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Tactics of a Cup Run, Giant-Killing & the 6-3-1 (Highly Structured)


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Good read. The ol' 6-3-1 is no muppet. Just a gorgeously ugly in a 6-3-1 base formation too. Flat 4, wing backs, 3 across the middle and an 'on yer own' up top. Tried this with a short-lived Tottenham save trying to recreate Mourinho at his NFG to the viewing audience worst. 

As for the 3-1-6, have a watch over Sampaoli's Marseille atm. 5-3-2 allegedly but with plenty evidence to suggest otherwise. They fly into position from  the get-go, wingbacks are more wingers, the centre mids minus the solitary DM, are closer to the centre-forwards than the centre spot and the backline stretches wide or contracts depending on need. All in the madness that is Marseille. Brilliant viewing if you have the chance. 

...Great thread btw. 

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8 hours ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:

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Boom! 4,096 travelling non-League FC United of Manchester fans celebrate a last minute winner over League 1 Coventry at the Ricoh Arena, coming from a goal behind in the 4th Round of the FA Cup.


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This unassuming goal set up the biggest mismatch I have ever been involved with.


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The story so far..

Enjoying underdog status, FC United of Manchester are comfortably out performing their predicted 19th place finish and expectation to avoid relegation in the Vanarama National League North.


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I think I may be using a dodgy update as Yeovil are suspiciusly in the Vanarama National League North :lol:


In the cup, we have enjoyed emphatic wins against other non-league sides and then edged past Coventry.


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The squad is a motley crew of football league academy outcasts with a couple of non-league journeymen comprised entirely of free transfers and with a total wage of £9,258 per week.


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The long-term objective for this save is to implement a high-intensity press with very quick transitions, however - as you can see - we certainly don't even have the basic building blocks in place.

So instead we play a balanced, well-organised style of play aimed at playing to our strengths and counter-acts some of our weaknesses.


image.png.cc02cb1123d39ca47a053a7903695d94.png


Right now, the squad does not have the work rate or fitness to press aggressively nor does it have the concentration, anticipation or overall defensive quality to play a low block and withstand a constant barrage. As a result, we play an organised medium block and a solid defensive shape.

The number of players assigned Support duties creates compactness and makes the team defend collectively as a unit, which you can see from the mentality distribution:
 


        10

10  10      10  10
        4
10   4      4   10
        4


The biggest difference I notice between non-league squads and the world class sides I normally play as the capability of the fullbacks/wingbacks and the effect this has on our tactics.

It's well documented that the fullback positions is one of the most important in the modern game, and that has seen the most evolution. In many cases top level fullbacks are given responsibility for an entire flank, creating width and freeing more advanced players to come inside.

This is simply too much for our fullbacks. I played one friendly where I asked them to get forward with Logan and Donohue on opposite wings and it was a disaster. They couldn't get forward quick enough so attacks lacked width, then they couldn't get back which left gaping holes in defence, then they nearly died of exhaustion.

My solution has been to split these responsibilities between the winger and fullback. The winger stays wide and creates width whilst the fullbacks cover the space behind them.

This flat back 4 plus Anchor Man gives us the the freedom to allow Dyson and Wallen to get forward and support attacks. The most elaborate tactical element of this side is that we ask the wingbacks to play narrow and come inside so our attacking shape is actually a 2-3-5.

Rather than relying on individual quality, our strength is a compact and organised defence and then a quick transition to a direct attack when the ball is won.


Preparing for Manchester City

We know how a Pep Guardiola Manchester City are going to play.

They're going to play a 4-3-3, they're going to dominate possession and they're going to press aggressively. I've never actually seen an AI Guardiola pull off wingers and inverted wingbacks so most likely the wingbacks are going forward and the inside forwards coming in.

As a minimum, we have to be prepared to defend against a 2-3-5 attacking shape.


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Time to disregard my earlier comment about playing a low block - we're going to play with our backs to the wall for the full 90 minutes :lol:


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The first - and most obvious - change is that we now play Highly Structured, Defensive football. Not how I want to play long term, but horses for courses.

The knock on effect of this is that our wingers must play with an Attack duty, in order to maintain any sort of attacking threat.

  • In turn, we balance this by adding Look for Overlap (increases mentality of fullbacks and decreases mentality of wingers) and Exploit the Flanks (further increases mentality of fullbacks).
  • Preferred this over Attacking fullbacks as we really don't want them going too far forward.

