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lucatonix

Creating a Triple Pivot System

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I have always admired the fluid midfield system of Arsenal and Barcelona. On the latest patch I have set about trying to emulate to some extent the triple pivot that Arsenal use to great effect in their 3 man midfield. Arsenal, although can become a little static, narrow and thus unproductive, usually play exciting quick passing, to unhinge defences and the 3 man midfield creates this style of play. It is the structure of the 2-1 midfield which is kept but positional fluidity that is very dangerous and allows their players to have more time on the ball and also creates space for the attacking wingers.

Arsenal's The Triple Pivot System

passing_triangles_medium.jpg

This season it is clear that Fabregas holds the AMC position with Wilshere and Song behind him in MC positions. Now although these are their starting positions, Cesc is clearly given freedom to roam inbetween the lines, come deep, attack the box and move where ever he likes.

Wilshere is in the MCl position and although normally staying deep and dictating play, sometimes moves forward into the AMC position when Cesc comes deep, or to come alongside Cesc to be an extra creative threat. He is intelligent enough to pick when to move forward, although normally in reaction to the AMC coming deep. This allows him to be a 'hidden' playmaker because it is difficult for a defence to watch for both an advanced and a deep player who are both capable of defence splitting balls. When Wilshere surges into space into the vacant AMC position, the opposition marker is usually on Fabregas due to him coming deep, therefore he has time to hit a through ball to anyone of 3 ahead of him.

The MCr position is quite complicated. He carries quite a bit of responsibility to cover for the attacking wing back and to move into the AMC position when the other two are deep. Song, naturally a defensive midfielder, takes the covering role quite well and has grown used to moving forwards as well (however Diaby is still much better at this part of the role). In my opinion Song is much more defensive than Wilshere in both his passing distribution and in getting forward, however he does still get forward.

Translating this into Football Manager

I would say that firstly the formation is very important. I always remind myself that the starting position on the tactics screen doesn't always reflect the attacking and defensive positions on the pitch. It is for this reason that my formation looks like this:

Formation and Team Instructions

There is nothing special about my team instructions really. It is very fluid with lots of creative freedom and roaming to encourage my team to have positional fluidity. Although I think the most important aspect of creating a truly fluid tactic is the mentality, or more specifically the starting strategy. It is standard for a reason: I want numerous players to have forward runs without losing a 2-1 or a 1-2 structure. The way to do this is to reduce mentality so they are less aggressive with their forward runs and thus weigh the risk of losing the ball more highly than with a higher mentality.

To try to explain this better, the definition of mentality in the football manager 11 online manual is:

Mentality directly affects a player’s position on the field. His set position on the tactical pitch display is where he will line up as a base default, but depending on the mentality set he may be more restrained or cavalier in his approach. The slider ranges from Ultra Defensive to All Out Attacking. The further right the slider is set for the team instruction, the more aggressive your players will play positionally and more ambitious they may be when passing the ball.

This means with a higher mentality the player will be more aggressive with his forward runs and look to get forward at the expense of when losing the ball, the CBs will be exposed. Also a lower mentality means less ambitious balls which can reduce the silly through balls through a mine field of legs. Don't worry about a player being too passive, if they see a passing opportunity and it has a reasonable chance of being successful and the risk of a counter is quite small he will try the pass.

Song's Role

arsenalarsenaltactics4.png

You may be wondering why Song is positioned in the DMC position but this is to increase the weighting of covering and defensive responsibilities before making his forward run. I want him to still make these runs forward though. His forward runs is often, rather than mixed to make him step up into the DMC/MC position when with the ball and to encourage him to make surging runs into the box. He has super high creative freedom so he has freedom over whether to run forward or to stay back, but the normal mentality means he is conscious of leaving his CBs exposed. This means he only makes a run forward when there is space ahead in the AMC position or if he sees a move unfolding and he could get on the end of it.With these instructions I have seen Song surge forward with or without the ball, and I have had a few CCCs where he has made a determined run and received the ball in the penalty area. He does still adhere to his defensive responsibilities, by staying deep and covering for a CB or WB.

Another advantage of having him in the DM position is for keeping possession. Song is happy to come deep and be played the ball from the back four. Like Busquets for Barcelona, he is often the one who starts of the moves and recycles possession. Not only does he do this but he actively gets involved in the build up play rather than just sitting infront of the CBs.

This hybrid role means that Song has so many responsibilities and is thus our most important player in the midfield trio, since he start attacks, and is responsible for keeping defensive stability.

