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Bust the Net - Football Manager Tactics


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TURNING A SEASON AROUND

My biggest character flaw is ego. I have too much of it. And when things are going well, I assume I am capable of anything, this happens regularly with Football Manager. There I am on a massive 30 match unbeaten run, sitting pretty on top of the premiership, and its only our second season. WBA surprising the best and taunting the rest. Swelling with pride is usually the first sign that I should take a breather, but no its at this point of a season that I become cocky.

Confident in my abilities, I decided to stop being methodical, instead I became experimental, weaving in formations without a thought. A 3412, in one game, then a 4411 in another followed by a 451, so confident was I that I didn't even bother saving any of the systems I had begun with. And then a question popped up on the forums, and someone needed help with a system. I cobbled a system up and we won 3-1, and then the unthinkable happened.

I went into a match with Norwich playing a 451, a match we were expected to dominate, resulted only in a 1-0 scoreline. I wasn't paying attention to the basics, we managed to win, but we didn't make one clear cut chance throughout the game. They were playing a defensive 4141 with a DM, and I wrote this match off as a great display by the Canaries.

Next match, Southampton, we get a penalty in the first minute, and my overconfidence has no bounds. I fail to see the writing on the wall, they equalise and we make only 1 CCC in that game. We lose our next game against Liverpool in the FA, no cccs again. Still I preserve, after all, I believe I have some god given right to win every game. And then it all comes cascading down on me...

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This reminds me of the preseason we had, twas a bad one but we got things sorted.

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We now have 7 games to turn the ship around and hope that we can still do something

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Its going to be hard, morales shot, but we have a plan:

1. Stick to the system: No more mucking about. This squad isn't the best, optimising a squad like that via Player Instructions is vital. So we will be sticking to our guns with our 4132, and going to a 4312 if we need to. I won't be playing a 442, 451, 3421 and any other exotic freaking number.

2. Player rotation to keep the right guys in shape for the right games. I had this notion in my head about our supremacy, and didn't give a thought to who should be playing, frequently just accepting the AssMans recommendation when I know better. Always think about your player attributes when you want to choose a role.

3. I have an idea for a 433 formation that I want to play, but will only do it next season.

In my cockiness I had forgotten to save my settings of my 4132, so the system will be rebuilt from ground up, the set piece instructions have all withered away and will have to take root again. The fundamentals we started the season with will be adhered to:

  • Defensive Football
  • High Block
  • Flying fullbacks
  • Late runs

  • MC pivot

Our 4132 system was simple and elegant, it features the use of a high block strategy by our frontmen, who are supported by flying fullbacks, who are held back when we face a 4231. When facing a 4231 we nullify the opposite MCs influence by our MC pivot which revolves around a DLP and one midfielder on support. The late runs by the MCs - vital to how we get goals so the right players must be playing.

Wish me luck

edit...thank you liverpool...they are losing the plot

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Crikey repeat of last season, it all comes down to the final match! If we win the title is ours, faithful to my 4132 to the end. Some slight changes were made, I will post up an update once i play this last game in a while...for now..the pregnant wife is demanding my attention.

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WIth 7 matches to go, we were 2 points behind Liverpool. The title was theirs to lose, for us, every match was a cup final. To make things even more challenging we had to negotiate an unexpectedly successful European Champions League campaign.

finalghost.jpg

I had fiddled a bit too much with my system, and things had to be done. We had gone from leading the league to being left behind by Liverpool. We were now 2 points behind the leaders, and there were 7 games left.

So we returned to faithfully following my 4132 system, no more experiments.

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Tottenham by far the hardest of the lot, and then came Monaco and the Champions league, and then time to get all our credentials tested, the league leaders were out to test our credentials, what followed next almost threw me off onto another experimental streak.

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Our desire for Champions League success, driving me forward. We started doing some small things with the 4132, only changing our wingbacks instructions in some games. Whenever we went defensive, they were told to play short passes and take less risks. When a chance to attack opened up, we'd unleash them. The goal against

Monaco was actually scored when we switched over to control and pushed up higher.

Across the pond my attention was firmly fixed on Liverpool, hoping they would slip up.

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And then the unbelievable happened, we lost out last season on the final stretch, throwing away a solid position...and this time Liverpool did us a huge favour.

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I went to my 4132, made sure everything was correct, every person playing in the right position, every set piece had each and every person ticked and ready, a 5 nil demolition of Sunderland and a 3-1 dismantling of Chelsea to send us through to the ECL final. 2 games in hand and we could afford to rest our team for the Chelsea league game. We could now win the title against WEST HAM at HOME!

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Our final game a chance to showcase how we'd grown...how a defensive system dismantled the best in England. Nothing showed this more than our final game. 20 mins 71% possession.

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We had used the 4132 in all its glory to bring the title home.

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The system employed a CM(S) instead of a Box to Box midfielder, something I had been using at the start of the season. The subtle difference allowed him to be slightly more forward than the other MC. An accidental discovery against Spurs encouraged me to get the central midfielder a more aggressive closing down set up. This unleashed him into opposing sides who were trying to develop play from midfield. Any side that played the ball back between the zone of an MC and a DMC were left hopelessly exposed by his aggression.

The wingbacks became my switch and my barometer. Any game where they spent more time defending and less time attacking would get me worried. So against some of the better sides they would be told to support instead of attack, and they were also told to be less adventurous with their passing. We had some fantastic goals this season, nothing screamed out at me more than this peach of an assist.

We had some great goals from deep, and we had some outstanding performances and Liverpool well all we can say is thank you.

And I was going to end me post here, but we still had a Champions League final against Real Madrid, I am resigned to losing, but decide to follow the strategy we have been using all season long, which is to hold my boys back against the sides who have dangerous flank attacks. It was a match to remember and a perfect way to summarise our season! WEST BROM CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!!!!

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You

Wanna hear something crazy the MOM Luke Garbett was a nobody...he came to us at the start of the season without a club begging for a chance, we were short on cover and decided he could cover for our regular left back, instead he took the bull by the horns. Danny Wilson was at Hearts last season, we brought him in for a paltry 1million. Basically the two stars cost me 1million...what a return!

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Thanks Kung

Season 3

Its always a great time to plan. There are some simple strategies I follow:

1. Since my system is solid, and I know I usually score goals cause the service delivery is so good, I am not shy about selling my PFA Young Player of the Year winners. I do this ALL the time. I usually buy a player who I know is suited to the role of a TQ and he's usually an AMC, I retrain him to be a striker, naturally he must have the attributes for it. And bang, he usually and almost always turns into a Suarez. This year was no different. We had purchased a player called Leo Baptistao early last season, the only reason I actually bought him straight up was silly: I loved his name. His attributes were good too. During the course of the season he bagged 22 goals and 18 assists playing as my false 9. He cost me 6m. We finish the season, and I get bids from Inter and Man City. The boy wants to go, so theres no real point holding onto him. We sell him for 42m. Using that money...

