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Three Defensive Midfielders.........is it as defensive as it sounds?

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Seen as I've posted about my three Defensive Midfielders tactic in a thread about

Defensive Positioning, I thought I'd post an actual thread about it.

I must stress that this tactic is at the very early stages of experimentation. Previous to the match I am about to post about using it in I had only tried it twice, and both times it was against much lesser opposition, (Zeljeznicar and Fulham). However I did win both those games (4-0 and 3-0 respectively), so thought I'd give it a whirl against tougher opposition.

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With my current season done and dusted - this is the second to last game of the campaign and I've nothing left to play for as I wrapped up the league in the last game - I thought I'd give my three DM's tactic a whirl against a big side; Arsenal.

Now they have had a fairly disappointing season - they can no longer get into the top four to qualify for next seaons Champions League, and exited both domestic cups early. They did however make it to the semi finals of this seasons Champions League, knocking out my side in the quarters. I thought with nothing to play for it was a decent time to try out my system against a decent side, albeit at home. They are also managed by Jose Mourinho, who is somewhat a nemisis of mine as he often gets the better of me with his 4-2-3-1 formation.

The formation sets up with four Defenders, three Defensive Midfielders, two Attacking Midfielders, (Right & Left), and a Striker. It's an uncoventional 4-3-2-1 formation.

Here is how the formation with player roles and the team instructions that go with it;

formationandteaminstruc.png

The idea behind the system has been explained in the other thread linked at the top of the page, but as this is a thread of it's own here it is again..........

When defending the three DM's create a wall infront of the central defenders, limiting space for the opposition to operate in. However when going forward the DMRC and DMLC push on to aid the three attacking players, basically making it a 4-1-2-2-1. To achieve this the outside DM's are given the individual instruction of "Foraward Runs - Often", with the one in the DM role in the DMRC position having his mentality set to notch 13, and the DLP in the DMLC position having his mentality set to 14. The DLP in the DMC position has his mentality set to notch 5, and has "Forward Runs" set to rarely, as is the defeault setting.

Here is the Average Positions/Heat Map and Oppoition Attemps screenies from the game;

avgpoitionsandheatmap30.png oppositionattempts30vsa.png

As you can see from the avg. positions screenie, the two outside DM's are fairly advanced from the middle DM, which was as desired. Yet from other screenshot you can also see that when we defended, Arsenal's space was limited and so they had to shoot from range. (Although I haven't posted a screenshot of our attempts, we had 13 shots at goal during the match, nine of which came from inside the box).

This game inparticular we won 3-0, with two goals coming from the AML and one frm the STC. The first goal came from a slick 14 pass move, with the DMLC playing a key pass into the AML before a 1-2 with the STC resulted in him bursting through and scoring. The second goal came from a corner, but was won by the DMRC near the byeline. And the third was just a nice pass from the DMLC to the STC after a freekick was initially cleared.

I didn't have as much possession as I would have liked, (56-44% in our favour), but that is probaby to do with the quality of opposition and the fact that we slacked off in the second half with us already 3-0 up at the break. Overall we completed 80% of our passes

Basically, it looks as though this system isn't quite as defensive as you would assume, but what it does do is offer great defensive play when without the ball. Of course more testing is required, and my next game, (the last of the season), is away to Liverpool.

Has anyone else tried something similar and had sucess with it?

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I'm sorry if this is a bit of a poor thread compared to some of the others. I've never posted a thread here in the Tactics Forum before, and writing about such things isn't a strong point of mine.

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If you write it.... they will come :)

What were the roles/instructions for the DM's?

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What were the roles/instructions for the DM's?

They are set up as follows;

DMC - Deep Lying Playmaker - Defend

DMLC - Deep Lying Playmaker - Support

DMRC - Defensive Midfielder - Support

There aren't too many individual instructions given to them. The ones that have been tweaked are addressed in the opening post;

the outside DM's are given the individual instruction of "Foraward Runs - Often", with the one in the DM role in the DMRC position having his mentality set to notch 13, and the DLP in the DMLC position having his mentality set to 14. The DLP in the DMC position has his mentality set to notch 5, and has "Forward Runs" set to rarely, as is the defeault setting.

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Yes, it will be interesting.

Regardless though, I think I'd opt for mixed on them. As they are fairly tight you still want the option to keep the ball but also as they are deep(ish) they still need to get the ball forward.

To be honest though......... I'm a fan of mixed passing.

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Yes, it will be interesting.

Regardless though, I think I'd opt for mixed on them. As they are fairly tight you still want the option to keep the ball but also as they are deep(ish) they still need to get the ball forward.

To be honest though......... I'm a fan of mixed passing.

That is what i was thinking because the wingers have an attacking role and of course the DMC's are two stratta away. Yet like you say you want to keep the ball between three but also get the ball to those advance players. That is why I was interested in their passing style.

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What kind of passing range does your more attacking DMC's have. This is quite interesting.
Yes, it will be interesting.

Regardless though, I think I'd opt for mixed on them. As they are fairly tight you still want the option to keep the ball but also as they are deep(ish) they still need to get the ball forward.

To be honest though......... I'm a fan of mixed passing.

The DMRC has his passing set as low as possible with his creative freedom as low as possible. And the DMLC is just left to default setting. His passing is therefre set at mixed, (right in the middle). His creative freedom is also left on the default setting, which is on notch 6.

The middle DM is left on default for creative freedom and passing.

