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Creating a Potent Tactical System

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Link to tactical views found later in the thread

Introduction

This thread is about turning tactical vision into FM reality.

There is a link to download the tactics presented here but I'd encourage anyone to at least skim-read (or picture-read!) through this first.

The inspiration for this post about the FM specifics behind creating practical realisations of tactical philosophy has come from a multitude of different posts that I have read as well as my own experiences playing this great little game. This post is a definite tip of my cap to the brilliant SFraser and uses many of his tactical insights as well as using theories from numerous other posts. This post will deal with the tactical philosophy or vision behind a tactic and then taking the vision into the match engine. It uses the evolution of my 433 (or 451 or 41221 if you will) as a basis for discussion but the theory and thought processes are not tactic specific and deal with how the interaction between tactical instructions and personnel manifests itself in the match engine.

Space

The creation and use of space is of absolute crucial importance for many team games. Rugby, football, netball, hockey, lacrosse – a top player in each of these sports will have an acute awareness of the space that is around them and how to best use that space. The end product and principle priority in each of those games is to get the ball into the goal area and the primary method of doing this is to create and use space well.

Tactically naive teams (in any sport) will primarily rely on one specific method of using space. This might be to out-muscle the opposition and occupy the same space as them, it might be to exploit the flanks or the centre of the pitch or it might be operate within the lines that the opponent gives you. Tactically astute teams will be able to use the space afforded to them and to have multiple different ways of creating more space.

In very general terms most team sports boil down to creating space whilst attacking and denying space whilst defending. It is with these principles that I go about evolving a tactical system and attempting to evolve a team.

Evolution

Another key aspect when deciding upon a tactical setup and when deploying your players is that, as in life, very few things in FM occur in a vacuum. The best tactical theory in the world is still open to failure if the mind behind the theory is inflexible. The addition of real players into a tactical setup can change the tactical theory and it is the integration of players and tactics that make a team. In theory each new player in your team will change that team and the tactical setup and this is part of the evolution of your team.

Whilst creating a tactical setup you should always be aware that you need to be flexible in your approach to tactics and continue to watch games and evolve your tactical and personnel setup that defines your team. This is particularly crucial if your club is progressing towards the top echelons of football but it is still vitally important if you want to stay at the top.

A basic evolution would be to buy better players and this is a great way to keep your team fresh. A creative yet fairly neutral tactical setup will allow players to express themselves and using new players can create a new flavour for your team. Evolving your tactical setup along with your personnel setup will give your team more avenues for success and keep you from stagnating.

The 2018/19 season has just begun in my Southampton save and I have taken Southampton on a long journey from League 1 to fighting for the top spots in England and Europe. Tactical evolution has been crucial and will be essential if I’m to go on and win the top honours.

My tactical vision was to create a brutal 433/451. At first I didn’t have sufficient quality up-top to play a solo front-man so I used a 442. As I hit the Premiership I required more defensive effort so flitted between a 442, 4411 and a 4141. As my defence improved and I could attract better players I was able to move between a 4141 and a 433 (DMC,MC,MC,AMR,AML,FC) and then I had the seed of what would become my basic tactic.

Last year teams have realised that I am most definitely a top team and have shut-up shop against me and my frustrations at the game slowly gave way to the realisation that what I had created was a good tactical setup but it wasn’t flawless. I was lucky to scrape qualification to the Champions League again. I needed to understand exactly what made this tactical setup work before I could go about creating variations and evolving it further. I needed to remember how this setup created and used space.

This is my basic 433 tactical setup.

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My Principle 433

The movement of your players is what creates space in sport. Formation in football is flexible so this is the first decision to make as a manager. In FM true player flexibility from formational position is not quite possible but there are a number of tactical instructions we can use to create a general position for each of our players. This is my basic 433 shape and how I roughly want it to move when attacking.

433BasicFormationCombined.jpg

My basic team philosophy was to have a solid defensive triangle (4,5,6), marauding wingbacks (2,3), a playmaking midfield pair (8,10) and I wanted a quick, clinical trio to operate up-top (7,9,11) so my tactical aim was to achieve the attacking shape on the right and my transfer policy was to bring in players capable of performing that job. Using the TC I set-up the following team instructions as well as the individual roles & duties, all designed to create my basic philosophy within FM. I used the TC as I wanted to explore how powerful it could be and how it would work in conjunction with the touchline shouts.

433BasicRolesDuties.jpg

The astute amongst you will have noticed that the roles & duties almost exactly mirror those for Barcelona in the TT&F. This is not wholly without coincidence. The play-style is fairly different though and this is brought about primarily due to the players at my disposal. My Southampton side were a lowly Premiership team fighting to define our style and our right to play in the top flight when I adopted this tactic in earnest. We did not have Xavi & Iniesta to pull the strings, nor did we have Messi, Henry or Villa to provide guile & thrust in attack. So, the wing-backs became full-backs as this limited their repertoire and made sure they didn’t lose the ball too often with passes beyond their technical ability. The passing style became default as I wanted to allow players to attempt more direct passes and the philosophy changed to balanced as I felt this gave my team better balance between attack and defence.

My team was, and still is at heart, a brutal one. My team boasts a number of supreme athletes. My FR has 17+ for every physical attribute. My average strength across the team is usually about 17/18. Most players have over 15 for pace, natural fitness & stamina. This team are thoroughbreds, they can batter any side on the planet given half a chance and this is exactly how they managed to bully their way into the Champions League in the first place.

When I first hit the Premiership I played deep, narrow and got stuck in. This suited the physicality of my team just fine. I wanted to play a short passing game too but soon realised this conflicted with what my team was set up to do and that in FM this didn’t equate to my vision of how I wanted my team to actually play. I quickly realised that the pace of my wide forwards meant they needed balls over or through the defensive line of the opponent or they needed to collect the ball early and dribble through those gaps. So, my passing game went to default. I didn’t want balls over the top all the time but I wanted to make sure it was an option. The space in behind was what I was after. My FC became a playmaker of sorts but he also needed to be a direct threat, he also needed to be an outlet for my MC’s to hit with balls going past the opponents defensive line so he stayed with an attack duty.

As soon as I hit the big time I came up against the inevitable brick wall – negative teams that attempt to nullify my main threat. So I did something which seemed pretty logical to me at the time. I stopped using the drop deeper strategy and wanted to strangle teams into submission. I pushed higher up, sometimes playing wider, often retaining possession & playing to feet. Big mistake. Despite dominating teams I didn’t beat them where it counted – on the scoreboard. Teams nullified me and often stole a dirty 1-0 win but before I could set about fixing it and working out where I was going wrong I needed to work out how this system went about creating and using space and why it was previously a success.

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Creating Space – Movement

433BasicMovement.jpg

In FM terms these 5 sliders, along with the basic formational position, dictate how your players will move on the pitch – it dictates their general area of influence on the pitch. The area of influence is the positions on the pitch you want to players to generally operate in. Their operational areas are dynamic and, aside from these instructions, are influenced by the state of play and by the state of the opposition (by this, I mean the formational and tactical setup of the opponents at any given moment during the match).

Exploiting the spaces that the opposition affords you is crucial to any good tactical setup but at the moment we are dealing with creating a generic tactical setup that is wholly focussed on maximising our strengths and limiting our weaknesses. With that in mind, the following shot shows the general area of influence for each of the players and shows how they can move from one formation without the ball to a slightly altered shape with it.

