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4-5-1 / 4-3-3 Crewe: Problems with Striker


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Hello all. It’s been a while since I last posted on the Tactics forum but I do lurk pretty often, silently gathering whatever information I can to improve. However I have come across a bit of an issue, and it’s one that looking back I’ve always had. I am a bit stumped on how to get a lone striker with no AM support to score goals on a regular basis. This is probably due to my desire that I want my striker to do everything in an attacking sense, dropping deep and having options to either play the ball through to an inside forward, turning and running himself, but also as an option running beyond the last defender in the style of an Advanced Forward.

So below is my current team and the roles, duties and shouts I start off with.

b96SL1J.jpg

The Player Instructions: Both wingers set to tightly mark to help with tracking back. AML sits narrower so he starts off closer to goal, AMR roams from position to try and get him to cut inside but in front of the defence before firing off either a shot on goal or a through ball. The GK is also set to pass shorter and distribute to defenders after watching how often he hoofed the ball long, gifting the opposition possession and inviting pressure back upon us.

The plan that I want to have is that from the back, everything is neat and tidy. Keep the ball on the deck and move the ball forward in a calm manner. I want both full backs to get forward, with the personnel that I have, I favour the right side over the left for the attack duty. The AMR is probably the less direct out of the 2 wingers and looks to naturally come inside more so this has also influenced my decision. This in turn influences my decision on which way around my 2 central midifelders are positioned. Since I have the more attacking wingback on the right, I play the DLP on that side, just as a little extra cover.

The plan I have for the 3 midfielders is the Anchor Man is there as a water carrier, passing the ball on to more creative players. Defensively he is there for covering and dealing with midfield runners, or with AMC’s if I am faced against them. The DLP is there to play a Xavi style role, taking the ball from a pass from one of the back 4 or Anchor Man and then moving the ball along either out wide, to the AP or even to the striker. I don’t intend on having him as a scoring midfielder and my first choice player in this spot has dictates tempo as a PPM, which I feel adds to the DLP role I want. The AP is my clear link from midfield to the front 3. Chuks Aneke is my first choice for this position and has good technical attributes at this level for the style I want but lacks some mentals. I want him to be feeding the front 3 with as many through balls as possible, whilst still giving him the option to take advantage of his good long shot attribute by letting him shoot from range.

The front 3 is where I am not really sure what I want to do, the players that I have to play on the left are better goal scoring options than on the right and since I want somebody to put the ball in the back of the net, I have the AML as an IF with the AMR playing a more creative role. I’ve already outlined above what I want from my striker, somebody who can score and assist. However the striker I have is Max Clayton. He’s got plenty of potential and I very much want to keep hold of him, I busted my wage budget just to stop him from leaving at the end of the season, but I am quite unsure how to properly make the most of him whilst still fitting into this jigsaw. In 14 games he’s scored just 3 and assisted 4, which is a worry. I started him off as a F9 and quickly realised he wasn’t doing what I wanted, so I’ve tried a DLF on both Support and Attack duties to see if that does the trick and so far I’m just not getting the end product. It’s not like he’s missing sitters either, he’s not even getting into many positions to start missing them.

So I ask the great tactical minds here, what do you think I’m doing wrong, what do you feel I should change and is there any more information I can provide you that will help you help me.

Thanks :)

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So i'm not an expert when it comes to counter tactics, but i can already see a pretty big problem. You have too many playmakers and not enough people looking to score goals. I would look to change the AMR to a winger and then ditch the LCM AP to a CM-s/B2B as well as change the RCM to CM-A (so that he can make runs into the space created by the AMR winger). If your striker is capable of it i'd look to play a CF-A or an Adv. Fwd, that way by pushing their d-line back it will give space for the AML IF to run into.