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Well I've just played a second game with this tactic, again against a big club, and it again resulted in a win. This game was away to Liverpool and was a bit of a closer affair to the home win over Arsenal. It finished 2-1 with us grabbing a winner late in the day.

In this game Liverpool managed a greater share of the possession than Arsenal did in the previous game, (53-47% in our favour), though they again had fewer shots than us, (13-7 in our favour). Because of their greater amount of possession our average positions were deeper than they were against Arsenal.

Having said that the fullbacks were afforded more space than in the previous game so were not so close to the centre backs. Also the AMR/L were wider than the previous game. However, that meant the STC was left a bit more isolated and had to come deeper to search for the ball.

Here are the screenshots of average positions and Liverpools attempts;

avgpoitionsandheatmapvs.png oppositionattemptsvsliv.png

Of Liverpool's seven attempts, five were from inside the box. Four of these however were from set pieces, including the goal, and one was blocked. From the defensive point of view then I would say that the tactic worked much like in the Arsenal match - space around the box was restricted, which meant the opposition couldn't get close enough for good efforts at goal.

Attacking wise, I think that I maybe should consider upping the mentality of the two outside DM's. The gap between them and the three attacking players was a fair bit bigger than in the Arsenal match. Hopefully upping their mentality for away games will mean they get a bit higher up the pitch to help in attack so that my STC and AML/R are not left so isolated. Thankfully in this game, the STC still manged to have an impact as he scored the winner.

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You could try making the DMC's passing more direct but then you would lose the control they give passing to each but keep defensive shape. More attacking mentality you could lose defensive shape but keep passing control.... decisions decisions :)

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You could try making the DMC's passing more direct but then you would lose the control they give passing to each but keep defensive shape. More attacking mentality you could lose defensive shape but keep passing control.... decisions decisions :)

I think I would prefer to keep the passing short. I have always gone with the theory that if my team have the ball then opposition can't score.

I think if I set the LB/RB as "Fullback - Support" for away games, (as oppoed to "Wingback - Support") they will be more defensive, and so upping the mentalities of the outside DM's may not harm things too much. The middle DM will remain exactly how he is, so even if the other two are caught up field when an attacking phase breaks down there will still be one screener infront of the centre backs, and two deepers fullbacks who are able to get back quicker.

Or atleast that would hopefully be the case!

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I think I would follow that train of though aswell. If the opposition don't have it all the better. Still I can't help but feel your system is dying out for a direct passing DMC maybe try one of them.

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I think I would follow that train of though aswell. If the opposition don't have it all the better. Still I can't help but feel your system is dying out for a direct passing DMC maybe try one of them.

I do agree with peleJunior. I'm certain that the counter attacking would be greatly improved with atleast mixed passing with the DMs since they would be able to find the wingers and ST more quickly after winning the ball back, although this could be at a detriment to your intended passing game. i think a balance needs to be found.

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Whats the role of your striker? I'd imagine it would be CF/DLF/Trequista, effectively running a false nine type due to the big hole in the middle

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Yeah, after reading Cleon's comments about DMs being superior to MCs in terms of defense, I've since used more of them. I've designed the exact same formation as you did, and found the same findings.

The combination of forward runs and higher mentality got DMs supporting the attack, just as well as the MCs, but combined with their far superior defensive capabilities, the DMs are just a better choice. I've been experimenting with goal-scoring DM. You can do this with MC, if you give him the right instructions, plus giving him plenty of space to run into. I want to see if you can do the same with a DM.

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Excellent write up Tom, was expecting you to do a thread on this to be honest. Im at work now so not got much time to read but later today I will have a proper read and give some my insights from using 3DMS

Originally I would say way to defensive but after actually using the formation it really is completely the opposite. Although I am using it with Swansea and without a striker so maybe slightly different. Ill give my thoughts later on today :)

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The only players that seemed to be deeper against Liverpool were the strikers. Have a look at the grid and you can see that your midfield were actualy slightly more advanced. This would suggest that Liverpool were playing a possession game deep... ie with their defence and midfield.

Your strikers were clearly close enough to the ball to close down, hence why they were probably deeper. Everyone else was a little more advanced.

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Higher mentality would give them more space in which to operate, that is the danger with playing this many players so close together. Equally so, playing around with FRD/FWR could also work... though, you might need to watch their concentration and stamina levels throughout the game. Running from that deep alot won't be easy.

I liketactics that have multiple players in similar positions, it allows you to be more flexible with the tactic. ie, for a tough game you may choose to have the DMC as the attacking player with the DML/R staying back, but in an attacking formation, you may switch that and only have teh DMC holding.

Though, you may need to do something about that large gap between the FC and the DM's. There is space for you to exploit and if you dont have someone covering it, then the opposition will exploit it too.

On another note, I know you are just testing this, but I would expect Man City to beat Liverpool and Arsenal, so I guess the test should be more about (and I'm not saying it isn't) the team playing "how" you want them to play rather than the result.

Just looking at the positions on the field. Interestingly, that gap I refered to earlier would fit perfect for the DMC to advance into, though, I'm not sure how that would leave the defence. I read somewhere (Cleon, I think) that two DM's don't really stop the central through ball that a DMC would break up.

How are your goals being scored? This tactic looks like it is going to be very reliant upon either outstanding talent from the AML/R's (thus proving problemtatic with lower quality) or from great through balls from the DM's, which might be more easily blocked out by say Man United and the other European powers.

Though, you are tempting me back into the game.... (not played for a month or so).

