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Tactical System Creation 101 - Guide to Simple & Effective 4-3-3


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  • crusadertsar changed the title to Tactical System Creation 101 - Guide to Simple & Effective 4-3-3

I've spent well over 30 hours trying to get a 4-3-3 to work, getting help from people in my own thread, painstakingly tweaking, testing, analyzing and I'm still not close to where I want to be. Seeing as your setup in this OP is pretty similar in philosophy to what I want to achieve with my team, I plugged it in and started the game.

631165682641772730d32c7694b69cdb.png

What. The actual. ****. 

I guess 30 hours isn't enough to get anywhere close to your genius. Cheers bud, gonna use this as a base going forward. 

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22 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

I've spent well over 30 hours trying to get a 4-3-3 to work, getting help from people in my own thread, painstakingly tweaking, testing, analyzing and I'm still not close to where I want to be. Seeing as your setup in this OP is pretty similar in philosophy to what I want to achieve with my team, I plugged it in and started the game.

631165682641772730d32c7694b69cdb.png

What. The actual. ****. 

I guess 30 hours isn't enough to get anywhere close to your genius. Cheers bud, gonna use this as a base going forward. 

Lol I'm no genius. Just trying to apply concepts that make sense to me theoretically. But that's awesome regarding your result! Let's hope it wasn't just a fluke. I'm going to be testing it more as I write about it. So hopefully we can both arrive at a system that's consistent as well as effective.

Edited by crusadertsar
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42 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

See, that's what I've been doing, but clearly my logic is flawed! :P 

Not necessarily. I too had my own share of tactical struggles, going back to FM19. I think as the game became more and more complicated over the years it started being less about having the perfect tactic and more about the whole "system". That is having the players optimally suitable for playing style. So even if have a good tactic, the whole system might not be working because some of your players are not up to par.

It's like Klopp's Liverpool in the game, no wonder it does so well playing it's brand of Total Football. The team was built with that style in mind. So it's that simple really. As long as you find a good synergy between your tactical style and your squad, then you will do well. And keep an eye on morale :brock:

Edited by crusadertsar
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This and your article that was published on the byline about creating simple tactics I think are a great start point for people struggling to create a tactic that gets the most out of their squad :)

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3 hours ago, wixxi said:

This and your article that was published on the byline about creating simple tactics I think are a great start point for people struggling to create a tactic that gets the most out of their squad :)

Thanks man! It's always good when my writing actually helps others.

@Irn RvdAlso just updated the original post with Part 2 :)

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13 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

Thanks man! It's always good when my writing actually helps others.

@Irn RvdAlso just updated the original post with Part 2 :)

Nice addition, bud. Squad building is one of those things that 'scale' in enjoyment based on the tactical makeup of your teams, in my opinion. The more you know and identify with how your team plays, the more fun it becomes to find, train and mold players to become parts of the machine. It's one of the things with the most potential for immersion, in my opinion, especially when you start considering PPMs and whatnot. 

On the topic of squad building, I'd like to share some of the players I've got in my AFC Fylde side - if you feel like I'm hijacking your thread, let me know - I don't want to take away your thunder. 
I'm in the 2031/32 season, having taken them up from Vanorama North, and have been in the Championship since the 25/26 season. Been struggling both to build a tactic/system that I can mold my squad around, and that would work for more than 2-3 months before falling apart. Luckily, the past 3 seasons I've mostly built around the concept of a 4-3-3, and as I mentioned your 'template' in the opening post has really got my team going. 

Defensive midfielder - Victor Foged

I picked up this guy for £2M (+£1M in clauses) before the previous season. Way underpriced, as his physicals and mentals are borderline exceptional for his age - and the price. His technicals still have some way to go, but for the level I'm at (Championship, mid table and up) he's a gem. 

6bf08d97fc95522cb1c0d5f0cb44fa0d.png

His OTB and Vision attributes aren't great, but his primary function isn't to facilitate attacking play anyway. It's good enough to be available for possession recycling and hit the occasional ball into space. My assistant says he still has another full star of potential, so he should have some room to develop still. I am working on improving his Bravery just to make sure he's not shying away from that crucial tackle if necessary. 

Currently employed in the DM position, as a Defensive Midfielder (De) - occasionally as an Anchorman if we're against a team I believe relies heavily on their AMC and/or play through the middle. 

Left winger - Jim Cresswell:

This guy has been with me since the 22/23 season - when we were in League Two! What a legend. Picked him up for £500k which, back then, was a lot of money, but man was it worth it. 295 games, 163 goals and 50 assists later, he's this saves sentimental hero - except he's still good enough! 

