The Barcelona games are always a joy to watch (despite defeated in ECC this season), and there are many posts in the forum already, talking about Barcelona tactic, just here to mention a few:
https://community.sigames.com/topic/219564-the-barcelona-style-my-interpretation/; https://community.sigames.com/topic/421360-terminate-fm18-handbook-on-pep-guardiolas-barcelona-433-and-the-tactic-pack/?tab=comments#comment-11091496 https://community.sigames.com/topic/397755-peps-barcelona-very-fluid/?tab=comments#comment-10696523
While by watching some match vedios of Barcelona on internet, I recently got some new ideas and realize that people may make some mistakes when interprate Barcelona tactic in FM, this inspired me to write this article to show my idea, and always welcom for suggestions from you guys.
Ok, let's start with some real matches, for example the 14/15 semi-final in between Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Camp Nou. In this match, Barca play a rugular 4-3-3 as they most times did. I was curious to see how they build up the game, and find something interesting to me:
First, they do play short passes but, they do not play slow. On the contrary, they play very fast, both by passing immediately instead of keeping the ball on feet and wait, and by dribbling to create space. So I think some traditional idea about tiki-taka: short passing, slow down and restrict from dribbling, may be wrong, at least not for Barca. So what is the problem? No. 1, play short passing with slow tempo and less dribbling may make it "too slow", so it is hard to create score chances; No. 2, try to play "safer" doesn't mean it is really safer, because when you focus too much on keeping the ball on feet, stand there and wait, it is easiar for the defending side to rob the ball, or to organize their marking system, if that, you may also found it hard to find free passing space for your teammates. In both way, you may loss the ball. So in my idea, people should pay attention on bulding up the balance between keeping the ball and attacking, too much on keeping possession TIs, for example the combination of short passing, dribbling less and low tempo, may be counterproductive to the possession, especially when against sides with high pressing urgency.
Second, they do use high line in defence, but not with high pressing urgency. Their mid-fielders and defenfers place high up the pitch, but mainly to restrict space with a compact defending shape, they rarely take risk to leave their defending shape to press. Their foreward three may pressing more urgent occiasionally, and only when they succeed to force the ball possessor to stop play (may be back to Barca goal) , the other Barca players will pressing up to sorround and cut off connect between the ball possessor and his teammates. There may be no proper TI in the exist game engine to simulate this kind of temporal pressing, but I will attribute the defending style mentioned before as: high defensive and engage line+normal pressing+marking+tackling harder. In my opinion, risky defending TI doesn't mean you can rob the ball back better. The problem is, too risky defending setting, such as a combanation of high line and pressing, may make you vulnerable to fast side, as they may beat your defence by dribbling and fast passing. Also, pressing may fail when you can not afford enough players compared to the opposite team in particular zones. In both ways, you may be in risk and it is no help to win back possession.
Third, proper roles combination will help to keep possession. The most important role I think is the DM player (Busquets). He never dribbling, roamming or play risky passes, but simply to deliver ball to forward midfield teammates. When Barce in possession, he always give a recycling choice for the team, and when lost possession, he will protect the CDs well, so I think the best interpratation in FM is the Anchor man. Another interesting role in Barca tactic is the DR/DL players. Instead of crossing from byline, their prior job is to support the midfield to cycling/recycling the ball, they sit narrower, and mostly narrower than the wingers. Beside the foreward three, at leat one CM and one fullback (usually Alba on the left) will try to get into the opposite zone to score, this should also be considered when build up the tactic.
So, as analyzed before, the final screenshot of the tactic is as below.
The mentality can be changed when facing different opponents, also depend on home/away. Some PIs I will give is: Pressing more for CF player (maybe also godd choice for wingers); Marking tighter for WB and IWB; and sit narrower for WB. When facing teams with high pressing/risky mentality, I may also change the SK into defending role and use low risky PI, just to avoid stupid mistakes.
The foreward five may be changed for special purpose, for example, to the below two screenshots. It is helpful to strengthen the possession and attacking risk from the middle pitch, or to restrict the opponent buld up play, especially when they have one or two DMs (In that case, if we don't place enough players in that area, they may just passing short and waste time if they play with low mentality). But be carefull if the opponent play with high tempo and combanation with wings/fullbacks, they may overload your WB/IWB to make risk, so consider the first tactic.
For now, I have test only about 10 matches without OI, against both top and weak opponents, with different tactic styles. The result show that with this system, the average possession is between 60%-65%, and shooting chances between 15-30, at the same time, defence is solid too. So I think it works well, but still need to test more. Most importantly, it looks really like how Barcelona play in real life, so this is exciting!
So guys, welcome to try it and wait for your suggestions to further improve it.