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Chip

Scottish 4-4-2 Help

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Hello all! Have been around these forums lately reading posts and have decided to start commenting on threads etc. to try and give people a hand where I think I can but now I've came to a conclusion that I actually need help myself with my tactic. Hopefully I can explain this easily so here goes...

The Team

I am currently playing as Hamilton Academical in the Scottish Premiership and I'm in my first season at the club (and in-game). The players I have at my disposal aren't the greatest but not terrible either. There are some bright prospects which is encouraging. Baring this in mind I opted for a playing style which didn't require them to have the best technical abilities. I'll explain more about this below!

The Aim

As I mentioned above I chose to play a style which doesn't require good technical attributes (although the players do still need some no matter what the style) so tiki-taka, juego de posicion etc etc were out the window, although I'm sure they wouldn't have been welcomed here in Scotland anyway :lol:

So here are my 'aims' in terms of playing style:

Attack

  • Play a direct, fast flowing attacking football
  • Play direct passes into a target man (can be changed) to hold up the ball for on rushing wingers to put the ball in the box
  • Would like the main source of goalscoring to be crosses into the box from wingers and fullbacks
  • Striker to be main source of goals
  • Central midfielder(s) to pose some sort of attacking threat but remain solid defensively

Defence

  • Remain solid in two banks of 4
  • Restrict number of crosses into the box
  • Possession to be won in midfield to take pressure off of defence
  • Midfield and defence all work together, strikers stay up top

The Lineup

Screen Shot 2016-11-04 at 17.28.55.png

Although I'm sure not many of you will know any of those players, ignore the lineup because it's not my best 11 so some players aren't suitable for their roles.

Here's my thoughts:

A standard goalkeeper seeing as we do not play with a high line

2 standard centre backs to keep things simple due to the lack of technical ability

I have toyed around with the full backs a couple of times - I changed them to WB-S which rescued a 2-2 draw against league leaders Celtic however left us vulnerable to Partick Thistle and St Johnstone who each put 3 passed us in the first 30 minutes. This has led me to reverting back to FB-S although I feel there is a lack of support from them when I watch the games.

A CM-D has always been present since I created this tactic however I do have my doubts at times. He is there to shield my defence and prevent gaps between them and the rest of the midfield - his defend duty, as you probably know, has him slightly deeper as if in the DM strata. The problem I notice is he doesn't support the rest of the midfield due to being to deep. However I've always been sceptical when using a BWM because they can be overly aggressive when pressing and leave gaps.

The two WMs used to be Wingers on Attack however I tried changing them to WM-A in order for them to help out a little more defensively (?) - that could be false info because I'm not 100% sure on the difference between the two roles.

Up top there is a Target Man to hold up the ball as fits with my aims and a Poacher who used to be an AF to feed off scraps and score lots of goals (I wish).

The Instructions

Screen Shot 2016-11-04 at 17.42.23.png

Fairly simple setup here. I start each game on Standard and Flexible just to see how the opposition are playing against us. Get Stuck In is to make sure we are hard in the tackle in order to win back possession and to not let the opposition flee past us (unless we mistime the tackle, of course), Play Out of Defence is to ensure we don't aimlessly punt the ball up field and we work it to at least the midfield before becoming more direct in our approach although I have read in Lines & Diamonds that the mentality also has an effect on this, More Direct Passing fits in with my aims because I want to attack quickly and directly at the opposition, Hit Early Crosses in the last instruction and is there to encourage more crosses because I feel my team do not cross very often without that selected.

The Request

This tactic has actually showed some good signs, especially going forward. However after 4 defeats on the bounce in January conceding 8 goals in the process and scoring 3 has left me wondering if there is a new flaw in my tactic. Funnily enough, and for some reason unknown because my training was setup to learn properly, the tactic has only just become fully fluid and we're at the start of February.

My request is for any of you out there to have an input, a little debate and for this to give you something to think about in terms of improvement. I'm happy to adapt in any way and will take all advice on board!

For example:

Can you identify any initial problems with connections between my roles and duties selected?

How can I have more dimensions to my attacks rather than just crossing however with crossing remaining my focal of attacks?

