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Leverkusen Season 7 - Challenge #3 - Strikerless


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The Challenge

Herne has released the third instalment of his FM18 challenges

https://community.sigames.com/topic/438720-tactical-challenges-3-strikerless/

This time the challenge is to create a successful strikerless system.

My immediate thoughts concerning my Leverkusen save - this is the biggest challenge yet in terms of change...

Tactical Journey so Far

A very brief intro to my Leverkusen journey - you can read last season here, with links to the other seasons;

 https://community.sigames.com/topic/438323-leverkusen-season-6-challenge-1/

We have moved from;

A patient 4123 approach ->

Standard 4123 approach ->

Standard 4231 approach ->

Skill/expression based 31411 ->

----"---- 3142 ->

My favourite FM formation how I play it 4231 ->

My favourite RL formation, a simplistic 442 ->

? To something strikerless

Given that I am coming from 442 there are two immediate considerations;

  • With two strikers already up the field I can, and have been, playing direct with little thought to support from deeper positions. This will be a complete contrast to the strengths/weaknesses of a strikerless system where I will begin the attacking transition with no leading attacker
  • I have the personnel moulded for a 442 - including 5 strikers & 4 wingers. Assessing who is malleable enough to play a deeper or more central role will be important, and will direct my transfer window activity. In 6 seasons I've had huge turnover to the point that I only have 2 'originals' left; Bailey and Havertz. 'Vulpem pilum mutare, non mores..' I really like this phrase, akin to 'a leopard can change his spots' meaning "the fox can change his fur but not his habits", and it applies brilliantly to Bailey. He has played as MR, ML, AML, AMR, AMC - but all the time it's his pace and dribbling that make him a threat. I have to find a place for him in my new tactic, Havertz has also plied his trade as IF, AM, AP, DLP and his vision (19) is always a bonus.

In my last thread I spoke about the easy to understand and implement nature of 442. That won't be the case with a move to strikerless... so it's very important to plan.

The Plan

'Sapiens qui prospicit' - he is wise who foresees

I'm sure I'm in the majority, I work full time, have family obligations and other than exceptional circumstances (like last week where wife and baby were away and I went FM crazy, hence the threads!), I get just a few hours a week to play FM. Therefore, a lot of the planning I do, and again I'm sure I'm not alone in this, is done on paper or spreadsheets at work.

First thing to note in accordance with above is that since I finished season 6 I haven't logged into FM, yet already I have quite a clear view of how I'm going to approach the strikerless challenge. To the extent I've 90% decided on;

  • 3 formations for my tactic slots
  • key TI
  • introduction of PI
  • roles & duties
  • personnel at my disposal
  • possible transfer target requirments

Hopefully I can guide you through the mess and havoc of my planning phases.

Stage 1 - shapes;

Strikerless formations - first and foremost, I scratched down some strikerless formations (almost like free thought clear your mind of 'noise' and simply think of the first shapes/[formations] that come to you)

Stage 2 - space:

Step back and make some quick fire observations of the formations. Ok with strikerless it's all fairly obvious (but necessary) and similar. The space is in front, that tells me I need roles that 'get further forward' or attack duties to go and attack the space. I have 10 outfield players in tighter area - no answer here but a question; can I use congestion as an advantage? should I change D-line to give me more space?

Stage 3 - style:

This is where I start thinking more personally about my team, Leverkusen, and what type of opposition I'm playing against. At a very high level... I've just won the league and champions league - teams are going to fear me, my reputation is up, I can expect packed defences playing on low mentality.

This isn't too dissimilar to the past few seasons - I dealt with it there by using direct football with players in advanced positions. The thought process was twofold; if I'm in possession how do I keep up a steady stream of attacks? High tempo + high D-line. If they are in possession and there is a turnover, how do I attack before they reset defensively? High D-line, 2 strikers, direct football, high tempo.

Now I can't utilise the high(est) start position to keep steady pressure on the opposition, but I can still consider if a quick turnover (high tempo + direct) is going to benefit me. And if so how do I achieve it in a strikerless system?

One key idea at this point is that I can't rely on being one/two dimensional like last season, I just can't see how you can be without a striker. I need more complex passing lanes and runners to create the necessary chaos and confusion in the opponent back line.

At this stage I'd say I've made a few basic decisions that I'm about 80% sure I want to take forward.

  • I don't like the sound of congestion - especially as I'm facing defensive teams, I don't want a midfield battle, that's what the opposition want. So I'm not going to continue playing the 'much higher defensive line' that I have been. Normal or lower to create a bit more space in the middle of the park.
  • I'm pretty sure I need 2 or possibly 3 players furthest forward, CM or AM strata, to have attack duty and want to move into space ahead
  • in line with this there is a TI jumping out at me ... how can I distribute in a way to maximise the space ahead? 'Pass into space'
  • Another aspect to that is direct passing. I haven't decided on TI vs PI yet... but someone is going to have to be willing to play the direct pass into that space.

