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Cleon

The Art of Possession Football

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1. When you initially set up your possession system, did you ever worry that you'd be able to score enough goals / create enough chances? A lot of times teams in real life that try to play this way end up with loads of the ball, and lose 1-0 (looking at you Van Gaal!)

No never! Because as I go along I tweak and change things so the system as a whole works. If I'd have struggled for goals I'd have looked at reasons why. Was it because a lack of supply? Was it a lack of support? Was it a lack of having enough bodies forward and so on. If you just create a system straight off and don't tweak it or evolve as you go along then you will struggle but, I am always working on the end product and style.

I'm currently in the middle of an exciting post-winter update save using Schalke. I love their youth and passing ability. Seemed a quality fit for possession football with a lot of room to improve. However, I've felt that we've struggled to score at times. I've gone back and forth and I'm thinking it could be either: relying too much on wide attackers (4-1-2-2-1 formation) or having crap strikers like Di Santo and an aging Klass Jaan Huntelaar

Huntelaar is very good so his age shouldn't be an issue. I'd first start by looking at the things I mentioned in the first question I answered.

That being said, I've also probably overlooked the importance of NOT using a pure holding player in the middle. In your set up you've got a DM-S, in mine I've used a DM-D (most of the time).

It depends on what roles and duties you've used in the tactic. In most cases a more defending DM is a perfect fit. especially if the roles and duties you've used are aggressive. If they're not then he can be a little bit more adventurous. The way I normally set up a DM if I'm not wanting him to be a playmaker is very simple and like this;

Aggressive roles and duties = a defensive DM

Conservative roles and duties = a supportive midfielder

This allows the DM to either protect the defence in aggressive systems or in a conservative one, allows him to step up and defend from slightly higher which is more beneficial for the team as a whole.

What's really concerning is the inconsistency. Last game before the winter break we win 3-0 comfortably at home. We destroy a few middle-eastern teams in the winter training camp, draw 0-0 twice, and then 1-1, then manage to win 3-1, and 3-0 to kick off the second half, and then drop 4 straight games 0-1, including being knocked out of the Europa League.. 4 straight 0-1 defeats! The inconsistency is killing me. I hate it. I don't know what on earth is going on but I'll figure it out, I guess.

You should never count results in preseason or training camps they mean nothing. The players play the games differently and know they're not competitive. So even a 20-0 scoreline means nothings really. I only ever focus on fitness during this time and never anything else. It's why I always stress how important the first 3 competitive games are and always advise any changes/notes should be done during this period and not at any other time, so you get a true reflection of how your system works.

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No never! Because as I go along I tweak and change things so the system as a whole works. If I'd have struggled for goals I'd have looked at reasons why. Was it because a lack of supply? Was it a lack of support? Was it a lack of having enough bodies forward and so on. If you just create a system straight off and don't tweak it or evolve as you go along then you will struggle but, I am always working on the end product and style.

Huntelaar is very good so his age shouldn't be an issue. I'd first start by looking at the things I mentioned in the first question I answered.

It depends on what roles and duties you've used in the tactic. In most cases a more defending DM is a perfect fit. especially if the roles and duties you've used are aggressive. If they're not then he can be a little bit more adventurous. The way I normally set up a DM if I'm not wanting him to be a playmaker is very simple and like this;

Aggressive roles and duties = a defensive DM

Conservative roles and duties = a supportive midfielder

This allows the DM to either protect the defence in aggressive systems or in a conservative one, allows him to step up and defend from slightly higher which is more beneficial for the team as a whole.

You should never count results in preseason or training camps they mean nothing. The players play the games differently and know they're not competitive. So even a 20-0 scoreline means nothings really. I only ever focus on fitness during this time and never anything else. It's why I always stress how important the first 3 competitive games are and always advise any changes/notes should be done during this period and not at any other time, so you get a true reflection of how your system works.

You're right about friendlies, I just threw that in there because it felt like we were on the right track, combined with the previous few results before the break.

In my system I use a full back - attack so the DM-D seems a natural fit to help protect the back 4 in this case.

What's really bugging me is the sheer amount of chances that are not taken. At least, in the first half of the season anyway. We created a lot, but weren't converting. Now it seems like we just struggle to create much to begin with.

Anyway, thanks for your input. I'm going back to the drawing board and seeing if I can get this team firing again.

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Hi everyone,

Being bored and at work, seems to go hand in hand really. So I started thinking about my Crewe savegame I started last night and wandered around this forum for a bit until I found this thread. Being a huge fan of possesion orientated tactic I immediately started playing around with ideas in my head. As I'm at work for another couple hours I can't test anything myself so just wondering if someone could look at it and spot any obvious flaws. Also, as I'm Dutch and dont have the game running right now, I might translate things a bit different than they actually are ingame.

