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Introduction

Following on from my previous "Developing my..." thread (found here http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/447398-Developing-my-4-4-2) I wanted to challenge myself a bit more with a different and, perhaps, more unusual formation. I covered a lot of principles and techniques in that thread which will still apply here, so there's no need to re-print all of that, although obviously I'll go into detail where necessary.

I also wanted to use a Regista. This would be fairly new to me as I tend to favour more "traditional" playmaker type roles (if I use one) such as the Advanced or Deep Lying Playmakers. Clearly this will force me to use a player in the DM position (the Regista can only selected there), and so that will form the basis of the formation I will pick. Which brings me onto:-

The Elephant in the Room

The more perceptive of you (;)) will have noticed the formation at the top of this post. Which may lead some of you to say that's not a 3-5-2, it's a 3-1-4-2.

Well, technically, yeh. But I don't like getting too hung up on labels. Bottom line is, I have 3 defenders, 5 midfielders and 2 strikers. What is far, far more important is how the team plays on the pitch. In possession it'll be more akin to a 3-2-5 or 3-1-6, whilst defending more of a 3-5-2.

What I want to get across here is the Tactic Creator will show your basic defensive formation and is really just a place to put 11 players into a shape and give them some instructions.

Starting Points

I've already mentioned a couple - challenging myself with a different formation; and using a Regista.

However, I have a 3rd as well - and that's to attempt to address the well known, alleged, crossing "bug" we keep hearing so much about.

Now, I'm not going to deny that on occasion some deep crosses can be unerringly accurate a little too often for comfort. SI themselves are already looking into making improvements there. But, in that 4-4-2 I discussed earlier, I never really saw the "problem" and it was even suggested that because of the formation I was using it would pretty much negate this supposed "bug" so therefore of course I wouldn't see it.

Well, take another look at the formation above. Nobody in either the Fullback or Wingback positions, just 2 wide men and neither with a defend duty (one even has an attack duty). And just to make things even more aggressive, I'll be using the Control mentality.

Surely if this overpowered crossing "bug" is going to raise it's ugly head it'll be now? We'll see...:brock:.

So, all of that has really decided my formation for me. My only real choice left is do I have two strikers or just the one. I chose to have two simply because I asked my wife and she said "I don't care" and put two fingers up at me, which I took to mean two strikers.

I guess I could also have considered moving one or two other players into the DMCL/R positions, but no - too negative.

So there we have it, my 3-5-2 is born. Next up, I'll go through the club I've chosen (and why) along with my basic tactical settings.

Hope you enjoy.

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Team Choice

If you recognise the names from the formation in the OP, you'll already know I've chosen Valencia.

Valencia are my "go to" Spanish team, and have been since my days of playing the LMA series of football manager games. Oh Pablo Aimar how I loved thee.

However, because I'm using a Regista I needed a team with a suitable player for the role, and luckily Valencia have one in Dani Parejo.

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Here you can see what Parejo looks like at the start of the game, with what the game considers to be important attributes for a Regista highlighted.

So what actually is a Regista, and why use one instead of a different type of playmaker such as the DLP? Well, in a nutshell, the Regista will roam from position more, with bags of creative freedom, in order to (try) to be more effective. A DLP tends to hold position as more of a static "tennis ball launcher". I like the idea of someone who is going to move around more, so his Off the Ball movement will need to be good (Parejo has 15).

Compare that to someone like Michael Carrick, whose OTB is a lowly 10(!) and you can start to see the difference.

Alternatively, I always loved this description:

I see better people than I have responded seriously to this good post, which raises good questions, but since I'm avoiding doing actual work, I'm going to respond considerably less seriously.

:D

When reading the below, pretend the DLP is a self-effacing, quiet and reasonable Michael Carrick and the Regista is an imperious, Napoleanic-type Pirlo (which is unfair as he's apparently quite a nice person in real-life, but it doesn't fit my narrative).

1) What is the mentality of the Regista compared to the DLP?

DLP: "I stay back here, and when the ball comes to me, I pass it somewhere good. Sometimes the results are super-spiffy."

Regista: "You, striker, don't know what to do with the ball? You give it to me! You, wingback, have run out of space with another one of your stupid runs? You give it to me! Central defender, the ball, seriously?! Give it to me! Now listen, peons: you go where I tell you to, and I will give you the ball to score and we can end this little charade against this clearly inferior team and be enjoying cappucinos by teatime."

2) What is the difference in Creative Freedom?

DLP: "Oh, that's more for the wingers, Wazza & Robin. I'm just here to make their jobs easier."

Regista: "Creative Freedom? Yes, I will have it, ALL OF IT. No, none for you, Mr. False 9 or whatever you're calling yourself these days."

3) Is there a difference in closing down? Tackling?

DLP: "Ah, something I can talk about. Most interesting part of the game, to be honest, as I need to strike a balance between being too aggressive but also being able to break up attacking movement effectively."

Regista: "Zzzzzz, oh, I'm sorry, were you talking? I have people to do this work for me."

