FM 2013 Set Pieces Guide: How to handle corners, free kicks and throw-ins in FM 13

FM 2013 Downloads

written by Johnny Karp

We had some great PC games coming out this year but I guess you would agree that none is more addictive than Football Manager 2013. And I guess it’s addictive because it’s not simple. Some say it’s too complicated but I don’t really think so, you just have to learn some basics and that’s where we can help you with our guides.

Set pieces are an essential part of modern football, you can win or lose a game on a corner kick, on a free kick or even on a throw in. Today I am going to give you a few tips on how to set up your team to best handle these situations, both in attack and in defence. Let’s start with…

… selecting your set piece takers. In fact, that’s the first thing I do before starting a new season. And that’s what you should do too:

  • select the players with the best corner taking attributes to take corners
  • select the players with the best free kick taking attributes to take free kicks
  • select the players with the best long throws attributes to take throw ins

Attacking corners in FM 2013

Before we start going into details, you have to know that there is no general recipe, you should adapt what I’m saying to the players you have at your disposal. There are various set ups you can use for attacking corners, what I will tell you are some general rules.

  • have one player set to “lurk outside area”
  • have the full backs set to “stay back”
  • have another player (usually one of the midfielders) set to “stay back if needed”
  • your tallest players and best headers should be set to one of these three: “attack near post”, “near post flick on”, “attack far post”, “stand on far post”, “challenge goalkeeper”.
  • if you have a Peter Crouch type of player, set him to “challenge goalkeeper” and take your corners to “6 yard box”
  • depending on where you have your best header, set your corner kick taking accordingly (near post, far post, 6 yard box)

I use a slightly different set up with Barcelona, since I don’t have too many tall players. The taking is set to “mixed”, I want the lads to get creative even when taking corners. We got a few goals from corners and most of these came from the two centre backs but also from the central midfielder that attacks the far post (Alex Song bagged quite a few from there).

Defending corners in FM 2013

There are a few “golden rules” when setting up your defence for corners:

  • have the two full backs defend the two posts
  • have the two centre backs mark tall players
  • have one player sit at the edge of the penalty area
  • have at least one player, usually the quickest lad you have, stay forward
If you have other tall players, like a Fellaini in midfield or an Ibrahimovic in attack, set them to mark tall players as well.

If you feel you are conceding too many goals from corners, set up match preparation to “defending set pieces” for a while.

Free kicks in FM 2013

When it comes to attacking free kicks, here’s what you should do to get the best results:

  • Cross aim – Best header
  • 2 players “stay back if needed” – usually the two central midfielders
  • 2 players “stay back” – usually the two full backs.
  • Mark keeper – Your tallest and best heading player (with good jumping and heading) should get this role, and then score ;)
  • 4 players “Go forward” – Your other players that are good in the air should get these roles.

When it comes to defending free kicks, you should have your attacking players form the wall and your best players in the air assigned to man marking roles.

Throw ins in FM 2013

If you don’t have a player with good (above 15) long throws attribute, then leave this one as it is and set throw in taking to quick or short. But if you have a player who can throw it long, then you might score a few if you use these settings:

2 players at “near post” – One of these should be the tallest bloke you have and the other should be the most agile lad you have. The tall bloke should head the ball towards the net and the agile one should be able to convert any parried headers.

3 players “forward” – These should be your best players in the air, with good heading and jumping.

Stay back – At least two players, usually quick ones that should be able to deal with counter attacks.

2 players set to “Come short” – Your weakest players in the air should get these roles.

2 players set to “lurk outside area” – Two players with good shooting attributes should be chosen for this role as they might fire in any balls the opposition defenders might clear at the edge of the area.

I hope this quick FM 2013 set pieces guide is useful enough but feel free to share any other ideas you might have for such situations.


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17 Comments on "FM 2013 Set Pieces Guide: How to handle corners, free kicks and throw-ins in FM 13"

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Darren Smith

Great guide Johnny for a sticky area. I personally get most of my goals from corners with aim to near post and my best heading centre back attacking the near post, don’t get a lot of goals compared to last year but still seems to work.


Nice guide! Would it be possible to do one for player talks right before you sub them in? I’ve been struggling with those.

Nick Sundin

Hi Jonny, great guide. Do you think there is one setting for corners that is overpowered like the near post corners last year?


Hi Johnny

Perfect timing as I was going to send you a note this morning about corners. I’m sure this will help as when attacking my lads barely get a sniff at the ball with the opponents seemingly being able to clear threats at ease.



This guide is only useful in FM 13 ? Maybe FM 12 also ?


It seems the match engine is slightly different in FM13. I set my corners to “far post” but not all my corners go to far post. Some goes too far or land in the six yards box. The taker plays a big part if the corner rating is not high enough. It’s more realistic compare to FM12.


Great guide. I have trouble understanding the interplay between the set piece instructions for different players. I was wondering if anyone could provide any insight regarding the best players and best situations for using “near post flick on” or “challenge goalkeeper.” Obviously, they would be players with good heading ability. I presume “challenge goalkeeper” means get in the goalie’s way and is almost always helpful. but when is it preferable to use “near post flick on” as opposed to “attack near post” or “attack far post”? If you instruct 1 player to “near post flick on” and another to “attack near post” are they going to get in each other’s way? If you have a player instructed to do “near post flick on,” do you need to have another player “attack far post’ or “stand on far post” to collect the flick ons? Thanks for any help.


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Daniel Smart

would this be as succesfull for FM 14