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Cleon

The Art of Possession Football

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You fancy taking the Swansea job irl? Because Garry Monk has so eroded the possession style of the club over the last 18 months that the team's play is now largely based on long balls up to a target-man. It's simply not a possession team any more. The squad isn't capable of it to the same levels that Laudrup's was, and Monk has little interest in returning to it (except under increasing fan pressure).

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You fancy taking the Swansea job irl? Because Garry Monk has so eroded the possession style of the club over the last 18 months that the team's play is now largely based on long balls up to a target-man. It's simply not a possession team any more. The squad isn't capable of it to the same levels that Laudrup's was, and Monk has little interest in returning to it (except under increasing fan pressure).

It's gone the same way as Ajax, both seem to have abandoned their usual style of play. It's always dangerous when that happens. I can understand evolving but you should never abandon the fundamentals of the style. Arsenal are still paying for this now, when Arsene started chasing the continental styles.

It's a shame about Swansea though as I've followed them since Moltby days and I know things are nowhere near as bad as that now but it pains me to see clubs step away from what's brought them success :(

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Sorry I realised I didn't actually answer you even though I used your quote above. Wingbacks can work but in the set up I posted the DMC is the one who is allowed to move about more, so automatically he is the one who compromises the defence in a way. So if I then had someone else then doing the same, I'm not sure I could have had the great defensive record I finished the season with.

Also fullbacks aren't conservative, they still do the majority of things a wingback does, just from lower down the pitch.

That makes sense. Player attributes and especially PPMs are still gonna shape how a player performs. And I suppose the DM could be switched to a more pure holding role if I want one of the FBs to be more adventurous, but that will alter the midfield ball cycling.

I want to toy around with some of these ideas, but I've been tailoring my squad to a counter approach. Might have to give it a go with a side like Southampton or even West Ham.

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Starting a new game with Spurs. I'm going to give 'very fluid' a go but use a lot of width. Hopefully counter the compactness of fluid but I trust the talent of the players to have more creativity and make better decisions. I remember reading on here that the width this year only affects the team shape which is a real help.

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Cleon, do you think it makes sense to play wider to create more space?

Sometimes maybe, it depends on the rest of the set up. Although I'd have to question why you'd have to go wide to create space and width though in a possession tactic. It would indicate to me that the roles used wasn't complimenting the style.

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Fantastic work again, Cleon! Plenty of new ideas to wrap my head around.

Did you have to adjust the tactic in any games to be more defensive or attacking by a chance? If you had to, what adjustments would you recommend? How did it fair against different playing styles and formations you face?

How do you think this tactic can evolve into even more dominating one?

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Are the playmaker roles necessary?

I've been working from the counter attacking base from the other thread but I've found that some it isn't proving to be very potent against the more defensive teams, Gonna try to take some of the things from this thread to produce a plan b.

Can the 4141 produce enough or shoud the wide players be pushed forward?

I especially struggle against the 4-2DM-3-1, I try to exploit the flanks but with the middle being so packed it breaks down when it comes back in. What else can I try?

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Are the playmaker roles necessary?

I've been working from the counter attacking base from the other thread but I've found that some it isn't proving to be very potent against the more defensive teams, Gonna try to take some of the things from this thread to produce a plan b.

Can the 4141 produce enough or shoud the wide players be pushed forward?

I especially struggle against the 4-2DM-3-1, I try to exploit the flanks but with the middle being so packed it breaks down when it comes back in. What else can I try?

If you're looking to get more offensive try pushing the wide players forward. Like Cleon said, the support duty wide players drop back in line with the CMs so this formation still looks like a 4141 in defense.

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I wondered if someone would pick up on this :)

I have tried it the other way around: playing very fluid but setting all kind of instructions to reduce risk taking

This weekend I'm trying Cleon's take because I found my way reduced risk taking too extreme, making my side very blunt in attack against very defensive sides.

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I have tried it the other way around: playing very fluid but setting all kind of instructions to reduce risk taking

This weekend I'm trying Cleon's take because I found my way reduced risk taking too extreme, making my side very blunt in attack against very defensive sides.

