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Draktor

The Quest for the Flat 442

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Introduction

So I have wanted to write this thread now for absolutely ages but never got around to it due to the Christmas holidays and work before that. To give you a bit of history I started an old thread here trying to adapt Cleon’s 352 for my team in football manager 13 using various resources around the internet. Since then I have gone on to have success in 13 and 14 using a basic model of 3 at the back with 5 in midfield.

One thing I have NEVER been able to do on any Football Manager game though since 12 is to create a solid 442 flat system, so that is the aim of the game for this thread. Unfortunately I have a glaring weakness, my reading/analysing the game on Football Manager is none existent, not too sure why but I do struggle with this side of it, which is a pain as analysing is what I do for work and successfully as well.

So from this thread I have the two following goals:

  1. Create a 442 flat system (and do not deviate from it, no matter which club)
  2. Learn to read the game properly

Any help?

Basically I am not asking for anything for free, and actually that would be wrong. I have learned that the best way to learn is to do, make a mistake and have that mistake pointed out to you with possible solutions or what you should have done.

So with this in mind for every *interesting* game I will be writing about it here, I also hope to write about it in a manner which is more along the lines of the 442 vs [insert formation here] so by the time the thread is done there should be a whole host of information devoted to the 442 vs x formation along with said implementation of that formation.

For those games I will also attach the match to the thread so it is possible to watch it back and also give me your suggestions/spot anything I might have missed (which is probably a massive amount).

So without further ado, let’s get started.

Which club?

I am currently at Rochdale, having managed Hyde and then Hasselt (in Belgium third league), actually I haven’t done too badly in my first season at Rochdale, however, I was very inconsistent and on the end of some real tonkings so it is time to put that right and I feel I have amassed a squad which is easily capable of getting some of the automatic promotion places.

The formation

So this is the crux of it, I have read various threads including Cleon’s “Understanding the 442” which is the first place anyone should start really. I won’t copy and paste that information here as it is best to go and read the thread itself.

What I would like really from a 442 is galloping wingers getting up and at the defence, however I also understand that this is probably not possible to have two wingers doing that so there may need to be some sacrifice.

Roles

So this is what I am currently playing, I have actually seen many posts with the same style systems:

yO1Px3T.png?1

The idea is for the winger on the right hand side to attack the defence using his pace and dribbling ability, the DLF to drop deeper and for the winger to attack that space. This has worked well and did so for Hyde a few months ago, in fact the winger was one of the top scorers at that time.

The center is pretty solid with a DLP (this used to be a CM(D)), though I must admit I am not sure which is better, the DLP or the CM(D).Next to him we have a BBM who gives support in attack and defence, my only other choice here would be a roaming playmaker which I have played in the past but settled with a BBM. Left hand side we have a WM(s) more conservative than the winger on the right and is more of a utility.

The defence is self explanatory really with the F(A) getting up the side where the WM(s) is positioned.

Upfront we have the DLF(s) and the AF(s) hoping that the DLF(s) will occupy the AMC slot and then push forward from there. I saw a recent post with pretty much the same setup and in my browsing I have also seen incredibly similar so it seems pretty standard.

Mentality and instructions

Team shape: Structured, I am a big fan of structured mentality and all my formations generally have this as I want my players to do what I want them to do

Mentality: I was thinking about this, as Cleon points out that the flat 442 is supposed to be more of a balanced system then I decided to go for “Standard”. Reason being we are expected to reach the play-offs so I don’t want to go too defensive (and our defence is good, more on this later) but I also don’t want to be too attacking, so I feel the base of standard would be good for now and would allow me to adapt in different games.

Team Instructions

I read the other thread by Dr. Hook who has a very similar system to mine and he was stating about keeping team instructions simple, I think this is a good approach so I have endeavored to do exactly the same.

0iTZKLA.png?1

In mine, I have whipped crosses as the strikers aren’t exactly the tallest but very fast, Stick to positions for the same reasoning as Dr. Hook, I don’t want them moving all over the place and play out of defence as I don’t want them launching it out from the back as our defenders are pretty good on the ball.

I am thinking about adding and removing these other instructions depending on situations:

High Tempo - especially if I want to exploit the wings, say against narrow formations, will also fit will with more direct play

Exploit the flanks - I used to have this on, but took it off as people kept pinging it to the flanks sometimes at the expense of other opportunities

More direct - I think this will be needed in certain games, we will see

The players

Let’s look at the comparisons as well as the players involved.

All Positions

hikOBvD.png?1

As highlighted we are exceptionally good passing side with first touch and passing rated as number 1 overall, this is helped massively by the defences ability to retain the ball.

Thought: I was thinking about altering team instructions so that we use short passing, but the flat 442 doesn’t seem to lend itself to possession football, so not sure what to do here.

Our decisions could be better at 9th, but still, nothing really to be sneered at. Our workrate and teamwork is good, so no problem in outworking most opposition, this will be important in a 442 as well.

The only concern is aggression, however this was actually purposeful, I have noticed with high aggression players tend to press a lot, so I limited it as the 442 from my readings needs to keep its shape.

Goalkeeper

mTi5Vxd.png?1

No concern here really, top notch keeper in Matt Gilks, pretty much good enough for a promotion team in my opinion and this is reflected in the comparison.

To look at the players please see below:

Matt Gilks - Good keeper for the league

Josh Lillis - Good backup

Defence

1CesGiU.png?1

Our defence is probably that of a title winning side, if you look at the screenshot the we are first for jumping reach, marking and strength, 2nd for heading, 4th for acceleration, positioning and tackling and 5th for pace. That really is excellent.

Not only that but our defence has excellent on the ball skills for league two, so that’s a major plus.

Ethan Ebanks-Landell - DC - Top centerback, good distribution for the league, nice pace, ok jumping and heading

Paddy McNair - DC - Decent centerback with good distribution, good in the air, slightly worried about the tackling but was solid last year

Stephen Arthurworrey - DC - Excellent in the air, good on the deck, am a little worried about his mentals though, but a solid backup for us

Matty Pearson - DC/MC - Good in the air, good on the deck and decent mentals, another good backup for us really, also can play in the midfield which will help!

Joe Rafferty - DR - Good fullback for this level

Rhys Bennet - DR - Another good fullback for this level and can slot in the center as well if needed

Sean McGintey - DL - Good fullback, good in the air as well so can do a job in the center. If attacking (which he will be I am worried about his dribbling)

Jerome Binnom-Williams - DL - Looks a good left back in the making, seriously physical, hoping he can develop

Midfield

B2dcb7G.png?1

The midfield looks awful except for vision, teamwork, passing and long shots. However, it is slightly strange as the people I have for the two central midfield areas are very competitive with regard to tackling and stamina, so maybe these averages include my wingers? Not sure about that, it is best to refer to individual screenshots.

Stephen Dawson - MC - Our first choice DLP, excellent mentals and tackling, and distribution is ok for this level

Jamie Allen - MC - Really good B2B midfielder for this level, good in the tackle and distribution as well

Andy Cannon - MC - Backup for the DLP spot really behind dawson, not great but not bad either

Matty Pearson - DC/MC - Good in the air, good on the deck and decent mentals, another good backup for us really, he can bring height and strength to midfield if we need it

Scott Tanser - ML - Excellent player for the WM(s) position, can also play LB (would make an excellent attacking fullback) so if we go for a more attacking option on the left he can drop back

Matty Done - ML - Good attacking winger on this side, also can play upfront and is effective there

Alex Henshall - ML/MR - Very very pacey and good dribbling, crossing leaves something to be desired though but I would just be looking for him to carry the ball forward

Ian Henderson - MR/ML - Older now with pace having dwindled but was very effective for me last season and I still see him being very important this season on either flank, can bring something different on the left by cutting inside onto his right foot

Jeffrey Monakana - MR - Top draw right winger, very attack minded and has excellent pace, dribbling and decent crossing. Can also finish like Ian, good if he can break through the defence

Callum Camps - MR/ML - Backup player, not great but not bad for pretty cheap wages, so had him stick around as a utility player

Attack

HBqSEyJ.png?1

The attack is good, offering great movement, anticipation and finishing. There is a weakness in the air in general, but I have tried to offset that by bringing in a forward who is better in the air.

However, I only really have Proctor who is good in the air, so possibly swinging in crosses is not the best way forward, that’s why whipped crosses are the answer.

Neil Yeates - SC - Really our star striker, very young and came through the youth team, he's great

Jamie Proctor - SC - Brought in to add strength and size to the DLF role, he should be able to do that

Alex Samuel - SC - Backup for the AF position that Yeates is first choice for

Matty Done - ML/SC - Backup for the DLF position and can be highly effective on his day

Christopher Larkin - SC - Backup to Proctor & Done for the DLF position, is only young and does seem to have potential, but his physicals are HIGHLY lacking...for this level I don't think that that is good enough

General Thoughts

As stated previously I feel that the squad is highly competitive and can gain an automatic promotion, I have an excellent all around defence, the right players in the right positions for midfield and a balanced attack.

There should be no excuses really so it just comes down to how well I am able to get the tactics working.

What’s next?

If anyone has any feedback on this I would love to hear it, a good initial setup is really a cornerstone, from there I will continue through the season and post some updates on matches, with my analysis and the match file for anyone to provide their thoughts.

I am really looking forward to the project and hope it helps the community (and myself really :D).

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Very interested in following this as I have tried, and so far failed to get a 4-4-2 working with Ajax. Results in the league were good enough to win it but it was clearly down to having much better players than almost everyone else rather than any tactical genius by me. As soon as I lost the possession battle against better teams then you could be sure my defence would eventually get pulled out of shape and a simple ball would put someone through on goal.

