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


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Impressive results, but I'm even more impressed by Palomino, Sakai and De Roon and their physical atributes. The decline is nowhere to be seen. Are you doing any special training sessions over the season, maybe in international break, to keep the physicals that high?

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Posted (edited)

Yet another amazing run. I feel your pain towards Marega, he is the black sheep of my team IRL and I suffer that every single game :lol:
How do you find Caicedo playing him in a not natural position? I do like to do that once a player is suitable so I can add a totally different skillset to that position.

@Cleon had an amazing article about that named David Brookes I think.

Edited by davidbarros2
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13 hours ago, heutheo said:

Are you doing any special training sessions over the season, maybe in international break, to keep the physicals that high?

Thanks for the upvotes and support. It keeps me motivated.

None at all. I lead individual training and delegate all team training to a capable assistant, making adjustments on a game-to-game basis (eg, adding team bonding to at least one slot per week). From what I have been observing there are three key ingredients to ensure physical attributes remain as high as possible for as long as possible:

  1. Natural fitness above 15 (this is now a minimum requirement for me when recruiting).
  2. Game time! This is without doubt the most important factor. If the player sits on the bench, the decline can be rapid.
  3. Avoiding serious injury. Unfortunately if a player over the age of 32 picks up a serious injury, any attribute recovery tends to be redistributed to mental attributes even with rehab training geared towards recovering the physical attributes.

With this information in - hand, I pack my international breaks and pre - season with as many competitive friendlies against weaker teams as possible. This firstly, allows 'green line' partnerships to establish themselves and secondly, maintains the fitness of my second XI who will play every other game in this 'friendly schedule'. I rationalise it like this: by the age of 32 a player should have received all the training required to be playing at the inherited current ability (whatever it may be). Thus, I am not looking to improve attributes, merely to maintain them and game time seems to be the most expedient way of achieving this.

 

Hope this helps.

 

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8 hours ago, davidbarros2 said:

How do you find Caicedo playing him in a not natural position

He was consistent without being sensational. When I deployed him there (AM Support) I was hoping he would offer some secondary aerial dominance due to the direct nature of my tactic. What transpired is that the ball was almost entirely bypassing him and he was more responsible for occupying an opponents DM without necessarily directly affecting the play.

 

8 hours ago, davidbarros2 said:

I feel your pain towards Marega

I am going to give him one more season as for a 'Golden Oldie' he has relatively blistering pace.

 

Both of these players are going to be vital components in the upcoming season. I am in the midst of retraining Marega into a later day Freddie Ljungberg, operating as a wide poacher from the Right Midfield position. With the echoes of Arsenal circa 2001 - 2005 in my mind, I am also looking to deploy Caicedo back in his natural position as a Bergkampesque DLF. He is certainly looking competent in the mental attributes. I am giving him some heavy individual training on Passing to boost his vision, passing and technique to 15 for the upcoming season. I have retrained Vasquez to run as like-for-like cover in case of injury.

I can smell a 442....

 

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CL Group Draw: This is what you get for being a fourth seed.

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gonna go all guns against Napoli and hope for third place.

Using a 442. Tactical analysis, Transfers in and progress to follow.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Champions, champions, champions!!!

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Wow. It took a monumental end of season push, with Dortmund behind us every step of the way.

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What a season. We scored more than any previous season, also boasting the best Defensive record in the league.

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How about this from Davie Selke. A one man wrecking machine:

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47! Yes, 47 league goals; eclipsing the previous season's new record of 46 set by the now departed Erling Haaland of Dortmund (His replacement Moukoko, plundered 45 goals from 48 appearances in all competitions, but only 33 in the league. HA! F you Dortmund). A hat -trick on the last day can do wonders for record braking.

So, success at last. I ran a 442 Flat up until the winter break:

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Before switching to a balls deep 3412:

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This was the line - up, pretty much unchanged, for the final 15 games:

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Without the change to the 3142, I doubt if I would have completed a title victory. I was struggling to break down Defensive teams with the 442 and was on the path to a lot of low scoring draws.

Full analysis to follow.

 

 

 

Edited by toshimitzou1
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There are many online forums and threads that discuss the 442 at length. Rather than analyse the first half of the season, I will instead take us through an analysis of the second half of the season, peaking with a title win and secured with the attacking impetus of a 3412 shape. 

The Libero and Enganche 3-4-1-2. 

image.jpeg.93068ff321025d35942e3e596478a85b.jpeg  

As you can see, there are four very specialised roles Libero, Enganche, Mezzala and F9 and whilst it is essential that these players are the stars of your team, it is more important that the supporting cast have the required attributes and skills to facilitate the flamboyance that these three roles encompass.  

This tactic like many before and since, relies not only on full tactical familiarity but on strong chemistry in your offensive and defensive triumvirates. I recommend playing as many friendlies as possible against weaker opposition until you see strong chemistry lines between your attacking three and defensive trio.  

  

Team Instructions Explained 

In Possession 

Positive: In attack this for me was a balance of risk and reward. I want to ensure that creative players are encouraged to take as many risks as possible when in an attacking position, utilising the various runs being made throughout the team. At the same time, the positive mentality will not diminish the sensibility of my more disciplined players of whom I require the capacity to recycle the ball, namely the wide CB's, the CM defend and the winger on support. 

Be More Expressive: This allows the creative fulcrum: Libero, Mezzala, Enganche and False Nine, to dictate the game as they see fit whilst the others will follow their direction. 

Higher Tempo: I want my more disciplined players to get the ball to my creative outlets as soon as possible. Without any Defensive Midfielders or Wide Defenders, I do not want to be dawdling around trying to patiently probe the ball to my creative players. Win the ball and pass it to a more creative player is the go- to in build-up. 

Wide: The aim of this formation is to use the full pitch to enable players to make penetrative runs in and around the Enganche. By utilising wingers and playing wide this draws out the opposition, enabling one-twos between the wingers and attackers, creating overloads, and freeing up space in the centre to recycle the ball back across the pitch. If the opponent will not be dragged wide, the wingers still have the capacity to hit the by-line and deliver to one of 7 possibilities in and around the box. 

  

In Transition 

Counter press: Due to the top-heavy nature of my formation I want my players to attempt to win the ball back as soon as possible. This may seem counter-intuitive with an Enganche but in this process he acts more like a blocker, preventing the counter press escape from being direct through a DM. Although he does not press as much as the others, his presence in the DM strata often prevents the opposition from picking an easy 'out' pass. 

Counter: When we win the ball either deep or high up the pitch, working in conjunction with the higher tempo this makes use of multiple playmakers espying multiple runners. Win the ball, find a creative player and attack. 

  

Out of Possession 

Lower Line of Engagement: This narrows the space between the wingers and centre backs, aiding the wingers when tracking back whilst harrying the opponent's offensive wide players. In addition, when playing defensive teams, this gives the opposition space to move forwards with the ball relatively risk free for a small amount of time, creating space in behind to exploit. 

