wwfan

The Barcelona Style: My Interpretation

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Hello, guys!

As this is the 'thread that never dies' as wwfan named it, I find myself again on the quest of replicating the 3-4-3 'tiqui-taca' in FM16.

The thing I had in mind when reposting here is the new tactical changes that FM16 suffered, presented by The Hand of God:

Inspired by Cleon's excellent thread on training, I suppose it's a good idea to take note of some key tactical differences between FM15 and FM16.

First, the Team Shape setting has been streamlined to make it less convoluted and easier to understand. It still affects differences in mentality and creative freedom, but now, "Very Fluid" means the team will tend to be more compact (with more creative freedom) whilst "Highly Structured" means the team will tend to spread out more back-to-front (with less creative freedom) with Fluid/Flexible/Structured simply being sequential steps between those two extremes.

In addition to that, now all team shape settings incorporate mentality differences between duties (just like the old Flexible setting used to work). So on any Team Shape setting, you should generally see more risk taking and more aggressive positioning from an Attack duty midfielder compared to a Support duty midfielder. One consequence of this is that your duties will have a greater influence on your overall style of play. A team full of Support duties will be far more possession-oriented whereas a team full of Attack duties will try to initiate attacks with much more urgency.

Second, counterattacking has been significantly improved compared to the last several versions. If you've tried to play a more tactical game on FM14 or FM15, you may have noticed that it could be a struggle to sit deep and get out of your own half against an aggressive opponent. Play was too focused on what goes on in the final third with certain attributes not being properly utilised in transition play. Now, you will have a much easier time punishing teams that recklessly throw numbers forward, and you'll also find that implementing different styles requires giving greater attention to player skill sets. On the counter, pace kills, though one-dimensional pace merchants are now more prone to poor touches and errant passes if you try to play it out of the back with a less technical side.

Third, the positive and negative effects of setting your defensive line have a much greater impact. If you instruct the team to hold a high line, your defenders will be far less likely to retreat, but at the same time, slow defenders will struggle with through balls played over the top and down the channels. Related to this, instructions like More Risky Passes and Pass Into Space will now see gaps in and behind a formation exploited far more aggressively.

Those are the key changes that stand out for me. If any others come up, I'll update the thread. Feel free to chip in if you've noticed anything else.

and I would underline this:

In addition to that, now all team shape settings incorporate mentality differences between duties (just like the old Flexible setting used to work). So on any Team Shape setting, you should generally see more risk taking and more aggressive positioning from an Attack duty midfielder compared to a Support duty midfielder. One consequence of this is that your duties will have a greater influence on your overall style of play. A team full of Support duties will be far more possession-oriented whereas a team full of Attack duties will try to initiate attacks with much more urgency.

Because of these tactical changes and the knowledge that wwfan interpretation plus new role changes(HB, CWB, F9, etc) that FM suffered in the past versions are the most closest replication we can get, enters in discussion the change of fluidity, or the new FM tactical changes doesn't affect this replication process?

So, my questions are:

1. We can consider changing the Team Shape from Balanced, now as the main reason of choosing Balanced its no more a reason?

2. We can consider changing the Width setting, now that it doesnt affect the passing anymore?

Thanks!

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This must be the longest running thread ever that I can remember! 4 years and running.....:D

1. What different team shape are you considering? Personally, I've been using Very Fluid with Standard Mentality

2. Are you considering Wider or Narrower Width? IMO, if you want to keep possession better, it shouldn't be Wider. The Width would be better left untouched if you use lower Mentality such as Standard or Counter, cause I think it's narrow enough.

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My long term save is becoming stale, so I've decided to have a look at managing a truly elite side for the first time on FM15; Barcelona seems a decent place to start. The caveat? Since cancelling my Sky TV subscription 2 or 3 years ago, I rarely get to see Barca play, so a lot of what I do will be based on "the power of Google"; I'll list the sources. What have I gleaned so far? Bear with me.....

Formation Not quite as simple as I expected, when thinking of how to translate this into a FM world. Barcelona attack in what FM regards as a 4-1-2-3 Wide DM (I call it a 4-3-3), but at times their defensive shape edges towards a 4-1-4-1. My feeling is that I should use a 4-1-2-3 Wide DM as that is the tradition of the club, but for certain matches I may want to tinker with Duties or Fluidity to get a better shape, or even (as a last resort!) revert to a 4-1-4-1 with modified WM Roles.

