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[FM21] - Defending better, attacking is awful (was Unable to Defend Crosses)


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I've just finished my 3rd season with Tamworth down in the Vanarama National North.  We finished 10th, which isn't bad but a bit frustrating after lurking in the playoffs for a good part of the season.

Our Achilles' heel seems to be defending crosses / corners and thus conceding headers.

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Some of these stat's confuse me though.  The first screen shot from the Team Report > Analyst Report page says 18 crosses from the RHS of the pitch.  Yet the assists screen only shows 6 from the right - are they looking at a different number of matches?

I managed to sign two big, ugly CDs but any cross into the box has me wincing.  We seem to get beaten in the air or somebody makes a complete howler (eg misses a header or drops their marking) and a striker gets another header on goal.

I've used a 4-3-3 DM all season which has been tweaked.  For instance, the FB was on Support but I moved it to Attack as we had runs of matches without creating much.  I also used a DLP(S) instead of the CM(S) as originally I wanted to leave space for the IW to move into but then wondered if it was too static and hoped the CM(S) might venture forward more a little bit.  The DM also started as an A(D).

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The analyst note note saying the RHS is our weakness makes me wonder:

  • Swap the MEZ(A) and CM(S) over, meaning the CM hopefully covers the space behind the W(A) to protect the FB(D) better
  • However, would a MEZ(A) trip over the IW on the left?  Would a CM(A) work better here, perhaps with a couple of PIs to semi-replicate the MEZ eg Dribble More and Take More Risks?
  • Alternatively, an AP(A) has similar creative traits to the MEZ but won't (shouldn't) get into the box and I feel I need a CM goal threat to backup the PF & AML/AMR.  My starting MEZ scored 14 goals but that includes penalties - second only to my starting PF who notched up 26.
  • Defensive Width is also a conundrum.  Set to "Force Opposition Outside" means we don't put as much pressure on the player delivering the cross, but does bring the CDs closer to hopefully leave few gaps for an attacker to exploit.
  • Or, do I go with to the other end ("Force Opposition Inside") to try to cut the crosses off at source?
  • I moved the LOE and DL down to Lower as Standard seemed to leave oodles of room behind the back four for balls over the top.

 

Edited by Harpoon76
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I like your approach, one thing to consider is the height / jumping of your full backs because they will be at the end of crosses too. Force opposition outside will see you receive crosses a lot indeed, maybe swap to "normal" and change situationally.

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Check personnel.

Train - Defend Wide - Aerial Defence

Tactics - Defend Wide - Oi's Trigger press on wide men crossing the ball - Tight Mark players attacking the ball on the far posts.

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  • Harpoon76 changed the title to [FM21] - Defending better, attacking is awful (was Unable to Defend Crosses)

Whilst our defending has been better this season, the last few months have seen our attacking play be utterly woeful.

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I've just reached half time in a match and we've had... two shots.  My tactic is set as Balanced but I changed that to Positive to see if it helped (not really).  I also enabled Play Out of Defence as my defenders still punt the ball up the pitch way too much (at which point it comes straight back at us).

I've recently changed the DM from either a DM or A to DLP and put Purver there.  My thought was the CDs may look for him more to avoid hoof-ball and he's probably by best passer, so hopefully direct traffic from there.  The right sided CM has been a real problem for me to get any sort of consistent involvement and performance from the player there.  I've tried DLP (when the DM as A or D), AP and Mez.

My PF ends up with a poor rating of 6.4 or less as there's no service.  At times I feel like he is isolated but if change him to a PF(S), penetration into the box seems to be even worse.

Thoughts?

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I am also in the LLM I have found that sometimes low LoE can sometimes stifle defence into attack transitions and sometimes gives more time for the opposition team to press and force a mistake from close the goal, in these situations it is hard sometimes if you push the defensive line the balls fly over the top and if you sit back every other day someone scores from afar. Personally I am trying to figure out this problem too.

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6 minutes ago, De Nile said:

I am also in the LLM I have found that sometimes low LoE can sometimes stifle defence into attack transitions and sometimes gives more time for the opposition team to press and force a mistake from close the goal, in these situations it is hard sometimes if you push the defensive line the balls fly over the top and if you sit back every other day someone scores from afar. Personally I am trying to figure out this problem too.

