Seems like I (almost) found the magic formula when it comes to Possession Football. Went 37 straight matches unbeaten in the first season with Portuguese Second Division side Gil Vicente -- only to fail embarrassingly at the final hurdle. However, it was a spectacular season and a great platform to build on. Our football was heavily inspired by Özil to the Arsenal's Benfica:
Nothing mind blowing there. The midfield trio is blatantly copied from Özil -- I also tried CM-A but MEZ-S worked better in combination with IF-S and WB-A. Control was the obvious pick for mentality. Structured Team Shape was chosen over Highly Structured because the mentality spread looks marginally better on the paper. Shorter Passing, Play Out Of Defence and Dribble Less contribute nicely towards ball retention, and Prevent Short GK Distribution forces opponents to hit long balls. Roam From Positions was the icing on the cake, when adding that instruction the system finally clicked.
GK: Distribute to Centre Backs
DR: Close Down More, Fewer Risky Passes
DL: Close Down More, Fewer Risky Passes
MCr: Close Down More
MCl: Close Down Much More
AMR: Get Further Forward, Close Down Much More
AML: Get Further Forward, Sit Narrower, Close Down Much More
SC: Move Into Channels, Close Down Much More
Fullbacks were instructed to play Fewer Risky Passes so they wouldn't hit stupid crosses every single time. AML was told to sit narrower and play in half-spaces so that the WB-A would get appropriate space down the left hand side. Closing Down was also implemented on a player level rather than team level.
Each and every man played their part almost to perfection, but if one player had to be singled out for attention, Inter loanee Gaston would probably be the main man. Although right footed, he played on the right hand side, being something of a hybrid between Winger and Inside Forward. Because of his footedness, he didn't have Sit Narrower PI, and behind him was Fullback rather than Wingback so he got more license to operate. He also unfortunately spent some time injured, and played only 27 matches. Despite that, he managed to score 15 goals and 7 assists with 64% Shots on Target ratio.
Average ratings looked good across the board:
As did possession numbers:
We shall see what happens in the top flight!