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Lets talk 3-5-2; a (non-gegen) guide to a flat 5-3-2 WB.


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I am so happy to see a new generation of posters emerge who make great effort in creating well articulated threads. This is a great effort! And, a very nice start! Looking forward to reading more on your journey.

 

What is especially pertinent and something a lot of people fail to grasp is how differently two players can play one role, which makes the discussion of what roles are best for a specific formation, instead, turning it into, what’s works best if I had a combination of these kind of qualities in players. And you nailed that part of the thread.

 

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6 hours ago, Rashidi said:

I am so happy to see a new generation of posters emerge who make great effort in creating well articulated threads. This is a great effort! And, a very nice start! Looking forward to reading more on your journey.

 

What is especially pertinent and something a lot of people fail to grasp is how differently two players can play one role, which makes the discussion of what roles are best for a specific formation, instead, turning it into, what’s works best if I had a combination of these kind of qualities in players. And you nailed that part of the thread.

 

Thank you for your encouraging reply and also being the first reply on my first thread :)

Frankly, the more I play FM and read about it, I discover that there is always something new to learn. This makes up for a much engaging and fulfilling experience with FM.

Small things like choosing the right player for a match, training PPMs, handling mentality properly, and individual training all make up this fulfilling experience.

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How are you finding your libero's contributions? You have a DLP directly in front of him, so I would guess most of his passes go to the playmaker, which can take away from his effectiveness. Or do you still see him pushing up and spray those nice passes out to the wing-backs, with the DLP just always there to provide a safer alternative?

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10 hours ago, MRAFTCT said:

Great Article, despite the fact you have made Rangers the third team in Scotland :)

 

They did good for a couple of seasons, but didn't recover from Stevie's departure to Aston Villa!

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1 hour ago, Enzo_Francescoli said:

How are you finding your libero's contributions? You have a DLP directly in front of him, so I would guess most of his passes go to the playmaker, which can take away from his effectiveness. Or do you still see him pushing up and spray those nice passes out to the wing-backs, with the DLP just always there to provide a safer alternative?

You are true in that the DLP is the main man, taking away a lot from the Libero's effectiveness. Yet I like how he plays when we pass out from the back, both CBs look to pass to the Libero if they are pressed, and he usually gets it to the other playmakers. I might try using the Libero instead of the DLP, when I get a better BPD.

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Originally posted on my blog

The 442 and 4231 Problem

I have had great success with Hearts, both in the league and Europe. We dominate smaller teams, and hit the stronger teams on the break with the DLP, TM and the CWBs.

However there are several issues with my 5-3-2 system. Most notably of these is the '442 and 4231 problem' as I call it. I recently gave away a 2-0 lead in the last 15 minutes against Dundee United after them changing to an attacking 442 with overlapping fullbacks. The issue is most obvious when the wide forwards pin my wingbacks and wait for a very easy overlap, effectively getting the WB out of the game. 

This is an example of Dundee's second equalising goal

LJufJqu.gif

Although this goal is partly due to some poor defending, the issues are clear, the aggressive fullbacks are in dangerous positions, and my WB, is busy tracking the winger.

The Solution

I decided to work my way during this save without changing the basic formation at all. So I had the extra limitation of sticking with a flat 5-3-2 WB. 

The idea was inspired by Liverpool, where the team faces similar problems down the flanks. The job of the two outer mids (Henderson and Wijnaldum) to cover the WB and prevent the opponent doubling up against the lone WB.

hoZivZi.jpeg

I decided to change the midfield trio to CAR-AP-A-CAR in front of the Libero, and test this against Rangers, which line up regulalry in a 4-4-2. In theory, this change should also make the Libero more involved due to the lack of the DLP-D in front of him, and the AP-A should have tons of space when the CARs drift wide and pull the opponent's two CMs wider.

fRL23Y8.gif

Things already look much better, the CAR engage the wide ball carrier, while the WB and the wide CB track the other runner. This situation was repeated, especially when Rangers attacked us after our goal. What was even better that the AP-A was very lethal during attacking transitions. Rob Kift (the AP-A) had 5 key passes during 75 mins in that game, considering that the entire Rangers team had 7 key passes only.

KqmdPro.jpg

I like how we play against our bogey formations during the first two games I tested this change in, and I look forward to being better defensively against these troublesome formations.

