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Sussex Hammer

Starting again - the 4231 project.

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Hey Sussex - this is a great thread, if only to watch your emotional rollercoaster! I feel your pain though, nothing worse than the frustration of not being able to see WHY IT'S NOT WORKING WHAT IS GOING ON THIS IS SO ANNOYING etc etc.

Anyway, have you tried Defensive Wingers at all in your new 4-5-1 iteration? I use the 4-1DM-2-2-1 formation in your later posts and use DWs on FM14 but had never before and I'm getting great results. Just won League 1 as Wolves and James Henry played in about 36 games and had 23 assists...and a LOT of them were crosses which I can tell you're keen to incorporate.

Saying that it seems like you've got a good mix! In fact, the front 3 combination you have in your image in post 45 is what I used on FM13 with great results, it's a very potent combo if you have the right players...

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Was hoping someone may be able to advise on one of the positions above.

The winger attack berth has been fantastic whoever plays there especially Downing who has scored a lot of goals. However the weakest link seems to be the IFS on the other side with Jarvis/Cole/Morrison making little impact although if they play on the right they play very well.

IFS is to try and allow space for the attacking full back and of course it seems standard practice to mix and match on either side so whilst in theory another winger/attack would be perfect although I suspect that wouldn't work in practice.

So any thoughts on whether it's a role/duty issue or a player issue would be appreciated.

A couple of potential thoughts (and please feels free to ignore any of this as I play 4231 - but with the same AMR/L roles as you):

The IF(S) in your system comes inside - possibly into the same space as the BBM (moving forward) and DLF (dropping deeper) - that might be an issue of players being in each other's way - so maybe a more static CM (eg a DLP(S) or CM(D)) on that side or a striker that stays more forward giving the IF somewhere to run into.

I have also had better success on that side of my formation with making the FB(A) a WB(A) - he provides more width and overlaps beautifully to provide crosses for the striker and W(A) on the other side to attack. Whichever role - make sure the full back is set to 'Run wide with ball' which will keep the width on that side.

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Hey Sussex - this is a great thread, if only to watch your emotional rollercoaster! I feel your pain though, nothing worse than the frustration of not being able to see WHY IT'S NOT WORKING WHAT IS GOING ON THIS IS SO ANNOYING etc etc.

Anyway, have you tried Defensive Wingers at all in your new 4-5-1 iteration? I use the 4-1DM-2-2-1 formation in your later posts and use DWs on FM14 but had never before and I'm getting great results. Just won League 1 as Wolves and James Henry played in about 36 games and had 23 assists...and a LOT of them were crosses which I can tell you're keen to incorporate.

Saying that it seems like you've got a good mix! In fact, the front 3 combination you have in your image in post 45 is what I used on FM13 with great results, it's a very potent combo if you have the right players...

Glad you are enjoying. I have had the men in white coats close to carrying me away kicking and screaming at times!!

I think half the problem is that I didn't want to play Sam Allardyce's style and strategy. I hate that way of playing football, but obviously the West Ham squad is overloaded with Sam Allardyce players so it's been tricky. When you get a player playing your way though like I have with Downing it's an achievement. I want to play attacking football which again is difficult with the players at my disposal but it's going ok. Still second but I have drawn the last four although that includes Chelsea at home and Spurs away so not too disheartened.

Sometimes the game throws in a real test though. Capital One Cup Quarter Final v Chelsea at home. Rested a few as we had Liverpool away three days later. Suddenly I am 3 -0 up in 10 minutes with Carlton Cole my reserve forward grabbing two. 4-1 up at half time and it's that "what should I do moment?" I do nothing tactically as sometimes it backfires if you do and suddenly it's 4-3. My right back gets sent off so I go to a 442 Counter with two DM's. No idea how but I get a throw in, flick on, and Mark Noble of all people pops up with a header to make it 5-3 which is how it stays.... At times you just have no idea what to do!!!!

RE Defensive wingers, I have them them before but not in this tactic. Might well try one rather than the IFS because Rob makes a valid point regarding the BBM and IF taking up the same space. Between both of you advice it has given me some interesting ideas for changes. Cheers.

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A couple of potential thoughts (and please feels free to ignore any of this as I play 4231 - but with the same AMR/L roles as you):

The IF(S) in your system comes inside - possibly into the same space as the BBM (moving forward) and DLF (dropping deeper) - that might be an issue of players being in each other's way - so maybe a more static CM (eg a DLP(S) or CM(D)) on that side or a striker that stays more forward giving the IF somewhere to run into.

I have also had better success on that side of my formation with making the FB(A) a WB(A) - he provides more width and overlaps beautifully to provide crosses for the striker and W(A) on the other side to attack. Whichever role - make sure the full back is set to 'Run wide with ball' which will keep the width on that side.

Thanks Rob some interesting ideas especially your point about the BBM and the IFS taking up each others space. What I have been trying to achieve is a high pressing midfield. I have tried DM's, Anchor Men, Regista's and the three I settled with seemed to work better for whatever reason. Ideally I wanted Mark Noble spraying balls about or the wide men crossing for the strike with Kevin Nolan arriving late in the box but it hasn't really worked out that way. Most of my goals either come from passes from Nolan, Noble or the striker feeding downing who races through to score or Downing who plays balls across for the striker to score. That's fine but it's a little one dimensional as if Downing can't get into the game it limit's my options.

