Hi Guys, greetings from Italy!
First and foremost I wanted to thank all the people that had contributed to this great forum (and, if I may, give a big shouout to @Rashidi, whose posts here, and his YouTube videos are simply brilliant)! I don’t consider myself even remotely an expert, but if I learned something and I’m now able to write my first ever (and hopefully sensible) post, I have to thank all you guys! Secondly I’d like to apologize in advance if not everything is clear and well written, but English in not my native language, and I haven’t written such a long and articulated piece of “paper” since my school days.
I’m going to divide this post into 3 parts 1) Some background Info 2) Tactical breakdown 3) Doubts and questions (lots of them)
1) Before jumping into the tactic I’d like to give you some background information about this experiment: as an Inter fan, this summer I had to go through the Lukaku and Conte departure, so I thought: what about managing Inter in FM as if BigRom and Antonio left a year earlier? This means that I had to sell Lukaku to Chelsea (95M), and that I had to wipe out the transfer activity made under Conte that summer: no Hakimi (back to Real Madrid), no Vidal (Barca), no Darmian, no Kolarov. But I wasn’t done with the major squad changes: I’d always liked to manage Griezmann in an FM save, but I never did: when he was in Madrid (FM15) it didn’t seem quite right to me to replace Simeone, and I’ve never been a Barca fan, so…I decided to turn into reality a transfer rumor that was quite popular the last two summers: Lautaro to Barca! And what a better way to do it with a straight Lautaro-Griezmann exchange?! The other players that I brought in with the Editor (I admit I was a bit get carried away using it) were the one and only Luke Ayling for 7.5M (long story short, loved him during a long Bristol City save in FM15), Kieran Tierney for 47.5M (the 109M fee that my DoF negotiated seemed a little too high), and Jesse Lingard on loan. Finally the other two signings (done "legally" with my DoF) were Andrea Belotti and Nahitan Nández.
2) Now let’s jump into the 4-4-2.
The choice of the formation was quite easy, I’ve always like the 4-4-2, and I think the players on the squad are suitable for my interpretation of this system. I want to create a low-mid block out of possession (with the Regroup and Lower LOE TIs, and the Slight Higher DL given by the Positive mentality), with the players eager to win back the football once the LOE is passed (with the Slightly More Urgent Pressing Intensity given by the Mentality, the Tighter Marking and Get Stuck In TIs). I want a compact, hard to break down team, that harass the opponent in our own half in way that prevent the opponent from squeezing us too much near our penalty box.
But I’m willing to soak up pressure in order to exploit the space left behind the opposition D-Line, with a sort of a custom Fluid Counter Attacking Style: Counter, Hit Early Crosses, Normal Passing Directness (I don’t want only to pump quickly the ball into the box) and Slightly Higher Tempo (Instruction given by the Mentality) TIs. I also like the Play Out Of Defence TI, to prevent too many long balls from the whole defence (and leave them to the BPD) and to encourage to go through our very good Midfield. On top of that we don’t have great height and jumping reach across the midfield and the attack, so less high long balls the better.
It’s now time to talk about the Positive mentality: I chose it for several reasons, but mainly for three of them: the naturally higher d-line, the slightly higher pressing intensity and, last but not least, the higher base mentality of the players. I have technical and intelligent players, and I want to take advantage of it, but with some conditions: I also use the Be More Disciplined TI because I want to be able to control better which players have the added creative freedom (especially for the passing game) given by the higher mentality. In order to do so I add the Take More Risks PI for these players or use Roles that provides it by default.
Before talking about the last two TIs I’ve not mentioned yet (Fairly Narrow and Focus Play Down the Left), I think it’s better to talk about the combinations of Roles and Duty I chose for this Tactic, and what I’m trying to achieve with them.
I start with the role I chose for Griezmann (on the STCR slot because his preferred foot is Left): the Trequartista.
I like it because it’s a role that is hardcoded to drop deep to receive the ball (and by doing so he can free up space for the runs of the WM(A), more on that later), but it also allows the player to attack the space behind the d-line with the Move Into the Channels instruction, giving balance to the attacks. On top of that, I think that the attributes required for the role suits perfectly the Griezmann strengths. I only added the Hold up Ball PI, in order to give more time to the player around him to make the off ball movement I’d like to see.
Secondly I’ll explain the role I chose for Eriksen (side note: I think he’s an absolutely terrific player, and thanks to the editor I gave him almost the attributes of his best times for Tottenham): obviously he’s best suited for a playmaker-like role, but I chose the WM(S) over the WP(S) for one main reason: I don’t want the ball magnet effect given by the Playmaker role. Another positive side effect for the WM role is that it’s more alert and disciplined defensively, thanks to some preferred attributes highlighted for the position, such as Positioning, Concentration, Tackling. In order to give it more of a playmaker role I added some PIs: Take More Risks, Cut Inside with the ball, Roam from Position, Sits Narrower – which are the most important ones that are hardcoded into the WP role.