The mentality structure is now:
 


        10

11   8      8   11
        1
11   1      1   11
        1


Our defensive strategy is to let Otamendi and San Jose have the ball. This gives us a 2-man advantage over the rest of the team. From the top down:

  • Edwards tightly man marks Rodri to disrupt their build up play and make it more difficult for him to recycle possession.
  • Logan and Donohue tightly man mark Walker and Mendy. It's important that I want them to track them all the way back to prevent our fullbacks being overloaded.
  • Dyson and Wallen no longer get forward they're on De Bruyne and Gundogan but zonally marking the space in front of the defence rather than being pulled around by their undoubted movement.
  • Adu-Peprah and Egan stay narrow and hold position to occupy the space Bernardo Silva and Aguero are going to be trying to get into.
  • O'Halloran, Graham and Barkworth create a tight DC-DC-DM triangle playing 3 vs 1 against Gabriel Jesus leaving him no space to drop deep or get in behind and leaving spare men to guard against movement from the rest of Man City's attack.

In attack, our only real hope is to get Logan and Donohue into space Walker or Mendy might leave and catch Man City with a quick transition or - of course - sneaking a set piece.


The 6-3-1 Defensive Shape

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First thing's first:


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:lol:

When the ball is higher up the field, our main objective is to create enough pressure to prevent a quick break allowing our defence to get into position.


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As  the Mancester City build up advances, we take up a compact 2 banks of 4 with Barkworth occupying the space between the lines and Edwards occupying Rodri. 


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Many who have followed my previous threads will have read a lot about attacking shapes. Particularly the well-documented 2-3-5 shapes of Liverpool and Manchester City and the recent emergence of the 3-1-6 which I enjoyed using with Benfica.

This time, as Manchester City advance further, we take up almost an inversion of that shape in something of a 6-3-1.


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..even sometimes a 6-1-3-0 :lol:
 

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Can you guess I came up with this watching Atleti play Chelsea? :lol:

We forced Manchester City wide by shutting down the centre, crossing into a crowded box.


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..or even resorting to uncharacteristically long balls.


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Otherwise however, we prevented them from creating a key chance through the middle.

After a heart-stopping 96 minutes of football..


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The Replay

In a stroke of good fortune, the replay was scheduled amid a hectic run of important Premier League and Champions League games for Manchester City which stretched their squad thinly. As a result, we faced a weakened Manchester City team.


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The only defensive weakness I noticed in the last match was the mis-match between the defensive ability of Logan and Donohue and the attacking ability of Mendy and Walker meaning sometimes they either beat or escaped their marker to get dangerous balls into the box.


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In response to this we reinforced the flanks by dropping Barkworth back into defence. This meant we had 3 centrebacks which meant the fullbacks had extra cover should they need to support the winger in defence.

The knock on effect of this was that we no longer had our Anchor Man in midfield, so Wallen and Dyson dropped deeper to play as a double pivot.


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The mentality structure becomes:
 


        10

11    3     3    11

11   3   1   3   11

         1


Tactically, the game played out in much the same way. However this time, the game unfolded into an absolute epic.

Firstly, the unthinkable happened.

We scored.


f7b4e6a8b95a55dd31851590e849b133.gif
 

Even from our goal you can see we only have 3 men forward, keeping 7 back.

Then, Kyle Walker got a red card for a tackle from behind.

THEN, Manchester City got a penalty in the 80th minute and this happened.


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THEN - just as I started to think we'd done it, THIS happened.


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After camping in our box through extra time, the game went to penalties.

More heroics from Allinson.


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Finally, Michael Donohue - with his 4 in Penalty Taking and 2 in Bravery - had the chance to step up and become a hero.


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Thank you for reading. Hopefully you enjoyed this different style of thread. In particular, this is one for those who have been asking to showcase a more defensive style of football, making tweaks for specific opponents, playing in England and not playing as one of the Benfica's, Barcelona's or Ajax's of the world. 

Finally, hopefully someone at SI reads this and understands an element which has been taken away with the removal of team shape and can hopefully get the tactics creator back into better shape for future versions :applause:

 

Silly question - presuming this isn't FM21? Love it btw, I got to the end thinking this was a workaround in terms of team shape and just realised this is probably FM20? :D

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2 hours ago, Domoboy23 said:

Silly question - presuming this isn't FM21? Love it btw, I got to the end thinking this was a workaround in terms of team shape and just realised this is probably FM20? :D

This is FM18, FM20 does not have team shape either.

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This is Brilliant Ozil!!

Been playing FM for years. Done pretty well over time, and always loved the tactical side too, hence also playing FM17 then 18 but never upgraded after that. I have only recently just found your articles on tactics from Sacchi, Invicibles etc. and loved all the stuff on creating that amazing team at Benfica!

