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If you have time and give me some feedback, it is always good. However, if you don't have time, it is ok. (I do understand that we all have things to do in our real world :) )

Actually I am trying to port this style(mainly all TI) back into 4-2-1-3 system to see how it is perform differently.

It seems to me that it perform a bit better than 442 due to the 3 midfielder, but I am still experimenting.

I can't download your tactic and load it into my game, so posting pictures and/or descriptions would be better. However, I see you've now changed to 4-2-1-3 (4-2-1-3?) so it doesn't matter anyway :).

I see you are "still experimenting" and that's the key. Have an idea in mind of how you want your players to perform and then try things out, see if they actually do what you want. If not, why not? Always be aware of their attributes, PPMs and role specific default PIs. Going back to your question about WMs instead of wingers or wide playmakers, that's why I chose WMs - I had an idea of how I wanted my wide players to play and it was only when I looked at default PIs that I realised the WM role was what I needed.

You could always load up a dummy save on FMT to experiment, as you always have 100% tactical familiarity there no matter how many changes you make.

Sounds reasonable, I assume you think it would be stronger due to the MC's being a little wider? I've been playing around with my diamond for ages and I just cant decide what roles I should be taking for MC/AMC/STs. I've had reasonable success with DM Anchor, 2x CM-Support, 1 x AP-S, 1xDLF-S and 1xAF or Poacher but the two CM and AP-s stand on top of each other an awful lot which heavily cuts out the AMC involvement in the game.

If looking at 4-1-3-2 I assume something like Anchormoan, CM-A in centre and sides being something supportive like CM-S, BBM or BWM-S? Not really sure on play makers (I'm playing low tempo possession football for reference).

4-3-1-2 being CM-D, BBMx2, AMC?(Never know how to play an AMC...).

Having not spent any time thinking about a 442 diamond shape, it's hard for me to comment, especially without seeing your overall system. What you mention about your midfield could well work in the appropriate tactical system, however you can't look at your midfield in isolation. Everything has to link together, so it's impossible to say if a CM-S, BBM and/or BWM-S would work without looking at the rest.

All I can say really is that whichever formation you pick, it's more important to see how your players actually behave on the pitch, how they cover space and what you do to help them achieve this.

Try things out, and if you really get stuck open a new thread in this forum with your tactical detail :).

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Die Kartoffelkäfer

The Potato Beetles

14dmvwg.png

TSV Alemannia Aachen

I've taken the Thames Ironworks as far as I can, but I think there is more to come from the tactical system I've developed.

To explore this further, I'm going to do something I don't usually enjoy and head into the lower leagues. And the club I have found to do this with is TSV Alemannia Aachen, the "Potato Beetles", who start the game as an unplayable team in an unplayable league - the German Regional Division West. This league is a tier below the playable German 3. Liga, so I have to holiday for a year to get them promoted.

I picked Aachen for 3 reasons - they have a crazy nickname (seriously, the Potato Beetles?!?); as recently as 2007 they were in the top division Bundesliga; and they play in a pretty big stadium (33000 capacity) which won't require expansion for a very long time.

My intention here is to put my tactical system to the test, developing both it and my new club as the seasons progress. So where to start?

Pastures New

Aachen, and the players therein, are clearly not the Thames Ironworks. I developed the Irons simultaneously with the tactical system, and the two went hand in glove. I can't expect to plug that 4-4-2 system straight into Aachen and expect it to work. So I need to think about a short, medium and long term plan if I'm going to have any kind of success.

Short Term

Newly promoted Aachen are predicted to finish 20th (last) and are relegation favourites. I'd like to avoid this eventuality. To help me do this, I need to think of 3 things:

1) Playing staff. My players are pretty rubbish as you can imagine, but I do have some spare wage budget and there are plenty of decent enough players available as free signings. Further, I don't believe my players are able to play with the fairly technical passing game demanded of my tactical system, so I need to take this into account to begin with.

2) Tactical System. I didn't develop a plug and play system, so I can't just ask my players to take the system and run with it straight off the bat. I need to consider the good points, where they will struggle and so adapt as necessary. There is one other point I need to consider here as well before I get started:

3) Opposition Teams. Aachen is newly promoted and predicted to finish bottom. I fully expect other teams to see me as easy meat at least until (if !) I start winning matches and being successful. This should offer me some opportunities to exploit, so I need to consider this in the sort term for my system.

Medium Term

If (fingers crossed) I can avoid this initial early onslaught from my opponents, I expect teams to start to tighten up against me, becoming less adventurous. You hear about this sort of thing all the time on these forums ("my tactic was great and now I can't buy a win" etc). So I need to recognise this (if it happens) and be prepared to adapt accordingly.

Hopefully I will also start to get extra transfer funds and be able to improve my thread bare squad (I don't even have any youth players).

Long Term

Kind of the same issues here as in the medium term. Eventually I hope to get promoted, and I will expect teams to view me in the same manner again - at least in early season. So again it's more tactical adapting as seasons unfold, and player recruitment / development.

Long Term is also where I need to consider my original tactical system. Eventually I am aiming to fully implement the system into Aachen, so player development and recruitment needs to ultimately be geared towards this end.

Hopefully that gives you a good idea of where I am going and how I plan to get there. In essence, I am looking to develop my new club into being capable of playing in my desired manner, rather than doing what I originally did and have the right set up straight from the get-go.

I'll update my short term tactical changes, and how it starts to play out next.

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The Short Term System

Before delving into how I want the team to play in the short term, I need to look at the good and bad points (from an Aachen perspective) of the current 4-4-2 system (aka my long term goal).

It's quite brief:

The bad points are the tactical settings - the TIs, the PIs, the Mentality and the Team Shape. So not much then :brock:.

The good points are the player roles and duties.

14czbyo.png

Starting with the good points (and this goes right back to my first post), I'm focussing on player roles and duties. Regardless or the other tactical settings, there is a nice balance to the side. An overlapping fullback; a midfield runner; a winger who cuts inside; creativity and goal threats from the strike partnership. All of that works and links up - and I see no reason why that wouldn't work with Aachen. There is nothing overly technical about the roles, nothing too demanding - anyone at any level of the game can make overlapping runs or stick a cross into the box.