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So i'm not an expert when it comes to counter tactics, but i can already see a pretty big problem. You have too many playmakers and not enough people looking to score goals. I would look to change the AMR to a winger and then ditch the LCM AP to a CM-s/B2B as well as change the RCM to CM-A (so that he can make runs into the space created by the AMR winger). If your striker is capable of it i'd look to play a CF-A or an Adv. Fwd, that way by pushing their d-line back it will give space for the AML IF to run into.
You're right, I do have 3 playmaker roles in the side which is a possibly a touch overkill. I've toyed about with the AMR a fair bit, trying to get the behaviour I want from him. He cuts inside as a PPM so changing that whilst he is on loan isn't something I'm looking to do. I don't want my wingers to do much crossing, I leave that to my full backs as a secondary form of attack. The reason for this is that Max Clayton isn't the best in the air, albeit still has good heading. I should possibly point out here as well, I'm not intending to rely on counter attacks. I have the counter strategy to try and promote a neat and tidy system, letting players keep hold of the ball if they need to or to launch a quicker move if thats what is required.

Just a question to the thinking of playing a CF-A or AF to push the D-Line back giving more space for the IF to run into, I'm looking more for the IF to be running between the gap of full back and centre back getting on the end of through balls, if the D-Line is deeper, surely that makes that idea a little more difficult, no?

I'm also unsure on the role changes for the 2 CM's. Surely I would need a creative role in there to try and set up chances? I do apologise if I seem so dismissive, I'm just trying to understand what effect each role change has within my system and whether I feel that it will benefit me.

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if you're not looking to play a counter system, why not use a control system set to drop deeper(and possibly other shouts like lower tempo and/or retain possession). If you're looking for the IF-A to do most of your scoring I would suggest a CF-A or CF-S (CF-S will still score goals he just might look to create a goal before scoring a goal).

Also about how you'd like the IF-A to score, it's going to depend on the team your playing. If the team your playing is a big underdog more than likely they're going to sit deep anyway as they're goal is to play for a 0-0 draw or a 1-0 win (I also use an IF-A and in these cases i've found that raising the tempo will help with this). I would most likely start with a CF-A for a few games and if you don't like how its working out try the CF-S.

With the 2 CMs question...You don't have to have a creative role to be successful, I've seen setups that use no creative roles, but then their Philosophy will be Fluid or Very Fluid. But we're not looking to overhaul your entire system, instead how about this setup:

DLP-S CM-A

Anchor-D (could also be a HB-D)

This way you have your creative playmaker but you also have one of your CMs getting into the box looking to score.

Also you should really just try out a Winger role on the same flank as your CM-A because at the very least he's going to provide width for that CM-A to run into. Just try it out and see if you like it, if not you can always change it back but I don't see how it wouldn't work out well for you.

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I'm using the same shape with Torquay.

I'm currently over-achieving, and the key is my midfield three. I have a limited workhorse playing the Anchorman role at the base, with a DLP (S) and a B2B (S) ahead of him. The Anchorman sirs and tidies up, the DLP picks the ball up off the defence or A (D), and the B2B links defence to attack perfectly. He's up & down and finds himself I'm both boxes. Has chipped in with a couple of goals, but with a player with more technical ability, you could see them score a lot more.

I use either a DLF (S) or a AF (A) depending on which striker I start with. I think the system suits a DLF more, because he finds a lot of space in front of the defence, and creates a lot of chances. Although the AF is more of a genuine threat, and perhaps lends itself to a slightly more direct route to goal (with playing direct football per se).

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As people have already touched upon, you seem like you want to play a possession based system, so switching mentality to control might be better for you. With doing that I'd drop the following team instructions: Pass into Space, Be more disciplined, play wider and higher tempo. Instead I'd choose: Retain possession, short passing, play narrower (will help to retain the ball better) and hassle opponents.

I'd then look to decide who you want to be your main playmaker (you currently have 3 players in a playmaker role). If that is the DLP as you mention above, then perhaps change the other player to CM (A) so his focus is going forward rather than trying to have the ball all the time. Then perhaps look at changing your right winger to a winger role.

For the striker, I'd look at using him as a CF (A/S) or AF (A). I use AF(A) in a similar system and is my top scorer as well as chipping in with a few assists too.

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