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Nymeria

Need help with 4-2-3-1

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Posted (edited)

Okay so this is my first FM game so I'm definitely a noob but  I keep hitting a wall with every tactic I create. Basically they work for a while, in my first 3 seasons with my team in the swedish top division I've finished 3d, 1st and 3d again but the one i finished first I reloaded and replayed a lot of games. In my first couple of season I'd play 442 and do a lot of low crosses because that was basically the only way my strikers could hit the target, or I'd play with 5 at the back and basically just hope I kept a clean sheat and could score one goal. That worked for a while, then I started losing or drawing almost every game so  started playing 4231 wide and with that I'd dominate possesion every game but my strikers could never create a clear chance, so then I created the one you see here and at first it was amazing, I'd score 3 or more in nearly every game and rarely let in more than one. This was during the fourth and current season and I managed to win a domestic cup and make it through the playoffs and into the Europa League, beating a Portugese team 4-0 in the process, but then of course i hit a wall. Now I'm drawing or losing every game even against bottom teams in Sweden. I'm also suddenly letting in a bunch of goals, when at the start of the season i only let in one goal in my 7 first games. I haven't changed anything about the defensive line-up except now I don't tell my wing backs to attack anymore, so actually I'm even more defensive now.

My 2 major problems are:

- When attacking sometimes my players only get as far as the opposing backline, then they start passing the ball around between them unable to find a through pass. The opposing team barely has to do anything except keep 4 defenders standing in front of their penalty area.

- When they  do get it through and create a clear chance, most of the time they blast it over or shoot straight at the keeper. They're not the best strikers in the world obviously but they are probably as good as I can get in this league. For the record I had the exact same problem with much better strikers when I tried playing with Liverpool and with a different system. Basically I have to create maybe 10 clear chances in order to score one goal.

I know it seems stupid to blame bad luck or something, but I seriously don't know what to do. I can't tell you how many games I've dominated with this tactic, created many chances and been better in every way only to lose cause the game decided that one of my players should give away a penalty, make a terrible back pass or just for the opposition to score from the only chance they created. Maybe someone can tell me why my tactic is terrible and exactly what's wrong with it, but it just seems like every time I find a tactic that works I get maybe 10 games where it works and then I automatically start getting bad results. I get that oppositions can start adapting to your game, but I don't think i've had a single match this season where I didn't dominate the opposition and didn't lose because my players an incredible amount of chances and the opposition scored from one or two. And I should mention that it's not my keepers fault, who's one of the best in the division. I try to switch up my tactics to my old 442 or a wider 4231 but this one is definitely my best one and I still always dominate games and should by all logical means win, but somehow I don't. It sounds stupid but it feels like once you start doing too well the game just goes "nope, make a new tactic." Please tell me why I'm wrong about that, but that's how it seems to me.

I motivate my players through team talks, I have one of the best squads in the league, I make my strikers practice shooting more. Nothing works. Like I said I'm very new to this so maybe there's some huge obvious thing I'm doing wrong.

Sorry the images are in Swedish but I assume you people will know what the instructions are. My 4 attacking players are all instructed to move forward, play more risky passes and to make runs so that they can receive through balls. The striker is a false 9 or a deep lying attacker, the middle player in the 3 is an attacking playmaker and the other two are attacking midfielders. Also I just realised the instructions say for my players to use the sides, usually I tell them to use the middle, I don't know why I'd changed it there

Oh and sorry about my whining haha.

 

 

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Edited by Nymeria

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I'm sure a lot of other folks will pop on here have more detailed thoughts but I feel your pain, and here are a couple of things that popped up for me when I look at that setup.

1. That's a whole ton of TI's, batman! The big thing that I'm seeing here is that you have a fairly narrow formation (2 cm's, 3 amc's, stc) which is being told to play narrower still. A control formation would also narrow things up further. So your entire attacking unit is probably grouping up near the D and falling over each other. So while you're trying to thread those little through balls in, there's no -space- to do so.

2. Taking chances - given the amount of congestion in the central area, I'm not sure your players have the time they need to settle and finish chances. I play a fairly congested tactic too and miss a few dollies, but I find that when my guys have more space (and defenders aren't on top of them) they take their time and slot their chances. 

3. With all those players in close, that super-short passing game does make sense. But, do I see tempo set at max? See my time point above - in older FM's, when my strikers would miss dollies, I'd try and drop tempo and hope that they took their time rather than snatch at it, and it kinda worked.

