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Playing Style, Structure & a modern 4-1-4-1 (Very Fluid)

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Recent threads have focused on re-creating the tactical styles of some of my favourite teams in real-life and implementing them using the Tactics Creator in Football Manager. This time, I want to try something different. I am interested in developing my approach, taking inspiration from some of the tactical trends we are seeing in modern football.

Rather than my usual approach of developing a tactic, I intend to develop a framework where I have a consistent playing style and a flexible structure which I can adapt depending on my squad, and the challenges we face.
 

Playing Style & Structure

Key Concepts:

  • Playing Style - overall playing "philosophy" for want of a better word. In Football Manager terms, this is primarily the combination of:
    • Mentality
    • Team Shape
    • Team Instructions
  • Structure - the organisation of a team on the field. In Football Manager terms, this refers to a combination of:
    • Formation
    • Player Role
    • Player Duty
    • Player Instructions

Playing Style depends on factors such as:

  • How would you like your team to attack? quick transitions and fast attacks? Attacking wide? Controlled build-up from the back? Playing through the centre? Long balls? Counter attack? Tiki-taka?
  • How would you like your team to defend? Intense pressing? High block? Sit deep and maintain structure? Low-Block? Park the bus?
  • Is your approach to give players an NFL style 'play book' telling them exactly how to play, or the freedom to make decisions?

Whilst Structure is determined by:

  • What formations can you play with the players you have available?
  • How would you like to structure your defence / midfield / attack?
  • Do you need a playmaker? A target man?
  • Who is provides width? Who is holding in midfield? Who is making attacking runs?
  • Do you really want to play that Attacking Libero with a Regista and aggressive front-6? ...and no, there's no download link available! :lol:

In order to understand the difference between Playing Style and Structure, consider teams who line up similarly but employ a different style of play in comparison with teams who employ a similar style of play but line up differently. For example:

  • Alex Ferguson's treble-winning, attacking 4-4-2 at Manchester United in 1999 and Claudio Ranieri's title-winning, counter attacking 4-4-2 at Leicester last season.
    • Similar structure, different playing style.
  • Pep Guardiola's 4-3-3 at Barcelona and his flexible Bayern Munich side or Klopp's use of 4-2-3-1 then 4-3-2-1 and now 4-3-3 or 4-5-1.
    • They maintain a similar playing style but structure their teams differently depending on the squad, opposition etc.

Previous threads actually give a few useful, Football Manager based examples:

  • The Cruyff 3-4-3 and Sacchi 4-4-2 employ similar playing styles but structure the teams differently.
  • Sacchi, Invincibiles and Brazil all employ a similar structure but different playing styles.

Links:

  1. Johan Cruyff's 3-4-3 Diamond
  2. Arrigo Sacchi's 4-4-2
  3. Arsene Wenger's Invincibles
  4. Brazil's Jogo Bonito style
  5. Cult Heroes: Wales at Euro 2016

It's important to understand that Playing Style and Structure go hand-in-hand.

Revisiting Jonathan Wilson's quote:

Quote

Formations are neutral; it is their application that gives them positive or negative qualities.


My interpretation of this is that 'application' refers to Playing Style, combined with the abilities of your squad and strengths / weaknesses of your opposition. For example:

  • If your playing style is to sit deep, draw the opposition out and counter, you need your structure to give you a solid defensive base but also men forward to counter.
  • If you're playing a quick attacking system then you need numbers in advanced positions, in order to attack quickly.
  • If you prefer a controlled build-up then presence in midfield is essential and you'll need players making attacking runs.


Defining a Playing Style

We're going to begin with a bit of nostalgia. Whilst playing Football Manager 2015, I experienced something of a tactical 'light-bulb' moment whilst experimenting with the concept of 'universality' having been inspired by the movement away from specialists and towards complete footballers throughout world football.

 -> Universality in Football Manager 2015 (Very Fluid)

The thread never really took off, but the under-lying concept was the basis for my interpretation of Cruyff's 3-4-3 and Sacchi's 4-4-2, both of which really did take off.

You'll see that the major breakthrough was developing the playing style, essentially using Very Fluid to organise the team into one unit contributing to all phases of the game and then to balance this with a Standard mentality, moving away from my penchant for attack.

In the tactics creator:

SSYYfd9.png

Summary of the playing style:

  • Very Fluid.
  • Standard mentality.
  • Intense Pressing.
  • Intelligent, technical and hard-working players.

The 4-4-2 diamond was nice, devastating in attack but the 4-3-3 was more effective at pressing and really dominated games.


6OCpXEh.pngHILIMBz.pngTUv9Lr3.png

Side note: look at that beautiful tactics creator screen..


Won everything there was to win at Arsenal, Ajax and Holland and the legacy continued in 2016 again with Ajax and this time Barcelona.


Wipb4sQ.pngSD6wacI.png



Take a look at the Cruyff 3-4-3 diamond and see the similarity in the playing style, roles and even half of the players. It's largely the same system, with a different formation. The same applies to the Sacchi 4-4-2.


NFkNxpc.pngVzptij5.png
 

The team structure is different but the playing style - very fluid, standard mentality, high pressing and intelligent players - remains the same.

This playing style was the real legacy of the Universality thread. The idea that you can take your playing style and apply it to any shape you like to fit your team.


Evaluating a Structure - 4-3-3

My favourite club to manage in Football Manager has always been Ajax - as you can probably tell from previous threads! :lol: 

The Ajax team of 1995 is one of my earliest football memories. Players like Seedorf, Rijkaard, Davids, Kluivert, Overmars, the de Boers and van der Sar went on to become legends around Europe as I was growing up. Then, of course, there is the brilliant influence of Dennis Bergkamp at my family's club, Arsenal. Then as I got older and learnt more about football, it turned out that a lot of my preferences about how I enjoy seeing football played stem back to the great Ajax teams of the 70s.

With a couple of additions - namely Rajkovic in goal after Cillesson's move to Barca and the versatile Augustinsson on the left flank - this was my starting squad:


Yq7r9Zn.png


4-3-3 has always been my bread & butter, but formation can be anything. When deciding a formation, I have a few rules of thumb:

  • The overall formation should cover the field, allowing you to press effectively - for example, this is why I prefer 4-3-3 to the initial diamond.
  • Solid defensive base, generally 2-3 centre backs and a holding midfield player.
  • Look for a strong presence in the midfield area - generally 3.5 - 4 players in central midfield with the .5 indicating a wide midfielder coming inside.
  • One attacking winger or fullback on each flank providing width and stretching opposition defence.
  • A striker who will act as the first line of defence, pressing and offer movement to get involved in the build-up.
  • Most creative player assigned a Playmaker role.

You always have two influences. 1. What can you do with your existing squad? 2. Bigger picture, what are you trying to do overall? In this instance.

  1. Characteristics of my squad were better suited to a 4-5-1 variant than the 4-3-3.
    • El Ghazi is a better Winger than Inside Forward.
    • Ziyech is more suitable for a central / playmaker role than an Inside Forward.
    • Augustinsson is an excellent left winger or attacking fullback - great versatility, personality and PPMs.
    • Tete and Diks are great fullbacks but don't offer enough attacking threat to be my main wide players.
    • Klaassen is my best goalscoring threat for movement, composure and finishing.
       
  2. Interested in the real-life movement towards the very fluid 4-5-1 variants, particularly from Klopp and Guardiola.


A closer look at the structure of the 4-3-3.

  • Effective pressing shape, off-the-ball.
  • Transition either through the central playmaker, or attacking fullbacks.
  • In attack:
    • Complete Forward movement creates space.
    • Inside Forwards attack the space opened up by the movement.
    • Fullbacks provide width.
    • Central Midfielders support.
    • Deep-lying Playmaker combines playmaking responsibilities with holding the midfield, protecting the Defence.

Observation:

  • Fullbacks required to run the length of the field in transition - in both attack and defence - in order to provide width.
    • Even the fastest players in the world would take a few seconds to cover that distance.
    • Gives the opposition valuable time to organise their defence
    • Or - in reverse - valuable time for the opposition to counter-attack
  • Wingers start in a more advanced position so have less ground to cover.
  • Passing the ball is quicker than running.
  • Wide Attackers in the AM-strata means the 4-3-3 is perhaps better suited to a more direct transition, e.g attacking mentality.
  • Pulling wide players back into midfield gives more potential for extra numbers in the midfield.