I tend to do more of this though, bring teams up from the LL. Create a legacy that sort of thing.

Keep up the good work and looking forward to an update v Bournemouth (even if its a loss!)

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Awesome read & well done!!! :onmehead:

I like paying the older FMs because of Team Shape, I like being able to alter the mentality of roles & genuinely miss it 

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Lets see if I can do anything similiar...

Added bonus, it's a provence derby too (from when AS Cannes were actually good - they are now 5th tier France and Amateur). I'll go with similar to what you have done we play a variant of 4-3-3, however I predict a big loss!!

AS Cannes v Marsieille.png

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Clearly I'm not quite on the same level...

400006400_Screenshot2021-03-23at22_33_54.png.74e318fc569ecd74b5a962286d03bf01.png

But I think a valiant effort for a team with a wage bill of £0 p/w! 

1870190108_Screenshot2021-03-23at22_33_22.png.b38aee1b4be8d9359b31636c12bcc945.png

We were always going to need to take one of the few chances that came our way... we created more than I expected for a team on Defensive mentality and highly structured team shape. We gave away too many chances though.

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Thank you for the kind words everybody :applause:
 

On 20/03/2021 at 13:10, Guv'nor said:

Good read. The ol' 6-3-1 is no muppet. Just a gorgeously ugly in a 6-3-1 base formation too. Flat 4, wing backs, 3 across the middle and an 'on yer own' up top. Tried this with a short-lived Tottenham save trying to recreate Mourinho at his NFG to the viewing audience worst. 

As for the 3-1-6, have a watch over Sampaoli's Marseille atm. 5-3-2 allegedly but with plenty evidence to suggest otherwise. They fly into position from  the get-go, wingbacks are more wingers, the centre mids minus the solitary DM, are closer to the centre-forwards than the centre spot and the backline stretches wide or contracts depending on need. All in the madness that is Marseille. Brilliant viewing if you have the chance. 

...Great thread btw. 


Thank you for the recommendation. I don't see much French football. Hadn't even noted that Sampaoli was there!


 

8 hours ago, woodyy2r said:

Clearly I'm not quite on the same level...

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But I think a valiant effort for a team with a wage bill of £0 p/w! 

1870190108_Screenshot2021-03-23at22_33_22.png.b38aee1b4be8d9359b31636c12bcc945.png

We were always going to need to take one of the few chances that came our way... we created more than I expected for a team on Defensive mentality and highly structured team shape. We gave away too many chances though.


Nice effort :applause:I think it's extremely tough to go one behind but you seem to have done a good job staying in the game until right at the end  :thup:

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Simply amazing!

 

Sadly the cup-run in FRance was not a big thing and gained me about €50k so Cannes are still rocking the amateur status, albeit now in tier 4

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I always find these types of saves more fun and interesting than when playing with a club with lots of money and playing nice football.

Did you experiment with a lower defensive line or less urgent pressing at any point? And how come you decided to leave the pressing and defensive line on standard?

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Love reading your posts. Hopefully you take the plunge and play the new versions in the future. I’ve played since 1993 and the modern tactics creator has me pulling my hair out these days.

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15 hours ago, Jack722 said:

Did you experiment with a lower defensive line or less urgent pressing at any point? And how come you decided to leave the pressing and defensive line on standard?

He mentioned he doesn't yet have a squad capable of withstanding heavy pressure that comes with low blocks:

On 20/03/2021 at 11:42, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:

Right now, the squad does not have the work rate or fitness to press aggressively nor does it have the concentration, anticipation or overall defensive quality to play a low block and withstand a constant barrage. As a result, we play an organised medium block and a solid defensive shape.

From my experience, bottom-heavy formations like 4-1-4-1 already defend quite low as it is, especially on lower Mentalities. For a while, I experimented with a counter-attacking 4-4-2 and despite the Attacking Mentality I was using, majority of the Tackles and Interceptions were won right outside the penalty area.

Bottom-heavy formation + Defensive Mentality + Lower Defensive Line would probably leave your team standing on top of your goalie. Personally, I'd maybe only use such extremes for the last 5-10 minutes, when I may be ready to gamble on not conceding a long shot, for the sake of restricting opposition any space in the box.

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  • 2 weeks later...

BIg thanks for the tactical update.

I have to say that although I have always found the level between divisions when playing English LLM fairly low. I am amazed that some of your players have gone from National North to League one. With the money you made from the cup run, do you now have very good training facilities?

