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As a EPL fan and a long term Gunner I'm somewhat still disappointed at how things are at Emirates so luckily we have FM 18 to take matters in our own hands, after a good first season I was ready and had the balance to get myself some quality players and start the new era in new direction... As I stated EPL has always been mine favorite league and after years and years of watching it I can tell that now the EPL is loaded with quite few tactical geniuses which each have their own tactical signature, Mourinho and his catenaccio style of low blocks, Guardiola with his pass tiki-taka, Klopp and heavy metal gegenpress, Pochettino high press attack, Sarri with his high def line and good ball retention, Emery with his inverted wingers and more, so I came do a decision to morph best qualities of few of them into one tactic, well lets say tried, others will say if it was a success so far. The main idea is high pressing which can be said is influenced by Liverpool's Klopp and his tactics which are absolutely amazing,(even OX plays fairly good under him), the second idea is to have a backup plan in same tactic which will focus on keeping the ball and creating overload in one side of pitch while other side is left fragile and exploitable, who does it better then Pep(tbh I hate the guy and his pass it pass it style, but he is atm best at utilizing halfpaces in EPL) and finally third man is Wenger, some of you might feel it weird using something from Wenger in allround system but yeah, back in days Wenger played mid-low block in his Invincibles season and it worked for him and will be mine defensive backup if the initial high press fails. The idea What's the big deal here? It's just a 451? Let's say this first, I'm a huge fan of 451 or as some may call it 41221, the simple reason is it has a player in every strata there is, it is much easier to develop young players for me in this system then in any other, you have mid 3 which have a holding player, a runner and creator, you have wide players whom are expected to run create and score, you have wing/full bakcs with different responsibilities and you have a striker, there isn't anymore I could ask for. Team instructions Now the general idea is to use 2 CM's and 3 front players to press high up the pitch, get the ball and do a quick transition which will lead into our goal, easier said then done, we all want that, the other part is mine duties, the left flank is loaded with creative duties, similar to what Sarri did in Napoli and what Pep does in each game, he creates overloads forcing opposition to step out and close down players, the goal here is to have those 3 on left flank closed down by 5 of their players before we switch the ball to other flank, it won't happen every minute, AI isn't that stupid, but it will happen often enough for me, the other side of the pitch has a BBM that roams and might join left side players in creating said overload while freeing mine STC or AMR from their marker since we will add another player into the fry, I would probably use BWM(S) instead of B2B if I haven;t had a quality allrounder like I luckily have, and last part of the overload puzzle is mine DMC, the DMC has DLP role which will make him recycle possession by simply offering mine team a back pass solution when they fail in their intention, also DLP is further away from goal and has a good sight over whole field so he can make that 2nd pass toward other side of the pitch to create an opening for mine RB or AMR, usually DLP will do 2nd passes to RB/AMR who will run in 16m box and then provide assist for STC/AML/Mezzala. The 2nd line of defense is mine other 5 infield players DLP and back 4, they won't be so forcefull in trying to get the ball, they will stand ground and wait for opposition to arrive to them, this makes it easier to defend against pacey wingers since high press will make opposing players hoof the ball 90% of time where you have 5 players who are just waiting to recycle it. That is the general idea, I do make some changes according to match scenes, ie look for overlap shout, if a side is heavily shut in and wants me to attack it and exploit me on counters i will take them on their offer, overlap shout will make mine Wingbacks go further up the pitch and create havoc in wide areas and supllying crosses in penalty box, I also told mine players to try for whipped crosses since I don't quite have any Vanyamas and Girouds who are supposed to join attack, true SMS and Matic are quite tall in FM standards and Lacazette and iwobi aren't to be joked with either but I feel the forwards pace and anticipation is way better weapon for mine players then their height. Mine mid 3 is quite different from most mid trios I've seen over the years in football, the reason behind this is I need a mid 3 that are abble to create, score(CM's) and tackle so I need allrounders, slotting Xavi at his prime in MEzzala or DLP role would spell disaster on multiple levels, same as sloting iniesta in any of mid roles, but being as I am a weird manager with weird ideas i do have that role on the pitch, a pacey agile good balanced dribbler who can assist, that sort of player will always find a place in mine team and that is mine wide playmaker. The whole idea here is to have a team with good decisions, anticipation, workrate and teamwork in addition with good physical stats, each of mine players needs some balance and pace i expect them to close down aggressively and sustain that style of play for 90 minutes. Beauty of tactics so far for me has been when teams open themselves up and try to score one for themselves, then its heavy metal time, press them and retrieve ball in their own half with 3 players almost constantly being forward and sometimes even 4 since Mezzala has a high starting position so when press starts its sometimes 424 formation in their transition phase, with that kind of pressing most teams are forced to clear the ball long and hope it will get to their Diouf style striker who will be disposed. In mine back 4 I have BPD role, this role is there to initiate