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The Barcelona Style: My Interpretation

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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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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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Right, I've had another go.

A recap:

Stay on feet, play out of defence, retain possession, Push higher up, lower tempo.

Counter / Fluid

Reasoning:

Play out of defence was mostly selected to nullify the direct passing from the defenders as Counter is implied to do.

Retain Possession was included mid-way because the passing % was hitting the mid 60%, there were too many silly passes and hollywood balls. With retain possession ticked, the team actually considered their options and passed the ball around. Pass completion went right up from 65ish to 78%, which is better...

Push higher up - I think this is really conservative, I think push much higher up is the better option, because from what I watch the defensive line goes so far back that they invite unnecessary pressure on themselves and causes the opposition to get plenty of free shots. Especially because everyone is on lower duties, their natural inclination seems to be to get deep anyway. Combined with Counter mentality it's almost pushing them into their own box. (NB: That is my initial thought, I could be wrong, I need to see it again in another match situation I think.)

Lower Tempo - As noted, players were rushing it out and turning over the ball.

--

Original roles:

GK/D, WB/S, CB/D - Defence.

DM/D,

B2B/S, CM/S,

IF/S,

CF/S

Changes made for this one (same opposition though);

The Messi role was left as IF/S and the Neymar role was changed to IF/A.

Actual Impact of changes:

The IF A stays higher, much higher. His defensive work is mostly 'token', in that he does drop back but he sort of lets the full back run into space if the ball moves away from that area. That does mean the left back has to be quite solid defensively (unfortunately for me, Luke Shaw was having a nightmare containing OM's AMR anyway...)

However, I think this is something that is an acceptable risk, by staying a bit further forward our AML offers an outlet that has bucket loads of space when the opposition throw numbers forward. This is what Barcelona exploit quite well IRL, if some of the articles I've read are anything to go by.

I still wasn't happy though, the CF/S was still isolated, often pushing on the shoulder of the last defender but no one was willing to put that direct pass through, moreover no one was willing to exploit the space in the AMC strata caused by that.

I made two more changes:

I changed the IF/S to an AP/S with dribble more instruction.

I changed the CF/S to a DLF/S.

Better? Not sure about the striker. But the AP/S? Wow, does he drop deep. And wow, does he cut inside! I think this is a better reflection of Messi perhaps?

Man_Utd_v_OM_Pitch.png

image hosting 30 mb

This is where he stands normally, I'll disclose that in this screenshot he's in that position as it is a throw in, but he's roughly getting in that area (sometimes, not always.)

This is where he ends up when we have the ball, and more importantly when HE has the ball.

Man_Utd_v_OM_Pitch_2.png

image sharing

And finally, this is how the team shape is forming with him in that role.

Man_Utd_v_OM_Analysis_Teams.png

free image uploading

In that screen shot above, Mata (Messi) teams up with Schneiderlien (Rakitic) with a one-two, to create space for Mata to send the ball down to Darmian, who crosses it in for Rooney to score at the near post. Young (in the Neymar role) was sneaking in at the back post, about where I'd hope he would be. And Herrera (Iniesta) was lurking outside the middle of the box waiting for a rebound or fluffed clearance.

I'm partially convinced AP/S is indeed the right role to put on that right hand side. One thing I *might* be tempted to do is try it again but with an AP/A, unless having him all the way back in our own half defending is actually something we want to see?

The DLF/S is interesting, because rather than push along the defensive line he looks to drop but exploit space out wide as well. When OM attack down the right (our left) because Young doesn't track back all the time, when OM try and overload against Shaw and it fails, they leave themselves wide open for a counter down the left flank, but it usually goes like this; A direct ball is played to Young, who will pick it up just on the halfway line. Rooney will be running at the corner flag into the vacant full back spot, however the defence will shift over (3 players) and even if Rooney is set free down the wing, the rest of the team will struggle to offer any support. I don't like that, I want to see numbers getting up there to help.

Additionally, the TWO people who consistently misplace passes; Rooney and Young. Ugh, infuriating. SO many a decent move has flatlined because of them two messing about with even the simplest of passes under no pressure whatsoever. I put it down to player mistakes, but it happens with too much frequency (11 misplaced passes between them in half an hour of play) only Luke Shaw (5) is anywhere near their numbers and at least half of his misplaced passes were from throw ins.

Finally, what changes should I do next?

1. See if the AP/A is any different from the AP/S - namely if he will hold a higher position without sacrificing defensive stability.

