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okereke

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Everything posted by okereke

  1. Welcome to the (active) community! I was kinda like you back in the day, never wanting to post and just reading, but once I did it I enjoyed it a lot so I think you definitely did the best you could. Be sure you'll have tons of fun engaging in conversation with the gents around here and it will allow you also to learn much more. One thing you constantly repeat through your text explaining your approach is that you still feel that this tactic is not yours, that it is just a combination of other tactics, etc etc... Don't sell yourself so low man! How many real life managers build stuff off their brains without taking ideas from here and there, let alone FM players? You definitely spent the proper time learning the game as real managers spent it learning the history of football and where this and that system work and don't, then applied what you considered right for your team and players. Don't think it can get any better, and the way you put it all together in the post, along with the use of images was superb, believe me. No wonder you inspired me getting back to the game after a few months of hiatus. Hope to keep reading you around!
  2. Wait what? They said Touch would have a Beta version too... Waiting for it to drop or they to announce there won't definitely be one to be honest.
  3. Awesome! As I have it now we're pretty solid defending as you can see by the results I posted yesterday. It seems like I have found the right balance in defense with the triangle of the CBs+BWM. I guess I prefer to do innovative and creative stuff while having fun and exploring some new ways to play the game than just download a pre-made tactic and press the spacebar ad infinitum to see my inbox full of "congratulations on winning the cup again!". Personal taste. To me, the problem is not the MEZ not going forward (they do and pretty well) but rather wide, kind of overlapping the IFs. That is where it gets tricky, because the ME was not build to allow that kind of movement. So yes, what you mention happens sometimes (both a MEZ and a IF getting close to each other in the same area), and also it is often that you see the IF getting wide and the MEZ more on the inside part of the pitch. Not that is bad and doesn't produce results, which are there, but definitely not how I want the system to play. Yes I'm already using underlapping movements to keep IWBs on the inside areas of the pitch while MEZs and IFs get or start the play at wider positions. Definitely a great shape and movement is generated and the combinations are wonderful and work tremendously. Thanks. I'm definitely not trying to create some kind of "unstoppably-demonic" tactic with these Inspiring Concept threads. I just thought about having some fun doing new stuff and focusing on somewhat "little" things (the use of IWBs, the creation of the Central Winger, the use of a free-movement trio on a strikerless system, and what is yet to come...) rather than playing the casual same old game we all do every year without squeezing the game. Glad you're liking it! Believe me, that game against MTK was incredibly frustrating so I made changes and I don't know, they're working nicely now and we're pretty solid back in defense, so I'm happy for now. Wait until we reach the first knockout round of the EL and get crushed by some big team though haha There is definitely a lot of movement and variation in positions. Keep in mind that no less than 6 players start at a point that ultimately changes (IWBs to CM, MEZ to W, IFs to F) so that really causes problems for the opposition who often get lost into who to cover and leaves doors open to crosses or through-balls that make for clear chances in the area. I used the HB at first, but having the CBs split too wide caused a lot of trouble while defending long balls because they found it hard to recover and track back in time, that's why I changed the DM position to a BWM role. That way I keep a defensive triangle that holds the position vertically and that doesn't get too wide, so we avoid problems getting back.
  4. "Remember when I signed my contract a few months ago and moved to Merseyside? Remember what they said? 'He won't make it here as in Scotland. He won't be able to handle this level of play. This is no one-team league. No minnows here.' They can suck it now, that's what I say." - Robbie Gould, Liverpool's manager. PS: I did this post for fun and I know karma will hit me back in the forehead making me lose like 8 or 10 games in a row, just in case.
  5. This has to do with a few things. First, I need my IWBs as CMs covering the whole midfield because MEZ are not supposed to play that role when we are on attack (they are supposed to turn into wingers). Second, if I don't play them on attack, I've seen (or at least I think) that they hit a wall and don't go upfield enough to my liking. Third, they produce overloading situations around the opposition area through the center of the pitch and force the MEZ to get a little wider. Fourth, they sometimes even roam around the edge of the box, which is great for recycling possession. Fifth, they're often so high the pitch that can't track back in time, leaving my CBs and BWM exposed and thus creating exciting moments for the fans out there in the stand. Wait, forget about that fifth point. I need to fix that. This is the struggle of this challenge. Basically, there are three key roles in the system and two completely opposite ways of work for them. Simply put, we have: IWBs + IFs => Start wide, need to get inside. MEZ => Start inside, need to get wide. So we can say that we need to widen the field for the MEZ to turn into wingers hugging the touchline, but that would make the IWBs and IFs stay too wide and we don't want that, so we need to counter-act by applying the narrower instruction in order to keep things in kind of place. It is not obvious, it is not perfect, but I don't think there is a better way to mix and mangle all of the concepts running. Yes it may makes the MEZ not go as wide as possible, but they're really not going to go that wide even if applying a wider shape, so I think it's not worth doing it (because then IWBs and IFs would be much more outside than I want them to, so the problems outweigh the benefits). Again, hard to achieve the system in the current ME because after all it is all a huge mix of tweaks to try and put it in play, so some things are counterintuitive and definitely not perfect. It is just about finding the right balance and what most resembles the idea, given the impossibility of nailing it down 100%. Same as with the first quote, I hate to do stuff like the one you mention. I'd never play a super deep defensive block and close down a lot, because that may cause and over-stretched formation full of holes everywhere and people running out of position quite frequently. But here, seeing how the defensive pair of CBs and the HB/BWM were destroyed by long balls I wanted to keep them in place as deep and restrained as possible, while still trying to put pressure on the opposition's creative players to try and recover the ball quickly or at least force bad decisions at the start of their plays. The fact both CBs are on Cover is related to what I already said. I know it may sound extreme, and it may change over time when I play more games against stronger teams and see how the pair works, but I just wanted to have two guys down there with restricted duties just focusing on defending. Sure. I will play some more demanding games (Premier League and the start of the Europa League) and then upload some videos and provide some tactical image breakdown as I did in IC#1. I just didn't want to start pumping stuff during the preseason because it may not fully represent how the system works given the weak opposition.
  6. I ditched the APs as soon as I fired the game today and played 5 minutes of the first game I didn't want more ball-magnets on the system, much less ones with "playmaker" attached to them. We're keeping the IFs there for the time being. As explained, IWBs are doing what I want them to do. They are false CMs and play like them. Get the ball, pass the ball, don't get too fancy. And they are hyper fast tracking back and positioning on defense (even while actually being players meant to play on CM positions as you can see by the names in my best XI). Man if I could make your comment about the Wingers real and 100% true that'd be glorious, and I acknowledge and recognize that they may not hold the wide position as much as you'd like, but in my case I need them to get inside as hell but I don't think I'll ever get fully happy with that. At least they try, tho. About that City system you mention, well, you know what I think about it. Lovely stuff. Happens to me all the time. I read something here and I want to take on a completely different challenge. I read a book I want to start with another team. I read an article I want to sign a player. Crazy stuff haha! Yes you can tweak players' roles with PIs and looking at their PPMs, but even with that some roles are hard-coded to work in a certain way and even for those not that exaggerated, you still find problems. Not a perfect ME, but well, we have to adapt and that makes it challenging and fun to try and come with new systems and ideas, so it's okay.
