Tactics and Formations

Top Eleven Football Manager Walkthrough and Guide

by Mongoose General  

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Tactics and Formations

Picking the right formation is always one of the most important things you can do going into any match in Top Eleven, as in real life. You can view all the predefined formations, which feature some of the most common in the world of soccer, such as the ubiquitous 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 formations, in the Squad screen. Select the Formations tab to see them in full.

Fine tune your tactics to out-smart your opponents.


If you want to choose strong, defense-minded formations, perhaps because your recent games have resulted with many goals being conceded, you can opt for the likes of the 5-3-2. This formation has one sweeper defender in the center, with two other central defenders either side. There should then be two wing-backs, one on each side. You then want three central midfielders, and two strikers.

This formation relies a lot on the wing backs getting forward, so you need to set their mentality to push on. Because there are five defenders and the midfielders are compact in the center, it is a very solid basis to build upon. Use Counter Attacking combined with your wing backs to put a sting in the tail of this formation.

5-4-1 is the next defensive formation worth considering. You can play with three center backs but because you now have four in midfield, you are able to play with wingers in front of your wing backs. This makes it a more attacking formation, in terms of getting the ball up to the lone striker. If you set your wingers and one of the central midfielders to have red arrows so they attack, you can be very strong on the counter attack with this formation.

4-5-1 is very similar to the previous formation. By packing the midfield you are able to facilitate numerous defensive midfielders while still leaving wingers free to attack when in possession.

Midfield and Attacking:

All of these formations balance players throughout the team, focussing on midfield and attacking play. With most of the players in midfield and attack, these formations obviously leave the team vulnerable defensively. 3-4-3 is probably the most well known of these formations. You should be able to retain posession easily in midfield and attack at will, but will be short in defense. You can drop some of the midfielders back if you are struggling too much with this. Get your team to focus on short passes and keeping the ball.

3-5-2 allows for a slightly sterner defense, as it has five players in midfield. This makes it easier for players to fall back and assist the defenders. You are also able to turn attack into defense quickly. You should again try to win the ball back quickly and then maintain posession. 3-6-1 is very similar to 3-5-2, but is a lot more defensive. You can put the wingers a long way forward or play with two attacking midfielders just up behind the striker.

You can also try the 4-2-4 formation which, if you think about it, seems ridiculously offensive. With just two players in midfield, you can spread the front four out into lines. It is a good long-ball formation, where you are quite desperate towards the end of the game and are looking to bypass midfield.

4-3-3 is one of the most popular attacking formations. It allows you to play with three strikers, normally one right up front and then two playing off them. It can easily be adapted into the 4-5-1 formation. This ability to pass through midfield makes it popular with fluid, passing teams. It is not particularly weak defensively, because of the ability to drop players back into midfield. Play with enough pace in the front players and you can counter attack incredibly effectively using these tactics.


These formations are great for beginners and seasoned pros alike. They are relatively equally balanced between attack and defense, and allow for great flexibility on the fly as the game changes. 4-2-3-1 is a good average formation as it allows for 2 defensive midfielders but then four players focussing further forward.

4-4-2 is the classic formation and is one that most players revert to if they are having problems with tactics. The positions speak for themselves, but you do not have to lay your players out in lines. Full backs can become wing backs and push on when attacking. You can play with two defensive midfielders and two wingers, or one defensive midfielder, two wingers and one attacking midfielder, in a diamond - generally any shape you can think of can be accommodated by this formation.

Hard Tackling:

You are able to order your team to use hard tackling while playing their opponents. This can be a good move if you are getting outplayed - it will intimidate the opposition. The risk is that you can get players sent off.

Missing Players:

If you find that a player has become injured and you have no more subsitutions, or they have been sent off, a good formation is one where you try not to let the missing player's absence impact the team at all. So reverting to a 4-4-1 formation, just missing off a striker, is a good idea as you will be able to maintain the score. If you are behind and lost a player, then you obviously have more problems.


Comments for Tactics and Formations

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41 comments, latest first.
Marking style; zonal or man marking??

Added 28th Oct 2015, ID #620416

Pochemu nerabotaet. Nezaydyot na igri

Added 19th Oct 2015, ID #617997

How do you set arrows on players?

Added 4th Sep 2015, ID #605226

check this

Added 23rd Aug 2015, ID #601558

How do I change formations on android?

Added 10th Aug 2015, ID #596439

how to get the latest update on pc ??

Added 23rd Jun 2015, ID #574253

Why is this game (top elven) very Weight and very Slow NOW?

Added 4th Apr 2015, ID #537433

anybody else use this formation? red arrows on all players

aml amc amr
mc mc mc

dl dc dr

Lucian Boy
Added 15th Mar 2015, ID #528887

I want a tactic for level 8 i have good players but i can't win please help me !!!!!