That's my theory anyway, so in terms of the basic system I'll be sticking with the original.

What I need to do is adapt the other tactical settings (the "bad points") to give my team an acceptable style of play in the short term. Medium and Long Term I'll need to adapt again, but the immediate concern is the beginning of the season.

To tackle that, this is how I'll be playing:

30k800i.png

Counter Mentality; Flexible Team Shape; just one TI - Close Down More.

First and foremost, I am not playing with a Counter mentality to play Counter Attacking football. I fully expect to see some counter attacks purely from the team set up and knowing that the Counter mentality can trigger counters a little more often than some other mentalities, but that's not the main goal here. My aim is to play in a relatively risk free way. Being defensively solid is my primary goal whilst maintaining some attacking threat from player roles. The Counter mentality is low down on the risk "ladder", which should be great for such a poor team.

It's also worth noting that I fully expect opponents to come at me. Aachen are favourites for relegation and so will be seen as easy pickings. By playing conservatively I intend to use their aggression against them - they'll leave space for me to exploit from both the mentality I use and my player duties.

When not counter attacking, the team should play in a certain style - risk adverse in defence, patient in possession with attacking intent from certain players. I don't want to be as risk adverse as possible (that's really not how I like to play FM), so when defending I do want the team to press a little more to apply some pressure to the ball carrier. I don't just want to sit deep and look for the odd counter attack - I still want to play with a little closing down to keep opponents on their toes.

I've also switched to a Flexible Team Shape to add a little more compactness to the team. In the original system, I used 2 shouts for this which I'm not using here, so that should help. It does add a bit more player creativity however, so I may use the Be More Disciplined shout to counter act that if needed, but it should be fine - we're only talking margins here.

Finally, there is one other issue I need to negate. My left winger is instructed to Dribble More. Fine if I have a player who can actually dribble, but I don't, so using this PI will get me into trouble. It's removed.

Pre-Season

I usually play pre-season to get players fit and boost morale (by winning matches against poor opposition). I've done it a little differently with Aachen however:

3091t3p.png

3 easy games, then Bayern Munich, a further 3 easy games, then Borussia Dortmund and finally another 3 easy games. Easy games to boost morale after heavy losses against the 2 big boys, and 2 big pre-season matches to boost my bank balance. Or so I thought...

ael7uv.png

Just a 1-0 loss against Bayern (an 84th minute Vidal penalty) and a goalless draw with Dortmund.

I'll take that :).

Anyway, I also need to have a medium term plan prepared in case of early season success leading to teams playing less aggressively against me. If that happens I'll need to adapt, so I'll do a follow up piece on that later.

Hope you find my thought process of interest so far.

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I must say herne, I really enjoy how you approach the game and the way you write. It will be interesting to see how this progresses. :)

One question: Even though it has been only pre-season, I'm curious to know what changes you made during those games and why? Did you drop deeper against Bayern and Dortmund?... Did you push higher up if you felt you were conceding too much space to the opposition?... Did you make any role changes? etc.

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I'm eager to see this new challenge. I'm curious about the BWM, he's playing like the way you intended?

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I must say herne, I really enjoy how you approach the game and the way you write. It will be interesting to see how this progresses. :)

One question: Even though it has been only pre-season, I'm curious to know what changes you made during those games and why? Did you drop deeper against Bayern and Dortmund?... Did you push higher up if you felt you were conceding too much space to the opposition?... Did you make any role changes? etc.

Thanks.

I didn't make any changes, however they were only friendlies so I wouldn't read too much into it. All I'm really looking for is the team generally playing in the manner I want, which they are. The results against Bayern and Dortmund were just a pleasant surprise.

I'm eager to see this new challenge. I'm curious about the BWM, he's playing like the way you intended?

Early days yet. The BWM seems ok, as do the other roles, but (and this is a Kardashian sized but) I have to be very careful with my expectations. I've been playing my 4-4-2 with some of the best players in the game, so I can't expect my new players to play in a similar fashion. They'll make mistakes or do seemingly daft things simply because of their lower quality. So long as they play in roughly the same way I'll be happy, and so far they are.

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Herne you're an inspiration to us all! The way you approach the game is a good example how most of us should go about it.

I can't believe I haven't come across this thread any sooner. I've started myself a new LLM save with Venezia (the city that stole my heart) which is in Italia's Serie D. I hope to bring them up during the upcoming seasons and become a force to be reckoned with :-) It'll take time, watching most of the games and identifying issues + figuring out a solution for the problems.

Again, thanks Herne

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I never use Opposition Instructions. Because I have planned how I want my team to play right from the start in the OP, using OIs would add in a level of complexity that I don't need. I'd find it harder to watch what is happening during a match.

With regards your other question, you may have missed this:

Also, as you mention exploiting the flanks, I'd re-read my final sentence as well ;).

I know you ask if "that's the right way to go", but I wouldn't be that presumptuous. Hopefully nothing I've written in any of these posts come across like that - I'm merely saying this is how I play and if it helps others with different ideas then great, although there is of course no guarantee of success :brock:.

I'm not using the TI to exploit the flanks. I don't know if you have read all of my posts, but it may help your understanding of what I am doing if you have a refresher :).

In this situation of so-called "exploiting the flanks", the team does it by default, so I don't need to add in a TI to tell them to do it. The space is on the flanks, so that's where the team plays - not because I tell them to.

I agree that you can use "common sense" sometimes to change things before a match starts. I used to play like that on occasion. However, all I do now, which is what I'm writing about, is that I never change anything until I see how my players are actually playing - which you could say is a reactive way of playing.

Changing things before the start of a match could be considered a proactive way of playing, but the downside (for me) is that I would be changing my system based on guess work which could therefore lead to other problems. If it ain't broke don't fix it, as the saying goes. I don't know if anything's broken until the match starts, then if I know something is, I can fix it. To me, anything else is just "common sense" guess work.

I simply see things now as why change anything unless I need to :).

Oh my word. HERNE YOU HAVE GROWN

I still remember the early days when you used to struggle, look at you now. Playing like the pros. Each answer you give is 100% on the mark.

"I prefer to go to a more structured shape as I didnt need the extra creativity"= BANG ON!

