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Mark.

Following My Nose: An Unbalanced Arsenal

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Greetings.

I feel I have long been a taker and not much of a giver on these forums and while what I have to give may not be of much value, I think it will still be worthwhile even if it is just for my benefit (there we go taking again ;))

Basically I have read a lot of brilliant stuff on here, and have learnt a heap from it, but find I often forget things I find useful as I don’t apply them, so I intend to put things down on paper as I work through managing a tactic.

Hopefully in doing so I will notice things I am doing wrong etc

I don’t have a huge amount of tactical knowledge so my approach to creating a tactic could be rather simple as I try to not over complicate it.

As the title suggests I will just be following my nose so I will start at a higher level and slowly drill down into further detail as I progress. Let’s see how the tactic develops!

Vision.

As I have learnt, it is a good idea is to start with a vision of how I want my team to play.

To help me decide this I actually combined a mix of a few things:

  • Shape and Style I want:
    1. Asymmetric Formation - For some reason lopsided asymmetric formations intrigue me. Therefore I am going to play something that isn’t quite ‘balanced’.
    2. Counter/Attack with pace - Last year Llama3 helped me with a tactic I was working on that was very effective holding shape and then attacking on the counter, this worked extremely well for me so I will look to replicate something roughly similar. We still maintained a decent possession so if I do something similar this time round it should still meet the boards philosophies while being very solid at the back.
    3. New Roles - The halfback and complete wing back intrigue me. I intend to incorporate them into the shape of my tactic and I actually feel they will make achieving what I want a bit easier.

    [*]Working around my squad/star players:

    1. Obviously I can shape the squad easily at such a big club yet there are a few players or groups of players I want to shape my vision around.
    2. Mesut Ozil - I want to make sure I can get the most out of Ozil. It seems that a lot of people struggle to get to play as well as they would like.
    3. Strength in the midfield - Ozil aside, a large amount of the sides quality is in the midfield, especially in the middle. Therefore I want my team setup to dominate this zone and get as many of my top players on the pitch together.

A Picture paints a 1000 Words.

4-3-3Unbalanced_zps7a42e450.jpg

So this here is my initial vision of how I want my team to play:

  • Arteta as Halfback - As we transition into an attack, Arteta or whoever is playing this role will fall between the Centre Backs to help create a new back 4 of sorts.
  • Gibbs as Complete Wing Back - Arteta falling back will allow Gibbs to push right up offering width to the attack on the left.
  • Midfield pivot(i) - I am still unsure how I want the two ahead of Arteta to operate. The role Ramsey is in will need to offer a little bit of cover due to Gibbs rushing onward.
  • Midfield pivot(ii) - The role Wilshere is in will probably be more of an attacking role, offering another body getting into the box. I envisage Cazorla playing here as well even though the role starts in CM.
  • Forwards - This will at times resemble a front two, but at others a wing and 1 striker. The CF will probably be tasked with playing on the shoulder of the defense and stretching the defenders by moving into channels. Walcott’s role will be to make runs in behind but also to provide width on the right as well.
  • The Mesut zone - The blue circled area represents the area I want Ozil to roam in. Sometimes I feel with the current Arsenal side he gets clogged. So by taking away the AML and effectively giving him free roam across that strata I hope for him to use his intelligence and off the ball skill to get into some really dangerous positions.

Overall the idea is that the width on the right is provided by the fullback who is released to attack as he wants by the halfback dropping in.

The centre of the park is controlled by the two centre mids. One getting forward to help the attack the other sitting a bit more and being aware of any covered required for the left full back.

The right features a winger to offer width but I will want them getting into the box as well. The right fullback will offer support to the attack.

The striker along with the right wing is to stretch the defense and hopefully open some space for the AMC to wreck havoc in.

Sounds too easy……..

Next up I will look to convert this into FM terms.

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I have really struggled to get a team playing the Arsenal way, Actually i will rephrase that..I've struggled to get my Arsenal team to play at all

so this could be really interesting for me, Im willing to do any testing etc on any tactics you have pieced together should you need any help.

I generally see myself as a decent tactic maker and have never struggled with any previous versions of the game, But i have to admit...

Fm14 has got the better of me.

Please enlighten us to more information on your tactic :-)

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I too will be following this with interest having tried and failed numerous tactics and formations to try and get Arsenal to play football.

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I tried something very similar to this not so long back. I didn't have the quality of player Arsenal have though, it was done to try to maximise the talents of a few of my better players though.

Not exactly sure how you propose to set it up in FM, the way I did it worked really well for 4 or 5 games, but then I started getting awfully exposed down the side where my wing back was. I didn't use the Half Back though, I had an Anchor man, maybe this could work, added to the fact you have a better quality of player.

Looking forward to reading this with interest.

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Interested to see how you get on Mark. Like the idea.