Also I do wonder if Noble is good enough as a playmaker or regista. On top of that I have a theory that sometimes a player may look for a playmaker too often so rather than cross into the box he may look for a square pass to that playmaker. Only a theory!!

Also my striker is a DLF S because most of the things I have read seem to advise playing a lone striker on support? Boriello does make some nice passes out wide to Downing but I have Andy Carroll back soon so what role would he be best at? In previous games I just haven't got the best out of a solo forward. Tried Carroll on TM, AF, DLF, F9, the whole lot and a DLF seemed to be the best bet. I think it was Cleon who said that a DLF is like a more mobile TM.

So with the front players I have rethought and come up with a few possibilities. Thoughts?

-----------DLF S/A-----------

DW S----------------------W A

---------DLP S---CM A-------

-------------DLF S------------

DW S-----------------------W A

----------BBM-----CM A-------

-----------AF A or TM A-----

IF S------------------------WA

----------BBM----CM A-------

---------------DLF S----------

IF S-------------------------WA

---------CM D-----CM A-------

I will also use your suggestion on the WB rather than a FB. Played WB in my last game with Rat as a WB and it worked well.

Thanks gents for your help. Appreciated.

ps rob - "Full Back with run wide or wing back?

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TO answer the last bit first - either! The IF will drop inside and (hopefully) get followed by their fullback and this will then leave acres of space for a FB/WB to get down the touchline.

Of your suggested front 5's, I like the look of the bottom 2 best (purely cos I've not tried DWs!) - of those, the last one seems best. What about moving Noble to the MCL spot as a DLP(S), along with Nolan as MCR as a CM(A) (plus IF(S) and W(A))?

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TO answer the last bit first - either! The IF will drop inside and (hopefully) get followed by their fullback and this will then leave acres of space for a FB/WB to get down the touchline.

Of your suggested front 5's, I like the look of the bottom 2 best (purely cos I've not tried DWs!) - of those, the last one seems best. What about moving Noble to the MCL spot as a DLP(S), along with Nolan as MCR as a CM(A) (plus IF(S) and W(A))?

Good thinking. Will a DLD S not take up the same area as the IF S? I suspect not as he will just sit?

I tried a test game with a couple of ideas but lost to Norwich!!! Certainly what I saw from what I used were I felt with a DW and a WB A they again occupy the same space so I think possibly I will stick to a IF S for the time being. Also a lone forward Attack really doesn't suit. Even with an AML and AMR he is right out on his own and I lost the link up play between the striker and the W A.

I like the look of your suggestion though. It makes sense actually to have a DLP. If you have a DF S, W A, IF S, CM A, BBM S and a BWM D like my line up is I am suddenly thinking who is doing the creating?! There are a lot of runners there so that's got me thinking this :

--------------DLF S--------------

IF S--------------------------W A

---------DLP S------CM A-------

---------------BWM D------------

WB A----CB D-------CB D---FB S

---------------GK D--------------

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To me, that looks very balanced and should work. Perhaps the only thing you might need to look at (especially v the big teams) is whether a BWM closes down too much leaving the DCs a bit exposed - possibly might need to change him to a simple DM(D) or an Anchor at times?

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To me, that looks very balanced and should work. Perhaps the only thing you might need to look at (especially v the big teams) is whether a BWM closes down too much leaving the DCs a bit exposed - possibly might need to change him to a simple DM(D) or an Anchor at times?

Well started with the above and went 1-0 down to Norwich. You are right about the BWM D, I noticed Diame charging up to close down, that's been fine with a BBM and a Full Back on that side but not with the DLP and a WB it seemed. Changed to DM and still seemed a little aggressive so changed him to an Anchor Man at half time and won 6-2 !!!

The IF S was getting far more involved running at the defence and that allowed far greater overlap from the WB. This obviously made possible by your suggestion of using a DLP S. Collison in this role (DLP S) for this match generally got into space and seemed to make things tick. Possibly also why the BWM D struggled because now the DLP S occupies that space. With BBM and a CM A the BWM probably charged up behind them but with the DLP deeper it made sense to use a deeper DM. It really has got me thinking more about use of space.

Therefore my Home Line Up looks now like this : I use ATTACKING / BALANCED due to the three specialist roles.

--------------DLF S--------------

IF S--------------------------W A

---------DLP S------CM A-------

----------------AM D------------

WB A----CB D-------CB D---FB S

---------------GK D--------------

I'll keep the other one for the time being. No harm in swapping them if one doesn't work. Keeps the opposition thinking.

Any ideas on an away tactic for big games? I have been doing ok away attacking teams but at times it's difficult. I have had success against Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea away by attacking them but against Man City, Man United and Spurs it's been a little ropey. The logical way is to play counter attack but I don't think I have the pace up top to do this. Logic also suggests probably moving the AML and AMR back to the midfield strata to make a 4141 but then strategy and philosophy? Maybe a balanced / standard to start?