If I get a chance, and if you don't mind, I'll put a little bit of my tactical evolution @ AS Cannes here. I think it's quite interesting as French LLM is very odd, even at T3 you aren't professional, therefore training and improving players to come up the leagues with you is tough. I ended up moving to 3 (or 5) at the back with a highly structured shape - this was inspired by your Caixa save. Previously, I'd always push to get to fluid / very fluid asap as I thought that's how I want teams to play, but my players just don't have the mental stats, and trying to force anything more than flexible on them was causing issues. Reverting to highly structured has been a revelation - with amazing results for a team who is rated 1.5 stars in some positions.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, so change of plan, and more on theme... Now Ligue 2, AS Cannes are drawn against some even bigger boys.

1789148626_Screenshot2021-04-25at20_51_35.png.d3fb48072b62fd2df4d383bf0a4c08dd.png\

Just to put things into a little perspective and why this is still a huge, huge gap...

1476302868_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_36_55.png.98448977d997a6d67130420de7ddec71.png

Just turned professional (yes French football is not very well funded at the lower levels) and with the lowest avg attendance in Nacional (T3) and Ligue 2 (by some distance), with mounting debt (admittedly coming down due to the £4m TV revenue in Ligue 2 for the year) our wage bill is a whopping £34k pw

1309442340_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_08_09.png.39f90ccfe91ac1e8a60844345865a8e0.png

A whole 14 times less than PSGs top earner

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Tactics

For a few years now we have played a version of 352 or 3412 - lately 3412 to great effect, highly structured, standard or control aiming for a 325 / 3232 in attack. Of course I tweak this a little for this match

52943332_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_44_33.png.869b1231dea196b4de7dc081fcaf90ca.png

Using the wonderful mentality calculator from @fmFutbolManager, we look like

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Limiting space between the Defence & Midfield and Midfield & Attack, with mentalities. Using a very low mentality to try to make sure these very outclassed players try to do the simple and easy thing. 

TIs

More direct passing and pass into space - I hope is fairly self explanatory. I don't usually have these, but a given as we want to transition quickly in this match

Play out of defence - My forwards barely won a long ball in the Nacional, they definitely won't against PSG. Get my GK to distribute to the back 3. We will have a man over (see opposition analysis)

Look for overlap - I need some threat and width, I use this to increase the mentality of my wing backs alongside the additional ME benefit of getting them into the game more.

Close down more - Defensive mentality drops the d-line hugely!!! 2 of my 3 defenders are from my youth team. They are okay [coach says 'well suited to Nacional football (T3)] but not good enough to play low block vs PSG. Also what's the point in flooding the midfield with mobile and defensive minded players if you aren't going to get them to press!

Opposition Analysis

Carlo Ancelotti has returned for a second spell at PSG, still playing his not overly expansive 442

563577486_Screenshot2021-04-25at20_50_44.png.5a5ddf7f1966e18e597bb2f797302161.png

Main threats - our flanks. We concede goals in the league when teams overload my flanks with a full back and winger and my defender or midfield can't get across to help. This is likely to be magnified here, as in a 1-on-1 my wing backs will not come out well - otavio being an IW is good and the fact the FB behind him seems to be on a defend duty means my only worry should be my left flank - PSGs right, with Fernando Henrique (Winger) and Larrazabal [FB(A)] looking threatening. I set my wide CMs to defend to try to make sure the WBs have cover. Will potentially change to BWM(d) if it looks ropey - although I'm cautious on this as it can leave you more exposed if they go close down in the wrong direction.

Main positives - My 352 has worked very well vs 442 in general, particularly if teams usually play through the middle. We outnumber both the CB and CM areas. We also have 2 up front and a decent AP(a) to feed them who may get some space. There should also be a big gap between PSGs Midfield and Attack and my 3 CM should be able to cut of the supply centrally.

Next the match...

 

Edited by woodyy2r
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Just to preface the match. I've wanted to put more cup tactics in this thread for a long time, but we have been awful in cups ever since our first season 9th round defeat to Olympique Marseille. I have barely won a match. This season that has changed... but it is still not exactly pulling up trees, only one team even in my division (Nimes).

623578116_Screenshot2021-04-25at22_14_09.png.08093b94e18e5476ab582ecebbd992b8.png

But now onto the big boys...

789666163_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_03_03.png.3a7235cced5b6e55c196d34e6092c391.png

Unfortunately, in my 4-0 demolition of top of the ligue 2 table ES Troyes AC, we lost both our best player (Sitti - CM/AM/ST - and the only player in my squad who is Ligue 2 level according to my Assistant Manager) and our top scorer (Rowland - ST - Hat-trick vs Troyes). Not great, but that win did put us 4th in the table :applause:

The Match

As predicted, Ancelotti has rested Neymar and Mbappe. I hope (and pray) his over-confidence comes back to bite him. 