  7. Preseason completed. So far, so good, yet not so good. Am I happy with the results? Sure. Look at the numbers: 34 goals in 7 games and only 5 conceded (I don't even know what happened against MTK, the team was utter crap to be honest for some mysterious reason). Am I happy with the way the system is playing out? Hmm... Not 100%. At least not until the last game against Tranmere, which yes I know is not 2011 Barcelona but still. That felt like the game in which the tweaks I did to the formation made it work the closest to what I want to achieve. So this is it. I know. I know. You're think "oh look at this ***** putting all those TIs and PIs and having no clue what he's doing". I understand your logic, but bear with me. You have read my thought process and what I want to achieve. You know this is not some random stuff throw to the ME that works just because the ability of the players featured in the XI. No. I'm building something I have an image of pretty clear in my mind, and that formation, and all of its instructions make it work as close as possible to how I think it should work. A few notes: The DLF works wonders. He drops, participates in the game, but is a threat up front. Me likes. I've tweaked and re-tweaked and then tweaked again what now are the IF(Su). Believe, they've driven me incredibly nuts. But finally, I think the best way to make them drop a little deeper and getting them some more into inside positions to be overlapped by the MEZ is by assigning them both the Support duty and also heavily customizing their PIs to get narrower, hold the ball and roam. I've tried countless combinations, but this seem to be the best one. The MEZ are never going to be "true" Central Wingers, that's for sure. I give up and we have not even started the season yet ("how dare you!?", I heard in the distance). Again and as with the last point, this is the closest to a Central Winger you can get on this FM. They are on Attack duty to give room to the coming IWBs (our truly fake/false CMs here), and I also PI'd them to run wide and dribble more. I was using a HB but was forced to change the role. Honestly I don't care that much about the defensive side of the game for this challenge, but I don't want to get screw over and over, and the HB made the CBs split and that created massive holes in defense that even ****** MTK exploited as hell. No more my Hungarian friends. BWM is a win-win and I loved the defensive triangle that I created in IC#1 with Celtic, so I'm cool there. The CBs go on Cover because holly hell those holes. Too much to stand each and every game. No more risky business down there fellas. The IWBs were also a little of a headache during the first creation phase (up until like v5 or v6 of the tactic -- I'm at v10 now) but I've finally gotten to a point where they are pure false-game-building-CMs. They go up, stay inside and don't go crazy overlapping, which is not what they need to do because that is supposed to be the MEZ task. I'm currently playing a SK because we go quite high as a block so I guess having someone deep in there covering the CBs doing stupid stuff is necessary. Not a lock tho, may get back to a classic GK in time if there is not a lot of difference. As far as the team instructions, oh boy are they a bunch: I want to retain possession because I understand that makes the team take more time to finish plays and that allows players to relocate into their "real" positions on offense. It seems to be working more and more as MEZs overlap the IFs (not always but what can I do...) and the IWBs get settled in midfield pretty nicely. The shorter passing has more or less the same effect, and I don't think going flank-to-flank is a must here. It is not something I had in mind when developing the system and I'd rather play that short-distance game so it's alright. Same playing out of defense. I don't want long balls that go for nothing and doesn't allow the system to fully develop and display. By narrowing the playing space I force the IFs and IWBs to get in. It works to an extent to fulfill my ideas. Higher tempo and CDMM is what Klopp taught me. And finally, by "forcing" the underlapping instead of leaving it open I've observed that IWBs are quite restricted and remain inside the central zone of the pitch instead of going wild wide, which I don't want to even mention. It doesn't seem to affect the MEZs and IFs interaction too much, so I'm happy with it. I'll wait and play some Premier League / EL games before updating with some images and videos so you can see how the system looks in a more detailed way, but I hope this breakdown of the stuff and update on how things are as of now gives you an idea of how I'm putting together my "real-life" thoughts into the beloved FM match engine and tactics creator. Edit: Forgot to mention the mentality and shape: Standard mentality. Don't go to crazy up the pitch or sit to deep. I've come to realize I'm a disciple of the Standard, which nonetheless I change during games depending on how the opposition is playing, the result, etc... to move the lines up or down the pitch as I need it. Flexible shape. "Booooooriiing!" Yep. A lot. But really, nor do I want the lines to be to close (may make it hard to reach further zones against strong teams giving the whole concept developed) or too separated (basically because if we get caught we're pretty fudged against quick and precise booming counters). As always, any comment/suggestion/question is appreciated and will be properly addressed
  8. Great concepts you are using there, and indeed somewhat close to what I'd like to do, although not quite the same from what I read. After a couple of quick tests during the first match of the preseason I've already reached v5 of my tactic (yes, I save "major" changes as different versions as I get closer to what would ultimately be the final system). Right now I'm using some of your instructions, so we're close in some of the stuff you mentioned. For example, underlapping works better than overlapping more than anything because I want to limit how outside the IWBs get/remain, which that allows for. I'm also applying up-pitch press, as much as I can, and playing out of defense to give time to the team to position in their offensive "target areas". Given how you explained your formation, it is logical to apply a wider approach, something I'm going in the opposite direction here with a narrower TI. I acknowledge it may cause problems in the build of the CW role, so I still have to see how it truly affects the game, but by now it seems like the best option while looking at the whole team shape and functions. As far as mentality and shape, I'm right now at Standard/Flexible, but don't pay that much attention to it because it may change depending on the opponent's approach and their strength. About point 4 and the midfield focus, it is just something I'd like to achieve for the IC#2 in terms of using IWBs as pure midfield creators instead of more "classical" IWBs that ultimately end playing as WBs, only faking it by getting a little in, then out. It's more about the idea of playing two "False CMs-from-IWBs" than other thing. The focus of course would be the CWs and their in-and-out approach getting further up through the wings to generate danger. Here are a couple of pics that depict how I'd like the team to shape in defense (left; although I don't really focus that much on defense for this IC#2, same as in IC#1 to be honest) and then what I expect to see on offense (right; with the DLF linking but also getting as further as possible when the ball reaches the final third to overload the area). That is definitely one of the biggest challenges, getting the IWBs-CWs-IFs to work in a way that doesn't make them look silly by using the same spaces and positions on the field. Ideally the formation drawn in the board up here (my expect offensive shape) would be what I see, although it is just impossible to nail it down knowing how the ME is hard-coded in some aspects (the Mezzalas not getting wide enough, for example). Be sure I will still try to get the best outcome I can tho! Let's see if I can at least achieve something close to the idea of a CW I have in mind ^^ Now that you mention it, my last version of the formation through some changes features two APs rather than IFs. For some reason they represent better what I want to achieve in the current ME, although I've just played a couple of matches so I will probably end making many more changes until I reach the final version of the tactic. Speaking of the DLF, I haven't really applied any PI to him as of now, barring CDMM to press as high and as much as possible. I will see if he works properly or if I need to turn into a strikerless formation, which I wouldn't really like for this challenge and won't probably be doing.
  9. After thinking about it, I've finally settled at a 4-1-2-2-1 formation, as the follow image depicts. These are the key points to consider, which I more or less already introduced: 2 CBs drift wide to give space to the dropping HB, creating a 3 D-Men line to build from 2 IWBs turn into play-making CMs 2 MEZ turn into Wingers (Central Wingers) 2 Wingers (probably IFs) get inside 1 DLF to link with the IWBs during the build up and share the ball with the IFs in the area As you can see from the names (not definitive, but projected), I won't be using players on their "natural" or most suitable positions of origin, but instead having in mind where I want them to finish the play. So, no FBs/WBs, but rather CMs into the IWB positions. The same for the two MEZ, which will actually be Wingers by nature. Given the quality of Mane/Salah and how good they are in attack, they fit the IF role so no real/dramatic changes there. As for the DLF, Firmino will probably be at that role with Milik as his most common sub. I'll be playing some preseason games next tweaking the roles/TI/PI until I get what most resembles the idea I have in mind and post another update then.
  10. In name of those present here I ask for all of those docs to be photographed and uploaded and shared here. Or you can just send them over DM to me
  11. Probably not entirely relevant (as we don't discuss your system exactly as is or talk about how to change it), but you may find some light here from me and @SD.