Extremely Urgent: With the Low line of Engagement this means that when the attacking team starts to become a threat in the final third, the players positioned higher up the pitch will harass them urgently in the hope that they will make a poor decision and concede possession. This is to protect three ageing centre backs who would otherwise be exposed to balls sent in behind by a player with time to pick out a pass. With three centre backs this becomes more effective as there will always be at least two players remaining in the middle (one a covering Libero) even if the first one is bypassed. 

Defending Style 

When you concede a goal, the opponent has either: 

1) Produced a moment of brilliance or 

2) Has been fortuitous or 

3) Exploited a weakness in your tactic or player abilities. 

1) and 2) are generally unavoidable but 3) can be mitigated as much as possible. 

This tactic has no specified wide defenders. It relies on the two wingers and the outside centre backs to provide coverage and positional responsibility in defence. As such, I felt I had two options when selecting role and duties throughout the team. 

Option 1: Negate the lack of wide defenders by employing wide midfielders that emphasise defence and offer protection to the back three using ball winners in the middle to prevent the ball entering the dangerous areas either side of the wide centre backs. 

Or, 

Option 2: Accept that this is going to be a weakness and deploy more balanced roles across the entire midfield that offer less defensively but are more adept at punishing any breakdown in play from the opposition. 

Option 2 Selected: Having experience more frequent attempts by the opposition to play low risk possession football, I wanted to create a defensive shape that actively encouraged my opponent to attempt to exploit my weakness; if I was going to concede goals, I wanted to be in charge of where, when and how as much as possible. This involved giving the two wide players winger roles and employing low block to protect my Centre Backs. 

By utilising wide midfielders as wingers, they fervently participated in active defence. As a consequence of the wide pressing, opposition full backs had little to ping the ball to their DM's or CB's and would often look for the space in behind my back three. Due to the low block employed this problem is largely negated. The wide CB is often there to intercept away the long ball or track back/down the oncoming winger/inside forward. This allows a quick transition into counter attack mode.  

In line with this front foot mentality, the central midfield duo had been chosen as a Mezzala (attack) and a CM (Defend). The CM offering protection for the attacking winger and the Mezzala for an unpredictable goal scoring/quasi-playmaker. What I now witness are frequent attempts by the AI to exploit my defensive wings, only to turn the ball over and be on the receiving end of a fully charged counter attack with at least three players always being up top available for a pass.  

 

The Tactical Evolution 

The Enganche 

One of my primary aims was to create a tactic that allowed the Enganche to flourish as I had managed to sign Ilkay Gundogan from Bayern and felt at 33 years old this could allow him to thrive. The intention here was to have a role pinned down in my team where a player could thrive even into the twilight of his career. Having researched the history of the Enganche (Namely Riquelme and Argentinian football in general) I considered a 4-3-1-2 based on principles adopted from this thread:  

I also incorporated the knowledge garnered from this resource: 

These threads made me aware of how important it was to have a multitude of runners for the Enganche to be able to feed. However, after looking at the players at my disposal, I felt that I needed wide penetration higher up the pitch than attacking wing backs could offer. My team is by far the slowest in the league: 

image.jpeg.06c8a16f2ae469e810ddfd0ff385bee4.jpeg Having observed a defensively sound, but somewhat impotent 442 for the first half of the season, I was keen to ensure that Pace and Penetration were utilised in dangerous positions. In a 4312 this would have only been viable in the FB positions or in the front two. Not one of my CM’s has Pace or Acceleration over 11.  It is with this in mind that I opted for the 3412, placing what limited Pace I had in the Wing positions in the shape of a converted Full Back,  

Marco Friedl on the Left wing: 

image.jpeg.f802d6e73e1f2e93916fb7798004273c.jpeg 

And a converted striker, Moussa Marega, on the Right Wing: 

image.jpeg.7857f11b8b8d21980fb63b71a902cfc9.jpeg 

As will be seen in further analysis, these players were crucial as ball winners and creators, covering more ground than any other players in the team and emerging as team leaders for interceptions and tackles for the second half of the season. 

The Libero  

The implementation a 3-1-4-2 and a Libero for me seemed the next logical step. Each person has their own interpretation of how they expect a role to perform, but for me, the only first- hand experience I had of watching a Libero at work was in the guise of a rampaging Lucio at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. 15 goals in 92 games and a move to Bayern Munich later and my memories are filled with champions league highlights of this monstrosity pinging the ball left, right and centre whilst relentlessly surging up and down the pitch. It must have been terrorising for an opposition midfielder's decision-making process. This excerpt describing Lucio is pretty much how I visualise my Libero to perform, 

"Regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation, Lucio was a tall, large, tenacious, and physically strong defender, who excelled in the air and was known for his heavy marking of opponents, as well as his hard-tackling style of play and leadership; he was also highly regarded for his positioning, ability to read the game and his adeptness at winning back possession in one-on-one situations. Gifted with good technical skills, and excellent distribution, although he was usually deployed as a centre-back, he was also used as a defensive midfielder, where he demonstrated his confidence in possession, and ability to play the ball out of defence. Although he was primarily known for his defensive skill and consistency, his pace, stamina and dribbling ability frequently enabled him to get forward into good attacking positions, with his trademark long, surging, galloping runs on the ball, which earned him the nickname O Cavalo ("The Horse", in Portuguese); these attributes, along with his powerful striking ability from distance and on set-pieces with his right foot, made him an additional offensive threat." 

After a free scoring end to the season, I can conclude that the Libero on Attack duty is the fulcrum upon which this tactic rests. In essence, it is the Libero that dictates the position and increases the influence of the Enganche; offering an unpredictable recycling option for the Enganche and more importantly restricting the movement of the Enganche so that he acts as the HOOK that sits in front of the opponent's defence. All play will at some point pass through the Enganche whilst he will hardly have moved. It is this tactical nuance that I am proud of and one which will allow even ageing players to flourish in the role. 

  

Tactical Strengths 

Every player can be a creator or scorer and more importantly, all players are involved in defending. Here is the end of season player statistics: 

 image.jpeg.56943d0e09e1aa01a16fdfae5c8620b8.jpeg 

- As can be seen the two wingers are crucial in both defending and attacking. They are the engine of the team and require two physically excellent individuals.  

-The Enganche provides the most key passes. If this was not the case there would be some concern with the tactic. 

- The Libero is in fact more of a ‘co - ordinator’ within the current tactical paradigm. I only instigated this role and system after 13 league games. As such, I have been running M.Eggestein in the role whom has proved capable,  

image.jpeg.84e6f983492555f5a10fd6058b214413.jpeg 

but does not possess any player traits that I would like to see on a Libero (Get Forwards Whenever Possible, Brings Ball out of Defence, Shots from distance). However, his positioning on the pitch, as alluded to earlier, did allow my Enganche to excel, occupying opposition midfielders and offering a passing option when the Enganche was not available. 