2. We focus in on players who are no more than 18 years old. We go into the market looking for at least 4 players. There is a rule in Champs league which deems that you need to have a certain number of players trained in the clubs system for 3 years i think. When WBA first played in the Champs league, which was this year, we couldn't fulfil that requirement and had to leave 3 slots open. This season I expect the same thing to happen again. So we absolutely need to find them.

3. WBA are a small club, so their cash pile needs to grow. By my calculations I need it to grow by 50m a season, thats clean profit. So that we can expand the stadium, facilities as quickly as possible so players deem us a valid proposition to stay at for "big club" status.

4. Expand the coaching staff, and training facilities. In tandem with your success, these need to go up as well. Scouting investment has to be increased so we get the best young players I can land. This will allow me to sell players for the next few seasons.

Our road to the champs league was LUCKY. We managed to sneak into the finals and then get the better of Real Madrid in what was a ding dong battle, winning it deem in extra time with a set piece.

Our goal this season will be to consolidate and we will be trying out a new system as well. We may go strikerless.

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Is it possible to write down the shouts you use in game to change the influence of the games? for example, standard shouts, shouts to add if you want counter, shouts to use to park the bus? also i wonder if you change mentality in game? for example if ure under pressure adngett ing closed down ,what do you do then?

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Honestly all this is contextual, my shouts depends on the match and what happens. If I find that I am defending more and I need to create more chances, but my possession seems decent, then I will just pass into space, work ball, play from defense and high tempo

If I am defending and not having much luck with possession, I will retain possession, work ball , short passing, play from defense and high tempo

If I am attacking and can't seem to find a way through and have a lot of possession, direct passing, pass into space, work ball, play from defense and high tempo

If I am attacking and have low possession, retain, short passing, work ball, play from defense, high tempo

As you can see this all varies from situation to situation.

Retain Possession + short passing, makes you pass even shorter, high tempo, makes it more likely players will do more movement off the ball, and this could and sometimes lead to fast one touch passing, amongst players who aren't holding up and looking for ttb.

Direct passing and pass into space, allows you to play ball behind lines and against sides who are attacking you. Its especially helpful if you are in your own half for most of the time. Not good to use if you are already struggling for possession.

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This is an excellent read , i am having a lot of fun with this game at the moment.

My last three games have been positive with Peterborough going from L1 to Prem, Benfica scoring 300+ goals in 80 games in 2 seasons. Ipswich from champ to Prem in two seasons. Now trying to build a team that can cope with the technique and pace of the prem in which i have failed miserably with my Peterborough game. I have found it is key to look at your current teams strength and not what you may have done on another game which from previous versions is a massive plus for me. Gives the game more of a dynamic to it.

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Great thread, nice work!

I have one question, in post #9 where you discuss the attributes you look for when discussing your WBA 4-1-3-2.

For the CWBs you mention attacking attributes as your key ones which makes sense but your secondary defensive ones you don't include positioning. Now I'm a bit confused as to what defensive actions and positions need a good positioning stat and I always had the idea in my head that FB and CWB role would need this. So would you ever bother about this stat for FBs? Or is it needed just for more static defensive roles like DC and Anchorman? Or is it useful for more closing down roles to position well to cut off and intercept passes?

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Great thread, nice work!

I have one question, in post #9 where you discuss the attributes you look for when discussing your WBA 4-1-3-2.

For the CWBs you mention attacking attributes as your key ones which makes sense but your secondary defensive ones you don't include positioning. Now I'm a bit confused as to what defensive actions and positions need a good positioning stat and I always had the idea in my head that FB and CWB role would need this. So would you ever bother about this stat for FBs? Or is it needed just for more static defensive roles like DC and Anchorman? Or is it useful for more closing down roles to position well to cut off and intercept passes?

TBH I have never even bothered looking at positioning for FB's. I am keen on anticipation and concentration instead even for central defenders. Keepers having good positioning is important imho. I don't even use that stat for dmc, and anchormen. Workrate, stamina is fantastic for dmc and anchormen, and with anticipation and concentration they get better.

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This is an great post/job. I have a question, what indications have the FB, CWB, DF and CM or BWM, because i'm not reach the Simeone's style

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This is an great post/job. I have a question, what indications have the FB, CWB, DF and CM or BWM, because i'm not reach the Simeone's style

Sorry, are you asking me for detailed Player Instructions?

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I've wanted to avoid listing out details about tactics that I've been using, cause it inevitably leads to requests for detailed information, and then more requests on vetting other peoples selections, but this is for my own personal log more than anything else. One feature I plan to request from SI is a log that lists out how your team has done with specific systems you've created. At present there isn't anything detailed like that, and it would be nice to have. At least it gives you a view on how your systems have fared.

I avoid detailed discussions of tactics till a final patch is released, and by now we should be expecting to see some stability in the game and its always a good time to reflect on whats still working.

As a manager I've played Barcelona, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, Wolves, Sporting Lisbon and West Bromwich Albion. With WBA being my latest team, the tactics I've listed have really only been tested there. I don't plan on firing up another save to do detailed tests as these are time consuming and they make FM feel more like a job than anything else, it was the prime reason why I stopped playing when 12 was released. Whilst my participation was limited,

I just didn't have the time to do blogs and detailed posts. Things have changed, I have a new wife who won't be citing FM in another divorce case, or so I am hoping. Its still early days.

West Brom are a side that's stuck in that zone between teasing with Europe and flirting with relegation. They aren't bad enough to be chucked into the Championship, but they aren't good enough to secure a champs league spot with ease. So managing them, required some defensive thinking, and that's how my systems there began. This led me to the unique revelation that defensive systems in FM are now too good to pass up, even for top sides. The players come back too well into defensive shapes.

4132 - Mamba

. ry4132.jpg

The 4132, and my fetish for fullbacks begins.

I initially began with this system in Sporting Lisbon, in a league where we were one of the top sides, it wasn't a really hard system. Defensive in nature featuring a halfback its prime creative inputs came from the attacking fullbacks and the central attacking midfielder. I opted for TQ and a F9 combination here because the TQ does drop a lot deeper than the F9 and can still play a defensive role, even though the descriptor says otherwise. The only downside to picking this up was his failure to tackle hard, and this proved to be a game breaker with inferior sides. When I went over to WBA, the system changed.

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In our first season, I opted for a DLF instead of a TQ, the goal was simple, I needed him to do a lot of hard tackling, my system was based on winning the ball, and I had a single minded purpose of breaking play up in the opponents third. And, getting the DLF involved like that helped. The only downside to this was the absolute absence of any closing down, unless we were in the opponents final third.

