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Combining Multiple Playstyles - A Tactical Experiment

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From Post five down is where things really start to get interesting

Also got to say that a lot of the credit behind this thread needs to go to tommonufc, without his work on the 3 sweepers and the 3-4-3 I'd never had the idea behind this. Cheers mate :D

As the title says Ive been thinking a lot today whilst completing a rather mundane task at work about a team put together of playmakers. Spains Euro2012 startling lineup was very much a team full of playmakers. Alonso, Xavi,Iniesta,Cesc,Silva and to some extent Busquets are all considered playmakers. This obviously worked very well for Spain as they went on to win the tournament although personally I think they looked their most dangerous with Navas and Torres stretching the defence to give the playmakers that space to work in. Which has got me onto my current way of thinking, if a team was composed just like Spains, playmaker after playmaker after playmaker coupled with the ability to stretch the play it should create a pretty effective formation.

So Im going to take the basic formation from a thread by TommonUFC and his thread on the Ajax 95' formation. Three sweeper defenders, a DM, two MC's, AMC, AML/R and a striker. Im going to ignore the defence for now as they arnt really relevant to my theory, although they are pretty relevant in the wider picture.

Defensive Midfield

A busquets type player, an Anchor man in FM terms. Always offers an outball, sits in the hole to help negate the threat of counter attacks and is generally there to help retain possesion and not much else

Midfield

Two deeper playmakers one slightly more adventourous. DLP/D & DLP/Support in FM terms. Want these two to play like Alonso BUsquets in Spains world cup squad. Alonso usually drifted slightly further forward but both were still pretty defensive

Attacking Midfield

The interesting part of the team. Two wider players stay deeper and help build up attacks, whilst the AMC drives forward and supports the striker. All three players Advanced playmakers but the AML/R on support duty whilst the AMC on an attack duty. Tweak the individual instructions for the AML/R to make them hug touchline rather than cut inside. This will stretch the defence horizontally

Striker

Advanced Forward/Poacher. Someone to be on the last man and look to run in behind, stretching the defence vertically and creating holes for the Attacking mids to exploit.

Id start most games with drop deeper and play wider to really try and create spaces for the playmakers to do their thing. What do people think? Would too many playmakers spoil the team?

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I dont think it would spoil the team, but I think what you are really talking about is a Barca/Spain setup, which many people seem to think is nigh on impossible in FM2012.

That said, I've had lots of success with a fairly stringent set of instructions but with high creative freedom and playing around with tempo and timewasting.

Just be prepared to be as frustrated with FM trying to replicate this as it was with actually watching Spain play in the Euro's. When it came together, boy did it come together, however the rest of the game was a little tiresome.

One of the issues I think you might have in FM is that you WILL need the types of players that you have listed. Trying to replicate it without them is going to be difficult and, in my view, will be very hard if you happen to drop an early goal.........(edit) and a classic example of this is the Spainish Olympic team. They tried it and simply were not good enough, dropped a goal early(ish) and did not have the directness to get another back.

I'm not saying this as it was my thread that discussed it, but I think the key to playing like Barca/Spain, apart from having the players, is down to tempo and timewasting.

Regards

LAM

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I dont think it would spoil the team, but I think what you are really talking about is a Barca/Spain setup, which many people seem to think is nigh on impossible in FM2012.

That said, I've had lots of success with a fairly stringent set of instructions but with high creative freedom and playing around with tempo and timewasting.

Just be prepared to be as frustrated with FM trying to replicate this as it was with actually watching Spain play in the Euro's. When it came together, boy did it come together, however the rest of the game was a little tiresome.

One of the issues I think you might have in FM is that you WILL need the types of players that you have listed. Trying to replicate it without them is going to be difficult and, in my view, will be very hard if you happen to drop an early goal.........(edit) and a classic example of this is the Spainish Olympic team. They tried it and simply were not good enough, dropped a goal early(ish) and did not have the directness to get another back.

I'm not saying this as it was my thread that discussed it, but I think the key to playing like Barca/Spain, apart from having the players, is down to tempo and timewasting.

Regards

LAM

yeah I know what your saying, I do think Spains one major problem though was making space, it all got very congested. Especially as they were faviourites most teams just sat back, which effectively left 8 defensive players and Spains 6 midfielders plus full backs in one area of the pitch which made it extremely congested. I think the key is going to be sort of forcing the space. As I said in the OP players hugging the touchline will stretch it horizontally whilst a deeper defensive line and a striker trying to run in behind will stretch it vertically, I think it will help create some space.

Your right about needing them certain players in a sense, but if space can be created as I imagine then most top players will thrive as they will have time on the ball, not just Barca players. Yeah tempo and timewasting are definatley key, opened my eyes to the possesion game that thread did.

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Interested to see how this pans out. Closest i've played was a 4-2-3-1 (MC) with 4 playmakers, then using the CF and AML and the goal threats, with complete forward attack and inside forward attack roles respectively, worked pretty well.

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Right Ive been thinking about this some more this morning and have decided to attempt the most audacious thing ive ever attempted on FM. Going to try and bring together a few different styles and ideas into one tactic, may end up a complete disjointed mess, but If it works like I imagine in my head it could be something pretty good.

The Key Things Im Trying to Bring Together

-Marco Bielsa, not so much the high pressing part of his philosophy. But Im going to go with the three at the back/ four at the back depending on the number of strikers the opposition play. This will help defensively as the striker will always be tightly marked and there will be a spare man to sweep up anything that is flicked on/played through behind etc etc.

-Furthering from the above point im going to attempt to use a sweeper or three. As detailed here and here by Tommonufc. A system that if correct seems to work brilliantly and will masively complement what Im trying to acheive

-Some form of pivoting system, more on this later

-Quick crisp passing but still keeping that decisive move that can create a chance

-An attacking force compromised of at least 4 playmakers

-Something against the norm, as per.

So heres what Im thinking:

Against two strikers

threesweepers.jpg

Im just going to give a quick run through of why, Ill do a bigger more in depth post once ive tested if it is actually a worthwhile system. So the back three sweepers as tested by Tommonufc, the center being a liberio, pushing forward and getting involved whilst still helping defensively. The outer two defenders will be standard sweepers and marking the two strikers. The DM will be an anchorman and sit inbetween the lines, helping to counter the deep line that will be manually set and naturally occur with the three sweepers. The two central midfielders, both DLP's. One with a defend duty one with a support duty. I want these two to perform like Busquets/Alonso in Spains Euro2012 squad. One pushing slightly further forward whilst the other sitting a little deeper and offering himself as an option. The three Attacking midfielders will all be AP's. The central AMC will have an attack duty, the AML/R will have a support duty. Ill manually tweak their insructions to keep them outwide and hugging the touchline, stretching the opposition defence. The striker will preferably be a complete forward, but depending on who I have available may change to a poacher of AF, I want someone to stretch the play vertically, giving the playmakers plenty of room to work in. As you can see Ive detailed a rotation system between the MC's and AMC, im not 100% sure how Im going to get this working but this is where I want to incorporate some form of pivoting system, to give the defence anothe thing to think about.

Against a Lone Striker

sweeperstopper.jpg

A similar system up front with the four attacking players having the same roles and duties as detailed above, its defensivelyt where things are slightly different. The single, deeper, sweeper defender will be a standard sweeper. Sitting very deep to mop up any through balls that come through the gap between the full backs and the DC. The DC will be a stopper to push on,try to win aerial battles and stop the ball even being played forward. The full backs are my one undecided part of the team, most one striker formations use some form of winger or wide attacker, so for this reason I want to give them a full back defend/support duty to make sure they dont stray to far forward. but at the same time I want them to help defensively, this will be a big trial and error part of the formation. The two DM's will again both be DLP with the same duties, although I am going to manually tweak the runs from deep to get them to push forward when attacking and support the midfield.

Thats my general theory behind the formation, it is probably too many differnet styles pulled together into one formation for it work, but everything Ive detailed seems logcal in my head. Whether I can get it working within FM is a completely different story. Thoughts are welcome :) wish me luck

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This is from my triple pivot experiment thread, but seen as Im trying to incorporate this into this master tactic it makes sense to keep everything together, so I thought it would be worthwhile throwing eveyrthing ive done so far in that thread into here.