433BasicFormationAoI.jpg

Mentality – In terms of movement mentality refers to the general vertical position that the player will take up on the pitch. It is relative to both the formational position (e.g DM, DL, AMR etc) and the mentality of the team as a whole. The balanced philosophy creates 3 distinct bands of mentality which roughly equates to how the players will operate when they have the ball.

Run From Deep – This instruction is strongly linked to mentality and also affects the vertical component of player positioning. When your team regains possession this instruction roughly dictates how far forward a player will move. Players with RFD often will move forward whereas RFD rarely will mean they hold position more, possibly while other players move beyond them. You can see in my tactical setup that RFD matches my mentality structure. This keeps my defensive triangle where they are whilst allowing my attacking trio to push higher up the pitch where they can be a real threat. The supporting 4 players have it set to default which means they will occasionally surge forward when the need arises.

Creative Freedom – This is another complex instruction that affects numerous aspects of a tactical setup but it terms of movement it roughly equates to the size of the area of influence i.e. how far they will stray from their formational position. More CF will increase the size of the area of influence both vertically and horizontally.

Roam From Position – This instruction alters mainly the horizontal component of movement. If this is ticked the player is free to move away from their formational position and in FM terms this generally means a movement left or right although it does encourage more drastic movements away from formational position.

Wide Play – This roughly dictates how a player will move horizontally and is linked somewhat to roam from position. A player without roam from position will still follow their wide play instruction but it tends to be restricted to their movements with the ball whereas roaming affects movement both with and without the ball. In my setup above the wingers are set to cut inside, hence their area of influence is inside of their formational position. My FC is free to move around to find space where he can. In an effort to get my DC’s moving wider whilst in possession I have selected this option but I don’t think it really has an effect.

In FM terms it is the interaction of these sliders that define the tactical movement of a team. The attributes I have shown are what I consider to be the key movement attributes for players and these are also taken into consideration when defining movement to create space. Altering the sliders here can drastically alter the shape your team creates when attacking and defines in many ways how your attack will form.

These instructions clearly allow the front 3 to have lots of freedom of movement whilst pushing them high up the pitch. Before analysing this more closely it is important to consider how this setup also uses the ball.

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Exploiting Space – Using the Ball

433BasicUsage.jpg

These sliders determine your tactical decisions for how your team uses the ball. Creating the space through movement is one thing but that space is only put to a good use when your players are able to effectively use the space. Mentality & Creative Freedom are also crucial when using the ball. High mentality will allow your players to take more aggressive options whilst creative freedom allows them to use their heads to determine the best course of action. I’ll only briefly summarise how each tactical instruction influences my team.

Passing Style – This is often misunderstood. A long passing style will not mean that the player with the ball looks to launch the ball long all the time, it simply means that they can if they want. If the shorter pass is the best one then they’ll still choose it. A short passing style simply limits the options each player has on the ball to those that are closest to them. My formation and mentality system means that each player normally has a number of close options but I want my team to really create space which means they’ll often be passing over a longer distance – hence I’m not afraid to use the ‘Get Ball Forward’ shout frequently to increase passing length.

Try Through Balls – The crucial point here is that only my playmakers have this set to often (namely both MC’s and FC). I don’t want anyone else wasting possession and I’d like my play to be focussed around my playmakers.

Crossing – Despite having a strong, powerful team I never really exploited crossing. My team were appalling at crossing anyway, they are only slightly better now.

Long Shots – Remember how I said my team were brutes with limited technical ability. None of them could shoot from distance so I normally used the ‘Work Ball Into Box’ shout. It’s another instruction that can potentially easily lose you the ball.

Run With Ball – I want the front 3 to be a direct threat with and without the ball so they need to be running with the ball as well as running off it.

Hold Up Ball – My DM holds up the ball to allow those in front of him to position themselves better. My FC does the same to allow my strike runners to position themselves before he attempts to unleash a killer ball. The FC happily deals with both Run With Ball and Hold Up Ball instructions and is free to make the correct decision despite the potentially conflicting instructions.

These usage instructions, when combined with the movement instructions, mean that my team changes from the initial 433 I presented above into the attacking shape I also showed above. The main threat that this tactical setup presents the opposition with is this:

433BasicAttackPassing.jpg

The yellow lines show lines of run – these are dictated by formational positional, forward runs, mentality & wide play instructions. The full-backs will naturally move forward as there is space on the flanks whilst the front 3 are always looking to attack the opposition back-line (the only exception here is that the FC (9) also tends to drop deep from time to time to find space away from the DCs).

The blue lines show my build-up play - the formation and the interaction of roles focus the build-up play through my 2 midfield playmakers. The DM has modest instructions so he normally feeds either playmaker whilst the full-backs have been restricted from excessive through balls, crosses or long passes which means their normal attacking pass is to a playmaker (occasionally the 9).

The red lines show the threat – only the playmakers in the side are encouraged to feed through balls and their usual distribution is either through the channels between DC and FB or over the top. The cut inside instructions for the wide players ensure that they firmly attack this crease – this is hard enough to defend with a full compliment of defenders as it attacks the inherent space in a back 4 but if one or both of the opposing full-backs are caught up the pitch then the opponent is really in trouble, even if they have a DM or defence-minded midfielders.

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Understanding Limitations

It’s not hard to see that this attacking threat requires space. It can, to some extent, cope with a narrow pitch or with narrow settings, particularly as my team can use their strength to open gaps, but it can not deal with a lack of depth. When I chose to push further up the pitch in an effort to strangle teams I often looked for the overlap to encourage more width and my attacking shape became more like this:

433BasicExtremeAttack.jpg

Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad attacking formation at all, in my case, it lacked penetration. My front 3 lacked the space they wanted whilst the 2nd bank of 4 attackers (3,10,8,2) remained sat behind them. Sometimes they would venture a forward run but they would only be running forward into a bank of defenders anyway. Even with more creative players it was hard to play through the opponents and impossible to play over them. In many cases the opponents often played with a DM as well to catch any decent forward runs from the 2nd bank of attackers or pick up the 9 dropping slightly deeper. When attacking heavily like this my team became stagnant, predictable and I had inadvertently limited their main threat. Passing to feet and retaining possession just exacerbated the problem by limiting the options available to my ‘suppliers’ in the 2nd bank.

Understanding this inherent weakness in my side meant that I could now think carefully about creating an alternative system that did cause negative defensive systems more trouble. Dropping deeper helped to regain some much needed space but also gave the negative opposition more counter-attacking space. I wanted to develop a way of attacking that built on my philosophy but broke those 2 attacking banks into a more cohesive unit. I needed to work out how to get more complex vertical movement into my attack.

Changing Strata – Run From Deep & Mentality

The Run From Deep and Mentality sliders are crucial to allowing your team to alter its shape when attacking. I figured that I could use the RFD instructions to allow players from different lines to cross one another, some moving backwards, some moving forwards and that this vertical movement between my banks of attack would create confusion in the defence which would allow my quick, clinical wingers the space that they required. What I wanted was an attack that allowed more variation in the type of chance I was creating so representing it with a single screenshot is difficult but, in essence I wanted my attack to do this:

433VFAttackPassing.jpg

This diagram is already more complicated than my previous attacking schemes and certainly doesn’t show all of the attacking threat this system possesses. My first decision was that I wanted a more fluid attacking unit. My front 3 are a decisive trio of strike players but if I could increase the numbers to 5 or 7 players (all capable of switching between supply and strike) whilst continuing to create space then I would have an infinitely more complex attacking team. I needed to go to extremes. My general philosophy for this attack broke down to several key factors:

Fluidity – I wanted the front 7 to be fluid. I want them to use their vision and their decision-making ability to decide where best to position themselves. I want them to cover for each other and I want them to offer themselves in unpredictable and novel ways.

