Tactic testing: DDaRkNeSs 3-2-2-2-1 by DaRkNeSs

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We are back with our tactic testing, and this week’s tactic to get our treatment is DDaRkNeSs 3-2-2-2-1 by DaRkNeSs.

The formation is slightly unusual, which is why I wanted to test it out and see if it was successful. It produced some interesting results to say the least. Read on to find out how it performed in testing.

How was the test conducted?

As usual, I started the game with Everton. However, I used an updated custom database with the latest squads as of July 24th.

I played out one Premier League season without any changes from me, so there were no tactical tweaks and no transfers to bail us out if the team were underperforming.

How is the tactic set up?

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As the tactic title suggests, the formation is a 3-2-2-2-1 while using a balanced mentality. I had to check if that was right, as for a second I had thought I had too many players! Anyway, this tactic uses a goalkeeper as a sweeper keeper, using the defend duty.

In front of the last line of defence are two ball-playing defenders and a central defender, all on defend duty. The backline is protected by two defensive midfielders on support duty, who looking at the tactic, seem to be crucial players defensively.

Out wide are defensive wingers on support duty. In attack, two attacking midfielders on attack support the lone Advanced forward who is on attack.

At first view, this tactic may have been a bit unbalanced. However, the roles and positions worked well and produced impressive results.

How did the tactic perform?

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I was pleasantly surprised by the results produced by this tactic. I usually favour playing with wingers, so I don’t often use a formation with two central attacking midfielders.

The team’s predicted finishing position was 16th place in the table. However, they finished fifth place in the standings, just four points adrift of the Champions League spots. The points tally of 74 would also be a club-record points tally in the Premier League era.

The most impressive facet of this tactic was the team’s attacking output, as they scored 94 goals in their 38 top-flight games, which was the highest tally of any of the teams in the Premier League.

At the other end of the pitch, the team conceded 44 goals, which could be better but is not the worst defensive record I have seen in our tactic testing. In fact, only five teams conceded fewer goals in the league.

The number of goals scored negated any defensive vulnerabilities, as the team finished with a goal difference of 50, which was the third-best in the league.

Looking at the schedule, there were some impressive results in the league, with a 6-1 home win over Tottenham, a 5-2 victory at Arsenal and an incredible 5-0 home triumph over Manchester City standout results during the campaign.

In the cup competitions, the team made it to the Carabao Cup semi-finals only to lose 7-3 to Manchester United on aggregate. In between the two League Cup semi-finals legs was also a 2-1 loss to the Red Devils in the FA fourth round.

Who were the top performers?

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As soon as I saw the player stats, I just said said ‘wow’. That reaction was because striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin had scored 56 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions. DCL is usually highly effective in every Everton save. Still, this tactic seemed to get the best out of the England forward, who finished the season with a season-average rating of 7.75, one of the highest season ratings he has achieved in our tactic testing.

Talking about getting the best out of players, it also helped Dele and Demarai Gray to enjoy successful campaigns playing as the two attacking midfielders. Dele scored a highly respectable 14 goals while also producing ten assists. His average season rating came in at 7.15.

Meanwhile, Jamaican international Gray scored ten goals and produced an incredible 23 assists, earning himself a season rating of 7.33, the second highest after Calvert-Lewin.

On-loan Arnaut Danjuma also performed well as one of the defensive wingers, grabbing himself five goals, but maybe more importantly, 12 assists. His average season rating of 7.21 was the third-best in the team.

When it came to creativity, plenty of players produced a high number of assists during the season. Playing as a defensive winger, Ashley Young managed ten assists, while James Garner bagged eight.

Alex Iwobi and Dwight McNeil also contributed with seven assists apiece in a goal-filled season. Somewhat unusually, neither played the majority of games for the team. It’s unusual as both players are usually important players for Everton in most tactic testing. McNeil made more substitute appearances than starts over the course of the campaign.

Young centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite deserves mention, too, as he scored five goals, earning himself a season-average rating of 6.96.

What is my conclusion on this tactic?

I have to admit I haven’t had much success with this sort of formation in the past on FM in personal saves. That meant I was slightly sceptical that this tactic would be a success.

However, it turned out to be a highly successful tactic. From the results, it seems like it could be a highly entertaining tactic to use on my personal saves. Unlike some tactics where the team scores a lot of goals, this didn’t sacrifice much in defence, with a good balance.

With better-quality defenders, this tactic could achieve far greater results. The quality of the defenders in the Everton squad is not the fault of the tactic creator, and they should be commended for creating a tactic that both gets results and, from the stats, is highly entertaining.

This is certainly a tactic I will be testing out in the future in my personal saves, as I am interested to see what sort of results it can achieve with a better group of players, especially in defence.

Have you used the DDaRkNeSs 3-2-2-2-1 by DaRkNeSs? If you have what are your thoughts on the tactic, let us know via our socials