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Why a 3-4-1-2? Well, for my last FM17 project I wanted to try something that I've never achieved before. This is namely a working, viable back three formation. In an all or nothing attempt, this formation also allows me to play with two strikers and a classic number 10. This is a far cry from my usual 4-1-2-2-1 (4-5-1) set up. There will be teething problems which is why I'm sharing the process and hoping for help!

 

 

Immediate weaknesses:

 

- wide areas/ overlaps down the wings

- DM zone

 

 

More will certainly arise but I think as a start I have to be wary of those two potential weaknesses.

 

Clearly there has been some very educational posts about how to build tactics, maintain them, tweak them etc but a recent snippet that has caught my eye is the following quote by @Ö-zil to the Arsenal! which helps us to transfer our ideas to the FM world:

 

 

On 25/08/2017 at 19:59, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:
Tactical Theory
Before we look at the characteristics of Marcelo Bielsa's tactics in more detail, let's introduce a new format which should make it easier to relate real-world football to the Tactics Creator and on to the Match Engine.
Football can be broken down into 4-phases:
  • Defence
  • Transition from Defence to Attack (aka. Build-up)
  • Attack
  • Transition from Attack to Defence
Now, let's think about Marcelo Bielsa's approach to each of these phases:

image.png.84bc41507b2ac05e170d5a85b37d6696.png

 

This encourages us to think about how the tactic in our head can be transferred to FM and the key areas to focus on. Therefore I have thought about how I envisage my team attacking and defending.

 

Attacking principles:

 

- direct to strikers

- creative in the AM zone

- quick crosses

- quick transitions

 

An emphasis on fast attacking play with a key to unlock stubborn defences or if plan A does not work (#10)

 

 

How we defend:

 

- win the ball back quickly

- press from the front

- WM drop into a back 5

- protect back 3 if press fails

 

 

We want to be proactive but sensible. Certainly elements of Bielsa in our play but not as exaggerated. I want us to try and win it back quickly but if we fail drop into a solid shape that will look like a 5-3-2.

 

So how do I think this looks in the tactics creator? This is my starting point:

 

C5cTUsx.png

 

 

A very standard 3-4-1-2. No team instructions and no player instructions. Standard/ flexible. As mentioned this is my first attempt at this shape, this playing style and at including lots of new positions/ ideas. Therefore, I need to see it play before I can determine whether or not it is doing what I want – or why not.

 

A quick note before game analysis: Mobile, athletic CBs who can come out wide; defensive wingers to try and plug those wide areas (who also by default have maximum pressing); solid CM to defend DM zone. I said at the start that the wide areas and the DM zone were my problem areas, this shows that I have at least thought about that.

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Hong Nam 0-7 Chelsea

 

Not the hardest of games but vital to get a little confidence, a little fitness and a little tactical familiarity before tougher challenges. The aim of the game was to see how our wingers would defend against their wingers and support the attacking 3.

 

So what does my 3-4-1-2 look like on grass?

 

Jvwvc6C.png

 

This is straight from their kick off. The defenders have spread and Costa has gone charging off after their ball carrier who launches it. DWs are goal side and Matic/ Kante are in a sensible position.

 

2Z99Zx8.png

 

Here is a typical attack. Pressure on the back line forces a clearance which Alonso intercepts then beats his man. When he pulls it back to Lukaku he has Costa, Hazard and Willian all forward.

 

kB0dTk0.png

 

This is mirrored on the other wing. When Willian gets to the byline he has plenty of support in the box.

 

 

IKZerKQ.png

 

Defensively there are also plus points. Hazard is tracking back and helping Matic/ Kante despite his role. DWs are both goal side.

 

Conclusion

 

This was one game against very weak players so I can't say too much. However, attacking we look to have good support and the players are happy to drop back and press as a team. I can go into our next game at home to Sheffield Wednesday without any changes.

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Match Analysis vs Sheffield Wednesday

 

 

Here we start to see a little insight into my pre-seasons. I could easily have 8 Hong Nam games and we'd be going into the season fit and happy but aside from a very general overview it didn't really tell me much. By layering the games against consistently better teams I get a much better feel of how we play.

 

Sheff W formation

 

 

wJmtOIA.png

 

 

A popular formation and one with an immediate risk – those wide, high wingers.

 

 

The first stages were a bit of a stalemate with only similar screenshots to the Hong Nam game aside from this one:

 

kPiI2eE.png

 

We won the ball by pressing them into kicking it long but then our players sent a long ball to Costa. The attack fizzles out because Costa turns and runs with the ball, sensing that he has no support.