I understand your pain.   The number of 25 to 30 yard screamers I concede does seem high but I've not watched much lower league football in real life to know how often it happens in real life.

I'll maybe try pushing the LoE up in my next match and see if it helps improve transitions.

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I see you are playing FM 21. I am, too, and playing a kind of similar formation/roles/duties, so we can exchange impressions on this.

Do you like the CM-At? I don´t. Neither AP-At. I always think that they don´t do what I want, that is, they are never a real goalscoring threat and they never occupy well the last third. Finding a good CM At is hard and they never play well with me. I tested a Mez-At and I really liked the results, paired with an IW-Su on the left side. Now they do exactly what I want.

On the right side I have been testing a playmaker - I used an AP-Su and I will still test a DLP-Su. I prefer to use them on the same side of the W-At. But I think other roles can work here - Carrilero or CM-S with PIs, for example.

The fullbacks always have been a pain in the ass on the 4-3-3: if you move them too up on the field, your flanks will be true avenues for your opponents to explore; if you don´t move them up enough, your advanced midfielders will not have the correct support. I tested here two FB-Su with the same PIs that WB-Su have, paired with a Half Back, and they did well. But I will also try other combinations, like a WB-D on the same side of Mez-At and IW-Su, using Look for Overlap on the left to balance that side, and a IWB-Su with a DLP-Su on the right, so the DLP can help the game and open space for the IWB to occupy the space on the center.

So you have some ideas here, you can test them and we can discuss them.

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Thanks @Tsuru

CM(A) doesn't return the goals I'd expect / hope for.  It seems the logical role in that I'd expect them to stay central and often be getting into the box.  The two or three players I've used there this season (about 50 matches played) have 2 goals between them.

Part way through the second half of my last match, I was leading 1-0.  I swapped the CM(A) to Mez(A) and with a sub', made the right CM role a BWM(S).  A few minutes after the change, the Mez scored with a header in the box!  I I try the change again, I will need to watch to see if a Mez(A) on the left side of midfield gets in the way of the IW(S) 

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7 minutos atrás, Harpoon76 disse:

Part way through the second half of my last match, I was leading 1-0.  I swapped the CM(A) to Mez(A) and with a sub', made the right CM role a BWM(S).  A few minutes after the change, the Mez scored with a header in the box!  I I try the change again, I will need to watch to see if a Mez(A) on the left side of midfield gets in the way of the IW(S) 

The Mez-AT and the IW-S work very well together, I like that combination. I don´t know what happened to the CM-A, it simple does not work the way I expect on FM 21.

Interesting use of the BWM-S on the right side because one of my best players is exactly a BWM-S, so I will also try and see what happens - although I really liked a playmaker on the right side.

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14 hours ago, Tsuru said:

The Mez-AT and the IW-S work very well together, I like that combination. I don´t know what happened to the CM-A, it simple does not work the way I expect on FM 21.

Interesting use of the BWM-S on the right side because one of my best players is exactly a BWM-S, so I will also try and see what happens - although I really liked a playmaker on the right side.

I have a young striker who is rated as "Accomplished" at CM, so for the last few matches I've stuck him in at CM(A).  He's played quite well bar my last match where I lost in the first round of the playoffs.

I'm thinking for the next season though, I'll start with the Mez(A) on the left.  I may also go with the BWM alongside him to see if that works better than a more creative player (especially if I stick with the DLP in the DM space).  My best BWM only has 7 for passing though, so if I went with BWM(S), I think a PI of "Take Less Risks" or "Pass it Shorter" would be needed.

I really thought an AP would work on the CM right slot with the mix of attack duties pushing the defence back and runners like the CM(A) and IW(S) appearing as options.

Finally, for anyone reading my original struggle on this thread (defensive issues).  Last season I finished 10th in the VNN, conceding 46 goals.  This season I finished 6th and only conceded 35 goals (in 46 games) which was the best in the league - only one other team let in less than 40 goals.  So the focus for next season is to keep the defensive solidity and convert some of the 13 draws into wins.  Eleven of those were either 0-0 or 1-1.  From that I think I either struggle to break down a team and/or have my attackers convert chances.  There were a few matches we had a much better xG than the opposition but we dropped some points with an equaliser in the last 10 minutes.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm back to really struggling to create any half decent chances.