There's also some questions at this point;

  • distributor? who is going to be my playmaker. I can rule out an AP in AM as I want my furthers forward players to attack space. So I can have an AP/RPM/DLP in the centre, or REG, RPM or DLP in defensive midfield, or even a BPD or Libero dictating from the back
  • where do I want to win the ball? High press is almost out of the question, should I go low block? Or use a fairly packed midfield? What would be easiest vs what would help my attacking transition most?
  • width vs narrow ... at some point the key question will be how I can attack as much space as possible. I can use FB/WB for width or I can use wingers.

Stage 4 - meat on the bone;

This is a reiteration of stage 1 - I scribble down more shapes... only this time I already have some decisions made which will help me shape the roles needed. It's still free form, but I'm in a position to rule something out immediately, or think - that could work with my plan and build on it.

I'm going to bring in some images now to backup how the process is going.

First things first - I scribble on paper. Here's a few of the sheets I was working on. Probably had my first ideas down 15 mins after seeing the challenge. Then certain other aspects I've pondered for a day or so and come back to the drawing board.

The bigger sheet under the rubble is my stage 1, it then gets closer and closer to my stage 4 (I wont show all the paperwork in between, but rest assured my desk is a mess!)

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(noticed my stress ball made it into frame... don't worry I don't work for or support ISIS :) I work in IT and some brains decided to call our project '1 system 1 solution 1S1S)

On the second image you might notice I have split the page into 5 vertical zones. This is something a lot of tactical websites do, and I find it useful in terms of creating more complex attacking strategys. I'll expand.

After I have some scribblings on paper I like to use the website https://www.buildlineup.com/ to put these into more orderly formations.

This is still a mix of stage 1 and stage 4, again I did possibly 50 or so, I wont post them all;

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The final image probably looks most fun, but I don't have the personnel for that, and it's too 'out-of-the-box' for me.

You can see on the third image I had quite a sensible setup, but using 2 carrileros doesn't provide an attack option for one of the 5 zones. My line of thought progresses then on to a Mezala on one side, attacking full back on the other.

The other note is I started out consistently with a DLP as my distributor, but moved towards a BPD. The image where the BPD is circled shows that he has a plethora of passing channels short, medium and long...wide and central. This is the key to my plan.

At this point decisions are all but made.

  • slot 1 - primary formation. 41230 wide.
  • slot 2 - secondary formation 41230 narrow (same as above but bring the winger and RMD into a central position for multiple SS, perhaps use an AMC in the middle)
  • slot 3 - failover formation - if things go really badly I will have a 41410 wide formation on standby as I feel it offers most flexibility if I need widescale change in approach
  • BPD will be playmaker
  • Other roles and duties largely decided (100% sure on winger and shadow striker... IF vs RMD to be decided)
  • TI pass into space
  • PI for pressing
  • PI for passing (BPD more risk, more direct)
  • normal d-line or slightly lower d-line.

This is the tactic that will be my FM primary slot, with the above PI/TI built in. I've called it ...

'Semper Instans' - always threatening (because I'm attacking all 5 vertical zones).

Sorry for the crude illustration, but the tick marks along the top show the zones I'm talking about.

  • LW (a) zone 1
  • MEZ (a) zone 2
  • SS (a) zone 3
  • RMD/IF (a) zone 4
  • FB/WB (a) zone 5

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BPD 360 passing options... in theory at least;

  • short to LFB (s)
  • short back to keeper
  • short to CB
  • short to BWM/DM (d)
  • Swtich to RWB (a)
  • through to MEZ (a)
  • long and wide to LW (a)
  • Long and straight to SS (a)
  • long switch to RMD (a)

Stage 5 - personnel;

(Going to mention some player names here, it's not important, but if interested their profiles would have been shown in my season 6 thread, linked at the top of this thread)

I know my squad so I can start thinking of who fits and who doesn't. Bailey straight in at LW, Hernandez will get a chance as SS, Sane if I go IF, Monaco/Yalcin/Giovanni if I got RMD). Ndombele and Aliev are both all action so can play MEZ or CAR. LB Tierney and RB Lopera fit perfectly. Gomez as key CB.

Here is where the plan needs to transition into FM rather than paperwork.

Allwein is a CM I've trained to a CB - he has the vision and passing to be the BPD but I may need to look to market to find a better player who has the defensive traits too. I certainly need either a backup or first team BPD addition.

Also I've either not used a DM or used it as a DLP for the past few seasons, so I may need to sign an elite player for that role.