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^ Love this post. Been a long time coming for you SH, but that's the kind of thought process required to succeed at FM nowadays.

Big question. Are you enjoying yourself again?

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Ha ha, Yeah well you finally converted me wwfan!! I fought it and fought it but I'm addicted and dragged myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century!! Thoroughly enjoying it at the moment until second season syndrome kicks in!!! I realised one of my biggest failings was making too many changes and tweaks far to often and as you say not thinking enough about things,. Just read the above post and am quite surprised by what I said actually because I didn't really realise what I was writing but it does sound like "footballing logic" and to be fair a lot of sense has been written by those trying to help on this thread especially Rob's post (no 53) which really got me thinking about how to improve. So yep you were right all along I hold my hands up!!!

One area I would appreciate some advice though is how to either approach games away against bigger teams or when I am ahead against bigger teams. I have always found going defensive or counter doesn't benefit me at all I suspect due to the high number of slowish players I have after all it's pointless playing direct/counter with Andy Carroll up top!!! Been doing fine. 2nd in the League and in a League Cup Final and that's pretty much by playing the same way away but I will get found out sooner or later so want a Plan B something a little more neutral so to speak without changing formation too much and of course as I have always had an an attacking philosophy my experience of creating a tighter defensive unit is somewhat limited!!! Thoughts would be appreciated?

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Ha ha, Yeah well you finally converted me wwfan!! I fought it and fought it but I'm addicted and dragged myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century!! Thoroughly enjoying it at the moment until second season syndrome kicks in!!! I realised one of my biggest failings was making too many changes and tweaks far to often and as you say not thinking enough about things,. Just read the above post and am quite surprised by what I said actually because I didn't really realise what I was writing but it does sound like "footballing logic" and to be fair a lot of sense has been written by those trying to help on this thread especially Rob's post (no 53) which really got me thinking about how to improve. So yep you were right all along I hold my hands up!!!

One area I would appreciate some advice though is how to either approach games away against bigger teams or when I am ahead against bigger teams. I have always found going defensive or counter doesn't benefit me at all I suspect due to the high number of slowish players I have after all it's pointless playing direct/counter with Andy Carroll up top!!! Been doing fine. 2nd in the League and in a League Cup Final and that's pretty much by playing the same way away but I will get found out sooner or later so want a Plan B something a little more neutral so to speak without changing formation too much and of course as I have always had an an attacking philosophy my experience of creating a tighter defensive unit is somewhat limited!!! Thoughts would be appreciated?

That's the big question! Lowering the tempo and trying to retain possession might help. You might also try to tighten things up with width and depth adjustments. You might change the roles/duties of the players in the back three strata to more hold position/defensive types and boot the ball long for the front three to try and do something with. You might finding hold position and staying more disciplined does the job.

As long as the strategy is logical, you should be OK (although big teams will, or course, sometimes find a way to score no matter what you do).

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I love seeing people have that "lightbulb moment" where it suddenly all makes sense. Glad you are enjoying yourself again SussexHammer. Really pleased for you.

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Well got stuffed out of the blue by Man City at home 5-1 after winning my previous two 6-2 and 4-0!! Now I have lost 4 in 5 after losing only two all year. Can't score and can't stop conceding..... Back to the drawing board!!!

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Often it's about man management and shout usage when you are in poor form rather than wholesale changes.

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Often it's about man management and shout usage when you are in poor form rather than wholesale changes.

I concur. Almost certainly the result of an over-performing side finally succumbing to the pressure. As SH isn't experienced in handling this element of the game due to the constant restarting, he's in a canoe without a paddle.

It needs to be treated as a learning experience so the next time it happens you know how to react and stop a bad performance becoming a slump.

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Well it's a learning curve. Got to the League Cup Final and it went downhill from there, it happens IRL so I can't complain. Definitely over performing and January passed with only one signing as I couldn't find anyone as good as what I already had so fourth is still a massive over achievement at the moment. I'm not annoyed though (for a change) just got to find a way of stopping it as you both say.. The chances are still coming the players are just not finishing them. Lost 2-1 at home in the FA Cup to Huddersfield. 1-0 up and Nolan missed a sitter. If that goes in it's probably game over but the players clearly got nervy due to previous results. Rather be missing chances than not creating them at all. Had a run of 4 draws earlier in the season and turned that around so we will grin and bear it and soldier on. I'll just threaten to cancel the trip to Dubai !!!!!

I'm still not too happy with the midfield three though

I use ATTACKING / BALANCED due to the three specialist roles. (I actually mis counted it's TWO.) Would FLUID be better or am I ok with BALANCED?

--------------DLF S--------------

IF S--------------------------W A

---------DLP S------CM A-------

----------------AM D------------

WB A----CB D-------CB D---FB S

---------------GK D--------------

I don't think I have the player for a DLP. Noble has been poor and I think you need a top player as any playmaker IMO. I'm thinking of just swapping the DLP S to a CM S. As far as I can tell he still won't get in the way of the IF S. Thoughts?

Also Nolan has been poor all season at CM A. He just doesn't get in the box enough. I tried "get further forward" as an individual instruction but it didn't work at all totally destroying the balance of the midfield three so once again thoughts would be appreciated?