Unfortunately, straight from the kick-off my fears are realised.  Fernando Henrique skins my LWB and crosses for Iheanacho to nod in. Not a great 13 seconds. I didn't even have enough time for my "concentrate" shout to take effect :seagull:

1256949337_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_19_33.png.b19370db6851adf3d1e8e25210f80479.png

I fear the worst and tbh, given how easy that was and the fact that it was where I knew we were vulnerable, I expected more to come. These games rarely go well if you concede early... unless

1413426182_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_20_29.png.520a51586d72864a6849afbfc8fd53a0.png

Maxime Pau - brought in to replace Rowland my top goalscorer - slots an absolute worldie from just outside the D! The scenes as the (not even half full) Stade Pierre de Coubertin go wild. 4 minutes in and this could be a cracker! (Notice the 325 in this shot)

For the next 10 minutes, we actually dominate possession, probably due to having a man over in the middle in both defence and midfield and the very low tempo. A few long shots are attempted, with the PSG GK only having to parry one good shot round the post. The resulting corner is floated in by Maxime Pau and Sékouba Sylla my 20 year old youth team CB rises highest...

445361110_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_21_24.png.7278229440d0fcaa53a62c2443f011c1.png

HT comes around with no scares at all from PSG. Stunning from the boys and completely deserving of our lead. I tell the boys to expect a backlash after Ancelotti gives PSG a rollicking they clearly deserve.

The backlash did come, although our formation held well, restricting PSG to crosses from deep and long balls OTT, one of which caught out my ageing CB Amiot, leaving Iheanacho 1-on-1 with my GK who saves! Phew.

No huge changes, things are going as expected, PSG attack but we have the odd shot on the counter until the 75th minute when the highlights flick on. PSG with a free-kick by the Right corner of our penalty area. I fear the worst. We clear from the edge of the area, one of the strikers holds it up (the benefits of 2 strikers and not sending everyone back) plays it wide to the other, who feeds the wb, he drives forward, cuts the ball inside to the RCM who plays the perfect through ball to DYLAN BEAULIEU, the club captain, who can't miss! (Trust me these players actually can, but it doesn't have the same ring).

701046949_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_27_06.png.17ee640e72c5ba730af3b30adc3fcfd4.png

And bar a CCC for Iheanacho (a header from a Henriques cross, of course) in the 94th minute, we see it out with very little fuss. 

1560363308_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_29_29.png.70edb26acfbf9569da84112f58dd588b.png

241756634_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_31_08.png.c0f3cc32f9bdc49ab39edf857d87fe5e.png

Super impressed with the boys from Cannes. On to the quarter final... 

Edited by woodyy2r
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 C'mon Les Cannois, support your team!! this is the best it has been since 1993 when Zidane was playing for you :seagull:

214250388_Screenshot2021-04-25at23_03_08.png.9f0951eb541a1d8d36bc4355d72355d9.png

Next up...

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8th in Ligue 1, Toulouse at home, maybe we could break the 6,000 mark this time!! 

The draw, however, is wide open. OL have done a great job of knocking out OM and Monaco (3rd and 2nd best teams in France- in this save). There's no better year!!

Edited by woodyy2r
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Hey guys, wonderful stuff here. Amazing victory over PSG with les Cannois, love it since a holiday in childhood south of France.

Nice 1 how you guys read a game and adjust to what you are seeing, it’s very difficult for me though. I am so concentrated on the ball that I don’t see much more. I sometimes press pause and try to see something but only points in different colours. 
Very helpful your explanation @woodyy2r I can use it. 

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On 20/03/2021 at 11:47, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:

Reserved? Maybe :lol: Will see how far we go.

Thoroughly enjoyed the post, man 

 

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On 25/04/2021 at 23:09, woodyy2r said:

Okay, so change of plan, and more on theme... Now Ligue 2, AS Cannes are drawn against some even bigger boys.

1789148626_Screenshot2021-04-25at20_51_35.png.d3fb48072b62fd2df4d383bf0a4c08dd.png\

Just to put things into a little perspective and why this is still a huge, huge gap...

