Jump to content
Sports Interactive Community
furiousuk

The 4222 Box - Blurring the Strata

Recommended Posts

Introduction

After reading a few recent threads I got the enthusiasm back to finish off this short post and found that I actually quite enjoyed revisiting it. The background is that some game-months ago I took over as manager of Brazil as I wanted the challenge of playing with a totally different sort of player but hadn’t yet finished my story with Southampton. National management in FM can be fraught with danger and I am well aware of its powers to kill a save but I live in hope that international management is now a more friendly beast than it once was. Brazil are not a playable nation in my save which might cause problems but the year is only 2020 so there are plenty of aging real stars still kicking about and at the moment there seems to be a healthy abundance of decent regens.

The Squad and my Philosophy for them

Rifling through the squad and spending quite some time with the search and scout filters gave me a pool of players to work with and quickly told me that, as expected, Brazil have an abundance of technical flair & creativity in central areas and that the challenge to get this side really playing will be to harness all of that flair into a cohesive unit capable of some of the magic that Brazil are famous for.

My philosophy was to that I wanted a fluid group of attackers who are capable of moving amongst each other whilst acting as both creators and finishers as the situation dictates. So I opted for a narrow 4222 but with 2xMCs, 2xAMCs and 2xFCs. Whilst I had an abundance of players in these central positions this formation would be nothing without some wide support. A quick check through the squad confirmed that I had an ample selection of full-backs with the necessary attributes to be creative work-horses that tirelessly run the line both defending and supporting the immense creativity and flair in the central region.

The Initial Plan

In Paulo Henrique and a regen named Matuzalem (as well as Neymar, Tiago Alves and Douglas Costa) I had an immense level of creativity, flair & technique in at AM and I needed to give them as much space as possible.

My initial tactical plan was to implement this:

Brazil4222BasicBoxCombined.jpg

The MC’s needed to take a step back so they became deep-lying playmakers whilst the FC’s needed to push forward so they had an attack duty, one as a complete forward and one as an advanced forward. The idea was to give the 2 playmakers at AM the space they needed to destroy teams. All the front four were given freedom to roam whilst I wanted the AM’s moving into channels to get them a little wider and the FC’s staying central to cause havoc there.

The results weren’t quite as encouraging as I had planned. What I tended to see happening was that the AM’s actually had few outlets for their creative talent. Whilst the odd dribble or the occasional long shot coupled with a surprising return from corners meant that I was winning games comfortably the attacking flair that I was trying to harness wasn’t really playing out in the ME whilst the gap between MC’s and CB’s was causing absolute havoc (more on that later).

The problem my AMC’s were facing is one that is prevalent in modern football and that is a lack of space in the attacking third. Teams are generally quite defensive these days and it has led to the playmaker being forced further and further back. This trend has not been lost to FM, particularly when you are managing a Brazil team that are always favourites.

What I really needed was a system that would harness movement between the lines and a plan was already formulating as to how I would achieve it.

Breaking The Lines

Brazil4222BoxCombinedInverted.jpg

This is the rough solution I chose to employ. MCs (6,7) are still primarily deep-lying playmakers whose job it is to sit in midfield and look for ‘smart’ passes. They have to be aware of their defensive responsibilities and be able to cover for marauding FB’s but they also need to be able to be ball players. Part of this tactic revolves around a patient build-up that lets the FB’s get forward and lets any complex movement tear opposing defensive plans to pieces.

The real fun bit of this tactic was altering the roles of the 4 box players – those 4 destroyers up front.

In Paulo Henrique I had an immense playmaker. With 20 for creativity, technique and passing and not much less for flair and decisions this guy needed to be the absolute heart-beat of this team. Hence why my true playmaker became the AMCR (8) and his responsibility is to hold just in front of the defence and pick them apart (the reason he's on the right is because he is left-footed and as most of his options are on his left and central this makes perfect sense). I still set no-one as my primary playmaker in the team instructions as there are other avenues this team can attack from but everything is set so that the ball will eventually find Henrique and he will eventually find a way through.

The AMCL needed to be a strike player. In the regen Matuzalem and particularly in Neymar I had players who could act as a striker-type player from a deep position. The role of the AMCL (9) is to get forward in the central areas and cause havoc with his dribbling and intelligent running.

Creating the gap for the AMCL is the FCL (11). In Tiago Alves, Hulk or Neymar I had players with great striker attributes but also intelligent players capable of fulfilling a playmaker role when necessary. The move into channels instruction moves these guys wider to create space for the AMCL but they are also encouraged to drop deeper in an effort to move or lose a marker.

With all this movement and flair I felt that there needed to be a fulcrum around which the other players could buzz and this focal point became the FCR whose primary role is to get the ball in the net. Pato has been in lethal goalscoring form for Chelsea for years and fills this role perfectly. His main ambition is to score but he knows how to keep the ball when necessary and has good off the ball and work rate as well as the acres of creativity and flair which typify my front 4.

I mentioned earlier that the traditional defensive frailties of the Brazilians is not lost on this tactic so a back-up plan is also required in any successful tactical plan.

The Back-up Plan

Brazil4222DeepCombined.jpg

The main defensive issue with the tactic was simply that any opposing AM’s often found themselves in acres of space, particularly if the ball was played quickly to them. The simplest solution is therefore to station a player in that strata which I’ve done by selecting a more traditional 4222 shape with 2xDMs.

I still wanted the attacking ‘box’ of players though but given the natural gap between MC and FC the main movement shape had to be adapted. 11 & 8 still form the playmaking crux of the team but they do so from a central position. 9 is encouraged into the channels and is still set as a direct goal-threat although his formational position of MC will limit his attacking threat.

Probably the most interesting aspect of this formation is that I have encouraged the focal point to move out wide whenever he can in an Henry-esque movement towards the wing. This means that the actual focus of the attacking movement shifts from 10 to 11 and changes position from high up the pitch to the gap between opposing CB & MC which is occupied by the deep-lying forward (11).

Conclusion

I’ve talked about movement and creating space before and I guess the aim of this short post was just to give another example of my thought processes when I’m thinking about matching my tactical vision to the players in the system. I could of opted for my tried-and-tested 41221/433 shape but it wouldn’t of harnessed the full power of the Brazilian squad. It’s still unproven whether this tactical approach will harness the immense flair and creativity in the squad but it’s one that has yielded incredible results thus far including a demolition of a strong Chile team.

It’s now a case of watch and learn before the big boys come knocking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting read, and with my current Brazilian tactical project at the moment even more so.

It’s still unproven whether this tactical approach will harness the immense flair and creativity in the squad but it’s one that has yielded incredible results thus far including a demolition of a strong Chile team.

It’s now a case of watch and learn before the big boys come knocking.

With you seemingly carrying out your analysis and development of this system behind closed doors so to speak, whereas mine has been published warts and all; would you be able to divulge more on the attacking aspects that you have faced and overcome. This I feel is the biggest stumbling block I am facing within my Brazilian escerpaids.

Most particularly in the roles that you have deployed as your 8, 10 and 11; something of which most interests me is how I could replicate any of the attacking fluidity that you may have created between them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post furiousuk.

About the shapes. I think that your basic shape (2 MC, 2 AMC) is a very vulnerable one. No only there is a lot of space between the defence and midfield, but also the MC's should cover the fullbacks when they go forward. You back-up plan shape is much better in these two aspects and I think it is also a bit more realistic shape, very common in Brazil.

Anyway the general problem with 4-2-2-2 box (which is btw. one of my favourite formations) is, that particularly the flanks are very, very vulnerable. To avoid to be a "broken team" your attacking midfieders have to be capable of doing a bit of defensive work (in other words no place for Ronaldinho and the likes against strong teams). In a classic box formation the attacking midfielders stay in the middle all the time, so without possession they have to put pressure on the opponent (particularly close down the flanks)....they just need a bit of workrate or your defence will be easily overloaded. Other solution can be to play Pellegrini's "U-midfield" shape, which is something between 4-4-2 and 4-2-2-2. Without possession the attacking midfielders are in MR,ML positions and when in possession they cut inside and make way for fullbacks to overlap.

Villarreal - basic movement

http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/7176/villarrealbasicbasicmov.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MatchAttackShape.jpg

I've thought I'd share this old screenshot (I can answer your question in more detail when I have time later).

