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Cleon

The School of the Defensive Arts

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Cleon, very interesting. The formation you chose to do this is mindblowing. I 'll be coming back with more questions after I 've read it for a second time, but for the time being here are 3 questions for you:

1) [wing defense again!] *The opposition left winger holds up the ball so that their left fullback joins him to overload your right back. One of them gets clear with the ball, passes it with all the time in the world to their charging central midfielder who slams it to the back of your net.*

How come this isn't happening?! Even if your players have the roles and ability to cover for each other, I would have expected this to be quite a common occurrence.

2) [player attributes] I was surprised to see some specific low attributes of your players:

a) The low Stamina of your CM. How does he cope with all that he has to do? (charging forward and also covering the wing)

b) The low Finishing of your 2 forwards (they do have good composure though). Isn't that too low for the division you are playing in? I am playing in Skrill Premier so I wouldn't know, but it looks too low.

c) The low Decisions of you B2B and CM. I understand that you made sure your more creative central players (Treq & Regista) have good Decisions. Still the numbers for your B2B and CM look rather low for central midfielders. Don't they do stupid stuff often?

Do you think the above attributes are acceptable or will you be doing your best to improve them?

3) [wing attack & crossing] Your attacking men appear to lack in aerial ability. Still, you are often attacking from the wings when your wingbacks charge forward. Do they tend to waste many possessions by crossing to your short attackers? I would have at least expected to see "Drill Crosses" in your shouts, bu no such thing. Care to explain how you deal with your crossing?

Thank you, Cleon, for one more interesting and informative lesson. I was never a tactical guru in FM, just good enough to try some simple stuff that would work for my well-developed side. I am learning a lot here. I 'll be returning with more questions.

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I've used a few flat 4-4-2's, I did a Man City style one, Atletico style one and a Arsenal invinsible one but not sure I have the time or patience to do any kind of write up about them. The only reason I did this one was because I kept seeing people say defensive didn't attack and meant you had to have lots of pressure etc which isn't true.

I think many people here, including myself, would be interested in you writing up something about all those 442s - maybe a general/overall analysis of how they differ, how and why do they work on FM, etc.

They defend the same, its only the attacking settings that make a difference and make them differ from each other. It might be a CWB suits your style or the formation you are using better than a WB.

So changing from one to the other is just a matter of reducing the risk of them being caught high up the pitch.

I never ever change fluidity, why would I do that? :D I've already shown above how to make it more/less aggressive with the use of shouts and the role changes. What else do you want to see? I never changed from a defensive mentality at all btw.

Because you said in the OP that you would show examples of how more fluid fluidity changes things, so assumed that you have played with different fluidity.

Far too aggressive for this set up and what I wanted to create. He'd lose shape due to his aggressiveness when closing players down, then this has the domino effect I mentioned at the very start of this thread.

What if one was using more aggressive/attacking approach, would BWMs work? Which role between BBM and CM does a better job of defending the wide areas?

Also, is there a way to make CMs (with any role) drift into wide areas when attacking)? Roaming perhaps? I understand this may not be part of your intention with your approach, but I'm just asking anyway.

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1) [wing defense again!] *The opposition left winger holds up the ball so that their left fullback joins him to overload your right back. One of them gets clear with the ball, passes it with all the time in the world to their charging central midfielder who slams it to the back of your net.*

How come this isn't happening?! Even if your players have the roles and ability to cover for each other, I would have expected this to be quite a common occurrence.

2) [player attributes] I was surprised to see some specific low attributes of your players:

a) The low Stamina of your CM. How does he cope with all that he has to do? (charging forward and also covering the wing)

b) The low Finishing of your 2 forwards (they do have good composure though). Isn't that too low for the division you are playing in? I am playing in Skrill Premier so I wouldn't know, but it looks too low.

i'm playing with Sheffield United and using very similar tactics to Cleon - I'm interested in these points as they have been big issues for me. Murphy as the Advanced Forward can't score at all for me - I suspect morale comes into play a bit, here. De Girolamo has been OK at DLF for me though. I actually brought in Leroy Lita on loan in the end to play in the AF role, and he's done OK there - but also made me aware that actually the AF isn't always the main goal threat, as one might expect, but a big creative force in my team as the man who holds up the ball and stretches lines to make space for the TQ and DLF to move into.

Finishing of 9 is low for this division, but Cleon and I were joking about this on Twitter the other day - players like Jabo Ibehre also have low finishing and composure, but regularly score 30-40 goals in a season at League 1 level in FM. Other attributes must be coming in to play. As I said though - it has been an issue for me, so it would be interesting to hear more from Cleon on this.

