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Cleon

The Art of Possession Football

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I've tried every role in every mentality and fluidity and can never seem to gain any sort of control in games. The best I've made is a 3-3-4-0 with 3 DM's - 2 support CDM's with an Anchor-D in the middle. It makes for ugly build-up play from the back as the 2 support DM's always step into the defensive line but it looks better as play progresses into the opponents half. The main frustration I've come across is the constant throughballs to fullbacks - There seems to be no way of stopping it as well. I'm now trying a formation with no fullbacks as I've said but I still can't stop the incessant throughballs & switchplays out to wide players.

Cleon, I've tried your ideas as well and I'd really like a copy of your tactic if you've managed to stop these things I've been winging about.

Any tactic I use is pointless for you as they are all always tailored for the sides I'm playing as. The tactics I used though are all highlighted throughout the thread. Honestly though if you say you've tried everything and understood all the ideas from this thread and any other I've done and still can't play the football you want then no-one on the forum is going to be able to help you at all. There's not much that anyone can do apart from showing you how the game works, then it's all down to you to put these ideas in the game. All we can do is show you, the rest is up to you.

I don't think you've grasped the concepts properly though if you've tried every role in every mentality and fluidity as that's not really what you do. You need to create a system you understand, this means knowing the good and bad points about it. You need to understand every single thing about it. Then you choose roles and duties that compliment the style you are creating.

I gave you some advice above and you disagreed with me which is fine, but you was wrong because you was comparing a real life team who played wide and dominated possession with the game and expecting same results. I also believe in real life not many teams play wide and dominate possession, it's just not logical. The key to possession is movement, space and passing options. This means lots of roaming and wandering about. The further the width the harder this is because it requires more accuracy, you have less passing options and movement is more limited. I'd be interested in seeing these teams who play wide in real life though and dominate possession.

Until you realise you don't know best, then you'll always struggle. You can't claim to know better when you're the one struggling to implement the style and type of football he wants. I feel this is why you're struggling because you already have in your mind a set way of thinking about FM and what works. Forget everything you think you know even if you think you are 100% accurate and start again with an open mind.

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Any tactic I use is pointless for you as they are all always tailored for the sides I'm playing as. The tactics I used though are all highlighted throughout the thread. Honestly though if you say you've tried everything and understood all the ideas from this thread and any other I've done and still can't play the football you want then no-one on the forum is going to be able to help you at all. There's not much that anyone can do apart from showing you how the game works, then it's all down to you to put these ideas in the game. All we can do is show you, the rest is up to you.

I don't think you've grasped the concepts properly though if you've tried every role in every mentality and fluidity as that's not really what you do. You need to create a system you understand, this means knowing the good and bad points about it. You need to understand every single thing about it. Then you choose roles and duties that compliment the style you are creating.

I gave you some advice above and you disagreed with me which is fine, but you was wrong because you was comparing a real life team who played wide and dominated possession with the game and expecting same results. I also believe in real life not many teams play wide and dominate possession, it's just not logical. The key to possession is movement, space and passing options. This means lots of roaming and wandering about. The further the width the harder this is because it requires more accuracy, you have less passing options and movement is more limited. I'd be interested in seeing these teams who play wide in real life though and dominate possession.

Until you realise you don't know best, then you'll always struggle. You can't claim to know better when you're the one struggling to implement the style and type of football he wants. I feel this is why you're struggling because you already have in your mind a set way of thinking about FM and what works. Forget everything you think you know even if you think you are 100% accurate and start again with an open mind.

tumblr_nzjil95yh21ug39mpo1_500_zpszd6bbt4p.jpg

Cleon is spot on, every team has different players so the tactic which works for Cleon, will not necessarily work for you. It is important to start with an open mind and work from there... :thup:

1) Create a system which you understand

2) Create the roles which perfectly suit the style you are trying to create.

3) Find the best players to suit the system you want to play who can play the roles you have created to maximum effect.

It really is so simple, not that complicated at all. Be Consistent, Manage the players well and Keep a happy camp.. :)

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I'm just at a loss with it. Nothing seems to stop these incessant throughballs out to wide players. I can't cope with all these crazy, up and down games because of constant interceptions. I had a good understanding of the game prior to this one but either I've been exposed as clueless or I still haven't found the magic instruction which'll save the day - which everyone else seems to have found.

