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There have been some fantastic threads around here recently that I have very much enjoyed reading, which has made me eager to whip up something of myself. I heavily pondered starting a dissection of a 3-7-0 system I'd created, which some of you may seen posted in a thread about sweepers a couple of weeks ago, so much so I had a few paragraphs typed out and ready - anyway, I choose against that as it's heavily based around lots of neat short passing and winning by a war of attrition through the medium of possession - this can be rather dull on the eye, and generally rather boring unless your into all that.

Back to the drawing board then, in search of something a bit more eye-catching and functional then? Until very recently, probably a couple of hours a ago I had what would be deemed a light bulb moment. Replying to a post in another thread on the topic the Ajax side of 95' - consequently I found the further reading into a team, and was fascinated by a team and a system that I had always been aware of, but never really knew too much about. This therefore started that age old FM gamer and tactical enthusiast's ponder - 'How could I make this work in FM?'.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

'How could this work in FM' I thought, and to find out I loaded up an earlier save file of the Arsenal game I'm managing to allow me to make a practice shot at it right away, made plenty of tweaks and changes to the 3-7-0 system I was using, and wen't straight into a game to see what it was all about, and here's how it turned out;

7729082076_1e7a05cd4a_c.jpg

I shall draw heavy inspiration from the great work SRL88 has done with his two threads recently, and shall hope his format of a write-up of a certain aspect of the tactic accompanied with a screenshot or two isn't copyrighted - as this is what I intend to do, and already after playing just the one game with this system I have plenty of, hopefully interesting ideas and potential tactical analysis floating around my head.

After a quick search of the forums I see plenty of Ajax tactical threads have gone before me, so I don't confess to reinventing any wheel, but what I hopefully can do is give you a further insight into what I feel to be a noval and innovative approach, the use of three sweepers again. Anyway, here goes..

#1 - Tactical shape and set-up;

After reading a few articles and generally gauging how Van Gaal's Ajax side where set-up this is the initial set-up that I plumped for, 3-4-3 1.0 if you will. This may change, but I think the overall positioning of the players, and forward runs etc. is what I'm looking for.

7729131526_c970fc8f29_z.jpg

Sweeper - Set up in the middle of the back three as your traditional sweeper, more so a liberio in this instance actually - although in this case of Ajax 95', my rather limited knowledge doesn't indicate whether Danny Blind was strictly a sweeper or was allowed to move forward?

Center Back Right/Left - Consider these to be two center backs, just positioned in sweeper positions - for reasons I hope to explain later in the thread. These two will be assigned the task of marking the oppositions forwards, and hopefully nullifying their attack.

Anchor-man - There to help, with the assistance of the Sweeping liberio to link defensive to the midfield, and form an extra defensive barrier in front the two man marker.

Center Midfielders - Due to such personnel in my squad being of the more creatively attacking variety I intend to embrace this, and look to use these positions as, along with the attacking midfielder as the creative engine room of the team. Currently I only have two recognized defensive, box-to-box midfielders in my squad of which I'd consider this position in the system best set for - Yann M'Vila and Alex Song, and with one of the two being fielded as an anchor man, it's a position, that depending on how well this project goes may well see a new face brought in for the next season. These two positions will get through a lot of work, and will be designated the defensive responsibilities of tracking the wide midfielders of the opposition in a 4-4-2.

Attacking-Midfielder - I seem to have an abundance of talent that can fit this role, but it's a role that will be required to drop into the midfield when needed, whilst still being that no. 10 creative spark. I can afford to creative in my tactical deployment in this position I feel due to my selection of players that can fit the role - Rooney, Ozil, Thiago, Wilshere and even Ramsey - so this is an area where I'd be interested on how I could tactically diversify between the players; for example I'm thinking if I want to set this guy up to run at the back four I'd pick an Ozil, or to join up with the striker from deep Rooney, where as Ramsey or Thiago could really fit the classic feeding through balls from infront of the defence without really venturing wide - so thoughts there maybe!

Wingers - From what I've picked up on Van Gaal's system, I've found these two positions to be most interesting. As I say, I'm no expert on how the Ajax side set-up or played as of yet, but from what I've gleaned so far these two players weren't set-up in the conventional winger role - in a sense that you would see Overmars in his days at Arsenal really terrorize the opposing full back through running with the ball - here I gather they were primarily asked to provide the width for the team, maintain possession in an attacking territory and generally stretch the opposing defense. Due to the potentially high-numbers of offensive players in an attacking play (RW, ST, LW, AM, CM, CM) if these two players are right on the touch line drawing the attentions of the full backs it would at first instance look to create wider gaps that can be penetrated in the oppositions defense; therefore, for those reasons I am going to firstly limited these guys running with the ball and through balls and see how I get on from there.

Striker - I haven't been able to pick up too much information on how Patrick Kluivert operated in this position in the Ajax 95' side, with the articles I've read being based around other players in the system - but I'm going to go for a stab in the dark and set up my forward in a poacher type role - not venturing wide, and looking to feast on through balls played in behind.

So that was my first thoughts and generally how I set out a side in their first match in the new system/shape against Liverpool. Liverpool played a regular 4-4-2 which was near perfect for these purposes. Allowing me to man mark their two forwards whilst having a man spare defensively, also allowing me to ask my two central midfielders to track their two wide midfielders when they ventured into potentially unmanned wide areas.

Next time around..

The next post I intend to put up will show the Tactical Instructions I've given the side, as well as the individual tactical instruction for the players as I'm hopeful some of you may be eager to see; coupled with me interested on how I can make any tweaks, improvements and any general tactical discussion or insight on this current system, and even the Ajax of 95'.

Before I leave you for this post I made on more screen shot from the Liverpool win that I'll post up; pretty self-explanitory, but just outlining the basic shape again. You should be able to notice how the sweeper is positioned slightly ahead of the center backs, indicating his willingness to venture forward at certain points, as well as hopefully a decent spread across the width of the pitch my center backs look to occupy - possibly dispelling the myth that the ME doesn't allow center backs into wide areas in a back 3 - albeit they are positioned as sweepers, just man-marking sweepers! <Oxymoron?

