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ham_aka_stam

Breaking the Tactical Tedium

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Until recently in FM12, I have struggled to find a tactic which is both effective, but also interesting. Effectiveness has been mostly provided with a fairly simple, but quite heavily tinkered 4-4-2, but not only is this poor when facing teams with numbers in midfield, it doesn't play interesting football. My most interesting tactic from a theoretical perspective was born of wwfan's thread about recreating FC Barcelona's current style of play, again, with much customisation on my part. Whilst this produced some stunning results, and beautiful football, it doesn't fit my side very well (I have a number of talented forwards who need games) and is over reliant on my Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney. It was also inconsistent, destroying teams on some days, and on others falling apart.

What do I want to see from my team? Intelligent movement is a must, players must constantly be seeking space in which to operate, and one player's movement into space should produce more space for another player. I also want each player to have a decision outline which sees them working to their strengths and providing for the team. What I mean by this specifically, is that I will be using players' individual instructions to ensure that their decision making priorities are correct for their role in my team, rather than correct for them as an individual. I do not like players who do their own thing too much, I'm the manager, I make the rules, and want players to play how I want them to most of the time. However I also accept that the rules were made to be broken, so my players are always given enough creative freedom to ignore their instructions if an opportunity arises. One player who is the bane of my managerial existence is Nani. A brilliant dribbler with an eye for the spectacular, he's too often spectacularly wrong in his decision making. Three of his PPMs worsen this: "Runs With Ball Often", "Cuts Inside" and "Shoots from Distance". But I'll get onto that later…

The basis of the formation is fairly simple, attempt to combine the best of a 4-3-3/4-5-1 (especially the midfield combination) with the cutting edge of a 4-4-2 (notably the ability to play with two strikers operating in a mutually beneficial environment).

So, who's my team? My squad isn't perfect, but there's a very nice mix of young talent, wise heads and future prospects. In goal, I rely mostly on David de Gea. His fitness has been perfect in the last season, not missing a game for any reason other than me choosing not to play him. Covering for him are two of the most talented young goalkeepers in the game-world: a Scot who seems the better prospect, and an Englishman with more Eccentricity than I'd like. DDG played nearly 50 games last season, and there's no reason for him not to continue that for many years, and if he does suffer an injury, I will happily play one of the young stoppers.

Defence is pretty much as it always has been at United. Rio Ferdinand is now old and will be announcing his retirement from playing soon, but is already coaching. Nemanja Vidic is going the same way, but by having a few years on Rio, he's still a useful player to have around, even if he doesn't play a huge amount of games. Unfortunately, he's requested that he be allowed to leave in the summer break to find football, I don't think anyone will come in for him, so I expect him to change his mind and ask to stay. We then have the all-rounder, Jonny Evans, the physical utility man Phil Jones, and the pacey ball-player Chris Smalling. Covering for them are two young regens, a Brazilian and an Englishman.

Fullbacks. On the left, Evra is Mr. Dependable. On the right, I rotate between the glass-tendoned Fabael twins. However, this season saw the purchase of Jose Angel as someone to eventually replace Evra, mostly because of Fabio's injury proneness, and he has been good if not quite so consistent as Evra. This allowed two twins to pretty much become one on the right side, but they still needed cover, this came from Antonio Valencia, who has been a revelation with his crossing.

Central midfield is large, Carrick is leaving this summer on a free as he is no longer performing, and is unlikely to be a useful member of the non-playing staff in the future. Fletcher is a solid all-round choice, often playing in the DM position of the 4-5-1 or as an allround player in the 4-4-2, but he's always less than spectacular. Anderson is a little less boring, but annoyingly one footed, affecting his passing patterns, and ridiculously poor in front of goal. Cleverley is much better, and probably my favourite midfielder. Also exciting are the following players: the talented but so far unproven Paul Pogba, and the even less proven Petrucci, creative playmaker Jano who should in fairness be getting more games, Italian regen all-rounder Sentieri, and young American DM: Wood.

