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The Art of Possession Football


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At this point I was going to ask if it was just a dip in form from your players and a loss of motivation/confidence?

But then you continued with observations... WOOHOO!

1. I found I had issues using Attack Duty as the higher mentality encourages them to make forward actions, as well as typically having more risky passes/dribbling/runs etc. Control mentality is still quite positive so attack duty on top of that is very attack minded.

2. I don't usually have issues with isolated F9. Does he have any PPMs that encourage him to run away from the midfield?

One thing is your HB will be dropping into your D-Line, your DLP and AP will still stay quite deep. I would have a CM look to get closer to the F9. BBM is one of my favorite roles so far this year and breaks ahead of my F9, maybe a RPM instead of the DLP or AP? Maybe just a simple CM-S? Have a think when watching your DLP and AP and see if changing is worth it.

3. What are there mental attributes like? Are they Composed players with good decisions? If they are composed players do you need to slow the tempo to give them time to make a better decision? Remember control makes defenders passing short, your then telling your team to pass shorter, then on top of that shortening it further with "play out of defence". They might not have many options and don't have the attributes to comfortably pass to the short options they have?

4. I'm suprised if your IF-S gets isolated, could you give some screenshots of when this happens? It might be the players around him rather than the IF thats the issue. W-A I think goes back to point 1, he will be "rushing" compared to the rest of his team, your DLP and AP looking for passes to there feet rather than the dynamism of a BBM or even a CM-S who will make more runs.

Consider dropping a shorter passing setting (your preference) to give your defenders a few more options and change your winger to support. You might want to slow your tempo if your players need more time to make better decisions, that might be a game by game tweak.

Looking back, I think injuries was the main reason we couldn't keep up the good start.

1) I will try W-support when the new season begins!

2) He averages 20-30 completed passes per match. I'll give a ss of him, simpler that way. 7a6ccfc4642ed304a63b15c156cc82ce.png

3) Composure around 10 for the whole squad. DLP with 14, F9- 14 and FP 13. Same pattern with decisions, not very good all in all.

4) I will post some ss of my isolated IF later! When I look at the match I think the support is there, but he doesn't use them wisely. He (and the rest of the team) is scared to death when it comes to pass the ball backwards even if the opposition is surrounding him. Here's the IF:33fbbba7edf98a25ca1e5e8474601679.png

I think slower tempo could be a good thing, will try that out.

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So after reading this, I attempted to use some of the concepts you presented and try to formulate a possession tactic in a 4-4-2 diamonds narrow. One thing you didn't address (or i might have missed it) is width. With a formation like the one I have chosen, I can't decide what I should do in terms of width. Should I go wide so the players are spreading out and covering more field and using more of the field to give passing options or should I go narrow to congest the center and leave space for my overlapping fullbacks? Or should I simply keep it normal? I am interested to hear your view on this. For my mid, at the moment (in still a very much development stage) I have chosen an anchor man, deep lying playmaker (s), box to box mid, and Adv PM (s) if that matters at all for your suggestion.

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In line with JimmyGuitarist's recent post, I play with maximum width, width a wide player on each flank and try to open up the centre of the pitch for my players to exploit. I tell my team to Play Wider (TI) and Exploit the Middle (TI).

I am setup in a 3-4-3 diamond (3 CB, DM, 2 CM, AM, 2 WF, CF). I believe this is the best formation for possession football as it creates the most triangles on the pitch and I am able to press the opposition's back 4 intensely and stop them playing out from the back.

I have been averaging 65% possession with my Ajax side and create tons of chances due to dominance in key areas of the pitch.

Ive literally got the same setup like yours however i dont know how to set my 3 CB's up i used 2 cb on stopper duty and the centre CB on cover duty. how did you set yours up

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Ive literally got the same setup like yours however i dont know how to set my 3 CB's up i used 2 cb on stopper duty and the centre CB on cover duty. how did you set yours up

I have 3 CBs. The central one is set 'Cover' and the outer two are set to 'Stopper'... Is that what you are asking?

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Yeah pretty much, what are your 3 cm's set as. thanks

I have my DM (in the DM strata) set as DM(D). I don't want this guy to move too far out of position (in attack or defence) because in such an attacking system I need someone shielding the defence. I also want him to keep it simple (hence why i've gone for 'Defensive Midfielder' instead of DLP or other roles) as if he loses the ball we're gonna be in big trouble. Think Busquets.

