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Long story short! This weekend I was finally able to watch an Arsenal match from start to finish. Except for the first 10 minutes or so of the 2nd half, so I don't know if Pepe replaced Nketiah in the half-time or a few minutes into the 2nd half. But that's irrelevant to the topic anyway.

What I like about replication attempts is that each of us can see the same thing (i.e. tactic) in a different way. This will be mine, but you are all welcome to share your thoughts as well as your entire tactical setups aimed at replicating Arteta's tactic(s) in this particular match (against Sheff Utd). 

From what I saw watching the match - and my observations could well be wrong - is that in the 1st half Arsenal played in the 523 wide formation (with wing-backs and wingers/wide forwards), even though it was officially portrayed as the flat 3-4-3. In the 2nd half though, he switched to the standard 4231, except for the last 20-ish minutes, when he changed it back to the 523. Again, feel free to disagree with me :brock:

In this opening post I am going to sketch out Arteta's starting 523 tactic the way I saw it. The 2nd-half tactic will be dealt with in the following post. 

Basically, the most interesting to me was Saka's role. When Arsenal was in possession, he would occupy the AMC area. But when they defended - which was a very rare occurrence though - he played in the LWB position. Which suggest to me that his most probable role - in FM terms at least - was an IWB on attack duty.

The rest of the setup was, more or less, fairly easy to figure out. So here is what I would go with in terms of roles and duties:

PFat

IFsu                                     IWsu

DLPde   CAR

IWBat                                  WBsu

BDPde  CDco  CDde

SKde

GK/SKde - Leno

CDL/BPDde - Tierney

CDC/CDco - Gabriel

CDR/CDde - Luiz

LWB/IWBat - Saka

RWB/WBsu - Bellerin

MCL/DLPde - Ceballos

MCR/CAR - Elneny

AML/IFsu - Aubameyang

AMR/IWsu - Willian

STC/PFat - Nketiah

NOTE: One thing that is (arguably) impossible to replicate in FM are Tierney's overlapping runs when he is played as a CB. 

When it comes to instructions, this is my personal interpretation:

Mentality - Positive

In possession - shorter passing, lower tempo, play out of defence, fairly narrow, work ball into box & be more expressive

In transition - counter

Out of possession - higher d-line & split block with the front 3 + CAR (Elneny)

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2nd half tactical switch - the 4-2-3-1

As the 523 wide proved fairly ineffective apart from dominating possession (largely for the sake of it), Arteta switched to the 4231, which allowed him to press the opposition more effectively higher up the pitch, but also to attack faster when an opportunity is on. That's exactly what his team needed in order to turn things around, and Arteta proved his tactical competence making the right decision that soon paid off. Of course, moving Auba to the center and bringing in Pepe for Nketiah was another example of good decision making on the manager's part. 

In short, here is how I think he set the tactic up in the 2nd half:

PFat

Wat             TQ             IWsu

DLPde   CAR

WBsu    CDco    BPDde   WBsu

SKde

Positional changes compared to the initial 523 setup:

- Aubameyand from AML to STC

- Willian from AMR to AMC

- Pepe from the bench to AMR 

- Saka from WBL to AML

Tweaks regarding instructions IMHO included:

- speeding up the tempo (from lower to higher)

- overlap on the left

- counter-pressing

Also notable was a frequent positional swap between Willian (AMC) with Saka (AML). Later on, when Arteta switched back to the 523 - basically aimed at defending the 2-0 lead - Willian moved to AML and would occasionally swap positions with Pepe (AMR).

So that was my take, now let's hear yours :brock:

 

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5 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Long story short! This weekend I was finally able to watch an Arsenal match from start to finish. Except for the first 10 minutes or so of the 2nd half, so I don't know if Pepe replaced Nketiah in the half-time or a few minutes into the 2nd half. But that's irrelevant to the topic anyway.

What I like about replication attempts is that each of us can see the same thing (i.e. tactic) in a different way. This will be mine, but you are all welcome to share your thoughts as well as your entire tactical setups aimed at replicating Arteta's tactic(s) in this particular match (against Sheff Utd). 

