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JCtheHC

Created my first tactic that seems to work, would love some feedback.

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I want to preface this by saying that i've only been playing FM for about 6 months, and i'm at best a casual (definitely fairweather) football fan. I might be making bad assumptions about what is possible or how FM works. I have been reading some threads and trying to deepen my knowledge of the plug n play tactic i used on FM17 (The Reckonist's Scholes Can't Tackle), but a lot of the theory still seems like black magic to me. 

433 (ish) Tactic goals:

  • I want to develop a tactic that i could consistently use, starting in the lower leagues.
  • In the game i would want to shape my team around the tactic, not the other way around - I'll gladly sell players that do not fit the system.
  • I'm an Ajax fan, there's aspects of their play that i want to preserve in my FM playthrough, like a 433(ish) formation, and to play a passing game.
  • I'd also like to preserve Peter Bosz' 5 second rule (If the opponent has the ball, we want to get it back in 5 seconds - regardless of the quality of the opposing team).
  • Lately i've been reading Soccernomics, and from that i've learned that both crossing and shooting from distance are very inefficient modes of attack in real life, so i'd like to avoid them.
  • I also feel that the Fullback is an underrated position in football, and i would like to leverage them into playing a key part of my teams. However i'd consider this idealism and i'm not married to having to preserve this in the game. It's hard to find great players that a natural to the position, especially in lower leagues.

I'd want to play possession football, but i'm not married to the idea of it having to be a quick passing game. Long term i would like to transition a quick passing game, but that would be contingent on the quality of my players available to me. The base concept is a considered game where most risks are taken in front of the opposing teams goal.

I've started out with a 4123DM Wide formation, as i feel 4213DM might not be positive enough.

Passing/possession:

  • Short to mid-range passing - no long balls/route one. This also goes for Goalkeeper distribution.
  • Not (overly) rely on crossing, and when they are made, they have to be in a controlled fashion, so low/on the ground.
  • Using possession as a defensive instrument (If the other team doesn't have the ball, they can't score)

Attacking:

  • Shots outside the box should be mostly avoided, but players who do well at shooting from distance should use good opportunities.
  • Wingers/Inside Forwards cut inside to create overloads, supported by a fullback coming forward.

Midfield:

I'm having a lot of trouble understanding what roles to pick here.. What i'd like them to do and what would actually work in the game are two very different things, i assume.

  • 1 player to aid the attackers, moving from a central position to attacking midfield/shadow striker like position (or go out wide maybe?)
  • 1 player to bridge the gap between attack and defense.
  • a DM to compensate for the absence of a Fullback when one of them bombs forward

EDIT: Fullbacks:

  • I'm not sure which role to choose here. Ultimately i've opted for Fullbacks with a support duty - i want them to come forward to support attacks, but the attack duty emphasises crossing, which i would like to minimise. Choosing the support duty here seems to be the best compromise, where they will provide width to compensate for the IF's cutting inside, and play through balls to the attackers, and cross when the opportunity arises.

Defending:

  • Upon losing possession, press the other team immediately, giving them little space/time to transition to an attacking shape. (Bosz' 5 second rule).
  • I've chosen the CD/stopper and BPD/cover roles because apparently it is a 'classic' combination, but i can't say i fully understand it's function. I do understand the BPD would help in quickly transitioning from defending to attacking, but that's pretty much it. 

Goalkeeper:

  • I'd love every keeper i have to be a Neuer-like Sweeper, just to have more help at the back, but i don't think that's a realistic expectation. 
  • Short distribution, long kicks are too much of a crap shoot in my opinion.
  • Since Onana is a decent passer, he has the Take Short Kicks instruction. If he didn't, i'd probably ask him to roll it out.
  • After reading some of the descriptions for GK roles, i opted going for the standard goalkeeper role in my most recent test. I'd love Onana to be more involved, but since the tactic has worked i'm unsure if i should make him a Sweeper,and if so, what duty to select.

Team Shape:
Since i want to keep hold of the ball even when it might be more difficult to do so, and want to quickly transition from defending to attack and vice versa, Going towards a more Fluid team shape seems to be the best course of action. However, in the lower leagues the players i have might not have enough quality to function decently outside their roles and duties, so i've decided to go with "Flexible".

Mentality:
I would like to use the Control mentality, because it seems to underline the general concept i'm going for, but in my most recent test i opted for Standard, and it's been quite successful. Obviously, Ajax is going to be the stronger team in most of their league games, but in Europe we'll meet more teams that are equally strong or stronger than us.

The tactic and test results:

After doing some reading and testing, this is the most successful tactic I've come up with (tests were done by going on holiday for the first 4 months of the season):

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TYULJNH.jpg

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I'd really love some feedback on this, and maybe a bit of guidance as to how i could identify weaknesses of my tactics. Obviously, by prioritising preserving the tactic over tailoring it to the team will require me 
to recruit players that excel at executing their chosen roles and duties.