Wilshere's Role

arsenalarsenaltactics5.png

I have played Wilshere as an advanced playmaker rather than deep lying to encourage him to move into the AMC position. However, his normal mentality means he only does so when their is space. He doesn't crowd himself out amongst the opposition and is happy to stay deep or move forward. I don't have him swapping position with Fabregas because I don't want him to play at MC for 10 minutes then at AMC for 5 minutes. I want the movements into the AMC position to be spontaneous to drag players out of position. He has high creative freedom to allow him to use his intelligence to move wider or forward and do what he likes as long as it is within my formation structure.

Fabregas' Role

arsenalarsenaltactics6.png

He is the soul of the team and dictates the play. He often comes deep and can be the deepest player or the most advanced player moving beyond the ST. He is happy to do what he wants. Being a Trequartista, he has the freedom to drift forward, deep, sideways, wherever there's space. This is the second most important player in the midfield trio after Song, since he dictates the movement of others. Most of the fluidity in the midfield triple pivot is in reaction to Fabregas' movement. When he comes deep, someone needs to fill his space at AMC. When he move wide, the striker can move to AMC and the winger can move inside to ST. This is a nightmare for a defense especially, one with only 2 central midfielders. Once again the most important instruction given to him is his mentality. Being normal, he is happy to come deep and drift around, but when he is deep, he waits and picks a moment to move back to AMC. He is equally happy to replace Song at MCr and take over his defensive duties as he is happy to move to AML.

Eden Hazard and Nasri both excel in this role, although Hazard is more aggressive and looks to come deep pick up the ball and get into the box rather let others, move into his position.

Conclusion

I really cannot stress the importance of a normal mentality in not only keeping possession but positional fluidity enough. Even though I have no players set to swap position they still do so regularly in a match. So to create such a triple pivot, you need:

  1. An out and out intelligent playmaker with very good off the ball skill to take the Trequartista role. He drags players out of position and thus creates the positional fluidity.
  2. A very good defensive DM who is also decent offensively (ie creative and can pass). He must have good mentals to decide whether to go forward or you can find yourself very weak defensively on the counter especially with when using wing backs.
  3. A low mentality structure so players don't feel to inclined to get forward and attack the box. There is no need to have all your players attacking the box but with a high mentality that is what you are telling your team to do. With a normal mentality you are saying attack the box when there is a good opportunity.
  4. Finally lots of creative freedom and roaming to allow your midfield to find space, drag opposition players around and create havoc.

EDIT: Here is the tactic for those of you who would like to try it out:

http://www.gamefront.com/files/20160312/Arsenal+4-2-3-1+%28Arsenal%2C+Apr+2011%29.tac

http://rapidshare.com/files/454474000/Arsenal_4-2-3-1__Arsenal__Apr_2011_.tac

And the tactic thread:

A Fluid 4-2-3-1: Inspired By Arsenal's Midfield Pivot

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A quality post, nicely written too :)

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Thank you. It only occurred to me recently when I was playing with Villarreal how important mentality is. This was because when I played a 4-4-2 with advanced wingers my MCs were both deep lying playmakers. This meant that they never went forward on control strategy. However on attacking or overload, I often saw on highlights that they did make surges into the box. I thought to myself what had changed. The forward runs was still rarely, and they had minimal amounts more creative freedom, so by process of elimination I worked out it had to be mentality. With high mentality my MCs were much more aggressive and made surges forward into the box and got a few goals when chasing the game.

I didn't really think much of it until I wanted to create a triple pivot. I was thinking how to make my players make forward runs but not all at the same time. I then remembered these occasions with my MCs at Villarreal, where they surged forward on high mentality and I assumed that if it worked one way, it should work in the opposite way. So this led to experimentation on a lower mentality structure.

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If there is enough interest I will post screenshots of evidence showing the in match positional fluidity.

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Well I won't have enough time to do any in depth analysis until tomorrow probably but I am more than happy to answer any questions, or queries about the workings of the midfield pivot or my tactic in general.

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Isn't it way more effective to make Song a CM - defend and Wilshere a CM - support/attack or even a B2B midfielder? Maybe use the "swap position" tool with fabregas. Doesn't the staggered midfield affect the defensive shape of your team?

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The reason I used Song as a DM was so he would put more emphasis on his defensive positioning in during possession. You might be surprised that since everyone has the same mentality that the staggering effect is quite small. At times he is a little too deep but it is worth it for improved possession and positioning during attacks. Generally the team defends like so:

AML--AMC--AMR

-----MC--DM

DL--DC--DC--DR

I have already stated that I didn't want to use the swap position tool because rather than having spontaneous position swapping, possibly multiple times in one attack, they would swap position for 5-10 minutes, which is not the desired effect. Ticking the swap position tool would only slightly increase the swapping of position but it would mean that I would have a defensively weak player at MCl and would cause more harm than good.