What next

Now that the 'offline' plan is complete I can't wait to get into FM. Hopefully over the weekend so I can get into the transfer window.

I will post my search criteria when I go to the transfer market and show some of the key profiles for the chosen roles. Then it will be business as usual with a midseason and end of season update on analysis and form.

 

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Haha looks like my desk (also in IT).

You have the white arrows indicating attacking movement but CARs don't move wider in possession, they just defend wider when there's no wide forward on that flank.  Which also makes me wonder why you've selected that role in the formations where you are using wide forwards?  Why not just a standard CM-S or BWM-S etc?

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4 minutes ago, summatsupeer said:

Haha looks like my desk (also in IT).

You have the white arrows indicating attacking movement but CARs don't move wider in possession, they just defend wider when there's no wide forward on that flank.  Which also makes me wonder why you've selected that role in the formations where you are using wide forwards?  Why not just a standard CM-S or BWM-S etc?

Yeh the sideways movement is out of possession and curtailed slightly with wingers in advance. You are right, as I've changed one to a Mez the other is likely to be CM-S

The other bit I didn't finish commenting on is where I want to win the ball... my back line or the half way line. Still thinking... that may influence the final role of DM and that CM.

As is a theme of my Leverkusen series, as a proactive side needing to win, I'm far more interested in what I do with the ball than without it :D so the last consideration is to winning the ball.

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@westy8chimp man I can assure you I was amused by this post, because I tend to play FM a lot like you do! Work, family, little time - that's the same for me (for a lot of people obviously) - so I scribble down on every piece of paper I have in the office, whenever an idea comes to my mind. And I also tend to use your "Semper instans" method! ;)

Respect! 👊

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4 minutes ago, Beren said:

@westy8chimp man I can assure you I was amused by this post, because I tend to play FM a lot like you do! Work, family, little time - that's the same for me (for a lot of people obviously) - so I scribble down on every piece of paper I have in the office, whenever an idea comes to my mind. And I also tend to use your "Semper instans" method! ;)

Respect! 👊

Thanks - the best is when I realise ive scratched some notes down on the back of or corner of official documents :D other departments are probably learning how I play FM from all the snippets they inadvertently receive jotted down on paperwork.

Plus I always look busy - my in tray is full of paperwork, but it's 99% FM

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You should definitely go with the nobody further forward than central midfield option though :p.  (I tried that once with Arsenal, actually went pretty well).

Interesting to see the thought process (although c'mon really, "1SIS"?  Have a word) and the planning you're doing.  I've never gone into quite that amount of detail before, but as the saying goes "fail to plan, plan to fail".  Hopefully it'll all translate well into the tactics creator, looking forward to it :thup:.

1.jpg

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Plan in motion

I've now entered the FM stage. With the planning mostly complete I have two advantages; 1) lifestyle - I can maximise my playing time 2) if I plan whilst in the TC I can tend to get lost in the TI/PI options and overthink it, or confuse multiple ideas, or simply go the other way and get too tempted by the continue button to crack on with the season.

First action - I'd decided on paper what my 3 slots would look like, so here they are translated to FM.

I have added a few simple PI to my primary and secondary tactic, none for the tertiary- GK to distribute shorter and to CB. Much higher closing down for the DM, CM and Mez... more closing down for the AMs and FBs.

Primary tactic - Semper Instans - with proposed first team (spoiler on signings!)

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Secondary tactic - 41230 narrow

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Tertiary tactic - 41410

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Transfer Activity

I highlighted in the plan the need for a more orthodox DM -> I had numerous in season 1 & 2 but for the past 4 seasons haven't played a DM - I have a few players fit to play DLP but no solid DM.

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Based on price, age and a quick assessment of profile. The two players I bid on were Can and Koulibaly. Can with good all round stats, ticking each criteria but only just, Koulibaly - a CB who I would mould to DM - has really good physical and defensive elements needed for a solid DM.

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The other requirement I have is a BPD. My best in house is a great CB with ok passing and vision, or a CM I've trained as a CB who has great passing and vision but needs to develop the CB stats quickly;

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Here is the search criteria. quite demanding but I could have added a lot more CB attributes so I was disappointed with the lack of results, just one choice!

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Stones fits the bill perfectly though, with ready made attributes and PPMS. Must sign (as see by the price paid)

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Measuring the plan/tactic

Unfortunately I haven't the luxury of time (patience) to observe as much of the game as I'd like. I used to love watching full matches, especially with a new formation that has some thought behind it. However, that doesn't mean we can't set some expectations and consider the risks. Also jotted down at the office whilst looking forward to getting home...