Edited by engamohd
Forgot to add title.
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On 24/08/2020 at 18:53, engamohd said:

Mentality has always been a big issue for me. It is not until soon that I realised that it is all about risk and reward, and the urgency of pressing and attacking movement. I started changing mentality during several games to avoid counterattack, or chase a game. Against defensive, deep weaker opponents, I usually go on Cautious mentality to avoid taking unnecessary risks that could turn into a counterattacking opportunity against us. 

Good post and I found you interpretation of mentality interesting.  It might give people some ideas.

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6 hours ago, Ampalaea4 said:

@engamohdWith 2 Carilero going wider and an Advanced Playmaker on attack duty, doesnt this leave your midfield "empty"? 

Yes, against 4231 this may happen, so a RPM, AP-S or even DLP-S maybe a better option. However against 442s, we don't face this issue as we have a midfield superiority in numbers.

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engamohd what a brilliant read, thank you. And dont worry about the quality of the English its my first language and you got yourself across better than I could.

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3 hours ago, Coyh said:

engamohd what a brilliant read, thank you. And dont worry about the quality of the English its my first language and you got yourself across better than I could.

Cheers mate, and thank you! :)

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This is a great thread and helpful as I am trying to mould my team into the same formation. Your ideas make a lot of sense and I may do the same as you, because I have been trying to use 2 MCs and an AM as my midfield trio to no avail. The AM just doesn't get involved at all. 

Question did you not find the right flank too open with a CWB on attack alongside an AP also on attack? 

Also all the goals you posted involved the ball going out wide to the wing backs. Do you see goals being scored through the middle as well? My issue with 3-5-2 so far is exactly this, Fm20 seems to be all about wide play. Which is why I have found 433 much more successful as you have more bodies out wide. 

In my current side my best players are in midfield and my wing backs are decent but not average. I'm not sure if I can make this formation work without excellent wing backs or not. 

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20200905113136_1.thumb.jpg.8ee0df9a997e5d1d81a356d3e7dd5801.jpg

First game after these tweaks! While the scoreline flattered us, I was happy to see us having more than 50% possession for the first time this season, and my two best mids Grealish & McGinn both finally having a good game. 

Looks like flat midfield trio is the way to go, the AMC position is just such a let-down in this game.

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On 05/09/2020 at 05:44, karanhsingh said:

This is a great thread and helpful as I am trying to mould my team into the same formation. Your ideas make a lot of sense and I may do the same as you, because I have been trying to use 2 MCs and an AM as my midfield trio to no avail. The AM just doesn't get involved at all. 

Question did you not find the right flank too open with a CWB on attack alongside an AP also on attack? 

Also all the goals you posted involved the ball going out wide to the wing backs. Do you see goals being scored through the middle as well? My issue with 3-5-2 so far is exactly this, Fm20 seems to be all about wide play. Which is why I have found 433 much more successful as you have more bodies out wide. 

In my current side my best players are in midfield and my wing backs are decent but not average. I'm not sure if I can make this formation work without excellent wing backs or not. 

Actually after a while, I was a bit disappointed by the AP-A next to a CWB-A, many goals were conceded from our right side. I tweaked a bit, keeping in mind that I want my midfield to most importantly cover for the wingbacks, so I changed as follows: 

EDIT: My wingbacks are usually on attack, but this SS was before a game against weaker defensive opponents, where I needed to control possession more, hence the wide support duties. The midfield is usually CAR-DLP-D-CAR though in all games.

ozr8my0.jpg

I may play a playmaker  style player in the CAR role and they would still play killer passes, but the midfield plays like Liverpool's. 

You are also correct about most goals are either scored or assisted from the wingbacks, this is the way I like it to be honest, and I like a workmanlike midfield to support and cover behind them. My first choice LWB and RWB has scored 13 and assisted a further 13 in 32 games for us this season. The sub LWB and RWB scored 5 and assisted 6 too.

 

On 05/09/2020 at 08:08, karanhsingh said:

20200905113136_1.thumb.jpg.8ee0df9a997e5d1d81a356d3e7dd5801.jpg

First game after these tweaks! While the scoreline flattered us, I was happy to see us having more than 50% possession for the first time this season, and my two best mids Grealish & McGinn both finally having a good game. 