 

bfSS30e.png

 

This is much better which suggests that the previous shot was a bit of a fluke. The ball again goes to the striker from deep but the strikers are close enough to play a pass to each other. This gives the supporting players time to join them for a dangerous attack.

 

shsfvn7.png

 

A hint of danger. Their wide players who half tracked Willian and Alonso minutes previously, are now wide open when the ball is won back and played in behind Willian.

 

tErwJOk.png

 

Alonso does however track all the way back into the box and clear a cross. I'd say that 9 times out of 10 my three CBs should clear that.

 

kpYds0k.png

 

Our goal came from our winger getting to the by line and crossing the ball to a striker. The finish was Willian to Lukaku, then soon after Alsonso to Costa but Costa blazed it over from close range. If the ball is cleared there's Hazard also on the edge of the area and Kante/ Matic sweeping.

 

ISt5pfV.png

 

Dangerous chance. Murphy (highlighted) plays a diagonal behind Alonso and take shim out of the game. The all is then fired across the box and half cleared by Luiz. Murphy follows the ball into the box and shoots over from Luiz's clearance.

 

A) The pass was great. I think Alonso is in a good position defensively.

B) Luiz should have cleared better.

C) If I'm being picky Matic/ Kante or even Hazard should have tracked Murphy's run better

 

0vx55mS.png

 

(Lee highlighted also in space) Just poor marking, I think Kante and Matic have the right roles set to be more aware of these late runs. The are CM players who should be in the eye-line of my CM players – not AMC players who start behind them.

 

Conclusion

 

A much better example to make a conclusion from. Sheffield Wednesday are a much better team with players who could hurt me. Their wingers are quick and tricky and the midfielders have the ability to find them with an accurate long ball. I think I saw a couple of deficiencies in the tactic.

 

A) Open to a counter attack behind DWs

B) Very quick transitions can leave strikers isolated if they are too far apart (pressing problem?)

C) A lack of tight marking from CM players

 

Honestly, that's nothing I didn't know already. But, we didn't concede and handled these dangerous moments quite efficiently.

 

Better teams will punish this but as it stands I'm happy to move forward into our final friendlies without any changes yet. These are Club Brugge and Red Bull Salzburg at home and Gladbach away.

 

Has anybody seen anything that I haven't? I think I'm OK at translating my tactical ideas into the creator but I've never been great at tweaking.

 

Pkm attached (hopefully)

Chelsea v Sheff Wed.pkm

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I have been tried to make many sorts of 3 at the back system work in this game for a long time, but just had to concede it to be impossible unless you have super human defenders.

Your always going to be getting crosses in for forwards to tap in, with your wide centerbacks being done in channels. I always wanted to have a system incoporating traditional high and wide wingers with a back three, and whatever I tried wide centerbacks performed as statues and failed to defend or stop crosses. 

So however well it your systems performs offensivly, the me is likely to punish you with your defendefs not properly helping your wide players to defend channels effectivly. As a result your bound to see over every other goal coceded being a cross to 6yard cheat.

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It's a matter of taste, but I would've gone with offensive wingbacks instead of Defensive Wingers that I don't find pro-active at all, like CWB(S) or WB(A), or even CWB(A). I would've had as two Defend duties for the CMs: DLP(D) and CM(D) because of the number of players up front especially since Trequartistas do not defend at all; but then I rarely play with two CMs. Considering In general, FM defenders tend to have poor awareness to whatever happens at the far post especially on counters, so you're bound to get goals in at the far post very often even with players with 20 Anticipation and Positioning. Well, more accurately, they seem to get hypnotized or sucked in by dribbling opponents quite often instead of paying more attention to the other passing options.

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On 14/09/2017 at 00:31, BrianMunich said:

I have been tried to make many sorts of 3 at the back system work in this game for a long time, but just had to concede it to be impossible unless you have super human defenders.

Your always going to be getting crosses in for forwards to tap in, with your wide centerbacks being done in channels. I always wanted to have a system incoporating traditional high and wide wingers with a back three, and whatever I tried wide centerbacks performed as statues and failed to defend or stop crosses. 

So however well it your systems performs offensivly, the me is likely to punish you with your defendefs not properly helping your wide players to defend channels effectivly. As a result your bound to see over every other goal coceded being a cross to 6yard cheat.

 

I've always stayed away because of conceding cheap crossed goals which I though a full back would prevent easily. It may skew my results slightly by being Chelsea but although they are good defenders I wouldn't say they were super-human. It will be a nice experiment to see just how many goals I concede in this way. Of course that relies on my set up not being flawed in the first place. I can't complain about cheap crossed goals if my set up does not do everything it can to prevent them.