7729083588_0c2876dd12_z.jpg

Thanks for reading :)

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I know there have been many threads about Van Gaal's formation over the years of FM and as the first CL final i ever watched on TV, i always find them interesting, always have to wonder if it was the tactic, or the fact that he had some ridiculously good players in it :p

In answer to your question about Danny Blind, i don't think he roamed forward a whole lot, he was actually a pretty good passer, but with the likes of Rijkaard and Davids ahead of him, there wasn't really much point to having him push up, when he could just get the ball to one of them instead.

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I know there have been many threads about Van Gaal's formation over the years of FM and as the first CL final i ever watched on TV, i always find them interesting, always have to wonder if it was the tactic, or the fact that he had some ridiculously good players in it :p

In answer to your question about Danny Blind, i don't think he roamed forward a whole lot, he was actually a pretty good passer, but with the likes of Rijkaard and Davids ahead of him, there wasn't really much point to having him push up, when he could just get the ball to one of them instead.

They were my initial thoughts actually, that he was a more reserved sweeper, for instance when compared with someone like Bechenbeur! In the match played with the set up so far I had Rapheal Varane in that role, flanked by Bartley and Vermealen -- an all round, quick, atheltic defender, but can also play in holding midfield so comfortable on the ball. He was set up in a way that allowed him to bring the ball over the half way line, but then would move into the space of the dm (M'Vila) so would more or less just play the ball to him after bringing it out of the back line.

Haven't had too much of a chance to field the set up really. It's the business end of the season so to speak, and I have had a CL quarter final to negotiate and a couple of tricky ties in the league - all of which have been against 4231/41221, making it doubly dfficilt due to the challenges you face when in a back 3 vs 1 foward situation -something I'll write about if isn't already alluded too maybe.

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Dont know much about the Ajax side of 95' more like you, heard of them but dont know much about them. Formation looks really interesting, I really want to try the three sweeper defenders rather than a standard back four/three but I simply dont have the personel. Trying to decide whether its worth a complete new save simply for the fun of creating a three at the back sweeper formation as you detailed above. What sort of attributes do you look for? I presume the central sweeper will be more composed on the ball as he is going to step up and join the DM/midfield stratas wheres the other two should be more conventional center backs. Strong, good in the air, good marking etc etc?

You mention the 3 at the back against a one man striker formation? How do you think it would work switching to two sweepers who will cover the striker and having two DM or maybe even wing backs to cover the AML/R in the 4231/41221 respectively. Or do you think that would be a little to short of numbers at the back, as it does seem very defensively weak?

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Dont know much about the Ajax side of 95' more like you, heard of them but dont know much about them. Formation looks really interesting, I really want to try the three sweeper defenders rather than a standard back four/three but I simply dont have the personel. Trying to decide whether its worth a complete new save simply for the fun of creating a three at the back sweeper formation as you detailed above. What sort of attributes do you look for? I presume the central sweeper will be more composed on the ball as he is going to step up and join the DM/midfield stratas wheres the other two should be more conventional center backs. Strong, good in the air, good marking etc etc?

Due to me managing a top side I can really have the cream of the crop so to speak, so you along the right lines there - the two 'marking sweepers' that are under all intense of purposes center backs will be your general center back (marking, tackling etc. etc.), with the sweeper being all of these as well plus being good on the ball, and quick for him to be able to cover ground. At the moment I only really have Vermaelen and Kyle Bartley that can play in the marking roles, so may go out splash some cash on a center back for the next season. I'm interested in playing Alex Song in a very creative liberio role at some point if I can, he's played center back previously, and been re-trained to sweeper - he's got some excellent defensive stats plus a high passing stat that has been trained over a few seasons to fit him into a deep-lying playmaker in previous set-ups - but at the moment he'l play an important role in midfield. Varane will be my only player that can play the sweeping role really - he's developed int a formidable defender, but can also play in an defensive mid role so decent on the ball for a center back.

You mention the 3 at the back against a one man striker formation? How do you think it would work switching to two sweepers who will cover the striker and having two DM or maybe even wing backs to cover the AML/R in the 4231/41221 respectively. Are do you think that would be a little to short of numbers at the bacl?

I've been thinking of this, and have come to the conclusion that a back four of some variety would probably be best way to go. The idea of having one extra defender, the sweeper, against two forwards works well, but against one striker your left short else where on the pitch. I thought that I'd be able to stick with one marking defender to pick up the forward, paired with a sweeper, with two wing backs to track the wide men - this will able me to carry the mantra of having a spare defender against the opposing attack.

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Due to me managing a top side I can really have the cream of the crop so to speak, so you along the right lines there - the two 'marking sweepers' that are under all intense of purposes center backs will be your general center back (marking, tackling etc. etc.), with the sweeper being all of these as well plus being good on the ball, and quick for him to be able to cover ground. At the moment I only really have Vermaelen and Kyle Bartley that can play in the marking roles, so may go out splash some cash on a center back for the next season. I'm interested in playing Alex Song in a very creative liberio role at some point if I can, he's played center back previously, and been re-trained to sweeper - he's got some excellent defensive stats plus a high passing stat that has been trained over a few seasons to fit him into a deep-lying playmaker in previous set-ups - but at the moment he'l play an important role in midfield. Varane will be my only player that can play the sweeping role really - he's developed int a formidable defender, but can also play in an defensive mid role so decent on the ball for a center back.

Yeah I thought that would work best, Song seems perfect to me really. I also think Javi Martinez would be an idea player for that position. A retrained DM is probably best although im sure three excellent defensive players wouldnt do much harm. I love playing three at the back but have never been able to get it working, but as you detail here and in that other thread (which thread was that, cant for the life of me find it?) you say it works a lot better.

I've been thinking of this, and have come to the conclusion that a back four of some variety would probably be best way to go. The idea of having one extra defender, the sweeper, against two forwards works well, but against one striker your left short else where on the pitch. I thought that I'd be able to stick with one marking defender to pick up the forward, paired with a sweeper, with two wing backs to track the wide men - this will able me to carry the mantra of having a spare defender against the opposing attack.

