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INTRODUCTION

With this thread, I'd like to introduce the tactical setup I'm using in my current save. It's been very good for me so far, and I find it versatile and fun to watch. I will try to first explain how I came up with it, and then show you the actual settings so that you can draw from it - or steal it. ;)

None of the ideas I'm describing here are unique, but hopefully the thread will help you understand the process, and thus, help you create tactics of your own - if you struggle with that.

THE PROBLEM

First, let's go through the reason why I developed this tactic. I've played a lot with different 4-5-1/4-3-3 tactics in FM12, but eventhough I've been pretty successful, I've never really been happy with the way the defense have looked. I've tried many different midfield constallations like DM+DM+MC, DM+DM+AMC, DM+MC+MC, etc, but when I've allowed the central midfielders to help the fullbacks defend the flanks, the team has looked a bit light through the middle. When I've played with anchormen/deep-lying playmakers that don't close down as much, I've been voulnerable down the flanks. This is the classic dilemma that so much of the defending in FM is about. I personally feel that the best way of getting good cover of both the flanks and the middle is to go with the 2 banks of four approach that is still very much the go-to tactic when it comes to ultra-solid defending IRL. However, I don't really like classic 4-4-2s or 4-4-1-1s, and I rarely manage teams that are suited for that style.

THE SOLUTION

My solution was to do a little bit of both - to have the straight banks of the flat 4-4-2, but with the midfield trio of a 4-3-3. It's basically what a lot of Italian teams do nowadays where they have three rather defesive players and three very attacking players. Naturally, the players will need to stand-off a little so that they don't create holes in front of the defense when they close a player down. A cautius, diciplined 4-3 defense.

Ok, so that's the defense sorted - but what happens when the team wins the ball back. I don't want three players staying back at all times, that would mean that the front three would be forced to make something happen on their own, but at the same time I can't be gung-ho in attack either. I decided that I would go for the 2+2 box in attack meaning that I allow one of the MCs forward, and the other two stay back - forming a square shape with my DCs. For more info on this shape, check out SFrasers "Meet the System". Suffice to say, this is a good shape for keeping possession, and for defending against counter attacks. The fullbacks and the 3rd MC would be allowed to join the front three going forward.

43tobox.gif

REALIZING THE CONCEPT

First, I want to make clear that the formation on the tactics screen is basically the shape you'll get in defense (thanks Furiousuk for pointing that out). Thus, if I want a straight line of three in midfield, I need to place them next to eachother. Otherwise it'll be very difficult to get them to consistently form a straight line in defense. Now, I chose to go with 3 MCs, but of course, if you want you can go for 3 DMs (If you want to read about such a tactic - check out tomtuck01s thread). Ahead of them you have three attackers, and again, you can chose several different constallations there. I went for two different setups, that I will chose from depending on players available, and the opponents tactics (more on that later). One is AMC+ST+ST, the other is AMR+AML+ST. So there you have them, my two tactics. Below is a more complete break-down of the instructions, but this is the basic principle.

Team instructions

Philosophy: Very Fluid

Starting strategy: Control

Pressing: Stand-off more

Marking: Zonal marking

All other: Default

These are the same for both versions of the tactic and define the way the team plays. Very fluid was the setting I found best at minimizing the gap between the two lines of defense. It also helps keeping the midfield line straight. The Control strategy is my favourite, and I always use it. Since I like rather cautious build-up and semi-aggressive defense, it just seems to click best with my tactics. I've tried to use other strategies, but always end up going back to Control. The stand-off more setting help the defense keep it's shape, but combined with the Control strategy, still means the players close down before it's too late.

Note that these settings are, for me, written in stone. They define how my team plays, and I never, ever change them - directly. Indirectly, however, I modify the teams instructions using shouts, depending on in-game events (more on that later).

My set-piece instructions are the default settings, except for defending corners. I keep two of the front three forward, and one closing the corner down (or lurking outside the area). The fullbacks cover the posts, the rest man mark or zonal mark depending on how good they are at winning aerial duels.

I usually keep very high workload on match prep and no special focus area until my team is fluid in the tactics. After that, I set match prep to low and focus on defending corners.

Player instructions

the2formations.gif

Here are the two formations I use, complete with roles and duties. I have, however, done the following alterations to the roles:

- I've manually altered the mentality of the midfielders forming the line of three. They all have 5 notches below the mentality of the DCs in both formations. This is to further reduce the gap between the lines.

- The AP/S is set to roam in formation 1 (more on that below).