When I made my original comment, I also thought about more fluid systems. However it quickly becomes a bit of a bugger's muddle.

Using Team Shape to reduce player creativity and then one or two shouts to offset the resultant increased space is simple and elegant. However in something more fluid, the reduced space is already provided which leaves us trying to take out creativity. Whilst there is probably only one or 2 TIs to use (Be More Disciplined for example), we probably also need to give players more generalised roles (ie., less creative ones) and still mess around with their PIs such as Fewer Risky Passes and so on.

It all becomes needlessly complicated and brings you full circle back to Cleon's original subtle solution.

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Great read!

I always go for a insane possession game, with much higher tempo, three man defense, midfield consisting mostly of playmakers and pressure as if there was no tomorrow. Atleast two strikers, as well. Games can turn into a heart attack, though!

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If you set up a throwaway save on FMT and set up a deep 4-2-3-1 with a Regista beside a RPM, if you watch a match for 5 minutes in full you'll see the difference :)

I just did that. Juventus with Pogba as RPM, Sturaro as RGA. I've no idea what am I supposed to be seeing here. :D Perhaps slight tendency for Pogba to run upfield more but Sturaro does that a little too. Tbh might've been the worst possible choice as I've just noticed both have "gets into opposition area" PPM so I might've ruined my own test by choosing a crap example.

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Cleon, I notice that you're using "close down much more" with a control mentality which already has aggressive closing down. Don't you have a problem with through balls? I'm not even going that aggressive with my pressing and I allow too many goals where one attacker dribbles at my d-line, one defender rushes out to close him down, and another attacker runs into the space left behind and gets onto the end of a pass.

Also, more closing down raises the d-line, and I was seeing a lot of long palls pinged over the top.

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I actually had something very similar set up, but I just can't create enough. Facing teams that are usually quite happy to camp in their box, is there anyway to try and get the final pass. I was thinking about moving the IF to an attacking role but don't want him moving away from his full-back and getting too far forward. There just seems to be a lack of a little bit of flair and I'm not really sure where my goals will come from. I'm tempted to move the shape to fluid to try and encourage a little bit more invention but I don't want to lose out on the possession. An example was my last game where sunderland lined up with a bank of 5 in defence, 4 in midfield and 1 up top. I just struggled to create anything clear enough. Close to 600 passes, but only 7 shots on target. 2 CCCs, which one was a missed pen and my equaliser was actually a last minute OG.

Screen_Shot_2015_12_05_at_01_58_53.png

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Fantastic work again, Cleon! Plenty of new ideas to wrap my head around.

Did you have to adjust the tactic in any games to be more defensive or attacking by a chance?

Thanks :). No I didn't have to change anything at all. The only time I had to make a change was twice throughout the season and it was just a simple case of increasing the defensive line as I felt I was giving the opposition to much time on the ball.

If you had to, what adjustments would you recommend? How did it fair against different playing styles and formations you face?

If people wanted to be slightly more defensive they could experiment with the midfield three and have a proper holder in an anchor man or even a deep-lying playmaker. The roles in front of them would then need to be adjusted too but most things could work depending on the players you have.

I didn't really have any issues and was able to play possession football against every side I played except away to Everton. I hammered them 6-0 having 11 shots with 7 on target but possession was even at 50% each. That was the lowest amount I had all season and to be fair, this was still during the time while I was sorting the overall style out.

How do you think this tactic can evolve into even more dominating one?

As player quality improves I'd expect everything to be that much better. I think more goals will come too but that was always going to be worked on second as the it was about creating a particular brand and style the first season. The second would just be trying to refine what I've created.

Cleon, I notice that you're using "close down much more" with a control mentality which already has aggressive closing down. Don't you have a problem with through balls? I'm not even going that aggressive with my pressing and I allow too many goals where one attacker dribbles at my d-line, one defender rushes out to close him down, and another attacker runs into the space left behind and gets onto the end of a pass.

Also, more closing down raises the d-line, and I was seeing a lot of long palls pinged over the top.

