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I've had a bit of an odd relationship with FM - usually for each edition I have one save where I seem to hit the jackpot and enjoy it, and then the rest I just pack in quite quickly, whether due to it being just a spur of the moment thing or a lack of patience.

Recently I've been doing a hell of a lot of reading up about tactics because I just wasn't enjoying the game and wanted to improve how I played it - at times I felt like the players were just stupid, but then I realised how much tactics have to do with the behaviour of your players on the pitch; even the most small thing that they do. It's been a gradual process, going from discovering OIs, learning more about shouts and deconstructing the analysis page. With regards to the latter, I've been paying attention to the scoring chances option, and I'd been frustrated when I gave away far more than I was making.

I play as Arsenal, and so to struggle against teams like Fulham at home in that department, as well as possession-wise, was so frustrating. However, it finally clicked for me that I can't just use an idealistic tactic which would see me play great football, both solid defensively and effective offensively. I had to play to my players' strengths first and foremost.

So I checked the team report and saw that... we're actually pretty poor at most things. Some things stuck out: in defence we've got great pace (2nd in the league) and acceleration (6th) with physical attributes rather rubbish. In midfield quite good technique and longshots (4th and 7th respectively) and then in attack, finishing (1st), pace and acceleration (both 2nd).

Having looked through that, I surmised - and this could be wrong already - that a 4-2-3-1 with deep CMs could be the way to go. Instead of my idealistic possession tactic to which I had stubbornly stuck, despite its failure (my assistant would cry out in vain for more direct passing) I accepted that direct passing would be the way to go.

I decided that a target man would be useful - both of my strikers (Giroud and Lewandowski would suit it fairly well I thought) and he'd be a good direct option to knock down to the supporting trio behind him, preferably the AM. Having had mixed success with Wilshere and Cazorla in the couple of games I played them in that AM spot, I decided to give Aaron Ramsey a go off the bench in my first game of the tactic, and it worked quite well.

Said first game was against Man City away. We were eventually 3-0 down, but quite unluckily I thought - Yaya Toure scored one from a corner and two others which were just him being a general powerhouse. Then I brought on Ramsey and Giroud late on, who together pulled one back for us. 3-1, yet although we defended well, it was a bit too defensive for my liking. We hardly got out of our own half, given the counter mentality I'd set.

So, persisting with my tactic in the second game against Swansea at home, I brought in Ramsey and Giroud who'd done so well from the bench. Ramsey got man of the match and scored in a 4-0 win - I'd decided to use a few shouts at the start to be a bit more adventurous. Push Higher Up, Play Narrower and Exploit The Flanks - as well as Clear Ball To Flanks, which I may have added later - that should do it. The idea was to force teams out wide by playing more narrowly, as well as allowing more space for my wingers to exploit on the attack. Trying to do the whole direct, fast, attacking football thing, and it kinda worked.

Then came Cardiff away, and I thought we played quite well, stealing a 1-0 win with Ramsey again scoring. I thought I'd struck gold, but then I hit the wall, so to speak. A 1-0 loss at home to Blackburn, followed by a late-salvaged 1-1 draw at Hull. Not great.

I can identify what went wrong, I think, in both. Against Blackburn I was playing my young centre-back talent to give him some match experience, and of course he made an error which saw Blackburn score early on. After that I just wasn't sure how to play it - I'd not exactly planned the tactic for being behind in matches, so it was just easy for Blackburn to sit back and frustrate as I struggled.

Then against Hull, they hit me with a 5-3-2, which kinda threw me. I decided to continue to push up, hoping that I could suffocate their midfield, thus denying their strikers service. That may not have been wise but it seemed right to me, having read lots of stuff on here about things like that.

It didn't quite seem to work, and I managed to salvage a 1-1 draw at 85 minutes after a mistake by Kyle Bartley. It wasn't really through any skill of my own, to be honest...!

So, that's how it's gone so far - my question is this: how can I further develop my tactic? I think I have a decent base for it, but I need to develop it, and I'm just not sure how to do so yet. Here it is:

2ms4wur.png

Now I'm hopeful that my times of nearly-burst blood vessels is over, and I can stop getting driven insane by things like when my striker, the furthest player forward, heads it forward to an invisible player (just had to rant about that quickly). Any advice about where I can develop the tactic (roles, duties, formation etc) and maybe where players aren't quite suited to it would be much appreciated.

