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Everything TOTAL Football (From Cruyff's 343 to Guardiola's Overloads) - UPDATED May 30, 2022


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On 07/01/2022 at 17:39, gokalpcakir1 said:

Are there any other PIs you use?

I will have to do a more detailed write up on this tactic soon. It's actually going really well in this second second season with Torino. But I don't have too much time to explain it now. If you wish to try it out and check the PIs here is the tactic download.

Total 4-3-3.fmf

Edited by crusadertsar
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On 24/12/2021 at 07:06, latrell said:

i was only six years old but it was the first tournament i remember that stands out for me in my memory was Ruud Gullit and van Basten the link up play they had i knew nothing about formations then, but this is how they lined up.

32677.png

One of the most fluid “Very Attacking” 4-4-2s ever. Just watched the Euro 88 Final: Netherlands v USSR ( another equally Attacking 4-4-2 outfit under Lobanovskyi) 

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I've been using this tactic, with some small changes and I'm quite happy with it. Wingers are a bit inconsistent though, they never have an average game. It's either 6.3/6.4 or 7.5+.

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35 minutes ago, duvels said:

I've been using this tactic, with some small changes and I'm quite happy with it. Wingers are a bit inconsistent though, they never have an average game. It's either 6.3/6.4 or 7.5+.

Yeah, there has been a whole big issue with inside forwards and inverted wingers not behaving as they should in FM22. So possibly their performance is affected.

It seems like it still has not been completely fixed. But then in this tactic they are more supporting players. With the real star bring the central striker. Sort of like Pep's Barca. Although I would love to have a player like Villa for my left IF. 

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3 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

Role Focus: #6 Midfield Pivot - Most Important Role in The Tactic 

So where to start my more detailed analysis of this Total Football-inspired 4-3-3? Where else but with a role which I believe is the most important in the whole formation. The midfield pivot, #6 position. A player around whom the whole formation rotates.

el-espanol-hablo-de-manera.jpg.61b748801816c15ead596eacc292b088.jpg

Basically your link player in the centre of the pitch. Pep Guardiola played this key role in Johan Cruyff's 3-4-3. Then as a manager himself, Pep employed two players who went on to define this role (especially in a patient possession system): Sergio Busquets and Fernandinho. Due to the attacking nature of the wingbacks and the two "free 8s", the defensive solidity of the tactic depends on having a good player here. Maybe even one of your best players. Arguably, a very demanding role. If you can only get one "Total Footballer" for your tactic then this is the place where one is needed. More so than in any other position in the formation.

Your midfield pivot need not be your best playmaker. But he always needs to be available for a short pass from the defenders. Or a backward pass from your central midfielders for the times when you're being pressed and you need to recycle the ball. Therefore, he always has to remain cool under pressure, even in the face of the hardest opposition pressure. He might not be a physical beast like your typical centreback or midfield destroyer, but nevertheless will require above average Composure, Concentration and Balance. That is because he possesses clear defensive responsibilities to shield your defensive line and stop counter-attacks.

dlp.png.0be51d004a39267033dbd7acc15860ed.png

So clearly your pivot will also need decent Tackling, Marking and Positioning. Then finally the all-important "Total Football" attributes of Teamwork, Workrate and Determination are like the glue that connects all of the pivot's strengths into one well-rounded package.

So what role is the best for this essential position in the 4-3-3 formation? The answer to that is harder than it might seem. Although a half-back role might fit Busquets, it's not always the best role for every situation your 4-3-3 will face. Ideally, I would like a role that changes its behavior dynamically depending on the situation. A bit like how Pep Guardiola had his #6 playing at both Barcelona and Man City. But we all know that it is not really possible within the limits of the FM game engine. Maybe one day. For now we have to do with what we have.

I definitely know what I DON'T want from my #6 pivot role. I don't want him to roam around too much and take needless risks. So regista (or even DLP on support) is pretty much out of the question. I don't want him pushing too far forward and joining the other midfielders. When the possession is lost he'll be caught upfield with not enough time to get back into his defensive position. I also don't want him to be too aggressive in hunting the ball like your typical ball-winning midfielder. Especially given the aggressive nature of our pressing. So that is why I always add "close down less" player instruction on whichever role I use for the pivot.

