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The Controlled Block Preset - With 3 tactics explained


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INCORPORATING THE RIGHT STRATEGY FOR CORNERS

Whether its an attacking tactic or a defensive tactic I usually have a strategy for defending corners. The goal is to launch a quick counter attack. Set pieces are important for any side, but for underdogs it can be particularly important. I usually have 2 defensive corner routines that i depend on. And, depending on my level of risk I will set specific players to zonal marking instructions

Zonally mark near post - High Priority
Zonally mark far post - Medium 
Zonally mark near post centre - Nil if keeper has command of area, aerial reach, handling or punching
Zonally mark  far post centre - Medium
Zonally mark centre - High

You can stack up to 5 players in a line for a defensive corner routine, I normally assign the best jumping reach/heading players to the high priority positions. And in some cases I might even include the medium positions.  So with Nottingham Forest I set up my defensive routines to look like this.

717268678_CornerRoutines.thumb.png.03b3bcce702fb039cef8b391804853a5.png

If my keeper has good command of the area, jumping reach and handling, then I can afford to leave him to handle one area. With my Velez team last season I had a keeper with low jumping reach (12) so I added a player to the centre position. This effectively defends against the near and far post routines. There are 2 players set to man marking who act as blockers to the run and I position 2 players with acceleration, anticipation, passing and decisions to edge of area. Finally the fastest player with dribbling, first touch, is left in front. 

The goal here is to have at least 3 players break away if possible. The reason why all 3 players need good acceleration is because there may be times when the 2 edge of the area players may just be the ones to lead the breakaway. So ideally, you want all 3 to have the confidence to score.

843848796_Counterattackinggoalfromcorner.gif.f08ecfe9c50fdf74bb184081e7e483c7.gif

Now I also have another set piece routine which seems to be even more risky, but it does the same job. In a recent match againt Celtic Rangers, I used my Dundee United side and huddled into an unambitious controlled block. The goal was to see if I could walk away from the side that previously hammered me at home 4 nil. We were in with a chance to grab a Europa league spot, so the idea of losing big was something I wanted to avoid. A narrow loss could be easier to manage. And for 70 minutes we kept them at bay. They had a much better xG than us but it was littered with loads of small chances, with only 2 notable chances that were higher than 0.2. They had more than 20 corners but couldn't score past us. I was proud of how we did, our counterattacks weren't going to be much use against them as they were a lot faster than my boys. In fact we were the team to generate the first real good chance on target from a counter attack, unfortunately for us, we couldn't keep it up, eventually succumbing to a well crafted open play goal. Our corner routine was even more extreme.

1222713076_CornerRoutine2.thumb.png.6e8dfca833ad770dc41c1ebb958f574b.png

I had two players on the day who weren't very fast but they both had great anticipation and jumping reach. Out went my faster defenders and in came two with a combined acceleration of 16. In this system i had more players set to go back because i wanted more players in the box but not standing in a line to ensure that we had bodies cramping up the box.  20 corners came and none were converted. We didn't win on the day, but this is something every controlled block or low block strategy needs to consider. How do you defend against the inevitable deluge of corners, free kicks and long shots.  

There are zones that need coverage and a defensive line can't really be too deep that it invites the long shot. So the first system I will share is the Agrippa system. Its a 4231DM system that sits relatively deep to low block systems but not so deep that I suffer from long shots. The system has two defensive midfielders - a rather aggressive combination that I enjoy but also illogical for very defensive setups.  It features a Regista and a Segundo Volante. This is an interesting combination. If you can find the right attributes you can have a solid defensive pair, but you need to be aware of the risks that come up with the roaming regista and the charging volante.

In my system the Volante is set to attack but to ensure some security I pair him with a Fullback on support. Could I have gone for a more defensive choice for a fullback. A fullback on defend would still have issues providing support for the volante higher up the pitch, but he would be  a better defensive option. It is a trade off between attack and defence. I chose the more attacking option, because there is a gulf between the two DMs and the advanced midfield areas that need to be bridged. In case the Segundo Volante runs out of options he has the Fullback on the right to pass to.

The regista is a defensive midfielder who is a creative attacking outlet. Since I am playing with 2 defensive midfielders my system is going to need some push to get numbers up the pitch to support attacks. It runs the risk of isolation between defence and attack. So here I go with the more attacking option down the left flank - a wingback.

