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The Art of Possession Football


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Cleon I can see that you are using a DMC Support as your holding player. If I was to change the DMC Support to a Anchor Man do you think this would affect the way the system plays. Could I ask how the Anchor would affect the roles in the midfield and further forward. I am just confused and do not quite understand what midfield roles to change if I was to use a Anchor Man instead of a DMC Support.

An anchor sits and protects the back 4, so he sits in the hole. A DMC on support is a bit more aggressive and also helps in the build up of play unlike the anchor man. If I changed the role in my set up then it would have a huge impact on the way I play and all the examples I posted in the section about the DMC would be none existent.

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@Cleon

You lost 5 games in 2 seasons in the league.

Why you think you lost those games ? ( it was individual mistakes from the players ?)

What tweaks did you make during the matches trying to equalize ?

You can't win all games, sometimes you just lose. I didn't make any tweaks in the games as I wasn't being outplayed, it was just not our day at all. If my game plan is working which 99% of the time it does, then it's pointless changing what works so well just because I go down a goal. There's no point panicking and going chasing the game when I normally do okay :)

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I like the pass into space shout as I like increased throughballs. The reason I don't use shorter passing though is because I think the passing is just about right for how I want to play. Any shorter and it might be too short for natural counter attacks at times and I could see moves break down. So I just decided to leave it as it is for better overall balance. If I used different roles though I could go shorter passing.

Hmm so in terms of articles then you want me to combine these articles;

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/423246-What-Makes-A-Goalscorer-!

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/427810-Meet-The-Attacking-Midfield-Playmaker

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/443668-A-Comparison-Enganche-vs-Enganche

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/443436-Meet-The-Enganche(s)

Those type of stuff?

I'll answer the last bit first. Yes, in a way I would like to see you write an article combining elements from the above mentioned separate pieces, I guess. Would it be possible to create an intelligent attacking tactic that combines such elements? Cause those pieces were great on their own.

Now regarding the passing and your tactic. I think it took me awhile to realize why you have decided to omit Shorter Passing. It's because of the space and movement created by the roles and team shape (Very Structured) that you have chosen. Analyzing things even further, I also realize that two of your key roles in midfield, RPM and BBM, actually have mixed Risky Passes as part of their default settings, yet they bring movement and dynamism. One attracts the ball and moves it with dribbling, while the other doesn't demand the ball but provides options and opens things up with intelligent movement off the ball. Meanwhile, your front 3 all have Risky Passes selected by default as part of their roles - IF(S), F9 and AP - which provides the edge in your set and besides helping them find each other, it also helps them by the BBM and RPM when they do break forward from deep. Do I have this right or what?

On the other hand, I use Shorter Passing in my possession tactic, along with Retain Possession and Play Out Of Defense, which makes my passing the shortest. But it leads me to thinking that perhaps I need to be more compact, through my Team Shape and Role selections because of my passing. Am I right? Or do I need to open things up by de-selecting shorter passing? Let me present to you my complete set up (playing as Barcelona, btw, which is easy or it should be):

4-3-3 Wide (3CMs + AMR/L)

Standard Mentality, Structured Team Shape

Retain Possession, Shorter Passing, Play Out Of Defense, Roam From Positions, Push Higher Up, Close Down Much More, Prevent Short GK Distribution

Roles:

GK = SK-S (PIs - Roll out, Pass Shorter, Distribute to CDs, Slow Pace Down)

DR/L = WB-S (Shoot Less)

CDs = CD-D

MCR = BBM-S (Shoot Less)

MC = DLP-D (Close Down Much Less)

MCL = RPM-S (Shoot Less)

AMR = AP-A (Get Further Forward)

AML = IF-S (Shoot Less, Get Further Forward)

STC = CF-S (Shoot Less)

I don't have problem performing and winning matches. I've won all my matches in all competitions in the first season through January. And that's with the tactic not being fully Fluid because I've experimented with various settings until settling on those above. However, for me it's about creating a Barcelona possession style that I'm happy with performing and winning. Style-wise, I'm aiming for something between Pep Guardiola of a few years back and the current Luis Enrique's team.

I guess my question is do I need Team Shape and Player Roles that bring my team closer together to make my passing more successful? Would that increase my possession and control over games?

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For me the biggest eye-opener was the passing-radius. With ultrashort-passing you need every player very close to each other, which kills the space, I would keep a low tempo, but be a bit more expansive in the passing department. I had a sweeper-keeper who would punt it Long regularely, despite me asking him to distribute to my cbs and that was because his passing range was very short and my defence was pushed up.

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I'll answer the last bit first. Yes, in a way I would like to see you write an article combining elements from the above mentioned separate pieces, I guess. Would it be possible to create an intelligent attacking tactic that combines such elements? Cause those pieces were great on their own.

Okay, I get what you are wanting. Maybe, it might be possible.

Now regarding the passing and your tactic. I think it took me awhile to realize why you have decided to omit Shorter Passing. It's because of the space and movement created by the roles and team shape (Very Structured) that you have chosen. Analyzing things even further, I also realize that two of your key roles in midfield, RPM and BBM, actually have mixed Risky Passes as part of their default settings, yet they bring movement and dynamism. One attracts the ball and moves it with dribbling, while the other doesn't demand the ball but provides options and opens things up with intelligent movement off the ball. Meanwhile, your front 3 all have Risky Passes selected by default as part of their roles - IF(S), F9 and AP - which provides the edge in your set and besides helping them find each other, it also helps them by the BBM and RPM when they do break forward from deep. Do I have this right or what?