9aa2000a3d3e30dbf4408a7e69cc229a.png

Primarily employed as a striker during his 9 years with us, this year he's been move out to the left hand side as an Inside Forward (At). His ability to dribble and move off the ball makes him unstoppable at times. He's got 11 goals, 4 assists and a solid 1.85 key passes per 90 in 23 games out wide this season, and his conversion rate is currently at 14%. We could do better in terms of providing him with quality chances, but working on that as we speak. He's a little bit lacking in his Teamwork and Aggression, but it's not been a liability at this level so far. What do you think?

Central midfield - Blessing Majarira: 

Picked this guy up for £425k before this season - what a steal. While he is average/lacking in a few areas, his baseline attributes are great. Been using him mostly as a Central Midfielder (At), but starting believe he can to a better job as Deep Lying Playmaker (su). 

28a8d928688350b8f2ef6a2aeb0d801f.png

That being said, a couple of attribrutes need improving. Tackling, Flair, Concentration and Bravery all need to be improved to function in a supportive role, in my opinion. Flair due to the role as a playmaker, the other three due to his defensive responsibilities in the role. His PPMs are great, though. One-Twos, Looking for Pass, Arriving Late in Area and Likes To Switch Play (not shown) means he has the potential to contribute in so many different ways. As for the mentioned attributes, which would you consider to be most crucial in improving? I lean towards concentration and tackling, but sadly they cannot be target trained simultaneously. 

As for my system right now...

b20fb89eefb901c501df0e1706edf89f.png

I've made two changes in specific:

1) Moved the defensive line from Much Higher -> Higher. Simply put, my CDs aren't fast enough to play with a Much Higher line. Yes, we become a tad bit less compact, but I've not noticed anything from that. We are generally so adept at moving the team up the pitch in possession that most of the time, teams aren't able to actually get past my counter-press or my initial press after the counter-press is off. We still force a lot of direct passes, and my DM and CDs generally handle those well. 

2) Recently swapped from a DLFs -> F9 for the striker. All my Strikers have the necessary attributes to work well as an F9 (aswell as DLFs, for that matter). This isn't something I've nailed as a permanent change (yet), but it's a change I've made for my last 3 games in hopes of creating more space in the middle. The system is inherently narrow, and a lot of teams in the Championship pack their central areas with strong players that are good at blocking shots and winning duels - both on the ground and in the air. 

3) Stay On Feet ticked on. Simply put, my team is fairly lacking in tackling quality in the front 5. On top of that, high blocks with urgent pressing is weak to overzelaous tackling. The goal isn't necessarily to win the ball from their defenders; it's to force inaccurate passes and supoptimal choices that we can punish. Logically, by asking the players to stay on their feet, they should be quicker to move back into formation if the counter-press is bypassed. 

In certain games, I also increase our widt from Fairly Narrow -> Standard (Fairly Wide due to Positive mentality) to combat the issue mentioned above. I often tick Work Ball into Box and sometimes turn Overlap Left off in conjuction with increasing the width, to compensate for the higher risk we take. 

I'm really enjoying playing around with this system, and I'm really looking forward to improving specific areas of the pitch. My right winger (Beya) is currently doing everything right except finishing his chances. I'm gonna start training him on finishing and maybe try to add a Places Shots PPM, and see if it helps. But if not, I'm gonna have to consider replacing him - despite being such a good player otherwise. 

Edited by Christopher S
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This is really good - I've been struggling to perfect the way I want to play in formation and I've come close to what you're presenting here but just always find an issue I'm wanting to tinker with. I had issues when playing fairly narrow players would be to compact and made it hard to create chances and players to create their own space.

Can I ask -

What is the reason for focus play down the right? What affect does this create?

Do you find the DLP has a lack of options with the IF-A and the CM-A? I typically find he's trying too many long range passes as players aren't close enough and end up changing him to RPM or AP but doesn't have the desired affect.

I very rarely play the offside trap (not too sure why). Does it push the line up a little more?

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3 minutes ago, RPM_01 said:

What is the reason for focus play down the right? What affect does this create?

Do you find the DLP has a lack of options with the IF-A and the CM-A? I typically find he's trying too many long range passes as players aren't close enough and end up changing him to RPM or AP but doesn't have the desired affect.

I very rarely play the offside trap (not too sure why). Does it push the line up a little more?