Team Shape Again, not easy, and it's all down to subjectivity. There are a couple of schools of thought in all that I have read. In one camp, there are those who regard Barca as a fluid, interchangeable beast; on the other, some analysts consider that each player has a clearly defined Role to play in a system which is very organised. I think that the quality of the players can make the play appear more fluid than it is, and so would probably concur with those who feel that Barca are actually quite structured and positionally controlled. Certainly Guardiola was one who hated inefficient movement for no purpose. I'll be staring on Balanced, but have the options mentioned in the Formation section open to me as I tune the system.

Specific observations At deep free kicks and goal kicks, Barca's DCs split, the full backs are wide and 10/15 yards further up field, and the DM drops back almost in line with the DCs. I've always disliked the Half Back Role in FM because it doesn't do what I want it to, although it is a while since I used it. Ordinarily, I'd use a DLP (D) to best try to reflect the pivote dropping back in these phases of play, but I'm mindful of how this balances with the rest of my central midfielders. There could be a case for pushing the full backs into the WB/L slots to directly replicate this shape, but I'm reasonably optimistic that they'll be OK at DL/R. One thing to avoid will be the GK instruction to "Distribute To Full Backs", as this actually makes the full backs drop back a few yards to be an "easier" pass to the GK.

From scouring this thread, people appear predisposed to building a system which dominates possession, perhaps even before trying to create a coherent style of play. Given that we know that possession stats in FM are calculated in a different way to many analytical sources, I won't be overly concerned by this. If I select the DM Role as a DLP (D), then I will not use Playmaker Roles at MC, because I find that too many playmakers leads to too much "clustering" around the ball. In order to have decent passing options, you need space, so if you have multiple players gravitating towards the ball, you lose that space and you lose those options. When appraising the performance of my DM Role, I'll look for:

i) Where is he positioned at deep free kicks and goal kicks?

ii) How much play is channelled through him?

iii) Is he being picked up by the AI?

Under Luis Enrique, it appears as if the remit of the full backs has been reined in a little. Typically, they are timing their runs a little more conservatively, and there is more balance overall to when and where they advance. That said, it is clear that they remain the main source of width for the side, so I can't really temper them too much. It is a dilemna, as I created a good, possession oriented system for my Southampton side (here: https://whenseagullsfollowthetrawler.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/a-change-of-course-4-1-4-1-to-5-3-2/) based on two Support Duty wing backs. I'll need to pay attention as my full back set up evolves, because I need to check a few things:

i) What is their positioning like at goal kicks? Not the biggest deal in the world, but I find that Attack Duties advance too early, which limits passing options

ii) When in possession, are they connected to play, or are they ahead of / behind play?

iii) Are they offering enough offensive width?

Earlier, I mentioned why I won't follow the herd and pack out my team with Playmakers. Given that I am provisionally using a DLP (D) at DM, this limits my MC Roles to Central Midfielder, Box To Box Midfielder and Ball Winning Midfielder. Immediately, I can rule out the last option as even with my limited exposure to Barca lately, I don't believe that any out of Iniesta, Xavi, Rakitic, Rafinha et al fit that Role. Rakitic is a relatively unknown quantity to me, but what I have read is that he is a diligent player at both ends of the pitch. He plays at MCR where he has a good relationship with Alves and Messi, so my right-side set up is taking shape in my mind. Rakitic is depicted as a more direct player than a player like Xavi, so this will be considered when looking at PIs.

On the assumption that Rakitic will be a Box To Box midfielder, I need to look for:

i) Interplay with Alves and Messi

ii) Is he supporting play well enough?

iii) Is he getting back early enough, to offer a defensive contribution?

iv) Is there enough evidence of him offering quick, direct and incisive passes?

So much depends on other stuff though! If I end up changing the DM away from a DLP to a DM or Anchor, I may be able to set Rakitic to a RPM - a sort of Box To Box Playmaker, which probably describes his real life Role quite accurately.

