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  1. Hey everybody, This is the first tactic that I am posting, so I hope I will describe everything as good as you are used to it. But I will try my best. I am a long time FM fan, have been playing for years (I started back in the Championship Manager days) and I love tinkering with tactics, as well as trying tactics you guys here have developed. On of the things that bothered me a bit with FM2018 was that the good old classic 4-4-2 (like the one used by Atlético Madrid or by France in this years World Cup) wasn't working anymore. Most tactics revolved around thee defenders and strikers. And it was fun playing these tactics, but after the World Cup I was wondering if it was possible to create something similar to what Deschamps did. And after a lot of trying and experimenting, this is the result I came up with that worked best so far. 4-4-2-0 V2 Home - Control.fmf This is a Striker-less 4-4-2, because the Shadow Strikers do far more defensively than normal strikers and the team shape while playing stays more consistent to how France and Atletico are playing. Thanks to the two BWM in central midfield this is a high pressure and very controlling tactic that strangulates most opponents. Both Wide Midfielders are very goal-hungry and will benefit from your shadow strikers space-opening work. That often results in beautiful moves over the whole field. Team tactics can be seen in the above screenshot. Quite important are the OI detailed in the following screenshot. These are necessary to define the pressing style we want our players to apply. You will see the BMW intercepting your opponents passing all the time, quickly initiating counter attacks along the flanks in concert with your SSs. The only thing I often change between Home and Away games is the mentality. On Away games I change it to normal from control. And on Home games it is Control. I have tried this tactic in two saves so far and it worked with a middle sized team like Frankfurt in the Bundesliga and with a top club like Manchester in the Premier League (went to first place in both consistently). But I would be interested to see what you guys do with it and if there some improvements I haven't thought about so far. Let me know what you think and if you have questions. Bye Sven
  2. Leganés 16/17 battle for survival: A Showcase of Reactive Anti-football It's June 2016 and Club Deportivo Leganés, a relatively small football club from the southern outskirts of Madrid, have just been promoted to La Liga for the first time. Expectations for the season are direct and brutal relegation. The board demands we put up a fight so we can relegate with our heads held high. Coming into the season half the squad is on loan without option to buy. The transfer budget depends on how the owners bitcoins are doing at the moment. The B team consists of amateurs who play in a competition nobody knows exists, in fact they might just go to a pub every Saturday for all we know. When someone asked about the youth setup there is a distinct lack of response. It's the perfect place for heroism and building a story to be told many years from now. Realistically, it's the perfect place for loss and despair. It's time for some good old Anti-Football! In this thread I will detail how I approach this relegation battle. First I'll quickly show how I build a system that suits the squad and our specific challenge. Later I will post updates on specific matches going through my opposition scouting, building a match plan and changes I make during the game. The Core Squad Serrantes is a solid goalkeeper with good reflexes and no holes in his game. Owned by the club and 27 years old. Tito is a very experienced rightback and a great teamplayer. He doesn't have the speed or technical ability to be top class but makes is still a good player due to his football intelligence. Victor Diaz is a decent rightback who lacks pace and technical ability. He is defensively solid if not asked to cover too much ground and a decent rotation option for Tito. Martin Mantovani the club captain and experienced centerback. A great leader and solid defender who lacks a bit of pace and isn't great on the ball. Pablo Insua is a fairly young but solid centerback who only needs to improve his marking and acceleration to become a complete defender. Dimitris Siovis is a left footed ball playing centerback. Not as good defensively as Mantovani and Insua and also lacks pace but has a great pass and is good in the air. Diego Rico is a hard working leftback with great speed and strength but desperately lacking in acceleration, agility, key mental attributes and tackling. Adrian Marin is a talented leftback who has everything to become a great La Liga leftback in the future apart from determination which he plainly doesn't have. Gabriel is a very well rounded central midfielder with a great pass. The 23 yr old Brazilian lacks a bit in physicality to be a great central midfielder but is easily a first choice for our squad. Ruben Perez is another complete central midfielder with more strength and stamina than Gabriel. He lacks the tackling ability to be a great defensive midfielder and the passing and vision to be a great playmaker. David Timor is a strong central midfielder with a great pass. Not intelligent enough defensively to be a mainstay in our central midfield but a good option if we want more creativity in the center. Nabil El Zhar is an experienced right footed winger who still has good pace and a good cross. He has great flair, technique and movement off the ball which makes him our first choice on the right wing. Alexander Szymanowski is a technically gifted left footed winger who has good ball control and passing ability. He lacks the pace to be an explosive winger but makes up for it with skill and creativity. Omar is an agile left footed winger who combines speed with technical ability but lacks the mental attributes and strength to be a first choice winger. Robert is a right footed winger with great acceleration but lacking the pace to back it up. Decent technical ability but sub-par vision make him a decent backup but not much more. Alberto Bueno is a technically gifted forward with vision and flair. He lacks the strength, reach and workrate to be a complete forward but is a real threat both dropping deep to receive the ball in space and when running in behind the defensive line. Luciano is a pacey forward with decent technical and mental ability. His speed is the only edge he has over defenders so unless there is space to use he isn't much of a threat. Mikel Angel Guerrero is a strong and hard working forward who lacks the height to be a real target man and the technical ability to be a threat from deeper positions. He makes up for it through teamwork and dedication which makes him a useful rotation option. Darwin Machis is a fast forward who likes to take first time shots. Highly determined and hard working but held back technical and mental abilities like his first touch, technique, decision making and anticipation. He is a surprisingly good backup. Squad Summary Slow defenders. Good passers in midfield but lacking a classical ball winner. Decent wingers with speed and some technical ability. Two fast strikers and two strikers who can provide good link play. Tactical Setup I want to build a team that plays combative, hard working and direct football. We will defend with a disciplined low/mid block, men behind the ball and hard tackling. We will attack with direct passes to players who work hard to use the space available to us. I will adapt my setup to the opponents threats and to take advantage of vulnerabilities when possible. The 4-4-2 is a great defensive setup as shown by the likes of Atlético de Madrid. The counter mentality provides the defensive approach and low defensive line. A slightly higher line is used along with forwards instructed to track back to compress space. Direct passing to transition faster and use the pace we have on the wings and up front. Get stuck in to put bodies on the line, fight for those points and hopefully create the occasional break. The forwards will be instructed to track the opponents midfielders to create a 4-4-2-0 defensive shape. This will restrict our counter opportunities but screening the two central midfielders is vital for defensive stability. If the forwards don't track back into midfield positions most La Liga teams will be able to easily pass through the center and exploit the space in front of our central defenders. I do have the option to leave the poacher free from defensive duties if I think I can get away with it and want to try and get him in behind the defensive line on the transition. The poacher is instructed to run into the channels and the DLF to roam from position. The wide midfielders will either be played as an attacking winger or wide midfielder to try and get in behind the fullbacks or as supporting wingers or wide midfielders to try and use the half space to create chances and provide more defensive stability during transitions. Supporting wide midfielders will often be instructed to roam from position or sit narrow to make them available for passes in space or free up space for advancing fullbacks. The central midfielders are always set up as a defend/support pair with the midfielder on support allowed to roam from position. If one of the wingers plays more advanced I play the supporting central midfielder on the same side so he can use the space vacated by the advanced winger to link play. The fullbacks will play defensive against fast wingers who try to get in behind the defensive line, supporting against wide players who try to create from deeper positions and attacking if I feel I can get away with it or need the extra attacking option. The Goal My aim is to cause some kind of upset somewhere. Either an unlikely challenge for Europa spots, a semi final or deeper cup run or beating the top teams and securing a top half league finish. Meanwhile I'll be showing my approach to this type of challenge which hopefully adds a different perspective to the forum. What to expect? I will occasionally update this thread with match reports consisting of pre match scouting, the game plan, how the game played out, changes I made during the game and a post match analysis. First up is the opening game away against fellow relegation candidate Real Sporting Gijón. The next game is Real Madrid at home which I'll obviously make a post on and from there I'll pick some important or interesting games throughout the season.