How can I assure there's more backbone to my defence and midfield?

Any other input you have and think would improve performances! 

Apologies for the long post and lack of pictures, I can tend to ramble at times!! I can post pictures of typical attacks, defensive shapes, goals conceded etc. if that is of a help. I suppose there isn't a direct question for this thread but I just wanted to share my tactic to see if there are any improvements which can be made! Hopefully this is alright for you all...

Anyway, thanks for reading this lengthy post and I hope I spark a bit of a debate between us all and I can lead Hamilton to glory!! :) 

Edited by Chip

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If your defenders are slow or have low anticipation it might be worth it to drop the defensive line deeper and assign one defender as a stopper. That way you're less likely to get caught out by balls behind your defense while having someone to defend the space between the lines. Also, why do you tell your defenders to play out of defense? Don't you want them to hit balls to your target man? Do they even have the skills required to play out of defense?

Edited by Frank27

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Hi Chip. I've been toying with flat 4-4-2 since the beta was released, so I'll give you my opinion on some of the things you commented.

First, in regards to the fullbacks issue, if you play fast and direct, you don't give them time to join the attack in most cases. As you can see in the TC, clicking on hit early crosses even disables the option to look for overlaps. That along with your direct style pretty much diminishes their attacking role.

Second, I've also used a CM-D in center fearing than an opposing AMC may kill my setup. But as you say, with that role the player sits too deep, leaving your CM-S pretty much alone in the middle when attacking. To me, the solution is to have the defense drop deeper, so that you close the space between CDs and CMs, and then turn your CM-D into something. For me, a box-to-box CM-S pairing has worked well, but I do play with a counter mentality.

Third, I believe your pair of strikers could be easy to mark because they lack some movement. Personally, I would change the poacher to an advanced forward.

Finally, it would be expected for you to have some trouble against the bigger teams who attack patiently, due to having two players up front who won't join the defense. In my game I sub-out one striker for a DM or an AM to have more numbers in midfield, but this has severely affected my chances to score.

Edited by kidd_05_u2

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3 minutes ago, Frank27 said:

If your defenders are slow or have low anticipation it might be worth it to drop the defensive line deeper and assign one defender as a stopper. That way you're less likely to get caught out by balls behind your defense while having someone to defend the space between the lines. Also, why do you tell your defenders to play out of defense? Don't you want them to hit balls to your target man? Do they even have the skills required to play out of defense?

My two starting defenders both have 11 for acceleration and pace which isn't the best but other players have worse. I'll have a mess around with the defensive line and the centre backs' duties. 

I've chosen to play out of defence because I feel like we waste possession if the instruction is not selected. My CBs do actually have poor passing, technique and first touch but they have decent composure. I wasn't really aware of the skills required to play out from the back other than the atts I just mentioned. You make a good point about hitting the target man, maybe taking off Play Out of Defence would utilise the TM better than it is at the moment.

Thanks for your input!

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11 minutes ago, kidd_05_u2 said:

Hi Chip. I've been toying with flat 4-4-2 since the beta was released, so I'll give you my opinion on some of the things you commented.

First, in regards to the fullbacks issue, if you play fast and direct, you don't give them time to join the attack in most cases. As you can see in the TC, clicking on hit early crosses even disables the option to look for overlaps. That along with your direct style pretty much diminishes their attacking role.

Second, I've also used a CM-D in center fearing than an opposing AMC may kill my setup. But as you say, with that role the player sits too deep, leaving your CM-S pretty much alone in the middle when attacking. To me, the solution is to have the defense drop deeper, so that you close the space between CDs and CMs, and then turn your CM-D into something. For me, a box-to-box CM-S pairing has worked well, but I do play with a counter mentality.

Third, I believe your pair of strikers could be easy to mark because they lack some movement. Personally, I would change the poacher to an advanced forward.

Finally, it would be expected for you to have some trouble against the bigger teams who attack patiently, due to having two players up front who won't join the defense. In my game I sub-out one striker for a DM or an AM to have more numbers in midfield, but this has severely affected my chances to score.

Thanks kidd!! This will help a lot!