The shirt numbers in this game went a little awry so I've numbered them again based on the numbers I've selected in the OP. DR (2) has just passed to FCR (10) who, against his instructions, has drifted wide in order to find space and has found it. This attack was uncharacteristically quick which is why the movement of my players hasn't really created much disarray in the American defence and you can see how many of my players still occupy deep positions.

DMs (6, 7) have maintained their deep position as instructed. They need to cover for the FBs who are in a supporting role and have got right forward already. 7 will naturally move forward as he is unmarked and he is marginally more adventurous than 6 (his forward runs are set to normal whereas 7 is set to rarely, their mentalities remain the same). AMCR (8), is still fairly deep, his forward runs are set to normal and I think he has just played the pass to 10. He'll tend to hold in this rough area in front of the defence (in the SS he is also infront of the midfield but this is only because the American midfield are very deep - although their d-line is only a little deep).

FCL (11) has dropped deeper (or rather he has maintained his position as the other players move past him), this is due to his forward runs which are only set to normal (I may drop this to rare after I've watched more games). AMCL (9) has a higher mentality than his AM partner and has forward runs on frequent whilst his wide play is set to normal and he has made a run right at the heart of the defence.

Not much comes from this attack but it at least shows the basic attacking shape. 8 & 11 hold slightly deeper than their formational position whilst 9 & 10 are free to push forward.

I use a balanced philosophy and my initial idea was to have all 4 attacking players (plus the FBs) on the same attacking duty so that their mentalities remained the same but this didn't create enough movement between the lines and didn't really allow the players to swap strata. So, my FBs are on attack (this creates a massive mentality gap between FB & CB which encourages them to head forward), to cover for them the MCs are on defend. The front 2 playmakers (AMCR, FCL) are on support whilst the front 2 goal-threats (AMCL, FCR) are on attack. A fairly logical and obvious strategy but one that works. Playmakers have forward runs set at rarely or normal and the goal-threats have it set to more. All have free roles and all have been given maximum creative freedom by the TC.

I'll post some more screenies later which outline the choices I've made to try and elicit the behaviour. I have to point out that my tactical fluidity is pretty dreadful still (I think this is due to changing the name of the tactic to try and solve the shirt number problem), particularly the formational fluidity so I don't expect to see much scintillating team play yet but the World Cup is a couple of years off so they have time to get used to this slighlty unusual tactic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting set-up indeed. With one attacking player and one supporting, playmaking player, in each of the two forward stratas theoretically does allude to immense freedom and fluidity between your front four; especially combined with such high quality players in those positions and the free-roles that you have given them.

Don't wish to hi-jack this excellent thread, but whilst on topic of Brazilians.. This morning I settled down with a cup of tea and some toast ready to finish of my Copa-America campaign I had relativity breezed through. A final awaited me, against Argentina. Cut a long story short, I went out on penalties and was promptly relieved of my managerial duties.

So in quite a situation in what i decide to do, thinking of loading up my Barca save in 2013 and either carrying on where I left of just two years later, or something to similar to what your doing; or a third choice has been at the back of my mind.. Bosnia & Herzegovina with a Greece Euro2004 esq underdog man marking system.

Back on topic, one of the highlights of my system was the freedom that my Wing backs were aloud, especially after I set them to a 'cut inside' wide play setting. With only two central defenders have you aloud such attacking freedom?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To avoid to be a "broken team" your attacking midfieders have to be capable of doing a bit of defensive work (in other words no place for Ronaldinho and the likes against strong teams).

Yes I fear you may be right when I face the tougher teams, so far I've only played a handful of games and none have been against quality opposition (the friendlies had already been set so I've only got Argentina as quality opposition in 2020). I certainly haven't ruled out the possibility that the standard deep 4222 shape will become my favoured tactic for this squad and I've been tentatively developing a Pellegrini style system with my Southampton side (thanks for the info - I didn't know it was a Pellegrini system!!).

The problem I have is that the Brazilians have NO decent left midfielders in 2020. I have 5/6 absolute top quality AMCs, most of whom would make very good creative FCs but would make only average ML/AMLs. It is still an option of course to stick Neymar or Hulk out on the wing or use Marcelo in those games where a flat 442 shape would be preferable.

Most particularly in the roles that you have deployed as your 8, 10 and 11; something of which most interests me is how I could replicate any of the attacking fluidity that you may have created between them.

Here's my settings for how I normally set up with this aggressive, attacking box shape:

BoxBlurTeamIns.jpg

BoxBlurPlayerIns.jpg

The FCL and AMCR, the playmaker types, both have very similar instructions whilst the FCR & AMCL, the finisher types, also have very similar instructions. It is the extreme CF and roaming instructions, coupled with the incredible creativity and flair, that will hopefully create some truly scintillating play - I say hopefully as the squad are only just gaining tactical fluidity and it's my opinion that truly great team play can't be achieved consistently without tactical awareness. I have 5/6 players to cover those 4 attacking slots (plus backups of course) who average between 17/18 for creativity, flair & technique - I'm assuming that will be a potent combination!!

Although the tactic is set up with a Control strategy I'm not afraid to drop to Counter, even against obviously inferior opposition. The reason being that a lower mentality will result in more conservative ball usage which often sees my possession sky-rocket at the expense of how many obvious goal-scoring chances that are created. I often focus the passing through the middle as well. I've brought Lucas Zen into the side because he 15 for creativity, decisions & technique and 18 for passing - he may be a defensive liability against tougher teams but he's the archtypical ball playing DC. Batata is a young regen with great vision and 20 for passing whilst Sandro is a fantastic athletic all-rounder. These guys can play with the ball. With the focus through the middle this means that the flanks really are used to good effect - less often yes but the players still use those guys but only when it's really on. I've never had particularly impressive passing stats but using this strategy got Fernando (MC) up to about 60/62 or so and he was mainly picked because of his covering abilities! I'm missing truly class deep-lying playmakers but given the amount of creative flair up front this hasn't been a problem - the intelligent covering work-horse at MC actually helps to give this tactic some semblance of defensive stability (although it does struggle against a formation with a player or 2 in the AM strata).

It should be noted that Pato normally plays as the spearhead at FCR and that the Kaka at FCR in the screenies is a regen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The problem I have is that the Brazilians have NO decent left midfielders in 2020. I have 5/6 absolute top quality AMCs, most of whom would make very good creative FCs but would make only average ML/AMLs. It is still an option of course to stick Neymar or Hulk out on the wing or use Marcelo in those games where a flat 442 shape would be preferable.

If you look at what kind of players Pellegrini used in Villarreal in the "wingers" postions, they were mostly central attacking midfielders (Cazorla, Cani, Ibagaza, M. Fernandez, R. Pires)....naturally, because they cut inside often, they are more AMC's even if they start from the wings, so I suppose you have a lot of suitable players, as a national team manager you just can't retrain them positionally, so playing them from MC/AMC's postions is more sensible.

If you want, there you can read more about Villarreal's system. This system derives from the Brazilian 4-2-2-2 box, just suits a bit more european football.

http://santapelota.blogspot.com/2010/09/villarreals-south-american-european.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you want, there you can read more about Villarreal's system. This system derives from the Brazilian 4-2-2-2 box, just suits a bit more european football.

http://santapelota.blogspot.com/2010/09/villarreals-south-american-european.html

Cheers for that link, I've had a skim-read (will read in more depth later I think) and it sounds like a tactic I've tried to develop myself in FM with reasonable success and might actually have a place in my tactical scheme for the Brazilians.

Henrique might not fit too well as he lacks pace but without him on the pitch the others could admirably fill in at MR/L-AMR/L and do a job cutting inside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having reloaded a Barcelona game to experiment with 4-2-2-2 system, after becoming tired of not being able to replicate to the fine detail real life Barcelona, i.e not getting my 'Xavi' to get near enough passes; this system has been a breath of fresh air -I'm having great great fun. This could be largely down to the strength of the playing squad I have at my disposal granted, but despite achieving success with a largely generic Barcelona style approach, I seem to be achieving greater results with this new set up of 4-2-2-2.

Will go in to more detail, and post up some screenshots shortly.