Looks like flat midfield trio is the way to go, the AMC position is just such a let-down in this game.

Great result! I followed your other thread, would love to hear your take on the formation.

You can keep possession by changing the midfield and wingbacks to support duties, with slight increase in pressing. I do so against those pesky 4-1-4-1 defensive teams and keep 60%+ of the ball, and hit them on the counter :lol:

Edited by engamohd
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2 hours ago, engamohd said:

Actually after a while, I was a bit disappointed by the AP-A next to a CWB-A, many goals were conceded from our right side. I tweaked a bit, keeping in mind that I want my midfield to most importantly cover for the wingbacks, so I changed as follows:

 

ozr8my0.jpg

I may play a playmaker  style player in the CAR role and they would still play killer passes, but the midfield plays like Liverpool's. 

You are also correct about most goals are either scored or assisted from the wingbacks, this is the way I like it to be honest, and I like a workmanlike midfield to support and cover behind them. My first choice LWB and RWB has scored 13 and assisted a further 13 in 32 games for us this season. The sub LWB and RWB scored 5 and assisted 6 too.

Great result! I followed your other thread, would love to hear your take on the formation.

You can keep possession by changing the midfield and wingbacks to support duties, with slight increase in pressing. I do so against those pesky 4-1-4-1 defensive teams and keep 60%+ of the ball, and hit them on the counter :lol:

Thanks! Yes ultimately it's also about tweaking to your team. Currently my midfield 3 is my strongest asset so makes sense to give them more attacking roles and play two playmakers perhaps. I am going to see how it gets on. 

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Fantastic thread really enjoyable read. Ive never been able to master and formation and often struggled, to see someone who has is really encouraging, especially the way those goals have scored. 
 

I hope you don't mind but is it ok if I I ask if you have added PIs or just picked the players with the appropriate traits to obtain the style of play the goals show.

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3 minutes ago, Davi3s said:

Fantastic thread really enjoyable read. Ive never been able to master and formation and often struggled, to see someone who has is really encouraging, especially the way those goals have scored. 
 

I hope you don't mind but is it ok if I I ask if you have added PIs or just picked the players with the appropriate traits to obtain the style of play the goals show.

Thank you :)

I don't use PIs and OIs at all. I prefer changing roles to using PIs. And yes, you are correct, having the proper mold of player in the role will get you the play style. My wingbacks, for instance, are always pacey, great dribblers and good crossers with high workrate, this will make you impose the way you want to play on the tactic. 

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Your welcome and thank you for your reply.

so given that you don’t use “close down more PIs or OIs you don’t increase pressing urgency on the TIs and you have a balanced mentality (I know that is altered game by game depending on the team and there style of play etc) does the team still press intensely and press high with just using counter-press and prevent gk distribution.

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Just now, Davi3s said:

Your welcome and thank you for your reply.

so given that you don’t use “close down more PIs or OIs you don’t increase pressing urgency on the TIs and you have a balanced mentality (I know that is altered game by game depending on the team and there style of play etc) does the team still press intensely and press high with just using counter-press and prevent gk distribution.

I do, actually, for around 15 games now, I am using Close down more TI, as I feel my team is getting little bit passive especially against defensive teams. You need players with good positioning though.

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  • 3 weeks later...
5 hours ago, Hunter T said:

this is looking great and it is similar to what i am trying to achieve (with anerage success so far) in my AFC save.

One question for starters, how do you cope against the 4-2-3-1 with  attacking full backs/wingbacks? 

Thank you, and good luck!

I find that the two outer CARs are absolutely crucial to defend against overlapping wide players.

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I am having one of the finest starts I ever had on FM with Blackpool using this tactic, with the main amend is adding slightly more urgent pressing and a higher DL.

We conceded only twice in 9 competitive games, and these two goals came against a Preston side that are a tier higher in the cup. My strikers have been missing loads in the past 3 games though and this is driving me mad.

DXq0O4z.jpg

 0nQtPnb.jpg

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8 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Nice, looks good. One question don't the DLP and Libero get in each other's way? 

They do, but I don't want the Lib to go too much forward, so I don't have many probs with that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

@engamohd you state early that you want your wing backs to be uber-attacking. Would having the goalkeeper distribute to full backs not contradict this? Having distribute to full backs drags them back instead of leaving them high up the field to receive kick outs. Also, you already have 3 players in the centrebacks to receive the ball, why do you need two more?

