Master the Game: Football Manager 2023 Best Formations

Struggling to find the perfect formation for your FM23 team? Look no further!

Ready to take your Football Manager 2023 team to the top? Our guide to the best formations will help you optimize your strategy.

Are you struggling to find the perfect formation for your Football Manager 2023 team? You’re not alone! With countless tactical options and unique player attributes, it can be a daunting task. But fear not, we’ve got you covered. Discover the best formations in FM23 and elevate your team to new heights!


  • 4-2-3-1 is the most popular formation, offering balance and creativity
  • 4-4-2 provides a solid base and can adapt to various playstyles
  • 4-3-3 emphasizes possession and control in the midfield
  • 3-5-2 is perfect for exploiting wing-backs and dominating centrally
  • Always consider your team’s strengths and weaknesses when choosing a formation

4-2-3-1: The Balanced Powerhouse

According to a survey conducted by Sports Interactive, the 4-2-3-1 formation is the most popular among FM23 players. This versatile setup provides balance between attack and defense, allowing your team to be creative up front while remaining stable at the back. The two defensive midfielders provide cover, while the attacking midfielder can pull the strings and create chances for the lone striker. This formation is especially effective with teams that possess strong wingers and a creative playmaker.


  • Excellent balance between attack and defense
  • Wingers and attacking midfielder can create numerous chances
  • Two defensive midfielders provide stability


  • Lone striker may become isolated if not properly supported
  • Requires a creative playmaker to unlock defenses
Build a winning team in Football Manager 2023 with our expert guide

4-4-2: The Classic Approach

The 4-4-2 formation is a timeless classic, offering a solid base for teams to build upon. Its simplicity makes it adaptable to various playstyles, whether you want to play direct, counter-attacking football or a more possession-based game. With two strikers up front, you can create a formidable partnership to terrorize opposing defenses. In addition, the wide midfielders can contribute to both attack and defense, making the 4-4-2 a solid all-around option.


  • Simple and adaptable to various playstyles
  • Two-striker partnership can be lethal
  • Wide midfielders contribute in both attack and defense


  • Can be overrun in the midfield against formations with more central players
  • Relies heavily on the strikers’ goal-scoring ability

4-3-3: The Possession Machine

If controlling the midfield is your goal, look no further than the 4-3-3 formation. With three central midfielders, your team can dominate possession and dictate the tempo of the game. This setup is perfect for teams with a strong midfield and talented wingers who can cut inside or deliver crosses to the lone striker. However, be aware that this formation can leave your full-backs exposed, so it’s crucial to have capable defenders who can handle one-on-one situations.


  • Excellent control of the midfield
  • Wingers can create chances for the lone striker
  • High possession and dominance in the center of the pitch


  • Full-backs may become exposed on the flanks
  • Requires a strong midfield to be effective

3-5-2: The Wing-Back Masterclass

For those who want to exploit the abilities of wing-backs and dominate the center of the pitch, the 3-5-2 formation is a fantastic choice. With three central defenders and two wing-backs, this setup allows you to maintain a solid defensive line while taking advantage of the width provided by the wing-backs. The midfield trio can control the game, and the two strikers can work together to create and finish chances.


  • Great for exploiting wing-backs and dominating the center
  • Two strikers can form a dangerous partnership
  • Flexible in both attack and defense


  • Requires quality wing-backs to be effective
  • Can be vulnerable against teams with strong wingers

Choose Wisely: It’s All About Your Team

Miles Jacobson, Studio Director at Sports Interactive, once said, “The best formations in Football Manager 2023 are the ones that suit your team’s strengths and weaknesses.” Keep this in mind when selecting a formation, as what works for one team may not work for another. Always consider your players’ attributes, preferred positions, and the overall style you want your team to play.


  1. Which formation is best for a counter-attacking style?
    The 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 formations can be effective for counter-attacking, as they provide a solid defensive base and opportunities for quick transitions.
  2. What if I have a team with strong full-backs?
    Consider using the 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 formations to take advantage of your full-backs or wing-backs and their ability to contribute in both attack and defense.
  3. How do I choose the right formation for my team?
    Assess your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and select a formation that complements them. Experiment with different formations and adapt your tactics accordingly.
  4. Can I switch formations during a match?
    Yes, you can make tactical changes during a match, including switching formations, to adapt to the game’s flow and your opponent’s tactics.
  5. What formation is best for possession-based football?
    The 4-3-3 formation is an excellent choice for possession-based football, as it allows you to control the midfield and dictate the tempo of the game.


  1. Sports Interactive. (2022). Football Manager 2023 [Video game]. Sega.

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