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J Beckford 16

3 at the back

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Hi,

 

Just wondering if anyone has had any success with 3 at the back but without any wing backs? I've already done 31411 with Koln and i really enjoyed it but i fancy a different formation with a different team in the Bundesliga?

Ideally i normally do low tempo, structured and retain possession and i dont make my team dribble (forgot the instruction name for that).

I am currently Werder Bremen but i'm playing 311221  (3 CB, CDM, CM, LM, RM, AMCL, AMCR, ST) but noticed that i'm not really keeping possession quite well. I have the LM/RM as winger support and the AMCL and AMCR as Attacking Midfielders both on support. I seem to notice that my ST seems to be quite isolated so i could be going wrong perhaps on the player roles or perhaps my players dont suit the style of play.

 

Any tips really or ideas for possession tactic without any wing backs? Sorry if this makes not much sense, i'm not the best at writing things out!

Neil

Edited by J Beckford 16

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Ello...i just drew your formation on a sheet of paper at work and its an aeroplane!! :D that's a great start.

The main issue with a back 3 is of course that you don't have any full backs, so you have to find a way to compensate for that lack of defensive width as it can leave you quite exposed.  The main ways to compensate for this lack of defensive width come primarily from the DCs you have on either flank of the back 3, make sure they're pretty quick.  They'll generally sit pretty wide when you're in possession so are well placed to close wingers down if you lose the ball.  Then you'll see their shape narrow up as you get pushed further back.  This is where the secondary cover comes from....

Those wingers you mentioned out on your flank are going to be getting forward a lot in order to get into crossing positions (even when set to support), it's just down to the role.  Even though support players do try to get back, you'll still find this particular role quite high up the pitch when you do lose possession, no one there to cover and a whole lot of ground to cover to get back.  You'll notice the required attributes of a support winger are still very attacking.  Contrary to what some guides might tell you, it's not out of the question to have a winger in either attack or support out wide. I have 1 attacking winger on my right flank and i'm quite happy his assist count is far higher than what he costs me in goals conceded.  But if you're going to do that, make sure there is either a CM/DM RC/LC with defend mentality and decent positioning on the same side of the pitch  to compensate for that winger.  He'll sit deeper more often than not he'll cover until your winger gets back before resuming a more central role much like the DC's do as you get pushed back.

That DMC you've got right in the middle of the park is only useful if: 1. He's defensive when the opposition is particularly strong up top/utilises 1 or more dangerous AMCs. OR if you feel his creative ability is exceptional and he can use that pocket of space to spray passes about for fun and it's the ideal/only place on the pitch you're likely to get creative time on the ball.  I usually have a CM in the middle on deep lying play maker in the latter instance and it suits me well because initially he'll drop deeper into that pocket of space and hit those wide men with balls to run onto, but because of his selected position he won't stay sat stupidly deep when you push forward, he'll be there as an outlet for my other midfielders and wide men to recycle the ball later.

On the possession front,  It seems like your team is quite top heavy, particularly because of those wingers and AMCs which means a lot of your possession is going to be quite high up the pitch.  Even with support role rather than attacking they're going to be inclined to play some more risky passes meaning they're going to lose the ball quite a bit.  For possession you'll want a greater number of deeper players who are less likely to be looking for that killer ball so you can just idle in possession.

On a final note, your AMCs are on support and you've got wingers.  I think I see what you're doing, in trying to get a variety of delivery to the front with through balls and crosses and hoping those AMCs arrive for the crosses a little?  The issue here will be that your main goal threat will be that lone forward which limits you, as you said he gets isolated even with those AMCs and not having a plan B is never a good idea if they manage to diffuse your forward.  The potential plan B in this instance is going to be your AMCs (your wingers are making their runs from too deep to be arriving regularly at the back stick. not to be confused with a deep position they'll be high up, but won't arrive in the box as much as AM L/R).  So your AMCs will have to be phenomenal in the air/rapid/both and possibly good finishing to arrive into the box and do anything with whatever delivery the wingers are making OR be incredibly proficient at shooting from range, which isn't a good idea since you'll be wanting to set "work ball into box" if you want to play possession football.  That's potentially a bit of a conflict you might want to think about.