Free Roles – Linked to fluidity, I wanted the core of 5 attacking players to be free to roam all over the pitch. This potentially leaves my back 3 open to counter attack but their triangle shape forces attacks to the wings where my quick, hard working full-backs will have time to recover. Due to the fluid nature of my mentality structure 1 full-back and 1 central midfielder should remain cover for the other when they move forward although I’ll accept that I’ll occasionally get caught out.

Crosses – I needed some more inherent width, as my wide forwards are basically strikers heading towards goal I needed the full-backs to overlap to offer a different attacking threat. They aren’t particularly good crossers but I’ve got brutes all throughout my team and I’m packing the box so there should be some decent targets at least occasionally (this has worked incredibly well so far with goals directly from crosses or from the resulting rebound/half-clearance).

So, with these ideas in mind I used the TC to shape the team and then added a few minor tweaks to really elicit the behaviour I’m after:

433VFRolesDuties.jpg

As you can see it, apart from the duties the only difference is the role of the central midfielders. The team instruction was changed to be control as this pushes the team further forward, wider, quicker and changes the passing to increase the passing options for my fluid group of 7 attackers. The only tweaks I have considered here so far are changing the Complete Forward to a support duty to encourage him to drop slightly deeper, alter the DM to a deep-lying playmaker/support to provide even more attacking threat (at the expense of defensive solidity and possibly possession but needs must at times) and to change the full-backs to wing-backs which increases their passing repertoire (again, possibly at the expense of giving away possession).

The key tweaks beyond TC defaults are like this:

433VFKeyDiffs.jpg

The biggest difference is the mentality structure which is fluid across the board for the attacking 7 players whilst allowing the defensive trio to retain their shape. The RFD instructions are set up similarly but, crucially the FC is set to default to allow him to pull back and let both or either of the MC’s run past him. I may set this instruction to rare to really ensure he drops deep but for now it is working fine.

Beyond mentality and run from deep, which are my 2 key instructions to alter the shape of a team with and without the ball, the passing style is set to allow the attacking 7 more freedom than the defenders whilst the Roam From Position sees the core of 5 attackers free to move amongst each other to create further unpredictability.

The wide play sees the full-backs create width which naturally sees them run beyond the inside forwards to get into positions to cross into the box. A further tweak which I think might be crucial is to keep the FC central – I want him to interest a DC to allow gaps for my MCs or FR/L and I’m unsure which Wide Play instruction will be best for him but this is where the evolution of tactics becomes essential.

So, I’ve created a system of extreme attack that strangles a team and adds guile to my previous blunt, but effective, attacking system. What next? Well, this is the exciting bit as it’s now got to grow. I need to watch careful to see if my carefully set up instructions works well with my players and works how I expect. So far it’s seen incredible results. The MC’s have a lot of work to do so I suspect it will work best on short pitches or where the teams become compacted together and depth is at a premium.

I’d worry on long pitches where my MC’s and FB’s might struggle to get back to support the defence but that’s where my previous 433 excels. If the opposition push forward in order to further restrict my space and try to overwhelm my defence then I can switch to my more direct 433 and punish the space they leave behind. If they are parking the bus, frustrating my team and compacting the pitch then this system works perfectly. It’s about matching the tactical instructions to your tactical vision and then inserting your players into your system and adjusting as you go.

I wanted to talk about a few more extreme tweaks of formation that allow further guile and further confuse the lines of attack to create and use space in more ingenious ways but this post is long enough already. There’s a lot to digest here and, as I said earlier, many of these principles directly uses the work of other users from this forum but that is part of it and hopefully this post will create some good discussion on understanding how FM translates tactical vision.

I’ll think I’ll try to put this into a PDF for download to outline the few other systems I mentioned and my defensive consideration and to also show the links to all the different posts I used to develop my systems.

Thanks for reading,

The Fury

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I know you have alot of information there, but will you be posting your tactic up for download?

Steve

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I'd encourage everybody to create their own system that fits with their own philosophy and their own players.

It's the reasoning behind the tactical instructions I have given that's key though and there isn't much in the tactics that I haven't explained here - I really want to help people to understand their own tactics better and how they can improve it when things go wrong. I certainly owe thanks to a lot of posters for helping me to understand whats going on!! Sometimes it is best to have a poke around in the nuts and bolts though so I'll try uploading the tactics.

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Top read. Very enjoyable and I found it easy to understand why you made the tweaks to your old system. Gave me food for thought which is what I love about all the top guides in T&TF. Great job

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Karnage94 - Brilliant, great that you liked it. I'm glad it made sense!!! I'm a massive fan of the TT&F, it's really well written and is always a go-to when I'm stuck for ideas. Certainly a lot of information I present here comes straight from it and other detailed posts on these forums.

Spikester - I think I'll create another thread in the sub forum that will share links to the couple of systems I've created and leave this thread for discussions primarily about the theory behind creating and implementing your tactical vision. I'll try and get it uploaded tonight, I've uploaded it via FTP to a site I recently acquired its just a matter of getting my head around presenting a download link (it's not as easy as linking to the screenshots unfortunately but I'm sure I'll work it out!). If you have a play with it feel free to ask any questions you like, good or bad!

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One thing I want to ask that has got me curious. Your striker. How well does he drop deep, especially in the first tactic, with an attack role. My own personal preference is to have a lone striker with no AM support on a support role just so he is closer to the midfielders and wingers. It's a personal preference but the times I played that shape, only once did I get playing an attack duty with my lone striker to work. Maybe its because I'm not sure on how RFD works when it comes to dropping deep but I just want to know your thinking behind an attack duty on a lone striker with no AM support

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Ah well now, choosing an attack role for him is something that has evolved over time through watching games. I started on support duty and it was never really that effective, the opposition could push up and further cramp the space that he was trying to operate in. The attack duty just worked better with the ME. The time it really worked well was when I got a big, strong, creative striker who had the PPM 'Plays with back to goal'. I think the 'Drops deep to collect ball' PPM modifies the RFD instruction, changing to either neutral or deep but I'm not sure how the 'Plays with back to goal' works but my player, more often than not, would collect the ball with a little bit of space from the DC's, ready to turn and unleash one of the wide forwards. This interaction between tactic and player is absolutely crucial and often overlooked, FM can be very subtle in some of its interactions and watching the ME and deciding what is best is often a great way to go.

The other thing that is probably essential to getting them in the hole is the Roam From Position instruction and the decision-making ability of the player. Given that his instructions, and those of the other wide players, invariably keeps him high up the pitch there is natural space between himself and the MC's until the MC's get into a position to fill it themselves or the opposition employ a DM or 2. As well as influencing horizontal movement the Roam From Position instruction and high creative freedom allows players to fill the space they see on the pitch which often meant that my midfield linked with the FC to create a nice little tight diamond whilst the FR/L looked to run into the gaps between DC and FB, not dissimilar to how Barca play when Messi is at FC or too far away from a tight 41212.

I'm not convinced that a rare RFD drops a player down the pitch too often, more that it allows them to hold the space while other players move beyond (if set up correctly) which almost equates to the same thing. The crucial difference is that the movement also moves the defenders and hopefully creates useable space.

I think its essential that the attack duty FC is a big strong player capable of holding the ball up. Even with 19 strength and balance my guy often gets muscled off the ball or doesn't get a chance to get settled against tough defenders but the very fact that he is high up the pitch and occupying those DC's means he is doing a good job, even if his FM rating is modest. The rating system doesn't take much (if any) account of the ability of players to open up space. A winger playing wide that draws an FB away from an area that you go on to score in won't get an assist or any sort of rating boost despite being directly responsible for creating the goal scoring space.