  3. BACKGROUND I am in my third season now in the game. I started as Everton and I had 2 wonderful seasons with the Toffees. During my stint there, I won the FA Cup, Community Shield, Carabao Cup and the Europa League. After I won the Europa League, my reputation soared and ‘big’ clubs began to offer me interviews. I would love to stay at Everton, I love them, but we’re not as rich and reputable as the likes United or City. Even our star players see us as a stepping stone albeit finishing 2nd in the league. Hence, when AS Monaco came calling, I decided to leave and made the step up myself! TACTICAL JOURNEY I have played FM since CM 4 and what a journey I have been through since then. I started off by using ‘plug and play’ tactics, but then I found this forum. The Tactics, Training & Strategies Discussion is my go to every time. I read countless of threads and guidelines then I started to create my own tactics. I wasn’t very good initially, but overall I did okay. I think. The only formation that I have ever use is the one without wingers. My favourite is the 4-3-1-2. So I created one for Everton. It’s the only one I know. I know I’ve never won the league, but personally I think it is a success. However, when I came to Monaco, there’s THOMAS LEMAR. He is, by far, the best player at the club. I have to create a tactic that will get the best out of him. So I decided to ditch my 4-3-1-2 and use a classic old faithful 4-4-2. PLAYING STYLE I want my squad to : Defend and attack as a unit. Strikers are the first defender and defender is the first attacker. Aggressive pressing. Pressing starts high up the pitch. Free flowing football. Lots of creative freedom. Defensively solid. Solid 2 banks of 4 when defending To translate my visions to FM terms, I have chosen : Mentality : Standard Shape : Very Fluid By choosing Standard + Very fluid, I expect my players to : Compact. Players are closer to each other thus enabling us to press aggressively. Move as a unit. When we’re attacking, all players wil move up together and vice versa. Reduced distinction of mentalities between players. TEAM INSTRUCTIONS FORMATION PLAYER ROLES AND INSTRUCTIONS GK D : Roll it out, Distribute to full backs FB A : Mark tighter, Mark specific position (AML) CD D : None CD D : None FB S : Mark tighter, Mark specific position (AMR) IW S : Sit Narower DLP D : Close down much less CM S : Shoot less often W A : None CF S : None AF A : None IN GAME ANALYSIS Let’s have a look at one my UCL group games against Bayern. They field a 4-3-3 tactic with a DM. Without the ball Falcao tried to cross from the left but Neuer intercepted it with a save. Neuer then roll the ball short to Hummels. Notice that four of our players are already pressing Bayern’s backline. The pressing limits Hummels’ passing options. Hummels managed to sneak a pass to Javi Martinez who came deep to collect the ball then quickly lays it out to Tolisso. When Tolisso had the ball, all of the players close to him were marked and ready to be pressed whereas Lewandowski is isolated up front. Moutinho with Close Down Less instructions refrain from pressing and being our midfield screen. Tolisso then opts to give it short to Vidal who then tried to distribute it to onrushing Grimaldo on the wings but Sylla was alert and quick enough to intercept. Job well done! With the ball At this point of the match, Bayern changed to a 4-4-2 with Javi Martinez and Lewandowski upfront. Kimmich tried to lump the ball forward to Martinez but Moutinho intercepts. Moutinho is quickly closed down by three Bayern players. Moutinho the make a short back pass to Glik who the quickly lays it out wide to Toure. Notice the space in front of him. It is a space that could be utilised by Sylla, our Inverted Winger on Sit Narower instruction could exploit. Toure indeed made a pass to Sylla. Sylla is quickly closed down by two Bayern players had no choice but pass it to Moutinho who offers a short option. Notice the space in front of Moutinho. I chose the Complete Forward role on Support so that he would drop deeper to connect with midfield. But it didn’t happen in this highlight. On the other hand,notice what a good position Kovalenko has put himself in. Lo and behold, Moutinho, being the brilliant man like always, receive the pass, stops the play, change direction, saw Kovalenko and quickly released the ball to him. Kovalenko then dribbles forward, pass the ball into the path of Falcao who then squares it for Cutrone for an easy tap in. Brilliant play by Moutinho and smart movement from Kovalenko! We won the match. Happiest day of my early Monaco days! ACHIEVEMENTS Thank you all for reading! Hopefully we can beat Milan in the First Knockout Round!
  4. Intro Before I dive in to the main theme of my thread, I'd like to speak a little about myself and Football Manager. I am probably one of the older players who still play the game (hopefully not the oldest) I have been playing since the Championship Manager days, have taken many breaks through the years, but have always found my way back to it. I have always done pretty well, I'm no great player, there have been times where I have done well, and not really been sure why, or cared that much, because winning is fun right? With each new game that comes out, it feels a little bit tougher, sure we have a huge advantage over the AI, but they seem to be adapting better all the time. Along comes FM 18, and I'm not going to lie, I have struggled a bit. I pretty much always start with my team, Walsall, sounds boring, but the connection with my team is something that keeps me interested. I started a save with Walsall as I usually do, and did really well, back to back promotions, built a team capable of competing at the top of the Premier League, but it felt flat, I had no real plan with what I was trying to do, kept changing tactics, making random changes in the hope that something works (sounds like a few managers we've had at Walsall) and I honestly just got bored. I didn't really have motivation to play any more, I wasn't enjoying it at all, and if it is no fun, then I can't justify wasting so much time on it. I still kept popping on here, to read what others were up to, and the thing that come across most from the main posters on the site, was having a plan of what you wanted to do. I read it half a dozen times, from some of the best people on the site. It got me thinking, but I still lacked any real inspiration. Then one Saturday night, after another depressing performance by Walsall, was sat in the pub with a mate, talking about Walsall past, trying to dig out some good memories to numb the pain of our current plight. Found ourselves talking about the class of 99. This wont mean anything to anyone who doesn't follow Walsall. To us, right up there with one of the greatest seasons in our history. That was it, I knew what I was going to do. The thread is actually tactics based, and will focus on tactics once the initial posts are set out. The story may not be of much interest to a lot of you, but it will add to what I am trying to do if you give it a chance. The Class of 99 So you probably opened up the thread to read about Liverpool, or Man United, afraid not, a little story, almost fairy tale about my own little club Walsall. The summer of 1998. We had narrowly escaped relegation by one point. This doesn't tell the whole story, we had a few fantastic cup runs in that season. We had some very useful players, and when they wanted to play, they could play. Manager Jan Sorenson was pretty clueless tactically, and failed to motivate the team, unless it was a big game, when no motivation was needed. He was relieved of his duties at the end of the season, and some of the better players we had, also left the club. We were left with 8 senior players on the books and no manager, odds on favourites to go down with the bookies. It was also made clear, the playing budget would be drastically reduced, due to the money that had been spent the previous season, quite a mess, and a very worrying time. It was going to be a tough league too, there were some very good 3rd division sides. Preston, Gillingham, Wigan Stoke, Bournemouth, all had good teams, that's not to mention Manchester City were coming down to join us, and big spending Fulham were coming up to join us. Fulham were one of the first big bankrolled clubs, that were without doubt heading to the top flight at some point, they had spending power way beyond anyone else at our level. Fast forward a little, and Ray Graydon was appointed as first team manager. He had never managed before, but very experienced coach. Didn't really fill anyone with much hope. Bit by bit he started to sign players and build a team, mostly players I'd never heard of, or with records that didn't really fill you with any confidence. Free transfers and cast offs, this is nothing unusual at Walsall, but somehow this seemed even more depressing than usual, especially after the previous season, where we actually had some quality in. We had an awful pre-season, losing to many non league clubs, and looking lost for ideas to be honest. Season began, we