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Back in the embryonic days of football when men were men, boys were boys and the English were still able to take their ball home if they didn't like the rules, there came a style of football developed by a disenchanted Englishman from the old Scottish game of (gasp!) passing the ball between players. Jimmy Hogan is the granddaddy of some of the greatest footballing sides ever and the ripples of influence from Hogan and his friend Hugo Meisl can be seen from the Samba of Brazilian beauty, to the great minds of Soviet soccer while stopping for many-a-year to create Total Voetball in Holland and it's child prodigy the modern Barcelona. The first great side the world was to bare witness to from these great minds was the Danubian Whirl/Danubian School of the 2-3-5 which resulted in the Austrian Wunderteam of the 1930's.

Taken from Fifa.com:

In the 1930's Austria laid claim to a team whose quality and verve sent legitimate shockwaves throughout Europe. The mastermind and father of this Wunderteam often mentioned in the same breath as the great Hungarian side of the 1950s and Brazil of 1970, was Hugo Meisl. The ingenious football innovator and connoisseur was one of the game's leading authorities of his era, governing the Austrian Football Association as General Secretary in the 1920s and 1930s and coaching the Alpine nation to initial prominence on Planet Football at the 1934 FIFA World Cup.

Born to a wealthy family, Meisl moved to Vienna as a child where he attended a commercial academy, training for a career in business before securing a position as a clerk with the Laenderbank. However, young Meisl had always harboured a passion for football and duly sacrificed a lucrative banking career to dedicate himself to perfecting the art and building a much-needed infrastructure for the sport. His knowledge earned him a reputation as an outstanding expert in his field.

As General Secretary of the Austrian Football Association, Meisl was a driving force in making football a professional sport not only in Austria, but throughout Europe. The shrewd expert in the burgeoning international game, he was the inventor of the Mitropa Cup, a precursor to the European Champions Cup. However, Meisl's greatest success came as coach of the fabled 'Wunderteam' that made footballing history in the 1930s.

On 22 December 1912, Hugo Meisl made his debut as national coach of the Alpine Republic at just 31 years of age. And it turned out to be a winning start, as his side overcame bitter rivals Italy 3-1 in Genoa.

Keeping it on the carpet

Meisl was in charge of the national team for just under two years before embarking on a five-year tour of service in the First World War. Heinrich Retschury subsequently took over the helm, but Meisl remained in relatively close contact and resumed sole control of the team at the beginning of 1919 after returning from the conflict.

Football enjoyed a golden era in the wake of the war, and Meisl was one of those in favour of professionalizing the sport. And in his position as General Secretary, he also played a major role in building the national team, along with his English friend Jimmy Hogan, who is largely credited with bringing what was then known as 'Scottish-style' football to the continent. His 'keep-it-on-the-carpet' philosophy particularly influenced Austria in the 1930s and Hungary's Magical Magyars in the 1950s - two teams regarded very highly for their controlled, technical style of play.

The Austrian Wunderteam, regarded by most as the greatest pre-World War Two team in Europe, was born in the early 1930s. A 2-1 victory against Czechoslovakia on 12 April 1931 would herald an unbeaten run of 14 matches for the Austrian team, consisting of eleven victories and three draws. This remarkable series of results also included two emphatic routs of Germany, who were outclassed 6-0 in Berlin and 5-0 in Vienna. However, the highlight of the run is traditionally seen as the 5-0 drubbing of Scotland on 16 May 1931 in Vienna, as it was the first time Scotland tasted defeat on the continent. Hungary were also humbled in an 8-2 thrashing, while Switzerland were swept aside 8-1 in Basel.

Playing with the Paper Dancer

Meisl's proxy on the pitch was the magical Matthias Sindelar, one of the greatest footballers of his generation and a genius of a playmaker who inspired the team to success. Nicknamed der Papierene on account of his lean, delicate stature, and 'The Mozart of Football' because of his virtuosity, Sindelar was the flamboyant, free-spirited soul of this well-drilled team.

The impressive run finally came to an end on 7 December 1932 when Meisl's charges were defeated for the first time in 15 tries by the game's English inventors. The upstarts went down bravely 4-3 in the birthplace of football at London's Stamford Bridge and even in defeat, the continentals' flair and strength was very much on display. It was an ironic return of Hogan's British methods that was a foreshadowing of Hungary's watershed 6-3 demolition of England in 1953.

Austria lost just one more game until the semi-finals of the 1934 FIFA World Cup' on 9 April 1933, when they were defeated 2-1 by Czechoslovakia. Between April 1931 and June 1934, the Wunderteam lost just three out of 31 games, scoring 101 goals.

Slouching into history

Austria's glory days were due to come at the 1934 FIFA World Cup in neighbouring Italy. Though they were a few years past their high-water mark, the Wunderteam confirmed their very real chances of winning the second global showpiece by thumping the hosts 4-2 in a friendly at the brand new Stadio Mussolini in Turin on the eve of the finals.

After their incredible run of form, Meisl's team understandably arrived at the finals with high expectations, but it was to be an unlucky competition all around. After a 3-2 extra-time win over France in Turin, Austria went on to eliminate Hungary in a 2-1 quarter-final triumph in Bologna to set up a semi-final clash with hosts Italy at Milan's San Siro stadium. The particularly bruising encounter with Hungary led Meisl to call it 'a brawl, not a football match,' and his team would rue the lingering injuries they picked up there.

Before the semi-final against Italy, coached by old friend and fellow innovator Vittorio Pozzo, Meisl remarked, 'We have no chance.' And, almost as if on queue, the heavens opened and a deluge of rain swamped the pitch. The conditions were a crushing blow for the fatigued Austrians who loved to play on the grass, as was the loss of injured dynamo Johann Horvath. And though Austria had their fair share of chances - some reports have Italian goalkeeper Giampiero Combi saving almost two dozen shots - Enrico Guaita's 10th-minute Azzurri goal held up 1-0, and Meisl, Sindelar and the Wunderteam would never truly cement their status in FIFA World Cup history.

Two years later Austria reached the final at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. However, once again it was Italy who denied Meisl and his men. The final, which ended in a 1-2 defeat remains to this day, the only time Austria have reached the ultimate match of a major international football tournament.

On 24 January 1937, Hugo Meisl took his place on the Austrian bench for the last time. And his team gifted him a farewell victory, defeating France 2-1 in Paris. Just weeks later, Hugo Meisl died at the age of 55. No Austrian national coach has been able to replicate his great success, and the subsequent German Anschluss of the Austrian team destroyed much of what the great man had created -- including der Papierene Sindelar, who died under mysterious circumstances soon after the Nazi occupation began. It was a quick and tragic end to a beautiful Viennese tale.

Tactics

Jimmy Hogan's tactical ideas about football found little purchase in his native England, but he was openly accepted as both coach and tactician in Austria, Hungary and Germany among other places. One of the first men to take to Hogan's short-passing style was Hugo Meisl. The Austrian football administrator and Hogan adapted their ideas to the pitch, giving unprecedented emphasis to the creative centre half in a 2-3-5 'W-M' formation. The Austrian Wunderteam was an important step between the forward-thinking ideas of Herbert Chapman and Jimmy Hogan from England and Vittorio Pozzo's two-time FIFA World Cup champions Italy.

In the beginning was the 2-3-5. Two "full-backs", three Half-backs and a string of two advanced wingers and three strikers:

Pyramid.png

It quickly (unless you were obsessed with the purity of the game) developed into a far more realistic tactical framework with the Right Back and Left Back man marking the wingers and the two wider strikers dropping deep to be Inside Forwards. A very general W-W concept:

W-W.png

As so this is the basic design for Wunderteam's framework. Thanks to our wonderful guru Jonathan Wilson and his Inverting the Pyramid, we know that as much as Meisl loved the passing game of the Scottish teams, he wasn't a romantic manager. Instead the possession was more routed in pragmatism/realism in that the more his teams had the ball, the less ball the opposition has in order to hurt him (a fundamental truth used by all great passing teams). The short passing game was about movement off the ball, shifting into space that became available rather than looking for long passes or high crosses into the box.

