Best FM 2017 Tactics: Darren’s Devastating 4-1-2-3 2.0

FM 2017 Downloads

written by Darren Smith


Hi guys and welcome to another edition of our best FM 2017 tactics series. You may remember last years 4-1-2-3 which proved to be one of our most popular downloads yet, well here is version 2.0 recreated for FM 2017. If you like devastating attacks, plenty of excitement and edge of your seat Football this is the tactic for you. Plenty of goals and pressing Football for all.

Best FM 2017 Tactics: Formation


This system is based around the popular 4-1-2-3, or 4-5-1 as some prefer. The two central defenders and half back offer security…the rest? Well its a bit chaotic with complete wing backs bombing on the overlap, two attacking central midfielders making late runs into the box, a false nine pulling defenders away and two marauding inside forwards with the freedom to do as they please.

Sounds like a defensive nightmare I know, but that three man defensive shield keeps it all together and every player is instructed to mark tightly and close down so they all do a job defensively. This FM 2017 version is very similar to last years, shape and roles haven’t changed but I have made a few amendments to individual instructions.

Best FM 2017 Tactics: Team Instructions


All instructions should remain the same regardless of opponent, the only time you may feel the need to adjust is if your opponent pack out the middle of the field and you keep losing possession as a result, then playing a little wider may help. This is a pressing tactic that unsettles the opposition and includes some very physical play.

Before we move on, please do not ask me to list the individual player instructions, I have made the effort of making, testing and writing this tactic up, adding the individual instructions would just make the post too long. However, the player instructions are very, very important and that is why I have put this tactic up for download.

Best FM 2017 Tactics: Player Roles

GK – goalkeeper (defend) – standard goalkeeper

CD – central defender (defend) – typical central defenders as ever, tackling, positioning, strength and heading are key attributes, try and avoid slow centre backs as you can be in danger of the counter attack and passes over the top.

DR/DL – complete wing backs (attack) – Very important to the success of this tactic. These guys overlap the inside forwards and a better cross means more goals. Though must work hard to get back and speed is vital also.

DM – half back (defend) – This guy can drop back to form a three man defence or act as a shield in front of your defence so he needs to tackle, head the ball, mark and pass. Defensive attributes are best but an all round midfielder would be ideal.

CM – central midfielder (attack) – The complete midfielder would be ideal but players with great physical ability and good speed are best, both CM’s are instructed to get further forward and dribble more as well as move into channels. They must be able to pass and the better they are in front of goal the more they’ll score.

AMR/AML – inside forward (attack) – lots of goals and assists from these two players, they have a lot of freedom and you need someone who has vision, flair, speed, dribbling and finishing ability. Also off the ball is important as the ability to be lost in the box will make scoring easier. The better these two are the more success you will gain and magician dribblers are preferred but I also found long shot ability a handy extra.

ST – false nine (support) – Possibly the hardest position to fill. This guy must do it all, he needs speed, dribbling, flair and the usual finishing attributes. Off the ball is very important as is anticipation but don’t underestimate how good passing should be, this guy needs to pick out the inside forwards. Note I found great false nines that didn’t work as they could not carry the ball well, so get speed and dribbling ability.

Best FM 2017 Tactics: Results

Premier League with Southampton.


We actually won every trophy on offer. Worth noting though that I strengthened heavily for the season and gained Depay and Lemar on loan for nothing so two very vital signings at little outlay. Southampton have a massive budget if you request more and up the expectations, worth noting for those who like a little to spend…not to mention a number of high value players that aren’t suitable for the tactic. All of which were sold for decent money.



Player Stats

I cannot stress enough how important the F9 and inside forwards are, if they have a bad day you will have a bad day. If you can have strength in depth also it helps as one from the bench can really turn a game. Also don’t underestimate the importance of those complete wing backs, as seen below, Cedric chipped in with a number of assists. Yes I spent a lot of money, but with that we won the lot, on a more modest budget you can still have an extremely good season…to prove that I played eleven games with Sheffield Wednesday below.


Short test with Sheffield Wednesday


Note we are top after 11 games despite the false nine (Forestieri) not clicking with the tactic. He has only scored two goals.

Best FM 2017 Tactics: Top Tips

  • This has been tested for patch 16.1.2. We cannot predict whether this will work on later patches due to potential match engine changes.
  • Note, this tactic can seem inconsistent at times. You may be watching in key highlights mode and not seeing all the chances your players are missing. If your players are not creating chances then you do not have a suitable squad to use this system. Remember the front three are key.
  • As with any tactic it needs loading at the start of pre-season. Also avoid signing a whole new team unless you are experienced doing so. These two things will see you under perform not because of a poor tactic but because of poor management.
  • Pre-season:  General training – team cohesion  with high intensity.
  • During Season: General Training – balanced (medium intensity), Match Preparation – take assistants advice and judge by form, I found attacking movement most often when on song.
  • For opposition instructions use your assistant manager or coach with best tactical knowledge.
  • Be aware you need a decent size squad. At least two players per position to allow for injuries and bans if you are in Europe.
  • If you do not have suitable players for the DR, DL, AMR, AML and ST then this tactic will be hindered.

Best FM 2017 Tactics: Download

If you would like to give the tactic a try, follow the instructions below:

FM 2014 Download

1. Click the download link above and download the file.

2. Once the file is downloaded move it to the following folder documents>sports interactive>football manager 2017>tactics

3. Now load the game as normal and enter the tactics screen.

4. In the tactics screen, click the tactic you currently have loaded then select ‘load’ from the drop-down menu

5. Select ‘Darren’s devastating 4-1-2-3 2.0′ and click  load.

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to leave a comment. Hope you enjoy :)

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46 Comments on "Best FM 2017 Tactics: Darren’s Devastating 4-1-2-3 2.0"

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Bo Bo

Hi Darren

Thanks for the tactic. Have yet to try it out, but the results looks amazing.

