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Rashidi

Bust the Net - Football Manager Tactics

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Which one? You need short passing for quick transition play, Work ball into box for avoiding shots from distance, maybe just Play out of defence.

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Which one? You need short passing for quick transition play, Work ball into box for avoiding shots from distance, maybe just Play out of defence.

I remove play out of defense, but still there are some games that I get like 52%vs 48%.

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Champions League

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Bayern completely outplayed us, we needed a set piece goal to get back into the match, and then I had to play for the penalties, taking a huge risk that our shape would help us. The woodwork did too. We out shot them in the penalty shootout but was this a scary match.

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Should be aiming for 35-40% though :D

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Sorry I won't be happy till its sitting between 45-55%, if it does go up, I am fine, but against better sides I do expect it to be less, and as we get better I expect those numbers to improve.

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http://www.fourfourtwo.com/statszone/5-2014/matches/782777

http://www.fourfourtwo.com/statszone/23-2014/matches/775013

http://www.fourfourtwo.com/statszone/23-2014/matches/774981

There is no hard rule, but against possession-based sides, it should go down a bit, regardless of their quality level. Not talking about Almeria, Eibar and other Atletico wannabes, that generally play defensive football. In those matches, 50-60 is quite good, actually.

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This is a simulation based on a match engine, that we have to play within. So the results at the end of the day whilst hopefully can be as accurate as possible, there are matches within my run that have seen us produce less than ideal possession. I however prefer winning every game, and not losing any, and where I can I will use whatever shouts I can to achieve that effect. So I don't intend to run a game and get 30-40% against better possession based sides. I will endeavour to keep the match as close as we can get.

As my match against Bayern showed we narrowly lost out on possession, in earlier matches against Real Madrid, i wanted to win more than lose. So whilst I have given out most of the PIs for the team, I intentionally withheld a few. I reckon for most people that use this shape, they should be seeing lower possession numbers.

Edit:

Actually its a good thing you brought that up. Possession stats aren't usually a function of time, but a function of passes. Time is considered, but touches take priority. I still remember the old days when we used to count it, we actually used a ticker in the studio. Possession is usually counted by however many passes a side makes during a game, if they have more touches of a ball then the possession numbers go up. So if you want to reduce the possession numbers, just go direct passing.

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Didn't know that fact about possession. Too bad, since that leads to incorrect stats in the game, compared to real-life.

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Didn't know that fact about possession. Too bad, since that leads to incorrect stats in the game, compared to real-life.
Nah it doesn't because they still use a ticker, but its now like a stopwatch of sorts so you still get a fair bit based off time...yeah what you said reminded me that I needed to reduce my total passes to get my possession down, and the only way to do that was via direct passing. And its worked.

Thanks to you I changed one shout :-) and its even more realistic. Thank you

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THE FINAL ANALYSES

As my experiment with replicating their 442 is coming to an end, here's a recap. Essentially we have used 3 different versions of the 442, each trying to maintain the ethos of dynamism, hard work and aggression. The hardest thing to do was keeping a low percentage of possession. Even when I went with a direct style of passing, we still somehow managed to keep high percentages, and one common denominator was the opposing sides formation. Invariably they were using defensive systems.

When I first started the season we experimented with various strike partnerships up front, settling for this system at first.

recap442-v1.jpg

This looked wider but played narrow, through the use of shouts, but having said that, we preferred to start matches holding possession, invariably causing us to win more possession, it essentially became a counter attacking possession based system against weaker sides, but fairly balanced against good sides. The problem with this system was that it didn't unleash Koke centrally as in bang in the middle of the pitch, he would be closer to the centre left position. It wasn't perfect but it was close, to how they played.

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We then started taking a closer look at asymmetric 442 systems. And stuck to this for the vast majority of the season, and even the assistant manager started going on winning runs.

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This was a lot more realistic, and it had Koke drifting into the middle on a regular basis, Arda Turan would occasionally end up around the box or out wide and the strikers because of their PIs ended up drifting out wide pulling defenders away. This looked a lot like how they were playing in real life.

recap442v2shouts.jpg?w=660

My predilection for possession, geared me to starting games this way, and whilst they looked somewhat like they do in real life, they were winning a lot of games, a lot. And they were doing this by sitting and deep and keeping the ball. So I ended up doing some simple things, I removed the shouts: Retain Possession, Play out of defense, short passing and added Direct passing, Whipped in crosses, hit early crosses.

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Without those shouts, they would produce these kind of performances against Real Madrid

Finally to get something closer to an ideal point, we ended up with this.

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This was in fact the system I deployed against Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Chelsea towards the end of the season when we went chasing our trifecta of titles. The left fullback was held back, and I removed the short passing I had put him on and the less risky passes PI, choosing instead to make him go direct. In some games especially against Barca and Chelsea, I had him on defend, in others he was on support. This became a vital cog for me to switch on when I wanted to increase tempo and off when I wanted to contain.

In our first leg against Barca

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In my return, try as I might, we couldn't do anything but keep possession, oddly Barca was playing a direct attacking game, pinging balls to Neymar and Suarez throughout the game.

In an earlier game, the same system, relied heavily on scoring off the counter, this was a set-piece goal.

recap442v3stats2.jpg?w=660

Back in the league we met Barcelona again in one of the final matches of the season, in a game where they managed to string together a more effective possession, we managed to get the win, but still possession was a tad bit high, even after all the settings.

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For the season we scored 88 goals and conceded 24. Off the 88 goals, the in game stats show that we had 22 from set pieces. It doesn't track throw ins as well, as, goals scored from winning the second ball. Considering the fact that I was scoring at least 1 in every 3 games, it would be safe to add another 10 for the whole season, from both of these, and that's being conservative. That would bring our goals from set pieces to close to 37%, conservatively speaking.