Defensively, I have been getting murdered from the wide areas. My CWBs tend to sit quite narrow when I'm defending and I'm often seeing opposition wingers in acres of space delivering pinpoint crosses (even without having to worry about overlaps or anything clever) - I've only kept 2 clean sheets in the last 18 games now... Again, it would be interesting to see more discussion on this - clearly it works great for Cleon. I guess also we have to be careful in overanalysing tactics - player attributes also have a big impact, and my weaknesses may well come from my choices. In my save, the main DC (Maguire) has been unsettled and angling for a move all season, and I... economised on a new left back (Clark Robertson, £250K from Aberdeen) and centre half (Manny Smith, £155K from Notts County). I've only lost twice all season in all competitions, but defensively I've been a lot weaker.

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Cleon, very interesting. The formation you chose to do this is mindblowing. I 'll be coming back with more questions after I 've read it for a second time, but for the time being here are 3 questions for you:

1) [wing defense again!] *The opposition left winger holds up the ball so that their left fullback joins him to overload your right back. One of them gets clear with the ball, passes it with all the time in the world to their charging central midfielder who slams it to the back of your net.*

How come this isn't happening?! Even if your players have the roles and ability to cover for each other, I would have expected this to be quite a common occurrence.

It's hard to overload something that is so deep when not in possession. If we look at this screenshot;

X3yOlxS.png

How can that be overloaded realistically? It would mean the opposition would need super human fullbacks to cover the space needed just to get close to my fullback. Plus you can see the CM coming across to cover which also means I don't get doubled up.

2) [player attributes] I was surprised to see some specific low attributes of your players:

a) The low Stamina of your CM. How does he cope with all that he has to do? (charging forward and also covering the wing)

I rotate a lot and the player highlighted in the screenshot isn't my first choice one. But when he does play he might be one of those I sub off around 70 mins :)

b) The low Finishing of your 2 forwards (they do have good composure though). Isn't that too low for the division you are playing in? I am playing in Skrill Premier so I wouldn't know, but it looks too low.

Diego's is low but I know what he can do and how he develops. Murphy is probably average for this league in all honest, it is the 3rd tier I'm playing in :)

c) The low Decisions of you B2B and CM. I understand that you made sure your more creative central players (Treq & Regista) have good Decisions. Still the numbers for your B2B and CM look rather low for central midfielders. Don't they do stupid stuff often

Their other attributes (especially Doyle's) more than make up for it. I can't afford quality players and I have little cash to use, so I can't really be that picky. The other players I use and rotate have slightly better decision making though. And yeah they might do something silly from time to time but that happens with all players even ones with perfect attributes :) But my CM's are mainly runners creating or using space anyway, so they don't really have anything creative to do so its not really a big hindrance especially at this level. If it was the top league it would be a different matter though.

Do you think the above attributes are acceptable or will you be doing your best to improve them?

I will be improving when I can but atm these are kind of acceptable for the level I'm playing at :)

3) [wing attack & crossing] Your attacking men appear to lack in aerial ability. Still, you are often attacking from the wings when your wingbacks charge forward. Do they tend to waste many possessions by crossing to your short attackers? I would have at least expected to see "Drill Crosses" in your shouts, bu no such thing. Care to explain how you deal with your crossing?

They don't really cross but instead cut passes back across goal or switch play from the flanks to the other or to runners from midfield. If I didn't have great movement then they'd waste possession by crossing but because we all move upfield together its much easier for them to pass rather than attempt to cross as they have options along side. It's one of the advantages of being deep :)

Thank you, Cleon, for one more interesting and informative lesson. I was never a tactical guru in FM, just good enough to try some simple stuff that would work for my well-developed side. I am learning a lot here. I 'll be returning with more questions.

I look forward to helping in any way I can :)

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I think many people here, including myself, would be interested in you writing up something about all those 442s - maybe a general/overall analysis of how they differ, how and why do they work on FM, etc.

They'll have to stay interested. I have no reason to post about them and don't really want to spend every single second answering questions about something I have no interest in discussing, hence why I've not posted about them.

So changing from one to the other is just a matter of reducing the risk of them being caught high up the pitch.

Pretty much yeah. I'm not even sure why we have so many wide options available from RB/LB spots it makes no sense imo.

Because you said in the OP that you would show examples of how more fluid fluidity changes things, so assumed that you have played with different fluidity.

I will be showing stuff like that but not because I've used it (although I do know what will happen) but to show how the roles of the players change and how they become less/more involved in things that they don't typically do. Like when you talk about people creating overlaps you mention balanced because its the best settings for fullbacks. It'll be like that and showing exactly how they change from doing what they are currently doing for me to whatever they end up doing with the new philosophy.

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Sorry if my responses seem direct and having a go at you, there not intended that way. But I find being direct is the best way to help people learn although I understand my tone isn't always welcome :)

You can read this thread about the shouts to understand them more. It was done for FM13 but its all still the same really with the odd new one missing but you should be able to work out what it does after reading this;

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/305067-The-Full-90-Minutes-What-I-Do

No offence taken, I actually appreciate it for the exact reason you do it.