I'm planning on using a Control Mentality and a Very Structured system

Teaminstructions: play from the back, close down much more, be more expressive, retain possesion, lower tempo, and roam from position

My setup:

Goalkeeper (defend) with PI's roll it out, fewer riskier passes, and distribute to fullbacks

Wing back on the right (support)

Central defender (defend)

Central defender (defend)

Full back on the left (support)

All midfielders are in the midfield strata

Box to Box midfielder on the right (support) with Pi shoot less

Deep lying midfielder in the middle (defend) with pi close down less

Roaming playmaker on the left (support) with pi shoot less

Raumdeuter on the right (attack)

False 9 on top (support) with PI shoot less

Inside forward on the left (support) with PI shoot less

Any feedback or idea's are appreciated!

Thanks in advance

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Hi Cleon. I have a tecnical question for you.

You have stated that Ozil retrained is the perfect false 9 in a system like yours. Now, likewise, would it be far fetched to say have a Lewandowski or similar kind of striker as your inside forward, and for this type of adaptation, would they be heavily penalised while being retrained or do you think they could perform well straight away?

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Sorry mate, I didn't see the last message, apologies. I've got a bit of time off now so I'll look at getting a write-up done sharpish and posted.

Hi Ben, I hit you in private message ;)

I think I'm not the one to wait your write-up since December ! Lol.

Your amount of passes and possession is incredible !

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My IF's always end up like your second screenshot.When i want them to be where your WM's are.If only i can get to where you don't want to be LOL.

This hasn't been fixed, has it?

I want my inside forward to receive the ball wide and then cut inside , not get sucked in extremely narrow so 90% of the passes from central midfield go to the fullback who then crosses it it or not or which results in a goal or not.

I find it impossible to play the kind of football I like to see with this version of the match engine, I dont want to score the majority of goals from crosses or second ball, the way wide players behave has serious issues.

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On my Schalke save which I've taken a break from, I can achieve a big amount of possession/passes per game which I didn't think was possible with how this years match engine works. But my main issue remains, I don't like the passing choices, especially in decisive moments. It's possession football but not the kind of possession football I want, nor instructing in my TI's/PI's. It's really stupid how many balls are played to fullbacks/wingbacks, I've tried all kinds of things to stop it but they just seem like a magnet for central players to pass to. So many potential combinations through the middle are stopped because of these incessant passes to fullbacks.

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89F79B0CBC68D16A5FA41A38128B5D9E1CD6C7A3

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And as you can see, another big problem we have is scoring more than 1 goal but that's another thing I blame these passes out to fullbacks on since so many opportunities to combine through the middle go wasted. Most attacks will end with my fullback kicking the ball into an opponent to get a corner which I really don't want.

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You've not shown what formations you use.

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On my Schalke save which I've taken a break from, I can achieve a big amount of possession/passes per game which I didn't think was possible with how this years match engine works. But my main issue remains, I don't like the passing choices, especially in decisive moments. It's possession football but not the kind of possession football I want, nor instructing in my TI's/PI's. It's really stupid how many balls are played to fullbacks/wingbacks, I've tried all kinds of things to stop it but they just seem like a magnet for central players to pass to. So many potential combinations through the middle are stopped because of these incessant passes to fullbacks.

And as you can see, another big problem we have is scoring more than 1 goal but that's another thing I blame these passes out to fullbacks on since so many opportunities to combine through the middle go wasted. Most attacks will end with my fullback kicking the ball into an opponent to get a corner which I really don't want.

This is exactly my problem as well, what kind of formation do you use? 41221?

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I guess it comes to what your priorities are JimmyG

- No. of Passes completed

- Possession %

- Shots on target (or at least % of shot on target against total shots)

I've always managed to accomplish 2 out of these 3 in various permutations ... just not all 3 :)

I've settled for sacrificing number of passes.

We all know that there are teams (Barca, Bayern and Arsenal spring to mind) that regularly achieve all 3 but I'm yet to see this be reproduced in FM16

(hope to be pleasantly surprised though with someone advising it is possible!!)

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Number of passes is pointless in FM due to how possession works in FM.

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You've not shown what formations you use.
This is exactly my problem as well, what kind of formation do you use? 41221?

It starts with a bog standard 4-1-4-1, sometimes 4-1-2-2-1. But I change the player roles in nearly every game, sometimes the formation, depending on the opponent defensive formation.

I guess it comes to what your priorities are JimmyG

- No. of Passes completed

- Possession %

- Shots on target (or at least % of shot on target against total shots)

I don't prioritise any of them 3 things above positioning. I'm trying a positional play style and possession is just the best tool to use to set out your stall/attacking shape.

I've had a really hard time getting the sort of positioning I want from the player roles available though. The main issue being the spacing between the players, especially for CM's. A simple CM-S role worked well on FM 15 but they look completely different to me on 16, they play too near the ball & run into the box too much after passing wide. Nearly every role go towards the man in-possession too much and ruin the connection between the players. I've tried all kinds of combinations and reached the conclusion that the BWM role is best for my 2 CM's ahead of the CDM because they don't follow the ball as much and position themselves between opponent lines more than other roles, but they're still not ideal. They still do these constant passes out to the fullbacks like every role does.