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Titles Won:

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Well, to me at least, this is a close enough replication of the 442 system used in La Liga, the downside imho is the high percentages I got with the first two, with the last system it seems fairly close. My biggest gripe has always been how much the AI manager fails to replicate possession based systems. Its really hard playing against a team that can successfully keep the ball. I do believe that the high possession could have been due also to the high closing down settings of the front guys. Taking it off however would make it feel less like Atletico, for now though thats it for the Atletico replication. Maybe the new patch will make it harder for us to score from set pieces and a high press.

It may not be 100% close to the ideal, but its the best I could do.

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Nice final outcome Rashidi and also great recreation of the system. It would be great to see more screenshots from during games, to see how your players actually behave, positions they take up, movements etc - The match stats and amazing results are great to see, and your explaination of why you choose things easy to follow but seeing it in action is also really great in my experience :)

BTW, didnt click until now that your username / manager name related to Yekini. Tragic story that one :(

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Nice final outcome Rashidi and also great recreation of the system. It would be great to see more screenshots from during games, to see how your players actually behave, positions they take up, movements etc - The match stats and amazing results are great to see, and your explaination of why you choose things easy to follow but seeing it in action is also really great in my experience :)

BTW, didnt click until now that your username / manager name related to Yekini. Tragic story that one :(

Yeah true, tragic how he died so young. He was a legend. I plan to once I have time. Was speeding through the whole season , as many as 10 games were managed by my assman as well..

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I've been receiving a lot of requests for detailed player instructions, I do not plan on releasing them, as this would be akin to releasing a tactic, and I have stopped doing that.

The reason is fairly subjective, there are some who enjoy doing that, and I used to be one of them, but the threads on the system, became so convoluted with requests for me to assess squads, that it stopped being helpful. I will illustrate how these systems can play, by giving as much detail as I can. Withholding some information would imho help people out more, as this would encourage them to try their own ideas out.

Time to show a bit of what formation 3 plays like. We being with our Champions League Final game. In this system the left fullback was a bit restrained against a Chelsea side that had strong attacks down the flanks. When we had the ball the midfield would compress laterally. The best way I got that to happen was by setting one with a BWM setting, and gave the other MC a get forward Player Instruction. I really wanted Koke and Arda Turan to work together more efficiently and reducing the lateral distance between them and the vertical distances between the forward line and midfield was key.

Essentially by creating a compressed tier between the forwards and midfield, we in effect create a wall that stronger opponents need to get through. Notice as well the restrained position of the left fullback and the rather attacking setup of the right fullback who's about to get into an overlapping position.

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Turan would eventually release Juanfran and Koke would drift to the edge of the box, this was what I was wanted the system to do and it played out to a "T".

The ball is eventually cleared by the defense, and as we have compressed the playable area, it doesn't get very far, allowing Atletico to exert themselves again. Note how compressed all 3 midfielders are, and note again how the left fullback is getting ready to move up. This is how an asymmetric 442 can play, if set up right. The key lies in large part to the player instructions you use.

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We ended up failing to make anything happen, Chelsea managed to break and this is what I enjoyed watching.

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When you lose the ball you want to funnel your opposition down one way, and we did that, Costa is isolated with the ball and you can see clearly 2 banks of Atletico players rushing to cover. As the ball gets deeper, the Atletico players start following their targets. Hazard has to negotiate his way.

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Our first goal was off a corner. Take not of how the players are positioned, quite a few of my goals aren't counted as set pieces cos they happen after the second ball is won. Chelsea clear the danger but the ball gets to Suarez

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The ball gets back to Koke who puts it back into the danger area where we now have 2 players in dangerous positions. Turan would eventually score, he's the No. 9 closest to Koke.

We got torn apart by Chelsea for their equaliser as they passed it around us near our penalty box to score from within 6 yards. It wasn't something I enjoyed, but I guess passing at speed around a box and seeing your players lose their shape can sometimes be agonising.

Our winning goal surprise, surprise came from a penalty. We couldn't really score from open play, they were much more resilient and deadly on the counter. So we opted to field a asymmetric 442 that held one fullback back.

Against Barca in an earlier league match... we were quite caught out on the right flank when Messi took off with the ball, good concentration at the back, and the lack of speed and how spread out Barca was saved us from being exposed.

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Barca seem to be playing a lot more attacking against me leaving us with wide open spaces to exploit on the counter. In this game Koke was out injured and Saul replaced him. When Saul does get the ball after the failed attack led by Messi, note how many options he has, run or pass..all dangerous.

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They would eventually score, Saul charging into the box, the Atletico players compressing making it easier to find each other, and eventually weeding out a goal

The way the midfield and strikers are set up and how close the defense is, makes it very hard for any side to find space, the only space being the flanks, and since one fullback is held back, it makes it really hard, any ball lost on the flank that is more attacking can easily be redelivered into the box because one of the midfielders is set up slightly more forward than the rest. The downside is that if a side has really good wingers, they can out accelerate you, and I needed to be on the look out for this in every game i played. I was only paying attention to my flanks.

Time for me to start a new save with the new patch

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really enjoying this thread

Thank you.

After considerable thought, I have decided to return to the premiership, the rationale behind this decision was simple. The EPL is probably the hardest league in Europe, the gap between sides is closing each season, the other league that problems comes closer to them in performance in sides is probably the bundesliga. So the choice was between the two, furthermore I plan to do detailed posts on creation of tactical systems, such as various forms of pivots in a game that can give you the desired outcomes you want to see. I've already done enough LLM to Champions League glory threads..and since I want to cut to the chase I will simply take over a club thats not considered a top contender for the title but a dark horse which already has considerable investment in training facilities. To that end I will switch over to Liverpool, and immediately I will start deploying the 442 that I used with Atletico and change it slightly. Liverpool will use an attacking variant of it, that will still be based on compression of space, but this with one thats slightly more attacking. To some extent I will customise it for the players that they have already.