Technically speaking, I'm a reasonable success on the game if we're talking about results. And possession wise, I average more than most who have replied to this thread with screenshots. But I like watching most of every game we play & I'm not liking what it looks like - If I use CM-S, every time they pass to a wide player then they seem to bomb forward into the penalty box more often than not when on FM 15, they used to stay positioned and offer support for a simple inside pass from the wide player. I don't like playmaker roles because they bump into other players too much and I don't like how they constantly go towards the man in-possession regardless of what side of the pitch they're on. There's so many things which are just wrong, F9 is another role I could hark on about.

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Methinks you need to be more patient mate, it feels to me like you dont ever give time to adapt/settle.

Well I am being impatient now because I know that even with patience, I didn't like what I was seeing. Most seem to put up with the positional play on the game so I must just be a stick in the mud.

In my Valencia save, I've been using more ideas from this thread. Counter, Standard or Control mentalities, Highly Structured, Play Narrow etc - and then all the obvious possession instructions which everyone uses. But I'm still getting silly structures with possession. These aren't isolated moments in a game either, they're happening all the time:

ECF622F29FA1670A35CE80BCA6B27DAFE0C5EAFF

655233FFB9BA98A50F76B4BECF87D16B267D4BE2

What's happening with the 3 CM's here?

I achieved much better shapes using my obscure formations. Not perfect but much more stable -

5656E6B222E1024CDBB4BBF0DBE14052D1029E02

71F2076EEA2DAB88AE1DF8C5E1B56C9F34AF39C7

B9292F673FC85867ED7CF7C46CFE1C356C9AE0EF

I'd probably use these formations more but it still doesn't stop the constant longballs out to wide players & they don't work well when we're defending our own half. I like to use "Much Wider" but I want to play through the middle to open up the opportunity for long passes to wingers, I don't want them to just hoof it to them all the time.

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I'm not sure what these static images purport to show Jimmy?

Yes, you get a clustered midfield if you use a bunch of playmakers looking to move towards the ball, and yes, you can make positioning look duff if you really want to. Yes, you can get Support Duty players on the edge of the area when attacking. I struggle to see what point you are making? You can get perfectly balanced positioning within perfectly normal formations.

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I'm playing 4-1-2-2-1 with Advanced Playmaker and Central Midfielder both on Attack with Regista in DMC spot. I've found that using Counter Strategy the link up play looks much better and my team has conceded only 2 goals in 13 matches. I'm playing Liverpool so keeping posession is easier to achieve but still, we have 61,5% average possession (81% passess completed). Using counter most of the balls are intercepted in our half and from there we patently build our attacks. We do not score much but we play a very, very solid football. Sturridge has scored most of the goals playing as complete forward. Previously I used him as a False nine but the most our attacks ended up with a long shot or one of the inside forwards arriving too late.

Narrow play with much shorter passing gives a solid defence and ball control through entire match. When playing a better side I just move AP to support and change CM to B2B. I also instruct to pass into space to exploit any gaps in opposition formation.

I was always looking a way to score as much goals as I can with my tactics but this approach is much more satisfying.

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Moving into my second season with Rangers and this is the system I have arrived at:

3f28af57-ee92-4700-852b-a8b08a22f958_zpsgvcpscxt.png

a777e95e-597b-43c7-80ab-58367a44ca72_zpsjx7x02o7.png

In the previous season we were absolutely dominant in possession, even against Premiership sides in the cups. However, we struggled to score more than 1 or 2 goals a game and generally looked a bit tame going forward. So I swapped my F9 for a Complete Forward and my DLP for a Roaming Playmaker and shifted my CM(a) to the right side. So far in pre-season we look a lot more dangerous going forward while still keeping the ball really well.

Just played a friendly against a much superior Crystal Palace team, which we won 2-1.

861b327b-e625-4f44-b75e-60a2b0782472_zpsesduj4yr.png

We had absolutely no right to boss possession like we did, never mind win the game, even if it was just a friendly.

It may just be me, but I actually think its much easier to achieve possession football in FM16.

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I'm not sure what these static images purport to show Jimmy?

Yes, you get a clustered midfield if you use a bunch of playmakers looking to move towards the ball, and yes, you can make positioning look duff if you really want to. Yes, you can get Support Duty players on the edge of the area when attacking. I struggle to see what point you are making? You can get perfectly balanced positioning within perfectly normal formations.

You can get support duty players on the edge of the area when attacking? I don't, I just get players looking to make runs forward. I don't get balanced shapes at all when we have possession - using normal formations anyway. It's like they can't wait to bomb into the box into an offside position. And yeah, I agree with you - static screenshots don't purport much in the same way the screenshots used by anyone. I'm just showing screenshots using tactics which have been advised from this thread compared to tactics which I've created myself.

