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A Query About Tactics

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So I've started a You Tube series called "Help a Yank Learn FM".  I've been playing off and on since FM 2009 but find I quickly lose interest.  Not because of the game itself (I love soccer...hey, I said I'm a Yank..lol) but because the game has a steep learning curve and it honestly appears to be no way to truly learn it and get better at it.  The only success I've had is in downloading plug and play tactics off Steam or elsewhere but I get jaded with that because (to me) it feels like cheating.

So what I am trying to figure out, is if there are tiers of tactics that are better at certain levels of the game.  For example, I am playing a 4-3-1-2 Narrow as my primary tactic with a 4-1-2-3 Wide and a base 4-3-1-2 as my backup tactics.  So one of my viewers mentioned that this tactic is "hard to play at the level I'm at".  I'm playing Colchester in SBL2 in that save.  He goes on to discuss midfielder needs as compared to what I currently have.  But in using what the game gives me as a player (ie the highlighted stats and recommended playing positions and styles) I'm using them in roles that they appear suited to.  So obviously I can't trust what the game is telling me.  Which brings me back to my frustration in how exactly is a casual player ever supposed to learn all the BS that the game requires to even win a match?

Anyway, rant aside..lol, if a 4-3-1-2 is "too advanced" for League 2 then is there a chart somewhere of basic tactic shapes to draw from based on the level you are attempting to manage?  In looking at the top teams in the competition currently they are playing a basic 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1.  In the Premier, Arsenal is playing the same 4-2-3-1 as are many in that league.  Down in Championship I see more of the 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2.  So is the game saying those are the "better" formations to use and basically just look what other teams are using?

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There are no tactics that are hard to play "at a level" in comparison to the rest of the world.

However some tactics can be better or worse when you consider the other teams in your league and how good they are.

When you choose a shape to play it should be based on three things IMO - Opposition shape, where you are expected to finish in the league compared to the opposition and the players you have.  Taking them one by one:


A) Strength of your team vs the opposition

First port of call is the media expectations for the season and then the odds for the match.  If you are favourite the opposition will sit back more & defend, if they are favourite they will attack more, somewhere inbetween will lead to a balanced approach.  Some shapes do better against defensive teams, some better against attacking teams.


B) Opposition shape

Every shape has inherent strengths & weaknesses vs other shapes.  You should know the strengths & weaknesses of your shape and be able to judge how it does vs the opposition shape.  If it fairs poorly you need to consider changing shape for that match.  You'll also get to know which shapes are popular in your league and be able to plan what you need to take advantage.  My personal opinion is that you should have a different shape in each of the three tactical slots to give you three options which can then be tweaked for each match.


C) Players

The most obvious, the shape has to suit the players you have available to you.  The aim in general is to get as many of your better players on the pitch at the same time so if you have four good quality strikers using a shape regularly with one striker probably isn't a good choice.



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14 hours ago, Ragin Cajun said:

Any recommendations for seeing what pros and cons are for various shapes?  This is some good info.  Thanks. 

Not really, just experience and watching games (Both RL & FM).

Generally speaking you want to consider attack vs defence for each side and where the two shapes don't line up man for man.

Taking 442 for instance its weakness is playing inbetween the lines so those between defence & midfield will get more time on the ball as will those between the strikers & midfielders.  That said its not clear cut, if you take 4411 vs 442 for instance the AMC in the 4411 should get more time on the ball but the 442 can cope with that by one of the MCs playing more defensive to pick him up initially before passing him on to the spare DC.  All depends on the players & how the shape is set up.

For narrow formations like your 4312 the weakness is down the wings but your strength is controlling the middle of the pitch with the three MCs.

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