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FM21 - Total Football, A club dna project with positional play


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47 minutes ago, gunnerfan said:

My Celta Vigo team is currently in 1st, 9 points clear with 6 to play, and we've already clinched a spot in the Champion's League next season. I've done a lot of tweaking with the JDP tactic, and have been fortunate to get here with a roster that is promising but not yet "there" and not at all deep (except MCs and CDs). I'm going to need a solid defensive set for CL, and would love to use the 4-1-4-1, but I have NO flank midfielders (only AMs). Also, I can only count on about $10 million for my transfer budget, so I probably won't be able to buy any (or at least none that I would want to rely on). I'm thinking of a 4-1-2-3 as an alternative, which would at least give me the marking protection at the back similar to the 4-1-4-1. But is there any way to get the wing AMs to track back on defense?

Why not just play the AM wing players in the midfield strata? Assuming they have the attributes to play there, that matters a lot more than whether they are familiar with the specific PRD. 

And if you start either at the end of your current season or at least in pre-season, you should have some time to help players gain familiarity. Maybe not great, but some.

 

I say this because I had been playing with a 4-3-3 but having trouble both due to defensive issues and (more so) lack of attack which I attributed to packing too many players in too advanced of positions. So, I have recently switched to a 4-1-4-1 very similar to the one discussed here (and even more similar now after picking up on some of the recommendations). But my starting wide midfielders had no familiarity with the midfield strata. I played them there anyway (and started training them appropriately too to speed up development) and it is working well enough. I am pretty sure some of the mistakes I see (errant passes for instance) are due to lack of familiarity (although could be with the tactic more broadly as we just started the season and I was tweaking a bit throughout the preseason), but it isn't a big deal. Although, I suppose I should say that my first league game ended just 1-0 off of a free-kick goal near the end of the game, which was not promising, but our xG was like 2 so I will (for now) chock things up to it being early and such

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I just wanted to state my appreciation for this @04texag - I really like the '4-3-3' but am often disappointed with the way it defends when we are fully out of possession (does well in the initial press in the attacking third of course). Also, I was finding myself perhaps overloading the front too much, and so like the wide midfielders starting deep.

I did want to mention a couple of differences with my version, and ask perhaps why you made some of the choices you made:

  • I set my defensive line as 'higher' and (in game) have sometimes reduced the line of engagement to standard. The DL being higher I found really important for setting the block a bit higher. Otherwise we were effectively defending right outside our box (or in it). the Line of Engagement I am less sure about, but did it in at least one game to get more dominance in midfield by constricting the overall space
  • I so far have left my striker as a DLF(a), but was tempted toward something like a Pressing Forward on support to try to dominate midfield a bit more. And then the PF could even be dropped to defend if the opponent has a DM, so the PF will just stick to him (perhaps with an instruction to mark as well)
  • Relatedly: I have had issues with most striker roles being too static when we are trying to clear the ball from our box. The Complete Forward has worked, leading to the player to moving laterally to pick up the ball, but others seem to keep them too central. I want the striker to be mostly central when we are in possession (that is obviously part of positional play) so don't really like the CF in possession. I am wondering if perhaps a pressing forward may be the best of both worlds, as he'll move about more out of possession (I think/hope?) but then is supposed to behave like an 'Advanced Forward' in possession, which keeps him reasonably central (channels, but that is ok). I saw you mentioned you were going to play around with the striker role yourself, so wondering if you've learned anything new just yet
Edited by ozilthegunner
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1 hour ago, ozilthegunner said:

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I just wanted to state my appreciation for this @crusadertsar- I really like the '4-3-3' but am often disappointed with the way it defends when we are fully out of possession (does well in the initial press in the attacking third of course). Also, I was finding myself perhaps overloading the front too much, and so like the wide midfielders starting deep.

I did want to mention a couple of differences with my version, and ask perhaps why you made some of the choices you made:

  • I set my defensive line as 'higher' and (in game) have sometimes reduced the line of engagement to standard. The DL being higher I found really important for setting the block a bit higher. Otherwise we were effectively defending right outside our box (or in it). the Line of Engagement I am less sure about, but did it in at least one game to get more dominance in midfield by constricting the overall space
  • I so far have left my striker as a DLF(a), but was tempted toward something like a Pressing Forward on support to try to dominate midfield a bit more. And then the PF could even be dropped to defend if the opponent has a DM, so the PF will just stick to him (perhaps with an instruction to mark as well)
  • Relatedly: I have had issues with most striker roles being too static when we are trying to clear the ball from our box. The Complete Forward has worked, leading to the player to moving laterally to pick up the ball, but others seem to keep them too central. I want the striker to be mostly central when we are in possession (that is obviously part of positional play) so don't really like the CF in possession. I am wondering if perhaps a pressing forward may be the best of both worlds, as he'll move about more out of possession (I think/hope?) but then is supposed to behave like an 'Advanced Forward' in possession, which keeps him reasonably central (channels, but that is ok). I saw you mentioned you were going to play around with the striker role yourself, so wondering if you've learned anything new just yet

When I started with the JDP tactic, I set my striker, Santi Mina, as an AF/a, but he was constantly being caught offside, so I set him to a PF/a and that helped a lot, reducing his offsides but not his goals. I also set my DL one notch higher than my LOE. I'll give this a try. The CM/d in my 4-2-3-1 is also a natural at DM, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Thanks.

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3 hours ago, gunnerfan said:

My Celta Vigo team is currently in 1st, 9 points clear with 6 to play, and we've already clinched a spot in the Champion's League next season. I've done a lot of tweaking with the JDP tactic, and have been fortunate to get here with a roster that is promising but not yet "there" and not at all deep (except MCs and CDs). I'm going to need a solid defensive set for CL, and would love to use the 4-1-4-1, but I have NO flank midfielders (only AMs). Also, I can only count on about $10 million for my transfer budget, so I probably won't be able to buy any (or at least none that I would want to rely on). I'm thinking of a 4-1-2-3 as an alternative, which would at least give me the marking protection at the back similar to the 4-1-4-1. But is there any way to get the wing AMs to track back on defense?

I just have AM L/R players playing in the ML/R slots. It works fine the players just start out a little deeper. For any of these positions if you want more defensive support use support duties and players with high teamwork and work rate. 

 

Also, congrats on some great performance with Celta! What's your modified version of the JdP? Would love to see it. 

Edited by 04texag
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@Garrlor, @04texag Thanks a lot for your answers.

12 hours ago, Garrlor said:

1) So I like player traits a lot. For example, playing Juan Mata as a high up Winger in the AMC strata, he has the wingers instructions telling him to get to the bye line but his PPM's allow him to cut inside and get into the box. Effectively he becomes a hybrid winger/IF and can use his own decision making on when to cut inside or when to dribble past his man. Martial has the "gets into opposition area", "Cuts inside from the left" and "moves into channels" PPM's on FM18, which means when he starts from deep he naturally does a lot of the things you want from him as a deeper IF, with the benefit that you can tell him to stay wider too. He also has one of the best PPM's for JDP, plays one twos. Just two examples there of how traits can work and suit a role or even change it completely.

2) Pressing will suffer as you are deeper. However, counter press when you lose the ball to try and get it back then retreating to you defensive shape works just as well. If the other team is playing a 4-2-3-1, then the IF's are handled by the full backs, the AMC is handled by the DMC and the striker by the 2 centre backs. So effectively you are asking the 2 midfield players and your wide players to take care of the passing lanes and put pressure on the midfielders when they have the ball. Given that they are outnumbered 4 to 2 in that strata it makes it hard for them and you can maybe sieze on a mistake or force them to go long. If you want an early agressive press then I think you need the more aggressive formation of a 4-2-3-1 so you players naturally start higher up the pitch to put the pressure on the defence. Its simply a trade off to my mind.

 

7 hours ago, 04texag said:

I think Garrlor answered this just about perfectly, so not much to add here.

For #1, I still haven't explored player traits as much as I'd like in FM21 as with my Lazio team, I either have a lot of players who are already fully developed at the start, or under 18 youngsters that I'm not focusing on traits with yet as they are working on attributes and PRD. I do like cut in from wings traits, and intend to get plays one twos on most of my mid fielders.

#2, The 4141 does not press high as well, but as noted, you can really dominate the midfield game. I like to counter press heavily then when the midfield. Some high pressing against low composure CBS will result in them playing long balls that then you can easily win with better numbers.

This is exactly what I want to explore, for wingers but also other roles. I enjoy "manipulating" the normal behavior of a given role with traits and individual player characteristics. This can really add a dimension to your tactic. Especially in FM21, when traits - seems to me - have more impact than ever.

For the defensive/pressing part, I understand the approach you guys describe. I just need to experiment a bit and see how we perform.

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11 hours ago, DNZ-8 said:

@Garrlor, @04texag Thanks a lot for your answers.

 

This is exactly what I want to explore, for wingers but also other roles. I enjoy "manipulating" the normal behavior of a given role with traits and individual player characteristics. This can really add a dimension to your tactic. Especially in FM21, when traits - seems to me - have more impact than ever.

For the defensive/pressing part, I understand the approach you guys describe. I just need to experiment a bit and see how we perform.

No worries mate!

I remember playing Jesse Lingard as a right sided TQ(A) in FM19 and he was brilliant because of his PPMs and off the ball movement combined with the work rate and stamina to just keep moving and covering lots of ground. Not your usual technical genius with unbelievable flair and can thread a pass between a gnats legs but he brought something completely different to the role.