Exactly!

The RPM and BBM are probably the most two important roles in the whole system because they are the movement and support. The movement they make enables the wide playmaker to use them to build attacks and they also link the striker with the inside forward. If they didn't play in this manner then the striker, inside forward and advanced playmaker would all struggle and get isolated at various times through the match. It's all about using roles that interlink well and compliment each other. For the reasons you mentioned this is why I play the way I do. It's also one of the reasons I play a bit risky by using a DMC support because he helps in the initial build up of play.

The risky passes element is one of the reasons why a lot of my assists come from through balls on the stats I posted. The intelligent movement all the players make coupled with risky passes sees you doing some nice moves and players finding lots of space. The RPM and BBM also provide a late, deep running options into the box or on the edge of it. Often I can see them doing the exact same move I posted in the Arsenal example.

On the other hand, I use Shorter Passing in my possession tactic, along with Retain Possession and Play Out Of Defense, which makes my passing the shortest. But it leads me to thinking that perhaps I need to be more compact, through my Team Shape and Role selections because of my passing. Am I right?

Possibly yes. Do you find players are keeping the ball for the sake of it or at times can't play the simple passes? Your way of currently playing is obviously working so I guess the real question is, is it working like you want and expect or is it just working? The overall style of how I use the ball and what we do with it is important to me.

Or do I need to open things up by de-selecting shorter passing?

This will also work but it comes back to the same thing. How do you want to utilise the possession and what are you expecting from the players. Either this or the previous can work it just depends which we think fits out styles better.

I don't have problem performing and winning matches. I've won all my matches in all competitions in the first season through January. And that's with the tactic not being fully Fluid because I've experimented with various settings until settling on those above. However, for me it's about creating a Barcelona possession style that I'm happy with performing and winning. Style-wise, I'm aiming for something between Pep Guardiola of a few years back and the current Luis Enrique's team.

I guess my question is do I need Team Shape and Player Roles that bring my team closer together to make my passing more successful? Would that increase my possession and control over games?

You can get crazy amounts of possession so you can always increase it and the control over the game, especially with a side like Barca. In a game yesterday I experimented with having possession for the sake of it and we had just short of 70% and controlled the game but it wasn't the style I wanted. More possession, especially as high as that can make you toothless at times. What I want to do is control the game with high possession but I also want to be a goal threat as much as possible and not retain the ball just for the sake of it. I still want to win games.

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For me the biggest eye-opener was the passing-radius. With ultrashort-passing you need every player very close to each other, which kills the space, I would keep a low tempo, but be a bit more expansive in the passing department. I had a sweeper-keeper who would punt it Long regularely, despite me asking him to distribute to my cbs and that was because his passing range was very short and my defence was pushed up.

This is a mistake a lot of people make when creating a possession based tactic. They use all the passing modifier options and have little regard for the actual positioning of players. It causes all kinds of issues if you don't take both factors into account and set the roles and duties to match the passing style to make use of it.

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Great article Cleon.

I've not played a new version of FM since FM13 and a lot has changed between then and FM16. I had no idea how the new roles and TI and PI affected each other, so thanks for writing these articles as they've been really helpful.

On FM13 I had a great 433 tactic that maintained possession, scored bags of goals, and conceded very few. The holy trinity of a tactic really.

I've adapted your principles with some tweaks to make it more 'attacking' (for want of a better word). Changed F9 to CFs as my forwards are quick and have PPM break offside so I wanted them to break behind the back line. My forwards also have play one twos and this combined with a support duty is making them drop deep, play the ball to a midfielder and then spin in behind in to the space created by dragging out a defender.

I'm also playing through the middle as this is where the IF and AP are naturally roaming to and I'd rather have the full backs as a plan B if things get to clustered.

Some of the final 3rd play was a bit stagnant, but I have some players with excellent long shot ratings, so depending on who is playing I change their PI to shoot more often. I've also as a TI added run at defence.

One more defensive sounding move was to change DMs to DMd. I changed this as my DM was getting in the box constantly and I was worried about counter attacks. Ironically I changed it after a game in which my DM scored the only goal in a 1-0 away win, but I was too worried about counters. Although I changed this for defensive reasons, it adds a new dimension in the attacking play. He sits deep with acres of space so when we can't penetrate it's played back to him and we start again.

I now regularly have just under 60% possession and at least 20 chances a game with about half on target, and at least 3 CCC.

I can't thank you enough for this thread Cleon, really got me thinking about how the tactics system works in the new version of FM.

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I've made this tactic after reading this.

http://lineupbuilder.com/?sk=9vx1f

TI: control/flexible; retain possession,roam from position,play out of def.,work ball into box,lower tempo,close down more.

PI: for WM/R is sit narrow.

