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Sussex Hammer

{FM 15} Determined to succeed with the deep 4231. Advice would bve very welcome.

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Firstly may I say that these tactic threads are one of the reasons I dislike the new tactics screen. When creating a thread and posting a screenshot all the info was on the tactics screen - roles, duties, formation and TI's. Now roles and duties are to the left and TI's are hidden so I find the change has made it more difficult to post your ideas as well as the non user friendliness of the in game tactic screen.. Anyway - point made!!

The 4231 is something I am determined to make work. Had absolutely no success with it at all in 14 but in 15 I am sure it has potential. It is a solid formation as the way I play it is with two DM's and three across the midfield strata however the difficulty I have is making it into a decent attacking threat.

Two DM's and three across the midfield strata is the way I see this formation played IRL. The difference is IRL lateral and vertical movement are obviously better. I am hoping that movement is better in FM15 and the start I have made shows more promise than last year but it is still a tad toothless in attack.

My results have started off ok. I am second presently with The Hammers with these results :

A V Villa D 0-0

H V QPR W 2-0

A V Birmingham W 2-1 (Cup)

A V Southampton W 2-1

H V Hull W 1-0

A V Burnley 0-0

I tend to use a standard strategy at home and have tinkered with a counter strategy away which worked very well against Southampton, where I did ride my luck a bit, but it didn't really work at Burnley. Defensively it's doing ok although I haven't played the big boys as yet.

TI's I use are "retain possession", "close down more", "push higher up" and "prevent short GK distribution". No PI's added as yet. Retain I can see could go against a counter strategy but early thoughts were in my opening two games that my possession levels were very poor. Since I added retain possession half way through the QPR game my stats have shot up and retain possession even with a counter strategy could make the team more cautious until a really good opportunity is on, although I stand to be corrected on that. Ironically the best counter attacking goal I scored was with a standard strategy. Perfect ball to the full back, knocked down the line to the wide midfielder, lovely cross and finished by the striker,. Unfortunately these type of goals seem to be more luck than judgement!

As I say though this formation seems a bit toothless in attack. I have tried using wingers but find that ruined it a bit defensively as did pushing the CM up to the AM slot. The DM's then weren't finding him with passes and he was playing like a second striker than an advanced midfielder. It's the lack of tracking back of the AM's that I find may cause this. I also use no specialist roles and fluid to try and get a more attacking threat or that is the idea. Very fluid seemed to affect my defensive play more.

Maybe PI's could help the attacking threat certainly on the wide men. I need more movement from them because obviously they need to get into the box. I have also tried having one wide man on support and the CM on attack but again it didn't seem as solid. The lone striker role is also a difficult one. I need him to be close enough to the midfield so an attacking duty is out, but at the same time I want him in the box,. Unfortunately an Advanced Forward support would probably be an ideal role but you can only have that on attack!

Looking at the analysis three negative things stand out.

1. Not enough shots obviously although what shots I do have are fairly central which is good but too many are from too far out.

2. Not enough passes are being played centrally through the middle although this may be caused by the lack of a creative player in the middle of the pitch?

3. Too many intercepted passes from my goalkeeper and centre backs. GK can be tinkered with although I don't really want to put shorter passing on CB's especially as I am already playing retain possession. It can't be a lack of options as there are two full backs and two DM's so I am not sure what is causing this although I did read on the feedback thread that CB's are hoofing it willy nilly so that could be half the cause?

Obviously the above are better at home than away from home but that stands to reason but I am a long way from dominating in the chances area which is my goal but of course it is a fine balancing act between keeping it tight and scoring goals.

Here is the screenshot anyway and any advice would be welcome.

Tactics_OverviewOverview.png

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My first thought would be no there's no attack roles through the middle of the park so numbers in the box would be lacking. Nolan would be perfect for a CM-A

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I suggest changing DM(D) to either DLP(D) or AM. DM close down abit more, not really wise to have 2 DM role. Or you could switch Noble to the left with a DLP(D) and Song to DM(S) on the right.

