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infiniteboat

Tactic Advice Please, 4-3-3 (2xIF)

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Hi, I just got this game on a whim and since have spent like 300 hours including time researching real world football. Thanks to this game my wife and I actually have been DVRing premier league games and enjoying them quite a bit. Anyway...

I have created a few formations and I seem to be not having success with this most recent one. I get games with loads of shots and many chances as you can see below. Is my setup bad or are my players just playing terrible, or are they terrible? I've included a breakdown of a few of my strikers/IFs as well. Maybe I am just missing something critical and these multimillion pound players are not all they are cracked up to be.

Any advice or suggestion is appreciated.

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The Players:

http://imgur.com/a/vUiLJ

Thanks

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I'd also set one of you inside forwards to support (I've had some success using an advanced playmaker on support out on the wing) and his corresponding fullback to attack. This will encourage overlapping and help stretch the defence.

Glad you're enjoying the game.

Now watch as it destroys your life.

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Remove Hassle Opponents, your players will close down too much and lose defensive shape.

Change one of the IF(A) to IF(S), and set one of your FB's to FB(A). This will give you more variety in attack and better balance, you won't be as easy to defend against.

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The first thing I noticed is that you haven't got a particular mentality set - although judging by the player roles and instructions you're wanting to play a possession game with high pressing. (Feel free to correct me if wrong). I'd start with this, you need to decide how you want the team to play overall and set a mentality according to this. Taking your setup as it is I'd set up my mentality/fluidity as control and rigid respectively.

The overall balance of the team seems good. I don't particularly buy into the theory of having entirely balanced wingers with on attacking player on support with his full back attacking and vice versa, so I wouldn't touch that given how many clear cut chances you're making. I'd change the BBM to a role that doesn't move around the pitch as much by its nature, so a CM (D) or DLP (S/D).

I'd be interested to know if you're scoring more with your other 433 that doesn't have a false 9? As that might be the most obvious solution to your problem. However the only other changes I'd make is to team instructions (again assuming you want possession and high pressing) is to add the following: retain possession, short passing and play narrower. I'm not a big fan of telling the team to work the ball into the box but judging by the chances you're creating it seems to work!

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From an attacking standpoint, I think the challenge you're having is that all five of your midfielders & forwards are going to end up in the same place. Specifically, if you count down from the top of the pitch in your tactics screenshot (count down by the different colored lines of grass), they're all going to end up in the center (horizontally) somewhere between the 5th & 10th line of the grass. This congestion and lack of creative movement is what's causing all those shots to be, essentially, snatched & off-target shots.

Let's get specific. Each of those roles/duties has a description in the game, but let's talk about what they're actually doing (something you can hopefully see when you watch the game, especially if you watch most, if not all of it).

F9: He's going to drop into space so as to let others drive into the space (up top) he's left, which is fine, but...

IF(A): The Inside Forward with an Attack duty is looking to pick up the ball deep/wide and drive with it towards the goal. Both will be driving right through the space the F9 is sitting in as he drops deep, which is bad.

AP(A): Also picks up the ball and drives through goal. Unlike the IF(A), who is primarily looking to shoot, the AP(A) is more looking to pass, but will also shoot. But he's also going to drive through that space with the F9. And when he gets just outside the box, will someone be there for his clever pass? No, because the IFs don't drive forward without the ball (though they may wander forward, which is less helpful). So, he'll just snatch at a shot, which will probably be off-target.

BBM(S): Bombs forward when in attack. Which can be great, but he too is clogging space.

So, ideas. I have to say I am not great with this particular formation, and there are a number of other great threads on this formation out there I'd suggest you read instead. But having said that I might do the following:

Change the left IF(A) to IF(S). Change the right IF(A) to Winger(A). Change the AP(A) to CM(A). Change the BBM(S) to DLP(S). Change the left FB(S) to FB(A).

