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Pairs & Combinations FM2015 - UPDATED

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Although I am having a good 2nd season with Southampton, and still leading the league 28 games in, I feel that the team is not playing well, and from a 9-12 point margin at the top, it became 1.

This is the formation I am using, and you also see the team instructions on the side:

http://i43.tinypic.com/fv9vkl.png

I play rigid with a standard mentality.

I feel the team is a little vulnerable at the back, with deep balls findins players a lot behind the centre backs\full backs.

Creating chances has also suddenly became a problem.

Any advice?

  • Full Backs should be getting forward more, especially on right flank
  • Are you sure Schneiderlin is a BBM and Wanyama a MC(D)? To me they look better fits the other way round.
  • Having a cover duty when playing an offside trap is not generally a super idea, they drop back too much playing opponents onside.
  • You could play your 2 central midfielders deeper to offer defensive cover, sometimes this is a game by game decision.
  • You have no specialist roles, but a balanced philosophy - in general, you should either introduce specialist roles (BBM is a 0.5), or, change philosophy to be more fluid.
  • Short passing and a high tempo do not mix very well, not to say they don't work, but be wary, and change if your team are rushing and misplacing easy passes.
  • Hassle Opponents and Offside Trap work well with a high defensive line. Which in turn means being on a reasonably proactive mentality. You could use a BWM in central midfield to enhance this if you wanted. Purely optional, and in place of BBM. Just an idea.

Hope that helps, Yonko's advice is good too.

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  • Full Backs should be getting forward more, especially on right flank
  • Are you sure Schneiderlin is a BBM and Wanyama a MC(D)? To me they look better fits the other way round.
  • Having a cover duty when playing an offside trap is not generally a super idea, they drop back too much playing opponents onside.
  • You could play your 2 central midfielders deeper to offer defensive cover, sometimes this is a game by game decision.
  • You have no specialist roles, but a balanced philosophy - in general, you should either introduce specialist roles (BBM is a 0.5), or, change philosophy to be more fluid.
  • Short passing and a high tempo do not mix very well, not to say they don't work, but be wary, and change if your team are rushing and misplacing easy passes.
  • Hassle Opponents and Offside Trap work well with a high defensive line. Which in turn means being on a reasonably proactive mentality. You could use a BWM in central midfield to enhance this if you wanted. Purely optional, and in place of BBM. Just an idea.

Hope that helps, Yonko's advice is good too.

Those are some good advice.

I used to play both CD on defend, and will try this again. Wanyama used to be BWM, but than I changed him to CM (D). Will BWM & BBM (S) will not go together well?

Regarding the full backs, if you advice for them, and specially the right one to go further up, this means the IF duty should change?

Most important- regarding philosophy, teams instructions & specialist roles- how does that work?

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Well, just finished the 2nd season, and I won the title!

Last game was actually away to Chelsea, for the championship, after losing 0:2 at home to WBA the previous game. A draw would have been enough, and I did it! 1:1 with Chelsea equalizing on the 92 minute.

I dropped back my 2 MC to DM for this match and played counter.

the main reason I posted here, was because I had a good tactic which I felt did not perform as well as in the beginning. I am still not sure whether this purely because of instructions/tactic building, or also maybe because I have a young team (Ward-Prowse, Shaw, Clyne, Will Hughes, Barbosa who I brought back from loan for the 2nd part of the season, Ter Stegen).

Here are some screenshots:

Final league table- http://i40.tinypic.com/2mpkeiv.png

Fixtures: 1- http://i42.tinypic.com/m980vc.png 2- http://i44.tinypic.com/10e0a6q.png

you can see the difrrence between the 1st and 2nd part of the season.

Selection view of my squad- http://i40.tinypic.com/s263b7.png

In the end, it finished positively with the title. But still, I felt in consistent in most matches. If not the great start/1st part of the season, I would have finished 3-4 at best.

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Fantastic thread, and it has really helped me. Thanks OP!

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Those are some good advice.

I used to play both CD on defend, and will try this again. Wanyama used to be BWM, but than I changed him to CM (D). Will BWM & BBM (S) will not go together well?

Regarding the full backs, if you advice for them, and specially the right one to go further up, this means the IF duty should change?

Most important- regarding philosophy, teams instructions & specialist roles- how does that work?