 

On 14/09/2017 at 02:11, BMNJohn said:

It's a matter of taste, but I would've gone with offensive wingbacks instead of Defensive Wingers that I don't find pro-active at all, like CWB(S) or WB(A), or even CWB(A). I would've had as two Defend duties for the CMs: DLP(D) and CM(D) because of the number of players up front especially since Trequartistas do not defend at all; but then I rarely play with two CMs. Considering In general, FM defenders tend to have poor awareness to whatever happens at the far post especially on counters, so you're bound to get goals in at the far post very often even with players with 20 Anticipation and Positioning. Well, more accurately, they seem to get hypnotized or sucked in by dribbling opponents quite often instead of paying more attention to the other passing options.

 

Interesting. I caught the back end of a press conference with Mourinho (I think) and the gist was that three at the back formations are defensive and are actually five at the back formations with the wide midfielders forced to drop back in and play as full backs/ wing backs.

By starting them out as wing backs, albeit very attacking ones, I'm basically admitting defeat already. It's an option, and the tactics creator is only the defensive shape. If I wasn't set on a trendy proper three at the back I would probably make that change.

The midfield suggestion is also something to keep an eye on. I thought about two defend duties to create that screening effect. However, we can see from the Hong Nam game that all three are tracking back and defending the center so at this stage I don't have a problem with that. This could all change against better teams which is why I've set out my pre-season like I have. Added to that the movement of a DLP on support is just that little bit more adventurous. He'll come a little higher and take the ball hopefully opening up more space for my #10. Even with that I've got 4 players behind him, plus probably the far side DW and he isn't exactly a box to box - I feel like I've got the numbers to let him play a little.

On that note, I've got a little playing time this evening and hope to finish pre-season.

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Finishing pre-season

 

 

8RuTasJ.png

 

 

Straight off the bat, a very positive pre-season. 2 goals conceded, 19 scored. Lots of different formations faced and a high level of opposition. So onto the analysis of the games.

 

SzBQmPW.png

 

The positioning of the centre backs is something that I have not mentioned yet. With a back three they spread very wide when we have the ball – aided by no wing backs in those wide zones. This is especially useful to pick up situations like this where the striker has drifted very wide. Willian is attacking so the striker is trying to exploit that space but is being marshalled by David Luiz.

 

achyCAb.png

 

In an attacking sense I was a little concerned that we'd be one dimensional and easy to defend against. The inclusion of a free #10 gives the opposition more to think about. Fabregas is finding dangerous pockets of space.

 

Z5s3WRg.png

 

This is something that I'm very concerned about. I've said I'm happy with the defensive positioning of my DWs but sometimes this happens. From a seemingly safe man marking position they 'float' away from the man they are supposed to be marking. Better play by Brugge could have played Limbombe through on goal. Not sure if it's a concentration thing or fatigue or decisions or tactical?

This happened a couple of times here and here although the second was shortly after a corner and the number 21 (CM) had no reason to be there.

 

 

Red Bull Salzburg offered something completely different with their set up:

 

LRmL2oI.png

 

Three players attacking the space behind Matic and Kante.

 

KnbGYQx.png

 

From early on there was a free man in midfield. We do have plenty of cover but I don't want to give opponents time and space in such a vital area of the field.

 

bvrboUr.png

 

Red Bull started very brightly but didn't kick on. Here was one of their best chances after 5 minutes. The ball is eventually played through in front of the number 7 slicing past Matic. Not a great deal I can do about that vision.

 

The only goals I have conceded have come from a counter attack from a set piece (I need to sort them) and this from Gladbach. I'm not sure if I should be concerned or not.

 

CdDb2y7.png

 

Kramer passes to Dahoud (6) on the edge of the area who sticks in in from there. It's a very good goal but our positioning is terrible. What could have spoiled or set up was the fact that a free kick has just come into the box. Moses doesn't go out wide to close down number 17 and Matic has to go. He is then joined by Moses but then Kante is dragged over too and quick passing finds Dahoud who should, I think, be marked by Matic (LCM). We can see three of my players not helping including Fabregas (4). I think I look at this like a risk vs reward situation – if we nick the ball back here and find Fabregas there is a very dangerous counter attack.

 

Conclusions

 

I never imagined I'd not make a single change during the entire pre-season. I'm still in the same formation, same duties, no team instructions and no player instructions!! I should be very pleased going into the Arsenal game but I'm a little worried about the three AM players that Arsenal are going to play. My DWs cannot do that 'floating' movement and leave players like Sanchez in space. Also their number #10 will have to be picked up by either Matic or Kante.

