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Rashidi

Tactical Systems - Stafford Rangers goes on a trip

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I do have one major problem, most teams seem to just bypass my central defensive line and creating one on ones with the keeper againand again. Did you get the same result?

Tbh no. The 4231 formation is a hard formation for player, its mandatory to have 2 great ball winners there. They need the right attributes of teamwork anticipation tackling and concentration.

If you are getting players making beeline to your back four, there will be a few reasons, you have the wrong roles; you strategy is wrong and you are playing too conservatively, and you aren't OIing their keeper fullback and disrupting whoever is distributing in the middle.When I play my 4231, the very lowest strategy that's acceptable for me is controlled. So you may want to look at all that as well.

Argente how much do you tweak OI and shouts ingame? Are you having more issues away or at home, and is it against a particular formation?

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Thanks, I do play with control and I believe I have the right midfielders for it. Which leaves OI which is always difficult because it can break the shape of the tactic. But I think you answered my question, I must look into stopping the supply for the through balls.

Another strange thing about playing this way, I have had a lot of tough first halves getting behind, then I make some remarkable come backs during the second half.

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Biggest problems are against 41221. If the oppo is 442 then I can deal with them quite comfortably. I had a preseason draw with Championship side Middlesboro and beat Crawley of League 2 in the FA Cup and took Bournemouth to extra time in a replay and really should have beaten them both times. They all played 442. When I play against 41221 I struggle with the oppo DM killing my attacks.

I usually use 4 shouts, Expolit Middle, Play wider, pass out of defence and play through defence. That means I play on the floor through the middle. I've the most technical midfield in the division so we play a control game. I have a staggered midfield of DMCR DMCL both Anchor Man, an MCR Attacking Midfield on Attack setting and an AMCL on Advanced playmaker support or attack. The key to this seasons form is to make sure the MCR is left footed and the AMCL is right footed. This puts them both in positions to play first time through balls for my STR to run on to. He's a quick right footer. The STL is a DLF and left footed so he can play the first time through balls too. It's a killer combination. For variety I would turn off the Expolit middle shout and set one or both FBs to WB Attack. I still have a pair of DM Anchor men to keep things solid and help against counters.

As far as OI goes, I use sometimes. I look at where oppo goals come from on the scout report and I look at who is playing Key Passes for them (not assists, it's too late if you are trying to stop them). I would use one of the Anchor Men roman mark the wide player in the side that they get most goals from and I would OI Mark Tight Always on whichever midfielder has the most Key Passes. This usually cuts off 75% plus of oppo chances. If they are going to beat me they have to do it with their lesser players in a way they aren't used to.

My media prediction was 20th this season, I'm still 4th and 7 points from top with 5 games to go. I should make playoffs and then who knows!

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Argente sounds pretty much like you have a handle on things, yeah i usually have some problem formations too, and i find that when the AI uses the 41221 i need to close down their DM so that he spends less time distributing and because i play narrow around them they usually cant deploy their MCs well. I just watched a game and it was pure poetry in full. My DLF squandered 5 cccs, we managed to get the goal against a much superior opponent and then I decided to lay back, did nothing and the equalized with 5 mins to go..I should have gone counterattacking with 5 mins to go but i was having too much fun playing in the opponents half watching all their attacks snuffed, till one found its way to my goal and my dc who was playing brilliantly put it in for an OG.

We're still in contention for an automatic promotion, I just need to get a few more wins under my belt; and then it will be 3 straight promotions and heading into NL1 with a 5k seater stadium lol.

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Another strange thing about playing this way, I have had a lot of tough first halves getting behind, then I make some remarkable come backs during the second half.

The 4231 formation is a killer in second half, you could do a variation of the same tactic; first half the 2 MCs are playing as DMCs, using a false 9 setup and second half they get pushed to MC position. If you are fitter I shouldnt see why you cant.

LOL i was just thinking 3 seasons and my tactical system has 5 tactics, time for me to add a sixth. I tend to train my players based on roles, and then when i get the chance I whip up a new formation, so far i have done my false nine, 4231, 451, 4312 and 41221. So many formations have complementary roles so its just a matter of moving them around, i should start planning for it for end of season.

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I think the biggest problem I have against 41221 is that I can't really attack it's weak points. I play through the middle because that's my strength. I don't really have any decent wide players which I could use to attack the space in between the FBs and wingers. I've started experimenting with 424 but then the middle of my midfield isn't defensive enough and I get shredded through the middle. I've started trying a 424 but with the 2 as DM rather than MC but I find that leaves too much gap between my defence and attack. Maybe if I did that but with WBs set to Attack and my Wingers as Inside Forwards I'd be able to still exploit the flanks but have my IF not too far from the DM. The best two I have of them are both converted DCs, its like having a bank of 4 big strong DCs down the middle at the back. Very very hard to break down provided I don't get too adventurous.

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SFTable.jpg

We're second in the league, but look at the goals conceded. The 41221 I set up has been a defensive rock, its snuffed out numerous attacks down the flank and works great as a counterattacking tactic. My biggest problem has been scoring off the break, we've had numerous matches where we have created enough chances to break the bank, but we've lost.

When I popped over to Cleons new thread which also shows a 41221 I was surprised to see another style being used. His has flank attacks which on support from fullbacks free up IFs to be deadly in and around the area. Its a great idea, but for a side like Stafford not doable. We only dare to break through only when the opponent is campin in their own half.

In the first half of the season I was resigned to thinking that we wouldnt make playoffs within the first season, so I stuck neck out and tried bombarding teams, but we started going on a really bad run.

