Hi all, I'd like to introduce the tactic I've been using to dominate in my current save with Arsenal. With this tactic I'm currently at 0 losses in 28 games in 2021, and still on track to win every competition I am in (won Club World Cup, European Super Cup, Community Shield and Carabao so far). I'll update the thread with my progress this season as I play through it.
I first started this tactic with Charlton, winning back-to-back promotions and winning the Prem + CL by 2023. Since then, it's gone through several evolutions to make it into what it is today.
The key principle I used when creating this tactic was to play attacking football with a high press. If the ball gets past my press, I want to fall back to two narrow banks of four to compress space. Once I win the ball back, I want to transition quickly with short passes from back to front. When the break is not on, I want the team to probe the opposition defence until a chance opens up.
In order to get this working, I had to encourage forward passing by keeping the spacing between players consistent while providing diagonal passing options wherever possible.
Here is the basic shape to achieve this:
Mentality Attacking - Since I want attacking football, I will use attacking mentality.
Slightly Shorter Passing and Slightly Lower Tempo - I use these to offset the natural directness of the Attacking mentality to get the probing effect when the break fails to materialise.
Play Out Of Defence - I want quick short passing rather than route one, so I want to play out from the back. However, I still want my Defenders to play killer balls when they are on, hence the BPDs.
Overlap Left - Encourages the IWB to overlap and go wide when we are passing the ball in the opposition half.
Overlap Right - Encourages the WB on the right side to get further forward than the IW for width.
Counter and Counter Press - I want to win the ball back and transition quickly.
High Press - I want to press high and contain the opposition. However, I don't increase pressing intensity here and instead use PIs to achieve this because I don't want my central players to press as much as my forwards/wide players.
Defend Narrower - If press is broken, defend with two narrow banks of four in a low block.
I like ball-playing keepers who help to retain possession if needed, especially as we are pressing high.
Required Attributes: Shot stopping (Aerial Reach, Command of Area, Reflexes, One on Ones, Handling), Passing, Rushing out, Vision
Desired Attrributes: First touch, Kicking, Throwing, Anticipation, Composure, Decisions, Positioning, Speed, Agility, Balance, Technique
Ideal Players: ter Stegen, Ederson, Alisson, Manuel Neuer
Realistic Players: Geronimo Rulli, Alban Lafont, Pau Lopez, David Raya
IWB(d): Close Down More
My left back helps the build-up by coming inside and providing a passing option for my DLP. Both my full backs have Close Down More to press opposing wingers and prevent crosses into the box.
Required Attributes: First Touch, Passing, Tackling, Decisions, Positioning
Desired Attributes: Dribbling, Marking, Technique, Anticipation, Composure, Concentration, Teamwork, Vision, Balance
Ideal Players: David Alaba, Lucas Hernandez, Joshua Kimmich
Realistic Players: There aren't many. You could go for Benjamin Henrichs/Pavard or convert a BPD/DM. I've used Tierney/Chilwell in this role and they can do a very good job.
These can also be CDs if you don't have the right Centre Backs for the tactic. It doesn't change that much, but BPDs will sometimes pick out the CF with a long pass from the back. You won't see this as much with CDs.
Required Attributes: Marking, Passing, Tackling, Positioning, Speed, Balance, Jumping Reach, Strength
Desired Attributes: First Touch, Heading, Technique, Anticipation, Bravery, Composure, Concentration, Teamwork, Vision, Agility
Ideal Players: Matthijs De Ligt, VVD, Marquinhos, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte
Realistic Players: Ruben Dias, Marin Pongracic, Declan Rice, Lissandro Martinez, Nathan Ake, Kristoffer Ajer, Inigo Martinez, Jason Denayer
WB(s): Close Down More
My right back keeps the width on the right side as my IW(s) tucks inside.
Required Attributes: Crossing, Tackling, Off The Ball, Work Rate, Speed, Stamina
Desired Attributes: Dribbling, First Touch, Marking, Technique, Flair, Positioning, Balance, Natural Fitness
Ideal Players: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo, Hector Bellerin, Dani Carvajal
Realistic Players: Achraf Hakimi, Alvaro Odriozola, Ricardo Pereira, Max Aarons, Elseid Hysaj, Davide Calabria, Joao Pedro
IW(a): Close Down More, Mark Tighter, Stay Wider
Stay Wider to stretch the play. A direct player who likes to get high up the pitch to stretch play and create space for my half space player. My tactic naturally tends to create down the right side, so is often isolated and can take on dribbles 1-on-1 or is available at the far post for a simple tap in from a cross. Can create chances through dribbling before finishing or assisting. You can use a Winger here too, if you feel they are better crossing from the flank.
