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Tactical Implicatons of Introducing Neymar into a Dominant Attack


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I'm Spurs, and find myself in the midst of an arms rates of sorts. David-Moyes-led Arsenal went on a spending spree, signing Aguero and Ayew, along with the free transfer of a 29-yo Lionel Messi on a free. I was asleep at the wheel on checking the expiring deals during the January window and may live to regret that oversight.

Here's my squad:

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I was in the market for a second ST (for depth/rotation with Hamsik) and AML (fill-in for Gareth Bale, who has one serious injury each year). Fresh off a board takeover and flush with cash, I signed Neymar. My scouts and assistant manager both rate Neymar as playing best as a natural wide player, rather than a striker. I have a lot of flexibility between Hamsik/Bale/Neymar/Ozil, but having so many options can be chaotic. I want to land on a steady tactic set/squad rotation, and had a few questions along the way (mostly about how to use Neymar and Hamsik together):

Would moving him between positions (he played Winger at Santos, Striker for Brazil) have a negative affect on his ability to adjust to the club?

What striker role should I use for Neymar if Hamsik is playing as an AMC Treq?

My lone striker can sometimes get marked out of the game. If I play Neymar out wide and have him switching positions with Hamsik, will that help eliminate the problem?

I was also considering a 4-4-2 (w AML/AMR) with Hamsik as a Trequarista Striker alongside Neymar. But, again, what would Neymar's best role be?

Here are the players involved:

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It is all dependent on how you want the squad to play, specifically the player. Look at how you think you should play him according to his attributes, PPMs, the players around him whilst considering your overall style of play.

Personally, I would set up asking him to stay wide, receive the ball in space and just do his own thing. I wouldn't rely on him to play a pass to split the defence against top draw opponents and I certainly wouldn't rely on him to work with the rest of my attackers. I'd be tempted to adjust Baines' duty to Support to compensate for a wholly attacking player on that side and offer a fall back option if Neymar makes a mistake (he will still get relatively forward, perhaps ask to cross more often and from deep), stick Neymar wide on the left with a 'stay wider' PI - gives him the space to run at defenders and room in the channel for your creative player to play Neymar in.

This is entirely dependent though on how you want your attack to work and how the interaction between AMC and CF affects the behaviour and roles of your wide men.

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If playing Neymar up front I'd be tempted to try him as an AF. You have plenty of creativity and movement behind the striker so having him run off the shoulder of defenders will push them back and create space for your midfielders. He's also a pacey and clinical finisher, which the AF role will make great use of.

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If playing Neymar up front I'd be tempted to try him as an AF. You have plenty of creativity and movement behind the striker so having him run off the shoulder of defenders will push them back and create space for your midfielders. He's also a pacey and clinical finisher, which the AF role will make great use of.

If his Treq (which as a role as more varied movement between the lines than an AF) is already being marked out of the game then do you not think an AF will be completely covered, especially with a DM covering the AMC? For that to work, you'd be heavily reliant on forward runs from the CMs to create overloads and that would leave you defensively short.

Also, I'm not convinced Neymar has the physical ability to cope with being marked by one/two CBs. If either of the defenders is in the slightest bit aggressive and mobile then Neymar will struggle to make an impact - perhaps this would be mitigated with two up front.

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Thank you for your responses. I have a few follow-ups.

It is all dependent on how you want the squad to play, specifically the player. Look at how you think you should play him according to his attributes, PPMs, the players around him whilst considering your overall style of play.

I'm interested in how to use the player into my system, rather than adjust my system to accommodate a specific player. In short, my tactic is built around a creative attacker up top, and one of my wide players play almost as a second striker. The AMC is meant to feed those players, or score the occasional goal himself. The other wide player is an outright Winger to keep the middle of the park from being too crowded.

I signed Neymar because he can play alone as a Treq up front, or as a goal-scoring threat out wide. It's when I want to play him alongside comparably skilled players that I have questions. Hamsik has the stronger Treq attributes, but I'm thinking the two players would play together tremendously (based on Neymar's superior speed and finishing).

Personally, I would set up asking him to stay wide, receive the ball in space and just do his own thing. I wouldn't rely on him to play a pass to split the defence against top draw opponents and I certainly wouldn't rely on him to work with the rest of my attackers...stick Neymar wide on the left with a 'stay wider' PI - gives him the space to run at defenders and room in the channel for your creative player to play Neymar in.

Wouldn't playing him as a Winger, with a PI to stick to the left side while dribbling, significantly impact his ability to score? If wanted to use him as a second striker from the outside, wouldn't want his PIs to be Cuts Inside or Moves into Channels?

Also, I'm not convinced Neymar has the physical ability to cope with being marked by one/two CBs. If either of the defenders is in the slightest bit aggressive and mobile then Neymar will struggle to make an impact - perhaps this would be mitigated with two up front.

Do you not think he could be used as a lone striker? If I use him up top, it's as a Treq, with the idea that he'd be bringing his teammates into play rather than just getting pummeled by physical defenders. Or are you suggesting that would happen regardless based on his positioning (rather than his role)? The other question then is what role to give him when he's alongside a Treq - as either a second striker, or a lone striker with an AMC Treq?

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As a non-Neymar aside, but related to how my tactic works, I've had a very hard time getting Ozil going. He's still settling into the squad (I signed him in January, and it's now pre-season in August), and performs poorly when he plays. Based on how I've described my preferred style of play above, is his low work-rate a problem playing in the middle? Are his creative skills being usurped by the Treq operating as my playmaker? He's the guy I would most easily sell - I could use Hamsik as an AMC, plus I have a killer regen ready for more first team action.

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