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Manchester City Pep Guardiola Analysis and Tactical Recreation


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In game examples:

 

City V Tottenham 2021

 

This clip below is fantastic because it shows the intent of city to exploit half space and shows what Henry was referring to as “Dummy” runs when he was at Barca under Guardiola.

Full Clip:

 

Breakdown:

Part 1:

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- Here is the moment where Zinchenko passes the ball then goes on to make a run right between the CB & FB. He does this to primarily get on the ball via a through ball and as he starts to make his run the RB actually starts to move towards sterling making a big gap between the two. When the ball doesn’t come his way he’s applied his secondary role here which is to dummy run.

 

This now becoming a dummy run has now effected the play in a different way. It’s caught the attention of the centre backs who are ready to drop in fear of this happening again ( opening space straight in front of the back 4 for someone else to get on the ball ) also the RB is now worried about a run in the half space so he starts to narrow off leaving more space for Sterling to now receive a pass. Either way Zinchenko’s run 03:07 into the game is already going to have an effect.

 

Part 2: 

77419_CI3.jpg.8d665acddb9141e96bd7045b5f823d4a.jpg12605940_CI2.jpg.43705131e647342ba4dc9ebffc4dad73.jpg

 

- After this moment in the clip Bernardo Silva this time ( and it is more commonly a CM ) makes a run in behind. The back 4 drop with him leaving space to get the ball to Sterling on the LW.

And just like that City are in the final third with the ball at the feet of a wide player and a player running straight through Into the gap they were trying to create the gap between a centre back and full back.

What we are seeing here Is the same principle In how city want to exploit the back 4 but a variation in the specific players and or positions involved in the “pattern”

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City V Swansea 2019

 


In this clip we see “Positional play” philosophy in action. Two different players try to break into the half space gap and who went depended on the picture surrounding the play. At the end also Walker overlaps to provide a “Pattern 2” when ordinarily that would be a CM on the ball and a wide player breaking on the outside of the defensive line. It would also normally happen deeper In the pitch of course.

Full Clip:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakdown Part 1:

15210796_SCI1.jpg.597790063870ae0675ca452b00009b71.jpg

 

- This first image is to show that Swansea in this moment are playing a back 4 but the CDM will drop into the back line in a second to plug the gap and might make it confusing when talking about the gaps and half spaces

 

Breakdown Part 2:

978107040_SCI2.jpg.198aa839aa81a767a0ad1863db03c4a0.jpg

 

- Here we see Sane doing his job and occupying the wide space and Silva has broke into a pretty wide gap between what is now the FB & CDM in the half space. Due to the extremely poor defensive line a good first time pass and city are in immediately from “Pattern 1”.

Breakdown Part 3:

877142684_SCI3.jpg.51d6fbf6ba3a7911fdc11986ccc5f7ac.jpg

 

- At this point that pattern has broken down, Sane has linked up and now will look to himself exploit the half space that he’s helped create by being wide until this point. “ Pattern 2 “

 

The full back by this point has narrowed off but sane has still found a gap from the movements he and the others have made and a pass here into this gap would put him through on goal either for a shot or a far post cross where there just so happens to be 2 city players waiting in the red zone shown earlier in the simplified videos.

 

Breakdown Part 4:

385195931_SCI5.jpg.6126dbc121c1356b6c2ff7130dcb8585.jpg

 

-  Unfortunately the pass doesn’t come but from Sane’s run he applies his secondary role which is a dummy run and the whole backline drop with him leaving space for the ball to be played to another central midfield player right in front of the back line.

 

Breakdown Part 5

2147330210_SCI4.jpg.ff0030ed50fa66d00ec54da70982c33c.jpg

 

- The attack finishes in this scenario. It isn’t directly one of the “patterns” but then this where the principle applies. The opposition have narrowed off so there’s no room for the half space, this means there’s space on the outside of the backline. Even though Pep uses “inverted” full backs it must be understood that here they are applying a role to the formula and walker has to make the run for Mahrez to either play him in where he can play a dangerous first time ball into the box or be a decoy and force the defence to drop further giving Mahrez the space to then move into and from this distance shoot.

Incidentally it’s played to walker and the only issue with this picture from my understanding of what pep is asking is Sane and Silva are both occupying the same space. Sane should probably loop his run back to the far post red zone ready for a tap in if the ball makes it across goal.

 

 

 

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Simplified Conclusion

 

In conclusion of city’s play to break through a back 4 they have players in areas or positions that are responsible for applying set roles and responsibilities. There are many more complexities in pep’s positional football but this is how I would explain it in it’s simplest form especially to someone trying to replicate the style and patterns that city play.

 

1.

  • If possession is built up wide players are expected to be wide to stretch the back 4 and occupy the fullback.
  • If the wide player is on the ball, the player in the Central midfield role or half space on the ball side is expected to make vertical runs and exploit the gap between the Fullback and centre back if there is one. This is to either get on the ball if in space or to drag runners with them to leave space for other players to exploit.
  • Generally speaking the closer the ball gets to the goal the narrower the opposite winger is expected to be to make sure they are in a scoring position if the ball is cut back or crossed into their area.

 

2.

  • If the wide player has occupied the Fullback & a gap Is created but for whatever reason ( could be designed could be not ) there is  no player to make the vertical run, the wide player will now either retain the ball or make this run and look to receive a pass beyond the backline to break through onto goal. He could alternatively look to take the fullback on 1v1.
  • If the wide player moves central there must be a player to now occupy the wide position resulting in a potential “rotation of positions” between the wide player and the central midfield player or another player in the area.

 

3.

  • If there is no gap the wide player will preferably look to link with a central player and look to receive the ball again on the outside of the backline looking to take a positive first touch in behind them and penetrate this way.
  • Alternatively the winger can look to take the fullback on 1v1 on the outside.

 

It must be noted these scenarios are for when city are building attacks when organised. The same rules don’t necessarily apply to counter attacks.

Also without wanting to go too far into this but one of the principles of pep’s positional play philosophy is to overload one side of the pitch to get the defence to overload that side then look to switch the point of attack and attack down their “weak” side. If this was to occur the switch to the other wide player may result in them being a lot more direct running at the backline rather than waiting for patterns or scenarios mentioned to occur.

 

* Apologies for the spread Posts the formatting on my mac and file size makes this difficult to move across. I'd rather this have stayed hidden until it was complete. I'll keep posting and adjusting until it's all up.

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2.

Exploiting the half space ( Zone 15 & 13 )

 

Why does exploiting the half space work so well for City and why don’t more teams stop it?

 

This is due to how teams particularly in England set up to defend in a back 4 with 2 deeper central players. Could be 4-4-2 , 4-4-1-1, 4-2-3-1 however you want to call these formations and set ups there’s a flaw in how these systems tend to defend.

 

I first noticed this flaw at this standard of football when studying the Manchester City title winning team in 2011/2012 and how they would exploit this in the opposition. I also noticed it when studying Leicester’s title winning team in 2015/2016 and how they defended when organised. When a team in one of these systems is out of possession and defending in their own half when organised they mostly tend to do similar things.

 

Base 442 Example:

 

image.png.ab5309607d79a7a3d58f018899128870.png

 

- Here is an example of how a team defending deep in their own half could look in a 442. It’s the standard “width of the penalty box” shape when defending centrally. I’ve taken the defenders and forwards out to make this clearer.

 

 

Base Example of defending when ball is wide:

image.png.06ac785ab2ea0ad5e73f54a3848e7057.png

 

  • Now here we’ve played the ball to the left winger. The right back has moved out to engage him creating this gaping hole in the backline.
  • Most teams defending in this scenario tend to ask their central midfield player on that side to now drop into that area and be the cover for the RB.
  • The problem with this system is quite often it takes a fair few seconds before the central midfielder gets from where he is, into a position to be effective in plugging that gap.
  • Not only that but if blue CM makes a hard aggressive run into that gap he’s got a running start on the red CM and is probably going to beat him to a dangerous position regardless of the speed difference.

 

 

I remember when being fascinated by and happy for Leicester winning the league thinking I can’t believe teams aren't noticing this and looking to exploit it. I thought maybe I was missing something and I wasn’t fully understanding the whole picture.

 

So when Pep came to City and I was seeing this pattern over and over again from a CM running straight into this gap I was delighted and felt vindicated but you can also see why teams don’t do it the way he does.

 

Firstly you need to be able to successfully retain the ball in your attacks. You need to build up possession to get them in these scenarios and have your wingers high and wide.

Secondly if you do choose to play a single pivot 4-3-3 against this type of system and you do use your CM’s to make these runs you need to make sure your team is set up to defend the counter if you lose the ball. If you lose the ball after your central midfield player just made a run behind the defensive line there’s a good chance on that side of the pitch there’s some gaping holes waiting to be exploited and it’s something we’ve seen even city struggle with at their low points under Guardiola.

 

In Game Example:

Here’s an example of this style of defensive set up from Mourinho’s Chelsea in 2014/2015

 

262539610_TC1.jpg.d3509d13f3bcc2af1d1426eccf6f54ed.jpg

 

 

1353648678_TC2.jpg.4a4ae04c717e6ee5e9bf0b60a3bc3d1e.jpg

 

14050480_TC3.jpg.d11cfa2c3da330f7e881b38974a2f11c.jpg

 

Alternative ways of defending with a back 4:

Another way you could defend the situation is to have the back 4 move as a unit across with the full back when he looks to engage wide.

image.png.7dea88786bdbef2b6768714692d8ace7.png

 

-  This is exaggerated but you get the point. You can see the issue with this it becomes very easy for a team to over commit leaving lots of space on the opposite side for switches of play and crosses to the back post.

Also by doing this if you have bigger slower central defenders you could be asking them to move lots across the pitch and defend in wider areas which they may not be suited to or comfortable with

 

Alternative Way 2:

 

image.png.4f504469470fd689e58fc6d0687c2841.png 

 

image.png.765c697723308dc35575181f9cb6582b.png

 

-  You could ask your opposite winger to drop into the back line on the outside of the RB leaving you in a 5-3-2 sort of shape. This plugs the gaps well but puts you into a deep defensive shape early and you could find it hard to get out from this quickly. A quick switch would also could leave a 2v1 very quickly if the opposition were to use both of their wide players. Again there are many problems with not only this but all ways.

 

 

Simplified Conclusion:

 

By analysing teams that play in a variant of a 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1 or 4-2-3-1 is they very much prefer the first way and as we’ve seen like all ways here it has a weakness. That weakness just happens to be very well exploited by the way city use their wingers and central midfield players.

 

The only thing City when balancing this all up purely from a positional stand point, is they need to be wary of is when their central midfield players make such aggressive vertical runs. If the ball is turned over they must have a set up behind them that allows them to counterpress & prevent counter attacks stopping them having to go to and defend for a prolonged period out of possession.

image.png

TC 2.jpg

Edited by Cult of Football Manager
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Very very good and in-depth analysis. Looking forward for the replication. Possibly, you checked out other's replications so can you compare yours with them. Not in terms of success but movement and chance creation etc.

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3. Continued:

* Thanks for the comments everyone i will reply to every person I'm just trying to get the full post out first! Hopefully now my videos are embedding i can go back and put all of this into 3 posts eventually.

 

Here there’s so much to break down and explain why this goal happens and how it’s again from one of the patterns or principles in Pep’s positional play. I have many more clips from this game but I think this one will be the last for now but some clips will appear again in the Inverted wing back section of this.

Full Clip:

 

 

Breakdown 1:

First it’s important to recognise why this whole event unfolds the way it does. Here we see Mahrez who’s applying his out of possession responsibility here and has drifted very narrow to help with the team with compactness. City however here win the ball and are about to get it under control

 

637145963_CEP3I1.jpg.5c60d83d1fb655e1b6399e8d1efa0c85.jpg

 

-  Mahrez being the furthest central player forward and Jesus on the ball in a deeper area assumes the role of the “striker”. Kyle walker sees this picture early and recognises for city’s attack to develop and to maintain the shape required he needs to get out and be the “winger” in the side zones.

 

1991946571_CEP3I2.jpg.b145455c13fb18f3f0be36d18113ab79.jpg

 

2. 

