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Repairing a 3-4-3


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Along with many others, inspired by Graham Potter's Brighton and Tuchel's Chelsea, I wanted to build an effective 3-4-3. I've planned a tactic, bought players for it over the course of the last season since I took over, but I can't get results. My team is predicted to finish 13th by the media , but right now after 6 games, we have 2 points, and no signs pointing to us moving in the right direction.

Spoiler

1248665019_ScreenShot2021-09-12at11_17_07PM.thumb.png.c59524a68ec4bd27d97fe63f06d57279.png

The tactic is attached here:

Spoiler

453955245_ScreenShot2021-09-12at11_09_18PM.png.49255a44d51a96dae435bb81520c2503.png

I can also explain my thoughts behind the tactic.

I want to play short, progressive football (so original I know), with the team passing their way through each level of the opposition's defense. I've been able to achieve this fairly well with 4-3-3s in the past, but this time the 3-4-3 has proved difficult. 

Mentality: Balanced; My team is not good enough to dominate the game through all the elements that come with a higher mentality, but I don't want the negative behaviors of a lower mentality, so that is why I chose balanced.

Roles: 

     -      I want to build out of defense, so the left and right CBs have 'Stay Wider' to form the modern spread out back three often seen in today's game. The defenders I have are capable of performing this, and are in the ball-playing defender mold.

     -     The two CMs are generic, as I didn't know what role to use, but the right CM is a more conservative player, whereas the left CM has 'Gets Further Forward' (something the AI seems to train onto any semi-athletic player once you get into the regen era). To pair with this, the left wingback is a slightly less attacking player to make up for the more attacking LCM, and vice versa on the right. Below are the CMs, in case better roles can be applied.

Spoiler

LCM:

1543039157_ScreenShot2021-09-12at11_53_00PM.thumb.png.d61798751c6daa69fc54f2270e20e861.png

RCM:

957628563_ScreenShot2021-09-12at11_53_10PM.thumb.png.1322b42b1eb931987743780eb7614467.png 

     -     Lastly, the attacking roles are my biggest question mark. I wanted a striker to drop deep and link play, with a player filling the space to score. Also, I was noticing that teams running a front 3 in real life tend to couple that supporting striker and scoring winger with a creative force off the wing (a la Mount or Trossard), hence the AP. If a change in team shape (ex. 3-4-2-1 or 3-4-1-2) is needed in order to help the attack function better, I would definitely consider switching formation. My players are versatile across the front line and can switch positions easily. My Inside Forward is my worst player (honestly, hardly a championship level player) but I have no real goal scorers on this team, so he has to make do. It is priority number one for the next transfer window, but my one from last season forced his way out and I wasn't able to get a proper replacement, only a backup for the future (not shown here).

Spoiler

Inside Forward:

357205792_ScreenShot2021-09-12at11_54_31PM.thumb.png.59bbbc2f3298b88be57e84e0b1e49c1e.png

 

Advanced Playmaker:

491852293_ScreenShot2021-09-12at11_54_05PM.thumb.png.b1e56e2fdfe5693c901c5e5640550582.png

Complete Forward:

798388831_ScreenShot2021-09-12at11_54_39PM.thumb.png.5a167869e422cd7c683ff12343fd8f64.png

Instructions: Most of the instructions are self-explanatory to building a possession style out of a balanced mentality, and get stuck in is since my team is generally more aggressive and better tacklers than the average of the Premier League, so I thought it may give me an advantage. I also realize counter-press is risky as a lower half team, but I often win the possession battle, and am mostly beat off of being passed through rather than over due to a failed counter press, so I stick with it.

 

Any help would be appreciated, as I would love to take this style and use it to stay up in the premier league, rather than using a makeshift tactic to grind out results for the next season or two, in order to build a stronger team. 

Thanks!

 

Edited by dcayton9
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I'm no expert but a couple things I see:

 

WB (a) and AP (a) don't feel like a natural pairing. CWB and Treq might work better together. Could also try an IWB on that side.

When I've used three at the back instead of asking the DCs to stay wide I've used the team instruction (I think it's force opposition inside or something) to excellent effect.

Might also experiment with using Sortelle as a BWM, it's a fantastic role that has often really unlocked tactics for me. 

Just my $0.02

Spoiler
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I'd honestly just change the right WB to S rather than attack, he can then help support your front 3 from a little deeper & help provide cover down that flank 

Edited by Johnny Ace
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7 saat önce, dcayton9 said:

The two CMs are generic, as I didn't know what role to use, but the right CM is a more conservative player, whereas the left CM has 'Gets Further Forward' (something the AI seems to train onto any semi-athletic player once you get into the regen era). To pair with this, the left wingback is a slightly less attacking player to make up for the more attacking LCM, and vice versa on the right. Below are the CMs, in case better roles can be applied.

