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Can't keep a clean sheet


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I started a new game with Parma, who are the main contender for promotion (and winning the league) in the Serie B. I'm three games in and after a narrow win at home against Vicenza, I dropped points against both Pordenone and Ascoli. As these are all teams that are predicted to finish on the lower side of the table, I'm a  bit worried about this. There's a consistent pattern of a striker drawing one of my CD's out and a winger getting into that space, on the inside of my full back. It happens both on the left (where I play a more attacking CWB) and on the right (with an IWB on defend duty). I've tried fixing this by being more aggressive as I have the impression that my defenders are tracking opposition strikers without actually challenging them whereas Pandev on my side is always under constant pressure and being tackled off the ball), but this has largely made no difference.

Considering I need a lot of chances to score goals for some reason, this is going to lead me into trouble if I don't fix this soon with the expectations of winning the league and all.

If anyone has any ideas about how to shut things down more properly, I'm all ears. :)

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Posted (edited)

The CWB would provide an attacking overlap over the IW, and the IWB would provide cover whenever the CM(S) leaves his position. 

In any case, I've tried making things a bit more conservative by dropping the midfielders to the DM slots and using a WB(S) and a FB(S) instead, but my results are still wonky and I'm currently sitting in 7th place with only 9 out of 18, including my first home loss against Lecce. An undeserved loss based on chances and xG, but I tend to drop a lot of points in games where I have the upper hand, as shown below.

I'm not sure what else I can do really, I'm playing well (although my chance creation could be better) but I can't get the results I feel I merit.

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Edited by KlaaZ
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9 hours ago, KlaaZ said:

There's a consistent pattern of a striker drawing one of my CD's out and a winger getting into that space, on the inside of my full back.

Try reducing your pressing and see if it stops that

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If your just looking for an overlap change to a normal WB. CWB roam all over the place, More suited to a creative player rather than getting to the byline for crossing 

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I'd certainly start with the fullbacks (position not role) and simplify those a little. WB(S) or FB(A) on the left, FB(S) on the right. I think the IWB on Defend is a little timid for a top team myself, as you'll leave behind a 2-2 when the team goes forward. Those changes would leave you with a 2-1 with an extra player covering and supporting the right wing

On 08/05/2022 at 08:46, KlaaZ said:

Considering I need a lot of chances to score goals for some reason

Your front 4 combination is a little timid too, I'd want a bit more aggression in there. The DLF(A) is part scorer, part creator, the AP is a creator and your wide players are runners. The IW(A) on the right is a bit more aggressive but I'd want a role more focused on getting in to dangerous areas. I'd either switch him up for to an IF(A) (an IF(S) may even do here) because they are more aggressive incutting wide role or change the AP(S) to an AP(A) or just an AM(A) so he's looking to break forward more often when the DLF has dropped deep

I can't see for the Match Stats, but are a lot of your shots Long Shots?    

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Thanks for all the input. The CWB was indeed a miscast it seems. I swapped him around for a FB(A). Made a few other changes and it's looking slightly better now. I may still play around with the striker, maybe going for a scorer rather than a creator (thinking poacher). 

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12 minutes ago, KlaaZ said:

Almost forgot to answer your question @Johnny Ace, the chances are not long shots but a lot of headers straight at the GK. 

Tbh, it's almost the same thing. Do not rely on headers. They are poor quality chances and you can see that when checking the amount of xG they are. A decent (you can get slightly better) header is often around 0.08 xG which is what a very good long shot is.

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51 minutes ago, HUNT3R said:

Tbh, it's almost the same thing. Do not rely on headers. They are poor quality chances and you can see that when checking the amount of xG they are. A decent (you can get slightly better) header is often around 0.08 xG which is what a very good long shot is.

Fair point. I'm just not sure how to change that though. I can free up the IW's or the FB(A) on the flanks, but their crosses usually result in these chances. I think (I'll check later) I usually average about 0.10 xG per shot, which isn't too bad I believe. 

