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Cleon

Community Project - Recreating Arsenal Invincibles

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Intro

Recreating classic formations is something I really enjoy doing on Football Manager, normally the harder the tactic is to translate the more determined I am to make it work. last year on Football Manager 2014 I tried to create The Arsenal Invincible tactic and it caused me a few issues especially the Thierry Henry role that was really hard to implement, in fact it was impossible. So has this changed for FM15? I’m not sure I don’t really think so but still thought I’d attempt it again and see how far we can really push it. With this in mind I thought why not make open to everyone to get involved with, it’s a great learning experience of what works and what doesn’t and might learn people a few things about the ME and how it does/doesn’t work.

So what I’ll be doing is post up the settings I’m using and explain the reasons behind them and then I’ll post games up for people to watch. The settings I put up will just be a base what we work from based on what I’ve read and from what I’ve learnt reading many books on them and talking to Arsenal fans in general. Then we can create something that hopefully resembles the invincible! It’ll not be easy to do and will take sometime to get it up to standard. I’ll be hoping between us we can choose the correct roles/duties/player instructions and team instructions. This will be happening on my blog and on the SI forums so you can get involved by either channel.

Here are a few links that are worth reading if you are unfamiliar with this brilliant Arsenal team;

Links;

http://www.zonalmarking.net/2010/02/12/teams-of-the-decade-9-arsenal-2001-04/

http://footballperformanceanalysis.com/2013/01/10/the-invincibles-arsenal-2003-04-analysis-1-squad-and-formation/

http://footballspeak.com/post/2012/03/30/Legacies-Of-Invincible.aspx

http://www.thehardtackle.com/2012/arsenal-rewind-tactical-evolution-–-from-w-m-to-4-2-3-1-part-iii/

http://footballspeak.com/post/2012/0…nvincible.aspx

http://footballperformanceanalysis.c…and-formation/ (this is a 4 parter, click the links down the side for others parts)

http://www.thehardtackle.com/2012/ar…-3-1-part-iii/ (This is also a 3 parter)

As I mentioned above I tried this on Football Manager 2014 but I didn’t do an article about it but I did write the odd thing, so before we look at what I’ll be doing on FM15 let’s take a look at the FM14 one I tried to give an idea of what I tried before.

oz8Sg74.png?resize=300%2C169

The issue with trying to replicate this in-game is that Henry often drifted out wide and drifted inside and you can’t replicate his movement on the game. Moves into channels doesn’t work as that’s just the space between fullback and centre back FM doesn’t have enough options to currently to even get close to replicating his style of play. Plus imo lateral movement on FM is poor and doesn’t really exist, it’s nearly all vertical movement. Sure you might see some lateral movement but it’s not great and it doesn’t happen frequently enough. This is one major drawback of FM imo.

I was happy with how rest of the setup worked initially but I didn’t really focus too much on what was happening outside of the Henry role when watching matches as this was the most vital aspect of the tactic. So that’s where I got for FM14.

How about for Football Manager 2015?!

Well for this we need to first understand the Arsenal players and what they offered to the team. For me Arsenal were the first real strikerless team I can remember seeing. Henry would drop deep and wide and so would Bergkamp. I’m not saying they invented it or anything like that but looking back they are the first team I can really remember doing it but then again back then I wasn’t really watching that much football outside of Brazil and England.

Arsenal played a 4-4-2 system or a lopsided 4-2-3-1 depending on how you look at it. Although it was quite fluid and players moved around a lot and morphed into different shapes as they played, Wenger’s system is often translated as “Flexible” in FM. He likes players to express themselves, but also sees it as a team game. Arsenal tended to sit deep at times before launching devastating Counter Attacks. They could keep the ball and move it around in the final third with attacking moves, but the Counter was their most potent weapon. Not such a high pressing side either, they traditionally tend to drop off and became compact when they need to.

let’s have a brief look at the players and what type of players they were;

Jens Lehmann – Was a perfectionist goalkeeper, with excellent handling. A generation of players before the modern Sweeper Keeper – he came out when he needed to, but rarely saw any Szczesny antics from him. He commanded his area, and distributed the ball relatively well (a few exceptions aside).

Lauren - A reliable and consistent player, more of a defender than an attacking type, but offered width going forward pretty well. Could cross a ball, or play a pass instead.

Kolo Toure & Sol Campbell - Toure was much quicker, tending to sweep up behind a little more, whereas Campbell was the most proactive ball winner. However both played in a reliable partnership, were strong and powerful. Giving very little away. Toure played on the right, Campbell on the left.

Ashley Cole - A really good defender, did his one-on-one duels very well, but he got forward at every opportunity, offered a lot of width on the left, combined really well with Pires in front and Henry when he drifted there. A good final ball, mix of passes and crosses. Never neglected his defensive duties though.

Gilberto - Played on the right of the midfield pairing of him and Vieira. Gilberto was not a rough player, or “Ball Winner” in the mould of someone like Keane. He used his intelligence to anticipate the opposition players, and cleanly dispossess or intercept. His height was a notable feature at opposing goal kicks too – often he would drop back a touch to win the header off an opposing striker or target man, which meant Toure & Campbell could keep position more often too. Good, tidy distribution, unadventurous generally, but capable of supporting attacks when Vieira was deeper instead.

Vieira - He played on the left of the central midfield pairing. Again, not a Ball-Winner like he has been labelled in recent years. A true box to box type of performer. Would distribute the ball adventurous, dribble and carry the ball forward, using his strength and power. Hard working, technical player. Frequently looked for Bergkamp in front as his favourite passing option. Definitely the more attacking of the pair, would support attacks at a moments notice.

Ljungberg – He played on the right flank, offered width, but made late, angled runs into the 6 yard box to score balls across the box from the left flank/byline. Also Bergkamp frequently played in Ljungberg beating the offside trap. Great finisher. Goalscoring was probably his most important contribution to the team. Very hard-working and tracked back diligently.

Pires – Right-footed player, and used to cut inside. Sometimes he would stay wide and just cut on his right late in the move, others he would drift early in the move centrally, taking defenders with him, creating room for Henry or Cole. Great goalscorer, but a superb pass and through-ball as well. Very creative and technical player. Often Cole would provide the widest presence in the team in the final third, while Pires and Henry moved and linked up.