I never realised hitting early crosses would take away the attacking presence of my full backs - I guess I've just been expecting too much of them and not giving them enough time to attack after defending.

I like the idea of dropping the defence deeper and Frank27 also suggested this to compensate for slow centre backs so I will definitely try this out! I was hoping someone would come up with something other than a CM-D for one of my midfield pairings!! :lol: 

I have previously thought of using a 4-5-1 or a 4-1-4-1 against greater teams because they usually have more possession however I sometimes get some success by telling my strikers to both close down much less which, in theory, is supposed to cut off passes into the centre of midfield and this sometimes works in practice too - however usually this is against a team who isn't the best technically but are having most of the possession.

I also agree about my strikers as I previously had an AF-TM pairing and I feel the AF offered a lot more.

Thanks for your suggestions I will definitely give them a try and see what happens! 

Edited by Chip

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Hi Chip, I've been using 442 extensively in my FM16 Leeds save and might be able to help. I'll read the thread and comment later tonight once the kids are in bed! ;)

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34 minutes ago, kidd_05_u2 said:

Second, I've also used a CM-D in center fearing than an opposing AMC may kill my setup. But as you say, with that role the player sits too deep, leaving your CM-S pretty much alone in the middle when attacking. To me, the solution is to have the defense drop deeper, so that you close the space between CDs and CMs, and then turn your CM-D into something. For me, a box-to-box CM-S pairing has worked well, but I do play with a counter mentality.

Wait a minute, i'm confused.

So dropping the d line deeper will create less space between the cd's and cm's?

Edited by Herbie2100

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30 minutes ago, facman said:

Hi Chip, I've been using 442 extensively in my FM16 Leeds save and might be able to help. I'll read the thread and comment later tonight once the kids are in bed! ;)

Thanks facman! Look forward to your help

19 minutes ago, Herbie2100 said:

Wait a minute, i'm confused.

So dropping the d line deeper will create less space between the cd's and cm's?

I just re-read kidd's comment and I think he meant to say push the d line higher. Unless he was suggesting to use a fluid shape with it too?

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Just a quick update, especially for @kidd_05_u2's sake...

Played my first match since making these changes and we ran out 2-0 winners against a 4-4-2-playing-Ross County who were one place above us in the league before the match. 

We created 2 CCC and 4 half chances and had 60% possession for the majority of the match until County started coming into the game for the last 10 minutes or so. Nevertheless I was thoroughly impressed with the performance especially the BBM alongside the CM-S which worked wonders and completely controlled the midfield. 

Although neither of our goals were scored from crosses we actually attempted 21 crosses in the game but much to my disappointment only 1 was successful which is abysmal!! I'll look into changing the type of cross for the next game as I have it set to mixed at the moment. I have one very large striker in the box and one not so large and not the best at heading either so either whipped or floated could be fine, but that could be trial and error!

I also dropped the d line deeper which allowed us to be more prepared for balls over the top and through our defence. We did concede 1 CCC and 4 half chances which is worrying but 2 half chances were from corners. I'd have to look into the CCC and other half chances for more context on that.

Any other suggestions for this tactic? Something to improve our crossing would be great!

Thanks for your help all.

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Hi Chip, I'm posting on my phone rather than computer so I might be briefer than intended, but here goes:

firstly, there's a thread, probably on page 2 or 3, called 'developing my 4-4-2', which is a great read. There's lots of ideas and alternative approaches in there that really helped me develop my 442 tactic. I contributed right at the end of the thread so I won't go into too much detail here about my setup (which probably won't work for your players anyway). I recommend giving it a read.

with regard to some general points:

- I've never been able to get a TM to work to my satisfaction, so my preference is for an AF/F9 combination up front (possibly changing the AF to a CF(A) if the player is good enough). Lots of lateral movement and the F9 links up well with the midfield and helps reduce striker isolation

- I'm a fan of asymmetric threat, by which I mean having different roles on either side of the pitch. So, for example, I might have a W(A) supported by a FB(S) on one side, and a WM(S) set to 'Cut inside with ball' supported by a WB(A) on the other. That way, my attack isn't one dimensional, and my players can utilise different styles of play to generate chances.