4) What is the difference between the two roles in terms of RFD, RWB, TTB, Crossing, roaming, holding the ball?

DLP: "Not sure I understand the question. I intercept the ball, or receive it from my teammates, and look to play a good pass up the pitch to the more creative types. It's not rocket surgery."

Regista: "You do realize we're talking about football here, right, little man? Bother me not with your terminology, football is an epic saga and I am its composer and conductor, if I may mix metaphors (and I may)."

5) Is there a difference in passing length settings?

DLP: "Whatever it takes, as long as it's reasonably safe."

Regista: "Yes, these passing lengths. I will have ALL OF THEM."

Tactical Settings

1) Defence

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Sweeper Keeper (attack) - I'll be playing with a Control mentality (more on that later) which comes with a relatively high defensive line by default. A Sweeper Keeper makes sense to help patrol this area and is given an attack duty to encourage such behaviour. He's given some PIs to help his distribution (covered later).

Central Defender (Defend) x 3 - this gets a little more involved, and isn't quite so straight forward. This is my thought process:

a) The central centre defender. If there is nobody positioned in the DMC slot, the natural tendency for this player is to step up ahead of the defensive line to close down opposition AMCs and/or strikers. That behaviour can cause a lot of headaches for the other 2 central defenders if the tackle or pass is missed.

The only real way of stopping that happening is to give him a Cover duty and tell him to close down less.

However, we do have someone in the DMC position, so this issue dramatically reduces - even when playing with such a roaming type of player as a Regista, but again this can depend on the right type of player in that position. In this case a hard worker such as Parejo (Work Rate = 15). Because of that, I'm quite happy to at least start this player as a CD(defend).

b) DCL/R. Because I'm not using any fullbacks or wingbacks, at first glance it'd be very tempting to put one or both of these players on a Stopper duty. That would certainly encourage the player to move more aggressively out towards the threatening opposition player (probably an opposing winger). That could be quite good. But, there is a downside to everything and here I have to take into account the affect of the chosen mentality (Control). Control increases everyone's closing down by default. If I combine that, with a player who will aggressively look to get ahead of the defensive line to close someone down (which is what a Stopper will do), the combined effect could be disasterous.

Further, what happens if that tricky winger skips past his challenge? Suddenly things become a lot more threatening inside the box and instead of 3 big strong defenders defending crosses, I'm down to two with an opponent on the ball running at them.

So, I'll keep them both on a Defend duty and rely on the team mentality and their own decision making and positioning for when to close down a player. This will also help when defending crosses, but more on that later.

Regista - I'll mention him here as part of the defensive unit, although obviously he's fully a part of the midfield as well. Because of the player I'm using, I expect defensive work as a cover for the central defenders from this player.

Look at Parejo again above. Check his defensive attributes. Decent tackling, ok marking, positioning is alright, anticipation and work rate are excellent. Determination could use a boost, but you can't have everything. So defensively I'm expecting quite a lot from this player - ok, he's not a ball winner in the sense of someone like Kranevitter for example, but he's going to do a decent enough job of shielding the defence. And because he's great on the ball as well, you can probably see why this role has peaked my interest.

Hopefully you can start to see how I try to set things up in conjunction with each other. Nothing is a separate entity to me, it's all linked and everything affects everything else.

Anyway, dinner is on and there's a cold beer (or three) in the fridge with my name on them, so I'll update more later.

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Tactical Settings cont.

2) Midfield

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I won't go into a huge amount of detail here, as the four central midfielders are exactly the same as in my 4-4-2 thread with a couple of important exceptions. I'll link the 4-4-2 midfield to compare:

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The main difference is I've swapped the roles of the two wide men. In the 4-4-2, the WM(S) has an attacking fullback behind which the BWM(D) covers when he advances. The WM(A) has a supporting wingback behind so a midfielder with a defend duty on that side isn't necessary.

However, in the new system there are no full/wingbacks, so the BWM(D) needs to provide additional cover on the same side as the attacking wide man. The two wide roles/duties have swapped position to accommodate this chap:

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It's important to note the differences between the WM(S) and WM(A), as they have different PIs assigned.

The WM(S) - Gaya - is designed to stay a little wider to help stretch the opposition, and provide crosses. Stretching the play by providing some width is important to help attacking patterns.

The WM(A) is the equivalent of an Inside Forward, with PIs telling him to Cut inside and Dribble More.

I'll note here that the wings are the weak point in the system. Every system has a weakness, and the wings are mine. However, mitigating the risks are the key, and this is what I expect here:

- Both wide men have decent support next to them to help defensive cover. The WM(A) has a defend duty player next to him, the WM(S) another support duty player. There's a natural balance.

- I have a player in the DM position with decent defensive attributes to help provide cover.

- With a packed midfield I actually want opponents to channel their play down my flanks, even though my flanks are the weak point. If opposition wingers/fullbacks do manage to get past my wide men, who are they going to cross to? I have 3 strong central defenders waiting for the cross, along with at the very least my Regista and BWM(D) helping out and probably my BBM and the opposite wide man as well. That's a lot of bodies for crosses (and the crossing "bug") to get through.