As for the defence/pressing area, you can make your team press as hard as you want. The 4-1-4-1 needs the whole team to press hard to make it effective, which means you are going to have to compress the space and have a higher DL so that you dont leave huges gaps for the opposistion to work with. This can obviously then contribute to congestion, which may be something you are looking to avoid. I much prefer the sit and wait for them method with a tactic like this, making them play it around the back or hoof it long so you can just gobble up the ball then work towards keeping possesion to generate a scoring chance again.

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Quick Season Update

Season is going well, we are clicking with a 4411 tactic as we move into late march. We are tied with Juventus for 1st place in Serie A, and made it past the first knockout round in the CL beating Porto. We have drawn Manchester City next, and if we beat them, it's either Barca of Man United. Either way you look at it, it's been a tough slate of games if we are to go far in the CL.

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Youth Intake

Our youth program is really coming along nicely. Our U18's and U20's are both playing really well. We have a packed squad of young 4-5 star players, and then we got two new young highly rated kids in this year's youth recruitment. Check out these two 17 year olds (wish they were starting younger, not sure why they are already 17)

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First up, Marco is noted as a best of generation, love seeing that!

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Next up, the first guy who is going to have to get a nickname if he sticks, as I can't pronounce that last name!

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So now the BAD NEWS

Ciro Immobile has gone out with a major 2 month long injury! He may or may not make it back in time to meaningfully impact our remaining schedule. In another hit, Senad Lulic, our long serving veteran, got injured for 5 months and just functionally quit/retired on the spot. So far, Joaquin Correa has not played fantastic in the AF-A role, but Thiago Almada has been ok. I'm just concerned if either will play well enough in the huge matches we have coming up.

Last but not least, our 4411 tactic we've been using. This gets us more offensive firepower than the 4141, good defensive solidity, and is a platform we can tweak a fair bit in game based on what I see. I sometimes go wide and play down flanks, at a slower pace, or sometimes a little quicker and narrower.

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OMG, and now in our first game against Man City, away in Manchester, Gaetano get's injured for 2 weeks with pulled knee ligaments. That's 4 of our starters out. It was a thriller a thriller of a game though. 4-4 draw with goals galore. Our team is decimated and we had to sub out starters with everyone dragging, and mistakes started happening for them to get up 4-2 on us, but then we crawled back late and tied it!

 

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Ridiculous

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@04texag your 4-4-1-1 has me worried. No defensive players, no defending roles and a positive mentality - how is it successful???  With your 4-1-4-1 I thought that was a touch risky but having a DM does help make it work. When you mentioned a 4-4-1-1 prior I assumed there would be a CM-De somewhere, especially as you’d used the role in your 4-2-3-1. You’ve really surprised me here. 
 

I’d love to try it but that seems just too risky to me. 

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The bwm-s has hold position on and the players there all have high work rate and team work. They've been sitting deep very similar to the cm-d from before. I've seen literally no issue defensively with this. 

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Guess one other important note, the 4411 is used in games where we are supposed to dominate, so we really only have to look out for counters, which our CBS are good and physical, and I usually don't concede chances from that. 

The 4-4 draw against city is not indicative. We played City for one thing, away, and we used the 4141 against them. Our squad is all extremely depleted through injury and jadedness. I feel like every year my schedule in Serie A has me playing top 4 teams on either side of all of my CL games, so hard to rest players when in contention for both still. 

Anyways, I'm happy with what I'm seeing considering the player injuries we have had.

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One positive of having all of these injuries, is youth are able to step up to the senior squad and get minutes. Never expected Magnar Sonander to get minutes with the senior team this year, but we really just don't have an adequate striker with Ciro out. But, he was able to come in for about half an hour in a big away game at Sassuolo and then this happened.

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He's only 17, but hopefully will continue to develop well. He's too young to plan on much game time until maybe 2-3 years from now.

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The other young striker who has gotten some minutes, although he's yet to score, is our youth academy product Smimmo, whom I've shown here before. He continues to develop nicely, but still a good 2-3 years out as well.

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With 3 games in hand, we just clinched the Serie A title for our second year in a row! Super ecstatic about this result, especially with our injuries to 5 stars in the spring. On a positive note, we have gotten a lot of good game time and development in for youngsters. I'm excited to do my year end review soon and compare to see how my youth have been developing, aside from the results on the pitch, but looking at their attribute and personality development.

Striker Issue

Going into late may, I'm beginning to wonder what to do about the striker position. Ciro is great, but will be 34 next season and obviously needs to be playing less. I need a solid backup who if Ciro get's injured can step up, and no matter what really be our primary starter second half of the season going into the next. I've tasked my scouts with finding a replacement, but short of the already world class players, I haven't really found anyone I'm in love with.

But, maybe I have someone already. In the last few games, I've been giving Nikola Vlasic some time as the striker, and he's been playing great. He's scored 3 goals in the last two games playing as an AF-A in our 4231 positional play tactic. His finishing is a little low for my liking, but he's a pretty good all around attacking threat. Aside from the Juventus match remaining where Ciro will start, I will give him the start at striker for the last game as we have already won the league and want to keep evaluating him. 

We do have 78 million for next season's transfer budget, but don't want to spend it here if I don't have to.

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We also have Thiago Almada, who has been developing and performing quite well. Check out Thiago's serie A performance here:

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Edited by 04texag
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On 14/12/2020 at 04:53, Garrlor said:

No worries mate!

I remember playing Jesse Lingard as a right sided TQ(A) in FM19 and he was brilliant because of his PPMs and off the ball movement combined with the work rate and stamina to just keep moving and covering lots of ground. Not your usual technical genius with unbelievable flair and can thread a pass between a gnats legs but he brought something completely different to the role.

There you go, that's a good example of what I was referring to. It's fun to explore role interpretation/player characteristics. As I mentioned, for me that's when working out a tactic becomes really fun. Things can change so much depending on who's playing and how you can take advantage of that.

 

Quote

As for the defence/pressing area, you can make your team press as hard as you want. The 4-1-4-1 needs the whole team to press hard to make it effective, which means you are going to have to compress the space and have a higher DL so that you dont leave huges gaps for the opposistion to work with. This can obviously then contribute to congestion, which may be something you are looking to avoid. I much prefer the sit and wait for them method with a tactic like this, making them play it around the back or hoof it long so you can just gobble up the ball then work towards keeping possesion to generate a scoring chance again.

Thanks, this makes a lot of sense. Personally I usually prefer the "go get them" method and get the ball back as soon as possible, but I think in this case, with the 4-1-4-1 the approach you are describing should be the best. 

Edited by DNZ-8
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Offseason Update

So it was a successful season with another double, and back to back Serie A titles. That said, continental success has been elusive. We have struggled away from home against the premier league powerhouses two years in a row. But, our overall team depth is getting much better and we have a loaded stockpile of youth in the 16-19 range. We are really on track for most of our long term goals.

Speaking of, the board keeps through so many new things at us, but thankfully, we were able to successfully negotiate some of them away. They again wanted us to spend all of our transfer budget, and I negotiated that off even though we might in fact do it. They also want us to improve our commercial income, which I'm surprised at how high it already is at 35 million. But, with one of the signings I'll mention below, I think we can check this box.

In our team meeting, we also had to make some promises to the squad. They all seemed to want us to improve our midfield, which is probably because of the 4411 shape in our tactics, which most of our attacking midfielders are listed as spotty in this position, although in actuality they crush it. I also promised to improve our coaching and to keep working on our youth setup. So that leaves us with the below priorities

  • Ciro Immobile's backup/replacement
  • Improve midfield
  • Improve coaching staff
  • Improve youth setup
  • Reduce size of squad (we are still working through some of those older vets)

 

Ciro's Backup - 

Meet Josh Sargent. It came down to him and Memphis Depay, but Josh is actually more of a total footballer with better mentals, he's younger still at 23, and the scouting report mentions that he will bring in 9.25 million a year commercially. Additionally, he is listed as preferring to play as a deep lying forward which I like for our future tactics with our plethora of creative attacking midfielders.

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A few things off the batt. I'm going to work on his weak spots, which imo for our DNA are ball control, passing and anticipation. He also is a clean slate traits wise, so I want to work on this. Anyone with some good ideas for him here?

 

Improve Midfield

Sometimes the opportunity lands on your doorstep and you sign someone who looks great, even though you weren't initially looking for it. And so meet someone you're all familiar with I'm sure, Hakan Calhanoglu. My plan for him is to play him in backup of Luis Alberto, and also in rotation on the left flank. He can play the IW-S AML role, and he can also play at the ML slot. He fits in very well with all of our club DNA, has good mentals and personality, and great traits. 

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Improve Coaching Staff

I was able to get 2 additional coaching slots by approaching the board. They denied us but we argued our case, thanks @Kharza_FM, stating we needed more staff for our youngsters to develop, which they are keen on. So we signed several guys. I always forget this little tip, but remembered it and will share with you now.

If you go to training>coaches>edit coach assignments, you get the below screen. We all know that, but if you hover over the categories, you get what each category actually impacts attribute wise. See below

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Technical possession focuses on dribbling, first touch, passing, heading and technique. Brilliant! 