I couldnt buy any consistency apart from a 3 game winning run where i scored more goals, but my elation quickly turned to grief as we failed to make it count, so I made some small changes. Now the trio in midfield feature a DLP in the DMC slot a APM and a B2BMC, it may have helped me get some solidity, but I reckon I may need to change it to a DMC, APM and a DLP combo much like Cleons. That buys me more defensive cohesion but it does run the risk of me not grabbing more goals, in which case I need to unleash the fullback on the side where the DLP sits. Its an option that I have.

Its interesting to see so many variations of the same tactic and another thread has also inspired me to make a 4231 narrow for next season, so if there are any requests based on my players I will consider them, another formation I am toying with is a 32212 formation.

Well our form has been good defensively but its getting tight, and with promotion chances looking good, we really want to keep this run going. Our run since I changed my midfield to the DLP,APM,B2BMC has been good but I need more goals..and its making me nervy. I have never played an FM this immersive before.

SFFixtures2.jpg

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If there is one major fault with this me, is that if you know how to set up a defense, its almost impenetrable, unfortunately too few can do that

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If there is one major fault with this me, is that if you know how to set up a defense, its almost impenetrable, unfortunately too few can do that

Interesting to see that you keep as many clean sheets as me, yet I'm a lot more aggressive in my play. Gotta love FM and all the variants you can use :)

It would be great if you could start to pinch a goal or two in the tighter games.

As Sheffield FC on one of my other saves I use basically the same set up as you describe in here, I am finding a simliar thing. I keep plenty of clean sheets not need to score more.

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Awesome thread. I've been doing a lower league save myself with my housemate (swedish bottom tier) and after a 4-4 and a 4-0 defeat in my first 2 games, I got a real grip on the tactics with a very solid 4-5-1/4-1-2-2-1 with the following:

Goalkeeper - D

Fullback - S

Limited Defender - D

Limited Defender - D

Fullback - S

Anchor Man - D

Central Midfielder - A

Central Midfielder - S

Winger - S

Winger - A

Target Man - S

Very few changes to the team setup, with Balanced and Counter/Control depending on how I was feeling and the opposition. All others on default except more roaming, I felt I needed in order to cause the defenses more problems.

I used a target man because he was by far my best player. I won the league even though I was predicted 8th and expected to avoid relegation. Most games were tight in terms of chances but my chances were very often clear cut whilst reducing the opposition to very few good chances and thus, very few goals.

Got some decent signings in for my second season and i'm contemplating changing the CM - A to a AP - A, as well as my TM - S into a DLP - S to try and produce more chances by dragging the defense out of position more (which the Target man even on support doesn't do too often). Might also change my W - A to IF - A for a bit more variety up top.

I used a variety of shouts due to the different styles of play on show in Sweden. A lot of teams played a diamond midfield with DMC, MR, ML, AMC, to which I often played wider and through the middle which they couldn't cope with

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@jdrawmer You can always modify elements of your tactic to give you the edge, for like the whole season I've been using a combo to keep a tight ship, and when I swopped midway to Cleons midfield setup, just a DLP,APM and a DMC we scored lol...man every trick to give me the edge is gonna be used for our surge to the title. In Sept I was only interested in survival, with less than 8 matches left I can dare to dream for a 3rd straight league title.

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Missed out on promotion. Came 2nd, 2 points off the top then lost in playoffs, 1-0 away and a 0-0 draw at home with Grimsby. Need to strengthen the middle of midfield and full backs and have a couple of injury prone players to try and offload. Need to get the wage bill down a little too.

If I'm to get promoted next season I need a way to combat the 41221 that really stifles the lovely passing game I play through the middle.

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God the goals are drying up, I would have thought that after having some experience chasing championships my players would bang in a lot of goals. We're still undefeated 2 points clear at the top and winning games by a solitary goal. This has been down more to luck than anything else. Our last win courtesy of an Og. I was literally screaming at my screen when my striker was open with only the keeper to beat, inside the penalty box, and he sends it over the top. My inside forward clear and charging down the keeper gets ready to strike and then leaves the ball behind.

We really need to sort this stuff out. I think this may have to do with me reducing match prep to 20% cos this only happened then.

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STAFFORD PROMOTED!

21 games undefeated heading into our last 7 games, and we lose to Exeter, then we lose to Mansfield. I can almost feel us coming off the rails. Should I panic? With 3 teams breathing down our necks we get hauled back into the playoff spots, I dont really mind since we were tipped for relegation. So I call for a team meeting and tell the side to keep their heads up and that they still have what it takes for promotion. Perhaps a dose of self belief can help.

The AI had construed to play me on the same formation I use. It came at me with a 41221 which saw me succumb to a 1 goal loss to Exeter then a 3-1 dismantling by Mansfield. I decided to stick with it, our next match was against Bristol Rovers ranked 11th, I decided to stop marking wingers. So I just OIed their fullbacks and Keeper, and closed down their DMC. Both our goals coming from pressure in the opponents half, a 2-0 win.

Our next match home to Cheltenham, they too decided to visit me with a 41221, I was getting seriously annoyed. This has been the formation thats cost me a lot of wins. I either narrowly beat it or draw. I decided to stick with the same strategy against BR and once again we win 2-0. We've now picked up 3 points from the 7 to guarantee promotion. Next match against Aldershot, and they come with a 442, it feels me with elation its a formation we can beat. I push up my dline and adopt control, and OI the keeper and fullbacks and go wide. Within the first 28 secs we score, we almost make it two before the break as a rocket hits the upright. I remember telling the press that Torquay will have it tough against Oxford and I stare at the clock as we are on key highlights. I cant do full match highlights anymore I am too old to wait and too young to die from a heart attack. The whistle blows we win 2-0 and Torquay are held by Oxford. We have secured promotion with a game to spare. We may not have won the title, but we can now celebrate. Its 3 promotions in a row!