This one bumped my possession stats a bit. Not really like Cleon's averages, but in most games I'll have more than 50%. It also made me dominate games, attacking more than opponents. Originally I put my striker to be false9 but since I was always attacking I noticed that I didn't have anyone in the box for finishing attacks so I switched him to CF/S. I thought he will be isolated but in fact he did play quite ok judging by the ratings. I'll see how this goes in the future. Maybe try him as DLF. Also my wingback/r and WM/r are playing great, both are in the centre of most things we do when attacking.

Biggest problem is lack of clear cut chances. Often I will have a lot of half chances, but not many clear cut chances. I'd like to somehow upgrade this to be more lethal in making chances..any ideas?

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Great article Cleon.

I've not played a new version of FM since FM13 and a lot has changed between then and FM16. I had no idea how the new roles and TI and PI affected each other, so thanks for writing these articles as they've been really helpful.

On FM13 I had a great 433 tactic that maintained possession, scored bags of goals, and conceded very few. The holy trinity of a tactic really.

I've adapted your principles with some tweaks to make it more 'attacking' (for want of a better word). Changed F9 to CFs as my forwards are quick and have PPM break offside so I wanted them to break behind the back line. My forwards also have play one twos and this combined with a support duty is making them drop deep, play the ball to a midfielder and then spin in behind in to the space created by dragging out a defender.

I'm also playing through the middle as this is where the IF and AP are naturally roaming to and I'd rather have the full backs as a plan B if things get to clustered.

Some of the final 3rd play was a bit stagnant, but I have some players with excellent long shot ratings, so depending on who is playing I change their PI to shoot more often. I've also as a TI added run at defence.

One more defensive sounding move was to change DMs to DMd. I changed this as my DM was getting in the box constantly and I was worried about counter attacks. Ironically I changed it after a game in which my DM scored the only goal in a 1-0 away win, but I was too worried about counters. Although I changed this for defensive reasons, it adds a new dimension in the attacking play. He sits deep with acres of space so when we can't penetrate it's played back to him and we start again.

I now regularly have just under 60% possession and at least 20 chances a game with about half on target, and at least 3 CCC.

I can't thank you enough for this thread Cleon, really got me thinking about how the tactics system works in the new version of FM.

Glad I was able to help :)

I've made this tactic after reading this.

http://lineupbuilder.com/?sk=9vx1f

TI: control/flexible; retain possession,roam from position,play out of def.,work ball into box,lower tempo,close down more.

PI: for WM/R is sit narrow.

This one bumped my possession stats a bit. Not really like Cleon's averages, but in most games I'll have more than 50%. It also made me dominate games, attacking more than opponents. Originally I put my striker to be false9 but since I was always attacking I noticed that I didn't have anyone in the box for finishing attacks so I switched him to CF/S. I thought he will be isolated but in fact he did play quite ok judging by the ratings. I'll see how this goes in the future. Maybe try him as DLF. Also my wingback/r and WM/r are playing great, both are in the centre of most things we do when attacking.

Biggest problem is lack of clear cut chances. Often I will have a lot of half chances, but not many clear cut chances. I'd like to somehow upgrade this to be more lethal in making chances..any ideas?

You might be better off actually using the principles of this thread to increase your attacking options. It covers all the basics.

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/423246-What-Makes-A-Goalscorer-!

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@ Cleo

In the other thread where you talked about counter attacking you pointed out that it was important to choose a formation that suited the mentality, like the 4-1-4-1 does because you have a lot of players back i defense.

Would you say that when playing a controll or attacking tactic the opposite comes in to play?

for example, would it be easier to create a possesion based tactic using a 4-2-3-1 formation with wingers then it would be using a straight 4-5-1?

Are there formations thats better suited for attacking tactics and vice verca?

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@ Cleo

In the other thread where you talked about counter attacking you pointed out that it was important to choose a formation that suited the mentality, like the 4-1-4-1 does because you have a lot of players back i defense.

Would you say that when playing a controll or attacking tactic the opposite comes in to play?

for example, would it be easier to create a possesion based tactic using a 4-2-3-1 formation with wingers then it would be using a straight 4-5-1?

Are there formations thats better suited for attacking tactics and vice verca?

I covered this in the article. The formation for possession football doesn't really matter, you need one that has lots of movement and roaming for it to work. That can be achieved with almost any shape. But it's important to remember that the more numbers in midfield the easier ball retention will be as you won't get crowded out.

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Hi guys,

trying to make a possesion tactic, but still have some good attacking moves on the final third, can you help tweak what i got here?

thank you

http://imgur.com/1RdgaOj

http://imgur.com/wpPKRYX

How can we help when you've not gave any details of what's going wrong etc? You need to go into specifics if you need help, no-one can advise anything based on screenshots. Those suggestions have to come from match examples of issues, problems etc because it adds context to the above.

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How can we help when you've not gave any details of what's going wrong etc? You need to go into specifics if you need help, no-one can advise anything based on screenshots. Those suggestions have to come from match examples of issues, problems etc because it adds context to the above.

Sorry, the issue is, either my team chews on the ball and changes passes in the box and no one shoots (if i tick retain possession) or the team creates chances but they dont pass the ball to my striker and end missing good chances... my main concearn is at the momento the attaking play in the final third:

1 . is that stricker role correct?