I always find it quite interesting that when teams are good at passing a lot of people automatically select shorter passing TI. If you think about it logically then the better the players are at passing then the more confident we should be in asking them to pass it longer. IMHO shorter passing should be reserved for a possession based system or if your team are really poor at passing, if they are good at it then I would think either no TI or even try more direct.

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Will also follow with some interest. I am in the early stages of trying to set up a 442 based on Sacchi's Milan side, which was very much flat 442 based. It would be rather different to this, and suited to top teams given the principles which Sacchi followed but none the less interesting to see if the core shape can be made to work. I see no reason why not.

In terms of your setup, looks all sound and fairly standard for this set up - a good starting point. I would perhaps be more adventurous with either the WM or the other CM (non holding one) and put an attack duty in to get late runners into the box, but of course there is a defensive pay off.

One thing about "play out of defence", which is default for almost every created tactic (including mine). If the oposition is playing a pressing game, this instruction can really cause you some problems. It encourages your defence to play to close midfielders, who are likely to be on the business end of the other teams press. If/When they lose the ball, its lost in a very dangerous area and can lead to goals against. Sometimes its worth giving up on that principle and moving the ball more quickly from back to front, against a press. You can also take advantage of space on the flanks like that.

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I am in the early stages of trying to set up a 442 based on Sacchi's Milan side, which was very much flat 442 based.

Then we should probably talk - I have a Sacchi-based 442 up and running using (yup you guessed it) AC Milan. Just won the CL with it, and hoping to emulate back to back wins ;).

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It appears that your team is 1st for passing, but your midfield only 5th, which implies you have some decent passers of a ball elsewhere in the team. Making the leap that some of these may be defenders, I would concur with Jambo re. Play out of Defence. If your defenders have the passing skills (and good decision making), I'd be inclined to leave it up to them to make the right choice.

As for TI's in general, why not actually start with none whatsoever, watch and see what you need to adjust.

Your basic formation, roles and duties look good to me (they worked for the likes of Bob Paisley, so no reason they shouldn't for you), however given your one of the better teams in the league, I think you could perhaps be more positive + you seem to have a decent team ethic within your squad, hence could show greater fluidity.

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I have a distrust of the 4-4-2 in FM15. Ideally, I would like to have a team play direct with a target man and poacher, but I never can get it to work properly (or rather, it's inferior to other, easier, safer options) so I stick with either high possession, low tempo or medium possession, high pressing, high tempo. Most of the best tactics I see on forums or have made myself are born out of the more ideally suited possession formations of 4-2-3-1 W, 4-3-3 W, and 3-5-2.

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Very interested in following this as I have tried, and so far failed to get a 4-4-2 working with Ajax. Results in the league were good enough to win it but it was clearly down to having much better players than almost everyone else rather than any tactical genius by me. As soon as I lost the possession battle against better teams then you could be sure my defence would eventually get pulled out of shape and a simple ball would put someone through on goal.

This is how I generally felt about playing 3-5-2 my initial setup was good, but I could never really point to a game or two and say that I made a decision which won me the game, or really influenced proceedings. This also happened to me last season with Rochdale, I would inevitably concede a goal.

Will also follow with some interest. I am in the early stages of trying to set up a 442 based on Sacchi's Milan side, which was very much flat 442 based. It would be rather different to this, and suited to top teams given the principles which Sacchi followed but none the less interesting to see if the core shape can be made to work. I see no reason why not.

I actually saw a tactic from a while back around Sacchi which was interesting. It was for FM 14. It uses DMs instead of midfielders, not sure whether it would be any use to your efforts.

Here it is

In terms of your setup, looks all sound and fairly standard for this set up - a good starting point. I would perhaps be more adventurous with either the WM or the other CM (non holding one) and put an attack duty in to get late runners into the box, but of course there is a defensive pay off.

I was thinking about that actually, it is why I brought in more attacking power on the left wing, as the dream is really to have two flying wingers, will try and stabalise the tactic first. One thing of note is that Jamie Allen (the main choice B2B) has the PPM "Gets forward whenever possible" so I think that will help or hinder depending upon what I would like him to do.

One thing about "play out of defence", which is default for almost every created tactic (including mine). If the oposition is playing a pressing game, this instruction can really cause you some problems. It encourages your defence to play to close midfielders, who are likely to be on the business end of the other teams press. If/When they lose the ball, its lost in a very dangerous area and can lead to goals against. Sometimes its worth giving up on that principle and moving the ball more quickly from back to front, against a press. You can also take advantage of space on the flanks like that.
I always find it quite interesting that when teams are good at passing a lot of people automatically select shorter passing TI. If you think about it logically then the better the players are at passing then the more confident we should be in asking them to pass it longer. IMHO shorter passing should be reserved for a possession based system or if your team are really poor at passing, if they are good at it then I would think either no TI or even try more direct.
It appears that your team is 1st for passing, but your midfield only 5th, which implies you have some decent passers of a ball elsewhere in the team. Making the leap that some of these may be defenders, I would concur with Jambo re. Play out of Defence. If your defenders have the passing skills (and good decision making), I'd be inclined to leave it up to them to make the right choice.

I think you're all right, I have removed the instruction so now I will leave it up to the defenders. The issue is that the rightback and left back aren't quite as good as the centerbacks for distribution, so I will keep an eye on them. If necessary I will give them individual instructions.

As for TI's in general, why not actually start with none whatsoever, watch and see what you need to adjust.

Your basic formation, roles and duties look good to me (they worked for the likes of Bob Paisley, so no reason they shouldn't for you), however given your one of the better teams in the league, I think you could perhaps be more positive + you seem to have a decent team ethic within your squad, hence could show greater fluidity.

It is a good point, I really do want to start with just two TIs now, Whipped crosses (as I really wouldn't want them doing something else) and "Stick to Positions" as I want them to maintain their shape. Not sure whether I can do this without restricting their closing down. If it doesn't work I will take another look to see whether these two are correct.

By more positive do you mean going for a "control" strategy, rather than the standard one? I think one of my issues is I am unaware as to what effect these strategies have on other areas. For example if I moved to control this would make my line higher, create a higher tempo and also increase closing down. Is that correct? My fear is the increase in closing down would pull the 442 out of shape and lead to great holes. Or am I missing something?

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I have a distrust of the 4-4-2 in FM15. Ideally, I would like to have a team play direct with a target man and poacher, but I never can get it to work properly (or rather, it's inferior to other, easier, safer options) so I stick with either high possession, low tempo or medium possession, high pressing, high tempo. Most of the best tactics I see on forums or have made myself are born out of the more ideally suited possession formations of 4-2-3-1 W, 4-3-3 W, and 3-5-2.

I must admit one of the dreams is to have flying wingers and a big man up front. Was wondering how hard it would be to create an old school "british" tactic of a 442 going route one. It is something I want to investigate when I have more knowledge about the game and analysing what is happening.

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Then we should probably talk - I have a Sacchi-based 442 up and running using (yup you guessed it) AC Milan. Just won the CL with it, and hoping to emulate back to back wins ;).

Would be good to hear about it. If its a flat 442, sharing some of it in this thread would perhaps be suitable - Any ideas for a flat 442 might help the OP :) If you have sold out ( ;) ) and not gone for the flat one ,a separate thread on the Sacchi tactic might be good to get involved with :)

I actually saw a tactic from a while back around Sacchi which was interesting. It was for FM 14. It uses DMs instead of midfielders, not sure whether it would be any use to your efforts.

Here it is

Thanks, i recall that and the same guy did it for FM13 as well. However, its not the sacchi tactic really. I think you would have to say Sacchi was true flat 442. I dont think Rijkaard played as a DM, and even Ancellotti, whilst certainly the more disciplined of the 2, was not a DM.

Also consider that Sacchi had a desire for the 3 "lines" (defence, midfield, attack) to all be positioned close together to leave no space. To achieve this, you pretty much needed to be a flat midfield (otherwise you give up space between midfield and attack).

For creating it, and this may not be of use to you so i apologise, but i have gone flat 442, with very high Dline and very high closing down. Its a 442 based on squeezing space and winning the ball back high, then having the attacking talent to overload the opposition (Sacchi had an idealist approach of always having 5 men ahead of the ball - now thats what you call attacking :D)

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I've been working on a 4-4-2 inspired by Van Gaal's time at AZ for a little bit now, and I believe we're working towards a similar sort of outcome. Here's the setup I have going at the moment:

GK(D)

WB(A) CD(D) CD(D) WB(S)

WP(S) CM(S) RPM(S) WP(A)

P(A) TM(S)

TIs

Drop Deeper

Pass Into Space

PIs

CD - Close Down Less

WBL/R - Stay Wide

Structured team shape, Standard mentality.

I've been testing it out with Stockport, and I guess it's been semi-successful so far. We've over-achieved in every season, and the play tends to look attractive and positive. I'll certainly be interested to see which way you decide to take your 4-4-2, and if there's anything that you learn that I would find useful. The 4-4-2 needs to be popularised again!

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I've been working on a 4-4-2 inspired by Van Gaal's time at AZ for a little bit now, and I believe we're working towards a similar sort of outcome. Here's the setup I have going at the moment:

GK(D)

WB(A) CD(D) CD(D) WB(S)

WP(S) CM(S) RPM(S) WP(A)

P(A) TM(S)

TIs

Drop Deeper

Pass Into Space

PIs

CD - Close Down Less

WBL/R - Stay Wide

Structured team shape, Standard mentality.

I've been testing it out with Stockport, and I guess it's been semi-successful so far. We've over-achieved in every season, and the play tends to look attractive and positive. I'll certainly be interested to see which way you decide to take your 4-4-2, and if there's anything that you learn that I would find useful. The 4-4-2 needs to be popularised again!