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Awesome but would love to see you go like burnley or something different

Yeah that would be fun too, but i've done the cinderella stories already for like the past 10 years with this game, this time I wanna focus solely on certain aspects of the game fast..so once i get the rest of the guide out I will be looking at taking a smaller team up, by then I should be a historied manager

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Won my first game 4-0 v Southampton with Liverpool using the 442 I developed at Atletico and immediately stopped resigned. I am off to WEST BROM!!!

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I've enjoyed reading this. I do have a question though - something I've always wondered about asymmetric and non-standard formations (as in, formations not hard-coded into the game). Could it be considered an exploit of the ME? I'm not saying that's what you're doing, as you've shown that this is a way to replicate Atletico's style and getting around some of the positional limitations of the ME, but with so many players loaded on to one side of the pitch, could that not be considered unfair against the AI, which is seemingly restricted to a certain number of symmetrical formations? They could be overwhelmed on one side?

I've often wanted to introduce some asymmetry to my formation (I'm not on FM15 yet, so don't have the option of a wide playmaker), so I've often thought about lining up the midfield as you have to get the wide player involved centrally, but I've always been reluctant as whilst it may replicate what I'm after, it seems an unfair advantage over the AI.

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I've enjoyed reading this. I do have a question though - something I've always wondered about asymmetric and non-standard formations (as in, formations not hard-coded into the game). Could it be considered an exploit of the ME? I'm not saying that's what you're doing, as you've shown that this is a way to replicate Atletico's style and getting around some of the positional limitations of the ME, but with so many players loaded on to one side of the pitch, could that not be considered unfair against the AI, which is seemingly restricted to a certain number of symmetrical formations? They could be overwhelmed on one side?

I've often wanted to introduce some asymmetry to my formation (I'm not on FM15 yet, so don't have the option of a wide playmaker), so I've often thought about lining up the midfield as you have to get the wide player involved centrally, but I've always been reluctant as whilst it may replicate what I'm after, it seems an unfair advantage over the AI.

I doubt if you could call it an exploit, back in cm01/02 it was, during those memorable heydays asymmetrical formations could overpower the AI simple by overload. SI learnt from that, and with the help of numerous testers the engine evolved. At the moment if you do build a formation which is overloaded on one side, the AI will shift to focus on that area of the pitch. Overloading can also be done via the centre as well. Imho the AI is hampered a great deal, and I am a vocal critic of one aspect of the AI manager: Its inability to create more intricate systems which we can do. Systems which allow us to create mixed instructions via the PI to simulate sides like Bayern Munich or Barca of 2009. Overall, human managers are always going to have an edge, because we can be a lot more creative. Playing against the AI reminds me of playing chess back in the old days with an atari computer. It was so easy to beat a computer at chess. Today the AI manager in the game reminds me of that. So I encourage players to go out and build all kinds of weird systems, break the AI back to its bare bones, cos when you do and post it up, SI take notice, and go back to work harder to prevent that from happening.

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A new patch means a new season. My time at Sporting and Atletico was getting a tad bit boring, after flirting with Liverpool for one game and deciding I needed something harder, I walked into the Baggies Bootroom and took up the job there.

Managing West Brom is an interesting proposition. Firstly, the English league is cash rich if you can make it to the top, that gives me a lot of wiggle room to have fun with player development. Secondly we have more control over youth development as opposed to Portuguese sides. Finally, a team who is expected to finish slightly higher than mid table is probably the best challenge. Its realistically possible to out perform and make it to the top, but thats really hard, a more reasonable expectation would be to qualify for Europa League, and if you are lucky come in with a shout for a top four spot. Ambitious targets indeed.

The first thing I do with every new challenge is do a bootroom clearout, it proved harder with the Baggies, they only have a 1m transfer budget, and incurring high wage compensations is a realistic possibility, and anything above a certain amount will be blocked by your board, as I was to find out, when I told David Kemp his time was up. He smiled and sarcastically hinted that it wasn't up to me ultimately. The board blocked his mutual termination because they had no intention of making him half a million quid richer. They even reminded me that I could only have 9 coaches. So I did the next best thing, challenging them to prove to me their ambition, they caved in and agreed to my request to improve training and youth facilities. At least I won one small battle. Bigger ones were on the horizon.

Looking at West Brom's DNA something stood out like a sore thumb, they don't really have a lot of good tacklers in the side, who are young. The U21 team collectively is more inclined to run away from a challenge than stick a foot in, their bravery was that low. They may some decent strikers, but 3 aren't enough, not if you plan to overachieve, I promoted a young boy from the U21s hoping against all hope that this 1.5 star had some potential. His attributes suggested he might. I was probably already deluding the squad with my behavior.

Even after a convincing preseason when we swept 5 sides with 30 goals in aggregate, players started knocking on my door reminding me that they had bigger ambitions, and that I was not to block any transfer move. When Chris Baird came through the door, I told him it was a hypothetical point, moot even. He agreed and went on his merry way. When Youssouf Muluumbu came in and repeated the same request, I figured giving him an identical response would work. It had worked at Sporting and Lisbon, but apparently noone told me that the players there were active social media players. Muluumbu demanded to be allowed to speak to them regardless of how moot I thought it was. His aggression astounded me, and I calmly chalked his name of my squad sheet for future matches. Key player or not, no one challenges the gaffer. I stuck a 15million fee on his cocky head, and stuck him on the store front window. You want out...there you go. You can wait it out, while we play. A 40k wage earner on the sidelines, I wonder how the board will react.