SFFIXProm.jpg

SFPROMOTED.jpg

LOL last match will be done on commentary I cant wait ! (post match edit: as it turns out we lost 1-0, but by then we were all drunk on the pitch celebrating....lol i just realized I am bringing the worst pitch to play football to the Championship YEEHAH! ( getting a bit ahead of ourselves arent we...npower 1, championship football is some way aways

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Its a new season for Stafford. Last season our promotion tale consisted of one too many nail biting matches as we ground out match after match by a solitary goal. Scoring more than a goal proved an issue. Moving into the new division, my focus was immediately sorting out three key areas of the team:

Defense: We have a distinct lack of strength and jumping which means we are suspect to the tall target-man, We signed two new defenders but they are still too young to play, I will continue to look for one to sign he should at least have 13 in major attributes

Midfield: We are sorely lacking a DM, I haven't been able to sign anyone so we may need to convert one of our defenders to that role. Frak I need to have a better way to find players…gonna depend more on my scouts now.

In attack we are the weakest. Its an area we need to shore up so I will look for players with the attributes to play as inside forwards. Whether we find them or not is a different story.

---

AFC Wimbledon vs Stafford

Our first match was an away game, I was elated as we took a 2-0 lead into halftime and then extended it to 3-1, but then things got turned on its head with 20 minutes to go when the AI brought on a target man who started winning headers in DMCs and penalty box. Three knock downs three goals, I was gutted. I couldn't even cut off his supply route, it was an either or situation. On hindsight I could have managed things better, but complacency set in.

Stafford v Doncaster

With 10 new signings you can get lost, so I filtered through to look for players to work as partnerships, defensive partnership with one strong in jumping and the other good with anticipation and composure. Basically ended up with fine-tuning my selection of players. We go into the break 2 nil up again. They pull one goal back, but we enjoy near total domination and win 3-1. I only use two shouts this time, push up higher and wider. Its a shock result setting the Moors in rapturous mood. One win One loss. 7 goals in two games better than my average last season. We are the worst performing newly promoted side, this is gonna be a cool season.

We head to Plymouth in our next match score the early goal but concede towards the end, its disappointing but there are a lot of positives from that game

Our opening day match was a magnificent 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest which we squeezed out in extra time. Our 2nd Round opponents were newly demoted West Ham Utd. This has not been an easy start to the season. We inspect their side and I am resigned to defeat, heading into the press conference I say the same and that it should be a tall order for us to get anything from that side. In fact knowing that my priority has to be the league and promotion, I make the decision to field as many reserves as I can. After all we are meant to lose, so I may as well protect my first teamers. I do have to field 3 first teamers in the end, but the strike force is new and the fullbacks are new.

We adopt a counterattacking stance against West Ham who have opted to play a 4231. Thats a formation that really needs space to work well in. So i decide to narrow the pitch and keep play neutral. Without any input from the fullbacks their midfielders will have a lot of work to do and their wingers will need all the support. So I hope that this works.

The first half ends goaless, and we do a great job of keeping them at bay, but i do expect the inevitable onslaught, but as they continue to pour forward their attacks down the flanks fail to penetrate our defense. In the 63rd min they score a goal off a corner, there is nothing i can do about it. By then we are beginning to get some self belief as I see my captain drive the ball all the way from defense to their box for a shot. 6 minutes later our pressure on their fullbacks forces one of them into a back pass which fails to reach its dc and our striker pounces on it to score the equaliser.

By now its apparent to me that both sides are creating as many chances, off a counter they score to lead 2-1 then we get a free kick which gets a lucky deflection and goes in. We notice they are picking up yellow cards in the middle of the park so i instruct my team to exploit the middle. 5 minutes later a Hammer picks up his second yellow and we find ourselves playing against 10 man, theres hope. We make it to extra time and I tell my players they are now unlucky not to be leading. The boys come out of the docks like a bunch of crazed hyenas as they peg West Ham back, wait we aren't attacking are we? Then with 5 minutes left in extra time I decide to unleash my bench, and I tell em to pump it to the box, the pressure works as the Hammers succumb. Its our second successive Championship scalp. Final score 3-2 (aet).

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Stafford Season in Summary thus far

I always start every season tentative, my hopes for the future cautious. So i spend a tremendous amount of time during the preseason analysing my team to see where our strengths lie and where I need to shore things up. With Stafford it was clear, in order for me to progress my players have to be meticulously selected. And this is nowhere more true than in defense.

When it comes to defenders I assess the defenders and dmcs in the same group. This whole season I have been playing a 41221 exclusively with the occasionally dabble with Norwich's real life 4411 that can morph into a 4231. My goal is eventually to have a system that can seamlessly play the 4411, 4231, 4312, 451 and 41221 formations. My side are now proficient in all these tactics. And as I have said time and time again, its not about the tactics. Its about the whole system. So beginning with my defending group, I always focus on these attributes in terms of priority:

Concentration :For me this is the game winner, if my defenders have great attributes but dont have concentration they are useless. Concentration is so important I cant stress it enough, its the difference between keeping a clean sheet and conceding one late. Concentration and anticipation allow someone to intercept through balls and cut off space.