1476302868_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_36_55.png.98448977d997a6d67130420de7ddec71.png

Just turned professional (yes French football is not very well funded at the lower levels) and with the lowest avg attendance in Nacional (T3) and Ligue 2 (by some distance), with mounting debt (admittedly coming down due to the £4m TV revenue in Ligue 2 for the year) our wage bill is a whopping £34k pw

1309442340_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_08_09.png.39f90ccfe91ac1e8a60844345865a8e0.png

A whole 14 times less than PSGs top earner

1269825752_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_36_24.png.62951569b75e82d281b0deb1a38c8430.png

Tactics

For a few years now we have played a version of 352 or 3412 - lately 3412 to great effect, highly structured, standard or control aiming for a 325 / 3232 in attack. Of course I tweak this a little for this match

52943332_Screenshot2021-04-25at21_44_33.png.869b1231dea196b4de7dc081fcaf90ca.png

Using the wonderful mentality calculator from @fmFutbolManager, we look like

39072933_Screenshot2021-04-26at12_48_29.png.21cebd0351274c137183e514b448ca8f.png

Limiting space between the Defence & Midfield and Midfield & Attack, with mentalities. Using a very low mentality to try to make sure these very outclassed players try to do the simple and easy thing. 

TIs

More direct passing and pass into space - I hope is fairly self explanatory. I don't usually have these, but a given as we want to transition quickly in this match

Play out of defence - My forwards barely won a long ball in the Nacional, they definitely won't against PSG. Get my GK to distribute to the back 3. We will have a man over (see opposition analysis)

Look for overlap - I need some threat and width, I use this to increase the mentality of my wing backs alongside the additional ME benefit of getting them into the game more.

Close down more - Defensive mentality drops the d-line hugely!!! 2 of my 3 defenders are from my youth team. They are okay [coach says 'well suited to Nacional football (T3)] but not good enough to play low block vs PSG. Also what's the point in flooding the midfield with mobile and defensive minded players if you aren't going to get them to press!

Opposition Analysis

Carlo Ancelotti has returned for a second spell at PSG, still playing his not overly expansive 442

563577486_Screenshot2021-04-25at20_50_44.png.5a5ddf7f1966e18e597bb2f797302161.png

Main threats - our flanks. We concede goals in the league when teams overload my flanks with a full back and winger and my defender or midfield can't get across to help. This is likely to be magnified here, as in a 1-on-1 my wing backs will not come out well - otavio being an IW is good and the fact the FB behind him seems to be on a defend duty means my only worry should be my left flank - PSGs right, with Fernando Henrique (Winger) and Larrazabal [FB(A)] looking threatening. I set my wide CMs to defend to try to make sure the WBs have cover. Will potentially change to BWM(d) if it looks ropey - although I'm cautious on this as it can leave you more exposed if they go close down in the wrong direction.

Main positives - My 352 has worked very well vs 442 in general, particularly if teams usually play through the middle. We outnumber both the CB and CM areas. We also have 2 up front and a decent AP(a) to feed them who may get some space. There should also be a big gap between PSGs Midfield and Attack and my 3 CM should be able to cut of the supply centrally.

Next the match...

 


Excellent post!! :applause:

Sorry for the delayed response, I have only just got strong enough internet to even load your screenshots.

Are you playing the same way in the league? Interested to see how you're doing. Also let us know how you go against Toulouse!

I do also intend to respond to your earlier question but need to find time (and a functioning connection) to do so. Particularly the part about players developing from National League to League One (spoiler: and above ;)) could probably be an entire thread of it's own.

I have been amazed how players have continually been able to step up again and again. There's far less of a gap between leagues than I had anticipated.

 

On 13/04/2021 at 08:39, woodyy2r said:

BIg thanks for the tactical update.

I have to say that although I have always found the level between divisions when playing English LLM fairly low. I am amazed that some of your players have gone from National North to League one. With the money you made from the cup run, do you now have very good training facilities?

If I get a chance, and if you don't mind, I'll put a little bit of my tactical evolution @ AS Cannes here. I think it's quite interesting as French LLM is very odd, even at T3 you aren't professional, therefore training and improving players to come up the leagues with you is tough. I ended up moving to 3 (or 5) at the back with a highly structured shape - this was inspired by your Caixa save. Previously, I'd always push to get to fluid / very fluid asap as I thought that's how I want teams to play, but my players just don't have the mental stats, and trying to force anything more than flexible on them was causing issues. Reverting to highly structured has been a revelation - with amazing results for a team who is rated 1.5 stars in some positions.

 

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19 hours ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:

Excellent post!! :applause:

Sorry for the delayed response, I have only just got strong enough internet to even load your screenshots.

Thanks and wow, you really must be in the middle of nowhere! Looking forward to seeing you progress as and when you can

19 hours ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:

Are you playing the same way in the league? Interested to see how you're doing. Also let us know how you go against Toulouse!

