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noikeee's FM13 tactical help thread - currently trying to refine a 433 for lower league


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I was going to post this on the excellent 41221/433/451/WoW thread which is very popular, but I felt this was a long enough I-need-help post to warrant a new thread. Besides, hopefully this can double up as my personal tactical thread throughout my career as I develop my tactics. I hope this is ok with the mods.

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I created the Algerian league through the editor and am playing in the 3rd tier (career updates forum thread here). The level of football is pretty rubbish, but thanks to the transfer market I have put together a group of players that in my opinion is markedly superior to everyone in the division except for 1 professional side - all others including ourselves are amateurs. We are given mid-table odds but really should be fighting for the title.

After 1 season and a few more matches of highly inconsistent, unsatisfactory results playing 4-4-2 I switched to this formation in early season 2. At beginning results and specially performances were highly encouraging. We were playing fun, connected football and winning matches too. However over time we have become increasingly inconsistent and we have lost matches out of the blue to lesser and comparable opposition at home and away, despite coming onto them on good runs with no indication things will go wrong.

This is my home setup (plan A for home matches):

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_TacticsTeam-1.jpg

And my away setup (plan A for away matches):

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_TacticsTeam-2.jpg

No player instructions ticked at all in both cases except for AMR and AML being told to tight-mark the opposition's DL/DR respectively. "Drop deeper" shout used at all times because my duo of CBs is very slow, possibly the only major inherent weakness of my team.

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The players:

GK - Khattala

DR - Hazi

DL - Amiri

DCs - Saafi and the lethargic Defnoune - alternatively Bala who is much quicker but awful on the ball so I use him as limited defender

DM (A/d) - Deffaf or Louanas

CM (CM/s) - Bouafia or the aforementioned Deffaf

CM (AP) - Derouache or Khellaf, both creative but lacking strength badly

AML - Boussefiane

AMR - Benkhalifa or alternatively Djarit who I set as an inside forward instead due to his left-footedness - a card I sometimes pull from the bench to change our setup slightly.

ST - Ghodbane, quick and excellent on the ball, I feel he fits my complete forward/support role, but is perhaps lacking the aerial ability for a lone striker?

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The problem scenarios which I have encountered:

1. At home - unable to create scoring chances against lesser sides who set out deep and defensive.

In this scenario my team will look completely out of ideas and lack incisiveness in the final third, passing the ball around until inevitably it results in a long shot or no chance at all. My take tends to be of moving the stragegy to "attacking", using the "work ball into box" shout, and sometimes "play wider" which has been the most effective perhaps as it opens up space in my big pitch (I asked for maximum pitch dimensions at the start of the season) for Derouache to move into and slip through balls. However sometimes none of these changes seem to work.

Another tweak I've tried particularly against 4-4-2s is giving bigger passing freedom to the usually free, unmarked anchorman by increasing his through balls - but I've not had much obvious benefits from it.

The bizarre thing is plan A by default with no tweaks can either lead into this problem scenario, or my team delightfully carving the opposition open with trickery and movement, despite playing the exact same tactic.

2. Away from home - cornered into my own area and having trouble holding on to possession; or a goal down and looking hopeless chasing it

Having no possession is one of the easiest scenarios to get out of as using a few shouts will give us a lot more possession immediately, "pass into feet" and dropping the "more direct" passing instruction usually does the trick, if not "retain possession" and "work ball into box" nail it. However, predictably, it also makes my team a lot less incisive and almost useless attacking-wise particularly if we're already a goal down.

An alternative approach I've tried sometimes is to hell with it and move the strategy all the way from "Standard" to "Attacking" when trying to get the equaliser. If really necessary I can even move things around in the formation through an emergency 4-2-3-1 I have, basically the AP moves from MC to AMC, and the anchorman to his place in MC as a DLP/d or a CM/d. Either of these tweaks, whilst making our team more dangerous, tends to lead more directly to goals on our own side of the pitch though.

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Ideas? I think I've got to have most of the basics right because when on form my team is what I want it to be, but it goes off-form too easily and too suddenly, and too often my plan B tweaks don't work.