1) It overloads the right hand side around the IWs, CMa and FBa, to create more space for the IFa on the opposite side. The system is set up through roles for the IFa to be a primary goal threat. 

2) For me it does sometimes happen that'll lack a forward option, but it's not really a problem. In your case, it might be that the other players aren't positioning well enough off the ball. How the players interpret their roles matters just as much, if not more, than the roles themselves. 

3) I think it does up it a little bit more. I rarely use it myself, and I'm considering taking it off now as well. I'm unsure if it has any benefit, as we seem to concede more goals from failing our trap than traps we succesfully pull off. 

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37 minutes ago, RPM_01 said:

This is really good - I've been struggling to perfect the way I want to play in formation and I've come close to what you're presenting here but just always find an issue I'm wanting to tinker with. I had issues when playing fairly narrow players would be to compact and made it hard to create chances and players to create their own space.

Can I ask -

What is the reason for focus play down the right? What affect does this create?

Do you find the DLP has a lack of options with the IF-A and the CM-A? I typically find he's trying too many long range passes as players aren't close enough and end up changing him to RPM or AP but doesn't have the desired affect.

I very rarely play the offside trap (not too sure why). Does it push the line up a little more?

Exactly as @Christopher S said it is to create an overload on the right side and exploit space that opens up on the left for my IF.  

You can actually read my more thorough explanation on it in one of my recent posts (from a few months ago) in my primary Total Football thread.

 

 

Edited by crusadertsar
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@crusadertsar

To contribute constructively, I've noticed that the system struggles against two specific formations, most likely partly due to the same thing. Those formations are: 

- 4-1-2-1-2 (narrow)
- 5-2-1-2 

The common issue is the AMC+ST+ST setup. It seems almost game breaking how dumb my defenders suddenly become the second they are against that combination. Both formations routinely just lump the ball over my defenders who, since they're now braindead, have no idea how to deal with it. Against any other formation, we deal with balls over the top expertly. On top of that, they each have one crucial tool against 'our' system each. 

4-1-2-1-2: 
It has an abundance of players in the middle of the park, and in defence they tuck the full backs in. It's borderline impenetrable. Played against Bristol City and was pushing 80% possession, and still lost from 2 balls over the top. 

5-2-1-2:
3 CBs is giga effective vs 4-3-3 in my experience. There aren't really any channels to attack in threatening areas, and it's effective against crosses. Similar issue in playing through their block. On top of that, ironically, it dominates me in the wide areas. We got blasted down the flanks, even though they only have 1 wide player on each side. 
It seems like the ME allows the AML/R players to ignore defending if there's only 1 wide player, which really hurts the system. Marking the opposing wing backs is band-aid that impacts attacking a lot.

What are your experiences with this? I think next time I'm up against the 4-1-2-1-2, I'm gonna drop my team to Standard DL+Lower LoE, and force them up the pitch instead. Compact the middle area and hope we are able to play through their counter press when we win the ball. As for the 5-2-1-2, I have no idea what to do. That **** broke me. Derby, one of the worse sides in the league, put four - 4!!!! - goals past me with their 5-2-1-2. 

Edited by Christopher S
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2 hours ago, Christopher S said:

Nice addition, bud. Squad building is one of those things that 'scale' in enjoyment based on the tactical makeup of your teams, in my opinion. The more you know and identify with how your team plays, the more fun it becomes to find, train and mold players to become parts of the machine. It's one of the things with the most potential for immersion, in my opinion, especially when you start considering PPMs and whatnot. 

On the topic of squad building, I'd like to share some of the players I've got in my AFC Fylde side - if you feel like I'm hijacking your thread, let me know - I don't want to take away your thunder. 
I'm in the 2031/32 season, having taken them up from Vanorama North, and have been in the Championship since the 25/26 season. Been struggling both to build a tactic/system that I can mold my squad around, and that would work for more than 2-3 months before falling apart. Luckily, the past 3 seasons I've mostly built around the concept of a 4-3-3, and as I mentioned your 'template' in the opening post has really got my team going. 

Defensive midfielder - Victor Foged

I picked up this guy for £2M (+£1M in clauses) before the previous season. Way underpriced, as his physicals and mentals are borderline exceptional for his age - and the price. His technicals still have some way to go, but for the level I'm at (Championship, mid table and up) he's a gem. 

6bf08d97fc95522cb1c0d5f0cb44fa0d.png

His OTB and Vision attributes aren't great, but his primary function isn't to facilitate attacking play anyway. It's good enough to be available for possession recycling and hit the occasional ball into space. My assistant says he still has another full star of potential, so he should have some room to develop still. I am working on improving his Bravery just to make sure he's not shying away from that crucial tackle if necessary. 

