When playing against a 4-4-2 the main threats are the wings as that’s how the 4-4-2 excels. It relies on supply for the front two from the wide players, dealing with the central midfielders isn’t really an issue as I can match them man for man and have the extra protection of the Regista.
The changed I made for this game were as follows;
- I changed the role of my complete wingbacks to those of WB support and WB attack like I did for the Colchester game.
The reason for this change was the same as before, I need the wingbacks to keep position against the 4-4-2 as I can’t afford them to be too advanced and risk getting caught out by the opposition’s winger and fullback overlapping them. So by being more cautious I can stop this happening and ensure the full backs that I use hold their position’s a lot better. I know I keep banging on about strict positioning but this is vital to keeping clean sheets and being a good solid defensive unit.
This is a screenshot showing the opposition out wide with the ball;
As you can see I have every single player back in my own half and everyone except the advanced forward really deep picking up open space and runners. So when the opposition get the ball out wide they have nothing to do but cross the ball;
And my towering centre backs can deal with crosses like that without too many issues.
The next screenshot shows a rare counter attack by the opposition after I gave the ball away upfield;
As you can see the opposition is going to attempt to switch play fast again and it actually looks like I’m in real trouble. Which is correct but only if the cross is accurate and he needs to cross to the player making the run with the arrows to take any advantage of the space I have open.
What happens is he picks out the player in the middle who then lays it off to the other player making the run;
But luckily for me the player has a rush of blood to the head and shoots from distance. This could have ended up a lot worse but you can’t really defend or plan for these type of attacks from the opposition. It’s why I adopt a more cautious approach to reduce the number of counter attacks made against me as these are what truly hurt people on Football Manager from over committing men forward leaving you exposed at the back. I wasn’t actually left short here but I couldn’t cover the switch in play fast enough one side from the other.
This is why I changed the full backs roles before the game as I was fully aware of this happening and it would happen a lot more if my full backs got caught out of position. You can’t defend against things like this but you can try and reduce the risk of these happening
I ended up winning the game though and restricted them to either long range shots or shots that weren’t really going to test my keeper;