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FM21 - A guide to identifying a personal formation and playstyle


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  • engamohd changed the title to FM21 - A guide to identifying a personal formation and playstyle

My approach is totally opposite to you. I prefer to shape my tactics around my players and not stick to a preferred formation or playstyle. For my FM20 save, I have tried a classic wingplay 442, a heavy possession based 433 which featured an inverted wing back, a very defensive 4141 that managed to grind out results against world class teams relative to my team, a counter attacking 532, a gegenpress 5212, and a Bayern replication 4231. Anyways the main point here that I agree is no matter what formation or playstyle there will be always inherent weakness and strengths. Focus on those and do not try to do too much is the key to a good tactic.

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Nice interesting thread. While reading i just wanted to point this out before i move on lol. 

I feel like the FM tactic sheets are a bit complicated for those who like to play FM but dont want to go in alot of depth in tactics. I myself was struggling to much in fm20. Maybe because i had my vision and couldnt implement it into fm or maybe the basics what every aspect in the tactics do are wrong interpretated by me. And thats the hard part. 

But reading this gives me some better understanding. It also looks like in Fm if u choose a defending formation like that 4141 u have to focus more on the attacking in the tactics sheets and vice versa.

Or u speaking about agressive on the ball. I think im having many times to much overkill in keeping the ball or something, so having many support duties, a controlled formation, control mentality, and WbiB, PoD, short passing etc., what u think?

And the hard part is, seeing those problems in game while playing extend. highlights. Im not into playing full games. 

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1 hour ago, zyfon5 said:

My approach is totally opposite to you. I prefer to shape my tactics around my players and not stick to a preferred formation or playstyle. For my FM20 save, I have tried a classic wingplay 442, a heavy possession based 433 which featured an inverted wing back, a very defensive 4141 that managed to grind out results against world class teams relative to my team, a counter attacking 532, a gegenpress 5212, and a Bayern replication 4231. Anyways the main point here that I agree is no matter what formation or playstyle there will be always inherent weakness and strengths. Focus on those and do not try to do too much is the key to a good tactic.

I like to squeeze my players in the tactic, unless the team has someone that the team needs to be built around. The plus side is knowing the system inside out, and you could easily tinker with it. But your approach is quite valid and works, with managers like Mourinho preferring this approach.

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13 minutes ago, f.zaarour said:

Nice interesting thread. While reading i just wanted to point this out before i move on lol. 

I feel like the FM tactic sheets are a bit complicated for those who like to play FM but dont want to go in alot of depth in tactics. I myself was struggling to much in fm20. Maybe because i had my vision and couldnt implement it into fm or maybe the basics what every aspect in the tactics do are wrong interpretated by me. And thats the hard part. 

But reading this gives me some better understanding. It also looks like in Fm if u choose a defending formation like that 4141 u have to focus more on the attacking in the tactics sheets and vice versa.

Or u speaking about agressive on the ball. I think im having many times to much overkill in keeping the ball or something, so having many support duties, a controlled formation, control mentality, and WbiB, PoD, short passing etc., what u think?

And the hard part is, seeing those problems in game while playing extend. highlights. Im not into playing full games. 

Thank you, am glad you find this helpful!

Tactics in FM aren't really that hard if you get the basics right. Personally, I follow the following as a rule while creating a tactic:

1. Remember that the formation is your defensive shape.

2. Too much support duties will make your team more possession oriented.

3. Think how your mentality affect the roles of your tactic. Positive and Attacking make your team play wider, press hard, play more direct, higher tempo and more off the ball runs. Plan accordingly.

4. Think of penetration and movement. Who is creating space? Who is moving into that space? Who is threatening the goal? Who is offering width?

5. Don't use too much TIs.

6. Think of the disadvantages any given TI adds to your team, and look how to counter it. 

Get these right and you will have a good tactic.

 

Good luck :)

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26 minutes ago, engamohd said:

Thank you, am glad you find this helpful!

Tactics in FM aren't really that hard if you get the basics right. Personally, I follow the following as a rule while creating a tactic:

1. Remember that the formation is your defensive shape.

2. Too much support duties will make your team more possession oriented.

3. Think how your mentality affect the roles of your tactic. Positive and Attacking make your team play wider, press hard, play more direct, higher tempo and more off the ball runs. Plan accordingly.