Results would probably be the only solution, and the right ones too. Our preseason form may have been good, but I was noticing one thing. WBA are an average side, defensively they are going to be challenged, playing 4 at the back without cover is a HUGE risk, and I was going to make it even worse if I played counter, or so I thought.

We went out to the training grounds, and I got the players to work on the ppms that were going to be needed in my side. Each defender was made to learn how to mark tight, every right fullback was told to learn how to get forward. My attacking midfielders needed some guidance on how to work the channels and finally those squandering misfits upfront needed to learn how to place their shots. The training plan was set, as I was eager for the side to improve their ball control, it was abysmal. Stopping a ball and seeing it roll for 5 yards isn't ideal, if you plan on doing that intentionally, you need to make sure your body is turned so that you can run onto the ball, my boys were statues after they tried to stop the ball.

So there I am working and mapping out what interesting systems we could deploy, I settle on a 442, a 4411 and another 442 which is a counter attacking tactic. I am such a genius, I had absolutely slept through preseason, hadn't I seen how we sometimes allowed waltzing matildas to play in front of my back four?

I figured that an average side needs to be a lot more counter attacking than my atletico side. The competition in the premiership is not going to be as forgiving as the league in Portugal. So i sit down, look at my 442 and begin making specific role instructions for specific players when they slot into the left fullback position. In my asymmetric system, if I can get him to play a risky direct pass, he could find fleet footed Berahino with a ball behind the opposing backline. That done, I focused on the other fullback and did the same. It was now time to make sure that we LENGTHENED the distance of direct passing, by making more direct, even more direct. Time to launch some heat seekers from the fullbacks, these are usually the best cos if you give em the ppm switch ball to other flank...can you imagine the havoc these can create? We have shown that we aren't the best at defending so I reckon I should just take it to the opposition, so we assemble.

All the preparation work has been done, the side has been trained to follow my lead, and its time to make a trip to the coast to St Mary's, where hopefully the saints feel like helping us cross the rubicon with our first win. Ok maybe it could have been worse, Chelsea. So we set up our 442, and the game starts.

3 minutes in and my left fullback launches his first heat seeking missile and plants the ball behind the backline for Berahino to latch onto, he gleefully accepts the invite and with a wave charges into the box. I leap off the bench ready to smack myself, and then he absolutely scores a field goal, I guess he forgot he was playing football. We continue to make some penetration, but then I notice something, we are absolutely getting ripped through the middle. And true to form, St Mary's erupts as they score Kim Shin-Wook making us pay for missing our best and probably ONLY decent attempt, its the 43rd minute.

During the break I decide to make a 4132 tactic for the first time. Its a direct counter attacking tactic, Southampton are playing a 352 formation, those 3 man at the back are being screened by two wingbacks, but their centre is soft. Its time to try something we haven't done before. We set it up just like we would with the Fullbacks armed with missiles. And we get the central midfielder to make late runs supported by 2 box 2 box midfielders. Upfront the duo are aligned as a false nine and a Deep lying forward. By dropping deep he will encourage the CM to exploit the space. Our pressure in the box pays off as we get a penalty, and then with 5 minutes left on the clock, the mental dashing my frontline do gifts us a free kick which Gardner despatches perfectly to Lescott who swivels and lashes the ball into the top net.

West Brom begin their charge up the table with a glorious 2-1 away win at St Mary's. Now its time for the inevitable collapse, Man City, Sunderland, Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool await.

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Man City come a calling...Manuel my friend, he loves his 442s. And this is one 442 thats dangerous down the flanks, so we decide to fight space with space, but..........issue closing down instructions on their fullbacks, turn wrong foot on their wingers and Mr Aguero. Its a hectic match, they strike the woodwork twice. We don't winning it 2-0!

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Have you ever actually lost a match! :D

In all seriousness, good reading as always. Did you identify that your fullbacks have good passing/vision to take on those "heat seaker" passes, or just taking the chance that they will get it right now and then?

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Have you ever actually lost a match! :D

In all seriousness, good reading as always. Did you identify that your fullbacks have good passing/vision to take on those "heat seaker" passes, or just taking the chance that they will get it right now and then?

I have created customised Player Instructions, so when A is playing in the role he is told to take direct passes and take more risks, when B is playing there then he doesn't do it. I choose them based on passing and decisions. And its really a lottery cos they aren't top players. I don't lose very often, the more you put into the preparation of a game, the more you get out of it. There's a *****load of prep.

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Just read the majority of the thread rashidi1, not quite finished yet but it's a great read :thup:

Just wanted to ask you, while it was in my head, about the cover duty that you give to one of your centre backs. I can't find the part where you mentioned why you did it, but do you feel it's an important part of the system? Going on from that is it something that you use in most of your systems?

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I like the cover role of defenders, cos it sets one defender slightly higher than the other. I did discuss this earlier in the thread, where I talked about lines of cover. In almost every system i play I use a cover/defend combination, unless I am specifically looking at making an attacking tactic that depends heavily on the offside trap

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Our next match pits us against Liverpool. We've just come off a high following an epic 5-4 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Knowing that sides as good as the top 4 in England will never lie down and take ****, we proceed to pay even more attention to Liverpool

Liverpool are setting out in the 3412 formation, which is something I like to play against. This formation is heavily reliant on their wingback making runs, and the presence of Phillipe Coutinho adds greater strain to defending.

