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How to improve a new 4-1-2-2-1 before it's released into the wild


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Hello, FM Community!

I recently took a new job in an online game and have decided to abandon the 4-2-3-1 I've been using due to a dearth of AMCs in the squad.  I have come up with the tactic below, but would like the community's thoughts on any glaring weaknesses or areas that could be improved before I unleash it upon my friends.

I have tried to limit TIs to leave my players to make decisions.  Broadly, I'd like to build from the back through the central midfield three and then work the ball out wide.  My hope is that on the left side, the IF driving to the goal, the wingback pushing forward and the mezzala drifting left will create overloads and opportunities for the WB to cut back to the MEZ or play into the IF.  

452996602_ScreenShot2021-01-19at4_09_03PM.thumb.png.22ed4e4641a5b8d609c42bcdd347f9d9.png

I have the front three and the MEZ on a split-block, closing down more and tackling harder.  

Some questions:

  • Any suggestions on improving roles/duties?
  • Since the fullbacks are WBs, can/should I remove the overlap instructions?
  • Can/should I reduce the DL/LOE with a split-block?  With the WBs pushing forward I'm wondering if I can still achieve a press with greater defensive stability of dropping the lines.
  • Do I need a more direct runner from central midfield, or will the MEZ(s) get far enough forward?

Any other suggestions/observations are more than welcome!

 

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56 minutes ago, Toronto Blizzard said:

Any suggestions on improving roles/duties?

There is a lack of proper defensive cover for the attacking WB on the right flank. Suggestion: switch the MCR to a covering role (BWM on support or carrilero). A holding role such as DLP on support would also be a good choice in general, but you already have a DLP in DM, so there is no reason for another one. 

 

56 minutes ago, Toronto Blizzard said:

Since the fullbacks are WBs, can/should I remove the overlap instructions?

Yes, especially the overlap right, because there is already a natural overlap there by virtue of the roles. Overlap left makes more sense, although it can entail needless defensive risk, given that you have a mezzala in MCL. And even on that flank, you also have a natural overlap of sorts, because WB on support duty is attack-minded enough to occasionally overlap his IF partner. In short, I would remove both overlaps.  

 

56 minutes ago, Toronto Blizzard said:

Can/should I reduce the DL/LOE with a split-block?

If you (want to) use a split block, then I would recommend dropping only the LOE by just one notch (to standard). In combination with the higher DL, that would give you an optimal level of compactness, which creates "ideal" preconditions for the split block. 

 

56 minutes ago, Toronto Blizzard said:

Do I need a more direct runner from central midfield, or will the MEZ(s) get far enough forward?

Possibly yes, but the potential introduction of such midfield runner would require a couple of tweaks elsewhere so that the overall balance would not be damaged. 

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10 hours ago, Toronto Blizzard said:

Regarding the comment about tweaks necessary to add a midfield runner (maybe a BBM or a CM attack), what tweaks would be necessary?  Would I change the MEZ to a BBM or CM(a) and move it to the MCR, or can I keep the MEZ as well with other changes?

Better post a screenshot of how you envision the tactic with those tweaks included, so that I could see the whole picture (as opposed to guessing what it may look like) :thup:

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I re-worked to have a more direct runner in the BBM and changed the MEZ to a CM(s) for more stability on the left (I debated a BWM instead) and the WB(s) on the right to an FB(a) for a little less attacking on that side.

I also restored the overlap left now that the MEZ is gone (though I know the WB and IF will still result in some overlapping).

253110695_ScreenShot2021-01-21at4_39_55PM.thumb.png.6df2311f878e9d10e044806c6e399143.png

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14 minutes ago, Toronto Blizzard said:

I re-worked to have a more direct runner in the BBM

More direct compared to whom? 

 

15 minutes ago, Toronto Blizzard said:

and changed the MEZ to a CM(s) for more stability on the left (I debated a BWM instead)

Well, BWM would be a much better option if you ask me, especially in terms of more stability. Because CM on support is a runner, like the BBM, just a bit simpler and more direct. 

Anyway, the tactic is still lacking proper central penetration. 

But test the tactic and see what happens, maybe it will work. You can never know until you try. 

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In terms of roles and duties, it still doesn't look great I think. In this particular setup, especially with your striker on support, there needs to be more bite to your central midfield. @Experienced Defenderalready mentioned central penetration. One option would be to switch one of your CMs to CM-At, provided you have the right player. This of course means that some of your other roles need to be slightly tweaked as well. One of your fullbacks has to be more conservative in order to offer defensive protection, possibly even an IWB.

