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Golden Oldies: The Ageing Player Experiment and Tactical Creation - 4132, 433 Wide and more.

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Pre - Season and First League Game


Pre - Season was steady if not spectacular, the highlights being the friendly victory against a strong VFL Wolfsburg and a resounding demolition of a very weak DFB - Pokal opponent. Pre - Season can be classed as a clear success as no injuries were picked up and by the time the first League match arrived, the players had reached full tactical familiarity.

Match 1: Werder Bremen 2 - 0 Hertha BSC



2143845193_Match1HerthaBerlinMatchStatistics.jpg.87a20a35b8d57a1749e0e0c81f190856.jpgAn excellent performance. We were solid in defence and scored in a manner befitting our tactical set - up: L. Augustinsson curling a Free- Kick into the top corner and Rashica latching on to a late long ball after Hertha BSC became more attacking in the last 5 minutes. Let's analyse some of the in-game statistics to see if the tactic is offering what I had planned for.

Playing to Strengths:

Passing Combinations: the Success of the Deep Lying Playmaker and Target Man

1106181053_Match1HerthaBerlinPassingCombinations.jpg.137f9ddf16c33029518a7e36a7e6c6bf.jpgThis looks very promising. The Deep Lying Playmaker (Eggstein) and the Target Man (Fullkrug) were the primary beneficiaries of consistent Wide Play from the Wide Defenders. Augustinsson (LB) and Selassie (RB). On the right side this is exactly as hoped with transitions passing through the DLP with similar success achieved on the left - side, with the play funneling to the Target Man. This is further reflected in the Player Statistics:


Fullkrug and Eggsstein were at the center of everything. Looking promising.

Pressure from Behind.

For me, these statistics indicate that the implementation of a High Line of Engagement in conjunction with a Defensive mentality and Slightly More Urgent Pressing and some specific Player Instruction is immediately paying dividends. I would like to reiterate that as a unit my Defenders have collectively the second worst tackling attribute in the division. I sought to negate his by employing pressure from behind the ball using more aggressive pressing PI's from the Strikers, Central Midfielder (Bittencourt) and my two Wide Defenders and using the  Offside Trap to squeeze the play. How can I tell this is working from the player statistics?

  • The four players with individual instruction to close down more (Augustinsson, Selassie, Bittencourt and Fullkrug) were responsible for the most interceptions. These are indeed the only four players truly capable of such aggression, with high ratings for Stamina, Work-Rate and Aggression. 
  • The two Center Backs (Moisander and Toprak) hardly made a tackle and largely contributed through aerial supremacy. This is EXCELLENT to see. The tackles were instead made by the midfielders and Wide Defenders orbiting them. For a a defensive unit where the Central defender are meek in the tackle (Low Aggression, Bravery and Tackling) I could not ask for a more promising first match performance.
  • As a whole, the team made more interception than tackles. This is just what I had planned for by employing the Stay on Feet team instruction and by having team with collectively high Positioning and Composure.

Wide Play.

Not only were Augustinsson and Selassie excellent in breaking up the play, they delivered exceptional performances on the wing, achieving high completion rates with a  good quantity of completed crosses.

Shooting Opportunities

The extreme majority of shots were executed by more three most attacking players: The two strikes with four a piece and the Central Midfielder(Attack) with two shots. This augers especially well for the future. If scoring chances continue in this manner, then it offers a clear opportunity to upgrade the personnel when required to extract an even greater output from what will be the team's goal-scorers.

And Finally: The Golden Oldies:



As can be seen from the player statistics Selassie had an excellent game.


The team Captain had a solid game, winning all his aerial duals and maintaining his position behind a competitive midfield. The fact he made no tackles is an indicator of how well we protected the defensive line and I have no concerns about the low pass success rate; I checked this out in the match highlights * and the majority of these were clearances under pressure; having tasked him with the role of a No-Nonsense Centre Back this is in-fact desired behaviour.

*NB: Always treat player analysis stats with kid gloves. They are excellent tools but can be misleading if you to not view the highlights as an additional tool.


Match 1 Summation

Great first game and an opening league victory. Golden Oldies performing well and tactic performing as I had planned. I will report pack before the winter break unless there is some exceptional news to deliver.

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Transfer IN.


Picked up on a free. An older statesman who provides direct cover for the center back positions. He brings some much needed aggression into the defence when needed whilst still maintaining good Composure, Positioning and Teamwork in line with my tactical set-up. He is in fact, on paper, a superior player to my current center backs but I will integrate him slowly, only promoting him to the first team starter slot when he can speak fluent German (communication is important when implementing an offside trap).

I need one more addition as I am lacking depth in midfield, a problem I was already aware of but has been made more urgent with some minor unhappiness emanating from the senior players in the squad. Let's see what I can do with my remaining transfer budget of 300k. 

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Transfer IN.


Again, another free transfer. He will provide cover for the Carrilero and DLP. The senior players have now stopped complaining about a lack of depth in Midfield and he brings some guile and determination from the bench. With an eight for Stamina he is certainly not a First XI starter.

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What made you choose the shape of the tactic?  I don’t know Werder Bremen’s players but a quick look shows me they have been playing a 4-2-3-1 in real life. Why a 4-1-3-2 here?



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Brilliant thread! Even if you lose every remaining game I really enjoyed the reasoning behind every tactical decision. Keep it up 👍

PS: R. Eremenko! one of my favourite players. Rare to see such elegance on the field these days. No doubt a dying breed.

Edited by afailed10
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11 hours ago, nick1408 said:

What made you choose the shape of the tactic?  I don’t know Werder Bremen’s players but a quick look shows me they have been playing a 4-2-3-1 in real life. Why a 4-1-3-2 here?



If you look at the squad analysis and the general aim of the thread, my overall intention is to use players entering the end of their careers. Pace and Acceleration will be rare commodities to maintain and as such I am looking to instigate a tactic that does not rely on Pace  or Acceleration, but on Mental  attributes, Plus, having assessed the players within the squad this seemed the most viable shape based formation to begin with. maybe have a read through the earlier 'squad analysis' and tell me what whether you agree?

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10 hours ago, afailed10 said:

Brilliant thread! Even if you lose every remaining game I really enjoyed the reasoning behind every tactical decision. Keep it up 👍

PS: R. Eremenko! one of my favourite players. Rare to see such elegance on the field these days. No doubt a dying breed.

Thanks. Results are actually far exceeding expectations at the moment. I am just approaching the winter break and will post a full season review so far by tomorrow.

Eremenko: This is exactly the kind of player I am looking to build my team around; Two footed, intelligent and a good passing range.  Literally this moment I have just acquired Odil Ahmedov on a Free transfer. I should be able to build my midfield around these two for the next two years or so.

I'll keep you posted.


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For those who want a sneaky peak at the current line-up before I post a full update. It is as follows:1547772563_GO.UptodateLineUp.jpg.68503c2181dc7449ec0c1e6d00911f9e.jpg

There have been some slight adjustments to Player Roles and Team Instructions. I will give full analysis by the end of tomorrow IRL.

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1 hour ago, toshimitzou1 said:

If you look at the squad analysis and the general aim of the thread, my overall intention is to use players entering the end of their careers. Pace and Acceleration will be rare commodities to maintain and as such I am looking to instigate a tactic that does not rely on Pace  or Acceleration, but on Mental  attributes, Plus, having assessed the players within the squad this seemed the most viable shape based formation to begin with. maybe have a read through the earlier 'squad analysis' and tell me what whether you agree?


It's not so much that I disagree with you, it's more that throughout your analysis isn't speaking of why the 4-1-3-2. Why not a 5-4-1 or 5-3-2? Why not a more traditional diamond?


We must be also operating in different games as my analysis of the strikers is different to yours:



That's beside the point though.

Your opening post has gotten me to start a Werder Bremen game. I wanted a game in Germany but didn't know with who. I now know. I'm not going down the same path of age as you but I do like some of the players. In saying that, I think you have been forced to shoehorn a few players into certain positions. I don't see Milot Rashica as a striker. I'd probably be looking at a 5-3-2 - something like this:


A flat 3 in the middle may suit better, same as a flat 3 at the back may work better. The other option I would have thought of is something like this:



I quite like the diamond as it has players across every line vertically. The only players that really need to work hard are your full backs (nearly the same as your 4-1-3-2). The difference is the CM-At doesn't need to work as hard as he is already dangerous in the AM slot.


So, I am still interested in why the 4-1-3-2 rather than another shape.

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Amazing thread, looking up for the next update @toshimitzou1.

You did a great job using the team reports to measure your strenghts and weaknesses, and you justified your tactical options including the likes of using direct passing + narrow width and offside trap + player in DM strata + low risk mentality (that saved me the trouble to ask your reasoning for that).

And as it looks, you're getting results standing by the principles you wanted to implement. Looking up for the rest 'cause I really do like this kind of threads. Keep up the good work mate.

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19 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

We must be also operating in different games as my analysis of the strikers is different to yours:

In order to get a correct comparative analysis you need to move any players that will not form part of the striker unit into your reserves. In practice, when I conducted the comparative analysis  the only attributes being compared were those of the 5 strikers I pinpointed in the thread.


26 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

 I don't see Milot Rashica as a striker.

He's my top scorer with 8 in 12 as a PF (attack).


27 minutes ago, nick1408 said:


So, I am still interested in why the 4-1-3-2 rather than another shape.

See original posts. With an ageing squad wingers will become less and less effective. The team shape was selected as it suited the strengths of the existing players allowing them to play in roles that utilises their strengths and nullifies their weaknesses. In effect, I want narrow shape to aid Direct Plays, I don not have any quality Attacking Playmaker (hence why no AM) plus I want all three central midfielders to contribute as much in defence as in attack; As previously specified: my defenders lack aggression and bravery (hence, a DM to occupy opponents in a space where a more aggressive pair of central defenders would be operating and the CM Attack with more pressing responsibilities).

Hope this helps. 