  12. Replied in the quote, not completely focusing on how I'd go against Chelsea but rather applying my answers to this IC#2, but hope it can pour some interesting stuff into what you probably expected to read as an answer. I didn't mean or wasn't going for Fluid in the title as the "Fluid Shape" that is used in FM. I used it as defined in football as a whole, in the "real world" rather than FM. I could have use other terms such as "adaptive", "transformative", or whatever. What I meant was to represent somehow the classical "Totalvoetval" of the Dutch in that if you look at the diagrams, the original formation is something that I expect to "fluidly" turn into another thing when in attack. IWBs would turn into CMs. CMs into wingers. Wingers into Forwards. Forwards into "False Forwards/False AMs". All of that through fluid moves building from the back. In terms of in-game application, off the top of my head I'd go with Standard/Structured. Standard to keep the team balanced and not overly defensive or attacking, and Structured to be a little longer on the pitch and have more vertical distance between the lines so players have to mover more, thus giving more time to others to change positions on the field. I know it may sound counterintuitive and may end using Fluid/Very Fluid, because again I have yet to test first approach to the system in the ME. I hope it is clearer now. Thanks man! I always do some paper work (or digital diagrams, whatever) because I'm a football tactics nut and I can spend hours looking at Spielverlagerung diagrams without even the context of the articles they appear in haha! Hope you enjoy the journey. Sorry to disappoint you by managing Pool instead of Arsenal! :P Sure. The idea is what I already wrote up as a reply to Robson. IWBs => CMs; CMs => Ws; F => AM. This fluid change of positions would allow us to overload the space from midfield up as we will have two extra (unexpected) players by deploying two WBs that actually will play as CMs, still covering the back with the line of CB-HB-CB. Given the absence of the Central Winger role, I also coincide in that Mezzala is the closer it gets to it if correctly tweaked. There is no way to create a "true" Central Winger, so I guess that would be the best I would be able to do. I also thought about tweaking the Carrilero role, but they don't get as upfield as a CW would, so I think I've already discarded that option. And yes, Wingers will be there (giving space for the Mezzalas to get into their original position) while moving to inside positions accompanying the Forward. I don't know if it makes sense, but it is definitely a super close approach to what I had already thought about, so I'm cool with your mind.
  13. Intro Following the somewhat unexpected (and good) response to my first tactical thread here (which came from a challenge originally posted by @herne79 and was heavily inspired by @westy8chimp and @Ö-zil to the Arsenal! work), here is the second instalment of the series that I plan to keep writing about for some time, or at least in those moments time allows me to. As I already said in the first topic and Concept thread, what I'm trying to do here is only to build formations or work on concepts I've read or watched somewhere that, even not fully knowing about them, inspired something that I want to achieve on FM. The first thread focused on the creation of a trio of forwards in a strikerless tactic, in which that partnership was expected to start the game (every play, actually) in a 2-1 shape of two TQs and one SS to then turn into a 1-2 shape formed by one AM (the SS dropping deeper) and two Fs (TQs getting inside to central forward positions). I was quite pleased with the process and the fact that the system ended working, both around that idea and the full formation as a whole. Past Inspiring Concepts' Threads - Celtic's Strikerless 1-2-to-2-1 * * * Context For the 1-2-to-2-1 challenge I used an all-Scots Celtic side and although it wasn't something I had planned, given that I had loaded both the Scottish and English first-level divisions I ultimately thought about keeping the same save alive while taking on other challenges and inspirations, just to play on an evolving world and force myself to adapt to diverse and unexpected squads, losing potential preconceptions. Even with that, the idea is to move places every season (the original plan was to start a save for each challenge, so it's kind of the same after all). And at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, after reigning in all Scottish competitions, two teams emerged as possible destinations given their subpar seasons in England: Manchester City and Liverpool. Ultimately, Guardiola's side defeated Manchester United in a derby for the UCL title and kept the Spaniard as their coach, while Klopp was sacked after finishing 6th and only achieve Europa League qualification with Liverpool. So, for this next challenge, I'll Never Walk Alone. * * * The Idea I'm not sure if the thread's title has make anything clear, although I guess it hasn't – not at least completely. The second challenge and concept I've been thinking on taking on is based around a few ideas rather than just one, although there is a prime element to the whole formation to build and work in. And that, is the creation of the unavailable role of the Central Winger. The inspiration for this, I must acknowledge doesn't come from a single article or image or anything I saw that turned on the bulb. I can't actually point to a single piece it comes from. It is more about all I've been reading lately, which has mostly been related to the Barçajax school of football, and the Dutch history. We all know about the "hipster" roles that have been heavily featured and used during the last few years. False 9s, Raumdeuters, Inverted Full-Backs, this and that. On top of that, for lots of people Spain created the now-renowed "Tiki-taka", which was a wrongly named "Juego de Posicion", etc etc. Don't want to bore with terms and definitions here, but I'm open to delve into all that if you want to ask for it in the thread and there is interest. So, back to the idea to develop, I have been thinking about new stuff to do in-game and also probably influenced by my Celtic side of last season, I wanted to go into a different direction taking into consideration the things I learnt thanks to that year of tinkering. That brought me basically to the next points: Avoid the use of overlapping WBs after using them heavily on Inspiring Concepts (IC) #1 Try to better defend the sides, which was something I paid not attention at all during IC#1 Build another fluid system, with smooth changes of positions in place Focus on the midfield, overloading it by employing IWBs getting inside from the back IWBs push CMs forward, which in turn push Wingers, which in turn affect the Forward(s) position too To some it may sound like Guardiola's system at Bayern, and I won't deny it. I'm not trying to emulate that (nor the formation, shape, style of game, or anything) but it could very well be what inspired this given my late readings. I think the thought process could be described as: I want to use and build through IWBs If the IWBs get to CM positions then CMs will need to move forward If CMs go forward then Wingers/AMs have to make room for them and thus their position will change The Wingers/AMs move will also affect the way the Forward(s) play From this I envisioned the idea of the Central Winger role, which doesn't exist on FM. Wait, what? Central Wingers. I had not read of them previously but somehow I thought someone must have had that thought before me. And yes, indeed someone had. And I'm totally cool with it. I already had the role and its functions clear in my mind prior to finding that article and reading more about it, so I'll keep going for it, and given FM's evolution during the past couple of editions I also had thought about how to "create" the role in game. It is still early tho, because I have not put time on building the tactic in game, but the ideas are already in my mind. Here are the stupid doodles that would lay the foundation of the thread. I won't explain anything about them and just leave them in here for now, just to see if some of you have questions or could say something about how I want or how you would expect the thing to turn out by having read the prior paragraphs and now watching at the formations and notes (click to enlarge). Hopefully we can get the discussion going before I update with some in-game developments. Further Reading Using the Central Winger How to use Inverted Full-Backs Tactical Philosophy of Eusebio di Francesco