2. See what I can do to relieve the backline pressure, it is somewhat frustrating and I think we're not helping ourselves.

3. Consider a role change on the Neymar role. Someone pointed out in another topic on here, that he acts as a wide decoy and almost always gets the ball out wide. I'm considering he may be better off as a Winger with PPM Cuts inside. Some match reports I've read says he rarely if ever gets the ball in the middle anyway...

4. Consider what I can do to make the central trio more dynamic. My issue here is I'm a bit blind, in a lot of the reports I've been reading I hear lots about Rakitic and his wonderful box to box movement and direct passing. I'm not hearing anything much about Ineista's role.

5. Worry that I'm edging too close to RTHerringbone's final role allocation! >_< CM/A and CM/S actually interests me now, partially as it might offer more combination play with the AP/S?

6. Consider if I have to change the RB to a CWB... Or figure out how to make him slightly more aggressive to take advantage of the now empty right wing.

That's my plan for the next game. (P.S. If anyone is wondering why I've only done a 'half', I'm watching the match on Full. Maybe I should put everything on max speed and finish a match and then go over it at full time with a fine tooth comb?)

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It's nice to see that this has sparked a continuation of the discussion. However I will start by making one very important note. The thread originally was started about Pep's Tiki-Taka Barca and now the discussion is about Luis Enrique's Barca. While there are some similarities such as the passing identity of the club, there are also plenty of differences as well. This current Barca is not Tiki-Taka even though they can have spells during games where they use some of it. The roles of the players are different and the style is very much mixed - a little bit of everything. It's evolution and it continues to evolve.

This Barca is build mostly on the strength of the attacking trio - their chemistry, movement, instincts, intuition, cleverness and of course skills. Another important building block is Busquets. His role is more of a playmaker/conductor than it was during Pep's years. That's because back then Iniesta and Xavi were at their prime. Now, Xavi is gone (last season he was too old and not starting) and Iniesta is older, not as fresh, though still capable of magic. But a more consistent conductor is needed, hence why Busquets has more evolved role under Lucho. Also, I believe that in FM terms he behaves more from a CM position rather than DM position.

But back to that magic trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez. First, the obvious...Messi since last season is back on the right....sort of.....Under Pep he was transformed into a False9 (it took SI a few years to introduce the role into FM to catch up). Now he is transformer into what I call a "False Winger" - a hybrid between a wide forward and a roaming wide playmaker with somewhat lessened defensive duties to preserve his energy for damage in attack (hence why the young, energetic Rakitic is playing on that side of midfield in different role than Xavi used to play. But more on that later). Needless to say, we don't have role in FM to replicate Messi's reincarnated role once again (surprised?)....hell, even the False9 we have still doesn't represent accurately how he played under Pep either. Neymar and Suarez a little easier to pin down though. The Brazilian is a straight up Inside Forward....Attack. He has some freedom to roam but not as much as Messi....for now. Suarez is a Complete Forward - he leads the line, he occupies defenders, he moves either side of them, left, right, behind, in front. He is a pest, a clever pest. That's why I always wanted him at Barca, ever since his Ajax days. His presence and movement creates the space for Iniesta, Messi and Neymar to operate and together they cause havoc. Suarez doesn't see the ball as much as Messi and Neymar, but his role is more of a decoy. But when he does see the ball, he combines well with the others and of course this leads to goals.

In midfield, other than Busquets, Iniesta still has a playmaking role. Though he is a little less attacking than he used to and probably due to maturity and getting there in terms of age he is more balanced between offense and defense. However, in big games such as the recent El Classico or last seasons' Champions League final, he shows his old self I think. Rakitic's role is interesting on the other hand. Many people may think he is a playmaker, but I don't think so when Iniesta and Busquets are in the side as well. Without either one, maybe. Otherwise, he is a box-to-box type energetic midfielder. Defensively, he is there to provide more balance and compensate for Messi and Alves who like to focus more on their attacking duties. He can put a tackle, take good positions and he can recover well. In attack, he provides runs into the box or also out wide when Messi has drifted inside. He can pass, shoot, dribble, score. He is a jack of all trades, very versatile hence box-to-box type. Here it's important to note the impact and improvement Sergi Roberto has made! He is proving that he is also very versatile, even more so than the Croat. He has played multiple positions and played well - right back, any of the midfield positions/roles and even right wide attacking midfielder/winger vs Real Madrid...at the Bernabau (assisted on the first goal). He was kind of the forgotten talent at Barca and sort of fell behind the likes of Thiago and Rafinha, but has emerged this season as a revelation. Anyway, when he plays instead of Iniesta, then Rakitic takes on more of a playmaking role.