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Playing Biskra

Sometimes the biggest changes come from not a particular theoretical breakthrough but from a change of attitude. Starting this thread in itself sparked a tactical entusiasm in myself so I went out to try new things on the pitch and watch a full match for a change. I have no time to do this regularly but I wanted to see in more detail how my team was behaving in the pitch just once.

We were facing US Biskra, mid-table opposition, away. For this match I would try a different forward trio as regular AML Mohamed Boussefiane was off form, so he would be dropped. The whole reason I had him on winger/attack was a spectacular surge of goals a few months ago, but despite retaining that role his goals have long gone. Tahar Benkhalifa was also not performing as a AMR so I gave him a go as a inside forward AML with usual midfielder Mehdi Derouache getting his right winger spot. He is a good finisher so I thought of switching roles with AMR going attack and AML support.

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_TacticsTeam-3.jpg

First half

In the first half I noticed we were surprisingly easily having all of the ball and restricting Biskra to no chances - by mid-half they had not made a single shot. However we were lacking incisiveness as usual and not really creating that much danger. I switched from "Standard" to "Control" strategy and gave advanced playmaker Sabri Khellaf an attack role. Further inspection of his instructions however gave me an idea - we were lacking movement in the big central hole of space between ST and MC and I wanted Sabri to exploit it:

USBiskravNRBTouggourt_AwayTacticsPlayer.jpg

This seemed to improve our movement around that area markedly. However from the moment I set the strategy as Control instead of becoming more dangerous ourselves, Biskra started having the occasional space to perform and eventually scored against the run of play in a cross, their left-winger beating my right-back. It's been a worrying goal I've seen time and time again (perhaps AMR/AML even with tight-marking set, don't help enough on the wings which feel exposed), but with both of my fullbacks unavailable for this match I was playing backups so there's mitigating circumstances.

Second half

A worrying development throughout the second half was that Biskra became increasingly settled in our area. Our midfield tends to get tired so it's been a common sight to become more dominated after the break, but more on home matches when we use "press more" as an instruction. Sabri Khellaf was shattered early, perhaps from the extra running I asked from him, so was subbed early with Bouafia getting his role and Louanas coming in from the bench to become the CM/s.

Our wingers were also getting tired and by now I was further worried with incisiveness with no-one running into the area, so I thought why the hell not give striker Ghodbane an attack role. Almost immediately AML Benkhalifa cut inside and slipped a through ball for Ghodbane to score. Such a quick effect was no doubt a coincidence but nevertheless it proved a brilliant idea as there seemed to be no negatives, despite the attack role Ghodbane still linked regularly with the midfielders, and that was the whole point why he was deployed initially as CF/s.

Despite the equalizer we kept on losing terrain and possession, so it was time to drop the "more direct" instruction. I also shouted "pass to feet" but after a while I noticed Biskra must have switched to a very attacking layout because they were now playing a super high defensive line and giving us loads of space to counter in. I had to correct myself and drop the "pass to feet" shout as this was the perfect time for playing through balls. Then minutes later Louanas won a ball in midfield and feeded another through ball for Ghodbane to score what would be a late winner. Final result: US Biskra 1-2 NRB Touggourt.

The setup at the end of the match:

USBiskravNRBTouggourt_AwayTacticsTeam.jpg

Conclusions

Definitely I made big breakthroughs through the course of this match just by tweaking minor things here and there, and it was fantastic to win with 2 goals directly resulting of things I tweaked as the match played out. However this was a one-off and I don't intend to watch the 90 minutes of any other match any time soon, so it's early to say whether there's long standing lessons to take from this, or is this just a demonstration that if I had the time to pay more attention to detail I'd win more.

A problem

Throughout the second half with us cornered in our area I noticed a worrying development I have seen time and time again this season - the midfielders retreat too eagerly to close to the defensive line and leave loads of space for the opposition MCs to play in:

USBiskravNRBTouggourt_PitchFull.jpg

This is not a huge issue as I'd rather have them limit the space in front of defence than the space a long way out, and they do close down rapidly once they realise, but for a couple of seconds the MCs are given far too much space, this has sometimes led to goals from long shot. I'm not sure what can I do?