Now, that's a lot of defensive talk, so lets talk attack for a while. I've already mentioned the differences between the two wide players, but the BBM and Regista are equally important.

I did consider having a CM(A) instead of the BBM, and actually tried it out on occasion. It's great in attack - especially against weaker teams - but it's defensive side can let it down, especially in this formation and using the aggressive Control mentality. Overall, the BBM provides a better compromise in this system - but I do have an extra weapon here, which are the players at my disposal. Take a look at these two:

1zn53md.png

Both excellent central midfielders, but one (Gomes) offers a greater attacking threat, whereas the other (Perez) is more tenacious. So automatically I have 2 different options depending on circumstance. It's small options or changes like this that can make such a big difference on the pitch.

And the final piece of the jigsaw here is the Regista. Despite the jokey nature of the above link, the Regista really is (or, rather, should be) the conductor of the orchestra. Everything should revolve around him, and he should be roaming around basically demanding the ball. Nobody receives the ball more than he does, nobody makes as many passes. Here's a typical pass received picture, he's pretty much everywhere:

2rcbakl.png

The downside here of course is his roaming. He'll be out of position a lot, so he needs the drive to get back into defensive positions when we lose the ball. Again Parajo's attributes help here - not perfect but good enough.

And finally in the formation:

3) Strikers

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Here we can see a deviation from my 4-4-2. The Advanced Forward remains the same, however the Trequartista has become a Defensive Forward.

The AF is still there for the same purpose - scoring goals and trying to actively push the defence back to create space in front for the rest of my players to use.

The Trequartista is removed because as a playmaker he'd attract the ball, which could take some of the impact of the Regista. Therefore as an alternative I'm using the Defensive Forward to provide link up play to the midfield, hassle the opposition when out of possession and chip in with some goals. This also helps to provide more passing options for the rest of the midfield (I haven't really covered passing options here as it's detailed extensively in the 4-4-2 write up, but it is still something I consciously thought about during the system set up).

There is a bit of a weakness here in terms of personnel available. Alcacer is my choice for the Defensive Forward role as he has the work rate to do it, it's the AF role which is the issue and is a case of levering in an ok choice and making do. Santi Mina has bags of potential but still young and raw which leaves me with Negredo - and I'll say this now: I can't stand anyone in my team (no matter what the tactic) that has a low work rate...

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I'll offload him when I can, but I'm stuck with him for 12 months.

It's getting late, so that should help cure people's insomnia and end there. I'll finish off the tactical settings tomorrow and move onto some analysis afterwards.

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Mentality, Team Shape, Team & Player Instructions

Before I set these up, I need to have a little think about how I want to play.

This is an important part of creating a tactical system, and often overlooked. If you don't know the style in which you want to play, how do you know which tactical settings to use? Further, unless you know how you want to play, how do you know if you have the players to help you do that, and how can you watch matches to see what (if anything) needs fixing?

I think many threads that are started here looking for help simply end up being "how can I beat the game" ie., what needs to change to help me win. And that's fine - if some people want to play like that, then good luck to them. Hell, I used to play like that. But, I firmly believe that if you set out with a plan before you start building a tactical system, you're more likely to find success - not always (I don't), but more likely.

So, how do I want to play? Well, I'm using a Regista who I want to be the primary focus in my team. Playing a long ball game will be a bit dumb because I'll run the risk of simply bypassing him. Likewise if I play with a conservative mentality such as Defensive or Counter, my defenders will be more likely to simply clear the ball long. I could modify that behaviour somewhat by telling them to play out of defence and/or individual instructions to pass shorter, but the overall tendency could still be there. I also don't particularly want to play an overly patient passing game in attack, which is what these mentalities would set (which again could be modified with instructions).

So TL;DR, I want to channel things through the Regista, give him the best chance to be effective and not dilly dally too much in attack. I'm not going to say "stay tight at the back as well" because, quite frankly, that's what we all want anyway ;).

This is my starting point:

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I'll walk you through it:

Mentality

Control. Control is a pretty aggressive and relatively high risk mentality. In defence, the defensive line is set quite high, all players are told to close down the opposition quite heavily, and defenders will look to pass the ball shorter in order to help build attacking play.

All of that is important for how I want my team to play - shorter passing from the back to keep my Regista active; a fairly high def. line (a little tempered by having a player in the DMC position) to try to keep attackers away from my goal; and good amounts of pressing to try to force turn over of the ball in "safe" areas of the pitch. This pressing will become important as well when looking at reducing the impact of the crossing "bug".

In attack, the Control mentality will be fairly direct, increase my width and play at a high tempo. That's ok to an extent, but it's a little beyond how I actually want to play so I'll use some basic instructions to modify that behaviour a bit.

Team Shape

Structured. If I picked Fluid or Very Fluid, all of my team would start getting very creative. Players would be more inclined to get involved with things that I really don't want them to be, risky passes would be the order of the day, and I'd run the risk of losing control of players in what is, quite honestly, a fairly risky formation (in relation to my wide players). I could offset that to a degree by using a "Be More Disciplined" shout, but that'll impact everyone - including my Regista - and the last thing I want to do is throw some shackles on him.

