As with my original 4141 guide for FUT 14 (written under my previous handle on the old forums, RevENPAtcheson), I want to begin with my usual disclaimer: I am emphatically not an elite player. I’m really pretty average. I’m quite not sure where I stack up yet in 16, but so far I've beaten the AI on Legendary and I'm winning more than I'm losing in online play. But more elite-level opponents can, and do, almost always outplay me.
So…this guide is NOT me saying, “I R awesome, here’s how U B awesome 2.” This is me, like in 14, offering commentary on a formation that has helped me to get the most mileage out of my frankly modest FIFA talent by using a formation that plays to my preferences/strengths: namely short, rapid 1-2 passing on attack, and clogging the central midfield lanes on defense.
Also, another similarity to the 14 guide: I wouldn’t recommend a player to you without having tried them at some point, so this guide won’t contain too many big names. So far, the teams I have created are a Liga NOS (Portugal) team, a Russian League team, a Bundesliga/La Liga nonrare gems hybrid, and a Spain/Russian League hybrid built around a pack-pulled Santi Cazorla. Because BPL players especially are overpriced early on in any FUT cycle, I probably haven’t tried your favorite player—or many of the most popular ones—but I can recommend you some great hidden gems.
Before I get into the meat of the guide, I'd like to again thank @Thatoe
for picking up the torch for this formation in 15 and writing the guide for that edition, as well as @JoeAVFC1986
for writing the guide for the game's beta. I recognize that some of the requests in my preliminary thread for this guide included items like screenshots of passing and dribbling stats from games, and I'll try to provide those sorts of resources over the next few days, but I wanted to get published what I already have written and ready to get folks started.Why use the 4141?
In a sentence, because you can get the most mileage out of playing with two banks of four if you know what you're doing with the two guys operating in front of and between those banks--the CDM and the striker.
In 14, I believed that the 4141 was most dependent on the CDM’s skillset because you are operating with a single pivot player as opposed to the double pivot system of the 352, 4411, 4231, 433 defend, etc. Like the 451 CM, the CDM must act as both a holder and a link-up passer. Even more importantly, he must do that while remaining in position at all times, to be able sit between the CB's and the attack to both screen the CB's and act as an outlet to maintain possession for the attack. This rules out ANY (and I do mean ANY) midfielder with high AWR, and even a CDM with M/H work rates has to almost always be told in the team tactics page to stay back on attacks, lest they fancy themselves a CAM and push annoyingly frequently into the attack.
All of that is true, but I now believe that the striker’s skillset is just as important to the 4141’s success. Because pace—while still important—isn’t the be-all, end-all it was in previous editions, it doesn’t do to have a one-dimensional striker anymore. Simply having a slow, lumbering physical tank like Fernando Llorente or Luca Toni in the middle and whipping in crosses to him isn’t enough for a one-striker side. This isn't to say you can't have a target man up top, and in fact fielding a target man can be very successful, but a target man needs to be able to do more than shoot and head the ball. Likewise, a pacy—but smaller—striker like Giovinco or Menez who relies completely on sprint speed and acceleration will just get trampled underfoot by just about any center back. The striker in the 4141 must be able to do it all—hold-up play, sprinting, incisive passing, shooting (preferably with either foot), and heading.
With all of that being said, I’ll start with my position-by-position analysis, beginning at striker.The Striker
I said this in the 14 edition of my guide as well, but the one requirement every lone striker needs now in 16, especially with the long-overdue nerfing of pace, is size. Every time someone starts with Dybala as a lone striker, an angel loses its wings. Second to this (imo) are skills conducive to effective hold-up play. In the 4141, all five of your midfielders will track back to defend, so your striker’s hold-up play—and ability to shovel off passes to your creators behind him—needs to be good. While many of the expensive high-end strikers have such skillsets (Ibra, Muller, Benzema etc), you can also get players with the same skillsets on the cheap with guys like Josip Ilicic (6’2” with 80 short passing), Stefan Jovetic (6’0” with 82 short passing), and Alexander Meier (6’5” with 88 strength and 78 short passing).