I'm considering the inclusion of a few opposition instructions to tightly mark players in troubling areas like AMC, AMR and AML.

I'm working on a post detailing my future ambitions for the tactic and how I intend to feed the concepts in. I think it's important to create a working base first before you get too fancy and evolve the tactic too much. I do realise it's just a write up so far because all I've needed to do is watch and be aware of potential problems which doesn't make for an exciting read. I think there is a lesson here though, it's very tempting to change things for the sake of it, but keep it simple and don't fix what isn't broken.

Edited by Bielsa_ite

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20 hours ago, Bielsa_ite said:

Interesting. I caught the back end of a press conference with Mourinho (I think) and the gist was that three at the back formations are defensive and are actually five at the back formations with the wide midfielders forced to drop back in and play as full backs/ wing backs.

Mourinho is right there of course, the problem is, that doesn't apply to FM, at least not from my experience. in real these wide men will indeed track back and create a solid 5 men at back. in ME, they will often stay ahead of wingers, or even worst, ahead and outside. this will pull players from midfield who will need to cover leaving gaps in central zone. Against teams from lower end of the table that won't be a problem. However, against teams who don't set up to defend, that is something to look at as they will push central midfielders forward and overload central zone.

What you will see facing better opposition on positional attack is following:

your wide men will mark opposition winger. however, when/if opposition plays a back pass, they will move forward leaving their man alone in space. most of the times opposition won't be able to pick that pass, but better opposition will.

if you don't set your wide men to mark these wingers, when opposition attacks down one side, your weak side (the opposite side of the opposition attack) will frequently stay few yards ahead of opposition winger. this will be enough time for him to tap in those crosses.

To mitigate these problems you should be on lookout how opposition plays. Once they start pushing forward it might help to stop high pressing in order to get men into defensive position. You can also use external defenders to press more in order to close down wide opposition and help your wing back. This can backfire if opposition has advantage in central area as you will compromise stability of back line.

if you see opposition overlapping in wide areas/pushing full backs in attack, you might want to man mark full backs with your strikers who will then track them and help the wing back. for teams that mostly play through the middle you might want to use your attacking midfielder to cover their pivot. if not, he will have enough time and space to pick those passes through channels between your wing backs and center backs.

if you take these advices on board or not, i am interested to see how you do here. I've tried the formation myself and it was delight on offensive end. however, after three seasons i had to admit i was unable to control these wide areas as they should be controlled and changed back to back four.

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5 hours ago, MBarbaric said:

Mourinho is right there of course, the problem is, that doesn't apply to FM, at least not from my experience. in real these wide men will indeed track back and create a solid 5 men at back. in ME, they will often stay ahead of wingers, or even worst, ahead and outside. this will pull players from midfield who will need to cover leaving gaps in central zone. Against teams from lower end of the table that won't be a problem. However, against teams who don't set up to defend, that is something to look at as they will push central midfielders forward and overload central zone.

What you will see facing better opposition on positional attack is following:

your wide men will mark opposition winger. however, when/if opposition plays a back pass, they will move forward leaving their man alone in space. most of the times opposition won't be able to pick that pass, but better opposition will.

if you don't set your wide men to mark these wingers, when opposition attacks down one side, your weak side (the opposite side of the opposition attack) will frequently stay few yards ahead of opposition winger. this will be enough time for him to tap in those crosses.

To mitigate these problems you should be on lookout how opposition plays. Once they start pushing forward it might help to stop high pressing in order to get men into defensive position. You can also use external defenders to press more in order to close down wide opposition and help your wing back. This can backfire if opposition has advantage in central area as you will compromise stability of back line.

if you see opposition overlapping in wide areas/pushing full backs in attack, you might want to man mark full backs with your strikers who will then track them and help the wing back. for teams that mostly play through the middle you might want to use your attacking midfielder to cover their pivot. if not, he will have enough time and space to pick those passes through channels between your wing backs and center backs.

if you take these advices on board or not, i am interested to see how you do here. I've tried the formation myself and it was delight on offensive end. however, after three seasons i had to admit i was unable to control these wide areas as they should be controlled and changed back to back four.

 

Fantastic post, glad to have you on board @MBarbaric!

Your post covers a lot of my fears and scenarios which I have seen in my screenshots. I like your solutions and I agree that there won't be a quick fix and I'll have to assess and be reactive at times. I'd love to create something that I don't need to fiddle with but that's realistic.