 

The Advanced forward led the line and consistently scored - combining with the Mezzala, F9 and Wingers when the Enganche is suppressed. Davie Selke, nuff said: 

image.jpeg.481f6e0c75002e9853bb12316edd5f36.jpeg 

From game to game, I saw a fresh threat emerge from the tactic. In one game the wingers will be key, others the Mezzala or F9 and when needed the CM Defend will turn provider. This is the greatest strength of this tactic. Although there are specialised roles, the tactic is not reliant on one player and instead, through a careful selection of roles and duties, there are dynamic and varied player movements, penetrations and width options. This led to the sequence of results, starting from the game against Wolfsburg on the 25.11.2023, that culminated in a title win.  

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The First XI: Roles and Performance. 

GK - Defend: This position does what it says on the tin. His job is to save you when all else fails. He is a shot stopper first and foremost and needs to be relied upon not to venture far from his goal, but to be there to pull off match-winning saves and distribute how he sees fit based on what is in front of him. 

  image.jpeg.4e673307cb675cdf40e43b45d81d5e28.jpeg 

Another stellar season from the ‘Fearless Goalkeeper’ (I adore the in-game description). Shut - out king and the league’s most successful shot-stopper yet again: 

image.jpeg.0411756d8e38e3b8484ff79413018aa9.jpeg 

LCB and RCB. Central Defender - Defend: For these positions I had players who excel in Aggression, Workrate, Bravery and Positioning as a substitute for any real Pace or Acceleration. Their job is to intercept the ball and as a last resort they commit to the tackle if the Libero is not in a position to sweep behind them. Their job is four-fold: 

- As part of the low block press, they are responsible for shielding the 6-yard box when under pressure. 

- When the opponent plays long balls to the wings or channels, they must cover large ground to either intercept the through ball or chase down the goal bound wide player and when the Libero has foraged up field they must have a telepathic bond with their opposite wide defender, with either one being responsible for chasing down a through ball played in behind the roaming Libero.  

- They work as a complement to the GK defend and the covering Libero; when a through ball does come through you do not want a GK wildly rushing out. The wide CB's must chase down the opposition forward and either tackle him, block the shot or affect enough pressure that a shot or cross is taken under duress, limiting the effectiveness of the action. In addition, there willingness to close down affords time for the Libero to establish a covering position and mop up if the wide CB is skinned by an opposing attacker.  

- Finally, they are tasked with efficient ball - playing to the wings. When the middle is blocked or chocked for space there is often a choice of a through ball or pass into feet to one of the wingers. In these positions Passing ability does not go amiss.  

Let’s look at my own ‘bash brothers’: 

 image.jpeg.172c180884aae65cc73e3067f3f071db.jpeg 

image.jpeg.327d3b7aa60cfccbe257c1087f5c08a3.jpeg 

Alderweireld was FREE! What a signing and a mega upgrade on the retired Fazio. Palomino really excelled in his second season and has more than justified the 27.5 million I paid for him two years ago. 

Central CB. Libero - Attack: I have earlier described what I expect from my Libero and within this shape I am beginning to see opportunities for these behaviours to emerge. In the close – season this is my number one recruitment priority. Until I have a player with the traits aligned to what I expect to see, I will content myself with the capacity of the role to affect a penetrative team shape in the attacking phase. When defending, the Low Block ensures he rapidly retreats into his defensive position if caught up field. From here, he takes on the responsibility of nullifying any lone central strikers caught in isolation against a dogged back three. When retreating, the Libero uses his intelligence to either affect an early interception or drop behind his ever-pressing wide CB's and sweep up any mess.  

Left Midfielder. Winger - Attack: This player carried the attacking threat down the left, acting as an outlet for the creative players, offering crosses to the closely placed Advanced Forward and maintaining the defensive side of the game by leading any form of pressing. Having a CM defend next to him allowed him the freedom to penetrate the opponent with adequate cover inside. By closing down more I am encouraging the opponent to either bypass me down the line or he will have to funnel the ball inside where most of my defensive strength resides. You are not necessarily looking for an out and out winger here but a player with two essential pre- requisites, Work-Rate and Stamina. With no other wide players, it is the responsibility of the wingers to harry opposition wide players both in the counter-press and when defending our own box.  

Right Midfielder. Winger - Support: Much of what was described for the left wing applies to the right wing. Where things differ is the Player Roles around him. Inside him and ahead are a Mezzala Attack and a False Nine. As such he is not only responsible for width and penetration on the flank, but is a primary source of ball retention on the right-hand side of the pitch. Consequentially, there is a need for a more rounded player in this position. Marega has performed okay here but again, this is a position I am looking to upgrade. 

The Left and Right Midfielders are crucial in the tactical framework. They are the TOP interceptors in the entire team. They are the most frequent dribblers in the entire team. They score, they assist, they cross, they tackle. On the left side I implement a close down more instruction on the Left Midfielder that replicates exactly what I desire, a high number of Tackles per game by both the Left Midfielder and the Left CM Defend. The left midfielder closes down and if they come inside there is a holding player waiting to tackle/intercept. The right midfielder operates more as a semi- holding, creative runner who can defend, create and finish moves. 

  

Left Centre Midfielder. Central Midfielder – Defend. Player Instructions: Pass it shorter, Close Down More, Mark Tighter, Shoot Less Often: This is the main disruptor of the team. His job is to intercept, close down and be a zone of destruction in front of the back three whilst maintaining positional discipline and not roaming too far in his pressing duties. Secondarily, he operates as a deeper pivot with which the deeper runners and ball-carriers can rely on to be available for a pass and is competent enough to maintain the integrity of the attack. With a Winger Attack to the side, a Libero inside and an Advance Forward in front he will have the opportunity to create chances (see stats above), so passing ability is a bonus. De Roon has thrived in this role and I see no reason why he cannot continue to make the role his own in the upcoming season. 

image.jpeg.1e7792b13297376f0e959c220825d697.jpeg 

Right Centre Midfielder. Mezzala - Attack: I cannot praise this role highly enough. With a False Nine and Enganche on Support in front of him and a Winger on support on the right, this player is tasked with making penetrating runs from the right-hand side of midfield. Defensively, with Extremely Urgent pressing in operation, he operates as a space compressing nuisance; he does not make many interceptions or tackles (see stats above) but is more important in reducing the time and space of the opponent's midfielder, forcing them to move the ball on.  

It is in the attacking phase where this role shines: 

- He interchanges with the winger to provide alternating width. 

- He combines short plays with the Libero, Enganche, F9 and Winger to ease pressure and free up space. 

- He makes surging runs into the box behind the deep dropping F9 causing indecision in the opposing defence. 

- He initiates Direct Plays with the Advanced Forward, bypassing the Enganche when required.  

