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Controlling the possession. Counter-attacking at pace. Creating Clear Cut Chances.

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I posted a tactical update in my AEK career update thread but thought I would post a copy here to try to elicit some discussion about my tactics I use with AEK Athens.

Tactical Analysis: Controlling the possession. Counter-attacking at pace. Creating Clear Cut Chances.

I manage AEK Athens in the Greek Superleague OPAP. I am in the second season and the bookies don't give me much of a chance for the league title. Which is fair, given the players at my disposal and the fact we finished quite far off Panathinaikos last season. Compared to teams in the Champions League and we're given even less of a chance.

The football I want us to employ is very basic. Sit back when in possession, keeping the ball away from the opposition. Draw out the opposition and work the ball around them in the middle of the pitch using our numerical advantage afforded to us by having three midfielders and three attacking midfielders. I want slow, methodical passing at the back and between the midfield. When the opposition is forced to commit more players forwards in an attempt to win the ball back from us, this is when we need to catch them on the break using a range of quick passes, fluid movement and through-balls. 

In the Superleague, most teams play with two central defenders, so we play with three attacking midfielders to overload them. Most teams play with two central midfielders, so we play with three central midfielders to overload them. What this allows us to do it build up play easier through the middle by making use of the extra man. Because we have this extra man it will typically pull in an opposition wide player, and this is where my wing-backs come in handy. Their job is to exploit the vacant space out wide. Whilst we typically will only play through the middle, it is useful having that option when things get a little congested. It also helps to stretch the play when we need a bit more room to work in.

Now for the hard part. Putting those thoughts into practice.

Playing Style

As discussed we are looking to create a playing style that:

  • Has a defensive line that recycles possession, plays with a much lower tempo and draws out the opposition.
  • Looks to exploit the numerical advantage we will have through the central areas with short passing.
  • Affords the players a level of creativity to pick the right passes when unlocking the opposition defence. Not being afraid to play a risky pass to reap to the high rewards.
  • Free flowing movement, creating multiple passing options for the man in possession.
  • Surging runs forward to break offside traps and create one-on-one opportunities when the through ball finds its intended target.

To achieve this, I employ a Very Fluid team shape along with the Control mentality. I want us moving up the pitch together when we're attacking and working as a unit together when defending, we're going to be somewhat exploitable on the wings so we need more bodies at the back to protect from the crosses. However, the central midfielders should move across to cover the wings.

The Team Shape instructions look like this:

  • Tempo: Much Lower. This allows us to retain possession of the ball, without using the retain possession instruction. I don't want to retain possession all over the pitch, for example, I don't want us keeping the ball in the final third of the pitch. I want us to keep the ball at the back and work the ball around the midfield, but when the opportunity comes for a quick break I want my players to have the freedom to play a risky ball to unlock the defence.
  • Width: Fairly Narrow. Whilst we will inevitably be narrow by virtue of the player positions and roles, I want to enforce the mantra of keeping the ball flowing through the middle of the pitch

The Defence instructions look like this:

  • Use Tighter Marking. As I alluded to earlier, we have limited presence on the wings, so I use tighter marking to ensure my defenders stay with their man when the balls are crossed into the box. This is perhaps a contentious issue, given the effectiveness of crossing, but I like to believe the fluid team shape allows for more bodies in the box and this helps keep the opposition covered. I also want to suffocate opposition attacks and remove passing options for them to force them into making a mistake.
  • Tackling: Stay on Feet. A simple one really. I don't want my players diving into challenges. If you're on your feet when winning the ball you can distribute it a lot quicker and maintain possession rather than sliding in and losing control of the second ball.

The Build-Up instructions look like this:

  • Passing: Play out of Defence, Exploit the Middle. With the low tempo encouraging possession football and the controlled build up I want to employ, it makes sense to ask the defence to play their way out from the back. Our fluid shape allows for options to do this.

The Attack instructions look like this:

  • Dribbling: Dribble Less. I don't want the team looking to retain possession of the ball in the final third by dribbling their way out of trouble. Rather I would prefer them to look to the extra man to make a pass to, or to fire a through ball over the defence to create a better opportunity. It is going to get pretty congested in the middle of the pitch and we don't have a Messi. So this instruction should make the players look for better options.
  • Freedom of Movement: Roam from Positions. It could be argued that our fluid shape allows for more freedom of movement. But I want to emphasise that we should be looking to move freely and draw the opposition out of position. The players need to be available for each other in order that we don't concede possession cheaply.

The formation, the player roles and their duties

435Om4r.png 

This is the team starting formation.

The defence: Our back line is fairly standard. Either side of our central defenders are Wing-Backs on a support duty to offer some width when there the central areas become too congested. My Wing-Backs are afforded a lot of space out wide due to the opposition wide players being forced inwards to cover the extra man we will have against their central players. On a support duty the Wing-Backs contribute to the through balls to the Shadow Strikers further ahead. The are instructed to keep wide, cross more often and to try more risky passes.

