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Hi everyone,

Usually a fan of 4-3-3 possession based tactics, must be my Dutch blood, but decided to change things around this time and go for a Counter-Attacking tactic. Formation change to 4-4-2 as well, so just here to ask your opinion. Do not have the time to test things at the moment as I'm at work right now:herman:

I have read Cleon's thread about setting up a Counter-Attacking tactic. Although slightly different as he uses a 4-1-4-1 as a base, I'm sure more or less the same principles will apply when using a 4-4-2. I figure it will be harder to ''trigger'' a counter as I'm using two forwards instead of one, so that's what I'm confused about. How do I set up the two forward roles? Do you go both support duty? Maybe a defensive winger on defend in combination with a support duty? I guess what I'm asking is, what is your experience or what would you do? 

This is what I have at the moment;

                                                                                                             Counter - Flexible; no team-instructions.

                                                                                    Formation 1                                                                          Formation 2

                                                                                     F (?)  -   F (?)                                                                            F (?)  -   F (?)

                                                                 W (A)   -   CM (S)   -   CM (D)   -   WM (S)                          WM (S)   -   CM (S)   -   CM (D)   -   WM (A)                     

                                                                 FB (S)   -   CD (D)   -   CD (D)   -   FB (A)                              FB (A)    -   CD (D)   -   CD (D)   -     FB (S)

 

I'm biased to go with Formation 2 at the moment as I feel it kinda resembles Leicester City last year, but figured to show both. The Wide Midfielder on the right, in both formations, will probably be set up to cut inside with TI's. If you spot any glaring problems in midfield or defense let me know please :)

My reasoning; attack duty's generally play more forward and won't track back as much and for a counter to trigger you want the opposition to be in your half. That's why I have chosen to put them in midfield and defense instead of upfront, Cleon also mentioned that he wouldn't use more than two, otherwise the chance to trigger a counter would be smaller.

On the other hand, I can see using an attacking duty upfront would give my team a passing outlet to counter quickly; partnered with either a support or defensive duty. This would then mean that I will have to change around midfield and defense, but this is up for discussion as well.                       

Thanks for reading this at least and please let me know your experiences or thoughts on this subject :)

 

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I have used a 4-4-2 counter system in FM17 with some success, taking Shrewsbury Town from League One to 5th in the Premier League for 22/23. 

I used the same defence and midfield set up to your formation 1 with strikers as Deep lying forward - support (left) and Complete forward - attack (right). It relied heavily on a complete forward to pull the opposition defence around and score plenty of goals. The tactic really kicked on when I found a Croatian newgen to play CF(a), who had excellent dribbling and finishing attributes. I found the DLF would drop back between the lines and was very much the creator and link up for midfield to attack whilst the W(a) would provide an option for crosses for the CF.

In terms of TI's, I chose to use Pass into space and Get stuck in as standard and changed pressing/d-line depending on how a game was going, I also opted for a structured shape as my team lacked high decision making and creative attributes. 

The team would defend in solid banks of 4, would rarely dominate possession but broke quickly when the opportunity was there.

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@rossi789

Thanks for your comment! Seems like I'm on the right track...

I went with Flexible as I don't want to give my team too much creative freedom, but felt like I would need a Playmaker in my team if I would go more structured. Don't want to fail to trigger a counter because my team decides to pass to the playmaker instead of a better option somewhere on the pitch. I guess this thought process was flawed as it worked out great for you! 

I was actually thinking something similar, but then a CF (S) and a DLF (S). I feel like you need at least one player up field that holds up the ball to give the rest of your team some time to make runs forward. Did you use counter as well? 

You obviously have great results! Nice work:):brock: How was your defensive and goal-scoring record if I may ask? 

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53 minutes ago, rossi789 said:

I have used a 4-4-2 counter system in FM17 with some success, taking Shrewsbury Town from League One to 5th in the Premier League for 22/23. 

I used the same defence and midfield set up to your formation 1 with strikers as Deep lying forward - support (left) and Complete forward - attack (right). It relied heavily on a complete forward to pull the opposition defence around and score plenty of goals. The tactic really kicked on when I found a Croatian newgen to play CF(a), who had excellent dribbling and finishing attributes. I found the DLF would drop back between the lines and was very much the creator and link up for midfield to attack whilst the W(a) would provide an option for crosses for the CF.

In terms of TI's, I chose to use Pass into space and Get stuck in as standard and changed pressing/d-line depending on how a game was going, I also opted for a structured shape as my team lacked high decision making and creative attributes. 

