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The Art of Possession Football


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At a club like Arsenal the world is your oyster. But to name a few Carzola/Gotze or maybe James Rodriguez all will be able to do an immense job for you.

I second this, Cazorla is great out there.

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Non taken Gee

And just to answer you, how long it takes to retrain a player is variable. To get the best possible result, you have to a) train him in the position you want b) play him regularly in that position c) the player needs a strong versatility rating d) He can't be proficient in too many other positions already. You can answer D by looking at his profile: if he has few positions that are accomplished or better, and he is pretty developed as a player, chances are not as good for him. The other three are up to you to give it a shot.

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Check this out, using the same tactic presneted by Cleon my RB and AMR were able to finish 1 & 2 in average rating in Prem on Crystal Palace on a club that finished 10th. Trippier overlapping on Zivkovic was just a deadly combination all year, with both of them getting 7.5-8.5 ratings commonly every game. The AMR was the key passer, and RB the benficiary of tons of open space on the right wing to deliver great crosses. 12 assists in 28 games in the prem.

PPM's played a huge part in their success I think. Zivkovic had cuts inside and tries killer balls often, and Tripper has runs with ball down right and gets forward often. It wouldn't be uncommon to Zivkovic get 10+ key passes in a game.

top%2010%20rating_zpsovu6hty3.png

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Ok I'm trying out some of the guidelines in the post and I'm running into problems specifically with my midfield that I don't understand why they're doing what they are doing or how to fix it.

Liverpool%20v%20Arsenal_%20Field%20Full_zpsz8dsrnfn.png

So this is us bringing the ball forward on the left flank. But look at my midfield. They're basically extremely compact in a perfect triangle offering no options to the ball carrier.

Liverpool%20v%20Arsenal_%20Field%20Full-7_zps5iort8s8.png

This came off an interception by Bellerin but once he has the ball my midfield again is almost on top of each other. I know this is right off a turnover so they are in a defensive position but when the play develops they don't move into space to make themselves available for a pass they stay very compact

Liverpool%20v%20Arsenal_%20Field%20Full-8_zpssiwwdxro.png

This is how the play developed after the pass to Ozil was made. The midfield again very compact and not moving off the ball. The play is very choppy. We get the ball, make a few passes, turn it over, reapeat. Also, My IF's tend to dribble into the corner as though they're confused and get the ball stolen repeatedly. Any ideas on what I can do to fix my midfield?

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I remember reading this when you first posted it cleon, but I cannot remember which thread it was. Do you mind pointing me in the right direction? Sorry for the off topic question but if I remember correctly you posted the vital attributes for counter attacking, attacking, defensive, etc.

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/403153-Building-A-Tactic-From-The-Beginning-And-Maintaining-It-Long-Term

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Ok I'm trying out some of the guidelines in the post and I'm running into problems specifically with my midfield that I don't understand why they're doing what they are doing or how to fix it.

Liverpool%20v%20Arsenal_%20Field%20Full_zpsz8dsrnfn.png

So this is us bringing the ball forward on the left flank. But look at my midfield. They're basically extremely compact in a perfect triangle offering no options to the ball carrier.

Liverpool%20v%20Arsenal_%20Field%20Full-7_zps5iort8s8.png

This came off an interception by Bellerin but once he has the ball my midfield again is almost on top of each other. I know this is right off a turnover so they are in a defensive position but when the play develops they don't move into space to make themselves available for a pass they stay very compact

Liverpool%20v%20Arsenal_%20Field%20Full-8_zpssiwwdxro.png

This is how the play developed after the pass to Ozil was made. The midfield again very compact and not moving off the ball. The play is very choppy. We get the ball, make a few passes, turn it over, reapeat. Also, My IF's tend to dribble into the corner as though they're confused and get the ball stolen repeatedly. Any ideas on what I can do to fix my midfield?

Hard to advise when we don't know what roles, duties and TI's you've used.

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I have a quick question, Is it worth using a possession based tactic with a team that is predicted to finish 22nd in the Vanarama North Division (Curzon Ashton), or am I wasting my time, because roaming playmaker and false 9, which seem to be suggested as the best options along to keep with what you want to happen with team shape etc, are only 2 at best pieces of the pie in the tactics screen! Does this matter? Because buying someone suitable in those roles in the lower leagues is impossible IMO.

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I have a quick question, Is it worth using a possession based tactic with a team that is predicted to finish 22nd in the Vanarama North Division (Curzon Ashton), or am I wasting my time, because roaming playmaker and false 9, which seem to be suggested as the best options along to keep with what you want to happen with team shape etc, are only 2 at best pieces of the pie in the tactics screen! Does this matter? Because buying someone suitable in those roles in the lower leagues is impossible IMO.

