Jump to content
Sports Interactive Community
Sign in to follow this  
JPKD

"We're building something here detective"

Recommended Posts

aitor-karanka.jpg

The Premise:

My plan is to translate Aitor Karanka’s 4-2-3-1 come 4-4-1-1 into a workable Football Manager tactic and further my knowledge of the Football Manager Match Engine and football tactics at the same time. Why Karanka and why now? Firstly I am a Middlesbrough manager, for my sins, and now is the appropriate time due to the fact that Boro now appear on the FourFourTwo StatsZone app (with 10 games to trawl through). All this makes it much easier to gather together real life highlights and matches now they are in the Premier League. 

Some Boro fans may wonder why I’m looking to replicate Karanka - some might says it’s dull and defensive - but I’m a big fan his system and the team he has built plus it should be possible to build it within FM. On recent editions of FM I have found myself tinkering with a simple tactic until it works and forging ahead until it stops working. This will be my first attempt to do something like this and I intend for it to be in depth. 

It won’t be a quick process and I may not touch it for a while before continuing with it at a later date. My initial plan is to blitz the set up before the full release of the game and start building things in game on Friday. This save will run concurrent to my other personal games. My intention is to pay attention to detail and take my time to analyse, reflect and act on what I have seen. Much of my research has been done on this forum and the in-depth Lines and Diamonds resource. 

First I plan to lay out how I see Karanka’s real life tactics working out before applying it to the FM tactics creator before playing specific attention to important players and in roles within the tactics. Hopefully I should have got through this in time to get started on Friday with actually playing the game. Hopefully by the end of it I will have built a reliable tactic for the Premier League and guided Boro to safety to set up a long term save with my favourite club. Much more likely is that the tactic bombs and I get frustrated and fired in February. At least that will give me a chance to do some analytical writing.

Latest Update: 

The defensive roles in my starting tactic.

Contents:

 

Edited by JPKD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How I see the system

To add some context I am a Boro fan who lives down south. As such I see the team live when I can. For the past two years I've seen my fair share of Karanka's side play and even more thanks to the wonders of every Premier League game being show live "somewhere" in the world at any time. As such I've seen his side, and his system, at its best (Brighton away) and worst (Watford at home - one of the rare times I've been to the Riverside).

Overall I think it's a fantastic system. Without the ball the team moves as one to make the side tough to break down, lets not forget this system conceded only 8 goals at home for all of last season and already has 3 clean sheet in the Premier League this year. The structured defence relies on full backs quickly retreating in to a back four and two midfield players screening the back four. The six players in front of the goalkeeper are the reason hi system is so tight at the back.

With the ball things can be a little more hit and miss. This season the decision to play a lone striker has caused much consternation, partly due to the fact Jordan Rhodes sits on the bench,  but when the side breaks incisively and gets support around Negredo up front it is a genuine goal threat. Width comes from the attacking full backs with two players granted a free role to roam in the attacking area with one player designated to move forwards and support.

Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 21.24.54 1.png

Generally I think the side lines up like the above. Full backs providing the width, one central midfielder linking the defence to the midfield. Then in attack Downing and Gaston Ramirez free to move about the system in attack while Stuani looks to stay narrow and support Negredo. When this works it produces very good football, see the first two games of the season vs Stoke & Sunderland. At it's worst Negredo is isolated and the defence too cautious allowing the opposition time to re-from before an attack can penetrate the lines like vs Watford & West Brom.

Here is a quick round up of the best movements from the aforementioned Stoke & Sunderland games.

Stoke 1.png

Here vs Stoke the side quickly breaks via Friend from left full back. Players rush to support (white), even attack (green) until an overload is created with three men in the penalty area. The ball is crossed in and knocked down for Negredo to bundle in to the net.

Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 20.09.21.png

Here against Sunderland we can see how the tactic looks when in a commanding position in the opposition half:

Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 20.59.47.png

On the left Friend (LB) is advanced of Downing. On the right Nsue (RB) offers width while Stuani gets into the penalty area to support Negredo. Through the middle Forshaw's reverse pass supplies Negredo as Ramirez floats around him while the defensive core remains in place. This lead to a fantastically worked goal and a 2-0 lead.

