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Teams parking the bus

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1 hour ago, yorkie87 said:

High line all out attack or sit deep and try and draw them out?

Neither. Just a sensible and nicely balanced tactical setup with a selection/distribution of roles and duties that allows for a logical creation and utilization of space and without any tactical overkill and/or contradiction. All my tactics follow these simple principles and I very rarely have any problem against those ultra-defensive sides. 

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I find it extremely helpful to have (a) pivot player(s) in the formation and a couple players to clean up loose balls that stay back out of the action and recycle possession. This gives a natural ebb and flow to attacking that will help draw out the defense and maintain space to attack with.

For me, typically this is going to be 1-2 DMCs for the pivot and a wingback/fullback or two to clean up cleared balls. 

But just not committing all your players forward too fast and keeping a couple back so that attacks can reset themselves naturally is a huge help

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Out of interest, would you normally do when you face a defensive team?

When I'm trying to assemble my own parked bus, I give the opposition nothing. I normally play with a back 5 with 10/11 men behind the ball, waste time, hold shape, regroup and lower the tempo. So for the teams that genuinely want to take a 0-0, I don't think sitting deep is a good idea as you're just going to give their defence a breather and allow them to waste time.

From my own experience, and watching real life football. These are the things that I would have in mind when I come up against a team that's not even looking to score (not the same as a team trying to counter attack):

  • Lose any unecessary defensive cover
    • I normally like to play with either 3CB's / 2CB's and a defensive full back + a defend duty midfielder. If the other team is only leaving up one forward, he can be taken care of by 2CB's. 
    • You can also replace any 'destroyer' type of defenisve midfielder with more of a 'regista' sort of player who is able to recycle attacks and pick out dangerous passes as he won't be pressured so much
  • Hug the touchlines + have someone that can switch the play + use a high tempo
    • Max out the attacking width and make sure you have an attacking fullback or a winger on both sides. This causes the opposition defence to have to shift as much as possible, which is where mistakes can happen.
    • Switching play and just generally playing on a high tempo increases the frequency of the opposition having to shift about
  • Have a good long shot taker in a role that spends time on the edge of the area. Tell him to shoot more often
    • Forces them to press and leave gaps or give you time to shoot
  • Flood the box when the ball is out wide
    • Eg. have both CM's in a 433 in roles that roam or get forward (CMa + BBM / MEZa + MEZs etc)
    • Or sub on a striker for a midfielder in a 433 to switch to a 424
  • Press hard to constantly keep the pressure on

I haven't played FM21 yet but I believe that you can also overload certain areas with the focus play shouts. So if the opposition have a winger on one side having to track back that has low concentration/workrate/tackling, you can focus play down his side to test his defending.


Edited by Jack722
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Against very defensive teams you are unlikely to get that many good chances so I would focus on getting instead a very large amount of low quality chances.

1. Set pieces. Study at how the opposing team defends their corners. If they have an aerially weak full back defending a near post, target that area. Use great dribblers to run at the defence to get freekicks or penalties. Long throws to cause havoc in their box.

2. Long shots. Try to move the ball sideways in front of their box to get good long shot chances. Look at your sub bench for long shot specialists.

3. Crosses. Get your aerial threats in the box and just bombard them Davis Moyes style.

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