The way i currently test tactics is to go on Holiday and let the game sim 4 months of play, so we come up against a decent mix of teams... but when adjusting i'm just trying stuff out without really knowing what part of the tactic is or isn't working. Whatever generates the least amount of lost points, is the best, i guess. 
If i'm playing the game myself, often i'll just mess around with the team instructions until i find something that starts generating shots on goal. I honestly have no idea how to properly identify the consistent weaknesses of a tactic, or why my team might be failing to be successful. I understand that there's probably plenty of information out there that could help me, but i just haven't read enough yet, and i'm not exactly sure where to go from here. 

Any help or comment is greatly appreciated!

Edited by JCtheHC

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Welcome to the forum :).

1 hour ago, JCtheHC said:

I'd really love some feedback on this, and maybe a bit of guidance as to how i could identify weaknesses of my tactics.

 

1 hour ago, JCtheHC said:

The way i currently test tactics is to go on Holiday and let the game sim 4 months of play, so we come up against a decent mix of teams... but when adjusting i'm just trying stuff out without really knowing what part of the tactic is or isn't working. Whatever generates the least amount of lost points, is the best, i guess. 

I've picked out these two parts as I think this may be at least part of the issue.

If you want to identify weaknesses in your tactics then probably the best way is to watch matches and see how your system plays out.  If all you do is holiday through then all you are left with is a bunch of results and statistics without the context of what actually happened during matches.

You've done a great write up btw, especially as you are really new to the game - that's really good to see.  You obviously understand a lot of the basic (and more advanced) concepts so apply that knowledge and analytical mind to watching matches :thup:.

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9 minutes ago, herne79 said:

If you want to identify weaknesses in your tactics then probably the best way is to watch matches and see how your system plays out.  If all you do is holiday through then all you are left with is a bunch of results and statistics without the context of what actually happened during matches.

This is very much the most basic issue i'm having though. I have little to no understanding of the process of identifying strengths and weaknesses in a tactic and then responding to them accordingly, which is why i turn to automated testing and just playing with the team instructions. When i play full matches i read my assistants feedback, and with earlier versions of this tactic he just encourages me to play more directly (which is exactly what i'm trying to avoid), and often times i'd get "our passing isn't working, no matter what the distances are". Especially with the latter i'm left baffled - I honestly have no idea how to respond to that.

I've posted this to get some feedback on which of my assumptions that this tactic is built on are correct and which are incorrect. 

Edited by JCtheHC

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The assistant advice are not relevant, you can ignore that honestly. If you want how you do, you can play a match, sit back and watch how your team play. Is there anything you can add or edit? If answer is yes, then you got to think of how you can achieve that. If you don't know, you can always come back here and ask for tips. If answer is no, and you like how your team play, then you are ok.

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Thanks @herne79 and @Armistice, You've made me realise i might have been a little stubborn in my approach :) 

I've been playing some preseason games and doing some observing. Obviously because it is preseason, the team was not yet 100% familiar with the tactic at the time of observation, but i think i've made some progress. I do have some specific questions though, instead of just HELP ME!

urgPOIx.jpgrX34sv4.jpg

 

Changes i've made:

  • The standard mentality is now Control. With Standard i was keeping the ball very well, but just not getting enough shots/goals, or the shots were from too far out.  This has me concerned for when i come up against stronger opposition - I'm not sure how i'm going to get goals/shots from closer range if we're taking less risks. 
  • I've been playing around with the Strikers role, and although False 9 kinda worked, whoever played the position just did not score any goals. The striker getting too isolated is a concern since many of the roles would place him too far forward, but a striker that falls back too deeply seemingly won't be able to score and that's also less than ideal. I'm trying out DLF now, but i'm still not 100% sure if this is the best solution.
  • Changed BBM Support to CM Support because i get the impression the net result is pretty much the same (coming from the players i have available to me) and the role is easier to fulfill. I might see some differences if i buy a player who would actually fill out a BBM role well, so that's something worth exploring. However, BBM demands high ratings for a lot attributes, which might become an issue when i'm recruiting in LLM. Edit: welp, that's wrong. I might have jumped the gun on that conclusion. Going back to BBM.
  • Changed Fullback to Wingback, since they were bombing in crosses from deep, which leads to too much loss of possession and not enough reward for the risk taken. They also weren't coming forward far enough. They're now providing width on the spots i want them to, and the Support Wingback does not emphasise crossing, which is in line with my goals for this tactic.