2. are my winger and IF correct in terms of role

3. is my attack coherent with rest of team roles and mentality?

thank you for the help

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Sorry, the issue is, either my team chews on the ball and changes passes in the box and no one shoots (if i tick retain possession) or the team creates chances but they dont pass the ball to my striker and end missing good chances... my main concearn is at the momento the attaking play in the final third:

1 . is that stricker role correct?

2. are my winger and IF correct in terms of role

3. is my attack coherent with rest of team roles and mentality?

thank you for the help

If you feel that you need a BBM then I would swap him places with the DLP so as he provides the cover for the overlapping fullback. Your IF might also occupy a similar space as your AM so I would be tempted to change him to an attack role to break the lines a bit more and get into the box. Possibly remove short passing as well as it looks a bit overkill with a fluid setting and work into box

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Cleon, out of curiosity, what other formations do you think would be well suited to possession football?

For instance, in your counter attack thread you've said that 4-1-4-1, 4-5-1 and variations of 3-5-2 are well suited to counter attacking football.

If you read 5 replies up you'd know :brock:

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If you feel that you need a BBM then I would swap him places with the DLP so as he provides the cover for the overlapping fullback. Your IF might also occupy a similar space as your AM so I would be tempted to change him to an attack role to break the lines a bit more and get into the box. Possibly remove short passing as well as it looks a bit overkill with a fluid setting and work into box

My IF appears a bit in the amc spot, true, ill try changing to attack... the BBM does a good job so ll stick with him, but will change with the DLP. any suggestion for the BBM role, would this tct require a differente role there? what passing should i have? Mixed?

thank you

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My IF appears a bit in the amc spot, true, ill try changing to attack... the BBM does a good job so ll stick with him, but will change with the DLP. any suggestion for the BBM role, would this tct require a differente role there? what passing should i have? Mixed?

thank you

Yes change to mixed. Mixed with those settings should still produce a shorter passing game but allows a bit more freedom and width. The BBM role is fine if you feel you are getting enough defensive cover. If not then a CM(s) is never a bad balanced option. You can also add PIs to taylor him a bit more based on how he is performing.

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Yes change to mixed. Mixed with those settings should still produce a shorter passing game but allows a bit more freedom and width. The BBM role is fine if you feel you are getting enough defensive cover. If not then a CM(s) is never a bad balanced option. You can also add PIs to taylor him a bit more based on how he is performing.

Made the changes, gain more fluidity in the attack, they play fast but secure football, with great tiki taka in between, defence is strong at the moment and team recovers very well if they lose the ball... would like to see more action from the left winger... any ideas (im afraid that if he attacks more team will loose balance) thanks mate, great help ya gave there!

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Made the changes, gain more fluidity in the attack, they play fast but secure football, with great tiki taka in between, defence is strong at the moment and team recovers very well if they lose the ball... would like to see more action from the left winger... any ideas (im afraid that if he attacks more team will loose balance) thanks mate, great help ya gave there!

Do you need a winger for the type of football that you are trying to play? Something like a wide AP might suit your style better?

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Do you need a winger for the type of football that you are trying to play? Something like a wide AP might suit your style better?

well... i have no clue :p

i wouldlke him to be more involved in attack (crossing, and entering the area a bit more to try and get a goal... but trying not to loose midfield positionig to balance his runs... do think a AP would be best than a winger sup for this, or should i make him a winger attack (then he wont defend...)

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@Cleon After applying some of the principles to my Milan save I'm starting to see some great possession stats, currently have an average of 57.23% from 26 matches with 12375 passes completed at 84% completion.

Now a small question if you will, what made you have the AP(S) on the same side as the RPM? my thinking would be that the AP(S) would sit in the channel the RPM would use therefore clogging that area of the pitch.

And also what are the fundamental differences between the AP(S) and an IF(S)? looking at the player instructions it seems it is a pretty similar role apart from increased dribbling of the IF(S)

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well... i have no clue :p

i wouldlke him to be more involved in attack (crossing, and entering the area a bit more to try and get a goal... but trying not to loose midfield positionig to balance his runs... do think a AP would be best than a winger sup for this, or should i make him a winger attack (then he wont defend...)

For me, a winger doesnt really fit with the rest of your roles here. The primary focus of the winger is to provide width (obviously) and get crosses into the box. Your IF wont be a great target as with a support duty he will be deeper and wont get to the back post as often. Similarly an AM attack isnt going to burst into the box in the fashion that a SS would or a CM(a). Your CF has a lot of responsibility and therefore his primary focus isnt simply goalscoring in the way that a poacher or AF is for example. You have a few options depending on what you are trying to achieve but from what you've said I would probably drop him back to the ML slot and play as a WM. Your BBM on that side will still make attacking runs so you should still be fluid but defensively solid as well. All of this just my opinion based on what I see in my game but I hope it works for you.

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well... i have no clue :p

i wouldlke him to be more involved in attack (crossing, and entering the area a bit more to try and get a goal... but trying not to loose midfield positionig to balance his runs... do think a AP would be best than a winger sup for this, or should i make him a winger attack (then he wont defend...)

Made him a AP sup, im playing football now, thank you all for the help!!