The conceded goal

USBiskravNRBTouggourt_PitchFull-2.jpg

The other long-standing issue is the goals, again we conceded from a cross and the wings are over-exposed. I know what would fix it, dropping the AMR and AML to MR and ML but I don't really want to do that as it'll ruin our attacking power. Other ideas? Perhaps making the midfield 3 a flat midfield 3 so the outside mids can be closer to the wings? Is it even worth it having the AMR and AML tight-marking the opposition fullbacks?

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I'm wondering whether to fix that midfield lots of space issue I should give more aggressive closing down to my duo of MCs only. Presumably that way they can hassle the opposition whilst the back 4 + the anchorman retain a sufficient shape.

It's also clear from that screenie that my AMRLs get too deep so there's 10 men super deep and one guy miles out in front, no wonder I was cornered, the options from getting out of that corner if we win the ball back are zero. I do think I need to get rid of the instruction to mark the opposition fullbacks.

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Just a quick point, as I am off to bed shortly, who do you think your striker is supporting? Who is going to get into the box with him and help in scoring goals for the team?

The midfield roles have mixed forward runs, so they won't always be there. The wingers also have mixed forward runs, but they stay wide......so he is all on his lonesome.

Personally, I'd opt for at least one inside forward beit Support or Attack. If you have some decent passers on the wing but are not very good at finishing then consider Advanced Playmaker as they role still cuts inside.

YOu have a DM anchor - lower his closing down to 'own area' and then change your FB's from support to attack. They will then get well forward and support your attack, it will allow you to bring players inside from the AMLR positons whilst still maintaing width.

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Next match, at home against a mid-table side. Again we create no danger despite having all of the ball, me trying the same combinations of roles upfront (though I gave up quickly on CF/a, back to CF/s as both wingers stay on attack, as there was no space behind their defence), the same MC playmaker told to run from deep a lot, and an overall attacking strategy. I even went from balanced to fluid. Nothing. We remained devoid of ideas and eventually lost 1-0 as they score from a set piece. Back to normality I guess. :(

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Just a quick point, as I am off to bed shortly, who do you think your striker is supporting? Who is going to get into the box with him and help in scoring goals for the team?

The midfield roles have mixed forward runs, so they won't always be there. The wingers also have mixed forward runs, but they stay wide......so he is all on his lonesome.

I expect that from the winger who is on attack role. And that is also why I'm experimenting with my advanced playmaker to have forward runs often. But I get your point.

Personally, I'd opt for at least one inside forward beit Support or Attack. If you have some decent passers on the wing but are not very good at finishing then consider Advanced Playmaker as they role still cuts inside.

I am trying to incorporate one inside forward, the reason why this isn't by default is because my first choice wingers aren't wrong-footed and are very good at crossing. They are also pretty good at finishing so playmaker on the wings don't seem suitable.

That being said I am now trying Benkhalifa on the left as he is right-footed, the other option is left-footed Djarit on the right but he is theoretically a much inferior player to the other right wingers I have (Benkhalifa himself and Derouache).

YOu have a DM anchor - lower his closing down to 'own area' and then change your FB's from support to attack. They will then get well forward and support your attack, it will allow you to bring players inside from the AMLR positons whilst still maintaing width.

That is interesting, on FM12 I usually had fullbacks on wingback role even, and that helped a lot, I had forgotten about that. I already have one fullback on attack for the home matches though.

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Next match away from home vs opposition from the bottom of the table. First thing that happens we concede a long shot from their MC despite our MCs being set like this:

closingdown.jpg

He shot on the first touch in the split second before he was closed down... some things are just unavoidable.. sigh.