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First match

Was excited to play and had a good result so thought I'd show a few glimpses of our first match. Complete B team in the German Super Cup;

The first goal came just after a minute, and with Gomez carrying the ball high up the right hand side, Semper Instans was in action immediately!

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The second goal was nice but I noticed in this transition it was too quick for Gomez and he seemed reluctant to attack space (probably because of support duty?)

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Havertz (Mez) plays out to Keller (LW) -> his cross is back to Havertz who lays it on a plate for Monaco (SS)

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Goal 3 was a corner. And here is goal 4 - a lovely counter ending in a through ball from Havetz to Keller (for his hatrick), again Gomez is in a really healthy position with lots of space ahead, is this indication of the RMD removing a marker? Should I change Gomez to attack duty, or be content that he has the space and will use it if he's a receiver, otherwise keeps good defensive position?

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Match stats - reasonable shot conversion, ok number of shots. This isn't a possession tactic, hadn't given thought to possession at all, so to have more is a nice result of the tactic. Will monitor this over the first half of the league season to see if it's a theme or game by game basis

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Midseason Review

I had a few simple criteria against which I was going measure my season;

  • winning games
  • BPD distribution
  • SS main threat
  • goals from multiple avenues

Winning games

Can't ask for more in the league! 2 defeats all season - strangely both came as 2-1 to Sporting in the CL group stage. Hope I don't meet them again, as no one else seems able to cope with us. Also strange is the lack of draws. On paper this is a far more conservative formation to the 4-4-2 of last year.

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Goals from all over

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you can see from the above, a much more even distribution of goals this season compare to the domination Hernandez has had for the past couple of seasons.

Giovanni has played RMD (RW), Hernandez is SS, Monaco a mixture of the two, Sane all three attacking positions and Bailey/Keller operating from the left. Pretty even distribution between the three front positions. I thought the SS would run the show a little more, but overall I'm happy that we certainly aren't one dimensional.

BPD

Here is the one disappointment. I'll only show one game, but it's indicative of the season as a whole. OK so BPD isn't a playmaker and doesn't have the 'magnetism' associated, but I don't understand why in every game the CB has more passes than the BPD? And given Stones' PPMS and instructions his passing when he does see the ball is a bit mundane. Although I've noticed some nice direct balls to LW and RWB.

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I could try to get him more involved. Add 'get further forward' PI so he brings the ball out more (although he has the PPM). Or I could add TI to 'play out of defence' to encourage a bit more recycling at the back.

The other option as considered in the planning stage.... perhaps the BPD was wrong choice of distributor and I could change my DM to DLP.

For now - no change, we are unbeaten in the league so I don't want to change things for the sake of it.

Analysis

There is a caveat here... I could post a lot of analysis and wax lyrical about how well my tactic is working, but whilst it's obviously playing out nicely and winning games, I would like to admit I've seen a lot more individual brilliance this year. Whether it's a mazy dribble from Bailey, or a long shot from Monaco... or simply the vision of Havertz treating Hernandez like a poacher ... there has been plenty of goals down to the players rather than my strategy. Also we are at 5 goals from corners and a few penalties too. When usually I don't score any corners.

Since defence is the cornerstone of my success this year i'll start with that.

Here we see the lack of high line, closing down, and striker means their back 4 have all day to play, but causing very little threat. As you can see the one out ball is down the right, so we channel them that way - whilst we keep a packed middle minimising the risk of a cross resulting in goal.

At this point Tierney is one player chosen for closing down more - as you will see later from player stats, he has the most tackles per match in the league. Usually he would win the ball in a one vs one, this time he is against a support winger who goes for the early cross.

Happy days we are prepared for that too, and create the turnover.

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And now we see the strength of the strikerless system as we play out.

We outnumber them in and around my defensive third as they crossed early and hadn't committed many men. Their back 4 is still hovering at the half way line

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As we progress forward they actually have quite a solid shape. We probe left, nothing doing, so we circulate again

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All the while my RMD is vying for space until he is able to pull away. See above in the first image he is man marked, but we are patient and give him time to find space. Then in a snap of a moment he is behind the defence.

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He crosses and the rest is easy. Shadow striker coming from deep is able to run on to the pass and smash home.

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Here again we see my defensive shape - not drastically closing down. You can press high and force the mistake (bad pass) OR, as I think I illustrate here, you can let their back 4 have the ball, but frustrate them into mistakes by blocking the passing lanes.

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The passes are by no means impossible, but remember, as league and CL champions I'm playing against cautious sides, so the placement of players between passing lanes is just enough to panic them. There is no easy outball (is it just me or are teams very reluctant to use the GK on FM18?) so the CB takes the 'Phil Neville' option and hoofs it nowhere.

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And i'll show you how we transition against a team when they are already deep.

Always to Havertz... he is playing MEZ attack - but the team still treat him like he's AP!