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Screen_Shot_2015_12_08_at_16_15_58.png

I just can't score enough. The amount of times my attacking full back gets up in a position and then waits and gets tackled is irritating. Possession isn't a problem, but I just don't create anything. Once I get within 25 yards, my players are already on the edge of the box and it's just a cycle before it's chucked back to the DMC and then out to the full back and lost. It's so predictable. My B2B MC is generally the guy with the most shots while my forwards hardly get a sight of goal. Need a lot of tweaking on my attempt :(

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@Cleon After applying some of the principles to my Milan save I'm starting to see some great possession stats, currently have an average of 57.23% from 26 matches with 12375 passes completed at 84% completion.

Now a small question if you will, what made you have the AP(S) on the same side as the RPM? my thinking would be that the AP(S) would sit in the channel the RPM would use therefore clogging that area of the pitch.

And also what are the fundamental differences between the AP(S) and an IF(S)? looking at the player instructions it seems it is a pretty similar role apart from increased dribbling of the IF(S)

Why would they clog up? The RMP can move about, it's not like he has to sit on top of the AP. Players can play fine and offer different things playing in the same area. The AP tends to create nice passing triangles with the RB and RPM and between them they can normally create overloads down the right and slip the ball through to the striker.

A IF even on support is a goal threat, they cut inside looking to use space and run from deep while getting in and around the box to finish off chances. While the AP is all about creating for others.

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Screen_Shot_2015_12_08_at_16_15_58.png

I just can't score enough. The amount of times my attacking full back gets up in a position and then waits and gets tackled is irritating. Possession isn't a problem, but I just don't create anything. Once I get within 25 yards, my players are already on the edge of the box and it's just a cycle before it's chucked back to the DMC and then out to the full back and lost. It's so predictable. My B2B MC is generally the guy with the most shots while my forwards hardly get a sight of goal. Need a lot of tweaking on my attempt :(

If your players are already on the edge of the box then use less aggressive roles which will arrive a little later? That would be simplest solution.

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How can my team be more creative? Would you like give me some suggestion maybe ?

yc54bnds.jpg

I can't answer because we don't know how creative you are now. Or what has prompted you to think you need to be more creative.

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Why would they clog up? The RMP can move about, it's not like he has to sit on top of the AP. Players can play fine and offer different things playing in the same area. The AP tends to create nice passing triangles with the RB and RPM and between them they can normally create overloads down the right and slip the ball through to the striker.

A IF even on support is a goal threat, they cut inside looking to use space and run from deep while getting in and around the box to finish off chances. While the AP is all about creating for others.

Just me thinking out loud, I guess with the RPM and the PI of 'roam from position' helps.

Do you ever see issues with the FB(A) getting to the byline and just holding onto the ball waiting for support, sometimes playing it all the way back to the DM, I assume with the retain possession TI this reduces crossing?

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Just me thinking out loud, I guess with the RPM and the PI of 'roam from position' helps.

Do you ever see issues with the FB(A) getting to the byline and just holding onto the ball waiting for support, sometimes playing it all the way back to the DM, I assume with the retain possession TI this reduces crossing?

No he hardly ever goes to the byline because he's just a fullback and has plenty of passing options along side/infront of him.

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No he hardly ever goes to the byline because he's just a fullback and has plenty of passing options along side/infront of him.

Oh! then I think mine may be broken then, unless it is PPM related he does have 'runs with ball down the right' 'gets forward whenever possible' & 'hugs line' could it be one of those?

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Oh! then I think mine may be broken then, unless it is PPM related he does have 'runs with ball down the right' 'gets forward whenever possible' & 'hugs line' could it be one of those?

Yeah those won't help him :)

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Hm... I'll try this again then and see what I can make out.

So... I decided on 4-4-1-1. It looked good in some of the test runs I did on FMTouch, but those were mostly friendly games, and usually mismatches. But I was getting chances and things were looking a bit more interesting.

I started up an unemployed, sunday league game. Let me tell you, the job market is horrible, being rejected all the time. So January came and I got asked to take over Bristol Rovers, bottom of the league with only 2 wins all season. The media mocked my appointment (oh, come on...) but whatever!

Here's my roles so far:

GK/D,

FB/S, CB/D

CM/D, DLP/S

WM/S, WM/S

T/A

AF/A

My set up was Counter / Fluid / Retain Possession, Play out of defence.

My Style? I like numbers behind the ball when defending, and containing the threat until a good tackle opportunity arrives. I also like playing out of defence, but I also love fast transitions. I reason that Counter suits me, as it can favour a controlling, possession game and transition quickly when we need to on the counter. The TI's are specifically to stop hoofball from the defenders, and specifically to build something of a possession game. Really, I'm not looking to be a massive possession team, I'll happily take 40% possession if it means we win, but I don't see the problem in encouraging possession... If that makes sense.

Reasoning for the roles?

Goalkeeper - Well duh.

Full Backs - I picked Full backs as the description says they're more defensively minded, which is fine, I want them defending but still offering some form of wide play. I might switch this to Wing back/support if and when I get better players.

CB/D - Standard defenders, no hoof ball permitted with me!

CM/D - The defensive midfielder, we need one, everyone needs one.

DLP/S - I like my deep lying creators, they are severely under-rated. This guy should help with the defensive plays.

WM/S - I don't want wingers pelting the box with crosses, and normally I would have one of these guys as an WM/A inside forward. At the moment, I don't quite have a player that I'm happy to play in that specific role, so for now I'll see how 2 WM/S' actually do.

