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


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So yeah just as I post this and take screen shots from the game my team again can't finish.. we dominate the game and generate plenty of chances to score with a 1.64 xG to .12 xG.. result?  We lose 1-0 on a Lo Celso free kick.. Tottenham's ONLY shot the entire game..  We got Jose'd :brock:

image.png.83c0bac20d3afd021d0ebcae00806732.png

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23 hours ago, Kharza_FM said:

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.

Gonna have to take you to jail for this one, chief.

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On 19/12/2020 at 09:42, sherifdinn_ said:

Gonna have to take you to jail for this one, chief.

What?!  There is nothing wrong with having a world class right back.. Reece James has been the highest rated player on my squad the last 2 seasons and has become invaluable both offensively and defensively.

So I fixed my conceding goals issue after that frustrating Tottenham game and then the 1-0 loss to Man City.. as you see we exacted our revenge with a 7-0 destruction once we started to open things up.  That 0-0 draw with Liverpool was the best nil nil draw I've ever seen.. 

image.png.e26b7323816806a66430385f1bebd62e.png

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2 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

What?!  There is nothing wrong with having a world class right back.. Reece James has been the highest rated player on my squad the last 2 seasons and has become invaluable both offensively and defensively.

Yeah, but converting the highest goalscorer for a top South American team - who just so happens to be a top prospect, into FB has to be a crime.

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1 minute ago, sherifdinn_ said:

Yeah, but converting the highest goalscorer for a top South American team - who just so happens to be a top prospect, into FB has to be a crime.

No way!  Actually I need to dig it back up but @Cleon had posted a long time ago about how Ajax used to recruit all strikers into their academy and then retrain them to other positions including centerback.  I've been taking South American (and Portuguese) strikers and turning them into attacking wingbacks for years in FM.  Especially if they have any kind of tackling, crossing, work rate, bravery as base attributes to build on.

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11 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

Ajax used to recruit all strikers into their academy and then retrain them to other positions including centerback.

You mean a striker at senior level got signed by Ajax and was retrained as a CB/FB? You'll have to consider Thier magnitudes. It's like signing Vinicius from Flamengo to play him at right back.

Of course, I'm merely speaking from am ethics point of view but you're free to do whatever you want, really.

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1 hour ago, sherifdinn_ said:

Yeah, but converting the highest goalscorer for a top South American team - who just so happens to be a top prospect, into FB has to be a crime.

I agree with @Kharza_FM generally, and in this specific case, I agree with @sherifdinn_

 

unfortunately I'm out of town until late tomorrow so haven't been able to play since Thursday. Can't wait to get some games in once back and see how presedo starts developing now with our highly rated facilities and mentoring. 

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On 19/12/2020 at 13:40, Kharza_FM said:

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.

Thanks but I ended up going somewhere completely different. :lol: Added a forward, binned the forward, re-made the defending TIs completely and ended up with this nonsense:

Dvg6AEM.png

I've been really struggling to get a run of form through all these experiments until I've settled on this. It's fairly solid defensively because it has that many men behind the ball (without a forward), I prefer to force them inside because we were conceding too many from crosses (and then I made the DLP playmaker a more static man, so that we have a more solid shape defensively through the center, if we're gonna gift them space there). It also packs a punch going forward because, if they park the bus this pins the opposition at the back with pretty much everyone but the 2 centerbacks, and really close to each other with the "very narrow" width. And if they attack us and give us space there's plenty of throughballs for runs by the CM/A and the IF/A.

Not sure this has much to do with the original thread intent of total football, but it's fun.

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@04exag @Kharza_FM I have been following you guys since I joined the forum in November and i just wanted to say thank you as just won my first season in Vanarama North with Spennymoor going unbeaten with my version of your 4-1-4-1 tactic. For this next season I have gone with a 4-3-3 tactic and hope for another promotion. Thanks again for your inspiration.

 

Tactic.JPG

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39 minutes ago, ernburtonst said:

@04exag @Kharza_FM I have been following you guys since I joined the forum in November and i just wanted to say thank you as just won my first season in Vanarama North with Spennymoor going unbeaten with my version of your 4-1-4-1 tactic. For this next season I have gone with a 4-3-3 tactic and hope for another promotion. Thanks again for your inspiration.

 

Tactic.JPG

Awesome! LLM is super fun. I enjoyed bringing portsmouth up last year and had a long successful run with them. Good luck on future promotions!

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On 17/12/2020 at 18:59, 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)

Loving this thread on the whole but really love this concept.

I always try to get that 2-3-5 attacking shape, usually out of a 4-3-3 DM, being a Liverpool fan. Overloading the back 4 and having an advanced player in each  gap.

I have struggled a little getting the middle 3 to gel, F9 or CF(s) flanked by IF, I think more central strikers might be favoured by this ME than guys cutting in, so interesting to see your use of Shadow Strikers. Are you still using this system after the recent patch?

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7 minutes ago, davehibb said:

Loving this thread on the whole but really love this concept.

I always try to get that 2-3-5 attacking shape, usually out of a 4-3-3 DM, being a Liverpool fan. Overloading the back 4 and having an advanced player in each  gap.

I have struggled a little getting the middle 3 to gel, F9 or CF(s) flanked by IF, I think more central strikers might be favoured by this ME than guys cutting in, so interesting to see your use of Shadow Strikers. Are you still using this system after the recent patch?

I have two shapes I'm currently working with.. seems like 4411 and 442 diamond wide are the more ideal defending shapes this year that we can build a solid 2-3-5 and 2-2-6 attacking shapes from.  I'm pretty settled on my 4411 (2DM) shape but have been dabbling around again with my first strikerless shape and dropping that "creator" role in the CM space.  Here's what I'm currently running..

image.png.cd065a4e07379704bc8cc1dcabf25c66.png

The above is a really solid formation and I went 12 matches in a row on my Chelsea save without conceding a goal and the majority of the games I didn't even concede a shot on goal.

This is the strikerless shape I'm messing around with and is more geared for breaking down teams that sit a little deeper and park the bus.. more my anti 5-4-1 tactic

image.png.96fc9a00b6fe89ff1f3cb78a918e9fb0.png

That CM-S role is what I'm currently working on.. has been CM-A, AP-S, AP-A.. still trying to find the right fit.  I want it to act a bit more like the Treq from the 4231 shape where they create and score from deep.  Most of the goals come from the cut backs to the penalty spot.

image.png.16f18d797bedcc2298555a7c314b3107.png

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@Kharza_FM thanks for sharing. It does seem that wide midfielder and multi striker systems work well this year. 

There are different ways to get to the 2-3-5 and mixing up the attacking and supporting duties in those 5 advanced positions, I'm just finding it a little frustrating trying to get it working the way I want. Lots of possession and Xg and chances and not putting teams away at the moment.

Food for thought though, thank you sir!

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2 minutes ago, davehibb said:

@Kharza_FM thanks for sharing. It does seem that wide midfielder and multi striker systems work well this year. 

There are different ways to get to the 2-3-5 and mixing up the attacking and supporting duties in those 5 advanced positions, I'm just finding it a little frustrating trying to get it working the way I want. Lots of possession and Xg and chances and not putting teams away at the moment.

Food for thought though, thank you sir!

Yeah I felt that struggle at one point and going attacking and a bit higher tempo seemed to help a bit.  I had to reduce some roles to support roles and really focus on the roles that I wanted to go with Very Attacking mentality with.  I also messed around with Float Crosses because of Haaland and Low Crosses when I had a striker like Werner playing in the #9.  In general attacking from wide and cutting back to the penalty spot seems like my primary goal path from build up, but both the aboves do a really good job at countering as well.  Late runners from midfield and shooting from the top of the box on cut backs has been another trend I've seen being successful (hence the Volante and moving the creator back to the CM space).  Winning second balls, runners from deep, 2v1s in wide spaces, cut backs to penalty spot and top of box.. those are the themes I currently have that I'm trying to exploit in attack while staying compact centrally and aggressively pressing the ball to prevent the balls over the top from catching us out.  I feel like I'm close to dialing in my tactical system for the latest patch and just started a more methodical save with Dortmund to see if what I built with Chelsea is transferable to other teams building from youth (and what better place to try it than BvB with all their young talent!).

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4 hours ago, davehibb said:

Loving this thread on the whole but really love this concept.

I always try to get that 2-3-5 attacking shape, usually out of a 4-3-3 DM, being a Liverpool fan. Overloading the back 4 and having an advanced player in each  gap.

I have struggled a little getting the middle 3 to gel, F9 or CF(s) flanked by IF, I think more central strikers might be favoured by this ME than guys cutting in, so interesting to see your use of Shadow Strikers. Are you still using this system after the recent patch?

I'm also a Liverpool fan & I'm currently reading Lee Scotts fantastic book "King Klopp" which is a tactical analysis from our title winning season last year. He basically breaks down each players tactical role in the 4-3-3 & it's really fascinating. So far my understanding is that Liverpool occupy spaces differently than a lot of other positional play teams, particularly down the right hand side. 