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i'm playing with Sheffield United and using very similar tactics to Cleon - I'm interested in these points as they have been big issues for me. Murphy as the Advanced Forward can't score at all for me - I suspect morale comes into play a bit, here. De Girolamo has been OK at DLF for me though. I actually brought in Leroy Lita on loan in the end to play in the AF role, and he's done OK there - but also made me aware that actually the AF isn't always the main goal threat, as one might expect, but a big creative force in my team as the man who holds up the ball and stretches lines to make space for the TQ and DLF to move into.

I use them the other way around. Murphy is the DLF rotated with Porter. Paynter and Diego rotated for the Advanced forward. That's why I prefer Diego as the AF as he is quite creative and has the odd trick up his sleeve.

Finishing of 9 is low for this division, but Cleon and I were joking about this on Twitter the other day - players like Jabo Ibehre also have low finishing and composure, but regularly score 30-40 goals in a season at League 1 level in FM. Other attributes must be coming in to play. As I said though - it has been an issue for me, so it would be interesting to hear more from Cleon on this.

Finishing is only the ability to hit the target, so things like anticipation, composure, decisions etc all come into play. It is something I will be expanding on though for sure :)

Defensively, I have been getting murdered from the wide areas. My CWBs tend to sit quite narrow when I'm defending and I'm often seeing opposition wingers in acres of space delivering pinpoint crosses (even without having to worry about overlaps or anything clever) - I've only kept 2 clean sheets in the last 18 games now... Again, it would be interesting to see more discussion on this - clearly it works great for Cleon. I guess also we have to be careful in overanalysing tactics - player attributes also have a big impact, and my weaknesses may well come from my choices. In my save, the main DC (Maguire) has been unsettled and angling for a move all season, and I... economised on a new left back (Clark Robertson, £250K from Aberdeen) and centre half (Manny Smith, £155K from Notts County). I've only lost twice all season in all competitions, but defensively I've been a lot weaker.

I think this is where I'll start for updating this weekend, I'll focus more on the wide areas for you and try and help you see why it might be working for me and not you. I'll try and throw more clips and analysis up. Maybe against the stronger teams in the cups maybe? As they'll be trickier to deal with so should be more talking points?

Interestingly what are your exact settings and shouts you use?

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I use them the other way around. Murphy is the DLF rotated with Porter. Paynter and Diego rotated for the Advanced forward. That's why I prefer Diego as the AF as he is quite creative and has the odd trick up his sleeve.

Finishing is only the ability to hit the target, so things like anticipation, composure, decisions etc all come into play. It is something I will be expanding on though for sure :)

I think this is where I'll start for updating this weekend, I'll focus more on the wide areas for you and try and help you see why it might be working for me and not you. I'll try and throw more clips and analysis up. Maybe against the stronger teams in the cups maybe? As they'll be trickier to deal with so should be more talking points?

Interestingly what are your exact settings and shouts you use?

I had been using different shouts etc, but for this period I've been using the same as you for comparison. That's what makes me think that personnel and morale are having such an impact. Plus I did move 30+ players out, and 20+ in, so my team cohesion may not be as good as yours ;)

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Cleon, awesome thread as usual. Believe it or not I've been working on similar setup for killing games. I use a 4-4-1-1. My starting tactic is a little more aggressive with the D-Line pushing way up and a standard mentality framework. But when I have the lead I switch to a Defensive one like what you have. I also have the Work Ball Into Box and Play Out of Defense instructions but those are more about my style of play. I also have a couple of player instructions, like I want my wingers pushing forward more and my CWBs playing wider. I've only used a handful of times but with it I've doubled three 1-0 scorelines in the waning moments.

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Great post Cleon. I dont know how you do it. I just wanted to ask about playing a different formation with your defensive set up. I was thinking of using either the 4231 Denmark. The problem is what to do with the two midfielders and what roles and duties to give the front 4 players.How do you think the defensive set up would work with a 4231 and the roles within the system

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Defensively, I have been getting murdered from the wide areas. My CWBs tend to sit quite narrow when I'm defending and I'm often seeing opposition wingers in acres of space delivering pinpoint crosses (even without having to worry about overlaps or anything clever) - I've only kept 2 clean sheets in the last 18 games now... Again, it would be interesting to see more discussion on this - clearly it works great for Cleon. I guess also we have to be careful in overanalysing tactics - player attributes also have a big impact, and my weaknesses may well come from my choices. In my save, the main DC (Maguire) has been unsettled and angling for a move all season, and I... economised on a new left back (Clark Robertson, £250K from Aberdeen) and centre half (Manny Smith, £155K from Notts County). I've only lost twice all season in all competitions, but defensively I've been a lot weaker.