Required Attributes: Dribbling, Finishing, First Touch, Technique, Flair, Off The Ball, Speed, Agility
Desired Attributes: Long Shots, Passing, Aggression, Anticipation, Work Rate, Balance, Stamina
Ideal Players: Neymar, Eden Hazard, Ousmane Dembele, Sadio Mane, Vinicius Junior, Leon Bailey, Leroy Sane, Jadon Sancho, Gelson Martins etc.
Realistic Players: Federico Chiesa, Cengiz Under, Willem Geubbels, Lee Kangin, Florian Thauvin, Shoya Nakajima, Justin Kluivert, Miguel Almiron
Mez(s): Mark Tighter
Move into the half space for optimal spacing. Can lean towards either a Creator or BBM type, but needs to be a complete midfielder for better balance.
Required Attributes: First Touch, Passing, Tackling, Decisions, Determination, Positioning, Off The Ball, Work Rate, Stamina, Strength
Desired Attributes: Dribbling, Finishing, Long Shots, Marking, Technique, Aggression, Anticipation, Bravery, Composure, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Balance, Natural Fitness
Ideal Players: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Arthur, Paul Pogba, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Rodrigo Bentancur
Realistic Players: Nicolo Barella, Gedson Fernandes, Tanguy Ndombele, Exequiel Palacios, Olivier Ntcham, Mikel Oyarzabal, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Matteo Guendouzi, Mikel Merino, Marcelo Brozovic
DLP(d): Mark Tighter
Bring the ball out from defence and form the base of attacks.
Required Attributes: First Touch, Passing, Tackling, Technique, Composure, Decisions, Positioning, Teamwork, Vision, Balance
Desired Attributes: Marking, Anticipation, Off The Ball, Work Rate, Agility, Stamina, Strength
Ideal Players: Marco Veratti, Saul, Jorginho, Ruben Neves, Frenkie De Jong
Realistic Players: Sandro Tonali, Sergi Darder, Florentino Luis, Arne Maier, Rolando Mandragora, Matheus Henrique, Stanislav Lobotka, Lewis Cook
IW(s): Close Down More, Mark Tighter, Sit Narrower, Roam from Position
Move into half space for optimal spacing. A creator of the side, basically a WP without attracting the ball as much.
Required Attributes: Dribbling, First Touch, Long Shots, Technique, Flair, Off The Ball, Vision
Desired Attributes: Anticipation, Composure, Decisions, Teamwork, Work Rate, Speed, Agility, Balance, Stamina
Ideal Players: Isco, Bernardo Silva, Kai Havertz, Thomas Lemar
Realistic Players: Suso, Matias Vargas, Giovanni Lo Celso, Bruno Fernandes, Mickael Cuissance, Agustin Almendra
AM(a): Close Down More, Mark Tighter, Take More Risks, Dribble More, Move Into Channels
Second Striker or Main Creator. I don't use SS(a) because I don't want them to roam from position too much, the IW(s) is responsible for that. You can move this role up into the ST strata and use a DLF(s) or F9(s) if you have a Striker with the right attributes. I just happened to have a AM for this role. With a striker, they will help slightly less with the build up but you may see more direct transitions. If you use a creator here then you should have a good finisher up front.
Required Attributes: Dribbling, Finishing, First Touch, Technique, Flair, Off The Ball, Vision, Speed, Agility, Balance
Desired Attributes: Long Shots, Aggression, Anticipation, Composure, Decisions, Teamwork, Work Rate, Stamina
Ideal Players: Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Mohammed Salah, Paulo Dybala, Christian Eriksen, Philippe Coutinho, Dele Alli, Marco Asensio
Realistic Players: Nabil Fekir, Joao Felix, Lucas Paqueta, Diogo Jota, Luis Alberto, Oliver, Dani Olmo
CF(s): Close Down More, Mark Tighter
This role is flexible. A CF(s) has to be able to score, assist and create space for my other players. If they are more limited, I've used other options depending on the players I have available. AF(a) is good for fast strikers who like to break the offside trap and PF(a) is good for hard workers like Belotti.
Required Attributes: Finishing, First Touch, Anticipation, Composure, Flair, Off The Ball, Work Rate, Speed, Agility, Balance
Desired Attributes: Dribbling, Passing, Technique, Aggression, Concentration, Teamwork, Vision
Ideal Players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski, Roberto Firmino, Harry Kane
Realistic Players: Krzysztof Piatek, Andrea Belotti, Luca Jovic, Lincoln, Pietro Pellegri, Kasper Dolberg
Hopefully the tactic works just as well for you as it does for me. I would love to hear any feedback from you guys.