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Peaky Blinders: Dean Smith's Aston Villa 4231 Recreation


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This is a really really good thread! 

As a Villa fan myself, the comments I would make would be regarding the underlaps, Targett and Cash usually overlap before either crossing or cutting it back to Grealish who likes to drift to the edge of the box as the ball 'magnet' 

With a fully fit squad it is most likely Barkley will play in the middle with Grealish out wide on the left, but at the start of the season he also drifted out to the left to interplay with Grealish and Targett. I know you mentioned the inbalance for this in FM, however maybe switching the CMs around may be a better option for FM recreation? Luiz is the more defensive minded of the CMs, but this year McGinn has played a lot deeper using his wider range of passing alongside Luiz who protects the defence a little more

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19 hours ago, benhoward12 said:

This is a really really good thread! 

As a Villa fan myself, the comments I would make would be regarding the underlaps, Targett and Cash usually overlap before either crossing or cutting it back to Grealish who likes to drift to the edge of the box as the ball 'magnet' 

With a fully fit squad it is most likely Barkley will play in the middle with Grealish out wide on the left, but at the start of the season he also drifted out to the left to interplay with Grealish and Targett. I know you mentioned the inbalance for this in FM, however maybe switching the CMs around may be a better option for FM recreation? Luiz is the more defensive minded of the CMs, but this year McGinn has played a lot deeper using his wider range of passing alongside Luiz who protects the defence a little more

Thank you! You're right, watching back a bit and there are definitely overlaps. But there are also plenty of times where the full back will hold the ball and pass it back inside to the runner. Personally I think underlaps give prettier attacking play in FM but maybe turning them off would be more accurate!

I've tried holidaying a bit with various versions of the tactics with a left sided overload and I've struggled to get any success. But also haven't put a ton of thought into it. I also tried switching the midfield combo to Car-DLPs, DLPs-CMd and CMs-DLPd. All seem to be decent. Something I'll maybe come back to in the future. 

Edited by Flußkrebs
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Hi @Flußkrebs - great thread. I enjoyed reading. I do have a couple of questions after reading:

 

  1.  You've mentioned that a 4-4-2 is used in defence a few times yet put out a 4-2-3-1 defensive shape. Why is that?
  2. McGinn - like @benhoward12 I thought he needed to be a different role, although I would have gone with CM-Su with some PI's. CAR just seems too 'static' (not as likely to make forward runs). While he has 2 goals in your stats are they open play goals? With no assists from midfield at all I'd be inclined to be thinking you may need some more penetration and McGinn's position is where I'd be looking at it from. The CM-Su and CAR both have the same mentality. With the space in front of him I reckon he could become a secondary goal threat and at least offer either out ball options or actual assists with a different role.
  3. Notwithstanding point 1; how does the AMCR compare to the same role in AMC? You did say the front four are based off a different save (which is absolutely fine) I am just curious if there actually is a difference or if it's placebo.
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40 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

Hi @Flußkrebs - great thread. I enjoyed reading. I do have a couple of questions after reading:

 

  1.  You've mentioned that a 4-4-2 is used in defence a few times yet put out a 4-2-3-1 defensive shape. Why is that?
  2. McGinn - like @benhoward12 I thought he needed to be a different role, although I would have gone with CM-Su with some PI's. CAR just seems too 'static' (not as likely to make forward runs). While he has 2 goals in your stats are they open play goals? With no assists from midfield at all I'd be inclined to be thinking you may need some more penetration and McGinn's position is where I'd be looking at it from. The CM-Su and CAR both have the same mentality. With the space in front of him I reckon he could become a secondary goal threat and at least offer either out ball options or actual assists with a different role.
  3. Notwithstanding point 1; how does the AMCR compare to the same role in AMC? You did say the front four are based off a different save (which is absolutely fine) I am just curious if there actually is a difference or if it's placebo.

Hi @nick1408, thanks for the Qs.

So, the 442/4231 issue is something I've been thinking about how best to simulate in FM for a while now. Whilst nominally the FM formation is the defensive formation, so if they 'defend' in a 442 then we should play with the 442 on paper and set up the roles in order to get the attacking shape we want, I'm not sure if that will work. Let me explain.

So the number 10 in Villa's system will usually (but not 100% of the time) move up alongside the striker so they can press effectively from the front and/or block passing lanes. Sometimes this will even be a press with a front line of 4, which will then settle into rigid banks of 4 in defence. 

Barkley is a true universal midfielder. In build up he will sometimes drop to collect the ball in the DM slot, he will run forward and play passes. In build up around the box he will both act as a central anchor for Grealish to play 1-2s off and he will play through balls to Watkins. And he will also swap with Watkins and try and get on the end of chances himself. So whatever role we give him  needs to try and simulate as much of this movement as possible. 

Realistically getting a player to drop very deep in possession and also press as part of a front isn't going to happen

Here's a still from the Liverpool game as an example- Watkins has just tackled Wijnaldum and Barkley is up alongside him.

image.png.06480da6970de07ebf7bdacd80ec6fee.png

I have tried playing with two up top (f9 and dlf for the barkley role) and you just don't get the 4231 shape in attack and build up to the same extent unfortunately. 

I've also tried and had some success with shifting the AM into the LCAM slot and the striker through the middle and in the RCF slot and this has worked well, creating more space. 