The Triple Pivot – A footballing carrousel of brilliance

Introduction

The 4-2-3-1 is one of, if not the most, popular formation in world football at the moment, brought into the limelight by current World and European Champions Spain, although they did deviate ever so slightly in the Euros deciding to not field a recognised striker. A very versatile and effective formation that there have been many a thread on throughout these forums, and the single biggest question that I see is whether to use two MC’s or two DM’s. My simple answer for this, use both.

triplepivot.jpg

A pivoting system is extremely effective, it helps break up a man marking system as the players are constantly switching positions and is excellent for recycling possession and keeping lots of passing options open. This is a basic line-up which should be most effective to create a pivoting system, the shape itself is taken from Lucatonix’s thread back in FM11 around a similar triple pivot system. This system is best described by Arsenal in the 10/11 season where they had the central midfield spine of Song, Wilshire and Fabregas. Three outstanding players who can all play in almost any position throughout the midfield. Looking at the formation screenshot above Song would take up the DM role, Wilshire in the midfield and Cesc the Treq. The three midfielders are given the freedom to almost do what they want to help create something, an excellent understanding between the three is imperative so that they cover for each other, less important for the AMC but vital between the MC and DM. The pivot works so well is the options it gives the team, it can become a 1-2 or a 2-1 triangle midfield, both effective when attacking and defending respectively.

In Attack

triplepivotattack.jpg

SIDE NOTE: Green: Defenders, Blue:Midfielders Red:Attackers

As you can see in attack it almost becomes a 1-2 the DM hanging slightly further back and the MC pushing slightly further up. The AML could be deployed as a winger to help stretch the opposition but going back to the Arsenal team I’d consider Nasri more of a playmaker than a winger.

The reason this midfield is most effective as the opposition will not know who to mark. They may set up with a DM to pick up Cesc but if Cesc ends up dropping back almost to DM and is replaced by Song who is a completely different player it is a whole different ball game. It confuses the opposition but also helps movement in the midfield and encourages the three central players to find space and keep moving.

[video=youtube;J_UIuzAaPwE]

Skip to around 1:18 in that video and you will see Song is striding forward with the ball but is being covered by another midfielder (not entirely sure who due to the quality of the video sorry) behind him. The rest of that video shows how the DM will get forward, but will always be covered by another one of his midfielders, usually the MC rather than the AMC. For this system to work there should be two midfielders forward and 1 back (The 1-2 Triangle midfield). This also in effect gives 5 players attacking at once, supported by the full backs and the midfielder who has hung back ever so slightly.

In Defence

triplepivotdefence.jpg

Defensively it becomes a 4-2-3-1. As you can see there is the very hard to break down defensive box of the DC+DC+DM+MC made into a point by the AMC sitting just in front of them. Firstly this creates that very hard to play through “box” in the centre of the pitch, the area directly in front of the net is the most dangerous area of the pitch, so packing four men into that one area can only be beneficial. Playing against another 4-2-3-1 it will be exceptionally strong due to the fact that the AMC has two defenders in his area, the lone striker has two centre backs and the wide players should be covered enough by the full backs to stop them causing to many problems. Secondly the point created by the AMC almost funnels the ball out to the wings, which is the least dangerous attacking area of the pitch. The ball would be played out to an opposition winger whose options would be to play in a cross which in theory should be dealt with by the sheer numbers back in the box, of played backwards away from goal. Which in itself is a dangerous option as the wide attackers should be loitering around that area, giving a huge opportunity for a quick counter. I’ve highlighted the run of the AMR for exactly that reason; a quick determined winger would have a field day.

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Within FM

pivotteaminstructions.jpg

So here we are within the FM Tactics creator screen. Im not going to run through every single role Ive chosen as most of them are pretty self explanatory and I want to center around the midfield pivot. I will give a brief overview of some of the more important roles:

1)The full backs I have an attacking full back for a number of reasons really, first of all I have Dani Alves in the team who is probably the best attacking full back in the world. Secondly the IF is going to be cutting inside leaving a lot of space free for an attacking full back to exploit. Adversely on the other side Abidal is a little more conservative to help try to keep some sort of defensive solidity, esecially because Busquets may end up pushing on further rather than sitting back in front of the back four as he does for Barca IRL

2)The Striker I want the striker to play the false 9 role, dropping deep to link up play but also turning and driving at the defence. Messi is perfect for this role, picking the ball up in space vacated by Cesc turning and driving at the defence with his excellent dribbling, agility and pace

The short passing and fluid philosophy are to help with ball retention and probing for a chance rather than trying to force it. Retaining the ball lots and not trying the spectacular. The roaming is upped to encourage the players to find space and make themselves available for a pass, which again will help with ball retention. The time wasting and tempo are moved to keep things slow and not rush things, I may tweak this to a high tempo high time wasting to try and re-create Barca's ability to quickly move from slow short passing into a fast flowing move, but that will evolve with time.

The Pivot

This is my starting point for the midfield trio, this will probably be tweaked massively but I think this is the best possible starting point to create what I am trying to create.

Busquets

busquetspivot.jpg

Busquets main job is to sit infront of the defence and sheild them, but also give a passing option when there is nothing going forward. He is a fall back option and vital to the system. I have tweaked his mentality to stop him straying to far from his base position, but then upped his forward runs to sometimes so that he is licensed to get forward. Coupled with his intelligence and high CF should mean he will only get forward when it is safe to do so. I have also shortened his passing style to make sure he keeps things simple, he doenst have the ability to play an accurate "hollywood pass" and I want to keep the ball on the floor. I have positioned him in the DMCR slot to cover for the attacking Dani Alves. An error on my part but I have switched him to zonal marking, I want him to mark the space in front of the defence not an individual player. I may change this in cases when the opposition field a strong AMC.

Xavi

xavipivot.jpg

Xavi runs the show, he is the main man in the centre of midfield. I expect him to have the highest amount of passes played, he is the hub of the team. I have brought his mentality down to try and get him more in line with Busquets but again coupled with the high CF and forward runs he will still be very much part of most attacks. I expect to find him the furthest midfielder back on the odd occasion when Busquets has pushed up. I did think about setting them two up with switch positions on but thought that may be to definitive, rather than giving them the license to switch as they see fit. Again a mistake on my part as Xavi is also set to zonal mark so that he marks the space rather than the player, especially being a one man center midfield and playing against two opposition midfielders, trying to mark one man will more often than not leave the other one free.

Cesc

cescpivot.jpg

Cesc is the most creative out of the three midfielders. I expect to find him all over the pitch, out on the wing coming deep, finishing off moves. Very much how he plays in real life, he has got the license to do whatever he wants. I dont expect to see him in Busquets position but I expect to see a lot of movement between him and Xavi, constantly switching around. Ive brought his mentality down slightly to again try and bring the midfield trio closer together and have also upped his closing down as I like a high press game and don't want him to not be as pressing as hard as the players around him.

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An extra couple of bits to add in now, was planning on doing more over the weekend but illness and a football tournament got in the way

pivot21defensivetriangl.jpg

So first of all ive got an ingame example of the 2-1 defensive triangle I mentioned earlier. This is exactly the defensive midfield shape I was after. Cesc sat slightly infront in space ready to pick up anything that is won. Xavi and Busquets sat almost exactly in line. Busquets is picking up the opposition midfielder and we have spare men all over the midfield. Im extremely happy with the positioning of the midfield. Although other areas have give me cause from concern. The two full backs are not goal side of their man and if the ball was to be picked up by the opposition AMC we would be in massive trouble as he would be running at the two center backs, almost creating a 4 on 2 situation. To counter that I have manually tweaked the mentalities to just bring them slightly more in line with the centre backs.

barcavscityxavitackles.jpg

Ive highlighted Xavi's tackles here. The central midfielder who I did expect to contribute defensively did a sterling job against City and quelling their considerable attacking threat. All three tackles are at the left hand side of the pitch and all seem to be in the DMCL position which is exactly where I wanted him to slot in.

barcavscityshots.jpg

Chance creation is excellent, every attempt bar three that could maybe be counted as edge of the box are inside the box. Now im a firm believer in trying to score from inside the box rather than long range audacious efforts so im very impressed with this.

barcavscityiniesta100pa.jpg

Ive highlighted this from the City game as well, it has nothing to do with the midfield pivot but I was still very impressed. Iniesta playing AP at AMR finished with 100% passing accuracy, I first expected them to be all simple little passes but on further inspection there are some pretty impressive passes. There are a couple of crosses which I dont want them playing, but with that sort of accuracy i dont actually mind. As well as the three key passes I was very very impressed.

