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48 "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"

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    Dulwich Hamlet

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  1. I actually play this kind of system, and find the exact same issues. I’ve played this way pretty much consistently throughout the last few iterations of FM, to varying degrees of success. This year, with improvements to the ME, it’s been the most successful and enjoyable to watch when it clicks. However, I too am frustrated with the positioning (and intelligence maybe?) of the roles in question. I don’t often see the IWB and MEZ get into each other’s space, and if they do it’s momentarily and doesn’t disrupt the build up. This only tends to happen often when the IWB has the PPM ‘Gets Forward’. My biggest issue, is the MEZ and IW or W getting into each others way in the final third. Even when I instruct them to stay wider (Winger naturally stays wider) they tuck in very early, and nobody is holding width. On the rare occasion the IWB is smart enough to realise there’s nobody in the wild channel, and they move to overlap, which is cool. I’ve seen people on various threads, particularly in reference to Guardiola’s style, attempting to fix this by dropping the wingers into the ML strata. I notice a slight improvement but feel it harms my pressing, so it’s not really a viable solution. One way I have tried to counteract it whilst keeping the high press is to instruct my team to player Wider. Although I feel it contradicts my shorter passing instructions and doesn’t play to the strengths of my False 9 and double Mezzala’s. I have tried to balance the system in the past by playing a traditional wingback behind an Inside Forward on one side, but I can never get the best out of overlapping fullbacks for some reason. Most of the time they just cross into the legs of the opposing defender for a corner…rinse and repeat.
  2. Great to see the legendary Cleon is back! Personally, I tend to struggle occasionally when trying to translate my philosophy/style (based on real teams/managers) into FM. Particularly as you mentioned in your snippet above, which roles compliment each other and which ones can be contradictory.
  3. I just wanted to show my appreciation for this thread once again. It’s been a while since I implemented any sort of JDP principles on FM as I’ve been doing a sort of ‘Road to Glory’ save with Dulwich Hamlet - taking them from the Vanarama South to (hopefully) the PL. A little background: After overachieving with a counter attacking/transitional system which we mainly set up in a 4-4-2 (occasionally played a more conservative 4–3-3), we began to hit a wall in our debut season in League 1. Unable to really strengthen the squad that much, and losing some key players, I believe our style was becoming ineffective. We kept lumping the ball up field with no great success, and as a result just kept inviting pressure. Suddenly, I did not recognise this team as one of ‘my teams’. We weren’t playing the kind of football I want to see, nor was it successful. So after an average start (sitting 10th in the table when predicted 23rd is good - but not in comparison to finishing top every season beforehand) and dissatisfied with the play style, I reverted to a way of playing which was much more familiar to me, and much more enjoyable. Out of pure laziness and a bit of stupidity, I loaded up the exact same JDP tactic I had used on an old Benfica save. Let’s just say I was shocked! I didn’t expect my Dulwich side to be able to pull it off, but we did. So far it’s been amazing to watch - by far the best football we have played. Defensively it could improve, but I do have the 2nd worst squad in the league. Results/Performances: So as it stands we are sitting 2nd in League 1 and things are looking promising: The results highlighted in orange are since the change to a JDP system. The Papa John’s game was with my reserve players who most definitely aren’t suited to this style but since it wasn’t an important game, I wanted to see how they did. We lost narrowly to Forest Green even though our xG was much better than theirs. You can see the improvement in form, and results in terms of goals scored, in comparison to our earlier results. The Stockport game was a freak game against the worst team in the league, and Millwall got FM’d by us. So even though we were winning some games, we got lucky and it didn’t seem sustainable (hence the 4 game loss streak). Over the last month of using the system, you can see how threatening we are going forward: I am slightly concerned by the xGA but there are some tweaks I’ve made to try and tighten the defence a little. However, considering my players abilities I am very pleased. It is producing some of the best football I’ve seen in this match engine! I hope this has shown that positional play can work at lower levels. I obviously need to test this over a season and see how we do, but for now it’s encouraging. I would say it takes a lot of in game management and tweaks to understand when and what to change as this is a risky approach if you haven’t got the right personnel.
  4. Wow, 107 goals scored! Outstanding work considering both strikers are played on Support duties I guess like you said, their PPMs are crucial for this. If you were managing a lower league side, what role would you recommend instead of Complete Forward? This is a highly demanding role which is difficult to find suitable players for at low levels. I've only really used Advanced Forward or PFa for a more direct runner in behind, and I have struggled when changing this to any kind of support role.
  5. Yeah this is more or less the same thing I did. Except I also told my Support striker to man mark, which I guess I didn’t need to do. But the same problem will arise, which is the Attack duty player potentially being drawn into positions where you don’t want him to be. I’d say this should be a situational instruction, not something that will work against every team.
  6. It was better than the shadow strikers. However I would be mindful using it against better opponents or adventurous CMs. For example, I had my AF and DLF man marking Wimbledon’s CMs, and the DLF was fine but the AF was getting dragged all over the pitch by his marker who as it turns out was playing in a Mezzala role. We ended up losing 2-0 against a far superior opponent. I think in those games it’s best to leave your AF up the pitch for a chance to counter
  7. I tried the two shadow strikers for one game and it worked well in terms of counter attacking - scored two great goals on the break. However it was a bit too passive for my liking, not enough pressure on the opponent meant we were camped in our own half for most of the game. It would need further testing but I feel like you would be under sustained pressure for long periods
  8. I was thinking about doing something like this. I actually had great success with a strikerless 4-4-2 in FM20 with Fiorentina but haven’t yet felt the need to play withdrawn strikers as my AF & DLF combo work well. But tempted to give this a go and see how it works. Have you tried this yet?
