play, but can be used for counter-attacking purposes aswell.

Balanced, how?

4-2-3-1 (1) has a solid defense. The 4 defenders, Left back, CB pairing and right back respectively, are being covered by two CDM's. The depth of the defense make it in many ways, even better to defend with than 5 at the back formations.

The Midfielder is the strongest point of the formation. Two CDM's and the 3 CAM's give you the ability to control the midfield, which is most often the key to victory. Free space and passing options are second to none.

The lone attacker becomes one with the midfield, and is most often part of the build-up play.
The three CAM's make sure that the striker isn't isolated, and allows you to attack with force.



Pros and cons of this years installment (FIFA 16)




In general: This year the gameplay took a massive step forward. The core of the game, might just be the best FIFA we've seen to this date. Every year there are flaws, but they will be fixed/are being fixed as we speak. Sometimes as soon as possible, sometimes within a longer time frame. Sometimes the things that we recognize as problems, are not. Atleast for the developers of the game. Time will tell if the high pressure and interceptions will be toned down. This isn't the time and the place to discuss about that matter though.

Head to head: Generally, almost every FIFA the H2H is better gameplay-wise than Ultimate team.

FIFA 16 Is by far, the best and the most balanced H2H we've seen. The gameplay is outstanding. Passing is, as it should be, the most important factor. Controlling the tempo of the game opens new dimensions, which wasn't the case for the longest time. If someone hasn't tried the Head to head this year, i strongly suggest you to do so.

Ultimate team: UT this year is dictated by pace, as so many years before. Not as badly as couple of the previous years, but it's still one of the biggest, if not the biggest, factor. Other, clearly "overpowered" factors are, as stated before, ultra high-pressure and interceptions.

4-1-2-1-2 (2) formation is appearing to be very dominant because of these factors. It gives you the possibility to get the best out of those flaws. Which is the biggest reason of it becoming widely the most common formation.

4-2-3-1 is (in my own opinion and experience so far) the only formation that can combat and counter the 41212 (2). So, for the ones struggling against this particular formation, i recommend to give 4-2-3-1 a shot.


The player choices:



GK (Goalkeeper)

Goalkeepers have a huge part at the outcome of the game. They either save you, or doom you.
This is the very reason you should always get quality between the posts. Having Neuer in goal can win you 10 more matches in 100 games, than using Starke.

Height of the goalkeeper is oh so important. 6'6 keeper covers more of the goal in 1v1 than 5'11 tall keeper.

The speed of the goalkeeper is very, and truly, very important this year. The faster your goalkeeper is, the faster he comes out in 1v1, and clears the crosses/corners with better percentage.

"better" options - Buffon, Begovic, Handanovic, Bravo and Keylor Navas (mainly because of his speed)

Best options - Neuer, DDG, VDS, Lehmann, Cech and Courtois




CB's (Centre-backs)

CB pairing is the core of the defense. Ideal situation is, if they can defend, and open the play at the same time. Pace isn't requirement, but it is always an asset. +65 pace and you should be golden. You should try to pick your CB pair so, that they compliment each other. One that sits deeper, and one that pushes a bit forward. You want your CB's to be comfortable with the ball, be good at defending aswell as in the air, and to have atleast one CB with higher defensive contribution than attacking, so they both wont start wandering up the field. (as in Low/high workrates for example)

Ideal workrate pairings (L=Low, M=Medium, H=High):


The best one L/H + M/M
Good ones:L/H + L/H - L/H + H/M - M/H + M/H - L/H + M/H
Ones to avoid: M/M + M/M - M/M + H/M - H/M + H/M

"better" CB's: Hummels, Bonucci, Naldo, Pique, Otamendi, Miranda, David Luiz, Benatia

Best CB's: Koscielny, Cahill, Thiago Silva, Varane, Chiellini, Barzagli, Kompany, Boateng, Godin, Lalas, Nesta, Blanc, Maldini




Full-backs: (LB + RB)

There are two ways you can play 4231 with your fullbacks. Either they overlap and contribute to attacks, or they stay at the back preventing opponent from counter attacking.