won the first game 1-0 away, with an own goal deciding the match, and then for the next month or so it was very unconvincing stuff. What we all thought was our best player hadn't been picked for any of the games, and was finally sold, this was going to be a bad season for sure. Gradually though, without anyone really taking much notice, we started grinding some wins out , 1-0 was a common scoreline for us, especially away from home. Many managers bemoaned how fortunate we had been, catching them on the break after they had “battered us” It became more apparent that this wasn't happening by chance. We were sucking teams in, and hitting them hard on the break. This team that he had patched together was somehow climbing the table at some rate. To cut a very long story short, we ended up finishing 2nd and getting promoted, finishing above Manchester City with 2 games to spare, but quite a way behind big spending Fulham. It was a miracle of sorts, in any given season, this would have been a massive achievement for us, but in this season, it was beyond anyone's dreams that we could actually get promoted. I was fortunate enough to talk to Ray Graydon about football, on several occasion's and he revealed a lot about how they achieved it, the philosophies he had about football, which I will talk about in a moment, and those philosophies are what I am going to base my save on. Sir Ray's Philosophies As I said above, I was fortunate enough to speak to Ray Graydon about football on several occasion's. When he spoke, you just wanted to listen more and more, he made it very clear to me, he is no tactical genius, he even indicated that no such thing existed. The first thing he wanted to do on arriving at Walsall was set up a simple game plan, that everyone understood. I think he kind of indicated that footballers aren't always the brightest people :-) He would never say such a thing, as he is a gentleman, but anyway, he wanted to have game plan that everyone knew there role, everyone had specific duties in the team, and were fully accountable for mistakes this way. He went on to say, he wanted every player to be doing a role doing something they were good at. In modern football, you see so often square pegs trying to be fit in to round holes, he didn't want this. He knew he couldn't sign top class players even at our level, what he wanted was to sign players with specific attributes to fill a certain role/duty within the team. Sounds simple right? Well that's what he wanted, simple. It was always going to be 4-4-2, he made that clear, there wasn't really any 4231, 4123 etc etc kind formations then, 4-4-2. 4-5-1 the odd 5-3-2 were the basis of most teams set ups. He had several ideas of what he expected from the 4-4-2, a few things I can remember him talking about, and several things I can remember from memory of how he set up. Two banks of 4 when defending Every player bar one (Poacher type player) Expected to contribute to defensive phase If one full back overlapped, the other side had to stay back Usually a deep defensive line to draw teams out Big Man (hard working) Small quick man combo upfront One attack minded winger/wide man was key to a lot of counter attacks Further to this, the real key to the success I believe was some key attributes that pretty much all of his players had. Even if they didn't before he arrived, they soon got it. Team Work Work Rate Determination I can still picture some of the games from that season, with players literally throwing their lives on the line, to block a shot, or a cross. Busting a gut to get on the end of a ball, and so on. It was in some ways an extremely structured set up, but somehow he moulded this structured set up, with different cogs making a well oiled machine, that you could also have seen as a very fluid set up, without the creative freedom. He also talked a lot about the discipline he installed in the dressing room. The respect he commanded from his players, not just from himself, but for the club. They all had to wear suits to travel to away games in. No mobile phones allowed in the dressing rooms, he even made several players have hair cuts and a shave ! He wouldn't tolerate players arguing with refs, he in fact substituted several who defied him, and a few players got pushed in to the cold for getting needlessly red carded. This is all very nice for me to talk about, probably could talk all day, but I want to get on to how I am going to implement some of this in to my game. Club DNA Before I outline my tactical plans, I want to set out some rules that will help me achieve the things I want to achieve. All part of having a plan, rather than aimlessly playing a long, chopping and changing all the time, without any consistency, leaving it hard to measure where you are at. Obviously these can be flexible over time, and open to change, if it is for a good reason. Mostly based on all I talked about above, with a little bit of my own input in certain areas, as I am planning on being Walsall manager for many years, so can think a little bit more long term, than Graydon could. Formations Transfer Policy Key attributes Tactics/ Style Man management Formations 4-4-2. Non negotiable, it was what the success was based on, this simple formation, that seemed to almost disappear at one point, but notably has made a bit of a comeback over the past few years. Will be a proper flat 4-4-2 to begin with definitely, I reserve the right to use 4-4-2 with one or two defensive midfielders in the future, I actually thought about this from the start, but no I am going with 4-4-2. I also may use 4-4-1-1 in the future, keeping the 4-4-2 shape though. The main point is, to keep it simple, but giving it room to evolve is also important too I feel. Transfer Policy This is more of my own making than anything Graydon did. Looking long term here, I want to look sign young players I can improve, and sell on for a profit. Walsall are a selling club, always have been, it's pretty much how we have existed, by selling on players. Pretty much every club bar an elite few are selling clubs to be honest, if you look at the Coutinho saga, a club like Liverpool never had a chance of keeping him, once one of the big guns came in for him. I don't want to be rebuilding a full squad every year, but have to accept that if players do well for us, other teams will want them, and providing they will pay what I think they are worth, then all is good. I want players that want to play for the shirt, when they begin to have their heads turned, then their days are going to be numbered. Add to this I want a mix of youth and experience, this is so I can tutor young players, and give them the desired personalities where possible. Looking for certain attributes in my signings, which I will discuss further shortly. Setting a wage structure is difficult from the off, Walsall pay poor wages in real life, and this is reflected in FM, so for now it is more a case of doing the best I can with what I am given. Hopefully in time I will be able to dictate my own wage structure. Bear in mind, I don't want or possibly need is a better term, a team full of well rounded players, I want players with key attributes to do specific jobs. With success though, they will demand more money, just some thoughts for the future. Key Attributes Closely connected to transfer policy, key attributes that I will be looking for when signing players. That doesn't mean I will turn down the chance of signing a good player, if he lacks some of these attributes, but I want the team to be made up largely with these attributes. Primary attributes Team Work Work Rate Determination These are fundamental to what I want to try and do. It is what the whole thing was built on in my opinion. A team that will bust a gut for each other, no one player is worth any more than any other. A team that is never beaten until that final whistle has blown. A team that will work hard for each other from the first whistle until the last. Secondary Attributes Bravery Aggression Speed (Pace and Acceleration) Strength Not all players will need all of these, but they are attributes for certain positions I will be looking for. Bravery, I don't want a team of players that bottle out of challenges, I want players that are going to go in full on when trying to win the ball back. Aggression isn't required for all positions, in fact some positions it could be harmful, I'm not sure I want all my defenders going crazy, but I want a certain amount of steel with in the side, Strength goes hand in hand with this. Speed, I want to catch teams on the break a lot, so speed is going to be needed, I like players that get around the pitch quickly. Obviously, this leaves a little bit of a creativity void, I will need one or two players within the team in carefully selected roles, that may or may not compromise on a few of the above for a little more guile. It's going to be tough in the beginning, to an extent I am going to have to go with what I have got, but this is a plan to pursue over the coming seasons. Tactics/Style As described above, 4-4-2 is my formation of choice, that is