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DeathJester

How to setup a flat 3-5-2 system with no wingbacks.

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I've got to a stage in my save game now where there seems to be a lack of quality full backs or wingbacks available for me to buy to improve my team. I was buying right and left midfielders and training them to play there and then I got to tinkering and ended up swapping full backs / wingbacks for defensive wingers.

Now it helped having ideal players to play them in that role.

So I ended up with a flat 352 formation. I have quality in central midfield too so I got to quite like the look of it.

I tend to make my teams play a fast direct high pressing game normally. I have removed the more direct passing instruction because I figured with great passing and creative central midfielders I should utilse them more. I didn't want to go shorter passing either because I wanted to attack quickly when the opportunity presented itself. So I guess I'm on default passing.

I do have play out of defence because I don't want them hoofing the ball forward giving away posession cheaply.

Also I have work ball into box as I want to utilise the skills my midfield have.

First question, can a direct flat 352 system be effective?

So first game, away against a strong Newcastle team in third place in premiership and my team in serious bad form, terrible morale etc but ended up winning comfortable 3-1 creating 9 clear cut chances, and restricting them to just 4 shots all game, two of which were from long range.

So has anybody had success with a flat 352? How did you set up yours?

I've set up like this; control, fluid, work ball into box, play out of defence, play wider, roam from positions, hassle opponents, higher defensive line.

Gk sweeper keeper support

R & L centre defender defend

Centre defender stopper

LW defensive winger support

LCM deep lying playmaker support

CM centre mid defend

RCM advanced playmaker attack

RW defensive winger support

LS complete forward support

Advanced Forward attack

Now I don't have many player instructions set just close down more on the dlp and adv playmaker as well as the wingers. I have set shoot less on to everyone in midfield also as I don't want to see endless long shots,

So am I on the right track here with this setup?

What would you do differently?

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Good to hear someone trying something that doesn't appear too often.

My initial thoughts are that with Control your defenders will already play pretty short, so it may not be necessary to use Play Out Of Defence.

Play Wider will direct the ball out wide, which by default will mean that your DWs are expected to carry it onwards or cross it. As the only true wide men in your system, this potentially risks them overcommitting forwards and leaving space behind. It also diverting the ball away from the creative midfielders you want on the ball, so keep an eye on that.

Higher line will help compress the space between the DC and MC lines so is probably a decent idea.

I quite like the set up of your Roles and Duties. I'm generally cautious and have tried a similar(ish) system on FM14 and I used Defensive Wingers on Defend which worked for me.

How do you envisage your goals will come? I see a couple of routes - quick crosses from the DWs, or a more complex combination where the CM passes to the DLP who either sets the CM running, or picks a more direct pass to one of the forwards.

When defending, you should get fair cover out wide from the DWs (just keep an eye on their deepest positioning when a defensive phase is fully established, and also check when and where they engage the AI wide men).

In summary, just a couple of pointers to keep an eye on but it generally seems pretty well set to me.

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I've been experimenting with the same formation in my current Sunderland save so I thought I'd try this out. I copied this exactly with the exceptions of removing "roam from positions", and I also have my SW(S) set to distribute to defenders.

Observations:

I think the forward roles/duties are fine

With DW support, they weren't getting back enough to defend from an appropriate position - I found changing them to DW(D) worked better

Dominated possession, created decent chances that we didn't take in part because...

... after 6 mins I was 2-0 down at home to Southampton (context, its 2020 and I now have Sunderland as a regular UCL side). We lost the game 3-0.

Because this set-up plays with a higher line, it doesn't IMO need the aggressive stopper role and in fact it causes problems.

The first goal conceded was dreadful and not too unlike the first one Germany scored in 2010 against England. A punt down the middle, my stopper tried to intercept, lost his header which went through the middle of the other two defenders to an onrushing forward to score an easy goal.

Similar instances occured throughout the match as long as I played this way. Its also down to a slight issue with the ME as well as, when the CD comes forward to close down and, for example, clearly misses his tackle, the adjustment of the CM(D) isn't quite right. He moves as if he is about to drop back into the defensive line and cover, stops and has a little think, and then doesn't bother, letting the onrushing opposition midfielder drive into space behind him and between the two centre-backs.

Later in the game, I made a number of ongoing tweaks to the defensive line that, I feel, improved things.

- This might sound odd, but I changed all of them to cover duties. I don't think they need to close down any more, because the CM(L) and CM® are doing that quite well to help out the DWs.

- The central CD of the 3 was on occasion still charging out a little too over-zealously - might be because that player has a high aggression rating. Nonetheless, I'm going to set him to "ease off tackles"

I'll replay the match again with all of these modifications from the outset and let you know how I get on. :)

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So, this is how I lined up in Sun v Soton v2 - screenshot is taken after the game.