The system is considered a controlled block because i am intentionally playing in a way to keep a deeper block while funneling the opposition attacks down the flank with the narrow defensive width. This means that I need to deal with crosses and potentially corners. I also don't want to give the ball away needlessly so the keeper has been told to play it out to the central defenders. When we attack and lose the ball the priority of the team will be to get back and defend so I use the Regroup instruction. Our defensive line will influence how far they need to drop. I leave it on standard because I don't want my defenders leaving the two central midfielders isolated and without passing options. They will still need to get back into position for balls over the top, but they wont have to run too far to recover.

I will use a Ball playing defender behind the Volante so that i get a slightly staggered passing option that includes my Regista/SV/BPD. It is risky but that is why our fullback is on support. To keep the ball more effectively I get my team to play on narrow width so they focus their passes inside where the Regista/SV operate. With an IW on the left flank, the regista will have some options to pass to in case he comes under pressure. 

Up top is where my attacking patterns will kick in. My wingback has a strong chance of overlapping naturally when the IW comes inside and he can be found by the Regista, that gives me one good deadly crossing option. On the opposite flank I need to generate movement and space for the IF to attack. Here the option is interesting, I go for a Trequartista, because these roles roam a lot and they also drop deep on occasion. He will support the two defensive midfielders sometimes and then bust a gut to get back into the box.  He makes for a very good option to draw more players away. 

Finally my favorite role for counter attacking systems. The Advanced Forward, this is a role that is a focal point for attacks. In a counter attacking system he is aggressive and with the potential to move into channels, even his movement can be annoying to pick up. if he goes wide to pick up a ball which can happen the IF(A) attacks the space. If he doesn't and the AF stays in the box, we have two to aim for.

I don't intend to use this system at home, unless i want to defend a goal. Away from home this will be my preferred option against sides that are better than me. However against defensive sides I will favour something more aggressive. Even shifting the two defensive mids into central midfield is a good option.

This is what I am using - the Agrippa System

463783012_LOWBLOCK1.png.b382ae564d3ca0c18030fb43a0395581.png

The controlled block is achieved via the team instructions for out of possession and in transition. The in possession instructions influence my style when i have the ball.  The system is uploaded with roaming instructions set for the IW and the IF, apart from that there are no other player instructions being used.

Is a controlled block always going to work? t will depend largely on the system. If you watch my game against Celtic Rangers, you will probably get annoyed that I am happy with a low xG, thats because my goal was to defend and frustrate. Could i have gone for something a lot more defensive, I probably could have perhaps a 4141DM or a 433DM system.  On the day I probably erred, but I also was happy to learn that the boys were defending well from corners. I learnt enough on the day, I need better finishing up front. a consistent goal scorer who converts those few great xG chances we get. 

And that is the issue with playing a controlled block. Sometimes against stronger sides you need to take each good chance well. So we continue our journey to craft our 3 tactics for the controlled block. 

For my next match with Forest that's exactly what I did. A new system. more rock solid and one that frustrates sides even more.

Stats2.png.4df0236b8b9ce08fddec69867f3dd500.png

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Such has been my enjoyment of a controlled block I decided to come up with a controlled block that could be used alongside my deep 4231.  We already had an attacking version of the 4231, what I wanted was a system that could close out games. So in came a system called the Gaius Diamond

Gaius.png.8b2293b0e7251bf1d08d4df053461bfe.png

It used the same preset, and none of the roles had any player instructions. The goal now was to create a really difficult group to pass through the centre, forcing sides to go wide in hopes of finding players on the flank, failing which we could turn things over with quick counters. I opted to go with a WBx2 back four anchored by 2 defensive midfielders.

Here the use of the WBs was important, they had to be on support and be willing to get up the pitch. In front of them was a anchorman and a volante on support. The anchorman is a simple role, he doesnt venture too far from the backline so he made for a good shield while the wingbacks and the volante and attacking playmaker surged forward during transitions. The big gap in midfield would be bridged by an AP(A) who would carry the ball, and down the right flank we had a Volante coming up with an IF in front of him, between the two they would keep the ball well enough in some transitions to lay it off to the wingback who would be able to make a natural overlap if space opened up. Down the left a more aggressive story with an IW(A) who would attack the space with an AF(A) ahead of him. 

