The year is 2017, I have been managing in the serie A and B for the past 4 years with reggina and then pescara, leading pescara to their record highest league position in decades. After getting bored with the quiet italian life, and after discussing it with my wife, we decided to move to london and manage Tottenham Hotspur
The familiar faces at spurs are long gone, with only LLoris, Bale, Vertonghen and Kaboul left from the original squad, and they are getting fairly old now. To make matters worse, spurs have literally JUST built a new stadium which has crippled us financially. Here is my tactical journey:
I had tried a number of different tactics at Pescara, some conventional, and some downright mad, and believe it or not, the generic 442 was the perfect fit, we were always relegation candidates so a flat 442 ensured we were responsible in defence, and still a somewhat fear in attack, however, with joining spurs i am going to have to get to grips with the fact that our reputation often means teams will be parking the bus, and while a good 442 is still a very viable formation, i personally would like my team to play a different kind of football. I have taken over in November 2017 and spurs are 10th in the league. I am going to have to stick with ol' faithful untill we finish the season, as at this stage i simply cannot risk using an unfamiliar tactic, as our new chairman has decided he wants a minimum of qualification to next years Europa League and since my rep has decided to drop from national to local after accepting spurs, will be a very tedious task. Here is my version of a good old 442:
Fortunately Lloris is still around, albiet getting old. Hes a very reliable keeper, good both in the air and with 1 on 1's. Obvious first choice, but i WILL need a replacement soon.
I have chosen to use a WB(A) as my left back due to the man in front of him being on support. Also, even though bale is set as a winger, his PPM's should make him play more like an inside forward, so i would prefer my leftback to overlap him and provide another passing option, and drag the opposition RB away from bale, hopefully creating enough space fopr bale to just do his thing.
Left Centre Back
Vertonghen is the obvious first choice, and i decided to use him as a ball playing defender as he is phenominal on the ball. Vertonghen is going to be our focal point for building out from the back, and will help us with playing a possesion game. Hes great defensively, though as a BPD should he get caught in possesion i will need a strong defensive partner to cover the line.
Right Centre Back
I've gone for the generic CB(D) as i will need to have a man back should vertonghen get caught in possesion. I need a defender who is both quick, a good marker, and commands a great aerial presence.
I've gone for a FB(S) though it would seem like i should be using him on an attack duty. The man in front of him is a WM, who still has defensive responsibilites, but with an attack duty i am hoping he will push higher up the pitch and my FB(S) will offer a passing option. When defending, i am hoping that both the FB and the WM will drop deeper to help defend, agaion allowing me to effectively play out from the back and cover vertonghen should he lose the ball.
I have gone for a W(S) soley because i am 100% playing bale in this poisition whenever available. I dont really want bale to get overly involved with the defending, and i would like him to be a bit higher up the pitch. Bales PPM's should hopefully have him play as a deeper inside forward, and i am hoping that when he chooses to cut inside, the man behind him will bomb forward and cause trouble for the opposition defence, and also offer bale a passing option.
Left Center Mid
Your generic cm(A). While writing this however, i think it would click alot better if i put him on a support duty. Looking properly at my tactical picture, it seems my LCM will get in bales way when bale decides to cut inside. With a support role, he will perhaps stay a bit deeper and offer bale another passing option. **Will change this role to support**
Right Center Mid
DLP(S) Is one of my absolute favourite roles this edition of FM, possibly as this is the vclosest as to how i play in real life. Not much of a dribbler, my DLP(S) is expected to sit a little deeper than my midfield line. He is expected to hold the ball and spray passes out to my more attack minded players. I am hoping vertonghen will use my dlp(S) as his main passing outlet, allowing me to very effectively start my attack from the back.
I have chosen to use a WM(A). I dont expect him to eb as attack minded as a full on winger, and i would like him to help contribute to any defensive duties he needs to do. I expect him to still make forward runs, but i need him to get back quickly enough should the opposition launch a counter attack.
I have gone for the AF(A) because during my time in serie A, i loved the way my AF(A) plays. Both a creator, and an accomplished finisher i want him to play similar to a complete forward, but without the aerial threat. He needs to be quick enough to latch on to any misplaced through balls, and i want him to close down the opposition defenders when they have possesion.
A good old DLF(S). He is expected to sit deeper than the AF, and hold up the ball to allow th wider midfielders to overlap him and provide passing options. A good DLF(S) can be a real handful to defend against as he will either drag defenders out of position, or occupy any DM the opposition field. The overlapping players can be fed by the DLF, or he can try to bring the ball forward himself. The support duty should get him to be more likely to hold the ball than to make many forward runs, and should he be closed down he has safe passes back to the midfield strata.
As you can see, team instructions are mostly left at default, and the sliders are untouched as i like to watch the games and use shouts to change anything that needs changed. I am looking to play a patient attacking game with lots of short probing passes. The philosophy is set to fluid as i have not used many specialist roles, and this allows my players with more generic roles to use more creative freedom.
After playing through half the season, ol' faithful seems to be paying off. It has been doing more or less exactly what i had envisioned, with bale cutting inside dragging open space for my LB. With my DLF sitting back and holding the ball, waiting for the killer ball to allow my AF to score. My CM(A) was changed to and from (S) depending on the opposition and he is totally cutting up the oppositions defence, as he is now my clubs 2nd top scorer. My DLP(S) is absolutely key to this style of play, during an attack he seems to sit in the AM strata, prodding and probing with short passes, and receiving any sloppy clearances or passes back should the recipient not see anything to do with the ball. My only concern is, even as a BPD Vertonghen doesnt seem to be contributing much to build up play, quite often playing a quick short pass to one of my CMs, ill perhaps play about with this during next pre-season and experiment. So far so good, i think i have only lost 2 league games in the nov - march period.