With regards to your Tactic. Good to see you are attempting something yourself, but this thread is about 'Ageing Players' and how to get them to perform within a tactic. It is not a Werder Bremen thread. Feel free to experiment with your own Werder Bremen tactic but please refrain from posting any further tactical l questions unless they pertain to:

  • The Current Save Game Experiment
  • General Tactics and Questions regarding Ageing Players.

Good luck with WB.



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4 minutes ago, toshimitzou1 said:

In order to get a correct comparative analysis you need to move any players that will not form part of the striker unit into your reserves. In practice, when I conducted the comparative analysis  the only attributes being compared were those of the 5 strikers I pinpointed in the thread.

Cool - thanks for that.

4 minutes ago, toshimitzou1 said:


He's my top scorer with 8 in 12 as a PF (attack).

I didn't say he was ineffective, just that I didn't see him as a striker. Glad to hear he is working for you.

4 minutes ago, toshimitzou1 said:


See original posts. With an ageing squad wingers will become less and less effective. The team shape was selected as it suited the strengths of the existing players allowing them to play in roles that utilises their strengths and nullifies their weaknesses. In effect, I want narrow shape to aid Direct Plays, I don not have any quality Attacking Playmaker (hence why no AM) plus I want all three central midfielders to contribute as much in defence as in attack; As previously specified: my defenders lack aggression and bravery (hence, a DM to occupy opponents in a space where a more aggressive pair of central defenders would be operating and the CM Attack with more pressing responsibilities).

Hope this helps. 

It does explain the shape better - thanks!

4 minutes ago, toshimitzou1 said:

With regards to your Tactic. Good to see you are attempting something yourself, but this thread is about 'Ageing Players' and how to get them to perform within a tactic. It is not a Werder Bremen thread. Feel free to experiment with your own Werder Bremen tactic but please refrain from posting any further tactical l questions unless they pertain to:

  • The Current Save Game Experiment
  • General Tactics and Questions regarding Ageing Players.

Good luck with WB.



This was in direct relation to you asking whether I agreed with your analysis. I don't think you explained the reasoning behind your tactical shape and I stated my reasons for a potential different shape for older players and asked why you chose your shape. Each question I have asked has been in relation to your current game, not so much the older players - it's your tactic as a whole I am interested in (exactly what you have asked in your first dot point).


I would expect your RB to degrade quickly (athletic-wise) so it'll be interesting to see how you overcome that if it happens. In any narrow shape you do need athletic full backs as they are the only players providing width.


I'm looking forward to the rest of your in-game analysis.

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2 hours ago, toshimitzou1 said:

For those who want a sneaky peak at the current line-up before I post a full update. It is as follows:1547772563_GO.UptodateLineUp.jpg.68503c2181dc7449ec0c1e6d00911f9e.jpg

There have been some slight adjustments to Player Roles and Team Instructions. I will give full analysis by the end of tomorrow IRL.

One more question - did you consider dribble less or hold shape with your older players? Potentially to have them shifting out of position less thus not relying on acceleration/pace to get back to where they need to be?

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41 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

I would expect your RB to degrade quickly (athletic-wise) so it'll be interesting to see how you overcome that if it happens. In any narrow shape you do need athletic full backs as they are the only players providing width

That is indeed  going to be one of my biggest challenges. I feel that the central players will be able to perform well into their late-thirties but I may have to consider a high player turnover in order to maintain a player who is over 32 years of age AND able to perform in the required role.

45 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

Each question I have asked has been in relation to your current game, not so much the older players - it's your tactic as a whole I am interested in (exactly what you have asked in your first dot point).

Fair enough, I look forward to your continued involvement.

31 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

One more question - did you consider dribble less or hold shape with your older players? Potentially to have them shifting out of position less thus not relying on acceleration/pace to get back to where they need to be?

If you look at the original post, 'hold shape' was discussed at length. As for 'dribble less' I feel this may be tactical overkill. Only one of my player roles 'dribbles more' by default and it is not something that has stood out as in issue within the match analysis.

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Winter Break: Transfers, Results, Analysis and Tactical Changes 

Transfers in: 

Hector Moreno. Signed on a free 21.09.2020. 


As you can probably observe. He hardly had time to settle before he was approached by Krasdonar, whom he will be joining at the end of the season. Still needed at the moment as cover for Moisander and Omar Toprak.  

Sadly though, the same thing occurred with my next signing: 

Roman Eremenko. Signed on a free on 05.10.2020. 


Again, Club Brugge have secured his service for next season. I tried to extend the contract of both players, but neither were open to discussions. And finally: 


 Odil Ahmedov. Signed on a free on 01.0.2021. 


Only just joined but has proved his worth in his first three games. Looks the business and I have him at least until the end of next season (Not doing 1-year contracts anymore). 

Transfers Out: 

Yuya Osako. Sold 2.8m on 17.01.2021 (1.9m to spend, biggest budget so far),


Was not getting the game time and I am in serious need of the money. Also, Coach Report revealed the player to be fairly inconsistent, not something I am looking for in my squad and something he is far too old to improve enough upon. 





League Table: 


Players Statistics: 



At a glance Summation 

Wow, what at start to the experiment. We are performing well beyond both media and board expectation and with the recent additions we are now officially the oldest squad in the league! 



I will be using these screenshots as part of the analysis so please refer back to them if needed. 


Analysis and Tactical Changes: 

After a solid start to the season, I was on the end of a 4-0 pasting away to Freiburg with their Target Man: N. Petersen netting a hat-trick. The wing play and overlaps were devastating from the opponent’s 4-4-2 flat formation and led me to start to think about addressing the deficiencies within my tactic. Looking at the Midseason league table, it is not as poor a result as it first seemed; Freiburg are performing far above expectations (predicted to finish 15th) and Big Petersen has been sensational:( 



A goal - a - game and 16 goals from 28 shots! At least he is off to the U.A.E at the end of the season in this save (lol, poor Freiburg).) 

Now that I have had time to see my results in context, I cannot be happier; my three league defeats were away to what is now the current top three in the league standings (see league table above). 

However, at the time, the Freiburg loss led me to second guess myself and I was truly terrified of any opponent looking like they might set-up with overlapping full-backs. As such, I committed to the same sort of rash decision I suppose we are all prone to and set up a secondary tactic or ‘Plan B’ that I intended to use if my opponent looked like they were going to exploit my flanks. It looked like this: 


The idea here being to retain the direct attacking threat whilst the extra central centre back would allow the left and right centre backs to man mark opposing strikers with individual player instructions set up to mark tighter.  

In hindsight I panicked, assuming my shape was inherently flawed against certain opposing tactics rather than looking to strengthen the existing shape and tactic (‘Plan A’) to be more resilient against such threats. The change in shape did work in some games to some extent, but in doing so I was displeased with my deviation from my initial shape. What follows is a chronological yet brief game-by-game match synopsis, explaining tactical shifts and match winning tactical switches culminating in the current tactic which I will present at the end of the analysis.  


Game – by – Game Analysis. 

Freiburg 4 – 0 Werder Bremen: As mentioned, Freiburg tore me a new one here. However, having reviewed the highlights, two of the goals were from Throw - Ins that succeeded in the second phase and one was direct from a corner. All were from crosses though, which is probably where my fear of the overlap emerged from. 


  • Created ‘Plan B’ (532 Flat) to combat wide opposition overlaps, serving as an additional to ‘Plan A’ (4132, my default). 


Werder Bremen 1 – 0 Hoffenheim: Scouting report showed opponent ran a 4231 which with minimal threat from the Full-Backs. Used Plan A benching all XI that were responsible for the previous defeat (I can be a little dramatic). Was an even game until a minor tactical switch: I had noticed their RB was drifting high up the pitch without causing any damage and leaving a lot of space behind him. As such I switched my LB to an attack duty at half time and brought on Josh Sargent to replace the now sold Yuya Osako. Boom, 54th minute LB Friedl gets to the by-line and crosses for PF Sargent to poke home for the only goal of the game. 


Conclusion: Plan A still solid enough in defence. Took a stroke of tactical genius from manager to secure victory. 


Eintracht Frankfurt 1 – 3 Werder Bremen: Scouting showed opponent used 5212 WB. After the previous defeat versus Freiburg who also employed overlapping full- backs, albeit in a 442, I decided to use Plan B. Shaky win. Their goal was a result of misplaced pass from my DLP Eggestein after we were 1-0 up; pulled him for Erras when 2-1 up after 55 mins, changing role to BWM support. He went on to secure the possession that led to the final goal plus making 2 key interceptions when the score was still 2-1.  A further positive Is Fullkrug and Rashica linking up to score and assist in two of the three goals scored. 


Conclusion: Plan B successful against opposing wing play system. Another goal conceded from individual error. TM and PF continue to look a promising combination. More tactical inspiration from manager to see out game. 


Werder Bremen 2 – 1 FC Koln: Used a fully rotated squad using Plan A as up against a 4231. All going swimmingly at 2-0 with TM Selke converting a header crossed in from the RB and Carrilero Eremenko scoring a curled effort into the top corner on his debut. This was up until young DLP Mbom gifts possession to opposition resulting in an opposing Clear-Cut Chance and goal. Switch role to BWM support to see out win. 


Conclusion and Ongoing Analysis: The last two games have seen two goals conceded as a result of misplaced passes from the DLP’s. I have viewed the highlights and linked events and observed the following: 

  1. In each scenario the pass into the DLP was short from the Anchor Man. 

  1. In both situations the opposition players were beginning to press DLP, exerting some pressure on the ball carrier. 

  1. Both intercepted passes showed poor Decisions from the DLP and were poorly executed after receiving the ball from the Anchor Man after a breakdown in play. 

  1. In both scenarios there were other, safer passing options available. 

In retrospect it is worth considering that both players are young (under 25) and by the time they hit their late twenties should have eliminated these mistakes from their game. In - line with the Golden oldies ethos I am scouting for a suitable replacement (now secured with Ahmedov) with the possibility of loaning out the younger of the two (Mbom). 

Conversely, perhaps it is not only a result of poor individual ability but a consequence of two other possibilities: 

  1. Although the team is at full tactical familiarity there are no links as of yet between players. Maybe, with some more established partnerships running through the team, the DLPs will start eliminating the mistakes. 