Now, when you go forward your CM(A), W(A) and FB(A) will all bomb forward, relatively spaced out. The Support roles have runners to whom to pass the ball, and the Attack roles have support teammates to get the ball if they need to bail. The IF(S) and F9(S) will now have people ahead of them to take advantage of their creativity in the center, and the center itself is going to be less congested.

Lastly, a lot of people question the utility of having wide men go forward in modern football, feeling that crossing as a tactic is somewhat played out. While that's a topic for a much more involved post, bear in mind that both the Winger(A) and FB(A) will also get them into attacking & shooting positions as well. It's not as if they will spend all their time out on the wing.

Anyway, hope that helps!

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RBYRVI - Thanks I will try that, according to one of the stickied posts I have 3.5 specialist roles which is more than the recommended 2-3. I guess my issue is that I am creating good chances 6 clear cut and 4 half chances yet all of the shots are off target. Its hard to tell if those chances are rushed, but I feel like I should score more than 1 goal from 6 clear cut chances (or does it not work that way) are these "chances" a technical term defining like you only have the keeper between you and the goal? That would make more sense to me if these were "bad" chances where the guy has 3 defenders barreling down and not enough time to control the ball before striking?

Allyc - I have tried staggering the attack, it does not seem to change anything. My reasoning for the frontload is the IFs in my squad have better finishing than long shots in their attributes so I want them being the ones with the scoring chances. One of my IFs (Blackwell) doesn't have as good of finishing so I might try putting him on support and bringing the FB up when he gets the nod for the rotation.

Tennisball - When I remove Hassle opponents, i tend to get destroyed in possession and I get a lot less chances. Watching guys miss clear cut chances has pushed me to try and always have possession. Half the goals against me are on the break, Hassle opponents is probably why. The other 40% of goals are off of set pieces. (My team has the lowest "header" rating in the league.)

Thats another reason for my formation. I can't create a situation with wingers that pump the ball into the box on crosses because nobody will win headers in the opposing third. I need my F9 to creat space for the IFs and the AP to run into and get a clear strike at the goal. Again I know nothing about football that I haven't learned from watching 20 BPL games in the last 3 weeks and reading websites.

grimslaa - Yeah I think thats the general idea. I signed players with high passing in general, I think my passing stat is 1st in the league. All of my dudes' in midfield have the best role as "BBM" so I sort of wanted to include that. I guess it doesn't really matter. I have a creativity 16 CM that I am using as my AP-A I sort of wanted the game to revolve around him. I've tried moving him up to AMC and setting him on eneganche and setting the DM to a CM, but I feel like the DM triangle is much less risky on defense.

My other formation replaces the F9 with a CF-S, but I discarded it because the creative AP-A and the CF-S tended to get in each others way "you give me the ball" "no you give me the ball" I also have the mentality set to attacking and I leaked way too many goals so it was abandoned for balanced. Correct me if I'm wrong but the AP-A is an on the ball playmaker same as CF-S? I switched to the F9 cause its an off the ball rabble rouser? I got a ton more scoring chances after switching to balanced with the F9, my dudes just aren't converting.

Having the shout "Work ball into box" is a side effect of them not converting a lot of the chances and lots of shots being off target. I figure if they are always off target I should try to get closer.

Alot to think about, I will try control-rigid and see if that helps at all.

I guess I should have looked at the team before having my performance rely on set piece success when they made the job offer. Going to have to set the entire team focused on headers for training :)

Thanks all. Please if anything I have been saying doesn't make sense or is flat out wrong let me know.

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With regard to the BBM despite that being your midfielder's 'best role', the role by its nature gets forward and as your attacks go through the middle he just further clogs space. They should be able to play with other roles that will best suit your overall formation and system. All the other things you've gained makes sense (to me at least). I wonder if adding player instructions to your F9 may help to create space for all players, perhaps 'roam from position' (although he should do that naturally) or 'moves into channels' if that is an option you can choose.