You're right about McGinn- CMs with take more risks and dribble more seems to be about right? I don't want move into channels or roam from position on though. MIC would cause too much clogging with the TQ and AM, and Roam would cause issues with the nominal double pivot.

Adding regroup has helped with defence somewhat.

AMC actually tends to work better than AMCR in terms of results :lol:. I struggled to get standard 10s to work on FM20 but playing an attacking striker with an SS/AM/AP seems to be quite easy to get going this year. But it doesn't really mimic the defensive shape I want. You can try using man marking of opposition centre-backs to try and force the issue but I'm not sure that's what is best.

PS. For what its worth re pressing, my take is that microromanaging of pressing structures/triggers is something ubiquitous at the top level but is not implemented in FM. And I imagine if it was it would be bad for balance and too easily exploitable for the human player. 

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I thought I'd post this as I've been playing with this tactic (albeit slightly adjusted). I've just knocked off France 3-2. Goals from the striker x 2 and one from a corner. I've flipped the tactic from @Flußkrebs above and also adjusted McGinn to a CM-Su with takes more risks, dribble more and close down more. Basically what we were chatting about above.

image.png.e094535e5a432f9455132b5227ffcd85.png

 

What's interesting here is France played a 4-4-2 while I played the 4-2-3-1. We can compare the average positions which is the overall average positions. What does happen is there is a lot of space for McGinn to play passes into. What happened a lot in this game was Hickey picked the ball up, played it to McGinn who then had a roughly open field to play the next ball. A lot went to the treq (who admittedly isn't the best for me - Billy Gilmour). McGinn passed the ball 73 times in this game and Turnbull 28 times. I don't have stats for Gilmour unfortunately.

 

I have Norway next so I might move the SS central just to see how it goes.  @Flußkrebs is right about one thing though - there is lots of space.

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10 horas atrás, Flußkrebs disse:

Hi @nick1408, thanks for the Qs.

So, the 442/4231 issue is something I've been thinking about how best to simulate in FM for a while now. Whilst nominally the FM formation is the defensive formation, so if they 'defend' in a 442 then we should play with the 442 on paper and set up the roles in order to get the attacking shape we want, I'm not sure if that will work. Let me explain.

So the number 10 in Villa's system will usually (but not 100% of the time) move up alongside the striker so they can press effectively from the front and/or block passing lanes. Sometimes this will even be a press with a front line of 4, which will then settle into rigid banks of 4 in defence. 

Barkley is a true universal midfielder. In build up he will sometimes drop to collect the ball in the DM slot, he will run forward and play passes. In build up around the box he will both act as a central anchor for Grealish to play 1-2s off and he will play through balls to Watkins. And he will also swap with Watkins and try and get on the end of chances himself. So whatever role we give him  needs to try and simulate as much of this movement as possible. 

Realistically getting a player to drop very deep in possession and also press as part of a front isn't going to happen

Here's a still from the Liverpool game as an example- Watkins has just tackled Wijnaldum and Barkley is up alongside him.

image.png.06480da6970de07ebf7bdacd80ec6fee.png

I have tried playing with two up top (f9 and dlf for the barkley role) and you just don't get the 4231 shape in attack and build up to the same extent unfortunately. 

I've also tried and had some success with shifting the AM into the LCAM slot and the striker through the middle and in the RCF slot and this has worked well, creating more space. 

You're right about McGinn- CMs with take more risks and dribble more seems to be about right? I don't want move into channels or roam from position on though. MIC would cause too much clogging with the TQ and AM, and Roam would cause issues with the nominal double pivot.

Adding regroup has helped with defence somewhat.

AMC actually tends to work better than AMCR in terms of results :lol:. I struggled to get standard 10s to work on FM20 but playing an attacking striker with an SS/AM/AP seems to be quite easy to get going this year. But it doesn't really mimic the defensive shape I want. You can try using man marking of opposition centre-backs to try and force the issue but I'm not sure that's what is best.

PS. For what its worth re pressing, my take is that microromanaging of pressing structures/triggers is something ubiquitous at the top level but is not implemented in FM. And I imagine if it was it would be bad for balance and too easily exploitable for the human player. 

Regarding the different formations when attacking and defending I guess it's really hard to put in the game and the best we'll get is base formation + roles/duties. 


I love structure and positional play and when I try to somehow replicate Pep, or at least the structure (I don't know if this is the best word to describe it) it's really frustrating. For example, City almost always defends in a 4-1-4-1 (of course this is just base formation because pressing triggers make everything change suddenly) but against teams that defend in a 5-4-1/5-3-2 they like to have 6 players vs 5 defenders, so they attack in a 316 structure. It's impossible at this moment to have those 3 players in defence like they do IRL , not with a FB (d) or the HB (d).

A bit off-topic but just wanted to complement the fact that it's very hard to replicate this type of movement where your defensive and attacking BASE formations are different.
 

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8 hours ago, UnkownManager said:

Is that not just the default skin?

Not sure. I I’ve used customs from the beginning because I like the “instant result” button on mods.

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3 hours ago, ericstpeter said:

Not sure. I I’ve used customs from the beginning because I like the “instant result” button on mods.

It is just the default skin :) Unless you were talking about some of the other screenshots, which are from various online analytics sites.

4 hours ago, drigaco said:

Regarding the different formations when attacking and defending I guess it's really hard to put in the game and the best we'll get is base formation + roles/duties. 


