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By jove, I think I've cracked it!

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So after much reading around these forums and lots of testing with rubbish teams attempting various challenges I finally attempted a game with a decent team and chose Newcastle (being a lifetime supporter it's strange I hadn't started a game with them before now but there we go). I wanted to play something a bit different to the standard 433/4231 fare and decided upon 343.

I quickly realised that a flat 343 with 3 narrow forwards is going to ask for a lot of trouble in the prem vs an abundance of 5 man midfields, so I settled on a formation with wingbacks, AMLR and one striker. The thinking being the midfield is now effectively 6 men (2 wbs, 2cms, 2ams) and if I play down both flanks as a default I'm playing to my strengths.

The individual roles have been tinkered a lot through my first season, I initially had both WBs on attack, a DLPs, CMa, two IFa and an AFa. The first things to change was the DLP to defend to bring him in front of the defence (almost as a DM to add a bit of cover) and the CM to support to stop him marauding too far forward and losing shape. The WBs then came back to support roles so they're not quite so marauding (although as Santon and Debuchy both have either get forward a lot or get into opposition area it's not a huge difference!). The striker was then horribly isolated so he came back to a CFs to get him involved in the play a bit more. The final move was to return the CMs to a CMa so I had more attacking options.

In terms of strategy, I've gone with a balanced counter. I started with control because the board wanted attacking football, but halfway through the season it seemd the AI had "cracked" the formation so after a bit more reading I went with counter to slow things down. I like short passing with technical teams, it's how the game should be played and I feel it produces better opportunities. I intially had pressing on high but players were all over the place and with lower numbers in the centre of the park I had to tone it down. Zonal marking and drill crosses are almost a standard for me.

So after all of that, the formation looks something like this:


I also have a more defensive variety where the DLPd is dropped back to be a DM (which somehow helped me go from a 5-0 thrashing by Man City to winning the Cup Final against them 2-1 after extra time)

For shouts I have 3 pre-made: keep ball (pass to feet, retain possession), win ball (push higher, hassle, get stuck in) and through balls (pass into space, work ball into box).

In terms of results and success it's been amazing: in the first season I won the FA Cup, came runners up in the Euro Cup (3 days after the FA Cup final went to extra time), finished 4th in the league (beating Man Utd into 5th on the final day :D) and the quarters of the league cup. A mammoth 65 game season and the formation survived it from start to finish.

Just a quick thanks to all the guys on here who've written so much helpful stuff - wwfan, cleon, rtherringbone (your flat 433 was my inspiration to make a 343 work), jllo (for the amazing to incompetent thread which appeared at just the right time) and anyone else who's written a thread on their successful tactic.

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Glad to see successful 3-4-3. I'm currently playing lower league football without any hope of moving upwards I might try some experiments with back three again. Been digging a lot lately on Martinez 3-4-3 but best way is to check out the matches. Since this summer will be ugly I might even get all Wigan's games for entertainment. If Bielsa can build a library I could also :D

Focusing on both flanks, have you noticed much bigger difference compared to the Mixed focus? Haven't tried that option for a very long time. Occasionally I'm using that shout for bad weather but with bad players I haven't noticed anything since only way to get a ball over to the opposition is when GK lumps it hehe

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It's a strange one, I would have said from the highlights I watched that a lot of my play goes GK->BPD->WB/AMR and I thought I had a lot of goals come from this, but this graphic would suggest otherwise


A few passing diagrams from the season. They all seem to have gaps down the centre of the pitch with the passing spread out to the sides so it seems to be working. I never really dominated possession, these three games were 52/58/52%.




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I had a successful game with Newscastle, but haven't had one with anyone else... too hard in the lower leagues

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