I wrote a review about my tactics in 4-1-2-1-2(2) last week and some other stuff. Which is still propably my number 1 formation but testing some things out in Division Rivals made me come to a conclusion that 4-1-4-1 can offer completely alternative setup which can be very effective. It was so effective for me that I set it up as my second formation in my main team. So that I have two options which I really like. Lets start with positives and negatives when it comes to 4-1-4-1.
Positives: -Very good to keep posession -Very solid defensively -Great formation to apply pressure -Great formation against high pressing opponents with the width it offers
Negatives: -Requires more patient build-up than your normal 4-1-2-1-2(2) or 4-2-3-1 -Striker can feel a bit isolated at times, when you are trying to play through the center.
General gameplay tips with 4-1-4-1:
You need centermids who can control and pass the ball. Who can also shoot. So no Fabinho Ndidi and Kante trio to this formation. Use your wide midfielders. They are very important. They offer the width and often you can find your rm and lm in open spaces when attacking through the middle. Especially If opponents plays with defensive width of 4 or even lower. Dont just drivenpass the ball to your lone striker and counter. Find some posession through your midfielders first to make your midfield move closer to opponents defence. Use your widemids after keeping the ball with your cms. Also use your fullbacks with your build-up. Even If they are set to "stay back while attacking". They can help a lot. Also apply pressure defensively. This 5 man midfield is very tough to get past so dont give your opponents too much time to think.
Defensive style: Pressure on heavy touch, Width 6, Depth 5.
Offensive style: Balanced, Width 4, Players in the box 4, Corners and Freekicks on default.
Fullbacks on Stay Back while attacking. CDM on Stay back while attacking and cover center. CMs on balanced and cover center. RM and LM on come back on defense and stay wide. Stay wide is very important! Striker on default.
Some player recommendations:
Striker needs to have physical capabilities. You dont need a Lukaku but someone who can hold up the play, and pass the ball. I used Griezman. He is not ideal but did the job. Centermids need to have capabilities with the ball and Passing wise. Ideal players are players like Pogba, Goretzka, Modric, De Bruyne, Flashback Götze. Midfield is where you need good players on this formation.
Thats it. If you are more patient posession style player go ahead and try this out. I really like the formation and will continue using it alongside of 4-1-2-1-2(2). These offer two completely different looks and you can switch between them depending on opponent and how you feel. Also you can use same players to both formations. I use my wingers and striker on front three of the diamond. I found success with this in Div1 so it definetly can work well. It just requires patience and good build-up. Defensively it is one of the best formations I have used. Very difficult to get past.
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