Soton lined up 4-4-2 but with two DMs. Particular traits of their side that were significant include a tricky left winger (inverted, his right foot is stronger) and also a good crosser, with a decent left as well. Jay Rodiguez up front alongside a very powerful and talented newgen.

Our individual PIs as follows:

SK(S) distributes to defenders

DLP - Close down more

AP - Close down more

Okore is set as a BPD simply because he can - I'm not necessarily suggesting this should be part of a 3-5-2 system.

We won 4-3 but I honestly think the scoreline flattered Soton, we were 4-1 up with 18 mins to go and dominant at that point. Possession was 57-43 in our favour (moreso before I put young subs on late in the game).

Also, I let the tactic play out for 90 mins without shouts. If I did this again, I'd try and find ways to close the game out at 3-1 or 4-1 up.

Sunderland_TacticsOverview_zpsdf35acc6.png

Observations:

The new defence system worked much better, we no longer had vulnerability to long punts and the defence behaved intelligently in those situations.

Our first 3 goals were lovely and all came from central play.

1. DLP gets to the edge of their area, which is packed. Plays an incredibly intricate through-ball for Eriksen to run onto and slot home.

2. Eriksen works his way to the right-hand of their box, passes the ball leftwards for my AF to drill low into the keeper's left-hand corner.

3. Soton caught a little bit square a little way ahead of their box. My AP find space and plays a lovely through ball for my AF to run in behind their defence and finish smartly.

4. A clearance landed to Eriksen in their area and he scored a lovely shot - this was the only one of our 4 goals that wasn't the result of work and creativity.

- Both playmakers had huge amounts of the ball, well over 100 passes each

- We were much more creative than Soton with significantly more key passes

- Significant advantages in possession & territory though in the second half we didn't get into their final 3rd as much, probably because they were pushing and, because I wanted to see this through, I didn't respond with tweaks / shouts in the usual manner

However, the system does still show vulnerability on the flanks:

- Their first two goals came from wide play (one each side). Winger beats DW, crosses for forward to score. Back 3 in both goals look strangely static and gormless as the ball comes in from the flank

(I should note that 2/3 are young, and talented, but have room to improve)

- Their third goal came as the result of a long-shot which hit our crossbar and rebounded for their striker to pounce on, ahead of our 3 CDs

Could the cover duty be causing a problem?

Or was it the higher line?

- I'm wondering about the individual instructions for the DWs. As is often the case with wide defensive players in FM14, they get beaten too easily by fast wingers. We're already hassling opponents - I wonder if it is worth setting them to close down less, ease off tackles, or both?

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2nd fixture with the system, above. I'm posting again because we played against a very different system, and the distribution of scorers was very different from the first game.

UCL (H) Sunderland vs Sion (4-0)

We are stronger than them, though they're not hopeless.

I rotated my squad, overall this was a weaker team I put out though not in every position.

Everything the same to start, except for mentality which I dropped to standard, just because I wanted to see how it would work. Also, the BPD was changed to a CD because the lad I brought in hasn't got the attributes to be a BPD.

Overall we had 55% of possession, more in the first half for reasons that will be obvious later.

We didn't create any CCCs but had 5 half chances, and tbh they were of good quality.

Sion played a 5-3-2 with wing backs. Until they went 3-0 down on 68 mins, they showed no ambition whatsoever and parked the bus.

Our goals were as follows, very different from the first game as 2, arguably 3, came from wide areas.

1. 2 mins in, my CF got down their left hand channel and pulled it back for my onrushing AP to skot home from about 8 yards

2. Set piece, indirect free kick, header, goal

- before the 3rd goal I made three tweaks.

a. Upped mentality to Control

b. Used "Drill Crosses" as we were punting a lot of balls in with no effect (in this game, I started with two smallish strikers)

c. Added "roam from positions"

- half time

3. DW® runs down the right flank, drills cross in for AP to score at the near post

- now, I could see that Sion were coming out of their shell so I decided to use same formation, roles, duties, but with more defensive modifications

Mentality down to Counter

- drop deeper

- stand off

- easy tackling

- direct passing

- higher tempo

-- while retaining work ball into box and drill crosses

-- removing "roam from positions"

Edit: Maybe should also have removed "close down more" from the DLP and AP to achieve consistency but I forgot to do this.

Sion showed more ambition but created nothing. I should mention they didn't have a single shot on goal.

Our 4th goal was identical to goal 3 i.e. run down right, drill to near post, goal, except this time the scorer was my AF.

I won't get over-excited because of the level of the opposition, but the system did break down a packed defence and produced different goals from the first game, so it can deliver from both wide & central areas.