Bergkamp – Always found himself in space, frequently dropped deepest and loved making that final pass. When he dropped deep and Vieira, Ljungberg, Pires or Henry attacked the space it was electric. Incredible technique and grace. He knew how to put his foot in though, and didn’t wander around not giving a toss about the defensive side of the game. He loved that “number 10″ area on the pitch, and would always wander into it.

Henry - Notably used to drift to the left flank, then attack back inside again on his stronger right foot. He linked up with Pires & Cole on the left, and Bergkamp in the middle a lot. He used to love dribbling and taking on players man for man. He had the pace, technique, flair & strength to beat whoever was in front of him. Scored from distance relatively frequently too. Not renowned for his heading ability, but still capable of attacking the 6 yard box just as well as anyone.

A few other things to note which I believe to be important are;

Ljungberg on the right wasn’t the best dribbler of the ball and wasn’t a great crosser of the ball, he main talent was raw speed. His movement and play in general all resembled that of what we now know is an inside forward. He was a goal threat and would often finish off chances. Arsene Wenger set him up to utilise his ability while limiting his weakness. He still dribbled with the ball but not as much as he could have. In terms of FM he’d have had individual instructions something a bit like;

  • Dribble less
  • Cuts inside
  • Roam from position
  • Gets further forward
  • Shoots less often

On the left Pires was more a creative type of player on the wing who also had an eye for goal. Pires along with Henry and Cole would often overload the left flank and you’d see some brilliant link up play between the three. He also did an incredible amount of through balls for Henry and could cut sides open with his vision. So his settings in FM would be something like;

  • Gets further forward
  • Dribbles more
  • Cuts inside
  • Shoots less often
  • Sit narrower

So I need to take all this into consideration when creating this on FM15. I won’t be using the same settings as I did on FM14 due to new roles being implemented. It’ll look something like this;

Untitled1.png?resize=198%2C300

Ignore the players as that isn’t what I’d use, the screenshot is just for illustration purposes.

I’ll be talking about that more in the next article though were I post the first match, for us all to have a look at and see how the base settings above work. I’ll also discuss the mentality, structure, player instructions and team instructions in the next article.

Hopefully this community project won’t bomb and people will get involved icon_smile.gif?w=474

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The First Match

In this second part of the series we’ll now take a closer look at the settings I used and see how they played out in a competitive game. What I’m hoping for here is people to download the PKM and view it and give their feedback on what they saw below and I’ll do the same. I won’t be making any changes though until after we’ve looked at the first three games because we need to understand how it works over a few games rather than an isolated ninety minutes, that way we have a better view and understanding of how the player roles and duties currently interact with each other. Don’t worry though I’ll not be adding all three games in one go as I want to take my time with this to get as many people involved as possible with the project and I fully understand writing something up requires time but my plan is maybe to do one game a week for now and see how it goes.

In order to view the game you need to download this file;

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2EXFGu1SfcqUG8talZIMFpEV3c/view?usp=sharing

Once you’ve downloaded it you need to place it the folder where you store FM matches, it should look something like this;

C:\Users\Username\Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2015\matches

Once you’ve put it in that folder load up Football Manager and on the main screen when the game comes up select the view match option and then you should be able to select the file you downloaded then it’ll allow you to watch the game back.

The Set Up

I touched upon the shape and the base roles and duties I would be using but here it is again just as a reminder;

UHPkQdNXF4-V4rZgyJGxdsnLFIsn6tGK9j2X21S5SJapvMx6lRXMTEMOyX5s0DsC8ZYCusPDnYeGnJCGQtibWiFK7HkQnYgagBVQU1lmjaPPfQOxOyYviyhVobnkGvEdcA

It is worth noting though that in the game you are about to view there is one difference that is down to a mistake I made. The complete forward is on an attacking duty and not a support one, this was a mistake that I made so thought I should point that out now before you view it. I’ve since changed it when I realised but I didn’t realise until after this game. So the Complete forward is on attack for the full ninety minutes in this game. Apart from that it is all the same.

These are the rest of the settings;

98ulOaRtZtNSsDBTzdcb0AEZa1zoCHy2TYmf2JCJj0o4dtV0BW2OxW1LyoZuazpXTfnzeXbVBRW3LwBh9dEpHty0ifM0BL1WyUdEDjp0w3jOFwH_HvPjwX5TOU_Lenht5A

Counter attacking strategy best represents how they played for me so we’ll start with this and see how it goes. It should allow patient play when needed but also at the same time allow devastating quick attacks to happen. The five team instructions are;

YB3ByyTDaqGcGD6Q9hcBxF0LLfjHFUQt4Fo16dBRZIEeG0PArRj5-VpKVZhVnvhqc0ZHbsSQgcibilazQgdWuK2ncM1c3h3nDf5OUWc41ikwKPB6qfHvo0Rd3dXg8WTltA

Arsenal played a lot of through balls which is what pass into space is so it makes sense to start out with that. As for the type of crosses I could have just as easily gone with low crosses as Arsenal used both types of crosses frequently it just depended on who they were aiming for. We’ll see how it goes but I might change this at a later date depending on how it impacts the Ljungberg role I’ll be using as he could often be found arriving at the back post to slot the ball home from a cross. When Arsenal attacked they attacked with pace that is why I’ve gone for higher tempo because I want them to attack with a bit more urgency than thee counter mentality allows for when we are not in a counter attacking move. The reason for this is when we are in a counter attacking move (what the match engine classes as one) tempo and passing will be maxed out automatically for the duration of the move so the speed and urgency should be there already, it’s outside of this that I am aiming to plan for.

There are a few other shouts I could use too but I find they’ll be more situational rather than part of the overall style but we’ll touch more upon them at a later date if I think we require them.

I’m using a couple player instructions as well. I’ll not include the complete forward in these though as that will confuse things. But here are the instructions used for other players;

AW8NiLulZIT74U3LtGdS0ZSStpaoSxN0gsALMs5yLRZO8g_tIcSsm3SyPS9LmJyoO2MsaFMzBwdoP4M0Ym54oIlOhFUbdc3fVjVmoxaWb5Ttd5nb6ntD2rH3kWV2lRp6dg

Those are the settings used for the Ljungberg role.

u7gScTxf2SDRWiRev4ZjO_ohgGBzGR4VAW-hpNrDs9w_xeh2dFxBEMx0GQwdncvh0f3fKEoU5gjqOa7PbtOFqnQlfIWhcuAIrypJ8gOdslEjjar2SFsWXm_xDoiPk7zWug

And those are the Pires role ones.