Those two were the best possible roles for what I've created. That doesn't mean it is for other peoples ideas though, after all I don't know about what your ideas are or the reasons why you'd be using those two roles. If you're predicted to finish last though retaining the ball might be tricky. But like everything and like I showed in the first season, you can have an idea you build towards. It doesn't mean it'll be perfect straight away but you can start working towards the end goal.

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yeah I had a gander at using a CM s instead but he I found his movement wasn't as effective! Deep lying he holds too much. I do like the AP on the wing Idea, never thought of it before. I hadn't seen this until 2 games left of the first season, I finished 6th and couldn't get in the playoff places. Now I am predicted 14th, just into my friendlies, So far we have played 2 of them, we scraped a 1-0 win against Farsley and we beat Hyde 2-0 after conceding a lot of chances in which they hit the woodwork twice. We did dominate possession though which was good, but not many decent chances were created as a result.

on a side note I did find that the keeper does just keep booting it down field as well, despite passing been on mixed and distribution set to roll it out to centre backs.

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Play out of defence, use that shout. You shouldn't be seeing the keeper boot it up-field very often at all. It still happens but only when he can't roll it out, i.e goalkicks etc.

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/sigh.

I'm getting really frustrated with the game and myself to the point I might just pack it in. It seems no matter what I do, I flounder from one extreme to the other. I can rack up the possession numbers sometimes, though at the expense of chances.

At the moment though, no matter what formation I try, I seem to completely lose the midfield battle, so much so I have no idea what it is that is the problem. Teams (even the local pub team) appear to pass with ease, often finally getting it out wide for a lovely cross and goal.

Myself? I'm lucky if the players pass to each other at times, either it is a floundering long ball, or if they do pass it short, they build up to nothing in the end. Often, I find where the AI can get its full backs up by the corner flag for a nice cross-field ball, mine are nowhere to be seen, or when they do get forward are double-teamed out of the game. On the flipside, where I win the ball back and progress slowly (or just flat out lose the ball again), the opposition appear to throw forth the entire strike force, midfield and both their full backs, with alarming ease and speed that they're basically pinning me back into my box, even in games where it should be the complete opposite.

It is frustrating. I'm not sure *what* is causing it, and it appears to happen, whatever shape I choose; The last two I've been trying to get work are;

A 4-4-1-1 (Standard, play out of defence), which was lined up as so: GK/D, CB/D, FB/A, FB/S, WM/S, WM/A, CM/D, CM/S, AP/A, AF/A - I thought it was rather sensible, the WM/A was modified to be an 'inside forward', with defensive cover on that side as well.

The other set up was a mock up of a 4-2-3-1 (Control) lined up as GK/D, CB/D, WB/S, DM/D, DLP/S, AP/A(or S), IF/S, W/S, DLF/A - With this one, I find myself getting ruined by simple passes in the middle or long balls down the wings, the holding midfielders are basically bypassed with some ease - I'm not entirely convinced they're locking down the middle as intended. When the team DOES get out of the half and into the opposition, it plays like a dream, with good passing going on and good options available for the players. The problem is ever getting forward in the first place - In both set ups, the midfield takes forever to get up to join the attack.

I must be missing something, perhaps something I've overlooked? Is it my roles that are causing the players to take too long to move up? I'm at a complete loss. :( (Apologises if it seems ranty! I'm just frustrated!)

Read an article from wwfan titled "mentality ladder". It's a bit outdated but u can get the basic idea about how team shape n mentality works, n what actually happen on the pitch

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by deep lying I meant the playmaker, DLF I think could be alright? I put move into channels on his PI but its the hold up ball I'm not sure if it will work well.

It's just a little confusing because you mentioned before that you shouldn't make the tactic around your players.

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yeah I also have play out of defence, It has still happened, I get the goal kicks but even so what is stopping him from passing to the centre backs anyway?

You said above you have him set to balanced passing. Try changing that to short passing. You could also try slow pace down if you want to give him a little more time on the ball.

However, no mater what your settings, if your centre backs are being marked by opposition strikers your goalie won't pass to them. Obviously that won't happen all the time, but something to watch out for.

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by deep lying I meant the playmaker, DLF I think could be alright? I put move into channels on his PI but its the hold up ball I'm not sure if it will work well.

It's just a little confusing because you mentioned before that you shouldn't make the tactic around your players.

Try it out and see :).

If you don't want to mess with your save, load up a dummy save on FMT (as tactic familiarity is always 100% there) and try different things out.

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I think I may be onto something!

