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abyss616

FM14: Getting more solid defensively with a 4-2-3-1

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Current setup

GK-d: Distribute to defenders
WB-a: Cross more often, run wide with ball, more direct passes
CD-d: Pass it shorter
CD-d: Pass it shorter
WB-a: Cross more often, dribble less, more direct passes
CM-d: Pass it shorter, close down less
CM-s: Pass it shorter, close down less
AM-a
AP-a: Roam from position, move into channels
AM-a: Get further forward
CF-s: Move into channels, roam from position

Thoughts behind team instructions:
Play out of defense: maintain possession, although with my defenders' tendency to panic when trapped and pass it straight to the opposition, I'm thinking of removing that
Lower tempo: relic from season's past when I saw passes go everywhere
Float crosses/early crosses: forwards are great jumpers with high anticipation
Expressive/roam from positions: goes hand-in-hand with very fluid - want my players to move around into open spaces and give them the freedom to create chances. Once I went to these instructions, scoring improved drastically
Shorter passing: maintain possession

I got my fluidity and team instructions through a bit of trial and error. I went with this one game and it worked, so I stuck with it. This past season was my most successful to date, finishing 4th in the EPL. I was second in the league in goals with 85 but was tied for 13th in goals allowed with 64. While most of the time I was scoring enough for it not to matter, I never felt comfortable with a two-goal lead and when I wasn't scoring, I rarely scraped out 1-0 wins.

My tactical knowledge is decent but far from thorough and I lack the ability to diagnose what is and isn't working to adjust in-game to make a difference. It seems like I gave up a bunch of goals on crosses, defenders getting pulled out of position, and a ton of stupid mistakes (wildly sending the ball from the corner into the center of the pitch, right to an opposing player is one of our favorite moves).

I realize this is a top-heavy, attacking formation, but are there any adjustments -- through team or individual instructions -- I could make so that it was more solid defensively? Changing formations probably isn't in the cards as I have no (good) wide players on the roster. I've experimented using supporting roles in the AMC strata but it hasn't seemed to make any difference defensively. I've used two CM-d's before, but it seems to create a big gap between them and the AMCs. And I'm in the market for better defenders but I seem to have as good as I'm going to get considering I don't have a ton of money to spend on world-class talent.

4231 Narrow 2028-29.jpg

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supporting fullbacks may help. instead of telling them to attack they will stay a little deeper more often and avoid being caught out regularly. it is hard to have any sort of defensive shape with 5 players (2 defenders) on attack. effectively you are telling 6 players to play in the opposition half whenever possible

drop your fluidity down so your defensive players are just defending instead of trying to attack as 1 unit might help?

you have roaming on, i tend to leave that off and only switch it on if the situation demands it. how can you expect 2 central defenders and one defensive midfielder to have any team shape to defend by themselves...

would be interesting to see how that formation ends up looking after a few away games

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I think going back to that version AMCL/AMCR didn't cover the flanks as well as they do in newer versions but I could be wrong.

I think your AM will be getting congested.  The CF-S will be dropping and not playing on a defences shoulder, whilst you have an AP-A and two AM-A already in that area, plus a CM-S who will step up into that area to.  I think this is why giving more roaming and freedom has helped, as its allowed players to move away from the congested area, but I think you would be better off addressing the roles+duties so its more consistent.

Then both DL+DR are WB-A who will be pushing high up the field and taking risks with and without the ball, with only a CM-D holding in midfield there will be a lot of space on the flanks that the CBs would need to cover.  You might need one or both to be a bit more cautious.

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Would you recommend FB-a or WB-s? What are the differences between the two?

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28 minutes ago, abyss616 said:

Would you recommend FB-a or WB-s? What are the differences between the two?

Well the duty difference (support vs attack) means attack will have a higher mentality which makes them take more risks (with and without the ball).

Just look at the players instructions for difference in the role (FB vs WB).

Without seeing how your team plays your tactic its hard to recommend one. FB-S is a fine under-rated role+duty, you don't need fullbacks getting forward all the time, they can and will still provide width, just in safer situations.

You could have your LB and RB on different roles and/or duties.  This can also be helpful for you to see how they play differently on the field.

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2 hours ago, summatsupeer said:

Well the duty difference (support vs attack) means attack will have a higher mentality which makes them take more risks (with and without the ball).

Just look at the players instructions for difference in the role (FB vs WB).

Without seeing how your team plays your tactic its hard to recommend one. FB-S is a fine under-rated role+duty, you don't need fullbacks getting forward all the time, they can and will still provide width, just in safer situations.

You could have your LB and RB on different roles and/or duties.  This can also be helpful for you to see how they play differently on the field.

I guess my question was, which role will be more attacking/less defensive, a wingback on support or fullback on attack? (BTW, is there a chart that has all of the roles and duties and how aggressive they are in relation to one another?)

I just concluded the season so I'm a ways out from starting again, but I'll experiment and see. Sometimes it's hard to tell what will be effective in preseason friendlies since I'm usually playing either minnows for fitness/confidence reasons or really big clubs for money.

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Try not to over think things, the duty defines the risk, the instructions define what he will try rarely/sometimes/often.

If you want a player to balance his risk taking then use support, if you want them to focus on taking chances and trying riskier things then use attack duty.

In your example FB-A vs WB-S.  Whilst both have Gets Forward instruction, the attack duty of the FB will mean he takes more risks to do so than the WB.  Once he has the ball that higher risk taking will make him try to create something more often than support.  So if you want a player to run up and down the flank and swing a cross in, FB-A is your man.  If you would rather he wait till its a lower risk (helps when he has cover of a defend duty) and once he has the ball doesn't just swing a cross in but looks to pull it back / recycle possession etc.

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Thanks for the help. Any tweaks to the roles/duties of my MC pair? I have them both on "close down less" to keep them from getting pulled out of position. What about the CM-s to help more on defense?

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Update on my season since I made some tactical changes: it's still early (10 games played), but my defense has improved. I lost my top DC but added several comparable replacements and improved my standing in the league in the defensive attributes. I am tied for fifth in the  league in goals allowed with 11, just two off the top spot. However, my offense has completely cratered: I am tied for 16th with 12 goals in 10 games.

Worse, my team is Jekyll and Hyde. Coming off three straight wins by a combined 9-1 (two PL, 1 CL), I get completely bossed around by the last-placed team (60% possession), one that has a grand total of four points (1-1-8). I give up three SoG (in five attempts) to a team in the relegation zone... and they all go in, while I have four SoG in 17 and get shut out. I beat PSG 2-0, then lose my next four, scoring two goals in the process. I guess I'm stuck in a situation where I don't know what to expect from my team, regardless of what tactic I use, or who I use in it.

So basically what I'm saying is, my season is going to hell and I can't figure out how to stop it.

4231 Narrow 2029-30.jpg

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