But there are actually two distinct Meisl teams being spoken about here. Just like Barcelona evolved so did Meisl's team evolve and I am looking to move through this same evolution as I develop the tactic. To begin with there is the Danubian Whirl itself; a breakaway from the physicality of the English system that involved keeping possession while still keeping with a main focal striker up front. In fact Meisl commented on how much more effective the Austrian team would be if it had an English number 9. Possession, freedom of movement with the aim of getting the ball to the goalscorer. It was only with the introduction of Sindelar's almost False 9 style of play that the tactic was taken to the next level because, as we all know, if you chance the type of striker a team has, you really chance the entire style of its attack. With Sindelar being the Austrian Messi of his time this opened up the pitch for the other players to move into, and so meaning changes needed to be made further back to take advantage of the space.

So first I must work on creating the Danubian Whirl and then, and only then, will I be able to augment the tactic to turn my Manchester United side into the Mancunian Wunderteam.

Where to start?

It is the first week of a new game and United have a small list of players mostly put together in a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 style formation. This is a very far cry from what I want especially if you consider the W-W has no Central Midfielders at all! They are either Half-Backs (FM - Wing-Backs + DM) or Inside Forwards (AMs). Because I still want success (who doesn't?) I will need a slow transition into the Danubian Whirl tactic, often switching to something else as games and availability allow.

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I love historcial formations there my thing on FM. So I'll be following this thread very closely to see how it develops and offer any advice if I can :)

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Thanks, Cleon. I'm hoping that if this attempt is successful then I'm going to attempt to work my way through Inverting the Pyramid's chapters so after this would be Chapman's development of the W-M and then growing into Arkadiev's hybrid creation of W-M and Danubian. :)

Over the weekend I'm going to be laying out the my perception of the Danubian Whirl and what I will need to do to the squad in order to find players to fit into the system. If you think of any specifics that stand out I should look at (or miss once the post is up) feel free to throw it at me.

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As Cleon said.

Off topic but we really need a thanks button or something of that sort in these forums

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Off topic but we really need a thanks button or something of that sort in these forums

I'd be pressing it right now!!

Several times in fact, a good start, hope this one keeps rolling!

It was only with the introduction of Sindelar's almost False 9 style of play that the tactic was taken to the next level because, as we all know, if you change the type of striker a team has, you really change the entire style of its attack.

This is a great point that I think is frequently forgotten. This is an only tenuously related story but I'll tell it anyway:

Arnold Schwarzenegger was once asked 'How long would it take you to stick another inch on your biceps?'

Expecting a quick answer the reporter was quite shocked when Arnold explained a fundamental truth about

both body-building and sport, his reply

'It would probably take only a week or 2 but it's not something I would ever consider - everything is in perfect

balance, in order to put an inch on my biceps I would also have to put an inch everywhere else, infact, I might

need to add 2 inches or a half-inch in places to maintain the perfect shape.'

In short, what Arnold was pertaining to is that nothing happens in a vacuum. A simple change to the role of your pivotal striker can drastically change how your whole team manifests itself under pressure (to either score or defend).

In the case of Messi and the Barcelona 433 shape, when Eto'o or Ibrahimovic played the central striker role they generally played high and Xavi and/or Iniesta could push up from midfield behind them - moving Messi to the centre allowed the central striker to plunge deeper which also meant the midfield pair could play a little deeper and thus, in theory, have slightly more time to pick passes as well as creating more space further up-field for aggressive wide strikers/wingers to move into. A simple change to the striker role changed the fundamentals of the whole team - probably without saying any different instructions to the rest of them, they were/are simply reacting to the movement of those around them. Powerful concept.

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Thanks guys!

In the case of Messi and the Barcelona 433 shape, when Eto'o or Ibrahimovic played the central striker role they generally played high and Xavi and/or Iniesta could push up from midfield behind them - moving Messi to the centre allowed the central striker to plunge deeper which also meant the midfield pair could play a little deeper and thus, in theory, have slightly more time to pick passes as well as creating more space further up-field for aggressive wide strikers/wingers to move into. A simple change to the striker role changed the fundamentals of the whole team - probably without saying any different instructions to the rest of them, they were/are simply reacting to the movement of those around them. Powerful concept.

This is a very important concept. Most people have forgotten (or not considered) the fact that there are actually three modern Barcelonas. The first involving Ronaldinho and Eto'o had Guily on the right wing to stretch the play and provide crosses to Eto'o's complete striker role. He would either "do a Drogba" or shift wide out left so that Ronaldinho could cut in from the left and destroy Real Madrid. The second generation of Barcelona was the introduction of Messi pre and post-Ronaldinho. Eto'o would have to drop deeper with both of his partners. With Ronaldinho gone, the great attacking right was cemented with Alves playing the winger role to keep the defence stretched as Messi cut in with the Eto'o/Ibra having to move wide left or drop deep. And of course the third generation is with Messi as the trequartista with Villa playing the wide Inside Left and Pedro alternating between a winger and an inside right in reaction to the positions of his team mates.

On a final Barcelona thought (which will relate to the Wunderteam tactic), Barcelona's issues come when Iniesta is moved outwide. Iniesta plays as a wide playmaker so not driving forward as much as inside forwards and with Messi dropping deep, Pedro has to attack more and supply less. However with no "true" inside right/left becoming the de facto striker during build up play, there is far, far less overall penetration and more emphasis on Messi combining the TQ role with being an old fashioned central inside forward. The injury to Villa is a massive reason for Barca's "poor" season compared to the last three and has affected the team's style of play more than they would have been if Xavi had been injured.

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Some more great points - I'm really looking forward to how you take a team and then move it towards a tactical vision, effectively re-creating that team. As you say, Guardiola has done this at Barca, Wenger and Ferguson both several times at their clubs and there are probably more. Teams like Chelsea and some of the Italian powerhouses haven't had a transition quite so smooth because they've changed managers which inherently brings about further changes - this can be good of course for transitioning a team but the change tends to be rather brutal and it helps if cash is involved i.e. Man City, PSG or when Abrahomivic first arrived.

Good point about Villa being injured - he plays the sort of the role that doesn't get all the plaudits and I'd imagine that if he was an FM player then unless he was scoring he wouldn't necessarily get very good ratings but his overall tactical effect is, as you point out, crucial to allowing other players to shine. Spain have looked toothless at times because of a lack of a direction - whilst I agree with the total fluidity of a system in principle, it's not really been achieved. Totalvoetball used vertical rules to bring some rules to their very fluid system, and similarly having a focal point or a driving striker or a consistent threat (as provided by the directness of Villa) creates balance in a system.

At any time, Messi can stop the intricate stuff and run straight at you. This is terrifying for a defender. I could be keeping close tabs on the guy for 20 minutes only to find him suddenly running straight at me whereby my mind-set has to shift from tactical positioning to old-fashioned 1-on-1 tackling - any hint of a lapse of concentration and I'm going to be beaten. Similarly, with Villa constantly looking in to run behind me or my team-mates I can't afford to be too aggressive or I'm going to be punished over the top - a balanced threat.

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So with everything I rambled about, what exactly is the Danubian Whirl when put into practice on FM? Let's start with a breakdown of the team structure and move into the individual player roles thereafter:

Team Instructions

W-WTeam-1.png

Rigid - Because while the movement might have been fluid, the overall structure of the team keeps it's shape. A much more looser system was being developed in South America but that's another story.