By checking each category, I can see which ones I really want to try to get 4.5-5 stars in. For our squad, that would be the following : Poss Tech, Poss Tactical, Attacking Tec, Attack Tact. & Defending Tactical. The rest are all good to have, but those are the keys to what we are trying to do here with our club DNA. So now with 3 new hires (1 replacement, and 2 new) we have 4.5-5 stars across all of these. 

Improve Youth Setup

First up, let's ask the board for improved youth facilities, CHECK! So now we have youth and training facility upgrades both in the works!

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Next up, we need to keep trying to build up our affiliates, but once again, they have denied us. For some reason, Lazio just doesn't want the affiliates.

Reduce Size of Squad

So we have a few retirements, and one big transfer out for some $.

David Silva and Senad Lulic have both left the club hanging up their cleats. Silva (one of my RL fav players) was probably not the best signing, although he was an ok mentor for a bit. Lulic was a great member and I'm glad I kept him around (see our first summer update).

Next up, we had a big sale. Joaquin Correa had one year left on his contract and was valued at 62 million. He's a great attacking threat, but he honestly was not a good fit for our club DNA. I decided, especially with other guys really pushing him for playing time, to make room for the 24-25 year olds and capitalize on Correa by selling him now in his prime. Chelsea stepped up to the plate and purchased him for 67 million. 

Several other key players have signed new contracts, so we are really in great shape.

Youth

At the start of preseason, our squad will be quite large. We have multiple 20-22 year olds returning from loans to add in to the mix. We are going to have some serious evaluation on our hands. I want guys who are good enough to push for back up/cup start playing time, but want to make sure they are getting enough games. I don't like just sending guys out on loan year after year though, so we might evaluate and move some on. Generally though, guys like Smimmo I want to keep around, training and mentoring with the seniors but playing 35 or so games a year by being always available to the U20's. 

Tactically

We are slowly moving away from just the 4231. We used it, alongside the 4411 mostly last season. But we did have some good stretches of 433 play. The beauty of our typical attacking mid players is that they can play in like 3-4 different positions across these shapes. 

 

Hopefully you all are still finding this interesting. Please make sure and like or ask questions, as if there isn't much activity I may just let the thread die out.

 

 

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One more thing

So generally speaking, my goal has been the league title over the Champions League. I just haven't felt confident yet that we could push on the finals. Thus, when we had all of the injury issues and packed schedule at the end of the last season, I still played all of the older starters in the league, and then they were drained for the big matches against City. Hindsight being 20/20, I could have rested them in the league games since we won with 3 games in hand.

This next season, I believe is our best chance at CL win for the next probably 3 years. Why? Alberto is in his prime, and Ciro is getting old. Our core team is mostly now 25 years or older, and so all our at a high level and well developed in our club DNA. This is a part of the reason we signed Hakan. 

So, our plan this year will be to have a prime starting 11 which includes Hakan, Alberto, Lazzari, Castrovilli, Ciro, and they will play our biggest league matches and CL games. Then we will overly rotate this year with guys like Thiago Almada, Yeremi Pino, Marcos Antonio starting significantly more games in Serie A. I'm hopeful this shift will keep the big guns healthier late into the year, while getting the obvious benefit of continued big game development for the youngsters.

 

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8 minutes ago, Harper said:

 

All these years and I haven't actually read the f'n manual. Should probably do that again!

The in game tooltips from hovering over items are massively helpful. I just referenced an example of that with my offseason update two posts up. 

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3 hours ago, 04texag said:

One more thing

So generally speaking, my goal has been the league title over the Champions League. I just haven't felt confident yet that we could push on the finals. Thus, when we had all of the injury issues and packed schedule at the end of the last season, I still played all of the older starters in the league, and then they were drained for the big matches against City. Hindsight being 20/20, I could have rested them in the league games since we won with 3 games in hand.

This next season, I believe is our best chance at CL win for the next probably 3 years. Why? Alberto is in his prime, and Ciro is getting old. Our core team is mostly now 25 years or older, and so all our at a high level and well developed in our club DNA. This is a part of the reason we signed Hakan. 

So, our plan this year will be to have a prime starting 11 which includes Hakan, Alberto, Lazzari, Castrovilli, Ciro, and they will play our biggest league matches and CL games. Then we will overly rotate this year with guys like Thiago Almada, Yeremi Pino, Marcos Antonio starting significantly more games in Serie A. I'm hopeful this shift will keep the big guns healthier late into the year, while getting the obvious benefit of continued big game development for the youngsters.

 

Aim higher!  So I had a pretty successful second season and we only lost the community shield but won the rest including the first of hopefully many Champions League's.

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So this season was spent mostly as a tactical experiment so I was pretty glad to secure as much hardware as we did.  Season started out with a 4-1-4-1 shape but I still wasn't happy with how we pressed high or built out so I started trying a few things.  The season was marked by 3 tactical phases that we learned from as we went.  The first was a decent run with a wide 442 diamond..

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While the formation seemed to score at will and was really dangerous going forward I felt like we sacrificed something defensively and each match was either a blow out or a shoot out.. not something I felt I could build on moving forward.  We did however take a few tactical innovations out of this exercise with the first being how strong our high press was at preventing the opponent from building out so we took that to the extreme and developed a split formation 4-1-5 DM 2AM Wide as described in game..

image.png.bc083331b5c8d82efcecde0099c980c3.png

Great for pressing high and camping in the opponent's half to win the ball back and counter quickly to goal.

image.png.3e5481e6b3055a28bd15202b0ee66d81.png

Strong against weaker teams but definitely not good enough to go toe to toe against Man Utd and teams that didn't try to build out of the back.  So back to the drawing board.. what I did learn in this exercise was that I really liked the DLP-S as my main playmaker sitting deep and the midfielders in the AM strata are still ideal starting position wise for building out.  This created a nice split in attack while building out with the wide players and AMs sitting higher around the midfield line creating plenty of space for the back 5 to build out from.  Build up was definitely consistent and very successful (goal of build out is getting a strike on goal every time).

Still wanted more consistency and wanted a tactical system that I could adjust based on just changing tactical instructions and not have to mess around with shape and roles.  I wanted something I could press high against lesser teams and play more aggressive and something I could drop to a mid block.. stay organized and hit on the counter, while still being successful in building out.  So I wanted a shape that I could just save different tactical styles and apply them at different points in the game.  To me that shape has always been a 433 as I noticed when our high press got bypassed we really had issues in the center of the pitch even though we tried to force outside.  I got the chance to watch Tottenham against Arsenal and loved how Harry Kane did as much defensive work as he did attacking and felt like I could find a way to incorporate that into the system.  I'm also a student of Guido and his Strikerless work (https://strikerless.com/ - he's actually started posting about strikerless systems in FM21 as well I noticed after I started my work) in the past.  Strikerless didn't have much love in FM19 or FM20 so it wasn't until I started thinking how I could get my striker more involved in defense that I thought to give it a try in FM21 and boy was that a big win...

The first system I tried with good success was the following:

image.png.1af208ec8d6fe9501d19e8a4096bec6a.png

I've fallen in love with the Treq role this iteration and found it did all the things I wanted from a single striker role in our system and it made sense to have that type of creative role in the center of our front 3.  It's always been SS - Creator - SS and pretty much gives you a 2 striker and 1 #10 type formation (so you can really think of the above system as a strikerless version of a 442 wide diamond).  We really had some good success with this system and it proved that strikerless is definitely a viable approach again in FM 21.

image.png.4adc421c5865c5e7f92c1dcc11d4d389.png

So with the new strikerless revelation combined with our already proven 4-1-5 DM 2 AM Wide (I still laugh at that..) we went on a 23 game unbeaten tear to win the Premier League Title, win the EFL Cup, and get to the Champion's League and FA Cup finals.  This includes a 11-1 on aggregate demolishing of PSG in the Champion's league semi-finals..

image.png.9d137d93514ccaf288de2131024c8084.png

Not to shabby at all.. but I noticed that I struggled defensively against Man Utd (who we play against in the Champions League final) and had to play Liverpool in the FA Cup final and knew I needed to improve the system defensively before those two games.  It was at this point that Guido's article on strikerless about putting ball winners in midfield in his strikerless 433 gave me the inspiration I needed to create a rock solid mid block Jose Morinho style tactical style to suit our new formation.  I knew just playing with the single DLP-S in midfield was a problem I needed to solve.. 

Ok so I need to move my ML and MR back inside to partner with my DLP-S and make us more solid centrally.. but I can't lose the support in wide areas especially during build up so I need a role that can support the fullbacks and SS when they go wide.. so I'm thinking I need a role that can exploit the half spaces.. thus the Mezzala and Carrilero are probably the best two roles to start with.  Let me introduce you to the ball winning Mezzala..

image.png.49701b52e97db45ca33e95e313f458cf.png

It isn't just the role either.. it is who you play in the role because attributes are king!

image.png.03e5960951ac813c8d641b2ee0f58b45.pngimage.png.c7ffbee6fbaa5ffd02b21d60733b433e.png

Camavinga and Kante fit the bill perfectly for what we want to do.

So while I love the Treq role I wanted a role that would give us the defensive work rate and that we could give the close down more instruction to.  The result was the following system..

image.png.bf2c91684cfb22269fcb9e86c36a43ca.png

Very solid defensively and really dynamic going forward...