I've found Structured before to give me a nice balance between player roles and creativity, so I'll stick with what I know for now. Using Structured also gives me an additional weapon in my armoury that I talk about more in the 4-4-2 thread, and that is I can move to a more fluid system during a match if I come up against a hard to break down opponent. Adding more creativity to everyone can sometimes help unlock particularly stubborn defences.

Team Instructions

My primary starting TIs are:

Shorter Passing

More Closing Down

Dribble Less

Roam from Positions

Other back up ones I may or may not use as well are:

Lower Tempo

Retain Possession

If you haven't read Cleon's The Art of Possession thread (http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/445500-The-Art-of-Possession-Football), I'd urge you to stop reading my drivel and read that. It'll help you understand why I've picked some of those instructions.

Basically, I want to keep hold of the ball enough to help my Regista take centre stage, but not at the expense of overly blunting my attack. I want to find a balance between the two. At the start of the season I used all 6 of those TIs, and it quickly became apparent I was keeping possession for the sake of it. Dropping Lower Tempo and Retain Possession seemed to generally give me that balance I'm looking for, although I can obviously put them back in if I feel a particular situation calls for it.

There's no need to use other shouts such as play out of defence (my players do that by default); work ball into box (again, we tend to do that and using it could take tempo away from attacks); exploiting flanks or the middle (too one dimensional); or pass into space (simply no need).

Player Instructions

Not many, and only used to enhance certain individual behaviour:

Sweeper Keeper - Distribute to Centre Backs; Roll it Out; Slow Pace Down. All aimed at preventing the keeper waste possession.

Regista - Shoot Less; Dribble Less; More Direct Passes; More Risky Passes. I don't want him dribbling and shooting - I want him picking passes to help us score goals.

WM(S) - Shoot Less; Dribble Less; Cross More. He's my width to stretch defences and provide crosses. The "Winger" role comes with Dribble More set by default which I don't want.

WM(A) - Dribble More; Cross Less; Cut Inside. Simply to copy some Inside Forward traits.

BBM - Dribble Less. Just to reinforce the Team Instruction. I want him surging into the box to help the attack, not dribble the ball into it.

And there we have it. If there's anything you want to ask about, please do so.

Next up I'll start posting some analysis about how it plays.

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About time you put this up :D

Really looking forward to reading more. The Regista can be a brilliant position. I really enjoyed using it in a porto save (Ruben Neves is a lovely Regista) and the key is everything around the regista. Look forward to seeing how it all plays out.

Javi Fuego, a hard working, hard tackling, all round hard man, positioned infront of Dani Parejo, a silky technical genuis type playmaker..........Shades of Pirlo / Gattuso.....?

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I shall look forward to reading about this. I am determined to move towards a 3ATB formation, I tried with a Libero and 2 CB's but I found it difficult to get working. Can't wait to see some more. Nice to know you are a fellow Hammer!

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What happened to Euro 2016?

Nice threat btw, looking forward to more, now to get back to France

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That quote about the regista I remember someone quoting into one of my threads, which was about the difference between regista and other roles, and I absolutely loved that post :)

Looks interesting as I prefer 3/5 at the back with a defensive midfielder(position not role), so I am going to follow to see if there are any ideas I could try and implement

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Very interested to see how things go, as even with a 4-1-4-1 I still suffer from crosses (but that could just duff players - it's certainly not my fault :D)

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Great write-up so far herne. I've always been a sucker for formations that utilize three at the back. I look forward to reading more.

My only real choice left is do I have two strikers or just the one. I chose to have two simply because I asked my wife and she said "I don't care" and put two fingers up at me, which I took to mean two strikers.

Also between you and your wife, I think it's safe to say we know who the true tactical mastermind is. :D

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Post #3 updated. Picture quality seems a bit off for some reason, I'll amend tomorrow.

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Is there any specific reason for picking 3-1-4-2 and not 3-3-2-2?

Absolutely - if I played with wingbacks I wouldn't be able to get the attacking movement I want. I also expect them to press opposing fullbacks better in a more effective area of the pitch and still track back when needed.

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Post #4 updated with tactical instructions & explanation. Pictures also amended in post #3 as apparently my alcohol infused brain wasn't capable of using MS Paint last night :rolleyes:.

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A fantastic read! I really love 3 at the back. Been trying to work on it myself, but not got the hang of it yet.

Looking forward to read more about this!

Thank you!

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Wonderful thread :applause:

I'm looking forward for the update :)

Btw, do you have problem when facing opponent with 4-4-2 or 4231 formation?

I'm curious how you dealt with the threat from crosses, especially if opponent have good winger and wingback

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This has come along at a good time, I've been playing a 3-1-4-2 for a 3 seasons or so now and my tactical plan has become a bit fuzzy in terms of what I'm doing now versus what the original intention was.