Standard - Possession is key and to keep possession the team must not push too hard to score. A nice standard strategy means the players will know to use their intelligence.

Short Passing - A bit obvious on the reasoning :p Possession, possession, possession!

Default creative freedom - Hold on! But didn't I say it was an incredibly creative team? Well no, it was a team of movement and controlled passing but very little true creative freedom outside of the flair of individual players.

Default Closing+Tackling - The tactic had outstanding difference between them and other teams in this area.

Man Marking - This is even more man marking than nowadays and I will have to adjust each player's target during each game.

Default Crossing - It's the Whirl so we're looking for a half-half Barcelona and Stoke here.

More Roaming - Because this is the major key to what made this system different to anything else that had been seen.

Additionally you will notice I haven't made any other changes to the specific instructions. This comes back to the fact that it's the embryonic form of what was to come.

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Individual positions

Goalkeeper: A standard 'keeper's instructions with nothing adjusted at all. There is no Sweeper Keeper in this team.

Central Defenders: The old style Full-Backs (because they were fully back), they would mark the opposition inside forwards which means any AM I am to face will be taken by one of these defenders with the other sweeping up any mistakes. Playing Limited CBs is also an option however the more direct passing style negatively impacts possession. And of course there is no option to being able to use Ball Players since this role was not developed until later years in Brazil.

Defensive Midfielders: Time to take a really detailed look at what used to be the Half-Backs (they were halfway back. Clever, huh?)

Half-Backs1.png

Here is the layout of the Left Back, Centre-Back and Right Back from above. In modern (and FM) terms it looks like advanced wing-backs and a defensive midfielder. Except this doesn't really tell the story of what's going on in both the Pyramid and the W-W systems. The Centre-Back is actually the creative fulcrum of the team, the Regista of old time football, as well as the heartbeat of the side and on the defensive side his role was to man-mark the opposition striker. His half-back brothers on either side actually man-marked the opposition's inside forwards and where the middle-men of the team providing defensive stability and the occasional thrust forward. Which half-back was more defensive would (imho) depend upon the opposition's main strength in attack. This will result in my three players looking above or like this:

Half-Backs2.png

Or like this:

Half-Backs3.png

Or even like this:

[Half-Backs4.png

Any one of them allowing me a fluidity of positioning to help out the defence.

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Breakdown of Half-Backs

The half-backs where not wing-backs nor modern full-backs. Instead they were wide defensive midfielders who covered the entire length of the pitch if required but generally stayed central. What this means in terms of the tactical breakdown is that I don't need to loo for players who are defenders/wing-backs to play as my wide backs but rather pull natural DMs or Ball Winners back and wide. Crossing is not an issue as they aren't supposed to be the main crossers of the ball.

Half-Backinstructions.png

What I've done here is put all three half-backs into the DM position, turn the Left and Right Backs into Anc Def, "lock" all bar the runs with ball option and then move them into the WB positional slot. I now have defensive midfielders out wide who will either stay in position (when I put them to Defend) or sometimes move forward with the ball (on Support). Again, each one will have their duty changed depending upon the opposition's attacking threat. The key here is holding on to the ball and a solid defensive foundation.

Centre-BackInstructions.png

This is the instructions for the Centre-Back and I've effectively turned him into a cross between a Regista (Role with Support Duty) and a deep-lying Box-to-Box player (instructions). He has to be allowed to do what he wants and I may even have his Roaming set to yes to allow him greater flexibility against the weaker teams.

Inside Forwards: It was an unsaid (until much later) but understood concept that the attacking side of a team was asymmetric in its make-up. As still happens today, those with a left foot were often given a greater license to attack than those with a right foot. In addition, the old style Inside Forwards were charged with both creating and scoring goals. As such I have split my IFs into an Advanced Playmaker on the right and an IF on the left like so:

AdvancedPlaymakerInstructions.png

InsideForwardInstructions.png

Both are set to having a Support duty with minimal ball running and only the IF is allowed to shoot from distance. Here is creativity and attacking threat while maintaining a nice, structured framework. The Roaming is ticked to improving the movement of their attacking threat.

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Goals, goals, my Kingdom for goals!: And so we come to the final part of the tactic and it's front three. A front three which I am going to take the assumption you have probably never seen before.

FrontLine.png

Two wingers and an attacking Target Man!

WingersInstructions.png

Here you see the wingers given the freedom to roam from position and only mixed runs from deep. Considering their already high positioning, anything more becomes overkill. The runs with the ball and long shots are set to a minimum to increase the possession game while the through balls and crosses are mixed because I am using a Target Man. Remember, we're after a Barcelona-Stoke hybrid!

TargetManInstructions.png

Perhaps the biggest chance in the TM role that I have made is to stop him holding up the ball. This is because the Target Man has undergone quite a change of role in regards to world football that many people seem to have missed and is only now coming back into fashion with Eto'o, Drogba and players similar. You see the TM wasn't put up there to hold the ball up and lay it off for his more talented team mates. Instead his role was a battering ram of a striker, slamming through defenders like a fifteen stone bowling ball before shooting, heading or forcing the ball into the net through sheer brutal force of will. They weren't always the most cleverest of players but they were the focal point of the attack. The great English number 9 and the template that Shearer took as the foundation for his international career. Forget Heskey, think Tommy Taylor of Dixie Dean!

But of course these are my starting settings and will be adjusted and tweaked as my team and squad grow into the tactic and I find (and hopefully fix) any weaknesses.

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At any time, Messi can stop the intricate stuff and run straight at you. This is terrifying for a defender. I could be keeping close tabs on the guy for 20 minutes only to find him suddenly running straight at me whereby my mind-set has to shift from tactical positioning to old-fashioned 1-on-1 tackling - any hint of a lapse of concentration and I'm going to be beaten. Similarly, with Villa constantly looking in to run behind me or my team-mates I can't afford to be too aggressive or I'm going to be punished over the top - a balanced threat.

This is personally why I think Barca are some dangerous. They can be playing simple short passes in the center circle then before you know it its gone to Messi/Iniesta/Sanchez/Cesc and they are running at you, taking a man on and/or playing that killer ball. Id hate to defend against them, do you close them down to cut the options and risk getting taken on and being completely taken out of the game, or stand off and keep your position and risk letting them have the time to find the killer ball. The transition between tempo's is unbelievable. The Arnie quote is an excellent example as well, although it can be used to your advantage, a switch of striker at half time (say Carrol on for Suarez) will dramatically change the way Liverpool play. I think this is what Barca are missing, that second option. Drogba would of been perfect for them

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Bestie fantastic start to what will be (and is) an excellent thread. The knowledge in the OP is fantastic followed on by a clear vision to where you want your team to be. Granted, it will be a hard task but from your research and settings you have started it looks like you've made a good start.

I would find it interesting to see what kind of players you envisage will help you fulfill this style of football. I would like to see who is in your starting 11, potential new signings or current team members.

Best of lucky mate :thup:

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Bestie fantastic start to what will be (and is) an excellent thread. The knowledge in the OP is fantastic followed on by a clear vision to where you want your team to be. Granted, it will be a hard task but from your research and settings you have started it looks like you've made a good start.

I would find it interesting to see what kind of players you envisage will help you fulfill this style of football. I would like to see who is in your starting 11, potential new signings or current team members.