Regards

LAM

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Higher mentality would give them more space in which to operate, that is the danger with playing this many players so close together. Equally so, playing around with FRD/FWR could also work... though, you might need to watch their concentration and stamina levels throughout the game. Running from that deep alot won't be easy.

I liketactics that have multiple players in similar positions, it allows you to be more flexible with the tactic. ie, for a tough game you may choose to have the DMC as the attacking player with the DML/R staying back, but in an attacking formation, you may switch that and only have teh DMC holding.

Though, you may need to do something about that large gap between the FC and the DM's. There is space for you to exploit and if you dont have someone covering it, then the opposition will exploit it too.

On another note, I know you are just testing this, but I would expect Man City to beat Liverpool and Arsenal, so I guess the test should be more about (and I'm not saying it isn't) the team playing "how" you want them to play rather than the result.

Just looking at the positions on the field. Interestingly, that gap I refered to earlier would fit perfect for the DMC to advance into, though, I'm not sure how that would leave the defence. I read somewhere (Cleon, I think) that two DM's don't really stop the central through ball that a DMC would break up.

How are your goals being scored? This tactic looks like it is going to be very reliant upon either outstanding talent from the AML/R's (thus proving problemtatic with lower quality) or from great through balls from the DM's, which might be more easily blocked out by say Man United and the other European powers.

Though, you are tempting me back into the game.... (not played for a month or so).

Regards

LAM

I think I can answer most of the points you make here lam :)

Playing with the forward runs does help a lot, I have this set up with the two outer DM's with forward runs often, and i regularly find them just outside the edge of the box. The DMC sits in the center circle always free and always offering a passing option when the move breaks down.

I tackled the large gap by moving the striker, strikers are overrated nowadays anyway. I have trialled him in both the AMC position and in the MC position. The link up play is a lot better when he is in MC but in AMC with a slightly more withdrawn role. I think is was AP or AM support so he drops deeper to link up play worked well. A DLF on support would work wonders for this tactic I do believe, but he would need to drop really deep to full that hole.

IM trialling a similar tactic with Swansea, only just finished pre season with the hardest opposition being MIddelsborough but beat them comfortable, off the top of my head I think it was 2-0 60-40% possesion in my favour. Not a top side i know but a side at a similar level to Swansea. Got first game of the season against West Brom which I will play when I get in from work, im expecting a victory but who knows. That is the first real test of the formation.

Yep ive found the AML/R need to be pacy, good dribblers and can finish. I have Sinclair and Dyer who both fit the bill excellently, although playing Danny Graham and Luke Moore out on the wings did actually work very well. The majority of the goals come from through balls to the AML/R and then a finish being applied although Siggurdson playing AMC did chip in with a few throughout pre season. Not had a true test of the formation yet but when I do then we will see if it works. Interestingly enough the best performances have been against teams that attack me i.e middelsborough. Stil manage to create chances against lesser teams but the finishing just seems to be poor. Get back into the game son, you know you want to ;)

EDIT: by the way Tom the shots screenie is very similar to the one form my Barca trial against Real Madrid, mostly adventourous efforts from outside the box. Once in a blue moon do they go in so thats all good :)

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Still I can't help but feel your system is dying out for a direct passing DMC maybe try one of them.
I do agree with peleJunior. I'm certain that the counter attacking would be greatly improved with atleast mixed passing with the DMs since they would be able to find the wingers and ST more quickly after winning the ball back, although this could be at a detriment to your intended passing game. i think a balance needs to be found.

Perhaps if i set the DMRC's passing to default, (which would be mixed), it would have the effect you both mention. However i must stress that this is not meant to be a counter attacking tactic, the formation is set up just makes it look that way.

Whats the role of your striker? I'd imagine it would be CF/DLF/Trequista, effectively running a false nine type due to the big hole in the middle

He is a Trequarista, (or however it's spelt), for the exact reasons you describe.

Yeah, after reading Cleon's comments about DMs being superior to MCs in terms of defense, I've since used more of them. I've designed the exact same formation as you did, and found the same findings.

The combination of forward runs and higher mentality got DMs supporting the attack, just as well as the MCs, but combined with their far superior defensive capabilities, the DMs are just a better choice. I've been experimenting with goal-scoring DM. You can do this with MC, if you give him the right instructions, plus giving him plenty of space to run into. I want to see if you can do the same with a DM.

Glad i'm not the only lunatic trying this formation!

As for attempting go get one of the DM's to score fairly regularly, i reckon my best bet for that would be the DMRC. Looking at the average positions, it is evident that he is the more advanced of the two outside DM's. By upping his mentality he should get further up the pitch and thus breat into more threatening positions.

Thanks for the idea, i'll have to give that a try.

Excellent write up Tom, was expecting you to do a thread on this to be honest. Im at work now so not got much time to read but later today I will have a proper read and give some my insights from using 3DMS

Originally I would say way to defensive but after actually using the formation it really is completely the opposite. Although I am using it with Swansea and without a striker so maybe slightly different. Ill give my thoughts later on today :)

Cheers dude, cant wait to hear your thoughts. :thup:

Must say i was a bit aprehensive about doing a thread about this. Like i said before i've never done a thread in this area of the forum before and explaining stuff like this isn't something that come easy to me.

Is there a download link? or am I being stupid?
I got it... I'm being stupid.... :o

Well it is in the discussion area and not the download/filesharing area for a reason.