- the 442 is often put under pressure in the middle of the park, especially by teams playing variations on 433 or 4231. This goes with the territory, so I found that I had to accept that in some games a CM(D) and BWM(D) pairing was the way to play, relying on the WM and F9 being the link men. For easier matches, a BWM(D) and BBM(S) combo has been devastating.

 

Regarding mentality and shape, my main preference has been for defensive/fluid, which makes the team play safely, but with enough creative freedom to do things out of the ordinary at times. I have recently tried out Standard/Fluid against weaker teams and it wasn't too bad, but will need tweaking.

TIs: I like to keep the pace up, so use 'Higher Tempo' when playing defensive. Also 'Play Out of defence' helps to stop the back line hoofing it forward. 'Work ball into box' can be good if the crossing really isn't working!

PIs: I tend to put my fullbacks on 'shorter passing' as they do tend to belt it upfield otherwise. WM set to cut inside, and the strikers to close down more. GK to distribute to fullbacks. That's about it.

 

initially I was sceptical about creating an effective 442, but I've come round to the idea having used it successfully for several seasons. It's definitely not plug-and-play though, and does need active management through the season!

hope that helps a little :)

Edited by facman

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1 hour ago, facman said:

firstly, there's a thread, probably on page 2 or 3, called 'developing my 4-4-2', which is a great read. There's lots of ideas and alternative approaches in there that really helped me develop my 442 tactic. I contributed right at the end of the thread so I won't go into too much detail here about my setup (which probably won't work for your players anyway). I recommend giving it a read

I have actually noticed that being mentioned in others users threads quite a bit so I will need to give it a read. 

1 hour ago, facman said:

- I've never been able to get a TM to work to my satisfaction, so my preference is for an AF/F9 combination up front (possibly changing the AF to a CF(A) if the player is good enough). Lots of lateral movement and the F9 links up well with the midfield and helps reduce striker isolation

I like the sound of using an F9 but not sure I have a player who fits the right mould for that at the moment. A friend of mine is a sucker for using a big TM and punting the ball into him so I have taken a bit of advice off of him regarding how to use one successfully, plus it's something I've never really tried before which keeps it interesting for me!

1 hour ago, facman said:

I'm a fan of asymmetric threat, by which I mean having different roles on either side of the pitch. So, for example, I might have a W(A) supported by a FB(S) on one side, and a WM(S) set to 'Cut inside with ball' supported by a WB(A) on the other. That way, my attack isn't one dimensional, and my players can utilise different styles of play to generate chances.

Reading you say that has made me realised that almost every tactic I've ever created has actually been symmetrical. I can't remember ever using 2 different types of roles on the wings! :lol: 

This is definitely something which I will look into though as I can imagine it brings a lot of success with the wing back overlapping and using the space created by the man-made IF. 

1 hour ago, facman said:

the 442 is often put under pressure in the middle of the park, especially by teams playing variations on 433 or 4231. This goes with the territory, so I found that I had to accept that in some games a CM(D) and BWM(D) pairing was the way to play, relying on the WM and F9 being the link men. For easier matches, a BWM(D) and BBM(S) combo has been devastating.

Unfortunately this is something I have noticed especially when up against teams who play a 4-2-3-1. In those games I usually tend to either a) drop my striker deeper into the AM strata to mark their DM and stop any recycling of possession, b) put an extra man in midfield and play a 4-5-1 or c) stick to my guns and lose badly. A BWM feels too risky to me due to gaps being, potentially, created after his pressing! But it is something I'm willing to try if it wins possession and brings results, especially against better teams as it's something I've never really considered.

Thanks for the input mate. Having to tweak things during matches and for different opposition is one of my favourite parts of the game so that doesn't bother me too much, as long as I'm not having to change too much and working extremely hard to get results because then it starts becoming less enjoyable after a season or so. Thanks again!

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1 hour ago, Chip said:

 A BWM feels too risky to me due to gaps being, potentially, created after his pressing! But it is something I'm willing to try if it wins possession and brings results, especially against better teams as it's something I've never really considered.

