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Need urgent help staying in the Premier League (Freshly promoted)

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Hello people, I just was just promoted to the Premier League from the Championship and I am in my third season now. I walked League 1 first season and finished in the last spot for the playoffs in the Championship and was literally carried through the playoffs by my on loan striker Louie Barry, I now find myself in the deep end with the big boys. The board only gave me 800k spending money (Crazy I know), so I am working with the best players I had in the Championship, 2 Premier League loans, some overseas loans and some free transfers.

I am trying to keep the morale as high as possible, but we are currently sitting at the bottom of the league after 5 games and a -12 goal difference. 

First tactic is what worked well for me last season, but clearly not working this season, tried it at home to West Ham and got beat 4-1. I've tried to go with the default Direct Counter tactic aswel and although I am creating chances, every team is tearing me apart on the field. Only PI's I have on this tactic is the CAM is Roaming.



This is my counter tactic. Only PI's I have are having Advanced Forward Roam.





Should I just accept my fate and stick with the Counter and hope for the best? I am outclassed and every team I play each week has one or two (sometimes 5+) superstars but would love to stay up, anyone had experience with similar? I am hoping to have a few points on the board by Jan and I think I can get some money off the board as our balance is looking healthy now


Edited by Verby
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I would suggest you switch to a very simple 4-4-2, it is not the most exciting system in the world, but two banks of four and two strikers is usually the best option you have when it comes to making a team with limited ability exceed expectations, there is a reason why Burnley play the way they do. 

I'll admit that I don't know your team (Kitolano is the only player of yours that I am familiar with), but 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 are more advanced systems that generally require your team to be at least reasonably close to your opponents to be successful and by your description that does not seem to be the case for you.

Even with a great tactic the top six will still crush you most of the time, but something simple and defensively solid can help you grind out results against midtable sides.

@cocoadavid made a great thread last year on how to set up a realistic 4-4-2, it was written for FM21 but based on solid football principles so it should still be a useful guide:


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For your main tactic which is based on pressing you could do the following:

Pressing/without ball: Keep DL setting, trigger press and prevent GK also. Set LoE to standard and go the narrowest for defensive width. This will make your team very compact both vertically and horizontally. Opponents play will be forced outside of this high block and your team stills press high up the pitch. Think carefully about which roles and duties you apply with regards to maintaining the teams shape and the high block. Use less creative freedom as a TI.

Use and apply OI for trigger press and weaker foot for all opposition outfield players. You could create a more subtle pressing strategy based on the TI settings mentioned for winning the ball in the wide areas as well. Either tight mark through OI and/or make your SC and one winger man mark opposition defenders to direct their play to one side (their weakest for passing attributes/your strongest for pressing winning the ball back). 

I use the general OI approach for my save. Also a sweeper keeper role are preferred when applying high DL. I use attacking duty as I want the keeper positioned as high up the pitch as possible. 

Transitions: These should be quick, meaning that attacking width should be as narrow as defensive width. Less time and movement used to acchieve the block and applying counter pressure.

This approach should lead to better defensive statistics and goals conceded against opponents playing out of their own defence. Teams playing more direct the LoE can be set to maximum and use OI settings for their GK as well. 

Possession is a topic on its own. If you insist on using a 4-2-3-1 with the suggested changes of playing narrow you need to make sure your team still maintains width as this is crucial. I use a 4-3-3 (3-4-3) where wingbacks (positioned as wingbacks) maintains width througout all phases of play. This way both compactness and width is acchieved.



Edited by cmonreds
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The second tactic could easily work better with Positive mentality, standard passing and standard lines. Force opposition outside just gives teams attacking you in 4231 and 433 easy space to overload your wings with their aggressive full backs. And maybe I'd have one of the AML/AMR on attack and have a more holding CM role like CM-S with Hold Position or a BWM-D depending on the player.

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The first tactic is really bad for a team expected to get relegated. You can try to press hard but most teams have players good enough to avoid the press. I'd set up in more of a mid block so I'll have a standard LOE, higher DL and I'll decrease pressing by one notch.

Personally when I play a 4231 I like my 2 CMs to be more conservative because you already have 4 players in attack, having more players trying to attack doesn't mean you'll create more chances so I'll go with a CM and DLP on support. Finally, I'll drop work ball into the box.


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I'd be inclined to use either a Positive or Attack system most of the time.  Of course it will lose games but that's because your squad is going to be weak.  It may be a long season but try and be consistent with the tactic (avoid chopping & changing) and protect morale as far as you can.  Keep your team leaders onside.  The aim is to win some games, enough to keep you safe.

Counter & Defend mentality systems are a certain nuanced style to set up and in my opinion your example was a long, long way off.  Also and rather counter-intuitively they can also feel more difficult to get right without 2 or 3 better players smattered about the team who can be built around.  My advice is to come away from that road at this point.

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I made a whole new attack (5321 I think), went positive mentality for majority of games. I picked up some important wins and got more draws away from home but still ultimately got relegated which is fine, I only missed out on staying up by 3 points on the last day so i've rebuilt with the money we got from the parachute payments and television money from being in the Premier League. Lining up like this this season, I have a good feeling we will go straight back up and we go again, ill have more money next time aswel.






Edited by Verby
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