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I find very interesting the ideas of this thread and that's why I started a save with a top team with players suited IMO to this style of play and tactic (Man City). My biggest problem so far has been breaking the defensive sides. I play on comprehensive highlights in order to observe and take the required actions. So, when I'm facing this kind of opposition (more often because of the club reputation), I usually do the following:

1. I change to a lower mentality in order to give my players more room to dictate the game without being suffocated by the opponent.

2. If I see that this doesn't work and they clear the ball to their forwards in counter attempts, I push up the defensive line to take out their forwards out of the game.

These are the main things I do but I have the impression that sometimes we lack penetration. That's when I replace the IF and bring on a winger for a more direct approach. Also, sometimes when camping in their half I instructed them to work ball into box which I now know that it was a mistake on my behalf because if they defend deep this shout provides you with a toothless team. I'm reluctant in changing the width and I prefer doing this just by a simple role change. The link up between the players is good and we easily bring the ball near the final third. That's were my headache starts and I'm running out of ideas. Any thoughts on this, Cleon? :)

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You play "wider", narrow or balanced? It is difficult to interpret this in FM because one of the fundamentals of positional play is the amplitud. I was watching the Bayern game, I see that in the first third of the team is narrow with full backs inside and the last third is wider with the wingers stepping on the line. in your opinion, how would that be in FM?

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These type of threads are a important and helpful tool for all of us FM users / managers. So, first of all I would like to express my thanks to Cleon for being available to share his knowledge, for his help and also his patiente because, as users, sometimes we are "difficult" :D

I also would like to ask Cleon if he is available to share some suggested tweaks with different Mentalities like Counter and Standard. It would provide a more complete tool and base work for all of us to develop and work on.

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These type of threads are a important and helpful tool for all of us FM users / managers. So, first of all I would like to express my thanks to Cleon for being available to share his knowledge, for his help and also his patiente because, as users, sometimes we are "difficult" :D

I also would like to ask Cleon if he is available to share some suggested tweaks with different Mentalities like Counter and Standard. It would provide a more complete tool and base work for all of us to develop and work on.

I've done threads for all mentality types. The changes you make and why all depend on the brand of football you are creating and what's happening in a game. The question is far too broad with too many possibilities to do any kind of suggestion because it all depends on what you the user are creating and why.

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I've done threads for all mentality types. The changes you make and why all depend on the brand of football you are creating and what's happening in a game. The question is far too broad with too many possibilities to do any kind of suggestion because it all depends on what you the user are creating and why.

Yes, sure :). I was focusing on the subject of this thread and it came to my mind the wwfan thread from a few years starting from a Counter mentality, with less risk on player decisions due to the lower mentality, but curiously with more attacking duties.

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You wouldn't believe how much this thread has helped me. I've slowly over the last few days made my way through every single post.

I was having a pretty stinky run in my 18/19 season. I wasn't happy with the way my team played, and results were extremely inconsistent. After applying what I thought would work based on the feedback / suggestions in this thread I ended up winning the league and Champions League. I even came behind from 2-0 down to beat Barcelona 5-2 on aggregate.

My issue is with the role of my right wide midfielder, and his lack of goals / assists. I'm grinding out results at the minute, which I understand is a result of my possession based tactic - but if my CS(S) doesn't score I'm pretty much stuck for goals elsewhere, so I really need / want whoever I choose here to be more effective then they currently are.

I was hoping someone would be able to help me with this and possibly shed some light on how I can improve this position.

Thanks.

A couple of notes:

WM(L) has the PI's of a IF(A)

WM® has the PI's of a WP(S)

WB(S) has the PI's of a CWB (Minus the roam from position)

CS(S) has the PI Move in to Channels

Liverpool_Senior_Fixtures_2.png

Liverpool_Overview_2.png

Roberto_Firmino_Overview_Profile.png

[imghttp://s32.postimg.org/jv2ou5d51/Roberto_Firmino_Reports_Stats.png[/img]

Lu_s_Henrique_Overview_Profile.png

Lu_s_Henrique_Reports_Stats.png

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You've set him up as a wide playmaker so he isn't realistically going to grab many goals is he? Another reason he won't be scoring or assiting many is you use a proper playmaker next to him and he will be attracting the ball from the players around him and this includes the WM on the right side. If you want goals and assists from him then you need to change the role of the central player in order to allow him to have someone to feed in and play the ball to, rather than someone along side him who demands the ball from him as often as possible.

You have two options;

Change the wide players role to be more attacking.

Change the RPM into a role that isn't a playmaker.

Either change should improve the situation.

I can understand why if the CF doesn't score you struggle, the tactic is quite conservative without many real runners from midfield. You don't really have anyone going past the CF regular. The B2B midfielder will do this but it depends on where he is starting from. As he's box to box its possible he is deep at times so can't support attacks or get advanced high up the pitch quick enough. This becomes more of an issue because you have a lone striker and instructed him to move into the channels but he has no initial support. Yes you have a inside forward set up on the left but it's not enough imo.