I've taken a team from the Vanarama South into the Championship (eventually) and my progress has hit a bit of a wall because of the quality of player I can attract versus the quality I'm playing against...my initial move to this system was actually to combat this issue in League One but there are times in the Championship where the opposition are just too good.

How are you finding crosses against? I'm playing FMT and 48% of goals I concede are from crosses...moving to a back 3 was to combat the crosses I was suffering from, again in the Championship I think it might just be the quality of the opposition that killed me in my first season in that division. Good teams playing 4-4-2 just overlap me something rotten.

I haven't played Control for a while though so maybe I need to be more aggressive and push the opposition back rather than sitting back too much...?

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Sorry I haven't updated for a while, only so many hours in the day ;).

@Edinton, your final sentence is important.

The weakness in this system is the flanks. Combine that with the crossing "bug" and on paper this formation looks kind of suicidal. However, having your two wide men press opposing fullbacks high up the pitch is, I believe, the key.

Obviously you'll never stop all crosses (that would be unrealistic), but if you can try to prevent the final third of your flank being overloaded, and keeping those pesky fullbacks far enough away to (almost) stop their deadly deep crosses, your back line should feel much safer.

I don't mind if an opposing winger sends in a cross from down near my corner flags as I'll have at least 2, usually 3 central defenders and tracking back midfielders to take care of that. This is also why I don't have my DCR/L with a stopper duty - if they did, they'd go charging out and spoil my central defence.

My advice, and what I've found to work for me, is to focus on the opposing fullbacks. Press them out of the game and the rest almost takes care of itself. I use the Control mentality and the Wide Midfielder role to help with that, but other options could include additional team pressing, player instructions and/or opposition instructions. It just depends (as ever) on your own preferences and way of playing.

I'll get round to doing a more detailed write up on this soon.

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Oh you beautiful *******. I've been debating moving from my 4411 to a 352 (though an AMC+Striker) because my LB keeps asking to go out and I'll need to spend big money on a RB and the LB replacement in the summer, but I've got about 5 good CBs and 2 nice prospects. Will be watching this space for sure.

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herne79 do you also give "stay narrower" PI to you attacking winger besides dribbling more and cut inside?tks

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Sorry I haven't updated for a while, only so many hours in the day ;).

@Edinton, your final sentence is important.

The weakness in this system is the flanks. Combine that with the crossing "bug" and on paper this formation looks kind of suicidal. However, having your two wide men press opposing fullbacks high up the pitch is, I believe, the key.

Obviously you'll never stop all crosses (that would be unrealistic), but if you can try to prevent the final third of your flank being overloaded, and keeping those pesky fullbacks far enough away to (almost) stop their deadly deep crosses, your back line should feel much safer.

I don't mind if an opposing winger sends in a cross from down near my corner flags as I'll have at least 2, usually 3 central defenders and tracking back midfielders to take care of that. This is also why I don't have my DCR/L with a stopper duty - if they did, they'd go charging out and spoil my central defence.

My advice, and what I've found to work for me, is to focus on the opposing fullbacks. Press them out of the game and the rest almost takes care of itself. I use the Control mentality and the Wide Midfielder role to help with that, but other options could include additional team pressing, player instructions and/or opposition instructions. It just depends (as ever) on your own preferences and way of playing.

I'll get round to doing a more detailed write up on this soon.

Hey, thanks for the quick reply. I've mostly been playing with Defensive Wingers in this setup, mostly down to the players I had available and to also provide a crossing threat but I think the level I'm at now has perhaps negated the abilities of the players i have there. Funnily enough I've played a few games using Quick Match when set on Control and got some decent results and that's actually what I began with when I first set this system up so I think it's time to give it another go.

I have loved playing with this setup actually, partly because I achieved success from something I built from scratch but also it must be years since I went with a proper strike partnership! I have also used the Advanced Forward and the (D) Defensive Fwd partnership to help negate the opposition 's time on the ball, it's a lovely setup when it works properly.

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herne79 do you also give "stay narrower" PI to you attacking winger besides dribbling more and cut inside?tks

No, that would overly restrict the players' attacking movement that I'm looking for. As he is starting from the MR position rather than the AMR position, I don't want him coming narrow too soon when the team are in possession.

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I guess you change mentality dependent on your opponent?

With Valencia you would maybe go standard or counter against Barcelona?

Btw, thanks for the reply in my thread. I am taking a little break from it as it was doing my head in :D

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No, that would overly restrict the players' attacking movement that I'm looking for. As he is starting from the MR position rather than the AMR position, I don't want him coming narrow too soon when the team are in possession.

Thanks, that makes perfect sense.

One more thing, when you apply roaming, which players will have it? The ones with attacking duties?tks

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As it's a Team Instruction, the whole team has it. It can help with possession (players roam more to find pockets of space to be available for a pass). On the downside, too much roaming and they can get caught out of position.

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In the current ME the DR/DL and WBR/WBL positions are very important (read overpowered). Any tactic without them wouldn't be great.