For the beginning; I'll start to explain things from CM pair. 3-4-3 formation has 2 "CM"s who should be responsible for helping both attack & defence. This is the key aspect of success for this shape. Those two players need quality to be hardworkers of this shape. One helps defence more and one helps attack more but they are both responsible for both sides of the game.

 

7 saat önce, dcayton9 said:

1543039157_ScreenShot2021-09-12at11_53_00PM.thumb.png.d61798751c6daa69fc54f2270e20e861.png

This player lacks workrate, aggression and bravery to do the job 3-4-3 needs from "CM"s.

 

7 saat önce, dcayton9 said:

957628563_ScreenShot2021-09-12at11_53_10PM.thumb.png.1322b42b1eb931987743780eb7614467.png 

This player also lacks workrate and bravery to do the job 3-4-3 needs from "CM"s.

These two are main issues. 

 

Now it is time to look your tactics...

 

7 saat önce, dcayton9 said:

453955245_ScreenShot2021-09-12at11_09_18PM.png.49255a44d51a96dae435bb81520c2503.png

Thomas Tuchel uses 3-4-2-1 or 3-4-1-2 against different sides. But you can adapt it with this way. Your pressing is somewhat passive for Tuchel's style. I didn't understand why you didn't increase pressing one level higher. This is a passive pressing type for the style you would like to adapt.

Do you think Tuchel uses a narrow attacking width when they overload flanks? I don't suggest using a narrow attacking width for the style you want to play. Both your wide attackers cut inside also.  Then why you congest the play to little central space and restrict players' abilities more with narrow attacking width? I don't propose using narrow attacking width to replicate Tuchel. Don't use an attacking width TI when you are not sure what it affects.

 

Roles and duties are fine. You can add roam from position to both your wide attackers to create space more and replicate Havertz/Pulisic - Mount/Ziyech movement. Also Havertz's movement is more like RMD than IF if you use him on LW. If on LCAM, in that case it is SS.

 

Edited by zabyl
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hace 2 horas, zabyl dijo:

This player lacks workrate, aggression and bravery to do the job 3-4-3 needs from "CM"s.

What is a good base number in the attributes for top tier leagues? 14?

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2 hours ago, zabyl said:

For the beginning; I'll start to explain things from CM pair. 3-4-3 formation has 2 "CM"s who should be responsible for helping both attack & defence. This is the key aspect of success for this shape. Those two players need quality to be hardworkers of this shape. One helps defence more and one helps attack more but they are both responsible for both sides of the game.

I will focus on hard-working midfielders in future recruitment, but for now put Sortelle on BWM like @st.cronin suggested. I also will remove get stuck in due to the clear bravery issues, but also, I don't think the stats of those two players make it impossible to play a 2 man midfield with them right now. I did not think about the work rate stat heavily so thanks for bringing it to my attention. 

Side question: What does work rate do that isn't covered by determination, stamina, or the consistency hidden attribute? They all seem to affect how a player plays at top level but I'm not sure what it specifically does.

Quote

Thomas Tuchel uses 3-4-2-1 or 3-4-1-2 against different sides. But you can adapt it with this way. Your pressing is somewhat passive for Tuchel's style. I didn't understand why you didn't increase pressing one level higher. This is a passive pressing type for the style you would like to adapt.

Do you think Tuchel uses a narrow attacking width when they overload flanks? I don't suggest using a narrow attacking width for the style you want to play. Both your wide attackers cut inside also.  Then why you congest the play to little central space and restrict players' abilities more with narrow attacking width? I don't propose using narrow attacking width to replicate Tuchel. Don't use an attacking width TI when you are not sure what it affects.

I will increase the pressing. My original idea was keeping a solid shape in defense while the counter press instruction would do the heavy lifting in counter-press situations after losing the ball.

Attacking with I admit I'm not sure what I'm doing with it. I chose narrow because I wanted the wide forwards making more explicit movement inside, closer passes for effective counter-pressing, and less speculative crosses from the wingbacks. Would keeping standard width allow effective counter-pressing and half-space movement from wide players? If so I'll make the switch definitely. Alternatively I can switch to two AMCs on normal width, if that is a better set-up

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40 minutes ago, bosque said:

What is a good base number in the attributes for top tier leagues? 14?

