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Counter-Attacking With Ibiza - Low Block to LaLiga and Beyond


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Posted (edited)

Winter Break

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I'm pleased to report, that things continue to be going great! Despite our good start, I certainly didn't expect us to be sitting top of the table in January. With convincing wins against Almeria and Valladolid, and a draw against Eibar, the three teams predicted to finish in top three, there's certainly things to be optimistic for ahead of the second part of the season.

The most pleasing is our defensive record. So far, we've conceded the least goals and have restricted our opponents to the total xG of 14.26, the smallest number in the league. While I do believe tactics play a part in being defensively solid, I also believe having the right profile of players at your disposal is of the utmost importance. Come summer, I will continue looking for well-rounded midfielders that don't shy away from a tackle.

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Tactical Analysis

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One of the things I was most interested in, is our Possession Gained Zone Map, as I wanted to confirm that we're defending in a low enough block. It's pleasing to see that we're winning most of our tackles and interceptions in our defensive third, as inviting opposition into our half is crucial to being able to hit them on the break.

However, there are questions to be asked of our attack. We're currently not clinical enough, as we're creating by far the most chances, but have only scored the 4th most league goals so far.

Possible tactical tweaks:

  • Higher Tempo -> Standard Tempo (strikers may currently be rushing their chances)
  • Shoot Less Often -> Target Man (remain patient in search of a more opportune moment)
  • Work Ball Into Box (work hard for openings and don't force the issue)

For now, this is something I will keep monitoring going forward. While I could make changes right away, I don't think it's worth the risk of disrupting what we got going on just yet. Playing on the break, with large number of passes coming from crosses, a slightly lower conversion rate is perhaps understandable.

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This will wrap up this second part of my adventure with UD Ibiza. Next time, we finish the season and make plans going forward.

Thank you for reading!

Edited by Zemahh
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14 hours ago, blackmoix said:

Do you have individual orders?
Can you share with us your latest tactic?

No PIs, entire tactic is screenshotted in first post.

Feel free to replicate it, but I wouldn't expect it to work flawlessly with just any team. But if you have the players for it, and are managing an underdog, maybe it's worth a try. Would be interested in hearing how it does for you!

9 hours ago, Fealneerg said:

interesting - can you show possession stats?

Update coming soon, will make sure I include it.

So far, we average 53% possession.

A little spoiler:

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Next up, Real Madrid. :ackter:

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Posted (edited)

End of Season Review

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To LaLiga we go!

For the most part, we carried our good form into the second part of the season. We had a bit of a scare through March and April, with five defeats and more goals conceded than I can count, but I decided against making any wholesale changes. Without having the luxury of squad depth, riding our bad form out was the only option.

It all started at Santiago Bernabeu, where 80,000 people saw us getting absolutely trounced in Copa del Rey semi-final, but ultimately there was no reason to panic. Losses against Real Madrid were fully expected, although I would've liked to have conceded a goal or three less.

Heavy defeats against Huesca and Alcorcon did cost us our defensive record, however. We still remain a side with lowest Shots Against and Expected Goals Against numbers, but we dropped to third in Clean Sheets and Goals Conceded.

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When it comes to individual performances, Poacher Pablo Rodriguez and left Winger Pep Chavarria both had a fantastic first season at the club. They scored 40 goals between them and have finished the season with highest average ratings.

With 16 assists, Pep Chavarria was the main provider.

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Analyst Report

When it comes to formations we face, we seem to have the most joy against a 4-2-3-1. We do however struggle creating chances against a 4-1-2-3, which I suppose is due to the Target Man being marked out of the game easily. In those games, it would perhaps make sense to switch away from our Fairly Narrow attacking shape and put more focus on exploiting the wings.

I admit, adapting on game-by-game basis is not one of my strengths. I tend to be very rigid when it comes to both, player rotation and formation changes, as I'm always wary of disrupting team cohesion or tactical familiarity. Probably too much so, which can end up costing me points at the end of the season.

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LaLiga Plans

We're in for a rough year, where survival will be our only goal. With reputation lower than most second division teams, player recruitment is going to be hard.

We could go one of two ways:

  • Sign hot prospects with LaLiga potential and give them a lot of playing time, which will likely get us relegated, but allow us to bounce back stronger next year

or

  • Break the bank on a few LaLiga quality oldies that are willing to join, hope that's enough to survive and worry about the future another time

Honestly, I'm not sure. Would our goal be to outscore our opponents, I would probably go with pacey youngsters, but trying to see how few goals we can concede as the worst LaLiga team, I think I'm leaning towards more experienced players for now.

Either way, there's plenty of work ahead!

This wraps up this third part of my adventure with UD Ibiza. Next time, we finish the transfer business and start our second season!

Thank you for reading!

Edited by Zemahh
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I've got a player suggestion for you since I've been doing a Spanish league save.