On the wings Nani, as mentioned above, is one option. He's seeing more and more competition come from Valencia lately, who's crossing is providing LOTS of assists fullback position, so has been rewarded with starts further up the pitch, as well as the youth prospects Morrison and Sturridge, and French/African regen Boukemacha. Jano is also more than capable on the wings.

Then we have my star signing of the last three years, and the only time I've spent more than £12m: Douglas Costa. He's not fit into the team particularly well so far, unable to perform consistently enough to hold down a place anywhere. He's had stints as a deeper lying playmaker, as well as a more advanced creative central focal point, on the wing, and even covering for Rooney in the "Messi role" of my Barca formation. It is he, and Luis Nani who I want to shine in my new tactic.

Upfront we have Wayne Rooney, the white Pele. A poacher extraordinaire in Javier Hernandez, and several covering players including Kiko Macheda, Mbaye Niang and several young regens.

That's enough for the team this isn't GP&TG, there is a tactical discussion in here somewhere. My proposal, and the tactic I will attempt to mould during pre-season, is a 4-3-3 / 4-4-2 hybrid. My defensive unit will consist of a trio similar to the Pique/Puyol/Busquets set-up - a DM in front of two ball-playing CBs. The exact roles will depend on the opposition's line-up. But against the typical 4-5-1 that a team like mine regularly has to face, one CB will cover while the other looks to engage the ST. Usually the DM will be simply shielding the CBs from rushing onrushing CMs and helping the FBs when widemen cut in, but he may also be deployed to hassle an AM. I want to stick to the old tactical adage that there should always be a spare man at the back. So I may even drop the DM into a central CB position as a stopper in some situations.

The defence will be flanked by pacey fullbacks. In the last season, I often found myself needing goals at the end of games, and my favourite tactical switch was to push the FBs to the WB position, they already play in the WB Attack role, but this move often made a dramatic difference in their attacking tendency. This is something I consider as a 4-5-1 type behaviour, and part of the reason that this is a hybrid, as at least one FB will start in this WB position.

Into the Midfield, I have already mentioned that DM will be a regular fixture, however his nature will depend on the opposition's playing style. In front of him will be two CMs. The first, an allrounder, must be able to help the DM in defence as well as capable of making runs from deep to build moves outside the opposition's box, and ideally finish them if given an opportunity. He is the traditional 4-4-2 CM. Partnering him will be a playmaker, such as those found at the point of a CM triangle in a 4-2-3-1, or as the more attacking of an inverted triangle in a 4-3-3. The player this position will be sculpted for is Costa. He'll look to pick the ball up and do something with it, running with the ball, playing a cutting pass, simple passes to feet or, as he's all too keen to do: smash a shot in from long range. My last game saw us grab the league title with a game to go thanks to a 40yard curling effort which lofted over the keeper's head.

I want to play with wingers, but find that in the 4-5-1 / 4-3-3, they either both come inside and crowd the middle, or they stay too wide and become nothing but a cross-provider. As such, I'm proposing to play with one winger, on the opposite side to my wing-back. To do this, I'm going to need to get ruthless and get rid of any players who aren't improving and not just give games to people to keep them happy. This is hard though, as no-one seems to want my players, and my players all love me, so get annoyed when I try to offload them.

The forward line will be lead by a poacher in the centre who drags defenders around and looks to latch onto any throughballs, and a more complete forward playing off him providing him with passes, and causing havoc between the lines, on the wing-back's side.

Below is a map of not only the projected formation, but also the direction I want them to be moving in when we're on the attack, and the likely roles.