I noticed that only the one of the two central midfielders have agressive tackling in their player instructions. Is this an error or on purpose?


Hi Darren, like the look of the tactic. I play with Tottenham though, do you think Harry Kane will be too immobile to play the f9 position?


Yes Darren! Been waiting for this, will try it out with Aston Villa! :)
Thank you for the work you put in


[…] 1 Minute Ago #207 Best FM 2017 Tactics: Darren’s Devastating 4-1-2-3 2.0 Best FM 2017 Tactis: Darren's Devastating 4-1-2-3 2.0FM Stories Reply With […]


Thanks for tactics. I play for Soton. Saido Berahino not scoring. I loaned Depay, but have to play Redmond on right side, but he is not good enough. No goals. Hojberg and Ward-Prowse as CM. I have active games, but my players shoot straight to opponents GK or simply shooting bad. Maybe i must be patient and wait until the team will adapt to their tactics and player`s roles? Or maybe i need better scoring false 9 and those 2 IF.


Which players have you sold?


Hi Darren,
devastating tactic is like hell. Im playing with Arsenal and beating everybody in 10 games. Nobody can pass thru my defence, i mean – noone. Its getting little bit boring to beat all the teams. Ill play 10 more games and provide more information.


Nice to hear. My games with Soton are not bad, but maybe i have difficulties as my players are not of enough quality. What match preparation do you use before the home and away games? i just use match tactics. Maybe it`s bad:) ? and maybe you have some IF and false 9 to recommend in this game. Which one do you use for Arsenal?


IF on the left – F. Anderson; IF on the right – D. Berardi; F9 – A. Lacazzette, those three guys are amazing every single match (10 games as i said – 20 goals and 14 assist total). Match preparation is given to my assistant (auto control switching).


Thanks !
As you are so kind and more experienced in FM 2017:)-one more question-any CM who fit to Darren`s tactics as attacking centrum midfielders and would be available to buy or loan not very expensive. Smbd from less advertised, from lower leagues or not top clubs… Thanks:)


Lemar and Tielemans are maybe the best alternatives but they are too expensive. The problem is that this tactic is really suitable for rich clubs.


Downlaoded and applied the settings but having no such luck with wednesday… can you recall which players you had in which positions?

NB – I am scoring, but far too leaky in defence – any tips for firming this up or perhaps how to adjust once in front / to kill games off


This tactic is a beast! Won the league and FA cup with Spurs the 1st year I used it. I didn’t use any other tactic all season. It’s very well suited for bigger clubs vs lower league clubs. I’ve tried similar tactics and the big differences I found with this that I never thought of were the half back, using a false nine vs complete forward and employing generic center mids so you can have more control of the player instructions. His note of the front three having a bad day is 100% correct in regards to your team performance. I always look for the low rating players @60 mins and sub. Can be tricky finding the ideal players (especially youth) but having a specific vision of what you need and how you play makes everything worthwhile. Cheers!


Hey Darren
Thanks for the tactic. I’ve actually have this similar tactic that you create last year. I’ve mainly use this and 4-2-3-1 depends on opponents, great results. Thanks

Rocky Barker

Hi Darren

Have always used your tactics think there great. how ever this year im playing on a macbook and cannot download this tactic. ive copied it the best i could but i cant get the player instructions and feel im missing out..
any help would be greatly appreciated.



i used your tactics from 16 to this FM, and starting to use this one aswell, but seems the problem is the same in each other : i suffer to much goals from crosses… normally each cross they do its a goal…


Hi.. i’ve tried your tactics in 5 five games (GREMIO)
1 win (1-0) 3 draws (2-2 2-2 0-0) 1 lost (1-2)
i’m for sure the best team in Brasil but this tactics doesn’t works for me.. zero chances,zero possession,too much goals allowed from crosses…

my players are:

Marcelo Grohe

Daniel Alves/Martin Caceres

Fabinho/Leandro Paredes

Gabriel Barbosa/Hulk
Cristian Pavon/Everton

Adam Thompson

Good tactic, finished 6th in prem with SWFC in first season since promotion. seem to give away a penalty every game though, sometime two.


Hey Darren,

Great tactic this, been using it for West Ham in EPL, loaned Depay at start of season and in the IF role he is insane going forward, but overall really enjoyed the tactic. Will you be releasing anymore in the near future? I would quite like to try out a new formation soon enough with two up top and your work is great so I’d love for you to release one, but nevertheless great work so far!

Nathaniel Whittingham
Nathaniel Whittingham

Done everything down to a tee. Players keep getting sent off, haven’t won a game yet and i’m on match-week 9 with Southampton.


Hi darren does this tactic still work if so great all i was going to ask you is who should take the corners please


[…] Daren's tactics anywhere. Keep up the good work Will do mate I'll post the link to it now mate: Best FM 2017 Tactis: Darren's Devastating 4-1-2-3 2.0FM Stories Also a huge sorry, my laptop broke and I've only just got it back!!! Updates will be back on the […]

Kieron Cameron

hi darren, just wondering if you have a note of your transfers from season 1 as southampton?


Hi Darren cool tactics
What other teams would you recommend for this tactic? (I know u said u haven’t tried others out)

Fakhrul Zakaria

Hi Darren

What skin do you use?


Hey Darren!
Ur tactic was awesome for Fm17 but have u tried it out yet on Fm 18?


I found that it works much better with counter instead of control. Figured it would because of those two cm set to attack. Seems to make a lot of difference with Liverpool especially and with Roma.
All in all, very nice tactic, should bring success to most teams.