One slight problem is that this system doesn't seem to allow Messi to flourish. He's doing okay, but isn't dominating the ratings; with me seeing other players grab the headlines. This is most likely down to how I'm setting him up, so any suggestions on how to incorporate him into this 4-2-2-2 system will be appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I could see how Messi would fit into the system but maybe not how he would flourish. When designing a tactic I'm much more team-oriented rather than individual-oriented (thats not to say that a system that is firmly based around the talents of one player isn't without merit).

I'm not sure exactly the stats that Messi begins the game with but I think I'd have to play him in the finisher-AMCL slot to get the most out of his dribbling-from-deep ability. The role should allow him to fire through the middle, his agility and ball control should allow him to cause havoc running straight through the middle. The last game I had a player called Lucas (not the Liverpool one, this guy is quick, agile with great ball control & dribbling) and he scored 2 cracking goals by running straight at the heart of a disorganised defence.

As Messi gets older and his physical stats decline I'd consider retraining him to heighten his mentals and play him in the playmaking AMCR slot and allow him to pull the strings.

The focal point (FCR) might suit him though. Being higher up it means he'd be in pocket of a defender which doesn't suit his physical attributes but his immense technical ability might mean it doesn't matter. If you did that though I'd consider playing deeper and slower to elongate the pitch and also allow Messi space in behind to exploit. Not sure this would get the best out of him though as is entirely different to how he plays in real life.

It'll be good to see how it works out for you (I haven't played that many games with it so far and as I'm still managing a club side it takes a while to play any number of games with Brazil, the World Cup is a way off yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Below is my line up, this side heading away to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League. Pretty much a full strength side, with the only exception being Sergio Ramos out injured who would be my first choice right-back. This system was born out of my previous 4-3-2-1 line up, with the team pressing heavily, holding a high defensive line and controlling possession.

FCBarcelonaPre-Match_TeamSelection-2.png

Adjustments I made first was to drop the defensive line back to allow for more space for the front four (2xAMCs, 2xST), which intern allowed for my two CMs, who are set up as deep-lying playmakers, to sit in front of the oppositions midfield line and sometimes even their forwards depending on how deep the opposition are sitting. These two often sit and hold deep positions when my team are trying to penetrate the oppositions defence, offering an outlet for either of my full-backs who are pushed forward to give width. The second main change to the team set-up was to increase the width, this allowed for the full backs to really get wide when in possession and stretch teams - combined with a slightly deeper back line makes for more holes between the oppositions lines. Throughout my whole team you should see a common trait that all players should be comfortable with the ball and technically efficient - prime example of my retraining of Busquets to become a leading center back.

Full Backs

FCBarcelonaBarcelona_Tactics-9.png

Very attack minded approach, primarily so that when in possession the player offers an outlet for the forwards. No running with the ball, crossing and wide play set to cut inside so that they keep the ball moving, most of the time playing the ball inside to a CM. I like these players to firstly have excellent ball playing skills over maybe their defensive qualities. Danny Wilson has developed into a world class player with excellent passing and creativity for a defensive player. Currently deputising at right-back in the absence of Sergio Ramos, allowing Coentrao to promise at left-back. Wilson has also proved to be an excellent ball-playing center back.

Center Midfield

FCBarcelonaBarcelona_Tactics-9.png

My two first choice players to play this role are usually Paulo 'Ganso' Henrique and Fabregas. Aware of certain defensive frailties in this position, especially against higher quality teams I will face in the Champions League and La Liga games against Real Madrid, I have brought Yann M'Villa in for a cut price £5million after Man City payed £15m. Other players who are also used in rotation would be a 33-year old Xavi, Pastore, and Iniesta.

Attacking Midfield Left and Right

FCBarcelonaBarcelona_Tactics-6-1.png

These two positions haven't yet been individually crafted to provide an out and out playmaker or goalscorer. An abundance of talent can be fielded here, all of which possession high creative talents that would akin themselves to a playmaking role; as well as having fine technical attributes of drilling. First choice is usually Javier Pastore who seems to excel in the left sided position, providing numerous goals of late. Eden Hazard, Iniesta usually compete for the second position; with also Pedro, Tevez and Messi also equally capable of performing there. Notable mention to Thiago who has been loaned to Man City for a season to give him first team experience due to the fierce competition for places. He'll return for next season and will probably replace Xavi some how.

Despite the players in these positions performing well, I think that the individual roles could be tailored specially for the greater good of the team. Although I am cautious of not just copying the instructions you have given the players in your screen shots above.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forwards Left and Right

FCBarcelonaBarcelona_Tactics-5-1.png?t=1318798301

Like the two previous roles in the Attacking Midfield areas, neither of these positions have been finalised; just maintained due to me winning games and scoring goals, but I think they can be fine tuned. The left role you will see as a 'Poacher', I have been playing Carlos Tevez after David Villa was out injured and since then he has made the position his own, simply by scoring goals. On the right side I have Lionel Messi, who has not excelled like I know he can. Previously he has been the focal point to my whole system, this time he isn't. Nonetheless I see him end games with a 6.9, and come in at half time with a 6.2 or something similar - so something isn't right.

I also have Bojan as back up, but more importantly Khouma Babacar; who I know to have current ability and potential to score hat fulls of goals; and after a initial £20million price tag I am determined to use him. My plan is to see him as the replacement David Villa, not the same type of player, but in striking personnel.

These are the results I have accumulated since the change of systems, some may argue the need to change a winning formula; but I'd like to fine-tune some of the positions nonetheless.

FCBarcelonaBarcelona_Fixtures-5.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any thought to 2 DMCs, 2 AMCs, and 2 FCs, to reduce the vulnerability in front of the centerbacks? A DMC (support) moving forward and AMC (support) holding back, as well as wingbacks moving forward, could bridge that "MC strata gap"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Any thought to 2 DMCs, 2 AMCs, and 2 FCs, to reduce the vulnerability in front of the centerbacks? A DMC (support) moving forward and AMC (support) holding back, as well as wingbacks moving forward, could bridge that "MC strata gap"?

I can only speak regarding my own experiences, but I'd say it depends on how dominant you are in controlling possession. For example I play with two slightly defensive MCs as deep playmakers, but I play with quite a high defensive line with very heavy pressing and never drop below 55% possession. So I often find that the opposition are hurried into making rash passes, or when a counter attack is posed it is sniffed out before it can pose any danger.

Although I haven't yet used this system in the later stages of the Champions League or against Real Madrid in the league, but when I do I intend to play Busquets and M'Villa as deep lying playmakers defend, due to the higher quality that the opposition will have in regard to ball retention under heavy pressing it will allow for a safer approach. This also could be an approach for you, I'd say it would depend on what players you have in your squad available and what strengths you can draw on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some good results Tommo and the sort of 'spread' of goals between players that I would expect.

One thing that strikes me is whether you're happy with how the MC's defend. I've just finished my season so I have a couple of games coming up using the tactic but my early experiences were that the MC's had to be primarily defensive players with plenty of pace (to cover) and loads of anticipation & decisions to firstly identify the danger and then make the correct decision regarding a course of action. Whilst Fabregas & Henrique have fantastic mentals they are both primarily attackers or creators, as are your backups of Pastore, Xavi & Iniesta. I can definitely see how M'Vila & Busquets might be useful in bigger games as (I think) they are both primarily defensive players - the high creative freedom will see them play to their strengths more often, which, in their case, is mindful of defense.

Regarding getting the best out of Messi... what's his passing stats like? My opinion of the pass length slider is that a very very short passing length just restricts his passing options i.e. he has to pass to a team-mate who is very close, if no players are that close then he'll be forced to try something else which might not be the best option. A longer pass length won't encourage a player to make long passes, it'll just mean that they are 'allowed' to if they deem it the best option. The key here is that they have great vision attributes to decide which pass (short or long) is the best and then have the technical attributes to pull off such a pass, which clearly Messi has. The lack of closing down probably means he does very little defending which will slightly damage his rating - sometimes you'll find that a player can have a fantastic game in your eyes but not get the rating you think they deserve. DM's often get rather modest ratings - in a lot of cases a DM will deny space or close down an opponent which is an incredibly beneficial thing to do but because they don't necessarily actually make the tackle they won't get the ratings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really interesting post, going to try to create something like this on my current save. Was the idea based on a specific system from brazil's past or an original idea?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Really interesting post, going to try to create something like this on my current save. Was the idea based on a specific system from brazil's past or an original idea?