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Understanding Limitations

It’s not hard to see that this attacking threat requires space. It can, to some extent, cope with a narrow pitch or with narrow settings, particularly as my team can use their strength to open gaps, but it can not deal with a lack of depth. When I chose to push further up the pitch in an effort to strangle teams I often looked for the overlap to encourage more width and my attacking shape became more like this:

This part is very true, I messed around with a tactic that basically camped in the oppositions half, but without the killer ball it was toothless at times. I agree totally that the penetration aspect is crucial to not only the fluidity of the move but also to its ultimate success. A deep defensive line can most certainly give weight to this approach mixed with the counter attack but I understand that you do not use the counter attack, have you toyed with this option or is it really not what you want to do?

Could you outline your desired move for this tactic, what would make you jump out of your chair, shout OH ***** ***** when it actually happened, you know, what are you aiming for and all that stuff.

Great post by the way and a fitting tribute to our friend.

Jon...

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Great work its inspired me to have a go at making my own tactic now i understand a little better how the sliders translate into player movements. Keep up the good work :applause:

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The move that really catapulted me into the CL with the principle 433 was a killer ball from my FC to my FR into acres of space where he'd to use his immense pace & acceleration to get a clear run at the GK and usually slot home. This was so effective that he scored almost 50 goals one season (including the Europa league so he played a lot of games) with a healthy proportion coming in this fashion. Whilst my FC also chipped in with a decent amount of goals he mainly got these in similar fashion but fed by an MC. The FL got a number using his dribbling but it essentially all used the same space.

When teams started viewing me as a genuine threat I wrote a thread about my frustrations at not finisihing teams off, it wasn't until a understood how 1-dimensional my tactic and team were. Mighty effective in the right situation but 1-dimensional. So, I came up with the new, more fluid system that I've been using this season against negative teams, it's still a work in progress but it's been mighty effective so far. A narrow loss to Man City is understandable whilst I had a disappointing 1-1 draw against Stoke but that was due to selection & motivational issues, my other results, even with fatigued players, have been good and my play-style is becoming even more exciting.

I've started to develop a couple of asymmetric variations that focus on overloading one area of the pitch whilst leaving acres of space to be exploited in another and those variations are proving useful too. They are reasonably 1-dimensional too in that they focus on one specific strategy (in 1 case overloading a DC and in the other creating space for a FB to attack deep and late), but the combination of good mentality and RFD instructions causes highly effective vertical movement which seems to destroy defences.

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Sorry for the double post - I didn't answer about counter-attacking. I use it occasionally but I'm not too keen on the passing style it offers and, I don't know why, it just doesn't seem to work for my team. It's weird as you'd think 3 quick brutes upfront supplied by guys with decent technique, creativity & passing should be great given the space counter-attacking offers but it'd never worked for me quite as I would like. Against superior opposition I'll start standard but play defensively by using shouts to make me more negative before switching to defensive later in the game. If I'm winning I'll sometimes switch to Counter to try and catch teams out as they push forward but I'll very rarely start with it. Sometimes logical decisions just don't work.

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Ah well now, choosing an attack role for him is something that has evolved over time through watching games. I started on support duty and it was never really that effective, the opposition could push up and further cramp the space that he was trying to operate in. The attack duty just worked better with the ME. The time it really worked well was when I got a big, strong, creative striker who had the PPM 'Plays with back to goal'. I think the 'Drops deep to collect ball' PPM modifies the RFD instruction, changing to either neutral or deep but I'm not sure how the 'Plays with back to goal' works but my player, more often than not, would collect the ball with a little bit of space from the DC's, ready to turn and unleash one of the wide forwards. This interaction between tactic and player is absolutely crucial and often overlooked, FM can be very subtle in some of its interactions and watching the ME and deciding what is best is often a great way to go.

The other thing that is probably essential to getting them in the hole is the Roam From Position instruction and the decision-making ability of the player. Given that his instructions, and those of the other wide players, invariably keeps him high up the pitch there is natural space between himself and the MC's until the MC's get into a position to fill it themselves or the opposition employ a DM or 2. As well as influencing horizontal movement the Roam From Position instruction and high creative freedom allows players to fill the space they see on the pitch which often meant that my midfield linked with the FC to create a nice little tight diamond whilst the FR/L looked to run into the gaps between DC and FB, not dissimilar to how Barca play when Messi is at FC or too far away from a tight 41212.

I'm not convinced that a rare RFD drops a player down the pitch too often, more that it allows them to hold the space while other players move beyond (if set up correctly) which almost equates to the same thing. The crucial difference is that the movement also moves the defenders and hopefully creates useable space.

I think its essential that the attack duty FC is a big strong player capable of holding the ball up. Even with 19 strength and balance my guy often gets muscled off the ball or doesn't get a chance to get settled against tough defenders but the very fact that he is high up the pitch and occupying those DC's means he is doing a good job, even if his FM rating is modest. The rating system doesn't take much (if any) account of the ability of players to open up space. A winger playing wide that draws an FB away from an area that you go on to score in won't get an assist or any sort of rating boost despite being directly responsible for creating the goal scoring space.

Thanks for the detailed reply and I understand your point. I guess the example in my head would be Robin van Persie in Arsenal's system. A lone forward who drops deep and links well with the midfield but doesn't often get stuck in with the defenders, more trying to lure them out of position. But he doesn't often push the defenders back by jostling with them. And I guess that example would cloud my view along with the fact I rarely have a big man up front and therefore telling a 5ft 7 lone striker to try mess with a couple of 6ft 4 centre backs is a bad idea

Playing a big man with plenty of good physical attributes would make sense with the attack duty so I get exactly where you are coming from.

Just from a personal experience myself, my Tenerife team has Gaston Fernandez as a lone forward in a 4-2-3-1 wide system. He plays as a Poacher with a free role (along with the "3" behind him) so despite the limited role he has, I give him the free role so that he can move around whilst still retaining that major goal threat that I like since my 2 wingers are not the best at finishing. Behind him is Carlos Villanueva, a fabulous playmaker with the abilty to drop into space and play a superb through ball to either winger or Fernandez. Since my team are not the greatest in the world, I give default creative freedom with a Rigid Control setup. Defensively I need new defenders, particularly at full back but my front 4 I am happy with. The movement and space created is superb. Below is a few screenshots of a goal that caught my eye. It was a counter attack but I found the use of space by my front 4 just exactly as I wanted

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/543/screenhunter01aug192144.gif/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/822/screenhunter02aug192144.gif/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/821/screenhunter03aug192145.gif/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/269/screenhunter04aug192234.gif/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/14/screenhunter05aug192235.gif/

The general sequence of events are the ball is cleared by Pletikosa, nodded on by Gotze to Fernandez. Fernandez lays it off to Villanueva who has time to take a touch and puts Bolanos clean through to finish. What I noticed in each screen shot is that there was always somebody nearby who had space to work with and nobody got tightly marked. Villanueva in particular had 2-3 yards of space up until he received the ball. He had positioned himself well to receive the ball and he gave himself plenty of time to pick the perfect pass. Even Gotze with the header was uncontested. It shows in my eyes how effective the free role setting can be if used with players capable of making the best of it. Just my thoughts

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Thats a good example of using space well. Good players should be able to make quick decisions under pressure so often the issue of creating, finding & exploiting space is near-automatic which in your example it seems to be. Villanueva fulfilled his role as creative AMC perfectly by drawing not only both opposing MC's on to him but also the opposing DC (which is probably a mistake by the DC but its one that you've specifically set up to exploit).