Yeah, I set up a similar system with the early years of my Montepellier save, built a tactic and squad to play in the Bielsa style, high press and more importantly the mantra of having one more defender than attacker, took me to second in Ligue 1 in my first season so wasnt half bad :p Are you thinking wing backs in the full back position or in the wing back position if that makes sense? Could you not play a standard three at the back i.e. DC/DL/DR with a sweper tucked in behind, if you set the DC to a stopper that should keep the striker slap bang in the middle of the two central defenders, which should negate his threat. Some form of full back would also be vital as most one striker formations utilise some form of wide attackers so a wingback/full back would be vital.

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Yeah I thought that would work best, Song seems perfect to me really. I also think Javi Martinez would be an idea player for that position. A retrained DM is probably best although im sure three excellent defensive players wouldnt do much harm. I love playing three at the back but have never been able to get it working, but as you detail here and in that other thread (which thread was that, cant for the life of me find it?) you say it works a lot better.

Haven't had too much time to crack on with this tactical project as I thought, but I should be able to get some more stuff of notable substance up shortly.

The more I'm reading about the 3 at the back systems the more I'm just won over by their potential effectiveness. For next season I'm planning on bringing in a couple of new faces that can add a different dimension to the side - pretty much looking for a defensive midfielder, that could also double as a sweeper or liberio (Javi Martinez, Inigo Martinez, Sven Bender, Sandro, Oriol Romeu), a marking center back who will be retrained to play in the marking sweeper roles (Sakho, P.Jones, K.Zouma plus a few other) and possibly a box-to-box midfielder (Felliani, Alaba, Rodwell). Have scouted those names plus many more, and have yet to really find any value shall we say, for example Zouma being quoted at £64M eeeek!

Regarding the three at the back thread it was this one here. I'd highly reccomened starting up a save and having play around with this set up with sweepers, as I've yet to see anybody else use it anywhere else, other than the guy I inspired to experiment in that thread; so would be nice to share some discussion with a fellow 'sweeper'.

Yeah, I set up a similar system with the early years of my Montepellier save, built a tactic and squad to play in the Bielsa style, high press and more importantly the mantra of having one more defender than attacker, took me to second in Ligue 1 in my first season so wasnt half bad :p Are you thinking wing backs in the full back position or in the wing back position if that makes sense? Could you not play a standard three at the back i.e. DC/DL/DR with a sweper tucked in behind, if you set the DC to a stopper that should keep the striker slap bang in the middle of the two central defenders, which should negate his threat. Some form of full back would also be vital as most one striker formations utilise some form of wide attackers so a wingback/full back would be vital.

I think playing with a back three with a sweeper behind would mean that the sweeper and center back are lined up vertically, instead of in a horizontal manor - something that will help defend space a lot better I feel. Initial thoughts where to have a sweeper, marking sweeper, two attacking full backs/wing backs with an anchor man infront. But will cross that bridge and experiment when I can. Since devising this project I've only managed to play four games in my save (one being pre-dated test game in the OP), with the other three being Man United twice in the CL QFs and once in the league (4-2-3-1 or varient) along with Chelsea, who also play with a lone strike. So I haven't had the luxury to experiment with these defensive set-ups against a single striker, instead going with my seemingly trusted 3-7-0 setup.

Have some games against Everton, West Brom and Burnley in my end of season run in, I expect them to field a 4-4-2 which I can finally use my 3-4-3 in, so will be able to get some more analyses up soon!

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#2 Team Instruction 1.0

7737598418_5971b6aa63_c.jpg

Here you should be able to see how I've gone about setting this system up. I've tried to keep the philosophy of short passing within the side, although from watching a few videos of the 95' Ajax side I can see they were more direct at times in their passing - but easing the side out of the old system that featured this style of passing whilst adding a quicker tempo to the play should try and get the team playing forward just in a shorter range of passing. This already I feel may need tweaking after viewing the below match in full I'm struggling to really pin back the opposition territorially, something that could also be down to a stricter setting of mentalities across the team, but also down to restricted passing - noticing that crosses aren't being put in in some cases or through balls being played through, something I'm not certain, but sure can be restricted by the range of passing plus other factors.

Any feedback on this set-up is welcome, and any approaches I can take as this can be considered the base model from which things will be molded from.

Playmaker; AMC

Target man; ST

7737600506_e84012b250_c.jpg

Everton lined up in a 442 so gave me a chance to give the system a run out in it's first competitive sense, and went according to plan I'd have to say. Completely dominated Everton in the first 45mins, with combination of their front two being being marked out of the game by Thomas Vermelaen and stand in center back Yann M'Vila and intense pressing over the pitch meant for the most part they were struggling to play their way forward, or crosses from deep which my defence where able to head clear. I went in at the HT break much the better side, with Everton failing to take a single shot despite the score being 0-0. Second half came and Cavani poached home a ball drilled across into the 6-yard box from a short corner to give me the lead. Everton reacted to going down a goal by changing their shape to a 4-1-2-2-1, thus rendering my 3-4-3 obsolete - I changed tactically as well, as this image taken will show;

7737601066_abdcf0a335.jpg

The changes made here show a back four with #8 M'Vila marking Everton's #22, whilst Vermealen was shifted to left back and picked up the RW #10 Bressan. To complete the back four I sacrificed a center midfielder, Thiago who was tiring and brought on #18 Montoya to play right back and mark the LW #35; this therefore left #4 Varane to carry on as normal as a liberio/sweeper - working to great affect, acting as the distribution feed out of defence through either running or passing into midfield. I initially kept my two wingers in the RW/L positions, but moved them back and asked them to track the full backs runs forward as I noticed pretty quickly that they were given license to run forward.

The second goal from Cavani's was exactly what I would be looking for I'd say - a simple one on one finish after he found space between the shoulder of the CB and LB about 25 yards out, for Ozil to play a simple through ball into an area for him to run into. The third came from build up play around the box, eventually finding Oxlade Chamberlain #15 wide right who crossed into the six yard box for Lansbury as sub for Ozil in AMC to tap in (his first ever goal for Arsenal coming in 2015!).

You can see this sort of play between Ozil and Cavani here in the form of Kluivert and Litamanen in the Ajax side I'm drawing inspiration from;

[video=youtube;M6qHiJ7lI2E]

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Haven't had too much time to crack on with this tactical project as I thought, but I should be able to get some more stuff of notable substance up shortly.