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Right, on the attacking side I'm fairly happy now, my goals scored also pretty much reflect my xG (23 vs 24). I still face glaring issues in defense though. I've got an xG against of 11, but I've conceded a whopping 15 goals which is 30-40% more than expected..

 

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15 minutes ago, Johnny Ace said:

An attacking Mezzella in a 4-2-3-1 doesn't exactly create a solid midfield partnership. Vs weaker teams it'll probably be sound but I don't think you'll get away with it very often  

Currently playing like this and performing very well but the results keep being off... Really not sure what I can do at this point, almost every shot on target results in a goal against. These are my last two games, against mid table teams at home. I'm dominating possession, I'm creating chances (although against ascoli they weren't great), but I just either can't seem to finish them or, when I can, I just concede on pretty much every single chance my opponent creates..

 

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Might be a problem with striker quality too, in all fairness. Pandev, Simy and Inglese have three goals scored between them, in 24 appearances. Even as a DLF on support or attack, I would expect them to score a lot more but they keep missing their one on ones. According to their combined xG, they should've scored three times as much.

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5 minutes ago, KlaaZ said:

Currently playing like this and performing very well but the results keep being off... Really not sure what I can do at this point, almost every shot on target results in a goal against. These are my last two games, against mid table teams at home. I'm dominating possession, I'm creating chances (although against ascoli they weren't great), but I just either can't seem to finish them or, when I can, I just concede on pretty much every single chance my opponent creates..

I can see what you're going for with the TIs but I'd really untick Counter Press, it can throw you out of shape and leave gaps. Personally, I only ever use it when I know I'm going to hammer the other team and even then, I'm using it in a top heavy formation :D

I like your roles but I'd change a few duties

On the right, I'd change either the Mezz or Winger to Support, should help you keep a bit more solid on that side, If you change the Winger to Support, I'd change the DLF to Attack, if you keep the Winger on Attack, I'd keep the DLF on Support

I like the Fullbacks, nice roles for possession and not too risky but I can't help think you don't need a HB, I'd have a DM(S) to form a nice midfield unit. If the DM's on defend he can linger too far back and make the midfield a bit disjointed. Support duty here I feel is fine with your FBs, if you were using Wingbacks, I'd use a D duty and let the Wingbacks get forward   

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5 minutes ago, KlaaZ said:

Might be a problem with striker quality too, in all fairness. Pandev, Simy and Inglese have three goals scored between them, in 24 appearances. Even as a DLF on support or attack, I would expect them to score a lot more but they keep missing their one on ones. According to their combined xG, they should've scored three times as much.

Maybe? I don't know to be honest, it depends on a lot of factors

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2 hours ago, Johnny Ace said:

I can see what you're going for with the TIs but I'd really untick Counter Press, it can throw you out of shape and leave gaps. Personally, I only ever use it when I know I'm going to hammer the other team and even then, I'm using it in a top heavy formation :D

I like your roles but I'd change a few duties

On the right, I'd change either the Mezz or Winger to Support, should help you keep a bit more solid on that side, If you change the Winger to Support, I'd change the DLF to Attack, if you keep the Winger on Attack, I'd keep the DLF on Support

I like the Fullbacks, nice roles for possession and not too risky but I can't help think you don't need a HB, I'd have a DM(S) to form a nice midfield unit. If the DM's on defend he can linger too far back and make the midfield a bit disjointed. Support duty here I feel is fine with your FBs, if you were using Wingbacks, I'd use a D duty and let the Wingbacks get forward   

Counter Press might be one of my problems, will see how I get on without it. I'd like at least one runner from central midfield which is why I picked the mezzala, although I'm considering changing him to a CM(A). 

I actually went with a HB because I'm encountering a lot of dual striker systems and even a DM(D) looks like he pushes too far up the pitch in possession, which often leaves me one on one at the back when I lose the ball. Maybe an anchorman would do the trick too

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Made some changes following your suggestions and statistically, I did a lot better. But once again, I only conceded two shots on target, both resulting in a goal. It can happen, but for some reason it happens a lot to me. :(

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Conceded the first goal because for some reason on one of my throw ins, only one of my CD's stayed back (against one of their strikers). He then lost the aerial duel and the same player recovered faster and picked up the ball he headed on, going on to score. 

