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Spalletti's Tactical Masterpiece 4-2-3-1

Tactical masterpiece of the Tuscan technician recreated in detail on Football Manager 2021. A historic 4-3-2-1 with maneuver execution speed.

By on Oct 05, 2021   38300 views   0 comments
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Downloads: 7740 / Size: 44.0 kB / Added: 2021-10-05
Football Manager 2021 Tactics - Spalletti's Tactical Masterpiece 4-2-3-1
After last season's heart-pounding finale, culminating in the debacle at home against Verona on the last day of the championship, which cost them to qualify for the Champions League, Napoli have decided to replace departing coach Gennaro Gattuso with Luciano Spalletti.

The Tuscan coach, however, did not find himself in a simple situation given the company's economic austerity policy, due to the general post-pandemic moment and the lack of income that would have come from participating in the Champions Cup.

This brought a lot of discontent to the Neapolitan square, one of the hottest and most passionate supporters in Italy, despite the arrival of the new coach and the market hits Juan Jesus and Anguissa to replace the starters Maksimovic and Bakayoko.

To all this were added the discontent of Manolas, who wanted to return to Greece in the summer, and the lack of agreement for the renewal of captain Lorenzo Insigne, which was followed by market rumors for his possible departure.

However, despite the economic situation, Napoli has not sold any of its best players (Koulibaly, Ruiz, Zielinski, Insigne, Osimhen), thus allowing Spalletti to model a team, which has touched the Champions League, in its form.

Historic 4-2-3-1, already known by the team because it was also used by Gattuso.

FORMATION PHASE OF POSSESSION: 2 / 4-1-3 or 2 / 4-3-1

During the possession phase the central defenders deal with the marking and preventive cover and occasionally participate in the development of the maneuver.

Between the two, the one who deals most often is Koulibaly, who unloads the ball to the full-back and sprints forward on the wing to widen the opposing defense or to overlap Insigne.

The full-backs get up on the same line as the medians and Mario Rui can propose himself further on the wing and, at times, exchange positions with Insigne going to make the winger high, with the Napoli captain getting closer to the center of the field.

The midfield is staggered with Ruiz lagging further behind Anguissa who sometimes swaps positions with Elmas and uses his speed to fit into the spaces.

During the development of the maneuver, Elmas remains between the midfield and attack lines to be ready to receive the ball from the medians or to enter a cross made by the flanks.


Napoli defends itself with 2 lines of defense; one formed by the defenders and the other created by the midfielders, the winger and the attacking midfielder.

If they are not attacked on the left wing, Insigne remains higher than the other midfielders, but only Osimhen deals with the preventive clearance for a possible counterattack.



The action begins with Ospina opening, with a low construction, for the central defenders who, in the event of an opponent pressing in the defensive half, widen towards the full backs who have more discharge options, or the outside of their own band that is lowered, the midfielder or the attacking midfielder.

All this is to overcome the pressure line using quick exchanges and one-two on the wing to stretch the opposing team and take advantage of the game at speed.

In case of lack of pressing by the counterpart, it is one of the two medians who lowers himself to receive the ball or even Elmas, who exchanges positions with Anguissa, to then develop the game on the flanks.

Sometimes, direct construction is also used, both by Ospina and by the defenders, if too pressed or to try to take advantage of Osimhen's sprint and progression speed in case of spaces left by the opposing defense.


The game is mainly developed on the flanks with two chains: on the left, the one used most often, with Mario Rui-Ruiz-Insigne and on the right with Di Lorenzo-Anguissa-Politano and with Elmas who moves on the opponent's trocar ready to join the maneuver and to dialogue with the outsiders who are centralized (between the two most distinguished ones) to create spaces on the sides.

The medians also take care of changing the game on the opposite side to make the opposing defense widen.


The finishing area is used on the flanks to put crosspieces in the middle for the tip, on the second post for cutting the opposite exterior or at the edge of the area for the arrival of the attacking midfielder or one of the two midfielders in tow.

In the event of overlapping on the flanks, the outsiders concentrate to try the round shot on the opposite post or to talk to Osimhen or the attacking midfielder to create triangulations at the edge of the area.

This is used to then try to conclude the action with a shot from the edge or to enter the spaces in the penalty area, created by the attacker's movement. Another option for finishing is Osimhen's speed to pocket defenses with long balls or a personal progression of his own.



Napoli brings a strong pressure on the opponent's trocar to recover the ball and, subsequently, to be able to take advantage of a restart with Osimhen.

If pressing, on the other hand, forces the opposing defense to make a long ball, the blues can take advantage of the two central defenders' ability in aerial duels to regain possession.

The pressing is carried out by the striker, by the outside players, by one of the midfielders (especially Anguissa), by the attacking midfielder and by one of the full backs (especially Mario Rui).

Sometimes it happens that the pressure is overcome, thus leaving the central area of ​​the field and one of the side bands free. This forces the defenders to retreat, while whoever is in the ball area is forced to stall to buy time, so that the team can regroup for the defensive action.

This maneuver is adopted to avoid an opponent's counterattack.


The midfield line is staggered with Ruiz lower to cover any through passes, while Anguissa stands up, together with a winger (while the other makes the opposite movement), ready to put pressure on the opposing midfielders.

The latter will thus have difficulty making a vertical passage or a simple unloading. Added to this is the pressure carried by Osimhen behind the ball carrier to facilitate a recovery.


With the defensive line deployed, thanks to the fact that the outside are lowered, the full backs can close in the direction of the central defenders so that the central spaces are reduced.

In the event of an opponent's action on Politano's side, Insigne can avoid marking tight on the wing and stay higher. This, however, forces Mario Rui to shorten the opponent's outside, leaving the field free behind him, thus creating a long diagonal in defense.

In the event that the opposing team manages to exploit this space, the Neapolitan defense is obliged to make a rotation to cover the hole created.

This situation is the one in which the blue defense leaves more openings for the opponents with the defense deployed.



The transition is based on recovering the ball and then throwing Osimhen into the open field.

Alternatively, the restart can take place with a team counterattack with the outsiders concentrating to create spaces on the flanks, which are exploited by the full backs or midfielders to try the conclusion or to make a cross for the teammates in the middle of the area.


Counterpressing is the first weapon that Napoli uses and is carried out by anyone in the area where the ball was lost, including full-backs who go high to man to recover the ball or to force a long throw.

If the first line of pressure is skipped, then the whole team is compacted behind the ball line, with the defenders stalling, backing towards the goal, waiting for the rest of the teammates to return to position.


  • High pressure and pressure if they lead to recovery of possession.
  • Koulibaly's role in defense (tall, physically strong, great elevation, fast, good at aerial duels, defensive leader)
  • Movement of offensive wielders in order to create spaces in the opponent's defense when fatigued
  • Maneuver execution speed.


  • Individual Distraction Mistakes (Manolas)
  • If the opponents are positioned with two compact lines in defense, he finds it difficult to develop the game.
  • If the pressing does not lead to the recovery of possession, it leaves space for the opponent's maneuver.


  • No OI
  • Manage defense width, use a standard width with teams playing with attacking outsiders or otherwise use a wide attack width, use a narrower width instead with teams using tactics 343,352, 3421, 3412 or that however they use the attacking midfielder.
  • The two CCs must be technical but have good defense skills, the attacker must have great speed, preferably if he has the characteristic "playing on the edge of the offside".

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Downloads: 7740 / Size: 44.0 kB / Added: 2021-10-05
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