This led to some major chances to the system: we increased closing down from the central mc and from the front two: close down much more. We also opted to go the direct route from the back, whilst the Sporting system had EVERYONE pass short, the one WBA played was a lot different : we created the "bypass midfield" game, where I got the fullbacks to play direct and take more risks. With the DLF and the F9 now closer to the midfield, this allowed us to ping balls directly via the flanks to those 2, creating a lot of chances. We had matches where we only had 5 shots on goal, but we would almost always score on the counter. It became a huge feature of WBA' system.

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In our third season, I made some more changes, largely due to personnel loss/gain. This time around, we are trying to increase the potency of the 4132 whilst maintaining some defensive stability. Its seen some changes: The left sided midfielder is now no longer a BBM, instead he's now a central midfielder on support. Its a subtle change, but it gives me a slightly more forward MC, plus access to more Player Instructions.

At the back we still maintain the CWB combo, however this combo has now got personalised instructions, only players who can play the direct pass are allowed to play those heat seeker missiles. The whole goal now is to play defensive football, but its possession based and to a large part a more resilient system. When we are faced with a challenging flank attack, I tend to hold my CWBs back and give them more defensive instructions.

The inherent risks of the system remains, it plays well against any system deploying a 3 man backline and a 442, but its biggest challenge comes when its faced with a 4231 or a deep 4231. Both systems require me to tight mark the AMC, and force him back. The two MCs can't be allowed into the game, so they need to be hard tackled out and we need to nullify the passing of the back four by having them closed down for the entirety of the game. Its hard, and it forces us out of our defensive shell, forcing us to play higher up the pitch. Its the one system you need to pay attention to. Failure to shut out the AMC will lead to a poor result.

The strengths of this system lie in the fullbacks. If you don't have players with good pace, acceleration and crossing. Then this system will struggle. My fullbacks are the second most important group of assists. The first is actually the two strike pair, the F9 usually gets the most assists in the team. So you absolutely need to get the chemistry right, when you do, you will fall in love with the flying backs.

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4312 - Samba

Another system which we played with regularly was the 4312, its a lot more offensive, and I am actually waiting for my 3 central midfielders to get a lot better attribute-wise before using this regularly. This is a system I plan to be using once my side gets a lot better. The whole goal is to score more. I feel confident that this system will see me pop 100+ goals a season easily.

It features a flank attack, with width provided by the 2 wingbacks, who have on occasion been switched back to FB. Midfield is the primary weakness of this formation, because of the gap between MC and Defense, it requires a high degree of concentration, work rate and anticipation to get things right. We usually play this system during our cup runs, and when I find teams locking up defensively. It will reduce your possession count, but it ups the shots count. The main attacking pivot is the DLP who plays alongside a defensive minded side midfielder. The reason is obvious enough: the flying wingback. Its a system thats worked, and will be the system we will be using soon.

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41221 - Defiant

This was Sportings first system, in fact it was the source of our strikerless system, and its one of the systems I deploy when I feel like having fun. In one crazy league match, it scored 5 goals in its first 5 shots. We were 5 nil up inside 8 minutes. There is a lot of movement in this system, featuring 2 play makers, one deep and one on the left flank.

Its another defensive system, but it plays wide and has a lot of hard running in it. The F9 is critical to this system. If he's on song he will bring in the RD and IF , and they will score loads. Another great assist generator is the RD on the left flank. Its a system thats served us well, and it has a lot of sentimental value.

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442 - DIEGO

Now this was the Atletico system we created, and WBA have also used this system, with some slight changes. The Atletico system generated a higher possession percentage, we changed that by getting the back line to go a bit more direct, and the possession % dropped. However, for WBA I brought the possession numbers back by getting them to play short. The whole goal was got get chances to come from CM(A) and from WM(A). with the CWB also contributing a fair bit, thus replicating how Atletico does it.

This is still one of my favorite systems. One funny thing, WBA are now fluid in 4 tactics ;-), I am wondering if I can get that number up a lot more.

COMMON THEMES IN ALL SYSTEMS

Flying fullbacks -

To get these done right, you don't need anything fancy, just make sure they have space to run. For more defensive counter attacking systems, I get them to do direct passing with more risks. If I want to be a bit more aggressive, I set them to hard tackling, but since patch 15.3, I have opted to use OI for this because of the higher incidence of cards

High Block

I do a high block for all systems, in every system where there is either an AM or strike pair, they are set to max closing down and hard tackling. So if I am playing with an MC(A) he gets close down max, along with any strike pair regardless of duty.

As far as shouts are concerned these are situational

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Interesting as usual bud, I recently built a 4-4-2 with AF-DF upfront, both set to close down max, I thought about the hard tackling thing but I was a bit worried by injuries, I'd like to know your own experience with that.

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Do not fear injuries. Hard tackling works quite well even with strikers with poor tackling ability (my both strikers are on max. closing down, hard tackling, normal mentality (FM11)) The purpose is to stop the opposition as soon as possible. My strikers hardly win the ball due to their poor tackling, but they commit a lot of fouls, tactical fouls which help my team in stopping the opposition (preferably in their own half) and thus giving me more time to form a solid defensive block. In my experience strikers suffer much more injuries when they face hard tackling defenders than when they are on hard tackling themselves :).

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Do not fear injuries. Hard tackling works quite well even with strikers with poor tackling ability (my both strikers are on max. closing down, hard tackling, normal mentality (FM11)) The purpose is to stop the opposition as soon as possible. My strikers hardly win the ball due to their poor tackling, but they commit a lot of fouls, tactical fouls which help my team in stopping the opposition (preferably in their own half) and thus giving me more time to form a solid defensive block. In my experience strikers suffer much more injuries when they face hard tackling defenders than when they are on hard tackling themselves :).

Thanks, I'll try that.

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Interesting as usual bud, I recently built a 4-4-2 with AF-DF upfront, both set to close down max, I thought about the hard tackling thing but I was a bit worried by injuries, I'd like to know your own experience with that.

Injuries what injuries? The only thing i worry about is too much aggression. Players who have too high aggression are the ones I worry about, they may pick up yellows. Conditioning is important if you want to play like that, natural fitness is something you really need from your players otherwise you may run into jadedness

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Seen so many posts lately, that suggest people are still confused. One of the most important things in FM is understanding spatial responsibilities. And people spend far too much time still trying to think in terms of sliders. SI made the tactical creator for a reason, to make things easier, and if people can't come to grips with it, its just going to make the whole process more frustrating.

