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Manchester United's 4-4-2 of 2007-2008


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Introduction

What I’ll be going through is how I decided upon the system I wanted to use and how I implemented it.

The first thing I had to do though was choose a system, one that would be the basis for my club’s success. This was probably the most important step I’d have to make so I had to get it right. As I'm a Manchester Utd fan, it was only natural that I’d have a preference towards their attacking brand of football and that they’d be the team I’d choose to base my system on. Now, Sir Alex Ferguson has built a few teams over the years and has used different systems to go with the players at his disposal, but the system I’m most keen on is the one that was used between the 2006-09 campaigns, in particular the 2007-08 Premier League and Champions league double-winning season.

To accurately implement this system, I would have to carry out a bit of thorough research.

MANCHESTER UNITED of 2006-09

The Manchester United squad of 2006-09 is arguably the best squad that Sir Alex Ferguson has ever built. It had everything - Speed, Power, Work rate, Flair, Defensive solidity. In terms of the actual shape used, at its basic, it was an unorthodox 4-4-2. (Later on, I will discuss this in more detail).

The ZonalMarking website - a great source for replicating real-life tactical ideas - described the shape as, “Always featuring a back four with two relatively deep central midfield players, Ferguson generally used an additional midfield player, with a fluid front three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez.”

Man Utd vs Chelsea Champions league final 2008

manutdchelseatacticscha.jpg

Despite this squad possessing great versatility where most players could perform in more than one position or role, the back 7 of that diagram above would largely remain the same. The goalkeeper and back four would always consist of Edwin Van Der Sar, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Wes Brown. Their roles would never change.

Ferguson liked to use a deep-lying central midfield duo of usually Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes. Their job was simple - sit deep, control the tempo and spread the play. However, sometimes Owen Hargreaves, Darren Fletcher or Anderson could be used to add more energy and bite.

None of this is dissimilar to how a traditional Manchester United 4-4-2 would operate, however further forward was where it got more interesting. You had a front four of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and an additional midfield player (usually Ryan Giggs), all essentially given free roles. The reason why Ferguson allowed this was because of their versatility, intelligence and their understanding of space. Anyone one of them could play in each other’s position and they all could seamlessly change in and out of each other’s individual playing roles.

The additional midfield player would by and large determine the shape or strategy Ferguson was looking to go for. In a normal Premier League game, Giggs would play to the left of midfield and use his creativity and intelligence, along with the surging runs of Patrice Evra to compensate for his fading pace. The tireless Park Ji-Sung would be deployed on the flanks against the top-four or in a European game to harass and harry the opposition full-backs and provide more stability in the midfield zone. On top of this, he also had the flexibility to switch roles with the other front three. Owen Hargreaves was another who could play slightly different roles whether it would be in a midfield three or a midfield four. He could be used as a ball-winning midfielder, as the anchor-man protecting the back four or even used wide right as in the Champions League Final against Chelsea to neutralize Ashley Cole. Darren Fletcher could also fill out these roles.

In fact, Ferguson could change only the position of the deep-lying forward and keep the rest of his system intact to change between his 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 systems. These changes were so subtle yet they completely changed the way United would function. Anderson would replace the deeper-lying forward as the head of a midfield triangle in a 4-2-3-1 or Hargreaves would replace the deeper-lying forward as the anchor-man in a 4-3-3. For the opposition manager to predict what way Ferguson would send his team out was near impossible.

For instance, have a look at United’s formation against Roma in the away leg of the Champions League Quarter Final where they won 2-0. The only difference between that and the formation against Chelsea is that the position Rooney was in has been replaced with Anderson at the head of a midfield triangle. Rooney is now out on the left with Park on the right and Ronaldo through the middle. But the only real difference to the system is that the additional midfield player (Anderson) has dropped deeper, the rest basically fill out the same duties that they would in their 4-4-2.

Manchester United vs Roma Champions League 2008

manutdromatactics2008.jpg

Fluid attacking movement

The most interesting feature of Utd’s 4-4-2 was that the front four players’ positions were not fixed. It wasn’t surprising to see Rooney and Tevez out wide and Ronaldo through the middle and thus it created a dynamic, free-flowing shape that was difficult to defend against. For the set-up to work at its best, it needed a quick tempo and for the players to be constantly moving and making intelligent runs off-the-ball. Utd had that in the form of Rooney, Ronaldo, Tevez and co and without these clever attacking players, the system would fall apart.