- Forward runs is set to rarely for the CM/D and the CM/S in formation 1 and the CM/S in formation 2. These instructions are so that the midfielders and DCs form the box in attack.

COMPARING THE FORMATIONS

Since the main difference between these formations is how the fron three is set up, I'll focus mainly on attack here.

Formation 1

In attack:

The attacking formation is pretty straight forward. The winger/wide playmaker will keep width and are often open for the pass. The inside forward runs into gaps caused by the movement of the lone striker, and the

fullbacks and midfielders provide the support. The two more defensive midfielders will see a lot of the ball, but it's really the more attacking one, the AP/S that racks up the most assists - at least for me. Since he

usually runs into the space in front of the defense from a deep position, he can often cause trouble for the opponents before they're able to close him down.

+ good overall attacking shape with players pushing high, players keeping width, players staying back, etc

- can sometimes be rather static and easy to read against teams parking the bus

In defense:

Very solid down the flanks with fullbacks and MCs to support. Occationally the wingers fall back to support aswell, creating a numerical advantage in those zones. Through the middle it can be a bit weaker, since the AP/S will occupy the zone immidiately in front of the central defense. However, if you have a playmaker who is also a decent defender, it will not be a problem. If you meet a team that have a prominent deep-lying playmaker, you can run into some serious problems. He will not be picked up by anyone, and is free to pick out passes left and right. In those cases I consider changing to the other formation, or I put my ST to mark him (provided my ST has the stamina and ability for it). The second approach (ST marking him) actually works very good, and I don't feel I loose out too much going forward either.

+ Good cover on the flanks with fullbacks, MCs that come out to help and wingers who occationally help aswell

- Not so good defense through the middle, since:

1) The central area in front of the defense is primarily defended by an AP/S

2) An opposition DM will often have A LOT of time on the ball, I sometimes combat this by having the DLF mark him

Formation 2

In attack:

Unless the opposition presses very high up the pitch, the AMC will struggle to find much space once the opposition settles into their defensive positions. His main role is to provide creative spark in transition phases, and keep the oppositions midfielders busy - together with the attacking MC (CM/A). The room they create by doing that, will let the more defensive midfielders dictate the play. They often have all the time in the world to pick their passes so if you can squeeze in a truly creative passer in one of the two withdrawn midfield slots, you'll reap some nice rewards. The lack of natural width will have to be mended by runs from the two attacking midfielders and by the advanced forward. They will usually do that rather well in transitional phases, but once the attack is established and slows down, they tend to drift inwards. Under those circumstances it's vital that your fullbacks join the attack, so that the opposition must again stretch their team.

+ With 4 central midfielders, there is always someone there to pass - usually the deep-lying midfielders

- Lacks natural width, and so it relies very much on good off the ball movement and/or full-back support

In defense:

Works very similar to formation 1 in defense, but here you have a (usually) more defensively solid player in the central MC slot. You also have an AMC that can mark any opposing deep-lying playmakers.

+ Very solid through the middle with an anchor covering the backline and an AMC marking the DM (if there is one)

- Possibly a bit voulnerable down the flanks (haven't had much problems with that yet)

TACTICAL TWEAKS AND TEAM SELECTION

These roles/duties are the ones I normally use, and are set with my best players at the respective positions in mind. There are however a lot of different alterations that you can do that makes a lot of sense. It all depends on the players at your disposal. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you make sure that the team creates and exploits space. To that end, I always try to keep at least one midfielder/forward out wide (or two drifting wide), at least one attacker pushing forward, and at least two players roaming.

Formation 1: width will be provided by the W/S, depth by the IF/A & DLF/A, roaming by the IF/A and the AP/S (manually set to roaming).

Formation 2: width will be provided (to some extent) by the AF/A and and possibly also by the roaming midfielder, depth will be provided by the DLF/A and the AF/A, roaming by the AF/A and the AP/S.

When it comes to team coherence and small tactical tweaks, you can delve into an amazing level of detail, but I like to keep it at a level I feel maintainable. Therefore I'll keep this reasonably short, and leave it up to you to fill in the blanks.

Back 4

Here I don't really have that many options as I just took over the club and they are a little short on quality defenders. I'd like to give you some general pointers though. If you have a strong, stopper-type central defender that's good in the air, I'd recommend you to not only play a faster defender as a second DC, but also a reasonably quick fullback on the other side of the stopper. That way, the full-back can help out covering the space behind. Same goes for all aspects of defending really. A defender with limited technique and/or composure, would probably benefit from being flanked by calm defenders that's good on the ball, etc. Like I said, you can make this as complicated as you like, but I generally tend to just select the best four defenders available, but place the DCs so that I don't have one fast side and one slow side, or something like that.