Issues to address:

  • Using the two inside forwards might be resulting in overloading the box. So i'm going to have to look at changing the roles and duties on one of the wings, but i don't really understand how to get a different result that there that actually improves the system. Also, i'm hesitant to give up the symmetry of the system, but that seems more of a personal obsession than good footballing logic. Could anyone suggest avenues to explore here?
  • How am i going to get goals with the more defensive mentalities? Holding on to the ball isn't the problem. I guess i could click on Be More Expressive, but am i then not relying on individual player qualities instead of a well-functioning system?
  • I'm mostly losing possession in the midfield, but i'm still figuring out how to address it. I probably has something to do with the interaction between the Supporting and the Attack midfielder. 

Thanks for reading!

Edited by JCtheHC

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Quote

You've made me realise i might have been a little stubborn in my approach

A lot of users fall in the same trap, so its good to see you recognise this and more importantly accept it might not be the best. Too many people carry on in set ways and end up restricting themselves. 

Quote
  • The standard mentality is now Control. With Standard i was keeping the ball very well, but just not getting enough shots/goals, or the shots were from too far out.  This has me concerned for when i come up against stronger opposition - I'm not sure how i'm going to get goals/shots from closer range if we're taking less risks. 

Did you ever consider this could be caused by the TI's you use? And might have been able to fix the issue with removing low crosses and work ball into the box? As these might be overkill because the roles you select don't really cross or should be shooting from distance that often anyway. It's food for thought maybe.

Quote
  • I've been playing around with the Strikers role, and although False 9 kinda worked, whoever played the position just did not score any goals. The striker getting too isolated is a concern since many of the roles would place him too far forward, but a striker that falls back too deeply seemingly won't be able to score and that's also less than ideal. I'm trying out DLF now, but i'm still not 100% sure if this is the best solution.

With this shape and the roles you've used, the focus shouldn't be on the striker getting the goals though. You're set up in a way that the striker should be creating space and linking with the two IF's. I'm not saying he shouldn't score but it's also not his primary job with how you've set up.

How does the striker get isolated btw with two IF's either side? I'd have thought he was getting plenty of support unless the issue lies with the IF's not being involved much, then that would make him isolated.

Quote
  • Using the two inside forwards might be resulting in overloading the box. So i'm going to have to look at changing the roles and duties on one of the wings, but i don't really understand how to get a different result that there that actually improves the system. Also, i'm hesitant to give up the symmetry of the system, but that seems more of a personal obsession than good footballing logic. Could anyone suggest avenues to explore here?

This depends on what it is you actually want to do or the style you've created. A AP on one of the sides can be a real asset and they're still goal threats too which is a bonus. You also have the choice of a Treq from this position on FM18 too. Overall though it'll come down to how you want this position to interact with the striker and IF if you keep one.

Quote
  • How am i going to get goals with the more defensive mentalities? Holding on to the ball isn't the problem. I guess i could click on Be More Expressive, but am i then not relying on individual player qualities instead of a well-functioning system?

Maybe your TI's are over emphasising all the stuff the formation already offers due to the natural shape, especially when you consider your roles too? Maybe the prevent distribution, Play out of defence and work ball into the box aren't actually complimenting the system, they could be hindering it and making it less potent/threatening than it can be. With TI's you are forcing play a specific way and it's not always a good thing either. 

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Thanks for giving my post a read Cleon, you've given me some things to try out and think about. As i said in earlier post, i'm a newbie to both FM and football tactics, so i don't fully grasp what i'm doing here yet :) 

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14 minutes ago, JCtheHC said:

Thanks for giving my post a read Cleon, you've given me some things to try out and think about. As i said in earlier post, i'm a newbie to both FM and football tactics, so i don't fully grasp what i'm doing here yet :) 

No worries and welcome to the forums.

You're asking the right kind of questions and are very self aware of what you are doing which gives you a big advantage because you're not asking for answers like some posters do. Instead you have a go yourself at fixing the issue and experiment then updating your progress. You'll find you will get better more helpful responses by being this way as most on here who can help need the details you are providing to be able to help with the specific issues. It's good to see.

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3 hours ago, JCtheHC said:

Issues to address:

  • Using the two inside forwards might be resulting in overloading the box. So i'm going to have to look at changing the roles and duties on one of the wings, but i don't really understand how to get a different result that there that actually improves the system. Also, i'm hesitant to give up the symmetry of the system, but that seems more of a personal obsession than good footballing logic. Could anyone suggest avenues to explore here?
  • How am i going to get goals with the more defensive mentalities? Holding on to the ball isn't the problem. I guess i could click on Be More Expressive, but am i then not relying on individual player qualities instead of a well-functioning system?
  • I'm mostly losing possession in the midfield, but i'm still figuring out how to address it. I probably has something to do with the interaction between the Supporting and the Attack midfielder. 

Thanks for reading!

Symmetry restricts your options, for example having a IF-S and IF-A could result in build up play being more through the IF-S who is deeper, drawing players to him and making space for the IF-A.  If you want to keep the attack duties out wide you could try a RMD who will do a similar job to a IF but does less on the ball and is expected to have better movement off the ball.