Hannibal_I_Love_It_When_a_Plan_Comes_Together_A-Team_small.gif

It's a great feeling when you've set up to exploit an inherent weakness in the opponent or to emphasise a particular strength that you have and then for it to come to fruition.

I like your point about RvP, he probably wouldn't work in my system as I need a big burly brute capable of physically imposing himself on the opponent, I want him to stretch the opposition gap between defense and midfield to allow room for either my MC's to operate or for my AMR/L to find space between the lines and terrorise defenses by running at them. Of course dropping deep occasionally is part of magic too as it keeps everyone on their toes. My usual FC is great for this role but I've also been rotating him with Hulk who I acquired last year (at great expense for 30 y/o but with his immense physicals he should last a while) who is a far superior player (particularly technically) but lacks the 'Plays with Back to Goal' PPM that really aids the other guy. PPM's are important and I should of given them more weight in the post.

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Thats a good example of using space well. Good players should be able to make quick decisions under pressure so often the issue of creating, finding & exploiting space is near-automatic which in your example it seems to be. Villanueva fulfilled his role as creative AMC perfectly by drawing not only both opposing MC's on to him but also the opposing DC (which is probably a mistake by the DC but its one that you've specifically set up to exploit).

Hannibal_I_Love_It_When_a_Plan_Comes_Together_A-Team_small.gif

It's a great feeling when you've set up to exploit an inherent weakness in the opponent or to emphasise a particular strength that you have and then for it to come to fruition.

I like your point about RvP, he probably wouldn't work in my system as I need a big burly brute capable of physically imposing himself on the opponent, I want him to stretch the opposition gap between defense and midfield to allow room for either my MC's to operate or for my AMR/L to find space between the lines and terrorise defenses by running at them. Of course dropping deep occasionally is part of magic too as it keeps everyone on their toes. My usual FC is great for this role but I've also been rotating him with Hulk who I acquired last year (at great expense for 30 y/o but with his immense physicals he should last a while) who is a far superior player (particularly technically) but lacks the 'Plays with Back to Goal' PPM that really aids the other guy. PPM's are important and I should of given them more weight in the post.

One thing that I would like to mention is having a squad that knows each other well will always help out. 3 of my attacking 4 have been in the team for a season and a half and play every game when fit and because of a horrible lack of money, I have to resort to a couple of free transfers a year so I have a good bunch of players. But it is great when you are looking at a few dots and you just go OOOOOHHH when it moves the way you want to.

I agree, looking at your system, RvP wouldn't fit the bill. The one time I did do what you are doing here was with Gignac in FM10 and playing as Toulouse. Between the front 3 I got 60 goals ish, 30 or so coming from Gignac so I can see how this works well for you. Hulk would be very good in that role, he is such a physical beast that he could hold his own against the best of defenders and if he can't outmuscle him, he has pace as well.

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One thing that I would like to mention is having a squad that knows each other well will always help out. 3 of my attacking 4 have been in the team for a season and a half and play every game when fit and because of a horrible lack of money, I have to resort to a couple of free transfers a year so I have a good bunch of players. But it is great when you are looking at a few dots and you just go OOOOOHHH when it moves the way you want to.

This is very important for me too, my team is fairly settled and will be for 2 maybe 3 years. I'm Southampton and Lallana is a crucial squad member for me - he covers most attacking positions (even MC at a push), he doesn't have great stats (he does have high creativity and flair which are a beastly combo though) but always plays pretty well, occasionally his flair allows him to be a star. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but it kinda makes sense that this guy LOVES playing for this team and will give his heart and soul each game - his stats don't dictate that he would play like this but something in the game does because he can be relied upon to play well. I had the same thing before releasing Jose Fonte (who had 200+ games for the club). Squad familiarity can be a very useful asset to have on your side. Sure, of course you need to continue to build and move forward but having a few good 'clubmen' around the dressing room is always beneficial - and because they might be more 'modest' players they'll play for cheap! Win win!!

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This is very important for me too, my team is fairly settled and will be for 2 maybe 3 years. I'm Southampton and Lallana is a crucial squad member for me - he covers most attacking positions (even MC at a push), he doesn't have great stats (he does have high creativity and flair which are a beastly combo though) but always plays pretty well, occasionally his flair allows him to be a star. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but it kinda makes sense that this guy LOVES playing for this team and will give his heart and soul each game - his stats don't dictate that he would play like this but something in the game does because he can be relied upon to play well. I had the same thing before releasing Jose Fonte (who had 200+ games for the club). Squad familiarity can be a very useful asset to have on your side. Sure, of course you need to continue to build and move forward but having a few good 'clubmen' around the dressing room is always beneficial - and because they might be more 'modest' players they'll play for cheap! Win win!!

Tight-knit squad + a tactical system designed to make the most of what you have = Win. I am working with a centre back who clearly isn't of the standard of the rest of the club, wouldn't even say top-flight but he's been with the club 6 years and has a 7.4 rating so far this season from 11 games. Been a loyal servant and only misses games for red cards. He has the club listed as his favourite so no wonder he performs well. My team is still shocking defensively though. You are right about the modest players play for cheap, I think my centre back in question is on 6k a week. I think that's not too bad for a team in the Europa League. You hear so much on the forums about trying to find the best of new wonderkids when what you have can still do the job. Fit them into a tactical idea with a good theory and you are good to go. Anyway, I think that's enough off topic for this thread and that's about all my brain can provide at 2 in the morning so I'll let this thread get back on track :)

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Great thread furiousuk. Spent an hour reading through this last night before bed. I can create a pretty sound system myself but its nice to hear the thoughts of others and how they do things, and where appropriate, incorporate it into my system. What did get me wondering was your defender central instructions of Move Into Channels. For me this means they will look to use the space between the opposition strikers. Whats the point and how does this tend to play out for you? It also seems a controdiction of where you mentioned you like them to drift wider when the team is on the ball. For this effect, I would have thought Hugs Touchline would be more appropriate. They arent going to wander that wide in reality but will create another option for your fullbacks and a lateral option for your DM. This should basically see your back four transfer from DR-DC-DC-DR on defense to DC-DM-DC on attack meaning your still have sufficient cover especially given the Thouroughbred-like physical attributes of your team.

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Great thread and a thoroughly enjoyable read. Has given me some good ideas to play with as I start my new save.

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What did get me wondering was your defender central instructions of Move Into Channels. For me this means they will look to use the space between the opposition strikers. Whats the point and how does this tend to play out for you?

I used it to try and get the DC's wider but I didn't want them too wide to guard against counter-attack. I haven't actually tried the 'Hugs Touchline' instruction so I might see how that works for a few games but I think without the free role or high CF they won't really move anyway. I'm certainly not convinced the 'Move Into Channels' works for them but I've kind of become accustomed to it.

I'm also not convinced that the wide play instructions take into account the position of the opponents in the first instance. I think it gives players a tendency to position themselves in these bands:

WidePlayChannels.jpg

Once in these bands then the player is free to move to find space though but, in the case, of the DC's it doesn't seem to work. The only reason I haven't tried 'Hugs Touchline' to get them wider is because, if it works, I worried about a gaping hole in the middle but maybe I should try it. To be honest, I don't tend to play around with the ball too much back there anyway so this is an area that hasn't received as much of my attention as maybe it should of.