---------|---------
---------P--CFa----
---/----------\----
-IFa---------------
-----------\-------
------CMs-APa------
-----------------|-
--------DMd-----WBa
-|-------|--------
FBs---BPc-BPd------
-------------------
--------SKd--------

As you can see, the intelligent movement is the key. The idea is that a player's movement on the break should be different to their position during slower moves. The CF (complete, not centre) will be dropping deep, and pulling to the right to pick up the ball, but in prolonged attacks, the wingback's forward movement should keep him narrow enough to still be attacking the box, and not putting crosses in. Ahead of him, the poacher will be ensuring that no team dares play a deep line by looking for gaps between the opposition CBs. This makes more space for the CF to operate in, but also space for the IF to cut into. The AP should take advantage of any lateral movement from the CF by filling the space behind the poacher and creating whatever he can. The CM is mostly stable, he shouldn't be moving from his area, but he should drop deep to help shift the ball from the defensive unit, but he should also keep up with play to provide possession balls in attack. The WB and the FB will patrol the flanks, this is their domain to own, the WB should be pushing on more to link with the AP and the CF, whereas the FB should stay slightly deeper, playing through balls to the IF when he makes a run, or whipping a cross in from deep. The DM should hold back from attacks, simply recycling cleared balls efficiently and providing an extra man in defence to shield the CBs.

How will I get this system working? I plan to use the tactical wizard, but to over-write the Individual Instructions of most players as far as movement (RFD, Roaming, Wideplay), decisions (RWB, LS, TTB, CB and HUB) and crossing options are concerned. This allows me to tailor each position to the player in it (especially wrt PPMs), but still have use of shouts to control passing length, player mentalities etc.

In order to do this, I'll redo the position map with players in positions:

---------|---------
--------Her-Roo----
---/----------\----
-Nan---------------
-----------\-------
------Cle-Cos------
-----------------|-
--------Fle-----RdS
-|-------|---------
Evr---Eva-Sma------
-------------------
--------DdG--------

To a certain extent, each player will be allowed to make his own decisions by having all their on-the-ball decisions sliders on Mixed, but there are players who need their instructions slanted so that they do not do things they are incapable of doing, and there is an exception in Long Shots. I do not like players to have Long Shots on mixed, as I would rather players finished a move with a possession based pass than a shot over the bar. An example of the former issue here is Darren Fletcher. He's a poor dribbler, so his instructions will be as follows:

RFD: Rarely

RWB: Rarely

LoS: Rarely

TTB: Mixed

Cros: Mixed

HUB: No

Free: No

However, players like Nani and Costa provide us with a more difficult decision. They all have PPMs which affect their decisions sliders. Nani has (working from memory): Run With Ball Often, Takes Long Shots and Cuts Inside, as such, instead of being told to make his own mind up, I can fiddle his instructions in two ways, one to reduce the effect of the RWB PPM, and one to reduce the LoS one:

RWB: Rarely

LoS: Rarely

TTB: Mixed

Cros: Mixed

RWB: Mixed

LoS: Rarely

TTB: Often

Cros: Often

The former effectively sees him with all his instructions at mixed (incl. LoS, the instruction I don't really want to give people) and the latter, sees RWB, TTB and Cros at Often, and LoS at Mixed, so he'll always look at the other options before hitting the ball from range. Neither of these are ideal, but they're the best way to stop him being a selfish player who only looks to dribble or shoot.

This post has gone on far longer than I expected it to, and I don't feel like I've actually covered much ground. If there's interest I'll keep this update as I create my tactic, and as I change it for certain games this season, not to mention how well it performs.

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Non-symmetrical tactics just look so ugly though :(

Overall a good strategy, and seems very interesting concept.

I would probably put Rooney as a support CF as opposed to attack, to get him to play a bit deeper and connect connect the midfield to the attack.

Another option in your central defensive structure is to play with a BPD on stopper (and perhaps fiddle his TI to increase his pressing) instead of the DM - i.e. a DC going forward rather than a DM going back. This would allow you to play with 2 WBs for width on both sides.

451/433 is about control of midfield, while 442 is about direct wing play - these are contradictory styles (but it doesn't mean you can't combine the elements, a possession based centre with direct width - I'm just not sure how it would work).

Just throwing out some thoughts as they come to mind, see if they spark anything in your mind that you could use.

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I never like Support forwards. A forward with a Free Role will generally drop deep enough for me. Especially as Rooney has the "Drop Deep" PPM, I often find myself shouting at him to get in the box. If I need him to drop lower I switch him to a Trequartista.