I'd change the RPM to maybe a CM attack so he focuses on attacking play instead. I'd keep the B2B even though I said all that above, as if you change the other midfielder instead it gives you greater versatility and attacking intent. I'd look at removing move into channels too, you don't really want the striker out wide and drifting in this sort of system, it doesn't make much sense as he isn't creating space for anyone to use. He's drifting for the sake of it. When he drifts into the channels you have no-one attacking the middle. You want your striker to be a threat and he can't do this out wide in a lone striker system.

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You've set him up as a wide playmaker so he isn't realistically going to grab many goals is he? Another reason he won't be scoring or assiting many is you use a proper playmaker next to him and he will be attracting the ball from the players around him and this includes the WM on the right side. If you want goals and assists from him then you need to change the role of the central player in order to allow him to have someone to feed in and play the ball to, rather than someone along side him who demands the ball from him as often as possible.

You have two options;

Change the wide players role to be more attacking.

Change the RPM into a role that isn't a playmaker.

Either change should improve the situation.

I can understand why if the CF doesn't score you struggle, the tactic is quite conservative without many real runners from midfield. You don't really have anyone going past the CF regular. The B2B midfielder will do this but it depends on where he is starting from. As he's box to box its possible he is deep at times so can't support attacks or get advanced high up the pitch quick enough. This becomes more of an issue because you have a lone striker and instructed him to move into the channels but he has no initial support. Yes you have a inside forward set up on the left but it's not enough imo.

I'd change the RPM to maybe a CM attack so he focuses on attacking play instead. I'd keep the B2B even though I said all that above, as if you change the other midfielder instead it gives you greater versatility and attacking intent. I'd look at removing move into channels too, you don't really want the striker out wide and drifting in this sort of system, it doesn't make much sense as he isn't creating space for anyone to use. He's drifting for the sake of it. When he drifts into the channels you have no-one attacking the middle. You want your striker to be a threat and he can't do this out wide in a lone striker system.

Oh man, maybe I should proof-read my own posts. It's the WM(A) on the left that's set up with the PI's of an IF(A) - It's him I want as the main goal scoring threat, not the WM(S) on the right, although your point about him being set up next to a RPM is a valid one and something I'll look to change in my next match.

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Oh man, maybe I should proof-read my own posts. It's the WM(A) on the left that's set up with the PI's of an IF(A) - It's him I want as the main goal scoring threat, not the WM(S) on the right, although your point about him being set up next to a RPM is a valid one and something I'll look to change in my next match.

In that case, swap the two central midfielders around. Use a creative player or a role who doesn't venture forward much on the same side as the IF. This will allow the midfielder to feed him the ball and play him in, rather than running into his space and restricting it. On the other side of the pitch, do the reverse. Have a central runner being fed the ball by the creative player on the wing. This offers you much better balance and gives you better overall play. Personally I'd maybe have a DLP SUPPORT on the left and a CM ATTACK next to him. That's how I'd do it to hopefully get a better goal return. You don't really need a B2B player when you have a DMC behind, it allows you to have a more forward thinking player, rather than a workhorse who is up and down the pitch constant. Having a CM will allow him to focus on the final third instead, which is where you lack numbers and bodies imo and is the reason you don't score many or are having issues.

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Cleon what is your opinion for the roles in a 4-2-3-1 wide. What are the main characterstics my players need to have and what roles-PI's for a balanced play(coming from the middle and the flanks). Is it good to have my lone striker moving into channels if i have an attacking player behind him on the 10 role and similar players on the flanks( i suppose it is)

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Apart from busily trying to get myself sacked at Saint-Etienne, my main project at present is developing a 3-1-4-2 Regista system with Valencia (which I may do a full write up on soon-ish).

This is the basic formation:

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The reason for posting this here is to demonstrate how, using a completely different formation whilst staying true to the principles outlined by Cleon, we can achieve this type of thing:

259bb08.png

This is still very early season using a tactic that isn't fully fluid - albeit away from home against lower quality opposition. I'm probably still erring a bit on the side of too much possession at the moment but despite that, the Control mentality (experimenting with Attacking as well) helps to keep a focus on worthwhile possession.

It's also interesting to note how completely un-overpowered crossing is here (blue boxes above), despite only having one wide player per flank (right flank attack duty, left flank support duty).

Great article Cleon.

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That's a very interesting system you've got there, herne. Too bad you can't try this out with Saint-Etienne. Might save your job.

Question about your setup: is the Regista a role you can use in possession based systems? I don't have much experience with them, but my first thought would be that they like taking risks with the ball too much. Otherwise, playing one might help me keeping a job at Saint Etienne.

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That's a very interesting system you've got there, herne. Too bad you can't try this out with Saint-Etienne. Might save your job.

Question about your setup: is the Regista a role you can use in possession based systems? I don't have much experience with them, but my first thought would be that they like taking risks with the ball too much. Otherwise, playing one might help me keeping a job at Saint Etienne.