T/A - I've always wanted to try a Treq/AF combo.

AF/A - I want someone leading the line, I'm also sick and tired of playing False 9's and Deep Lying forwards, so I want to challenge myself to try and get an AF working.

First game, Stevenage at home, everyone's written us off. Won 3-1, with a whooping 65% possession. :brock: Two of the three goals were from set pieces though, which implies I'm not actually creating anything of substance - I have a feeling my open play goal was down to the defending bug (where they pull inside too much), but it is early days - I also played this game with several players out of position, we don't have a natural AMC, and the previous manager ran the first team into the ground (a lot of 70% fitness players), so I was really having a 'patch job' line up for my debut game. Still...

We are pretty crap though, so I don't expect to manage that sort of win every day, at least not until the end of the season when I can sack everyone and build my own team. (We're in some crippling debt, which is why they hired me, cos I'm cheap... :( )

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Retain Possession - was originally using Shorter Passing but swapped to this once I properly understood the impact of the team shape and how this helps negate the "downside" (for want of a better word).

Could you explain this piece? I'm sure this has already been answered but I'm still having trouble understanding the difference between Shorter Passing and Retain Possession.

According to THoG's Lines and Diamonds: Retain Possession reduces passing range, lowers tempo, reduces width and instructs players to attempt fewer risky passes. Shorter Passing reduces passing range, lowers tempo and reduces width. I'm failing to make the connection between the differences of these two TI's and your point above about the impact of team shape and "downside" of the team shape.

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Could you explain this piece? I'm sure this has already been answered but I'm still having trouble understanding the difference between Shorter Passing and Retain Possession.

According to THoG's Lines and Diamonds: Retain Possession reduces passing range, lowers tempo, reduces width and instructs players to attempt fewer risky passes. Shorter Passing reduces passing range, lowers tempo and reduces width. I'm failing to make the connection between the differences of these two TI's and your point above about the impact of team shape and "downside" of the team shape.

Shorter passing doesnt hinder creativity as much as retain posession. Retain posession means that even if a risky short pass was on as an example then they would likely take the easier option and pass to someone in a safer position to ensure holding onto possession.

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Could you explain this piece? I'm sure this has already been answered but I'm still having trouble understanding the difference between Shorter Passing and Retain Possession.

According to THoG's Lines and Diamonds: Retain Possession reduces passing range, lowers tempo, reduces width and instructs players to attempt fewer risky passes. Shorter Passing reduces passing range, lowers tempo and reduces width. I'm failing to make the connection between the differences of these two TI's and your point above about the impact of team shape and "downside" of the team shape.

Rightly or wrongly, I simply view the Retain Possession shout as the Shorter Passing shout on steroids. "Even Shorter Passing" as it were.

The thing is, you can't just kick a ball with less force so that it goes a shorter distance and still expect your team mate to receive the ball. That team mate also has to move - to come closer in order to get the ball without the opposition intercepting the pass. So your team play more compactly - they play closer to each other in order to pick up the shorter passes. Shorter passes are also (usually) less risky of course.

You then apply that to the Team Shape Cleon has chosen. Highly Structured reduces individual player creativity, but also makes the team less compact. However, for this exercise in possession, more compactness is desirable, so something needs to be done to offset this "downside" of your players being less compact.

As I wrote earlier:-

Another great thread.

I like the subtlety in this - using Very Structured to reduce individual creativity/risk taking at the expense of the team being less compact, but then using shouts (eg., retain possession / shorter passing) to bring the players closer together again.

Clever stuff :thup:.

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Why would they clog up? The RMP can move about, it's not like he has to sit on top of the AP. Players can play fine and offer different things playing in the same area. The AP tends to create nice passing triangles with the RB and RPM and between them they can normally create overloads down the right and slip the ball through to the striker.

A IF even on support is a goal threat, they cut inside looking to use space and run from deep while getting in and around the box to finish off chances. While the AP is all about creating for others.

Cleon how different do you think the tactic would be if you swapped the RPM and B2B midfielders around?

As both have the movement but I wonder how much it would change the tactic overall?

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What are the best stats for players in a possession tactic?

Obviously passing is one, would I be right in thinking that Off the ball movement, positioning, decisions would be good with first touch for strikers.

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Rightly or wrongly, I simply view the Retain Possession shout as the Shorter Passing shout on steroids. "Even Shorter Passing" as it were.

The thing is, you can't just kick a ball with less force so that it goes a shorter distance and still expect your team mate to receive the ball. That team mate also has to move - to come closer in order to get the ball without the opposition intercepting the pass. So your team play more compactly - they play closer to each other in order to pick up the shorter passes. Shorter passes are also (usually) less risky of course.

You then apply that to the Team Shape Cleon has chosen. Highly Structured reduces individual player creativity, but also makes the team less compact. However, for this exercise in possession, more compactness is desirable, so something needs to be done to offset this "downside" of your players being less compact.

As I wrote earlier:-

That's tremendously helpful. The piece I was missing is that reducing the passing distance brings the players closer together to receive the passes. Thanks!

What are the best stats for players in a possession tactic?

Obviously passing is one, would I be right in thinking that Off the ball movement, positioning, decisions would be good with first touch for strikers.