You are getting better, once you start identifying transitions a bit more closely, you will achieve invincible seasons easily. And, you will realise that this engine is actually very easy to beat. You have already started talking in terms of "managing the space". So ok, you "created" this team instead of spending seasons gathering them together, you still prove a point that I have been trying to make for years. Create a system of play, understand the principles, apply them to the game, and DO NOT OVER COMPLICATE.

Well done

:applause:

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Herne you're an inspiration to us all! The way you approach the game is a good example how most of us should go about it.

I can't believe I haven't come across this thread any sooner. I've started myself a new LLM save with Venezia (the city that stole my heart) which is in Italia's Serie D. I hope to bring them up during the upcoming seasons and become a force to be reckoned with :-) It'll take time, watching most of the games and identifying issues + figuring out a solution for the problems.

Again, thanks Herne

Glad you like it, and good luck with Venezia :).

Oh my word. HERNE YOU HAVE GROWN

I still remember the early days when you used to struggle, look at you now. Playing like the pros. Each answer you give is 100% on the mark.

"I prefer to go to a more structured shape as I didnt need the extra creativity"= BANG ON!

You are getting better, once you start identifying transitions a bit more closely, you will achieve invincible seasons easily. And, you will realise that this engine is actually very easy to beat. You have already started talking in terms of "managing the space". So ok, you "created" this team instead of spending seasons gathering them together, you still prove a point that I have been trying to make for years. Create a system of play, understand the principles, apply them to the game, and DO NOT OVER COMPLICATE.

Well done

:applause:

Thanks Rashidi, the cheque's in the post ;).

Seriously though you are right, I have grown and am more confident with what I am doing. Transitions remain a bit of a dark art to me, but lurking on your YT channel is helping me there (I really should subscribe and work that like button). I also find it quite rewarding to write things down in this manner - it forces me to analyse things more, which improves my understanding.

I should really start blogging, especially given new developments in that area... :thup:.

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Any updates on how your system is working in the lower leagues? I've been following and really enjoying this thread!

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Any updates on how your system is working in the lower leagues? I've been following and really enjoying this thread!

Thanks for the interest :).

I'll do a proper write up soon. I've been pretty slammed recently with work and house guests getting in the way, so only had time to play one season so far.

Long story short, I got promoted via the play offs. I made one or two tweaks to the system outlined above and my "medium term" concerns never materialised - teams came at me all season long which just worked in our favour.

I'll go into detail over the next couple of days.

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Great I look forward to it. I find it ironic that the goal (for me anyways) is always to build a great team, but the game is much more fun where everyone thinks we're rubbish ;-)

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Did you bring passing down to short from mixed? I've found that even on counter (so naturally less risky) players tend to knock it long too frequently.

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Isn't that because knocking it longer is the less risky option? Whereas on higher mentalities they dare to keep it short in defence when under pressure.

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Did you bring passing down to short from mixed? I've found that even on counter (so naturally less risky) players tend to knock it long too frequently.

As a starting shout - no, never. I made occasional use of it during matches if I felt the need, but that was rare. As Vizzini says, with a lower mentality defenders are more likely to knock it long as the less risky option. However, it will also depend on your player positioning: defenders will look to play it long no matter what your settings are if they don't see anyone free to pass it to. In this system (and this goes right back to the OP), I took great care to look at player passing options. So even with a Counter mentality, I didn't see much in the way of defenders just hoofing the ball.

If you are seeing lots of long clearances, I'd have a close look at why that is happening. From my experience, it has more to do with player positioning rather than using TIs and PIs (such as shorter passing or play out of defence). My opinion (which is just my opinion) is that TIs such as shorter passing can actually contribute to more defensive long clearances, rather than less. Contradictory perhaps, but if you are telling your players to pass shorter, they are looking for team mates closer to them. Their "range of vision" as it were is reduced - and defenders don't always have the best Vision to begin with. If they don't see someone close, they'll hit it long - so you have to make doubly sure you have players well positioned. It's a bit weird to get your head around, so hopefully I've explained that ok :p.

Isn't that because knocking it longer is the less risky option? Whereas on higher mentalities they dare to keep it short in defence when under pressure.

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My friend and I start a new edited save each FM where we create a club each in the lowest tier of English leagues and work our way up. This tactic has massive potential for my team, I can bring in the people who fit perfectly to the formation/roles and edit it myself for my existing players. I personally love having a poacher, but interesting to see the advantages of an AF.

On the note of perfect fit, have you thought about loading up a file, adding manager to all 20 prem teams and then setting this tactic, going on holiday and seeing which players excel in each position across the league? Could give an interesting idea of the types of players who suit a bwm role, for example. Perhaps it goes back to your ozil vs tevez point for the trequartista!

Keep up the good work, particularly excited to see your lower league progression!

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On the note of perfect fit, have you thought about loading up a file, adding manager to all 20 prem teams and then setting this tactic, going on holiday and seeing which players excel in each position across the league? Could give an interesting idea of the types of players who suit a bwm role, for example. Perhaps it goes back to your ozil vs tevez point for the trequartista!

I haven't thought about, although I'm not sure it would actually tell you anything.

Holidaying means you have little control over how the AI plays things out during matches, so looking to see which players "excel" could be quite misleading.

Case in point - as Aachen start out being unplayable, they have a very small squad and no players in the youth team. Twice I tried holidaying for a season (after I'd previously holidayed to get them as a playable team) in order to get some newgens into the youth team, and on both occasions Aachen were relegated. Further, so many players were unhappy or weren't even there by the end of the season, it was unreal. And that is despite me telling the AI not to sell anyone and to use my tactical system.

Now compare that to me taking control for a season and winning promotion with the same squad of players.

I really wouldn't use holidaying for seeing how players and tactics perform.

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End of Season Review

Before I jump into this, I just want to say I'm keen to avoid turning this thread into a career update kind of story. Aachen start out as a non-league club in an unplayable league, so whilst there will inevitably be some squad building and club development to carry out, most of that belongs in a different forum. Here, I need to continue to focus on tactical issues and not stray too far from that topic.

Having said that, it's also important to lightly convey success. It'd be pretty daft of me to do all of this writing and then say "hey, funny story - I got relegated!" :brock:.

