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Welcome to the third installment in a series of Football Manager tactical recreations based on some of football's most iconic teams. This time, I have chosen a side very close to my heart - Arsene Wenger's 'Invincible' Arsenal team of 2003/04. This team is famous for finishing the season unbeaten - P38, W26, D12, L0 - whilst playing expansive, free-flowing, attacking football.

If you have yet to read the previous threads, I recommend you start there in order to understand the concepts I am talking about.

  1. Johan Cruyff's 3-4-3
  2. Arrigo Sacchi's 4-4-2

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal team of 2003/04 allows us to continue the theme of expansive, free-flowing football inspired by the principles of Total Football but applied in a slightly different way. Last time, I explained how you can maintain the same playing style despite two very different formations. In this thread, I am going to talk about how - what may look like rather small - differences in playing style, can make big differences on the pitch.

Disclaimer: As a Arsenal supporter, it is going to be impossible for me to remain impartial so please excuse any emotive statements. On the other hand, I was actually at Highbury alongside my father and grandfather for many of the games so can offer a more in-depth knowledge of the team in comparison to previous threads.

Once again, I'd like to say thank you to everyone for reading. The response and discussions generated have been fantastic. Thank you all very much! :applause:

Resources on Arsene Wenger's Invincibles

Theory

According to Zonal Marking's excellent analysis, this is the shape we are trying to create.

arsenal_henry_pires_bergkamp_ljungberg_vieira.jpg

Arsene Wenger's Invincible Arsenal team lined up in a fluid 4-4-2 shape with Bergkamp in a slightly withdrawn role, similar to Sacchi's Milan but the two teams are different, both with and without the ball.

  • Without the ball, Arsenal operated a medium-block. They did press, but nowhere near to the extent of Sacchi.
  • Arsenal would invite the opposition forward - again, not to the extent of Leicester - and then
    quickly.
  • The left-flank combination of Henry, Pires and Cole was devastating.
  • Pires and Ljungberg played as inverted wingers.
  • Rather than a team of 'complete' players, this Arsenal team was essentially an attacking unit of Henry, Bergkamp, Pires, Ljungberg and Cole supported by a defensive unit of Campbell, Toure, Lauren, Gilberto with Vieira operating in a very complete role forming a double pivot in defence, playmaking and supporting the attack.

In Football Manager..

Formation

Last time, we began by discussing Playing Style comprised of Shape, Mentality and Team Instructions before the formation. Playing style is still intended to be the primary focus of discussion but we need the formation for context.

As with Sacchi's 4-4-2 you could easily describe this Arsenal team as a flat 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1 or a variant 4-2-3-1. My interpretation is a pretty simple 4-4-1-1.

A5WRodp.png

So, there it is. Simple 4-4-1-1 with a few basic traits:

  • Striker offset to the left to encourage movement into that flank.
  • Attacking midfield role offset to the right for balance.
  • 2 backs of four in defence.
  • Attacking roles on the left flank.
  • Inverted wingers.
  • Solid double pivot sitting in front of the back four - one holder and one runner.

Shape, Mentality & Team Instructions aka Playing Style

Time for the meat & gravy of the tactics creator. Ranieri's Leicester, Simeone's Atletico, Ancelotti's Decima winning Real Madrid, Sacchi's Milan, Wenger's Invincibles and many of Ferguson's Man Utd teams are all great sides and each could be described as playing a variant of the 4-4-2 formation but each has a very different playing style. Sure, each will have different player roles but - for me - the most significant tactical difference is the playing style, or in Football Manager terms shape, mentality and team instructions.

We can use shape, mentality and team instructions to implement the following traits:

  • Foundation* for the attacking and defensive unit.
  • Fluid, free flowing football.
  • Speed of attack.
  • Foundation* for the left flank.
  • Medium defensive block.
    *I use the term 'foundation' as I also need to combine with Player Roles to correctly implement these traits.

Shape: Fluid

This seems to be an area which a lot of people struggle with so let me break it down. So far, I have been using a very fluid shape in both Cruyff's 3-4-3 and Sacchi's 4-4-2. Now I am changing to fluid - why? what is the difference?

  • For both the Cruyff and Sacchi systems, I wanted the team attacking and defending as one unit.
  • For Wenger's Arsenal, I want the team broadly divided into attacking and defending units.
  • In Ajax and Milan, my entire team was intelligent and so I'd max creative freedom and let players intelligence, technical ability and movement choke opposition defences.
  • At Arsenal, we still want high creativity, free-flowing football but my main attacking weapon is attacking - or counter attacking - at speed.

Now, read the description:

V3GlMHN.png

  1. The team is organized into an attacking unit and a defensive unit, with everyone contributing towards transition play.
  2. Encouraged to play free-flowing and creative football.

Perfect.

Key Point:

Using very fluid I am wary of increasing my team mentality because everyone is one unit and, obviously, attacking defenders is a risky strategy. Fluid gives me a separate defensive unit so I have a platform to play a more aggressive mentality.

Mentality: Attacking

nSkFlCE.png

The extra stability afforded by the primarily defensive unit allows me to maintain balance whilst increasing team mentality to attacking. This gives me the following benefits:

  • High tempo
  • Additional width
  • The attacking unit have an attacking mentality with very high creative freedom.

Team Instructions

FPCBLjV.png

Minimal.

  • Medium (or upper medium) Block - nowhere near as aggressive as Ajax / Milan.
  • Possession instructions: Play from Defence, Pass into Space, Low Crosses
  • Exploit left flank - creates the Henry, Pires and Cole effect.
  • Mixed passing - as with Ajax and Milan, players pick the best option > short/direct bias. If the counter is on, go for it. If it's not, build up.

On Defensive Line

This is a pretty common tweak. If I am struggling to break a side down, I'll drop deeper in an attempt to draw them out. If that doesn't work, push up more and choke them. Likewise, if 1-0 up in a big game drop deeper and you'll regularly kill the game on the counter.

If you're not watching games, keep an eye on possession. The sweet spot is 45-50% in tough games and 50-55% in easier games.

Please remember, you'll likely see a lower possession % than Arsenal did in real life. Possession is calculated differently in FM vs real life. Your opponents are also more likely to be good at pressing and play a possession game than Arsenal's opponents in 03/04.

My possession chart:

8kH4VS2.png

Summary of our Playing Style

  • The team is split into an attacking and a defensive unit - with everyone combining in transition.
  • We play fast, free-flowing, attacking football.
  • We attack heavily down on the left flank.
  • Medium defensive block

Player Roles, Instructions, Attributes, PPMs and Individual Training

As per wwfan's influential 12 Step Guide on How to Play Football Manager, in order to successfully play a Fluid shape I need to limit my team to 1-2 Specialist roles i.e playmakers, ball-winners or anything with a fancy name.