Yeah 14 is a good number to work from.  In this system, you will want your CMs to be all-rounders, but they absolutely must have good work rate, positioning and bravery.  Personally I would want the work rate at least 14, positioning at least 13 and bravery at least 12, ideally 13/14, but it can be compromised on if the player is exceptional in other areas.

In the case of Agoume, I'm not sure how I feel about one of your CMs having "gets forward whenever possible".  I think you need both of them to be fairly sensible and offer good passing options to the CBs and WBs and then only look to make a move forward once you've created overloads and have the opposition pinned back.

Imo, 343 is very hard to get working in FM21.  My best successes have come with 2 AMs rather than 2 wide forwards.  If you have the players I recommend you try more of a 5-2-2-1.

Edited by LHurlz
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18 minutes ago, LHurlz said:

In the case of Agoume, I'm not sure how I feel about one of your CMs having "gets forward whenever possible". 

I am not a fan of this either, but he had it trained on him when I bought him. I don't know if it's just my save or a problem with how the CPU trains, but I simulated 10 or so years into the future before playing this save, and by then, every physically capable CM (regen or real) seems to have that trait trained on him. It's very frustrating.

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2 saat önce, bosque said:

What is a good base number in the attributes for top tier leagues? 14?

For top level leagues as you said, a top level number for that attribute at least 16 for workrate.

 

1 saat önce, dcayton9 said:

Side question: What does work rate do that isn't covered by determination, stamina, or the consistency hidden attribute? They all seem to affect how a player plays at top level but I'm not sure what it specifically does.

What it specifically does: 

workrate.png.60fd5b4a0b302e56a7f4efd3e2640b9a.png

 

 

1 saat önce, dcayton9 said:

My original idea was keeping a solid shape in defense while the counter press instruction would do the heavy lifting in counter-press situations after losing the ball.

If you don't believe your team to win the ball with counter-pressing than don't use it. It is a risky TI.

 

 

1 saat önce, dcayton9 said:

Would keeping standard width allow effective counter-pressing and half-space movement from wide players?

Of course. There is no definite rule to use counter-press with narrow attacking width. Sometimes using narrow attacking width with some formations which have good field spread can be a bad idea. This formation is one of them. Because your attacking shape is 3-2-5. Narrow attacking width can congest your "CM"s into a small space and this can give the opposition a huge space to exploit between "CM"s and touchline when the ball is lost.

 

1 saat önce, dcayton9 said:

Alternatively I can switch to two AMCs on normal width, if that is a better set-up

There is no need to change your formation. You can create similar movements with different formations.

Edited by zabyl
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  1. Bad results can be caused by a lot of things unrelated to the tactic, especially at the beginning of seasons.
  2. You said your worst player was your IF(a), but that's such a vital role here that I think you are playing to your weaknesses rather than your strengths. That said, what are your team's strengths? Try and capitalize on your best players by giving them feature roles.
  3. Two CM(s) players feels a bit stale. You have your playmaker on the wing, which is fine, but then I would want someone getting forward from the middle to provide an outlet from the playmaker. Maybe that's putting one of the wingbacks on IWB(a), maybe it's a CM(a) or MEZ(a), or maybe it's ditching the wide playmaker altogether and giving that duty to one of your central midfielders.
  4. Consider using a libero. Three at the back can be pretty stale in FM, and a libero helps spice it up a little.
  5. I know people can win with Balanced mentality, but in the last few versions of FM, I think it's just plain easier to win with more aggressive mentalities and pressing.
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I think a big problem here is you are creating very disjointed attacks. When you create chances your getting them on target which is all you can really ask but you aren't creating anywhere near enough.

Your Striker is a CF on support meaning he will drop into the gap and then probably look to work the ball to your AP.

Your LW is on IF so will cut inside and will probably wind up somewhere between the RB and RCB when playing against a 4  and basically on the RCB against a 3/5

Your RW is on AP will look to pick up the ball run at the defence cut inside but will try not to shoot or cross so he's going to look for a killer pass.

your CF only has 13 pace will he be in a position to be on the end of the pass? There will be 2 or 3 CBs between the RW and the LW can you realistically expect him to consistently make that pass?

I would put your CF on attack to give yourselves the additional option and shift your RW into an AMC role because he can't cross or shoot. This would mean you wind up with an asymetrical formation maybe shifting one of your CMs to Mez to help cover the right flank might be needed to make it actually function

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After taking your responses into account, I've developed a tactic that I think works to have more bodies in the box in attack, but also maintain defensive solidity. 

