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Ancelotti's Xmas Tree - Is it possible?


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The movements of the two attacking midfielders in Milan started from wide positions. So a 4-3-3 might still work. And if I think about Seedorf I remember the many goals from distance or from the edge of the area. For this solution I would say IFsu or IWsu for Seedorf and IFat for Kakà. If instead we want to revive the Christmas tree, Kakà SSat and Seedorf AMsu.

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1 hour ago, Bot Makel said:

. If instead we want to revive the Christmas tree, Kakà SSat and Seedorf AMsu.

This is why I love discussions, so many points of view. I remember one piece of play from the final, Kaka dropped deep into midfield to pick up a pass to play over the top. The freedom of movement he had made me so excited to watch him back then.

@kalokalitokaloThe challenge for Seedorf will then be getting him into the penalty area quickly. Interested to know how you see it happening. 

Once again there are no wrong opinions only different points of view, and each could be correct depending on your original framework.

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31 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

This is why I love discussions, so many points of view. I remember one piece of play from the final, Kaka dropped deep into midfield to pick up a pass to play over the top. The freedom of movement he had made me so excited to watch him back then.

@kalokalitokaloThe challenge for Seedorf will then be getting him into the penalty area quickly. Interested to know how you see it happening. 

Once again there are no wrong opinions only different points of view, and each could be correct depending on your original framework.

This is the heatmap from that UCL final:

https://www.uefa.com/newsfiles/ucl/2006/1_playersheatmap.pdf

For Seedorf:

image.png.be8449b9c05794b253ba5d6607ff70d3.png

 

Edit to say that he is not that high in the pitch nor goes that often to the penalty area. Compared with Kaká's is a bit deeper:

image.png.92e5b73c5d73acd8aabca538d6a4cbac.png

Edited by kalokalitokalo
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I remember that Milan team. Seedorf dropped to link play and Kaka attacked the box (while Inzaghi basically set camp there and barely moved). So I would go SS for Kaka, AM(su) for Seedorf (with move into channels and roam from position ticked).

If you want to go with Mezzala for the Ambrosini role, that will have to be the hardest working mezzala in the world. That guy was one of the most boringly useful players I have ever seen.

looking forward to see what you end up with.

Edited by Enzo_Francescoli
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1270050774_Seedorfmovement.thumb.jpg.2048cbe6bc2bd1f27234b64fe6c1d145.jpg

I don't know if you remember the goal scored, where seedorf moved from inside left, ran centrally then did an outrageous header to assist the first goal. That's him encircled.
 

461039116_SeedorfMovingthroughthechanneltolinkfor1stgoal.thumb.jpg.07cff99b3b0036c620867def16d9feae.jpg

I still remember the pass, it was deep, Seedorf ran onto that pass from an advanced position to arrive near the edge of the box to head the ball to the goal scorer. It's one of the reasons I find his role the hardest to fulfil. I see Kaka as a TQ, that way he can drop deep as much as he wants and still busts a gut to play a part in the attack. I will admit the creation itself is not a replication.  The Seedorf role has always got me stumped.  In the end it may just have to be a workable 4321 imho. In one version I created a Xmas tree formation but it had to forgo the Seedorf role and I had to look for someone to link plays up. For me its that lateral movement I really want to achieve.

interested in what people think, I will test out various versions in the next few days, since its easily the most popular request i get.

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@Rashidi I had to watch all Milan goals that season! lol 

Quite hard to make it realistic as sometimes Kaka was appearing in the center-left, others in the center-right, and same for Seedorf but arriving at the area a bit later...

I would go for the 4-3-2-1 christmas tree. But the video gave me an idea, what about a deep christmas tree?

image.png.ae11a93921dcb7a5ff203a348cc02335.png

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Let's evaluate this and see what the roles will do:
 

TM(S) will be a focal point of attacks, sometimes depending on mentality and any other PIs chosen, the way its set up most likely only through the RGA. The right CM role looks solid with a BWM(D) but with a deep christmas tree and if i am not mistakenly its really offset which means a lot of territory to cover. 

