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I am writing this topic in order to share an interesting tactic I created and receive the opinion of more experienced players. I do not garantee you will get the same results as me since the tactic and squad are still in an Alpha phase of sorts and I believe there are anomalies with the behaviour of one of my players that have bypassed the logical outcome of the matches. I started playing Fm19 back in january and this has been the very first Football Manager I've played. After receiving tips from my friends I started trying (and failing) to implement my tactical ideals in the game. After several failed attempts I decided to try something different and replicate a winning formula from real life. The team I chose to emulate was The Arsenal Invincibles. I went for Man United on account of their fast strikers and riches. To my surprise the tactic was actually winning games and even smashing some opponents so I decided not to switch anything and keep going until mid season in december. The first half of the season has been a huge success, we are unbeaten in the premier league and Carabao Cup and our only defeat came against Atlético Madrid. 14 victories and 5 draws for a grand total of 47 points and 50 goals scored against only 12 conceded for a first place with only Arsenal keeping up with us. This is my starting eleven, it has evolved a lot from what it started as with some players being injured or falling out of favour with me. To be fair Mata was meant to play as the Attacking midfielder but he has been injured for the last 4 months so I can't really say he has played for us. Let's talk about the tactic. In many ways the 4411 is the cutting edge of purely english football. Because the 442 is soviet in origin and Lobanovsky's interpretation of it was so superior to the english one I will argue that the 4411 is a better exponent of english football that the 442. It was introduced by Manchester United in the 90s and was the formation employed by the top tier of english football until Mourinho and Benitez arrived to the premier league and introduced the 451 Iberian systems. On paper the change is a rather simple one, the top dogs of english football changed their traditional physical Targetman for a modern technical nº10, in everything else it behaved like the english 442 of old. When it came to praxis it turned out that the two banks of four were unable to cope with the movements and flair of these new players, It took years until the correct way of defending against a nº10 became widespread in england. Cantona, Zola and Bergkamp are perhaps the finest players to play as a nº10 in an english 4411. Arsenal played a clinical style of football exploiting their pace and intelligent movement and not really dwelling on the ball as much. All my instructions are aimed at playing a direct fast style of football both when attacking and counter attacking. Play out of defence is a special case in that it seems counter productive to the way we are trying to play but I find it preferable to make the ball reach the midfield before we attempt a pass into space. I thought that without it I would see loads of long balls from De Gea and the defence. I chose the lower line of engagement to invite the teams into creating space for us behind their backs and the more narrow defending because I like compact defences. Our possession stats are terrible, we are the team with the lowest percentage of possession in the league with an abyssmal 44%. Like I said in the introduction the team is still being built, Right now De Gea, Tierney, Sancho, Pogba, Martial and Rashford are the only players who I envision playing for me when the squad is finally built. One very strange aspect of this team is Rashford. Martial is simply better at being Henry than he is but for some strange reason Martial never really played well as the striker while Rashford has scored a ridiculous 27 goals in 26 appearances including substitutions. This is why I say there is an anomaly that pollutes this whole tactic. Rashford shouldn't be that good. I some questions to ask to the more experienced players in the forum. 1. Is my tactic actually good or just a result of Super-Rashford? 2. Have you ever had a player over-perform like that? 3. Is there anything you would change in my tactic? (nonsense instructions I am somehow getting away with) 4. Is this a proper replication of the Invincibles? what would you change to make it more faithfull?
Goal: I want to explain my thought process in a way that hopefully helps some people with creating systems that get them results. But ultimately only those that want to be helped can be helped. If you're sitting there thinking that the game is rigged against you, then you'll need to change that thought. The game is not rigged. Tactics are vital. And understanding HOW the game plays out is 99% of the solution. What you do to compensate is the other 1% If you only read 1 portion of this, please read the "how I select the roles and duties" part. That is arguably the most important aspect of any system! The Idea: I was sick of playing the same 4-3-3-ish system so I wanted to change things up and do things using my own ideas. I didn't want to copy anyone, I wanted to get creative and test my own ideas. Hopefully we can work towards a system that creates QUALITY chances, presses effectively, and defends solidly. I'm not looking to create 60% possession, or the most shots on goal. Just a system that creates a lot of problems for the AI while remaining stable at the back. Bayern Munich are the team I'm playing as, simply because I like them a lot, and also because they're a fantastic "test" team for trying out tactics. Why? Because top-tier clubs generally are so good that you don't have to worry about having the right players to carry out your ideas. For example if I wanted to use a very intricate high-pressing high-possession style, I probably wouldn't be doing that with Sunderland. So using a top-tier club is a great way to test tactics. Initially my goal with bayern was to be pretty direct and aggressive. It worked well in the league, but we got destroyed in the champions league knock-out stage 2 years in a row and I was absolutely pissed about it. Tottenham knocked us out, and then Liverpool (both teams managed by Pocchettino, that bastard!) In both games we were completely inept in attack, and the lack of balance was truly exposed. So I wanted to make big