So, TL;DR I finished 3rd in the league and won promotion via the playoffs.

So, with that out of the way, I'll look at what I've been up to.

Reserves Team (Aachen II)

This is one of the annoying things about playing in Germany - your Reserves team playing in an unplayable league, leaving your first team players not involved in first team matches struggling for fitness and game time. I have to admit I'd forgotten about that before I started my Aachen adventure.

My first team essentially played one league game a week for the entire season. No European matches or numerous cup competitions to provide distractions. I therefore arranged a Friendly match on every Tuesday or Wednesday to give the rest of my players sufficient game time. This gave me the added bonus of earning some much needed extra cash from playing these matches at home.

It was quite probably the longest season I have ever played, and it did become a little laborious after a while, but ultimately worth while. Besides, it's the only work around solution I could find.

Tactical System

In posts #152 and #153 above, I mention Short, Medium and Long Term plans, and this was indeed my intention from the start.

Short Term, I fully expected teams to be aggressive against me seeing as I was newly promoted from the non-leagues and favourite for relegation. That's indeed how things began, which I just love playing against.

Way back in post #42 I talked about playing against an aggressive Man City side where I switched to a Counter mentality, soaked their pressure and won the match. I'm following exactly the same principles here, except this time I am starting with the Counter mentality and watching matches develop from there.

This is my first match of the season: away at Wurzburg and we won 2-0. These are the match stats:

4kwv6.png

They played aggressively, we defended well, they left themselves open and we exploited the space they left.

Take a look at this by way of an example:

33zfayc.png

This is the moment that Wurzburg (in red) lose the ball. Weil has tried to shoot, which is blocked. Look at my defensive positioning - we out number Wurzburg 5 to 3 in the box, and all their other forward players are being marked. Even my TQ is deep in his own half (that's him just north of the ref). Now have a look at all the space being left by Wurzburg. The referee is standing in acres of it, and the space behind their advanced left back at the top of the screen is scandalous! (They played 442 by the way).

The shot is blocked, it falls to my players and immediately my right wing, TQ and BBM all run to use the space. We scored both goals from set pieces and created plenty of other decent opportunities.

However, in my first 10 matches I won 5 and drew 5. Whilst that's good, it's not promotion material - and after a run of 3 draws on the bounce it was clear I needed to make a small adjustment.

I noticed that our passing was starting to look a little ragged. We were giving the ball away too easily, gifting possession back to the opposition which was putting us under increasing pressure. Looking at the stats, our passing completion rates and possession figures had dropped. OK, some of that is going to be down to player quality - I'd become used to top quality players with the Thames Ironworks, so I had to temper my expectations somewhat, but I'd still expect players to be able to string a few passes together.

It would be tempting at this point to add in a TI to affect passing, such as Retain Possession or Shorter Passing. But that would affect more than just passing, and in my system I primarily use such shouts to reduce space between players. I was also concerned that my player quality would be insufficient to play a more possession focussed game that these TIs would bring. So I started looking more closely at the type of passes being made, and I felt that my (poor) players were perhaps trying to be a little too adventurous with their passing.

I changed mentality from Flexible back to my original Structured, to rein in player creativity. In so doing, I had to also be aware that would add a little more space between my players (an especial concern between defence and midfield in a 442). As a result, throughout the rest of the season I increasingly found myself adding a slightly higher defensive line shout, to the extent that I eventually added it as a starting TI.

These simple changes became my aforementioned "Medium Term" strategy and is how I saw out the rest of the season. I continue to watch the first 10-15 mins of matches and make other adjustments as required, but in the main they were small (if any).

One exception to this was away at Chemnitz. We were down 2-0 inside 10 minutes and playing like donkeys. I was pretty grumpy by this stage, and just thought screw this. I switched to Overload, took off all TIs, shouted at my players at half time and walked away from the PC. We won 3-2. Maybe I should get grumpy more often :p.

Anyway, that's my brief(?) overview of how I treated my first season in the German 3rd tier. Overall I am obviously pleased with promotion, but I'm more happy that my core tactical system (which places an emphasis on player roles) stood up to the challenge.

Onwards and upwards.

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This is such an interesting post, especially the mentioning of using team shape to prevent you gifting the ball back to the opposition, I'd of never thought that it would have that sort of effect, coupled with the TI of a slightly higher defensive line to close the gaps moving to structured had left.

I'd of always thought in this instance of giving the ball away that retain or short passing were the options you would use.

Well done on building what is clearly a very solid tactic, which you've managed to work for a different team with different expectations just by changing a few TI's/Mentality etc. It is quite an eye opener too, especially when you hear a lot of players saying after a season or 2 they change their tactics completely because the AI learns how to cope with them.

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Not sure if a mod can advise here - quite a few of the previously uploaded pictures don't seem to be loading any more.

I'm conscious I've linked a lot of them, is there a limit for this forum? If I edit a post the encodings still look valid, so any idea why this may be happening?

Of course it could just be me that can't see them :p.

Cheers.

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Might just be you! They're all showing up in my browser.

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Yeh ignore me. They're all showing up again now. :rolleyes:

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Wish I read this topic to the end a bit earlier. That was illuminating about the BWM, and the approach to exploiting the AI systems. Lots of things to consider, and plenty of food for thought about how to approach the game. Personally, I think this topic should be in the Tactics FAQ/sticky even if its only recommended as an extra reading option.

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This is very interesting herne, not sure if you're still following this as I can see its quite an old thread. I've trawled through this with a lot of interest because I'm currently playing a 4-4-2 with Chelsea. I never do big club saves and fancied a go with my team.

I think it can be a massively flexible formation. As we know the formation screen in FM is your defensive formation, and to me there isn't much better than two solid banks of four and two strikers harassing the opposing defenders.

In attack it would play much more like a 4-2-3-1 as I have Hazard as a WP-A on the left and Willian as a WM-A on the right who would both get very advanced and generally that element is working very well. I had similar problems as you though with having my second striker drop off to link with the midfield. Tried a DLF-S and a F9 but neither would drop and weren't far off the line of my AF-A that they were partnered with.