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The only players that seemed to be deeper against Liverpool were the strikers. Have a look at the grid and you can see that your midfield were actualy slightly more advanced. This would suggest that Liverpool were playing a possession game deep... ie with their defence and midfield.

Your strikers were clearly close enough to the ball to close down, hence why they were probably deeper. Everyone else was a little more advanced.

In the first pitch map screenshot the two outside DM's are more advanced than in the game against Liverpool. Atleast that's how it looks to me. :confused:

Besides that you are correct, the other players are more advanced, especially the fullbacks. This was because Liverpool used two DM's against me, whereas Arsenal used two CM's. Both sides played with three AM's, (AMR/L/C), except Liverpool's roamed more, meaning they weren't constantly having to defend against a winger.

Higher mentality would give them more space in which to operate, that is the danger with playing this many players so close together. Equally so, playing around with FRD/FWR could also work... though, you might need to watch their concentration and stamina levels throughout the game. Running from that deep alot won't be easy.

I'm probably going to be a bit stupid here, but i don't know what you mean by "FRD/FWR".

However, upping the mentality of the DMRC is something i do plan on testing.

I liketactics that have multiple players in similar positions, it allows you to be more flexible with the tactic. ie, for a tough game you may choose to have the DMC as the attacking player with the DML/R staying back, but in an attacking formation, you may switch that and only have teh DMC holding.

That is something i had never considered. Not because i dont think it's a good idea, but simply because it hadn't crossed my mine. Further examing of this idea i will look into. Thanks.

Though, you may need to do something about that large gap between the FC and the DM's. There is space for you to exploit and if you dont have someone covering it, then the opposition will exploit it too.

As much as the gap on the screenshots looks huge, in actual play it's not that bad. The outside DM's do join up with the attackers and look for passing/shooting chances.

On another note, I know you are just testing this, but I would expect Man City to beat Liverpool and Arsenal, so I guess the test should be more about (and I'm not saying it isn't) the team playing "how" you want them to play rather than the result.

That is correct. Although i am in 2021, the game world is different now and teams are of course dominated by regens and styles of play are different than at the start of the game with their original managers.

Just looking at the positions on the field. Interestingly, that gap I refered to earlier would fit perfect for the DMC to advance into, though, I'm not sure how that would leave the defence. I read somewhere (Cleon, I think) that two DM's don't really stop the central through ball that a DMC would break up.

Like i said earlier, having the DMC is an interesting idea. How it could be worked though is another issue as having him screening the centre backs does seem to be crucial.

How are your goals being scored? This tactic looks like it is going to be very reliant upon either outstanding talent from the AML/R's (thus proving problemtatic with lower quality) or from great through balls from the DM's, which might be more easily blocked out by say Man United and the other European powers.

The goals from the Arsenal game are described in the opening post. :thup:

Against Liverpool we scored a header from a freeckick that was won by the RB just outside the box on the deadball line. The second was a nice passing move. The ball was worked around by the DM's before it was played out to the LB. He clipped it into the box and my STC turned and scored.

Though, you are tempting me back into the game.... (not played for a month or so).

Glad to know i've stoked someones FM fires again!

Playing with the forward runs does help a lot, I have this set up with the two outer DM's with forward runs often, and i regularly find them just outside the edge of the box. The DMC sits in the center circle always free and always offering a passing option when the move breaks down.

This is very true. I have my DMC set as my primary playmaker for this very reason as he starts everything off.

I tackled the large gap by moving the striker, strikers are overrated nowadays anyway. I have trialled him in both the AMC position and in the MC position. The link up play is a lot better when he is in MC but in AMC with a slightly more withdrawn role. I think is was AP or AM support so he drops deeper to link up play worked well. A DLF on support would work wonders for this tactic I do believe, but he would need to drop really deep to full that hole.

Not an idea i will be trying. Like i said in the other thread i like to have a focal point to my attacking play, and i don't dropping the STC back to AMC offers this.

EDIT: by the way Tom the shots screenie is very similar to the one form my Barca trial against Real Madrid, mostly adventourous efforts from outside the box. Once in a blue moon do they go in so thats all good :)

That's what i was wanting. The Liverpool screenie is a bit misleading as it looks like they have worked their way into the box and had chances, but inactual fact all but of them were from setpieces.

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In the first pitch map screenshot the two outside DM's are more advanced than in the game against Liverpool. Atleast that's how it looks to me. :confused:

Besides that you are correct, the other players are more advanced, especially the fullbacks. This was because Liverpool used two DM's against me, whereas Arsenal used two CM's. Both sides played with three AM's, (AMR/L/C), except Liverpool's roamed more, meaning they weren't constantly having to defend against a winger.

I'm probably going to be a bit stupid here, but i don't know what you mean by "FRD/FWR".

However, upping the mentality of the DMRC is something i do plan on testing.

That is something i had never considered. Not because i dont think it's a good idea, but simply because it hadn't crossed my mine. Further examing of this idea i will look into. Thanks.

As much as the gap on the screenshots looks huge, in actual play it's not that bad. The outside DM's do join up with the attackers and look for passing/shooting chances.

That is correct. Although i am in 2021, the game world is different now and teams are of course dominated by regens and styles of play are different than at the start of the game with their original managers.

Like i said earlier, having the DMC is an interesting idea. How it could be worked though is another issue as having him screening the centre backs does seem to be crucial.

The goals from the Arsenal game are described in the opening post. :thup:

Against Liverpool we scored a header from a freeckick that was won by the RB just outside the box on the deadball line. The second was a nice passing move. The ball was worked around by the DM's before it was played out to the LB. He clipped it into the box and my STC turned and scored.