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Edited by KlaaZ
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I know it's frustrating, but posting those screenshots don't help a lot. Is there a pattern as to how you're conceding? Do you notice that you are conceding a lot of space in an area that's getting exploited? Is there anything about what you've seen that shows issues?

 

You have changed tactics a lot, so it is hard to keep track, but I am worried about the space in front of your central defenders.

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9 minutes ago, HUNT3R said:

I know it's frustrating, but posting those screenshots don't help a lot. Is there a pattern as to how you're conceding? Do you notice that you are conceding a lot of space in an area that's getting exploited? Is there anything about what you've seen that shows issues?

 

You have changed tactics a lot, so it is hard to keep track, but I am worried about the space in front of your central defenders.

Always through the middle, despite me playing with force opposition outside and with my defenders not being aggressive enough. I'm struggling immensely against two striker systems. The main pattern is one striker receiving the ball, being pressed but not being challenged and thus able to turn, and launching the other striker. Either that, or a winger that creeps up between my FB and my CD. 

Ironically, it seems impossible for me to find these gaps in the opponents defense.

These are the stats from my last two games.

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And as @Johnny Ace mentioned, Buffon not making any saves at all doesn't really help me either. 

Edited by KlaaZ
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Quote

Always through the middle, despite me playing with force opposition outside

 

That means you are narrow. It doesn't mean you are defensively solid or that you are compact. Like I said, I am worried about the space you leave in front of your central defenders.

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1 minute ago, HUNT3R said:

 

That means you are narrow. It doesn't mean you are defensively solid or that you are compact. Like I said, I am worried about the space you leave in front of your central defenders.

How can I compress that space? I'm already got a high D line with a standard LoE, and I'm employing a DM...

And again, two shots on target, two goals. First goal came from their right full back hitting a long diagonal to the left winger, putting him one on one with Buffon. Second from a set piece. 

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I just had a quick read through this thread and I’m confused.  You started off with a fairly high tempo 4231 and now you seem to be playing a low tempo 4123DM :confused: ?

Chopping and changing rarely works.  You had a plan in the first place, stick to it.  A couple of tweaks to your original system in your very first post could probably have turned things around.  Further, when you say things like

On 08/05/2022 at 16:25, KlaaZ said:

The CWB would provide an attacking overlap over the IW, and the IWB would provide cover whenever the CM(S) leaves his position

It’s flawed logic.  A fullback (defend) will provide an attacking overlap - they’ll just do it at less risky times than a CWB.  And who provides the cover for the IWB when he’s off covering for the CM(s)?  You also had pressing turned on for everyone - including your central defenders - so all 4 of your defenders were being pulled out of position.  If you want players to press, choose the ones you actually want to press or make sure defenders will have sufficient cover if they do.

You’re panicking, getting frustrated and fed up with it all.  That’s only natural.  Take a deep breath, have a plan, stick to it :thup:.

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Tactical familiarity didn't help you in the Perugia match. You D-line was too high to cope with their counter attacks which led to Araujo struggling.

Del Patro had a nightmare match, possibly due to tactical familiarity, but not sure. He got caught in possession early on and was caught on when the striker he was marking lost him for the first goal. Your tempo doesn't help in this match. Just in the first 7 minutes, you were almost dispossessed twice by your players holding onto the ball for too long.

You can also see they counter attacked in transition. Their 2 strikers and 1 AMC quickly became 3 up top against your two defenders. There were times even when they weren't counter attacking when this happened as well but less often.

I will concede that the long shot for goal #2 was unlucky and probably not very much your can do about. Goal #3 from the goal kick also looked unlucky, but could be due to tactical familiarity or miscommunication by the 2 defenders.

Tactical familiarity must have been low, correct? I keep seeing slow or poor decision making. Poor passes, taking too long on the ball, taking too long to make a decision to pass etc. It's either that or the lower tempo. Possibly both.