I'm not sure if your suggestion of using playmakers was aimed at me but I said I don't like using them as they all bump into one another and go towards the ball too much. I don't use any playmaker as I want players to position themselves inside the opponents defensive formation. Doesn't seem possible though.

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you're just repeating your complaints without "actually" read our comments with an opened mind, Jimmy. N I have a doubt in your self-claimed "good understanding of the game prior to this one" thing

try to play without "I have a good understanding of this" or (possibly) "I know how to get this done" mindset. In fact, even Plato said “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” it means being confident that one is wise not by understand everything, but by understand that one cannot possibly know everything. that way, one can find a new possibility to solve problems. Otherwise, you'll just wandering aimlessly, n wont be able to find a new possiblity because u've blocked the path towards it before u even started the search.

with your state of mind now, you're the only one who can help yourself. We're not blaming you for being like that, for almost every human being alive can suffer the same thing in many aspect of life, even I used to be like that. I still can't completely open up my mind n get rid of the self-centered part of me. I even did something stupid n got a heavy warning from the moderators here

about getting a support duty player on the edge of area when attacking, it is possbile to do that

zzzzza383.png

Davis, #8 is in a Central Midfielder role with support duty. It is the peak of my team's attacking phase since Rodriguez (IF-A) is already going into the central area n my WB-S (targett) is overlapping high up the pitch (right behind davis). There are many ways to get this done even without a wider width setting, as long as u can see all posibilities, u will find the way.

let's just say me posted this pict is the self-centered part of me, though i just want to avoid talking out of topic too far.

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Well I'm sure you've misunderstood me. I'm not moaning at anyone, I keep putting up the same old thing as I've been applying advice and seeing no improvements in my annoyances - which are mainly just constant throughballs to offside positioned fullbacks/wingers and bad movement in midfield using the roles I want to use. On FM 15, the movement I got from CM-S duty players was almost as good as I could hope for.

I appreciate any advice I'm getting but it's still not working for me. I am getting impatient though and know that'll never improve things so I'm giving it another go with uber patience.

In your screenshot, Davis' positioning as a CM-S is precisely the kind of positioning I don't expect from the role and is another bad example of bad positioning (in my opinion). It's not what I'm used to anyway compared to how the role played on FM 15.

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I've tried helping you as have others and you still have the same issue. Posting the same issue over and over isn't really helping especially when I know for a fact the things you say happen don't when following the principles of this thread. As no-one seems to be able to help you then it might be a better idea to stop posting the same issue in the thread time and time again as we are just going round in circles. Nothings changed between the roles from FM15 and FM16.

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Can you elaborate more what would you do when you're on the lead, same when you're one or 2 goal behind, and what would you do when you meet a "Park the bus" system ?

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I've done posts on how to deal with sides who are parking the bus before, it can be found here;

http://sisportscentre.com/building-a-tactic-from-the-beginning-the-walls-of-jericho/

It's impossible to elaborate on what to do if a goal behind etc because the context is vital here. You can play well and still go 1 or 2 goals behind, so do you change things or do you just stick because you've not seen any real faults?! Far too many scenarios and different things you could do here, so context is vital.

And when taking a lead I change nothing why would I? The best way of protecting leads is to continue playing the way that got you the lead in the first place :brock:

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Great thread Cleon!! Just wanted to pick your brain if I could. I've created a few different tactics that work really well but always tail off. I dominate and win 6-7 games in a row but then quickly it falls away and I begin to lose heavily and results only improve after I change the tactic again. Is this just a case of the tactic not being as strong as I may think?I've read posts that says the AI can work out your tactics and come up with ways to play against you so you have to keep things fresh but notice you didn't change or tweak yours throughout the season. Also do you think a possession tactic could work in the lower leagues?

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Great thread Cleon!! Just wanted to pick your brain if I could. I've created a few different tactics that work really well but always tail off. I dominate and win 6-7 games in a row but then quickly it falls away and I begin to lose heavily and results only improve after I change the tactic again. Is this just a case of the tactic not being as strong as I may think?I've read posts that says the AI can work out your tactics and come up with ways to play against you so you have to keep things fresh but notice you didn't change or tweak yours throughout the season. Also do you think a possession tactic could work in the lower leagues?

The AI never works out your tactic. Ever. If you've read that somewhere, ignore it.