I’ve not added any more for now but it is something we will do but I like to add PI’s to refine roles and as we haven’t actually refined any roles yet I like to keep them at a minimum until that point.

So this is where we are at for now. I’ll post this up now so you can all be having a look at the game and it also gives me time to finish off my analysis of the game. I’ve purposely left out mine for now as its not finished lol but also because I don’t really want to influence what people are seeing to begin with, I want to see what you can come up with on your own.

Anyone can get involved in this, you don’t need to have a good understanding of the game or match engine. That’s the point of this project to hopefully learn as we go along so don’t be shy and get involved. There is also no rush just take your time, we’ve got plenty of it.

All you have to do it download the match and watch it and write up below what you see. You can focus on the team or a particular player and role it doesn’t really matter which.

Good luck all :)

.................................................. .................................................. ......

First Match Analysis

This is my analysis of the first game against Manchester City in the Community Shield. I’ve got a couple of things I want to keep a look out for that are really important for getting this system to work and those are ;

  • The Bergkamp role (F9) – I need to check positioning, movement and to see what he is doing both with and without the ball. I also need to check out his defensive contribution as well as his attacking contribution as this is equally important from all the matches I saw him play. Ideally he should be tracking the defensive midfielder or picking up a central midfielder when we are defending.
  • The left side – This is probably the most important part of the whole tactic. I need to make the left back, left winger and left-sided striker all interact together. I need to see varied movement from them all.
  • The Henry Role (Complete forward) – Even though I’ve set him as an attack duty by mistake it’s still important I get a feel of how he’s functioning. Being on an attack duty rather that support should make a massive difference, it’ll impact what he does but it shouldn’t be too extreme between the two differences.

I will be looking at other things as well but I don’t have anything else in mind that I will be purposely looking for in this game, I’ll be viewing the game more generally.

This is early on in the game, in fact I’m only about ten seconds into the game;

a1.jpg?resize=300%2C128

I’m not sure how much of an issue this is yet but the wide playmaker is rather deep which I expected at times but during this move I’d expect him to be slightly further forward were the A icon is if possible. There’s no real need for him to be this deep as he has a player just behind him whose space he is invading (suddenly got the urge to play Space Invaders now haha) and it means when the complete wingback receives the ball he doesn’t have anyone to really pass too in front of him. He can drive forward with the ball which i wouldn’t mind if the move was more advanced or he didn’t have to do too much work but I feel Manchester City have this covered and are defending the flanks well. So it means the complete wingback chooses to aim for the complete forward which I believe is a wasted move and we lose possession. If I can get the wide playmaker into the area highlighted then he’d be a passing option and influence play between all three of them more. But it’s still early days at the minute so it might not be that much of an issue but it could be.

a2.jpg?resize=300%2C127

That screenshot shows my shape, the back four are quite deep. The midfield is also staggered ever so slightly and you can see the defensive minded central midfielder is deeper than his team-mate alongside of him. You can also see the wide attacking midfielder cutting inwards away from the byline. I’m quite happy with the general shape of things during this phase of play but I do notice the complete forward is really central. It’ll be interesting to see his positioning in the next passage of play.

a3.jpg?resize=300%2C131

The F9 (Welbeck) receives the ball and begins to drift wide, this causes the complete forward to jockey around the circle he is in, he pushed up, drops back and moves around trying to lose his marker. On the far side the wide midfielder pushes up and drops back as well and loses his marker.

a4.jpg?resize=300%2C165

The movement both the wide midfielder and complete forward make causes the opposition all kinds of trouble. Both have lost their markers and are now in free space. In the case of the complete forward his marker is facing the wrong way. Welbeck releases the ball at the very last possible opportunity to play in the wide midfielder but poor touch from him gives possession away easily. However this kind of move is encouraging as I need the wide midfielder to do things like this and act like an inside forward. I want to see him creating and using space and being a goal threat, that was a big part of what Ljungberg offered to Arsenal.

Next up is something that was very Arsenal-esque;

a5.jpg?resize=300%2C120

Koscielny wins the ball off Aguero and it falls to Wilshere who is playing the roaming playmaker role, he receives the ball and quickly passes it to the wide playmaker. Then when he receives the ball he knows exactly what the complete forward is doing and where he is. He plays the ball to him and then Sanchez who is playing the henry dole does a typical Thierry Henry run with the ball, going out wide then driving inwards with such pace. I’ll show you the clip of it;

[video=youtube_share;2CC7Mmi6_aw]

This kind of play pleases me for two reasons;

  • Cazorla replicating something we would expect Pires to do.
  • Sanchez doing a Henry-esque run and causing issues for the oppositions defenders

These two things are something I want to see a lot of in this set up and are one of the Arsenal trademark moves from that time, so the fact I am seeing this already at this stage of recreating the tactic shows I’m along the right tracks.

I’m about 10 minutes into the game and was just thinking to myself I’ve not really seen the leftback, wide playmaker and striker link up yet, well not as I would like anyway. I have seen the leftback and wide playmaker link up on odd occasion though and it started some good moves like this one;

a6.jpg?resize=300%2C127

They keep creating little triangles like this which means we can do move like this

a7.jpg?resize=300%2C128

Gibbs passes to Cazorla who passes to Wilshere who then plays it to Sanchez. In the space of a second we go from not being a threat out wide to putting the opposition onto the back foot when Sanchez receives the ball and drives forward. Sanchez really is scary when he goes on these runs, he’s forced into the right corner or the pitch but even though he’s forced there he still does a fantastic ball to the wide midfielder who has yet again got into the box;

a8.jpg?resize=300%2C128

We used to see Henry make the runs across goal and end up at the opposite side as well. In this move Sanchez takes out five Many City players because that’s how many people had began to track him by the end of the move that saw him pass it to the wide midfielder. It’s a shame that a bad touch lets him down again though, or a good tackle stops the move depending on which way you look at it.

I’m more than pleased with what I’ve seen so far. I would like to see more involvement between the striker and the left-sided players though. I feel this is missing so far so I guess this is the first real note I need to make.