These two moves, and goals, represent how I want the system to work in attack. While in defense it seems clearly to me to be two banks of four with Ramirez pressing deep midfielders in front of the lines. But on the break there can be space in behind the full backs, particularly Friend on the left. 

Next I plan to dive into the stats from Boro's earlier games to see what patterns emerge.

Edited by JPKD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cracking posts, haven't had the chance to see Boro this year but from your tactical analysis and some of their summer signings it might change. Looking forward to see you translate this ideas into FM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Switching from attack to defense here is a quick look at the two defensive dashboards from the Stoke & Sunderland games:

Stoke-defensive.JPGSunderland-defensive.JPG

This is for the full 90 minutes in each case. Stoke shows a bias down their left flank as Arnautovic was the main outlet and Shaqiri tucked in on Stoke's right. Tackles are made in Boro's own half but there is limited pressing done to the opposition defence. The pressing is mainly done by the forward players - Negredo and Ramirez - but the holding midfielders will make interceptions high up the pitch if allowed. One of the other themes is the high number of fouls committed in the middle third. This is proof that the team is not afraid of 'tactical fouling' - this might be a challenge to replicate. Rightly or wrongly players are happy to pick up a card to prevent a dangerous situation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A look at the Statistics

Having had a quick look over the first few games of the season I thought I'd take a more holistic approach and dive in to the Team Stats to dig out some general themes in comparison to the rest of the Premier League. To begin with I was unsure of how this data is collected but given that WhoScored quote the same numbers as the Official Premier League website I think they are as good as I'm going to find. All stats are quoted 10 games into the season. Leading on from the defensive dashboards I dived straight into the Defensive stats. Somethings were immediately obvious.

Screen Shot 2016-11-01 at 18.59.14.png

Karanka's side make a lot of tackles - more than anyone in the league. In fact Barragan, Friend and Adam Clayton are all in the top 10 tacklers in the league with more than three tackles per game each. At the same time Boro rank 5th highest for fouls - with tough tackling Marteen de Roon 4th in the league.  The high number of tackles attempted also leads to defenders getting beaten often. Both the Attempted tackles (39) and the dribbled past (15.3) per game are a league high.

It seems that "Get stuck in" will be a default instruction, quite how to sculpt this into a tactical fouling instruction remains to be seen. This has combined to make Boro's defence the 7th best in the league with 3 clean sheets.

On the attacking side less stands out. Boro have relatively few shots and complete a fairly average numbers of dribbles per game. On the passing front Boro's 430 passes per game falls in between Liverpool and Arsenal's 600 per game and ahead of West Brom's poultry of 288. Neither overly cautious - though at times it can appear so - or particularly limited.

Screen Shot 2016-11-01 at 19.18.51.png

The detail shows an above average preference for long balls. 34.5 per game being 4th best in the league with 41.3 inaccurate the 6th worst. Of the shorter passes a rank of 11th best for accuracy and 7th best for inaccuracy suggests a simpler method that doesn't turn over possession as easily as other sides proved by only 6.7 key passes per game. Set pieces are themselves a good source of goalscoring threat. Of Boro's 8 goals 3 have come from a set piece or corner and off the top of my head I can think of 3 crosses from open play that directly lead to a goal; one of them an own goal. Christhian Stuani's long range opener against Sunderland remains the only goal from outside the box this season which sways me towards the "Work the ball in to the box" instruction to wait until the right opportunity to shoot arises.

That's about it for the Team Statistics. Up next a look at some key individual roles within the system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting Specific

Today's theme is individual players and how their role translates in to Football Manager 2017. Starting from the back...

Goalkeeper

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 19.04.09.png

Pretty simple here. Victor Valdes may have had the 'Sweeper Keeper' role designed specifically for him in the Football Manager series but since joining Boro he has played very much as a traditional keeper. This stretches to the extent that at least twice this season he has incurred the wrath of his teammates for NOT coming to collect from his line. His passing in general has been varied with the two main target Negredo, the target man, or Ben Gibson playing at left centre back. So for the time being I'll leave this role fairly untouched and tweak the passing setting as I see fit later in the tactical development. Brad Guzan has also played twice this season while Valdes was injured. Within the game he could challenge for the number one shirt but technical ability just favours Valdes who's stronger kicking game will be useful for launching counter attacks.