It was just based on trying to get the best out of the squad I had - although I'd be surprised if there aren't several real-life examples of very similar, attacking setups particularly from Sth America. It's a gung-ho tactic but given that Brazil rarely play against teams that can match them for raw ability it's a fairly good fit most of the time.

I hope you have similar success to me, I'll post some screenshots as I've played a few more games with this setup now although I might wait as I have a qualifier against Argentina coming up. I'm going to start with this aggressive, attacking tactic to see if it works but am thinking I'm probably going to need to switch to a more regular 4222 (2 DM, 2 MC), at least at some point. But, maybe not. Ron Atkinson used to chuck on another attacker if his team went down to 10 men, the reasoning being that with an extra guy up the pitch you should be playing with it higher up, if you lose the ball then you have more time to get players back and defend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know a few people are tentatively following this to see how it's developing so I've played a few more games (including the big Argentina away game in the 2022 World Cup Quals).

First up, a goal from the game against Bolivia:

Match Goal 1.jpg

Bolivia are a pretty dreadful team and the 4-0 end result is hardly cause for excitement but they played a narrow 41212 which would seem like the natural nemesis to my pushed-up 4222 box. At this stage the tactic is not quite fluid with my team and their motivation leaves plenty to be desired but this goal highlights the movement this system is designed to create.

1: Neymar has dragged wide to find space whilst the AMCR (16) has pushed forward, this is because his midfield partner (Lucas, 9) is deeper. Remember that AMCL (Lucas) is setup as the more attacking of the 2 but their great mental attributes matched with creative freedom and roaming has meant they are aware of each other and the developing situation. As planned, my midfield screen of 6 & 7 is in operation. Here Galarza has won the ball from Lucas whereby it runs free and is picked up by Batata. The Bolivian MCL (8) has been pulled into the defensive line whilst their CB's (4,6) are already out of position.

2: Neymar, the creative FC, has receives the ball and immediately looks to push towards goal. Lucas (9) and Pato (18) are the more attack-minded of the quartet of attackers and they are looking to aggressively attack the box. The Bolivians have actually re-aligned fairly well and you can see how defensive they are but their shape isn't too bad with CBs aligned and DMC (18) back and helping. My AMCR (16) is in space but he can't receive the ball where he is at the moment anyway.

Match Goal 2.jpg

3: Neymar has dribbled infield and found Lucas who is wriggling for space. The gap he wants to exploit is the one between CB & FB (incorrectly labelled with the blue line on the diagram, 4 & 5 are DCR & DR). DMC (18) us covering this space fairly well but he isn't particularly tight and Lucas, who is really a dribbler/finisher, finds the space he needs.

4: Pato makes the run between the CBs while the ball goes between CB & DR (& DMC). Perfect.

This goal highlights how movement, particularly that of Lucas and possibly Pato in this example, can cause disarray in a defence. I'll post some more examples of this later but I also wanted to show how this tactic is also able to dominate a team.

vsBoliviaStats.jpg

A massive 72% possession is simply incredible and it would of been much higher but for the fact that I picked a team who were useless in the air which meant that I wasted a few decent free-kick positions and didn't get anything out of the 50+ crosses (!) I had in the game. As I said, Bolivia are pretty useless but it's the perfect game to learn plenty about your tactical set-up.

vsBoliviaPassing.jpg

This is the passing stats for the game + Pato (who isn't shown but had similar stats to the other subs). Only Thiago Santos (DR) and Batata (MCL) had a completion under 80% and that was only because Santos lost a couple of thrown-ins and Batata floated a couple of free kicks too far. The reason that the back 6 players saw so much of the ball is because I don't set up too attacking. I think most of the game was played at Standard or Counter mentality so the chaps were not in a hurry to move the ball forward which is perfect to allow the front 4 to move around and create the openings they need. The stats also highlight the importance of motivation, the subs came on when the game was already well won and none of them are youngsters eager to make their debut so they weren't well motivated and that shows in their poor completion rate.

The tight box of attacking players often overloads the opposing CBs which means the FBs have to play narrower to help out which in turn leaves loads of space for my FBs. That's the game of tactical cat-and-mouse that every manager should think about. If their FB's don't come narrower then it leaves a potential 4-on-2 in the center so it's win-win for me either way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Versus Ecuador

Ok, so Ecuador are hardly world-beaters either but they have a couple of dangerous players in my save and it is an away game so a little bit of caution is prudent. They set-up with a 442 and got me on the back-foot immediately before scoring a decent goal at about the 20 minute mark. As I mentioned in the previous post motivation has been a bit of an issue, however, this early goal only triggered an angry, and pleasing, reaction from my bunch of slackers. Here's a quick look at the stats to show that this game was far more a challenge than Bolivia:

vsEcaudorStats.jpg

The 53/47 possession show that I didn't have things my own way but the 83% pass completion is still pretty darned high, although not entirely unexpected when playing a narrow formation against a 442. I highlighted my natural tactical advantage by focus passing through the middle to great effect as the following analysis of moves will show, but first I just wanted to show why this formation isn't quite as weak defensively as it looks:

AttackingShape1.jpg

This little move shows a brilliant but very very simple attacking play by my team but I just wanted to quickly mention about the defensive alignment that is occurring here. Similar to the popular 4231 this formation contains 6 intrinsically defensive players (back 4 + 2 MC's) and 4 attackers (in my 2-2 rather than 3 behind a lone striker although the 2nd shot here shows a classic 4231 shape with 11 at the spearhead). In order for this formation to have any defensive stability at all there needs to be a definite defensive box of CB's and MC's (in the example above 4,5,16,6), any opposing player in that box has the potential to cause you damage. If they are left unchecked in that box then they will find themselves in the most dangerous part of the pitch with plenty of room to shoot, pass or run. If a CB moves forward to challenge them then they will leave a dangerous dogleg (I'll talk about that when I talk about how this formation attacks). So, you need the box.

Anyone who follows my threads about my normal 451/433 formation will know that I also stick a DMC into my defensive box. I don't have a DMC here so I have to employ a smaller, shorter box (this theory is explained in greater detail in SFraser's thread Meet The System). I create this in 2 ways. Firstly I normally have this formation push higher up the pitch so that the CB's stand closer to the MC's although this isn't always possible. The 2nd, and most important, way is that the MC's absolutely must drop deeper so that they remain deeper than the opposing MC's. They want to operate in the gap between the MC and DM strata. This is good defensively but it also pulls the opposing MC's forward which opens attacking space for our AMC's which is doubly good.

Most shots I show of this formation will maintain this box shape, particularly the MC's should aim to be in alignment. Most of the shots I show will be attacking shots as this is an attacking formation but you should still see it in most.

Attacking wise - the shot above shows a nice little move. Dudu (4) has headed the ball forward to Lucas (AMCL, 9) who is dribbling forward. The creative FCL (10) has held his position and is in loads of space whilst the finisher FCR (11) is aggressively pushing forward. In shot 1 the defence is fairly well aligned but (although it's difficult to see) the feet positions of the defenders give away where they are coming unstuck. Shot 2 shows total defensive disarray. 5 has followed Lucas and has effectively stitched up his whole defensive team. 2 is tentatively watching Neymar (10) whilst the movement of Pato has moved 4 one way while he is about to attack the other way and receive a pass from Lucas. It wasn't a goal but it damn well should of been.

This next move shows why the creative FCL (10) is encouraged to move into the channels:

PullingWide.jpg

1: The move is already several (probably 10+) passes along and the defence are in a terrible shape. The Ecuadorian MC's are in fairly decent alignment but they have pulled deep onto the AMC's and left the MC's free. The CB's (4,5) have actually crossed which is simply dreadful and is caused by the intense movement (not shown) between the lines of AMC's and FC's. Neymar (10) has pulled very wide (thanks roaming!) and the regen Batata (16) with his deep-lying playmaker tactical instruction and his 20 passing (+ high technique, creativity & decisions) is about to pull the trigger.

2: Neymar receives the ball in space and attacks the box. All 4 attacking players have spotted the Ecuadorian disarray and are sniffing a goal.

3: Ecuador have actually realigned fairly well here but Neymar still has plenty of options. He chooses Pato (11) who hits it straight at the keeper and the chance is gone.

4: Even though I have attacked a disorganised defence at pace the MC's haven't got carried away. There is no chance of the keeper launching a quick counter attack here.