There's no reason why you can't use any type of role in a possession based system, so long as you don't go overboard in using them - too many players making too many risky passes won't always end well.

So long as the system is balanced, it's fine. In that tactic above, the Regista is the only defined playmaker in the team, and whilst he'll obviously make some risky passes, most of his passing is just like anyone else's - short and unrisky. He just attracts the ball a lot due to his defined role, and as he has all sorts of passing options open to him, he rarely gives the ball away. Parejo is my usual choice for the role, and he has well over 80% pass completion rate.

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I think an important issue is that possession football has a strong connection with the defensive organization / shape, when the team is not in possession, and people only think the other way around, what to do with ball. I don't know what's the general opinion, but for me it seems players are a bit soft closing down and tackling. This last one could maybe be improved with Tackle Harder instruction, but then it would also lead to several yellow and red cards, as for closing down I gave up using close down more and much more because in Player Instructions, players only close down less (when they should close down sometimes, as sometimes being equal do the team instruction), so I'm sticking with TI Close Down Sometimes and then increase it on player instructions. Nevertheless, it would be nice someone to address the defensive organization because, let's be clear, possession is just a consequence of positional playing and positional playing is a defensive play (the team defends with the ball). Also, player attributes should have more impact during matches, at least it's something that should be more clearer.

As for player roles and duties, a lot of support is needed because support duties have Dribble More instruction not active and the idea is to pass the ball around a lot (players facing Barcelona in the old days stated they became a lot tired because of being kept running after the ball) and also because the players are more close to each other. I wouldn't use Roaming from Positions because it might cause gaps that the opposition might explore easily and I'm remembering Thierry Henry's lecture about this stating that Guardiola wanted players to stick to their positions.

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Hi everyone, first time poster but long time FMer here.

First off kudos Cleon this was an absolutely fantastic article and straight away I was interested to see how I could make it work in the lower reaches of the English footballing ladder.

I took over my local-ish team Hemel Hempstead and set out to implement this tactic with the same roles.

I am about two thirds through my first season and have the possession nailed down.

Here are a few things I have noticed so far:

- Possession is very solid, 78% pass completion, 58% average possession and over 3000 passes more than any other side in the league.

- I perhaps don't score as many goals as I would like, lying 6th in the league for goals scored. This doesn't have such a big impact because of my defensive strength. I think this may be being caused by the fact that my F9 isn't entirely suited to the role and I think he will be the first player I replace. He isn't creative enough and as such doesn't provide for my BBM and IF.

- As mentioned above my defence is very resolute, I have only conceded 25 goals in 34 games, which isn't bad going for a Conference South team.

- Individual player stats wise; I have the top three players in terms of Key Passes, my RP, AP and RB. I also have the top five players in terms of Pass Completion. Both of which bode very well.

- I also noticed that my team has the most dribbles completed per game, which at first I was a little bit miffed about as I don't particularly want my team dribbling too often, I even contemplated employing the dribble less TI, however after a bit of thought I realised that maybe this stat is slightly inflated just because of our dominance in possession. Has anyone else experienced this? If so have you been happy to leave it as is?

- A bit of proof that the star ratings and role and duty suitability are largely nonsense: my RP has a two bar suitability for the role and only a 3.5* ability rating when playing there. However he has an average rating of 8.14 from 39 games in all comps. It is all about making sure your player has the attributes to play the role.

I have been making minor tweaks to the tactic as and when has been needed, things like pushing the line a bit higher when teams are trying to park the bus against us, so that we can really trap them in their own half and give them no way out, thus maintaining pressure that not many teams can withstand. I have also, on some occasions, changed my IF to an attack duty, to try and get him to support the F9 a bit more. Lastly at times I have changed my left full back to attack so that my IF has an option outside him when he has cut inside.

Has anyone else had success with this in the lower leagues?

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So I just upgraded from 13 to 16, and boy have things changed.

I'm scared now, I'm about to make the jump from 14 to 16!

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I'm about to make the same jump too...

Hey mate, when are you buying it? We could do a dual save, so we both start a new game with the same team and update a shared thread other at the update section.

What do you think?

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Hey mate, when are you buying it? We could do a dual save, so we both start a new game with the same team and update a shared thread other at the update section.

What do you think?

I just bought it on Steam. 66% off! That seems like a cool idea, but I don't get to play much... I will follow your thread though and maybe start my own! :)

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Cleon , which Prefered Moves would be the best for the F9 ? I started with HSV and Drmic is not bad but in many many situations you can see that there are wrong decisions and a lot more possible . thx in advance

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On my Schalke save which I've taken a break from, I can achieve a big amount of possession/passes per game which I didn't think was possible with how this years match engine works. But my main issue remains, I don't like the passing choices, especially in decisive moments. It's possession football but not the kind of possession football I want, nor instructing in my TI's/PI's. It's really stupid how many balls are played to fullbacks/wingbacks, I've tried all kinds of things to stop it but they just seem like a magnet for central players to pass to. So many potential combinations through the middle are stopped because of these incessant passes to fullbacks.