The leftback, wide playmaker and striker interaction is none existent and needs to be altered if I see nothing change during what remains.

a9.jpg?resize=300%2C138

In this screenshot you’d be forgiven for thinking Ramsey lost his man Nasri in the build up to the goal. But if you look at the screenshot above the City player with the 1 icon is totally unmarked. he should be picked up by the number 3 and the number 2 defender should be going to Nasri, then Ramsey could actually deal with the threat of number 1 or at least offer protection to them. However the centre backs are positioned far too deep and running towards goal rather than closing down players. So due to these errors it causes massive issues during the next few seconds;

a10.jpg?resize=300%2C138

A split second before the ball is played he was confused who to mark, if you change the camera angle you can see it better, he doesn’t really end up doing either in the end but you can see he is caught in two mind. So while Ramsey does play a part in the opening goal he isn’t to blame, that’s the central defenders fault in my opinion for not doing anything at all and running away from the central threats.

a11.jpg?resize=300%2C112

The second goal City scored came about as the players didn’t deal with the threat and they stepped up to play the offside trap, you can see them raise their hands looking for it but its the wrong decision by them as he’s clearly onside. I’ll put this down to bad team cohesion its a new back four who haven’t played together yet and you see things like this all the time until team cohesion is higher rated than it currently is.

a12.jpg?resize=300%2C132

Gibbs passes to Cazorla who passes to Welbeck who then passes to Sanchez who scores. This is such a typical Arsenal goal from the era I’m trying to create. Quick, precise counter attacks and lots of through balls and intelligent passes! It’s really great to see this and it’s a brilliantly worked goal, Sanchez just makes it look so easy.

I think I’ve talked about enough analysis for now for this game and I’m quite pleased with what I’ve seen so far. However I’m not happy with quite a few things also;

The left side doesn’t work as it should. Cazorla and Gibbs link fine, I’m hoping it’s because the strikers duty is attacking rather than supporting. I’ll know within a few minutes of seeing the second match if it makes a difference or not.

Pressing is a bit conservative at times I feel. Although someone has also just told me he thought it was rather aggressive at times which has made me a little confused and something I need to re watch to get a clearer idea.

Cazorla did well but he should be more aggressive, his role or duty is a bit off. So I’m considering maybe trying him on an attack duty first before deciding if a wide midfielder role with the settings I mentioned in the very first article is more suited to what I’m after.

The F9 role I thought worked really well during the match and it clearly works with some great link up play with the wide players and other striker. However was it anything like Bergkamp? I’m not entirely convinced truth be told. I did expect before starting this experiment that I would have to change to a deep-lying forward support at some point. Or even try a defensive forward because that would give me the Bergkamp workrate and add a bit of defensive responsibility for him which he often did for Arsenal tracking a central midfielder or a defensive midfielder. I’m not saying it’ll be ideal or work how I expect but at this stage its an option I could possibly try out.

I might need to change mentality or add shouts to push the defensive line up as I'm way too deep at times.

This is all stuff I’ll keep a note of any see how I feel after the second game. I think realistically at this point the only change I’ll make it revert the complete forward to a support role like I should have at the start (although in this match I thought it worked brilliantly, the only downside was the link up with the left sided players) and maybe just maybe give the wide playmaker an attacking role.

In the next update I’ll be focusing on game two but that won’t be for a week or so, to give people time to join in still icon_smile.gif?w=474

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Matches Two and Three Downloads

This is a short update that talks about what we learnt so far from the game. It will also include download links for the next two games as well so people can analyse them. I got quite a lot of feedback from the first game I posted and it seems a lot are/were in agreement with my own analysis. We all seemed to spot the same type of issues and come to the conclusions that these were the most obvious issues;

  • A lack of pressing at times
  • The defence is sat far too deep at times
  • The wide playmaker need to be higher up the pitch
  • The F9 role works great but it’s nothing like Arsenal or how Bergkamp played

Those four things seem to reoccur throughout the first match and were the things everyone who provided feedback picked up upon. There was some really good positive feedback that came back from users too, those were;

  • Sanchez playing the Henry role worked great
  • The whole right side played how we wanted
  • The Ljungberg role worked and he got in the box often
  • MCR = invisible. That’s good. Gilberto was called the Invisible wall.
  • We saw numerous fast counter attacking football which replicated Arsenal

Looking at all the feedback good and positive we learned an awful lot and while we have a lot of work to do we also got a lot right with the type of play we want to see. This makes it easier moving forward for us as we can carry on with small changes rather than massive wholesale changes as things become harder to track that way.

Saying that though, for the next two games I will keep the exact same settings as posted for the first game. I’ll even keep the complete forward on attack for these two games as well, the reasons for that is because while I know it likely needs to be a support duty we use in the end, it worked too good in the first game. So we should see how it plays over several games rather than one isolated game. So for these next two games everything is exactly how I set out in the first game, this allows us to see how it plays over several games and see if the style we saw in the first game was in fact a style or just a one-off. You need to see more matches to be able to do that and this is why I keep the settings as they are. We will make changes for the fourth game though based on all the feedback we received over the opening three games.

For those interested in watching the next couple of games you can download them at these links;

Game Two Link

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2EXFGu1SfcqdE4zMUNTOHAzVE0/view?usp=sharing

Game Three Link

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2EXFGu1SfcqSF8xS3BybHptbms/view?usp=sharing

I originally planned to put one game up a week for us to analyse and that is still the plan but because I’ve made no changes yet it makes sense to put both remaining matches up now so we can press forward to the next stage which is more important. So what I’d like is if people can download the games from the links above and watch the games and report what they see. You might find its same as the first game or you might find it’s totally different, either way its something we really do need to know. I will add my own analysis at some point too but I felt I jumped the gun a little bit the first time around and posted mine too early and it meant some people didn’t get involved, so I’ll be holding back until near the end this time.

The more people who get involved with this project the better it’ll be. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you are doing you can still participate. I’d argue that though who don’t feel confident with watching games and spotting issues will be the ones who will most likely benefit from this long-term as we are all working towards the same goal of recreating the Arsenal Invincibles. So please get involved regardless of how much or little you know about the game or even that Arsenal side, experience doesn’t really matter here as you’ll hopefully learn along the way. And some of the stuff you learn should be easy to translate into your own games and serve you well.