  14. Here are some stats and numbers. Thanks for the idea, I will keep track of them during the duration of the series. Pretty good record both on goal scored and allowed, with a 1.29 goal difference between them in all competitions. Rangers, for example, were incredibly potent in offense scoring 94 goals (2.47 per game) in 38 league matches while allowing 38. Had Morelos not been injured (in a match against us...) for 3 months he could have finished with over 30 goals easily (he scored 17 in 18 league games). To not play a true-forward and go with a strikerless system, something I had never seriously done to be honest, I'm pretty happy with the outcome. In the UCL we finished the group stage 2nd only behind Real Madrid while scoring 12 and conceding 9 (4 against Madrid, giving away the second leg match as we were already onto the Round of 16). WBs commented next. Thanks Craig, hope you like the next adventure! As far as how I would have kept evolving the system, it is hard to give a quick answer without putting much more think that I've done now over it, given that I honestly just focused on the forward-trio for the challenge and basically complemented it the best I could but not giving much thought to anything else (keeping some balance in there, tho). The first thing, as you already said and I explained, would be to find a better (or proper) way of assessing the combination of WBs and TQs in transition on defense, as both WBs are usually way up the pitch so they find pretty hard to track back cause they go all-in every single time and against strong opposition the defensive triangle is just plainly not enough. changing their mentality to a more denfensive one would be the obvious first step, and even maybe changing their role from WB to FB could placate them a little more while also awarding them offensive chances and room to roam upfield (I've not tested it). Another option could be to keep the FBs back and try to use some sort of side-central midfielders going to the touchlines instead of WBs, maybe some sort of Mezzala going from inside to the outside part of the pitch to overlap the TQs when they get inside, although that may create a rather big empty space on the center field around the halfway line. Just talking off the top of my head ^^
  15. Time for a last update, which doesn't mean the thread needs to be close as I'll still be able to discuss anything you want about the system, approach, inspiration, etc. I opted to start writing about my FM experiences not long ago and this was the first serious and "live" topic I created about an ongoing game, but as I already said I don't have much time to put on playing so I usually opt to go for developing quick "ideas" or saves in which I take a team and try to do something concrete. In this case, I think after one season I've achieved the goal of creating that concept of having a forward dropping and two wingers getting up-and-down, in-and-out the field to create the concept Ancelotti once used at Chelsea (see first post for more info). As a final summary of things, I won't be talking much about new developments of the system given that I think I had already got it nailed down to how it played in my head by the time I gave you all the last update, so I will just go over how the season finished and just show you some videos that highlights some of the formation and style of play key concepts. * * * As you know, I chose Celtic as my starting club and turned it into an all-Scots team. Even with that I didn't expect much competition at least on the national side of things barring Rangers, and would try to get as far as possible in the UCL/EL without actually much expectations given the level of the clubs we would be facing. After the season finished, this is the summary of it. We basically were able to won every trophy we played on except the European competition, although we suffered a little at first in the league given that we didn't have a great start and that Rangers basically were not dropping a single point early in the season. Finally everything turned out as expected and we won the league against the very own Rangers with two matches to play. The same happened in the Cup Final, which we also won by 3-1 against Rangers. In both those games our style was deployed to perfection, using both a great defensive aggressive pressing to recover the ball and generate chances on the counter. The following videos are from those games, but they pretty much sum up the vast majority of our attack during the season. All already explained principles are in play. The 2CDs maintaining their position, the "defensive triangle" including the BWM maintaining its shape, the pressing high up the pitch, the use of full backs on attack to overlap and overload the defense and cross/direct pass the ball to the other side, and ultimately, the 1-2-to-2-1 working like a charm to give us loads of goals. As you can also see in the previous image, we were eliminated by Chelsea even while winning 2-0 in the first leg of the first knockout round. They demolished us in the return, 6-2, which highlighted the deficiencies of the system when playing strong opposition willing to inflict damage. Our defense was caught on more than one or two occasions and floated balls also killed us. Not that I care much, as that was not the point of the whole thread, but I knew it was coming sooner or later. On a global note, both TQs worked wonders and the SS was much better (as a forward, let's understand) that I expected. The TQs helped the midfielders build the plays by dropping from their starting positions, there were constantly a thread getting inside leaving room for the overlapping WBs and put up tremendous assisting and also scoring numbers (the latter because of that crossing/changing direction of play with long passes from the other side, finding the open man easily). I usually played an AM on the SS position and not a pure striker, and it was perfect. He linked a lot with the midfielders by dropping quite a lot and making himself into another midfielder to a more than good point. Even with that, the danger of him getting into the area, as expected, was always there and the SS thus produced a great deal of goals too. To complete the formation/system, just mention the fundamental presence of two hyper-attacking WBs overlapping and generating problems play after play. This had the problem of leaving a quite defenseless unit back in front of the GK often formed by just the 2CDs and the BWM, although it was pretty solid during the season. The BWM held position all the time without venturing too much and the defensive triangle was more than enough dominate most matches and control the situation. * * * With the task completed at Celtic and the system I envisioned put in play and deployed in Scotland, I will be moving to another club for the next "challenge" or "inspirational project". That is the intention of this series, if we can call them that. I also wanted to "warn" you in that I won't be making this a story by giving updates on matches etc as you have seen here, but rather focus on the tactics, formations and ideas I'd like to develop at different teams and countries, so I'll keep my threads in this section of the forum (such as others as @westy8chimp or @Ö-zil to the Arsenal! have been doing lately). I will keep playing the same save tho as I'd like to see the world evolve and have something more interesting going while playing to keep me engaged (which doesn't mean neither that I may take on individual threads focusing on present-day squads with the original database if I see fit, tho). Not gonna unveil my next destination yet, but I can tell you I'm going to a team that disappointed during the season just finished by closing the season 6th in the Premier League, only earning a spot in the Europa League. Onwards we march!
  16. Thank Robson. I'll be posting the last update today or tomorrow and then move on to another concept, which will probably be based around a greater scenario/plan.
  17. 1. I was actually kind of lucky to opt to use the TQ role from the get-go, as it pretty much fit what I was looking for. Although I've not tried or tested the RMD option much in this schema, I'd say it wouldn't be quite what I would expect given that I see the TQ more as a playmaker (then dropping more) than the RMD. I wanted my wingers to cover the flank and also get inside the area as some sort of a forward pair, and it is happening by using the combination of 2TQ+SS, while also giving the TQs freedom to build the game from the halfway line, something the RMD may not be so inclined to do. 2. As far as the midfield goes, I didn't want to field any ball-magnet player in it so I opted for quite simple roles there in the shape of two basic CMs. This was even furthered by putting them on Auto, thus awarding him changing mentalities as they pleased, adapting to the situation, kinda just having two defense/attack outlets in midfield (you can see how they move up and down the field in some of the videos I posted). BWM comments as a reply to Denen. Not at all. As you can see in the images and the videos I've uploaded, the BWM is working just I wanted and had pictured in my mind when envisioning the system. Knowing that I would be going too much into attack by fielding two offensive minded WBs, I needed to keep some defensive presence in place, which come from the CDs and the BWM, who form a sitting triangle that keeps it shape pretty much at every moment, even while pressing high up the pitch (which may lead to think that some players may lose their position). I'm actually quite happy with how everything is working, as it perfectly fits what I wanted to achieve (more than just the 1-2-to-2-1 concept, which is the main point of the thread/built-system).
