Being adaptable is an important aspect of over performing at Football Manager, One thing I’ve noticed with the AI manager is a distinct lack of complementary systems. Usually you will find the AI manager go from a 41221 to a 424 or a 442 to a 424 if it wants to get a goal, and usually if you play well, the AI manager will fall flat.
I tend to prefer to create systems in game, the penalty isn’t high, if you flip a system you are using already. The systems need to be complementary. For example you could flip a 532 to a 343, or a 4132 to a 4312. These are slightly advanced ways of playing the game, I have been doing these for ages, and its actually very easy to do. There are times you can do these and there are times you shouldn’t.
Flipping a system essentially maintains most of the tactical shape you currently have and enhances another aspect of your game. A 4132 can be a defensive system or it can be offensive, but it can’t be very offensive. To be offensive you literally need your players to have a lot of technical skill to hold onto the ball. If you are a poor side, you will usually score off the counter or if you are lucky and the offense fumbles around the penalty box. The best you can do with a 4132 is make your fullbacks attacking in orientation and get them to play more direct passes to your frontline who will either score on the break or bring others into play.
What if you are faced with a side that’s parked the bus, a 4132 will find it hard to break them down simply because you need to be camped further up the pitch and during moments like this you will be wishing your central MC was further up the pitch making late runs into the box or stringing passes near the edge. Its times like this that I flip the 4132 into a 4312, What are the advantages and disadvantages of flipping?
a. Increases the potency of a system, and gives you an added dimension whether you are attacking or defending.
b, Gives you more options for player development. A 4132 has no AMC, but a 4312 has, so you could use this chance to develop an AMC
a. Leaves you open, if you were using a 4132 and you flip to a 4312, you need to accept certain things have changed. If its a halfback role you are removing then you need to understand what it does. It means certain lines of defensive cover are gone, and these will need to be replaced.
b. Failure to understand where the gaps will happen can create problems in managing space
Know what you want to achieve
When I make a 4132 my principal line of attack will ALWAYs be the flanks, thats my personal choice for a 4132, hence the use of a halfback freeing up my fullbacks. My secondary pivot will be one of the strikers or even both, using them as fulcrums to drop back and bring others into play. This way I can either have a counter attacking direct style via my fullbacks and defense or a more patient possession orientated passing style created whenever my strikers drop deep. It can play narrow or wide, but since I am a side thats not the best in England, I elect to go narrow to compress available space.
If I choose to flip it to a 4312, I will have to compensate for the loss of my halfback if i want to maintain defensive shape, in such a situation, i have 2 options. I could choose to go with a Ball Winning midfielder in my Central Midfielder slot or I could use a DLP. This all depends on what i have in my AMC slot. If i have the player available for my TQ, then I will set up as a BWM. Flanking the central midfielder will always be 2 Box to Box Midfielders – by far my favourite class, or I will use a central midfielder in support duty, but with some slightly modified PIs. This system will be played more through the middle and my TQ will be playing alongside a F9 and an advanced forward. Since the F9 will always drop deep this gives space for the TQ to attack, and he will always have passing options with an advanced forward or he could come in late and go it alone.
Since we have 2 B2BMCs they will come in late to support and if we are camping so will the two fullbacks.
The only position I would have flipped from my 4132 would be the MC to a TQ and my halfback to a BWM. Its that easy. The fullbacks get a change from Attack to Support or defend depending on the quality of the threat on the flanks.
You can flip any system during a game, if you don’t change roles outright or mentality outright the effect to your systems cohesion is minimal. I would recommend doing this in preseason and when you are doing well, to experiment. Making yourself a bit more adaptable to changes in a game isn’t hard it just needs a bit of practice.