I decide immediately that Coutinho's presence will need to be contained, and a basic 442 is going to collapse against them, so I elect to use a 4132 and hit them on the counter.

vliverpooloi.jpg?w=665

Couthino will be marked tight and because so much of their play needs to start from the back we decide to add closing down instructions on their fullbacks.

Our first goal came off some good work closing down Coutinho whose misplaced pass ended up being the start of a counter attack which we scored from

West Brom vs Liverpool

[youtube

After we scored the goal, I figured that our possession was dangerously low, every time we counterattacked we looked like scoring, but I wanted to hold possession more and I changed shouts to do just that. We managed to score our second goal, in what started out as a counterattack, but once it got near the box, short passing kicked in.

We ended the game with low possession numbers, but I didn't care, it was a game we were touted to lose, but a counterattacking direct style of football saw us take all three points.

vliverpool2.jpg?w=665

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I have created customised Player Instructions, so when A is playing in the role he is told to take direct passes and take more risks, when B is playing there then he doesn't do it. I choose them based on passing and decisions. And its really a lottery cos they aren't top players. I don't lose very often, the more you put into the preparation of a game, the more you get out of it. There's a *****load of prep.

Yup fair play, i appreciate you put massive amounts of prep in and that should be rewarded. It just seems.......too rewarding? Is it realistic to be able to beat the AI as regularly and easily as you can with vastly inferior players/squads? It seems like you will likely either win or at least be top 3 with West Brom in season 1?

A good manager should be able to come into a club and have an immediate impact. In the short term, it doesnt feel unreasonable that if you put the best manager in the world in charge of West Brom, they might go from a mid table/bottom half team right up to a top 6 team at a push. We have seen other teams achieve something similar in a single season. But to break into the top 4 and beyond, really should take a couple of years of development and building a team and squad.

Clearly that is hardly your fault though! You put in the prep and have the understanding and get the results, but it feels like a bit of a flaw in the AI that it can be beaten regularly by a "weaker" team?

Anyhow, back on topic, nice descriptions of the Liverpool game and examples of changes at exactly the right times, and reaping the rewards :)

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I have been lucky so far. I usually do well at the start of a season, but once injuries kick in it will be harder. We won't be able to sustain this pace and the players conditioning already looks to be an issue. We took a crazy 4-1 lead against Chelsea then conceded 3 goals and only just beat them. I have expectations of being able to get them to Europe anything more will be a bonus. I love that the AI manager had no imagination and this should always give us an edge. Having said that I think you'v just jinxed me.

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And we bounce back.....

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They are gonna nickname me "lucky" soon

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I expect a backlash in the next game.

We've made some changes to how we play, to make us harder to score against:

1. Narrow is without a doubt a major feature

2. Our fullbacks are told to take risky passes and direct passes, so even if I go short passing, possession orientated, there is always a change of pace caused by direct passing from the back, sometimes it works gloriously sometimes it doesn't, but we are getting more and more goals scored from a move started from our defense, bypassing the midfield altogether. Its becoming a major style.

3. In most games I play a 442, in tougher games i opt to go for a 4132, esp in matches where I am up against AMs or Inside forwards, the fact that my four becomes a five is the reason why. By making us compact and hard to pass through allows us to get some results

Downside: There are games when I am predictable and dependable on too few players, and if my mids are injured or have an off day we are screwed. We have thrown away winning positions at least 4 times this season, conceding goals and at times allowing sides to claw as many as 3 goals back. A lot of this has to do with complacency, mine.

Our goals conceded have primarily come from set pieces. I need more concentration and anticipation.

The best formation that allows the most adaptability is without a doubt the 4132; i have twice in games flipped a 4132 to a 4312, and will now do it a bit more, its very risky but against opposition thats weak...i plan to do a lot more of it. It gives us a lot of variation in attack creating as many as 3 focal points of attack

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Great thread rashidi1, what team instructions do you usually use for the 4-3-1-2? A 4-3-1-2 is my favourite formation but I always struggle to get it going, maybe down to the fact I'm not great tactically. I would like to try play a slow possession game but I don't even know if that's possible to succeed with this formation. If you have any advice that would be much appreciated.

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I will include more information up top about flipping systems, because I essentially flipped the 4132 to a 4312

*edit - updated the thread to including Flipping Systems

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hPQJO2x.jpg?1

There aren't many times in a season, where I go "Holy crap, that worked", but this was one of those moments.

Spurs visited us and elected to play a 4231 which suited me fine since I was playing a 4132, but this time I modified the system slightly. Knowing I was going to take a defensive mentality, we elected to change the role of the wingback to complete wingback with attacking instructions, they maintained their direct passes with risk, we didn't make any changes. My goal was to hit off the counter.

Start of the game we chose these shouts:

More direct passing

Pass into space

Whipped crosses

Push up higher

Narrow

And i was playing a defensive mentality. By pushing up higher I create the effect of making a compressed bank of defenders which makes it really hard to go through them from the centre. By making my wingbacks more attacking, i unleash them for counters, with the pace up front i was hoping for an early break. It came from a ball from my left wingback to my striker who was making a beeline to the box, he was brought down, PENALTY. Our second goal came off a corner we got in similar circumstances.

Immediately after that and expecting a backlash, i changed my instructions:

Retain possesion

Work ball into box

Play short passing

The whole team now start ticking the ball around, my wingbacks still make their foraging runs, but we charge only when its safe to do, and we bag two goals from open play, Spurs playing a 4231 are dead and buried. God I love playing against a 4231. Its the second most easiest formation to counter apart from the 424.

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Next match a home game against Chelsea, who are 4th and we are 2nd. Its a match the pundits have made the Blues favourites for. We treat them with respect and make the necessary modifications. They are playing with a 4231 with Ramiries playing as the deeper of the 2 MCs and Azpilliceuta is the fullback with more attacking instructions. This will be an important match as we are still maintaining good momentum heading into the final stretch, if we can get a point off the top 4 then we stand a good chance of finishing in the top four.