Last night I tried playing a Treq in the AM strata offset like you have done, we played Man U and lost 1-0 but it was very much against the run of play, we dominated the game and generally looked much better, and the Treq did link up much better. It clearly works having the second striker in the AM strata, but I think I need to experiment with the role for my particular system. We're playing with a fluid team shape and the creative freedom is fairly high with Hazard roaming a lot and Cesc (CM-S) told to roam and push forward from midfield. The Treq is doing more roaming than I'd like, especially when paired with a AF-A who has the PPM 'Move Into Channels' there were occasions where there was no-one up top on the counter.

Did you try any other positions in the AM strata? I'm considering having a go with Shadow Striker as I havem't used that role before, or maybe just an AM with some PI's...

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1 hour ago, Craigus89 said:

This is very interesting herne, not sure if you're still following this as I can see its quite an old thread. I've trawled through this with a lot of interest because I'm currently playing a 4-4-2 with Chelsea. I never do big club saves and fancied a go with my team.

I think it can be a massively flexible formation. As we know the formation screen in FM is your defensive formation, and to me there isn't much better than two solid banks of four and two strikers harassing the opposing defenders.

In attack it would play much more like a 4-2-3-1 as I have Hazard as a WP-A on the left and Willian as a WM-A on the right who would both get very advanced and generally that element is working very well. I had similar problems as you though with having my second striker drop off to link with the midfield. Tried a DLF-S and a F9 but neither would drop and weren't far off the line of my AF-A that they were partnered with.

Last night I tried playing a Treq in the AM strata offset like you have done, we played Man U and lost 1-0 but it was very much against the run of play, we dominated the game and generally looked much better, and the Treq did link up much better. It clearly works having the second striker in the AM strata, but I think I need to experiment with the role for my particular system. We're playing with a fluid team shape and the creative freedom is fairly high with Hazard roaming a lot and Cesc (CM-S) told to roam and push forward from midfield. The Treq is doing more roaming than I'd like, especially when paired with a AF-A who has the PPM 'Move Into Channels' there were occasions where there was no-one up top on the counter.

Did you try any other positions in the AM strata? I'm considering having a go with Shadow Striker as I havem't used that role before, or maybe just an AM with some PI's...

Yep still following, and still using the system from time to time as well.

If the Treq is roaming around more than you'd like in a Fluid system then yeh an AM may be a better solution for you.  An Enganche may be an option as well - not as static as the game might have you believe.

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I'd like to thank you for this thread, Herne.  I've never been able to get a 4-4-2 working well, but following your advice in this thread, I've taken your formation and modified it a bit.

I've used it during my Celta save and it's worked well beyond all my expectations, though there are a few things I'd like to ask about.

29829156912_0d076488cb_o.png

The main difference is I have in the AM strata an AM(A) as that's his best role.  I've also moved the playmaker back into the MC strata with the AP(S) which, again, is that player's best role.  I've also played with a CF(S) and T(A) in the ST/AM stratum and a couple other combinations.  I was also seeing WAY too many Yellow/Red cards, so I added the "Stay on feet" TI and am considering moving down a notch from "Close Down More" to "Sometimes".

I'm also considering experimenting with a DLP(D) and BWM(S) pairing in the midfield to see if that help shore up the middle defensively but doesn't hurt me too much in transition or the attack.

The big question I have is getting more goals.  I'm 22 games into the season and am in 2nd place (14-3-5).  I'm tied on points but behind on GD by a large amount.  Of the top 6 teams, I have the lowest GD of 10. 

Here's some shots of analysis of the formations.

29649471510_0c16eae8b7_o.png

29829157292_e729716382_o.png

29649471720_d2285a38ac_o.png

So to reiterate, my questions are what should I do to help stop conceding late goals (or goals in general) as well as score more?

Would switching to a Defensive or Contain mentality once I feel I have a game in-hand help with the late concessions?  Maybe use the "Waste Time" TI and a few others?

Edited by CybrSlydr

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I'm no expert, but to my eyes, you lack of a defensive shield in front of your backline looks like an issue. The AP doesn't do much defensively and the BWM roams a lot, so you will have situations where you have basically  no shield for you defenders. I would expect that would be result in some thru balls and successful crosses when unmarked runners come through the middle. If you are seeing these goals conceded late, consider switching CM roles late in the match or subbing your AM with a DM. Might help kill off the matches.

Physical condition or mental attributes could be a factor as well. Look for exhausted players or ones who get nervous late in the match.

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2 hours ago, CybrSlydr said:

So to reiterate, my questions are what should I do to help stop conceding late goals (or goals in general) as well as score more?

So you want to score more and concede less.  Don't we all :D.

First things first, and before you change anything, consider your expectations.  You are playing as Celta, who are not exactly one of the best teams in the division, nor do they have the best players.  As you're already finding success, perhaps some of what you see as not scoring "enough" (does anyone ever score "enough"?) or conceding too many is down to the quality of your players in comparison to the clubs around you.  You're in 2nd place in La Liga, with the likes of Real, Barca, Atleitco and so on around you.  I really wouldn't worry too much about having a lower goal difference than those teams in your first season :thup:.  With patience and some squad building I'm sure that goal difference will naturally improve over time.  Don't expect too much too soon.

Anyway, looking at your goals scored and conceded, it seems you aren't actually conceding late goals at all.  In the last 15 mins you've only conceded 2, whereas you've conceded 10 in the 30 mins after half time?  This might suggest the opposition are coming out for the second half hungrier.  What sort of half time team talks are you giving?  

Personally (and I stress here personally as this may or may not work for you as I play the game in a certain way) I use the following half time talks - losing or drawing, aggressively I expect better; winning by one goal, assertively you've played well but I know you can do better; winning by 2 goals, assertively don't get complacent; winning by 3 or more goals, assertively I'm really pleased.  There may be the odd exception but 99% of the time that's what I use.