Here's an example of Manchester Utd's 4-4-2 in action.

[video=youtube;N84HEUfTsbU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N84HEUfTsbU

So that's the system I'm going for, all I have to do now is implement it.

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In the Beginning

My first season with Manchester Utd had just finished. I had won the league title by beating Liverpool 1-0 at Old Trafford on the last day of the season and on that day the top of the table was extremely tight. The top six had ended the season separated by just only 10 points and I knew going into the summer that I had to improve the squad if I wanted more silverware. I had inherited a Sir Alex Ferguson side that was using an orthodox 4-4-2 - a system that I would carry on using - but a year had passed and it was now time to make my mark on this team.

The system I wanted to use was in place, but I needed specific players for my system or it would fall to pieces (after all, its players that make a system work). The United board had given me a very generous £73M to go out and buy whoever I liked but I only needed two players; two extraordinarily, top quality players. These players had to fill out two of the most important roles in my team; one had to fill out the “Ronaldo role” and the other had to fill out the” Scholesy role”. No easy feat.

For the “Ronaldo role”, the player needed to be quick, be a master dribbler, be good with both feet and be able to put the ball in the back of the net. Who did I go for?

Neymar

neymarr.jpg

At £38.5M, Neymar is the player that I would’ve paid any money for, because he is the key to future of this club and my system relied mostly on his shoulders. At only 20 years old, the guy is an exceptional talent and is the ideal player for filling out the “Ronaldo role”. He can play up front, behind the striker or out on the left wing. His versatility is a crucial factor as to why I bought him as I want my front four players swapping positions and floating about the pitch.

For the “Scholesy role”, I needed a player that would sit deep alongside Michael Carrick and be the passing hub on the pitch. For that, the player would need excellent mental and technical skills. He would have to be a great passer, have immense close control, be composed on the ball and be able to make the right decisions for the team. Who did I go for?

Ever Banega

everbanega.jpg

At £22M, the 24 year-old Argentinean was the primary target on my shortlist and has all the right attributes to be a great playmaker on any side. By putting him alongside Michael Carrick, they should take control of most midfields.

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The system at a closer look

So now I had the system I wanted to use and the players I needed to make it work. All I needed to do now was put my theory into practice.

manutdfirst11.jpg

During the 2007-2008 campaign, I was only 14 years old and the height of my tactical understanding of this Manchester United team was that they played 4-4-2. In a way I was correct but it was much more than just a 4-4-2. It was - when I look back at it now - the most ingenious and elegant 4-4-2 that I’ve ever seen. (I might have a slight bias being a Man Utd fan!)

The formation is best described as unorthodox or asymmetric. Welbeck starts high and drops deep, Neymar starts high and drifts inside, Rooney starts between the lines and can run forward and Nani runs with the ball and cuts inside. When you factor in these player roles, the shape could easily resemble a 4-2-3-1, a 4-4-1-1 or a 4-6-0 depending on the phase of play; and that’s the beauty of this system – It’s a variant of a 4-4-2 and it’s a variant of a 4-2-3-1 without quite being either.

The difference between my shape and Man Utd’s real life one is that I have Neymar stationed on the left whereas Ferguson positioned his goal-threat on the right.

Player roles in more detail

Welbeck

welbeckrole.jpg

I would describe his role best as a “false 9”. He starts from a high position and then drops deep into space to link-play. With this movement, if defenders decide to come out and meet him, they risk losing their defensive shape and with players in the form of Neymar, Rooney and Nani all making runs off the ball, they will be torn apart. I decided to go with Welbeck because Hernandez, my other striker, is nothing more than a poacher. For this role, I needed a player that was versatile and dynamic. Hernandez is still a very useful player to have in my team - especially late in a game when I’m in need of a goal - plus I wouldn’t be a very good manager if I didn’t make best use of him.