Cheers,

Sam

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I'm liking a lot of your thought processes. Few more things you might want to think about.

1: The FC role. Does the TM/S actually fit in with your overall strategy of a direct counter-attacking style? Wouldn't it be better to have somebody ranging across the front line (i.e an AF or CF/A)? I know I state that a lone FC should have a support role, but is less vital, possibly even counter productive, with a packed AM strata as players will be getting in each other's way.

2: The actual strategy. It might be worthwhile jumping up to Control (or even attack) to increase the general tempo and tick counter-attack so you can still attack from deep with pace. I'd certainly have them as trained variants so you have options to change up the pace.

3: The wide combos. For me, Ox is a support winger, not an attack winger. It might be worthwhile dropping him to support and pushing the DL up by giving him an attack duty.

4: The passing strategy. An Anchor does not play TBs, meaning you are hugely reliant on the BPD and DLP for TBs. It may be useful to play the Anchor as a DM, and then employ the pass into space shout to encourage more TBs into final third space.

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wwfan do you think a combination of TQ at AMC and Complete Forward Support can work with smart players?

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Cool, I'll check them out, thanks! I was quite disappointed to see where we ranked in passing and so on, because I thought with Ramsey, Wilshere, Arteta etc we'd be pretty high up and able to play a short passing game.

Eventually what I'd like to do would be to play a 4-1-2-2-1 with Ramsey and Wilshere in CM as DLP and AP respectively, and Ox on the left and Walcott on the right. I want to fit them all in and that seems like it'd work, although I tried it and didn't quite get it to click. I'll have to experiment later.

I'm liking a lot of your thought processes. Few more things you might want to think about.

1: The FC role. Does the TM/S actually fit in with your overall strategy of a direct counter-attacking style? Wouldn't it be better to have somebody ranging across the front line (i.e an AF or CF/A)? I know I state that a lone FC should have a support role, but is less vital, possibly even counter productive, with a packed AM strata as players will be getting in each other's way.

2: The actual strategy. It might be worthwhile jumping up to Control (or even attack) to increase the general tempo and tick counter-attack so you can still attack from deep with pace. I'd certainly have them as trained variants so you have options to change up the pace.

3: The wide combos. For me, Ox is a support winger, not an attack winger. It might be worthwhile dropping him to support and pushing the DL up by giving him an attack duty.

4: The passing strategy. An Anchor does not play TBs, meaning you are hugely reliant on the BPD and DLP for TBs. It may be useful to play the Anchor as a DM, and then employ the pass into space shout to encourage more TBs into final third space.

Cool, glad to know I'm starting to do things for the right reasons!

1: Sounds good, I'll give that a go.

2: I went up to control a couple of times but didn't think to also check counter attack - maybe that's what was missing.

3: Ok, cool - I think originally I had both wingers as support, but thought I needed a couple more adventurous players. Using the full back should help that, plus I've got the LDCM to cover as the more defensive one. Cool!

4: Good point. I'll change that too and report back on how things work. Thanks!

wwfan do you think a combination of TQ at AMC and Complete Forward Support can work with smart players?

Wasn't directed at me but I think I originally had Ramsey as a TQ at AMC; I can't remember if I played any games with it though!

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Just been pummelled 4-1 away at Newcastle, stats heavily in their favour: 20 shots to 9, 11 on target to 3, 58% possession compared to my 42%. I started with control, then it clearly wasn't working so at 1-0 down at HT I went to attacking. Equalised through Giroud, then just lost all control of the game. :confused:

Then: 2-1 loss at West Ham. Second best in pretty much all areas, improved instantly when I brought on Ramsey and Chamberlain for Wilshere and Walcott, with the subs combining to equalise as soon as they came on. But after that, couldn't go in front.

Another 2-1 loss away again, this time to Man United. Went 2-0 down to a corner and a penalty, before getting one back through Giroud with ten minutes to go.

Checked the heat maps and average position chart for that game and saw that I was horrifically deep and hardly playing in their area at all, whereas they were very high up and swarming in my area. Solution: use the attacking mentality for all games, and just be wary of any pacy strikers - maybe Mertesacker will have to sit out for a while.

First game after that solution was Fulham at home, struggled to a 1-0 win through a Walcott goal. For once, a winger cutting in and shooting *actually* led to a goal.