Once again the AF(A) is chosen because of he is a good focal point for sides that want to counter.

My preset is exactly the same as it seeks to draw teams down the flank before countering. Naturally there will be times when such a defensive posture may come to bite me on the back. Bournemouth for example was a torrid match as I became this against a 442 that was riding high in the league.  This is a team that had one of the best attacks. Well it didnt turn out the way I had hoped. They drilled us with setpieces and long shots, and within 10 minutes I was a goal down.  I decided to switch into a 3412 but their wingers were too good on the day, taking us apart and forcing me to rethink my strategy.  I now had a 4231, a deep 4231 and a 433 diamond. All three tactics were solid enough, my choice to go into a 3412 in hopes that I could miraculously erase that deficit was a poor one.

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We have one final controlled block tactic to create. And it would be a system that could easily be used by my players. A 4141DM or a 433DM.

 

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So this was always going to be a difficult game, I am under no illusions that we are going out to Tottenham Hotspurs in the Europa League, but I honestly believe that we can make it very hard for them with our Gaius Diamond system. Once again the system has no player instructions in it, relying entirely on how you use the roles and duties to generate movement and counter attacking potential. The relative positioning of the players also makes it really hard for teams to cut inside and score. Tottenham Hotspur came into this game as strong favorites, we had already sent PSV packing in the last round 7-4 on aggregate. 

This time I took the system and simply played it on Very Defensive mentality. Why such a low mentality? 
Mentality is a risk modifier, plus it affects individual roles differently. Roles like the AF in my tactic become positive, the IF becomes balanced and the IW(A) becomes balanced. Most of the other attack duties will be balanced. The support duties become cautious and the defend duties become very cautious. I don't believe there is much of a distinction individually but when you look at the whole team, most of the players are not inclined to take many risks

The team as a whole is playing cautiously with only one player taking some risks moving forward. I felt this was going to be a good option at home. I just wanted to sit back soak and hit on the counter, hoping to leverage off set pieces and counters. It's not a style of football I usually play, but recent feedback from people seems to suggest that this is a much harder thing for them to do. So for a limited time I will wear this "park the bus" attitude. And it bore itself out.

1788315309_ParkTheBus.png.9cc87eed9d4329fe5d2fab14aa72fbfe.png

Spurs came into this game playing cautiously as well. They favoured a 433DM system, but were really only limited to two shots from their feet inside the box, and neither was a good chance. We had a few chances, but only scored from a set piece. Overall I would have been happy to drive this match into a stalemate, but I will take the win. It only reinforces my point that set pieces are important. I just wish the set piece module would be separate from tactics, so that I could create set pieces for specific players instead of positions and that I could just pick one much like tactics without having to move players around for different tactical systems.

705874499_ParkTheBus2.png.63a9d374458ec67bb1854602b25ecf52.png

My only tactical change in this whole game was to change mentality from Balanced to Very Defensive.

The xG was low as would be expected from a game thats essentially a form of defensive attrition, I am happy with our splits though, our individual chances weren't so bad. I leave the pkm for you guys to pore through.

Sporting CP v Tottenham Gaius.pkm

 

Our approach in the second leg was different. Whoever scores the first goal has an edge. If they do, we need to score again, and we will be under a lot of pressure as the momentum will be with the home side. So I chose to take the game to Spurs in the first half, hoping to score. The moment we scored our first goal I went into a bunker with a  Very Defensive Gaius system. And we managed to beat them away from home 2-1 and 3-1 on aggrerate.

Controlled Block systems can be a lot of fun and not too hard to set up as long as you think about the roles and duties in defense and transition, but they should not be your only plan.  You still need a plan somewhere that is attacking, a plan that can put pressure on sides.