That's my reasoning anyway.  So, what I would suggest is giving your forward a full strike partner, taking a look at the roles of your wingers and who's supporting them, and possibly using 1 AMC or 1 DMC depending on where the space is on the park and whether you want to be exploiting it or defending it.  Give it a try and see what happens.

I hope this has helped.  By the looks of the rush to reply to your thread there aren't many people who play a back 3 or feel they have a worthwhile opinion. TBH i think its a fantastic way of playing when it works.

If you want me to elaborate on anything i've said or clarify then please let me know.  

Edited by borivoje213

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I am on a 27 game unbeaten run in the German 4th tier. Used a 3 at the back with wing backs and with wide midfielders. With the wide midfielder setup I have a DLP (D) in the middle of a central midfield 3 which helps with shape. Also noticed tweaking the closing down on the CBs makes a huge difference. I have the left and right sided on less closing down, and the central CB on cover and much less closing down and hold position. When I play against 1 up top, I put the central CB on (d) and the right and left on cover.

 

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35 minutes ago, borivoje213 said:

Ello...i just drew your formation on a sheet of paper at work and its an aeroplane!! :D that's a great start.

The main issue with a back 3 is of course that you don't have any full backs, so you have to find a way to compensate for that lack of defensive width as it can leave you quite exposed.  The main ways to compensate for this lack of defensive width come primarily from the DCs you have on either flank of the back 3, make sure they're pretty quick.  They'll generally sit pretty wide when you're in possession so are well placed to close wingers down if you lose the ball.  Then you'll see their shape narrow up as you get pushed further back.  This is where the secondary cover comes from....

Those wingers you mentioned out on your flank are going to be getting forward a lot in order to get into crossing positions (even when set to support), it's just down to the role.  Even though support players do try to get back, you'll still find this particular role quite high up the pitch when you do lose possession, no one there to cover and a whole lot of ground to cover to get back.  You'll notice the required attributes of a support winger are still very attacking.  Contrary to what some guides might tell you, it's not out of the question to have a winger in either attack or support out wide. I have 1 attacking winger on my right flank and i'm quite happy his assist count is far higher than what he costs me in goals conceded.  But if you're going to do that, make sure there is either a CM/DM RC/LC with defend mentality and decent positioning on the same side of the pitch  to compensate for that winger.  He'll sit deeper more often than not he'll cover until your winger gets back before resuming a more central role much like the DC's do as you get pushed back.

That DMC you've got right in the middle of the park is only useful if: 1. He's defensive when the opposition is particularly strong up top/utilises 1 or more dangerous AMCs. OR if you feel his creative ability is exceptional and he can use that pocket of space to spray passes about for fun and it's the ideal/only place on the pitch you're likely to get creative time on the ball.  I usually have a CM in the middle on deep lying play maker in the latter instance and it suits me well because initially he'll drop deeper into that pocket of space and hit those wide men with balls to run onto, but because of his selected position he won't stay sat stupidly deep when you push forward, he'll be there as an outlet for my other midfielders and wide men to recycle the ball later.

On the possession front,  It seems like your team is quite top heavy, particularly because of those wingers and AMCs which means a lot of your possession is going to be quite high up the pitch.  Even with support role rather than attacking they're going to be inclined to play some more risky passes meaning they're going to lose the ball quite a bit.  For possession you'll want a greater number of deeper players who are less likely to be looking for that killer ball so you can just idle in possession.

On a final note, your AMCs are on support and you've got wingers.  I think I see what you're doing, in trying to get a variety of delivery to the front with through balls and crosses and hoping those AMCs arrive for the crosses a little?  The issue here will be that your main goal threat will be that lone forward which limits you, as you said he gets isolated even with those AMCs and not having a plan B is never a good idea if they manage to diffuse your forward.  The potential plan B in this instance is going to be your AMCs (your wingers are making their runs from too deep to be arriving regularly at the back stick. not to be confused with a deep position they'll be high up, but won't arrive in the box as much as AM L/R).  So your AMCs will have to be phenomenal in the air/rapid/both and possibly good finishing to arrive into the box and do anything with whatever delivery the wingers are making OR be incredibly proficient at shooting from range, which isn't a good idea since you'll be wanting to set "work ball into box" if you want to play possession football.  That's potentially a bit of a conflict you might want to think about.