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Have you considered the 4-2-3-1 asymmetric set up? I have found it to be useful and it would allow you to do everything you want whilst also providing you with a nominal left wing presence to help protect Gibbs a bit better with PIs to encourage them to play centrally.

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4-1-2-1-2, move the DL up to wing back starting position (or both DL and DR, like I'm currently doing - but then it wouldn't be assymetric, of course...). Voila - just assign sensible roles and duties and you're 90% there. Giroud/Bendtner/Park as DLF's and Walcott/Podolski as AF's. Probably a good idea to flip (mirror) starting positions of the forwards depending on who's playing AF. I prefer to have Walcott on the right, Poldi on the left. Here's what I'm using at the moment:

DLF/support (changes to attack in Attack mode) - AF/attack

AP/attack

CM/attack - AP/support

WB/auto - DM/defend - WB/auto

DC/defend - DC/cover

SwK/defend

I play Control or Attack with a Balanced setup, upped the d-line, tempo and pressing.

Works splendidly. Özil does very well on the whole, over a season, but' he'll never be terribly consistent. He'll play superbly one match, and be invisible in the next. I blame the difficulties that the match engine is currently having with first touch as the main reason why players like Ôzil aren't really as good as they should be. Players that in real life could stop a cannon ball with their feet is in the current FM match engine reduced to stumbling morons who can't properly receive a pass if their lives depended on it ... half the time. And ratings will reflect that.

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Good start. Interested to see how it goes. :thup:
This is relevant to my interests. Good luck :D

Thanks guys. Will be posting some more hopefully tonight.

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I have really struggled to get a team playing the Arsenal way, Actually i will rephrase that..I've struggled to get my Arsenal team to play at all

so this could be really interesting for me, Im willing to do any testing etc on any tactics you have pieced together should you need any help.

I generally see myself as a decent tactic maker and have never struggled with any previous versions of the game, But i have to admit...

Fm14 has got the better of me.

Please enlighten us to more information on your tactic :-)

I am kind of the same.

But I find 14, if I take a step back and just try go through it logically it can be quite rewarding. Not to say that my current ideas will work, but it will be enlightening nonetheless.

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I too will be following this with interest having tried and failed numerous tactics and formations to try and get Arsenal to play football.

If you want a Tactic to try, head on over to the Arsenal Thread in GPTG Forums and check out RossoneriGunner's W-M Tactic, I found it was very interesting and there is room for you to play around with a few things. Think there was a thread in here somewhere on it too, but struggled to find it before.

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I tried something very similar to this not so long back. I didn't have the quality of player Arsenal have though, it was done to try to maximise the talents of a few of my better players though.

Not exactly sure how you propose to set it up in FM, the way I did it worked really well for 4 or 5 games, but then I started getting awfully exposed down the side where my wing back was. I didn't use the Half Back though, I had an Anchor man, maybe this could work, added to the fact you have a better quality of player.

Looking forward to reading this with interest.

Yes the cover down that flank could be an issue, but at the same time if offers a challenge that should be fun. I think the key will be getting the left of the Centre Mid pairing to provide cover where needed.

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Interesting, is this not similar to Dunga and Brazil ala the WC 2010?

Funny you should say that. I remember someone trying to recreate that tactic back then and I gave it a go with Arsenal, worked quite well if I recall. I think that is what subconsciously drove some of my decisions in creating this one.

Interested to see how you get on Mark. Like the idea.

Thanks, more to come soon!

Have you considered the 4-2-3-1 asymmetric set up? I have found it to be useful and it would allow you to do everything you want whilst also providing you with a nominal left wing presence to help protect Gibbs a bit better with PIs to encourage them to play centrally.

I did consider it, and it may be something I come back to, but I would like see if I can get this method to work, having the HB help out with defensive cover I hoping allows me to have an extra CM rather than ML who will help cover the left flank at times, but primarily be focused on controlling the middle.

4-1-2-1-2, move the DL up to wing back starting position (or both DL and DR, like I'm currently doing - but then it wouldn't be assymetric, of course...). Voila - just assign sensible roles and duties and you're 90% there. Giroud/Bendtner/Park as DLF's and Walcott/Podolski as AF's. Probably a good idea to flip (mirror) starting positions of the forwards depending on who's playing AF. I prefer to have Walcott on the right, Poldi on the left. Here's what I'm using at the moment:

DLP/support - AF/attack

AP/attack

CM/attack - AP/support

WB/auto - DM/defend - WB/auto

DC/defend - DC/cover

SwK/defend

I play Control or Attack with a Balanced setup, upped the d-line, tempo and pressing.

Works splendidly. Özil does very well on the whole, over a season, but' he'll never be terribly consistent. He'll play superbly one match, and be invisible in the next. I blame the difficulties that the match engine is currently having with first touch as the main reason why players like Ôzil aren't really as good as they should be. Players that in real life could stop a cannon ball with their feet is in the current FM match engine reduced to stumbling morons who can't properly receive a pass if their lives depended on it ... half the time. And ratings will reflect that.