The more I'm reading about the 3 at the back systems the more I'm just won over by their potential effectiveness. For next season I'm planning on bringing in a couple of new faces that can add a different dimension to the side - pretty much looking for a defensive midfielder, that could also double as a sweeper or liberio (Javi Martinez, Inigo Martinez, Sven Bender, Sandro, Oriol Romeu), a marking center back who will be retrained to play in the marking sweeper roles (Sakho, P.Jones, K.Zouma plus a few other) and possibly a box-to-box midfielder (Felliani, Alaba, Rodwell). Have scouted those names plus many more, and have yet to really find any value shall we say, for example Zouma being quoted at £64M eeeek!

They are extremely effective when used in the right situation. Although a standard three at the back (DC/DC/DC or DL/DC/DR) are very hard to get working in the ME. THe DC/DC/DC offers no protection on the wings and the ME isnt intelligent enough to get your DCL to move over and pressure the AMR even though he is just marking a space. The DL/DC/DR is the complete opposite, leaves big holes in the defence which can be easily split with an through ball and a striker with an ounce of pace, the DL/DR dont tuck in like you would instruct them to IRL. Your SWL/SWC/SWRsystem in your sweeping fullbacks thread though, if your telling the truth and not lying to us ;), seems to work very well. which could be an answer to all my problems.

Regarding the three at the back thread it was this one here. I'd highly reccomened starting up a save and having play around with this set up with sweepers, as I've yet to see anybody else use it anywhere else, other than the guy I inspired to experiment in that thread; so would be nice to share some discussion with a fellow 'sweeper'.

How I missed that thread I have no idea, slightly embarrased now :p. Yeah I am definately going to try it, im currently working on a pivot system (not sure if youve seen the thread on it) so going to try and build on that first. Ive got a few different ideas im going to try and pull together into one tactic though, and it will be mostly based around this thread here so Ill be a big contributor once it gets going and I find some spare time, going to try and couple it with this and the pivot system between the MC's and the AMC. Excited to do it, just dont have the time at the moment.

I think playing with a back three with a sweeper behind would mean that the sweeper and center back are lined up vertically, instead of in a horizontal manor - something that will help defend space a lot better I feel. Initial thoughts where to have a sweeper, marking sweeper, two attacking full backs/wing backs with an anchor man infront. But will cross that bridge and experiment when I can. Since devising this project I've only managed to play four games in my save (one being pre-dated test game in the OP), with the other three being Man United twice in the CL QFs and once in the league (4-2-3-1 or varient) along with Chelsea, who also play with a lone strike. So I haven't had the luxury to experiment with these defensive set-ups against a single striker, instead going with my seemingly trusted 3-7-0 setup.

Have some games against Everton, West Brom and Burnley in my end of season run in, I expect them to field a 4-4-2 which I can finally use my 3-4-3 in, so will be able to get some more analyses up soon!

Yeah thats exactly what I was thinking, something like this:

55741661.jpg

With the blue being the defenders and the red being the attacker. Although my one problem would be the gaps between the DL/DR and the DC. I think a good through ball could split it open, especially if the swepeer is occupied with the striker. I think with some tweaking you could be on to something absoloutely brilliant though here tommonufc, if I didnt have a job interview next week I need to prepare for Id be already tweaking.

EDIT: just looking at your team instructions part of the thread, is that a back four compromising completely of sweepers?

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How I missed that thread I have no idea, slightly embarrased now :p. Yeah I am definately going to try it, im currently working on a pivot system (not sure if youve seen the thread on it) so going to try and build on that first. Ive got a few different ideas im going to try and pull together into one tactic though, and it will be mostly based around this thread here so Ill be a big contributor once it gets going and I find some spare time, going to try and couple it with this and the pivot system between the MC's and the AMC. Excited to do it, just dont have the time at the moment.

Yeah I enjoyed reading the triple pivot thread - I had a similar set-up in a Chelsea save that has now been deemed defunct due to me adding and removing too many leages, thus adding 100,000s of players into game and grounding it to a halt - but yeah I had a DMr, CMl, AMCr, AMC, AML midfield set up that was pretty fluid together.

Yeah thats exactly what I was thinking, something like this:

55741661.jpg

With the blue being the defenders and the red being the attacker. Although my one problem would be the gaps between the DL/DR and the DC. I think a good through ball could split it open, especially if the swepeer is occupied with the striker. I think with some tweaking you could be on to something absoloutely brilliant though here tommonufc, if I didnt have a job interview next week I need to prepare for Id be already tweaking.

This was something that annoyed me when previously trying to set up a back three, that when playing a wide back three the central space would become over run, and with a narrow set-up the wider of the three center backs wouldn't move wide to spread the back line across the pitch and defend the space well. As you've probably picked up on from reading the initial thread on sweepers, my experimentation was born out of trying to plug a potentially leaky wide back 3 that was vulnerable to balls over the top, due to the high line I was playing - this then saw me move the RB, CB, and LB all back a strata, and I was amazed at how they worked in terms of defending the space behind them, as well as their mobility. The simplest example I can give would be from a short goal kick, they will all move in to form what would look like a narrow back three, and as the ball is moved about the back line and the build up is starting they will then spread wide to maximise the space of the pitch - just brilliant in terms of the possession football I love to play.

I really like the ideas behind the latest thread there! I had a similar idea when putting together my 3-7-0 that it would be great to a have, in essence a team full of playmakers - a modern take on total football meats Spain's tiki-taka; and with some tweaking to make it more functional in terms of creating chances, and adding in some man marking duties like we are seeing in these threads it could be a winner. Haven't had a chance to read all the way through just yet as I write here, but I should be able to make some contributions over there - already got a interesting article I'm trying to source on Zonal Marking regarding how central playmakers look to move wide from central positions now the space that a traditional #10 would occupy is filled with anchor men and defensive midfielders.

EDIT: just looking at your team instructions part of the thread, is that a back four compromising completely of sweepers?

Yes it would be; when Everton moved to a single striker, I, in very simple terms moved to a back four made up of sweepers - with one man marking, two full backs set to mark loosely the wide men, and a liberio central sweeper.