Closing down does not raise the defensive line. It changes closing down only nothing else.

I didn't have problems with throughballs no, you can see from the screenshots I posted right at the very end the types of goals I conceded the most. You have to remember my defensive shape is solid and is almost like a flat 451.

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@Dandy you need to look at all those shots off target and understand exactly why the players are shooting from distance and why shots aren't hitting the target. Until you look and understand why you can't actually fix it. It takes seconds to look at all the shots back you had in the game via the analysis tab. Have a look and see if it's because a lack of support for the players on the ball just as there shooting (I'm pretty sure this will be the main reason). If someone is camped in their own half and you are aggressive in your approach and with the roles you use then you can find your players are also camped high in their half. This will reduce space and cause a lack of movement from deep. You need deep runners if you want to break sides down.

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I actually had something very similar set up, but I just can't create enough. Facing teams that are usually quite happy to camp in their box, is there anyway to try and get the final pass. I was thinking about moving the IF to an attacking role but don't want him moving away from his full-back and getting too far forward. There just seems to be a lack of a little bit of flair and I'm not really sure where my goals will come from. I'm tempted to move the shape to fluid to try and encourage a little bit more invention but I don't want to lose out on the possession. An example was my last game where sunderland lined up with a bank of 5 in defence, 4 in midfield and 1 up top. I just struggled to create anything clear enough. Close to 600 passes, but only 7 shots on target. 2 CCCs, which one was a missed pen and my equaliser was actually a last minute OG.

so many shots yet so many off target + only 2 actual clear cut.

as cleon stated look at all those shots its most likely a lack of support + poor decisions causing that player to take a long shot.

can always go with plan b in games like that switch in tall players and go direct fellaini can be a wrecking ball through a whole backline of 4 when used correctly because hes good in the air and good with his feet.

also i feel u will always have the odd game where they just defend like their life is on the line and are unstoppable but setting up set pieces can catch those teams out as a extra option as while you want to create possession football you still need multiple ways to score.

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Closing down does not raise the defensive line. It changes closing down only nothing else.

Adjusting closing down also visually changes the defensive line in the UI ;)

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Adjusting closing down also visually changes the defensive line in the UI ;)

The defensive line doesn't actually change in game though despite what the graphic shows. It looks like it rises because players are pushing up quicker looking to close down the space. The visual shows this. You can see in match yourself btw.

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Cleon,

Thanks for this, and the counter thread you started - it has really helped me re assess my tactics.

I wanted to ask for your opinion on what attributes are to look out for when looking at long term squad building? You added this into your counter thread, which i found really interesting.

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I wrote this last year, I'd use this as a base.

The Passing Game



Over the last few years lots of teams have gone possession crazy with the likes of Barcelona and Spain both settings the tactical trends. This type of game often involves a slow meticulous build-up of play where the ball is patiently passed around the pitch, often being played out from the back. The aim is to keep possession at all costs until an opening is created and there is a possibility of a shot at goal. This does require highly technical players who are composed on the ball so they can keep the ball at their feet until an opening occurs. It also requires patience and needs to have runners so you can do something useful with the ball. Having possession is easy but can you create something that retains possession and uses it in dangerous positions? This part is hard and might require a lot of time watching games and seeing how the players and roles interact with each other.

Technical Attributes

  • First Touch – You need people who can control the ball and won’t risk giving it away by having an heavy first touch.
  • Passing – You want people in the side who can distribute the ball well to take advantage of situation in the game. Poor distribution will lead to missed opportunities.
  • Technique - As you are creating a passing game you need to ensure you have players who are comfy with the ball at their feet and can actually do stuff with it.

