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  1. This is a really interesting discussion and timely given something I'm working on. If we were talking a similar set up but with a 4141 would we be looking for the SS goal threat from the 4231 to come from midfield instead? Right now I have WB s, if s, Mez s on the left unlocking a winger a and B2B on the right. Then a CF s up front. I'm thinking to truly capitalise the Mezz should go to A right?
  2. Villa fan here and played a lot with the Claret and Blues this year. He really is a player who can play a multitude of roles. I've found Mezzala and RPM to bE good but I think in the right system he'd be great as AP. What kind of set up do you have him in?
  3. Super interesting. How are you finding the F9 in this. I've used it a bit and found it quite good this year, especially if you think outside the box in terms of players that play the role. Am I right in thinking the Fluid COunter preset is on whatever the new name for Counter is? Was the motivation behind the change to get more expansive action from the players? All in all though I like it a lot. Expect you'll get a lot of goals from the Mezz and a sneaky number from the Treq.
  4. Ha one game in and I noticed that. Shifted him to CM (s) with get further forward ticked. and changed mentality to positive tighter marking taken off.
  5. Thanks man. Yeah I realized a lot of my mistakes after a couple of games. I've switched back to the pushing the wingers higher as it creates more possession. I'm still not set on the midfield or striker roles though. The DLP makes a lot of sense but like in Reale life I want McGinn to be a driving force from midfield and also a source of goals. So maybe B2B? Striker wise is tough. I have Tammy Abraham who is exceptional. I know the TM role is counter intuitive but it's been much improved this year and on Attack it scores for fun....I might do a thread on it. What I'm thinking / toying with now. TM (a) IF (S). IF(s) Mez(s). CM(A) DM WB (s) Cd. Cd. Cwb (s) Balanced Shorter passing Wider Higher d line higher LOE tighter marking It's still not there yet. The midfield two and striker I feel are my biggest worry right now.
  6. Just re-envigorating this as I'm torn on a bit of a question at the moment. What do people think Jack Grealish's role would be on FM? IN real life he sticks to the halfspaces on the left quite a lot, draws a lot of fouls by running at defenders and creates overloads. That would suggest a Mezzala to me but he's also very much a p[laymaker apart from the lack of throughballs. I've tried RPM with some success but he almost roams too much.
  7. Hey all, I'm not too bad with tactics on FM, however my expertise tend to fall into two camps: the 41221 and the lower end of mentalities. Where I'm not so hot is less layered formations and the higher end of the mentality spectrum which is exactly where I'm struggling at the moment. My aim is that I want to create a progressive possession orientated 4141 where the central midfielders are the heartbeat of the team, building attacks, then spreading the ball wide and getting in the box to join a lone striker, or going beyond him to score. Ideally I want the midfielders passing to a winger who will be on the edge of the area, attack the byline and cut it back, or an overlapping fullback hugging the touchline will cross from deep. A few things I want: - A strong focal point of a striker whos cores goals. - Possession. I don't want to monopolize it, but I do want to play it short and out from the back. - 2 creative midfielders, one of which is more tasked with goalscoring, the other carries the ball and breaks the lines. - Use of width and crossing. This is what I have so far. The problems are, I find it really tough to get meaningful possession, also I find it hard to replicate what I'm trying to do especially the midfielders getting beyond the striker. It's also been quite frail defensively, particularly through the middle. I realize the striker role is a problem (just I find the TM A to be very good at scoring) but any / all help greatly appreciated.
  8. I did ma post on how I got Tammy Abraham scoring for my Villa team. Cleon has also done a series previously on "What makes a goalscorer" that I'd suggest giving a read. Basically, though it's all about creating space and opportunities for your striker, not necessarily a case of which role is right (although that's a trap I always fall into). Also depends on what kind of striker you have. For example, a pacy poacher will need a very different set up from a strong target man. Your best bet is to decide what kind of striker you have, and what kind of goals you expect them to score. Then work backwards from there.
  9. This! Sorry I realized I never explained this properly but it's all to do with vertical compactness. Basically I need my striker closer to my midfielders to encourage more overlapping. But in a formation like this a higher LOE creates more distance. However higher defensive line and lower LOE means he is closer to teammates when we win the ball.
