woolymuffler Posted January 11, 2021 Share Posted January 11, 2021 (edited) In my massive Journeyman save (200+ leagues in 104 countries), I took over a team in a downloaded Honduran League (after resigning from Wigan because I spent the entire time I was there, including the summer transfer window under embargo due to a pending takeover. 4 months and couldn't even hire staff or arrange loans; the takeover completed within a few weeks of my resigning...). I have dramatically over-performed in the first half of the season, playing a simple 4-4-2 that largely scores on the counter against teams that underestimate the speed of the my strikers. The strikers are literally the only strength of my team, in that I have 4 of them that are good to great for the top level of Honduras and range from all around good to blazing fast without much skill. I vary the striker roles depending on the player although usually both Attacking duties (I don't have any that are skillful enough to be deep-lying or support duties and want them pressing against the center backs), and the wide mids vary a bit depending on player but are always set to mark the outside defender on their side (which has dramatically helped with overloads on the wings). Nothing fancy at all, but accentuated what my team did well, especially as a relegation candidate that other teams attacked. But in December, teams began playing more cautiously (as I was favored home or away by this point) and while I was still largely grinding out results, the goals slowed down. After 12/31 (when I have heard that teams adjust their perceptions of other teams in the league), the next team I played (admittedly in 9th place out of 10 teams, but they hadn't played me like this before) went with the most catenaccio formation that ever catenaccio'd. And dramatically outplayed me, holding me to 4 heavily contested shots on target while scoring on both of their on target shots, getting a higher xG and deservedly winning the game (higher possession and passing %, despite me spending most of the game camped in their half). And these weren't breakaways where they caught me out of position; they slowly and carefully passed their way up the field to the edge of my box, carefully passed it around and eventually hit someone running through into the box from 18 yards out to either score directly or send a short cross over to volley. And this is despite Extremely urgent pressing, Get Stuck In and counter pressing once I realized that I wasn't getting the ball at all if I sat back and needed to try something (anything) to generate some pressure. Look at this formation they played; it was like kicking the ball at a brick wall over and over again, it always come right back out. I don't think the AI has "cracked" my formation or anything, clearly when I can't play on the counter and have to break into packed boxes (in the last match, the other team literally had 10 players in the box while I randomly tried through balls and crosses from just outside their area with virtually no effect), my team just lacks the skill (and I have no really good creative mids or even good passers). So what to do? Thinking about it, I only see three options: 1) This was just one of those days, stick with what got you here. I don't think this is going to work; the results had already slowed down, and if I can't beat or at least outplay one of the worst teams in the league at home when they play like this, this current setup just isn't going to cut it. We got to 1st place with fast counter attacks, but against a deep lying opponent who is happy to hold the ball and do virtually nothing with it, we are completely negated. The longer they held the ball and frustrated us, the more confident they seemed to get and the more my team seemed to snatch at chances and just randomly kick the ball into the area. 2) Really own being the better team, switch to a top heavy formation with high line, heavy counter pressing and try to score off turnovers. I don't really see this as an option for our team as we aren't very fast or physical (especially in defense), so a high line is just dangerous for us. And it would emphasize short passing and technical skills on the attack which we frankly don't possess. Plus Gegenpress in the climate of Honduras (when using the Realistic Weather mod) is probably not the greatest plan; we already suffer poor condition and fatigue even with heavy rotation. 3) Change formation to something better suited for soaking pressure, sit back and make the opponent come to us so we have space to counter. This seems like the best option as I think about; part of the issue with our current 4-4-2 is that it's just not that great at playing passively (or pressing high for that matter), at least not without Team Instructions that I don't use much. Our defenders are slow and frankly not that great defending on the ground or in the air so they need more help than a 4-4-2 can provide. On the other hand, our strikers are far and away the best part of the team, so I probably want to get as many of them on the pitch as possible. So I'm thinking maybe a true old school 4-3-3 with 3 out and out strikers (Pressing Forwards mostly) and a DM (BWM) to help defend the front of the box and keep them from casually retaining possession there. Defend Wide since the middle of the pitch will have a lot of bodies already, sit deep, tight mark and play direct to the 3 strikers. Something like this: Assuming anyone makes it this far, curious if anyone has other ideas (or a better formation to accomplish the pressure soaking/direct counter idea). Edited January 11, 2021 by woolymuffler Link to post Share on other sites More sharing options...
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