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Interesting thread. I've always found the 3-4-3 fascinating but also difficult to implement in FM. I know others may have had more success implementing it. For example I'm Cleon had success with 3-4-3.

As for Ajax '95, they were set up usually like this:

GK - Van der Saar

SW - Blind

DR - Reiziger

DL - Frank de Boer

DM - Rijkaard

MCR - Seedorf

MCL - Davids

AM - Litmanen

AMR - Finidi

AML - Overmars

ST - Ronald de Boer

This was their starting XI in the 1995 CL final vs Milan. Ronald de Boer also played in midfield, while either Kluivert or Kanu would be the striker. Blind didn't roam too much from his position as he was old by the mid 90s.

As for implementing it in FM, I'm a little confused as the screenshots show the use of the Classic model instead of the TC, which is what I use. I guess if I was to use the TC, I would set up as:

Fluid Philosophy

Control Strategy

Shorter passing

Press more

Drill crosses

The rest on default (to emulate Ajax 95)

GK = Sweeper Keeper - defend

SW = Sweeper - defend

DR = Fullback - defend

DL = Fullback - defend

DM = Anchor man - defend

MCR = Deep-lying playmaker - support

MCL = Deep-lying playmaker - support

AM = Attacking Midfielder - attack

AMR = Winger - support

AML = Winger - support

STC = Complete Forward - support

There aren't that many sweepers in FM, so perhaps a Central Defender on cover duty would be more realistic.

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I must say I think you've made an amazing discovery with the use of three sweepers. Just tried them out and they actually play like a proper back three should. Bravo.

:)

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@yonko I haven't used the TC for a long while now, just finding that I always want to make certain tweaks meaning that it's just easier for me to use the blank canvas off the classic model - so have generally fallen out of practice of making tactics using the creator. Saying that, I always have a idea of what positions in the system would fall under, for example the two center midfielders you've suggested to be supporting playmakers - and after recreating it in the TC they are near enough identical to how I had them set up in classic.

To make it easier, I've set the system up in the TC, making a few tweaks here and there as necassery, and setting up the sweepers to perform as two markers and a sweeper. Here is what I've come up with, although it's rather frustrating, as very few teams play 4-4-2 (even Burnley set up as a 4-3-2-1 (3xCM,2xAMC,ST)) so I'm not getting too many opportunities to field the system and take a look at how it's going;

TC Team Instructions

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Player Instructions

Goalkeeper; Sweeper-Keeper attack.

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Marking Defenders; Set to mark the two oppositions forwards, they would usually be considered as center backs, but find themselves at sweeper due to defincies within the game when using central defenders backs with no full backs.

7742533182_b4f14887c5_c.jpg

7742600360_481a32e828_c.jpg

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Sweeper; Set to mark the two oppositions forwards, they would usually be considered as center backs, but find themselves at sweeper due to defincies within the game when using central defenders backs with no full backs.

7742534896_1b815eb2a4_z.jpg

Anchor man; The straight out of the TC anchor man, haven't put up a screenshot as I haven't made any tweaks. Pretty much there to provide extra defensive cover, and a transition between the defence and the more creative midfielders when the team have the ball.

Center Midfielders; A pairing of two deep lying playmakers, one defend, one support - asked to track the wide men in the 4-4-2. Not entirely convinced on the through ball settings, may tone that down to sometimes, but both players a capable of threading balls through defences so I'll see. Same with the forward runs, I'd prefer them to go and join attacks when they can, so that will also be something I'll be looking at in game.

7742536662_71c80847d5_z.jpg

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Attacking Midfielder; Set up as the playmaker in the team, which I think to be the right decision - this should encourage the passing to the creative and attacking hub of the team, or should the passing the focused from the two DPLs in center midfield? Have made some tweaks from the initial set-up, so probably more a support than attack, so I'll see how this position works with these settings.

7742540120_d10bd9a12c_z.jpg

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Wingers; Tweaked to hug the touchline, as well as more reserved in terms of running with the ball. This was something that I picked up on the Ajax 95' wide men, where they were asked to stretch the opposition and provide a more creative approach, with the Dutch people generally not that impressed with the neglect in terms of Overmars not being deployed to constantly run at his full back for 90mins.

7742541884_b01770bd5c_z.jpg

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Striker; Set up as Advanced Forward attack, with certain tweaks as you will see. Not too sure on the impact in the side the striker had, in terms of dropping deep like Messi or being a big target man, so have just set-up the position that I believe will be able to score goals and get on the end of chances created for him.

7742545896_9ee1181309_z.jpg

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Those are the following settings I am going into a North-London derby against Tottenham with, as you will see I've marked their two forwards, and covered their two wide midfielders. There are quite a few changes with this TC set-up from the Classic one used in previous games, so slightly apprehensive of how it will work - first of which being how the team will keep the ball, as the new passing settings a lot more adventurous than I have used in a long while.

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Ive also tried with three sweepers now and they do plays as meant. Tight and together without the ball and spread wide with it. Awesome! Thx for the discovery!

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That setup you describe above it almost exactly like mine :) apart from the fact that the wingers are advanced playmakers and my striker is a DLF attack simply because that is what Messi does best. Ill get some screenshots up of all my instructions once im relatively happy with how its working. My first game last night ended with 72% possesion against Marseille but a 3-0 loss, we played brilliantly but just couldnt score. Didnt help as my 3 sweepers were Abidal, Masch, and Pique due to injuries and I had Alves playing AMR which againt didnt do much to help me. Ive found it much easier playing against 1 striker, cant seem to handle two strikers, will take a lot more tweaking tonight. Its difficult as not many teams play 4-4-2 nymore.

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tommonufc your shape reminds me a lot of this http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/08/29/barcelona-5-0-villarreal-tactics/ that Barca use. Perhaps Masch & Abidal would be libero's to allow for the forward runs?

I've noticed you have managed some insane passing numbers on another thread, perhaps you could combine this formation with those passing figures?

I for one would bloody love it.

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Heh, I'm also running as Barca and as much as I want to try this, I can't see myself ever benching Alves...or then Montoya.

I think my third formation will be the wide 3 sweepers, though. Alves will get more forward and Alba will be a more defensive holder, with of course Pique/Busquets as Libero type players.