  10. Amazingly he's in his fourth season on loan. Chelsea just keep agreeing to it and even though I've got a half decent agreed fee in place I just keep getting him on loan as why not
  11. Time for a belated update on this I feel. This post will actually encompass the second half of my first season in the Prem and the entirety of the following season. So here goes... How we fared As you may remember from my previous post things were going great at the halfway mark, there were however some concerns about a lack of depth. I tried and failed to address that in January bringing in only Patrick Roberts from Man City to add to my wide options. All of which meant that when players inevitably started to lose form I had no viable options to bring in their place, a case of squad management trumping my tactics in terms of results. We inevitably dropped off, Tammy stopped scoring and we went a bit stale. Still, we were able to grind out results and finish the season in seventh, qualifying for Europe as the highest place finisher which would mean an early start to the next season. Tammy ended the season with 13 goals, equaled by John McGinn who ended the campaign on a high in front of the net. All in all, it was a very successful return to the top flight, but I was far from happy with how the second half went. Tactical issues One of the biggest issues I started to find with the tactic was that Tammy was getting isolated up front. This meant that he was all too easily marked out of the game, it also led to my wide players picking up the ball on the halfway line and running into cul de sacs due to the lack of options ahead of them. Sometimes it led to some worldies, but all too often it wasn't the pass and move football I wanted to recreate. The other issue was that it was leading to some very poor ratings. My W(s), DLF (A) and Mezz (A0 would all get 6.5's in the first half of every game, even while the rest of the team was performing okay. Clearly, something was wrong and I decided it was largely due to the change in division. In the Championship we spent a lot of time camped in the opponents half so our team could get up in support of each other and knock the ball around. In the Premier League however, teams would press us high and we'd spend more time defending due to the increase in quality. This meant that when we got the ball we were transitioning quickly, almost counterattacking the opponent which in turn meant the support couldn't get up to the front man in time to actually pass it around. Clearly something had to change in order to improve, but what? Finding a solution To decide what to change it took it back to the beginning and looked at the real life Villa team on Whoscored. A key thing I noticed here was width. I'd been playing on narrow, yet Villa attack down the flanks. So I bumped the width up a notch and ticked the exploit flanks option. What was far more interesting however was the team's average positioning in real life. Below is the position map from our recent win against Bristol. There are a couple of things here that instantly jumped out at me. The most notable of which was number 18 Tammy Abraham. Look how deep he is! He is actually deeper than 14 (Hourihane our most attacking midfielder) and level with McGinn (who was deputizing for Grealish in this game). The other thing I noticed was how far forwards number 22 was. Based on this, I needed to change something in my tactic. And after a pre-season of messing around - and some early game tinkering - I ended up with this. You'll notice there are a couple of major changes, but also a few more subtle ones so I'll go through them in order. DLF (A) becomes F9 - Well actually he became a DLF (s) then an F9. Why? because as the position map from Whoscored showed, Tammy needs to get deeper and these are the best roles to do that. On an attack duty, he was moving into the channels too much and getting further away from the play than I needed him to be (He's meant to be a focal point after all). Now I've never really used the F9, especially with a striker like Tammy, but I really liked how it opened up the pitch for the midfielders to go beyond him and score (another facet of Villa's play I'm looking to replicate). Look at the screenshots below from our home win against Liverpool where Tammy held up the ball before playing in the onrushing midfielders, a game where McGinn got two. . His positioning is far closer to the Whoscored heatmap and as a bonus I also got more goals from my midfield. W (s) became IF (A) - This one took me a while to implement due to my natural caution, but in the end I settled on it purely to get the positioning from the Whoscored map and also add a little more goalscoring thrust to my team. Mezz (A) became CM (A) - This one is a little more subtle but actually came about as I started to leak a lot of goal on the counter. All too often we'd be in a great position, then misplace a pass and get scored on all too easily. I realised that with a RPM and Mezz I had two players who would roam. Great when it worked, but when it didn't it left a gaping hole through the center of my team for the opposition to run at. Now if you're say Man City, and you have Fernandinho, there that's all well and good. But I'm not, and I had Connor Hourihane there. As a result I decided to switch to CM (A) as it's still an attacking role, but much more stable structurally. TI changes - As mentioned earlier I also made some TI changes. Exploit the flanks got ticked to try and get the crosses /attacking down the flanks, the width went up a notch, and interestingly our line of engagement also went down a notch. This