Man marking is a good suggestion. I would like to avoid it because one of my key philosophies is to impose my game on them not the other way around, man marking is quite defensive in nature and could detract from our attacking movement. It's there though but I will try and achieve it with opposition instructions first.

Arsenal are a team filled with vision and the ability to play the passes that could hurt me badly. Your advice has been taken on board thank you.

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@Bielsa_ite looking forward to see how this works for you. i am by no means an expert in FM tactics so I might have seen it completely wrong so I'd like to see if you get any more luck. make sure to post the update when you get time.

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London Derby

 

 

I've been looking forward to this game but I went in with a lot of trepidation. Arsenal are a team that like to have a lot of the ball and the composure and vision to be dangerous with the possession too. Would the wide areas be our downfall or would we cope?

 

Arsenal lined up with quality players in the wide areas – Sanchez and The Ox.

 

WqKQhO2.png

 

Also from this screen we can the opposition instructions that I've added to try to keep them under control. So did it work?

 

DXxKeQe.png

 

This is 4 minutes in. Alonso is in absolute no man's land. What is he even doing apart from being completely switched off? Not only is he not marking Ox (15) I've also said to keep Bellerin closely marked (24) and he's in acres of space too. Ramsey plays an easy ball behind Alonso to Ox who shoots wide. A good chance.

 

After another half chance from a similar area (but still no shots on target) I made the chance that MBarbaric suggested and set the DWs to man mark Ox and Sanchez. Unfortunately when the change was going through Arsenal scored scrappily from a corner. Ozil crossed the ball and it was cleared back out wide. He was closed down but had a second chance to cross low to Sanchez in the middle who shoots which even had a deflection.

 

We'll battle on.

 

IkVL44I.png

 

This is worrying. We are man marking the wingers but look how much space they still have.

 

keFkgQJ.png

 

Punished.

 

hQfGobt.png

 

The Ox was causing us LOTS of problems just floating away from Alonso who is by trade a left back, he should be able to mark him! I'm not asking Hazard to mark him.

 

If anyone is looking at the match stats on these it shows we really weren't in the game at any stage and I'll look at that separately but this then sums up our day:

 

1ow6BSc.png

 

Long ball to Lukaku/ Costa who both lose out to Koscielny in the air then Lukaku just snaps and hacks him down!

dheMlsU.png

 

Icing on the cake. Alonso again out of position and in his haste to get back he brings him down for a penalty.

 

cGyEbhV.png

 

Battered. No shots on target, 41% possession, schooled by Arsenal.

 

The sending off didn't help, I made a couple of changes to try and get us in the game namely losing the Trequartista for a more aggressive role and got the possession up from 34% but then Lukaku was sent off and the game was gone. Look at this screen on our attacking play:

 

TkYsGz9.png

 

Long ball to Costa who is completely isolated. This is after our man marking instruction. Our DWs are far too deep. The link up with Lukaku and Hazard just isn't there and we really struggled to create good chances. Courtois' 43% passing is just not working. I'd have thought that two lumps in Lukaku and Costa would win more balls in the air then are doing but the ball just keeps coming back.

 

Changes need to be made.

 

Next up, home to Leicester and Wigan then away to Palace and Swansea before the big guns come to Stamford Bridge.

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I'm hoping Chelsea vs Arsenal today will line up in similar formations so I can have another good look at it.

I'm struggling to see how this can be a vaguely reliable set up especially after seeing it be completely useless even when man marking. I'll persevere, but I'm not prepared to just gift the big teams a win. The question is do I change for Leicester and Wigan at home or have another look in a competitive game?

I'm annoyed that it played so well in pre-season especially against Gladbach who have aggressive, fast wingers.

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14 minutes ago, Bielsa_ite said:

I'm hoping Chelsea vs Arsenal today will line up in similar formations so I can have another good look at it.

I'm struggling to see how this can be a vaguely reliable set up especially after seeing it be completely useless even when man marking. I'll persevere, but I'm not prepared to just gift the big teams a win. The question is do I change for Leicester and Wigan at home or have another look in a competitive game?

I'm annoyed that it played so well in pre-season especially against Gladbach who have aggressive, fast wingers.

it depends, some big games you will win easily some you will be battered. Depends on who scores first, who has a better day... in some leagues you will win competitions and with some luck, even in those highly competitive it isn't impossible.

however, i think the ME is just not up to it. those wide players simply don't play their (during the defensive phase) part and are too often out of position. if you look at 7 screenshots you've pasted, on six of them Alonso is ahead of Ox. That is NOT how a defender should position himself. what is really frustrating, is that you see him just a few yards ahead of where he should be standing. well, that is my experience anyway.