Control of space is vital in football. Over the weekend, Brendan Rodger's took his side to the Liberty Stadium, having been playing a 3412, they found themselves struggling to control midfield in the first half of the game. Swansea, had gripped the midfield tight in the first half forcing Liverpool to swap to a different system with Gerrard inserted back into his deep playmaker role. They regained control of midfield and exerted themselves on the game, increasing their shots on target count.

FM isn't anything different, sometimes you need to change systems. I have done this so many times I've lost count. If I lose control of midfield, I will always look to reasons why, and most times it may just be a simple tweak of roles or it could be a complete tactical overhaul. But, what do you do when? To understand this, you need to understand spatial control.

Roles

Players have basically 3 roles in a game, defend, support and attack. Each affects their starting point from where they defend. This is the starting point for every system. from here you need to factor in attributes, to understand why players don't drop back or support. Lets take a simple example to begin with.

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This is a simple illustration of the fullback role. What I cover here, can be applied to all positions on the tactical grid, which is a great tool to understand space. The fullback position has 4 different roles: Fullback, Wingback, Complete Wingback and Inverted Wingback. Each plays different, but here I just want to focus on defending.

The fullback has the deepest starting point for defending and the complete wingback has the highest point on the grid, By choosing a fullback with a defend role, you are effectively telling him to defend from as close to the defensive line as possible. The complete wingback with an attacking role defends from further up. This effectively grants space to be exploited or limits it.

During the course of any game, you may find yourself defending against Wingers or Inside forwards. And if these players have the speed you are going to find it hard to defend if they get behind you. If there are times such as these you may find its better to drop their role. However, dropping their role also leaves you with another problem, it creates more space between them and midfield, forcing them to either pass back to the middle or hoof it up. How then do you solve this issue?

Going back to Brendan Rodger's, he opted to have 2 holding midfielders in his 3412 system. This effectively allowed his wingbacks more latitude to bomb down the wings.

While some people on the forums may argue that one only needs one holding midfielder. I disagree, There is no hard and fast rule. What one needs to do instead is understand how they want to play and what kind of players they have. If you want to use 2 explosive wingbacks you need 2 anchors. Even if you employ one anchor in midfield he still needs someone close by to lay off the ball to if the wingback is out of position. In any system that employs dual wingbacks or attacking fullbacks, you absolutely need 2 players who can fulfil the anchor role. The anchor role can come in many forms, the more popular one is the BBM, you can also use the BWM on support or on defend.

Spatial Control

Control of space happens first from the positions that you have chosen to use. The second thing we need to address is attributes. Just because you stick a dot in a holding role, doesn't mean he will always assist. This is where teamwork and anticipation come in. The teamwork attribute is vital if you are running any system where you expect a lot of support roles to succeed. Teamwork affects whether a player will drop down to assist another player. So if a fullback is defending and he needs support, a player with high teamwork will be unselfish and sacrifice aspects of his role to assist another. Anticipation then makes it better.

That covers defending, what about attacking? Here you need to pay attention to the attribute workrate. If you have a system with a lot of OTB running, and you are playing short to direct style of football, whether or not your players move up to assist is a function of workrate. The higher the work rate the higher the likelihood of them assisting.

Of course there are other attributes at play here, like pace, acceleration, vision, and decisions as well, work rate however is the prime attribute.

Putting it all together

Taken together, these concepts affect your with ball and without ball situations. When I am playing a really tough side like Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City I opt for systems that optimise control of space. I forgo anything which uses AMs unless I plan to camp in their half. Thus far, I am not entirely comfortable with my WBA side to do that. So I have gone for a more Rodgersesque system, which relies on workrate and teamwork to play a lot more defensively. For a while I was using a 4312 system that employed one DLP and one BWM (S) and another CM(A), but as the season wore on I realised that my wingbacks whilst glorious in their attacking flow, were frequently short-changing me in defense - we were conceding a goal nearly every game.This necessitated a slight change to my system. I experimented with a BWM(D) DLP BWM(D) combo in midfield and discovered it looked fantastic in defense, but it wasn't so solid in attack frequently leaving only the fullbacks and the 3 upfront. When I changed the BWM to support, things changed. We suddenly began not only shutting them down, but also leaving them clutching at air when they tried to get the ball back.

Spatially I had made the mistake of relying entirely on one fullback on one side of the pitch to do all the defending on that side, but once he got support from a BWM(S) things changed.

This would not have been possible with a side with low teamwork.

Shouts

They have the ability to strengthen or completely displace your spatial control. One needs to understand what the shouts do and once you are comfortable with them, don't go messing with them unless you know what effect they are going to have. Lets begin with a combo:

  • Retain Possession
  • Short passing
  • Play out of defense

These shouts make your passing super short, if you combine them with tempo you get lot of zippy passing, if you add the shout: "pass into space" thats when problems can start. Whilst the combination affects your possession, pass into space, increases the through balls your players will try to find space behind the defensive line. If you want to use this shout, you need to make sure you have players with speed and off the ball running. Furthermore having the ppm " trying to beat offside trap", "one two passing" will only increase the likelihood of them being played. Workrate however defines if this is successful, If you expect the "pass into space" shout to work without high workrate on the targetted players then you are screwed. If your players have poor passing and decisions you are screwed. Knowing whether your players can actually execute this combo is important. Furthermore, playing against a defensive side who are camping could see you being hit on the counter if you fail to find space, so you need to be able to stretch a camping defense to make this work, which is why i love using fullbacks for width.

Overlapping Play and Side Passes

Now we come to a combination of shouts I have seen quite a few people using. Personally I do use them but one needs to know what they do.

The overlapping play shout, reduces the amount of runs that are being made by your central players and increases those on the flanks. This allows them to overlap. There is one important consideration: Spatial Awareness. If there are 2 players occupying the same space, overlapping won't happen, or if it does, it happens for a reason. Assume you have a winger on attack and a fullback on attack and you choose overlapping play. Both players are going to make a beeline for the flanks. In cases like this, you can opt for a ppm on the winger for cut inside or a PI for the fullback to cut inside. This way you increase the variety of movement.

Work ball into box has changed. It used to only affect long shots, decreasing them when you elected for this shout. Now it also reduces crossing as well. This is important to bear in mind, Whilst you may find players overlapping, you may also see players holding the ball up looking for a side pass, since you elected for this shout. This is when I set up "whipped crosses" which happen to be a low pass that's drilled across the face of the goal. You can still use the shouts in combination : overlapping and work ball into box, but you need to know how they interact.

Passing Control

The tempo shout is another important one to understand. It not only increases the rate your passes move on the pitch, it also affects the directness of your passes and the off the ball movement of your players. If your teamwork, otb, pace, stamina, natural fitness attributes are low, then expect injuries low conditioning and gaps. I love the tempo shout, I use it a lot, but I also have a strong bench strategy, and, this is one shout I treat like a gas pedal in a game. This is my personal interpretation, at least thats how I see it, others may disagree, and I could be wrong. In my head, I see tempo and directness of my game as an inter-related entity, and thats how I treat my game. The use of tempo is something I am also vary of, since it can lead me to have players sidelined on the physio table if its abused.