I love structure and positional play and when I try to somehow replicate Pep, or at least the structure (I don't know if this is the best word to describe it) it's really frustrating. For example, City almost always defends in a 4-1-4-1 (of course this is just base formation because pressing triggers make everything change suddenly) but against teams that defend in a 5-4-1/5-3-2 they like to have 6 players vs 5 defenders, so they attack in a 316 structure. It's impossible at this moment to have those 3 players in defence like they do IRL , not with a FB (d) or the HB (d).

A bit off-topic but just wanted to complement the fact that it's very hard to replicate this type of movement where your defensive and attacking BASE formations are different.
 

For what it's worth, I've been playing with various different versions of these tactics and any combo of SS/a and CF/s (esp with both having close down more PI) seems to get a pretty good pressing shape.

The sad part is that it's not particularly effective in FM at all- I guess it's a pretty complicated topic but football aesthetics vs functionality and how they translate into FM is kinda interesting. Like, why do we care about the pressing structure if Burnley can just tiki taka their way through it (speaking from experience... :lol:).

Also, I tried adding Regroup instead of Counter-press and thought it did the trick defensively- in one of the dozen or so sims I've done over the last day or two we were sat 5th going into December (5th on expected points as well). But then there was a massive collapse with just 3 wins in Dec-Jan-Feb so I have no idea :idiot:

I also tried removing ALL the TIs (inspired by that blank slate thread that's on the front page). Sometimes it worked sometimes it didn't, and regardless the only part I was erally happy with was it kept the relatively fluid front 4 and kept a defensive block of 8. I admire it from a building your own tactic point of view, but it isn't really of much help when trying to create specific existing systems (there's that aesthetic v function debate again...). 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 06/01/2021 at 17:28, Flußkrebs said:

It is just the default skin :) Unless you were talking about some of the other screenshots, which are from various online analytics sites.

For what it's worth, I've been playing with various different versions of these tactics and any combo of SS/a and CF/s (esp with both having close down more PI) seems to get a pretty good pressing shape.

The sad part is that it's not particularly effective in FM at all- I guess it's a pretty complicated topic but football aesthetics vs functionality and how they translate into FM is kinda interesting. Like, why do we care about the pressing structure if Burnley can just tiki taka their way through it (speaking from experience... :lol:).

Also, I tried adding Regroup instead of Counter-press and thought it did the trick defensively- in one of the dozen or so sims I've done over the last day or two we were sat 5th going into December (5th on expected points as well). But then there was a massive collapse with just 3 wins in Dec-Jan-Feb so I have no idea :idiot:

I also tried removing ALL the TIs (inspired by that blank slate thread that's on the front page). Sometimes it worked sometimes it didn't, and regardless the only part I was erally happy with was it kept the relatively fluid front 4 and kept a defensive block of 8. I admire it from a building your own tactic point of view, but it isn't really of much help when trying to create specific existing systems (there's that aesthetic v function debate again...). 

Hello mate, nice thread.

I haven't watched much of Villa this season unfortunatley, but you said that Villa defend in a sort of mid block 442 now. Have you thought about moving your wingers down a notch into a 4411?

Not only would this be able to reproduce a 442 in defence more accurately, but I've never managed to find any sort of long term consistency using a top heavy formation combined with a mid block, and it could be partly due to that collapse you had in mid season. Then you could also keep the 4231 but change the pressing instructions to make a high block for when you are chasing a game.

If you're letting the oposition come on to you somewhat, it makes more sense to me to defend with two banks of four, and only leave two players up for the counter, rather that 4.

It may also allow you to make McGinn a little more adventurous, seeing as the reaction seemed to be that a CAR was too conservative for him

Edited by Jack722
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Great thread. I actually had a lot of success with a Villa recreation here: 

 We are a great team to watch at the moment, the difficulty for me is getting the TI and mentality right. Positive makes sense for those direct transitions, but sometimes we're downright p[onderous in our build up (deliberately so) and there has been a new found emphasis on keeping things simple which tempts me to go lower down the chain.

 

I too had Barkley as an SS but in recent weeks Watkins has become far more of a PF for me. I'm tempted to go him as PF (A) then watkins as AM (S) behind.

Anyway just some food for thought but I think I'm going to try a Counter mentality version to see if it's too ponderous. 

 

Also re underlaps. Personally i'd go focus play left and leave it at that. 

 

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8 hours ago, beverage1982 said:

Great thread. I actually had a lot of success with a Villa recreation here: 

 We are a great team to watch at the moment, the difficulty for me is getting the TI and mentality right. Positive makes sense for those direct transitions, but sometimes we're downright p[onderous in our build up (deliberately so) and there has been a new found emphasis on keeping things simple which tempts me to go lower down the chain.

 

I too had Barkley as an SS but in recent weeks Watkins has become far more of a PF for me. I'm tempted to go him as PF (A) then watkins as AM (S) behind.

Anyway just some food for thought but I think I'm going to try a Counter mentality version to see if it's too ponderous. 

 

Also re underlaps. Personally i'd go focus play left and leave it at that. 