And with 2 DMs, your 2 fullbacks can be switch to WB roles instead. 1 attack and 1 support.

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My first thought would be no there's no attack roles through the middle of the park so numbers in the box would be lacking. Nolan would be perfect for a CM-A

I did start Nolan as a CM A with a WML S and a WMR A. Bizarrely though I didn't defend in the middle at all well,. Mind you that maybe due to the two DM roles. Also I find midfield tackling in this version a bit poor.

How about this as a middle 3?

---------------CM A--------------

---------AM D--------DLP S-----

or

---------------CM A-------------

---------DLP D--------DM S--

Have to say I didn't really like playmaker roles in 14 as I find it channels play through one player and if you don't have an outstanding individual I couldn't get it to work.

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Have to say I didn't really like playmaker roles in 14 as I find it channels play through one player and if you don't have an outstanding individual I couldn't get it to work.

That's why I used 2. Kinda balance out the over dependance of having just one playmaker.

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Looks like Songs ratings are suffering a bit, so he may be a candidate for a role tweak?I would suggest trying 3 things.

1. Try Song as a BWM(d), someone to stick a foot in and win the ball

2. Add a playmaker, try a wide playmaker, on the side of your attacking full back, he'll naturally drift inside.

3. Nolan to CM(a) or at the very least BBM.

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Looks like Songs ratings are suffering a bit, so he may be a candidate for a role tweak?I would suggest trying 3 things.

1. Try Song as a BWM(d), someone to stick a foot in and win the ball

2. Add a playmaker, try a wide playmaker, on the side of your attacking full back, he'll naturally drift inside.

3. Nolan to CM(a) or at the very least BBM.

Must say in my friendlies I used Song as a BWM D on the left of a narrow two in a diamond and his ratings were excellent but I got done in my final friendly down the wings big time so abandoned it for the time being.

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That's why I used 2. Kinda balance out the over dependance of having just one playmaker.

How do you find playmakers in a counter attacking philosophy? My thoughts are you want to get the ball forward rather than a player looking for a playmaker although having a DLP could possibly sort out my CB's launching it issue?

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How about :

_________________CF S_________________

WP S_____________CM A_____________WM A

_________DLP D___________BWM S_______

WB A________CB D______CB D________WB S

_________________GK D_________________

Standard philosophy?

My only concern here is having two playmakers on the same side>? Does this make it a bit one dimensional? Although I want to keep Cresswell as the attacking full back as he is doing really well.

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For the tactics screen, you can move the roles and duties to the right next to the tactics board if you want. Just customize view and move that column to the right.

As for your tactic, you want to play counter attacking but you're closing down and pushing higher up. This is more in line with a pressing game.

I have a 4-4-1-1 with 2DMs counter/fluid, higher tempo, play out of defense. It seems to work well with a roaming playmaker/regista/dlp (still deciding on which to use), and a TQ in the AMC slot. They play cautiously but there are counter attack opportunities at times. You won't score many goals this way but when you have a chance you most likely score.

Another way is to play with an attacking mentality and then drop deeper, more disciplined, stay on feet, and you could instruct your more defensive players to close down less. This is a much more attacking counter, with your players to urgently try to creat chances but at the same time sitting back and inviting pressure.

With neither tactic will you have more possession than your opponents as that is not the point of the tactic.

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For the tactics screen, you can move the roles and duties to the right next to the tactics board if you want. Just customize view and move that column to the right.

As for your tactic, you want to play counter attacking but you're closing down and pushing higher up. This is more in line with a pressing game.

I have a 4-4-1-1 with 2DMs counter/fluid, higher tempo, play out of defense. It seems to work well with a roaming playmaker/regista/dlp (still deciding on which to use), and a TQ in the AMC slot. They play cautiously but there are counter attack opportunities at times. You won't score many goals this way but when you have a chance you most likely score.

Another way is to play with an attacking mentality and then drop deeper, more disciplined, stay on feet, and you could instruct your more defensive players to close down less. This is a much more attacking counter, with your players to urgently try to creat chances but at the same time sitting back and inviting pressure.