Current shouts: Clear Ball To Flanks, Push Higher Up, Pass Into Space, Play Narrower, Run At Defence, Exploit The Flanks.

Also signed Ilkay Gundogan to take over from Arteta in the DLP role, so he'll be playing alongside Kondogbia more often than not. Ramsey has made the AMC position his own, with Wilshere and Cazorla struggling there...

UPDATE:

After a poor 1-0 loss to Everton in the FA Cup (no chance of retaining that, then) we faced Marseille in the CL knock-out rounds. Here are a few screenshots...

OMvArsenal_AnalysisPerformance-2.png

OMvArsenal_AnalysisPerformance-3.png

OMvArsenal_AnalysisPerformance.png

The analysis tells the story. I left out our own scoring chances screen, because we had zero so you don't need to see that screen!

Conclusion: the tactic does not work. I'm in my worst run of form all season, it clearly isn't doing what it was intended to and unless there's a tweak which can suddenly make it click, I'm going to have to start over. I was hoping to be able to dominate games, getting the ball forward quickly and playing fast attacking football - kinda like Real Madrid. I seem to be getting the worth of boast worlds - conceding loads of chances and not making enough at the other end. *shrug*

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Playing a counter-ish deep 4-2-3-1 with Arsenal won't work. You're Arsenal at all, you need to attack and control the game! Try 4-2-3-1 with CMs with fluid and control strategy and see the improvements..

You can take a look at the 4-2-3-1 thread. It's a great thread with lots of useful information there

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Are you still using the same roles and duties as in the 1st post? And did you read the 2 threads I mentioned earlier?

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Playing a counter-ish deep 4-2-3-1 with Arsenal won't work. You're Arsenal at all, you need to attack and control the game! Try 4-2-3-1 with CMs with fluid and control strategy and see the improvements..

You can take a look at the 4-2-3-1 thread. It's a great thread with lots of useful information there

I wasn't really intending to be focused on the counter part of it - I just wanted to be able to transition quickly from defence to attack, tieing in with the idea of fast attacking football. I thought that, being Arsenal, I would be able to control the game despite being on counter, because I had things like 'press more' and 'more aggressive' selected. Trial and error! I'll give that a go, cheers!

Are you still using the same roles and duties as in the 1st post? And did you read the 2 threads I mentioned earlier?

I think I made the changes suggested above - AML from A to S, TM to CF/A, DML from A to DM (D) and so on.

Yeah, I've had a look through those threads, maybe need to have a more detailed read.

I had a little think and decided to play around with the roles again - Ramsey was more or less excelling as the AMC as an Attacking Midfielder, but Wilshere and Cazorla both seemed to struggle there, so I switched that to AP (S), also switching my DML DM from (D) to (S), hoping it would lead to a less conservative approach. Here's what I had for the last three games:

Arsenal_TacticsOverview.png

I won my next two games 3-1 and 3-0; at home to Stoke and Aston Villa respectively so I wasn't sold yet. Then came the return home leg against OM in the CL KO round - another 2-1 loss.

I checked out the scoring chances and saw I had quite a few - the only CCC I had was from Arteta's penalty, which was successfully converted. One was from a corner, and the others (probably 4 others) were quite well-worked 'half chances'. Marseille had just two half chances compared to my 6 overall. So I'm kinda reluctant to change too much - I'll crank it up a notch to fluid and see how that goes. Then if it's not working, I'll move the DMs forward to CM.

This thread is mainly about me learning about tactics in FM, so that I can successfully create my own in future, rather than just trying to 'crack' this save.

One more thing: I brought in a young 5 star potential LB (Sven Schmitt) and decided to sell Monreal and use Schmitt regularly so I could develop him, and he's twice been sent off for two yellows. I decided when I made this tactic to leave player specific instructions alone, but I'm thinking I should make his tackling less aggressive...?

I'm also having some problems with shouts, or at times lack thereof. A couple of examples: I didn't set 'Look for Overlap', but there was a perfect opportunity for Sagna to do it at one point and he didn't (presumably because I didn't use the shout). I don't want him to be overlapping all the time, but do it when it will work. And then against Norwich away I was struggling with some utterly **** passing, so I decided to set 'Pass to feet'. It worked more or less (except for when Sagna passed to Mertesacker's feet and he just stood there, letting it roll between his legs to an onrushing Grant Holt, who blitzed past my defence and slotted in...) but then we got to the edge of the box and my players just refused to play through balls. I know I used pass to feet, but can they not use some footballing intelligence? How do I get balance with the shouts?