Overlapping fullbacks: Mobile defenders, with high stamina and pace (+80 if possible) alongside good dribbling and passing. Especially crossing. Shooting doesn't matter, as these players mainly provide.

Overlapping and contributing defenders you can set either to always overlap or leave it as default. Their workrates will cause them to get up the pitch.

"better" options for LB: Alberto Moreno, Gaya, Kurzawa, Filipe Luis, Jefferson

Best options for LB: Baines, Alba, Alaba, Marcelo, Alex sandro, Tremoulinas, Carlos

"better" options for RB: Carvajal, Coleman, Aurier, Peres

Best options for RB: Danilo, Dani Alves, Lichsteiner, Clyne, Walker, Piszczeck, Zanetti

Stay-at-the-back fullbacks, AKA "CB regens": Tall, strong defenders who can and will contribute for the defense. You set these players to stay back while attacking.

"better" options for LB: Kolarov, Jose Enrique, Evra, Radu, Ghoulam

Best options for LB: Rodriquez, Enrique, Azpiliqueta (because of his immense 84 defending)

"better" options for RB: Sagna, Maicon

Best options for RB: Zabaleta, Ivanovic, Darmian, Neville




CDM's:

Having two of them is an asset, but getting the most out of them is up to you.
There are three main roles for DM's, they are: Creative DM, Stopper DM, or workhorse.
You need to find the duo that fits you, and the ones in that duo should have different roles.

Creative DM's are the ones that are the catalyst between defense and attack. They are the ones with high passing and okay(ish) dribbling, and most often, have the most passes in your team. They do contribute to defense aswell, but are more comfortable with ball.

"Better" options: Xabi Alonso, Guarin (can fill two roles), Parolo, Oscar, Rooney, Di Maria

Best options: Kroos, Yaya Toure (even with those horrendous M/L workrates), Modric, Lahm, Fabregas, Gundogan, Pjanic, Busquets (can fill two roles)

Creative DM's instructions you can leave as default

Stopper DM's are the ones that break up opponents play, by tackling, intercepting and winning duels in air.

"better" options: Kondogbia, Kouyate, Emre Can, William Carvalho

Best options: Khedira, Matic, Luiz Gustavo, Vieira, Effenberg, Pogba (even with H/M workates), Busquets (can fill two roles)

Stopper DM should be instructed to stay back, and to cut passing lanes, as he most often doesn't have the mobility to mark players

Workhorses are the players that cover the most ground on the pitch, and have became really regular trough the last few UT's. They have high pace, high stamina, H/H workrates and are just everywhere. Tackling, linking up the play and harassing the opponents attacking players.

"better" options: Lulic, Guardado, Guarin (can fill two roles)

Best options: Ramires, Vidal, Pereyra, Nainggolan, Marchisio

Workhorse should be instructed to stay back, and to mark players. The mobility of these workhorses can make it really hard to find space for the opponent, as they close forwards down effectively.




CAM's:

(Attacking midfielders) Are the ones that make this formation tick. Ideally they can pass and dribble, and finish to an extent. Nothing else is a necessity, but an asset. Such things as height, pace and shooting. You Generally want the faster, skillful (4*/5* skills), and more capable of running for the whole match up and down duo of these three as the wide attacking midfielders. The central attacking midfielder should be the one with a bit more height, strength, shooting and passing ability.

Wide attacking midfielder (ideal) necessities:

+ 70 pace
+ 75 passing
+ 80 dribbing
+ 75 stamina
+ 4 star skills or higher
+ Higher attacking contribution than defensive (M/M being the exception, works fine)

"better" options for wide AM's: Teixeira, Insigne, Kagawa, Mertens, Isco, Kovacic, Dybala, Cabella

Best options for wide AM's: Di Maria, Coutinho, James, Santi, B & M Laudup, Zola, Litmanen, Griezmann

These Wide AM's should be instructed to stay forward.