Currently employed in the DM position, as a Defensive Midfielder (De) - occasionally as an Anchorman if we're against a team I believe relies heavily on their AMC and/or play through the middle. 

Left winger - Jim Cresswell:

This guy has been with me since the 22/23 season - when we were in League Two! What a legend. Picked him up for £500k which, back then, was a lot of money, but man was it worth it. 295 games, 163 goals and 50 assists later, he's this saves sentimental hero - except he's still good enough! 

9aa2000a3d3e30dbf4408a7e69cc229a.png

Primarily employed as a striker during his 9 years with us, this year he's been move out to the left hand side as an Inside Forward (At). His ability to dribble and move off the ball makes him unstoppable at times. He's got 11 goals, 4 assists and a solid 1.85 key passes per 90 in 23 games out wide this season, and his conversion rate is currently at 14%. We could do better in terms of providing him with quality chances, but working on that as we speak. He's a little bit lacking in his Teamwork and Aggression, but it's not been a liability at this level so far. What do you think?

Central midfield - Blessing Majarira: 

Picked this guy up for £425k before this season - what a steal. While he is average/lacking in a few areas, his baseline attributes are great. Been using him mostly as a Central Midfielder (At), but starting believe he can to a better job as Deep Lying Playmaker (su). 

28a8d928688350b8f2ef6a2aeb0d801f.png

That being said, a couple of attribrutes need improving. Tackling, Flair, Concentration and Bravery all need to be improved to function in a supportive role, in my opinion. Flair due to the role as a playmaker, the other three due to his defensive responsibilities in the role. His PPMs are great, though. One-Twos, Looking for Pass, Arriving Late in Area and Likes To Switch Play (not shown) means he has the potential to contribute in so many different ways. As for the mentioned attributes, which would you consider to be most crucial in improving? I lean towards concentration and tackling, but sadly they cannot be target trained simultaneously. 

As for my system right now...

b20fb89eefb901c501df0e1706edf89f.png

I've made two changes in specific:

1) Moved the defensive line from Much Higher -> Higher. Simply put, my CDs aren't fast enough to play with a Much Higher line. Yes, we become a tad bit less compact, but I've not noticed anything from that. We are generally so adept at moving the team up the pitch in possession that most of the time, teams aren't able to actually get past my counter-press or my initial press after the counter-press is off. We still force a lot of direct passes, and my DM and CDs generally handle those well. 

2) Recently swapped from a DLFs -> F9 for the striker. All my Strikers have the necessary attributes to work well as an F9 (aswell as DLFs, for that matter). This isn't something I've nailed as a permanent change (yet), but it's a change I've made for my last 3 games in hopes of creating more space in the middle. The system is inherently narrow, and a lot of teams in the Championship pack their central areas with strong players that are good at blocking shots and winning duels - both on the ground and in the air. 

3) Stay On Feet ticked on. Simply put, my team is fairly lacking in tackling quality in the front 5. On top of that, high blocks with urgent pressing is weak to overzelaous tackling. The goal isn't necessarily to win the ball from their defenders; it's to force inaccurate passes and supoptimal choices that we can punish. Logically, by asking the players to stay on their feet, they should be quicker to move back into formation if the counter-press is bypassed. 

In certain games, I also increase our widt from Fairly Narrow -> Standard (Fairly Wide due to Positive mentality) to combat the issue mentioned above. I often tick Work Ball into Box and sometimes turn Overlap Left off in conjuction with increasing the width, to compensate for the higher risk we take. 

I'm really enjoying playing around with this system, and I'm really looking forward to improving specific areas of the pitch. My right winger (Beya) is currently doing everything right except finishing his chances. I'm gonna start training him on finishing and maybe try to add a Places Shots PPM, and see if it helps. But if not, I'm gonna have to consider replacing him - despite being such a good player otherwise. 

Awesome! A really nice detailed post man :thup: Now you inspired to do something similar to show off my Real Sociedad squad. We are now 4 years into the save and there are some nice homegrown wonderkids breaking into the first team. I'm training them in both this 4-3-3 system and the 3-4-3 diamond.