 

1399803296_CEP3I5.jpg.977d6d80c66bfa77a5334a1e1cd1e8e8.jpg

 

-  Here now the team has progressed a little up the pitch and we see players in familiar areas but the specific players are all over the place on the right side. We have out starting Striker in a CM role, Starting RW at ST, Starting RB at RW & starting RCM at RB. Again only using positions to make it relatable & ( hopefully ) easier to follow I don’t think they think like that, they know what zone and what lanes/options there needs to be and they are moving off of their understanding of their tactics and gameplay which I’m unfortunately not privy too.

 

The main point here is that walker isn’t overlapping or staying wide as an attacking RB for example he’s in position for where city need him to be for their positional football. As far as the system is concerned right this second he’s the RW in this moment.

 

3. 

1669316818_ECP3I1.jpg.c07516e6730dea75b86e1acf7846be9f.jpg

 

-  So here normally we would see a ball to the feet of a winger that creates this level of gap between the CB & FB be exploited by the CM. There’s 2 reasons why Foden doesn’t make the run this time.

 

Firstly it’s a counter attack they haven’t built the attack so it’s not necessarily the same rules. The second, the ball after it was won went to City’s right side first before being switched to this side. One of the major points of positional play is to overload one side so the opposition overload that side with defenders and then look to switch to the other side and exploit their weak side.

 

In this scenario we’ve got Sterling 1v1 with about as much space as you could want in professional football and if Foden runs into the gap not only will he close the gap sterling may move into but even if sterling cuts inside first if he’s there Foden is going to bring players with him and close this space.

 

4.

1772154234_ECP3I2.jpg.1b890392fdecc6489ea0c26ba8917d41.jpg

 

-  Between the last image and this one, the ball has gone out of play and city have had a throw in on the right hand side but the players have continued in their “roles”.  Ignoring who specifically is in which position this is pretty much fine the only player who arguably probably shouldn’t be where they are is Foden as he’s too far to the other side of the pitch & He's close to being in the same "Vertical Zone" or "Vertical line" as Jesus & Cancelo. 

 

Walker was already wide and took the throw in so there’s not too much surprise he’s stayed there initially but even after the ball makes it to Cancelo. Here there could be a mass rotation of Mahrez going back wide, walker back deeper and more central towards where silva is and then silva up to where Mahrez is. but we don’t see that they stay as they are in their current roles.

 

5. 

416741127_ECP3I4.jpg.d31cdf98f57a9df13cd6899eecface67.jpg

 

- Silva plays the ball out to Walker who’s the RW, he’s created a gap where Mahrez as the CM.. oh we’ve seen this before.

 

6.

110698484_ECP3I7.jpg.b002a90c807923eb5acd8449c564f5d0.jpg

 

- Mahrez makes the run into the gap primarily to get the ball. But due to the angle and the opposition it doesn’t come his way. Therefore his run now plays its secondary role which is to make the defenders drop and create space for someone or somewhere else.

 

7.

1698655021_ECP7I8.jpg.edb3bc6f635fcefcf035940e2238158f.jpg

-  His run has left Bernardo Silva in the “RB” role with lots of space right in front of the back 4 one of planned secondary outcomes of the run Mahrez made.

 

8.

 

11419154_ECP3I9.jpg.435ed307d147dbe6c03fb87b6494f506.jpg

 

- Bernardo silva dribbles towards the backline forcing them back further into their own box and now Mahrez is about to go straight into the space his initial run made.

 

9.

1709511847_ECP3I11.jpg.e533e22e17fafd493dc3f85f7e657d75.jpg

 

- Mahrez now shoots from the initial space he created by his run. This forcing the Everton back line to drop and not having a second line of defence in front to affect Mahrez. Brilliant goal, Brilliant move, Brilliant concept of positional football and without simplifying it back to the roles, responsibilities & patterns it can just look like a bunch of city players moving all over the place popping up in space.

Edited by Cult of Football Manager
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4. 

* I must apologies I use the term inverted full back & inverted wingback interchangeably. I am talking about the same exact thing here!

 

The Inverted Fullback & A look to City in 2020 - 2021

 

 

As soon as pep came to England and his full backs wouldn’t do what orthodox fullbacks would do in England it was instantly talked about. We’re going to look at how it benefits a pep type system, how originally it was used in its simplest form and then how it’s been used this season to an even more extreme.

 

Now for the purpose of this analysis I’ve avoided going back before pep’s time at city because it’s relevant to where he is now and the player’s he uses or has used here.

 

This season in particular the Full backs and normally one side more then the other has been so effective not just from what they do but how pep’s readjusted other parts of the set up. Just by the different zones and areas the Full back moves into has a connection to where other players can move and when.

 

We will look at some simplified examples of how a traditional back 4 used to look and how the inverted wing back helps with creating central overloads and better angles to switch the play. We will then finish with a detailed look at an example of the first half of City V Everton from 2021 at Goodison park.

 

 

The average set up

 

Now here we have a scenario where a hypothetical team might have their team set up in a 4-2-3-1 type of shape. Let’s say for an example here City are organised and the opposition want to move city to one side then look to switch the play and attack down their right and City’s left.

 

image.png.e11c85ba3dc7df963ce163de4c05536b.png

 

- To switch the ball to the winger you need to either hit one ball all the way across the pitch where not only by the time it comes out of the air will city have pressure on the player, but the risk of a bad touch or the ball being off target is massively increased.

- There’s also the chance even if all this goes well his own team mates may not have got there quick enough to support him In the attack

- The only way to switch this for the reds is for the back line to drop creating more depth and switching across the back line. Because Jesus is stopping them playing straight across.

- By the time they get the ball to their wide man, city should have moved across and the picture wouldn’t really have changed it will be the same just on the other side of the pitch.

 

 

Original Use of the Inverted Wing Back by Pep at City

Switching quicker through the middle and allowing for a double pivot system in build up

1.

- Here we will start off with city in a hypothetical base set up and look for one of the many benefits for City to have an inverted WB

  image.png.3549a42cb2858698ca7b82e466795878.png

- Going back to one of Pep’s principles of positional football in attacking the weak side, let’s assume in this scenario that this is the desired outcome and we’re looking to switch out to the RW.

- Here we can see the RB and the RCB just simply out of the game we can’t get them the ball, they aren’t involved and if we were to switch through them it would take multiple passes and too much time to get the ball to the RW

2. 

image.png.948171d571960a3d8f1e690070b95658.png

 

- Now here the CDM Fernandinho could go and move across to help create an overload or drag the CAM with him by moving to the ball side.

-  If he does however there will be a huge gap in the middle of the field in front of the back 4 which is terrible if city were to turnover possession or even for switching itself.

-  The LW for the reds is currently occupied by depending on their game plan to be watching for sterling at RW or the full back.

 

3. 

image.png.f66738b1bf0852d23c30c4f1a6a159b4.png

 

-  Fernandinho could move and you could bring one of the two advanced central midfielders back to make a double pivot so you can now switch through the centre and you’re better set to defend a counter attack.

- The trade off for this is if we are successful in our switch to the RW there’s a chance now he won’t have support in the half space zone which is an integral part of City breaking apart a back 4 so this solution doesn’t help us in the long run.

 

4. 

 

image.png.dea1e990df265e41a5f8d8ec88639298.png

 

- Instead we move our RB Walker up to now making a double pivot with Fernandinho. He now can move to the ball side and not have the concerns in the previous scenario.

- We keep Kevin De Bruyne high and ready to be apart of our attack if we’re successful. The left winger now has a problem with whether to follow walker as his “man”. Or stay and be apart of the zonal team set up.

5. 

 

image.png.5a8e2553b6f5e93755e14d8d2eae5ec3.png

 

- Here let’s assume the Left Winger worried about De Bruyne and their role in the teams shape stays and lets walker move un opposed into this area. We will look at the opposite in a second I’m not trying to make things too easy for myself in my explanation!

- Here with the pass back to Zinchenko Fernandinho being city’s 4 or CDM is being marked by the opposition 10 or CAM. He’s dragged him into an area where now we have a lot clearer of a lane to switch. Now this is actually a horizontal pass which some coaches absolutely hate due to the potential for someone to step out and intercept I’m just trying to make a general simplified point of a example scenario advantage of the Inverted wing back.

 

6. 

image.png.07ea7358b51c0535e0e106432a89cae4.png

 

- Walker now under can get on the ball and play a pass to sterling with not only this switch happening quickly but the pass to sterling is on the floor and at a perfect angle for him to take a positive first touch out of his feet and I think we’ve seen this scenario before with now a midfield player in a half space or Zone 15 making a run behind the backline between the FB & CB.

- We were only able to accomplish this by having a second pivot. It allowed Fernandinho to roam and drag a player with him. This then made a passing lane safer and clearer from  Zinchenko to Walker. By having walker in there this also allowed De Bruyne stay in a more threatening position for when the ball was switched. Lastly once walker moves into that position the LW has to make a decision and here he stayed.

 

Now let’s look how this same scenario would look if the LW would have chosen to mark or use Walker as his man & one of the problems with just treating the inverted full back like a central midfield player.

 

1. 

 

image.png.038ad952e29ad76acc8fc6beda4738c3.png

 

- This time in the same scenario the Winger has gone to walker to man mark & treat him like a central midfielder.

- Now he’s left his shape if the ball goes centrally he’s now no longer screening the ball into De Bruyne or Sterling leaving it a lot easier to get a good pass into either of them.

 

2. 

image.png.7c931960bbc83cfb0b6d0d4f1b2f75d2.png

 

- Here now Walker could move even more centrally to get on the ball or to drag his man and Laporte would in this scenario drop to make an angle to pass so he’s not marked by the striker

 

3. 

image.png.07f440f0f44acf322375cae66d2a9674.png

 

- Now the striker is dead either way, he either stays with Laporte and we go straight into Kompany, or he stays where he is and we go to Laporte and then to Kompany.

- Ether way the ball is getting to sterling, in space and with immediate support. The extra pass to Laporte first would give them a little extra time to get back across but we have immediate support and we are still set up well to attack them down the right hand side

Final Picture:

image.png.703caa7e4258e76ed726b573538ddcf7.png

 

 

 

The double Pivot

 

We already spoke earlier about getting a double pivot in the build up and why Pep would be in some games hesitant to bring a advanced central midfielder back to be apart of it. It would leave city in a less threatening position once the switch of play had occurred and less likely to be able to exploit the back 4 In the ways they do.

 

The double Pivot using a wing back isn’t something new for Pep in particular at city. Here we are going to look at some images from a game in the 2018/2019 season.

 

1. 

262639111_CSI1.jpg.b6be8c59ca53b517e798f5abb9e827ee.jpg

 

-  We can see here that city are building and that Delph playing left back has gone in centrally to play as a second pivot with Gundogan. City have been doing variations of the Inverted wing back for a long time under Pep and this is a good example of it.

-  What we are going to look at In the 2020-2021 season is what’s changed behind it, and what is asked of the Inverted wing back in this type of scenario

 

2. 

1614027745_CSI2.jpg.28565ea022b8c47f66fc887153109a06.jpg

 

- This was fairly typical with city along with the common W shape in the build up as seen here.

- In this game City struggled to get out against Swanseas a few times and went 2-0 down in this game before coming back to win 3-2.

-  What’s important even from the second picture here is you would think the 2 central defenders in the same zone seem like a waste. I mean if one of them gets on the ball and the movements ahead create space they could travel with the ball into it, but then we’ve also condensed the pitch a little more by doing that. The team also not accounting for the CB will be in a better team shape and screening balls into players that we could penetrate with if we can get them out of this shape.

 

3. 

104393921_CSI3.jpg.1a7283933a92481f0f9421a11e532e41.jpg

 

- We have circled our two pivots in this clip. It  starts off with the ball going right to left. Eventually it will end with the ball going from right to left also.

- As we can see here we have out double pivot system here in full force. Walker is pushing a wide player out wide incase this comes to him and he’s going to switch it out.

 

4. 

250124011_CSI4.jpg.fea71766e99cdc3e2477bf2be03e9d25.jpg

 

- A little later in the move we see the ball switched to Delph and if you imagine 2 central defender just out of camera shot on the left we can see again a resemblance of the W formation in the build up.