4. Think of penetration and movement. Who is creating space? Who is moving into that space? Who is threatening the goal? Who is offering width?

5. Don't use too much TIs.

6. Think of the disadvantages any given TI adds to your team, and look how to counter it. 

Get these right and you will have a good tactic.

 

Good luck :)

Ye thats the part i struggle with i guess. A wrong understanding about the basics in the tactics and to much overkill in playstyle. 

Those are some usefull tips, gonna keep them in mind and take it to my next FM games. Thanks alot. 

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2 hours ago, roberto201 said:

How are you finding the offside trap with defenders on cover and stopper? Still works?

We were exposed several times, so I opted to a CD-D duo, with a slightly lower DL (higher rather than much higher). I am writing about this 4411 in detail, expecting to finish it soon.

Edited by engamohd
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What a great read. Im sure this will inspire people to really sit down and suss out how their tactics can work. 
1 fascinating point id like to ask your opinion on is what the game often suggests.

In the thread you mention when you choose a positive/attacking mentality that you counter that with more defensive and supportive duties due to the fact the mentality will automatically make them more positive/attacking anyway. But in the game when you select a positive or attacking mentality it always pops up with tips before a match that with these mentalities you need a certain amount of attacking mentalities above the roles within the team and vice versa with Defensive mentalities.

Its an interesting idea that this can work and would love to hear what you think about what i mentioned above. Does the tip from the game really have any substance?

Downloading tactics is great as you obviously become a winning team. But becoming a winning team by sussing out your own formation and playing style gives you so much more satisfaction.

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9 hours ago, aharris4 said:

What a great read. Im sure this will inspire people to really sit down and suss out how their tactics can work. 
1 fascinating point id like to ask your opinion on is what the game often suggests.

In the thread you mention when you choose a positive/attacking mentality that you counter that with more defensive and supportive duties due to the fact the mentality will automatically make them more positive/attacking anyway. But in the game when you select a positive or attacking mentality it always pops up with tips before a match that with these mentalities you need a certain amount of attacking mentalities above the roles within the team and vice versa with Defensive mentalities.

Its an interesting idea that this can work and would love to hear what you think about what i mentioned above. Does the tip from the game really have any substance?

Downloading tactics is great as you obviously become a winning team. But becoming a winning team by sussing out your own formation and playing style gives you so much more satisfaction.

Thank you for your encouraging words! :)

The game's advise is logical in the sense that when you play with a higher mentality, you normally want to be quite aggressive and take more risks. Thus the attacking duties complement the high mentality and makes your team very aggressive. The AI follow a similar rule, it is something Cleon have written about a lot earlier. However, I use mentality as a risk taking option. For me, playing on Attacking means that the players should take more risks with their forward runs and passes, all while being positionally and defensively responsible. Thats why I like to keep attacking duties to a minimum in an Positive/Attacking mentality.

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Hi @engamohd. I think your topic is very good and I am following a similar pattern. But after trying 4-4-1-1 a lot, nowadays I prefer the "good and old" 4-4-2. I like fast, quick football, on a more direct and even counter attacking style, and I think 4-4-2 suits it perfectly, besides being very versatile (something I value a lot). I also love to play LLM and use very small teams, so it´s easier for me to find strikers that fit more playing beside a partner than alone. 

Don´t you feel hard to connect the lone striker and the AM in a 4-4-1-1? This has been always a problem for me. On a 4-2-3-1 for example the wingers help do it, but whenever I play 4-4-1-1 I feel the AM is too far from the striker, and when I use a F9-Shadow Striker combination the other teams defend very deep and I cannot score. It also creates a problem of a "vaccum" in the last third, as the striker never looks to retreat enough.

The best combination I used were DLF on Support and APM/AM on Attack, but this required playing without a traditional striker and scoring was also hard. I would like to hear your impressions about the TM-Attack and AM-Support, as it looks like to be working very well.

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Great thread. Thinking about what I'd like to implement this year I decided for a 4-4-1-1, as it can employ a creative AMC and still keep the basic rules of my preferred 4-4-2. Looking forward to your updates.