came about thanks to a Twitter chat with Cleon who suggested it as a way of getting my midfielders to go beyond my striker more often. It makes perfect sense. After all, previously he was on an attack duty and he was closing down high up the pitch due to the High line of engagement. No wonder he was getting isolated. The results So the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. So how did I do? Well I made the quarterfinals of the Carabao cup and got knocked out of the FA cup in the 3rd round. Not great, but not too shabby. In the league however things were a different story. A cracking season with third place secured on the final day of action. That's not bad at all for a team that was two years removed from the championship, especially one that had barely been strengthened. Tammy (who played almost exclusively in the league and rested in the cups, ended the season with 21. But the scoring was also spread around the team better than previously too. One other thing you may notice from that squad screenshot is how few new faces there are in the team. Piatek was an upgrade on Maupey as a backup striker. Szymanski was also in there as was Jack Clarke who'd had a breakout year the previous season. Apart from that though it was roughly the same team that won me the Championship. It was also a team that it turned out was good enough to rub shoulders with some of Europe's best as we made it from the first round of qualifying in July all the way to the UEFA League final where we'd play Pep Guardiola's rampant Arsenal side. It was an achievement just getting there and unfortunately that was the only achievement we'd enjoy as we lost 2-0 after having our skipper sent off in the 32nd minute. The one real positive I can take away from it though was my starting eleven, which you'll see below. Aside from Szymanski and Sosa (who were bought for a combined 2.9 million) the rest of the team were there when I started my save, a Championship squad now playing in a EURO League final. So there we have it. I'm not exactly sure where I'll go with this next, the team definitely needs strengthening and I'd like to actually win something. But hopefully this update shows you what some logical tactical thinking can do to improve your current crop of players. It's taught me a lot about the game and about adjusting what I'm doing rather than just raging against the AI when what I think should be happening isn't happening on the pitch.
  12. So it's probably about time I updated this thread... I've actually finished the first season in the Premier League - I'm writing a little behind where I'm at in my career and it's been a learning curve. We'd basically walked the Championship and so the Prem has been a rude awakening. Here's what's happened at the halfway point. Transfers The Villa squad is actually pretty decent after the winter update but clearly, it would need strengthening to take on the Prem, which is exactly what I didn't do. Transfers are one of my Achilles heels on FM, I always get way to excited about hipster players who are available at bargain prices and end up with an unbalanced squad of hopefuls who can be amazing one day and horrible the next. I've kind of planned to try and promote youth this save to avoid this problem, but until some of the current crop are ready I'd need to add some bodies. So who did I buy? Well Tammy came back on another season-long loan (god knows what I'll do if Chelsea don't drop their 70 million asking price) , I also made the loans of Mings and Hause permanent. Villa also had James Bree and Frederic Guilbert coming back from loans so the basis of a good squad was there. The problem was that I needed depth which is exactly what I didn't add. Neal Maupay came in upfront as he was relatively cheap and Villa have been linked with him in real life, the problem is he's completely the wrong kind of striker to backup Tammy in my system - he's a solid player, but he's short and hardworking, not the focal point I need. Sosa was cheap leftback depth but I didn't really need strengthening there instead I needed wide men as Adomah wasn't Prem standard and I'd let El ghazi go. So I added Jack Clarke from Leeds (one for the future) then I picked up Wonderkid Sebastian Szymanski who I somehow convinced myself was going to be a tricky winger for me - newsflash, he's not. Instead he's a great alternative to Grealish in the midfield but that would take me a frustrating number of games to work out. What I'm saying is that I'd basically hamstrung myself before the season started. I was pretty happy with my starting eleven (minus the gaping hole on the right wing) but beyond that I'd be screwed if players got tired, lost form or got injured, something that would come back to haunt me as the season went on. Tactics Tactically things didn't change all that much. I changed the DM to an Anchorman, mainly because I wanted a little more security. I also took off 'Counterpress' and 'Counter'. Why? Well partly because we're not as good in the Prem as we were in the Championship, but also because I wanted to give my players the chance to think for themselves and make their own decisions. Beyond where I'll update you here I'm actually considering some major tactical work which I'll tackle in another post, but to start the season I was pretty happy to stay put. The results Things started well, very well in fact. There have been some great results in there, including a brilliant comeback from behind win against City (we were 2-0 and romped back, I literally jumped up in the air screaming at my desk at home). There have been some losses too. Liverpool frankly schooled