The latest tactic, and maybe one of the last we are testing for FM23, is the 4123 Pressure Cooker by the Chef. I have to admit I am not familiar with the Chef’s menu, but this tactic certainly tasted delicious.
It is fair to say that this tactic worked close to perfection, overachieving majorly. However, you will have to read on to find out just how much it overachieved.
The conditions of the tactic
The test was conducted with an updated database downloaded via the Steam workshop from FMInside.net if you want to update your game.
I started the game with Everton, who had a predicted finish of 12th place and holidayed an entire season. As is normally the case, the tactic overperformed the predicted finish position.
What is the tactical set-up?
As suggested by the title of the tactic, the formation is a 4123, which uses a balanced mentality in order to utilise the three forward players. In goal is a sweeper keeper on defend duty. In front of the ‘keeper are two inverted wing-backs on support, flanking two ball-playing defenders, who are both on defend.
A defensive midfielder on support offers some protection to the backline. Two defensive wingers operate on support in the wide midfield positions. Arguably, the most important players of the tactic line up in attack, with two pressing forwards flanking an advanced forward all on attack.
I have to say this formation suited the players available at Everton. Any formation that can get star forwards Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Beto into the starting line-up is good by me. However, other players seemed to thrive in their roles, too. More on that later, though.
How did the tactic perform?
Well, it is fair to say this tactic helped the team finish well above the predicted 12th-place finish. In fact, the team finished third place in the table, just two points adrift of second-place neighbours Liverpool.
As you would expect from a formation with three forwards, it was prolific in front of goal. Everton finished the season with 89 goals, which was a tally only bettered by champions Manchester City.
However, unlike other attacking tactics, this one was also reasonably solid at the back, with just 37 goals conceded, the sixth-best defensive record in the Premier League. The strong attack and decent defence combined to give the team a goal difference of 52.
One noticeable aspect of this tactic was how well the team played in the second half of the season, as they won 16 of their last 19 games in the Premier League, which is an incredible record for most top-flight teams. The stellar run included winning their previous five league games of the campaign.
Unfortunately, there was no cup glory to be had in the first season. The team suffered a quarter-final exit against West Ham in the FA Cup while losing out to Fulham in the Third-Round stage of the Carabao Cup.
Who were the top performers?
With a tactic seemingly geared to get the best out of the forward players, unsurprisingly, it did the job, with the three forward players producing the highest average ratings over the season.
The advanced forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored a respectable average rating of 7.59, scoring 25 goals and producing ten assists in 44 appearances. One of his fellow forwards, Beto’s season average rating was not far behind DCL’s at 7.46 after the Portuguese forward plundered 30 goals and produced nine assists in 39 appearances.
The third player in attack for most of the season was the versatile Dwight McNeil, who scored 14 goals and also assisted a further 14 while picking up a season-average rating of 7.21.
The defensive wingers didn’t disappoint either when it came to stats. Jack Harrison played most of the season on the left flank, creating a team-high 18 assists while also scoring four goals to get a season average of 7.19. On the other flank was another versatile player, James Garner, who also weighed in with 13 assists and two goals, making his season average rating 7.11.
Centre-back James Tarkowski deserves a mention, too, for his goalscoring exploits, as he notched an impressive ten goals. His stats suggest that the tactic included a highly effective set-piece routine.
Midfielder Idrissa Gueye was also creative, producing six assists from the defensive midfield role. Meanwhile, veteran full-backs Ashley Young and Seamus Coleman produced five assists each.
What is my conclusion on this tactic?
As any regular readers of our site will know, balance is one of the things I look for in my tactics. I liked this tactic, as although it contained three forwards, it had a good balance, likely because only the three front players were on attack duty.
The tactic obviously brought out the best in the front players, including Jack Harrison and James Garner.
The sign of a good tactic for me is if I would be excited to use it in one of my personal saves. I would consider using this one, although, with the release of FM24, I may need to use it on one of my personal saves on the new edition and see if it still fairs well.
I would definitely recommend this tactic to anybody who is managing a decent team with good forward players.
Have you used the 4123 Pressure Cooker by Chef in your personal save? If you have, let us know your thoughts on the tactic via our socials