Mental Attributes

  • Anticipation – You’ll want the players to anticipate the movement of others around them as well as the type of ball they might be about to receive.
  • Composure – Quite a vital attribute for me this as someone with low composure will have their decision making rushed and could become flustered if they are being pressed/closed down heavily or have little time on the ball. You don’t want players who are likely to panic to have lots of possession as they will likely always be forced into making a quick decision that they aren’t capable of doing correctly.
  • Concentration - Players need to be switched on for the full 90 minutes, any lapse of concentration could see them making more mistakes and these can be costly especially if you intend of retaining possession.
  • Vision– Again this is important as you need a player to be able to see his options around him. Someone with low vision is unlikely to see all the available options and could miss seeing the obvious choices.
  • Decisions – Low decisions will mean the player is picking the wrong choices more often than he is the better choices. So the higher this attribute the better. You don’t want the player to decide to dribble if passing was the better option do you?!
  • Off The Ball – You need players who are able to move around and find a bit of space so they aren’t static. This will help keep possession if players move around losing their marker etc as it means the player on the ball will have free options around him to pick out a pass.
  • Teamwork – Again this is needed to play as a unit. But if you have a few special talents in your side that might be better playing as individuals then this isn’t as important. But very few teams have that kind of luxury.

Physical Attributes

  • Agility – Provides the player the ability to turn fast if needed. Ideally all attacking players should be agile when playing an attacking game. As they’ll be receiving the ball a lot and sometimes might find themselves with it when they wasn’t expecting it.
  • Balance – You don’t want players who can’t stay on their feet to see much of the ball as they’ll give possession away far too cheaply. You have to be confident that players who see lots of the ball don’t fall over or go to ground easy.
  • Strength – Not everyone needs this but it can be a good idea to have a few physically strong players in the side especially in those positions where you might need the player to be creative and get stuck into certain battles. The higher the attribute the better as it means they should be able to shrug certain challenges off and not lose the ball so easily.

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I wrote this last year, I'd use this as a base.

The Passing Game



Over the last few years lots of teams have gone possession crazy with the likes of Barcelona and Spain both settings the tactical trends. This type of game often involves a slow meticulous build-up of play where the ball is patiently passed around the pitch, often being played out from the back. The aim is to keep possession at all costs until an opening is created and there is a possibility of a shot at goal. This does require highly technical players who are composed on the ball so they can keep the ball at their feet until an opening occurs. It also requires patience and needs to have runners so you can do something useful with the ball. Having possession is easy but can you create something that retains possession and uses it in dangerous positions? This part is hard and might require a lot of time watching games and seeing how the players and roles interact with each other.

Technical Attributes

  • First Touch – You need people who can control the ball and won’t risk giving it away by having an heavy first touch.
  • Passing – You want people in the side who can distribute the ball well to take advantage of situation in the game. Poor distribution will lead to missed opportunities.
  • Technique - As you are creating a passing game you need to ensure you have players who are comfy with the ball at their feet and can actually do stuff with it.

Mental Attributes

  • Anticipation – You’ll want the players to anticipate the movement of others around them as well as the type of ball they might be about to receive.
  • Composure – Quite a vital attribute for me this as someone with low composure will have their decision making rushed and could become flustered if they are being pressed/closed down heavily or have little time on the ball. You don’t want players who are likely to panic to have lots of possession as they will likely always be forced into making a quick decision that they aren’t capable of doing correctly.
  • Concentration - Players need to be switched on for the full 90 minutes, any lapse of concentration could see them making more mistakes and these can be costly especially if you intend of retaining possession.
  • Vision– Again this is important as you need a player to be able to see his options around him. Someone with low vision is unlikely to see all the available options and could miss seeing the obvious choices.
  • Decisions – Low decisions will mean the player is picking the wrong choices more often than he is the better choices. So the higher this attribute the better. You don’t want the player to decide to dribble if passing was the better option do you?!
  • Off The Ball – You need players who are able to move around and find a bit of space so they aren’t static. This will help keep possession if players move around losing their marker etc as it means the player on the ball will have free options around him to pick out a pass.
  • Teamwork – Again this is needed to play as a unit. But if you have a few special talents in your side that might be better playing as individuals then this isn’t as important. But very few teams have that kind of luxury.