  18. In order to keep individual threads going instead of clogging other topics such as the one that fostered this whole thing, I've opted to start a series of topics focusing on different concepts, tactics, formations and systems that inspire me to put in action on FM. For this first one I'll just copy the messages I already posted on the Challenge thread and go from there, probably with a couple or three more updates before closing it and move onto another thing. Hope you enjoy and of course, I look forward to discuss anything you want as that is the main point of the series in order to make them the most valuable and interesting to everyone as possible, and think and learn together. * * * I've just finished reading The Mixer, and oh boy are there some references to get inspired. But for now, I'm sticking with Ancelotti's approach at Chelsea and this passage from the book, which references the match/formation depicted at the right. Basically, I didn't remember watching this but liked how Cox wrote about the whole idea behind the forward trio deployed by Ancelotti. So what I got inspired by was the concept of playing one striker upfront (who in my mind would ideally be some Striker/AM hybrid) and two attack-minded players behind him also with the ability to be dangerous both on the build-up and in front of the net. This way, the system I'd try to create would be based around a trio of forwards and the challenge would be mostly how to recreate the movement highlighted by the arrows in the diagram, getting the side-players to cover from the midfield sidelines to inside the area and the leading striker to drop and link with the midfield and interchange position with the other two, thus making the team playing a hybrid 2-1/1-2 forward line while attacking. First thought is to also use attacking full-backs/wing-backs to provide width and make the two AMs narrower and avoid them kissing the sideline, something I wouldn't really like and I'm not looking to get from this. Let's see how this goes! * * * First update regarding my inspiration around Ancelotti's forward-trio. I chose Celtic as my team and turned it into an all-Scottish side, although that is not really important here; only saying it to provide some context. Also, I play FM Touch so the team doesn't need to learn new tactics, changes to the formation, etc to make the system work from the get go, as would happen with the "full" version of the game. After playing to the end of September we have disputed a total of 20 games. Not gonna go through the first ones, basically the three friendlies, but those were more than enough to get the final system set up after watching the games in full match mode to see how the team was working and what changes needed to be made. I started with a 2AM/F9 approach through the center of the pitch, thus making it look like an actual Xmax tree formation, but soon realized that that wasn't going to cut it as the AMs were not going to the sides of the pitch and widening the shape as much as I'd like too, plus they weren't actually interchanging positions with the striker. So, the changes I made had to do with moving the two AMs to the wings. The problem was to find the correct role and the horizontal distance between them playing on the touchline and the lone forward. After some trials and failures and much tinkering, I got to the final shape and system, which is displayed next: As you can see, the concepts from the original post all seem to be there and the tactic is pretty much a replication of what Carlo did back in the day (which again, I don't really know to great extent and I'm much imagining and building an image of in my mind more than just copying or trying to actually emulate what happened with Chelsea in real life––that was never the point of this. I settled for a strikerless formation with a SS and two Trequartistas, the three of them with attack duties. The addition of two attacking WBs combined with the TI of overlapping makes for the two wings being occupied by the WBs on attack, making the Trequartistas go into narrower and inside positions, getting closer to the SS. The fact of deploying two CMs on automatic duties and avoiding any kind of "special" or "fancy" role, such as a playmaker, makes the team play as a unit without focusing on one sole creator and builder. Just win the ball, and play it forward via whoever is available. That also makes the SS link with the two CMs by dropping a little to receive passes and then open to the sides (either to the Trequartistas or the WBs overlapping). Once in possession or looking to receive a pass/cross, the Trequartistas and the SS always look forward and clog the opposition's area quite nicely. It doesn't perfectly replicate the kind of movement I had in mind first, but it is close enough imo. Anyways I'll try to keep moving towards what I had imagined before starting. As far as the TIs, I'm keeping them fairly basic. Just overlap to make the Trequartistas go inside and have the WBs as the main attacking thread allowing to opening the field and crossing to our forward-trio. Play narrow with the same thought in mind (Ts getting inside, WBs overlapping to counter the "narrowing" effect, CMs playing close to each other and having the WBs as lateral options). And close down more just to try and gain the ball as quickly as possible taking advantage of the strikerless shape to build quick attacks and score on the counter. The only PIs I have set have to do with the Trequartistas and are quite obvious: Sit narrower and Cut inside with the ball (again, same reasoning as I've already explained). Just as a last comment regarding the results, you can see they're quite encouraging. We lost two games while qualifying for the UCL (the one against Qarabag was given away really, as I fielded a rather bad team and used the instant result option). Anyways, I had been thinking that the team was smashing minnows but would suffer against actual good teams. Effectively, we dropped two points against a some sort of "strong" Ross County side (3rd in the league) that played compacted and defensively, although we dominated the game. The Old Firm was the real test and we were basically completely broken. I opted not to change the system but it proved quite offensive and not that intelligent in terms of defending given the whole offensive mentality of everybody. We improved as the minutes passed but still couldn't amount for the comeback. What has actually making me think that was a just flaw is the fact that we played tremendously well against Real Madrid in the last UCL clash. They almost created no clear chances (Ronaldo scored on a counter after Bale recovered a bad pass from one of our CDs, so I'm not too concerned about it) while we crushed them on multiple counters (which is basically how the team functions every game) and we just missed the net. Will provide more updates and hopefully get some match images to highlight how the system works. * * * Quick follow-up with a few annotated images. Here we can see the team's shape prior to the rival's GK putting the ball in play. For this match I was using an Attacking mentality with a Fluid team shape. Simply put and after much trial-and-error and reading, we can say that mentality is meant to represent "how high" the team plays, so here I was telling my players to go almost as high as possible (Attacking). In the case of team shape, it can be explained as how tight the team plays its lines (defense-midfield-forwards). Again, I went for the second-highest option here with Fluid, so I expect my players to be close to each other. Paired, Attacking and Fluid would ideally make for a team with the lines pushed higher up the pitch and as close as possible, so defenders would go up (more than usual) and forwards would still try and keep close to the bunch while on defense. As far as what I was trying to do with my "inspiration", these two images show how the team is built for attacking phases. While focusing on the forward-trio (2Ts+1SS), I still had to build a full formation and opted to go all-in. The CB pair must be really good and fast backtracking because the tactic is quite offense-minded, and that is a real danger and the glaring warning to anyone attempting to recreate this due to the WBs going truly up the pitch. To solidify the defense a little I play a BWM on the DM strata, along two CMs on Automatic to have them collaborating both on defensive and offensive duties. The idea of having two players covering the wings and playing as a deep-lying forwards plays well to a certain extent by fielding two wing-based Trequartistas along a Shadow Striker meant to drop and link with the midfielders. It is not perfect, or at least not what a 2-1-to-1-2 may play in your (my) mind, but I like the outcome as both Ts tend to get in forward positions quite nicely while the SS drops enough to link play and it is not hard to see him arrive at the area after both Ts are already there coming from the sides, making room for the WBs. Just in case anyone cares, this is by no means a magic tactic and while it works nicely and it is neither a bad system at least I see it, it gives you good and bad results mostly due to the need of two great CBs which I don't have (not at least to the point in which they're needed against some fast-paced teams throwing long balls and looking for passes to the hole or over the defense). Also, I have conceded some corner goals due to ****** aerial performances by my team. Gets to my nerves. Plus the Hibernian and Hearts loses were "quick-resulted" so I don't put so much weight on them as the formation seems to not work when simming matches instead of playing/watching/managing them for some reason. Also, I recorded a quick video showing how the Shadow Striker (#14) drops to link with the midfield in the build-up, while both Trequartistas (#49 and #13) go from the wings to inside positions turning the original 1-2 into a 2-1. I'm really pleased with how I was able to develop the system over the matches. Quite nice challenge for everyone to try, honestly. Must admit tho that I love this kind of short saves in which I focus on doing something tactically and nothing else. * * * So we reached the first knockout round of the UCL by finishing second behind Real Madrid. We kinda dropped the second game against the Spanish side with the qualification already guaranteed and the need of cutting distance with Rangers, and drew Chelsea on the first round, against who I've just played the first leg. Here is the scouting report prior to the game. Without going into further detail, I quickly realized some things just from the next screen. Presence of Inside Forwards, which I expect to go inside easing our defensive duties (remember that we basically cover with just 2CD-1DM, so we're covered in the middle but are vulnerable on the sides if the WBs don't get back in time) Presence of a CWB and a "classic" WB, from which I understand they'll try and exploit the left flank more than the right one, even more having Hazard (best player) on that side too. So, I added a TI to exploit their left side and it worked wonders. (Another quick note: Hazard was doubtful given that he was coming off an injury but ultimately made the starting XI, although on a low fitness status, which was even greater for us) Presence of a BPD, which I understood was going to be their first player building the play from the back. This has one clear response in my mind: cover him and force the other two CDs to put the ball in play with their lower ability to do so, therefore making the other side less dangerous and forcing more mistakes. Counter + Structured. Their team will be a little deeper in the pitch, with lines stretched over the field and not overly packed back. Not bad given that we press high-up the field so that would in principle benefit our approach. We'll go Standard+Structured though, as we're clearly inferior on paper and I don't want to take too many risks facing the offensive qualities of Chelsea's players. The game played out as expected, so I was glad my breakdown turned out to be perfectly on point and I felt in total control of the game from start to finish, knowing beforehand what to do in case something happened that altered those original ideas. Here is the annotated sequence of the 2-0, which perfectly highlights how we exploited Chelsea's defense by using our 2-1-to-1-2 approach with the Trequartistas and SS, plus the heavy contributions of the WBs and midfield players (again, remember we keep a triangle of 2CDs and a BWM always covering under the midfield line, thus defending the center of the pitch in case we lost the ball). That already commented, here are a few videos showing both that goal in action, the 1-0 and another clear chance we had showing the same principles. Finally, this was the tally, with Chelsea's chances basically coming from corners and set pieces (actually I don't think even watching the Comprehensive Highlights they had more than one or two plays finished in a shot on goal, to be honest, so it was quite a nice played out game in which, again, I felt we had total control and domination). I hope everything is clear and understandable, and of course I'll gladly answer any question and discuss any comment you have about this whole thing.