I promise to show how my tactics have developed over the now 8 seasons in a bit - it will require some memory, because I didn't save screenshots or in some cases tactics. But first Toulouse... (I've been experimenting with Gyazo, as the goal screenshots don't really tell you anything).

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Since one of the best results in the recent memory of AS Cannes, we look like we have partied a little too hard

1844430361_Screenshot2021-05-04at09_22_18.png.00420a5a4255655b36a0c3db3a309dbe.png

For a little perspective, Montpellier are top and look likely to win the league, Angers and Metz are top 5 - the Tours result was poor, but the biggest worry is the 1 goal and not looking like scoring. Fortunately our star-striker* Rowland recovers from injury for the Toulouse quarter final. 

*Rowland is rated as a good Nacional Striker by my Assistant Manager. :lol:

Opposition Analysis

Toulouse line up in an attacking 4-2-3-1

752323369_Screenshot2021-04-26at13_45_56.png.3b5041b04c7d74bd8eb349f834fbe166.png

This actually worries me more than the PSG scouting report for a few reasons:

  1. It's their first team - probably to be expected for a cup QF, but still, they aren't underestimating us.
  2. We aren't great vs 4-2-3-1 - It's a natural thing of our formation, of course it all depends how it is played, but in this case, the wingers pin back our wing backs and they match us up in the middle 3-3. Our having an overload in defence, 3-1 would in normal circumstances be overkill and a waste of an extra man, but our centre backs are not great and I don't want to risk a return to a back 4 and a formation we aren't familiar with. 
  3. the flanks - the constant achilles heel of a 3-5-2 highly structured is that the wide CBs and wide CMs struggle to get out the wings to help the wbs.

On the plus side, an attacking mentality means we should be able to hit them on the counter if we can hold their attacks at bay. Could be an interesting one. The odds are against us, but nowhere near as low as vs PSG.

 638537458_Screenshot2021-04-26at13_50_44.png.847ede22aef6d636feeb6fc2d5badae3.png

Tactics

Given how well we played vs PSG, I turn our league 3-4-1-2 into the "flat 3" midfield we used previously. In fact we line up very similarly with Rowland returning up top, Mezaber at LWB and Sitti at RCM (he is our most creative player and would usually be the AP(a) but Mahao is suspended and Sitti is comfortably our best midfielder defensively as well :rolleyes:) I change Ganago to DLF as his strength is superior to Pau and should be able to be an outlet. This is a much improved 1st eleven for us.

1103545284_Screenshot2021-04-26at14_00_55.png.5283dd83f8de6f6528810036508ca1c1.png

Allez les Cannois.

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Posted (edited)

I would love to say that we started well, however the first 15 minutes, Toulouse were all over us, dominating both possession and territory. Basically pinning us back around our box. This is not how I want us to play. Our CBs are not of a high standard and it was only a matter of time. 18th minute in...

1170829786_Toulouse1-0.gif.1c439de1f7792f2f57fcafd0840e0daa.gif

Quickly followed by my youth CB (#3 Sylla who scored vs PSG) losing his man from a corner (22 minutes)

1177980598_Toulouse2-0.gif.ac8e1e447ee4d36c859dd712b0c83808.gif

It's a really bad start and whilst we improve a little I'm very upset by us conceding 2 poor goals. We improve for the next twenty minutes and gain a foothold with some possession. I'm thinking about what to change at half-time when in added time...

334067366_Toulouse3-0.gif.2f4bea5bdeb6ee911b3bf39114d637e0.gif

It's frustratingly similar to the first goal and we go in 3-0 down. Poor defending, 3 goals from only 1 CCC and I'm frustrated but mostly I'm mad at myself!

Tactical Change

I'm mad at myself because in the league vs 4231 I invert the diamonds... I'll explain

The tactics above have the defence as CB(d) - CB(st) - CB(d) and Midfield as CM(d) - AP(a) - CM(d). If you think about the passing triangles this creates in possession with the GK and the WBs. You have 4 'diamonds':

  1. GK - LCB - RCB - CB
  2. LCB - LWB - CB - LCM
  3. RCB - RWB - CB - RCM
  4. CB - RCM - LCM - CM

And with the DLF dropping in I hope to create a 5th in the att 3rd.