Caicedo missed the first half of the season as I was deploying Vasquez as a Deep Lying Forward in a 442. With a change in shape, came Caicedo’s chance to impress and he did not disappoint. 2 goals and 4 assists in the second half of the season is a fantastic return for the 35-year-old Ecuadorian. 

image.jpeg.949c156fb1c755ae431787f7656ae527.jpeg 

Attacking Midfielder. Enganche - Support: This role is the reason I made the tactic. It is critical that this player has exceptional mental attributes - the in-game description really does not lie. It was only the acquisition of Ilkay Gundogan, again on a Free transfer, that finally allowed me to implement a role I have been itching to use throughout the entire ‘Golden Oldies’ experiment.  

 image.jpeg.93ff9e8ad8387b9f7a63a26dec1094b7.jpeg 

I relished watching the highlights of this role in action. 15 assists, copious key passes and some beautiful goals. What I will say is that it seems critical that the Engance is both footed. As a ‘Golden Oldie', any Enganche I employ is unlikely to have world class Agility and will struggle to shift the ball onto his stronger foot under pressure. When the ball is coming into the Enganche he is thinking only one thing: I need to create a chance or find a team mate in a dangerous position in the most efficient manner possible. I frequently witnessed highlights that showed Gundogan using either foot in a one touch manoeuvre that would have been less likely to succeed without at least a Fairly Strong weaker foot. 

Striker Right. False Nine-SupportPlayer Instructions: Shoot Less Often, Roam From Position, Close Down More. 

Through the Team Instructions, surrounding Roles, Duties and specific Player Instructions, what I have engineered is creative pressing forward; the hardcoded instructions of the F9 encourage him to come deep when in possession whist the lower line of engagement instigated a similar behaviour in the defensive phase.  The previous statistics show he ranks highly in interception, acting as part of a press that shuts down passing lanes in between the opponent's defenders and midfielders. The benefit of this becomes more apparent in the attacking phase; by encouraging and shaping a tactic that places ball turnover at the feet of a creative player, you are immediately in a position to punish the opponents.  

Once possession has settled the roaming False Nine uses his awareness to find pockets of space to either draw players out of position, finish a scoring move, pick up the ball and drive at the defence where he can either finish, pick out the pre-assist or deliver final key chance. This role is emerging as a significant threat when the Enganche is being closely marked by an opposition DM – sending through balls out wide or into the Advanced Forward from deeper positions. 

J. Eggestein has made this role his own, only earning game time once I switched to the 3412. 

 image.jpeg.478edc0207d0f0ce055d571fbb4cf409.jpeg 

 Striker Left. Advanced Forward – Attack. Player Instructions: Shoot Less Often, Roam From Position, Close Down More, Dribble More:  

This is the main goal scoring threat. He will be the primary recipient of crosses from the wingers and a roaming penetrator making runs in behind across the defensive line. His determination to get forward and break the opponents defensive line offers the chance for incisive through balls from just outside the box from the Enganche, False Nine, Mezzala and Wingers. The same movement also provokes deeper through balls from the Mezzala, Libero and Wingers and False Nine when the team is under pressure. 

What a Season from Davie Selke: 

image.jpeg.d3cd8fe0aa756847eb14f69ae4510df3.jpeg 

NB:A quick note on Set - Pieces. 

This tactic has no set - piece exploits but is extremely efficient at preventing goals from set-pieces. The adjustments I make to the default defending is to ensure that my Advanced Forward is set to stay forward and my F9 to be on the edge of the area. I also ensure that my taller players are located centrally within the pre-sets. Obviously having three centre backs assists with the defensive side of set - pieces.  

In attacking set plays I ensure I have my best header present at either the near post or far post in the set routines (D. Selke). More importantly, I always ensure I have a minimum of four defensively capable players set to stay back in all Throw- In, Corner - Kick and Free - Kick routines. As an emerging top side, most teams see the only opportunity to score as a break from a set-piece. I would rather lose the attacking potency of packing the opponent's box in favour of preventing these irritating 'cheap' goals conceded on the counter. 

  

Key Season Statistics 

We shoot we score: 

image.jpeg.0a3e8ae9fdc400ce6deee5f32265514c.jpeg 

We shall not, we shall not be moved: 

 image.jpeg.021ff9f9b447b268e296860894805aef.jpeg 

How do we score? Every way. Great to see high percentage of through ball goals, lending credence to the effectiveness of an Enganche in the correct set – up: 

image.jpeg.e18f66b15e421ad131241d86e0333c6b.jpegimage.jpeg.60d5a613c18a0833b4dcdd76f35eafb6.jpeg 

And yet again, we will not be dribbling: 

image.jpeg.91e5ed8a40b7c0e41e90803a4af3169e.jpeg 

But this is what you want from an Enganche: 

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Summary 

Through this experiment I have questioned whether success can be achieved using players in the later years of their careers. I would say the answer is a resounding YES. However, naysayers may claim that I still am utilising youth in some areas. If that is the case, I would argue this: The three players in my first XI under 32 years of age are my top scorer D. Selke, my Left Midfielder M. Friedl and the F9 J. Eggestein: These players are all inherited, have not been signed and more importantly, they do not possess an attribute pool that could not be garnered from the transfer market containing the elite over 32-year-old players.  

It is, in part, for this reason that I am continuing the save. I wish to win the league with a First XI that are over 32 years old. In addition, I wish to translate that success onto the European front. In my determination to gain domestic success, I have currently foregone any European ambitions – content to field a severely weakened second XI in order to sustain a Domestic challenge. The push for dual honours should make the ‘Golden Oldies’ challenge even more rewarding. These then are my ongoing goals: 

  • Finish building the ‘Golden Oldies’, ensuring the entire First XI is over the age of 32. 

  • Win the League and Champions league with this stipulation in place. 

Having won the league, I should see an improvement in my reputation, perhaps offering me the chance to bag a Messi or a Neymar entering the end of his career. If not this season, then it cannot be far off. It may be a couple of years, at least, until I can make those kinds of acquisitions and I do not expect my ‘Golden Oldies’ to be able to conquer Europe until these Elite player become available. Until then, I am looking forward to persisting with a 3412 that can only get stronger as I add more suitable players to the squad. 

Time to play. 

As always, all feedback is welcome and appreciated. 

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Was lurking to learn about FM21 tactics and get some inspiration now that I'm back to playing the game and I just wanted to say to OP that you're brilliant and this thread is brilliant and so thoughtful. 

 

Do you have any process or advice to develop a process or approach for someone trying to make a Wheeling and Dealing sort of team?

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1 hour ago, Dj-Voodoo said:

Do you have any process or advice to develop a process or approach for someone trying to make a Wheeling and Dealing sort of team?

Thanks. Glad you are enjoying it.

In response to your question, yes I have some tips - even more so considering that is pretty much how I have had to operate for the majority of this playthrough. Just to clear up, by 'wheeling and dealing' (Del Boy) I assume you mean operating with minimal financial resources, mostly earning your transfer budget from player sales? 

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Posted (edited)

 

On 19/05/2021 at 02:33, NotSoSpecialOne said:

I love the look of that 3-4-1-2. Might have to take it for a spin myself!