Work rates tend not to matter a ton, really. I’ve tried H/H and L/L strikers (and many in between), and even H/H strikers manage to stay in position as the tip of the spear. And truthfully, pace doesn’t have to matter either. I average almost a goal per game with IF Slimani, and his 73 pace makes him positively glacial compared to Aubameyang.
Key stats: Finishing, Positioning, Strength, Ball Control, Short Passing, Jumping, Heading
Additional examples: IF Islam Slimani, Aduriz, Artem Dzyuba, Max Kruse, Mevlut Erdinc
Recommended chemistry styles: Hawk, Finisher, DeadeyeThe Central Midfielders
In previous editions of FUT, I tended to eschew CM’s with H/H work rates because too often for me liking, they would get pulled out of position in one direction or the other and generally lacked the pace of wingers or fullbacks to recover well. In 16, though, with the aggressiveness of CDM’s in general, having one H/H CM (or even M/H, like with Bruno) can be an advantage, since they will often be able to cover for your gallivanting CDM. If you take this approach, the other CM should be a playmaker to offer a central source of creativity to take pressure off of your wingers, but if that playmaker has some defensive chops, that is a definite plus. Additionally, considering that 16 does fit in with the time-honored tradition of over-powered long shots in FUT, at least one of your CM’s should have 75+ long shots and shot power ratings.
Key Stats (playmaker): Short Passing, Long Passing, Ball Control, Dribbling, Vision, Long Shot, Shot Power
Key Stats (box-to-box): Interceptions, Standing Tackle, Sliding Tackle, Short Passing, Dribbling, Ball Control
Playmaker examples: Santi Cazorla, Adrien Silva, Danny, Parejo, Raffael, Roman Eremenko
Box-to-box examples: IF Andre Andre, Axel Witsel, Gonzalo Castro, Granit Xhaka, Bruno
Recommended chemistry styles (playmaker): Engine, Maestro, Deadeye, Artist, Sniper
Recommended chemistry styles (box-to-box): Honestly, basic. These guys have to do it all.The Wingers
In general—and this is a preference that has been in place since FUT 13 or so—I tend to prefer wingers with at least a 3* weak foot, and preferably 4* or 5*. I find that my wingers have a much greater degree of effectiveness if my opponent is unsure whether I will keep bombing down the sideline or cut inside, something that 2* wingers really answer for my opponent. My one exception is for a winger like, say, Nicolas Gaitan, whose crossing ability is so great that when combined with a striker like IF Slimani, it is worth coping with his one-dimensionality. Whether you choose to play with inverted or traditional wingers really comes down to your striker—if you’ve got a traditional target man (like Slim), I’d go with traditional wingers. But if you have a strong passing striker (Jovetic, Benzema, Meier, etc), cutting inside with your wingers to combine with your striker is an extremely useful tactic, especially if your wingers have excellent shooting themselves—think guys like Poldi, Perisic, Schurrle, etc.
Concerning other attributes, I tend to also lean towards H/H, H/M, or M/M work rates. Low defensive work rates negate one of the unique benefits of the 4141 compared to its 433 opposite, the 433-2, which is the ability to field two-way wingers who will actually track back and aid the fullbacks in defense. I haven’t tried any of the few wingers with M/H work rates, so I can’t speak to them yet, but I would take a statistically inferior one if they were to better fit into my system.
Key Stats: Vision, Ball Control, Dribbling, Short Passing, Crossing, Curve, Agility, Balance
Examples: Juan Mata, Eduardo Salvio, Nicolas Gaitan, Yacine Brahimi, Andre Carrillo, Joaquin
Recommended chemistry styles: Catalyst, Engine, Artist. Deadeye/Sniper if an inverted winger.The Defensive Midfielder
I remarked fairly extensively on the role of your CDM in my intro, so I won’t rehash it all here. I will only reinforce that I find the following work rates to be most effective: L/M, L/H, and not much else. I have not had as much success using medium attacking work rate CDM’s because they will get further forward, but also will not always track back with the same ferocity, and my recommendations here will reflect that preference (Edit: I accidentally said I would break this section into destroyer and playmaker sections, that was meant to be in the CM section instead. Oops). I’ll reiterate what I just said about wingers: I’ll willingly take a statistically inferior CDM if his work rates and positioning match my needs. In other words, choose your CDM well, because he is the key to success with this formation.