Evolving Structure - 4-1-4-1


a8HlMkP.png


What changed?

  • Maintain the strong defensive shape and high pressing.
  • Transition now goes through either the central playmaker or wingers.
  • Wide attackers drop back to Midfield strata start for more control of the centre.
  • In attack, we have re-organised the responsibilities.
    • Complete Forward movement creates space.
    • Central Midfielders now attack the space opened up - one has Attacking duty and the other instructed to get forward more.
    • Wingers now provide the width.
    • Fullbacks provide support.
    • Deep-lying Playmaker combines playmaking responsibilities with holding the midfield, protecting the Defence.

Benefits:

  • Quicker transitions:
    • Wingers have less distance to run to provide width.
    • Less open to counter-attacks as the fullbacks are better positioned to cover.
  • My best attacking players - Klaassen and Ziyech - are in more effective attacking positions.

We won the league, the UEFA Cup - after drawing Monaco in Champions League qualifying - and the youngsters won the Dutch Cup.

The system worked very well. At this point I was 90% happy but still had a few ideas to implement going into the 2017/18 season.

  • Take advantage of Ajax' versatile squad by adapting tactics to opposition weaknesses and punch above our weight in Europe. Namely:
  • Upgrade the Playmaker
    • Bazoer is a great player, with even better potential however Vision of 14, decisions of 11 and passing of 13 meant he was yet to reach a level capable of being a playmaker at a club challenging in Europe.
    • Question marks over the Deep-Lying Playmaker (Defend) role being too conservative. Considering splitting holding / playmaking responsibilities.
    • Change the Playmaker's position on the field to exploit gaps in the opposition formation.


Flexible Structure - Playing against the 4-3-3

It's difficult to talk about the 4-3-3 without thinking of Barcelona - in this case, my opponents in the Champions League, Quarter Final. From Pep's all-conquering, to Lucho's more direct treble-winners they're one of the most famous advocates of 4-3-3. This is how they line up:


MyXXQmB.png


In the majority of leagues, 4-3-3 is one of the most common formations you'll come up against and there's a reason it is so popular - it's bloody effective.

The 4-3-3 consists of a back four, midfield trio and three attackers. In this case, one of the most devastating combinations of attackers in history.

Tactically, the main challenge of facing the 4-3-3 is the midfield trio. Structured in a '1-2' triangle consisting of a DMC and two MCs, this trio offers three men behind the ball when defending and two offensive players when attacking.

As we have said before - formations are neutral. The football field is a big space and it's impossible to cover perfectly with 10 outfield players.

Given the lack of player in the AMC position, the most useful - in my opinion - space against the 4-3-3 formation is between the opposition midfield and their attack.

Utilising this space has a few advantages:

  • It allows us to build-up play from deep, through the centre of the field.
  • A player in this position has passing options ahead of him which allows us to keep moving forward.
  • As the opposition midfield press, they open up spaces further up the field.
  • Wide players occupying deeper positions between the opposition fullbacks and attackers should generally be useful passing options.

This is why I mentioned upgrading Bazoer and re-thinking the playmaker role.

Meet Stefano Sensi, my new playmaker.


ZgOpi2c.png


Possibly my favourite player of Football Manager 2017 so far. Sensi is intelligent, creative, dictates tempo, technically gifted and unpredictable - high flair, plays 1-2s or long passes.

How does he fit in?


y26X5qn.png


What's new?

  • Split the holding midfield responsibilities from the playmaker role.
    • Sensi comes in as the Playmaker
    • Bazoer advances to an MC(D) role, maintaining his role as holding midfielder.
  • Ziyech moves out to the left midfield spot in a 'free role', acting as an auxiliary midfielder - roaming from position and getting forward more.
  • Augustinsson drops back to full-back but takes on an attacking role in order to provide width.

My thoughts on the deep Playmaker roles:

  • Both Deep-Lying Playmaker roles are similar. Both static, holding position and no forward movement.
  • Roaming Playmaker makes more lateral movement. Instructed to roam but fewer forward runs. Has the option to move into channels and dribbles by default.
  • Regista is the Pirlo-esq role, very mobile and slightly more direct. Passing range is increased and instructed to roam with optional forward runs and dribbling.

Tough call between the roaming playmaker and regista but I prefer the lateral movement, as there's more time and space in deeper positions to pick out runners and I didn't necessarily want the more direct style accompanying the regista.

If there's an issue with the Playmaker not getting into advanced enough positions, I was ready to switch to Regista + get forward more, dribbling and shorter passing PIs.


r59TcBL.png


Playing style remains the same.


In-Game Analysis
Ajax v Barcelona, Champions League Quarter Final

Flexible Midfield structure and Pressing


3A2sR12.png


Here you can see Barcelona building-up from deep through Mascherano.

  • Sensi and Bazoer combine to form a double-pivot shielding the defence and covering Rakitic and Rafinha.
  • With the cover from the double-pivot, Klaassen leads the press with the rest of the team cutting off passing options.
  • Defending with a 4v3 at the back and a 2v2 on each flank preventing overloads.
  • Dolberg working hard as the first line of defence.


Build-up through the Middle


Yhgue1b.png


Veltman is under pressure from Suarez but lack of support from his team mates means Veltman can bypass him easily.

  • Sensi is in plenty of space with 6 passing options available ahead of him or - preferably - advancing with the ball until he meets pressure.
  • Bazoer has dropped into space providing an easy passing outlet, should Sensi hit trouble.
  • El Ghazi and Ziyech are both in space on the flanks.
  • Width and passing options give us a good platform to build.


Sensi advancing into Midfield


MmpYeoM.png


One of the advantages of chasing a more aggressive playmaker role was that Sensi could advance into midfield and transition into attack rather than just circulating possession.

  • As the Barcelona midfield start to press, this opens space for the further up the field:
    • Bazoer offers a simple, easy option and covers against counter-attacks.
    • Klaassen is wide open in an advanced midfield position.
    • Ziyech has come inside and is using the space ahead of Bazoer.
    • Dolberg drops deep to get involved with the build up.
    • El Ghazi and Ziyech are wide and stretching the defence.


Transitioning Attacks


M6ghLwi.png
 

El Ghazi has attacked down the right-hand side but been outnumbered so needed an outlet to retain possession in-field.

  • Sensi - this time well in the Barcelona half - again in plenty of space.
  • Sensi has time to control the ball and either advance himself or pick out a passing option.
  • Ziyech has gone forward too early here. Red area is where I'd want him.
  • Bazoer is deeper, once again, offering a simple passing option and cover against the counter-attack.

We won this game 1-0 with 60% possession and was probably the performance of the season. At this stage, the squad was nowhere near Barcelona so we really punched above our weight.

Unfortunately lost the 2nd leg at the Nou Camp, getting knocked out on aggregate but gives us a real platform to build on next season.
 

Flexible Structure - Playing against the 4-2-3-1

When I think of the 4-2-3-1, Borussia Dortmund - in this case my opponents in the Champions League, Second Round - spring to mind. First with Klopp and now with Tuchel, they've been very successful with the 4-2-3-1 for a number of years now. This is how they line up.


eRyb8vB.png


4-2-3-1 is an aggressive formation consisting of a back-4, double pivot midfield, playmaker and 3 attackers.

One of the challenges of playing against a 4-2-3-1 is that you can easily find yourself overrun at the back by the 4-man attacking unit but - once again - formations are neutral. This is both a strength and a weakness.

With 4-players in the attacking strata, the double-pivot in midfield must be reasonably conservative in order to maintain balance. Dortmund kindly illustrate my point here, fielding Ginter and Weigl - both conservative, holding-type players.

Essentially, the 4-2-3-1 naturally divides itself into an two units:

  1. Attacking unit - attacking midfielders and striker.
  2. Defensive unit - defence and double-pivot.

    Note: The fullback role is always unknown. With the presence of the double-pivot they could theoretically bomb forward, or sit back and form a solid defence.

