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Hassenhuttl @ Southampton style 424

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Messing around with this in the FM21 beta, idea is to semi-replicate the way Southampton are playing at the moment under Hassenhuttl. Udinese seem to be quite well suited to this style of play, with multiple strong, hard working, pressing strikers, and some dynamic defensive midfielders. 


Thoughts on this? Preseason matches seem to be going alright but always difficult to judge until we get into the season proper. I have the front 4 all on roam from position (as Southampton's front 4 do IRL) and the 2 wide forwards sitting narrower.

It isn't an exact replication as Southampton don't really play with an AP-A. I am torn between 4 different ways of replicating their 4222 structure where the front is arranged in an hexagonal structure.

Southampton average touch map


1) 442 with Inverted Wingers/narrow sitting wide midfielders, but Southampton don't really defend in a flat 442 shape, although they can settle back into this. 

2) 424 with central midfielders and IW/AP on either side- too attacking?

3) 4222 with mezzalas- defensive structure wouldn't really be right

4) 424 with defensive midfielders, could drop wide forwards back to WM slot?

Anyway I will have a tinker and report back, but wondering if anyone else had any thoughts

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Hi - this was my 1st set of thoughts late last night. Managing Southampton in game and a fan IRL.

Roles are based on a starting 11 of McCarthy , Bertrand, Bednarek, Vestergaard/Stephens, Walker-Peters, Redmond/Djenopo, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Ings, Adams

Haven't played any games yet and I have too many TI's there for my liking. No PI's as yet either....

Work in progress.....


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2 hours ago, Flußkrebs said:

Thoughts on this?

Who is supposed to defend (cover) the right flank (with an attacking fullback and volante in front of him)?

Not sure that using both the narrow width and focus through the middle at the same time is a good idea, but you can give it a try and see how it works. 

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Been using this tactic for first 4 games of the season and it's very defensively solid. Switched some of the roles and duties around a little but it follows the same pattern. 


Expected Goals for:


And against:


And that is showing also no goals conceded from set pieces (just using the defaults).

FYI absolutely love that there is now a really simple way of evaluating the tactic's fundamentals. No major signings made.

3 clean sheets in 4, good start to the season. The underlap instructions really helps create nice interplay around the box (nice looking at least). The dual defensive midfielders I'm leaning towards being a little too good at screening and preventing the opposition getting shots off. 

In possession it becomes a 5-3-2 shape, with the CWB pushing all the way to the byline, and the FBs joining with the two midfielders, although sometimes the FB or SV join the attack. 

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Tbh I often go to a 2 DMC formation when I start out as it gives me a good double pivot to work from. Although I tend to go with two support roles as I feel that it ends up being too defensive having a defensive role in that strata when you have two. That's just my preference though.

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Last update I will do on this for a while, but just to show full proof of concept (well, either that or Gegenpress is a little OP in FM21 as well...). I will come back at the end of the season, but so far:


Undefeated through 9 games, goals starting to come in now (second highest scored in the league) and defense still excellent (behind only Atalanta and Juve). 


Only disappointment is Serie B side Cosenza stealing a win at our place in the cup!

We did have a relatively easy run for the first couple of games, but after a victory against Inter, and draws with Roma and Napoli (xG in our favour), and culminating in a very hard fought 1-1 away to Juventus, I am confident this tactic is better than solid. 



We conceded but then held on long enough to mount a comeback in the second half which should have seen us go ahead. Deulofeu went off with a stubbed toe for the last 10 minutes after I'd made all my substitutes but we hung on, and I think a draw was fair. 







"Top of xGoalsDifference, you'll never sing that!"

Tactic as above, but I will switch mentality, pressing urgency, and attacking width depending on game state and opposition.

PIs: APs has Dribble More, Roam, Sit Narrower, IFs has Shoot more, sit narrower, get further forward, and PFa has Roam and Shoot More. Got the players on a strict fitness and tactical regime, plus Udinese has the general profile of a squad I'd want for this style of football.

Been a joy to watch in this new match engine, the animations and player decisions are brilliant, more last ditch tackles, clever no look passes, 1-2s, through balls. Brilliant stuff so far!

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  • 2 weeks later...

End of season update

I am not sure whether I will carry on with this save in the main game or not, but here is my end of season review.

First, the juicy stuff. Here's the main tactic we used for most of the season:


I am pretty happy with the tactics overall performance, but I did a lot of in match tweaking  this season. I'd pause a lot and shift things like defensive lines, toggle counter-press and regroup, pass into space etc. The new match engine makes it way easier for me to judge how the players are performing (maybe just a placebo). But anyway it was very fun. I also occasionally used a more counterattacking version of the above tactic for a whole match (and once or twice tried some weird tactics as part of the Beta experimenting phase).



After the new year we did pretty well. I'm quite upset at the last three games of the season (player's gave up) but I can't be angry at the final position, given our pre season expectations:


It was almost all down to Signor Kevin Lasagna (still don't believe that is a real name!) and Deulofeu. De Paul, my AML, Okaka, my CF, and Coulibaly, my SV were also very good, as well as whoever was playing at left back. Lasagna wasn't even on penalties!



1st for Possession % (unintentional side effect of the high press)

2nd for Goals Scored

1st for xG

3rd for Pass Completion %

1st for Passes completed

2nd for Shots for

5th for CCC (these seem much lower all round in the Beta)

17th for Possession Lost (A good thing for our style of play- lots of high risk, high reward football, looking to play in the transitions. We lost the ball, we win it back, we attack, we lose it, we win it back, we attack. All good!)

4th for Goals Conceded

4th for xGA

1st for Tackles Won %

20th for Tackles Won (I assume this is a function of our high possession- I have not used ease off tackles or anything like that)

4th for Possession Won (The flip side of our possession lost stat- we lose it, we win it back)

2nd for Interceptions

The pressing hexagon that Hassenhuttl's Southampton play with was semi-present. Our high-risk, high-reward style of play took the player's some time to get used to, but with the help of some wonderful attacking play we managed to get in to the Champions League with ease.

Plus, we turned a profit. A good start to FM21.



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