Jump to content
Sports Interactive Community

Always Starting on Our Back Heels, Can't Win the Ball Back...

Recommended Posts

After rage-quitting several times, I read the twelve-step guide and some of Cleon's helpful threads, and started again. I'm managing Arsenal and about two months in thus far, I'm doing okay but I'm having trouble figuring out how to make my tactic work when my team doesn't have the ball.

I used the prevailing wisdom and simplified my tactic, using most of the defaults for everything. I use a 4-5-1 with a balanced philosophy and a 'counter' strategy, with the following selection:

T(A) - Giroud

AML: IF(A) - Gotze/Podolski

AMR: IF(A) - Chamberlain/Gervinho/Walcott

MCL: AP(A) - Cazorla/Diaby (and Wilshere when he gets healthy)

MCR: DPL(S) - Ramsey/Arteta

DM: DM(D) - Arteta/M'Vila

DL: WB(A) - Gibbs/Santos

DR: WB(A) - Sagna/Jenkinson

DCL: BPD(X) - Vermaelen

DCR: DC© - Koscielny/Mertesacker

My tactic seemed to work pretty well for the first few league games -- I like the counter strategy because it allows for a patient build-up, efficient use of chances, and players generally stay deep enough to pull the oppositon forward and create more space. However, I feel like every match I play we start out on our back heels, with the opposition taking 60-70% of the possession and creating chances early until I start tweaking. I'll usually use 'hassle opponents', 'retain possession', and 'pass to feet' to even out the possession numbers and reduce the opposition's completion percentage. I may throw in the occasional shout to deal with specific threats posed by the opposition's formation.

Our most recent game came away at Galatasaray for the CL group stage. They came out and dominated possession early, but we still managed to create more chances and went up 1-0. Despite the scoreline, for long stretches the opposition would play almost Barca-esque, ping-ponging the ball around in my half and my players seemed incapable of stopping it. I had 'hassle opponents', 'get stuck in', tackling 'aggressive', and 'press more' set, but this seemed to have no effect on their ability to run circles around my team. They eventually won the match 2-1, as they were able to consistently apply enough pressure to create enough chances to win.

It drives me nuts when the opponent is able to play this way, especially a team that isn't particularly good technically. Any ideas on how to stop this? Maybe there's something fundamentally wrong with my shape? I feel like my problem isn't really so much that we're wasting possession when we have the ball, but that we have enormous problems winning it back.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I play with the same formation as you with Liverpool and I suggest the following shouts at the beginning of each match: Retain Possession, Push Higher Up, Work Ball into Box, Stay on Feet. I only use Hassle Opponents for a few minutes when I go 1-0 up so that I try to not let the opponent draw immediately. With Hassle Opponents, the marking will switch to Man and therefore it would be difficult to Counter. Also, with Hassle Opponents you are increasing the Tempo (it no longer stays Slow) and therefore, you are more prone to passing mistakes.

I would also try not to use the Get Stuck In shout because this means that they will throw themselves into tackles and if there's a Counter-Attacking possibility, there won't be players available to get the ball. I only use the Get Stuck In if I want to defend a lead during the last few minutes of a game. That's why I use Stay on Feet, because this way tackling is easy and as soon as we win the ball, there will always be a player available.

With the Shouts I mentioned, I always have 60+% possession throughout the game and create a lot of chances / shots on target. Unfortunately, we don't finish off all of our chances but I'm working to improve that. But, like I said, with the above shouts you should see an improvement.

Also, I have Passing set to Shorter, Closing Down set to Press More and Marking set to Zonal.

One final suggestion ... I would make one of the IFs and one of the WBs on Support because you've got a lot of Attacking players there. You've got to balance the team. I usually use one Winger on Attack and one IF on Attack to try and balance the team. Furthermore, I used to play a Trequartista before but I discovered that playing a Complete Forward on Support is more efficient. With a support duty, the Complete Forward will look to drop into space, run at the defence, take long shots, drive to the flanks or play through balls. Basically, it's like a Trequartista but more efficient in my opinion. Or at least in my team.