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18 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

@crusadertsar

To contribute constructively, I've noticed that the system struggles against two specific formations, most likely partly due to the same thing. Those formations are: 

- 4-1-2-1-2 (narrow)
- 5-2-1-2 

The common issue is the AMC+ST+ST setup. It seems almost game breaking how dumb my defenders suddenly become the second they are against that combination. Both formations routinely just lump the ball over my defenders who, since they're now braindead, have no idea how to deal with it. Against any other formation, we deal with balls over the top expertly. On top of that, they each have one crucial tool against 'our' system each. 

4-1-2-1-2: 
It has an abundance of players in the middle of the park, and in defence they tuck the full backs in. It's borderline impenetrable. Played against Bristol City and was pushing 80% possession, and still lost from 2 balls over the top. 

5-2-1-2:
3 CBs is giga effective vs 4-3-3 in my experience. There aren't really any channels to attack in threatening areas, and it's effective against crosses. Similar issue in playing through their block. On top of that, ironically, it dominates me in the wide areas. We got blasted down the flanks, even though they only have 1 wide player on each side. 
It seems like the ME allows the AML/R players to ignore defending if there's only 1 wide player, which really hurts the system. Marking the opposing wing backs is band-aid that impacts attacking a lot.

What are your experiences with this? I think next time I'm up against the 4-1-2-1-2, I'm gonna drop my team to Standard DL+Lower LoE, and force them up the pitch instead. Compact the middle area and hope we are able to play through their counter press when we win the ball. As for the 5-2-1-2, I have no idea what to do. That **** broke me. 

5-2-1-2 is a very defensive formation in the game and honestly most "normal" balanced formation will have trouble against it. I usually just try to set my tempo lower and play a little wider. And yes setting my defensive line one notch lower. Usually helps in opening up space. 

Not sure why 4-1-2-1-2 gives you so much trouble as I find that 433's wing advantage makes it easy to deal with narrow formations like that. Maybe it's the quality of your wingers, wingbacks and defenders. I also find my offside trap works quite well catching quite a few attempts like that. But again it's very dependent on your players. My defenders are fast, technical and intelligent. They are almost like midfielders.

Edited by crusadertsar
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10 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

5-2-1-2 is a very defensive formation in the game and honestly most "normal" balanced formation will have trouble against it. I usually just try to set my tempo lower and play a little wider. And yes setting my defensive line one notch lower. Usually helps in opening up space. 

Not sure why 4-1-2-1-2 gives you so much trouble as I find that 433's wing advantage makes it easy to deal with narrow formations like that. Maybe it's the quality of your wingers, wingbacks and defenders. I also find my offside trap works quite well catching quite a few attempts like that. But again it's very dependent on your players. My defenders are fast, technical and intelligent. They are almost like midfielders.

The wing advantage does help, hence the absurd amounts of possession. But as both are set to cut inside, they hardly count as wingers. Plus, FM21 in general struggles to properly use space out wide in my opinion. My wingers, even on a winger role, won't cross in half the situations they can, and when even seldomer will they cross on the first or second touch. Too often they literally wait for the defender to come close before smacking a cross into their legs. Same goes for full backs. Wide players will way too often also go past their man, then stop, not cross, turn, and run back. Just smack the ball in, for crying out loud. 

Edited by Christopher S
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31 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

Also, fun fact @crusadertsar: I've hit the inside of the post at least once every game for the last 11 games. In several of those games, more than once. It's getting to the point where I'm wondering if it's a bug. 

Haha maybe the game just doesn't want you to score :p

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12 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

Haha maybe the game just doesn't want you to score :p

Yeah, it's getting pretty silly. I've hit the post 9 times in the past 4 games - 7 of which were inside of the post. Still haven't had a single goal go in after hitting the woodwork either.

EDIT: Hit the post 3 times this game. So 12 times in 5 games.

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22 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

Yeah, it's getting pretty silly. I've hit the post 9 times in the past 4 games - 7 of which were inside of the post. Still haven't had a single goal go in after hitting the woodwork either.

EDIT: Hit the post 3 times this game. So 12 times in 5 games.

Also you have to realize that the visual representation of the match shouldn't be taken literally, one to one. It's not like real life football or more "actiony" sports games. FM is still a sim game that has a visual 3d representation of all that number crunching. It's not like playing FIFA where you hit the post because you actually aimed there. So when you see a lot of woodwork or missed shots in FM then it usually means that there is something wrong with your forwards' finishing or other attributes that contribute to scoring. It's just like when the goalie makes some ridiculous error in the match engine. It's really just a way of the game telling you that that there's something wrong with either your tactic or the players.