Best of lucky mate :thup:

Cheers :thup:

As I mentioned in the OP, the squad is obviously set up far more for a 4-4-2 type system, or at least something with central midfielders, than what I am looking to evolve it into. Running my eye over the player pool I am in a position where I could probably field two different back 5 selections and still see the right style of football. Because of one reason or another, here is a list of the players who do not immediately fit into the Danubian system:

Nani

Ashley Young

Dimitar Berbatov

Wayne Rooney

Javier Hernandez

Antonio Valencia (*)

However both Rooney and Berbatov are perfect for the Sindelar role once I progress into the full Wunderteam system and I can't simply bring in a load of players/sell the above as I am looking to be successful along side this tactical development. Expect a full player breakdown once I reach the end of the transfer window where I'll be looking to show you ins, outs and the reasons for both as well as reasons for keeping those I have.

*Valencia is strangely enough the most "English" player at the club, his style of play almost perfectly mirroring the average winger from the 2-3-5 and W-M formations. Although this makes it difficult to have a possession based system with him in the side, it does provide the hybrid blend of England and Danubian which would have been there at the beginning of Meisl and Hogan's journey.

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*Valencia is strangely enough the most "English" player at the club, his style of play almost perfectly mirroring the average winger from the 2-3-5 and W-M formations. Although this makes it difficult to have a possession based system with him in the side, it does provide the hybrid blend of England and Danubian which would have been there at the beginning of Meisl and Hogan's journey.

Excellent point, couldn't agree more. It is interesting to see how your tactical vision incorporates the current squad and potential acquisitions. Looking forward to that analysis of your ins and outs and reasoning behind.

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Absolutely!

Look for a good update later this week on the Pre-Season. Unfortunately our kitchen decided that it needed to be taken apart and remodelled immediately since I started this. Bloody RL getting in the way of FM pleasure! :rolleyes:

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Absolutely!

Look for a good update later this week on the Pre-Season. Unfortunately our kitchen decided that it needed to be taken apart and remodelled immediately since I started this. Bloody RL getting in the way of FM pleasure! :rolleyes:

How weird I've just done a new kitchen too in the last week, so i don't envy what you've had to do. Got all sorts of probs crop up when we took the old one out :(

I'm looking forward to seeing this thread develop :)

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How weird I've just done a new kitchen too in the last week, so i don't envy what you've had to do. Got all sorts of probs crop up when we took the old one out :(

I'm looking forward to seeing this thread develop :)

Yeah, that's pretty much what's happened. It was all so easy before we started taking things out. Sod really does like to mess with home jobs.

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The following breakdown/analysis are all of Pre-season and prior to the Community Shield game vs Man City. All transfers are finalised with a month to go which allows for the squad to gel as due to that International break midway through August.

Centre-Backs:

Options: Ferdinand, Evans, Smalling, Vidic, Jones.

Thoughts: All except for Jones are solid options who are perfect defenders for my needs. Jones (much like most of the other players) has PPMs which will cause issues for the system if I play him in the CB role. Jones will be moved into the half back (DM) strata as a cover as the central option if I need a more forceful presence there.

Half-Backs:

Options: Rafael, Evra, Fabio, Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson, Gibson, Jones

Thoughts: Rafael and Evra are players who are perfect for a role within a 4-man defence but are a major weakness when it comes to playing in this type of system. I would rather not sell them and so only one of the two can ever be in the team at one time. The job of a half-back is to be a defender who might also know how to attack, however their PPMs make them attackers who also know how to defend. Fabio is exempt from this criticism only because I am retraining him to be a left winger. Fletcher and Carrick are creative enough to make the regista role their own while also capable of playing together. Anderson, like Jones, has too much of an attacking mentality which could result in a weakness in the team.

Attacking Midfielders:

Options: Giggs, Cleverley, Rooney, Berbatov, Nani, Young, Hernandez

Thoughts: Both Rooney and Berbatov are too creative and play far too much like False 9s for me to use as the Target Man. Rather than selling them (since they are conversely perfect for when I switch to the Wunderteam system), I am retraining both to be my first choice inside forwards. Berbatov will be the AMr, the playmaker, while Rooney will be the AMl, the IF. Both Young and Nani have the completely wrong PPMs to be used as wingers (they both cut inside, something which wingers did not do back then) and so I'll be retraining them as the back ups. Nani is creative enough to be a semi-decent playmaker while Young has a nice eye for a goal as the IF. Lastly (you didn't misread and I didn't mistype) Hernandez is going to be my 3rd option as an Inside Forward. His stats are all about getting goals and this is not what my striker is there to do in the Whirl.

Wingers:

Options: Valencia, Park, Giggs

Thoughts: Need at least one first choice left winger, possibly two.

Striker:

Options: None

Thoughts - Regardless of the sheer number of players at United who play in the ST position (eight including Young), none of them are actually Target Man quality capable of playing in the manner required and so this is the main area needed to be improved.

Major Transfers In:

Liedson - £7.5m from Corinthians (over 48 Months)

Liedson.png

He might not have the actual strength of a Target Man but everything else is in place with the right type of PPMs to be used against weaker opposition.

Nacer Chadli - £5m from FC Twente

NacerChadli.png

Out of the wingers at the club capable of playing on the left, only Giggs has any true quality with the right type of PPMs. Chadli is a solid left winger without any weaknesses in his move set.

James Rodriguez - £12.5m from Porto (over 48 Months)

JamesRodriguez.png

Brought in as someone to rival Chadli for the LW position as well as capable of being an advanced playmaker in the central area. Still young enough to develop more.

Andre Ayew - £11.25m from OM (over 48 Months)

AndreAyew.png

This signing only came about because of the Anderson to PSG happening. Ayew is a solid all round player who, while having some questionable PPMs, is able to play as a LHB, CHB, AM and LW and in my opinion his versatility is very much needed when I can't change my system to suit the players available.

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And finally...

Robert Lewandowski - £10.75m from Dortmund (over 48 Months)

RobertLewandowski.png

The main Target Man for the team. Unfortunately Lewandoski was the only one available so he isn't as perfect as I would have preferred.

Major Transfers Out:

Anderson - £6m to PSG

The friendlies played were:

*Werder Bremen (w 4-1)

*Inverness CT (w 5-1)

*Leverkusen (w 5-1)

*FC Bayern (L 0-1)

*Middlesbrough (W 2-0)

*Malaga (D 2-2)

*Antwerp (W 4-0)

I'm not going to go into any in-depth analysis of any of the play involved considering the Familiarity Levels were too low to really get a good idea of how the team is able to play as a unit. This will all come post Community Shield. Initial observations are that playing with the Half-Backs in the WB position turns the team into (unsurprisingly) a 4 man defence in certain phases of play which goes against the general philosophy of the 2-3-5. However this is offset by the fact that there isn't a 2-3-5 that my team can man mark and so the players being pulled into a much more modern defensive shape is unavoidable.

Thoughts, comments, opinions are very much welcome whilst I move into how the Whirl survives the Premier League.

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August is over and the majority of the team's learning of the new tactic has taken place. Now I'll start to show how the players are taking their learning onto the pitch and what needs to be adapted.

A look at the defence:

Playing against at home against Ajax in the CL, I've got for the DML-DM-DMR option with Ayew, Fletcher and Carrick filling each role. I would very much have preferred to use man marking against the Ajax attackers however Ayew and Carrick's marking are weak and this would force them into playing to their weaknesses than their strengths. Ajax is playing a 4-2-3-1 so this should make a good tactical battle with my middle three facing off against theirs.

DF-1.png

Aside from Berbatov moving from his APM position to kick off with Lewandowski it's very obvious each player's position. The centre half is sitting a little deeper than his midfield partners which isn't unusual in the way FM interprets A Regista.

DF-2.png

Lewandowski has just taken a shot that's high and wide. As you can see the mentalities of the five defensive players is keeping everything in position with Ayew (due to PPMs) slightly ahead of everyone else. There is no obvious width at the back right now but the opposition striker is isolated in a blanket of defenders.