From what I saw watching the match - and my observations could well be wrong - is that in the 1st half Arsenal played in the 523 wide formation (with wing-backs and wingers/wide forwards), even though it was officially portrayed as the flat 3-4-3. In the 2nd half though, he switched to the standard 4231, except for the last 20-ish minutes, when he changed it back to the 523. Again, feel free to disagree with me :brock:

In this opening post I am going to sketch out Arteta's starting 523 tactic the way I saw it. The 2nd-half tactic will be dealt with in the following post. 

Basically, the most interesting to me was Saka's role. When Arsenal was in possession, he would occupy the AMC area. But when they defended - which was a very rare occurrence though - he played in the LWB position. Which suggest to me that his most probable role - in FM terms at least - was an IWB on attack duty.

The rest of the setup was, more or less, fairly easy to figure out. So here is what I would go with in terms of roles and duties:

PFat

IFsu                                     IWsu

DLPde   CAR

IWBat                                  WBsu

BDPde  CDco  CDde

SKde

GK/SKde - Leno

CDL/BPDde - Tierney

CDC/CDco - Gabriel

CDR/CDde - Luiz

LWB/IWBat - Saka

RWB/WBsu - Bellerin

MCL/DLPde - Ceballos

MCR/CAR - Elneny

AML/IFsu - Aubameyang

AMR/IWsu - Willian

STC/PFat - Nketiah

NOTE: One thing that is (arguably) impossible to replicate in FM are Tierney's overlapping runs when he is played as a CB. 

When it comes to instructions, this is my personal interpretation:

Mentality - Positive

In possession - shorter passing, lower tempo, play out of defence, fairly narrow, work ball into box & be more expressive

In transition - counter

Out of possession - higher d-line & split block with the front 3 + CAR (Elneny)

I like the tactic a lot.

Id make subtle changes depending on personnel.

If Lacazette plays as the forward, id put Auba to IF/a and use Lacazette as a F9/s, he comes really deep and links with midfield a lot, does a lot of pressing too.

If Pepe plays right side, id go winger on support, but tell him to get further forward and let his PPM's allow him to go on the inside AND outside.

It seemed like David Luiz was playing more as a stopper to me but hard to tell as he wanders quite a bit.

Their tempo is definitely slow and measured. In both their home games this season and towards the end of last season, when in possession they are very methodical, yet look to exploit fast transitions on the break at every opportunity.

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Pretty much spot on! (huge Arsenal fan lol) maybe i would *dribble less* as both wing backs and wingers have direct dribbling instructions but it's our full backs that tend to dribble more often than the rest. When Ceballos plays in the middle, he dribbles a lot too but Elneny doesn't, Ceballos is obviously used to breakdown/stretch the opponent. Saka dribbles a lot and though our LWB is a IWB, his dribbles both wide and inside which would be hard to replicate...but with *Be More Expressive* I'm thinking if then, the attackers especially, will dribble a lot more often 

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I think when dissecting the current Arsenal tactic, the key si achieving the animation and interplay on the left side. You have to understand that our defensive shape is very much a 5-4-1 which changes to a 4-3-3 in build up. The left hand side was initially tricky to replicate as essentially the left sided centre back becomes a modern full back, and the wingback, drifts centrally to become the 3rd midfielder. 

Unfortunately, in FM it is not possible, to give centre backs in the wide positions instructions to get further forward, or run wide with the ball, so they will always be limited in how far the can maraud. The solution I found to this was, essentially playing a back four, with an IWB ahead of the left sided full back. In the build up from goal kicks, the WB and FB tended to be on top of each other, but immediately after the ball was played, the WB would drift in and the Fb stayed wide, creating the structure you see in Arteta's side. 

Now I created 2 versions, one with a more adventurous IWBs and one with a more cautious IWBd this would change depending on who was available to play in the IWB slot. If I went for AMN it was the defensive option, it if t was Saka the more adventurous. TO compensate for the chnage I also adjusted the CM roels slightly to providee the defensive cover as necessary.

Ahead on the Left Aubameyang is the primary attacking threat so he is an IFa. For the central striker I did go for a DLFa instead of a DLFs as the latter was congesting the centre too much. In real life this congestion was a problem with Nketiah in the 1st half of the game against Sheffield United. He was coming far too deep and taking up space in the 10 spot where Willian was operating. Arsenal played far better with Aubameyang up top stretching the opposition back line creating space for both sets of inverted wingers to create. The DLFa, in FM drops deep bu still has licence to operate higher providing space for the wingers.