The central midfield: A very simple three across the middle. A Deep Lying Playmaker is flanked by two Central Midfielders. I don't have any specific instructions for my Playmaker. I think the Central Midfielder role is so undervalued. It is so dynamic and allows you to make changes to the role in game if you need to as you're not restricted to any instructions imposed by the role type. They will balance their attacking and defensive duties, and are perfect for pinging through-balls into my attacking midfielders. To promote this I ask them to play more direct and risky passes. They are also instructed to move into channels to try and stretch the play a little, and to mark tighter.  

The attacking midfield: The glue that holds our attacking play together is my Enganche. Vieirinha. With 6 assists in 8 games and a 91% passing accuracy, he is key to everything in the final third. He will sit in the middle, drawing out the opposition, creating space for my Shadow Strikers to burst through on goal. He doesn't have any specific instructions and neither do my Shadow Strikers.

So, with an explanation of the setup, here is how all of that translates where it counts. On the pitch. 

The Result of our Play

From the league so far we dominate possession, with over 61% on average each game. This is helped by completing 88% of passes, which is also the highest in the league.

eJhDq0T.png

The quality of the chances we're creating also translated into our superior shooting accuracy. We have more shots on goal than any other team and the best accuracy, due to the quality of chances being created. 

zGSiMva.png

It is not just the league where we are ahead, in the Champions League we have the highest passing accuracy of  87% and the highest average possession of over 63% during games.

To give you an example of the chances we create, this is from my last match. where all but one of our attempts was from inside the box.

Wgh8EJj.png

A few most stats from the current season. Most of our goals are placed shots created by through-balls.

qUJwidb.pngaI03Ih8.png

Analysis of our Attacking play

When we have the ball, we're setup as you would expect. A lot of our build up play is similar to the below. I have provided a couple of examples from the same match.

Goal one. In this, my Deep Lying Playmaker (Enzo Zidane) starts with the ball in the middle of the pitch. My Wing-Backs begin to move forwards and my central midfielders are looking to come and offer options for the pass. In this build up, the Deep Lying Playmaker passes to his left to the Central Midfielder who forwards the ball to the Shadow Striker offering himself (shown by the red dotted lines)

tDIRJWu.jpg

When the Shadow Striker receives the ball he is immediately looking for the Enganche. And whilst it doesn't look like the pass is possible here, the fluid movement of the team creates space for him to receive the ball.

Xrlvjqa.jpg

Once in possession of the ball, the Enganche is facing goal and looking for passing options forward. My Central Midfielders and Shadow Strikers are all running forwards ready for a splitting pass. Already the opposition Full-Backs are far too wide here, meaning their two Central Defenders are going to have to contend with four rushing midfielders. My Shadow Striker receives the ball to the right.

mgFxOZS.jpg

The Full-Back has been drawn inside now, but the Central Defender doesn't have the positional sense to drop infield to cover the on rushing players. As you can see there's a huge gap that has opened up by our quick counter-attacking play. The opposition does not have time to get back into their defensive shape.

j6V9YeO.jpg

The Shadow Striker plays a perfect ball into my on-rushing Central Midfielder for an easy goal.

zqLCDDo.jpg

As you can see from the above, a lot of our play is predicated on slow build-up from the back, fast play in the final third to disrupt the opposition. Retaining possession wouldn't allow us to do this, but playing with a lower tempo and the roles we have allow for this type of play to flow. Here are some more examples from the same game, in which we created 27 chances, despite being away from home. 

Goal two. Here again, we have the ball deep, we've moved it quickly to the Enganche who has spotted the runs of my players and manages to play a lovely ball over the top for the Shadow Striker to run onto. We have a three against one overload here, and although the covering defender manages to get back, the simple pass is on to create an opportunity for the other Shadow Striker.

42vhuSz.jpg

Another simple goal.

gLbc1sG.jpg

Goal three. And this time slightly deeper, my Central Midfielder who is instructed to play more direct and risky passes, picks out my Shadow Striker yet again.

i21FApR.jpg

Another simple goal scored by being patient, keeping the ball and then being explosive when the exploitable opportunities arise.

JfJ7asl.jpg

Analysis of our Defensive play

It's a lot easier showing defensive shape and play with videos. Unfortunately, SI are yet to fix video exporting for mac. So, I will highlight with a picture and some GIFs to try and show you how we are always swarming the opposition, giving them no time or space on the ball. Restricting their options before forcing them into a mistake. Defensively the shape is quite standard as you'd expect from the formation and instructions. Our back four is easily covering the onrushing attacker. The midfield three create a second wall to force them to try and pass through and the attacking three block the ball moving backwards. 

The only option is the inside ball (which is this scenario was cut out by my player) or a long cross field ball to the spare two on the other side of the pitch. But the ball isn't there so we don't worry about that.

YSpT2Li.jpg

From the below it is easier to show the players movement towards the man with the ball. Always staying on their feet waiting for the right opportunity to nip the ball away before launching into a quick counter attack. This starts from a throw, they manage to move the ball about quite nicely, but we remain patient and when the right time comes we step in, take the ball away and then we're launching into another devastating counter attack and create a new opportunity to score. 