Right Back

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 20.10.44.png

Straight into the defence here with right back Antonio Barragan. Barragan has played across the back four season but right back is his best position and he is undoubtedly the best right back in the squad. Defensively sound he doesn't often reach the byline but stretches the play by staying wide and supplying crosses towards Negredo. Second choice for the role is Emilio Nsue who lacks the quality in the final third. Barragan's default will be Full Back set to Support instructed to Stay Wide, allowing the forward midfielder to tuck in and support the lone striker.

Left Back

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 20.19.34.png

On the opposite flank George Friend is more ambitious. As we have seen above he is happy to run beyond Stewart Downing and get involved in attacks early. With the ball he is not afraid of trying to beat his man so I've added Run Wide With Ball to his Stay Wider Instruction as well as made him a Full Back set to Attack. Hopefully this will see him join attacks without going to the byline as much as a Wing Back.

Centre Backs

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 20.29.04.png

Ever-present this season at centre back has been Chairman's nephew Ben Gibson. In game Gibson comes with a 3.5 star potential. Being left footed he adds good balance to the back four and so far this season has probably outplayed his attributes. In real life this season his passing has been a little shorter against weaker team perhaps due to the fact Boro have had more of the ball but to keep things simple I'm aiming to keep his role simple to start with.

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 20.35.18.png

Opposite Gibson the first choice centre back has been Calum Chambers. I've been very impressed by Chambers. He is cool in possession and capable of handling more physical players - Troy Denney - with relative ease. The only player who has made him look particularly foolish is Dimitri Payet. Like Gibson I plan to make little changes to begin with. That said he does play a slightly shorter and simpler passing game.

The other player to have appeared at centre back this year is Daniel Ayala. More of a traditional centre back Ayala has looked a little shaky having stepped up a level but his physicality - not to mention his goal scoring threat from set pieces - may make him a viable option to make my starting XI. His passing is generally more direct than Gibson or Chambers but he may out perform them in game so cannot be ruled out. Similar to Ayala is Bernardo Espinosa. A new signing yet to appear for the first XI due to recovery from injury. However in game he looks strong enough for a starting role as a strong, tall and defensively sound defender.

Edited by JPKD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holding Midfielder

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 09.20.08.png

Moving into the transition zone things begin with the holding midfielder. One of Boro's big summer signings was £12 million Dutch midfielder Marten de Roon sits at the base of midfield. He has a high work rate, a high level of aggression and a good technical tackle. With the ball at his feet however he is somewhat limited. His role will be to sit in front of the defence and allow the rest of the team to play. In game I have made this role a Ball Winning Midfielder. When de Roon plays here he will look to win the ball and quickly move it to a supporting teammate. 

Deep Lying Playmaker

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 09.40.00.png

Next to the defensive midfielder will be a Deep Lying Playmaker. The basis for this role in Adam Forshaw. A fringe player last season but one who has had an opportunity due to injury and flourished ever since. He generally plays the ball laterally allowing other players to be more direct. As such he rarely gives the ball away and is an important part of Middlesbrough moves made from deep. Placing him on the left hand side of the pair keeps in close to the attacking combination of Friend and Downing on the left hand side.

Left Midfielder

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 09.45.17.png

This brings us on to Boro's greatest enigma. Stewart Downing. Perhaps it's the rose tinted glasses of someone who adored him as a teenager 10 years ago but I still rate Downing very highly. To the extent I think the defensive side of his game has been over-looked in his FM attributes. He works very hard to protect Friend on the left wing and while his Tackling may not be the best I think his Work Rate and Positioning could be improved. Especially when you compare him to Carlos de Pena - not seen since Gerard Deulofeu ran several rings round him in 2015. However attributes rant over - Downing is still an important part of Karanka's system. He had freedom to float and does not operate as a genuine winger as he did 10 years ago. Friend supplies width allowing Downing to find space in field. I have avoided making him a Wide Playmaker to try and ensure he carries out his defensive responsibilities. Instead he is a Supporting Wide Midfielder with a few specific instructions to try and imitate his role.