Key Stats: Interceptions, Standing Tackle, Sliding Tackle, Marking, Short Passing, Ball Control
Examples: Lucas Leiva, Nigel de Jong, Gary Medel, Mosquera, Ali Ghazal, Willians
Recommended chemistry styles: I’m all about Powerhouse on these guys. Sentinel works too.The Fullbacks
Pretty standard 4atb stuff here. If my CDM is M/H, I will only have one high AWR fullback (if my CDM is L/M or L/H, I can often get away with both fullbacks having high AWR if the fullbacks have at least decent pace). Because pace is less important in 16 than previous editions, you can also get away with using bigger, more physical fullbacks if that is your preference. Your attacking fullback should have good crossing, curve, and passing stats in addition to the key stats listed.
Key Stats: Marking, Standing Tackle, Sliding Tackle, Sprint Speed, Acceleration, Dribbling
Attack-first examples: Jefferson, Igor Smolnikov, Domenico Criscito, Junior Caicara, Bernat
Defense-first examples: Maximiliano Pereira, Arbeloa, Nacho Monreal, Mario Fernandes
Recommended chemistry styles: Shadow or BasicThe Centerbacks
I tend to avoid high AWR CB’s like the plague; their positional play simply frustrates me and I find other CB’s to be easier to use, and my recommendations reflect this as well…though if you kick **** with Naldo, then by all means, go with him. As with the fullbacks, you can get away with slower CB’s this year—for me, 60 pace on a CB is adequate. After that threshold, the most important stats are pretty obvious—marking, tackling, and heading. Because I usually build from the back, I also like having at least one CB who is a decent passer.
Key Stats: Marking, Standing Tackle, Sliding Tackle, Jumping, Heading, Strength, Interceptions
Examples: Ezequiel Garay, Marcos Rojo, Gary Cahill, Maicon, Bruno Martins Indi, Serdar Tasci
Recommended chemistry styles: Anchor or SentinelThe Goalkeeper
Your goalkeeper is constrained really only by your personal preference and your budget. It seems some keepers work better for some, and other keepers work better for others (Victor Valdes, for instance, always manages to be **** for me in every FIFA, without fail). FWIW, I tend to prioritize reflexes, diving, handling, and positioning (in that order) in my keeper. I’m less convinced that height is *as* important based on my experience with Iker Casillas this year—even with a downgrade and a height of 5’11”, he handled crosses and corner kicks fine.
Examples: Casillas, Igor Akinfeev, Andrea Consigli, Mattia Perin, Helton (dem jammy pants)
Recommended chemistry styles: Glove, Glove, and Glove.In-Game Individual Tactics (Instructions)
I don’t claim to be an expert on these—certainly not as much as understanding how different attributes and skillsets affect the different positions—but through a fair amount of trial and error, I am fairly confident in making the following instruction recommendations for the two players not a part of a bank of four—your striker and your defensive midfielder. Everyone else does fine if left on their defaults, but depending on, say, the weak foot of your wingers, you may choose to instruct them to stay wide or to cut inside. I also instruct my wingers to always track back on defense; as I noted in the wingers section above, two-way wingers are the biggest difference between the 4141 and the 433-2, and if your wingers don’t track back, you may as well play the 433-2 to fully benefit from their advanced positioning.
Striker: Act as target man (if playing a striker with the skillset to do so), stay central
CDM: Stay back when attackingIn-Game Team Tactics
One word: possession. Click it and you’re done.
And we’re done here as well! That does it for this Ulysses-length guide. I am including four different sample teams of mine below, and of course I am more than happy to answer any of your questions as best I can. I also appreciate any respectful and constructive feedback. Thank you for reading!
Liga NOS team:
Bundesliga/La Liga nonrare gems hybrid:
Spain/Russia/Argentina hybrid (eventually w/ DDG):