At the same time you don't want a role that sits back too much and is not proactive or creative enough. Although you could still use an "Anchor" or "DM(D) role as your #6. But I would include some individual instructions to make them play more creatively and take more risks.

So to combine all of these requirements into a single role is no simple task. Also you will have to take into account the hard-coded behavior that some roles might have. Such as the Half-Back dropping deep between your centrebacks ("splitting the centrebacks") during possession phase when your wingbacks go forward.

Then there is also the factor of the unique traits that some players might possess. These can drastically change the behavior of the player, no matter what their set role or PIs are.

traits.png.302da71bb583de746b62348ce548f97c.png

So due to the above reasons I settled on the role for the DM pivot that is as simple and generic as possible. After initial testing I decided to move away from the ball-magnet that was DLP. Also I concluded that roles that only came with Defend duty (like Anchor or Half-Back) might be a bit too conservative for my system. A needed someone that intrinsically operated at a higher mentality (at least Balanced) in order to make those riskier decisions in moving the ball forward. The generic DM on Support offers pretty much everything I needed. But most importantly, being a generic role, it allows quite a bit of instructional customization.

tac2.png.4cbe952820c6398cfb7dffb74459942e.png

I love how you are choosing a DM-SU - in combination with instructions and PPM - to create the #6. That's a different approach and hopefully it will achieve the same results! 

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  • crusadertsar changed the title to Everything TOTAL Football (From Cruyff's 343 to Guardiola's Overloads) - UPDATED Jan 12, 2022
  • 1 month later...
On 17/02/2022 at 05:55, RenegadeMaster said:

Hi @crusadertsar, finally got some time to play FM again. Just started a save with Bragantino in Brazil, not the wealthiest club but trying to implement the total football philosophy. 

Will report how it goes!

Looking forward to reading how your save gets on!

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 07/03/2022 at 16:50, Skywalk3r83 said:

Hi @crusadertsar, I know you have something else on your mind right now, but are you going to continue with this 433? Take care. 

Yeah sorry about the long hiatus guys :( I am feeling a bit less depressed, even though the situation in my country has not changed much. I aim to go back to it eventually. Right now I actually resumed writing about my other topic, the pragmatic 4-2-3-1. So expect more updates, eventually. After I finish with that I hope to tackle my favourite 4-3-3 again.

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il y a 39 minutes, crusadertsar a dit :

Yeah sorry about the long hiatus guys :( I am feeling a bit less depressed, even though the situation in my country has not changed much. I aim to go back to it eventually. Right now I actually resumed writing about my other topic, the pragmatic 4-2-3-1. So expect more updates, eventually. After I finish with that I hope to tackle my favourite 4-3-3 again.

The most important is that you and your family are well mate, take care ;)

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1 hour ago, crusadertsar said:

Yeah sorry about the long hiatus guys :( I am feeling a bit less depressed, even though the situation in my country has not changed much. I aim to go back to it eventually. Right now I actually resumed writing about my other topic, the pragmatic 4-2-3-1. So expect more updates, eventually. After I finish with that I hope to tackle my favourite 4-3-3 again.

Allright man, take your time👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

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On 10/03/2022 at 09:43, Skywalk3r83 said:

Nice! What's the tactic you are using?

Sorry for late response. This is the tactic

 

image.png.0df4c266ddae75ae4f2c805733e96fc5.png

 

Tho I do plan on having both WCB on support duty and up front a CF-A and F9. But that is obviously long ways away.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 13/03/2022 at 20:28, -Jef- said:

Sorry for late response. This is the tactic

 

image.png.0df4c266ddae75ae4f2c805733e96fc5.png

 

Tho I do plan on having both WCB on support duty and up front a CF-A and F9. But that is obviously long ways away.

Nice one Jef - could you share .fmf with your tactic?

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19 hours ago, betondur said:

Nice one Jef - could you share .fmf with your tactic?

You can just copy that from the screenshot. Everything is default.