10 hours ago, KlaaZ said:

How can I compress that space? I'm already got a high D line with a standard LoE, and I'm employing a DM...

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That isn't very compact. This was from a goal kick.

 

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This is a counter attacking disaster waiting to happen. If they get the ball here, they can cause big problems.

 

After the red card, they became even more defensive and compact, but you still tried to counter attack them. That lead to your team either running into a brick wall or trying a long shot.

 

In the Brescia match you can see, as you found out, that this is too dangerous:

 

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This setup leaves their striker 1 v 1 with your defender, Araujo. Is he new? He seems to struggle a lot and is always a second too slow.

Brescia's last goal shows poor pressing from your team and then getting caught out with your high line. The pressing seems a second too slow. Tight marking perhaps? A bit more urgent pressing? Not something I've paid too much attention to, but something to keep an eye on going forward. Still think your d-line is too high.

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There's a lot of space behind your fullback and that left winger is about to make the run. Their midfielder also has all the time in the world (caused by the poor pressing) to time the pass to perfection.

 

I've always believed that there's a relationship between the amount of pressing and where the D-line is. The higher your D-line, the more pressing you need, otherwise you can cause issues like this. Keep an eye on it. I'm a more cautious manager in general, so my first instinct would be to drop the D-line, but others might prefer increasing the pressing.

 

It's not the end of the world. There seems to be a couple of issues and a couple of unlucky goals conceded. Araujo feels like he's new and still trying to settle in. Your D-line might be too high. Counter attacking teams who are ready for it leads to poor attacks.

The other issue is against teams with 2 strikers and an AMC. They overload your 2 central defenders. Against these systems, try to have more protection at the back. A more defensive (and physically bulkier to help deal with crosses - see the first Perugia goal) fullback or a more defensive DM.

 

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Just a quick note regarding that Brescia goal from my throwin, I have no idea why I was 1 on 1 there. Had a CD and FB with stay back and a CD on stay back if needed, which are the default instructions. Feels like a bug more than anything else?

Will read through the rest later, currently at work. But thanks for taking the time go go through it. 🙂

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1 hour ago, KlaaZ said:

Just a quick note regarding that Brescia goal from my throwin, I have no idea why I was 1 on 1 there. Had a CD and FB with stay back and a CD on stay back if needed, which are the default instructions. Feels like a bug more than anything else?

It might be a bug or something else is happening because it's an attacking throw in and not a 'normal' throw in. I'll pay more attention to mine tonight.

I know that if you have a free kick in the attacking third and it's wide of the box, it uses your corner settings. Could be that something like that happens when it's an attacking throw in. I don't have the game open, so can't check.

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Forgive me if this is now out of date, but the first thing I noticed looking at your 4231 was that you were using a higher defensive line and no Sweeper Keeper of any sorts. i wouldn't use a plain Gd on higher than "normal" line. Try a SKd, might help somewhat. Or if your keeper really can't come out of the box, then reconsider the lines. 

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Right, a bit more substantial but I've found something that worked, which allowed me to climb back from a seemingly impossible position to clench the title in the Serie B. :)

 

This is how it looks now, with a more creative player in the DLF slot (Vazquez started out as my ACM and moved to the right wing later on). He was my main threat in the second half of the season, scoring eleven in the last thirteen games. The only thing I still play around with a little is the mentality, based on our possession vs. the chances we create. If we have very high possession stats without goal attempts, I tend to go a bit more adventurous. 

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You didn't have an awful tactics to begin with. And in my experience too many changes can turn it into chaos - wanting to fix one thing and creating problems elsewhere. 

If the problem is conceding goals, then it's important to know how these goals are created.

In your initial tactics, the CWB was correctly pointed out - him wandering somewhere leaves you three men and too big gaps between defence.

What I also could suggest is to use SK with higher defensive line (obviously Buffon has his limitations) and you fixed that with Colombi and adjusting to your opponent - there are teams who attack through the centre and your obvious reaction could be defending more narrower - forcing them outside and closing the gaps. Simple as that.

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