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The biggest issue people have with such systems - dealing with crosses, not challenging to win the ball.
These can be addressed by choosing 
- the right role duty combinations where you want to apply the press
- opting for players who have strong defensive mental attributes, marking and tackling in zones where you need to win the ball. To deal with crosses you absolutely need players with good jumping reach and heading

If you look at the left flank of the Gaius system you will notice the use of an anchorman, thats intentional because i have a WB(S)/IW(A) combination. I expect that flank to get run over sometimes against better sides. So i am hoping that the anchorman does a job helping out, and I also dont want a role that moves too far forward. On the right flank I have a SV who will get forward, the danger here for our transitions when we have the ball is that my defence may not have a passing outlet, thus electing to hoof it out. Here I use a BPD that can bring the ball forward with a WB(S) who should be a decent passing option. The use of an IF(S) is important as any other attacking duty here could isolate the passing options for us when we have the ball in defence.

 

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This is a godsend for me. I always wanted to play counter-attacking football but pretty much never had success. I'd whine and complain that the ME favors counter-pressing but surprisingly this did little to help my situation. Looking forward to the tactics breakdown!

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5 hours ago, Novem9 said:

Oh this is interesting! 

I noticed that play out of defence has a sence for my counter tactics in some cases, because opposite team started to play higher and give me space for run 

It’s something I’ve been using myself! Seems to be working well drawing them higher. Hit early crosses seems to be deadly as well. 

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21 hours ago, mikcheck said:

@RashidiI believe concentration (midfield and defense) and jumping reach (defense) in are very important for this?

Concentration is important, if you have a few players in midfield who have jumping reach that would be excellent

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On 14/12/2020 at 15:23, Rashidi said:

 

 

I had two players on the day who weren't very fast but they both had great anticipation and jumping reach. Out went my faster defenders and in came two with a combined acceleration of 16. In this system i had more players set to go back because i wanted more players in the box but not standing in a line to ensure that we had bodies cramping up the box.  20 corners came and none were converted. We didn't win on the day, but this is something every controlled block or low block strategy needs to consider. How do you defend against the inevitable deluge of corners, free kicks and long shots.  

There are zones that need coverage and a defensive line can't really be too deep that it invites the long shot. So the first system I will share is the Agrippa system. Its a 4231DM system that sits relatively deep to low block systems but not so deep that I suffer from long shots. The system has two defensive midfielders - a rather aggressive combination that I enjoy but also illogical for very defensive setups.  It features a Regista and a Segundo Volante. This is an interesting combination. If you can find the right attributes you can have a solid defensive pair, but you need to be aware of the risks that come up with the roaming regista and the charging volante.

In my system the Volante is set to attack but to ensure some security I pair him with a Fullback on support. Could I have gone for a more defensive choice for a fullback. A fullback on defend would still have issues providing support for the volante higher up the pitch, but he would be  a better defensive option. It is a trade off between attack and defence. I chose the more attacking option, because there is a gulf between the two DMs and the advanced midfield areas that need to be bridged. In case the Segundo Volante runs out of options he has the Fullback on the right to pass to.

The regista is a defensive midfielder who is a creative attacking outlet. Since I am playing with 2 defensive midfielders my system is going to need some push to get numbers up the pitch to support attacks. It runs the risk of isolation between defence and attack. So here I go with the more attacking option down the left flank - a wingback.

The system is considered a controlled block because i am intentionally playing in a way to keep a deeper block while funneling the opposition attacks down the flank with the narrow defensive width. This means that I need to deal with crosses and potentially corners. I also don't want to give the ball away needlessly so the keeper has been told to play it out to the central defenders. When we attack and lose the ball the priority of the team will be to get back and defend so I use the Regroup instruction. Our defensive line will influence how far they need to drop. I leave it on standard because I don't want my defenders leaving the two central midfielders isolated and without passing options. They will still need to get back into position for balls over the top, but they wont have to run too far to recover.

I will use a Ball playing defender behind the Volante so that i get a slightly staggered passing option that includes my Regista/SV/BPD. It is risky but that is why our fullback is on support. To keep the ball more effectively I get my team to play on narrow width so they focus their passes inside where the Regista/SV operate. With an IW on the left flank, the regista will have some options to pass to in case he comes under pressure. 

Up top is where my attacking patterns will kick in. My wingback has a strong chance of overlapping naturally when the IW comes inside and he can be found by the Regista, that gives me one good deadly crossing option. On the opposite flank I need to generate movement and space for the IF to attack. Here the option is interesting, I go for a Trequartista, because these roles roam a lot and they also drop deep on occasion. He will support the two defensive midfielders sometimes and then bust a gut to get back into the box.  He makes for a very good option to draw more players away. 

