Now the final ME update is out I thought I’d wrap up this year’s tactics into one tidy thread with final versions of both the 4141 and 442 which I have been using this year.
19.3 seems favourable to the 442 with very little downside from playing without a holding midfielder (which is a shame), using a DM and the 4141 remains the more effective option only for relegation candidates as illustrated below.
‘Attacking’ mentality seems to yield superior results and performances for all teams at all levels. Cardiff attacking Home & Away, week in week out, should see them relegated yet even the 442 saw them finish comfortably mid-table. That’s a bit disappointing, I hope the lower mentalities become more relevant next year, with perhaps a Defensive approach yielding better results for weak teams.
Anyway, onto the 442.
Here we see our two wide midfielders sitting narrow on attacking mentality, they interact heavily with our forwards who are encourage to operate fairly deep often running beyond our strikers for a shot or a reverse across the 6 yard box. Our Wing backs overlap, but we don’t force play into them via over lapping instructions, but allow it happen when they are in plenty of space and a pass to them is the best option. They influence play by pulling defenders out of the central areas which is where most of our attacks are focused.
Our Central Midfielders are encouraged to join attacks which in theory should leave us exposed centrally but due to the limitations of the match engine it doesn’t as long as we have a fairly strong team.
Goalscoring is spread nicely across the front 6.
Behaviours across the team can be classified as follows.
Strikers – Creator, Goal Scorer, Disrupter
Wide Midfielders – Runner, Creator, Goal Scorer
Box to Box – Tackler, Passer, Marker
Wingbacks – Runner, Disrupter, Creator
Central Defenders – Marker, Tackler, Header
Half Back (in 4141) – Marker, Tackler, Passer
Whilst the above doesn’t relate directly to the match engine it helps me visualize how a tactic will play out and ensure duties are balanced.
Employ the 442 with a top team and you steamroll the opposition, Home and Away.
My City test saw us average 3.07 goals a game whilst conceding at 0.44. Something has to go terribly wrong for that to be overturned in a 1 off game. (it happened once).
Whilst I cannot recommend the 442 for the weakest of teams, Cardiff still stayed comfortably in the division, scored a good number of goals, but conceded too many.
However, using the 4141 for Cardiff saw a very solid 8th place finish and a nice positive goal difference and only 10 league defeats, a strong improvement over the 442.
I would recommend the 442 for teams predicted to finish 12th or above. The 4141 for teams 13th and below. (Using Premier League as an example).
It becomes tricky to judge this in lower leagues, especially when you’ve been promoted. I’ve often won the league when predicted to finish bottom at 1000-1 odds.
My advice is to move to the 442 as soon as you can get away with it.
If in doubt, start the season with the 4141 and if you find you are challenging for top 6 move to the 442.
Patterns of Play (442)
I would say the play is ‘mixed’ with a 65/35% split between Central and Wide play. With 2 Strikers Counter Attacking is an option with approximately 25% of goals coming via this route.
You will see some high shot tallies, 30 or 40+ fairly often. Often 50% of these might be long shots for various reasons namely tendencies in the Match Engine, Direct Free kicks and our focus on central play.
Its all good, 20 long shots out of 40 still leaves 20 shots from inside the penalty area. Long shots themselves are effective, deflections can lead to goals and corners.
The basic premise is just to build up pressure, pepper the goal with shots, get lots of corners and attacking throw in’s and just pin opponents in their own penalty area.
Mixing and Matching
Whilst I tend not to do this much, situationally I will do so. Perhaps to break a poor run of form, if I’m 3 nil up at half time with the 4141 I might switch to the 442 to turn the screw, i might switch to the 4141 for a tricky away Champions League tie etc. You can use your judgement of course.
But generally, one formation or the other will be optimal for your team at a given time and I’d need a compelling reason to change from it.
Beyond that, have fun, feedback welcome!
My approach to training is here;
Left Back to take left corners and thrown ins
Right Back to take right corners and thrown ins
Rosler 442 19.3.fmf Rosler 451 19.3.fmf