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Target Practice

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  1. Okay, a year later, and I just barely managed to keep myself in the premiership in the first season (17th after a nerve-wracking final day win over Villa). I've made some signings in the summer to redress some of my deficiencies (namely bolstering the midfield and striking department), and I've got a little bit more to work with now. Here's what I'm working with at the moment based on what I've read on these forums and a few bits of advice I've been given: Fairly standard player instructions - I've told the AP(A) to roam from position to find space (and specifically Bouchalakis to shoot from distance as he has 16 Long Shots and I'm not getting as many efforts on goal as I'd like), and the IF on the left has been told to get forward a bit more. The keeper has been told to distribute to defenders in order to stop us throwing possession away. I have a few questions based on this - Is having a DLP(S) and a AP(A) overkill? Obviously the AP is moving up into the space behind the striker, but I'm wondering if two playmakers is a bit much and a CM(S) would be a better idea. What's a good role for the striker? This is the one thing I'm really struggling to nail down. I worry that if I set it to AF(A) I'm going to leave him too isolated, but something like a False 9 or Target Man(S) may end up blunting the attack due to a lack of players in the box. Don't worry too much about the player - I've got three strikers, and between them at least one can do any given role to a serviceable level. Is my setup on the flanks right? Flanagan isn't much of an attacking threat, and Ruiz is still a bit young and inexperienced, so I don't want to be asking too much of him just yet, plus Thorgan Hazard is probably my most creative player, so I don't really want him tracking back anyway. Is there a better way to use Hazard? His greatest strength is in an AMC role, but I just can't find a formation I like with that role, so I'm kind of trying to fit him in at the moment. I lose a whole star in rating by dropping him back into the AP(A) role in central midfield, but I'm wondering if that's just a generic thing and could be negated with the right instructions?
  2. Thanks for the thoughts! The tactic is perhaps a bit misleading - generally I've been playing a more conservative and less attacking style - mostly variations on 4-4-2 (4-4-1-1, 4-4-2 diamond etc), the tactic posted was one I've been working on based on where my stronger players are (defence and AML/AMR), but generally I've been playing a far more conservative style. I managed to stay up by the skin of my teeth in the first season thanks to a late rally (and a terrifying 3-2 win against Aston Villa on the final day), and I've managed to strengthen a few key areas (namely central midfield) in the summer. I got lucky enough to pick up Javi Garcia on a free(!) as well, so I'm hoping that having him as an anchor man in front of the back four will really help solidify things at the back.
  3. There's the tactic I've been using most recently. Can't see any reasons there why my team is continuously trying to double-press opposition ball carriers.
  4. Where am I finding those pages Llama? I posted the team report, which has an overview of those things you mentioned, but I can't find anything more in-depth than that. I'm playing FMC, which I know doesn't have access to the same analytical tools as 'full fat' (or at least if it does, I've never found it!) As for the formation, the issue seems to be prevalent no matter what formation I'm using, but recently I've been switching between a 4-4-2 and 4-5-1 depending on which players I have available. I'll get some screenshots up a bit later with roles and instructions.
  5. Where am I finding those pages Llama? I posted the team report, which has an overview of those things you mentioned, but I can't find anything more in-depth than that. I'm playing FMC, which I know doesn't have access to the same analytical tools as 'full fat' (or at least if it does, I've never found it!)
  6. That's the thing though - it doesn't seem specific to any one formation or style of play - in a desperate attempt to try and figure out the problem, I created a save before a game and kept replaying it over and over with a variety of formations and styles (playing FMC, so don't have to worry too much about familiarity), and there didn't seem to be any consistency with what caused it. It just seems to be that every now and then, one of my defenders will completely abandon his man to go and rush the ball carrier, regardless of whether there's already someone pressuring the ball carrier. As said above, I'm not doing anything particularly odd with team instructions - almost everything is set to default instructions, as I'm trying to 'debug' and find out exactly what's causing it. There's my report, as well as the team stats page, which makes for some pretty damning reading.