The last 2 friendlies were granted against 'lesser' teams, we won 1-0 and 3-0, but the most pleasing thing was the amount of chances created.

Knaresborough 1-0, we created 5 CCCs whilst we hat 57% possession, which isn't amazing but still good. A total of 27 shots - only 4 on target though, 7 long shots and 9 blocked. They had 2 shots both off target and 1 was a long shot. and 0 CCCs.

Warrington 3-0, we again created 5 CCCs whilst this time having 67% possession which is brilliant. A total of 19 shots - only 6 on target though, 3 long shots and 3 blocked, we also hit the woodwork 4 times! They created 6 chances 3 on target 2 long shots and 0 CCCs.

I need to find the balance for shooting though, because I have added the following TIs - using cleons base but having a CM(s) instead of a RPM and a DLF (s) instead of the F9

Shoot on sight and hit early crosses, based on advise on this thread - also changed the IF to a Attack duty for the same reason.

I then added these player instructions

CM (s) Roam From Position, Shoot Less Often, More Risky Passes

B2B (s) Get Further Forward, Shoot More Often

IF (A) Shoot More Often

DLF (s) Move Into Channels, Shoot More Often

Am I right in thinking this could be overkill?

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I think I may be onto something!

The last 2 friendlies were granted against 'lesser' teams, we won 1-0 and 3-0, but the most pleasing thing was the amount of chances created.

Knaresborough 1-0, we created 5 CCCs whilst we hat 57% possession, which isn't amazing but still good. A total of 27 shots - only 4 on target though, 7 long shots and 9 blocked. They had 2 shots both off target and 1 was a long shot. and 0 CCCs.

Warrington 3-0, we again created 5 CCCs whilst this time having 67% possession which is brilliant. A total of 19 shots - only 6 on target though, 3 long shots and 3 blocked, we also hit the woodwork 4 times! They created 6 chances 3 on target 2 long shots and 0 CCCs.

I need to find the balance for shooting though, because I have added the following TIs - using cleons base but having a CM(s) instead of a RPM and a DLF (s) instead of the F9

Shoot on sight and hit early crosses, based on advise on this thread - also changed the IF to a Attack duty for the same reason.

I then added these player instructions

CM (s) Roam From Position, Shoot Less Often, More Risky Passes

B2B (s) Get Further Forward, Shoot More Often

IF (A) Shoot More Often

DLF (s) Move Into Channels, Shoot More Often

Am I right in thinking this could be overkill?

Hello Mate

Have a look at the shots analysis in prozone, you've a lot of "shoot more often" and I'd guess that you've probably got one player (my guess IF) who's having a bucketload of shots every game from impossible angles.

I have found that teaching IF's the PPM "looks for pass rather than attempting to score" helps to reduce shots and create better chances for others.

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I think I may be onto something!

The last 2 friendlies were granted against 'lesser' teams, we won 1-0 and 3-0, but the most pleasing thing was the amount of chances created.

Knaresborough 1-0, we created 5 CCCs whilst we hat 57% possession, which isn't amazing but still good. A total of 27 shots - only 4 on target though, 7 long shots and 9 blocked. They had 2 shots both off target and 1 was a long shot. and 0 CCCs.

Warrington 3-0, we again created 5 CCCs whilst this time having 67% possession which is brilliant. A total of 19 shots - only 6 on target though, 3 long shots and 3 blocked, we also hit the woodwork 4 times! They created 6 chances 3 on target 2 long shots and 0 CCCs.

I need to find the balance for shooting though, because I have added the following TIs - using cleons base but having a CM(s) instead of a RPM and a DLF (s) instead of the F9

Shoot on sight and hit early crosses, based on advise on this thread - also changed the IF to a Attack duty for the same reason.

I then added these player instructions

CM (s) Roam From Position, Shoot Less Often, More Risky Passes

B2B (s) Get Further Forward, Shoot More Often

IF (A) Shoot More Often

DLF (s) Move Into Channels, Shoot More Often

Am I right in thinking this could be overkill?

You should be looking at why people are shooting from distance and working out why shots on target is so low. Don't make changes until you figure this out because until you identify the exact reason, you're just guessing what's wrong. And you can't really make changes based on guessing, you might get lucky but chances are you wont. So use the analysis tab and view the shots back, look at player positioning and see if they have any support options etc. You'll be able to spot the issue of why in seconds.

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Play out of defence, use that shout. You shouldn't be seeing the keeper boot it up-field very often at all. It still happens but only when he can't roll it out, i.e goalkicks etc.

If he passed it short instead of rolling wouldn't this remove these types of long ball completely though?

Or if you specified that you wanted to distribute to the CBs but didn't specify how (roll, kick etc) then would that work.