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7 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

Also you have to realize that the visual representation of the match shouldn't be taken literally, one to one. It's not like real life football or more "actiony" sports games. FM is still a sim game that has a visual 3d representation of all that number crunching. It's not like playing FIFA where you hit the post because you actually aimed there. So when you see a lot of woodwork or missed shots in FM then it usually means that there is something wrong with your forwards' finishing or other attributes that contribute to scoring. It's just like when the goalie makes some ridiculous error in the match engine. It's really just a way of the game telling you that that there's something wrong with either your tactic or the players.

Yeah, I know. The thing is, I've never seen this before, ever. I've seen extremely weak finishing, shots being blasted over the goal, this and that. But hitting the post 2-4 times per game, that's a new one. Even if it is an approximation due to how the ME works, I'd like to know what it means - cause it's clearly different from previous approximations.

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9 minutes ago, Christopher S said:

Yeah, I know. The thing is, I've never seen this before, ever. I've seen extremely weak finishing, shots being blasted over the goal, this and that. But hitting the post 2-4 times per game, that's a new one. Even if it is an approximation due to how the ME works, I'd like to know what it means - cause it's clearly different from previous approximations.

It's just another approximation. Maybe there were some subtle changes in ME that made it more prevelent than before. But it still serves the same purpose. Look at things like your players levels of composure, finishing or even technique. It could also be related to their big games and consistency  "hidden" attributes. I'm sure if you improve all of those across the board your goals will increase. It's like what I'm trying to show with this guide, it's not only about your tactics. There are many many other factors at play under the hood that contribute to success.

Edited by crusadertsar
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10 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

It's just another approximation. Maybe there were some subtle changes in ME that made it more prevelent than before. But it still serves the same purpose. Look at things like your players levels of composure, finishing or even technique. It could also be related to their big games and consistency  "hidden" attributes. I'm sure if you improve all of those across the board your goals will increase. It's like what I'm trying to show with this guide, it's not only about your tactics. There are many many other factors at play under the hood that contribute to success.

Yeah, absolutely. I know what needs to be improved, and it'll probably solved it self both over time (averaging out) and through player improvements. There's a reason I said it was a fun-fact, and not a genuine tactical worry. It is annoying to watch, though. :D

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I tried this tactic out last night with a few tweaks to TI's that I like to see but nothing major.

Little issue I found was at times the lack of width on the right with the IWB & IW combo but then in others worked really well to create an overload. Think my tweak tonight will be to make the IW to stay wider to try create a little more width at times. Liked the way the IWB worked and typically helped to stop the counter as well as worked as another passing option. 

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3 hours ago, RPM_01 said:

I tried this tactic out last night with a few tweaks to TI's that I like to see but nothing major.

Little issue I found was at times the lack of width on the right with the IWB & IW combo but then in others worked really well to create an overload. Think my tweak tonight will be to make the IW to stay wider to try create a little more width at times. Liked the way the IWB worked and typically helped to stop the counter as well as worked as another passing option. 

Yeah I forgot to mention that I usually use a right-footed player as my my IW on the right. So he sort of plays like a hybrid between winger and inside forward. It's definitely better if you can make him cut in later. 

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2 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

Yeah I forgot to mention that I usually use a right-footed player as my my IW on the right. So he sort of plays like a hybrid between winger and inside forward. It's definitely better if you can make him cut in better. 

I figured that out after a few games my self. Having a right footed player as the IWs seems alot better than a left footed on. It both adds more width and variety in the last third, and it opens more space for the CMa and IWBs.

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I play a similar system at the moment and came at it from the same place - a simple but effective 433 - and I play an IW(A) on the left but a Winger (S) on the right. The Winger is there to stay wide and keeps the space open for the CM(A) to break into alongside or ahead of the centre-forward (usually a Pressing Forward on support).

In terms of the posts above about the left/right footers in the IW position, by default I use a right-footer on the left because there is space within the system for him to cut into and he then leaves space for my left back (usually a WB(S)) to move into but as mentioned above having a left-footer on the left does bring new variety to the position. The fact that they can go outside and whip a cross in or cut inside can be useful if you need something different to open up a stubborn defense.

Similarly, while I like a proper winger on the other flank and usually a right-footer, it can also work to play a left-footer as a winger which means he starts wide but his left-footedness can naturally bring him inside. This variety can make him harder to deal with from a defensive perspective.

The setup I have at the moment is one of the most effective and enjoyable saves I've had in a long time and it's a fairly basic setup, I'll try and remember to share some more info if I remember later as it complements the themes in the original posts.

Edited by Bruce Drundrige
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