me away from home, while I was out-tacticed by Sarri at Chelsea who played a 4312 I couldn't get my head around (didn;t help that I couldn't play Tammy either). Elsewhere the West Brom result came about through my own stupidity. Salomon Rondo kept escaping the offside trap, much to my surprise as he's a lump in real life. But instead of doing anything about it I made the arch error of believing real life is the same as FM and did nothing thinking Mings and Chester would not let him do it again. He did, several times, and I was duly punished. The Watford game too was my fault. I rested too many players and realised how thin my squad was. So this is what the table looks like on January 1. Overall I'm delighted, mainly because if this was real life and Dean Smith had got this Villa team to this level I'd be getting his face tattooed on my buttocks with a rusty needle in celebration. The system has overall been working well too, much to my delight, Tammy has come out of the blocks firing on all cylinders (spoiler he doesn't sustain it) and in Jack Clarke I've uncovered a gem, purely by accident mind you. Tammy - The boy Clarke The problems Clearly things are going great guns and I should be pleased, but here's the thing, I'm not. Partly it's because I'm a bit further on as I'm writing this and I know what's coming. Also it's because I've been watching us play and it's not been as good as last year. The play has been stodgy with us slow to move the ball, it's also been very congested in the middle and we've been guilty of sterile possession which is something I absolutely don't want. There have been several games where I've had a tonne of the ball and done nothing with it. I've also been hit on the counter too often and suffered against teams that press me high. I've also not been happy with how some of the players are doing. Grealish has been amazing for me, but it's not quite the same as real life as he roams all over the pitch instead of sticking to the left. McGinn too hasn't been anywhere near as dynamic as I'd want. Obviously, a large part of this is due to the upgrade in division. I'm not playing the likes of Rotherham every week anymore (sorry Rotherham fans), and it shows. As a result, a tactic I loved watching last season isn't pleasing me as much this time around. The question is though, is it the tactic's fault, the game's fault, or is it my fault for failing to adjust? We all know the answer right? It's 100% my fault. Mainly because of my expectations. After all this is a fantastic place to be in the table and I should be utterly delighted no matter how the tactic is playing. Also who am I to go up to the Prem and not adjust my tactical philosophy. I'm hardly Pep, and I certainly don't have his resources so I should really be tweaking things to make this work with the big boys, not expecting them to play by my rules. Possible changes As I say I've already played on a bit, but right about now in the career I was considering some changes to my tactic that I couldn't decide between. The problems I was coming up against was width and penetration, or more accurately a lack of both, I also wasn;t seeing my midfielders get beyond my striker enough and the front three were getting a bit isolated. The way I saw it I had three options. 1 - Change roles. This is perhaps the most obvious as I could create more cut and thrust by doling out another attacking duty in the front 3 perhaps, however given the success of the shape before, I was reluctant to do this. 2 - Change mentality. This is a big step, but I'd noticed that when I'd gone Attacking in desperation after going a goal or two down, we suddenly played a lot better. The midfielders were getting beyond the striker, my mezzala was scoring and the low ratings that had started to creep into my wide players disappeared. Of course this would come with a whole new can of worms in terms of TIs and also would go against the habit of a lifetime (I'd not played above 'Counter until this year's version). But was it the right move? 3 - TI tweaks. My final option was to maintain the Status Quo (tactically, not musically) but make a few tweaks. If I needed more width, why wouldn't I notch it up? If I needed more penetration, what about playing more through balls? Hell I'm even open to taking short passing off, as right now I'm wondering if with a combination of Work Ball Into Box and Play Out of Defence it's all too much tiki taka. What next? This was the dilemma I found myself in on January 1st 2020 (game time) as I once again began to fail to strengthen my squad (more on that later). Those were the options I had in mind. But what would you do? Does 1, 2 or 3 take your fancy and if not, is there a 4th option I should've thought of? As always I'd love to hear your feedback, your thoughts and basically to read your comments. I never really post on here, and drifted away from the game for a while, but I've really really enjoyed this community aspect of it!
  13. Hey all thanks for the kind messages and the lively debate - I joked to Cleon in Twitter that seeing him and Rashidi disagree is like watching your parents argue Some excellent advice here though so I'm looking forward to implementing it. I'm actually ploughing ahead with the save and just reached half way point in Premier League. I'll try to do an update later as it's been interesting, mainly because I've made a few mistakes which show how you can screw up a good tactic by being blind to your own bias.
  14. That's actually been one of the challenges, particularly with McGinn as he has 'comes deep to get the ball'
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