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Pep's Manchester City 20/21: Looking To Recreate (But With Older Pep Elements)


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Hi Everyone

Looking for peoples opinions on a recreation im involved with. Particularly in terms of team instructions. Im trying to make the tactic more based around roles and player traits rather than adding lots of instructions on though.

Having watched the rise of the "new look" Man City under Pep I thought it would be good to try and get somewhere near their style on the game. To build a tactic that is successful on the game however, it seems like certain aspects of tactical building are inherently more successful than others, so hopefully im looking to utilise these elements into the tactic.

This more or less involves a higher intensity pressing game and higher lines than Man City are playing in real life right now, but was something synonymous with Pep's Barcelona tiki-taka play.

What I also notice is, some aspects of Man City's tactical play can be so intricate at times, with players switching roles seamlessly, that it can be really hard to accurately capture what the real life Man City can do within matches.

Formation

Ive so far only done the pre-season. Ive gone with the following formation (which looks a bit weird) and added in some player instructions to hopefully compliment the player traits they already have:

593396554_Screenshot2021-02-20at16_06_05.thumb.png.9da0fdbc91d8644bd5084a8532d2cebe.png

GK: EDERSON; Sweeper Keeper (A): Seems like a pretty standard role for Ederson. Most of his distribution will be short to the back line, but the attack duty should give him the option to ping a pinpoint long range pass when its needed, like for the Gundogan goal vs Spurs recently.

 

RWB/LWB: CANCELO/ZINCHENKO (WALKER & MENDY); Inverted Wingback (D): With these roles, initially i was playing IWB's in the full back spots on support. I didnt really like it because both of them whoever i picked, especially Cancelo, would wander too far forward and into areas that were too wide.

The Pep system revolves around having the wingbacks come inside into central midfield positions to make a 2-3-5 in possession. Moving the wing backs into a wingback slot but asking them to defend seems to achieve that behaviour of coming into central midfield and offering a short pass option.

The role suits Zinchenko moreso than Cancelo, as Cancelo has a player trait of "running down the right with the ball" which i dont like for this tactic.

CB: RUBEN DIAS/LAPORTE (STONES, AKE, GARCIA); Centre Back (D): Garcia is pictured here, but that was for a friendly. Both my first choice centrebacks have player traits to bring the ball out of defence, and thats all I want really. So ive given them a normal centreback role, with player instructions to "take less risks". I just want them to use the ball sensibly in the build up

DM: RODRI (FERNANDINHO); Defensive Midfielder (S): I quite like this role for Rodri so he can come deep to retrieve the ball from the centrebacks, but also push forward a little bit and come into a central midfield area. He doesnt go ahead of the ball, hes just got to act as a spare man to ensure there is an overloaded middle of the pitch.

RCM: DE BRUYNE (BERNARDO SILVA); Roaming Playmaker (S): Think this role is ideal. He works in tandem with the RWB and AMR. To achieve a front 5 type shape, ive added a player instruction to De Bruyne to "move into channels" so he goes into the half space.

LCM: GUNDOGAN (FODEN); Mezzala (S): Its pretty clear that when used, Gundogan has been given more license to get into the box. His goal tally is impressive this season, so he is creating and scoring. I think mezzala works well for him and Foden, as Foden already has a "get into opposition area" player trait.

I think by using the mezzala role, it should see both of them getting into the box plenty, but also drifting wide to combine with the AML position. Gundogan is definitely better off the ball than the game thinks he is, im surprised he has such a low attribute for off the ball movement.

AML: STERLING; Raumdeuter (A): Im not really 100% happy with this role in terms of recreating the tactic. I see Sterling as one of the main goalscoring threats in the team, so I want him to attack the box regularly. Ive seen Raumdeuters dropping fairly deep so im hoping he can contribute to the buildup but his main role is to get into the box and score.

Im hoping that the interaction down the right will free up space for him to move into.

The thing I dont like is in his role, his player instructions have him "sitting narrower" which isnt really ideal as his starting position needs to be wide to open up the left half space.

Im thinking of telling him to mark the opposition position of "RWB" which might make his starting position start wider perhaps.

AMR: MAHREZ (BERNARDO SILVA); Inverted Winger (S): The goal Mahrez just scored vs Everton is perfect in the way he interacted with the RCM, drifted inside on his left foot and shot across the goalkeeper. I need him to retain the width without the ball, then come inside when he has it and look for passing options or shoot.