Typically, the MCL will be Iniesta, whose technical quality is clear, but who will not (initially, at least) be slotted into a predictable RPM or AP (A) Role / Duty. Lots will depend on how the DM Role pans out. If I find that a DM (D) or Anchor gives me roughly the sort of style I want, then the MCL Role can become a RPM, DLP or AP. As things stand, I'll assume that I want Busquets to be a DLP (D), so Iniesta will become a CM (S) in my first attempt at building a system. It is a very tailorable Role, so gives plenty of scope for modification. When reviewing Iniesta's contribution, I will look for:

i) Creativity. Just because he isn't in a Playmaker Role, doesn't mean that I shouldn't expect a lot from this cog in the system

ii) As with Rakitic to his right, I want to see interplay on my left hand side, between Alba, Neymar and Iniesta

iii) Balance with the DM and MCR. I've banged on about not using too many playmakers to keep as much space as I can, and I need to see if the theory stacks up.

The front three feels pretty clear cut, but there remain selection challenges. Whilst I have to contend with Suarez' global ban until January, I can slot in Munir, Pedro or new signing Barbosa for the early months into the front three. Suarez (once available) will slot in centrally, Neymar left and Messi right. In days of old, I'd have had Messi through the middle as a False Nine (or even a Trequartista), but the current evolution of Barca seems to deploy Messi from his original wide-right position, with Suarez tasked with making darting lateral runs to create space for Messi and Neymar to cut into.

I toyed with a Raumdeuter last night, and won't rule it out, but a better approximation of Messi / Neymar would appear to be two IFs. The Duties should probably both be Attack, but any knock-on regarding shot selection / frequency may need to be controlled via TIs and PIs. Suarez' Role is tricky. Given the absence of an AMC, I feel obliged to go for a Support Duty, and Suarez is a complete enough player to handle the Complete Forward Role. Whatever I finally choose, Move Into Channels is a must. What do I look for from the front three?

i) Interplay. Can we see clear links between Suarez' movement, and space created for the AML/R?

ii) Composed shooting. IF (A) can tend to be a bit trigger happy, even more so depending on what their PPMs are. I'll need to ensure that I rein this in to a tolerable level, and use all tools available to control it

iii) Connections between the front three, the MCs and the full backs when attacking. Where are the gaps? What are the consequences of closing those gaps?

Style The current Barcelona are described as more "compartmentalised" than some of the more exhilarating teams of years gone by. There seems a separation in the side whereby the front three are absolutely the attacking focus, with direct and snappy interplay. A key quote was this "After half a season it is now becoming clear that Enrique's Barça is one built on strikers, a significant shift from the Barça built on midfielders that produced one of its finest collective displays almost three years ago to the day."

The full backs offer width, but they are more balanced than before; Alves in particular was depicted as a man whose diminished physical condition has combined with Luis Enrique's more pragmatic approach. The MCs offer a controlled level of distribution and some support to the front men, but it feels like the front three are the key area to get right.

First Draft

4-1-2-3 DM, Counter, Balanced

SK (S) Distribute to Centre Backs (will try Distribute To Playmaker, but have a feeling that was knackered last time I tried)

©WB (S) x 2. Both full backs on Support to start with, with modification (if possible) to beef up their attacking contribution. Will also look to tone down crossing and shooting with PIs, and may revert to CWB (S) just to compare their qualities

DC (D) x 2. Possible scope to use BPDs but I don't really need to given the presence of a deep playmaker in front

DLP (D) - at least to start with. The gut instinct is that this is the best working Role to use to approximate the positioning of the DM when attacks start. I need to review this though, and will look at the Half Back, Anchor and DM (D) too. If the Role changes from a playmaking one, then it opens up my option at MC if I choose to stick with a single-playmaker policy

MCR = B2B (S). Rakitic will provide a dynamic midfielder who links up with Alves and Messi on the right, offers a direct distribution and gets up field to support play. Could end up being a RPM if the DLP changes, or if I just choose to abort the single-playmaker plan

MCL = CM (S). A jack of all trades Role which is eminently tailorable. Whatever happens with the DM Role, I will have at least one generic CM Role - though his Duty may change

