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bababooey

Let's build a system that is balanced, yet dynamic (good help for struggling players!)

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Goal: 

I want to explain my thought process in a way that hopefully helps some people with creating systems that get them results. 

But ultimately only those that want to be helped can be helped. If you're sitting there thinking that the game is rigged against you, then you'll need to change that thought.

The game is not rigged. Tactics are vital. And understanding HOW the game plays out is 99% of the solution.  What you do to compensate is the other 1% 

If you only read 1 portion of this, please read the "how I select the roles and duties" part. That is arguably the most important aspect of any system! 

The Idea: 

I was sick  of playing the same 4-3-3-ish system so I wanted to change things up and do things using my own ideas. I didn't want to copy anyone, I wanted to get creative and test my own ideas. 

Hopefully we can work towards a system that creates QUALITY chances, presses effectively, and defends solidly.  I'm not looking to create 60% possession, or the most shots on goal.  Just a system that creates a lot of problems for the AI while remaining stable at the back. 

Bayern Munich are the team I'm playing as, simply because I like them a lot, and also because they're a fantastic "test" team for trying out tactics.  Why? Because top-tier clubs generally are so good that you don't have to worry about having the right players to carry out your ideas. For example if I wanted to use a very intricate high-pressing high-possession style, I probably wouldn't be doing that with Sunderland.  So using a top-tier club is a great way to test tactics. 

Initially my goal with bayern was to be pretty direct and aggressive. It worked well in the league, but we got destroyed in the champions league knock-out stage 2 years in a row and I was absolutely pissed about it. Tottenham knocked us out, and then Liverpool (both teams managed by Pocchettino, that bastard!) In both games we were completely inept in attack, and the lack of balance was truly exposed. So I wanted to make big changes. 

I hit the pre-season going into season 3, after winning 2 league titles, 2  super cups, and 2 domestic cups.  It was time for big changes because I was sick of tinkering, and sick of 433. So we made some transfer moves, and settled on a system that I'm loving.  The base shape is a 4-4-1-1 Asymmetric.  

RsMAOSZ.jpg

Notice how I left out the roles/duties.  I don't want you to get bogged down in all that right now.  Just look at the shape. 

The thing I'm going for here is coverage of the pitch when we're in this shape (our defensive phase).  

The 4-4-1-1 defends by default in two banks of four. This is one of the most universally-agreed upon excellent defensive shapes.  If you set it up right you can have it defend perfectly well against teams with more players in midfield (particularly problematic in the central areas) than you have.  The idea is about controlling space. 

Movement-wise, I want to see a few things.  I want my most forward striker to be dropping deep, pressing the other team, and linking play. I want the offset AMC to be burst forward but also help win the battle in central midfield (and partially on his flank).  I need my two CM's to control the middle of the park despite not having a third teammate (nominally) with them.  So I prefer to keep it simple and I expect them to act as sort of a double-pivot. The flanks are set up as wide mids and fullbacks.  Why?  I'm sick of using wide AM's, and I've found that with the right instructions, players from the wide-mid strata can be just as offensively effective as those in the AM strata.  But, you get the added bonus of defensive stability / increased tracking back.  

One of the huge problems I see on here is people complaining that they're getting scored on, particularly on the counter. It's easy to see why when the majority of tactics are using either 2, 3, or even 4 players in the attacking midfield strata. (4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, etc.)  What's happening is, having those wide attacking mids spaced out so far from their fullbacks causes a lot of open space to be left behind for the AI to exploit. Most teams in real life don't even play this way.  Using wide-mid's is a scary good weapon to have in your arsenal.  Plus, the WM role is super customizable.  What more can you want? 

How I selected Roles / Duties

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I'll start from the base.   And remember the goal is to create a well-balanced system with multiple points of attack, as well as a solid defensive structure. 