Thats an utterly pointless (in this thread...) and wrong statement to make. The OP has just spent lots of time showing why a tactic without those is working just fine!

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Been fooling around with this and the attacking movement is great. I'm playing with am AM-A and CF-S since that's what I have, but it's getting blasted from the wings. I might need more athletic CBR/L or to man mark wide players with my WM, but that's the big issue in two games. If they get a wide cross in, the other wide man always seems free to blast it in. Going to try some OI as well.

IE, Weiser is hit on the overlap and my CBL just cuts back inside, he runs free to the byline and hits Lewa for the easy goal.

bDiIx0D.png

Same issue, other side. No one wants to close him down and my CBs are idiots I guess and can't head the cross away.

1y8mtfF.png

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Firstly, somehow I missed your 4-4-2 thread and just spent over an hour reading every word of it. You have a brilliant way of seeing the game and simplifying the confusing-at-first-glance tactical system that is implemented in FM. It changes how I'm going to plan, build and analyze tactics from here going forward. Love the simple changes you make according to game patterns. It's great.

So yeah, definitely going to be following this! I'm interested in more detail of your wide players pressing fullbacks and the impact it has in particular as for whatever reason I'm having a hard time contextualizing it.

Thanks so much for writing these, I have a major itch to fire the game up again after an extended break now. :)

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In the current ME the DR/DL and WBR/WBL positions are very important (read overpowered). Any tactic without them wouldn't be great.

That's just wrong on every level.

I guess you change mentality dependent on your opponent?

With Valencia you would maybe go standard or counter against Barcelona?

Btw, thanks for the reply in my thread. I am taking a little break from it as it was doing my head in :D

Not as much as you may think. The whole point is to stay aggressive - it's a risk of course (I lost 3-0 to Real Madrid in the penultimate game of the season which nearly cost me the title) but sometimes you just need to grow a pair and get stuck in.

Been fooling around with this and the attacking movement is great. I'm playing with am AM-A and CF-S since that's what I have, but it's getting blasted from the wings. I might need more athletic CBR/L or to man mark wide players with my WM, but that's the big issue in two games. If they get a wide cross in, the other wide man always seems free to blast it in. Going to try some OI as well.

IE, Weiser is hit on the overlap and my CBL just cuts back inside, he runs free to the byline and hits Lewa for the easy goal.

Same issue, other side. No one wants to close him down and my CBs are idiots I guess and can't head the cross away.

You really can't expect too much from Stuttgart playing against Bayern, they're a class apart. Also, I don't know what formation you are using but either you don't have someone in the DM position or they have gone awol. Either way I'd be concerned there.

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As it's a Team Instruction, the whole team has it. It can help with possession (players roam more to find pockets of space to be available for a pass). On the downside, too much roaming and they can get caught out of position.

Interesting, i thought that even though is a TI it would only affect attacking players or players in AM/ST positions. Thanks

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You really can't expect too much from Stuttgart playing against Bayern, they're a class apart. Also, I don't know what formation you are using but either you don't have someone in the DM position or they have gone awol. Either way I'd be concerned there.

Yeah, I wasn't expecting much but how easily Weiser and Alaba just ate me up was a bit concerning.

I think that match I had Nuri Sahin at RGA. He roamed a little too liberally.

I'm going to keep on with it, because like I said the build and attack were fantastic. I lost that match 5-3, and was leading 3-1 at one point, but they were just too much in the end. The next match against Wolfsburg though we dominated 4-1 (corner). I ended up changing my CF-S back to AF and it helped pressure their defensive line and offer a long ball outlet. I also ticked play out defense, since my CBs are idiots. :)

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Hi Herne. I know you're spreading yourself across a number of threads right now but I would love to see the match analysis on this tactic

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Hi Herne. I know you're spreading yourself across a number of threads right now but I would love to see the match analysis on this tactic

I will get round to it, promise ;).

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Match Analysis

I'm going to focus here on opposition attacks down the wing for two reasons:

1) That's where this formation is most vulnerable; and

2) How I've gone about dealing with the supposed crossing "bug".

I'll mention this "bug" first, because as far as I am concerned there is no "bug". SI have acknowledged that under certain circumstances some crosses can seem a bit "overpowered", and are working on ME improvements accordingly, but most of the issues seen are down to how people set up their tactics.

So how am I setting up my system, which on the face of it could be exposed to this "overpowered" crossing? Clearly I'm not going to eliminate crosses because that would be stupidly unrealistic, so I'm coming at this from different angles:

1) High pressing of fullbacks and/or wingers to keep the ball away from dangerous areas.

2) Ensuring my players track back properly to help the defence out when fullbacks/wingers inevitably get through the press.

3) Bodies in the box to defend crosses.

I'll share some in game analysis that I hope demonstrates these points. I've chosen a match we played against Real Madrid (which we lost 1-0 thanks to Ronaldo scoring from a corner) for a few reasons:

- They are a rather good side with one or two decent attacking players ;);

- They have very attack minded fullbacks who'll be a threat getting forward;

- They have a couple of so-so wingers you may have heard of (CR7 and Bale).