  1. Due to the structured team shape, defensive mentality and the nature of the Anchor Man role, he proved culpable for both mistakes at it was his over simplistic, under ambitious passing immediately after breakdown in play that put the DLP’s under some mild pressure. 

 The reality is that it is probably a combination of all these factors: playing less experienced players in Playmaker positions can sometimes be asking too much, Decisions will improve with established midfield partnerships and an Anchor Man may not be suited to my tactic which requires Slightly More Urgent pressing. I would be hoping for more from the Anchor Man than what he has produced defensively to date and his pass accuracy is not acceptable for such a simple requirement. I am considering implementing a DM Defend in the future, with the idea being he will hold onto the ball if necessary, rather than playing the ball into danger, whilst also being more effective at engaging the ball carrier earlier on in attune to the Slightly More Urgent pressing I have asked of the team.  


FC Bayern 3 – 1 Werder Bremen: Implemented Plan A again as the opponent deploying the now familiar 4231. I was not too disheartened as the opposition was clearly stronger on a player-for-player basis and the goals I conceded were possibly preventable in the future. Again, two of the goals occurred after clearing the ball from an opposition throw-in, only for the opponent to score from a long shot and a converted deep cross in the second phase of play. Their third goal was a near post header from a corner. To my delight, our goal was a combination of a flick-on header from the more and more reliable TM Fullkrug onto the PF Sargent who finished 

 Conclusion: Two more goals conceded after clearing the ball from throw-ins only to be punished in the second phase of play. This makes four conceded in this manner and two further from DLP errors from a total of nine in the matches so far. Six of the of nine goals conceded to date can then be seen to be preventable with appropriate action. 

 Also, whilst we have scored 2 x Direct FK’s and 2 x Indirect Free Kicks, we have yet to convert a CK or Long Throw-In!!!  For a team set up to Play for Set Pieces this is wholly unacceptable and I should shoulder the blame for not resolving the deficiencies earlier. As I expect it to take a long time, I cannot be arsed to revamp all my attacking and defensive set-plays at the moment. It is going to take at least a couple of hours of fidgety keyboard time and so I will postpone it until the winter break and cross my fingers until then. Hmm, famous last words... 


Wolfsburg 0 – 1 Werder Bremen: Implemented Plan B due to opposing wingers and wing backs lining up in a 5221 WB shape. Again, after being blasted by a strong team I over-react and make wholescale changes to Plan B. Changed to Shorter Passing and removed Close Down More PI’s for WB's as they were pushed wider by 3 x CB’s and were as such, already closer to their opposing player. Rarely threatened by opposition. Winner was a Direct Free Kick. No other chances of note. 


Conclusion: I LACK DISCIPLINE! Another defeat in the previous game to this and I make dramatic tactical changes, albeit to Plan B. I am beginning to irritate myself with my lack of tactical consistency. Yes, it got me a result and yes, we were solid at the back BUT, this is not how I want my team to play. I have now deleted Plan B and will persist with the 4-1-3-2 Plan A, reminding myself that I am performing far above expectations and will be given time by the board. At this stage it is NOT win at all costs and should serve as a time to bed - in a team and a shape that can deal with most tactical eventualities. 


Werder Bremen 2 – 1 VfB Stuttgart: 4132 only from here out. Opponent used 5221 WB. Went 1 nil down to…. you guessed it folks, a deep opposition throw-in that was recycled back into the box (sigh). Equalised with an Indirect Free Kick, Toprak volleying in from close range after a sumptuous curled delivery from deep by Augustinsson (curls ball trait in effect). They went down to ten - men just before half time. With time running out I switched to a 4312, moving the CM Attack into the AP Attack position in the Attacking Midfield space and shunting the Anchor Man up to the Central Midfield Defend position and role. Scored an 87th minute winner, the RB picking out the AP Bittencourt with a low cross for a first – time finish into the bottom corner from 16 yards out. Phew. 


Conclusion:  Yet another goal conceded from blah, blah, blah. I will sort as specified. In reply, yet more tactical genius from the supremo in charge. The 4132 was again solid at the back and we scored from a well drilled Indirect Free Kick. The masterstroke came with the opponents tiring by slightly changing the shape, adding another player who could enter the box to be the recipient of the winning cross. 


RB Leipzig 3 – 0 Werder Bremen: I have learned at this point not to worry about the results against the larger teams but again, it is the type of goal conceded that offers promise. 

Goal 1: D. Olmo runs the length of the pitch without being subject to a challenge to tee up K. Laimer for an easy finish. 

Goal 2: Penalty. One of those where the opponent goes down like a sack of potatoes on the tip of the penalty box. Another day this is not given. 

Goal 3: Individual error from No Nonsense Center Back Moisander, who uses his 5-yard head start from a long ball to pass/nudge/tackle the ball straight to the opposing striker. 


Conclusion: Before the game I knew that RB Leipzig were strong and saw some positives in the play. We hit the woodwork and missed couple of half-chances so we were at least creating.  

The following observations are also at the forefront of my mind: 

  • The Anchor Man had a poor game against a team deploying an Attacking Midfielder in a 5212 WB shape; if he or any of the other player had engaged D. Olmo on his long run then we would not have gone one nil down.  
  • This gives further credence to the possible change of role to DM defend whilst also makes me think the Stays on Feet Team Instruction may be producing tactical overkill.  
  • Four of my first XI have the trait: Does not Dive into Tackles, so the Stays on Feet Team Instruction doubles down on these players whilst simultaneously exacerbating the reticence of all players to make any form of aggressive challenge.  
  • This was clear in the D. Olmo goal, BUT it might also be contributing to our weakness at dealing with the second ball after an opponent throw in. EG: We win the first dual, generally a one-on-one aerial battle, yet any attempt to prevent the next ball is disjointed. In analysis of these goals, I can see my players are in position to make challenges but none are forthcoming plus, the players, although in a defensive position, are not aligned as I would expect for the correlating positions on the pitch. 


I am going to give a far shorter read up for the final four games as the analysis to date has already revealed to me areas where I need to improve and tactical adjustments that need to be made. In the next four game I expect similar results and familiar flaws before I then react to the tactical problems in the winter break. 


Werder Bremen 2 – 1 Dortmund: Two goals from Rashica, one a long, direct assist from the No Nonsense Centre Back Moisander, with both exploiting the high line of Dortmund and the slow Acceleration of their centre back Zagadou. 

Their goal was a Reus volley after a Throw-In from the Right-Hand Side (You could not make this **** up). 


Mainz 2 – 2 Werder Bremen: Rashica and Fullkrug getting on the score sheet. 

Both Mainz goals were 2 x Throw-ins at second phase of play. Had a look at analysis, DLP and Anchor Man were both responsible for watching the play unfold and not engaging the opponent in both goals. 


Union Berlin 0 – 0 Werder Bremen: At this point I am just churning games to get to the winter break. Ahmedov puts in a solid display on his debut but we cannot break down a stubborn opponent. Bore draw, Yawn. On the plus side; No goal conceded from set – piece.  


Bayer 04 0 – 3 Werder Bremen: When I saw the pre - match analysis showing the opponent’s 4231 shape and a high press, Tika Taka approach I thought we were in with a decent shout and so it transpired. Rashica netted twice and Fullkrug grabbed the other. A solid victory on the counter with 37% possession giving me a good feeling as I enter a tactical review and assess player performance. 


Analysis in Action: Making Tactical Adjustments and Transfer Policy 

What do the numbers say? 


Total Goals conceded 17: 

  • 8 x Indirect form Throw – ins. 
  • 2 x DLP error 
  • 1 x CB error 
  • 2x Corner 
  • 1 x Penalty 
  • 1 x Individual Brilliance in open play 
  • 2 x Crosses from open play. 



Total Goals Scored 21: The attacking triangle of Target Man, Pressing Forward and Central Midfielder Attack have scored 16 of the 21 goals with the Pressing Forwards, Rashica and Sargent, contributing a total of 10 (see earlier player statistics), very pleasing. 


  • Good variation and pleasing to see the central goal locations  


  • Only three headers scored. For a team that Plays for Set Pieces this needs to be addressed. 


Chance Creation: 


  • Good to see with a Target Man crosses dominate and a very pleasing 5 assists coming from our own half, reflecting our More Direct Passing. In addition, the pressing triangle of TM, PF and CM attack seems to be forcing mistakes. 

  • The Target Man has four Assists to his name. 


  • We need to improve set piece deliveries and routines. 


What needs to change? 

  • There has to be an increase in Set Piece performance both in the attacking phase and defending. 
  • It is slowly seeming that we lack creativity/penetration against lesser teams or those playing deeper. 
  • In tandem with the cumulative nature of the goals conceded being from a lack of engagement with ball carriers, the Anchor Man seems ill suited to the Slightly More Urgent pressing. There will either need to be a team shift in pressing or a change to the role. This may come at the expense of conceding more goals from open play but I cannot see the difference exceeding the current deficiencies present in our defensive record. 

 Positives to continue with: 

  • Target Man and Pressing Forward are a fruitful partnership and one that can only progress with improved service from Set – Pieces and more game time to establish strong partnerships. 
  • The High Block, with pressure being applied from behind the opposition, has contributed to some very solid defending, only undermined by individual errors and set piece deficiencies. 
  • The pressing triangle of the Target Man, Pressing Forward and Central Midfielder attack have forced mistakes and consistently exerted pressure upon the opposition whenever they have tried to move higher up the pitch. 
  • The No Nonsense Centre Back and CB Defend are a strong partnership, capably executing the Offside Trap, conceding only two goals from through balls. 
  • The Right Wing back attack tops the team Key Passes column and is steady in defence.  


The Updated and Adjusted Tactic: 


In terms of Team Instructions, the only major change has been to remove Stays on Feet. In addition to changing the Anchor Man to a Defensive Midfielder Defend this should enable a more unified attempt by the midfield 4 to close down opposition threats. The addition of a Defensive Midfielder may also help to eliminate mistakes from the DLP, by either holding the ball up allowing other players to find some space or by ignoring the DLP and delivering the ball directly up field. The Anchor Man was reluctant or unable to do this within the current tactical set up and was frequently the odd man out when trying to force the opposition into a mistake. 

