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Wigan - as useful up-front as a damp pie!


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I've just finished the first season of a save with Wigan.   The board expectation is to battle bravely against relegation.

We started the season well but December and January were woeful (lost 9, drawn 3, won 4). February and March were good (won 8, drawn 2, lost 2).  Then for the last eight games of the season, we've won just one, drawn two and lost the rest.  We have over-achieved by finishing 9th so I've smashed that board requirement but not one to play "entertaining football".  We managed 47 goals, putting us joint 15th in the league.  We also conceded 47 which ranked 9th, so we've not been too bad defensively.

Given the financial woes at the start, there's wasn't much scope for sorting out the squad.  I didn't feel there was much strength at DM and the squad seemed to have a lot of AM L/C/R players, so I went with a 4-2-3-1:

626479947_Wigan-4-2-3-1Tactic.thumb.png.fc834b3c9ee66d553c4cee9f6322d4bc.png

The striker and AMC roles have been a headache all season and just not seemed to work.  I've tried assorted combinations including SS and DLF or the striker being a P/AF/PF

Some notes / thoughts:

  • As an expected whipping boy, I stayed with a Balanced mentality.
  • The first choice right FB has 16 pace and "Gets Forward Whenever Possible", so an ideal FB(A) to overlap past the AMR to add width and a late attacking threat from deep
  • Left FB should support attacks but stay closer to the CDs for defensive duties
  • CM(D) is on the right to add cover for the FB(A) being caught upfield and act as the recycling point during attacks.
  • The CAR was originally a DLP(S) but I felt having two players in the centre with the PI "Hold Position" was too static.  The Carrilelo has more movement but I expected it to stay deeper than a BBM given we are top heavy in the first place.
  • As the in-game notes say, the AM(A) should create chances for others but also supplement the attack - I'm expecting him to score some goals and also feed the central striker.  Performances have been mixed - in 6 games, 2 assists and one goal but 3 performances were rated 6.4, 6.3 and 6.3 so not great. 
  • The IF(A) has been utterly rubbish all season.  Zach Clough has an average rating of 6.30 for the last five games and only scored four goals in the league all season (two of which were penalties!).  Assists aren't much better at 5 - at least 3 of them were set pieces.  Even when we've won matches, the IF (not just Clough) often seems to be rated sub 6.5.
  • IW(S) comes inside to allow the FB to overlap and also create chances for the central striker and IF, or perhaps a pull-back for the AMC.  Well, they should create chances but the two players I've used there most this season have 0 and 2 assists in the league!
  • As mentioned above, I put the central striker a Poacher to, erm, score more goals.  I have a nagging idea they still lack support at times but that should be a strength of a 4-2-3-1 right?  The AM(A) and IF(A) shouldn't be that far from them.  PF(A) or AF didn't seem to do much better (I also felt that, as the description for an AF says they should create chances, they could be goal focused given the players who should be getting the ball to them in the right place/time).  The starter in the last five games (as a Poacher) has scored once, average rating 6.46!
  • Shorter passing is added as I wanted to play a patient possession game - wait but then some quick passing to cut through the defence.  At times we'll have lots of possession but can't do much with the ball once close to the opposition area.  We lost 2-1 to Crewe but had 67% possession, 15 shots but only 3 on target (5 blocked, 7 off-target, 2 saved, 1 goal)
  • Short distribution from the GK adds to building from the back - we don't have big players up front, so long-balls forward tended to be wasted and just give the ball away

Alternatives to the IF(A) has been a conundrum.  I expect/want a decent number of goals, so I've not used an IW(A).  I don't think the players have the ability to start using "flashy" roles like a RAM or Treq.

My general observation would be we can build play nicely.  Then we either seem to be trying to create the perfect goal (see below - only 3 of 40 shots in the box scored) and blocked shots seem common.  Or, the ball goes out wide to somebody in space (eg the FB(A) but they delay crossing for way too long and its yet another corner when the ball bounces off the covering defender.

1279640755_Wigan-4-2-3-1-PoorChances.png.5ab2a447be45ce274d2fd438a88ee553.png

I would very much like to hear thoughts on adding some bite to the attack (to score more!) and address the need to play entertaining football.