So far so good and not had much to tweak really, got tough games coming up against Madrid in the super cup so that will be the true test.

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So another quick little screenie here that really shows what I wanted to acheive.

pivotattackingdm.jpg

So there it is, Javi Martinez playing DM infront of BUsquets just for fitness in pre season, looking at that screenshot it is very plain to be that it has almost been a complete switch of roles. Cesc is where you would expect Xavi to be, Xavi is sitting where Martinez should be and Martinez is firing in shots from the edge of the box. Unfortunately he didnt score but he did test the keeper. Xavi has used his intelligence to sit back and cover for Martinez. Just another quick update, only a little one but at least it shows the tactic is working.

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Great work, and will be very interesting to see when finished, as it promises, with the triple pivot to be a very noval system - and hopefully successful.

Whilst reading through, I couldn't help but think my current set up of a 3-4-3 would play a lot more like what your looking for than perhaps Ajax of 95' that I would be drawing inspiration from. This could be down to the natural segaway between a very Spanish 3-7-0 system to the 3-4-3/3-6-1 set we are both looking at now. Where I would see differences though is that where I have continued with the trio of DM, CM, CM from both 3-7-0 into the 3-4-3 I've not radically changed their tactical instruction as of yet. So they would, in essence be your anchor man/Very deep-lying playmaker, and two DLPs - something that has helped me really dominate games with a 3-4-3 and continue with not too dissimilar possession standings.

Regarding the earlier mention of Spain's set-up in the Euros, and there extremely fluid set-up of 4-6-0 - I do believe it is 99% impossible to recreate the style of play with that same shape. I find that the interchanging of each players space and positional freedom of Fabregas, Silva and Iniesta especially cannot be matched without forsaking the tactical discipline your needed to give for the individual players to play short, possession based football. Whether it comes to pressing the ball or offensive positioning, the players in Spanish/Barca team are operating under a fluid 'system', something that is unattainable to the same extent through tactical instruction on FM. They are highly creative players, and are allowed that expression, where as in FM you aren't necessarily going to get the same style by giving so many of your players such high levels of creative freedom.

That's not to say it isn't 99% impossible with a different set-up. Forgive me for banging on about 3-7-0, but my experience has seen me forsake a central defender and field another attacking midfielder - think of it as Spain replacing Sergio Ramos at cb, and putting Juan Mata in at amc. This had the affect of really overloading the central areas, and with the same standing of the Spanish have can make for some really attractive football, as the passing options in midfield are too much for opposition to deal with. I ran into the similar problems Spain have, in terms of teams parking the bus and filling their final third with 8 players - this meant for a very congested area of the field, and coupled with the mentalities, creative freedom and tactical instruction given to players in order for them to keep hold of the ball and hold control of the game (side note: Del Bosque's #1 mantra, he wishes to be in total control of the game, hence his preference to Fabregas in a 6 midfield over a more open 5 with Torres) almost nulified such attacking threat. This led me to freeing up my full backs to bomb down and overlap, stretching the oppositions defence.

The long and short, I believe if you can build a system that fits the mold in terms of shape, and fundamental basics like defending and ball retention in certain areas you can tweak certain instruction in your players that are going to be filling offensive areas to hopefully create a system that can profit from the control through goals.

That said, this style of Football shouldn't be easy to replicate, as it would be far from easy for even the likes of Real Madrid and Man United to try and deploy a carbon copy of a Spanish 4-6-0 - lots of factors would work against them, example being Ronaldo's propensity to look after #1 rather than a team first attitude of Messi or Fabregas.

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Great work, and will be very interesting to see when finished, as it promises, with the triple pivot to be a very noval system - and hopefully successful.

Whilst reading through, I couldn't help but think my current set up of a 3-4-3 would play a lot more like what your looking for than perhaps Ajax of 95' that I would be drawing inspiration from. This could be down to the natural segaway between a very Spanish 3-7-0 system to the 3-4-3/3-6-1 set we are both looking at now. Where I would see differences though is that where I have continued with the trio of DM, CM, CM from both 3-7-0 into the 3-4-3 I've not radically changed their tactical instruction as of yet. So they would, in essence be your anchor man/Very deep-lying playmaker, and two DLPs - something that has helped me really dominate games with a 3-4-3 and continue with not too dissimilar possession standings.

Yeah I think your right, they are very similar systems and tactical set ups yet two pretty different styles of play. I think my setup sways much more towards the Spain Euro2012 rather than the Ajax '95 your working at. Although somewhere in the middle is where I think we are both sort of heading. I aim to dominate games, and starting off trialing this with Barca this shouldnt come to difficult, eventually though Ill move onto another team. Im going either Napoli as they have a good base for a three at the back formation or PSG/City as they have the money to create whatever sort of team you want. Although I do like Bilbao, decisions.

Regarding the earlier mention of Spain's set-up in the Euros, and there extremely fluid set-up of 4-6-0 - I do believe it is 99% impossible to recreate the style of play with that same shape. I find that the interchanging of each players space and positional freedom of Fabregas, Silva and Iniesta especially cannot be matched without forsaking the tactical discipline your needed to give for the individual players to play short, possession based football. Whether it comes to pressing the ball or offensive positioning, the players in Spanish/Barca team are operating under a fluid 'system', something that is unattainable to the same extent through tactical instruction on FM. They are highly creative players, and are allowed that expression, where as in FM you aren't necessarily going to get the same style by giving so many of your players such high levels of creative freedom.

That's not to say it isn't 99% impossible with a different set-up. Forgive me for banging on about 3-7-0, but my experience has seen me forsake a central defender and field another attacking midfielder - think of it as Spain replacing Sergio Ramos at cb, and putting Juan Mata in at amc. This had the affect of really overloading the central areas, and with the same standing of the Spanish have can make for some really attractive football, as the passing options in midfield are too much for opposition to deal with. I ran into the similar problems Spain have, in terms of teams parking the bus and filling their final third with 8 players - this meant for a very congested area of the field, and coupled with the mentalities, creative freedom and tactical instruction given to players in order for them to keep hold of the ball and hold control of the game (side note: Del Bosque's #1 mantra, he wishes to be in total control of the game, hence his preference to Fabregas in a 6 midfield over a more open 5 with Torres) almost nulified such attacking threat. This led me to freeing up my full backs to bomb down and overlap, stretching the oppositions defence.

Yeah I do agree, from my earlier experiments with a complete 4-6-0 as Spain used in the Euros it is nigh on impossible to get it keeping possesion like Spain do and still create a solid amount of chances. Cleon has assured me it is possible but my not as in depth tactical knowledge and lack of patience sort of counter against me. I agree with the Del Bosque mantra and thats how exactly how I approach games, if we have the ball they cant score simple as that. Although the one thing that definately let them down as ive alluded to numerous times is the packing of the space. Thats why Im trying to play pretty wide and keeping the AML/R hugging the touchline at all times, if they do manage to cut inside im going to set the full backs with strict instructions to keep out wide, probably by limiting CF. Although this could be problematic when using the SWC/SWC/SWC variation of the tactic.

The long and short, I believe if you can build a system that fits the mold in terms of shape, and fundamental basics like defending and ball retention in certain areas you can tweak certain instruction in your players that are going to be filling offensive areas to hopefully create a system that can profit from the control through goals.

That said, this style of Football shouldn't be easy to replicate, as it would be far from easy for even the likes of Real Madrid and Man United to try and deploy a carbon copy of a Spanish 4-6-0 - lots of factors would work against them, example being Ronaldo's propensity to look after #1 rather than a team first attitude of Messi or Fabregas.