counter attacks with through balls after the opposition comes near mine def line, so if mine high press fails, and opposition gets to besiege me, this fella will eventually get the ball and try to find either mine RB, AMR, STC, AML or he will try to fin some space for MC's and give them opportunity to orchestrate attacks. OI's OI's are fairly simple as they are there just to prevent buildup from back and force mine front 5 into closing down opposition in their own half. When did I struggle? i struggled heavily vs Conte, his 3511 with diamond mid and 2 WB's gave me hell until I decided to switch mine DM from DLP to BWM(D), the reason I opted for such an option was to try and win that midfield battle, the outnumbered me there, but I had confidence that mine flat 4 will whistand siege from the remaining playerrs which weren't closed down by mine 6 players, simple math was he has 3CB's and 1 DM who aren't gonna join in attack, if I commit 6 players to close down his 6 players and leave 4 of them in a simple wall i still have the advantage, and guess what? It worked, Chelsea got rekt on Stamford bridge Some might say who destroyed whom? They had more shots on goal then you did? So lets analyze the shots Chelsea shots from inside the box: Morata: 2 of which 1 from corner Hazard: 2 from decent positions Guerriro(WBL): 1 from wide position Their CB's combined: 2 from corners, headers from 10 or so meters Arsenal shots: Lacazzete: 2 from 5 meters both goals since goal was open 1 blocked Ramsey: 1 from 5 meters again on open goal Lingard 1 missed HC Decide for yourselves which chances would you prefer for your team. Conclusion so far i'm having a blast. I'm still tempted to try and provide different role to Mezzala but i simply can't get away from the role since its superb, i initiatively wanted to go from RPM but he doesn't overlap and surges into attacking area as often as mezzala does and he would/t be able to press as high as mezzala, 2 AP's on same side isn't ideal for me so I wrote that one off, I still change a role or 2 depending on opposition, like a Chelsea game for example, or a game vs weaker sides where mine RB gets the full attention he needs with CWB(s) so he can surge forward from get go, CF to support role so that he holds on ball and comes more into midfield to link with CM's and AP leaving space for IF to exploit, it all depends on matches but most of time its jsut a simple mentality change to counter with retain possession WBIB play out of defence in matches I want to close out and simply rest mine players, most the time I have the luxury of playing lower intensity in final quarter of the game so mine players don't get taht much fatigued... Some player screens from current season: Some of you might feel mine squad could be better, i opted for Woodburn and Lingard since those 2 are perhaps the future of Wales and English football and I want to give poor guys a chance, Matic and SMS are mine fellow countryman so that's a no brainer, Alexandr Trent is world class for me personally, although I'm a gunner Bellerin is simply like a blindfolded bullet train and I wanted someone with more "mentals" and techical cappability, Monreal was too defensive thus Josh Tymon gets the chance, do I even need to explain why Elnenny, Xhaka, Aubameyang, Welbeck and Ozil got sold? either you work or you play for Man City and finish 5th, yes Aubame i'm talking to you, current squad isn't full of depth but i hope they will manage to provide wihtout too many injuries and get some additions in Winter break along the way. I'm satisfied with forward players tho I'm thinking of adding in a young prospect for Wing positions so he can replace Mkhitaryan, 30 years offensive player isn't in mine book unless he is Luca Toni at least. Cheers fellow managers and I hope you find this helpful and give me more ideas to improve mine current idea.
In my Real Madrid save I wanted to create a system that achieved the following: High defensive line, with offside trap and quite narrow for high possession; Intense pressing from front line, semi-intense from midfielders/full backs and not so much from CB's; Tackle hard to try to win the ball back as quickly as possible; To keep the ball as mentioned, but as soon as gaps emerge to attack the opponents quickly; A fluid front 3/4 to confuse the opposition defence and draw them out of positions, to create the aforementioned 'gaps'. So far the results have been largely mixed: The game against Manchester United we were admittedly unlucky because we dominated the play and just struggled to find that killer final ball; and this is a common problem I feel. The first leg away to Barcelona shouldn't be considered because we played a different, more conservative, system, however in the home leg we played my system. We were 1-0 down at half time and with a kick up the backsides we managed to dominate the second half. Now the problems emerge: against Valencia we really, really struggled to break them down and, similarly to the game against Manchester United, couldn't find that final killer ball and couldn't really stamp our authority on the game in regards to possession. We only achieved 51% possession in this game. The game against Girona which, on paper, should have been domination, was so, so, so poor. The first half we lost 1-0 and created NOTHING and that isn't hyperbole. Again the same problem occurred: we couldn't dominate the ball and couldn't find that killer pass in the final third. We only drew 1-1 due to a Sergio Ramos header after putting 6 men up front, overload, and go route one. We should have lost that game. Finally, the game against Bilbao was better, but not as dominant as we should be. The system: I have very few Team Instructions because I feel the attacking mentality achieves a lot of what I want to by default. Player instructions: GK: Distribute to CB's; RB: Shoot less often; CB's: Shoot less often; Close down less LB: Shoot less often; RCM: -- LCM: -- RW: Close down more; Mark tighter; Roam from position CAM: Get further forward, Close down more, Mark tighter; Shoot less often LW: Close down more; Mark tighter; Roam from position ST: Close down more; Mark tighter; Roam from position Any help or two cents anybody can offer would be much appreciated. I don't often write on these forums because I like to figure stuff out for myself but I have really struggled tactically with FM18 to replicate the play style I want to achieve within the game. If any further questions are needed, just ask