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Upfront I had approached this game with ST Ghodbane on CF/a, AML Benkhalifa on IF/a, AMR Derouache on W/s. Also both fullbacks on attack, advanced playmaker MC on attack with the tweak of run from deep often, run with ball mixed.

initialsetup.jpg

We were mildly dangerous, however things picked up better once I upped the tempo a few clicks and also gave AMR Derouache "move into channels" instruction to have yet another man attacking the box. And "play wider" too. We then scored twice with Derouache connecting into a far post cross then AML inside forward Benkhalifa benefitting from a through ball.

Later on the opposition pushed everyone forward and we had loads of space to attack, with 2 through balls we scored another 2 goals then a penalty kick for a final result of 5-1. This was my final setup, I had now brought on 2 new wingers from the bench so effectively switched the AML with the AMR, as AML became winger/support with move into channels, AMR inside forward/attack. Also gave the ST a support role but he still managed to run into a through ball to score as there was now heaps of space behind the defensive line:

UMSDranvNRBTouggourt_AwayTacticsTeam.jpg

Note: defensive line is always a few clicks deeper than normal because as said before, I use "drop deeper" shout at all times due to my very slow duo of centrebacks.

UMSDranvNRBTouggourt_OverviewOverview-2.jpg

I will stick to this approach in future matches to see what happens, we do seem more incisive now. but when we were a goal down and the opposition was deep, all we seem to be able to do is get crosses in or long shots.

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That setup very closely resembles mine.

Have a look in my Spurs thread, as you can see how I am playing.

What you did was use space much better.

Your DM(Anchor) will sit deep and help protect the DC's (if he has good passing then increase his TTB's to mixed manually). Your FB's are now able to attack and in attack mode they provide FANTASTIC support to any attack. They can be an outlet for a pass if under pressure or can be used to whip in crosses. Don't be afraid to use a Winger(A) and a Fullback(A) but with the FB cutting inside if he lacks Wingback skills.

You're AML/R are now using the space between the opposition FB's and DC's and your CM's are supporting all attacks.

My MC's are a little deeper than yours, as you will see from my thread, but essentially it is a good setup and switches nicely between Strategies.

Just be careful against strong teams, both of your MC's have mixed RFD so if they do not have good team work it is highly likely they will both try and get into the box too. If this happens your attack will falter as no one is supporting and then you could see yourself countered fairly easily.

What is nice, and I use (pinched from Mr Cleon), is a CMR(D), though I switch his TTB's to often or mixed. The reason I like it is because it tends to have a very short passing range, thus they recycle the ball VERY WELL. However, with TTB's they will also try to make those 'nice' passes that we like. The (D) also makes them sit a little deeper.............

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That setup very closely resembles mine.

Have a look in my Spurs thread, as you can see how I am playing.

What you did was use space much better.

Your DM(Anchor) will sit deep and help protect the DC's (if he has good passing then increase his TTB's to mixed manually).

Forgot posting I have already used something similar in recent matches, I've upped his TTBs, creative freedom and passing range.

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_TacticsPlayer.jpg

Basically I want him to behave as an anchorman positionally (ie, be static and protect that space in front of defense), but able to spread passes like a proper midfielder not a brute. The guys I have for DM are good enough for that, there's no reason to have him as a limited player when they can perfectly spread direct through balls to my wingers stationed upfront ready to receive them.

Your FB's are now able to attack and in attack mode they provide FANTASTIC support to any attack. They can be an outlet for a pass if under pressure or can be used to whip in crosses. Don't be afraid to use a Winger(A) and a Fullback(A) but with the FB cutting inside if he lacks Wingback skills.

Yes the FB on attack seem very good. I am slightly concerned they may leave too much space on their back, particularly using BOTH fullbacks on attack, but so far that doesn't seem to be the case.

You're AML/R are now using the space between the opposition FB's and DC's and your CM's are supporting all attacks.

My MC's are a little deeper than yours, as you will see from my thread, but essentially it is a good setup and switches nicely between Strategies.

Just be careful against strong teams, both of your MC's have mixed RFD so if they do not have good team work it is highly likely they will both try and get into the box too. If this happens your attack will falter as no one is supporting and then you could see yourself countered fairly easily.