AML/R = IF (A). Inward cutting wide men who look to overload the middle of the pitch

CF (S) Mobile point of attack who sometimes drops behind the AML/R, often creates them space and also scores his share of goals

Counter is selected as I want the "counter box ticked", I want us to be quite deep and compact when defending which will open up space for the front three to attack. Counter has some traits which I want to offset, so I'll lob in these TIs to create an initial overall style:

Play Out Of Defence to reduce the direct play of the DCs

Push Higher Up (may go all the way to Much Higher Defensive Line) to enable us to start to press a little further up field

Closing Down will not be done at a TI level, I may instead get the front three, MCs and (probably) full backs to do so via PIs

Work Ball Into Box will reduce crossing and long shots - specifically looking to control the behaviour of the full backs and IFs

Stay On Feet to hopefully enable us to launch a quick Counter

Pass Into Space to give the IFs something to run onto

Retain Possession to keep hold of the ball and again, hopefully reduce any wayward shooting

EDIT - Play Offside too. I think I read something which implied that this is one of the things Enrique demands

Sources

http://www.coachingsoccertactics.com/tag/barcelona/

http://www.espnfc.com/club/barcelona/83/blog/post/2202386/la-liga-luis-enriques-barcelona-built-on-strikersnot-the-midfielders-of-pep-guardiolas-era

http://soccer.realgm.com/wiretap/2099/Busquets-Luis-Su%C3%A1rez-Embodies-Shift-In-Bar%C3%A7as-Tactics

http://www.barcablaugranes.com/barca-tactics

http://www.zonalmarking.net/2015/01/14/barcelona-3-1-atletico-madrid-neymar-messi-suarez/

http://spielverlagerung.com/2014/09/14/game-analysis-fc-barcelona-athletic-bilbao-20/

http://spielverlagerung.com/2014/10/22/fc-barcelona-sd-eibar-30/

http://www.insidespanishfootball.com/139770/tactical-tinkering-the-way-forward-for-luis-enriques-barcelona/

http://beautywithinfootball.com/post/105003808156/barcelona-v-paris-saint-germain-3-1

http://mesqueunclubgr.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/analysis-second-half-adjustments-give.html

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141024-what-makes-barcelona-so-special

http://13steps.co/2015/02/27/analysis-of-manchester-citys-defensive-structure-vs-barcelona/

http://bitterandblue.sbnation.com/2015/3/19/8260199/barca-1-0-city-tactics-and-trends-and-messi

http://www.si.com/planet-futbol/2015/02/23/barcelona-tactics-luis-enrique-lionel-messi-champions-league

http://www.sportskeeda.com/football/tiki-taka-no-more-luis-enriques-new-direction-barcelonas-style-play

http://www.offthepost.info/blog/2015/03/tactics-review-barcelona-1-0-man-city/

http://www.offthepost.info/blog/2015/02/tactics-review-man-city-1-2-barcelona/

Excellent sharing, thanks RT :) I read every of them and more. Its simply enlightening. I been always thinking Busquets as a HB but look like a DLP. What do you think Rakitic and Iniesta's general role ? Rakitic seems more mobile but It can't be B2B, can it ? Suarez look like CF, depending the situation support or attack. Messi can be IF-s with sit norrow PI. I am confused about Neymat IF-a or RMD.

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A complete change of plan has seen me deviate entirely from the notion of replicating the Barca style, and instead attempt to create a balanced style of play using combinations that i haven't used before. As such, it probably isn't relevant for me to contribute too much more in this thread, but this is what I'm currently using:

Boo! Would have been interested to see the final result.

I like that inclusion of Messi as a AP/A - I think that describes him well, a player that just phases into that 'missing' area, between the midfield and defence, between the centre and the full backs, necessitating a strict man-marker to shackle him. -I THINK- anyway...

Would you have the time to give you thoughts on this set up?

GK/D,

Both WB's on Support, and both CB's as usual CB/D.

DM/D - I actually had the same thought you did with the anchorman, I'm thinking the DM's description actually does what the media like to report Busquets as doing at the moment.

RPM/S - Rakitic role.

CM/? - I have no idea what this role is to be like... I'm not convinced it is utilised as a pure playmaking role anymore, it seems to be a generic midfield role now.

