FM17 | The Keysi Way | Reading FC | part II | 4-3-3

As I wrote in the first part of this story about my FM17 save with Reading FC I set up 4-3-3 tactic with control mentality and high structured team shape. The reason why I chose this formation was simply – I wanted to try something new. 

It’s a new FM so I did not want to play with same formation like during previous version.


The set-up is simply. Four defenders with two central defenders with defend duty and two full backs with support duty. Full backs have also these instructions – close down less, pass it shorter, sit narrower and run wide with ball.

Our goalkeeper has instruction distribute ball to full backs. I saw that everytime he kicked the ball at half line we lost the ball. It was dangerous for our play so I gave him this instruction and we are able to keep ball more after that.

Midfield trio include box to box midfielder, deep lying playmaker and roaming playmaker.

Attacking trio include defensive forward, target man and deep lying forward. At the start I played with advanced forward instead of target man but I received good advice to change it. So thank you, James! 🙂

Football Manager Tactics

Team Instructions

Exploit The Middle, Push Higher Up, Use Tigher Marking, Use Offside Trap, Higher Tempo, Close Down Much More, Play Much Narrower and Go Route One.

There were some changes during first matches but the players have adapted to it very quickly.

The stats were very good after the first matches so I decided I will stick with this tactic despite some defeats or unexpected blips.

Blackburn vs. Reading 0-4

I selected an away match with Blackburn as example. This match with Blackburn was probably our best during the first season and we have won 4-0.

As you can see on the next picture our key passes were through the centre and the most important thing is to find space for one of our striker.

All the passes before the goal… [if you click on the circle with player number there is “Show Linked Movements” and you can see it)

And there is also map of our overall positions (blue), with ball (green) and without ball (orange).

Another example of scoring chance…

Goal in the friendly match after good work in the middle of pitch, quick pass forward and nice assist from Defensive Forward to Target Man…

This is the formation with which I played during the first season with Reading in FM17. You will be able to read about this season in next part and some time in the next weeks I will write about another one formation I will use in the next seasons with Royals.


Thanks for reading, @FMRensie.


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

5 Replies to “FM17 | The Keysi Way | Reading FC | part II | 4-3-3

  1. (i dont know much about the game so pls dont make fun of me about the question)The trio atacking consists of 3 strikers or a winger could play?

    1. Hi, there are 3 strikers in this formation. You could play with wingers of course but it would better to revisit team instructions and roles as well. So, it could be completely different tactic with wingers.

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