So for instance, one possible option for your left flank would be:

IF-Su/IW-Su

         CM-At

IWB-Su

This of course means to you would have to slightly adapt your strikers because someone still needs to attack the box consistently. Can your right winger be a W-At? (WB again needs to be more conservative in this case, of course). And how about switching your striker to PF-At?

Edited by Hartplatz
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4 hours ago, Hartplatz said:

In terms of roles and duties, it still doesn't look great I think. In this particular setup, especially with your striker on support, there needs to be more bite to your central midfield. @Experienced Defenderalready mentioned central penetration. One option would be to switch one of your CMs to CM-At, provided you have the right player. This of course means that some of your other roles need to be slightly tweaked as well. One of your fullbacks has to be more conservative in order to offer defensive protection, possibly even an IWB.

So for instance, one possible option for your left flank would be:

IF-Su/IW-Su

         CM-At

IWB-Su

This of course means to you would have to slightly adapt your strikers because someone still needs to attack the box consistently. Can your right winger be a W-At? (WB again needs to be more conservative in this case, of course). And how about switching your striker to PF-At?

Thanks for your feedback, @Hartplatz.  I could certainly make those tweaks on the left (should inverted wingbacks be opposite-footed like inverted wingers and inside forwards normally are?) and put the pressing forward on attack duty.  I think I have one natural winger (right-footed) on the right at the moment, which is why I opted for an inverted winger there.  Out of curiosity, do you think the first set up (in the original post) would be better with @Experienced Defender's suggestion about changing the CM(s) to a BWM or CAR?  I feel like in trying to change to a more direct central midfielder I've drifted to a less effective set-up.

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On 19/01/2021 at 22:23, Toronto Blizzard said:

I recently took a new job in an online game and have decided to abandon the 4-2-3-1 I've been using due to a dearth of AMCs in the squad.  I have come up with the tactic below, but would like the community's thoughts on any glaring weaknesses or areas that could be improved before I unleash it upon my friends

Mate, I've only now seen that you are actually asking for advice regarding an online game (as opposed to a regular FM save). I fear that suggestions I gave you won't work in this kind of game, so please disregard everything I said (or at least take it with a big pinch of salt). Because playing against AI and playing against another human are two very different things (not least because that other player can use an exploit/plug'n'play tactic, which means you have no chance to defeat him/her, no matter how good and sensibly designed your normal tactic might be).

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5 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Mate, I've only now seen that you are actually asking for advice regarding an online game (as opposed to a regular FM save). I fear that suggestions I gave you won't work in this kind of game, so please disregard everything I said (or at least take it with a big pinch of salt). Because playing against AI and playing against another human are two very different things (not least because that other player can use an exploit/plug'n'play tactic, which means you have no chance to defeat him/her, no matter how good and sensibly designed your normal tactic might be).

I appreciate the caveat, but we're not the kinds of guys to play exploit tactics.  I understand that what works against the AI may not necessarily work against human players, but, considering that we're only using the pre-sets or tactic creator, I expect that the advice you've given still applies.

Thanks for your help with this (and on my other forum posts), @Experienced Defender!!

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52 minutes ago, Toronto Blizzard said:

I appreciate the caveat, but we're not the kinds of guys to play exploit tactics.  I understand that what works against the AI may not necessarily work against human players, but, considering that we're only using the pre-sets or tactic creator, I expect that the advice you've given still applies

Let's hope so. Although I didn't give you any really specific advice, but rather some general tips. 

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@Toronto Blizzard to be blunt, we can only speculate about what suits your team. Instead I'd recommend you to play a few games offline first and do your own analysis. A CM-su next to a WB-A is fine, provided both players have the attributes to cover each other.
Having a DM does help, but I'd still keep an eyes on things. How?

  • Is my right flank being exposed?
  • Am I conceding too many goals?
  • On the other hand, is my DLP able to find my IF and the attacking WB? It can be a potent weapon.

That might be a good compromise or your method to the madness.
Speculation 1: I'd say the only issue (for now), is the increase of mentality the Overlap right TI adds to your WB which in turn will decrease the IW.
Speculation 2: If you're feeling your tactic has insufficient penetration, then add a deep runner of change the IW to an IF.

Any balanced tactic will work offline or online. Contrary to what has been suggested here, you can beat "exploitable tactics" (hate the term).
I have an online save with a friend of mine and looking at his tactic/system/roles and even stats against certain games, I can see his tactic is quite brute force, but I have no way to prove this.
I lost the league by a point (I've done my tinkering when we started the save , but I won the champions league by changing my approach in certain games).

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