4. If that's a DLPd I see in your MC line (sorry, the letters are a bit small) or a midfielder with more direct passing instructions, where does he go? The main pass option I see for him is to the fullbacks, who will then be isolated on the flanks as everyone else is ganging up centrally. So if your deeper MC dwells on the ball and loses it, or if those fullbacks get pressed and lose it, I'm seeing teams rip away on the counter. 

So, TLDR - I'm not expert, but based on my understanding of football I would try and spread players out a bit more to create space both for them to do their thing, but also to work through the defense. Clearing off those TI's and letting the approach do the talking makes sense. Control shortens passing, plays a bit slower etc, attack is pressy, high and direct; just pick individual TI's like 'prevent short distribution' if you want. Keep it simple!

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What Druvi said to be honest, there are definitely some issues with you tactic which other more skilled people will pull apart (in a nice way).  However don't underestimate the motivational and confidence side of the game.  One loss can easily turn into 10 if you don't handle your players morale well.

Going into the tactic, think about space, and what you're telling each player to do, the DLF for example is being told to come deep, into the space where the AMC is, you have AMCL and AMCR on attack duties, without knowing about their roles I can't suggest what they might be doing, but they will be getting in each others way if you're attacking narrow.

I would remove all of your team instructions as a starter.

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Thanks for the reply! I'm realising more and more a big part of the problem is still that I'm new to the game. For example I didn't realise the tempo effected how much time my strikers take with their finishing (It's only on normal though, not max). I also just figured that if I'm using a narrow formation I should tell them to play narrow. I also think I tend to pile on the TIs when things aren't working in an attempt to affect the game.

Weirdly, the super narrow, short passing aproach was what seemed to make it work at first, before my players were always to far away from each other but with this tactic they would just string a few short passes together until someone managed to cut through the defense. But I'm gonna try out what you said and see how it works.

Druvi, by remove all TI, do you mean I should remove them and start over, or just remove them and play without any instructions?

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Tempo doesn't affect how long your strikers take with their finishing, but a lower tempo game will wait until a clearer opportunity presents itself before playing that final ball, or will pass the ball in defence for a bit before getting the ball into the MF/AT.

I'd remove TI entirely, watch the games, and then decide what you want to add to counter/exaggerate what you're seeing.

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If I read the roles correctly (my swedish does not exist), you are playing with 3 advanced playmakers in the side? Two in AMC and one in MC? That seems massive overkill. Why do you need that many creators? IT also goes some way to explaining why you are not seeing people make runs behind the line. Your advanced playmakers are looking to assist, not score, leaving only the DLF and AM(A) (again, I think those are the roles) as goal threats. You are not going to get any offensive support from the BWM, and the third AP is again going to look to pass. I am really not shocked you are seeing your team pass around a lot up front, they are designed to do so.

Your fullbacks are on automatic. I have no idea what mentality control gives to automatic fullback, and that is an issue. How do you want them to play? Do you want them to bomb down the flanks to give wide support when attacking? Do you want them to advance but stay closer to the midfield to provide width but not too aggressive? Decide which and set them up accordingly.

You do have a lot of TIs. Ask yourself why each one is there. If you cannot find an immediate answer, get rid of it. For instance, why are you exploiting the flanks when you have no players on the flanks? Why are you playing narrow when your formation is narrow by default (the narrower you play, the easier it is to defend against you). Why are you retaining possession and working the ball into the box. Coupled to the glut of playmakers, this is asking your team to rarely pass the ball into space or make a through ball. Why are you asking players to be more expressive, and telling them to be less risky with their passing? 

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Remove all your TIs and see how your team plays without them before adding them to get an effect. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, sporadicsmiles said:

If I read the roles correctly (my swedish does not exist), you are playing with 3 advanced playmakers in the side? Two in AMC and one in MC? That seems massive overkill. Why do you need that many creators? IT also goes some way to explaining why you are not seeing people make runs behind the line. Your advanced playmakers are looking to assist, not score, leaving only the DLF and AM(A) (again, I think those are the roles) as goal threats. You are not going to get any offensive support from the BWM, and the third AP is again going to look to pass. I am really not shocked you are seeing your team pass around a lot up front, they are designed to do so.

Your fullbacks are on automatic. I have no idea what mentality control gives to automatic fullback, and that is an issue. How do you want them to play? Do you want them to bomb down the flanks to give wide support when attacking? Do you want them to advance but stay closer to the midfield to provide width but not too aggressive? Decide which and set them up accordingly.

