The Art of The Brazilian 4-2-2-2 – Part Three

This is the final match analysis of the initial first three competitive games I’ve currently played. After I’ve looked at this game then I’ll start to think about what changes I need to make for the next game I play. I’ll likely write about the actual changes and what impact they have had in a separate article when I get the time.

Here are the stats from the game.


And the individual stats from the game.


Unlike the other games we have analysed so far, these stats don’t actually tell me much because nothing really sticks out as being out of the ordinary at first glance. Maybe the crosses? But that’s the only thing I could think of based on this screenshot. This can make it trickier when analysing the game back because you don’t really have anything to pin point. So what you need to do is look for general issues instead, this requires watching the entire game obviously, so you can see if you can spot any kind of issue or potential problems.

Straight away in the match I notice the midfield issues that we’ve spoke about during the past two articles. But I don’t really need to show any more examples of those issues, as we’ve covered those a few times already.

The first potential issue I spot is this;


One of the issues with using a withdrawn striker is they start deep and this allows the oppositions defence to keep it’s shape. It also gives them little defending to do because they have no-one to mark. It also means that when my deep-lying forward gets the ball in these types of situations, he can’t really do much. That’s because he has two markers around him and the defenders are well placed to deal with any runs he makes. Both the box to box midfielders are behind him, so they’re not offering any real support here. And the false nine isn’t pushing the defensive line back either.

If this is happening regularly then it’s obvious I will struggle to score goals because I’ll not be able to break the oppositions defence. It might require me to look at changing one of the roles for the strikers, to get a better balance and to occupy the defenders. This would likely either push the defensive line back or would mean one of the defenders would leave their position to mark one of the striker. If that happened then it could create space and movement elsewhere on the pitch. Plus if you make someone mark, then they always have a choice to make and it can force the opposition to move from their initial position.


This is still the same move. When the deep-lying forward passes the ball out wide, the opposition’s defenders have started to make movements to cover the danger. This means gaps have appeared and the defensive shape of the opposition is changing. I still think the deep-lying forward or the false nine should be more aggressive in these scenarios. I have no-one centrally deep in the final third, were the X is. It seems like I’m currently relying on fast switches of play to the flanks or waiting for players to do a bit of individual magic. That’s all good and well but if you rely on individual skill then what happens if the player has a bad game? So I need to see if this issue persists throughout the match and if it does, then need to correct it so we constantly create and are a goal threat. Rather than waiting for that one player to have his moment.


The regista who is circled, has just played a long ball to Arthur who is the false nine. It was a brilliant ball and showed great vision from the player. However it does have a drawback because none of the supporting midfielders can get up along side play fast enough. This means that one simple ball like this might catch the opposition off guard but at the same time, it’s also isolated the strikers. So again we come back to the first issue I posted above and relying on the players to have a moment of magic because they have zero support at all. Making a striker role change is looking more appealing the more I watch this game. The other option is to make sure my midfield don’t do these types of balls to frequent. Plus I’ve already mentioned I need to change the midfield, so this type of situation might not happen depending on how I adjust the roles. It’s definitely something I need to keep an eye on though, especially after the changes I’ll make.


That is me attacking and just look at all the bodies I have going forward. Most might not think anything is wrong here but for me this is playing into a counter attacking sides hand. My defensive midfielders should not be this advanced. I don’t mind that they are supporting attacks as such, it’s just the high positional play that’s an issue. While I do have two centre backs holding their defensive positions, this won’t really help when I lose the ball if the opposition has players in these areas. I like to have different types of cover to reduce the chances of counter attacks. If the defensive midfielders were on defensive duties then they’d be covering the exact space I need them to. But because no-one is currently there, if the ball is cleared or someone dribbles out from the back with it, then one of the defenders will have to step up to deal with it. This will then leave the lone centre back exposed. Something I want to avoid doing.