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Ah, the 4-2-3-1, one on my favourites

You're not looking too bad there at all, your TI's, defence & midfield all look sound

Lets try & sort out your front 4

First off, I started a dedicated AMC thread where I played around with various AMC roles, mostly in a 4-2-3-1 so have a look to see if you can pick anything up:

Because you have two wide players that will be running inwards you might be better off with an AMC on Support so not to cram the penalty area with players. As you're set up, you have 4 players trying to attack the box & they'll all bring defending players with them & just clog up play

Having your AMC on support will mostly have him hanging around on the edge of the box, when you attack, looking to play in your P, IF & IW . He'll give  the penalty area a bit of breathing space rather than rush into it. Your choice of having a CAR(S) in CM also backs this up so think of him as your "central" support player

AM(S) with PIs that suit your AMC is a good choice here for overall play, an AP(S) if he's a fantastic creator, an Enganche if he's old & slow but with skill , a Treq(A) might work with the right player. 

AMC's are difficult to set up to be the star of the show (too difficult IMO) but even if he's not wracking up goals & assists, he's still a body up the pitch putting pressure on the other team team & supporting attacks 

With having a number 9 striker, the Poacher, in your line-up, having an IF on Attack kinda stands on his toes ie having two roles trying to be the number 9. Having him on support, he's more likely to look for teammates & open up chances in the final third. Don't worry, even on Support he'll still have a go & goal given half a chance 

Never been a fan of the Poacher either myself, always found him to be better off with a strike partner, a PF(A) or AF(A) here might be a better choice of role, make him a bit more mobile & involved

Let us know if you make any changes & how you get on :thup:

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  • How do you want your team to use the ball?
  • What are your attacking plans?
  • Do they involve AMa / IFa / Pa?
  • Does AMa get enough balls?
  • Does IFa get enough balls?
  • Does Pa get enough balls?
  • You are building up play and your defenders send a pass to RFB. Then RFB sends a pass to RCM. Can RCM send a pass to another player than CAR?
  • Let's suppose RCM sends the ball to CAR. Who can CAR send a pass? RCM is behind... LW & CAM are gone. RFB & RW are far away. Only LFB if he pushes forward a little or CAR will take the risk to send the ball another player.

Do you consider those things when you set roles/duties?

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44 minutes ago, Johnny Ace said:

Ah, the 4-2-3-1, one on my favourites

You're not looking too bad there at all, your TI's, defence & midfield all look sound

Lets try & sort out your front 4

First off, I started a dedicated AMC thread where I played around with various AMC roles, mostly in a 4-2-3-1 so have a look to see if you can pick anything up:

Because you have two wide players that will be running inwards you might be better off with an AMC on Support so not to cram the penalty area with players. As you're set up, you have 4 players trying to attack the box & they'll all bring defending players with them & just clog up play

Having your AMC on support will mostly have him hanging around on the edge of the box, when you attack, looking to play in your P, IF & IW . He'll give  the penalty area a bit of breathing space rather than rush into it. Your choice of having a CAR(S) in CM also backs this up so think of him as your "central" support player

AM(S) with PIs that suit your AMC is a good choice here for overall play, an AP(S) if he's a fantastic creator, an Enganche if he's old & slow but with skill , a Treq(A) might work with the right player. 

AMC's are difficult to set up to be the star of the show (too difficult IMO) but even if he's not wracking up goals & assists, he's still a body up the pitch putting pressure on the other team team & supporting attacks 

With having a number 9 striker, the Poacher, in your line-up, having an IF on Attack kinda stands on his toes ie having two roles trying to be the number 9. Having him on support, he's more likely to look for teammates & open up chances in the final third. Don't worry, even on Support he'll still have a go & goal given half a chance 

Never been a fan of the Poacher either myself, always found him to be better off with a strike partner, a PF(A) or AF(A) here might be a better choice of role, make him a bit more mobile & involved

Let us know if you make any changes & how you get on :thup:

Thanks for the suggestions / thoughts.  Will have a read on the AMC topic with a brew later.

If I change the AML from IF(A) to IF(S) and the AMC to either AP(S) or Enganche, does leave a lack of runners / penetration with the existing two CMs being on defend and support?

I'll get a screenshot but Doughty could suit an Enganche well as he's not very athletic (9 pace, 8 acceleration) but is possibly the best passer (passing / vision / technique) in the squad.  I'll also review the striker options and re-consider PF or AF once I've had another look over the players.

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3 minutes ago, zabyl said:
  • How do you want your team to use the ball?
  • What are your attacking plans?
  • Do they involve AMa / IFa / Pa?
  • Does AMa get enough balls?
  • Does IFa get enough balls?
  • Does Pa get enough balls?
  • You are building up play and your defenders send a pass to RFB. Then RFB sends a pass to RCM. Can RCM send a pass to another player than CAR?
  • Let's suppose RCM sends the ball to CAR. Who can CAR send a pass? RCM is behind... LW & CAM are gone. RFB & RW are far away. Only LFB if he pushes forward a little or CAR will take the risk to send the ball another player.