Just keep in mid it will be seriously punished by any 442 variant. In the Bundesliga literally every team runs a 4231 which this performs well against. Whenever I encounter a 442, 442 DM or even a 5221 Wide this formation is inadequate and I will change things up. In addition, this is by no means a plug and play tactic. I watch each game on extended highlights and make adjustments in - game accordingly. However, if you can get some serious Pace on your wide center backs (which I do not), then it may prove more effective against the weaknesses I have encountered to date.

Edited by toshimitzou1
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20 hours ago, toshimitzou1 said:

 

Just keep in mid it will be seriously punished by any 442 variant. In the Bundesliga literally every team runs a 4231 which this performs well against. Whenever I encounter a 442, 442 DM or even a 5221 Wide this formation is inadequate and I will change thigs up. Inn addition, this is by no means a plug and play tactic. I watch each game on extended highlights and make adjustments in - game accordingly. However, if you can get some serious Pace on your wide center backs (which I do not), then it may prove more effective against the weaknesses I have encountered to date.

Oh absolutely. More looking for inspiration for next season with my Coruna side because I need a change of pace from the 4-3-3 :lol:. Just about every side in La Liga runs the 4231 too (really, that feels like a problem that plagues all the top leagues but I digress). :thup:

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2 hours ago, NotSoSpecialOne said:

More looking for inspiration for next season with my Coruna side because I need a change of pace from the 4-3-3

I believe the 3412 as I have set it up would be effective with a Gegenpress approach with a few role adjustments - primarily switching the Enganche to a AP/SS/AM and raising the LOE and Defensive Line. Keep in touch if you want to discuss any tactical successes/difficulties you encounter. 

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Posted (edited)
On 18/05/2021 at 22:58, toshimitzou1 said:

Thanks. Glad you are enjoying it.

In response to your question, yes I have some tips - even more so considering that is pretty much how I have had to operate for the majority of this playthrough. Just to clear up, by 'wheeling and dealing' (Del Boy) I assume you mean operating with minimal financial resources, mostly earning your transfer budget from player sales? 

Yes, free agents, loans, buy-low/sell-high, all of that.

Edited by Dj-Voodoo
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14 minutes ago, Dj-Voodoo said:

Yes, free agents, loans, buy-low/sell-high, all of that.

- It is often the case that board expectations are relatively modest with a low budget and this should be reflected in your own managerial ambitions.

- For me, the most important aspect of 'wheeling and dealing' is MAXIMISING the value of the players you inherit. As such, in the first season I look to create a tactic that suits the existing personnel without any need for transfers - in unless squad building requirements need to be met.

- I assess my personnel, looking to have at least two players for each position, always immediately attempting to offload any players whose wages are disproportionate to their ability or whom are incapable of performing within the desired tactic. This is where managerial decisions become critical when working on a shoestring budget. 

- I only use the loan market when absolutely necessary; you will benefit more in the long-term by developing a lesser player and reaping future financial gains from his sale.

- When selling a player under the age of 23, always include a 'locked' 50% percentage of profit from next sale clause when offering to clubs.

- IMO, there are two simple transfer approaches that can be used when looking to build a squad with limited funds:

1. UTILISE YOUTH. Choose youthful hard - working players form the free transfer pool, sacrificing high Mental attributes for high ratings in Physical attributes in addition to Teamwork and Workrate.

2. CAPTURE QUALITY EXPERIENCE. Opting for players whom are at the end of their careers and can handle pressure and expectation. In this case I only recruit players with 'positive personalities', ideally those with high consistency, professionalism and pressure (it is very important to scout to 100% knowledge).

With these two transfer approaches, you should be able to work towards a tactic in the following season that uses the physical attributes of the youthful players to win the ball and feed it to the older, and generally more consistent older players whom can then dictate the play.

Hope this helps.

 

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On 5/14/2021 at 10:09 PM, toshimitzou1 said:

There are many online forums and threads that discuss the 442 at length. Rather than analyse the first half of the season, I will instead take us through an analysis of the second half of the season, peaking with a title win and secured with the attacking impetus of a 3412 shape. 

The Libero and Enganche 3-4-1-2. 

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As you can see, there are four very specialised roles Libero, Enganche, Mezzala and F9 and whilst it is essential that these players are the stars of your team, it is more important that the supporting cast have the required attributes and skills to facilitate the flamboyance that these three roles encompass.  

This tactic like many before and since, relies not only on full tactical familiarity but on strong chemistry in your offensive and defensive triumvirates. I recommend playing as many friendlies as possible against weaker opposition until you see strong chemistry lines between your attacking three and defensive trio.  

  

Team Instructions Explained 

In Possession 

Positive: In attack this for me was a balance of risk and reward. I want to ensure that creative players are encouraged to take as many risks as possible when in an attacking position, utilising the various runs being made throughout the team. At the same time, the positive mentality will not diminish the sensibility of my more disciplined players of whom I require the capacity to recycle the ball, namely the wide CB's, the CM defend and the winger on support. 

Be More Expressive: This allows the creative fulcrum: Libero, Mezzala, Enganche and False Nine, to dictate the game as they see fit whilst the others will follow their direction. 

Higher Tempo: I want my more disciplined players to get the ball to my creative outlets as soon as possible. Without any Defensive Midfielders or Wide Defenders, I do not want to be dawdling around trying to patiently probe the ball to my creative players. Win the ball and pass it to a more creative player is the go- to in build-up. 

Wide: The aim of this formation is to use the full pitch to enable players to make penetrative runs in and around the Enganche. By utilising wingers and playing wide this draws out the opposition, enabling one-twos between the wingers and attackers, creating overloads, and freeing up space in the centre to recycle the ball back across the pitch. If the opponent will not be dragged wide, the wingers still have the capacity to hit the by-line and deliver to one of 7 possibilities in and around the box. 

  

In Transition 

Counter press: Due to the top-heavy nature of my formation I want my players to attempt to win the ball back as soon as possible. This may seem counter-intuitive with an Enganche but in this process he acts more like a blocker, preventing the counter press escape from being direct through a DM. Although he does not press as much as the others, his presence in the DM strata often prevents the opposition from picking an easy 'out' pass. 

Counter: When we win the ball either deep or high up the pitch, working in conjunction with the higher tempo this makes use of multiple playmakers espying multiple runners. Win the ball, find a creative player and attack. 

  

Out of Possession 

Lower Line of Engagement: This narrows the space between the wingers and centre backs, aiding the wingers when tracking back whilst harrying the opponent's offensive wide players. In addition, when playing defensive teams, this gives the opposition space to move forwards with the ball relatively risk free for a small amount of time, creating space in behind to exploit. 

Extremely Urgent: With the Low line of Engagement this means that when the attacking team starts to become a threat in the final third, the players positioned higher up the pitch will harass them urgently in the hope that they will make a poor decision and concede possession. This is to protect three ageing centre backs who would otherwise be exposed to balls sent in behind by a player with time to pick out a pass. With three centre backs this becomes more effective as there will always be at least two players remaining in the middle (one a covering Libero) even if the first one is bypassed. 

