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How to improve the christmas tree?


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Hi guys,

Happy Easter to all! To celebrate the occassion, I'm currently employing the very apt christmas tree. After all, 'tis the season to be jolly, quarantine or no. I'm trying to kill some time by playing FM20, for the first time this edition, so I'm - naturally - struggling to regain my footing in this game. Hence why I'm reaching out for help again. You guys really helped last year and I'm hoping you can do me the favour once again.

I was inspired by reading an article on BR/Football about Stevie G at Rangers and thought I'd give the Christmas tree a go myself. I started out at what I thought he was using, but (just like the article said was happening in real life) it was VERY stale in attack. So I've since evolved to this:

tactic.thumb.jpg.4d4ccb320c97ff7fe3639e96bfbdeee4.jpg

But I'm still struggling at times to break down opposition. I'm getting shots and against equal opponents they're on target - they give me some space to work with - but against smaller opposition we're hitting shots against their legs rather than on target. Even if I use work into box.

The AP(s) was a AM(s) first, I'm still trying to see if the playmaker role gets better results for that spot. As an AM I was getting 6.4 or 6.5 a lot. The striker is having a lot of difficulties too; I want to play possession football but I find myself swithcing to an advanced forward often because my DLF is getting lost in the opponent's defence.

Long story short, my main problems are the AM(L) and the ST. Defensively it's quite solid. Any suggestions are welcome - tips going beyond my questions are as well. I'll drop my players below for a look.

Thanks and hang in there!

EDIT: one more remark: these are the best players to do it with, since I can't buy any players as Anderlecht are in dire straits financially. There's still Verschaeren, a top talent, but he's too young to rely on too heavily.

AM2.thumb.jpg.6a25dddef81a59293ca9624d5bdea381.jpgST.thumb.jpg.08a370faacb8666bb9ff042537de4bb4.jpgCar.thumb.jpg.0d6b38756ad65ee49d062f96cda046e5.jpgDLP.thumb.jpg.feacc1fa4b1dc0c655402263fb0e52e4.jpgMez.thumb.jpg.85bec7cd0f05cbbc787db4ae178d1a85.jpgAM.thumb.jpg.ee7c8dedf18ef141f21935409f53ac4e.jpg

Edited by jens_dewit
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So, I'm going to preface this by saying that the 4-3-2-1 is not a formation I have much experience using, but I have used 4-3-1-2 and the 4-4-2 diamond quite a bit and I see a few things that I would definitely change. 

First off, a look at your players. Starting up top, Joveljic is not, even for the Belgian league, a good choice as a DLF-S. Looking at his attributes, he lacks the passing, teamwork, and vision I would want in the role. He is however a predator in the box. 16 off the ball, 15 finishing, 14 anticipation, 14 composure, 14 heading... this guy is a goal scorer in your league. Asking him to drop off and link play is shoehorning him into a role that he's not cut out for. I'd play him as either a poacher or advanced forward, maybe as a DLF-A. But a supporting striker he is not. 

In the AM strata, I think again your choice of players and roles is a bit off. Vlap may not be the most clinical finisher, but his off the ball is excellent. 15 in Belgium is really good, I would definitely play him on an attacking duty. He'll at least get into good scoring positions. Chadli is a solid all rounder, a support duty makes far more sense for him in my opinion. Where is Nasri though?

In central midfield, the distribution of roles/duties doesn't seem too problematic, though I may change some things around a bit. Zulj is probably ok at this level playing as a CAR, but Trebel's got the edge on him in terms of work rate, aggression, bravery, stamina, determination and acceleration - attributes I would be looking for in a CAR. I'd personally play him in that role, with a more purely defensive midfielder in the center. You've already got a playmaker in the AM strata, probably not necessary to have one in the CM strata on top of that. I'm not too familiar with Anderlecht's squad so I'm leaning on FMDataba here, but maybe Luckassen as a CM-D in the middle of a midfield 3? You'd have to find someone to take his place at center back, though. Zulj would be solid cover for the MEZ, CAR, and supporting AM role. 