Finally my favorite role for counter attacking systems. The Advanced Forward, this is a role that is a focal point for attacks. In a counter attacking system he is aggressive and with the potential to move into channels, even his movement can be annoying to pick up. if he goes wide to pick up a ball which can happen the IF(A) attacks the space. If he doesn't and the AF stays in the box, we have two to aim for.

I don't intend to use this system at home, unless i want to defend a goal. Away from home this will be my preferred option against sides that are better than me. However against defensive sides I will favour something more aggressive. Even shifting the two defensive mids into central midfield is a good option.

This is what I am using - the Agrippa System

463783012_LOWBLOCK1.png.b382ae564d3ca0c18030fb43a0395581.png

 

 

How you make this more aggressive for teams you expect to beat? You say move the 2 DM's into a central midfield role, what roles what you use?

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Now for anyone who is interested in deep analysis I can't recommend Coaches Voice enough. I typically go to them to either verify what I see or even sometimes shamelessly adapt their ideas into the game. This is a very good analysis of the game and will be the basis of the final formation. Liverpool 2 Tottenham 1: Tactical Analysis - The Coaches' Voice

 

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1 hour ago, Sparky_07 said:

How you make this more aggressive for teams you expect to beat? You say move the 2 DM's into a central midfield role, what roles what you use?

Well if i wanted to play it as an aggressive system it would stop being a controlled block more or a mid block, where my defensive line would be positioned higher but i would keep my LOE at standard and shift the 2 DMs into CM(S) and CM(D) roles, whilst maintaining the rest of the tactic. That will be the basis of an upcoming attacking tactic that i have planned.

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2 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

Well if i wanted to play it as an aggressive system it would stop being a controlled block more or a mid block, where my defensive line would be positioned higher but i would keep my LOE at standard and shift the 2 DMs into CM(S) and CM(D) roles, whilst maintaining the rest of the tactic. That will be the basis of an upcoming attacking tactic that i have planned.

That's what I was getting confused with. Pushing my Defensive line further forward and if LOE would change. Really good post again.

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1 minute ago, Sparky_07 said:

That's what I was getting confused with. Pushing my Defensive line further forward and if LOE would change. Really good post again.

Sorry bout that, my goal was to see if its possible to do something in the long run which features a side that wants to be effective playing a low to mid controlled block.  I will try and adapt it more for Spurs by the 3rd tactic or try to :-)

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I usually get around 2-3 per game, I reckon one should expect that when they want to play that way. The two central midfielders in most systems will pick up cards. The fullbacks might pick up cards from set pieces if people have them on default.

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5 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

I usually get around 2-3 per game, I reckon one should expect that when they want to play that way. The two central midfielders in most systems will pick up cards. The fullbacks might pick up cards from set pieces if people have them on default.

I am playing 4-4-1-1 low block with "get stuck in" and in the long run it has caused me problems with the cards. Especially for the fact that I found myself with 3-4 excluded in some games.

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Why did they get the yellow cards? How did they get them? Typically there is always a reason, sometimes its the players hidden traits, other times its a tactical decision you could have made about a player who may be unsuitable for a specific job. For example you set corner routines up and only have the DL/DL/DM but these players all have average anticipation or acceleration. The players turn when defending a counterattacking ball over the top, and as an opposition player slips by they make a tackle,  sometimes they will pick up a card because of that. Other times he is playing a role that you have chosen giving him little support, then he is forced into making a rash challenge because its better to pick up  a card then to allow the player through.

The players in the game do make a decision on whether to go in hard if they have already picked up a card. So there is always a reason. I have also played quite a few matches where I don't pick up a single card. You need to break down the reason why you got the card. Another example, i had a player sent off because I wanted to take a chance by playing him out of position, he has never played the position and he gets sent off. That was the first sending off in his career, but it was my fault

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fm_MdZnOksSnZ.png.69ce5d9b17c1765b24ded053dee8ba9a.png

Instant impact. I'm predicted to finish 17th. It's like a cheat tactic, it got me my first 2 wins this season. Although it works a bit different than advertised.

fm_OnYO7CKDsM.png

EDIT: after the players got more familiar with the tactic, I can say it works as intended. Beautiful counter attacks. What I usually do is change the TQ to AM(s), SV(a) to DM(s) and REG to DLP(s) if I'm leading around the 75th minute.