just the outline though, how am I going to add my style to it? I thought long and hard about Team Shape, I feel that the large amounts of creative freedom mean that Fluid or Very Fluid shapes are a no no. I feel it probably was something like a structured set up, but possibly flexible, allowing the roles to dictate. Still undecided, and may change at any given time between Structured and flexible. I don't want to be pressing like crazy, sucking teams in and then hitting them on the break is high on the order, so possibly going to be counter, with normal D-Line, and pressing, with selected roles that will add extra pressing in some areas. I want to stick to very simple set of roles and duties, no playmaker roles, no player is more important than any other remember, I don't want one player attracting the ball all the time, although it can have it's advantages at certain times. This is about me learning too, if I can see how these roles work , by sticking to simple set of roles, I can gradually begin to understand what I am doing, and how to change things as I go. As for the actual roles and duties, I will set those out shortly, based loosely around how that team of 99 set up, with what I have got to start with. Man Management Maybe not the most important part of Football Manger, but something I want to take a bit more of an interest in now. Being able to manager multiple personalities is important to get the best out of a team. Morale still plays a part in results on the pitch too. Graydon was very much the disciplinarian, as I mentioned earlier. No player is bigger than the team, I want to follow this the best I can, without going crazy and losing key players, and upsetting everyone, which does happen. Players that get sent off needlessly will be fined, not warned. Players that complain about contracts and moves to other clubs constantly, will be sold at my earliest convenience. Training will be tough as I can make it, without inducing needless injuries. Graydon had the players in doing fitness work on afternoons, whilst other teams players just trained in a morning. I can't push it too hard or I will just upset everyone and have a bunch of injuries. But training will be based around a mix of Fitness and Tactics. That's enough ramblings, on with the plan. First Day In The Office So I have had a meeting with Jeff Bonser, and he has assured me, I will be like any other manager at Walsall, and have very little in the way of playing budget. Any money I make on player sales, he will be taking a 50% cut of it. Met my staff, didn't take long, there aren't many of them, but the ones left are on at least 2 year deals, and I can't afford to offload them. Team meeting done, I tell them I think we can avoid the drop, which was the objective set by Mr Bonser. They all seemed okay with this,not over excited, but no real arguments either. I met the media, they seem sceptical of me, and the questions were somewhat boring, when I have other matters to tend to. I probably need to make some friends in the media, but I don't want to be the kind that just rolls over to them either. First job, I got in some staff in areas that I had spaces, mainly medical staff, had room for a couple of fitness coaches, I got the best I could, they aren't great, but they are not awful either. Then I set my staff responsibilities, it made me wonder a little what I employ them for, as I am set to do most of the work. That's fine, ultimately, the buck stops with me, if I fail, I get the sack. I set up pre- season training, largely based on Cleon's guide, I'm okay with copying him, he knows what he is doing, I'm not going to argue. I also set up a bunch of friendlies, mostly against really poor teams, with the odd one against similar teams to us, so I could have a little gauge at how we really are doing. Mostly it is about fitness and team bonding, and making the tactic as fluid as possible. I will be watching the games closely, even though you can't take too much out of friendlies you can see how the movement of your team is working, and that is what I am going to be looking at. Analysing the squad Okay, as you may or may not know, our manager in real life has recently had the sack, he has left quite a mess behind. The team is very different with the winter transer update, we had a couple of decent strikers on half season loans, that killed it for me in my last save. They are gone now, I also had a decent winger on loan, that is now also not in the squad. That's the downside of things. There are a few positives. Firstly despite being left with a bit of a mess of a squad, it is largely built up of strong , aggressive players, decent amount of work rate among them, lacking a little in creativity, but that's okay, there are a couple of options in that area, one of whom is probably our best player. Added to that, there are a few new loans in the squad, one was a center back, that I have immediately sent back, he's played okay for us actually, but on FM his attributes are awful, and I had the option to terminate the loan, so that is what I have done, I can't justify paying him, as I see no place in the squad. We have a tidy center back on loan from Arsenal, that actually hasn't played a game for us, but he looks very useful, and I know he did really well at Birmingham in the Championship last season ,so I am expecting him to be a key player. We also have a speed demon striker/wide forward from Stoke on loan, I am looking to utilise him as one of our key players, even though he is lacking in some attributes, I feel his speed will compensate a lot for that. I could spend hours, adding screen shots of all of my players, and descriptions, but I feel it isn't really needed, we have a pretty poor squad, possibly one of the worst I have ever started a Walsall save on any version of FM with. I will add a few screenshots of a few key players, and talk about what I am hoping for from them. I have high hopes for this lad, looks real quality for League 1, could possibly play in the Championship with those attributes. Ticks a lot of key attributes from the club DNA. Pretty awful defensive stats for a full back, would like to possibly use him in the left midfield slot at some point, but for now he is probably going to be an attacking full back, and just hope we can cover for him. He will be my Defensive Forward / Target Man. I actually sold him sharpish in my last save, but he has pretty ideal stats for what I am looking for. Great Work Rate and Team Work, Strong , Aggressive. Would have liked a better first touch, but can't have everything. My Poacher. He doesn't actually have the stats I want in a poacher, his off the ball stats could do with being much better, Composure and Finishing aren't great either, but we are in League 1, I am hoping his speed is going to compensate for a lot. I am expecting him to miss quite a few chances, but hopefully he will be able to do a good job for us. I don't have anyone else, my next Poacher is a 17 year old prospect, which I will probably have to use. The Tactics The meat and gravy, and the main focus of the thread from now on. In the words of Mike Bassett “ We are playing 4 4 flipping 2, or words to that effect :-) Before I begin a few words. The tactics will be loosely based on a team that gave me a lot of pleasure to watch. A team that over achieved by some distance, based on a simple plan, hard work and determination. I will be making mistakes tactically, I am no genius at this game, I am trying to learn to be better, whilst hoping to get a lot of fun out of it too. I am open to questions, advice, criticism, whatever you want to say, feel free. Graydon's Set Up As discussed earlier, I feel it was a structured set up, but there could be arguments for a more fluid set up. There was little in the way of creative freedom in this side, they all had their jobs, and wasn't expected to deviate from it too far. Having said that, all players barring maybe one, were expected to help in the defensive phase. This is something I am probably going to struggle with in terms of FM. I am going to settle on Structured for now, and assess at a later date, I don't want to make to much of a chore out of this. Below is my interpretation of his set up in terms of roles and duties, from memory, and a few looks at the odd video that is still knocking about. Starting from the back, Sweeper Keeper, I think he could be classed as that. He was very small for a keeper actually, but still managed to pull off saves that defied logic and science that season. He swept up nicely through balls, and his distribution was excellent. Mostly long kicks. The Center back pairing was a solid one. One player that definitely was a Defensive Center back, his main job was just clearing the ball, he would head anything away, kick anything away, never looked to play any passes as such. On the left side was a bit more of a cultured defender, still willing to block anything, but I have marked him as a Ball Playing defender, more in the sense of how one works on FM than the real life description. I wouldn't say he brought the ball out of defence, but he often