Thanks for the tips.

Interesting to know about the first touch issue. Didn't realise there was a bug/known issue, but it does make sense thinking back over the games I have played so far, albeit friendlies.

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FM 14 Formation

Here is how I plan on executing my vision in Manager. This is relatively untested so far, so will develop as I go.

I have tried to stay as simple as possible to begin with in terms of team instructions etc.

UnbalancedTacticV1R_zps4647c122.png

Breakdown

Mentality/Fluidity

As I mentioned I wanted to make a tactic that holds it shape and then can counter quickly. Therefore I chose Counter.

Fluidity I wasn't so sure on. I don't have too many specialist roles, but decided to go with Balanced for a start. I was tempted by fluid, but I want my team to be disciplined and stick to their duties to help with maintaining our shape.

Position Selection

Building from the back:

  • GK: I stuck with a standard GK(d) here. As I have the team sitting deep there is no need for him to be sweeping up. I have added distribution instructions of a quick throw.
  • DR: This player needs to provide cover on defense and in transition as we have the left fullback attacking so much. He also needs to support the attack at times so I went with FB(s)
  • CD: Both are just setup as Central Defenders. They will have the halfback between and in front of them so no need for a stopper. Due to the potential exposure of the left fullback I will need the left defender to be the more mobile of the two.
  • DL: This is one of the key parts to this tactic. I need the left defender to be providing the width down our left flank. I have decided to use a CWB and also move him into the same line as the defensive midfielder.
  • DM: To help provide cover as the left fullback bombs forward I have a Halfback who I hope will fall back in between the two Central defenders.
  • CM: This is a little bit of a problem area for me. Firstly the left of these two needs to be at least a support role to provide cover for the lack of a left attacker. So far I am just going with a CM(s) as a BWM might be too aggressive for my shape. The right hand of the two will be tasked with helping to join the attack from deep. I have decided to stick with a CM(a) for now. I am still uncertain how this combo is going to work out.
  • AMC: This role is setup to be a 'Freerole'. Mainly played by Özil but also I Cazorla and Wilshere will see time here. Due to the lack of a wide left attacker there will be a lot of room for a player with great decisions making and creativity to operate. As such I have chosen Trequartista. I have placed them slightly left just to add a little more help to left flank.
  • AMR: I considered whether I actually wanted my natural attacking width to be from the left or right. I could choose to use a Inside Forward on the left to allow Walcott to come onto his stronger foot, but decided I wanted this player to stretch the defense a bit more so left them as a Winger(a). I have also added the player instruction Get further forward as this player is meant to almost be a second striker.
  • CF: This player is to stretch the defense and create even more space for the AMC. I have chosen Advanced Forward and added the player instruction of Move into channels.

Team Instructions

  • Drop Deeper: I want me team to sit deep and hold their shape.
  • Stay on Feet: Working along with the above this is about remaining disciplined and keeping shape.
  • Be More Expressive: I was unsure about this one, and may remove it, but I have a lot of intelligent players and want them to be able to create something out of nothing. So I will play to their strengths.
  • Work Ball Into Box: Not a fan of too many long shots.
  • Pass Into Space: I want my players to look to try good through balls to lunch good counter attacks.

Musings

At this stage I am really not that confident with the central pairing. I am considering adding another playmaker role in there but then I would maybe have to sacrifice the forward movement of the CM(a). I think adding further passing instructions will be the way to go.

Team wise I will likely test out adding Stand Off Opponents to further keep our shape. But I am a little reluctant to be giving the other team too much time on the ball.

I have a bunch of friendlies to get through. Once they are done I will review the tactic once actual competition begins.

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Good stuff. I'm interested in that CM(S) role, and whether he will cause a collision of space when in possession. CM(D) might be better for balance overall considering the number of attacking roles you have, and I'd at first glance consider this formation to be less balanced on the defensive side. I'd also consider making the CF role into supporting one instead, but that also depends on who you are playing there. These kinds of asymmetrical formations I always find interesting.

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Good stuff. I'm interested in that CM(S) role, and whether he will cause a collision of space when in possession. CM(D) might be better for balance overall considering the number of attacking roles you have, and I'd at first glance consider this formation to be less balanced on the defensive side. I'd also consider making the CF role into supporting one instead, but that also depends on who you are playing there. These kinds of asymmetrical formations I always find interesting.

Thanks. Yes I think I will make that a CM(d).

With regards to the CF. I am unsure on this one, dropping back will provide better link-up play. But then on the other hand I like the movement the AF brings. Will keep an eye on this one though.

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Question: Complete Wingback

How is everyone finding this role. I have him currently set with default instructions in the DM line. However I still feel he isn't offering enough going forward. Thinking about adding 'Get further forward' and probably 'Stay Wider' to help with width. Any experience with this?