For the 2 CMs ahead of him I am using 2x 'Box to Box' midfielders, and I have set them both to 'Roam from position', so that they make themselves available and show for the ball as often as possible. I used B2B midfielders because I want them to break into the box and exploit the space between the opposition's FB and CB (which is created by my WFs staying wide). That being said, because I'm playing on 'Counter' mentality, they aren't TOO adventurous, and it's nice to see that they tend to take turns making attacking runs. If I'm playing a difficult team away from home and they're pressing me and we're having trouble playing into midfield I normally change one of these to DLP(S) so that they drop a bit deeper and provide more passing options for the CBs.

At the tip of the diamond (in the AMC strata) I use an AP(A). I want this guy to sit in the hole, play killer passes, link up with the striker and get on the end of moves and crosses into the box. I've been using Olivier from Atletico in this position and he's an absolute dream.

Hope that helps!

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I have my DM (in the DM strata) set as DM(D). I don't want this guy to move too far out of position (in attack or defence) because in such an attacking system I need someone shielding the defence. I also want him to keep it simple (hence why i've gone for 'Defensive Midfielder' instead of DLP or other roles) as if he loses the ball we're gonna be in big trouble. Think Busquets.

It looks more like you need an Anchorman not a DM. And Busquets is neither of those, btw.

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I read two times this very interesting thread and I can take some important advices on how to set a correct possession tactic.

I try to set it with F.C. Internazionale and it seems it can work at 80%, I only have some trouble with one of most important players: Icardi.

I use a 4-1-2-2-1 system where Ljajic acts as AP/S on the left and Perisic as IF/s or W/s on the right.

I now that I can use Icardi as DLF but he would be limited in performance so, in your opinion, accpting a slightly decrease of possesione %, could work with an AF or a CF/A upfront?

Thanks

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It depends what your aim is Ivan787. First of all, you say you "know" that Icardi would be limited as a DLF - have you actually tried? Whenever you use a system with a lone striker and no AMC, you ideally need him to be a link player rather than an out-and-out striker. If you use him as an AF or CF (A), it might not affect possession as much as you think, but it might not mean that he is less "limited in performance". As ever, it depends what your focus is - is it the player, the system or the statistics.

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In line with JimmyGuitarist's recent post, I play with maximum width, width a wide player on each flank and try to open up the centre of the pitch for my players to exploit. I tell my team to Play Wider (TI) and Exploit the Middle (TI).

I am setup in a 3-4-3 diamond (3 CB, DM, 2 CM, AM, 2 WF, CF). I believe this is the best formation for possession football as it creates the most triangles on the pitch and I am able to press the opposition's back 4 intensely and stop them playing out from the back.

I have been averaging 65% possession with my Ajax side and create tons of chances due to dominance in key areas of the pitch.

What is WF? Wing-Forward? Winger or Inside Forward?

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It depends what your aim is Ivan787. First of all, you say you "know" that Icardi would be limited as a DLF - have you actually tried? Whenever you use a system with a lone striker and no AMC, you ideally need him to be a link player rather than an out-and-out striker. If you use him as an AF or CF (A), it might not affect possession as much as you think, but it might not mean that he is less "limited in performance". As ever, it depends what your focus is - is it the player, the system or the statistics.

I can easily answer.

The first focus is the system. My plan is to create a system where ball possession, passing ability and pressing after losing the ball can dominate the field. And this is more or less achieved. Is not important if this means 55%, 60% or 65%, what is important is that I have clear cut chances and opposition not.

About Icardi's role I tried in preseason using him as DLF/S or F9. I effectively find a lot of involvement but I want him more inside the box because is by far the best scorer (for attribute) in my team and I'm bored to see a clear cut chance wasted by a midfielder with poor finishing and composure.

I found better results using Palacio or Jovetic as IF/A instead of Perisic but in that case I lose the defensive work and I want to use this solution not as my standard setting.

I will try CF/S and see the difference.

P.S.: probably the Move into Channel PPM also plays a role in this behaviour.