Midfield

The main thing here is that I want the two defensive midfielders to be good at defending, and that one of them also is a good passer (especially important for formation 2 - since the two most defensive midfielders usually get A LOT of time on the ball in that setup). If I use the formation that fields an AMC as well as 3 MCs, I do the following:

- The best defender of the two goes into the MC slot, the other at AMC.

- The best runner of the two gets FWR often, wide play move into channels and roaming

- The best playmaker of the two gets FWR sometimes, wideplay normal and no roaming

If the bottom two rules clash, i.e. that one of them is better both with and without the ball, I usually let the worse player do the running. It's worth noting, however, that the defensive MCs usually see a lot more of the ball than either of the two more attacking midfielders, so your best passer should ideally be in a more withdrawn position - provided he's good enough defensively.

Attack

Here I usually want the best possible players as well, but if I for example play a more traditional winger in the AMR position of formation 1, then I'd look into the possibility of selecting a decent aerial threat in the ST or AML positions. Like SFraser talked a lot about, you want good runners/finishers to be surrounded by creators, and the other way around. Where as the midfield and defense roles/duties are set up so that the players defend according to the system I want, the front three are a lot more free. Therefor I am more open to changing the roles/duties of these players according to their strengths. For example, if I choose an AMR who is quick and good at crossing, I'd set him to W/S, whereas I'd probably change that role to a AP/S if he's more of a creator. In general though, I always want one of the three keeping width, and at least one pushing up. Usually one of them also has a role that involves roaming.

IN-GAME CHANGES

I pretty much only use shouts during matches. Partly because I don't have the patience to go into fine details during games, but also because I want to learn how to get a result with as few changes as possible. Applying one shout is often all it takes to turn a loss into a win, but you need practice to spot the problems and identify the solution in order to pull that sort of stunts off on a regular basis. I'm not there yet, but I'm getting there. There are, at the moment, two shouts that I ALWAYS apply at the start of every game. These are "Play out of defense" and "Work ball into box". I use these to stop my team from loosing possession from over-eager long-shots and speculative long balls from the defense. It may be due to the mental attributes of my defenders (they're not the smartest or the calmest bunch), or due to some tactical aspect, but without these shouts the defenders hoof it upfield every chance they get.

(The rest I use when the situation requires it. I will expand on this as soon as I get the time to write about it.)

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Season 3 - Refining the tactics

Having played with these tactics for a while now, I'm starting to feel very confident with the way they work defensively. However, I've often felt that eventhough the team scores quite a lot of goals, the tactic lacks a real plan on how to create chances. It's more of a - have some creative players, some good runners and a couple of defenders, and the rest will sort itself out. Well, against Swedish premier league teams it sort of does, but if I am to go far in international competitions I probably need a better plan than that. I've also felt that the defense has felt a little shaky through the middle against quality opposition in international competitions. For this reason I've developed the following 3 variations on the basic concept outlined in the OP with the addition of the new plan for attacking moves.

The Attack plan

A very common, but nevertheless potent, tactical idea in modern football is to lure the opposition towards one flank, and then quickly get the ball over to the other flank. This forces the opposition to quickly shift their entire defense, which hopefully doesn't go as smoothly as they'd like. This is going to be my plan, to force the opposition out wide, then exploit the space on the opposite flank. The three versions of the tactic will be new and improved versions of the tactics above, the third employs a DM behind the 3MCs to provide aditional stability against very strong oppostion.

newtactic.gif

A lot to take in, I know, but the gist of it is really the arrows. The arrows show how I want the team to move in attack. If the team has the ball on the left flank, I want the players to move according to the purple arrows. This should get my MCr and STr/AMR a lot of space, and some clever ball towards them could potentially be lethal. When the team is attacking down the right, they should move according to the blue arrows, again setting players on the other flank (MCl and STl/AML) up for attacks.

Team instructions for the three versions:

Very fluid, Control (Counter for the one on the right), Stand-off more, Zonal marking (and More roaming for the one on the left).

All player instructions are the default settings for the roles/duties, except that I've lowered mentality 4 clicks (I think) for the 3 MCs in all tactics.