Just trying to avoid that huge punt up the pitch as my front 3 aren't amazing in the air so rarely win these aerial duels :)

Edit - have just realised that you have to select either roll or kick if you want that shirt option so that simply changes my question to why did you choose "roll short" as opposed to "kick short"

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/sigh.

I'm getting really frustrated with the game and myself to the point I might just pack it in. It seems no matter what I do, I flounder from one extreme to the other. I can rack up the possession numbers sometimes, though at the expense of chances.

At the moment though, no matter what formation I try, I seem to completely lose the midfield battle, so much so I have no idea what it is that is the problem. Teams (even the local pub team) appear to pass with ease, often finally getting it out wide for a lovely cross and goal.

Myself? I'm lucky if the players pass to each other at times, either it is a floundering long ball, or if they do pass it short, they build up to nothing in the end. Often, I find where the AI can get its full backs up by the corner flag for a nice cross-field ball, mine are nowhere to be seen, or when they do get forward are double-teamed out of the game. On the flipside, where I win the ball back and progress slowly (or just flat out lose the ball again), the opposition appear to throw forth the entire strike force, midfield and both their full backs, with alarming ease and speed that they're basically pinning me back into my box, even in games where it should be the complete opposite.

It is frustrating. I'm not sure *what* is causing it, and it appears to happen, whatever shape I choose; The last two I've been trying to get work are;

A 4-4-1-1 (Standard, play out of defence), which was lined up as so: GK/D, CB/D, FB/A, FB/S, WM/S, WM/A, CM/D, CM/S, AP/A, AF/A - I thought it was rather sensible, the WM/A was modified to be an 'inside forward', with defensive cover on that side as well.

The other set up was a mock up of a 4-2-3-1 (Control) lined up as GK/D, CB/D, WB/S, DM/D, DLP/S, AP/A(or S), IF/S, W/S, DLF/A - With this one, I find myself getting ruined by simple passes in the middle or long balls down the wings, the holding midfielders are basically bypassed with some ease - I'm not entirely convinced they're locking down the middle as intended. When the team DOES get out of the half and into the opposition, it plays like a dream, with good passing going on and good options available for the players. The problem is ever getting forward in the first place - In both set ups, the midfield takes forever to get up to join the attack.

I must be missing something, perhaps something I've overlooked? Is it my roles that are causing the players to take too long to move up? I'm at a complete loss. :( (Apologises if it seems ranty! I'm just frustrated!)

First of all, if you trying to play possession football, I think you need a couple more TIs to make this strategy effective. You can start by instructing you team to retain possession and applying a more aggressive closing down strategy to win the ball back quickly. Possession based teams should be hungry for possession so they need to win the ball back quickly and higher up the pitch. I know the usual go-to advice is to start simple with few TIs but I think you need a few more TIs to have an effective strategy. Cleon also highlighted the importance of roaming so that's also something you should consider.

The second thing is your shape. Given that you're managing a team at the lower end of the pyramid then you have the ability of your team and league to consider. Is your team capable of playing possession football or do they need help with the shape. It might be that you need to go 4-1-4-1 so your defenders have help (passing options) to get it out of their own half. Without a DM they might find all their options being out of their passing range and end up playing longer, riskier passes like they're used to.

The opposition teams may also be only adept to playing long balls over the top or into the channels like you've observed already. This is bypassing your team and possibly exploiting the space inbetween midfield and defence and also you relatively high line, especially if your CBs are slow. Again, playing someone in the DM strata with the height to win aerial balls and the intelligence and vision to recycle possession or to start attacks could help your team here.

One final thing, I think you need a DLP in your team to help your AP. At the moment your whole team will be looking to play through your AP, which is tough on him if he's being marked by a DM or 2 hard-hitting CBs. A DLP would be a short passing option for the defence to get the play moving up the pitch and hopefully takes some of the workload of the AP. Maybe change your Attacking Forward to something that will link up with your AP. I would say DLF(S) but I'm not confident you have anybody running beyond the striker to exploit the space create behind him when he drops deep. The AP won't do that but you would have to observe if your WM on Attack duty will.

Again stick with it. Soon you'll have a solid base for creating a possession tactic and all the tools you need to develop it further for different teams.

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If he passed it short instead of rolling wouldn't this remove these types of long ball completely though?

Or if you specified that you wanted to distribute to the CBs but didn't specify how (roll, kick etc) then would that work.

Just trying to avoid that huge punt up the pitch as my front 3 aren't amazing in the air so rarely win these aerial duels :)

Edit - have just realised that you have to select either roll or kick if you want that shirt option so that simply changes my question to why did you choose "roll short" as opposed to "kick short"

Kick short can be anywhere near the DMC spot. Roll short the defender normally drops deeps and collects on the edge of the area.