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23 hours ago, Tsuru said:

Hi @engamohd. I think your topic is very good and I am following a similar pattern. But after trying 4-4-1-1 a lot, nowadays I prefer the "good and old" 4-4-2. I like fast, quick football, on a more direct and even counter attacking style, and I think 4-4-2 suits it perfectly, besides being very versatile (something I value a lot). I also love to play LLM and use very small teams, so it´s easier for me to find strikers that fit more playing beside a partner than alone. 

Don´t you feel hard to connect the lone striker and the AM in a 4-4-1-1? This has been always a problem for me. On a 4-2-3-1 for example the wingers help do it, but whenever I play 4-4-1-1 I feel the AM is too far from the striker, and when I use a F9-Shadow Striker combination the other teams defend very deep and I cannot score. It also creates a problem of a "vaccum" in the last third, as the striker never looks to retreat enough.

The best combination I used were DLF on Support and APM/AM on Attack, but this required playing without a traditional striker and scoring was also hard. I would like to hear your impressions about the TM-Attack and AM-Support, as it looks like to be working very well.

I agree with you, 442 is very much suited to direct and counter attacking football. However, if you are looking to control the play, you are much better suited with a 4411, since you cover more pitch space and the AMC offers a bit of midfield and forward play.

Any lone striker formation, is in my opinion, difficult to get it right. There should always be support and options in the final third, this is offered by the WM-A and the IW-S. Since we have proper support, you find the TM and the midfield triangle often exchanging passes until the opportunity occurs. Below is a perfect example (#20 is the AMC, #17 is the TM-A, #19 is IW-S and #15 is the WM-A):

EYICeWo.gif

 

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On 20/11/2020 at 13:30, Tsuru said:

Hi @engamohd. I think your topic is very good and I am following a similar pattern. But after trying 4-4-1-1 a lot, nowadays I prefer the "good and old" 4-4-2. I like fast, quick football, on a more direct and even counter attacking style, and I think 4-4-2 suits it perfectly, besides being very versatile (something I value a lot). I also love to play LLM and use very small teams, so it´s easier for me to find strikers that fit more playing beside a partner than alone. 

Don´t you feel hard to connect the lone striker and the AM in a 4-4-1-1? This has been always a problem for me. On a 4-2-3-1 for example the wingers help do it, but whenever I play 4-4-1-1 I feel the AM is too far from the striker, and when I use a F9-Shadow Striker combination the other teams defend very deep and I cannot score. It also creates a problem of a "vaccum" in the last third, as the striker never looks to retreat enough.

The best combination I used were DLF on Support and APM/AM on Attack, but this required playing without a traditional striker and scoring was also hard. I would like to hear your impressions about the TM-Attack and AM-Support, as it looks like to be working very well.

Another excellent example, here the TM holds the ball until the support are in position, and the AMC knits the team beautifully. Ghoddos (our AMC) has 3 assists in this game.

n48BwIa.gif

 

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This was a really good read, thank you. 

I seem to be similar to you where I tried all manner of formations expecting a style to develop but didn't really know how I wanted the team to play. 

I have never used a Target man before because I have only ever heard bad things. How does he work out for you? Does he yield many goals?

Do you recommend any particular physical attributes for a TM? (Tall for example).

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Interesting concept. I usually start off in the bottom league in England with a newly promoted team so to start with i don't have much control over the types of players, often just getting who i can that is better than i have so my formation and style adapts to who i can bring in but usually to start with i will prefer a more defensive, direct counter attacking style where i will try to get physical players as being that low in the leagues its harder to get technical players.

Once i start moving up the leagues i will progress my style of football to a more attacking possession based tactic as thats more the style i like to play and i will start identifying more technical and creative players over physical players to ultimately go from a fast direct counter attacking team to a slow possession team and controlling games.

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15 hours ago, Plugpin said:

This was a really good read, thank you. 

I seem to be similar to you where I tried all manner of formations expecting a style to develop but didn't really know how I wanted the team to play. 

I have never used a Target man before because I have only ever heard bad things. How does he work out for you? Does he yield many goals?

Do you recommend any particular physical attributes for a TM? (Tall for example).

Cheers mate!