Reading this book has lead me to think of different shapes that could achieve this on FM21. 4-3-3 / 4-3-3 Strikerless / 4-3-1-2 (Firmino being the 1). So far, I'm thinking of:

F9 / DLF (S)

IW (S)                              IF (A)

CM (D)          Mez (S)

DM (D)

WB (A)     CD (D)     CD (D)     IWB (S)

SK

The book talks about how TAA will occupy deeper half spaces (& obviously he will overlap at times) with Henderson rotating out into the wide right channel to maintain width (the movement I think would be hardest to recreate imo & I'm torn between Mezzala & Carrilelo for this role). The front 3 is fairly self explanatory & Gini can often be found on the same line as Fabinho. I'm tempted to start a new Liverpool save to try this out & see how it goes. 

I also think mentality & TIs are fairly hard to decide on for Liverpool / Klopp. If you look at the game, his tactical style is "gegenpress" & I'm not sure that's true anymore. We don't press as hard or as high as we used to & theres a certain level of control to our game now. Perhaps a hybrid of Gegenpress & Control Possession would get the TIs you need whilst the mentality would possibly be Balanced or Positive.

*Sorry if this is all off topic, perhaps I should've started a new thread. 

Edited by retrodude09
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26 minutes ago, retrodude09 said:

I'm also a Liverpool fan & I'm currently reading Lee Scotts fantastic book "King Klopp" which is a tactical analysis from our title winning season last year. He basically breaks down each players tactical role in the 4-3-3 & it's really fascinating. So far my understanding is that Liverpool occupy spaces differently than a lot of other positional play teams, particularly down the right hand side. 

Reading this book has lead me to think of different shapes that could achieve this on FM21. 4-3-3 / 4-3-3 Strikerless / 4-3-1-2 (Firmino being the 1). So far, I'm thinking of:

F9 / DLF (S)

IW (S)                              IF (A)

CM (D)          Mez (S)

DM (D)

WB (A)     CD (D)     CD (D)     IWB (S)

SK

The book talks about how TAA will occupy deeper half spaces (& obviously he will overlap at times) with Henderson rotating out into the wide right channel to maintain width (the movement I think would be hardest to recreate imo & I'm torn between Mezzala & Carrilelo for this role). The front 3 is fairly self explanatory & Gini can often be found on the same line as Fabinho. I'm tempted to start a new Liverpool save to try this out & see how it goes. 

I also think mentality & TIs are fairly hard to decide on for Liverpool / Klopp. If you look at the game, his tactical style is "gegenpress" & I'm not sure that's true anymore. We don't press as hard or as high as we used to & theres a certain level of control to our game now. Perhaps a hybrid of Gegenpress & Control Possession would get the TIs you need whilst the mentality would possibly be Balanced or Positive.

*Sorry if this is all off topic, perhaps I should've started a new thread. 

No I love it. I think all of these explorations of positional play are helpful and add to the thread as a whole. 

I'm thinking carilerro as mezzala feels too attacking for the liverpool cm and might take away from Salah 's chances. 

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16 minutes ago, 04texag said:

No I love it. I think all of these explorations of positional play are helpful and add to the thread as a whole. 

I'm thinking carilerro as mezzala feels too attacking for the liverpool cm and might take away from Salah 's chances. 

The same author has also wrote a book on Guardiola & City which is just as interesting. 

As I said, I think the Henderson role is probably the hardest one to recreate from this interpretation & the worry would be a complete lack of width on the right hand side.

One other idea I've had would be to go with a 4-3-1-2 (essentially Liverpools structure in possession) which would look something like: 

CF (S)                    CF (A)

AM (S)

CM (D)          DLP (D)          Mez (S)

WB (A)     CD (D)     CD (D)     IWB (S)

SK

I would look to give the Attacking Midfielder the PI of "Roams from Position". 

Another thing that is interesting in the book is how the author talks about the profile of the player. Mane likes to receive the ball into space whereas Salah likes to receive the ball 1v1 & use his strength against the attacker. If you look at their traits in game, it's actually the other way around. 

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1 hour ago, retrodude09 said:

The book talks about how TAA will occupy deeper half spaces (& obviously he will overlap at times) with Henderson rotating out into the wide right channel to maintain width (the movement I think would be hardest to recreate imo & I'm torn between Mezzala & Carrilelo for this role). The front 3 is fairly self explanatory & Gini can often be found on the same line as Fabinho. I'm tempted to start a new Liverpool save to try this out & see how it goes. 

I think this is one of the most difficult parts of positional play to emulate in Football Manager, regardless of who you are putting where. Good positional play involves the relevant players rotating in the zones. So, while it may be true that TAA will 'occupy the deeper half spaces', he also gets very wide and sends in crosses. Similarly, while it may be true that Henderson rotates into that outside channel, it is also the case that he maintains his central position quite a bit.

You can see the same sort of thing with Manchester City, albeit with different positions having different main areas.

Part of my struggle has been finding a way to emulate that fluid movement between (for instance) the RW, RCM, and RB. The game encourages more static positioning, and so the teams play more like current Arsenal than any team that knows how to use positional play

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4 minutes ago, ozilthegunner said:

I think this is one of the most difficult parts of positional play to emulate in Football Manager, regardless of who you are putting where. Good positional play involves the relevant players rotating in the zones. So, while it may be true that TAA will 'occupy the deeper half spaces', he also gets very wide and sends in crosses. Similarly, while it may be true that Henderson rotates into that outside channel, it is also the case that he maintains his central position quite a bit.

You can see the same sort of thing with Manchester City, albeit with different positions having different main areas.

Part of my struggle has been finding a way to emulate that fluid movement between (for instance) the RW, RCM, and RB. The game encourages more static positioning, and so the teams play more like current Arsenal than any team that knows how to use positional play

Oh I 100% agree. We don't have enough control to create rotations in the game (at least not to my knowledge) so we have to pick & choose the parts we want to recreate. 

As you say, TAA typically does both but in this instance, we have to choose which one we want him to do. 

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3 minutes ago, retrodude09 said:

Oh I 100% agree. We don't have enough control to create rotations in the game (at least not to my knowledge) so we have to pick & choose the parts we want to recreate. 

As you say, TAA typically does both but in this instance, we have to choose which one we want him to do. 

Right. We have to determine that it will be (e.g.) the winger keeping width rather than the fullback, or that it will be the midfielder occupying the half-space rather than the winger. Where, in good positional play, you may have a 'standard' but you certainly don't determine who occupies which space.

But I think this is what makes a lot of positional play recreation attempts sort of lame in attack... to get the positional structure, you have to control the players a bit too much to the point where the team, as a whole, becomes too static. Basically this is exactly the issue Arteta is facing with Arsenal currently as well, although the difference is he can demand rotation, but his players suck too much to understand how to do it

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11 minutes ago, ozilthegunner said:

Right. We have to determine that it will be (e.g.) the winger keeping width rather than the fullback, or that it will be the midfielder occupying the half-space rather than the winger. Where, in good positional play, you may have a 'standard' but you certainly don't determine who occupies which space.

But I think this is what makes a lot of positional play recreation attempts sort of lame in attack... to get the positional structure, you have to control the players a bit too much to the point where the team, as a whole, becomes too static. Basically this is exactly the issue Arteta is facing with Arsenal currently as well, although the difference is he can demand rotation, but his players suck too much to understand how to do it

Yes, we have to pick from one idea & stick with it whereas players will pick based on what they see during a game & rotations that they work on every day in practice. 

So for me, I'm picking the idea that TAA sits narrower, Henderson occupies the wide area & Salah does Salah although, I think the Henderson role will be hard to achieve out of one of the CM slots. 

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1 hour ago, ozilthegunner said:

Part of my struggle has been finding a way to emulate that fluid movement between (for instance) the RW, RCM, and RB. The game encourages more static positioning, and so the teams play more like current Arsenal than any team that knows how to use positional play

I agree completely with these challenges, unless of course you switch between different tactics in game. 

That said, the closest I've gotten to emulating a good fluid flank has been the recent stuff. 

 

Cwb-s, mez-a, iw-s. 

 

Good stuff can be had here

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1 hour ago, ozilthegunner said:

But I think this is what makes a lot of positional play recreation attempts sort of lame in attack... to get the positional structure, you have to control the players a bit too much to the point where the team, as a whole, becomes too static. Basically this is exactly the issue Arteta is facing with Arsenal currently as well, although the difference is he can demand rotation, but his players suck too much to understand how to do it

This is true to an extent. It's the big paradox of managing team shape, yet have fluid and creative play. My whole tactical series on juego de position is all about how to get these things to co-exist. 

 

My recent tactical expiremwnts for fm21 as finally getting there, juat have been gone for holiday and haven't tested enough to post it. 

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I've borrowed some elements of positional play for my current 4-3-3, although I've chosen to adopt a slightly different style of play to the popular high possession/high pressing style often associated with it.