OX5YtXP0kl.gif

In this example, their wide player has no space to move in-field and no passing options. He is forced out wide where he eventually crosses into the box for an easy catch for my keeper. 

9wOViEe4ak.gif

Finally, the opposition works the ball wide again here, but their wide player has no options ahead. He has a choice to dribble wider or pass in-field. He managed to find a player to pass to, but our numerical advantage is too much and again we easily win the ball back from them.

mxVX257j3b.gif

The Conclusion

We've managed to create a system that floods the central areas of the pitch and overloads the opposition defence, making it hard for them to pick up a man each as it leaves a free man. Moving the ball about quickly with fluid movement allows us to disrupt the opposition system and exploit the free man. Defensively, we're a little vulnerable on the wings, but we pack the defence enough to cope with crosses and my central defenders.

Thank you for reading. I'd welcome any comments, questions or corrections to anything I've written above.

Oliver Jensen

Edited by OneUnited

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Really good piece; i like your explanation of how you want to play football, and the roles/ti's you have used to implement this. I'd like to create something like this but not slightly different in terms of formation/roles, any advice? Also, how does this tactic fair up against defensive sides that have no real intention of closing you down? 

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Thank you.

What sort of formation are you looking to implement. I think this sort of style works well with a withdrawn striker, and runners coming from the AMC line.

This tactic struggles a little against teams who sit back, but I have a different set of instructions that I use against those teams. I use just one Shadow Striker and a couple of Attacking Midfielders and aim to play through the middle, and use my wing-backs more to stretch play.

 

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I was thinking a 4-3-3, very similar to yours but with an F9 instead of an enganche. 

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So you'd play with a striker. That could work too. But a lot of the success is on drawing out the opposition and attacking at pace. With a F9 ahead of the Shadow Strikers this could work as he draws the defence out when he drops deep.

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Awesome, will give this a go tonight. think its very clever how the intelligent movement allows for quick passing, despite the lower tempo.

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The movement in the final third, both on and off is amazing, A few quick questions; have you though about increasing the tempo late on in a game when the opposition are tired out, either manually or by upping the mentality? also, what are your thoughts on playing with an AF and changing one of the ss to an AM/AP when struggling to break down an opponent?

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I actually play with a modified set of roles now. I have another system which is actually contain, which I use against suborn opposition if I cannot break them down and playing wider doesn't help. I don't like to increase the tempo as the idea is that the slower play controls possession better, which is the idea behind this system.

Sometimes when teams sit deep I will look to get the ball out wide more and try stretch the play, and I find this usually opens up the gaps for us to play.

fe7APJz.png

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15 hours ago, OneUnited said:

I actually play with a modified set of roles now. I have another system which is actually contain, which I use against suborn opposition if I cannot break them down and playing wider doesn't help. I don't like to increase the tempo as the idea is that the slower play controls possession better, which is the idea behind this system.

Sometimes when teams sit deep I will look to get the ball out wide more and try stretch the play, and I find this usually opens up the gaps for us to play.

fe7APJz.png

@OneUnited a very interesting post, I enjoyed it very much.

A little curious about the amended formation you are now using:

  1. Why the switch to BWM(d) and DLP(s)? I would have probably gone with BWM(s) hunt the ball anywhere on the pitch and DLP(d) to cover.
  2.  Doesn't a Trequartista reduce the effect of the pressure on the opposing defenders?

As you can tell I'm an advocate of the aggressive pressing...

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HI @PeeKay

The reason for the change was that opposition players were getting too close to our goal when attacking so I switched to defending BWM as I want us deep when we win the ball back and for them to play to my DLP who is probably my best player. He is supporting as I want him further up the pitch.

I don't want my players pressing high up the pitch. I'm happy when we lose it that we drop back and gain our shape and then go for the ball when they are committed forwards. That way we can break quickly when they've committed forwards.

As for the Trequartista, again, I want the mobility within the AMC role and the Enganche was just a bit too static. Since swapping to the Treq, he's scored a lot more goals.

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Thanks @OneUnited it makes perfect sense.

You have inspired me to look at striker-less, 3 at the back formation (5-5-0) with my Liverpool save. That's 3xDC, 2xWB, 2xMC and Coutinho at AP(s), Firmino as SS with Mane at IF(a). I'm hoping when the wide forwards cut in it will produce similar results to yours.

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Shame there hasn't been more replies as it's a good thread. 

Whilst I don't play "strikerless" per sé, I play with an F9(s) in the middle, with a Raumdeuter looking to attack that space. The man coming deep helps overload the #10 area in front of their defence, which means our combination play often opens up the opposing defence. If that doesn't work, the WB(A) on the right stretches the defence across and creates further gaps to exploit instead.

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Hi!

I don't play strikerless, but I've been trying what you did, but without the good results. 

I am using a christmas tree formation with wb/atk, cd, cd, wb/sup

     Bwm/dlp/boxtb

           Advp/ss

            Cf or dpf

With the instruction to be slighty higher, slower tempo, get into the box(or something like that), retain possesion, disciplined, and keep possition. With standard mentality and estructured.