You do have a lot of TIs. Ask yourself why each one is there. If you cannot find an immediate answer, get rid of it. For instance, why are you exploiting the flanks when you have no players on the flanks? Why are you playing narrow when your formation is narrow by default (the narrower you play, the easier it is to defend against you). Why are you retaining possession and working the ball into the box. Coupled to the glut of playmakers, this is asking your team to rarely pass the ball into space or make a through ball. Why are you asking players to be more expressive, and telling them to be less risky with their passing? 

I have two attacking playmakers in the side, number 39 and number 6 in that image. To be fair my other 3 attacking players make a lot of runs behind the defneders, that's where the problem of them blowing the majority of their chances comes in. Even when they do score they often just smash it. Should just make all my strikers practice placing shots?

Sorry it gets a bit confusing discussing the roles with the different languages, I should probably just change my game to english but now I'm used to it being in Swedish. 

Also I'm realising I should probably have used another screenshot because I'd made some changes there I forgot about, probably cause I got frustrated and started switching things around. Usually my fullbacks are on support or defend, since I've started letting in more goals ive been trying to keep them back, and because this formation is a bit too narrow for them to be much use. The exploit the flanks is usually not there either, I usually tell them to use the middle. I'll take some new screenshots next time I start up the game. 

Edited by Nymeria

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Oh do not worry about the language thing, like you said, it is not so hard to work out what the roles are, I just wanted to make sure I was not getting it wrong!

So you change things a lot? If you want some advice on that, I would take away all of the TIs, and then watch some games on at least comprehensive. Look at what you like and what you do not like, and decide what you need to add back in. Also, give things a couple of games before deciding whether it works or not. You need to look for trends long term, not just short term in a particular match.

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I do start changing things around when I start losing games :). When a tactic is working I leave it alone.

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I'm also a believer in "don't add the team instructions until you see how your tactic is doing" for newer players like myself.  I over thought things a lot and ended up having much more success not doing so.

I can get your frame of mind for things like "I already have a narrow formation, so I'll set my players to play narrower" although I wouldn't say that this is necessary because by virtue of your formation they'll already play narrower than they would if you had two players out on the wings of that AMC.

Something I do with a new tactic is play on "complete match" for the first 20 minutes or so to see if I like how things are going.  Minor tweaks here and there as they go.  Do this with a few teams to get a feel for different types of opponents.  It's let me experiment a bit more with tactics and recognizing where some of my faults are.  For instance, in my career I just moved from India to Norway. In India, I had a really effective 5-3-2 WB formation that would get loads of chances against teams I had moved beyond in terms of skill.  Bringing that to the new team in Div Two Norway met with some initial success but after teams got more conservative against me, it often has huge issues that get aggressively exploited especially against narrower teams.  This let me make some role changes. Though reality is that against the stronger teams in this league it still leaves me too exposed so I opt for a safer 4-1-2-3 DM formation which I have decent success with.  I might shelve that one until I've made the team more my own after a season or two :)

Good luck!

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@Nymeria

To add something no one else has mentioned I believe... I would have a look at your striker, if i'm not mistaken, you're using a Deep Lying Forward (A) at the moment. As the description already says, this role will drop deep and help out with the build-up. You already have three players directly behind him; do you think he will need to drop deep? I would rather have him as my main scorer in a poacher or advanced forward role. By using a more advanced striker role you will automatically create space for the three attacking midfielders behind him as well. Something you're lacking now with the narrow formation and your TI's. 

I would also have a look at your fullbacks in combination with your two central midfielders. You need the CM's to hold position as there is no space for them to run in anyways with the three AM's in front of them and they are the only two players covering your defense.  A simple CM (D) and DLP (S) would work or a DLP (D) and CM (S) with hold position. (multiple combinations possible) Regarding the fullbacks, I would look out for the fullback on the side of the supporting CM. Do not let him get too advanced as there aren't a whole lot of players covering for him. On the other side you have room to be a bit more attack minded because you have the defensive duty. 

I'm not an expert on what roles to use for the AM's, but I would definitely go for a creator, runner, and maybe some sort of hybrid. 

Good luck

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Thanks for the tip. My idea with the striker was that he'd be able to recieve the ball then play it on for the attacking midfielders making runs behind the backline, but yeah, that's not happening all that often.

I finished the season playing with less TI and experimenting with which ones work, but to be honest I don't see much of a difference. I think you're right that the problem is the striker, right now there's no one creating space up front. I've been trying giving him different roles but again I'm not seeing much of a difference.

 

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