Expect to see some analysis from me on the above games towards the end of next week icon_smile.gif?w=474

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reserved for third match

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reserved for fourth match

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reserved for fifth match

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reserved for six match

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I'll be adding the first match at some stage tomorrow I hope or Monday at the latest :)

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Looking forward to this as I'm currently trying to implement a similar approach in a save with Vitesse. I've already experienced a lot of joy with the Ljungberg role with the MR overlapping the front line and picking up some nice goals.

I will be very much participating in this project!

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Excellent :cool:

You can already see from the way you've described the players, why you've selected the Roles you have. Can't wait to see a few matches :thup:

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Excellent :cool:

You can already see from the way you've described the players, why you've selected the Roles you have. Can't wait to see a few matches :thup:

I thought Cleon would have gone for Shadow Striker for Bergkamp with maybe dribble less TI but thinking about Henry pulling left ( would be aided more with a partner up top?) and Bergkamp starting higher and pulling deep it seems more of his style.

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I thought Cleon would have gone for Shadow Striker for Bergkamp with maybe dribble less TI but thinking about Henry pulling left ( would be aided more with a partner up top?) and Bergkamp starting higher and pulling deep it seems more of his style.

I love a CF (S) and I think the combination of its default Roaming plus a bit of Move Into Channels might go a reasonable way to replicating the role. Like Cloen says, Move Into Channels alone isn't enough by itself, so it'll be interesting to see what he has in store. If I'm honest, it's more the Bergkamp role I'm interested in, because he was just magnificent.

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I'm looking forward to this project. It's a 4-4-2 which is my favourite formation, plus it's the Invincibles' 4-4-2 :cool: and I'm already seeing some options that I would never make (like both fowards on support), so it's one more thread for me to learn from :)

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Long shot perhaps, but for match engine recreation purposes maybe an attacking left inside forward with a sit narrow instruction for the Henry role? May provide the idea of Henry drifting wide when out of possession, providing he can get into the advanced positions when attacking.

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Also looking forward to following this and hopefully learning a little along the way.

Viera as a BBM would have been the first role I would have put in my team, interesting that you have decided to go for a RPM. Wonder whether a PPM of 'runs with ball down left' might aid the Henry role?

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I thought Cleon would have gone for Shadow Striker for Bergkamp with maybe dribble less TI but thinking about Henry pulling left ( would be aided more with a partner up top?) and Bergkamp starting higher and pulling deep it seems more of his style.

A shadow striker is too attacking imo and Bergkamp played quite deep and did a lot of defensive work something which the shadow striker role doesn't quite offer.

I love a CF (S) and I think the combination of its default Roaming plus a bit of Move Into Channels might go a reasonable way to replicating the role. Like Cloen says, Move Into Channels alone isn't enough by itself, so it'll be interesting to see what he has in store. If I'm honest, it's more the Bergkamp role I'm interested in, because he was just magnificent.

It's a difficult one with Bergkamp and I'm still not sure I've selected the right role as I can think of two other ways to create his style that isn't using a F9. So it'll be interesting to see how it goes and how the initial roles I've selected all work together. I do think I'll end up changing at least 3 roles though maybe throughout the side.

I'm looking forward to this project. It's a 4-4-2 which is my favourite formation, plus it's the Invincibles' 4-4-2 :cool: and I'm already seeing some options that I would never make (like both fowards on support), so it's one more thread for me to learn from :)

For me Arsenal played strikerless at times and both strikers played deep so support roles made sense. Whether in FM terms this works though is another thing :D

Cleon, you know full well you can't start a thread on the Invincibles without me having a go :thup:

Excellent I was hoping you'd get involved as I know you put a lot of effort into creating it last year and we had some great discussions on Twitter :)

Long shot perhaps, but for match engine recreation purposes maybe an attacking left inside forward with a sit narrow instruction for the Henry role? May provide the idea of Henry drifting wide when out of possession, providing he can get into the advanced positions when attacking.

Inside forward wouldn't work I don't believe as he did more than the role offered. However a Raumdeuter might be a good option and I already have a clear view of how I can get this to work but first I wanted to see if I can create it using a flat 442 before exploring other options.

Also looking forward to following this and hopefully learning a little along the way.

Viera as a BBM would have been the first role I would have put in my team, interesting that you have decided to go for a RPM. Wonder whether a PPM of 'runs with ball down left' might aid the Henry role?

That's what I had him as last year but from what I've seen and what I can remember he could be quite creative at times and did some lovely through balls. I also find the RPM to be more of a goal threat than a BBM for some reason so thought I'd try him as this first before changing him. It's just a case of trying a few different options for the first 3-5 games and see what we all come up with when viewing the match.

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Great thread - I've actually been trying something similar lately myself.

The False 9 is an interesting option for the Bergkamp role. My understanding of the False 9 role is essentially the Messi role, which I would have said was very different to the way Bergkamp played. Bergkamp was the most stationary of Arsenal's attacking players. I would describe him as the classic number 10 which is why I chose Enganche.

Given Sanchez' off the ball movement combined with PPMs Likes to Beat Offside Trap and Moves into Channels he is an excellent option for the Henry role. Complete Forward (Support) + Move into Channels + Run Wide with Ball = Perfection. 31 goals and 18 assists in my game.

Here is my attempt. Adapted the midfield for current players but the left side is my best attempt at an Invincible recreation:

Arsenal442.png

Good luck!

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Cheers for the suggestions but it's probably a better idea to wait for the game and view that before making suggestions on what should be changed etc once we see how it all interacts together. You also have to remember that roles in FM and their names can be very different from the same role with the same name in real life, it depends how SI implemented the role. I don't mean to come across as being arsey but the whole point is we work on this together by viewing the game and then make the required changes on what we see happening on the pitch, that's why the above is just a base from which we will work from :)

Also interesting what you say about Bergkamp because from all the games I've re-watched lately from this period he was anything but stationery, he would drift wide, come deep in the search of space and the ball. He roamed about a moved a hell of a lot around the pitch. You'd often see him drift wide and allow Ljungberg to go beyond him. He could also hold up the ball when needed and pass it around but I'd not call him the most stationery attacker from what I've seen. However I do think the F9 role isn't the best for him and like I pointed out further up the thread I can think of two ways off the top of my head to make him play more like Bergkamp I reckon but we'll see what people think when they see the games rather than jumping ahead. I could easily make the changes now if I wanted but that's too easy, I want people to view the game then make suggestions and I hink this project can help people understand tactics and get a better grasp of the match engine by getting them to be a bit more visually hands on with looking for certain things or characterising while watching the match :)

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No problem. Your thread, you're the boss! :D

Do you have access to full games anywhere? I am relying on memory and highlights, which isn't necessarily the most accurate. I'd be interested to see what you're saying about Bergkamp. I'd say there was some movement wide, but very limited. My recollection of Bergkamp was the classic number 10. I have very fond memories of Bergkamp sitting in the hole with a flurry of attacking movement going on around him.