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Fantastic thread, really helpful.

I'm looking to implement some of the ideas in this thread into my FM14 save (being on FM14 probably means some of the ideas won't translate perfectly in the different ME etc. but it's worth a go...)

I have a question about playmakers. Do you think they are necessary to make this work? Does the fact that they 'attract' the ball help with possession? (As in, will teammates look for them when they could dribble/shoot/go more direct?)

I'm currently playing a simple 4-4-1-1 which is quite attacking, but with a few tweaks could morph into this for tougher matches, especially away from home, as my players would suit a possession style quite nicely.

My current front 6 is:

WM (a)

BBM (s)

CM (d)

WM (a)

AM (a)

CF(s)

Balanced - control.

I'm keen to keep the shape, but would you recommend swapping out some of those midfield roles to become playmakers to help make a more possession-orientated approach work (as well as the TIs and lower mentalities)?

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Why aren't I getting the same results with my Roma team? All I've changed is False Nine to Complete Forward Support and both full backs to Wing Back Support. I don't see why I should be struggling to get higher than 53 percent against teams like Sassuolo, Sampdoria and even bloody Carpi, but your Swansea team can manage against Arsenal.

Not throwing a hissy fit about it, but just curious as to why this is happening. :)

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Why aren't I getting the same results with my Roma team? All I've changed is False Nine to Complete Forward Support and both full backs to Wing Back Support. I don't see why I should be struggling to get higher than 53 percent against teams like Sassuolo, Sampdoria and even bloody Carpi, but your Swansea team can manage against Arsenal.

Not throwing a hissy fit about it, but just curious as to why this is happening. :)

Are you really that surprised? You've missed the point of the thread I feel, it was about using the ideas from in here on your own save not copy and make the odd change. And because of the changes you've made you've took away the pendulum that made this tactic tick. I've spoke about it throughout the article and in the comments since. The right side of the tactic was absolute vital and no other role was suited, hence why it was set up the way it was. A wingback is too advanced and goes beyond the AP which is a bad thing. You've changed the role of the striker to a complete forward again which is a bad change for what I'd created and how the tactic works.

You've took a tactic that worked, copied it and changed the roles of a few players without understanding how it worked. And in the process you now have something that won't replicate the football it was created to play.

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Fantastic thread, really helpful.

I'm looking to implement some of the ideas in this thread into my FM14 save (being on FM14 probably means some of the ideas won't translate perfectly in the different ME etc. but it's worth a go...)

I have a question about playmakers. Do you think they are necessary to make this work? Does the fact that they 'attract' the ball help with possession? (As in, will teammates look for them when they could dribble/shoot/go more direct?)

I'm currently playing a simple 4-4-1-1 which is quite attacking, but with a few tweaks could morph into this for tougher matches, especially away from home, as my players would suit a possession style quite nicely.

My current front 6 is:

WM (a)

BBM (s)

CM (d)

WM (a)

AM (a)

CF(s)

Balanced - control.

I'm keen to keep the shape, but would you recommend swapping out some of those midfield roles to become playmakers to help make a more possession-orientated approach work (as well as the TIs and lower mentalities)?

You don't have to use a playmaker no. But you'd need someone who can deliver the ball and recycle it still. But you can achieve that with normal roles.

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Very great Thead, i have also created a possession based tactic which is more attack minded and i do loose the ball due to the roles i have. But i just wanted to share something, i use a 4-3-3 with a Regista as my DM, i have realize when my team has the ball my formation changes to a 3-4-3. Where the full backs join the CMs in the midfield, my Regista drops between my CBs and effective creating a 3-4-3 when were attack. I will post a thread on this soon.

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Why is it a bad thing that the DR goes ahead of the AMR?

Would a DLF be more suited, as I have Edin Dzeko as my starting forward, and I'm not keen on the idea of him being a false nine (Plan on signing one in summer.)

I'm winning all my games by 2 or more goals. I'm undefeated, 15 games in and have conceded 2 goals. I'm achieving 58%+ in most of my games, but some games it just doesn't happen for me.

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Why is it a bad thing that the DR goes ahead of the AMR?

Would a DLF be more suited, as I have Edin Dzeko as my starting forward, and I'm not keen on the idea of him being a false nine (Plan on signing one in summer.)

I'm winning all my games by 2 or more goals. I'm undefeated, 15 games in and have conceded 2 goals. I'm achieving 58%+ in most of my games, but some games it just doesn't happen for me.