Central attacking midfielder (ideal) necessities:

+80 passing
+80 dribbling
+75 finishing
+High shooting (longshots, shotpower, curve, volleys)
+ Higher attacking contribution than defensive

"better" options for Central AM: Thiago, Götze, Pastore, Bojan, Hernanes, Firmino, Lallana, Payet

Best options for central AM: Özil, Suarez, Silva, KDB, Eriksen, Jovetic, Iniesta, Suker, Bergkamp, Ibrahimovic, Pogba, IF Ben Arfa

Central AM can be instructed to stay forward, but it isn't necessary.




ST:

(striker) There are two ways to use your striker in this formation. Either Target man or mobile dribbler. You use him to hold the ball, and so to make space for other players. In ideal situation you find your striker at the halfway line with a ground pass/in air, and you manage to pass it to a wide AM or back to CDM, making it possible for your team to start pushing up the pitch, and creating space for other players in the same time. Target man can be used as a pin up the pitch, whose head you can find with either by crossing it to the box for a finish, or just by lobbing it from a CB/LB for a headed pass to get past the closed midfield. This works wonders against high-pressure players.

Necessary attributes for a ST:

Target man:

Tall (+ 6'1)
Strong (+75)
Okay passing, at least +65 (passing is something your striker needs to do a lot, but high stat wont be that necessary. The passes Striker will generally make, are short ground passes)
Good finisher (+80) both in air and with foot
High attacking workrate to ensure he will find his way into the box


"better" targetmen ST's: Benteke, Lukaku, Aduriz, Huntelaar

Best targetmen ST's: Lewandowski, Mandzukic, Vieri, Suker, Ibra, Cavani, Martinez, Diego Costa, Benzema, CR7, Weah

You should instruct your targetman to stay central and play as a targetman.



If you decide to play counterattacking wise, or just don't like big targetmen in general, you need to use a mobile striker. Much like the CAM's, this player will be used to pass or dribble. Lacking the physical side, you need to know how to dribble between opponents defense and midfield.

Necessary attributes for a ST:

Mobile striker:

Good dribbling (+80)
Good passing (+75)
High agility and balance
Good shooting (+75)
preferably 4 or 5* skills
Higher attacking contribution than defensive

You should instruct your mobile striker to stay central and get in behind.

"better" options for mobile ST: Dybala, Menez, Amrabat, Palacio, Griezmann, Ben Yedder, Lacazette

Best options for mobile ST's: Aguero, Suarez, Crespo, Weah, Pele, CR7, Morata



Round up of the instructions:


CB: Leave as default


LB/RB:

Mobile fullbacks to always overlap/leave as default

Defensive fullbacks to stay back while attacking


CDM's:

Creative ones to leave as default

Stoppers to stay back while attacking and to cut passing lanes

workhorses to stay back and mark opposition


CAM's:

Wide attacking midfielders: Stay Forward

Central attacking midfielder to stay forward or leave as default


ST:

Targetman to stay central and play as targetman

Mobile striker to stay central and get in behind


Custom tactics:

Build up

Speed: 45
Passing:35
Organized

Chance creation

Passing: 50
Crossing: 30
Shooting: 35
Organized

Defense

Pressure: 30
Aggression: 30
Team width: 50
Cover

My custom tactics are really radically aimed for a possession style of play, and for short passing.
I've set my team width to 50 as i swap sides with lobbed balls quite often, to counter high pressure, create space and to drag oppositions players out of position.
Formation can be played too with free form - attacking, but i like my players to stick to their position.
Formation can be played with higher pressure and aggression, but you will become even more vulnerable to counters.




My Current team:

I start the game with a false 9 (433 (5)) to get everyone on full chem, and then i change the squad to 4231 in-game. ce2ecd8f2bbd1d9fe5b0de64cdef485a.png


Example teams:


Budget sides:

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Ideal sides:

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Thank you for reading! This is my first formation guide, so please, let me know if you think something could be improved :) Thinking of doing 4141 guide in the near future!