In defense, both of your fullback roles look problematic, though in different ways. On the left side, FB-S is a very conservative role for a narrow formation. You're counting on your fullbacks for width, and between a balanced mentality and the role/duty combo I think that your left back is going to be hesitant to get forward enough. WB-S would be a better choice in my opinion. On the right, CWB is a very demanding role, even for high level players. I would simplify this a bit, WB-A or perhaps WB-S with the overlap right instruction to boost their mentality a bit. Again, FMDataba searching here but I don't think you have anyone really worthy of using the CWB role, be it on support or attack. Kompany is a beastly CB for the level, and being right sided I'd probably use a WB-A on the right, perhaps even with a right footed winger retrained to the role. WB-A is already risky defensively, may as well use a true attacking threat in the role as far as I'm concerned. 

So, to bring everything together, here's what I would set up. 

 

GK - SK/S. This makes sense for a team playing from the back. 

FBL - WB/S. Both FBs need to provide width, and this is a balanced role on your current mentality

DCL - CB/D. Not sure who I'd put here, because I'm moving Luckasson into midfield. 

DCR - BPD/D. Kompany has the passing range to be a difference maker at this level. 

FBR - WB/A. Similarly attack minded to the CWB/S, with a simpler role. 

MCL - MEZ/S. Lokonga is well suited to this role and should combine well with the WB/S. Maybe consider the run wide with ball PI to overload the opposition fullbacks and take advantage of Lokonga's dribbling prowess? 

MC - CM/D. Luckasson here, a purely holding role which he should be suited to.

MCR - CAR/S. Trebel here, he's got the work ethic I would look for in a CAR, and the quality of his passing will be a boon in an otherwise workmanlike role. 

AMCL - AM/A. Vlap. He's got the off the ball movement and anticipation to get himself into good positions. 

AMCR - AP/S. Nasri. I hope his absence from your tactic is the result of injury, because he's an amazing #10 for your level. I'd tell him to move into channels and roam from position as far as PIs go. 

CF - P/A, AF/A or PF/A. This is dependent on what you're seeing from the opposition. If you're looking to really press hard, PF/A works. Poachers tend to keep things simpler, staying in the box and looking to pounce. Advanced forwards have more dynamic movement. With Joveljic I'd probably stick with the poacher role. 

As far as TIs go, I'd probably play on positive mentality. You're a good team in this league and can get away with it. Play out of defense and low crosses make sense, but I'd drop higher tempo, especially with a bump up in mentality. If you want to play a posession oriented system, drop the passing length to short. In transition, I'd drop any distribution instructions. You're playing with a sweeper keeper, let him make the choice of where he goes with it. Depending on the situation, counter and counter press have their uses. Against minnows especially I'd consider counter press to force errant touches/passes from opponent's backlines. Out of posession, a high line makes sense, prevent short distribution I'm not sure about, see how it works. Split block - CF, AMs and MEZ set to max pressing intensity/harder tackling is more my style. 

Hope this has given you some options to consider. Good luck with Anderlecht, I'm yet to manage in Belgium but I've got a feeling come FM21 I'm going to fix that! So many young talents over there, looks like a very fun place to spend a few (virtual) years.

 

 

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On 13/04/2020 at 01:47, TheCheesemonger said:

 

Hope this has given you some options to consider. Good luck with Anderlecht, I'm yet to manage in Belgium but I've got a feeling come FM21 I'm going to fix that! So many young talents over there, looks like a very fun place to spend a few (virtual) years.

 

 

Thanks, yo've given me a lot to think about and I'll definitely be trying some of your tips. My thoughts have been too much 'is this balanced enough' to look at some of the details you mentioned so this will definitely be a big help. 

The reason I've left Nasri out is because I gave him ample chances in the first team and he simply didn't deliver. Always was way worse than 18 yo Verschaeren. He left in january, for some money we really need. Anderlecht has A LOT of huge talents, like Verschaeren, Doku, Kana,... but their finances are a mess. 

One more thing: I saw somewhere that the christmas tree formation wasn't suited to this year's ME and that playing the 4312 might be a better option. In case I move on to try that - how would you line up the front three? Joveljic as an AdvF is something I can heartily agree on; next to that my gut would say a DLF(s) on the same side of a Mez(a) to get that interchange going, with an AMC(s) behind them, or perhaps an AP(s). What would your guess be?

Once again thanks for the effort you put in, researching the players and all! If I could give you more than one upvote, I would :D 

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So for a 4-3-1-2, my typical setup looks something like this.

DL - WB/S

CD - CD/D

CD - BPD/D

DR - WB/A

MCL - MEZ/S

MC - CM/D

MCR - CAR/S

AMC - AM/A

STCL - DLF/S

STCL - P/A

 

Now, all of these roles are going to depend on mentality (I'm assuming balanced or positive) and your players, but I think it's a good baseline. My preference with this formation is for 2 of the front 3 to be on attack duty, IMO 2 support duties can definitely lead to what you've mentioned earlier - a stale attack. You can mess around with these, but here's the thought behind them .