Compare this with our approach of having the entire team attack and defend as a unit. This is where I see an opportunity to gain advantage.

My approach is to isolate & bypass the attacking unit and then to stretch and draw out the defence, then attack the space that creates.


mk1bo5g.png


No drastic changes but you'll notice 3 structural changes designed to exploit some of the weaknesses of the 4-2-3-1.

  1. Bazoer - our holding midfielder - drops to Defensive Midfield (Defend).
    Why?
    • The central midfield structure in a 4-2-3-1 is a '2-1' shape consisting of MC-MC-AMC where it's a good bet that the AMC is the playmaker so Bozoer drops to DMC to nullify his threat.
    • Also, it's now a very crowded area for me to play my playmaker.
  2. van Ginkel comes in as an all-rounder in midfield.
    Why?
    • Ginter and - particularly - Wiegl can control a game. Van Ginkel is a hard-working player who will put them under pressure.
  3. Ziyech is now my assigned the Playmaker role.
    Why?
    • Ziyech is my most creative and technical player and is positioned in the biggest gap in the 4-2-3-1.


Xe5iERP.png


Combined with minor tweaks to the playing style:

  • We no longer play from defence because a simple ball directly into midfield bypasses the entire opposition attacking unit and leaves their defence exposed.
  • We no longer focus passing through the centre as there is more space on the flanks.
  • During the match I reduced my defensive line to standard to counter the incredible pace in the Dortmund attack.


In-Game Analysis
Dortmund v Ajax, Champions League Second Round

Isolating the Attacking unit


DLGBClb.png


Here is an example of Ginter trying to build up play from his deep midfield position.

  • Back four plus Bazoer creates a 5v4 advantage over the attacking 4.
  • Despite Shurrle cutting inside to create space and Guerreiro playing an attacking role, the attacking unit looks isolated.
  • Klaassen is putting Ginter under pressure whilst the rest of the team cut off passing options.


Bypassing the Attacking unit


ES0jcWT.png


Riedewald finds Ziyech after intense pressure from Dortmund's famous intense pressing.

  • One pass has taken 4 Borussia Dortmund players out of the game.
  • Ziyech has the ball with space to advance into with runs from team-mates giving Dortmund difficult decisions:
    • They could hold their shape, in which case Ziyech advances unopposed into a dangerous attacking space.
    • The fullback could press Ziyech but would leave the Augustinsson making an attacking run unopposed.
    • Either centre back could press but that'd leave Dolberg - one of the most dangerous strikers in Europe, at the moment - space to exploit.
    • One could press and the left-sided defenders drift across but that'd leave El Ghazi open on the right wing.


Overrunning the Defensive unit


sNdb5Lr.png
 

Ziyech is again exploiting the space on the flanks but this time faces intense pressing.

  • This time Dembele has dropped deeper to press, meanwhile the other 3 from the attacking unit look uninterested in helping the defence.
  • We still have 4v3 in the event of a counter-attack.
  • The Dortmund right-back has been drawn to press Ziyech leaving wide-open space for Dolberg and Augustinsson to attack.
  • Weigl has also been drawn across from his midfield spot, leaving van Ginkel open in the centre.
  • Klaassen has taken a very threatening attacking position in the channel between right back and his centre back.
  • El Ghazi is again stretching the defence, preventing them from drifting across without leaving him space to attack.

The pass-map also how influential Ziyech was, playing in the gaps of the Dortmund 4-2-3-1.


erCDUMc.png

 

Ajax went into this game as underdogs and came out 6-3 winners on aggregate. This game, the away leg finished 3-0 and the home leg was an epic 3-3- draw where we didn't quite to such a good job of isolating the attacking unit!


=================================================================================================


Hopefully some of the information presented in this thread is useful to the rest of the community and inspires some interesting discussions.

One final point for those who are here to ask advice from the community. Remember that football is highly subjective. A question like, "how can I play like Jurgen Klopp?" is difficult to answer as my interpretation of Jurgen Klopp's approach will probably be different to yours, which will probably be different to the next guy or girl's. You'll get a far better response by defining the characteristics you'd like to implement, and having a go. It's much easier to help someone with a question like, "this is what I'm trying to do... this is what I've done... and when I'm playing games I'm facing challenges x, y & z".

My best advice would be to apply the advice that you read from around the community, then play and experiment, don't give up too soon and ask plenty of questions to supplement what you're seeing in the match-engine.

Thank you for reading! :thup:

Edited by Ö-zil to the Arsenal!

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jukilo   

Ah, you pass again for the very fluid style. I don't like your threads anymore!

Jokes aside, I always like how you make everything simple. Maybe it's time for you to take the seat of the old guy seating on Arsenal bench...

Another thread to bookmark and refer to when I need in the hope of improving :D

Good job :thup:

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Nice work here, Özil!

Now buy that Bielsa book and make a tactic that includes as many of the concepts the book explains :)

 

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Fosse   

Is the the close down much more TI mitigated by the defensive shape and role/duty selection?Every time I attempt to use it I find my players closing down too much individually rather than supporting each other in groups and that inevitably leaves gaps.

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Great work. I've been using this formation and approach for a while, since reading your Sacchi 4-4-2 thread. My roles and duties tend to be a tiny bit different but that's about it. I usually use one of the CMs as a DLP and the DM as a DM or AM. Suits the personnel I have a bit and ends up being a bit more defensive but I still usually get good movement in attack. That aspect - that you can simply switch around the roles and duties to alter how things play so easily - is a favorite of mine. Thanks again for these threads and the ideas.

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First thing first, this is a fantastic read.

How do you compare the 4-1-4-1 against a 4-1-2-2-1 shape? I feel like I'm getting better results with the later and as someone who played both, what advantages does one have over the other?

I also hope you'll expand on this part:

1 hour ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:
  • If you're playing a quick attacking system then you need numbers in advanced positions, in order to attack quickly.
  • If you prefer a controlled build-up then presence in midfield is essential and you'll need players making attacking runs.

What is the difference between "advanced positions" and "attacking runs"? is a CM/a a player in a advanced position whilst a BBM a player making attacking runs?

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Fantastic read so far. I am really enjoying the match analysis parts as always. I also love how you have approached I from the position of trying to adapt to different formations and even still having a place for your 3-4-3. Fascinating stuff to say the least. I made a thread about adapting tactics to different formations and approaches of the opposition and I believe this thread has definitely answered all my questions in my head.

One thing I wondered. All your past threads up until the Wales thread had PI's used.

I noticed in this thread you only mention one or two specific players having them to roam and get further forward. Do you not have the CF(s) Move into Channels anymore or the DLP Close down Much Less anymore?

Will read the rest before bed!

Edited by Anaconda Vice

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yonko   

Top, top, top thread once again. Bravo! I enjoyed reading it just like all your other threads.

I just want to ask you a little bit more about your observations regarding Register vs Roaming Playmaker at the DMC position. I must confess, I've never used either role at that position, though I've used RPM at CM and like it. But you got me curious, so I would like if you could expand a little bit more on your analysis regarding both roles and their behavior on the field.

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davehibb   

Wonderful thread once again mate.

I do like the RPM in the DM strata. I've used it quite a bit so far in FM17 but usually as part of a 'double 6' combo.

So many 'shapes' can be created from the 4-1-4-1 or 4-5-1 base, depending on what roles and duties are used and as you've shown, depending on the personnel and situation/opposition, they can be interchangeable.

Just another fascinating read! As Yonko said, bravo! Again. :D

Edited by davehibb

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20 hours ago, jukilo said:

Ah, you pass again for the very fluid style. I don't like your threads anymore!

Jokes aside, I always like how you make everything simple. Maybe it's time for you to take the seat of the old guy seating on Arsenal bench...

Another thread to bookmark and refer to when I need in the hope of improving :D

Good job :thup:

Ay, c'mon. Less of the Very Fluid bashing! I did make an effort with the opposite end of the scale with Wales! :lol:
 

19 hours ago, KongeMeier said:

Nice work here, Özil!

Now buy that Bielsa book and make a tactic that includes as many of the concepts the book explains :)

 


I've watched nowhere near enough of Bielsa to have an informed opinion but I did see a lot of Chile at the 2010 World Cup and a little of Bilbao.