What the AI can do however is alter how they set up against you depending on how well you are performing. So for example, if you are a newly promoted side at the start of the season, the AI in some cases may be quite aggressive against you, leaving them open to your own attacks. If after a few months you have done well in the league, the AI may then start to change how they approach a match against you - the AI could tighten up, becoming harder to break down. This can be why you see people writing they had great success, but results start to dry up after a few months.

I'm perhaps over simplifying, and there are other factors involved, but one things that does NOT happen is the AI figures out your tactics.

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Well, in a way it is the AI figuring your tactic out. It actually figures a way to set up against you based on your success and achievements. It's just different wording.

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Well, in a way it is the AI figuring your tactic out. It actually figures a way to set up against you based on your success and achievements. It's just different wording.

This isn't true. What happens is the AI gauges your reputation + a few other things and alters a tactic instructions based on that. It won't adjust to you being a high possession team because the AI doesn't consider your tactic at all. It will park the bus and play counter ball if you are the better team.

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This isn't true. What happens is the AI gauges your reputation + a few other things and alters a tactic instructions based on that. It won't adjust to you being a high possession team because the AI doesn't consider your tactic at all. It will park the bus and play counter ball if you are the better team.

Success and achievements = reputation

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a777e95e-597b-43c7-80ab-58367a44ca72_zpsjx7x02o7.png

A few games into my second season and I altered things slightly, ending up with this:

28828308-b236-4d26-b990-7b0e709ec6f1_zpsuzs85mxq.png

Basically my old formation, but with the CM(a) and DLP positions on different sides. The reason I changed it was that, while still dominating possession, our attacking moves tended to break down very easily in the final third. Practically everyone except the HB and two CD's ended up in the opposition penalty box, meaning there were no passing options and we were very vulnerable to counter attacks. I probably could have mitigated things slightly by moving to a Standard or Counter mentality, but it was pretty clear that our midfield was far too open and needed some stability. The DLP was the perfect solution. Not only has our build up play become more subtle and patient, but his more withdrawn position has created loads of space for my forward players to utilise, particularly the CF.

I've also experimented a bit with changing my RB to a support duty, reason being that in one game he somehow ended up playing in a centre-forward position almost straight from a kick-off. I like attacking full backs and everything, but that was a bit too much, even for me. That being said, sometimes with a support duty the RB doesn't get beyond the AMR often enough, so I'll probably leave it as it is for now.

These are my current possession stats since promotion to the Scottish Premiership:

b574a176-e722-45d2-9442-692bb30ebcc0_zps78nzucgy.png

Also currently on a 22 match unbeaten run. Just awaiting the inevitable home defeat to some relegation battler...

I think the HB role has been very useful in maintaining good possession numbers. With the CB's pulling wide we create better passing angles and invite the opposition midfielders to press the backline, leaving gaps for my two CM's to exploit. Also, we look extremely comfortable with the ball at the back, even under intense pressure. My HB is a really decent passer of the ball, but even my CB's are capable of dinking little diagonal balls out to my wingers under pressure.

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A few games into my second season and I altered things slightly, ending up with this:

28828308-b236-4d26-b990-7b0e709ec6f1_zpsuzs85mxq.png

.

I was playing my current save with Benfica, kind of similar team in Portugal, and i was having some troubles, manly against weaker teams playing at home.

In my midfield i was playing, like you, a CM(a) but pair with a BBM(s) ahead of a DM(d).

I think, because of the attacking mentality of the CM and the movement from the BBM i was having too many player moving forward. Like you i play with a IF(s)-IF(a) and in my case a DLF(s).

After reading your post, i changed the BBM(s) to DLP(s) and the IF(s) to a AP(s)... and what a change.

Despite having a formation less attacking, the team start playing much better, with more space in front of goal, with more backup from players that stay a little bit behind.

Sometimes, the best way to attack... is put less man upfroant! :)

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Trying this on Hull City, any advice??

Try it, and see what happens :brock:

One question - why are you using wingbacks at WBL/R, rather than DL/R? Is there a specific reason?

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I think it is too much to have Short Passing, Retain Possession, Slower Tempo, Work Into Box, Dribble less, etc. all in the same tactic.

Possession football is a defensive tactic and with all of that on you are turning yourself too toothless to do anything. I think it is great when you are ahead. In fact, that is the type of tactic I switch to when I go up 3-4 goals.