Shape shouts are important to grasp as these affect your spatial positioning on the pitch. The width shout narrows your width, but its not a defensive shout per se, It can be an attacking shout, since your players are packed together making them easier to find with short passes. The players who go wide will be the ones dictated by their roles, such as complete wingbacks. Going narrow does affect your defending in midfield if you playing with a narrow shape. It effectively increases the ground that your midfielders need to cover, and, this could leave flanks open. If you are using this shout and find that balls are moving too easily down the flanks, you need to first look at whether their teamwork is low, and then you may need to consider changing a role in midfield to make it a better screen for your defense, like i did in my earlier 4312 example.

Shape Control

Pushing up the defensive line or dropping deeper is not one of my favourite shouts, I tend to like how my players are spread out, but if i am forced into using this shout, I am keenly aware of how it affects my defending. Pushing up a defensive line decreases the distance between midfield and defense, but increases the gap between defense and your goal. So if you are using a defensive/ counter system and you push up your defensive line you are flattening your defense, While it can make an impenetrable wall, its also dangerous, cos a pass into space behind your defensive line can leave you exposed. At times like these my central defenders have a cover/defend duty combination creating one more line of cover, and my keeper goes sweeper. This increases a lot of risk, but if managed well it can be a good defense, but probably the hardest to master.

I have avoided talking about the other shouts cos I hardly ever use them I have never used the exploit flank shout, I absolutely hate any shout which goes long passing, it may be useful if you are using a deep 4231, and I probably would use it if I had such a system, but using it requires you to have the right players for it..good passers, and good receivers. Its like playing a quarterback and looking for a wide receiver with a Hail Mary.

How many shouts do I use? 5 atm

Affecting the AI's Spatial Control can be done via Opposition Instructions, and your own shape, one thing though: Hard tackling can displace your shape, cos your players will elect to slide in when they should be staying up. Sometimes its better to only pick a few critical players to hard tackle, tight mark. If a player loves to cut inside, you may find that work ball onto other foot, may suit him more, so you could end up gifting him a run, so know your targets before you OI them.

There are other posts on this blog which cover aspects of spatial control, a lot of what I wrote about in FM12 is still relevant in FM15, especially when it covers aspects of control green grass, and I do hope this post has helped.

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To reiterate my point about spatial control. This season we have been playing with a 4312, which i posted up earlier in this thread. It was a nice system, full of goals....both ways.

6Bmlr4D.jpg

While we scored bags it was harder to keep a clean sheet, I was turning into Kevin Keegan, not something I wanted to see, I was more happy being Pep. So we needed to make a fundamental change to our system. So midway through the season I changed my tactic, we're still using a 4312, but this time I considered the need for better control of space. We keep our shouts to a minimum, but I make sure the right players are in the right spots, there is a slight change to roles and this proves that even if you are midway through a season, changes to a system do not drastically shift the balance of power to the AI. Since our changes sides are finding it hard to pick our wallets.

We had one miserable 0-0 draw but that was basically my youngsters on the pitch. Overall though the slight change helped us hopefully we can stop the rot of draws I am having and start pulling away from Man City and Chelsea.

iz9B0ZK.jpg

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41221.jpg

Rashidi, can you once more explain thought process when assigning roles and duties, I need it once more, I can't figure out how you spot gaps in formation and use space.

Need some kind of "Space for dummies", "Zones for dummies" format. I feel this is the most important part of FM. Thanks

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On my phone now so I may edit this when I get back. I spot gaps of my system and the opposing system. I begin by looking at the shape of my tactic, not the Shape of the TC. In the 41221 I know gaps are coming from two key areas. AM positions don't defend well the RD more so than others. So I make sure the MC on his side has excellent awareness and the fullback too.

In fact on my Sporting save the FB intercepted more than 150 passes in one season.You need to know how a role plays, because the fullback is proactive, I had to use a cover defend combo at the back as an insurance policy: I had previously used aDual BBM combo in midfield. The problem I had was control of the opposite DM or deep MC space, henceI changed it to CM support making the default starting point higher for defending. All that work done to compensate for the use of 1 RD in attack;-).As it turned my RD was superb leading the scoring and surprisingly assists.

The tactical GUI of this game is the reason why people struggle. Just hit the pause button when you have control of the ball deep in your own half, when you have the ball in your half and when you are int the opponents third. Draw it out then compare to your tactical grid. You will have produced your with ball and without ball screens. What you want to produce is a snapshot of play when your side has the ball. Where the ball is on the pitch whether central or on flanks and whether it's deep or up will reveal a lot.

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On my phone now so I may edit this when I get back. I spot gaps of my system and the opposing system. I begin by looking at the shape of my tactic, not the Shape of the TC. In the 41221 I know gaps are coming from two key areas. AM positions don't defend well the RD more so than others. So I make sure the MC on his side has excellent awareness and the fullback too.

In fact on my Sporting save the FB intercepted more than 150 passes in one season.You need to know how a role plays, because the fullback is proactive, I had to use a cover defend combo at the back as an insurance policy: I had previously used aDual BBM combo in midfield. The problem I had was control of the opposite DM or deep MC space, henceI changed it to CM support making the default starting point higher for defending. All that work done to compensate for the use of 1 RD in attack;-).As it turned my RD was superb leading the scoring and surprisingly assists.

The tactical GUI of this game is the reason why people struggle. Just hit the pause button when you have control of the ball deep in your own half, when you have the ball in your half and when you are int the opponents third. Draw it out then compare to your tactical grid. You will have produced your with ball and without ball screens. What you want to produce is a snapshot of play when your side has the ball. Where the ball is on the pitch whether central or on flanks and whether it's deep or up will reveal a lot.

OK, so DLP(d) is sufficient here to cover CWB(a) when he goes forward? Thing that's confusing to me is that left side looks way more attacking and I thought that CM(s) should be even more conservative role. I have feeling that I maybe focus too much on defending.

Is defending block here back four + DLP(d), or MCs also?

Also why isn't CD(d) on left side so he can cover more attacking wingback?

About achieving tactical zen, wouldn't perfect positioning be also perfect for opponents?

See, I got lost again. :)

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So here I am bored as usual, we are doing pretty well in the league, a point behind the leaders and 12 games in, almost sewn up the Champs league group phases, so I usually start getting itchy at around this time, and I mess with tactics. This time I decided to just put together a 343 diamond, or at least what I think a 343 diamond should look like.