This system needs to be tried out first though. The issue is the link up play cos there may be too many deep players leaving too big a gap in midfield it needs to be played to assessed.

 

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Seedorf's movement in action was not a constant in his game, as mentioned he was more of a link so I'd say the support task is the best. Also in the game it could happen that he does these movements, not often and adds PI's. If you wanted to recreate a precise replica you would have to go with asymmetrical formations. Like @Rashidi you did for the athletico.

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Oh man, this is perfect timing as I've been trying both Ancelotti's classic formations with Milan. The midfield three of Bennacer, Tonali and Kessie is a fantastic platform to build this sort of formation, though there is a lack of depth after those three. I was running it as a MEZ(S), DLP(D), CAR(S), which seemed to work quite well.

In terms of the front three, I'm thinking Gilardino/Inzaghi's a DLF(A) as it seems to strike the right balance between dropping deep, and utilising Inzaghi's tendency of peeling off the last defender. Kaka seems a fairly straightforward Trequartista for me. Seedorf is trickier, I'm thinking an AM(S) role, with perhaps 'Get Further Forward' and 'Moves into Channels'?
 


 

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I've always had a soft spot for this formation. Would be great to see it replicated on the game!

Just caught up with this article:

https://www.dreamteamfc.com/c/news-gossip/137347/remembering-milan-christmas-formation/ 

I would probably think of something like this:

GK

CWB(a) CB(d) BPD(d) WB(s)

BWM(d) Reg/RPM Vol(s)

AP(a) Mez(s/a)

AF(a)

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Greetings.

IDK if it's against the forum rules but I will link to a topic (on this very forum) about an old thread I recently remembered:

In this sort of replication the christmas tree formation used Kaka and Rui Costa as AMC's and Seedorf played in the Ambrosini role...

Nevertheless, the WM-S is a customizable role and was used in here to a great effect. I would definitely considered adding up WM-S to my previous guesses.

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Nice to see a classic and successful formation being replicated for FM21, last time i tried to replicate it we had sliders in the tactic creation....

Always had in my mind as 41311 'holy cross' and not a typical Xmas tree so i can't wait to see how this project will evolve.

This is how i had the positions (not role/duties) in my mind:

8605bfb0e36fdc35991a2c676f33ccd2.png

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Just a quick update before i add to this post. This morning the patch was released, so I wanted to see if it would work the way I envisioned. In our latest match, a bruising encounter in a cup match, the assumption that the DLP be critical was borne out. In that match for the first 50 mins or so I had the wrong player there, we did fall l a goal behind forcing me to change players around.

That resulted in slightly better passes and movement off the ball. We also picked up a series of yellow cards early down the right flank because the player there wasn't entirely suited to being a BWM. Swapping players around fixed that issue. I have attached a pkm if anyone is interested because these are more unsightly 

291729958_XmasTree2.thumb.jpg.7750ef66b92c5e6042fccea5d5e16fc9.jpg

I am playing with very aggressive wingbacks which puts this system at a lot of risk, but i want it to encapsulate a certain reckless style, more conservative options would probably remove the underlap or even play with FB(A)

 

Torino v Brescia Xmas tree.pkm

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On 16/12/2020 at 01:28, Bot Makel said:

 

Seedorf's movement in action was not a constant in his game, as mentioned he was more of a link so I'd say the support task is the best. Also in the game it could happen that he does these movements, not often and adds PI's. If you wanted to recreate a precise replica you would have to go with asymmetrical formations. Like @Rashidi you did for the athletico.

Yeah but asymmetric systems can be a real headache for those not used to it, I will go for something more that may be a bit less like the real system but hopefully captures the essence of the style

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Here is a pkm of a match where I played against Cagliari who are 4th on the table and have been particularly difficult side to play when they are at home. They line up in a 4141DM.  In this game I had a fair bit of game management, I started the match with the two wingbacks as FB(S), we drew a yellow card early so i took the team off hard tackling. Once the opposition picked up 2 yellow cards, I turned my fullbacks to Wingbacks(A) and played like normal without the hard tackling.  The substitution strategy had to be right as well.  My first yellow card was for the central DLP.  My second and third subs were to bring on players who played in key positions that needed legs to keep moving. 