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Posted (edited)

Total 4-3-3: FM22 attempt

Here we go again! Another crack at making the ultimate 4-3-3 tactic. It seems that I do these every year now, with every new version of FM :lol: . So I hope that you, my readers, don't mind if I do so again. It will probably go over some of the same ground that I covered in my posts from FM21, which can be found deeper in this thread. Sorry guys, after 24 pages it's getting harder and harder to find my older stuff but if you are really interested I'm sure you won't mind a bit of digging). So I guess the objective of this latest attempt is to try to distill as much of the tactical essence from all of my earlier attempts and try to make a simple guide/summary of the things that have worked in my experience when running a 4-3-3 in the game. As such it's not a guide specific to 2022 version of the game. Some of the concepts I'll show have worked for me as far back as FM14 (even though I did not write about it back then).   

Now that I think about it, I was rather obsessed with 4-3-3 in FM21. I also did an exploration of the 4-1-4-1 (essentially a more defensive 4-3-3) in my Swiss Army Knife thread. Although that one was more about Mourinho-style football rather than Total Football. 

But this shows just how versatile of a shape, 4-3-3 is. It can be used for counter-attacking, pragmatic football just as well as possession football. Nevetheless, it is most associated with modern style of possession-focused high-pressing football. Some pretty big teams like Barcelona (Guardiola's years), Arsenal (Wenger's post-Invincibles era 2006-2008) and most recently Man City (again Pep) really put it on the map. Thanks to these legendary managers, the 4-3-3/4-1-4-1 shape has become associated with highly technical, aesthetically pleasing style of football. For the new generation of football fans that is. The older generation, already knew about the power of 4-3-3, largely thanks to the legendary exploits of 1970s Ajax and Johan Cruyff. 

 71-8-1.png.d6663d37b02cb7dff96ea10f5d667f34.png

 

I may not be the absolute FM grognard (never tried the Championship games) but I still consider to have played FM for a long time now. Since 2013 to be exact when I first started with FM14. I have been a lurker on these forums since that time. And even back then I remember always reading through a ton of threads either seeking advise about creating 4-3-3 or offering their own insights. And speaking of such advise threads, here is one of my all-time favourites. 

Great reading! Despite being from a few FM versions back, it remains relevant to this day and a valuable exploration of Pep Guardiola's Barca. The team that not only made 4-3-3 relevant again but changed the course of modern football forever. That team and its historic formation also started my long love with Total Football. I highly recommend all of  @Ö-zil to the Arsenal! writing but this one especially. And I find that the ideas it presents can still be applied just as well in FM22. As they probably will in FM23 or any other future FM. 

I guess the testament of the versatility of 4-3-3 shape is in how confusing it is to write about it sometimes. It is known by so many names, depending on slight variations in defensive positioning or choice of roles. So many teams have adapted it to use in different contexts, ranging from ultra-defensive to very attacking. It may be known as 4-1-2-2-1, 4-5-1, 4-1-4-1 or 4-3-3. Thus it has become a staple of European football. Capable of achieving anything. Anything from solid defensive football to fluid, beautiful, control-focused attacking football. Without a doubt 4-3-3 (or whatever you want to call it) is one of the most versatile formations in modern football. A formation that may be easy to set up but becomes rather difficult to master and make consistently effective. 

4-3-3.jpg.2d9ba71233d42e82d9aca3a31f6b09b1.jpg

At its essence the 4-3-3 shape is simple. As it appears on paper, it consists of a flat four defence, three midfielders (two more advanced and one more withdrawn) and another trio in attack. Up front,  the attack is spear-headed by a lone striker who is flanked on either side by two wide attackers. All rather basic so far. The tricky part is in what comes next. Because one can make or break a tactic depending on what roles and duties one assigns to these 10 positions within 4-3-3. Depending on the movement and behaviour that stems from the roles, your formation can play very differently. 

More to come ... 

Edited by crusadertsar
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  • crusadertsar changed the title to Everything TOTAL Football (From Cruyff's 343 to Guardiola's Overloads) - UPDATED March 28, 2022
Posted (edited)

Creating My 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 Hybrid 

Pep's Legacy 

In my opinion, the 2010/11 Barcelona is still the best modern recreation of the 4-3-3 first introduced by Rinus Michels. You had all the major elements in place like wingers that cut inside and wingbacks bombing forward and providing width. The interchange of positions that allowed Barca to cover every meter of the field. Positional Play is not a completely new concept but rather a new take on the old Dutch Total Football formula. Much like Michel's Ajax, Pep Guardiola's Barca ran circles around their opposition. Total control of the ball and of the match. 