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1 hour ago, nick1408 said:

@engamohd you state early that you want your wing backs to be uber-attacking. Would having the goalkeeper distribute to full backs not contradict this? Having distribute to full backs drags them back instead of leaving them high up the field to receive kick outs. Also, you already have 3 players in the centrebacks to receive the ball, why do you need two more?

Uber attacking doesn't have to equal high starting position on the pitch. In my own 352 the wingbacks come deep and then go high, they're involved in everything. Starting high up the pitch just means that in a lot of cases, the build up play passes them by.

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3 minutes ago, Cleon said:

Uber attacking doesn't have to equal high starting position on the pitch. In my own 352 the wingbacks come deep and then go high, they're involved in everything. Starting high up the pitch just means that in a lot of cases, the build up play passes them by.

Thanks - well explained

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You used both, a targetman on support and a targetman on attack, but which of the two would you favor above the other and why? I'm thinking about using a targetman on attack and pairing him with a false nine, but I'm curious about the behaviour of the targetman on attack though.

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On 19/10/2020 at 12:30, mikcheck said:

Nice read, thanks!

 I wonder if the Libero role still hits that "invisible wall" as@Cleon mentioned (was it in FM18?) in one of his threads. Does that still happen or it works as it should now?

I find him doing the job well, even better when I don't use any support defend duties in the midfield. No more invisible wall AFAIK.

Edited by engamohd
fixed typo
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17 hours ago, yourih3 said:

You used both, a targetman on support and a targetman on attack, but which of the two would you favor above the other and why? I'm thinking about using a targetman on attack and pairing him with a false nine, but I'm curious about the behaviour of the targetman on attack though.

In this case, I am happy with the Target man on support, since I am not going route one, I need the Target man to hold the ball for the rest of the team, including the WBs, the support mids and the Advanced Forward. Support duty offers this nicely. However, in my other long ball tactic, I wanted the Target Man to be the furthermost player to receive the ball from deep, and flick it to his strike partner, attack works better here, especially that on attack duty, the TM is the furthermost player, complementing the much more direct passes TI.

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This is a great topic. Every couple of years I spend a while on a save with a team I’ve never managed and a tactical setup I’m not comfortable with. It started in CM03/04 with a 15 year Blackburn save, and I last did it in FM16 with Leeds playing a very defensive 4-4-2. Anyway, this year I’ve chosen Bolton and 3-5-2, so imagine my delight when I spotted this thread.

A tactic that reduces the number of required positions on the field is useful for Bolton, due to their money troubles, it’s easier to manage a squad where you don’t need the AMR/L positions. 

So far the tactic is working well, although my team is still struggling with tactical fluidity (lots of new and young players in the squad). I’ve never used Carrileros before, so I was very pleasantly surprised at the nice interchange with the wingbacks.

The wingbacks are vital, and I’m retraining all my young wingers to the WB position to take advantage of their attacking ability. Their defensive requirements are secondary in a tactic like this.

Preseason is over, the highlights being a 2-0 win against Championship side Cardiff, and a 3-1 win against Montpelier (I hadn’t set up my set pieces against the French either, so all my goals came from open play).

Against Cardiff my DLP controlled the game beautifully from deep in space in front of the opposition central midfield; playing him as an AP would have advanced him into a melee with 2 Cardiff CM and their DM. Using the average position tools mid game is helpful in diagnosis of these sort of things.

The only major change I’m trialling is what I am calling the ‘Free the Libero’ option. Depending on how the match is progressing I am changing the role and duty on the CM to allow the libero more options for forward play. I start with a DLP, then move into either an AP or CM(A) in the centre of midfield. If we are really comfortable at the back I will also try switching to an L(A) at the back. Even without changing away from Balanced the difference in play by just amending those 2 roles and duties is immense.

1st game of the season is approaching; I’ll update on my progress soon.

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Thanks for this post.  I've been wanting to I'm always a 4-2-3-1 guy, or a 4-1-2-3 guy, but I've been wanting to experiment with a 3 in the back formation.  I've also never used a Carrilero before, and I've been curious about how to best utilize the role.  This thread gave me some excellent ideas.