Edited by MBarbaric

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well that was a hell of a game in last ten minutes.

anyway...

59be866ab5ce9_postid.thumb.png.a370d0e9a044d00d3f378913c7757ef6.png

you can see why Mourinho was right as those two wing backs drop into back line on positional attacks. Im FM they are too frequently out of position, especially the wing back on weak side. I wonder if this ME quirk happens because, to achieve this, you should actually use a flat 5-3-2 formation from the beginning. This, in my opinion is simply wrong as those wingbacks (in ME) should be tracking back regardless of their initial position (fb or wb) as they do in real.

anyway, if you follow the FM logic, one should probably use 5-3-2 formation which brings up another problem. A lot of Ml/r aren't FB's and wouldn't really fit the tactic until they familiarise themselves with the "new position".

Edited by MBarbaric

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Or do changes need to be made?

 

Chelsea 4-1 Leicester

 

I decided not to make any knee-jerk changes and see how it copes against a decent team at home. Leicester were always going to give us more respect than Arsenal. That extra bit of time and space on the ball was crucial to allowing us to build up moves, getting the DWs further forward and linking up with the attacking three. That lower starting mentality of most teams could be crucial because the starting position of their attacking wingers is deeper and therefore immediately less dangerous.

 

One change that I did make was to add distribute to CBs to Courtois. That extra pass just gives the wide players that little bit of time to move forwards and support play. Courtois' passing went from 44% to 77%.

 

nhaF5Hv.png

 

 

eLGdrwO.png

 

As we can see our attacks from the get go were much more potent with a lot more bodies forward. This is the football that I saw in pre-season. Maybe I over estimated our friendly opponents.

 

v2MXxve.png

 

36 minutes in we are even managing to see more of the ball than Leicester and are dominating proceedings. However, I've spotted something that I'm not happy with – the space given to Drinkwater. Willian is a little sloppy but has the work rate to get back and snuff out this attack which could have been costly. (That's 8 screens now @MBarbaric)

 

In fact, it's Drinkwater surging forward that creates their best chance of the game with more fluid movement from him AM partner Pereira. More clear cut than Mahrez' consolation goal.

 

lwjhRuw.png

 

I could have made a change to get someone tighter to Drinkwater (Matic to DLP (D) maybe) but that would have taken away from our attacking play. Risk vs Reward.

 

 

Towards the end of the game I started to experiment with ways to make us more compact, namely role changes. Matic did go to DLP(D), my defensive wingers went to defend instead of support and Hazard at #10 went to an attacking midfielder on support. I think it's these types of changes that I need to nail down for big games and tough away games.

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38 minutes ago, MBarbaric said:

well that was a hell of a game in last ten minutes.

anyway...

59be866ab5ce9_postid.thumb.png.a370d0e9a044d00d3f378913c7757ef6.png

you can see why Mourinho was right as those two wing backs drop into back line on positional attacks. Im FM they are too frequently out of position, especially the wing back on weak side. I wonder if this ME quirk happens because, to achieve this, you should actually use a flat 5-3-2 formation from the beginning. This, in my opinion is simply wrong as those wingbacks (in ME) should be tracking back regardless of their initial position (fb or wb) as they do in real.

anyway, if you follow the FM logic, one should probably use 5-3-2 formation which brings up another problem. A lot of Ml/r aren't FB's and wouldn't really fit the tactic until they familiarise themselves with the "new position".

Exactly what I saw watching the game.

Moses and Alonso were extremely deep when out of possession as a flat back 5 as you say. FM logic would probably dictate that I do make the switch as the tactics screen is the defensive positions. Just seems like a cop out and would go against my philosophies of being aggressive and forward thinking. I couldn't have Bielsa in my name and not think like that!

There's a chance to look at Mata/ Rashford against wide 'midfielders' against Everton. Three defenders, or should I say playing with three centre backs, is very popular right now. Every man and his dog seem to play this way now.

Just as I write this Everton lose the ball cheaply in the centre and Martina was scampering after Rashford after being caught on the wrong side. Out of possession (and settled) it's definitely a flat back 5 again.

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40 minutes ago, Bielsa_ite said:

Just seems like a cop out and would go against my philosophies of being aggressive and forward thinking. I couldn't have Bielsa in my name and not think like that!

This is what I hate about the game. No matter your superiority, or how your system is designed to play, the AI will find the weakness in it and plough you into the ground through it. 

