Jump to content

Self Educating With Bradford PA


Recommended Posts

One step forward, two steps back.

That's how I feel about my understanding of how to play this game sometimes. I've been playing for years and read countless threads that all offer excellent advice but some reason the advice never seems to translate into my tactics and I end up feeling frustrated all over again when my season inevitably turns pear shaped.

It's happened once again with Bradford PA. I took them on in an attempt to learn the basics without the pressure of the top leagues and without quality players perhaps hiding my tactical ineptitude.

Season One: BSB North

Mid table finish was expected and with the team I had felt it was do-able. I set up two 4-4-2 tactics, home and away essentially. Home was control, away was counter. Same roles/duties on each but less closing down on away/counter.

I used whichever tactic i felt appropriate and if it didn't work switched to the other. I also used exploit flanks shout if playing against a DM.

Finished the season 1st place, 20 points clear of 2nd and feeling like I was on the right track.

Season Two: BSB Premier

Predicted 22nd

This is where it all goes wrong. I felt i now had a tactic and formula to see me safe and maybe even sneak into playoffs. I won my first game against Dag & Red 2-1. I felt the football league would be possible next season. My confidence was about to get smashed...

I went 9 games without a win and sat in 23rd. League 2 may as well be Serie A as i've as much chance of playing in either next season.

I decided to use different strategies to steady the ship. Defense away, Standard at home and Counter for close match-up situations. The ship was steadied. I started getting an even spread of wins, draws and losses.

It's now the half-way point of the season and i'm sitting 20th. 3 points clear of relegation with a game in hand. I've not played in a few days and I'd just been thinking about my time at Bradford and it's suddenly hit me. I've learned nothing! I was guessing at strategies and if one didn't work I was trying another till something did. It's the reason i'm struggling, i don't know where/how/why i'm going wrong. I suppose this season is exactly what i wanted, something that would force me to learn. The first season did nothing but cloud my vision further.

I've decided to use this thread as a diary of my time with Bradford PA. Partly for me as I find it helps to write things down and maybe it'll help other people who struggle to approach the game in a different way. Hopefully this save will be the one that everything finally clicks on.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Formations and Tactics

This seems to be the place to start. From what i've experienced earlier in the season i'm going to use 3 set-ups.

1: At home, should be able to get a result

2: Home going to struggle/Away fancy chances

3: Try not to get thrashed

I read the word logic a lot on the guides so that's what i'll try to use in my team settings.

Due to the poor quality of players at my disposal it seems to me that using direct passing and low creative freedom for all tactics seems the best idea. Basically, get the ball forward, don't try to play football.

Other settings will depend on the strategy i'm using as you'll see below. It should be obvious which tactic is 1,2 or 3.

p><p><img src= Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/img]

<a  href=http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/651/bradfordparkavenuetacti.png' alt='bradfordparkavenuetacti.png'> Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/img]

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fleetwood Town vs Bradford PA

Media

According to press reports my fans are expecting an easy win away against Fleetwood Town in the FA trophy. I think they're over confident but we'll see. I'm also 1-3 favourites according to the bookies.

Scout Report

According to the scout report they will line up 442. They have far better players than me in all positions. Their assists are generally from all over the pitch. They concede most goals from the middle.

I decide to take a risk with strategy 1, my Home tactic seeing as i'm such strong favourites. I let my assistant pick the team for this one as i'm curious who he thinks are the best players for the job. I'll use the shout exploit middle since that is what the scout report seems to advise.

I'm going to watch the full 90 mins now and report back on what I think is happening and how I tried to combat/exploit it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Half time:

Fleetwood 1 - 0 Bradford PA

Statistically an even-ish half. Fleetwood deserve the lead and have shaded possession and shots. 1ccc to them is the only real chance of the half.

Despite the scout report saying that they're vulnerable down the middle it didn't look that on the pitch. Their 2 MC's we're sitting deep and i've never looked liked scoring so far.

Their forwards are dropping deep and looking like a dangerous outlet. I tried push higher up shout but they dominated and scored when i did that. A silly header across my area by my LB which their striker latched onto and smashed home. I immediately stopped pushing higher up and things became more even again.

I felt like a LOT of passes were going astray. Balls over the top, straight out for goal kick. Easy passes to wide players out for throw-ins. Balls to forwards intercepted. I also notice my TM being crowded at times so i've changed him to DLF to hopefully give more passing options and so things aren't aimed too much at him.

I used retain possession shout to help with the stray passes too.

Things seemed better for these changes.

I've contemplated changing strategy to Counter but i feel my defense is already deep and they're not really coming at me anyway. I might go to Control if things stay the same during the second half.

Ass Man feedback is that we're misplacing easy passes, my right mid is getting skinned too much and my LB is having a poor game. I'll give my LB an earful at half time and give my MR a support duty.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Full Time

Fleetwood 1 -1 Bradford PA

The second half started with me on the back foot but I resisted the temptation to start randomly changing things. By 60 minutes I knew something had to change though. I un-clicked all the shouts as I didn't feel they were giving me an edge. Then i changed strategy to Control due to deep forward problem i was mentioning earlier. It was then that i noticed they we're trying to play ball in behind and their defense was pushing high too. It seems I didn't notice because of the deep forwards I assumed they were playing defensively.

I then changed to tactic 3. Things looked instantly better.

I noticed VERY attacking fullbacks so changed both wide mids to support role. This seemed to work.

I snatched a goal from a deep cross by my RM to P to head it in.

In the end an even match. I was lucky not to be out of the game by the time i made the changes that got me the draw though.

What i've learned from this match:

Don't listen to media about who is favourites.

Don't try to exploit weaknesses according to scout reports.

I had 2 shots on target to their 4 and 44% possession. A pretty boring game really. I suppose we were reasonably solid at the back which is what i've been striving for lately. The goal i conceded was from a defensive mistake rather than being ripped apart. Really need to work on creating chanced too though.