 

5. 

144505490_CSI5.jpg.3c49e532f0237270d04c871d35892fd3.jpg

 

- The build up continues and Delph now moves into a wide zone and leaves the central area free for a passing lane or for Laporte to move into. The issue for city here is the Swansea right winger is sat in a position where he’s screening the ball into the LW and is also making a pass into Delph a risky one.

 

6. 

1021471481_CSI6.jpg.166302011325843d37317b5cf16c49b8.jpg

 

- The scenario ends with Laporte travelling with the ball all the way from where he was to this point. The space is now very condensed and the Swansea RW hasn’t been moved by anyone and is now in an even better position then before and between him, the Swansea RB and the Swansea forward tracking Laporte they’ve got city in a scenario they feel safe with. Swansea block an attempted pass from Laporte and clear the ball away.

 

Full Clip:

 

 

 

Edited by Cult of Football Manager
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4. Continued:

The Inverted Wingback 2020-2021

 

 

I absolutely love what city have done with this. It makes sense when solving a scenario like the above and teams are struggling to know how to deal with it.

 

We are going to look primarily the game between Manchester City & Everton in 2021 and how the Inverted wingback Joao Cancelo caused problems for Everton & how the problems he created benefited City.

 

Full Clip:

 

 

Breakdown 1:

1451729227_IWBE1.jpg.95529e6a876b0e85d45fd641008268b8.jpg

 

- Here we can see City’s set up well. We have the LB inverted to make a double Pivot with CDM.

- The ball has just been switched from the right to the left and the LCB has now got the ball. Iwobi circled playing RW for Everton decides to engage Laporte the LCB what must be a tactical instruction.

 

- Laporte is effectively where Iwobi would consider the orthodox left back to be and decides to engage and press Laporte.

 

 

2. 

1760790472_IWBE2.jpg.078e8cc9ecc1b5fc3c99a4f1b9a1e4c1.jpg

 

- Laporte Passes the ball to Dias and Iwobi realises that he’s in trouble here. Either stays where he is to press Laporte if he gets on the ball and help screen the pass into Sterling & Foden which he’s currently doing, Or he goes with Cancelo opening up passes directly into sterling and Foden.

 

- He’s calling to alert people behind him of the current danger developing and is desperate for some help with this situation.

 

3. 

1107853811_IWBE3.jpg.2c3681761bf9efab1d9b43a3c1bcd09f.jpg

 

- Iwobi doesn’t go with Cancelo and Everton are in lots of trouble right now and have multiple dangerous scenarios.

- On the top right of the screen you can see Foden still. This entire time he’s been making movements against Doucoure playing Central midfield don’t forget who has run with him all the way back into this position. This has left a ridiculous amount of space in front of the back 4 of Everton by premier league standards.

- Jesus has also decided to drop off the backline and get on the ball giving City 5 players in central areas here if you count Rodri too. Cancelo is completely unmarked with no possibility of anyone stopping him or this attack developing now. City have Sterling, Foden & Cancelo all about to exploit the Everton right hand side.

 

4. 

667383824_IWBE4.jpg.062cef80115deb0fbcf2d522da5c63f5.jpg

 

-  The ball is played to Cancelo and Doucoure decided to step out and apply pressure leaving Foden in a huge Gap between the FB & CB.

- Unfortunately for City Cancelo decides this pass isn’t quite on he hesitates then tries to go left and pass to sterling at which point Iwobi gets back to block the pass. Everton without a doubt completely got away with this situation and it’s a great example of what should a Right wide player of the opposition do against a inverted full back like that. If he lets him go situations similar to this could appear again.

 

- What if Iwobi goes with Cancelo and just leaves Laporte as a lesser of two evils in this situation? Let’s have a look how that could have played out in this same scenario

 

 
Alternative Scenario
 
image.png.70be8f6a1e7e4901ea7765375093c2ed.png 
 
 
Here we have the RW this time following Cancelo into the middle. We also have kept the CM doing what Doucare was doing and following Foden back towards the defensive line.

 

- Quite clearly here a big problem is the angles this creates leaves a Huge passing lane to sterling to get to feat. Even if he was marked he could do what City wingers do often and start high then drop off the line to get the ball to feet deeper but still wide.

 

- If this were to happen city are already in a scenario they are quite happy with especially if any sort of gap opens up for Foden to exploit in the back line.

 

- What if Iwobi stays where he is but Doucoure leaves foden to the back line as if he’s a strike partner for Jesus and marks Cancelo as a central midfield player?

 

Alternative Scenario 2

 

image.png.dc32f96e5204dc868af952b66ec76b02.png

 

-  Here if were to have Doucoure in that scenario man marking, Davies was too far out of the game to mark anyone so he would have to mark Cancelo fairly closely to stop him getting the ball. Now depending on Iwobi’s position this could either open a lane straight into Foden in front of the back line or if he narrows off again our ball to sterling is on but now with no midfield player to track the run into the FB & CB gap. The Everton central defender will have to either go with him Into the wider areas or leave him to gain safe possession in or around the box.

 

- Basically the point here is any obvious solution to this has a knock on effect to someone or something else and City are happy with whatever scenario you give them they will make that work.

 

 

Back to the Everton Game

 

Everton interchanged the responsibility for Cancelo early on. He was Iwobi’s responsibility to a certain point but if the ball was played to Laporte he then had to engage Laporte and one of the two central forward players were supposed to deal with Cancelo.

 

In the earlier clip we saw what happened when this passover failed and he got in. But what if Everton get that right? What if they stop the ball getting to Cancelo ? And from Laporte to anyone on the left side of CIty’s attack how would that look and could it be a long term successful approach ?

 

541088923_IWBEP2I1.jpg.e8e824c7926cce05effb273f9af3b17e.jpg

 

1174717793_IWBEP2I2.jpg.fb444dead8dcc4c4f09fed49312bfc7f.jpg

 

 

806581651_IWBEP2I3.jpg.073b6065493c716f55ab7a6485050cf8.jpg

 

491266384_IWBEP2I4.jpg.17e943a40daa8f96f8ef977b0c3fda01.jpg

 

-  Here we can see City even when stopped all the ways Cancelo could be destructive on the ball side, they switch the ball and create one of their most common scenarios and patterns anyway.

 

- Death by a thousand cuts and pick your poison are terms used a lot these days with sports teams and this felt like both of those in one game. Everton really struggled tactically to deal with this and even though the scoreline was 1-1 for a while in the game I never felt there was any other outcome then a city win because you just felt like eventually they were going to score with all these different ways Everton were struggling to contain & stop them.

 

 

Additional benefits and effects on other parts of the team

 

To conclude this part we’re just going to look at some different scenarios where the Inverted wing back has effects on different parts of the team and how City have changed with this tweak to the system.

 

The first two things we will look at are the most obvious ones. How the team’s shape is now different behind the Inverted wing back when building. The second being how does the Inverted Full back effect the central midfield player on their side now they are occupying similar zones and how have they been adjusted to make this adjustment as effective as possible.

 

1375185844_IWBMCEI1.jpg.e511c4185fa376bb63140366fa9810f4.jpg

 

- Here is a good example of how city now build with the 3 remaining players in the back line now Cancelo has gone into a central midfield position.

- I’ve seen this online being described as city now building with a back 3.

- It could be argued that they build with just one at the back. I mentioned previously about both Central defenders occupying the same space and zone, now I don’t know I can only guess that Pep has come to that conclusion and feels he doesn’t need 2 players for that one zone and can take one of them out and put them elsewhere.

- Whatever the reasoning and whether you prefer to call it a 3 or a 1 they now have 1 central defensive player and a wide defender each side providing lots of width. They’ve effectively taken a player out of the defensive line and plugged them as a midfielder in possession. This is until they lose the ball of course. When city lose the ball and are back organised to defend the Inverted full back does in most cases defend their original position.

- If you look at that picture and tell someone seeing it for the first time the other central defender is just out of shot on the left, then ask them to guess the system of the away team it’s quite possible they would guess a 4-4-2 or something such as this. Those back 3 do look spread like a back 4 traditionally would be spread when building attacks in a standard team. They are able to build with 3 as if they have 4 by getting extra men in midfield making the opposition scared to press too intensely because they will get played through. To be able to build with 3 or one as if it were a traditional back 4 and get an extra person free in the middle of the pitch is going to be extremely hard for people to stop if that team don’t make a mistake in possession.

 

In front of the Inverted Wingback

 

Another way this can effect city’s players is the central midfield players. By the inverted full back now playing as a second pivot in the central zones, this allows the players starting in the central roles to be able to stay higher in the building phase. They can also be more free to go wider into other zones too depending on how high the central midfielder behind them is at that time.

 

This can help when switching and increasing the chance of the wide player having immediate support. It also allows to create overloads or strong situations on the weak side of the opposition.

1. 

image.png.1aaf476779663ad2c4edb407773fea0a.png

 

- Here we can see Cancelo moving next to Rodri into almost the very bottom part of the half space or zone 15 on the zone diagram. Bernardo Silva is directly at the top of it in line with him which isn’t something normally allowed in the traditional set up.

- Cancelo being here allows Bernardo to stay higher and act almost like a 10 or a 9 next to Jesus. He could also move to the ball side and create an overload there but ideally somewhere in this region works because if the ball is switched City have an overload.

 

 

2. 

image.png.b5cc38ab3a54fb5719f4a5770927d206.png 

 

- Here we have Bernardo moving into a wider position. This forces the LW of the opposition and the LCM to worry about marking which could open lanes straight down the middle. Alternatively we could see a oration here of Mahrez going in to be the “CM” and Bernardo becoming the wide player. Or Cancelo could move straight up and occupy the “CM” role further up in the half space.

 

3. 

image.png.6f5dec62f9a53818c511b45a97ab6e61.png

 

- In any of these cases there’s a good chance once the ball starts to come across to Laporte here, that City are able to get an overload from Cancelo and his position effecting Silva and potentially Mahrez. Multiple difference scenario’s just from his position and presence being there.

 

 

 

Finally here we’re going to finish with a couple of clips from the Everton game I’m not going to break them down but I’ll leave a brief description and you’ll see how they related to the above points.

 

Clip 1:

 

 

 

- Here you will see Rodri effectively become part of the “back 3” and walker will go into being one of the Pivots. Like we said before in the rotations one of the rotations is they could go high and the actual CM ahead of them could rotate into a different area. This is exactly what happens here and it destroys Everton’s structure and they break through the back 4.

 

Clip 2:

 

 

- This one is a little different to the previous one. Due to Cancelo’s position on the opposite side of the pitch to the ball, Foden drops into a slightly deeper but much wider position to get on the ball and in turn Sterling then makes a run into the half space. Again we see a rotation causing huge problems from Cancelo’s position and Everton players not knowing exactly who to go with and how far to go with them.

 

 

To conclude this part I think we can see clearly just how effective it is for City to use their fullback in this way. What’s absolutely essential to a system like this though is for this to have full effect you need to be exceptional at retaining the ball, and having the players off the ball have the discipline, intelligence and work rate to keep moving off the ball to keep the lanes open because you don’t want to rely on people travelling with the ball to beat the lines it’s very clear pep wants to get into dangerous areas and beat the lines of the opposition by moving the ball not his own player on the ball.

Edited by Cult of Football Manager
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Great read!

After all the analysis, I'm extremely interested in what your recreation will look like.

I'm going to have a guess, based on what you've written, as a bit of fun & as a test to help me understand the ME, and also to get the ideas out of my head.

Roles and duties:

AMR & AML will be IW/S or W/S, stay wider PI. Need to keep the width. AM slot so the start higher, Support role to drop deep and play in the CMs.

MLC and MRC will be MEZ/A or CM/A. Lots of penetrating runs - from both of them. CM slot so they start deeper and run forwards.

DM will be DM/D or DM/S. Keep it simple. Possibly a DLP/D or DLP/S if you want more lateral drift from him. A DLP/D may also occasionally drop in between the DCs.