In general the team still can keep possession and dominate opponents. But some times, it purposely allows teams some room to attack just so it can counter-attack back with this deadly trio. I think it's very hard, just like it's always been, to nail down how Barca plays in terms of FM. Nevertheless I would go for something like this:

Standard/Fluid

SK-D

Alves and Alba = WB-A

Pique, Bartra, Mascherano, Vermaelen, Matheu = CD-D

Busquets = DLP-D (in CM position)

Rakitic = BBM-S

Iniesta = AP-S

Messi = AP-A (with Roaming and Get Further Forward)

Neymar = IF-A

Suarez = CF-S (with Moves into Channels)

Sorry this kind of turned perhaps into too long of a post. But these are the observations of a long time Barca fan and FM player......for what it's worth. I have less time to enjoy each/either one as I get older, unfortunately though.....

P.S: Like many perhaps, I'm waiting with interest Cleon's possession thread to see what new I can learn for this edition of FM because I feel i can't get to grips with it for some reason this year. Perhaps because I have less time playing and testing or perhaps because things have changed in the ME.

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^Great post :)

As you're a Barca fan, can you go a little more in-depth for me about Messi/Iniesta and Neymar?

Am I right to say that Messi starts out wide but comes very central in possession? And also, does he drop deep in terms of defensive contribution?

Neymar - does he track back at all? My suspicion is he doesn't, but google is annoying me because Pele made a comment in October about Neymar being lazy defensively and that dominates the first 20+ pages of google when I try and search about Neymar tracking back...

Ineista - Why advanced playmaker? Is he not usually a bit deeper than Rakitic when they pair up together?

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^Great post :)

As you're a Barca fan, can you go a little more in-depth for me about Messi/Iniesta and Neymar?

Am I right to say that Messi starts out wide but comes very central in possession? And also, does he drop deep in terms of defensive contribution?

Neymar - does he track back at all? My suspicion is he doesn't, but google is annoying me because Pele made a comment in October about Neymar being lazy defensively and that dominates the first 20+ pages of google when I try and search about Neymar tracking back...

Ineista - Why advanced playmaker? Is he not usually a bit deeper than Rakitic when they pair up together?

Thank you

Yes, Messi starts out wide but drifts inside, drops deep and roams about. He plays his usual role, just from the AMR position rather than STC under Pep. I think he is more playmaker now though, especially with Neymar and Suarez around and the form they are in. Defensively I don't think he defends that much. Keep in mind he is not lazy or anything. I feel Neymar defends more than Messi. Plus Neymar is a little more advanced forward in attack also. So the Brazilian moves more vertically while Messi more horizontally and about.

Iniesta is deeper than Rakitic, but in Attack the BBM role makes the Croat more advanced. The Maestro is not a DLP because that would clash with Busquets' role in my eyes.;)

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Yonko, what is your observation about two playmaker in same strata. I did not much attention before RTH told me but it seems they look for ball together and this will kinda disrupt buildup phase to me. I wonder same thing happened to you ?

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Yonko, what is your observation about two playmaker in same strata. I did not much attention before RTH told me but it seems they look for ball together and this will kinda disrupt buildup phase to me. I wonder same thing happened to you ?

I don't see that it would be an issue in this system because they aren't in the same area of the pitch. Messi is at AMR whereas Iniesta is MCL.

yonko - it's an aggressive interpretation. Heavy with Attack Duties which would have possession implications. Would you rein anything in to better fit the way the Match Engine would represent the players with those Duties? As an example, Alves and Alba obviously are very offensive wing backs IRL, but WB (A) will be banging in lots of crosses and playing some risky passes, which I'm not sure is consistent with how they (probably Alves more specifically) actually play? In addition, Neymar on Attack at AML will not give much defensive cover at all, which would appear to conflict with the suggestion that he does defend more than Messi.

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I don't see that it would be an issue in this system because they aren't in the same area of the pitch. Messi is at AMR whereas Iniesta is MCL.

yonko - it's an aggressive interpretation. Heavy with Attack Duties which would have possession implications. Would you rein anything in to better fit the way the Match Engine would represent the players with those Duties? As an example, Alves and Alba obviously are very offensive wing backs IRL, but WB (A) will be banging in lots of crosses and playing some risky passes, which I'm not sure is consistent with how they (probably Alves more specifically) actually play? In addition, Neymar on Attack at AML will not give much defensive cover at all, which would appear to conflict with the suggestion that he does defend more than Messi.