While using the seemingly simple 4-3-3 formation allowed Pep to achieve numerical, qualitative and positional superiority over his opponents. Their highly technical style was reminiscent of the great Dutch teams of the 1970s like Michel's Ajax and Happel's Feyenoord. Naturally, Guardiola called his version of Total Football, Juego de Posición (Positional Play). 

In its early days, Pep's Total Football was misunderstood by pundits was labeled "Tiki-Taka". A name that gave the wrong impression that it was all about passing the ball for the sake of possession. In fact, Guardiola hates the word “Tiki-Taka”, because his philosophy is the total opposite. To Guardiola possession is only “means to an end”. The goal - completely disorganize the opposition, overloading them on one side so that the players could attack the opposite side. 

The Hybrid Future of Total Football 

20220328_111400.jpg.d793bd8a7ca1f3033e0ff7ad78e353f8.jpg

While Pep took 4-3-3 formation to whole new heights with Barca, he squeezed all he could out of that shape. For Total Football to evolve and continue its tradition of beautiful attacking game within the highly demanding modern football world, some things needed to change. This is where Ten Hag, another bald man with a passion for Total Football, steps in. For he had his own innovative vision of the classic 4-3-3. Welcome the future of Total Football: 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 Hybrid formation. It blends the best elements of both of these shapes. The positional, defensive advantages of the 4-3-3 with the attacking movement of the more aggressive 4-2-3-1. 

Ajax have mostly lined up in a 4-2-3-1 this season that could look like a 4-3-3 at times. It’s hard to pinpoint out what their build-up structure is mainly due to the fact that they have so many variations, but the key aspect here is how they maintain a higher tempo with short passes to create diagonal passing ranges to progress the ball from one end to another. 

During its record-breaking 2018 Champions League run, Ten Hag's Ajax used both 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 to great advantage. While on paper it appeared that he had his team lined up in a 4-2-3-1, the reality was quite different. Depending on the phase of play, Ten Hag's team might look like it's using 4-3-3 or the more aggressive 4-2-3-1. It is hard to pinpoint their exact structure exactly because of so many variations from defensive position to attacking movement. The team might defend like 4-5-1 but then transform into a more dangerous 4-2-3-1 shape during attack. Ten Hag's Ajax puts into question our modern obsession with labelling formations. Does it really matter? Not to Total Football, it doesn't. What really matters is movement of players on the field to use that space to its full extent. 

 

FM22 Recreation 

Coming soon

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Finally bro, i tried to replicate Ten Hag as well but i failed. Hahah. 

This is what my view on this season Ten Hag:

SK(d)

IWB(s) BPD(d) BPD(d) FB(s/d)

CM(d) BBM

IF(s/a) AM(s) W/IW(s)

CF(a)

 

The TIs would be something like the preset vertical tika taka.

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Yes! I've been trying out to replicate Ten Hag after seeing them live this season in CL. As a Sporting sócio, I was blown away by the attack, pressing and movements that I saw that night. 

Despite not using a F9 like City did later (rip), their game was immaculate and showed me that you can achieve an incredibly efficient and dominant style using a stocky forward like Haller.

Really hyped for this, also you absolutely nailed it on the 433/4231 - Berghuis showcasing how easy it can be for him to attack as a CAM here.

In fact, most goals that night are an Ajax masterclass (we did mess up but they were clearly superior), but their game was not just goals. Gravenberch/Martinez are essential for their midfield setup for playmaking and high press, allowing them to dominate and just play on the opponents half. 

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2 hours ago, skyline72 said:

Finally bro, i tried to replicate Ten Hag as well but i failed. Hahah. 

This is what my view on this season Ten Hag:

SK(d)

IWB(s) BPD(d) BPD(d) FB(s/d)

CM(d) BBM

IF(s/a) AM(s) W/IW(s)

CF(a)

 

The TIs would be something like the preset vertical tika taka.