This next move highlights the value of creating passing options and how movement between the lines creates space, this is a cracker:

GreatGoal.jpg

1: Here, 8 & 9 (the AMC's) are pushing right forward whilst both of the FC's (10,11) are dropping deep. The Ecuador (9) is totally stuck which leaves Fernando in acres of space. The Hollywood ball over the top for 8 to run onto is probably a great option but he chooses to hit Pato (11) as he drops deeper.

2: Pato also has options here, although as he receives the ball facing his own goal they are mainly conservative options. 4 is already watching him and Pato chooses the most aggressive option which is to flick the ball to 8 and then try and attack the space behind the 4. Wider out and FCL (10) and AMCL(9) are looking to move back past one another towards their formational positions.

3: Matuzalem (8, AMCR) has dropped back deeper (remember he was the option for the ball over the top) and, again, has plenty of options. The Ecuador 9 has worked hard to get in a half-decent position but his midfield partner (8) has been stitched up by the off-the-ball movement of 16 and particularly Lucas (9). The defensive dogleg is evident and we're going to have to work quickly to exploit it.

4: Matuzalem flicks the ball to Neymar (FCL, 10) who has found himself in loads of space between the lines.

5: Neymar has a relatively easy through ball to make as the CB's are way too far apart. Pato gratefully runs on to it and this time he converts the chance.

This goal had movement and great one touch passing and is a definitely testament to flair, creativity and technique as well as off-the-ball, anticipation and decisions. It is also a great team goal which indicates that the guys are getting to grips with the tactic and tells me that we're just about ready to take on the might of Argentina. That will be a real test of whether this formation has enough about it to handle a cunning and effective attack.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

vs Argentina

So I've finally got to play a game against real top quality opposition. My guys are fairly fluid with their interpretation of the tactic and the previous games have given me a good idea what to expect. Argentina in 2020 are much the as they are in 2011, very technical, very creative and very very dangerous with the ball. They lined up with a 442 against me and played 2 slower strikers so I could push up even though the game was in Argentina. The game was extremely even throughout and finished a boring 0-0, largely due to poor finishing by both sides although guilt-edged chances were rare. This is actually very encouraging though as my very attacking formation held up fairly well against an extremely potent attacking force whilst provided the attacking advantages I expected against a 442.

This first example is just a quick example and is very similar to the first example against Ecuador of exploiting a defensive dogleg:

QuickExample.jpg

1: Here, Sandro has nodded the ball forward to Neymar. As Neymar has dropped deep he has been shadowed by his marking CB. He is looking to lay the ball off to Paulo Henrique and then attack the space the dogleg has left.

2: Henrique has beaten Pastore to the ball and, although you can't see the foot positions, Neymar has beaten the Argentine 4 on the turn.

3: Neymar attacks the space and should probably score here. It's certainly a great opportunity.

The next example shows how this tactic and player selection works when facing a good defence who restrict their space and time on the ball.

BreakingThruATightDefence.jpg

1: There's lots going on here. Firstly, this is a few passes away from a headed cross from a corner so neither team haven't fully realigned from that, hence why the Argentine left-back (3) is sat on the centre circle, but, despite that they are fairly well setup to handle any obvious threat. CB's are keeping my FC's under wraps whilst Pastore (8) is working hard to get back. The circled player (Capria, 9) has a tough decision to make as 8,6 & 7 are all operating close to him - as Marcelo (3) is moving towards the touchline though it isn't of utmost importance for Argentina.

2: What is more worrying for them is the trio of attacker (10,11,8) who are in the middle when Lucas (9) receives the ball. Rather naturally Lucas heads infield to try and link up with those players. Pastore (8) is still working back whilst Capria (9) still hasn't made a decision. You can see my MC's (6 & 7) are already moving to set up on the defensive side of the Argentinian MC's even though they were both in a potentially attacking position, this is crucial as the move progresses.

3: Here, Lucas is gang-tackled by 2 & 6. If my MC's had been setup more attacking then they probably would of held the attacking side of the Argentine MC's and Capria would be about to intercept the ball and launch a potentially devastating counter attack. As it is Sandro (7) and his MC partner (6) have dropped into their deep midfield positions. Even if Capria picked up the ball here Sandro would probably be able to break up any counter attack. As it happens though Sandro picks the ball up and the large gap between DCR (4) and DR (2) is the gap he wants to exploit as each attacker is well marked in the middle.

4: Neymar has seen the gap too. Sandro gets the right side of Capria and launches a cracking through ball to Neymar. Neymar could square it for a Pato tap-in but instead fires it straight into the far top corner. He was, unfortunately, and rather controversially, offside (it probably was the right call actually).

Whilst this little move doesn't particularly show the importance of movement between the strata it does show how critically important it is to view your tactics as a whole. It would be very easy to assume that one or both of my MC's should be free to create an attacking threat but most of the time it is simply unnecessary and seriously compromises my defensive shape.

Player selection is also vital and needs to work in synergy with the roles you select. In these examples Lucas (not the best player I have but on fire at the moment) has been playing amazingly well, (he isn't the Liverpool Lucas) he is a dribbler with high flair and he uses that to great effect. In contrast, both of my MC's are awesome mentally and they are both able to play DMC (their attributes & PPMs also reflect this) - one is more expressive than the other but that is in terms of passing repertoire rather than movement. I've tried Paulo Henrique and a slightly more attacking regen in this role and they were both hopeless because they aren't nearly defensive-minded enough, even though their mental attribs are incredible. I don't talk much about player selection but it really is crucial for augmenting the tactical decisions you want to make.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post - love your explanations of a formation and system we don't normally see.

Would be great to keep getting some updates on how it goes agains the top teams!

Edit: Spoke too soon!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's another example against a decent team:

Away Versus Uruguay

A curious game and one with a number of warning signs that will need watching carefully. The first half passing stats are great but the 2nd half is a totally different story. Uruguay absolutely dominated the 2nd half despite losing it 1-0 to make the final score a comprehensive 4-1. There are a couple of factors as to why I wasn't all that far from actually losing this game - one is that I didn't really change to adapt to the changing game conditions, a 2nd factor is simply the motivation of the players in a game that was won whilst the 3rd was the significant fatigue to my FB's. The 4th, and most crucial factor, were the personel changes I made.

A couple of the move analyses below will highlight this further but, very briefly, this problem is almost entirely a personel one. The team I selected 1st were a very attacking team. Both FB's are attackers and, most crucially, one of the MC's is an attack-minded MC. This worked ok when I had the ball as I kept the ball well and had 2 great passers attempting to find the attacking 4. The problem was that they were both suckered into moving forwards too aggressively. I tried to solve this by dropping to a standard mentality but it's really a factor of the type of player.

At about the 50 minute mark I swapped personel and brought in a defensive MC. This had 2 affects - 1: it coincided with a dramatic drop in possession (although other factors were in play here) but 2: it absolutely shored up the defence. Now, his final rating was pretty low. This is because his passing was pretty poor and he didn't make many tackles but the defensive role in midfield is far more than simply making tackles. In my view a ball-winner in there would be disastrous as any defensive stability is created through shape rather than endeavour, hence why my Brazilians buck my usual defensive setup and are strictly in zonal arrangement. I'm pretty careful with OI's too to try and ensure this shape is maintained. The reason my defensive MC was successful in closing out the game is because he is good at playing simple and keeping shape and doesn't neglect his defensive responsibilities. Whilst I am an attacking manager I'm not averse to winning ugly and playing dull to keep an away win in the bag.

I've just got a couple of screenshots that highlight these points:

SpaceAndOptions2.jpg

This is just a quick little example of finding space and having options. Tiago Alves (10) is instructed to move into the channels to create a gap between the front 2 (10 & 11), he doesn't but Pato (11) has. This allows Lucas (9), the more attacking AM, to push forward into the gap. As he receives the ball he has plenty of options. The Uruguayan 4 has pushed forward and even though the DR (2) has covered it still isn't a great position for them to be in. The move should be for Pato to return central whilst Tiago Alves attacks the gap in behind. It didn't happen, but it should of.

DraggedOut2.jpg

This is another little example of things to worry about. It's pretty clear that Batata (7) is an idiot. He moved past 2 players to put pressure on a player he didn't need to and left a great big holey. Luis Suarez collects the ball, it comes to nothing but it's a fairly mundane run past a defender for a clear opportunity at goal. This is just before half-time. If I could of given him a stern talking to at half-time then I would of.