Thanks for the input mate. Having to tweak things during matches and for different opposition is one of my favourite parts of the game so that doesn't bother me too much, as long as I'm not having to change too much and working extremely hard to get results because then it starts becoming less enjoyable after a season or so. Thanks again!

No worries mate, hope it helps. I haven't found the BWM creates too many gaps, so long as his work rate and natural fitness are high he can keep running for ever, and if you can get one with the PPM 'Stays Back at all times' then he won't stray all over the pitch.

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12 minutes ago, facman said:

No worries mate, hope it helps. I haven't found the BWM creates too many gaps, so long as his work rate and natural fitness are high he can keep running for ever, and if you can get one with the PPM 'Stays Back at all times' then he won't stray all over the pitch.

This is definitely something I'm going to consider for next season - signing players with different characteristics to allow different types of play when using different players!! Something I never seem to do during I save because I'm so caught up tactically. 

I could sign a player who has the attributes required for the BWM role and has (or will learn) stays back at all times, and can then be played in certain games.

Thanks again for the idea! 

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So a quick update on how things are going and unfortunately they are not good.

Here are the changes I've made based on the above advice...

Screen Shot 2016-11-06 at 15.06.28.png

Along with these TIs:

Screen Shot 2016-11-06 at 15.08.44.png

We're currently on a 6 match winless run, 4 of them being defeats. 7 goals conceded and 1 scored. We've been creating some half chances but I just feel like we are too predictable when attacking and we're not creating enough good chances.

My thoughts are this:

  • Change CM-S to BWM - however I will monitor this to make sure there is no gaps between him and the BBM when transitioning and defending
  • Change TM-S to DLF-S - this is for better link up play as the current Target Man doesn't seem to be offering much against other defences
  • Potential change of tactic(?) - I didn't choose 4-4-2 because that's the system I wanted to play, I would have been happy to use any system, however I thought this would be a good one for the SPL. I have been thinking about changing to a 4-2-3-1 (or a 4-1-4-1 since the formation you choose is your defensive phase formation)

Any other suggestions? I can start posting screenshots of games if this would help?

Thanks

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34 minutes ago, Chip said:

We're currently on a 6 match winless run, 4 of them being defeats. 7 goals conceded and 1 scored. We've been creating some half chances but I just feel like we are too predictable when attacking and we're not creating enough good chances.

My thoughts are this:

  • Change CM-S to BWM - however I will monitor this to make sure there is no gaps between him and the BBM when transitioning and defending
  • Change TM-S to DLF-S - this is for better link up play as the current Target Man doesn't seem to be offering much against other defences
  • Potential change of tactic(?) - I didn't choose 4-4-2 because that's the system I wanted to play, I would have been happy to use any system, however I thought this would be a good one for the SPL. I have been thinking about changing to a 4-2-3-1 (or a 4-1-4-1 since the formation you choose is your defensive phase formation)

Any other suggestions? I can start posting screenshots of games if this would help?

Thanks

Personally, I would get rid of the TM, but then I've never managed to make a TM work myself, so I would never use one :) A DLF would be a better choice imo.

With two attack duties in midfield, I would definitely like to see a defend duty as well, so you may be able to simply change the CM(S) to a CM(D). He will then act as a 'BWM-lite' and should hold his position in the middle more than a BWM would. What PIs do your WM have? WM is such a vanilla role that they can be set up to act in a myriad of different ways. If you aren't using PIs then they are probably going to act based on their PPMs, and that might not be the best thing for your team. I would consider having one as a winger, with the other staying as a wide midfielder, but set to sit narrower and cut inside with the ball. He will then provide more stability to the central midfield, and allow the fullback behind him to overlap, by giving him an attack duty

I've done a little example of what I mean in the lineupbuilder website below...

With regard to your defence, how do you find the stopper? I personally don't use stoppers as part of a back four, as I think they get pulled out of position too much.

442.jpg

EDIT - on reflection, the strikers may work better the other way round, but that can come out of the mix in testing...