I haven't tried it, but I suspect that DC's with Free Roles & lots of Creative Freedom and the Hugs Touchline instruction would get the desired behaviour but it obviously may create defensive worries. I've quite tempted to get 2 fairly creative DC's and try giving EVERYONE a Free Role & lots of CF and see what would happen in a TotaalVoetball style of play.

Barcelona are an obvious example of the DCs moving wider which got me thinking about another thing that their players do that is hard to simulate in FM - Xavi or Iniesta often drop really deep to get the ball in an effort to find space & time and to also create it by dragging an opponent with them. Scholes did the same thing for Utd last year and I suspect that Fabregas also dropped deeper than Song at times to get the ball. In theory this should be a behaviour created from using Free Roles but it doesn't seem to work. I've been tinkering with an asymmetric variation which elicits this sort of behaviour from my midfield:

FluidMidfieldTriangleCombined.jpg

By altering the mentality & Runs From Deep in a more extreme manner I can get this behaviour but I can't get the midfield to be truly fluid and fit in with the rest of my tactical scheme. It's either they move to create the triangle with 10 at the top or they stay with 10 & 8 at the top, I can't get both movements from the same set of tactical instructions.

The only way I can think that it might work would be to give the 3 midfielders the same mentality (that differs from everyone else so that they stay as a semi-seperate entity). 10 would have RFD often, 8 would have RFD rare and 4 would have it sometimes/often. 10 & 8 would have free roles, possibly 4 as well. I'm still not convinced that this would work though. The way RFD works is that the rare instruction generally means players will hold their position on the pitch whilst others move forward around them, they don't generally plunge deeper than their formational position to find the ball.

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Agreed with the runs from deep instruction. When I worked out how this operates it made a huge difference to the fluidity of my sides in attack. I used to give it to virtually everyone who I wanted to be attacking but when I started to watch games in a little more detail I could see how this really just leads to the guys running into each other and a horizontal line of attackers at the top of the pitch. Rarely is a terrific instruction for playmakers and other advanced players as it often finds them in space around 30 yards from goal, which coupled with high attributes in Creativity/Flair or Long Shots offers two dangerous options to play the killer pass or shoot, possibly even dribble himself if his instructions reflect this.

What the Hugs Touchline instrucion will do basically will see them just shift a little wider. I discovered how great this instruction could be when playing with Udinese. My formation was a 4312 with 3 CMs behind a playmaker. the central player had instructions to play deeper whilst the 2 side CM's had the Hugs Touchline instructions. What happened was that when in possesion and on attack they got alongside and the AM as instructed, giving me 5 attackers plus my fullbcks to provide width and on defense they would pick up the runs of the oppostion FB providing my team was playing with width of 11+.

What would happen in your formation would likely be that your DC's would drift slightly wider into space pprovided by the FB's and your DM would essentially become a 3rd Centre Back as you have him set up defensively. Of course the ability of your team would suggest none of these three would see much possesion but all three would be in a postion to be used as an 'out-ball' for under pressure midfielders. As you mentioned the modern day example would be Barcelona. I have used this to good effect when playing 4-3-3 with AMR/L and the only time it seems to cause issues is when you have very slow defenders against lightening quick attackers. Intelligent, athletic defenders don't get caught out and never drift too wide.

Having said all this, if you were to try this then experimenting in friendlies is the key. What works for me might not work for you, and in saying that I think it would be stupid to post your tactic as it's set up for the team you have and unless people have your team, then your tactic won't work as succesfully for the next guy.

Great thread, and nice attention to detail. Given me some good ideas

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Understanding Limitations

The key tweaks beyond TC defaults are like this:

433VFKeyDiffs.jpg

i'm a bit OT (sorry) but how can i make a tactical panel like that above?

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That was the one thing I've gleaned from this thread while skim reading it at work.

The way you've set your tactical views up is fantastic and I'll be copying it when I get home.

I assume that's done within game's "add column" feature, and not using the magic of mspaint?

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Unfortunately it is a bit of photoshop magic.

I've been toying for ages to get that view in-game. It's so annoying, I don't understand why it isn't possible (unless it is and it's just me being thick).

I'm of the opinion that a small tweak here or there actually has repercussions throughout the rest of the side so, for example, changing the runs from deep of just one player can really alter how the rest of the team moves (I think the ME has improved vastly in this area over the last few years) so if, using the example, if I want to alter an instruction I'll probably have to alter a few others as well to get the desired effect. When I saw that SFraser had presented his system using this presentation I knew thats how I wanted it in the game - but I still haven't got it to work.

Maybe it would require a bit of skinning knowledge to create a new skin that would allow this view in game. The views are all in the game presently so I don't see why we can't view it. I can 'add columns' for just about every statistic and attribute but not for the tactical sliders - if I designed tactics wholly using the classic way then this view would be even more useful.

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Damn. Might be worth dropping a message in the skinning forum and see if it's possible. This would be an amazing tactical tool.

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I've tried posting in the skinning forum but it seems no-one has attempted this type of display... until now. I think I've got it sorted so that we can have this view in the game. I've had to split it into Movement, Usage, Crossing & Defence but it covers all of the tactical options (barring set-pieces) and now has the interesting side effect that it can be used to completely expose the tactics of any team you're looking at (which should definitely be classed as cheating!!).

It's untested on anything other than my 1280-800 display but it should work fine. I've just got to tidy it up a bit and hopefully don't introduce any errors and I'll post it up.

Back to the OP: I have uploaded a set of tactics which include the 2 that are detailed here as well as another 2 asymmetric variations which are specifically designed to overload a small area of the pitch and to target a specific defender. So far they have been very effective and I'm pleasantly surprised by how well the ME replicates more flamboyant tactical instructions. I followed the same theory as presented in the OP and it works well for me although, as pointed out, I can't guarantee or even expect that it'll work for any other team as it really is quite specialised to my players but if you fancy having a poke around under the hood then it can't hurt. You can find the tactic download thread here

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I am myself giving "mspaint magic" display a shot in my xml file! I see you have the "cheating" things as well...

Here is my take to the "defensive system" panel, sorry it's in french bu you get the idea

548676Capturedcran2011082591634AM.png

Nice thread btw the fury

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Thanks!

Screenshot is looking good. I think I've used closing down, tackling, marking and tight marking. 'etat d'esprit', is that mentality? (My French is not what it should be!), I've often thought mentality is a good one to include for whichever tactical screen you'd like to see. I'm going to try and put together a post on how to edit the XML file so that anyone can produce the sort of screen they want, your input would be very much appreciated. I should have time tonight, if not then tomorrow.

Do you always have your defenders individually marking the opposition? I assume it depend on who you're playing against?

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For tactical custom panel i found a suggestion by the user MRW

++++++++++

I dont know if anyone will care about this or not...or if its been explained anywhere else...but

Wouldn't it be great if you could create custom views that were just like those above. Unfortunitely the game doesn't cater for this because those columns arent selectable from "Insert Column" lists...

However there is a way...

First of all you need to have created at least one custom view on the "Players" screen on your main squad tab (this can be whatever you like - just create a copy of an existing view "Views/Custom/Create Copy of Current View"). Once you create a custom view an XML file is created that stores that custom view. This should be located at "c:\Users\{your windows user id}\AppData\Roaming\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2011\settings\Version {number}\" where {your windows user id} is your windows login and {number} is most likely {1101}. The file will be named something like "views-v1-team-squad-views.xml".

Make sure you have quit out of Football Manager 2011.

If you open this file with Notepad or something similar you should find your newly created view which (unless you renamed it) will be named something like "Copy of {whatever view you copied}". This can be identified by the line that contains "<string id="name" value="{your custom view name}"/>". This should be immediately followed with a "</record>" line. Find the corresponding "<record>" line that matches that "</record>" line. This should be identifiable by the fact that the "<record>" line you want is followed by a "<list id="cols">" line.