So all in all a pretty good test for my defensive unit.

This is how the two teams lined up:

ofvmgo.png

First up then, the high press:

a) Marcelo has the ball on the half line, Cancelo closing him down. This gives Marcelo little time on the ball, and he offloads to Bale.

281slh.png

b) Bale gets swarmed by 3 of my players - my DCR, the BWM and WM(a). He has no opportunity to cross and little time on the ball again.

210j1o0.png

c) My DCR retreats back towards the box, with Cancelo continuing his run back. My BWM tackles Bale (who tried to dribble his way past my 3 players) and the ball goes out of play.

2dsfria.png

Next, when the high press fails:

a) Marcelo and Ronaldo have managed to get past too many of my players who are now caught out of position. This forces my DCR to come out to challenge Marcelo, although my WM(a) manages to keep covering Ronaldo. I still have 3 players covering 2 attackers in and around my box.

xdimur.png

b) Parejo has got back to cover Ronaldo, freeing up Cancelo to help out Mustafi on the wing. But if Marcelo releases a, "overpowered" whipped cross now aimed between my GK and DC, Benzema could take advantage - although it is still 3 v 2 in my favour in the box.

2cyjvpx.png

c) Cancelo (remember he is a WM(a)) now takes over from Mustafi as Marcelo continues his run towards the goal line. I'm getting plenty of bodies back now to cover in and around the box. Cancelo eventually makes the challenge on Marcelo who never actually attempted a cross and the ball goes out for a goal kick.

2645rp1.png

Finally, defending the inevitable crosses. Two different examples:

a) I have plenty of defenders in the box, but Modric has got in behind and Santos has his back to both him and Benzema. It's good that I have so many players back defending, but I've been caught a bit here and Marcelo sends over a decent cross which forces a save out of my GK from a Benzema header. Parejo and Gomes' positioning could have been better here, but it's still a tricky cross to make.

3538p38.png

b) Probably the closest we came all match to being hit by an "overpowered" cross from a fullback. Carvajal has got into a decent position and sucked my DCL out to the wing. Gaya (my WM(s)) has tracked back well, but Carvajal sends over a whipped cross towards the running Ronaldo. However I still have 2 central defenders covering properly, and my central DC intercepts the cross.

292s3f8.png

And there we have it. Hopefully you can see how, with a combination of tactical settings and even against the most dangerous of wide players, you can begin to mitigate the threat from the wings. You'll never eradicate the threat (unrealistic) but it is possible to at least reduce the opportunities.

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Great analysis there herne, do you think that FB/WB type players should be used at the MR/ML positions rather than wingers?

Not necessarily, it depends who you want them to do.

Gaya is my usual WM(s) as he has a great engine, can pass and cross the ball. I usually use Feghouli as the WM(a) as it's set up as an Inside Forward although Cancelo makes a good alternative. However, I'd expect any player in the ML/MR position to have a decent workrate.

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herne wouldn't using a structured team shape keep your midfield too separate from your striker since you're not using anyone in amc position?

I'm using a similar formation with a weaker team (Groningen) and i'm using a fluid shape for that reason but with be more disciplined TI to reduce creative freedom. But maybe i'm using fluid for the wrong reason?

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herne wouldn't using a structured team shape keep your midfield too separate from your striker since you're not using anyone in amc position?

I'm using a similar formation with a weaker team (Groningen) and i'm using a fluid shape for that reason but with be more disciplined TI to reduce creative freedom. But maybe i'm using fluid for the wrong reason?

No, I don't have an issue.

The Defensive Forward drops deep, the BBM gets forward well (Gomes has the PPM to get forward whenever possible while Perez has gets into opposition area), team instructions bring the team closer together (shorter passing), and the two wingers link up well. More roaming also helps.

For this system I didn't want to use Fluid + Be More Disciplined as that TI would I think take a little too much creative freedom away from my Regista.

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I see defence is pretty well covered. Really well explained as well. I do have a concern with the transition/attack. With so many players not dribbling it seems that the transition is stiffled with players holding up the ball waiting for another player to move into position. It's almost like they play with a really low tempo and buildup without the option being selected.

Here are some examples:

Zh2p4oz.jpg

Here Ross Barkley has the ball outside the box but instead of trying to dribble (he has 'Plays Way Out Of Trouble' as a ppm) to the open space he takes the speculative shot.

iKJMOON.jpg

Here Barkley again gets the ball. Instead of dribbling into the space down the right he pumps the ball long to #11 (Mirallas) who is fairly well covered. If he dribbled he could potentially bring #9 into the play

jFq0VkB.jpg

Here is a typical attacking move. Mirallas (AF) is covered by #4, Barkley (#20, BBM) has gotten forward (as per his ppm), #9 (Ayoze, DLFd) is playing deep as per his role, Baines (#7, Reg) is in the spot I would expect, McCarthy (#14, BWM) is far deeper than I would expect. #23 (Coleman, WMs) is as expected and Oviedo is delivering the cross. My concern here is how I have setup. I feel Ayoze could operate better as a DLFs rather than defend. He looks like he needs to be further forward. By holding position he takes himself out as a potential attacking option.