And I've always liked assymetrical systems. Provided space is still covered of course. Because it means that the opposition will need an assymetrical defensive system in order to cope with you.

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It seems like you had the same problems as me and wanted to create attractive football while getting the best out of the creative side of you team. As well as trying to keep clean sheets. This is very hard to do but not impossible. I've created by far the best attacking movement I've seen in the match engine. And your position map isn't all that different to how my plays out in game. It's not identical but you'll be able to draw some comparisions based on your onw game. Here are mine;

poolb.png

poole.png

I'm using the W-M formation and its great, the ideas you have for your own team are not that different in all honesty. In fact I did a thread on a very simliar idea altho the shape was slightly different to what you want to play just before the last world cup on these forums. The thread no longer exists though but it was about the Brazilian Fluid System and was based on these http://www.zonalmarking.net/2010/03/03/analysing-brazils-fluid-system-at-close-quarters/ and http://www.zonalmarking.net/2009/11/14/brazil-a-4-2-3-1-or-a-midfield-diamond-neither/. In terms of FM it kinda looked like;

330tma9.png

It was very flexible and you can push the AMC to SC or move the wingers about. SFrazer used to use the same shape as above on his Manu saves due to the endless possibilites you have when in a game. It keeps possession, scores a lot and plays some really good football.

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I never like Support forwards. A forward with a Free Role will generally drop deep enough for me. Especially as Rooney has the "Drop Deep" PPM, I often find myself shouting at him to get in the box. If I need him to drop lower I switch him to a Trequartista.

And I've always liked assymetrical systems. Provided space is still covered of course. Because it means that the opposition will need an assymetrical defensive system in order to cope with you.

That's also why I prefer them and always revert to using them in a long term save. It also stops the boredom by doing something a little less un conventional.

I also agree about support forwards and that's how I tend to play my frontmen.

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Disagree on the support forwards (I quite like them)

But I have to agree that non-symmetrical formations are more interesting and probably more true to life (just going by ZM's player maps a lot of the time) - but still, they look ugly on my tactics screen.

Some of my best over achievement has come with unsymmetrical 4-1-2-2-1 (sort of like your last image but with the WB pulled back a bit).

As an aside, while we're here - has anyone had any luck utilising a 'false 10' - i.e. an AMC that moves up inline with your strikers?

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Disagree on the support forwards (I quite like them)

But I have to agree that non-symmetrical formations are more interesting and probably more true to life (just going by ZM's player maps a lot of the time) - but still, they look ugly on my tactics screen.

Some of my best over achievement has come with unsymmetrical 4-1-2-2-1 (sort of like your last image but with the WB pulled back a bit).

As an aside, while we're here - has anyone had any luck utilising a 'false 10' - i.e. an AMC that moves up inline with your strikers?

The reason I dislike support forwards is you can drop too deep, making it a lot easier for the opposition to defend against. Were as I like to commit as many men forward as possible and outnumber them. It's only a personal preference though and I've had success using them, but I just dislike them for the way I play :)

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I don't like Poachers! They offer nothing in when the team is without the ball and not much more when the team has the ball. They are a black hole for goal scoring, hovering up the goals and leading the charts at the expense of the other players on the team. Also, if you want to play control, possession football then I would avoid having a poacher in the team as they will either shoot or run with the ball and not pass. They are also not suitable to use against teams that play deep as the space in which they operate is reduced so not good for teams that are usually favourites.

After getting that of my chest, you are wondering why I am telling you this? Well, Javier Hernandez is an anomaly of the big teams (unless you count Spurs as a big team with Defoe) that players like him (poachers) are being phased out. Strikers now need to do more for the better teams and can not afford to carry a player. I think what you have tried to do is include Hernandez in the team but the only position he can play is a ST poacher and this has resulted in a slightly counter concept to your strategy.