No a BWM(S) & BBM do not go well together. The BWM pushes up the pitch to win the ball as opposed to sitting deep and protecting the defence. The BBM does not sit either. At least 1 of your central midfielders needs to sit and protect the defence.

Regarding full backs - the IF can stay as he is, and have a wing back or full back attack pushing ahead of him. The left sided full back can stay deeper than the winger ahead of him and offer an out-ball. Although I must doubt if Gaston Ramirez is really a good winger though.

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llama3, what's your take on changing roles according to who is available?

For example in my Leverkusen save we've got a lot of players that are pretty interchangeable. So, Emre Can can play at CD or CM or CDM, but in reality he's more of a DLP-D. But, I use an anchor man in front of my back line. So if I needed to pick him, I might change that anchor man to DLP-D to suit him playing there. Or another example, we have Rolfes, who is a regista. But I don't want to use one, so I often play him as a DLP or a AP. But, in my formation we generally keep a DM triangle of: Anchor-d + BWM-s + AP-A So I may change the BWM-s to DLP-s when Rolfes is picked. That seems reasonable right, to change the roles? As long as I'm not destroying the balance of my team at least.

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I agree with it fully. For instance i use Flamini sometimes as my most defensive central midfielder in an AM triangle. My first choice is Arteta, who suits a DLP(D) role & duty in that system, but Flamini is not playmaker, and he is obviously better as a purely defensive player as a destroyer/shield, so I play him as a BWM(D) when he plays the defensive role - as a result I play Arteta/Ramsey/Wilshere at MC as a DLP(S) as partner. My balance is still good, but I have adapted my team to my player's strengths.

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Right, makes sense. I think it's pointless to try and fit everyone into one tiny box. You've got to be able to adapt. Although I can understand where in some systems the roles are critical to the shape/movement of the team. But I think you can definitely tweak like, if I'm using an anchor in front of the defense, changing that to DLP-D isn't *too* much different than using the anchor role in this context.

I think we see this from managers IRL, too. Mourinho for example would use Lampard to get into the box one game, and perhaps in other, maybe away to Man United, Lampard would be protecting the back 4 in a different role, etc. etc.

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Absolutely, sometimes you need to change position, other times change personnel to get on top of a game.

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Also llama3 I was checking out your "fm team and tactics guide" that you wrote in july of 2012, and it's brilliant. However the one thing that seemed to be missing was there was no mention of team mentality overall in the descriptions.

For example I was reading your take on Mourinho, which I felt was very accurate. But there's no mention of an overall mentality, like at Chelsea I would think Mourinho was pretty attacking, right? I wasn't a big football fan during his first spell there unfortunately so I didn't get to see him in action but I have seen plenty of clips.

The other thing I noticed was that you've got full backs most of the time set to "automatic." This is something I used to use exclusively in FM12 and FM13 but for this version I've recognized the positive effect of 1 on support and 1 on attack, which gives great balance to the side. What was your thought process in regards to using "auto" with the fullbacks, and sometimes having both advanced wingers on attack? Surely if say, Chelsea played with an attacking mentality, then using as a combo FB-A and IF-A would be dangerous as it leave them exposed on that flank, right? Because automatic is tied to the mentality so, attacking mentality means auto = attack. Or am I missing something?

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I felt Mourinho was very counter-attacking orientated to be honest. But mentality changes between situations a lot. I have to say I have a massive preference for defining the duty now, automatics never happen for me anymore.

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That probably makes more sense as he always preached defending first, being solid at the back.

So you're saying basically because the mentality changes frequently, it would be unwise to just label teams as one thing?

And I agree about automatics. I don't use them anymore either.

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I wouldn't say "unwise", as I think certain teams tend to adopt certain mentalities more frequently than others. Arsenal are generally a "control" type team, but are capable of counter-attacking quite easily.

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Maybe the counter/control strategy's aren't as far away from each other as popular belief seems to think they are. Both will be quite patient in the buildup, until an opportunity arises, the only real difference is the place on the pitch where they will be executed from, imo.

Edit, congrats by the way. Your thread seems to be one of two most referenced to, and not only in this forum. ;)

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I think Steve Odom is on to something important about counter v control.

For example in FM13 I used Control almost exclusively and the biggest thing that always made me scratch my head was the default tempo was still quite high. But through watching games you'd notice the buildup play from the back was rather cautious, and the play from the IF's/W's/etc was quite direct in terms of passing/tempo.

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I think Steve Odom is on to something important about counter v control.