Glad to know i've stoked someones FM fires again!

This is very true. I have my DMC set as my primary playmaker for this very reason as he starts everything off.

Not an idea i will be trying. Like i said in the other thread i like to have a focal point to my attacking play, and i don't dropping the STC back to AMC offers this.

That's what i was wanting. The Liverpool screenie is a bit misleading as it looks like they have worked their way into the box and had chances, but inactual fact all but of them were from setpieces.

#

So you set the DMC who stays back as the primary playmaker. Very interesting decision that Tom, so everything goes through him pretty much. Might try that.

Yeah yeah I know what you mean about having a focal point, im just experimenting with something different. I love abstract formations so this is ideal for me, if i can get it to work :p

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So you set the DMC who stays back as the primary playmaker. Very interesting decision that Tom, so everything goes through him pretty much. Might try that.

Well as much as he's there to screen the centre backs, he's not a tackler. That is the DMRC. He isn't instructed to dribble, as the other playmaker at DMLC is, so the aim is that he gets the ball and licks passes off to the others.

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How much possesion do you manage to keep, because on the tactic im using I find its insanely good on the counter, but possesion wise it isnt brilliant. managing on average about 48%, although im sitting 6th in the prem after 3 games with Swansea so it isnt half bad ;) 3 games have been West Brom (3-1 win) Wigan (3-1 win down to 10 men after 30 min) and Sunderland (2-1) defeat. Alos having on average around 15 attempts a game with about 50% being on target. So chance creation is fine even without a striker, just the finishing leaves a little to be desired.

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How much possesion do you manage to keep, because on the tactic im using I find its insanely good on the counter, but possesion wise it isnt brilliant. managing on average about 48%, although im sitting 6th in the prem after 3 games with Swansea so it isnt half bad ;) 3 games have been West Brom (3-1 win) Wigan (3-1 win down to 10 men after 30 min) and Sunderland (2-1) defeat. Alos having on average around 15 attempts a game with about 50% being on target. So chance creation is fine even without a striker, just the finishing leaves a little to be desired.

In the games against Arseanal and Liverpool i managed 56% and 53% respectively, which isn't bad considering the opposition though i do expect it to be around 60% against the majority of sides. In those two games i had 13 attempts in each. Again that's decent enough considering the opposition.

In my save i am just about to enter preseason, so i should be on to the competitive games either tonight or tomorrow and have more information to post. :thup:

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In the games against Arseanal and Liverpool i managed 56% and 53% respectively, which isn't bad considering the opposition though i do expect it to be around 60% against the majority of sides. In those two games i had 13 attempts in each. Again that's decent enough considering the opposition.

In my save i am just about to enter preseason, so i should be on to the competitive games either tonight or tomorrow and have more information to post. :thup:

I'll do a more detailed post tonight when I get the time. But in terms of possession this shape should retain a lot of possession regardless of what strategy you use. The only thing that would let possession down is long balls down the flanks from the DMC's to the wide players if the gaps are too big.

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I'll do a more detailed post tonight when I get the time. But in terms of possession this shape should retain a lot of possession regardless of what strategy you use. The only thing that would let possession down is long balls down the flanks from the DMC's to the wide players if the gaps are too big.

That's why i've not been terribly receptive to the suggestion that the outside DM's on either mixed or direct passing.

The theory is just the same as what i explained to you about my 4-1-2-2-1 system; keep the ball and probe away for an opening. I just decided to try it this way with three DM's to give the central defenders as much potection as possible.

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That's why i've not been terribly receptive to the suggestion that the outside DM's on either mixed or direct passing.

The theory is just the same as what i explained to you about my 4-1-2-2-1 system; keep the ball and probe away for an opening. I just decided to try it this way with three DM's to give the central defenders as much potection as possible.

Also means that you can have very offensive fullbacks and not have to worry so much that they'll be exposed. The ball retention should be really good too and work well with the probing style you seem to have created :)

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Also means that you can have very offensive fullbacks and not have to worry so much that they'll be exposed. The ball retention should be really good too and work well with the probing style you seem to have created :)

I think you know me and my tactical thinkings too well. :D:(

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Still struggling to keep possesion :( maybe its because im playing with Swansea but really just not managing it. Results are good so cant really complain, worst results being 2-1 defeats to Sunderland and united both away. Created plenty of chances in both just no finishing. Happy with the results, not so much with the style. May try it with City as you did Tom

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Still struggling to keep possesion :( maybe its because im playing with Swansea but really just not managing it. Results are good so cant really complain, worst results being 2-1 defeats to Sunderland and united both away. Created plenty of chances in both just no finishing. Happy with the results, not so much with the style. May try it with City as you did Tom

Well you must remember i'm doing it with City in 2021, and i'm only just starting my fourth season with them. I had already had success with them, but after a second Champions League quarter final exit in a row i felt the need to evolve my 4-1-2-2-1 system.

That was also a short passing tactic, so i had already invested in the type of players i wanted for this philosophy. As much as what this is an experiment, it also has an impact on my save - the tactic fails and i could be sacked!

Whether the players in City's original squad would suit this style i'm not sure.

Anyway, i got my first league game of the season played last night, so i've got analysis of that game with some tweaks to the tactic mentioned in other posts to get up later. :thup:

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Well you must remember i'm doing it with City in 2021, and i'm only just starting my fourth season with them. I had already had success with them, but after a second Champions League quarter final exit in a row i felt the need to evolve my 4-1-2-2-1 system.