On the left hand side, the WB/S, MEZ/S, and DLF/S will work well together, holding the ball and not forcing things. You would be looking to draw opposing defenders to this side before switching the play to the attacking wingback on the right. Ideally, your CM/D will have at least some playmaker type traits - likes to switch ball is critical here, tries long range passes is also a plus. You could certainly use a DLP/D in that CM role, but personally I've been going without playmakers in a number of my tactics lately and liking the unpredictability that it provides. With an attacking wing back and a poacher on the other side you've got a potent option when play switches, plus the AM/A is going to be in the box a bit further back to be available for cutbacks or to track down rebounds. 

TIs/PIs depend on how you want to play. Soak pressure and counter rapidly? Press and posess? Let me know. For now, I've had a few too many malt beverages and my bed is calling. I can elaborate tomorrow if you'd like :lol:

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DLF is not a good choice for Joveljic's role, because he does not have the right set of attributes for it. He is much better suited to a simple runner/scorer type of role. 

Trebel's tackling and positioning are the problem in terms of him playing a holding midfield role. 

Having 2 playmakers (DLP and AP on support) one behind the other may easily lead to tactical overkill slowing your attacking play a bit too much.

You are using a narrow formation, so your left back's role (FB on support) may be a bit too conservative for this type of system. In narrow formations you need really capable fullbacks/wing-backs, who can constantly get up and down the pitch and be equally good both in defense and attack. 

Low crosses do not make much sense considering your players' profiles.

In addition to the above remarks, pay also some attention to your players' preferred foot. 

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On 15/04/2020 at 07:02, TheCheesemonger said:

 

TIs/PIs depend on how you want to play. Soak pressure and counter rapidly? Press and posess? Let me know. For now, I've had a few too many malt beverages and my bed is calling. I can elaborate tomorrow if you'd like :lol:

Thanks again; I've been busy with all kinds of work things and haven't had time to play much. I've abandoned the christmas tree as it wasn't doing anything good. I did try the 4312 and that is looking quite nice. Possession wise it's going good, but sometimes I do need to play on the counter more. I try to change from possession to counter by ticking the counter option, changing directnes from short to normal and use play into space. Together with a standard line of defence and lower LoE it does work, but it feels like I'm still missing some 'snappyness', a bit of joie de vivre.

On 15/04/2020 at 15:06, Experienced Defender said:

DLF is not a good choice for Joveljic's role, because he does not have the right set of attributes for it. He is much better suited to a simple runner/scorer type of role. 

Trebel's tackling and positioning are the problem in terms of him playing a holding midfield role. 

Having 2 playmakers (DLP and AP on support) one behind the other may easily lead to tactical overkill slowing your attacking play a bit too much.

You are using a narrow formation, so your left back's role (FB on support) may be a bit too conservative for this type of system. In narrow formations you need really capable fullbacks/wing-backs, who can constantly get up and down the pitch and be equally good both in defense and attack. 

Low crosses do not make much sense considering your players' profiles.

In addition to the above remarks, pay also some attention to your players' preferred foot. 

I've changed the AP back to AMC and am playing Chirivella and Kana as DLP(d). Chiri is still not the best option I reckon, but it's the best I could do with our budgets... I appreciate the feedback, but could you elaborate on the low crosses part? I figured that in the original set-up it would go well with an AMC popping up in the box.

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1 minute ago, Experienced Defender said:

Okay, maybe it will work. Try and see. that's the easiest way to find out.

Well... I did try that and it was far from perfect, but mainly because most of my players get their crosses into corners. Sometimes they're far ahead of their defender, my players are rushing into the box and still they wait for everyone to stand still before they try their cross... against the defender's legs. Maybe I should just try crosses from deep.

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Just now, jens_dewit said:

Well... I did try that and it was far from perfect, but mainly because most of my players get their crosses into corners. Sometimes they're far ahead of their defender, my players are rushing into the box and still they wait for everyone to stand still before they try their cross... against the defender's legs. Maybe I should just try crosses from deep.

I don't know what your whole tactic now looks like following the tweaks you've probably made in the meantime. Because instructions, roles or any other part of a tactic cannot be viewed and/or analyzed in isolation.

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