3/5 at the back systems have a clear superiority over 1 striker systems such as 4231, yet somehow that 1 striker will always seem to dance into the 6 yard box to score from crosses due to the faults in the ME. To mitigate against these flaws you just can't afford to play anything other than FB(D)/LFB(D) in wide positions, thus making the virtues of playing 343 type systems unrealistic.

The AI always forces it's way of playing onto you, and has a distinct advantage to it instantly knowing what your weakness is. Pairing this with the fault of cross/6yard tap-in/statue defenders, it makes playing 3 at the back systems infuriatingly for me. 

I formerly built a team with world CBs - good on the ball, quick and strong, hard working wingers that had the right stats to be perfectly good full backs. I wanted to play 343, attacking as a 325/316/(226 with Libero), defending as a 541 - two wide players stretching the play, staying wide and getting to the byline. I had 2 creative, goal scoring 10s behind a complete forward. The team was perfectly built to play 343 in the way I wanted, yet no matter what you would do the AI pulled down you pants with the cross/tap in. Average PL strikers would score tap ins, whilst 3 quality centre backs watched them do it.

Yeah of course you'll win games due to having better players - you'll see this playing as Chelsea, but that's not the point. You'll never be perfect, due to the AIs advantage on you, and to me that's sad, and always frustrated me with 343.

Edited by BrianMunich

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39 minutes ago, Bielsa_ite said:

 

Just as I write this Everton lose the ball cheaply in the centre and Martina was scampering after Rashford after being caught on the wrong side. Out of possession (and settled) it's definitely a flat back 5 again.

1

those things happen and it is the risk manager accepts when setting his team to play. however, what isn't acceptable, is the positioning on the outside or ahead of the attacker. that too can happen as players aren't robots, but not on every screenshot you post. this tells me theres something wrong with the way they are coded in the ME.

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seems it is only us losers here. I am sure somebody was able to create an effective 3-4-3 and could shed some light how they did it.

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I hate to think it isn't possible, I would restart my old save with that side instantly if there was a way to play this way. The annoying thing is you can have attacking wingers track back into the right areas, but they never switched on properly when they got there. You see that they are near enough, they've made the effort, but take up brain dead defensive positioning despite their stats/and tactical instruction. Which only leads me to believe it's match engine deficiency.

Same with the centre backs, I could live with crosses coming into the box sometimes, and my winger in the team to be offensive occasionally switching off at the back to allow crosses, but I can't stand defenders being in the right areas but again defending like clowns. The same aggression, anticipation, heading, tackling etc. is perfectly good for them to be a beast on the half way line, but heaven forbid three of them!! put that to use in the box where it counts against little scrote forwards.  

There was a thread a while back by @Ö-zil to the Arsenal!, that played 3511 with wingers. 

 

Edited by BrianMunich

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I like the flat back 5 version in FM because it mitigates two disadvantages inherent to the game:

  1. The wingbacks seem more likely to be in better defensive positions...although they won't score multiple goals a season as they do when playing as wingers.
  2. Having two wingbacks in the FB slot means I can switch to a 4 at the back formation whenever I need to without sacrificing positional familiarity.

I also like using a flat midfield three when using five at the back because it widens the midfielders a bit more than a narrow triangle approach seems to do. I would assign the central MF an attacking role (probably AP(a)), which would push him forward but also encourage more pressing than the T(a).

In general, I find 3 at the back formations are more volatile in FM. Sometimes I win 5-0, and sometimes I get destroyed. Using a "defensive" mentality removes a lot of that volatility, though.

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So it's past time to update this again I've played a couple of games since but time has been short. To be honest I'm liking just firing up the save when I have a spare hour, I know it won't be a long term save and that's refreshing. Good to have another poster too, I'll digest your post in a bit @Overmars.

 

I'm not going to be showing screen after screen of every game because it'll probably just be the same plays in a different coloured strip. What I do want to do though is touch on new things in the minor games and go into a bit more depth in the more important matches.

 

dIdB3Iy.png

XcUTej7.png

 

So far it hasn't been a bad start apart from the Arsenal game who you can see are flying. They always do well on FM and I've lost count of how many times they end up as champions so maybe it wasn't that bad of a result.

One more blemish was the Swansea City game but the match stats were stacked heavily in our favour. We will drop points that's normal but we won't drop many if our away games are all like that one. Just unlucky, or Swansea were lucky.

 

I want to highlight a couple of things from the Crystal Palace game. Firstly, a good point.