I've never used Wide Playmakers before, but they seem like an interesting solution to the 4-4-2's lack of central midfield numbers. In your formation, how does the WP(S) get along with the CM(S)? It seems like they would be on top of each other.

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By more positive do you mean going for a "control" strategy, rather than the standard one? I think one of my issues is I am unaware as to what effect these strategies have on other areas. For example if I moved to control this would make my line higher, create a higher tempo and also increase closing down. Is that correct? My fear is the increase in closing down would pull the 442 out of shape and lead to great holes. Or am I missing something?

Yes it would do all of that, but as one of the better teams in the league, you would expect to have to force the issue now and then.

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I've never used Wide Playmakers before, but they seem like an interesting solution to the 4-4-2's lack of central midfield numbers. In your formation, how does the WP(S) get along with the CM(S)? It seems like they would be on top of each other.

My mistake, the CM there is supposed to be (D) duty.

As for the Wide Playmakers, they're really fun to use. I think of them as Inside Forwards, but further up the pitch, providing balls to the marauding full backs, the strikers, or the Roaming Playmaker.

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My mistake, the CM there is supposed to be (D) duty.

As for the Wide Playmakers, they're really fun to use. I think of them as Inside Forwards, but further up the pitch, providing balls to the marauding full backs, the strikers, or the Roaming Playmaker.

They couldn't be the more opposite of what an inside forward is. An inside forward runs with the ball a lot, drives at their man and uses space that's been created for him and is not a playmaker, they are goal scorers. A wide playmaker is a creative player who while still might take up good positions and score goals but first and foremost he is a creator for his team mates. No idea why you'd think of them as inside forwards, that's baffled me that one...

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Would be good to hear about it. If its a flat 442, sharing some of it in this thread would perhaps be suitable - Any ideas for a flat 442 might help the OP :) If you have sold out ( ;) ) and not gone for the flat one ,a separate thread on the Sacchi tactic might be good to get involved with :)

Nope, haven't sold out lol - it's a flat 442 ;). It's roots are in that original "sacchi" 442DM posted on FM Base created by a friend of mine seanhrfc, but now changed up for FM15.

I will do a write up, but I think in a separate thread - in all fairness to the OP as it'll a) be a very long write up and b) it will not work with lower league teams (I've tried). There may well be some elements the OP can take from it, but I don't want to crowd out this thread :).

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They couldn't be the more opposite of what an inside forward is. An inside forward runs with the ball a lot, drives at their man and uses space that's been created for him and is not a playmaker, they are goal scorers. A wide playmaker is a creative player who while still might take up good positions and score goals but first and foremost he is a creator for his team mates. No idea why you'd think of them as inside forwards, that's baffled me that one...

I was thinking more of their cutting in from wide.

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Rochdale vs 4213 (D&R)

MATCH DOWNLOAD - CLICK HERE

You should be able to put this in your matches folder (Documents -> Sports Interactive -> Football Manager 2015 -> matches) and then on the main FM startup screen there is a button at the bottom called "View Matches" click that.

Introduction

In general I am the heavy favourites, they need to avoid relegation and the board has me gunning for the playoffs.

I have decided to start the game with the set tactic though without any changes. I was tempted to push into more of a “Control” mentality but I decided that it wasn’t worth it yet. Though I may attempt to make the WM(S) on the left more attacking.

Their Manager

hHSoDjf.png

Looking at Colin Lee he tends to play the 4-1-2-3 as indicated on his profile with short passing and a cautious approach.

So I am expecting a deeper line and patience from them, possibly looking to counter attack me. To combat this as stated above I will stay standard and see what space is available.

In previous times I would exploit the flanks against this formation, however, I would like this to happen naturally so will see how it goes.

Beginning the Game

Preview

ClWnQuc.png

Bit of a surprise early doors as instead of a 1-2 with one DMC, they have opted for a 2-1 with two DMCs, against all their pre-season and the manager preference. They obviously see us as a thread.

This will make the wide areas key for us.

Early reading of the defensive lines

Just a note before I even had a chance to try and read the defensive line we scored, so this may have changed their initial setup, not sure.

kM2VUZE.png

Dagenham & Redbridge seem to have a very very deep line here, what I am going to do for these games is measure the lines in pixels from the half way line. I have used the suggested time from Cleon (opposition have the ball just inside their area).

In this case their defensive line is very deep, approximately x pixels from the half way line

Identifying the Roles

Actually I struggle with this, so for 15 I tend to use the small formation window, as depending on their role and whether it is D, S or A their position in the small formation window will change.

Bare in mind that I am totally guessing at some, but I know some of their positions on the small formation screen.

  • GK
  • DR
  • DL
  • DC
  • DC
  • DML
  • Looks more advanced, will wait a bit before I commit to this one
  • DMR
  • Looks deeper so I am guessing DM or Anchor man
  • MC
  • AMR
  • Possibly a winger, not sure yet, definitely attack though
  • Changed to IF(S) as indicated
  • AML
  • Possibly a winger, not sure yet, definitely attack though
  • SC
  • I am thinking DLF(A) or CF(S) based purely due to the position on the small formation graph
  • He has changed to a DLF(S), definitely coming deeper in the game and his position on the small formation window is now slightly deeper, so I would say he was a DLF(A) originally and now (S)
  • Noticed he seemed to change back to DLF(A) or CF(S) since they went to a more direct system

Match notes as it happens

1 minutes - goal for Rochdale, Monakana had, 20 seconds earlier, skinned the right back, he does so again while cutting inside and planting a left footed drive into the net

One thing of note for the goal is the defense did not close him down, does this mean they are set to close down less?

6 minutes - They definitely look to be playing shorting passing at the moment as they are popping it around, unsure of tempo though, doesn’t seem particularly slow nor fast to me

8 minutes - They tend to be playing infront of us, but I have seen some high balls from the keeper up to the forward

13 minutes -

Their AML & AMR seem to be taking very high positions on the outside, so I am thinking both are on attack, possibly wingers

I also notice that they look rather narrow, originally I was thinking I may have been wrong and the AML & AMR might be inside forwards, but if you look they are in line with the fullbacks and their entire team is narrower than I am.

Makes me think they are playing narrow..

oSRivuf.png

Thinking how to combat this?

I am currently thinking we could match them with the narrowness as they are getting on top of us a bit now.

14 mins

Though it does mean that Monakana is getting acres of space when we change the ball quickly. Thinking about setting expoit the flanks, as there is a massive amount of space in behind their wingers

22 mins

They score a fluke, long ball out to the right winger who puts in a cross and it goes straight into the net, bit unlucky

23 mins

Their AMR looks like he has now changed into an inside forward, looking at the small formation graphic he seems to have tucked in a bit.

30 mins

Been a bit more even recently we haven’t been on top at all, and they are getting more joy from their front three at the moment.

Truthfully not sure what to do, we do seem to get at them when we go down the wings, so I think it might be time for a change, Exploit the flanks is now active, let’s see what happens

35 mins

Proctor has really struggled since he got injured earlier on, going to be bold and sub him before half time, on comes Done, we lose some strength up front, but well, I don’t have too much choice really.

Ideally I need a very strong DLF(S) as he tends to come under pressure.

Tanser on the left seems decent, but I can’t help but feel sometime the move breaks down with him, or I would like him to run and commit defenders more. I will look at this later.

39 mins

Yeates goes down injured and they end up breaking from it, so I am thinking they are definitely Counter or Defensive mentality, with their deep line and willingness to counter. It does mean we have to be careful

We have done better since exploiting the flanks but we do need more penetration when we have space to run into.

41 mins

They have been looking for the ball over the top from the back recently, seem more direct, possible change there?

They haven’t got any joy yet, but I wouldn’t count against it. Additionally they do seem to have more behind the ball now and their number 9 has shifted further up again, so looking like he’s back to DLF(A) or CF(S)

45 mins

Some nice play around their box but again going nowhere, space is more limited now due to them dropping even deeper.

May be time to follow Cleon’s advice and actually even drop my mentality deeper. I think if I switch to control I may fall into their trap, they are playing very direct looking for a ball over the top and if I go further up space for my wings will be decreased.

Considering changing to Counter, but not done yet.

45 + 1 mins

Better play down their left again, getting a bit more joy, but still not good enough in general

Half time

Disappointed really we got off to a flyer but they came back into the match. You can probably see my problem even when I try to analyse it obviously I will miss important details but I am still a bit unsure what’s happening.

They have gone more direct it seems with someone looking for the over the top and are on a counter or defensive strategy. That means they are sitting deep and we have got a bit of joy since I exploited the flanks (away from their two DMs) but not a great deal.

I think after 50 minutes I will go for it and take a risk, switch to counter (to get more space and intercept their long balls) and switch the LM out for a more attacking winger.

Let’s play!

46 mins

If I could swear on this forum I would, Monakana just got injured that means we have already had to make one substitution, Yeates is carrying and injury and now our top right winger is injured so he has to be replaced, maybe time to do something drastic

I have moved to a mirror of the formation above and brought on Frost, who is a carbon copy of Monkana but just for the opposite side. Tanser has gone to the right, he can’t naturally play there but he has the stats to at least.

49 mins

Their number 9 up front has switched to a AF or Poacher, not sure which one by looking at the small formation screen, again further reinforcing they are looking for something over the top.

55 mins

Since the change to the mirrored formation, they have looked a bit looser at the back and we have been getting more joy.

Not too sure why, just seem more threatening out wide, still haven’t made another change as the sub has throw my plans up in the air really. Need even more penetration soon though.