Physical Attributes

  • Agility – Provides the player the ability to turn fast if needed. Ideally all attacking players should be agile when playing an attacking game. As they’ll be receiving the ball a lot and sometimes might find themselves with it when they wasn’t expecting it.
  • Balance – You don’t want players who can’t stay on their feet to see much of the ball as they’ll give possession away far too cheaply. You have to be confident that players who see lots of the ball don’t fall over or go to ground easy.
  • Strength – Not everyone needs this but it can be a good idea to have a few physically strong players in the side especially in those positions where you might need the player to be creative and get stuck into certain battles. The higher the attribute the better as it means they should be able to shrug certain challenges off and not lose the ball so easily.

Much Appreciated!

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The defensive line doesn't actually change in game though despite what the graphic shows. It looks like it rises because players are pushing up quicker looking to close down the space. The visual shows this. You can see in match yourself btw.

Having double checked the researcher guidelines, it states that adjusting the defensive line does also adjust closing down, but not vice versa. In that case it doesnt make sense imo that the defensive line visually changes when you use close down more/less (yet not when using close down much more/less).

I'll report it.

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So after starting with Rayo using a 4-2-3-1 DM shape that I created with the help of this guide, I am getting good results after 9 matches, sitting on the 9th place. I won the possession battle on 7 out of those 9 matches- including games against Valencia and Sevilla. Out of the other two matches one was draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou (although this is just possession-wise, the actual result was a crushing 4-0 loss :D). Oddly the only time I lost the possession battle was a home draw against Sporting, currently sitting on the 16th place.

Trashorras as a regista is a legend

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Very similar to a tactic I set up and I am having a reasonable amount of sucsess with, only issues I have are

1. The dreaded long ball over the top, most of my conceeded goals are due to a long ball to the opposition striker who then proceeds to dribble down the middle of the park while my centre backs jog alongside him observing but not interfeering until he reaches the box where my keeper either runs away or comes out very slowly and the striker just rounds him or slots it past him. Any ideas how to solve this, using the offside trap works a bit but there always seems to be atleast one or two gets through and my team suddenly become passive.

2. Goalkeepers refusing to claim crosses, no matter what GK role I use and no matter how good his ratings are at rushing out command of area etc if a cross is put in from the byline into the six yard box no matter how close it is to the keeper he just ignores it completely and quite a bit of the time so does my CB's allowing a free header and a goal. Any ideas how to get a GK playing more aggressively.

3. Random long balls to no one. Really unsure on why this one happens my CM's etc... sometimes randomly will decide to ignore all available options and even when under little to no pressure will occasionally randomly punt it into nowhere.

Also a quick question, I am playing a tactic rather similar to yours but I have tried experimenting with a formation based on possession but with 2 strikers and it never seems to go well the second striker just doesn't seem to get involved much no matter the role or the two strikers end up too close together and seem to get in each others way more often than not what role would you consider if you added a second striker.

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@Dandy you need to look at all those shots off target and understand exactly why the players are shooting from distance and why shots aren't hitting the target. Until you look and understand why you can't actually fix it. It takes seconds to look at all the shots back you had in the game via the analysis tab. Have a look and see if it's because a lack of support for the players on the ball just as there shooting (I'm pretty sure this will be the main reason). If someone is camped in their own half and you are aggressive in your approach and with the roles you use then you can find your players are also camped high in their half. This will reduce space and cause a lack of movement from deep. You need deep runners if you want to break sides down.

Screen_Shot_2015_12_05_at_11_56_07.png

I noticed that my front three only made up 9 of those shots but only put 3 on target. Schneiderlin, my B2B, was the top shooter and that came from just having effort on the edge of the box which isn't what I want. I actually had the IF(S), F9 and AP(S) as my front three anyways as with Memphis, Martial or Barbosa(can't remember who started) and Mata suit that in my opinion. I switched Mata to a W(S) to try and hold width a bit more later on but it didn't really help. Would you advise dropping mentality, or unchecking the higher defensive line?

Screen_Shot_2015_12_05_at_12_10_24.png

I had a DM(S) and B2B and an AP(A) in midfield.