The team would defend in solid banks of 4, would rarely dominate possession but broke quickly when the opportunity was there.

@looping

Sorry, there's a member here who would like to do something similar to what you do but is struggling

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59 minutes ago, NoTekkersRB said:

@looping

Sorry, there's a member here who would like to do something similar to what you do but is struggling

Yes, this is me. I've been 1 year trying and I can say my failure is total.

Will follow this very atentively.

This is my thread if anybody is interested:

 

 

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16 minutes ago, looping said:

Yes, this is me. I've been 1 year trying and I can say my failure is total.

Will follow this very atentively.

This is my thread if anybody is interested:

 

 

From what I can see in your thread, only had a brief look, you're trying to create something different than I. You're trying to play a slow possession game, building from the back while I like to sit back, soak up pressure, and then hit them on the counter. So I merely try to design a system that makes the most of the ''counter-trigger'' in the game. 

You're more than welcome to follow obviously and maybe even contribute as you have more experience than I in playing a 4-4-2.

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Just now, jorgvandervloed said:

From what I can see in your thread, only had a brief look, you're trying to create something different than I. You're trying to play a slow possession game, building from the back while I like to sit back, soak up pressure, and then hit them on the counter. So I merely try to design a system that makes the most of the ''counter-trigger'' in the game. 

You're more than welcome to follow obviously and maybe even contribute as you have more experience than I in playing a 4-4-2.

If you go towards the end of the page, we're trying to build exactly a formation who can use wingplay to hit them on the break.

Cheers,
Bitner 

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@jorgvandervloed Yes I played counter. My thoughts on playing CF(a) were I wanted the ball to move into the DLF on transition and him feed the CF(a) or the W(a) hopefully catching out the opposition and gaining a 2 on 2 situation. I felt using another support role for ST may reduce forward runs and slow the counter attack, though admittedly I have never tried it. It would be interesting to see what effect it has.

Goals scored have been okay, in the season finishing fifth we scored 67 in the league, 30 of which were scored by the Croatian. Before that 61 (27 by the Croatian in his first season) and 54 before that.

Last season we conceded 53 so a goal difference of +14 and kept 8 clean sheets which I was pretty pleased with. I have had a real problem with defending set pieces and conceded 18 from corners and free kicks but that is a separate issue! The 2 seasons before we finished with goal differences of +8 and +2.

I do put some performance issues down to the quality of players I have available. Last season we were predicted to finish 16th at the beginning, so that gives you some idea of the quality in the squad. I have a stadium capacity maxed at 20,000 until the board decide to build a new one, budgets are tight gradually performances have improved as the squad is strengthened. 

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@rossi789

Post your line-up, please. How often do you score from pure counter-attacks? What are the best players (positions) in your scheme that make your tactic tick?

Edited by cfkllasdfaslkdfj

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@cfkllasdfaslkdfj 

Lineup as requested and TIs. As mentioned earlier I would add more depending on how each game goes but this is the foundation I use.

Shrewsbury Town_  Overview.png      Shrewsbury Town_  Overview-2.png

As for the amount of pure counter attacking goals its hard to say as I've not paid attention to the amount, any figure/percentage I give would be a total guess. I will keep an eye on it over my next few games.

The best players in terms of attacking are definitely the W(a) and CF(a). Forward runs from the CF provide ball over the top/through ball options. The winger will hug the line and provides an outlet if CF is unavailable, heads down the line and puts crosses in. Both are below.

Robert Plazanic_ Overview Profile.png     Leon Bailey_ Overview Profile.png

 

Edited by rossi789

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A 4-4-2 is definitely workable for a counter attack approach. Compared to the 4-1-4-1, the lack of a DM affects the overall defensive stability a touch, but that can be offset by the CM roles somewhat. But having a second player forward can help with counter-attacks as there are pretty much always going to be 2 players forward already. With a 4-1-4-1, there are some counter situations that don't really become counters become the lone forward ends up on the ball but even though the opposition is stretched, he is still outnumbered and it fizzles out before any teammates can get up there to help him.

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39 minutes ago, Bigpapa42 said:

A 4-4-2 is definitely workable for a counter attack approach. Compared to the 4-1-4-1, the lack of a DM affects the overall defensive stability a touch, but that can be offset by the CM roles somewhat. But having a second player forward can help with counter-attacks as there are pretty much always going to be 2 players forward already. With a 4-1-4-1, there are some counter situations that don't really become counters become the lone forward ends up on the ball but even though the opposition is stretched, he is still outnumbered and it fizzles out before any teammates can get up there to help him.