Whilst we've had a good run and are currently third (two points off top), we just scrape wins - it's pretty dire stuff at times.

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I think our xG flatters us at times - some of the chances which are rated as a high xG are blocked shots which have little or no chance of going in.  I despair at our crossing at times - somebody can be out wide with time to touch and cross, but instead they wait and once closed down, just smash the ball off the defender who has come out to them :seagull: 

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The AP(S) was a Mez(A) but I made that change before the last match (which we lost and were creatively dire - 6 shots, 4 on target, 0.83 xG).  I thought the Mez(A) was getting in the way of the IW and having a player with good playmaking skills sitting deeper might give them more time/space to find a good pass to create a clear chance.  I also changed the BWM(S) to the BBM(S) you see now, looking for a runner coming from deep into the box perhaps for a pull-back.  My first choice BBM has the PPM of "Gets Forward Whenever Possible", so I've add the PI of "Get Further Forward" to get him in the box more (with the DM covering behind).

Down the left, the IW(S) has "Sit Narrower" and the FB(A) has "Stay Wider" to give the FB more space and stretch the field.

Since taking the tactic grab I've turned off counter to see if that stops us launching the ball to the PF (which half the time seems to go nowhere near him).

Suggestions on finding that next step please!

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Edited by Harpoon76
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I'm at half time of the next match vs Ashton United.  They are bottom of the league with -58 goal difference so have turned up to park the bus:

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First half was junk:

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Have to say I'm bemused how you can have 1 CCC but 0 shots!

I changed the width to Wide or Extremely Wide to try to pull the 3 CDs around to make more space.  I also tried slowing down the tempo to be patient and build an opening.  As you can see, it didn't work in the slightest!

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We drew :rolleyes:  We got a 77th minute penalty and didn't score (woeful attempt straight down the middle to the GK) - outside of that utter junk.  Ashton obviously wanted to play crogger-nogger with 36 fouls (only 3 yellows - WTF?)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Still battling away but getting more and more confused.  On a bad run at the moment and we seem completely unable to generate any sort of good chances

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Currently using this:

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What am I missing?

Our shot conversion rate is the worst in the league at just 9% (top 6 teams are 14% and 15%).  Shots on target is 41% which is ranked 21st, the best being 47%

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Played my next match - lost 2-0.

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Poor decision making around the box - average xG for the AI is 0.1 compared to 0.07 for us.  We might have more possession but cannot be patient around the box, so somebody tries a shot with a defender right in front of them.  I could understand that if I had the tempo jacked right up and asking VNL level players to play beyond their mental ability, but we're playing on Balanced with the standard tempo!

We also had 10 of the corners in the first half.  Crossing decision making is utterly woeful - I completely fail to understand why a player who is wide open waits, waits and waits for some more before attempting the cross.  That means they go for being wide open to having a defender two yards and the cross is blocked.  Pointless.

Defending also dire - this is the first goal.  It's 8 vs 2 (9 vs 2 if you include our keeper!) in our favour yet we concede as the pull back from the byline goes to the attacker in the D and he sticks it in the right corner.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 23/02/2022 at 15:24, Harpoon76 said:

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What am I missing?

Fair play at sticking with it

My first impression of your tactic is, that it's very safe

Balanced team mentality while backing off. I'd set the lines to standard, mentality to Positive to increase your team's risk playing. Leave the TIs at that. It's not a particular way of playing but at least it's a bit more forward thinking

Player roles: You've two inward running wide attackers & two CM's who also want in on that area of the pitch. You've also not two "goal getters" in a PF(A) & IF(A)

I'd just change a couple of roles around:

                    PF(A)

IW(S)                                 IF(S)

              AP(S)        CM(S)

FB(S)       CD(D)      CD(D)    FB(A)

                        GK(D)

 

You've then got the PF(A) as your spearhead striker, looking to get on the end of things, the IF(S) on the right looking to create from that side of the pitch, the AP(S) from a deeper position on the left hand side. The back line is flexible & offers variation, the one fullback can overlap the IF & stretches play on that side of the pitch with the safety of your DM & the CM(S) on that side of the pitch is a bit more defensively aware 

 

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