I think I might change Target Man to DLF too as things seemed better once I did that.

I'm unsold on the Wide Mid as opposed to Wingers but I don't have anyone capable of playing as Winger so that might have to stay as it is.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What i've learned from this match:

Don't listen to media about who is favourites.

Don't try to exploit weaknesses according to scout reports.

100% correct. Ignore everything from your staff and make your plans based on your own interpretation of stats, whether it be a quick glance at the league table, or an in-depth look at the Analysis tab.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@RT - Analysis of players is my next step I think. After really examining my strikers i've noticed that one seems to have stats that would suit a winger in this division. I've just started retraining him now.

He's only 18 and has: Crossing 10 Dribble 11 Technique 10 Flair 14 Accel 12 Pace 11

I think he's develop into a good L2 winger.

I'm gonna set up different screens to analyse Def, Mid and Att. Look at key stats such as mistakes, key passes, interceptions etc.

@BloodyIan - Thanks mate. If i'd not been promoted in my first season i might have given up by I feel attached to Bradford PA now so want to make it work.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bradford PA vs Fleetwood Town (Cup Replay)

So my next match is against Fleetwood in the cup replay of my last match. I don't need to bother with scout reports or anything as i've just read all that.

Seeing as i'm halfway through the season I think it's a good time to re-evaluate my players. I chose my starting 11 on Attributes but now I can also use their performances too as a gauge of who to use.

Defenders I look at Interceptions, Key Headers, Key Tackles, Avg Ratings

Midfielders I look at Key Passes, Assists, Pass %, Avg Ratings

Forwards I look at Key Passes, Assist, Goals, Avg Ratings

It turns out that my starting 11 is probably the right one. However, my 18 year old ST who I mentioned in the above post is now going to play Wide Left and i'll use someone else up front. He also has the highest key passes in the team so i'm hoping a change of position wont ruin that. My regular LM is dropped.

As I was completely unimpressed by the WM setting i'm going to try Wingers instead. I've also changed my TM to DLF for all tactics.

I'm going to start the game with the same Tactic i used for the first game (Tactic 1). This time i'm the home team and really should be taking the initiative a bit more.

There will be no shouts, It's 442 v 442 so no obvious area of the pitch that I could overload or need to protect.

Let's see if the first half goes better this time...

Link to post
Share on other sites

If your Target Man does not win pretty much every ball landing near him, I would refrain from using him as one. If you want him to link play, DLFs/a will do that while not be so one-dimensional in his play. Thinking "big guy to flick on to my poacher" as a match plan is surely nice, but that is just one way of creating chances and that isn't enough.

I use identical striker instructions but build the team so that I have one big guy and one quick guy (until I get two big and quick guys...). Since the instructions are quite general (mixed/normal), what they do is more up to skill and decision-making, so the big guy will flick on and get onto crosses while the quick guy will dribble and do technical stuff. Remember that FM is number-crunching, statistics. By setting a big guy to be target man you increase the number of possible flick-ons and possible crosses to his head, but not necessarily the number of goals, which is what matters. You are skewing the numbers so that a bigger percentage of highlights will be target-man-y. This does not mean you will score more goals. You may score even more target-man-y + poacher-y goals by not having them set as target man and poacher; that depends on so many other factors.

In other words, by setting up your players to follow your instructions to the letter, you are basically "playing the game for them". This means that the team's success is directly linked to your skill at reading matches and making correct tactical assessments and change things accordingly. You make the game into a man vs machine head-to-head battle where victory or loss depends on you. This is of course an excellent idea if this is the sort of game you want, and you got what it takes. If not, I advice you to set up the basic, vanilla roles and apply Creative Freedom (Fluid style) so that the players solve their own problems.

Link to post
Share on other sites

BiggusD - Thanks for the input. The one dimensional aspect of the TM is what changed my mind. Mainly after seeing Fleetwood's ST and thinking it look more like a DLF or T and it caused me all sorts of worry. With regards to the CF aspect of things, it's something that I feel I need to address next. I'm going to try and explain my thinking/reasons in my next post/s.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bradford PA 1 - 0 Fleetwood Town (Half Time)

So far so good really. A scoreline I deserve. I've only had 39% possession but i'm not a possession junky so don't care.

6 shots to 2, 2 half chances to 0, 1 goal to nil. Those are the stats I care about.

Around the 25 minute mark I felt i was getting pressured a lot, maybe Fleetwood were chasing a goal or maybe it just took a while to register. I changed to tactic 2 (Counter Strategy). This made lots of improvements and despite losing the Possession battle i was winning the war. For now at least.

First half observations:

I scored after 6 minutes which was nice to get an early goal and settle my team. It was a goal kick that went straight to my DLF who fired it in. It wasn't the first time in the match that this combination happened either. GK to DLF seemed to be working well.

My left winger was looking good too, almost got another goal after an interception from him deep in their half.

My right winger, on the other hand was not impressing. He kept running into their LB and losing the ball. I just don't think he's cut out to be winger.

Style Issues

My CM(D) is getting caught in possession too frequently for my liking too. It seems that despite me having a W(A) and CM(S) next to him he's still getting isolated. The more I watched the more I felt that the mentality of my defensive, support and attack players seemed too far apart so we couldn't get any kind of flowing football going.

When I changed to Tactic 2, which is Rigid (Tactic 1 is Balanced), the gaps seemed to have got smaller. The team looked more like a unit. It's something I'm going to address after the match. Basically I feel it needs to be Rigid or Fluid. From what I can remember from trying to see the differences is that they almost have the same effect but rigid brings Mentalities and CF closer to more conservative players whereas Fluid does the opposite. I'll have to look into this more but something's not right.

Changes

I'm going to stick with Tactic 2. I might go to 3 (Defensive) if i feel it's needed.

RW(A) is getting changed to WM(S). Hopefully that'll stop him losing the ball by dribbling too much and also give CM(D) better passing options.