Defending Style 

When you concede a goal, the opponent has either: 

1) Produced a moment of brilliance or 

2) Has been fortuitous or 

3) Exploited a weakness in your tactic or player abilities. 

1) and 2) are generally unavoidable but 3) can be mitigated as much as possible. 

This tactic has no specified wide defenders. It relies on the two wingers and the outside centre backs to provide coverage and positional responsibility in defence. As such, I felt I had two options when selecting role and duties throughout the team. 

Option 1: Negate the lack of wide defenders by employing wide midfielders that emphasise defence and offer protection to the back three using ball winners in the middle to prevent the ball entering the dangerous areas either side of the wide centre backs. 

Or, 

Option 2: Accept that this is going to be a weakness and deploy more balanced roles across the entire midfield that offer less defensively but are more adept at punishing any breakdown in play from the opposition. 

Option 2 Selected: Having experience more frequent attempts by the opposition to play low risk possession football, I wanted to create a defensive shape that actively encouraged my opponent to attempt to exploit my weakness; if I was going to concede goals, I wanted to be in charge of where, when and how as much as possible. This involved giving the two wide players winger roles and employing low block to protect my Centre Backs. 

By utilising wide midfielders as wingers, they fervently participated in active defence. As a consequence of the wide pressing, opposition full backs had little to ping the ball to their DM's or CB's and would often look for the space in behind my back three. Due to the low block employed this problem is largely negated. The wide CB is often there to intercept away the long ball or track back/down the oncoming winger/inside forward. This allows a quick transition into counter attack mode.  

In line with this front foot mentality, the central midfield duo had been chosen as a Mezzala (attack) and a CM (Defend). The CM offering protection for the attacking winger and the Mezzala for an unpredictable goal scoring/quasi-playmaker. What I now witness are frequent attempts by the AI to exploit my defensive wings, only to turn the ball over and be on the receiving end of a fully charged counter attack with at least three players always being up top available for a pass.  

 

The Tactical Evolution 

The Enganche 

One of my primary aims was to create a tactic that allowed the Enganche to flourish as I had managed to sign Ilkay Gundogan from Bayern and felt at 33 years old this could allow him to thrive. The intention here was to have a role pinned down in my team where a player could thrive even into the twilight of his career. Having researched the history of the Enganche (Namely Riquelme and Argentinian football in general) I considered a 4-3-1-2 based on principles adopted from this thread:  

I also incorporated the knowledge garnered from this resource: 

These threads made me aware of how important it was to have a multitude of runners for the Enganche to be able to feed. However, after looking at the players at my disposal, I felt that I needed wide penetration higher up the pitch than attacking wing backs could offer. My team is by far the slowest in the league: 

image.jpeg.06c8a16f2ae469e810ddfd0ff385bee4.jpeg Having observed a defensively sound, but somewhat impotent 442 for the first half of the season, I was keen to ensure that Pace and Penetration were utilised in dangerous positions. In a 4312 this would have only been viable in the FB positions or in the front two. Not one of my CM’s has Pace or Acceleration over 11.  It is with this in mind that I opted for the 3412, placing what limited Pace I had in the Wing positions in the shape of a converted Full Back,  

Marco Friedl on the Left wing: 

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And a converted striker, Moussa Marega, on the Right Wing: 

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As will be seen in further analysis, these players were crucial as ball winners and creators, covering more ground than any other players in the team and emerging as team leaders for interceptions and tackles for the second half of the season. 

The Libero  

The implementation a 3-1-4-2 and a Libero for me seemed the next logical step. Each person has their own interpretation of how they expect a role to perform, but for me, the only first- hand experience I had of watching a Libero at work was in the guise of a rampaging Lucio at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. 15 goals in 92 games and a move to Bayern Munich later and my memories are filled with champions league highlights of this monstrosity pinging the ball left, right and centre whilst relentlessly surging up and down the pitch. It must have been terrorising for an opposition midfielder's decision-making process. This excerpt describing Lucio is pretty much how I visualise my Libero to perform, 

"Regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation, Lucio was a tall, large, tenacious, and physically strong defender, who excelled in the air and was known for his heavy marking of opponents, as well as his hard-tackling style of play and leadership; he was also highly regarded for his positioning, ability to read the game and his adeptness at winning back possession in one-on-one situations. Gifted with good technical skills, and excellent distribution, although he was usually deployed as a centre-back, he was also used as a defensive midfielder, where he demonstrated his confidence in possession, and ability to play the ball out of defence. Although he was primarily known for his defensive skill and consistency, his pace, stamina and dribbling ability frequently enabled him to get forward into good attacking positions, with his trademark long, surging, galloping runs on the ball, which earned him the nickname O Cavalo ("The Horse", in Portuguese); these attributes, along with his powerful striking ability from distance and on set-pieces with his right foot, made him an additional offensive threat." 

After a free scoring end to the season, I can conclude that the Libero on Attack duty is the fulcrum upon which this tactic rests. In essence, it is the Libero that dictates the position and increases the influence of the Enganche; offering an unpredictable recycling option for the Enganche and more importantly restricting the movement of the Enganche so that he acts as the HOOK that sits in front of the opponent's defence. All play will at some point pass through the Enganche whilst he will hardly have moved. It is this tactical nuance that I am proud of and one which will allow even ageing players to flourish in the role. 

  

Tactical Strengths 

Every player can be a creator or scorer and more importantly, all players are involved in defending. Here is the end of season player statistics: 

 image.jpeg.56943d0e09e1aa01a16fdfae5c8620b8.jpeg 

- As can be seen the two wingers are crucial in both defending and attacking. They are the engine of the team and require two physically excellent individuals.  

-The Enganche provides the most key passes. If this was not the case there would be some concern with the tactic. 

- The Libero is in fact more of a ‘co - ordinator’ within the current tactical paradigm. I only instigated this role and system after 13 league games. As such, I have been running M.Eggestein in the role whom has proved capable,  

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but does not possess any player traits that I would like to see on a Libero (Get Forwards Whenever Possible, Brings Ball out of Defence, Shots from distance). However, his positioning on the pitch, as alluded to earlier, did allow my Enganche to excel, occupying opposition midfielders and offering a passing option when the Enganche was not available. 

 

The Advanced forward led the line and consistently scored - combining with the Mezzala, F9 and Wingers when the Enganche is suppressed. Davie Selke, nuff said: 

image.jpeg.481f6e0c75002e9853bb12316edd5f36.jpeg 

From game to game, I saw a fresh threat emerge from the tactic. In one game the wingers will be key, others the Mezzala or F9 and when needed the CM Defend will turn provider. This is the greatest strength of this tactic. Although there are specialised roles, the tactic is not reliant on one player and instead, through a careful selection of roles and duties, there are dynamic and varied player movements, penetrations and width options. This led to the sequence of results, starting from the game against Wolfsburg on the 25.11.2023, that culminated in a title win.  

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The First XI: Roles and Performance. 