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It looks more like you need an Anchorman not a DM. And Busquets is neither of those, btw.

Anchorman is a good shout. I believe I tried it in the past and there didn't seem a whole lot of difference between Anchorman and Defensive Midfielder. I decided upon Defensive Midfielder because I thought he would have a slightly less restricted passing range than an Anchorman (whether this is true or not I'm not sure).

When I mentioned Busquets, I meant a player who keeps it simple and plays the ball forward, as opposed to a Gerrard-esque regista spraying the ball all over the place.

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Hi Cleon ,

is there any reason that you have chosen your AMR to have AP duty? I mean why your AMR and not your AML?

where is the difference?

Because the player I used was more suited to the AMR.

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so with the same logic the ST is not neccesary to be a F9 , it can be a Poacher , or a Target Man based on the players that i have in my disposal?

A player can suit a Role, but a system doesn't necessarily become good because all players are in suited Roles. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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How come you haven't used any recent examples for Barca?

Barring isolated occasions of course, Enrique's Barca always have width. The Camp Nou has one of the best camera views to see how they line up.

FCBAPO5.png

att-shape-1427987224.jpg

update_messi_neymar_width.png

Barca-possession.png?resize=620%2C294

It doesn't still focus passing out wide (as Play Narrower no longer focuses passing through the middle), it just affects your in-possession width. There have been some Bug Reports which complain that wingers narrow too soon in the final third, but in those images maybe only the second is in that sort of area, and Robben isn't exactly hugging the touchline.

Well that surprises me because my players constantly try to play throughballs out to wide players & just generally play too many passes wide. I second that bug with wide players going too narrow during play near the final third, I could look for some pictures of both Pep's Bayern and Barca always have width during play in the final third.

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so with the same logic the ST is not neccesary to be a F9 , it can be a Poacher , or a Target Man based on the players that i have in my disposal?

i think you didn't understand the concept ,

yes the player was more suited to the AMR ,but he put the RP as MCR and the B2B MCL,

if the adv.playmaker was AML then the RP would be in MCL and the B2B MCR

The ST is alwayas a F9 to drop deep and cooperate with RP and the AMR/L,

i hope that he meant :)

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Could just be because they have space whereas the more central players do not.

I'm watching 90% of games and I get annoyed because I'm seeing loads of space to play centrally but players keep turning to wide players as if they're the only option.

“The principle idea of Positional Play is that players pass the ball to each other in close spaces to be able to pass to a wide open man.”

– Juan Manuel Lillo

This quote is essentially what I'm after, my team don't seem to want to play in close spaces even if you (I) do everything within the ME to get anything remotely close to it. They just seem to kick it wide regardless of whether they're in space or not anyway. Not many seem to be having the same issue though so I must just be bloody clueless.

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I just wanted to explain the process I went through in developing the DM position.

I have ended up with pretty much the same tactic as Cleon, slightly different Team Instructions, CM-S instead of RPM-S and a few PIs. As I didn't have a suitable RPM-S and felt there was enough dribbling in the team (I was thinking of using Dribble Less TI but didn't) I initially used a DLP-D. I wasn't happy though, the extra focus of the playmaker role meant there were too many "negative" passes back to him during transition and attacking play, with so many support roles and roaming to get the ball I didn't like this extra focus to him.

I then went to DM-D and saw an improvement in the play but like Cleon felt he had more to offer. As you might guess from me using him as a DLP, the player has good passing ability so I went to DM-S to increase his mentality. I liked the change in transitions but didn't like it in the attacking phase where he could end up crowding around the box with the BBM, CM-S and AP-S without really offering anything extra. The extra closing down and harder tackling was noticeable compared to the DLP, he now brakes up more counter attacks earlier.

I compromised, keeping the DM on support I added a few PI's:

"Hold Position" - Keeping him closer to his position he doesn't get in front of my CM's as often so adds a bit more depth and cover.

"Shoot Less Often" + "Dribble Less" - He's not a good shooter or dribbler and there are plenty of passing options.

I really like how he is now performing, he's providing the cover that my CD's need but I still allow him to use some of his playmaking ability.