67 mins

Again nothing much, they had one break on me which was dangerous but we’d have a few chances and blocked shots in and around the box. I really need to make my mind up what I will do at 70 minutes.

The issue seems to be all our attacking players go into the defenders and all become marked so we are left with no support, I am considering getting the left back further forward to counteract this.

70 mins

Ok may be totally the worng thing to do at this point but I am making a few changes, I will add the following:

Play wider - I want to stretch them as much as possible

Higher tempo -> counteract the lower temp change with counter as I want to get the ball switched from wing to wing faster

Both of these changes is designed to create as much space as possible and exploit it

76 mins

Space has definitely opened up, they look to be playing wider as well now, not sure when this happened, could have been a while ago.

Still no breakthrough goal for us though.

79 mins

I can definitely tell we are stretching them, and are comfortable in defence, in going for the win I am also changing the LB to a FB(A) instead of (S) due to the mirroring of the formation.

With the space as well, I am looking to go a bit more direct and hope the pace of the players can then close the gap. Let’s see!

85 mins

Two massive chances from quick switches of play from right to left, to right and then a cross in, but the left winger missed a sitter and then so did the DLF(S).

At least it does seem like my changes are working as we are dominating the proceedings currently.

90 mins

DISASTER: They scored from a corner after all that!! No way we should lose this game, but well this is football manager and it does happen in real life.

Well it has finished…

l5F1XrI.png

Thoughts

Well this is an absolute classic game for everyone to view in a FM sense, we dominate, can’t find a way through, flukey goal for them and then a corner right at the death to win it.

In some ways I am pleased that this has happened as this is exactly the type of game that I should be documenting my thought process on and exactly the kind of game that happens to all players so we can all learn something from this.

For me I hope you can all help me with a few points:

  • In the game did you spot anything I missed?
  • Did you spot anything that I got wrong?
  • How do you identify different roles? I use the small formation one now that has only started changing in ‘15, previous versions it didn’t change with role and duty
  • Were my changes correct? what would have you done?

If you enjoyed this and want more please let me know, it actually takes a long time to do this as I watch the entire match and document as I go to try and make myself think about it, so any feedback would be much appreciated.

The match download is available at the top.

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Just a small update, I have signed a few players as Andy Cannon left the building.

Transfers

In

Jamie Frost - Like a carbon copy of Monakana on the left, good going forward and should provide some penetration. Also a loan without the need to pay wages

Alan McCormack - Backup for the DLP(D) spot as Andy Cannon left

Out

Andy Cannon - Wanted first team football so I let him go, Patrick McNair is unhappy, whining something or other...

General

Match

Carling Cup 1st Round - 442 (Burnley) vs Rochdale

This wasn't one of the games I was going to do a report on as Burnley were flying high in the Championship as of last season after getting relegated two seasons ago, so I was expecting a whooping.

Actually we managed to win 2-0 and it was thoroughly deserved. I thought they would attack us, so here is what I did (taking a leaf from Dr. Hook's setup from this thread)

  • Changed to counter (then to defend after we scored the first goal)
  • Added Short passing as a team instruction (we have decent passing and I didn't want to give the ball away cheaply
  • Proctor was injured (3-4 weeks) so Done came in for him in the DLF(S) spot

That is literally all I did and we totally deserved the win and were generally the more dangerous team. Does bring about the power of simple changes.

I will be doing another match in the full format over the day and report back here with the results.

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442 (Torquay) vs Rochdale

MATCH DOWNLOAD - CLICK HERE

You should be able to put this in your matches folder (Documents -> Sports Interactive -> Football Manager 2015 -> matches) and then on the main FM startup screen there is a button at the bottom called "View Matches" click that.

Introduction

So Torquay have rolled around, although the media predicts they will finish 18th and ourselves 9th Torquay are the favourites for the home match.

However, I still think I have the better squad so I am not going to defend first, I am going to start the game and let them play, see what goes on.

Their Manager

gjxIBRz.png

Chris Hargreaves is their manager and from looking at him he seem to like to employ the 442, so it might be like for like here. His passing style is mixed, so I can’t really see them sticking to one type and his playing mentality is “adventurous” so I would imagine he will push up the field and try to attack us.

I will maintain the standard mentality but if they are pushing on a drop down to counter may be on the cards, let’s see if our quality will affect them first.

Beginning the Game

Preview

4el9Ik6.png

No surprises here, they are playing straight up 442, so the plan still stays, let’s see how the first 15-20 minutes pan out before making any changes.

Early reading of the defensive lines

Bf8zOMp.png

They definitely look high here with only 163px from the halfway line when we have the ball inside their half, this is quite interesting for us as both our striker are very pacy!

Identifying the Roles

DISCLAIMER: Again I struggle with this so please take it with a pinch of salt!

GK

DR

Very standard, seems like a FB(S)

Changed to FB(A) during the game

DL

As the right back, no attacking intent from them

DC

DC

MR

Looking like a WM(A) initially from the positioning on the small formation screen

ML

Looking like a WM(A) initially from the positioning on the small formation screen

MCL

Possible CM(S) or something like that, not really sure

Think it was CM(S) before and now seems to be CM(A)

MCR

Looking like a DLP(D) to me

STR

Again as previous games looks like a DLF(A) or CF(S), I can’t really tell the roles apart

STL

Seems like an AF

So it looks like their plan is going to be push on the widemen, have the back 4 pretty solid and one of the midfielders more advanced.

Match notes as it happens

5 mins

Good early dominance from us so far, they can’t really get the ball out and our midfield has the measure of thiers, they look to be standing off us a bit.

Defence has been on top of their strikers.

8 mins

GOAL: Ball over the top from our DR and Done latches on to it and fires home, good goal

15 mins

No real need for any worry here as we have looked comfortable, they haven’t changed anything yet, looking out for it though.

We have been getting some joy between Done & Monakana linking up well down the right hand side.

24 mins

GOAL: Great goal, Yeates tucks it away after great passing play, we are really playing some lovely stuff and are in total control of this match.

Monakana made this goal with his direct running and then pass into yeates who finished it off, their left back got dragged onto Done who slipped the ball to Monakana, he then ran between the gap between the CM and LB and gave the ball to Yeates.

26 mins

The commentary reported that Torquay have made a change, but I am not sure what, their shape doesn’t seem to have changed and I will recheck their defensive line when I have a chance. They do seem to be more pressing now, perhaps they were standing off before?

32 mins

They definitely seem more aggressive in their play but again we are holding out with the same system, no real worries. They don’t seem to have had a change in duties either, sticking with the same role.

I haven’t managed to get a read on their defensive line though as our players have been going more direct into the front two, which seems to cause them issues.

36 mins

Finally got a proper position for a read on their defensive line, as you can see they have moved up and become more aggressive in their pressing, I am wondering if they are going attacking possibly?

wK1XbB3.png

I have two choices now:

  1. Go more direct and look for the ball over the top
  2. Go more defensive with short passing and try to counter them like the burnley match

Not really sure what is possibly best suited. I am leaning towards going more direct, I am afraid if I go defensive and then end up passing short it allows them to get stuck in to us faster.

37 mins

They are coming on much stronger now, their MCL has seemingly been made a CM(A) I would bet (looking at the small formation screen). Probably decision time in the next 7 minutes for me.

I don’t want to dally over a change like last match and get punished for it.

38 mins

Been bold and gone for the following changes

  • More direct
  • Pass into space
  • Higher temp

My reasons are quite simple, like I said above I don’t feel that the defensive nature, short passing was a good fit when they seem to be going really aggressively. In addition to that the first goal was more of a ball over the top, so we have already exploited it once, I feel we can do this again now they are even more aggressive.

Let’s see if I am right.

Half time

We were looking better at half time by going direct, considering a switch to Counter though to get more men behind the ball for their breakaways, not sure yet.

47 mins

Massive chance from a ball over the top, Yeates missed it. Not sure whether it is my changes or they have changed something as well.

Their CML seems to have gone back to CM(S) duty.

48 mins

Yeates nearly went though again, unlucky! Long ball from the left back and he went clear only to seem to have a bad touch and the defender recovers, encouraging.

56 mins

We are penning them in again, I have a feeling they have tempered their play back to previous levels after Yeates’ chance as they seem deeper. Haven’t got an exact read on their line yet it is just what I feel from seeing them play.

They are also going direct on us, I see a lot of balls trying to catch us out, but again the defense is fast & strong, so they are generally easily dealt with.

64 mins

Just had a quick check and no the line is still very high, we aren’t getting as many opportunities over the top though, that’s interesting, not sure why!

I have noticed that their SCR has actually changed on the small formation screen, he’s pushed on a touch, so not sure what his role is now, I will try and observe him to see what he’s doing.

75 mins

We have looked ok, but I am trying to freshen it up with a few subs, Pearson on in the middle for Dawson, Allen becomes the DLP(D).

In defence McNair comes off and Arthurworrey comes on, he lacks some pace though but has excellent ariel skills

79 mins

In my final change, Frost comes on upfront for Yeates, give him a bit of a rest.

82 mins

GOAL: They scored, 2-1 now, looks like Ebanks-Landell got attracted to the attacker, the attacker played it off but then went for the return with an overload from the CML and Ebanks-Landell didn’t follow them.

Not what we needed, they will go even more aggressive now. I think a move to Counter would be good.

90 mins

Penalty to us! Nice interchanges and their DCR came out to close our MCL down unfortunately for him Frost drifted in behind him and the ball was played through, the right back then came in with a heavy challenge to concede a pen.

GOAL: Tanser steps up to make it 3-1 to us now and should put the game to rest.