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How about leaving your tactic at default without using any shouts? This is just to keep things more simple till you get the grip of your tactic.

At the moment, the only shout I used in my tactic is work ball into box.

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How about leaving your tactic at default without using any shouts? This is just to keep things more simple till you get the grip of your tactic.

At the moment, the only shout I used in my tactic is work ball into box.

I decided to give that a go against Reading - it didn't quite work for a while, with my passing from defence pretty shocking, so I decided to go with Play Narrow and Exploit The Flanks. I guess it kinda worked, but only just - won 1-0 in the 86th minute. So for the moment I'm watching 15 minutes, seeing if I need any shouts or not.

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I think Lewandowski would be better as a CF s as he has comes deep to get ball ppm and is quite creative for a forward.

Id change the wingers to if attack then and also Advanded Playmaker to attack. Two Wingbacks on attack aswell.

Short passing, Press more, Zonal Marking, More Roaming.

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Here's how I finished the season:

16a2umb.png

We were getting passed rings around by teams like Reading so I decided to reduce pressing so that we'd keep our shape. Penalties were being given away a lot too, so I toned down the tackling. Highlight was a 2-1 win against Man City at home after absolutely battering Tottenham in a 0-0 home draw:

2uokh7r.png

fbetyp.png

I think Lewandowski would be better as a CF s as he has comes deep to get ball ppm and is quite creative for a forward.

Id change the wingers to if attack then and also Advanded Playmaker to attack. Two Wingbacks on attack aswell.

Short passing, Press more, Zonal Marking, More Roaming.

I like that idea, although would Lewandowski then get in the way of the AMC? I'll experiment in pre-season with it.

Just stumbled over the line into 4th (second successive season) after a 1-0 away loss at 19th placed Blackburn. Much work ahead...

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Here's how I finished the season:

16a2umb.png

We were getting passed rings around by teams like Reading so I decided to reduce pressing so that we'd keep our shape. Penalties were being given away a lot too, so I toned down the tackling. Highlight was a 2-1 win against Man City at home after absolutely battering Tottenham in a 0-0 home draw:

2uokh7r.png

fbetyp.png

I like that idea, although would Lewandowski then get in the way of the AMC? I'll experiment in pre-season with it.

Just stumbled over the line into 4th (second successive season) after a 1-0 away loss at 19th placed Blackburn. Much work ahead...

I played something similar before and didn't really find that they got in each others way. Playing with two DMs creates alot of space for the front 4 to move around in.

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Current shouts: Clear Ball To Flanks, Push Higher Up, Pass Into Space, Play Narrower, Run At Defence, Exploit The Flanks.

I know you changed them, but this combination doesn't make any sense to me. Why are you encouraging your defence to play first time balls to the flanks or to exploit the flanks when you have three playmakers (BPD, DLP, AP) in the middle of the park? What's the point of narrowing width then clearing the ball to the flanks? Because the width is narrower, you are less likely to have players out there (more so as one is an IF), and will thus give away possession time after time.

Why isn't one of your MCs playing a holding role? The Exploit the Flanks shout will force them to sit back, but a far more balanced approach would be to have one Defend duty in central midfield as a holder/recycler and to play a far more full pitch game. You are Arsenal after all.

Why play a fluid approach when you have three playmakers (BPD, DLP, AP)? A more rigid approach will allow them to run the game, whereas a more fluid approach means everybody has creative responsibilities. I'd suggest either playing more generic roles in the centre or employing a Balanced or Rigid philosophy.

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If I were you I'd play Ox on the right as a W/sup, and Walcott on the left as IF/Att. AOC has developed to be the best RW in the world for me. I also like the idea of 'locking down' a certain area of the pitch. For me it's the middle. I play 4231 and depending on the opponent (and home or away sometimes) it has 2 DMC's or 2 MC's. with 2 MC's I play CM/D and DLP/D or S and with 2 DMC's its DM/D and DLP/D. If it's a tricky match, play counter, if not, control or attack based on how the match is playing out.