Check out this video -

. It's a very limited highlight selection but does demonstrate the point that almost everything is in that 10 spot.

If you have access to full matches then share the links - would love to watch in more detail! :)

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A lot of the stuff in that video you linked btw shows Bergkamp out wide left, wide right and centrally which was my point about roaming. Apart from the times he scores goals he is always deep and can pop up anywhere, remembered he was playing as the right sided striker (or just off the front however you define the shape) and can often be seen out near the touch line. His play is really varied and isn't really static. He did a lot, he could drift, he could hold position and hold the ball up if needed and pass the ball around. He could drift left and allow Pires to play off him and run into the box. He could just as easily drift right and allow Ljungberg to overlap him or cut inside. He also tracked back a lot and would often pick up and mark the defensive midfielder or central midfielder. But off the ball he'd look to find space where ever he could.

I will be posting links to some videos etc as I want to compare the play with real life and discuss them as an actual chapter of this thread. I'll be showing examples of Arsenals play then showing the same examples of it happening in FM hopefully. I thought something like that would be really interesting to see how the two compare and will demonstrate how close or how far away we are from what we are trying to achieve.

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I've added the first match for you to download and look at in post 2.

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No real rush but I appreciate it thanks :)

I'll likely post my analysis at some stage tomorrow afternoon I think.

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This thread is really peeked my interest, having created my own invincibles set up. I am excited to see how close this compares.

I will be following closely.

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Just finishing off writing my analysis but I noticed this and couldn't help but jump the gun and share it;

[video=youtube_share;2CC7Mmi6_aw]

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Promising Cleon very promising, a little outside in dribbling/movement again, something we saw in the Brazil 70 thread too, it looks fantastic. Very Henryesque. I think his dribbling is going to be vital for progressing up the pitch with the two support role forwards.

Just tracking your Ljunberg player there too, a very good lung bursting run into the box, looks excellent.

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Got a busy day today but when I get home this evening I will watch the game and write up some analysis

Excited to see how it played:D

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Cleon, Great idea for thread. Big Arsenal fan so have always loved the invincibles and the expansive, ruthless counter attack style. Looking forward to getting involved in this.

One note before I start. Something I have found managing Arsenal is that play Balanta and Kos together can cause issues sometimes as the are both aggressive defenders so often step out to win the ball which can cause poor positioning issues as you see in the 2nd City goal.

First City goal. Not to much to say. Ramsey loses Nasri maybe due to not being a 'Defensive' player. Caught out by quick cross which Gibbs doesn't shut down quick enough and the ball is in the back of the net.

8.25: Cazorla wins the ball to start the attack and then doesn't move forward at all. Pires in my opinion would have been driving forward and attempting to drag players out of position or move wide looking for the ball. When Ox has the ball on the right hand side of their box at around 8.28 Cazorla is in line with CM/D Ramsey and FB/S Chambers creating an almost WM shape at the back. Not sure if this is to do with the counter mentality and him covering for the forward Gibbs or with his role but I feel he was not aggressive enough going forward after giving the pass.

2nd City goal is the to do with what I said at the start. Kos is out of position and ends up holding hands with Balanta which gives Nasri space to run through and score. Whether this will come with better team cohesion and more tactical familiarity I am unsure but maybe something to keep an eye on.

F9 is the perfect role to replicate the Bergkamp role I think. Welbeck drops deeper keeping a 4411 shape out of possession sitting in the hole looking to receive the ball and in possesion drifts forward acting as a second striker. A more creative player will cause massive problems for teams in that area.

Sanchez goal is beautiful and perfectly personifies the invincibles. Cazorla pass to the Welbeck who has dropped slightly deeper into the hole. This draws Kompany out and gives space to Sanchez who has drifted in from the left. (Henry-esque) and drives into the open space before cutting back in and lashing home. Perfect invincibles play and lovely to watch.

39:35 Once again Cazorla drifts inside and picks up the ball before giving it to Sanchez. Once again though he doesn't drive forward after the pass. I think this is to do with how the WP/S role is described. 'Will come inside and sit in a central midfield position and act as the teams main creator'. I think this is the wrong role is Pires. I believe if you want to keep the flat 442 then a WM/S with certain player instructions but I would prefer IF/S as I think this would perfet suit that role. Allowing Cazorla to drift in and play passes but still drive forward after. Lovely link up play between the front two.

2nd Arsenal goal. Good quick passing to move the ball across the midfield. Cazorla sitting perfectly narrow once again giving the ball to the on rushing Gibbs who delivers a perfect cross. Thought Ox's movement was very Ljungberg and was another great bit of Invincibles play.

Overall I was fairly impressed. Feel it is lacking certain players. I was impressed with Ramsey's discipline in CM/D but is obviously not ideal for it. The WP/S role either requires work on the player instructions or a move to a different role. Will be interested to see the CF/S as I think its link up with work really lovely but was impressed most by how well the strike partnership worked together. I think the F9 perfectly suits the Bergkamp role and was lovely to watch. If you can retrain Ozil to play it think he will be be devastating.

Great work once again and I look forward to following.

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F9 is the perfect role to replicate the Bergkamp role I think. Welbeck drops deeper keeping a 4411 shape out of possession sitting in the hole looking to receive the ball and in possesion drifts forward acting as a second striker. A more creative player will cause massive problems for teams in that area.

After watching the match, I would have to disagree with this regarding the selected role. For me Welbeck dribbled far too often and sometimes running into the space that I would want Chamberlain attacking. Due to the F9 having Dribble More selected by default, I would note down a possible role change to DLF-s after watching the F9 for the further two matches.