  • The DLP has been moved to the left and is now overlapped by a Wing Back Support rather than a Full Back. The rationale here is threefold:  
  1. The Wing Back will offer more natural penetration than a Full Back, increasing penetration and wide options against opposition who play deeper. 

  1. With a DLP next to him, the Wing Back will be just as inclined to recycle the ball as he is to deliver a cross.  

  1. The spaces between the DLP and Left-Wing Back Support will be smaller and the player movements forward should be more synchronised than with the Wing Back Attack that was present on the opposite flank 

  1. The DLP will be more likely to deliver Direct balls up to a Target Man who has proved a valuable creative presence in the air. 

  1. On the Right Side of midfield, the Right-Wing Back Attack was often too far ahead of the DLP to form any kind of partnership. The Right Wing back would often be isolated in the Right-Wing Position with the DLP only slowly moving forwards from a deep position. This led to the RWB becoming prone to a breakdown in the attack if he could not cross or pick out the Pressing Forward. 


This analysis also led me to change the Carrilero from the left-hand side to the right side of midfielder and changing the role to a Central Midfielder Support. In conjunction with point 5. from above it has been done with the following reasoning: 

  • The CM support will be more likely to offer support higher up the pitch to the attacking Wing Back on the right than a Carrilero who is more likely to fill the space behind the Wing back (shuttle across). I will be relying on the Decision-making ability of the CM support to decide if there is adequate cover to venture forwards. 
  • In a similar vein, I Intend for the Central Midfielder Support to provide attacking support in and around the box when necessary. 
  • In combination with the introduction of a DM defend there will still be a viable location to recycle the play from the Right-Hand side of the pitch if all other passes are cut off. 


The final change is minor and could prove either a catastrophe or a seamless improvement to an already productive partnership. The Target Man has been given an Attack Duty: 

  • After assessing countless highlights, I feel the TM will lose none of his creative side and will in fact be the provider of even more assists. 
  • Whilst he is already posting exceptional numbers for Key Passes and is registering an adequate number of goals, I noticed that for every Key Header played through to his strike partner going forward, there was another, intercepted header aimed at the onrushing centre Midfielder Attack going Sideways or Backwards. By instructing an Attack duty, I anticipate he will push the opposition defenders deeper and as the game progresses, this will in-turn cause the opponents Defensive minded Midfielders to move closer to their own box when defending the Direct Play. This should, in theory, maintain the link between the Pressing Forward and Target Man whilst creating maybe an extra yard or two for a header to find the Central Midfielder Attack before the ball is intercepted. I will wait and see. 


And the Set pieces:

I have completely reworked the Set Pieces in attack and defence. Took over two hours. Such a snore fest: 

In attack: I have committed far more men forward with three routines set up for both sides of the pitch on all types of Free Kick (Direct, Small Chance of Shot, Wide and Deep) all with only two men set to Stay Back. The same applies to throw ins where I have also ensured that all three routines on each side are long and to Corner Kicks, where I expect to see a distinct upturn in productivity. 

In defence: I have left the Indirect Free Kicks as before as there were no glaring deficiencies. The same applies to corners. With regards to throw-ins, there did not at first glance appear to be any glaring problems. However, closer inspection revealed that whilst the  graphic appeared to show good coverage in and around the box, there were in fact players being instructed to perform marking duties on the opposite side of the pitch for which they are usually responsible. Furthermore, Strikers were being asked to Go back instead of midfielders. It was all a bit of a mess.   


Changes and Expectations 

My primary aims from these changes and what I will measure myself by are really these three things: 

  1. Reducing Goals conceded indirectly from Set Pieces. 

  1. Scoring More from Set Pieces. 

  1. Creating more chances against less adventurous opposition. 


Transfer Policy 

With a budget of 1.9m there is not much to do really. Ideally, I want to add some height to my CB’s to really threaten from set pieces but the over 32 market is not as cheap as one might hope. If a really good bid comes in for a squad player, I could make a decent acquisition but as yet there is nothing concrete. 


Right, Time To Play the Game 

Going to get stuck into the second half of the season. You can expect occasional updates as things progress but the next big analysis will come at the end of the season.  

 All feedback is Welcome 


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Yet again, amazing post.

Really loving the rationale behind your tactical decisions, and so far, great campaign with Bremen!

Just one question, are you having a better time desmembering teams that sit deep or playing defensive against you? This season Bremen is predicted to be top of the table my the media, but with such performances that shall be reevaluated next season or so, which means teams will be more cautious when playing against you. Have you considered progressing your style of play or just relying on upgrading your playing staff?

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1 hour ago, davidbarros2 said:

Just one question, are you having a better time desmembering teams that sit deep or playing defensive against you?

Based on season - to date I could summarise like this:

  • Strongest against teams in and around me who play a high pressing tactic with lower quality players.
  • Least successful against the top teams who are ruthless at punishing mistakes.
  • Hit - and - miss against the lower ranked teams sitting deeper.

You are correct with your assessment with regards to the opposition playing more cautious against me; it has already begun. I fell asleep before progressing the save with the tactical changes yet to be tested.

In the short - term: If all goes to plan I hope to continue to be strong against similar teams whilst being more affective against the lower ranked teams sitting Deeper by utilising the destructive element of the Target Man in an improved collection of Set Pieces. As my players improve  I should also see greater success against the stronger teams, hoping that my players will start cutting out the mistakes.

1 hour ago, davidbarros2 said:

Have you considered progressing your style of play or just relying on upgrading your playing staff?

In the long-term: There will certainly be a gradual shift to a more attacking, possession friendly team shape and tactical instructions. When I imagined the experiment  commencing I had memories of players such as

  • Totti at Roma and Riquelme at Villarreal and Boca Juniors bossing the Attacking Midfield far into their thirties.
  • Laurent Blanc at Manchester United and Matthaus at FC Bayern who used there football intelligence to transition into elite CB's, oozing class as they dictated play from deep later in their careers.
  • What more can I say about Ibrahimovic at Milan and C. Ronaldo at Juventus. Two modern day greats still destroying opponents well into their late thirties up top..
  • Add this to a memory that recalls the evergreen P. Maldini at Milan, A, Pirlo at Juventus and even Teddy Sheringham in the triple winning Manchester United Team of the 1990's and you should be getting a clear feel for the type of roles I am looking to introduce.

Although nothing is certain, I feel that I could progress to some 4-3-1-2 variant employing amongst other roles:

  • The Enganche
  • The Libero
  • A Target Man/Deep Lying Forwrad Hybrid
  • A Regista

I hope this gives you food for thought.


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After my previous post, I have been motivated to list my 'Golden Oldies' dream team. The only criteria being that these players performed at the highest level in the twilight of their careers. Check it out here:


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It would be awesome to see the good old libero back, like Lothat Matthaus at the end of his carreer :lol:

Beware that the regista has lots of lateral movement, it can affect match fitness and with poor stamina atributes that could be challenging. Either way nothing like trying and testing, looking forward.

Just one curiosity, when you switched formations haver you ever considered turning the anchor man into a half-back? I have no idea if that would've worked, but if I was in need of more presence in the box to deal with crosses I would first think of the role change and only then a formation change.

By no means I want to tell you what to do, in fact I play the game the opposite as you do, I pick a formation and a style and make my players (and the opposition) deal with it as well bring new suitable players. Perhaps this is why I like this kind of threads so much, 'cause it shows a side of the game that I don't fully understand.

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3 hours ago, davidbarros2 said:

I pick a formation and a style and make my players (and the opposition) deal with it as well bring new suitable players.

That is in effect what I will be doing after I have stabilised the club and have funds available to acquire quality older players.

3 hours ago, davidbarros2 said:

but if I was in need of more presence in the box to deal with crosses I would first think of the role change and only then a formation change.

I shouldn't have been changing formations so quickly. It was knee-jerk and rash. It was as much a personnel issue as a tactical one. My CB's are relatively short and Slow. Gonna address the height issue, play out the season with updated defensive set-pieces and see what transpires.




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Hello all.

I have just finished the second half of the first season and things are looking good. many positives to take into next season.

League Table and Overachievement



The final position has far exceeded my expectations and the financial windfall from Champions League qualification is going to drastically alter my tactical approach for next season.

I will provide a season analysis by the end of the night.


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I haven't decided whether to:

commit to a direct approach, utilising a Target Man for the duration of the save; fairly secure in the knowledge that in the correct tactic the role can perform far into a player's twilight years .


begin the transition toward a patient, controlling style of play; one that employs the mental capabilities of an ageing squad to exploit the opponents weaknesses using their collective and individual intelligence.

As yet I am currently finishing up the season analysis. My decision for the forthcoming season will be dictated by who is actually a viable transfer target; the pool is small at the moment, but will increase once I begin the new pre-season and my CL qualification is 'recognised' by in-game players at other teams.

I will feedback shortly.

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Season Summary: Good Fortune, Defying expectations and Tactical Analysis 

What a finish. Based on mid-season review I was fairly confident of securing European football for next season, but a shot at getting into the CL is a phenomenal achievement. As can be expected the dominant three in the Bundesliga secured the three automatic places (see previous post league table). What really occurred was however, was huge misfortune to one of my main rivals for European qualification.  

At the half-way stage, I was in fifth and the big-guns were mis-firing whilst FC Freiburg were flying high in 2nd place. Freiburg were then hit with this devastating blow: 


Up until that point he had banged in 20 goals in 26 appearances. It would seem Freiburg did not have either a Plan B or any form of competent cover. Here are their results following the injury to their talisman: 


They only won TWO of their remaining eight fixtures, a decline which saw them lose fourth place in the final two games of the season. Do not get me wrong, we were consistent, maintaining our form over the course of the season, but if this injury had not occurred, we would certainly be looking at a 5th placed finish. 

Injury Analysis 

It is both comforting and satisfying to recognise that the AI controlled teams are just as much at risk of misfortune as our own teams. My team was relatively injury-free, something I attribute to a tactical set-up that was low in intensity and individually tailored to lighter training loads for ‘injury prone’ players.  