If you read the thread you will know why, I've mentioned it like 5 times :)

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I understand how it would affect the defensive side of things, but how would it affect attacking and build up?

Thanks for answering the other question btw :) :) :)

If he goes beyond the AP then he can't recover his position fast enough when we lose possession. It also means he takes the space away from the AP and the striker. And it also means he isn't a deep passing option that allows the AP to build from. There's a reason why my RB in the 2 seasons I played had a rating of over 8.23 for both seasons. If he goes beyond the AP regular then it falls apart because the RB is the most important role in the side, he sees more passes and more of the ball than anyone else.

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The most recent edition of FM is surprising for me. i never went beyond standart mentality for my possession tactic at FM15 but now, after I got the feel of FM 2016's ME (the new TI's interface is really helpful) I managed to create a possession tactic using Control Mentality and high tempo, not to mention I let works ball into box, plays out of defence, and look for overlap totally untouched. Those TIs were my favourite TIs for possession in the past.

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.

your words hits me really hard. I just realize that "i know best" attitude is what makes me stuck at the same place, as a whole person, not just about this game. im grateful for that


this thread is also the reason why i tried to use mentality level beyond standart as the basic of my FM16's possession.

after some matches I noticed that some Tis, thought are useful n seemingly "must be picked" for possession tactic, have their own cons. The most bothering one for my concept is Works ball into box. it is reducing both long shot and crossing attempts, sounds great for possession but both of my Wide Defenders were struggling and oftenly lost the ball because when they reach areas near opposition's byline, they just stop then looking for a safe passing option. aside of resulting both WBs to be isolated out wide, this gives my opponent time to close them down or just intercept their pass. not to mention that most of the time my central players were in good positions to receive low crosses. Even if they are not isolated, the ball would only be circulated around outside the penalty box n it is rare for a great chance to appear if the box is full of opposition's players.

so my goals are:

- reducing unnecessary long shots

- Keep ambitious dribble as minimum as possible before reaching the final third

- both Wide Forwards to mainly focusing on exploiting central area up front while on support duty (looks for overlap is out of question)

- both Wide defenders to quickly attempt byline crossings at the right moment, not everytime (hit early crosses is out of question)

- doing all things mentioned above without reducing mentality setting below control.

even after tried using different mentality settings n team shapes n managed to get the feel of this newest version of ME, it took me more than an hour staring at the tactical screen before finally decided to abandon works ball into box, play out of defence, look for overlap, and slower tempo. instead, I tweaked many player roles and reconsider the team shapes because of how close roles and team shape related to each other. Final draft was 2 defend duty, 1 non-playmaker attack duty, 5 support duty, and 3 playmakers (2 on attack, 1 on support). this decision is also breaking my maximum 1 playmaker policy.

first try is an away match against Jablonec in Europa League. even thought i never heard about Jablonec IRL, their players arent too far inferior (to my surprise) compared to mine. First game against them i only got a 2-0 win

JablonecvS420b.png

Not so impressive but I watched the match in full match mode,

- 10 shots, 9 on target. Control mentality, higher tempo, without using Works ball into box, yet unnacessary long shots were not present at all

- 2 goals from open play, both are CCCs

- 649 passing attempts, quite good

- 90 minutes, 16 dribbles in total. 5 in the final third. 8 in their half. almost no unnecessary dribbles.

- 79% passing completion is not a good thing. but IMO it is due to my players quality. 10th at both average First touch n passing attributes compared to all BPL teams are not good enough for my concept, not to mention Mental attributes, team cohesion, PPMs, and tactical fluidity. it's my job to build a team suited for this demanding style of play.

- some players are designed to receive n send more passes than usual (midfield trio, DR, STC), n they did

- Almost all of key passes came from these designated players. 2 key passes came from DL, and the DMC gave no key pass which is fine. DR gave the most with 9 key passes. need world class Central midfielder with the right ppm...

- how much my DR is getting involved at the final third, he is also man of the match

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with the majority of players from both sides congested in the central area, Cedric took the advantage of playing out wide to the fullest. He combined with 3 playmakers created passing routes between them at the final third. When his teamates finally reached opposition box, he became more aggresive n sent through balls or quick flat crosses instead of keeping possession. thought none of them became assist.

- The Defence need more Improvement. This part remains a flaw to this tactic, n im still working on it. No matter what, letting a lower team to shot more often must be avoided. I also made mistake when adjust the OI


It's still too early for my team to play with this style. Currently im still relying on other tactic (A counter attacking style) than this one. nevertheless, this edition's ME is pretty much smoother than its predecessors. Now i dont mind watching almost every game in full match mode

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Those two were the best possible roles for what I've created. That doesn't mean it is for other peoples ideas though, after all I don't know about what your ideas are or the reasons why you'd be using those two roles. If you're predicted to finish last though retaining the ball might be tricky. But like everything and like I showed in the first season, you can have an idea you build towards. It doesn't mean it'll be perfect straight away but you can start working towards the end goal.