Aldair Fuentas from Fuenlabrada, I picked him for a reasonable fee and he fits nicely into the tactic as he has decent stats and positional coverage as either of the DM roles or even as a ball playing defender since he's decent in the air. I signed him for Deportivo and he's been performing for me in La Liga.

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1 hour ago, JonnyHughes said:

I've got a player suggestion for you since I've been doing a Spanish league save.

Aldair Fuentas from Fuenlabrada, I picked him for a reasonable fee and he fits nicely into the tactic as he has decent stats and positional coverage as either of the DM roles or even as a ball playing defender since he's decent in the air. I signed him for Deportivo and he's been performing for me in La Liga.

Thanks mate, will keep an eye on him! Would make a nice Segundo Volante with his PPMs, but he's currently on loan at Peruvian Alianza.

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Posted (edited)

Summer Transfer Window

In order to survive our first season at the top, it was time to reinforce our squad in some key positions. While I usually prefer signing younger players, age did not matter to me this time, as my focus was solely on getting in enough quality to keep us up. However, should we be interested in a player approaching his thirties, I do require his Natural Fitness to be of at least 13, in order to ensure his ability does not start declining the moment he walks through the door.

If there's a position in which I wanted a player comfortable at this level, it's a goalkeeping one. Vladan Kovacevic, a fairly consistent and mentally tough Bosnian international joins us from Polish Rakow for €525K.

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Next was Alejandro Catena, a 28 y/o decent LaLiga centre-back. Defending in a low block, his Jumping Reach, Strength, Positioning and Bravery will be of paramount importance. He joins us from Rayo Vallecano for €5.5M.

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Gustavo Hamer, a 25 y/o Dutch defensive midfielder joins us from Coventry City for €5M in potential fees. Despite the risk of his injury proneness, I signed him for his willingness to tackle, as well as his strong work ethic and consistency.

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Our final major signing was Gaetano Letizia. The 32 y/o joins us from Italian Benevento for €4.3M and will be our starting wing-back this year. He's fairly consistent, enjoys big matches and displays resolute characteristics, making him a potentially great mentor.

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We also signed a few youngsters on free transfers, although most of them are unlikely to ever start for us. With our facilities and coaches still being in poor state, I'm not expecting most of them to ever develop past the squad-depth option.

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Tactical Tweaks

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Our schedule starting with Barcelona, I was fearing the worst, but limiting them to 5 shots on target and only allowing them to score from a 86th minute penalty, I think we defended well.

However, our tactic being unchanged from the last season, I started noticing a few patterns and decided to make changes after the Real Betis game:

  • During our defensive phase, we kept getting dragged all over the place
  • Absurdly low possession numbers, to the point we were under the cosh constantly

As a result, I made the following changes:

  • Remove Counter-Press to make us harder to play through
  • Lower Mentality to Standard to A) lower the risk-taking in possession and B) decrease the pressing intensity from Slightly More Often to Standard
  • Add Sit Narrower and Roam From Position instructions to right Wide Midfielder to make him more involved in possession play and encourage him to fill central area vacated by Half-Back (alternatively, an Inverted Wingback would be a shout, but he would not behave as expected in a formation with two Defensive Midfielders)

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Marching Towards Winter Break

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In the following games, we made big steps towards safety. At the start of our month and a half long winter break, we're sitting 6th with 15 conceded goals—the 4th least in the league.

Our most impressive performance so far came against Real Madrid. Having suffered a humiliating defeat the last time we faced them (season 1, Copa del Rey semi-final), it was certainly pleasing to get a victory of our own; we restricted them to no shots from inside the six-yard box.

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New Club Culture

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It's also worth noting that limiting the amount of goals we concede has become somewhat of a culture at UD Ibiza. This is something I hope grows in importance and becomes a vital part of our career at the club.

This will wrap up this fourth part of my adventure with UD Ibiza. Next time, we finish our first LaLiga season.

Thank you for reading!

Edited by Zemahh
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I like the looks of that tactic of yours and am especially curious if you are able to achieve sustained success with that kind of relatively passive low-block in this game. I'm into season 6 on my Strasbourg save and been playing a Simeone-esque mid-to-low-block 442 the whole way. While the results have been decent enough, we have never quite managed to be as defensively solid as I wanted us to be. (truth to be told I signed Lucca and he's just a cheat code as a TF(a))

Your wide combinations look very interesting, what I have found is with any kind of 442, you want one dribbler and one non-dribbler on each flank, it's a nice balance to have. Zero is too conservative, two is too much, most of the cases. Personally I like the WM role, especially if you play an opposite-footed player there. Hit early crosses can provide some great results if you two tall guys up front.

All in all, I will be following this with interest.