The only PIs are Take More Risks, Move Into Channels and Dribble More for the CM. 

I've gone for a 5-5 split. The bottom "five" has the two BPDs and a trio of balance players in the DM(s) and two IWB(s). These guys form the base, circulating the ball until it can progress to the attackers, or occasionally progressing play themselves with a dribble. They can also play the final pass when it's on. The top "five" attack the half, wide and central spaces.

The two wingers are very interesting in this set-up, as they'll initially hold the width during the build-up and then make late, blindside runs to finish off moves or provide the assist. They attack the vulnerable space at the back post, and because I tend to use "wrong-footed" players there who have the cut inside PPM, they can still go inside and look for through balls or shooting opportunities. Both my wingers right now and killing it with a lot of goals and assists. 

Behind them is the Mezzala, a purely attacking midfield role who attacks the box late, and the CM(S), who provides a deeper threat. I could have had both roles attacking the box, but I wanted to ensure I had at least one midfield hang deeper to assist with ball progression. I also wanted to create two different dynamics on my flanks using alternating support/attack duties. On the left, the Winger(A) overlaps the CM(S), whereas on the right, the MEZ(A) underlaps the Winger(S). 

Then we have the DLF(A). I wanted a role who would hold up the ball, link with the midfield, provide wall passes, and then attack the box when the chance arises. DLF is perfect for that. I could have gone for the Complete Forward or Trequartista, but these roles are very individualistic, often requiring a high calibre of striker I simply didn't have. 

For TIs, although I use shorter passing this is not a possession tactic. We average about 300-400 passes per game. I'm more interested in the quick interplay between the forwards, which I get plenty of using a shorter passing style. Tempo and Focus Play change depending on the opponent. Lower tempo is used against weaker, defensive teams since we need to be patient and not rush our shots. Against stronger teams, I leave it on Standard. Focus Play Through Middle is used against teams playing with a DM (or two...), as I want to overload the middle to create space on the flanks where the opposition will be more vulnerable. Against teams not fielding a DM, I use Focus Play Down Right/Left, to stretch teams and open up the middle of the park.

We use a mid block, kinda like the current Liverpool. I don't want to press teams to death. I want them to come out a bit, attempt a difficult pass into midfield or over the top, and then for us to attack the space they vacate. This is another reason I've used a CM role instead of another Mez. That guys needs to be an all-action play to help us in the defensive phase. 

The Young Leaos.png

Edited by Jaye
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25 minutes ago, 04texag said:

I agree completely with these challenges, unless of course you switch between different tactics in game. 

That said, the closest I've gotten to emulating a good fluid flank has been the recent stuff. 

 

Cwb-s, mez-a, iw-s. 

 

Good stuff can be had here

Another idea I've thought about for the right hand side, primarily because CWB - S has "roam from position" but I think mine would be: 

CWB (S) - Car (S) / Mez (S) - IF (A) 

Hopefully with "Roam from Position", TAA would find the appropriate spaces. 

17 minutes ago, Jaye said:

I've borrowed some elements of positional play for my current 4-3-3, although I've chosen to adopt a slightly different style of play to the popular high possession/high pressing style often associated with it.

The only PIs are Take More Risks, Move Into Channels and Dribble More for the CM. 

I've gone for a 5-5 split. The bottom "five" has the two BPDs and a trio of balance players in the DM(s) and two IWB(s). These guys form the base, circulating the ball until it can progress to the attackers, or occasionally progressing play themselves with a dribble. They can also play the final pass when it's on. The top "five" attack the half, wide and central spaces.

The two wingers are very interesting in this set-up, as they'll initially hold the width during the build-up and then make late, blindside runs to finish off moves or provide the assist. They attack the vulnerable space at the back post, and because I tend to use "wrong-footed" players there who have the cut inside PPM, they can still go inside and look for through balls or shooting opportunities. Both my wingers right now and killing it with a lot of goals and assists. 

Behind them is the Mezzala, a purely attacking midfield role who attacks the box late, and the CM(S), who provides a deeper threat. I could have had both roles attacking the box, but I wanted to ensure I had at least one midfield hang deeper to assist with ball progression. I also wanted to create two different dynamics on my flanks using alternating support/attack duties. On the left, the Winger(A) overlaps the CM(S), whereas on the right, the MEZ(A) underlaps the Winger(S). 

Then we have the DLF(A). I wanted a role who would hold up the ball, link with the midfield, provide wall passes, and then attack the box when the chance arises. DLF is perfect for that. I could have gone for the Complete Forward or Trequartista, but these roles are very individualistic, often requiring a high calibre of striker I simply didn't have. 

For TIs, although I use shorter passing this is not a possession tactic. We average about 300-400 passes per game. I'm more interested in the quick interplay between the forwards, which I get plenty of using a shorter passing style. Tempo and Focus Play change depending on the opponent. Lower tempo is used against weaker, defensive teams since we need to be patient and not rush our shots. Against stronger teams, I leave it on Standard. Focus Play Through Middle is used against teams playing with a DM (or two...), as I want to overload the middle to create space on the flanks where the opposition will be more vulnerable. Against teams not fielding a DM, I use Focus Play Down Right/Left, to stretch teams and open up the middle of the park.

We use a mid block, kinda like the current Liverpool. I don't want to press teams to death. I want them to come out a bit, attempt a difficult pass into midfield or over the top, and then for us to attack the space they vacate. This is another reason I've used a CM role instead of another Mez. That guys needs to be an all-action play to help us in the defensive phase. 

The Young Leaos.png

Also something else worth considering, using a Winger (A) for Salah. It wouldn't be a true Liverpool representation but it would allow us to hold some width on the right hand side with TAA moving inside into the half spaces. 

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27 minutes ago, retrodude09 said:

CWB (S) - Car (S) / Mez (S) - IF (A) 

For liverpool specifically, 100% agree. I was more generally speaking for good interchange and variable fluid play on that flank. 

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12 minutes ago, 04texag said:

For liverpool specifically, 100% agree. I was more generally speaking for good interchange and variable fluid play on that flank. 

I've actually started a new save with Liverpool & gone with: IWB (S) - Mez (S) - Winger (A) but that could be subject to changes. 

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12 hours ago, retrodude09 said:

I'm also a Liverpool fan & I'm currently reading Lee Scotts fantastic book "King Klopp" which is a tactical analysis from our title winning season last year. He basically breaks down each players tactical role in the 4-3-3 & it's really fascinating. So far my understanding is that Liverpool occupy spaces differently than a lot of other positional play teams, particularly down the right hand side. 

Reading this book has lead me to think of different shapes that could achieve this on FM21. 4-3-3 / 4-3-3 Strikerless / 4-3-1-2 (Firmino being the 1). So far, I'm thinking of:

F9 / DLF (S)

IW (S)                              IF (A)

CM (D)          Mez (S)

DM (D)

WB (A)     CD (D)     CD (D)     IWB (S)

SK

The book talks about how TAA will occupy deeper half spaces (& obviously he will overlap at times) with Henderson rotating out into the wide right channel to maintain width (the movement I think would be hardest to recreate imo & I'm torn between Mezzala & Carrilelo for this role). The front 3 is fairly self explanatory & Gini can often be found on the same line as Fabinho. I'm tempted to start a new Liverpool save to try this out & see how it goes. 

I also think mentality & TIs are fairly hard to decide on for Liverpool / Klopp. If you look at the game, his tactical style is "gegenpress" & I'm not sure that's true anymore. We don't press as hard or as high as we used to & theres a certain level of control to our game now. Perhaps a hybrid of Gegenpress & Control Possession would get the TIs you need whilst the mentality would possibly be Balanced or Positive.

*Sorry if this is all off topic, perhaps I should've started a new thread. 

I actually settled on a 4312 last night too. Mane and Salah starting where they essentially finish, starting central and drifting into the channels as Advanced Forwards with roaming instructions, as opposed to starting wider and cutting in. I had Bobby as an AP(s) which i later changed to an attacking duty, in the AM strata. Two Car(s) either side of DLP(s) in midfield and WB(a) with Ball Playing Defenders. My 433 does replicate patterns of play more accurately to how we play IRL but often lacks the cutting edge, whilst the 4312 is providing the goals.

I actually asked about LFC book recommendations in the Liverpool thread in the Football Forum, I've ordered 'Perched' by Paul Tomkins, though I did look at the one by Lee Scott, so I may get that one at a later date if you recommend it.

Edited by davehibb
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2 minutes ago, davehibb said:

I actually settled on a 4312 last night too. Mane and Salah starting where they essentially finish, starting central and drifting into the channels as Advanced Forwards with roaming instructions, as opposed to starting wider and cutting in. I had Bobby as an AP(s) which i later changed to an attacking duty, in the AM strata. Two Car(s) either side of DLP(s) in midfield and WB(a) with Ball Playing Defenders. My 433 does replicate patterns of play more accurately to how we play IRL but often lacks the cutting edge, whilst the 4312 is providing the goals.

