Hey everyone, I just wanted to try and add to the forum with a slightly lopsided formation I’ve created. For anyone looking for a tactic to download at the end please stop reading now, the same goes for anyone hoping to find something that can transform Chester FC to consecutive promotions season after season.
This will hopefully just be a thread explaining how I came up with a plan and stumbled across a reasonable level of success or at least I got what I aimed for in terms of the style of play.
What’s the plan?
To begin with there wasn’t much of a plan to be honest, I was just a bit bored of doing the same thing. I’d create the bog standard, 4231, 442, 433 but the football would generally be very similar mainly because I’d pick mostly the same instructions. What began to annoy me was the lack of variation in the play, nearly all my goals would be scored from the same situation. We’d dominate possession, hold back the opposition but create very little chances and have too many long shots. And any chances would be created from a cross from the winger/ full back. Which is a solid option, but it became generally the only option which was down to my own poor instructions.
Pleasing to watch- One of the important ones, I want to see football that’s easy on the eye. Building from the back, attacking with pace and purpose, scoring goals whilst doing the basics well.
Multiple avenues to goal- With the above in mind I wanted something that would create a realistic type of football with chances being created from Through balls, counter attacks, crosses, set pieces sign us up for all of them!
A different initial set up- I wanted something I don’t normally use, so picking off what I liked from the formations mentioned above the idea of a lop sided 4-3-1-2 came to mind. Harnessing the strike force of 2 strikers but the midfield balance of a midfield three. I also wondered if I could get the formation to take the shape a little like a 433 in game.
High Press- I want to win the ball back high up the pitch, it’s a modern part of football and it’s also very pleasing to watch, Forcing the opposition into mistakes could also create another type of chance creation.
Possession with purpose- I’m looking to have the lions share of the ball, but not for the sake of it there’s no point having 60%+ possession but not creating anything.
Focal goal scoring striker- Something I’ve struggled with on this year’s game, I want to have one striker that’s purpose is too put it in the back of the net, if the team scores I want it to likely be him.
Realistic secondary scorers- What I mean here is I don’t want to have the full backs being the ones scoring the goals, I want it spread across the second striker, midfield and winger when possible and for everything else to be a bonus.
Tight Defence- I think everybody wants a tight defence and it may not always be possible but what I mean here is I don’t want to win games 5-4. I want us to attack well but also be able to defend.
Putting that into practice
Before I go on here, I imagine a few people won’t appreciate I’ve chosen a top team to try and create a new tactic. I understand it’s not as impressive as creating something like this with a lower team but I just don’t think I’d be good enough to do that, I’m not a tactical genius or anything like that and I do support Manchester United. I’m looking to create something to enjoy Football Manager again so why not pick my favourite team.
Team play style and instructions
As you can hopefully see I’ve gone for Gegenpress, it seemed to tick a lot of boxes for what I wanted, heavy pressing football, moving the ball quickly, but still being able to play out from the back, hopefully perfect!
Positive Mentality- Like I mentioned earlier I want to attack well but also defend well, positive seems like a good start, going to Attack may see the right-hand side be even more exposed possibly too.
Be More Expressive- I added this as that’s what I want, there are some good players in the team and I want them to express themselves on the pitch and hopefully create some nice football.
Much Higher D.line + Much Higher Line of Engagement- I think this explains itself, I want to press and I hope the 2 strikers being so close together can really force some errors from centre backs and goal keepers specifically when they press as a pair.
Work Ball into Box- I’m hate seeing the number of long shots make up nearly the majority of shots we’ve taken. I don’t see them to be effective and working the ball into the box should hopefully help.
Formation and player roles
As you can see it’s the lopsided formation as mentioned, I have my 2 strikers slightly off centre and this is done to hopefully decrease the risk of having nobody on the right-hand side. I like the idea that anything coming in from the left towards the back post could lead to the opposition defence being outnumbered by the 2 strikers as well as the support striker being closest to the right meaning they should drop back even slightly to create a little more of the 433 shape I’m after in game.
A flat midfield 3, I did think of picking a defensive midfielder, but having the flat midfield should hopefully allow for cover again to the right-hand side which is significantly my weakest point.
Sweeper Keeper- With a high line it makes sense to have the keeper looking to sweep up anything over the top where possible.
Left full back support- With having a winger already ahead I don’t see the need for an overlap, Also with the right full back having a slightly more aggressive role having them as a basic full back should hopefully help us defensively. If the right back is caught out of position or is being doubled up on for example.