92 mins

GOAL: Can’t really switch off ANOTHER fluke goal from them, carbon copy of the Dag & Red goal really, right winger swings in a cross and the keeper is caught out…

Well luckily it finished!

gSRWBjl.png

Thoughts

Very very very interesting game, for a game we were in charge of for most of the time it actually became a bit too close for comfort. Not sure what I did right/wrong here, I felt I did better than the Dag & Red game, I made decisions early and they did seem to pay off.

All in all though I am pleased and thought that the scoreline flattered them, until the last 20 minutes they hadn’t actually had a CCC nor the majority of the play. I felt I kept on top of their changes better this time, but I must admit it was easier as they were playing 442 as well, so it made managing the game a bit easier.

What do you all think? Did I make the right calls at the right times, or would you have done something different?

The match download is available at the top.

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Think your overall structure would be a lot more balanced if you switched the central midfield roles around. Having a defend duty in midfield to cover for the attacking fullback, it will also create more space for the wide midfield on support to cut inside if he chooses.

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Great thread. Highly informative in terms of reading the game and in terms of examples of how to react.

Would like to hear opinions from those with experience analyzing games.

I noticed you never considered changing width, how much to close down, or whether to push up or drop deeper.

Although changing from standard up to control or down to counter affects those things, I am wondering if playing more compact with the same mentality when going forward might help prevent those late goals in the second game.

Cheers!

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Think your overall structure would be a lot more balanced if you switched the central midfield roles around. Having a defend duty in midfield to cover for the attacking fullback, it will also create more space for the wide midfield on support to cut inside if he chooses.

Interesting thought, I hadn't thought about these, I will test them. The only worry would be having the box to box midfielder on the same side as the W(A), that may start to leave gaps. Have you tried a 442? What roles did you have?

Great thread. Highly informative in terms of reading the game and in terms of examples of how to react.

Would like to hear opinions from those with experience analyzing games.

I noticed you never considered changing width, how much to close down, or whether to push up or drop deeper.

Although changing from standard up to control or down to counter affects those things, I am wondering if playing more compact with the same mentality when going forward might help prevent those late goals in the second game.

Cheers!

Thanks so much Columnarius.

I am also hoping to hear more from those who are experienced in analysing the games, as it is something I am weak on and I bet quite a few on the forum are, so it would be great to pickup some tips.

That's a great point actually, I hadn't even considered playing with the same mentality but just dropping the defensive line, cheers for that I will try it out. I will aim to do a few more games over the next couple of days. I am looking at perhaps doing this kind of analysis say every 5 games or so.

With regard to changing the width, I didn't know what other consequences it might have, I did change it in the first game when they were standing off me and it seemed to work but I am going to try and experiment a bit more. I think next match I do I want to try and analyse the goals again a bit more. See if there is anything to pickup, I may even upload them to youtube so it would be easier for people to pass comment with a video there, rather than having to download the entire match.

Great thread. Going to read through in full later on. :)

Thanks tyler, I appreciate your support!

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Quick Update

Not a really good period to be honest with you, let's examine it.

Doncaster (442) -away - 2017

Doncaster were flying high in the league, so I went there with the plan to put everyone behind the ball (Defensive) and catch them on the counter. It worked really well and they couldn't handle us.

Doncaster 1 - 6 Rochdale

Aston Villa (442) - home - 2017

This was in the capital one cup, they are in the premier league, so therefore the plan was simple, everyone behind the ball again and catch them on the break.

  • Defensive mentality
  • Short passing

Rochdale 1 - 2 Aston Villa

Chesterfield (442) - home - 2017

Just couldn't find a way through them, tried absolutely everything I could and didn't find a way.

Rochdale 0 - 0 Chesterfield

Tranmere (532 (with wingbacks, aka 3-2-3-2) - away - 2017

Nothing went right in this, they were on top of me with their formation and there was nothiing I could do!

Tranmere 3 - 0 Rochdale

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3412 (Luton) vs Rochdale

MATCH DOWNLOAD - CLICK HERE

Introduction

I am about to take on Luton Town, after a really tough start to the season, going from the sublime to the ridiculous I am hoping for a win here to get us back into the game.

Unfortunately Luton are going really well and currently stand 2nd in the table, so this is going to be an incredibly tough match for us, especially after I have tanked our team’s morale by refusing a new contract to one of the players.

Their Manager

eUzvVkA.png

Their manager is Michael Appleton, who looks from his profile to prefer a pressing 442, no particular style of passing as he likes to mix it up usually and an adventurous playing mentality. This means I am expecting them to have a high line and press us at the back.

I am thinking in this game I will probably need to play more direct, perhaps put our mentality down to Counter to try and hit them on the break. We will see.

Beginning the Game

Preview

They are looking to play a 3412 with one player dropping into the AMC area, this is going to be a tough game for us and I am thinking I may need to do a few things to counter the Luton threat.

Exploit the flanks (they only have 2 men on either wing starting from high)

Play deeper, make sure we have enough men behind the ball. I am considering changing the B2B role into a CM(S) role to maintain shape. Possibly go to a Counter style.

I will play out the first few minutes though before I do any change, as normal!

Early reading of the defensive lines

uk7rn9I.png

At 128px from the half way line they seem relatively attacking to me, so possibly control mentality?

Identifying the Roles

DISCLAIMER: Again I struggle with this so please take it with a pinch of salt!

GK

DC

DC

DC

MR

Looking like a WM(S) initially from the positioning on the small formation screen

Changed to a WM(A)

ML

Looking like a WM(A) initially from the positioning on the small formation screen

MCL

More defensive minded it seems, maybe a CM(D)

Changed to CM(A)

MCR

Looks like a CM(S) at the moment

Changed to CM(A)

AMC

Trequartista, lateral and vertical movement

STR

Looks like a DLF(S) to me

STL

Seems like an AF

So it looks like their plan is going to be push on the widemen, have the back 4 pretty solid and one of the midfielders more advanced.

Match notes as it happens

1 mins

I turn on Exploit the Flanks, this is a must I feel for this game as that’s where the weakness is on Luton and where the strength of the 442 is.

4 mins

Been seeing a bit of joy down our right hand side, though I am concerned that their WM(A) is on the side, where Monakana is more attack minded.

6 mins

Chance for Luton, they seem to be geting the ball in the box relatively early, or did on that move which caused a bit of confusion and a mistake from our keeper only punching into our own area.

7 mins

They did some nice buildup which left the AMC and two SCs 3 on 2 at the back with an effort from outside the box going wide. Not sure about what to do with this, I tend to see the following advice on the forum.

Push the defence higher up to close down the space between defence and midfield

I am thinking of doing that now.

9 mins

We got caught on the break 2 vs 2 at the back, luckily it came to nothing, but the danger is there, just thinking about perhaps going with a CM(D) and CM(S) in the midfield to try and keep it tighter, making that change to see what happens.

10 mins

GOAL: Instant dividend from the change, the ball is clear and with the new CM(D) position our player is there to intercept it, the ball is played around back to the CM(S) who is, again, holding position rather than getting too further forward. He then picks out a pass in behind Luton’s WM(A) on the left to our W(A) who then cuts back from the byline to Done waiting to tuck it in the net, top notch.

15 mins

We are coming under the cosh a bit, still not too sure how to change this as they are pushing players up a bit further and it is causing us problems and putting us under pressure.

The good news is the W(A) on our right Monakana is till looking dangerous and free, I am wondering instead of “exploit the flanks” whether I should just try and exploit their right flank. Though I am not sure that that would be beneficial as it may make us too predictable.

19 mins

As a CM(S) Berry had gone forward to the attack but this left a major gap in our MC again, I am looking for him to retain his position but be further forward than the CM(D)...therefore I am going to tell him to “Hold position”. While attacking wise we will lose another body I think him holding position for them playing the ball away will allow him to collect it and spread it wide.

GOAL: From the same move above which gave away the free kick the AMC gets free and tucks it into the corner...damn!

24 mins

GOAL: A really well worked corner for us leads to Monakana putting in another. We are using the corner routine from strikerless.com, so you can all check that out.

What is concerning me is that the AMC is still having a field day, so not sure what to do, I DO NOT want to push higher up otherwise they would be able to get in behind me, I am thinking I drop to counter now and then push higher up.

31 mins

We can’t continue like this so I am dropping down to counter and pushing higher up as well to try and close down the space, not sure whether this is what I should do or the exact opposite…

42 mins

That seems to have improved things a bit, but there is still trouble, our center midfield seems to keep losing shape, so I am gong to tell the midfielders to stop closing down as much, Close down less applied to them both.

45 + 2 mins

Yeates gets injured, awful news for us as he’s top draw.

I brought frost on instead of Samuel, main reason Frost can do more direct running at the defence and put the 3 under pressure. I can always change it around in the second half.

Half time

Truthfully very lucky to be 2-1 up, their AMC has caused me no end of trouble and I haven’t really been able to stop him. Not sure what I am going to have to do to end up stopping him. Switching to counter and pushing higher up seems to have had an effect, but I am still worried about it.

Let’s see how the second half goes.

50 mins

I think the AMC is a Trequartista, as he does a lot of lateral as well as vertical movement, this is still causing us problems, and I still can’t really stop it.

62 mins

Interesting things happening, the AMC is still dangerous but not quite as dangerous as before (maybe tiring). We just did a great breakaway.

Nothing too concerning for me outside of the AMC now, however I am actually wondering whether I have made things worse by conceding a lot of space to the opposition, should I be closing their two MCs down, therefore they can’t get the ball to the AMC?

Not sure.