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From an attacking standpoint, I think the challenge you're having is that all five of your midfielders & forwards are going to end up in the same place. Specifically, if you count down from the top of the pitch in your tactics screenshot (count down by the different colored lines of grass), they're all going to end up in the center (horizontally) somewhere between the 5th & 10th line of the grass. This congestion and lack of creative movement is what's causing all those shots to be, essentially, snatched & off-target shots.

Its hard to judge, but I have watched the full matches and it seems like they have plenty of room. Maybe I can't recognize what I am seeing. I will keep an eye out for off the ball movement.

I Have done some research on the following, and I am curious. One of the stickies has this written under strike partnerships in the F9-F10 section: "In terms of alternative "false ten" players - the Inside Forward on the flanks can attack the space vacated by a forward dropping deep/drifting wide, and cause the dilemma for full back's to choose to follow the player, opening up space wide, or to leave him to the central defenders, where he may gain space before he is even tracked."

F9: He's going to drop into space so as to let others drive into the space (up top) he's left, which is fine, but...

IF(A): The Inside Forward with an Attack duty is looking to pick up the ball deep/wide and drive with it towards the goal. Both will be driving right through the space the F9 is sitting in as he drops deep, which is bad.

So I think you may be right that having 2 IFs is not good because they both want to go into the space vacated by the F9. Since i have 2 IFs, I have two "number nines" which are supposed to be my primary goalscoring threats. I think I'll definitely switch one of them to W(S) and put the fullback behind him on attack. My only concern is what I understood of your explanation seems to contradict what is in the sticky post regarding strike partnerships. F9/F10 -> F9(S)/IF(A) respectively

AP(A): Also picks up the ball and drives through goal. Unlike the IF(A), who is primarily looking to shoot, the AP(A) is more looking to pass, but will also shoot. But he's also going to drive through that space with the F9. And when he gets just outside the box, will someone be there for his clever pass? No, because the IFs don't drive forward without the ball (though they may wander forward, which is less helpful). So, he'll just snatch at a shot, which will probably be off-target.

Change the left IF(A) to IF(S). Change the right IF(A) to Winger(A). Change the AP(A) to CM(A). Change the BBM(S) to DLP(S). Change the left FB(S) to FB(A).

If I have F9(s) IF(a) W(s) don't i need a creative player linking to them from the midfield? My experiences with DLP(s) and 3 players playing high up AMR/L+STK is that the DLP tends to bomb the ball with long passes (that I can't allow because my team sucks at headers) or just pass the ball back to defenders.

So, ideas. I have to say I am not great with this particular formation, and there are a number of other great threads on this formation out there I'd suggest you read instead. But having said that I might do the following:

I have read some of those threads (it takes some digging to uncover them sometimes) but they don't really help with my own thought process and creativity. The thread will be like "i have a big strong target man so I can pump balls in the box to him and let him go to town" and people analyze what would be best to support that etc and I'm like well I don't have that available so while the general knowledge is good, it doesn't help me with learning how to analyze what i have to work with. I'm trying to learn how to think about the formation and my tools available, which is why I posted a new topic.

Anyway, hope that helps!

It does absolutely! Thank you very much for taking the time to write such a long response. You have raised a few more questions than answers but thats always the goal for a good discussion!.

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With regard to the BBM despite that being your midfielder's 'best role', the role by its nature gets forward and as your attacks go through the middle he just further clogs space. They should be able to play with other roles that will best suit your overall formation and system. All the other things you've gained makes sense (to me at least). I wonder if adding player instructions to your F9 may help to create space for all players, perhaps 'roam from position' (although he should do that naturally) or 'moves into channels' if that is an option you can choose.

From what i can tell I am 100% wrong about the BBM, there needs to be someone besides the anchorman or a DC as an outlet when under pressure. The 3 advance men are plenty of options for an attack setup pass. The BBM is much much more offensively minded than perhaps I realized and my tactic would be better served by switching him to a CM(s) i think he would get back on defense much better than the BBM so that will help against the break.