I actually asked about LFC book recommendations in the Liverpool thread in the Football Forum, I've ordered 'Perched' by Paul Tomkins, though I did look at the one by Lee Scott, so I may get that one at a later date if you recommend it.

I'm about 3/4s of the way through it & I would recommend it. 

I started a new Liverpool save today & so far, I've gone with a 4-3-3 that looks like:

DLF (S)

IF (S)                                        IF (A)

CM (D)                   CAR (S)

DM (D)

FB (A)     CD (D)     CD (D)     CWB (S)

SK (D)

The 2nd formation I went with was actually the 4-3-1-2 which looks something like: 

CF (S)                    CF (A)

AM (S)

CM (D)     DLP (D)     MEZ (S)

WB (A)     CD (D)     CD (D)     CWB (S)

SK (D)

Both are with a Positive mentality:

  • Dribble Less (personal preference as I find my wide players will aimlessly dribble before smashing the ball against a defender for a corner although it still appears to happen with "Dribble Less" 
  • Fairly Narrow (Only on the 4-3-3 in order to aid counter-pressing).
  • Distribute to CBs
  • Counter Press
  • Much Higher Defensive Line
  • Offside Trap

I haven't used the 4-3-1-2 yet but I might try it out at some point. 

As I predicted, getting the movement on the right hand side that I wanted is virtually impossible because none of the CM roles move wide enough & so the IWB & MEZ or CAR would end up on top of each other. 

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I have really, really struggled (even with Liverpool) to find consistent results since the latest patch came out & it's one of the reasons why I wanted to start again (as well as because I've read the book & it's given me a few ideas). Has anyone else found this? 

My latest idea is a 4-4-2 (which sounds nothing like Liverpool I know). It looks like this:

DLF (S)      AF (A)

WM (A)     CAR (S)     DLP (D)     W((S)

FB (A)     CD (D)     CD (D)     IWB (S)

SK (D)

Wide Midfielder is set up like an Inside Forward but without "Dribble More" & that's the only PI given so far. The RM could become a WM (S) with PIs to get him to sit a little narrower but my hope is that this will create some kind of lopsided 4-3-3. 

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5 minutes ago, retrodude09 said:

I have really, really struggled (even with Liverpool) to find consistent results since the latest patch came out & it's one of the reasons why I wanted to start again (as well as because I've read the book & it's given me a few ideas). Has anyone else found this? 

My latest idea is a 4-4-2 (which sounds nothing like Liverpool I know). It looks like this:

DLF (S)      AF (A)

WM (A)     CAR (S)     DLP (D)     W((S)

FB (A)     CD (D)     CD (D)     IWB (S)

SK (D)

Wide Midfielder is set up like an Inside Forward but without "Dribble More" & that's the only PI given so far. The RM could become a WM (S) with PIs to get him to sit a little narrower but my hope is that this will create some kind of lopsided 4-3-3. 

442 and variants (442 diamond, 4411, etc.) are really solid this year.  First glance I think the DLP(D) and the IWB(S) will find themselves in much the same space.. I'd either swap your fullback roles or swap your midfield roles... not to mention your left flank is pretty exposed.  I've had good luck with the WB(S) instead of the FB(A) role and find they overlap at the "right and safe" time without even using the overlap instruction and I've since stopped playing with overlap right or left because playing my wide players in the ML/MR strata I really want them to have that extra individual mentality boost and not lower it with the overlap instructions.  Positive/Positive is a pretty good combo and you will still see overlaps happen.

I happen to really enjoy playing with this 4 across the middle..

image.png.e9c1781ef55314d92bb21090157c3d21.png

WM roles let me pretty much customize the role for however I want it to play.. inverted winger, winger, inside forward, defensive winger all available from that one role.  I even sometimes use personalized instructions for the players in that role so they act a bit different.  Now I'm a huge fan of the DLP-D and VOL-S role in the DM space in my 442 variants because you end up with a late runner into the box but also a role that can help build out and looks to carry the ball on the dribble through the middle of the park.  They act almost like a double pivot and then the VOL will look to surge into the box and be at the top of the box for cut back strikes.  I sometimes goes VOL-A if I'm looking to hit a bit more on the break and want that midfielder runner.  I think it will give you some of the same qualities as the CAR(S) with some additional benefits.  The advantage of playing both those positions in the DM strata is that they will look to not only shield the backline but fill in for fullbacks that might be caught forward in attack.  Put two complete total footballers in those roles and they will boss the midfield.  Also give the FB(S) with sit narrow a try before going to the IWB(S) as well.. something about the IWB's position during build up doesn't seem right to me and I find they reduce passing angles during build out.. here is an example of what I'm talking about..

image.png.938b4e8dfc862b1c01e42b307d1f4455.png

You can see in the above that the starting position of the IWB(S) blocks the passing lane from the CB to the MR or ML position because they start to narrow.  Switch that to a FB or WB on support and they start wider and there is a clear passing lane between the CB and the MR or ML position.  This has caused me to stop using the IWB(S) role in my tactics until it gets corrected.  In previous versions the the role stayed wider during build up and wouldn't "invert" until the attacking half of the pitch.

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8 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

442 and variants (442 diamond, 4411, etc.) are really solid this year.  First glance I think the DLP(D) and the IWB(S) will find themselves in much the same space.. I'd either swap your fullback roles or swap your midfield roles... not to mention your left flank is pretty exposed.  I've had good luck with the WB(S) instead of the FB(A) role and find they overlap at the "right and safe" time without even using the overlap instruction and I've since stopped playing with overlap right or left because playing my wide players in the ML/MR strata I really want them to have that extra individual mentality boost and not lower it with the overlap instructions.  Positive/Positive is a pretty good combo and you will still see overlaps happen.

I happen to really enjoy playing with this 4 across the middle..

image.png.e9c1781ef55314d92bb21090157c3d21.png

WM roles let me pretty much customize the role for however I want it to play.. inverted winger, winger, inside forward, defensive winger all available from that one role.  I even sometimes use personalized instructions for the players in that role so they act a bit different.  Now I'm a huge fan of the DLP-D and VOL-S role in the DM space in my 442 variants because you end up with a late runner into the box but also a role that can help build out and looks to carry the ball on the dribble through the middle of the park.  They act almost like a double pivot and then the VOL will look to surge into the box and be at the top of the box for cut back strikes.  I sometimes goes VOL-A if I'm looking to hit a bit more on the break and want that midfielder runner.  I think it will give you some of the same qualities as the CAR(S) with some additional benefits.  The advantage of playing both those positions in the DM strata is that they will look to not only shield the backline but fill in for fullbacks that might be caught forward in attack.  Put two complete total footballers in those roles and they will boss the midfield.  Also give the FB(S) with sit narrow a try before going to the IWB(S) as well.. something about the IWB's position during build up doesn't seem right to me and I find they reduce passing angles during build out.. here is an example of what I'm talking about..

image.png.938b4e8dfc862b1c01e42b307d1f4455.png

You can see in the above that the starting position of the IWB(S) blocks the passing lane from the CB to the MR or ML position because they start to narrow.  Switch that to a FB or WB on support and they start wider and there is a clear passing lane between the CB and the MR or ML position.  This has caused me to stop using the IWB(S) role in my tactics until it gets corrected.  In previous versions the the role stayed wider during build up and wouldn't "invert" until the attacking half of the pitch.

Yes I'm strongly considering trying out the "flat version" of formations at the moment. 4-4-2 / 4-4-1-1 / 4-1-4-1 but I expect I would have to deal with a lot of bitching & moaning from Mane & Salah for being "played out of position".

Yeah, the IWB & DLP is something I need to watch & pay close attention to in order to ensure they're not getting in each others way & making sure our build up is good. Again, I'm looking to create something akin to what we see from Liverpool (based on "King Klopp" by Lee Scott) hence the positions some of these players occupy. 

I'll also keep an eye out on our build up in the hope that the IWB doesn't narrow off too soon.

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11 hours ago, Kharza_FM said:

image.png.938b4e8dfc862b1c01e42b307d1f4455.png

You can see in the above that the starting position of the IWB(S) blocks the passing lane from the CB to the MR or ML position because they start to narrow.  Switch that to a FB or WB on support and they start wider and there is a clear passing lane between the CB and the MR or ML position.  This has caused me to stop using the IWB(S) role in my tactics until it gets corrected.  In previous versions the the role stayed wider during build up and wouldn't "invert" until the attacking half of the pitch.

It looks like the IWB(S) coming inside early has meant that your DLP has moved centrally as there isnt much room to operate. If they were wider then he would have more room to work meaning that your centre backs would be able to move the ball from side to side easily to find those passing lanes. I agree with you it does look like an issue right now, but some formations do tend to rely on the IWB so I wonder what could be done about it. As always with FM one change to one area of the pitch has a knock on effect to another...

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On 21/12/2020 at 18:23, 04texag said:

This is true to an extent. It's the big paradox of managing team shape, yet have fluid and creative play. My whole tactical series on juego de position is all about how to get these things to co-exist. 