For my main tactic I have a much lower tempo, short passing and play out of defense. Other than that I also run pass into space and be more expressive. What ends up happening is a slow build up play but at any moment we can spring for an attack. My fullbacks aren't afraid to put in a cross when we have numbers in the box or a solid run. I am still getting solid possession numbers but better CCC numbers because through balls can murder.

More importantly I think it is the tactic my players needed. I am running one of the faster teams in my league with good movement, with the best vision and decisions. You have to play to the strengths of your team. You can't force a team with poor first touch and passing to play possession and you can't tell your guys that see the through balls to never play them.

I am still tweaking but it just more enjoyable to watch right now.

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Try it, and see what happens :brock:

One question - why are you using wingbacks at WBL/R, rather than DL/R? Is there a specific reason?

I don't know, i am new on this haha. Will try WB and DL and see whats happen

Edit: bCN9gGP.png

First 5 matches, lost so many points but i think my team played well.

Will update later.

Sry for my english haha. Bye

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I also posted this in the stupid questions thread but ill give it a show here too. The AML does not seem to work, very rarely performs, could it be the roles around the RMD?

JLbtaWk.png

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I also posted this in the stupid questions thread but ill give it a show here too. The AML does not seem to work, very rarely performs, could it be the roles around the RMD?

Cleon answered in that thread, and the same response applies here:

How can we answer this? Only you can find out why by watching games. Watch them and you'll see why he's not involved how you like etc.

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Cleon answered in that thread, and the same response applies here:

Let me ask differently then. Is Raumdeuter a good role for possession football and could that be the underlying cause of the AML's failure in most games? I hope that makes sense

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Let me ask differently then. Is Raumdeuter a good role for possession football and could that be the underlying cause of the AML's failure in most games? I hope that makes sense

You can ask it in as many different ways as you like and the answer still comes back to the exact same thing. Watch games and focus on what you see the role doing in the set-up you currently use. Any role can work fine in a possession based system, absolutely any. In your example you know what you have to do if the AML is failing time and time again yet you are on here seeking validation rather than trying to fix the issue. Only you have access to your game, only you can know 100% what the issue is by watching games. We can't answer the question you are asking because each situation needs context added to it, if not any advice becomes an isolated sweeping statement.

So my advice is stop asking if this and that could be the cause of the issue and instead actually watch games and look at the stats in the games he struggles in and you will be able to pinpoint exactly why. There could be a thousand different reasons why it's not working for you but without you looking into the issue from your end, you can't sort it.

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sorry if this has already been asked/covered. But what shot on target ratio % are people getting?. I assume around 40% is good. After 5 games mine is 25%, probably due to having to sign Zarate on loan due to injuries.

Many of the shots are from good areas but end up going wide. Everything else in my tactic is working. 5 games 4 clean sheets and only conceded twice sadly both from set-pieces.

It is just chance conversion that is so badly wrong

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I'm thinking of trying a possession 4-3-3. Anyone had success with a traditional trio upfront of IF/A - F9 - IF/A, or is it overkill to have two inside forwards on attack on this match engine, becoming a bit one-dimensional? Seems like everyone on this thread either has a playmaker on the wing or at least one of the IFs on support.

edit: this seems promising, I've won my first match 4-0. I've been managing this team for a year and a few months and have never won by 4 goals before. :D

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I'm thinking of trying a possession 4-3-3. Anyone had success with a traditional trio upfront of IF/A - F9 - IF/A, or is it overkill to have two inside forwards on attack on this match engine, becoming a bit one-dimensional? Seems like everyone on this thread either has a playmaker on the wing or at least one of the IFs on support.

edit: this seems promising, I've won my first match 4-0. I've been managing this team for a year and a few months and have never won by 4 goals before. :D

Using one as a primary tactic in my current save, and have done through eight seasons. I have two versions- a narrow one, and wide one with a DM that I often switch to a CM-D. The narrow obviously uses three CFs, but the wider version has two IFs. I use them on attack in a control strategy, but will drop them to support in a lower mentality OR if I am getting hammered down the wings as the IF-s does a good bit more defensively.

I find it works just fine generally, but it will run into trouble against teams that pack the middle. The nice thing about it for me is the versatility. You can do as I've done and alternate between a CM-D and DM for a bit more defensive screen, or you can move IFs to Wingers on one or both sides if needed. The possession side will work just fine regardless of these sorts of tweaks, as the IFs in the build up will still stay quite wide, so not much difference from wingers up to that point. Another nice tweak for variety is to set one or both IFs to sit narrower if you want to exploit the middle more- works well against 4-4-s and the like with their thinner midfields.