Thats what im aiming for, im going to try and start with a completely dominant tactic that just keeps the ball, if I lose a few games 1-0 2-1 etc from sloppy counters then so be it. After ive got a very solid controlling system Ill start to tweak to improve chance creation, and thats when the real fun will start. The system definately needs a group of selfless individuals so people like Ronaldo, no matter how good he is, would not fit at all.

Ive got a basic setup in FM but im going to play a few games before I start doing big analysis pieces, first big piece will probably be tomorrow night.

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I think we may share a similar tactical philosophy or ideal, in terms of the pursuit of control. I haven't always been so tactically aware, and it's only been in this years release of FM that I've taken a keen understanding of whats going on a broader interest in tactics in real life too, but ever since I have taken this relatively new found tactical approach it's always centered around the possession and passing side of things. I've come to the conclusion that it can be pretty easy relatively speaking for your team, especially a top side, to win comfortably, but when looking at that how much of the game are you in control of?

Prime example being a plug and play tactic I looked a recently and ran a tweaked version for a season; that season I won everything available, and my Leandro Damiao scored over 150 goals, great you think, but to me it was just boring. Winning week in week out from primarily somebodies else work would be top of the reasons why it would be boring, but the football that was played wasn't impressive by a long stretch. It created chances, and carved teams open, but was very much kick and rush - I could have won 5-0, or 5-4 or any given day, in which i'd have ended with inferior possession standings and a low pass completion - two barometers I use of how much control you have over the opposition.

Compare this to my current Arsenal save at the moment, of which I'm enjoying just as much as any other, I have now built a team and coaching set-up that will cater for the style of play I wish use - example being I've seen screenshots of Jack Wilshere with some really top physical stats, but how I've developed him he would trump near on everyone else in terms of technical standing, whilst being no slouch, it's more useful for me that he have 20 for passing, first touch than high numbers in pace, acceleration, and this can be seen through a number of the forward players I've had a chance to develop - Thiago, Ramsey, Song, Wilshere all incredible passers.

After a post in my 3-4-3 thread regarding my set-up in Classic, and how it could be set-up a lot more realistically to the Ajax 95' side I've pretty much started from scratch using the TC to piece together something, the images have been posted up. As I write I've just got off the back of the game it was created for, and it couldn't have gone much worse!

My initial set-up posted was definatly one that looked to control the game, and did on the occasions it was used - it did this through various means, such as lower passing ranges, lower mentalities; where as the settings used from the TC that were suggested, and I didn't disagree on that the 95' side would have looked at just didn't exert anywhere near the same level of dominance on my part onto the game. My inspiration behind creating and using the 3-4-3 was inspired from the Ajax 95' team, but probably not to the extent where I wanted to create a carbon copy of their set-up - example being I find a surging Liberio much more fun to play with than a offensively mute sweeper.

This therefore has led me to a crossroads, especially in terms of what I'm going to do with the thread - I don't think I intended to mold my team into the Ajax side, but more to look at how a 3-4-3 can work, especially highlighting the use of the sweeper system in it, but I'm struggling to find inspiration in such a set-up as the one made from the TC that is a truer reflection of that side as I can't see the same previous levels of control that I had previously. Concluding that the thread is almost dead in the water, whilst this could one here could potentially encompass everything that was set-out do - and even more so with the triple pivot system.

I can foresee more interest especially in my part within this thread, as well as other forum members, than probably in mine, as I don't think I'm so much inclined to recreate an Ajax95 side of which was first promised, where I'd rather have my team playing a Barca' 3-4-3 for example. That's not to say that you can do all the hard work regarding 3-4-3 on the forums now, and my brief time is now up - I'd be more than happy to post up any analytical pieces in here if you weren't to think it would overshadow your work at all :)

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I think we may share a similar tactical philosophy or ideal, in terms of the pursuit of control. I haven't always been so tactically aware, and it's only been in this years release of FM that I've taken a keen understanding of whats going on a broader interest in tactics in real life too, but ever since I have taken this relatively new found tactical approach it's always centered around the possession and passing side of things. I've come to the conclusion that it can be pretty easy relatively speaking for your team, especially a top side, to win comfortably, but when looking at that how much of the game are you in control of?

Prime example being a plug and play tactic I looked a recently and ran a tweaked version for a season; that season I won everything available, and my Leandro Damiao scored over 150 goals, great you think, but to me it was just boring. Winning week in week out from primarily somebodies else work would be top of the reasons why it would be boring, but the football that was played wasn't impressive by a long stretch. It created chances, and carved teams open, but was very much kick and rush - I could have won 5-0, or 5-4 or any given day, in which i'd have ended with inferior possession standings and a low pass completion - two barometers I use of how much control you have over the opposition.

Im exactly the same, the last FM I hda before 12 was 10, and I fell out with that game. Decided to give it another chance with 12 and after finding this forum and really getting into the tactical side of things FM in general is actually my faviourite past time to relax, well maybe not relax but you get the idea ;) Most tactics ive created on FM12 is centered around ball retention, whatever level im playing at. Id much rather squeeze out a 1-0 win by playing briliantly than a 5-0 win from quick counters and scrappy direct football. Ive never used a plug and play tactic and never plan to, yes ive taken things from say Cleons threads but always tweaked and interperated them in my own way to make it my own style. I like high tempo, short, crisp, quick passing and Id always prefer my AML to pass back to my full back and keep the ball rather than whip in a cross and lose possesion.

Compare this to my current Arsenal save at the moment, of which I'm enjoying just as much as any other, I have now built a team and coaching set-up that will cater for the style of play I wish use - example being I've seen screenshots of Jack Wilshere with some really top physical stats, but how I've developed him he would trump near on everyone else in terms of technical standing, whilst being no slouch, it's more useful for me that he have 20 for passing, first touch than high numbers in pace, acceleration, and this can be seen through a number of the forward players I've had a chance to develop - Thiago, Ramsey, Song, Wilshere all incredible passers.

After a post in my 3-4-3 thread regarding my set-up in Classic, and how it could be set-up a lot more realistically to the Ajax 95' side I've pretty much started from scratch using the TC to piece together something, the images have been posted up. As I write I've just got off the back of the game it was created for, and it couldn't have gone much worse!

My initial set-up posted was definatly one that looked to control the game, and did on the occasions it was used - it did this through various means, such as lower passing ranges, lower mentalities; where as the settings used from the TC that were suggested, and I didn't disagree on that the 95' side would have looked at just didn't exert anywhere near the same level of dominance on my part onto the game. My inspiration behind creating and using the 3-4-3 was inspired from the Ajax 95' team, but probably not to the extent where I wanted to create a carbon copy of their set-up - example being I find a surging Liberio much more fun to play with than a offensively mute sweeper. [/Quote]

Ive never actually used the classic tactics since back in the older genertaions of the games. Since thye brought in the TC ive always found it much easier to get my play style across. To play the kind of football I think me and you both crave phisical stats are not as important. Id take techincal over physical skill every single day of the week, the only place I care about physical stats is at full backs (Pace and stamina) and up front (pace, acceleration) besides from that passing, composure, technique etc are much more important to me.

This therefore has led me to a crossroads, especially in terms of what I'm going to do with the thread - I don't think I intended to mold my team into the Ajax side, but more to look at how a 3-4-3 can work, especially highlighting the use of the sweeper system in it, but I'm struggling to find inspiration in such a set-up as the one made from the TC that is a truer reflection of that side as I can't see the same previous levels of control that I had previously. Concluding that the thread is almost dead in the water, whilst this could one here could potentially encompass everything that was set-out do - and even more so with the triple pivot system.

I can foresee more interest especially in my part within this thread, as well as other forum members, than probably in mine, as I don't think I'm so much inclined to recreate an Ajax95 side of which was first promised, where I'd rather have my team playing a Barca' 3-4-3 for example. That's not to say that you can do all the hard work regarding 3-4-3 on the forums now, and my brief time is now up - I'd be more than happy to post up any analytical pieces in here if you weren't to think it would overshadow your work at all :)

Yeah Id be more than happy for you to contribute massively to this thread, all the more input the better. Ive sort of stolen your thunder a little bit trying to set up a sweeper systems so Im sorry for that, but two heads are better than one as they always say.