Only 29 injuries over the course of the season is an exceptional statistic especially when weighed against an expected 86 injuries. For me, this is one of the primary benefits of having an ageing squad; I was not seeking to improve my player’s attributes as they were largely at their peak. As such, once tactical familiarity was accomplished, I could reduce training intensities for all senior players expected to play week in, week out - with the only aim being to maintain their existing attributes. 


Golden Oldies Attributes and Performance: 




The veteran Wing back had a solid season, forming part of a solid defensive unit that only shifted 33 goals in 34 games. On top of that, with regular game-time and light training there was only a slight decline to his overall ability: 


This is excellent to see. Of course, his 18 rated Natural Fitness will have certainly helped. The increase in Workrate is in-fact a result of consistent and regimented man-management on my part. Whilst he performed well throughout the season, if he delivered a sub-par run-out I will indeed issue either a warning or apply a fine. If issued correctly, an increase in Determination and Workrate can be the result. 



An almost identical set of figures. The team Captain benefitted from a couple of warnings about poor performances and was a mainstay in the back four. Again, only a slight decline in his physical attributes no doubt again assisted by a decent level of Natural Fitness. 

The only other team member currently over 31 is mid-season signing Odil Ahmedov and at 33 years old saw no overall decline to his overall ability after securing a spot in the starting XI in place of 21-year-old Jean-Mauel Mbom. 

The tactics employed throughout the season allowed these players to perform within their capabilities. In any other save I would have binned these players the moment I took over the team. By creating a tactic and employing roles that facilitated the skill-set of these players in their functioning role, they have performed at least on a par with their peers and have shown that age should not be a pre-determining thought in all new signing decisions. 


How did the team perform as a whole? 


As mentioned, we were excellent in defence, only suffering heavy defeats to teams that occupied a top three space in the league standings. This was in large part due to the defensive strategy and the performances of my Goalkeeper within this setup. I talked extensively in the introductory post about the desire to press from behind the ball carrier and utilise the composure and positioning of my defence to restrict quality scoring opportunities from the opponent.  With a defensive unit that lacked aggression and bravery this was attempted through the stays on feet team instruction, combined with the previous PI’s mentioned in the original post. In terms of the overall goals conceded and individual player statistics, this proved an effective measure. 

As a team we conceded shots but were extremely effective at keeping them out, indicating opposition teams were extremely wasteful or were executing these shots in less-than-optimal circumstances. 


This tactical decision is re-enforced with the statistics from my Wing Backs, who were exceptional at engaging the opposition without necessarily going to ground, but rather shepherding the player into a less dangerous position where more defenders were Positioned to antagonise the opposition. High interceptions and high blocks with the LWB performing especially well. 



On top of that, in Jiri Pavlenka I had a stand-out performer who thrived in the role of final saviour, using his One-on-One, Reflexes and Agility attributes (all 17) to excel in a GK defend role. Already described in-game as a ‘fearless goalkeeper’, I cannot wait till he is in his mid - thirties and at his peak. 




Types of goal conceded: 


After the changes to routines made mid-season I no longer constantly conceded from recycled throw-ins. (Woohoo). There were however, a lot of goals conceded from crosses and corners throughout the season. This, for me, was to be expected with Centre Backs who lacked Bravery, Aggression and Height. Indeed, this will be one of the first areas I address with my new transfer budget. 



The mid - season adjustment to my set pieces led to an upturn in output in this regard, finally scoring two goals from corners and still finding the net from headers. After analysing the Matches, three of the headers scored were direct from Long Throw In routines I had instigated mid-season: 



 Also, our direct play style was evident in our paltry possession statistics, the lowest in the division: 


Here are the overall individual statistics for the league season: 


  • Fullkrug (TM support) and Rashica (PF attack) continued their productive partnership up top. 

  • DLP, WB’s an TM top in assists. 

  • Set Piece takers (Mohwald and Bittencourt) are highest in Key passes along with WB’s who take Long Throw Ins. 

  • Target Man bossing it in the air. 

  • Most tackles coming from the midfielders, with the defenders blocking and intercepting. 


Season and Statistical Conclusions 

The team and tactic undoubtedly overperformed. This was not however, a simple case of load up tactic and play: 

  • The team instructions and roles were chosen very carefully as outlined in the initial post. 

  • Although I never changed the team mentality, on a variety of occasion I would change a role or duty within the tactic during a game in reaction to the opposition or if a player was unavailable due to injury or suspension. 

Thus, if I had not been watching each match and reacting, I may have been deficient at least 12 points, maybe more. 

What is promising is how my vision of how I expected my team to play actually correctly translated onto the pitch. We rarely went into the tackle, rarely had possession and when attacking either sought to utilise the Target Man or targeted winning a set - play opportunity 

In essence the tactic was very one dimensional and could be described as follows: 

  1. Only try to win the ball if you are positive you can secure it. 

  1. Do not dally on the ball. Deliver up field or to the DLP. Use the Wing Backs to deliver crosses. Win a set-piece.  

  1. Rely on mental fortitude rather than physical excellence to execute game plan. 


Season 1 Conclusion: What Next? 

What I created and deployed this season was a tactic relying almost solely on the existing player base inherited at the club. As such, Direct Football was the order of the day, supported by a dogged defence and a low-risk mentality. This brought great relative success on the field and has awarded me a financial platform to have more freedom in the tactical decision-making process. With European football forthcoming I will be enabled to continue the experiment at more of an elite level and look forward to the challenge. With pre-season looming and to make use of a more talented pool of ‘Golden Oldies’, I will be instigating the following tactical principles and adopting a transfer policy to reflect them: 

  • Adopting a shorter passing game; attempting to win matches by maintaining control of the ball. 

  • Implementing more creative freedom, allowing on-field players more control of events. 

  • Employing a more pro-active approach when out-of-possession; not necessarily through pressing, but through channelled aggression present in roles, duties and player attributes. 

  • Adapt to use set-pieces as an auxiliary tool rather than a primary tactical instruction. In essence, removing the play for set pieces team instruction whilst still employing effective and prolific set-piece routines. 


As can be seen, these principles are more closely aligned to how I envisaged a ‘Golden Oldie’ team could play as set out in the opening post’s section on Tactical Creation (https://community.sigames.com/forums/topic/551584-golden-oldies-4-1-3-2-the-ageing-player-experiment/). 


As a follower of the thread, you can expect the following, continued content: 

  • Less explanation for the reasons behind tactical choices (my modes and methods have been extensively documented) and more examples of their relative successes or failures. 

  • More transfers IN that correlate to the ‘Golden Oldie’ experiment. 

  • A documented implementation of more exotic roles that could include the Regista, the Libero and the Enganche. 

  • Feedback and questions attended to in a timely and hopefully constructive manner. 

Again, all feedback is welcome.

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Great thread will have a good read of this.

It's my first fm since fm15. Iv been solely doing Journymen saves. Most fun is signing ageing stars for low clubs but my success has been poor. In China i had Bale, Diego Costa and Aubameyang who were all awful. Only player I managed to get something out was 41 year old Morgan Gamst Pederson in Russian 2nd division (top assist and player of the season.) So very interested how you do.

My current team is in Australia. I've signed Pukki and Falque(both 34) Pukki started well but I have best negen I've ever seen playing with him (sold to PSG but managed to keep him on loan for a year) I'm trying to train Falque as a regestia (1 game 3 assists) strikers seem to be the one I have most problems with.

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Awesome thread.

I come from a save where I overperformed a lot with a Crewe Team based on players under 23 mainly. Just the problem you described, I climbed from League 1 to the top of the premier always having the youngest team and lowest payroll for every league I was in that ended boring me as it was clearly an exploit. Lack of experience was never a problem.

Also I know main purpose is the age experiment but your tactical explanations were really informative as well.

I’ll be around!


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2 hours ago, Safe Hands said:

strikers seem to be the one I have most problems with.

This could undoubtedly be be a problem and is why I will be very specific with the Roles and Duties I employ around any strikers usedd.

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9 minutes ago, Icy said:

Also I know main purpose is the age experiment but your tactical explanations were really informative as well.

Hi there,

Thank you, that was the plan. I feel the extraneous tactical explanations give the thread a layered purpose where readers can assess the performances of 'Golden Oldies' whilst gaining an understanding of tactical creation and maybe learning the benefits of detailed analysis. When I was new to the game I struggled to create any semblance of a winning team without relying on Pace; it is only through studying the people across these forums over the years that I have learned to use all the tools within the game and gain a greater understanding of how Football Manger tactical choices translate into match situations. 

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Hi all,

Pre-Season done.

Transfers done.

Complete change to tactic and shape done.

More 'Golden Oldies' done.

Board issues ongoing.

Full summary will be posted in the next couple of hours.

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Golden Oldies Experiment Season 2: 4-3-3 DM Wide 

As can be seen from the title I have adopted a new team shape for the up - coming season. The intention here is to begin moulding the squad and making tactical choices that promote a style of football that can support a squad which is the oldest in the league (by some margin) and will only continue to age as I fulfil the process of developing ‘Golden Oldies’. 


Big Decisions 

To reiterate my previous posts, I ultimately envisage my squad to be capable of dominating most opposition in a possession friendly system that incorporates creative freedom and employs specialist roles (Enganche, Regista etc.) that can be suitable for the ageing player (see original post and ‘Season 1 Conclusion: What Next’ https://community.sigames.com/forums/topic/551584-golden-oldies-4-1-3-2-the-ageing-player-experiment/?do=findComment&comment=13049470. 

So, I asked myself: 

  • Do I have the players capable of fulfilling these requirements and if not, do I have the available transfer funds to make this a reality and are there realistic transfer targets available? 

In short, the answer is a resounding NO. I had been extensively scouting the market for ‘Golden Oldies’ throughout season 1 and had already pre-emptively calculated that to pursue a set of players to execute a full transition would require a transfer budget of 70M. 