Ive added a player instruction onto him to "stay wider" so that there is space for De Bruyne to move into the half space.

SC: GABRIEL JESUS (AGUERO); Deep Lying Forward (S): Gabriel Jesus has a player trait of "comes deep to get the ball" which is ideal for the tactic, which should give license for Sterling and Gundogan/Foden to run past him.

My issue with him is not so much his role, its his lack of finishing ability that annoys me. He moves well off the ball but he doesnt finish his chances.

 

Ive currently left most of the team instructions off at the moment, but wondered what you thought of the set up, and which team instructions you might want to add in? Id think passing instructions might be something to look at, but with the players having such great attibutes for decision making, maybe its best to leave them as they are? Distribution options might be something to add for the keeper too.

 

Thanks Everyone

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@FMunderachiever

In the past I played a system very similar to this and it worked great for me.

The only thing is the Sterling's role as a RMD, without a WB behind him I think you sacrifice too much in terms of width. At least this was my problem with that formation. I wanted the width, so I changed the role into a normal Winger and with the right player (I had Mbappe - I know, too easy...) is still worked great as my main scorer but also kept some width for variety of attacks, as an alternative to the usual right overload with final switch to the left.  With Sterling the same move should work just fine (Gets into opposition area; Cut Inside). I would suggest you give it a try.

For TI I always prefer a slower build up (lower mentality, shorter passing, lower tempo). With M City you can afford that. 

Two questions related to the position of the IWBs:

1. Do you experience some congestion in the midfield, being them so close to the CMs?  

2. Since they are set on defense, do they play and expansive-enough game or they just pass the ball to the the nearby player? I am saying this because I think they should often find themselves in a ideal position for a through ball for someone cutting in into the box. 

 

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I'd say the mentality isn't quite rigth, City keep the ball very well & out poccess most teams they play against, I'd say around the Standard kind of mark with shorter passing, Attacking is more " get everyone & the ball forward as quickly as possible" kind of style 

Are they known for their crosses & long shots? Maybe WBIB to install that City patience 

Sterling runs on the ball quite a lot, so something more like an IW or IF rather than a RMD. Jesus too, not sure if he is a DLF, I associate DLF's with having stronger phyical attributes because you're asking them to hold up the ball & link play, a F9 might suit his style more. I don't even think Gundo's current role is possible in the game right now, CM(A) maybe? :D

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Hello, due to certain constraints in my life right now, I cannot play FM as much, but I still watch real-life football and am fascinated by recent tactics of Man city and was contemplating how much of it could be replicated on FM. To the best of my interpretation, I have picked a couple of roles and duties but never have tested them out. If we want to create real-life tactics, we need to remember that it might not be possible to create an exact replica of real-life tactics, more so of MC. In his recent tactics, Pep used 3 at the backs during buildup from the back; depending on who is available could be two CB and either FB or DM dropping deep also the double pivot. The double-pivot usually consists of one of the wing-back Cancelo and Rodri. The wingers hug the line while the free 8 are given the license to roam and create an overload in different pitch zones and areas.

 

                                                                        DLF(A)

                                                             W (S)   AM (A)   AP (S)   IW 

                                                                              HB/DM (D)

                                                                FB(S)  BPD(D)   BPD(D)  IWB(S)

Here, my thinking was how can I make a back 3 and use double-pivot so, I picked HB(D), who drops deep between two center-backs while the BPD(D) spreads far wide. I decided to station both free 8 much higher with AM(a) being the Gundogan role who might get goal while the AP(S) along with IWB(s) form the double pivot. Raheem Sterling is given the winger role to go one on one against the full-back and combine with AM to get in behind. Let me know what you think and if you decide to try it out and change based on what you see, let me know if I can change anything.

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7 minutes ago, raktim0699 said:


Hello, due to certain constraints in my life right now, I cannot play FM as much, but I still watch real-life football and am fascinated by recent tactics of Man city and was contemplating how much of it could be replicated on FM. To the best of my interpretation, I have picked a couple of roles and duties but never have tested them out. If we want to create real-life tactics, we need to remember that it might not be possible to create an exact replica of real-life tactics, more so of MC. In his recent tactics, Pep used 3 at the backs during buildup from the back; depending on who is available could be two CB and either FB or DM dropping deep also the double pivot. The double-pivot usually consists of one of the wing-back Cancelo and Rodri. The wingers hug the line while the free 8 are given the license to roam and create an overload in different pitch zones and areas.