Ive got some excellent screenshots from a game againt Osanusa last night that show how perfect the SWC/DC system is for playing against one striker, Ill probably get them up with a little bit of analysis when Im on my lunch.

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The way im planning on taking this is doing sort of match reports after every game I think is relevant, not going to analyse every game as Id never get through enough games to make it worthwhile. From this post onwards (forgot to take screenies of the tactics before these two games) Ill post my starting tactic along with why Ive chosen certain things, followed by how it went during the game and a post-match analysis.

Results so far

Marseille 3-0 Barcalona

Never in my whole career on FM have I seen such domination result in such a heavy loss, 68% possesion passing accuracy in the high 80's yet a 3-0 defeat and only 4 shots with two on target. A devestating result on my part really, extremely happy with the ball retention side of things kept the ball brilliantly. Just a few quick counters and a 3 sweper partnership of Abidal/Pique/Masch definately didnt help me. Marseille played a 4-4-2 with the 2 MC's dropped back to DM so naturally i started with a tight back three of sweepers. I quickly found that their ML/R were in acres of space and running riot, although by the time I decided to do anything about it I was 2-0 down. Switched to a SWL/SWC/SWR back three with two DM's sat in front to plug the holes. Kept the SWL/R man marking the strikers and set my AML/R to pick up the MR/R respectively. Was a much better second half performance but just couldnt find the breakthrough. many tweaks needed after this

Barcalona 3-0 Osanusa

A completely different performance. Osanusa started with a 4-2-3-1 MC variation which, especially with my three attacking midfielders, was perfect for my team. Ran absoloute riot over them, although at one point during the game we only had 45% possesion finished with a solid 60%. even when they had higher amounts of possesion they never relly came close to scoring bar a few audacious long range efforts. Got some excellent screenshots from this game which I'll put up this afternoon along with some more in depth analysis.

vsosasunamatchstats.jpg

So there are the match stats for the game against Osasuna, as you can see it is pretty dominant. Very high possesion, completely in control of the game. The 60-40 possesion splt is actually kind to Osasuna, they had a brief 15 minute period where they controlled the game more than I would have liked but all in all nothing concerning me here.

vsosasunachancecreation.jpg

Plenty of chances created and the majority of them within scoring range. All in and around the box, couple outside and some from very tight angles but still a chance. Very impressed with this

vsosasunaaveragepositio.jpg

This all gets a little confusing due to subs and moving players around but Ill try and explain as best as I can. The deeper central defender is Pique the sweeper, flanked by Alves and Abidal playing DR/DL respctively. The only other thing that is noticeable wrong is my lack of an AMR, which is explained simply by the left hand AMC player is Iniesta who started off playing wide right but then moved over to wide left after the introductions of Sanchez at AML. Why there isnt a player there after my substitutions is completely beyond me but that is the only reason I can see why there is nobody there. Happy with the team shape especially the defensive setup, I have a screenshot that will be coming in the next post that perfectely demonstrates this

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Defensive setup versus 1 striker

(Going away for the weekend tonight so this a line and text version of the formation is going to have to do)

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

--------------SWC--------------

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

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

-AMR--------AMC-------AML--

---------------ST---------------

GK: Sweeper Keeper Support

SWC: Sweeper Defend

DR: Full back Support

DC: Center Back Stopper

DL: Full Back Support

DMCR: DLP Defend

DMCL: DLP Support

AMR: AP Attack

AMC: AP Support

AMCL: AP Attack

ST: DLF Attack

Since I first created this I have made a slight tweak in that Ive moved the DC back to SWC and made him a very attacking liberio. With the DC/SWC it was way to narrow so needed a little more width between the defenders. There are a lot of tweaks to personal instructions but it would take me an age to talk through them all. I will get some complete tactic and personal instruction screenshots uploaded at the start of next week.

indefencevs1striker.jpg

This is exactly how I imagined this to work in my head. Osasuna's striker is sandwhiched between Martinez and Pique. If the ball comes short Martinez has the edge being in front of him, and if it goes over the top or is flicked on Pique is there to sweep up and cover.

indefencevs1striker2.jpg

As you can see now the keeper tried to play the ball infront of the striker, Martinez rushes on to win the header. Its also worth noting that Pique has dropped off to cover the space behind, absoloutely superb defending as every option is covered. In actual fact Martinez wins the header and it drops to Messi (the player just on the meeting point of the center circle and the half way line) he turns and runs at the defence. Iniesta dropped off towards the touchline, not tracked very well by the full backs. Giving acres of space for Messi to either run into or thread the pass through to INiesta. So from a goal kick plaecd up towards the striker it has been instantly turned into an attacking chance for me. Perfect :)

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its a discussion/test rather than another "heres my awesome tactic" thread. he probably wants people to perhaps evolve on his ideas and join in with meaningful talk about what he's doing.

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its a discussion/test rather than another "heres my awesome tactic" thread. he probably wants people to perhaps evolve on his ideas and join in with meaningful talk about what he's doing.

Exactly right mate :) sorry Yasar but I wont be putting up downloads as its completely not what Im trying to acheive, by all means when I manage to get screenies of the actual formation up later copy them and tweak them. There is one condition though, come back to the thread and give some sort of explanation to why you tweaked and what success' you had. As I said though there wont be a download link

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@jimbobBRFCI suppose you have stole my thunder to a certain extent, perfectly fine, and a good think almost, as like we discussed I'd be more interested in creating a 'Barca 343' than a carbon copy of the Ajax side, so my thread probably lacked a little direction and has probably runs it's course in terms of real input from my end - but it has seemingly sparked creativity from you, and you're doing excellently taking over 343 thread duties! So we may be able to both combine and create a solid reference point for anything back three related, and hopefully inspire plenty more people to shift to sweeping centerbacks - I can see a potential craze!

I like the SS within the Osasouna game of Pique and Martinez shutting out the their forward, and is a real strength of the sweeper system in terms of a Pique being there to cover any second balls. How were you set up in that game and those screenshots? I'm guessing a 4-2-3-1 varient? Did you have your entire back four as sweepers, or just Pique, with the rest regular cb, lb and rb?

If I can run into any notable occurrences in any of my games I'm playing at the moment I'll try and post up a SS with a little analyses. Looking forward to testing out a new back line of Sakho-Varane-Vermaelen - hopefully impenetrable! :p

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@jimbobBRFCI suppose you have stole my thunder to a certain extent, perfectly fine, and a good think almost, as like we discussed I'd be more interested in creating a 'Barca 343' than a carbon copy of the Ajax side, so my thread probably lacked a little direction and has probably runs it's course in terms of real input from my end - but it has seemingly sparked creativity from you, and you're doing excellently taking over 343 thread duties! So we may be able to both combine and create a solid reference point for anything back three related, and hopefully inspire plenty more people to shift to sweeping centerbacks - I can see a potential craze!

Most definately, a craze would be nice. i can see it, people going mad in the streets for the 3 man sweeper defence. Hopefully yeah, you seem to have a much better understanding than me of the three sweeper formation being the genius behind it so id massively appreciate your input. Hopefully if some of the more tactically aware (Furious,Tactikzz, Cleon) can have an input as well can see this really taking off.

I like the SS within the Osasouna game of Pique and Martinez shutting out the their forward, and is a real strength of the sweeper system in terms of a Pique being there to cover any second balls. How were you set up in that game and those screenshots? I'm guessing a 4-2-3-1 varient? Did you have your entire back four as sweepers, or just Pique, with the rest regular cb, lb and rb?

It worked absoloutely to perfection in that game. It was a SWC/DR/DC/DL combination, so one sweeper and three standard defenders. Worked superbly in that game. Although in my next match against Valencia I had to make changes. They played a 4-2-3-1 MC's just as Osasuna did but there AMC was much more attacking, the problem with the SWC/DC combination is that they get very close together and keep very narrow. The DM's negated the effect of this but there were a number of times in the first half where both defenders ended up on the striker as in the Osasuna SS but the AMC ran through untracked and had a couple of chances. I ended up switching to DR/SWC/SWC/DL, almost a standard back four but with the DC's dropped back a strata. Set one as a Liberio and upped his mentalitl and runs from deep to the max, he would be my stopper. Worked exactly the same except not as narrow and negated the effect of the narrowness. I havnt got a screenshot of the formation but Ill try my best to get a post up this afternoon on what the formation looks like.