DF-3.png

Now I'm showing you this immediately before Ajax kicks of from my previous screenshot. The middle of the pitch is extremely congested with three Ajax players and five United players all hovering around the centre-circle. My two AMs are Rooney and Berbatov and I wanted to use this screenshot as a way of showing you both the correct positioning of Ayew (29) and Carrick (16, hidden behind Ajax's 16) and actual proof of why, ideally, I can't use either Rooney or Berbatov in this formation. The "drops deep" PPM is a tactic breaker and will destroy any set up you create which requires players to retain their position. Unless you take into account a player dropping deep when you're setting up any tactic, you'll find it doesn't work as well as you want because the player is not always in the position he is supposed to be.

Back to the defence. Carrick and Ayew are hovering centrally and will need to run wide if the goalkeeper hits the ball out to the flanks. In the past the centre backs would be marking the wings and this wouldn't be an issue, especially due to the difference in the offside law. It is probably the changes in the offside law more than anything else which would make such a tactical plan unworkable in FM until the DM is capable of dropping directly into the CB slot ala Barcelona.

Fletcher has naturally picked up Ajax's AMC. In fact his job is to man mark Ajax's striker and leave the AMC for one of my defenders to pick up if required.

DF-4.png

Here you see the weakness of using three central DMs. Ajax has pushed the ball out to my left flank and Ayew, rather than being in position to intercept, is chasing the ball. Centrally I am now being over run with Carrick still tucked in to allow their #21 completely freedom on the right. This move in question was broken up by Rooney running back and making the tackle before a cross could be put in.

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In contrast to the above I'll show you how the defensive unit works when I push the wide DMs into the WB slots.

DF-5.png

The goalkeeper is about to take a free kick after United were caught offside. As you can see there is an immediate difference between the DML-DM-DMR and the WBL-DM-WBR positions. There is more width (even when everyone is squashed towards the right) however in a defensive play it causes the team to become a curved back four.

As I've said, the PPM of any player in the middle 3 is one of the most important things to consider if anyone is considering this type of tactic. Carrick on the right is able to stay relatively deep whereas Rafael will push towards the byline regardless of how defensive I make his instructions because of his PPMs. While this is fine in more modern and flexible tactics, it's a nightmare when working on something that is so positioning rigid as the 2-3-5.

Next I'll be showing some screenshots of the AMs and expanding on how much of a difference using Rooney/Berbatov compared to another player has on the team.

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Fantastic thread, hope you continue with it.

Just working my way through inverting the pyramid so it's great to see the W-M brought to (virtual), life! I think Cleon used the same formation in her Santos save. Hmm... Now I'm intrigued :-)

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I'm working on the inside forwards/striker and wingers right now plus doing a few tweaks to the defensive areas. It's funny but a lot of what I was using as assumptions earlier in the thread are having to be ignored/rethought to make sure this actually works in any decent way.

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Fantastic thread, hope you continue with it.

Just working my way through inverting the pyramid so it's great to see the W-M brought to (virtual), life! I think Cleon used the same formation in her Santos save. Hmm... Now I'm intrigued :-)

Im the same, just finished Inverting the Pyramid on my Kindle and the amount of formations Ive left highlights on to remind me to go back and try to recreate them is unbelivable :p. Thats what im planning on spending the rest of FM12 doing rather than starting anything long term.

Off the top of my head Im going to have a go at:

-The Danubian

-Ajax Total Voetball

-The Brazil World Cup winning side of 1980 (sorry if thats the wrong year, the really really good year ;)_

-Italys Catenaccio

-Herbert Chapmans WM

I love trying to create abstract and random tactics, will be interesting to try and get them working.

Excellent thread by the way 7Bestie7, will be referring back here plenty when I get started on the Danubian

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-The Brazil World Cup winning side of 1980 (sorry if thats the wrong year, the really really good year ;)_

Do you mean the '82 (?) team that originated the Magic Square? Two registas, two trequartistas and two strikers? I've been fascinated with that formation myself especially since it seems to have embedded itself into the Brazilian culture over the years to where it's an almost "default" setting for many of their teams.

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Do you mean the '82 (?) team that originated the Magic Square? Two registas, two trequartistas and two strikers? I've been fascinated with that formation myself especially since it seems to have embedded itself into the Brazilian culture over the years to where it's an almost "default" setting for many of their teams.

Thats the one :) I was close enough, yeah it really caught my eye in the book. That and the Total Voetball are my two faviourites, just not had time to properly had a go at implementing them yet. Which is a shame :( Im planning on trying it with Chelsea and the summer transfer update theyve got a superb fluent attacking group of players, only problem may be only one real striker.

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The two formations I'm really looking forward to getting to are the Pele Brazil side of '70 and the Ajax system. The Brazilian side's tactic is actually one that I naturally gravitate to whenever I play FM normally so it might be a little tough to then move on from there :p and of course who couldn't resist trying to recreate Ajax's system?

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The two formations I'm really looking forward to getting to are the Pele Brazil side of '70 and the Ajax system. The Brazilian side's tactic is actually one that I naturally gravitate to whenever I play FM normally so it might be a little tough to then move on from there :p and of course who couldn't resist trying to recreate Ajax's system?

Yeah I think your sort of thinking of the same Brazilian period as me, cant for the life of me find the screenshot Im looking for in Inverting the Pyramid, I made loads of highlights and notes but seem to have forgotten this one, which is rather annoying. As I said though I think were on the same Brazilian era, playing sort of like a 4-2-2-2 formation?

I love the brazilian style, free flowing fluid, flair and a passing style distinctive in its own right. I can imagine in FM its pretty high tempo short passing as, correct me if Im wrong, Brazilians were more about style than possesion.

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Yeah I think your sort of thinking of the same Brazilian period as me, cant for the life of me find the screenshot Im looking for in Inverting the Pyramid, I made loads of highlights and notes but seem to have forgotten this one, which is rather annoying. As I said though I think were on the same Brazilian era, playing sort of like a 4-2-2-2 formation?

I love the brazilian style, free flowing fluid, flair and a passing style distinctive in its own right. I can imagine in FM its pretty high tempo short passing as, correct me if Im wrong, Brazilians were more about style than possesion.

The Pele/Tostao team is a very early 4-2-3-1. Rivelino is a somewhat left winger to provide width but who cuts in when Pele drifts out wide. Tostao drops deep when Pele pushes up from his #10 position and Jairzinho cuts in from the right with Carlos Alberto bombing forward from right back in (I'm assuming) the original template for the Dani Alves-Messi combination of the 2008-10 Barcelona. The 4-2-2-2 formation you are thinking of is a few pages later in the Fly Me to the Moon chapter. Falcoa and Cerezo deep playmakers, Zico and Socrates advanced playmakers with the width coming from the two wide defenders.

It's that 4-2-2-2 "box" system that Dunga's interesting Brazil side evolved from. But my favourite system is the '70 4-2-3-1 style that has a lot of freedom everywhere.

You're not wrong. Until they lost to Rossi's Italy the Brazilian system was very much about style and attacking freedom but it was built on defensive solidarity. According to Inverting the Pyramid, it was (still is?) the Argentinians who actually focused so much on style that they didn't care about too much possession.

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The Pele/Tostao team is a very early 4-2-3-1. Rivelino is a somewhat left winger to provide width but who cuts in when Pele drifts out wide. Tostao drops deep when Pele pushes up from his #10 position and Jairzinho cuts in from the right with Carlos Alberto bombing forward from right back in (I'm assuming) the original template for the Dani Alves-Messi combination of the 2008-10 Barcelona. The 4-2-2-2 formation you are thinking of is a few pages later in the Fly Me to the Moon chapter. Falcoa and Cerezo deep playmakers, Zico and Socrates advanced playmakers with the width coming from the two wide defenders.