I'm still noticing Fleetwood exploiting the space between Mid & Def but I'm not sure how to counter it yet and they're not using the space well anyway.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm still noticing Fleetwood exploiting the space between Mid & Def but I'm not sure how to counter it yet and they're not using the space well anyway.

Maybe a stopper and a cover might help? A stopper behind your supporting CM and a cover behind your CMd so they aren't getting in each others way.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bradford PA 2 - 0 Fleetwood Town (Full Time)

A great result. I love 1-0's and 2-0's. Basically anything that involves a clean sheet. Growing up I watched Gazzetta Football Italia on C4 every weekend so this might explain my love of a great defense over a great attack. The more Italian my team plays, the better!

Lots of positives to take out of this. The changes I made all seemed to improve my performance. The RM didn't lose the ball as much.

After 1 minute of the second half Fleetwood changed formation. To 5-3-2. This really threw me. Do I exploit flanks? Clear ball to flanks? Give my FB's attacking duties?

The other issue was that the hole in front of my defense that i felt could be exploited now had a player stationed right there. Do I drop a Mid into DM? Use a Diamond formation? Change to contain, key highlights and close my eyes?

I actually did nothing. I watched and tried to learn.

Their WB's were very defensive which gave me an outlet of my FB's who were under no pressure on the ball. I liked this, I was 1-0 up so under no pressure to score and as I said earlier, I LOVE 1-0's.

I couldn't make my mind up if they were attacking or not, perhaps they were Standard. Regardless I felt no need to change things but this is definitely an area of my game reading that I need to improve.

I later tried to exploit flanks and clear ball to flanks just out of curiosity when I was 2-0 up and felt safer. It had potential to devastate them down the flanks but also left me open to counters with their ST's drifting into channels. I filed this strategic move under "use with caution".

The did almost score (and should have) from another mistake at the back. Almost a carbon copy of their goal in my previous match, a silly header back to the keeper falls short, striker latches onto it, takes it round the keeper... Post and wide! From the resulting goal kick I score my second. Also a carbon copy but of my first goal. Long ball by keeper to CM(D), plays in DLF, Smashes it in from edge of area. 2-0, game over.

By 80 minutes I could see that they were only playing though the middle and despite my earlier concerns they just didn't have the ability to unlock my defense. Key hightlights for the last 10 mins, of which there was none.

Conclusion

As I said lots of positives. Good scoreline and well deserved.

There were concerns though. They had the only CCC of the game, the silly backpass. I consider this THE most important stat. The fact I made no CCC's means on another day i might not have scored and they might have got 1. 1-0 to me becomes 0-2.

The possession evened out due to their formation change which really made no sense. Maybe they were expecting me to be looking for the kill and attacking them.

The last point is the mentalities of Tactic 1 feeling too separate. That's the next thing on my list to attend to.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Lewis999 - That's definitely something to consider. I was concerned about the gap a stopper might create in my back 4 so avoided that but i'll try it next time i notice the gap being exploited. What kind of defenders work best as stopper/covers? LD or DC? Or does it make no difference?

Link to post
Share on other sites
@Lewis999 - That's definitely something to consider. I was concerned about the gap a stopper might create in my back 4 so avoided that but i'll try it next time i notice the gap being exploited. What kind of defenders work best as stopper/covers? LD or DC? Or does it make no difference?

When you select a stopper it highlights all the DC attributes but then also adds in aggression and bravery as they'll be going to close down the ball and the cover one highlights anticipation and acceleration which makes sense.

If you knew that and that wasn't what you were asking then no it doesn't make a difference really I don't, you can use central defenders/limited and ball playing ones in both the stopper and cover role in different circumstances though maybe.

For example if a team is pressuring you high up the pitch, a limited defender cover might not be a bad idea as when he sweeps it up he doesn't dally he smashes it (you never know it might fall to your striker) then at the same time a normal defender with stopper might tight mark his man nick the ball and then play it out sensibly to your CM's, FB's or even wingers, whereas a limited defender might win it and smash it when there's no real need. However if you have someone who is capable of being a ball playing defender (This highlights passing and creativity) then I would employ it especially if you are playing on the counter as he can split a team open with one pass.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just seen this thread and I will be following it with interest.

One suggestion I's make is to have a one of your full backs on attack, so as to give you another option for creating chances. If you do it would probably be best to stick with a WM on that side at least, possibly with a support duty. Then your WM will be narrower and link in with the play more while your attacking FB will overlap and provide another outlet. I think its a good idea switching to a DLF/s also for the reasons you mentioned. It's early days but I'm trying out a AF/a DLF/s in my new save and I think they work together really well, but I think a poacher would work aswell. A stopper/cover combo can be successful but I tend to only use it against 1 striker formations, against 2 striker formations it can lead the back line being disjointed and easy to cut through.

Overall, I think you're tactic could do with a bit more variety in attacking options. My first impression is that your midfield and attack are not connected which would definitely be helped having the DLF/s. However, altering your midfield roles might also be beneficial. I've heard people suggest a DLP is vital to make a 4-4-2 work but I'm not so sure, I had relative success with an AP/s and a CM/d but this was a while ago, I'm currently using a DLP/d BWM/s in my 4-4-1-1. Anyway, the current midfield duo may work with the DLF/s so they have someone to link up with and that link-up play might be encouraged by going for a Fluid philosophy.

Other than that I would say just keep trying, there's a lot of people on the forums like you (and me) trying to figure out tactics and you're analysing more than I ever have patience for so good luck to you and keep up the good work. :thup:

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Lewis999 - Yeah i kind of grasp the point of a stopper is to be more aggressive and close down more and cover is opposite. I just ask because LD has light tackling and CD has mixed. I'm not sure which is the better option for either of the more specialised CB duties.