As for using a CM - support/attack or a box to box midfielder for Wilshere, I am not entirely sure what the advantage would be. The roles CM support, B2B and advanced playmaker support (which it is currently) are all pretty similar and any difference would make minimal differnce.

CM support only decreases creative freedom and increases long shots. Neither are beneficial.

B2B decreases through balls and increases long shots. Again not really beneficial.

CM attack is far too attacking. He would have forward runs often which would mean getting forward and losing the 2-1 midfield shape at the wrong time. This could result in needless losses of possession and a loss of passing options. This would theoretically force the AMC deep to keep the formation structure intact/to find space. Also long shots would be increased to mixed - not that beneficial. Also marking changes from man tight to zonal loose. This could mean that the opposition midfielders can have too much time on the ball, and with a highly pressing tactic, could cause the opposition to pass around the player exposing the left centre back.

So no it probably wouldn't be more effective.

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i'm using your 3 man pivot to great effect with my current man utd side just wondering how best to get my aml/r best involved with the play?at the moment they are set as inside forwards and cutting inside.by doing that will they clog up the middle?

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I use inside forwards on attack with Arsenal and no they shouldn't. As long as your players are used to each other and the system they should space themselves out. I would say make sure roaming is ticked and that your wingers are fairly/reasonably comfortable at going down the wing. This should make your wingers drift to where the space is and hopefully run behind the FB or CB for some one on ones.

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Good opening post. Good work and analysis

We've had the current tactics creator for about 2 incarnations of FM now, and it never ceases to amaze me how much the community are still getting out of it. Little nuggets of info and tips galore.

I remember when in a Rangers game I had an attacking left full-back with monster Crossing ability, that I just wanted to bomb forwards overlapping the midfield, while making the midfielder drop back to cover his position.

The joy I got when I finally worked out what I was doing, and saw it in action on the ME was brilliant!

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I use inside forwards on attack with Arsenal and no they shouldn't. As long as your players are used to each other and the system they should space themselves out. I would say make sure roaming is ticked and that your wingers are fairly/reasonably comfortable at going down the wing. This should make your wingers drift to where the space is and hopefully run behind the FB or CB for some one on ones.

Would you also give your insie forwards normal mentality so that they combine with team. I am also playing as arsenal and using wingbacks, Sagna is set to support and Clichy set to automatic. I have not changed their mentality on the Tactic creator - should i also set them to normal

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Great post! Would like to hear more!

I've never quite understood fully how the mentality and creative freedom work, I'd usually put both the mentality and creative feedom higher for attacking players and lower for defensive players, maybe this is why i never get my teams to play how i really want.

I would be interested in seeing how you have the rest of your team set up and what results you have been achieving with this setup?

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i'm using your 3 man pivot to great effect with my current man utd side just wondering how best to get my aml/r best involved with the play?at the moment they are set as inside forwards and cutting inside.by doing that will they clog up the middle?

On second thoughts, I have decided that it doesn't really matter too much whether they cut inside or not. However, if they don't you need some aerial presence in the box.

Would you also give your insie forwards normal mentality so that they combine with team. I am also playing as arsenal and using wingbacks, Sagna is set to support and Clichy set to automatic. I have not changed their mentality on the Tactic creator - should i also set them to normal

I have not changed the mentality of anyone on my team, so in other words, everyone has normal mentality. It helps because it means the wingers come deep, and push forward. It also means that everyone is rather fluid positionally, since no one has the urge to always make a run forward, which could happen on a high mentality.

It is up to you whether to set them to normal. If you want them always attempting to run past their man and be more advanced than the ST then a higher mentality should work well. If not and you wish them to come deep, then move forward. Some times cut inside but generally roam on the wing and sometimes be on the end ball and at other times giving the final pass then a lower mentality is the way to go.

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Great post! Would like to hear more!

I've never quite understood fully how the mentality and creative freedom work, I'd usually put both the mentality and creative feedom higher for attacking players and lower for defensive players, maybe this is why i never get my teams to play how i really want.

I would be interested in seeing how you have the rest of your team set up and what results you have been achieving with this setup?