Edited by facman

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16 minutes ago, facman said:

With two attack duties in midfield, I would definitely like to see a defend duty as well, so you may be able to simply change the CM(S) to a CM(D). He will then act as a 'BWM-lite' and should hold his position in the middle more than a BWM would. What PIs do your WM have? WM is such a vanilla role that they can be set up to act in a myriad of different ways. If you aren't using PIs then they are probably going to act based on their PPMs, and that might not be the best thing for your team. I would consider having one as a winger, with the other staying as a wide midfielder, but set to sit narrower and cut inside with the ball. He will then provide more stability to the central midfield, and allow the fullback behind him to overlap, by giving him an attack duty

Yeah I think this was the problem why we were conceding so many goals - there wasn't a defend duty in the middle therefore too much emphasis going forward.

I've changed the CM-S to a BWM-D against Aberdeen and we came out with a 1-1 draw and a much better performance. The goal we conceded was from a corner too which made me feel better than I would if we had conceded from open play.

I have used a CM-D before in the early stages of this tactic but he didn't support the attack enough unfortunately. He found himself trailing behind when the team was moving forward and sometimes even the CBs were passing him.

20 minutes ago, facman said:

With regard to your defence, how do you find the stopper? I personally don't use stoppers as part of a back four, as I think they get pulled out of position too much.

I used him because I was advised in the above comments to drop my d line deeper but realised it was a bad idea when I realised I don't even like my CBs closing down at all, I prefer them sticking in a nice line making the defence play through them rather than around them. I've now changed him back to defend duty.

Thanks for your help, facman! I'll definitely consider the wide midfielder acting as an inside forward because this could give us a bit of difference to our attacks.

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3 hours ago, Chip said:

I have used a CM-D before in the early stages of this tactic but he didn't support the attack enough unfortunately. He found himself trailing behind when the team was moving forward and sometimes even the CBs were passing him.

Did he have any PPMs such as 'Stay Back at all times'? My previous BWM/CM(D) was Kranevitter, who had 'Stay Back at all times'. Even though my tactic uses a BWM(D) in the middle, I set up a player specific change for Kranevitter so that he would play the position as a BWM(S). If I didn't do this, we would sit slap bang between the DCs, being useless! It taught me never to make a tactic without referring it to the players I had! :)

Good luck, hopefully you can turn around the team.

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Just started my second season at Hamilton and I have slightly tweaked the tactic to suit the players I bought in the summer transfer window. Here it is:

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 23.15.53.png

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 23.16.09.png

We have been creating a lot of chances which is good however we are a little leaky defensively. I tried to analyse one of the goals we conceded against Partick in our 2-1 loss:

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 23.04.49.png

Here you can see our midfield is outnumbered by Partick's - they were playing a 4-2-3-1 - however their number 7 is actually they're left attacking midfielder which I though was a weird sight but anyway... I feel our shape isn't too bad in this situation because they only have 1 threat in the box covered by 4 of our defenders if a cross was to come in early. The main problem here is the 2v1 you can see in front of my defence.

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 23.05.08.png

This is where I could use a bit of help. My left midfielder was already pressuring their winger so why did my full back press to double up on him? This took away our nice defensive shape. We could have easily been undone by a quick 1-2 down the wing. We didn't though, and I was actually reasonably pleased with my number 21 (BTB)'s positioning here. He's trying to cover passes to either of Partick's free midfielders although he could have been a bit tighter to them - the best he can do in this situation to be honest. I think he was originally going to press the man on the ball - a third man pressing!!! If he wasn't so far towards the player on the ball he might have been able to intercept the pass that was made. Our BWM is covering their attacking midfielder which is also fine but it's when the pass is played inside when the real problem occurs...

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 23.06.12.png

Now the ball has been passed into their number 6 who played first time into their number 7 (their left winger - look at his position!!??). My BWM then goes to close him down (as they do) and this leaves their number 20 completely free in front of the box with a lot of time. My CB then closed down their 20 which left a gap for Partick's striker to run into, their 20 slides the ball through and they score.

Can anybody suggest, other than adding another midfielder, where I've gone wrong here? 

I would add another midfielder but our chances are always limited when I play this - any suggestions how to build a successful 4-5-1?

Anything wrong with this analysis? Anything I'm missing?