Also Carroll is now fit but not performing. Wondering if a DLF S is really his position? A few of the goals Boriello scored were slide passes through to him to run on to and Carroll isn't that sort of player. I have seen him hold it up, knock a lovely ball to Downing who then whips in a brilliant cross but Carroll was still making his way into the box whereas you ideally want him on the end of that cross. So any ideas on whether Carroll would be better off with another role without disrupting the shape of the team? I know a solo striker on an attacking duty is kind of frowned upon!!!

Also another bit of advice would be appreciated : I have always left training to my Assistant but noticed that there were recently some grumbles about training intensity being too low. I had a look and a lot of players have been allocated focus on another position totally different to my chosen positions for them. Eg Nolan is down as training as an Engache, Carlton Cole as a Poacher and so forth which surely isn't much use if I don't use those positions?

Bar going with FMC for the fact that you don't have to worry about training any ideas on whether I should take the training and change role training to those that I already use? Eg Nolan as a CM A, Cole as a DLF S? That sort of thing?

So as you see I'm not throwing my toys out of the pram as per usual but any advice on the above I would appreciate.

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Carroll as a target man attack would probably have enough support from the CMa and the Wa, you could try that out for a few games. Also, Carroll pushing up against the defence would probably open up more space for the IFs to run into, and for the DLPs to play in.

I'd keep the DLPs personally, depth is important in an attack and having a deeper outlet is always beneficial imo.

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Carroll as a target man attack would probably have enough support from the CMa and the Wa, you could try that out for a few games. Also, Carroll pushing up against the defence would probably open up more space for the IFs to run into, and for the DLPs to play in.

I'd keep the DLPs personally, depth is important in an attack and having a deeper outlet is always beneficial imo.

Thanks for that. I thought about a CM S because they seemed to sit fairly deep as well. My main concern is whether only a top class player should be a playmaker of any kind and a deep lying CM would be a poor man's playmaker so to speak?

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Funnily enough since my last post I have left Wolves for (Championship based) West Ham and I am having a similar experience to you at the start of this thread, nothing seems to work and I keep chopping and changing to try and get the right combination.

I have been particularly frustrated at the inconsistency of a lot of Big Sam's leftovers and a summer clear-out beckons but my main problem has been regularly swapping aoround formation, approach and personnel...both in-between and during matches. Ultimately, if the board gives me the time, I've got an idea of where I want to be and how to get there but I understand why i'm not getting there yet but sometimes I get too close to it and can't sit back and take stock and put fresh eyes on it!

Ravel Morrison has been my only ray of sunshine, Carroll in particular has been hopeless!

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Funnily enough since my last post I have left Wolves for (Championship based) West Ham and I am having a similar experience to you at the start of this thread, nothing seems to work and I keep chopping and changing to try and get the right combination.

I have been particularly frustrated at the inconsistency of a lot of Big Sam's leftovers and a summer clear-out beckons but my main problem has been regularly swapping aoround formation, approach and personnel...both in-between and during matches. Ultimately, if the board gives me the time, I've got an idea of where I want to be and how to get there but I understand why i'm not getting there yet but sometimes I get too close to it and can't sit back and take stock and put fresh eyes on it!

Ravel Morrison has been my only ray of sunshine, Carroll in particular has been hopeless!

I have nearly given up again and yet I am once again top four so it's not because "I am not winning".

I just can't find the consistency with a 433. I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments on another thread about any sort of DM. The position seems an absolute waste whereas IRL it is so important. I have tried everything there and the sentiments written elsewhere are correct it gives nothing defensively or offensively. I push up because defending deep is suicide on this version so a DLP even on support is pretty woeful. A BWM just charges about like a headless chicken. An Anchor man doesn't seem to do much and a Regista seems a total waste of a potentially fantastic role. Safest option seems to be a DM and that is horribly inconsistent. In fact I would go as far as saying every single role seems exactly the same when watching the ME. Even with two DM's it seems easy to concede, it's a real challenge FM14 with that constant ball behind full backs (whether on close down much or rarely and poor team defending), I mean how many years have people suggested to get their AMR and AML to man mark just to get them to track back, surely the role should have developed by now?!

Any IF A or W A on my right is brilliant with assists and goals but any IF or W on the left never gets involved. Try roam, inside, wider, shoot less, cross more they always play like a donkey and again there seems absolutely no difference to the way they perform with each change to their instructions you make!! Strikers seem to perform exactly the same. I have never seen a TM chest it down and play a simple lay off and cross aim to TM is awful, in fact crosses in general are woeful.

The inconsistency of the formation is frightening. I beat AC Milan 3-1 away then lost to Southampton next game away 0-4. Next game after that I draw 4-4 away at Man City. A few games later I beat Fulham 5-0 at home, then lose to Swansea 1-2 away, beat Stoke 5-0 at home then the following week get beat 1-0 by Burnley. Within a week I have gone from 15 shots on target to not one against lower table Burnley in an entire 90 minutes!!! I know the game doesn't learn your tactics but it sure feels like it at times!

Then I play Arsenal at home. 3-0 down after 20 minutes. I go to a 4231 and change to counter and get to 3-3 eventually winning on penalties. Go figure!!