One thing to mention, I've played 2 more games and on WB/A (on the right flank) and I feel the player there gets forward much more earlier and much quicker than on a WB/S, so much so, that he causes no end of problems for the opposition, especially as they track inside to follow Messi. On WB/S I found him lurking more cautiously along the halfway line and making the run only with a bit more timing to speak, but that conservativeness was kind of making things difficult.

Also reading this: http://www.barcablaugranes.com/2015/11/14/9720110/barcelona-sergio-busquets-evolution Seems to agree with Yonko's interpretion of Busquets. I haven't tested him as DLP/D in that role yet, but Cleon's new possession thread is making me consider using him as a DM/S as well... =)

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It's nice to see that this has sparked a continuation of the discussion. However I will start by making one very important note. The thread originally was started about Pep's Tiki-Taka Barca and now the discussion is about Luis Enrique's Barca. While there are some similarities such as the passing identity of the club, there are also plenty of differences as well. This current Barca is not Tiki-Taka even though they can have spells during games where they use some of it. The roles of the players are different and the style is very much mixed - a little bit of everything. It's evolution and it continues to evolve.

This Barca is build mostly on the strength of the attacking trio - their chemistry, movement, instincts, intuition, cleverness and of course skills. Another important building block is Busquets. His role is more of a playmaker/conductor than it was during Pep's years. That's because back then Iniesta and Xavi were at their prime. Now, Xavi is gone (last season he was too old and not starting) and Iniesta is older, not as fresh, though still capable of magic. But a more consistent conductor is needed, hence why Busquets has more evolved role under Lucho. Also, I believe that in FM terms he behaves more from a CM position rather than DM position.

But back to that magic trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez. First, the obvious...Messi since last season is back on the right....sort of.....Under Pep he was transformed into a False9 (it took SI a few years to introduce the role into FM to catch up). Now he is transformer into what I call a "False Winger" - a hybrid between a wide forward and a roaming wide playmaker with somewhat lessened defensive duties to preserve his energy for damage in attack (hence why the young, energetic Rakitic is playing on that side of midfield in different role than Xavi used to play. But more on that later). Needless to say, we don't have role in FM to replicate Messi's reincarnated role once again (surprised?)....hell, even the False9 we have still doesn't represent accurately how he played under Pep either. Neymar and Suarez a little easier to pin down though. The Brazilian is a straight up Inside Forward....Attack. He has some freedom to roam but not as much as Messi....for now. Suarez is a Complete Forward - he leads the line, he occupies defenders, he moves either side of them, left, right, behind, in front. He is a pest, a clever pest. That's why I always wanted him at Barca, ever since his Ajax days. His presence and movement creates the space for Iniesta, Messi and Neymar to operate and together they cause havoc. Suarez doesn't see the ball as much as Messi and Neymar, but his role is more of a decoy. But when he does see the ball, he combines well with the others and of course this leads to goals.

In midfield, other than Busquets, Iniesta still has a playmaking role. Though he is a little less attacking than he used to and probably due to maturity and getting there in terms of age he is more balanced between offense and defense. However, in big games such as the recent El Classico or last seasons' Champions League final, he shows his old self I think. Rakitic's role is interesting on the other hand. Many people may think he is a playmaker, but I don't think so when Iniesta and Busquets are in the side as well. Without either one, maybe. Otherwise, he is a box-to-box type energetic midfielder. Defensively, he is there to provide more balance and compensate for Messi and Alves who like to focus more on their attacking duties. He can put a tackle, take good positions and he can recover well. In attack, he provides runs into the box or also out wide when Messi has drifted inside. He can pass, shoot, dribble, score. He is a jack of all trades, very versatile hence box-to-box type. Here it's important to note the impact and improvement Sergi Roberto has made! He is proving that he is also very versatile, even more so than the Croat. He has played multiple positions and played well - right back, any of the midfield positions/roles and even right wide attacking midfielder/winger vs Real Madrid...at the Bernabau (assisted on the first goal). He was kind of the forgotten talent at Barca and sort of fell behind the likes of Thiago and Rafinha, but has emerged this season as a revelation. Anyway, when he plays instead of Iniesta, then Rakitic takes on more of a playmaking role.