Both wingers for them are now WM(A)

65 mins

Luton should have scored here, they are piling on the pressure in our area as we give the ball away. Again not really sure what to do, maybe try and hit them on the counter more effectively? I am going to try a few things:

  • Change ML to WM(A) and DL to FB(S)
  • More direct passing
  • Clear the ball to the flanks

70 mins

Not kidding, looks like their entire top end has gone attacking with two CM(A) as MCs now, this is leaving a massive gap between their defence and midfield, hoping I can get something on the counter now.

Thinking about going to defensive and breaking quickly.

71 mins

GOAL: Not the way you’re thinking, 3-1 us! From a throwin, Frost is picked out who hoists in a cross to find Monakana getting away from his marker on the right!

Full time

Well we managed to win, they were slightly unlucky but I felt second half we contained them much better than we did in the first half.

I was struggling against their AMC though, and I am sure there was a better way to handle it than changing roles and personal instructions, then finally chaning to counter and pushing higher, but truth is I am not too sure.

The last 20 minutes were uneventful, as I switched to comprehensive (from full match) and must have only seen 3 highlights during this period.

QbrWvPM.png

Thoughts

Good win, but I really struggled, it opened up my issues with handling tactics and what to do. I couldn’t handle the AMC (presumably Treq) and need to review this. The full match is available for viewing but tomorrow I want to do two things:

  • Review the goals
  • Review some of the AMCs movements to try and get a handle on what was happening and see how I could handle it better

That is for tomorrow though.

How would you have handled the Trequartista in the AMC slot?

The match download is available at the top.

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Nice thread OP.

About the team shape: having structured plus the 'stick to position' instruction may limit your players. Have you noticed them failing to find gaps , especially against deep compact defenses? This may have some relevance with the standard mentality. I feel that the more quick/attacking you go the less you need the players roaming for space. I'd drop the stick to position and see how it goes

About the strikers: have you tried other roles? I too go with AF-DLF pair. The position they take and the movement has to be slightly different with roles that are not very mobile (target man + poacher). This must have a connection to the roles of the wide men too: wingers or wide midfielders

About the opposition AMC: man mark him with your defensive midfielder ?

About the counter to high defensive line opponents: i'd try a short passing + pass into space. The reason being to move the ball around and then try the forward pass. I'm not sure about that though. The quick long ball + pass into space you opted out for might work better

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Nice thread OP.

About the team shape: having structured plus the 'stick to position' instruction may limit your players. Have you noticed them failing to find gaps , especially against deep compact defenses? This may have some relevance with the standard mentality. I feel that the more quick/attacking you go the less you need the players roaming for space. I'd drop the stick to position and see how it goes

Cheers for that, that's a great point that I hadn't considered!

About the strikers: have you tried other roles? I too go with AF-DLF pair. The position they take and the movement has to be slightly different with roles that are not very mobile (target man + poacher). This must have a connection to the roles of the wide men too: wingers or wide midfielders

I had actually, I tried with both a DF(s) and TM(s). Regarding the defensive forward I found he generally went too deep to link up with the forward and generally wasn't as creative with the DLF(s). The TM(s) I discarded just because the team would then always go long to him which really interrupted the way we were playing.

I have found that the DLF(s) links up really well with the W(A) on the same side of the field, so that's really been a plus, both providing, scoring and generally pulling a defender out of position for the W(a).

About the opposition AMC: man mark him with your defensive midfielder ?

I didn't, I did consider it, have you tried doing that yourself? My fear was it could pull the midfield out of shape and allow the remaining two CMs a lot of space.

About the counter to high defensive line opponents: i'd try a short passing + pass into space. The reason being to move the ball around and then try the forward pass. I'm not sure about that though. The quick long ball + pass into space you opted out for might work better

Another good point, I actually found success against bigger players with Defensive/short passing, but your idea with counter, short passing & pass into space is interesting. I will definitely try that out!

I have analysed the goals, but fell behind a bit this week, so want to do a more detail analysis before I post it.

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Hey Drak!

Just found this thread a very interesting read sorry I didn't find it sooner really.

I have downloaded the latest match the one against Luton. I think the first thing that struck me was that because of the way you are set up formation wise here, the number 7 was always going to be able to find space, I don't personally think that man marking him with the number 12 as it will give them a man over elsewhere, I think I would simply look to reduce closing down and go more conservative in the tackle and sit the two CM's in front of the defence to shield as best they can, you seem to have some decent CM's there at any rate.

The advantage you had was clear at certain moments, pause at 09:41 for example and observe the space your fullback (no.2) has, overloading their sole wide players surely the way forward and you highlight that you use 'Exploit the Flanks', is 'Look for Overlap' also possible? Or perhaps making the Right full back more aggressive even as long as the two CM's sit deeper to cover him. Not sure how this would pan out but I think it would be a an idea.

Last thing I noted was the abysmally low pass completion % of both your CB's in that game, would look at resolving that a little as it might have helped you control the game more and not concede so many shots at goal.

Dan

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Hey Drak!

Just found this thread a very interesting read sorry I didn't find it sooner really.

I have downloaded the latest match the one against Luton. I think the first thing that struck me was that because of the way you are set up formation wise here, the number 7 was always going to be able to find space, I don't personally think that man marking him with the number 12 as it will give them a man over elsewhere, I think I would simply look to reduce closing down and go more conservative in the tackle and sit the two CM's in front of the defence to shield as best they can, you seem to have some decent CM's there at any rate.

The advantage you had was clear at certain moments, pause at 09:41 for example and observe the space your fullback (no.2) has, overloading their sole wide players surely the way forward and you highlight that you use 'Exploit the Flanks', is 'Look for Overlap' also possible? Or perhaps making the Right full back more aggressive even as long as the two CM's sit deeper to cover him. Not sure how this would pan out but I think it would be a an idea.

Last thing I noted was the abysmally low pass completion % of both your CB's in that game, would look at resolving that a little as it might have helped you control the game more and not concede so many shots at goal.

Dan

Hey Dan!

Sorry for the late-ish reply, was travelling home and then back to work. Finally got around to checking out FM again this weekend. I really appreciate you taking the time out to look at the match and pass comment, this is exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for :).

With regard to the CMs, how would you position them infront of the number 7, are we talking a role change? For example a DLP(D) & CM(D) along with reducing our mentality to something like Counter? It sounds intersting.

Great point about the fullbacks, I honestly hadn't thought about making them more aggressive and it was probably something that I should have done!

I think most of the Center Backs low pass completion was actually due to clearances, I have been through a lot of their "passes" and it seems just clearing the ball, perhaps this is the due to the number of players around them as well. I will look into it in more depth I think.

Thanks!

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This is a really fascinating thread.

I've been trying to play 442 and have my team set up like this :

Gk d

RB fb s

LB WB a

CB both defend

RM w a

LM wm s

LCM cm d

RCM ap s

AF a

DLF s

I'm playing control / fluid with only 4 team instructions - work into box, pass into space, higher def line and stay on feet.

I also have the player instructions close down more on all but the two centre backs and the two central midfielders (thanks to RTHerringbone's advice) , sit narrower and cut inside with ball on the LM, play short passes on both centre backs.

To give you a bit of context I'm in the prem playing as leeds. I finished second last season and I'm predicted to finish 6th this season. I have some quality players and some promising youngsters that I'm trying to develop.

This season has been a bit of mixed bag, some excellent performances but some absolutely dire. For example, I lost 8-3 away at reading who were 14th, the week after I beat Chelsea (who were second) 6-2 at home and the week after I beat Fulham (16th) 6-0 at home. In fact my advanced forward scored a hat trick in all three games. I have also lost 5-2 away at arsenal. The arsenal game in particular was poor - although we had a number of chances, 6 clear cut according to the me, they had more - 12 clear cut according to the me. I know from other threads (and my own eyes!) that the game has a "unique" view of what constitutes a clear cut chance but we were clearly being cut apart. I tried various things - dropped to counter, removed high line , closing down and stay on feet - we seemed to be standing off a lot and letting them play around us. I watched the chances back and a lot involved a CB stepping up to close down and leaving a massive hole behind.

This has prompted me to have a massive rethink about my tactics. They are broadly successful at home against both strong and weak teams but not away against either - I'm winning more than I'm losing against the weaker teams but getting overwhelmed by the strong teams. I was reading the tactical theorems 10 the other day (I'm living in the past) and the advice on giving too many chances away (apart from there might be something fundamentally wrong with your tactic) is to tighten up. I'm trying to think of the best way to achieve this - do I reduce down to standard or even lower? Do I reduce closing down on the centre backs? Do I change the advanced playmaker to something else? I have tried box to box , roaming playmaker and cm support but they didn't seem to work as well but may be worth another try.

Any advice greatly appreciated and I will follow your thread with great interest!

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Something that has always irked me with the 4-4-2 is deciding which side the put the forward with attack duty and which the forward with support duty, assuming both strikers' best foot are the same one. Do you put the attack duty forward on the same side as his best foot or on the side opposite to it?

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Something that has always irked me with the 4-4-2 is deciding which side the put the forward with attack duty and which the forward with support duty, assuming both strikers' best foot are the same one. Do you put the attack duty forward on the same side as his best foot or on the side opposite to it?

I don't worry about it; I use the side/role that best fits the player. If they are both playing rather centrally, then it doesn't really matter. Where you might find a difference is in the wide play if either drift out.

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You may have misunderstood me. Assuming both strikers are right-footed, do you play the more advanced one in the right striker slot or the left striker slot?

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You may have misunderstood me. Assuming both strikers are right-footed, do you play the more advanced one in the right striker slot or the left striker slot?

Personally I would play the more advanced striker ahead of the more advanced midfielder.

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That's what I also always do, but what if both your midfielders are also both right-footed?