I honestly can say that practically ever role you pick plays the same way and the constant tinkering is a real pain. I know sometimes in football you have to make changes but you shouldn't have to make a change every single time the opposition makes one. What happened to the old adage of "let them worry about us?!?!"

In two seasons the games I have lost are, Man City A, Hull A, Man City H, Swansea a, Stoke A, Huddersfield H, Newcastle A, Arsenal H, Southampton, A, Spurs A, Swansea, H, Burnley H.

No Man United or Chelsea on that list!!! I just cannot see as I say above how I can spank someone 5-0 one week and lose to relegation fodder without getting a shot on target the following week! Confidence should mean something and it seems that there is very little in performance between the top Clubs and the Clubs that "should be struggling!"

Any yep Carroll is hopeless!!

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I push up because defending deep is suicide on this version

And there it is. Playing what you feel the ME does rather than playing logically. Until you stop thinking like this, frustration will always set in.

My defence was far more solid playing deep than high in my last season. If you struggle to defend deep, it will be something you are doing, not something inherent to the ME.

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And there it is. Playing what you feel the ME does rather than playing logically. Until you stop thinking like this, frustration will always set in.

My defence was far more solid playing deep than high in my last season. If you struggle to defend deep, it will be something you are doing, not something inherent to the ME.

I see a lot defend deep yet keep the attacking player really aggressive which just further isolates them and amplifies the issues or linking play up, finding space and creating support. If you defend deep then the rest of the strategy/roles/duties for the players in front of the defence should all be taken into account. I feel a lot of users ignore/neglect this side of the approach.

On this version of FM it's the first version where I actually feel playing defensive and deep actually works. I've had great success playing this way and seem some great football been played.

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No Man United or Chelsea on that list!!! I just cannot see as I say above how I can spank someone 5-0 one week and lose to relegation fodder without getting a shot on target the following week! Confidence should mean something and it seems that there is very little in performance between the top Clubs and the Clubs that "should be struggling!"

This is easy to know why. The bigger sides will attack you as a rule which creates space automatically for you to attack in. This means the opposition will leave gaps and space. But when facing someone who is at the bottom of the table as a general rule they'll be more compact and will gladly sit back and soak up any kind of pressure. Now this means that it is down to you to create and find the space needed to break through, hence why you go from having 15 shots to 0. You need to adapt your approach for games where a side is happy to sit back and hit you on the counter, its these games that are harder to win compared to playing the bigger sides imo.

Here is a post I did a while back about how I approach this exact issue, ignore the shape that doesn't really matter its what I do that is important;

Breaking Down The Walls

There are quite a few options I could use when facing stubborn sides who sit deep and are hard to break down. I could be relentless and do attack after attack in the hope that sooner or later I force them into a mistake and that they buckle under the constant pressure. This approach tends to have more shots but less accuracy because the higher you play and the more aggressive you are then the more cramped the final third becomes.

Another option would be to try and force them up the pitch more by going counter attacking and hope they had to push on more. You’d be surprised how many times this can actually work due to the opposition becoming more adventurous. The down side is they will still probably be solid at the back and set up well, normally narrow too. So it can still be tricky.

Or you can take the approach I’ve just used against Port Vale;

Port Vale lined up with a bog standard 4-4-2 so I knew I’d find space behind their midfield and with the half back I had the numbers advantage in the middle. So what I decided to do was switch from the attacking strategy to a control one so I wasn’t positioned too high and removed the push higher and faster tempo shouts so I could actually play at a slower pace. This meant that I’d be deeper than normal which in turn gives me more space to work with. Space and movement is the key for beating any side who sits deep and is happy to defend against you. For a bit of extra security I also used the retain possession shout and the exploit the middle one too. This was so I could impose myself on the game from a central position and force Port Vale’s midfield duo to mark my players which shouldn’t be an issue because the half back should be more like a central midfielder in this game so I’d always have a free man in the centre.

This automatically creates space without me doing anything because Vale’s midfield either drop off and sit deep to protect their defence and stop runners from my midfield. Which would mean my central duo would be more like AMC’s and would be in great positions to feed the wide men the ball, especially on my right side were the wide midfield cuts inside and supports, this would create an overlap on the inside.

Or they push up and try and hassle my midfield pairing which creates space behind them for the free midfielder or wide midfielder to run into. It could go either way and I’ll have to see how it goes during the game itself.

ULxS7N6.png

You can see once the game starts how deep I am compared to normal. The yellow line is roughly where we normally take up position. You can see already that my two central midfielders have space which means they can dictate the game and hopefully influence it more.

JSxrCSF.png

This screenshot shows Port Vale have 8 men back in this move. It also highlights my central three and the triangle they create giving whichever one of them on the ball a passing option. It might look like I don’t have any options but I actually do because any kind of long/direct/through ball now would split Port Vale open and put them on the back foot. It would be hard to defend against too because it would catch them out and make the defenders flat footed because they are still atm and 2 of my players are actually in movement. So I’d say this gives me the advantage and edge if the ball does reach one of the highlighted options.