It's even more than that as my AP(A) has RFD often because I set him that way, see the previous post. I want him being the guy who attacks the box from midfield. Now this may be counterproductive as it means he won't sit back to actually playmake anything, but when he's gone on a run the CM(S) should be there in position and able to playmake albeit restrictedly.

I have not seen both attacking the box at the same time and thus creating that issue of space for the opposition to counter. I think it's because there's a long way to go from MC position all the way to the box, so that scenario will rarely show up. Also I never get to play any stronger teams in my division anyway, so that shouldn't be a worry, what's worrying is when lesser teams dominated us...

What is nice, and I use (pinched from Mr Cleon), is a CMR(D), though I switch his TTB's to often or mixed. The reason I like it is because it tends to have a very short passing range, thus they recycle the ball VERY WELL. However, with TTB's they will also try to make those 'nice' passes that we like. The (D) also makes them sit a little deeper.............

I don't think that's for me. As I've posted several times I have an issue with opposition CMs being left too freely unmarked, I really don't want my CMs to go even deeper. This is presumably because I play with the "drop deeper" shout at all times, I think dropping the defensive line is also effecting the players in the immediate subsequent lines (DM and CMs).

The CM(S) has TTBs on often by default. I am considering actually doing the opposite of what you're saying and tweaking him to play LESS through balls. Because what I want is exactly having him just recycle possession, not have a third man trying Hollywood balls on top of my tweaked anchorman and my advanced playmaker. I would imagine having TTBs to be counterproductive to a player who should be there just keeping the ball...

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New season, new players, new ME, new problems

The start of the new season meant a lot of key players poached by bigger clubs and several new signings. It also coincided with the new match engine update.

For the sake of consistency to get a feel for the new players and ME, I used pretty much the same tactics as last year for the first 3 matches. The results were not good: 1-1, 0-0 and 0-0. Our defence is brilliant, our attack useless. Remember I have by far the best team in the division albeit our media prediction is only 8th. We should be winning the majority of matches.

For the 4th match I made a few changes. The stats were pretty good but a 1-0 win only, at home, with a late goal, was still underwhelming. We're sh*t at finishing apparently:

NRBTouggourtvCBMila_StatsMatchStats.jpg

The revised squad and tactic

This is how we were playing in that last match or at least the last few minutes:

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_TacticsTeam-5.jpg

I used shouts of "push higher up" and "hassle opponents" so I believe that's why tempo, defensive line etc look pretty high even in the saved tactic, I need to keep an eye on that.

As for the players I have available at the moment, sector by sector:

Defenders

D/WB/M/AML - Djahel - Brilliant attacking full-back

D/WBR - Sifour - Not as good attacking but very reliable

DC - Bala - Awful technicals but complete CB w/ pace and jumping

DC - Ragdi - Also good at pace and jumping

The news here is that we no longer have very slow CBs and now have pace in all 4 players. I no longer play the "drop deeper" shout at all times.

Midfielders

DM/MC - Louanas - Complete DM

DM/MC - Belhamel - Very good mentals DM but awful speed

MC - Bouafia - Complete defensive MC w/ bonus of lots of pace

DM/MLC - Youcef - Complete attacking MC but with awful tackling

MC/AMRLC - Bouledba - Fantastic technicals and footballing brain, awful tackling

M/AMC - Khellaf - Decent attacking MC

My usual lineup should be Louanas as anchorman, 2 of Bouafia/Youcef/Boulebda as MCs. I have severely tweaked roles for all 3 midfielders so better show screenies:

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_TacticsPlayer-1.jpg

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_TacticsPlayer-2.jpg

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_TacticsPlayer-3.jpg

The idea is that the anchorman should be positionally restricted but capable of spraying passes because he's usually free (particularly against 4-4-2s); the CM/S is just there to fill the space in midfield and hold possession, in the last match I noticed he was making lots of poor through balls wasting possession so I dropped his TTBs from mixed to rarely; and the AP/A is a runner who attacks the space between midfield and attack and also playmakes a little.