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I would still play the more advanced striker ahead of the more advanced midfielder.

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I have the more defensive midfielder on the same side as the full back on attack duty and then the dlf in front of the more defensive midfielder and the advanced forward ahead of the more attacking midfielder.

This also means the advanced forward is on the same side as the winger with attack duty. In my mind this should lead to the advanced forward meeting crosses from the byline at the near post. Imagine my delight when it actually happens in game!

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This is a really fascinating thread.

I've been trying to play 442 and have my team set up like this :

Gk d

RB fb s

LB WB a

CB both defend

RM w a

LM wm s

LCM cm d

RCM ap s

AF a

DLF s

I'm playing control / fluid with only 4 team instructions - work into box, pass into space, higher def line and stay on feet.

I also have the player instructions close down more on all but the two centre backs and the two central midfielders (thanks to RTHerringbone's advice) , sit narrower and cut inside with ball on the LM, play short passes on both centre backs.

To give you a bit of context I'm in the prem playing as leeds. I finished second last season and I'm predicted to finish 6th this season. I have some quality players and some promising youngsters that I'm trying to develop.

This season has been a bit of mixed bag, some excellent performances but some absolutely dire. For example, I lost 8-3 away at reading who were 14th, the week after I beat Chelsea (who were second) 6-2 at home and the week after I beat Fulham (16th) 6-0 at home. In fact my advanced forward scored a hat trick in all three games. I have also lost 5-2 away at arsenal. The arsenal game in particular was poor - although we had a number of chances, 6 clear cut according to the me, they had more - 12 clear cut according to the me. I know from other threads (and my own eyes!) that the game has a "unique" view of what constitutes a clear cut chance but we were clearly being cut apart. I tried various things - dropped to counter, removed high line , closing down and stay on feet - we seemed to be standing off a lot and letting them play around us. I watched the chances back and a lot involved a CB stepping up to close down and leaving a massive hole behind.

This has prompted me to have a massive rethink about my tactics. They are broadly successful at home against both strong and weak teams but not away against either - I'm winning more than I'm losing against the weaker teams but getting overwhelmed by the strong teams. I was reading the tactical theorems 10 the other day (I'm living in the past) and the advice on giving too many chances away (apart from there might be something fundamentally wrong with your tactic) is to tighten up. I'm trying to think of the best way to achieve this - do I reduce down to standard or even lower? Do I reduce closing down on the centre backs? Do I change the advanced playmaker to something else? I have tried box to box , roaming playmaker and cm support but they didn't seem to work as well but may be worth another try.

Any advice greatly appreciated and I will follow your thread with great interest!

I must admit, I am having the same result problems as you. Sometimes I am awesome (blowing away top of the league) but sometimes I am getting shafted by the bottom of the league. I actually read Cleon's post about breaking the walls down and tried to apply some of that logic to the 442 but have been unable to get it working to a point.

I actually think one of the problems is due to my own weaknesses, maybe you have the same issue? I find it very very hard to react to what is happening in the game, even when watching it in full, I end up being at a loss as to what to do sometimes. I think that's a big issue as with the 442 (as opposed to other formations i have done) there is no DMC, so with other formations I could probably get away with a few more wrong decisions than I can with the 442.

To tighten it up I have gone defensive sometimes to try and catch people on the break, that's worked for me actually. In fact I have beaten teams in higher divisions doing so. As well as given the higher-ups in the league a run for the money. In the center I have tried B2B, RP and CM(S), like you I am not totally happy about it. I would go with the box to box though IMO, seems to be the best role I have used so far alongside a DLP(d). As you use the CM(d) though I am not sure, I couldn't really get the team functioning properly with a CM(d) and like the DLP(d) as he tends to form a triangle with the two defenders. For away from home I would definitely change from an AP(s) as I don't think they get stuck in enough.

Please take what I say with a pinch of salt though, I am frankly not that good at the game.

Something that has always irked me with the 4-4-2 is deciding which side the put the forward with attack duty and which the forward with support duty, assuming both strikers' best foot are the same one. Do you put the attack duty forward on the same side as his best foot or on the side opposite to it?

Yes I get you, I didn't tend to notice until recently actually, as I had a right footed AF on the left hand side. But he got injured so I put my left winger up top (who's left footed) and a couple of goals have come from his crosses, so I must admit i was rethinking this as well.

The trouble I have is I want the DLF(s) on the same side as the W(a) so that the winger can exploit the space, therefore I don't want to switch them over! Have you given it a try?

One issue I am having, I don't know whether anyone can help, but I have a F(a) and a WM(s) on the left hand side. Now they are OK but I rarely see any good link-up play between them. the WM(s) rarely will pass to the F(a) who's advancing down the left, and I feel that the F(a) doesn't go past the WM(s) as much as I want him to. Has anyone else seen this issue?

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Guest xwzq@

I think if you want to attack a 433 formation works well vs 442 and also if you want to defend 451 works well vs 442, and pressing wide central areas when 442 is your formation.

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Thanks for replying.

I have had a rethink on my tactic and made some changes.

I have changed the left back to a full back attack rather than a wing back and ahead of him I've changed the wide midfielder support to a winger support. My thinking here was that my left back was getting caught too high up the pitch and I wasn't getting thr best out of my left midfielder. So far it seems to have worked. I have persevered with my central midfield pairing of cm defend and ap support. I have been looking at the stats for the players who have played cm d. I have taken inspiration from Shrewnaldo's excellent blog at FM veteran and started to look at what the players appear to be doing in order to decide which attributes are important. One thing I noticed was that although the cm d makes less passes than the ap s , he makes a lot more key passes. This was especially true when Alex Mowatt played as the cm d. He has high vision, good passing and the PPMs switches ball to opposite flank and tries long range passes. This is giving me an idea of the sort of player I want in that position and the PPMs I might train. I have also reduced the team and player instructions. I worry sometimes I've included them for the sake of it. Now I only have team instructions work ball into box and whip crosses. I chose these as I don't want them taking long shots when a better option is on and my strikers aren't particularly tall and my wide players have good crossing attributes. The only player instructions I have are close down more on the strikers and wingers.

I think this is a much more stable set up and gives me the option to make changes in reaction to match situation. If I think we're giving the ball away too much I reduce tempo and shorten passing. If we are in control but not creating much I add use overlap, pass into space and occasionally higher line but I am conscious that with a control mentality the line is already high. Rashidi's recent thread helped me clarify what the shouts do and when to use them. I had a much better finish to the season with some mch more consistent displays with the highlight being a 5-2 win away at Spurs. I only missed out on the champs league places by a couple of points. I am quietly confident for the next season as I think I have got a tactic that is a bit more stable that I know how to adapt to the match situation. Probably more importantly my young prospects are a year older and should be ready to show what they can do. I'm pleased to say that of my best 11, 5 have come through leeds united's academy and 3 of the others I signed as 16 year olds. According to the club info screen the average age of my squad is 22.

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You may have misunderstood me. Assuming both strikers are right-footed, do you play the more advanced one in the right striker slot or the left striker slot?

Ahh I did misunderstand :) I put the advanced midfielder behind the Deeper striker always- what find with my 442, is that when the DF or DLF drops deeper to get the ball, the CM(A) will often surge past him and add another dimension to the attack. And I never worry about the footedness

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Thanks for replying.

I have had a rethink on my tactic and made some changes.

I have changed the left back to a full back attack rather than a wing back and ahead of him I've changed the wide midfielder support to a winger support. My thinking here was that my left back was getting caught too high up the pitch and I wasn't getting thr best out of my left midfielder. So far it seems to have worked. I have persevered with my central midfield pairing of cm defend and ap support. I have been looking at the stats for the players who have played cm d. I have taken inspiration from Shrewnaldo's excellent blog at FM veteran and started to look at what the players appear to be doing in order to decide which attributes are important. One thing I noticed was that although the cm d makes less passes than the ap s , he makes a lot more key passes. This was especially true when Alex Mowatt played as the cm d. He has high vision, good passing and the PPMs switches ball to opposite flank and tries long range passes. This is giving me an idea of the sort of player I want in that position and the PPMs I might train. I have also reduced the team and player instructions. I worry sometimes I've included them for the sake of it. Now I only have team instructions work ball into box and whip crosses. I chose these as I don't want them taking long shots when a better option is on and my strikers aren't particularly tall and my wide players have good crossing attributes. The only player instructions I have are close down more on the strikers and wingers.

Hey macca, good to see you are doing better.

I had exactly the same issue on the left, found that the FB(a) and the WM(s) weren't interacting very well at all. I am interested when you went to a W(s) do you see the winger cutting in more and the FB(a) overlaps him? At the moment I altered the WM(s) to get out of the way in mine and it has led to much more penetration on the left with the same roles.

6pWXlcL.png

The only issue is with the new instructions, as you pointed out in your below post, it will mean that the ML needs more off the ball movement with the Roam from position enabled. So I will need to (eventually) find a slower but more creative player for that position I think.

Interesting with the PPMs, so is it the switches ball to other flank that makes the difference? Does your backup have it? If not when you play your backup is he not as effective?

Also when you instruct your forwards and wide players to close down more, what is the base mentality that you are using? If it is Control at all times do you find that that makes you very attacking?

I think this is a much more stable set up and gives me the option to make changes in reaction to match situation. If I think we're giving the ball away too much I reduce tempo and shorten passing. If we are in control but not creating much I add use overlap, pass into space and occasionally higher line but I am conscious that with a control mentality the line is already high. Rashidi's recent thread helped me clarify what the shouts do and when to use them. I had a much better finish to the season with some mch more consistent displays with the highlight being a 5-2 win away at Spurs. I only missed out on the champs league places by a couple of points. I am quietly confident for the next season as I think I have got a tactic that is a bit more stable that I know how to adapt to the match situation. Probably more importantly my young prospects are a year older and should be ready to show what they can do. I'm pleased to say that of my best 11, 5 have come through leeds united's academy and 3 of the others I signed as 16 year olds. According to the club info screen the average age of my squad is 22.