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So you set all three centre backs to cover to help avoid the vulnerability to the long punt through the middle. I've not yet seen this happen but can see how it might.

Question a cover defender sits slightly deeper, correct? Could then I feasibly just unselect push up so naturally my defence will sit a bit deeper thus negating the need to change the roles? I have a great stopper type defender in my side and really want to play him that way

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So you set all three centre backs to cover to help avoid the vulnerability to the long punt through the middle. I've not yet seen this happen but can see how it might.

Question a cover defender sits slightly deeper, correct? Could then I feasibly just unselect push up so naturally my defence will sit a bit deeper thus negating the need to change the roles? I have a great stopper type defender in my side and really want to play him that way

It was really more to correct the positional problems associated with the stopper position, combined with the lack of cover by defensive midfielders, because SI haven't been able to get that quite right yet as far as I can see.

The other side to this of course is that the deeper the defenders, the bigger the space between defence and midfield that can be exploited and I've found this generally with the 3-5-2.

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I'd say you need a BPD in defence if you really want to retain possession effectively.

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I played a 3rd match. Drew 2-2 away at an aggressive, attacking, in yer face Watford who played 4-4-2.

Initially struggled to get the ball. Used "play narrower" helped a little. We were struggling for movement and creativity. Used "roam from positions" and scored shortly afterwards.

Defensively the achilles heel once again was the DWs who, even on defend-duty, look to me to me too far up the pitch in the defensive phase of play and keep getting beaten by tricky wingers who then cross and the back 3 just don't seem to engage with the crosses. This could be because I've got two young lads in there and my best no-nonsense defender is out injured, but still...

Didn't create much at all. Our two goals were from a penalty, then a sublime direct free-kick saved me. We had 55% of possession but Watford created much more.

Like the OP, I am looking to improve this where possible so any advice welcome. :)

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When I get back to this I'm contemplating changing my defence. I was thinking going with all three defenders on defend duty and see how that works. I tried as suggested above using them all on cover but wasn't overly convinced.

I did also change my defensive wingers to defend. Didn't seem to notice much difference but seemed to close down more, sit a bit deeper and cross earlier. However it still worked very well I found.

Also I removed play wider and play out of defence.

What resulted was a 3-1 win at home to tottenham who are second in the taable. Promising stuff

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I am playing a fairly successfull 3-5-2 here, and found that setting both of my wingers to WM(A) works fairly well for me.

I usually set them to mark a specific player/mark tighter (yeah, very old school, I know ;) ) and even while they are not that good defensively due to their high acceleration/pace they can usually disturb the enemy wingers enough to prevent good crosses. But in the end this might not work for you unless you have speedy wingers as well.

In addition I think that my good pair of strikers set as TM(A) and P(A) help as well since what my wingers lack in defensive qualities they more than make up for with their passes/crosses to those strikers.

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When I get back to this I'm contemplating changing my defence. I was thinking going with all three defenders on defend duty and see how that works. I tried as suggested above using them all on cover but wasn't overly convinced.

I did also change my defensive wingers to defend. Didn't seem to notice much difference but seemed to close down more, sit a bit deeper and cross earlier. However it still worked very well I found.

Also I removed play wider and play out of defence.

What resulted was a 3-1 win at home to tottenham who are second in the taable. Promising stuff

I'm coming to the view also that putting the defenders on cover, while it did solve one problem, isn't a long-term solution as it causes other problems.

Are you still using "Fluid" philosophy? Reason I ask is that I changes to "Rigid" and found that the defenders are behaving more like defenders in this system should do. Also, there are a number of specialist roles in this system so "Rigid" is probably a better fit in line with wwfan's 12 step guide.

My back 3 is now two defenders (r & l of the 3) on defend, the central one on cover.

I am playing a fairly successfull 3-5-2 here, and found that setting both of my wingers to WM(A) works fairly well for me.

I usually set them to mark a specific player/mark tighter (yeah, very old school, I know ;) ) and even while they are not that good defensively due to their high acceleration/pace they can usually disturb the enemy wingers enough to prevent good crosses. But in the end this might not work for you unless you have speedy wingers as well.

In addition I think that my good pair of strikers set as TM(A) and P(A) help as well since what my wingers lack in defensive qualities they more than make up for with their passes/crosses to those strikers.

That's really interesting because when I started 3-5-2 experiments, I did the same thing, because I was trying to get a high press against AI defenders.

I had some very good results but I abandoned it because the line of attack was very one-dimensional due to lack of movement from midfield, and the WM(A)s having no alternative but to thump the ball into the box which didn't suit my forwards. But, if you have a good TM then I daresay that can work for you.

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