If I can run into any notable occurrences in any of my games I'm playing at the moment I'll try and post up a SS with a little analyses. Looking forward to testing out a new back line of Sakho-Varane-Vermaelen - hopefully impenetrable! :p

yeah please do , itll be good to kow how your getting on. Pretty mean backline that I have to say ;)

EDIT: going away for the weekend now so it will be Monday before I can do anymore. Lets not let the thread die while im away shall we not ;) expect to see some top quality discussion when I return :p

Jimbob

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3-4-3 Varients, and a 4231..

After much playing around with a few different set-ups, I've now formed a base of tactical shapes that I'll be looking to use for my forthcoming season, all centered around the use of a back 3, which will be filled with the players in the sweeper/liberio position (I'm getting out of the habit of calling these players sweepers, as they aren't, they're central defenders that happen to be positioned there in game, so hope you can all follow along..) I'll give a quick run through each set-up, highlighting it's merits, drawbacks and how I'm going to look to use it - as well as, in a second post show you a rather basic, but slightly modified in terms of player positions 4231 that I'll also have in my arsenal - no pun indented!

Basic 343; GK-SW,Lib,SW-DM,CM,CM,AM-RW,LW,ST

abC932bamx.jpg

The base from which all others will stem I believe. From the back, ignoring the goalkeeper, you'll have three defenders positioned in the sweeper/liberio position - two of these, the outer two will be markers and will pick up opposition forwards in a 442 or two striker varient, whilst the third and central defender here will act as cover. He will look to pick up any through-balls played behind, win any second phases of play that his partners haven't delt with as well as being the link from defensive to midfield in terms of moving forward with the ball at his feet when he can.

Into the midfield you have a four that will make a diamond. The deepest of the four will look to offer defensive cover for the back three if needed; if the opposition where to play a 442 diamond I'd use him to mark the attacking midfielder. Into the central positions I'll try to striker a balance by having what could be seen as an attacking playmaker, and a defensive playmaker. They will be more refined examples of what you would see come straight out of the TC, but essentially they will look to dominate the midfield ground with the ball and gain control of the game from there.

The attacking midfielder, depending on who is played there can force different roles into the game. An Ozil will like to run with the ball, move wide, and feed the striker. Thiago can equally do so, but will be more happier staying central, becoming a typical #10, playing inbetween the lines of the 442. Whilst Rooney will roam everywhere if you will, dropping deeper into midfield as well as forming as a second striker at times. This position can become very flexible if you wish it to be, probably more so than anywhere else on the pitch.

Due to this set-up being otherwise very narrow in phases of play building up to the attacks, you will need the two wingers to stay wide at all times. I have the two central midfielders instructed to move into channels, meaning that the midfield diamond can expand wider at times, but essentially you need your wingers to stay wide and either take on their man, or play the ball back centrally through a pass. If you were to have inverted wingers here you would become very narrow in your play, so it is important that they offer either a pass back centrally from a wide area or a offensive threat to the full back. These guys should also track their full back when out of possession very diligently to avoid an overload in our defensive flanks by the opposition.

The striker, depending on who is playing their can offer different aspects to the system - but essentially will be your main focal point and source of goals. I've got together a group of forwards that can offer different approaches, but will more often than not fall to Rooney, due his all-round package of goal scoring abilities, and creativity, coupled with his propensity to drop deep in a False-9 role. Another forward would be Edinson Cavani, he could be seen to fill a poacher type role there, not too interested in the build up play but can feed of the creativity of his midfield, whilst Leandro Damiao can also do this, I prefer Cavani as when played in this postion I can instruct him to move into channels, and drag defenders wide - creating space for the AM or overloading a full back to help a R/LW.

Pros; attacking shape, midfield dominance

Cons; limited to facing a 442, potentially weak against strong wide midfielders (will need CMs to track RM and LM if becoming a problem)

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

The Barcelona 343; GK-Lib,SW,Lib-DM,CM,CM,AM-RW,LW,ST

Highlighted in an article in Zonal Marking here; http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/08/29/barcelona-5-0-villarreal-tactics/

At the back here you will still see three defenders positioned in the sweeper/liberio area, but this set-up sees the two wider players of the three the freedom to move forward and wide, whilst the central defender becomes a marking defender. Limited testing during pre-season against a lowly USA side saw the two wide players run with the ball quite a way unchallenged, deep into the left/right wing areas before passing the ball off. Certain circumstances would have meant that they can move that far unopposed, namely the oppositions lack of wingers and them well and truly parking the bus deep onto their box.

The midfield is very much a similar set-up to the one previously mentioned, nothing different I can think of to talk about, as with the AMC and ST. What I have changed is the play of the wingers, I've tried to get them moving inside in order to give room for any advances from the liberios.

This could be a viable system to play against a 442, especially a weak side your expecting to beat, allowing you to still mark out the opposing forwards with the wide central defenders but allowing them freedom to venture forward when your dominating the game with the ball. I'd suggest it would be weak against anything other than 2 up front due to a 4231, 4321 variant usually having wingers high up the pitch, therefore potentially dangerous due to no men in the wide areas to defend and pick up players.

Strengths; Ability to overload midfield from advancing defensive players

Weaknesses; Similar to the Basic 343, suspect against anything other than two up front.

abC936oakr.jpg

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

361 GK-SW,Lib,SW-RM,CM,CM,CM,LW-AM,ST

A same set-up at the back as seen in the Basic 343, but a very different set-up in midfield. As a starting point you will see a flat five across from right to left with an AMC advanced of that. The idea here will be to offer defensive cover in the wide areas from the wide midfielders, whilst still having players that can provide width in attacking plays. Within the middle you have a flat three, this will be something I will set up if used at home, especially in a game where I've controlling the game and the opposition are sat deep - meaning the center of the three, who will ordinarly be the most defensive of the three is found in a more avanced position where a dm would sit deep on the halfway line and not become a potential body to pass to.

The selected wide men and the tactical deployment can offer a lot of variety to the system, for example;

- Wilshere and Chamberlain Two very attacking midfielders, essentially wingers would become the attacking option - and would be reflected in high mentalities given. To ask them to track back I'd select loose man marking on the wide men so they would offer some degree of protection in defensive wide areas.

-Gibbs and Corchia The rather more defensive option, two wing/full backs - this would see as a more wing back system especially when set up with more reserved mentalities compared to the previous option, forwards runs of sometimes, and tight marking of the wide men.

- Wilshere and Corchia The pairing I've set up in the image. I've done this so I can explain about the variety you can have - example being where I've combined the two previous examples into one. Wilshere on the left from the attacking option, and Corchia from the more defensive one.

abC94gNa0.jpg

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

343 Wide GK-Lib,SW,Lib-DM,CM,CM-LW,RW,AM,ST

Probably the most attacking of the variations, this sees two what would be considered wing backs fielded in the right and left sweeper/liberio positions. These will have attacking mentalities, and from previous use of players in these positions offer the best wing back play I've seen. When given space by the winger moving in the player will have free reign of an adavanced area due to you overloading the oppositions defence. For example, the left back will track Jack Wilshere in side, thus leaving space for an unmarked Cochia to move into. Whilst this is going on, on the other side you will have Thomas Vermaelen holding back and offering defensive numbers, and will only move forward when the ball is on his side and only deep when there is unmanned space to move into.

To balance this attacking thrust I've fielded two defensive midfielders, these will essentially form a double pivot when in play and will assert control over the game from deep positions until it's moved forward into areas where the wingers will move in centrally to make up a cluster of four (CM, RW,AM,LW) that will look to supply the striker.