1. SK-D with PI's to take short kicks and distribute to my CD's.  This is because I have good ball players in that position, and also because a lot of teams in Germany love to use AMLR's who press the fullbacks immediately.  Distributing to the CD's helps us filter the ball into our CM's, and not get caught out on the flanks.  Minimizing risk is key here. 

2. CD-D, BDP-C.   What I've gone for here is a classic central defender who breaks up play, and then one who isn't afraid to play a risky pass, but also sits back a bit and cleans up any mistakes / through balls / 1v1's. I love this combination because it also allows us to effectively defend that crucial space in behind the CM's.  One CD can set up and be aggressive without unbalancing the entire system.  This helps dilute any possible numerical advantage the AI might have inbetween the lines.

3. FB-A / FB-S.   This is a really simple thing.  I wanted at least 1 full back to be consistently getting forward. What this does is puts the AI under pressure from a more unpredictable area. It also allows us to more effectively control the play once we've established possession in the attacking third.  The other fullback will get forward too, but much in a much less risky manner. 

4. DLP-D / CM-S  This was the hardest thing for me to decide on. I knew I wanted to utilize a DLP-D.  Bayern seem to always have phenomenal options for that role.  But tactically speaking I love this set up because it allows us to have a creator/holder partnered with a runner/supporter.  These guys have to be good all around players because they're only in a pair.  I expect them to break up play a bit, but not TOO much. Ideally I want to see them helping defend their respective flank, but not exclusively. They need to be able to force the AI to play the ball down the flanks, where we'll have a better numerical advantage. The CM-S should provide enough forward thrust to support the attacks, while also not being overly-aggressive / roaming in a way that would expose the DLP-D.  

5. WM-S / WM-S     So for these guys I have special instructions.  Both are set to maximum closing down.  Both are told to sit narrow.  The left mid cuts inside.  The right mid dribbles more but doesn't cut inside. This creates sort of a false winger / false inside forward combination that is really fun to watch. I usually like to use James Rodriguez on the wide left spot, and either douglas costa or kylian mbappe on the right flank. 

Please note, the key instruction here is sits narrower.  This is because in order for us to remain stable in midfield I wanted to give the DLP-D / CM-S as much help as possible. A lot of teams in FM attack narrowly, for whatever reason. So if you can't defend the middle, you're going to have a bad time.  Both of these wide mids sitting narrow helps a lot.  They're also told to close down aggressively because it's easier for us to win the ball back on the flanks than in the middle. Remember the AI has nowhere to go if you close them down against the touchline.  

Also note, BOTH wide mids are on support.  Why?  Because as I said above, I wanted to give a lot of support to those central mids, especially against narrow attacks.  When we need to we can easily turn the right wide mid into attack, giving him a lot more license to get forward consistently.  But you have to remember this key point:

just because a player is on support doesn't mean he won't get forward and be involved in the attack!  I've got supporting wide mids who have potential to outscore Lewandowski / Muller. The thing to realize is how much space there is. If a support player has space to run into, he's going to do it if it's relatively risk-free.  Remember they're starting position is deeper than the typical wide attacker. They're going to find themselves (a lot of times) with plenty of space ahead of them.  This creates SO many problems for teams using AMLR with regular full backs. 

6. SS-A / DLF-S   Initially I wanted to use a complete forward on the right, but I found that he roamed too much and we lacked enough of a central threat. So the DLF-S was the natural choice for a player who can come deep to get the ball, link play, and do so without roaming too much.   The SS-A is a great role.  Muller is perfect for this, I don't think there is anyone on earth better for that role.  This is mostly due to his incredible mental stats! 

Anyway the idea here is that the SS-A will burst forward, and he'll do so slightly off-set from the main striker. It's about space! I want him to have as much space to work in as possible, while still be safely  supported by his teammates.  Often times he'll be the further forward. Other times he'll be quite deep helping us link play.  This variety is exactly what helps create space and therefore, goal scoring chances. 