 

My recent tactical expiremwnts for fm21 as finally getting there, juat have been gone for holiday and haven't tested enough to post it. 

Yeah, I didn't mean my comments to come off as something like "Attempting positional play tactics is just stupid, they never work!" or anything like that. Just putting my finger on what I (and it seems many of you as well) think is the most difficult aspect to get right, but also trying to indicate that this is not wholly a FM issue as the proper creative rotations is difficult for a manager to impose on a real team as well (as Arsenal and, to a lesser extent, the current iteration of Man City, suggest)

It seems to me that the IW, Mezz, CWB combo, whilst getting the creative movement perhaps, doesn't quite get the level of discipline/structure that would actually be demanded. On the other hand, if you were to (for instance) invert the fullback and give him a roll that required him to largely (but not exclusively) be one of the 3 ball recyclers, then that'd get more of the tactical discipline but less of the creativity. 

Any thoughts on if, and to what degree, an attribute like 'Teamwork' may influence this? I realize 'off the ball' and 'decisions' are going to be relevant to whether the player (accurately) judges that they should break from the structure a bit, but mightn't teamwork be the key to ensuring multiple players are 'on the same page' about the creative break/movement needed? I ask this largely in hope of its relevance, as my team kills it in terms of teamwork :) 

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29 minutes ago, ozilthegunner said:

Yeah, I didn't mean my comments to come off as something like "Attempting positional play tactics is just stupid, they never work!" or anything like that. Just putting my finger on what I (and it seems many of you as well) think is the most difficult aspect to get right, but also trying to indicate that this is not wholly a FM issue as the proper creative rotations is difficult for a manager to impose on a real team as well (as Arsenal and, to a lesser extent, the current iteration of Man City, suggest)

It seems to me that the IW, Mezz, CWB combo, whilst getting the creative movement perhaps, doesn't quite get the level of discipline/structure that would actually be demanded. On the other hand, if you were to (for instance) invert the fullback and give him a roll that required him to largely (but not exclusively) be one of the 3 ball recyclers, then that'd get more of the tactical discipline but less of the creativity. 

Any thoughts on if, and to what degree, an attribute like 'Teamwork' may influence this? I realize 'off the ball' and 'decisions' are going to be relevant to whether the player (accurately) judges that they should break from the structure a bit, but mightn't teamwork be the key to ensuring multiple players are 'on the same page' about the creative break/movement needed? I ask this largely in hope of its relevance, as my team kills it in terms of teamwork :) 

I think rotations are hard to get right in real life & even harder to make work in the game hence why the two teams you mentioned look a little stale right now (particularly City for their standards).

From what I've seen of the CWB, they don't vary their movements enough & they essentially operate the same way as a regular wing back would in the game. If the "roam from position" instruction actually had them occupy spaces that needed filling in your system than that would be perfect. 

image.png.8869f1e3e1d8701c3548ed164e2b9c02.png

I found this image (from the article I linked above) really interesting & I think this might be something we're able to recreate in Football Manager through different combinations. One side might be a IWB (D) - Mez (S/A) - W (A) & the other could be WB (S) - CAR (S) - IF (A) to hopefully create different angles & routes to goal.

I think theres an argument to be made that that "Positional Play" on FM would actually be looking for a Structured / Very Structured team shape (depending on what team shape actually does on the latest iterations of the game).

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On 21/12/2020 at 18:27, Jaye said:

The Young Leaos.png

I'm interested in iterating on this a bit by combining it with the main wide combo @04texag has identified (IW, Mezz, CWB). In particular, I've been thinking about the fact that a team like Man City will simply vary their personnel and, as a result, their main attacking patterns will change. Obviously one way to achieve this in FM is to have different tactics for different personnel, but I wonder if we could instead get it (or some of it) through simply varying the player and focusing on PPMs.

So, for instance, perhaps the Mezz and the (now) CWB(s) stay the same in terms of personnel, but we switch the Winger between an opposite-footed player with PPMs to come inside and get in the box and a same-sided player with PPMs to stay wider and the attributes to focus on crosses.

I am wondering if, switching between those without really changing anything else (or perhaps only changing PIs to force some of this difference, if the players don't quite have the right PPMs just yet), can produce meaningful change in movement. I can imagine that an intelligent CWB will respond to the winger cutting in by providing the width, providing us with the '6th man' that you sometimes need to add to the front 5 in order to break down teams. Alternatively, with the winger staying wide the Mezz will fill the higher inside channel and the CWB would sit into the lower inside channel. This would create the dominate 'passing triangle' commonly associated with positional play.

I suppose I don't know if it would be worth it to go this way instead of just having sort of '2 tactics' that just alters the role of the winger to something like an inverted winger when appropriate, but I guess I like the idea of a player being assigned a position that sort of counters his PPMs as a means of (ideally) promoting more creativity and dynamic movement

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2 minutes ago, retrodude09 said:

I think rotations are hard to get right in real life & even harder to make work in the game hence why the two teams you mentioned look a little stale right now (particularly City for their standards).

From what I've seen of the CWB, they don't vary their movements enough & they essentially operate the same way as a regular wing back would in the game. If the "roam from position" instruction actually had them occupy spaces that needed filling in your system than that would be perfect. 

image.png.8869f1e3e1d8701c3548ed164e2b9c02.png

I found this image (from the article I linked above) really interesting & I think this might be something we're able to recreate in Football Manager through different combinations. One side might be a IWB (D) - Mez (S/A) - W (A) & the other could be WB (S) - CAR (S) - IF (A) to hopefully create different angles & routes to goal.

I think theres an argument to be made that that "Positional Play" on FM would actually be looking for a Structured / Very Structured team shape (depending on what team shape actually does on the latest iterations of the game).

Right, this is exactly my thinking, too. I used a CWB(s) for awhile but he didn't seem too interested in sitting as a deeper player when plenty of other players were in front of him. But, I couldn't be sure whether that was my player's qualities (Bellerin with PPMs to 'get further forward' and all that) or the role.

And yeah, the whole idea of positional play is to impose a pretty rigid structure on team positioning, but allow significant creativity to the players in their zones and the creativity to rotate zones. It is that combination that is hard to secure, but I am thinking a real focus on PPMs and their interaction with PIs (both added and those attached to a role) could help

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24 minutes ago, ozilthegunner said:

Right, this is exactly my thinking, too. I used a CWB(s) for awhile but he didn't seem too interested in sitting as a deeper player when plenty of other players were in front of him. But, I couldn't be sure whether that was my player's qualities (Bellerin with PPMs to 'get further forward' and all that) or the role.

And yeah, the whole idea of positional play is to impose a pretty rigid structure on team positioning, but allow significant creativity to the players in their zones and the creativity to rotate zones. It is that combination that is hard to secure, but I am thinking a real focus on PPMs and their interaction with PIs (both added and those attached to a role) could help

I think it's probably a combination of both if I'm being honest but I could be wrong.

Assuming that "Team Fluidity" really doesn't count for much these days, I think the only way to achieve that would be through the use of "Be More Disciplined" as well as sparingly using playmaker roles & giving certain players the "roam from position" PI.

I'm sure there was a thread once about giving players generic roles & then using player traits to have those roles function differently. For example, if i'm Liverpool & I set up my midfield 3 as DM (D) - CM (S) - CM (S) with Fabinho - Wijnaldum - Henderson selected then that midfield 3 will function (in theory) very differently to a midfield 3 of Thiago - Ox - Keita just because of their Player Traits. 

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1 hour ago, ozilthegunner said:

Right, this is exactly my thinking, too. I used a CWB(s) for awhile but he didn't seem too interested in sitting as a deeper player when plenty of other players were in front of him. But, I couldn't be sure whether that was my player's qualities (Bellerin with PPMs to 'get further forward' and all that) or the role.

And yeah, the whole idea of positional play is to impose a pretty rigid structure on team positioning, but allow significant creativity to the players in their zones and the creativity to rotate zones. It is that combination that is hard to secure, but I am thinking a real focus on PPMs and their interaction with PIs (both added and those attached to a role) could help

In @04texag's original thread on positional play, he made Be More Disciplined one of his TIs. IIRC, he later deleted it because he couldn't get the freedom of movement he needed to make the tactic work the way he wanted. I, too, started with Be More Disciplined, and found the team kept its shape just as I wanted, but didn't find the openings in my opponents' defenses the way I needed. As a result, we were usually very low-scoring but also the best defense in La Liga (and many matches, my keeper, Rueben Blanco, turned in performances in the 6.6-6.9 range). I've dropped the Be More Disciplined TI for now, but may bring it back, especially for matches against superior sides.

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4 hours ago, ozilthegunner said:

I'm interested in iterating on this a bit by combining it with the main wide combo @04texag has identified (IW, Mezz, CWB). In particular, I've been thinking about the fact that a team like Man City will simply vary their personnel and, as a result, their main attacking patterns will change. Obviously one way to achieve this in FM is to have different tactics for different personnel, but I wonder if we could instead get it (or some of it) through simply varying the player and focusing on PPMs.