I've also been using Cleon's setup for a few games now (10 or so), and I was feeling that I was giving up too much ground down the flanks. I play in a league where wing play is extremely pronounced, and nearly all teams have their main threats down the wings, with both attacking fullbacks and wingers. I was top of the table and was doing well defensively, but I still felt it was unnecessary to give the opposition numerical advantage in the zone they seek to target. On top of that, my squad was built for a wide formation, where - although competent in central positions - a lot of the best players where natural wingers. What I did was to "rotate" the AMC+ST+ST trio to a MR+ML+ST trio instead. I opted for MR: W/A, ML: WM/A (sit narrower, cut inside, dribble more), ST: DLF/A. I also added "Get further forward" to the MCl: CM/A as I felt he wasn't exploiting the huge space behind the opponents midfield that the trequartista plays in for Cleon. Finally, I changed the DR to WB/S, as I felt he was colliding a bit with the winger on that side. I've only played a couple of games so far, but to me it looks like my team defends the flanks a lot better, while still attacking well - particularly they seem to use the space given by attacking opposition fullbacks very well... Might be an idea for some of you who struggle against wide play.

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I've wrote a bit today (well started) for an update at the weekend hopefully that focuses just on wing play and how I cover them in a lot more detail than I've done so far.

I do wonder what changes you make though and if you've used at OI's or what shouts etc.

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Impressive write up!

Although i got a bit disappointed when i learned how you managed your clean sheets(through attacking and ball retention to somewhat degree), but it's due to my false expectations. In my mind i thought you would show us how to defende like simeone or mourinho and break like them too! I've gotten the feeling from the community this is harder to achieve?:)

When you see yourself conceding too much possesion and they pin you back too much for comfort how do you deal with that? Do you push up the d-line? Do you push up and become more aggressive?

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I do wonder what changes you make though and if you've used at OI's or what shouts etc.

I don't know if this was directed at me, but if it were - I tried to combat beeing overrun down the wings by changing the roles/duties of the fullbacks and by adding/removing the odd shout. I found it difficult to compensate enough though, so that's why I've been toying with the 4-1-4-1 formation using your general setup. Like I said, I've only just started, but the wings seemed almost completely nullified in those early games, and I didn't seem to conceede much space in the centre either. I liked it, and will definately continue the experiment. :)

The only downside is that I have fewer players in "the hole", but I tried to compensate by asking the CM/A to "get further forward" as he was not running in to that space until my team had already bypassed the oppositions midfield. With that added instruction he ran into the space sooner and could help create chances from there.

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Impressive write up!

Although i got a bit disappointed when i learned how you managed your clean sheets(through attacking and ball retention to somewhat degree), but it's due to my false expectations. In my mind i thought you would show us how to defende like simeone or mourinho and break like them too! I've gotten the feeling from the community this is harder to achieve?:)

When you see yourself conceding too much possesion and they pin you back too much for comfort how do you deal with that? Do you push up the d-line? Do you push up and become more aggressive?

It's because many people mistake park the bus as defensive when it isn't, they are two different things. And I'm not being defensive through ball retention or attacking at all, not sure where you got that idea from. I bet I'm more disappointed than you though as I spent a lot of time doing this :(

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I've also been using Cleon's setup for a few games now (10 or so), and I was feeling that I was giving up too much ground down the flanks. I play in a league where wing play is extremely pronounced, and nearly all teams have their main threats down the wings, with both attacking fullbacks and wingers. I was top of the table and was doing well defensively, but I still felt it was unnecessary to give the opposition numerical advantage in the zone they seek to target. On top of that, my squad was built for a wide formation, where - although competent in central positions - a lot of the best players where natural wingers. What I did was to "rotate" the AMC+ST+ST trio to a MR+ML+ST trio instead. I opted for MR: W/A, ML: WM/A (sit narrower, cut inside, dribble more), ST: DLF/A. I also added "Get further forward" to the MCl: CM/A as I felt he wasn't exploiting the huge space behind the opponents midfield that the trequartista plays in for Cleon. Finally, I changed the DR to WB/S, as I felt he was colliding a bit with the winger on that side. I've only played a couple of games so far, but to me it looks like my team defends the flanks a lot better, while still attacking well - particularly they seem to use the space given by attacking opposition fullbacks very well... Might be an idea for some of you who struggle against wide play.
Funnily enough I started a similar thing myself, you might consider making your striker a support role to aid in the link up, you may see him stranded all too often. Your CM/A could use a "Roam From Position" instruction to allow him more freedom like the trequartista. Interested to see how it works out!

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It's because many people mistake park the bus as defensive when it isn't, they are two different things. And I'm not being defensive through ball retention or attacking at all, not sure where you got that idea from. I bet I'm more disappointed than you though as I spent a lot of time doing this :(

I don't think anything you've said implies either point at all, to be honest. You've tried to present a solid unit to defend against opposition teams, and then catch them with lightning breaks based on good, quick short passing - that's what I've seen anyway. No keeping the ball for the sake of it and no Terry Butcher defending.