I'd like to start a discussion about during match changes with certain tactics that I use depending on tactic AI lines up. Beside winning matches mine other goal is to create overloads and to unlock the golden zone and get most assists and defense unlock passes from there, which is contrary to long ball assists, crosses are fine since I scored a good amount of goals from crosses whcih were created by actually exploiting golden zone and making that runner free to do his thing, also transitional attacks which occur from time to time are also fine, but main goal for me is possession and goals with sturdy defense. Mine first tactic which I made from scratch by reading Lines and diamonds, reading Cleon's stuff about art of possession, and listening to Rashidi's YT channel is 41221, I'm quite proud of mine achievements with that tactic, I went unbeaten for a season with 2 draws and in second season I managed to win all of the games, but I noticed I struggled vs certain formations 4231, 4141(not all the time, tore RM in finals and they used 4141), 4132, these tactics posed quite a challenge on mine team and I had to really really micro manage team to get a wing from those, especially vs Man City 4231, now I could've camped and countered them, I have players for that, but I want to win using certain system. The system: https://ibb.co/ccCpFb basically this is mine system with minor PI's like ones for high block, medium block, dribble less for DM , Shoot less often for RB/LB and both MC's, sit narrower for AMR so he draws LB for WB(A) to run into space and GK distribution PI's During games I used TI's to adapt to certain treats and to exploit oppositions weakness, for example, droping D-line to normal vs Utd, passing into space, roaming from position TI's and changing RB role to WB(S) to counter Martia threat (utd played high press 41221 with def line standing off) so to avoid that high press I used roam, to exploit space they left I passed into space, and because I feared of Rashford Martial combo pace I went with normal D-line instead of slightly higher vs 442 I went with slightly deeper D-line, much wider, lower tempo shorter passing and patiently dragged their defense around the pitch until mine players found a hole in defense(IMO 442 is weakest formation vs good 41221) during matches I made changes to counter all sorts of threats and I can say game is really amusing when AI gets serious(like Pochetino for example) the highest threats I faced were 4231's and 4141's, Bayern gave me trouble with 2nd ECL game since they used 4141, I won in the end, but they choose to stand off and to wait for a chance to counter me, 4231's game lots of trouble to control midfield and exploit half spaces at same time, worst game of the season(game said so) was vs west Hams 4231 which used target man, I barely scraped trough them by going lower tempo shorter passing retain possession, roam from position and dropping deep, I basically lured them to me and forced them to close me down eventually which they did and I managed to score 2 times, city did different style of 4231 relying on creativity which was imo worst game, if I'm to be realistic that's only game in season I should have lost since they almost outsmarted min side, they had 2 CCC's which I think no one else had unless I had like 6, and that made me worry, in truth I could possibly change RPM(S) to CM(S) and use strong type mid to cover the ball and use him as secondary pivot in mid for higher up the pitch possession recycling, but I had a different idea. Idea: https://ibb.co/cUnjgG This is specific idea to counter 4231's Wide, I know 442 or any other 2 striker formation would work the best, problem is I don't have the players for 442 and I feel I can do mine style of play(which I described) better with 4231 Narrow, so that's why I made decision to use 4231 narrow, but min concern is it set correctly? Idea is that RB provides width and AM(S) opens space for him while CM(D) covers his runs, AP(S) should be able to work with them since he is positioned central, on other side WB(S) will bomb forward but not that often and Idea is that AM(A)(AMCL) uses the overload on right to find space which can lead him to goal scoring position, DLF(A) also has same goal as AM(A) but isn't involved as much in build up play as AM(A), so basically right side creates space for left side which scores, as how it will help me battle 4231 Wide? Well idea is to nullify their AML, AMC and AMR positions by passing trough middle and pressing their whole back side and exploiting the fact that they have only 2 CB(S) without proper DMC cover(I'm also considering dropping MC to DM strata and using HB RGA combo and changing wide AMCR and AMCL to playamker roles while switching AMC to AM(A)). So I want to hear opinions from other players about this idea of mine. https://ibb.co/bKgkMG Version with RGA idea 2nd Idea: the other idea is the one to break down 4141's and the formation which I'm considering to use is 4231 Wide, the reason for using these 3 formations is specifically min player choice, with these 3 formations I have the possibility of countering most of in game formations and mine players on the pitch can play those roles so it is easy for me to switch between formations and get that upper hand over basic formation setup. https://ibb.co/bXM8ab That's basically it, I'm confident in mine 41221 and I know with mine squad and quality in players I can out turn most formations, but after learning how mine 41221 works I want another challenge with 2 new formations for mine team. PS. I tried 4231 narrow with 2 MC's in setup versus Porto in friendly and we won it, but I'd like to hear 2nd opinion. Porto PKM: Arsenal v FCP 4231Narrow.pkm cheers and thanks for reading