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Cleon, If you prefer a defend duty on DM strata, what would you want to your CM player's and left wingback ? Would you want to them even more support to up front in attacking possessin style ? They already support enough but this would changed if you go defenf duty DM I guess, ıt seems DM has vital mission on your system. But things would changed if you go defend duty

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Great thread as always Cleon

Very intrigued by your choice of B2B, RPM, APM, IF and F9 as your front 5.

I have historically gone with CM-S x 2, IF-S/RMD x2 plus either a F9 or DLF-S as mine simply because I like the symmetrical look as I have assumed (wrongly it seems!) that varying roles might leave gaps once the ball is with the opposition.

A real eye opener so thanks for this.

I use a HB when playing against either 2 forwards or 2 AM wide players. If I'm faced with a single forward and no AMC (so a 4-1-4-1) then would switching the HB to a Regista (alongside the B2B, RPM, APM, IF & F9) over complicate things or simply add an extra outlet when required?

Not sure if adding the REG to the mix might just be a case of "too many cooks" ... if you see my train of thought :)

Edit - post #43 covers why you wouldn't use a DLP (or in my case a REG) instead of a DM-S so I think I have my answer :D

Do you ever amend any of the roles bases on opposition setup?

Eg when facing an AMC do you still go with the DM-S?

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I think some posters have been getting confused, as did myself intitially, with the number of support duty roles used when it's been well documentated and actively encouraged that we should look to create movement between the lines. That said, what Cleon has done here makes complete sense.

Let's forget about the duties for a second since I don't think Cleon has selected support duties because they assume less risk than when set to attack. I think it's because of the player instructions that ship with the duties that might create risk, something which is against his strategy. For example, setting a wing backs to attack will make them cross more.

What I would be interested to see is how this works with a high defensive line, even with the Control mentality. I know Cleon mentions that having too many players positioned higher up the pitch creates less space for the team to exploit in the final third but I think it's an entirely valid strategy to camp in the opponents half with relentless attempts on goal. Although it's possible Cleon decided against this because his Swansea team don't begin with the required quality to play this way and his defenders may lack pace and height to cope with balls over the top.

I've been experimenting with a Dynamo Kyiv to achieve domestic domination, like Bayern in Germany, and hopefully some success in Europe. I play with a similar shape as illustrated above, but I have a DLP on defend in the DMC strata to counter the attacking wing backs so I always have at least 2 plus 1 spare at the back. If I'm camped in the opponents half my DLP will offer additional support and passes out to the wing.

One thing I've taken away from this post is that I'm using the wing back roles instead of the complete wing back because of the player instructions that ship with it. I can add "stay wider" or "run wide with the ball" to a wing back on support without having the increased dribbling or crossing risks that would come with it.

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Cleon, If you prefer a defend duty on DM strata, what would you want to your CM player's and left wingback ? Would you want to them even more support to up front in attacking possessin style ? They already support enough but this would changed if you go defenf duty DM I guess, ıt seems DM has vital mission on your system. But things would changed if you go defend duty

It all depends. If you chance just one role then everything changes in the set up I've made. It works currently because it all links well but even a small role or duty change has a domino effect and things throughout the side change. If I made one simple change then I'd have to make other changes elsewhere but it's hard to say what without actually doing it and seeing what happens in game.

Great thread as always Cleon

Very intrigued by your choice of B2B, RPM, APM, IF and F9 as your front 5.

I have historically gone with CM-S x 2, IF-S/RMD x2 plus either a F9 or DLF-S as mine simply because I like the symmetrical look as I have assumed (wrongly it seems!) that varying roles might leave gaps once the ball is with the opposition.

A real eye opener so thanks for this.

I use a HB when playing against either 2 forwards or 2 AM wide players. If I'm faced with a single forward and no AMC (so a 4-1-4-1) then would switching the HB to a Regista (alongside the B2B, RPM, APM, IF & F9) over complicate things or simply add an extra outlet when required?

Not sure if adding the REG to the mix might just be a case of "too many cooks" ... if you see my train of thought :)

Edit - post #43 covers why you wouldn't use a DLP (or in my case a REG) instead of a DM-S so I think I have my answer :D

Do you ever amend any of the roles bases on opposition setup?