Do you consider those things when you set roles/duties?

Good questions - thank you.  Will have a think - I suspect I'll need to go back over the recent matches and look at the individual player stats to answer if the AM/IF are getting any balls.  A quick look at the form for Lang (Poacher) says in the last two matches, 0 shots attempted so service is an issue to be solved!

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25 minutes ago, Harpoon76 said:

Thanks for the suggestions / thoughts.  Will have a read on the AMC topic with a brew later.

If I change the AML from IF(A) to IF(S) and the AMC to either AP(S) or Enganche, does leave a lack of runners / penetration with the existing two CMs being on defend and support?

I'll get a screenshot but Doughty could suit an Enganche well as he's not very athletic (9 pace, 8 acceleration) but is possibly the best passer (passing / vision / technique) in the squad.  I'll also review the striker options and re-consider PF or AF once I've had another look over the players.

You should be alright, you're playing on Balanced so nothing will be rushed but you should have plenty of options going forward 

Yeah post him up, he may have some PPMs we can marry with his role 

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Here's Doughty.  Very average physically - not sure if his sole PPM of Dictates Tempo is good for a playmaker in the AMC slot or not (good for a DLP type player I'd expect)

Spoiler

1398218510_MichaelDoughty_Profile.thumb.png.b07a8ba41e0018b075f07f870746b342.png

Another option for AMC could be Clough.  Again, not a physical player but better Off the Ball.  Could work as a Treq if an opposition DM is sitting on the more static Enganche?

 

Spoiler

1707414872_ZachClough_Profile.thumb.png.914cf00bfee5a55194368052a965b50e.png

I've just been reviewing a couple of matches from the end of the season and looking at goal attempts.  We lost 2-1 to Crewe, despite an xG of 1.88 (vs 0.66 for Crewe).  Crewe were playing with a back 3 but we had 5 blocked shots so I looked at some of them.

Example One

ccAQTGt.jpg

My FB(A) has the ball (though is covered) but boy is it busy in the 6 yard box.  Five defenders plus my Poacher, AMC and IF.

yvXKlQ2.jpg

The cross does get into the box (with a little bit of luck) and reaches the AMC but there's still four defenders, the GK and my Poacher between him and the goal.

Example Two

nu8ESCW.jpg

Aasagaard (playing the IF(A) role) has managed to get another cross in to the AMC - four defenders plus the GK and he's right on top of the Poacher though.

Example Three

bbCXhn6.jpg

Fleming (FB(S)) has come a long way up the pitch for once (a little alarmed we are 2-on-2 at the back but the CM(D) is in the middle of the pitch to hopefully get back to assist them).  Evans is the CAR and looking for options.  Once more there's five defenders and four attackers in the box.

RE6Pejv.jpg

The ball does get through to the IF(A) but it's now like sardines in the 6 yard box - near as a damn-it 10 players.  Group hug anyone?

Edited by Harpoon76
Sorting out Imgur links
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Having pondered the questions posted above, I think evolution rather than revolution is the way to go here.

I think my first change and primary change is to move to a supporting AMC.  I'm thinking Enganche but AM(S) could also be an option.

Potential other changes...

I did read a thread the other day in which somebody said that a Winger in AML/AMR will still come inside rather than hugging the touchline.  So I could swap the IW(S) to W(S) to perhaps free up some more space in the box, but still hopefully leave room for the overlapping FB.  The IF(A) could also be swapped to a support duty.

I'd like to leave the central striker as a Poacher for now but I may try a PF(A) once we're into pre-season.

The end of season review from the board has introduced a new Club Culture requirement - "Play possession football".  So I think I need to keep the mid-tempo, short passing but hopefully the change(s) will see more goals and thus entertainment.  For the last eight games of the season, we won the possession "battle" in six of them so we need the end product now.

86KKlnJ.png

I am trying to write down a style / plan to put against the first couple of questions zabyl asked.