"The Striker" could be anything from DLF/A (unlikely, but pushes the opposition defense backwards & makes space for midfielders), DLF/S, PF/S (if you want a support role striker that doesn't do anything exciting), F9 (because Pep), to AM/SS or AM/AM/A. 

One of the full backs is IWB/D (possibly IWB/S, but he always ends up playing CM/S for me, whereas here we want someone inline with the DM).

For the back 3, I'm really not sure:

You could go DM/HB with two IWB/D to get your 3-2 shape at the back, but that's not really the shape you've described above, where the DM is primarily in the 2, not the 3.

FB/D, WB/D or FB/S will give the "stay wide and help buildup" role well, with the FB/S offering some late overlaps (Kyle Walker), but how to get the DC on the IWB side to go wide? Is a stay wider PI enough? A stopper role doesn't have the "hold position" PI hard coded, will this help him get wider?

Possession Team instructions:

Mentality: Anything from Cautious to Attacking.  I don't understand mentality.

Width: Wide or Very wide. This should cause the wingers to stay wide to receive the switch of play. Also opens up the middle of the park.

Tempo: I really don't understand tempo. It could be lower, to help play patient football, or it could be higher, to move the ball around & stop a player sitting on it for minutes at a time. If tempo is how fast the team as a whole moves a ball from back to front, it needs to be low, perhaps very low. If tempo is how fast a player spends on the ball before moving it along, it needs to be medium or perhaps higher. If tempo is both of these things, then who knows.

Passing: Standard. Need to switch play & high width needs longer passing range.

Look for underlaps: For the wide players to pass to the CMs.

Play out of defense: As standard.

Low crosses: Cutbacks, not hanging balls.

WBIB: Patient in attack.

I'm going to stop here, as this exercise has highlighted how much I don't understand about mentality & tempo, and how they interact. Time to go play and experiment.

Edited by Beerwulf
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4 minutes ago, Beerwulf said:

Great read!

After all the analysis, I'm extremely interested in what your recreation will look like.

I'm going to have a guess, based on what you've written, as a bit of fun & as a test to help me understand the ME, and also to get the ideas out of my head.

Roles and duties:

AMR & AML will be IW/S or W/S, stay wider PI. Need to keep the width. AM slot so the start higher, Support role to drop deep and play in the CMs.

MLC and MRC will be MEZ/A or CM/A. Lots of penetrating runs - from both of them. CM slot so they start deeper and run forwards.

DM will be DM/D or DM/S. Keep it simple. Possibly a DLP/D or DLP/S if you want more lateral drift from him. A DLP/D may also occasionally drop in between the DCs.

"The Striker" could be anything from DLF/A (unlikely, but pushes the opposition defense backwards & makes space for midfielders), DLF/S, PF/S (if you want a support role striker that doesn't do anything exciting), F9 (because Pep), to AM/SS or AM/AM/A. 

One of the full backs is IWB/D (possibly IWB/S, but he always ends up playing CM/S for me, whereas here we want someone inline with the DM).

For the back 3, I'm really not sure:

You could go DM/HB with two IWB/D to get your 3-2 shape at the back, but that's not really the shape you've described above, where the DM is primarily in the 2, not the 3.

FB/D, WB/D or FB/S will give the "stay wide and help buildup" role well, with the FB/S offering some late overlaps (Kyle Walker), but how to get the DC on the IWB side to go wide? Is a stay wider PI enough? A stopper role doesn't have the "hold position" PI hard coded, will this help him get wider?

Possession Team instructions:

Mentality: Anything from Cautious to Attacking.  I don't understand mentality.

Width: Wide or Very wide. This should cause the wingers to stay wide to receive the switch of play. Also opens up the middle of the park.

Tempo: I really don't understand tempo. It could be lower, to help play patient football, or it could be higher, to move the ball around & stop a player sitting on it for minutes at a time. If tempo is how fast the team as a whole moves a ball from back to front, it needs to be low, perhaps very low. If tempo is how fast a player spends on the ball before moving it along, it needs to be medium or perhaps higher. If tempo is both of these things, then who knows.

Passing: Standard. Need to switch play & high width needs longer passing range.

Look for underlaps: For the wide players to pass to the CMs.

Play out of defense: As standard.

Low crosses: Cutbacks, not hanging balls.

WBIB: Patient in attack.

I'm going to stop here, as this exercise has highlighted how much I don't understand about mentality & tempo, and how they interact. Time to go play and experiment.

This was so lovely. I'm getting a bit impatient for the recreation lol. Yours seems spot on.

 

I just have a quick question about the wide roles. Do IWs really hold the width as described in the analysis? I find them moving narrowly when the team is in the final third. 

 

This has been my major problem with trying to recreate Pep in FM. I just end up playing a WTM(s) and changing to much shorter passing and lower tempo so the wide men don't get too many long balls. But they definitely hold the width more than IWs or IFs or Wingers do.

 

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12 minutes ago, Belmont said:

I just have a quick question about the wide roles. Do IWs really hold the width as described in the analysis? I find them moving narrowly when the team is in the final third

I've just realised that my post pinged everyone waiting for the OP's recreation. Sorry all! ;)

We want the wide player to appear at the back post, so a little narrowing is necessary. 

I know that an IW does a lot better at holding width than an IF. I'm currently using wingers, but that's to try and prevent a "left winger dribbles into the right half-space" type of behaviour. This can be very effective, but not what we want here. I've not really used WTMs so I can't compare them to W and IWs. If we had the old "target man supply -> To feet" option, it could work. WTMs don't have "dribble more" hardcoded, either.

 

Time for more experiments.

 

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@Cult of Football Manager This is a truly wonderful analysis and is exactly my type of football - the dream topic for me to read about and so pleased to see someone putting such a great effort into replicating this in FM21.

I hope you can also delve into the defensive side of Pep’s City tactics and make that aspect just as detailed and realistic as your other excellent work on the in-possession parts of their game.

Looking forward with anticipation to see how you implement this in Football Manager terms and whether or not it’s actually even possible to match your excellent analysis with a realistic replication in the match engine. I await with huge interest. Good luck! 😊👍

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https://imgur.com/ePAzGvW

Tought I'd share this passage of play. Definitely seeing some elements of Pep's approach.

  • Building from the back
  • Wingers staying wide during the transition, wall passes between the full back, central midfielder and wingers to move up the pitch.
  • Overloading one side of the pitch, particularly with the inverted full back coming into central areas (Walker in this case) and forming a double pivot
  • This allowed us to move the pitch from the left side to the right
  • Positional play - Walker ends up as the 10 at one point, KDB can be found pressing the back line and in the double pivot

Couple of things to work on

  • Aguero and KDB can be seen literally stepping on each other, I believe this might be because they're both trying to move into channels.
  • Getting central midfielders to make more aggresive verticle runs between the defenders. I tried to use Foden in an aggressive Mezzalla role, particularly since he has 'Gets Into Opposition Area' but during the build up, when Bernando receives the ball, helooks to support rather than surge between the defenders.

Let me know what you guys think :cool: (and perhaps how I can embed that imgur gif lol)

Edited by milestobudapest
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5. 

Football Manager 2021 Tactical Recreation

 

I just finished recording LOTS of clips to share in this section. Upon review there was a hilarious but in this case very annoying glitch/bug with some fans sat in seats right in the middle of the pitch. Whilst humorous it's very annoying when you're trying to look for other things and it's hard to take your eyes off & now it's lots of time wasted. I've decided to just write this up while i'm re clipping all of my clips and i still have my Screenshots anyway from the save to at least get started.

As i mentioned in my very first post I've tried this before many times and never really got close. On this occasion like I mentioned i was doing the analysis anyway and one evening it was getting late and i decided I would for fun just see if i could get anything like it to work playing as City. I hadn't played the game in weeks up to this point at all and months since i played it properly. 

I played the game not really expecting to get what i wanted and it was more out of interest than expectation. With this in mind I bought and sold players not thinking too long term and just wanted players I thought would be good enough to carry the tactic if it was flawed and struggling in the match engine. My hope was if what i had set up wasn't working at all in the match engine, at least the player quality could carry the odd result and give me more time to tweak it.

My Football Manager History

My first game was back with Championship Manager 01-02! I've had every game since & I would say I've been successful on previous FM's playing partially how i might set up a team if it were real life & combining that with what i feel works in the match engine. I have however not had success at all with creating a possession based football manager tactic. I think in FM 15 i had a 3-5-2 tactic that dominated the ball with any team not just the top teams and that's probably it! 

 As you can see I am by no means a Football manager match engine expert. There are many people on here who have a better understanding of the Tactical creator and it's relation to the match engine and the trade off's involved when changing things and i hope they contribute to this thread! 

Reason for posting

Since Pep took charge of the first team in his first year at Barcelona ( 2008 - 2009 ) there have been people on these forums trying to recreate something that resembles what he has done with his teams. Lots of people have done very well and got very close but at the end find themselves underwhelmed due to the limitations of the game going against their vision of what it should be. 

Let me be clear I haven't discovered a wondertactic that's going to win 38 games a season and win cups this tactic won't be on the same level as the tactic creators in the download forum. People like Knap etc are absolutely fantastic and he in particular is excellent at identifying how to create tactics that work and win in that particular version of the game and match engine.

Here though what i'm hoping for is to help people and whatever way that looks like. If you're already attempting it yourself you can see what i've done & how parts of my tactic got success and maybe you can take parts of what i've done , take some ideas and tweak it to yours. Or you might see your way in a particular area is better then mine and you've given yourself certainty on looking at other areas to tweak your own tactic. 

I'm open to suggestions with everything and anything. My biggest hope is by the end of this thread someone has taken on all of the suggestions ideas and comments from everyone and finds the perfect combination and achieves a perfect recreation. Failing that it would be great to see how close we can get with it. 

I'm actually going to be a little busy in this period coming up here so I won't have as much time to play as i'd like but i'll be checking and engaging in this thread very actively and i hope someone else takes this on and masters it. I'm currently half way through my second season in my save and i suppose there's nothing left to do then share what i've done.

 

Manchester City 2020 - 2021

 

Well I should probably point out a few things off the bat that might give you a better chance & make a difference to the success rate of the tactic in general and the Statistics of it.

  • I used my real life qualifications to start the game ( UEFA B, Sunday league footballer ) if you start your saves with higher then that, you will probably have a better chance of success in the early periods!
  • I was tweaking my tactic up until game 5 of the Premier League season. If i had of had this tactic learnt in it's final stage from the beginning, we might have started better and our average possession & Pass completion might have been higher
  • I rotated whole teams often. Every early cup round & Champions league group stage match i played a full "B" team. I also did this in the premier league for the games in and around the Champions league semi final and i may even have done it in the quarters. This also would play a factor in the results and by results I don't just mean scoreline but all the other statistics too. Combining these games with the start of the season there could be 8-10 league games that i didn't even have my final tactic being used to it's full capacity.

Other notable things for us to consider with the game are:

  • Possession statistic - I mentioned before that we need to be aware that possession is calculated differently from real life. Now i say that and even when i tell myself that if my City team play a poor team and we haven't got more than 60% of the ball, it annoys me beyond belief. I'm not saying it doesn't matter but I know this is the first thing people look at then they see a "pep" tactic. What I am saying is not only the limitations of the match engine but the way possession is calculated we need to be prepared this stand alone statistic probably isn't going to be as high as real life and we need to be ok with it if it ends up that way. With some tweaks who knows?
  • Trade offs -  I will use this term a lot in my explanations. In my previous attempts at recreating a Pep style there's always something i've felt i have to give up to a degree to get something else. 
  • Out of Possession - Now i've deliberately not touched on this at all purely because to get certain things in from real life like how the opposite winger tucks in like a central midfielder at times, will be too much of a constant balancing act with the tactical creator and how our team will play in possession. If we can press high with intensity and force mistakes or risky passes under pressure then i'm happy. I do have analysis for this with city but like i said for me in this recreation i'm not overly bothered by it until the in possession part is perfected then i would look at this closer! 