I still have to experiment with the defensive corners routine. I conceded 2 goals from Sevilla in the first 15 minutes from corners, but we scored 3 on the counter, winning 3-2.

Amazing work as always, Rashidi! 

Edited by Vali184
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2 hours ago, Vali184 said:

after the players got more familiar with the tactic, I can say it works as intended. Beautiful counter attacks. What I usually do is change the TQ to AM(s), SV(a) to DM(s) and REG to DLP(s) if I'm leading around the 75th minute.

These changes are all very good, they drop the 3 roles slightly deeper and are all more conservative options compared to the original roles. You jumped ahead of my little story :-) However,  I would check to see what is causing all your players to pick up more yellow cards. While its entirely possible that we will see more yellow cards, it's still good to nail down the events that led to those. As always my goal is not to suggest that my system is the only way to produce it, but to encourage everyone to understand the logic behind them so they can go and do their own adaptations.

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13 hours ago, Rashidi said:

Why did they get the yellow cards? How did they get them? Typically there is always a reason, sometimes its the players hidden traits, other times its a tactical decision you could have made about a player who may be unsuitable for a specific job. For example you set corner routines up and only have the DL/DL/DM but these players all have average anticipation or acceleration. The players turn when defending a counterattacking ball over the top, and as an opposition player slips by they make a tackle,  sometimes they will pick up a card because of that. Other times he is playing a role that you have chosen giving him little support, then he is forced into making a rash challenge because its better to pick up  a card then to allow the player through.

The players in the game do make a decision on whether to go in hard if they have already picked up a card. So there is always a reason. I have also played quite a few matches where I don't pick up a single card. You need to break down the reason why you got the card. Another example, i had a player sent off because I wanted to take a chance by playing him out of position, he has never played the position and he gets sent off. That was the first sending off in his career, but it was my fault

You are right, I need to analyze what leads to this situation. Perhaps happy with the results, I left out this fact that has created problems for me in the long run

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16 hours ago, Bot Makel said:

@ Rashidi have you got a problem with "get stuck in"? You've had too many yellow cards? 

I'd watch out for players with high Dirtiness in any kind of hard tackling/high pressing system. Lately I've been messing around with Atletico Madrid and the amount of fouls combination of Counter-Press and Get Stuck In gave away was through the roof. Lo and behold, most of the original squad has Dirtiness of around 13/14+, which combined with high Aggression can be a recipe for disaster in FM terms.

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4 minutes ago, Zemahh said:

I'd watch out for players with high Dirtiness in any kind of hard tackling/high pressing system. Lately I've been messing around with Atletico Madrid and the amount of fouls combination of Counter-Press and Get Stuck In gave away was through the roof. Lo and behold, most of the original squad has Dirtiness of around 13/14+, which combined with high Aggression can be a recipe for disaster in FM terms.

 

I play in the lower leagues and my players are far from good even compared to their opponents. In fact, from a quick first analysis, playing with an aggressive low block like Simeone, counter-press with "Get stuck in" creates some risky situations that end with a foul and a card.

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Do you not find the SV-Attack and the Inside Forward getting in each others way?? I'm using a similar set up but have only tried the SV on support as I didn't want him getting directly in the IF path and crowd him out.

Interesting to see you use a Regista next to a SV as well, Although I also use Balanced mentality, i found that anything other than  a more defensive role such as a DM-D/Anchor he would often leave the defence exposed by moving further up the field. 

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These are great ideas as always Rashidi.

I only wanted to comment on yellow card issues people are seeing because of get stuck in instruction.

I think it's a very good instruction that helps these sorts of tactics very much. In my experience with get stuck in instruction you will see a flurry of yellow or even red cards, but do not panic! The fouls will mostly stop as you keep going and you will see less cards. This is somewhat tied with the discipline/punishment for cards you set at the beginning of the season. Once players start losing their wages they are a lot more careful with their tackles. As always, your mileage may vary but give it a shot and stick with the instruction for a bit.