Chelsea are a strong team, and we are playing at home, so the goal will be to try and keep possession of the ball, frustrating them and trying to nick something off the counter or from a set piece.

Our TI's are going to be : short passing, work ball into box, stay on feet whipped crosses - Each of these Tis should allow us to maintain possession.

I make some minor changes to my system, and get set my CWB's to support.

Its with OIs that I spend a lot of attention on.

AMC, AML,AMR, STC are all set to Tight marking, and wrong foot

Eden hazard has had hard tackling added to it

Azpillicueta is the attacking fullback, he's being closed down and hard tackled as well

Rammires is hard tackled and closed down as well since he's playing deep and going to win balls by tackling, if he does win a challenge, that split second between winning the ball and passing is when I hope my players close him down.

Azpillicueta has a horrible game and the work on eden hazard reduces his potency, and even though he manages to score one goal, for most of the game his influence is reduced

eyvpHKr.jpg

Eden Hazard fails to make one key pass during the game and Azpillicueta only completes one cross. Hazards crosses are intercepted by our bank of defenders

YWArxvX.jpg

We nick a goal early through some good work from a set piece, off a throw in. And then Chelsea switch to a 424 and make it even easier. I change my OIs this time:

MCL/MCR close down

DL/DR close down

Tight marking on the 4 upfront and wrong foot.

Our Tis change and I include pass into space. The game opens up and it shows as we begin to find open spaces and better shots on goal

VmR1z3Z.jpg?1

Most of Chelsea's shots are wide or interceptedhttp:

7S8ze1m.jpg?1

We manage to turn a defensive system into a possession centric system that is devastating on the counter and rock solid at the back. Thank god for the small little things in the game

M3DwpGt.jpg?1

QrX5YMv.jpg

Something must be very wrong when you get only 8 shots and the opposition keeps straying offside when you are playing DEFENSIVE football

9YfoDtr.jpg

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In an effort to maintain our streak, I have resorted to playing defensive systems with a twist. They are defensive in mentality but they have attacking outlets via the flanks which work wonders. Getting that balance right where your defense springs perfectly takes some work, and having the right players to finish it off. Whats even more surprising is that you can dominate long passages of play. The biggest drawback is always going to be your players conditioning. Arsenal took the lead against us in the COC final, but we came back to win our first piece of silverware.

j0gvF6f.jpg

Still 3 points behind United with less than a third of the season to play. I need a break.

[video=youtube_share;LCwwBb0uSqM]

Who the hell needs attacking systems when defensive systems are so OP? All you need to do is set it up right, you won't win every game, but you will be a hard nut to crack

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Very cool concept with flipping - which has always been in the back of my mind but somehow it doesn't quite want to translate into actual action on my part.

I'm currently using a 4132 Narrow with Inter and flipping it to a 4312 Narrow might actually be a super simple solution to switch around things a bit when needed. My own internal debate was constantly whether the AMC will actually contribute more than an attacking CM from the MC strata would - and on the flip side if that is worth losing the DM - I use a halfback so the WBs can bomb forward.

I should probably give it a try in some games and see if I can exploit some weaknesses perhaps.

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Very cool concept with flipping - which has always been in the back of my mind but somehow it doesn't quite want to translate into actual action on my part.

I'm currently using a 4132 Narrow with Inter and flipping it to a 4312 Narrow might actually be a super simple solution to switch around things a bit when needed. My own internal debate was constantly whether the AMC will actually contribute more than an attacking CM from the MC strata would - and on the flip side if that is worth losing the DM - I use a halfback so the WBs can bomb forward.

I should probably give it a try in some games and see if I can exploit some weaknesses perhaps.

Flipping a tactic is usually about exploiting a weakness, when I see a side playing with a flat back 4 and no DM/HB/DLP I begin looking at their flanks or the middle, the middle usually grabs my interest if they have an attacking MC. It usually tells me that there is a space to exploit. I have yet to come across central defenders played in a cover/defend combination, if its flat I usually start favouring flipping my 4132.

If I see a flank where a defender is attacking that side of the pitch becomes my focal point for attacks too, and thats where I use my asymmetric systems, or I could just hold back one fullback and get the other to make charging runs. Other things I look for before making a decision to flip, include:

Players with low conditioning

Players with low bravery

Players with low nat fitness

There is a very strong possibility I OI them too.

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TACTICAL DEVELOPMENT OF WBA

At the start of the season, supremely confident in my abilities and looking forward to hammering everyone in preseason I decided to try an attacking system in preseason, needless to say each match required me to swap out to a more conservative system - preseason taught me to be humble.

When the season started, we started playing with a control 4132, we managed to eke out some wins over Southampton, even in that game I began a bit adventurous. With Man City being the next side on our dance card, we had to quickly adapt to playing counter attacking football, having only made a 442 asymmetric with Atletico, I opted for the same formation. Luckily for me they were playing a 442 to, we lost out on possession but still won the match. We returned a 4132 in our next game and quickly reverted to a 442 in our next match against Spurs., we stuck with the revised 442 for some time, but realising the potential of a 4132 and its ability to flip into a 4312, I started looking at adaptability,

From that point onwards we modified our 4132 into a defensive system with an attacking variant. In some matches I would opt to go direct, in others i would play it short. The only given were the PIs for my players. Thus far WBA have successfully negotiated most of the matches, we did get knocked out by Everton and their 3 set pieces in the FA Cup, but this served only to focus our energies on the league and the COC final, by mid season we had gone from a counter attacking low possession side to a defensive ball retentive side that sat so deep it had acres of space for its forwards to exploit. The defensive variants have proven to be highly adaptable, especially for a poor side like me.