In addition to keeping an eye on the number of specialists you're using, in a fluid shape you need to use Player Roles to effectively organize your players into either attacking or defensive units.

Surprisingly, players with a defensive role join the defending unit and players with an attacking role join the attacking unit. Players with a support role join the unit based on their position. For example, my right back is clearly in the defensive unit whereas my striker is attacking. Pogba's defensive position is in a double pivot, protecting the back four alongside Carvalho and in attack he has a high mentality and creative freedom - an aggressive, creative, box-to-box midfielder.

Goalkeeper - Jens Lehmann

Attributes, Individual Training & PPMs: Petr Cech (history)

Player Role & Instructions: Goalkeeper (Defend): Distribute Quickly

Key Attributes: Experienced goalkeeper, solid across the board

Right Back - Lauren

Attributes, Individual Training & PPMs: Francis Coquelin (history)

Player Role & Instructions: Right Fullback (Support): N/A

Key Attributes: Stamina, Work Rate, Strength, Tackling, Marking, Positioning, Anticipation, Concentration, Bravery

Centre Back - Kolo Toure

Attributes, Individual Training & PPMs: Laurent Koscielny (history)

Player Role & Instructions: Centre Back (Defend): N/A

Key Attributes: Anticipation, Concentration, Positioning, Tackling, Marking, Strength, Pace, Acceleration, Balance, Bravery

Centre Back - Sol Campbell

Attributes, Individual Training & PPMs: Kurt Zouma (history)

Player Role & Instructions: Centre Back (Defend): N/A

Key Attributes: Strength, Pace, Jumping, Heading, Tackling, Positioning, Anticipation, Concentration, Leadership

Left Back - Ashley Cole

Attributes, Individual Training & PPMs: Jorge (history)

Player Role & Instructions: Left Wingback (Attack): N/A

Attributes: Dribbling, Crossing, Technique, Pace, Acceleration, Work Rate, Stamina, Anticipation, Concentration, Positioning, Tackling

Right Midfield - Freddie Ljungberg

Attributes, Individual Training & PPMs: Alexis Sanchez (history)

Player Role & Instructions: Wide Midfielder Right (Attack): N/A

Attributes: Finishing, Off the Ball, Pace, Acceleration, Technique, Stamina, Work Rate, Determination

Central Midfield - Gilberto Silva

Attributes, Individual Training & PPMs: William Carvalho (history)

Player Role & Instructions: Central Midfielder (Defend): Close Down Much Less

Key Attributes: Positioning, Anticipation, Concentration, Tackling, Strength, Marking, Stamina, Work Rate

Central Midfield - Patrick Vieira

Attributes, Individual Training & PPMs: Paul Pogba (history)

Player Role & Instructions: Central Midfielder (Support): N/A

Key Attributes: Leadership, Determination, Technique, Passing, First Touch, Vision, Dribbling, Balance, Off the Ball, Positioning, Concentration, Anticipation, Tackling, Decisions

Left Midfield - Robert Pires

Attributes, Individual Training & PPMs: Santi Cazorla (history)

Player Role & Instructions: Wide Playmaker Left (Attack): N/A

Key Attributes: Vision, Technique, Passing, First Touch, Flair, Off the Ball, Composure, Anticipation

Attacking Midfield - Dennis Bergkamp

Attributes, Individual Training & PPMs: Mesut Ozil (history)

Player Role & Instructions: Advanced Playmaker (Attack): Hold Up Ball, Get Forward More

Key Attributes: Technique, Vision, Passing, First Touch, Off the Ball, Composure, Finishing, Anticipation, Decisions

Striker - Thierry Henry

Attributes, Individual Training & PPMs: Anthony Martial (history)

Player Role & Instructions: Complete Forward (Support): Move into Channels

Key Attributes: Pace, Acceleration, Dribbling, Off the Ball, Finishing, Composure, Agility (Flair and Team Work would be ideal)

Notes on the Centre Back partnership

Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure played as a stopper / cover defensive partnership. Sol Cambpell using his physicality and arial ability to attack the ball, whilst Toure covers with his pace and intelligence. In that case, why am I not using DC (Stopper) and DC (Cover) roles?

  1. My system is already aggressive. I am reluctant to increase the mentality of my 'stopper'.
  2. Don't want to create a gap between my centre backs (stopper w/ higher mentality and cover w/ lower).
  3. It is redundant. Setting a player's role to stopper does not make them a stopper. 19 Strength, 18 Jumping and 17 heading makes him a stopper - he'll play like a stopper regardless.

TcyYiNS.png

Defensive Actions in a random game

Notes on the Bergamp role

Dennis Bergkamp was a classic 'Number 10'. Bergkamp played a deeper role than Henry, and played more centrally although would occasionally move wide. Most of Dennis Berkamp's assists came from the centre, just outside of the 18-yard box.

MXvTiSm.png

TIP: When deciding a Player Role, always enter this screen. See what the role actually does and then make your decision.

The Advanced Playmaker (Attack) option offers the option to move both forward and wide movement. In comparison, the Trequartista only offers wide movement whilst the Enganche only offers forward movement. Also, the Trequartista won't close down and the Enganche won't dribble.

In this example, I am asking Ozil to get forward more, acting as a Playmaking 'Second Striker', also to hold up the ball connecting the midfield. Remember Ozil has the PPM move into flanks so will drift.

Common tweak: if the opposition has a DM taking Ozil's space, I'll have him move into channels and roam.

Ozil's record:


  • 2015/16: 16 goals & 14 assists
    2016/17: 13 goals & 9 assists
    2017/18: 11 goals & 17 assists
    2x PFA Player of the Year

Building the tactic is easy. Building the squad with the right players is the challenge. When you're scouting for your own players, this is really helpful:

[video=youtube;hikIJuBcLJM]

Shame there wasn't a CM '92 for the Cruyff 3-4-3!

Training and Squad Management

Throughout the 2003/04 season, Arsenal had a very stable starting line up. Similar to Leicester this year, when everyone was fit, you could be very sure of their starting eleven (see the stats).

Team Training Team Cohesion (Average)

Rest Days Before and After Match - Allows me to maintain 90-95% condition despite 2 games per week with a small squad

Match Training Attacking Movement

Squad Harmony

Team spirit was also a major contributor towards the quality of football the Invincibles played. Team cohesion training, a small squad, generous contracts and good form leave us with great harmony.