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It's because many people mistake park the bus as defensive when it isn't, they are two different things. And I'm not being defensive through ball retention or attacking at all, not sure where you got that idea from. I bet I'm more disappointed than you though as I spent a lot of time doing this :(

Im sorry if my reply caused offense. I was merely stating my hopes what you would write about. I would like some insight on the ugly yet very effective defending since i atm is playing as palace and my squad aint able to outplay many teams.

One can't argue your knowledge Cleon and i always find your thread immensely helpful even when they don't match my hopes and imagination of what you will exactly write about.

Once again, sorry if my post seemed ungrateful.

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Really great thread Cleon! I just wonder what do you do if you coming behind wit one or two goals? Because I understand that you don'nt change the mentality, and then i wonder what kind of changes in the shout and/or in the roles/duty to the players you do? Because when teams get a lead I have seen many times the play more defensively and then when you have many players a longer way from the opponents goals than if you played more offensive, even if you are aggressive, i mean what do you do change the match?

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For me the basic principals learnt in other threads are still very valid here. The main idea here was to be very solid and to keep a great shape at the back and attack with breaks and fantastic passing.

If you see things unfolding in game that might require you to run at defence or pass into space, whilst they might break from the mould a little here, I still use them. Cleon may not, but the idea behind the thread, as always with Cleons threads, is for for people to learn things for themselves.

You can see this in Cleons replies. Rather than coming in and asking what he thinks will happen if you change a role or duty or get this/that player to do ABC instead of 123, why not try it for yourself.

If I'm being closed down heavily, I will still try "pass into space", does it break from the idea of the the tactic.... YUP (probably), does it break from the ehtos of the thread... NO, because the thread is about understanding.

*have to run.

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Love this thread. I’ve wanted to try a narrow formation like this since reading the thread on The Box last year. Also wanted to try a more defensive minded tactic. Haven’t used a two-striker formation in a long time, either. Want to give this a try myself and adapt to it to my needs. As lam says, learn from the key concepts.

The club that I’m intending to try this with has several inside forward players who can also play up front. They aren’t perfect support strikers but should work. Decent movement, good creativity and dribbling, okay finishing and at least okay passing. There are several more traditional up front strikers – more pure goal-scorers, with finishing, heading, etc.

Looking at both the in-game role descriptions and the screen caps with the roles highlighted, it would seem the IF players who are more creative and dribbly would be the DLF and the more traditional front man would be the Advanced Forward. I will test them out and see who does better in what role, but generally speaking, is that the correct approach with these roles?

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YOu can see the requirements for each role within the player instruction screen.

The advanced forward needs decent OTB, Anticipation, finishing ability and to be able to CROSS. The DLP is more about being creative and passing the ball.

HOwever, my DLP gets more goals than my Advanced forward. And my Advanced forward is more suited to his role (AF) than the DLF player is.

As you watch the game you may see that your Advanced forward acts almost as a target man as he is generally high up the pitch on a break, he can then hold the ball up for your DLF to drive past and pick up a throughball.

I imagine that I will have two almost identical players for either role eventually.

It's worth bearing in mind that despite telling you you can find the required skills in the player instrution screen, those instructions deal with a single player. They dont take into account where they player fits within your tactic. Thus, as I mentioned above, two almost identical players would work for me (or maybe not).

LAM

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b4ba1b9f81af2769f825fdf5fb66a169.png

I've been using this lately. I'm scoring lots of goals but there is one problem, I concede way too many headers. For some reason the full back never closes down the crosser and my defender is nowhere near the striker who scores...

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Might want to keep an eye on who is supposed to be picking who up. THhe RGA should be far enough forward not to get in the way, but the HB.... whats he doing? is he pick up his man or causing confusion?

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Might want to keep an eye on who is supposed to be picking who up. THhe RGA should be far enough forward not to get in the way, but the HB.... whats he doing? is he pick up his man or causing confusion?

Good point, might change him to an anchor man. I put him there as I expected the CWB to play like a ML (which he is) which would leave me short at the back but if it's just going to cause more issues then I'll just change it.

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Well... don't change it until you know it's the problem & soloution. Just watch some games or watch the goals back.

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I think I'm going to give it a bash with a mid-table Italian side. Probably Parma, see if I can build something similar as the Italians love this sort of defensive shiz.