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He plays to the SS and already there is Giovanni again probing for space, he has lost his marker a little bit and could run in or out

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Monaco isn't the most technically gifted, and ignored the TI to pass to space... Giovanni has to stop, receive to feet and we lose momentum. But he does the right thing and stetches play with the WB s. You can start to see the 'Semper Instans' shape forming with 5 players in the box and a player between pretty much every channel outside and inside.

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Still we circulate again rather than a deep ball by Gomez. And of course Havertz is in space looking for the killer ball.

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At this stage every team is terrified, because apart from the corners and individual brilliance mentioned.. this is where the rest of the goals come from

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Text book.

Well the other mention of Havertz still playing as playmaker (he has vision 20 now) is that he still treats the SS as a poacher and plays worldy through balls. Monaco again the SS in this match buries it.

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Stats

A brief note to stats, the individual brilliance is yet again best shown by Bailey. He has most MOTM, highest avg rating and it's his dribbling and crossing that are again best in show

Little footnote to Tierney again - most AI possession breaks down either forced into early clearance, or funnelled towards Tierney. He is top of the tacklers.

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In terms of team, again we aren't top of much, apart from what we already know of Bailey.

1396027219_teamstats.thumb.PNG.c4c273ae434abb252b0835342734e755.PNG

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21 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

Goals from all over

1887883640_Squadview.thumb.PNG.48a39e9d70ab275ed60656d1bb129d9e.PNG

you can see from the above, a much more even distribution of goals this season compare to the domination Hernandez has had for the past couple of seasons. 

Giovanni has played RMD (RW), Hernandez is SS, Monaco a mixture of the two, Sane all three attacking positions and Bailey/Keller operating from the left. Pretty even distribution between the three front positions. I thought the SS would run the show a little more, but overall I'm happy that we certainly aren't one dimensional.

Exactly what I'm seeing as well, no reliance on one or two players to get the goals.  In my 4-6-0 (or 4-1-4-1-0 to be pedantic) there is a pretty much even distribution of goals and assists between my front 5 players.

Great analysis again :thup:.

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4 minutes ago, herne79 said:

Exactly what I'm seeing as well, no reliance on one or two players to get the goals.  In my 4-6-0 (or 4-1-4-1-0 to be pedantic) there is a pretty much even distribution of goals and assists between my front 5 players.

Great analysis again :thup:.

Such contrast to last seasons 442. I think this strikerless tactic is the kind you could rely on vs a human player. Theres not many solutions to deal with it... Sit back and you are outnumbered im the middle... Play high and the ss/rmd cause havoc running behind. 

But my 4231/442 are what i prefer in a one player...bit more one dimensional but if the AI cant prevent it and your striker is scoring for fun its quite enjoyable. 

Several times in my strikerless season so far im getting into 60 mins at 0-0 or 1-0 and you dont know where that killer goal is going to come from.... But it always has... So far :D

 

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1 hour ago, herne79 said:

Exactly what I'm seeing as well, no reliance on one or two players to get the goals.  In my 4-6-0 (or 4-1-4-1-0 to be pedantic) there is a pretty much even distribution of goals and assists between my front 5 players.

Great analysis again :thup:.

860fcc9407554411107b17e75c4d5fe0.png

What I'm seeing too; a very good spread of goals. I'm also seeing a similar style of build up and goals coming through as @westy8chimp has described above.

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23 hours ago, westy8chimp said:

BPD

Here is the one disappointment. I'll only show one game, but it's indicative of the season as a whole. OK so BPD isn't a playmaker and doesn't have the 'magnetism' associated, but I don't understand why in every game the CB has more passes than the BPD? And given Stones' PPMS and instructions his passing when he does see the ball is a bit mundane. Although I've noticed some nice direct balls to LW and RWB.

1828406496_BPD-1.thumb.PNG.35d4dd47c9e55423aee7b999d584a881.PNG

I could try to get him more involved. Add 'get further forward' PI so he brings the ball out more (although he has the PPM). Or I could add TI to 'play out of defence' to encourage a bit more recycling at the back.

The other option as considered in the planning stage.... perhaps the BPD was wrong choice of distributor and I could change my DM to DLP.

For now - no change, we are unbeaten in the league so I don't want to change things for the sake of it.

@Cleon

This is the typical pass map of my BPD. When I looked at my screen shot, in this match he has 28 passes compare to Gomez 20, but I think I somehow picked the only game where he had more.

Typically over 90 mins my BPD will avg just 15-30 passes, whilst my CB would have 30-50. Also the pass map isn't too dissimilar in terms of passing range. You can see in that picture there are no outrageously long balls... the intercepted passes I haven't shown, I did check and they were also short passes.