In general the team still can keep possession and dominate opponents. But some times, it purposely allows teams some room to attack just so it can counter-attack back with this deadly trio. I think it's very hard, just like it's always been, to nail down how Barca plays in terms of FM. Nevertheless I would go for something like this:

Standard/Fluid

SK-D

Alves and Alba = WB-A

Pique, Bartra, Mascherano, Vermaelen, Matheu = CD-D

Busquets = DLP-D (in CM position)

Rakitic = BBM-S

Iniesta = AP-S

Messi = AP-A (with Roaming and Get Further Forward)

Neymar = IF-A

Suarez = CF-S (with Moves into Channels)

Sorry this kind of turned perhaps into too long of a post. But these are the observations of a long time Barca fan and FM player......for what it's worth. I have less time to enjoy each/either one as I get older, unfortunately though.....

P.S: Like many perhaps, I'm waiting with interest Cleon's possession thread to see what new I can learn for this edition of FM because I feel i can't get to grips with it for some reason this year. Perhaps because I have less time playing and testing or perhaps because things have changed in the ME.

Busquets, Rakitic and Iniesta as CMs or Busquets as CM and Rakitic/Iniesta as AMs?

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One thing to mention, I've played 2 more games and on WB/A (on the right flank) and I feel the player there gets forward much more earlier and much quicker than on a WB/S, so much so, that he causes no end of problems for the opposition, especially as they track inside to follow Messi. On WB/S I found him lurking more cautiously along the halfway line and making the run only with a bit more timing to speak, but that conservativeness was kind of making things difficult.

It's definitely a far more aggressive Role / Duty and better represents the early mobility of the Barca full backs. The thing to keep an eye on is what they do when they have the ball. With Alves in particular, I always have the impression of him being a capable footballer on that flank, so there's probably a compromise needed between mobility and what he does when he has the ball. Just check if on Attack his interplay down the flank is diluted by his desire to put crosses in.

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It's definitely a far more aggressive Role / Duty and better represents the early mobility of the Barca full backs. The thing to keep an eye on is what they do when they have the ball. With Alves in particular, I always have the impression of him being a capable footballer on that flank, so there's probably a compromise needed between mobility and what he does when he has the ball. Just check if on Attack his interplay down the flank is diluted by his desire to put crosses in.

I shall do that tonight, I have both games saved under two different files for further examination! ^_^

Bah, I'm getting frustrated now. One moment it goes well and it looks like things are clicking into place, the next, they're all over the place and getting stuffed by the opposition like they're useless. /sigh.

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I don't see that it would be an issue in this system because they aren't in the same area of the pitch. Messi is at AMR whereas Iniesta is MCL.

yonko - it's an aggressive interpretation. Heavy with Attack Duties which would have possession implications. Would you rein anything in to better fit the way the Match Engine would represent the players with those Duties? As an example, Alves and Alba obviously are very offensive wing backs IRL, but WB (A) will be banging in lots of crosses and playing some risky passes, which I'm not sure is consistent with how they (probably Alves more specifically) actually play? In addition, Neymar on Attack at AML will not give much defensive cover at all, which would appear to conflict with the suggestion that he does defend more than Messi.

I mean Busquets on CM position with DLP and Iniesta on CM position with AP. Did I see wrong ?

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yonko - it's an aggressive interpretation. Heavy with Attack Duties which would have possession implications. Would you rein anything in to better fit the way the Match Engine would represent the players with those Duties? As an example, Alves and Alba obviously are very offensive wing backs IRL, but WB (A) will be banging in lots of crosses and playing some risky passes, which I'm not sure is consistent with how they (probably Alves more specifically) actually play? In addition, Neymar on Attack at AML will not give much defensive cover at all, which would appear to conflict with the suggestion that he does defend more than Messi.

As I said I don't have that much time to experiment and stuff, so about 50% of what I said in FM terms is just theories. And reading Cleon's thread on possession it turns out it's wrong theories perhaps.

The crossing would be taken care of by using TIs "work ball into the box" and "retain possession" I think, as that subdues crosses.

Taking into consideration Cleon's lessons, I would say change Neymar to IF-S with Get Forward. I would leave Messi as is - AP-A. Change Alba to WB-S as well.

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Just to add...Iniesta, Busquets and Rakitic as 3 CMs.

And I would change Team Structure to Structured!

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Just to add...Iniesta, Busquets and Rakitic as 3 CMs.

And I would change Team Structure to Structured!