With all those players on defend I can then use the wide players and attacking 2 in attacking roles, sometimes with the AMC on support if they need more space. I've found I rarely need shouts with this approach, but when playing counter attacking, exploit the flanks comes in handy, and so does playing narrower (in order to compact the middle). the Forward pushes up and makes space for the men in behind, meaning you can change the wide players roles to those most suiting them. I'm in my 6th season and came across this approach in the middle of my 4th after looking at the 4231 thread.

And one last bit of advice, early in the game i played giroud as a DLF/s with wilshere as AM/A. the combination of their ppm's means wilshere breaks into the box and scores a fair bit. giroud still scored around 20 a season as well. Now I play Jack as AP/A and Fierro as AF/A, but only because of the way I developed the players.

Edit: should also point out I play with a balanced approach, I find this allows for more freedom whilst still ensuring the team functions as a whole, especially with the 'Locked down' approach I like to take.

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I know you changed them, but this combination doesn't make any sense to me. Why are you encouraging your defence to play first time balls to the flanks or to exploit the flanks when you have three playmakers (BPD, DLP, AP) in the middle of the park? What's the point of narrowing width then clearing the ball to the flanks? Because the width is narrower, you are less likely to have players out there (more so as one is an IF), and will thus give away possession time after time.

Why isn't one of your MCs playing a holding role? The Exploit the Flanks shout will force them to sit back, but a far more balanced approach would be to have one Defend duty in central midfield as a holder/recycler and to play a far more full pitch game. You are Arsenal after all.

Why play a fluid approach when you have three playmakers (BPD, DLP, AP)? A more rigid approach will allow them to run the game, whereas a more fluid approach means everybody has creative responsibilities. I'd suggest either playing more generic roles in the centre or employing a Balanced or Rigid philosophy.

I suppose the idea was to use the wingers for fast, attacking football - get the ball out wide to the wide players - I'd read a thread by Cleon about combining 'play narrower' and 'exploit the flanks' and it seemed to make sense - I assumed that my CBs wouldn't clear the ball to the flanks if there was nobody there!

I guess I was just hoping that Kondogbia, as a defensive player, would give a defensive slant on the role, seeing as different players play the same role differently depending on their style, attributes etc. That sounds like a good idea.

That's probably part of the tactics which I'm yet to get my head around, so that's an interesting comment! I did have balanced originally before being advised to try fluid. I'll revert to balanced for the new season. Cheers.

If I were you I'd play Ox on the right as a W/sup, and Walcott on the left as IF/Att. AOC has developed to be the best RW in the world for me. I also like the idea of 'locking down' a certain area of the pitch. For me it's the middle. I play 4231 and depending on the opponent (and home or away sometimes) it has 2 DMC's or 2 MC's. with 2 MC's I play CM/D and DLP/D or S and with 2 DMC's its DM/D and DLP/D. If it's a tricky match, play counter, if not, control or attack based on how the match is playing out.

With all those players on defend I can then use the wide players and attacking 2 in attacking roles, sometimes with the AMC on support if they need more space. I've found I rarely need shouts with this approach, but when playing counter attacking, exploit the flanks comes in handy, and so does playing narrower (in order to compact the middle). the Forward pushes up and makes space for the men in behind, meaning you can change the wide players roles to those most suiting them. I'm in my 6th season and came across this approach in the middle of my 4th after looking at the 4231 thread.

And one last bit of advice, early in the game i played giroud as a DLF/s with wilshere as AM/A. the combination of their ppm's means wilshere breaks into the box and scores a fair bit. giroud still scored around 20 a season as well. Now I play Jack as AP/A and Fierro as AF/A, but only because of the way I developed the players.

Edit: should also point out I play with a balanced approach, I find this allows for more freedom whilst still ensuring the team functions as a whole, especially with the 'Locked down' approach I like to take.

I've been kinda torn about Ox's role - he's been absolutely brilliant at times for me but I've not decided on whether he's a right or left winger - I'll give him a sustained go on the right as you suggest.

I really like that idea, and it's something I tried (and failed) to do. What I found with two DMCs was that I couldn't transition from defence to attack - my DMCs were just too far away from my attackers to be able to find them and the play was just so disjointed. Hopefully with a higher line I can avoid that...?

