Possible Paysandu Tactics

This year on Football Manager 2019, I want to try something new tactically rather than covering stuff I’ve done before and going over old ground. But I’ve been struggling to decide which idea I should go with, due to having so many of them and my brain going into overdrive. So I thought I’d do a post explaining the options I could take and then allow you to help me make the final decision.


One of the options I toyed with originally was to mimic Paysandu’s real life tactics. This issue with this however is they play a 4-2-3-1 shape and I covered that last year, well the deep version with defensive midfielders. Nonetheless, it’s always satisfying replicating real life systems, especially when you find some really good analysis to base it off. I was lucky enough to stumble across some analysis from https://twitter.com/torotatico. I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I sent them a message on Twitter and Mathaus Almeida who runs the site gave me some really detailed analysis. Mathaus has been really helpful and gone above what I was expecting with his analysis, so for that I am very grateful.

Paysandu aren’t a stable club, they’re on the fifth manager this year already. Which means it’s hard to find some kind of tactical identity to copy. However there is some positives under the current manager João Brigatti. Paysandu don’t strictly stick to a 4-2-3-1 formation and it can often be described as a 4-5-1/4-4-1-1/4-3-3 depending on the phase of play. This gives us some wiggle room on Football Manager because we can manipulate the shape we use to attack however we want via the roles and duties used. When Paysandu attack, they tend to attack in a 3-3-4 or a 3-2-5 shape.

We could use most of the shapes I mentioned above as a base to work from. But ultimately it will likely come back to playing like a 4-2-3-1 and as I’m wanting to avoid repeating what I’ve written about tactically in the past, I’m not sure this is the best option but it is an interesting and realistic approach. Which fits what I’m doing on the game.......


Another option is to use some kind of variation of the 3-4-2-1 formation above. The roles above aren’t what I’d use obviously, those were just the preset options I had. For the 3-4-2-1 to work I’d need to add the following to the system;

  • Someone who can play the ball out from the back.
  • Wingers or wing backs who can get up and down the pitch to offer width.
  • A no nonsense midfielder who won’t shy away from a tackle.
  • Attacking midfielder who can create chances and space, use space and support the striker.

Those would be the fundamentals that I need for the system to work. There are many different combinations that I can use when setting this up and one of the reasons it’s an option. It’s intriguing because it’s a very flexible system and will create an abundance of passing triangles throughout the side.

3-2-2-3/W-M Formation

Okay so I’ve wrote about this one in the past a number of times, however I don’t think any of it exists online any longer (with all images intact) as it was on the old hosts before they went bust and I lost everything. Those of you who have followed me for a while will know of my love for the W-M formation. I believe the system still has a place in the modern footballing world but its hard work to get it functioning how you want. If I really wanted I could push the two central midfielders up to the attacking midfield positions to give it a different kind of attacking threat.

From an article perspective, I think this formation will bring some of the more interesting ones due to the issues I’ll have implementing it and how I’ll have to view the games to spot issues. I’ll be doing a lot of analysis this year anyway but I think this would be the most challenging to write about.


One of the more interesting football concepts would be to do something along the lines of what Bielsa does. There isn’t a shortage of content covering the Argentine, so I’d have lots of stuff to reference and watch if I go down this path.

The downside to this is there are probably a million people all doing the same thing this year. Do I really want to be a sheep and follow what everyone else is doing? I’m not sure I do but I don’t want to rule it out until I see what other content creators have/are doing.


Last year I wrote about the Segundo Volante role and how great it was. I also posted some screenshots on Twitter of me using a modern day Brazilian Box formation using two of them. But it was just a throw away idea. The idea itself does still interest me though. The rest of the roles in the system above aren’t what I’d use I don’t think but the two Segundo Volante’s are something I’d keep.

I’m just wondering if this system would be much different from the 3-5-2’s I wrote about last year and the year before. I have a feeling they’d end up pretty similar in terms of how they function, even if I mix up the roles.

There are other ideas I have but if I wrote about them all, I’d be here all day and never finish this short article off. My issue isn’t I’m short of ideas, if anything it’s the opposite and I have too many. As this will be my only save on Football Manager 2019 though, I need to make sure I keep it interesting as it’s highly unlikely that I switch the system up once I’ve started. The reason being is that I’ll be building the club towards playing a specific way and developing the players for certain positions. So the philosophy I instill on the club has to correct from the start and I don’t want to build towards something in terms of player development then in a few years time, decide to throw that away and start again tactically.

If you have any interesting ideas yourself on how I should set up, I’m willing to consider them. Please post them below for me to see, or if you like the idea of some of the stuff I’ve mentioned above then please let me know.

12 thoughts on “Possible Paysandu Tactics”

  1. I like the look of that 3-5-1-1 formation. It’s not dissimilar to my Harpy formation from FM18. The depth and versatility offered by the two SV’s is amazing. They are amazing box-to-box players in the DM-strata, offering some defensive security because of their deep positioning, while also offering penetration into the opposing team’s penalty area. I look forward to seeing what you can do with such a setup.

  2. I played the W-M formation in FM18, after reading ‘Inverting the Pyramid’ but eventually the AI worked out that two strikers with a long ball counter was effective against it. I loved the two half backs and the way they pushed on against a weaker opponent. I didn’t use IWB and had two mezzalas. I have created the formation in FM19 but will be using it sparingly.

  3. Said it before mate! W – M! It suits everything you want to do this year! Both fresh and really challenging!

  4. I’ve seen in your Twitter you mention a wide diamond and I would be quite curious to see something about that. I’ve almost never seen it used, I believe once several years ago, by someone who stopped doing videos long ago. I’ve tried a couple of times, but it was just after a rut of form when I saw clear I needed to shake things up tactically and never stuck to it beyond a second match, so I’ve never developed one.

  5. I’d love to see the 3-5-1-1 & how you work the roles / instructions to create the movement to score the goals.

  6. Would be great to see you have a crack at the W-M formation, would really enjoy the analysis going into this formation and how it will work

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