Cleon answered this in post #72: http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/445500-The-Art-of-Possession-Football?p=10613884&viewfull=1#post10613884

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Okay, so I'm looking for a little bit of advice. I'm Liverpool & I'm in my first season.

The problem i'm having is some of my players are 'sitting' on top of each other like you'll see in this screenshot:

Leicester%20v%20Liverpool_%20Pitch%20Full_zps7pg3vpyc.png

As you can see, I've labelled the player roles to help as well. In the screenshot above, thats my AML & MCL sat on top of each other whilst Coutinho #10 (MCR) has the ball whereas below, the MCL & MCR are sat on top of each other whilst Lallana #20 (AML) has the ball.

Liverpool%20v%20Basel_%20Pitch%20Full-2_zpsbare7itk.png

As you can see, this limits my passing options which isn't ideal when I want to keep possession.

I play Control; Very Structured & my TI's are as follows: Lower Tempo; Play Out of Defence; Closing Down Much More; Retain Possession & Roam From Position.

I opted for a DM - D as I wanted to offer a little more protection to my defence than the DM - S does and I actually like how he hangs back as an option to recycle possession. I also opted for a AP-S in central midfield rather than the roaming playmaker because I felt it suited Coutinho more than the latter and so far he's playing fairly nicely in and around the edge of the box. Up front, I'm still unsure as to whether to use a Complete Forward; Deep Lying Forward or a False Nine and I'm also weary that it looks a little like i've just copied Cleons tactic rather than looking to gain ideas from the thread but a lot of the roles are suitable to my Liverpool players.

So, I guess my question is: How can I stop my playing from sitting on top of each other like that? I mean, it doesn't last more than a few seconds normally but it's still frustrating.

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Thank you for contributing to the FM community again. Enjoyed the read.

In terms of players applying your ideas/principles/findings to their own saves, I was hoping to ask a few questions (and sorry ahead of time if they were covered in your post itself).

But for those of us who are building systems from the ground up:

How much should managers take away from the play of their side before the team is fluent in the tactic? In other words, should the system be changed before the team actually understands the system?

And, if this is too much of an ask, I understand. But how do you keep track of different parts of the match engine that you discover or come to understand? Such as the spacing in the side when instructed to be fluid versus rigid, or how a cm-d responds to an opp counter attack versus a bmw-d, and so on? Sort of an odd question I guess, but just was curious if you take notes, or use excel sheets, or some other method.

Thanks again for the post, it was another really informative read.

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Thank you for contributing to the FM community again. Enjoyed the read.

In terms of players applying your ideas/principles/findings to their own saves, I was hoping to ask a few questions (and sorry ahead of time if they were covered in your post itself).

But for those of us who are building systems from the ground up:

How much should managers take away from the play of their side before the team is fluent in the tactic? In other words, should the system be changed before the team actually understands the system?

And, if this is too much of an ask, I understand. But how do you keep track of different parts of the match engine that you discover or come to understand? Such as the spacing in the side when instructed to be fluid versus rigid, or how a cm-d responds to an opp counter attack versus a bmw-d, and so on? Sort of an odd question I guess, but just was curious if you take notes, or use excel sheets, or some other method.

Thanks again for the post, it was another really informative read.

I'm no Cleon but I can offer my two cents.

Your first question: the time when a tactic is not going to be fully learned is usually in pre-season, which is the one part of the season where teams are playing for fitness and will be markedly different than at any other stage of the season because of this. So you might not learn too much about your tactic in pre-season. Personally, I like to give my tactic four or five games into the season, watching those games on full to spot the strengths and weaknesses of the system in use - but of course you also have to apply logic and consider what you're coming up against, ie. why x is not working and y is working, etc.

Also, any system can work if it's put together with logic and common sense. This is partly where I think people get too caught up with some of the guidelines on here - those guides are really helpful to people who need a basic understanding of the fundamentals of the game and tactics but beyond that there's nothing that can disprove something that goes against the guide if it's created with common sense.

Second question: You'll find you have to keep track of those thing less if your system is logical and you have a good understanding of why you're using the roles you are, etc. But I'm pretty sure that Cleon himself works mostly on instinct. He obviously not only knows the game really well but has a great understanding of football in general. And at this stage he seems to know how to instinctively apply logic to the ME. A recent example from this thread actually is a good one; he felt his striker wasn't strong enough to lead the line by himself and saw it wasn't working as well as it could. Instead of changing the role of the striker like most people would, he gave the striker more support by changing the support duty Inside Forward to an attack duty. It sounds pretty simple but I guarantee you most people would have changed the role of the striker in that situation. Everything in this game has a knock-on effect. One simple role or duty change can affect how the rest of the team plays.

As far as I know, he doesn't use excel sheets or anything like that.

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The RPM and BBM are probably the most two important roles in the whole system because they are the movement and support. The movement they make enables the wide playmaker to use them to build attacks and they also link the striker with the inside forward. If they didn't play in this manner then the striker, inside forward and advanced playmaker would all struggle and get isolated at various times through the match. It's all about using roles that interlink well and compliment each other. For the reasons you mentioned this is why I play the way I do. It's also one of the reasons I play a bit risky by using a DMC support because he helps in the initial build up of play.

