Ooh, sorry mate nearly cost you there! I've only been doing it at the top level so naturally my assman has been of high quality when it comes to that kind of stuff. It's a nightmare if they aren't, when Sammy Lee would do it he would set oppo instructions on absolutely every single player on the pitch. Lost all my fluency from then on.
As for tactical tips something I've just come across if you're playing two up front, though it may sound blindingly obvious, but don't have them on the same level. I'd had Gouffran set as a poacher and Chamakh as a target man (with attack) at Bordeaux and once I realised that it ended up leaving them in the same positions and not really working together I've switched Gouffran to a deep lying forward with support and run from deep often, and left Chamakh as he was and now they're linking up much, much better.
It's a key feature of the 4-2-3-1 as well, the AMC is like that deep lying forward - front man is a big man (preferably someone like Torres/Drogba/Ibra who can do the lot) who drops deep, the AMC runs from deeper, scoring as well as playing the others through. The ideal AMC would probably be exactly the same as the ideal front man - pass, pace, flair, dribbling, creativity, finishing etc but also jumping and heading would be a huge bonus if you could find such a player - Diego used to be like that a version or two back.
It's also vital in the CM pairing - whether you play with 2 or a triangle you all want them to have different 'flavours', the attacking CM/Def mid or maybe Def cm combo is working well for me, and I think it will further down the road too, the system seems sound - especially against 3-5-2 type variants, I've absolutely demolished a few teams with an attacking 4-2-3-1, 'get ball forward' and 'exploit the flanks'. It actually works a lot like in real life - 4-2-3-1 really IS the reason 3-5-2 doesn't get played any more - they've got a pointless extra CB so you can dominate mid and their strikers, the 'wingers' find loads of space in behind their full backs, which then pulls the side CBs out of position, leaving your '1' 1 on 1 with their central CB. Whatever you system, tactics, I highly recommend giving the 4-2-3-1 a go against those 3-5-2 variants - successful most times. Maybe leave your FBs on support for security though, you don't really need them getting forward as your wide players already get in behind when their FBs push up, as they pretty much have to to make the system work. Make sure you close down all 3 CBs as well.
Top teams get 4-2-3-1, to give the defensive strength. I use 4-4-2 Diamond against smaller league sides, where I don't need two midfielders to control the midfield. Flat 4-4-2 is usually when I play a few reserves.
I have the '2' set as CMs rather than DMs. I haven't tried having them set more defensively, the gap between DM and AM looks massive and I'm not sure that it would be easy to get the ball forward.
I have one set to ball winning midfielder (usually Masch, although Lucas is very good too) and one to either box-to-box or advanced playmaker. I've found that both Lucas and Aquilani can play both roles pretty well. In 4-4-2 Diamond, the defensive midfielder is 'ball winning' again and the attacker is 'Treqartista' (or however it's spelled). In a flat 4-4-2, it's one ball winner, one box-to-box/advanced playmaker again.
Thanks BigDava - pretty similar to my thinking. I must work on getting a 4-4-2 variant for certain games - 4-2-3-1 is very good, and as you note it's rock solid defensively - a great option EG on the counter against top teams, but it can struggle against bog standard 4-4-2 opponents. Cheers for the tips.
Oh incidentally - if anyone has a young team - here's a tip. If you weren't favourites to win promotion, don't say your gonna win the title - I did that in my game and now my lads are, almost to a man, feeling huge pressure. I've tried tutoring some of them (make sure their characters are similar or it'll be counter-productive, EG get a determined player to tutor a 'fairly determined' one) which gives a morale boost but it's tricky - the tactics are working but the players are just struggling to execute - making basic mistakes and struggling with 1 on 1's etc. I think I'm going to have to try and ride out the season downplaying expectations and playing more on the break. Should still get auto promotion but I'd got myself into a position to fly the league but I've possibly blown it with my insane transfer addiction and (justified but ill advised) optimism.
Will be great lessons for the championship though I hope. I almost jumped ship to city - even accepted the job, but the game crashed and sent me back a few matches. Funnily enough to before I'd predicted us for the league, but I hadn't realised the impact that made so made the same mistake again. All good though - part of my challenge this time around is to avoid cheating, find out how good I really am.
Props to Big Dava, our new Charlton man and the Atlético manager - you don't achieve those results without a sound grasp of the game, great achievements.