 

                                                                        DLF(A)

                                                             W (S)   AM (A)   AP (S)   IW 

                                                                              HB/DM (D)

                                                                FB(S)  BPD(D)   BPD(D)  IWB(S)

Here, my thinking was how can I make a back 3 and use double-pivot so, I picked HB(D), who drops deep between two center-backs while the BPD(D) spreads far wide. I decided to station both free 8 much higher with AM(a) being the Gundogan role who might get goal while the AP(S) along with IWB(s) form the double pivot. Raheem Sterling is given the winger role to go one on one against the full-back and combine with AM to get in behind. Let me know what you think and if you decide to try it out and change based on what you see, let me know if I can change anything.

Hi Mate

Think you raise interesting points about the match engine when it comes to very intricate tactics, the kinds we see from Man City under Pep as an example.

During the Everton game for example, Man City did attack with a back 3 most of the time. The issue is that the back 3 can be any one of the wing backs or central midfielder as a "half back" type player making up the back three.

One element the game needs really is the ability for us to use a "one wing back goes forward, the other holds his position" type team instruction, to give us the flexibility to change the team shape further when we have the ball.

I do think on reflection, as eluded to by @DNZ-8 the normal "winger" position could be ideal for Sterling just as you say. Because he is right footed, his winger position should see him retaining width in the build up, before then having an instinct to get in at the back post if the ball is on the opposite flank.

I will build a secondary tactic to try out the higher midfield pairing in the "free 8s" role, i just have a concern that because a half back is employed it will leave a lot of space between the back line and midfield, but it looks a very interesting set up!

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47 minutes ago, DNZ-8 said:

@FMunderachiever

In the past I played a system very similar to this and it worked great for me.

The only thing is the Sterling's role as a RMD, without a WB behind him I think you sacrifice too much in terms of width. At least this was my problem with that formation. I wanted the width, so I changed the role into a normal Winger and with the right player (I had Mbappe - I know, too easy...) is still worked great as my main scorer but also kept some width for variety of attacks, as an alternative to the usual right overload with final switch to the left.  With Sterling the same move should work just fine (Gets into opposition area; Cut Inside). I would suggest you give it a try.

For TI I always prefer a slower build up (lower mentality, shorter passing, lower tempo). With M City you can afford that. 

Two questions related to the position of the IWBs:

1. Do you experience some congestion in the midfield, being them so close to the CMs?  

2. Since they are set on defense, do they play and expansive-enough game or they just pass the ball to the the nearby player? I am saying this because I think they should often find themselves in a ideal position for a through ball for someone cutting in into the box. 

 

Hi there great feedback.

I think youre probably right about the winger role on reflection for retaining the width on the left side.

Just as @Johnny Ace said, I think a slower buildup would be preferable. Man City would in real life with patient passing.

One thing that puts me off a little about dropping down to a standard mentality, is that I think it reduces the individual mentality of certain players down too much. I think on a standard mentality, if Gabriel Jesus' role was that of a F9 i believe his individual mentality would drop down to "cautious", I dont really see that as ideal. I think the same thing might happen to his DLF role, im not too sure they are two roles i dont use too much.

In terms of the congestion in midfield and expansive passing game, ive only done the pre-season so far but im pretty happy with it actually in regards to passing risk and positioning. A lot of the wide defenders with the exception of Zinchenko have some very aggressive player traits such as getting forward wherever possible, running with the ball, running wide etc.

I creates a lot of variability in their play (sometimes not wanted in all honesty). I do see some through ball play from them, and maybe it might even be possible to train traits in attempting through balls from the wide defenders

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43 minutes ago, Johnny Ace said:

I'd say the mentality isn't quite rigth, City keep the ball very well & out poccess most teams they play against, I'd say around the Standard kind of mark with shorter passing, Attacking is more " get everyone & the ball forward as quickly as possible" kind of style 

Are they known for their crosses & long shots? Maybe WBIB to install that City patience 

Sterling runs on the ball quite a lot, so something more like an IW or IF rather than a RMD. Jesus too, not sure if he is a DLF, I associate DLF's with having stronger phyical attributes because you're asking them to hold up the ball & link play, a F9 might suit his style more. I don't even think Gundo's current role is possible in the game right now, CM(A) maybe? :D

Hi there. I do agree with you about the slower build up.