Rooney

waynerooneyrole.jpg

Rooney’s role is to play in and around the space in the hole and to link-up with the two deep-lying playmakers as well as the forward. This role requires excellent work-rate, technical ability and vision, all of which Rooney has. With Danny Welbeck dropping deep at times, Rooney has the knowledge to drift into the space that Welbeck has vacated so you could say that their two roles resembles a “false 9” and a “false 10”. You’ll notice that I have Rooney swapping positions with Neymar and that’s because I want Neymar to come into central areas and use his dribbling and creativity to open up some chances. Also, Rooney has the work-rate, team-work and crossing ability to carry out the occasional wide-left role.

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Nani

nanirole.jpg

This is supposed to be the “Giggsy” role but he plays nothing like Giggs so there’s no point in trying to shoe-horn him into that role. Instead he operates as a natural winger that takes people on and gets crosses in, but he also has the option to come inside and link-up if he wants to.

Banega

banegarole.jpg

Banega acts as a deep-lying playmaker in the “Scholsey role”. He has less creative freedom than the front four and looks to play a more restrained approach by simply picking the passes to more attack-minded players ahead of him, but he can play the occasional adventurous pass if it’s on.

Carrick

carrickrole.jpg

This is the traditional Carrick role. He sits deep and retains/regains possession without doing much else. For my set-up, he’s a crucial part as he does the simple stuff that goes unnoticed while the more creative-players ahead of him are allowed to do their thing.

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Neymar

neymarrole.jpg

This is the “Ronaldo” role. The only thing I want to instruct Neymar to do is to run with the ball. Everything else I want him to decide what is the best option.

He isn’t quite at Ronaldo’s level yet so I want him to play as someone that finds space and cuts inside in a more play-making role. When he improves his goal-threat I might up his mentality, creative-freedom and runs-from-deep to make him a more out-and-out goalscorer.

Strategy

startegymanutd.jpg

I feel the control strategy is the best strategy to begin with. Although Manchester United has always been an attacking team, they usually never hold a high-line or look to play the offside trap. Instead of that, they usually sit a little deeper and then look to hit you on counter-attack at break-neck speed and if that doesn’t work then they’ll look to control possession.

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Opening game of the season - Norwich City Away

After a busy pre-season, it was time to start the season off with a bang. The players were excited, the fans were excited and the manager was excited.

First up was Norwich City.

norwichvmanutd.jpg

Norwich lined up in a 4-4-2 with two defensive-midfielders. Instantly, I seen that my set-up had an advantage over them as my two deep-lying playmakers would have ample space and time to pick any pass that they wished. I expected to dominate possession and for my two playmakers to be constantly dictating play.

manutdvnorwich1.jpg

In this shot you can where my set-up resembles a pretty straight-forward 4-4-2. Neymar has actually got goal-side of his defender, Rooney has occupied a position that a striker would and my two central-midfielders have got tight to Norwich's DMs.

manutdvnorwich2.jpg

Under the pressure from Carrick, Jones intercepts the Norwich pass and lays it back to Carrick's feet. (The red arrows indicate the movement that I expect to see happen from my tactical instructions.)

Ideally I want my players to hit Norwich on a swift counter-attack. What happens next is just pure genius...

manutdvnorwich3.jpg

Carrick plays the ball into Welbeck's feet and as this happens you'll notice that the Norwich defence re-adjusts. Aware of the threat that my two wingers pose, the full-backs decide to get tight and, in effect, it creates a staggered back-line. However, as Norwich's left-sided centre-back decides to come out and get tight to Welbeck, Rooney darts into the space that the defender has vacated. Rooney just ghosts past his marker and Welbeck delivers a well-executed through-ball into Rooney's path to put him 1-on-1 with the keeper. Somehow Rooney manages to fluff it but in the end we manage a comfortable 3-0 win.

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carrickpassstatsvnorwic.jpg

As I mentioned earlier, the two-deep lying playmakers - Carrick and Banega - were allowed plenty of time on the ball and this is evident when you look at their passing figures. They completed more passes than anyone else and at a very high %.