Ball playing defenders- I like to see eye catching football that is built from the back, Bailly specifically isn’t a great ball player so I may revert to a standard centre back if I see them loosing possession, in what would be a dangerous area.
Right wing back support- Given a slightly more aggressive role than the left back, I still feel the need for width as I don’t want everything just going down the left-hand side. Although I don’t’ want the RB to be caught out of position hence only being given a support role.
CM attack- The key midfielder, I want him to make runs into the box, really overload that final third whilst also creating chances. Told to shoot less but take more risks in hope of finding that key pass. I’d hope they will come up with goals on their own.
DLP defend- Hopefully key in keeping possession, I want them to be a constant outlet for the ball and look to collect it from the defence where possible and not look to move forward much with the ball themselves but to rather play it forward. Added instruction to mark tight to help defensively.
Carrilero support- It seems to make sense for this role to try and plug the gap on the right, added instruction to Shoot less again for more pleasing football and to Mark tight to aid defensively.
Winger attack- I wasn’t too sure what role to pick here to be honest, Although I recognised the need for width and with only 2 other attack roles I thought this would make us a little less passive. Staying wide on the right would also make space for the CM attack to roam forwards too, Also instructed to shoot less.
Deep Lying forward attack- The focal striker I was after, the main goal scorer. Not given too aggressive a role to keep them in touch with the midfield supporting them.
Deep lying forward support- The support striker but I still want them to score, they’re not hear just to assist or drop deep to make space but to be part of a duel strike force.
It seemed to make sense to me so far, so it was time to play and see what happened. For this I just created a throw away save. I started the save as close to the league season as possible and had the assistant take control of friendlies but using my tactic.
Even after a very small sample the age-old problem was occurring, my goals or chances being created were coming from the right full back crossing to the back post… ARGHHHH.
Hopefully you can see from the screenshots above that Darmian takes the ball out wide, looks up and fires the ball to the back post from deep for a goal. Like I mentioned I don’t mind this happening from time to time, it’s a perfectly good avenue to score. But this happened twice in the Southampton game and in the game before that against Newcastle.
You can see here how Darmian was the only outlet, and I want multiple avenues to goal which I’m failing at currently. What’s worse is Darmian’s crossing stat is 9 but he has 3 assists in 3 games all from crosses!
Back to the drawing board.
Yes we have won all 3 games, and yes it’s such a small sample size but I can see things I don’t like and I can’t help but want to make just a few changes.
I’ll admit I’m really not very good at watching full matches too see where the problems are etc, although I did notice that I think we’re moving the ball too quickly. We’ve had a lot of the ball but with such a high tempo everything seemed a little rushed, more touches could have been taken or a slight pause could have created an opening rather than it being shunted out wide to Darmian.
So, with that in mind I think I’ll significantly decrease the tempo and maybe change to a more defensive role for him.
Other than that, I prefer my analysis to be stats based.
What has worked is that we’ve not conceded yet and haven’t really been ripped open at any point. In the 3 games we have played so far only 1 ccc had been made and 0 half chances by the opposition. We were averaging over 57% possession, were averaging over 7 shots on target per game and had scored 4 goals in 3 which could have been worse I suppose.
What I didn’t like was Rashford who I want to be my focal point hadn’t as many shots as I’d like and he also wasn’t involved with the play too much either, I wasn’t too bothered about the latter. I went back to basics really and thought the most chance he’s got is to get closer to goal and so switched him to an Advanced Forward as they’re slightly more involved than a poacher and play more on the shoulder than a Deep lying forward on attack. I’d hoped this would also stop any congestion in the middle of the park.
I wasn’t totally convinced with the winger on the left hand side, Although Martial had played there and had high ratings a lot of that was due to the cross from deep to the back post and I want him to be move involved in the play especially with having an Advanced forward who won’t be too much involved.
Like I mentioned I stumbled on wanting to create a tactic that acted like a 433 on the pitch even if the line up isn’t in that exact shape. And I think I’ve achieved that to some extent.
Hopefully you can see from the heat map above for the Southampton game it does look like a 433 which I’m happy with, what jumps out at me though is the left winger is maybe wider than I’d like them to be and that’s with a player who has the PPM to cut inside. So the winger role may be the reason why they aren’t as involved in the play as much as I’d like them to be.
Also the Carrillero may also be slightly wide too but as with the winger maybe making them more narrow would just make things congested?
