FM18 Tactic: The Attacking 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow Formation

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Looking for a tactic with a high pressing play? This piece is for you to read. Here, I’m going to share about a high pressing and attacking 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow formation I created in FM18. I have used some tactics based on this formation, but this is the best yet. What’s intriguing about this particular tactic is its pressing nature. Using this tactic makes your team press the opponent just to get them to give the ball away carelessly. It also inspires your team to make intelligent attacking moves, involving very dangerous crosses.

Although this tactic is a bit possessive with an amazing passing style, it has an effective counter-attacking feature. And it’s mainly built for technical players – it can probably work on teams with physical players. In terms of defending, this tactic isn’t that good. But It’s not that bad either. It’s just that its main focus is attack.

Tactic: The 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow Formation


This 4-4-2 arrangement comprises of 2 central defenders, 2 fullbacks, 4 midfielders organised in a diamond shape, and 2 central strikers.

Team Instructions

In the Team Instructions window, the mentality is set to standard. But, I usually use control and sometimes switch to overload if my team is losing the game. The good thing is that any mentality you select can suit perfectly in this tactic. In other words, the team shape is fluid. The tempo is set to normal while the team uses the full extreme of the pitch during play.

Under the Defence section, the defensive line is set to normal. But sometimes I switch to Slightly Higher if there’s need for my team to press harder. Have in mind that if you’re playing Away and your opponent is really good, switching beyond normal defensive line may make your team vulnerable to counter. And the opponent will try to take that advantage. However, you can strengthen the defence of this tactic by staying Deeper. In addition, the team is instructed to close down much more and stay on feet while tackling.

The Build-Up section is quite simple. I decided not to explore in any particular area because I want my team to make use of them all while carrying out an attack. But the team will play out of defence and also pass into open spaces. The passing directness is shorter passing with an instruction to retain possession. You can choose mixed passing directness if you have a lot of physical players in your team.

From the attack section, Look-for-overlap is enabled because of the presence of attacking fullbacks. And work-ball-into-box is enable just to inspire the team to be patient while looking for an opening. Since the team is instructed to retain possession using shorter passing, enabling work-ball-into-box is an advantage.

Roles and Duties

Keeper: Sweeper Keeper (Support)

The sweeper keeper role is perfect for this tactic. He can initiate counter-attacking moves with direct through balls to breaking players. The breaking players are the two deadly strikers. The goalkeeper role can also match comfortably with this tactic.

Sweeper Keeper instructions

Central Defence: Two Ball Playing Defenders (Cover and Defend)

Basically, the assigned player in the ball playing defender (BPD) role is inspired to comfortably hit through balls to his teammates for them to press forward. However, the presence of these defenders in this tactic does incite the flow of passes. Sometimes they provide accurate long passes to teammates in the opposition final third. Unfortunately, Leeds United didn’t have good BPDs. This affected the defensive aspect of this tactic a bit.

Just like I wrote in this 4-4-2 article, the player with the cover duty drops a little deep to win through balls behind the defence line, thereby making it difficult for the opponent to find One-on-One chances with the keeper. Moreover, the defender with the defend duty has to move a bit forward to break up attacks by intercepting passes. He will also try to prevent the ball from getting into the box.

(Cover) Ball Playing Defender Instructions
(Defend) Ball Playing Defender Instructions

Side Backs: Two Fullbacks (Attack)

Since the fullbacks have an attacking mind-set, the players you assign should have good acceleration, pace, stamina, anticipation and work-rate. He should also be able to move forward and make intelligent overlapping runs toward the opposition final third to support forward play. Defensively, tackling and positioning are good attributes he needs to possess.

Left fullback Instructions
Right fullback Instructions

With the new update in FM18 (18.3.0), I think Sports Interactive redeveloped the AI of the attack duty in fullback. It’s now more efficient in any tactic than ever.

Central Defensive Midfield: Deep Lying Playmaker (Defend)

Here in this tactic, I regard this role as the holding midfielder role. The player’s job description, defensively, is to intercept passes and close down the opponent as much as he can. As a very creative role, the deep lying playmaker lays off very intelligent passes. He also switches the ball to any flank, involving the fullback to carry out an attack.

He rarely gets forward to support attack when on defend duty. But when it comes to zonal marking and recycling possession, he’s a very important player in this tactic. The quality of his passing, vision, first-touch, composure, and decisions are of great importance.

DLP Instructions

Central Midfield: Mezzala (Support) and Carrilero (Support)

Well, since I have a DM and an AM, I decided to install the Mezzala role. This role makes the player to work as a central midfielder and do a little work of a winger. Also, because I needed the player to operate in that half space by the left, I chose this role. He can drift wide and hit a low cross to any available striker to drive the ball home.

Mezzala Instructions

Carrilero is a physical role that allows the player to shuttle between lines. Since all the 4 midfielders are arranged in a diamond shape, this player will cover the lateral area (right area) of the pitch. He supports both the DM and AM. Part of his job is to make clean tackles in the midfield. Anyways, this role is an asset.

Carrilero Instructions

Central Attacking Midfield: Enganche (Attack)

Like what I wrote in my 4-2-3-1 Narrow tactic, the Enganche is a prime creator operating mostly in the advanced central area. He’s like a pivoted playmaker to his team, as they work around him. However, he’s to set up intelligent penetrating passes into the opposition box. With him hooked at the advanced centre of this tactic, he feeds killer balls to the strikers and also scores. But his main job is to assist goals.

Enganche Instructions

Central Forward: Target Man (Attack) and Trequartista (Attack)

A Target Man (TM) is a strong and technical player. He disrupts the defence with his physic, and technically creates chances for his teammates. I placed this role because it encourages crosses. You really need a good header for this role

Target Man Instructions

I always like using the Trequartista role whenever I have two strikers in a formation. Its movements are very deadly. However, the assigned player should be technically inclined with a good off-the-ball skill. As a trequartista, he can assist his teammates in different ways. However, for some reasons, you can select the Complete Forward (CF) role with an attack duty in this position. CF can also be efficient.

Trequartista Instructions


It will help if you can individually instruct the attacking midfielder to train on placing killer balls and through balls. Also, your TM and trequartista should be able to engage in one-twos.

Opposition Instructions

This tactic doesn’t need opposition instructions. But, you can set it the way you feel is best or adhere to the advice of your tactical coach.

Set Pieces

You can learn how to set up a good defend corner routine by reading this article.

However, the set pieces of this tactic are contained in the tactic file below. You can download it.

Results and Stats

Unbeaten after playing 28 games.
Final Table of Sky Bet Championship.


Download Tactic

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  1. I’ve tried this tactic with Reading FC, I like it a lot.

    I could defeat Liverpool on a FA cup match and get to the finals, I like how the three man work together, I’m specially falling in love with the Enganche role, that guy can be a beast if you find the appropiate player.

    Great job!

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