For example in FM13 I used Control almost exclusively and the biggest thing that always made me scratch my head was the default tempo was still quite high. But through watching games you'd notice the buildup play from the back was rather cautious, and the play from the IF's/W's/etc was quite direct in terms of passing/tempo.

Of course I am, I'm always onto something important. Whether I'm always right is another question though. :D It is all about distribution and gameplan. The one thing counter and control have in common is the fact they are both a little more cautious than their more attacking equivalent which are standard or attack. That's why they both are a good choice when trying to counterattack the opposition.

Counter relies on being a frustration to the opposition who's trying to score. You stand off, be patient and defend until an opportunity arises to make a break.

Control does the same, but by keeping the ball and passing around while waiting until the opposition makes a marking mistake to do the same.

To me it all comes down to where you want your break to occur. If your team is pacey and good at defending, the counter option would be the best choice, imo. If on the other hand, you have the best team overall, but lack any chance of 'breaking' the opposition directly, the control option could give you the chance of being smart about attacking.

The attacking option would do the same in ME terms as the control option, but with little patience, which in turn could cause your team to 'collapse' under their own pressure.

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llama3,

Something I've always struggled with is balancing out the duties while maintaining that movement between the lines that we know is so important. So for example in the 12 step guide we see that it is important to have at least one attack duty in defense, one in midfield, etc. etc. My first question is, how do you feel about stacking two attack duties on top of each other like.. WB-A + IF-A ? Doesn't that leave a team really vulnerable on that flank?

Second: I've seen many created tactics that do not blend the duties so for example they'll have both fullbacks on support, both CD's on defend and no attacking duties in defense, yet they'll be wildly successful. There is a Jurgen Klopp tactic on another forum that does this, AND it includes 2 defensive duties at the base of a 4-2-3-1 yet it gets incredible results.

Third: The key to getting the roles/duties right is going to really come down to space, and the ability of the players to fit that role, right? So like.. If I've got (AML + AMR + STC) I need to think in terms of, what is my STC doing, what space is he in, how can my AML/AMR link up with him, what space do they need, and how can we put it all together?

So as an example you might do.... STC ( CF - S ) + AML ( IF - A ) + AMR ( IF - S ) In this case the STC drops deep, the AML drives into space in the box, and the AMR tucks inside for an overlapping wingback to take advantage of. This is usually how I think when I'm setting tactics up, seems like the right idea yeah? Or perhaps in that set up the AMR should also be on attack?

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1 - It depends is the answer, but the right type of duties can cause overloads (e.g. IF(A) & WB(A) can overload the flank) - but that will be very dependent on having a Defend duty in midfield on that side to cover. For example a 4-2-3-1 can have a very defensive midfield pair to cover for a very offensive pair on the flanks - the defensive mids can offer wide cover when you are caught on the break. So, yes it does leave you more vulnerable, but it can cause overloads further up the pitch.

2 - Yeah sometimes they do work, normally shortfalls are made up elsewhere though. The defensive pair in midfield still may offer some through-balls by way of a DLP, and the advanced midfielders do more tracking and running. It may simply suit the team and the approach, and if it works then super.

3 - Yes, consider where the players move, specifically where the advanced movement comes to score goals, and where the defensive movement comes in. You can set up a symmetrical system, as IF(A)-CF(S)-IF(A) is a typical Barcelona/Ajax 4-3-3. It is a superb mix of duties.

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llama3, in your guide you talk about the 'AMC Triangle', specifically looking at the link between the MC's and the AMC. And in the strikers section you talk about the Creator/Scorer, notionally an AMC/FC combo. But what of the AMC/FC/FC, the 'AMC Striker Triangle'?

===FC-FC===

====AMC====

===MC-MC===

Here you have a strike partnership with a creator behind, how would you link that up effectively? And would you build the 'Eggtimer' from the base(MC's) or from the top(FC's)? Setting the MC roles first, link the AMC to them, and then link the FC roles on top, or the other way round?

I am thinking about this from a 3-5-2 persepctive, but this also applies to the people who like to play a narrow diamond, then you end up with 3 triangles as the 'DMC Triangle' comes in too!

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1 - It depends is the answer, but the right type of duties can cause overloads (e.g. IF(A) & WB(A) can overload the flank) - but that will be very dependent on having a Defend duty in midfield on that side to cover. For example a 4-2-3-1 can have a very defensive midfield pair to cover for a very offensive pair on the flanks - the defensive mids can offer wide cover when you are caught on the break. So, yes it does leave you more vulnerable, but it can cause overloads further up the pitch.