launched long diagonal balls to either our right midfielder, or to the target man, or over the top. The two full backs was difficult to decide, because as I mentioned earlier, one would often wander forwards, and the other side would always stay back. This is impossible to replicate in FM as far as I am aware. Both of them both launched balls forwards from the back at times too. Based on what I remember, our right back played more long balls forwards, either down the wing to our right midfielder, or for the target man, where as the left side would be found putting in crosses more often, so that's how I decided on the roles here. In center midfield, this was pretty clear cut. We had a ball winning midfielder, and a box to box midfielder. It is possible the the box to box midfielder was at times asked not to enter the attacking phase, but mostly he was an end to end all action type player that linked things up nicely and had a bit of creativity about him. The wide men, our right midfielder was a key part of this team, from memory he scored something like 15 goals and 17 assists. He was a key outlet to the team, I think he was close on being classed as a winger, but I don't recall him running wide with the ball often, would more often start wide and come inside, although he was right footed. The left side, we had several different types of player play here over the season, but none of them were as attack minded as the right side. Both of them were expected to track back in the defensive phase for sure though. In attack, I think we definitely had a target man, he won headers, held the ball, and was generally a big battering ram, that would put his head anywhere. Didn't have much in terms of vision, or creativity. Next to him would always be a more nippy striker, who would be the only player excused from the defensive phase. The main plan was to sit deep, suck teams in, and catch them on the break. Our tactics when not on the counter, were generally direct balls, either up to the target man, or over the top,usually down the right hand side, with the midfield pushing up to pick up the second balls. It really was that simple. Below are just a couple of videos of that season that are still knocking around. V Oldham when we clinched promotion and then v Title Winners, Kevin Keegan's big spending Fulham after we had already got promoted. They can be a little misleading as we signed a striker on loan for the last few months of the season, that was a little different to the poacher type that played next to our Target Man most the season, but what it does show is how direct we were at times and how deep we defended. The Oldham game, there was little in the way of counter attacks, they were fighting against relegation and came for a draw basically, but the first goal v Fulham shows a little insight to how quickly we broke, although it was through the middle, we often would break down the right hand side. Translating in to FM Okay, so now it is time to try and implement some of this in to FM. I have been left in a bit of a mess here by Jon Whitney, but I am confident over time I can build the team I want. For now I may have to adjust certain aspects, with the long term plan still very much in mind. I have to try and mould what I have in to a functioning football team. So as discussed, a structured , Counter set up. The only team instruction I have added for now, is Higher Tempo. I don't want any dilly dallying with the ball, even when not on a counter attack. I'm interested in possession. I want to get the ball forwards quickly, and despite the fact we are playing a counter mentality, we should always pretty much have the two strikers up field to battle for these balls. I considered more direct passing, but I believe counter mentality gives the defenders slightly more direct passing, and the defensive center back with more direct passing by default. I'm not trying to be 1980s Wimbledon, just a quick transition. I also considered a lower defensive line, but lets see how leaving it as it is works out for now. Starting from the back as always. Sweeper Keeper No distribution instructions yet, considering making him play it long to me strong striker, but am happy to watch how it goes for now. I have to reasonable keepers actually, the younger one having 16 for passing, which seems random, but could be interesting to try a few things with him. He is my second choice though for now. Center Back (D) I don't have a player I feel is good enough to play the ball playing defender just yet, I considered two defensive center backs, but my main defender has plays short simple passes player trait, so I will let him do just that for now and see how it goes. Defensive Center Back (D) Pretty simple, defend and clear the ball up the pitch, for the strikers to tussle for, run on to , etc etc. Full Back (A) (Left Side) I had to make a decision what I was going to do with the full backs, I can't get one to attack and one to cover in rotation, so I had to decide what to do. The best left back at the club has pretty poor defensive attributes, and decent attacking ones, so there is little point making him a defensive full back. May as well play him to his strengths, which is one of the main parts of Graydon's philosophy. It is more than possible I will use this player in the left midfield slot in the future. He looks far more suited for that kind of role. I did sign another left back, that has decent attributes in defence and attack, so it is possible they may both play together at some point. Player Instructions – Stay Wider Full Back (S) (Right Side) Considered a Defensive Full Back, but was a little concerned about the gap between him and the wide midfielder. Player Instructions – Hold Position Ball Winning Midfielder (D) Could yet become a Center Midfield (D) Will have to keep an eye on the pressing. Main job is to just break up play and lay the ball off. Simples. BBM (s) This was a tricky one, I am struggling for the kind of player I want here, I'm not certain what exactly I want here, without seeing the rest of it all connect up. I really considered a standard Center midfielder (s) here, that I can easily add Hold Position PI too if needed in game. However I like the idea of a player that gets up and down the pitch. This is the one position that in the future I may be looking for a more rounded player, that can do a bit of everything, including creating. That is just a dream for now though. Wide Midfielder (S) (Left Side) What I want here is just a nice simple role, who will support and play balls through for the Poacher sometimes, with the option to his left of the overlapping Full back. I have my key player ear marked for this role. He does unfortunately have the shoots from distance trait, but he is still a creative type player, that should do well. He also has the dictates tempo trait. He is actually an AMC naturally, and only awkward in this position, I'm not going to over worry that. Player Instructions - More Risky Passes. Shoots Less. Often Cross Less often Wide Midfielder (A) (Right Side) I want this player to be my attacking outlet from midfield. He is expected to be a a goal threat, and put crosses in. I decided against the winger (for now) Not sure I want him hugging the touch line, and even though I don't mind him putting some crosses in, it's not his main function. No player instructions , for now, until I have assessed how the role works. Defensive Forward (D) Really , this should be a Target Man, inline with what Graydon did. However, do I want him to battle for the ball, win headers, be a battering ram, hold the ball up? Yes to all, do I want him to be the main target? No not really, I don't want my Poacher and Wide Midfielder on the right being ignored. So I am hoping he will play kind of a target man role, without being an actual target man. Put him on the Defend Duty, in the hope he will drop deep and put pressure on defensive midfielders when they play those pesky 3 in midfield formations against us, it's not a role I have used much so will have to monitor how it goes. Poacher The simplest of roles, I just want this man to focus on scoring goals, again have little experience of this role, have always favoured the Advanced Forward, but I don't want or need him running out wide, or wasting time trying to create goals. So that is it, my initial set up. I am certain it is going to need some changes, but I want to focus on how it is working and make small changes. Big changes will only be made, if big changes are really required. I have completed a full season now, and have a whole more to add sometime in the next 24 hours. Including.. Some Tactical Analysis Some thoughts on Set Pieces Pros and Cons of the 4-4-2 Formation Changes made , based on what I watched Changes made after key players sold End of Season Analysis For now, I just want to get this up on the board, and then finish off editing the rest. I hope you have enjoyed reading so far. It's a big read, and a lot of it is based on something that may not interest a lot of fans, but hopefully the simple 4-4-2 , going forwards, will appeal to some.