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It's because many people mistake park the bus as defensive when it isn't, they are two different things. And I'm not being defensive through ball retention or attacking at all, not sure where you got that idea from. I bet I'm more disappointed than you though as I spent a lot of time doing this :(

Cleon what do you think about trying this formation and set up with Arsenal. i have players who can play the trequartista role ( Ozil) and have some very good central midfielders in Wilshere and Ramsey. My main concern is the strikers. would Giroud be suited to the DLF role he has play with back to goal PPM which I remember you saying is ideal for a DLF. Poldolski and Walcott should be ok at Advance Forward. I would like to get your feedback on playing this way with Arsenal

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Arsenal would be a good fit actually, as for the forwards; Giroud and Sanogo would be good DLF (S) and Podolski and Walcott could be AF - Bendtner could play either.

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Hi Cleon,

Firstly, thanks for the great thread, really interesting read. So much so, that I've tried to implement your tactic in my own game with FK Vidar. Its been working well in terms of results, but every so often (every 6/7 games roughly), I get absolutely hammered (like 4 or 5 to 0!!) and it doesn't seem to matter who the opposition is.

Both games against a 4-2-3-1 formation, so I tried using your advice in the thread. There were some interesting things I noticed, but this one in particular seemed odd. The position of my wing back (on support duty) absolutely baffles me (check out image below). I would like your opinion on how this may have occurred?

In my opinion I think it is down to that individual player having poor decision and/or positioning attributes, but I don't think they are that bad for the level I am playing at (10 for decisions, 13 for positioning).

wingback_support_positioning.png

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YOu can see the requirements for each role within the player instruction screen.

The advanced forward needs decent OTB, Anticipation, finishing ability and to be able to CROSS. The DLP is more about being creative and passing the ball.

Perfect, thank you. Just wanted to be sure.

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Cleon, I noticed something interesting in your instructions. You have Retain Possession and Shorter Passing, but then for both CDs you also have Pass it Shorter as well. In your explanation for this, you say: "The reasons for this is I want to encourage them to pass to the Regista rather than lumping it upfront or to the wide areas. I want this sort of play to be forced through the Regista who is capable of pulling off such moves. I want my defenders to be old school centre backs and don’t want them playing around with the ball too much if I can help it."

My first question is, wouldn't your defenders already be playing short passes to your Regista, given the team instructions? And then my second question is, don't you think that your last sentence contradicts the first one?

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Well... don't change it until you know it's the problem & soloution. Just watch some games or watch the goals back.

Changed him to a BWM (D) and the RB to a CWB... works wonders now. Top of the championship after 30 games

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Cleon, I noticed something interesting in your instructions. You have Retain Possession and Shorter Passing, but then for both CDs you also have Pass it Shorter as well. In your explanation for this, you say: "The reasons for this is I want to encourage them to pass to the Regista rather than lumping it upfront or to the wide areas. I want this sort of play to be forced through the Regista who is capable of pulling off such moves. I want my defenders to be old school centre backs and don’t want them playing around with the ball too much if I can help it."

My first question is, wouldn't your defenders already be playing short passes to your Regista, given the team instructions? And then my second question is, don't you think that your last sentence contradicts the first one?

I explained why I did this in the thread already. It's set like that for when I drop retain possession/shorter passing shouts.

And no the last sentence is not a contradiction, why would it be? Unless you think all old school centrebacks hoofed the ball and played long ball all the time, in which case you'd be wrong. Old school defender means no nonsense, no fancy play hence who I want them to pass to the Regista. Thy get the ball and don't dwell on it and just pass to the regista.

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Cleon what do you think about trying this formation and set up with Arsenal. i have players who can play the trequartista role ( Ozil) and have some very good central midfielders in Wilshere and Ramsey. My main concern is the strikers. would Giroud be suited to the DLF role he has play with back to goal PPM which I remember you saying is ideal for a DLF. Poldolski and Walcott should be ok at Advance Forward. I would like to get your feedback on playing this way with Arsenal

You shouldn't be trying to copy. You should be using this thread for inspiration for creating your own style rather than copying me. I did say this in the opening of the thread.

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Hi Cleon,

Firstly, thanks for the great thread, really interesting read. So much so, that I've tried to implement your tactic in my own game with FK Vidar. Its been working well in terms of results, but every so often (every 6/7 games roughly), I get absolutely hammered (like 4 or 5 to 0!!) and it doesn't seem to matter who the opposition is.

Both games against a 4-2-3-1 formation, so I tried using your advice in the thread. There were some interesting things I noticed, but this one in particular seemed odd. The position of my wing back (on support duty) absolutely baffles me (check out image below). I would like your opinion on how this may have occurred?

In my opinion I think it is down to that individual player having poor decision and/or positioning attributes, but I don't think they are that bad for the level I am playing at (10 for decisions, 13 for positioning).

wingback_support_positioning.png

That doesn't really show anything. The build up to the move is more important and will show why it happened.

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Love this thread. I’ve wanted to try a narrow formation like this since reading the thread on The Box last year. Also wanted to try a more defensive minded tactic. Haven’t used a two-striker formation in a long time, either. Want to give this a try myself and adapt to it to my needs. As lam says, learn from the key concepts.

