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Strikerless 4123 - what to do with my No. 10?

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...Or is he my No. 9?

I'm a long-time FM player but just giving FM20 a shot after using FM14 for a long time. Despite the fact I've been playing awhile, tactics are not my strong suit and I'd prefer a 'set it and forget it' system that I know works so I can focus on other parts of the game. That said, I'm trying a system on my own to start and see where it takes me.

I've decided to try a strikerless 4123 wide system with a raumdeuter for the first time (used a narrow 5230 in FM14 to great success). I've tried it with three different teams and for the most part it's been successful. My biggest issue is figuring out what to do with the No. 10 (9?) at the top. I initially envisioned a Trequartista there - the focal point of the attack, hitting the RMD with through-balls while also chipping in with goals. That hasn't happened like I thought it would.

Here's what I've been using with Leeds:


The TRQ has turned into a deeper-lying Enganche. Despite my best intentions, the DLP has been the biggest part of the attack, hitting the wingers and the Mezzala on deep passes behind the defense. Anecdotally, a good number (most?) of my chances come from long balls from my outside backs and DM. I've seen them routinely hit my MEZ-a and W-a on the run for a one-on-one. I'd say a majority of my goals have come on crosses from either wing to the RMD or W.

After a slow start - went six (SIX!) straight games without a goal in August - things are going well:

Through 34 games, here's where I stand:
4th in the table (1 game in hand)
10th in possession (51%)
Distant 5th in goals (58) - West Brom has 81.
1st in chances created (101)
1st in conversion rate (13%)
1st in shots on target ratio (57%)
1st in goals allowed (16)

I went a slightly different route in a test with Dulwich Hamlet:


Through 17 games, here's where I stand:
3rd in the table
1st in possession (57%)
T11th in goals (21)
2nd in chances created (49)
19th in conversion rate (7%)
1st in goals allowed (9)

With Arsenal, I used a IF-s and FB-a on the right with the MEZ on support and had the AMC as a Shadow Striker (won't post pic or stats for that one). Results were pretty good - top 5 in everything above except for possession and 7th in table with game in hand.

So after all that, my question is: what do I do with the AMC? Obviously what I'm doing is working overall, but I feel like the AMC is almost a lost position. The RMD isn't getting through balls - just crosses mainly - and the AMC isn't scoring or creating a ton of chances. I've halfway considered making it another MC on attack duty and go for goal from even deeper. I like using Shadow Strikers but don't want another attack duty up top and the MEZ-a is working well.

Any suggestions?


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To comment on your Leeds formation, your set up on roles looks ok, but when using a striker less formation you have to ask yourself where you expect your goals to come from?

In your set up it looks like you aiming for the Rmd & Mez to be the goal scoring threat as the winger will stay wide & the Engache is a very much playmaker in first phase. 
 Your TI are super aggressive,  both of these roles require space to run into, yet you are using a much higher LOE, coupled with other aggressive OOP instructions means these players have very little space to run into especially when playing as Leeds who most opposition will play negatively against.

I would try dropping LOE to standard, drop prevent gk distribution ( instead have your front 3 plus the mez on split block pressing) and see if that opens up more space for your forwards to operate in. 
One other smaller note I’d swap your fullback roles, WB on left, fb or even IWB on the right. Might give you more balanced play as the right side of your team could be defensively vulnerable. 
Good luck 

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I'm by no means an expert on strikerless stuff, but I have tried it before. There is a whole website out there dedicated to this as well.


So, RMD is wanting to exploit space, but the roles around him are not really helping at all. If you are playing in england mostly playing against teams with a back 4. So if you think about how they will be marking your offense, you do not have any type of numerical advantage. Then, with a very static/stationary AMC/Front man, he will be easily picked up by one defender, leaving 1-2 defenders to mark any attacking play you could get from the RMD and Mez. I really don't think a RMD is going to work with a strikerless formation. IMO, you need someone up top, likely a AF-A or PF-A to really pressure and push the two centerbacks. When they are being distracted with marking the striker up top, the RMD will naturally try to exploit the channel/half spaces. The ENG is probably sitting in the channel alongside a defender, so the RMD has no where to go.

Like the last comment, I'd switch your fullback roles as well, and take the left fullback off Attack, keeping him away from the RMD to help him get space.

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In an effort to change things up, I went with the suggestions: lower LOE, no prevent GK distribution, changed FB roles. The results? Five games, three goals (one from the spot), one win. Two chances created and one assist by the Enganche (all in the same game).

I do appreciate the help, so I'm not crapping on your suggestions - just giving the results. The thing is, based on the stats above (particularly chances created), the system is working relatively well. Granted, I'm using teams that are tipped for promotion, but I don't think I'm underperforming.

My main RMD is the second-leading goal scorer on the team, so he's getting plenty of opportunities, and I've seen times where he's open for a run on a throughball but whoever is on the ball doesn't see him. So I think it's there, just needs a little tweaking.

I'll get bored easily with a standard 4123, which is why I wanted to go strikerless, but maybe it's time to give a No. 9 a look.

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