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I do believe in strategies during a match, I am not one to stick to one gameplan without changing. Before a game I like to check my team reports to find out the attacking and defensive efficiency of teams I am about to face. In my next match I was lined up to face Norwich.

1009410215_AttackingEfficiency.png.e0ad80154b427b5e77f61423c651d318.png

In terms of attacking efficiency, they are a team that can be very dangerous, a side that clearly leads the league in shots per game, their conversion rate may only be 12% but they are still serious opposition,.

1420238531_DefensiveEficency.png.605e274d0c4c55476d9f842a709f3ecb.png

Their defensive efficiency was a different story however.  They don't face a lot of shots at home, but of those shots they lead the league in opposition conversion rates. So what did I do? Going into into this match I started with my more attacking tactic, once we scored 3 goals I switched 

2132448791_4231Attacking.png.dae862e2eb183c65508ae82c42cb2cdc.pngGaius.png.ab81307ad19242db1a21cacd52a9b730.png

over to our more defensive version of our tactic. I had to expect the inevitable attempts, but this was a team who only converted around 13% of their attempts, all I had to do was make sure they didn't get any easy chances inside the area. What I attempted to do was split their attack and keep their options limited to longer passes/crosses etc. Forest are in red.

2004569408_Splittingtheattack.thumb.png.b445557b6c5e35aef370ee4d98a213e3.png

Sometimes playing a controlled block to deny a team space and chances can also be used a strategy mid game when you have done your research on a team to find out their strengths and weaknesses.  I knew my defensive system isn't the best at fashioning chances from the start, something i found out painfully enough when I attempted to play it for 90 mins against Bournemouth. They put 5 past me. This time I had learned my lesson. Do your homework.

xGa.thumb.png.7f2a0b4975436648926d8436b8267727.png

There is something gratifying about winning a game with only 4 shots in total.

 

Norwich v Nottm Forest.pkm

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@Rashidi Do you're midfielders score much? I may be seeing it wrong but does a SV on attack duty carry alot of goal threat? Im trying to make a similar system to yourself but using 4411 or 442 with the possibility of splitting the mids into dm and cm. I see a SV as a deep lying b2b midfielder who is full of running and dynamic play?

My idea is having a more attack minded WB on the left side along with a more disciplined dm/cm on his side, with a WP on the left side of midfield (driven by playing to my squads strengths). On the Right would be a more conservative FB along side an SV(a) and a winger(A) to provide attacking width. 

 

Would that make sense to you?

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Hi Rashidi,

I play with the VFL Bochum in the German Bundesliga and I'm a big underdog. Last year I stayed in the league winning the relegation match in overtime. 

I played a 4-4-2 and concerned a lot of goals, so I thought it is a good idea to be a litte bit more organised and play counter attack. I tried your 4-3-3 because it 

seems to fit the best to my players. But I doesn't work. I only score 2 goals in 4 matches one was a penalty. I doesn't see my team counter, it seems we are to 

weak to bring the ball forward. So it's only a matter of time when we get a goal against us. This one was horrible :rolleyes:

1536704078_Bildschirmfoto2020-12-22um18_30_35.png.5cbac58ce248951cb6ec7374cfe86c74.png

Do you recommend not to play such kind of tactic when your time is too weak? I really want to understand what happens.

Thanks in advance :)

 

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@sgevolkerIt's pretty hard giving you a generalised answer. Even when I play a controlled block such as the one I use isn't used for 90 minutes. I have a strategy going into the game and the decision to protect the lead is done with a tactic that allows me to park the bus. When you sit back for 90 minutes as a weaker team, eventually you are going to get swarmed. 

When we create systems that need to counter we also need to spot transitions to see whether those limited chances are working or not? I had a game where I needed to beat Lazio in the europa cup as Sporting Portugal. My goal was simple, I needed to make sure that on counters my targetman would at least be able to apply pressure. I also had to make sure that when we defend, while we want to draw teams in, we absolutely had to win the ball when we are defending.  So even if your side is the weaker team you need to do your homework.

The game right now provides a lot of information, for example, some sides may be strong but how does their finishing compare to the rest of the league? I spend a lot of time analyzing teams before I play them looking for their strengths and weaknesses. There is a video I just did which covers this..