IF/S or A - Not too sure which to pick, this being for Neymar. However, I'm also not sure whether Neymar actually plays like a winger that cuts in rather than an out and out inside forward.

CF/S - For lack of better roles... I actually follow your own wisdom on this one.

AP/A - Messi role, with sit narrower.

Problems? I wonder if the AP role will limit their goalscoring ability, wouldn't really want that, but then if the trio are working well enough it seems irrelevant. Curiously, looking at the roles there it seems if I do leave the IF on S then I will have a grand total of 1 player on an attack duty. I guess that means the set up would/should be reasonable for maintaining possession, though I would imagine for smaller teams if they got pressured high up in their own half they might struggle to get out of the area.

Oh, my instructions would be Counter/Balanced, Play out of defence, work ball into box, higher defensive line. Not sure whether to go with shorter passing or not.

Maybe I need to run this on FMTouch for a bit and see how it works before I dare try using it in any potential long term saves - of which, I've yet to start! :(

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Excellent sharing, thanks RT :) I read every of them and more. Its simply enlightening. I been always thinking Busquets as a HB but look like a DLP. What do you think Rakitic and Iniesta's general role ? Rakitic seems more mobile but It can't be B2B, can it ? Suarez look like CF, depending the situation support or attack. Messi can be IF-s with sit norrow PI. I am confused about Neymat IF-a or RMD.

I can't even remember writing that :) I'd need to read more about Barca this year, as it seems as if they have evolved again. The Roma and Madrid results stand out this year, but were as much about Barca's obvious brilliance, as they were about their opponents' awful defensive plans. I read a couple of things this morning which implied that Barca sometimes defend as a sort of wonky 4-4-2. It *seems* like Neymar contributes much more defensively than Messi, so I'd consider using a 4-1-2-3 DM Wide, but with Neymar at ML rather than AML. Based purely on what I've read of the Roma game in particular, I'd be inclined to have both Neymar and Messi roaming; Messi's depth at times really stands out so unless he really contributes nothing defensively, I'd even consider a 4-1-4-1.

Many people on here watch all of Barca's game, so I'm sure they can offer a more informed appraisal.

Boo! Would have been interested to see the final result.

I like that inclusion of Messi as a AP/A - I think that describes him well, a player that just phases into that 'missing' area, between the midfield and defence, between the centre and the full backs, necessitating a strict man-marker to shackle him. -I THINK- anyway...

Would you have the time to give you thoughts on this set up?

GK/D,

Both WB's on Support, and both CB's as usual CB/D.

DM/D - I actually had the same thought you did with the anchorman, I'm thinking the DM's description actually does what the media like to report Busquets as doing at the moment.

RPM/S - Rakitic role.

CM/? - I have no idea what this role is to be like... I'm not convinced it is utilised as a pure playmaking role anymore, it seems to be a generic midfield role now.

IF/S or A - Not too sure which to pick, this being for Neymar. However, I'm also not sure whether Neymar actually plays like a winger that cuts in rather than an out and out inside forward.

CF/S - For lack of better roles... I actually follow your own wisdom on this one.

AP/A - Messi role, with sit narrower.

Problems? I wonder if the AP role will limit their goalscoring ability, wouldn't really want that, but then if the trio are working well enough it seems irrelevant. Curiously, looking at the roles there it seems if I do leave the IF on S then I will have a grand total of 1 player on an attack duty. I guess that means the set up would/should be reasonable for maintaining possession, though I would imagine for smaller teams if they got pressured high up in their own half they might struggle to get out of the area.

Oh, my instructions would be Counter/Balanced, Play out of defence, work ball into box, higher defensive line. Not sure whether to go with shorter passing or not.

Maybe I need to run this on FMTouch for a bit and see how it works before I dare try using it in any potential long term saves - of which, I've yet to start! :(

The main problems in that system are the two Attack Duties at AML/R. As suggested to ibrahim.akbyk, I'm not sure that neither Messi nor Neymar contribute zero defensively. Attack Duties don't (and shouldn't) really contribute much defensively from AML/R - they will drop deep and it can be contextual, but often too late for it to be useful. Messi this season appears to have a very free roaming Role. I'm not on the game now but I can see the merits of having him as a Playmaker Role to channel play through him. However, he has been dropping very deep and moving all over the place this year, so I'd probably prefer to use PIs in a Support Role (i.e. one that allows him to Get Further Forward and Roam) and see how that plays out.