Added 8th Mar 2015, ID #526045

Which strategy can I use best against 3-4-1-2?

Added 2nd Mar 2015, ID #523123


Added 20th Jan 2015, ID #504514

what ever your formation is, always maintain your squad with 4 star players..

Added 10th Jan 2015, ID #498932

4-1-3-2 is the best formation prove it

Added 7th Jan 2015, ID #497490

4-1-2-3 works good 4 me!

Added 23rd Nov 2014, ID #475311

343 is the best way to attack and defend for me

Added 30th Oct 2014, ID #465079

I think you could try a formation like this:




Added 12th Oct 2014, ID #457517

Tactics: good goalie!!! 4 defenders, dr and df in attacking mode (red arrows forward). 1 defensive middfield with defensive mode (blue arrows backward). 2 central midfield one optional attacking if skills (red arrows forward). 1 attacking midfield. 2 strikers. And in tactics offensive. I NEVER HAVE CHANGE THE TACTIC!!! manager level 23 in season 24... won the league 16 times, 5 times nro 2 and worst season was nro 1 where i was 11th, didn´t use the tactic ;) and season 22 i was 3rd. 14 champions league finals and won 11 of them. cup to finals and 1 trophy. 3rd several times in the cup. but recommend to consentrate either to champions league or cup. very difficult to manage all three "leagues" and in worst case you don´t get results in your own league games... keep the players motivated, also those sitting in at the bench and give maximum reward money for winning... and have as many friends as possible

Added 12th Sep 2014, ID #446916

4-1-1-3-1 works a beauty, beef ur defences and defensive midfielders defending and physical skills up, push the wing backs on and push the dm back, cm sat just in front, am and wingers all pushing forward with the lone striker just in front of them, works a treat

Added 5th Sep 2014, ID #444624

wats better zonal marking or man to man?

Added 2nd Aug 2014, ID #429377

hi add me for topeleven
on whasupp
frienlly match

Added 16th Jul 2014, ID #419357

best atteking formation are 3-2-3-2

Added 6th Jul 2014, ID #413297

how would 4-2-2-2 work

Added 3rd Jul 2014, ID #411134

I draw with first and beat 3rd and 4th with 4-4-2 FORMATION I am 7th for begining and and now top 3
O O> O>

Added 28th Mar 2014, ID #368914

i'm in level 12.which is the best formation should i use

Added 1st Mar 2014, ID #359773

how can i defence the 4 3 1 2?

Added 11th Feb 2014, ID #354002

can i beat higher level than me... examples... my team lvl 8 and i want to beat my friend team lvl 9.... what formation should i do...my friend formation is 4-3n-3...

Added 31st Jan 2014, ID #350159

I've got 4-1-3-2 formation,what are you thinking about that ???

Added 30th Dec 2013, ID #336326

What do you Think of 4-4-1-1, 2MC, ML, MR, AMC, ST?

Added 10th Nov 2013, ID #318819


Added 17th Oct 2013, ID #314993

Yes you can, it will cost 2 Tokens, and you can only change time every second match...You can choose by pressing the "clock image" in your game schedule

Added 12th Sep 2013, ID #309289

Can u change the time of your game

Added 11th Sep 2013, ID #309162

How do you build condition

Added 26th Aug 2013, ID #306860

How to beat 4-4-2 when in the first game he scored 2goals and i mvst score at least three?

Added 21st Aug 2013, ID #305984

pls can I have a screenshot view of 352

Added 31st Jul 2013, ID #301635

For DC all the time going for goal, u must put mentality normal and put red arrows

Added 20th May 2013, ID #284004

Brother, any advice how to beat a 3DC-2DML/DMR-4-1 plan? He got better team and higher quality than me :(

Added 13th May 2013, ID #282278

can i ask how is possible all the time my DCs keep going for goal after i used arrows back/def tactics/other formations/other players....?
its anoying to play 3-6-1/4-3-2-1/4-2-3-1 and others without seeing any deference.what i must do?

Added 7th May 2013, ID #280932

How do I change my starting 11?

Added 26th Apr 2013, ID #277672

hey can you give me a screenshot of how that 5-3-2 looks like? i mean the first defensive one, i messed it up

Added 25th Mar 2013, ID #267073

If the opponent is weak at the RB position, you will need to focus passing down the left. That will get your Left winger to run at the weak right back, thus increasing your chances of success.

Added 12th Mar 2013, ID #262953

When i see, that my opponent for example is weak at his right defender position, what should i do? should i focus pass "on the right" or "on the left" - because in real life, the striker, that plays on the left side, meets the defender on the right, so does "pass focus" refer to the strikers position or the opponents defenders?

Added 2nd Feb 2013, ID #249211