@GaryMegsonJr - In my first season i had a FB with an attack duty. Basically followed the 12 steps guide and it worked, at least for that season. The problem was that it stopped working and I didn't know why which is what's so frustrating so i started from scratch and kind of ignored all the guides. The TC says 2 FB's on auto so that's what i'll use. I'm going to experiment with an attack duty on one of the FB's soon though to see if I can tell the difference. I'm really just trying to change one thing at a time to see the effects. My team is defensively solid but really poor going forward. I need to find out why and fix it rather than just guessing, changing 3/4 roles and duties and hope some miracle happens (my previous attempts at making things work basically).

I massively agree with the variety in attack point. The duties look varied enough to me, 1D 1/2S 1/2A in midfield. 1A 1S in attack. That should create movement and options in my head but it doesn't seem to be happening. Therefore the problem must lie either within Style or within Roles.

Style will be the next thing I alter. My team play better in the Rigid Style as opposed to Balanced. I'd like to try Fluid too but my inclination is towards Rigid being a lover of all things defensive and all. After that I will then take a look at my Roles. This bit puzzles me the most. There's so many to choose from and they really make or break a tactic so need to be carefully considered. With my team being a set of donkey's too I get nervous about trying to use a DLP or AP or anything like that but it's something I need to experiment with now that I have a solid back 4 to build from.

Link to post
Share on other sites
@Lewis999 - Yeah i kind of grasp the point of a stopper is to be more aggressive and close down more and cover is opposite. I just ask because LD has light tackling and CD has mixed. I'm not sure which is the better option for either of the more specialised CB duties.

I've just had a play about and it seems whether tackling is on more cautious or default on the team instructions, limited defenders whether they are stoppers/cover or normal stay on light tackling and normal defenders do the same. I would of thought stoppers would at least have mixed regardless whether they were limited or otherwise.

I always play on more cautious, especially with lesser teams (I'm Southampton second season) and it seems I get a lot of players behind the ball as they don't force the issue to win it. I don't use a stopper and a cover because I have a DM and secondly neither of my CB's are specialised in either of those roles (stopper/cover).

But in regards to which you should use I don't think there's a right answer just the answer that suits your team is the right one. If that space is still getting exploited and you decide to use a stopper/cover combo then I would use limited or normal by judging which suits your overall approach.

A limited stopper seems contradictory because you would think it 'should' rush out and clean everything, ball, man, the lot, but it might help if they rush out and tight mark the ST, but don't dive in (easy tackling) then they are neither out of position and they force the ST back to start again, so it keeps your shape and doesn't give the opposition time either.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My CM(D) is getting caught in possession too frequently for my liking too.

Midfielders on defensive duties are set to Hold Up Ball. I dislike that option fiercely so I always set it to No. I recommend you do this as well. Also, check if it is a fact that Mentality and Passing decreases that much from Support to Defend with a Balanced style. I doubt it. The problems are probably one of Hold Up Ball being more of a "sabotage yourself" thing than a benefit to the team. The DLF will also have that option set to Yes, so change that too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a great thread. You are really good at describing your thoughts and what you observe in matches.

Good luck with turning the corner with Bradford PA. I am sure you will do it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@GaryMegsonJr - In my first season i had a FB with an attack duty. Basically followed the 12 steps guide and it worked, at least for that season. The problem was that it stopped working and I didn't know why which is what's so frustrating so i started from scratch and kind of ignored all the guides. The TC says 2 FB's on auto so that's what i'll use. I'm going to experiment with an attack duty on one of the FB's soon though to see if I can tell the difference.I'm really just trying to change one thing at a time to see the effects. My team is defensively solid but really poor going forward. I need to find out why and fix it rather than just guessing, changing 3/4 roles and duties and hope some miracle happens (my previous attempts at making things work basically).

.

Love that comment its the easiest way to right the wrongs as most people including myself in the past have changed roles just to try and make a difference and basically got a lot worse.

Keep up the good work.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Lewis999 - I'd have thought stoppers would be more aggressive tacklers too. The only problem i'm having is trying to decide if my defenders are good or not in BSB Premier terms. Obviously they wouldn't cut at Premier League level. They had very good avg ratings as DC's but i've been using them as LD's recently and notice no ill effects so i'll keep them at that. If I stop too much space then i'll experiment with stop/cov.

@BiggusD - That had occurred to me but i'm trying hard to not use sliders at all yet. And I feel that they must have hold up ball for a reason otherwise it wouldn't be in the TC (potentially Naive thinking).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dag & Red 0 - 0 Bradford PA

To my shame I only watched this one on 'extended' highlights. It was a "just one more match" game last night.

I'm 20th, D&G are 3rd, I'm expected to get a thorough whipping. As it's away I didn't get chance to test my Style theories which annoyed me so also explains why I skipped it.

I played my Defensive Tactic (Tactic 3) with the aim of keeping things tight at the back. After reading what garymeg had said i thought I'd use an attacking FB too just so something was different and see if it changed my attacking play.

Half time its 0-0. They've had 6 shots, I've had 0. Not too disheartened though as ALL their shots have been long range efforts. My tactic is working, this has got 0-0 written all over. I've not noticed the FB(A) at all either in good or bad terms so he can stay attacking for now.

As it's 3 in the morning and i'd lost interest a bit i decide to change to tactic 2 (counter) just to see if I can stay tight but maybe get a couple of shots on goal. They should be feeling a bit frustrated at not being able to score despite dominating.

Style, Creative Freedom and Playmaker Theory

Second half plays just like first. 0-0 still written all over it. I do get a shot though so stick with Tactic 2.

On 70ish mins my CM(S) gets injured so I make a change. It suddenly hit me that I'm playing Rigid, More Disciplined CF and no playmakers. Maybe that's why i'm not creating anything. I changed CM(S) to AP(S) and changed CF to normal. Everything changed! I was the best team, got a CCC and should have snatched it. A corner could be about to be turned...