I wanted to imitate Ancelotti milan (the one with rui costa, kaka, seedorf, pirlo)

The thing is I don't have chances, the first half of the season i did, but now that the other teams play more defensively against me, I can't create chances.

The game ends with me with 60%, 4-5 shots and 3 on target. Mostly losing 1-0.

Maybe you can give me a tip about what may be wrong.

My team is the worst of the league (mexican first division) with 500-1 to become champ.

edited: I forgot to say this, I have watched the games and what mostly happens is that my wb reach the last line, and my midfielders are playing outside de box, but they never make the killer pass or the cross because of the retain possesion instruction, but if I take it off or the play to box instruction we still don't create and lose all the possesion, so I don't know what to do...

(After reading your article I may try to change to control, and to make the line slighly deeper, or something like that... but I don't know if that will work...)

 

Edited by Pmarcos3

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On 4/3/2017 at 18:00, llama3 said:

Shame there hasn't been more replies as it's a good thread. 

This... :)

Great thread. I love reading the though process behind how people set up their systems.

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15 minutes ago, davehibb said:

This... :)

Great thread. I love reading the though process behind how people set up their systems.

Absolutely. It's key behind anything you teach or share.

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This is pretty much what I'm trying to replicate as a Sarri inspired tactic in my Leverkusen save, but I use a 4-1-2-3 and the AMR/L roles are what are causing problems. 

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this shepe 4-3-3-0 is lead me to the unexpected results. Actually im in the middle of march as Monaco, and I lost only once in LM, and draw 3 or 4 times in league, creating over 5 cc chances per game. Flat 3 in midfield giving me great defensive balance in wide areas, while we totally dominating central midfield.

This idea looks game braking, big up for the inventor! 

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Good read this. I'm inspired to give it a go myself.

I noticed that you're playing two covering central defenders at the back. What's the thinking behind that and do you not find that it leaves a bit of a space in front of the defence (especially as you don't have any players in the DM strata of the pitch)?

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@OneUnited I thought it was interesting how you had both your CBs on cover, but given how your team simply swarms opposition players who dare to have the ball in the center of the park, I can sort of see why you did it. It's almost like their job is simply to intercept whatever rushed pass an opposition central player might be forced into as well as keeping them from stepping up too soon. Interesting.

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On 03/04/2017 at 18:00, llama3 said:

Shame there hasn't been more replies as it's a good thread. 

Whilst I don't play "strikerless" per sé, I play with an F9(s) in the middle, with a Raumdeuter looking to attack that space. The man coming deep helps overload the #10 area in front of their defence, which means our combination play often opens up the opposing defence. If that doesn't work, the WB(A) on the right stretches the defence across and creates further gaps to exploit instead.

 
 

Thank you. I appreciate that. I've adapted somewhat to the above. But my tactics are always evolving as you notice small areas where you can gain an advantage.

I love the F9 combination with a Raumdeuter or attacking inside forward. It's so simple. I find most success in the game is had by moving the opposition around when we have the ball, e.g., when we're playing in front of the defence we usually have 3-4 players pulling their defence around which will always open up gaps for us to exploit. Sounds like you're achieving the same with your system.

On 04/04/2017 at 00:45, Pmarcos3 said:

Hi!

I don't play strikerless, but I've been trying what you did, but without the good results. 

I am using a christmas tree formation with wb/atk, cd, cd, wb/sup

     Bwm/dlp/boxtb

           Advp/ss

            Cf or dpf

With the instruction to be slighty higher, slower tempo, get into the box(or something like that), retain possesion, disciplined, and keep possition. With standard mentality and estructured.

I wanted to imitate Ancelotti milan (the one with rui costa, kaka, seedorf, pirlo)

The thing is I don't have chances, the first half of the season i did, but now that the other teams play more defensively against me, I can't create chances.

The game ends with me with 60%, 4-5 shots and 3 on target. Mostly losing 1-0.

Maybe you can give me a tip about what may be wrong.

My team is the worst of the league (mexican first division) with 500-1 to become champ.

edited: I forgot to say this, I have watched the games and what mostly happens is that my wb reach the last line, and my midfielders are playing outside de box, but they never make the killer pass or the cross because of the retain possesion instruction, but if I take it off or the play to box instruction we still don't create and lose all the possesion, so I don't know what to do...

(After reading your article I may try to change to control, and to make the line slighly deeper, or something like that... but I don't know if that will work...)

 

 
 
 

What duties do you give your players? Attacking, support and defensive? 

On 05/04/2017 at 08:15, davehibb said:

This... :)

Great thread. I love reading the though process behind how people set up their systems.

 
 
 

Thank you.

On 06/04/2017 at 17:06, the_gaffa said:

Good read this. I'm inspired to give it a go myself.

I noticed that you're playing two covering central defenders at the back. What's the thinking behind that and do you not find that it leaves a bit of a space in front of the defence (especially as you don't have any players in the DM strata of the pitch)?

 
 
 

The covering defender has a lower mentality than a standard central defender. I want them less active in the attacking phase. Additionally, I don't want them stepping out of line when the ball comes near them. That's what the defensive ball winning midfielders are. They're my foot soldiers who sit in front of the defence and chanse anything down. 