Pace/Acceleration: You see fullbacks getting beaten all the time, have pace and they are able to chase down a ball, have acceleration and they will keep up with elusive wingers

Anticipation: You dont need great tackling if you are always there before the AI rite? 'nuff said

Tackling: Important for the times when they need to put in the challenge

Jumping:Defenders work as a partnership, make sure that at least one is great at jumping, and then you will be able to head balls out of dangerous areas

Strength: Important for central defenders not so for fullbacks

These were my key attributes for my defensive group of players, above all else this is where my attention focuses at the end of a season. Looking through my side, I realised that we always faced problems in defense, our opening game illustrated this clearly as we got dismantled by a late sub who outjumped. So I spent time looking through my side and then brought in a player called Delaney who had the right attributes lacking at the back. And now combined with Boateng, the much touted Nathan Ake is literally on the sidelines. When he comes back from his long injury we will be even stronger.

In attack I am hamstrung, only one new player called Antonio German, and well he's only marginally better than the rest and we are still missing a lot of sitters.

Thus far this whole season we have done a great job of defending, we started out scoring an average of 3 goals a game and then we started slowing down. Our home record is impeccable 8 wins 2 losses, our away form not so fantastic. At the start of the season it was poor, so I started focusing on my selection priority and started paying attention to partnerships. There is nothing more vital than a good defensive partnership, so after I started making sure that the right too defenders were paired together we started ruling the roost. We are now undefeated away in our last 4 games 2 draws and 2 wins. Including one over league leaders Coventry and another over Leyton Orient. And both matches told the same tale; i feel sorry for Coventry though, they only had one shot at our goal.

LOStaff.jpg

And this brings me to my cardinal rules for playing FM:

Bedding in your system

You've started a new season and you want to get your team off to the best start how do you do it?

1. Select your players carefully. Use the custom screens to help. Observe during preseason, how different players perform in selected roles.

2. Make sure you set up for fitness, tactical cohesion and teamwork during preseason

3. Maintain a system for training and stick to it, keep it simple so you understand, home games match prep = attacking movement or attacking set pieces, Away day is defensive movement or defensive set pieces.

4. Use training performances to gauge how well your players are performing, if they do poorly tell them to improve, if they play poorly during a match consistently, then tell em they are doing badly then tell em they are to be moved to reserves to prove themselves

5. Great to score tonnes in early days, but more important not to lose as the knock-on effects are expensive. It's better to start playing tight narrow and counter attacking. Patient probing football, while your team is gelling. Use this time to analyse your players performances using custom screens.

6. Adapt to conditions of play, and change passing styles or use OI sparingly to take advantage. Remember shouts and OI don't win you matches they only lead to small swings. Your selection of players and choice of strategy is far more important.. Shouts are not the secret.

7. Once players start gelling observe during highlights who is performing better; if it shows you defending and almost letting the score you need to adapt. If it shows them scoring but you are counterattacking, you need to see why you aren't scoring.

8. At all times be logical, you may have the best players but if both sides come out attacking then you know the battle will be won in defense, not attack.

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My Sheffield FC side in the evo leagues are a sucker for conceeding late due to poor concentration. They just can't stayed focused at all useless sods :D

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Tactical Zen

Basically its about finding that perfect equilibrium between attacking threat and defensive solidity. If your defensive line is too high you leave your backline easily exposed to long balls down the flank, if its too deep your attackers get isolated because too much effort is spent defending. To achieve tactical zen, you need to find that sweet spot where your attacking group is close enough to help you defend, and they do this by being close enough to pick up balls from defenses to launch attacks. This way instead of having one sole lonely fullback running up in support you have a pack of at least 4 who can do something with the ball.

When you find Tactical Zen, you will also discover with the right players your flanks are secure. The caveat remains though, you need the right players. You have a fullback with 16 pace vs a winger with 12 pace but he has +4 acceleration on your fullback. That winger will skin your fullback. All the tactical advice people provide is useless if you choose the wrong player, so please spend twice as much time understanding what kind of player you need for the role you want him to play.

So once you know you have your right players then its time to look for tactical zen in your game. How do people do this? You can't do this watching the 3D screen, for one thing this can only be done via the 2D screen. Essentially you are looking to make sure that on your analysis tab, your backline is covering the AIs attack force and your attacking group is a few yards behind the AIs defensive line. This is what I call tactical zen. Within these two heatspots, player ability comes to play. Your tactical settings comes to play, and basically you have done all the right things to exploit.

To illustrate I had a game against Colchester, a side we were meant to lose against. We were severe underdogs, I typically start on Control/Fluid, with my own passing settings. I prefer to attack out of the gate and i have fast players and as it turned out we scored in the 1st minute. Being an underdog, I had the shouts, pass to feet, exploit middle and play narrow up. Once we scored the goal I popped up the heat signature and noticed that a few minutes later the AI had pushed up. So I dropped deeper and went early cross. The heat signature basically didnt change much for the whole game..so thats how we sat.

zen1.jpg

zen2.jpg

Now if you look at Colchester's heat map you should notice something if you dont let me point you to the zone where my MCs are standing now look where they are in relation to the AIs MCs, we are literally next to each other, which is what I wanted. I aimed to literally zone in on the same spot so that I force the AI to make perfect passes. Furthermore my midfield comes with a supporting DM which should create more havoc as I can push 4 through the middle to take advantage on the dangerous zone that is the gap between the midfield and DCs. And it is this gap that we exploited for our second goal.. because of how densely I've packed midfield, I've guaranteed myself loads of chances from throughballs. That throughball coming from my playmaker that goes to my DLP who actually ran in to score. It was a simple goal.

zen4runs.jpg

When you match heat maps correctly you should also be able to do this: Your defenders should either be able to block the cross from happening or intercept the cross, simply because your fullbacks arent chasing down wingers or your DCs arent chasing to cover a zone from a cross. Its infinitely more efficient, and its the one reason why I say crosses arent broken in the game. People are broken, they just dont know how to set their tactics up rite.

zencross.jpg

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So how do you find the spot?Before you start a game make sure you understand how they rate you, this is usually quite close to the match odds. If you are favorite then expect them to play deeper, which would suggest that you need to play with a higher defensive line. For my next match against Bristol City, we were overwhelming favourites, I was expected to win. When I started the game I looked at the heat signature at 10 mins and noticed that my attackers were actually having to go through the MCs and the DCs, thats two banks of players. In other words the opposing team was playing very deep.