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On 28/10/2020 at 11:31, facman said:

This is a great topic. Every couple of years I spend a while on a save with a team I’ve never managed and a tactical setup I’m not comfortable with. It started in CM03/04 with a 15 year Blackburn save, and I last did it in FM16 with Leeds playing a very defensive 4-4-2. Anyway, this year I’ve chosen Bolton and 3-5-2, so imagine my delight when I spotted this thread.

A tactic that reduces the number of required positions on the field is useful for Bolton, due to their money troubles, it’s easier to manage a squad where you don’t need the AMR/L positions. 

So far the tactic is working well, although my team is still struggling with tactical fluidity (lots of new and young players in the squad). I’ve never used Carrileros before, so I was very pleasantly surprised at the nice interchange with the wingbacks.

The wingbacks are vital, and I’m retraining all my young wingers to the WB position to take advantage of their attacking ability. Their defensive requirements are secondary in a tactic like this.

Preseason is over, the highlights being a 2-0 win against Championship side Cardiff, and a 3-1 win against Montpelier (I hadn’t set up my set pieces against the French either, so all my goals came from open play).

Against Cardiff my DLP controlled the game beautifully from deep in space in front of the opposition central midfield; playing him as an AP would have advanced him into a melee with 2 Cardiff CM and their DM. Using the average position tools mid game is helpful in diagnosis of these sort of things.

The only major change I’m trialling is what I am calling the ‘Free the Libero’ option. Depending on how the match is progressing I am changing the role and duty on the CM to allow the libero more options for forward play. I start with a DLP, then move into either an AP or CM(A) in the centre of midfield. If we are really comfortable at the back I will also try switching to an L(A) at the back. Even without changing away from Balanced the difference in play by just amending those 2 roles and duties is immense.

1st game of the season is approaching; I’ll update on my progress soon.

Glad to have been of help! I agree, the wingbacks with a DLP and a Libero are absolutely beautiful to watch when they are working at full capacity. Would love to see your progress and results. Good luck.

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On 29/10/2020 at 17:32, StatboySpurs said:

Thanks for this post.  I've been wanting to I'm always a 4-2-3-1 guy, or a 4-1-2-3 guy, but I've been wanting to experiment with a 3 in the back formation.  I've also never used a Carrilero before, and I've been curious about how to best utilize the role.  This thread gave me some excellent ideas.

Cheers mate, good luck! 

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Here  are my early season results with Bolton:

spacer.png

Below is my right wingback who I'm training from being an out and out winger. As you can see, his defensive attributes aren't great, yet he is still averaging 91% tackling efficiency:

spacer.png

And a good example of what this tactic can create is below. Here wee are attacking (in yellow away kit) versus Tranmere (in white).

Our DLP (Crawford) lays the ball off (yellow lines) to our Carrilero on the right flank, who spots an attacking run from our left wingback, and passes across field into space. The wingback then crosses from the byline and our AF heads in for the opening goal.

The key here is that our other carrilero (circled on his own) is dragging their AMR out  of position, leaving the wing totally exposed, and our WBR is making an advanced run causing their AML to fall back, which allowed our right-hand side carillero to be unmarked for the pass from Crawford. The Tranmere DMs are too deep to affect the play and their back 4 is compact to try to deal with our attacking pair.

spacer.png

 

The tactic is struggling in some situations, more of that in another post.

 

Edited by facman
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10 hours ago, facman said:

Here  are my early season results with Bolton:

spacer.png

Below is my right wingback who I'm training from being an out and out winger. As you can see, his defensive attributes aren't great, yet he is still averaging 91% tackling efficiency:

spacer.png

And a good example of what this tactic can create is below. Here wee are attacking (in yellow away kit) versus Tranmere (in white).

Our DLP (Crawford) lays the ball off (yellow lines) to our Carrilero on the right flank, who spots an attacking run from our left wingback, and passes across field into space. The wingback then crosses from the byline and our AF heads in for the opening goal.

The key here is that our other carrilero (circled on his own) is dragging their AMR out  of position, leaving the wing totally exposed, and our WBR is making an advanced run causing their AML to fall back, which allowed our right-hand side carillero to be unmarked for the pass from Crawford. The Tranmere DMs are too deep to affect the play and their back 4 is compact to try to deal with our attacking pair.

spacer.png

 

The tactic is struggling in some situations, more of that in another post.