From what I've seen, I'd start with a common Playing Style of Very Fluid and Attack - which will be very difficult, hence why they call him El Loco - and shift the structure between a 3-man and 4-man defence depending on the opposition.


 

19 hours ago, Fosse said:

Is the the close down much more TI mitigated by the defensive shape and role/duty selection?Every time I attempt to use it I find my players closing down too much individually rather than supporting each other in groups and that inevitably leaves gaps.


Not at all. I'm finding a lot of success using a more conservative shape to balance out an aggressive playing style.

Also, what defensive role / duties are you referring to? I've got 4 attack duties, 3 support duties and 3 defence duties. I'd call that reasonably aggressive?

The combination of a slightly back heavy formation with a high block and pressing is a very compact, aggressive pressing unit. The only opposition players with any space - and it's still not much - are the opposition fullbacks but as soon as they advance they're hit and all of their passing options are blocked. The objective is to push them into a long ball.

Going even more back heavy, I think there is a lot of potential in the 3-4-2-1 ('4' = WBL - DMCL - DMCR - WBR) and 3-3-1-3 (midfield 3 = WBL - DMC - WBR) - particularly if more sides played 2 strikers.


 

19 hours ago, Bigpapa42 said:

Great work. I've been using this formation and approach for a while, since reading your Sacchi 4-4-2 thread. My roles and duties tend to be a tiny bit different but that's about it. I usually use one of the CMs as a DLP and the DM as a DM or AM. Suits the personnel I have a bit and ends up being a bit more defensive but I still usually get good movement in attack. That aspect - that you can simply switch around the roles and duties to alter how things play so easily - is a favorite of mine. Thanks again for these threads and the ideas.


Thank you very much. Having such a flexible midfield brings about a lot of interesting possibilities.


 

19 hours ago, TheJanitor said:

First thing first, this is a fantastic read.

How do you compare the 4-1-4-1 against a 4-1-2-2-1 shape? I feel like I'm getting better results with the later and as someone who played both, what advantages does one have over the other?

I also hope you'll expand on this part:

What is the difference between "advanced positions" and "attacking runs"? is a CM/a a player in a advanced position whilst a BBM a player making attacking runs?


Your first question is answered in the Evaluating Structure - 4-3-3 section.

Both 4-3-3 and 4-1-4-1 are very flexible formation so a lot depends on your overall structure.

In a nutshell - 4-1-4-1 offers a greater midfield presence and more options in transition so suits a controlled build-up playing style very well. 4-3-3 has 3 attackers in advanced positions so may be better suited to quicker transitions in an attacking playing style, although the 4-3-3 I was using - with two inside forwards - does ask an awful lot of the wingbacks.

A player in the attacking midfield strata is an example of an advanced position whereas a player in the midfield strata with a high mentality or told to get forward more will make attacking runs.

Both will have a similar end result but the difference for me is transition time when you turnover possession.

Passing the ball is quicker than running so when you win the ball, a player in an advanced position can attack immediately whereas a player making runs needs to run there. Could be 5 metres, could be 35 metres but players in advanced position generally allow quicker transitions.

On the other hand, a deeper player making a run will be more effective defensively and available to receive passes earlier in the build up.

Swings and roundabouts. Another illustration of how formations are neutral, but your application is how you gain advantage or disadvantage.


 

19 hours ago, looping said:

Tremendous.


Thank you.


 

18 hours ago, dannysheard said:

Well, that's my night gone again :)

 


Enjoy! :lol:


 

18 hours ago, Anaconda Vice said:

Fantastic read so far. I am really enjoying the match analysis parts as always. I also love how you have approached I from the position of trying to adapt to different formations and even still having a place for your 3-4-3. Fascinating stuff to say the least. I made a thread about adapting tactics to different formations and approaches of the opposition and I believe this thread has definitely answered all my questions in my head.

One thing I wondered. All your past threads up until the Wales thread had PI's used.

I noticed in this thread you only mention one or two specific players having them to roam and get further forward. Do you not have the CF(s) Move into Channels anymore or the DLP Close down Much Less anymore?

Will read the rest before bed!


The usual ones are there but nothing major.

One change I forgot to mention is that normally my goalkeeper distributes to the playmaker - rolling the ball out as he drops deep - but against the 4-2-3-1 he distributes to the space on the flanks to bypass the 4 opposition attackers.

  • The MCs move into channels and get forward more (obviously not when an MC(D)) 
  • The striker moves into channels as well.
  • Wide Midfielder / Playmaker roams and comes narrow.

Enjoy! :thup:


 

9 hours ago, yonko said:

Top, top, top thread once again. Bravo! I enjoyed reading it just like all your other threads.

I just want to ask you a little bit more about your observations regarding Register vs Roaming Playmaker at the DMC position. I must confess, I've never used either role at that position, though I've used RPM at CM and like it. But you got me curious, so I would like if you could expand a little bit more on your analysis regarding both roles and their behavior on the field.


You've got 4 options for a deep playmaker in the DM strata.

  1. Deep Lying Playmaker (Defend)
    • Most conservative, combines holding midfield with a playmaker role.
    • Static role with minimal movement - holds position and can't get forward.
    • No option to dribble so always going to pass.
  2. Deep Lying Playmaker (Support)
    • Similar role but with a supporting mentality, rather than defensive.
    • Remains very static - holds position and can't get forward.
    • Has the option to run with the ball, so could bring the ball out of defence himself.
  3. Roaming Playmaker
    • Supporting mentality so more of a midfielder.
    • Lateral movement - roams from position but can't move forward and has the option to move into the channels.
      • My observation in the match engine is he starts deep, then joins midfield. Does move forward, but not aggressively.
      • Movement makes him a very good passing option when teammates are in possession.
    • Dribbles more so will bring the ball out of defence himself.
  4. Regista
    • Supporting mentality so - again - more of a midfielder.
    • Full movement - roams from position, option to move forward but no option for the channels.
      • Offers the most aggressive movement.
    • Slightly more direct passing.
      • Could suit a quick transition.
    • Option to dribble, shoot or play risky passes.


 

4 hours ago, davehibb said:

Wonderful thread once again mate.

I do like the RPM in the DM strata. I've used it quite a bit so far in FM17 but usually as part of a 'double 6' combo.

So many 'shapes' can be created from the 4-1-4-1 or 4-5-1 base, depending on what roles and duties are used and as you've shown, depending on the personnel and situation/opposition, they can be interchangeable.

Just another fascinating read! As Yonko said, bravo! Again. :D


Fantastic. Thank you very much.

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Fantastic thread. Carefully thought through and simple explanations of complex issues. 

One of the next things to deal with in evolving this style of play for me is getting (at least one of) my CBs comfortable playing a direct ground pass into central midfield or even attacking midfield stratas and skipping the shorter pass to the DM or outside backs.

As described here... http://spielverlagerung.com/2016/05/12/tactical-theory-vertical-build-up-passing/

Especially when playing any of these systems against a Dortmund style 4-2-3-1. As you point out -- they have a ST, AMC, and potentially even a narrowing wide player coming to close down our two CBs and DM, so this is 3v2 for us or 3v3 if we take long enough that their wide player can come pressure us too. A confident ground pass from our CB straight through to our CMs will skip this pressure well and is something that coincidentally Hummels was so great at at Dortmund. 

Training my CB to do this is one of the sort of next step tactical pieces that I find really brings an added dimension to tactics like yours. 

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4 minutes ago, acmilano112000 said:

Fantastic thread. Carefully thought through and simple explanations of complex issues. 

One of the next things to deal with in evolving this style of play for me is getting (at least one of) my CBs comfortable playing a direct ground pass into central midfield or even attacking midfield stratas and skipping the shorter pass to the DM or outside backs.

As described here... http://spielverlagerung.com/2016/05/12/tactical-theory-vertical-build-up-passing/

Especially when playing any of these systems against a Dortmund style 4-2-3-1. As you point out -- they have a ST, AMC, and potentially even a narrowing wide player coming to close down our two CBs and DM, so this is 3v2 for us or 3v3 if we take long enough that their wide player can come pressure us too. A confident ground pass from our CB straight through to our CMs will skip this pressure well and is something that coincidentally Hummels was so great at at Dortmund. 