It's that 4-2-2-2 "box" system that Dunga's interesting Brazil side evolved from. But my favourite system is the '70 4-2-3-1 style that has a lot of freedom everywhere.

You're not wrong. Until they lost to Rossi's Italy the Brazilian system was very much about style and attacking freedom but it was built on defensive solidarity. According to Inverting the Pyramid, it was (still is?) the Argentinians who actually focused so much on style that they didn't care about too much possession.

Ha all these Brazilian formations confusing me :p yeah It is the one with Zico and Socrates, for some reason I thought Pele was in it but obviously not. Ill have a look on my Kindle in a sec see if I can find the screenshot I was looking for. So which era was the 4-2-2-2 box then?

I got the impression from INverting the Pyramid that the Brazilians were almost identical to the Argentinians, almost being the key word. If im right did they not start focusing more on defensive stability after failing to win a World Cup? the 1982 one by chance? :p or am I getting my teams mixed up.

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Ha all these Brazilian formations confusing me :p yeah It is the one with Zico and Socrates, for some reason I thought Pele was in it but obviously not. Ill have a look on my Kindle in a sec see if I can find the screenshot I was looking for. So which era was the 4-2-2-2 box then?

I got the impression from INverting the Pyramid that the Brazilians were almost identical to the Argentinians, almost being the key word. If im right did they not start focusing more on defensive stability after failing to win a World Cup? the 1982 one by chance? :p or am I getting my teams mixed up.

The Box came in at the 82 World Cup and was essentially the last time a great international team created a tactic to suit their best players. It's found itself a major part of the Brazilian mindset since then (the 90 team was a defensive Box).

For me the thing that comes across in the book is how Brazilian football is extreme reactive. They were among the first to use a back four, they went physical after the Italy loss in 82 etc. Argentina is far more obsessed with the "right" way of playing. They took a long time to get away from the "tango" style that's talked about very early in the book and they refuse to abandon the old style #10.

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The Box came in at the 82 World Cup and was essentially the last time a great international team created a tactic to suit their best players. It's found itself a major part of the Brazilian mindset since then (the 90 team was a defensive Box).

For me the thing that comes across in the book is how Brazilian football is extreme reactive. They were among the first to use a back four, they went physical after the Italy loss in 82 etc. Argentina is far more obsessed with the "right" way of playing. They took a long time to get away from the "tango" style that's talked about very early in the book and they refuse to abandon the old style #10.

Ive found the screenshots I was looking for :D I think it was the 1970 World Cup Final team I was looking at actually, my bad :o. I knew Pele was in there somewhere. It is a 4-2-3-1 for sure, definately the system I was looking at. No idea how I have managed to get mixed up :rolleyes: Yeah I agree with the point on Argentina,, they do seem very set in their ways. Although I think the current Argentina team is moving away from the classic #10, Riquelme was the last of a dying breed I do think.

I could talk about this book all day, its amazing. Sort of detracts from the point of this thread though

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This is such a lovely thread. Threads like this made me wish anything was possible in the FM Match engine. Cheers.

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Haha, no worries Jimbob. That's the team I'm going to be obsessing over once I get to it.

Steakfaced - I agree however there's a part in the book talking about Chapman's W-M where it raises the point that attempting to copy a team's tactics is difficult if you don't have good enough copies of the players. That's what is really being slapped around my face as I work on the Whirl. To truly get this (and any) tactic to work exactly as I understand how they should, I need to bring in the right players with the right PPMs (or train the PPMs) over a number of seasons so that everyone knows what it is they need to be doing. And then of course FM still has limitations.

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This match was played against a Newcastle team playing 4-2-3-1 with two DMs. So essentially both teams had a massive split in the CM zone with N'Castle split 6-4 and United 5-5. The past few games have had me playing the narrow Half-Back system (DM-Reg-DM) but for this one I have gone back to a wider option to give Evra and Rafael a run out.

Game1.png

Fletcher (my Reg) has just stolen possession and given it to Valencia. He now has the option to move wide and run into the wide space or keep possession and slip it to Berbatov (9), Rooney (10) or an adventurous pass to either Young (18) or Liedson (22). He gives it to Rooney which sets up this situation.

Game11.jpg

Rooney passed it to Berbatov who then hands it further forward to the striker. This screenie shows you the way the attacking five are supposed to work. The moment Rooney passed it to Berbatov he moved forward looking to aid the attack. Valencia and Young are stretching the play but not hugging the touchline so they can be passed to and the striker has options of trying to turn, pass it to Rooney or do a through ball to the onrushing Young. He decides to give it to Rooney who takes three touches and tries a curling long range shot that goes high and wide.

Game12.jpg

This shows Valencia out wide and reveals how many bodies the Whirl can get in the box. It's a 4 v 5 situation with Fletcher (24) perfectly positioned to make a late run into the empty space to make it six players pushing high up. Newcastle's #3 is able to tackle the ball out for a throw in.

Game13.jpg

18 has the ball and passes to 10. Here you can see the difference between my 9 (APM) and 10 (IF). Quote often the inside forward will push level with my striker or even beyond while the APM tends to use the striker's position as a reference point on how far forward he should go. Unfortunately then decided to get sent off for a vicious lunge which ruined the rest of the game.

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Love retro tactics and especially the W-W which I think could easily make a comeback in the real world as Barca demonstrated under Guardiola last season.

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Here is a winter mid-season breakdown of what I've noticed and changed when attempting to tweak this tactic:

Overall:

  • I honestly don't believe I've ever had a tactical system in which moving the strategy from Standard to Control has such a fundamental impact on how it all works. If you want a system that seems to want to pass an opponent to death then the Standard is far the better choice however to get a mixture of the Whirl and old style English "Charge!" play, the Control is the best one to go with (with Drop Deeper then the shout needed to keep safe at the back). There is one main tactical experiment left for me that I can see and that is to use the Control strategy (since it fits with how the Whirl/Wunderteam would play) but manually control the tempo of the team in reaction to opposition or game situations. I'm undecided as to whether to do this as Control, without adjustments, still produces the type of passing I was aiming for (mostly short, not afraid of a long one) with the right type of penetration.

Defence:

  • Centre-backs - No real observations. Their perceived isolation hasn't come to fruition since the three half-backs in front are far more defensively sound than I thought they would be.
  • Half-Backs - I changed the settings to make sure all three HUB regardless of if one or both of the two wide backs are playing in the WB slot. I have to admit that my fears over having the wings as my biggest weakness hasn't really come to pass. Aside from the odd game and the obvious weakness that the system is prone to being turned by a cross-field pass (a weakness that was extremely prevalent in the W-M), it's actually stood up to a lot of attacking threat through the middle and by width. The RH is always on a defensive duty, the CH a Support and the LH Support.
  • WB vs DMs - Surprisingly I have been playing with at least one of the half-backs in the DM slot and actually prefer all three to be DMs. While putting them into the WB positions adds extra width to the defensive structure, as mentioned this is not really needed and the game engine forces the team to become a back four. Now some of you might not be too bothered about this but my aim was attempting to recreate this tactic as close as possible to what I understand the original to be and that doesn't include a faux back four. In fact the only reason I may play a player in the WB slot is to give Evra, Rafael and Fabio a run out. If you have defensively sound central midfielders you really don't need any wide defenders at all if you're looking to use a variation of the 2-3-5.
  • Centre-Half - The playmaker, engine room and all round focal point of the team. You don't actually need a playmaker here. A few times I've slotted Jones in the central position and used him as a deep-lying Box midfielder. An old style Robson/Vieira/Keane type player who influences the game by his sheer energy and drive if not his creativity and flair. This will work just as well for anyone who has a defensively sound midfielder that they want to make captain/focal point but find there's a lack of playmaking skills. As a requisite, Roaming must be ticked for this position.