Wingers and forwards

MC/AMRLC - Bouledba - right footed, probably better as midfielder because of zero pace

MR/AMRL - Kheloufi - left footed, good all round winger/IF

AMRLC - Benkhalifa - right footed, technically great winger/IF, lacks a hint of pace

ML/AML/ST - Boussefiane - left footed, creative winger/striker, the only of my forward line who is alright in the air too

AMR/ST - Medjahed - right footed, good quick forward who can also play on the wing, poor at creating and in the air

ST - Naïdji - very quick flairy and great finisher but unfortunately also poor at creating or in the air

I've been trying out several combinations here and none fit my team, we have a problem, to play the false nine type thing with IFs attacking his space, we don't have a creative striker there, maybe Boussefiane. If we go the other way and play with traditional wingers there's nobody strong and aerially good enough to attack crosses. We do have a very varied bunch of wingers but are limited in the strikers.

We have plenty of pace in the strikers but that doesn't really seem to work anymore in FM unless there's space to exploit behind the opposition defense. If we go up a goal, maybe.

HELP NEEDED!

  • Is my thinking correct in midfield or do I need a more playmaking type staying in the hole, rather than sending Bouledba on a run upfront permanently? Or do I need more bite there with ball winners and/or better tacklers?
  • Not sure how to setup the front 3 given the lack of both creative and powerful strikers? The team still should be very good compared to the rest so we should be scoring far more goals!
  • Thinking of perhaps changing formation to a 4-2-3-1 type to make Bouledba an AMC then make him stay there, and have someone else as runner or scrap the midfield runner altogether. Would this solve anything?

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Next matches:

1-1 away

0-1 at home

So that's 6 competitive league fixtures, 3 goals scored (and only 3 conceded too). This despite playing rather attacking (if somewhat controlled) football. And generally technically excellent players all over the pitch that should sh*t all over the weaker opposition we play week in week out.

I don't really want to go on a "the ME is rubbish and it's robbing me" rant. I know my team isn't perfect. But bloody hell! Something's definitely not right besides my tactical setup.

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Right, just one more match. I dropped a few more support roles to balance the team better without so many players going forward. Made the CM the midfield runner instead of the AP. Discarded ALL individual instructions. Used no shouts at all. Almost purely back to basics:

USChaouiavNRBTouggourt_AwayTacticsTeam.jpg

The match was actually mildly encouraging:

USChaouiavNRBTouggourt_StatsMatchStats.jpg

... except it ended 0-0. 7 matches. 3 goals scored. 3 conceded.

Perhaps time to scrap the DM and add another AM or even a ST? Just to see if I can force anything at all happening on the pitch? Getting a bit bored of stalemates now.

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Last night I still played another match. Switched to the 4-2-3-1 this time. We won 3-1, FINALLY a win with goals.

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_TacticsTeam-6.jpg

I set "press more" after a while too.

We conceded an awful lot of space on the break as there seemed to be a space between midfield and defense. But at least things worked out in an attacking point of view so as long we score more it's ok. I'll stick with this for a few more matches although am a little concerned about playing like this away from home.

I still think there's something wrong in the ME for the way my previous 4-3-3 plays, because before the patch there was loads of goals, now every match was a 0-0, 1-0 or 1-1.

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2nd match with the 4-2-3-1 I got outplayed badly and lost 1-0. Admittedly it was away from home, I think this formation is too gung-ho, it has the same problems as FM12 with a duo of MCs not defending properly and leaving tons of space. I dropped a MC to DM midway through the match and it didn't help much.

Seriously, I hate to beg but I need some help please. I know I've written a lot and it's daunting to tackle it, but ignore anything before post #10 as it's pre-patch.

The players I have are on post #10. How would you use them?

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I may be way off the mark here, but I'd be tempted to drop your tempo and defensive line.

Reason I say this is that you are playing with a Control style, so you are trying to dominate possession. If you are playing at a high tempo, that will make your players play what is effectively a short passing game at a high pace, which I would suggest leads to mistakes. Try dropping the tempo and going for a slower buildup - you do have the players who can deliver the killer ball, and I'd say it is just a case (easier said than done!) of making the most of those technical abilities.