That's my reasoning anyway.  So, what I would suggest is giving your forward a full strike partner, taking a look at the roles of your wingers and who's supporting them, and possibly using 1 AMC or 1 DMC depending on where the space is on the park and whether you want to be exploiting it or defending it.  Give it a try and see what happens.

I hope this has helped.  By the looks of the rush to reply to your thread there aren't many people who play a back 3 or feel they have a worthwhile opinion. TBH i think its a fantastic way of playing when it works.

If you want me to elaborate on anything i've said or clarify then please let me know.  

Thank you for the reply. Appreciate it.

 

I will give what you said a try. I agree, i believe 3 at the back is a great way of playing and it's a little challenge without having any wing backs. 

I seem to have the possession sorted on other formations but just not on this one. I  was trying to also replicate a Bielsa/Sampaoli but finding that quite hard at the moment but for that, i'd need to rise the tempo to normal/higher. I never really touch the closing down option but seen somewhere that someone has done on the opposition instructions closing down on each opponent always.

Edited by J Beckford 16

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1 minute ago, fmjames said:

Take a look at this thread. Been largely successful for me.

 

 

Thanks for the response, i did have a little look at that but i think the 5 in the midfield was not working for me too well, I may take a little more look into things. At the moment i'm questioning if for one of the two AMC to be a shadow striker and the other maybe to be Enganche perhaps. Just going to keep testing. Also i made it so i have 2 CDM instead of 1 CM and 1 CDM. Hopefully the testing works then i can start.

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4 minutes ago, fmjames said:

Take a look at this thread. Been largely successful for me.

 

 

This is the basis for my formation atm. Been largely solid at the back so a 3 man defence can work.

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5 minutes ago, djhagster said:

This is the basis for my formation atm. Been largely solid at the back so a 3 man defence can work.

Good to see it can work well, i did get it to work with Koln as a 31411 but i fancied a change of formation and not to stick with the same one. I'll have to have a read of that forum again fully. I'd like a higher tempo but obviously a possession based ideally needs to be a low tempo. 

Edited by J Beckford 16

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11 minutes ago, J Beckford 16 said:

Thanks for the response, i did have a little look at that but i think the 5 in the midfield was not working for me too well, I may take a little more look into things. At the moment i'm questioning if for one of the two AMC to be a shadow striker and the other maybe to be Enganche perhaps. Just going to keep testing. Also i made it so i have 2 CDM instead of 1 CM and 1 CDM. Hopefully the testing works then i can start.

I think it requires a certain squad of players to be effective. It's a very fluid system therefore players need a high work rate to contribute to multiple phases of play. If you've got any players that aren't going to pull their weight I think it will fall apart. The high press works wonders for me; as soon as we lose the ball we press the opposition in their own half and force a mistake/tackle/interception, or force them to punt it long which is easily mopped up by the high defensive line - then we go again.

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Just now, fmjames said:

I think it requires a certain squad of players to be effective. It's a very fluid system therefore players need a high work rate to contribute to multiple phases of play. If you've got any players that aren't going to pull their weight I think it will fall apart. The high press works wonders for me; as soon as we lose the ball we press the opposition in their own half and force a mistake/tackle/interception, or force them to punt it long which is easily mopped up by the high defensive line - then we go again.

When i was testing, i was just adding the stuff on the 1st day and going on holiday, thought it'd be quicker and saves me doing all the signings etc to then discover it doesnt work. So perhaps i'll have to manage Bremen, do the signings to suit and then test and see how it works.  Is it just the 1st post i ideally need to concentrate on? Many thanks once again.

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1 minute ago, fmjames said:

I think it requires a certain squad of players to be effective. It's a very fluid system therefore players need a high work rate to contribute to multiple phases of play. If you've got any players that aren't going to pull their weight I think it will fall apart. The high press works wonders for me; as soon as we lose the ball we press the opposition in their own half and force a mistake/tackle/interception, or force them to punt it long which is easily mopped up by the high defensive line - then we go again.

Agree with the point on work rate. makes a difference with the wingers. Read the thread by Ozil as that's what I used to start with and tinkered until it was consistent. If you don't press using this formation you will get mullered.