ISghWqZ.png

Summary

  • Our shape and mentality means our style is fast, free-flowing football.
  • We have an attacking unit and a defensive unit, with Pogba playing a classic box-to-box role.
  • The defensive unit gives the attacking unit a platform to play.
  • Our attacking unit consists of Martial, Ozil, Sanchez, Cazorla and Ozil - full of flair, skill and pace.
  • Ozil, Sanchez and Cazorla contribute double figures, in both goals and assists. Martial is an incredible goalscorer. Jorge and Pogba help with assists.
  • Our defensive unit consists of Zouma, Koscielny, Coquelin, and Carvalho - strong, quick, intelligent, technically great defenders.
  • We have an outstanding left flank with Jorge as an attacking wingback, overlapping Cazorla and Martial drifting wide offering combinations in transition - assist locations.
  • Ozil plays as a creative second striker - the AP(A) role allows great movement allowing him to score goals and create assists.
  • Typical defensive shape is a medium block with 2 banks of four.
  • Carvalho is an 'invisible wall'.

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Match Analysis





wNoAHWb.png

Once again, you're joining me for the 2018 Champions League Final. My Arsenal team - Champions of the English Premier League - are facing up against Barcelona - Champions of the Spanish La Liga.

aKCRRRW.png

Now managed by World Cup winning manager Joachim Low, Barcelona are lining up an a 4-4-1-1 formation. 4-4-1-1 is an interesting choice. Whilst it can be a very effective formation, does it get the best out of Messi and Neymar? Messi, Neymar and Suarez are all bang in their primes, so it's a daunting proposition wherever they play.

The left flank is going to be interesting - on the one hand I don't think Messi is going to provide much protection for Montoya, but also if Jorge mis-judges it and leaves Messi too much room that could be trouble.

Elsewhere - I'd fancy Pogba, Carvalho and Ozil over Rakitic, Krammer and Turan any day. Barcelona are likely to push up and leave space for Martial to attack.

Analysis without the Ball

Key Instructions / Attributes

  • Medium block
  • Positioning, Concentration, Anticipation, Strength, Tackling, Marking

Medium Block

VJbX5fx.png

In this case, Barcelona are building an attack from wide. Here you can see:

  • Medium (maybe low) Block.
  • Two solid banks of four.
  • Reasonable pressure on the opposition player in possession.
  • Every attacking opposition player is marked.
  • Now look at the grey box. This is illustrates the space in behind the Barcelona we could hit the ball into and Martial would likely get there first.
  • The second grey diamond is the space Ozil - our primary playmaker - can move into to make himself open for a pass as soon as we turn over possession.
  • It's pretty easy to see how the quick counter attacks happen, right?

Low Block

WCeKBH8.png

Barcelona have just made an attacking run down the right side through Montoya and played the ball inside to Rakitic. You can see:

  • Low block.
  • Two banks of four.
  • DCs and MCs form a tight square.
  • Fullbacks tuck in and wingers protect the flanks.
  • One of the greatest attacking forces of all time, completely under control.

Analysis with the Ball

Where do I start?

The left flank

Key Instructions & Attributes

  • Fluid shape and attacking mentality creating fast, free-flowing attacks.
  • Exploit left flank.
  • Cazorla playing a playmaker role, moving inside.
  • Jorge in wingback (attack) role, giving width.
  • Martial, move into channels creating space.

3pLMN02.png

Cazorla is in possession of the ball, attempting to build an attack against a well organized Barcelona defence.

  • Cazorla drifts inside into a central position, creating space for Jorge to overlap.
  • Martial drifts into the channels, creating space for Sanchez and Ozil to attack.
  • Ozil and Cazorla making great runs in dangerous positions on the other flank.
  • Pogba supports the attack.

Henry-esq run from Martial

Martial drifts wide to receive the ball in space.

tJPghNN.png

Initially stays wide and uses his pace to beat the fullback.

ld7lByg.png

Cuts inside, knocking the ball past the centre back.

emg8zwX.png

Enters an excellent attacking position but unfortunately sends his shot wide.

Attacking the Right Flank

1bWvVK4.png

Sanchez is attacking on the right flank. We can see:

  • Martial is already in the box.
  • Cazorla and Ozil are making runs into very effective attacking positions.
  • Jorge stretches the defence on the opposite flank.
  • Pogba is completely open as the midfielder drops deeper, tracking Ozil's run.
  • We didn't score here but Barcelona were in serious trouble. They were lucky that their fullback managed to stop Sanchez crossing.

Counter Attacks

HQc2cGu.png

Here we are, defending a free kick from wide. We're able to set up a pretty good presence whilst maintaining a counter attacking threat. Zouma wins the header, clearing the ball into space.

DPmNEyN.png

Martial drops deep to collect the ball and turns to counter. The relay-sprint squad bomb forward to support.

8ZXH83y.png

Martial drives towards the opposition area, dragging the defender with him. Simple cut back to Ozil who is in acres of space. 1-0.

This time, from open play..

bv3TWNw.png

Here, Messi is attacking well inside our half. Messi is swarmed by Pogba, Ozil and Jorge. We maintain a solid backline (Jorge is out of position so Cazorla covers). Carvalho is being an invisible wall, taking Turan out of the equation.

J5KFsEf.png

Messi tries an optimistic pass to Montoya, easily intercepted by Cazorla who immediately plays a short pass to Pogba - open, in acres of space. Pogba launches a long pass into the space left by the attacking fullback.

CaeQ6XP.png

Martial picks up the ball easily and attacks wide, dragging the centre back wide whilst Ozil, Sanchez and Pogba make attacking / supporting runs. Martial picks out Sanchez on the opposite flank who scores with a lovely finish against his old club. 2-0..

The Result?



XvU34x3.png

As you can see, the goals described above gave us the platform to record an amazing victory. We continued playing on the counter for the entire game. Barcelona dominating possession and we hit them hard every time they lost the ball.

The Trophy Cabinet

  • 3x Premier League Titles
  • 1 FA Cup
  • 1 Champions League

and of course..

j3c8uUQ.png

Cheers, everyone :thup:

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Thank you for reading and contributing to some interesting discussions. I have really enjoyed writing these and hopefully people are finding them useful.

This is likely to be the last one I write for a while - possibly the last one for FM16 - as I'm going to be working rather remotely in Ecuador for a couple of months. But, as soon as I have the time & inspiration, I'll certainly be writing some more.

Thanks, everyone :applause:

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This is absolutely fantastic mate, the bit at the end gave me goosebumps! Well written and set out, easy to understand. Good look in Ecuador and look forward to reading more from you in the future!