As usual, this gets me thinking again! I get so distracted from my various saves (actually, I deleted two so just have two on the go) thinking about seeing if contemporary systems can be replicated in FM. I guess I need to read more articles again, but it gets harder to get a real sense of how a team plays via blogs and articles these days, because everyone purports to be an expert now. There are so many articles with so many conflicting views. What I really want as a footballing resource is a way of viewing complete matches that happened a month or two back. I need to see if they're knocking around on YouTube.

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The main problems in that system are the two Attack Duties at AML/R. As suggested to ibrahim.akbyk, I'm not sure that neither Messi nor Neymar contribute zero defensively. Attack Duties don't (and shouldn't) really contribute much defensively from AML/R - they will drop deep and it can be contextual, but often too late for it to be useful. Messi this season appears to have a very free roaming Role. I'm not on the game now but I can see the merits of having him as a Playmaker Role to channel play through him. However, he has been dropping very deep and moving all over the place this year, so I'd probably prefer to use PIs in a Support Role (i.e. one that allows him to Get Further Forward and Roam) and see how that plays out.

As usual, this gets me thinking again! I get so distracted from my various saves (actually, I deleted two so just have two on the go) thinking about seeing if contemporary systems can be replicated in FM. I guess I need to read more articles again, but it gets harder to get a real sense of how a team plays via blogs and articles these days, because everyone purports to be an expert now. There are so many articles with so many conflicting views. What I really want as a footballing resource is a way of viewing complete matches that happened a month or two back. I need to see if they're knocking around on YouTube.

I agree, I've run into that problem of finding resources as well. I'm taking up an interest in Barcelona again because my nephew, experiencing his first FM, asked me to try and explain to him how to create a Barcelona system of play. Unfortunately, my understanding of how things work together isn't that great! But it isn't stopping me from trying to read up and get a handle on it, problem is finding the analysis sites and if they have videos, then the problem becomes one of understanding the videos! :rolleyes:

Would it be conceivable for Barcelona's 4-3-3 to have absolutely zero attack duties? I imagine it would be... interesting, not sure I'm too comfortable doing that though.

I think I'll create an FMT save and go through a pre-season match messing about with the roles to try and see how it is. If I can make sense of it, I'll try and put my thoughts down here for others to critique.

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Would it be conceivable for Barcelona's 4-3-3 to have absolutely zero attack duties? I imagine it would be... interesting, not sure I'm too comfortable doing that though.

I think I'll create an FMT save and go through a pre-season match messing about with the roles to try and see how it is. If I can make sense of it, I'll try and put my thoughts down here for others to critique.

I think the bold bit is an interesting question. When you look at some clips of recent Barcelona, you'll see quite ridiculously good interplay in tight areas. Having Support Duties will serve to reduce risk taking and it could aid possession in the final third. It will be a balance between tempo and Duty allocation (in my opinion) to get things right. I'm sure you've read Cleon's counter attacking thread and I'm not advocating applying every element of that to Barca, but the thread makes some very interesting points that you could apply elements of to getting balanced play with Barcelona.

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I think the bold bit is an interesting question. When you look at some clips of recent Barcelona, you'll see quite ridiculously good interplay in tight areas. Having Support Duties will serve to reduce risk taking and it could aid possession in the final third. It will be a balance between tempo and Duty allocation (in my opinion) to get things right. I'm sure you've read Cleon's counter attacking thread and I'm not advocating applying every element of that to Barca, but the thread makes some very interesting points that you could apply elements of to getting balanced play with Barcelona.

I've just had a little go on FMT using full support duties:

GK/D WB/S CB/D

DM/D, CM/S, B2B/S, IF/S and CF/S

I went IF/S as apparently we can't elect to roam with an AP/S. (Also, Counter / Fluid is selected.)