I remember trying to see the difference between styles but I not really studied them. I compared fluid and rigid to balanced to see what they did. This is what I noticed:

Mentality

Balanced

There are 3 Mentalities in Defense and Midfield. Defend, Support and Attack. These separate how you'd expect, defense being lowest and attack being highest.

Poacher is a LOT higher than DLF(S). This looks like an issue on paper but probably not in game.

Fluid

Defenders have same Mentality regardless of duty. Fluid, therefore, might not be a good choice if want really attacking fullbacks, Balanced might be better. Which is the opposite of what I assumed!

CM(D) has same mentality as defenders. Mids (S) and (A) share the same mentality.

P and DLF(S) don't look as isolated as in Balanced.

Rigid

FB's have a set mentality regardless of duty.

Mids with (A) and (S) duties have the same mentality

DLF(S) and P are not as isolated as Balanced

FB's MC(D) and ST's have HIGHER mentalities than Fluid (another thing I wouldn't have expected)

Not sure what knowledge is to be gleaned from the Mentality comparison but thought it'd write what I noticed in case something clicked.

Creative Freedom

This is where things get interesting to me and where I think I might have figured something out.

The CF's for each style are essentially the same and follow the same pattern. Very Rigid has the lowest CF and Very Fluid has the highest. They seem to scale in proportion each step up the "Fluidity Ladder" if you will.

So I came to the conclusion that the reason I never looked like scoring a goal was because I was playing Rigid, More Disciplined CF and no special roles of playmakers. Where were the goals ever going to come from?

My theory is simple, the more Rigid your team is then the more CF you need to give them. An alternative is to use lots of playmakers. Or you might need to combine the two. It's food for thought anyway.

Before discovering this I'd have assumed that the best way to set a team like Barca up, for example, would be to use LOTS of CF, Fluid, Control, etc. Now I think this would be very wrong. I'd be more inclined to be more disciplined!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bradford PA 0 -1 Grimsby Town

So tried to implement my thoughts on CF and styles for this one. CF is now at Normal for all 3 Tactics and Style is at Rigid.

I kept the right FB(A) and changed CM(S) to AP(S).

I opted for Tactic 1 (Standard)

In hindsight I made too many changes in one match to know what made things better and what made things worse. It was almost a wasted exercise.

First Half

There was a notable difference in my team with the changes I made. The biggest thing I noticed was that long ball football seemed a distant memory already. My players were trying to build from the back and not ALWAYS punting it to the strikers. This must have been down to the CF and maybe the change to Rigid too. It was nice to see and felt like a step in the right direction.

The downsides were that despite the better play from my team we were not creating chances and they were. 1ccc and 2 half chances for them, nothing for me.

Build up play was good but a serious lack of movement/idea in the final third. Attacks often broke down around the 'D'. No threat from the wings and not enough bodies getting into the box to support to P. It felt like the only way i would score is if my P got free from his markers and someone played a killer ball from midfield.

Second Half

I decided to be brave and change to Control and give my AP(S) an attack duty to try and get more bodies forward. Despite the stats i didn't feel that I was under much pressure, just not making my overall dominance count. Things looked better but still felt the attacks generally ended the same way as in the first half. In an attempt to give more options I changed my WM(S) to WM(A) and changed the AP back to support as 3 Attack duties in Midfield seemed too attacking to me.

I created a couple of CCC's with these changes and generally looked on top but not exactly tearing them apart. On 73mins I decided I'd done all the changes I wanted to and that whatever happens happens. Key highlights selected.

They scored on 83 mins from a cross to the back post. They had look dangerous with crosses in the first half and I should done something about that but at the minute i'm trying to sort out the way I play before worrying about countering the opp threats. Still, I was a bit annoyed, i should have been paying attention to their wingers as I had noticed it earlier.

Conclusion

Lots of things to think about and take on board. The increase in CF was a plus, I might even try more expressed.

I need to think about Roles more still as i'm still not seeing enough variety in attack. This could be related to Style though.

Undecided on Style yet. Did Rigid help or hinder my last match is hard for me to judge.

I shouldn't be afraid of control and attacking strategies just because i'm a weak team.

The jury's still out on the AP and attacking FB.

Edit: Whilst writing this my game crashed and I had to play it again.

Used the tactic that I ended the last match with. 0-2 at half time. So I decided to be a bit extreme with my changes. I chose counter strategy, changed WM(A) to W(A) and CM(D) to DLP(D) in the hope of more creativity. It was a massive improvement and I ended up drawing the match. These will now be the roles i use for the next few games as i try to take stock of the changes I've made and assess how each role is working etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not the result you wanted but keep it up, the changes you've made are the way to go imo, results may not always be instant.

Two questions though -

With all this switching and swapping of instructions etc. how high is your tactic familiarity level?

Also you change between the 3 tactics in game which I find undo's my OI's, do you find this or do you not really use OI's?

Link to post
Share on other sites

@GaryMegsonJr - I've not got into the realms of OI's as I feel they may distort my tactic and make it difficult to see what my tactical changes do. CF familiarity is at 76 on all. Strangely my Mentality on Tactic 3 (defensive) is at 35! Must be because i'd been seeing what different Styles did to different mentalities so messed around with them. I think this might be a bug as i'm pretty sure it was higher than that as i'd been using and training this for about 11 matches, maybe more. Glad you asked actually, i'll need to adjust the training.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bradford PA 0 - 0 Boreham Wood

I'm really starting to get frustrated and feel like i'm hitting a brick wall now.

Match Stats:

p><p>The Poacher is so useless it

We had good possession in their half but never any penetration or dangerous looking passes.

I upped the CF to normal AND played a DLP(D) and AP(S) in the middle to try and encourage goal scoring chances. Still no joy.

Towards the end of the match i changed the P to an AF, gave both FB's attacking duties. This looked a little better but not much and still didn't create 1 half chance!

I used a Control strategy so I don't think I was being too cautious.