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Cleon, what are your thoughts on using wingers on support duty in this system ?

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Cleon, what are your thoughts on using wingers on support duty in this system ?

It wouldn't have worked for me and I assume you mean the tactic I used as you didn't post your system? It would have gone against what I wanted and was trying to achieve.

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It wouldn't have worked for me and I assume you mean the tactic I used as you didn't post your system? It would have gone against what I wanted and was trying to achieve.

Indeed I was referring to the tactic you devised.

I'm currently using support wingers in a possession tactic so far and it seems to be alright.

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Indeed I was referring to the tactic you devised.

I'm currently using support wingers in a possession tactic so far and it seems to be alright.

Yeah but what you've created and what I created will differ and we'd want different things. I have no-one in the side to make most or crossing. Crossing in a lone striker formation when the striker plays deep and drops off the front is one of the most pointless things ever. Hence why I went with better options :)

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This is because you aren't really set up for a possession game yourself despite thinking you are. This is very clear because you decided to go really wide in your play, which doesn't help with a possession game.

All your issues are your own fault as the TI's you use don't match the style you're trying to create.

I gave you some advice above and you disagreed with me which is fine, but you was wrong because you was comparing a real life team who played wide and dominated possession with the game and expecting same results. I also believe in real life not many teams play wide and dominate possession, it's just not logical. The key to possession is movement, space and passing options. This means lots of roaming and wandering about. The further the width the harder this is because it requires more accuracy, you have less passing options and movement is more limited. I'd be interested in seeing these teams who play wide in real life though and dominate possession.

Just going back to this Cleon, a few pictures of the 2 most possession-based teams in real life playing wide:

Juego-De-Posicion-1.png?d58636

positions3.jpg

jdp.png

When I said teams in real life play wide, I obviously didn't mean tiki taka between fullback & winger. I mean the actual formation in-possession is wide. One player on each wing to always be wide to essentially act as a decoy to open up the inside corridors for central players - one of the most important aspects of Guardiola's positional play.

I obviously assume you know this already, When I was using the "Wide" instruction I thought it had been updated for FM 16 that it did exactly what I wanted, I didn't know it still meant that it focused passing out wide at every opportunity.

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When I was using the "Wide" instruction I thought it had been updated for FM 16 that it did exactly what I wanted, I didn't know it still meant that it focused passing out wide at every opportunity.

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

It's also important to reiterate that Cleon did say : "I also believe in real life not many teams play wide and dominate possession". Do Barca post-Pep play with as much width these days? Not sure. What would be interesting is to see if someone wants to add with this thread testing width to see if the bug reports are correct, and if width in possession can boost possession stats.

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

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

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

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

How effectively do you defend the flanks? You have a narrow midfield that offers little width and no conventional wide players anywhere. It must be a little problematic?

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How effectively do you defend the flanks? You have a narrow midfield that offers little width and no conventional wide players anywhere. It must be a little problematic?

It's actually not as big of a problem as I thought it would be, for a few reasons:

- I stop teams playing from the back and I have tall CBs who win any long balls so it's hard for them to get the ball in advanced areas in the first place.

- I tell my wingers to man-mark their fullbacks, effectively neutralising them (I make sure my wingers have decent workrate/teamwork so they don't neglect this duty).

- I tell my wide CBs to close down more. When the ball is on the flank the closest CB goes to close down the ball and the other 2 shift over. This does leave us significantly weak on the opposite flank, so if the opposition switches the play quickly across to the other side we can be caught out, but this is a difficult ball to execute so it happens rarely.

- Because I 'Play Wider' the CMs can actually play quite wide at times. They also close down opposition wingers when the ball is on their side of the pitch.

- If I'm playing against a 4-2-2-2 (with 2 CMs and 2 WFs, like how Simeone's Atletico play), or if a team are particularly strong on the flanks, I tell my CM's to man-mark their WFs, meaning the play as wingbacks in defence and CM's in attack.

- As I mentioned earlier, I play with 3 CBs who are strong in the air, so even if the opposition does get crosses in, we have 3 players capable of clearing the ball.

Of course, we do get caught out at times (I suppose every tactic has it's weaknesses), but it seems to be more from my defenders making an individual error or a lapse in concentration.

I believe it to be a highly effective formation (and one that produces attractive football), but one where the margin for error becomes really small. if you don’t get things right, you run the risk of being exposed. If one player isn't closing down from goal kicks or isn't pressing properly the whole thing can fall apart, hence why I make sure all of my players have at least reasonable workrate/teamwork (I look for 13+).