  7. That's entirely up to you - it's all down to how you want to play. There's several excellent articles stickied at the top of this forum that cover fluidity particularly well. When picking your mentality, remember that 'attacking' doesn't mean only attack, and 'defensive' doesn't mean only defence - they do still have some leeway to defend/create as appropriate.
  8. Personal instructions can be useful, and as you get more advanced and have a better idea of exactly what you want each player to be doing, they can be invaluable, but they're not mandatory in order to succeed, particularly with players like the ones you have. As for away from home, remember that sides are going to be a lot less afraid of your team on their own turf, and are going to be more likely to come and have a go at you. As I touched on in my post above, you've got some issues with the current system that mean you could potentially find your defence becoming very vulnerable due to lack of cover, and obviously when sides are attacking you more, those problems are going to be highlighted more. Perhaps making that midfield a little more stable and playing a bit more conservatively will help you when playing away.
  9. Others will be able to help you far more than I, but the one thing that jumps out at me straight away is the lack of protection for your back four. The BWM role isn't great for shielding your defence, as he's going to be doing exactly what it says on the tin - chasing the ball around and trying to win it for your team, so he'll be out of position more often than not. Same for the BBM - if you lose the ball in midfield and he's caught further up the pitch, you've got no-one shielding your back four, as your wide midfielders are further up the pitch (as well as your full-backs if you're looking for the overlap!). At the very least, I'd consider changing that BWM to a Defensive midfielder or Anchor man, as that will at least provide you with some protection in the event that you lose the ball higher up the pitch. I'm also not 100% sure about the high tempo with the shorter passing, retain possession and the dropping deep - with only a lone striker up front (and one who's not exactly Usain Bolt), you could be making things difficult for yourself - you're likely going to be getting the ball deep in your half of the pitch, but you're telling your team that you don't want to pass it too far, and that you want them to do it quickly. Obviously the quicker you're moving the ball around, the less time your players will have to make decisions, get into space and make runs, and the more likely you'll end up playing yourself into a cul-de-sac. Generally, holding possession and just moving the ball about with short passes is better suited to a low-tempo style. Some sides and managers can get it to work with a higher tempo, but you'll probably have a lot more joy if you slow things down a little bit.
  10. Yeah, sure - as above, I don't think it's anything too funky in my tactics, as I've deliberately kept team/player instructions to an absolute bare minimum in order to try and figure out what was causing the issues. Flanagan has a player instruction to ease up in the tackle, as he was getting sent off for two bookables a lot (and also has the 'dives into tackles PPM), but apart from that, it's a pretty vanilla back four. Both fullbacks are set to regular FB role with support duty. Caulker is set to Cover, Boyata is set to Defend. There's a flat midfield four in front of them, with both wide men set to attack duties, one central midfielder DLP/D and one CM/S As for team instructions, literally the only ones I have set are 'lower tempo' and 'shorter passing'. That's what's so odd about it - I can't find any logical reason for why they're doing what they're doing. For some reason they seem to be obsessively trying to double-team the ball carrier. I'm at work now, but when I get home tomorrow I'll see if I can grab an example of it happening. One thing that did occur to me - Flanagan and Caulker were both summer signings - is it possible it's caused by miscommunication due to the defenders not being familiar with each other yet?
  11. Okay, so I touched on this in the other thread, but I'm becoming more and more convinced that it's this that is the cause of my problems rather than my tactics (although there's also some issues there). The issue I have is that I have a pretty good first-choice back four - or at least good enough that we shouldn't be conceding the kind of goals that we are. I've got: John Flanagan (Marking 15, Tackling 15, Concentration 15, Decisions 13) Dedryck Boyata (Marking 15, Tackling 15, Decisions 14, Concentration 11) Steven Caulker (Marking 18, Tackling 16, Concentration 15, Decisions 11) and Liam Ridgewell (Marking 17, Tackling 15, Decisions 14, Concentration 11). I realise that it's not a premiership-winning defence, but I don't think we should be conceding the kind of goals we have been doing - we'll be defending 4 vs 2, one CB will go to the ball carrier, and then seconds later, the other will come charging out to him as well, leaving the other striker completely unmarked for a through ball and easy goal. Alternatively, they'll just stand and watch as a runner breezes right past them rather than follow and mark them. It's happened four or five times already this season and I'm at my wits' end. I've not got any team/player instructions set that could cause this like Hassle opponents or a large degree of creative freedom - they just seem to be completely ignoring my instructions (and any idea of how to defend) and charging out. Does anyone have any experience/suggestions for dealing with this? I'm tearing my hair out with it, as it's impossible to get a good tactic going when your defence just shoots themselves in the foot every time the opposition get the ball.
