FM16: “The Academics” – part XVII – Tactics change

If you read the previous part of my FM16 save with Akademisk Boldklub you know that I changed our formation and style of play after the first nine seasons with the club. I thought it would be hard for players especially due to their preferred positions and roles but it went very good for us. 

Same as in the FM15 with Spartans FC I played the first nine seasons with AB with 4-2-3-1 formation with Standard mentality and Structured shape and it was focused mainly on “Hit early crosses” and “shoot on sight”. It was not uncommon that we had 25 and more shots during the match.

But I wanted to change something and I wanted to change it back to some variation of 4-4-2.

Firstly, I wanted to play with 4-4-1-1 with Deep Lying Forward and Advanced Playmaker but it did not take a long time and I changed it again.

The final version of our new tactic is 4-1-4-1 with the Attacking mentality and Structured shape.

Why Structured? When I wanted to play with Fluid/Very Fluid there were too many mistakes in our play.

Player roles:

  • Full Back‘s with Attack Duty | Instructions – Close Down Less, Pass It Shorter, Cross From Byline, Sit Narrower, Run Wide With Ball, Cross More Often & Get Further Forward.
  • CB’s with Cover Duty | Instructions – Pass It Shorter, Shoot Less Often, Dribble Less, Fewer Risky Passes.
  • Deep Lying Playmaker with Defend Duty | Instructions –  Tackle Harder, More Direct Passes, Close Down Much Less, Shoot Less Often, Hold Position.
  • Wide Playmaker’s with Attacking Duty | Instructions – Get Further Forward, More Direct Passes, Close Down Much More, Roar From Position, Dribble More, Cut Inside With Ball, Shoot Less Often, Cross Less Often.
  • Box To Box Midfielder with Support Duty | Instructions – Shoot Less Often, Close Down More, Tackle Harder, More Direct Passes, Roar From Position.
  • Roaming Playmaker with Support Duty | Instructions – More Direct Passes, Close Down Much More, Dribble More, Roar From Position.
  • False Nine with Support Duty | Instructions – Roar From Position, Pass It Shorter, Close Down Much More, Dribble More, More Risky Passes, Move Into Channels.

Team Instructions:

More Direct Passing, Exploit The Left & Right Flank, Play Narrower, Higher Tempo, Close Down Much More, Dribble Less.

Football Manager Tactics

Thanks to a Deep Lying Playmaker position in DM we have a good cover when both central midfielders are trying to get the ball.

With Close Down Much More instruction there were many moments when opponent’s players were desperate to not loose ball. Thanks to 3 players in central midfield and wide playmakers we are able to make very intensive pressing and take the ball. We don’t want to have a high possession percentage but after this formation change, we have very often the better numbers at the end of the match.

Do not give them space, they will make a mistake

I never used tactic where wide playmakers were included but I really like this role because they are very versatile and they could play more in the centre of the pitch but also as wingers.

This role was probably the most problematic for us because we have many typical wingers or inside forwards but it was not a problem in the end. One of the players who had to change his playing style was our regen Nichlas Meyer who is played mainly as a winger. But he played newly as a wide playmaker and he had the best statistics from all our players.

Nichlas Meyer’s Positional Heat Map + Average Positions + Key Passes

Football Manager Tactics

New signing before the 2025/2026 season Frederik Kristensen and his attributes for Wide Playmaker Role. He was signed for a free…

Football Manager Tactics

I really like the Fullback’s role with attacking mentality because they are able to make many assists. Lars Sorrensen had 9 assists in 14 matches.

Football Manager Tactics

Discipline? Same old story. 

When we played with the 4-2-3-1 formation we used “Get Stuck In” instruction and we had the worst discipline in the whole Denmark. We set many negative discipline records. There was a little improvement after tactic change but due to a higher tempo and very intensive closing down there is still the risk of many yellow and red cards.

This is how our formation looks when the opponent’s goalkeeper has a goal kick…

Football Manager Tactics FM16

…and this is when our goalkeeper has the ball…

…and this is an attacking movement. Central players plays in the middle, Eremenko (Roaming Playmaker) to Kristensen (Box-to-Box Midfielder) and Jenssen (Wide Playmaker) cuts inside while our Fullback move forward…

…Fullback collects the ball and make cross to the penalty area where are a minimum of three players. In this movement it was not a goal but it was a good attack in case of style of play we want.

