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La Dea in Europe!

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Gian Piero Gasperini has brought Atalanta to back to back 3rd place finishes in the Serie A, and back to back champions league knockout rounds. Gasperini has employed an expansive attacking brand of football, while also making Atalanta one of the highest pressing sides in Europe. His biggest success, however, has not been his tactics, but his man management and developments of his players. Papu Gomez, Robin Gosens, and Josip Illicic all used to be serviceable top division players around Europe, but Gasperini has now turned them into top players. Papu has since left for greener pastures in Spain, but Atalanta’s momentum hasn’t stopped. 

Defensive Structure:

Gasperini employs a fairly traditional Italian 3-4-1-2 formation when defending. However, the way Atalanta defend is far from traditional. They employ an extreme pressing game, and man mark very tightly. This is fairly unusual for high pressing sides. Most high-pressing sides such as Leipzig and Liverpool most often press in a zone. Top clubs use the Pep philosophy of the 20 half spaces on a football pitch, and they press those zones accordingly.


Gasperini is very similar to Pep, in the ways that he sees the game in half spaces. In football, there are 5 stratas to play in. The defensive one, where the 3 center backs for Atalanta do their bidding. Then, the DM strata, where the wingbacks preside, and they often mark the wingers, expansive wingbacks, or midfielders and strikers that like to drift wide. Then, there is the midfield strata, where the two central midfielders press the opposition midfield in order to regain possession. Then, the AM strata, where the attacking midfielder links the press between defenders and midfielders, trying to trap the ball in the opposition third. Finally, the attacking strata, where the target man, and striker press the defense extensively. 



In possession, Atalanta is calm, and wait for the right time to make their move. The defenders often play between each other, the wingbacks and the two deep central midfielders. The strikers, attacking midfielder, and more forward central midfielder, all operate at different heights of attack, creating a possession ladder of sorts.


While they play from the back, the wingbacks and the striker attack spaces of the pitch to create chaos to make possession easier to maintain. Most importantly, is the wingplay. The wingbacks are the most essential part of the game for Atalanta. The striker and midfielder on the ball side, will drift wide to create overloads and this will often result in a 3 on 2, with Atalanta having a wingback, midfielder, and striker against a wingback and center back.


The crossing is the main threat here, with most of Atalanta’s goals coming from crosses. This also includes set pieces, Atalanta are one of Europe's most successful sides from Corners and Free kicks. During the attacks, the deepest midfielder often drops deep, and the wide center backs move to where the wingbacks originally operate. This creates a back four, while the rest of the players are free to attack.

How this translates into FM:



Wide Center Backs: Stay Wider, This allows for the 'Overlapping Center Back' phenomena that is so famous on these forums. The center backs move when the wing backs bomb forward, and take their place.

Cover Center Back: Hold Position, I want him to stay fully central all the time, and I do not want him drifting to midfield.

Wingbacks: Cross Aim Back Post, Stay Wider, These PI's are meant to encourage the overloads that Atalanta so often create.

Central Midfielders: Stay Wider, Same thing as the wingbacks, this is meant for them to occupy the half space in-between the center of midfield and the right wing.

Strikers: Stay Wider, Same as the Central Midfielders.

Writing this has been a blast, so expect results from the first couple of games soon!

And the pictures are thanks to Spielverlagerung 

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1 hour ago, Robbe8 said:

Did you make the two bpd to go forward ? 

No, I tried that in an earlier save and it led to a lot of chances for the opposition

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