Midfield:

  • Roaming - And speaking of, I've removed roaming from every attacking player. This came down to the basic fact that if you want a player to move from his position then you need a reason and way of exploiting that space. I had reasons but no way of exploiting any space created since the Whirl is still mostly routed in position rigidity. If the wingers roamed there wasn't any wing backs to take advantage of the space to provide width (even if someone is playing in the WB position, such play is outside the scope of this tactic and should be avoided at all cost) which meant that the penalty box was constantly being overcrowded. If nothing else, attempting to build this tactic has proven to me that there is such a thing as too many attacking players!
  • Inside Forwards - The right IF is still a Support APM. Aside from the Roaming changes I've given the right Inisde Forward an Attack duty to essentially turn him into a second striker. This makes the attack far more potent and takes the pressure off the main striker while still keeping with the ethos of the system.
  • Wingers - No Roaming and they are now on Support duty. As far as I can tell the original 2-3-5 Pyramid system would have had to two AMs on Support with everyone in the final strata on Attack, however with the close passing of the Whirl this tended to stretch the play too much for my liking.
  • Small annoyance - The wingers are constantly being treated by the game as playing as wide strikers (a common complaint I'm sure). It's nothing too major but for anyone unaware of this be prepared to have a few messages from your coaches about playing your wingers in an "uncomfortable" position.

Attack:

  • Target Man - Or AFW without any roaming since there isn't too much changes in the instructions. I've rotated all six (Lewandowski, Liedson, Rooney, Berbatov, Welbeck, Hernandez) of my strikers with three of them (Berbatov, Rooney and Hernandez) spending a lot of time in the AM roles so none are really scoring a massive amount of goals but none outside of Berbatov have a poor goals-to-game ratio. My advice would be to treat this very much like any other 1-striker formation and not have too many options upfront if they aren't versatile in any way.
  • Der Papierene (Sindelar) - In the last month (December) I have been attempting to shift the tactic from the basic Whirl to the Wunderteam system. Admittedly this is almost solely down to the type of striker used however everyone should be aware that moving away from a TM/AFW and using a TQ instead will fundamentally shift the way your team attacks. To keep in the tradition of the Wunderteam, the TQ needs to be a slight version of a Berbatov/Cantona and not the powerful Rooney type playmaking striker. Come deep, dance across the pitch and score/set up an attack without worrying about anything else are his orders.

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Excellent update 7Bestie7, really am enjoying this thread.

I think the system Im currently working on is very similar to your Danubian, I like to think it does take a little bit of inspiration from the original Whirl, but with a few tweaks. :) looks a little something like this:

------------GK------------

-DR----DC----DC----DL-

------------DM-----------

---------------------------

-------AMCR-AMCL------

--W--------ST--------W--

I know it isnt a true Whirl as the full backs are not Wing Backs but besides from that I think it is a pretty accurate representation shape wise. The roles are :

Goalkeeper - Standard goalkeeper, no explanation really needed

DR/DL - Full Backs Attack, This is where I try to create the true Whirl, even though the starting position of my half backs are in the full back position they are encouraged to fly forward creating the 2 at the back.

DC - Central defenders Defend, Standard center backs, again no real explantion needed.

Defensive Midfield - DLP Defend, I started with a Anchor Man, kept all instructions the same but switched to a DLP just increasing passing and through balls to direct and sometimes respectively. Wanted the defensive positioning of an Anchor Man but with the passing range of a DLP.

AMCL/R - Inside forwards Attack/Support Ive kept an attack and a support duty simply to keep a bit of varitation between them. This is the position im most unsure about

STR/STL - Wingers Attack, Provide width and get crosses into the box. Reallt strecth the defence as wide as possible.

Striker - DLF Support, The other key difference between this formation and the original Whirl is the striker. The original whirl had the classic battering ram of a striker. Ive gone for a more intelligent striker, want him to open up space for the two IFs to cut into. Sometimes changes to a AF if I find space is tight and I want to strect the play.

Id love to hear your input on it 7Bestie7, sort of a nod to the Whirl of old, with a couple of modern twists on it.

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And now I'm going to give you my thoughts on the PPMs to look for/avoid throughout the Whirl:

Centre-Backs: Anything that is attacking you must avoid, train out of your players or shift them into a different position. Remember this is about recreating the Whirl, not trying to use it as a base for a modern tactic (which I can talk about separately if anyone is interested) and this means you have standard defenders at the back. I refuse to use Phil Jones at CB and instead only use him in the DM positions to allow his PPMs of getting forward to be integrated into the system.

Half-Backs: I would say this is a personal choice position, far more than any others, but I would suggest at least one of your HBs to have no style PPMs at all. Depending on your preference you can use the centre-half as a regista or deep-lying Box midfielder so these type of PPMs are perfectly workable and should be encouraged. However the wide backs are the more defensive options and it wasn't well known for them to go charging up field to leave the centre-backs all alone. If you're playing with a regista then one of the others being this deep Box player against a weaker team should be fine if you still keep the other in a defensive mindset (or balance the Box PPMs with a Defend duty). The balance here is to aim for a central attacker who links the midfield and AMs while having the other two deep enough to provide cover for a breakaway.

Attacking Midfielders: I know I mentioned early in this thread that I didn't want to use Rooney and Berbatov in the AM positions because of their Comes Deep PPM. I'm going to contradict myself here and say that I like this with one of the AMs (preferably the APM) as it creates the link between the DMs and attack. However this playing style was not a big component in the early years of football and I have found that the team doesn't suffer too much if you go with the "proper" way and make sure your AMs don't have this. Obviously with the Whirl you want possession style PPMs for both positions. Plays 1-2s and simple passes should give you the results you want while Dictates play for the APM and shots from distance for the IF aren't required (since their role will demand that) but are a nice addiction to have.

Wingers: Your wingers should absolutely NOT have anything related to playing on the wings. "Runs down..." is a big no, as is cutting inside, hugs touchline or finds channels. These wingers should not be thought of as traditional wide men like we know them. Cutting inside is too adventurous for the Whirl, hugging the touchline can separate winger from striker even if the occasional cross is fine. Playing 1-2s and/or simple passes is a nice addition that ends up keeping everyone close but avoids overcrowding areas.

Striker: I would say that anything that has him playing like a DFW (comes deep) or a poacher (breaks offside) is a big no. The point of the Whirl (and Wunderteam) is that the striker is as much a part of the passing process as the other attackers. While he may end up deeper than the other players, if you aren't looking for a Sindelar then this isn't a required PPM as it takes away from him being a focal point. This may sound contradictory but the flow of a game will allow for someone to come deep and pass the ball to a more advanced winger/inside forward and keep your striker generally higher up the pitch. Actually playing with the TQ role and a player who Comes Deep is another matter entirely and you may end up frustrated with some of his movements if you've never tried a TQ striker before.

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Excellent update 7Bestie7, really am enjoying this thread.

I think the system Im currently working on is very similar to your Danubian, I like to think it does take a little bit of inspiration from the original Whirl, but with a few tweaks. :) looks a little something like this:

------------GK------------

-DR----DC----DC----DL-

------------DM-----------

---------------------------

-------AMCR-AMCL------

--W--------ST--------W--

This is very much the defensive positioning of my players when I use the WB slots.

DR/DL - Full Backs Attack, This is where I try to create the true Whirl, even though the starting position of my half backs are in the full back position they are encouraged to fly forward creating the 2 at the back.

