Football Manager 2022: What are the best formations & tactics to use?

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As always with the release of the newest Football Manager, there is a buzz and excitement around the newest features and play-styles on the game. 

Alongside the new features within the transfer market, squad hub and game-play, there is ever-changing tactics and formations within the game. These perhaps supersede the other features as the most important part in having success with whichever team it is you choose to oversee, whether that be Bradford City down in League Two or Orlando City over in MLS. 

Before setting foot in the dugout, you'll want to have an understanding of how you want your save to look; this might include researching the wonderkids who will carry your team for the next decade, or if you're interested in planning your formations and tactics, dive in below and find out the most effective ways to set up your team.

With thanks to GamesRadar, we can now help you identify the best formations and tactics to deploy on the new game!

5-2-3 Tiki-Taka

Think peak Chris Wilder's Sheffield United, overlapping centre-backs, strong, solid midfielders and a burly presence up front. The 5-2-3 allows you to utilise one of the more exciting new additions to FM 22 with 'wide centre-backs'. In combination with wing-backs who will maraud up and down the flanks, the wide centre-backs allow you to overload the opposition in the final third. 

The Tiki-Taka element also means you will dominate the ball, and whilst the lone striker up front may be slightly isolated at times, with the right personnel he can drag his wingers into the game. In order to help with this, its probably best to set the wingers as inside forwards, so they're closer to the striker and allow the wide channels to be dominated by the wing-backs flying up and down.

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Read more: Football Manager 2022: Release Date, Mobile, Beta, Wonderkids, Switch, PS5 and More

To secure stability in the midfield, you're best off going with with a defensive midfielder in combination with a deep-lying playmaker, someone that will be able to spread the play to the wingers and inside forwards, and hit up the lone striker further up the pitch if necessary.

4-2-3-1 Gegenpress

Perhaps the most overpowered set up in the game last year is still here, but is not quite as effective this year. If you're playing in a league with five substitutions permitted, and have a team littered with high-stamina players, then this might be the option for you. 

The high-pressing causes the AI opposition to cough up the ball in dangerous areas and to leave gaps for your nippy attackers to exploit. Similarly to the 5-2-3, you probably want your wingers to be inside forwards, with the left-sided attacker being right-footed and vice versa. Again, this means you can have your full-backs set as wing-backs and they'll fly up and down the pitch, therefore creating a really good relationship on the pitch with your inside forwards on both sides.

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The two midfielders sat in front of the defenders could have differing roles depending on the actual player you're using in that position. You most certainly would want a ball-winning midfielder there to sit back and sweep up, and then alongside them you may well want a deep-lying playmaker to spray the ball about the pitch, or perhaps a roaming playmaker to head further forward up the pitch and combine with the attacking players. 

4-3-3 with DM

This set up is a bit like how you'd imagine Liverpool to play. The DM is probably the most important asset within this set-up, and so it is important you have someone that fits the bill and allows the rest of the team to flourish. You'll want to have someone who has a combination of physicality and technical ability (think Rodri or Fabinho), who has the ability to both stop opposition attacks and to immediately play forwards and begin your own counter attack,

The two midfielders alongside your DM both need to compliment each other as well. You'll want one Mezzala, who'll have strong passing and shooting stats, and alongside him a hardworking ball-winning midfielder, who allows the Mezzala to flourish slightly further up the pitch. 

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As for the front three, you're probably going to want three quick, flair players who can break up the pitch really quickly and effectively. Both wingers with pace, and a striker who likes to dribble, would make counter-attacks a regular weapon, especially in the latter stages of games. 

4-4-2 Direct Counter Attack

Perhaps a formation and play style that is suited more to the underdog, or to a team who's defence is their strongest asset, this set-up can be tailored perfectly for them.

Somewhat of a low-block, if you set the team to a 'cautious' mentality and demand discipline from your players, you're likely to get a real 'all hands on deck' sort of performance. In order to give yourself some sort of offensive presence, you'll want to have at least one of your wingers set as a a natural winger, rather than defensive winger - but having one 'defensive' can help sturdy your defence up even more. 

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The two central midfielders will have quite a task on their hands, but combining a deep-lying playmaker and a ball-winning midfielder will mean you have bodies back to defend your own box while still having one midfielder who's always looking to set the counter attack underway.

Although it seems like its slightly outdated, a big-man little-man combination could work wonders up front in this formation, as long as both have reasonable pace in order to fit the counter-attacking style. If one has more of a physical presence, it'll make retaining the ball easier for the pair of them.

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So there you have it, there are just a handful of formations and tactics that could help you conquer the new Football Manager!

Whoever you start your save with, and whatever formation you use, good luck!

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