Any other advice in general? 

Thanks in advanced!

Edited by Chip

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I'm no tactical genius but i have been using 4-4-2 a lot and successfully as well. I play a High Pressing 4-4-2 which predominately focuses on attack and taking the game to the opposition, but it is pretty sound defensively as well. My 2 in midfield is a CM(s) and DLP(d) combo and if i'm losing the battle in midfield i switch the CM from Support to Defense. The middle of the field is the most vulnerable part of a 4-4-2 so i like to keep the roles simple enough.

Looking at your screenshots, i notice your B2B is ahead of the ball at all times and look at the space between him and the centre back behind him, perfect for somebody to run into and although its a little strange to see the left winger do it, the space was there to be filled. Your BWM then goes to close no.7 down leaving no.20 free, other roles probably would have stayed with 20 leaving 7 with the option of either running straight at your CB or passing the ball to one of his marked team mates. The B2B seems very focused on no.6 but what danger is he? For me when in defence i want my 4 defenders and 4 midfielders in 2 straight banks of 4 and close together leaving little space in between. But maybe this was all a bit of a once off but watch your games and watch to see if the that space in behind the B2B is a regular occurrence.

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I think JoeLapira has hit the nail on the head. The centre of midfield is the weak point, and often needs tweaking during a match. 4-2-3-1 is one of the formations that can be most tricky to deal with (along with an attacking 4-4-1-1. There are several methods I use to counteract it:

- change to a Counter/Fluid 4-1-4-1 with a DM(D) or DM(S), depending on PPMs, often set to man mark the AMC

- set my fullbacks to 'tighter marking' to keep them closer to the AMR/L, thereby cutting down the time they have on the ball

- making sure my OIs don't close down the lone striker

- alter the role/duty of one or more of my MCs if I stick with 4-4-2

 

With regard to your question about why did two players close down the AMR... that is what happens when you play with a Fluid shape, often more than one player will close down on the wings. I see it all the time with my fluid formations.

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13 hours ago, JoeLapira said:

I'm no tactical genius but i have been using 4-4-2 a lot and successfully as well. I play a High Pressing 4-4-2 which predominately focuses on attack and taking the game to the opposition, but it is pretty sound defensively as well. My 2 in midfield is a CM(s) and DLP(d) combo and if i'm losing the battle in midfield i switch the CM from Support to Defense. The middle of the field is the most vulnerable part of a 4-4-2 so i like to keep the roles simple enough.

Looking at your screenshots, i notice your B2B is ahead of the ball at all times and look at the space between him and the centre back behind him, perfect for somebody to run into and although its a little strange to see the left winger do it, the space was there to be filled. Your BWM then goes to close no.7 down leaving no.20 free, other roles probably would have stayed with 20 leaving 7 with the option of either running straight at your CB or passing the ball to one of his marked team mates. The B2B seems very focused on no.6 but what danger is he? For me when in defence i want my 4 defenders and 4 midfielders in 2 straight banks of 4 and close together leaving little space in between. But maybe this was all a bit of a once off but watch your games and watch to see if the that space in behind the B2B is a regular occurrence.

I did try out a DLP-S with a BWM-D for a couple of matches but I lack quality in that area. If I can bring in a cheap, good midfielder who can fit into a DLP then I'll definitely try that out.

Yeah I now notice that gap between the B2B and CB, I looked into another game and noticed the same is happening. This game was against Motherwell which ended 1-1. The goal they scored was from a corner.

Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 21.16.31.png

This was the first scenario - the highlighted player (Docherty) is my B2B. As you can see there is a gap between him and my CB. Seconds after this he put pressure on the ball.

Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 21.17.39.png

This one is an extreme example. My B2B has put pressure on the player he is beside and the pass has gone out wide. There is a massive gap between my B2B and CB in this picture. 

Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 21.21.01.png

Last one and my B2B is again ahead of the ball. Another gap has been created between him and my CB. 

Could this be a result of my TI 'slightly deeper defensive line'?