Edited by Harpoon76
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7 minutes ago, Harpoon76 said:

I did read a thread the other day in which somebody said that a Winger in AML/AMR will still come inside rather than hugging the touchline

The Winger on attack. The W on support doesn't do that as much 

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46 dakika önce, Harpoon76 said:

1398218510_MichaelDoughty_Profile.thumb.png.b07a8ba41e0018b075f07f870746b342.png

I would use him on AMC as AMs with roaming. Why roaming? Increasing his movement a little because he has low agility, acceleration, pace and off the ball. Why not APs? Because of average dribbling, decisions and vision. I wouldn't use him on CM with his low speed attributes and bravery.

 

46 dakika önce, Harpoon76 said:

1707414872_ZachClough_Profile.thumb.png.914cf00bfee5a55194368052a965b50e.png

He suits more to AMC as SS or AMa despite his low bravery & decisions. He can be combined with a supportive striker. This can be an in-game plan B. Notwithstanding; He has a conflicting PPM "likes ball played into feet". I didn't like that.

 

Good analysing... Focus on transitions too. There you will solve shortcomings.

 

 

Edited by zabyl
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6 hours ago, Harpoon76 said:

Having pondered the questions posted above, I think evolution rather than revolution is the way to go here.

I think my first change and primary change is to move to a supporting AMC.  I'm thinking Enganche but AM(S) could also be an option.

Yep, that's what I was on about with getting too many players in the box :thup: The players are fairly smart though I find, if you don't have enough bodies in the box other players will try to get in there, like a supporting AMC

 

6 hours ago, Harpoon76 said:

I did read a thread the other day in which somebody said that a Winger in AML/AMR will still come inside rather than hugging the touchline.  So I could swap the IW(S) to W(S) to perhaps free up some more space in the box, but still hopefully leave room for the overlapping FB.  The IF(A) could also be swapped to a support duty.

Yeah the closer to goal you get the more a winger will come inside, W(A) can score loads attacking the far post. In FM19 I think it was I purposely brought a winger with good heading & jumping reach for that reason  :lol:

I would 100% have the IF(A) on (S)

If you do change you IW to a Winger, things might have to be rejigged

Your AMC doesn't always have to be a playmaker type, if he's 100% your best player then yeah, it's a good idea. Though options are limited, an Attacking Midfielder with PIs is a great role 

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Update time as I've started the second season.  Pre-season wasn't great, but that possibly serves me right for letting my Ass Man book the fixtures!

image.png.bb4026fa58f31b51d0cef94e199b9e0e.png

I tried a few things in the friendly matches & started the season with this as the refined tactic:

image.thumb.png.fe17abbf3b490a83d4861e2505a39e62.png

League results so far:

1023968246_Wigan-Startof2021SeasonLeagueResults.png.4037c6494e20943c5757c3ce19b7f7b6.png

I was reasonably happy with the run up to Accrington.  The Charlton match was crazy.  I was 1-0 up inside 10 minutes but 4-1 down by half time (conceded in the 45th minute and then a 45+3 penalty!).

Am I putting too much value in xG?  We've won the possession battle in the last three matches, a much better xG but only come away with 1 point.  Write these off as a just poor finishing?

Zach Clough at IF(S) started the season brightly with a couple of goals but the last two matches (Ipswich and Milwall) rated 6.5 and 6.3.  Lang covered for him whilst injured for 3 matches before that and only rated 6.8, 6.4 and 6.5.  Quite puzzled as how best to address the AML role now...

Edited by Harpoon76
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1 hour ago, Harpoon76 said:

Update time as I've started the second season.  Pre-season wasn't great, but that possibly serves me right for letting my Ass Man book the fixtures!

image.png.bb4026fa58f31b51d0cef94e199b9e0e.png

I tried a few things in the friendly matches & started the season with this as the refined tactic:

image.thumb.png.fe17abbf3b490a83d4861e2505a39e62.png

League results so far:

1023968246_Wigan-Startof2021SeasonLeagueResults.png.4037c6494e20943c5757c3ce19b7f7b6.png

I was reasonably happy with the run up to Accrington.  The Charlton match was crazy.  I was 1-0 up inside 10 minutes but 4-1 down by half time (conceded in the 45th minute and then a 45+3 penalty!).

Am I putting too much value in xG?  We've won the possession battle in the last three matches, a much better xG but only come away with 1 point.  Write these off as a just poor finishing?

Zach Clough at IF(S) started the season brightly with a couple of goals but the last two matches (Ipswich and Milwall) rated 6.5 and 6.3.  Lang covered for him whilst injured for 3 matches before that and only rated 6.8, 6.4 and 6.5.  Quite puzzled as how best to address the AML role now...

