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The #9.5

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

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  1. Italy is, tactically, the most impressive teams in the Euros so far. So I really enjoyed their game. Here's my interpretation of them: - Florenzi: he wasn't a proper inverted FB as he rarely spent time in MF zone. With Barella tasked to provide roam towards the right, Florenzi was needed to stay a bit deeper and be a passing option during the early build-up play. But once Italy progressed the ball forward and were deep in Turkey's half, Florenzi provided late runs to further stretch the play. So I think WB/s with sit narrower TI should suffice. If he is bombing forward too early with that
  2. My idea is that because Ibrahimovic will drop deep and be more of a #10, allowing the more mobile players to get beyond him. Given he is really slow, he might be slow to get in the box and be the prime target for crosses. Low crosses are therefore expected to be driven towards the runners who got beyond Ibrahimovic. Low crosses doesn't meant players will never try something else, they'll for sure (plus Milan have some intelligent players who should be able to decide situationally). So whenever Ibrahimovic does get in the box, he should still get some crosses. Plus his movement should mea
  3. Something like this: F9 IF/a W/s DLP/s CM/a == Yes, DLF/s is a bit different but will serve you the same main purpose - to drop in and create space for others while still being able to thread through balls. The difference is that he will achieve this by being a more physical presence and can hold up the ball, something that will benefit the CM/a in particular. The added benefit is that when he turns, the DLF will naturally be inclined to get into the box as late runner. == Your concern is whether such a lef
  4. Agree here. But then again why would you employ a notoriously attacking formation built for aggressive/dominating pass&move + pressing style and expect increased defensive solidity from it? Such formations defend on the front foot and by pressing, not by looking to quickly consolidate in own half. Or the reverse - employ a deep 4-1-4-1 and ask why it's hard to press from really high with it. Similar is the case with the typical 4-2-3-1 (though here the case is slightly different as with a 2nd #6, the team will have a 4th man - be it 2xDMs or one of the full-backs - behind the ball in
  5. The False 9 is a very specific role and needs a really specific style and overall tactical balance to work out properly. The main asset of the False 9 is that it drops deep to create space in behind. So the first consideration is to secure players who will get in that space, ideally 2 as only one might be easy for the opponent to handle. You can do that by having both wide men dart infield (IF/a) or one of them coupled with a proper runner from deep (CM/a). In addition, while it can surely thread a through balls, the False 9 isn't really a creative on the ball because of their support ro
  6. I had a bit of time this morning and gone through Milan's squad; and it's indeed a very versatile one. After a bit of thinking, here're a few variants I'd be inclined to use with them: 1) Sort of a flexible/versatile 4-3-3 with width on both sides, runners coming from deep and wide to go around and beyond Ibrahimovic who will be the attacking pivot. Here you can be even more flexible and make Calabria FB/a to provide the width with either Castilejo or Diaz more of creative in-cutting wide men to add even more numbers around Ibrahimovic (probably best against 4-4-2/4-3-3 formations)
  7. Play him in a limited (in terms of movement) but creative role that aims to drop deep and send passes to runners getting beyond him from various angles. DLF/s role should suit him nicely in both 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1, ideally with runners from wide and deep. Milan have quite a versatile squad, so it should be relatively easy to set this up.
  8. This is in interesting topic. My approach to FM is always to relate it as much as possible to real-life football tactics, strategies and general football common sense. From that perspective I've always viewed the DM strata as the #6 position and the CM strata as the #8 position (note: I mean position here, not role). In a typical 4-3-3 you have 1xDM and 2xCMs and from a real-life football language this means 1x#6 and 2x#8. Hence the talk of a single pivot formation (same goes for the 3-1-4-2, for example). Similarly, in a typical 4-2-3-1 we talk about 2xDMs and 1xAM, hence the talk of tw
  9. The 3-4-1-2 formation is not really suitable for a team expected to dominate against packed defences. The main issue is that there's little movement from deep (the double pivot usually is quite passive as even if one of them is a runner, it'll leave the midfield zone too open; similar to the 4-2-3-1 formation and any 2-1 midfield triangle). This means your overall attacking structure is quite 'structured' or 'layered' - wing-backs providing width, double pivot staying put and the front pair splitting wide. With little movement in behind, the #10 (no matter if he is a creator or an attack
  10. If we talk about a Sneijder role, I actually think AP/a is more suitable. TQ is a more free-roaming role with emphasis on dribbling and lateral movement (on top of killer passes). This is what Ozil was expert at. But Sneijder didn't have the same dynamism, so he was more of the central hub of the team. He compensated the lack of that extra dynamism and roaming (compared to Ozil especially) with increased goal-threat from range (be it set-plays or trademark long shoots). So depending on the type of team and players you have, you can go either with an Ozil or with a Sneijder. I'd suggest an
  11. I think Attacking mentality will be too much of gung-ho approach and with higher d-line and pressing that you seem to intend. It's likely to result to too much hoofball and the attack-duty players rushing forward too early, resulting in a more chaotic style than intended. Also, not sure attack duty FB position is also of any help here. I see you underline the importance of what you're after is not a total Mourinho replication but to use a Mourinho side again here - attack duty FB will render himself more of a runner even in the initial play-out phase as he will seek to quickly get into t
  12. The whole thing about Mourinho's approach is very interesting from FM perspective. There are two main pillars we need to factor in when we starting conceptualising him in FW: a) he is transitions-based manager, meaning possession and gradual/slower build-up play is less important for him b) his typical approach isn't really a gung-ho one. The thing with the more cautious FM mentalities is that they will provide point b) but will do exactly the opposite of point a). This is because the more cautious FM mentalities are too passive whenever a break/counter-attack isn't really on. T
  13. Agree about Martial's not so good link-up play. As I touched above, the aim in having him in support role (and a free-roaming one) is to count on his good team work and movement to roam around in a away that will be in sync with the team and create space for them. That he will be less of a creative threat on the ball is undeniable but is something we have to live with. For me, at the top level - and especially against packed defences - Cavani's low acceleration (13) and agility (12) are low enough to claim he isn't mobile enough. I agree he is intelligent enough and that could potentiall
  14. Fully agree that runs from deep is key. But while Pogba can be used in such a role, Fred will struggle with his low off the ball (9) and finishing (10). Which is why I proposed the above with Pogba getting high and wide on the right to compensate for the lack of attacking RB while Telles goes up from LB. I see your point about the potential benefit of Mata attracting attention to leave more space elsewhere. But I still think him being too static and so easy to mark out is a major downside and will only increase the pressure on the rest of the attacking components to perform (and with no
  15. I think this falls into the trap of being too much 'structured', or layered for wanting a better term. What I mean is that if Cavani is with attack duty, it'll be him spearheading the team. If both AMs are also simple creative roles, I think this will render the team too depending on only one route - creating for Cavani. So if there's no space for Cavani to find space to receive and finish and/or if the creators are blocked, I think we'll be in trouble with this approach. If the idea is for Pogba to move high and wider, he will end up in similar space to Telles. This will lead to potenti
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