As far as moving the Playmaker back to central midfield goes, I'd perhaps look at what type of player you are using there and how they are coping with defensive duties.  I expect my 2 central midfielders to put in a real shift of hard work, so having a light weight AP(S) may cause you issues.  Also, he'll really be staying in the hole looking to make passes, rather than being a goal threat himself.  In my original the TQ acts as both creator and scorer, and has multiple passing options ahead, out wide and a runner from behind.  Effectively I have 4 or 5 main goal threats whereas with an AP(S) at MC you have 3 or 4 depending on how well your right WM(S) gets forward.  That's not necessarily a bad thing as you are already scoring goals pretty well, but something to ponder if you want to score more.  If you want to stick with the playmaker in midfield, an RPM (along with a hard working player) might be an alternative.

Like I said at the beginning, I'd have a think about your expectations first and foremost.  Regardless of your goal difference, you are winning matches and lie in 2nd place.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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herne some great info on this thread. I've never tried a 4-4-2 but  i'm very curious about it and i'd like to try it out in the future . Two things:

1 - It really strange that in your first system, the DLF (s) did not drop deep and stay basically in the same line as the other striker, as it is shown in the positions map. I guess that was the case for all the games you've played and that's why you changed?

2 - At some point you mentioned : "In doing so, I am quite aware that I am using 4 players with an attack duty which seems quite a lot - especially for a Standard mentality system. ". Why is it especially for the standard mentality?

Thanks

Edited by mikcheck

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2 hours ago, herne79 said:

So you want to score more and concede less.  Don't we all :D.

First things first, and before you change anything, consider your expectations.  You are playing as Celta, who are not exactly one of the best teams in the division, nor do they have the best players.  As you're already finding success, perhaps some of what you see as not scoring "enough" (does anyone ever score "enough"?) or conceding too many is down to the quality of your players in comparison to the clubs around you.  You're in 2nd place in La Liga, with the likes of Real, Barca, Atleitco and so on around you.  I really wouldn't worry too much about having a lower goal difference than those teams in your first season :thup:.  With patience and some squad building I'm sure that goal difference will naturally improve over time.  Don't expect too much too soon.

Anyway, looking at your goals scored and conceded, it seems you aren't actually conceding late goals at all.  In the last 15 mins you've only conceded 2, whereas you've conceded 10 in the 30 mins after half time?  This might suggest the opposition are coming out for the second half hungrier.  What sort of half time team talks are you giving?  

Personally (and I stress here personally as this may or may not work for you as I play the game in a certain way) I use the following half time talks - losing or drawing, aggressively I expect better; winning by one goal, assertively you've played well but I know you can do better; winning by 2 goals, assertively don't get complacent; winning by 3 or more goals, assertively I'm really pleased.  There may be the odd exception but 99% of the time that's what I use.

As far as moving the Playmaker back to central midfield goes, I'd perhaps look at what type of player you are using there and how they are coping with defensive duties.  I expect my 2 central midfielders to put in a real shift of hard work, so having a light weight AP(S) may cause you issues.  Also, he'll really be staying in the hole looking to make passes, rather than being a goal threat himself.  In my original the TQ acts as both creator and scorer, and has multiple passing options ahead, out wide and a runner from behind.  Effectively I have 4 or 5 main goal threats whereas with an AP(S) at MC you have 3 or 4 depending on how well your right WM(S) gets forward.  That's not necessarily a bad thing as you are already scoring goals pretty well, but something to ponder if you want to score more.  If you want to stick with the playmaker in midfield, an RPM (along with a hard working player) might be an alternative.

Like I said at the beginning, I'd have a think about your expectations first and foremost.  Regardless of your goal difference, you are winning matches and lie in 2nd place.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I understand what you mean about where we are in the league but it's beyond frustrating watching some of the goals we let up.  I can't count how many points we dropped that shouldn't have.  lol  It always seemed like we played the good teams well and the poor teams poorly.  Games we should win, against 15th place and below, we'd lose on stupid mistakes even when I used the "Concentrate" shout.  I can handle losing against Barca and Atletico, but when Deportivo is 20th and you lose 2-0 at home, that's inexcusable.

Meli is certainly what you would call a hard worker - 19 stamina, 20 work rate and 17 teamwork.  He's my BWM.  As for the HT talks, it varies.  I often use the "Don't lose focus" ones as you've noticed, we seem to concede too many in the second half. 

We'll see what happens this offseason as I've already gotten news that Chelsea are interested in Aspas and Wass.  However, their release clauses are pretty high so I'm hopeful I won't lose either of them or at most one. 

Thanks for the help, Herne!

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2 hours ago, mikcheck said:

 

herne some great info on this thread. I've never tried a 4-4-2 but  i'm very curious about it and i'd like to try it out in the future . Two things:

1 - It really strange that in your first system, the DLF (s) did not drop deep and stay basically in the same line as the other striker, as it is shown in the positions map. I guess that was the case for all the games you've played and that's why you changed?

2 - At some point you mentioned : "In doing so, I am quite aware that I am using 4 players with an attack duty which seems quite a lot - especially for a Standard mentality system. ". Why is it especially for the standard mentality?

Thanks

1 - Yep totally.  I wasn't happy with his movement and link up play.

2 - Sometimes people can associate more attacking duties with more aggressive systems.  Even the AI Managers tend to increase the number of attack duty players as they increase the aggressiveness of their chosen mentality.  So from that perspective 4 with the Standard mentality may seem a lot (to some people), whereas in reality I found it gives me a nice balance to the system - and balance is the most important thing here.

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On 1/5/2016 at 17:26, herne79 said:

There is no escape.

One of us, one of us, one of us ;).

I thought I'd chip in, even though I came a little late to the party. I'm currently playing an FM16 game as Leeds United, and in my third season have just won the Capital One cup against Newcastle. I mainly play a defensive 4-4-2, largely based around the ideas in this thread, it works very well. I think this is the first time in around 15 years of playing CM/FM that I've ever really felt comfortable with defensive football :D

Just to elaborate on exactly how I'm implementing a defensive 4-4-2...