 

Absolutely brilliant! You'd normally struggle against 2 strikers or aggressive teams, would like to see how you cope.

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2 hours ago, engamohd said:

Absolutely brilliant! You'd normally struggle against 2 strikers or aggressive teams, would like to see how you cope.

It's a mixed bag and often depends on the formation I'm facing. I played a difficult home game against Oxford, who came at me with an aggressive 4-4-1-1 (really a 4-4-2 as the AMC was playing on an attack duty). We encountered many situations like the one below:

spacer.png

Oxford’s AMC (Browne) has the ball in an advanced position, cutting inside through the channel in between my WB and DCL, and my WBL has come inside to mark him (marked with a purple cross - BAD WINGBACK! BAD!). Oxford’s central midfield pair (cirvled in blue), a BBM and an RPM are moving about all over the place, dragging my midfield trio around, and the net outcome is that Oxford have 4 wide men TOTALLY unmarked. This happened again and again and I was very lucky that I didn't concede. We ended up winning the game with a lucky 89th minute break after sloppy defending, but it wasn't a pleasant match! This has been our downfall so far: 4-4-2 or similar where our Carrileros can't make their way out wide to help the wingbacks.

On the other hand, when playing against formations with AMR/L we seem to have a lot of success.

As an example below, against top-of-the-league Sunderland at home:

spacer.png

Our MCL (Hamilton) has the ball, and I've chosen to highlight 3 things: our midfield linked by the green line, all being man-marked by Sunderland's MCs and AML; our TM(S) making a deep run off his marker into space (red arrow); our wingbacks running into space or standing in acres of it! Hamilton chooses to pass to the TM(S)...

spacer.png

A few seconds later and Hamilton has received the ball back from the TM(S). The midfield is still linked in green, only this time the DLP has moved right into a little bit of space, and our 2 wingbacks are available... Hamilton chooses to pass to the DLP, who then picks out the WBL with a quick diagonal ball (yellow lines). This happens time and again and it is inevitable that we get some profit from these positions. The match ended up 2-0 to us.

Strengths and weaknesses.... however, we have overcome Bolton's -12 point starting position and are now out of the relegation zone!

Edited by facman
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14 hours ago, facman said:

It's a mixed bag and often depends on the formation I'm facing. I played a difficult home game against Oxford, who came at me with an aggressive 4-4-1-1 (really a 4-4-2 as the AMC was playing on an attack duty). We encountered many situations like the one below:

spacer.png

Oxford’s AMC (Browne) has the ball in an advanced position, cutting inside through the channel in between my WB and DCL, and my WBL has come inside to mark him (marked with a purple cross - BAD WINGBACK! BAD!). Oxford’s central midfield pair (cirvled in blue), a BBM and an RPM are moving about all over the place, dragging my midfield trio around, and the net outcome is that Oxford have 4 wide men TOTALLY unmarked. This happened again and again and I was very lucky that I didn't concede. We ended up winning the game with a lucky 89th minute break after sloppy defending, but it wasn't a pleasant match! This has been our downfall so far: 4-4-2 or similar where our Carrileros can't make their way out wide to help the wingbacks.

On the other hand, when playing against formations with AMR/L we seem to have a lot of success.

As an example below, against top-of-the-league Sunderland at home:

spacer.png

Our MCL (Hamilton) has the ball, and I've chosen to highlight 3 things: our midfield linked by the green line, all being man-marked by Sunderland's MCs and AML; our TM(S) making a deep run off his marker into space (red arrow); our wingbacks running into space or standing in acres of it! Hamilton chooses to pass to the TM(S)...

spacer.png

A few seconds later and Hamilton has received the ball back from the TM(S). The midfield is still linked in green, only this time the DLP has moved right into a little bit of space, and our 2 wingbacks are available... Hamilton chooses to pass to the DLP, who then picks out the WBL with a quick diagonal ball (yellow lines). This happens time and again and it is inevitable that we get some profit from these positions. The match ended up 2-0 to us.

Strengths and weaknesses.... however, we have overcome Bolton's -12 point starting position and are now out of the relegation zone!

I like that level of detail and analysis, something  that have been missing from this forums since Cleon. Good job :applause:

Regarding the 4-4-2, I have the exact same issue, which prompted me to change to Carrileros, which as you can see help immensely with defending the flanks. 