Noticed a lot of punts from my LD's so they became CD's. All this seemed to do was change the long balls into 'hollywood' passes to no one. During the last few minutes I used the shout "play out of defense" but it was too late to really judge if this was worth it.

I'm starting to think that I might have to try a short passing game as i'm all out of ideas why things aren't working.

I'm not devastated by their shots or chances, most of the shots were long shots and the half chances aren't as bad as CCC. The general defensive performance of the team is not worrying me. It's when we have the ball that we're useless. No idea's and no movement.

Let's see how short passing affects things for the next match...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think short passing will be more fitting for a control strategy. But I'm not sure this is what you're looking for. If you want more attacking thrust, why not leave the passing and go Attacking?

You mentioned earlier you want to just make one change at a time, but I'm seeing multiple changes happening from match to match. Perhaps you should give your changes a handful of games and judge them on that basis. Just one game could be swayed by other factors like weather, pitch condition, home v away, quality of opponent, and man v man matchups.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Lincoln 3 - 1 Bradford PA

Despite the score line there were definitely some positives to take home from this match.

Things had been really been going poorly recently and I felt things really needed an overhaul tactically as our play was stale and unimaginative plus we'd lost our defensive soundness that had made it acceptable the be playing that way. Before we were grinding out the odd result by keeping a clean sheet and snatching a goal from a set piece or long shot. As we'd become leaky again I had serious concerns about our ability to outscore anyone.

I set up 3 tactics similar to before but got rid of the Defensive set up and brought in a Control one. So I now have Home(Control), Away(Counter) and Other(Standard).

Gone were the days of Direct Passing. As i'd mused in my previous post I really felt like the Passing Style could be wrong as there were too many 'Hollywood' passes that NEVER connected. In my OP I said that I'd chosen that due to my players lack of quality but i'm getting the suspicion that i'm mistaken and that Short passing is an easier style for my players to handle. Maybe it's not my players passing ability, maybe it's to do with Speed or Height, Movement off the ball, who knows what? All I know is that Direct isn't working so it's time to try short.

Other than Short Passing, everything else was pretty much as before.

I started with my Counter Strategy:

p><p>Within 8 minute they were 1-0 up. A

The passing was a huge improvement. Short was DEFINITELY the way to go. It look like my players were trying to make something happen. With the ball being moved around more it created more space and made things less predictable. One my tactics get more familiar i feel that I should create more CCC's.

My Poacher seemed a lot better and scored. He was no longer a spectator but was linking up and getting in good positions. My AP looked like he wanted to get in the box more too. I didn't just rely on strikers having a go from the edge of the box anymore.

They scored again on 30 mins so I selected Comprehensive highlights, I couldn't watch 90 mins of me getting hammered. I made no more changes though. We then scored on 34 and had the best of the rest of the half.

Second half they were all over us (but still didn't create any real chances). I felt they had changed their Strategy from the first half so for the last 20 minutes I switched to my Normal Strategy and the game swung back in our favour.

They had 16 shots with 10 on target. Their strikers both had very good games. But only 1CCC and 2 HC's which they had in the first 20 minutes so I felt my change of FB duties and CF definitely worked. They will become permanent settings for the next few away games I think.

I had 12 shots but only 1 on target. I was happy about the shots and, as I said, the generally passing play in the last 3rd looked more threatening.

8 of my shots were from outside the box which is something I need to try and fix. They had a lot of shots inside my box too which isn't good.

The last issue for me is my wingers have developed a habit of crossing from VERY deep when there's no one in the box. Even when their not under pressure. I've no idea why. They should be crossing from byline. It makes no sense to me. If anyone could shed some light on this I'd be very happy. I'll post a screen shot.

<a  href=http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/4847/lincolnvbradfordpapitch.png' alt='lincolnvbradfordpapitch.png'> Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/img]

Link to post
Share on other sites

@fdawsoniv - My aim is really to learn how the game works. When I make a change to see it in the match and understand it. I want to win the odd game too.:D

With the direct passing I assumed it would be something best used by less technically proficient teams but now I think i'm wrong. My aim was to be solid at the back. I expected to lose the possession battle so incisive and direct passing was my attempt at making what possession I had count. I think from what i've seen is that my players just aren't capable of playing that way so maybe it's a style best left for the Man Utds and Real Madrids of this world.

I'm not posting every game that I play so it might seem like my changes happen quicker than it could. But saying that I think you are right in a way and i'm sometimes a little too impatient.

Although I know that there are many factors that decide results of games i'm not sure that that means I can't judge the way my formation/tactics are working. The last match I played (Lincoln) I got comfortably beat but saw massive improvements in my team and felt I spotted the reasons they were scoring. The score line was not as important to me as the the way the team played according to my instructions and then when I changed them if I could tell what had changed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Woking 0 - 0 Bradford PA

A real bore draw. No real chances to speak of. The stats say i had 1 CCC but I didn't remember seeing it. Checked it back on Analysis and it was a shot from the edge of the area, hardly clear cut. On the plus side I kept a clean sheet and never really looked like conceding.

Started with my Counter Strategy despite being favourites to win as I like to be cautious away from home. They probably shaded the first half. Half time I changed to Normal and things seemed to improve slightly and I maybe shaded the second half but it was really just a dire match.

Taking on board the constructive criticism from fdawsoniv about how I was maybe changing things too often and not given things chance to bed in i've kept things simple and will continue to use the exact same settings for the next few matches. The only changes I'll allow are going to be a change to one of my 3 tactics. No tweaking! Roles, duties and instructions will stay how they are to give this new short passing style a chance to bear fruit.

My observations of this match were:

Players (usually near the flanks) walking aimlessly like zombies in non-sensical directions with the ball and then punting.

Defenders trying long range passes a bit too much. My DC's were at about 50% pass completion for the match!