So I adjusted went attacking, wide, look for overlaps, to make it look something like this, in this case my strikers are now between the MCs and DCs so they are a run away from breaking through their defensive line. After making this change we whipped Bristol 3-0

overlay.jpg

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Thanks for the effort with this thread - I always do a lower league game and have usually been fine without using OI but struggled defensively this game. I started targeting players with high assists/goals with tight marking and weaker foot and more times than not am just shutting them out of the game now so cheers!

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Mate, that ZEN post is without doubt the single best post ive read on here in months. Exactly what im looking for and exactly why i will be looking at for my team when i get home from work.

Ive been playing the same way pretty much all the time but looking to change my dline depending on the OPP. Whe i hit the sweet spot i really do hit the sweet spot. BUT the issue was all trial and errorm what your post has done has given me a perfect insight to what to look for!

I salute you sir :thup:

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One quick question, do the grid lines in the heat maps have a match to the Dline sliders? So for example, if i start at Dline lowest, i should expect to see it on the 4th line up from the grid. There only seem to be 12 grids per half so not sure if there any theories to this... or im talking utter BS :D

edit....

Just looking at your latest heat maps. So if the OPP had thier DC's sitting 3 grids from half way line and the MC's 1 up into my half I should be looking at getting my Strikers into either the 1st or 2nd grid line of the OPP half to exploit?

Is that how it would work? Guess what im trying to say is how would i do this on the slider?

Thanks again

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One quick question, do the grid lines in the heat maps have a match to the Dline sliders? So for example, if i start at Dline lowest, i should expect to see it on the 4th line up from the grid. There only seem to be 12 grids per half so not sure if there any theories to this... or im talking utter BS :D

edit....

Just looking at your latest heat maps. So if the OPP had thier DC's sitting 3 grids from half way line and the MC's 1 up into my half I should be looking at getting my Strikers into either the 1st or 2nd grid line of the OPP half to exploit?

Is that how it would work? Guess what im trying to say is how would i do this on the slider?

Thanks again

I dont really pay attention to the 12 grid lines and the dline sliders..thats overcomplicating the heatmap. What I look for is:

a. How narrow or wide I am compared to the AI. If its narrow then I know how it will attack. I have seen some really weird heatmaps where it looks like the AI is just packed in the middle. When I saw that I hunkered down in the middle and went to the flanks.

b. To ensure that my attackers are in the most optimum position for attacks I want to make sure that they are in the area just shy of the dcs and in front of the midfielders. What I also want to ensure is that the supporting midfield isnt too far away. Its all about balance.

Two heatmaps will almost always meet, its logical cos you wont see them too far apart. Sometimes you do, and thats when you know there may be issues. For example you could be too deep, while the AI is deep as well. When that happens you strikers wont get far. So what I aim to do all the time is try and make them 'overlap' as much as I can, through minor adjustments. I have on occasion found that I have needed to make a complete strategy change cos my strikers were too far away from the defenders. In essence my goal is to make sure that my attackers are close enough to make their runs through channels, or close enough to force errors. They usually almost always do.

God i am sleepy..i just landed.

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Just a quick comment on the 'False 9' approach that you mentioned as a tactical approach when going down a man. I had a wonderful result with that approach in my match yesterday (Harrow Hill edited in to BSN- midway through first season), as a rash tackle put us down to 10 men at the 10 minute mark of the match against the 2nd place club in BSN. I just swapped to the false 9 (pretty much exactly as you discussed) and my side played pretty much the same as normal with the DLF slotting a pass to the IF for a first half lead. We also notched a superb counter-attack in the second half and my keeper played a blinder as we won 2-0 :)

I still am learning the nuances involved in the 41221, but am having fun with the learning process.

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Same, the biggest challenge and the hardest formation i face is the 41221 as well

Well I'm halfway through the following season and I appear to have come up with a way to play the 41221. It's taken me a while but it's fairly effective.

I use the shouts of 'Push higher up', 'Hassle oppo' and 'get stuck in' to make me combative in the middle of midfield (well all over the pitch but primarily the desire is middle midfield).

Changed Keeper to Sweeper Keeper Support to help with my higher D line and changed my FB (D) to WB (S) to push them higher up the field and closer to the oppo wingers. It also means that they will actually push on and get into the gap in between winger and FB of the oppo.

I'm 2nd at the end of Jan but I'm 15 points behind Barrow who are unstoppable at the moment. Playoffs again I'd say....

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It's a funny old game. A 9 game collapse of 7 draws and 2 defeats left me needing a win on the last day, away at Southport who needed a win to stay up. Having not won in 9 I wasn't confident!

A few minutes in and I see they are man marking my AMCL so I move him to AMCC. Wow. They continue to man mark him but now there are gaping holes in their midfield that I ruthlessly exploit to the tune of an 8-0 win with one striker scoring 5.

Macclesfield await in the playoffs. Lesson to learn, little things can make a big difference!