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Thank you for reading and contributing to some interesting discussions. I have really enjoyed writing these and hopefully people are finding them useful.

This is likely to be the last one I write for a while - possibly the last one for FM16 - as I'm going to be working rather remotely in Ecuador for a couple of months. But, as soon as I have the time & inspiration, I'll certainly be writing some more.

Thanks, everyone :applause:

Ha, I'm going to Ecuador for the summer too.

Great work as always

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This looks fantastic. Just out of curiosity, how many goals & assists does Ozil manage in this tactic?

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Ozil, if you face a tough opponent or play away game what TI/PI/OI do you use to concede less goals (maybe lowering mentality or tempo, changing team shape to flexible etc)?

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Uh-mazing. Knocked it outta the park again dude. If you ever do Leicester or Atleti i'll be forever in love

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A beautiful threads. Very good writing. Great piece to read. I know that im annoying but like the sacchi 442 what you do for the OI. Do you leave that for your assistant or something ?

Im sorry to reiterate that question on your different thread.

And you forget (or not) to list ppm.

Thanks

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Another fabulous interpretation which I will no doubt have to devote some time to implementing into one of my saves.

I'd be interested to hear a bit more about your goals for/against ratios given the slightly difference defensive/attacking dynamics as compared to some of your other magnificent recent efforts.

I imagine the defence still being very compact and well organised but did you perhaps see a little change in the distribution of the types of goals you conceded? My own guess would be that by inviting a little more pressure and closing down a bit less aggressively, you'd perhaps concede less from very pacy attackers (although maybe this was offset by the attacking mentality?), while maybe seeing an uptick in opposition goals via crosses (with opponents potentially having more time to switch the ball wide when faced with a lower block opposition defence)? Is this in any way reflective of your results or did you not see any meaningful difference with this particular defensive scheme?

Did you also see an increase in goals by any chance (obviously the CL Final was a good example, but in the league as a whole as well?), due to drawing out opposition defenders with the lower (mid) block and simultaneously having excellent players with the right attributes to exploit that? Was the moderate loss of some possession compensated for by more chances created overall through quicker build ups and more ruthless end products (I'm guessing higher tempo on attacking mentality could potentially help with this...)?

Thanks, and, once again, fabulous work!!:thup::)

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Cheers, everyone! :thup::thup::thup:

This looks fantastic. Just out of curiosity, how many goals & assists does Ozil manage in this tactic?

Ozil consistently manages double figures for both goals and assists.

qqOZ13Z.png

You can see the goalscoring stats for each player as I included their histories. I anticipated goalscoring ratios may be a hot topic of conversation! :D

Ozil, if you face a tough opponent or play away game what TI/PI/OI do you use to concede less goals (maybe lowering mentality or tempo, changing team shape to flexible etc)?

I'll occasionally drop the defensive line slightly. That results in conceding the possession battle but we've got a strong defensive shape and are very effective on the counter.

Uh-mazing. Knocked it outta the park again dude. If you ever do Leicester or Atleti i'll be forever in love

The challenge with Atleti is that they play a very different style against the bigger sides. Most of the time you see them is a bigger game when they're pretty defensive but they're more attacking when expected to win and even pressed at times (for example, at the start of the match vs Bayern) so it's difficult to replicate. Formations also change. This then opens up a million questions about what changes to make and when.

Also defensive systems are not my strong point but I am sure the Leicester system would be easy enough to put together following the logic I've explained above.

A beautiful threads. Very good writing. Great piece to read. I know that im annoying but like the sacchi 442 what you do for the OI. Do you leave that for your assistant or something ?

Im sorry to reiterate that question on your different thread.

And you forget (or not) to list ppm.

Thanks

Rarely / never use Opposition Instructions as I find them redundant - for example, an intelligent defensive player is going to show an attacking player onto their weaker foot when appropriate anyway, regardless of the you telling them to.

Never leave to the assistant partly because I am a control freak and partly because I wouldn't want him to instruct something which conflicts with my game plan - eg. closing down whilst my tactics are to sit deep.

PPMs for each player can be seen on the right hand side of the training screen :)

Another fabulous interpretation which I will no doubt have to devote some time to implementing into one of my saves.

I'd be interested to hear a bit more about your goals for/against ratios given the slightly difference defensive/attacking dynamics as compared to some of your other magnificent recent efforts.

I imagine the defence still being very compact and well organised but did you perhaps see a little change in the distribution of the types of goals you conceded? My own guess would be that by inviting a little more pressure and closing down a bit less aggressively, you'd perhaps concede less from very pacy attackers (although maybe this was offset by the attacking mentality?), while maybe seeing an uptick in opposition goals via crosses (with opponents potentially having more time to switch the ball wide when faced with a lower block opposition defence)? Is this in any way reflective of your results or did you not see any meaningful difference with this particular defensive scheme?

Did you also see an increase in goals by any chance (obviously the CL Final was a good example, but in the league as a whole as well?), due to drawing out opposition defenders with the lower (mid) block and simultaneously having excellent players with the right attributes to exploit that? Was the moderate loss of some possession compensated for by more chances created overall through quicker build ups and more ruthless end products (I'm guessing higher tempo on attacking mentality could potentially help with this...)?

Thanks, and, once again, fabulous work!!:thup::)

The first two seasons were pretty similar - we broke the 100-goal barrier in the league both times and conceded ~30. In the 3rd season we exploded and scored 126 goals - heartbreakingly 2 goals shy of the previous record of 128 goals by Aston Villa which has stood since 1930/31 - and conceded 26.

The difference between this system and the Sacchi Milan is quite profound.

The Sacchi system is way, way more proactive off the ball with intensive pressing. Here we sit back, typically lose the possession game but that gives the opportunity to counter attack far more effectively.

In attack, I like the analogy that the Sacchi system is like choking the opposition out whilst this is like striking them with lightening. Milan typically had high possession, played the game in the opposition half and used their intelligence, movement and creative freedom to create chances. Arsenal have much less possession but are much more direct and attack very, very quickly.

In my opinion, the Sacchi system is more effective without the ball and the Arsenal system is more effective with the ball. As a result, the Sacchi system had an incredible defensive record with highly respectable attacking record whilst the Arsenal system boasts incredible attacking stats, with a respectable but not outstanding defence.

My prediction is that the Sacchi system will be easier for people to implement but when people get this right, it'll be fantastic. The reason is simply the players. Finding a technical, intelligent and hardworking player is a lot easier than finding a Thierry Henry. Fortunately most of the other positions are a bit easier to fill. Getting that defensive balance right will be important.