As I said above the DLF-S also links play, but he's a bit more of a "central" player, which is important. We still need to have someone playing a more traditional striker role towards the middle. This way we have an effective "target" for crosses, someone who can knock the ball down and hold it up.  Having a good passer here helps a ton.  Lewandowski isn't a great passer, but he's such a dynamic player that it works a treat.

Instructions! And Mentality! And Shape! 

4F9rbGr.jpg

See what I did there? Zero TI's.  This may change eventually, but for now, it's zero. There's no need.  I'm keeping things really simple. I'll add or remove TI's as I see fit in a match. But they're completely unnecessary for creating a solid system. A lot of times they just create more problems, making it harder to diagnose problems.  Besides, our style of play is defined by our roles/duties, PLAYER instructions, and shape/mentality.

For mentality we went with Control.  Again, this will change in matches.  Not a ton, but i'll do it when appropriate.  I went for control because I want to get players forward and into dangerous positions. I want us to take a decent amount of risk while also not over-committing to attacking.  Control is a really cool mentality because you can get a sort of hybrid possession/counter-attack thing going. 

In some matches we score from the counter, and in others we score from constant controlling of the AI's final third.  It's beautiful.   

I'll change mentality generally if we need to hold onto a result / take less risk / go down a man.  I'm not afraid to use attacking, but it hasn't been needed really.  Think of mentality as risk, not as a measure of likelihood to score goals.  It's about risk and space!  Control = more risk, more movement, more emphasis on getting forward / ahead of the ball.  Control does not = more goals by default, or less defending. 

Shape-wise I went for Very Fluid.  The idea here is I wanna be as compact as possible.  The strength of a 4-4-2 variant is the two banks of four in defense. Being compact helps us fortify that shape, AND it helps us press effectively as a unit.  Remember that playing very fluid also means players will use more creative freedom so, if you have poor decision makers, this might not be a good idea. 

I will go to a more structured shape when necessary. For example if we're down to 10 men, I'd prefer to be much more "stand off-ish" and just maintain shape.  Or, if we're being pressed to death and need space, going more structured can help us spread players out further and open up more space.  Everything is contextual! 

So does this even work? 

2jsECtc.jpg

Yes.  Granted, plenty of friendlies in there, but the run speaks for itself. There's a good mix here of tough away matches / decent league opponents. 

Here's some shots of our assist locations, and assist types: (as well as opponent assists) 

uzIHwJ3.jpg

j46SzGa.jpg

Remember what I said about balance? Look at those assists. We're getting contributions from ALL over the place. We're scoring from different avenues, and creating quality chances.

This is the sign of a well-built system that can sustain itself in the long haul.  Remember, by this point in the save, we're already 2x champions and the AI respects us.  Most games we play the AI is quite defensive. So this isn't a case of "well, in two months time see where it goes."   This is designed to be a system that picks apart defensive sides. 

The bonus is that it has seemed to work really well on the counter, too.  We destroyed Dortmund by playing mostly on the counter mentality with very few shouts. Same role/duty set up.  It's all about the movement and control of space!

So now what? 

At this point I'm excited to be using this system consistently. One thing I'd like to explore is using "work ball into box" from the get-go. This would reduce unneeded long shots, and even reduce some excess crossing. Also, stay on feet might help because we're usually quite aggressive.  

As for roles and duties, I think that changing the right wid mid to attack is going to have to continue to be game by game basis. I'm not sure I want to do that for each match. I like how he functions by default on support. It's just that in some matches when he's on attack it creates this insanely potent flank attack.  

 

Thanks for reading, and good luck with your FM saves. If you would like to ask me questions about this system, feel free. I'll try to answer as many as I can.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by bababooey

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You said something about your wide mids instructed to sit narrow. Is that for defensive or offensive phase because sitting narrow affects the player(s) only when their team is in posession.

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40 minutes ago, nightwalker22 said:

You said something about your wide mids instructed to sit narrow. Is that for defensive or offensive phase because sitting narrow affects the player(s) only when their team is in posession.