PoorMCAlignment.jpg

Now this situation is far more worrying and if not for good goal-keeping and the assistants flag would of been a good goal.

1) At this stage I don't look too bad. 6 & 7 are creating a decent screen in front of the front 4 so I'm not unduly worried about the 6v6 situation that is developing. What is highlighted is how dangerous a player moving into the space between CBs and MCs can be as both Roman (8) and Edinson Cavani (10) are looking to operate in that space and my MC's haven't moved deeper to counter the threat.

2) A few passes later and the Uruguayan MC's have swapped with Roman (8) dropping deep whilst 9 is operating in the gap. The alignment of my 6 & 7 is dreadful and are about to narrowly escape punishment.

3) Roman has a simple pass to Cavani who has a pretty similarly simple pass between my CBs to Suarez.

4) Luckily Suarez fires it at the keeper while the assistant also raises his flag. We got lucky.

My MC's didn't play particularly well in this game which really stitched my defensive stability. Matuzalem (6) isn't anywhere near defensively responsible enough for that role whilst Batata (7) just was having a particularly poor positional game. Cavani & Suarez are good and caused constant problems with Cavani dropping deep whilst the Uruguayan MC's both seemed to be setup as box-to-box types exhibited a great deal of vertical movement which is the point of the original post playing out against me.

It's worth noting that I still comprehensively won this game but it's also worth predicting where problems might arise in the future. While I'm still scoring goals and working well with the ball it isn't too much of a problem, but it's hard to win trophies without having a backup plan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really enjoying reading this thread, have decided to try this kind of system in my hotseat game I started with a friend. I'm playing as palermo and picked up willian to full the hole left by pastore.

How do you find this plays vs a flat 4-4-2? As I inderstand in defence the aml and amr pick up the oppos wingers but I've found too often the mcs (dmc in my case) push wide and the amcs drop to pick up the mcs. The problem arises from this being a mismatch in midfield made worse by the amcs not dropping deep enoug and being the wrong side is the ball. Any advice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah you've hit on a real weakness with potentially 2 players (FB & MR/L) overloading those flanks. The good news is that even with lots of talent out wide there is still a lot for the opposition to do to actually get a decent shot away which can be to your advantage. You need to keep the defensive box of CB,CB,MC,MC as tight as possible because, as you point out, once an MC goes awol it's game over. Try playing narrower and carefully manage your defensive line (sometimes you want to drop deeper whereas I've found that mostly you'll want to push up). Pushing up restricts their space and helps to keep CBs & MCs in touch but risks a through ball from out wide, dropping deeper risks a player dropping into the hole (thus breaking the box and havoc will ensue).

In the example above you can see the problems Uruguay caused me by placing guys in the hole between CB & MC. This is largely caused because my midfield were defensively poor but pushing up higher would of helped too, as would playing narrower.

On the flip-side though it is a seat-of-your-pants formation. For all this defensive frailty when you do get the ball back you should have a counter-attack with potential always ready for you. That's why I've stuck Lucas Zen in at DC, he isn't a great DC but with immense passing and decent creativity and technique he is perfect for launching aggressive counters.

Oh, something else I just remembered, given your weakness out wide you can expect to face a number of crosses (hopefully from deep but there's the potential they'll be from the byline, particularly if you play deeper), get a keeper and DCs good in the air. This is based on the standard of opposing striker though and will also depend on your d-line. If you're deep then you'll want players good in the air with good positioning (but with possibly less pace) whereas if you push up the threat is in behind so you'll want pacier, good marking DC's. Similar if you face fast or strong strikers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really interesting post mate.

I'm playing a basic shape of 4-4-2 in my Celtic save at the moment but with my two wide midfielders cutting inside and my two full backs going forward and hugging the touchline I guess at times when attacking we're playing a 2-4-4 similar to you're attacking shape in a 4-2-2-2.

Breaking the lines is really important for any tactic IMO. One of my strikers comes slightly deeper, one of my midfielder holds while another moves forward. Then you've the wide mids getting in behind the opposition fullbacks and my fullbacks getting forward to get crosses in, you end up with a number of options when attacking.

Good post mate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers Hagi,

I used a similar formation to yours for a while and really enjoyed it, it definitely helped plant the seed for this and would make a brilliant alternative plan.

You've hit the nail on the head, it's all about creating movement and unpredictability in order to create space with the end-goal of creating options and thus, hopefully, goals!

It's my philosophy that as manager/coach your job is to create an environment in which the players can thrive, the players are always in charge because they are the ones carrying out the instructions on the pitch, as manager you are aiming to allow them to do their job to the fullest of their abilities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the flip-side though it is a seat-of-your-pants formation.

Um, yep. :cool:

http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q278/dukesisking/malaga%20fm2012/malaga6-3.png[/img]"]malaga6-3.png

I was swapping between having the 2 DM's/2 CM's or the higher version previously, however I have found skipping the central midfield altogether payed dividends. However it only worked whilst I had a great passer in a DLP support role (DM) plus a workhorse DLP defend role (DM) next to him. When the passer got his leg broken, the floodgates opened . I'm going to stay with the 2 DM DLP and the 2 AM's, as it keeps me on my toes. :confused:

Great thread, keep it going.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, that's indeed a very good thread and I love the idea behind the use of the 4222 box, it is a very enjoyable formation when you have a good use of movement and space both vertically and horizontally, otherwise players are getting in each others way, I have also found team gelling/match preparation to be key to movements in this narrow formation, I don't think it is implemented for a national side but for a club it is without a doubt an asset (playing a 4222 with Santos on FM11). Also players roles and more importantly players ( the 4 of the box + the 2 CM) have to be partnered with each other vertically and horizontally to find a good balance.

I would also like to thank you Furiousk for the detailed screenshot/match analysis, this is for me the core aspect of the thread, you have several tactical plans and you show us how it works in game and in some specific situations, I wish I add the time to do so...reading these screenshots help in knowing how attributes, instructions, PPMs and others work inside the game, though I disagree a bit with your view of the creative freedom sliders.

All in all, very good thread the fury and your work was my close partner during several coffee break at work :) KUTGW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Great thread OP, I think I might just have to start another experimental save... :p

Give it a go but remember you'll need a pretty specialised set of players to pull it off, particularly over a domestic season where you'll play 10x the amount of games in a year. It's been fun so far and a nice departure from my solid, reliable and very comfortable club tactics. It'll be interesting to see how you get on in a different situation and how you adapt things.

Um, yep.

I was swapping between having the 2 DM's/2 CM's or the higher version previously, however I have found skipping the central midfield altogether payed dividends. However it only worked whilst I had a great passer in a DLP support role (DM) plus a workhorse DLP defend role (DM) next to him. When the passer got his leg broken, the floodgates opened . I'm going to stay with the 2 DM DLP and the 2 AM's, as it keeps me on my toes.

Great thread, keep it going.

6-4 is fantastic, we don't play this game to grind out 1-0s all season long!

I like the idea of dropping the midfield deeper to provide a different dynamic, I think I may well play around with that before the World Cup (it's still a way off unfortunately but edging ever closer).

I think you've highlighted just how important personnel are to any tactical scheme. It's not just a case of round-holes in square-pegs, it's that certain personal playing styles can really make or break a tactical scheme. I have 2 (+ an oldie who can still just about cut it) players capable of doing a job in midfield which isn't enough to win the World Cup without a good bit of luck so I'll have to adapt. I have other fantastic midfielders who play well for their clubs in a nice 442 or 451 but their skillset doesn't fit here.

All in all, very good thread the fury and your work was my close partner during several coffee break at work KUTGW

Thanks for the kind words. Glad you found some of my ranting useful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So it's been a while since I've had reason to visit my Brazilian side but I finally got a chance to choose a friendly and what a better game to choose than England at Wembley (plus the commute is good for me as manager!).

Away Vs England

In my 10 or so games in charge of Brazil (thinking about it, it might be more) I've only come up against quality opposition once in the form of Argentina who played a solid 442 (Uruguay aren't bad either in 2020 I guess and they fielded a 442). Maybe I should of chosen a team like Portugal that play a different formation but, anyway, England are a quality side (filled with talent from my Southampton team I might add) who play a solid 442. I'm expecting the wingers to bomb forward, Rooney to play in the hole with a quick guy beside him, a midfield anchorman flanked by a hard worker and a solid back 4 - I'm not disappointed, England line up and look strong.