Plus, as @aderow says below, I like the way they're deeper when facing attacks. My ball winning midfielders are agressive in harassing the source of most balls through the middle. My wing-backs are asked to mark tightly, close down more and tackle harder anything out wide so really the covering centre backs are there for when all of that fails. Here's a typical example of how we let them have the ball in relatively save spaces, but when they enter our half, we're quick to snuff out any chances.

Here's an example, with a sequence of play that shows my agressive pressing in our half, which forces the ball back and eventually the defence gets fedup and tries a long pass that is picked up easilly by the deep midfield.

In this first shot the AMR has received the ball from a goal kick. Immidiately my wing-back is agressively pressing, forcing him back into his own half. My other defenders remain in their block and the midfield shifts along to where the danger is.

SvT0I2a.jpg

Once the ball works its way back into the opposition half, my wing-back drops in line. My ball winning midfielders still sit covering the defence, waiting for the opportunity to attack the ball. My shadow strikers and trequartista at this point just shuffle along covering the pasing lanes. They're not asked to press at all.

kDZwKw5.jpg

The ball at this point is just moving across the defence and deep midfielders. My ball winning midfielders are still sitting deep, being patient and not running crazy all over the place like a lot of people think they do. At this moment the player has passing options in all the places I want them to have the ball. Where it is less dangerous. He can pass it wide again, or go for a long ball and hope the two advanced players can win a header against my central midfielders.

z3HTE4p.jpg

He opts for the long ball. My central defenders stay deep and don't attempt to win the ball. Rather they remain covering the space behind to sweep up and losses in the air. Korbos wins the header and Johansson (deep lying playmaker) brings the ball forward for another attack.

TqAX1Z6.jpg

Obviously this is just one example. But it's typical of how we defend as a team. A central defence who stay back. Ball winners in the wide areas and just in front of the defence, and then my attacking three who cover the passing lanes and rarely press to tackle in advanced areas. Even my fans apreciate it!

EVpVMpE.png

On 08/04/2017 at 07:12, aderow said:

@OneUnited I thought it was interesting how you had both your CBs on cover, but given how your team simply swarms opposition players who dare to have the ball in the center of the park, I can sort of see why you did it. It's almost like their job is simply to intercept whatever rushed pass an opposition central player might be forced into as well as keeping them from stepping up too soon. Interesting.

 
 
 

Yep, as above.

On 08/04/2017 at 01:40, Gee_Simpson said:

Nice OP.

Good job mate :thup:

 
 
 

Thank you.

Edited by OneUnited

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Love to read threads like this. I expected the gap between the MC's and AMC's to be too big but I guess the lower tempo and Very Fluid mentality solves that problem?

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13 hours ago, Rashidi said:

Very nice thread. good work

Thank you. 

2 hours ago, Miek said:

Love to read threads like this. I expected the gap between the MC's and AMC's to be too big but I guess the lower tempo and Very Fluid mentality solves that problem?

It does and it doesn't. I don't really want the midfielders to be too far up the pitch. Ideally we shouldn't be playing too many passes in and around the penalty area that concern the midfielders. Perhaps maybe the DLP in the centre can get forwards but my ball winning midfielders are there to sit back and protect the defence in case of a break.

The way we play is very quick on the break, so normally by the time one of them would have caught up with play we've had a shot. The game plan really is about moving the mall to the front three as quickly as possible and letting them do their thing. The central midfielders are only there if we need to recycle play, and what typically tends to happen is the ball would come back to them, out wide and then a cross gets put in.

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On 30/03/2017 at 21:58, OneUnited said:

I actually play with a modified set of roles now. I have another system which is actually contain, which I use against suborn opposition if I cannot break them down and playing wider doesn't help. I don't like to increase the tempo as the idea is that the slower play controls possession better, which is the idea behind this system.

Sometimes when teams sit deep I will look to get the ball out wide more and try stretch the play, and I find this usually opens up the gaps for us to play.

fe7APJz.png

I like the idea of this system, just played arsenal got a 2-2 draw but more then happy with 22 shots, 16 on target and 4 ccc !! Just a quick question when you play team that sit swap and with the formation above what TI's and player instructions do you use ?

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Hi @Adam Church

Because of my reputation I seldom come across a team who sit deep, but when they do I will put my wing-backs on attack and use the flanks more to stretch play and to try open up the middle a bit more.

I've included my team instructions below. These are what I'll use in most of the games. However, as above, when teams sit deep I'll remove 'exploit the middle' and move my wing-backs to attack.

72W2YaE.png

In terms of player instructions I keep it pretty simple but:

  • SK - Distribute to Deep Lying Playmaker
  • WB - Shoot less often, tackle harder, mark tighter, fewer risky passes, close down much more
  • CD - Mark tighter, tackle harder
  • BWM - Mark tighter, more direct passes
  • T - Shoot less often
  • SS - Shoot less often

I have also taught my BWM to run wide with the ball so they act as a central winger almost. My front players all know how to place shots as most chances, as you experienced, are clear cut and 1 on 1. For which placing shots is usually better for taking chances.