 

I do think to replicate Villa in FM the formation should probably be 4-4-1-1 to recreate the 2 banks of 4 Villa create in defence, with quick transitions on the attack

Edited by benhoward12
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8 hours ago, benhoward12 said:

I do think to replicate Villa in FM the formation should probably be 4-4-1-1 to recreate the 2 banks of 4 Villa create in defence, with quick transitions on the attack

Agree entirely. The only issue then is that it's hard to recreate Jack's role, I could never quite get him right as I think Treq is the most suitable

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11 minutes ago, beverage1982 said:

Agree entirely. The only issue then is that it's hard to recreate Jack's role, I could never quite get him right as I think Treq is the most suitable

Yeah that is the difficult part! IW(A) would be the best role for a 4-4-1-1 I would say 

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2 minutes ago, benhoward12 said:

Yeah that is the difficult part! IW(A) would be the best role for a 4-4-1-1 I would say 

Yeah that's what I had most success with but never quite felt right. Also worth checking out Rashidi's Controlled Blocks post which I think is a good template. I may try a 4231 deep as I like the idea of Mcginn as a Vol (S), that structure would also naturally lead to quick counters and bottom heavy shape. 

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14 minutes ago, beverage1982 said:

Yeah that's what I had most success with but never quite felt right. Also worth checking out Rashidi's Controlled Blocks post which I think is a good template. I may try a 4231 deep as I like the idea of Mcginn as a Vol (S), that structure would also naturally lead to quick counters and bottom heavy shape. 

Yeah it’s a good thread! The counter attacking thread below has some good stuff regarding quick transitions! 
 

the only thing I find with this game is that if you invite pressure you can get punished easily, which doesn’t always reflect real life

 

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I'm still struggling with this a little.

Agree 4411 is the best way to do it. Just can't seem to get the front 3 (jack Ollie Barkley) right.

 

I'm leaning IW / wp (a) for Jack. IW has the right movement but wp is more a ball magnet.

 

Then SS or Am (a) for Barkley?

 

For Ollie... DLF (a)? Cf(s)? Pf (s)?

 

Then TI I'm thinking.

 

Positive/Direct/dribble more/play out of defence

Counter/counterpress

Tight marking/tackle hard/lower line of engagement.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by beverage1982
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6 hours ago, beverage1982 said:

I'm still struggling with this a little.

Agree 4411 is the best way to do it. Just can't seem to get the front 3 (jack Ollie Barkley) right.

 

I'm leaning IW / wp (a) for Jack. IW has the right movement but wp is more a ball magnet.

 

Then SS or Am (a) for Barkley?

 

For Ollie... DLF (a)? Cf(s)? Pf (s)?

 

Then TI I'm thinking.

 

Positive/Direct/dribble more/play out of defence

Counter/counterpress

Tight marking/tackle hard/lower line of engagement.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'd use this as a base and tweak it when needed on a match-to-match basis.

                 DLFA

                   SS

WPA   MEZS   CMD    WMA

 

WBS     CDD    CDD     FBS

                   SKD

Positive Mentality

Hit Early Crosses, Pass Into Space, Overlap Left, Underlap Right, Focus Play Down Left Flank

Roll It Out, Distribute Quickly, Counter

Higher DL, More/Extreme Urgent Pressing, Use, Offside Trap

Edited by frukox
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10 hours ago, frukox said:

I'd use this as a base and tweak it when needed on a match-to-match basis.

                 DLFA

                   SS

WPA   MEZS   CMD    WMA

 

WBS     CDD    CDD     FBS

                   SKD

Positive Mentality

Hit Early Crosses, Pass Into Space, Overlap Left, Underlap Right, Focus Play Down Left Flank

Roll It Out, Distribute Quickly, Counter

Higher DL, More/Extreme Urgent Pressing, Use, Offside Trap

Thanks. Some food for thought. I'd say in my experience that's probably a little too aggressive for both Villa IRL and FM. I think McGInn is a CM (S) or at most a B2B. Likewise more urgent pressing but I'm intrigued by High d-line as the defenders were quite high up against newcastle. 

Also not sure about Underlap on the right though I'll agree with Overlap on left. Likewise 4 attack duties upfront scares me in FM :) more of a Paul lambert cautious type on the game anyway which  I'm having to overcome to get Villa's style this year. 
 

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9 minutes ago, beverage1982 said:

Thanks. Some food for thought. I'd say in my experience that's probably a little too aggressive for both Villa IRL and FM. I think McGInn is a CM (S) or at most a B2B. Likewise more urgent pressing but I'm intrigued by High d-line as the defenders were quite high up against newcastle. 

Also not sure about Underlap on the right though I'll agree with Overlap on left. Likewise 4 attack duties upfront scares me in FM :) more of a Paul lambert cautious type on the game anyway which  I'm having to overcome to get Villa's style this year. 
 

I don't think that's a big problem. MEZ will stay wide letting WPA in to the central areas and combine with WBS there. Attacking duties are for direct plays and they are responsible for diffferent parts of the pitch with that role distribution. DLFA will drop deep. SS/WMA will move forward to attack space and WPA will be more direct with his passing and dribbling supporting the attacking trio. It should be effective with a fast mid-block. Without increasing closing down intensity, I always feel a bit passive when defending. 

Underlap Right is for getting the flank players mentality closer to be more compact and drive FB inside in front of CMD.