Just to recap my formation is a slightly curious and very attacking 4222. AMCL (9) and FCR (11) are the out-and-out attackers whilst AMCR (8) and FCL (10) are more creative in nature and in instruction. This game is a friendly so I've experimented a little. A new cap at MCL (played crap and caused no end of problems), I pick a runner at AMCL to try and dribble from deep and creativity around him. I don't have an out-and-out striker on the pitch as I'm not expecting my wing-backs to get forward too often and I want to play straight through the heart of the English where I think one of their DC's (a regen) might be weak.

Well, the best laid plans and all that. The English November weather came in which didn't help. I was let down by Neymar and the young regen who got his first cap at MCl and England played brilliantly. The game should of been a draw but England failed to capitalise on the 1 absolute sitter and a couple of other half-chances they had. I created very little (despite out shooting them), apart from this little gem (which was the only highlight in a pretty disappointing game):

MovingDefenders.jpg

1: Although the SS doesn't show it very well this is a fairly standard beginning to a move. The GK has just passed to Marcelo (3) and both teams are in fairly standard alignment, the only saving grace is that Lucas (9 - Not the Liverpool one, this guy likes a dribble and an attack) has exploited the English midfield gap between defensive MC and more attacking MC and found a bit of space. With 2 AMCs and 2 MCs it's very hard for the opposition to mark them all so whilst the English 9 might be slightly aggressive he isn't actually in too much of a bad position - England have done a very good job of closing me down high up the pitch and for the most part have hurried me into rushed passes where my team have lost the ball. Not this time though.

2: Now that Lucas has got the ball he has a little time to rotate and plan his next move. Did I mention this guy likes to dribble? He doesn't do a great deal else but he does that pretty darned well. Despite Tiago Alves (10 - FCl) dragging wide Kyle Walker (English 2) decides to push forward and try to mark Lucas, this is because England are closing down very hard and no-one is currently pressurising. The English DC's are already starting to move across (as is DL out of shot) to compensate for Walker pushing forward.

3: This is plan A for this game - Lucas to dribble and the other 3 attackers to use their creativity, off-the-ball and anticipation (it's a shame they don't have fantastic work rate too) to make things happen. Lucas dribbles directly diagonally across the pitch and causing a degree of panic. Tiago Alves (10) holds his position so the English backline is forced to shuffle across, to highlight this point my AMCR (8) has pushed diagonally forward and crossed infront of Lucas (this has interested the English 5 and put the English 8 in a quandry) and my FCR (11) has pushed forward as any decent Advanced Forward would be expected to do (he's the spearhead) and the English DL (3) must cover him.

4: Wilshere (7) hasn't covered for his DL buddy and has let my DR (Thiago Santos) move forward unmarked. With acres of space it's a simple pass for Lucas to make. Strangely, rather than anticipate the cross and head into the box Paulo Henrique (8) stays on the edge of the box, luckily both forwards recognise what's happening and move to get on the end of a cross.

5: Unlike much of his crossing, this one is perfect and Tiago Alves (10) gets in between the DC's to slide one home.

This is where a synergy amongst the units you pick comes to the fore. In this case I wanted my best dribbler to be running at the heart of the defence (he's in good form and this has been working well) but it wouldn't work in isolation - he needs to be matched with guys who are good off the ball. It's debatable whether creativity comes into play off the ball but 'off the ball' (obviously) and work rate definitely does (I'd also push that anticipation helps here too) and it's this movement off the ball that is crucial to creating space.

The only thing I haven't got really working is that Paulo Henrique at AMCR never really becomes the passing threat that I'd like him to be. He does sit back and control the play (his pass completion rate is always very very high) but he doesn't always provide those killer balls that you want from your play-maker. Any system needs options and this is one I'm going to have to continue to explore before the World Cup. The World Cup is still nearly 2 years away and some of my players will be looking pretty long in the tooth by then so everything is going to have to be perfect if I'm to succeed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting update here furiousk. You highlight very well how it is useful to run with the ball "vertically" or diagonaly in your example to focus closing down and marking in one point in order to create space in other part of the pitch. Picture number 3 show that England number 2,9 and 8 are almost defending the same space. So anticipation and off-the ball are keys to find space in dangerous area as you said. Regarding the Paulo Henrique issue, may I suggest a longer passing range, something like 15 if he's is still at "10" like in your first posts. Though I suspect due to your "getting the ball forward" thread you have already done this!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi again NakS,

Henrique is absolutely outstanding in my save, Creativity, Passing & Technique are all at 20! Flair & First Touch at 19 and most (!) other mentals above 15, the guy is awesome. It might just be that the opposition pays special attention to him (certainly England did, the England 8 is Jonathan Old, my flair 6 DM workhorse from the other thread, and he sat in Henrique's pocket for most of the game, treading on his toes and 'shackling' him, think Vinny Jones on Gazza!), but this special attention is obviously good for the team as it creates more space at the expense of Henrique's rating.

I've played him as one of the playmakers at MC, for which it seems he would be ideal, but his natural attacking flair tends to see him get pulled forward which screws everything up and his lack of pace can hinder his covering abilities (although he does track the opposing ML from his usual AMCR position, particularly if the ML picks the ball up deep).

I'd probably have to adapt everything to incorporate him (to the point he gets good ratings), which gives me an idea for an Italian style 4312 which is actually not too different from what I've got and might be a good alternative plan with Henrique the focal creative point at AM. The problem is that one or two of my immense attacking players would have to sit out but, then again, I've probably got 6 absolutely top class attackers (possibly more) so I've got an embarrassment of riches whatever I choose!!

Off the ball seems to be very much overlooked when assessing a player but, in my view, it's an absolute foil for creativity. It matches very well with work rate, team work and anticipation. The only problem is that off the ball movement isn't always rewarded by the ratings system but that isn't a big problem if you watch games and watch the holistic view when you create goals or opportunities.

It's easy to say that Lucas made a good dribble (due to technique and dribbling) and Thiago Santos made a good supporting run (due to pace and work rate) but there is so so much more going on in almost every phase. It really is an incredible game when this level of depth can be extracted from it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bit off topic, but in many posted screenshots, in this and other threads, I noted poor AI defense line shape. In most cases one of the DC steps forward and opens huge space behind his back (like this: ,,´, or worse like this: ´´,´). Often because of slightly advanced position of FBs, compared to initial position of DCs, and attempt by the other DC to provide cover def. line ends looking more like thunderbolt (, ´, ´) than line or slightly concave curve. This opens two big gaps/channels between DCs and FBs (,\´,\´) as FBs won't move towards center in an attempt to keep defense compact. Even worse, but somewhat rarer, are screenshots where both DCs stepped forward to position more advanced then that of the fullbacks. In this case defense line is completely inverted into an convex form (,´´,). In all this examples main issue seems excessive importance that def. AI places on covering opposition payers instead of the crucial space directly in front of its own goal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surely part of the reason of employing lots of movement is to create the 'thunderbolt' you're describing? In rugby we call it a dog-leg but the term is equally relevant here. The movement is aimed at creating that shape and then exploiting the weakness in that shape. Certainly the majority of my plan in this thread is to do exactly that to the opposition and that is exactly what happens. I'd hardly blame the ME (or the AI) for behaving almost exactly as I'd expect a real-life team to play (note though that I'm not an expert in real-life football but I know that defenders do step out and are then exploited and that this is as a result of tactical skulduggery that attempts to create this scenario).

In the examples above it's worth noting that the teams where this is most prevalent are the worse teams. Ecuador are pretty bad and their d-line is in stitches (although starts out nice and flat, it's movement that causes the dogleg), Bolivia are equally bad in the examples but their d-line doesn't look too bad (it's far from great though), the USA (very first example) isn't looking great in the screenie but they actually played deep and backed off (more on this in a mo) so looked alright for most of the game. Uruguay are a better team but their defence isn't great hence the 4-0 scoreline - they struggled because they pressed so hard. England and Argentina are far better sides and their alignment in the screenies looks much better. Regarding the Argentina screenies only the first example shows a bit of a 'longbow' shaped d-line (where Neymar is through on goal) but this is because the line has been broken and the FB's (who are looking in so have less far to turn than the DC's who are looking forward) are tracking back hard to try and scramble so it's a perfectly acceptable shape at that point.