Edited by OneUnited

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Just achieved a 5th place finish in the league with Southampton with this tactic. Tadic was incredible in the Enganche role scoring 25 goals and providing 19 assists.

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I'm not really a fan of strikerless tactics. But after reading your thread and explanation of why you chose what you did. I was encouraged to give it a try. 

I am playing in the French lower leagues CFA 2 with UJA Maccabi Paris and I don't really have any suitable players for the AMC roles but I have been getting good results regardless. I love the style of play and movement. My players always seem to have at least 2 passing options. While restricting our opposition to a few shots most games while we usually create a lot more. 

Great tactic and great thread 👍🏻

One problem I have noticed is the amount of times my wing backs are offside. Seems to happen loads. 

Edited by MShing

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I must admit, that I too have struggled to get the same results as others with strikerless systems.

I never seem to be able to get the SS's to break the lines and all the play seems to be in front of the opposition back four, without much penetration. That said, I may not have had ideal players when I've tried it and perhaps I didn't give the systems long enough to be successful.

@OneUnited do you look for the SS's to have any particular traits? Likes To Break Offisde Trap for example? or do you feel they might detract from the system?

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On 12/04/2017 at 13:13, nexting said:

Just achieved a 5th place finish in the league with Southampton with this tactic. Tadic was incredible in the Enganche role scoring 25 goals and providing 19 assists.

That's excellent. I actually use the Trequartista role now for a bit more mobility up front. It is working wonders, but if the Enganche role works for you then keep with it!

On 12/04/2017 at 22:39, MShing said:

I'm not really a fan of strikerless tactics. But after reading your thread and explanation of why you chose what you did. I was encouraged to give it a try. 

I am playing in the French lower leagues CFA 2 with UJA Maccabi Paris and I don't really have any suitable players for the AMC roles but I have been getting good results regardless. I love the style of play and movement. My players always seem to have at least 2 passing options. While restricting our opposition to a few shots most games while we usually create a lot more. 

Great tactic and great thread 👍🏻

One problem I have noticed is the amount of times my wing backs are offside. Seems to happen loads. 

 

That's interesting. I've rarely seen my wing-backs sit on the opposition D-Line looking to break through. Usually they're deep with the midfielders with passing options. Are you using the original setup at the top of the thread, or the new modified one just above?

On 13/04/2017 at 08:19, davehibb said:

I must admit, that I too have struggled to get the same results as others with strikerless systems.

I never seem to be able to get the SS's to break the lines and all the play seems to be in front of the opposition back four, without much penetration. That said, I may not have had ideal players when I've tried it and perhaps I didn't give the systems long enough to be successful.

@OneUnited do you look for the SS's to have any particular traits? Likes To Break Offisde Trap for example? or do you feel they might detract from the system?

 

Shadow Strikers will naturally look to run with the ball. So good dribbling is important. I find players with good anticipation and off the ball are able to read the game better and make those moves to receive the through ball. Most of my front three get individual training on this. I've also been teaching them to place shots, as most of our assists are through-balls and the goals are placed shots. Seemed a logical thing to do.

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 12.24.41.png

Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 12.24.44.png

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4 hours ago, OneUnited said:

That's excellent. I actually use the Trequartista role now for a bit more mobility up front. It is working wonders, but if the Enganche role works for you then keep with it!

That's interesting. I've rarely seen my wing-backs sit on the opposition D-Line looking to break through. Usually they're deep with the midfielders with passing options. Are you using the original setup at the top of the thread, or the new modified one just above?

Shadow Strikers will naturally look to run with the ball. So good dribbling is important. I find players with good anticipation and off the ball are able to read the game better and make those moves to receive the through ball. Most of my front three get individual training on this. I've also been teaching them to place shots, as most of our assists are through-balls and the goals are placed shots. Seemed a logical thing to do.

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 12.24.41.png

Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 12.24.44.png

I am using the modified tactic just above. I haven't had chance to check since but it may be my players probably a ppm. I'll check and let you know. 

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Yeah do. And I will keep an eye out for it, too.

Also, for anyone interested I write about my actual save where I use this tactic here; 

 

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2 hours ago, OneUnited said:

Yeah do. And I will keep an eye out for it, too.

Also, for anyone interested I write about my actual save where I use this tactic here; 

 

Both my fullbacks have the pm gets forward whenever possible. Plus they don't have the best stats for mentals being lower league too

This may be why then.

ill definitely give your save thread a read  

 

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Just want to say, great thread, man -- finally was able to read through it :thup:

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On 4/12/2017 at 16:39, MShing said:

One problem I have noticed is the amount of times my wing backs are offside. Seems to happen loads. 

8 hours ago, MShing said:

Both my fullbacks have the pm gets forward whenever possible. Plus they don't have the best stats for mentals being lower league too

This may be why then.

ill definitely give your save thread a read  

I am almost certain that is why. Mine are the same way regardless of formation I use. Fullbacks/wingbacks who like to get forward won't always time their runs perfectly and will find themselves in an offside position before they receive the ball.