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Hold Position is a great PI. I have a narrow 4-4-2 diamond at the moment with a CM and BWM in the MC line. Both are on Support and so inevitably end up in the final third when we attack. I obviously didn't need that with three players up there already, so Hold Position on both sees them stay 5-10 yards deeper, which allows them to keep pressure up and offer passing options as we also Work Ball Into Box. It's so much easier to create good opportunities when players stretch play vertically AND horizontally.

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Hold Position is a great PI. I have a narrow 4-4-2 diamond at the moment with a CM and BWM in the MC line. Both are on Support and so inevitably end up in the final third when we attack. I obviously didn't need that with three players up there already, so Hold Position on both sees them stay 5-10 yards deeper, which allows them to keep pressure up and offer passing options as we also Work Ball Into Box. It's so much easier to create good opportunities when players stretch play vertically AND horizontally.

I'm also using a diamond and did the same with one of the CMs. It means that he's in a better position to cover for the more attacking fullback.

I'm using the PI on my support striker as well. He finds space between midfield and defense, creating chaos and it allows the AMC to break into the space he leaves up front.

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Excellent thread Cleon, enjoyed the read and decided to try and build a formation around it. (Note: I havent' read the 4 pages of comments incase I've missed anything in there).

I've opted to base i on the 442 Diamond Narrow formation, it has a lot of natural passing triangles and can overload the centre of the pitch relatively easy.

Formation:

f1mbpHW.png

TI:

5KaZnGh.png

My initial thoughts:

Naturally weak down the wings which is expected, I'll have to monitor that and see if my WB's are abused too often, potentially drop them back to FB for harder games. If they are, I may need to set MC to mark/close down the oppossing fullbacks (how do I actually do this in FM16? I can't find the instruction anywhere...)

Need to watch for my midfield potentially just standing on top of each other, I want to overload the centre but I don't want to be able to throw a blanket over 4/5 people.

MC roles - honestly wasn't sure what to go for in these so I went generic, I'm curious as to wether a BWM(S) might be worth trying so they are more likely to close down the opposition full backs.

DM I am very happy with so far, agree with your thoughts on what the DM(S) offers in terms of keeping possession.

Not sure on the AF(A), might be worth swapping him to a poacher so he is looks at getting on the end of through balls more often. Will test either way.

AMC hasn't really set the world on fire as of yet, will keep an eye on him though I've genuinely no idea what I'd swap it too. Probably just a generic AMC(S).

Once I'm happy with this I'll move onto your counter attacking thread as I need to work on my more defensive 4-1-4-1! I'm hoping to have 3 formations in rotation to make use of my brightest talents (4-4-2 Diamond / 4-1-4-1 Counter / 4-4-2...not sure what style though)

EDIT: Ignore player selection!

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edit instructions mate.

That only has the generic "Mark Tighter" rather than man mark, I assume if I put this on the MC, he'll mark an opposing MC instead of closing down the DL/DR? Would it be a combination of set mark tighter on the player instruction AND the opposition instruction?

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I have been reading this thread for a few days now. I am very interesting in creating a possession tactic with my current Arsenal Team. I wonder if you guys could look t my set up team shape and let me know if I on th right track.

I know I want to play a 4231 formation because that is what Arsenal plays and I need to make Ozil the focal point of my Team. I think it would be very difficult to find a new role for Ozil. He is one of the best number 10 in the game.

So this is how I propose to set up my team

GK - Defend

CD - Defend

CD Defend

WBL- Support

WBR - Attack

DMCL - Half back

DMCR - Regista

AMC - Attacking Midfielder Support

AML - Inside Forward Support Sanchez

AMR - Raumduter

ST - Advance Forward - GIroud

I plan on playing a Control And Fluid Team shape so that the team remains close together which will help with possession.

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Into my third season with Rangers and I've yet again tinkered with my tactics.

After winning the Premiership at the first time of asking I promptly sold my two best players for a combined £30m and then purchased this chap for £8m.

21777ba9-3622-4e7c-b30f-b8bac605d85e_zpsdq6fenht.png

Intending to play him as a false nine I then had him learn the 'comes deep to get ball' ppm. He has been nothing short of a revelation. His PPM combination means that he picks the ball up in midfield, or in the space between the opposition midfield and defence, and goes on a mazy run before playing a killer pass or scoring himself. Essentially, he's a poor man's Messi.