And as you can see, another big problem we have is scoring more than 1 goal but that's another thing I blame these passes out to fullbacks on since so many opportunities to combine through the middle go wasted. Most attacks will end with my fullback kicking the ball into an opponent to get a corner which I really don't want.

I have the exact same issue. I am playing as Juventus. I am running a short passing possession based tactic similar to the tika taka. I have an issue with how my players are passing the ball. They are always looking to pass to the wing backs and not passing it through the middle, like I want them to do. My wing backs finish the game with the most passes, 80+ each per game, while my "main" playmaker may make around 50 to 60 passes per game.

Sweeper Keeper(s)

Ball Playing Defender(S) - Central Defender(D)

Wing Back(S) - Wing Back (S)

Half Back(S)

Roam Playmaker(S)- Central Midfielder(S) - Advanced Playmaker(AT)

Poacher(AT) - False 9(S)

Instructions

- Very Fluid

- Control

- Slow Tempo

- Farley rare time wasting

- Higher Defensive Line

- Wide width

- Closing Down More

- Prevent Short Kick distribution

- Tight Marking

- Short Passing

- Retain possession

- Be More Expressive

- Play out of defense

- Work the Ball into the box

- Dribble less

- Exploit the middle

I have tried just about everything, wide width, narrow width, play out of defense, remove play out of defense, exploit the middle and remove exploit the middle. They always seem to pass the ball to wing back or cross it to the wing back from the other flank. What can I do to prevent this and I have them play through the middle like I want them to?

I have also noticed the midfield always seem to be too close to each other even when I play a wide width. Is there a reason for this or a glitch in the engine?

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Juventus,

It looks like you a playing a diamond formation. In any formation players are going to pass to wherever they see players in space. In this system naturally going to be the wing backs.

Cleon recently had a thread on the diamond. It kind of fizzled out but it might be worth you bumping that one as you might be able to incorporate some of those ideas into your possession tactic.

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This is what I'm using at FC Porto and what I call "dominating possession".

My team is set to Counter / Flexible, Pay Out of Defence, Work Ball into the Box, Retain Possession, Higher Defensive Line, Prevent GK Distribution, Mark Tighter, Use Offside Trap, Dribble Less, Mixed Passing, Close Down Sometimes (and I customized it in Player Instructions).

abLoJAVafi.png

Now:

1- Are we leaking goals ? No

2- Are we dominating possession ? yes, 65-70% most matches, above 70% during first 45 minutes

3- Are we moving the ball around a lot ? yes, mostly around 600-700 passes with passing accuracy between 85-90%

4- Are creating chances ? yes, 2 or 3 ccc's and a few half chances

Example:

FC_Porto_West_Ham_United_Geral_Vista_Geral.png

FC_Porto_West_Ham_United_Estat_sticas_Estat_s.png

Counter allows my players to move the ball more patiently and I leave Tempo set to normal, which I believe tells the players when to ease and when speed up. I decided to use mixed passing because: 1) retain possession decreases through balls and 2) I want to speed things up in the final third, so my IFs and False 9 have mixed passing and the rest of the team has short passing.

9 team instructions are quite enough, but if I feel a need something more during a match I use a combination of these: roam from positions, be more expressive, pass into space and in more drastic situations I remove work ball into the box.

Problems:

yeah, nothing is everlasting good :) so I'm still exploring where and when the team can improve, I'm starting a second testing save and I get a lot of results of 1-0, 0-0, 1-1, 2-1 although the team has a good amount of shots, very few long shots and we are creating chances to score. So, suggestions and ideas are welcome.

edit: forgot to mention that I alternate the DM position between the DLP (d) and HB (d) according to the player that occupies that position and the tactical setup of the opponent, also alternate the left WB duty (support or attack) and the IF on the same side (support or attack).

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pedro - I also experimented for a while in my 4123 possession system at Valencia with an AP/DLP combination in central midfield. Whilst I enjoyed the interactive play generated by these two, and the variety of passing created, I found I lacked a viable runner from deep as a goal threat. This made me overly reliant on just my front 3 players to score goals.

I switched my AP(attack) to a CM(attack) and gave him the PI "More Risky Passes". For me this changed him into a much better goal threat from deep, but also retained much of his passing flair in the final third. André Gomes turned into quite the superstar player for me in this role, to give you an idea of the player I used.

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That might be it herne, I have been trusting my IFs and F9 to be the goal threat, with the CWB /WB combo providing the width to stretch the opponents while the IFs sit narrow in order to dragg the opponent's FBs. My AP (a) has a PI to get forward, positioning himself up field in order to make a better a link with the F9, perhaps he's being more a creator (as supposed to) and less a goal threat like the MC (a) would be. Going to try that idea also :thup:

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Juventus,

It looks like you a playing a diamond formation. In any formation players are going to pass to wherever they see players in space. In this system naturally going to be the wing backs.