  19. In this third entry I’ll present some more image-supported plays were some concepts were applied and developed, so the work being done with the team becomes clearer and the goal of this series gets closer to its achievement. Before getting into what has happened into the field, this is what has happened in the tactic board. The formation remains exactly the same as it was from the first post, and the changes at the forward positions were already described in the last one, when I opted for two False Nines at the top of the team’s tactic. On top of that, and new, are the attacking Complete Wing Backs. One thing that could be noted in LvG’s side was the fact that playing three central defenders, the wing backs were given more freedom to go up the pitch and play the ball with crosses from the midfield or further down the line. I could replicate this by setting both wings to this role and mentality. As far as the midfield itself, the central player in the group of three is now a Ball Winning Midfielder. This allows the team to have an anchor between the defense and the APs (think about De Jong here), and creates a position to be filled by a player with the clear role of recovering the ball and putting it in play faster both to the midfielders or the wing backs in support. Stepping into the team instructions, most of them are clear while some other are debatable and more open to interpretation and adjustment depending on the situation. With a 3-2-3-2 formation and 5 players in the line on the defensive phase, I don’t want the team to become a blurry mass of people going around crazily. This is why the mentality is all the way up at Control and not Counter or Defensive. I added a normal defensive line in depth because holding it back would have the already mentioned negative effects on the team. As far as pressure, I opted to close down much more, trying to get the ball as soon as possible from the opposition to generate fast paced counter plays. The attacking instructions are much easier to describe and ultimately predictable. LvG’s team tried to get the ball up the field as soon as the could (without rushing it or making obvious dumb risky passes, tho). Although I opted for a shorter passing style of play here, I did it because I don’t want the defense to get the ball and automatically play it long forward. I want them to build intelligently, and once the ball comes to the wing backs or the attacking midfielders, then they are the ones who would either hit the early cross or look for the False Nine to create the chance. Finally, I opted to give players freedom to roam for positions as we need a flexible attack that involves player movement, especially from the forwards. With the system already explained, it’s time to highlight some playing scenarios next. Throw-in from the left side. Our right WB is all alone. Overload from the left with multiple crossing options. The first sequence shows a play started from a throw-in. Notice how both teams are balanced towards the left side of the field, and how all of the opposition midfielders are close to each other, with no one covering the right flank. There is where Lambèse is all alone, by himself, awaiting for the ball. Thanks to crosses from deep down the field the team is able to give him the ball in a hurry. The next frame highlights the movement from the defense, going all over him once they realized that he’s alone on the wing. This generates the same situation, now on the other side of the field, but with greater danger. Not only one but up to five players advance in attack to scoring positions. This opens multiple crossing options, both to the first post, the second, or the edge of the area. Same situation than the last one with the throw-in and the inverted spaces. This time the F9 drops to receive the ball and allows the shorter pass. Ball to the wing, run towards the goal line, and cross. This case highlights another virtue of the team, the elaborated build-up in contrast to the straight long ball. In this case the throw-in generates the same spaces for the wing back, although Ibrahimovic opts to play the ball to Matuidi, one of our APs here, who receives the ball and thanks to the help of Cavani’s movement (dropping from his forward position) is able to play the ball to him with a simple certain pass. Although the closest defenders close on him, he’s able to get the play going by passing the ball to Lambèse again, who finds himself liberated on the wing as earlier in the game. This time the central defenders tried to cover the most part of the area but Cavani was intelligent enough as to catch their backs and wait for the long cross to put the ball in the back of the net. Fast paced play with both the F9s and one AP active. While Cavani attacks the area, Ibrahimovic offers a second passing option. The third play involves three of our offensive players launching a fast paced play which originated from the defensive line, with Kurzawa passing the ball to Di María in the first place (after receiving it from the goalkeeper). He, along Cavani and Ibrahimovic launches the team forward trying to break the defensive lines and connections. Once the opposition has backed up, the players show their adaptation by providing different options to the ball carrier. At first, Cavani keeps running towards the goal allowing Di María to cross the ball and ultimately create that ended in a goal. At the same time, Ibrahimovic stopped his run to provide a shorter passing option, which could have then lend to further passing to the midfield or to a cross to the other forward. At last, and although not highlighted in the second image, Matuidi (7) also offers a third option for Di María, who could have played the ball back to him taking advantage of the space on the back of the opposition defenders and midfielders. Offensive play from the right, with everyone following the same direction. Huge space at the left side. Unbalanced situation with multiple passing options, both short and long. This time the play start from the right side of the field, again being constructed from the goalkeeper through multiple passing combinations. As the play was developed through the right side, both teams balanced their players to that side of the field, leaving the opposition exposing the left flank again as seen in earlier examples. This allows Matuidi to, once in possession of the ball, pick one of his multiple options. He can pass the ball back to the wing back on the right; he can play it short to Di Maria (the other AP and his closest midfield partner); or he can go for the long ball to Van der Wiel on the left (what he ultimately did) to enlarge the playing area and create a dangerous situation. With the left wing back in possession the system again highlights one of its strongest habilites, the players movement. Just at the moment VdW receives the ball (depicted in the second image) he can directly play the ball back to Di María (arrow not included in the image) who was waiting for it at the edge of the area. Instead of that, he opted to run past the defender, finding another two options, Cavani at the second post and Ibra at the first, letting the chose up to the wing back’s election. From the left, to the middle, to the right of the field. The oppositions moves the whole block. Overload in the middle; lack of defensive presence in the area; dangerous situation. This sequence represents a common pattern talked before, the one starting from one side, then going to the middle, and then to the other side of the field. In this case can be very easily appreciated how the opposition moves the whole team from side to side, and how the quick pace of our team makes an opportunity appear. Once Edouard has got the ball he quickly passes it to the right to Aurier. This makes the defensive side to go all over the right flank trying to prevent our wing back from creating anything. The problem of this defensive approach is the fact that the defense is almost not putting any player in the area to cover a long cross to the second post (only number 4), so our forward can catch the back of the defense and put himself in a clear scoring position. Aurier sees the run of the attacker and instantly crosses the ball to reach him, creating a clear cut chance with almost nothing but a paced build-up. Once the ball is recovered by an AP the team is ready to launch a counter. One forward drops while the other goes up the pitch. Two holes open up. One in the midfield for the APs and another in front of the goalkeeper for the forward to exploit. The quick move by the dropping False Nine allows him to plays the long ball to his attacking partner. Clear one on one situation with no other opposition than the goalkeeper in front. The sequence over this paragraph shows a different situation from those already discussed. In this case we recovered the ball in defense at three quarters of the pitch, which instantly opened a counter window for us to attack. Given the current scheme of the team, it is normal to see one forward drop down the attacking line to connect with the midfield, and in this case it was Ibrahimovic who went back to link with Di María and allow the counter to progress. Di María himself passed the ball and ran straight to Ibrahimovic position, making a switch and offering a short passing option to the striker. Instead of taking the short path, our False Nine opted for the individual run over the opposition’s central defender to then throw a long ball to Cavani, who outran the defense and got himself in a clear spot to score. Recovery in defense. One forward stays close to receive the ball while the other runs towards the goal. Long ball from the dropping False Nine to the attacking one, with a constant forward motion from everybody. Lavezzi opts to run to his right instead of facing the goal, thus creating a clear space behind the two covering defenders to exploit by our men coming from the second line. Multiple passing options due to different position players running towards the goal at different heights. While the last play showed a terrific fast paced play by the AP and the F9s, the last one highlights another possibility. In this case the ball is recovered a little further down our defensive zone, so it doesn’t automatically becomes a 2 vs 2 situation. There were three defensive men covering our forwards and another man, a midfielder, near the play, which made it a little harder to capitalize from it. The first phase of the play starts in the same way as the last one. Our midfielder, in this case Matuidi, recovers the ball and instantly plays it forward to the dropping False Nine Cavani. Once he gets it, he just have to play it long for his partner, Lavezzi, who has tons of space to run in front of him. Not only Lavezzi, but also Cavani, Di María and even Kurzawa follow the play by running forward to provide options later. The fact that Lavezzi opts to go to the side of the area instead of facing the goalkeeper is one of the most interesting moves analyzed here. This motion makes the covering defenders follow the same direction as the one he took, creating a great space for the coming players in attack (highlighted by the red square). With such space available, and given the time Lavezzi took to take the ball from three quarters to the goal line, three players appear as passing options, with any of them being a viable solution for the end of the play. Again, Lavezzi opts for the most clever option by crossing a long ball that surpasses the defense and leaves the AP (could have also been the WB) open to make a clear shoot on goal.