FA Cup vs. Liverpool (1-0 win)

image.png.a8abca2d0fbfeae53479c5133336f9ef.png

Champions League Final vs. Man Utd (1-0 win) - 0 shots on target and a huge xG difference and really this game shouldn't have been this close as we missed 2 counter attacks that we should have scored on

image.png.5c58162dc49c568dbaaf861b74376f4a.png

 

So I think I've settled on the tactical shape that works best for our style of play (Heavy metal brazilian football) and I think we have a viable shut up shop tactical style that is good for big games and even within the tactical style has variations based on the personnel we use in each of the roles.. Hakim Ziyech plays the Mezzala very different from Camavinga so you can tailor it based on player personnel or the ideal is tactical styles.  So you can easily change just team instructions to make this a high pressing system that camps or a system that moves the ball around and keeps possession.  Still might tweak some roles and individual PIs but I think the strikerless 433 gives us a solid shape to build our future tactical plan from.

Guess it's time to start my own thread now huh..  season 3 will be all about refining to create 2-3 tactical styles that we can use to change how the above shape operates.

Edited by Kharza_FM
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10 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

Aim higher!  So I had a pretty successful second season and we only lost the community shield but won the rest including the first of hopefully many Champions League's.

image.thumb.png.49d6747c59a1b6861ecab40d1733fad8.png

image.thumb.png.b7e9fdc34de6739d5ed1a6688c30d368.png

image.png.c976f9b4ce79fde5455844f18c31d61e.png

So this season was spent mostly as a tactical experiment so I was pretty glad to secure as much hardware as we did.  Season started out with a 4-1-4-1 shape but I still wasn't happy with how we pressed high or built out so I started trying a few things.  The season was marked by 3 tactical phases that we learned from as we went.  The first was a decent run with a wide 442 diamond..

image.png.0519721343b7b4ae55ba8efe5c9666c3.png

While the formation seemed to score at will and was really dangerous going forward I felt like we sacrificed something defensively and each match was either a blow out or a shoot out.. not something I felt I could build on moving forward.  We did however take a few tactical innovations out of this exercise with the first being how strong our high press was at preventing the opponent from building out so we took that to the extreme and developed a split formation 4-1-5 DM 2AM Wide as described in game..

image.png.bc083331b5c8d82efcecde0099c980c3.png

Great for pressing high and camping in the opponent's half to win the ball back and counter quickly to goal.

image.png.3e5481e6b3055a28bd15202b0ee66d81.png

Strong against weaker teams but definitely not good enough to go toe to toe against Man Utd and teams that didn't try to build out of the back.  So back to the drawing board.. what I did learn in this exercise was that I really liked the DLP-S as my main playmaker sitting deep and the midfielders in the AM strata are still ideal starting position wise for building out.  This created a nice split in attack while building out with the wide players and AMs sitting higher around the midfield line creating plenty of space for the back 5 to build out from.  Build up was definitely consistent and very successful (goal of build out is getting a strike on goal every time).

Still wanted more consistency and wanted a tactical system that I could adjust based on just changing tactical instructions and not have to mess around with shape and roles.  I wanted something I could press high against lesser teams and play more aggressive and something I could drop to a mid block.. stay organized and hit on the counter, while still being successful in building out.  So I wanted a shape that I could just save different tactical styles and apply them at different points in the game.  To me that shape has always been a 433 as I noticed when our high press got bypassed we really had issues in the center of the pitch even though we tried to force outside.  I got the chance to watch Tottenham against Arsenal and loved how Harry Kane did as much defensive work as he did attacking and felt like I could find a way to incorporate that into the system.  I'm also a student of Guido and his Strikerless work (https://strikerless.com/ - he's actually started posting about strikerless systems in FM21 as well I noticed after I started my work) in the past.  Strikerless didn't have much love in FM19 or FM20 so it wasn't until I started thinking how I could get my striker more involved in defense that I thought to give it a try in FM21 and boy was that a big win...

The first system I tried with good success was the following:

image.png.1af208ec8d6fe9501d19e8a4096bec6a.png

I've fallen in love with the Treq role this iteration and found it did all the things I wanted from a single striker role in our system and it made sense to have that type of creative role in the center of our front 3.  It's always been SS - Creator - SS and pretty much gives you a 2 striker and 1 #10 type formation (so you can really think of the above system as a strikerless version of a 442 wide diamond).  We really had some good success with this system and it proved that strikerless is definitely a viable approach again in FM 21.

image.png.4adc421c5865c5e7f92c1dcc11d4d389.png

So with the new strikerless revelation combined with our already proven 4-1-5 DM 2 AM Wide (I still laugh at that..) we went on a 23 game unbeaten tear to win the Premier League Title, win the EFL Cup, and get to the Champion's League and FA Cup finals.  This includes a 11-1 on aggregate demolishing of PSG in the Champion's league semi-finals..

image.png.9d137d93514ccaf288de2131024c8084.png

Not to shabby at all.. but I noticed that I struggled defensively against Man Utd (who we play against in the Champions League final) and had to play Liverpool in the FA Cup final and knew I needed to improve the system defensively before those two games.  It was at this point that Guido's article on strikerless about putting ball winners in midfield in his strikerless 433 gave me the inspiration I needed to create a rock solid mid block Jose Morinho style tactical style to suit our new formation.  I new just playing with the single DLP-S in midfield was a problem I needed to solve.. 

Ok so I need to move my ML and MR back inside to partner with my DLP-S and make us more solid centrally.. but I can't lose the support in wide areas especially during build up so I need a role that can support the fullbacks and SS when they go wide.. so I'm thinking I need a role that can exploit the half spaces.. thus the Mezzala and Carrilero are probably the best two roles to start with.  Let me introduce you to the ball winning Mezzala..

image.png.49701b52e97db45ca33e95e313f458cf.png

It isn't just the role either.. it is who you play in the role because attributes are king!

image.png.03e5960951ac813c8d641b2ee0f58b45.pngimage.png.c7ffbee6fbaa5ffd02b21d60733b433e.png

Camavinga and Kante fit the bill perfectly for what we want to do.

So while I love the Treq role I wanted a role that would give us the defensive work rate and that we could give the close down more instruction to.  The result was the following system..

image.png.bf2c91684cfb22269fcb9e86c36a43ca.png

Very solid defensively and really dynamic going forward...

FA Cup vs. Liverpool (1-0 win)

image.png.a8abca2d0fbfeae53479c5133336f9ef.png

Champions League Final vs. Man Utd (1-0 win) - 0 shots on target and a huge xG difference and really this game shouldn't have been this close as we missed 2 counter attacks that we should have scored on

image.png.5c58162dc49c568dbaaf861b74376f4a.png

 

So I think I've settled on the tactical shape that works best for our style of play (Heavy metal brazilian football) and I think we have a viable shut up shop tactical style that is good for big games and even within the tactical style has variations based on the personnel we use in each of the roles.. Hakim Ziyech plays the Mezzala very different from Camavinga so you can tailor it based on player personnel or the ideal is tactical styles.  So you can easily change just team instructions to make this a high pressing system that camps or a system that moves the ball around and keeps possession.  Still might tweak some roles and individual PIs but I think the strikerless 433 gives us a solid shape to build our future tactical plan from.

Guess it's time to start my own thread now huh..  season 3 will be all about refining to create 2-3 tactical styles that we can use to change how the above shape operates.

Man, love it. I used to read strikerless all the time but then never saw anything new, so I haven't checked it in awhile. I believe FM19 was last I did strikerless work.

Man, those shapes are really compelling, and I have amazing players for that. I am thinking a front three of Hakan<Alberto>Nikola Vlasic then behind them I could do Marcos Antonio<Locatelli>Gaetano

Oh man, That sounds really amazing actually. I also have Amine Gouri I just signed on a free! and thiago almada, both to play as SS as well. Man, may have to give it a shot for fun!

 

Great results and post as always @Kharza_FM

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So one signing I forgot about that is worth a post, is Daniel Presedo from Argentina. He is listed as one of the best players for potential, and my coaching staff says he could become much better than Ciro Immobile, dang! Now I don't usually put a lot of stock in those comments, but at 18, check out his profile. He also was the starting striker for Boca Jr last year, their leading goal scorer as they won their league by 20 points.

image.png.519c620b563da26d84071d963eed9347.png

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Yeah I love newgens.. here are three that I'm already giving first team minutes to:

image.png.d48692af21d4ce268f76c85f553f35d0.png

This guy came through my youth intake from our affiliate in Brazil and looks to be my long term replacement for Reece James..

image.thumb.png.672e7cc0ea0ced37aaa807f403eeb824.png

My playmaker of the future..

image.png.510ee7fbf368af9e574a9e3d82762fdc.png

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37 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

Yeah I love newgens.. here are three that I'm already giving first team minutes to:

image.png.d48692af21d4ce268f76c85f553f35d0.png

This guy came through my youth intake from our affiliate in Brazil and looks to be my long term replacement for Reece James..

image.thumb.png.672e7cc0ea0ced37aaa807f403eeb824.png

My playmaker of the future..

image.png.510ee7fbf368af9e574a9e3d82762fdc.png

Very Impressive! Here are three more of mine:

Beast at 16!

image.thumb.png.f37cdd3fc7a3017edb31918ddd65cf46.png

image.thumb.png.33b55e18689518f5a4c3292f64bf96e2.png

And Italo should get first team min this year.

image.thumb.png.d6de34d78f81ca0b25b1938103c40cd9.png

 

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4 hours ago, Kharza_FM said:

Yeah I love newgens.. here are three that I'm already giving first team minutes to:

image.png.d48692af21d4ce268f76c85f553f35d0.png

This guy came through my youth intake from our affiliate in Brazil and looks to be my long term replacement for Reece James..

image.thumb.png.672e7cc0ea0ced37aaa807f403eeb824.png

My playmaker of the future..

image.png.510ee7fbf368af9e574a9e3d82762fdc.png

How did you get the Brazilian before he turned 18 & without any work permit issues? 

