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How do I make my 4-2-4 more attacking?


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Hi all!

I have taken over Tottenham in my save where I have a pretty decent team in 2025. I was offered the job in January and managed to win the Carabao cup during my first 17 matches which led me to 9 wins, 4 draws and 4 losses - and with a goal scoring of 16-9.

We have played some good games winning 1-0 vs Chelsea, 1-1 away at Arsenal, 1-1 against Man Utd and only a small 0-1 loss away at Man City.

The defensive part is very good, but not the attacking part despite having two wingers and two strikers:

Harry Kane as DLF with 2 goals and 0 assists in 15 matches
Troy Parrott as AF with 6 goals and 5 assists in 17 matches
Son as IW with 0 goals and 2 assists in 10 matches
Chukwueze with as W with 3 goals and 1 assist in 11 matches

My questions are how do I get my attacking players involved in more goals - how do we score more?


 

formation.PNG

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You first need to eliminate contradictions from your tactic. For example, you on one hand use very gung-ho instructions such as direct pass, high tempo, pass into space and a high-risk team mentality, while at the same time asking players to work ball into box, which is a clear contradiction. Not to mention how your extremely aggressive defensive instructions actually reduce the space that is needed for the style of play implied by your in-possession TIs. 

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Posted (edited)

I would like to add following suggestions:

  • Kane is a CF and star of this team. Reducing his options with a DLF role is not a wise move for me.
  • Using an AP in a 2 CM combination is a high risk. I would prefer a role which supports attack & defence like CMs/BBMs.
  • Son suits more to IFs. Also you use a WB behind him so IFs can be better. Additionally IF-CF combination is stronger than IW-DLF and suits more to direct football.
  • Right flank wide attacker can play on attack duty to stretch opponent's defence. Because right flank has low penetration.
  • More direct passing with higher tempo is a huge risk and can cause too many lose balls. Consider decreasing one to counter this issue.
  • Work ball into box is needless with a direct long ball system. It can be used but with what reason? ... for slowing attack speed against deep defending sides, but there is no reason to use it against every opponent.
  • This tactic naturally suits counter-counter press combo for its huge number of attackers.

 

I want to add these:

  • If LOE level is lower than DL, it suits more to short plays.
  • If DL level is lower than LOE; it suits more to direct plays. 
Edited by zabyl
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18 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

You first need to eliminate contradictions from your tactic. For example, you on one hand use very gung-ho instructions such as direct pass, high tempo, pass into space and a high-risk team mentality, while at the same time asking players to work ball into box, which is a clear contradiction. Not to mention how your extremely aggressive defensive instructions actually reduce the space that is needed for the style of play implied by your in-possession TIs. 

This isn't an outright contradiction... it would seem more of a potential compliment... build up direct and at a high tempo. But, if you get to the attacking third and there aren't obvious opportunities, slow and let the rest of the team catch up.

Although all those TIs are part of "in possession" they are in different parts of "in possession". Passing/tempo is part of build up, while work ball into box is part of final third.

Not saying the passing/tempo stuff doesn't affect final third, only that they aren't wholly overlapping TIs

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Posted (edited)

You're already extremely attacking just by picking that formation. With those TIs it's even more. To me it seems way too much as it is.

IMO the main reason you are doing well defensively and not doing well offensively is because you are playing too offensively by pushing all your players up and heavily pressing, strangling the opposition of any possession, whilst denying yourself space to attack. Gegenpressing may be all the rage but for me, it makes very little tactical sense.

It may seem counterintuitive but against weaker opposition you want them to have the ball so that when they make a mistake, which they will, it will usually be made in midfield. When that turnover happens there's a load of space in behind to attack in transition. Pushed up like this, you have no transition. It's just camp and ping crosses and long shots and hope to break through a parked bus. It's inefficient. Against stronger opposition, it can be effective to gegenpress to try to prevent them from taking advantage of their superior quality on the ball, but using a 4-2-4 for it is unlikely to be successful because they will break your press and score and you won't have enough men back or who even want to get back to defend. And to expect Tottenham's squad to play this way is asking a lot. They just don't have the stamina or work rate generally to do it for 90 mins or consistently throughout the season.