I ended up getting frustrated with the lack of penetration, we simply weren't getting the ball into the danger areas enough to pull off the shots. I wasn't sure if it was down to tempo or if I just completely mangled the bloody attempt.

When I pushed up Sergio to the central midfield line, it made moving from side-to-side a lot easier, which enabled in some ways a more aggressive mentality on the flanks for Messi and/or Neymar. But it became a lot more susceptible to the long ball over the top, so much so it was getting silly. What I can't work out is if there's a correlation to that.

In fact, I think my main problem here is I don't really understand what is causing a, b or c to happen.

In the end I reverted back to putting them on support duties, kind of like I did in earlier attempts, except this time I took notice of Cleon's possession thread and switched the mentality to Control/Highly Structured.

What improved by doing that? Possession skyrocketed to around 70% at times, which was frankly ridiculous. But shooting and creating chances was still rubbish. We popped off a staggering 20 shots in one game and managed a mere 6 on target. On top of that, it wasn't really that defensively solid either, still just as weak to the cross-field balls or through balls over the top, leading the opposition have around the same amount of shots with 30% possession, more importantly, those shots look a lot more dangerous than anything Barcelona is creating for me.

On the plus side, the first goal I scored using that set up was a Messi overheadkick on the edge of the box. Stunning!

Aside from that, I think really, I'm no good at this, I don't think I'm analytical enough, and if I do try analysing it I'm probably spotting the wrong things. >_>

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I ended up getting frustrated with the lack of penetration, we simply weren't getting the ball into the danger areas enough to pull off the shots. I wasn't sure if it was down to tempo or if I just completely mangled the bloody attempt.

When I pushed up Sergio to the central midfield line, it made moving from side-to-side a lot easier, which enabled in some ways a more aggressive mentality on the flanks for Messi and/or Neymar. But it became a lot more susceptible to the long ball over the top, so much so it was getting silly. What I can't work out is if there's a correlation to that.

In fact, I think my main problem here is I don't really understand what is causing a, b or c to happen.

In the end I reverted back to putting them on support duties, kind of like I did in earlier attempts, except this time I took notice of Cleon's possession thread and switched the mentality to Control/Highly Structured.

What improved by doing that? Possession skyrocketed to around 70% at times, which was frankly ridiculous. But shooting and creating chances was still rubbish. We popped off a staggering 20 shots in one game and managed a mere 6 on target. On top of that, it wasn't really that defensively solid either, still just as weak to the cross-field balls or through balls over the top, leading the opposition have around the same amount of shots with 30% possession, more importantly, those shots look a lot more dangerous than anything Barcelona is creating for me.

On the plus side, the first goal I scored using that set up was a Messi overheadkick on the edge of the box. Stunning!

Aside from that, I think really, I'm no good at this, I don't think I'm analytical enough, and if I do try analysing it I'm probably spotting the wrong things. >_>

Don't get discouraged. Keep at it! How do you envision the team playing? More like Pep Guardiola or more like Luis Enrique? Start there....

Cleon's possession thread is great, but you shouldn't copy exactly what he did there. Just take ideas and create your own. Experiment with FMT version where there is not Tactics Fluidity to worry about. Set up something, watch the games on full mode and tweak it little by little. There are plenty of ideas here too, especially if you want more of Pep Guardiola's version of Barca. In general there is plenty of material and sources to draw ideas from about Barca's play all over the internet. Some of it conflicting though, mind you.

Of course, you can always set up your own version of how you want Barca to play. How do you want them to defend, attack? How much possession do you want them to have? How much pressing? How much creative freedom? Keep in mind certain guides for FM.....the formation is your defensive shape (each one has advantages and disadvantages).....the team structure, roles and duties dictate how your team attacks.....team instructions and player instructions refine your style......

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Yep, great analysis.

What do you think about Rakitic-Messi pairing ? Looks like B2B(s)-AP(a) but I found sometimes they are out of eachothers way when I use them in this way.

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I think BBM with move into channels could work to emulate the movement of Rakitic. I like Raumdeuter for Messi but he could also work as a AP (a) with Roam From Position

Yes I use AP(a) with roaming more TI. But very interesting opinion here Jean, Raumdeuter ! Well done, I never thought that. It could work well as a space operator. Also I never use move into channels with BBM, gonna try.

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No, I do not have him Roaming. I know it goes against logic but Roaming will make the AP-A from AMR position too deep and not in the right positions. Just have him with Sit Narrower, Get Forward and Shorter Passing. I have Messi scoring 40+ goals and give 30+ assist that way.