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37 minutes ago, retrodude09 said:

How did you get the Brazilian before he turned 18 & without any work permit issues? 

In the post you're quoting, he mentions that the player came through his youth system via affiliate. So he has a Brazilian club as an affiliate likely of the recruit foreign youngster type (not sure if other types can affect your youth intake at all).

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5 hours ago, Kharza_FM said:

Aim higher!  So I had a pretty successful second season and we only lost the community shield but won the rest including the first of hopefully many Champions League's.

image.thumb.png.49d6747c59a1b6861ecab40d1733fad8.png

image.thumb.png.b7e9fdc34de6739d5ed1a6688c30d368.png

image.png.c976f9b4ce79fde5455844f18c31d61e.png

So this season was spent mostly as a tactical experiment so I was pretty glad to secure as much hardware as we did.  Season started out with a 4-1-4-1 shape but I still wasn't happy with how we pressed high or built out so I started trying a few things.  The season was marked by 3 tactical phases that we learned from as we went.  The first was a decent run with a wide 442 diamond..

image.png.0519721343b7b4ae55ba8efe5c9666c3.png

While the formation seemed to score at will and was really dangerous going forward I felt like we sacrificed something defensively and each match was either a blow out or a shoot out.. not something I felt I could build on moving forward.  We did however take a few tactical innovations out of this exercise with the first being how strong our high press was at preventing the opponent from building out so we took that to the extreme and developed a split formation 4-1-5 DM 2AM Wide as described in game..

image.png.bc083331b5c8d82efcecde0099c980c3.png

Great for pressing high and camping in the opponent's half to win the ball back and counter quickly to goal.

image.png.3e5481e6b3055a28bd15202b0ee66d81.png

Strong against weaker teams but definitely not good enough to go toe to toe against Man Utd and teams that didn't try to build out of the back.  So back to the drawing board.. what I did learn in this exercise was that I really liked the DLP-S as my main playmaker sitting deep and the midfielders in the AM strata are still ideal starting position wise for building out.  This created a nice split in attack while building out with the wide players and AMs sitting higher around the midfield line creating plenty of space for the back 5 to build out from.  Build up was definitely consistent and very successful (goal of build out is getting a strike on goal every time).

Still wanted more consistency and wanted a tactical system that I could adjust based on just changing tactical instructions and not have to mess around with shape and roles.  I wanted something I could press high against lesser teams and play more aggressive and something I could drop to a mid block.. stay organized and hit on the counter, while still being successful in building out.  So I wanted a shape that I could just save different tactical styles and apply them at different points in the game.  To me that shape has always been a 433 as I noticed when our high press got bypassed we really had issues in the center of the pitch even though we tried to force outside.  I got the chance to watch Tottenham against Arsenal and loved how Harry Kane did as much defensive work as he did attacking and felt like I could find a way to incorporate that into the system.  I'm also a student of Guido and his Strikerless work (https://strikerless.com/ - he's actually started posting about strikerless systems in FM21 as well I noticed after I started my work) in the past.  Strikerless didn't have much love in FM19 or FM20 so it wasn't until I started thinking how I could get my striker more involved in defense that I thought to give it a try in FM21 and boy was that a big win...

The first system I tried with good success was the following:

image.png.1af208ec8d6fe9501d19e8a4096bec6a.png

I've fallen in love with the Treq role this iteration and found it did all the things I wanted from a single striker role in our system and it made sense to have that type of creative role in the center of our front 3.  It's always been SS - Creator - SS and pretty much gives you a 2 striker and 1 #10 type formation (so you can really think of the above system as a strikerless version of a 442 wide diamond).  We really had some good success with this system and it proved that strikerless is definitely a viable approach again in FM 21.

image.png.4adc421c5865c5e7f92c1dcc11d4d389.png

So with the new strikerless revelation combined with our already proven 4-1-5 DM 2 AM Wide (I still laugh at that..) we went on a 23 game unbeaten tear to win the Premier League Title, win the EFL Cup, and get to the Champion's League and FA Cup finals.  This includes a 11-1 on aggregate demolishing of PSG in the Champion's league semi-finals..

image.png.9d137d93514ccaf288de2131024c8084.png

Not to shabby at all.. but I noticed that I struggled defensively against Man Utd (who we play against in the Champions League final) and had to play Liverpool in the FA Cup final and knew I needed to improve the system defensively before those two games.  It was at this point that Guido's article on strikerless about putting ball winners in midfield in his strikerless 433 gave me the inspiration I needed to create a rock solid mid block Jose Morinho style tactical style to suit our new formation.  I knew just playing with the single DLP-S in midfield was a problem I needed to solve.. 

Ok so I need to move my ML and MR back inside to partner with my DLP-S and make us more solid centrally.. but I can't lose the support in wide areas especially during build up so I need a role that can support the fullbacks and SS when they go wide.. so I'm thinking I need a role that can exploit the half spaces.. thus the Mezzala and Carrilero are probably the best two roles to start with.  Let me introduce you to the ball winning Mezzala..

image.png.49701b52e97db45ca33e95e313f458cf.png

It isn't just the role either.. it is who you play in the role because attributes are king!

image.png.03e5960951ac813c8d641b2ee0f58b45.pngimage.png.c7ffbee6fbaa5ffd02b21d60733b433e.png

Camavinga and Kante fit the bill perfectly for what we want to do.

So while I love the Treq role I wanted a role that would give us the defensive work rate and that we could give the close down more instruction to.  The result was the following system..

image.png.bf2c91684cfb22269fcb9e86c36a43ca.png

Very solid defensively and really dynamic going forward...

FA Cup vs. Liverpool (1-0 win)

image.png.a8abca2d0fbfeae53479c5133336f9ef.png

Champions League Final vs. Man Utd (1-0 win) - 0 shots on target and a huge xG difference and really this game shouldn't have been this close as we missed 2 counter attacks that we should have scored on

image.png.5c58162dc49c568dbaaf861b74376f4a.png

 

So I think I've settled on the tactical shape that works best for our style of play (Heavy metal brazilian football) and I think we have a viable shut up shop tactical style that is good for big games and even within the tactical style has variations based on the personnel we use in each of the roles.. Hakim Ziyech plays the Mezzala very different from Camavinga so you can tailor it based on player personnel or the ideal is tactical styles.  So you can easily change just team instructions to make this a high pressing system that camps or a system that moves the ball around and keeps possession.  Still might tweak some roles and individual PIs but I think the strikerless 433 gives us a solid shape to build our future tactical plan from.

Guess it's time to start my own thread now huh..  season 3 will be all about refining to create 2-3 tactical styles that we can use to change how the above shape operates.

These strikerless tactics are fun! I remember using them 3/4 years ago, following Guido's blog... I can see how they should work very well in FM21. I should give it a try... the problem is that my try-this list is getting way too long... 

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8 hours ago, NotSoSpecialOne said:

In the post you're quoting, he mentions that the player came through his youth system via affiliate. So he has a Brazilian club as an affiliate likely of the recruit foreign youngster type (not sure if other types can affect your youth intake at all).

Yep that's exactly right.. I'm specifically targeting countries that have high youth intake numbers to setup affiliates so I can bring them into our academy via youth intake.  The board request option for affiliate is this option:

image.png.5db680ac549eae75b4193da9a1f0fa40.png

Here is what it says and this is the newest affiliate I've setup from South Africa

image.png.1e31ef4ecb44fc1cda9b1f27d14dfd53.png

 

@retrodude09 Check out this post.. explains a lot about country youth ratings.  I pretty much use that list as a priority system of affiliates to setup for players to come through youth intake - https://dictatethegame.com/fm21-guides-newgen-guide-for-countries-and-clubs/

Edited by Kharza_FM
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1 hour ago, Kharza_FM said:

Yep that's exactly right.. I'm specifically targeting countries that have high youth intake numbers to setup affiliates so I can bring them into our academy via youth intake.  The board request option for affiliate is this option:

image.png.5db680ac549eae75b4193da9a1f0fa40.png

Here is what it says and this is the newest affiliate I've setup from South Africa

image.png.1e31ef4ecb44fc1cda9b1f27d14dfd53.png

 

@retrodude09 Check out this post.. explains a lot about country youth ratings.  I pretty much use that list as a priority system of affiliates to setup for players to come through youth intake - https://dictatethegame.com/fm21-guides-newgen-guide-for-countries-and-clubs/

Encouraged again by you, I persisted and asked for a new affiliate once again. They denied me but I used that option you highlighted, said no again. Then I insisted, and they relented. I unlocked the We Trust you achievement on steam and then they are even going to let me pick the affiliate!!

 

 

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1 hour ago, Kharza_FM said:

heck out this post.. explains a lot about country youth ratings.  I pretty much use that list as a priority system of affiliates to setup for players to come through youth intake - https://dictatethegame.com/fm21-guides-newgen-guide-for-countries-and-clubs/

This is a great article, I've read it many times before. How do you pick your affiliates? Seems to me you would want an affliate that has a good youth recruitment rating over some of the others. So prioritize country, then youth recruitment?

