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Hi guys I have been trying to run a 4-2-3-1 and one of the main problems I am having is that the front 3 are static at times, especially playing against low blocks. My current setup is this:

                      DLFsu

   IFat             AMat           IWsu

            CMde          DLPsu

WBsu     BPDde    CDde     FBat

Mentality: Positive

Shorter Passing, Play out of Defence, Fairly Narrow

Counter-Press

Higher Defensive Line, Higher Line of Engagement, Use Offside Trap

I have put a split press on the front 4 and Roam from Position for DLF and AM.

I have tinkered with the striker role multiple times from AF to DLFsu but they all seem to be estranged from the buildup (maybe I haven't analysed the tactic thoroughly enough)

I do get wins but sometimes they just come from set piece goals, lots of times the DLP and FB shoot a lot instead of my forwards. Does my setup make sense and how can I change it to get my forwards more involved?

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I've found that the two roles that offer most movement in the final third are the false 9 and AP(s) on wings. The AP opens up loads of space on the wings for a overlapping full back as he comes inside and sits deep. The false 9 is really inconsistent as he only drops during transitions and not when you are passing the ball around outside the opposition 18 yard box. 

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I'm not sure if this is going to help but I have made some slight changes to the setup.

                      DLFsu

   IFsu             AMat           IWsu

            CMde          DLPsu

WBsu     BPDde    CDde     FBsu

So basically what I have done is change the duty of the IF and FB from attack to support. What I am aiming for is for the IF to remain engaged defensively (have seen people saying IFat doesn't even make an effort to press) and changed my FB to support so he doesn't try launching shots himself and rather looks to support the forwards. The AM now is pretty much a hardworking trequartista, maybe something like Muller in this year's Bayern (I added some more PIs). Hopefully more support roles mean the team work more as a unit. What do you guys think?

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On 02/09/2020 at 05:33, KCHDD said:

DLFsu

   IFat             AMat           IWsu

            CMde          DLPsu

WBsu     BPDde    CDde     FBat

Mentality: Positive

Shorter Passing, Play out of Defence, Fairly Narrow

Counter-Press

Higher Defensive Line, Higher Line of Engagement, Use Offside Trap

I have put a split press on the front 4 and Roam from Position for DLF and AM

 

On 02/09/2020 at 05:33, KCHDD said:

Does my setup make sense and how can I change it to get my forwards more involved?

Your setup of roles and duties is very close to optimal. The only tweak(s) I would suggest is swapping the AMC's and striker's respective duties - i.e. AM on support and DLF on attack. Simply because the AMC has both CMs in a strictly holding roles behind himself, and on top of that the tactic as a whole is designed in a pretty much possession-oriented fashion. 

When it comes to instructions, here are changes I would suggest:

- remove the fairly narrow width because it potentially limits your options in attack (especially if you mostly face defensive opposition)

- split block requires better vertical compactness, so I would drop the LOE to standard instead of higher 

You can also tinker with the Be more expressive TI and see if it makes any notable difference.

But the most important thing - make sure you have the right players for that style of football before anything else. 

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Agreed that this mostly looks good -- against teams playing low blocks, I would suggest experimenting with Lowering the Tempo and passing More Directly, with your possession-oriented system, you're giving the defense a lot of time to set up and mark -- by playing slightly slower, you give your players more time on the ball to pick a pass and look for runs off the ball and since they'll be looking for more direct passes, you should see more switches of play, which will have a greater chance of catching a defender out of position as most of them will have to reposition.

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10 hours ago, KCHDD said:

one more question, will the DLFat and IFat get in the way of each other?

(Lone) striker roles that generally work well when paired with an IF on attack duty: F9, TQ and DLF on either duty. CF can also be a decent option, but I would look to avoid it in a top-heavy system such as 4231, because CF benefits from space, which is relatively scarce in top-heavy formations. 

But the reason I proposed the DLF on attack in this particular case is the context of your tactic as a whole. Because nothing should be viewed in isolation. For that matter, I also suggested switching the AM's duty to support (and explained why). Plus the swap of the CM roles. 