The deep-lying playmaker (bright spot) will most likely be my key man using these tactics. He will hold the defense together, be the main outlet when players are under preasure on the ball, and also most likely be the one responsible for shifting the play from flank to flank. I've got a couple of young promising playmaker types that are also decent defenders, but I'm a bit concerned that they might not be solid enough. Time will tell. :)

These are all very new, but I've had a chance to try all of them out, and so far they seem really good. Will provide further details later.

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As the squad evolvs, so should your tactics. I've recently realized that I never use the AMR/AML tactic anymore, as I don't have really good AMRs left in the team. This is a problem though. Partly, because I feel that it's valuable to be able to switch between two different attacking shapes to account for different opponents, but more importatly because my best player is best at AML. I've therefore developed a new variation that allows me to utilize him at AML more frequently. It's an asymmetric combination of the AMR/AML/ST and AMC/ST/ST versions above, and looks like this:

asymm_433.jpg

(dotted arrow means he will often dribble inwards with the ball)

In this tactic I utilize the excellent dribbling skills of my best AML, who will constantly drop deep and look for the ball on the left flank, before dribbling into the hole in front of the opposition defense. My left striker will drop deep (and hopefully drag a defender with him), the right striker and MCr will provide options, as well as the DR and deep-lying central mids. Really, the AML is the main man here, and as he is currently my best player at the club, this tactic allows him to shine.

Note that the roles of the MCr and MCl is also altered. I changed the MCrs duty to attack, which allows him to support the strikers more directly. Before I made that change the AML and the strikers became too isolated and they tried way too many difficult options. Now, with one more player pushing up, there are more options open and the opposition defense has a harder time neutralizing the threat. To keep the defense solid and help maintaining possession when the MCr pushes up, I have the MCl stay back at all times - i.e. I changed his duty to defend.

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Looks like good work Fabian, haven't read it all yet but looks like the beginnings of a good thread. Will be good to see where you go with it and how you progress it. Kudos.

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Agree wi Furious a good start Fabian :) although im a little confused, does it use 3DM's or 3MC's? theres no definitive formation. probably is just me not being able to read properly ;P

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Well I made the illustrations on another computer, so I couldn't take screens, but I thought these were clear enough. Will maybe add real screens instead when I have time. To answer your question, yes it's 3 MCs in both formations.

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Well I made the illustrations on another computer, so I couldn't take screens, but I thought these were clear enough. Will maybe add real screens instead when I have time. To answer your question, yes it's 3 MCs in both formations.

Ive just re read this morning and realised there are a second lot of images which somehow I managed to miss yesterday. They are pretty clear sir, my bad :o

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Ive just re read this morning and realised there are a second lot of images which somehow I managed to miss yesterday. They are pretty clear sir, my bad :o

Haha, no problems. Glad to hear that it's clear. :)

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Thanks for the post Fabian, all your points make sense.

Just a simple question: why did you choose Very Fluid? Is it because the players will be closer together?

thanks

ugo

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Thanks for the post Fabian, all your points make sense.

Just a simple question: why did you choose Very Fluid? Is it because the players will be closer together?

thanks

ugo

Yes, the very fluid philosophy combined with the reduced mentality of the 3 MCs was the best way of getting the defensive structure I was looking for.

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Hi Fabian.

Nice too see 4-3-1-2 with 3 balanced MC. I love this concept, and it really bring very strong defence (both tactics).

But I have a little problem here. Playing AC Milan (Half of second season - adopted tactics preseason).

OVerally I change formation 1 and 2 often it depends if I play against narrow settled tactics (alot in serie A) or wing type (Juventus). The problem is in AMR, in formation 1.

I bought for this position Lavezzi and he is like a ghost on the pitch, rarely getting any ball, 5-10 passes in game, 1-2 runs, 0-2 crosses.

I tried a lot of tweaking, with Pato upfront as a Poacher, with Ibrahimovic DLF, CF, AF, everything. With Lavezzi WGN A and S, with move into channels, roaming on and off etc, nothing work. Seems like all goes to the Robinho, who can't hit the net...

I would love to see him getting throught balls to use his speed, then floating cross at the Ibra head or drill to Pato. If this matters, Nocerino plays as a MCr, DLM/D.

Any advice?

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Hi Fabian.

Nice too see 4-3-1-2 with 3 balanced MC. I love this concept, and it really bring very strong defence (both tactics).

But I have a little problem here. Playing AC Milan (Half of second season - adopted tactics preseason).

OVerally I change formation 1 and 2 often it depends if I play against narrow settled tactics (alot in serie A) or wing type (Juventus). The problem is in AMR, in formation 1.