Exactly my thoughts! Gonna play some games tonight and tomorrow to see how it goes

2 hours ago, rossi789 said:

@jorgvandervloed Yes I played counter. My thoughts on playing CF(a) were I wanted the ball to move into the DLF on transition and him feed the CF(a) or the W(a) hopefully catching out the opposition and gaining a 2 on 2 situation. I felt using another support role for ST may reduce forward runs and slow the counter attack, though admittedly I have never tried it. It would be interesting to see what effect it has.

Goals scored have been okay, in the season finishing fifth we scored 67 in the league, 30 of which were scored by the Croatian. Before that 61 (27 by the Croatian in his first season) and 54 before that.

Last season we conceded 53 so a goal difference of +14 and kept 8 clean sheets which I was pretty pleased with. I have had a real problem with defending set pieces and conceded 18 from corners and free kicks but that is a separate issue! The 2 seasons before we finished with goal differences of +8 and +2.

I do put some performance issues down to the quality of players I have available. Last season we were predicted to finish 16th at the beginning, so that gives you some idea of the quality in the squad. I have a stadium capacity maxed at 20,000 until the board decide to build a new one, budgets are tight gradually performances have improved as the squad is strengthened. 

Thanks for your response! Don't your CMs and DLFs clash with each other?

Looks like your team is doing better every year. Keep it up!

5 hours ago, Bitner said:

If you go towards the end of the page, we're trying to build exactly a formation who can use wingplay to hit them on the break.

Cheers,
Bitner 

I had another read. Gonna play some games tonight and tomorrow; I'll keep you posted.

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7 hours ago, jorgvandervloed said:

I figure it will be harder to ''trigger'' a counter as I'm using two forwards instead of one, so that's what I'm confused about.

The counterattack triggers when the opponent is too way forward so when you get the ball back, there are only a few defenders between the ball carrier and the goal, so the ME understands that is the right opportunity to counterattack. 

I think what Cleon meant is that most of your team must be dropping deeper, so you invite them to get forward. But I think 8 players dropping deeper is enough to invite them, and he recommended 5-3-2 so two strikers shouldn't be a problem. 

I had success with 1 striker in support and 1 in attack. One creator to hold the ball, one goalscorer making runs. I must say that in the first season I had a lot of counterattacks but when I started to win matches, it was harder to trigger them. 

5 hours ago, jorgvandervloed said:

I went with Flexible as I don't want to give my team too much creative freedom, but felt like I would need a Playmaker in my team if I would go more structured. Don't want to fail to trigger a counter because my team decides to pass to the playmaker instead of a better option somewhere on the pitch. I guess this thought process was flawed as it worked out great for you! 

That never happened to me. I used Roaming Playmaker, Advanced Playmaker and Trequartista and the team always chose to play direct in triggered counterattacks. 

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@rossi789

I've tried to play 4 games with your tactics and principles of the pressing/defensive line amendment: 3W/1D, 4 scored, 0 allowed. Not a big distance to make global decisions, but I struggled to get points with other different variations of 4-4-2. I can afford to play the same way with my team because nearly every player fits this scheme. Only one change I made is an alteration to the Highly Structured shape due to the poor level of decision making, anticipation, flair, stamina etc, since we are underdogs and stepped into the season with difficulty.

Could you post some statistics and all pictures of your main squad in order to use your players as a mold?

IK Sirius FK_  Overview-2.png

Landskrona BoIS v IK Sirius_ Stats Match Stats.png

IK Sirius v Mjдllby AIF_ Stats Match Stats.png

IK Sirius v Syrianska FC_ Stats Match Stats.png

IK Sirius v GIF Sundsvall_ Stats Match Stats.png

Edited by cfkllasdfaslkdfj

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To keep this thread going I'll do a proper write up when I've played some more games; just finished my pre-season games and 2-3 league games.

i started a save with Crewe Alexandra. They got relegated last season so are in the league 2 now, but are one of my favorite teams to manage on FM. Try to make this a youth save as well, so this will probably have some influence on my results as well.

i played around with the striker roles, but eventually went with a CSs on the left and a DLFs on the right. Using Formation 2 btw. No team instructions.