One issue, however, was that Neymar only attempted 17 passes which was far too low for him to have had much of an impact on the game. Preferably, I would want him to make at least double that amount. I could do so by maybe adopting a shorter passing approach, narrowing the width, making him my playmaker, focusing the ball down the flanks, slowing the tempo etc. There are many ways I could do it but for now, I'll see how he performs in the next few matches and then decide to tweak it or not.

welbeckfinishingvnorwic.jpg

Another issue I had was with Welbeck's finishing. The problem with Welbeck is that his general build-up play is underrated in FM and that's something that I need my deep-lying forward to have. I need him to hold-up the ball, look up and play in the runners ahead of him. I also need him to be a reliable goal-scorer as he'll usually be the furthest player forward and will be put through on goal quite a bit, but that's an area where real-life Welbeck struggles - to put away chances.

I think I might go with Rooney up front and Ashley Young in behind. As the chance I demonstrated with Rooney above, a player with good off the ball, acceleration and anticipation could thrive in the inside forward role I've set-up. Plus, Young would be more comfortable swapping with Neymar and Rooney would get to play in his more natural position.

Any thoughts are welcome. :)

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A quality thread and well presented great work.

I'm a big fan of classic/past/historical/famous formations and spend majority of my time studying them. So I'll be keeping a close eye on this thread.

Really excellent work, top stuff :thup:

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A quality thread and well presented great work.

I'm a big fan of classic/past/historical/famous formations and spend majority of my time studying them. So I'll be keeping a close eye on this thread.

Really excellent work, top stuff :thup:

Thanks Cleon, that's much appreciated. :)

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Brilliant start, will definitely follow this and look to use the tactic in game. One of Fergie's best teams when this group of players peaked in 2008.

Only thing is I'd say is both formations you discuss there are 4-3-3 although it doesn't really make any difference.

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I can only echo the above comments, eagerly awaiting your tactical analysis write up :)

Thanks. :) I hope to have some of the analysis up later today.

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Loving that analysis. Very well written and showing the movement of the system. Great thread overall and if there are going to be any extra parts that will be written up I will look on with keen interest. :)

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Very good read indeed. your update highlights the attacking threat you'd expect this tactic to demonstrate. I'd be interested in seeing some more detail on how it defends. I've always loved the 4411 but I've been reading some of cleon's posts about MC's not defending properly without support. I'm wondering if you are finding this an issue in your formation with two mcs and an aml and mr?

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Excellent read so far :) ive always considered the 4-4-2 to be a boring, standard formation but youve opened my eyes to a few tweaks that can be made to make it very exciting. I look forward to the next piece

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Top work! Really like these kind of threads. Always like looking at RL tactics/formations and seeing how they can be implemented onto FM.

Yeah that's the main reason I stay interested with FM. If I'm watching a game on TV I'm always looking at each team's style and wondering how I’d incorporate it into FM and what the settings would be etc. :lol:

Very good read indeed. your update highlights the attacking threat you'd expect this tactic to demonstrate. I'd be interested in seeing some more detail on how it defends. I've always loved the 4411 but I've been reading some of cleon's posts about MC's not defending properly without support. I'm wondering if you are finding this an issue in your formation with two mcs and an aml and mr?

Well I haven't come across a team that have caused me any serious issues defensively yet.

I have more of an issue when it comes to defending my left flank but stationing Neymar higher up the pitch when defending is a deliberate ploy. I don't want him defending too much, instead, I want him to be a few yards higher up the pitch and be in a position to launch a counter-attack. So you could say that my weakness in defence is also my strength in attack. Against lower quality sides it would take a brave manager to leave Neymar free!

When Ronaldo played in the 4-4-2 he didn't drop that deep to protect his full-back so it often left Wes Brown to defend 1v1 or even 2v1 sometimes. However, having a sound defensive full-back in Brown or O'Shea could be part of the reason the shape worked defensively.

When United played against the top 4 or in a European game, they rarely went with a 4-4-2 because of this problem. They didn't want to be outmatched in midfield so Park, Hargreaves, Anderson or Flecther would come in to provide energy and work-rate and Ronaldo's position would be altered.

I play Arsenal soon and for them I'll need to have a re-think about the shape I'm going to for. I'm fine leaving my defence slightly exposed against the weaker sides, but against a side like Arsenal I can't afford to.

If I'm worried about one of their full-backs getting forward, I may change Neymar over to the flank with the weaker full-back, I might put him through the middle or I might go with a 4-3-3 and sacrifice my fluid front four for more defensive discipline. I would love to use my system all the time but to think that my attacking four would work against every team would be foolish, so changes based on the strength of the opposition are necessary.