So the helpful suggestion is as you have guessed I don't use poachers in my formations but I do come across many youth players that are classed as a poachers. However, instead of releasing them I usually retrain them as AML (Inside Forward (Attack)) and this has worked remarkable well. I also have Mbaye Naing and I have retrained him to be AML and he scores an unbelievable number of goals from that position. Try Hernandes as AML and do something a little more with the remaining position, something like Advance forward, AMR winger or AMC (I've not thought this bit out)

Sorry, I don't think I've helped you and you will probably said that "Hernandes scores loads of goals so why change it?"

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The reason I dislike support forwards is you can drop too deep, making it a lot easier for the opposition to defend against. Were as I like to commit as many men forward as possible and outnumber them. It's only a personal preference though and I've had success using them, but I just dislike them for the way I play :)

Ye, it's purely personal preference and a playstyle option - I don't think there's a right or wrong :)

Be that as it may, I think if you're trying to hybrid 442 and 451, you should get one of the two to drop deeper in order to simulate the 451's wide players (alternative is a very attacking Inside Fwd, possibly even played at the Forward Right/Left position - with Cut Inside and possible a PPM of likes to run with ball down centre).

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I don't like Poachers! They offer nothing in when the team is without the ball and not much more when the team has the ball. They are a black hole for goal scoring, hovering up the goals and leading the charts at the expense of the other players on the team. Also, if you want to play control, possession football then I would avoid having a poacher in the team as they will either shoot or run with the ball and not pass. They are also not suitable to use against teams that play deep as the space in which they operate is reduced so not good for teams that are usually favourites.

After getting that of my chest, you are wondering why I am telling you this? Well, Javier Hernandez is an anomaly of the big teams (unless you count Spurs as a big team with Defoe) that players like him (poachers) are being phased out. Strikers now need to do more for the better teams and can not afford to carry a player. I think what you have tried to do is include Hernandez in the team but the only position he can play is a ST poacher and this has resulted in a slightly counter concept to your strategy.

So the helpful suggestion is as you have guessed I don't use poachers in my formations but I do come across many youth players that are classed as a poachers. However, instead of releasing them I usually retrain them as AML (Inside Forward (Attack)) and this has worked remarkable well. I also have Mbaye Naing and I have retrained him to be AML and he scores an unbelievable number of goals from that position. Try Hernandes as AML and do something a little more with the remaining position, something like Advance forward, AMR winger or AMC (I've not thought this bit out)

Sorry, I don't think I've helped you and you will probably said that "Hernandes scores loads of goals so why change it?"

Actually, Hernandez hasn't been great. However, what I like about the combination of a poacher and a deeper forward, is that I always get one of my forwards having a field day. Against teams who come out and play, the poacher reaps the benefits of all the space behind the defence, and if the opposition play deep, they've done so to shut my poacher out, meaning the deeper forward has space to operate in, either causing the defence to close him (and create space for the poacher) or they leave him space to have a go himself. In fact, that's part of the reason behind this formation, the idea is for the opposition to have no way to counter my attack, because there's always a downside for them.

As for the poacher dribbling too much, I always always always drop their RWB to Mixed. In fact, as with most of my players, they have all their instructions on mixed except for longshots, which is rarely.

His role is not to participate in build up, but to cause the defence constant problems from behind, either he'll score himself, or he'll be making dummy runs for my other players.

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It seems like you had the same problems as me and wanted to create attractive football while getting the best out of the creative side of you team. As well as trying to keep clean sheets. This is very hard to do but not impossible. I've created by far the best attacking movement I've seen in the match engine. And your position map isn't all that different to how my plays out in game. It's not identical but you'll be able to draw some comparisions based on your onw game. Here are mine;

I'm using the W-M formation and its great, the ideas you have for your own team are not that different in all honesty. In fact I did a thread on a very simliar idea altho the shape was slightly different to what you want to play just before the last world cup on these forums. The thread no longer exists though but it was about the Brazilian Fluid System and was based on these http://www.zonalmarking.net/2010/03/03/analysing-brazils-fluid-system-at-close-quarters/ and http://www.zonalmarking.net/2009/11/14/brazil-a-4-2-3-1-or-a-midfield-diamond-neither/. In terms of FM it kinda looked like;

It was very flexible and you can push the AMC to SC or move the wingers about. SFrazer used to use the same shape as above on his Manu saves due to the endless possibilites you have when in a game. It keeps possession, scores a lot and plays some really good football.