The players actually took none of those options though and saw something which I didn’t which resulted in this goal;

That’s the deep lying playmaker, advanced playmaker and the half back all combining and doing exactly what I wanted them to do. I actually think this goal highlights how important it was for the player to have space to run into and make movement from deep. If I was more attack minded for this game then the space he ran into before the pass for the striker would have been congested and wouldn’t have existed.

The first real time Vale committed men forward moments after the goal above, this happened;

Do you see why I always bang on about space and movement? It’s so vital and important for winning games that the strikers have support, especially if you use a lone striker. Its a quick counter attacking move but it exposed their MC’s when they pushed on too far. It just allows me to dictate through the centre.

The third goal I scored came from a corner.

I’m not set up to create lots of chances but instead the tactic relies on creating quality good chances. You’ll get more of an idea when I post more about this at a later date.

The game played out as you’d expect, I had lots of possession, a few good chances and restricted them to just blocked shots.

hY2qHNp.png

The individual players actually had lots of passes between themselves;

7DkEtcx.png

And the heat maps looked like this;

9TvGeMn.png

VLSGCQe.png

I know some of you might be disappointed by this post and was expecting more maybe, but this is all the changes I did. I believe I play the game in a very simplistic way and don’t make drastic changes. My threads always seem more detailed than the way I actually play the game because I’m trying to translate how I play across. But I play at a very high speed and I truly believe that less is more when it comes to minor tweaks based on what is happening on the pitch.

The changes I made for this game took about 10 seconds to do and I just thought about it logically and looked at were I could do the damage from and how I can take advantage of that. Hopefully it comes across okay and you can see and understand why I did the changes, I’ve tried to explain it the best I can but it doesn’t always come across right when trying to write down the way you think

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I guess you didn't find it helpful then.....

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I guess you didn't find it helpful then.....

Cleon. Sorry it was a great article I scrolled through quickly as manic at work this week, intending to reply and ask a few questions possibly this evening if that's ok? The weekend, finally!!

I need a job testing FM, that would probably be perfect!!

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...I need a job testing FM...

Don't we all.

There was a thread that I contributed to a long time ago started by FuriousUK. It was originally based on the 41221 however I got excited and, to some people's annoyance, went on one about the 4231. Here is the link - it may provide some useful insight:

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/311627-The-FM-41221-(433-451-WoW)

As I say, primarily based on the 41221 however I think some people found the brief 4231 discussion useful.

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Cleon.

Great post totally see where you are coming from re the space.

I have given up starting with using an attacking philosophy as a starting base. Went well first season but second I have had some horrific results, Arsenal L 3-6, Southampton L 0-4, Chelsea L 1-5, Huddersfield L 2-4 (weeks after beating them 6-0) and the final straw was losing 7-2 away at Villa when I beat them 4-0 at their place the first season. To be fair I have messed around with roles since then,. I also felt that a high line was playing havoc with my defenders fitness levels. Practically every week my Assistant is telling me that Winston Reid is in need of a rest although Winston bless him says he is fine! Even if I give him a rest the next game he is knackered again. Even Diame who has fantastic fitness stats is now in a need of a rest although that maybe down to his African Cup exploits. Any thoughts on this as these guys should be fit pro's? I leave my training to the Assistant.

One of my biggest issues was getting the best out of Schurlle who was poor as an IF S. Swapped him over to an IF A and he was on fire but because of that the W S on the other side suddenly became poor. I know to have both on attack is not really sensible. I think half the issue is that I really don't know which role to give a lone striker. One week a DLF A plays well, then doesn't, another week an AF plays well it's really tough to get the right role for a lone striker. Ironically Carroll has 12 goals and is in 6th spot in the goal scoring charts and also has an average rating of 7.28 the 4th highest in the rating charts but never actually seems to play well, he just doesn't seem to be involved. Maybe that's down to playing extended highlights. I just can't seem to get him scoring from headers, although that's pretty lifelike I guess!!

I have gone back to basics and last night beat Juventus in the CL 2-0 at home with 14 shots on goal with 6 on target. They had 2 shots with 0 on target which is pretty good with Tevez and co. I am now lined up like this to start with although philosophy may change depending on how the game is going:

WestHamUnited_TacticsOverview-8.png

The heat map showed this and I am delighted with it because it's pretty much where I would want the players. All areas look covered. Sometimes the gaps are either too big or my players look far too bunched but this looks ok bar maybe possibly the AM could be a little deeper?

WestHamvJuventus_AnalysisPerformance.png

One thing I am thinking about though is how to make more of the CM A. What are your thoughts on a BWM with get forward more as an instruction?

Also would a forward with an attack duty give more space for those behind to play?

Another thing that has been in my mind is this. In an attacking philosophy for instance are you better off using roles that are attacking based? IE An Advanced Forward, Winger Attack, Attacking Playmaker rather than a DLP, and a DM S rather than an Anchor Man?

The same applies for say a counter or defensive strategy. Would an Anchor Man be better than a DM, A DLF S better than an Advanced Forward, DLP better than an Attacking Playmaker and so forth?

The thinking behind this is that with an attacking philosophy would you not want your players higher up the pitch whereas with any defensive minded philosophy would more en behind the ball be better? Just something I was thinking about last night whilst lying in bed!!!!