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Another great thread O-zil! I love how you explain everything so it's easy to see and understand. I think the stuff you have written should be sticky.....mods, please?....because they are just as good, if not even better, than the stuff already there. Keep up the good work.

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Just one thing: Give Pogba (Vieira) the proper BBM role. If your reason for not doing so is that you want to stick to the 1-2 "specialists" in a fluid shape "rule", then you're sticking to a "rule" that isn't really a rule. That "rule" was intended as a guide for inexperienced players, and if you're OCD'ing too much on that guide, you'll just undermine your own vision, having to pick roles that are not optimal for your tactical vision.

That said; there isn't an awful lot of difference between a CM /support and a BBM in that tactical setup; the BBM won't roam at all as much as his role description suggests, so this is not a biggie. I would have given "Vieira" a BBM role though, to add that little bit of positional freedom for him. Which I did a year or so back when I attempted to recreate the Invincibles. Incidentally mine wasn't very different from yours; the biggest difference being that I chose an asymmetric formation, with "Gilberto" withdrawn to the DM strata (and centered), and "Pires" moved up to the AML position. I also offset "Henry"s and "Bergkamp"s positions, but did not use the "exploit left flank" TI, as I thought that wasn't really needed, and also because I don't think that was a specific instruction Wenger would have given way back then. The left flank just happened to be devastating just because of the players that was there, but I don't remember Arsenal back then being at all biased to the left in terms of where the passes would go to. I could be remembering wrong of course; it is a while ago.

PS. It's easier to find a present time "Henry" if you're not too obsessed with finding a very tall one ... his height was not that important for his play, but his speed was, of course. Finding a striker with 19/19 acc/speed (or more) plus high enough stats for the other important striker attributes is difficult enough.

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The first two seasons were pretty similar - we broke the 100-goal barrier in the league both times and conceded ~30. In the 3rd season we exploded and scored 126 goals - heartbreakingly 2 goals shy of the previous record of 128 goals by Aston Villa which has stood since 1930/31 - and conceded 26.

The difference between this system and the Sacchi Milan is quite profound.

The Sacchi system is way, way more proactive off the ball with intensive pressing. Here we sit back, typically lose the possession game but that gives the opportunity to counter attack far more effectively.

In attack, I like the analogy that the Sacchi system is like choking the opposition out whilst this is like striking them with lightening. Milan typically had high possession, played the game in the opposition half and used their intelligence, movement and creative freedom to create chances. Arsenal have much less possession but are much more direct and attack very, very quickly.

In my opinion, the Sacchi system is more effective without the ball and the Arsenal system is more effective with the ball. As a result, the Sacchi system had an incredible defensive record with highly respectable attacking record whilst the Arsenal system boasts incredible attacking stats, with a respectable but not outstanding defence.

My prediction is that the Sacchi system will be easier for people to implement but when people get this right, it'll be fantastic. The reason is simply the players. Finding a technical, intelligent and hardworking player is a lot easier than finding a Thierry Henry. Fortunately most of the other positions are a bit easier to fill. Getting that defensive balance right will be important.

Thank you, O-zil to the Arsenal!. Appreciate your insight, as always.:)

One of the first things I've noticed in the early stages of experimenting with this tactic is the peeling runs out to the left that the Henry role makes when we still have the ball deep inside our own half, and are looking to counter and exploit space in behind. I love that movement and it really does replicate the way I remember Henry's actions on the pitch during that very dominant period for Arsenal.

Congratulations on making such a realistic interpretation of a truly great team.:thup:

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Just one thing: Give Pogba (Vieira) the proper BBM role. If your reason for not doing so is that you want to stick to the 1-2 "specialists" in a fluid shape "rule", then you're sticking to a "rule" that isn't really a rule. That "rule" was intended as a guide for inexperienced players, and if you're OCD'ing too much on that guide, you'll just undermine your own vision, having to pick roles that are not optimal for your tactical vision.

That said; there isn't an awful lot of difference between a CM /support and a BBM in that tactical setup; the BBM won't roam at all as much as his role description suggests, so this is not a biggie. I would have given "Vieira" a BBM role though, to add that little bit of positional freedom for him. Which I did a year or so back when I attempted to recreate the Invincibles. Incidentally mine wasn't very different from yours; the biggest difference being that I chose an asymmetric formation, with "Gilberto" withdrawn to the DM strata (and centered), and "Pires" moved up to the AML position. I also offset "Henry"s and "Bergkamp"s positions, but did not use the "exploit left flank" TI, as I thought that wasn't really needed, and also because I don't think that was a specific instruction Wenger would have given way back then. The left flank just happened to be devastating just because of the players that was there, but I don't remember Arsenal back then being at all biased to the left in terms of where the passes would go to. I could be remembering wrong of course; it is a while ago.

PS. It's easier to find a present time "Henry" if you're not too obsessed with finding a very tall one ... his height was not that important for his play, but his speed was, of course.

As you correctly mentioned - the difference between the Central Midfield (Support) and the Box-to-Box Midfielder (Support) role is so small, I barely consider it. For me, it's redundant because I think the movement you get from an MC (S) is perfect - you'll notice I use one or two of them in every single tactic. They simply don't need to 'roam' to get into the position I want them in, they're already in it.

My concern with the Box-to-Box midfielder would be the roaming causing you to lose that double pivot in defence (the reason many thought Vieira was a holding midfielder) or - worse - he roams away from the midfield area. I don't want him roaming. I want him right in the thick of the battle.

On the left flank instruction - you could argue either way and, again, it's splitting hairs. To me, I remember Arsenal attacking predominantly down the left flank but not overwhelmingly more and that's what I'm seeing in the match engine.

The more substantial point on the left flank is that the instruction increases the mentality of the Left Wingback causing him to get forward more, overlap more effectively and better create the Ashley Cole role.

You're right about the Henry role - Thomas Lemar at Monaco has potential if you sign him early and retrain.

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Thanks very much for posting. This is spooky, though, because it involves some of the same changes I have been tinkering with from the Sacchi thread in my current Coventry save. I have to read this a little more deeply, but, even though I was not trying to re-create a specific team's style, a lot of this is resonating with me as I prepare for a new season. I will post back when I've done some more work on it.

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Ozil another great write up. I am an Arsenal fan and always play with Arsenal in FM so this is right up my street. I would just like to know what you do about Youth Development and how you develop Youth Players. I think it would be hard to find a player to take over the WPA attack role if Cazorla got injured. I know you mentioned Wilshire but he is injured for 8 months when you start the game and I think Wilshire plays better in the CM or AMC positions. If Cazorla picks up an injury then it becomes a problem with the current Arsenal squad. So my thought was that there must be a youth player to train to play Cazorla/Pires role. Could you give me any ideas on what type of players to be looking for. What did you do when you had to rest Cazorla who did you play instead.