Is your system using Inside forwards? I never find their movement to be as I want. Even with Cut Inside they get forced wide too often, and then because I've not told them to cross ball often, they don't, and they just muck about with the ball in the corner before passing it or losing it.

I thus find the forward getting isolated.

I actually played with a WM for a while, but soon switched it to a MW, might resurrect that if this doesn't pan out...

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Is your system using Inside forwards? I never find their movement to be as I want. Even with Cut Inside they get forced wide too often, and then because I've not told them to cross ball often, they don't, and they just muck about with the ball in the corner before passing it or losing it.

I thus find the forward getting isolated.

I actually played with a WM for a while, but soon switched it to a MW, might resurrect that if this doesn't pan out...

One inside forward yeah Neymar and his movement is amazing, he causes the opposition lots of problems when he runs at them. He always cuts inside as I play narrow and his vision for bringing other into play is top notch. He scores bucket loads from the AML position and get a lot of assists too. He doesn't waste possession at all. He starts a lot of moves so doesn't always get the assist he deserves, but he's a real threat. If I get time in next few days I'll upload some PKM's if you want?

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To be honest, I don't know when I'd get time to watch them. I've just played my first game (save corrupted and had to play the last game of the last season again) with my new tactic, and I smashed West Brom 5-1 at home. Their goal was the only goal of the second half, and whilst both my CBs scored, neither were headers. Better, Costa assisted two from open play and scored a cracker himself into the top corner.

I think I'm a happy boy.

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Good thread, I used the formation SFraser used myself quite a lot on FM10, and with woking on FM11. I used a straight winger though, not an inside forward.

I've found inside forwards to sometimes be better with a support role, they come into the centre and crate more this way, much like Mata does in real life for Chelsea. With an attack role I find they can get in the way of other players runs at times.

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Agreed jaycar, that's very much the reason why I've gone with a CM nearest the Inside forward. He sits back and lets the IF do all the direct work, only popping up in the box if there's space.

I'm glad I got that storming win to finish the season, morale is now universally Superb for the summer.

I've brought in a couple of 16/17 year olds, and let go a lot of the youth that never made it and were clogging up the Reserves, and don't see any other movement in the transfer market.

It seems I've forgotten about a few players in my description... most notably Danny Wellbeck who was on loan at Spurs for the season. Only made 8 appearances, but scored 11 goals. They had the option to buy for £12m which they chose to take, but they couldn't offer him a sensible contract and he's declined. I may get rid of Morrisson and use Wellbeck more in his place, as Morrisson's lack of any kind of grey-matter has seen him barely improve.

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ham can you send me this tactic to test ot on other team. i now play juve so i can test it there

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As I said in PM jojko, I may provide the tactic in the near future, but first I want to test and tweak it myself. However, here are my basic settings for creating it in the Tactics Creator.