That was also a short passing tactic, so i had already invested in the type of players i wanted for this philosophy. As much as what this is an experiment, it also has an impact on my save - the tactic fails and i could be sacked!

Whether the players in City's original squad would suit this style i'm not sure.

Anyway, i got my first league game of the season played last night, so i've got analysis of that game with some tweaks to the tactic mentioned in other posts to get up later. :thup:

Even if the original squad dont fit the bill with the money available IM sure I could bring the right players in ;). Going to soldier on with Swansea, im interested to see your post later tonight though. Really with my tactic using a AMC instead of a striker I would expect it to keep possesion better than your version simply because there are more options, but I think it is the standard of player that is affecting it the most.

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im interested to see your post later tonight though. Really with my tactic using a AMC instead of a striker I would expect it to keep possesion better than your version simply because there are more options

I'll give you a teaser for later; increased mentality for outside DM's. ;)

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I'll give you a teaser for later; increased mentality for outside DM's. ;)

oooo a teaster, naughty ;) Yeah i had done that anyway, to make them push forward when in possesion.

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oooo a teaster, naughty ;) Yeah i had done that anyway, to make them push forward when in possesion.

Have you maybe thought that that could be why your variant is working differently to mine? By playing an AM rather than a STC, the space might be too compressed when the DM's come forward. Passes then become a bit more rushed, thus you lose possession more easily?

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Have you maybe thought that that could be why your variant is working differently to mine? By playing an AM rather than a STC, the space might be too compressed when the DM's come forward. Passes then become a bit more rushed, thus you lose possession more easily?

Hmmm its a thought, never even thought of that. Not being enough space and coupled with the lack of "superb" tecnical ability that I had with barca may be why the ball is being consistently given away. They are attempting a lot of passes just not coming off. Maybe tweaking the AM so he presses on a little further and tweak the DM's so they arn't as attacking might help with ball retention. I know the formation will almost definately work better with a striker but I just enjoy experimenting.

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So after looking back over the stuff that has been suggested in this thread since my earlier posts of how the tactic was working, I have gone through preseason with my side testing out various different things. Of course friendlies can't give you a 100% accurate picture of things as they are not the same as competitive games.

However, having come to my opening league game of the season, tweaks have been made in the hope that the tactic can work better than in the few games I tiraled it in last term.

Here are the changes that have been made;

[center][b]DMRC[/b]
Mentality - Upped from notch 13 to 14
Passing - Set to as low as possible

[b]DMC[/b]
Passing - Changed from Default to notch 6
Creative Freedom - Changed from Default to notch 7

[b]DMLC[/b]
Mentality - Switched from notch 5 to Default (notch 10)[/center]

The changess, though seemingly not huge, did make a big difference in the average poitions of the players in the opening game of the campaign.

In this game we were playing a side who last year had a very poor season - Wolves. Of course the likelihood was that we would always win this game and in general the team would be further up the field than in the previous two Average Position charts I have shown in this thread. However, with the slight changes made to the DM's, you can see how much closer they are to the attacking trio. The fact that both the DMRC and DMLC scored from breaking into the box would seem to be a result of these changes.

Here is the positional map;

wolvesawayavgpos.png

The player circled in yellow in the opposiong half came on with 21mins to go and slotted into the STC position. The other yellow circle in our half shows two players. The one who is obscurd also came on with 21mins to go and moved into the DMC position. By this time we were sitting deeper and just playing "keep ball".

Both of the goals from the DMLC and DMRC came about from passing moves after we had won the ball back from the Wolves keeper kicking it long. And both times it was a through ball from the STC a they charged through the middle that set them up.

At the same time we were still solid when they had the ball, and thus two thirds, (six out of nine), of their attempts were from outside the box. All of their three attempts inside the box were from corners. We on the other hand created chances inside the box, and only shot three times, (out of 18), outside the box;

wolvesawayattemptsatgoa.png

Three of their six attempts from outside the box were blocked, (blue blobs - one of which is obscured by a red blob), while the other three red blobs were shots that missed the target. Again, this is how it was working in the earlier examples - the three DM's were forming a blanket infron of the central defenders and so limiting the space of the opposition attacking players, leading to enseles long shots.

We on the other hand had a STC coming deep, two DM's bombing forward, and two IF's making angles to recieve passes. This meant that getting into spaces around their one DM and back four wasn't difficult, and the match stats shows how many good chances we had;

wolvesawaymatchstats.png

I know clear cut chances aren't the be all and end all, but for half of our 18 attempts to be labelled as "Clear Cut Chances" means we must have doing somethign right. The possession aswell was very good, but that we get a sterner test in our next game at home to last seasons runners up; Tottenham.

The last point I want to make is about the importance of the DMC. I have stated before that I see his role a the screener of the centre halfs aswell as the man who starts all our attacing play. He may not be the one threading all the balls through for the attacking players, but he picks off opposition attacks and gives fairly simple passes to others in space. This is why he is set as my "Playmaker".

Here is a map of his interceptions and passes;

wolvesawaydmcintercepti.png

Even thoughwe were playing fairly weak oppostion, he still made ten interceptions throughout the game, with the majority of them down the middle of the pitch. This is a crucial role he fills in the team.

His passes were mainly short, either to the other DM's or the central defenders so the ball could be recycled and the attack started again. All in all he made 50 passes in the game, with 46 (92%) of them reaching their target. The black square shows the area in which most of his passes were made - either just inside our half or around the edge of the centre circle in the opposition half.