Firstly, if you don't quite understand how mentality and creative freedom work, I suggest reading the FM 11 online manual which is stickied at the top of this forum. Also for understanding a little more about flairy, fluid football I would suggest reading these two threads by SFraser:

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/220742-Creativity-and-Flair

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/229538-Modern-Tactical-Concepts-Do-They-Work-in-FM

To answer your question, it depends on how you want your team to play. If you wish for quick direct football, then a double or triple pivot isn't really for you. Mentality and Creative Freedom wise, I would say that don't get confused into thinking that they should be proportionate to where they play on the field because even if a DM and an AM have the same mentality and Creative Freedom, the AM will play more flairy football and will be more aggressive/attacking with his passing and positioning than the DM.

I think of mentality nowadays as a tool to get your players to carry out the rest of your instructions in a certain way. So a CMd and a CMa may both have through balls often but the CMa could have a higher mentality so looks to make more killer passes.

As for how my team have been doing, I am currently unbeaten in the league with 78 goals after 28 matches, yet my top scorer in the league only has 15 goals (showing how the whole team contributes to goal scoring, due to positional fluidity.

I lost to Barnsley in the League Cup quarter final, although deserved to win that match.

I have a 6th round tie against Wolves coming up in the FA Cup.

In the Champions Cup I am in the 1st knockout round against Bayern Munich. In the away leg we drew 2-2.

An update with screenshot examples of positional fluidity will be coming later tonight.

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Positional Fluidity

The following screenshots over the next few posts should show Arsenal's fluidity created by the tactics.

MCl - Ramsey

Against Everton, Ramsey was playing in the MCl position was being marked tightly by Fellaini. Since Everton were playing with a 3 man midfield they could mark tightly without giving up too much space in the centre. Normally if your playmakers are man-marked they can struggle to make an impact. This is where a pivot system works well. The constant moving around of players means that if a player loses his marker for just a second, it can result in a goal scoring opportunity.

evertonvarsenalclassicp.png

In the first screenshot, Ramsey has moved up alongside the AMC, making the midfield a 1-2 rather than 2-1. Notice that this run has got him on the blind side of Fellaini, so we now have a numerical advantage on this side of the pitch.

evertonvarsenalclassicp.png

When Mata comes deep to receive the ball, he draws out the Everton RB, giving Ramsey and Chamakh a huge amount of space to exploit. Ramsey is completely unmarked and is now in the AMC position.

evertonvarsenalclassicp.png

Mata quickly plays the ball to Chamakh, so the Everton defence cannot shuffle across to cover for Ramsey. Also notice the positioning of my other two midfielders. They have stayed deep maintaining the 2-1 base of our midfield.

evertonvarsenalclassicp.png

When Ramsey receives the ball he is the furthest man forward and is unmarked. This quick move came about because of 1/2 touch passing but more importantly a fluid intelligent run by Ramsey.

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DMr - Denilson

These series of screenshots will show that the DM will also get forward if the opportunity arises.

evertonvarsenalclassicp.png

Once again Clichy receives the ball. He has time and space and no less than 4 passing options.

evertonvarsenalclassicp.png

Mata, again receives the ball in a deep position drawing out the RB. Both the MCl and AMC roam to give him a passing option. They are a little close to each other for my liking but they are not used to playing together (due to a Fabregas injury), so some positional mistakes are to be expected. However, back to the point: Denilson in the DM position is still covering the midfield and has made no intention of getting forward.

evertonvarsenalclassicp.png

It is when Ramsey receives the ball, that a massive hole appears infront of the back four, due to Fellaini being drawn out of position by Ramsey. Denilson can be seen sprinting forward to fill the gap whilst play continues on the left flank.

evertonvarsenalclassicp.png

When the ball makes its way over to the middle, Denilson has moved into the AMC position and is in a dangerous position inbetween the lines, whilst Hazard and Ramsey have taken deeper positions: forming the 2-1 midfield base. What is such a large advantage is that there is not really anyone who is in a position to pick up Denilson quickly. If a CB closes him down then Chamakh or a winger can be put through on goal. If the Everton MCl closes him down then, they become awfully narrow and Sagna and the right winger can be unleashed down the right hand side. The position swap has caused Everton a dilemma which cannot be solved. Luckily for them, Denilson misplaces his pass to the AML, and Everton are let off the hook.