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2 hours ago, Enzo_Francescoli said:

Your wide combinations look very interesting, what I have found is with any kind of 442, you want one dribbler and one non-dribbler on each flank, it's a nice balance to have. Zero is too conservative, two is too much, most of the cases. Personally I like the WM role, especially if you play an opposite-footed player there.

Agreed, WM is quickly becoming one of my favourite roles. I like how versatile it is and how much more involved it is than your classic Winger.

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Thanks for your post, I really like your observation about having one dribbler and one non-dribbler on each flank. Most 4-4-2s I see tend to have a Winger on both sides, but it never worked well for me. Plus, I think you sacrifice a lot in terms of attributes if you just go for Pace and Dribbling on both flanks, rather than having some intelligence and work ethic on one side.

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End of Season Review

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With January and February being a mixed bag in terms of results, our winter break return was a bit rusty, but we shown some good form in the final three months of the season.

With our run of 6 games without conceding, April also saw us set a new defensive record for the club, which was certainly pleasing.

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In terms of our defensive stats in our first season among the big boys, I feel we did fairly well.

It's however worth noting that our offensive stats have dropped off quite a bit. After topping the Expected Goals For table last season, this year we only came 7th in Goals Scored and 9th in Average Possession, with 51%.

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When it comes to individual performances, our summer signing Vladan Kovacevic winning the goalkeeper of the year award is the one most worth noting.

While our last season's best striker Pablo Rodriguez has lost his starting spot to Angel Rodado in the second part of the season, with his performances seeing a slight drop off, Poacher and left Winger continue being our top scorers.

You may have also noticed a new name up top—our January signing, Dragan Stoisavljevic, who we picked up for €950K from Serbian Vozdovac Beograd. With the 32 y/o Miguel Guerrero being on his way out, the 19 y/o Serbian U21 international felt like a good replacement.

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Further Tactical Tweaks

In January, we made the following tactical tweaks:

  • Add Get Stuck In
  • Add Tighter Marking

Following the Mentality decrease explained in the previous part, I felt we we were no longer aggressive enough off the ball. I would often see highlights of our opposition progressing their play without any sort of a challenge, or dominating possession completely, which became painfully evident in our 2-1 home loss against Barcelona:

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Mentality Ladder

To best explain my reasoning behind the tactical tweaks described above, I feel I should quickly touch on Mentality.

I personally, understand Mentality as an overall risk ladder. I tend to ignore its names and think of them as follows:

Extremely Low-Risk (Very Defensive)

Very Low-Risk (Defensive)

Low-Risk (Cautious)

Balanced

High-Risk (Positive)

Very High-Risk (Attacking)

Extremely High-Risk (Very Attacking)

As such, I feel Mentalities on the lower end of the ladder tend to be a bit too risk-averse in defence to be used over the course of the whole match. With players not willing to take any risks when it comes to marking, tackling or stepping out of formation to intercept opposition's pass, it's often hard to control the match in any meaningful way, which can make it easy for opposition of higher quality to dominate the game endlessly.

As a result, I like to offset my team's defensive risk-taking when operating on lower Mentalities. When sitting back, I like my teams to be strong in tackle and not allow opposition too much time on the ball. While Get Stuck In combined with a low block has the potential of giving away needless fouls close to own box, it's the risk I'm prepared to take in order to not allow opposition free reign in front of our goal.

 

Updated Tactic

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This wraps up our second season and this fifth part of my adventure with UD Ibiza.

Thank you for reading!

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vor 14 Minuten schrieb Zemahh:

Mentality Ladder

To best explain my reasoning behind the tactical tweaks described above, I feel I should quickly touch on Mentality.

I personally, understand Mentality as an overall risk ladder. I tend to ignore its names and think of them as follows:

Extremely Low-Risk (Very Defensive)

Very Low-Risk (Defensive)

Low-Risk (Cautious)

Balanced

High-Risk (Positive)

Very High-Risk (Attacking)

Extremely High-Risk (Very Attacking)

As such, I feel Mentalities on the lower end of the ladder tend to be a bit too risk-averse in defence to be used over the course of the whole match. With players not willing to take any risks when it comes to marking, tackling or stepping out of formation to intercept opposition's pass, it's often hard to control the match in any meaningful way, which can make it easy for opposition of higher quality to dominate the game endlessly.

As a result, I like to offset my team's defensive risk-taking when operating on lower Mentalities. When sitting back, I like my teams to be strong in tackle and not allow opposition too much time on the ball. While Get Stuck In combined with a low block has the potential of giving away needless fouls close to own box, it's the risk I'm prepared to take in order to not allow opposition free reign in front of our goal.

 

Updated Tactic

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Great information. I see mentality the same way. However I choose it in combination with my formation. Right now I am playing a similar formation like you, but I have only one striker and one player in the AM strata. I try to use an offensive mentality, because I think it compliments my defensive formation. It's too early to see how it goes.

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