Formation: as first post

Style: very fluid

Starting Strategy: Standard

More Expressive

More Closing Down

Shorter Passing

Lighter Tackling

GK - Sweeper Keeper, Defend

RFD R

RWB R

LS R

TTB M

Cros M

WP NA

Roam N

HUB N

CB - Ball Playing Defender, One Cover, One Defend

RFD R

RWB R

LS R

TTB M

Cros M

WP Normal

Roam N

HUB N

FB - Fullback Support

RFD M

RWB M

LS R

TTB M

Cros M

WP Hug Touchline

Roam N

HUB N

WB - Wing Back Attack

RFD O

RWB M

LS N

TTB M

Cros O

WP Hug Touchline

Roam N

HUB N

DM - Defensive Midfielder Defend

RFD R

RWB R

LS R

TTB M

Cros M

WP Normal

Roam N

HUB Y

CM - Centre Midfielder Support

RFD M

RWB M

LS R

TTB M

Cros M

WP Normal

Roam Y

HUB N

AP - Advanced Playmaker Attack

RFD O

RWB M

LS R

TTB M

Cros M

WP Cut Inside

Roam N

HUB N

IF - Inside Forward Attack

RFD M

RWB M

LS R

TTB O

Cros O

WP Cuts Inside

Roam Y

HUB N

CF Complete Forward Attack

RFD M

RWB M

LS R

TTB M

Cros M

WP M

Roam Y

HUB Y

ST Poacher Attack

RFD O

RWB M

LS R

TTB M

Cros M

WP Move into Channels

Roam N

HUB N

Currently the AP is set as the playmaker, although I probably won't use that all the time. The fullback may be either one or both of a Wingback Role or an Attack Role in the future. And I may go for Fluid rather than Very Fluid.

All options not mentioned are left on default.

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I have a formation I switch to that is almost identical to this one (I've wrote about it here - its the 2nd formation presented, a little way down the thread). It's a fantastic little formation but I wouldn't fancy it in every situation as there are certain situations where it just doesn't fit. Any tactic that attacks the channels will have real success against you, particularly if they focus down your weak right-hand side. How do you find the defensive side of things?

Attacking wise I love the formation. It produces some fantastic play. I focus-play down the left which leaves the WB (I use a FB but it's functionally the same) WIDE WIDE WIDE open. I use a Ball-playing Def on the left who would frequently pick up the ball after a probing attack down the right and then ping the ball diagonally right to the open WB who normally has a clear 1v1 with the opposing DL. If he doesn't skin him outright then he pulls their own d-line back over where your STs and IF can attack the gaps. Goal central! It's so effective that I've even thrown on a poacher-type striker/winger at FB in order to get them having a clear run at the box to nick a goal late-on.

Are you similarly finding that your right WB has so much time it's criminal? I'd have thought Valencia (as he has some defensive ability) is absolutely tailor-made for this role, it's no wonder he's playing well for you. Any thoughts on getting a bigger striker to lead the line alongside Rooney? (or have you already?) I'd have thought that would give you a good option - either quick incredible movement with Hernandez to break the opposition or a big bulldozer to terrify them as Valencia bombards them.

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Interesting thread. I played around with a similar set up as Arsenal in FM10, but never had enough time to invest in getting it to work properly.

Although I’ve read your reasoning above, I would still be tempted to swap the two MC roles so that the more defensive MC is helping to cover the defensively weak right flank . I would have thought that if you get the AML and MCL roles and instructions right that you should be able to get them to use that space effectively rather than getting in each other’s way. Just a thought anyway.

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I have a formation I switch to that is almost identical to this one (I've wrote about it here - its the 2nd formation presented, a little way down the thread). It's a fantastic little formation but I wouldn't fancy it in every situation as there are certain situations where it just doesn't fit. Any tactic that attacks the channels will have real success against you, particularly if they focus down your weak right-hand side. How do you find the defensive side of things?

Attacking wise I love the formation. It produces some fantastic play. I focus-play down the left which leaves the WB (I use a FB but it's functionally the same) WIDE WIDE WIDE open. I use a Ball-playing Def on the left who would frequently pick up the ball after a probing attack down the right and then ping the ball diagonally right to the open WB who normally has a clear 1v1 with the opposing DL. If he doesn't skin him outright then he pulls their own d-line back over where your STs and IF can attack the gaps. Goal central! It's so effective that I've even thrown on a poacher-type striker/winger at FB in order to get them having a clear run at the box to nick a goal late-on.

Are you similarly finding that your right WB has so much time it's criminal? I'd have thought Valencia (as he has some defensive ability) is absolutely tailor-made for this role, it's no wonder he's playing well for you. Any thoughts on getting a bigger striker to lead the line alongside Rooney? (or have you already?) I'd have thought that would give you a good option - either quick incredible movement with Hernandez to break the opposition or a big bulldozer to terrify them as Valencia bombards them.