 

Previous Tactical attempts & Premeditated Changes

In my attempts at recreating this in previous years & previous  versions i've always traditionally used a 4-3-3 set up like this ( Ignore instructions, roles and duties i'm just talking about the positions of the players ) :

 

1436404329_FM433Example.jpg.085a220ebacf1c86ae78993aabc48fc5.jpg

 

Now the main issue I've found with this is when you play a team with a lower mentality is that when they get the ball with their backline & goalkeeper it's a lot harder to get the ball off them with this set up then in real life. When they're playing non threatening passes around the back normally ( especially in older versions not as bad in this version ) the striker and wingers are the only ones who initially press and the central midfield players here don't go and press the back line until much after if at all.  This results in quite often a 3v1 or 3v2 in their favour where they string multiple passes between them normally before hoofing it away but sometimes they play out from it also.

This is incredibly annoying for two reasons. One on any football game when a team that isn't the 2009 Barcelona team start to play like it against you and play out like them it's frustrating. But when we remember how possession is being calculated I know i'm watching a game that my team has dominated in every way and statistically it's going to say mid 50's % of possession. This is exactly why we really shouldn't care about the statistic itself there are so many other things that matter and where your possession is & what areas and "positions" you dominate for a start is more important. But lets not pretend it's not something we do look at even as a arbitrary statistic especially when trying to play this kind of football . And let's be honest Nobody's reading about a Pep recreation tactic that averages 45% possession! I'm going to prevent the Burnleylona's where possible and that reflects in how i set up this time around.

 

First attempt & First two games of the season:

* This was a blind start with no testing and the tactic does change with different results as the season goes on.

1137320347_Screenshot2021-02-28at03_45_00.png.70af8d0e3fd1b853ac0733be3784ec07.png

 

 

- I wanted to play one of the Central midfielders in the AM strata. This was due to previous attempts I noticed that to get the vertical run beyond the back line early and exploit gaps made by a wide player, when moved up into these roles I seemed to get more success. The other reason was to press out of possession on their backline with two central players to not allow the opposition to keep playing safely around the back.

- I really wasn't sure about the wide players. I wanted to see what roles and positions would get them wide early, but allow them to cut inside. I also wanted to avoid them dribbling too much with the ball resulting in loss of possession. The fact i'm playing positive with attacking duties meant this was likely and I knew this was a possibility but we needed to win the first game at home to Leicester. 

- False 9, I've hated this role on FM for a while and felt you in previous editions would have to go out of your way to get some sort of decent production in terms of goals from this role. I'm not saying nobody's been able to do it! I'm just saying in my personal experience. However after using it a couple of times on FM21 i feel it plays a little different and is more of a threat on this edition of the game.

- Not full width, In previous experience i've found even though in theory that's what you would select for a pep team, that sometimes this resulted in the team trying to get the ball to the wingers and full backs to early too often. That's why one notch down is my starting point but more then happy to change!

- Work into box, Please no unnecessary non threatening crosses.

- Tempo/Passing, Going very short and then very slow i've found to never be majorly succesfull for me. Planned to start short passes but at a quicker tempo and adjust from there if needs be.  More explanation to come later if wanted.

- Play out of defence. I know this is overkill and people on the forums don't like to have that with much shorter passing, I just wanted to ensure Ederson would keep his distribution short on goal kicks and felt with this there's no excuse for anything else!

 

That's generally it i'm happy to answer questions on anything else. Remember this was a blind start and i was always going to tweak from here i didn't expect it to start so well I actually thought it might go terrible and i'll get close on the second save attempt!

 

Transfers

I know this isn't a career thread but i think this is relevant to this. I didn't plan on this working out the way it did and I may have made one or two transfers that's going to get a lot of hate. I was purely trying to put the best team together to get this whole process to work. I tried to buy the best players that fit what I was trying to do and separately one's that would help us succeed early on even if they weren't the absolute best fit for the tactic. 

49956004_Screenshot2021-02-26at00_07_23.png.10823f98295bd8b7ddef6e017adf2739.png

1125758681_Screenshot2021-02-26at00_07_36.png.56899ea844ea110178988d91f02a1104.png

 

One of the ones I'm going to get hate for is selling Gundogan. The reason is on both FM 20 & FM 19 when playing as city i've had him be out for the season with damaged cuciate knee ligaments & I can't risk losing one of my two central midfielders on that side. 

As mentioned we had Leicester at home first game of the season. I felt confident we would win but maybe the style wouldn't be there and maybe we wouldn't play in the way intended. This was fine as long as we won and carried some form and positive morale into the second game where i could start to tweak. 

( I didn't take any of my friendlies the assistant manager took all of them ) 

 

Game 1 at a glance:

528699909_Screenshot2021-02-28at03_57_00.png.6202918423a8d65b4a7cd183bebb11c3.png

 

- The summary is it was a very good start. We won, we won dominating the game and if you are going to look at possession that's not a bad start either and by even the passing formula to calculate possession we're around 70% on that too.  The early red card from Jamie Vardy helped but we were dominating up to that point already and he just put the nail in his own team's coffin.

Early Moments:

 

- Dragging them all over the place, got my wide player wide and into a gap. He gets played through perfectly oh what a start!... Raheem! oh NO!

 

Clip 2:

- This is a brilliant team goal but we must look at the intention versus outcome here. The goal is brilliant but one thing I am concerned about early on is the lack of movement from Kevin De Bruyne into any gaps or towards the back line. He's got " comes deep to get ball " so I'm not sure if that made things worse but he really wasn't making any of the runs I wanted. 

  

270923418_Screenshot2021-02-28at04_38_22.png.f3a10cb7fe0ed7438dccabc35af558f2.png

 

- Here's a good example of Kevin De Bruyne being too deep in the build up. He's not neccesary here at all. Our RIWB is already where he is in almost the same position and KDB gets on the ball from Rodri where Cancelo could have done it and put him in a more advanced position for when Sterling got on the ball.

- Sterling gets on the ball in space and plays backwards which is disappointing because i feel if in these scenario's we could have got KDB there earlier we could have seen "Pattern 1" immediately here. Also cause for concern going forward how close KDB is playing with the IWB and CDM he's closer to them then Bernardo Silva or Sterling at this point. But we scored anyway from what was still a good move but these things need to be noted for tweaks to come!

 

Clip 3:

 

We are cruising by this point with so many different combinations and movements but this moment was something i took notice of.

 

- Here our CM & IWB almost run into eachother they're so close! Now I need to keep a close eye on this to see whether this is them getting in eachother's way, or a match engine limitation which to get the other parts of what we want this is something that we are going to have to accept from time to time as the WB moves through the zones. 

 

Final Clip:

 

 

 

We finish off with a brilliant move starting with Ederson and finishing with our Inverted wing back Cancelo. I couldn't be happier with the end to the first game and I was at this point really positive and surprised how it went. The early Red card had to be taken into consideration of course but I was happy with some of the movements we saw from the wide players initially. A few times wide players got themselves on the ball on the outside of the line ( which is perfectly fine ) and we managed to see them at times hold their width in the build up. We didn't however see much of "pattern 1" and runs between the fullback and centre back which i was disappointed with but it was the first game. 

 

 

Sneak Preview:

I'm seeing this is going a little slowly for some people ( I understand by the way this was supposed to all go out at the same time! ) so i'm happy to put some stuff that's to come. I ideally would have had this all sent at once so there wasn't this delay! Also although I'm British i'm in a different time zone which may play a factor in posts and responses. It's currently 5:00 AM here!

 

End of season stats:

Possession End of first season

1839091097_Screenshot2021-02-26at00_04_12.png.7b137e39af9f93c359a9ab81b0c2d106.png

As of Boxing Day Second Season:

1770171551_Screenshot2021-02-28at05_23_21.png.6ec4b1ee036ac0100eba53343521aa43.png

* Right now City are at 62.6% Average Possession according to who scored. If you factor in all my previous points about starting with a lower reputation and the tactic being tweaked for the first few games of the season and the fact i rotated a lot, I believe you could easily make that up with the correct tweaks! I'm surpised it's that low in real life to be honest.

Game Overviews from Season 1:

Spurs A:

1858667413_Screenshot2021-02-26at00_02_02.png.b86beeae6f894aba5317665323916999.png

Palace H

1613475084_Screenshot2021-02-26at00_04_02.png.91fe3053ebc68c0ea8e93f0bb793d14b.png

 

Everton H

630517572_Screenshot2021-02-26at00_02_47.png.b46243e8dc266033fa12d1b9c15ecd68.png

 

Season 1 Competitions

2081997104_Screenshot2021-02-28at05_14_53.png.d0a7fddd5567684703217c8302911083.png

 

Screenshot 2021-02-26 at 00.02.02.png

Edited by Cult of Football Manager
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On 26/02/2021 at 05:33, halfspace3000 said:

you gonna do an FM replication of the tactic?

Yes of course! 

I now have the first part posted. Most of the instructions will be similar it's just positions roles and duties that change from what i've posted so far

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On 26/02/2021 at 06:45, Bailey1 said:

Quality and very informative bit of analysis which I will take into my own save. Look forward to reading more

Thank you! Let me know how you're getting on and if you've done anything different and any tips you've found.

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On 26/02/2021 at 10:45, JoOSTAR said:

Great read!

Already looking forward to your ingame footage!

Some of it is up!

22 hours ago, Egecann said:

Very very good and in-depth analysis. Looking forward for the replication. Possibly, you checked out other's replications so can you compare yours with them. Not in terms of success but movement and chance creation etc.

I haven't to be honest yet! I just saw a couple of threads that are relating to Pep so I will check them out and invite them to contribute any findings here if they wish to !

 

22 hours ago, latrell said:

fantastic read very well put together will be looking forward to when you next post. 

Thanks Latrell ! I appreciate the kind words! I'm trying to format it as i go. It hasn't gone over very well from what i was using so there's been lots of manual adjustments!

 

22 hours ago, Belmont said:

This is fantastic. I would absolutely love to see how you're going to get the wingers to stay wide and hold the width when you replicate it. 

Thanks Belmont! I'm actually still unsure whether i ended up with the right combinations. It changed massively from game 1 - 38!

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1 hour ago, Beerwulf said:

Great read!

After all the analysis, I'm extremely interested in what your recreation will look like.

I'm going to have a guess, based on what you've written, as a bit of fun & as a test to help me understand the ME, and also to get the ideas out of my head.

Roles and duties:

AMR & AML will be IW/S or W/S, stay wider PI. Need to keep the width. AM slot so the start higher, Support role to drop deep and play in the CMs.

MLC and MRC will be MEZ/A or CM/A. Lots of penetrating runs - from both of them. CM slot so they start deeper and run forwards.

DM will be DM/D or DM/S. Keep it simple. Possibly a DLP/D or DLP/S if you want more lateral drift from him. A DLP/D may also occasionally drop in between the DCs.

"The Striker" could be anything from DLF/A (unlikely, but pushes the opposition defense backwards & makes space for midfielders), DLF/S, PF/S (if you want a support role striker that doesn't do anything exciting), F9 (because Pep), to AM/SS or AM/AM/A. 

One of the full backs is IWB/D (possibly IWB/S, but he always ends up playing CM/S for me, whereas here we want someone inline with the DM).

For the back 3, I'm really not sure:

You could go DM/HB with two IWB/D to get your 3-2 shape at the back, but that's not really the shape you've described above, where the DM is primarily in the 2, not the 3.

FB/D, WB/D or FB/S will give the "stay wide and help buildup" role well, with the FB/S offering some late overlaps (Kyle Walker), but how to get the DC on the IWB side to go wide? Is a stay wider PI enough? A stopper role doesn't have the "hold position" PI hard coded, will this help him get wider?

Possession Team instructions:

Mentality: Anything from Cautious to Attacking.  I don't understand mentality.

Width: Wide or Very wide. This should cause the wingers to stay wide to receive the switch of play. Also opens up the middle of the park.

Tempo: I really don't understand tempo. It could be lower, to help play patient football, or it could be higher, to move the ball around & stop a player sitting on it for minutes at a time. If tempo is how fast the team as a whole moves a ball from back to front, it needs to be low, perhaps very low. If tempo is how fast a player spends on the ball before moving it along, it needs to be medium or perhaps higher. If tempo is both of these things, then who knows.

Passing: Standard. Need to switch play & high width needs longer passing range.