The club that I’m intending to try this with has several inside forward players who can also play up front. They aren’t perfect support strikers but should work. Decent movement, good creativity and dribbling, okay finishing and at least okay passing. There are several more traditional up front strikers – more pure goal-scorers, with finishing, heading, etc.

Looking at both the in-game role descriptions and the screen caps with the roles highlighted, it would seem the IF players who are more creative and dribbly would be the DLF and the more traditional front man would be the Advanced Forward. I will test them out and see who does better in what role, but generally speaking, is that the correct approach with these roles?

The AF in the system I posted is actually quite creative and gets a lot of assists. He leads the line but he also creates for the DLF due to him running from deeper positions and finding lots of space. You'll need to watch the games in your set up to see exactly what the strikers are doing before deciding what you need from them. The game attributes are a good starting point but then again not every player who plays the role plays it the same way. So you might find someone more creative at AF might be more beneficial than someone who is less creative or vice versa. It depends on how the team around him create and use space.

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Cleon,

I know you did very well with this tactic against an array of opposition, but generally how do you fare against teams that close down heavily.

I've just had a losing streak against Arsenal, Man U, Chelsea and a 0-0 with Liverpool. They had by far the lion share of possession and whilst were only slightly higher on shots on target they have approximately 3 times as many shots. If they had been a little more patient then I could have seen some real damage.

What concerns me around this is that they effectively took me out of the game. Possession was down to 40% or so. Passing success was down to 70%.

I guess this is a long winded way of asking how you counter heavy closing teams.

They all played either a 4231 (CM) or a 41221 (DM). Interestingly, their foul count was massive.

In one game, much to my frustration, they had 33 fouls with only one yellow card.

The tactic does seem to draw a heavy closing down opposition as I think maybe one in two games against lesser opposition ends up with one of their players gaining a red card through persistent fouling.

Regards

LAM

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Cleon,

I know you did very well with this tactic against an array of opposition, but generally how do you fare against teams that close down heavily.

I've just had a losing streak against Arsenal, Man U, Chelsea and a 0-0 with Liverpool. They had by far the lion share of possession and whilst were only slightly higher on shots on target they have approximately 3 times as many shots. If they had been a little more patient then I could have seen some real damage.

What concerns me around this is that they effectively took me out of the game. Possession was down to 40% or so. Passing success was down to 70%.

I guess this is a long winded way of asking how you counter heavy closing teams.

They all played either a 4231 (CM) or a 41221 (DM). Interestingly, their foul count was massive.

In one game, much to my frustration, they had 33 fouls with only one yellow card.

The tactic does seem to draw a heavy closing down opposition as I think maybe one in two games against lesser opposition ends up with one of their players gaining a red card through persistent fouling.

Regards

LAM

As you drop deep against any side that presses heavily has a lot of space to cover and should be leaving gaps all other the pitch due to them having to come really high up the pitch. Possession percentage doesn't really matter to me aslong as my own side keeps shape and do exactly what U asked them too. I do give away quite a few shots but a lot are from silly angles or 20+ yards out so I don't mind that. I've not met anyone who pressed me that high or hard yet that it's been a massive issue like you seem to be experiencing. What midfield roles are you using? What areas are you getting pressed in the most?

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As you may know, I've been experimenting with different styles and tactics recently, trying to find something I can get my teeth into.

Interestingly, though, without seeing this thread, I've just created a similar tactic.

Same shape, differences are that I'm only Rigid and that I've currently got an AP instead of Treq, HB instead of Regista and BWM instead of BBM. Shouts are similar, although not the same. I will definitely have a think about your set up now, though. I think I can see a couple of areas I may have some problems with my system, so I will see how it all works out after pre-season, and tweak some things.

The Regista isn't something I would have thought of. Mainly because I wanted more cover for my defense, but perhaps I don't need that, like you've shown. If so, then I can switch the players I have in the HB and BWM roles around to add some more creativity deeper in the pitch.

Thanks

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Cleon,

I have a question regarding your TI's.Considering you're using "defensive" strategy and that formation , aren't "drop deeper" and "play narrower" extreme TI's ? It looks like a vertical bus in my mind

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Cleon,

I have a question regarding your TI's.Considering you're using "defensive" strategy and that formation , aren't "drop deeper" and "play narrower" extreme TI's ? It looks like a vertical bus in my mind

How are they extreme? Play narrower only comes into play when I attack, so it helps maintain shape and not get stretched. How is than an extreme for the shape I'm using? :).

Also drop deeper means I am further back and near the edge of my area when defending, this helps deal with balls over the top and my players not being caught out high up the pitch. Also it helps with space and time for my players and makes the opposition have to work that little bit harder to close me down. Again why is it an extreme?

It'll only look like a vertical bus if you think my players just all stand in a line lol. You can see what shape I am when defending by the tactic overview screen, that's the shape you take when defending.

