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thizaum

4-3-3 Control / Counter - a little help in match to match tweaks

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Hello there,

I'm managing a mid-level 2nd division team in Brazil and was able to win the league with a 1-point margin. It wasn't easy.

Next year, I'll be up for a huge challenge in staying in the 1st division.

I have a lot of players reaching the end of contract or the end of loan and will be able to go after 3 or 4 starters. So, I want to take the opportunity to work on a better foundation for next season during preseason.

Initially I wanted to create a control tactic, pressuring high up the field. I believe I did work out well on the regional championship when I went against lesser sides. But in the league, especially away from home, I got some silly results and had to start using a counter tactic.

These are (were) my roles:

GK(d)

FB(a)

CB(d)

CB(d)

FB(s)

DM(d) - close down less

DLP(s)

CM(a)

W(s)

IF(a)

DLF(s) - move into channels

With control, I went with pass into space, work ball into box (otherwise, way too many shots from distance), play out of defence, push higher up, close down more, stay on feet, use tighter marking, prevent short GK dist, lower tempo.

When using counter, I'd go with shorter passing, pass into space, push higher up, stay on feet, use tighter marking, lower tempo.

My questions are:

- is it possible to create a control tactic to play against similar or better teams, at home or even away? I wanted to create a high energy, high pressure system, pushing up high without the ball but trying to keep possession. Once I scored, I would play it safe.

- should I change anything "role-wise" in each case (control and counter)?

- I don't really have star players, but I get the impression that both DM(d) and DLF(s) are underperforming. I want the DM(d) to be the sweeper of the 2 CMs and I want him to hold position as much as possible. At the same time, using full backs, I don't need him to stay back, beside the CBs. Is there something to improve on the DM?

- I know the DLF will also be a creator and he passes the ball as much as the rest of the team. But he also needs to try and shoot. I've tried shoot more often PI, but he would then shoot from distance, instead of trying to create chance for himself more and pass a little less. I wanted a F9 with a little less creating and less shooting from distance. What to do?

I guess that's all. Thanks for reading and helping.

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It is possible to play a more aggressive tactic against better sides, but it's also risky, as most of the time those teams will press you a little bit more and your players will be more inclined to make (perhaps costly) mistakes. However, if that's the style that suits your team best, it's probably better than trying to play Counter and inviting too much pressure closer to your own goal.

Your roles seem well balanced, although you have to keep in mind that your front 3 won't be helping that much defensively, which could prove to be a problem against higher ranked teams who tend to push their fullbacks forward a lot. It could leave you vulnerable at the back, so maybe you could implement a B plan involving dropping your wide players to the midfield strata in order to provide more defensive stability. Another option worthy of trying is to push your DM into that midfield strata as a CM(d), this would help your midfield trio cover the flanks a little better because of their naturally wider positioning.

Speaking of the DM, what you say you want from him sounds pretty fitting for an Anchor Man role. It is a very powerful defensive midfield role (even though match ratings will always make you think they are underperforming) because the player will sit deep and cut down options in the middle without closing down too much and getting caught out of position. Usually extremely efficient against teams who play an attacking midfielder or try to play creatively down the middle.

Other than that, role-wise, I think you have a solid foundation but of course it depends on your players and how they react individually to those roles. If anything, I would personally try to change the DLP to an AP when you go on Counter. The reasoning is that Counter usually involves inviting pressure in your own half and then launching the ball forward quickly when you win it, so either your players will ignore the DLP to hoof it long, or they will try to find him with dangerous passes close to your goal. With an AP, if your ball-winners ignore him he should still be available after the first pass for a quick knock-down, flick-on or simple pass from a teammate. If the defenders try to find him quickly, he should still be higher up the pitch than a DLP, hopefully in a better position and more space to create something.

For the DLF, maybe try a different style of player or different sets of PIs. I find that a DLF(s) as a lone forward is a great role, but I always end up tweaking that a little bit so he gets a little bit less predictable (PIs such as Roam from Position, Move Into Channels, Run Wide with Ball, Dribble More, Shoot Less Often... not all at the same time usually, but I use one or more of those regularly with a lone DLF(s).

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@jpcote09, thanks for the reply. Great insight on the matter.

so maybe you could implement a B plan involving dropping your wide players to the midfield strata in order to provide more defensive stability.

While using control, right? It makes sense. You make the formation a little safer while keeping the tactic philosophy.

Another option worthy of trying is to push your DM into that midfield strata as a CM(d), this would help your midfield trio cover the flanks a little better because of their naturally wider positioning.

I like this one a little less, especially if the other team uses 2 CMs and 1 AM. But i should give it a try depending on that. I guess this is one of the great things about the 4-5-1/4-3-3, just like the 4-2-3-1, the flexibility.

Speaking of the DM, what you say you want from him sounds pretty fitting for an Anchor Man role. It is a very powerful defensive midfield role (even though match ratings will always make you think they are underperforming) because the player will sit deep and cut down options in the middle without closing down too much and getting caught out of position. Usually extremely efficient against teams who play an attacking midfielder or try to play creatively down the middle.

I did think of that yesterday or the day before. I went back to read the in-game description and it's the very thing that I wanted. But when I've used it before, I got unusually low ratings for the anchorman. I guess I should try it again paying attention to the effect on the team. I guess it might not be too different than a DM(d) with close down less. I get the impression that if the other team does not use an AM, my DM will be "underused", thus the low rating But shouldn't I find a use for him in that case? Maybe DM-s, DLP-s, or change the triangle and form a 4-2-3-1?

If anything, I would personally try to change the DLP to an AP when you go on Counter. The reasoning is that Counter usually involves inviting pressure in your own half and then launching the ball forward quickly when you win it, so either your players will ignore the DLP to hoof it long, or they will try to find him with dangerous passes close to your goal. With an AP, if your ball-winners ignore him he should still be available after the first pass for a quick knock-down, flick-on or simple pass from a teammate. If the defenders try to find him quickly, he should still be higher up the pitch than a DLP, hopefully in a better position and more space to create something.

I love this one! I'll try it out and see the effects.

For the DLF, maybe try a different style of player or different sets of PIs. I find that a DLF(s) as a lone forward is a great role, but I always end up tweaking that a little bit so he gets a little bit less predictable (PIs such as Roam from Position, Move Into Channels, Run Wide with Ball, Dribble More, Shoot Less Often... not all at the same time usually, but I use one or more of those regularly with a lone DLF(s).

I might be wrong, but some of those PIs make less sense to me. I wouldn't use Roam because you need somebody to spearhead the shape of the attack and also keep the opp CBs occupied. Same thing for Run Wide, and I already get the impression that my striker already drifts wide too often.

I was also thinking about his mentality. Wouldn't a CF(s) or Treq be more compatible to Control? Of course, only when I'm using the winger on AM strata. And when dropping deeper, bring him to DLF(s) or even the AM strata.

Thanks a lot for the reply, it gave me a lot to think about!

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