The 3-4-3 enables us to build up from the back slowly (normally through the wide CB's (who I play as Ball Playing CBs and I tell to 'Get Further Forward') who play the ball into midfield or to the WFs) or counterattack (as the WFs remain high up the pitch, ready to exploit the space), hence why I play the 'Counter' strategy.

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Just going back to this Cleon, a few pictures of the 2 most possession-based teams in real life playing wide:

I'll give you the Bayern one because that is something specific that Pep asks his players to do. Anyone who saw the little Analysis Thierry Henry did will know that staying wide is a specific requirement of his. I also never claimed sides didn't stay wide, I said not many do it. Plus you seem to be forgetting that how possession works in real life and in FM are very different as I explained in the opening posts.

How come you haven't used any recent examples for Barca? That screenshot isn't from the 2014 or 13 encounter because Osasuna played in a green kit in one of them and in the other game they kicked the opposite way in the first half. So the example you used it as the bare mimimum over 4 years old. Isolated screenshots are bad though. They're like stats, you can make them say anything you want but don't show any context at all and show no story of the match.

I'm no sure what the point is you are trying to make though? You choose two sides who are the exception to the rule rather than the rule to get a point across which is why I said not many instead of not ALL. I don't understand the point? It has nothing to do with FM and isn't even comparable. You are (and I don't know why) trying to compare something that is calculated very differently in real life to how it works in FM.

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

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

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

In majority of league games I was managing 68-74% using the flat 343 I posted about last year, on this years version using Ajax. The thing is, the league is relatively poor and bar two teams are all ranked lower than you drastically in FM terms. So majority of sides allow you to dominate and sit back.

I bet you that in Europe though you don't average anywhere near 65% for the entire competition.

The 3-4-3 enables us to build up from the back slowly (normally through the wide CB's (who I play as Ball Playing CBs and I tell to 'Get Further Forward') who play the ball into midfield or to the WFs) or counterattack (as the WFs remain high up the pitch, ready to exploit the space), hence why I play the 'Counter' strategy.

It sounds very similar to mine but I play defensive. It sounds like our ideas are more or less mirrored though :)

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How come you haven't used any recent examples for Barca? That screenshot isn't from the 2014 or 13 encounter because Osasuna played in a green kit in one of them and in the other game they kicked the opposite way in the first half. So the example you used it as the bare mimimum over 4 years old. Isolated screenshots are bad though. They're like stats, you can make them say anything you want but don't show any context at all and show no story of the match.

Just to chime in as a Barca fan....Looking at the screenshot and judging based on the kit I can safely that this is from a match during the 2011-2012 season, which coincidentally was Guardiola's last season as Barca's coach.

Yes, Pep has a specific instructions for his players to stay wide and open up the pitch....until the last third when they are given freedom and allowed to move infield, as backed by the recent analysis/explanation by Henry. So I would say that not a few teams but more accurately Pep Guardiola is the exception to the rule regarding width and possession.

Which reminds me....didn't you hint at something regarding that in the Barca tactical thread? I remember you were going to post some interesting tactical developments using your Santos save and the role Gabriel Barbosa has as Inside Forward.

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So I would say that not a few teams but more accurately Pep Guardiola is the exception to the rule regarding width and possession.

I wanted to mention this, that is clearly a Guardiola Barca, so essentially, it's Pep Guardiola that plays wide rather than Barcelona, under Enrique, I dont think they play nearly as wide. Also, people would do well to remember the level of player that Guardiola has had available to him to carry out his vision.

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I'm currently managing FC United in League 2, playing a possession-based tactic. It's a 4-1-2-3 DM which has been good for the last 3-4 seasons with two consecutive promotions and a good debut-season in League 2 (predicted 22th, finished 7th). The second season in League started great but after 15 matches or so things started to change and I dropped down from 1th to 10th. Problem is, I really don't know where to start tweaking the tactic. When I watch the games in real-time I notice this:

* The players are going way too quickly forward with and without the ball.

* F9 isn't available in the build up and ends up isolated.

* Defenders always clears the ball even if there's no pressure on them.

* Winger and IF also gets isolated.

How I want to play is something like this:

* Press high and close down the opponent inside their own half, while still controll the match with a high ballpossession and slow build-up, much like Pep's Barca.

* I want the winger/IF to provide width and stretch the opponents defence in order to make space for the midfield and F9 so they build attacks.

* One attacking fullback to provide width when the IF gets inside and the other supporting the winger.