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Maybe I'm thinking too much on previous FM's and visualizing those sliders(I can't let them go,I know),let me explain:

"play narrower"- with defensive mentality,MC strata and above are already close to each other and,considering the formation, MC's and FW's play in a congested area, maybe the TQ can find space moving wide

"drop deeper" - likewise, with defensive mentality(and by using a DMC), D-line is already very deep , that's why I find drop even deeper extreme

Don't get me wrong, I've seen your results,it's clear it worked for you.If I would try something like this, I'm sure I would be overloaded in defense and toothless in attack

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"play narrower"- with defensive mentality,MC strata and above are already close to each other and,considering the formation, MC's and FW's play in a congested area, maybe the TQ can find space moving wide

How do you figure out its a congested area? Surely this is determined by the oppositions shape they use against me and how attacking or deep they are themselves surely no?

"drop deeper" - likewise, with defensive mentality(and by using a DMC), D-line is already very deep , that's why I find drop even deeper extreme

D-line isn't already very deep though, its deep not very deep. When I add the shout drop deeper it then becomes very deep. And yes I use a DMC but remember its an aggressive DMC (regista) and not a static more restrained one like a anchor or defensive midfielder.

I'm not sure how you've come to the conclusions you have but you seem to be thinking about it all wrong and not taking the opposition into consideration and you've certainly not took my roles/duties into consideration :)

Ignoring my results as that's not important, look at the screenshots and the videos I posted, does it really look congested? Remember while I am using a defensive mentality I use very aggressive and offensive roles in the set up meaning lots of space is being opened up and created and I have runners running into this space. The key is the roles you select. When I attack we attack as a unit and all move upfield together. When I defend I defend as a unit and all drop back deep together :)

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The strange thing is (after having a bit of thinking over the tactic and some of your other posts on this thread) I could see it having more problems with long ball sides and fullbacks who cross from deep rather than any sort of overlapping run (It still probably wouldn't cause a great deal of trouble due to your shape and the numbers you have back, the opposition would probably have to throw 5/6 players into the box to have success). I doubt any AI side would play one dimensional enough to try it though.

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Really great thread Cleon! I just wonder what do you do if you coming behind wit one or two goals? Because I understand that you don'nt change the mentality, and then i wonder what kind of changes in the shout and/or in the roles/duty to the players you do? Because when teams get a lead I have seen many times the play more defensively and then when you have many players a longer way from the opponents goals than if you played more offensive, even if you are aggressive, i mean what do you do change the match?

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The strange thing is (after having a bit of thinking over the tactic and some of your other posts on this thread) I could see it having more problems with long ball sides and fullbacks who cross from deep rather than any sort of overlapping run (It still probably wouldn't cause a great deal of trouble due to your shape and the numbers you have back, the opposition would probably have to throw 5/6 players into the box to have success). I doubt any AI side would play one dimensional enough to try it though.

Why do you say that? How would crossing from deep or long ball sides hurt me more when I'm sat deep? Even if they had 6 players near my box I don't see how crossing from deep would help? My defence can head the ball away with ease. I'm only asking as I'm trying to understand your thinking :)

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Really great thread Cleon! I just wonder what do you do if you coming behind wit one or two goals? Because I understand that you don'nt change the mentality, and then i wonder what kind of changes in the shout and/or in the roles/duty to the players you do? Because when teams get a lead I have seen many times the play more defensively and then when you have many players a longer way from the opponents goals than if you played more offensive, even if you are aggressive, i mean what do you do change the match?

This is answered further up the thread in one of my replies to Yonko already :)

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Hi Cleon.

I think my query slipped under the radar due to the popularity of this thread and due to the large number of questions you've had to answer. It would be much appreciated if you could answer my question #50 when you have a moment. :)

Again, keep up the good work.

Cheers,

Caddick7

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Hi Cleon,

Congrats on the great work. Defensive football I feel is the most satisfying way to play FM, there is no other feeling than frustrating your opponent and then nicking a goal in the dying seconds.

My question for you is simple and hopefully something I haven't missed. You stated you chose the narrow 4-1-2-1-2 for a challenge as it would cause issues down your wings. So bearing in mind you've passed that challenge with flying colours, if you could choose ANY formation for a defensive set up, which would it be and how would you look to implement it? (Roles, Strategy etc).

And also, was the 4-1-2-1-2 picked after you had tried a few other formations too? If so, what were the strengths and weaknesses of other formations you tried out?

Cheers,

Caddick7

I don't build/create tactics that way, I always have an idea that I want to try in my head. There is no best tactic to try for a particular style, so every shape I choose is because I just like the idea of the shape, I've recently read about it or watched a video of some kind. So I'd never just pick something randomly :)

I tried other formations before this but not to play this particular way, so I guess the answer is no :)

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