Eg when facing an AMC do you still go with the DM-S?

Yeah I din't change the role at all. I'm enforcing my style on teams rather than adapting or worrying about what they're doing :)

Cleon Why did you choose a FB-a instead of WB-a ? Would it be cause of WB's dribbling ? or Is there any other reason ?

A wingback would push up further and then my back four isn't a solid flat four. A fullback rather than a wingback suits what I wanted better because the playmaker is on the side of the pitch too.

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Just curious, if we use the same approach and make the following tweaks:

1. move the passing to direct instead of short; and

2. increase tempo to normal or high

....will we arrive at Klopp's "gegenpressing"?

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Not really no you can't play a proper gegenpressing game on FM because the options you have when out of possession are limited, so you can't get the overall style of play.

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The movement with that front 5 is crazy - just always looking for pockets of space which for this tactic is a must.

Can you remind me how the playmakers are prioritised? - APM, RPM .... is F9 classed as one as well?

I'm sure I saw that a DLP is prioritised above an APM, then the RPM last but wanted to check.

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The movement with that front 5 is crazy - just always looking for pockets of space which for this tactic is a must.

Can you remind me how the playmakers are prioritised? - APM, RPM .... is F9 classed as one as well?

I'm sure I saw that a DLP is prioritised above an APM, then the RPM last but wanted to check.

I'm pretty sure they're not prioritised. Using a playmaker you just increase the chances of that player being used and tell the team to use those players more than the usual.

Cleon, What if you choose a shorter passing TI instead of lover tempo ? Is that makes big different ?

They're both completely different things.

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I'm pretty sure they're not prioritised. Using a playmaker you just increase the chances of that player being used and tell the team to use those players more than the usual.

great - cheers

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Cleon you've said that you also dont use a playmaker role in DM position because you already have a RPM ahead.

Do you think it would be overkill even if you had an outstanding player in DM position?

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Cleon you've said that you also dont use a playmaker role in DM position because you already have a RPM ahead.

Do you think it would be overkill even if you had an outstanding player in DM position?

I do have an outstanding player in the DM position. A playmaker at DM doesn't fit what I want, there's no need when I can have someone do it naturally.

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Cleon, looks like everybody can score and assist in your approach I wonder who was or which role the top scorer and most assists ?

The advanced playmaker had the most goals, he scored 18 in 36 games. He also had 9 assists which was joint top with my rightback. Then the MC's, IF etc all had 7 assists.

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I've been using this with Liverpool. Results haven't be that good so far (yet to keep a clean sheet), but we are winning matches; 2-1, 3-2, 4-2 etc. And we are playing some nice stuff home and away.

I didn't buy any players because Liverpool's home-grown contingent is so bad I couldn't bring anyone else in, otherwise I would dilute the numbers further. Just going to whizz through the first season with the default squad to see how it goes.

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I've been using this with Liverpool. Results haven't be that good so far (yet to keep a clean sheet), but we are winning matches; 2-1, 3-2, 4-2 etc. And we are playing some nice stuff home and away.

I didn't buy any players because Liverpool's home-grown contingent is so bad I couldn't bring anyone else in, otherwise I would dilute the numbers further. Just going to whizz through the first season with the default squad to see how it goes.

Before we jump into the analysis and seeing how I go about creating a possession style I would like to point out that the idea of this thread, is not for you to copy what I do. But rather for you to take elements of what I do and implement them into your saves. if you just copy what I did and expect the same results then you didn’t understand the purpose of the thread. This will also mean I won’t answer any questions you have when you post something along the lines of ‘You have success with Swansea but I tried and blah blah’. So please, use this article as it’s intended and take what you learn here and implement it into your own saves with your own systems. This article is about the ideas, principles and philosophy of possession football in higher mentality structures.

For all those copying everything I do please read the above. You're supposed to learn why and how something works, by blatantly copying every instructions etc I used then you aren't doing that and will still struggle because you don't understand the concept.