I can't explain it... 

1) any ideas why? Is it Stones PPM to switch flank that he looks more for the FB and WB than my wingers?

2) how (if possible) would you go about giving the BPD more of the ball?

As I say it's not detrimental at the moment, so I wont make knee jerk reactions and change my tactic... I'm just interested as ive never used a BPD before.  

I can post some more data tonight so you can see the trend. I'm training my backup BPD to 'tries long range passes', 'switch flank', 'tries killer balls often' so he will take over the mantel and maybe play as I want when he has the ball.

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21 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

@Cleon

This is the typical pass map of my BPD. When I looked at my screen shot, in this match he has 28 passes compare to Gomez 20, but I think I somehow picked the only game where he had more.

Typically over 90 mins my BPD will avg just 15-30 passes, whilst my CB would have 30-50. Also the pass map isn't too dissimilar in terms of passing range. You can see in that picture there are no outrageously long balls... the intercepted passes I haven't shown, I did check and they were also short passes.

I can't explain it... 

1) any ideas why? Is it Stones PPM to switch flank that he looks more for the FB and WB than my wingers?

2) how (if possible) would you go about giving the BPD more of the ball?

As I say it's not detrimental at the moment, so I wont make knee jerk reactions and change my tactic... I'm just interested as ive never used a BPD before.  

I can post some more data tonight so you can see the trend. I'm training my backup BPD to 'tries long range passes', 'switch flank', 'tries killer balls often' so he will take over the mantel and maybe play as I want when he has the ball.

On face value it looks like the right side of your tactic is easier to pass the ball to, compared to the left side. The wingback on the right is a better passing outlet because he's slightly more advanced and attack minded compared to the fullback on the left. So he makes a good passing option. The same can be said of the CM too, it's like you naturally have a triangle here with the wingback/dc/dm or a diamond with the wingback/dc/dm/mc. So passing might just naturally favour this side due to the roles you've selected.

Also because of what a BPD does (i.e riskier passes/throughballs into the midfield) then there is a chance that when he plays the ball forward, it's just that, a forward ball. However when the other DC passes it, is it possible he's being passed the ball back due to his shorter passing range and all the available options he has?

1 - His PPM certainly won't help but that shouldn't be a reason for seeing less of the ball.

2 - Is the keeper set up to distribute the ball to the BPD as this should help. Also have you tried using just a normal DC here and allowing his PPM's to dictate the role naturally? You might not need the BPD role to make him see more of the ball or do the things you try.

I would be interested in seeing more data though to see if I can spot an exact reason. My initial thought is the one I mentioned at the very start of this reply though :)

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4 minutes ago, Cleon said:

Is the keeper set up to distribute the ball to the BPD as this should help

ah didn't know you could specify a player ... is this PI distribute option? I'll definitely add that... I have him rolling ball out to CBs

5 minutes ago, Cleon said:

I would be interested in seeing more data though to see if I can spot an exact reason. My initial thought is the one I mentioned at the very start of this reply though :)

You are correct here... there are two natural triangles I see in action ... 1 by design DM (d)-> CM (s)-> Mez (a) and the other you've noticed which wasn't by design... CB->WB>DM or CB->DM->WB

 

6 minutes ago, Cleon said:

Also have you tried using just a normal DC here and allowing his PPM's to dictate the role naturally? You might not need the BPD role to make him see more of the ball or do the things you try

I can probably do this once Allwein (my young CM training as CB and learning PPM) is fully prepared :D 

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57 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

ah didn't know you could specify a player ... is this PI distribute option? I'll definitely add that... I have him rolling ball out to CBs

You are correct here... there are two natural triangles I see in action ... 1 by design DM (d)-> CM (s)-> Mez (a) and the other you've noticed which wasn't by design... CB->WB>DM or CB->DM->WB

 

I can probably do this once Allwein (my young CM training as CB and learning PPM) is fully prepared :D 

 1.thumb.png.fe109ffcdf7b6254aec110f02e7027dc.png

You can distribute to 'position' and select who. 

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5 hours ago, westy8chimp said:

ah didn't know you could specify a player ... is this PI distribute option? I'll definitely add that... I have him rolling ball out to CBs

You are correct here... there are two natural triangles I see in action ... 1 by design DM (d)-> CM (s)-> Mez (a) and the other you've noticed which wasn't by design... CB->WB>DM or CB->DM->WB

 

I can probably do this once Allwein (my young CM training as CB and learning PPM) is fully prepared :D 

@Cleon

If I can chip, I've been messing with some striker less systems lately. Just a few things that popped out for me.

1. In your primary system on the flank where you have the BPD, there are two attack duties the Mez and the wide player. Depending on your team mentality, he may not play the passes you want because these aren't easy passing options. To encourage play down the flanks, you may want to tell your team to play wider. 