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Hi guys, so I made the modifications and tested my new tactic over the weekend and glad to say it is working well so far. This experience has allowed me to pay more attention to how the players are interacting instead of fully focusing on the results. Changing AM to support allows the ball to run through him more often and allows the ST to focus more on scoring. I have noticed something else though. Pushing both full backs up the pitch means that there is little penetration in the center of the pitch when the ball enters the final third. I was thinking as a tweak I could alternate between a covering full back or a covering CM in my tactic. So either

                       DLFat

   IFat             AMsu           IWsu

            DLPsu          BBM

WBsu     BPDde    CDde     FBsu

or

                       DLFat

   IFat             AMsu           IWsu

            DLPsu          CMde

WBsu     BPDde    CDde     FBat

Would using a supposed "one up one down" strategy with my fullbacks provide more variety in my team? Or would the central regions be crammed and cause the AM to have no space to operate?

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Hi guys so another update, I've done more matches this week and results have been good. The DLF and IF get a fair share of goals now. I still have one question though regarding my out of possession TIs. I have found that using a standard LOE and split press allows the opposition defence a lot of time on the ball, and by the time my forwards press at the "standard line of engagement" opposition midfielders can already provide passing options for them to play out of the press. I have thought about changing my instructions to high LOE and high defensive line but given @Experienced Defender's advice on split press requiring compactness I am thinking about more urgent pressing overall (and possibly removing counter-press as a result). So either

1. Higher Defensive Line, Split Press, WITH counter-press

2. Higher LOE, Higher Defensive Line, More urgent pressing, NO counter-press

Higher LOE does reduce the space for my front 4 to operate though, so would that lead me back to the root of my problem, being the mobility of the forwards? ie. standing still in the box, waiting for a ridiculous long shot from the DLP/AM or excessive crosses from the FBs

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4 hours ago, KCHDD said:

I have found that using a standard LOE and split press allows the opposition defence a lot of time on the ball, and by the time my forwards press at the "standard line of engagement" opposition midfielders can already provide passing options for them to play out of the press. I have thought about changing my instructions to high LOE and high defensive line but given @Experienced Defender's advice on split press requiring compactness I am thinking about more urgent pressing overall (and possibly removing counter-press as a result). So either

1. Higher Defensive Line, Split Press, WITH counter-press

2. Higher LOE, Higher Defensive Line, More urgent pressing, NO counter-press

This can vary from team to team (or tactic to tactic), because a lot depends on the players carrying out a tactic. But I personally would consider the following combos when it comes to defensive instructions (assuming we are talking about a possession-oriented tactical style):

- higher DL, standard LOE and split block

- higher DL and higher LOE (but no split block)

- much higher DL, higher LOE (either with or without a split block)

- much higher DL and much higher LOE (but no split block)

Counter-press can be used in any of these combinations as long as you are confident that your players are good enough to execute it properly. It can also be used on a situational basis (as opposed to being a regular instruction). 

The bottom line is that you need to find a setup that optimally suits your players, because each team is different (and different matches can also require different types of setup).

Don't be afraid to experiment, just do it carefully (step by step) and always think logically and watch carefully what happens :thup:

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20 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Counter-press can be used in any of these combinations as long as you are confident that your players are good enough to execute it properly. It can also be used on a situational basis (as opposed to being a regular instruction). 

In your opinion, what attributes could determine if my players are good enough to counter-press? Was thinking positioning and decisions, anything else?

BTW, just found out I can up pressing intensity on opposition players using OIs. (eg. increased pressing intensity against CBs, FBs, WBs and CMs). Would a combination of those and a split press work?

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2 hours ago, KCHDD said:

In your opinion, what attributes could determine if my players are good enough to counter-press? Was thinking positioning and decisions, anything else?

Positioning and decisions are generally important attributes, but specifically for the counter-press, you need a lot more: stamina, work rate, teamwork, determination, anticipation, bravery, good speed overall (acc & pac) and some decent aggression. Defenders and midfielders also need good tackling in addition to the above. Of course, marking is also more than welcome.

As you can see, pretty much is needed. 

2 hours ago, KCHDD said:

BTW, just found out I can up pressing intensity on opposition players using OIs. (eg. increased pressing intensity against CBs, FBs, WBs and CMs). Would a combination of those and a split press work?

OIs can be a useful tool, but be very careful with them, because they can be a double-edged sword if set improperly. You need to remember that no instruction - whether TI, PI or OI - works in isolation. They are all very much interrelated. And OIs can be particularly tricky, especially if you overuse them. 

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Ok so another week has gone by and I've had tbe chance to play this tactic for a few months in game. A problem I have seen is the lack of penetration from central areas, leading us to be overly dependent on the FBatt to provide delivery into the box. Since I am looking to play in a possession style, shouldn't the center of the pitch be most involved in the play? Would more mobile roles like BBM change this?

Edited by KCHDD
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