Correct, sit narrower is an 'in posession' shout so it doesn't make that player sit narrower when defending. When defending your team automatically takes up a narrow shape. Telling the player to sit narrow has it's defensive pro's tho. Because when you attack narrower and lose the ball that player is already more central so he can provide good central cover and force play out wide.

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2 hours ago, Bjick said:

Correct, sit narrower is an 'in posession' shout so it doesn't make that player sit narrower when defending. When defending your team automatically takes up a narrow shape. Telling the player to sit narrow has it's defensive pro's tho. Because when you attack narrower and lose the ball that player is already more central so he can provide good central cover and force play out wide.

Yeah sure, but play too narrow and the AI will deal with your attacks like nothing happens.

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24 minutes ago, nightwalker22 said:

Yeah sure, but play too narrow and the AI will deal with your attacks like nothing happens.

Not always.

But yeah sit narrower is an important instruction in this tactic, absolutely. 

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A very interesting thread, which makes a lot of interesting points. 

I have a question though. I assume you have the asymmetry and the SS due to your wish to either create a stagger, or a better link between defence and midfield, and a more defensive shape? Would this be correct? How do you find that your team copes when you are facing overwhelming numbers in midfield? I usually struggle to control possession (then again, I do not care about that) when I face 3 man midfields, or when one of the midfielders drops much deeper as a DLP(D). In that case, I tend to use a specific marking for my deeper striker to close this player down and take him from the game. This has the additional effect of making one of my strikers start attacks deeper.

I will also add an interesting point about 442 formations in general. I am having considerable success at the moment using a DLF(S)/DLF(A) as my strike partnership, coupled to a more direct passing TI. This combination has the advantage making both my strikers drop deeper to receive the ball, which automatically drags teams out of shape. I have a couple of runners from midfield and defence who can link with these players. This typically leads to space in behind a side, which the more direct passing technique exploits. I am scoring a hell of a lot of goals playing like this at the moment. I therefore wonder how exactly you mostly see build up play with your tactic here. Is it based around getting the ball forward quickly, or building up in a more controlled fashion, or a mixture of the two?

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Hi @bababooey brilliant opening post. I can see how you use the formation as a building block. I’ve been trying to create a tactic that uses wide players as all I’ve done with success so far has been narrow tactics. I can see here the patient buildup, the win play when needed and the attack. I plugged it into a Melbourne Victory game I have going (same as you, dominating the league and Asian Champions League) and came away 4-2 winners vs Adelaide. I did make the right fullback a wingback on defend and added roam from position and retain possession after listening to @Rashidi Bust the Net YouTube series. I think with more refinement I can make it more deviating with better defence. 

 

With a WBd I think I can afford to make the CMs a BWMs with more risky passes and get further forward. I’ll have a play and see where I end up. 

 

As a suggestion, could you go into what you do in specific circumstances so? Would like to know what and why you did things vs Dortmund for example. 

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I just stopped by, just to say that you gave me my enthousiasm back to play this game after a stop of a few weeks. I stopped playing because I just couldn't figure out my tactics and what was going wrong and what I really wanted. Now I'm gonna try this and see where it gets me, with my own tweaks ofcourse :) Thanks for the great openingpost!

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On 7/15/2017 at 16:23, sporadicsmiles said:

A very interesting thread, which makes a lot of interesting points. 

I have a question though. I assume you have the asymmetry and the SS due to your wish to either create a stagger, or a better link between defence and midfield, and a more defensive shape? Would this be correct? How do you find that your team copes when you are facing overwhelming numbers in midfield? I usually struggle to control possession (then again, I do not care about that) when I face 3 man midfields, or when one of the midfielders drops much deeper as a DLP(D). In that case, I tend to use a specific marking for my deeper striker to close this player down and take him from the game. This has the additional effect of making one of my strikers start attacks deeper.