I will do a complete write up of the tactic tomorrow. It isn't entirely an AC Milan replication, but it is something that I feel could work, provided the manager pays attention to on field events. Its how I like to play.

 

Cagliari v Torino.pkm

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1 hour ago, josel15 said:

Increasing the wing backs mentality.

Not just that, hover your mouse pointer and read the pop-up description... you may be amazed ;)

edit: here is for Underlap
19db5328ef3783f6cd8f709b3a57f706.png

Edited by kevaggel
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So after watching the very recent Rio Ferdinand and Carlo Ancelotti BT sport interview (it's on Youtube if you want to watch it, think it was uploaded a couple of weeks ago), Ancelotti discusses the "Christmas Tree" final. He's absolutely adamant that defensively the formation was a normal 442. And it was in attack where Seedorf moved inwards, Gattuso stayed narrow and reserved, and the full backs bombed forward. 

With that in mind, I decided to try a little replication. I'm using my old Udinese testing date (away to Inter) so bear that in mind. The player pool I used is relatively suitable, except for a Wide Right Midfielder who has the attributes of a BWM- I had to play Coulibaly out of position. 

I've played the match twice now, with two slightly different versions of the tactic. My aims were:

1) To replicate the defensive 442 shape

2) To replicate the attacking 4321 shape

3) To try and do this without using assymetrical formations (I will come back to this)

Now, while a situational 442 defensive shape can be achieved without setting up the tactic in that way, it doesn't really meet the requirements imo. For example, if you set it up as a 4321, of course the right wide midfielder will cover the flank if playing as a CAR or as a BWM and a player is running down that way. So it might "function" sometimes as a 442. But the settled mid block when under pressure will not be a 442, unless that is the shape created in the tactic creator. And this is important because at the heart of Ancelotti's tactical thought is that Sacchi 442. He originally thought that a very strict 442 was the ideal shape, and since Juventus has moved to the idea that 442 is the ideal defensive/pressing shape (a thought shared with many modern managers- e.g. Pep, Mourinho) and the offensive shape can be different. Look at how Everton sometimes function- Richarlison will join the press with DCL up top and Sigurddson/Gomes will cover the left flank. Although I don't think Ancelotti is 100% able to implement this style with Everton's current personnel.

He also did the same with Real Madrid the year he won the CL final. 433 in attack/on paper  Ronaldo-Benzema-Bale with Di Maria-Alonso (Khedira in the final)-Modric behind. But defensively/as they pressed, it was a 442 with Ronaldo-Benzema up top, and Di Maria-Alonso-Modric-Bale behind. 

Anyway, that's absolutely necessary imo- 442 block/pressing structure, 4321 in attack.

Here's the first version:

image.png.64795c7a221f0cb4cd13228f9894e6cd.png

It's quite simple: the idea is that the LCM, RCM and RM form a 3 in possession and the IW and TQ have relatively free roles. But it should defend in a 4411 shape. To achieve this without asymmetry we've had to use quite a few PIs:

IWa: take more risks, cross less often, roam from position, sit narrower- I am not sure whether RFP is necessary here.

BWMs: sit wider

WMs: cross less often, dribble less, hold position, sit narrower, tackle harder. To create a pseudo-wide ball winner. 

I'm not super happy with the full set of TIs. Although tighter marking would make sense in how Ancelotti plays (tight Sacchi zonal marking) it seemed to just mean the wide midfielders would often man mark the opposition full backs in build up- a match engine issue?

Below are two examples of this- the IW was getting forward perhaps a little too much, but in attack it was a clear 4-3 for the back 7.