It is so easy in FM21 to attack and try and win the game that way, playing in a controlled way is about controlling the game. So if you are not winning the ball on the counter you need to look at how your overall tactic is set up. Ifd you lost 7-1 it suggests that somewhere in your system you needed to adapt. The 4231DM version for example, I always tell people who dont have the right players to go DLP(D) DM(S) and AMC(S). The 433Diamond is a deep system and that is usually used by me only against sides that leave a lot of space. 

And you played a 442, as the weaker team. I probably would have played a 442DM as the weaker team and played with 2DMs to make it harder for good sides to get inside the channels. Personally I rarely play the 442 as the weaker team.  A preset is not a magical formula for success. All presets usually work with specific formations better than others.

@daveb653he does but he tends to arrive late into the box, so I usually train one to play that role if he has a good long shot attribute.

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@Rashidi Thanks for you explanation, I think I understand. After viewing a view matches I can say, that you're right and I get swarmed. Most of the balls I'm playing forward are immediate coming back and my striker is not able to "hold" the ball. I'm sitting to deep and it's only a matter of time when I concern a goal. 

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Awesome stuff, Rashidi.  Eventually I get into a tactical rut and all my tactics start looking vaguely familiar and then I read one of your posts and my eyes get opened up again.  I love to compress the midfield, win the ball back in my own half and play with a lethal touch.  I've also been toying with the idea of playing with two CM in the midfield so I can set each up to how I want them to play together and this has given me a lot of food for thought.

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Very interesting thread Rashidi! 

Last year was the first one where I really tried to get the controlled block going with a counterattacking approach and while it was certainly possible to get results with it, the football left a lot to be desired. This year I've taken the job at Aris Thessaloniki and I've decided to try again. I always used the compressed lines that you use and forced them outside while regrouping, but offensively it never really clicked the way I wanted it. Your instructions of playing it narrow and focusing through the middle have really helped in that regard. I play a different formation than you do, with the RW and LW in the midfield strata and a roaming playmaker ahead of a DM and SV. But it's bringing me the results I want and more importantly, I'm enjoying the style of play.

Here you can see stats from 2 recent big games with the average positions below.

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8e45d04d836a47d7d93aac75920c5daf.png

 

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What is your thinking behind using top heavy formation for low block? Do attacking roles like if and treq do a good enough job of defending or do you man mark with them to guarantee they come back? @Rashidi

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What if we want to use Deep Lying Forward(S) or Complete Forward(S) with this mentality? Tottenham now does that, Kane plays like False 9/DLF and Heung Min Son plays like Raumdeuter so they make lot of beatiful goals, could it be achievable in th game? Also I could not find a role pair like Hojbjerg-Sissoko in the game, in theory its like Deep Lying Playmaker(D) - Ballwinning Midfielder(S) however this pair isn't look good to me, also i cannot win the games with all these tweaks. My players(especially midfielder) cannot win ball at half spaces and my defenders miss the header so, we concede.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This thread deserves to be on the front page still...

I've been using a control possession 433 (DM and AMR/L) tactic at Man Utd to great success against the smaller teams, however I was struggling closing out close games and throughout the big games, partly because Maguire's lack of pace and Lindelof's lack of aerial presence could easily be exploited.

I now start big games with a slightly adjusted version of the Gaius Diamond. It's also pretty compatible with my default tactic as something to switch to later in games to see things out.

A few tweaks I make depending on how the game's going:

  • Ahead and holding the ball well: slow tempo, switch off play for set pieces, pass into space, and early crosses.
  • Struggling for possession either generally or while breaking: use a targetman or creative forward at ST as F9, and then play IFa either side of him.  Occassionally doing the above too
  • I'll also occassionally move the Volante up to the CM strata when the team I'm up against aren't playing with more than 2 central attackers, BWMs often helps winning the midfield battle

But yeah, thanks for this Rashidi, because without it I'd have been stuck with the FM recommended aggressive tactics and continued leaking goals, it's added a new way of playing to my locker.

My only complaint is how ineffectual some counter attacks are.  Players get bunched up together and don't seem to make runs for each other, or, even more annoyingly, just stop in their tracks off the ball rather than stretching the defence.  But I think this is ME/player related rather than tactic.

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