However, with Welbeck not begin anything close to the type of player Bergkamp was, I do agree that a more suited player would cause more problems. Welbeck had 8 shots in total, most of which were speculative. I would like to think a better playmaker would make more efficient use of the ball.

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After watching the match, I would have to disagree with this regarding the selected role. For me Welbeck dribbled far too often and sometimes running into the space that I would want Chamberlain attacking. Due to the F9 having Dribble More selected by default, I would note down a possible role change to DLF-s after watching the F9 for the further two matches.

However, with Welbeck not begin anything close to the type of player Bergkamp was, I do agree that a more suited player would cause more problems. Welbeck had 8 shots in total, most of which were speculative. I would like to think a better playmaker would make more efficient use of the ball.

Doesnt Welbeck have a PPM to dribble more though? That would influence it

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After watching the match, I would have to disagree with this regarding the selected role. For me Welbeck dribbled far too often and sometimes running into the space that I would want Chamberlain attacking. Due to the F9 having Dribble More selected by default, I would note down a possible role change to DLF-s after watching the F9 for the further two matches.

However, with Welbeck not begin anything close to the type of player Bergkamp was, I do agree that a more suited player would cause more problems. Welbeck had 8 shots in total, most of which were speculative. I would like to think a better playmaker would make more efficient use of the ball.

Interesting point. However, if you watch Bergkamp he did often drive forward with the ball. He wasn't just a stationary link player. Often pick the ball up deep and driving forward before laying the pass or taking a shot himself.

Welbeck doesn't have the PPM dribble more. @css_matt

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Some great feedback so far, I'll not respond to the issues you've mentioned yet though as I will wait until a few more have posted before posting the reasons why I believe they happened.

One thing you should note is Welbeck won't be the F9 he will be back up for Sanchez but the player I am going to use as the F9 -Ozil was inured 2 days before the City game so had to miss it through injury.

Doesnt Welbeck have a PPM to dribble more though? That would influence it

No he doesn't he has moves into channels (which I think led to some of the issues), likes to beat offside trap and plays one twos.

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Welbeck might work as something of a Kanu, atleast that what's I was telling myself watching the PKM.

Good point, people need to realise that the Invincibles changed roles depending on who was playing. When Reyes was on the pitch for example he was a lot different to how Pires played and so on. And this will be the same when the first 11 can't play together, it'll slightly change the dynamics of what we see.

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After watching the match, I would have to disagree with this regarding the selected role. For me Welbeck dribbled far too often and sometimes running into the space that I would want Chamberlain attacking. Due to the F9 having Dribble More selected by default, I would note down a possible role change to DLF-s after watching the F9 for the further two matches.

However, with Welbeck not begin anything close to the type of player Bergkamp was, I do agree that a more suited player would cause more problems. Welbeck had 8 shots in total, most of which were speculative. I would like to think a better playmaker would make more efficient use of the ball.

Btw will you be writing about what you saw? :)

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A lot of the stuff in that video you linked btw shows Bergkamp out wide left, wide right and centrally which was my point about roaming. Apart from the times he scores goals he is always deep and can pop up anywhere, remembered he was playing as the right sided striker (or just off the front however you define the shape) and can often be seen out near the touch line. His play is really varied and isn't really static. He did a lot, he could drift, he could hold position and hold the ball up if needed and pass the ball around. He could drift left and allow Pires to play off him and run into the box. He could just as easily drift right and allow Ljungberg to overlap him or cut inside. He also tracked back a lot and would often pick up and mark the defensive midfielder or central midfielder. But off the ball he'd look to find space where ever he could.

I really don't see where you're seeing that, unless we have a different definition of "wide" then 80+% of that video is in the hole or Number 10 spot. Of course there is some movement wide but you can clearly see Bergkamp is mainly central.

Also, taken from the footballperformanceanalysis article you site in the opening post. The anaylse the Henry - Bergkamp partnership and come to the following conclusions:

Bergkamp played more centrally than Henry and mostly spent his time outside the penalty area to provide support to teammates. As shown in the following diagram, Bergkamp made 70% of his assists outside the penalty area.
Henry focused on playing left and scored in central penalty area while Bergkamp played more centrally and stayed outside penalty area in most of the time to provide support.
Bergkamp playing area: More central + Outside penalty box

My favourite description of Bergkamp is the orchestrator, the Kapellmeister of the band.

Anyway, hope you don't mind the debate. It's interesting to talk to such an expert! :D

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Good point, people need to realise that the Invincibles changed roles depending on who was playing. When Reyes was on the pitch for example he was a lot different to how Pires played and so on. And this will be the same when the first 11 can't play together, it'll slightly change the dynamics of what we see.

Good stuff, one of the things I noted when reading the links you put in the OP is that the ideal line up wasn't on the pitch a lot of the time. The adaptability of players like Parlour and Edu for instance was a very underrated part of the success.

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arsenal v man city game

a couple issues.

wellbeck, already been noticed.

The other thing I noticed which may or may not have prevented the first goal, Henry, Pires, and Ljungberg. Although Arsenal played primarily on the break and fell back into there shape these three players pressed full backs alot. in the PKM they were very stand offy. At 4mins and 5 seconds Zabaleta is about 25 yards away from the left midfielder who sorta bobs about in his place instead of closing down the gap. He plays the easy pass down the right side which leads to the goal.

I cant upload a screenshot of what im talking about for some reason

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That's because the site you are referencing are only taking his assists into account and not the movement. Nearly all assist are central unless you have wingers crossing the ball into the box, the article is based on how effective Bergkamp is outside of the box rather than in it compared to Henry and not about what positions he took up during phases of play :).

I still don't agree with you anyway, he wasn't always central he drifted all over. I'm busy writing up analysis of three matches atm so can't spend much time on other things at the moment but once I do I'll gladly show you thousands of examples of he drifting wide, deep, central, switching positions, doing overlaps etc :)

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Btw will you be writing about what you saw? :)

I had a brief watch of the match and ran my eye over the analysis tab this morning. I shall hopefully give the game a more in depth look over tonight with pen and notepad in hand :D

Good stuff, one of the things I noted when reading the links you put in the OP is that the ideal line up wasn't on the pitch a lot of the time. The adaptability of players like Parlour and Edu for instance was a very underrated part of the success.