I'm leery about using the individual instructions because I don't think I have enough experience with the game to recognize how it changes my players' behaviour. I might give it a shot tho... trying to get promoted back into the BPL (everton fired their head coach and hired me because they got demoted to skybet champ) so I need the 3 points not 1.

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Maybe try a Treq or a DLF up front - as they should also attack the space a bit more. I had a lot of success last year with a formation similar to this based on having an IF (A) attack the space vacated by a Treq in the striker position, with the Treq also scoring a fair few...

That said, you've had a lot of sound advice in this thread so far and seem to be taking it on board well, I'm sure you'll crack it soon :thup:

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Holy cow this is working better now. Here is the updated tactic:

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Player instructions are only the F9 roam from position.

Can you tell when I made the changes? Its pretty obvious....

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Injuries are mounting tho for some reason, I'm thinking of hiring another physio. I am getting these results WITH these injuries. Half my club's value is injured but we are getting by.

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I find that if someone is taking a lot of shots from outside the box I tell them to shoot less and I'm usually rewarded with a goal from someone shortly thereafter.

Thanks everyone.

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I'd advise setting the F9 to shoot less often. Way too often I see that role drop deep then waste a chance with a silly long shot.

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infiniteboat,

Great thread you've got going here and welcome to the obsession that is football! (and football manager). So let me put out a couple of suggestions that might strengthen your tactic even further:

1) Because you've removed a couple of your specialist roles you should consider switching the philosophy to Balanced or at least keep Rigid and add the shout "Be more expressive"

2) You should think about switching up the roles a little bit to better utilize some of the space, with a 4-1-2-2-1(451/433) I like to have my Winger set to attack and then i have my CM that has an attacking duty on the same side of the field as the attacking winger. That way when the winger stays out wide he's creating space for your CM to take advantage of.

3) Extra domination! Since your tactic is possession orientated when you're at home and against a weaker opponent (which i imagine is most of the championship teams) I like to push higher up (dominate possession) and if they're a possession style team as well (read your scouting report and look at last match!) I'll also use hassle opponents so I don't leave them any time on the ball. Also not sure if you do this but with this type of aggressive setup i think its very important to at least watch the first 10-15 mins of the match to see if these shouts will cause you any problems (pause the game frequently and just look for glaring weaknesses in your tactic and/or ways you can exploit the opponents tactic).

Hope this helps!

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I have run into a stretch of non-scoring games. All of a sudden my chances and even shots have just gone away. I haven't been able to rotate as much as I would like due to the multiple 3month injuries, so I'm wondering if they are getting tired (even tho i am at 100%/100%).

It feels like teams are playing possession against me and my guys aren't being aggressive enough to get the ball back. Then whenever I had the ball I was passing for a bit and giving it away. I changed my shouts to Get forward, Higher Tempo, More Direct Passing and scored 3 goals in a second half after not scoring a goal in 315 minutes of football.

I wonder how much of this is coincidence or if teams are countering my formation.

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I think a part of it will be teams having learnt how to be more effective against your team. You don't seem to be too aggressive in terms of trying to get the ball back, so other teams may have realised that playing possession against your team is the way to go. You've got two options: Add 'Hassle Opponents' as a team instruction or do what you're doing and play a game that gets the ball forward quicker.

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I see that you originally tried to play with F9 dropping deep and two IF's attacking behind the line.

In your midfield you have a playmaker bringing the ball forward at feet and the bbm who is allowed to roam around, then the anchor man is there to protect the defense.

Full backs are coming forward to offer them as passing outlets, but they are not very ambitious in their movement.

I don't think there's much wrong here overall, it's sound enough logic. However, I'd reconsider the way your team is going to do this successfully. I see two distinct routes here.

1. Quick attacking transition

To make your tactic click, I'd try to get the ball forward to the F9 as quickly as possible. The F9 can turn or pass the ball to the midfielders, then the ball is played to the IF's running behind. All of this needs to happen quickly, so that your opponent doesn't have time to get numbers back. If they do, they can defend very narrow and you'll struggle to score.