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I have more of an issue when it comes to defending my left flank but stationing Neymar higher up the pitch when defending is a deliberate ploy. I don't want him defending too much, instead, I want him to be a few yards higher up the pitch and be in a position to launch a counter-attack. So you could say that my weakness in defence is also my strength in attack. Against lower quality sides it would take a brave manager to leave Neymar free!

When people moan about AMR/AML not defending I will now redirect them to this quote :)

I read something on ZonalMarking about Barcelona against someone, possibly Valencia (let's say Valencia for the sake of example). Valencia played a narrow formation that relied heavily on a slow build-up to allow FB's forward, once those FB's were forward then they could really cause anybody trouble. Rather than Guardiola being arrogant and saying 'we have better players, I'll play how I want' he took the reactive route, made sure his wide players stayed high up the pitch which forced the FB's to stay back and completely nullified the other team - despite this move seeming aggressive it was actually to help the defensive side of their play. Once they went ahead the other team had to be more adventurous which meant an FB or both going forward and Barca becoming a massive counter-attacking threat - I think they ended up winning by 3 or 4, primarily due to this ploy.

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When people moan about AMR/AML not defending I will now redirect them to this quote :)

I read something on ZonalMarking about Barcelona against someone, possibly Valencia (let's say Valencia for the sake of example). Valencia played a narrow formation that relied heavily on a slow build-up to allow FB's forward, once those FB's were forward then they could really cause anybody trouble. Rather than Guardiola being arrogant and saying 'we have better players, I'll play how I want' he took the reactive route, made sure his wide players stayed high up the pitch which forced the FB's to stay back and completely nullified the other team - despite this move seeming aggressive it was actually to help the defensive side of their play. Once they went ahead the other team had to be more adventurous which meant an FB or both going forward and Barca becoming a massive counter-attacking threat - I think they ended up winning by 3 or 4, primarily due to this ploy.

Very good example. I find that keeping your winger in check is very useful defensively and it is best to play them in the LM/RM position if necessary

Hope you don't mind me putting in another real life example. Just a point on when the full back does get forward and a winger stays high, I remember the battle at the Euro's between Ribery and Guisev when France took on Ukraine. It was a very interesting battle because Guisev by trade is a winger and Ribery isn't known for his work rate or tracking back, so it was very open down that flank. So Guisev was left with tons of room to be , but on the flip side, Ribery was free to cause havoc himself and if I remember he created the first goal.

Guisev would have caused more havoc had he been used more often as an out ball as his movement going forward was superb. But that showed the benefit of leaving a man high up on the pitch for a counter, just like kevin3 has done with Neymar.

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To be honest............. I think you could have put a bit more work into it!

lol :)

Very good. Only read first two posts so far as I'm at work, but will save the rest for home

Regards

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Brilliant read. Will be interesting to see its results against some of the better teams. I imagine Nani on the right will have to be sacrificed for a more defensive player, and possibly one of the DLP. I'm with your theory in that a formation can start as 4-2-3-1 or so forth, but that is only starting position on pitch, with player instructions it can actually be as you say a 4-4-2, or anything you want really.

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As i've already said this is a great thread and so much so that i've started a new save as Man. Utd and i'm trying out this tactic but with minor tweaks, them being..

Dropped MCL to DMCL as i feel it just makes him that little harder to close down and allows him a little extra time on the ball

FB's on hug touchline for that little extra width

with the DCR i've dropped his mentality and closing down 2 notches

GK i've dropped passing and creative freedom down to 0, ticked HUB and set distribute to the LB

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As i've already said this is a great thread and so much so that i've started a new save as Man. Utd and i'm trying out this tactic but with minor tweaks, them being..

Dropped MCL to DMCL as i feel it just makes him that little harder to close down and allows him a little extra time on the ball

FB's on hug touchline for that little extra width

with the DCR i've dropped his mentality and closing down 2 notches

GK i've dropped passing and creative freedom down to 0, ticked HUB and set distribute to the LB

If you want everything to go through the DMCL set him as your primary playmaker, worked absoloute wonders for me when trying to retain the ball. The logic is if your DM is always in space and your trying to retain the ball you want your other players to always look for him. Just be careful when playing teams with an AMC as it can be robbed from him due to the close proximity of another player.