I echo this point. I'm currently reading Amy Lawrence's Invincible: Inside Arsenal's unbeaten 2003-2004 season and you forget how much the so called 'fringe' players contributed. One of the memorable games from that season, the 5-1 defeat of Inter Milan at the San Siro, didn't include Gilberto, Bergkamp or Vieira in the starting line up that night.

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I had a brief watch of the match and ran my eye over the analysis tab this morning. I shall hopefully give the game a more in depth look over tonight with pen and notepad in hand :D

I echo this point. I'm currently reading Amy Lawrence's Invincible: Inside Arsenal's unbeaten 2003-2004 season and you forget how much the so called 'fringe' players contributed. One of the memorable games from that season, the 5-1 defeat of Inter Milan at the San Siro, didn't include Gilberto, Bergkamp or Vieira in the starting line up that night.

That's a brilliant book :thup:

People tend to forget how little the best 11 actually played together though, it really was a team effort yet the 11 I mention in my opening post always get the most credit when they didn't play together than often.

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Analysis of Game 1

Initial thoughts on shape

  • Defense looks good.
  • Right side looks good.
  • As you mentioned, mistake on the striker role. Should be support.
  • Interested to see how the Vieira, Pires and Bergkamp roles work.
  • Counter mentality may not be appropritate for all games, good option for Man City though.

Observations


  • Goal conceeded from the left side and from a set piece - very realistic :D
  • Difficult to comment on the Bergkamp role as Welbeck is so far removed in terms of quality and a completely different player.
  • Excellent interplay down the left flank for the Sanchez goal
  • Overall team positioning & defensive line perhaps too deep. Eg 37 min highlight. Defending on 6 yard line.
  • 2nd half - defence definitely too deep. Standing off too much.
  • Cazorla finds good space during build up
  • Welbeck has good positioning when the opposition have the ball but is too advanced when in possession. Needs to be withdrawn.
  • It's going to be a big challenge to get Ramsey & Wilshere playing like Vieira & Gilberto!
  • Not enough movement. Cazorla not aggressive enough.
  • Sanchez isolated
  • Slow buildup
  • Ljungberg role seems spot on
  • Great 2nd goal. Used to score a lot like that.
  • MCR = invisible. That's good. Gilberto was called the Invisible wall. Is Ramsey the best option there?
  • 75 min - good movement from Cazorla. Need more of that.
  • Man City got very tired
  • 87 minute, great exchange from Welbeck and Sanchez

Thanks again for uploading Cleon. Enjoyed watching. Summarizing my opinion I think that there are the following positives:

  • Defensive roles / set up seems very good.
  • Right side is spot on. Ox in particular reminded me of Ljungberg alot.
  • Holding midfield spot was good.
  • There was some good play in attack

I see two main areas of improvement:

  • Mentality - the team is simply too deep, too slow and too conservative. Did you chose counter as you were playing Man City or are you intending to use counter a lot? I'd go Attack, with instructions for a low-block.
  • Attacking movement - Cazorla was the main offender here. Liked his role in transition but didn't offer much threat going forward. I watched on comprehensive and barely noticed an attacking run from him.

The result of these issues was that Sanchez was very isolated and I saw a lot of toothless counter attacks such as:

Screen%20Shot%202015-01-25%20at%207.28.54%20AM.png

And:

Screen%20Shot%202015-01-25%20at%207.49.32%20AM.png

In this one I even highlighted Cazorla's positioning. If you let the play roll on he casually trots forward, offering no real support.

This was the average positioning after 90 minutes:

Screen%20Shot%202015-01-25%20at%207.53.27%20AM.png

The midfield is a little disjointed but the left side is horribly messed up. Sanchez position will improve with a Support role but something has to be done with Cazorla.

I am also reserving comment on the midfield duo for now until I have seen a few more games. That may prove to be the biggest challenge with the current crop.

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I still don't agree with you anyway, he wasn't always central he drifted all over. I'm busy writing up analysis of three matches atm so can't spend much time on other things at the moment but once I do I'll gladly show you thousands of examples of he drifting wide, deep, central, switching positions, doing overlaps etc :)

Haha OK Cleon. I won't comment on the Bergkamp role until I've seen Ozil have a go playing your way! :D

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Brilliant analysis mate you've touched upon a lot of what I have in my own analysis actually, you've basically mentioned everything I do.

Ramsey isn't going to be the regular option btw, I hope to rotate Ramsey with Wilshere for now for the RPM role and use Gaston Gil Romero and Lucas Romero for the central midfielder on defend :)

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I've added my analysis to post 2

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Brilliant analysis mate you've touched upon a lot of what I have in my own analysis actually, you've basically mentioned everything I do.

Ramsey isn't going to be the regular option btw, I hope to rotate Ramsey with Wilshere for now for the RPM role and use Gaston Gil Romero and Lucas Romero for the central midfielder on defend :)

Haha great minds..

My recommendation would be to bump the mentality to Attacking with shouts creating the low block and see where that leaves you. May solve the Cazorla issue. If it doesn't I'd consider pushing him forward to AML (Pires was not a hard working defensive player) or look at PPMs. Gets into Opposition Area springs to mind.

Yea the Romero's are great options for the defensive spot. They're actually far more complete than Gilberto but such is modern football and we have to make allowances for that. Nkoulou is also a pretty cheap and effective option.

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I think attacking will be far too aggressive, Arsenal weren't really aggressive they were more laid back but countered with such speed. I think a higher line or a standard mentality will be much better and I can still see the counters I posted above. I need to see what others think first though but I think going attacking creates a lot of issues and takes away from the decent base we already have imo.

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One more suggestion that really worked for me is to use Exploit the Flanks team instruction. This makes the wide players more aggressive and the central players more reserved which is, in my opinion, exactly what Arsenal did.

I say both flanks, rather than just the left because the attacks down the right cause the opposition defence to shift and leaves acres of space on the left. I eventually maximized this by teaching Wilshere the PPM likes to switch ball to other flank and this created goodness knows how many goals. Thinking about it now I should have used Ozil instead but hindsight is a wonderful thing :D

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It seems like I'm being really negative towards you I don't mean to be but exploit the flanks isn't as option imo because what it actually does is;

It gives the fullback/wingbacks and wingers more attacking and focuses the play down both flanks. It also tells them to run from deep and cross the ball more often. If you use central midfielders then it’ll tell them to hold up the ball.

Last thing you want is more crosses and central players holding the ball up.

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