 

PPgNfsF.png

 

Look at the acres of space that Kante has. What I've noticed in games against lesser opposition is how deep they drop. Kante on the cover has picked up a rushed clearance from Puncheon and aside from the CBs every other player is forward stretching Palace. Under this continued pressure we score another goal.

 

jBdGAns.png

 

Now for something not so good… Full backs have the opportunity to double up on our DWs. The default super high pressing from the DWs means that Willian closes down the ball leaving 11 free for a pass, the RCB comes out to close down but the cross goes in (which we deal with). We're still stacked with big defenders so we should be able to cope more often than not. I could do as suggested and man mark with a striker but as it is we are a massive threat on the counter which I don't want to lose. As the tactic moves forward, tempo and directness will be increase and we should be even more deadly from these situations – if we defend the cross.

 

I've got a big decision going into the Manchester City game whether or not I trust our formation or make some tweaks. We're at home so I want to be aggressive in going for the win. A few minor tweaks that I've been making to make us more compact when we've been winning have been role changes. Namely, both DWs to DW (defend), Matic to DLP (defend) and Hazard to attacking midfielder (support). I can modify the AM to act more like a playmaker/ working treq. I'm a bit loathe to do this long term because Bielsa really likes that pure #10 role to play with freedom but big games can't have passengers (Hi Ozil). I think I'll make most of these changes for the big games and see how they play out. The next step would be formation changes – DW to WB, CM to DM, one ST to AM but for now I'm still stubborn and determined to have a pure 3-4-1-2.

 

Goals conceded from crosses/ cut backs count: 3

 

I hope people are finding my waffling interesting!

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I like it :D

the last screenshot really shows how poor ME is with 3 at back. you have 5v2 advantage in the center but your WB is completely isolated there allowing 2v1. What should really happen is that your number 30 moves wide to cover your 22. I wonder if 30 with more aggressive closing down might help there. anyway, it is just a time bomb ticking off the way i see it. and the most dangerous part is the weak flank where far post tap ins happen :D

Edited by MBarbaric

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I have had success recently with a back 3, 2 WB, 2 CM and an AM with 2 strikers.  I say success, in that I don't conceded very often but have difficulty creating enough scoring opportunities.

Outside CB are BPD and set to mark tighter.  Center CB is set to CD and hold position.  Both WB (attack) are set to mark closer and close down more often.  CM's are BBM support and DLP defend.  I haven't figured how to get the fron 3 working cohesively.

 

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I have built a successful 3-4-2-1 WB formation if you guys are interested. Back 3, 2 WB, 2 CM, 2 AM and 1 striker. Did originally play with wide midfielders instead of WB's but the tactic was a bit leaky although the team scored tons on goals. 

Outside CB's are normal central defenders on stopper duty, middle CB BPD on cover. Both Wingbacks on Attack. CM DLP Defend and Box to Box. Two shadow strikers in the AM slots and a Complete Forward on attack or support if he doesn't drop deep enough.

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50 minutes ago, Philybird said:

I have built a successful 3-4-2-1 WB formation if you guys are interested. Back 3, 2 WB, 2 CM, 2 AM and 1 striker. Did originally play with wide midfielders instead of WB's but the tactic was a bit leaky although the team scored tons on goals. 

Outside CB's are normal central defenders on stopper duty, middle CB BPD on cover. Both Wingbacks on Attack. CM DLP Defend and Box to Box. Two shadow strikers in the AM slots and a Complete Forward on attack or support if he doesn't drop deep enough.

Any TIs or PIs?

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14 hours ago, Philybird said:

I have built a successful 3-4-2-1 WB formation if you guys are interested. Back 3, 2 WB, 2 CM, 2 AM and 1 striker. Did originally play with wide midfielders instead of WB's but the tactic was a bit leaky although the team scored tons on goals. 

Outside CB's are normal central defenders on stopper duty, middle CB BPD on cover. Both Wingbacks on Attack. CM DLP Defend and Box to Box. Two shadow strikers in the AM slots and a Complete Forward on attack or support if he doesn't drop deep enough.

I was struggling with my 3-4-2-1 WB, how was your system? I was defensively strong, but too many long shots and too less good chances!

 

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Sorry I havent had time to share more of the tactic. Yes there are similar problems although I do score a lot of goals and create enough opportunities. The big thing is obviously having too excellent wingbacks. It makes or breaks the tactic. I am doing quite well, I am currently challenging for the premier league title with fulham against much stronger sides. Before this season I had two consecutive 6th place finishes and an euro cup win. At the moment my wingbacks are average at best. I expect to do much better as soon as I get the some money from my board to buy some proper ones. 

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