All credit to TomTuck for that by the way :)

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If you want everything to go through the DMCL set him as your primary playmaker, worked absoloute wonders for me when trying to retain the ball. The logic is if your DM is always in space and your trying to retain the ball you want your other players to always look for him. Just be careful when playing teams with an AMC as it can be robbed from him due to the close proximity of another player.

All credit to TomTuck for that by the way :)

Oh he is set as primary playmaker aswell as.

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Oh he is set as primary playmaker aswell as.

Good times :thup:

Really did help me keep possesion when I changed that. Can I just ask why youve only changed one of the DC's mentalitlys?

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Good times :thup:

Really did help me keep possesion when I changed that. Can I just ask why youve only changed one of the DC's mentalitlys?

I've never had success using stopper/cover, but i always like my most experienced centre back to be my very last line of defence sweeping up if the other mis-times a tackle or whatever may happen. So really it's a defender/cover combo

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I've never had success using stopper/cover, but i always like my most experienced centre back to be my very last line of defence sweeping up if the other mis-times a tackle or whatever may happen. So really it's a defender/cover combo

Just without the cover role :) I like it, presume you dont play the offside trap though :p that could go horribly wrong.

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Just without the cover role :) I like it, presume you dont play the offside trap though :p that could go horribly wrong.

Oh no, no that's another thing i've yet to have success with thus i to tend to avoid using it.

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Oh no, no that's another thing i've yet to have success with thus i to tend to avoid using it.

Yeah same, it never ever even comes close to being turned on with my teams, just always get caught out. Needs very very intelligent defenders to make it work.

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Yeah same, it never ever even comes close to being turned on with my teams, just always get caught out. Needs very very intelligent defenders to make it work.

i agree, this is my first time being what you'd class as a big club so it's very rare i've give it a go anyhow lol

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As i've already said this is a great thread and so much so that i've started a new save as Man. Utd and i'm trying out this tactic but with minor tweaks, them being..

Dropped MCL to DMCL as i feel it just makes him that little harder to close down and allows him a little extra time on the ball

FB's on hug touchline for that little extra width

with the DCR i've dropped his mentality and closing down 2 notches

GK i've dropped passing and creative freedom down to 0, ticked HUB and set distribute to the LB

What players are you using to fill out the roles, in particular the "Ronaldo" role?

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What players are you using to fill out the roles, in particular the "Ronaldo" role?

Having just started i have the same squad as IRL. So for the time being i've got the following for these certain roles:

DMLC (DLP/s): Paul Scholes

MCRC (DLP/d)): Michael Carrick

MR (W): Nani .. Antonio Valencia once Nani's position is switched

LW (IF): Ashley Young ... will probably be using Nani though until i'm able to spend

AMRC (IF): Wayne Rooney

FW (DLP): Danny Welbeck

played 6 friendlies so far, conceeded 0, and played two league games scoring 6, conceeded 0. In particular the last game @ home to Michael Laudrup's Swansea the attacking play at times was awesome! i ended up winning that one 5-0.

some other changes i do is when my possession isnt that great i drop the tempo to default and/or set passing through the middle

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Having just started i have the same squad as IRL. So for the time being i've got the following for these certain roles:

DMLC (DLP/s): Paul Scholes

MCRC (DLP/d)): Michael Carrick

MR (W): Nani .. Antonio Valencia once Nani's position is switched

LW (IF): Ashley Young ... will probably be using Nani though until i'm able to spend

AMRC (IF): Wayne Rooney

FW (DLP): Danny Welbeck

played 6 friendlies so far, conceeded 0, and played two league games scoring 6, conceeded 0. In particular the last game @ home to Michael Laudrup's Swansea the attacking play at times was awesome! i ended up winning that one 5-0.

some other changes i do is when my possession isnt that great i drop the tempo to default and/or set passing through the middle

I haven't tried Young or Nani in the "Ronaldo" role because, IMO, I don't think they carry enough of a goal scoring threat for me to trust them in that role. However, I'm not saying that it won't work, it's just that it's a key part of the attack and it needs a special player to fill it out.