Actually, I came up with something similar. Especially like that CF(a) ;)

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  • crusadertsar changed the title to Everything TOTAL Football (From Cruyff's 343 to Guardiola's Overloads) - UPDATED April 1, 2022

Very interesting. A big fan of your balanced 4231. Have you ever tried dropping the IF and IW into the midfield strata as two IW with either attack duty or support with get further forward pi? This starts them deeper and helps defensively when up against tough opponents but keeps their offensive intent? Works for me when needed. 

Edited by loisvale
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11 hours ago, loisvale said:

Very interesting. A big fan of your balanced 4231. Have you ever tried dropping the IF and IW into the midfield strata as two IW with either attack duty or support with get further forward pi? This starts them deeper and helps defensively when up against tough opponents but keeps their offensive intent? Works for me when needed. 

True. It is a good strategy for when you are the underdog. Exactly like you said it will work when needed. But most of the games I still prefer higher winger positioning to exert better pressure on the opposition. Especially if you are a top 5 team like my current Villareal. A lot of opponents will sit back against us and deep defensive positioning won't help with breaking them down. 

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Now moved to Roma on my save and some of the players there are perfect for me to test out the hybrid 433 ( I like the idea of it as you lay out above). 
 

Abraham as CF A

Zaniolo IF A

Pellegrini AP A

christante DM D

Good defensive 4

and good youngsters. Some great players and could be here a while  

 

Any further insight on the tactic would be welcome to aid understanding  

i.e why TIs chosen. Very high def line but no real pressing? 
 

hold shape rather than counter?

are there other PIs other than the 3 midfielders which make sense?

finally always like to understand the tactic creators in match tweaks for stronger opponents, weaker opponents, home or away etc.

will certainly be applying my own variations but always learning and any insight into this intriguing tactic would be very welcome.
 

thanks.  

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, loisvale said:

Now moved to Roma on my save and some of the players there are perfect for me to test out the hybrid 433 ( I like the idea of it as you lay out above). 
 

Abraham as CF A

Zaniolo IF A

Pellegrini AP A

christante DM D

Good defensive 4

and good youngsters. Some great players and could be here a while  

 

Any further insight on the tactic would be welcome to aid understanding  

i.e why TIs chosen. Very high def line but no real pressing? 
 

hold shape rather than counter?

are there other PIs other than the 3 midfielders which make sense?

finally always like to understand the tactic creators in match tweaks for stronger opponents, weaker opponents, home or away etc.

will certainly be applying my own variations but always learning and any insight into this intriguing tactic would be very welcome.
 

thanks.  

 

 

 

Oh sorry, it's not apparent from write up but there is pressing but just very selective. I have individual instruction of close down more on my three forwards, AP (a) and Segundo Volante. I prefer this more selective approach as opposed to applying it to the whole team. I'm also trying to keep our overall intensity down, hence why I use hold position. I rather have my team play consistently well for 90 minutes rather then get knackered after 60 minutes. I always try to keep the intensity out of the red zone.

Edited by crusadertsar
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17 hours ago, loisvale said:

Now moved to Roma on my save and some of the players there are perfect for me to test out the hybrid 433 ( I like the idea of it as you lay out above). 
 

Abraham as CF A

Zaniolo IF A

Pellegrini AP A

christante DM D

Good defensive 4

and good youngsters. Some great players and could be here a while  

 

Any further insight on the tactic would be welcome to aid understanding  

i.e why TIs chosen. Very high def line but no real pressing? 
 

hold shape rather than counter?

are there other PIs other than the 3 midfielders which make sense?

finally always like to understand the tactic creators in match tweaks for stronger opponents, weaker opponents, home or away etc.

will certainly be applying my own variations but always learning and any insight into this intriguing tactic would be very welcome.
 

thanks.  

 

 

 

And yes Roma is a great shout! Was in fact my go to team for a similar 4-2-3-1 tactic I tested in FM21. Their squad is made perfect for this sort of patient defensively-responsible approach. 

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Been lurking this thread for a while and I created this account to say how much I appreciate it!

And since you're trying to create something close to Ten Hag's Ajax, this video might be of interest:

 

What I find particularly interesting in Ajax this season is how they play with a target man like Haller, which isn't very common in possession sides (another example that comes to mind is Giroud in Wenger's Arsenal) and adds variety to their game. It's something I'd like to create in FM, possession football with a target man.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Rodpaco said:

Been lurking this thread for a while and I created this account to say how much I appreciate it!

