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14.3 killed my 4-1-2-2-1 scoring. Help me get it back?

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Okay, the thread title isn't 100% accurate, but here's the situation. I've brought Fortuna Sittard into the Dutch Eredivisie and am in my third year up with them. First year we scraped by and finished 14th, but the second year, after some good signings I rocketed them up to 3rd! Both of these years were with a 4-4-2. Admittedly, 3rd was probably punching above our weight, but the whole season seemed to consist of consistently good football. Just as 14.3 hit, a new season was set to begin. Since I didn't like how many goals we conceded under the 4-2-2, I figured a switch to the 4-1-2-2-1 was in order, and since I figured I had the personnel for it, I gave it a shot. The screenshot below shows the tactical setup.

2014-03-11_00005_zps40fad32c.jpg

The following season saw me finish 7th and concede far fewer goals than I had previously, which was good. However, I also scored a fraction of what I had with the 4-4-2. Now in the next season I'm off to a frustrating start at 0-4-1 while barely managing to put anything in the net.

It's hard to see if it's the tactic or the patch, but regardless I'd like to be scoring more often and would like to get anyone's opinion on tweaks or adjustments I can make. The only player instructions I have active are Hold Position for my CF, since I was seeing him drop too far back to get on the end of crosses delivered by my AMR with blistering pace, and Shoot Less Often for my AMR, since his finishing is bad and I'd like him to look to pass/cross more often.

I tend to swap between Counter, Standard, and Control depending on the opposition, and I'm still trying to figure out how to best utilize my left CM, whether as a BWM, BBM, or CM on Support.

I can post more shots with my actual players' stats if necessary. Thanks for any help!

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Your initial set up looks pretty well balanced - perhaps it is in-match decisions. Can you elaborate more on some of these matches, your decisions and the problems you faced in-game?

I find my biggest issue is the in-game tactical decision making - I can build a solid and reliable system frequently, but I find my in-game decisions sometimes contain a few holes in them...

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Could you switch the wide duties around? I daresay you'd want your attacking full back on the same side as the inside forward, rather than behind a supporting winger.

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I used same tactics with my portuguese second division Uniao Madeira team, and yes - I felt lack of shoots either. Main issue of it in my opinion was isolation of my forward and too few attacking players.

So I've made the following changes in my tactic:

1. Anchorman becomes Ball Winning Midfielder (in my matches he was not so useful as anchorman, so I lost not so much, but obtain player, who able to start our counter-attacks).

2. Left CM becomes Box to Box Midfielder - same logics here as above.

3. My Forward becomes Deep Lying Forward - because he was too isolated. Yes, now he shoot less often, however he create wonderful CCC for both of my wingers, who start score much more often. I've tried to use him as False Nine, but his attributes not too good for this role, so my choice was DLF.

4. I remove TI "Work ball into box" because I noticed situations, when my players was in front of opponent's net and there was too hard to make good pass, but proper position to make long strike. Instead of strike they just turning around themselves untill opponent player took the ball from them. So, when I exclude this team instruction - they start trying to shoot at least in such situations. And from time to time they even score ...

5. To stay competetive when defending I was forsed to switch both of my FullBacks to Support duty - it makes my wings not so vulnerable.

Hope, it'll help. And sorry for my poor english.

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Thanks for the replies everyone!

Could you switch the wide duties around? I daresay you'd want your attacking full back on the same side as the inside forward, rather than behind a supporting winger.

The issue with that is my left fullback doesn't have the Dribbling or Off the Ball to really be effective Attacking. My AMR actually has the PPM Cuts Inside, so he and my attacking right fullback don't blunder into each other much. I'll swap them though, and see what happens. One thing I have been noticing is my IF doesn't really cut across goal and shoot with his strong foot much.

I used same tactics with my portuguese second division...

I'll try removing Work Ball Into Box. I hate wasted long shots, but maybe this will encourage them to try even medium length chances with greater frequency.

Your initial set up looks pretty well balanced - perhaps it is in-match decisions. Can you elaborate more on some of these matches, your decisions and the problems you faced in-game?

I find my biggest issue is the in-game tactical decision making - I can build a solid and reliable system frequently, but I find my in-game decisions sometimes contain a few holes in them...

To be honest, my in game tactical adjustments are minimal. I mostly base it around what possession is looking like. If I find I'm not getting much of the ball, I'll go Counter. If they're not getting many chances at all I'll go Control. If I"m getting absolutely hammered, I'll go Defensive and Retain Possession which seems to help.

The Shorter Passing/Pass Into Space is a pair I'm not sure I want, as I often see my players making absolutely atrocious passes straight to the opposition as if they aren't even aware there's another team on the pitch. Thus, I've removed that from my standard tactic.

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That might be part of the issue - not adapting enough. Read The Hand of God's most recent posts, in his thread stickied at the top of the forum - perfect about using pre & in-game decisions to exploit space and create chances.

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I have the exact same formation in my game and I see some slight problems with your tactical approach.

1) It seems like you want to attack down the right and filter in crosses to your CF and IF but your want to maintain possession, work ball into the box approach along with short passing seems to conflict with that.

2) You have only 2 main threats on goal. In addition your AP is being restricted as he is the only midfielder in your center doing any offensive work. Your buildup is probably being focused on the wings and losing possession as they try to funnel to their playmaker and he gets overrun with no viable short options with your short passing ticked on.

In fixing this it really depends on your players. First thing is to fix your midfield. If your AP is being marked out then you just lost the middle of the field with possession. Those other two players need some freedom to contribute. I use a DLP instead of anchorman you could try experimenting that or Half-back. Either of these are good because they help link the defense to the midfield. If your DMF is not a competent passer than move him to a BWM. I would then consider changing the two CM to just Center Midfield with support and attack options. It will give a lot more fluidity in the midfield as long as they both have decent passing @ ~13. Give the one of the three with the best technique and passing freedom to do longer passes to unlock the wings if the situation emerges with specific instructions.

Next I would consider changing the FB to just support and using specific instructions to get more of what you want out of him. I assume he is a talented attacker so you can tell him to dribble more and cross more frequently if that is what you want depending on his attributes.

Last your front 3. Who is your main threat? If it is the IF then I would allow him to dribble more and create more space by changing the CF to a False 9 or DLF. Then I would change the winger to an IF on support. This gives more room for the IF to cut in and your striker is now an excellent link up option for their cuts inside. Also will give more room for your more attacking fullback on the right if the IF is cutting in living the touchline open.

If it is your CF that is your main threat then it gets a bit tricky. You can leave it as it is but lone strikers can be very streaky and very dependent on stats.

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I have the exact same formation in my game and I see some slight problems with your tactical approach.

Excellent. My DM is quite skilled with passing if I remember correctly, so a change to DLP may provide good results. Both my CMs also have good passing, so hopefully I can get some more fluidity out of them like you said. I think I've got enough flexibility with my IF and CF that I can get the most talented scorer to work as the main threat at IF. Thanks for the tips and I'll let you guys know what results I see!

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After fiddling with roles, duties, and players for several games, I've hit what is either a sweet spot or just a good run against average opponents using the following setup:

2014-03-20_00001_zps7143fb9d.jpg

It's seen me go 4-1-0 in my last 5 matches. I will say, slaughtering Olympiakos 6-0 on their pitch was quite satisfying. My AML had a streak of 8 goals in 4 games. With both IF's set to Dribble More, they rocket down the pitch to start the attack and either cross into my forward if he's in a good spot (which does seem to happen) or they hold up and play it back center when my midfield arrives. The DLP seems to help start attacks quite a bit as well.

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