I bought for this position Lavezzi and he is like a ghost on the pitch, rarely getting any ball, 5-10 passes in game, 1-2 runs, 0-2 crosses.

I tried a lot of tweaking, with Pato upfront as a Poacher, with Ibrahimovic DLF, CF, AF, everything. With Lavezzi WGN A and S, with move into channels, roaming on and off etc, nothing work. Seems like all goes to the Robinho, who can't hit the net...

I would love to see him getting throught balls to use his speed, then floating cross at the Ibra head or drill to Pato. If this matters, Nocerino plays as a MCr, DLM/D.

Any advice?

Glad to hear you're trying it out!

To me it doesn't sound like a problem related to Lavezzis instructions. It rarely is when a player "goes missing". Rather, it's a matter of overall shape and attack patterns of the team. You could perhaps try to apply the shout "play wider" to stretch play a little bit. That could help open up for Lavezzi. "Exploit the flanks" might also do the trick, although I haven't used that as much.

If that doesn't work, I'd love to see some screens from a game when your team has the ball in midfield, that would perhaps help us determine where the problem is.

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I experiment and used a lot of shouts to see diferent play when opposite team park their bus (alot of time since I am Milan)

-Exploit flanks with wider play, with narrow play (while wingers on hug touchline, to make it solid in center and use through ball to the wing)

-Play the middle with narrow or with wide play (to make more space in center)

-Pass to forwards, use through balls etc

But last match I used Play wider and exploit the flanks, changed attack both wings to right flank only, keeper distribution to RB. With Robinho injured, underperforming Cassano played on left wing as a inside forward on support, also had to use backup LB. Opposite Palermo played narrow 4-3-1-2 formation so it was generally good idea to play wing attacks with Lavezzi mostly (And their LB was worser than RB). This happend:

First half passing

palermoacmilananalizaan.png

You can cleary see my team doesn't listen to my commands, as keeper played all the time to my LB instead RB but also whole team stayed more on left wing, while I told them to play down right flank. Lavezzi was fouled in 3rd minute in penalty box, but it was a fight at the set piece, not from dribble. He won penalty which Elm traded for goal.

Nothing more to mention for Lavezzi play, on the other actions I lost goals from set-pieces (Mexes had really bad game) and scored one more thanks to Elm super long shoot.

Second half was much better, team started to play more on right wing, Lavezzi had more ball, he dribbled sometimes, finally had a great through pass to him from Nocerino and then Elm (you will see screenshot). This had to have inpact on Palermo LB, first he got yellow card and after he couldn't stop Lavezzi dribbles he won another yellow, red at all. Lavezzi also scored a goal but it was nothing about positional play. It was throw-in won by Thiago Silva who started counter attack with long ball to Lavezzi (in center) who passed it to Cassano (left wing) and he passed it back to him. Ibrahimovic (ST) was on right wing this time.

Second half passing:

palermoacmilananalizaan.png

Lavezzi had more ball second half but still more passes went to LB and Cassano. Why? Is that Lavezzi is still new to the team and players don't pass to him as much as I want to?

The problem is I think team can't use Lavezzi strenghts if there is striker with move into channels and roam from position. Why? Take a look:

Thiago Silva played it long to Lavezzi, Lavezzi passed back to Nocerino and started to run down the flank, Nocerino passed it to Elm who did first touch to right wing, it was great pass, but my wandering striker was arleady there fighting in same space as Lavezzi, while he should be in center waiting for pass and finish.

palermoacmilankameratve.png

palermoacmilankameratve.png

What do you think, is it better to stay with Ibra or Pato moving into channels and roam from position? Or with player like Lavezzi I can cut their creativity abit and use them more like finishers?

Despite 3-3 result that was best Lavezzi match since he joined (1 goal, 1 assist and 8.1 note). I played full match using right wing in tactical window, it probably helped him to play better and team still used all areas on pitch.

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Another issue is here. Can we convice players to use passes like this or it has nothing with tactic and its only player creativity, decisions, teamwork?

How it ended:

palermoacmilankameratv4.png

How I want it:

palermoacmilankameratvw.png

I saw a lot of those movements. Lavezzi get the ball, he passed back to RB (Antonini) or CM (Nocerinio) then he doesn't go wide for through pass. This action ended Antonini losing ball because he really wanted to pass forward but Lavezzi position killed it. Paint arrows there how I would like it to finish.

palermoacmilankameratva.png

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Wow, that's a lot to take in. I don't have that much time to go into detail right now, but I can give you a couple of quick reflections.