I'm not a tactical genius but I'm quite happy with the Tactic / Shouts I'm using at the moment. Hope this helps.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! I didn't realize that 'hassle opponents' switches you to man marking. I always assumed it was just an across-the-board increase for each player's closing down slider.

Do you have your support wing back/winger both on the same side? I've had trouble figuring out the correct role for the striker, so I may try your suggestion. The problem with Arsenal is that their options at striker are either out-and-out poachers (Walcott, Podolski) or target men (Giroud). I want the same effect you're going for -- my striker to drop deep and play in the wide attackers. I've achieved a degree of success doing that with Giroud as either a TM support or Treq, but it doesn't feel qui

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This may not be a tactical issue but a casting one. Excluding M'Vila, the rest of your front six have very little appetite to win the ball back and would fall over in a stiff breeze. You don't have many candidates for winning the ball high up the pitch - which means you will be pushed back regularly. Even if you give those players extreme instructions - they just can't carry out the orders effectively - they don't have the mental or physical attributes required. Asking poor tacklers to go in hard (think Paul Scholes as an extreme version) I would suggest is asking for trouble. I would try to add some steel in the midfield three. The DLP for example doesn't have to the greatest player in the world - they should be in the controller role just linking up everyone else - short simple passing - a more limited technical player can do this role effectively. If you compare Arsenal to Liverpool for example - they have Lucas and Gerrard as two of their midfield three - that's a much stiffer proposition to try to play through. Away from home in Europe I would be tempted to give Cazorla two minders - particularly if you have lightweights like Gotze and Walcott at IF.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, Hassle Opponents switches to Man Marking and ups the Tempo. Before I got used to what each Shout does, I used to Pause the game after applying them and check the Tactics Screen / Player Instructions to see what changes were made. It allowed me to get to know better what each Shout does to the Tactic and to each Player's Instructions.

The Push Higher Up, as suggested, is the best one in my opinion to increase each player's closing down slider, apart from 'Press More' in the Tactics Screen. But with 'Press More' and a Balanced / Counter, the midfielders / forwards still don't close down the 'Whole Pitch'. So, when using 'Press More' + the Push Higher Up Shout, you're increasing the closing down of all the Midfielders / Forwards to 'Whole Pitch' (not to the max though some of them and depending whether you have a Trequartista, where he will still be on Own Area), you're increasing the closing down of Defenders / Wing Backs slightly (still stays Own Half / Own Area, depending on Positions) and you're pushing the D-Line a bit further up (a bit lower than Normal or somewhere there). Thus, you're still a bit deep for when you have possession but slightly higher up when Defending to make pressure. It's basically the Barcelona style.

Regarding Roles for Wing Back / Winger or Wing Back / IF, I don't think they should be both the same. Usually, what is suggested is this: WB (A) - IF or W (S) and WB (S) - IF or W (A). For example, in my save, I use Wing Backs literally not Full Backs .... that is their actual position is Wing Back (in line with DM to make it clear) and both are on Support. Then I have a Winger and an IF on Attack and a Complete Forward or DLF on Support. I agree with what was said above, the Complete Forward is an excellent role.

I don't agree with Cyderman on one thing - the DLP. In my opinion, he should have Mixed Passing (close to Short) especially if you're using him as your main Playmaker, so that if he's a good reader of the game (like Allen for Liverpool or Gerrard), then apart from playing short Passing he can also try a direct ball / through ball if the opportunity arises within the game.

One final thing .... since Balanced / Counter is Narrow, when sometimes I see that my team is struggling, I use the 'Play Wider' shout and it helps a lot as well, especially in finding spaces. Also, if I'm losing, I tend to change from Counter to Standard - if I see that we're still losing but playing well, I change to Control and if still we're losing, I give it one last shot with Attacking (but always Balanced). On many occasions, doing this I managed to at least draw the game.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...