Cleon recently had a thread on the diamond. It kind of fizzled out but it might be worth you bumping that one as you might be able to incorporate some of those ideas into your possession tactic.

I am not playing the diamond formation. I playing a 4-1-3-2, 1 dm and 3 cm's. They always pass it to the wb even when the cm's are open. Should I have all my cm's roam from position?

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I am not playing the diamond formation. I playing a 4-1-3-2, 1 dm and 3 cm's. They always pass it to the wb even when the cm's are open. Should I have all my cm's roam from position?

If anything, that may make it worse. They may well just all look for the same spaces to move into, so will be more on top of each other. Not sure if CMs can still be asked to drift wider into channels, but that may be an option.

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If anything, that may make it worse. They may well just all look for the same spaces to move into, so will be more on top of each other. Not sure if CMs can still be asked to drift wider into channels, but that may be an option.

Do you have any suggestions on how I can fix this? A lot of times the midfielders are open and they pass to the wing back or cross to other flank. Then, at times they pass the ball to wing back at kick off.

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I'm currently trying to recreate IRL Luis Henrique Barcelona tactics and using slightly different approach - I prefer very fluid philosophy since this is the only way to minimize gaps between mentalities of defenders midfielders and forwards. And the less these gaps are - the more compact is the team vertically which is crucial for short passing style.

I'm using 4-3-3 formation and still experimenting with width and player roles. But other instructions are quite obvious for passing-based possession style - less dribbling, shorter passes, be more expressive, retain possession, high deffensive line, high closing down, play out of defence, work ball into the box, roam from positions. As for the tempo - I prefer it to be higher. The faster players deal with the ball - the less time opposition has to close them down and to cover all passing options. Of course high tempo is suitable for world-class players only.

Mentality - I prefer Defensive or Counter, it results low-risk approach, slow attack build-up (more Guardiola style), less risky forward passes, thus - higher passes competition percentage and higher possession.

What I'm struggling with is and attacking third positions and roles. As far as we know Barca plays with Suarez in center, Neymar on left flank and Messi on the right (usually roaming to the center to "#10" position). But analyzing average positions of these players in some matches we can see them playing rather as three FCs than as AML FC AMR (or even AML and two FCs):

RI6NoRB.png

jRSTlIz.png

8HbEEJU.png

bgWIiih.png

So, I have the following options to play in an attacking third:

1. AML (Neymar - Inside forward), FC (Suarez - complete forward or deep-lying forward), AMR (Messi - Advanced playmaker). With this option I play with narrow width, trying to make the team as compact horizontally as possible. And still I have to0 many gaps on the field between players.

2. FC (Neymar - False 9), FC (Suarez - complete forward), FC (Messi - False 9 or trequartista), With this option I can play with much wider instruction and it provides space for full-backs to bring more width to the attack. Moreover, this formation gives me an option to play through the middle and use "Pass into space" instruction - it provides killer balls to the penalty area where any of three FCs can run onto it. The team is much more dangerous in the attack with this option.

3. AML (Neymar - Inside forward), FC (Suarez - complete forward), FC (Messi - False 9 or trequartista). Mix of two previous options.

4. Similar strikeless options - AMC AMC AMC or AML AMC AMR. It decreases gaps between the attach and midfield even more and the team becomes very compact in the attack but less dangerous, resulting less number of shots.

So, what option do you think is more suitable? I'm still experimenting with them, 'cause currently none of them satisfies me.

Another problem I'm struggling with is to reach high enough number of passes. IRL Barcelona has 650+ completed passes per game in average (700+ or even 750+ in certain games). I usually have no more than 600 completed passes (from what I saw on the screenshots provided above - it's quite possible to find 100-150 more passes).

In midfield I use three players in a line (to make them more compact) - MCL (Iniesta - Advanced Playmaker, support or attack), MC (Buskets - Deep-lying playmaker, defend), MCR (Racitic - Deep-lying playmaker, support or Advanced Playmaker, support). I tried different formations and roles of these three but had no success to get more than 600-620 completed passes per game. Honestly, I'm out of ideas what else to try to increase number of passes. I believe having all the players "rarely runs with the ball" PPM would help to achieve it, but there should be something else with tactical instructions.

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I am working on this tactic right now.

 

Sheffield_Wednesday___Overview.png

 

I intend to go 4-1-4-1 soon as I believe it could help me better with both defending and collecting the ball from deep, but right now I am using this.

There are a couple of things I am still undecided about. On the AML, the IF on Attack duty is a decent choice, but it means that he won't track back very often so he might stay quite high on the field which I am not entirely sure that could benefit the system. I think I might change Alex Lopez on Support duty. On the AMR, I picked a Winger role which is by default more direct and they put in more crosses and dribble more, but I thought it would be better to use a little bit of diversity in the tactic and keep the width on the right flank. Besides, my CM (A) would have got in the way of the AMR player if I had put him on IF (S).