Training my CB to do this is one of the sort of next step tactical pieces that I find really brings an added dimension to tactics like yours. 


It's funny you should say that..


rh2aE46.png


Great insight. Look at the Player Traits, bottom right. I've got Zivkovic and Cerny returning from loan and Nunnely coming through so I'm going to have a lot of pace to play with next season.

Killer Balls may be a step too far, but I'm watching it closely and so far - over a season - am yet to see a marked difference.

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3 minutes ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:

Killer Balls may be a step too far, but I'm watching it closely and so far - over a season - am yet to see a marked difference.

Nice, this is exactly what I've experimented with too. I don't think that killer balls is a step too far at all for a CB with the right skill set.

You have the perrrrfect CB in Bazoer in my mind for what we are discussing... but in your examples above you've been playing him in midfield? So are you suggesting that you may switch him back to CB or already do so now and then? 

I'm playing FM16 with Torino and had Bazoer himself playing CB for me for a season trying to implement these passes into the system but Tottenham swooped for him and I was forced to sell. Rugani and my future captain 19 y/o regen don't quite have the passing vision yet. 

I have an excellently developed Kimmich who I normally play in midfield but with surplus players there I've been experimenting with him as an elite ball playing CB. Only problem is that he's wasted there if the whole point is to open up a range of (not over the top, but line-skipping) passes from CB but he doesn't play them frequently enough. 

Still tweaking, but this is a goal for sure. 

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8 minutes ago, acmilano112000 said:

You have the perrrrfect CB in Bazoer in my mind for what we are discussing... but in your examples above you've been playing him in midfield? So are you suggesting that you may switch him back to CB or already do so now and then? 


Funny you should say that as well! :lol:


SWtgcuF.png


I'm going to have the same issue with Bazoer. He's one of the most complete players in Europe right now and all the big clubs are circling. He's committed to another year to see the youth develop but I think that after that I'll do well to keep him.

Check out Rivaldo Coetzee from Ajax CT - if he's on your game. He's been wonderful for me and cost under a million.

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That is very funny @Ö-zil to the Arsenal! On your post about Riedewald I just assumed it was a screenshot of Bazoer. Forgot about Jairo. I stand corrected, you have TWO perrrrrfect players for a true ball playing CB. Personally, I don't find that the tactics creator "BPD" is ball playing enough. It needs further player adjustment with training and PI's to coax the right moves.

(Not to mention that the BPD even on stopper doesn't move out with the ball enough). For the life of me I cannot get a CB to step over the midfield line when we are in calm controlled advanced possession. Which is why I've given up trying to build a Conte 3-4-3 and basically all 3CB systems. In possession it just winds up with 3 wasted underutilized players sitting on the halfway line. Maybe works for a pure counterattacking tactic. And I've tried experimenting with sweepers and liberos but I don't want the central one to push up, I usually want the outside two to push up the way Azpilicueta and Cahill have been doing recently for Chelsea. 

Anyhow, sorry, mini-rant. To get back on topic, the point of that is why the 3CB frustration has led me back to 4-1-4-1 based tactics like this thread is about...

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3 minutes ago, acmilano112000 said:

That is very funny @Ö-zil to the Arsenal! On your post about Riedewald I just assumed it was a screenshot of Bazoer. Forgot about Jairo. I stand corrected, you have TWO perrrrrfect players for a true ball playing CB. Personally, I don't find that the tactics creator "BPD" is ball playing enough. It needs further player adjustment with training and PI's to coax the right moves.

(Not to mention that the BPD even on stopper doesn't move out with the ball enough). For the life of me I cannot get a CB to step over the midfield line when we are in calm controlled advanced possession. Which is why I've given up trying to build a Conte 3-4-3 and basically all 3CB systems. In possession it just winds up with 3 wasted underutilized players sitting on the halfway line. Maybe works for a pure counterattacking tactic. And I've tried experimenting with sweepers and liberos but I don't want the central one to push up, I usually want the outside two to push up the way Azpilicueta and Cahill have been doing recently for Chelsea. 

Anyhow, sorry, mini-rant. To get back on topic, the point of that is why the 3CB frustration has led me back to 4-1-4-1 based tactics like this thread is about...


3 centre backs is very useful for controlled build up play through the middle. I love 3-man defences but I just find the back four offers more efficient cover against opposition formations with 3 or 4 attackers.

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Fair.

So, back on topic, question then for you @Ö-zil to the Arsenal!: What's with the full-backs? Can you talk about your choice to make them FBs instead of WBs? I'd wager its more common to see WBs in the 4-1-4-1 shape. Is it purely your concern for counter-attacks? 

You've explained your central roles so beautifully (RPM, Regista, etc). What's your take on the wide backs?

 

Sorting out the wide backs is my other new challenge. Previously I had a DM halfback and two raiding WBs on attack and support but I had them geting into fantastic positions on the edges of the opposing box and refuse to cross only to wait for a defender to close them down and try to dribble the defender to the byline. 9 times out of 10 what should have been my wide-open-square-ball-tap-in-goal turns into a corner kick instead. :seagull:

(From what I hear this happens still on FM17.)

So I'm accepting it as an issue of the ME and moving on to looking into alternative goals for my wide backs. The goal used to be exactly as above, minus the end result, but now I'm looking more towards how Bayern use theirs IRL (especially under Pep) and seeing what else I can do with the backs. 

Edited by acmilano112000

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22 minutes ago, acmilano112000 said:

Fair.

So, back on topic, question then for you: What's with the full-backs? Can you talk about your choice to make them FBs instead of WBs? I'd wager its more common to see WBs in the 4-1-4-1 shape. Is it purely your concern for counter-attacks? 

You've explained your central roles so beautifully (RPM, Regista, etc). What's your take on the wide backs?

 

Sorting out the wide backs is my other new challenge. Previously I had a DM halfback and two raiding WBs on attack and support but I had them geting into fantastic positions on the edges of the opposing box and refuse to cross only to wait for a defender to close them down and try to dribble the defender to the byline. 9 times out of 10 what should have been my wide-open-square-ball-tap-in-goal turns into a corner kick instead. :seagull:

(From what I hear this happens still on FM17.)

So I'm accepting it as an issue of the ME and moving on to looking into alternative goals for my wide backs. The goal used to be exactly as above, minus the end result, but now I'm looking more towards how Bayern use theirs IRL (especially under Pep) and seeing what else I can do with the backs. 


Ah unfortunately don't talk to me about the half-back. I've made 3 threads - one here last year, one here this year and one in the bugs form this year - highlighting that it only works if you use wingbacks in the DM strata but SI have ignored it.

Wingbacks v Full Backs is simply a label - wingbacks just have a few extra pre-set instruction whilst the fullbacks are completely flexible, and could be identical to wingbacks.

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Just now, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:


Ah unfortunately don't talk to me about the half-back. I've made 3 threads - one here last year, one here this year and one in the bugs form this year - highlighting that it only works if you use wingbacks in the DM strata but SI have ignored it.

Wingbacks v Full Backs is simply a label - wingbacks just have a few extra pre-set instruction whilst the fullbacks are completely flexible, and could be identical to wingbacks.

But....but....they said the would look at it. :D

So literally just those PI's you mentioned were used? Is that so you can have different types of players performing the same role differently?

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1 minute ago, Anaconda Vice said:

But....but....they said the would look at it. :D

So literally just those PI's you mentioned were used? Is that so you can have different types of players performing the same role differently?


Yes, for example my right-backs - Jonas Svensson and Tete - are similar so they play the same way where as my left-backs - Diks and Augustinsson - play differently.

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Just now, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:


Yes, for example my right-backs - Jonas Svensson and Tete - are similar so they play the same way where as my left-backs - Diks and Augustinsson - play differently.

That's great. Basically allowing the intelligence of players to use their various individual strengths effectively in different situations and to play the role in their own way.

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yonko   
1 hour ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:

You've got 4 options for a deep playmaker in the DM strata.