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The key to this game is adaptability. You can make any formation work with your team as long as you have a system. The system can be an attacking one or enveloped around a philosophy of playstyle. Mine is broad and it incorporates various tactics, because I believe that your team can play up to three different tactics within one season. What one needs for success is:

a. Knowledge of your players

b. Basic knowledge on setting up a logical coherent tactical system and adapting to changes in a game

Thats all anyone needs, the rest of the stuff in the game is just burnishing. You'll be surprised how little things can change a tactic. Presently I am using a 442 with Stafford for a few games, I wanted my midfield partnership to include a deep ball winner, and a trequartista like MC, a playmaker who also dribbles and lays off passes pulling teams apart with his runs. I did that exclusively by making some adjustments to mentality, runs and dribbles.

What you've done is equally important Argente changing roles in a game can make significant changes to how you perform but it requires paying close attention to what happens in the game. The game is all about controlling space. If you control the important zones chances are you will the game.

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Promotion!!!

Drew 1-1 over 2 legs with Macclesfield then beat them on penalties. Stuffed Barnet 4-2 in the playoff final.

League 2 here we come!

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Argente I would persevere with your system of play, its the most viable way of playing. Going forward based on all I've gathered it will be rewarding once the patch comes out. If you look at the upcoming patch changes some of the inherent weaknesses of the engine will be mitigated. In my opinion if you have a logical system based on clear roles and responsibilities you will find it rewarding.By this I mean being able to use the system of shouts, OI and switching roles around on the pitch.

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Another promotion secured. Stafford are in the premiership. So next season I could be trying out some new formations, at the moment I am toying with the combination of the English Wingless Wonders or the Argentinian 4312. Ooh i love making a battery of tactics

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Been toying with the idea of several formations for the start of the new season. Now I have several ideas and thought I'd bounce these around. For one thing I believe there may still be some 'exploits' possible. So going forward I was thinking of making either a 532 with 2 attacking wingbacks or the wingless 4312. So what do you guys think?

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I think you've worked wonders to get them into the Prem in such a short space of time!!!!

I'm finding League 2 tough, I've lost the edge that I had in BSP where my regen Striker was able to exploit the lack of pace amongst DCs to run onto through balls. 35 goals last season, 3 in 11 so far this.

I have a backup Plan B of 352 ish which is...

...................GK (Sweeper Keeper - Support)

..............CD (Stop) LD (Cover) CD (Stop)

WB (A)..................................AM (D)..........WB (A)

..........................AP (S)

..........................AM (A).........AP(A)

.....................................DLF (S)

I've only actually used it once, against a 4312 Torquay after they were dominating my original formation. Came back to get a draw and it worked quite well but I don't really have the players to execute it as I would like to.

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Well the Moors stormed into the premiership on the back of a fairly successful Championship campaign where they only lost 3 matches and notched up 100 points. We played a 442 formation for the majority of the season, as part of my attempt to create a Dummy Guide to A 442. The season featured scintillating matches where we scored like 30 goals in 6 matches and some gripping personal highlights including our first and probably our last double-hat trick in league competition.

Promotion brings with it a touch of anguish as you need to make cold hearted decisions on the future of your players. We prepped our assault on the Championship with at least 24 players. Our reserves were as good as our first teamers, but not everyone is good enough for the premiership. So we spent the close season searching out bargain free transfers. Bargain in terms of wage demands. We’ve now replaced 9 of the players with talent we hope, desperately hope, will be enough. And for the first time I’ve stuck my neck out promising a mid table finish, so that I could eke out a larger contribution to our wage budget.

The single most important key to overachievement is player selection. We have peppered our side with a bit more steel at the back and some creativity in the middle of the park. Another two strikers have been added to our stable of 3. My hit men were getting struck down by the Injury Assassin towards the end of last season. I was worried my reputation was going to rival Bilardo’s with the high number of yellow cards we were getting last season. We were fined numerous times last season for our rough play, but it got us this far.

Survival is our priority for our first 10 games. The goal will be not concede…lol. I think that’s wishful thinking. In real life simulating this kind of performance is almost inconceivable, the thought that a bunch of players who were playing amateur football when they were 17 and are now playing in the premiership must surely be fantastical. Paul said this could never happen and it has, Stafford are in the premiership and we need to contend with faster, technically more competent and physically much stronger opponents. How do teams do that?

In the late 60s Estudiantes in Argentina did just that. Bilardo took a young bunch of players and moulded them into a physical bully that punched above its weight plunging football into utter chaos. A win was a win. In today’s game do that and you could be forced to forfeit a game.

We need to come up with a plan to establish ourselves, we are in preseason, my attempts at 532 failed abysmally in our first friendly as we lost to Blackpool. I changed to a 4312 and we won our next match 3-0, and then a 442 got us another win. But the 442 won’t do, as a formation it demands physical presence, historically every team that’s struggled has failed to meet those demands. The options I am considering:

4132 Wingless wonders

Keep it narrow lock down the fullbacks and exploit the middle. Most teams have a porous centre if we can pull the midfield apart as they close down then we have a chance. Still though the flanks will demand a lot of attention

41221 or 433 as the AI calls it

This formation has some merits but it desperately screams out for support from the fullbacks and the DLF. It’s a solid formation Mourinho used it, its fairly popular, yet again to full exploit it we need pacy inside forwards

5122

I’ve been thinking about this a while but this is a totally new formation we’ve never used it may be a good defensive formation along with my

False Ten

There are several ways we can set this up, but I reckon as a deep 4231 played high this could end up being a deceptively resilient formation. The last time I used such a formation was in the conference.