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DMr - Busquets

Here we will see another example of a midfielder getting into the box. This time it will be the DM.

fcbayernvarsenalclassic.png

Nasri picks up the ball in a fairly dangerous position but cannot make the most of the situation due to some good defending. The midfield is very much a 2-1 shape with everyone is their starting positions.

fcbayernvarsenalclassic.png

The ball breaks to Mata on the left wing, and Nasri moves deep creating a large hole in the Bayern defense just infront of the two CBs. You can see how Nasri has come deep, since the midfield is now in a flat line.

fcbayernvarsenalclassic.png

When the ball comes back towards the middle, Busquets has cleverly moved into the AMC position. The Bayern midfielder who has moved across should cover Busquets' run but fails to. Van Persie has moved wide dragging the CB out of the way thus leaving Busquets a clear path on goal.

fcbayernvarsenalclassic.png

Nasri plays the ball into Busquets, who is through on goal, but hits the post.

This example concludes the positional fluidity evidence section and next will be dealing with certain opposition, using my wins against Chelsea as an example. If anyone would like to have more information about a part of my tactic or my philosophy then feel free to ask in the thread.

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mata always seems to drop deep to receive the ball is this a ppm or mixed rfd?i like how he pulls the right back out of position.

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No his only PPMs are gets into opposition area, moves into channels and tries first time shots. He has run from deep often as well. I believe that is a normal mentality, combined with roaming ticked and a high creative freedom that means he likes to come deep then spin his marker for pace perhaps. I'm sure the normal mentality makes him less aggressive with his forward runs which is probably part of the reason.

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Have you made any amends to your fullbacks or centre halves?

I've been using a 4-4-2 diamond, fluid and standard in a similar vein to you, with a deep lying playmaker with little freedom to roam but total freedom to make any pass. I have two more athletic free running midfielders in front to offer width in attack/pressing in defence and a futher central attacking mid who bombs into the box, as my 2 forwards are allowed to roam aots to mess the opposing defence. Its beautiful to watch going forwards, lots of patient play and ruthless passing/pressing, but my full backs tire quite rapidly and my centrebacks are prone to elementary mistakes due to the speed at which the oppo break on us.

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Well I use Clichy as a wing back support but with all player instructions (rfd, cross ball etc...) on mixed, but long shots on rarely. Sagna is wing back attack with cross ball mixed. Generally they are ok for fitness, but the RB can sometimes get tired having to work the right flank. I think the issue for you is that your FBs have to work the flanks alone. Although the midfielders may roam to the wings sometimes, the FBs have a lot more ground to cover, since they have to provide width in your attack and defend the flanks alone with little support.

The only way I can think of solving your problems is to either change formation to use wingers, when the game is won to save some energy; or you could try to find full backs with higher stamina, and reduce their forward runs when you are leading and don't need to push on for another goal. This should let them conserve some energy.

As for conceding on the counter, reducing full backs run from deep could help. You do need quick CBs or CBs with very good mental attributes (such as composure, concentration, anticipation, positioning) so they can deal with these threats. So the perfect partnership would be Terry and Chielleni, for example since they have world class mental attributes, and Chiellini is quick.

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i.m finding this pivot system to be fantastic,although 2 things can sometimes happen,1)the dm will sometimes receive the ball and will be isolated as we have 1-2 and he has minimal passing outlets and2) my wingbacks will always try and play a ball down the flanks even if he has the dm free to pass to.other than that great interchanging and passing,the goals are spread across the team(no super striker getting 40-50 goals).i also have counter attack enabled which is beautiful to watch,the opposition will try to find a pass through to the strikers but an interception or block tackle initiates a counter attack.ccc's have doubled per game with on average 3-7 chances.

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I don't think the first problem can really be solved. With me the DM gets quite a lot of passes and he can normally pick out a pass forward or to the RB. You should check whether your other two midfielders have the ppm gets forward whenever possible. This could leave the DM isolated.

As for your FBs passing down the wing, I don't know if there is a way to stop it, but I find it has no disadvantage since the winger will pass inside if he cannot run forwards.

Glad to hear it is working for you.

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Really interesting post, and this sort of thing is something that I've tried very hard to get right. Those screenshots are really impressive stuff, but I must say that I have a couple of questions. One of my main problems with FM is the difficulties with getting a system like this to work.You can't do what a real manager would - give an instruction along the lines of "I want a 2-1 defence at all times when we are without the ball, and a 1-2 when we have it, but I don't mind who's the 1 and who's the 2". Or just, I want both of my sitting midfielders to be potentially making runs forward (so you're not getting the same side of your midfield attacking all the time and having predictable symmetry - a big part of Germany's tactic in the summer was that the holding midfielder could support an attack down his side of the pitch whilst the other sat back) but one of them should stay put whilst the other goes. This might be possible to do with a swap role or instruction option, but at the minute, it seemed to me that there was no obvious way of recreating that sort of fluid double pivot, as played by Wilshere/Song, Schweinsteiger/Khedira or Alonso/Khedira. (They're all pretty similar imo and are really how I want my midfields to work, a deep lying playmaker on the left who can get forward, a deep ball winner alongside him who can get forward and a roaming Trequartista ahead of them).