  1. Deep Lying Playmaker (Defend)
    • Most conservative, combines holding midfield with a playmaker role.
    • Static role with minimal movement - holds position and can't get forward.
    • No option to dribble so always going to pass.
  2. Deep Lying Playmaker (Support)
    • Similar role but with a supporting mentality, rather than defensive.
    • Remains very static - holds position and can't get forward.
    • Has the option to run with the ball, so could bring the ball out of defence himself.
  3. Roaming Playmaker
    • Supporting mentality so more of a midfielder.
    • Lateral movement - roams from position but can't move forward and has the option to move into the channels.
      • My observation in the match engine is he starts deep, then joins midfield. Does move forward, but not aggressively.
      • Movement makes him a very good passing option when teammates are in possession.
    • Dribbles more so will bring the ball out of defence himself.
  4. Regista
    • Supporting mentality so - again - more of a midfielder.
    • Full movement - roams from position, option to move forward but no option for the channels.
      • Offers the most aggressive movement.
    • Slightly more direct passing.
      • Could suit a quick transition.
    • Option to dribble, shoot or play risky passes.

 

That's excellent. For some reason I most often tend to go for DLP-D or DLP-S as my chosen playmaker role. But since reading your post, I played a game in my Liverpool save against Crystal Palace who used a flat 5-4-1 formation. I use 4-1-2-3 DM Wide as the modern 4-3-3 is called. I play Henderson at the DMC, usually as DLP-D with a few times in Support duty. In this game however, I switched him to Regista, not RPM because he lacks the Dribbling ability with only 12 for that attribute. He was so much more involved and aggressive with his play. I liked it a lot. Now I plan to use it more often when the opposition doesn't use an AMC. Btw, my other roles in midfield were BBM and CM-A.

1 hour ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:

Forgot to mention, but I did notice this nice little shape come up a few times during the analysis.


AyNZQUf.png


:lol:

Is this diamond with the following roles?

DM-D

WP-A

CM-S

CM-A

1 hour ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:


It's funny you should say that..


rh2aE46.png


Great insight. Look at the Player Traits, bottom right. I've got Zivkovic and Cerny returning from loan and Nunnely coming through so I'm going to have a lot of pace to play with next season.

Killer Balls may be a step too far, but I'm watching it closely and so far - over a season - am yet to see a marked difference.

 

46 minutes ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:


Funny you should say that as well! :lol:


SWtgcuF.png


I'm going to have the same issue with Bazoer. He's one of the most complete players in Europe right now and all the big clubs are circling. He's committed to another year to see the youth develop but I think that after that I'll do well to keep him.

Check out Rivaldo Coetzee from Ajax CT - if he's on your game. He's been wonderful for me and cost under a million.

Not many defenders with such good attributes for playing out of the back as these two. The other ones that come to mind are Pique and possibly Bartra.

Riedewald:

passing 14

technique 13

decisions 15

vision 16

Bazoer:

passing 15

technique 16

decisions 13

vision 17

Though one is let down by his technique a little, while the other by his decision, but both are young and can improve. The added bonus is that both are versatile and can play in multiple positions.

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yonko   
18 minutes ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:


Ah unfortunately don't talk to me about the half-back. I've made 3 threads - one here last year, one here this year and one in the bugs form this year - highlighting that it only works if you use wingbacks in the DM strata but SI have ignored it.

Wingbacks v Full Backs is simply a label - wingbacks just have a few extra pre-set instruction whilst the fullbacks are completely flexible, and could be identical to wingbacks.

The Wingback role is slightly more aggressive in all equal duties compared to the Fullback role, from my observations. You can adjust the drilling and crossing, but not the aggressive nature which is coded on purpose, otherwise there will be no need for both roles. The Complete Wingback is even more aggressive (the most aggressive), however it gives you the risky roaming as well. You gotta have a special player to play that role to the best effect (think Dani Alves at Barca for all those years, especially under Pep) and the right structure.

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23 minutes ago, yonko said:

That's excellent. For some reason I most often tend to go for DLP-D or DLP-S as my chosen playmaker role. But since reading your post, I played a game in my Liverpool save against Crystal Palace who used a flat 5-4-1 formation. I use 4-1-2-3 DM Wide as the modern 4-3-3 is called. I play Henderson at the DMC, usually as DLP-D with a few times in Support duty. In this game however, I switched him to Regista, not RPM because he lacks the Dribbling ability with only 12 for that attribute. He was so much more involved and aggressive with his play. I liked it a lot. Now I plan to use it more often when the opposition doesn't use an AMC. Btw, my other roles in midfield were BBM and CM-A.


Yea, I would say the ideal role for Henderson would be one of the Support roles but the challenge is then who holds the midfield given Liverpool's midfield set up. Does anyone? Is that why they've been conceding a lot?

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20 minutes ago, yonko said:

The Wingback role is slightly more aggressive in all equal duties compared to the Fullback role, from my observations. You can adjust the drilling and crossing, but not the aggressive nature which is coded on purpose, otherwise there will be no need for both roles. The Complete Wingback is even more aggressive (the most aggressive), however it gives you the risky roaming as well. You gotta have a special player to play that role to the best effect (think Dani Alves at Barca for all those years, especially under Pep) and the right structure.


According to the mentality bar on the Player Instructions screen, they're all the same.

However, I have no idea if anything is there's anything hard-coded into the match engine. If there is, I've not noticed.

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yonko   
11 minutes ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:


Yea, I would say the ideal role for Henderson would be one of the Support roles but the challenge is then who holds the midfield given Liverpool's midfield set up. Does anyone? Is that why they've been conceding a lot?

I'm starting to think that Henderson is Regista, Emre Can/Wijnaldum is BBM and Lallana is CM-A. The reason they concede a lot of goals is because either they get caught on the counter or someone makes a stupid mistake at the back. The only one I haven't seen make a mistake is Matip so far, or at least a mistake that cost them a goal. And if they get exposed on the counter is more because Klopp has both fullbacks so high (and wide) up the field as wingers, that they are leaving Matip and Lovren stranded. The problem is not so much Hendo's aggressiveness in the middle. 

But against Man United and recently Southampton, it seems like they've learned their lesson from previous mistakes (Burnley earlier in the season). Anyway that is a little off topic and IRL.;)

6 minutes ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:


According to the mentality bar on the Player Instructions screen, they're all the same.

However, I have no idea if anything is there's anything hard-coded into the match engine. If there is, I've not noticed.

Yeah I know about the mentality bar. I saw your post btw in the skinning section and I adjusted the code that was suggested there, so now I have a numerical representation of the mentality bar. But I think it is hard coded in the ME that the Wingbacks are more aggressive than Fullbacks. As I said, otherwise what's the point of having both roles as options, right?

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Cleon   
Quote

Yeah I know about the mentality bar. I saw your post btw in the skinning section and I adjusted the code that was suggested there, so now I have a numerical representation of the mentality bar. But I think it is hard coded in the ME that the Wingbacks are more aggressive than Fullbacks. As I said, otherwise what's the point of having both roles as options, right?

They're not hardcoded and I agree its pointless having all the roles we have for the fullback positions because they can all be created from PI's. Myself and others over many years asked for them to be cut down be we was ignored.

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25 minutes ago, yonko said:

Yeah I know about the mentality bar. I saw your post btw in the skinning section and I adjusted the code that was suggested there, so now I have a numerical representation of the mentality bar. But I think it is hard coded in the ME that the Wingbacks are more aggressive than Fullbacks. As I said, otherwise what's the point of having both roles as options, right?


I am not convinced. Sadly, my opinion of SI has fallen quite considerably since they ignored the Half-Back issue. Many of the player roles seem to be nothing more than labels and completely pointless differences. For example:

  • The Box-to-Box Midfielder is a Midfielder (Support) plus roaming. And yes, Roaming is an option for the Midfield (Support).
  • The Complete Forward (Support) is the Deep-Lying Forward (Support) plus roaming and dribbling. Again, both options.
  • Complete Forward (Attack) is just the Advanced Forward with roaming and risky passes.

Personally, I find it quite misleading.

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2 minutes ago, Cleon said:

They're not hardcoded and I agree its pointless having all the roles we have for the fullback positions because they can all be created from PI's. Myself and others over many years asked for them to be cut down be we was ignored.