If I do the 3 SW back 3, Bartra and Fontas would complement Pique very well. What are your goals/assists of the wingers?

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I must say I think you've made an amazing discovery with the use of three sweepers. Just tried them out and they actually play like a proper back three should. Bravo.

Ive also tried with three sweepers now and they do plays as meant. Tight and together without the ball and spread wide with it. Awesome! Thx for the discovery!

Thanks guys, good to see it's working for you :)

That setup you describe above it almost exactly like mine :) apart from the fact that the wingers are advanced playmakers and my striker is a DLF attack simply because that is what Messi does best. Ill get some screenshots up of all my instructions once im relatively happy with how its working. My first game last night ended with 72% possesion against Marseille but a 3-0 loss, we played brilliantly but just couldnt score. Didnt help as my 3 sweepers were Abidal, Masch, and Pique due to injuries and I had Alves playing AMR which againt didnt do much to help me. Ive found it much easier playing against 1 striker, cant seem to handle two strikers, will take a lot more tweaking tonight. Its difficult as not many teams play 4-4-2 nymore.

Planned to reply with some sort of discussion point when I first saw this early this afternoon, but had to dash out to play some real football (pre-season, killer!). Just seeing your thread now, shall hopefully make a post or two over there once I've digested it all.

tommonufc your shape reminds me a lot of this http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/08/29/barcelona-5-0-villarreal-tactics/ that Barca use. Perhaps Masch & Abidal would be libero's to allow for the forward runs?

I've noticed you have managed some insane passing numbers on another thread, perhaps you could combine this formation with those passing figures?

I for one would bloody love it.

This would be the sort of 343 I'm looking to have, in terms of overall system that will control a game through possession and short neat passing. I read through the article you've linked again when I was first piecing together the 343 funnily enough.

After from moving from a very Spanish style system and shape into the 343 I've managed to maintain the philosophy of short passing, patient build up which this sort of 343 linked will play. I don't think you will be able to see the same extent of passing that you where seeing in the images posted (probably my 3-7-0, although I've had a few screenshots up from different possession systems now) simply because there isn't the same level of midfield overload, but I should be able to get some high numbers in relation to your average possession tactic you see banded about. In the previous system, Alex Song was my designated playmaker, where he'd be the deepest of the midfielders it was best for ball retention; after moving to the 343 his name inadvertly stuck as the playmaker, and when he was fielded as a Liberio against West Brom he managed to hit 100 passes, so definatly some scope to do what your looking for - I'd say stay posted on this one, as it's defiantly the style I like to play. If I am able to piece together something and your still about I'll give you a PM and send over a link for it :)

Heh, I'm also running as Barca and as much as I want to try this, I can't see myself ever benching Alves...or then Montoya.

I think my third formation will be the wide 3 sweepers, though. Alves will get more forward and Alba will be a more defensive holder, with of course Pique/Busquets as Libero type players.

If I do the 3 SW back 3, Bartra and Fontas would complement Pique very well. What are your goals/assists of the wingers?

I wouldn't look to build a tactical shape, system or set-up based around your desire to field certain players, in so much as you not wanting to bench Alves or Montoya, this ruling out a back 3.

Looking at Barca, you'd be able to field a back 3 of sweepers (man-marking sweepers and liberio-sweeper) through Mascherano - Pique - Puyol, as well as having Abidal, Fontas, Bartra, Muniesa that can play at center back, thus becoming your man marking sweepers. The flexibility of the squad will mean you have personel to field different set-ups. In a 343 I may look at playing Alves as a defensive winger at RM, whilst still having a LW, thus creating a asymmetric shape like below;

abC9Mkxai8.jpg

Regarding the amount of assists I'm getting from my wide men, I honestly couldn't tell you, simply because I haven't played with this shape for long enough.

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@tommonufc

The screenshots using the TC make it more easy to understand now. Good job and thanks for putting it together. TBH, I'm reluctant to try 3 Sweepers. I would either play 3 DCs (two stoppers + one cover) or DR+DC+DL. I believe Ajax 95 and Barca in recent times have used more of the latter.

Also, Ajax used a Complete Forward as their number 9, but with mixed RWB and TTB. I'm not sure if his duty should be support or attack - try both. The winger didn't play so much Through Balls, so perhaps that should be set on Mixed, but Overmars and Finidi did run at the fullbacks, so RWB should be on often. I think the AM (Littmanen role) should have TTB on often. And the 2 MCs should be identical. Ajax had symmetry, plus I like symmetry also.

Barca's 3-4-3 which Pep used last season was a little different. The STC is a Trequartista and the AM is on default attack duty but with RWB set on mixed. Wingers on support with no tweaks. Barca used less width than Ajax 95, but more Creative Freedom (more expressive) and perhaps even more roaming for their front 4.

I haven't been able to use a 3-4-3 in my current Barca save, because I've played the 4th season with my own little tweaks on a 41221 fromation. But now as I will be starting my 5th season on the save, perhaps I can try using my version of the 3-4-3 for the home games and see what happens.

Please, if you could post some more screens of how the 3-4-3 you've set up plays, that would be great. I'm interested in the post-match stats and analysis (passes, average positions, movement).

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That setup you describe above it almost exactly like mine :) apart from the fact that the wingers are advanced playmakers and my striker is a DLF attack simply because that is what Messi does best. Ill get some screenshots up of all my instructions once im relatively happy with how its working. My first game last night ended with 72% possesion against Marseille but a 3-0 loss, we played brilliantly but just couldnt score. Didnt help as my 3 sweepers were Abidal, Masch, and Pique due to injuries and I had Alves playing AMR which againt didnt do much to help me. Ive found it much easier playing against 1 striker, cant seem to handle two strikers, will take a lot more tweaking tonight. Its difficult as not many teams play 4-4-2 nymore.

Just FYI, Messi does best as Trequartista.

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@tommonufc

The screenshots using the TC make it more easy to understand now. Good job and thanks for putting it together. TBH, I'm reluctant to try 3 Sweepers. I would either play 3 DCs (two stoppers + one cover) or DR+DC+DL. I believe Ajax 95 and Barca in recent times have used more of the latter.