Also, what's your lone striker doing? (I mean on highlights/analysis/stats) - Is he getting into games, or is he not offering a lot? - I've found, when playing one up top, that changing his Wide Play off 'Moving into Channels' (which will probably be the default) and onto Normal, keeps him more central and therefore in 'useful' places. I play with a DLF on Support as a lone striker, and often find him dropping off slightly to play the ball short into the box for an onrushing wider player or central midfielder.

I'd also suggest a gander at this thread, which I've found invaluable in setting up my tactic with three in the central midfield roles.

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I may be way off the mark here, but I'd be tempted to drop your tempo and defensive line.

Reason I say this is that you are playing with a Control style, so you are trying to dominate possession. If you are playing at a high tempo, that will make your players play what is effectively a short passing game at a high pace, which I would suggest leads to mistakes. Try dropping the tempo and going for a slower buildup - you do have the players who can deliver the killer ball, and I'd say it is just a case (easier said than done!) of making the most of those technical abilities.

That does make sense. I was playing a high tempo as an attempt to answer my pre-patch issues of lack of incisiveness, the team being too cautious with passing.

Also, what's your lone striker doing? (I mean on highlights/analysis/stats) - Is he getting into games, or is he not offering a lot? - I've found, when playing one up top, that changing his Wide Play off 'Moving into Channels' (which will probably be the default) and onto Normal, keeps him more central and therefore in 'useful' places. I play with a DLF on Support as a lone striker, and often find him dropping off slightly to play the ball short into the box for an onrushing wider player or central midfielder.

My lone striker was dropping off to link with the midfield pretty nicely and sometimes running also into through balls when on Complete Forward - doesn't tend to do that often as DLF though.

I took your advice anyway and it did seem to make a minor positive effect.

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Tonight I've been playing the 4-2-3-1 and I'm sad to say the results have not followed albeit we've been the better side in most of the matches, but we've not been ruthless enough. I'm really completely lost here trying to explain this awful season.

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_TacticsTeam-7.jpg

Since switching to the 4-2-3-1:

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_FixturesSchedule-10.jpg

I continue unable to make the most out of my team's technical abilities at all. Frankly it's been so poor I think I'm abandoning the ship in Algeria and starting all over again somewhere else.

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This is how my team compares to the rest:

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_ReportComparison.jpg

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_ReportComparison-2.jpg

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_ReportComparison-3.jpg

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_ReportComparison-4.jpg

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_ReportComparison-5.jpg

Admittedly it's been a season of some experimenting, but I have stuck to the 4-2-3-1 and only some minor variants here and there with roles and strategies and such. Yet I'm 8th with 6 matches to go. :lol:

Help.

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I think I may be finally onto something. For the remaining 6 matches of the season, I reverted to the following 4-3-3 with some changes and an awful lot of new shouts on top of it:

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_TacticsTeam-8.jpg

Notice:

- the separation between the playmaker/runner roles in centre-midfield

- "playmaker" ticked as my usual man there Boulebda is a fantastic brain for this level. It's a joy to watch him play through balls and spray passes to free players on the flanks.

- the more advanced left wing than the right - my leftback is very talented and I want to make the most of him, whereas on the right side I was forced to pull back the IF a little to allow my fullback to actually have anyone to pass to!

- above all, the return of the lone advanced forward(attack). Yeah I know this isn't recommended, but I've found out that not only he is much more dangerous than the DLF(S) or the CF(S), he also contributes a lot to the team by moving to the flanks and causing overloads there. Besides the strikers I have fit this role much better than a supporting one.

Shouts:

- Exploit the flanks

- Play wider

- Run at defence

To make the most of my pacey, quality dribblers, advanced wingers.

- Play out of defence

- Retain possession

To further ensure on top of "short passing", that we play possession football and my defenders stop hoofing the ball up.

- Pass into space

To ensure we don't become obsessed with keeping the ball, and still retain some incisiveness through the middle of the pitch.

