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  1. My thoughts (having seen a deep Roma save). 1. I would switch the AMC to an AP (A), the advanced playmaker looks for space to make the risky key pass and will slow down the play and provide an outlet high up the pitch (Zaniolo and Pastore are perfect). A BBM will work better when paired with something with different movement, e.g. Mezzala on Support or Attack (probably the opposite duty of your AMC). I'd use Pellegrini as a Mezzala before Cristante. IMO Under is better as an IF(S) than SES, who should stay on Attack duty. Kluivert is young and can do either. 2. Remove unnecessary TIs like overlap, play thru middle, etc. Change your DLP(D) who has no striker or true wingers high up the field to use as an outlet to a HB, this will increase the mentality of your wing-backs without slowing down your play like the Overlap TI does. HB introduces wider-splitting CBs which will present some risk but it will help you attack the flanks to make up for your lack of striker, suck in the opposition's press, and increase defensive solidity, because HB has a low mentality, cautious running and short passing style, but by default can switch the play when needed.
  2. Unpopular manager Ernesto Valverde was canned before the 20118/2019 season to the surprise of no one. His football was dour and lacked the aesthetic sophistication of Pep Guardiola or the simple effectiveness of the MSN-era. They replaced him with an unknown manager who promised to bring the Libero to global relevance again by using Pique and Vermaelen as centerpieces of the squad. To a cost-conscious board, it sounded like a good idea at the time. All he asked for were simple signings... it started with De Ligt: OK. That will help fix an identified weakness with height at the back. Then he signs Milinkovic-Savic. The fans are delighted, but the 88m pound man (evil Pep deposits his cheques in London) was injured regularly and had little impact. The unknown manager's Libero system went from defensive heroes to offensive zeroes. The Barcelona board had one last plan to save the club from certain ruin. Atletico Madrid ran away with the title after Barca had held the lead for so long. The old unknown manager would be canned in a surprise sacking. Second place and a Round of 16 exit in the Champions League at the hands of Pep Guardiola's Manchester City meant the board only really had one option... "BRING BACK PEP!" They called Guardiola, and he laughed at them. But fortune favors the bold. An unemployed global football star with the exact same birthday as Pep Guardiola walked into an unofficial interview calmly. He had excellent command of many languages and dual Portuguese and Spanish passports. Better yet, his name was almost Pep Guardiola! What could go wrong? The old unknown was canned. When you don't have much of a reputation, they can fire you purely because someone else with a reputation has a better name and hasn't technically ever lost a game as a professional manager. Ever. For now. Not even a goal conceded yet with Evil Pep's methods, which also require reverse psychology and an element of failure to succeed. This is the story of how Evil Pep was hired. The headlines alone were worth it. And this is also the story of Evil Pep came to be hated by everyone: by other managers who wanted the transfer market balanced, by passing-purists, and by St. George himself rolling in his grave, for he could not bare to see such glorious passes up and at a big man on foreign shores while England lay entranced by the equally false promises of Pep I. Evil Pep promised to do everything the previous unknown manager did but bolder, bigger, with better headlines, greater efficiency, and more radical squad rebuilding. Little did the board know it, but they had made a deal with the devil and sold Barca's soul. But before Barca's Faustian bargin begins, have a look at those coaching stats! Evil Pep was a real diamond in the rough, but he does come with some downsides. His personality is rigid, and he knows nothing about the Barca locker room. Unlike Pep I, Pep II never even played for the club. He does not care for Barcelona's current players or youth set-up. He intends to use a mix of huge signings and savvy youth acquistions to rebuild the first team and La Masia in his image. To knock everything down and right the ship with brutal power is Evil Pep's way, and it will be the only way at this club from here on out. Evil Pep is the same height as Pep Guardiola. However, unlike Pep, he does not seek to physically tower over his players. Instead, he sees the team as a balanced and often towering reflection of his idealized athletic self. His hidden agenda is to sap and impurify the precious bodily fluids of tiki-taka's wholesome emphasis on technical passers and replace it with a mixture of brawn and Sergio Busquets. You didn't think a Pep era would begin without Sergio Busquets surviving the incoming purge, did you? Who else is going to put a boot in or otherwise stifle the opposition while calmly passing around them?
  3. I was inspired by Cleon's persistent error reports and feature requests in search of more attacking central defenders to assess the state of the Libero in FM19 (as other CB roles simply aren't that attacking as-is). The only shape I've been truly happy with is a flat 5-4-1. The great numbers deep allow us to slowly build from the back with possession and give the Libero plenty of safe options. The Libero is the most specialized role in the tactic, as he is the main player who plays unexpected long-balls or even early crosses from deep. My observation is also that L(A) with no DMs or specialized midfield playmakers is necessary to leave as much space in front of our defence in all phases for the most attacking libero possible, that is basically a very deep lying box to box midfielder/playmaker hybrid. I have been using Juve and Barca to test libero shapes with big sides, as I'm curious whether a Libero can be relevant in the first season (i.e. without a totally insane team) against clubs with top wingers/inside forwards. My observations have been that 3-5-2, 5-3-2, and asymetric shapes that are kind of like that might work better in FM19 sans Libero. Like a regista or DLP, the Libero seems to benefit from wingers and WBs stretching the play. A sweeper keeper helps but an attack duty causes the keeper to dribble too long and ignore the Libero. Avoid SK(A) imo. In the Barca save I try to use and develop the Libero tactic every game for at least the first year as they have a stronger/wealthier side. With Juve the Libero tactic will be a more defensive alternative to some more direct tactics that suit their squad a bit better against parked bus. The TIs and PIs aren't all settled yet as this system is still in its infancy. The goal is to play slow possession football with the Libero upping the tempo as-needed, and mid-pressure defense (unlike most modern possession teams) to let the Libero start counters with timely interceptions and pressing (which seem to be one of his chief advantages over the DLP/regista: deeper starting position can enable a defensively smart player to snatch counter attacking opportunities from the jaws of their passes). This restricts the overall attacking glitz of the system but leads to a pleasing blend of stability, passing, counter-attacks, and numerical superiority when forced to defend deep. A highlight was a 4-3 win away at Inter in CL group after Coutinho (who plays winger on support duty) was sent off early. I have played around with a few different mentalities, I find positive works really well for mixing speed and patience (as always). I have experimented with converting to midfielders to Liberos, and using players now thought of as very aggressive BPDs (Pique, Vermaelen, Bonucci) who are just itching to play Libero and had better results with the latter approach. A player who already had brings ball out of defense (Tonali) would tempt me to convert a mid to Libero a lot more. My original plan was to buy Milinkovic-Savic for Barca and try him as an ultra-goalscoring Libero but I doubt he will get high enough up the pitch so if I sign him (as an example of a gilded Libero side) he will be my BBM. The BBM works well with Libero as he searches for space ahead of our main man to exploit and score with. A BBM in a 5-4-1 can be very attacking. If I have all the money in the world I'll also try to sign Upamecano to replace Vermaelen after the first year. I signed De Light to be the "vice" deep creator next to my Libero (I find the blend of DC roles allows all of them to be involved differently while maintaining a creative hierarchy) for both sides at the beginning of year 1. I won't sign anyone else in the first season for either team except Milinkovic-Savic for Barca and Maxi Gomez on Juve, because I already signed him for my other direct football experiment. I'll update you when I have more. My current set-up is: SK(S) WB(S)-BPD-(D)-L(A)-CD(D)-WB(S) W(S)-CM(S)-BBM(S)-W(S) PF-A (or AF, or Trequartista when Messi or Dybala are up front seems to be less detracting from Libero than ordinary playmakers)
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