Also, Ajax used a Complete Forward as their number 9, but with mixed RWB and TTB. I'm not sure if his duty should be support or attack - try both. The winger didn't play so much Through Balls, so perhaps that should be set on Mixed, but Overmars and Finidi did run at the fullbacks, so RWB should be on often. I think the AM (Littmanen role) should have TTB on often. And the 2 MCs should be identical. Ajax had symmetry, plus I like symmetry also.

Barca's 3-4-3 which Pep used last season was a little different. The STC is a Trequartista and the AM is on default attack duty but with RWB set on mixed. Wingers on support with no tweaks. Barca used less width than Ajax 95, but more Creative Freedom (more expressive) and perhaps even more roaming for their front 4.

I haven't been able to use a 3-4-3 in my current Barca save, because I've played the 4th season with my own little tweaks on a 41221 fromation. But now as I will be starting my 5th season on the save, perhaps I can try using my version of the 3-4-3 for the home games and see what happens.

Please, if you could post some more screens of how the 3-4-3 you've set up plays, that would be great. I'm interested in the post-match stats and analysis (passes, average positions, movement).

This is one of, if not the major reason why I'm using a back three, so that I can use sweepers. In essence I'm using central defenders there, marking opposition forwards, so they are not sweepers you would generally think of. I've found that players playing a sweeper/liberio position have a lot more freedom across the pitch, meaning you aren't just stuck with the rigid narrow back 3 you would be when you have 3CBs. By using three sweepers, I'll have the two outer defenders marking the opposing forwards - so they will be more or less central defenders (just they happen to be positioned in the sweeper strata position in the line up) with the central defender actually acting as a sweeper/liberio, covering any balls that the central defenders haven't stopped and bringing the ball out of defence.

When looking at the Ajax 95' team it sparked an inspiration to create a 343 or something with 3 defenders, I didn't necessarily intend to create a carbon copy of that exact side down to the finite detail of how many through balls my forward needs to play. This is probably made the thread quite ambiguous which I'll apologies for, but my main attention was to look out how you can get a 343 working, especially through the use of 3 defenders in a position that would generally be regarded as only for sweepers or liberios, instead of which I'm fielding central defenders there.

The Barca 343 is probably the closest I'm looking to replicate anything, especially in terms of possession, short passing, that sort of play, so will be able to get some posts up about that - more likely to be in jimbobBRFC's thread than in here I have to say.

I'm only in pre-season at the moment, just testing the water on a couple of theories - at the moment the thought of having the two wider central defenders acting in a libeiro style, moving forward and wide, whilst the central of the three will hold and act as a sweeper.

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but Overmars and Finidi did run at the fullbacks, so RWB should be on often.

I disagree. In Van Gaal's book he clearly states that wingers should refrain taking on two defenders, which in my mind mean they should be very selective of when they do run with the ball. Hence RWB rarely.

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This is one of, if not the major reason why I'm using a back three, so that I can use sweepers. In essence I'm using central defenders there, marking opposition forwards, so they are not sweepers you would generally think of. I've found that players playing a sweeper/liberio position have a lot more freedom across the pitch, meaning you aren't just stuck with the rigid narrow back 3 you would be when you have 3CBs. By using three sweepers, I'll have the two outer defenders marking the opposing forwards - so they will be more or less central defenders (just they happen to be positioned in the sweeper strata position in the line up) with the central defender actually acting as a sweeper/liberio, covering any balls that the central defenders haven't stopped and bringing the ball out of defence.

When looking at the Ajax 95' team it sparked an inspiration to create a 343 or something with 3 defenders, I didn't necessarily intend to create a carbon copy of that exact side down to the finite detail of how many through balls my forward needs to play. This is probably made the thread quite ambiguous which I'll apologies for, but my main attention was to look out how you can get a 343 working, especially through the use of 3 defenders in a position that would generally be regarded as only for sweepers or liberios, instead of which I'm fielding central defenders there.

The Barca 343 is probably the closest I'm looking to replicate anything, especially in terms of possession, short passing, that sort of play, so will be able to get some posts up about that - more likely to be in jimbobBRFC's thread than in here I have to say.

I'm only in pre-season at the moment, just testing the water on a couple of theories - at the moment the thought of having the two wider central defenders acting in a libeiro style, moving forward and wide, whilst the central of the three will hold and act as a sweeper.

Fair enough. I just thought I'd share a few thoughts about Ajax and Barca, because I remember the former and I'm a huge fan of the latter (I only play FM12 with Barca).

Can you tell me if you find it hard to use natural DCs in SW positions when they are not even accomplished or competent in it?

And I'll check that other thread you mentioned as well to see what you guys post there.

I disagree. In Van Gaal's book he clearly states that wingers should refrain taking on two defenders, which in my mind mean they should be very selective of when they do run with the ball. Hence RWB rarely.

I didn't say Overmars and Finidi dribbled against two defenders at all. But they did dribble past the fullback when facing 1v1 situations. Only when they were double-teamed by the opposition, then they would both look to pass the ball (not necessarily looking to play through balls either). But good players with high enough decision attribute in FM12 would do the same even when given RWB often.

And being selective with dribbling doesn't mean RWB rarely, it means RWB mixed.

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Fair enough. I just thought I'd share a few thoughts about Ajax and Barca, because I remember the former and I'm a huge fan of the latter (I only play FM12 with Barca).

Can you tell me if you find it hard to use natural DCs in SW positions when they are not even accomplished or competent in it?

And I'll check that other thread you mentioned as well to see what you guys post there.

I've noticed no difference in performance at all, probably because I'm using top players, but as well as I'm tactically setting them up essentially the same as they would be in a CB position, when they are playing in a SW position.

The players I've built my squad with are all very technical players, and no different in defence. All my defenders are good on the ball, and can be easily boxed as 'Ball playing defender', so this makes it a lot easier for these players to succeed in the style of play I'm playing. For example I've just played Yann M'Vila as a marking defender in the sweeper position against Bayern Munich - he's red in the sweeper position, but made no difference at all, as he has the attributes I want to play there, so why shouldn't he succeed.

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tommonufc that would be great, if it's successful I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one who would enjoy it!

I'm playing around with it aswell and anything I discover I will share, only wish I had more time and opportunity to create tactics these days!