  5. Hey all, 1. Story Having watched, as a Turkish fan of Fenerbahçe, the misery of Beşiktaş against Bayern München with one man down getting tarnished, I instantly fell in love with attacking mentality of Bayern München there. Whenever somebody would arrive at byline, at least 5 options would call out for the ball in the box, effectively rendering any kind of defence useless - 5-0 was a score quite fortunate for Beşiktaş that terrible night, if you ask me. Therefore, hating 4-3-3 plague's guts that took over the football scene for more than a decade now, I wondered if I could emulate Bayern's offensive capabilities to some extent and came up with the tactic of the following layout (I am in no way any belief that I could emulate Bayern, they just inspired me that night): It is an offensive tactic that scores for fun enabling me to scoop the Eredivisie title with the humble squad of my all-time favorites, Vitesse, 3 games to be played before the end of the season. It would actually be decided with 4 matches left however I acted stupid enough to create pressure on them the rookie squad that crumbled under and got defeated 3-2 to relegation zone contenders. Anyway, crowning was delayed for only one match. 2. Strengths The tactic relies on high tempo with very few meters among blocks, recycling possession as quicker as it can in its default shape and executing direct passes, breaking up any defense so far (scored 6 away from home at Anfield, conceding 8 in the process too). I made some tweaks here and there to conclude on the roles and duties as well as player-specific instructions and am very eager to know how 4-4-2 Atta, Turk! would work out for you guys. For a quick reference, below are the Team Instructions: The tactic possesses ability to score because (1) your wide midfielders can make through balls or receive FB crosses to score (2) any one of your Strikers can drag and stretch the defence to create a chance for his partner (3) a foxy defender can mortar a direct or a diagonal ball for your pacey DLF or, if close enough, his more static AF partner. 3. Weaknesses The very same blade the tactic wields. 2 strikers. Since the defensive line is high up the pitch and players love to spread around the field although it is a Normal width I am using, I have happened to see that when your opponent uses a 2-Strikers formation, consider keeping your defenders a bit deeper and taking down the width down a notch so that FB's can act as bolstering forces against marauding attackers as you try to fend them off. But remember that those two tweaks add to your creative abilities so try to keep a balance by changing it back and forth during the game i.e. if opponent is not overwhelming you (yet), keep default instructions until you score a few and then act accordingly etc. This part of the tactic still might need contributions though - I would love to hear your "hey, popsicle, I did this and it gave me 34 clean sheets a season" kind of modifications. 4. Choice of Players First and foremost, your Center Backs should be athletes. If you have to choose between two CBs one of which is a slower guy with better attributes and a swift one with less desirable ones, go for the latter. This tactic does not claim to be the stalwart bus of Mourinho. I would suggest Wide Midfielders possessing enough Vision to spot out the right choice between a Striker moving into a channel or an overlapping Full Back. They do not necessarily have to be explosive guys though. Keep a pair of hardworking Central Midfielders that can tackle. If they know how to move into channels and kick the ball with some technique, even better. I am a huge fan of Alejandro Chumacero in that regard. Make sure your DLF is pacey and has enough balance since he will be receiving balls comparably deeper and will need to rush it forward. If you have a Jardel or a Ruud Van Nistelrooy, like Tim Matavz I have, that you love watching him score loads, he is your primal choice of the Advanced Forward. Although I have used Saber Khalifa who is very quick, in matches where I saw that Matavz was wasting too many fastbreak opportunities due to his sluggish build. 5. Opposition Instructions, Tactical Briefing and Other Crabs I am not a fan of OIs although I am not convinced that my stance is a rightful one. Since I want my Assistant Manager to take over tactical briefing, tactic may end up with OIs anyway. Watch and tinker. If you somehow fall short in a game, you can always gung-ho your squad to claw back. The tactic has a huge hunger for risk so Overload does not turn things upside down for you, if it doesn't work. 6. Training Overload Tactics team and match training pre-season and keep at it until your guys can play your mindset blindfolded. Then switch to Defensive Positioning for Match Training and Team Cohesion for Team Training to reap unity awards. Remember, the tactic is a very fluid one and it acts like an amoeba slushing its innards as necessary to move around rather than three or more blocks of specialized platoons going back and forth. I also would advise on getting Full Backs who like getting forward whenever possible. 7. Download Grabby grabby. Please give this a shot and tell me how it pans out with your team. Sorry for any obscurity or inaccuracy with the messages I tried to deliver. Thank you. "Peace at home, peace in the world"
  6. INTRODUCTION It's rare to see a system in football manager built around the philosophy of Jose Mourinho. The less than glamorous tactician has an unfair reputation in my opinion. Despite the guarantee of trophies wherever he goes, many prefer to emulate the more exciting coaches like Klopp or Guardiola. With this in mind, I decided to attempt to replicate Mourinho's successful 4-2-3-1 with which he continues to use with great success. However, it is important to stress that this system is not a like-for-like, rather it is a Mourinho inspired system; therefore you might see some player roles and instructions that you might not agree with. However, I'm open to having a healthy debate on anything I've presented below. I'll jump straight into the system below, talk a bit about Mourinho, and then how I replicate this philosophy in game. To get the obvious out of the way first, we play with a control mentality and a structured shape. I want to ensure that the structural integrity of the shape is maintained. I will tailor my instructions via each player so that they know what their responsibility is. With a structured shape, we are more disciplined in defence, e.g., we're less committal going forwards and there's more space for us to operate in. So let's look at some of the key characteristics of a Mourinho system and see how I have tried to slide these into my setup at Barcelona. I will talk about the instructions Mourinho uses and note observations against them, so I can reference these from my tactical instructions. IN DEFENCE AND TRANSITION FROM ATTACK TO DEFENCE Arguably one of the best defensive coaches of the modern era. Mourinho typically builds his team around a two-man midfield. His system typically deploys a deep playmaker alongside a more defensive midfielder who is tasked with winning the ball back and releasing it to more creative players. At Manchester United, this responsibility has predominately fallen to Matić and Paul Pogba respectively. [Observation 1] When in their defensive shape, a Mourinho side will utilise a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 formation with the central attacking midfielder staying with the striker in order to have players available for the counter attack, should his team turnover the ball in an advantageous position. The wide attackers will fall back in line with the central midfielders in front of the defence to create two solid banks of four. [Observation 2] In the early phase of defence, the aim is to shift the opposition out wide when they have the ball since it is easier to defend the flanks. This is due to the limited options to progress the ball compared with the central areas and the natural player match up (1v1 or 2v2). A way of achieving this is by having the two furthest central attacking players block the passing lanes for progression of the ball through the central areas and to put pressure on the defence. Moreover, when the play does get out to the wide areas, this is where the overloads become more effective. It is less detrimental to your shape by overloading the wide areas than it is in the middle, simply because there are fewer passing lanes for progression of the ball (since the side of the pitch blocks passes in that direction). [Observation 3] When it comes to pressing the opposition the two key objectives are to reduce space for wide players and reduce the time on the ball for central players. In wider areas space is reduced by tightly marking the wide player and closing down aggressively. Increasing numbers out wide will reduce the space the opposition can move into. To reduce time on the ball for the central areas an aggressive approach to closing down will achieve this, however, with more and more coaches increasing numbers in the central areas, this can cause your shape some problems if you're not closing down intelligently. Furthermore, tightly marking the central players will lead to an increase in interceptions. [Observation 4] The defensive line is neither deep nor high, usually situationally adapting. So let's look at some of my tactical instructions and relate these back to the observations above. [Observation 1] To achieve some defensive solidity, and to match the asymmetry of the midfield two, I use a Central Midfielder with a Defend duty and a Deep Lying Playmaker with a Support duty. This gives me the solidity in front of the back four, with a risk averse two who will be the first line of cover should the opposition turnover the ball and break the first lines with a counter attack. [Observation 2] When playing against two wide men on each flank, e.g., a left back and a left winger, I will instruct my attacking wingers to specifically man mark his opposite to increase our chances of ball turnover. We want to be winning the ball in the central midfield or out wide. We don't want to rely on the last man of defence to make the last tackle. Since the wide men track their opposite number, this brings them down in line with the central midfield pairing and giving us what looks like a 4-4-1-1 [Observation 3] I use the opposition instructions to show the defenders out wide, so the left sided central defender is shown onto his left foot, and the right sided onto his right foot. With the passing lanes into the midfield covered by my central attacking midfielder and my striker closing down the defence, the ball is moved out to the wider areas where you can safely press with more numbers with less impact on the defensive shape. Moreover, the central midfielders are instructed to close down more, increasing their determination to move into the wider areas when the opposition progresses the ball here, creating 3v2 overloads against the opposition wide men. [Observation 4] Wide players are closed down always as defined by the generic opposition instructions. Additionally, my wide attacking wingers are set to man mark their opposite number when the opposition plays with wingers (most teams in Spain). Hard tackling is also instructed against the opposition central midfielders. Similarly to the central defenders, the central midfielders are down onto their outside foot, e.g., the left central midfielder is shown onto his