2. Like Cleon mentioned, its actually less risky to go via the right, cos you have more support duties. Thing about striker less systems is that attack duties are pretty important, so you need to get the balance right. The Mez is a good role and on the attack duty he helps with the build up play. What you could do is something more dramatic. The suggestion to get your keeper to pass to the DM is one, another one is to play a halfback who drops deeper, there will be more circulation of the ball. The act of dropping deep to help circulate possession of the ball actually pulls the opposition further up the pitch. This in turn gives the BPD the chance to play someone in space.

3. If you use a halfback you could end up with a passing triangle that incorporates the keeper who can actually hit surging passes as well. So you get multiple routes to goal. And you actually do some more crazy stuff...Marcelos diagonal runs across the pitch anyone?

And while you are at it, the striker less 442 is deadly when played with Inverted Wingers.

Good luck and nice thread

 

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3 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

you may want to tell your team to play wider. 

I hadn't thought of that...but it's not so much that I want to encourage flanks... I want BPD to spray passes anywhere and everywhere ...just some variety was what I planned. And there are times where the early long ball to SS is on, but majority of the time BPD plays conservative. My team mentality is standard - so with 'more risky passes' I don't see why he sees the easy option (I agree about the right flank being the right choice) as more preferable. He should see that as the easy pass, but occasionally or equally attempt the risky pass.

I'm starting to wonder, possibly completely off the mark, if by playing strikerless, the game is categorising my attacking trio as midfielders and essentially saying to the BPD 'this doesn't count as a risky pass as it is a midfielder not a striker'. what is a risky pass in terms of the ME code? You two have knowledge of the build so may be able to tell me that's not possible.

3 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

another one is to play a halfback who drops deeper

This is something I can try, quite a good line of thought.

3 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

And while you are at it, the striker less 442 is deadly when played with Inverted Wingers

I'd just come off a season detailing my favoured 442 -> I didn't want it to be too similar (I could have gotten away with the same lineup and style of play). Part of my Leverkusen 'chronicles' if I can be that self-indulgent is to really chop and change systems.

 The main drive behind documenting my journey is;

  • show how I approach transfer windows and the importance of linking attributes and PPMs to tactics (It's all part of the same puzzle)
  • show the every day user that the game hasn't become too elite and you can keep it fun and successful by following logical plans (first 6 seasons were just applying simple real life ideas... this season showing how to utilise time in the office to plan your FM :D )
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Have you tried to play your ball playing defender on the right side? he would have more space to hold the ball (because the wingback is wider and higher than the full back, he will have a safe option in passing to the central midfielder, whilst having a great run to pass into - The Raumdeuteur)?

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25 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

Risky pass, is a through ball.

Im a very pedantic man... Whats a through ball? 

To me finding the pathway, lofted if necessary, to SS is more risky (and would be deemed a through ball) than a side ways pass, as you and cleon have pointed out, to the safer more logical right hand side. 

Through ball indicates bypassing an opponent... Or bypassing a lane/channel (imo but is a very subjective term)

I will be playing a couple hours tonight so ill provide some more pass maps. 

Youve both given food for thought so i can try a couple of things. Cheers

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19 minutes ago, Rakatics said:

Have you tried to play your ball playing defender on the right side? he would have more space to hold the ball (because the wingback is wider and higher than the full back, he will have a safe option in passing to the central midfielder, whilst having a great run to pass into - The Raumdeuteur)?

Another good option. Much like a wide playmaker, scientifically, has better passing opportunities if he is on the opposite flank to his foot... I thought my BPD would benefit from being left adjusted and right footed (perhaps i overthought that part :D or underappreciated the impact of the roles in close proximity... Because i was looking at the roles further afield) 

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A bit more BPD analysis

Here is a match where we had 65% possession and still only one 'risky' pass by Stones

1021749730_statsvsfrankfurt.thumb.PNG.680b8b5502faa82c1dddc8ca8250549a.PNG

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570275233_goodriskypassvsfrankfurt.thumb.PNG.0de005af7590b73046f265bab7830467.PNG

But more often than not he has this kind of opportunity,

1766581193_stones1.thumb.PNG.008192dc3c7452849b50208ac301f52f.PNG

where id suggest the blue lanes are through balls  (risky passes) whereas the black lanes are just a pass (safe pass)

and he opts for...