And this 3-7-0 sounds interesting? Was it successful with the huge passing numbers? And is it available for me to use if so?!

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Haven't had too much time to crack on with this tactical project as I thought, but I should be able to get some more stuff of notable substance up shortly.

The more I'm reading about the 3 at the back systems the more I'm just won over by their potential effectiveness. For next season I'm planning on bringing in a couple of new faces that can add a different dimension to the side - pretty much looking for a defensive midfielder, that could also double as a sweeper or liberio (Javi Martinez, Inigo Martinez, Sven Bender, Sandro, Oriol Romeu), a marking center back who will be retrained to play in the marking sweeper roles (Sakho, P.Jones, K.Zouma plus a few other) and possibly a box-to-box midfielder (Felliani, Alaba, Rodwell). Have scouted those names plus many more, and have yet to really find any value shall we say, for example Zouma being quoted at £64M eeeek!

Regarding the three at the back thread it was this one here. I'd highly reccomened starting up a save and having play around with this set up with sweepers, as I've yet to see anybody else use it anywhere else, other than the guy I inspired to experiment in that thread; so would be nice to share some discussion with a fellow 'sweeper'.

I think playing with a back three with a sweeper behind would mean that the sweeper and center back are lined up vertically, instead of in a horizontal manor - something that will help defend space a lot better I feel. Initial thoughts where to have a sweeper, marking sweeper, two attacking full backs/wing backs with an anchor man infront. But will cross that bridge and experiment when I can. Since devising this project I've only managed to play four games in my save (one being pre-dated test game in the OP), with the other three being Man United twice in the CL QFs and once in the league (4-2-3-1 or varient) along with Chelsea, who also play with a lone strike. So I haven't had the luxury to experiment with these defensive set-ups against a single striker, instead going with my seemingly trusted 3-7-0 setup.

Have some games against Everton, West Brom and Burnley in my end of season run in, I expect them to field a 4-4-2 which I can finally use my 3-4-3 in, so will be able to get some more analyses up soon!

Not quite. I've been playing with three sweepers in a 3-4-3 for quite some time. See post #415 from the Barcelona thread in the Good player and team guide.

fcbarcelonatacticsteami.png

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Congratulations, I think you and I are still in a select few though!

How does this set up work for you, any possibility of talking through it, as apposed to just throwing up a screenshot of look what I did.. Any tweaks to the player roles, or straight out of the TC? etc. etc.

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Not quite. I've been playing with three sweepers in a 3-4-3 for quite some time. See post #415 from the Barcelona thread in the Good player and team guide.

fcbarcelonatacticsteami.png

Have you tried this tactics on weaker teams? Because managing Barcelona is too easy, you can achieve success even with average tactical schemes.

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Have you tried this tactics on weaker teams? Because managing Barcelona is too easy, you can achieve success even with average tactical schemes.

ITs a good point and a similar point im telling myself on my current Barca save. Im trying to put together a crazy system as detailed here but as Im doing it with Barca I seem to think the results are sort of skewed.

Wanted to move on and try it with Ajax but I think that is a similar problem, big fish in a small pond so it should be very easy.

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THIS http://www.barcelonafootballblog.com/tag/tactics/ is brilliant! I'm only halfway through it but the description of the 3 at the back against Getafe is ACE!

That is an outstanding discovery of an article. Gave me a lot to think about developing my current tactic, absoloute gem of a find. I love the idea that they use a mix of very clearly defined rigid roles (Busquets hold, Pedro create width), very freeform roles (Messi do what you want, Cesc do what you want etc) and then a mix of the two for some of the other players Xavi and whoever his midfield partner is usually fall into this category. Told what is expected of them but left to go about it as they see fit. Obviously this needs a very distinct type and mix of players, which as most of the Barca team come from the academy they have this style drilled into them from a young age. The screenshots from the Getafe game perfectly show what Im trying to acheive, again an absolute gem of a find Silky cheers for this mate :)

EDIT: Although reading through that has made me realise how impossible it would be to implement that system in the current ME. Not saying that is hugely far away from being able to be implemented, its just the intelligent player movement, players dropping into each others positions it nigh on impossible to the extent that Barca show IRL

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That is an outstanding discovery of an article. Gave me a lot to think about developing my current tactic, absoloute gem of a find. I love the idea that they use a mix of very clearly defined rigid roles (Busquets hold, Pedro create width), very freeform roles (Messi do what you want, Cesc do what you want etc) and then a mix of the two for some of the other players Xavi and whoever his midfield partner is usually fall into this category. Told what is expected of them but left to go about it as they see fit. Obviously this needs a very distinct type and mix of players, which as most of the Barca team come from the academy they have this style drilled into them from a young age. The screenshots from the Getafe game perfectly show what Im trying to acheive, again an absolute gem of a find Silky cheers for this mate :)

EDIT: Although reading through that has made me realise how impossible it would be to implement that system in the current ME. Not saying that is hugely far away from being able to be implemented, its just the intelligent player movement, players dropping into each others positions it nigh on impossible to the extent that Barca show IRL

Fairly certain the writer was Euler, no? He's on twitter as well but to the best of my knowledge he doesn't play FM.

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Agreed, an excellent article. The clever interchange of defensive roles are definately not possible, and lateral positional changes in defense is also tricky, but I'm going to try to incorporate some of the attacking ideas and structure/dynamics theories in my strange asymmetric 4-3-1-2 I'm using right now. I've got a standard tactic that works very well against teams who are pushing men forward, but this could be a useful plan B against teams who parks the bus...

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Im currently playing as Ajax. In my first two seasons I won the league playing with a 4-1-2-3 / 4-3-3 but switched to this 3 SW formation. quite impressed so far with the results. Will keep you updated. My set up is: GK SW SW SW (All D) DM - D (Anchorman) 2 DLP (Both Defend) APM -S (Erickson) 2 W (Both Support) Poacher. Working pretty well. I aim to keep the ball as much as possible. Keeper distributes to CD, slow tempo, counter attack, short passing, short throws, short corners... Killing of teams with 70% possession in every match. Loving it. Also agree that with the ball the SW split nicely into space and when losing the ball do go quite tight.

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