left foot. This is to try progress the opposition build-up down the flanks. Simplistically, we play with a very conservative back four. We have two Central Defenders with a Defend duty, and two Full Backs with Support duty. Ahead we use a Central Midfielder with Defend duty and a Deep Lying Playmaker on Support. We aim to get into our shape quickly. Forcing progression of the opposition attack down the flanks if we can, where we create overloads in an attempt to win the ball back before the opposition can get a cross in. If the ball is progressed into the middle, we are quick to close down the opposition midfielders in an attempt to win the ball back before it progresses through to my defensive line. With these observations my defensive team instructions look like this: Defensive Line Defensive line is set to normal Use offside trap enabled Closing Down Closing down is set to sometimes, but this is governed by specific opposition instructions Tackling No specific instructions at a team level My player roles and instructions for the defensive players: My defence is pretty standard. I want my central defenders passing it short to my central midfielders or our wide to the Full backs. I don't want them hoofing it the field so that is why they're set to pass it shorter (since we use mixed team passing). My Full Backs have a few instructions. Fewer risky passing to help control the safe possession when they receive the ball in deeper areas in the build-up. I don't want them spraying fancy cross-field passes to players where there is a high-risk attached to the pass. I need them up supporting play, but also very mindful of their defensive responsibilities so we allow them to get further forward, but we keep the support duty to ensure their starting position is deeper in line with the defence. EXAMPLES OF OUR DEFENSIVE PLAY In a recent game against Real Madrid we came up against a stubborn 4-4-1-1 system. Below is an example of our defensive shape in action. The backline is relatively flat around the midpoint of our half. Playing with a control mentality and a normal defensive line it is slightly higher than normal. My Trequartista (the midfielder circled) is covering the inside of the pitch as he moves the midfielder towards the wide areas with the ball. My striker, meanwhile, is occupying the central defenders to ensure a pass isn't easily recycled. In this particular passage of play, Marchetti plays the ball into the winger, who almost instantly has my left back on his toes, who wins the ball back cleanly. In this next phase of play Madrid have just won the ball back and are looking to progress. My Advanced Playmaker highlighted positions himself between the ball carrier and the central midfielders. Moving the ball out wide where the player is already being tightly marked. With the alternative being a long ball forward, the player attempts a high-risk pass into the winger despite the presence of my defender. Sasic is closed down quickly and ordinarily would have probably lost the ball here. However, we're playing Madrid so have to expect that at some points in the match they're going to beat the man or pass when it seems almost impossible to do so. However, because of the high closing down and structural discipline, when the pass is made into the midfield, my Deep Lying Playmaker (with closing down more activated) makes a good interception to win the ball back for us. All the while my Central Midfielder maintains his position in front of the defenders as a second line of defence if the pass is successful. During this game we made 62 interceptions across the pitch, most of which in our own half. IN ATTACK AND TRANSITION FROM DEFENCE TO ATTACK The defensive shape and team instructions allow for more efficiency in a quick transition from defence and counter attacking. With the shortest distance to goal on the counter being through the middle, an efficient counter system would require at least two central players in attacking positions during the defensive phase, with a supporting wide player along one flank to join in if progression through the middle is restricted. At United, Mkhitaryan and Lukaku are usually the furthest forward when the team is defending. Sometimes the left sided attacking midfielder will be somewhat advanced. [Observation 1] With Juan Mata operating more as a playmaker a lot of the slower and more patient build-up was directed to the right side of the pitch. United created overloads on this side with Pogba and Valencia supporting Mata and Mkhitaryan in the attack. Furthermore, with the approach directed to guide the ball towards one flank with clear overloads, this frees up the player on the opposite side to almost inevitably be free for a quick break. [Observation 2] This season it appears that Mkhitaryan has more confidence from his manager and this has shown with his free role to create and dictate play from the central areas. He is registering high chance creation and assists already. This free role to roam and be less involved in the defensive side suits his style. A similar role has been afforded the number 10 at Madrid and Inter. [Observation 3] So let's look at some of my tactical instructions and relate these back to the observations above. [Observation 1] I leave my Trequartista and Complete Forward high during the defensive phase. This allows our transitions from defence to attack to be quick and sharp and triggers good counter attacking opportunities with Raumdeuter being fairly advanced, too. With the team instructed to pass into space, we look to progress the ball forwards quicker than we would if we passed into feet. [Observation 2] We have also adopted an Advanced Playmaker on the right. With our right sided central midfielder and right sided winger being playmakers a lot of the ball and progression is down the right flanks. This leaves the Raumdeuter with more space to exploit. And given his pace, acceleration and dribbling, he takes full advantage of this. He is currently second in the scoring charts. [Observation 3] My Trequartista is there for attacks. I afford him the freedom to dictate the game from the middle. I'm less concerned about his role defensively, which is just as well, given he is assigned a role that has less emphasis on defence and more on offence. However, this does not mean that he is ineffective defensively, on the contrary, he is key in the first phase of defence in moving the ball into wide positions. When we transition to attack, if we're quick enough to break into a counter then it is usually through my Trequartista that play progresses before the ball is switched out wide to my Raumdeuter. At this point we usually trigger a 3v3 or 3v4 attack, of which we're usually favourites to come out on top. When we progress with the ball we have a natural inclination to progress to the right with quick switches to the left when the Raumdeuter is in space and 1v1 situations. We are comfortable on the ball and happy to play the patient game looking for clear openings. Typically, this will see us dominate in the possession and passing stats for most games. With these observations my offensive team instructions look like this: Passing Exploit the middle Play out of defence Pass into space Passing Directness Mixed passing Creative Freedom Be more disciplined My player roles and instructions for the defensive players: My Central Midfielder is instructed to pass it shorter as he needs to keep things simple. His prime role is ball winner and defence protector. I don't need him doing anything fancy. Alongside him is my Deep Lying Playmaker. He has a bit of freedom but not too much. He is instructed to close down more to keep up the pressing when the ball moves into the middle of the pitch and to help support the overloads on the flank. My Trequartista doesn't have instructions as it isn't really needed. My Advanced playmaker is instructed to sit narrower as I want to really congest this side of the pitch and draw in the opposition to the half-spaces where he will be operating. My Raumdeuter is instructed to shoot less, purely because of the positions he can get into. I need him to be more decisive when he is in the box and to only shoot when it is a high chance shot. My Complete Forward is instructed to move into channels to support the build up and to move the defence with him to open up spaces for the on-rushing players behind him. EXAMPLES OF OUR OFFENSIVE PLAY In the next passage of play I will highlight how out players use the short passing abilities of my playmakers to move the ball about and manipulate the shape of the oppositions. I will show the intelligence of my Raumdeuter to isolate the right back and subsequently unmark himself to break free and score a simple goal. To set the scene, my Central Midfielder makes a short pass into my Deep Lying Playmaker. This is a common pattern between the two. My left back has the attention of the opposition winger and my Raumdeuter is in-line with my striker, pressing the defensive line back. My Deep Lying Playmaker now progresses the ball into my Trequartista. He is a very technically gifted player and is the key creator in the side, both scoring and creating goals. You will notice that my Raumdeuter has now drifted into space in order to move into a better position to attack the ball. All the while the defender who was meant to be watching him is now ball watching. My Trequartista wastes no time in playing a first time pass into space for my Raumdeuter to run onto. Who has this time unmarked himself and snuck in behind for a very nicely worked goal. This is one of the more simple patterns of play we create by overloading the right and central sides of the pitch before playing the ball to the left side where my Raumdeuter will have isolated the defender. The supporting Full Back is key in occupying the attention of the winger to ensure there's little in the way of obstacles. Here is another example from the same game, where my Raumdeuter actually scored four goals. Again, play is moved from my Advanced Playmaker on the right, into my Trequartista. My Raumdeuter is running in behind the defender, and waits for the pass to come in from the Trequartista. A really simple, yet effective pattern of play. IN CONCLUSION I've tried to keep this fairly brief without going over the top with examples and images, so if anyone is curious about how I've setup or why, just drop a reply and I'll see what I can do to answer anything. It's a really simple system and one that is very effective. Finally, I have posted our results from our season so far. We're defensively strong and offensively potent. I have also included the complete team instructions and opposition instructions, since I've already posted the roles and player instructions above. Team Instructions Opposition Instructions Results so far Thanks for reading, Ciao
  7. Hey guys, I am playing a 4-4-2 diamond in my Palermo career for a few seasons now and I am starting to have some issues down the flanks, even though I have very good full-backs. I know that defending the flanks is the biggest flaw of this system, so I am thinking to add more strenght to this specific area. I just got destroyed by Sampdoria 5-1 and I noticed that every single one of their goals came from the flanks more or less. My question is this: How can I instruct my 2 CM's to close down their respective flank alongside the full-backs ? What I basically want is that my CM's to start pressing in tandem with my full-backs when there is a threat down that specific flank.