Rakitic is BBM with just Shoot Less Often, nothing else.

Iniesta is RPM also with Shoot Less Often. Neymar as IF-S with Sit Narrower, Shoot Less Often and Get Forward. I use Suarez as CF-S with Shoot Less Often. Busquets is DLP-D at CM position with Close Down Much Less. The rest is two WBs on Support, two CDs on Defend and SK on Support with Roll it Out, Slow Pace Down, Distribute To CDs, Shorter Passing.

Control/Structured, Retain Possession, Play Out Of Defense, Lower Tempo, Push Higher Up, Close Down Much More, Prevent Short GK Distribution.

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Work In The Box affects crossing as well and considering that I already use Retain Possession, I don't want to completely take crossing away as an option. After all Suarez is pretty decent in the air and scores nice goals of crosses. Plus the wingback can collect some assists that way too, which always boosts ratings and morale.

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Why are you interested in my results? I'm playing as Barca and winning as expected. But for me is not about the winning and results. It's about playing a certain style that I'd like my team to play.....my version of Barca.:)

Do you want my version of Barca or do you want to create your own version?

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No, I do not have him Roaming. I know it goes against logic but Roaming will make the AP-A from AMR position too deep and not in the right positions. Just have him with Sit Narrower, Get Forward and Shorter Passing. I have Messi scoring 40+ goals and give 30+ assist that way.

Rakitic is BBM with just Shoot Less Often, nothing else.

Iniesta is RPM also with Shoot Less Often. Neymar as IF-S with Sit Narrower, Shoot Less Often and Get Forward. I use Suarez as CF-S with Shoot Less Often. Busquets is DLP-D at CM position with Close Down Much Less. The rest is two WBs on Support, two CDs on Defend and SK on Support with Roll it Out, Slow Pace Down, Distribute To CDs, Shorter Passing.

Control/Structured, Retain Possession, Play Out Of Defense, Lower Tempo, Push Higher Up, Close Down Much More, Prevent Short GK Distribution.

I meant to ask you this on the Posession thread but when you adapted some of Cleons stuff into this tactic above you placed your RPM as an LCM rather than RCM which is where he would link up with the AP (Messi) .... What made you decide to switch the RPM further away from Messi?

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Just curious about results it generates

Also - why structured?

It generates normal results. Usually wins by 2-3 goals margin. I get the odd game where I win with bigger margin, like 4-0, 5-0. My biggest success in terms of result was my CL group game vs Man United away, where I won 5-0.

I chose Structured because I wanted my players to have less creative freedom and adhere to my instructions better. I also wanted to put more value into the playmaking roles of Busquets, Iniesta and Messi. Another benefit of using this Team Shape is that it creates more depth, more space, especially in midfield where I have two roaming roles in RPM and BBM.

Yonko, I see your opinion about Busquets. Is he offering enough when GK play goalkick like IRL ?

My GK distributes the goal kicks to the CDs. Busquets as DLP is close enough to them and available. Set up CM as DLP-D and you will see.

I meant to ask you this on the Posession thread but when you adapted some of Cleons stuff into this tactic above you placed your RPM as an LCM rather than RCM which is where he would link up with the AP (Messi) .... What made you decide to switch the RPM further away from Messi?

The first thing I adapted from Cleon was changing the AP into a RPM. The reason why is the MCL in that role rather than my MCR like Cleon's is simple: that's where Iniesta plays IRL. Also I didn't want to copy exactly Cleon's tactic but rather draw ideas and use them for what I was trying to create.

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My centerbacks (both CD-D) are getting far too split even though my FBs are both on support and I have Busquets in CDM as a DLP-D, and I'm very vulnerable to balls down the middle and over the top of my CDs. It's almost as if Busquets is playing a HB role without dropping deep for me...time for more tinkering.

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It depends what mentality, D-line and Closing Down you are using.

I was previously on control and structured, but it seemed better when I bumped it down to standard.

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Guys, I found very interesting link-play in my Fenerbahce save with these roles (It isnt look like todays Barcelona but It looks like Barcelona when Iniesta play on left winger strata occasionally at old times) ;

4123 dm wide

SK(s)- like Valdes

WB(a)- like Alves

CD(d)- like Pique

CD(d)- like Puyol

WB(a)- like Alba

HB(d)- like Busquets

DLP(d)- like Xavi on left cm

AP(s)- like Fabregas on right cm

IF(s)- Alexis on right flank

AP(a)- Iniesta on left flank

F9(s)- Messi

Also I add some PI like Roam from position to IF but not much. Team can easyly circulate the ball and take time to attack with it.

