FM 2013 Tactic Review: Screwby’s 4-2-3-1

FM 2013 Downloads

written by Darren Smith

Hey guys, and welcome to another FM 2013 tactic review. Today’s tactic is intriguing on so many levels, from its name to the system itself, but before we delve into all that lets re-cap the testing process.

The testing procedure is quite simple: I will install the tactic and use it through pre-season plus six league matches with Spurs. Then I’ll watch each match closely, see what happens and come up with the best review I am capable of. I will also keep track of various statistics in order to be able to compare the essential numbers between this and other tactics that have been or will be analysed. It will be more or less like a benchmarking tool for FM 2013 tactics.

Today’s FM 2013 tactic review is code named DEEPFRIED CHICKEN and evolves around an attacking 4-2-3-1, lets see what Screwby’s tactic is all about.


deepfriedchicken 4-2-3-1 , formation

The formation is a 4-2-3-1, commonly seen in modern day Football and yet a shape that many FMer’s struggle to gain success from. While Screwby has assigned roles for this tactic, you should note that every player has individual instructions.

The back four are simple, then we have two MC’s with support and defend duty, both wide AM’s are assigned the winger role while the AMC is an attacking midfielder with support duty (he really can run the show.) Finally we have a poacher upfront.

Going back to the individual instructions, you should note all advanced players are set to take long shots rarely. But the most interesting setting is the marking. Both centre backs are set to not mark tightly, while the AMR, AML and ST are all assigned the opposite (different to the default setting.) The attacking midfielders try to find a man, tracking their opposite number back down the flanks while defending (very much like Robben and Ribery did in the Champions League against Real Madrid.) The defenders just sit and wait until they have to make a tackle, as a result your defenders always keep a good line and aren’t drawn out of position.

Team Instructions

deepfriedchicken 4-2-3-1 , team instructions

Team instructions make a difference here too as Screwby assigns a fluid philosophy with control strategy. The passing is short, the marking zonal and the team is asked to press their opponents. What initially worried me was the defensive line, it seemed very high and the tempo fairly slow, I thought this might lead to a loss of possession due to the MC and AMC been asked to hold up play, which could see the opposition pick their pocket and launch a deadly counter attack. Was my logic flawed, or will this cause a problem, keep reading and we’ll find out.

Average Positions

deepfriedchicken 4-2-3-1 , average positions

The average positions show a high line indeed, there’s lots of space between the GK and the back four, so it immediately becomes visible that this tactic must be based around possession retention, or it could fall flat. The system looks very organised, every player has plenty of passing options.


deepfriedchicken 4-2-3-1 , defensive movement

The screenshot above shows Spur’s just seconds after losing possession of the ball. It’s obvious that the individual player instructions work well. Every attacking player has turned around and begun their sprint back to defend. However, you’ll notice every defender on an angle, meaning they are also tracking back, not closing down the ball and been drawn out of position. What this does is give their more attacking teammates plenty of time to get back and help win back possession.

Seconds after taking this screenshot, our MC tackled Watson and regained possession, this happened on countless occasions. Most notably the AMR and AML track their opposite number well.


deepfriedchicken 4-2-3-1 , attacking movement

This is where the DEEPFRIED CHICKEN really comes to life…sorry, I had to get that in somewhere :) The ST, AMR, AML and AMC have wide play set to ‘move into channels’. This creates some lovely movement. The MC’s and AMC tend to hold their position in a triangle, playing the ball around, just waiting for one of their more attacking teammates to run off the shoulder of a defender. The AMR and AML can move into the channels with ease due to the full backs charging forward in support also.

But how does this tactic keep possession so well? Because all four of the attacking players move into channels and provide clever movement, they drag the opposition all over the pitch and usually quite deep into their own half. The two MC’s then hold their position passing the ball around carefully.

The back four always get very close to the MC’s also, this leads to an endless string of passes on the halfway line, just awaiting that killer ball. I think the hold up play instruction for the supporting MC and AMC is very important here too. The match highlight below demonstrates this well and proves my initial fears for the high line wrong. Without the high defensive line this wouldn’t work at all, just click the link below, you’ll see what I mean.

Possession retention – click here to see match highlight


deepfriedchicken 4-2-3-1 , results

Good results but slightly deceiving. Spur’s had countless chances to score against Swansea and due to three or four very key injuries (including Bale and Walker) the match was a draw. The 3-2 victory against Sunderland was utter domination and the opposition were incredibly lucky with their goals.

I think the key here is a draw away to Chelsea in which both teams were even, yet Spur’s looked to have an edge. Then the 5-0 victory against Aston Villa showed this tactics full effectiveness.


Goals scored: 15 (2.5 per game)

Goals conceded: 4 (0.67 per game)

Shots on target for: 7.17 per game

Shots on target against: 1.5 per game

Clear cut chances for: 1.83 per game

Clear cut chances against: 0.67 per game

Half chances for: 3.5 per game

Half chances against: 1 per game

Ball possession average: 58.67%

Very impressive statistics, this tactic matched the highest amount of goals scored, provided plenty of chances and is the second best in terms of possession, second only to Poobington’s 3-4-3. You can compare these stats to other tactics in the FM13 Tactics Index table, this is used to compare the stats from all our reviews. Now lets analyse the main pro’s and con’s of Screwby’s 4-2-3-1.


Exceptional ball retention

Amazing link up play, leading to attractive Football

Fantastic unity between MC’s and defence, they just pass the ball back and forth, never panicking (see screenshot below.)

deepfriedchicken 4-2-3-1 , building from the back

Can be caught out with balls over the top (seen rarely though.)

Without a quality AMC and self assured MC’s retaining possession will be difficult.

Forward four can dwell on the ball a little too much, almost like Barcelona.

Suggested Tweaks

This system is very specific, its so organised because all the individual player instructions are set for a reason by Screwby. In as much I would struggle to recommend tweaks without testing the effect of those tweaks first. However, I will mention that Screwby asked me to lower his DC’s closing down to the first step of ‘stand off more’, at the moment they are set to ‘own half’, unfortunately I’d already tested the tactic before this request.

FM 2013 Tactic Download

Download the 4-2-3-1 FM 2013 tactic by clicking on the image below:

download link

After downloading the tactic follow these simple steps to install it in FM 2013:

1. Put the downloaded file into this folder: Documents>Sports Interactive>Football Manager 2013>tactics

2. Start your game and go to your team’s tactics screen.

3. Click on the little arrow located to the right of your starting tactic name, move your mouse cursor over “archived tactics” and select this tactic from the menu.

Well another great FM13 tactic tested and onto the next one, over to Johnny. But until then I hope you enjoyed this review and encourage you to comment below, thanks for reading.

Please note We won’t be taking any more entries from you at this point because we already have plenty of tactics on the waiting list. Here’s what’s coming up:

1. Ryan Daly

2. Aleksandar Kiselinov

3. Bigmac

4. Vinay

5. Mantorras77

6. Paris

7. Deano

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