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6 minutes ago, J Beckford 16 said:

When i was testing, i was just adding the stuff on the 1st day and going on holiday, thought it'd be quicker and saves me doing all the signings etc to then discover it doesnt work. So perhaps i'll have to manage Bremen, do the signings to suit and then test and see how it works.  Is it just the 1st post i ideally need to concentrate on? Many thanks once again.

The first post will tell you most of what you need to know, yes. It's worth reading the last couple of pages as well as Ozil has posted a few updates for FM17. E.g. changing the Complete Forward to a False 9 and removing Pass Into Space.

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2 minutes ago, fmjames said:

The first post will tell you most of what you need to know, yes. It's worth reading the last couple of pages as well as Ozil has posted a few updates for FM17. E.g. changing the Complete Forward to a False 9 and removing Pass Into Space.

Brilliant. I'll take a look and hopefully somehow make it work with Werder which i imagine will be a tough challenge!

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I have had good success (albeit with a pretty good team) using this:

  • 3-4-1-2
  • Fluid + Control + Work Ball Into Box + Close Down More + Use Offside Trap
  • SK(d)
  • CD(d) - CD(d) - CD(d)
  • DW(s) - DLP(d) - CM(s) - DW(s)
  • AP(a)
  • DLF(s) - CF(a)

I have also tried a 3-1-4-2 version, with the same roles. If I have to use a slower player on the wings, I will use a WM(d) role, which positions a lot like a defensive wingback. If I need more scoring punch, I will use the 3-1-4-2 version with regular wingers.

My other reasonable success with 3 at the back came with:

  • 3-2(DM)-2-2(AM)-1
  • Fluid + Control + Work Ball Into Box + Close Down More + Use Offside Trap
  • SK(d)
  • CD(d) - CD(d) - CD(d)
  • RGA(s) - AM(d)
  • DW(s) - W(s)
  • SS(a) - AP(s)
  • CF(s)

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38 minutes ago, Overmars said:

I have had good success (albeit with a pretty good team) using this:

  • 3-4-1-2
  • Fluid + Control + Work Ball Into Box + Close Down More + Use Offside Trap
  • SK(d)
  • CD(d) - CD(d) - CD(d)
  • DW(s) - DLP(d) - CM(s) - DW(s)
  • AP(a)
  • DLF(s) - CF(a)

I have also tried a 3-1-4-2 version, with the same roles. If I have to use a slower player on the wings, I will use a WM(d) role, which positions a lot like a defensive wingback. If I need more scoring punch, I will use the 3-1-4-2 version with regular wingers.

My other reasonable success with 3 at the back came with:

  • 3-2(DM)-2-2(AM)-1
  • Fluid + Control + Work Ball Into Box + Close Down More + Use Offside Trap
  • SK(d)
  • CD(d) - CD(d) - CD(d)
  • RGA(s) - AM(d)
  • DW(s) - W(s)
  • SS(a) - AP(s)
  • CF(s)

Thanks for the reply. I usually just stick with 1 ST usually, so the second formation looks quite appealing to me although would be using a SS behind the CF

Edited by J Beckford 16

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I think you've since changed formations, but for those reading it's worth noting that FM frequently struggles with stacked players in the AMR/RM and AML/LM positions. There's only a little bit of vertical space separating them so if their roles aren't on the opposite extremes they'll step on each others' toes. Wouldn't be surprised if that contributed to your struggles with possession -- you were very light through the middle and congested on the wings.

Seconded on the recommendation of the 3-4-3 thread by @Ö-zil to the Arsenal!. Very useful read and he even highlights some of the limitations in playing that way.

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5 minutes ago, Ceching You Out said:

I think you've since changed formations, but for those reading it's worth noting that FM frequently struggles with stacked players in the AMR/RM and AML/LM positions. There's only a little bit of vertical space separating them so if their roles aren't on the opposite extremes they'll step on each others' toes. Wouldn't be surprised if that contributed to your struggles with possession -- you were very light through the middle and congested on the wings.

Seconded on the recommendation of the 3-4-3 thread by @Ö-zil to the Arsenal!. Very useful read and he even highlights some of the limitations in playing that way.

Thanks for the response, seems like i shall be giving this a go, i do like the look of the formation so hopefully with me controlling the transfers instead of going on holiday and seeing how it plays, i can maybe make it more effective.

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