442%20tac%20setup_zpsaf881ui0.jpg

TI:

Higher Tempo - The Defensive mentality lowers your tempo a lot, so pushing it up to higher just restores it to a speed I prefer

POOD and PShGKDist - These are fairly standard for me and just help with possession

WBIB - My players cross a lot, I mean A LOT! This makes them look for the pass instead of the cross, and I find it makes my play more unpredictable

 

In terms of PIs and specific player changes:

If a 'winger'-type player plays at MR, they are set up to play as W(A)

Callum Wilson (my main striker) is set to play as a CF(A) not AF(A)

Both strikers have Close down much more and Tackle Harder, F9 has More direct passes

The WM(S) has Cuts inside with ball, Tackle Harder and More Direct Passes

The WP(A) has More direct Passes

The whole defensive line have Pass it shorter

The GK has Dist to Full backs and roll it out

When facing AMR/L, I add Mark Tighter to my fullbacks

 

Depending on how the first 15 minutes plays out, I may remove More Direct Passes from the wide midfielders (sometimes they end up giving the ball away too much)

 

Anyway, in my recent Capital One Cup triumph...

The first 20 minutes were cagey, and it was clear that the Newcastle central midfield was rooted to the spot in front of the back 4, the result was that we gradually took control of the possession, and took the lead in the 37th minute, after a cross from Adam Lallana, our ML, had gone straight across the box (Wilson and Tierney had collided in the middle!) to an unmarked Stuart Dallas, our MR.

Season%2017-18%20Cap%20One%20Dallas%20go

Our second came in the 50th minute, and highlights the best of how our tactic is supposed to work. The F9, dropping back as he is supposed to do, gets the ball from midfield, lays the ball to his right to Callum Wilson, who immediately spots Lallana, our ML, cutting inside from the left and making a run into the box. Lallana slots the ball home deftly. Note how Charlie Taylor (DL) is bombing up the left wing, Lewis Cook (BBM) and Dallas (MR) are also making runs into the box (red arrows), and Kranevitter, our BWM, (blue circle) is holding deep in case the ball needs recycling. And this is a Defensive mentality!

Season%2017-18%20Cap%20One%20Lallana%20g

Our third again demonstrates our tactic, as Cook (BBM) receives the ball from Joel Campbell (F9), spots Dallas and Wilson making runs into the box, picks out Dallas with a lovely weighted pass, who hammers it home. what this doesn't show is the 7 or 8 passes that preceded Campbell receiving the ball, as we quickly and safely played the ball from our DL on the edge of our box up to the final third, via our DCL, BWM, and ML... lovely quick, effective and non-risky football

Season%2017-18%20Cap%20One%20Dallas%20go

Our fourth and final goal was a simple tap in from a corner, and doesn't warrant much fanfare...

Season%2017-18%20Cap%20One%20match%20sta

And a glorious win for Yorkshire! :p

It's definitely not easy to implement, and I'm still working out whether I prefer Fluid or Flexible shape, but I'm finding it much more fun than playing Control or Attacking 4-3-3 all the time! Thanks for the thread, and thanks to everyone for the excellent contributions, you've made an old player very happy! ;)

Edited by facman

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As a follow-up to my post, I thought I'd share a little analysis I have just carried out...

Overall, in our second season in the Premiership, we finished 7th, which is an excellent result for us. Whist we didn't use 4-4-2 exclusively, we did use it more than all of our other tactics combined

Season%2017-18%20Final%20table_zpswihhze

However, if you look at our EPL matches from February to the end of the season, we conceded 18 in 11 league matches, a significantly higher rate than for the season overall (51 goals in 46 games in all competitions). The question I want to answer is, why?

Season%2017-18%20Spring_zpsfbsrkj06.jpg

So, I looked at each of the 18 conceded goals, and the first thing I noted was the match situation at the time of the goal

9 goals were opposition equalisers, 7 were the opposition taking the lead, 2 were the opposition extending a lead (both of which were against Man U, the eventual Champions)

So, on 50% of the occasions when we conceded, we had already taken the lead in the game, and on 40% of occasions the opposition took the lead. In only 1 game did the opposition score twice in succession. This, at least, is a positive statistic, as it shows that we were competitive in all but 1 game (and that game was against the future champions).

 

Breaking down the goals into categories we get the following:

Errors (o.g. or penalties) - 3

Set Pieces - 5

Open Play - 10

 

We can discount the Error category, as there is little we can do as managers to stop a player mishitting a clearance into his own goal...

Looking at the Set Piece goals in more detail, 4 were from corners, 1 from a free kick, and all of them were headers or shots from crosses that were either not properly dealt with or in which marking was suspect

Now onto the Open Play goals - 3 were from counterattacks (in each case we were the dominating team), 2 were from crosses, 3 were from through balls to strikers from midfielders, and 2 were from medium-long range speculative shots. If we discount the speculative shots, as there's little we can do about those (sometimes a player simply scores a cracker of a goal!), and the counterattacks (as we will always run the risk of a counter if we are dominating a match), then there are only 5 open play goals that we need to concern ourselves with, the 2 from crosses and 3 from through balls.

Overall, of the 18 we conceded, only 10 fall into the realms of being preventable in some way. Of those 10, 7 were from crosses (both set piece and open play). This, therefore, should be the area in which I need to focus myself when looking at amending my tactics to reduce goals conceded.

I will leave it here, as I now need to go back and look at those 7 identified goals to see if there are any systemic errors in my defensive set up that makes defending crosses less effective than my defence in other areas of gameplay, or if it is simply bad defending. Hopefully I have shown that a simple and quick analysis, which took me less than an hour from start to finish, can identify possible tactical weak spots that give me a focus to improve, rather than simply waving my fist at the pitch and complaining that my computer is cheating! :p A more in depth analysis, taking longer but giving more information, would be to look at key highlights rather than just goals, identifying times when my goalkeeper saved the day after bad defending, thereby increasing the sample size of plays to analyse, but looking at the goals is a good starting point.

Thanks for reading :)

EDIT - I've just looked at the 7 goals in question, and although most were either good attacking play or a mistake from a defender, 2 were actually from a failing in my defensive corner routine, and could have been prevented. Preventing both of those goals would have turned the Stoke game into a victory (and reduced the Man U game to a 0-2 defeat). Those extra 2 points would have put us above Liverpool in the league! Worth analysing I would say :D

Edited by facman

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This is one of the most underrated threads on the forum! I have been struggling for a long time to make a 4-4-2 work, since I only knew one way to play it (high pressing with a high defensive line).