Another example of how a direct ball which is a good and clever ball, isolates my striker. The complete wingback plays a direct through ball to the deep-lying forward who runs onto it. However when he runs onto it and controls the ball he doesn’t have anyone to aim for and nowhere to run with the ball. The issue here is the false nine is to deep and isn’t in the correct area where he can benefit from these types of situations. Ideally he should be more advanced were the marker is on the pitch and be making runs between the centre-backs. This is something I’ve noticed a lot during the past two games in particular, so it means it does need changing. I have a few options to explore here;

  • Change the false nine’s role.
  • Play shorter passing
  • Ask the players/team to stop playing through balls

Those are the things I should be looking at changing to begin with. I’m not sure which route I will go just yet but I am leaning more towards the striker role being changed, to begin with.

I think I’ve seen enough of this game already to know how it plays out, I’m seeing the things I mention above and in the previous two articles time and time again. So what now? Well changes are needed that’s for sure.

So in short, the summary of the issues so far are;

  • Provide better midfield balance.
  • Have a striker who stays higher up the pitch.
  • Roaming, I need to disable this TI.
  • The roaming could also be down to the role, as it’s set by default on the box to box midfielders.
  • The complete wingback needs to have a cross aim set.Goalkeeper distribution is shocking.
  • Defensive midfielder might need a defend duty.
  • The regista doesn’t cover the space vacated by the complete wingback when he pushes forward.

I don’t think I’ve missed anything have I?

Fixing these issues will be tricky because if you remember at the very start of the first article, I talked about having a basic of idea of how you want to play. Well I still don’t have one, so I don’t have anything to aim for. I wanted the articles to shape the way we play and show you just how much harder it is, when you have no clear plan or vision. It’s the long way around in doing things and is very difficult to get right. It should make interesting reading though right?!

Providing better midfield balance, hmm this will be hard and might need me to analyse matches again. So it might take me three or four extra games to sort out. However I am thinking that maybe a central midfielder on attack or even support might be a better fit alongside a box to box midfielder. I don’t want to do massive overall changes to begin with because how can you keep a track of all of them and know if they’re working or what impact they now have on the style? It’s a long drawn out process. You can do them all at once if you have a fantastic understanding of the game, but because this is a walk-through of how to approach things, then I’m keeping things simple for the reader.

The striker role, I might go and use a pure poacher. He’ll not provide me much movement but the players around him are full of that at the minute. So someone who plays on the shoulder of defenders will be good and give them something to worry about. It’s something I will keep an eye on though and if I feel he’s getting isolated, I’ll look at changing the role again.

The roaming issue is easy to fix as I’ll just disable the team instruction for it. Plus I’ll have changed one of the player roles, so that might have a huge impact on it too.

I’ll also change the goalkeepers ball distribution straight away. I’ll ask him to roll the ball out to the defenders. I’m also tempted to use the play out of defence shout, but that will be a decision I make on the day of the next game just before I click continue.

The defensive midfielders are giving me the biggest headache as there are many possibilities and routes I could go. I do think however, that changing the regista to a deep-lying playmaker on a defensive duty will be the way to go though. And also change the other defensive midfielder, who is currently on a support duty, to a defensive duty. These two small changes should see me provide better cover for the wingbacks when they get forward and allow the central midfielders, to get forward more without the risk of me lacking numbers at the back.

Those are all the changes I’ll be making and then it’s back to square one, with learning how the tactic works and plays out during the match. I’m not sure how many more analysis bits I’ll be writing though. I guess it depends on how popular they are or how useful people are finding them. So if you enjoy them and want more let me know in the comments below and if enough people are interested then it’s something I’ll consider doing more of.

35 thoughts on “The Art of The Brazilian 4-2-2-2 – Part Three”

  1. Just read your articles on this topic, a very nice read indeed ! This is helping me a lot, I’m in the process of developing a 352 that I really like and this is really helping. There are things that are similar, with the 2 strikers and the wingbacks providing the width, altought the teams are not on the same level it’s definitely giving me things to think about when creating a tactic. I’m actually thinking of starting a FMT game just to try things out and see how it would behave, but then the team wouldn’t be the same.
    Anyway, I hope you continue with this, very interested to see the changes

  2. Nice article Cleon…really interesting. U really can’t expect DM’s on Support duty,to sit tight and shield d defence when d team’s on the offence and I’ll recommend u use an Anchorman with d Regista.(would’a gone for a DM D but I’ve seen countless times where a DM set to Defend,gets caught in a forward position).