We have treated the Tis and some of the PIs like a switch, and keep flipping these whenever we need a slightly different thrust, the interesting variation became our "Flipping Strategy" which allowed us to grab 3 points against sides who had zones to exploit. We are 3 home games and 3 away games from lifting the title, the only 2 sides who can stop us now are Arsenal and Everton. If we can negotiate past them, then this will be the first time I have ever won a season playing defensive football!

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Wife's gone to bed, its midnight, I'm exhausted, drained and stressed. I never expected a simulation to have this effect. For weeks now, my preparation work has consisted of drilling down and watching at least five matches of the opposition, different games, each time analysing how they score their goals, and making notes.

Then I'd scribble ideas down on how to maximise each players output in a game, if a side looked like they would patiently build up, I'd focus on how I'd nullify their best passers. If a team were deadly in set pieces, I'd focus on which of my players would take the field. Gone was any thought on player development. We were close, very close, unexpectedly close.

Everton had kicked us out of the FA Cup, 3 corners , 3 goals. They were deadly in set pieces, and in FM thats really hard to counter. There was very little we could do, so I made sure the players with the best anticipation would start the game. We went for height, jumping, marking. This was going to be a brutal contest. If we slipped up, at any time, United would overhaul us. Like us, they had a bad December, but since the turn of the year, the foot was on the pedal. I'm getting a stress headache, the kind that pulsates incessantly, a throbbing pain growing around your temple that threatens to be a an everlasting partner.

The work's done, its 1am.

29 minutes in Atsu scores for Everton off a counter, I can feel the title slipping away, we're playing well, but the Toffees are just better.

We go into the break, and I give my players a tongue lashing, they haven't exactly been working their socks off, we can salvage this.

47 minutes- Coleman has the ball on the right flank, Everton are camping in our half, he has Naismith in the box waiting for a cross, but he's being guarded by Lescott and Olsson. Neither of them will be in the side next season, so I'm hoping they turn in a great performance. Our halfback hustles to Coleman, as he tries to cut in, nicks the ball off him lays it off to our fullback, who sends a heat seeker up field over the entire midfield into the path of Ideye. He holds play up expertly as WBA regroup, 3 passes later, Berhahino pops up late in the box and levels the match.

In what can only be termed a calamity, Howard later fumbles a simple clearance and we nick another. I change our tempo, get my players to play more direct and push them higher up the pitch. 87 minutes in a corner, we score. WBA 3-1Everton. 3 games left 2 points clear at the top.

We grind out a 1-0 win against Leicester playing a 4312 and defending with a 4132 once the goal is scored and then put 3 past Stoke in one of our best displays of defensive football all season long. Our final match an away game against DOOMED Crystal Palace, they are going down if they get at least a point. They need to win. OMG. Why does this have to be our last match.

5am

I decide to take a defensive posture, Palace will come out and attack us and we can try and score off the break

5 mins in they score off a corner

24 mins in we level off a free kick, both sides go into the break tied.

75 mins in we concede a penalty they score. 15 minutes left on the clock, the game turns into a slugfest as both sides throw caution to the wind. We have 4 shots on target, none count,

84 minutes in Rubio scores a beauty from the edge of the box, we throw everything at them, they are hoping to score off the counter, but neither side score. I look over and find out that Manchester United have clobbered Swansea 3-0 to take the title on the last day of the season.

I'm a spent force, I have no clue how my player development has progressed, 5 of my players want to leave the squad, I can think of 6 who need to go, we came close so very close. For the first time since 2001, I have failed to win the title in my debut season. FM15 has won, but only just.

When I took over at WBA, the board had expectations of a respectable finish in the top half, Europa league was one of the options I could have chosen as a target, so its not unreasonable to expect that we had a title charge. If I had done this with the Hoops then I would have just called this a broken game, but it took a lot of sweat to get this far with WBA, flipping tactics, chopping and changing things in game. Was it worth it? Hell ya.

6am. I go to work in an hour.

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Overachievement, thats the only way to describe our first season.

landmarks.jpg?w=665

The side did really well defensively, it was the only way I could do it. We had failed at attacking football in preseason so the only way forward for us was to build from a solid backline, but this backline of Joleon Lescott and Olsson, is an old and slow one.

The only bright light was Cristian Gamboa. He outplayed Andre Wisdom for the right back slot towards the latter half of the season, his knack for picking out the right time to go forward was critical. He may not have a great pass but his crossing was impeccable.

gamboa.jpg?w=665

Chris Brunt may not be the fastest out of the pack, but this player had an eye for the killer pass. He was instrumental towards the end of the season ,and was the prime reason why James Morrison hardly

ever got a game in. His tackling also meant that he could play in an advanced midfielder role with threat. James Morrison became demanding game time, failing which, a transfer was the only choice.

Saido Berahino became a huge thorn up my butt, he may have managed to score 22 goals from 38 appearances, and been instrumental in our surprise title challenge, but his attitude was appalling. If I rested him for a game, he'd start talking about joining a bigger club. In fact we kept getting requests from him throughout the season for a move away to Manchester City. It wasn't a hard choice to make. In quite a few games he showed a complete disdain for working as a team member electing to shoot when it was better to pass. When City offered we accepted.

berahino.jpg?w=665

In fact the biggest challenge WBA had was depth, by the time we hit mid season, we began dropping points. The season wasn't hard, in fact the title was won from 82 points. Only 2 clubs had 80+ points, the rest languished, this was an easy season to overachieve, since most of the competition had apparently stepped aside.