GK - Defend: This position does what it says on the tin. His job is to save you when all else fails. He is a shot stopper first and foremost and needs to be relied upon not to venture far from his goal, but to be there to pull off match-winning saves and distribute how he sees fit based on what is in front of him. 

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Another stellar season from the ‘Fearless Goalkeeper’ (I adore the in-game description). Shut - out king and the league’s most successful shot-stopper yet again: 

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LCB and RCB. Central Defender - Defend: For these positions I had players who excel in Aggression, Workrate, Bravery and Positioning as a substitute for any real Pace or Acceleration. Their job is to intercept the ball and as a last resort they commit to the tackle if the Libero is not in a position to sweep behind them. Their job is four-fold: 

- As part of the low block press, they are responsible for shielding the 6-yard box when under pressure. 

- When the opponent plays long balls to the wings or channels, they must cover large ground to either intercept the through ball or chase down the goal bound wide player and when the Libero has foraged up field they must have a telepathic bond with their opposite wide defender, with either one being responsible for chasing down a through ball played in behind the roaming Libero.  

- They work as a complement to the GK defend and the covering Libero; when a through ball does come through you do not want a GK wildly rushing out. The wide CB's must chase down the opposition forward and either tackle him, block the shot or affect enough pressure that a shot or cross is taken under duress, limiting the effectiveness of the action. In addition, there willingness to close down affords time for the Libero to establish a covering position and mop up if the wide CB is skinned by an opposing attacker.  

- Finally, they are tasked with efficient ball - playing to the wings. When the middle is blocked or chocked for space there is often a choice of a through ball or pass into feet to one of the wingers. In these positions Passing ability does not go amiss.  

Let’s look at my own ‘bash brothers’: 

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Alderweireld was FREE! What a signing and a mega upgrade on the retired Fazio. Palomino really excelled in his second season and has more than justified the 27.5 million I paid for him two years ago. 

Central CB. Libero - Attack: I have earlier described what I expect from my Libero and within this shape I am beginning to see opportunities for these behaviours to emerge. In the close – season this is my number one recruitment priority. Until I have a player with the traits aligned to what I expect to see, I will content myself with the capacity of the role to affect a penetrative team shape in the attacking phase. When defending, the Low Block ensures he rapidly retreats into his defensive position if caught up field. From here, he takes on the responsibility of nullifying any lone central strikers caught in isolation against a dogged back three. When retreating, the Libero uses his intelligence to either affect an early interception or drop behind his ever-pressing wide CB's and sweep up any mess.  

Left Midfielder. Winger - Attack: This player carried the attacking threat down the left, acting as an outlet for the creative players, offering crosses to the closely placed Advanced Forward and maintaining the defensive side of the game by leading any form of pressing. Having a CM defend next to him allowed him the freedom to penetrate the opponent with adequate cover inside. By closing down more I am encouraging the opponent to either bypass me down the line or he will have to funnel the ball inside where most of my defensive strength resides. You are not necessarily looking for an out and out winger here but a player with two essential pre- requisites, Work-Rate and Stamina. With no other wide players, it is the responsibility of the wingers to harry opposition wide players both in the counter-press and when defending our own box.  

Right Midfielder. Winger - Support: Much of what was described for the left wing applies to the right wing. Where things differ is the Player Roles around him. Inside him and ahead are a Mezzala Attack and a False Nine. As such he is not only responsible for width and penetration on the flank, but is a primary source of ball retention on the right-hand side of the pitch. Consequentially, there is a need for a more rounded player in this position. Marega has performed okay here but again, this is a position I am looking to upgrade. 

The Left and Right Midfielders are crucial in the tactical framework. They are the TOP interceptors in the entire team. They are the most frequent dribblers in the entire team. They score, they assist, they cross, they tackle. On the left side I implement a close down more instruction on the Left Midfielder that replicates exactly what I desire, a high number of Tackles per game by both the Left Midfielder and the Left CM Defend. The left midfielder closes down and if they come inside there is a holding player waiting to tackle/intercept. The right midfielder operates more as a semi- holding, creative runner who can defend, create and finish moves. 

  

Left Centre Midfielder. Central Midfielder – Defend. Player Instructions: Pass it shorter, Close Down More, Mark Tighter, Shoot Less Often: This is the main disruptor of the team. His job is to intercept, close down and be a zone of destruction in front of the back three whilst maintaining positional discipline and not roaming too far in his pressing duties. Secondarily, he operates as a deeper pivot with which the deeper runners and ball-carriers can rely on to be available for a pass and is competent enough to maintain the integrity of the attack. With a Winger Attack to the side, a Libero inside and an Advance Forward in front he will have the opportunity to create chances (see stats above), so passing ability is a bonus. De Roon has thrived in this role and I see no reason why he cannot continue to make the role his own in the upcoming season. 

image.jpeg.1e7792b13297376f0e959c220825d697.jpeg 

Right Centre Midfielder. Mezzala - Attack: I cannot praise this role highly enough. With a False Nine and Enganche on Support in front of him and a Winger on support on the right, this player is tasked with making penetrating runs from the right-hand side of midfield. Defensively, with Extremely Urgent pressing in operation, he operates as a space compressing nuisance; he does not make many interceptions or tackles (see stats above) but is more important in reducing the time and space of the opponent's midfielder, forcing them to move the ball on.  

It is in the attacking phase where this role shines: 

- He interchanges with the winger to provide alternating width. 

- He combines short plays with the Libero, Enganche, F9 and Winger to ease pressure and free up space. 

- He makes surging runs into the box behind the deep dropping F9 causing indecision in the opposing defence. 

- He initiates Direct Plays with the Advanced Forward, bypassing the Enganche when required.  

Caicedo missed the first half of the season as I was deploying Vasquez as a Deep Lying Forward in a 442. With a change in shape, came Caicedo’s chance to impress and he did not disappoint. 2 goals and 4 assists in the second half of the season is a fantastic return for the 35-year-old Ecuadorian. 

image.jpeg.949c156fb1c755ae431787f7656ae527.jpeg 

Attacking Midfielder. Enganche - Support: This role is the reason I made the tactic. It is critical that this player has exceptional mental attributes - the in-game description really does not lie. It was only the acquisition of Ilkay Gundogan, again on a Free transfer, that finally allowed me to implement a role I have been itching to use throughout the entire ‘Golden Oldies’ experiment.  

 image.jpeg.93ff9e8ad8387b9f7a63a26dec1094b7.jpeg 

I relished watching the highlights of this role in action. 15 assists, copious key passes and some beautiful goals. What I will say is that it seems critical that the Engance is both footed. As a ‘Golden Oldie', any Enganche I employ is unlikely to have world class Agility and will struggle to shift the ball onto his stronger foot under pressure. When the ball is coming into the Enganche he is thinking only one thing: I need to create a chance or find a team mate in a dangerous position in the most efficient manner possible. I frequently witnessed highlights that showed Gundogan using either foot in a one touch manoeuvre that would have been less likely to succeed without at least a Fairly Strong weaker foot. 