  20. One of the first things that I had in mind when thinking about changes was definitely the forward roles. Actually, at the very first time I thought of taking into this journey, the first formation I could think had no strikers on it. I think a good approach to this system could be a tactic with two Attacking Playmakers with attack duties. While this seemed to be a good idea, I tried it for a short period of time but it made the team feel way defensive as a unit, so I discarded it almost right away. So I decided to go on the opposite direction while maintaining the “deeper” positions active. I opted to feature two False Nines in the forward line. I want to keep the formation’s shape, while modifying little things to adapt it to its real life counterpart. The change of the forward roles was aimed to provide the midfielders with more options and enable the team to play a more cautious and developed game through something more than long crosses caused by the gap between the midfield trio and the poachers. With this new system in play I hoped to create a better connection between both lines. I wanted the forwards to go looking for spaces both in the flanks and the middle channel, depending on the situation, and I also wanted the midfielders (the two Attacking Playmakers, above all, and also the Wing Backs) to have better attacking options to create clearer chances. Although the change can look minimal, the impact was notable from the first minute. Direct but secure build-up from the back, looking at the wings. Notice the smaller gaps between lines. The midfield support the wing back, who has a wide area to perform his action. The midfielder in possession attract the opposition, freeing the whole 3/4 for his partner. This creates an unbalanced situation. The holding midfielder must do cover duties, leaving a hole at the wing behind his back. Our wing back finds the needed space to run the field, receive the ball and cross it to conclude the sequence. The first thing worth noting is how the forwards now drop a little more, making the gaps between the lines stretch a little bit, thus enabling the team to play a more compact and precise game. The dropping actions also make for better combinations while not restricting our attacking options. In the sequence atop, one False Nine remains close to the ball while the other goes full forward to reach the area as soon as possible, making the defense going back to prevent damage and creating space for our attackers. By having a forward playing in midfield positions we create more space for other players, such as our other AP, who finds himself with all of the field available to progress in case he gets the ball. This, again, produces another unbalanced situation in the defense, as the opposition holding midfielder must decide between keep covering the wing or move to cover the potential pass to the free AP. Once he closes down the AP he sells his team by allowing our Wing Back to be free and to receive the long ball to then crossing it for a good scoring chance. The AP receives the ball and immediately gets closed down by the opposition. The WB detects a freeway on the wing and goes for it. Each forward provide help to a different teammate. One goes to the wing, the other drops to 3/4 positions. The AP keeps running forward after giving the ball to the WB, attracting a holding midfielder. The forward behind this defender sees a clear chance with tons of space in front of him. Two touch sequence that ends with a clear shot on goal. This situation is quite similar to the first one. The team is able to pass the ball to a midfielder. The time between the reception of the ball and his pass is enough to create room for the WB to run the wing and get into a clear position covered by no one. The same situation happens when the WB receives the ball, as the AP keeps running and generates a move from the opposition holding midfielder that frees the False Nine at bottom of the image. Two exact movement patterns in the same play and both with the exact devastating results for the defense, as the forward is able to shoot without even a sole defender applying pressure on him. Notice the False Nines dropping to the midfield to provide attacking options. Once one receives the ball, they both run towards the goal into a free space, getting a fast clear chance. Finally, this short sequence shows a play which was started after a throw in from the left side. With the both teams tied up at the left side of the field, the False Nine from that sides drops deeper to create a passing option for the midfielder. He holds onto the ball and once he has attracted two players he plays it between them to the F9. While this happens the other forward is already running into the space behind the defense, which the first one recognizes instantly and takes advantage of to give a ball through to his partner, creating another scoring chance easily. This is just the first tweak to the formation but it has proved to be worthy in terms of having more attacking options than the two Poachers gave us at first. One the things to explore next could be both the midfielder trio to see how it works better (2 Holding Midfielders or 1), and how the defensive line (the 3 Central Defenders) can be tweaked to get the best out of it.
  21. A little over a year I wrote a three-part piece in which I created a formation based on some LVG concepts used during the 2010 World Cup by the Dutch side. I used PSG as my team. You can read the text and how I approached and thought the system next. I just thought some of you would probably like to read it given its nature. Hope you enjoy it! * * * The last World Cup saw the Netherlands came up with something not seen during their qualifying matches, as the LVG’s side changed their already established 433 for a 532 formation. To implement the system, then, Van Gaal produced a defense formed by three central defenders and two wing backs, such as Juventus did against Real Madrid last season in the UCL semis. On top of that, the team featured Clasie and De Jong as the (defensive) link between the back three and the offensive players, both covered at the flanks by the already mentioned WBs. Surpassing the midfield line there was Sneijder and at the top of the lineup two centered (although freed up) spots featured both Robben and Van Persie. I was reading some text analyzing the team and to sum it up, and here are the points I’d highlight for every line of the team schema: Defense: It may seem that the team is over protecting itself, and that could be completely right given the five men at the back and the pair of holding midfielders, but it is actually composed from the back to launch attack after attack when recovering the ball. Midfield: Consistency was the prime goal of the formation, and that is what made LVG chose two holding midfielders over one and two playmakers over him. Although Sneijder was asked to play a defensive role when needed, he was able to ralease himself from the defensive phase to produce counters. Forwards: This is one the most interesting points and the focus of the team in terms of damaging the opposition. While they lost the wings with this formation, they gained two players in “blurry” positions where they could operate as they saw fit. This means that as attacking players, they were freed to drop to the sidelines or remain in the center of the field, depending on the situation, but always launching fast paced transitions with direct combinations. This, combined with the arrival of the playmaker or even the holding midfielders in some cases from the back made the team attack surprising and unexpected in its behavior. Everything is supported by the crossed that the WBs can make from the midfield line, looking to catch the defense unaware of the danger. I’ve always being a firm believer in possession football, in holding the ball and waiting for the hole to appear, but I always try to emulate other styles of play, and this one caught my attention and therefore I’d like to replicate it in FM. To make this happen I’ve opted to take charge of PSG, as I think they have everything I need to try this out. The French side has a wide range of forwards with way different abilities. They have interesting midfielders, both to hold back and go forward easily. They’re also paying top class defenders and have a couple of players for each flank when talking of wing backs. The only sign I made, just in case someone got injured and not intending to play him on a regular basis, is Lucas Orbán from Valencia. So, starting with the formation itself, the next three images depicts it as it was originally designed by LVG for the WC and it’s been translated by me into the game. The first image is the original formation employed by the Netherlands. It features the aforementioned players in the already discussed positions. The next to its right depicts the first attempt at replicating this style I came up with, and at the far right there is an interpretation of how the shape changes when the teams is playing defense, with the forwards dropping a little (as much as to the midfield), the midfielders forming a stretched triangle in the middle and the three men defense turning into a five men line. First of all, I didn’t want to put two holding midfielders in the field because I think it is not necessary to replicate the system. When the team is pushed back by the opposition, the triangle the trio forms is way close to the other option, and thus it’s counter-producing when transitioning to offense, as there will only be one player running forward faster enough. As far as the rest of the formation, I maintained the original idea and tried to create something similar to LVG’s approach, although I’m still in the early stages of defining everything. I want the three men defensive line to hold their positions and remain over there for as much as they can, without