(Disclaimer - I am new to the football manager scene. Much of my analysis of what I am doing will be on my little knowledge that I have obtained from lurking on this site for a couple weeks. This is also the first time I am trying to analyse what I do in some detail, so if at any point, my analysis is flawed or can be improved please do advise me, I would enjoy being tutored in that way. In essence this is a learner attempting to give his viewpoint on the game as he attempts to learn it).
I have been assigned the 352 Sweeper. I've never played with a sweeper or without fullbacks/wingbacks so I am looking forward to the challenge and getting it to work for the team. So before I did anything on start up I wanted to see what exactly this system could do without any of my alterations, simply the preset tactic with fitting players for each position, no team and player instructions nor any roles. Our first game was against Dnipro which we won 5-3. They played the whole game with a 4-1-2-3 DM Wide and made subs throughout where as we stuck with the same 11 for the full 90 minutes as I wanted to see how the players I picked would perform for the full 90 minutes.
The first goal was ours and it was a strange one, it took simply 2 touches after our keeper Consigli cleared the ball out to find the back of the opposition net. A headed flick-on from Sensi in midfield gave Defrel a ball to run onto which he put in the back of the net. The second came soon after and out numbers advantage in the middle allowed Sensi and Duncan to dictate the play and give Magnanelli some time outside the box to shoot and score. In the build up play Matri dropped deep into the right midfield slot to pick up the ball and run at the opposition which meant Dnipro had to bring a centre midfielder across to track him allowing the passing play and man advantage outside the box to work well. Just as soon as we had scored another, we conceded our first. They stretched the play and their winger got ahead of our wide midfielder Ragusa which allowed him to cross the ball into our box which so happened to fall to their other winger who also beat the his wide midfielder Politano and tapped it in. Our third was a complete replica of our second goal, Matri dropped deep and picked up the ball on the right and played it across the the edge of their area which dragged all three of their central midfield to our left side so we shifted the ball back to the right side and Politano struck a beauty from just outside the box. We conceded just before halftime and it was a ball over the top which even beat our Sweeper Cannavaro that was headed into the net from their striker. We conceded our 3rd and it was soon 3-3 . We were probing around their box using our dominance but it didn't amount to anything and they cleared the ball upfield and won it, Dnipro ran at our defence in a 3 on 3 attack which didn't end well for us. We got our fourth by winning the ball in our own half and giving it to Matri who ran down the right side and beat a couple players, he played it into the box where we had all the other 6 attacking players ready to tap it in, but it was Duncan who got his foot to it. Our last of the game and to make it 5-3 was the same but on the other side of the field, the ball was won in our half and we countered down the left side where it was Defrel who beat his man and passed it to Matri inside the box who scored.
This average position map shows our positions when on the ball (in green) and that of when we didn't have the ball (in orange). We didn't struggle in the centre of the park, if anything there were sometimes too many bodies within a small space, although it worked well, at times we could have spread even better by pushing one further up and two deeper or vice versa. Our width in attack seemed good, especially when counter-attacking for the last two goals, in which the link up play was really great. The area in which we need to improve is quite obvious, our centre backs are very spread out at times and when we have just lost the ball and are against a front three like Dnipro had it often left a 3 on 3 attack. This is obviously due to our lack of fullbacks and our midfield wide unit not playing as defensively when we lost the ball. Another area of concern is the amount of forward runners we had when on the counter, our whole team except the back three were inside Dnipro's box for the last two goals which leave us very open to being countered. Lastly, the ball over the top is something to think about, I don't think playing a high line is a great idea since our defenders lack pace and acceleration, but it could be worth thinking about playing a deeper line to avoid this, perhaps a look at how changing Cannavaro's role from Sweeper to Libero affects our shape.
In the next game, which is against Wolfsburg, I want to toy with our team shape and see the difference between a more structured style of play against a more fluid style of play, again, without any changes to the default formations and without any instructions. Additionally, a look at the squad to see who won't be needed in the upcoming season and what areas need strengthening. P.S - I am interested in starting a career update thread in the relevant section with this save and sticking to the experiment rules, how many would be interested? I'm not the best player but I think regular analysis like this and other types (as I learn how) can only make me better (I hope?).