Thoughts would be appreciated.

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Sorry to bump, just to say I believe the photos still show if you click on the box.

They don't!

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They don't!

How weird, they do for me even if I log out on photobucket and just click as a normal user!!

Will look for another sharing site......

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Hey thought I would try and contribute to this thread as i too have tried to experiment with a 4-2-3-1 system.

I'm nearing the end of my first season in charge of Arsenal in the 2017-2018 season, after a journeyman style save having previously spent between 6 months- 2 years at Chester, Leyton Orient and Newcastle.

After getting to grips with the Arsenal squad I decided the best route to go down was a 4-2-3-1 as when I joined we didn't really have much too offer in the Defensive midfield but had alot of play maker type midfielders in the typical Arsenal style.

With the formation in mind and having a squad that still possessed an ageing Mertesacker, Vermaelen and Koscielny along side an 18 year old regen and a vertically

challenged Nkoulou.

Prompting the need for a deeper starting mentality to help the defenders whilst also needing to score plenty of goals meaning I decided it would be for the best to play counter attacking football looking to break quickly which promted me to this formation.

vfmn.png

Unfortunately this wasn't my tactic all season and have made a fair few tweaks along the way including changing the winger to attack after noticing the striker being

the only option in the box, lowering the right fullback to support to accommodate the previous change and setting the right MC to an advanced play maker support from the original

Deep lying play maker support to help plug the gap in between my right flank as well as offer an option when going forward.

ta5y.png

81nt.png

And my favorite result of the season (first piece of silverware)

1aiq.png

My PI's have been

Dc's: Short passing (to stop the hoof ball)

Lb A: Run wide (overlap IF), cross to far post (aiming at right winger attack) and tight mark.

Rb S: Tight mark, fewer risky passes and short passing (regen who isn't great at distributing)

Cm D: Pass short (not great distributing) mark tight and tackle hard.

Ap S: Mark tight and Direct passes ( good distribution, plenty of runners)

Winger A: Mark tight (looking to track back) pass short and fewer risky passes (Walcott poor distribution) and cross aim center (benteke to aim at)

Treq: More direct passes (good distribution)

IF S: Sit narrow (create overlap) mark tight (looking to track back) more direct passes (good distributor) and cross aim fair post (aiming at right winger)

Striker: Short passes (when Benteke due to poor distribution)

Just to note I've had a few good results and a few lucky/poor ones. away from home I tend to struggle still including games against Spurs where I had to cling on to an early goal whilst they threw everything at me and were unlucky not to score after having 5 ccc, also a 2-0 loss against United away where I could hardly get out of my half.

Thanks for reading all that if you managed it ! Hope it's helped anyone after gaining plenty of help from others that contribute on this site.

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Joep it looks to me, from your stats, that you don't fulfill your original remit of playing counter attacking football (not that this is a bad thing at all - certainly a successful tactic). It seems you do well keeping hold of the ball, especially in the final third which would account for your strong presence around the box with plenty of attacking midfielders.

It would be interesting to see your passing map and average positions in games where you've had more possession and when you haven't.

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Well it was back to the drawing board after a very poor run at the start of the second season. Trying something with a player in the Steven Gerard role as per another thread and experimented with this at home against Liverpool.

45115thMay.png

Started with a BBM on the right side of centre midfield and a DLF S but whilst I was doing ok balls were coming into the box but no one was there, this is a difficulty with a supporting striker I feel.

Second half I changed the BBM to a CM A and the DLF S to an AF A and ran out 3-1 winners with pleasingly three goals from open play and one each from the front three which is a first for me!!

Individual instructions :

CWB - Run wide with ball.

HB - More direct passes, more risky passes.

AF - Move into channels.

I was pretty pleased with the Half Back Role as he made a three at the back at times although long pass wise was pretty poor although I have now instructed to teach Noble and Matic to try longer passes so will see what that brings. With 23 shots with 11 on target it is a good start but a couple of things I would like some advice on.

What are your thoughts on a forward with an attacking duty? I have tried many a support duty and whilst he supplies quite well he is rarely in an advanced position when you want him to be. I have tried the AF A to allow the IF S more room and assume a CM A and Winger A will give enough support?

What are peoples thoughts on something like less risky passes on full backs? Certainly the FB S as sometimes I wonder if defenders generally have poorer passing stats so is it wise to use an instruction such as that?

I will keep the thread posted but it's a promising start. Again!!!!

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An AF(A) is the most appropriate "attack duty" choice for a lone forward. Getting him using lots of lateral movement is key "i.e. move into channels" - but he can still help build up play.

As for Full Backs I would generally be happier with them being less adventurous with their passing, they are not renowned for their ability to spread a raking 60 yard lofted through ball. If the individual has the skill for it and/or it fits the system though then use it.

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An AF(A) is the most appropriate "attack duty" choice for a lone forward. Getting him using lots of lateral movement is key "i.e. move into channels" - but he can still help build up play.

As for Full Backs I would generally be happier with them being less adventurous with their passing, they are not renowned for their ability to spread a raking 60 yard lofted through ball. If the individual has the skill for it and/or it fits the system though then use it.