This all depends on how my players adapt to training, so the plan will be to start with my 41221 and go counter against Everton and pray we don’t lose, and then have the False 10 as another tactic, simply because it uses the same players, finally the 5122 though I have my reservations I will keep this on standby. In all the other leagues we usually had 3-5 teams that were superior to us in every regard, now we have the whole league. For once I don’t know, we will need to adapt as the season unfolds, hopefully we settle on a survival formula before November.

Well as it turned out I decided to play a 41221 against Everton in our first away game and decided to be less adventurous. We kept the fullbacks locked down and we played on the counterattack, narrow, stand on feet. It was a bruising game but we managed to keep a clean sheet.

Our next match home to Aston Villa, so I decide to go to the False 10 formation on page one, simply because of Villas pacey attack. I dont have the players to contain that, so I decided to use that formation. I made some changes as well..with the goal of keeping me players mentally tuned to trying to win the match, we started on attacking mentality. That way while in defense we drop deep, in attack we should press. The dangers would be in closing down, so i decide to go narrow, stand on feet, pass to feet to make sure that the times we win the ball we can keep it.

We lost count of the number of attacks that get snuffed out on the flanks, and Villa are reduced to peppering my goal from range, which is all good. The first half is a tough half, but with 6.8 to 7.0, i decide to fire them up and tell them to show me something else in the second half. The side comes out a bit more determined, this time we are carving out chances. A few good close range chances from inside the box, oh how my players miss the target..by country miles. Its like the goal is placed on the right side of the pitch. We commit a few howlers and then the break comes as we score. Villa switch to a 4231 and I smile. With me in attacking mode I doubt they will pose a threat, but that joy is shortlived as they literally camp in my half. For 10 long minutes we repel each invasion. We lose my DMC then my Box to Box midfielder, by the time we finish the match 3 players are stretchered off..but its our first win. Damn this style of play takes a lot out of us.

F10_zpsde32288a.jpg

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The more I think about this game, the more I feel like I am playing a match engine instead of a manager. On my flight I was scribbling on my notepad and kept thinking of not how I'd nullify certain types of attacks, but how I wanted to nuke the AIs strengths. Its a bit disappointing, but sooner or later thats how everyone is going to play. Whether we like it or not, the AI isnt human, it has a set of parameters within which it operates and as such thats how I am going to treat it. So lets look at where the AIs principle strengths lie:

a. Flank play - totally devastating, if left unchecked the AI can run a fullback all the way to your goal if the fullback has high creative freedom and RWB often. And Ive seen that so thats the first focus area

b. Runs with ball - Fact: The modern game is now all about pace, players are running so fast, even Usain Bolt may not have the stamina to last the whole game, and with tackling from behind being a red card offense, the game now is skewed heavily in favour of players with the technical ability to control the ball in close quarters and MOVE IT FAST, which is why its so hard to tackle them, you cant even get the tackle in by the time the ball is released. There have been countless cards issued because of a late challenge. Tackles from behind have also changed the way the game is played, there is more back to the goal holding up as well. Thats the reality, so if players are going to come at me fast, what can I do? If I OI them too aggressively, they pull me apart. If I dont OI them, my assman gets agitated, the players get goalside and bang theres a goal.

These are basically the two main elements in the game, one is an accurate translation of sorts (runs) and the other well, I've learnt to accept that from the AI. It could happen in real life. The fact is teams that play close quarters football are doing well, look at Barca, so far ahead, it'd take a monumental collapse for that engine to slow down.

Having considered these, I set about considering what formations to use. We're 3 matches in and by 6 I absolutely need to firm it up, or I am toast. So its been a toss up between the False 10, the 41221. Both these formations put a lot of pressure on fullbacks and wingers. The 41221 does it in the opponents half and the false 10 in my own half. Now my 442 was very successful last season, which makes me think there is another option. The 4411. The 4411 makes for an interesting formation cos I am increasingly moving towards formations that feature no strikers. I could even mod it to become a 460. Now the most significant thing about the 44 formations is their banks of 4. If properly set up they can nuke the AIs threat from flanks and their runners. The 460 and the 4411 variants also give you the option of closing down the DMC in formations that use them.

In case anyone is wondering, yeah thats what i end up doing each time I get promoted. I need to find a formation that will allow me to survive the first few months. Once the team gets past November and you arent in relegation then you have a shot of finishing in a decent spot.

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I'm interested in the 4-4-1-1 rash, any chance you can talk about that a bit more? Congrats on getting into the prem btw :-)

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4411_zps96c9d20e.jpg

This is the formation I am using, there will be some trial and error as I get this out, but this is the plan...ambitious even ...for a newly promoted side (I am insane).

The goal is to have a lance like thrust on the left. At the moment both wingers are planned to be inside forwards so they will be set to support. I had thought of using a TQ, but I dont have players who can play that wall, none of them has the composure and first touch for that role. Since the left side of my formation will do most of the thrusts I need to make sure the better DC is covering that area, he needs the best attributes tht allow him to anticipate breakups. The right side is more support. The goal is not to give away goals. When we start getting comfortable I may try to be more adventurous. For now though. I want to make it hard for people to score against me.

And to do that I need to make sure my MCd is on a lower mentality than default so I will drop him more and make sure he has no HUB, cos that would be suicidal. On his left is an APM, chances are we are gonna get crosses from the left and i expect my left side to be taking heavy counters as well..so I could swap the MCd and the APM around if i find that its too tough to handle.

Going for Rigid and Standard for a start, and using an IF behind a poacher..this may not be the ideal setup atm, but I really dont know the best way to set up my team..i could have a DLF and an inside forward behind that should cause quite a bit of chaos, but these are all options I will try ingame..lol, who knows i could get whipped 8-0. We've played 3 games scored 2 goals and conceded 1 and have 5 points. lol

I wont be using my false 10 cos i think the 460 and 4411 have more potential, so thats where my focus will be till I fail...