You've done well there, the Charlton game is an odd one, what were all those long shots? Free kicks? 

XG is awesome, the odd match here & there is nothing to worry about, keep your eye on the total XG in the team report analysis for the season trend. If you're not over-performing on XG it could be a player quality thing. You look like you're underperforming in general there, like those last 3 games you had an XG of 4.22 but scored once. You can look at individual player's XG in their reports too to see if there are any major under scorers    

I'm wondering if the CAR is not helping the IF, how do those two generally perform together? I don't use a CAR much so I'm not sure how wide they cover, he his blocking the FB getting forward to support play? 

Edited by Johnny Ace
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5 saat önce, Harpoon76 said:

image.thumb.png.fe17abbf3b490a83d4861e2505a39e62.png

With the help of CAR, you can increase risks on the left flank. Try using a WBs on LB for increasing risks a little. You can take this risk if your CAR is a fine player on defensive side of the game. Also change that IFs to Wa. You can use a right footed player on that role. Wa runs inside the box when the ball reaches higher areas. Think about passing options on attacking movements on the left flank. 

 

CAR uses left half space and it doesn't attack or defend too much. It helps both sides of the game. You can create great forward movement partnerships with this role. It plays basic. Takes the ball on half space, gives a pass to a free player, moves closer to take a pass again on that corridor and gives back someone again. CAR plays simple football; Cruyff used to talk about.

Edited by zabyl
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I'm back! Update time...

After the Milwall loss (the last fixture I posted about previously), we had an average run.  I was very hopeful after giving Sunderland a thrashing and just squeezed past Cambridge (my GK saved an 89th minute penalty to get us the win).  Against Sunderland in the PJT we were 2-1 up and blew it (92nd minute winner for them).  The Exeter match went back to the bad old days - xG of 1.24 but only two shots on target.

1470416226_WiganResults1.thumb.png.16128e4a06c17c0aa307eac90e539b92.png

I think after the Exeter match I made the change @zabyl suggested, converting the AML from IF(S) to W(A):

1020411612_Wigan-4-2-3-1Tacticv2.png.f892c69d8c5be56131c39147a15ef4fb.png

I was also fed-up with the performance of the two central strikers, so I moved Muskwe (a free transfer) from playing AML/AMR into the forward role after the Hull match (16th October):

420451092_WiganResults2.thumb.png.79aaf1f8ad387500ee3393df9d906d0f.png

Oh boy, did Muskwe bring his shooting boots.  The lad was on-fire and we had a stonking run.  I rested some players against Man City U23s in the PJT and Muskwe was on international duty when we lost to AFC Wimbledon.

After beating Bradford on 13th November, we went top of the league... and have been there ever since!   We've wobbled a bit since then though...

1917408996_WiganResults3.png.5aa36dc7e4ebbaf895302d1b89023ccb.png

I fully expect teams to be more defensive / conservative against us as we've been top of the league for 16 matches now.  If you look at the stat's, we should have beaten Fleetwood and Wimbledon but again finishing let us down.

184772222_Wigan-2021ResultsAnalysis.thumb.png.d6ad67d6779d2301fa65444a81628c65.png

My concern is our xG is dropping.  In the last three matches we've been behind in all three and we seem a little blunt in terms of penetration.  We seem to have nice play of the front box but nobody seems to be running into space (behind the defence) for a through ball, which is odd as the tactic hasn't changed.  We still win the possession battle but have gone a bit blunt again.

Corners also are a worry.  In the last three games we've conceded 30 (vs 14 in our favour) - the Milwall goal was from a corner.

 

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23 dakika önce, Harpoon76 said:

My concern is our xG is dropping.  In the last three matches we've been behind in all three and we seem a little blunt in terms of penetration.  We seem to have nice play of the front box but nobody seems to be running into space (behind the defence) for a through ball, which is odd as the tactic hasn't changed.  We still win the possession battle but have gone a bit blunt again.

Opposition AIs have started to notice your team’s strength and now they give your players less space to run into. Now you should think/watch/read about how to create space against packed teams. 

I’ll write one of the ideas I use. Send another man to forward on their less defensive side to overload there. I would change CMd to CMs/BWMs/BBMs/MEZs. It can be risky but for getting rewards, some risks must be taken sometimes.

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Thanks - interesting idea to push the CM(D) forward if we're struggling to break down a team.

Just lost my next game to Sunderland 1-0, mainly because nobody could remember how to shoot.  10 shots, zero on target :rolleyes: So we've dropped down to second place on goal difference.

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