It was hastily thrown together, we basically kept the attacking thrust, no changes were made, to the trio and the only thing different is the backline. Instead of flying fullbacks we will use defensive wingers. I wanted to use a libero in defense, but I couldn't get him to move past the invisible wall that SI erected so we will use a Deep Lying Playmaker instead, this role will probably go through some changes. What I plan to do is observe how it lines up on the 2D screen, control of space is important so this will need to be snapshotted a few times.

343diamondtrans.jpg

Quick transition from attack to defense, we are tracking back quickly after losing the ball, so I am going to look at how my wingers and my 3 man defense lines up and how it controls space. If I had gone for a 3 man straight defense and 2 WBs they would drop back into defense and form a straight line. I think thats too conservative for me, I need something that controls the space further up.

What am I looking for?

If I play at the back with wingbacks and a straight 3, when the ball is in my own half I get a straight line of 5 defending. While thats ok in some circumstances, I don't want to wait till its too late to close people down. I need them to do the work around the halfway line. So I have opted to play with an ML/MR combo and a DLP combo. this ensures that I have coverage in those areas. The danger now lies down the flanks. Anytime a ball is played down the flanks or some player decides to switch ball from one flank to the next esp when they are in my third will be a problem.

343transattack1.jpg

This is what it looks like when I play a straight 3, so i tweak it slightly in the game.

343diamontranattack4.jpg

Now when I play them as a DLP and ML/MR combination, I get the DLP being a lot more forward, we have good control of the flanks, naturally there are weaknesses in the system. The whole goal is to create an overload in the opponents area.

343diamondtranatta5.jpg

Which we have done based on the last screenshot.

Here's another game. First think I look for is when we have the ball in attack here. The ball is being played along my defensive third, yet my players in the M & S strata are well placed for easy passing.

Here is a screenshot where I am looking at our positioning when defending

343dd1.jpg

This is when we don't have the ball and are defending in the middle third, its probably the one aspect of my system I spend the most time on. Its an area which I prioritize for defending. Its important to see how your players are lined up when they are challenging for a ball in the middle of the park.

343dd2.jpg

Here the only thing I am focusing on is control of space, Do I have the right players in the right zones. I do know that my flanks are my weak spots. A lot depends on the ML/MR doing their job well. Anytime they lose concentration, we have the potential of being undone. Just ask Alberto Moreno when he let Juan Mata ghost in behind him for United's first goal at Anfield on the 22nd of March 2015.

Is my system playing the way it should, I need my players to move up quickly. As the next screenshot shows, they have moved up to take control of the opponents final third

.343da4.jpg

Spatial control boils down to how your players look when they have the ball in various phases of play, and how they look when they don't have the ball. Once you know which areas of the pitch you are going to be weak at, you can assign players there. In this case I know that both my DCs have to be absolute class. If the MR/ML can't tackle, anticipate, mark, run then they shouldn't be playing. These are my systems weak areas. So controlling space is all about managing the right players in your weakest areas of the pitch.

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OK, so DLP(d) is sufficient here to cover CWB(a) when he goes forward? Thing that's confusing to me is that left side looks way more attacking and I thought that CM(s) should be even more conservative role. I have feeling that I maybe focus too much on defending.

Is defending block here back four + DLP(d), or MCs also?

Also why isn't CD(d) on left side so he can cover more attacking wingback?

About achieving tactical zen, wouldn't perfect positioning be also perfect for opponents?

See, I got lost again. :)

I focus on how my team looks like when they have the ball and when they don't.

The RD tends to drift in and out of the game, won't be tackling sometimes and will be others. If I have a MC(S) closing down heavily beside him, then chances are the RD will be a great passing outlet. Looking at MC(s) he has a higher starting point for defending as compared to a BBM.

Also why isn't CD(d) on left side so he can cover more attacking wingback?
Definitely not. Since the CWB is going to be running up the flanks so much, its a vacated spot. I do not want the defender to be the first line of defense. Instead I want the DLP and the other defender to be the first line. That way I get some insurance.

For tactical zen to be achieved, you need to match how they other teams attack lines up against your defense, and how your attack lines up against their defense. Its about matching various positions on the screen, and first you need to know how your team lines up with ball/without ball in all phases of play, its like how i explain in the following post.

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Ok these are up for a reason, they are meant to give an idea of how I set tactics up. All these tactics are complete and work well for me. Each system is used for a season and then I change to a new one in the next.

Here are some of the broad settings for all the systems I use, I will create links for downloading the tactics at some point you won't find them on the forums, but I won't be able to help people much because of other commitments. Please treat these as templates, you can use them to learn. And the best way to do them is to understand why I have chosen the roles I have. For example some may find the use of 2 withdrawn strikers as odd in my 442, but thats because I want them to help bring other more dangerous players into play allowing themselves to be greater goal scoring threats.

Some of the Tis are aggressive starting points you can reduce these. Most of them I default to high tempo with direct passing. And sometimes I opt for a narrow formation, because of the way passing is set up, and sometimes I go short, there's always a reason why i do things. These are uniquely set for the players I have, you need to have the right players for the roles that have been set up, if you don't know what the attributes should be to the way I play my game, you need to go through my blog or do a search on any of my tactical threads. I have made references to how I play many of my systems, with the key emphasis being on ball control, first touch, pace, passing, composure and acceleration. My systems demand that players have teamwork, anticipation and for all support roles I never field a player with less than 12 for bravery.

RY442DIEGO

Inspired by Diego Simeone, different in that it encourages higher possession, Main thrusts;RCWB and midfield creators. Hardworking team setup

]ry4422.jpg?w=665

ry442.jpg

RY4132MAMBA

My love for the flying wingback, this formation, depends entirely on how good they are, a lot of chances come from either them flying up the pitch or pinging direct passes

ry4132counter2.jpg?w=665

ry4132counter.jpg

RY4312SAMBA -

Inspired in large part from the flying wingback, but I wanted more thrust to come from the middle, used it to great effect in our 3rd season. The DLF plays like a god. Every season, the player who plays in that position gets poached. Its my make money formation. WBA are now sitting on a 200million cash pile thanks to that.

]ry43122.jpg?w=665

ry4312.jpg

RY41221DEFIANT -

Largely a defensive system used by Sporting early in FM15, its still a robust formation that can switch between behind defensive and attacking, you need a good DLP and RMD.

ry412212.jpg?w=665

ry41221.jpg

RY343DRAGON -

A fun system I made when I was bored at the start of the season, with the season nearly ending, we've scored bags of goals, not to be used by the fainthearted. I've had to make mentality adjustments on the fly with this system because of the backline. But still a 5-0 hammering of Chelsea has to count for something right? I also have like 3 permutations for this wrt to the strike force. Not hard to make.

]ry343dragon2.jpg?w=665

ry343dragon.jpg

Currently working on 433, 4231DM Wide, 4231DM Narrow, 4231.