  8. Intro: I've had this idea of making a tactic inspired by the real life roles of some of my favourite CM/FM players. I have intentionally stayed clear of a lot of the typical "heroes" of CM and FM such as; Bakayoko, Svindal Larsen, Duff, Tsigalko, Nikiforenko, Chiotis, Adu etc. Simply because I have no idea of how they played in real life (some are even fictional). I first came up with this idea playing FM 13 or 14, but didn't try it until FM15, because I struggled to decide upon a "framework" to work with. To give you a glimps of where most of my ispiration with regards to players come from I've added two pictures of some CM favourites: (Left: CM 97/98, Right: CM 01/02) I finally landed on this team in FM15: It shouldn't be to difficult to see whose "framework" inspired this tactic. Just look at the DM... The project was quite successfull and one of the saves I've had the most fun with since a VERY long save on FM08 (I tried to get LFC to a 100 PL titles) My intention is not to replicate a specific tactic. It's more about picking players, who you at some point probably wished played for your team, and fitting them into a template based on real life tactics. Having just read Ozil's brilliant Sacchi thread, I thought about doing this experiment with a Sacchi inspired system, but then decided to do something a bit more conservative. So I started looking back at Benitez' Liverpool side from 08/09 for inspiration. Imagine having a few more goals in that team, or even just better understudies to the first 11. Liverpool under Benitez played a fairly compact 4-4-1-1. Some may argue it was more of a 4-2-3-1, but I think the 4-4-1-1 best represents their formation in defence. I have decided to start out with a 4-4-2, and try to make a more solid 4-4-1-1 long term. Fluid shape in keeping with the compactness of Benitez' team, and control/standard as a starting mentality. Some of the TI's I have in mind are: - Higher or Much higher d-line - Be more disciplined - Play out of defence Here are some of examples of players/teams I considered basing my tactic on: But ended up with this:
  9. This is the setup I'm currently working with. Any ideas or suggestion are welcome! PI's employed are: - GK: Distribute to centers backs; - RB: Play more risky passes; - LB: Stay wider; - DMCR: Shoot less often; Hold position; Play fewer risky passes; - DMCL: Play more risky passes; - MR: Get further forward; Cross from byline; - ML: Tackle harder; Mark tighter; Roam from position; Sit narrower; - AMC: Get further forward; Roam from position; Move into channels; - ST: Shoot less often;
  10. Hello! I'll try to make this as quick as possible to stop anyone from getting bored. I've recently started a save on FM17 with Burton Albion in the English Championship. Now, to be honest, I haven't had much success this year on FM (sacked by Man City thanks to being 13th in the table in February) so I'm not the greatest of players. One thing I'm really bad for is changing my tactic as soon as it loses a game or two but this time has been different. Let me show you my setup... I know there have a lot of topics on 4-4-2 in the forum recently (and for years) which I have read so apologies for the same formation but I thought I would benefit more from some personal advice. Couple of player instructions: FBs - run wide with ball Left WM - dribble more, cut inside with ball Right WM - stay wider So here's what I'm trying to do. Since I'm Burton I don't have the strongest of squads for the Championship and I certainly do not have the budget other teams do. Because of this I'm looking for a quick, direct, counter attacking tactic. Again, I know so many people have asked for help with this recently but I would really like some help specific to my tactic. My thinking is this: Attacking - quick transitions and quick attacks as far as I'm aware, will probably switch between this and control Flexible - did think about choosing fluid instead and I don't really have a reason not to but I'm not exactly sure what shape to go for Deeper D Line - looking to draw teams forward and, hopefully, leave space in behind for us to exploit Exploit Both Flanks - since I'm using 4-4-2 there's obviously a lack of players in the middle so I thought it would make more sense to use the wings as a means of attacking. Would it be better to take these off and allow the team to attack as they wish? Pass Into Space - well I've dropped the d line to create space so it would make sense to pass it into that space, right? Hit Early Crosses - links in with exploiting the flanks, since we're going to be using the wings I thought it would be smart to hit some crosses when the opportunities there! I've messed about with More Direct Passing but to be honest I don't see a huge difference other than we lump it towards the Target Man more. At the moment I'm rock bottom of the league after 10 games so things are not going too well. In my next post I'll upload screenshots of how it plays and what happens during a match. If you have any initial concerns about the setup then please, please let me know. Also if there's anything else you would like to see just let me know and I can upload screenshots. Thanks in advanced!
  11. I am playing as AFC Wimbledon in my current save and I can't seem to find the right way to play my 4-4-2 tactic. My players are not great technically but have above average mental and physical stats (stamina and work rate, especially). Because of this I want to play a system that effectively utilities these strengths and weaknesses but right now I am struggling on how to do it. I am trying to play a higher tempo pressing game with more direct passing to suit my team's strengths and weaknesses. Can anyone offer any suggestions on what type of roles, instructions, system etc to play this kind of style. My current tactics:
  12. Hello i just started a new save with Espanyol. I am playing 4-4-2 with defensive mentality and flexible team shape. I use only shorter passing as TI. My system is this: DLF(S) CF(A) WM(A) MC(d) BTB(s) W(S) WB(s) DC DC FB(A) I use PIs for wm to replicate inside forwards. Also w(s) has get further forward pi. Some notable ppms are dlf - come deep to get ball, cf - play one twos and btb - arrives late into opposition are. So my problem is in defence. I have some decent centre backs but conceded 7 goals in last 3 games. there is a gap between my defence and midfield also my midfield cant handle 3 or more opponents' midfield players. They are just outnumbered. My plan is to make wm(A) to wm(S) and give him sit narrow pi. Also i plan to increase defensive line. I dont know if i should touch team shape as it affects the space between lines. Do you have any suggestions to this setup? Is it balanced or have an obvious weakness? I need some help about this.
  13. Good evening everybody! After much reading (special thanks to Cleon and Herne79) and trying througout fm 15, 16 and now a bit on 17, I've finally achieved a simple 4-4-2 tactic that im happy with, mainly with the central midfield pairing who is working the way I want: bypass the opposition attacking midfielder or more attacking central midfielder, leaving them for the defenders and help the team charge forward (I'm thinking a bit like leicester). However, if I am being run over and loosing the middle of the park, i just change the BBM to a BWM on support (for instance). Formation and TIs are below. The only PI I use is asking the goalkeeper to roll it out. My main issue is with the striker partnership. I want a striker who indeed helps the midfield during the defensive phase. That's why I picked a Defensive Forward with a defensive duty. If the opposition has no defensive midfield and I'm feeling confident I usually change him from defend to support. Most times i notice he plays a bit like a Target Man on support, dropping to get the ball and hold it. I'm okay with that because it is what I itend (a striker that drops and another that pushes forward). But being a Defensive Forward most times he only plays a simple pass, even when a midfielder or his striker partner has space to go forward or is unmarked. I feel i could get a striker that would contribue more (like a false nine or a deep lying forward). I'm not sure about the other striker role. Nor if the defensive forward on defend is the correct role. - Perhaps, change is role to a deep lying forward on support, with closing much more PI? - Or change team shape to fluid (which I don't really want, only when I dominate possession and need a bit more creativity)? - Am I playing him in the right position (meaning in front of the CM s rather than the BBM)? - What should be his striker partner role? Should I just pick the role that suits best to whoever plays by his side? Thanks for your help!
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