I will also add an interesting point about 442 formations in general. I am having considerable success at the moment using a DLF(S)/DLF(A) as my strike partnership, coupled to a more direct passing TI. This combination has the advantage making both my strikers drop deeper to receive the ball, which automatically drags teams out of shape. I have a couple of runners from midfield and defence who can link with these players. This typically leads to space in behind a side, which the more direct passing technique exploits. I am scoring a hell of a lot of goals playing like this at the moment. I therefore wonder how exactly you mostly see build up play with your tactic here. Is it based around getting the ball forward quickly, or building up in a more controlled fashion, or a mixture of the two?

 

Hi there, 

So I'll try my best to answer all of these questions:

 

1. The asymmetry is simply about doing things differently, and also creating a little more space for the AMC to run into.  This also allows us to create overloads on that side of the pitch, which is helpful, too. Defensively, I ask both the AMC and ST to close down aggressively.  Having the AMC staggered a bit to one side may help us press both opposition center backs, or maybe 1 DM and 1 CD.  All depends!   

2.  We actually escaped a certain loss against a smaller german club in the domestic cup. They played a 4-2-3-1 narrow, so 2 CM's and 3 AMC's.  Add in a striker who drops deep and you've got potentially 6 guys crowding around midfield.  That was a HUGE problem for us.   We managed to draw 1-1, but we deserved to lose.  I was lazy and didn't make changes until the final 10 minutes. I changed shape to 4-2-3-1 wide, pressed very high, and hit them via the flanks.  Worked well, should have done it much earlier. 

In less extreme cases we can help solve this issue by playing a bit more narrow, but also encouraging the fullbacks to get forward sooner and help the midfield.  It would also help if I had the AMC play in a support role, but if we do that then we need to make more changes to our attack to compensate. So it isn't the ideal solution. 

3.  Build up play with this system is typically pretty patient. You have to remember, I have a bunch of support roles that are helping to work the ball up the pitch.  A couple times per match we'll see someone launch a nasty long ball, but generally speaking the build up is quite short and patient.  I'm not necessarily sure this is what I want long term, however. 

 

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18 hours ago, nick1408 said:

Hi @bababooey brilliant opening post. I can see how you use the formation as a building block. I’ve been trying to create a tactic that uses wide players as all I’ve done with success so far has been narrow tactics. I can see here the patient buildup, the win play when needed and the attack. I plugged it into a Melbourne Victory game I have going (same as you, dominating the league and Asian Champions League) and came away 4-2 winners vs Adelaide. I did make the right fullback a wingback on defend and added roam from position and retain possession after listening to @Rashidi Bust the Net YouTube series. I think with more refinement I can make it more deviating with better defence. 

 

With a WBd I think I can afford to make the CMs a BWMs with more risky passes and get further forward. I’ll have a play and see where I end up. 

 

As a suggestion, could you go into what you do in specific circumstances so? Would like to know what and why you did things vs Dortmund for example. 

 

Hello!   Thanks for the kind words. 

Rashidi's videos on youtube are absolutely GOLDEN, can't recommend them enough. He's such a helpful guy!  

 

So for the game against Dortmund we basically decided to drop deeper and allow them to come further towards us. They were pretty aggressive down the flanks so, I felt comfortable playing direct passes down the flanks to expose them.  It really was as simple as that.  We just looked for where the spaces were and tried to exploit them. 

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4 hours ago, VV Bal op de Lat said:

I just stopped by, just to say that you gave me my enthousiasm back to play this game after a stop of a few weeks. I stopped playing because I just couldn't figure out my tactics and what was going wrong and what I really wanted. Now I'm gonna try this and see where it gets me, with my own tweaks ofcourse :) Thanks for the great openingpost!

 

Glad to hear.  FM is an amazing game.  Granted I play on FM Touch so it's a lot less "deep" and more streamlined, but still. 

Another cool tip:  if you're ever REALLY struggling, you can always use one of the pre-made formations and just make sure to change all of the automatic duties to support.  They can all work! And they're all surprisingly good bases to start from.  Credit goes to Rashidi for that tip! 

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