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mrdorf

Tactics & Formations: The Discussion

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First off, I'd like to explain that I am by no means a tactician or a FM maestro. Instead, I'm just very interested in tactics and formations and how they can be implemented in FM.

I've read through the Tactics & Training Discussion forum and have seen many discussions on 4-3-2-1, 4-3-3 and tactics trying to replicate Barcelona's style but not much on the classic 4-4-2, a formation I did believe was almost impossible to use in FM as the AI seems to favour 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1. I have read recently that the 4-3-2-1 plays more like a 4-2-4, which peaked my interest back into creating a successful 4-4-2.

Briefly, I'll explain my current save: I'm in the 4th season of my tenure at Everton and it's the 1st season I've decided to go for the 4-4-2.

Team Instructions:

Philosophy: Fluid - as I feel being rigid gives up movement and creativity

Closing Down: Default (will use the 'hassle opponents' shout when against big teams or teams with poor moral)

Width: wide

Mentality: Attacking at home Counter away.

Passing: Mixed.

Player Roles:

Sweeper keeper - defend

Full backs - support

CBs - both on defensive but one on cover

CMs one as a ball-winning player on defend and the other either as an advanced playmaker (home games) or DLP on away games)

Wingers on support with crossing often and mixed (crossing from the byline seems redundant as the opposition's defenders get back)

Strikers - one as a poacher and the other as DLF in order to link the midfield and the strikers.

So far this simple 4-4-2 has been working quite well although struggles against other 4-4-2s.

A good read for dealing with other 4-4-2s can be found here:

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/289528-The-SI-Sports-Centre-Including-the-W-M-Formation on post #13.

The idea is for my two central midfielders to win the ball quickly and get the ball forward to my wingers who hug the touchline but are free to roam forward and put crosses into the box or supply the forwards with through balls. My DLF is mainly used to fill the gap in midfield because some teams like to play with three there. Ideally, I'd just like them up top and giving the defenders something to think about.

I was also hoping the full backs would provide lots of crosses for my wingers to run onto a score. My main problem is coming from my full-backs closing down to much, something I'm going to have to adjust as they roam to far forward for my likening.

I'm also unsure whether to switch to balanced or stick with fluid. I like the attacking style of fluid formation but unsure how balance works.

I personally feel the key to this formation are the two CMs if they aren't dominate in midfield, able to win the ball or close down the opposition quick enough then they can become over-run and ineffectual. Even an advanced playmaker needs to have some tackling ability for the formation to be relatively successful.

I was wondering if anyone has great success with 4-4-2 and more importantly (for me anyway) has anyone ever been able to implement a Arrigo Sacchi style tactic? I know the ME isn't great at replicating successful pressing but has anyone come close?

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I posted this a while back in my own thread, but to help you get a discussion going I'll re-post it here

:)

The Tactic

It might surprise people this year to see me opt for a 4-42. Normally I avoid using two strikers as it limits the formation you can create when having two upfront. But I thought I’d be a bit different this year,especially as I keep seeing people post saying 4-4-2 is dead, it doesn’t work anymore blah blah. That’s simply not true; it’s still a very formidable formation ifyou know the strengths and weaknesses. Every single formation has advantages and disadvantages. It’s just a case of knowing your own and then making the best of them in games. I’m also seeing people use 4-2-4 and claiming they have no choice but to push the wingers wide as it helps them score more goals and get more assists. Again also not true in my opinion. I can get my wingers very involved in a game and have them score a few goals and chip in with a few assists.

The main disadvantage the 4-4-2 brings is the lack of central midfielder, when playing against 4-5-1, 4-3-3. Not only does it lack the extra man in the middle, it also lacks an extra attacker as the 4-3-3/4-5-1 hybrid pushed wingers up making it a 3 pronged attack. But that doesn’t mean the 4-4-2 is any less effective than it used to be. You’ve just got to learn to adapt to situations and have a plan b should you feel something’s not working in a game. The 4-4-2 does bring its own advantages though and is one of the most versatile formations that you can use. Hopefully over the coming seasons I can show you how versatile and adaptable the 4-42 really is.

So let’s take a look at it;

taci.png

That’s the formation and starting strategy.

55934706.png

And those are the team settings.

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I later changed the BWM to a DLP as it offers better stability due to it having a lower closing down setting than the BWM offers. But with that aside I had great success using that with Sheff Utd and Santos :)

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Almost identical to the 442 I used right up to the Premiership. Very successful as well - and some pretty nice footy too.

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Almost identical to the 442 I used right up to the Premiership. Very successful as well - and some pretty nice footy too.

Mine or the OP's? :)

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Yours.

I used an Adv.For rather than a TM but this is only due to the players I had (although I used Ched as an Adv.For later on :) ). I also used default passing but changed based on the game as I'm sure you frequently do as well. I also changed away from the BWM for the same reasons.

A straight-forward and solid formation that is hard to fault.

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Yours.

I used an Adv.For rather than a TM but this is only due to the players I had (although I used Ched as an Adv.For later on :) ). I also used default passing but changed based on the game as I'm sure you frequently do as well. I also changed away from the BWM for the same reasons.

A straight-forward and solid formation that is hard to fault.

What made you change from a 442 when you made the Prem?