I feel this system can work against both two strikers and lone striker formations, but I'd say against lone striker would be best.

vs. Two forwards (4-2-2 etc.) Against a weak side who aren't going to see too much of the ball in your third you would select the two wide defenders to pick up the forwards, leaving the central defender to free to cover. This I feel would restrict their attacking intend, especially if instructed to mark tight, as it would mean they sit back and mark instead of advancing and marauding.

vs. Lone Fowards (4231,4321 etc.)You will be able to mark the lone forward tightly with the central defender, whilst the two wide men of the opposing formation are tracked by the wide defenders. Now depending on how much assertion you have on the game will depend on how far forward these two get. If you are forcing these wingers back by controlling the midfield it will allow space for the wide defenders to move into. If this isn't happening and the wingers are more advanced the defenders defensive responsibilities will take precedent, thus quelling such attacking moves forward. Therefore I'd say this system would be best used against a 451 that use RM and LM as they, by nature are not going to be set up as attacking as RW and LWs - therefore you can afford to have your wide men mark loosely these players, thus freeing them up to move forward.

By your back three marking man for man the opposition forward players you aren't able to have the luxury of a 3vs2 situation. This where the defensive midfielders will hopefully become what could be considered as 'inverted sweepers'. At least one, for example in the image Alex Song, set up so defensivly that he offers great cover for the defender, therefore creating that 2vs1 again; or alternatively you could ask that same man to mark the lone forward leaving the central defender to become a sweeper.

abC94aAacp.jpg

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4231 Sweeper GK-Lib(LWB),SW,Lib,Lib(RWB)-DM,DM-LW,RW,AM,ST

A different take on your conventional 4231, but essentially all the same. A flat back four across the sweeper/liberio strata, two registas placed in the defensive midfield positions, and your conventional quartet up front. Probably the most solid and well rounded option when facing a single striker. One central defender will cover, whilst the other marks. The two wide of the four will be assigned to pick up the wingers or wide men, but will nonetheless be granted attacking privileges.

Due to most sides only fielding the single striker against me, this will probably be my staple system for the season, but will nonetheless look to use and enjoy a back 3 set up when I get the chance from the outset, or either in game. Due to this, as an offshoot of a 343 project I'll be trying to get this 4231 to play very much in the Marcelo Bielsa mantra of intensive man to man pressing and high line defending, whilst still following on a philosophy of controlling the game through careful use of the ball.

This video here is a perfect example of the man to man defending I'm looking for, whilst still having a covering 2vs1 situation against the lone forward;

[video=youtube;WOoc_YMrcfU]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOoc_YMrcfU

abC96RdakG.jpg

Here is a pkm of a entertaining 8-2 win in a Friendly win over a strong Newcastle side. I used the 4231 I've mentioned here, and pressed them hard over the pitch (around 81min you should see my forward line lose the ball, and as a collective whilst marking thier indivudal men close from the front and force a rushed clearance)

http://www.mediafire.com/?59cht8ha2pk7bpa

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Just a quick screenshot from a game against Santos, illustrating the power of man marking, especially when your system can suffocate the opponents set-up. Santos changed from a 3-5-2 WB sweeper formation to the narrow diamond you see in the image at around the 60th minute. As soon as I noticed the change, a change to a shape I'm rarely to see in English football - I set up my side man for man on Santos' and more or less suffocated them - combined with heavy pressing they were unable to play out from the back at any stage due to all possible option being marked or closed down.

In the image the goalkeeper has just played a goal kick short to his left back, from which it's come straight back to him via a square ball into the center back - due to the marking and pressure he's forced to kick long, where #18 wins the header. You can see my side matched man for man, with the spare man being #4 left to cover the possible knockdown into the highlighted area.

7755524216_91f1da3971_c.jpg

Here's the passing of Santos, lots of nice long balls!

7755566792_47c8777d5a_c.jpg

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Excellent posts Tommonufc :) Ill have a proper read and reply on my lunch today, only had a quick skim through. Planning on catching up with my analysis/testing later tonight.

EDIT: Sorry about the lack of updates, been mad busy with preparing for a job interview but got that out of the way last night so will be getting an update on later today. Ive just realised there still isnt a screenshot of the actual formation so that will be my first port of call tonight.

IN the meantime I just want to post a link to an article, all credit has to go to Silky for finding this, an brilliant article and the piece regarding the Getafe game is exactly what Im trying to acheive.

http://www.barcelonafootballblog.com/tag/tactics/

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The Formations

So these are basically what Ive decided on after the first six games of the season. I am unbeaten and the formations are working exactly like ive hoped. Excellent passing football, clinical chance creation and conversion rates and rock solid defending. One or two slight hicups but besides from that im very happy, made some slight changes from my orginal plans but thats simply from adapting to the problems I faced.

Against one striker

1strikerformation.jpg

Originally with this formation I started off with a DR/DC/DL/SWC combination. That kept the opposition striker in the middle of the two center backs and gave him almost no chance to receive or play the ball. This worked well as shown in screenshots above but i found they were way to narrow and close together. The narrowness kept a huge gap between the center of my defence and the full backs. So I switched to the DR/DL/SWC/SWC combination, setting one of the sweepers as a Liberio so that he almost plays tthe "stopper" role(I know Liberio's dont work as they should but it does help to push him infront of the opposition striker. The two DM's are tucked infront of the defensive line to help link up play, and just keep the defence from being left with no options, the left of the two has been tweaked so that he regularly ends up as far forward as Cesc(The Pivot). The four attackers are pretty self explanatory and are left to do whatever they want, my only tweaks come in the AML/R where I have changed their wide play from cut inside to hug touchline, to stretch the defence and create the holes that messi/Cesc work so well in. The team instructions are pretty standard for a possesino style play, ive tweaked the width to try and stretch the defence but when Im trying to see out a game I tweak this to make it narrower to help keep the ball.

Against two strikers

2strikerformation.jpg

This formation has changed quite drastically from my original formation. The orginal had no full backs, the two full backs were moved into DM and MC creating a very narrow formation, excellent for keeping the ball. Not so excellent when playing a Mareseille team with flying wingers. After my kick in the teeth of a defeat to OM I made wholesale changes. The SWCL/R are tasked with following the STCR/L wherever they go, if the striker drops deep I excpect my defender to follow him, if he pushes on I expect him to still be there. The center SWC is set up as a standard sweeper the same except he has been tweaked to have a lot more freedom to push on or drop in behind and sweep up any flick ons. The full backs are the width providers, very attacking and expected to be up and down the touchline all day long, I usually set them to man mark and opposition wide midfielders/wingers just to let them know they still have a strict defensive duty. The DM position is what ive had the most trouble with really, I just dont like the look of him being almost on his own. Especially as I want him to play a very rigid simple role where he picks simple passes, he is only a DLP to encourage him to get forward and increase his attempts at through balls. The setup for the forwards is exactly the same as in the other formation and work in the same way.

Just a couple of side notes, I read an excellent article on Barca's way of playing yesterday the link to it is in the 3-4-3 thread. A point I picked up is that Guardiola liked to play a mix of rigid,fluid and mixed instructions throughout his team. Ive taken this on as I think it is an excellent way of getting the balance just right, In both formations Ive tried to have three or four of each type of instruction. In the fsecond formation the two outside sweepers and the full backs have very rigid defined instructions. Mark your men wherever they go and provide width respectively, the CF has been lowered to quite a small amount for these four. The SWC, AMC and STR positions are encouraged to almost do what they want, not really given a clearly defined role and trusted to do whatever they please and that it will be effective. The DM/AML/AMR are quite mixed, all given a clearly defined role but left to do as they please. For example the AML/R are asked to hug the touchline at all times, but besides from that are left to do as they please, Inietsa plays the role differently than Messi would.

Compare to original aims

-Marco Bielsa, not so much the high pressing part of his philosophy. But Im going to go with the three at the back/ four at the back depending on the number of strikers the opposition play. This will help defensively as the striker will always be tightly marked and there will be a spare man to sweep up anything that is flicked on/played through behind etc etc.Acheived this and it works perfectely

-Furthering from the above point im going to attempt to use a sweeper or three. As detailed here and here by Tommonufc. A system that if correct seems to work brilliantly and will masively complement what Im trying to acheiveAgain the three sweepers make a back three a very viable option, works perfectely against two striker formations

-Some form of pivoting system, more on this laterSort of acheived with DM's rushing on and ending up further forward than the AMC but still needs some work

-Quick crisp passing but still keeping that decisive move that can create a chanceAcheived this, although whether this has only been acheived because Im playing as Barca who knows, going to play through ill January with Barca then move on and try it somewhere else

-An attacking force compromised of at least 4 playmakersIn both formations the whole AM strata are playmakers plus one or two DM's so yeah plenty of playmakers. Although if I think I need something different my usual subs are to bring on Pedro as a winger or Sanchez/Villa as IF's so this does change regularly.