For zombie players I think it must be a case of:

a) No short passing options

b) CF is too low so they punt if (a) happens

c) CF is too high so think they're Pirlo

d) Being pressed heavily and panicking

I'll be watching this carefully now and try to decide why they're doing it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bradford PA 1 - 1 Barrow

ANOTHER evenly matched game. It was another poor one too.

Barrow are 22nd, I'm 21st (been slipping lately and in relegation spot again) so felt I had a good chance of a comfortable win. With this in mind I went for my Control tactic.

First half was a boring affair with nothing of interest to write about. I've started watching the matches on Comprehensive now as this should surely provide me with all the info I need without sapping all my soul continuously watching tedious matches all the way through.

I didn't feel I had the upper hand when I should so changed to Normal tactic for the second half to see if that shifted the balance. It kind of worked but it never looked likely that I was going to score from open play. I did, however, have a lot of free kicks and corners. But they all came to nothing. It's getting depressing how inadequate my team is at attacking.

My goal inevitably came from a set piece, a penalty. Not a fan of relying on referees for goals. It looked all over until they equalised on 89mins with a cross that missed everyone, their other winger then dribbled along the goal line till he got to the six yard box and scored from an extremely tight angle.

I will continue to resist the urge to change things around and see if things start clicking soon.

Observations:

Passing was woeful, really terrible across the team. What I saw was what I expected to happen if I gave a poor team short passing instructions but i'll continue to give it time.

STILL nothing in the final 3rd. Can't remember the last time I saw my team split a defense apart with a through ball or cross to a player who was unmarked to tap into ana empty net. We just don't look like ever scoring and I don't know why. I've got 2 playmaker, 2 wingers and a poacher just desperate for some service. I just can't imagine why that combination of players wouldn't be able to create one single chance.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Bradford PA 1 - 1 Barrow

ANOTHER evenly matched game. It was another poor one too.

Barrow are 22nd, I'm 21st (been slipping lately and in relegation spot again) so felt I had a good chance of a comfortable win. With this in mind I went for my Control tactic.

First half was a boring affair with nothing of interest to write about. I've started watching the matches on Comprehensive now as this should surely provide me with all the info I need without sapping all my soul continuously watching tedious matches all the way through.

I didn't feel I had the upper hand when I should so changed to Normal tactic for the second half to see if that shifted the balance. It kind of worked but it never looked likely that I was going to score from open play. I did, however, have a lot of free kicks and corners. But they all came to nothing. It's getting depressing how inadequate my team is at attacking.

My goal inevitably came from a set piece, a penalty. Not a fan of relying on referees for goals. It looked all over until they equalised on 89mins with a cross that missed everyone, their other winger then dribbled along the goal line till he got to the six yard box and scored from an extremely tight angle.

I will continue to resist the urge to change things around and see if things start clicking soon.

Observations:

Passing was woeful, really terrible across the team. What I saw was what I expected to happen if I gave a poor team short passing instructions but i'll continue to give it time.

STILL nothing in the final 3rd. Can't remember the last time I saw my team split a defense apart with a through ball or cross to a player who was unmarked to tap into ana empty net. We just don't look like ever scoring and I don't know why. I've got 2 playmaker, 2 wingers and a poacher just desperate for some service. I just can't imagine why that combination of players wouldn't be able to create one single chance.

I think going for something more simpler, maybe CM defend and CM support might help. Might not but worth a try surely?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bradford PA 2 -2 Alfreton (FA Trophy)

As my hope and patience was fading this game might just have been my salvation. Despite the result I deserved to win and with better morale (and players) I would have.

It was by no means a perfect performance but things are maybe slowly looking better.

I stuck with the same tactic that I started the last match (control) and the same rules (no changes or tweaks).

First Half

It wasn't too much different from previous matches. I was slightly better in a game i probably should have been convincingly in. I did take the lead though and what was most pleasing was that it was kind of from a defense splitting through ball (more a scuffed cross/through ball) and it resulted in my poacher having a shot from 6 yards, NOT 18!!! It took 2 bites of the cherry to score but he did get it in the net.

Second Half

I decided to throw the rulebook out of the window at half time even though I was winning. I didn't change anything for the sake of it but I really felt that if i allowed my players more creative freedom then perhaps those almost created chances would become actual chances. Plus I didn't feel like anything was being learned waiting for my teams performances to dramatically improve.

It definitely worked. There was a visible improvement from a creative point of view, still not devastating but maybe that's the thing that will come with time. The one thing I felt sure of though is that CF should be set to Normal for the Control tactic. 1-0 became 2-0 and my 5 games without a win streak was looking like it was coming to an end. And with an impressive dominant performance to go with it.

The second goal must have triggered a change in Alfreton's strategy as they seemed a lot more aggressive and before I'd had chance to take stock (the downside of Comprehensive over Full Match) they were back in it. Their right winger got in behind my LB and crossed to the near post for an easy goal. I wish my wingers played like that!

Another wing attack and i knew i had to do something. Both FB's went on support duty.

That seemed to stem the tide but they got an equaliser anyway with a screamer from the corner of my area (what you gonna do?).

I switched to my Standard Strategy and thing went back my way but I think they also played more conservatively too, I just didn't feel comfortable pressing for a winner when I could end up losing 2-3 if I wasn't careful.

Conclusion

I was glad I went with my instincts and made the changes I did but should have shut up shop at 2-0 and gone Counter probably. It's now 6 games without a win and morale is low. Need to grind a result out and get the lads happier.

I don't think i'm going to post again for a little bit now as I feel things are becoming a bit repetitive and I need to give it a few matches with just playing with CF amongst the 3 tactics till i'm happy with all 3. As for the roles/duties, i'm not 100% sold on 2 playmakers, 2 attacking wingers, 2FB(A) (on the control tactic) or the poacher but i'm just going to stick with them for now as none of them seem insane.

Once I've played 5 to 15 matches more I'll do an update with hopefully a more enlightened view of some of team settings.

Feel free to advise/criticise/contradict or just add anything that maybe be relevant. I'm open to all feedback.