Very promising play to say the least, but need to play some more games. Overall the formation looks pretty solid and we create a decent amount of chances as well.

 

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On 3-12-2016 at 12:35, cfkllasdfaslkdfj said:

@rossi789

I've tried to play 4 games with your tactics and principles of the pressing/defensive line amendment: 3W/1D, 4 scored, 0 allowed. Not a big distance to make global decisions, but I struggled to get points with other different variations of 4-4-2. I can afford to play the same way with my team because nearly every player fits this scheme. Only one change I made is an alteration to the Highly Structured shape due to the poor level of decision making, anticipation, flair, stamina etc, since we are underdogs and stepped into the season with difficulty.

Could you post some statistics and all pictures of your main squad in order to use your players as a mold?

IK Sirius FK_  Overview-2.png

Landskrona BoIS v IK Sirius_ Stats Match Stats.png

IK Sirius v Mjдllby AIF_ Stats Match Stats.png

IK Sirius v Syrianska FC_ Stats Match Stats.png

IK Sirius v GIF Sundsvall_ Stats Match Stats.png

It seems odd that your DLF is scoring way more than your CF! Although I see the same thing happening in my tactic...

Something to keep in my mind is that ''very structured'' also causes your team to be vertically longer; more space between the lines.  In my case, I went for Flexible because I do not want them to be too close to each other because I need some players further up field for the counter but also not too far apart as this would make me defensively less stable. 

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3 minutes ago, jorgvandervloed said:

It seems odd that your DLF is scoring way more than your CF! Although I see the same thing happening in my tactic...

Something to keep in my mind is that ''very structured'' also causes your team to be vertically longer; more space between the lines.  In my case, I went for Flexible because I do not want them to be too close to each other because I need some players further up field for the counter but also not too far apart as this would make me defensively less stable. 

It's very easy to see why the DLF scores more and it's because the play around him and the link up is better than on the CA's side. 

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5 minutes ago, Cleon said:

It's very easy to see why the DLF scores more and it's because the play around him and the link up is better than on the CA's side. 

You are absolutely right! I guess in his case, with the CF on attack, he wants the DLF to be more of a link up player than a goalscorer. (my guess) 

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38 minutes ago, jorgvandervloed said:

You are absolutely right! I guess in his case, with the CF on attack, he wants the DLF to be more of a link up player than a goalscorer. (my guess) 

Yeap, my CFa looks like an alien body in this structure. I don't know whether it is because of his two-bit quality or not.

Edited by cfkllasdfaslkdfj

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@cfkllasdfaslkdfj

You could do a few things I guess or a combination of things really...

- Change team shape; by moving more towards very fluid it would mean that your team will be vertically closer to each other. 

- Switch your CMd and CMs; CMs will move forward a bit more and therefore support your CF more. 

- Change CFa to CFs; this would cause your striker to drop deeper and be more involved with the build up play. 

I would definitely go for 2 and 3; maybe consider moving to structured or flexible as well. 

Edited by jorgvandervloed

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@cfkllasdfaslkdfj 

It looks like you're doing okay. My squad is by no means perfect and I've particularly struggled with signed full backs and a goalkeeper. I will upload some pictures later in the week if I get time.

The striker I use in the CFa role (Plazanic who I posted earlier) performs very well but this is probably more due to his quality than the tactic itself.

@jorgvandervloed

I'm looking forward to reading about your results! I'm going to alter my structure to more fluid over the next few games to see how it changes the tactic.

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Update: I play with a similar 4-4-1-1 (asymmetric) setup and get good results with a mid-table team. The defensive line is pretty standard and offers good protection and is supported by the CM(d), sometimes like a 4-1-4-1. Four attack-roles look very attacking but the defensive setup allows these roles and act like a 4-2-3-1 or 4-2-4.

Counter + Structured

Team instructions:  Push Higher Up (to move the lines closer together) and Close Down More (being a bit more aggressive)

              DLF(a)

                            T(a)    

WM(a)   CM(s)   CM(d)   W(a) 

FB(s)   CD(d)   CD(d)   FB(s)

                  G(d)

The WM on the left is instructed to Cut Inside, Dribble More and Cross Less Often to act like an IF. Both CD are instructed to Close Down Less to keep position. The left FB is instructed to Get Further Forward to offer a better option on the left side. The G(d) is instructed to Slow Pace Down, Fewer Risky Passes and Throw Out to distribute to the CD or to the flanks.

Edited by YasoKuul

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