For my save, I've been thinking about signing Kagawa in the next window and shifting Rooney to the deep-lying forward role. I think FM Kagawa has the attributes to be a very good inside forward, albeit for a lack of creativity. Plus, he can play across the AM strata so offers the ability to change positions with Neymar.

On a different note, I found a brilliant article on Manchester United's tactics of 2007-08, if anyone fancies a read. :)http://www.thebusbybabe.com/2012/3/22/2889149/2007-08-manchester-united-european-tactical-template-ferguson

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I haven't tried Young or Nani in the "Ronaldo" role because, IMO, I don't think they carry enough of a goal scoring threat for me to trust them in that role. However, I'm not saying that it won't work, it's just that it's a key part of the attack and it needs a special player to fill it out.

For my save, I've been thinking about signing Kagawa in the next window and shifting Rooney to the deep-lying forward role. I think FM Kagawa has the attributes to be a very good inside forward, albeit for a lack of creativity. Plus, he can play across the AM strata so offers the ability to change positions with Neymar.

On a different note, I found a brilliant article on Manchester United's tactics of 2007-08, if anyone fancies a read. :)http://www.thebusbybabe.com/2012/3/22/2889149/2007-08-manchester-united-european-tactical-template-ferguson

I'm using FM Weegie's update so i have Kagawa to begin with, having seen your post and then checking Kagawa's key abilities and PPM's he would make a very good AM (IF) for me he has near enough the perfect PPM's for that role so now thats something i'm going to have to consider but having said that Welbeck has just scored a hattrick in my last match so they'll be no changes just yet.

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Love it. Love the detail. Well thought out. Small detail, but personally i would have had Nani or Welbeck playing the "Ronaldo" role. Kagawa playing that attacking midfield role and Rooney as the furthest forward. Which is probably how United will set up next season. Valencia, i notice hasn't been used, but i think he will be main-stay at Right midfield as he can play deeper than Nani/Welbeck/Young. So Valencia will play that Giggs/Park role as the deeper wide midfielder. I expect a new signing, possibly Moutinho, who will be the passer and the methodical link between a deeper Carrick and an advanced Kagawa.

Small holes to pick, but that's how i would have done it. I don't think signing a mega-star like Neymar was entirely necessary, but i guess he is closer to Ronaldo's level in FM than Nani or Welbeck.

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Love it. Love the detail. Well thought out. Small detail, but personally i would have had Nani or Welbeck playing the "Ronaldo" role. Kagawa playing that attacking midfield role and Rooney as the furthest forward. Which is probably how United will set up next season. Valencia, i notice hasn't been used, but i think he will be main-stay at Right midfield as he can play deeper than Nani/Welbeck/Young. So Valencia will play that Giggs/Park role as the deeper wide midfielder. I expect a new signing, possibly Moutinho, who will be the passer and the methodical link between a deeper Carrick and an advanced Kagawa.

Small holes to pick, but that's how i would have done it. I don't think signing a mega-star like Neymar was entirely necessary, but i guess he is closer to Ronaldo's level in FM than Nani or Welbeck.

I would say that signing a player like Neymar was absolutely crucial to the system as he's someone that can play through the middle as well as on the outside. Nani/Welbeck don't have the specific attributes, in my opinion, to fill out the "Ronaldo" role. The player needs to be able to score 20+ goals a season from a wide position and I don't think they're capable of it.

I went with Nani on the right because he offers more versatlilty as he can cut inside and can play on either flank. Ideally, I would want a left-footer with great vision/playmaking ability to fill out the "Giggs" role - someone like Santi Cazorla would be great.

However this is just the players I would choose to fill out the roles but different people will have different ideas. :)

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I would say that signing a player like Neymar was absolutely crucial to the system as he's someone that can play through the middle as well as on the outside. Nani/Welbeck don't have the specific attributes, in my opinion, to fill out the "Ronaldo" role. The player needs to be able to score 20+ goals a season from a wide position and I don't think they're capable of it.

I went with Nani on the right because he offers more versatlilty as he can cut inside and can play on either flank. Ideally, I would want a left-footer with great vision/playmaking ability to fill out the "Giggs" role - someone like Santi Cazorla would be great.