After qualifying for the Champions League, I expected a decent war chest but this did not transpire. Before I even had the chance to consider spending, 11M of next season’s financial clout was consumed in a ‘mandatory future fee’ for David Selke that was activated by avoiding relegation and entirely handled by the board. Not the end of the world, but allied with a frugal board who sought financial stability, a balance of 48M only translated to a transfer budget of 6.5M. This did however, have a positive effect on my management ethos, motivating me to cash in on as many of the younger players in my squad as possible and replace them with players that befit the thread’s title. 

As such, I have settled for an interim approach, moving the tactical framework towards a possession friendly style of play without introducing ‘Grandstand’ player roles and sought to bring in players that could perform to this effect. 

Upon review of last season, we were deficient in both preventing crosses and conceding from headers. This was in part due to tactical design, employing a narrow 4-1-3-2 that could frustrate teams relying on Pace and Through balls with composed defending that relied on Staying on Feet and a clinical Offside Trap when engaging the opposition, but ending up being extremely vulnerable to teams employing width and overlaps on the wings.  

The squad I have rolled over to this season currently has the same deficiencies: 

  • Centre backs with low Pace, Acceleration, Aggression, Bravery, Height and Vision. 

  • Poor Aggression and Bravery in the midfield. 

  • A lack of Flair and Vision throughout the team. 

  • Poor Dribbling and Agility throughout the team. 

With the current ‘Golden Oldies’ experiment precluding the purchase of players under the age of 32, I will expect a deficiency in Pace, Acceleration and Agility to be a constant throughout the save. I can, however, make strides towards improving the Height, Aggression and Bravery deficient in my Centre backs and make similar improvements to Flair, Vision, Aggression and Bravery in the midfield. This is where I will use the transfer market to enable me to attempt to execute a new tactical style that will: 

  1. Employ more aggressive engagement in the tackle from both midfielders and defenders, exerting pressure from behind the ball carrier with more attempts made to win the ball earlier.  

  1. Continue to utilise the relatively low defensive line a Defensive mentality employs that prevents slow Centre Backs from being exploited for Pace through the middle. 

  1. Be more adept at defending against Wing Play and Headers, with the introduction of extra height into the Centre Back pairing and a more conventional deployment of wide players. 

  1. Adopt a shorter passing style with slower transitions. 

  1. Allow more creative freedom and implement Player Roles that can harness this liberation. 

A Note on Squad Management. 

I have a very specific squad rotation policy that I execute through all my saves whenever continental football enters the fixture list. I effectively have two full Starting XI’s 

  1. A 'League’ XI for the Domestic League competition  


  1. A fully rotated 'Cup’ XI for all Cup (continental and domestic) competitions.  

For me to execute this mode of squad management, it is imperative that I have two players for each specific role and position within any set tactic. 

Transfers OUT: 

  • 21.5M. Milot Rashica (25 YO). Last season’s top scorer was the first lamb to the slaughter. Nothing wrong with his performances but this was pretty much my only ‘cash cow’. 

  • 3.4M. Ludwig Augustinsson (26 YO). A top performer at LB last season. Sold to raise funds and replace with a ‘Golden Oldie’. 

  • 2.5M. Others. Six fringe players who would not feature. 

With 80 percent of the proceeds allotted to available transfer funds and in addition to what was already made available, I had engineered a sum transfer budget of 27M. 

Transfers IN: 


Free Transfer: Like - for – like cover at RB with a strong Long Throw.  



Free Transfer: Brings some much-needed Height and Bravery into the Centre Back position. Intend to pair him with Omar Toprak in my League XI, switching Moisander to the Cup XI. 




1.4M and 1.9M respectively: After shipping out Rachica I expect these two play important roles in chance creation and retaining possession up top. I Must admit, I could not have wished for two better signings based on what I am trying to achieve. 




6.5M, 3.5M and 3.3M respectively: The intention here should be clear; bolster the quality in the Defensive Midfield positions as well as drastically improving the Aggression and Bravery of the entire midfield unit. From the three I will be employing Matuidi in a more balanced role.  



2.8M: Unfortunately, I was shoehorned into this purchase. I only sold my initial Left Back, L. Augustinsson, as he was too far away from being deemed a ‘Golden Oldie’. I had a suitable replacement lined up before the board intervened with this: 


Stupid board and their ‘Philosophy’ which has been added this season. I then attempted to purchase a further two more decent Left Back’s over the age of 32, only to be thwarted by the same board blockages. Admitting defeat, I brought in Poulsen, who will at least generate a tidy profit when I sell him at the end of the season. 


Comparative Analysis: A promising outlook. 


Setting aside our Dribbling we are now competitive across the board and can look to exercise more control over the ball when in possession and can execute attacking and defensive manoeuvres with increased precision. 


We are Slow indeed; I cannot foresee any future in this experiment where I will be deploying a High Defensive Line. I am pleased to have adequate Strength and superior Natural Fitness, the latter of which is proving to be a valuable commodity in maintaining a ‘Golden Oldie’ squad. 


This is where things are starting to come together. A progressively older squad has manifested a team of ‘leaders’, with recruitment policy resolving the lack of Aggression and Bravery previously presented. Flair and Vision are still lacking but that will be mitigated somewhat by exemplary Decisions and Teamwork running through the team; if the player cannot 'visualise’ (Vision) a play, at least he will more often than not attempt to operate akin to the expectations of the team instructions within his technical and physical capabilities (Decisions) 

Formation, Tactics and Instructions: The 433 DM Wide 


Patterns of Play. 

In possession: 

Through the distribution of Roles and Duties, the selection of a Defensive mentality, the implementation of Hold Shape in transition and a Shorter Passing style, I am looking to secure victories through measured and clinical cycles of possession. 

I feel I can now implement the style of football I envisaged when I began this experiment. With high Composure and Decisions present across the Defensive Unit (LB, CB, HB, CB,RB), the Defensive Mentality and Shorter Passing encourage that a safe short pass is the order of the day. This may facilitate periods of play where the defensive unit are controlling play, but this should be augmented by the Half Back who will come into the defensive line and be looking to instigate shorter passes to more advanced teammates.  

The Advanced Playmaker on the right should draw the opposition across and the Mezzala frequently gets forward, where defenders should be either following his run or picking up the Deep Lying Forward leaving space for the Raumdeuter to exploit on the left-hand side. If the switch of play is not available, the Right Wing Back will be pushing for an overlap on the right, whilst the Deep Lying Forward will either be coming short or maintain a presence in the box for a cross. I was keen to ensure both Strikers, Giroud and Caicedo, had the trait Plays with back to Goal; with a Mezzala and Raumdeuter always willing to run beyond the defensive line, I am looking forward to employing a Central Forward who will likely face the ball carrier and either release it to an onrushing player or hold up the play to reinitiate another phase of play (key to possession play).  

In addition, I have ensured both Mezzalas and Advanced Playmakers in the squad are competent at Crossing, ensuring if the Wing Back hits the touchline but cannot deliver a cross, he can move the ball back to the Mezzala who then has the proficiency to execute a first time cross if needed. This planned aspect of play was actually inspired by watching the AI, who employed this tactic frequently against my own team last season to frequent and devastating effect. The Supporting Central Midfielder offers a similar function, holding position in the middle of the pitch to offer a consistent recycling outlet without persistently making forward runs into the space I expect to occupied by the Raumdeuter 

When play is moving down the left-hand side the overlapping Wing Back ensures width is there as an option, whist the Supporting Central Midfielder bears the creative onus, responsible for moving the ball back to the defensive unit or picking out the runners. 

 Out of possession 

With the removal of the Stays on Feet team instruction and the change to shape and roles, much has changed. The Defensive mentality will still ensure the defensive line is deeper than standard but with an increase in aggression and bravery in my defenders an midfielders and two players on each flank, I will encourage my team to be more pro-active in regaining possession. The purpose of the Higher Line of Engagement is, as in the original tactic, to engage the opposition early and apply pressure from behind the ball carrier. The difference here is that, rather that instructing my players to ‘shepherd’ the player on to the next ‘blocker’ in the team, with the increased aggression and more urgent pressing in effect, 1 on 1 duals should become more prevalent, with individuals working as part of the collective (Teamwork, Workrate) to pressure the ball carriers and regain possession earlier in the opponent’s attacking phase.  

 Set Pieces 

I no longer employ Play for Set Pieces to help create chances as I believe these will naturally occur as I become more dominant. However, I have maintained Long Throw – In Routines on the both sides that has produced promising results in pre-seson and takes full advantage of the strengths of my Wing backs Long Throw In attribute. 


League XI  


Non- ‘Golden Oldies’: 

GK, Pavlenka 29YO. Original Squad Player (OSP). 

LB, Friedl 23YO (OSP). 

RCM, Bittencourt 27YO (OSP). 

LW, Selke 26YO (OSP) and board purchase. 

RW, M. Eggestein 24YO (OSP). 

  • ALL other players are 32YO or over with Selassie due to be 35 in December. 

  • With regards to Pavlenka, him being 29 means I will not be replacing him but allow him to develop into a ‘Golden Oldie’. 

  • All the other four are the next in line to be replaced in accordance with the experiment, (if the board allows me to) when funds are available. 

Cup XI 


Non- ‘Golden Oldies’: 

GK, Plogmann 21YO (OSP). 

LB, Poulsen 21YO Emergency Purchase. 

CB, Veljkovic 25YO (OSP). 

RCM, Mohwald 28YO (OSP). 

LW, Fullkrug  28YO (OSP). 

RW, J. Eggestein 23YO (OSP). 

  • Again, All other players are over the age of 32. 

  • Mohwald and Fullkrug will be allowed to develop and the rest will be replaced as an when possible. 

Pre – Season Results and Observations 


  • High possession statistics in every game. 

  • Raumdeuters (Fullkrug and Selke) leading scorers. 

  • Right Wing Looking excellent with various assist types and locations. 

  • Solid at the back.


Season Objectives and Summary 

Quite long winded again, I know, but I am now really excited for the new season. Last season was so strange for me; I have never had such success with such low possession. Looking forwards to having more of the ball. This year all the board expect is: 

  • Mid-Table finish (Achievable). 