So anyway, I'm greatly interested to see whether your approach to basically the same thing has worked, and I must say, low mentalities combined with high creative freedom to make their own decisions seems like a really good way to do it, and I suppose a lot of it depends on the Decisions stats of the midfielders you use - deciding when to go and when to stay. My question for you, is whether you ever get defensively caught out with all of your midfielders breaking forwards at once or does the mentality stat really prevent this happening at ALL times, pretty much? I ask, as I was really impressed by the shots of your midfielders covering for each other whilst the others got forwards, but in the Bayern screenshots, their AM looks like he has the potential to cause havoc between the lines if you lose the ball (I appreciate that he's probably just not tracking you back, and your midfielders should be ahead of him on the ball).

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Well I think the way to create a double pivot would be to use a similar system with mixed run from deep and a low mentality. If you are recreating Germanys tactic then the double pivot is from the DM position.

As for the being caught on the break, it doesn't happen normally. Sometimes we are caught out when the DM goes forward but not often. We are almost never caught out against a 2 man midfield (CMs). It happens sometimes when playing against a 3 man midfield but more often when the opposition play with an AM, not very often when they play with a DM. However I change my midfield against 442 diamond or I get overrun.

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how do you change your midfield?i find that teams dont overcommit against my team.they,re to preoccupied with stopping me.

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Well I have only changed my midfield against chelsea at stamford bridge. This was because I knew they would be quite attacking, and with a man extra in midfield they could nullify my fluidity by closing us down without large holes appearing in the centre. Instead the gaps will appear in the wings. To exploit this I made my DM make less runs from deep. Then I change to an attacking strategy rather than standard. The aim is to drag their defence into wide positions, tire out the defense with swift attacks and hopefully score in the counter attack.

I shall explain with screenshots, especially since coincidentally this was my next topic for this thread.

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I give 'triple pivot system' a try and use it in pre-season games. Even more than results ( home wins with Barcelona 3-1, Man Utd 4-1, Chelsea 3-0) I've enjoyed watching how my players passing and creating chances.

I'm very interested what shouts you are using in certain match situations.

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i am finding towards the end of my current season the opposition is starting to exploit the space left when the dm leaves his position.

@lucatonix do you focus your passing through the middle?

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i am finding towards the end of my current season the opposition is starting to exploit the space left when the dm leaves his position.

@lucatonix do you focus your passing through the middle?

No I don't set passing to through the middle. I'm still in my first season using this tactic with Arsenal, but I haven't really had this problem. You could try decreasing the DMs run from deep to mixed.

I give 'triple pivot system' a try and use it in pre-season games. Even more than results ( home wins with Barcelona 3-1, Man Utd 4-1, Chelsea 3-0) I've enjoyed watching how my players passing and creating chances.

I'm very interested what shouts you are using in certain match situations

I'm happy that you are liking the results. I generally don't have preset shouts for situations ingame. Generally I do what seems sensible, so if I see the middle getting crowded, I may say play wider for example. I might say push up if they have very little pace with their attackers and drop deep for vice versa but it really depends on what has happened ingame.

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Beating Chelsea With a Triple Pivot

This is a very difficult thing to do, mainly because Chelsea have a very hardworking midfield and really do have strength in numbers thanks to their 442 diamond formation. This means that our normal pivot system will struggle due to Chelsea's extra man being able to cover for any players being able to be dragged out of position.

At Home

At home I felt that my team would be able to play their normal game to an extent, but I knew that my full backs and wingers would be utilized a lot more than normal. I also knew that with home advantage that Chelsea would play slightly defensively, thus I would have a reasonable chance of controlling possession. I also knew that Chelsea's team were vulnerable to a swift counter attack down the wing, exploiting the gap left by Chelsea's full backs pushing up.

I therefore had 3 options:

1. Go for a counter attacking strategy, to exploit the space on the wing.

2. Have faith in my midfield to win the midfield battle and quickly play the sensibly ball to wider positions to releive some of the pressure.

3. Go more attacking, wider and try to dominate the game.

I could of course do a mixture of these 3. I however decided that with home advantage and a strong first team that my normal tactic should be able to cope, although realising that my best chance of scoring would be on the break I didn't want to soak pressure.