1) If you think that the strikers are moving out towards the right flank too much, and in doing so closes the space for Lavezzi, you could turn off roaming for them (and perhaps also set wide play to normal). I'm not a fan of that idea though. A better option would probably be to try to play Ibrahimovic or Cassano as a deeplying forward (DLF/S, CF/S or TM/S). That way, they can provide a passing option while still not competing for the same space as Lavezzi. I think that could work well. Ibra or Cassano dropping deep at the same time as Lavezzi runs in behind. The left attacker could then be a more advanced forward with license to seek space on the left flank. So basically a IF/A + DLF/S + W/A. Have you tried that?

2) I've read somewhere that the players tend to prefer to pass "across" their body, so a right footed player tend to pass towards the left flank. Probably more to it than that, but it could be at least part of the reason why your team focuses play mainly down the left.

3) The pass across the area in your last post is something you don't often see in FM. It's probably all down to attributes (I'd expect "Teamwork" to be a major part of it). Pato is probably a bit selfish (haven't looked at his teamwork attribute)?

Hope this helps, and if not, I will try to be a bit more thourogh tomorrow. :)

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Pato did great because he was the one who passed to Cassano (red arrow is a pass;)). Problem with Milan is everyone in attack is very low teamwork. Ibra is 5, Robinho, Pato, Cassano on 10. They all are individuals and like to finish actions by themself.

Next match I played against Reggina. It was Cassano on AML as a AP/S, Ibra ST as a TM/A (with mixed through pass and run with ball) and Lavezzi W/A. While I liked how we play on wings (kind of by tactic, not by player play and decisions) It was superb performance by Ibrahimovic, he had 30 passes, 5 tackles, and 6 times fouled. The problem is I laked some real danger, as he only shooted twice, both from outside of the box, and Cassano or Granero (MC AP/S) weren't any near box when they should. Think when Robinhio comes back it should be easier as with him as IF/A.

Also I'll try Ibra as DLF/S as you suggested.

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Updated the second post with details on my new and improved version of these tactics.

Quality write up for the next part Fabian. I love the 4-3-1-2 and 4-3-3, two of my faviourite formations, but have never been able to get a flat 3 man midfield working properly. After ive finished trying, and failing very badly, to get my strikerless formation working Im going to give what this formation a go. Out of interest does the DLP/Defend almost drop into DM to create a 4-1-2-1-2/4-1-2-2-1 as that seems the logical way it will work. Are there any specific player instructions?

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Quality write up for the next part Fabian. I love the 4-3-1-2 and 4-3-3, two of my faviourite formations, but have never been able to get a flat 3 man midfield working properly. After ive finished trying, and failing very badly, to get my strikerless formation working Im going to give what this formation a go. Out of interest does the DLP/Defend almost drop into DM to create a 4-1-2-1-2/4-1-2-2-1 as that seems the logical way it will work. Are there any specific player instructions?

No, he rarely drops back. In dead ball situations he does, but as soon as the play resumes he moves up to form a flat band of three (which is what I want). This might be due to the only specific intructions I have - namely that the mentalities of all three central midfielders are the same and equal to the mentalities of the DC - 5 (or 4 - don't remember).

Edit: I mean he doesn't drop back in defense, in early stages of attack, however, he often comes deep to get the ball (without having the PPM).

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No, he rarely drops back. In dead ball situations he does, but as soon as the play resumes he moves up to form a flat band of three (which is what I want). This might be due to the only specific intructions I have - namely that the mentalities of all three central midfielders are the same and equal to the mentalities of the DC - 5 (or 4 - don't remember).

Edit: I mean he doesn't drop back in defense, in early stages of attack, however, he often comes deep to get the ball (without having the PPM).

Yeah that makes sense :) just re-read it and seen the bit about the mentalities, do they drop really deep then and get close to the defenders, the midfielders that is.

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Yeah that makes sense :) just re-read it and seen the bit about the mentalities, do they drop really deep then and get close to the defenders, the midfielders that is.

Yes, the reason why I chose very fluid philosophy was to reduce space between the lines, but I found that it wasn't enough. That's why I reduced the mentality further. Now the defense is usually very very solid. Like I said, though, against top quality teams with deep-lying strikers or clever AMCs there can be problems, and that's why I developed the third tactic with a DM between the lines. I've only tried it out once so far, but that try resulted in a rather impressive 3-0 win away against Salzburgh in the ECL play-offs. Their main man is an increadibly gifted young Brazilian striker (probably won't play there for much longer), but he was completely marked out of the game. They had something like 7 attempts all game, all from long range and under pressure.