Interesting - and I definitely need to pay more attention to PPMs but I find I have enough stuff to take into consideration in terms of player roles right now! Giroud's actually been brilliant for me; far better than Lewandowski. I'm worried that I just signed Lewa because he's a good player, rather than because he fits my team...?

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So, here's how we lined up throughout pre-season...

Arsenal_TacticsTeam-2.png

Only a couple of changes to the squad: I brought in Sebastien Corchia for roughly £17 million as I felt right back was a key weakness of the squad. I also brought in Michel Vorm as back-up to Szczesny, and then Real Madrid were offloading Xabi Alonso for £6 million so I thought that was too good to miss - his wages were kinda high (got them down to £90k) but I felt it was worth it as he'll be a great option and a brilliant tutor - just stuck him on Kondogbia to begin with.

Anyway, pre-season saw me smash most small teams away, stumble in the Emirates Cup once but mainly win impressively. Didn't really tell me much though, as they were all low level teams really.

First game was Reading away, lined up as in the picture. Dominated proceedings more or less in the first half but our attacking play was blunt and Reading scored their only two chances - typical. So at half time I gave the team a rousing team talk and, having noticed Walcott hit some woeful shots after cutting in, added the shout 'work ball into box' so there'd be less wayward shooting and more neat build-up play. Instantly it worked; Walcott went on a mazy dribble and waited for a good opening to smash in. 2-1.

At about 60 minutes I decided to make another change or two. It wasn't quite working up top, so Giroud was going to go off. Here I could bring on Lewandowski, a pretty similar option, or Podolski, who could give me something different. I went for Podolski.

Also, Cazorla and Gundogan weren't having terrific games so I made what I like to think of as a double change - I moved Gundogan into AMC, and brought on Alonso where Gundogan had been. The opposition have to adjust to two changes of personnel, when only one sub was made.

Podolski and Gundogan were instrumental in us coming back to win 5-2 - Poldi got the fifth, Gundogan got the second and the third, and Theo got the fourth. I really feel satisfied because it felt like I properly changed the game. Probably not something huge for many on here, but for me it was a proud moment.

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Really good changes for sure. I love how direct Poldi is but found him to be too 1-dimensional for my liking. One big thing, I would play Gundogan as a DLP/d, I'm fairly sure he has on of the 'gets forward' ppm's. Giving him a defensive role will mean he starts deeper then gets forward, meaning your CM/d wont be as isolated. To be honest though I think Alonso is one of the best DLP's in the game, if not the best, even two years in he could probably start most games for you.

Also try making Corchia attacking and Gibbs supporting, when the IF cuts in the wingback wont overcommit. Corchia also LOVES getting forward, he'll pop up in the box and get you a few goals if you let him, combine that with the generic setting of the W/s role Ox is playing and its a dream combo, one I still use. What training do you have Ox on by the way?

Edit: cuts inside and places shots ppm's for Theo could be a good idea too, cant remember what he starts with, but I know he doesn't have places shots. This should reduce some of the more wayward long shots.

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Really good changes for sure. I love how direct Poldi is but found him to be too 1-dimensional for my liking. One big thing, I would play Gundogan as a DLP/d, I'm fairly sure he has on of the 'gets forward' ppm's. Giving him a defensive role will mean he starts deeper then gets forward, meaning your CM/d wont be as isolated. To be honest though I think Alonso is one of the best DLP's in the game, if not the best, even two years in he could probably start most games for you.

Also try making Corchia attacking and Gibbs supporting, when the IF cuts in the wingback wont overcommit. Corchia also LOVES getting forward, he'll pop up in the box and get you a few goals if you let him, combine that with the generic setting of the W/s role Ox is playing and its a dream combo, one I still use. What training do you have Ox on by the way?

Edit: cuts inside and places shots ppm's for Theo could be a good idea too, cant remember what he starts with, but I know he doesn't have places shots. This should reduce some of the more wayward long shots.

Cheers! In general I agree - might have been the first time I used him up front, actually... Ok, cool, will do. I've got an awesome youngster, Paulinho, for that role too, so for now I've been trying Alonso in the defensive CM role with Paulinho as the DLP, as his tackling and stuff is shocking.

Cool, will do. He's being trained on passing with the PPM 'runs with ball down right' - I'm still not quite there with individual player training, definitely an area I need to improve on...

Sounds like a good idea, I'll check it out. Thanks!