Right, it's Friday, I'm going out. I NEED a drink!

Link to post
Share on other sites

@lewis999 - that was how it all started but when my problem was a lack of creativity. Saying that, i always liked the way the vanilla mids played for me so something to think about after i feel fully satisfied with my CF settings maybe i'll change to DLP back to CM(D). I'm very unsure about DLP's in general.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Feel free to advise/criticise/contradict or just add anything that maybe be relevant. I'm open to all feedback.

Excellent thread, but it's kind of missing one thing for me ( and possibly others ) to offer anything constructive. What are your players like? Strong/weak points of your team? How does it compare to the league? Any stand-out players as far as attributes go?

So shed some light on your team, and I'll try to give you some inane pointers ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites
For those that are interested this is team comparisons but i've read these should be taken with a pinch of salt as they don't represent your usual first 11:

They don't, but at the same time they do help to spot certain trends and if you have someone in your senior squad you're not ready to play, he shouldn't probably be there, should he :]

Anyway, from the quick glance you really should play simple stuff going forwards. Two target men, two wingers hugging line, pair of fullbacks, playing from the flanks and cross, cross, cross to head. Cross early, cross from byline, cross however as long as you cross. Your midfield really struggles for creativity, passing and decisions, even adjusting for the fact it's average values you just don't seem to have people to do anything fancy. Your attack is slow, can't read the game or shoot from any distance. But they can move and head the ball and if the player is tall enough, he doesn't really need jumping.

You may prove me wrong with specific player screens, but boatload of crosses to head really seems to be the way here. After all even if you're not all that good at making them, it's BSP, teams are not that good at defending them either.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that down there, with players like that and pitches like that, the only way to score is to move people into the box and get the ball in there. It is very hard for them to do so from the centre. Delivery should therefore mainly be from the flanks. The problem is then to time the runs and the delivery, and that's where I believe most tactics go wrong in this ME. Passing is very ...controlled... by Mentality and Passing Style as well as Time Wasting and Tempo. Run from Deep is hugely different between Rarely, Sometimes and Often, and I think that's unfortunate because I feel that Sometimes instruct the players to run forward a bit too early and often, while Rarely is way too slow. For the most part, Defend duty is Rarely, Support Sometimes and Attack Often.

This means that if you are going to pack a punch in the box you need to make sure that before the cross or pass comes into the box, there must be players there, so Crossing shouldn't be set to Often. On Attack duty, most wide roles have Crossing set to often, but I think Wide Midfielder does not. Also, most striker roles and duties have RfD set to Often, which means that they will start their runs very early.

One thing that is important to notice is that a striker that is supposed to drop deeper to link up play while still contributing with goals and in other ways, will have to be quite good. A Target Man needs to win most challenges in the air, and that translates to 14+ Strength, Jumping, Aggression, Off the Ball, Determination and Heading even in the Conference. Even then delivery is a problem to that strategy. I recommend limiting the function of each player at this level. This translates to using an AMC as a link between midfield and attack, if that is what you want. It also means that yes I think that it is a good idea to go rigid in the Conference, in order to define the tasks of each player more clearly.

What I propose, then (I haven't tried this myself) is a wide 442 diamond (with wide midfielders) playing rather narrowly (Counter Style) - with Play Narrower shout possibly. The idea is then that the players are closer together which should boost passing accuracy, the wide midfielders should be set to Support (or even defensive wingers) so that they provide early passing options and rather join the attack later. The strikers should both be AF, I believe, both pushing up early, providing space for the AMC, who should be set to support so that he contributes enough to defense and joins the box later. The DMC also support so that he joins the longer attacks. Full backs on support so that they overlap the narrow midfield on longer attacks, and both the central defenders set to Limited Defender or Central Defender idk, as long as they are not cover/stopper.

I like this idea. It sounds good in theory :) If only the wide midfielders when Width set to narrow become narrow enough that the AMC/DMC get the help they need. If not, the whole idea should be burnt and forgotten ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Finally finished my second season with Bradford PA.

So I played about 5 matches after my last posts about CF and trying to get the right balance etc. The results weren't too bad in the FA Trophy but in the league they were a disaster. We were playing more 'expansive' football but not getting the results at all. The defensive structure of the team had fallen to bits. I had no idea what was right or wrong anymore. A 6-2 defeat to Cambridge and I snapped. I was ready to just delete the save and play Fifa instead.

I decided to give it one more try a few weeks later. First I re-read this thread to see if I could see where I went right or wrong with a fresh mind and take some of the advice i'd received into consideration.

Ok, so I noticed that the space between Def and Mid was a consistent problem so I decided to change formation, it's not like my 442 was working anyway. I'd have liked to have used a 442 diamond but didn't have anyone who could play the AM role well so that left me with 41221.

The point BiggusD made about the state of the pitches in BSP was a good one, as much I as had convinced myself that Short Passing was better for my team, I thought this made a lot of sense so it was back to direct.

I didn't feel I had any players that I was comfortable with giving specialist roles to and I was sticking with Rigid for now so (using my CF ideas) I didn't want to use More Disciplined and More Expressed had been suicidal and caused me to almost give up so that was left Normal.

With a couple of tweaks to Duties during my first 2 games I ended up with this...

p><p>The main issue I had was that there

I was disappointed to not get the 442 to work but I guess I need to accept that either I didn't have the players for it or I don't understand the formation properly. I suppose the change in system was the right thing to do in the end though and scraping into the top half of table isn't too shabby at all for a team destined for the drop, so there's a tinge of pride with my season too.

Unfortunately I feel my time at Bradford PA might be coming to an end. 250K in the red is making this task seem far too difficult for someone of my limited skills. Maybe it's time to move somewhere else with different players and try a different approach/formation/philosophy etc. If the right offer comes I might be on my way. I am a bit attached to Bradford PA now though...

...Oh what the hell. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...