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Just now, 04texag said:

This is a great article, I've read it many times before. How do you pick your affiliates? Seems to me you would want an affliate that has a good youth recruitment rating over some of the others. So prioritize country, then youth recruitment?

Yep so my approach is to create a top 10 list of countries and focus there first.. so top of my list is Brazil.  From there I look for clubs that have exceptional youth recruitment.  Now this is just my opinion.. but I feel that the idea is that the juniors come through our academy and not the affiliate's so I think it would be my club's youth facilities and junior coaching that develops the player so I just focus on youth recruitment for the affiliate club.  So in my case I went for Sao Paulo because they have exceptional youth recruitment.

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7 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

Yep so my approach is to create a top 10 list of countries and focus there first.. so top of my list is Brazil.  From there I look for clubs that have exceptional youth recruitment.  Now this is just my opinion.. but I feel that the idea is that the juniors come through our academy and not the affiliate's so I think it would be my club's youth facilities and junior coaching that develops the player so I just focus on youth recruitment for the affiliate club.  So in my case I went for Sao Paulo because they have exceptional youth recruitment.

That was exactly my thought, I want them to have a good network to grab the players then send to us. Who cares about their youth facilities or training because they should be at our club.

 

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This game is so frustrating sometimes. So I picked an affiliate club, but apparently I was too brazen and bold, so River plate said no, and now the option to pick someone is gone, the board has already "approved" this rquest to add someone, so i can't ask again, but I don't actually end up getting a new affiliate. I've been trying for 2 seasons to get one, finally approved and now nothing.

Edited by 04texag
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18 hours ago, Kharza_FM said:

Aim higher!  So I had a pretty successful second season and we only lost the community shield but won the rest including the first of hopefully many Champions League's.

image.thumb.png.49d6747c59a1b6861ecab40d1733fad8.png

image.thumb.png.b7e9fdc34de6739d5ed1a6688c30d368.png

image.png.c976f9b4ce79fde5455844f18c31d61e.png

So this season was spent mostly as a tactical experiment so I was pretty glad to secure as much hardware as we did.  Season started out with a 4-1-4-1 shape but I still wasn't happy with how we pressed high or built out so I started trying a few things.  The season was marked by 3 tactical phases that we learned from as we went.  The first was a decent run with a wide 442 diamond..

image.png.0519721343b7b4ae55ba8efe5c9666c3.png

While the formation seemed to score at will and was really dangerous going forward I felt like we sacrificed something defensively and each match was either a blow out or a shoot out.. not something I felt I could build on moving forward.  We did however take a few tactical innovations out of this exercise with the first being how strong our high press was at preventing the opponent from building out so we took that to the extreme and developed a split formation 4-1-5 DM 2AM Wide as described in game..

image.png.bc083331b5c8d82efcecde0099c980c3.png

Great for pressing high and camping in the opponent's half to win the ball back and counter quickly to goal.

image.png.3e5481e6b3055a28bd15202b0ee66d81.png

Strong against weaker teams but definitely not good enough to go toe to toe against Man Utd and teams that didn't try to build out of the back.  So back to the drawing board.. what I did learn in this exercise was that I really liked the DLP-S as my main playmaker sitting deep and the midfielders in the AM strata are still ideal starting position wise for building out.  This created a nice split in attack while building out with the wide players and AMs sitting higher around the midfield line creating plenty of space for the back 5 to build out from.  Build up was definitely consistent and very successful (goal of build out is getting a strike on goal every time).

Still wanted more consistency and wanted a tactical system that I could adjust based on just changing tactical instructions and not have to mess around with shape and roles.  I wanted something I could press high against lesser teams and play more aggressive and something I could drop to a mid block.. stay organized and hit on the counter, while still being successful in building out.  So I wanted a shape that I could just save different tactical styles and apply them at different points in the game.  To me that shape has always been a 433 as I noticed when our high press got bypassed we really had issues in the center of the pitch even though we tried to force outside.  I got the chance to watch Tottenham against Arsenal and loved how Harry Kane did as much defensive work as he did attacking and felt like I could find a way to incorporate that into the system.  I'm also a student of Guido and his Strikerless work (https://strikerless.com/ - he's actually started posting about strikerless systems in FM21 as well I noticed after I started my work) in the past.  Strikerless didn't have much love in FM19 or FM20 so it wasn't until I started thinking how I could get my striker more involved in defense that I thought to give it a try in FM21 and boy was that a big win...

The first system I tried with good success was the following:

image.png.1af208ec8d6fe9501d19e8a4096bec6a.png

I've fallen in love with the Treq role this iteration and found it did all the things I wanted from a single striker role in our system and it made sense to have that type of creative role in the center of our front 3.  It's always been SS - Creator - SS and pretty much gives you a 2 striker and 1 #10 type formation (so you can really think of the above system as a strikerless version of a 442 wide diamond).  We really had some good success with this system and it proved that strikerless is definitely a viable approach again in FM 21.

image.png.4adc421c5865c5e7f92c1dcc11d4d389.png

So with the new strikerless revelation combined with our already proven 4-1-5 DM 2 AM Wide (I still laugh at that..) we went on a 23 game unbeaten tear to win the Premier League Title, win the EFL Cup, and get to the Champion's League and FA Cup finals.  This includes a 11-1 on aggregate demolishing of PSG in the Champion's league semi-finals..

image.png.9d137d93514ccaf288de2131024c8084.png

Not to shabby at all.. but I noticed that I struggled defensively against Man Utd (who we play against in the Champions League final) and had to play Liverpool in the FA Cup final and knew I needed to improve the system defensively before those two games.  It was at this point that Guido's article on strikerless about putting ball winners in midfield in his strikerless 433 gave me the inspiration I needed to create a rock solid mid block Jose Morinho style tactical style to suit our new formation.  I knew just playing with the single DLP-S in midfield was a problem I needed to solve.. 

Ok so I need to move my ML and MR back inside to partner with my DLP-S and make us more solid centrally.. but I can't lose the support in wide areas especially during build up so I need a role that can support the fullbacks and SS when they go wide.. so I'm thinking I need a role that can exploit the half spaces.. thus the Mezzala and Carrilero are probably the best two roles to start with.  Let me introduce you to the ball winning Mezzala..

image.png.49701b52e97db45ca33e95e313f458cf.png

It isn't just the role either.. it is who you play in the role because attributes are king!

image.png.03e5960951ac813c8d641b2ee0f58b45.pngimage.png.c7ffbee6fbaa5ffd02b21d60733b433e.png

Camavinga and Kante fit the bill perfectly for what we want to do.

So while I love the Treq role I wanted a role that would give us the defensive work rate and that we could give the close down more instruction to.  The result was the following system..

image.png.bf2c91684cfb22269fcb9e86c36a43ca.png

Very solid defensively and really dynamic going forward...

FA Cup vs. Liverpool (1-0 win)

image.png.a8abca2d0fbfeae53479c5133336f9ef.png

Champions League Final vs. Man Utd (1-0 win) - 0 shots on target and a huge xG difference and really this game shouldn't have been this close as we missed 2 counter attacks that we should have scored on

image.png.5c58162dc49c568dbaaf861b74376f4a.png

 

So I think I've settled on the tactical shape that works best for our style of play (Heavy metal brazilian football) and I think we have a viable shut up shop tactical style that is good for big games and even within the tactical style has variations based on the personnel we use in each of the roles.. Hakim Ziyech plays the Mezzala very different from Camavinga so you can tailor it based on player personnel or the ideal is tactical styles.  So you can easily change just team instructions to make this a high pressing system that camps or a system that moves the ball around and keeps possession.  Still might tweak some roles and individual PIs but I think the strikerless 433 gives us a solid shape to build our future tactical plan from.

Guess it's time to start my own thread now huh..  season 3 will be all about refining to create 2-3 tactical styles that we can use to change how the above shape operates.

did you just put the individual instructions in the two mezzalas?

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6 minutes ago, lipebtavares said:

did you just put the individual instructions in the two mezzalas?

Yeah I've since switch my CML and CMR to Carrilero's as the Mezzala's roaming got our counter shape into a pickle a couple times and the Carrilero does a better job defensively, recycling possession, and looking for the killer balls in the channels to the SS, AP-A, and balls out wide to the maurauding fullbacks.  I've gone more for a Liverpool-esqe Total Football replication over a City.. I'd contend it's more Bielsa without the individual man marking element :brock:

 

Here is my current shape:

image.png.bc79d14e93a34fdaa43b2388815090c5.pngliverpool.png

PIs are consistent across the tactical styles so I don't change them outside of maybe some personalized instructions for certain players..

SS-At (both) - Run Wide With Ball, Roam From Position, Tackle Harder

AP-A - Hold Up Ball, Roam From Position, Move Into Channels, Close Down More, Tackle Harder

Car-Su - Run Wide With Ball, Close Down More, Tackle Harder

DLP-S - No PIs

BPD-D - No PIs

WB-At (both) - Stay Wider, Close Down More

SK-D - Tackle Harder (does better closing down 1v1s)

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4 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

Yeah I've since switch my CML and CMR to Carrilero's as the Mezzala's roaming got our counter shape into a pickle a couple times and the Carrilero does a better job defensively, recycling possession, and looking for the killer balls in the channels to the SS, AP-A, and balls out wide to the maurauding fullbacks.  I've gone more for a Liverpool-esqe Total Football replication over a City.. I'd contend it's more Bielsa without the individual man marking element :brock:

 

Here is my current shape:

image.png.bc79d14e93a34fdaa43b2388815090c5.pngliverpool.png

PIs are consistent across the tactical styles so I don't change them outside of maybe some personalized instructions for certain players..