So, for instance, perhaps the Mezz and the (now) CWB(s) stay the same in terms of personnel, but we switch the Winger between an opposite-footed player with PPMs to come inside and get in the box and a same-sided player with PPMs to stay wider and the attributes to focus on crosses.

I am wondering if, switching between those without really changing anything else (or perhaps only changing PIs to force some of this difference, if the players don't quite have the right PPMs just yet), can produce meaningful change in movement. I can imagine that an intelligent CWB will respond to the winger cutting in by providing the width, providing us with the '6th man' that you sometimes need to add to the front 5 in order to break down teams. Alternatively, with the winger staying wide the Mezz will fill the higher inside channel and the CWB would sit into the lower inside channel. This would create the dominate 'passing triangle' commonly associated with positional play.

I suppose I don't know if it would be worth it to go this way instead of just having sort of '2 tactics' that just alters the role of the winger to something like an inverted winger when appropriate, but I guess I like the idea of a player being assigned a position that sort of counters his PPMs as a means of (ideally) promoting more creativity and dynamic movement

The IWB will still overlap if they're playing on their correct foot (right footer on right side, left footer on the left) and the player in front of him has cut inside. I just scored a goal where my left IWB went out wide and crossed it in to my striker. 

You're on the right lines about using different types of players. I have two options for the Winger (S) role: a left footer and a right footer, both with very similar attributes, but one cuts inside while the other doesn't. The left footer looks for through balls, shots, and switches of play, while the right footer stays wider, gets to the byline more, and looks for crossing opportunities. If I play the right footer, the right sided IWB stays inside pretty much all the time, whereas he'll occasionally overlap if I use a left footer in front of him. This gives me rotation without having to force it with PIs/TIs. 

 

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@gunnerfan @retrodude09  @ozilthegunner 

Lots of good conversation going on here guys! Sorry, I have been out of town and just got back and been catching up on last minute work stuff before the holiday. I appreciate a lot of the thought and work going on here! 

Often when watching City play, I will notice that at different stages of the game, they will noticeably change what they are doing. I believe Pep is instructing the team to make wholesale tactical adjustments. You can see this often as they will sometimes exploit the right side of the pitch, with Walker playing wide and high, and mahrez cutting in aggressively. De Bruyne will move the ball to the right and play through balls. 

Then other times they will stop doing that. They will move to the left side, de bruyne seems to swap positions with gundogan, walker starts playing like an IWB, and Mahrez camps out and doesn't move from the right touchline. Whoever plays the left back starts marauding forward and sterling tries to do whatever he does. 

These are all examples of what I'm not calling:

Tactical Pieces

So, one of the big takeaways I have had lately, and this applies to the most recent discussion, is what I'm going to now term as Tactical Pieces. The more I have learned in FM, and the better I have become as a player due to running some of these threads, the more I strongly believe that you need a bigger plan when making changes within the tactics screen and your player selections. This seems like common sense, however, I have spent way too much time in game NOT doing this. Let's use some examples to illustrate my old way versus my new way.

I have always been good at watching full or comprehensive when things aren't clicking, and then I would use lots of tweaks to the tactic to try to get results I want. But typically, I would make one change here, another there, all kind of willy nilly (FYI that's a technical term ;) . Like against a parked bus. I might over the course of 4 separate changes and 10 minutes of "game time" do the following things, never in any sort of determined fashion: lower tempo (confirm), increase team width (confirm) work ball in box (confirm), maybe change a few players from support to attack (confirm), up team mentality one notch(confirm).

Now, you can be successful sometimes making one switch when you see something that needs adapting. The best example IMO of a one-off tactical change in game is TEMPO. I frequently watch the opposition defenders when we are in possession to see how quickly they are closing us down, then adjust tempo up or down. This has been commented on by lots more than me, recently by @Kharza_FM and even me earlier in the thread. That makes a lot of sense. If the defense is pressing us very fast, then I will up tempo so that we pass the ball just before they close us down.

Now, let's look at a counter example, and what I will be meaning by Tactical Pieces. I have my base tactic (which I'll post below) that looks to exploit the middle. But sometimes our attack feels stale or I'll notice that the defense is starting to crowd the middle. In those cases, I have a pre-planned set of tactical changes that I will make to exploit the right flank and half spaces. This isn't me just randomly looking to change on or two things, instead, I will make a change that incorporates a few team instructions as well as some role and duty changes as well. Sometimes this might even require a substitution. The key difference is that I know that with my base tactic, I can plug a new "tactical piece" in to the base tactic, and if I make all of these changes together as one change, I know how they will all work together. But I have to make all of the changes together as one large change. 

I'm thinking of it like a large puzzle piece, and that piece contains all these related instruction and positional changes, and because I use them together frequently, I know what my expected output SHOULD be in game. Now of course, things don't work perfectly every time, but I know generally what these changes should do.

OK ENOUGH WORDS, I know, I feel like I was rambling here but I hope you got the point. Below I will post some examples of what I mean.

Base Tactic

I have settled upon what I feel like is my current best iteration for positional play as I'm currently seeing it in FM 21. Now, I don't believe you can have all things with one tactic, so some of our tactical puzzle pieces we will describe later will provide for some other variations of positional play this lacks.  We have great team shape, still retain good fluidity across a few different playmaking players, and good attacking variation, with goals and assists coming from multiple avenues. The below lacks the disciplined team shape, but is a balanced approach of it. The below lacks a large amount of possession recycling, but again it has a balanced amount. Each of these things we can make happen with different puzzle pieces.

image.png.3d4d822464ed4c52e1e9f0ddec88a31d.png

 

With the above tactic we have 4 players working as our fluid players, whom are tasked with possession, passing, moving and interchanging. They are the RPM, AP-A, IW-S, and the DLF-A up top. Our standard version of this tactic has us in the fairly wide attacking width, as this is the most balanced approach between occasionally exploring flanks, but not bypassing our main playmakers in the middle. We use this combined with focus play through the middle to get our main AoMH to route play through the RPM and AP-A. The right player in the DLF-A spot really helps to ensure good possession and number superiority as well, making this version of the tactic work well even against a DM, which we have faced a lot. 

The CM-D offers a necessary holding midfielder and is our primary ball recycler. He also launches good cross field switches of play.

Our team width is established on the right by the WB told to stay wider, and both the FB and IF-A (stay wider) will offer width as needed. 

Compared to past versions I have posted, we are pressing much higher up the pitch, as we really are forcing a high press to incorporate a stronger total football game and increase our possession in the opposition half. 

 

Puzzle piece examples

Let's review some common changes. 

AP-A not being effective

Some games the AP-A is not effective, he could be getting marked strongly, or the RPM could be playing too much into his space and he's not getting as many touches. When this is happening, I want to get him more involved and force an overload through the middle, and so I use a middle overload tactical piece.  Here is a what I use, which has multiple combined setting changes.

image.png.d28ba525f5b9b507af91e14a462880ab.pngimage.png.9f71b70cd3454c95dc0c97562dad9bba.png

  • Drop AP-A to AP-S (this reduces his player mentality from very attacking to Positive) - This will encourage the #10 to be more involved in build up play
  • RPM-s to DLP-S - This functionally changes the RPM from the heartbeat of the team to more of a holding midfielder, deep playmaker. This change shifts the ball recycling role away from the CM-d to the dlp-s, and also allows the AP-S to now become the primary playmaker, whereas before I view the RPM as the primary of the two.
  • CM-d to CM-S - this change relinquishes the holding player to the DLP-s, and now the CM-s can be more free playing, to link up better in more advanced positions with the AP-S, even allowing some channel runs.
  • With these three   P/R/D changes, I made the width changes posted. I'm essentially wanting to overload the middle now with these three support duty players, so I move to very narrow and a tick higher on our base tempo. We play shorter faster passes as we look to overload and get numerical superiority.
  • We removed the focus play through the middle as that is no longer really necessary with very narrow, see below: 

  image.png.e1ebb50aea05e12de64840ec47a8c772.png

 

So, all of the above changes I will make AT ONE POINT IN TIME,  this is a tactical puzzle piece, and if I slot it in to my base tactic, I know exactly what the team is going to try to do. I also know what game conditions will likely see me want to make this change. 

I've used the wording before of flipping the switch to a different tactic, this is essentially the same thing. But I'm starting to see if at both a greater perspective and more granularly, and I really like the  puzzle piece metaphor. All other things about the tactic are remaining similar, we still get width from the same players, the DLF will still look to support play, we still have someone holding and recycling, and the AML is still our big attacking threat post overload. But this puzzle piece has forced the issue of where we will look to attack instead of the more broadly balanced base tactic.