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RY41221DEFIANT Is the exact same 4-1-2-2-1 that I used, even the roles are on the exact sides that I used:). The RMD is probably the best role I've used on FM15 so far, not sure why it doesn't get the love it deserves from people. You don't see many people using them for some strange reason.

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RY41221DEFIANT Is the exact same 4-1-2-2-1 that I used, even the roles are on the exact sides that I used:). The RMD is probably the best role I've used on FM15 so far, not sure why it doesn't get the love it deserves from people. You don't see many people using them for some strange reason.

I feel that a lot of people on the forums don't really know what the roles actually do. Its one thing reading the information on the tin, but its quite another watching what it does in relation to the rest of your players, and that is the point of failure for nearly every bad tactic people post up. The RMD is one mean bugger, I remember getting one player for that role, and he was the top scorer and the top assists player in my team. If people took the time to read the information on the forums and then put the pieces together they would be able to get a really good handle on the game. THOGs recent Lines and Diamonds, thread is a great tool for people who don't have a notion about football terms and concepts. Then you have your threads on roles and mine on application. Between the three sources people should know that a coherent simple logical set up is always the best thing.

Its my strong belief that there is a cookie cutter build for every formation in the game, you and I probably saw the same things we needed in the 41221 to get it to score loads of goals, we both probably realised that we needed creativity in the final third as well as some way to get others involved in goal scoring, failing which the trio would be isolated. I am not surprised that we ended up in the same direction, the ships of the moderators are all sailing for the same port.

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Rashidi, what is the thinking behind having both strikers on support duty when you play two up front? Do they both not drop deep? Would it not be better for one of them to run in behind? It's just that I haven't seen it much before (if at all) on these forums? Also, how do the F9 and DLF act differently from each other in your systems and what do you expect from the players that play there?

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Rashidi, what is the thinking behind having both strikers on support duty when you play two up front? Do they both not drop deep? Would it not be better for one of them to run in behind? It's just that I haven't seen it much before (if at all) on these forums? Also, how do the F9 and DLF act differently from each other in your systems and what do you expect from the players that play there?

They don't drop as deep as a TQ, but they create a lot of vertical space. The AMC acts like a fulcrum, and the DLF and F9 have different starting points in attack, as it turns out the DLF in the 4312 bags the most assists by creating chances for the AM and for the F9. With a support duty, I get to recycle the ball more, around the final third, and by the time my wingbacks get forward i have plenty of options on how to move the ball around. If I were to play with a more forward striker, several things could happen, including offsides, and the forward striker could end up being a focal point of attacks which I don't want to see.

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@Southern Buddie This may help..I posted the grid in Cleons Goalscorer thread and on my blog. When choosing a role for your players you want to basically know where they sit vs each other. I played two support players upfront because I had an AMC attacking the space in the middle. The strikers tend to drift wide and this opens up space as well

I've seen people making so many unrealistic tactics on FM I thought it'd be time for me to post up a simple grid that illustrates what different striker player instructions are. Its important because quite a few people choose a role that doesn't fit the intended system of play, and this is usually down to how the strikers are meant to play defined by the parameters of their roles.

Here I am only focusing on the strikers and not on the wide AMs you find in 41221 systems. This applies to any striker playing in or around the penalty box. Each striker has a position number which is rated from 1-8 with 1 being the highest placed striker in the group. So a striker with a 1 by default would be standing further in front than one who has an 8 rating. The grid also shows which players have instructions defaulted into their code. For instance, a Trequartista can't tackle hard, its hard coded for him not to be a tackler, it doesn't mean he will never do it, it just means that you can't specifically tell him to tackle hard, and the shout won't apply to him. By understanding where these players fall on the grid you should be able to see if this applies to your system.

strikers-grid-1.jpg?w=665

This lists out all the strikers in the game and the highest position they can occupy in relation to each other, so when you want to choose a player to be the highest point of an attack, the player who will be furthest away will always be the Advanced Forward. I am ignoring the effects of player preferred moves in this illustration.

Where a role has the option between attack and support, I have chosen attack, so that we can compare each role consistently.

If you only wanted to see what positions support players occupy on a pitch then

strikers-grid-2.jpg?w=665

This has implications for playing a high block strategy, if you choose to go down that road, then only some roles give you the option of selecting close down much more and hard tackling, and if you want to do High Block, these are the roles that you need to use.

If you wanted to create vertical movement in and around the box, then you also need to select roles that allow for that or you can include them in a players ppm. Sometimes a player may not have the ppm then the role itself will encourage him to do vertical runs, but once again attributes like off the ball, acceleration, decision, anticipation, teamwork all play their part too.

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Thanks, that actually is a great help!

I like the idea of playing with both strikers on support duty. I feel like it is more realistic in replicating how a lot of modern day strikers play. Very rarely do I see a striker who only plays in the shoulder of the defenders and doesn't get involved in the build up play. Even in partnerships.

I assume your DLF is getting most of the assists due to him holding up the ball for the on rushing F9 and AM from deep?

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Yeah the right player will try attacking the space left behind by two support strikers although having two identical roles does provide unique challenges

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rashidi1, I see that you use the "cover"-duty on one of your CBs a lot, and with an offside-trap. How is this working? Does the "cover"-duty sometimes break the offside-trap? I guess he must have very high decision and anticipation stats? I guess I always thought you'd have to choose between offside-trap and "cover".

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I haven't really paid much attention to whether we win more offsides with or without. Logically one would assume that having two on the same duty would be better for the offside trap, but I find that with my defenders who have high anticipation, its not an issue playing with split duties.

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1 - What are your team instructions? Do you always start with these? Are these the same for the 4132 and 4231 shapes? Are you able to advise what these are as I couldn’t see them for your WBA team.

2 - Which PPM's per position would you recommend? I couldn't see this anywhere so any help on this would be great. I can then jot down a template and use my own custom views to monitor this.

3 - I saw on your blog you have:

Concentration

First Touch

Composure

Determination

Is this for all players to create a defensive stance or this just for the defenders?

You then mention for all players you have:

Workrate, Anticipation, Marking, Tackling, Concentration, Stamina, Pace, Acceleration

Aside from this you also talk about bravery which is something you need.

Please could you provide me with a full list of attributes per position I would need or is it just the ones above?

I guess my question is other than these ‘base’ attributes are there other positional attributes I ought to look for?

Many Thanks

Lee

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First off, I love you man, I made an account here just to try to talk to you, ever since I've started playing FM 2015 I've sucked horibly, never getting results, getting relegated with mid to top half table clubs, and barely getting out of relegation with top clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea etc.

I really like the game so I decided to save cheat and get plug and play tactics from fm-base and proceed to win everything. After that the game just got boring and I've started to try to make my own tactics again, which, again, failed horribly.