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I'm not sure how pertinent this is. I created a tactic inspired by Dean Smith last year. I say inspired by because it is a 4-4-2. The 4-4-1-1 should be a natural variation. The point being is it is extremely similar to what @beverage1982 and @frukox are putting forward. Also, I had switched the McGinn and Luiz positions around to get some better balance in FM-terms:

 

image.png.7e216a12b7c88442d45fe74d92601247.png

 

Ignore the players - a few are out of position. PI's were as follows (remember, this isn't a strict interpretation):

FB-At - Cut inside with ball

WB-Su - Dribble more

W-At - Close down more, Tackle harder

CM-Su - Take more risks, Get further forward, Move in channels, Close down less

WP-At - Close down more, Tackle harder

AF-At - Close down more, Tackle harder

Depending on the winger that sometimes changed to Support. The CB's depending on personnel sometimes changed to BPD's (never two at once). This was for 2019/20 season so Smith has switched it up a bit. In the same vein, a few PI's may not be what people were expecting (most likely the full back cutting in). The full back was to take advantage of space vacated by the CM-Su before moving into the underlap position. The full back became a common goal scorer for me where this was not evident for Smith. The inspiration was true to form with the WP-At scoring at a pretty good rate.

 

I did start with the CM-Su on the left and also as a MEZ but it didn't click. I found once I swapped the two CM's it opened up space for the WP to work in. It also gave cover for the WB and WP to both attack while still having cover on the left. 

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2 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

I'm not sure how pertinent this is. I created a tactic inspired by Dean Smith last year. I say inspired by because it is a 4-4-2. The 4-4-1-1 should be a natural variation. The point being is it is extremely similar to what @beverage1982 and @frukox are putting forward. Also, I had switched the McGinn and Luiz positions around to get some better balance in FM-terms:

 

image.png.7e216a12b7c88442d45fe74d92601247.png

 

Ignore the players - a few are out of position. PI's were as follows (remember, this isn't a strict interpretation):

FB-At - Cut inside with ball

WB-Su - Dribble more

W-At - Close down more, Tackle harder

CM-Su - Take more risks, Get further forward, Move in channels, Close down less

WP-At - Close down more, Tackle harder

AF-At - Close down more, Tackle harder

Depending on the winger that sometimes changed to Support. The CB's depending on personnel sometimes changed to BPD's (never two at once). This was for 2019/20 season so Smith has switched it up a bit. In the same vein, a few PI's may not be what people were expecting (most likely the full back cutting in). The full back was to take advantage of space vacated by the CM-Su before moving into the underlap position. The full back became a common goal scorer for me where this was not evident for Smith. The inspiration was true to form with the WP-At scoring at a pretty good rate.

 

I did start with the CM-Su on the left and also as a MEZ but it didn't click. I found once I swapped the two CM's it opened up space for the WP to work in. It also gave cover for the WB and WP to both attack while still having cover on the left. 

This is super interesting. I'm currently playing 442 but Barkley as an F9 (still pre season so don;t have anything to report). 

I like Positive, but also playing around with counter mentality as I find Villa are actually quite measure din possession when there's not a break on. Would also enable me to push dline higher (I'm inherently cautious so don;t do it on Positive) which I think rperesents the team. I mean, against Newcastle our two CB's were in their half numerous times so it feels right. Also feels right in terms of build up as as far as I understand HIgher DLine means defenders get more involved in transitions. 

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27 minutes ago, beverage1982 said:

This is super interesting. I'm currently playing 442 but Barkley as an F9 (still pre season so don;t have anything to report). 

I like Positive, but also playing around with counter mentality as I find Villa are actually quite measure din possession when there's not a break on. Would also enable me to push dline higher (I'm inherently cautious so don;t do it on Positive) which I think rperesents the team. I mean, against Newcastle our two CB's were in their half numerous times so it feels right. Also feels right in terms of build up as as far as I understand HIgher DLine means defenders get more involved in transitions. 

Anything less than positive I found a bit impotent. Almost too cautious. You'll notice I played with a higher defensive line here - positive and the higher defensive line doesn't make a tactic too dangerous to use.

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7 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

Anything less than positive I found a bit impotent. Almost too cautious. You'll notice I played with a higher defensive line here - positive and the higher defensive line doesn't make a tactic too dangerous to use.

Duly noted thanks. I'm actually considering higher dline and lower LOE with counterpressing. That way it creates a super compressed block that should counter whilst also - I hope - pressing like villa do. 

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4 hours ago, nick1408 said:

I'm not sure how pertinent this is. I created a tactic inspired by Dean Smith last year. I say inspired by because it is a 4-4-2. The 4-4-1-1 should be a natural variation. The point being is it is extremely similar to what @beverage1982 and @frukox are putting forward. Also, I had switched the McGinn and Luiz positions around to get some better balance in FM-terms:

 

image.png.7e216a12b7c88442d45fe74d92601247.png

 

Ignore the players - a few are out of position. PI's were as follows (remember, this isn't a strict interpretation):

FB-At - Cut inside with ball

WB-Su - Dribble more

W-At - Close down more, Tackle harder

CM-Su - Take more risks, Get further forward, Move in channels, Close down less

WP-At - Close down more, Tackle harder

AF-At - Close down more, Tackle harder

Depending on the winger that sometimes changed to Support. The CB's depending on personnel sometimes changed to BPD's (never two at once). This was for 2019/20 season so Smith has switched it up a bit. In the same vein, a few PI's may not be what people were expecting (most likely the full back cutting in). The full back was to take advantage of space vacated by the CM-Su before moving into the underlap position. The full back became a common goal scorer for me where this was not evident for Smith. The inspiration was true to form with the WP-At scoring at a pretty good rate.