I use Targetmen in almost all tactics I design. I mainly look tall, strong, physical players, with good heading and jumping. I also look for high determination, off the ball, finishing, balance, dribbling and agility. Pace and acceleration are bonuses for me. As described, I want the TM to hold the ball for the support, hence I prefer the support (AMC, ML, MR) to be quick and technical and the TM more physical.

Ivan Toney, our TM, scored almost 30 goals all season, with a bunch of assists. I will post some stats when I finish season 1.

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14 hours ago, Weed07 said:

Interesting concept. I usually start off in the bottom league in England with a newly promoted team so to start with i don't have much control over the types of players, often just getting who i can that is better than i have so my formation and style adapts to who i can bring in but usually to start with i will prefer a more defensive, direct counter attacking style where i will try to get physical players as being that low in the leagues its harder to get technical players.

Once i start moving up the leagues i will progress my style of football to a more attacking possession based tactic as thats more the style i like to play and i will start identifying more technical and creative players over physical players to ultimately go from a fast direct counter attacking team to a slow possession team and controlling games.

I think we all do that, but I personally felt that as we work our way up the ladder, we have no style and personality. Looking at managers like Bielsa, he keeps his style regardless of opposition (of course he tweaks to react, but the core is unchanged). I wanted to be the same, imposing our style on the opponent, not the other way around.

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Em 21/11/2020 em 11:35, engamohd disse:

I agree with you, 442 is very much suited to direct and counter attacking football. However, if you are looking to control the play, you are much better suited with a 4411, since you cover more pitch space and the AMC offers a bit of midfield and forward play.

Any lone striker formation, is in my opinion, difficult to get it right. There should always be support and options in the final third, this is offered by the WM-A and the IW-S. Since we have proper support, you find the TM and the midfield triangle often exchanging passes until the opportunity occurs. Below is a perfect example (#20 is the AMC, #17 is the TM-A, #19 is IW-S and #15 is the WM-A):

Yes, very interesting the two examples you posted here. The AM-SU and the TM-AT look to work very well together.

It´s a possibility for me in the future adapt my 4-4-2 to a 4-4-1-1 if I feel I need to change my style of play. I already use two wide midfielders that play through the middle - the WM AT with PIs, and the WM SU naturally - and a pair of CMs more focused on defend and recovering the ball, so it would be a matter of adjusting the instructions and the attacking pair. 

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On 21/11/2020 at 19:55, Plugpin said:

This was a really good read, thank you. 

I seem to be similar to you where I tried all manner of formations expecting a style to develop but didn't really know how I wanted the team to play. 

I have never used a Target man before because I have only ever heard bad things. How does he work out for you? Does he yield many goals?

Do you recommend any particular physical attributes for a TM? (Tall for example).

At the end of the season, this is the stats of my players. Toney grabbed a massive 29 goals, 25 of them in the league (2nd top scorer, 2 goals behind Adam Armstrong). 12 of Ghoddos assists came in the league, again 2nd best in the league.

91UdlGf.jpg

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1 hour ago, kingjericho said:

Aside from the passing directness there aren't many structural differences between this and your 442 from the other thread, do you agree?

There are not many differences yes, but in the core, we are more possession oriented now, and don't lose the ball as often. 

The 4411 midfield is more flexible than the 442 which can only play direct.

It is worthy to note that I have dropped the base mentality in the 4411 positive and dropped the DL by one notch, after watching many games.

One more point, we are much better in attack, we effectively attack with 4 players with 2 supporting wide backs. In the 442, we hoof it to the forwards, with only 2 supporting wingers. 

Personally, I'd go for a similar 4411 with more direct passing as a starting point, rather than going full hoof like the 442.

Edited by engamohd
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Ah, I like this as I have been advocating using deeper formations such as 4411 and 4141 (my favorite) and pairing it with an agressive style of play. A high pressing 4141 (didn't work so well in FM20, but is a totally different beast in fm21) is absolutely a joy to watch. 

I've been using a 4411 in my first save as I felt it would bring the best out of my best players at Dortmund. But I have slowly been toying with the idea of moving Reus into MC with a attack duty, Brandt up as False 9 and Haaland out wide to the right as a deep raumdeuter sort of player. :D 

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1 hour ago, engamohd said:

Personally, I'd go for a similar 4411 with more direct passing as a starting point, rather than going full hoof like the 442.