In preseason games ive seen possession numbers of around 65% plus or minus a percent or two which seems about right, maybe a little low. But certainly the buildup is more patient.

Im just a little concerned about the effects on individual mentality of dropping the team mentality down, but its something to play with.

Gundo's role at the moment seems to boil down to that of a central midfielder....with literally every PI ticked

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26 minutes ago, FMunderachiever said:

Hi Mate

Think you raise interesting points about the match engine when it comes to very intricate tactics, the kinds we see from Man City under Pep as an example.

During the Everton game for example, Man City did attack with a back 3 most of the time. The issue is that the back 3 can be any one of the wing backs or central midfielder as a "half back" type player making up the back three.

One element the game needs really is the ability for us to use a "one wing back goes forward, the other holds his position" type team instruction, to give us the flexibility to change the team shape further when we have the ball.

I do think on reflection, as eluded to by @DNZ-8 the normal "winger" position could be ideal for Sterling just as you say. Because he is right footed, his winger position should see him retaining width in the build up, before then having an instinct to get in at the back post if the ball is on the opposite flank.

I will build a secondary tactic to try out the higher midfield pairing in the "free 8s" role, i just have a concern that because a half back is employed it will leave a lot of space between the back line and midfield, but it looks a very interesting set up!

That is true; it is hard to use a standard formation sometimes to replicate the movement pattern and linking of the real-life footballers on the pitch; that's why you have to asymmetrically approach it. Man city uses a standard 4-3-3, but rarely player stay there throughout the match; some players are given more freedom to move between the lines while others are told to provide width depending on the player available and their strength. Even though Guardiola is very fluid and flexible, he always takes his player's strengths into account and adapts as all the good managers do. Raheem Sterling is the one who gives width, and when he gets the ball, he attacks the opposition full-back with pace because that is his strength. He is often found isolated on the wing because of the extreme width he provides, and that is Guardiola's primary goal is to get him one-on-one with the opposition full-back and is then encouraged to take a risk in dribble. The 3 defenders are positioned in each vertical channel depending on how you decide to create a back three with, and I doubt if it's possible in FM to make a back three like City without using an HB(D). If you position the defending players during buildups in half-space, it gives them a better angle and opens up passing to different areas of the pitch, and Man city tries to take advantage of that when Laporte is playing. In my view, some traits would be beneficial, and I see players in the Man City squad do are as follows.
1,  Sterling hugs the line, runs with the ball, and plays one-twos, knocks the ball past the opponent.
Bernardo, if he is playing, he is told to get the ball from deep and move into advanced areas when he is not needed to drop deep. He should be able to run with the ball through the center and switch the ball to flanks; dictate tempo would help too.
Gundo gets forwards whenever possible, comes deep, and dictates tempo, Gets into the opposition area.

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I just checked the F9s menatality & you're right, it's cautious on standard so that would probably make him not that much of a goal threat & have him playing far too safe

Positive could have a better effect with the passing directness & tempo toned down. City seem to get around 70% in competitive games so something to keep your eye on for sure 

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4 hours ago, themadsheep2001 said:

 

Posted this in another thread, might be relevant to you op

 

Hi there. Great post.

Im trying to incorporate some of your thoughts.

Im seeing very encouraging results so far with Man City. For me I do see enough attacking intent from the false 9 whilst still dropping deep to create space.

I almost wish some of the players had less traits or could unlearn them more easily as the traits can destabilise the tactic.

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2 hours ago, FMunderachiever said:

Hi there. Great post.

Im trying to incorporate some of your thoughts.

Im seeing very encouraging results so far with Man City. For me I do see enough attacking intent from the false 9 whilst still dropping deep to create space.

I almost wish some of the players had less traits or could unlearn them more easily as the traits can destabilise the tactic.

Traits are incredibly powerful, almost overpowered. I always teach traits with huge caution

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This is a great thread although I think a strikerless system would fit better for what Pep has been aiming for this season, with the decline of Aguero.

This is the tactic that I made which has yielded very good results in the VNN with Alfreton.

9d21fcd691cc4d70d4efe9abf8bcb370.thumb.png.6da39b82cb40e6012fc953e7171a1ba9.png021418d1572b346352132bc72ed7aac3.png.10711f84acea59e9ffb0baec8800d0fe.png 

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31 minutes ago, Fudal said:

This is a great thread although I think a strikerless system would fit better for what Pep has been aiming for this season, with the decline of Aguero.