Thank you @herne79 for explaining stuff not only about 4-4-2, but also about mentality, distances between players and use of space. I made a simple 4-4-2 for a Lower League side and it finally works. By "works" I mean that I see the things I intended on the pitch, it just happens to win more than before.

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On ‎10‎/‎02‎/‎2017 at 18:20, BillHoudini24 said:

This is one of the most underrated threads on the forum! I have been struggling for a long time to make a 4-4-2 work, since I only knew one way to play it (high pressing with a high defensive line).

Thank you @herne79 for explaining stuff not only about 4-4-2, but also about mentality, distances between players and use of space. I made a simple 4-4-2 for a Lower League side and it finally works. By "works" I mean that I see the things I intended on the pitch, it just happens to win more than before.

Glad you found it useful :thup:.

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Definitely my favourite thread that I have come across on the forum. I have a quick question though. In this years edition of FM, I've found inverted wing backs to be ridiculously overpowered. Do you think these could be implemented into a 442? They offer the same in defense, but will come narrower in attack, potentially creating more room for the wide men? On the flip side, this could also leave them isolated.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

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24 minutes ago, Gareh said:

Definitely my favourite thread that I have come across on the forum. I have a quick question though. In this years edition of FM, I've found inverted wing backs to be ridiculously overpowered. Do you think these could be implemented into a 442? They offer the same in defense, but will come narrower in attack, potentially creating more room for the wide men? On the flip side, this could also leave them isolated.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

I see no reason why not, as long as you give them the space to run into.  In terms of this specific system, I'd think about having one on the side that my WM is not set to cut inside.

Try it out, let us know :thup:.

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I got a new challenge for you, was coaching someone on playing the 442, and challenged him to go without any Defend duties in midfield :-) You may find it surprising, if you are still doing the 442 that is.

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49 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

I got a new challenge for you, was coaching someone on playing the 442, and challenged him to go without any Defend duties in midfield :-) You may find it surprising, if you are still doing the 442 that is.

Funny you should mention that.

I've been toying with something along those lines off and on for a while now (although usually as a 4231 / 4411), and was actually looking at it again earlier today.  Inspiration taken from some of the old sfraser threads.

Amazing what you can achieve with mentality and team shape combinations :cool:.

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So I implemented this system in a save I'm doing with Sheff Wed, because they start with 4-4-2 personnel for better or worse.

 

I've found it generates tons of possession but very few goals, while being very vulnerable to long balls over the top.

 

I'm wondering if its possible to succeed with this tactic offensively without a roster full of offensive stars like DiMaria, Tevez and Kane?

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@Erith22 I'm not @herne79 clearly :lol: but I imagine he'd say that you have to adapt the system to your players; just because shef wed play a 4-4-2 doesn't mean they are capable of playing exactly how his side played. Tweaking and adapting is neccessary - he even showed a variation of this tactic with less technically gifted players and adapted it. 

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39 minutes ago, Erith22 said:

So I implemented this system in a save I'm doing with Sheff Wed, because they start with 4-4-2 personnel for better or worse.

 

I've found it generates tons of possession but very few goals, while being very vulnerable to long balls over the top.

 

I'm wondering if its possible to succeed with this tactic offensively without a roster full of offensive stars like DiMaria, Tevez and Kane?

Do your players have the same attributes and player traits as Herne's setup? Wednesday have a relatively strong squad for the championship but your players need to fit 1) roles and duties by having the right attributes and 2) fit the system overall

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Obviously, my players don't have the same attributes given the level of play.

I guess here is my point.  I've played FM for over a decade.  I've played a lot of real long saves.  I've designed and refined dozens and dozens of tactics and read a lot of stuff on the boards.

I know that tactics absolutely matter.  But there is still a nagging question.  Are my tactics working because I've refined them to a razors edge?  Or are they working because I've finally managed to obtain such good players that I win even though my tactic is far from perfect (note I don't say 'bad'.  a 'bad' tactic can take down any squad, even one with world class players at every position).

I'm bringing this up because lets face it, while the flat 4-4-2 is the classic tactic, it certainly isn't used to great success in the footballing world nowadays.  Has this thread shown how you can make the 4-4-2 work, or has it shown, given the right talent, any tactic can work?

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1 hour ago, jc577 said:

@Erith22 I'm not @herne79 clearly :lol: but I imagine he'd say that you have to adapt the system to your players; just because shef wed play a 4-4-2 doesn't mean they are capable of playing exactly how his side played. Tweaking and adapting is neccessary - he even showed a variation of this tactic with less technically gifted players and adapted it. 

@Erith22 This pretty much sums it up.  Copying a system is fraught with danger.  Threads such as this are primarily about the principles involved - in this case balancing roles and identifying suitable attributes.  Would Ward-Prowse generally be a pick for a right winger for example, especially in such a quality team?  In creating my own club with "ideal" players, it's simply a short cut to getting such players in place for the sake of the article.

In terms of Sheffield Wednesday I can't really comment as I don't know the players.  Remember that attributes are all relative to the level at which you play - clearly you won't have a di Maria at Wednesday but you can still have a "similar" player who is relative to the level.  As jc577 says, it's about adapting.

 

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14 minutes ago, Erith22 said:

But there is still a nagging question.  Are my tactics working because I've refined them to a razors edge?  Or are they working because I've finally managed to obtain such good players that I win even though my tactic is far from perfect (note I don't say 'bad'.  a 'bad' tactic can take down any squad, even one with world class players at every position).

It's a mixture of both.  They go hand in glove.  You can have a team full of the world's best players, but if your tactic sucks you'll lose.  Likewise you can have the best tactical system ever but if your players aren't suited to it they won't be able to pull it off on a regular and consistent basis.

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So given my attempt to implement something 'like' this tactic for Sheff Wed, with my main issue tons of possession but a lack of chances/activity in the penalty area, what things would you suggest I look at, in general?

My intuition is anything I do to put in more creativity and through balls will result in killing the high-possession benefits of the tactic.  How do I get both?  It seems like one of the great benefits of the original tactic here was DiMaria beating defenders and charging into the danger area.  But there really arent players like that in the Championship, because of the lack of PPMs and high technical skills (even relative to the level).  Without someone like that, what approach would you take to creating attacking threats?

 

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