SS-At (both) - Run Wide With Ball, Roam From Position, Tackle Harder

AP-A - Hold Up Ball, Roam From Position, Move Into Channels, Close Down More, Tackle Harder

Car-Su - Run Wide With Ball, Close Down More, Tackle Harder

DLP-S - No PIs

BPD-D - No PIs

WB-At (both) - Stay Wider, Close Down More

SK-D - Tackle Harder (does better closing down 1v1s)

when i put it extremely urgent in the team instructions i can't put close down more in the individual instructions.

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2 minutes ago, lipebtavares said:

when i put it extremely urgent in the team instructions i can't put close down more in the individual instructions.

Yeah the trick to do that is first you set closing down to "Slightly Less Urgent" and then with that set you go in and set the Close Down More instructions in the PIs and once you are done you go back and raise the Pressing Intensity TI to Extremely Urgent.

Same trick works for short passing as well.

Edited by Kharza_FM
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1 hour ago, Kharza_FM said:

Yeah I've since switch my CML and CMR to Carrilero's as the Mezzala's roaming got our counter shape into a pickle a couple times and the Carrilero does a better job defensively, recycling possession, and looking for the killer balls in the channels to the SS, AP-A, and balls out wide to the maurauding fullbacks.  I've gone more for a Liverpool-esqe Total Football replication over a City.. I'd contend it's more Bielsa without the individual man marking element :brock:

 

Here is my current shape:

image.png.bc79d14e93a34fdaa43b2388815090c5.pngliverpool.png

PIs are consistent across the tactical styles so I don't change them outside of maybe some personalized instructions for certain players..

SS-At (both) - Run Wide With Ball, Roam From Position, Tackle Harder

AP-A - Hold Up Ball, Roam From Position, Move Into Channels, Close Down More, Tackle Harder

Car-Su - Run Wide With Ball, Close Down More, Tackle Harder

DLP-S - No PIs

BPD-D - No PIs

WB-At (both) - Stay Wider, Close Down More

SK-D - Tackle Harder (does better closing down 1v1s)

Why do you want your Shadow Strikers to run wide with the ball if they're your main goal threat? 

My system looks very similar to yours except I went with 3 at the back (also after reading Strikerless) & wanting to create something of a Liverpool system. 

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8 hours ago, 04texag said:

This game is so frustrating sometimes. So I picked an affiliate club, but apparently I was too brazen and bold, so River plate said no, and now the option to pick someone is gone, the board has already "approved" this rquest to add someone, so i can't ask again, but I don't actually end up getting a new affiliate. I've been trying for 2 seasons to get one, finally approved and now nothing.

At least you had an option to go for a foreign affiliate. When I asked the board to discuss it, the option for recruiting foreign youth players wasn't even on the screen, only the more generic "youth players". They came back with two second division clubs in Portugal with "fairly basic" youth recruiting. Between that and the board squeezing me on staff salaries (I had a hell of a time signing a borderline decent head physio!), I'm beginning to wonder if it just isn't possible to turn Vigo into the kind of team I want it to be.

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the 4-1-4-1 really got me interested. I ended up adjusting the TI's a bit:

image.png.e29227d88510b894f3e22640cf66fa6e.png

PI's are all the same.  The one thing I need to change is the cross aim but it's working so far so I'm a bit reluctant. I have adjusted it if I had issues during a match. The tactic adjustment overall really worked for me:

image.png.8a23dabb3a8fb470063f130df9c17fc9.png

 

I had a tough first month but adjusted the tactic around the Stoke match (I can't remember exactly) and really kicked on from there.

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16 hours ago, retrodude09 said:

Why do you want your Shadow Strikers to run wide with the ball if they're your main goal threat? 

My system looks very similar to yours except I went with 3 at the back (also after reading Strikerless) & wanting to create something of a Liverpool system. 

They dribble the ball in the half spaces and it leaves space in the center for the Treq and the other Shadow Striker to attack.. it isn't like that instruction makes them dribble out into the wide channels.

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On 17/12/2020 at 01:49, 04texag said:

So one signing I forgot about that is worth a post, is Daniel Presedo from Argentina. He is listed as one of the best players for potential, and my coaching staff says he could become much better than Ciro Immobile, dang! Now I don't usually put a lot of stock in those comments, but at 18, check out his profile. He also was the starting striker for Boca Jr last year, their leading goal scorer as they won their league by 20 points.

image.png.519c620b563da26d84071d963eed9347.png

I'd probably retrain this guy as an inside forward and improve his balance. He'd be a beast, I now it. Top Agility-balance-acceleration is the recipe for a deadly winger.

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2 minutes ago, sherifdinn_ said:

I'd probably retrain this guy as an inside forward and improve his balance. He'd be a beast, I now it. Top Agility-balance-acceleration is the recipe for a deadly winger.

So that's exactly what I'm doing right now. 

 

Victor Tsygankov has a the attributes I want, but he is always getting injured. Plus his non-eu spot means presedo can't get registered. But argentina senior squad has called up presedo and he scored his senior debut!

So I sold on victor at a 10 mil profit and registered Presedo. He's going to play alongside Fabio Viera at the AMR positive. Very excited for this young prospect. 

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1 minute ago, 04texag said:

So that's exactly what I'm doing right now. 

 

Victor Tsygankov has a the attributes I want, but he is always getting injured. Plus his non-eu spot means presedo can't get registered. But argentina senior squad has called up presedo and he scored his senior debut!

So I sold on victor at a 10 mil profit and registered Presedo. He's going to play alongside Fabio Viera at the AMR positive. Very excited for this young prospect. 

I'll be watching out for him. My favourite part of FM is trying to create a Kyllian Mbappe-type winger. I'm obsessed with his nature.

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I agree with @sherifdinn_.. those attributes are the perfect base for a "Dribbler" role.  Doesn't necessarily need to be a winger/inverted/inside forward (think me putting Pulisic in the midfield) but having a player that can create on the dribble is essential and that guy fits the bill.  I've found Treq training really enhances the stats you want for that player.. I like to think of them as my dribbler creator so PPMs like runs will ball often, tries tricks, and plays killer balls as good ways to develop them.

 

I just checked again and another really good role to build him for is a complete wing back.. look at his stats again.. crossing, work rate, height, decent tackling/positioning/marking/concentration.. yeah I would totally train him to be a beast fullback.

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1 hour ago, Kharza_FM said:

I agree with @sherifdinn_.. those attributes are the perfect base for a "Dribbler" role.  Doesn't necessarily need to be a winger/inverted/inside forward (think me putting Pulisic in the midfield) but having a player that can create on the dribble is essential and that guy fits the bill.  I've found Treq training really enhances the stats you want for that player.. I like to think of them as my dribbler creator so PPMs like runs will ball often, tries tricks, and plays killer balls as good ways to develop them.

 

I just checked again and another really good role to build him for is a complete wing back.. look at his stats again.. crossing, work rate, height, decent tackling/positioning/marking/concentration.. yeah I would totally train him to be a beast fullback.

So many options. He was a leading goal scorer at boca so going to start as a AMR, Treq training and see how that goes. 

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17 hours ago, nick1408 said:

the 4-1-4-1 really got me interested. I ended up adjusting the TI's a bit:

image.png.e29227d88510b894f3e22640cf66fa6e.png

PI's are all the same.  The one thing I need to change is the cross aim but it's working so far so I'm a bit reluctant. I have adjusted it if I had issues during a match. The tactic adjustment overall really worked for me:

image.png.8a23dabb3a8fb470063f130df9c17fc9.png

 

I had a tough first month but adjusted the tactic around the Stoke match (I can't remember exactly) and really kicked on from there.

This is interesting. I have been playing with a 4-1-4-1 for awhile, as well, which I tweaked after @04texag showed his. Mine was extremely defensively solid, despite only having 2 defense duties, but had some issues scoring goals. This was true even as I moved the mentality up. Your's seems to both score and concede more goals than mine.

I ended up combining mine with a 4-2-3-1 that is absolutely dominant against lower/mid teams (often giving them 0, or only 1 shot of any sort) and can score goals against any team, but is not quite as defensively solid. Had a lot of success using that in many games, scoring a few, and then settling back into my 4-1-4-1 to see things out. I start with the 4-1-4-1 for more difficult games, but will switch to the 4-2-3-1 if I am not scoring.

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On 16/12/2020 at 21:03, 04texag said:

Ciro's Backup - 

Meet Josh Sargent. It came down to him and Memphis Depay, but Josh is actually more of a total footballer with better mentals, he's younger still at 23, and the scouting report mentions that he will bring in 9.25 million a year commercially. Additionally, he is listed as preferring to play as a deep lying forward which I like for our future tactics with our plethora of creative attacking midfielders.

image.thumb.png.17ddd79b4df778f840926080b0ddad9f.png

A few things off the batt. I'm going to work on his weak spots, which imo for our DNA are ball control, passing and anticipation. He also is a clean slate traits wise, so I want to work on this. Anyone with some good ideas for him here?

Don't give him any traits. He's a backup. At 23 he's going to improve, but I imagine you'll be looking for someone even better to replace Immobile in the long run. Get him familiar across the AM positions and he'll be incredibly useful. If you don't have a specific idea in mind about how a player is going to be used, then a clean slate is underrated. 