With neither tactic will you have more possession than your opponents as that is not the point of the tactic.

Sorry I am just looking for a start point. Not a fan of counter attack and don't really want to play it but it just worked when I played Southampton. I am aiming just to create more chances with a standard philosophy to start with as defensively it seems ok. Then I will start to look at philosophies in general.

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Consider with Alex Song - he has a great engine, plus he also has decent passing, vision and likes a through-ball. A good deep playmaker type actually.

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Consider with Alex Song - he has a great engine, plus he also has decent passing, vision and likes a through-ball. A good deep playmaker type actually.

Food for thought indeed, Song is a great allrounder. Just beat Arsenal 2-1 using this :

_________________CF S_________________

WP S_____________CM A_____________WM A

_________DLP D___________BWM S_______

WB A________CB D______CB D________WB S

_________________GK D_________________

Flexible philosophy.

Noble in the DLP D slot got MOM with a rating in the 8's. Song was in the 7's,. Only three outfield players were in the 6's. Nolan - CM A, Downing WP S and Sakho up top.

Here is the heat map.

WestHamvArsenal_AnalysisPerformance.png

What stands out is that the WM A is at about the same level as the WP support. Also Noble as a DLP D seems a fair way from the central midfield so despite a great rating is he having to play too many Hollywood balls? I am wondering if maybe swap the DLP and BWM around so the BWM sits on the left as a BWM D and the DLP S sits on the right like this -

_________________CF S_________________

WP S_____________CM A_____________WM A

_________BWM D___________DLP S_______

WB A________CB D______CB D________WB S

_________________GK D_________________

Flexible philosophy.

The idea being the DLP will be more involved offensively. I know in 14 you had to be wary of a BWM leaving his position too much but that gap on the heat map could become problematic. Might be because I was playing Arsenal so my attacking intent was restricted mind you and possibly playing the CM A as a BBM could solve this as he won't be bombing on all the time.

My other problem position is the lone striker and has been since FM14. Not sure if Cole, Sakho or Valencia, plus Carroll when fit are rounded enough to play as a CF. Thoughts?

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Been tinkering about with the roles and duties as outlined above and lost 0-1 away at Man United and didn't get a shot on goal and drew at home to Leicester 0-0. Only 3 conceded in 8 games but only 7 scored is the problem.

Really not sure how to make this more offensive. Get further forward seems to do very little for any player, I noticed this on FM14, and the wing backs don't seem to be playing an awful lot different to when they were full backs. Not sure if it's the retain possession shout that makes it toothless going forward or a real lack of support for the forward? Maybe two in the DM area is overkill? Thoughts?

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Been tinkering about with the roles and duties as outlined above and lost 0-1 away at Man United and didn't get a shot on goal and drew at home to Leicester 0-0. Only 3 conceded in 8 games but only 7 scored is the problem.

Really not sure how to make this more offensive. Get further forward seems to do very little for any player, I noticed this on FM14, and the wing backs don't seem to be playing an awful lot different to when they were full backs. Not sure if it's the retain possession shout that makes it toothless going forward or a real lack of support for the forward? Maybe two in the DM area is overkill? Thoughts?

I've found that "Work Ball into box" works better than "Retain Possession". Find that it actually keeps possession more and it's better offensively.

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Been tinkering about with the roles and duties as outlined above and lost 0-1 away at Man United and didn't get a shot on goal and drew at home to Leicester 0-0. Only 3 conceded in 8 games but only 7 scored is the problem.

Really not sure how to make this more offensive. Get further forward seems to do very little for any player, I noticed this on FM14, and the wing backs don't seem to be playing an awful lot different to when they were full backs. Not sure if it's the retain possession shout that makes it toothless going forward or a real lack of support for the forward? Maybe two in the DM area is overkill? Thoughts?

I know this flies in the face of everything that the guides say, but try changing the ST to a more attacking duty, maybe a CF(a) or DLF(a). I'd also perhaps consider the WM(a) on the right hand side, experiment with a W(a) and really get him surging forward. Good luck.