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So, we've had a great start to the new season with the current tactic. Results as follows:

Reading 2-5 Arsenal

Arsenal 3-1 Montpellier

Arsenal 4-0 Stoke

Montpellier 2-2 Arsenal

West Brom 2-4 Arsenal

Conceding more goals than I'd like (switched the focus from teamwork to defensive positioning after WBA game) but the football we're playing has been excellent, with the team really gelled and cohesive. And proof of our great start lies in the awards...

SamDrew_NewsInbox.png

SamDrew_NewsInbox-2.png

SamDrew_NewsInbox-3.png

SamDrew_NewsInbox-4.png

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This has become a really good and informative thread. What type of goals are you conceding? Are they set pieces, open play etc?

Just to throw in another suggestion for your team, have you considered the defensive winger role for your RW? While the name suggests someone who likes to sit back and just stop the opposition fullback, I see the role more in the James Milner mould, hassling high up the pitch to win possession and still do all of the winger tasks too. Ox might be good at that, they do need high work rate though. I've used this role at Ajax and PSG with my right winger and they barrel in the goals/assists and do a lot of intercepting as well.

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This has become a really good and informative thread. What type of goals are you conceding? Are they set pieces, open play etc?

Just to throw in another suggestion for your team, have you considered the defensive winger role for your RW? While the name suggests someone who likes to sit back and just stop the opposition fullback, I see the role more in the James Milner mould, hassling high up the pitch to win possession and still do all of the winger tasks too. Ox might be good at that, they do need high work rate though. I've used this role at Ajax and PSG with my right winger and they barrel in the goals/assists and do a lot of intercepting as well.

Good to hear it! Last 50 I've conceded 29 placed, 12 powerful, 0 curved, 4 headers, 1 free kick and 3 penalties. Assists: 3 corners, 30 passes, 8 crosses and 1 mistake.

I've tried it in other saves without really knowing much about it - Ox has actually had a poor season so far as a W (S); he's the only one with an av. rating under 7. I'll try that out, thanks!

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Good to hear it! Last 50 I've conceded 29 placed, 12 powerful, 0 curved, 4 headers, 1 free kick and 3 penalties. Assists: 3 corners, 30 passes, 8 crosses and 1 mistake.

I've tried it in other saves without really knowing much about it - Ox has actually had a poor season so far as a W (S); he's the only one with an av. rating under 7. I'll try that out, thanks!

Thats a lot of open play goals from the total. Do you know what formation you concede most against? My thoughts are (and may be shot down by our tactical geniuses who have already taught me a lot about the ME etc) I always look to go man marking when my 2 centre halves come up against 2 forwards and zonal when i'm playing against a formation with 1 or 3 forwards etc as I think that works better logically.

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Thats a lot of open play goals from the total. Do you know what formation you concede most against? My thoughts are (and may be shot down by our tactical geniuses who have already taught me a lot about the ME etc) I always look to go man marking when my 2 centre halves come up against 2 forwards and zonal when i'm playing against a formation with 1 or 3 forwards etc as I think that works better logically.

Interesting point - I haven't checked, but I feel like I struggle against 4-4-2. It'd work against 4-4-2 as there'd be no players directly behind the strikers to run into space left by the strikers dragging their respective markers around - right?

I've played a few more games; lost my first of the season against FC Twente at home - 29 shots to 1, you know how it goes... Then obliterated United 5-0 at home. They edged the possession but we were just brilliant going forward. Exactly how I have been hoping we'd play against United. Also, Ox scored and was key in beating them as a DW (A), so thanks for the suggestion!

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Love the DW role, especially against the top teams, It doesn't take anything away from the attack either.

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Love the DW role, especially against the top teams, It doesn't take anything away from the attack either.

It really doesn't!

Going great guns in the league still - sadly lost my first (and second) games of the season. My first was Tottenham away... sigh. Second was Stoke, also away, and the emerging theme of my season is not playing so well in the big(ger) away games. Here's how I line up at the moment.

wl3o1j.png

In terms of transfers, it's just hit January and my budget was £45 million, but then the board asked if I want to increase expectations from 'title challenge' to 'win title'. My reward? £90 million to play with.