Match vs. FC Kobenhavn

We played against the biggest club in the league a few weeks before the end of the 2024/2025 season for the first time with this tactic and it was a good test for us.

We’ve won 4-0 and there are some stats and screens from this game.



I play with this tactic for more than one calendar year so far in this save and I really like it. I love the pressure from the central midfield trio when the team lose the ball and I’m happy how Fullbacks are very dangerous every time when we go forward.

If I have to select one role which I like the most it would be the Wide Playmaker. Try it in your saves, it could work very well 🙂 But I have to say the formation work very well in overall in my eyes and that’s the most important for me.

Do you want to try it? Just download it and import to the C:\Users\Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2016\tactics or Subscribe via Steam Workshop.

DOWNLOAD & Steam Workshop

Thanks for reading, @KeysiRensie

A Football Manager addict and lover for many years. You can follow me on Twitter or in Football Manager Slack – #fmrensie channel.

15 Replies to “FM16: “The Academics” – part XVII – Tactics change

  1. Interesting tactical setup. What’s the thinking behind the two covering centre backs? That’s the only thing that’s getting me on the tactic.

    1. I did it because of Fullback’s attacking duty. If were going forward both Fullbacks are really high on the wing and both centre backs stay back and they can cover possible counter-attack in cooperation with Deep Lying Playmaker. If they will have Defend Duty they will be too deep so Cover is ideal in my eyes.

      And the second reason is that there are too many crosses in FM16 from the wings and every time I change their duty to Cover they’re able to defend much better. I had many matches during last half of the season when opponent had only one or two completed cross do the penalty area.

      1. But with the cover duty, they both sit deeper than if they were on defend duty, so now they’re even deeper. That would leave too much space in front of them surely?

          1. If it’s working, that’s cool, but they will sit deeper and leave more space in front of them, that’s part of the role 🙂

          2. I think with someone in the DM spot, the whole team sort of drops a little bit anyway, sure I read that on the SI forum recently. Like I say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I just wanted to know the thinking involved. Always keen to learn on this game. Glad the save is going well 🙂

          3. Yeah, this type of discussion is very useful and I’m glad someone has his own opinion and he is willing to present it 🙂

            Save is going well, mainly in domestic competitions. In Europe it’s still about luck but that’s normal if I want to play with teenagers. Still working on facilities improvements and I hope there will be better youth intakes in the future…all clubs in Denmark have an issue with regens and there are not many “wonderkids”. But I have more than 15 players in national teams so one of my main goals is done 🙂

          4. I enjoy getting into talk about roles/duties etc, it’s interesting to see how other people think about the game and the reasons for their choices etc.

            15? Blimey, that’s awesome! It’s annoying when you’re spending all that time/money on youth and the superstars are few and far between. Hopefully once you’ve hit maximum upgrades on your facilities, you’ll reap the rewards.
            Keep up the good work 🙂

          5. A minimum of four in Denmark U19 & U21 both and all players from different countries play for their countries.

            The most important thing is to qualify to Champions League Group Stage because the prize money is very helpful if I have some request to board.

            There were a little complication that former chairman build a new stadium even we have a solid old ground with higher attendance. And we have to pay a loan now. But if I qualify to UCL Group Stage in next 2-3 seasons I think the club will be without dept…

            A thank you 🙂

  2. Hello, I follow a bit of time on your blog.
    I started on an Italian forum the same as your challenge with AB …
    I made two consecutive promotions and I’m playing the third season …
    Nothing purchases and only youth development and loans ….
    I always follow with interest …
    Sorry for my bad English

  3. Hi keysi, I gladdly found your blog. I’m currently struglling to get a consistent tactic. I will try this one, altough my team Arsenal have good players the results are far from desire. I finished 3rd on the first season. I played in 4-1-2-3 (4 df +1 HB + 2 CM+ AMR and ST). I’m playing online against chelsea friend, and he finished 1st on the 1st season. I must get a tactic that can compite with him, Do you think this one will be good for Arsenal? or should I use an offensive one? (I have a lot of good strikers) – Benteke, Luis Henrique Ayoze Perez, Richairo Zivkkovic Sturridge Gabirel Barbosa Berahino… Thanks for your help

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