2 - Yeah sometimes they do work, normally shortfalls are made up elsewhere though. The defensive pair in midfield still may offer some through-balls by way of a DLP, and the advanced midfielders do more tracking and running. It may simply suit the team and the approach, and if it works then super.

3 - Yes, consider where the players move, specifically where the advanced movement comes to score goals, and where the defensive movement comes in. You can set up a symmetrical system, as IF(A)-CF(S)-IF(A) is a typical Barcelona/Ajax 4-3-3. It is a superb mix of duties.

I have in fact used the IF-A CF-S IF-A and it's definitely potent, no doubt. The issue is making sure my wingbacks are providing enough width, overlap, and defensive cover.

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One of the most useful threads I have ever read in this forum. Great for people like me who aren't great at tactics. I usually have a base tactic and rely on good players to win matches, so this will (hopefully) allow me to have a good base tactic to go with.

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llama3, in your guide you talk about the 'AMC Triangle', specifically looking at the link between the MC's and the AMC. And in the strikers section you talk about the Creator/Scorer, notionally an AMC/FC combo. But what of the AMC/FC/FC, the 'AMC Striker Triangle'?

===FC-FC===

====AMC====

===MC-MC===

Here you have a strike partnership with a creator behind, how would you link that up effectively? And would you build the 'Eggtimer' from the base(MC's) or from the top(FC's)? Setting the MC roles first, link the AMC to them, and then link the FC roles on top, or the other way round?

I am thinking about this from a 3-5-2 persepctive, but this also applies to the people who like to play a narrow diamond, then you end up with 3 triangles as the 'DMC Triangle' comes in too!

I tend to build the system from the back, making sure I have defensive cover and shape in first, however - quite simply I need to look at all of the system and players. The play tends to funnel through AMC in this system, so I tend to make sure it is a playmaker, and I prefer the Trequartista to an Enganche due to lateral movement. I like to make sure I get some forward runs from the pair behind (BBM or BWM(S) as they provide good defensive cover and late surges forward). However quite simply if my best AMC or AMCs are excellent Shadow Strikers, then I may go for that route, and ask the forwards to provide the creativity instead.

A very long way of saying, it depends, but generally a Playmaker suits being in that kind of system. Regardless of all the midfielders and triangles, you need forward runs, width, defensive shape and cover.

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llama3,

something that has always been burning in my mind is the 4-2-3-1 deep. We saw Mourinho use this against United in the beginning of the premier league season, at old trafford. I believe it was Oscar deployed as the AMC with Lampard / Ramires deep. (it may not have been ramires, I forget.) What type of roles would give a team proper defensive cover + forward runs knowing that the AMC is spread out away from his two DM teammates? My initial guess would be that you would want to continue to spread the duties so maybe like: Anchor-D + DLP-S + AM-A ?

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The fundamental issue is the players not being close together in the DM-DM-AM triangle. So you need to make up for this by:

  • Making sure someone gets forward from the DM positions to link up
  • Make sure the AMC can drop back to recieve and link
  • Make sure your passing is more direct (that can simply be selecting an individual player role that is more likely to play in such a fashion, like a DLP)
  • Your wing back's getting forward lots is a good way of offering outlets and link ups too

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Reading the descriptions in-game... a Centre Midfielder is one who has the technical ability to be awesome but lacks the stamina, vision or drive to do all three D/S/A duties in one go.

Does that mean then that the box-to-box midfielder is effectively a 'Centre Midfielder that can do all roles at once"? So the 'ideal' in theory for a two-man midfield, is a holding midfielder with a box-to-box engine? I've not really had much joy with a B2B midfielder so it's probably not likely...

Also, would a Midfield pairing of say, a CM-D with a CM-A be of use if a wide-midfielder was assigned to defend instead? Seems unlikely, seems like the more versatility on the fly is available by having a three man middle.

-Am attempting to refine my flat 4-4-2 btw.-

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Your could play a attacking central midfield, but you need to make sure there is defensive cover offered elsewhere. A support duty wide will help for sure. I prefer a box to box midfielder as they do all of the above - defending, transitioning & attacking, and can be adapted to play differently (dribbling more, roaming more etc), so can suit individual players very well. Of course, where you play more conservatively on the flanks, make sure the full back behind is overlapping.