  12. Cool, thanks for the advice. I'm still not 100% sure on the 433/451 formation I've been using - I've always been a fan of having two strikers up front (or at least an AMC and a striker), so I may try a 4-4-1-1 or something similar. I actually did try switching my AMR to an Inside Forward role last night, and it did seem to give me a little bit more dynamism in attack. I'll also look at ditching the B2B midfielder, at least for a while until things smooth out. I'll also take your advice and be a little less cautious going forwards - to be honest, with the way my defence are playing at the moment, trying to keep the opposition from scoring just isn't happening, so we might as well try and get some goals. The only issue I can see with hassling opponents is my team's relatively low work rate - we're 19th out of 20 (although only 1.5 points behind 1st), and I'm a little concerned that could make things harder. I'll have a tinker and upload a few screenshots of the outcome.
  13. Been trying out a few permutations of this, and I'm starting to notice one issue in particular - my defence, arguably the strongest aspect of the side, is consistently getting low ratings. In 3-4 games I played, they were getting anything between 6.0 and 6.4, sometimes less in the case of the full-backs. I'm also getting my assistant telling me that they're making a lot of mistakes etc - particularly my centre-backs. At first I wondered if it was because I'd pushed the wide midfielders up the pitch and that was leaving my full-backs exposed, hence the struggles. In order to try and fix it, I dropped my AMR/AML back into more orthodox MR/ML positions, but that doesn't seem to have helped. I'm not doing anything particularly out of the ordinary with them, there's no unusual player instructions, and I've reduced my team instructions right down to the bare minimum so I can be sure that it's not my bizarre combination of instructions that's causing it. I just can't work out why my defence is underperforming so terribly. There's no issue with bad stats like low concentration or anything.
  14. There you go - there's an overview of the tactics screen after I've made a few tweaks. (I forgot to remove offside trap before taking the screenshot, but it's been removed). I've not assigned any player instructions, mainly because I don't want to confuse myself by over-tinkering and making things worse - the only one I've added is to tell John Flanagan to ease up on the tackles - not that it's making the blindest bit of difference. :-/ I'm a little concerned that my Target Man may be a bit isolated, which could be why I'm struggling a little. I'm also having a few issues with the fact that I don't really have a Premiership-quality DM at the moment, but I'm kind of assuming that with the style I'm playing (and the players I have available to me) that I'm going to struggle without one to protect the back four. Here's my stats in comparison to the rest of the league. As you can see, my defence is by far and away my strongest suit, whereas I'm probably weakest in midfield. I'd be very appreciative if anyone could suggest anything that will help me mould a tactic to this squad - like I said earlier, I've got at least two players for more or less every position - the only things I'm not really equipped for a central midifielder-heavy formations and formations that require exceptionally attacking wing-backs, as my full backs don't really have the stats for it. EDIT: Thank you for the advice so far guys, it's much appreciated - particularly the heads up from Hand of God on 'exploit both flanks' - I didn't realise that it pushed the full-backs up as well, I simply thought it meant try and play through the wingers a bit more. I love FM, but they do a rubbish job of explaining what some things do sometimes!
  15. Off the top of my head (and I'll happily bow to someone with greater knowledge), I'd probably be tempted to try a DLP with a few instructions - it combines that creativity of the Regista but reduces that capacity they have to just wander off and do whatever the heck they like, inevitably at inconvenient moments. Of course, neither is going to give you the same kind of protection a dedicated DM/Anchor man is going to, or the out-and-out creativity of a Regista, but them's the breaks.
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