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The thread realy helps me a lot ! I am in charge on Fenerbahce who is in top teams in my leaugue, Its enough to won but with your own style that is realy enjoyable. I have atleast %60 possession almost every game and I wont conceded 0 goal :) The tactis isnt very good but with your thread's help, I improve it step bye step. Thank you very much !

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@cleon (or anyone else)

I could see why a possession tactic might like to stretch the play wider but I also know that Barca play very narrow so balanced seems the compromise here.

My only thinking behind "narrow" would be that the IF and APM both drift inside more than outside

...so in theory adding these 2 to the 4 central players (DM, RPM, B2B & F9) you would potentially end up with 6 players which would surely be more than the opposition in the central midfield area of the pitch.

Is my logic completely flawed ? :)

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For all those copying everything I do please read the above. You're supposed to learn why and how something works, by blatantly copying every instructions etc I used then you aren't doing that and will still struggle because you don't understand the concept.

I'm going to ask!

If you had to point out any particular order for someone to read/learn the concepts, what articles would you suggest reading? The Lines and Diamonds is a particularly good one but it is pretty beefy, is there anything that really strips things away to the very basics?

And is there any hope for someone who has read constantly, but still can't get the basics right? :O The dunces among us basically! What advice would you give to them? (Besides "don't be a manager"!) ;)

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@cleon (or anyone else)

I could see why a possession tactic might like to stretch the play wider but I also know that Barca play very narrow so balanced seems the compromise here.

My only thinking behind "narrow" would be that the IF and APM both drift inside more than outside

...so in theory adding these 2 to the 4 central players (DM, RPM, B2B & F9) you would potentially end up with 6 players which would surely be more than the opposition in the central midfield area of the pitch.

Is my logic completely flawed ? :)

Then add the oppositions 4 or 6 players in the same areas too and you'll find it could be really congested. So players would have both less time and space on the ball. I wouldn't class Barca as a very narrow side myself. They might be at end of moves but not at the start of them.

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Yep that's right in hindsight - It sometimes looks like close passing to then create an option out wide so therefore balanced would be right.

Keeping it simple which is what you advised :)

Plus I'd guess that if you only have minimal TIs then the player roles should be more basis and easily adhered to as long as the players fit the roles and the PIs don't contradict the TIs!

I know you've done quite a few "Meet the ...." Series but have you ever covered APM RPM and REG ?

Wasn't sure if they were links to any on your own site....

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I'm going to ask!

If you had to point out any particular order for someone to read/learn the concepts, what articles would you suggest reading? The Lines and Diamonds is a particularly good one but it is pretty beefy, is there anything that really strips things away to the very basics?

And is there any hope for someone who has read constantly, but still can't get the basics right? :O The dunces among us basically! What advice would you give to them? (Besides "don't be a manager"!) ;)

My advice would be forget everything you think you know, even if you are 100% sure you are right. That way when trying things in game you don't have the 'I know best' attitude. My second bit of advice would be not to read but play around in game instead, especially if you don't think you grasp stuff from reading. Myself I'm a visual kind of person, I love reading but I learn more from actual visuals. Then also forget all your frustrations with the game, set aside the shoddy descriptions, the bugs that frustrate you. Instead focus on what does work and the descriptions for all things give you the basics you need to know.

Then when you've done all of that load up FM, start a game and have a tactical idea in your head. Keep it simple and possibly something you know about like a 442 or something. Then when creating it just think about how you want to play and fit the roles and duties around that. Put real effort into trying to figure out how your DLP will link up the CF, IF and B2B etc. This is the hardest part for people to get right. Don't select a role based on what the player might be best at, base the role on what fits the tactical approach you are adopting. I often see people who want to use a creatve lone striker who drops deep, then you see them do something silly like have two wingers on the flanks. What use is that for a striker who is dropping off from goal? So try and think how all the roles interact.

Then when in a game only focus on what your side is doing, don't worry about the AI at all. Just concentrate on learning how your system works. If you focus on the AI you don't learn how you play or what your side is doing. I always make changed based on what I see my players doing and never because of what the AI is doing.

Just keep things simple and that's how I learnt.

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