Aye I change my passing mainly based on the weather more than anything

I changed as I like to create new interesting things and try and recreate something old that wont work anymore :D

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I always wanted to use a 433 (the 41221 shape) so I was moving towards doing that anyway. Just found it difficult to implement lower down - my defence weren't smart enough to handle being overloaded around the DC-FB channel. By using a 442 or 4141 this area was protected a bit more as the opposition couldn't get in there so easy due to MR/ML defending more and occupying a deeper position than AMR/AML.

I'm sure the 442 would of been successful but I'd predominantly been playing that for 2 years on my FM09 save! Same as you really. Something a bit different for me.

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To be fair, I think 442 has more of an advantage against 433 and 4231 formations as those formations play more like a 424. I have more success against teams that play that way. I'd like to play with wide mids but find it hard to get players that have the work rate. Cleon, why do you use balanced instead of fluid? I'm asking as I'm still confused on how to use that philosophy.

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Strange that you have success against 433/4231, those formations (particularly the 433 - 41221 in FM) are 442 killers as they over-run midfield ( 3 vs 2 ) and set-up a 3v4 in the attacking third (this could be a 3v2 against just the CB's). Normally this overload means that 442's will really struggle against those types of formation.

Of course, attacking wise you have your wide midfielders freer than usual and a dual striker combo can be extremely effective (hence its immense popularity).

Still though, the 442 is at a tactical disadvantage against those formations.

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I think it's the flanks where my team do their best work with my fbs and wingers overloading those parts of the field. I need to read cleon's section on how to beat other 442s as I struggle against them

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I think it's the flanks where my team do their best work with my fbs and wingers overloading those parts of the field. I need to read cleon's section on how to beat other 442s as I struggle against them

I agree wkith this bit, due to the lack of tracking back from the AI's AML/AMR its quite easy to overload the flanks and out number the fullback. But it also makes you an easy target for quick/direct counter attacks when you over commit players.

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I agree wkith this bit, due to the lack of tracking back from the AI's AML/AMR its quite easy to overload the flanks and out number the fullback.

This is why I always favour big lumps in at CB - I know I'm going to be under a bit of pressure from out wide so I'd prefer guys who are solid in the air in the middle to try and deal with it when it does happen. I know that dealing with the end-product of a problem is worse than dealing with the start of it but ho-hum, as TuPac/Phil Collins enlightened us: 'that's just the way it is!'

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i like mobile, quick defenders instead - deals with my high line better

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i like mobile, quick defenders instead - deals with my high line better

Which in turn helps to keep crosses from coming in because it's harder to get to the byline (by virtue of sheer distance).

Different method, same result.

I should change my statement to read I like big, quick lumps!

To be honest there is such an abundance of physically imposing and mentally strong CB's who can tackle and header that finding incredible CB's is fairly straight-forward and you don't have to compromise quick or strong, clever or aggressive - you can have it all.

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Just my own philosophy but I prefer a stopper & cover at the back but thinking about moving to stopper stoppers. The idea is to have big guys just kicking the living daylights out of the opposition. It's not football but I like the idea of having Larry Llyod types as defenders.

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This is why I always favour big lumps in at CB - I know I'm going to be under a bit of pressure from out wide so I'd prefer guys who are solid in the air in the middle to try and deal with it when it does happen. I know that dealing with the end-product of a problem is worse than dealing with the start of it but ho-hum, as TuPac/Phil Collins enlightened us: 'that's just the way it is!'

I notice that if the oppo have big lumps in the middle my crossing can become ineffective. It can be countered by getting crosses in earlier on but still, it's difficult.

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Has anyone ever got the four midfielders to press quickly and win the ball high up the pitch before getting the crosses in quick enough to hit the oppo on the counter?

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This is why I always favour big lumps in at CB - I know I'm going to be under a bit of pressure from out wide so I'd prefer guys who are solid in the air in the middle to try and deal with it when it does happen. I know that dealing with the end-product of a problem is worse than dealing with the start of it but ho-hum, as TuPac/Phil Collins enlightened us: 'that's just the way it is!'

Same as me really. Pallister and Adams mould defenders I prefer :)

Just my own philosophy but I prefer a stopper & cover at the back but thinking about moving to stopper stoppers. The idea is to have big guys just kicking the living daylights out of the opposition. It's not football but I like the idea of having Larry Llyod types as defenders.

Stopper and covers are great but not against 2 striker formations as they don't play inline with each other. And seeing as 99% of 2 striker formations have a big targetman type and a poacher it allows the poacher to play in the gap between both and he doesn't get picked up properly. Especially as the big striker will tend to drop deep forcing one centreback to step even further out of line. This at times can be a major headache despite how good a side you are.

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Same as me really. Pallister and Adams mould defenders I prefer :)

Stopper and covers are great but not against 2 striker formations as they don't play inline with each other. And seeing as 99% of 2 striker formations have a big targetman type and a poacher it allows the poacher to play in the gap between both and he doesn't get picked up properly. Especially as the big striker will tend to drop deep forcing one centreback to step even further out of line. This at times can be a major headache despite how good a side you are.

Didn't even think about that. I'll try both on defend. I have been noticing the poacher in the gap but just thought my defenders were playing poorly.

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i play a pressing game and high line - so i like my centre-backs both on defend so they play in line and work the offside trap

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