 

I did start with the CM-Su on the left and also as a MEZ but it didn't click. I found once I swapped the two CM's it opened up space for the WP to work in. It also gave cover for the WB and WP to both attack while still having cover on the left. 

Did you try a CMS with Stay Wider or reducing left FB to a FBS to create more depth there?

Counterpress is something I wouldn't do without a good squad. Instead, I found increasing pressing urgency more useful with a compact defence.

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20 hours ago, frukox said:

Did you try a CMS with Stay Wider or reducing left FB to a FBS to create more depth there?

Counterpress is something I wouldn't do without a good squad. Instead, I found increasing pressing urgency more useful with a compact defence.

The tactic worked so I didn’t try those options. I had no need to. 

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I just thought I'd post with a little update. I managed to get a 4411 Positive built aorund the principles in @engamohd's excellent "A Complete Guide to Quick Transitions and Counter Attacking Football" which I'd highly recommend you read. 

It's a really nice system that manages to replicate Villa's two banks of four and breaks at pace. But here's the thing, watching the last few Villa games I can't help but think that in real life we play on a much lower mentality in FM terms.

Hear me out...

Defending - Often at the back we defend like Burnley of old. It's all about putting bodies on the line, full backs tucking in, and sitting deep. I know that's soemthing you can replicate on higher mentalities, but it's also something that is intrinsic to the lower ones.

Tempo - I can't have been the only person to watch some of our games and see Martinez play it out to Konsa, who knocks it square to Mings, who doesn't have a pass on and (usually) opts to play it safe and plays it back to Martinez. In fact we're very patient at the back this year and by and large very safety first. it is something I remember reading about after Project Lockdown - a sense of going back to basics defensively so to speak. Again to me this screams lower mentality. Sure when we get a bit further forward the play speeds up, but also sometimes it doesn't. In fact, there have been goals this season where Jack and Barkley have basically brought play to a standstill before scoring. That's definitely something you don't get from a higher mentality. 

Villa's strengths - The graphic in the OP says that Villas control the game in the opponents half (which we do) but we also drop deep and into a defensive shape quite readily too. Again this makes me think of a lower mentality but with a higher defensive line. 

So I gave it a try...

I'm not saying this is right, just a different approach, but it's certainly been interesting. The thing is by going lower down the mentality ladder I feel I can play a more traditional 4231, which on positive just didnt work as well as the 4411. That means I have more roles to choose from. 

The lower mentality is also "safer" which means that I'm more comfortable playing a higher defensive line (which I believe we do in real life, just look at the number of times Mings and Konsa were in Newcastle's half at the weekend). And yet, despite playing a high line we still drop into a relatively deep defensive shape because of the mentality.

The lower mentality also means we sometimes slow the pace down in attack and not go gung ho on the break. yet, when the break is on, we're quick like VIlla are too. 

Anyway my work in progress is below. I'm still not happy with Ollie's role, I feel PF (A) probably reflects what he is in real life but not sure. I'm also enjoying the Segundo Volante role for MCGinn who is a B2B but playing deeper this year. The great thing about this role is I can make him hold by putting it on support, but also easily notch him up to attack duty without compromising my shape.


As I say it's just a work in progress for now, but thought I'd share it for the hive mind to discuss. UTV! 

308366538_ScreenShot2021-01-26at10_53_19PM.png.2d16af196e4d7db2d46924444293b047.png

 

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6 hours ago, beverage1982 said:

I just thought I'd post with a little update. I managed to get a 4411 Positive built aorund the principles in @engamohd's excellent "A Complete Guide to Quick Transitions and Counter Attacking Football" which I'd highly recommend you read. 

It's a really nice system that manages to replicate Villa's two banks of four and breaks at pace. But here's the thing, watching the last few Villa games I can't help but think that in real life we play on a much lower mentality in FM terms.

Hear me out...

Defending - Often at the back we defend like Burnley of old. It's all about putting bodies on the line, full backs tucking in, and sitting deep. I know that's soemthing you can replicate on higher mentalities, but it's also something that is intrinsic to the lower ones.

Tempo - I can't have been the only person to watch some of our games and see Martinez play it out to Konsa, who knocks it square to Mings, who doesn't have a pass on and (usually) opts to play it safe and plays it back to Martinez. In fact we're very patient at the back this year and by and large very safety first. it is something I remember reading about after Project Lockdown - a sense of going back to basics defensively so to speak. Again to me this screams lower mentality. Sure when we get a bit further forward the play speeds up, but also sometimes it doesn't. In fact, there have been goals this season where Jack and Barkley have basically brought play to a standstill before scoring. That's definitely something you don't get from a higher mentality. 

Villa's strengths - The graphic in the OP says that Villas control the game in the opponents half (which we do) but we also drop deep and into a defensive shape quite readily too. Again this makes me think of a lower mentality but with a higher defensive line. 

So I gave it a try...

I'm not saying this is right, just a different approach, but it's certainly been interesting. The thing is by going lower down the mentality ladder I feel I can play a more traditional 4231, which on positive just didnt work as well as the 4411. That means I have more roles to choose from. 