Does it work? Kind of... I mean inter-play is fantastic when it does happen, but I'm kinda seeing a lot of misplaced passes (77% pass completion), at first it was due to the keeper constantly going long, so I had to nail his individual instructions to stop punt-balling it. Secondly, there is a lot of cross-field plays, usually from IF to IF, and they do get intercepted.

What have I seen that works well?

WB/S shield the defence very well, but when they advance they line up I'd say... about ten yards away from the IF's on support and both players will be just inside the half. This makes it short exchanges between them work alright, but it kills their ability to put pressure on in the final third.

IF's on support go deep, I mean, REALLY deep.

Man_Utd_v_OM_Pitch_2.png

print screen windows

That guy down the bottom of the screen is the "Neymar" player. I think getting him back defending is fine, but maybe all the way there is a bit of an issue? In that screen, Mata pushes on but has no options but to wait for play to catch up, he gets a pass off but everyone gets crowded out and we turn over possession.

Second issue:

When we do get the ball moving into the middle, we appear to line up very 'flat' in midfield.

Man_Utd_v_OM_Pitch.png

forum image hosting

The CF is isolated (frequently), the Neymar (left wing) cuts inside very early, usually around the halfway line, which I think is a bit *too* early. The front trio actually stand quite far apart from each other, with no real inter-play between any of them. The result is the lack of shots, possession kind of dies out usually at the halfway line area or before we get to the final third.

OM's stats are misleading, their shots have mostly come from corners and their CCC from a defensive error (missed a long ball over the top), but they certainly aren't being troubled at all. The central midfield trio I think are relatively bland, almost too happy to get the ball out wide and fail to shift to offer a passing support.

How much of this is down to the opposition's 4-2-3-1 is something I'm unsure of.

So basically:

+ Good defensive set up, pleasantly surprised at how effective a WB/S is overall, at times they can get all the way up to the opposition corner flag - but it is timed to be 'safe', and I like that security.

+ DM/D does a decent job shielding the defence.

- The attacking trio and the two centre midfields needs a re-think... Either a role change somewhere or I'm missing something... Maybe a switch to structured to create more depth?

I will have another go later tonight, when I've woken up a bit, I think being tired probably isn't helping me suss things out.

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Next logical steps would be to try Attack Roles at AML/R to see if you get a required level of defensive contribution. If not, then Attack Roles at ML/R to see if they give a better overall balance, as I agree that you look a bit flat in that final image.

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I've found that using AP/S roles on the wings (AMR/AML) and giving a PI of 'stay narrow' makes your player track back and drop inside to the midfield very often. I've had Mata playing there, popping up everywhere from the centre of midfield towards the corner flag. It's a possible angle to let the three attackers (AMR, AML, F9) constantly drop into midfield and creating a midfield 6 like Barca used to do.

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4k5u8gye.jpg

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I've noticed my iniesta role is a bit higher. I don't know what can I do for this. But anyway the tactic seems ok, although there is a lot to improve

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One thing RTH said me before ''players need opportunity to make a pass, especially possession based game''. I guess in Barca, the player who has the ball not the most important player in the pitch. Actually the others more important than him. It can be an example;

28moyeml.jpg

If there is not opportunity around him, he probably lose the ball..

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None of those are what I call a realistic passing option. It all depends on the player in those situations because any option he chooses will require him to be accurate because he's crowded out by the opposition.

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None of those are what I call a realistic passing option. It all depends on the player in those situations because any option he chooses will require him to be accurate because he's crowded out by the opposition.

Totally agree. But I just show player around him. They are not options to me too. But they make easy thing for the player who has the ball. I guess there is one clear option. Right wing back. Maybe another one Holding midfielder. Far opportunity Running left wing back. But he played right inside forward and make good chances. Ofcourse this happened because of my player's ability. But my aim is here, players around him make things easy to him.

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ah yes, the mighty Barca tactic thread is back in the spotlight :)

I started a game with them and I must admit that I am struggling this year with the various chances at tactical level... My biggest issue for the time being is around possession where I barely reach 50 % on good days (home or away) which shouldn't be the case with Barca right? ;)

Here are the roles I have set:

BKD60F.png

Instructions:

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and shape:

Y97WFK.png

What would be your tweaking advices in order to raise possession?