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llama3,

Great thread. Thanks for putting it together.

I've applied your tactic to an Arsenal save.

When I'm playing away to weaker opponents (West Brom, Aston Villa, Southampton), I am using the Control Mentality with "Push Higher Up", "Hassle Opponents", and "Use Offside Trap" (+ the various other settings in your example), I'm seeing a few common trends causing me to lose games.

1. My opposition scores via through-balls (either over the top from GK/Defenders or on the ground from Midfielders)

2. My opposition scores via crosses from the byline/touch line after a slow dribble despite 1-2 defenders tightly pressing at the time of the cross as well as defenders in the box.

Also, I'm not finding that switching to a Counter Mentality, moving the CMs to DMs and replacing "Use Offside Trap", "Push Higher Up" "Hassle Opponents" and "Play Out Of Defense" with "Drop Deeper" and "Stay On Feet" is resulting in less goals nor am I see much in the way of Counter Attacking chances.

Did you see these issues as well and if so, how did you deal with them?

Lastly, I rarely fashion through-ball chances to Walcott or Podolski when playing them at the AF position despite their speed and acceleration. Why do you suppose that's the case?

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1. My opposition scores via through-balls (either over the top from GK/Defenders or on the ground from Midfielders)

2. My opposition scores via crosses from the byline/touch line after a slow dribble despite 1-2 defenders tightly pressing at the time of the cross as well as defenders in the box.

^

This

Although that with my last tactic, point number 1 has incredibly reduced. But now all goals we concede seem to be coming from the byline. And believe me, i don't lack any type of support on the wings, it just seems that the opposition winger goes past the men marking him very easly and then just puts a wonderfull cross that eventually leads to goal. I've used get stuck in, i've not used get stuck in, i've given OI's to make hard tackles i've not gave OI's to make hard tackles (and i've fairly good fullbacks). Someone has a way to deal with this?

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Columnarius - this whole thread wasn't posted for people to copy the tactic's. They are not always perfect. The skill on FM14 is adapting tactics better to individual situations and games. Not simply applying a plug and play tactic and watching for it to work. For the record:

1) You should be more cautious in away games anyway, perhaps approach with a counter/standard mentality instead, don't press as high, especially if your opponents play quick outlets up front and wide.

2) Showing the defenders inside, and getting your wide-men to track back can help.

3) Podolski was my top scorer in first season as an AF(A) in that exact system.

4) Like I said, it was my ability to adapt during a game that earned me many of my wins and points, not just a good base system.

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Thanks - understand and agree about the purpose. I felt I could apply the learnings best by minimizing differences with your example.

Reading some additional posts on the subject, it seems my challenge with through-balls by the opposition might come squarely back to the concept of midfield pairs that you outlined.

I guess it may not be obvious (it wasn't to me for quite some time) that when we talk about a midfielder breaking up play, we don't mean a midfielder closing down relentlessly and tackling the ball away, we mean interceptions or we mean standing in the way to slow down a dribbling attacker. Is that a fair description?

If one of the pair isn't well positioned to do so, especially on the side of the field where you are pushing up a fullback, then the team is compromised defensively, yes?

With respect to the three man midfield, what are your thoughts on pros and cons of using all three strata as follows?:

AM

CM

DM

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So, if I understood well, instructions regarding tempo and width are not affected when I choose passing instruction. In previous version shorter passing meant that my tempo is lower and width narrower and direct that my tempo is quicker and width wider. I have to do this manually?

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I believe retain possession will reduce tempo and route one will increase it. But shouting shorter passing or more direct changes passing directness and nothing else unless i'm mistaken?

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I have 3 questions:

1. You said that Ozil is support player, and of course you set him as PLM support. I thought that he is PLM attacking becouse he is such good dribbler, so quick and .... also Giroud is not the fastest player in the world to play advanced forward. So I thought that it is better option to play PLM (a) and DLF (s). Of course that you are right so my question is how and whay you set them as you set.

2. If you set your team as balanced style do you have problems on you right side becouse it is big gap between you full back and winger (a)?

3. Lets say if you set PLM (a) and DLF(s), would you chage other roles in AM strata or MC strata?

Thanks

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So, if I understood well, instructions regarding tempo and width are not affected when I choose passing instruction. In previous version shorter passing meant that my tempo is lower and width narrower and direct that my tempo is quicker and width wider. I have to do this manually?
I believe retain possession will reduce tempo and route one will increase it. But shouting shorter passing or more direct changes passing directness and nothing else unless i'm mistaken?