changes. I hit the pre-season going into season 3, after winning 2 league titles, 2 super cups, and 2 domestic cups. It was time for big changes because I was sick of tinkering, and sick of 433. So we made some transfer moves, and settled on a system that I'm loving. The base shape is a 4-4-1-1 Asymmetric. Notice how I left out the roles/duties. I don't want you to get bogged down in all that right now. Just look at the shape. The thing I'm going for here is coverage of the pitch when we're in this shape (our defensive phase). The 4-4-1-1 defends by default in two banks of four. This is one of the most universally-agreed upon excellent defensive shapes. If you set it up right you can have it defend perfectly well against teams with more players in midfield (particularly problematic in the central areas) than you have. The idea is about controlling space. Movement-wise, I want to see a few things. I want my most forward striker to be dropping deep, pressing the other team, and linking play. I want the offset AMC to be burst forward but also help win the battle in central midfield (and partially on his flank). I need my two CM's to control the middle of the park despite not having a third teammate (nominally) with them. So I prefer to keep it simple and I expect them to act as sort of a double-pivot. The flanks are set up as wide mids and fullbacks. Why? I'm sick of using wide AM's, and I've found that with the right instructions, players from the wide-mid strata can be just as offensively effective as those in the AM strata. But, you get the added bonus of defensive stability / increased tracking back. One of the huge problems I see on here is people complaining that they're getting scored on, particularly on the counter. It's easy to see why when the majority of tactics are using either 2, 3, or even 4 players in the attacking midfield strata. (4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, etc.) What's happening is, having those wide attacking mids spaced out so far from their fullbacks causes a lot of open space to be left behind for the AI to exploit. Most teams in real life don't even play this way. Using wide-mid's is a scary good weapon to have in your arsenal. Plus, the WM role is super customizable. What more can you want? How I selected Roles / Duties I'll start from the base. And remember the goal is to create a well-balanced system with multiple points of attack, as well as a solid defensive structure. 1. SK-D with PI's to take short kicks and distribute to my CD's. This is because I have good ball players in that position, and also because a lot of teams in Germany love to use AMLR's who press the fullbacks immediately. Distributing to the CD's helps us filter the ball into our CM's, and not get caught out on the flanks. Minimizing risk is key here. 2. CD-D, BDP-C. What I've gone for here is a classic central defender who breaks up play, and then one who isn't afraid to play a risky pass, but also sits back a bit and cleans up any mistakes / through balls / 1v1's. I love this combination because it also allows us to effectively defend that crucial space in behind the CM's. One CD can set up and be aggressive without unbalancing the entire system. This helps dilute any possible numerical advantage the AI might have inbetween the lines. 3. FB-A / FB-S. This is a really simple thing. I wanted at least 1 full back to be consistently getting forward. What this does is puts the AI under pressure from a more unpredictable area. It also allows us to more effectively control the play once we've established possession in the attacking third. The other fullback will get forward too, but much in a much less risky manner. 4. DLP-D / CM-S This was the hardest thing for me to decide on. I knew I wanted to utilize a DLP-D. Bayern seem to always have phenomenal options for that role. But tactically speaking I love this set up because it allows us to have a creator/holder partnered with a runner/supporter. These guys have to be good all around players because they're only in a pair. I expect them to break up play a bit, but not TOO much. Ideally I want to see them helping defend their respective flank, but not exclusively. They need to be able to force the AI to play the ball down the flanks, where we'll have a better numerical advantage. The CM-S should provide enough forward thrust to support the attacks, while also not being overly-aggressive / roaming in a way that would expose the DLP-D. 5. WM-S / WM-S So for these guys I have special instructions. Both are set to maximum closing down. Both are told to sit narrow. The left mid cuts inside. The right mid dribbles more but doesn't cut inside. This creates sort of a false winger / false inside forward combination that is really fun to watch. I usually like to use James Rodriguez on the wide left spot, and either douglas costa or kylian mbappe on the right flank. Please note, the key instruction here is sits narrower. This is because in order for us to remain stable in midfield I wanted to give the DLP-D / CM-S as much help as possible. A lot of teams in FM attack narrowly, for whatever reason. So if you can't defend the middle, you're going to have a bad time. Both of these wide mids sitting narrow helps a lot. They're also told to close down aggressively because it's easier for us to win the ball back on the flanks than in the middle. Remember the AI has nowhere to go if you close them down against the touchline. Also note, BOTH wide mids are on support. Why? Because as I said above, I wanted to give a lot of support to those central mids, especially against narrow attacks. When we need to we can easily turn the right wide mid into attack, giving him a lot more license to get forward consistently. But you have to remember this key point: just because a player is on support doesn't mean he won't get forward and be involved in the attack! I've got supporting wide mids who have potential to outscore Lewandowski / Muller. The thing to realize is how much space there is. If a support player has space to run into, he's going to do it if it's relatively risk-free. Remember they're starting position is deeper than the typical wide attacker. They're going to find themselves (a lot of times) with plenty of space ahead of them. This creates SO many problems for teams using AMLR with regular full backs. 