Thanks :)

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I'd lose most of the Attack Duties, most of the TIs and ask what Mentality you use :)

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ah yes, mentality: attacking

Loose Attack duties? and replace them by what? ;) and I do agree that I have too much TI's but as I said I am struggling this year :)

last year's TI: Retain possession, pass into space, work ball into box, push higher up, closedown much more and stay on feet, that's it

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The ball playing defender (Piqué) should be the one with the Stopper duty, as he'll always be the first one to engage the opposition while his partner (usually Mascherano) sweeps behind for ball or player that may get past Piqué. They do NOT use the Stopper/Cover pair anymore, since they play two very offensive fullbacks.

Agreed on both wide defenders playing attack. Complete wingback role might suit them better though.

Busquets no longer plays as a Regista, again due to the use of two offensive full backs. He plays as a Half back, going deep between the central defenders when defending or building up play from the goal.

The central midfield pair is perfect.

The forward trio are so good they could play any role and duty and still win whole competitions by themselves. I usually set Neymar and Messi as Inside forwards on Attack duty, and Suárez either as a False nine or a Deeplying forward on a Support duty.

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ah yes, mentality: attacking

Loose Attack duties? and replace them by what? ;) and I do agree that I have too much TI's but as I said I am struggling this year :)

last year's TI: Retain possession, pass into space, work ball into box, push higher up, closedown much more and stay on feet, that's it

With Barca I think I'd use two maybe three at the very most attack duties, your players are very high-up on the pitch behind the other teams defenders, on a support duty they will be deeper, more readily available to receive the ball and I think (generally) their passing is slightly safernso you'd get better possession figure with your front three on support

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I also find RTH's midfielder pairing nice to use. B2B-s CM-a. With defend duty behind of them. It's kinda promising to me with CF-s(move into channel). Especially for helping link play up the pitch.

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The ball playing defender (Piqué) should be the one with the Stopper duty, as he'll always be the first one to engage the opposition while his partner (usually Mascherano) sweeps behind for ball or player that may get past Piqué. They do NOT use the Stopper/Cover pair anymore, since they play two very offensive fullbacks.

Agreed on both wide defenders playing attack. Complete wingback role might suit them better though.

Busquets no longer plays as a Regista, again due to the use of two offensive full backs. He plays as a Half back, going deep between the central defenders when defending or building up play from the goal.

The central midfield pair is perfect.

The forward trio are so good they could play any role and duty and still win whole competitions by themselves. I usually set Neymar and Messi as Inside forwards on Attack duty, and Suárez either as a False nine or a Deeplying forward on a Support duty.

what role/duty would you give to Mascherano?

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I'd lose most of the Attack Duties, most of the TIs and ask what Mentality you use :)

Best post for a while! Love that

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ah yes, mentality: attacking

Loose Attack duties? and replace them by what? ;) and I do agree that I have too much TI's but as I said I am struggling this year :)

last year's TI: Retain possession, pass into space, work ball into box, push higher up, closedown much more and stay on feet, that's it

Apologies for the delay - was on my phone earlier.

Cleon will post an article at some point about possession and it will help you so much and really make people look at possession in a new way, in much the same way as his Counter Attacking article has inspired some really interesting debate.

Back to your system. You want possession. Attacking is high tempo, high risk, wide in attack. Short passing at the back, more direct up front. For me, if you play fast, you increase the chances of missed passes. Yes, Barcelona are an exceptional side, but bear it in mind. Risky passes mean more low percentage passes being attempted. Again, yes Barca are on another level to every other side, but it is something to think about. Playing wider increases space between players - let's think about this combined with your TIs......

You Retain Possession, Pass Shorter, Play Out Of Defence. All reducing passing length. But...... look at your midfield. The deep trio are all wanting to get on the ball. Your deep midfield triangle will drift towards the ball when the keeper has it, and your front three (all on Attack) will run up front. All that short passing, all that space, all that tempo.... You then play even wider, increasing space which means that the passing range you have intensively shortened won't recognise many passes as being available. You play even faster, which further limits the time the team have to make a decision. It is frantic football which has disconnects as a result of the Roles and Duties used.

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