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4-4-1-1 Dual DLP


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The past 3-4 years I’ve been playing different 4-3-3 variations, but back in FM08 I played a 4-4-1-1. In FM15 I wanted to go back to this formation, and having an AMC in the team. What made the tactic for me in FM08, was the dual DLP who dominated the opposition. Always picked up clearances, made the team click, taking their time to pick the right pass and offered a solid base both in attack and in defense.

Roles, duties and PIs:

GKd: I haven’t paid this position much attention because I don’t want the tactic to rely on a specific type of GK. I’ve given him PI “Distribute to FB”

Right DC: This player is set as DCx to compensate for the gap between defense and midfield.

Left DC: Chose “cover” for the left sided DC because of the “stopper” at right DC, and because of the attack duty of the left WB.

Right FB: Chose a WBs in this position because of the roles and duties around him, and to offer support to the right sided midfielder.

Left FB: Set the left back to WBa to offer width, and an attacking threat on the left side.

Right CM: DLPd. Put the defend duty on the right to keep him closer to the “stopper”, reducing the risk of the “stopper” getting dragged out of position.

Left CM: DLPs. Put the support duty on the left to get him closer to the “IF” at left WM. It also gets him in position to support the WBa, and play him into space on the left wing.

Right WM: Wa/WMa. PIs: “press much more”. I’m still undecided regarding this position. Been getting quite a few assists from the Wa, but need more time playing with the WMa to compare.

Left WM: WMa, PIs: “press much more”, “cut inside”, and “play narrower”. PIs to give the WB behind him more space to attack, and to make the WM more of a goal threat.

AMC: SS PIs: “press more”/AMC PIs: “press more”, “dribble less” and “riskier passes”.

STC: DLFs. PIs: “press much more” and “dribble less”./DLFa. PIs: “press much more”, “riskier passes” and “dribble less”.

To some degree I’ve been trying to replicate some sort of Gerrard-Torres partnership, and also make way for a 3rd goal scorer at left WM.

TIs: Shorter passing and play out of defense.

The tactic is working fine, and grinding out decent results for my York team in BPL.

As for my AC Milan game I can’t complain… 16 wins out of a possible 17 in all competitions (a 0-0 game away to Bayern).

But…The tactic seems overly reliant on a very good striker, or at least one with just the right attributes. Not so visible in my AC Milan game, but very visible in my York game!

Onto the problems then…

1. At times the player carrying the ball, is the player furthest forward on the pitch. Often resulting in this player trying to dribble through 7-8 players, and losing possession.

2. The left side WM isn’t the goal threat I want him to be. I’m struggling to see whether this is a problem with the supply, or the positioning of the player.

3. I feel the SS/AMC should be more of a goalthreat from deep, but struggle getting him to overlap the striker.

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You may have to look in to adding some PPMs to your WM, one of my set ups isn't a million miles away from that and my WM a on the left side is my top scorer for the past two seasons. My player is a great dribbler too so he has run with ball often ticked, it works amazingly well. I'd take a close look at your players to see if they are the right kind of players because there doesn't seem an awful lot wrong with the overall set up of roles and duties.

Couple of things about your player instructions on the DLF (s) I use a F9 but anyway using dribble less I've found makes them either shoot or play a hurried pass to often, where as left alone they will move forward with the ball, but not try and take on 5 defenders dribbling. And Press more, this can affect his positioning if you want him to drop deep, often he will be pressing the defence, which leaves him higher than you may want him too, that is something only you can see really though.

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An observation about the Cover / Stopper logic.

Your left sided full back is on Attack - so he will advance further up field when attacking, and so have further to track back when transitioning into defence. By having a Cover DC on that same side, you are arguably extending the space on that side. I don't think it is necessary. Generally, using a Stopper at DC won't really act as a bridge between the DC and MC lines, it'll just affect the player closes down. If no threat is in that area, then the gap will remain.

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You may have to look in to adding some PPMs to your WM, one of my set ups isn't a million miles away from that and my WM a on the left side is my top scorer for the past two seasons. My player is a great dribbler too so he has run with ball often ticked, it works amazingly well. I'd take a close look at your players to see if they are the right kind of players because there doesn't seem an awful lot wrong with the overall set up of roles and duties.