Yea. I played the dafuge challenge with FC United last season and I played a possession game and I got promoted

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First of all, if you trying to play possession football, I think you need a couple more TIs to make this strategy effective. You can start by instructing you team to retain possession and applying a more aggressive closing down strategy to win the ball back quickly. Possession based teams should be hungry for possession so they need to win the ball back quickly and higher up the pitch. I know the usual go-to advice is to start simple with few TIs but I think you need a few more TIs to have an effective strategy. Cleon also highlighted the importance of roaming so that's also something you should consider.

The second thing is your shape. Given that you're managing a team at the lower end of the pyramid then you have the ability of your team and league to consider. Is your team capable of playing possession football or do they need help with the shape. It might be that you need to go 4-1-4-1 so your defenders have help (passing options) to get it out of their own half. Without a DM they might find all their options being out of their passing range and end up playing longer, riskier passes like they're used to.

The opposition teams may also be only adept to playing long balls over the top or into the channels like you've observed already. This is bypassing your team and possibly exploiting the space inbetween midfield and defence and also you relatively high line, especially if your CBs are slow. Again, playing someone in the DM strata with the height to win aerial balls and the intelligence and vision to recycle possession or to start attacks could help your team here.

One final thing, I think you need a DLP in your team to help your AP. At the moment your whole team will be looking to play through your AP, which is tough on him if he's being marked by a DM or 2 hard-hitting CBs. A DLP would be a short passing option for the defence to get the play moving up the pitch and hopefully takes some of the workload of the AP. Maybe change your Attacking Forward to something that will link up with your AP. I would say DLF(S) but I'm not confident you have anybody running beyond the striker to exploit the space create behind him when he drops deep. The AP won't do that but you would have to observe if your WM on Attack duty will.

Again stick with it. Soon you'll have a solid base for creating a possession tactic and all the tools you need to develop it further for different teams.

Nah, I'm playing as top teams (United and/or Barcelona, using FMT to bypass the usual issues) when testing/trying to get things to work. I've not started a proper save yet, and won't until I know I have a tactic I can use reliably that I can build on.

They're just inconsistent.

Like, at the moment;

United Vs Bayern - Turned out to be a very even game, Bayern beat us 2-0 via two solid crosses where Lewandowski just manhandles the defenders for a header in on both occasions. Possession was fairly even, the game on balance was fairly even, and could have gone either way.

Next game:

United Vs Roma - Roma with 20 shots all in the box, 5-0 up, my lads can't string a single pass together, Roma's lads just dribbling through the entire team like they aren't there. Three of the goals came from dribbling from nonsensical areas all the way into the box and scoring. The other two were rapid goals too, direct passes to wide players who just bypass the entire defence and midfield with their dribbling ability. What I'm seeing is players standing around not tackling, full stop. I have six players back in defence (the four defenders, a DM shield and a second midfielder who has defensive duties, the third who is a later defensive player as he's on an attack duty), but they shadow the players all the way into the box.

That's where my frustration stems from, when I watch the games back I'm seeing that sort of thing that I can't fathom why it would be happening with such regularity. I don't understand why my players shadow them to infinity and beyond, and I don't understand why my players can't string passes together, even where the mentality or tempo is conservative. I can't understand why the shape or roles I've selected is causing teams, even ones like Derby for example, to turn up and absolutely smash us 20+ shots and 3+ goals as if we're not there, especially as in my eyes I don't think my shape or roles are particularly crazy enough to warrant such extreme issues. Until I can work that out, or until I can understand why things happen in such extremities, I'm just floundering.

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Nah, I'm playing as top teams (United and/or Barcelona, using FMT to bypass the usual issues) when testing/trying to get things to work. I've not started a proper save yet, and won't until I know I have a tactic I can use reliably that I can build on.

They're just inconsistent.

Like, at the moment;

United Vs Bayern - Turned out to be a very even game, Bayern beat us 2-0 via two solid crosses where Lewandowski just manhandles the defenders for a header in on both occasions. Possession was fairly even, the game on balance was fairly even, and could have gone either way.