The risky passes element is one of the reasons why a lot of my assists come from through balls on the stats I posted. The intelligent movement all the players make coupled with risky passes sees you doing some nice moves and players finding lots of space. The RPM and BBM also provide a late, deep running options into the box or on the edge of it. Often I can see them doing the exact same move I posted in the Arsenal example.

I was using an AP-S and BBM combo in midfield but then switched to RPM to experiment and loved it immediately. The RPM role reminds me so much of how Iniesta plays IRL and coincidently this is the role I'm using for him in my save/tactic (Rakitic is my BBM). How much stock do you put on the suitability of the players to the roles? I mean the donut graphic on the tactics screen. Personally I don't pay much attention to it and most times just annoys me. I reckon as long as the player has the attributes I look for and the role links with others, I'm good. How about you?

Possibly yes. Do you find players are keeping the ball for the sake of it or at times can't play the simple passes? Your way of currently playing is obviously working so I guess the real question is, is it working like you want and expect or is it just working? The overall style of how I use the ball and what we do with it is important to me.

This will also work but it comes back to the same thing. How do you want to utilise the possession and what are you expecting from the players. Either this or the previous can work it just depends which we think fits out styles better.

I mean, yeah...overall I'm successful, I'm winning every match, but then again I'm Barca. I'm supposed to win. But I'm not sure I'm liking the possession style, therefore I keep thinking and picking your brain as to make subtle change to get to a level where I want it to be.

I've come to the conclusion that shorter passing limits the options, therefore I'm currently playing without it to see how it goes.

You can get crazy amounts of possession so you can always increase it and the control over the game, especially with a side like Barca. In a game yesterday I experimented with having possession for the sake of it and we had just short of 70% and controlled the game but it wasn't the style I wanted. More possession, especially as high as that can make you toothless at times. What I want to do is control the game with high possession but I also want to be a goal threat as much as possible and not retain the ball just for the sake of it. I still want to win games.

That's what I want at times. I want that control over oppositions at every game, but I also want to be deadly at the right moments. I call it Intelligent Possession.

May I ask what did you change to get more possession? It can come in handy once I take the lead by 2,3 goals. I hate that I often kill teams in the first half, but then in the second half they even out the possession, get a goal back and I end up with below 60% overall possession but winning 3-1, 4-2. I want that 2-0,3-0 lead to stay, along with possession control and if the opponents tries to be too cheeky that 3-0 lead to turn to say 5-0. You know what I mean?

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Okay, so I'm looking for a little bit of advice. I'm Liverpool & I'm in my first season.

The problem i'm having is some of my players are 'sitting' on top of each other like you'll see in this screenshot:

Leicester%20v%20Liverpool_%20Pitch%20Full_zps7pg3vpyc.png

As you can see, I've labelled the player roles to help as well. In the screenshot above, thats my AML & MCL sat on top of each other whilst Coutinho #10 (MCR) has the ball whereas below, the MCL & MCR are sat on top of each other whilst Lallana #20 (AML) has the ball.

Liverpool%20v%20Basel_%20Pitch%20Full-2_zpsbare7itk.png

As you can see, this limits my passing options which isn't ideal when I want to keep possession.

I play Control; Very Structured & my TI's are as follows: Lower Tempo; Play Out of Defence; Closing Down Much More; Retain Possession & Roam From Position.

I opted for a DM - D as I wanted to offer a little more protection to my defence than the DM - S does and I actually like how he hangs back as an option to recycle possession. I also opted for a AP-S in central midfield rather than the roaming playmaker because I felt it suited Coutinho more than the latter and so far he's playing fairly nicely in and around the edge of the box. Up front, I'm still unsure as to whether to use a Complete Forward; Deep Lying Forward or a False Nine and I'm also weary that it looks a little like i've just copied Cleons tactic rather than looking to gain ideas from the thread but a lot of the roles are suitable to my Liverpool players.

So, I guess my question is: How can I stop my playing from sitting on top of each other like that? I mean, it doesn't last more than a few seconds normally but it's still frustrating.

Try different roles for your AML, MCL and MCR, and see how that goes. But don't change the roles of all three of them at the same time! Change them one at a time to better see the effects. Make sure you watch the game on Full and just focus on your players - do not pay attention to the opposition. Some other roles to consider: AP-A (AML), CM-S (MCL), DLP-S (MCR). Another thing to consider, flip the 2 MCs, so the MCL is the playmaker next to the AML - in theory, AP-A ahead of the DLP-S could link quite well....try and see.

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Cleon how different do you think the tactic would be if you swapped the RPM and B2B midfielders around?

As both have the movement but I wonder how much it would change the tactic overall?

It would change drastically and the AP might be less effective. The B2B midfielder is currently the one making space for the inside forward to use, if you swapped the roles around I can't see the RPM making the same kinf od space because he is less aggressive with moving forward and roams more, where as the B2B is up and down all the time dragging markers with him.

All my forwards are on supporting roles. Would dropping the mentality or the DL be advisable or harm the possession?

Just because someone is on a support role doesn't mean the role isn't aggressive though which is clearly the case if they're always ahead of play on the edge of the oppositions box and don't offer a late option. It's clearly a role issue you have. No idea bout the harm to your possession as I know nothing about how you've set up or how it actually plays out in game.

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