Attack:

image.thumb.png.ecddd37f98f0296c45e89f49f7b0a5d1.png

Defend- clear 4411 shape shifted towards the ball carrier.

image.thumb.png.a6aa31d3fc3367b4b21c6696594c3afa.png

We lost 3-1 but we conceded one penalty and the total xG battle was 2.2-2.3 in our favour. So not too bad.

Second version 

I wasn't happy with the right midfielder, who despite my PIs was bombing on a little too much for my liking. 

image.thumb.png.9ff1767af682e71496f206093af34253.png

I upped the mentality to attacking and changed the midfielders to all be defensive. Same PIs I think. I'm not happy with the centre-forward role. In this tactic, the PF-A was too distant, but using a CF-A caused the player to roam too much. Not sure on this one. 

Here's the attacking shape (defensive shape same as before). Now the issue is that if I left the IW on attack with the boost in mentality it would be overkill and he would live in the box. But as an IWs he seemed to not really cut inside and sit as a 10 as much as I want. 

image.thumb.png.71203f1025d16bf271bb53cd7449aae9.png

Match finished 1-0 to us and was much tighter, xG was about 0.7-0.8 I think. 

The good things about both these tactics:

1) two banks of 4 in defense

2) DLP has most touches and passes by far, showing his centrality. The other centre mid, full backs and the right sided mid are all in the second tier, showing the build up is working as intended. 

3) TQ getting some shots off. 

4) The IW (especially in the first version of the tactic) is behaving very well- lots of lateral movement, defending on the left hand side, getting in the box (in the 2 games he scored 1 and assisted 1)

The negatives:

1) The TQ is not sitting in the right hand channel at all. 

2) The pressing shape is entirely as a 4411, with the TQ far too deep. Because the TQ presses less and is in the AM slot he naturally does not sit alongside the striker. 

3) The goals/chances haven't been particularly great. I think this can be achieved by tinkering with TIs- for now I just want to try and get the shapes right. 

4) Striker not getting good chances/service. 

Solutions to these problems:

To try and get that 2 10s behind the 1 striker shape, I think asymmetry is the best option. Move the TQ into the right hand channel?

To get the pressing/defensive shape to be a  442 I think there are two options- move the TQ up to sit alongside the striker in a true 442, possibly off centred so the shape is:

--------CF--TQ

IW-CM-DLP-WM

Or change the TQ role into an AM and add appropriate PIs to get them to press more/behave like a TQ. You'd lose some of the ball magnetism and lateral movement though. Again possibly off centred. 

Moving the Kaka player to the right hand side would a) move him into the right hand channel and b) create more space for the IW to move into the left hand channel.

Now I think moving to two up top would potentially get the right shape. However, I don't think the Kaka player can be a TQ alongside a striker. A TQ in the front line would have too high a mentality and would lead the line. So maybe a F9 or DLF with some PIs. I will explore this. 

PS. Anyone else notice keepers ignoring PoD and distribute to centre back instructions (esp on higher mentality) unless specifically given a short kick/roll out distribution style?

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Have you considered trying out a SS in the AM slot? Although I suspect if it is still central instead off right off center, will have the same issues.

1 hour ago, Flußkrebs said:

 

PS. Anyone else notice keepers ignoring PoD and distribute to centre back instructions (esp on higher mentality) unless specifically given a short kick/roll out distribution style?

This is something I've noticed the last day or two. Keeper frequently goes for more longer, more direct options (tactic in question is balanced mentality) despite distribution set to full backs & centerbacks + play out of defense.

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3 minutes ago, NotSoSpecialOne said:

Have you considered trying out a SS in the AM slot? Although I suspect if it is still central instead off right off center, will have the same issues.

This is something I've noticed the last day or two. Keeper frequently goes for more longer, more direct options (tactic in question is balanced mentality) despite distribution set to full backs & centerbacks + play out of defense.

I've been playing LLM so assumed that it might have been because my keeper lacks the decisions or something like that. But switched to a top team for this experiment and noticed the exact same behaviour. Don't think it's due to the new patch btw, as I was noticing it last week.

Edited by Flußkrebs
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