1.- WHY I AM STARTING THIS PROJECT
If you are like me you spend almost every hour talking with someone over football, watching someone play football or playing it yourself.
This is my first time interacting with the FM community, I have decided to do this because of a conversation I had a week ago. I was talking with a friend about a match between Barcelona and At. Bilbao that ended with a 1-1 draw. At. Bilbao scored early and then almost managed to leave Camp Nou with three points but Barcelona managed to score from a weird rebound. Luis Suarez said something along the lines of: "They shot once and scored but we only got one goal out a a dozen chances, its so unfair" (not as simple but just as whiny). I can see why he would think so. His career has been spent in teams such as Ajax, Pre-Klopp Liverpool and Barcelona. Teams that focus heavily in possession as a means to attack and defend.
However I find it inexcusable that a world class striker complains about his opponents being effective. Because actually managing a real fife team to prove a man wrong would be time consuming and petty I want to prove him wrong through FM19.
2.- WHAT I AM DOING
I want to start a thread dedicated to developing and perfecting a Catenaccio. What I mean by this is a system where possession is sacrificed in exchange for solidity and clinical finishing of chances created from counter attacks and set pieces. In order to do this I urge those willing to participate in this project to go to their tactical creator and try to form such a system, then share it in this topic. Though mutual criticism and exploration we can prove that a non possession based system is usable at top level. Here are the core "rules" of this project:
1.- THE AIM IS NOT TO REPLICATE HERRERA'S INTER.
2.- A SOLID TACTIC THAT FAILS TO SCORE REGULARLY DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A SUCCESSFUL CATENACCIO
3.- 1-0 VICTORIES ARE PREFERABLE TO 4-3 VICTORIES
4.- GOOD DEFENDING STATS BECAUSE OF POSSESSION ARE THE ANTITHESIS OF WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO ACHIEVE
5.- THE PROJECT IS FOCUSED ON HIGH LEVEL COMPETITIONS.
3. MY PROTOTYPE
It is only fair that I set the first stone. While this is not intended to be a replication of Herrera's system I have taken huge inspiration from his team. I do not want to limit the approaches investigated in this project so please feel no obligation to base your contributions on this system.
3.1- The formation & Roles.
FM reads my formation as an asymmetric 4411, I disagree, in defence a 532 is formed and in attack the team transforms into a 334. Özil-to-the-Arsenal has written several amazing articles burying the idea of formation equating to shape. Shape is a combination of Formation + Roles + Team Instructions + PPMs.
This two shapes mean that my Wingbacks are tacking the greatest hit when it comes to stamina. It also means that we are sacrificing the wide areas of the field so this must be taking into account when deciding on the players (more on that later).
GK-D: A classical Goalkeeper, no need for him to sweep for anything. He must have good reflexes and other attributes related to stopping long shots.
CBL-D/CB-C/CBR-D: Three centre backs. Should be tall in order to deal with the crosses that the opposition will be forced to try in order to score. The cover has to have good anticipation and positioning as is meant to replicate the famous Picci, his main mission is dealing with throughballs. the other two centrebacks are meant to man mark the striker (1 vs 1) in a 442 both CB-Ds take a striker each. The cover doesn't mark nor press.
LB- IWB - A: an inverted wingback attack. Meant to replicate fachetti. While defensive ability won't hurt his main role is to help transition, so must be pacy and have decent crossing, a fair amount of finishing could also go a long way since he is meant to be an attacking player. PPMs are pretty obvious. Marcelo from Real Madrid would be awesome. I think that a converted Winger would work wonders.
RWB- CWB-A: Meant to replicate Jair. Again more attacking than defending. Think of Maicon, Dani Alves and Cafú. I originally tried to make him a defensive winger but he was neither attacking nor defending enough. I think the RB position is too deep, so this asymmetry amongst my back 3/5 is my proposed solution. As long as he has decent crossing he becomes an assist machine.
DM- DLP-D: My holding midfielder, his main attributes are oriented towards long range passing (vision, passing, anticipation, decisions). His job is aiding transition. He is a holding midfielder to prevent my counter attacks to be a complete mess and a playmaker to give my defensive players a simple pass so they don't just wack the ball forwards. PPMs such as plays on twos, dwells on the ball, and Plays short simple passes are unacceptable, favourable PPMs can be deduced from the explanation.
DML-BWMd: his role is to harass any midfielder getting into Zone 14. Anticipation, Tackling, Agression and Teamwork are encouraged. Fairly simple role.
DMR- Segundo Volante- A: Demanding role that departs from Herrera's view. His role is to attack Zone 14 from deep and arrive late into the opponent area. This is the role I have the most concerns about.
AMCL- Tretarquista: He must act as an Attacking Midfielder and a Second striker. He lops to the left to provide width and give time to the Inverted Wingback to get into position, because he is instructed to roam from position he while automatically find a space in the centre sandwiched between the Inverted Wingback and the Segundo Volante. Bergkamp like PPMs and attributes should do the trick.
ST: AF-A: the leading man in attack, he moves into channels and is always ready to chase a pass into space to end in a one on one versus the keeper.
3.2- Team Instructions
When team has the ball: Route one, More risky passes, higher tempo, pass into space, run at defence, much wider.
As you can see the team must play in a lightning quick fashion not allowing the opposition to regroup.
In transition: Counter, Regroup.
In order to go from an organised defence to a fast attack.
When opposition has the ball: Much Lower line of engagement, much lower defensive line, more urgent pressing, tighter marking, defend narrower.
We are trying to make the opposition come forward so we can exploit the space behind them so we surrender space and focus on the defence of zone 14 and our area.
I have played half a season with Inter MIlan and I am currently second only 4 points behind Juventus due to two 0-0 draws. as I predicted my goals come from fast electric transitions and highly polished Set pieces. I went as far as to sign a new DLP-D for 15M just because he had great set piece attributes to go along with my excellent, players capable of relying on set pieces for somewhere between a third and half my goals.
My possesion figures number between 30% % 40%, at most I have 10 shots but given that I have Icardi and Lautaro to take care of them That is usually all I need, I tend to finish most matches with 1-0 and 2-0 victories but my best match has been a 0-4 destruction of Fiorentina and a 3-1 first place qualifier against United in the champions league group stage.
4. THE WAY FORWARD.
I am currently very comfortable with this set up but I have some things to think about
1.- could my Fachetti sit higher up the pitch alonside my Jair?
2.- Is the Segundo Volante really the best role?
3.- Could a poacher or a target man be better than and Advanced forward?
4.- What makes this system work? Will an injured Icardi spell doom? Is there a formation that can exploit a vulnerability I am not aware of?