Example 2 - Right Flank Overload Tactical Piece

The base tactic and the above middle overload both do look to drive play through the central areas of the pitch. And sometimes the defense begins to really congest this area. I love when this happens, because then I can flip the switch, or plug in a new tactical piece. So below, is my right flank overload puzzle piece.

image.png.9fc8511c5c32083de6976aaa628410a6.png      image.png.5323660a8370a379f68aa798b4fe875d.png

  • Starting with p/r/d - you need to have the RPM become a DLP-s in order to retain a holding midfielder. But, the DLP-s will still move towards the right side of the center circle and support the right build up play due to focus down the right.
  • CM-D becomes Mez-s, the mezzala is the half channel specialist. This PRD is perfect for moving forward, wide as needed, and into channels. Additionally, they will overlap the IW-s on narrow when it tactically makes sense.
  • WB-S becomes CWB-s, this enables roaming from position, and the CWB-s will sometimes cut inside with ball whereas the WB-s will virtually never do this. This is helpful for when the Mez goes wide of the IW-s. 
  • TI's, we have gone WIDE, to encourage expansive play all the way out to the touch line
  • Focus play down the right, encourages both playmakers to push passes towards this flank, but also for them to drift wide towards that flank to seek out space to receive passes.
  • Overlap Right - I like this one as it brings mentality of the CWB up to attacking. So on the right we have AMR balanced, Mez positive, and CWB-s attacking. This is great for compact team play, resulting in a really cohesive AoMH.
  • The dlp s slides centrally and will gather recycle possession and often launch a cross field ball to the IF-A who is driving hard at the box.

 

Summary

So what's the big deal? Well, I've found that predetermined plans like the two tactical pieces shown above, will typically have better/more predictable results. They also help us to emulate different facets of positional play that we can't get to all happen at the same time because of limitations within the creator.

I have other tactical pieces, a more defensive version with 4 at the back recycling play, and a more aggressive one, but I just wanted to float these two examples and see what everyone thinks of this. 

 

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4 hours ago, ozilthegunner said:

Right, this is exactly my thinking, too. I used a CWB(s) for awhile but he didn't seem too interested in sitting as a deeper player when plenty of other players were in front of him. But, I couldn't be sure whether that was my player's qualities (Bellerin with PPMs to 'get further forward' and all that) or the role.

And yeah, the whole idea of positional play is to impose a pretty rigid structure on team positioning, but allow significant creativity to the players in their zones and the creativity to rotate zones. It is that combination that is hard to secure, but I am thinking a real focus on PPMs and their interaction with PIs (both added and those attached to a role) could help

 

3 hours ago, gunnerfan said:

In @04texag's original thread on positional play, he made Be More Disciplined one of his TIs. IIRC, he later deleted it because he couldn't get the freedom of movement he needed to make the tactic work the way he wanted. I, too, started with Be More Disciplined, and found the team kept its shape just as I wanted, but didn't find the openings in my opponents' defenses the way I needed. As a result, we were usually very low-scoring but also the best defense in La Liga (and many matches, my keeper, Rueben Blanco, turned in performances in the 6.6-6.9 range). I've dropped the Be More Disciplined TI for now, but may bring it back, especially for matches against superior sides.

 

13 minutes ago, Jaye said:

The IWB will still overlap if they're playing on their correct foot (right footer on right side, left footer on the left) and the player in front of him has cut inside. I just scored a goal where my left IWB went out wide and crossed it in to my striker. 

You're on the right lines about using different types of players. I have two options for the Winger (S) role: a left footer and a right footer, both with very similar attributes, but one cuts inside while the other doesn't. The left footer looks for through balls, shots, and switches of play, while the right footer stays wider, gets to the byline more, and looks for crossing opportunities. If I play the right footer, the right sided IWB stays inside pretty much all the time, whereas he'll occasionally overlap if I use a left footer in front of him. This gives me rotation without having to force it with PIs/TIs. 

 

 

Everything that you guys are talking about is spot on. With my tactical pieces post just before this, another undiscussed element is how players impact these tactical pieces

Short but sweet example, my two new strikers play very differently from Ciro Immobile. Sargent and Presedo both have great team work and passing ability, so they are hugely important to my new tactic with dropping deep and supporting play. But Ciro just doesn't excel here. So even when I play him as a DLF-, he can't pull it off. Yes, PPM's can change the way that Sargent and Presedo play the DLF-A role (sargent scores more whereas Presedo drops the ball off for someone else to score), when I sub Ciro in I know I have to change my tactical piece for one that has an AF-A in it. So when bringing Ciro in, I'll change the striker role, change the AML to a support duty, and take off work the ball into the box to encourage more crosses for Ciro to get onto the end of.

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2 hours ago, 04texag said:

@gunnerfan @retrodude09  @ozilthegunner 

Lots of good conversation going on here guys! Sorry, I have been out of town and just got back and been catching up on last minute work stuff before the holiday. I appreciate a lot of the thought and work going on here! 

Often when watching City play, I will notice that at different stages of the game, they will noticeably change what they are doing. I believe Pep is instructing the team to make wholesale tactical adjustments. You can see this often as they will sometimes exploit the right side of the pitch, with Walker playing wide and high, and mahrez cutting in aggressively. De Bruyne will move the ball to the right and play through balls. 

Then other times they will stop doing that. They will move to the left side, de bruyne seems to swap positions with gundogan, walker starts playing like an IWB, and Mahrez camps out and doesn't move from the right touchline. Whoever plays the left back starts marauding forward and sterling tries to do whatever he does. 

These are all examples of what I'm not calling:

Tactical Pieces

So, one of the big takeaways I have had lately, and this applies to the most recent discussion, is what I'm going to now term as Tactical Pieces. The more I have learned in FM, and the better I have become as a player due to running some of these threads, the more I strongly believe that you need a bigger plan when making changes within the tactics screen and your player selections. This seems like common sense, however, I have spent way too much time in game NOT doing this. Let's use some examples to illustrate my old way versus my new way.

I have always been good at watching full or comprehensive when things aren't clicking, and then I would use lots of tweaks to the tactic to try to get results I want. But typically, I would make one change here, another there, all kind of willy nilly (FYI that's a technical term ;) . Like against a parked bus. I might over the course of 4 separate changes and 10 minutes of "game time" do the following things, never in any sort of determined fashion: lower tempo (confirm), increase team width (confirm) work ball in box (confirm), maybe change a few players from support to attack (confirm), up team mentality one notch(confirm).

Now, you can be successful sometimes making one switch when you see something that needs adapting. The best example IMO of a one-off tactical change in game is TEMPO. I frequently watch the opposition defenders when we are in possession to see how quickly they are closing us down, then adjust tempo up or down. This has been commented on by lots more than me, recently by @Kharza_FM and even me earlier in the thread. That makes a lot of sense. If the defense is pressing us very fast, then I will up tempo so that we pass the ball just before they close us down.

Now, let's look at a counter example, and what I will be meaning by Tactical Pieces. I have my base tactic (which I'll post below) that looks to exploit the middle. But sometimes our attack feels stale or I'll notice that the defense is starting to crowd the middle. In those cases, I have a pre-planned set of tactical changes that I will make to exploit the right flank and half spaces. This isn't me just randomly looking to change on or two things, instead, I will make a change that incorporates a few team instructions as well as some role and duty changes as well. Sometimes this might even require a substitution. The key difference is that I know that with my base tactic, I can plug a new "tactical piece" in to the base tactic, and if I make all of these changes together as one change, I know how they will all work together. But I have to make all of the changes together as one large change. 

I'm thinking of it like a large puzzle piece, and that piece contains all these related instruction and positional changes, and because I use them together frequently, I know what my expected output SHOULD be in game. Now of course, things don't work perfectly every time, but I know generally what these changes should do.

OK ENOUGH WORDS, I know, I feel like I was rambling here but I hope you got the point. Below I will post some examples of what I mean.

Base Tactic

I have settled upon what I feel like is my current best iteration for positional play as I'm currently seeing it in FM 21. Now, I don't believe you can have all things with one tactic, so some of our tactical puzzle pieces we will describe later will provide for some other variations of positional play this lacks.  We have great team shape, still retain good fluidity across a few different playmaking players, and good attacking variation, with goals and assists coming from multiple avenues. The below lacks the disciplined team shape, but is a balanced approach of it. The below lacks a large amount of possession recycling, but again it has a balanced amount. Each of these things we can make happen with different puzzle pieces.

image.png.3d4d822464ed4c52e1e9f0ddec88a31d.png

 

With the above tactic we have 4 players working as our fluid players, whom are tasked with possession, passing, moving and interchanging. They are the RPM, AP-A, IW-S, and the DLF-A up top. Our standard version of this tactic has us in the fairly wide attacking width, as this is the most balanced approach between occasionally exploring flanks, but not bypassing our main playmakers in the middle. We use this combined with focus play through the middle to get our main AoMH to route play through the RPM and AP-A. The right player in the DLF-A spot really helps to ensure good possession and number superiority as well, making this version of the tactic work well even against a DM, which we have faced a lot. 

The CM-D offers a necessary holding midfielder and is our primary ball recycler. He also launches good cross field switches of play.