Going into the game, I wasn't expecting to be carving Chelsea open, but to be using the wings effectively an intelligently. I also wanted my team to play 'low risk' crossfield balls to my full backs and wingers to tire out the Chelsea midfield, whilst retaining possession.

I also understood that Van Persie my striker going into the game would have to carve out chances for himself and be ready to move into the channels on every counter attack. I knew that he would struggle to outpace the Chelsea defense without a stunning through ball, so a simple ball out wide for him to chase and hold the ball up should allow my team's wingers to catch up and support him.

It was for this reason that I lined up with this team:

GK - Akinfeev

DR - Sagna

DL - Clichy

DC - Koscielny

DC - Vermaelen

DMCr - Busquets

MCl - Paulo Henrique

AMC - Fabregas

AMR - Walcott

AML - Arshavin

ST - Van Persie

In the midfield, I wanted passing ability and vision to start of counter attacks, whilst not being too attacking minded to be defensively unstable.

At AMR I chose Walcott over Wilshere, because I wanted brute pace to help when countering. I didn't need intricacy, and the technical ability that Wilshere has because he wouldn't be able to use it against an organised Chelsea defense. Instead Walcott's pace meant that he forged counter attacks for our team, which was pretty important for out team.

I chose Arshavin at AML for his dribbling and speed. I also wanted some creativity to help start the counter attacks, whilst Hazard would be good, I didn't feel confident enough in his finishing ability to trust him to score if we only had one CCC in the match and it fell to him.

Van Persie was the logical choice upfront. My best striker and a complete goal scorer.

In Match Effect

Well simply put, we outplayed Chelsea.We didn't create chance after chance but we did create lots of half chances and 1 CCC. We had lots of space on the wing as I had expected and although we lacked some midfield fluidity, it was made up by a feisty midfield performance where they harried the Chelsea midfield, who had set themselves to close to each other making it easy to be closed down. Chelsea, as a result struggled to create anything in game and had to settle for long shots:

Chelsea shots

As predicted they also relied too heavily on their full backs for width, this meant that their few counter attacks fizzled out in the middle, or lost their momentum when going out wide. When they lost possession they were very vulnerable on the flanks and we just played Van Persie or a winger down the flank to start off the counter attack. The following screenshots emphasize this point:

Van Persie Width

Van Persie's width shows how Chelsea are vulnerable on the flanks. He would not normally be roaming so wide unless there is actually masses of space on the wing. All the space on the wing could be exploited by a good counter attack. The following screenshots will show how Chelsea can become exposed.

arsenalvchelseaclassicp.png

arsenalvchelseaclassicp.png

From these two screenshots, you can see how advanced Chelsea's full backs are. When Arshavin wins the ball, he can see how a pass into the left hand channel will stretch Chelsea's defense, with the full-backs having no chance at getting back into position. Chelsea were stretched like this time and time again.

arsenalvchelseaclassicp.png

arsenalvchelseaclassicp.png

These screenshots show again how the Chelsea defense can be stretched, and the more they attack, the more vulnerable they become on the wings.

As for keeping possession, we did quite well. I was impressed with our high pass completion rate of 82% and 56% possession. Although the action zones suggest that we had possession in rather defensive positions. This was generally because of cross field balls to our unmarked full-backs and passes out wide.

Match Stats and Action Zones

Fabregas' Passing

This screenshot shows how we managed to successfully exploit the flanks from the number of passes our wide men and full backs had. Also notice how almost all of Fabregas' passes are into wide positions. This suggests that our full backs were pushing forward and we were able to maintain possession in wide positions easily. The time and space we had on the flanks can also be seen in our cross completion stat. At 22%, we must have been stretching the Chelsea defense to get enough time to pick out an accurate cross, with our short squad.

Conclusion

So to beat Chelsea at home, you need a motivated midfield 3, who are atleast competent at defending, to get back and protect the back four from through balls. This should lead to long shots from difficult areas and Chelsea wasting possession. Your midfield also needs to be composed, to be able to spot the obvious out ball to the winger/full back when under pressure rather than clear the ball or hopefully punt the ball for your striker to chase.

The wingers need to quick. This is a necessity really for the counter attacks, or they will not be able to support your lone striker quickly enough. Creativity and Technical ability is desirable but not essential. Walcott did a good job at supporting and running past Van Persie during counter attacks, whilst Arshavin played better balls for Van Persie to start off the counter attack.