I've read your thread before, but looking again, whilst your formation is similar, I'd suggest our tactics are different. Yours was to exploit a specific weakness in the opposition if I've read correctly, whereas mine is simply to provide a different kind of threat on each side of the pitch. On my left I have a wide player who cuts in, supported by a standard fullback (although set to the wingback setting), and on the right I have a forward who should roam around the right hand corner of the opposition box, and a very attacking wing back making sure he doesnt move two wide by owning the right touchline. The centremids are set up with this in mind, I want the most attacking player to attack the space Rooney (the Complete forward) leaves when he roams, and the other CM to hold so that he doesn't impede the inside forward. Having only played 3 games with this, I can't say much about the defensive aspect. But what I will say, is that from playing with various 3-at-the-back formations with wingbacks, no matter how attacking you make the WBs, they always seem to do a job defensively. Also, as United, I don't face many teams who attack my flanks, I either face "midfield packers" or counter-ers who I want to send wide anyway.

Valencia does indeed get a lot of time on the ball. I have considered that a big-lump up top might help, and I have a couple of aerial threats coming through the academy, but I'll have to see how they pan out. For the time being I have poachers, and as I dislike the transfer market in this game, I'll rely on my youths rather than making wholesale changes.

Interesting thread. I played around with a similar set up as Arsenal in FM10, but never had enough time to invest in getting it to work properly.

Although I’ve read your reasoning above, I would still be tempted to swap the two MC roles so that the more defensive MC is helping to cover the defensively weak right flank . I would have thought that if you get the AML and MCL roles and instructions right that you should be able to get them to use that space effectively rather than getting in each other’s way. Just a thought anyway.

As I said above, I don't find (so far) the right flank to be defensively weak in practice. As far as I'm concerned, I already have an attacking midfielder on the left side. You can imagine my formation as a 4-5-1 with the right sided players all shifted up a strata. This doesn't necessarily make the right weaker, as those on in the centre shift to the right to compensate. Also consider that I already have 3 at the back effectively with the use of a very defensive DM, and I also have my CB who's more keen to close down, on the right hand side to slow down anyone who does get past Valencia, while the left CB, FB and DM shift to cover.

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Thanks for the reply, this is a good thread. I'm looking forward to seeing how you'll deal with the different challenges you'll face when using a more inventive tactical setup. Sounds like it fits the players you have well - it's based around the team but still fits the players you have which is a great decision and a great tip for anyone.

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Some ridiculous goals I've scored beating West Brom. Nothing to do with the tactic really, but thought y'all might be interested.

I'll post some info shortly.

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It's a problem I have myself. The match engine is still so sorely lacking in allowing real creativity and lateral movement, so ever since the side arrows were canned, I've used pretty much only assymetrical formations, high creative freedom, and a lot of roaming.

You can achieve some brilliant football that completely bamboozles the computer, but at the same time it makes it very very hard to control a lot of possession and defend effectively.

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I read in another thread that this formation of yours had ‘evolved’ and that you should update the thread. Any chance of that happening? I’ve been thinking about giving this shape a go in FM11 and would be interested to see how its developed.

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My tactics are always pretty fluid, not in the style sense, but in the sense that they never stay the same for too long.

I had a bit of an injury crisis, and was without Douglas Costa, Rooney, Macheda, Jano and Cleverley for a while, however this formation still helped me to my first league and CL double.

This season I attempted a switch to 4-1-2-3-0 formation, but it just wasn't working. I've now gone for a quite basic 4-4-2 using the creator and I'm outperforming everyone.

I think whilst my assymetric tactic produced attractive football, it made things difficult for me when my key players were missing. With a 4-4-2 however, you can play a team of fringe players and still get a good team performance.

Please feel free to use this shape yourself and let me/us know how you get on, but I might not be updating for a while.

Knowing me though, I'll get bored of 4-4-flipping-2 sooner rather than later and I'll be back in here telling you how amazing this one is :D

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