Changing passing styles will still alter width like it used to if I recall, however you can manually alter to enhance or reduce width or tempo anyway.

I have 3 questions:

1. You said that Ozil is support player, and of course you set him as PLM support. I thought that he is PLM attacking becouse he is such good dribbler, so quick and .... also Giroud is not the fastest player in the world to play advanced forward. So I thought that it is better option to play PLM (a) and DLF (s). Of course that you are right so my question is how and whay you set them as you set.

2. If you set your team as balanced style do you have problems on you right side becouse it is big gap between you full back and winger (a)?

3. Lets say if you set PLM (a) and DLF(s), would you chage other roles in AM strata or MC strata?

1 - yes I set him as a support player, yes in spite of his great dribbling - I prefered him to focus on his excellent passing and through-balls, he can still dribble with it though, just not as often. I felt it suited the balance of the team more. Consequently Giroud was left to lead the line, as with Ramsey coming from deep, and Cazorla from wide left I did not want to cause further congestion in midfield.

2 - not really, the MRC links play there, and both my options at right back "get forward whenever possible", so there will be link-ups. They don't link up in the way that the left flank does, no, but they offer more defensive stability with it.

3 - depends on precisely what I was changing what to - if it was a Trequartista, i know he will roam around, but an Enganche will stay still, so the gaps the Treq normally roams into, now need to be covered elsewhere - generally speaking the AML or STC will be the most likely that have to adapt. As they play the roles that offer most movement.

Thanks

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Columnarius - this whole thread wasn't posted for people to copy the tactic's. They are not always perfect. The skill on FM14 is adapting tactics better to individual situations and games. Not simply applying a plug and play tactic and watching for it to work. For the record:

1) You should be more cautious in away games anyway, perhaps approach with a counter/standard mentality instead, don't press as high, especially if your opponents play quick outlets up front and wide.

2) Showing the defenders inside, and getting your wide-men to track back can help.

3) Podolski was my top scorer in first season as an AF(A) in that exact system.

4) Like I said, it was my ability to adapt during a game that earned me many of my wins and points, not just a good base system.

Two things: Would you still play cautiously away and how do show defenders on the inside?

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Spelling error - on the defenders inside, i mean show the wingers inside. Yes I do play more cautiously away.

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Spelling error - on the defenders inside, i mean show the wingers inside. Yes I do play more cautiously away.

Sorry next stupid question: To get wide men to track back would you get your wide men to mark the opposition wide men?

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Yes, or select in defensive winger/wide midfield roles or support duties

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This is truly a great thread and has opened my eyes to the the world of the TC like no other I have read on any forum anywhere. Congratulations and thank you.

The one thing I would appreciate advice on is how to use the mentality ladder. In previous versions I have always used the sliders and the match odds to determine the mentality to start with ranging from defensive to attack depending on how clear a favourite or underdog I am and whether I am home or away. The op seems to be that in the main counter or control are considered as starting mentalities. I would be very interested on any insights into how starting mentalities are decided upon by users and the shouts that accompany the decision on the starting mentality. I am having plenty of success with a 4231 and 42dms31 and even the good old 442 when required. Playing Liverpool and have always liked a fluid tactic thus only tend to have 2 specialist roles which is a dlp and ap or regista depending on players available and tactics being used. Anyway any insight on what factors decide starting mentalities and shouts would be very welcome. Brilliant op and has helped my tactical understanding

hugely.

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I find that certain mentalities suit certain styles of play too - I may for example be overwhelming favourites for a match, but often still start on no more than a Control style, as Attacking would be too direct for my side. Generally I choose Counter-Standard-Control on about 95% of occasions, and especially when starting a game. More direct tactics suit a more direct or extreme style generally (Attacking or Defending).