With the above in mind I made changes, I was just planning on lowering the tempo but after reading through the different tactical styles I decided to change to the Vertical Tiki-Taka. “A quick passing style of possession and movement, with a narrower, more direct approach than the standard Tiki-Taka” That’s exactly what I want, I want us to move the ball quickly but I’m completely fine with us going direct at the right time. I want a variation in play so having the direct option definitely adds to that.
What I removed in terms of tactical instructions though was the Underlapping fullbacks and playing through the middle instructions. I didn’t want us to solely focus on one area of the pitch, and I have a pretty secure midfield 3 so I don’t think I need the fullbacks to Underlap especially on the right where the fullback is the main source of width. I maxed out the pressing and high line as well as making the passing Directness standard rather than short, for the reasons I mentioned above and the direct option. I also decreased the tempo to slightly lower, in the hope it would involve my midfield a little more and give key players like the CM-A time to not only make their move forward but also pick out their targets.
I set the right back to a bog-standard full back on support to see what difference it would make, I’m happy with us scoring from crosses so I don’t want to get them to cross less via an instruction. But maybe joining up the pitch a little later in the move will mean somebody else would have moved into a better passing position. I know that Fullbacks play a key part in the offense, and I’ll enjoy goals from crosses as long as the build up is good before hand, rather than just a deep cross from the full back.
Did the changes work?
The million-dollar question! I’d say yes What disappointed me in the first 3 games was the lack of variation and that’s what I was looking for. After I made the changes it still wasn’t perfect but I was creating more varied chances which was one of my main goals.
Hopefully you can see in the chance above, Fred has moved across the pitch with the ball from the right and is looking to play in Chong who was on the left for us in this game. A great chance but one that wasn’t converted but that doesn’t bother me too much, I was just happy to see a nice bit of football.
Hopefully you can see here Alexis has moved from the right and cut inside, I’ve highlighted Martial his target who you can see in the next picture has been slipped in. Martial had been changed to an Inside Forward on attack and it seemed to pay dividends. Martial cuts inside taking the touch into the box before slamming it past the keeper, great move and great finish against a Wolves side that were playing a back 5 and 2 defensive midfielders.
Another snap shot of the Wolves game, Adama Traore has just taken a free kick on my right-hand side. Bailey beats it out of the air and the counter is on! I love counter attack football, and I find it easier to create when I play 2 strikers. Rashford bursts forwards doing what he does best, Alexis is positioned away from the opposing centre backs and towards the back post. Rashford sends him the pass Although It wasn’t the best pass in all honesty with Sanchez having to take two touches but he did get his shot off at goal inside the box which is a chance in my eyes.
Finally, the fixtures, I didn’t really want to show theses as the whole purpose of this save was about the performance, and the variation in creating chances in a formation that would fall into a 433 on the pitch. You can see it's such a small sample size against not the greatest of teams really.
Did I set out what I wanted to achieve? I like to think so, I was creating differing chances, keeping the ball well but being direct when I needed too. Was it perfect, no far from it a number of the goals scored were through player quality, Lingard and Herrera scored a few from just outside the box as did Alexis on occasion but I was happy with the build up play around them and the space was created outside the box for them to unleash a strike.
I wanted Rashford to be my main striker and he has scored 6 in 9 with 1 assist which isn’t too bad a return. Although he did score from a few headers from set plays but I suppose that’s part of the varied chances we created.
I wanted my deep lying forward to still be involved with the goal scoring Lukaku scored 4 in 5 and Alexis scored 1 and assisted 1in 5. Great for Lukaku not so great from Alexis so that part is still largely unanswered.
Would I continue winning games and hardly conceding? No, it’s such a small sample size and I can’t say the teams I’d played were of much difficulty especially for a team with the quality of United. I tried to be as true as possible, I switched off being able to make transfers and I played the kids on occasion too. Pogba was largely injured for most of them games and I think he came back against Wolves. I also scored a few penalties which were awarded from runs specifically from Martial and Alexis.
I didn’t set up any set piece routines or even manually select the set piece takers to be honest. I wanted to score from open play as often as possible but I did score a few from set pieces in the end too. We were also still having a few too many long shots on occasion, but I always blame that on lack of other options so there is still a lot of work that would be needed to be done to make this exactly what I wanted.
I think that’s all from me, I hope at least one person enjoyed reading this. I just wanted to contribute to the forums a little, I’m not sure if I’ve really wrote anything that will teach anyone, but I hope it may have created questions for yourself to answer or even start a lopsided formation yourself. If anyone see’s something glaringly obvious that’s hindering my chances please feel free to comment.