Did you remove OR add any PPMs from the current players and how long did it take for them to learn new PPMs.

Also what did you do with Bellerin he seems to be one of Arsenals brightest youth prospects and a good right back

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I actually signed Oliver to replace Cazorla in the Pires role. He had two good seasons on various loans and Atleti weren't playing him so I gave him a shot.

In this role, you're looking for an out and out creative force - vision, flair, technique, first touch, passing, off the ball and ideally pace, agility and acceleration. It's likely to be a more central player who you move wide.

Bellerin is on a rotation contract and covers right back. He gets a fair bit of game time as he's also covering Carvalho - Coquelin moves into midfield and Bellerin at right back. I've got Oliver, Wilshere, Ramsey, Chambers, Bellerin and Wellbeck all on rotation contracts getting regular playing time, but not first choice. Then I have Iwobi, and Reece Oxford as youngsters.

Here's the full squad.

kJnmfOx.png

Youth Development is the typical story. I've had Drogba, Mertesacker, Arteta and Palombo tutoring heavily. So far the academy products don't look great but most of my money has gone into renovating the first team rather than scouting and developing young players.

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Hot damn! That assist number from the right flank!

I suspect because it is Sanchez not Ljungberg, Sanchez ends up getting a lot of assists from crosses. You do get a lot of assists from the right flank, and crossing is your main assist tool, by far. I remember many of us used to joke that the right flank of Ljungberg and LAuren was like a Bermuda triangles, where attacks go to die since those two had very little built up play capabilities.

The Arsenal of 01-05 is interesting in that the "crossings" they did can hardy be defined as such. They successful ones were usually not from far wide. They're usually much closer to the box, quite low, and quite precise. So, it's a sort of hybrid through-ball/square-pass, and less of a cross.

I wonder what kind of crosses your tactic is producing. Would be interesting to see.

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If you slap on the "work ball" instruction crosses will tend to be much shorter, and you'll get more square passes or 45 degrees passes. I do agree with you that Arsenal crosses from that period - like now - were rarely from far out wide. They happened, of course, but not regularly. You'll get that kind of play with the work ball instruction, in addition to reducing the long shots. Whether it makes the recreating of the invincibles more realistic or not, is open for debate - but certainly with Wenger's transition to the 4231 via the 4123 from the mid- to late 2000's and onwards, the work ball instruction should be on as default by anyone trying to simulate a true-to-life Arsenal tactic, in my opinion.

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Hi ive got one question about training...you said that you rest before and after match (the same in Sacchi thread) but how many percent you use match training...and do you change it when you got one match or two per week.

Thanks.

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Ozil how do you set up the pre season with regards to training and matches for the squad.

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Hot damn! That assist number from the right flank!

I suspect because it is Sanchez not Ljungberg, Sanchez ends up getting a lot of assists from crosses. You do get a lot of assists from the right flank, and crossing is your main assist tool, by far. I remember many of us used to joke that the right flank of Ljungberg and LAuren was like a Bermuda triangles, where attacks go to die since those two had very little built up play capabilities.

The Arsenal of 01-05 is interesting in that the "crossings" they did can hardy be defined as such. They successful ones were usually not from far wide. They're usually much closer to the box, quite low, and quite precise. So, it's a sort of hybrid through-ball/square-pass, and less of a cross.

I wonder what kind of crosses your tactic is producing. Would be interesting to see.

Yes, the ability of Alexis Sanchez skewed the ratios quite a bit. What can I say? He's a phenomenal player. The absolute embodiment of an ideal attacking player in any of the systems I've talked about so far.

Wouldn't lose any sleep over the crosses - I had an eye on this stat over the entire season and it was pretty even between crosses and through balls for a long time, then crosses shot ahead. Not sure why but with the low crosses instruction it's quick, low crosses converting by an on-rushing attacker which I remember happening regularly during the Invincibles season.

Here's the goal types:

jyDlAkS.png

The headed goals are coincidentally entirely accounted for by the Set Piece assists - 23 headers vs 12 from corners and 11 from freekicks (not sure if a freekick assist includes direct goals through).

If you slap on the "work ball" instruction crosses will tend to be much shorter, and you'll get more square passes or 45 degrees passes. I do agree with you that Arsenal crosses from that period - like now - were rarely from far out wide. They happened, of course, but not regularly. You'll get that kind of play with the work ball instruction, in addition to reducing the long shots. Whether it makes the recreating of the invincibles more realistic or not, is open for debate - but certainly with Wenger's transition to the 4231 via the 4123 from the mid- to late 2000's and onwards, the work ball instruction should be on as default by anyone trying to simulate a true-to-life Arsenal tactic, in my opinion.

I'd certainly agree about today's Arsenal working the ball into the box. Not sure about Invincibles - personally, I'd want the ball in the box as fast as possible but I could see why you'd use it. Perhaps useful for when teams sit deep and defend. It's another instruction that should be redundant with intelligent players making smart decisions.

SI actually need to sort out that instruction - needs more clarity before I'd recommend it. According to the Tactics Creator I see no difference in players shooting or passing when it's selected. Depending on your interpretation it could contradict Pass into Space and certainly contradicts a high tempo, direct game.

Hi ive got one question about training...you said that you rest before and after match (the same in Sacchi thread) but how many percent you use match training...and do you change it when you got one match or two per week.

Thanks.

Normally one-day per game or as needed to be familiarise the players with the tactic.

Brilliant thread :thup:. Decided to give it a go with Spurs (don't shoot me!)

Here is how my current team looks:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=694763489

Very young squad but feel like they give me a good base to start at. What changes do you feel I should make?

That is a very, very good team you have there. Nice work. I'd be surprised if you don't do extremely well. Certainly once all of your younger players hit max potential.

Ozil how do you set up the pre season with regards to training and matches for the squad.

Normally a pretty short pre-season. Week or two of tough fitness training before back to Team Cohesion. Enough friendlies to get everyone to a decent level of match fitness, typically 4-6 depending on squad size.

In earlier seasons, get the team familiar with your tactics as soon as possible.

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There is no point in using a couple of weeks of fitness training focus during pre-season. Just use Team Cohesion on High Intensity and 50-50 split until tactic is fully fluid in familiarity. No rest before or after matches and schedule 10-12 friendlies against easier opponents every 3 days. That's the tried and tested formula curtesy of Cleon - works like a charm every time.