Right Midfielder

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 09.52.38.png

On the opposite flank I have top scorer for the season so far - Christian Stuani. Stuani is a striker converted into a hard working midfielder. He willingly works back but pushes beyond the midfielder to join the lone striker in the system. In reality he cannot cross and has a very limited final ball but he is able to get into goalscoring positions and provide an extra threat from set pieces despite his lack of height. His role from corner will be to make near post flick ons - like his goal at West Ham. His role again is Wide Midfielder, to try and encourage defensive work, but more attacking than Downing looking to get into central areas high up the pith and provide and out ball to defenders.

The Number 10

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 09.59.45.png

A key component of any 4-4-1-1 or 4-2-3-1 system is the number 10 role. Responsible for linking the isolated striker to the deep midfielders. For this Karanka utilises Gaston Ramirez. When Boro get get points Ramirez generally has one of his better games - perhaps showing his importance to the attacking system. I want him to use movement to create space for himself and others so he has more freedom than any other player to move around the system. I've also set his duty to Attack in the hope he can get close to Negredo who will receive plenty of longer passes. From a defensive point of view I want him to hassle and harry and deep lying playmakers in the opposition set up.

Edited by JPKD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lone Striker

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 15.06.37.png

So finally the lone striker's role. The first choice for this role is Alvaro Negredo. Strong and physical he will play as a Target Man to help bring his teammates in to play. I'm hoping he gets enough support around him to make him or his teammates a goalscoring threat. His physicality should enable him to hold the ball up long enough to get players around him in support.

Other Notable Players

Adama Traore - Increasingly important in Karanka's counter attacking away set up. Playing wide on the right he will be a true WInger looking to use his pace and power to break fast.

Jordan Rhodes - Unlike Negredo he is not strong enough to hold the ball up on his own. Instead he'll play as an Advanced Forward with the emphasis on the Number 10 to link the play to Rhodes.

Adam Clayton - I player I personally rate very highly he should be able to compete with both de Roon and Forshaw for the central roles in the midfield. He will also be required for the deeper 4-1-4-1 formation used against the bigger clubs.

Viktor Fischer - Something of an FM legend who has lost his way a little in the real world. He should be able to complete with Downing and Ramirez for either of their roles. 

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 15.14.31.png

My default formation will be the 4-1-4-1 with the roles listed above. I'm now ready to crack on with pre-season and report back on my early findings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the look of that roles and duties wise, I've never used a target man so I'm interested to see how you get on

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The wire?

Enjoyed reading this - a lot of really good detail.

Looking forward to seeing how it develops.  I'll be following for sure.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Wizard of Oz said:

The wire?

Enjoyed reading this - a lot of really good detail.

Looking forward to seeing how it develops.  I'll be following for sure.

 

 

 

Great to see someone mention the Lester Freeman reference from The Wire. New update incoming.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10 games in - a little too close to the real thing

Seeing as most of my analysis was based upon the first 10 games of the Premier League season and I have just reached November in game here is a little review of things so far.

Screen Shot 2016-11-06 at 17.08.10.png

The sides record reads played 10, won 2, drawn 1, lost 7 - scoring 5 and conceding 16. Enough to leave me 18th and some what concerned. Goals have been extremely hard to come by and losses to fellow relegation candidates Swansea, Everton & Sunderland have been frustrating. Things began pretty well with opening 1-0 wins at home but each had an element of fortune about them. Against West Brom full back Barragan decided a dull game with a 25 yard strike. In the process midfielder Adam Forshaw made 169 passes. In general the 4-4-1-1 shape has made it very hard to get support to Negredo who has scored only once - as in real life - but has provided as assist making him involved in 40% of my goals. I'm looking at changing the shape to a true 4-2-3-1 allowing Ramirez as the 10 to drop deeper and attack more out wide with Traore who has played well, including a late equalizer vs City eerily similar to de Roon's header yesterday.

Biggest disappointment has been Downing and both Ramirez and Fischer playing as the number 10.  It's either too hard to link them to the midfield or get them in support of Negredo. My second tactic, a 4-1-4-1 as used vs City & Arsenal in real life, is more solid defensively but offers almost nothing in attack. My only goal away from home again coming from a full back - Fabio - in a local derby vs Sunderland that we lost in the final minute having led 1-0. Up next are Bournemouth at home and a chance to try a more adventurous line up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...