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For the tactics screen, you can move the roles and duties to the right next to the tactics board if you want. Just customize view and move that column to the right.
How exactly do you do this ? i'm trying to move the roles and duties to the right but not sure how to do it, don't suppose you can help me out can you :-)

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I know this flies in the face of everything that the guides say, but try changing the ST to a more attacking duty, maybe a CF(a) or DLF(a). I'd also perhaps consider the WM(a) on the right hand side, experiment with a W(a) and really get him surging forward. Good luck.

Must confess I was wondering this. Never quite understood why an AM on Support didn't mean a flea in your ear from your Assistant about gaps between midfield and forward but if you whack a CM Attack in the CM strata you suddenly have all these gaps, ditto for AMR or AML and MR ML. Surely a lone striker needs to score you goals and on support that can be very difficult to achieve and for the sake of a few feet on a football pitch a CM A should be supporting as well if not better than an AM who is on support.

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Must confess I was wondering this. Never quite understood why an AM on Support didn't mean a flea in your ear from your Assistant about gaps between midfield and forward but if you whack a CM Attack in the CM strata you suddenly have all these gaps, ditto for AMR or AML and MR ML. Surely a lone striker needs to score you goals and on support that can be very difficult to achieve and for the sake of a few feet on a football pitch a CM A should be supporting as well if not better than an AM who is on support.

Yeah, your striker in most cases needs to get you goals, otherwise, what's the point?

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I always go back to a certain rule for a triangle:one support, one defense, and one attack. How about this

AP(a)

A(d)-RP(s)

One thing I have thought in the last couple of incarnations is "how good a player does a playmaker need to be ?" Hence why I have always used generally generic roles. For instance Mark Noble is a decent player and so is Kevin Nolan but would they be good enough as PM's against say a Man United? Are you not better playing good but not outstanding players in generic roles? Be interested to see what players you use in those roles?

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What confuses me is the formation you see on the screen is by all accounts "the defensive shape", however I find a deeper formation like this is unbelievably tough to get any attacking intent. The attacking roles do not seem to help and I have noticed on a CM A there is no option this year to "get further forward" where there was in FM14.

I am trying a few of the ideas given here in a game I am playing over and over again and I must say it seems to play exactly the same no matter what roles I use so maybe it is down to the TI's. One other thing I have noticed is that players get caught in possession very easily by over dribbling. Maybe a side effect of retain possession?

As this experiment goes on I am wondering that the only way to get any attacking intent is by use of either two up top or AM's of some sort which is a shame because this shape I feel is "the" shape used as a 4231 IRL.

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What confuses me is the formation you see on the screen is by all accounts "the defensive shape", however I find a deeper formation like this is unbelievably tough to get any attacking intent. The attacking roles do not seem to help and I have noticed on a CM A there is no option this year to "get further forward" where there was in FM14.

It's already active in this year's game.

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4231 seems far to toothless in attack for me. Was 1-0 down to Leicester and decided to try something. Actually more of a radical shake up!!

I changed to this :

-------------------CF S-----------------

WPM S----CM A-------BBM S------WP A

-------------------DLP D----------------

WB A------CD D---------CD D------WB S

Attacking mentality with a flexible team shape.

TI's were - retain possession, push higher up, hit early crosses, close down more, stop short GK distribution

Went on to win 5-1 - Go figure !! -- It was probably the best football I have seen in FM15.

Sadly I went on to draw the next two 0-0 against QPR and Villa although I had a man sent off in both. Then lost 2-1 away to Man City although I didn't really have a sniff so for the next game I stripped it down to the bare bones and only had retain possession, hit early crosses and stop short GK distribution as starting TI's. Went for a standard philosophy and won 3-1.

Now I am not sure of the do's and don'ts with how many playmakers you should play but my idea with this 4141 was to try and get the WB's forward to supply crosses for the CF S, CM A and BBM with then the WPM's tucking in for a little more security. In fact the WPM's also were getting a fair share of crosses in themselves. Have also considered having both WB's on attack and the WMP's on support with a Half Back dropping in but I fear that will leave the defence too far from the central midfield.