Next game:

United Vs Roma - Roma with 20 shots all in the box, 5-0 up, my lads can't string a single pass together, Roma's lads just dribbling through the entire team like they aren't there. Three of the goals came from dribbling from nonsensical areas all the way into the box and scoring. The other two were rapid goals too, direct passes to wide players who just bypass the entire defence and midfield with their dribbling ability. What I'm seeing is players standing around not tackling, full stop. I have six players back in defence (the four defenders, a DM shield and a second midfielder who has defensive duties, the third who is a later defensive player as he's on an attack duty), but they shadow the players all the way into the box.

That's where my frustration stems from, when I watch the games back I'm seeing that sort of thing that I can't fathom why it would be happening with such regularity. I don't understand why my players shadow them to infinity and beyond, and I don't understand why my players can't string passes together, even where the mentality or tempo is conservative. I can't understand why the shape or roles I've selected is causing teams, even ones like Derby for example, to turn up and absolutely smash us 20+ shots and 3+ goals as if we're not there, especially as in my eyes I don't think my shape or roles are particularly crazy enough to warrant such extreme issues. Until I can work that out, or until I can understand why things happen in such extremities, I'm just floundering.

If you upload a PKM, when I get the time I can watch it back and offer advice if needed?

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You don't have to use a playmaker no. But you'd need someone who can deliver the ball and recycle it still. But you can achieve that with normal roles.

Thanks for the response. When you talk about a player delivering and recycling the ball, do you mean that player attributes and/or PPMs will be the key here? So a player with good technical skills, and say a 'dictates tempo' PPM would be able to do this without changing their role to a playmaker?

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Hi Cleon,

I totally understood the purpose of this thread, and the counter-attacking one too. I just want to ask one question: do you think it's feasible to maintain two very different tactics throughout the season, one more possession based and another for counter-attacking? I'm just asking this because one does not rely on the same principles of the another but that way I can have two different systems for different games (for example, if I struggle to control a game with my possession based tactic, I switch to the counter-attacking one).

Just passed by to say that, actually, I did not understood the purpose of the thread. This thread, like the counter-attacking one, was made to give guidelines of how to play in possession/counter-attacking, not how we have to play in different circumstances. Your later posts, aswell your last articles in your blog, made that pretty clear. Given that, I just want to thank you for your efforts when you made these articles.

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Thanks for the response. When you talk about a player delivering and recycling the ball, do you mean that player attributes and/or PPMs will be the key here? So a player with good technical skills, and say a 'dictates tempo' PPM would be able to do this without changing their role to a playmaker?

That's one way of doing it, the other is a the role and duty choice. In my system the RB and the DMC are the ones who recycle and see most of the ball. The DMC is also the one with the highest completed amount of passes for the past two seasons.

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@Cleon

Any changes on home/away? Any differences in the performances?

I'm getting completely opposite performances depending if I play home or away, with Dortmund. At home, I just dominate 60%ish ball possession, 15-20 shots, 3+ccc and the opposition barely create a chance (0 CCC combined in 4 games). Away is another story, 55% ball, 10 shots, 0-1 CCC/game with opponents gettings more shots, more CCC than me.

4-3-3, control,highly structured + play from back, wider, press higher, stay on feet, much less tempo, roam from position

GK-d

FB-a on both sides

CD-d

DM-d

CM-a , B2B-s

AP-s , IF-s

DLF-s

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Heavy Luis Enrique influence on the tactic in your opening post, Cleon :D Actually, highly structured has been a revelation for me. It was the final piece of the puzzle, my possession-based tactics look way more solid than before, getting significantly higher percentages, while retaining sharpness in attack. Great article.

You mention and intelligent attacking play article, if I did get the time early next year, what kind of things would you want to see discussed in it? If you give me a general idea then who knows :)

I'd suggest something about direct attacking play. Think Dortmund 2011-13. Gegenpressing is impossible to implement, but some elements of their play are definitely possible. KUTGW.

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Hi all, cracking thread.

I've played about trying to create a possession based way of playing before I found this thread.

Playing as Bayern I'm starting to get the style of play I've been after.

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I'll try and to a fuller write-up over the weekend if I can. Just two quick deviations from what I can see in Cleon's opener. I've always used a fluid or very-fluid structure and I also play with a quicker tempo.

Also player PPM's have been by far the biggest impact for me. I first tried with Arsenal and many of their players have variations of 'runs with ball often' PPM, which wasn't in any way conducive to a heavy passing style I was after. Even if you have team instructions set to dribble less you'll still get the likes of Sanchez and Walcott running all over with the ball most of the time. It's still very possible to end up with 60%+ of the ball but I found it to greatly increase the chances of turning the ball over.

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Thanks Cleon for this thread it has been an eye opener. I have a general question though, the opposition instructions, do they interfere with the tactics you have set? Do people generally clear them before starting the game or just leaving them as per the assistant manager suggestions?

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