I have selected PIs rather than TIs when it comes to adjusting the tactic, so the forward, side midfielders and CM (A) have Roam from Position, Close Down More, Shot Less Often (where possible) and Cross Less Often (where possible). Now, while I am looking to maintain a solid amount of possession (anything over 56% is good), I am still looking to have some British elements in the tactic, hence the Winger role on the right flank and for example didn't pick up the TI "Work Ball into the Box" but instead chose a PI for each player I thought would be wasteful.

So far we've played only friendlies (still got one left to play) then we start the Championship season and on average, the possession was around 53% or so which is not exactly what I want. 

What do you think about the tactic? Any massive unbalance or problems with it?

Edited by kristalshards

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Looks fairly balanced, the DM-S is the first thing i'd watch for.  Not sure I like using PI's so much before you've got into proper matches to analyse.

You have more penetration than i'd expect for a "possession" style with IF-A, CM-A and W-S.  I'd say its a fairly balanced patient setup.

You haven't mentioned your GK, remember to set up his PI's if you haven't.

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8 hours ago, summatsupeer said:

Looks fairly balanced, the DM-S is the first thing i'd watch for.  Not sure I like using PI's so much before you've got into proper matches to analyse.

You have more penetration than i'd expect for a "possession" style with IF-A, CM-A and W-S.  I'd say its a fairly balanced patient setup.

You haven't mentioned your GK, remember to set up his PI's if you haven't.

Yep, I have given him PIs to Slow Pace Down and Roll it Out/Take Short Kicks. What could be the problem with the DM-S?

Edited by kristalshards

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20 minutes ago, kristalshards said:

Yep, I have given him PIs to Slow Pace Down and Roll it Out/Take Short Kicks. What could be the problem with the DM-S?

Potentially a lack of cover in front of the DC's.  

I'm not saying his is the only way to do it but lets compare to Cleons since we're in his topic and he uses a DM-S.  Firstly he is Very Structured which should make his DM-S position deeper than the two midfielders in front of him even though they are on the same duty.  If the DM-S does step up further there are more players supporting who can cover him in the central areas.

Your setup is Flexible so whilst you aren't bring the team very close, you are allowing more movement between the lines, especially when transitioning, but you also have more attack duties in your advanced players so they won't drop as deep or be as involved in those transactions, they will be looking to get forward, hence less cover. 

Not saying it won't work, just to watch out for it and try to decide if the extra support he offers further up the field is worth it.  Since your playing Flexible you might want him to be on Defend duty just so he sits deeper and adds more depth to your attack.

Edited by summatsupeer

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18 minutes ago, summatsupeer said:

Potentially a lack of cover in front of the DC's.  

I'm not saying his is the only way to do it but lets compare to Cleons since we're in his topic and he uses a DM-S.  Firstly he is Very Structured which should make his DM-S position deeper than the two midfielders in front of him even though they are on the same duty.  If the DM-S does step up further there are more players supporting who can cover him in the central areas.

Your setup is Flexible so whilst you aren't bring the team very close, you are allowing more movement between the lines, especially when transitioning, but you also have more attack duties in your advanced players so they won't drop as deep or be as involved in those transactions, they will be looking to get forward, hence less cover. 

Not saying it won't work, just to watch out for it and try to decide if the extra support he offers further up the field is worth it.  Since your playing Flexible you might want him to be on Defend duty just so he sits deeper and adds more depth to your attack.

@kristalshards - this is why it's really important you try to understand the principles of play that Cleon is discussing, rather than taking his tactical setup and changing a couple of things :).

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1 hour ago, herne79 said:

@kristalshards - this is why it's really important you try to understand the principles of play that Cleon is discussing, rather than taking his tactical setup and changing a couple of things :).

Well I didn't take his tactical setup and changed a few things to be honest even though it looks similar to Cleon's, I just thought about having a player deeper who could be unmarked and could pass the ball if the opposition is sitting deep in case the more advanced players are marked. Also, I had to fit the tactic to the players I have at Sheffield Wednesday (basically no inside forward type of a player, I just had to pick someone unfamiliar in that position and make him play there), but I have experimented with A-D and DM-D as summatsupper said. Generally I would switch the DM-S to DM-D or A-D depending on the opponent, if they are stronger, I would obviously change to a more defensive option, if they are weaker and I suspect them to sit deep (and actually watch the game) then I would use the extra support duty.

But I believe this setting could be done with moving the CM to a DLP-S and switching the DM-S on A-D to create more cover for the defence? I was also thinking of changing the IF-A on IF-S to make him come deeper to get the ball while I try to make the transition to the 4-1-4-1.

Generally I had a few things in my mind since posting my tactic: change the IF-A to IF-S as I said, change the DM-S to A-D and the CM-S to DLP-S to make that unmarked player thing I wrote above. Not sure if changing the WB-S to FB-A would benefit the possession (could give more balance on the left side though), as this role takes more risks when it comes to passing the ball and also crosses more than the WB-S (at least that's how the coded PIs show).

Edited by kristalshards

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