However Vs 4231 this setup doesn't work defensively and is wasted in attack. In defence, the wide midfielders naturally mark the opposition CMs, the stopper then has 2 jobs, to both man mark the CF and step out to the AM (potentially leaving the CF in a channel between the 2 CBs). Added to this, the wide CBs on defend duty have a very low mentality (highly structured) so don't get out to the flanks - good for marking the CF, bad for helping the WBs. We have given Toulouses' AM (Rabello) so much space that he is running the game and has 2 assists, and whilst the goals have all come from crosses, it's because we can't keep the ball and are being pinned on our penalty area. In possesion, our CB(st) never sees it - if he isn't marked by the CF he is by the AM, leaving the wide CB's two options to progress the ball, pass to a likely marked WB or hoof it to Ganago, who has proven he isn't good enough to be a focal point vs this level of opposition (this was optimistic at best if I'm honest). Both terrible options and explains our predicament perfectly.

As I say, I knew all this, but I was so worried about Toulouse overloading flanks and having CMs who would help out the WBs (coupled with the fact that we played so well vs PSG) that I overlooked it. So at half-time, we change the defence to CB(st) - CB(co) - CB(st) and the midfield to BWM(s) - DLP(d) - MEZ(At). I push the WBs to Att mentality and sub Ganago who's been useless as an outlet, for Pau as a F9 - more movement.

The 'diamonds' in possession become:

  1. CB - LCB - RCB - CM
  2. LCB - LWB - CM - LCM
  3. RCB - RWB - CM - RCM
  4. CM - RCM - LCM - F9

And we look like... (sorry no players didn't take a screenshot at the time but Sitti, our best player, is the creative force in the Mezzalla(a) position. 

88417102_Screenshot2021-05-04at12_23_24.png.0d9b2231c1dbf3c0ffc6b436556fdd56.png

2029927969_Screenshot2021-05-04at12_24_45.png.fe36d687e5f2e32f6ca81a473b9bf3ff.png

Now this might look like a tiny change - but it completely changes how we progress the ball and the questions the AI have to answer.  Does the high press Toulouse are playing with mean that the AM or wingers have to leave their man to close down the wide CBs? If so, spaces start to open up. We will be utilising the 6 v 4 at the back now and there should be diamonds or triangles everywhere. But... have we dug too big a hole for ourselves?

Edited by woodyy2r
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Posted (edited)

I calmly tell the boys they have been unlucky, partly because we are 3 goals down from not many chances, but mostly because I know it's my fault. They are all buoyed by this, you can visibly see the pressure fall off their shoulders and they know they have a 45 minute free hit. 

We start well, draw a save from their 'keeper and from the resulting corner, our youth product CB, Douay hammers home. It goes down as an own-goal, I couldn't care less. At 51 minutes, this was exactly what we needed.

244527143_Toulouse3-1.gif.f99b85ffd52a6a377ecab086c7733352.gif

The next 10 minutes are fairly bland and even, but that is a huge improvement on the 1st half. We are keeping the ball, and progressing it, although most attacks breakdown if the CF has to make a pass :herman:

I changed the DLP to an AP(a) at LCM, with the BWM moving to defensive duty in the centre and the MEZ to support at RCM, this meant our playmaker wasn't on a mentality of 4!! (we need 2 goals remember) but still keeps our lovely, lovely diamonds. On 63 minutes we string a few passes together and slice open Toulouse with ease. 4 passes to beat the high press and Rowland (despite giving the 'keeper a chance) slots it home. I wish we could play like this all the time!

1090436413_Toulouse3-2.gif.2e6fb85bc827bc90481ba271a7975a90.gif

*Please note F9 on the LHS not right as per the tactic.

We are buoyant, and with half an hour to go, this is getting very interesting.

This is where you expect me to show you the culmination of an amazing comeback vs Ligue 1 opposition, but sadly not. This 2nd goal was the cue for Toulouse to stop pressing so high, sit back and make us break them down. We huffed and puffed, but offered very little and in fact Toulouse had the better chances (although neither of us had any good chances). Good game management from them.

1885988694_Screenshot2021-04-26at14_13_12.png.91cfcb30eedbfb389db7a078015235a7.png

The game ends with a mixture of emotions. Pleased with the boys effort, that second half was very good. Gutted to go out. Frustrated at the poor goals we conceded but mostly mad at myself for my tactics.

Unfortunately I'm not perfect and regularly get things wrong. I won't make this mistake again vs 4231. If I really search for the silver lining, our poor form after beating PSG meant we fell out of the play-offs. Now we can focus all our attention on the league (Just the 1000-1 shot remember ;))

As for the cup...

Toulouse got smashed in the next round vs OL, but then (already relegated) Nantes sneak a victory in the final. OL will be furious in a season where they knocked out OM and Monaco and didn't have to play PSG, they couldn't bring home the cup!

1988408185_Screenshot2021-05-04at13_13_31.png.8cba5099185bfc2395ae3678f3e471d4.png

Edited by woodyy2r
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