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Yes, the reason why I chose very fluid philosophy was to reduce space between the lines, but I found that it wasn't enough. That's why I reduced the mentality further. Now the defense is usually very very solid. Like I said, though, against top quality teams with deep-lying strikers or clever AMCs there can be problems, and that's why I developed the third tactic with a DM between the lines. I've only tried it out once so far, but that try resulted in a rather impressive 3-0 win away against Salzburgh in the ECL play-offs. Their main man is an increadibly gifted young Brazilian striker (probably won't play there for much longer), but he was completely marked out of the game. They had something like 7 attempts all game, all from long range and under pressure.

Yeah that makes sense, going to start off with something exactly the same as yours then tweak it to make it my own if thats ok with you mate? Seems a very good tactical base from which to kick on and, as I love a crazy formation, try something different.

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Yeah that makes sense, going to start off with something exactly the same as yours then tweak it to make it my own if thats ok with you mate? Seems a very good tactical base from which to kick on and, as I love a crazy formation, try something different.

Sounds great! I love it when people try my tactics out and share their thoughts on it. That way, my understanding of them deepens too, which allows me to use them with other teams as well. I mean, right now they work really well, but it's hard to predict how they'd work in another country for example.

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Sounds great! I love it when people try my tactics out and share their thoughts on it. That way, my understanding of them deepens too, which allows me to use them with other teams as well. I mean, right now they work really well, but it's hard to predict how they'd work in another country for example.

Well where abouts are you trialling it? Im going to either go to Brazil or America not to sure yet, so Ill trial it over there and get back to you if you want?

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Cool. I'm only using it with IFK Göteborg in the Swedish premier division right now. Since I'm in my third season (and have qualified to the ECL the last two), I'm already at a point where the national competitions are a bit too weak to be a real test. The ECL is my main source of good matches for tactical analysis.

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Cool. I'm only using it with IFK Göteborg in the Swedish premier division right now. Since I'm in my third season (and have qualified to the ECL the last two), I'm already at a point where the national competitions are a bit too weak to be a real test. The ECL is my main source of good matches for tactical analysis.

Yeah, well itll be later this afternoon Ill actually manage to get something started. think Im going to hit the MLS hard, Ill probably tweak a few things as well just for personal preferences :) Ill post something later, let you know what Ive ended up with and why Ive done it

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Fabian, Ive set a formation up and it is going relatively wellin the MLS. Ive not had chance to get anything written up for a number of reasons (mainly being extremely hungover). Ill try and get something done tonight, my formation is pretty much the same as yours, a few tweaks to roles and individual instructions. Will get a proper write up done tonight,

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1. First of all I LOVE the way you show of your tactics. Not a screenshot but those great graphs :)

Both ones. In the opening post and the last one.

2. When do we use the first and when the second tactic? (i understood when to use the third)

3. Did you manage with those roles, to actually make those arrows WORK?

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1. First of all I LOVE the way you show of your tactics. Not a screenshot but those great graphs :)

Both ones. In the opening post and the last one.

2. When do we use the first and when the second tactic? (i understood when to use the third)

3. Did you manage with those roles, to actually make those arrows WORK?

1. Thanks! Nice to hear the work is not in vein.

2. At the moment, I tend to use the one with AMC + ST + ST the most, simply because my central attackers are better than my wingers at the moment. However, I do try to keep my options open by including players capable of playing as wingers in my selection, that way I can switch to that tactic if I feel the team could do more to exploit the wings. Similarily, I try to include someone capable of playing in the AMC slot if I use the wide formation. If, for example, the opposition is leaving a huge open space in front of their defence, I can then switch to a formation that sports an AMC in that open space. Mostly, though, I let the best players I have available decide which formation to go for. You could probably do much more than I do in terms of analyzing what formation would be best against a particular opponent, but I usually just go for fielding the best overall eleven. Like you said though, the third formation is more straight forward. I use it if I believe the opposition to be far superior to my team, and that I need all the defensive stability I can get. It's been amazingly solid defensively, and I've created a fair few chances against strong oppostions. Unfortunately my players tend to buckle under presure in those big games, so I have mostly managed 0-0 games against the big guns.

3. It's still fairly early to say. I haven't had a chance to play much lately, but using the AMC+ST+ST formation I've seen some wonderful examples of my team packing one side of the pitch, only to quickly attack down the other. My young DM I was talking about have been pretty darn good at spreading play from a deep position, so I'm rather liking it so far! The few times I've used the wider formation, I've not yet seen much of that though. Might be due to instructions, or it might just be that my wide players are worse at off the ball movement.