If something was left unclear, or you have questions in general, i am more than willing to answer them.






Post edited by Snipguy on

Comments

  • ZuParadox
    221 posts Sunday League Hero
    Good guide but what's wrong with using the existing 32 page thread?

    http://fifaforums.easports.com/en/discussion/102317/4-2-3-1-thread
  • Smoothino
    1334 posts Professional
    great thanks man
  • SimmoEFC
    11613 posts Has That Special Something
    Nice guide. Always good to have two guides on the same formation. Let's people try a different way of using it.
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    ZuParadox wrote: »
    Good guide but what's wrong with using the existing 32 page thread?

    http://fifaforums.easports.com/en/discussion/102317/4-2-3-1-thread
    Ah, i am sorry! Wasn't aware that such thing existed!
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    Smoothino wrote: »
    great thanks man
    No problem, hopefully it helps :)


    SimmoEFC wrote: »
    Nice guide. Always good to have two guides on the same formation. Let's people try a different way of using it.
    Thank you.

    And that is completely true :)

  • Smoothino
    1334 posts Professional
    possession tactic works great with this formation and free roam with the cams
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    Smoothino wrote: »
    possession tactic works great with this formation and free roam with the cams
    Completely true :)

    At the end of the guide, i stated that the formation can be played with a free form - attacking, the general instructions are just the ones i use!

  • DSD27
    5771 posts Big Money Move
    tried this a lot...got to divison 3, but after that no..
    4231(2) is the way to go for me.
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    DSD27 wrote: »
    tried this a lot...got to divison 3, but after that no..
    4231(2) is the way to go for me.
    Different playstyles suit different formations :)

  • Baznotsobad76
    5063 posts Big Money Move
    Good guide mate. Thanks for taking the time to write it...

    I really like the look of 4231 and I've been using Serie A squad teams all year so the 2 look like they should fit perfectly together..

    Unfortunately for some reason, I just don't seem to create many clear cut chances when I have tried it.. Especially when I'm playing against aggressive tacklers....
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    Good guide mate. Thanks for taking the time to write it...

    I really like the look of 4231 and I've been using Serie A squad teams all year so the 2 look like they should fit perfectly together..

    Unfortunately for some reason, I just don't seem to create many clear cut chances when I have tried it.. Especially when I'm playing against aggressive tacklers....
    Thank you :)

    What i've seen, people are struggling to especially create chances with this formation.

    I suggest you to force the opposition to chase you and drive his players out of position.

    It might sound hard, but it's really easy. It takes just a few side changes by lobbing it to the other wing, or just passing it from side to side. Eventually you find space to go forward.

  • duf
    1675 posts Play-Off Hero
    Nice guide also. Great to read some on this formation as i wrote on 2nd topic too. Got to learn this stuff and start practice.

    Not sure if you saw the team i am looking to buy soon,but basically still wondering about top 4. Cams+St. I want to place SIF De Bruyne at Cam wich i already got btw(not conviced by him yet but probably because i am making mistakes and play too bad so far, cant go wrong with it and IF Coutinho dont give me enough chemistry with others). Then there is Hazard/Aguero/IF Sterling +Silva. I decided i will skip Neuer for Leno at the start and if i got lucky i might get him too later on, thx to this i can go with 2 price players from those three. Was thinking to go with Hazard at St 7 chem and Aguero. Then would just swap this two after start of the game. What do you think? Any view about IF Sterling, more pacey one but worse in all the other aspects.

    Also are you able to dominate game in terms of possession? I've been struggling so far with it and allowing my opponents twice as many shots/chances as i am creating

    Do you defend with Jockeing+Tackling or u use contain also?
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    duf wrote: »
    Nice guide also. Great to read some on this formation as i wrote on 2nd topic too. Got to learn this stuff and start practice.