There we go, direct from the man himself! :D

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Cleon   
1 minute ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:


I am not convinced. Sadly, my opinion of SI has fallen quite considerably since they ignored the Half-Back issue. Many of the player roles seem to be nothing more than labels and completely pointless differences. For example:

  • The Box-to-Box Midfielder is a Midfielder (Support) plus roaming. And yes, Roaming is an option for the Midfield (Support).
  • The Complete Forward (Support) is the Deep-Lying Forward (Support) plus roaming and dribbling. Again, both options.
  • Complete Forward (Attack) is just the Advanced Forward with roaming and risky passes.

Personally, I find it quite misleading.

This annoys me too. Roles should only be added if they add value and have behaviours that are different from the other roles for that position. Like HB (when working), Playmakers and targetmen, they all have behaviours hardcoded that you can' t directly influence or repeat via other roles and PI's. 

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yonko   

Well, I agree with you both. SI need to re-think the roles a little bit. Too many of them are similar. But I guess that is the effect of different people expressing opinions they want more roles, more customization of the roles, etc. Personally I think SI need to ask people like Cleon and others who have an excellent in-depth knowledge through the years of the ME and the tactical side of the game, how to better improve this aspect of the game. That's how the Tactics Creator was implemented in the first place many years ago. Btw, same thing needs to happen with Training side of the game, but that is a whole another topic.....pandora's box.....

I could be wrong and I can accept it, but I swear I have observed that wingbacks are more aggressive than fullbacks. There is something different......but it could be that my eyes mislead me too....anyway, don't want to derail this excellent thread with this....

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James9   

Ozil Excellent read again mate? 

I like your tactical set up a lot especially the 4141. I would just like to know how you would fit player like Mesut Ozil in formation like a 4141. This formation seems right for Arsenal but it comes back to to do with Mesut Ozil

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Excellent read! You really have the ability to explain in simple terms while at the same time inspire your readers to have a go by themselves. 

I have a question for you: don't you get many throughballs over your defensive line when you play with such a high line? You have good defenders but they are not exceptionally fast defenders? Often when I try a system like yours I have problem with balls over the top because my pressing is not good enough, even playing as Chelsea with pretty fast defenders and good midfielders who press.

How do you make sure that doesn't happen too often?

Thanks!

 

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yonko   
4 hours ago, James9 said:

Ozil Excellent read again mate? 

I like your tactical set up a lot especially the 4141. I would just like to know how you would fit player like Mesut Ozil in formation like a 4141. This formation seems right for Arsenal but it comes back to to do with Mesut Ozil

There isn't a thread where you don't pop up and ask how you can use this with Arsenal and fit Ozil into it.:D;) How many set ups have you gone through by now? Just kidding....

I would try Ozil as Wide Playmaker on the right. You have other options for the center but IMO Arsenal lack top quality on the right side of attack. Walcott and the Ox are not good enough for me. 

But personally I wouldn't play him anywhere else but at AMC. Therefore this structure is not for Arsenal. I would use 4-4-1-1 instead and you can use the same playing style as in this thread. If the opposition doesn't use a DMC, then make Ozil your (sole) playmaker with everyone else in generic roles. If facing a formation that uses DMC (s), then change him to the generic AMC role - duty depends on the rest of the set up. And choose the another position as the playmaker. Arsenal are loaded with players suitable to playmaking roles, I'm sure you know they are by now - just figure out what is the best playmaking role to use for what you want the team and the player to do.

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tyler16   

I hate that I don't have much to add after you put so much effort into this other than thanks. I have all of your threads bookmarked and refer to them weekly when trying to contextualize the ME.  You have a real gift for this, pleasure to read another wonderful thread. :thup:

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first of all top stuff it really is. the amount of stuff some people put on this site is so helpful.

 

I have one question. Central Midfielders now attack the space opened up - one has Attacking duty and the other instructed to get forward more. what is the difference? will using it that way attack the same way as a CM-A but help more in defence?

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2 minutes ago, danfmnoob said:

first of all top stuff it really is. the amount of stuff some people put on this site is so helpful.

 

I have one question. Central Midfielders now attack the space opened up - one has Attacking duty and the other instructed to get forward more. what is the difference? will using it that way attack the same way as a CM-A but help more in defence?

I don't know about his reasoning, but as far as I know, mentality affects more than attacking runs. The Attacking duty MC will be inclined to make riskier choices on and off the ball in general, including those related to passing, pressing etc.

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Excellent thread, was a big fan of your Sacchi 4411 pressing tactic.

Was playing as Tottenham recently and using  your FM16 tactics found the following formation worked really well in FM17;

                                                        SK-d

WB-A                                  DC-d             DC-d                                 WB-a

                                                       AM-d

W-A                                    B2B-s            AP-s                                  W-a

                                                        CF-s

Using your England Tactics in the Sacchi thread; V. Fluid and Standard with 4 instructions; higher tempo, close much more, press keeper, push higher up.

Played great football and sound defensively, Kane banging in the goals. The 2 central midfielders linked up really well and so did wingers and full backs.

Thanks for the tips :)

NB found Spurs had the players for this formation and a really good starting squad so will see if I can make it work at Milan which needs a lot of work!

Edited by Markmilan

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fmjames   

Another amazing thread with loads to take away and think about! Thanks for taking the time to share!

Only question that comes to mind is one asked earlier in the thread but I'm not sure got a direct answer. Do you still use Close Down Much Less PI on your DM(d), DLP(d) and RPM(s)?

Sidenote - just noticed the DM(d) naturally Closes Down More, but you can still apply Close Down Much Less to the role. Huh.

 

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18 hours ago, James9 said:

Ozil Excellent read again mate? 

I like your tactical set up a lot especially the 4141. I would just like to know how you would fit player like Mesut Ozil in formation like a 4141. This formation seems right for Arsenal but it comes back to to do with Mesut Ozil


If I'm honest with you, I don't know how I would play with Arsenal.

There's no out-and-out left-sided player in attack which makes life difficult. As with Ozil, I'd prefer play him in an Attacking Midfield role as he's just about the best on the game but I'm not sure how I would structure the rest of the team.

My bias for Arsenal makes it difficult to manage them.


 

5 hours ago, danfmnoob said:

first of all top stuff it really is. the amount of stuff some people put on this site is so helpful.

 

I have one question. Central Midfielders now attack the space opened up - one has Attacking duty and the other instructed to get forward more. what is the difference? will using it that way attack the same way as a CM-A but help more in defence?


What I'm trying to create is a kind of 'double 8'. Seen as my wide players were no longer cutting in, I wanted my central midfielders creating a real attacking threat. Enjoyed the way Pep had the Man City midfield set up with De Bruyne and Silva.

As for the difference - think of the real-life example of Lampard and Gerrard (they could never play together, right? :lol:)

The MC (A) behaves similarly to Lampard. Very aggressive midfielder, only observable difference between this role and an AMC is his defensive position is in midfield but Klaassen also regularly leads the press.

The MC(S) behaves more like Gerrard. All-action midfielder, involved with everything but also gets forward and gets goals. Aggressive but not quite as much as the MC(A) but involved in more in the rest of the match.


 

4 hours ago, Markmilan said:

Excellent thread, was a big fan of your Sacchi 4411 pressing tactic.

Was playing as Tottenham recently and using  your FM16 tactics found the following formation worked really well in FM17;

                                                        SK-d

WB-A                                  DC-d             DC-d                                 WB-a

                                                       AM-d

W-A                                    B2B-s            AP-s                                  W-a

                                                        CF-s

Using your England Tactics in the Sacchi thread; V. Fluid and Standard with 4 instructions; higher tempo, close much more, press keeper, push higher up.

Played great football and sound defensively, Kane banging in the goals. The 2 central midfielders linked up really well and so did wingers and full backs.

Thanks for the tips :)

NB found Spurs had the players for this formation and a really good starting squad so will see if I can make it work at Milan which needs a lot of work!


That looks good - glad to hear it's working for you.

How does the B2B and AP(S) work? I imagine a lot of roaming? You've got great width. Harry Kane must be loving life and the opposition fullbacks suicidal! :lol:


 

3 hours ago, fmjames said:

Another amazing thread with loads to take away and think about! Thanks for taking the time to share!