642501911_stones1pass.thumb.PNG.c932602b004d54a31a173cecb73772f6.PNG

2 more games where we had high possession

516834425_Stonespassmapvskoln.thumb.PNG.8b842d8d3e87c21b3e12ef89fc67a178.PNG999499317_passmapvsbmg.thumb.PNG.80d26879266123d4e91f8f5c43090095.PNG

So here is two changes, I've added @Cleon suggestion to add PI on GK to pass to BPD (it was distribute to centre backs) & I've replaced Stones with Allwein

1572327364_allweinprofile.thumb.PNG.7390feb61629943c1e82caf9af07c7e1.PNG

1357873038_alweinafterchangeofkeeperpi.thumb.PNG.5ca394854792bc0d421d4edf61430021.PNG

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Allwein now also training PPM 'tries killer balls often' to add to his long range and switch skills.

However, at the moment he can't be trusted defensively to be my first choice. (I wont display form but I've lost 3 games tonight out of 6 played)

The other thing I found whilst doing analysis is a stupid bug (or just something I disagree with) ... those intercepted passes on Allweins map looked really poor so I watched each one. They aren't lost passes at all, he is simply making a headed clearance from opponent cross, and it falls to their playmaker outside the box. How is that an intercepted pass!?

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27 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

The other thing I found whilst doing analysis is a stupid bug (or just something I disagree with) ... those intercepted passes on Allweins map looked really poor so I watched each one. They aren't lost passes at all, he is simply making a headed clearance from opponent cross, and it falls to their playmaker outside the box. How is that an intercepted pass!?

Flip it around.  If he headed the ball neatly to a team mate what would it be?  A pass?  Not sure what else you would say it was. 

Therefore if it goes out of play it must be an incomplete pass, no?  To an opponent, an interception.

Similarly I believe shots that hit the woodwork and bounce clear are deemed off target even if such a shot is blinding skill.  Might seem harsh to some.

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37 minutes ago, Robson 07 said:

Flip it around.  If he headed the ball neatly to a team mate what would it be?  A pass?  Not sure what else you would say it was. 

A pass to me is an intent to find a teammate. A clearing header, block, tackle etc is not a pass. Those instances should be counted as a successul defensive stat not a failed attacking stat

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FM differs from Opta in terms of how it calculates possession, so there's no reason why it can't differ from Opta in what it considers a pass or through ball etc.

Here's what Opta says, which seems logical, and in line with my views. I wonder if SI can produce a similar list to explain what they think a pass is (and other stats measured in player/team analysis)? In the case of Allwein's header clearances off a cross, is it their intention that a good piece of defending be deemed an unsuccessful pass ... or is it a bug :D 

2057995542_optapasses.thumb.JPG.c7e850e54bdc8a0f53b4d2307a4f3aa0.JPG

I'll raise it separately to them, but wanted to add it to the thread as we have some discussion on it yesterday.

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End of season update

I'll keep this one fairly short. When I updated in Christmas we were unbeaten in all comps. That didn't last long - we lost 2 league games (both 1-0 away to very defensive, bottom of the league sides). And a 4-1 thrashing vs Man Utd (Martial scoring all 5 goals over two legs) saw us exit the CL with a 1-1 in the second leg.

That was a bit of downer having won the CL the previous year.

All in all another good season - retained the league, won German Super Cup, European Super Cup & World Club Champs.

I'll show the league stats below - it sums up very well the strengths of a Strikerless formation - absolutely clinical.

Here's the lg form over the second half of the season as those defeats and some draws snuck in, we still won the title with about 6 games to spare!

523052890_lgform.thumb.PNG.48a69faf0b23b03417150e915ef09478.PNG868413668_lgtable.thumb.PNG.8b7d48dde7db3a44444940ac1e6eb651.PNG

Here is the cup form showing that devastating loss to Utd! And we almost won the German cup for the first time, only to concede in the 118th minute of ET and then lose on penalties from being 3-2 up just needing to score 1 of our last 2 pens!

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The goal distribution amongst the front 3 remained fairly even. As always (after being unsettled during summer windows and eventually calming down after the Jan window) Bailey hit his peak form towards the end of the season and finished top scorer and assister.

I've also added a screen shot by assists to bring Lopera into the picture. It highlights his impact being able to hold width behind the RMD who often made inside runs.

1719254609_Squadgoals.thumb.PNG.a765b0bfff7f48b7218fae658d3d0003.PNG

2073127788_squadassists.thumb.PNG.4437a6499c0203909efd4b6f1ca9dcf1.PNG

Finally here is a snippet from the team detailed stats - really clinical that we both create the most chances and crosses, but maintain the highest success % too .. so it's quantity and quality.

To the point where Strikerless almost feels a bit gamey/exploit and I enjoyed this season far less than my 442 or 4231 seasons. That's just my opinion, I understand all the logical merits of a strikerless system and that it's not too unorthodox etc.

293893810_teamstats.thumb.PNG.61dbb3b783089ed73ed80137b3c9062e.PNG

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