disrupting the order, so I fixed them as Limited Defenders with Cover duties. The Wing Backs (WBs from now on) must produce some direct passes to the forwards and even look for chances to get up the field, so they are definitely going with Attack instructions. In terms of the midfield, I don’t want to overload the defensive zone and create a overly dense zone full of players, so a Central Midfielder with Defensive duties sounds enough as of now. He’s flanked by two Advanced Playmakers (APs from now on). The idea here is to have two players that cover holes in defense but don’t over commit to it (think of the original Sneijder role), so they can start offensive phases quickly enough as to catch the opposition out of place. As far as the forwards, I’m setting both of them as Poachers. I want them to be as far as possible and not care about defensive duties. They must remain between the defense players all of the time and create chances by themselves when receiving long crosses or straight passes. Their actions are directed towards creating chances between them but also giving players arriving from the back (mostly the two APs and the two WBs) the ball to disrupt the opposition formation and create advantageous situations. Although this is still much in its making, I wanted to test it right away so I played the first match of the preseason with PSG. The next two sequences highlight what I want to achieve with this formation and way of play very clearly. Obviously the team had its highs and lows during the 90 minutes and it was not always like this, but there is hope that the system could works as expected with a little more tweaking. Organized build up from the start. Long ball to a forward, clearing the gap. As the defender goes higher, a two versus one is created. Another unbalanced situation as the plays progresses. Clear cut chance due to a forced bad defense transition. The first play serves as a presentation to the formation and ideas in play. It starts with the keeper putting the ball in play with a short pass to a central defender. As can be seen, the midfielders and defenders are very close to each other, creating tons of passing posibilites as they outnumber the opposition. From the very first moment the forwards are waiting in advanced positions, having nothing to do with the build-up phase of the game starting from the back. The gap this generates allows the team to hold the defenders tight on their positions due to their covering duties, preventing them to go forward to help pressing. Although the team has plenty of options to create through short passes since the beginning of the play, its identity relies on the long balls. This is what happens in this sequence, with the defender looking directly at a forward, to whom he throws the ball. The simple move of the forward coming back to receive the ball makes his marker go with him, creating an unbalanced defensive situation in which one man is out of his position while our two APs are coming forward to help by overloading the field. This move can be seen in the third picture, in which a two versus one situation has been generated due to the defender moving away from his position. As our forward passes the ball to the nearest AP, the remaining defender must make a decision. He either covers the receiver or tries to hold the receiver and the free man at the same time while other defensive players arrive. He chose to go for the receiver in this case, generating another space for us to go through down the left side of the field. Another two versus one situation is created, and in this case it is presented with a lot of free field to run through. As our second AP receives the fall from the first, he only has to pass it to the remaining forward running next to him to create a clear chance against the keeper with no pressure applied from the defensive line, which was already overcome. Build up from the defensive line. The gap between the forwards and the midfield is cleared by a long ball. The forwards overcome the defense and generate an unbalanced situation with lots of space ahead. Clear cut chance of scoring in just two touches. The second situation starts from the exact spot, but in this case the long ball is continued by the forward rather than passed back. As the APs couldn’t arrive in time, this was to be expected. Both forwards start running towards the opposite goal, surpassing the defensive line and finding a clear space where to work alone. The play is clear as the player with the ball just has to pass the ball to his partner to create a clear chance again in front of the keeper. The pass could have been better and the chance much clearer, but the idea was in play. As I stated before presenting the case studies, this has just been the first game and therefore the first test of all of the concepts explained. It is still early to judge and to really know if this is working as expected or if those were just random occurrences. I’ll keep exploring this idea and tweaking the formation until I get it to a point where the team always plays as it should be expected. There are areas yet to explore such as the effect of different defensive line heights (as of now I’m pushing it a little forward to avoid an overloading of the defensive zone with my own players), more specific individual and team instructions, variation of roles, etc…
  22. Yeah, I would probably do something similar to what you're reading here, kinda "inspired" tactics and approaches to different styles and ways of playing rather than normal stories/career evolutions. I don't have time to get invested in long saves so I prefer to do those little "challenges" on the laptop Touch version of the game, basically focusing on tactics and transfers (this last thing only if needed). Not saying I may wouldn't do something like an Ajax topic based on youth development and the classical dutch system, for example, but I'd definitely focus more on system development and tactics than other stuff to be honest. I'd take that as a compliment, thanks!
  23. So we reached the first knockout round of the UCL by finishing second behind Real Madrid. We kinda dropped the second game against the Spanish side with the qualification already guaranteed and the need of cutting distance with Rangers, and drew Chelsea on the first round, against who I've just played the first leg. Here is the scouting report prior to the game. Without going into further detail, I quickly realized some things just from the next screen. Presence of Inside Forwards, which I expect to go inside easing our defensive duties (remember that we basically cover with just 2CD-1DM, so we're covered in the middle but are vulnerable on the sides if the WBs don't get back in time) Presence of a CWB and a "classic" WB, from which I understand they'll try and exploit the left flank more than the right one, even more having Hazard (best player) on that side too. So, I added a TI to exploit their left side and it worked wonders. (Another quick note: Hazard was doubtful given that he was coming off an injury but ultimately made the starting XI, although on a low fitness status, which was even greater for us) Presence of a BPD, which I understood was going to be their first player building the play from the back. This has one clear response in my mind: cover him and force the other two CDs to put the ball in play with their lower ability to do so, therefore making the other side less dangerous and forcing more mistakes. Counter + Structured. Their team will be a little deeper in the pitch, with lines stretched over the field and not overly packed back. Not bad given that we press high-up the field so that would in principle benefit our approach. We'll go Standard+Structured though, as we're clearly inferior on paper and I don't want to take too many risks facing the offensive qualities of Chelsea's players. The game played out as expected, so I was glad my breakdown turned out to be perfectly on point and I felt in total control of the game from start to finish, knowing beforehand what to do in case something happened that altered those original ideas. Here is the annotated sequence of the 2-0, which perfectly highlights how we exploited Chelsea's defense by using our 2-1-to-1-2 approach with the Trequartistas and SS, plus the heavy contributions of the WBs and midfield players (again, remember we keep a triangle of 2CDs and a BWM always covering under the midfield line, thus defending the center of the pitch in case we lost the ball). That already commented, here are a few videos showing both that goal in action, the 1-0 and another clear chance we had showing the same principles. Finally, this was the tally, with Chelsea's chances basically coming from corners and set pieces (actually I don't think even watching the Comprehensive Highlights they had more than one or two plays finished in a shot on goal, to be honest, so it was quite a nice played out game in which, again, I felt we had total control and domination). I hope everything is clear and understandable, and of course I'll gladly answer any question and discuss any comment you have about this whole thing ^^ PS: I've been thinking about creating a topic to discuss this stuff and not clog a more broad topic like this one is, something like @westy8chimp is doing with Leverkusen, but I don't know if people would be interested at all in me taking on different "inspirations" and trying to play and comment them in FM terms. Let me know about it!
  24. I think this breakdown is spot on and exemplifies how lots of people have something in mind that they then can't correctly put in game language, falling into a mess of TIs and Pis that go against one another and contradict them. Once I learnt how to keep things simple and realized they worked better it's been wonderful to develop new ideas and systems.
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