The lower mentality is also "safer" which means that I'm more comfortable playing a higher defensive line (which I believe we do in real life, just look at the number of times Mings and Konsa were in Newcastle's half at the weekend). And yet, despite playing a high line we still drop into a relatively deep defensive shape because of the mentality.

The lower mentality also means we sometimes slow the pace down in attack and not go gung ho on the break. yet, when the break is on, we're quick like VIlla are too. 

Anyway my work in progress is below. I'm still not happy with Ollie's role, I feel PF (A) probably reflects what he is in real life but not sure. I'm also enjoying the Segundo Volante role for MCGinn who is a B2B but playing deeper this year. The great thing about this role is I can make him hold by putting it on support, but also easily notch him up to attack duty without compromising my shape.


As I say it's just a work in progress for now, but thought I'd share it for the hive mind to discuss. UTV! 

308366538_ScreenShot2021-01-26at10_53_19PM.png.2d16af196e4d7db2d46924444293b047.png

 

This has some really good ideas, especially regarding the higher line! would love to hear how you get on results wise! 

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On 27/01/2021 at 05:37, benhoward12 said:

This has some really good ideas, especially regarding the higher line! would love to hear how you get on results wise! 

It's actually taken a bit of a back seat at the moment after I started to noodle about with @Rashidi's Bayern replication with Villa.

 

watching the game yesterday I noticed Barkley plays a bit like a Treq-drifting everywhere- a role I'd never normally give him due to Jack. Also villa overload the flanks very well. So I'm seeing if I can make a sort of Frankenstein's monster fast transition version of that Bayern replication.

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4 hours ago, beverage1982 said:

It's actually taken a bit of a back seat at the moment after I started to noodle about with @Rashidi's Bayern replication with Villa.

 

watching the game yesterday I noticed Barkley plays a bit like a Treq-drifting everywhere- a role I'd never normally give him due to Jack. Also villa overload the flanks very well. So I'm seeing if I can make a sort of Frankenstein's monster fast transition version of that Bayern replication.

Barkley and Grealish are both very fluid, the left side trio with Targett is a fantastic combination

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2 minutes ago, benhoward12 said:

Barkley and Grealish are both very fluid, the left side trio with Targett is a fantastic combination

Agreed. It's recreating it that's causing me issues. I've settled on Targett on attack duty as it recreates his driving runs. But I can;t decide on Grealish and Barkley. Treq for Barkley is interesting as it sees him drop as deep as he does in real life. Then IW (s) for Jack, but it's not enough of a ball magnet. maybe Ap (S) which woulkd create two playmakers which would in turn recreate the way those two slow the play down. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been laid up at home recently so decided to give this another bash and have landed on something that is shaping up to be pretty good.

828541353_ScreenShot2021-02-09at10_51_19AM.png.f5164f1b4fb32b8004462de012696785.png

Early results have been very promising. I have a few changes I'm thinking of making.

 

Tight marking - With it on one of my CB's seems to consistently get a 6.4 / 6.5 for no reason, I feel like maybe taking it off will keep those banks of four in tact more. 
Watkins - I'm really struggling to find his best role in this set up. I want a striker than runs the channels to left, holds up play but also stretches the opposition defence. Not sure if that's CF (s/A), DLF (A) or something else entirely. 


Anyway just keeping his thread alive but would lvoe any / all thoughts. 

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1 minute ago, beverage1982 said:

I want a striker than runs the channels to left, holds up play but also stretches the opposition defence. Not sure if that's CF (s/A), DLF (A) or something else entirely. 

Your best bet is definitely a DLFa. That is basically exactly what they are supposed to. 

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6 hours ago, beverage1982 said:

I've been laid up at home recently so decided to give this another bash and have landed on something that is shaping up to be pretty good.

828541353_ScreenShot2021-02-09at10_51_19AM.png.f5164f1b4fb32b8004462de012696785.png

Early results have been very promising. I have a few changes I'm thinking of making.

 

Tight marking - With it on one of my CB's seems to consistently get a 6.4 / 6.5 for no reason, I feel like maybe taking it off will keep those banks of four in tact more. 
Watkins - I'm really struggling to find his best role in this set up. I want a striker than runs the channels to left, holds up play but also stretches the opposition defence. Not sure if that's CF (s/A), DLF (A) or something else entirely. 


Anyway just keeping his thread alive but would lvoe any / all thoughts. 

This looks good. I would be interested in seeing results and how you feel the tactic plays (looks maybe a little too counter-attacky?). I've also been thinking about this today after reading an interesting analytics deep dive into Villa this season and I agree that more direct passing is the way to go. 

Hopefully I will get a chance to revisit this soon- I'd also be interested in hearing how Grealish plays as the WP-a (for me TQ is still him to a tee!). 

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16 minutes ago, Flußkrebs said:

This looks good. I would be interested in seeing results and how you feel the tactic plays (looks maybe a little too counter-attacky?). I've also been thinking about this today after reading an interesting analytics deep dive into Villa this season and I agree that more direct passing is the way to go. 

Hopefully I will get a chance to revisit this soon- I'd also be interested in hearing how Grealish plays as the WP-a (for me TQ is still him to a tee!). 

Was that the Statsbomb article? A great read that made me tweak the tactic slightly.

I'll post some screenies later but I'm sitting 4th, 11 points clear of fifth with about 10 games to go. EDIT: SO I lied, there are 13 games to go. But below is the league table.

