The beta for Football Manager 23 is finally here, which means it’s time to step out of your muddy FIFA football boots and into a more leather and polished style of footwear.


This is a game about the science behind football, the formations, the tactics. It’s time to step away from the glory of being a player, and into the pragmatic mastermind role of the manager.

Football Manager is a complicated game with many different routes to take. In a bid to prevent you getting overwhelmed, we’ve decided to share a few tactics with you. We’ll start with the best formations.

Bear in mind that a formation has to work for your players. It isn’t a one size fits all situation, so you’ll need to do a bit of thinking yourself. Right, let’s get started!

Gegenpress 4-3-3

Translated from the German term for counter-pressing, gegenpress is one of the most effective formations in the game – Jurgen Klopp himself has raved about its importance. Gegenpress is a means to win the ball back from the opposition immediately after losing it.

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Make sure you’re keeping an eye on the midfielders you use for this defensive formation. There will always be weak points. Keep in mind that this is one of the most popular formations, and the AI will be aware of that!

Tiki-taka 4-2-3-1

Tiki-taka is a Spanish style characterised by short passing and maintaining possession. Strongly associated with FC Barcelona, manager Pep Guardiola described it thus: "You have to pass the ball with a clear intention, with the aim of making it into the opposition's goal."

This may sound like an obvious platitude, but the formation is specific. The 4-2-3-1 formation will be most effective with players who have killer striking stats.

Read more on Football Manager:

Counter attack 4-4-2

There are plenty of counter attack formations, a popular one being 5-3-2. The 4-4-2 formation might seem counterintuitive to some of you, but hear us out. You’ll need solid players for this one, but it’s a tactic that will work if you’re desperate for some points at the end of the match.

It’s not the most glamorous, but sometimes you need to sacrifice looking good in favour of scoring some points!

Things to remember

As we’ve already stated, it isn’t an exact science and there is no way to be certain one tactic will work over another. It’s simply one of those games where practice makes perfect, and the more you play, the more it’ll become second nature.

Just keep in mind the players you’re choosing, stats, age, and positions. Soon enough you’ll be sitting back and letting the players do the work for you.

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