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How to break down various tactics

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I'm struggling to beat a couple of formations. Myself I play a 4231 (CM-CM-AMR-AMC-AML-FC) and I have a hard time trying to break down or dominate the flat 451 tactic. I'm Arsenal and in this instance it's Aston Villa who is the problem. In my head I would look to find the AMC as often as possible and he is also the playmaker of the team. However, the opponent seem to dominate me all game. That is my problem, and I do miss discussions of handling various formations. I look at the game in full, but my players just don't what they're supposed to. I understand why they dominate the middle of the park (them play CMx3 versus my two CM's and an AMC), but I don't understand why they completely dominate me. I'm using the shouts often especially (keep possession, look for overlap and so on). Depends on the situation. The same goes for my strategy. Here I'll post my formation and team instructions:



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What I would change is firstly the duty of the AP to attack and the role and duty of the forward to DLF(sup). This could cause an upset to the opposition's DMC and DCs because the way you have set them up now, your AP is marked out of the game by their DMC.

Also, I'm guessing that the opposition's forward tends to drop(?) so try to mark him with either one of the DCs or with the defensive-minded MC.

Moreover, do not set your AP as your playmaker cos he will be the centre of attention and be easily marked out.

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You might want to considering playing more direct. The reason being that you are trying to short pass through a heavily packed midfield. As it stands, between the two teams, there are a massive 10 men in the midfield. Even your own men will get in each others way.

You AMC is highly likely to be heavily marked too, even if he isn't again, he is in the packed midfield. Try a little more wingplay. You could even try playing narrow but exploit the flanks. This will push the midfield tight together, making it even harder for each team, however you won't be going through the midfield, so it doesn't matter.

The 451 is damned annoying and infact, I have just picked up my first loss in 15 games to it..... Bloody West Brom of all teams......

You could try playing a little deeper to draw them out onto you a little more and then break down the flanks (maybe clear to flanks - though, it might not sit well with the creative team you have).

To try and get your AMC involved a little more, I have him on an attacking role or at least something that has Run From Deep often. This way he will break into the box for you to pass (if Inside forwards) or cross to (if wingers), he may also drag a midfielder out of position and cause more probalems with the DC's too.

So... .to summarise.

Sit deeper (use shout)

Play mixed/Direct passing (use get ball forward)

Pass into space (being the packed lines) (use shout).

Play narrow (shout)

Exploit flanks (shout)

AMC - RFD often



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I agree with Lam in all his advices, especially regarding using more flanks efficiently. Just a short addition: try Trequartista role for AMC. Thus Santi Cazorla will:

- roam trying to find holes in opponent's defence and midfield;

- not do defensive works;

- show maximal creatify in certain situations.

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