1959704472_ScreenShot2021-09-13at5_52_54PM.thumb.png.17a88bc49cc475b31135d4d6b5b129f3.png

 

Per @Overmars, I raised the mentality to positive, but also thought about my team's strengths and decided to adjust the individual duties. My CF is the best of the front three, and can do it all, so CF (attack) seemed like a logical choice as a focal point (thanks @dactz), whereas the IF is now on support, in order to attack the box from a deeper position and the advanced playmaker also is on support so that his risks aren't as extreme, resulting in lost possession in the final third.

Also, per @st.cronin, I've put RCM as a BWM on defend, meaning he doesn't have to cover as much of the pitch due to his lower work rate, and covers more effectively for the attacking wingback. The LCM is staying on CM (support) though I'd like to change him to BBM, but I don't think Agoume has the Work Rate or Off the Ball to make that role work to the highest capability, but his 'Gets Further Forwards' will get him moving forwards, with the BWM covering in the midfield. Also, the libero is now coming out from deep as an option for the BWM to pass to after winning the ball back in midfield, but the AP on support can also act as an option as well.

Lastly, I've removed counter-pressing but upped the overall level of pressing, as @zabyl suggested. As much as I'd like to win the ball back immediately, I don't think my team can effectively do it at the level they're at now, so after a few more transfer windows I might look to add it. 

I'm playing for the first time since posting this thread, so I'll try and play to the midway point of the season (or a firing, whichever comes first) and then add an update on how it's going.

Edited by dcayton9
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey there. I've just watched Football Made Simple in Youtube about Tuchel's tactic and it make me wonder, is it possible to have CM occupying AM position when in possession? If I'm not mistaken, in his analysis, Chelsea defended with two up top while mount drop deeper into midfield. If I'm to translate it to FM then I will start with 5-3-2. But in order to have a 3-2-5 in possession, I would need one of the CM to push higher. The first role that came into mind is Mezzala but he is a aggressive presser.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back with an update! I haven't had the most time to play lately, but the season is all wrapped up and I'm 13 games into a new one. I barely eked out survival, finishing 16th, but 13 games into the new season, I'm sitting in 4th. However the results are far from pretty. 

Spoiler

310653218_ScreenShot2021-10-05at8_54_56AM.thumb.png.9a3af0dc41a8bf5642c564a243b92ef0.png

1576661283_ScreenShot2021-10-05at8_54_59AM.thumb.png.f2fa62024161f8580b9a91925e40562f.png600615622_ScreenShot2021-10-05at8_55_11AM.thumb.png.52c900fd93972fe29dee5dcaf065c7aa.png

14 goals in 13 games might be a good record for your elite striker, but for a team it's quite worrying. Also, the amount of 1-0s is stressful, as I'm terrified of conceding for the entire match. The 3-4-3, at least in it's FM21 iteration, makes chance creation tough, as I'm finding the midfield can't support the front 3 quite as well as they can in a 4-3-3, and though the flanks are wide open for the overlapping wingbacks, they often dribble into cul-de-sacs or cross directly into defenders.

1500650185_ScreenShot2021-10-05at9_19_35AM.png.03cbb78be347a4d6311b054e1046d4f7.png

The Tactic: How it has gone, and ideas of how to improve.

  • Defense: After a transfer window focused on a key defender and keeper that's excellent with his feet, playing out of the back is much easier. The Libero is necessary to get any further support from the defense, as without him, the three defenders sit all the way back and are often too far away to even cycle possession through. 
  • Midfield: I did not have a player capable of covering the ground and the intensity needed for a BWM, so for now I'm using the CM(defend) as it protects the flank effectively. Also, the BBM makes late runs into the box or gets the ball in zone 14, taking markers off of the IF.
  • Right Flank: The advanced playmaker was a little stale, immobile, and not always making the passes I was looking for, so a switch to an Inverted Winger coupled with a Complete Wingback (attack) has allowed for high flying attacks, not funneled through a single player. In fact, most of my chances created are from this side. The Complete wingback and the inverted winger also do a good job of positional switches, where one may go inside and the other stays wide.
  • Left Flank: This flank tends to be one dimensional, as the WB passes to the IF, who then attempts a dribble towards goal. It's not working great but certainly not ineffective.