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That's great thank you.

I'm using a treq behind a poacher but toying with the idea of flipping it so to speak, the ST as the treq and the AMC on attack as an inside forward.

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Poacher didn't really work well, I swapped him out for a DLF, IF combo. We beat Newcastle at home 2-0. Defensively its pretty ok. Pretty unnerving with all the runs, I just out anticipated their players and out accelerated them in impt areas for the win. Very very lucky win. Need to solidify this or wait for the patch lol

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shot out the dark but do you upload any of your tactic becausefrom reading this u are the master of this game
thanks but lol I ain't no master, there are many others better than me, I've just been playing the game I reckon the longest, having seen every possible iteration of the engine bar two.I used to upload tactics back in the day, I always say I won't then I do, but helping others understand how is way better. And chances are I won't even bother if people ask me if this player or that player fits better. I am hesitant on uploading tactics unless I am cocksure they work, and I run a holiday test for that, asking my assman to manage the team with my tactics

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Took 11 points out if the first five games. Was in the presence of some illustrious sides for a while, till Chelsea came visiting and a visit to London saw us losing to both 2-0. I seriously need to rethink this formation and create a pure CA one

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Stafford Update

Its a new season and I've gathered a new bunch of players. There werent too many and I kept going to the board to get my wage budget adjusted, I even promised a midtable finish for the first time, I hope I never regret the decision. Fully prepared to meet my maker, we've also worked on a few defensive formations to get us those valuable points. The preseason was a complete disaster, we lost almost all the matches before I reverted to the 41221 to get a few wins, for once I am unsure. On top of that we understand the FA are about to change the rules of the game, over at SI Towers where the Football Association meets, new rules affecting pitch conditions and ball use are sure to take their toll on us. So with a lot of uncertainty we prepare.

Our first 3 games are awesome, we get 7 from a possible 9. We even rub shoulders with Chelsea and the Mancs. Our football played isnt so fab, those games were won with the occasional dash foray, I know we need to do better. Matches against Chelsea, Manchester United, City and Liverpool come in consecutive order, and we lose all of them. And thats around the time the rules get changed. I look on in horror as Eden Hazard scores a goal by dribbling from his own half and cooly slotting in the goal, with nary a challenge. I remember covering my head, shaking my head and even angrily considering throwing my much vaunted playbook on the pitch in derision. ( In other words I was about to smash my laptop). And then a thought crosses my head, its something Leo Beenhakker said in a recent interview. When asked what made that Real Madrid team he manage so great, he suggested that it was down to partnerships and a collective will to prevail. That immediately prompts me to do a deeper analyses of my team - its time to look for partnerships.

We split our team up into creators and anchors, and then we stick in pace. Its a simple box analysis. I create a box and decide that the acceptable pace level to be included in an anchor position is 12 with acceleration of 12. Anyone else who doesnt fit the role is kicked out of the evaluation. And then I proceed to fill in the boxes with players in order of ability. I then realize that my wingers are too adventurous and not solid enough to defend. And when I look at my trident midfield pivots I realise that the anchor could be a defender retrained for the role. Two players get placed on the subs bench as I rearrange my first 12 and the "second 12". Its a long process.

I then set out to look at all the matches we have left available, after a string of 3 losses, I know we need to determine which are the matches we might lose, which we can afford to lose and which we absolutely need to get a point from. We then realise that there are only 9 home games in the season that we have a decent chance of walking off with a point or 3 if we work really hard, and 7 games i have already conceded as losses. I then draw up a list of matches to keep an eye on, and these matches will be done on comprehensive.

An away match to Blackburn follow, we are big underdogs?? Blackburn, damn, we are that bad a side :-(, we go to Ewood Park score first and concede a goal late on. Its a point earned, and more importantly it snaps our 3 game losing streak. The sad news is that ever since the FA changed the rules we havent won a match in 9 attempts, but since Leo popped in a fresh determination has seen us grab a point against Blackburn and then against Reading. Its two points and we are still a long way from being safe.

The battleplan is drawn up, we can only hope that the team performs collectively to drag our sorry butts out of the frying pan. Its going to be a long hard season.Stafford welcome to the Premiership.

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To counter the mazy dribbler, I've now told my support players in key areas to tackle hard. It may be a bit early but crucial tackles are now happening a bit higher up the defensive line, and thats encouraging. We had a home game against Hull and for the first time this season we produced more than 5 chances in a game. We did 10 and that was enough for me to get happy. Hull were favourites for the match, but we managed to eke out a win. Its a vital win. And I shall modify all my tactics by not using the stay on feet shout. With hard tackling surprisingly only one yellow card, and it was on a player set to normal tackling. 17 points from 14 games, another 23 points to gather from 24 matches to save my hide

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My god.. What has changed?

I gotta a huge update coming..huge in terms of an analyses, what we did, the formations we used. And also hopefully a decent training analyses. Still updating like 20 screenshots

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I gotta a huge update coming..huge in terms of an analyses, what we did, the formations we used. And also hopefully a decent training analyses. Still updating like 20 screenshots

Excellent will look forward to that:thup:

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I gotta a huge update coming..huge in terms of an analyses, what we did, the formations we used. And also hopefully a decent training analyses. Still updating like 20 screenshots

I'm looking forward to reading this over Xmas while the missus watches **** xmas films :D

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I'm looking forward to reading this over Xmas while the missus watches **** xmas films :D

I am so used to Facebook now that I was looking to click the 'like' button :D

Looking forward to seeing your update Rashidi, I've enjoyed following this thread.

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