I don't mind it though. Marcelo usually ends up scoring every so often because of it :D

16 hours ago, OneUnited said:

That's excellent. I actually use the Trequartista role now for a bit more mobility up front. It is working wonders, but if the Enganche role works for you then keep with it!

Treq remains my favorite role in FM.

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Love your approach ! Was actually browsing the forum for the first time in months, looking for a counter attacking tactic by blindly searching the word ;) 

 

Managing Milan and just at the start of the 2021 season, i lost Pulisic to ManU (triggering his release clause of 100+ mio) and could not really settle on a replacement at LAM for him. I also failed to identify a world class striker to upgrade that position and i was already thin at the position. I also have 2 great looking young CAMs out of my academy and after getting a bargain CM regen who looks like the real deal had room for a 3rd CM. So yeah, trying this one out after 4 seasons of 4231. Especially now Milik is out half a year ...

 

First semi-competitive game in the Super Cup went kinda awesome i think (well, aside from the Milik injury ...) : 

 

XQpVBd2.jpg

k9yo6al.jpg

 

Wurm and Unsalo the CMs, Locatelli the DPM.

Some great looking goals as well, both here and in preseason.

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That's an excellent result, @Marinho

The goals really are good! I love the way they players pull central defenders apart and create space for each other! Looks like it is working well for you. I actually have a refined version of this to give me more defensive stability, but looks like this one is working well for you.

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Hi there - I was intrigued by your tactic and I am a veteran FM player primarily playing the Greek league. I have a couple of games on the go but decided to try out your tactic with Kerkyra who is a favourite for the drop. After 4 games in season 1 with 1 win and 3 losses, I switched to your tactic and the results have been impressive so far. Lost the first game, and since then have recorded only victories and draws in the next 5 games.

One question is that all the points I have dropped have been from conceding in the last 5 minutes of the game - always from a long ball over the top of my defence for either a striker to have a 1-on-1 or a winger to stretch out my CBs and cross to an unmarked player who scores. I have tried a variety of things for holding on to a lead late in the game (Contain, switch to WB-D, Drop defence completely) but to no avail. If the AI does not score, he will have a clear cut chance/best chance of the game in the last 5 minutes once they are trailing and playing Attacking/Overload.

My team is obviously not very good and my 2 CBs have Acceleration/Pace of 10/10 and 12/12 respectively, playing on Cover as per your instructions.

There are some great chances being made and it is really enjoyable to watch. My best player is an athletic ST/Target Man who has had no trouble adopting to the SS role even though he has no familiarity with the position at all!

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Decided to fire up my Rich United save and see what I could do with this formation.

I went out and got Adrien Silva to compliment Ander Herrera as the CM(S), I also picked up Cesc Fabregas from Chelsea as added AM(C) and CM depth.

Starting lineup had me with...

 

Rooney - Mata - Mkhitaryan

Herrera - Fabregas - Silva

Shaw - Bailly - Jones - Valencia

 

We played Watford in our first match of the Premiere League season and won 2-0 (though the second goal was an OG off a GK deflection).  The one goal we scored was off a cross to Rooney in the box.

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Ended up controlling the match with 64% possession. 

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16 total shots with only 6 on target.  9 of those shots came from outside the box at the top.  Mata (playing as a Treq) was responsible for 4 of them.  We also created only two Clear-Cut Chances and zero half-chances. 

34136562936_7ce7e2e602_o.jpg

Possession heat-map also shows that we dominated their half of the pitch - though our possession peters out right as we get to their 18yd box.  When comparing our possession heat map with the location of our shots I come to a couple conclusions.

1.  Mata needs to be told to shoot less

2.  Our final passes are getting into their box and finding players feet

3.  I might need to consider telling them to "Work Ball Into Box" to cut down on the long shots

I hesitate to tell Mata to shoot less simply because I want him shooting and being part of that offensive front - I just wish he were better at choosing when and from where to shoot - so I think I'll try the "Work Into Box" shout first.

33792713030_87040a911c_o.jpg

I think this is quite telling - our attacking and midfield players are nowhere near comfortable with each other yet.  We win 2-0 via a single goal and gifted an OG while our "front 6" all have ratings in the mid 6's. 

Right now we're at about 40% Fluidity on this tactic with players like Silva and Fabregas at about 25-30% fluidity.  I expect we will find more shots on goal and clear-cut chances as the team gains familiarity with the tactic. 

Edited by CybrSlydr

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Just had a MUCH better showing vs Burnley away.

34020613162_531d0a042e_o.jpg

Granted, two goals were scored against a 10-man team, but that's ok to me. 

Two clear-cut chances and four half-chances.  Possession still firmly in their half in the red.  Still nine shots from outside the box, but the goals came from within.

See if I can get Adrien Silva's goal uploaded to YouTube - shows beautiful passing progression.

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14 hours ago, 5iver said:

Hi there - I was intrigued by your tactic and I am a veteran FM player primarily playing the Greek league. I have a couple of games on the go but decided to try out your tactic with Kerkyra who is a favourite for the drop. After 4 games in season 1 with 1 win and 3 losses, I switched to your tactic and the results have been impressive so far. Lost the first game, and since then have recorded only victories and draws in the next 5 games.