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Maybe your Trequartista recieves too much attention and passes instead due to his close proximity?

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Maybe your Trequartista recieves too much attention and passes instead due to his close proximity?

Hi Llama! What are you referring to sorry? Trequarista is doing alright so far from friendly results.

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Your team will aim to give the treq the ball as the primary playmaker - so they may be choosing to give the ball to the treq instead of the CWB

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Your team will aim to give the treq the ball as the primary playmaker - so they may be choosing to give the ball to the treq instead of the CWB

Ah gotcha, so perhaps an AP(s/a) with added roaming.

That being said, its not so much that the CWB isn't getting the ball, just that he isn't getting far enough forward when without the ball. Will try adding get further forward for my next friendly.

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If you use an AP, the same will occur - any playmaker role acts as a magnet to the ball.

I also found the CWB not as gung-ho as I expected.

Adding Get Further Forward will give him some extra oomph, but make sure he has space to attack.

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If you use an AP, the same will occur - any playmaker role acts as a magnet to the ball.

I also found the CWB not as gung-ho as I expected.

Adding Get Further Forward will give him some extra oomph, but make sure he has space to attack.

Really? I found them pretty crazy overall. I think a lot of it is down to the player you use though, which kind of relates to another thread on the forum about player personalities. They are a really useful tool attacking wise, if you have a decent player they score a few goals too, yet to find a decent way of them being exposed though. 3 at the back may do it, but I've never really played that kind of system.

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If you use an AP, the same will occur - any playmaker role acts as a magnet to the ball.

I also found the CWB not as gung-ho as I expected.

Adding Get Further Forward will give him some extra oomph, but make sure he has space to attack.

Yeah doh! Wasn't really thinking when I wrote that. I could try a AM role and tweak with player settings, but dont seem to have too many problems right now.

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Really? I found them pretty crazy overall. I think a lot of it is down to the player you use though, which kind of relates to another thread on the forum about player personalities. They are a really useful tool attacking wise, if you have a decent player they score a few goals too, yet to find a decent way of them being exposed though. 3 at the back may do it, but I've never really played that kind of system.

Yeah I kind of go to three at the back with my haflback when the fullbacks are forward, the right side is only a FB(s) though so offers decent defensive cover.

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Really? I found them pretty crazy overall.

Yep, though I haven't tried one for a long, long time.

Originally I wanted to use one in tandem with a Half Back, but whilst that Role knackers the way DCs play, I'll steer clear.

Aside from the obvious ME issues, the relationship between the Half Back and his DCs is something I'd love to see fixed in the final update.

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Yep, though I haven't tried one for a long, long time.

Originally I wanted to use one in tandem with a Half Back, but whilst that Role knackers the way DCs play, I'll steer clear.

Aside from the obvious ME issues, the relationship between the Half Back and his DCs is something I'd love to see fixed in the final update.

RT, can you elaborate a bit on the issues you see with the Halfback and his Central defenders? So far (albeit in friendlies against slop) I haven't had too many issues. This may change how I setup going forward.

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RT, can you elaborate a bit on the issues you see with the Halfback and his Central defenders? So far (albeit in friendlies against slop) I haven't had too many issues. This may change how I setup going forward.

Watch a couple more games, and it should stand out.

The DCs get split really wide when the Half Back drops deep, and then they are incredibly slow to move closer together again when the Half Back goes back up field.

It leaves a great big gap straight in the middle of your defence.

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Watch a couple more games, and it should stand out.

The DCs get split really wide when the Half Back drops deep, and then they are incredibly slow to move closer together again when the Half Back goes back up field.

It leaves a great big gap straight in the middle of your defence.

Ah yeap, I know what you mean. Guess it hasn't been a glaring issue for me yet due to the quality of opposition. I did notice a ball over the top drop into the space for an attacker to run onto, in my last game.

Kind of important to my formation however. I suppose an Anchorman will stay back to provide support so that could still work in the interim.

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I dont think you will like using counter and drop deeper shout. Counter already have quite deep defense line and drop deeper shout will make you very very deep, which will make you to invite pressure from the opposition, especially at away match, you'll struggle going forward

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I dont think you will like using counter and drop deeper shout. Counter already have quite deep defense line and drop deeper shout will make you very very deep, which will make you to invite pressure from the opposition, especially at away match, you'll struggle going forward

Thanks for the tip. Good point. I will drop it for away matches and keep an eye on it at home.

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When I use Counter with a big team (which is pretty often, Counter is my favorite strategy), I always add the "Play Out of Defense" team instruction. When the counter is "on", the team will ignore the instruction and get the ball forward to the attackers very quickly. When the counter isn't "on" however, it helps to maintain a little possession instead of hoofing the ball up the field to no one.

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