On 17/12/2020 at 01:03, Kharza_FM said:

image.png.510ee7fbf368af9e574a9e3d82762fdc.png

Huh, pretty sure I saw a newgen called Malcolm Boxall in all my FM19 saves! Also, loving the extreme shapes you use. I had a bit of fun with a very similar "4-1-4-1" shape on FM19 and found very similar things to you - insane high press but if its beaten you're screwed - and also used to enjoy a good striker less formation, but abandoned them in FM19 pretty soon on.
 

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On 17/12/2020 at 00:25, Kharza_FM said:

So while I love the Treq role I wanted a role that would give us the defensive work rate and that we could give the close down more instruction to.  The result was the following system..

image.png.bf2c91684cfb22269fcb9e86c36a43ca.png

Very solid defensively and really dynamic going forward...

 

On 17/12/2020 at 18:59, Kharza_FM said:

 

Here is my current shape:

image.png.bc79d14e93a34fdaa43b2388815090c5.pngliverpool.png

PIs are consistent across the tactical styles so I don't change them outside of maybe some personalized instructions for certain players..

SS-At (both) - Run Wide With Ball, Roam From Position, Tackle Harder

AP-A - Hold Up Ball, Roam From Position, Move Into Channels, Close Down More, Tackle Harder

Car-Su - Run Wide With Ball, Close Down More, Tackle Harder

DLP-S - No PIs

BPD-D - No PIs

WB-At (both) - Stay Wider, Close Down More

SK-D - Tackle Harder (does better closing down 1v1s)

I'm trying to put my own spin on this but am struggling to score enough goals hence why I've made it slightly riskier:

 

DxOYre6.png

 

Any ideas, what do you do when you're struggling to break past a defensive team, for example? I feel sometimes without strikers, my front 3 just aren't high up enough and we don't have an outlet. I'm even wondering if I should just simply make one of the SSs an advanced forward, not as cool as proper "strikerless" but eh I'm just looking to have fun.

I dropped "pass into space" because I got tired of hollywood balls that went nowhere and prefer them to play throughballs more organically. I'm also experimenting without "Force opposition outside" because on the new patch I feel crosses are dangerous, and since my shape is slightly narrower with a DM (the central MC pushes the outer MCs slightly wider) I was getting killed down the flanks occasionally. Another experiment I'm doing is telling the outer SSs to individually mark the opposition fullbacks.

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1 hour ago, noikeee said:

 

I'm trying to put my own spin on this but am struggling to score enough goals hence why I've made it slightly riskier:

 

DxOYre6.png

 

Any ideas, what do you do when you're struggling to break past a defensive team, for example? I feel sometimes without strikers, my front 3 just aren't high up enough and we don't have an outlet. I'm even wondering if I should just simply make one of the SSs an advanced forward, not as cool as proper "strikerless" but eh I'm just looking to have fun.

I dropped "pass into space" because I got tired of hollywood balls that went nowhere and prefer them to play throughballs more organically. I'm also experimenting without "Force opposition outside" because on the new patch I feel crosses are dangerous, and since my shape is slightly narrower with a DM (the central MC pushes the outer MCs slightly wider) I was getting killed down the flanks occasionally. Another experiment I'm doing is telling the outer SSs to individually mark the opposition fullbacks.

Yeah you aren't wrong in your assessment and it appears with the latest patch that it's even more pronounced without someone in the striker position.  What I saw was that it compacted the space in the midfield because you don't really have anyone stretching the back line to create that space in midfield to operate (which is the strength of this approach).  So I was more defensively solid than you and while I didn't give up many goals at all you are correct that it wasn't scoring enough for my liking (although in general I'm feeling like my boys are finishing fewer chances right now.. not sure if it's a patch thing or what, but they are missing sitters from in front of goal that I "felt" would have been put away previously).  I was getting a lot of 1-0 results with the occasional breakdown (mainly on set pieces) that would give me a 1-1 draw even though I had at least 3-4 good chances to score another goal and had xG well over 1.5 and sometimes 2.0 with only scoring 1 goal.

So with all that said I think you are playing very risky with your midfield setup.  So yes I want to play fast, fluid, attacking football going forward but I also want to stay responsible in the back.  Rather win 2 or 3 to zero than a 5-4 shootout so my main focus right now has been trying to balance pushing numbers forward while staying responsible in the back and more importantly because of the style of our attack we need to be able to reliably break up counters as well.  I've pretty much settled on the fact that you need a dedicated holding role in the DM strata.  I've also pretty much decided that a DLP-S (i.e. deep playmaker with positive mentality) is key to breaking down teams in the final third.  Doesn't have to be a DLP role and I've had success with a RPM as well but you need them paired with a holding role.

Two man midfield in a 4231 forms a very solid double pivot and stays responsible defensively.  With the two player selections as well they pretty much own the midfield and do an excellent job breaking up counter attacks.

image.png.ecd215a28f467c9bd53dafb2f7caf43f.png

DM-S/DM-D - Hold Position, Close Down More, Tackle Harder - Zouma has been trained with "Play Short Simple Passes" PPM as well and already had "Dives Into Tackles" - He is an absolute beast in this role.  I usually go DM-D if they opponent is playing with 2 strikers to get that 3vs2 match up in the back with the DM-D trying to prevent an outlet ball into the strikers and break up counter moves from deeper.

DLP-S - Close Down More, Tackle Harder

So something else to keep in mind about players in the DM strata.. they will fill in for players in the back line if they step out.  So let's say your CB goes "walk about" pressing the ball or in transitions.. the DM will fill in their spot in the back 4 and maintain shape.  This is very key for staying sound defensively and preventing gaps from forming in your back 4 and I think the new logic around central attacks looks to specifically exploit this.  This is really awesome in a 4231 because either side DM will fill in for the fullback when they step out to press and prevents those pesky overloads in wide spaces.  If you only have one DM slot then you need a hard working player in that role (good work rate, stamina, acceleration, anticipation, positioning, etc.)

And just to state this so there is no confusion.. a DLP-D is NOT a holding role.  We are talking DM-D, A-D, CM-D, DM-S with hold position.. even BWM-D can be considered an aggressive holder.

What I'm currently struggling with is finding the right role to complement my system as that #10 creator player.  I really think it is the Treq and have had the most success with that role because of the combo of it dropping deep to link play and not being afraid to ghost into the box and finish moves.  Especially with "Be More Expressive" in the final third it creates some really good movement and creating/using space.

So my current midfield looks like this:

image.png.3eae84b56cdb0e3537dd6d5fd542beb4.png

So if we go back to our 5-5 split between attackers and defenders we end up with either a 2-3-5 (opponent plays with 1 striker) or a 3-2-5 (opponent plays with 2 strikers).  Now those are modern formations but what I keep coming back to is the 4-6 split that we've seen in history and is probably best represented via the Brazilian Box 4222.  Width comes from fullbacks pushing high.. and you form a 2-2 box in defense with 2 CBs and 2 DMs.  I did this to get more punch in the attack while maintaining the key defensive philosophies we have.  So right now I'm currently playing around with the following shape:

image.png.d3e718bac984e41c3dbbc0102fc529e5.png

I don't know how I feel about the team fluidity of "structured" and this is when I wish for the days to control fluidity again..

image.png.01b2b758c2027b1d5df3c08e076b57d6.png

So one of our paths to goal is getting our fullbacks high in the attack to cross.  I play Floated Crosses when Haaland is my #9 and Low Crosses when Werner plays as the #9.  As you see from the above picture we have 6 in the attack with our DM-D, FB-A, and 2 CBs forming that 4 block.  FB role transitions late and does a really good job of recovering position (especially on the weak side) when the ball is lost, but gives you those wide channel attacks in the final third that you want.  DLP-S is providing good support along with the IW-S on that side and we have 3 players attacking the box.  Reece James got fouled in the corner and we got a free kick off the above move.  Sometimes he can turn that corner.. sometimes he cuts it back to the DLP-S to recycle.. sometimes he slips in the IW-S earlier.  As you can see the above pretty much acts very much like the old brazilian box 4222 formations and actually that was the first thing I tried playing it strikerless with 2 Treqs in the AMC strata and it wasn't bad, but like I stated above I felt like the midfield space was just too compact and didn't give us the room to operate so initially I pushed both to the striker position but then I was leaving the opponents #6 or DLP pretty much unharassed so you either solve that by man marking one of your strikers to that player or what I eventually did was just go with a AMC/ST combo to solve for that.  I'm still not settled on the role for my striker yet and the CF-A is the latest attempt.. but I still might try double Treqs there (I really am in love with that role this year.. just something about the movement, link play, and finishing moves that looks like a proper #9 to me).

 

Yeah so a very long winded way to explain my thought evolution... so my advice to you is to chop and change your midfield a bit..  I'd go with something like this if you want to play a normal 3:

image.png.ea1b88a3adbec0cf7a4bb3355e20c08a.png

I would then customize that CM-A role with some PIs to get what you want.. I've always liked generic roles customized with PIs and this is the perfect example.  I'd start with "Roam From Position", "Dribble More", "Take More Risks", "Close Down More" as my initial PIs and tweak from there.  Should give you a bit more defensive stability and not take away the attacking punch.  This would let you attack with 6 and still be a bit more responsible in the back.

Hope that helps!

Edited by Kharza_FM
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