Look for underlaps: For the wide players to pass to the CMs.

Play out of defense: As standard.

Low crosses: Cutbacks, not hanging balls.

WBIB: Patient in attack.

I'm going to stop here, as this exercise has highlighted how much I don't understand about mentality & tempo, and how they interact. Time to go play and experiment.

 

1 hour ago, Beerwulf said:

I've just realised that my post pinged everyone waiting for the OP's recreation. Sorry all! ;)

We want the wide player to appear at the back post, so a little narrowing is necessary. 

I know that an IW does a lot better at holding width than an IF. I'm currently using wingers, but that's to try and prevent a "left winger dribbles into the right half-space" type of behaviour. This can be very effective, but not what we want here. I've not really used WTMs so I can't compare them to W and IWs. If we had the old "target man supply -> To feet" option, it could work. WTMs don't have "dribble more" hardcoded, either.

 

Time for more experiments.

 

haha you aren't far off! The position, Roles and duties changed  a lot for me. In my previous attempts i've always gone with what seems most logical from real life to what you would think is the correct translation. This time i went a little off experience in the match engines previous and how things didn't work before and this is why you see a weirder starting point then expected!

1 hour ago, Juego de Posicion said:

@Cult of Football Manager This is a truly wonderful analysis and is exactly my type of football - the dream topic for me to read about and so pleased to see someone putting such a great effort into replicating this in FM21.

I hope you can also delve into the defensive side of Pep’s City tactics and make that aspect just as detailed and realistic as your other excellent work on the in-possession parts of their game.

Looking forward with anticipation to see how you implement this in Football Manager terms and whether or not it’s actually even possible to match your excellent analysis with a realistic replication in the match engine. I await with huge interest. Good luck! 😊👍

Thank you so much for this ! Love the username too by the way!

In terms of defensive, that is actually what i started my analysis on recently because it's what I initially studied in part for my B license. I however was desperate to get to the in possession part so i decided to put down the out of possession for now and analyse in possession. I will for sure be looking at that soon. I explained in my recent post my reasoning for not including it here for FM. I just felt trying to perfect the in possession phase while then trying to correctly replicate city out of possession will leave people putting their head through a brick wall so i've largely ignored that in specifics but set it up in principle. 

 

Well when i started reading the first few responses I realise i had set myself up a little here! I don't have all the answers but I must have some at the very least and hopefully enough for other people to see where i've gone right and maybe where i've gone wrong and come up with their own set up's and success. There are limitations that are going to kill people's dreams of it being perfect but we can try. 

44 minutes ago, milestobudapest said:

 

https://imgur.com/ePAzGvW

Tought I'd share this passage of play. Definitely seeing some elements of Pep's approach.

  • Building from the back
  • Wingers staying wide during the transition, wall passes between the full back, central midfielder and wingers to move up the pitch.
  • Overloading one side of the pitch, particularly with the inverted full back coming into central areas (Walker in this case) and forming a double pivot
  • This allowed us to move the pitch from the left side to the right
  • Positional play - Walker ends up as the 10 at one point, KDB can be found pressing the back line and in the double pivot

Couple of things to work on

  • Aguero and KDB can be seen literally stepping on each other, I believe this might be because they're both trying to move into channels.
  • Getting central midfielders to make more aggresive verticle runs between the defenders. I tried to use Foden in an aggressive Mezzalla role, particularly since he has 'Gets Into Opposition Area' but during the build up, when Bernando receives the ball, helooks to support rather than surge between the defenders.

Let me know what you guys think :cool: (and perhaps how I can embed that imgur gif lol)

Hey Miles,

Nice ! how are you finding the runs from the mezzala? It creates an interesting sequence of movements with the Inverted wing backs and Wide players. How are you using Walker? Is he in the back 4? or do you have him in the WB position in line with the CDM?

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28 minutes ago, Cult of Football Manager said:

 

Hey Miles,

Nice ! how are you finding the runs from the mezzala? It creates an interesting sequence of movements with the Inverted wing backs and Wide players. How are you using Walker? Is he in the back 4? or do you have him in the WB position in line with the CDM?


Definitely a work in progress. In terms of the Mezzela, it’s exactly the problem you alluded to. I find the role to come too deep in the early transition and therefore we don’t get those early vertical runs to push the back line and give space to the inverted full back and wide player. 
 

Walker is playing IWB(S), on the side where I have the Mezzala on Attack.

Edited by milestobudapest
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2 hours ago, milestobudapest said:

 

https://imgur.com/ePAzGvW

Tought I'd share this passage of play. Definitely seeing some elements of Pep's approach.

  • Building from the back
  • Wingers staying wide during the transition, wall passes between the full back, central midfielder and wingers to move up the pitch.
  • Overloading one side of the pitch, particularly with the inverted full back coming into central areas (Walker in this case) and forming a double pivot
  • This allowed us to move the pitch from the left side to the right
  • Positional play - Walker ends up as the 10 at one point, KDB can be found pressing the back line and in the double pivot

Couple of things to work on

  • Aguero and KDB can be seen literally stepping on each other, I believe this might be because they're both trying to move into channels.
  • Getting central midfielders to make more aggresive verticle runs between the defenders. I tried to use Foden in an aggressive Mezzalla role, particularly since he has 'Gets Into Opposition Area' but during the build up, when Bernando receives the ball, helooks to support rather than surge between the defenders.

Let me know what you guys think :cool: (and perhaps how I can embed that imgur gif lol)

That's amazing. I liked the interplay between Sterling and Mendy. Could you post of blue print of the tactic? I'd like to incorporate sometimes in my own style. 

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6 hours ago, milestobudapest said:


Definitely a work in progress. In terms of the Mezzela, it’s exactly the problem you alluded to. I find the role to come too deep in the early transition and therefore we don’t get those early vertical runs to push the back line and give space to the inverted full back and wide player. 
 

Walker is playing IWB(S), on the side where I have the Mezzala on Attack.

 

Yeah this is great! Where I've stopped half way through my second season i'm now testing different things but you've done really well with the double pivot there! 

I was hoping to have lots more videos on in game footage and explanations but that glitch with a bunch of fans in the middle of the pitch means i'm re-doing ALL of them. I must have had 50 + clips. It doesn't appear on my screen either only after it's been exported it appear for no reason. Turning the crowd off has fixed it though thankfully.

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12 minutes ago, FMunderachiever said:

@Cult of Football Manager

Hi there

I dont like to say this, but youve written a beautiful thread, and yet basically ruined your own thread, because you are not managing Manchester City, youve signed a load of other players.

So how can this be a recreation? you need to use THEIR players

Hi mate,

I get your point but I have a few points to consider for this.

if I was playing the game normally I would play for more then one season? and the players would change anyway? Also like i mentioned i was originally doing it for fun and it just worked out. It's a simulation too right so the players in the game may have traits that change how they play their roles drastically and it might be easier to achieve the vision you want with different players?

I've seen people on here before do recreations then use a totally different team also so I get your point but I'm happy with what I've done especially with how it come about. It's a tactical recreation I'm trying to achieve here not a necessarily a team recreation.

I can always do a test with the original squad too after i'm done here.

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1 minute ago, Cult of Football Manager said:

Merhaba dostum,

Demek istediğini anladım ama bunun için dikkate almam gereken birkaç nokta var.

Oyunu normal oynasaydım, bir sezondan fazla oynar mıydım? ve oyuncular yine de değişir mi? Ayrıca bahsettiğim gibi, aslında bunu eğlence için yapıyordum ve işe yaradı. Bu çok doğru bir simülasyon, yani oyundaki oyuncular rollerini büyük ölçüde değiştiren özelliklere sahip olabilir ve farklı oyuncularla istediğiniz vizyona ulaşmak daha kolay olabilir mi?

Burada daha önce rekreasyon yapan ve sonra tamamen farklı bir ekip kullanan insanlar gördüm, bu yüzden fikrinizi anlıyorum ama özellikle nasıl ortaya çıktığı konusunda yaptığım şeyden memnunum.

Burada işim bittikten sonra her zaman orijinal takımla da bir test yapabilirim.

Can I get information about PIs

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15 minutes ago, gokalpcakir1 said:

Can I get information about PIs

Yes I will get to that shortly ( I didn't use too many to be fair mainly marking tighter and tackle harder for both wide players, CM's and the striker ) just waiting to include that my next post just waiting for clips to process. 

 

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8 hours ago, Belmont said:

That's amazing. I liked the interplay between Sterling and Mendy. Could you post of blue print of the tactic? I'd like to incorporate sometimes in my own style. 

I’m away from my PC at the moment but the setup was something like this:

 

SK(S)

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

WM(S) MEZ(A) CM(D) WM(S)

AP(S)

CF(A)

 

- FB(S): Stay Narrow

- WM(S): Stay Wide & Cross Less Often

- AP(S): Roam From Position


Team Mentality: Attacking (to encourage central midfielders to get into the box) 

Tempo: Lower Tempo

Passing: Much Shorter

TIs: Work Ball Into Box, Play Out Of Defence, Standard Width, Overlap Right

 

I think that’s about right but I’ll double check when I’m back at the PC.

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Posted (edited)

After the first game we now had Leeds away. I was aware there were things that needed to be changed but as there was a red card early on in the first game, I wanted to give it another go from the start in an away game.

Areas of concern going into the game:

  • The right hand side and in particular the RCM ( Kevin De Bruyne ) & IRWB ( Cancelo )

They both kept occupying the same space in the build up and one of the purposes here is we want KDB higher to help support Sterling with movement and combinations on the right hand side. Also his average position from the Leicester game appears he's playing closer to a partnership with Rodri & Cancelo then anyone else! 

If we remove De Bruyne out of the way we can see the "W" Building shape that resembles city more 2017-2019 But it's a starting point. The difference between Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva is quite humorous. I read in another thread here recently and forgive me whoever it was for not being able to remember the poster, but they were saying how strong traits were and i think the term overpowered was used. They mentioned how they're very careful about which ones they teach their players and it's something I was constantly trying to evaluate both with the CM's and how the traits were changing how the wide players behaved.

1161681333_Screenshot2021-02-28at03_59_25.png.44639b4595c54b3b05b9a85adf71e560.png

  • Sterling's Role:

Now I used the Ramdeuter role because In the beta release of the game when using a front 3 I found it to just generally be the best role for what I was trying before. I read that one of the instructions is "sit narrower". My hope was that with the tactical setting and other player roles that he would stay wide in the build up and allow for patterns to occur, but then if the back 4 stayed narrow he would then narrow in trying to make runs between the FB & CB or on the outside of the back line but from out to in.

Also from the above picture we can see Ferran Torres ( LW ) even though in the tactical creator was playing "deeper" Actually spent time in possession higher then sterling and fractionally wider maybe.

 

Leeds A

At a Glance

663815720_Screenshot2021-02-28at15_44_58.png.552543b2f29bfbaf886b1a412e134eb3.png

As you can see not as much domination in the game statistically and that did translate to the pitch. We were marked in the middle at times and then a combination of deeper players decision making and the RW in particular didn't seem to look to get on the ball despite an open lane to them.

Leeds actually equalised with not that long to go and I put tempo & Passing up one notch each along with the width to fully wide and we managed to get a winner.

 

Clips from the game:

1. 

- Here is a frustrating but pleasing one. Sterling makes a run between the FB & CB, He doesn't get the ball and starts to move wide. This creates a gap for KDB to run into and the striker gets the ball to feet and just needs to play him in.. it doesn't happen. It's then played to De Bruyne facing his own goal who plays it to sterling.

 

 

 

1450830341_Screenshot2021-02-28at15_43_08.png.ef5084da416b22617956cfd38c60b313.png

 

- Now here we go this is the situation we're looking for. It's not conventional and not how I thought it would happen but here it is!

- He then makes a weird run back and in leaving the striker to be the one that exploits the gap late and gets a non threatening shot away. 

- This is reaffirming my belief that there's an issue with the Box to box midfielder role.

 

 

Clip 2:

- Here De Bruyne again I would want to make a run into the gap to either get on the ball, link with sterling here or at least take players away to create space for Cancelo to step into.

 

Clip 3:

 

- Some interesting things in this clip. It's so frustrating because it's so close and yet so far.