11 hours ago, facman said:

I think JoeLapira has hit the nail on the head. The centre of midfield is the weak point, and often needs tweaking during a match. 4-2-3-1 is one of the formations that can be most tricky to deal with (along with an attacking 4-4-1-1. There are several methods I use to counteract it:

- change to a Counter/Fluid 4-1-4-1 with a DM(D) or DM(S), depending on PPMs, often set to man mark the AMC

- set my fullbacks to 'tighter marking' to keep them closer to the AMR/L, thereby cutting down the time they have on the ball

- making sure my OIs don't close down the lone striker

- alter the role/duty of one or more of my MCs if I stick with 4-4-2

 

With regard to your question about why did two players close down the AMR... that is what happens when you play with a Fluid shape, often more than one player will close down on the wings. I see it all the time with my fluid formations.

Thanks for your suggestions, facman! I'll definitely look into this the next time I come up against a 4-2-3-1 or something which outnumbers my midfield/has an AMC.

That's annoying about the fluid shape because it has helped us carve out so many chances since I switched from flexible. Is it possible counter this at all? Perhaps asking my FB to close down less? 

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12 hours ago, Chip said:

Could this be a result of my TI 'slightly deeper defensive line'?

Yes, I would say it is. Personally, I would set your D-line back to default and take a look at how that affects the positioning of your team relative to each other in the next game.

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Hi Chip, can you please post screenshots of your 'position without the ball' heatmap to check whether your team keep a solid 4-4-2 shape? I'm asking this because there is currently a major bug in the match engine where winger/wide midfielders always start and stay mindlessly far too wide and never cover in the center.

 

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8 hours ago, FestyF said:

Hi Chip, can you please post screenshots of your 'position without the ball' heatmap to check whether your team keep a solid 4-4-2 shape? I'm asking this because there is currently a major bug in the match engine where winger/wide midfielders always start and stay mindlessly far too wide and never cover in the center.

 

Hi Festy. I'm actually using FM16 at the moment as I haven't bought FM17 yet. Is this still relevant? I can post these screenshots if you like.

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5 hours ago, Chip said:

Hi Festy. I'm actually using FM16 at the moment as I haven't bought FM17 yet. Is this still relevant? I can post these screenshots if you like.

Nah, it's okay. I thought you were on FM17.

Good to know you are on FM16 btw. Stay on it mate.

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@Chip; Just looking at your screenshots there and it appears that gap behind your B2B is a common theme. Your obviously playing a B2B so you'll have a midfielder supporting the attacks, why not try a CM(S) and give him the PI 'Get Further Forward' and see if that changes anything.

Also as @facman says, try and push your defensive line up to default which should help reduce the space between your 2 banks of 4. 

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18 hours ago, FestyF said:

Hi Chip, can you please post screenshots of your 'position without the ball' heatmap to check whether your team keep a solid 4-4-2 shape? I'm asking this because there is currently a major bug in the match engine where winger/wide midfielders always start and stay mindlessly far too wide and never cover in the center.

 

Please stop spreading this kind of rumour, it plants worry into people's minds that just doesn't need to be there.

There is no "major bug" in the ME as you put it.  As issue has been raised in the bugs forum which SI have been reviewing - they have not acknowledged that there is a bug, it's simply something they have under review (like a lot of other things).

Whether it is a bug or not, ML/R defensive positioning does "certainly not make the game unplayable" (as SI put it in reply to one of your own posts).  This is evidenced by plenty of people quite happily using wingers in their tactics, including myself.

If you wish to make any further comment about this issue, please confine it solely to the thread in the bugs forum, keep it constructive, and provide further examples such as pkms or game saves.  That will help SI with their review.

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On 11/12/2016 at 08:05, JoeLapira said:

@Chip; Just looking at your screenshots there and it appears that gap behind your B2B is a common theme. Your obviously playing a B2B so you'll have a midfielder supporting the attacks, why not try a CM(S) and give him the PI 'Get Further Forward' and see if that changes anything.

Also as @facman says, try and push your defensive line up to default which should help reduce the space between your 2 banks of 4. 

Thanks mate, I like the sound of using a CM-S. Hopefully this improves out defence a little. I've put my defensive line back to normal now and there is a slightly noticeable difference in the gap.

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