I would change them to Support. Attack could push the full backs too high and create a dual-winger situation on both flanks. Support adds that little "hey boy, calm down" and so they're relatively close to the midfield area.

AMCL/R - Inside forwards Attack/Support Ive kept an attack and a support duty simply to keep a bit of varitation between them. This is the position im most unsure about

I found that even though the wingers were really the Attack players in the old 2-3-5/W-W systems, in FM they are far too high up to really do much more damage than if I have them on Support. And there's an interesting quote in the book slamming the English use of only using the AMs as providers and wingers as scorers. I think balancing the AMs out between one Support and one Attack is perfectly fine. You have to treat this partnership as if they were two strikers with one the creator and one the goal scorer. Instead of it being a:

ST - ST

AMc

It's:

AM

ST - ST

Not quite but enough to help you work out what to do with each AM.

STR/STL - Wingers Attack, Provide width and get crosses into the box. Reallt strecth the defence as wide as possible.

Striker - DLF Support, The other key difference between this formation and the original Whirl is the striker. The original whirl had the classic battering ram of a striker. Ive gone for a more intelligent striker, want him to open up space for the two IFs to cut into. Sometimes changes to a AF if I find space is tight and I want to strect the play.

This sounds to me as if you're looking to merge the English wingers with a Sindelar striker. The original Whirl wasn't about a lot of crosses but rather quick passes and it's this that really set itself apart from the English systems at the time. If you're really wanting to combine these two modes of playing you need to make sure your striker doesn't drop deep when your winger is going to cross the ball. If you really want to have the width then having both the AMs on Attack to push them into the penalty box might give you better results but then you're moving away from the Whirl of Austria and into the realm of the Hungarian team of the 50s (which I'll be doing a thread on later).

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This is very much the defensive positioning of my players when I use the WB slots.

I would change them to Support. Attack could push the full backs too high and create a dual-winger situation on both flanks. Support adds that little "hey boy, calm down" and so they're relatively close to the midfield area.

Yeah good point there, its worked well enough for me in pre season but I havnt played anyone of any real threat(Im using an updated Chelsea) maybe that will be better for tougher games.

I found that even though the wingers were really the Attack players in the old 2-3-5/W-W systems, in FM they are far too high up to really do much more damage than if I have them on Support.

Ive always been under the impression a support duty makes them drop a little deeper so they can turn and run at the full backs. This would probably help with possesion but maybe not with the quick counters I have been seeing. I may keep one attack one support.

And there's an interesting quote in the book slamming the English use of only using the AMs as providers and wingers as scorers. I think balancing the AMs out between one Support and one Attack is perfectly fine. You have to treat this partnership as if they were two strikers with one the creator and one the goal scorer. Instead of it being a:

ST - ST

AMc

It's:

AM

ST - ST

Not quite but enough to help you work out what to do with each AM.

I know what your saying. I may try a Attacking midfielder attack(Lampard/OScar) and a AP Support(Mata/Hazard/Oscar) that will give the creator goal scorer combo whilist still capitalising on space left my the DLF as the AM will drive into the space.

This sounds to me as if you're looking to merge the English wingers with a Sindelar striker. The original Whirl wasn't about a lot of crosses but rather quick passes and it's this that really set itself apart from the English systems at the time. If you're really wanting to combine these two modes of playing you need to make sure your striker doesn't drop deep when your winger is going to cross the ball. If you really want to have the width then having both the AMs on Attack to push them into the penalty box might give you better results but then you're moving away from the Whirl of Austria and into the realm of the Hungarian team of the 50s (which I'll be doing a thread on later).

Didnt even think of the DLF dropping and the wingers crossing to nobody, cheers for pointing that out. As I said sometimes I do switch to a AF (Torres) to try and create a focal point and stretch the play but other than that I like the DLF as it helps to create holes in the defence. I did start with a carbon copy of your Whirl above, but have evolved it over a short space of time to adapt players available and the nature of the EPL to try and keep a bit more defensive solidarity.

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Ive always been under the impression a support duty makes them drop a little deeper so they can turn and run at the full backs. This would probably help with possesion but maybe not with the quick counters I have been seeing. I may keep one attack one support.

It does. However even with both my wingers on Support I'm often seeing them actually in advance of my TM. Having the wingers in the STL/R slots should mean that Support doesn't take too much away from your attacking threat on the wings.

Didnt even think of the DLF dropping and the wingers crossing to nobody, cheers for pointing that out. As I said sometimes I do switch to a AF (Torres) to try and create a focal point and stretch the play but other than that I like the DLF as it helps to create holes in the defence. I did start with a carbon copy of your Whirl above, but have evolved it over a short space of time to adapt players available and the nature of the EPL to try and keep a bit more defensive solidarity.

And that works for you. Unfortunately my aim here wasn't to update/adapt the Whirl at all but look to see if I could recreate it as accurately as possible and still be a winning side. If I were to amend the Whirl into something more akin to my personal style of play then it would end up being an asymmetric system. I would use a DMR/L behind a winger and a WBL/R opposite with an inside forward ahead. The half back provides the defensive base, the wingback gives width when the wide IF becomes my main striker. The striker would be a DLF or TQ with one of the AMs (on the same side as the winger) being an inside forward pushing forward. The other AM (APM) would essentially sit behind the wide IF cutting in and be providing the through balls.

This would result in the right winger able to cross long for the incoming outside left or short for the inside right to shoot. The TQ drops in to make a hole for either inside forwards to charge into and the APM is running the show. Essentially it becomes a cross between the Whirl and the Hungarian team of the 50s.

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It does. However even with both my wingers on Support I'm often seeing them actually in advance of my TM. Having the wingers in the STL/R slots should mean that Support doesn't take too much away from your attacking threat on the wings.

Yeah that seems to make sense, also if my wingers are starting from deeper it will give midfielders time to get up into the box.

And that works for you. Unfortunately my aim here wasn't to update/adapt the Whirl at all but look to see if I could recreate it as accurately as possible and still be a winning side. If I were to amend the Whirl into something more akin to my personal style of play then it would end up being an asymmetric system. I would use a DMR/L behind a winger and a WBL/R opposite with an inside forward ahead. The half back provides the defensive base, the wingback gives width when the wide IF becomes my main striker. The striker would be a DLF or TQ with one of the AMs (on the same side as the winger) being an inside forward pushing forward. The other AM (APM) would essentially sit behind the wide IF cutting in and be providing the through balls.

This would result in the right winger able to cross long for the incoming outside left or short for the inside right to shoot. The TQ drops in to make a hole for either inside forwards to charge into and the APM is running the show. Essentially it becomes a cross between the Whirl and the Hungarian team of the 50s.

I know what your saying, just thought Id put my thoughts in anyway hope you dont mind as it is a slight varitaion. Intersting thoughts on how youd adapt though, the setup of the two AM's seems very good although I do want to keep two wingers as that will stretch the play horizontally leaving space for the two AM's and the striker to work in. I wanted to keep my defensive unit pretty standard to start with as I wasnt sure how it would cope with the demands of the EPL. If it is working ok i may play with the defence a bit to make it a bit more useful with the ball as well as without it.

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I know what your saying, just thought Id put my thoughts in anyway hope you dont mind as it is a slight varitaion. Intersting thoughts on how youd adapt though, the setup of the two AM's seems very good although I do want to keep two wingers as that will stretch the play horizontally leaving space for the two AM's and the striker to work in. I wanted to keep my defensive unit pretty standard to start with as I wasnt sure how it would cope with the demands of the EPL. If it is working ok i may play with the defence a bit to make it a bit more useful with the ball as well as without it.

I don't mind at all. The Pyramid/W-W is an incredibly flexible tactic and if tweaking the Whirl turns out to be a winning formula for you then all the better for it.

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