- Push higher up

Baffling shout to use together with a lone AF(A) (he needs space behind the defence), but I've found at this level the football is still quite territorial and going higher simply wins us lots of yards. My defenders are quick enough to deal with most opponents regardless.

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Results have been fine at home, won 2 drawn 1, I dominated all 3 matches and the one I drawn I was forced to replay after FM crashed because I had initially won 3-0.

Away from home however we have got outplayed and pinned back too easily and/or punished by the high line. I lost 2 won 1. I've tried dropping a few shouts particularly the possession ones, but to no benefit. Ideas on how to adapt this system for away matches?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fast forward to midway through season 4, and I've made some serious progress, building on from the settings shown in the previous post. It's not ideal yet but I am 2nd after 15 matches.

Formation-wise I'm almost the same but I've mirrored the team left to right, because this season there were many transfers and now my rightback is much better at attacking than my leftback, so it makes more sense to have the WB(A) on the right:

NadiRiadhiBaladiatTouggourt_TacticsTeam-9.jpg

The other minor difference is I'm using two IFs at the moment, but that depends on the players available, Salhi's right-footed, most of the season I've been using Boussefiane as a W(S) on the left instead.

I've also made changes in the shouts. My default setup is still almost the exact same but I've ditched "Push higher up" because this season my defenders are slow-ish again:

Play Out Of Defence

Pass Into Space

Play Wider

Run At Defence

Retain Possession

Exploit The Flanks

When I'm struggling with possession I might switch to "Pass To Feet" and bring the win-possession combo of "Hassle Opponents" + "Get Stuck In" - this is Cleon's usually recommended combo as I've read in many threads except again, I really don't fancy using Push Higher Up with my defenders.

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Now, the really big break and the major difference is that I'm using an entirely different set of shouts when I play against 4-4-2s, which has happened very often recently. To make the most of the man-advantage in midfield I have switched to this:

Play Out of Defence

Pass To Feet

Run At Defence

Retain Possession

Exploit The Middle

Play Narrower (occasionally used)

and through the OI's I close down always their MR and MLs.

On first glance this will seem like a horribly radical Barça-like setup, possession for the sake of possession stuff, no penetration, a plan lower league teams don't have the skills to execute. Right? Well wrong we have something most teams like this don't, and it's a guy on Central Midfielder/Attack role. Mr. Derouache, brought back to the club after a stint in a professional side didn't work for him, has been doing this role all season long:

MehdiDerouache_OverviewAttributes-3.jpg

That is 7 goals from the MC position and 6 of them have been from open play simply from runs from deep!! The video illustrates what happens when the opposition plays 4-4-2 and gives us space, Derouache is completely free:

[video=youtube_share;M93482coD8c]

I believe what renders this possible is above all the "Pass To Feet" shout, the team keeps the ball all day until a free pass to the one unmarked player opens up. "More Roaming" definitely helps too to confuse the opposition's defence. These goals are almost reminiscent of the cheat tactic Diablo all those years ago on CM3 or CM4 whatever it was, the CM just powers forward in an unstoppable way.

Unfortunately this doesn't always work and obviously I can't rely on a guy that's scored 7 goals in 15 matches as our team's saving grace, the one and only plan. I've just come out of 2 consecutive defeats playing this exact setup, as what happened was that the opposition pressed us hard, and we couldn't get into a rhythm or get enough possession despite having a 1-man advantage in midfield. These situations is when I would like some help. Is it worth perhaps ditching the "Pass To Feet" shout and trying to bypass the opposition's pressure by hitting long through balls? But that's drifting away very far from my team's preferred way of playing, I feel we just waste a lot of possession when we try to do that.

Comments would be nice as I feel I've been talking to myself most of the thread, and now I may have actually stumbled into something that could be very helpful to anyone wanting to try something new - the fearsome attacking MC and how to exploit him.

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Worth noting Derouache only has 6 for Off The Ball and no PPM's. He does have very good finishing which is very important for what he's doing, but imagine how damaging would a more clever player be exploiting his role...

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