Only question that comes to mind is one asked earlier in the thread but I'm not sure got a direct answer. Do you still use Close Down Much Less PI on your DM(d), DLP(d) and RPM(s)?

Sidenote - just noticed the DM(d) naturally Closes Down More, but you can still apply Close Down Much Less to the role. Huh.

 

 


Theoretically - yes, I would prefer to have the holding midfielder hold position whilst the others press. In reality - I think I actually forgot to click it and didn't notice a difference.

And yes, it's common for the MC(D) - or similar roles - to close down much more and much less. Logical, right? :lol:

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James9   
13 hours ago, yonko said:

There isn't a thread where you don't pop up and ask how you can use this with Arsenal and fit Ozil into it.:D;) How many set ups have you gone through by now? Just kidding....

I would try Ozil as Wide Playmaker on the right. You have other options for the center but IMO Arsenal lack top quality on the right side of attack. Walcott and the Ox are not good enough for me. 

But personally I wouldn't play him anywhere else but at AMC. Therefore this structure is not for Arsenal. I would use 4-4-1-1 instead and you can use the same playing style as in this thread. If the opposition doesn't use a DMC, then make Ozil your (sole) playmaker with everyone else in generic roles. If facing a formation that uses DMC (s), then change him to the generic AMC role - duty depends on the rest of the set up. And choose the another position as the playmaker. Arsenal are loaded with players suitable to playmaking roles, I'm sure you know they are by now - just figure out what is the best playmaking role to use for what you want the team and the player to do.

I know I have been through many set ups now with Arsenal. I think this is because the current team still is not balanced. I think Ozil is the best number 10 on FM but if for example I wanted to play a 4141 system then what do you do with Ozil. I see your point about playing him as a Wide Playmaker Attack. 

I am not a fan of the having a player in the AMC position because I think they can be ineffective if marked by a really good DMC. But because I have Ozil I have to find a way to play him. 

Ozil is a number 10 there is no doubt about that but I am not a fan of the AMC and I have the best player in that position on FM.

Anyway I do not want to take away from this excellent thread so I will leave it there for now. 

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James9   
5 minutes ago, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:


If I'm honest with you, I don't know how I would play with Arsenal.

There's no out-and-out left-sided player in attack which makes life difficult. As with Ozil, I'd prefer play him in an Attacking Midfield role as he's just about the best on the game but I'm not sure how I would structure the rest of the team.

My bias for Arsenal makes it difficult to manage them.


 


What I'm trying to create is a kind of 'double 8'. Seen as my wide players were no longer cutting in, I wanted my central midfielders creating a real attacking threat. Enjoyed the way Pep had the Man City midfield set up with De Bruyne and Silva.

As for the difference - think of the real-life example of Lampard and Gerrard (they could never play together, right? :lol:)

The MC (A) behaves similarly to Lampard. Very aggressive midfielder, only observable difference between this role and an AMC is his defensive position is in midfield but Klaassen also regularly leads the press.

The MC(S) behaves more like Gerrard. All-action midfielder, involved with everything but also gets forward and gets goals. Aggressive but not quite as much as the MC(A) but involved in more in the rest of the match.


 


That looks good - glad to hear it's working for you.

How does the B2B and AP(S) work? I imagine a lot of roaming? You've got great width. Harry Kane must be loving life and the opposition fullbacks suicidal! :lol:


 

 


Theoretically - yes, I would prefer to have the holding midfielder hold position whilst the others press. In reality - I think I actually forgot to click it and didn't notice a difference.

And yes, it's common for the MC(D) - or similar roles - to close down much more and much less. Logical, right? :lol:

I am the same because I am an Arsenal fan I find it difficult to manage them because I so attached to the players. I find it hard selling the players that I watch and cheer for every week. I know I am not a fan of players in the AMC but Ozil makes life difficult because I do not want to sell him. He is a great player and my favourite Arsenal player behind Henry and Bergkamp. 

I which I could find a system that works for Arsenal. I was hoping you would make a system in the current Arsenal squad the only thing I have is the Arsenal Invincible Thread which still has its limitations with the current Arsenal Squad. The Sacchi thread which does not fit the Arsenal squad I have now. 

And you newest instalment which I like but again does not really fit Arsenal.

Anyway I will have to keep trying and hopefully I can pick up some advice from you and others 

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Im interested to know who you would class as the holding midfielder in the first formation? Im guessing the MC (d) as the whilst the roaming playermaker is playing the DM position, hes much more vital to the attacking moves than the defensive ones, plus he will roam too much?

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Kieran87   
19 minutes ago, Kamakazeee said:

Im interested to know who you would class as the holding midfielder in the first formation? Im guessing the MC (d) as the whilst the roaming playermaker is playing the DM position, hes much more vital to the attacking moves than the defensive ones, plus he will roam too much?

that seems correct. He even mentions about limiting the roaming from the Cm(d) as he has roaming and chasing down the ball as default - so you can "turn them off" to better suit a holding midfielder.

 

Looking at his images - the cm(d) drops then the rpm moves about. but still keeps near enough to the ball at all times in attack to I guess either recycle possession or offer a smart , simple outlet.

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BadAss88   

I'm very much inspired by your topics and started using the very flued shape already in FM16, which brought me great success! 

Now I'm trying the same in FM17, but I'm curious what PI's do you give to your players! 

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Mikeraff   

@Ö-zil to the Arsenal! stunning read, thanks for sharing. As a fellow fan of Ajax saves I wanted to know how you plan to use the following players:

Cerny

Nouri

(could these 2 be effective both centrally and wide)

Van Der Beek

Edited by Mikeraff
Wrong link and found an answer on another thread

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18 hours ago, Kamakazeee said:

Im interested to know who you would class as the holding midfielder in the first formation? Im guessing the MC (d) as the whilst the roaming playermaker is playing the DM position, hes much more vital to the attacking moves than the defensive ones, plus he will roam too much?


Yes, the MC(D) - the Roaming Playmaker is given more freedom to control the match and as a result ventures out of position more.
 

18 hours ago, BadAss88 said:

I'm very much inspired by your topics and started using the very flued shape already in FM16, which brought me great success! 

Now I'm trying the same in FM17, but I'm curious what PI's do you give to your players! 


There's nothing too essential, but one change I forgot to mention is that normally my goalkeeper distributes to the playmaker - rolling the ball out as he drops deep - but against the 4-2-3-1 he distributes to the space on the flanks to bypass the 4 opposition attackers.

  • The MCs move into channels and get forward more (obviously not when an MC(D)) 
  • The striker moves into channels as well.
  • Wide Midfielder / Playmaker roams and comes narrow.


 

4 hours ago, Mikeraff said:

@Ö-zil to the Arsenal! stunning read, thanks for sharing. As a fellow fan of Ajax saves I wanted to know how you plan to use the following players:

Cerny

Nouri

(could these 2 be effective both centrally and wide)

Van Der Beek


All 3 seem to have random potentials. In my first game, Nouri and van de Beek were excellent whilst Cerny was hit-and-miss but in this save Cerny looks the best of the bunch whilst Nouri and van de Beek are rated as potential first-teamers.

All 3 out on loan at the moment - Cerny is at Valencia, Nouri at West Ham and van de Beek is at Lazio. All getting lots of game time so we'll see what they look like when they get back.

Cerny has been troublesome. He's twice asked for a transfer, failed to be tutored and failed to learn new Player Traits meanwhile big clubs have been sniffing. I've got him out on loan at the moment so I'm tempted to cash in.

Other alternative is that I could let him fight for a spot in the team, but I have the impression he'd give me grief again.

Nouri and VDB on the other hand, less potential but model students. Rated potentially slightly lower than Klaassen, which is fine. Both tutored - I think they're both Resolute - and picked up interesting traits whilst committing to new contracts and no-fuss over transfers.

I assume I will lose Sensi at some point as he doesn't have the ties to Ajax and I think he could attract a good fee. So, van de Beek has got potential to take over as the deep playmaker.

Nouri looks like he can compete for a place at the attacking end of midfield. Good cover, rotation and comfortably good enough for the Eredivise but maybe not first choice in Europe. Similar squad status to van Ginkel. 

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