Most people would think that having him as my primary playmaker to be an odd move, but I think it is more sensible and realistic than what most people would imagine. Look at Arsenal IRL last season. They play a midfield three and most people think that Mikel Arteta is their playmaker, when infact the way I see it, it is Alex Song. He sits predominantly infront of the back four, but is always making himself available and making space for others to play in. And that for me is the idea of the playmaker.

Conclusions

This game may have only been against Wolves, but it was a step in the right direction. The gap between the three attacking players and the DM's was kept quite small in cmparison to matches further up the page, which was desired. Possession was kept well, with all three DM's having a pass success rate of 92% or above. We created a good amount of chances, many of them deemed to be "clear cut".

Bigger tests are to come, and with the next game against Tottenham I'm sure I'll get a good picture from that game how it will play against better opposition.

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Excellent analysis Tom :) some tips for me to take from there Im sure. Im going to try and introduce my take on the system with City, or I might even try it with Arsenal not decided yet. I still want to make the strikerless thing work, going to have a backup system in place but predominately thats why Im going to use.

Looking at your heat map it almost looks like a 4-1-2-3 formation and I mean without a striker, is that more of your striker dropping deep or your AML/R pushing really far forward?

I think setting the DMC as a playmaker is a brilliant move, 90% of the time he will be in space so players will always give it back to him. Combine it with lots of roaming and movement infront of him and you have pretty much cracked the Busquets role. Who scores most of your goals? Because ive always found my IF's got as many goals as my striker.

The Spurs game will be very interesting to see, you should dominate I think though.

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Excellent analysis Tom :) some tips for me to take from there Im sure.

Thanks alot dude. I'll start by saying your input is appreciated. :brock:

Looking at your heat map it almost looks like a 4-1-2-3 formation and I mean without a striker, is that more of your striker dropping deep or your AML/R pushing really far forward?

It was the STC who was coming deep in search of the ball.

I think setting the DMC as a playmaker is a brilliant move, 90% of the time he will be in space so players will always give it back to him. Combine it with lots of roaming and movement infront of him and you have pretty much cracked the Busquets role.

Exactly the idea. People see Busquets purely as a holding player, but he is far more crucial to Barcelona's attacking play than what people think/give him credit for.

Who scores most of your goals? Because ive always found my IF's got as many goals as my striker.

Well it's early days with the system, but my STC seems to score most. The majority of chances just to fall to him, either by through balls from the outside DM's, or little interchanges with the IF's. In the Wolves game i had two players play in STC role and between them they had eight attempts.

The Spurs game will be very interesting to see, you should dominate I think though.

I wouldn't say dominate, as Spurs are an excellent side in my save. Michael Laurdrup has been in charge for eight years and has built a very exciting team using the 4-2-3-1 system. If we shade possession and win, whilst again restricting their efforts at goal, i'll see that as progression be happy.

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It was the STC who was coming deep in search of the ball.

Yeah I thought as much, wheres in my system that player would be there so not need to come and search for the ball ;)

Exactly the idea. People see Busquets purely as a holding player, but he is far more crucial to Barcelona's attacking play than what people think/give him credit for.

Busquets is vital to Barca, if he wasnt so defensive and got forward all the time then the players around him wouldnt have the freedom to do what they want. he provides the foundation for everyone in front of him to run riot and do whatever they want. I have a busquets style player in nearly every formation I create, a player who can hang back, mop up any counters and always provide a passing option. Although I never even thought of setting him as the primary playamaker, will definately be trying that.

Well it's early days with the system, but my STC seems to score most. The majority of chances just to fall to him, either by through balls from the outside DM's, or little interchanges with the IF's. In the Wolves game i had two players play in STC role and between them they had eight attempts.

Yeah Yeah, suppose that is what strikers are there for, to score goals.

I wouldn't say dominate, as Spurs are an excellent side in my save. Michael Laurdrup has been in charge for eight years and has built a very exciting team using the 4-2-3-1 system. If we shade possession and win, whilst again restricting their efforts at goal, i'll see that as progression be happy.

Ahh right yeaah I forget your in like 2020, I was thinking first season teams which City should dominate, my bad :)

Going to attempt a save with Arsenal, with Swansea it worked ok but I think it needs a lot more fine tuning before I try and use it with a lower team. Keep the updates going though mate, Im really interested in this formation :) even if it is only for me ;)

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Yeah I thought as much, wheres in my system that player would be there so not need to come and search for the ball

Well with him being a Treq, he is going to do that.

Busquets is vital to Barca, if he wasnt so defensive and got forward all the time then the players around him wouldnt have the freedom to do what they want. he provides the foundation for everyone in front of him to run riot and do whatever they want. I have a busquets style player in nearly every formation I create, a player who can hang back, mop up any counters and always provide a passing option. Although I never even thought of setting him as the primary playamaker, will definately be trying that.

I understand why people would think that their main playmaker needs to be further up the pitch to influence things, but i would recommend trying it like this to anyone.

Yeah Yeah, suppose that is what strikers are there for, to score goals.

The focal point i constantly bang on about! :D

Ahh right yeaah I forget your in like 2020, I was thinking first season teams which City should dominate, my bad :)

Messing up the date is understandable - most users who post tactical threads probably aren't daft enough try a new tactical evolution during their save when they've already gone through ten seasons building up their reputation!