Suggested changes:

I'd maybe remove the AP role and use something more generic so he won't be the preferred option instead of the F9, or alternatively discourage him from carrying the ball so much.

(Much) Higher Tempo would be a good idea.

I wouldn't be opposed to some long shots if your fast transition doesn't result in anything.

2. Possession based approach

This option has the problem with narrowness. You will be attacking central areas and the opponent will have time to get numbers behind the ball and at the same time they can afford to remain narrow. It's easy to see that scoring will be very hard.

You'd need your full backs to get high and wide. It's not important what they do, it's important where they are. When there's no space centrally, you can pass the ball wide, the opponent's will be forced out of their shell and you can actually do something.

I'd pair this change with a re-haul in midfield area. I'd make the anchor man a half back, so the full backs have more freedom to go forward and centre backs can move wider to be used as passing options. Then the two remaining midfielders should stay deeper for two reasons. Firstly they will attract opponents out from their defending shape, freeing up space for the F9, while being in good position to spread the play wide. Secondly they will be in prime position to reclaim possession when your attack breaks up.

Suggested changes:

Use Half Back, CM's holding position, full backs getting higher up.

Maybe retain possession or something else to the same effect (less long shots, less crossing, less dribbling, this kind of things. maybe not all though).

These are merely my opinions on how to play football, so when I say that you should do something or other take it in this context, I might be wrong altogether. ;)

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1. Quick attacking transition

To make your tactic click, I'd try to get the ball forward to the F9 as quickly as possible. The F9 can turn or pass the ball to the midfielders, then the ball is played to the IF's running behind. All of this needs to happen quickly, so that your opponent doesn't have time to get numbers back. If they do, they can defend very narrow and you'll struggle to score.

Suggested changes:

I'd maybe remove the AP role and use something more generic so he won't be the preferred option instead of the F9, or alternatively discourage him from carrying the ball so much.

(Much) Higher Tempo would be a good idea.

I wouldn't be opposed to some long shots if your fast transition doesn't result in anything.

Man this game is complex. I didn't even think about the fact that whenever the F9 gets the ball he will pass back to the AP-A instead of the IFs who are driving toward the space that he vacated. I went back and it appears he has done this a number of times, there would have been a scoring chance if he went for one of the forwards, but instead the AP gets the ball and then everything clogs up in the narrow formation.

Its really weird, all of the logic and advice, all the guides everyone is like "make sure your wingers and your fullbacks have complimentary settings (Attack + Support) one each." Then I think about what I'm trying to do... the IFs are exactly that they are Inside Forwards, they aren't wingers. I even call my formation a 4-3-3 instead of a 4-5-1 or 4-1-2-2-1 or whatever. Realistically I only have one wide player and thats the fullback so if I want attacking chances that have anything to do with width (this is why opposing coaches started beating me they analyzed my formation and just clogged the middle) the FBs MUST be on attack or maybe I could set them to be WB(A) or whatever.

It also is nuts how badly an opponent can use tactics to turn your otherwise successful formation around. Then again if I knew what I was doing I could change my shouts and likely have more success.

Anyway, the team was Everton. They hired me to get them promoted, in the end the last game of the season I needed a win to secure 2nd and a promotion spot. We drew so I got 3rd. Won the first round of the playoff then petered out ignominiously in the final losing a pitiful 1-3. Having failed to earn promotion, I did the gentlemanly thing and resigned. I'm not sure if they would have sacked me or not but I like to imagine that part of the contract included a handshake agreement with the board. "Come be our skipper for 4 years, we just dropped from BPL it should be easy to get back in before the money runs out then go from there."

I likely won't be using this tactic for a bit. My next club Wolfsburg, has 2 AMCs with very very high numbers so I will prob be moving into 4-2-3-1 land.

Thanks everyone.

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