An example view entry would look like this :

<record>

<list id="cols">

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349808972"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="75"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349412463"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="38"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349414259"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="125"/>

</record>

</list>

<unsigned id="inid" value="0"/>

<boolean id="copy" value="true"/>

<string id="name" value="Example"/>

</record>

This only has 3 columns and the custom view name is "Example".

Now to get those views that occurred above you just need to insert into this view the appropriate columns as defined by "<record>" and "</record>" pairs - these are listed below. To do this copy everything between the "<record>" and "</record>" lines that surround the lines starting "<unsigned id=" and "<integer id=" for the column you want into your custom view. You can place these in order between the "<list id="cols"> and the "</list>" lines as long as you dont insert them between an existing "<record>" and "</record>" pair. Once you rerun Football Manager 2011 and choose this view you can then reorder them however you wish and you can easily add whatever other selectable columns you want.

The following are the "<record>" and "</record>" pairs for each of the columns :

Mentality

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414557029"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Creative Freedom

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414554482"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Passing Style

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414557811"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Closing Down

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414554468"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Tackling

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414558817"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Run From Deep

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414555247"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Run With Ball

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414558327"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Long Shots

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414556787"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Try Through Balls

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414558836"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Cross Ball

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414554466"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Cross From

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414554470"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Cross Aim

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414554465"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Wide Play

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414559600"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Marking

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414557025"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Tight Marking

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414557044"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Roam From Position

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414555250"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

Hold Up Ball

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414555765"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

</record>

The following are (basic) custom views to recreate the combinations above (they would need to be added to the main custom views xml file named above) :

Positioning and Movement

<record>

<list id="cols">

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349808972"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="64"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349414259"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="125"/>

</record>

<!--Positioning and Movement-->

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1348756835"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="44"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349481570"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="48"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1348694629"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="48"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1348760169"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="48"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414557029"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Mentality-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414555247"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Run From Deep-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414555250"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Roam from Position-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414559600"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Wide Play-->

</record>

</list>

<unsigned id="inid" value="91"/>

<boolean id="copy" value="true"/>

<string id="name" value="Positioning and Movement"/>

</record>

Defending

<record>

<list id="cols">

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349808972"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="64"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349414259"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="125"/>

</record>

<!--Defending-->

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1348756835"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="44"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349743713"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="48"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349804387"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="45"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349345650"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="48"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414557029"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Mentality-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414554468"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Closing Down-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414558817"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Tackling-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414557025"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Marking-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414557044"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Tight Marking-->

</record>

</list>

<unsigned id="inid" value="92"/>

<boolean id="copy" value="true"/>

<string id="name" value="Defending"/>

</record>

Ball Usage

<record>

<list id="cols">

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349808972"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="64"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349414259"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="125"/>

</record>

<!--Ball Usage-->

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1348694629"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="48"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1348889697"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="45"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349542259"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="45"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1348760169"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="48"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349284712"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="44"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1348694639"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="45"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1349743730"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="45"/>

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414554482"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Creative Freedom-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414557811"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Passing Style-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414558327"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Run With Ball-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414556787"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Long Shots-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414558836"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Through Balls-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414554466"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Cross Ball-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414554470"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Cross From-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414554465"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Cross Aim-->

</record>

<record>

<unsigned id="clid" value="1414555765"/>

<integer id="cwsp" value="100"/>

<!--Hold Ball-->

</record>

</list>

<unsigned id="inid" value="93"/>

<boolean id="copy" value="true"/>

<string id="name" value="Ball Usage"/>

</record>

Notes:

1. These views where created on a 1680 by 1050 display. If yours is narrow you may not get all the columns in. Remove the attributes before may help.

2. It might pay to create basic views in the game beforehand before adding these columns as the line "<unsigned id="inid" value="{id number}">" is important - {id number} needs to be unique.

Well I hope that all makes sense and is of some use to some of you...

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Yes I saw that, I've got another way which seems slightly easier although I've not tested it on anyone else's machine, only my own laptop.

I've also added them to a custom skin so for all those who don't want the daunting and arduous task of altering XML code you simply download the folder in the relevant place and hey presto its in your game. I'll try and get a post up this evening with a detailed explanation as I know this isn't the easiest thing to get working.

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you are the best,

Im loving it.

Thanks Lavuz. Feel free to ask any questions.

Regarding the tactical views I've used (as seen in many other threads), have a look at this thread. It explains how to create these views in-game, wish I'd worked it out earlier!

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I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread, and it has got me thinking as I plan my first Arsenal save in FM11. I’ve always liked the 451/433 due to its flexibility and dynamic use of space. It’s also a formation that suits Arsenal IMO. My planned set up is to have Song at DM, Fabregas and Nasri as the main CM’s (with an option to bring in a more physical player such as Diaby in harder matches, or to close out a game), RVP as the FC (either as DLF/attack or Complete fwd/support) and Walcott and Gervinho in the wide fwd positions .

What I’m wondering from your first few posts is how you have found the wide forwards playing with the high creative freedom? I notice that your AMR has quite average mental attributes (similar to Walcott) and I’d be concerned that with high CF he would make poor decisions often. Has this been your experience? I have considered altering Walcott’s instructions to limit his CF and minimise his options so that he essentially plays like a wide poacher who’s only job is to get on the end of through balls from the MC’s and FC. The other wide fwd (Gervinho or Arshavin) would be given more freedom to compensate for this. I’d be interested in what your thoughts are on this Furious.

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Good spot, it's hard to believe that my AMR is actually my BEST player!! Walcott scored a goal (possibly against Udinese first leg?) where he dribbled straight towards goal from the left flank before scoring, my AMR does exactly the same from the right flank using his stronger left peg and I believe his high CF helps him to do this more often and with 126 gls from 180(15) apps he certainly does it frequently.

The screenshot only shows half the story but does highlight that his movement isn't fantastic and a regular goal-scorer with only 10 for anticipation (and determination) seems absurd. The rest of his attributes highlight how he is almost the perfect advanced forward:

rudenokattribs.jpg

I'm not sure how Walcott has progressed in your game (or even how he starts to be honest) but I would imagine he is quite similar. Immense physicality matched with very good dribbling, finishing & flair backed up by decent technique, work rate & off the ball. I'd imagine Walcott is slightly worse at finishing (and strength obviously) and better at crossing. My guy can't really pass and definitely can't cross but, despite poor anticipation, what he is a natural for is terrifying defenders by running straight at them. Immense pace, absurd agility and (just about) the technical skill to be a runner and a finisher. So why not limit his CF and tell him to do only that? Because he has high flair...

My interpretation of CF is that it allows a player to deviate away from the tactical instructions. This gives them a greater range of play which means that even when choosing at random you have a greater chance of doing the right thing at the right time - with limited CF you are constricting their range of play and potentially eliminating the ability to choose the right thing at the right time. An attacker can do nothing else all game but if he produces 2/3 moments of magic that lead to goals then he has done well and this is what CF allows - the chance to do something amazing. This is why it is so essentially linked to flair. It effectively allows a high flair stat to be exploited and this is usually desirable in attackers. For defenders the opposite is true, a good game for a defender is probably doing nothing amazing but making no mistakes so they don't need flair or CF to have an amazing game. If an attacker does nothing amazing but doesn't make a mistake it might well mean that no goals have been scored and so he hasn't fulfilled his primary role of getting the ball in the net.