It’s now time for the WM(A): I see this role like a sort of an off the ball expert, making diagonals runs from deep to the opposition area and proving goal scoring threats. (Shoutout to @crusadertsar for this very interesting post:https://community.sigames.com/forums/topic/468023-creating-deep-lying-raumdeuter/) The designed starter is Perisic, who has THE MOST PERFECT (or at least I think so) Player Traits for what I want to achieve: Moves Into Channels, Gets Forward Whenever Possible, Gets Into Opposition Area. As for PIs, I added Cuts Inside with the Ball and Roam from Position.
In order to try to achieve this kind of movement from the WM(A), I think it’s important to add the Focus Play Down the Left and Fairly Narrow TIs. The first mentioned TI should create a natural overload to the left that should free up space for the WM(A) and, in conjunction with the Fairly Narrow TI, it should encourage players to play the ball through the central area of the pitch.
Now let’s take a look at the other roles and duties. Starting from the back, a simple GK role for Handa, not too much to say about that. On the flanks two FB(S) with Stay Wider PI for both of them (in order to provide some width), with the only difference between them given by the addition of the Get Forward PI for the right sided one, in order to provide an additional outlet for a pass down the right if the WM(A) has cut inside. Bear in mind that almost all of my FBs have the Gets Forward Whenever Possible PI, so they’re already aggressive by default, and I think that using a WB role would be too much. Alongside a simple CD(D) I chose a BPD(D), hoping for some long diagonal balls for the WM(A) (maybe asking too much?), or at least hoping he can give a hand to bring the ball out of the defence cleanly, given the PT of De Vrij and Bastoni.
For the pair in central midfield, I chose a combination of a CM(D)-Brozovic, and a BWM(S)-Barella.
For the “EpicBrozo” role I have no doubts about it: good tackling, positioning, passing, work rate and teamwork makes him (or at least I think so) a good holding midfielder. I added a touch of flair with a personalised PI: take more risk. I think it suits his passing ability, and it gives him a sort of a more defensive oriented and disciplined Deep Lying Playmaker kind of role.
The decision-making process for the Barella role was more troubled: his attributes and his player traits were screaming for a BBM role. But by doing so I would have had four(!) roaming roles across the pitch, and three of them in midfield. Certainly too many, given the fact the I want to have some defensive solidity. So I opted for a role, the BMW(S), that should bring out what I like the most of his playing style in real life: his competitive spirit. With top attributes for tackling, aggression, bravery, determination, work rate and stamina, he can be a disruptive force in Midfield. Also thanks to his all-around attributes and nice PTs, he can bring something completer and more different from the BWM prototype.
Now, last but not least, the striker partner of Griezmann: Belotti.I chose the PF(A) role (more on that later) because I think it can complement well the Treq: he does defensively the job that the Treq doesn’t, and his primary focus is to attack the space left behind the opposition d-line (even if he can also help the team to keep possession).
3) Now let’s move into the part I was looking forward the most: I’d like to express some doubts and make some question about some aspects of the game I'm not quite able to grasp yet.
I’d like to start with the interaction between PI and Player Trait, and maybe with some clarification for some of them, taking into as an example the Trequartista Griezmann: amongst the others, he has the Move Into Channel PT (which it’s also a PI for his role): does his Player Trait affect the ability to drop deep (which I think is a specific feature of the role) since the channels are only exploitable going forwards?
I take as an example Griezmann’s Player Traits in order to make another question: is it good for a player (especially for a playmaker) to have both the Tries Killer Balls Often and Shoot From Distance Player Traits? It come just down to how good is the decision making of the player in order to be able to make the right choice between passing or shooting, or having both can mess up the decision making itself?
Let’s now focus to the player traits of Ivan Perisic: is it actually good to have them in order to obtain the movement I envision for the position? Does the Move Into Channel PT without the Sit Narrower PI affect the channel the player exploit? Will Perisic exploit only the channel between the CD and the FB, or he’ll try also to exploit the one between the FB and the Touchline? How is it possible to avoid this (or maybe achieve this for another tactical setup)?
The last question/clarification about player traits I’d like to make is about training also: what are the conditions that can lead a player to develop naturally a new trait? Because this happened to Nandez (he’s not part of any mentoring group and he's training with the team for about a month).
I mentioned before I would have talked more about the choice for the role of Belotti: I’m very hesitant between the PF(A) and the Poacher Role. I like what the PF(A) could bring defensively, but also what it does without the ball when we are in possession: he attacks the space behind the defence, but he also helps the team in possession (or at least I’ve seen this kind of behaviour). But I was wandering if in this particular tactic it would be better a Poacher, who “sits on the shoulder of the last defender”, maybe being able to provide more space for the WM(S) and the Treq to move into. In addition to this, "il Gallo" Belotti has scored three goals in the first two Serie A matches, so I'm a little hesitant to change his role
One thing about The Be more disciplined TI: is it correct the reasoning for choosing it, or am I missing/misunderstanding something about this TI?
Finally just one more thing, this time about Set Pieces: It’s the first time I’ve created a corner routine with two players with the Lurk Outside the Area instruction, and this happen with their positioning (in all of the 6 matches I’ve played so far). Is it just the way it is or somehow I can achieve a different positioning for them (maybe something like the positions I highlighted in black in the picture)?
That's about it! I hope you enjoyed the reading (if you made it to the end), and I’m looking forward for your feedback!