Here's my tactic as it stands:

c07a5e8e-d736-4bcd-934f-855214bc0780_zpshgvs5cmk.png

At the start of the season I had a DLP(s) and CM(a) in midfield, along with a HB(d). I also had a WB(a) and WB(s) rather than the two fullbacks I have now. The reason I changed it is quite simple. While we were dominating possession, we lacked a cutting edge, not to mentioned being quite vulnerable on the counter, especially against teams playing two upfront. Furthermore, the halfback wasn't really working anymore - he was just getting in the way and dragging our midfielders too deep during buildup. It had also become readily apparent that we were pushing too many players forward too quickly. The attacking fullbacks were making our buildup play too direct, and the result was that too often the midfield and the F9 were bypassed in favour of wing play. Switching to fullbacks instead of wingbacks has rectified this problem. We look much more balanced and patient going forward. Finally, the reason I switched my DLP(s) to a AP(s) is that I wanted my midfield closer to my front three.

Possession numbers are still good, averaging around 65% in the league. In the Champions League we did ok - between 55 to 60% depending on the quality of the opposition. In the groups stages I was drawn against Real Madrid, Man City and Lyon. Against Real and City we could only marginally dominate possession as the gulf in quality was a bit silly. Against Lyon we did much better, we managed 61% possession away from home. Results wise we also did reasonably well, attaining home wins against Real and Lyon and a home draw against City. Two defeats away to Real and City however saw us dumped into the Europa League. If I want to progress I'm going to need to increase the quality of players at my disposal. Overall though, I really enjoy the style of football my team plays at the moment.

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No-one is posting any tactic for anyone to download in this thread. Take it to a PM instead. You fail to grasp the whole point of the thread and the concepts behind it.

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i didnt want to disturb anyonei just need help with tactic. like i said i have poss but no att chances.can anyone help how to creat chances?

Theres no 1 answer fits all. It depends on the tactic and players within it.

if you make a topic showing your tactic and describing the problems (or screenshots of how moves typically end with no chance) then yes.

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That only has the generic "Mark Tighter" rather than man mark, I assume if I put this on the MC, he'll mark an opposing MC instead of closing down the DL/DR? Would it be a combination of set mark tighter on the player instruction AND the opposition instruction?

You'llhave the option to specific mark on match day.

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I won't be posting my tactic for download. Nor will I respond to PM's about it.

Also, please don't just mindlessly copy what I or anyone else does. Think about what you're doing and why. The reason I post in this thread is to share ideas and experiences with regards to my attempts to play possession football. My experience is likely to be different from yours. My tactic is built specifically for my team and the specific context we find ourselves in.

If you need help then provide some details and people will be willing to lend a hand.

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So, just come to the end of preseason and experiencing decent results with the 442 diamond as shown in my earlier post:

Formation & Team Instructions

Flanks don't seem completely abandoned, the CM-S on support duty do a relatively good job of moving over without being specifically told too.

The only thinking I'm noticing is little influence from the AMC, for an AP he seems to be doing a lot of side ways passing and isn't chipping in with the assists I expected. I'm wondering if he's perhaps occupying too much of the space that the DLF-S wants thus is being "missed out" at times, I've watched the games but struggling to identify exactly what is wrong / not seeing (mainly as the preseason friendlies are against lower opposition so we are winning regardless).

I'll continue to monitor for the first few league games (i'll be rotating between this, a 442 direct wing play and a 4141 counter) and see if I can spot what is causing the issue. My initial thoughts would be to either:

-set both ST to AF(A) to free up the space for the AMC AP(S) to do more work but may compromise link up play and push the defensive line too deep to get behind.

-Set the AMC to a more aggressive role rather than a playmaker, let the DLF create and get him pushing forward as a Shadow Striker or standard attacking midfielder?

-Give the AMC a bit more freedom to roam but by standard the Advanced Playermaker (Support) has hold position on... could perhaps add "move into channels" but not sure.

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How much are people altering their tactic to play away from home? I've seeing great success at home, usually losing maybe 1-2 per season but away from home its about 50/50. I've had some away games where i've looked like the home team with 70% possession, more shots etc at other times i'm getting hit 4-0 or something along those lines.

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