One question is that all the points I have dropped have been from conceding in the last 5 minutes of the game - always from a long ball over the top of my defence for either a striker to have a 1-on-1 or a winger to stretch out my CBs and cross to an unmarked player who scores. I have tried a variety of things for holding on to a lead late in the game (Contain, switch to WB-D, Drop defence completely) but to no avail. If the AI does not score, he will have a clear cut chance/best chance of the game in the last 5 minutes once they are trailing and playing Attacking/Overload.

My team is obviously not very good and my 2 CBs have Acceleration/Pace of 10/10 and 12/12 respectively, playing on Cover as per your instructions.

There are some great chances being made and it is really enjoyable to watch. My best player is an athletic ST/Target Man who has had no trouble adopting to the SS role even though he has no familiarity with the position at all!

 

Good work. I have a slight variation on this tactic to close out matches. Using Contain. I don't know how to get it to you but for me it helps in the last 10 if I need to close out the game. If you use FMSlack I can send it to you there.

3 minutes ago, CybrSlydr said:

 

 
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Nice goal, that. It's similar to most of the goals we're scoring at the moment. Some good results, too.

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I'm considering trying this with Ibrahimovic playing as a DLF(S) with two SS behind him.  Ibra is just too good to not utilize (though I'm currently training him as a SS).

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First real test of the Premiere League season playing against Spurs.

34138697436_b7a3d1092e_o.jpg

Got off to a bad start.  Rooney fouled Dier in the box on a corner and Kane converted.  Possession wasn't nearly as good as against the lesser teams, but we still had the majority. 

I also decided to try playing with an AP(S) instead of T(A).  Later on, Pogba wasn't playing well so I put Fabregas back in the DLP(D) spot and subbed Mata in at the AP(S) and pulled Mkhitaryan for Ibrahimovic.  Little after that, we netted our only goal from Herrera. 

While a draw at home is disappointing, it was against Spurs and in 3 games we've not given up a goal from the run of play - and it never really looked like Spurs had much of an opportunity to score either.

Oh - I also just picked up Jose Gaya and am working on getting Benjamin Henrichs.

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I'm really beginning to think this tactic isn't good for the Premiere League.  Defense is just bad.  Smalling, Rojo, Jones, Bailly, etc - we are giving up goals and can't score many.

Drew Tottenham, lost to Chelsea, lost to Liverpool, drew West Brom...

Only beat FC Steaua 1-0 at HOME, drew Sassuolo 0-0 away...

Currently find ourselves in 7th in the Premiere League and 2nd in our Euro Cup bracket two games in.

Not very pleased.

I mean Jesus ****ing Christ - I just drew Spartak Moscow 1-1 and had 39% possession.  39%.

Edited by CybrSlydr

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10 hours ago, CybrSlydr said:

I'm really beginning to think this tactic isn't good for the Premiere League.  Defense is just bad.  Smalling, Rojo, Jones, Bailly, etc - we are giving up goals and can't score many.

Drew Tottenham, lost to Chelsea, lost to Liverpool, drew West Brom...

Only beat FC Steaua 1-0 at HOME, drew Sassuolo 0-0 away...

Currently find ourselves in 7th in the Premiere League and 2nd in our Euro Cup bracket two games in.

Not very pleased.

I mean Jesus ****ing Christ - I just drew Spartak Moscow 1-1 and had 39% possession.  39%.

I have to disagree, I won the domestic treble with Arsenal using this tactic first season, just have to make sure you have the right players!

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3 hours ago, Sparky_07 said:

I have to disagree, I won the domestic treble with Arsenal using this tactic first season, just have to make sure you have the right players!

I'm quite sure I have the right players.  It appears the problem is that while they are learning the tactic and we're at about 80% fluidity, for some reason the formation subset was stuck on awkward while everything else was accomplished or better.

I think the save is bugged.

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I started my long-term career with Iraklis in Greek SuperLeague (Season 5) with this tactic.. I have been consistently overachieving in first 4 seasons and qualifying for EURO Cup and getting out of the group every time, even reaching the Quarter Finals last year! I have never mounted a realistic title challenge even if I comfortably secure a play-off spot (2nd to 5th place for those that don't play the Greek league).

Right now I am in 1st place 3 months in, joint 1st with Olympiakos and my highlight has been thrashing Olympiacos 5-0 away!! In my EURO Cup campaign I have 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss (to Roma). We are creating a lot of chances and it is fun to watch. I like to keep a cohesive team unit and don't have big names/expensive signings and even playing with 2 wingers who are being trained to AMCs for this tactic. 

I am enjoying it immensely. I do feel it is a better away tactic than home at times... And I do want my WBs to cross more when given the opportunity. This does happen a bit more when I remove the "Play Through Centre" shout, but not enough for my liking as often they have the ball out wide and have good crossing opportunities. Might try and play "Direct" passing at times that I want to achieve this.

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