With the sale of Berahino and Morrison, we went out to the transfer market. We had some serious gaps to fill up. The side needed 2 defenders, 2 midfielders, preferably a fullback, a keeper and at least 3 more strikers. And with Craig Dawson and Callum Mcmanaman both requesting transfers, we need to start looking at depth with a focus to development.

transfers.jpg?w=665

Its a big list of players, and maybe we've over extended ourselves, but some of these are loan signings and others are young enough to be in the U21s. This will be a new season, and our expectations are humble, with such a drastic change in the squad. I'd be happy if we qualified for Europe, I doubt I have the energy to do another charge up the table. The first 10 games as usual will be the key, if we are still there by December, the title charge is on.

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Season 2

This season we are going to do things differently. I just avoided a player mutiny, it was unbelievable, as much as half the side that got us into Europe are now gone.

Berahino and Ideye Brown just wanted to play for bigger teams, Morrison was unhappy at not starting every game. Claudio Yacob had his eye set on either United, City or Liverpool. So once the moment came, they were offloaded at a total profit of 52million. I was now left with amongst others:

Joleon Lescott - 33 years old

Olsson - 32 years old

Both of them central defenders with a combined pace of 15. We now had no strikers, slow defenders. So we were off to the market, my scouts had done a pretty good job during the offseason, so we brought in 1, players. 4 players on loan one with a option to buy, 3 defenders, 3 strikers, 1 midfielder and 2 keepers. God help us. Our first 4 friendly games 1 win, and 3 resounding defeats.

We had a champions league team to register and we have more players now, but hard choices needed to be made, obviously Lescott and Olsson were off the list. I submit the list without their names, and we get a player mutiny, a team meeting later and after making the peace, I turn around and offer Lescott to Liverpool, who buy him up for some strange reason. Olsson however is hardly attracting any interest.

Team Cohesion will be an issue so we will spend some time on match preparation, more than usual.

Other things are however gonna be a lot different. We will take an easier approach, a simpler one. This time I will just base whatever tactics on what I face. I won't bother with research and have fired my ass man, he was useless, and his OI advice was often wrong. We've brought in a better AssMan and he's gotten all his OI nearly perfect, there are some slight changes, but we are going to take a leisurely approach.

Tactically we will maintain out 442, 4132 and 4312 system. Its time to see how this completely different team look. One of my defenders is actually the former liverpool player Danny Wilson brought in for a 1m fee. First touch in this group is a lot better than the last most of the squad sans 3 are > 12, which is good. Composure is >10 for the whole team.

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Well done on getting so close to the title with West Brom, that still blows my mind.

This however is something I want to ask:

Then I'd scribble ideas down on how to maximise each players output in a game, if a side looked like they would patiently build up, I'd focus on how I'd nullify their best passers. If a team were deadly in set pieces, I'd focus on which of my players would take the field.

Do you think you could get similar results from just looking a teams 'team report', manager style and goals scored etc? Instead of actually watching their matches, which to me feels like excessive reseach.

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Well done on getting so close to the title with West Brom, that still blows my mind.

This however is something I want to ask:

Do you think you could get similar results from just looking a teams 'team report', manager style and goals scored etc? Instead of actually watching their matches, which to me feels like excessive reseach.

Its possible, though I still like to find out how these team score their goals, honestly the AI is so easy to beat now, it hardly makes a difference, the fact that I have slapped the AI manager around in my first season, suggests that it suffers from a chronic lack of imagination when constructing tactics.

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Hmm when I get a fever, I get some clarity. Decided to return to basics. Keep things simple,

We made some changes to the squad, out with the old and in with the new. Priority is first touch and composure. Players with those attributes start games. I have been flipping systems seeking to overpower the AI. We will stop that and return to some basic formations. The 442 or the 4132, i still like the 4312, but will probably do that next season when I start playing a defensive 4231.

For now, we will play these systems and use players specific for that. The goal of the systems:

Fullbacks are the priority, they need to get into good positions and get us some width, we will be playing narrow so short passing at high tempo should see us move the ball a fair bit. The goal is to sustain the start with high possession systems. Next game our third match in the ECL against Marseille, so far we have 4 points from the first 2 games. I will post full details of the settled 442 soon.

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What a magificant thread. I would be willing to pay money for cheat sheet just to absorb all the info in here. Alternatively rashidi are you available to be my assistant m as my current in game one is rubbish

After spending some time reading this thread i started a game with West Ham. Settled on a system 41221, dabbled with PIs and TIs and im happy to say im enjoying the game again. Still feel im not making the most of PIs but its a start. After 37 game im currently in 6th due to goal difference but have spent the majority of the season in top 4 places.

I realise this is no where near the achievements achieved in this thread but its a start. thank you for your efforts sir

Have to admit im scared to try a new formation in case this was a fluke season

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What a magificant thread. I would be willing to pay money for cheat sheet just to absorb all the info in here. Alternatively rashidi are you available to be my assistant m as my current in game one is rubbish

After spending some time reading this thread i started a game with West Ham. Settled on a system 41221, dabbled with PIs and TIs and im happy to say im enjoying the game again. Still feel im not making the most of PIs but its a start. After 37 game im currently in 6th due to goal difference but have spent the majority of the season in top 4 places.

I realise this is no where near the achievements achieved in this thread but its a start. thank you for your efforts sir

Have to admit im scared to try a new formation in case this was a fluke season

It isn't a fluke, PIs allow you to customise your systems. Its a lot better than fiddling around with Tis in a game. Just keep it simple. The most annoying phase is the start, once you get past that, its easy street.

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I just updated this thread with an explanation on how to create two unique shouts: Bypass Midfield and High Block. Its up top..in the reserved section.

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