 

Breakdown 1. 

225828380_Screenshot2021-02-28at16_44_49.png.0783f4b4ea24cc1f11cad67550fb82d9.png

- Sterling here could do one of many things. He can stay where he is because the passing lane is open to him. He could move wide which would keep the back 4 where it is and allow our RCM more room and time on the ball. In that scenario we could play into KDB or ideally he would move up and our IRWB would move to where he is.

- Instead we get a narrow run from sterling and a ball over the top which I didn't want but it worked and we got through.

 

2.

1076238872_Screenshot2021-02-28at16_45_24.png.d1fc349bacb90235510559083b48a730.png

- Afterward the attack breaks down and we are left in this scenario. Looking at this image i'm actually quite pleased how fast the wide players got back to being on the outside of the back line. The Issue here however is Laporte doesn't have a passing option except for the RB potentially and Laporte decides has to play a risky switch ball. 

Better scenario:

11073661_Screenshot2021-02-28at16_45_24.png.f181910f503168c5252879227ec0a4fb.png

- Here the LB could go into the wingers feet or straight into our LCM. Laporte could ignore this and do what he did anyway but the point here is we aren't set up well to continue to dominate and Laporte is left with his switch, taking on the player 1v1 to create space to release or going back to the Goalkeeper. I still think that ball to the RB is on if it's placed in front of him but i'm not going to focus too much on that

 

3. 

1934314086_Screenshot2021-02-28at16_45_35.png.0fdc337d587b06a7d9c4070b79086f5f.png

- The ball goes to Sterling who brings it down and my RCM is there. The Gap is there. I have both hands up celebrating!

 

1516194070_Screenshot2021-02-28at16_45_51.png.343bfeca13b6add8abf532907385911a.png

 

- And.. it doesn't happen. Sterling and De Bruyne do link up though and Sterling gets in anyway in one of the patterns spoke about at the start of the thread and even Cancelo at RB makes the run i wanted De Bruyne too. Here in the match engine we are completely overloading the half space with players making movements and combinations and at least we are getting some success in some form. It's not what I wanted I wanted Sterling to be occupying the FB and playing De Bruyne in through the gap but it's positional football and we had a nice little rotation here.. just not sure it was necessary we ended up exploiting the space we had already created.

 

Other Clips to finish:

1.

- This was a nice scenario and bit of movement from the LW. He starts out wide creating his own gap to move into between the FB & CB and very nearly gets the ball. I'm finding at this point that the left hand side seems to move more realistically and create more spaced out and logical options then the right. The right is more of a overload that the opposition and potentially match engine can't handle in which random events occur. These are just early thoughts at this point.

 

2.

 

 

- The LW again being in a better and wider position in the build up. Gets on the ball and LCM Silva starts to make a vertical run then stops unfortunately. This is fine our LW combines and looks to receive a pass on the outside of the backline unfortunately a combination of the space created, pass and first touch it's not dangerous.

 

3. 

- Sterling does a good job here. He's not as wide as i want him to be, but he's still on the outside of the leeds full back and he does create a gap. KDB again is not effective and may as well come take a seat next to me in the dug out. Cancelo is occupying his zone and he's not helping the team. This concluded my opinion that the BBM role especially with a player who has "Comes deep to get ball" wasn't going to be a long term option despite the nearly scenario's we discovered.

 

Conclusion and Adjustments going forward

The right hand side has become a major issue. I need the RCM to be making more aggressive runs and earlier. This had to be an attack duty. I didn't want to change Bernardo Silva at this point as I felt he was helping the team out of possession and looked more likely to make the runs between the FB & CB. He probably starts a little high and stays high but he's not a primary problem and might actually be ok in that role if I can fix the others.

Sterling's role has to change I feel at this point but until I change his role I want to see how the RCM role combines with him.

 

Going Into the Manchester Derby I had made two tweaks to the tactic

1804628429_Screenshot2021-02-28at17_42_18.png.5f3c366aa92a44855a5dd2c7503d2613.png

 

I put De Bruyne as a CM-A with Roam from position and Move into channels

Ferran Torres was changed to a W-S. This was mainly to keep the same numbers of support duties as before I felt with him on attack we might end up with too many players in the same lines. I was also aware I now had both support duties on the same side of the pitch.

I'll Leave the rest until the next post but I will include this screenshot of the game's Average Positions.

2119471522_Screenshot2021-02-28at18_12_30.png.12e620c050915d3957ab0499a452d213.png

Here you can see already on the right hand side a fairly big difference from the previous home game against Leicester when comparing RCM and the RB being in the same area. This gave me optimism that this worked better as a relationship with the IWB at least. I felt going forwards I was on the right track and a player in a CM position on support wasn't going to get me what I wanted with how the surrounding parts were set up.

 

* Ignore the Spoiler for some reason it duplicates this image and I can't delete it? It just re appears every time

Spoiler

 

Screenshot 2021-02-28 at 16.45.24.png

 

 

Edited by Cult of Football Manager
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Player instructions at this stage were:

GK None

Back 4 None

CDM None

LW  Mark Tigher, Tackle Harder

RW Mark Tighter, Tackle Harder

RCM Roam from position , Move into channels, Mark Tighter, Tackle Harder

LCM, Mark Tighter, Tackle Harder

ST, Mark Tighter, Tackle Harder

 

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No underlap TI? It could help with Wide players finding the runs behind the FBs backs. Or either Focus Play Through the Middle.

Also, I would remove get stuck in and offside trap. You are already asking your forwards to tackle harder. And offside trap is more a liability than a solution, imo.

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This thread...Wow! 

I'm a huge fan of Pep Guardiola and the way his teams play so this has been an excellent read for me. Personally this is a style of football that has given me so much joy but at times equal amounts of frustration when trying to replicate it on FM.

I believe you said in one of your opening posts that there will be some trade offs, and I couldn't agree more. To try and replicate Positional Play, at least to the extent of how Pep utilises it, is almost impossible with the limitations of the tactics creator and ME. Not to say that there are issues with those, just that this is a game and it is unfair to expect it to play out exactly as it does in real life. 

One of the biggest trade offs for me, and this is just about in possession (out of possession like you said is a whole other thing), is being able to tell players to perform multiple roles at the same time. For example, at times we may see Cancelo, like he did vs Everton, tuck in as a pivot, or at times be even more adventurous at play almost as a No. 10! Conversely, we often see Walker, or recently Zinchenko on the left, form a back 3 in build up, but they have licence to occasionally overlap or tuck in to support the pivot in midfield. 

It's not currently possible to achieve those things in FM so we have to try and pick what are perhaps our favourite 'scenario' of Pep's Positional Play into one tactic. You could of course have the other tactical slots filled with alternate scenarios - but my point is, in one tactic it's really difficult to get this fluid approach to player roles. 

Apologies for rambling and I have no intention of hijacking this thread, but what I want to get at is the selection of roles and duties for the fullbacks, and CMs in particular, who I feel are crucial to the system. I am curious as to why you have chosen to give Cancelo an Attack duty, given that he does tend to play mostly as a pivot alongside Rodri, with license to roam of course, but I do not see him getting into the box on every occasion like an Attack duty may suggest. This links back to my ramblings about the different scenarios (he does more than one role!)

The problem this creates is the one that you faced with KDB being in the same space. I see you have tried to fix this by also giving him an Attack duty but personally I would reduce the mentality of Cancelo to Support, and perhaps give KDB a CM Support role with added PI's such as Gets Forward and Move Into Channels (leaving him on Attack could also work depending on defensive coverage). I'm not sure what Cancelo's PPMs or Traits are too, but if he as the Gets Forward Whenever Possible trait, then a Support duty is more than enough for me. 

I am only speaking from my own experiences using these such roles within the game, this is not me criticising your set up or knowledge of Pep's system - just something which worked for me :) 

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Looks really good to me, seems to create a lot of movement in and around the half space. Similar to what I have but I’ve dropped the SS to a Mez and use a RPM and WB(S) on the right. Think your problem might be that de bruyne has comes deep to get ball ppm. I’d you had someone with moves into channels I think the BBM/RPM would work fine! Have you experimented with trying to get the back 3 in the build up with a FB(D)? 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, lfds89 said:

No underlap TI? It could help with Wide players finding the runs behind the FBs backs. Or either Focus Play Through the Middle.

Also, I would remove get stuck in and offside trap. You are already asking your forwards to tackle harder. And offside trap is more a liability than a solution, imo.

Yeah In the next part I was going to mention this, I had tested underlap and I'm not sure on the game mechanics ( does it change mentality for some players ? ) but it seemed like my central players would then be a lot more aggressive with the ball and force passes etc? I had planned to bring it back in but I don't believe I did in my final tactic. A case where from real life you would definitely tick that reading the description in game I agree but it was just what I was finding.

I haven't got round to it yet but yeah I did test a lot of things in my early cup games and CL group stages matches along with a few games early on in the season.

My final part will be where I am today with my save frozen half way through the second season and I'm going to test all of this type of stuff again in the same game reloading it over ( I've already played it and won ) and reporting the findings to everyone here. I know that only helps so much because it's the same game over and over again but it might help we will see!

Thanks for the comments !

 

8 hours ago, Fantasista10 said:

This thread...Wow! 

I'm a huge fan of Pep Guardiola and the way his teams play so this has been an excellent read for me. Personally this is a style of football that has given me so much joy but at times equal amounts of frustration when trying to replicate it on FM.

I believe you said in one of your opening posts that there will be some trade offs, and I couldn't agree more. To try and replicate Positional Play, at least to the extent of how Pep utilises it, is almost impossible with the limitations of the tactics creator and ME. Not to say that there are issues with those, just that this is a game and it is unfair to expect it to play out exactly as it does in real life. 

One of the biggest trade offs for me, and this is just about in possession (out of possession like you said is a whole other thing), is being able to tell players to perform multiple roles at the same time. For example, at times we may see Cancelo, like he did vs Everton, tuck in as a pivot, or at times be even more adventurous at play almost as a No. 10! Conversely, we often see Walker, or recently Zinchenko on the left, form a back 3 in build up, but they have licence to occasionally overlap or tuck in to support the pivot in midfield. 

It's not currently possible to achieve those things in FM so we have to try and pick what are perhaps our favourite 'scenario' of Pep's Positional Play into one tactic. You could of course have the other tactical slots filled with alternate scenarios - but my point is, in one tactic it's really difficult to get this fluid approach to player roles. 

Apologies for rambling and I have no intention of hijacking this thread, but what I want to get at is the selection of roles and duties for the fullbacks, and CMs in particular, who I feel are crucial to the system. I am curious as to why you have chosen to give Cancelo an Attack duty, given that he does tend to play mostly as a pivot alongside Rodri, with license to roam of course, but I do not see him getting into the box on every occasion like an Attack duty may suggest. This links back to my ramblings about the different scenarios (he does more than one role!)

The problem this creates is the one that you faced with KDB being in the same space. I see you have tried to fix this by also giving him an Attack duty but personally I would reduce the mentality of Cancelo to Support, and perhaps give KDB a CM Support role with added PI's such as Gets Forward and Move Into Channels (leaving him on Attack could also work depending on defensive coverage). I'm not sure what Cancelo's PPMs or Traits are too, but if he as the Gets Forward Whenever Possible trait, then a Support duty is more than enough for me. 

I am only speaking from my own experiences using these such roles within the game, this is not me criticising your set up or knowledge of Pep's system - just something which worked for me :) 

Thank you ! & No worries at all this is what it's here for!

Yes exactly this is my balancing act of what can we achieve that's as realistic as possible? And then the other issue is if you can get it extremely close but you're not successful in results does it require an even further trade off then that because surely people want to win even when replicating!

Yeah Like i just mentioned i'm at the part where i'm testing again now. I effectively got to a point where I said ok lets let this play out over the rest of the season and see what it does. Now i'm back to testing and thought it was a good time to share it for other ideas as I'm no match engine expert and I don't have as much time so it's great to have other people involved.