  • Sign Players under 23 for first team (ain’t gonna happen) 


Can the ‘Golden Oldies’ succeed? Time to play. 


  • I will update the results in the winter break. 


All feedback is welcome. 

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I just wish Matuidi did not have plays short simple passes as a trait. From what I've seen in the matches so far it is impacting upon his creativity more than i\d hoped. When Ahmedov plays at left CM he completes more key passes it seems. Time to start scouting.

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Quick update: Raumdeuter is performing well (Selke): 


but is missing a load of chances: 18% conversion rate, scoring 9 from 49 shots.  Not favourable when compared to the lesser league performers:


Also, we are conceding most of our chances on the Raumdeyter's wing. I'll play till winter and give further analysis.

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Season 2: 2021 – 2022. Winter Review  

The Results 



  • What a group of death in the Champions League. Finished bottom, but at least did not get blitzed. 

  • Consistent in the League. Struggling to punish teams that play with less risks.  

  • Sucker punched in the domestic cup – my own fault for under-estimating the opposition. 

  • Lots of draws with the highlight being holding Dortmund at home, who as we are about to see, are run-away leaders. 

The League Table 


  • Excellent first half of the season. Looks hazardous though; any team down to tenth place could be in contention for a European spot.   

  • As can be seen from results we are rock solid at the back, aided by a Half Back in front of the defence who is a capable ball player when needed. I decided against narrow defensive width as the Wing Back on the left has a penchant for being quite wide, leaving an exploitable gap. 

  • Mediocre in attack, although the goals are mostly coming from the Raumdeuter. 


The Tactic and League XI 


Changes from start of season: 

  • Removed Offside Trap after three games:  After watching three of the season’s games in Full Highlights, I saw that it was not an effective strategy with such a low defensive line and did not seem to squeezing the play as intended. Also, the Wing Back and Full back did not have the required anticipation to fully execute. I will consider re-instating the Trap if player quality improves. 

  • I have only just added the Underlap Left instruction - The plan is for the LWB, on occasion, to overload a retreating central defender or defensive midfielder, leaving the Raumdeuter with only one defender to move away from and find more space to exploit. 

  • I have only just changed the LCM to Carrilero from CM Support - Nearly all the opposition’s chances were being created down my right-hand-side. The LCM support was neither a sufficient creative output nor adequate cover for the Raumdeuter. I anticipate that the Carrilero’s lateral movement should provide more shielding on the left, whilst giving a varied set of passing options to a defence and Half Back instructed to Play out of Defence. 

  • Hold Shape has now been removed. Due to our defensive mentality and low risk attempt at possession football, hold shape seems to have been impeding our opportunities to progress down the field by over amplifying what I was trying to achieve. I removed this instruction in at least half of the matches played and the result was often more goal - scoring chances.  

  • I have added Hold Position to the DLF, but have not had a chance to test it yet. I want him to act as a quasi target man and I think this should keep him central as he is to often caught out wide where he is not needed.

NB: This is by no means a plug ‘n play tactic. It is rare a match goes by that I do not make a subtle mid-game tweak to my TI’s or PI’s to counter or exploit the opposition.  

Key Player Reviews 

RCB – Defend. Federico Fazio: What a signing. Joined on a free and has proved his worth in defence with a top ten finish in Key Headers and Clearances, but with an excellent return from set – pieces aswell. I felt sorry to demote Moisander to the Cup team, but I was in serious need of height, bravery and aggression and this man has stepped up. 



LW – Raumdeuter Attack.  Davide Selke: It comes with great satisfaction to say that in attempting to implement the Raumdeuter I have at least got him scoring, albeit four from penalties!  Two were tap ins at the back post after scrappy opposition defending (perfect) two were slide rule passes from the LWB cutting in, with Selke first time finishing near post and the other two were headers finished after a deep cross from the CM Attack. All looking good in that respect; I just need to create these phases of play more often/ 



GK – Defend. Jiri Pavlenka. If you want a solid Defence your GK has to be on it and he has not failed to perform. There is even more to come from him; as two of the goals conceded were a result of some very circumspect Handling on his part. 


Board requires a top half finish and I do not expect to fail. My reputation is still not sufficient to attract top quality ‘Golden Oldies’, but another year of European qualification would drastically help the situation. There really is no-one on the transfer market that would improve my team at the moment. Even players like Aranguiz at 04 Leverkusen will not even open talks. I MUST QUALIFY FOR EUROPEAN FOOTBALL AGAIN!!! 


I will keep you updated. 

 All feedback is welcome.

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Great campaign, even with champions league football in the mix.

I know this season you won't focus on tactical explanation, but, can I ask why the change from MEZ-A to CM-A? Did you find that a mezzala run more/get tired and so it was unsustainable for a future golden oldie? Or was it other situation not related to fitness?

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2 hours ago, davidbarros2 said:

Did you find that a mezzala run more/get tired and so it was unsustainable for a future golden oldie

This, well observed. I have got  a keen eye on Aaron Ramsey for this role. He is transfer listed at the moment but will not enter transfer talks!!! I am scouting, declaring top target and having top players encourage move. Want the role  to require minimum effort, maximum output. At the moment in-game, a lot of my play has been breaking down in this position due to a lack of what I perceive to be quality.


2 hours ago, davidbarros2 said:

I know this season you won't focus on tactical explanation,

I will always be happy to elaborate.

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12 hours ago, icidamien said:

as I just signed Lionel Messi, aged of 37


In the correct set - up he can be an elite player into his forties. Let me know how you get on.

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Hello all. 

I have just finished the second half of the Season 2, 2021 – 2022. Fourth again 

Season 2021 – 22. League Table and Over – Achievement. 


I can only be pleased with another successful season. Further Campions League football guaranteed, enhancing my recruitment prospects (or so I hope....) and allowing another opportunity to test my ‘Golden Oldies’ at Elite level. There are however, some serious problems emerging within the experiment; There is going to be a major tactical overhaul, with only minor adjustments to the personnel. 🤞

Full details and season analysis to follow....

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Season Summary: Exceeding Expectations, the Raumdeuter and Emerging Problems.

Great season again. Fourth place in the bag despite media claims I would finish 13th. Here is the final league table: 


And the end - of - season results: 


Quite the opposite to last season, with a strong start, placing second at the mid-way stage (see previous posts), being followed with an erratic finish; fortunately, I only had to win one of my final two league games - although I would like to think the experience of my senior statesmen within the squad helped us over the line. If it weren’t for the inconsistency of the teams around us, we could well have been playing Europa League next year. RB Leipzig were hurt by their run to the Champions League Semi – Final, losing most of their games after big European fixtures.  

How about Dortmund though!!!  All of their big guns (Haaland, Reus, Sancho, Bellingham, Guerreiro et al.) were present and fit the whole season and check out these stats for Erling Haaland: 


48 goals in 28 games. WTF! I’m glad he is joining Man. City for next season in this save! He blitzed Gerd Muller’s IRL record of 40 goals in a season with room to spare. Take a look at Davie Selkie though; that’s what you want from a Raumdeuter – top scorer for the Bremen and third in the overall scoring charts. I really feel I have a shape that could really reap further dividends from the role if I was not bound by the constraints of my experiment. 

Tactical Analysis and Review: The Raumdeuter, Increased Possession and Emerging Failures. 

Davie Selkie – Raumdeuter extraordinaire. 


20 goals and 7 assists from 30 games in a mediocre team who do not score many goals. Having reviewed the assists, 5 were from his shots that were parried back out to one of his team – mates. Good to know I hadn’t manifested some kind of quasi – playmaker role. 


6 dribbles made in an entire season from the left – wing position! He played the space - investigator role to the best of his ability and how I’d hoped. Sadly, I cannot afford to accommodate this role for next season’s tactic as, despite being prolific in attack, the defensive unit were severely exposed on our Left Flank, where adjustments to roles and duties mid – season (CM support to Carrilero) could not compensate for a lack of Pace and overall Mobility in the team - mates needed to cover for his attacking nature. I have however, realised an effective team shape that I may revisit in the future for a different save game. 


Increased Possession 

Last season we were bottom in the possession list with 43%. This season, with the change in shape and adjustment to a shorter passing game this has increased to a respectable 51%. 


We are however, completing far more passes when in the possession phase: 


So, when in possession, we are executing far more passes at the expense of carrying the ball: 


Emerging Failures 

  • Further analysis shows that from the 46 league goals scored, a high proportion were from set – pieces: 

Corners, 6. 

IFK, 3. 

Penalties, 4. 

In essence, over the course of the season we only scored 33 goals from open play. This is where the strength of the tactic 433 WIDE tactic, as I have implemented it, has its limitations: 

  •  With the Defensive mentality players are less inclined to take risks (emphasised by the copious quantity of passes completed) and with limited Mobility and Pace my players are unable to frequently affect a productive counter attack against high – pressing opposition. This benefitted us defensively, as we did not unnecessarily turn the ball over in – transition against strong teams. However, when competing against teams at or below our level this has become more of a problem.  

From the results table (see above screenshot) you can observe that between the FC Bayern defeat on 19.02.2022 and the Dortmund defeat on 30.04.2022, I endured a spell of eight games with only one victory against opposition that, by reputation, would be deemed equal or lesser in terms of stature. Across these eight games my team enjoyed more average possession (58 %) than at any other time of the season. So, what went wrong? My assessment (having reviewed the highlights) is fourfold: 

  1. Due to an improved league standing, opponents were less inclined to attack us. In conjunction with my own slow set of players and playing low risk football with only a single focal point of attack (Raumdeuter), this nullified my team’s attacking threat.  

  1. Teams were more prepared to hit us on the counter after set – piece routines. 4 of the 7 goals conceded in this time were immediately after a failed corner – kick routine. 

  1. When we recovered possession, we carried little attacking intent, offering little penetration high up the pitch with the exception of the Raumdeuter. In addition, there was too much space between players to offer effective forward passing options with a shorter passing approach adopted. As such, the ball spent most of the time being recycled between the full backs and the defensive minded midfield pair (Half Back and Carrilero). 