FdWJOCZ.jpg

Here is an attacking move I like. Barkley has received the ball and immediately plays it to Ayoze in the centre who shoots directly at the keeper (i.e. should have scored). I feel that without telling Barkley to dribble less the same move would have still happened.

Was touched up 1-7 through a mixture of poor defending and by playing Real Madrid. Through the miracle of I was able to play the match again. This time around I have made some changes:

- DLFd to DLFs

- removed 'Drbble Less' from BBM (added 'Get Further Forward' at half time after being 2-6 down)

- outside DC's 'Close Down Much Less' and centre DC 'Close Down Less' (I thought the DC's were closing the wingers down too much and I really wanted to keep them in the middle I removed this at the 20 minute mark as I was 0-3 down)

No pictures this time as I got belted 2-7 but Barkley did seem a hell of a lot more in the game. I have a feeling a CMa may contribute more or even a CMs so there is still some midfield coverage. I love the 3-5-2 and would love to get it working but I can't get the attacking movement to work at the moment

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@nick1408.

Difficult to be prescriptive without knowing your setup. If you are just copying mine, that would cause you some issues.

I expect some of your problems also stem from the team you are playing. I got tonked 3-0 by RM in the penultimate match of the season which nearly cost me the title - they have players which can simply overpower you.

A CM(a) is an alternative to a BBM which I tried myself on occasion. It is better in attack however it doesn't offer so much defensively which is a very important aspect of getting such a formation working. The players I use as a BBM both have useful PPMs to help them get forward to support the attack, which I found to be a great compromise.

However, all of that is about a very specific system. Start changing things too much and it can rapidly go to hell. I have no idea if it is suitable for Everton, so you may find something different is needed. Perhaps using wingbacks instead of wingers. Perhaps more defensive player instead of a Regista. Perhaps a playmaker in central midfield or one of your strikers moved back to the AMC position to help improve link up play. Perhaps the Control mentality is asking too much of your team at present.

You could always load up a test save in FMT and experiment.

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I'm interested to hear what you think are perfect PPMs for your BBM.

Check post #3 above, it shows PPMs for both Gomes and Perez. Both players have been excellent.

Not sure I would always use those PPMs for any BBM, but it's a decent starting point. "Runs with Ball Often" probably wouldn't be my first choice however.

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Something I see a lot with this setup, particularly when playing teams set up in a 4-4-formation, is that the full-back and wide midfielder will double-up and we're vulnerable to a quick long field pass from the other wing.

It's particularly frustrating when the play is switched and my own wide midfielder is nowhere to be seen, turns out he's sitting very narrow and the opposition are in a dangerous position and are free to fire in a laser-guided cross. I suspect the narrowness is related to the low Positioning attribute of my wide midfielder...bearing in mind my media prediction is to finish 23 from 24!

I actually had a situation last night where the opposition full-back - who had been targeted for Closing Down Always - had 2 or 3 of my players around him and they all stood and watched as he prepared to cross, prepared some more...then swing a cross in that got knocked home at the far post.

Last time I checked 48% of my goals conceded were from crosses...again, it's likely to do with the players I have playing in the wide positions so I'm keeping an eye on it as I progress through the leagues and buy better players. Targeting the opposition full-backs is definitely helping though.

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@nick1408.

Difficult to be prescriptive without knowing your setup. If you are just copying mine, that would cause you some issues.

I expect some of your problems also stem from the team you are playing. I got tonked 3-0 by RM in the penultimate match of the season which nearly cost me the title - they have players which can simply overpower you.

A CM(a) is an alternative to a BBM which I tried myself on occasion. It is better in attack however it doesn't offer so much defensively which is a very important aspect of getting such a formation working. The players I use as a BBM both have useful PPMs to help them get forward to support the attack, which I found to be a great compromise.

However, all of that is about a very specific system. Start changing things too much and it can rapidly go to hell. I have no idea if it is suitable for Everton, so you may find something different is needed. Perhaps using wingbacks instead of wingers. Perhaps more defensive player instead of a Regista. Perhaps a playmaker in central midfield or one of your strikers moved back to the AMC position to help improve link up play. Perhaps the Control mentality is asking too much of your team at present.

You could always load up a test save in FMT and experiment.

You're right - I should have said I took into account the different team to yours.

My main concern is the lack of movement in the forward third. It could be a system that works far better in Spain than England due to the opposition but I just feel the actual player movement is a touch too static. I'll continue to experiment and see how I go.

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Herne i noticed you are using Feghouli or Cancelo in your attacking WM position. But since you want to create inside forward movement, shouldn't they better be left foot players?

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Herne i noticed you are using Feghouli or Cancelo in your attacking WM position. But since you want to create inside forward movement, shouldn't they better be left foot players?

Personally I don't think it makes much difference.

Both Feghouli and Cancelo performed well. In other saves I've used same footed players on the same wings as well as opposite footed players and they all perform well.

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