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Standard and flexible team shape. Possession about %70 and we won 2-0 last 2 match with this. One of them EURO CUP 1knock home second one away from home at leauge. Also has TI Much higher d-line, close down much more, pre. GK , offside trap, retain possession. Also I found it like 2006 Spain 4231( formation can transform with role and duty in flexible shape )

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But I guess I can play with other mentality. Maybe with some tweak like shorter passing with control mentality or maybe with lower tempo. By the way, I think I would change some roles like AP(s) to CM(a) , if opposition has numerial superiority in their defence area. Eventually, their play about numerial superiority.

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No, I do not have him Roaming. I know it goes against logic but Roaming will make the AP-A from AMR position too deep and not in the right positions. Just have him with Sit Narrower, Get Forward and Shorter Passing. I have Messi scoring 40+ goals and give 30+ assist that way.

Rakitic is BBM with just Shoot Less Often, nothing else.

Iniesta is RPM also with Shoot Less Often. Neymar as IF-S with Sit Narrower, Shoot Less Often and Get Forward. I use Suarez as CF-S with Shoot Less Often. Busquets is DLP-D at CM position with Close Down Much Less. The rest is two WBs on Support, two CDs on Defend and SK on Support with Roll it Out, Slow Pace Down, Distribute To CDs, Shorter Passing.

Control/Structured, Retain Possession, Play Out Of Defense, Lower Tempo, Push Higher Up, Close Down Much More, Prevent Short GK Distribution.

I've indirectly ended up at Barcelona in the second season of a save, and use a very similar system to this. The only notable difference at a TI level is that I don't lower the tempo in Control because Retain Possession is already doing that. What this means is that my absolute possession numbers will probably be lower than yours, but the pass count will typically be higher. I have exactly the same Roles and Duties across the board, and it creates a nice balance of attacking depth when in the final third.

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I've indirectly ended up at Barcelona in the second season of a save, and use a very similar system to this. The only notable difference at a TI level is that I don't lower the tempo in Control because Retain Possession is already doing that. What this means is that my absolute possession numbers will probably be lower than yours, but the pass count will typically be higher. I have exactly the same Roles and Duties across the board, and it creates a nice balance of attacking depth when in the final third.

I won't deny....this makes me feel proud, that you would arrive at similar system.

TBH, lately I have increased the tempo and lowered the passing. Now I see more zippy passes.

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I won't deny....this makes me feel proud, that you would arrive at similar system.

TBH, lately I have increased the tempo and lowered the passing. Now I see more zippy passes.

How have you done that? removed 'retain possession'?

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How have you done that? removed 'retain possession'?

No. I just tick Higher Tempo and Shorter Passing. Everything else remains the same. So still using Retain Possession, Play Out Of Defense, Push Higher Up, Close Down Much More, Prevent Short GK Distribution.

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My tactics always work well when the Barca first choice guys are fit and healthy but sometimes fall apart when the likes of Munir, Halilovic and Samper are forced into the XI.

I've always wondered with a tactic whether if an inferior player is playing in a key position (F9/APM/WB etc) should I change the role as they wont be able to cope with the original role.

Blindly keep faith and go with the default tactic roles regardless of the players?

Or adapt the roles bases on the players on the pitch i.e. recognising their limitations ?

Always struggled with this so would be interested to find out what others do in the same scenario once you have a tried and trusted tactic ......

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My tactics always work well when the Barca first choice guys are fit and healthy but sometimes fall apart when the likes of Munir, Halilovic and Samper are forced into the XI.

I've always wondered with a tactic whether if an inferior player is playing in a key position (F9/APM/WB etc) should I change the role as they wont be able to cope with the original role.

Blindly keep faith and go with the default tactic roles regardless of the players?

Or adapt the roles bases on the players on the pitch i.e. recognising their limitations ?

Always struggled with this so would be interested to find out what others do in the same scenario once you have a tried and trusted tactic ......

Well those players are totally different to the ones they replace and not only are the attributes different but also the PPM's. If you don't take all of this into consideration then things will work differently if you don't adapt slight. You can use the same roles you normally do but you need to be aware of how they work and what actually differs about them. Then you will know if a role needs changing or not.

Yonko - I also used a very similar tactic in the lower leagues to you and there is only 1 TI difference, I don't use retain possession. The rest was the same as Sheffield FC save I had though.

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