Another thing I noticed was when experimenting with "move into channels" on the striker, the idea being to free up space for the CM's. However when a player played a short pass to the striker he kind of shunted further up the pitch (finding vertical spaces??) and thus moved away from the pass rathe5r than coming deeper for it. Not sure f that is a role thing, PI thing or the player himself?

I am also wondering if a DLP on support will be better as I don't want him sitting in front of the defence deep if the CM's are bombing forward?

It's certainly got more bite than the 4231 and still fairly good defensively although I am not sure if I am overdoing it with the playmakers?

Thoughts appreciated.

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I apologise if I'm offending but it doesn't sound like you've worked out a cohesive tactical plan. By that I mean you've got wingers and wide midfielders and 1 tactic and wide playmakers the next, which significantly alters how your team plays. Chopping and changing based on single results doesn't work well in FM. Results can be influenced by many things which will change score lines from devastating loss to emphatic win. 4-2-3-1 and variations play differently to 4-5-1 variations and thus player requirements are different too. I'll be the first to say I don't know a whole heck about West Ham but I would think the midfield 3 of Song, Noble and Nolan is the strongest area of your team so I'd build the team around those 3 and their strengths. Think of a way to get the best out of those 3 and how a lone striker and play into it, would you need a big man like Andy Carroll to get on crosses or a smaller and quicker man?

Don't worry about arbitrary rules such as 'only 2 playmakers' or '5 or less TIs'. These rules have some logic behind them but aren't hard and fast. FM is about results, whether it's playing the way you want (regardless of win or lose) or trying to stomp the opposition every game. So figure out what works ina logical way, and stick with it.

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I apologise if I'm offending but it doesn't sound like you've worked out a cohesive tactical plan. By that I mean you've got wingers and wide midfielders and 1 tactic and wide playmakers the next, which significantly alters how your team plays. Chopping and changing based on single results doesn't work well in FM. Results can be influenced by many things which will change score lines from devastating loss to emphatic win. 4-2-3-1 and variations play differently to 4-5-1 variations and thus player requirements are different too. I'll be the first to say I don't know a whole heck about West Ham but I would think the midfield 3 of Song, Noble and Nolan is the strongest area of your team so I'd build the team around those 3 and their strengths. Think of a way to get the best out of those 3 and how a lone striker and play into it, would you need a big man like Andy Carroll to get on crosses or a smaller and quicker man?

Don't worry about arbitrary rules such as 'only 2 playmakers' or '5 or less TIs'. These rules have some logic behind them but aren't hard and fast. FM is about results, whether it's playing the way you want (regardless of win or lose) or trying to stomp the opposition every game. So figure out what works ina logical way, and stick with it.

No offence taken. I'm just experimenting as to be fair FM doesn't really play like real football. There is a fair lack of movement from certain roles and bunching from midfielders which at present make it pretty impossible to get any attacking intent out of a 4231 as per real life. If you look at the forums most 4231's are with AM's and IMO that isn't how it's played IRL. However as I say the lack of lateral and vertical movement currently doesn't suit a 4231 with CM's.

There is a tactical plan. I want to keep possession and get crosses into the box but not in a direct/long ball style. I have never really been a fan of playmakers but this idea stems from having three spread around the pitch thus giving the team three areas of creativity. IMO it's pointless having one PM in central midfield if you want to get crosses into the box because then you will only have two options for getting on the end of them, a solo striker and one of the CM's (if playing one striker). In this idea the crossers are the full backs generally and that allows the BBM/CM A and wide PM's to get into the box as well as the striker In FM I find it difficult to defend properly with a flat 4 in midfield so want to use that DM spot and with only 12 goals conceded in 22 games defensively I am on the right track I think. It's the goal scoring that is the problem and wingers currently just don't do it for me.

My best crosser is my left back so I am utilising him the best I can and Jarvis and Amaltifano are playing better as WPM's than they were wingers along with Downing who plays better as a CM than he does as a wide man in this version. Sakho just got a hat trick against Man City away so I think I am along the right lines.

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