Team Instructions are as per the screenshots PIs are below:

Goalkeeper

RB: Cross From Byline

LB: Sit Narrower, Run Wide With Ball, Cross from Byline

LWB: pass it shorter (kept on switching the play to the other side, and this wasn't necessarily their job)

LCM: More Direct Passes, Take More Risks

RCM: More Direct Passes, Take More Risks

RW: More Direct Passes, Take More Risks, Roam from Position, Sit Narrower (tried replicating APs, but still wanted him to be able to cross)

Screenshot 2020-10-06 at 12.10.57.pngScreenshot 2020-10-06 at 12.11.09.png

Edited by poobington
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On 05/10/2020 at 15:54, Experienced Defender said:

2nd half tactical switch - the 4-2-3-1

As the 523 wide proved fairly ineffective apart from dominating possession (largely for the sake of it), Arteta switched to the 4231, which allowed him to press the opposition more effectively higher up the pitch, but also to attack faster when an opportunity is on. That's exactly what his team needed in order to turn things around, and Arteta proved his tactical competence making the right decision that soon paid off. Of course, moving Auba to the center and bringing in Pepe for Nketiah was another example of good decision making on the manager's part. 

In short, here is how I think he set the tactic up in the 2nd half:

PFat

Wat             TQ             IWsu

DLPde   CAR

WBsu    CDco    BPDde   WBsu

SKde

Positional changes compared to the initial 523 setup:

- Aubameyand from AML to STC

- Willian from AMR to AMC

- Pepe from the bench to AMR 

- Saka from WBL to AML

Tweaks regarding instructions IMHO included:

- speeding up the tempo (from lower to higher)

- overlap on the left

- counter-pressing

Also notable was a frequent positional swap between Willian (AMC) with Saka (AML). Later on, when Arteta switched back to the 523 - basically aimed at defending the 2-0 lead - Willian moved to AML and would occasionally swap positions with Pepe (AMR).

So that was my take, now let's hear yours :brock:

 

 

Good observation, and exactly my take on the match. I wouldn't be surprised if slowly we morph to this approach, with a Ceballos and Partey Double Pivot along with Willian in the 10.

Other option would be Partey as a single pivot with Ceballos and Willian ahead of him.

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Il 5/10/2020 in 16:54 , Experienced Defender ha scritto:

PFat

IFsu                                     IWsu

DLPde   CAR

IWBat                                  WBsu

BDPde  CDco  CDde

SKde

A question: don't you think there's a lack of width on the left flank?

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Just now, sejo said:

A question: don't you think there's a lack of width on the left flank?

There is, I agree :thup: 

And to be completely honest, looking at how Aubameyang was playing in the 1st half, I was not sure whether I should set him as an IF or a winger. Because he really did tend to stay fairly wide when Arsenal was in possession. On the other hand, when you play that kind of player on the left wing, you are sort of naturally inclined to give him the IF role - since he is right-footed and likes to cut inside. But then again, having him as a winger makes a lot of sense given the whole context of the tactic, because it not only provides the width but can also add some dynamic to your attacking play by creating a hybrid between the winger (nominal role) and IF (due to his traits). So I think you are right. 

However, sometimes you may intentionally decide to deprive yourself of some width if you have a clear strategy, knowing exactly what you want to achieve and why. In this case for example, playing Auba as an IF could still make sense when viewed in relation to Tierney's overlapping runs on that flank (which cannot be replicated in FM though). 

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1 minute ago, Clifton said:

In reality that is provided by Tierney from the left sided BPDde, but as Experienced Defender notes that is difficult to replicate in FM.

Man, you seem to be reading my thoughts :lol:

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8 hours ago, sejo said:

A question: don't you think there's a lack of width on the left flank?

I tried a system very close to the original post last night, using a right-footed IF(S) in the AML slot, a two-footed IWB(A) in the WBL slot and an F9 striker. There was a bit of width from the IF(S) on the left but it was fascinating to see just how centrally the IWB played, sitting ahead and slightly to the left of the DLP in the MCL slot. There was a lot of width on the right as my IW(S) was right-footed and he linked up well with the WB(S).

The movement on both flanks was very interesting, and the winning goal was caused by the IF(S) passing inside to the IWB underlapping through the middle...he strode through unchecked* and smashed it home from 25 yards. 