Couple of things about your player instructions on the DLF (s) I use a F9 but anyway using dribble less I've found makes them either shoot or play a hurried pass to often, where as left alone they will move forward with the ball, but not try and take on 5 defenders dribbling. And Press more, this can affect his positioning if you want him to drop deep, often he will be pressing the defence, which leaves him higher than you may want him too, that is something only you can see really though.

What PPMs do you use?

I have El Shaarawy set up with cuts inside and places shots. He's my top scoring WM, and should fit the profile of a wide goalscorer.

I like the hold up play the DLF offers, just want the players around him to overlap and move in front of him, but I'll try removing the dribble less PI.

Don't see the pressing as a problem in relation to the positioning of the DLF, from my point of view I think the WM is to deep when the DLF drops off. Also think my defensive strategy would suffer if I was to remove it...

Kinda hoping for someone to tell me I'm wrong :p

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An observation about the Cover / Stopper logic.

Your left sided full back is on Attack - so he will advance further up field when attacking, and so have further to track back when transitioning into defence. By having a Cover DC on that same side, you are arguably extending the space on that side. I don't think it is necessary. Generally, using a Stopper at DC won't really act as a bridge between the DC and MC lines, it'll just affect the player closes down. If no threat is in that area, then the gap will remain.

I think I didn't explain my reasoning behind the cover/stopper choice well enough. Having the deepest CM in front of the stopper looks like it reduces the space between defense and midfield. It's probably got more to do with the DLP than the DCx, but if an opponent passes the DLPd he steps right into the DCx, and the DLPd has time to recover. On the other side of defense I don't want my DCc to press too early because, if the opponent passes the WBa and DCx (if the DCs switched sides)i would have two defender on the opposite side unable to move over to defend the left side. Does this make sense, or is my logic wrong?

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I find that a CD/x works best when directly behind the deepest CM. Reason: The CM on defend duty (not a BWM) will be more willing to provide cover behind a stopper stepping out to close down. However, I'm not a big fan of the stopper/cover combo of the CD's; I let the other CD be a CD/defend. The CD/cover is too reluctant to confront opposing attackers in my tactics - specially if the player in question have low(ish) aggression. Example: Koscielny/Mertesacker at Arsenal. I make Kos be a CD/x, but if I make Per be a CD/cover, I'll make him a worse defender than he really is. Stick him on as CD/d; he'll know what to do, most of the time. Stopper/cover combo may work better if the cover CD has high aggression, perhaps.

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I’ve made a few changes to my tactic.

I felt like it wasn’t playing the right way, and also struggled in attack. In lack of better words, it felt a bit forced in attack…

I still haven’t lost in the league with my AC Milan team, think I’ve got something like 3 games to go and 30-31 wins in the league.

The recent changes has made us more of an attacking threat, but also made us more vulnerable in defense. This is something I don’t like, and Chelsea hammered us 5-1 at Stamford Bridge. 3 goals were crosses from the left to front post, with Diego Costa finishing. The other 2 were Hazard cutting inside with the ball and finishing… So any advice on the defending part would be appreciated.

Forgot to mention it in the OP, but team shape is Flexible, and match strategy is Standard for most games

GK: Keeper on defend, PI: distribute to fullbacks.

2xDC: Central defenders on defend. I want to see how it works compared to the x/c-combo

DR: Wingback on support

DL: Wingback on attack

Right CM: BBM. Felt I needed more movement from midfield to make the team more dynamic. I like the way he usually stays just outside the 16-yard box ready to take make use of the ball, be it a long shot, pass or simply recycling the ball. Still a bit unsure about the central pairing…

Left CM: DLPd. Really wanted to keep at least one of my DLP. Might change him to a CMd or a BWMd, but I fear that will leave my defense exposed…

RM: Winger on attack. PI: press much more.

LM: WM on attack. PI: press much more. For now, I’ve removed the play narrower and cut inside PIs, to see how he works on “neutral”. It looks OK, but not good enough. Think this position needs some work…

AMC: APa. PI: press much more. The movement of the two up front was what made me make changes to my tactic in the first place. So I had to rethink how to supply and support my forward.

STC: CFa. PI: press much more. I felt the DLF wasn’t mobile enough, and also not “pushy” enough on the opposition defense. I have considered trying an AF or a DLF on attack with the changes I’ve made, but haven’t had the time yet.

TI:

Shorter passing

Play out of defense

Work ball into box – I was making a lot of bad crosses, and also some wasted long shots, so I added this one.

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