And since you're trying to create something close to Ten Hag's Ajax, this video might be of interest:

 

What I find particularly interesting in Ajax this season is how they play with a target man like Haller, which isn't very common in possession sides (another example that comes to mind is Giroud in Wenger's Arsenal) and adds variety to their game. It's something I'd like to create in FM, possession football with a target man.

Great informative video! 

It is interesting that you mention Haller's role within Ten Hag's tactics. Because he has been a lot on my mind lately. Specifically on how to integrate such a role into a Total Football system. This is because I might need to adapt my own tactics soon to take the best advantage of a Targetman-type player. Gerard Moreno is still great, but is not getting any younger. And my two young strikers in the pipeline both seem to fit the profile of a tall, strong forward. 

This is Fer Nino, my current choice of striker substitute: 

941C72A1B3BB2EB1A7F8F3743121671ACDBAF823 (1600×900)

 

And this is my youth team wonderkid, who will hopefully develop into a good Targetman in the future.

25FFE422D8015303FF82B79056FF95CCE2C2B0F3 (1600×900)

Edited by crusadertsar
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With the pressing intensity set to standard but with set players set to press more do you use the position to press in opposition instructions?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Chapman7 said:

With the pressing intensity set to standard but with set players set to press more do you use the position to press in opposition instructions?

No. Never use opposition instructions. Some stand by them. But in my experience it's extra busy work. Tactic works just fine as it is.

Edited by crusadertsar
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2 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

No. Never use opposition instructions. Some stand by them. But in my experience it's extra busy work. Tactic works just fine as it is.

Agree, I used to use a positive mentality with standard pressing and it was very good when the team made a defensive transition.

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21 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

No. Never use opposition instructions. Some stand by them. But in my experience it's extra busy work. Tactic works just fine as it is.

I've had mix results with it so wanted to check on it lol 

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1 hour ago, Chapman7 said:

I've had mix results with it so wanted to check on it lol 

Most tactics in this game are highly dependent on the players you have. Get some awesome players that fit the tactical style to a "t" and you are halfway there. And by "awesome" I don't mean the best players in the world. Just the ones with suitable attributes. The players I get most excited about in FM22 are usually the ones that cost me around 10 million. Or even ones I get on loan. No need to Real Madrid or Bayern-like superteam here.

 

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, Kevinmatt said:

My issue is i'm not creating many chances or scoring goals ive attached a sceenshot 

 

2145675542_tenhag.png.d608454bee133f378cc3abc283123b72.png

It's not really meant to be a plug and play tactic. Whats the Off the Ball attribute movement on Ascensio? In that position you need someone who really knows how to run into space. Meaning high mental attributes and off the ball movement. 

31FDE0684CBAE7650C3C95155887E92F7AC3A3DA (1600×900)

Like for example, this is the player I have in my Inside Forward position. He is still a rather raw talent, but has all the key attributes needed for my primary goal-scorer role. And he only cost $8.75 million from my transfer budget last summer. 

 

Edited by crusadertsar
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13 minutes ago, Kevinmatt said:

@crusadertsarComing to end of the season so i'll be searching for a few players to fit into the system. Really interested in this style

 

Here is Asensio ;

 

asensio.thumb.png.443248567b32afe2cae633decc3265d9.png

 

Yeah Ascensio would not be my first choice just because of that low off the ball. 12 is really not good for his level. He is more of a playmaker rather than a space exploiter.

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3 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

Yeah Ascensio would not be my first choice just because of that low off the ball. 12 is really not good for his level. He is more of a playmaker rather than a space exploiter.

 

I'm in hunt for a replacement with better off the ball , have you any indidvual instructions set for any positions? 

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1 minute ago, Kevinmatt said:

 

I'm in hunt for a replacement with better off the ball , have you any indidvual instructions set for any positions? 

Yeah a couple. I'm away from my computer now so can't just explain them.  But you can get the tactic download in my article here. 

https://dictatethegame.com/total-football-journeyman-creating-my-4-3-3-4-2-3-1-hybrid/

 

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  • crusadertsar changed the title to Everything TOTAL Football (From Cruyff's 343 to Guardiola's Overloads) - UPDATED May 30, 2022

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