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*snip*

If you wish to play with the advanced wide-man coming infield, then the following combinations will be useful:

  • Full Back (Attack)/Wing Back (Support/Attack) & Inside Forward/Advanced Playmaker (Support/Attack)
  • Complete Wing Back (Attack) & Inside Forward/Advanced Playmaker (Support)

The first combination will be for the full back to advance from deep into space vacated by the IF/AP. If you are playing a wing back, you may have much better movement and defensive cover by ensuring the WB & IF/AP have opposite duties (Support-Attack or Attack-Support). If the IF or AP has a support duty, they will tend to tuck inside earlier on, in a deeper position, so it is important the FB/WB offers an outlet earlier on in the move. The second combination enhances the importance of this, as the CWB will need cover from midfield & the man in front to provide tracking back, should he be caught out of position. The CWB will tend to get into the final third early, and an angled reverse ball into the path of an IF/AP(S) can allow him the space to make more penetrating runs. If your IF is on an Attack duty he will tend to be playing more as a goalscorer, so wide support is generally required from the full back, although this burden can be eased by a centre-forward or playmaker drifting wide to offer an outlet.

*snip*

Hey llama3,

With regards to the wide player option bolded above, won't playing a Wing-Back on Support and Inside-Forward on Attack cause you to be really open on the flanks since both of those players get forward often?

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If you play an IF(A) - he will come central, so your WB must get forward to offer that width. The lack of cover/the space exposed behind is the risk you take with that set up.

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Fair enough. Any chance you will be doing a guide on how to set up common playing styles i.e. Possession Style, Counter etc. like the ones in the Team and Tactics Guide?

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Possible, also have another very large project in mind, which I have not yet approached or decided to do it yet.

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Playing with Liverpool I tried to revert back to 4-2-3-1 (my favorite formation for sure) and follow your general guidelines.

Playing like this -

GK

FB(S) CD(D) BPD(D) WB(A)

BBM(S) CM(D)

W(A) AP(S) IF(S)

AF(A)

Like many I'm conceding a lot of chances to balls played into space behind my defence, either long balls from the back (especially deadly if they're nodded on by some tall player), or through balls from midfield.

I suspect that using Hassle Oppononents (which I haven't so far), will help with the latter as my players will press those midfielders and not allow them the time to make those passes, but no idea if it solves the former.

But that problem is minor next to my attacking woes - I'm not creating chances for Suarez(AP\A) or, indeed, for anyone.

I'm absolutely dominating possession which is a huge improvement over my previous tactic - I'm at 60-70% possession quite often in a match against a weaker team, even away, but doing very little with it.

When I'm saying I'm not creating CCCs, I mean I can go 90 to 180 consecutive mins without a single CCC, and barely noticing Suarez who seems completely uninvolved and during matches is pretty consistently my lowest rated player, with a below-average 6.3 or something.

In my last match, Suarez has completed a grand total of 14 passes (out of an attempted 24 - a rate of 58%).

Coutinho and Sterling, playing on the left and right respectively, weren't much better off in this regard - they attempted 24 and 25 passes, and had a completion rate of around 65%. Neither of them made a single key pass and we scored 2 goals - which should give you an idea of where my goals are coming from at the moment, set pieces and dumb luck.

I don't know why but I just have a nonfunctional attack right now, with no penetration, creativity, movement or anything really. I'm creating half chances at best, when one of these players beats a defender and takes a futile shot from a tight angle or something.

I don't think it's morale either, it's not amazing but it's not poor either seeing as I'm not on a terrible run or anything and have been grinding some draws thanks to set pieces mostly.

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I've been spending hours reloading the same save game making different changes to my tactic every time just for the sake of trying to understand things, and this match at Stoke, which I must have played about 7 or 8 times now, has played out relatively the same every time - the only difference that I could see was not coneding a chance from a through ball roughly every 10 to 15 mins when I lowered my D-line and pressing.

My attacking "efforts" remained largely the same, whether I played control or counter, balanced or fluid, more expressive or not, with this individual instruction or that.

I can't create a single CCC from open play regardless of any of the above, and Suarez is absolutely hopeless no matter what role or instructions I give him. Actually watching about 10mins of full match, all he does is lose the ball a second after he gets it, every single time. For a player with such great technique, dribbling etc, he is absolutely hopeless at keeping the ball or dribbling with it.

Watching full highlights opened my eyes as to just how bad my team is playing.

I can't even put my finger on what is wrong, it just feels when I'm going forward like I'm playing with 7 or 8 men, my players never seem to have an option and no one is making any runs.

I have 70% possession and all my players do with it is passing backwards or diagonally ad infinitum until inevitably someone makes a bad pass or the first touch bug introduced in the latest patch kicks in.

I'm going to take a break from this game at least until I get some good advice to apply, I'm getting nothing but frustration out of it right now.

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