    Not sure if you saw the team i am looking to buy soon,but basically still wondering about top 4. Cams+St. I want to place SIF De Bruyne at Cam wich i already got btw(not conviced by him yet but probably because i am making mistakes and play too bad so far, cant go wrong with it and IF Coutinho dont give me enough chemistry with others). Then there is Hazard/Aguero/IF Sterling +Silva. I decided i will skip Neuer for Leno at the start and if i got lucky i might get him too later on, thx to this i can go with 2 price players from those three. Was thinking to go with Hazard at St 7 chem and Aguero. Then would just swap this two after start of the game. What do you think? Any view about IF Sterling, more pacey one but worse in all the other aspects.

    Also are you able to dominate game in terms of possession? I've been struggling so far with it and allowing my opponents twice as many shots/chances as i am creating

    Do you defend with Jockeing+Tackling or u use contain also?
    That squad sounds pretty good, and i would stay away from that IF sterling, only thing he got is the pace, which isn't enough imo.

    And yes, my average possession is between 55-65%, and pass accuracy 80-90%.

    And i my defending is basically a combination of all of those three options.

    I jockey always when i get close to a player (unless i am slide-tackling ofc) and i contain normally at the midfield when i am trying to predict the oppositions pass and try to intercept it with an other player.

  • ScytheeHD
    361 posts Sunday League Hero
    good work! :)
  • xciljw
    5084 posts Big Money Move
    Nice guide mate. Did really well myself with the formation and used it till I reached division 1. Used it because of its ease to keep possession. Didn't create many chances so that is why I switched to 4321.
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    ScytheeHD wrote: »
    good work! :)
    Thank you :)


    xciljw wrote: »
    Nice guide mate. Did really well myself with the formation and used it till I reached division 1. Used it because of its ease to keep possession. Didn't create many chances so that is why I switched to 4321.
    Thanks! Seen people say the same thing quite often. My best guess would be that the AI helps too much defensive wise, which makes the attacking so much harder with possession formations.

    One of the main reasons why people always resort to counterattacking.

  • BenzP7
    8316 posts League Winner
    Great guide!

    This is the best formation for me in UT 16. I have 119-7(W:L) with this form ;)
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    Great guide!

    This is the best formation for me in UT 16. I have 119-7(W:L) with this form ;)
    Thank you, and nice record :)

    If you know how to get the most out of 4-2-3-1, it truly is dominant!

  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    Example teams added :)
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    And more squads :)
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    Added Customs :)
  • Stevo_CT
    3487 posts National Call-Up
    Kudos, great effort and time spent creating this.
  • Pedroninho2015
    508 posts Sunday League Hero
    can you make me a good bundesliga with muller cam central and lewandowski if? with lahm vidal etc
  • Khangaskhan17
    4456 posts National Call-Up
    Nice guide mate! Thanks for writing it. Easily in my top 2 formations this year. :)
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    can you make me a good bundesliga with muller cam central and lewandowski if? with lahm vidal etc
    This would be my personal team, if i was to make one from Bundesliga :)

    Diekmeier and Subotic might seem a bit weird picks, but if you try them, you will love them!

    c56f0cefedaaab8f69dfd8f8cbfe1ee5.png


  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    Nice guide mate! Thanks for writing it. Easily in my top 2 formations this year. :)
    Thank you, appreciated :)

  • FuZyThUgZz
    143 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    Do you have any gameplay to show?
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    FuZyThUgZz wrote: »
    Do you have any gameplay to show?
    Not at the moment, but i can surely record some good examples and upload them to this guide :)

    If people want me to that is!

  • FuZyThUgZz
    143 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    Please do.... would love to see how does "organised" in both build up play and Chance creations works in this formation. I've seen Inceptions xx, ❤️❤️❤️❤️_Benz and Liam9lfc gameplay and they work differently with their custom tactics and player's instruction
  • Snipguy
    12983 posts Has That Special Something
    FuZyThUgZz wrote: »
    Please do.... would love to see how does "organised" in both build up play and Chance creations works in this formation. I've seen Inceptions xx, ❤️❤️❤️❤️_Benz and Liam9lfc gameplay and they work differently with their custom tactics and player's instruction
    I'll look into it :)

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