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Let's talk about defending vs. traditional 442 in PL


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I (unfortunately) started a new save with Brighton and I have tweaked a 433 that I used in my Lazio save pretty successfully. So far it is running very well for my Brighton side. We were 16th, when I started to use the tweaked version and now we could reach the Champions League. However, one thing that I noticed is that despite the good results, I have serious difficulties to defend against 442 sides with my wide 433 formation. I have tried to draw the lineups with Paint and need your advice. The main challenge I have against this formation is that the RM/LM positions are unmarked or the players have way too much space and time to play a diagonal through ball or pass it to one of the CMs who then play that long ball to one of the strikers who have usually "attacking" duties. I am convinced that when the RM/LM positions are marked tighter or have less time/space, I could make life pretty harder for 442 teams. I know the solution in theory, but I somehow can not implement it...

So far my solution approaches: Tight marking PI for my Wingers, but this then leads to isolation of my striker when it comes to put pressure on the opposition CBs... Lower the LOE to standard just invites more pressure and I dont like it when the AI can easily enter my half, as (we know FM, attack is the best defence) the AI will always find a way to score when you invite them. Another approach that I was thinking about is somehow get the CMs far up the pitch and help the striker to put pressure on the CBs while the wingers are tight marking. However, I just can't get the CMs higher up the pitch when defeinding. I tried it with tight marking, without tight marking, I tried to maximize the LOE, tried to use OIs where I tell my players to always close down the CBs while the wingers have tight marking... Nothing helps.... I am just wondering, how the AI manages this. I could observe, how teams like Liverpool or Wolves could close down very high up the pitch with their CMs attacking my CBs when my GK tried to build up the game with a short pass... How are they doing it?

I would really welcome any advice and yeah, let's have a discussion where we can share our experiences :)

 

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I always think you should be thinking about how to exploit the weakness rather than how to stop a certain system, maybe that's my own managerial style. With 4-4-2, you want to overload the central areas which your system can do naturally. Looking at your system, there's small duties changes that'll help. Mez+IWB to support for example will keep these players more around their position whilst still performing what you want to do in the attacking phase (I find Mez/S better than A because they still make those runs and are more supportive of the other players in midfield). I'd turn on exploit the middle too. 

If you're conceding the goals you're conceding, it may also be an issue of your personnel not being able to hold a high defensive line well against two front men. You should always have some athletic defenders with good concentration/anticipation back there. Failing that, it may be worth considering a 3 at the back version of your system.

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29 minutes ago, Deego619 said:

I always think you should be thinking about how to exploit the weakness rather than how to stop a certain system, maybe that's my own managerial style. With 4-4-2, you want to overload the central areas which your system can do naturally. Looking at your system, there's small duties changes that'll help. Mez+IWB to support for example will keep these players more around their position whilst still performing what you want to do in the attacking phase (I find Mez/S better than A because they still make those runs and are more supportive of the other players in midfield). I'd turn on exploit the middle too. 

If you're conceding the goals you're conceding, it may also be an issue of your personnel not being able to hold a high defensive line well against two front men. You should always have some athletic defenders with good concentration/anticipation back there. Failing that, it may be worth considering a 3 at the back version of your system.

Interesting point with the MEZ(S) and IWB(S). I am kind of scared that they would run in each other in that combination, otherwise I also thought about it. So far, I have done following changes: Wingers are set on "Mark Tighter", in addition I have OIs where I ask my players to always mark the RB/LB and to show them inside. Also I have the CBs to show outside. The idea is, my wingers stay very close to the opposition CBs, while my striker and two CMs are attacking the CBs. Since I dont want the opposition CMs to be completely free due to my aggressive CMs, I try to force the opposition CBs to play wide to the FBs or Wingers. It looks ok so far, I have faced Arsenal, Southampton, and Leeds (all 442) and won all games + had more possession. But still need more games to test. I will def. try a MEZ(S) and IWB(s).

Btw. do you have an idea, how I can get my CDM to play more forward passes instead of just giving it back to the CBs or GK in build up play? the DLP(D) seems like very conservative and cautious. I need a role that is sitting deep as the DLP, but plays forward. I tried with direct passing but it somehow ends up with hollywood balls... I would like my DLP to receive the ball and immediately look for the CMs or forward...

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Use more direct passes in general, not only with your dlp to get the ball to the wingers fast. You can keep it for all games since the players are good enough in the EPL to play like so. I've found relative success playing with deep line and direct passes (with good players).

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