Yes i further fix the KDB role again and I came to that conclusion that really Cancelo probably should be a support but I wanted the tactic to play out the season. My thinking was from watching the Everton game specifically he really does get forward in a few instances and I felt the IWB - S would keep him in a WB 2017-2019 style role and not get his current movements. 

 

Oh no please I would love this to be perfected. I haven't done it, I feel i might have a blueprint and if I can help someone else with one or two tweaks to their system and they perfect it then fantastic! If others look at mine and see a few things that might improve and we get closer, then we all win.

The only thing i can say for absolute certainty is changing one small thing in this type of set up can change everything and potentially destroy good parts in other areas so it's a real balancing act!

4 hours ago, Bailey1 said:

Looks really good to me, seems to create a lot of movement in and around the half space. Similar to what I have but I’ve dropped the SS to a Mez and use a RPM and WB(S) on the right. Think your problem might be that de bruyne has comes deep to get ball ppm. I’d you had someone with moves into channels I think the BBM/RPM would work fine! Have you experimented with trying to get the back 3 in the build up with a FB(D)? 

Thanks Bailey! Yeah the wide players aren't as wide as they should be but in my next post i'm about to show what I changed to and they both change their roles and I change the KDB roles. I would have had this all done already if it weren't for technical issues and I have to go to work today for a few hours so it might not be up until overnight in the UK.

Yes the 3/1 at the back Build up is definitely down as part of my experiment list. I'll conclude this whole piece with where i'm at now and what my ideas are to be testing and people can see where i'm going with it and try it for themselves or see parts of my idea and think it works but the others don't and create a solution better then mine!

What are you using for Wide player and striker combination?

Edited by Cult of Football Manager
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I'm playing since the Man Utd game with your tactic. It's producing some very good football, I'm really enjoying myself right now (and I don't even have a lot of players suiting the tactic). The Champions League games and the Carabao/FA cup games I played with a heavily rotated squad so I'm really impressed.

I'm really looking forward to your final tactic, and meanwhile I'm having a lot of fun with the current one. This is by far one of my favorite threads in the last couple of years, so keep up the good work man!

1262c1fd89cf788b768fd85a24712f40.png

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, JoOSTAR said:

I'm playing since the Man Utd game with your tactic. It's producing some very good football, I'm really enjoying myself right now (and I don't even have a lot of players suiting the tactic). The Champions League games and the Carabao/FA cup games I played with a heavily rotated squad so I'm really impressed.

I'm really looking forward to your final tactic, and meanwhile I'm having a lot of fun with the current one. This is by far one of my favorite threads in the last couple of years, so keep up the good work man!

1262c1fd89cf788b768fd85a24712f40.png

That's Fantastic! Thank you for sharing! and if i'm honest it makes me even happier to see someone else use it and have success with it. I'm so pleased with your results there.

I don't think I actually directly mentioned it but I think i made it clear i didn't expect or plan for this to be a specifically good plug and play style tactic especially half way through a season. Like real life Pep's systems have worked with some of the very top teams in the world and I expected this would be required on FM and you might even need to buy specific players on top of that!

Who are you playing as & what season are you in if you don't mind me asking?

Your success has inspired me to test with some other teams and see how I get on. I'm intrigued to see if it will work down the lower leagues or with a team that's not expected to be in contention for the title. 

 

And thank you for the kind comments it's greatly appreciated I hope your success continues.

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1 hour ago, Cult of Football Manager said:

Thanks Bailey! Yeah the wide players aren't as wide as they should be but in my next post i'm about to show what I changed to and they both change their roles and I change the KDB roles. I would have had this all done already if it weren't for technical issues and I have to go to work today for a few hours so it might not be up until overnight in the UK.

Yes the 3/1 at the back Build up is definitely down as part of my experiment list. I'll conclude this whole piece with where i'm at now and what my ideas are to be testing and people can see where i'm going with it and try it for themselves or see parts of my idea and think it works but the others don't and create a solution better then mine!

What are you using for Wide player and striker combination?

Cool looking forward to reading the update!

It is hard to get it to work, think I may just stay with the half back to kind of get a back 3 sometimes.

At the moment I’m using a winger and a raumdeuter with a false 9 up top. Still playing around with the inverted winger though so not set on anything yet!

 

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2 hours ago, Cult of Football Manager said:

Yeah In the next part I was going to mention this, I had tested underlap and I'm not sure on the game mechanics ( does it change mentality for some players ? ) but it seemed like my central players would then be a lot more aggressive with the ball and force passes etc? I had planned to bring it back in but I don't believe I did in my final tactic. A case where from real life you would definitely tick that reading the description in game I agree but it was just what I was finding.

I haven't got round to it yet but yeah I did test a lot of things in my early cup games and CL group stages matches along with a few games early on in the season.

My final part will be where I am today with my save frozen half way through the second season and I'm going to test all of this type of stuff again in the same game reloading it over ( I've already played it and won ) and reporting the findings to everyone here. I know that only helps so much because it's the same game over and over again but it might help we will see!

I'm still playing FM20, got underlap to work as I wanted when I played a combination of FB and IW-A (on CM-Strata). I would say it's trickier than overlap, for instance.

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2 hours ago, Cult of Football Manager said:

Who are you playing as & what season are you in if you don't mind me asking?

Ow my bad, I didn't mention I was playing with Chelsea :D

I'm in my first season and I started playing your tactic after 6 games (2 wins 4 draws), Now I'm 22 games in, 16 wins and 6 draws, which means I won 14 games and draw 2 with your tactic.

 

 

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Really looking forward to the next update i am obsessed with this thread right now enjoying reading how other people are getting on as well with different teams.

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Posted (edited)

Manchester Derby : This game and the next Liverpool game were the final tweaks and tests before the final tactic I settled on to play through the season.

 

This was a good test for how the tactic was playing. We had a scare against Leeds and didn't dominate, we also have glaring issues that aren't playing as I would like but we haven't lost yet.

 

United H

* Tactical changes for this game were included in the last post. 

At a Glance

1731339174_Screenshot2021-03-02at01_52_11.png.67dfe17f35650554eafbb875a7172fd6.png

 

I felt we were the better team and created an ok amount of chances. I don't know how or why it says 0 CCC and 0 HC but there we are! Their CCC was a penalty so that misleads a little for that and for XG.

 

Clips from the Game.

This clip summed up the game well. Some promising moments but ruined by things that I just couldn't Ignore.

 

 

1.

 

279593000_Screenshot2021-03-02at02_30_51.png.b3a48435980d66575ffe1ecba020c521.png

 

Here sterling gets on the ball earlier in the build up and we've created a perfect situation for KDB to make his run and for the RB to move into where he was. Ideally the RCB would be a bit wider if both of these things happen to give us a retain option if it's required.

 

2. 

1333021516_Screenshot2021-03-02at02_31_06.png.6d42001720e78d46616489f8eb855905.png

 

- We Progress to here where the RB makes more aggressive moments then KDB who has his opportunity but decides to make the run and hover where he is. The ball is then played to Rodri moment over..

 

3. 

 

1308092450_Screenshot2021-03-02at02_31_34.png.579eedfed89ed75f64cdbc81fa974b35.png

 

Ah not quite Rodri now has the ball and we've through our movements and overloads on the right hand side caused a massive hole in their back line. One pass into the striker and our RB now in the "RCM" role could be in here for a perfect moment of our positional football considering where sterling and KDB are!

 

But no, Rodri decides Laporte is a better option and goes back to him. He then punts it towards the striker who flicks it on for sterling to go through which couldn't be more funny for everything we did to that point. 

Hopefully from this you can see what i mean by blueprint and being close. A few tweaks probably change the outcome of that attack. I'm still not at my final tactic at this point but the team instructions are the same and it's only 3 players that are going to change from here.

 

Clip 2:

 

 

This is actually an out of possession clip I just wanted to show the principle of what i want from the team in the match engine nothing to do with the replication. For the NFL fans here we are essentially running an all out blitz on their goal kick and they can launch it all they want and if they even break through once in a while i'm willing to accept that. The one thing they aren't doing is playing it around in front of my team springing 8-10 passes together and getting their possession up in the process.

 

What you can see though is they actually could have kept playing against us there and to stop a team really good at it i may need a third player centrally.

 

Clip 3:

 

Looking back at this clip I actually think there's a lot of positives to it.

 

1. 

824899435_Screenshot2021-03-02at02_54_47.png.d5a4a78ca91fadaa0027c63ac043ae1d.png

Here the RW gets on the ball and the RB moves wide. Now sometimes he does "overlap" when I don't need him to and where Sterling could do it himself but here we see something different.

 

2. 

934460763_Screenshot2021-03-02at02_54_55.png.e7e03862b9274d0844b4513f7932538b.png

 

1118614439_Screenshot2021-03-02at02_55_10.png.6ae6602a6c0207e59de46cdec9901528.png

 

What we see here isn't an overlap but our IWB occupying the wide role for us and he's stayed there after the build up. The RW has also stayed in a FB type of position & KDB is doing what he does best which is nothing & is currently marked. I'm joking of course with KDB haha. ( Sorry KDB i mean purely in the game not real life course he's one of the best players at exploiting the FB & CB gap in real life ) Also when i post the end of season stats I think people will laugh how dominant he was but you wouldn't think it from the start of the season!

 

3. 

2095354016_Screenshot2021-03-02at02_55_45.png.4a48719646300129d67243f6cc04168f.png

 

Here Cancelo in our RW role, Has sterling making a run now as the RCM & KDB now as the IRB could now move central and we there would have a very rewarding outcome. It doesn't quite come off the way we want but it's beautiful to see the movements that seemed to replicate well and make actual sense. Even the opposite winger was where he should be and could have scored a great team goal. 

 

Final Clip:

 

 

 

I'm not going to break this down with screenshots but just look at the difference between the LW movement and RW movement. The LW starts wide gets on the ball and looks to link, he's very narrow at this point and immediately gets back wide and on the outside of the back line.

Despite my clips of us getting it nearly right this was a common theme. I feel not only does the current deeper W role provide better movements, but also whoever plays there gets as high as early as sterling does at times which is leading me to want to move the RW back to the " Midfield line" in the tactics creator. I know a trade offs could be huge including the potential of losing more possession of both wingers now defending from roles in a deeper line


In game analysis

1564588571_Screenshot2021-03-02at01_53_20.png.db3c3a808771f9736789174a4599f7a6.png

Lets start off with this. One thing that's really puzzling to me looking back at this is how the IWB S is just as high and if not higher then my IWB A !? Both similar traits too.

Other then that nothing too drastic here

2. 

840981518_Screenshot2021-03-02at01_54_19.png.0d7f132e5e9198b9aba5f09ad4203275.png

 

This is unsuccessful passes. We had 40 over the game. 10 of those were throw ins. 3 more from Ederson. I see 4 more only on the Left hand side and the rest are all on the right hand side by mostly KDB and whoever was at RB at the time ( Cancelo & Bellerin ). This backs up all my visual suspicions and confirms a change for the Liverpool game. This and the Left IWB average position moved me towards trying something different with the RIWB and either Sterling or KDB but i didn't want to change both at the same time I wanted to see how this changed the movements and success on the right side.

 

3. 

956144354_Screenshot2021-03-02at01_56_50.png.d1704f33b30dd594c805bef22d65032a.png

 

Passes out of play. There's a shock.

 

4. 

1793034002_Screenshot2021-03-02at01_56_58.png.be5fee8d65d83165756df232ce52fd9a.png

Passes intercepted is a little closer but still more on the right hand side.

 

I wanted to include the Liverpool game in this too but it's 3:30 AM here. So i'll leave it here and in that game we make two changes on the right hand side & hopefully I can finish with the final changes and clips from the tactic I committed to for the rest of the season.

I apologies for this taking so long to get out it wasn't intended. and I really hope it doesn't come across that it's being dragged out deliberately because I can assure you as I sit here at 3:30 it is not! I would love to have this all out in one post!  We've had restrictions lifted here recently and i've been back working/coaching a little ( especially in the last few days ) and it's hard to get all of this out in the way I want.

But like i've mentioned the team instructions have stayed the same for me it's just a few roles that will change. I also don't think I have it perfect anyway so it's entirely possible people recreate from here and get to a better conclusion then i did from this point!

 

 

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