* Halfback for defensive cover and as a player who can circulate the ball when in possession.

Here's the roles and instructions. I also use PI: W, IF and F9 --> Mark tighter.

c54425b69a5c664a3c80bc462b2aa3a6.png

f37e21ec6ddc4bd58b3c58e30f91a002.png

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I'm currently managing FC United in League 2, playing a possession-based tactic. It's a 4-1-2-3 DM which has been good for the last 3-4 seasons with two consecutive promotions and a good debut-season in League 2 (predicted 22th, finished 7th). The second season in League started great but after 15 matches or so things started to change and I dropped down from 1th to 10th. Problem is, I really don't know where to start tweaking the tactic. When I watch the games in real-time I notice this:

* The players are going way too quickly forward with and without the ball.

* F9 isn't available in the build up and ends up isolated.

* Defenders always clears the ball even if there's no pressure on them.

* Winger and IF also gets isolated.

How I want to play is something like this:

* Press high and close down the opponent inside their own half, while still controll the match with a high ballpossession and slow build-up, much like Pep's Barca.

* I want the winger/IF to provide width and stretch the opponents defence in order to make space for the midfield and F9 so they build attacks.

* One attacking fullback to provide width when the IF gets inside and the other supporting the winger.

* Halfback for defensive cover and as a player who can circulate the ball when in possession.

Here's the roles and instructions. I also use PI: W, IF and F9 --> Mark tighter.

c54425b69a5c664a3c80bc462b2aa3a6.png

f37e21ec6ddc4bd58b3c58e30f91a002.png

You have so many instructions to retain possession. Retain, Shorter, Play out of Defense, Work ball into box. Id start by getting rid from some of them. Also you have look for overlap, might be wrong here but how does look for overlap work with W/A? There is no really penetration instructions, such as pass into space or something of the sort. Basically you are making it so that its really easy to play against you by sitting deep and letting you have possession while countering you.

But thats just me. Just start by making it simpler if I were you.

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I'm currently managing FC United in League 2, playing a possession-based tactic. It's a 4-1-2-3 DM which has been good for the last 3-4 seasons with two consecutive promotions and a good debut-season in League 2 (predicted 22th, finished 7th). The second season in League started great but after 15 matches or so things started to change and I dropped down from 1th to 10th. Problem is, I really don't know where to start tweaking the tactic.

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

When I watch the games in real-time I notice this:

* The players are going way too quickly forward with and without the ball.

* F9 isn't available in the build up and ends up isolated.

* Defenders always clears the ball even if there's no pressure on them.

* Winger and IF also gets isolated.

But then you continued with observations... WOOHOO!

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

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

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

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

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

How I want to play is something like this:

* Press high and close down the opponent inside their own half, while still controll the match with a high ballpossession and slow build-up, much like Pep's Barca.

* I want the winger/IF to provide width and stretch the opponents defence in order to make space for the midfield and F9 so they build attacks.

* One attacking fullback to provide width when the IF gets inside and the other supporting the winger.

* Halfback for defensive cover and as a player who can circulate the ball when in possession.

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

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In majority of league games I was managing 68-74% using the flat 343 I posted about last year, on this years version using Ajax. The thing is, the league is relatively poor and bar two teams are all ranked lower than you drastically in FM terms. So majority of sides allow you to dominate and sit back.

I bet you that in Europe though you don't average anywhere near 65% for the entire competition.

It sounds very similar to mine but I play defensive. It sounds like our ideas are more or less mirrored though :)

That’s true that the Dutch league isn’t a top European league and I do have a top class team. However, in my experience a fair few of the teams in the league try to press you and stop you from playing out from the back (when they're playing at home, at least).

I couldn't tell you of my possession stats in the Champions League off the top of my head, but I have put in several dominating performances against some of the big boys (Pep's Bayern being one of them).

One of the major attractions to the 3-4-3 diamond for me is that it provides a consistent, clear route of getting the ball from my GK to my CF (without hoofing it) and provides the kind of football I love to watch. I’m a sucker for a Laudrup-esque slipped through ball to break the defensive line, which is why I love playing with an AMC.

I have tried to model it on Guardiola's 3-4-3 that he played against Villareal in the 5-0 (http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/08/29/barcelona-5-0-villarreal-tactics/). I have told my wide CBs to push up further so that at times they act almost like midfielders (what I'd love in FM is a 'wide libero' CB role, similar to how Emre Can played as part of a back 3 for Liverpool under Rodgers).

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