Striker Right. False Nine-SupportPlayer Instructions: Shoot Less Often, Roam From Position, Close Down More. 

Through the Team Instructions, surrounding Roles, Duties and specific Player Instructions, what I have engineered is creative pressing forward; the hardcoded instructions of the F9 encourage him to come deep when in possession whist the lower line of engagement instigated a similar behaviour in the defensive phase.  The previous statistics show he ranks highly in interception, acting as part of a press that shuts down passing lanes in between the opponent's defenders and midfielders. The benefit of this becomes more apparent in the attacking phase; by encouraging and shaping a tactic that places ball turnover at the feet of a creative player, you are immediately in a position to punish the opponents.  

Once possession has settled the roaming False Nine uses his awareness to find pockets of space to either draw players out of position, finish a scoring move, pick up the ball and drive at the defence where he can either finish, pick out the pre-assist or deliver final key chance. This role is emerging as a significant threat when the Enganche is being closely marked by an opposition DM – sending through balls out wide or into the Advanced Forward from deeper positions. 

J. Eggestein has made this role his own, only earning game time once I switched to the 3412. 

 image.jpeg.478edc0207d0f0ce055d571fbb4cf409.jpeg 

 Striker Left. Advanced Forward – Attack. Player Instructions: Shoot Less Often, Roam From Position, Close Down More, Dribble More:  

This is the main goal scoring threat. He will be the primary recipient of crosses from the wingers and a roaming penetrator making runs in behind across the defensive line. His determination to get forward and break the opponents defensive line offers the chance for incisive through balls from just outside the box from the Enganche, False Nine, Mezzala and Wingers. The same movement also provokes deeper through balls from the Mezzala, Libero and Wingers and False Nine when the team is under pressure. 

What a Season from Davie Selke: 

image.jpeg.d3cd8fe0aa756847eb14f69ae4510df3.jpeg 

NB:A quick note on Set - Pieces. 

This tactic has no set - piece exploits but is extremely efficient at preventing goals from set-pieces. The adjustments I make to the default defending is to ensure that my Advanced Forward is set to stay forward and my F9 to be on the edge of the area. I also ensure that my taller players are located centrally within the pre-sets. Obviously having three centre backs assists with the defensive side of set - pieces.  

In attacking set plays I ensure I have my best header present at either the near post or far post in the set routines (D. Selke). More importantly, I always ensure I have a minimum of four defensively capable players set to stay back in all Throw- In, Corner - Kick and Free - Kick routines. As an emerging top side, most teams see the only opportunity to score as a break from a set-piece. I would rather lose the attacking potency of packing the opponent's box in favour of preventing these irritating 'cheap' goals conceded on the counter. 

  

Key Season Statistics 

We shoot we score: 

image.jpeg.0a3e8ae9fdc400ce6deee5f32265514c.jpeg 

We shall not, we shall not be moved: 

 image.jpeg.021ff9f9b447b268e296860894805aef.jpeg 

How do we score? Every way. Great to see high percentage of through ball goals, lending credence to the effectiveness of an Enganche in the correct set – up: 

image.jpeg.e18f66b15e421ad131241d86e0333c6b.jpegimage.jpeg.60d5a613c18a0833b4dcdd76f35eafb6.jpeg 

And yet again, we will not be dribbling: 

image.jpeg.91e5ed8a40b7c0e41e90803a4af3169e.jpeg 

But this is what you want from an Enganche: 

image.jpeg.be9488a26c8e32a680ce3b61f59b3a3e.jpeg

 

Summary 

Through this experiment I have questioned whether success can be achieved using players in the later years of their careers. I would say the answer is a resounding YES. However, naysayers may claim that I still am utilising youth in some areas. If that is the case, I would argue this: The three players in my first XI under 32 years of age are my top scorer D. Selke, my Left Midfielder M. Friedl and the F9 J. Eggestein: These players are all inherited, have not been signed and more importantly, they do not possess an attribute pool that could not be garnered from the transfer market containing the elite over 32-year-old players.  

It is, in part, for this reason that I am continuing the save. I wish to win the league with a First XI that are over 32 years old. In addition, I wish to translate that success onto the European front. In my determination to gain domestic success, I have currently foregone any European ambitions – content to field a severely weakened second XI in order to sustain a Domestic challenge. The push for dual honours should make the ‘Golden Oldies’ challenge even more rewarding. These then are my ongoing goals: 

  • Finish building the ‘Golden Oldies’, ensuring the entire First XI is over the age of 32. 

  • Win the League and Champions league with this stipulation in place. 

Having won the league, I should see an improvement in my reputation, perhaps offering me the chance to bag a Messi or a Neymar entering the end of his career. If not this season, then it cannot be far off. It may be a couple of years, at least, until I can make those kinds of acquisitions and I do not expect my ‘Golden Oldies’ to be able to conquer Europe until these Elite player become available. Until then, I am looking forward to persisting with a 3412 that can only get stronger as I add more suitable players to the squad. 

Time to play. 

As always, all feedback is welcome and appreciated. 

could you make your tactic available for download?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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@lipebtavaresAll of the tactics I use and develop are constantly shifting and are not suitable for plug n play downloading. This includes the 3412 that I have been using, which is subject to slight tactical changes on a game - to - game basis depending upon the strengths and weaknesses the opposition.

What I suggest, is that you could incorporate some of the ideas I have used in my tactical creation sections to implement your own tactical design whilst making the most of the players at your disposable.

I hope this helps.

 

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21 minutes ago, toshimitzou1 said:

@lipebtavaresAll of the tactics I use and develop are constantly shifting and are not suitable for plug n play downloading. This includes the 3412 that I have been using, which is subject to slight tactical changes on a game - to - game basis depending upon the strengths and weaknesses the opposition.

What I suggest, is that you could incorporate some of the ideas I have used in my tactical creation sections to implement your own tactical design whilst making the most of the players at your disposable.

I hope this helps.

 

in this case I wouldn’t use it as a plug play, it was to have an outline for my team. He understands?

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1 hour ago, lipebtavares said:

in this case I wouldn’t use it as a plug play, it was to have an outline for my team. He understands?

All you need is what is shown in the screenshot. The team instructions are laid out and I do not use any opposition instructions; player instructions are again, dependent on the upcoming matches.

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Hi,

I'm reading this with pleasure and as I'm currently managing with Bochum in Germany I decide to give it a try, because what you said above is right, most of the german teams are playing 4-2-3-1 and when they're sitting deep it's hart to break. First seven games were 4 wins and 3 draws. I score a lot of goals, which I like of course. On the other side I see a lot of counter against me, that's why I decide to user deeper line of engagement. What I also can see is a very high decrease of condition during the match. After 60 minutes a lot of my players have a "red heart". Which is clear, because of the high pressing and the wide areas on the pitch the team has to cover. I don't get a lot goals against me in the last 15 minutes, so it seems to be OK. Not sure what I can do about it? 

Br

Volker

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