6. SS-A / DLF-S Initially I wanted to use a complete forward on the right, but I found that he roamed too much and we lacked enough of a central threat. So the DLF-S was the natural choice for a player who can come deep to get the ball, link play, and do so without roaming too much. The SS-A is a great role. Muller is perfect for this, I don't think there is anyone on earth better for that role. This is mostly due to his incredible mental stats! Anyway the idea here is that the SS-A will burst forward, and he'll do so slightly off-set from the main striker. It's about space! I want him to have as much space to work in as possible, while still be safely supported by his teammates. Often times he'll be the further forward. Other times he'll be quite deep helping us link play. This variety is exactly what helps create space and therefore, goal scoring chances. As I said above the DLF-S also links play, but he's a bit more of a "central" player, which is important. We still need to have someone playing a more traditional striker role towards the middle. This way we have an effective "target" for crosses, someone who can knock the ball down and hold it up. Having a good passer here helps a ton. Lewandowski isn't a great passer, but he's such a dynamic player that it works a treat. Instructions! And Mentality! And Shape! See what I did there? Zero TI's. This may change eventually, but for now, it's zero. There's no need. I'm keeping things really simple. I'll add or remove TI's as I see fit in a match. But they're completely unnecessary for creating a solid system. A lot of times they just create more problems, making it harder to diagnose problems. Besides, our style of play is defined by our roles/duties, PLAYER instructions, and shape/mentality. For mentality we went with Control. Again, this will change in matches. Not a ton, but i'll do it when appropriate. I went for control because I want to get players forward and into dangerous positions. I want us to take a decent amount of risk while also not over-committing to attacking. Control is a really cool mentality because you can get a sort of hybrid possession/counter-attack thing going. In some matches we score from the counter, and in others we score from constant controlling of the AI's final third. It's beautiful. I'll change mentality generally if we need to hold onto a result / take less risk / go down a man. I'm not afraid to use attacking, but it hasn't been needed really. Think of mentality as risk, not as a measure of likelihood to score goals. It's about risk and space! Control = more risk, more movement, more emphasis on getting forward / ahead of the ball. Control does not = more goals by default, or less defending. Shape-wise I went for Very Fluid. The idea here is I wanna be as compact as possible. The strength of a 4-4-2 variant is the two banks of four in defense. Being compact helps us fortify that shape, AND it helps us press effectively as a unit. Remember that playing very fluid also means players will use more creative freedom so, if you have poor decision makers, this might not be a good idea. I will go to a more structured shape when necessary. For example if we're down to 10 men, I'd prefer to be much more "stand off-ish" and just maintain shape. Or, if we're being pressed to death and need space, going more structured can help us spread players out further and open up more space. Everything is contextual! So does this even work? Yes. Granted, plenty of friendlies in there, but the run speaks for itself. There's a good mix here of tough away matches / decent league opponents. Here's some shots of our assist locations, and assist types: (as well as opponent assists) Remember what I said about balance? Look at those assists. We're getting contributions from ALL over the place. We're scoring from different avenues, and creating quality chances. This is the sign of a well-built system that can sustain itself in the long haul. Remember, by this point in the save, we're already 2x champions and the AI respects us. Most games we play the AI is quite defensive. So this isn't a case of "well, in two months time see where it goes." This is designed to be a system that picks apart defensive sides. The bonus is that it has seemed to work really well on the counter, too. We destroyed Dortmund by playing mostly on the counter mentality with very few shouts. Same role/duty set up. It's all about the movement and control of space! So now what? At this point I'm excited to be using this system consistently. One thing I'd like to explore is using "work ball into box" from the get-go. This would reduce unneeded long shots, and even reduce some excess crossing. Also, stay on feet might help because we're usually quite aggressive. As for roles and duties, I think that changing the right wid mid to attack is going to have to continue to be game by game basis. I'm not sure I want to do that for each match. I like how he functions by default on support. It's just that in some matches when he's on attack it creates this insanely potent flank attack. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your FM saves. If you would like to ask me questions about this system, feel free. I'll try to answer as many as I can.
Hello, I am currently in my 4th season with Tottenham. I have used a few different tactics and all have been fairly successful - but have settled on one this season which is very defensively solid - we have conceded 6 goals in 25 premier league games (and also scored 51) and sit 5 points clear at the top. However, Harry Kane - my main striker - is not scoring as much as I would like him to. I have utilised him in a few different roles but have settled on a DF (s) at the moment due to my style of play - and he's scoring at the same rate in every role I have tried (CF (s/a) and DLF (s/a)). My aim is to get him to the 20 league goals a season mark - which I haven't been able to do. Perhaps it is because I have my secondary strikers, Munir and Berahino, chipping in with 4 - 8 a season as well as Eriksen, Alli, Ziyech and Son hitting that mark too - maybe a little higher. Or maybe it simply can't be achieved whilst maintaining the defensive solidarity I currently have? Has anyone got any suggestions? I have attached his history for the record, and also the tactic and goals scored/chances created screen too. On a side note, once I have finished the season and possibly made a few tweaks to my tactic (if I can find something beneficial) I am thinking of uploading it with a bit of a write up if anyone was interested? Thanks for your time and feedback.