438842407_ScreenShot2021-02-09at5_46_55PM.png.04e1a7065043a4d5e6e31b428aa362a7.png

 

Of the 4 games we lost we lost to City 3-1 away (just were't at the races), then to City, Utd and :Liverpool 1-0 each time. And each time I'd say we were unlucky not to get something from the game. 

I get your point re: Jack, but what I saw on screen just wasn't right. Partly because I couldn;t get the two banks of four and partly because as a Treq Jack just wasn;t doing Jack things, I mean he couldn't even make it onto the league leaders chart for dribbles per game. As WP (A) however he is moving like Jack does, and now leads the league in dribbles and assists. Got a fair few goals too. 

All in all it's been very accurate, right down to a Watkins scoring drought that eventually turned around. Stats for the key men below. Honestly, this is the most Villa-like tactic I've created this year. If you want to make it less counter attacking all you have to do is move D-line and LOE up a notch each. 

345813793_ScreenShot2021-02-09at5_47_11PM.thumb.png.80748dc621cce141030991e1bc4488a0.png

Edited by beverage1982
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8 hours ago, beverage1982 said:

I mean he couldn't even make it onto the league leaders chart for dribbles per game. As WP (A) however he is moving like Jack does, and now leads the league in dribbles and assists

Fwiw, dribbling stats are wonky as all hell. I have a player that will dribble past someone on average between 3-10 times per game from watching the games, but he registers as having 0.9 dribbles per game. 

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16 hours ago, beverage1982 said:

I've been laid up at home recently so decided to give this another bash and have landed on something that is shaping up to be pretty good.

828541353_ScreenShot2021-02-09at10_51_19AM.png.f5164f1b4fb32b8004462de012696785.png

Early results have been very promising. I have a few changes I'm thinking of making.

 

Tight marking - With it on one of my CB's seems to consistently get a 6.4 / 6.5 for no reason, I feel like maybe taking it off will keep those banks of four in tact more. 
Watkins - I'm really struggling to find his best role in this set up. I want a striker than runs the channels to left, holds up play but also stretches the opposition defence. Not sure if that's CF (s/A), DLF (A) or something else entirely. 


Anyway just keeping his thread alive but would lvoe any / all thoughts. 

Looks good!! 
 

I would say that Mings is our BPD with the long balls into the left channel 

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3 hours ago, benhoward12 said:

Looks good!! 
 

I would say that Mings is our BPD with the long balls into the left channel 

Entirely agree although I find in FM the bpd plays more diaganols that channel balls hence the switch. Mind you I've taken it off and gone with 2x CD in my latest iteration.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 27/01/2021 at 09:05, beverage1982 said:

I just thought I'd post with a little update. I managed to get a 4411 Positive built aorund the principles in @engamohd's excellent "A Complete Guide to Quick Transitions and Counter Attacking Football" which I'd highly recommend you read. 

It's a really nice system that manages to replicate Villa's two banks of four and breaks at pace. But here's the thing, watching the last few Villa games I can't help but think that in real life we play on a much lower mentality in FM terms.

Hear me out...

Defending - Often at the back we defend like Burnley of old. It's all about putting bodies on the line, full backs tucking in, and sitting deep. I know that's soemthing you can replicate on higher mentalities, but it's also something that is intrinsic to the lower ones.

Tempo - I can't have been the only person to watch some of our games and see Martinez play it out to Konsa, who knocks it square to Mings, who doesn't have a pass on and (usually) opts to play it safe and plays it back to Martinez. In fact we're very patient at the back this year and by and large very safety first. it is something I remember reading about after Project Lockdown - a sense of going back to basics defensively so to speak. Again to me this screams lower mentality. Sure when we get a bit further forward the play speeds up, but also sometimes it doesn't. In fact, there have been goals this season where Jack and Barkley have basically brought play to a standstill before scoring. That's definitely something you don't get from a higher mentality. 

Villa's strengths - The graphic in the OP says that Villas control the game in the opponents half (which we do) but we also drop deep and into a defensive shape quite readily too. Again this makes me think of a lower mentality but with a higher defensive line. 

So I gave it a try...

I'm not saying this is right, just a different approach, but it's certainly been interesting. The thing is by going lower down the mentality ladder I feel I can play a more traditional 4231, which on positive just didnt work as well as the 4411. That means I have more roles to choose from. 

The lower mentality is also "safer" which means that I'm more comfortable playing a higher defensive line (which I believe we do in real life, just look at the number of times Mings and Konsa were in Newcastle's half at the weekend). And yet, despite playing a high line we still drop into a relatively deep defensive shape because of the mentality.

The lower mentality also means we sometimes slow the pace down in attack and not go gung ho on the break. yet, when the break is on, we're quick like VIlla are too. 

Anyway my work in progress is below. I'm still not happy with Ollie's role, I feel PF (A) probably reflects what he is in real life but not sure. I'm also enjoying the Segundo Volante role for MCGinn who is a B2B but playing deeper this year. The great thing about this role is I can make him hold by putting it on support, but also easily notch him up to attack duty without compromising my shape.


As I say it's just a work in progress for now, but thought I'd share it for the hive mind to discuss. UTV! 

308366538_ScreenShot2021-01-26at10_53_19PM.png.2d16af196e4d7db2d46924444293b047.png

 

PI ? looks good mate.

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