This is the tactic that I made which has yielded very good results in the VNN with Alfreton.

9d21fcd691cc4d70d4efe9abf8bcb370.thumb.png.6da39b82cb40e6012fc953e7171a1ba9.png021418d1572b346352132bc72ed7aac3.png.10711f84acea59e9ffb0baec8800d0fe.png 

This is a very interesting tactic.

Rather than using the wing backs to drift into central roles, it looks like you are using them in traditional roles to hug the lines, but with the addition of the overlap instructions have your inverted wide men sit narrower so the two wingbacks in possession form the outer 2 of the front 5, with a more static middle of the pitch with playmakers.

I would say for that reason it differs slightly from a "Pep" type set up but still very effective clearly.

The attacking midfield role on (A) is probably the closest we can get to a Gundogan type role but he has lots of playmaking elements in his game too. Its really hard with very good teams to really pinpoint some of the player roles, and thats nothing against the game, its just the role is so fluid that programming it into the game would be very hard.

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On 20/02/2021 at 17:25, FMunderachiever said:

 

AML: STERLING; Raumdeuter (A): Im not really 100% happy with this role in terms of recreating the tactic. I see Sterling as one of the main goalscoring threats in the team, so I want him to attack the box regularly. Ive seen Raumdeuters dropping fairly deep so im hoping he can contribute to the buildup but his main role is to get into the box and score.

Im hoping that the interaction down the right will free up space for him to move into.

The thing I dont like is in his role, his player instructions have him "sitting narrower" which isnt really ideal as his starting position needs to be wide to open up the left half space.

Im thinking of telling him to mark the opposition position of "RWB" which might make his starting position start wider perhaps.

 

Interesting post mate. I'm working on a similar Pep 4-3-3 back on FM18 so naturally, I'm looking for similar positioning from my wingers.

  • Stay wide in the build up phase
    - Stretch the opposition defence horizontally, creating more room in the 'half spaces' for my CMs (and inverted wing backs) to play in.
  • Stay high in the build up phase
    - Pin the opposition full back, forcing the defence backwards allows the CMs to join the offensive players, making the 2-3-5 shape in attack.
    - Staying higher puts him in a position to make a run in behind the full back if the space opens up.
  • Get into the box at the right time
    - Ideally, arrive close to the goal late in the move in order to finish the move off.

So far I've found that when using the winger role, the AML/AMR will keep the width as we want him to, but does this slightly deeper (middle third) and as such can't fulfil the last 2 objectives. 

Conversely, the worry with the inside forward is that he checks boxes 2 and 3, but plays too narrow. This would reduce the space for the 2 central midfielders to move into. Given we are using IWBs as well, it would also make the team as a whole quite narrow.

I'm currently going with a Structured/Control set up, using Inside Forwards on Attack with a PI of 'Stay Wider'. I also have TIs of 'exploit the middle' (raises mentality of central players) and 'look for underlap' (reduces mentality of the AML/AMR). Gives me individual mentality of 15 for the wingers, 11 for my CMs and 10 for my striker (on DLF(s) atm). Ideally I would like them to be closer, but that will come in time when the team improves and we move towards a more fluid system.

I've only used it in one game so far but the early signs are promising. The 3 goals we scored are below, with the wingers (Berardi on the left, Sansone on the right) featuring heavily in all 3. 

With the first you'll see that they're *quite* wide to begin with. Not exactly hugging the touchline, but this is from a turnover in possession so they were slightly narrower when we didn't have the ball. Sansone stays outside the full back until the opportunity arises to make the darting run in behind. Berardi gets himself into a decent position on the other side if the cross was to come deeper.

The second goal is the kind of really close to goal, slightly scrappy finish that Sterling seems to score quite a few of. Again you'll see both wingers are fairly wide as the play starts. Cutrone (#19) also had the option of finding the central midfield player in the right half space when he chose to pass straight to Sansone. Berardi on the other side initially makes his run wide after passing to the striker, then gets in at the back post to finish it off.

The second is more what you'd expect from a F9/IF combo, but the third is confirmation that the striker should also get himself in position to finish the moves off as well.

 

 

goal.gif

goal1.gif

goal2.gif

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