However this is just the players I would choose to fill out the roles but different people will have different ideas. :)

I honestly believe Neymar is the best IF on the game without a doubt :thup:. I've managed him for the past 12 years on FM and he just scores an incredible amount of goals by playing inside forward on the left for me. Just under a goal a game majority of seasons :)

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I honestly believe Neymar is the best IF on the game without a doubt :thup:. I've managed him for the past 12 years on FM and he just scores an incredible amount of goals by playing inside forward on the left for me. Just under a goal a game majority of seasons :)

I'm not suprised, he's one of the few players that can go both ways and carry a goal scoring threat on either foot. Couple that with his agi, acc, dri,& flair he's the man you want to isolate the oppositions fullback :D

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I would say that signing a player like Neymar was absolutely crucial to the system as he's someone that can play through the middle as well as on the outside. Nani/Welbeck don't have the specific attributes, in my opinion, to fill out the "Ronaldo" role. The player needs to be able to score 20+ goals a season from a wide position and I don't think they're capable of it.

I went with Nani on the right because he offers more versatlilty as he can cut inside and can play on either flank. Ideally, I would want a left-footer with great vision/playmaking ability to fill out the "Giggs" role - someone like Santi Cazorla would be great.

However this is just the players I would choose to fill out the roles but different people will have different ideas. :)

Yeah it's your game and team, you've obviously done your research, so you know what you want from the team.

I'm the guy who started that thread a little while ago "re-creating the 08 United team" or something like that a few weeks ago, so I have a great interest in this subject too. Mainly because I see us replicating and emulating it next season. I don't see it being as deadly as that infamous 2008 team, but it may be as successful if used properly.

The great thing about the 06-09 team was that they were so interchangeable, and they could effortlessly move around from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 etc to suit their chances against whichever opposition they were against. I think I may try something similar in my next FM game (as i can't play for 5 minutes as another team) and i think to really emulate it properly I would have to make 3 formations and switch between them match-to-match and even during games.

With the squad we seem to be building now, we have players who can do the same. For example, We could have Rooney, Welbeck and Kagawa acting as our Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez as our most effecting attacking outlets. To start we could have Rooney up top, Kagawa just behind and Welbeck cutting in from the left, then we could swap around and have Rooney just behind Welbeck and have Kagawa drifting out to the left and cutting in on the counter attack. Like I said before, I see Valencia being important to this and will be like Park, the defensive winger on the other side. Or a Wide Midfielder if you like. So that we are not committing too many bodies forward.

Nani, who I see staying, I think with be occupying the right position and playing more as a Winger against lesser opposition when we need to attack more, so that we have two attacking wingers. Either that or playing on the left wing in a very advanced position or the "Ronaldo role" as you put it, with a choice of Welbeck, Rooney and Kagawa in the Striker and attacking midfield positions.

We seem to have the same idea about doing a game like this, as i started my thread about it a little while ago too. Unlike you I am a little apprehensive about starting mine at the moment. If I have somehow tapped into Fergie's mind with what he plans to do next season (after all i could yet be well off-base) then I see a LB and a CM still to come. And i want these signings made before I start. The squad IMO needs a LB which is key, because with either Nani or Welbeck cutting in from the left, we would need an attacking left back with tons of stamina to be able to make up the space and make up for not having a traditional left midfielder. If only Gareth Bale was a die-hard United fan...

The CM position will be so important. I really think United will aim for the stars with this one. Whoever fills this position will be (again IMO) the link between a deeper Carrick and an advanced Kagawa (or Rooney if he plays there to allow Welbeck to play up front) This CM will be as key to us as Xavi is to barca, he will have to be the guy who will make us tick and provide those passes from midfield. Scholes is perfect and if he was 10 years younger, we wouldn't have a problem. Modric was probably targeted but out of reach. Or maybe they will go for someone to play deeper and we will use Carrick as the link.

I would like to see Fergies intentions with his signing before starting a game, because I think whoever we sign for these positions (if anyone) will be key to how we are going to play next season.

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This is such an interesting read, just stumbled across it!

Brilliantly laid out and discussed, will keep following this for sure----> *reaches over to favourite the page*

Also inspired me to have a go at making my own tactic rather than downloading.....hahaha i anticipate it to be a very short-lived feeling however

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