Regarding the England game. England pressed very hard throughout the game and because their wide players pressed my full-backs I had very few options for playing out from the back which left me with just 40-45% of the possession for the game and caused me loads of the problems. The example I showed is probably the only example I could of shown where this heavy pressing was their undoing and it was only their undoing because Wilshere (England 7) failed to pick the run of my full-back. Wilshere (at ML) should of been aware that his DL had to follow the CB's across the pitch but he didn't, no doubt partly because his heavy pressing instructions kept him high up the pitch (although it is equally likely it was a concentration or judgement error). Even with this error England are still unlucky that the cross is absolutely perfect (it slightly exploits the only weakness in the England backline which is a slow 5).

as FBs won't move towards center in an attempt to keep defense compact.

I'd say that the England example is a perfect example of where the FBs DO move towards the center. I think the TT&F10 comes with an extension .pdf which quotes Ray Wilkins describing this exact defensive manoeuvre, given that Walker is pressing and the movement of my other players (each hitting the gaps which forces defensive movement) I don't see how England could of defended this situation better (apart from Wilshere covering my DR).

The only option for England is to play deep, stay on feet and play zonal but that also plays into my hands as I have a group of creative players just yearning for that sort of space (creativity for my front 4 in that game was 20,18,17,17!!). I think the English AI got things right by pushing up and pressing hard (particularly the wingers pushing my FBs) and I think the ME played out those instructions perfectly.

It's a good point you make about the d-line shape and that 'doglegs' or 'thunderbolts' are bad but I don't see this as an AI or ME failure, in fact, it's incredible that the ME (and the game) is able to both simulate good defending with good players and worse defending with worse players. The ME absolutely has to be able to recreate poor play (a lack of this ability has been a criticism in the past) as well as good play because that is indicative of real life. Even the best players and the best tacticians make mistakes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not suggesting that this should not happen at all. And in my experience national teams are far more prone to it than top level clubs in reality for obvious reasons (although I am probably biased as Croatian national team is very prone to this kind of defensive misbehavior ;)). But I would definitely like to see a bit more conservative approach from central defenders in FM ME and more cohesion/interconnection between defenders. These are the reasons why I brought up the brick (antipode of pressing) and dynamic repositioning according to ball position (archetypal pressing) in several threads. That said teams learn formations/tactics far too quickly (it's few months now for tree different tactics if they are trained intensively) and to absolute level (progress should be permanent process just slower and slower as time passes) in FM in my opinion.

Opposite example where more aggressive approach would be desirable is behavior of def. players (often FBs) after attacking corner (ball) is cleared towards sole forward outpost (often SC). Here defenders often act too conservative in FM ME. In my opinion they should apply heavy pressing combined with low aggression (light tackling), as numerical advantage (as an example: two def should presses opponent and one should step back) and specific qualities (usually FBs are fast) provide adequate cover.

You are right about game vs England, although as they are much better in the air than Brazil I would expect foul on Lucas in screenshot no.3 that would allow them to regroup defensively. Tactical or so cold "professional" fouls should be more common when teams are pressing high up the pitch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it all depends on who you are playing. I'm not sure who the England manager was for the game (shame on me for not doing my opposition research properly! - just checked, it's Dennis Wise so it all figures) but they certainly played in a fairly typically English way i.e. hard-working, pressed hard, fairly straight-forward.

The opening minute of the game was typified by Lucas picking up the ball somewhere near the half-way line and dribbling right up to the edge of the D (diagonally from where he started though), during this run he was tracked the whole way by the English MR which is a hell of a tracking to do. What it told me was that England were going to press (the MR had to move some to get to Lucas), they were going to man-mark (hence why he followed so far) and they were probably tight marking too.

Despite all of this I think that the England defence did cover well when a player stepped into an aggressive closing down position and their CB's very rarely left a terrible kink in the d-line. This was their tactical scheme and it mostly worked well (complimented by a fairly high d-line). Other teams (such as the USA in the opening example) played deeper and more conservatively and kept their shape better (as you'd expect given their tactical decisions) - not that that helped them particularly as that allowed my creators more time.

I think the AI does play conservatively at times, if anything though, it's generally quite predictable. If you're playing a top team who are evenly matched with you (or are favourites ahead of you) they'll normally play higher and press harder (this is, in part, due to them playing more attacking) whereas the underdogs are more likely to play conservatively and hold their shape against you rather than press too hard (which in real-life is often a ploy of the underdog - get in their faces and see if those technical whizzkids can play with my studs on his feet!). I've never noticed this as a problem in the AI thinking structure but I guess there could be more variation in the manner in which teams defend against you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a download link for the 3 tactics from the OP.

There's 3 tactics in there, the Box Gap one is the 1st one from the OP (it doesn't work very well! I wouldn't bother using it!), the Box Blur one is the one I've used throughout this thread. There is a Box Deep one in there too, that works quite well as a more defensive variant (although I haven't used it much, maybe 15 mins vs England and about the same vs Argentina to see out each game).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Furious, sorry to bring up a 12 month old thread but have you tried this for FM13, if so what were the results?

Im having success with the DM/MC version but at times im feeling a little too negative and the balance gets out of sync a little.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Defensive midfield/central midfield combo here. Enjoying it very much. A defensive midfielder on defend, a deep lying playmaker on support, and two central midfielders with attacking duties. Or was one of them a playmaker? Could be. Everything else bog standard and default. Except the work ball into box shout, that's a must in every game. Got two full backs on attack, one deep lying and one advanced forward, and the attacking shape is just great. Plenty of men forward with enough support from midfield. Though a match engine tweak to through balls would be great. Decent enough defensively, too, with plenty of men in the middle. The fullbacks could be a liability on paper I suppose. But the midfield does provide some cover. And more importantly their attacking contribution far outweighs the risk.

Wait is there two box threads. I'm confused.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually wez, it's an old one from FM11! I was just stuck playing FM11 (through addiction!!) while everyone else had upgraded to 12!

I haven't tried it on FM13 yet but I would of thought that it would be even more effective because movement and 'leading passing' seems much better in 13 which would complement this philosophy very well. Additionally a big problem with a formation with a gap between DC and MC in previous FM's was that the MC's would struggle to defend deep enough which could lead to problems. I think this is less of a problem now as well.

The key, for me, was actually getting the 2 MC's correct. And by that I actually mean getting the right players. I used Sandro, another guy I can't remember his name now (Fernando, or Fernandinho) and a regen called Batata. Batata was something like a Carrick, or maybe an older Scholes, in that he didn't have blistering physical attributes but he would sit and had an awesome range of passing (I know Scholes still tends to drift forward, my guy did not). The key was that none of these guys were too keen to get forward, they need to sit deep and let the four monsters infront of them destroy the opposition (sitting deep also lets rampaging FB's get forward).

I tried a guy with a bit more attacking flair and less intelligence in there and it was a disaster. Similarly Henrique (ganso) didn't have the defensive stats to really do well (although, as expected, his range of passing was sublime).

It's an experiment that was really really enjoyable and it's such a shame my machine broke so I can't finish off that save with a nice World Cup to really see how the tactic performs under proper pressure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice one Furious, you know what ive actually taken some of the tips from yours and Uncle Sams post the last couple of days and created something massivley better than what I was using (even though I was having good success).

Im using the following:

FB's (att), DCs, DLP (s), Anchor (d), MC (a), AP (a), CF (s), AF (a)

So i changed from wb's to fullbacks and lowered thier rwb, through balls etc, all on mid apart from FWD Runs (often). I changed the DM to an anchor, moved the DLP to support (he nows trys to get forward a bit more and make passes) and the TM to a CF (he now not only hols up and lays off but does a lot more like run at defenders, drifts wide to cross etc)

What i think helped hugely was to give the 4 midfeilders FREE ROLES. For some reason my tactic went from good to great :D

Im really suprised more people are not using this in FM13 as it has all the tools to complement the ME. I dont get hit by wing goals at all these days as the DM's are quick to cut out and also provide cover to FB's. My Two DC's are great in the air and have high anticiptaion and marking so also helps.

Thanks again :thup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to hear its going well!

I haven't played a massive amount of FM13 but the movement really does seem improved on past iterations so any tactic that uses movement well I would imagine would be a pleasure to watch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...