It is this link between CF and the potential for greatness (or flair) that I feel is essential in an attack. I use high CF even in lower leagues and it works great, even after promotion when you're probably the weaker team. So long as your team has ok mentals (almost every Prem player does) and decent flair you're safe to use plenty of CF for attackers because you want to give them the biggest possible chance of creating a moment of magic.

My AMR frequently gives the ball away with useless passes, he often runs at a wall of defenders and looses the ball and he frequently gives away stupid fouls but he frequently wins the game on his own. Tactically it's almost impossible to defend against a moment of individual brilliance. You can try and make sure that moment occurs well away from your goal but thats about it. If 2 evenly matched teams cancel each other out (which happens a lot at the top level) then it is the flair guy who can win you the game, it's that guy who can be the difference.

The only caveat to this is when you're chasing a goal in the final minutes of a game. You might think that a moment of flair would be required in a situation like this, and it is useful, but you need the mental edge in those situations. Possession is at a massive premium and you can't afford a high flair player with high CF blazing the ball over from 35 yards or trying to dribble through 8 defenders. It's the only time I get frustrated with my AMR, at any other time I can put up with his sometimes bizarre decision-making and concede he's going to loose me the ball. It's a trade-off because I know he is capable of being a game-winner.

If Walcott has high flair then I'd leave him with high CF. His finishing is probably better than his crossing so that would lead me to try him, as you say, as a poacher on the left wing. He'll have the space out there to use his epic pace which he might not get in the middle.

I don't know if you've read this post but it goes into more detail about the importance of unleashing the power of flair. I'd love my guy to have creativity too but, alas, he is what he is.

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I don't know if you've read this post but it goes into more detail about the importance of unleashing the power of flair. I'd love my guy to have creativity too but, alas, he is what he is.

I wonder wether this lack of Creativity that we consider a weakness, may actually be an advantage for your player specifically. I'll explain what I mean: your player's Decisions attribute is average at best and by not being able to see the more difficult options he only sees the simple options and has less options to choose from and less potential to make a wrong decision. His high Flair coupled with average decision making dictates that he'll look to run directly at goal which he's perfectly geared to do physically and technically, whereas if he had higher vision he might see a potential good pass and be tempted to try it because of his high Flair and average Decisions, but it would be the wrong option in his case because he's not good at passing.

The lack of Creativity may actually make him a much more potent threat than if he had an abundance of it in my opinion.

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The lack of Creativity may actually make him a much more potent threat than if he had an abundance of it in my opinion.
Absolutely, that's a great point and it executes exactly how you describe. He does what he is good for and chooses very little else but the high cf allows him to move around a bit more and occasionally produce some outstanding individual brilliance (I frequently get the 'what a goal that would of been' commentary). He's recently scored by dribbling from 80 yards! Dribbling flair!

His lack of vision and ok teamwork mean he is quite selfish and I wouldn't a whole team of such players but the odd one can be accommodated. Even the most stoic of managers will accommodate an individual because their game-breaking ability outweighs their potential to 'break' careful tactical planning.

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This entire thread makes some really good points, especially the latter ones concerning flair - an interesting point that I hadn't thought about before. Going to re-read through this thread again :thup:

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Good points regarding mental attributes, creativity and flair furiousuk. Someone like Walcott always poses me problems in terms of deciding how to best use him, while still fitting him into the team set up. Another complicating factor for me is watching the match on full detail and trying to establish what are player attributes playing out and what are essentially ME ‘glitches’ or ‘quirks’. It’s a difficulty I’ve experienced for a while actually.

I feel like I understand fairly well how tactics work and what roles and attributes should create what type of play. Then I watch a game in full detail and I see a whole lot of silliness (I’m talking about both FM10 and 11 here, though I’ve only just started playing FM11 and some of this stuff may no longer be present). A classic example from fm10 was players throwing the ball straight out of bounds for a throw in. So far in FM11 I have regularly seen wide players take the ball to the byline, stand still, and then lightly tap the ball straight into the pressuring defender (In fm 10 they used to just blast the ball straight at the defender when attempting a cross!). The reason I make this example is that Walcott seems to be the main offender in this regard, and I am left wondering if what I am witnessing are his poor mental attributes playing out, or just a glitch in the match engine.

Anyway, I don’t want to drag this excellent thread off topic, but this is a challenge for me in deciding whether to use default TC creativity settings for my whole team (knowing that the majority of my team have excellent or very good mental attributes), or to try tweaking them for one or two of my less intelligent but physically gifted players (ie Walcott and Diaby). I’d be interested in others thoughts and experiences on how they distribute CF throughout their teams.

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Just to make a quick point about ME 'glitches', the ones you've described, particularly wobbling around by the byline and then either tapping the ball into the defender to win a corner or getting tackled I've experienced and, to a lesser extent, the problem whereby the player passes the ball immediately back to the throw-in taker who then misses the ball and gives the throw-in to the opposition. These do (to an extent) disappear when your team have good mentals and are well used to each other as a team so aren't 'glitches' or ME 'errors' (there are very few true ME errors and they stand out a mile away, you can't miss them). I see 2 reasons. Firstly, as you point out, when these happen it is bad mentals playing out and secondly, in the case of the byline incident, it is also a tactical problem. If players can't see what to do next (e.g. pass, run, cross, shoot) then they'll 'wobble' on the ball. Tactically you can do something about this by increasing their range of options at any point although players will poor mentals will always be prone to this. I used to be wary of increasing the passing length as I thought it would lead to aimless long balls forward but with good players it doesn't, it just means they can play the long pass if they deem it necessary and hence increases their passing options.

I'm trying to slowly increase the mental capacity of my team as I've really started to appreciate their influence on the game. Anticipation, positioning, work rate, teamwork & off the ball lead to a team that can keep the ball. Anticipation, creativity, decisions & flair all lead to a team that can score at will.

I pretty much agree with what is written in an article found here. Getting used to how attributes work together is crucial for being able to 'read' a player. Many times I've got excited by 17s/18s in a youngster only to find out that his awesome passing/dribbling ability is totally crippled by dreadful technique or creativity. Youngsters with good background attributes (concentration, determination, teamwork, work rate) will also be your 'busy' players and busy players develop quicker, especially if they are busy professionals. Youngsters with good background and good prime attributes are, simply, amazing. Even with relatively poor attributes in other areas they will constantly surprise you.

Once you've been able to 'read' a player then you can really start to use your tactical instructions to harness their skills. As an example I've recently been using 2 slightly different asymmetric formations that loosely build on the 2nd tactical setup I describe in the OP. Both of these formations are designed to utilise the skills of my 2 attack-minded midfielders. One utilises the speed and creativity of the 1st guy whilst the other utilises the strength & work-rate of the other. Of course they both play ok in any set-up as they are good, mentally strong players but when I pick the right player and the right set-up at the right time the effect is astounding.

Setting something up to specifically harness what Walcott is good is eminently possible as the ME is easily well-enough advanced to allow some really quite subtle play-styles if set-up logically and tweaked through experience (i.e. tactical evolution through watching games). The problem is that FM Walcott isn't actually that good.

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I understand what you are saying about what these 'glitches' (as I termed them for want of a better term!) actually represent, and this is somewhat reassuring! I also agree with your last paragraph. In fact I think ive decided to harness Walcott's strengths by playing him as a poacher in a 442/424. He won't be first choice though as while I think he will be able to use his speed to rip many defences to shreds, I will need a more clinical and mentally strong striker in who I can be more confident in their ability to put away limited chances in those tighter matches and for when teams play deep and narrow and defensive.

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