However, I have been always quite rigid, trying to enforce my style on the opponents, and feeling reluctant to make slight changes to nullify their strengths. In this case, a 4-4-2 thrives on wide play, overlapping full backs and crosses. I don't mind crosses as I am confident we can deal with them easily. However, as you have beautifully explained, the issues comes from the overlapping fullbacks, against our CWBs. 

In theory my solution would to be change the CWBs to either a pair of WB-As or even WB-S and WB-A. Why? We don't need our wide defenders to go gungho and risk being out of position. By being more disciplined you are forcing the opponent to play infront of you, giving time to your WBs and the CARs to defend against them.

Another solution I want to give a try is, adding stay wider shout to the outer CBs. This would allow them to be in a position to quickly cut out balls behind the attacking wingbacks. 

 

Edited by engamohd
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1 hour ago, engamohd said:

I like that level of detail and analysis, something  that have been missing from this forums since Cleon. Good job :applause:

Regarding the 4-4-2, I have the exact same issue, which prompted me to change to Carrileros, which as you can see help immensely with defending the flanks. 

However, I have been always quite rigid, trying to enforce my style on the opponents, and feeling reluctant to make slight changes to nullify their strengths. In this case, a 4-4-2 thrives on wide play, overlapping full backs and crosses. I don't mind crosses as I am confident we can deal with them easily. However, as you have beautifully explained, the issues comes from the overlapping fullbacks, against our CWBs. 

In theory my solution would to be change the CWBs to either a pair of WB-As or even WB-S and WB-A. Why? We don't need our wide defenders to go gungho and risk being out of position. By being more disciplined you are forcing the opponent to play infront of you, giving time to your WBs and the CARs to defend against them.

Another solution I want to give a try is, adding stay wider shout to the outer CBs. This would allow them to be in a position to quickly cut out balls behind the attacking wingbacks. 

 

Thanks mate, much appreciated.

One of the reasons I'm concerned with the overlapping fullbacks is that some of my centrebacks, and all of my wingbacks, are quite small. I've shipped a few goals from crosses to the far post (particularly when I'm rotating my defence due to fixture congestion). In the Oxford game my goalie played a blinder and made some great saves from headers. As I mentioned, it was an excruciating game to watch and any Oxford fans would have felt hard done by when I scored a late winner! A draw woiuld have been much fairer. The loss to Wycombe, and draws against Gillingham and Macclesfield, were the result of this leakiness from marauding overlapping fullbacks behind wingers (especially in the MR/L strata). When teams play Inside Forwards or Inverted Wingers in the AMR/L strata, however, they seem to be less effective at dragging my carrilero and WB out of position, which is interesting.

I've been trying a few different options in both attack and defence, including the ones you mentioned above. In fact, I now play the first 15 minutes of every game with my two wingbacks as WB(A) rather than CWB, looking to see how the opposition wide players line up (always watching on Comprehensive highlights, or sometimes on Full Match if I'm especially worried). I can then change to CWB (S or A) on whichever side I think is going to profit more if necessary - if they are using an IW I'm happier to change to a complete wingback as my carrilero on that side will often pick up the marking. I've also tried using a Mezzala on the flank with the AF with a CWB(S) in support. I haven't used it often enough to draw any real conclusions yet, but I'm hoping it will generate some different attacking options for those games where I have lots of possession but no penetration (like the Macclesfield game, which I am really annoyed with - they are a division below me and I completely dominated the game but just couldn't break them down).

I haven't set PIs on my DCR/L to play wider yet, but I have tried setting the Out of Possession TI to Wide. This has helped a little in that it pushes the WB wider, and they seem to get dragged out of position less, but it's not conclusive yet. I'm wondering if I could set the WB to man mark the overlapping fullback, and ignore the winger on a support duty, hoping that the CAR will pick him up, but that might be too risky! I'm away at Pompey next, and I think they are playing 4-2-3-1 at the moment, so I should be OK on the wings with the standard setup, I'll be more concerned about whether the CAR-DLP-CAR midfield will get enough space in the Pompey triangle of 2 MCs and an AMC...

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Very nice thread and analysis. I am actually trying a very similar tactic at the moment but with one of the CMs as an AM. It may be too advanced, so dropping the player back might be an option (although I prefer to play the AM in the natural position :))

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