Our team width is established on the right by the WB told to stay wider, and both the FB and IF-A (stay wider) will offer width as needed. 

Compared to past versions I have posted, we are pressing much higher up the pitch, as we really are forcing a high press to incorporate a stronger total football game and increase our possession in the opposition half. 

 

Puzzle piece examples

Let's review some common changes. 

AP-A not being effective

Some games the AP-A is not effective, he could be getting marked strongly, or the RPM could be playing too much into his space and he's not getting as many touches. When this is happening, I want to get him more involved and force an overload through the middle, and so I use a middle overload tactical piece.  Here is a what I use, which has multiple combined setting changes.

image.png.d28ba525f5b9b507af91e14a462880ab.pngimage.png.9f71b70cd3454c95dc0c97562dad9bba.png

  • Drop AP-A to AP-S (this reduces his player mentality from very attacking to Positive) - This will encourage the #10 to be more involved in build up play
  • RPM-s to DLP-S - This functionally changes the RPM from the heartbeat of the team to more of a holding midfielder, deep playmaker. This change shifts the ball recycling role away from the CM-d to the dlp-s, and also allows the AP-S to now become the primary playmaker, whereas before I view the RPM as the primary of the two.
  • CM-d to CM-S - this change relinquishes the holding player to the DLP-s, and now the CM-s can be more free playing, to link up better in more advanced positions with the AP-S, even allowing some channel runs.
  • With these three   P/R/D changes, I made the width changes posted. I'm essentially wanting to overload the middle now with these three support duty players, so I move to very narrow and a tick higher on our base tempo. We play shorter faster passes as we look to overload and get numerical superiority.
  • We removed the focus play through the middle as that is no longer really necessary with very narrow, see below: 

  image.png.e1ebb50aea05e12de64840ec47a8c772.png

 

So, all of the above changes I will make AT ONE POINT IN TIME,  this is a tactical puzzle piece, and if I slot it in to my base tactic, I know exactly what the team is going to try to do. I also know what game conditions will likely see me want to make this change. 

I've used the wording before of flipping the switch to a different tactic, this is essentially the same thing. But I'm starting to see if at both a greater perspective and more granularly, and I really like the  puzzle piece metaphor. All other things about the tactic are remaining similar, we still get width from the same players, the DLF will still look to support play, we still have someone holding and recycling, and the AML is still our big attacking threat post overload. But this puzzle piece has forced the issue of where we will look to attack instead of the more broadly balanced base tactic.

Example 2 - Right Flank Overload Tactical Piece

The base tactic and the above middle overload both do look to drive play through the central areas of the pitch. And sometimes the defense begins to really congest this area. I love when this happens, because then I can flip the switch, or plug in a new tactical piece. So below, is my right flank overload puzzle piece.

image.png.9fc8511c5c32083de6976aaa628410a6.png      image.png.5323660a8370a379f68aa798b4fe875d.png

  • Starting with p/r/d - you need to have the RPM become a DLP-s in order to retain a holding midfielder. But, the DLP-s will still move towards the right side of the center circle and support the right build up play due to focus down the right.
  • CM-D becomes Mez-s, the mezzala is the half channel specialist. This PRD is perfect for moving forward, wide as needed, and into channels. Additionally, they will overlap the IW-s on narrow when it tactically makes sense.
  • WB-S becomes CWB-s, this enables roaming from position, and the CWB-s will sometimes cut inside with ball whereas the WB-s will virtually never do this. This is helpful for when the Mez goes wide of the IW-s. 
  • TI's, we have gone WIDE, to encourage expansive play all the way out to the touch line
  • Focus play down the right, encourages both playmakers to push passes towards this flank, but also for them to drift wide towards that flank to seek out space to receive passes.
  • Overlap Right - I like this one as it brings mentality of the CWB up to attacking. So on the right we have AMR balanced, Mez positive, and CWB-s attacking. This is great for compact team play, resulting in a really cohesive AoMH.
  • The dlp s slides centrally and will gather recycle possession and often launch a cross field ball to the IF-A who is driving hard at the box.

 

Summary

So what's the big deal? Well, I've found that predetermined plans like the two tactical pieces shown above, will typically have better/more predictable results. They also help us to emulate different facets of positional play that we can't get to all happen at the same time because of limitations within the creator.

I have other tactical pieces, a more defensive version with 4 at the back recycling play, and a more aggressive one, but I just wanted to float these two examples and see what everyone thinks of this. 

 

I think this is essentially what real life managers do. They'll work all week on how to break down different opponents & adjust accordingly all game. One small change will have a knock on effect with other things & that's essentially what you're doing here. My one worry would be how it affects tactical fluidity? 

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1 minute ago, retrodude09 said:

I think this is essentially what real life managers do. They'll work all week on how to break down different opponents & adjust accordingly all game. One small change will have a knock on effect with other things & that's essentially what you're doing here. My one worry would be how it affects tactical fluidity? 

So I approach things very much like @04texag (awesome post btw!) using tactical styles to tweak things.. so what you do is copy your tatic to the other slots and then load up those other tactical styles or modifications.  So I have all 3 slots filled with "essentially" the same tactic just with different tactical styles applied to them.  This trains your players and helps eliminate the fluidity issue.  Not sure if it still applies but one way to learn your preferred tactic quicker was to copy your tactic to all 3 slots and it helped get your players more fluent in the tactic.

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21 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

So I approach things very much like @04texag (awesome post btw!) using tactical styles to tweak things.. so what you do is copy your tatic to the other slots and then load up those other tactical styles or modifications.  So I have all 3 slots filled with "essentially" the same tactic just with different tactical styles applied to them.  This trains your players and helps eliminate the fluidity issue.  Not sure if it still applies but one way to learn your preferred tactic quicker was to copy your tactic to all 3 slots and it helped get your players more fluent in the tactic.

That's what I assumed he would do but I wasn't completely sure. Either way, it's a great post! 

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55 minutes ago, retrodude09 said:

I think this is essentially what real life managers do. They'll work all week on how to break down different opponents & adjust accordingly all game. One small change will have a knock on effect with other things & that's essentially what you're doing here. My one worry would be how it affects tactical fluidity? 

 

49 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

So I approach things very much like @04texag (awesome post btw!) using tactical styles to tweak things.. so what you do is copy your tatic to the other slots and then load up those other tactical styles or modifications.  So I have all 3 slots filled with "essentially" the same tactic just with different tactical styles applied to them.  This trains your players and helps eliminate the fluidity issue.  Not sure if it still applies but one way to learn your preferred tactic quicker was to copy your tactic to all 3 slots and it helped get your players more fluent in the tactic.

So, I should be doing exactly what @Kharza_FM has said, but I have yet to do so. I actually have about 4 tactical pieces so far that I'm using in games, which is too many to train. One of them is technically a separate tactic altogether, so it has its own slot (the flat 4411). The third slot is the 433 shape that Kharza and I worked on on @crusadertsar's thread a few weeks back. I really don't want to abandon these other shapes.

One thing that I do think helps with tactical fluidity @retrodude09 is the way we have been training and developing these tactics for three years now. My players have been getting PRD training in multiple positions and tactics for three years, all of which are used in these tactical pieces. It's very much in the vein of @Ö-zil to the Arsenal! and his fine work, who I would consider the forebear of anything I do. What's going to be crazy is in a few years when my over 10 4.5-5 star youngsters have all made it to the senior squad, each with YEARS of this training and killing it with these tactics. The youth progress has really been phenomenal, the best I've yet to achieve in any prior save. 

I fear it would be too boring to do a long post with all of them, but maybe I should just do one at some point to show where all of these guys are at now that they are 17-18, so that we can look back on them later.

Quick Season Update

So now that I've shared our current tactic and tactical pieces, so how is it performing? How about this for an example:

image.png.fc1530d8093bbb9d2577feb995a646cd.png

I'm sorry, but that is downright filthy! 2.5 goals per game and .25 conceeded per game. I'm not sure I've seen better yet and it's very exciting.

That said, we have had some draws against the other top 3 teams. Here are our results so far through end of October, which includes a very poor performance against PSG, albeit, they are stacked with Mbappe, Halaand and Fati as their front three, yikes!

image.png.eff7959469e8fab48b63f6bd614bff22.png

We are sitting in first place and I aim to really make it our own before the winter break.

image.png.fae4c5724f3b5fb6aa09a3b98bca3933.png

And since we all discussed my younster Daniel Presedo a few days back, how about his performance in his first 5 games in Serie A:

image.thumb.png.574194b7e137e7fee5bc3589bea9632f.png

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Ok sorry, I have to share this. I've NEVER before seen FIVE players show up as first team candidates on the development center screen, especially when you already have a stacked roster of players like we do, but here it is. The fullback I'm surprised to see on there, and Federico Casagrande I'm surprised to be missing, but dang, your youth setup is really humming as I alluded to in just the last post. And each of these guys is 17-19, lookout!

image.thumb.png.65b5c8788b0b8406091053e05c03460f.png

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