Thanks Llama. May well try less risky passes on full backs. Thanks for the advice on the AF. Was pleased to see my AF have a shot, it was saved, but he followed up to head the rebound home. Didn't get that with a support forward.

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No problem. I mean the main movement difference is summed up between a Supporting and Attacking duty, with an example. Last year Arsenal used Gervinho and Giroud frequently in the forward roles - Gervinho moves into channels, stay high and moves laterally. Giroud holds the ball up and drops deeper, but less lateral movement (something he has added this year).

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Couldn't get the 451 working going forward at all. Tried pretty much everything but it's getting a central midfielder to get far enough forward and I just can't get it right.

Gone back to a 4231 and had some success recently with the below. Team instructions are get stuck in, hassle, push higher, use offside, play wider, work into box.

Beat Athletico Madrid 3-1 away with some great stuff although came home and only drew 1-1 v Hull !! Some decent results since though although I am really torn between whether to use a BBM or a BWM in the CM right spot, thoughts? I have pretty much given up on playmakers, I think you need that special player to incorporate them and too much seems to go through them so moves break down too often IMO.

Whilst this is decent at home (bar the Madrid result) it's obviously not great away against the big sides as they just carve you open over the top so would appreciate some thoughts in making this more stable as an away from home version.

I know in my mind what I would do IRL. Drop the CM's to DM, drop deeper, lose the offside, maybe go to counter or defensive, possibly narrower, possibly more direct but I have tried some of these ideas and I find in this game that if you lose hassle or get stuck in the whole approach is too passive and standing off is pretty much an invitation to just play through you so some ideas I would certainly appreciate because if I can get it right away from home I have good base to work on.

WestHamUnited_TacticsOverview-9.png

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Update.....

Pretty much settled on this for a main tactic at home.

Team instructions are get stuck in, hassle, push higher, use offside, play wider, work into box, hit early crosses, higher tempo.

One thing I noticed with this is that it has upped my chances rate including CCC's quite dramatically, however my striker whilst having now numerous chances keeps hitting the keeper. Assumed it could be the added higher tempo possibly making him rush shots but as soon as I lower the tempo I don't make as many chances so any thoughts? PPM's maybe?

Also I really need help on an away/playing higher opposition way of playing. I had designed both a counter and contain version of the below taking off such instructions like higher line and offside but in my latest match I was 2-1 up and went to counter they scored. I went back to attacking and went 3-2, so changed then to contain. They scored!! I can't for the life of me seem to make a counter attacking tactic that in my vision sits deeper, keeps it tight and hits teams on the break so any ideas would be greatly appreciated because otherwise I am stuck with just attacking!!!

WestHamUnited_TacticsOverview-10.png

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So you are back to the 4-2-3-1. I did pretty much the same things as you and currently I am using the 4-1-2-2-1 which I really like. Just like you I'm also struggling when to drop deep/push higher up/change mentality. I guess it's a matter of experience. From what I think is right if you drop deeper you also need players who drop deeper and potentially start a counter or at least have players they can pass to. If you drop deeper most teams will push higher up and leave you with less space in your own half so I think you need more players to link up with. Maybe a 4-1-4-1(turns into 4-3-3 or 4-1-2-2-1 in attack) or a 4-4-1-1 will suit the style of play more.

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So you are back to the 4-2-3-1. I did pretty much the same things as you and currently I am using the 4-1-2-2-1 which I really like. Just like you I'm also struggling when to drop deep/push higher up/change mentality. I guess it's a matter of experience. From what I think is right if you drop deeper you also need players who drop deeper and potentially start a counter or at least have players they can pass to. If you drop deeper most teams will push higher up and leave you with less space in your own half so I think you need more players to link up with. Maybe a 4-1-4-1(turns into 4-3-3 or 4-1-2-2-1 in attack) or a 4-4-1-1 will suit the style of play more.

Thanks for that. Think I struggle because I find that anything that allows the opposition to come at you ie the opposite to hassle and get stuck in will leave you too open. Pressing of any kind seems very lax in this version and even hassle isn't as good as it should be so stand off for instance is an invitation for problems.

I love the 41221 but I just couldn't get support from the midfield centre two in an attacking sense. Even a CM A was poor with his support. With the 4231 Morrison has been excellent and the DW's offer more defensively but it's still not perfect.

Ever since FM13 I find that I never settle. Something works for a few game months and then it's back to the drawing board. I really feel that tactics in FM now seem to need to be tailored to the opposition to some extent. The old adage of "lets not worry about them, let them worry about us" doesn't seem to apply these days and it's a shame because it's bizarre that I can beat Athletico Madrid 3-1 away and then lose to a Championship side at home days later with no real rhyme or reason.

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Interesting little update, played Man City at Home and switched the two CM back to DM. However to keep in fashion with a high attacking game I played them both as Registas. Got a man sent off after 10 minutes but won 3-2 with 10 men. Was 2-1 up went counter and they scored. Went attacking and went 3-1 up. Went defensive and they scored so went attacking again and saw the game out. It might be me but whenever I try a deeper, defensive strategy it seems an open invitation for the opposition to score!!

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