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433 - Strikerless

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Hi everyone,

Another Guardiola-inspired tactic, I know.

I'm trying to recreate something being close to how City are playing lately. I know they are playing a weird 4420 with KDB and (insert-Foden, Jesus, Grealish) upfront.

We're doing pretty ok but I really feel like I'm not doing everything good. We are struggling to retain possession for example, which is a mystery to me because I was thinking that my issue with this kind of formation would be possession and only possession without real chances.

So, if anyone has any idea, feel free to share!


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I’m not a strikerless expert by any means, and I’d have to see this play to really know, but your mezzala, shadow striker, and inside forward are going to all be really aggressive on a positive mentality. Their individual mentalities will be very high, and I believe they all have “takes more risks” hard coded for those roles as well, which means they will look for the killer ball almost every time. This doesn’t necessarily fit a possession style, particularly without a natural outlet up front, but you could probably make it work. Peps Barca teams for example were methodical and cautious in build up but had a lot of freedom and penetration in the final third. If you do want to keep those roles, you could try lowering tempo to replicate that style, or dropping your mentality a notch or two. I’m also personally a fan of playing narrower for possession styles- players have more/shorter passing options and are better positioned to press when possession is lost

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I can try to explain what I want from my team.

So here's a little schema :


I think that if my AMC is an hardworking/technical player, he can be a perfect decoy for the opposite defense. I want him to roam, to help his partners and to be the last pass before a goal. Think Bernardo Silva when Pep put him upfront. He wasn't thhe typical False 9  looking for a goal but he was running everywhere.

Actually my main problem is that I don't know how to make my 3men midfield works. A Mezzala or a CM(a) is pretty obvious to be very agressive player, going forward and being a deeper goal threat. But the other CM remains a mystery. I don't know if I must set him as another holding midfielder or a more mobile one such as a B2B or RPM?

And for the defense, I have a perfect IWB as he can play as a right FB but can also play DM or CM. But I don't how to get the best out of him.

Again, I want my tactic to win matches more than recreate a Pep's style of play. So I'm totally open to new ideas.

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I'd cut back & simplify, like, I don't think Pep plays Rodri as a DLP just a simple DM(D) would do else like @Marassisays, you'll have everyone playing risky passes which is a possession risk 

I'd take a look at individual player mentalities too, like he covered, on Positive, most of the roles will be aggressive, they won't be thinking about keeping hold of the ball & recycling. I'd start on Balanced at most but then, you need to balance your duties to offer goalscoring threat

As per above, something like:

IF(A)             SS(A)            IF(S)

             CM(S)       AP(A)


FB(A)  CD(D)      CD(D)       IWB(S)


Shorter passing



Higher or Much Higher Lines

Could even try a Treq(A) instead of the SS(A) for a roamer

I think I'd actually want a False-Nine up top rather than a SS(A) to be honest, that will help pull out CD's to get in-behind  

Edited by Johnny Ace
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You have some good ideas and some good stuff going on. I like your right side combo with an IWB and and Mezz and the IW. One possibly tweak there is to change the IW to a conventional winger. If you play a wrong footed player there who likes to cut in, they will still do that pretty often, but it will add variety to their movement and keep them and the mezz out of each other’s way more. That’s not really an answer to your problem, just a thought!

I think you’ve chosen some good roles to represent your ideas based on your scheme, I just think that scheme is very aggressive at the top of the pitch. Your front five is all dudes looking to either score or create by your description, both of which involve taking risk, and therefore losing possession. Dropping mentality and tempo will help with this, but one thing that helps me is to pick just two or maybe three players to build around, with the rest of the roles being decided by what fits around them, rather than what the players I have in those positions are best at. I think you’ve already got those players picked out in your primary creator and scorer, and you’ve got the bones of a really promising system. 

I would try something like this-


IF/IW (A)                                                      W(s)


                           CM(s)        Mez (s)


FB/WB (s)         CD(D)       CD(D)           IWB(s)


The key here is to create overloads down the right, then switch to/play in your left wing goal threat (focus play down right will help with this). The difference from your setup to this one is that those right sided players will combine with each other to overload the defense and work the treq or mezz into space for a switch or killer ball. This won’t work as well with a left sided playmaker pulling the ball back the other way and a right IW looking to create chaos and drive into the space the mez and treq like to use

Add the pro possession instructions you like, taking into account your mentality (higher mentality might need more conservative instructions), and see how you like that attacking structure and balance

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