*This part was particularly interesting as it was a runner from deep that the opposition didn't quite know how to deal with. Having a two-footed player also gave the option for him to go wide if needed, but the hard-coded instructions tended to force him inside.

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8 hours ago, Clifton said:

In reality that is provided by Tierney from the left sided BPDde, but as Experienced Defender notes that is difficult to replicate in FM.

Could it work in game with someone like Tierney where they have (I assume) a gets forward often type PPM?

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19 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

There is, I agree :thup: 

And to be completely honest, looking at how Aubameyang was playing in the 1st half, I was not sure whether I should set him as an IF or a winger. Because he really did tend to stay fairly wide when Arsenal was in possession. On the other hand, when you play that kind of player on the left wing, you are sort of naturally inclined to give him the IF role - since he is right-footed and likes to cut inside. But then again, having him as a winger makes a lot of sense given the whole context of the tactic, because it not only provides the width but can also add some dynamic to your attacking play by creating a hybrid between the winger (nominal role) and IF (due to his traits). So I think you are right. 

However, sometimes you may intentionally decide to deprive yourself of some width if you have a clear strategy, knowing exactly what you want to achieve and why. In this case for example, playing Auba as an IF could still make sense when viewed in relation to Tierney's overlapping runs on that flank (which cannot be replicated in FM though). 

Could you not play him as an IF or IW but add the "stay wider" instruction? 

I used to do that a lot in order to stretch the pitch and found it quite effective.

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1 hour ago, karanhsingh said:

Could you not play him as an IF or IW but add the "stay wider" instruction? 

I used to do that a lot in order to stretch the pitch and found it quite effective.

Of course you can use the "Stay wider" PI, but you still cannot expect a manually added instruction to literally emulate a hard-coded one. 

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On 05/10/2020 at 15:54, Experienced Defender said:

NOTE: One thing that is (arguably) impossible to replicate in FM are Tierney's overlapping runs when he is played as a CB. 

While I agree overlapping runs are hard to replicate, I've seen, on occasion, the CB dribbling all of the way past the half-way line and hugging the touch line.
Wouldn't change him to stopper make him more aggressive so he steps out more? I also wonder if add PPMs such as run with the ball often, hugs line would encourage that movement from time to time.

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1 hour ago, MadOnion said:

While I agree overlapping runs are hard to replicate, I've seen, on occasion, the CB dribbling all of the way past the half-way line and hugging the touch line.
Wouldn't change him to stopper make him more aggressive so he steps out more? I also wonder if add PPMs such as run with the ball often, hugs line would encourage that movement from time to time.

If I remember correctly, Rashidi suggested that you need to play him as a BPD and your team mentality should be at least Positive and there should be no playmaker roles in your system. Traits such as Brings the ball out of defence and gets forward whenever possible are also helpful. But even then you probably cannot get him to do that consistently. 

@Rashidi can correct me if I misundestood/misremembered his explanation. 

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I think you should use higher tempo and standart defensive line. Arteta gave up on the high pressing when he saw we can't do it properly yet. Right now we play a bit more cautious and use the pace of Auba on quick transitions. With Partey things might change though. 

Did you tell your defenders on the side to stay wider? I thing that's usefull when playing out the back. Also, when David Luiz is playing, he is in the centre and he is the real BPD in the side. Arsenal also defend a bit narrow, so with that TI you will be congesting space and forcing the opposition to commit full backs, which in turn leaves spaces for the counter attack and your main weapon Aubameyang. Having the AMR and AML tracking back is also very important to replicate Arteta's required commitment, to do that in the game consistantly I use specific marking on the opposition full/wing backs. 

I also think for the forward a DLF is a better choice for replicating Arteta's system. 

It will be very interesting to see how Arsenal will line up with Partey in the side. I expect a 4-3-3, with Ceballos given more freedom, but who knows. Maybe even 4-2-3-1 with Willian behind the striker and Pepe on the left in some games. It will be fun to watch for sure. 

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The Tierney role sounds almost like Azpilicueta's old role for Conte's Chelsea

 

Tough to emulate that. BPD (x) w/ Stay Wider and Dribble More is the best fit unfortunately

 

I've been begging the developers for centuries it seems (and some other users too) about adding attacking CBs or at least a wide Libero role so I guess we'll wait for that in FM23 :D

Edited by Jean0987654321
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