Curry for 2 – The 4132 Explained

4132 Explained

This formation is one of the best defensive systems in the game, surprisingly it can also turn in a good camping system, even an attacking one. With the addition of more roles in FM18, we now have the option of doing away with the central midfielder on support and going with the Carrilero. This is a simple role in midfield, meant to keep the ball shuttling between defence and attack. A hardworking role when applied to the right players, its one that can shore up narrow systems.

We shall avoid going into the history of this role, what we will be doing is applying it to a specific formation and giving it several flavours. It’s a role used in systems that are narrow and can even be used as part of a 3 man trident midfield that features 2 central midfielders and a holding defensive midfielder. Here though we are focusing on a variant of the 442 diamond – the narrow 4132.

The narrow 4132 is a system that has obvious weaknesses. The lack of an attacking midfielder makes it a challenge to control the zone in front of the opposition goal, however its conservative midfield allows it to soak pressure and hit teams on the counter. It can also turn itself into a fairly good system that camps in the opponents. Understanding how to work the space on the flanks is the key to making this system work.

When played on lower mentalities, defenders tend to tuck inside during defensive transitions putting a greater burden on central defenders to clear the ball when crosses inevitably come in. This is a necessary side effect of playing defensively. Here we want to make sure that we address how our players as a unit handle crosses. 

Defensive Aspects

The 4132 has a solid backline, the absence of advanced wingers lends more pressure to defending its own flanks. Here what we want to do is focus on getting several attributes sorted to iron out certain risks. If we opt to play narrow we need to deal with crosses. Central defenders will then have to have good positioning, anticipation, concentration, jumping reach and heading. Once again, I recommend that you assess your own team vs the league as the requirements can easily be met when playing on any level. At conference levels you would be looking at securing players with at least 9-11, in these attributes. I have used the 4132 consistently at lower league levels and have applied the same rationale to choosing players.

In midfield we will use 3 players to help control the middle of the park. These players need good positioning, composure, passing, tackling determination, work rate, bravery, concentration. This would be the lowest denominator of attributes we would consider, other attributes can only enhance their attacking efficacy which is certainly an option if you have those kind of players in your squad. Don’t forget a carrilero can still be a dangerous passer of the ball if he has good decisions, vision and flair.

By ensuring we have the right combination of players we should do enough to secure the flanks.

It would be prudent at this time to reinforce how the carrileros will defend midfield. They are not expected to play like box to box midfielders, so we can expect them to marshal the area between defence and attack.

Attacking Aspects

The attacking aspects depend on the kind of variation you want in attack. Here we will be looking at 3 styles of attacking play to develop:

  1. We want to see wing backs attacking the flanks, delivering crosses
  2. Deep lying playmaker launching defence splitting passes when we are defending deep and trying to counter
  3. CM(A) working together with the Carrileros to create overloads dragging defences around and unlocking passing options for the wing backs
  4. Wingbacks launching heat seeker passes from deep directly to the front 2 to launch quick transitions.


Sweeper Keeper Defend – We have gone with the sweeper keeper on defend because it gives us the option to use a goalkeeper to do distribution if needed. With the changes to distribution we could be rewarded with those who have good vision and kicking. No PIs will be issued.

Wing back (A) Left flank
Wing back (A) Right flank

Here we have gone with a double flank attack. This is risky and if users are concerned about the risk then its perfectly conceivable to use the option of a FB(D) on one of the flanks. I would recommend using the right back for this option. Both wing backs are assigned the player instruction : Direct Passes and Play More Risky Passes. This helps us get the heat seeker passes we require.

Central Defender (D)
Central Defender (D)

Here both central defenders have been assigned defend duties, we want to ensure that at least one of them has good jumping reach in access of the league average. This would ensure that we always have one player who is strong enough to deal with crosses. We can always combine a slow fast defender.

Deep Lying Playmaker (D)

This is the first major creator in the system. He needs to be solid at winning the ball and redistributing it. As one of the main creators we will be turning to him when defending deep to launch attacks from deep. We now have 3 players ideally positioned to launch attacks from deep when we are defending. He too is assigned More Direct Passes and More Risky Passes. The DLP should have the player traits: Dictate Tempo, Plays Killer Passes and Switch Ball to Other flank

Carrilero (Support)
Attacking Playmaker (A)
Carrilero (Support)

This is the engine room that will help keep control of the ball and help us do overloads. The carrileros are expected to defend the flanks, but by playing with wing backs we could leave ourselves exposed. The demands on the two central defenders and the DLP are high. Here if you have a side that is average, consider keeping one Wingback on defend and employing a lopsided 4132. Once again I recommend keeping the right back on defend, if that is the case. Carrilero  PIs : Shoot Less Often.

The attacking playmaker needs to have very good off the ball, dribbling, passing, balance, vision, first touch, finishing and composure. We want him to keep pressure on the defence with his ability to hold onto the back and work the space. We will also look to him to arrive late in the box.  He will be given the PIs: Get Further Forward and More Direct Passes

False 9 and Poacher/Complete Forward (S)

Here we have the option of using various combinations.

In front we require the services of a False 9 who can move between defenders and play risky passes. The use of the poacher allows us to have one player upfront who will play simple passes and this will help get the wing back on the right involved if we end up camping. His risk free passing will also avoid unnecessary turnovers of the ball in the opponents half.

The False 9 needs to be good at holding the ball, and working the spaces with the ball. He requires dribbling, first touch, composure, work rate, teamwork, agility, balance, decision finishing and composure.

In versions of the 4132 where I like more unpredictability and where I opt to camp for large periods of time, I do prefer the use of a complete forward on support duty combining with a false 9.

Different ways in playing the system:

Counter attacking intelligently, playing low risk football. 

Here we want to see the team keep the ball well, but when the ball lands at the assigned players we want them to use their decision making to launch counters.

In the Counter Version, the WB(D) will not have the option to take risky passes.


Camping 4132, high risk style played in the opponents half. 

This version runs the risk of opening up your flanks to gain the reward of sustained pressure in the opponents half. Can be used by teams with solid players, but it will require speedier defences and more defensively intelligent central defenders. In this version, we need to be very careful in how we use the offside trap. If the AI turns to a deep 424 or a 424 late in the game, this system will be vulnerable.

Attacking 4132.

I may call it attacking but don’t get confused when I use the mentality Control. In this version, the goal is quick transitions. Its a lower risk approach than the camping version, however here we are committing fewer bodies in transitions and are aiming to use our wing backs as the primary delivery of threat into the box.


The 4132 has consistently been one of the best systems I’ve used in lower league football, it can be defensively solid, and with two strikers it has potent counter attacking potential. The counter attacking elements in the tactic come from the passing instructions I have applied and the shape thats used. Naturally some teams may struggle to defend both flanks, in such cases I typically revert to the lopsided attack option of locking down one wing back and going for a defend duty there. There may be occasions when some may be tempted to get the carrilero to close down more than normal. Here I would suggest looking carefully at his determination, work rate and bravery to see if these attributes are poor. If there is a need to adjust his closing down instructions, please be aware that we do not want to see the carrilero switch flanks.  I will be doing videos on these in future play throughs and plan to show other ways I can adapt this to specific opposition using some of the new cool tools in the game.


  1. This is the kind of post I find really helpful . The way you create variations in a system with a few role changes and a few TI changes is something I always find hard to achieve . You make it seem quite simple to do . Thank you .

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