  1. My team ability declined around this time. As an example, here is one of my ‘Golden Oldies’: 


Unfortunately, Souza did not suffer alone. Four others of the First XI suffered similar declines with no compensatory increase to their mental attributes (these may be forthcoming but will probably not manifest themselves as clear attribute changes until next season). 

What next? 

Even though the team and tactics are experiencing difficulties, both seasons can certainly be deemed a success. I am not however, going to abandon the experiment here. I will continue casting away what remaining young talent I have (Bittencourt, Sargent, Veljkovic etc.) and pursue those quality over 32’s I so desperately crave. In light of the analysed failings, I will be abandoning the current tactical design and implementing a new team shape, giving thoughts to roles and duties that can not only allow older players to perform valiantly in defending phases, but also allow them to offer penetration and width without relying on Pace, Acceleration and Mobility in the attacking phase. 

NB: As a quick peak into how difficult this will be, take a look at these two most recent board interventions: 



On the upside, his problem does not apply to free transfers: 


A perfect replacement for the retiring Moisander: 


 To Do: 

  • Create and train entire new tactical approach in time for next season. 

  • Use £24m transfer budget to recruit players to implement tactic (board intervention aside) and maintain a squad. 

  • Sell remaining younger players ONLY when a replacement has already been signed. 


I will post an update once I have set-up the new tactic and have finished pre-season. 


All feedback is welcome.

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  • toshimitzou1 changed the title to Golden Oldies: The Ageing Player Experiment and Tactical Creation - 4132, 433 Wide and more.

Hello all,

Forgive the lack of updates. In order to progress with the ‘Golden Oldies’ I felt I needed to deepen my understanding of the in – game mechanics, Team Instructions and Player Roles. This was done in light of my recent struggles to create chances against weaker opposition. At the same time, I did not want to lose the defensive solidity that I had built the foundations of my recent successes (2 x 4th placed finishes) upon.  

I have always been confident in creating defensively solid tactical approaches and before this ‘Golden Oldie’ experiment have not really had any problems creating or scoring. In this experiment, the comparative lack of Pace and Mobility throughout my squad is certainly proving a conundrum on the creative side of the game. Until now. Great thanks go out to Rashidi and his earlier work: https://community.sigames.com/forums/topic/467195-mastering-movement-evolving-my-4312/ for providing an approach to chance creation and scoring goals that has reminded me to reinstall some simple rules into my own tactical creation. 

In essence: 

  1. What are my routes to goal? 

  1. Who do I expect to score? 

  1. How do I expect this to happen in-game? 

Using these core principles in parallel with ongoing comparative analysis I seem to have solved my problem. Here is a sneak peek at my season results so far: 


That is what I call ‘scoring goals’ and all still attained with the ‘Golden Oldies’ parameters in full effect. 

Full tactical approach and squad changes to follow. 

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Posted (edited)

Season 3: Winter Break. Tactics, Results and Transfers. 

Season Introduction 

Full disclosure: I am really enjoying this playthrough. My decrease in posting is a result of more time being taken between matches to analyse my opposition, my performance and tweak my tactical shape and player roles accordingly (more on this further on). With this in mind, my tactical analysis will be brief as I really want to crack – on with progressing the save and take the ‘Golden Oldies’ to the next level (winning a competition). I am on the cusp of greatness and I just need to ensure my game – to – game management is on point to continue to improve. 

Solving problems: Scoring goals and maintaining defensive solidarity. 

The first two seasons were an unprecedented success, finishing 4th in both final league positions. This success was built on a solid defensive approach that limited quality goal- scoring opportunities for the opposition, but came at the expense of goal – scoring output on our end. 

Season 1: GF 43, GA 33. 

Season 2: GF46, GA 25. 

Like any ambitious manager, I sought improvement and I wanted more GOALS! I did not, however, want this to come at the expense of defensive solidarity and as such spent a lot of time ruminating on the  strengths and weaknesses of my current squad and what of those could be improved upon or more importantly, not diminished, as players progress through their ‘Golden Oldie’ years (32 and over). 

1) The glaringly obvious. My players will always be the slowest in the division with the lowest levels of Agility.  

Here is the most up - to - date - comparison of my squad’s physical attributes: 


On a positive note, my recruitment policy of signing players with high Natural Fitness is clear to see, meaning at least that the players I have at my disposal have the potential to perform at their best more often across a season and for longer into their careers. 

2) As a group we excel in all manners of mental fortitude: 


In compensation for a lack of physical prowess I have ensured recruitment has delivered a squad of determined leaders, brave and aggressive and all to the man willing to fight for the badge. In addition, we are no longer completely devoid of Flair or creativity and have the potential for moments of the unpredictable to start emerging in patterns of play. 


What to do with this information? The comparison above was no surprise to me as it reflects my recruitment policy and is an indicator of the ageing nature of my squad. I felt though that I was missing something and then it dawned on me; I have frequently commented on my desire to establish a team that can use the mental superiority that emerges in the career's player in their ‘Golden Oldie’ years. I have spoken of my intention to move towards a system of controlled possession: 

I ultimately envisage my squad to be capable of dominating most opposition in a possession friendly system that incorporates creative freedom and employs specialist roles (Enganche, Regista etc.) that can be suitable for the ageing player”. 

This, I believe, is still possible but, after much analysis, contemplation and assessment, I feel that this will only become a viable option once I am able to recruit the truly Elite ‘Golden Oldies’. In order to recruit Elite players, I need to improve my reputation both domestically and continentally. 

What then, can be done in the interim to improve the goal scoring output of my team without relying on possession and maintain what has been a steady increase in club reputation? I answered the following questions to solve my problem: 

1) What Physical attributes are less likely to decline with Age:  

Balance, Strength and Natural Fitness. 

2) What attributes are likely to increase with age: 

Composure, Decisions and Anticipation. 

And finally, 

3) Am I missing anything: 

Yes, Height and weight!!! I feel foolish in hindsight but players do not shrink and weight is an in – game - constant! 


With this final revelation at the forefront of my mind, I sought to create a tactic that could do three things: 

1) Employ high tempo direct football, relying on a team shape and plyer height to either win the first direct dual or have the mental fortitude to challenge effectively for the second ball. 

2) Promote more creative freedom through the team by deploying a higher-risk team mentality (positive or attacking) and encouraging roaming in the attacking third whilst ensuring in the primary Aerial duels that roaming players possess similar attribute sets. The idea here is that with increased attacking freedom, players will primarily look to play direct but can also exercise agency when the direct option is not available. 

3) Stay solid at the back. I am proud of our defensive solidarity, attained without resorting to a much lower defensive line despite the center backs in my first XI being the slowest in the division. 

The Tactics 

  1. 4312 


  1. 4132. 



Tactic 1 is my goal scoring machine, deployed as a first point of call employing height across the front 3, each of whom can roam form positions whilst maintaining the capability to compete for aerial duals wherever they ‘pop up’ in the attacking third. 

Tactic 2 is deployed with the same intentions but with roaming limited to the mezzala and an anchor man deployed in front of the defence. This tactic is utilised almost exclusively versus 4231 variants that employ wide players that like to cut inside. I have torn apart both Bayern and Dortmund engaging this tactic. 

Tactic 3 is not listed but is used in the vacant third slot. This is where pre-game analysis and assessing the opposition really comes into to play. Both Tactic 1 and 2 are designed to use my WB’s to penetrate space and my midfielders to harry the opposition in a tight – knit unit. Offensively, the mezzala is tasked with penetrating from deep and the Advanced Forward to challenge aerially and to attempt to get in behind. Consistently, the Target man is the focal point, engaged as both a foil and a destructor, freeing space by winning a dual or just by occupying an opposing defender. The Ball playing Defender is a reliable source of direct, penetrating passes, aided by the tries long range passes player trait.   

It is when defending when tweaks need to be made. If I notice my opponent is going to deploy an overloading partnership down my left Wing, I switch the DLP to Carrilero whilst allowing take more risks and more direct passes PI’s to be activated. This offers wider cover on the flank being attacked without sacrificing direct plays. In addition, if this overload is being enacted with an out – and – out winger, I sometimes change the CWB support to WB Defend. These changes are ‘tweaked’ by placing the existing tactic 1 or 2 into the slot and making changes before or in – game accordingly. 

In all iterations, the regroup instruction and standard block have maintained the defensive security of my defensive unit. 


Transfers In: This is how I’ve deployed my CL monies. 


As you can probably conclude, in adopting a more positive team mentality I needed players who could execute more risky passes and this is an attribute set that is far more prevalent throughout the first XI. Aranguaiz and Vasquez are the long craved for creative sparks that I have been lacking and Marega was an absolute steal, another Target man to rotate with Fullkrug and Selke that also offers some sorely needed penetrative Pace. In these three I have Strikers who are all 6 foot plus and with my tactical set-up will look to cause aerial chaos across opposition defensive lines. 

Where I spent the largest sums though, was in bolstering my defensive ranks. By playing more direct, higher risk football, I expected to have far less of the ball and as such, wanted quality in the defensive unit that could deal with periods of extended pressure. 

In Palomino I have obtained a defender that is far superior to my current stock: 


Sakai is an upgrade on the 37-year-old Selassie who had reached the end of his career. 

Kjaer is the long passing ball playing defender that I anticipate will constantly look for the forward partnership when he is on the ball. 


The Results 

League Only. 


All Competitions. 


When two games a week kicked in, we struggled a little. Although I have a fully rotated XI for the CL, I sustained quite a few injuries to crucial players, most notably losing Palomino for the whole of September, seriously hampering the performance in the league. I am looking to recruit far stronger squad players in the upcoming transfer window, with the intention of bringing in quality cover at CB. 

League Table 


Player Stats 


Team Stats. 

Do we need possession? NO. 


Are we winning aerial duels? YES. 


Are we clinical? YES. 



Are we getting the ball forwards quickly? YES. Interestingly, this comes about without the dribble less player instruction but seems to be predicated by my players own awareness of their limitations. 


Are we defensively solid? YES. 



I could show more but for now I am going to get my head down and see if I can challenge for the title.  

As always, All Feedback is Welcome. 

Edited by toshimitzou1
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