  3. I didn’t except them to screen the defence, I’m just showing the people the article is aimed at, why its a bad idea 🙂

  4. Good one as always.. U have helped me a lot in creating tactics.. I have been following ur blog/articles at sicommunity for few years now.. And i have to say that this article helped me a lot in identifying issues and what possible tweaks could be used.. Hope you gonna continue on with this article.. Really appreciate all of ur works

  5. Great article Cleon i really like these type of analysis articles quick question which camera angle is that btw that u use to analyze these games

  6. Another super post. I love the walkthroughs of tactic creations, analysis, and alterations. Makes me feel like I am learning more on each read.

    At the moment I am acutally preferring reading blogs on the game than playing it, weirdly!

  7. Cleon, this is a great series. I’ve very much enjoyed the info and the analysis of a step-by-step process of developing a tactic. I definitely feel like I’ve learned from reading this series.

  8. Hi Cleon, another great article, thank you. I would definitely like to read more on this.
    What is the best way to tell if your opponent is playing a high, middle or deep defence?

  9. Great read. Just wanted to say thanks for the work you do. It has helped me to find new enjoyment with FM. It started back when you did an article about having a F9 in a two striker setup. Originally I was on the “the F9 is for a one striker Barcelona” but your article really opened my eyes on that one and I have since immensely enjoyed playing a striker partnership with a F9 and a more high position striker in a variety of formations. I know you have done quiet a few of these analysis type articles but I always seem to pick up something new – so definitely a good read.

  10. Another great read and keep it up! So I can identify the issues and see my problems, but I really struggle with how to change the roles to solve it. How do you know which role is going to fix the issue you see? I’ve had the exact same DM issue in the space you marked with the two X’s in your article. I know I solved it with the DLP-D, but it was much more trial and error than just knowing what will happen. Is there a good source of this information or just learning this as you go?

    1. I kinda know by instinct these days which roles work an d which don’t. But for the article I’ll be doing trial and error and avoiding doing all the obvious things.

      1. Is there a particular reason why u would use one camera angle over another? Like which camera angles do you find help spot particular mistakes.

        1. You have to use all different really, as other views show more of the pitch, better angles etc. There are no set rules which to use though as it depends what you’re looking at. But I always look at issues from various angles to see it from different views.

  11. Enjoying these pieces a lot. Its really helping me since I am having a hard time mastering the ME and coming up with a philosophy of play this year. I also like to see how Prozone can help us seeing how tactics (don’t) work. Keep them coming pls!

  12. Really enjoying the series, has taught me a lot about in game interaction (I never knew clicking on the Opta stats would show you the specific highlight) and tactical analysis! Hope the series continues, thank you for the content 🙂

  13. Having read and enjoyed a bunch of your articles i’m finding this series the most helpful of them all. Spotting subtle positioning issues in game is I think the hardest skill to master as a new or inexperienced FM player and the way you have laid out these articles really helps the learning process.

    This series alongside your possession article is helping me try to recreate this year’s Bayern style – which is proving challenging but very enjoyable!

  14. Hi cleon when choosing a role do you take into account the players suitability to that role? For instance if your playing is roaming out of position could it ‘ve he has poor decision and positioning attributes and high determination aggression and work rate attributes as I find this can make a player chase the ball like a 6 year old playing five a side

      1. Cool, these are really good articles especially seeing the perspective you take on improving tactics I’ve found them quite useful. Still I’ve just finished my 6th season as Portsmouth and only finished 5th in the prem. Maybe next season will be my year lol thanks for all the help

  15. I really enjoy reading your articles because I have been playing FM since 2005. but I never really pay attention to tactics details. It was more just buying and selling players. I skipped FM2015, and when I start playing FM16 I realized that I actually don’t know to play it right. I literally started to learn from core. I learn something new from every article you publish. Thank you for that. 🙂

  16. Are you planning to continue this? Given that your time is occupied with the Invincibles…It’d be shame since these three articles have been great for learning tactic building.

    1. Yups I am carrying it on but I left the saved game 200 miles away on my pen drive and can’t get access to it for 2-3 weeks.

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