Do not be afraid to push up your full backs. There is no real need for them to be defensive. As long as they are good defensively, and you have a defensive minded midfielder covering let them push forward a little and give yourself the advantage over Chelsea's full backs. By pushing your full backs forward, your team has an extra passing option and you can double up on Chelsea's full backs. Another advantage of pushing up you full backs is that when the ball is wide Chelsea's midfield have to shift over, so cross field balls can tire out Chelsea's team, and make you be on top in the last 20 minutes or so.

So generally don't be afraid of Chelsea, and be proactive, rather than overly defensive. My next topic about playing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge will talk about taking the game to Chelsea in more detail.

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im having trouble implementing this, but i think it maybe it doesnt work well with my current tactics.

Can someone upload a tactic so i can test it please?

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beautiful work, lucatonix.

i just started a game and im trying to do this... but maybe my english, maybe my 'not professional fm player' let me do it with as u.

with ur tactic uploaded would be easier. i think. tyvm for the post and the file.

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I would like to add that although I have posted my tactic on this thread. This thread is primarily about creating a fluid pivot on fm. Therefore feedback on the tactic is welcome but if too much attention is given to the tactic rather than the ideology and theory behind it then I shall make a new thread for the tactic. If people would like me to create a thread for my tactic then pm me about it and I may do so.

Also I would like to hear about other peoples approaches to recreating not only triple pivots but any pivot system in the game. I'm sure there are several ways of implementing a pivot system on this game, so it would be greatly appreciated if you could enlighten me on your theories behind the creation if such a midfield pivot system.

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Hey Lucatonix, great work so far I really enjoy your screenshots and explanation. Quick question though; would you say the wingers always need the cut inside ability to free up space for our backs to push up or could they be employed as normal wingers who move into channels ?

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I don't tend to use wingers with the instruction moves into channels, but I think it could work. Normal wingers though have a wide play of either normal or hugs touchline.

When cutting inside I tend to use mixed run from deep as a minimum on my full backs, but with normal or hugs touchline i use mixed run from deep as a maximum on my full backs.

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I think it would be good if you started a new post about the whole tactic and not just the triple pivot system. I'm not saying it isn't a bad post, in fact it is a very good post and I enjoy reading :).

I will use your tactic when I get round to doing my Arsenal save. Hopefully It will inspire me to do a long term save for once :L

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I'm tempted to, but I may just keep everything about the ideology of my all in one thread, then start a new thread releasing the tactic to the community.

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Hi Luca,

One thing I noticed is that sometimes my DMC moves too high up the pitch with attacks and the whole midfield is empty, do you have that problem too? I play standard and mixed runs forward so I don't think its because of his mentality, neither does he have a PPM.

Cheers

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That very rarely happens with me. I can only think that your DM is not intelligent enough to pick the correct time to move forward. I play Song/Busquets in that position who are two intelligent defensive midfielders. If they cannot play then Denilson, or Phil Jones or Vermaelen plays that role. This is because they are defensive minded and intelligent enough to cover for full backs and to choose when to move forwards.

So therefore I ask who is your DM? Do they have poor mental attributes in anticipation, positioning, concentration?

Perhaps his is the problem.

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I have this situation also,but in order for the tripol pivot to work he would have to go forward the problem i have is that neither of the other 2 would drop a little deeper to cover his runs.

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I normally don't have this problem. I would say continue and tweak a few things to see if it helps. You could try reducing the DMs runs to mixed but this isn't really a great solution.

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I normally don't have this problem. I would say continue and tweak a few things to see if it helps. You could try reducing the DMs runs to mixed but this isn't really a great solution.

Hello Lucatonix

I just played on my Arsenal Save with the old database so no torres or luiz. Chelsea played a 433/451 with pushed up wingers and 3 man midfield 2 x CM and a DMC in front of the back four. Chelsea dominated that game with 18 shots to my five and 51% of the possession. Fabregas could not get into the game and my full backs were getting beat by Anelka and Malouda on the wings. Could you let me know what I can do to stop teams playing a 433/451 dominating the game. I didnot not do any match prep in the pre season and before the game and my training has not been set up correctly so maybe that is the problem

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Well against good teams I may start on attacking and make Song a traditional DM. I always tend to struggle against Chelsea's hard working midfield though.

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Well against good teams I may start on attacking and make Song a traditional DM. I always tend to struggle against Chelsea's hard working midfield though.

Thanks for that lucatonix I will try setting the team to attack instaed of standard. When you say make Song a traditional DM do you mean changing is duty from support to defend and making is run from deep mixed.

Thanks

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