IMO managing Tottenham you need to work out how to tone everything down to a tactic you use for most matches that is designed to beat weaker teams in a way that takes risks on the ball and gets men moving off the ball around the park to create chances but doesn't strangle the opposition or fail to cover adequately for counter attacks. Start with a 4-4-1-1, 4-1-4-1 or wide 4-3-3 or use a 4-4-2 narrow diamond which are all formations your squad is suited to. The fact you have Son Min Heung, an inside forward, should tell you that playing 2 strikers is not going to be a thing unless you make him one of them, because using wide men who cut in doesn't make sense in space already occupied by 2 strikers. By not using wide attacking midfielders you make yourself more solid defensively and also give yourself more space to attack in transition, while your shape in the final third ends up being that of a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 anyway.

Edited by Domus Clamantium
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Posted (edited)
On 08/05/2021 at 05:10, Domus Clamantium said:

 The fact you have Son Min Heung, an inside forward, should tell you that playing 2 strikers is not going to be a thing unless you make him one of them, because using wide men who cut in doesn't make sense in space already occupied by 2 strikers. By not using wide attacking midfielders you make yourself more solid defensively and also give yourself more space to attack in transition, while your shape in the final third ends up being that of a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 anyway.

I get that in theory, but in practice one IW can and does work in a 424, but it should be as support in my opinion. Not sure about IF though, anyway I'd use Son at AF probably. In my system the IW slots between the AF and DLP(d) with the WB keeping the width,

I'm using a 424 system in my Real Madrid save, in my second season right now. Obviously I have a better team, but I had trouble finding the right roles and TI's for the formation at the start as well, but now it's working great and I just lost my first points of the season with about 7 league games left to go and am still in all cups. I find that a DLP(d) is key to making a possession heavy 424 work, because it's not a possession oriented formation. You need that outlet deep to recycle the ball.

 

 

 

AF DLF(a)/F9

IW(s) DLP(d) BBM W(a)

WB(s) BPD(d) CB(d) WB(s)

 

Kane plays dlf on the right, Asensio plays F9. Both are doing really well.

 

WB's have shoot less and mark tighter, BBM has take more risks (because I am using good passers there).

 

Positive, shorter passing, work ball into box (often take this out or turn it on in the middle of the game, depends how the game is going), counter press, distribute to defenders, play out of defense, higher LOI, higher d. line, more urgent pressing, deny short option. You will get a lot of corners with this tactic so having a good corner taker and routine is key. I'm just aiming near post with both my cb's there, one attacking one lurking, works fantastic.

 

Only two players are below 7,0 rating, Moukoko (first season and he is very young at 16-17) and Zaniolo who has mostly been a sub. AF gets the most goals obviously, but all the top 4 and the BBM get a good amount of goals and assists.

 

Edited by Puluzu
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When making your choice about wether to play an IF or IW you have to keep in mind that their behavior is quite different from each other.

IF is looking to drift inside and act more like a creative striker when your team is in possession. Also he is looking to Cut inside with the ball. 

So while the IF is drifting inside to act as a striker the IW will stay wide until he gets the ball and then cuts inside.

Also in general the cut inside playing style is favorable for attacking playing styles, as it is creating movement in the final third to open up space elsewhere. So I don’t see players instructed to cut inside not work in a 4-2-4 system.

I would still prefer the IW over the IF in that system as adding another Striker (IF) to the central attack might just be too much.

 

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Thanks for all of your help!

I know, my tactic is a bit contradictory. And I did notice the "work ball into box", but my results were pretty good despite not scoring as much as I would like to.

I have now changed it a bit and after three Premier League games in the beginning of a new season I have won all three! It was 4-2 vs Man Utd (H), 2-1 vs Everton (A) and 2-1 vs Aston Villa (H). And then a 3-0 win against a team in the Conference League qualification. So far so good. I may tweak it a bit more if results will go the wrong way.

Here's what I changed:

- AML changed to Inside Forward (attack)
- I lowered the press line by one notch
- I lowered the defensive line by one notch

After this Son (left IF) has now scored 2 in 2 and Parrott (AF) has scored 4 in 3 + 2 assists.

I can't wait for my kids to go to sleep tonight so I can continue this save!

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