Critiques and Questions:

  • Passing Types: Since the last post, I removed shorter passing, and instead moved to a higher tempo game with an emphasis on working the ball into the box. This has resulted in prettier goals, though not necessarily more goals, and certainly less possession, but sometimes, the players when not immediately finding an open pass, choose to hoof it 40 yards to the opposition's defenders. Is this a result of the passing length or the tempo? Maybe the 'decision timer' with higher tempo is running out and the player just defaults to route one, or maybe no one is supporting close enough due to the medium passing. I am not sure but if anyone knows it would be helpful.
  • Roles and duties: Obviously, it is dependent on the player (and I'd say my current roles of the attacking trio, wingbacks, and midfield fit my players) but does anyone have any suggestions on player roles that could create more goal scoring chances? My xG hovers around 1 or slightly less a game, and I know it's not sustainable. My current thoughts are:
    • Switch the LWB to Attack: This may result in more lost possession or errant crosses, but may provide more attacking thrust out of him instead of just the LW. My only concern is defensive protection on that side but this may not be a problem as I have 3 defenders.
    • Switch the IF to Attack: I'm scared of this option, as I don't like having two advanced players in a formation that already lacks some support in keeping possession. However, it might result in more movement into the box to finish off chances. 
    • Switch the CM(d) to a CM(s)/CAR(s), Libero to BPD(d): This option is not appealing, as I lose deeper support for possession along with some cover for the aggressive RWB. However, the switch to a support duty in midfield may result in more chance creation from the center, rather than just the wings. 
    • Move LW/RW to LAM/RAM: This is also something I initially considered, as it allows for more central creation, but also it causes the defensive shape to be 5-2-2-1 instead of 5-4-1, which means that often the opposition wingbacks are unmarked, as the wingbacks tend to compact with the CBs in defense defending against the inside forwards or wingers.
  • Other Suggestions: If anyone has other suggestions for improvement, please let me know! This tactic definitely is showing promise, but it needs a little more attacking momentum to achieve big things.

Bonus: With FM22 trailer and the announcement of the wide centerback, I like the future idea of this tactic becoming something like this.

Spoiler

328325795_ScreenShot2021-10-05at9_19_35AM.png.dc89758476ff472efc7f56b0ea899c4e.png

 

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Did you use LW as an attack duty role like you mentioned @dcayton9 ? If you want to reduce the risk of losing possession on the left, you can use a Treq on LW. Also a support duty sitter CM can be used on RCM with a back-3 system. You use Libero on support so this risk can be taken. If you use Libero on attack, it can increase central creativity. If you have a fine BPD, you can use him on RCB. That side lacks creativity from midfielder and winger.

Lastly, what kind of football do you want to create? This is like a fast attacking approach for me.

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1 hour ago, zabyl said:

Did you use LW as an attack duty role like you mentioned @dcayton9 ?

21 hours ago, Djecker said:

Switching IF to attack makes a lot of sense to me here.

The LW on attack I've tried, but resulted in mostly more dribbling into defenders and lost possession, also i'm always hesitant to use two players looking to be the main scoring outlet.

1 hour ago, zabyl said:

Lastly, what kind of football do you want to create? This is like a fast attacking approach for me.

Fast attacking is a pretty good description. Generally, I want to keep the ball on the ground because my players are not physical enough for direct passing relative to the rest of the league and I want to move it from back to front quickly. After a transfer window my most creative players are my LCM and RW, so I should probably put them in playmaker or attacking duties. I want to have a 3-2-5/2-3-5 shape when attacking (libero interchanging lines) and I want the creation to come from the channels, not only crosses from wingbacks. More than anything, I just want to get the 3 defender shape to work in a high scoring system.

35 minutes ago, Djeon36 said:

What role would you use if you don't have a good CF (at) would a PF or an AF work just as fine?

I wouldn't recommend trying this tactic as I haven't had incredible success, but I would think those would work, as long as you're looking for the striker to be the focal point. There's a thread on a Brighton system that uses a pressing forward and similar instructions that the author had a lot of success I think.

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34 dakika önce, dcayton9 said:

Fast attacking is a pretty good description. Generally, I want to keep the ball on the ground because my players are not physical enough for direct passing relative to the rest of the league and I want to move it from back to front quickly. After a transfer window my most creative players are my LCM and RW, so I should probably put them in playmaker or attacking duties. I want to have a 3-2-5/2-3-5 shape when attacking (libero interchanging lines) and I want the creation to come from the channels, not only crosses from wingbacks. More than anything, I just want to get the 3 defender shape to work in a high scoring system.

I would use one of the two narrower attacking width options as there are no AMC and DMC on 3-4-3 WB. This can help your team's passing, decrease crossing and make more creative central attacking football. I prefer using narrow attacking width options for dual flank and no DM-no AM tactics. And this tactic has two wing backs which can provide enough width on narrow width options. Think about that. Maybe attacking width is your keystone to create something special.

Edited by zabyl
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If your problem is scoring goals, I always think spreading the burden is a good idea. I use at least one wide player with an attack duty in addition to a lone forward. W(a), IW(a) etc.

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