I was just about to uninstall the game but I decided to try and learn a few things from the experts on forums. I've come across a guy who wrote that tactics should be made according to your players, basically put your 2-3 star players in their best positions and then build around them. I've done that with Southampton where I've puty Ward-Prowsee, Tadic and Shneiderleiden I think in their best position and built the tactic around them.

Dude.

I immediately saw results.

I was actually, for the first time in my life when trying to create my own tactics, actually WINNING a few games in a row. Some time passed and with a lot of luck (injuries from the best teams, silly goals, lots of penalties) I've managed to get 7th in EPL and FREAKIGN WINNING THE FA CUP (fortunately my strongest opponent were Everton in the finals who were at the bottom half of the table and a lot of their key players injured, I got really lucky with the draws). I felt so good about myself and this freaking game :D

I tried another team, this time Everton and did the same thing, made a tactic around Lukaku, Barkley, Mirallas etc and I knew I shouldn't except much since my first game with Southampton was just me being really really lucky.

Agony.

I've lost game after game, with only a few wins here and there. I decided to start again, this time with Chelsea to see if it was my fault. Build a tactic around the usuals, oscar hazard and costa. Same thing. Got fired by november with only 3 wins.

I've tried many more teams but it never seemed to work, but I have to say it was an improvement ever since I started to make my tactics around my key players.

Fast forward to finding this thread. You've actually managed to improve me so much, that I'm currently in December in my Everton save at the top of the table with 11 wins 3 draws and ZERO losses. I've beat the likes of Chelsea 2-1, Arsenal 3-0 with their full squads.

I've never thought using player instructions seemed important, you've made me see differently. I've never thought too much team instructions could fail, I'm currently at 5 max and I'm owning the leauge. Never thought that watching the stats every 10 minutes of the game and setting opposition instrucionts accordingly could improve results so much. I don't even wanna start all the things i learned about the subtle but very important pieces about tactics and role distribution (altough I'm still confused as **** about those :D).

I just wanna say thanks so much and thought that you'd appreciate that you've turned one save-cheating plug-and-play tactics user into a semi decent normal playing FM player who's actually having fun playing the game since even I don't remember when.

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Rashidi,

What did you mean by ' Always think about your player attributes when you want to choose a role'

What is the usual criteria you would pick your team?

Thanks

Lee

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@Sunnyy, thanks mate

1 - What are your team instructions? Do you always start with these? Are these the same for the 4132 and 4231 shapes? Are you able to advise what these are as I couldn’t see them for your WBA team.

The team instructions I usually use are dependant on my side, since my team is ranked 3rd in the league for tackles and 2nd for workrate and acceleration, I opt to choose stay on feet, cos there is no point going to ground. The point here is that the TI's you choose are dependant on what your side can do. I see people opt for Get Stuck In, when they either have bad tackling. I also tend to treat TI's as situational, if I am content to wear a team down, I go Retain possession, play short, work ball and play out of defense, if I find that they are attacking me a lot and I am defending i go pass into space and remove short passing. So TI's are situational. I don't believe that one should stick to the same TI's for every match. You can have maybe play out of defense as a default TI, but thats really the only one.

2 - Which PPM's per position would you recommend? I couldn't see this anywhere so any help on this would be great. I can then jot down a template and use my own custom views to monitor this.

PPMs help to give your system a unique flavour, one needs to know what they want to achieve and then use PPMs to add that little difference. The danger of going overboard with these is that they can unbalance a system if not done right. For example I have a fullback with great decisions and passing, and I have strikers with great acceleration and off the ball, I place them on opposite flanks and give my fullbacks the switch ball to opp flank ppm. My slower fullback gets forward whenever possible and my DLP gets dictate tempo whilst my AMC gets killer ball ppm and runs through middle ppm.

3 - I saw on your blog you have:

Concentration

First Touch

Composure

Determination

Is this for all players to create a defensive stance or this just for the defenders?

These are my mandatory attributes across my team. I use these as a baseline for training as well, choosing to train only tactics and ball control. This really depends on the kind of football you want to play, a good place to start would be to read Cleons thread here. When choosing any side to manage I usually focus on these attributes first. For training, my focus is on making sure these improve to the point where first touch and composure are the best, this ensures that my sides always play the style of football I like to see.

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I feel that a lot of people on the forums don't really know what the roles actually do. Its one thing reading the information on the tin, but its quite another watching what it does in relation to the rest of your players, and that is the point of failure for nearly every bad tactic people post up. The RMD is one mean bugger, I remember getting one player for that role, and he was the top scorer and the top assists player in my team. If people took the time to read the information on the forums and then put the pieces together they would be able to get a really good handle on the game. THOGs recent Lines and Diamonds, thread is a great tool for people who don't have a notion about football terms and concepts. Then you have your threads on roles and mine on application. Between the three sources people should know that a coherent simple logical set up is always the best thing.

Its my strong belief that there is a cookie cutter build for every formation in the game, you and I probably saw the same things we needed in the 41221 to get it to score loads of goals, we both probably realised that we needed creativity in the final third as well as some way to get others involved in goal scoring, failing which the trio would be isolated. I am not surprised that we ended up in the same direction, the ships of the moderators are all sailing for the same port.

anytime i've used the RD in a system like this i've been humped down the flank he's been on. Was your left flank ok with such attacking players on that side?

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I had to compensate with a ball winning midfielder and a fullback who was a phenom at intercepting. In fact, it was the first time I had ever seen a fullback get more than 150 interceptions in a season

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RY4321 Cyclops

A system loosely based on DEFIANT, also employs Raumdeuter, it was made on the fly when I was playing against Manchester United who played a similar system to DEFIANT, I found that the gap between midfield and their DMC was being too easily exploited by the AI, so in a flash I whipped this up. We were a goal down and came back to turn possession on it head and win a point, in a match I wasn't even meant to win. It features the use of really hard working midfield, its set up as a counter mentality since there is ample threat from the wide men when they are running at defenders.

The system can easily adapt to changing mentalities, with minimal use of shouts. The recommended TI would be to overlap or pass into space, but these are situational. I really like this at the moment.

You may need to change duties to defend/defend...though i don't seem to have that problem as my players don't play others onside a lot..its still worth keeping a check on. You could also change the RD to a WP if you so choose or even a winger. The template is pretty malleable.

In systems like this I prefer employing a high block with the front 3, and direct passing for them only. if my Fullbacks have got great passing then they may get direct passing. Though this is situational.

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Do you have any issues having a raumdeuter with a wing-back attack behind him? I know you have your left-centre back on cover; and I am assuming the idea behind the BWS on the left is so that he can win it and feed the raumdeuter?

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