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Just an amazing thread.Love the way you describe the sequences of play leading up to goals, you can almost close your eyes and see the move play out.

I'm playing a 4312 system using your 343 philosophy and it is fantastic, i was worried that i would get found out on the flanks deploying a high aggressive press but i needn't have worried.Teamwork, workrate, determination coupled with the correct combination of midfield roles to compliment attacking fullbacks stops any threat coming from the wide areas.

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Great thread once again, but there is something that kind of bugs me. In all your threads so far you basically have world class players (either bought or trained) at your disposal and I wonder how well your tactics would work when the team has lesser players. Have you had any experience with this or do you have any idea how this would work with that?

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Just an amazing thread.Love the way you describe the sequences of play leading up to goals, you can almost close your eyes and see the move play out.

I'm playing a 4312 system using your 343 philosophy and it is fantastic, i was worried that i would get found out on the flanks deploying a high aggressive press but i needn't have worried.Teamwork, workrate, determination coupled with the correct combination of midfield roles to compliment attacking fullbacks stops any threat coming from the wide areas.

Yea I find myself using a diamond shape regularly, particularly whilst building the squad. It suits a lot of clubs because you get an AM and use plenty of midfielders.

In my opinion, it is certainly sub-optimal to play without width but not to an extent which stops you getting results.

Great thread once again, but there is something that kind of bugs me. In all your threads so far you basically have world class players (either bought or trained) at your disposal and I wonder how well your tactics would work when the team has lesser players. Have you had any experience with this or do you have any idea how this would work with that?

That kind of misses the point. Cruyff's Barcelona, the great Ajax teams, Sacchi's Milan and Wenger's Arsenal also all had or developed world class players. It's unlikely that they would have had the same success with lesser players.

Guardiola said recently - the players are the most important thing. A great coach cannot expect to win without great players. However, great players may possibly win without a great coach.

I also want the work to be replicable - if I was managing in the conference I could have a player who should be two leagues above, make any tactic look like it's working wonders or vise-versa have a tactic which should work perfectly not work because my striker is neither footed and has 2 for finishing! :D There are a lot more random variables at that level.

The result is that is you look through the threads you'll see numerous people saying, "I tried this with X team - adapted with these changes - and had great success winning A, B and C...".

For lesser players, the same principles apply. You're still looking for intelligent, hard-working, technically able players but just appropriate for your level. Rather than 14-16 attributes, you may be looking for 12s or 8s or whatever.

Fortunately hard-working players become more common as you go lower so you've just got to find the smart ones who can kick a ball.

In terms of adapting. 100% depends on the scenario, but I'd likely start with flexible or even rigid if my players are not suitable. Typically I allow 2-3 seasons for squad building and then the same rules will apply. I'd be far more likely to use the Sacchi system than the Wenger system is it's easier to find appropriate players.

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Just finished the season, won the league by 10 points, 29 wins, 4 draws and 5 losses. Scored 84 and conceded 36.

Thought I'd provide an update on players performances:

Dragowski - Played 53, conceded 58, clean sheets 18, average rating 6.93.

Janmaat - Played 42, scored 0, assisted 12, average rating 7.45.

Dier - Played 40, scored 0, assisted 2, average rating 7.38.

Tah - Played 38, scored 0, assisted 0, average rating 7.41.

Jorge - Played 44, scored 0, assisted 13, average rating 7.61.

Mahrez - Played 42, scored 21, assisted 14, average rating 7.74.

Hojbjerg/Alli - Played 22(6), scored 0, assisted 2, average rating 7.06 / Played 32(10), scored 4, assisted 5, average rating 7.45.

Sanches - Played 44, scored 4, assisted 3, average rating 7.63.

Correa - Played 36(3), scored 10, assisted 14, average rating 7.94.

Eriksen (until he broke his foot) - Played 25(1), scored 8, assisted 3, average rating 7.69.

Martial/Kane - Played 28(6), scored 21, assisted 4, average rating 7.43 / Played 25(5), scored 16, assisted 5, average rating 7.22.

Other players in various positions:

Mammana - Played 20(3), scored 0, assisted 0, average rating 7.02.

Can - Played 17(4), scored 0, assisted 1, average rating 7.09.

Davies - Played 9(1), scored 0, assisted 4, average rating 7.43.

Tielemans - Played 15(4), scored 2, assisted 4, average rating 7.49.

Januzaj - Played 22(15), scored 8, assisted 5, average rating 7.67.

Odegaard - Played 13(18), scored 8, assisted 2, average rating 7.37.

EDIT: The next season Martial scores this, maybe he is the next Henry!

[video=youtube;FA3zaeQj4uw]

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Great read, very interesting and well explained. Also loved how you assigned shirt numbers to mirror the Invicibles :)

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Just finished the season, won the league by 10 points, 29 wins, 4 draws and 5 losses. Scored 84 and conceded 36.

Thought I'd provide an update on players performances:

Dragowski - Played 53, conceded 58, clean sheets 18, average rating 6.93.

Janmaat - Played 42, scored 0, assisted 12, average rating 7.45.

Dier - Played 40, scored 0, assisted 2, average rating 7.38.

Tah - Played 38, scored 0, assisted 0, average rating 7.41.

Jorge - Played 44, scored 0, assisted 13, average rating 7.61.

Mahrez - Played 42, scored 21, assisted 14, average rating 7.74.

Hojbjerg/Alli - Played 22(6), scored 0, assisted 2, average rating 7.06 / Played 32(10), scored 4, assisted 5, average rating 7.45.

Sanches - Played 44, scored 4, assisted 3, average rating 7.63.

Correa - Played 36(3), scored 10, assisted 14, average rating 7.94.

Eriksen (until he broke his foot) - Played 25(1), scored 8, assisted 3, average rating 7.69.

Martial/Kane - Played 28(6), scored 21, assisted 4, average rating 7.43 / Played 25(5), scored 16, assisted 5, average rating 7.22.

Other players in various positions:

Mammana - Played 20(3), scored 0, assisted 0, average rating 7.02.

Can - Played 17(4), scored 0, assisted 1, average rating 7.09.

Davies - Played 9(1), scored 0, assisted 4, average rating 7.43.

Tielemans - Played 15(4), scored 2, assisted 4, average rating 7.49.

Januzaj - Played 22(15), scored 8, assisted 5, average rating 7.67.

Odegaard - Played 13(18), scored 8, assisted 2, average rating 7.37.

Nice work. Hell of a squad you've got there!