That's interesting, what do you do when they use an AMC? For example I struggle when they play the 3-2WB-2MC-1AMC-2SC formation, have you come up against it?

Ahh I did misunderstand :) I put the advanced midfielder behind the Deeper striker always- what find with my 442, is that when the DF or DLF drops deeper to get the ball, the CM(A) will often surge past him and add another dimension to the attack. And I never worry about the footedness

Dr. Hook! Loved your thread.

A quick question for you if you don't mind, when you make your CM attacking (eg. CM(A)) how do you balance out the wide roles? Are both wide players then WM(s)? With the other midfielder a DLP(d)?

Just asking as I have tried switching to this a few times.

OTtZoNc.png

However, I have sometimes found it is too attacking and the gap between the DLP(d) and the rest of the players gives issues.

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Hi Draktor!

I find that the winger support does still cut inside. In fact in the last game I played, a 2 0 home win over Chelsea, he scored one of the goals having cut into the area to receive a pass. I'm not sure whether it's the ppm's or the attributes. By backup is a 19 year old regen who has the ppm plays short simple passes and is described as a wonder kid. I'm in two minds whether to untrain his ppm in favour of the ones Mowatt has. Mowatt also has dictates tempo which is am thinking of training my back up.

Yes, I am playing control mentality. I haven't encountered any problems with the forwards and wide players closing down more.

I have faced that formation. I should probably say here that this is the first version of the game I've played since fm12 where I had a lot of success and I always used opposition instructions. I've read on here a lot of people saying that they are not a great thing to use so I haven't used them as much on fm15. Then I thought it's my game and I'll play the way I want to! I've reverted back to the oi's that served me well on fm12 : tight mark anyone in am strata, close down anyone in DM strata, close down lone strikers or consider cover / stopper partnership, close down oppositions primary playmaker (check for high vision / passing), hard tackle anyone with low bravery / strength / condition and show onto wrong foot wide players or anyone with a strong foot preference.

A word of warning though - this can pull players out of position / lead to bookings etc so I always watch carefully and remove any that aren't working. I did enjoy in the Chelsea game seeing their star winger having to leave the game injured after a heavy challenge! Must be the Leeds fan in me!

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Hi Draktor!

I find that the winger support does still cut inside. In fact in the last game I played, a 2 0 home win over Chelsea, he scored one of the goals having cut into the area to receive a pass. I'm not sure whether it's the ppm's or the attributes. By backup is a 19 year old regen who has the ppm plays short simple passes and is described as a wonder kid. I'm in two minds whether to untrain his ppm in favour of the ones Mowatt has. Mowatt also has dictates tempo which is am thinking of training my back up.

Yes, I am playing control mentality. I haven't encountered any problems with the forwards and wide players closing down more.

That is interesting, it is the same on my right hand side, I use a W(a) and he will often cut in to get into goal scoring positions after the DLF(s) drops deep, so I am wondering if that's why your FB(a) is now working better on that side. As now I have got my LM out of the way with his person instructions it is much better.

I have faced that formation. I should probably say here that this is the first version of the game I've played since fm12 where I had a lot of success and I always used opposition instructions. I've read on here a lot of people saying that they are not a great thing to use so I haven't used them as much on fm15. Then I thought it's my game and I'll play the way I want to! I've reverted back to the oi's that served me well on fm12 : tight mark anyone in am strata, close down anyone in DM strata, close down lone strikers or consider cover / stopper partnership, close down oppositions primary playmaker (check for high vision / passing), hard tackle anyone with low bravery / strength / condition and show onto wrong foot wide players or anyone with a strong foot preference.

A word of warning though - this can pull players out of position / lead to bookings etc so I always watch carefully and remove any that aren't working. I did enjoy in the Chelsea game seeing their star winger having to leave the game injured after a heavy challenge! Must be the Leeds fan in me!

Actually I think one of Rashidi's posts said that he also recommends using it. I think Cleon said not to use it due to the issue you pointed out, it is very easy to screw up your formation if you don't watch the game. So for those that just play on key highlights they can really upset their formation, then not know why!

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Dr. Hook! Loved your thread.

A quick question for you if you don't mind, when you make your CM attacking (eg. CM(A)) how do you balance out the wide roles? Are both wide players then WM(s)? With the other midfielder a DLP(d)?

Just asking as I have tried switching to this a few times.

OTtZoNc.png

However, I have sometimes found it is too attacking and the gap between the DLP(d) and the rest of the players gives issues.

Actually I lied a bit there; I made changes for a narrow 4-3-3, but have left the 4-4-2 the same. What a douche I am!! I get confused :(. I still have my 4-4-2 very similar to what you posted above. On my right side I have my CM(A) and wide play is FB set to WB(A) and then cover with a DW(S); on the left DLP side I have a FB (S) and Winger (A). I used to a use a BBM instead of a CM(A) but as I went against higher quality clubs I didn't like what was happening.

I don't find a lot of trouble with the DLP leaving too much space, but it is something I will keep an eye on in upcoming matches and see how he does.

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Hey Dan!

Sorry for the late-ish reply, was travelling home and then back to work. Finally got around to checking out FM again this weekend. I really appreciate you taking the time out to look at the match and pass comment, this is exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for :).

With regard to the CMs, how would you position them infront of the number 7, are we talking a role change? For example a DLP(D) & CM(D) along with reducing our mentality to something like Counter? It sounds intersting.

Great point about the fullbacks, I honestly hadn't thought about making them more aggressive and it was probably something that I should have done!

I think most of the Center Backs low pass completion was actually due to clearances, I have been through a lot of their "passes" and it seems just clearing the ball, perhaps this is the due to the number of players around them as well. I will look into it in more depth I think.

Thanks!

Apologies as well I checked a lot and then forgot about it :D

I would like to say yes with the role change but I think if you use two D roles with the two CM's you will never win the midfield battle and fail to win a decent amount of games. The question is going to be managing to get dicipline in there, I have never much liked the DLP role that much, I would probably use CM(D) and BBM in the middle.

Trying to get a good relationship between the strikers and good movement from the wide players is going to be the key job. With the defenders I guess clearances can account for a portion of the low % rate, I would still set them to pass shorter myself though, it is lso a case of if they actually have good passing options available as well.

I don't want to make anymore suggestions without experimenting myself as well, I worry that if you end up sittin with too many D's and A's role wise you will end up with a team that is split apart, perhaps the key is more support roles with this formation? I love how a CM(A) works but there is no way to incorporate it into a flat 4-4-2 sucessfully that I have seen. It always need the coverer and the supporter to make it flourish.

I will add some more soon when I try some more bits out. Are you linking anymore games soon?

Dan

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Actually I lied a bit there; I made changes for a narrow 4-3-3, but have left the 4-4-2 the same. What a douche I am!! I get confused :(. I still have my 4-4-2 very similar to what you posted above. On my right side I have my CM(A) and wide play is FB set to WB(A) and then cover with a DW(S); on the left DLP side I have a FB (S) and Winger (A). I used to a use a BBM instead of a CM(A) but as I went against higher quality clubs I didn't like what was happening.

I don't find a lot of trouble with the DLP leaving too much space, but it is something I will keep an eye on in upcoming matches and see how he does.

Ah I see, I haven't actually tried a WB(a) on the left, but have been pleased with the FB(a) now I have finally got the WM(s) out of his way. I am still thinking about how to improve the formation or come up with a variety. I will post about that soon, just hit an issue (see below).

Apologies as well I checked a lot and then forgot about it :D

I would like to say yes with the role change but I think if you use two D roles with the two CM's you will never win the midfield battle and fail to win a decent amount of games. The question is going to be managing to get dicipline in there, I have never much liked the DLP role that much, I would probably use CM(D) and BBM in the middle.

Trying to get a good relationship between the strikers and good movement from the wide players is going to be the key job. With the defenders I guess clearances can account for a portion of the low % rate, I would still set them to pass shorter myself though, it is lso a case of if they actually have good passing options available as well.

I don't want to make anymore suggestions without experimenting myself as well, I worry that if you end up sittin with too many D's and A's role wise you will end up with a team that is split apart, perhaps the key is more support roles with this formation? I love how a CM(A) works but there is no way to incorporate it into a flat 4-4-2 sucessfully that I have seen. It always need the coverer and the supporter to make it flourish.

I will add some more soon when I try some more bits out. Are you linking anymore games soon?

Dan

No need to apologize Dan, I am please people are taking an interest in the thread, it is good to exchange ideas.

True, I am definitely coming around to your way of thinking on the defenders, don't want to set the "Play ball out of defence" but I can give them individual instructions to pass shorter now they have more options.

Regarding linking anymore games, well I have ended up losing the Rochdale part of the game, please see the post below. However, I definitely won't be ending this thread.

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Disaster - well not quite

OK, so news isn't good, my Rochdale game has become corrupted. This isn't the game's fault, actually it is my fault my HDD was failing with numerous sector errors and such and it has led to a lot of issues, unfortunately I didn't move the file onto a new one in time so it is now unplayable :(.

The good news is I have a save 1.5 years previously where I was still at Hasselt building the 442, so the thread is NOT dead. I am going to continue with the Hasselt game from the point where I left and work on that. The issue is that it will delay me a bit posting some games as I will have to refresh my memory as to what I was doing at Hasselt!

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