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jujigatame

My first plea for FM14 help

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I'm in my 2nd season with Arsenal and ever since version 14.2 my team has just been a disaster, dropping points all over the place and sitting 7th in the league. I felt like I had a good handle on the ME with version 14.1.4 but now I seem to be banging my head against the wall. Away form is particularly atrocious, even if I win the possession and shots on target numbers I end up bottling the few chances I create and then it turns into a set piece battle. A good example was my 3-0 loss at Cardiff where I missed my 2 CCCs and gave up 2 corner goals and 1 goal on the counter-attack. In some games (especially away) it seems like something is amiss across the board. Passes are misplaced or just plain misadvised, touches are heavy, etc.

Here is my setup:

4-2-3-1, Control, Very Fluid (I will dial down to fluid if I have too many first teamers out, and I will go to standard or attacking depending on strength of opposition)

STC - TM/S (Giroud)

AMC - TQ (Cazorla or Wilshere)

MCs - DLP/S + AP/S (some combination of Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain)

CDs are set to defend. I've played around with a lot of combinations of AML/AMR and DL/DR (depending on available players) but generally I try to keep 1 support and 1 attack on each side of the field. So a W/A will get paired with a FB/S and an IF/S will get paired with a FB/A.

Only team instruction is retain possession. I used to play with hassle opponents but I felt like it was leading to me getting killed by teams with quick attackers so I dropped it.

My only player instruction is for the GK to distribute to defenders.

I feel like maybe my general mentality/strategy is confused? I've read that counter-attacking got a lot stronger in 14.2 so maybe I should be dropping deeper? I wanted to play very fluid to maximize creative freedom and get everyone contributing to build-up, but maybe it's having unintended effects?

Also I've left default set piece instructions on. I don't know if I have the wherewithal to set them specially for every game but if there are any general tips I could use here, I'm all ears.

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First up 4231 is difficult to get right, so too can be very fluid. But, dont worry too much, you'll get it working.

I'd be very wary of starting with attacking, even against weak opposition. It pushed your chaps up, plays very fast and can contribute towards some very rushed and awkward play (not really traditional Arsenal stuff and it sounds like you'd rather play 'prettier' football).

AP is a curious role for one of your 2 midfielders. Given that there is a guy sat right in the spot your AP wants (and that guy is your most creative role) where do you reckon he should be making his plays? I'd consider using Arteta as your DLP (possibly Wilshere or at a push Ramsey) and any of the other three as a B2B or a CM. I quite like a DLP/s paired with a defensive role but you dont have the players to do it really well. You still may want to consider limiting DLP to def as your other midfielder will have more movement and getting caught with both midfielders too advanced is deadly, they need to do a decent and responsible defensive job.

Yeah, counter is always far better than a lot of people give it credit for. The lower mentality structure, deeper formational position and slightly more expressive passing length with smart players is a fantastic combo. With a bit of tweaking it can produce some really clever and intricate stuff with the right players.

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I'm afraid I can't post a screenshot, but if you need more description I can provide it.

Arteta is always the DLP if he's in the game. If not then I use Ramsey as the DLP, and then Wilshere as 3rd choice for that role. What do you think about pairing 2 DLPs?

Part of my problem is that Ozil, Podolski, and newly purchased AML Viktor Fischer are all on long-term injury.

I had always assumed that attacking + very fluid + retain possession was the closest thing to Arsenal's real-life style of play, but maybe I should start using counter more. I see a lot of people on the feedback thread saying that set pieces and counter-attacking are overpowered and leading a lot of mid-table teams to overachieve in their saves.

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Balanced + Counter/Control depending on the situation is the closest thing to Arsenal's real-life play. Retain Possession is not needed as Wenger does not obsess over this, especially this season. The only shouts you may need are Short Passing/Roam From Position and maybe Play Out of Defence. You may not even need to set those depending on your player instructions as well.

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I'm afraid I can't post a screenshot, but if you need more description I can provide it.

Arteta is always the DLP if he's in the game. If not then I use Ramsey as the DLP, and then Wilshere as 3rd choice for that role. What do you think about pairing 2 DLPs?

Part of my problem is that Ozil, Podolski, and newly purchased AML Viktor Fischer are all on long-term injury.

I had always assumed that attacking + very fluid + retain possession was the closest thing to Arsenal's real-life style of play, but maybe I should start using counter more. I see a lot of people on the feedback thread saying that set pieces and counter-attacking are overpowered and leading a lot of mid-table teams to overachieve in their saves.

Arsenal's fast play gives out the impression that they play attacking football, the swiftness actually comes when they retrieve the ball deeper and they counter at a high pace, especially exploiting Walcotts pace, against park the bus teams they tend to probe more working teams across the pitch moving them about. Counter is perfect for this. Arsenal have excellent deep playmakers for the strategy and the pace on the sides.

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Ok, I will try transitioning to a balanced/counter system and see how it goes.

Just curious, if Arsenal is best suited to a counter system, what clubs (and under what circumstances) would make sense to use control/attacking?

Also, if I'm moving towards a counter based system with a deeper line, would it make sense to turn "hassle opponents" back on?

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That guide makes it look like I should be playing an attacking style. I have lots of players with very good creativity, technique, passing, and dribbling.

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Wow, all I did was remove the "retain possession" instruction, go to balanced fluidity, and start playing a little more conservatively (mostly playing standard mentality now) and suddenly I am killing teams. Six straight wins, most by multiple goals including a 5-0 win at Villa Park.

Thanks for the help, gents.

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