I was desperate to get in Blaszczykowski (no copy and paste for that, I'm proud) and after BVB wanted £40 million, I looked at Herrmann, but Monchengladbach also wanted way too much, so I'm looking for another industrious yet skilled right winger - I know Herrmann doesn't quite fit that, but I thought I could go for him anyway. Basically, someone like Blaszczykowski would be perfect.

I'm also looking at bringing in Samuel Umtiti - two young CBs are out on loan, and Sagna and Mertesacker are pretty slow options. I'm going to need a better DM than Kondogbia - his PA went down rapidly from 4.5 stars to 3 stars. Baffling, really, but I guess I'm just not a very good trainer. Anyway, Crisiteg looks good, and I can't find many better alternatives just yet sadly.

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Don't knock you training skill to early, the stars change relative to your squad not just training before your new signing he had the potential to be one of the best players at your club, the new signing could have a better PA so whilst Kondogdia still has the same PA it's just not rated has the best in the team

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Don't knock you training skill to early, the stars change relative to your squad not just training before your new signing he had the potential to be one of the best players at your club, the new signing could have a better PA so whilst Kondogdia still has the same PA it's just not rated has the best in the team

Cheers, but I've still not properly learnt how to train effectively. It's on my list, but for now I'm trying to master tactics.

Speaking of which, my next step in trying to become better at tactics is to step a little out of my comfort zone. My season with Arsenal finished disappointingly, losing the COC Final to United's second team, hardly putting up a fight, before being knocked out by Porto in the CL, and Villa in the FA Cup. City edged the league. Away form is the obvious cause of our poor finish, only losing once at home. However, it's time for another tactical journey, because I'd managed to build a solid tactic with the help of everyone on here.

New save: Wigan. Not going to make too many signings (I focused on staff, and only brought in Zambrotta, effectively pay-as-you-play). Again, I'm looking to improve tactically, so I'm going to be pragmatic. Here are my three tactics I have saved:

WiganAthletic_TacticsTeam-5.png

Standard 4-4-2 for games where I don't expect to dominate or be dominated. Thought processes:

Bog-standard back four because I'm not ready to experiment with partnerships like cover/stopper. Besides, I tried it once and ended up having one CB playing high up the pitch, and the other deep. Not what I wanted.

My more technical CB plays behind the DLP, so that he can feed him. AP on the left side so that he can link up with the more attacking winger - he'll be higher up the pitch, therefore in a better position to play the pass to him. Same sort of thing on the other side with the support winger and DLP.

AF and DLF partnership as that's what a blog advised me! Then W(A) and AF paired up for crosses, and W(S) and DLF for link-up play.

WiganAthletic_TacticsTeam-6.png

To be used rarely I suppose, as it's only for teams I'll expect to dominate. My favourite shape numerically: I get three CBs, so I'll rarely be at a disadvantage there. Effectively three CMs (although here I have a trequartista) so I can go up against three man midfields with confidence, and expect to dominate two man midfields. Strike partnership up top with the AMC linking play between midfield and up front. Wingers. My only problem with it is that it requires the wide players to give defensive and attacking width, so I'll need some wide players with good stamina, I think.

Thought processes:

BPD to bring the ball out of defence and give it to the DLP - having read about someone's Libero formation, I'm tempted by that for a similar effect, but I'm nowhere near that advanced in my tactics yet. Keeping it simple.

DLP on defend to reduce space between defence and midfield.

Defensive wingers to achieve wing-back like wide players, just giving me a bit more in attack than wing backs.

AF again, but this time a poacher, as a DLF would get in the way of a Treq dropping deep.

WiganAthletic_TacticsTeam-7.png

And then a tactic for the big teams by whom I expect to be dominated.

Thought processes:

A defensive 4-5-1 with an anchorman can be effective with dropping back into two banks of four with one spare man doing some defensive dirty work (the anchorman) or something like that.

Stand Off More so I don't get dragged out of shape and killed by a through ball - same for the Zonal Marking (applies throughout my tactics).

Now I used this in my first game of the season (as well as to beat Leverkusen 1-0 in a friendly), at home to Man United. Went well until 82 minutes, when Paul Scharner was put under pressure near his goal, tried to clear it but only found Cabaye on the edge of the box - I had no defenders marking Rooney and it was an easy tap-in. Should've gotten the 0-0, but a promising start.

Let me know what you guys think. Any constructive criticism much welcomed. Cheers.

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