I get what you're saying, but hoof is life. I can't get tired of it :)

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18 minutes ago, Gegenklaus said:

Ah, I like this as I have been advocating using deeper formations such as 4411 and 4141 (my favorite) and pairing it with an agressive style of play. A high pressing 4141 (didn't work so well in FM20, but is a totally different beast in fm21) is absolutely a joy to watch. 

I've been using a 4411 in my first save as I felt it would bring the best out of my best players at Dortmund. But I have slowly been toying with the idea of moving Reus into MC with a attack duty, Brandt up as False 9 and Haaland out wide to the right as a deep raumdeuter sort of player. :D 

We are a rare breed my friend, I absolutely despise top heavy formations 😀

BVB's team is absolutely exceptional, would love to see how your deep raumdeuter works for you.

My WM-A usually scores many goals in true raumdeuter style, Haaland should ace this role.

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On 13/11/2020 at 21:52, engamohd said:

The reason for having two strikers is that I prefer to have our attacking threat centrally rather than from out wide.

I do feel that central strikers are getting more chances in this ME. Are the wide strikers weaker than FM20 though?

On 13/11/2020 at 21:52, engamohd said:

AMR/AML are forwards rather than midfielders, and hence have much less defensive responsibility

I played a season with AP(A) on AMR and AML under Attacking mentality and they defend so deep that they are juat infront of the Full Backs. I suppise only RM, WTM and IF(A) will stay up front to receive long balls?

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1 hour ago, moolochicken said:

I do feel that central strikers are getting more chances in this ME. Are the wide strikers weaker than FM20 though?

It is a matter of preference really, not a case of one being weaker than the other. I haven't tried wide forwards in FM21 yet.

 

1 hour ago, moolochicken said:

I played a season with AP(A) on AMR and AML under Attacking mentality and they defend so deep that they are juat infront of the Full Backs. I suppise only RM, WTM and IF(A) will stay up front to receive long balls?

It is not either defend of not, but the natural deep positioning of the MR/ML makes them track back to their position, making them regroup easier and faster. Wide forwards would track the fullbacks, but more often than not stay higher up.

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After developing my counter system on a 4-4-2 I am migrating to a 4-4-1-1 by the end of the season, thanks to your ideas.

I agree with you that 4-4-1-1 brings us more variety, and sometimes during a game we will also be able to control the ball more, specially if the opponents play deep and deny the space for the counters or open more space in midfield. And if they try to attack us, there will be enough space for us to hit them fast and hard. Playing in the 4-4-2 we were just lumping the ball foward, which works but gives us less options.

I also think it will be easy to migrate as the roles and duties are adequate and work well for both systems. I will let you know if it worked well.

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Very interesting topic. I see myself a little in your path. By not coaching reputable teams that fight for prestigious positions, I tend to avoid heavy formations offensively. I have also always had a nuisance seeing players in AM positions not defending or not positioning themselves correctly during defensive transitions (even with marking). At the same time I still managed to get lucky with heavy formations when the conditions were right for it.

Using formations like yours I could see some problems especially against deep formations.

- Many long balls that bypass the defense (even in defense) not having many players who press high on the field

- Counter-attacks due to players who piled up close to the opposition area.

Obviously, every formation has its weaknesses that need to be calculated. I find it interesting that you use the high mentality to increase the height of the players position and to be more aggressive. As my reputation grows, that's something I tend to do too.

I wanted to ask you if you have noticed my own problems and compliment you because being able to find that satisfaction while watching your team based on personal style is one of the great things about FM.

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On 30/11/2020 at 16:51, Bot Makel said:

I wanted to ask you if you have noticed my own problems and compliment you because being able to find that satisfaction while watching your team based on personal style is one of the great things about FM.

Thank you for your compliment and encourage! Cheers.

You are spot on. Our issues are mainly against 2 strikers being fed with direct through balls. Formations like 442 and 5212 cause me a lot of trouble. I either drop the D-Line or go even more aggressive. I recently had an issue against a team playing direct to two strikers. After conceding two early, I went on attacking, and managed to score four, while choking their supply.

Finally, I agree with you, having to develop your own personal style is the crux of my enjoyment on FM <3

Sorry for my late reply, I have been incredibly busy lately.

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