Great read, very interesting and well explained. Also loved how you assigned shirt numbers to mirror the Invicibles :)

My inner geek :lol:

Ozil what do you think about Kante for the Viera role

Not bad, but I'd rather someone more intelligent, better on the ball and stronger. He's a great fit for the fullback role, actually.

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Meant to say this earlier but your explanation of the 'fluid' setting is my favourite takeaway from this thread. The team shapes are just so jumbled and hard to understand, but you actually were able to lay it out in a way that hit it home for me. As someone who loves counterattacking football I don't know why I would ever pick another team shape now. Unless I really wanted to press as well then I might bump it up to very fluid.

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Meant to say this earlier but your explanation of the 'fluid' setting is my favourite takeaway from this thread. The team shapes are just so jumbled and hard to understand, but you actually were able to lay it out in a way that hit it home for me. As someone who loves counterattacking football I don't know why I would ever pick another team shape now. Unless I really wanted to press as well then I might bump it up to very fluid.

Thank you very much. Really appreciate that.

It's a bloody difficult concept to understand in the first place, let alone explain simply to other people.

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Great thread, really well put-together and explained.

I would love to see a breakdown analysis of the '99 Man Utd Treble-winning tactic, I think it would be interesting to try and implement it in the game.

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To be honest, I'd get very similar. Perhaps Attacking with Standard as Ferguson was a little less extreme with fluidity and creative freedom and the midfield was a bit more pronounced.

You'd flip the shape, with Giggs in the W(A) role on the left, Becks maybe a W(S) or WM role on the right.

The central midfield would be interesting, no out and out holder. Personally, I'd still use one but use the swap position instruction so they alternate. Striker force would be cool too. Take a look at the Milan thread - I just used that tactic with England and had Kane and Vardy up front. First time I'd used a classic striker partnership in years and loved it!

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Interesting thread, and your invincibles differs drastically to my take on it in terms of mentality we used http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/449252-Project-Invincible-Recreating-the-Arsenal-Invincibles

I saw them as sitting back and not being overly aggressive until they'd won the ball back which tends to happen in their own half. While you are more pro active in the final third straight away and playing high up the pitch.

Another brilliant write up :)

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Really love these threads. I think it really helps people to relate tactics and strategies when you compare them to real life teams we have seen in recent years. My favourite 3 teams have been Arigo Sacchi's Milan, Ferguson's Man Utd of 1999 and Peps Barcelona of 2011 so I am really enjoying these. Many thanks for your work. :applause:

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Ah I see, that's interesting. So you used counter and a flexible shape?

I experimented with sitting deeper with the same playing style - for clarity, attacking mentality with a fluid shape and a deeper defensive line + lower pressing. The result was that I basically turned into Leicester City. Check this out..

DKkNk5W.png

This isn't a one-off either, this is an average over an entire season.

We sat SO deep and played heavily on the counter attack whereas I was looking to counter-attack when it's on and the rest of the time play attacking, free-flowing football.

I attribute part of it to the Premier League having more possession-dominated sides nowadays so if you sit back a little, you lose the possession game heavily. Part of it must also be changes to the match engine or tactics creator which result in greater swings in possession.

In comparison - the same playing style with a medium block with largely the same players and also over a 38-game season.

8kH4VS2.png

In real life, Arsenal averaged 56% possession in 2003/04 despite a less pro-active pressing game.

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As an experiment, I took my "regular" modern Arsenal 4231 Wide (control, fluid, shorter passing, close down more) and changed the mentality to attacking, removed the close down more and the shorter passing ... and the result looks very similar to this tactic, both in defense and attack. IF/support on the left and Winger/support with go further forward on the right. Which goes to show that Wenger's tactical evolution has been very subtle, and that despite the change from 442 to 4231 his tactics look very similar over the years. The modern Arsenal is bit more possession orientated, aims to win the ball back a bit higher up the pitch, and has toned down the counter-attacking in favour of a more patient probing game. But it's not a drastic change, it's actually quite subtle - even the formation don't look that different, be it in defense, transition or attack.

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As an experiment, I took my "regular" modern Arsenal 4231 Wide (control, fluid, shorter passing, close down more) and changed the mentality to attacking, removed the close down more and the shorter passing ... and the result looks very similar to this tactic, both in defense and attack. IF/support on the left and Winger/support with go further forward on the right. Which goes to show that Wenger's tactical evolution has been very subtle, and that despite the change from 442 to 4231 his tactics look very similar over the years. The modern Arsenal is bit more possession orientated, aims to win the ball back a bit higher up the pitch, and has toned down the counter-attacking in favour of a more patient probing game. But it's not a drastic change, it's actually quite subtle - even the formation don't look that different, be it in defense, transition or attack.

Yes for the modern Arsenal, I'd probably pick Control as a mentality and I don't think they're really defined as a team shape - and that's part of the problem.

They're not very fluid, because of players like Mertesacker. I don't really see them as having an attack / defence unit, so fluid's not accurate either. Rigid and Very Rigid obviously aren't right. Which leaves flexible by default. Nothing wrong with flexible but it's a bit 'vanilla' after playing with fluid and very fluid.

One of the things I enjoyed most making this was the similarities between this and the Sacchi system and the subtle differences in the Tactics Creator that make a huge difference on the field. Glancing at the TC, they're similar but when you watch them in action they're very different - both successful, both attacking but you've got the domination of the Sacchi system or the speed of the Wenger system.

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Interesting read, very similar to my current Man Utd attack tactic, plays some lovely flowing lightning attacks like you've shown. I want to continue it but I left it after the last game of season 1 as I couldn't decide what to do next. I always want to improve things but my issue is I use a 433 DM Wide and the speed the ball goes forward, even when using Play Out Of Defence + Shorter Passing can make things feel rushed as the midfield can't catch up. The only thing I can think of to improve things is to change formation, I want to stop using 433 DM Wide so much and 4411 is probably my second most used of FM16 so want to avoid using that to!

Just want to add that the way the CM-S plays suits Viera. In the mainstream media most central midfielders are either "Defensive", "Box To Box", or "Attacking", its all very generic unless reading high quality analysis who highlight the smaller differences.

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By the way; for those interrested in Henry's PPM's, for training the "next Henry" - these are what he had the last time he was in the FM data base as a player: Places shots/Cuts inside (from left)/Comes deep/Knocks ball.

Given that he had the comes deep PPM, you'd maybe want to give him a CF/attack role if he was a player still, just to keep him from doing that too often. But that was indeed something that it was not uncommon to see him do in his Arsenal days.

If anyone is able to fire up FM 06 and take a look at his attributes, that would be interresting ... even though there's been changes in FM's list of attributes since then.

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