-Something against the norm, as per.Of Course

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Hey JimbobBRFC I pictured the formation v Getafe more like this (sorry I son't have a clue how to post screenshots)

GK - VALDES - sweeper-keeper

Sweeper C - MASCHERANO - deepest player, covering defender, very low closing-down

Libero R + L - ADRIANO+PUYOL - forward runs sometimes, (brilliantly they only go forward one at a time in FM- like in the article), tight marking

DM C - BUSQUETS - anchor, drops into defence to help when needed

M RC - XAVI -deep-lying-playmaker, article says orchestrating play moving left-to-right across midfield so I thought- roaming + move-into-channels, forward runs rarely

M LC - INIESTA -forward runs sometimes, roaming

AM C - MESSI -roaming trequarista

F R+L - CUENCA+PEDRO -stretching the pitch and therefore the play, hug touchlines, no roaming

F C - SANCHEZ -no roaming, dropping deep, point of reference

As the pitch is stretched as much as it can be left-right and top-bottom I'd have thought playing very narrow would help as well as the usual Barca characteristics i.e High Pressing and Short Passing

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Hey JimbobBRFC I pictured the formation v Getafe more like this (sorry I son't have a clue how to post screenshots)

GK - VALDES - sweeper-keeper

Sweeper C - MASCHERANO - deepest player, covering defender, very low closing-down

Libero R + L - ADRIANO+PUYOL - forward runs sometimes, (brilliantly they only go forward one at a time in FM- like in the article), tight marking

DM C - BUSQUETS - anchor, drops into defence to help when needed

M RC - XAVI -deep-lying-playmaker, article says orchestrating play moving left-to-right across midfield so I thought- roaming + move-into-channels, forward runs rarely

M LC - INIESTA -forward runs sometimes, roaming

AM C - MESSI -roaming trequarista

F R+L - CUENCA+PEDRO -stretching the pitch and therefore the play, hug touchlines, no roaming

F C - SANCHEZ -no roaming, dropping deep, point of reference

As the pitch is stretched as much as it can be left-right and top-bottom I'd have thought playing very narrow would help as well as the usual Barca characteristics i.e High Pressing and Short Passing

yeah I do agree thats how I picture it, Im not trying to recreate that formation just taking some pointers from it to try and better my formation. I didnt want to play narrow as I wanted to stretch horizontally, if i play narrow then the AML/R will come inside more than I would like. Better for keeping possesion, not as good for chance creation. Agree with everything you say regarding positions and insturctions, I wouldnt use BUsquets as an Anchor man as I find that role to restrictive, would be a tweaked Defensive Mid Defend for me. It is good how they only go forward one at a time in defence, although whether that is because they have such high intelligence, may not work so effectively with a lesser team. Time will tell though

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Just a quick screenshot from a game against Santos, illustrating the power of man marking, especially when your system can suffocate the opponents set-up. Santos changed from a 3-5-2 WB sweeper formation to the narrow diamond you see in the image at around the 60th minute. As soon as I noticed the change, a change to a shape I'm rarely to see in English football - I set up my side man for man on Santos' and more or less suffocated them - combined with heavy pressing they were unable to play out from the back at any stage due to all possible option being marked or closed down.

In the image the goalkeeper has just played a goal kick short to his left back, from which it's come straight back to him via a square ball into the center back - due to the marking and pressure he's forced to kick long, where #18 wins the header. You can see my side matched man for man, with the spare man being #4 left to cover the possible knockdown into the highlighted area.

7755524216_91f1da3971_c.jpg

Here's the passing of Santos, lots of nice long balls!

7755566792_47c8777d5a_c.jpg

Excellent screenshots mate :) really does show exavctly how youve set the team up. Can easily see how well youve stifled them, which if effective when your 2-0 up. My one problem would be that if the game was 0-0 or you were 1-0 down against that formation your playing into their hands by having your men so close to theirs. I know you probably wouldnt make the changes you did if you were a goal down but its some food for thought anyway.

That video is excellent,it shows exactly why I love Bielsa and why he is so effective. Almost completely stopping Barca playing which is a feat in itself, he epitmosies exactly why I choose a high press system. I also like to have a mix between zonal and man rather than the complete man marking as you and Bielsa both seem to be showing. A complete man marking system leaves, as I said above, your men near their men at all times which I dont like. I use man marking to tackle specific threats, usually full backs and strikers, and leave the rest of the team on a more loose zonal system which I think compliments the high press better.

Plenty of different screenshots of formations up there, which two have you actually decided on using?

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So ive made it to the start of December and think I have taken it as far as I can with Barca. Was sitting 2nd in the league, a few bad performances at the start of the season left me 4 points adrift of Madrid. The turning point came the second time I played OM in the Champs League. As I mentioned further up I was dominated in the first match, lost 3-1 and it just wasnt pretty. This time though :

vsomstats.jpg

I know it isnt a win but lets just consider the stats for a moment. I had 17 shots with 9 being on target, thats bigger than a 50% return, I had better possesion and dominated them in almost every part of the game. From watching the game it was clear that I had made a massive improvement from the first game. By no means perfectg but progress is being made. Ive decided to head to Italy, more specifically Napoli. Possesion may make way for a more high tempo game but the base structure will be the same. more updates on the way after pre season :)

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New Team, Same Ideas. Napoli here I come

So I decided to move on from Barca, not that things were getting to easy I just wanted to challenge the tactic with a squad that isnt as technically brilliant as Barca and dont just win things because they have so many start individuals. Same tactics, different players. My pre season fixtures threw up two biggies, one vs United and one us Madrid. In all honesty the United game didnt go to well, they played almost a full squad and it finished....

The Madrid game though was a different story, here are the formations:

napolivsmadridformation.jpg

The same formation some people may so, and I have to disagree there are two vital differences. The most obvious one is that im using two DM's whereas Madrid have gone with two MC's. This gives the benefits of my most creative players having the whole AM strata to themselves and KAaka being dominated by my two DM's. The other difference is in the defence, more specifically mine is a defence consisting entirely of sweepers. This allows me to sandwich Benzema between the two DC's attempting to cut off his supply over the top and short, the two DR/DL cover the AML/R respectively, that is a pretty standard setup although they do sit slightly deeper. Anyway onto the match:

napolivsmadridstats.jpg

A victory against one of the top sides in Europe, not an impressive victory, but a victory all the same. The only place I would say I was comfortable is in possession, the 51/49 split is very kind to Madrid as from what I watched we controlled the ball much much better. Only a little update but just a quick one to keep things up to date.

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I am loving this thread guys. Before reading this I never thought too much about tactics I would just pick a tactic and that would be it depending what players I had available and skim through the seasons as fast as possible. But now I have been inspired to replicate/tweak similar sort of tactics here. Now I am looking at the tactics in fm in a totally different way and it has totally changed my fm experience. I had got bored of fm and not played it for 3 or 4 months but just stumbling onto this thread has reignited my passion for the game and I cannot wait to try something similar for fm 13So thank you everyone here for bringing me back to a game that had lost its appeal.

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I am loving this thread guys. Before reading this I never thought too much about tactics I would just pick a tactic and that would be it depending what players I had available and skim through the seasons as fast as possible. But now I have been inspired to replicate/tweak similar sort of tactics here. Now I am looking at the tactics in fm in a totally different way and it has totally changed my fm experience. I had got bored of fm and not played it for 3 or 4 months but just stumbling onto this thread has reignited my passion for the game and I cannot wait to try something similar for fm 13So thank you everyone here for bringing me back to a game that had lost its appeal.

No worries mate, its good to know its helping people. The threads taken a bit of a back seat I've just been mad busy , I will try and carry on at some point soon

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