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Thanks!

I used your third tactic against Arsenal second home leg of Champions League Playoffs (2011)

I have already won first leg 2-3 using the Barcelona tactic from FM Stories Blog (but wasnt too happy of my defence. The score isnt the hole truth)

I won 1-0, having 2 CCC against 0, 13(2) shots against 5(1) and 63% possesion.

Considering my mediocre Panathinaikos squad......

(Migliore

Choco, Luizao, Cabrera, De Miranda

Andreas Samaris (???:D???) DLP

Zeca, Bressan, Rodrigo Battaglia

Athanasiadis, Leto...I guess you only know Bressan and Leto)

.....and that Arsenal came to me with Overload intentions as they ve lost their home leg, this is a BRILLIANT result.

Maybe it was luck i dont know. But Arsenal vs a mediocre squad of recently arrived young kids (15 transfers all cost 5 million NOT using any monthly installments!!), already lost first leg and having only 1 shot on target and 37% of possesion? I dont know...:D

I still don't get excited because i am used of NOT FLUID tactics to work like a charm and when they get fluid i get ripped apart...

I will continue using the hole set, and IF IT WORKS i ll post feedback.

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So I set up the two tactics the same as yours Fabian just thought Id go through the tweaks and how it is going :)

In your first formation (4-3-1-2) ive made a few slight changee

-AF has changed to a poacher, simply because I just want him to be in the box and scoring goals

-The left hand CM has an attack duty, the right hand is more supporting. This is simply because I am one of the stronger teams in the league so can afford to throw a few more forward

-Also the mentalities of these two midfielders is two clicks more than my DC's not the -4 that yours is, my DPL defend has very low mentality

- The two full backs have had their passing lengths drastically reduced as they were playing to many long balls forward when my DLP is in space. The only time this changes is if the opposition uses a AMC as I dont want my DLP putting under that muhc pressure in our own half.

The 4-3-2-1

Pretty much exactly the same changes as Ive made above i.e MC's and full backs. Only other changes are

- Striker changed to a DLF as I want him to drop into space so that....

- my two IF's can exploit the space. the AML/R I have are more strikers than wingers so want them getting in behind and scoring goals,

My third formation is a 4-3-2-1,

GK: Sweeper keeper attack

DR: Full Back attack

DC: Center back defend

DC: Center back defend

DL: Full back attack

DMR: Defensive midfielder support

DMC: Anchor man defend

DML: DLP support

MCL: Center mid support

MCR: AP Attack

ST: DLF Support

This tactic is only used in very desperate times. It is meant to allow no passing or movement from the opposition and completely stifle any attacking threat. Counter attacks will be thrown forward via the very attacking full backs and the DLF holding up the ball and waiting for support. An absoloutely last ditch formation and only used against the very strongest teams.

Not really played enough games to give any concrete evidence on performance, four games into my MLS season and am unbeaten throughout pre season and the first four games. Tactic seems absoloutely amazing though sir :) will update more very soon, any questions feel free to ask.

EDIT: I lie lost my first game last night. was 1-0 up and coasting, they scored two 25+ yard screamers. MY strikers lose all ability to score, oh well. Tactic was still dominant

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Cheers for this thread Fabian. Really, really helpful.

I've always been an adherent of wide formations (424, 4231, 41221) and I've always done OK with them, but in FM12 and especially with my current (beloved) Lille save I'm finding it much, much harder to find a system that works satisfactorily for me. The root of the problem appears to be the lone forward being either isolated or two static, but my experiments with 424 have left the team swamped in midfield, particularly in Champions League games.

I was starting to think of toying with a Milan-esque 4312 and was looking for some guidance. And I found this thread! I think my concerns have always been with being over-run on the flanks, but it sounds like when set up correctly, your two 'shuttling' CMs help out probably more than the wingers in my 4231 do.

Annoyingly I'm mid-way through a season, but I might have to introduce it as my third formation and go from there. One plus though is that aside from the right FB position I should be relatively OK in terms of personnel - Tabanou as a WBL, Hazard perfect in the AM role, CMs of Pedretti, Capoue and Mavuba. I think if I can get a marauding RB and a creative striker I should be good to go.

I'll try and report how things go.

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Updated the thread with another variation of the tactic. I'm really happy with this one, as it utilizes the dribbling skills of my best AML in a much better way than any other tactic I've created.

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