  9. Agreed, this is the approach I’ve used in virtually every game with my current side as it suited the players. But like you I prefer to see my two strikers actually drop back and create that 4-4-2 mid block and not a staggered/asymmetric 4-4-1-1. Definitely good to have two approaches that you can easily switch between!
  10. I think I’ve found a slight work around for this. I play a (fairly) direct 4-4-2 with Dulwich Hamlet and after back to back promotions we’re in League 2 and facing much better opposition. After some testing in the back end of last season (when we were running away with the title) I found two suppers duty strikers were not dangerous enough for me and the players at my disposal. I was off to an ok start in the league winning one and losing another with my usual 4-4-2. However it clicked for me after a Carabao Cup 2nd round tie at home to West Ham I rolled out a tweaked version of the OPs setup but only in the 2nd half and we limited them to very few chances (lost 3-0 still). So in the next league game at home to Crawley, who were relegated from League 1, I kept my original AF up top next to my DLF(S) but made two key changes: I told both strikers to Mark Tighter and specifically Man Mark the oppositions CMs so that they both dropped back into midfield. It worked a treat, we won 4-0 with all our goals coming on the break. The first goal was textbook - we let the CD bring the ball out from the back before my winger pounced on him and scored. The obvious benefit of this is that my AF is still on an attack duty and will make those crucial runs in behind a lot more than a support duty striker. I also don’t have good enough players to use the CF role or strong enough for the TM role, so I’m kind of stuck with AF/Poacher types with a DLF/False 9s. To summarise it may not be as good as having both on support in terms of defensive shape, but it’s close enough whilst still being threatening in behind.
  11. Great write up, really cool to see how you use OIs as this is something that I also try to do but I never thought of NOT closing down centre backs - interesting take! I have a question about the attacking side (I know this is mainly about the defensive shape). Do you have enough runners/threats in behind with two support duty strikers? I always prefer to have one striker on Attack but then I face the same problem you pointed out, there’s a big distance between him and his striker partner and the midfield.
  12. I think that's the beauty of the 4-4-2, you have so many options both with and without the ball. There is no reason why a high press would not work (although a 4-2-4 would be a better pressing shape) but ultimately your players need to be suited to the high press. Again, depending on your players, a mid block could be the best option. I'm currently playing a LLM save with Dulwich Hamlet and we easily won the Vanarama South and now sit top of the National League playing a mid block 4-4-2. I played almost exclusively on Positive mentality with Standard DL and Lowe LOE with Narrow Defensive Width, More Urgent Pressing and Get Stuck In to create an aggressive and compact mid-low block. I've now increased the mentality to Attacking for home games but the defensive block remains unchanged, just naturally slightly higher due to the mentality shift. So yes, a mid block can definitely work. I took some inspiration from @Rashidi's thread on Lower League Management, and the importance of having good Jumping Reach/Aerial presence to deal with crosses as we give up the flanks in order to be as compact as possible. Hope that helps.
  13. I’m not an expert but I would say your TIs are a little too aggressive (like the high line), especially going away to a strong side playing with effectively 3 up front. Also you said you play Pass Into Space to take advantage of an aggressive opponent but you also play Much Shorter Passing and Lower Tempo? To me that’s a bit contradictory. Along with Fairly Narrow it could be overkill and perhaps playing into their hands. I think you’ve identified some of the issues yourself, like being outnumbered in midfield. I would be tempted to drop Busquets into the DM strata as a Half Back maybe, which can help you beat their high press (I’m assuming they pressed high). You could then put Coutinho alongside De Jong in a 4-3-3 to provide more balance. Another thing I’ve noticed in general, and only quite recently, is how much of an effect mentalities actually have to general risk taking. I always thought I had to play on Positive to play a patient possession game, but I actually think it’s the other way around. Sure it can be done, but I think you would have more control if you dropped your mentality to Balanced or even Cautious. Alternatively you could keep it on Positive but maybe put passing, tempo, width close to or on default for a more direct approach to really exploit space. Like I said I’m no expert but these are a few things I’ve learned from my own experiences, I’m sure you will get some more helpful feedback. And don’t give up
  14. Agree with these points - you're congesting the space that Felix plays in. In the past, a number 10 was mostly used in a system like a 4-3-1-2 behind two strikers where he had plenty space and was the focal point for the team. In most 4-2-3-1 setups, particularly with Inside Forwards or Inverted Wingers, there are too many players entering the '10 position' or Zone 14. That doesn't mean it can't work in this system but like the above, you need to find more space for him to operate. Something else I noticed is the player attributes. Odegaard is much more of a playmaker, with his Teamwork of 17 meaning he will be more likely to look for his teammates than Felix, with 12 Teamwork. In my opinion I see Felix as more of a scorer/creator hybrid than a pure creator like Odegaard.
  15. The second episode didn't disappoint! Great stuff I really like how you evolved your tactic (and playing squad) without forgetting your principles/original style. I must say I've never been brave enough to try a 3 striker system but seeing your success with it is inspiring. Thanks for sharing your set piece set ups too - I've have relative success with my own routines but could definitely do with a Plan B (or even Plan C) in those tightly contested games. Looking forward to part three
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