Going to attempt a save with Arsenal, with Swansea it worked ok but I think it needs a lot more fine tuning before I try and use it with a lower team. Keep the updates going though mate, Im really interested in this formation :) even if it is only for me ;)

I think it should work quite well with Arsenal, so go for it. And dont worry, the updates will keep coming.

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Well with him being a Treq, he is going to do that.

yeah I think my side was missing the Treq, he would also ease the congestion in the middle of the pitch as he goes hunting for the ball.

I understand why people would think that their main playmaker needs to be further up the pitch to influence things, but i would recommend trying it like this to anyone.

In my eyes your playmaker needs to be in space, without space he'd receive the ball and never have time to do anything with it. Although I do think playing against a side with an AMC might restrict his space a little, so a technically good player is probably needed for this role.

The focal point i constantly bang on about! :D

Your obsessed :D

I think it should work quite well with Arsenal, so go for it. And dont worry, the updates will keep coming.

Good, when I set up my system WITHOUT a striker ;) Ill throw some of my thoughts in as well if thats ok with you? Be a shame to waste RVP actually.

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In my eyes your playmaker needs to be in space, without space he'd receive the ball and never have time to do anything with it. Although I do think playing against a side with an AMC might restrict his space a little, so a technically good player is probably needed for this role.

I think the most important thing about a playmaker is to have him in a position where he can actually dictate and influence games. For me that is a DMC, a DMC playmaker contributes much more than an AMC but gets crapper ratings due to getting less goals and assists and because of how ratings work they are heavily influenced by goals/assists. I don't see the point of having a playermaker uptop where he can't really grab a hold of the game.

Pirlo is the best example of a DMC playmaker imo. They tend to go missing less in games compared to a playmaker who plays further forward.

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I think the most important thing about a playmaker is to have him in a position where he can actually dictate and influence games. For me that is a DMC, a DMC playmaker contributes much more than an AMC but gets crapper ratings due to getting less goals and assists and because of how ratings work they are heavily influenced by goals/assists. I don't see the point of having a playermaker uptop where he can't really grab a hold of the game.

Pirlo is the best example of a DMC playmaker imo. They tend to go missing less in games compared to a playmaker who plays further forward.

Yeah, I was always of the thinking that an AMC/MC should be playmaker so that they get forward and make the play. But actually using a DMC makes a lot more sense. Although a Nigel De Jong Destroyer DM probably wouldnt make the best for that position. Pirlo as you mentioned would be class, scholes, carrick, song, Busquets, Alonso to name a few more. It probably does require a more technical DM than a destroyer though.

Tom I always presumed you used an Anchor man in the DMC but you use a DLP, have you tweaked the closing down? Apologies if ive missed it but Ive had a quick read through again and cant spot anything.

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Tom I always presumed you used an Anchor man in the DMC but you use a DLP, have you tweaked the closing down? Apologies if ive missed it but Ive had a quick read through again and cant spot anything.

Nope, an anchorman is not present in any system i have created. I feel it is a far too negative role and a waste of a player.

On the Formation And Team Instructions screenie, closing down is set as "Press More" and all players are just left on the default settings that the TC has issued. If i want tochange it i just use the shouts. :thup:

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Nope, an anchorman is not present in any system i have created. I feel it is a far too negative role and a waste of a player.

On the Formation And Team Instructions screenie, closing down is set as "Press More" and all players are just left on the default settings that the TC has issued. If i want tochange it i just use the shouts. :thup:

Fair point fair point :) off top of my head I though a DLP had a relatively high closing down. The only reason I was more inclined to use an anchorman was simply because he will just sit there and not move. Maybe is a little negative though as you said.

EDIT: Just thought id throw a quick edit in here, started a save with Arsenal playing the same formation as you Tom but with the Striker dropped into the AMC position obviosly ;) so far looking very very promising. Ive got my attacking players moving how I want its just sorting out the DM's and the full backs I need to tweak. Loving the forward runs the DM's make, found Arteta scoring a pure poachers goal, im also really liking the DMC as a plamaker, he gets on the ball so much, especially with a player like song who is technically class but also a mean defender. Will do a proper update after pre season tonight if i get chance.

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Fair point fair point :) off top of my head I though a DLP had a relatively high closing down. The only reason I was more inclined to use an anchorman was simply because he will just sit there and not move. Maybe is a little negative though as you said.

Having a DLP - Denfend offers the same thing really, except with more creative freedom and a better passing range.

Look back of the screenie of my DMC's interceptions and passes. On both the majority come from the same sort of area of the field that they would from an Anchorman. The difference between the DLP (Defend) and an Anchorman is this the ambition of the pass once he has the ball at his feet.

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Having a DLP - Denfend offers the same thing really, except with more creative freedom and a better passing range.

Look back of the screenie of my DMC's interceptions and passes. On both the majority come from the same sort of area of the field that they would from an Anchorman. The difference between the DLP (Defend) and an Anchorman is this the ambition of the pass once he has the ball at his feet.

Yeah yeah definately, as I said in that edit in my above post Song has been pretty instrumental for me. Just need a suitable backup who can do his job just as well. Wanted Javi Martinez but he wanted 150,000 a week, so I told him were to go.

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Yeah yeah definately, as I said in that edit in my above post Song has been pretty instrumental for me. Just need a suitable backup who can do his job just as well. Wanted Javi Martinez but he wanted 150,000 a week, so I told him were to go.

Oh sorry, i never notice your edit!

What's the problem with the fullbacks? How have you got them set up?

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