I personally don't like using a AP-A in a 4123 DM Wide, I find it leaves the AMC area a bit empty with him dropping deep to collect the ball and the "runner" being a BBM-S so doesn't get forward until later in attacks.  I prefer a AP-S + CM-A type combo so the attack duty stays more advanced to combine with the forwards and doesn't drop to collect the ball like a playmaker does.  That's not to say you need a CM-A (or one of the new roles+duties) in a 4123 DM Wide, it just gives me what I want. 

Don't think that more attacking (roles / mentalities) means a better attack, it will change how you attack.  A IF-S will start deeper and make forward runs "sometimes" whilst a IF-A will push up higher and make runs "often", that deeper starting position could help draw opposition defenders out, or to collect the ball to then beat the defender with his dribbling or pass+move.  "Exploiting space" is key, if the space isn't where you want to attack you need to create it.  If you want to get behind opposition with runs in behind and opposition isn't pushing up and giving you it then you'll need to pull them out of shape to create that space.  Sometimes patience and being more selective can produce better attacks unless a fast attack into space behind a defence is available.

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Over the weekend i've gone over many permutations of this tactic, taking in the advice in this thread, but i just can't seem to get it to work against similar matched or better teams.
This is what it looks like right now:

CkH2Ls4.jpg yMbndXR.jpg


No use in posting my results, i've been scumming a lot trying to work on this tactic until i've come away with a win. 
I do ok keeping the ball but i'm just not creating enough quality chances. I've played around with the TI's to try and fix this but i haven't been able to find anything better than clicking off all the Attacking TI's.
Ultimately the goal is to win football matches and this tactic has not been impressing - I've not been dominating the league (too many draws or unconvincing wins against weaker teams), and the overachievement i've been hoping for in Europe hasn't been happening either.

Changes:

  • Changed the DLF to an False 9 because i felt his holding up the ball was leading to him getting closed down and subsequently losing the ball too much.
  • For the AMR position, i arrived at using an RMD. When i picked an IF for that position, they would just not get involved enough - they'd just be out there to create space for others but not actively contributing to my attacking play. I've tried an AP too, but that would result in them just not creating space at all  and actually getting the way of my attacking and supporting central midfielders. It got a little better with the "Stay Wider" PI, but i figured i'd be better off looking at another role entirely.  With RMD i'm liking what i'm seeing in terms of involvement and creating space.
  • I've also played around with the roles for the attacking and supporting CM, and the Attacking CM seems do what i wanted atleast one of my midfielders to do, which is to move into that CAM/Shadow Striker/Number 10 position and getting some goals. The team is forcing the opposing teams into playing on the flanks, so i don't think it's necessary to change my DM-DLP into a DM-DM. However, i'm not sure what to do with the supporting midfielder: The AP-S should be helping out in creating chances but i don't get the impression i'm really getting that. 

I'm a bit disheartened to be honest, i've spent a lot of time in the last few days trying to make this work but i feel like i'm getting nowhere.

Any suggestions/comments there would be very much appreciated. 

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1 hour ago, JCtheHC said:

Any suggestions/comments there would be very much appreciated. 

What kind of "quality chances" do you expect compared to what the goals you've scored?  Looking at the average ratings things look to be going okay with everyone over 7 and some over 7.5 but obviously your not happy with what you've seen.

Firstly your playing standard mentality, pushing up higher and closing down more with two wide forwards told to try and run in behind defences, either your press has to ineffective to let them push up or your quick runs in behind will be ineffective.  Because both wings are very similar you might lack variety and if how the opposition setup limits the space for those wide forwards you could struggle.

Secondly, all your wide players are told to make forward runs often and whilst the wide forwards will come inside, its all a bit one dimensional like above. 

Considering these points, I suspect your not getting behind the opposition, especially since your Ajax so they probably sit deep and your pressing them a bit?  

Assuming my assumptions are correct, what about making your AML a IF-S so he attacks from a different angle and make your LB an attack duty (FB-A or WB-A depending what he's capable of).  This should help build up play between the AP+IF (+F9?), drawing defenders to them before either switching play to the attacking right side or to the LB overlapping.  I'd balance this by making the RB a FB-S, sacrificing a bit of attacking width for more depth (helpful to regain loose balls), cover, recycling possession but still providing width in the attacking phase.

I'd watch your AP+IF initially, when they have the ball what options do they have?  Do they match there instructions, including passing distance.  Secondly what does the LB do with the ball when he gets it in the final third when overlapping?  Are players in the box he can aim for?  Maybe he needs to be told where to put it rather than letting him decide?  Maybe you'll want to use Work Ball Into Box so he cuts it back inside more often to the IF-S / AP-S after pulling defenders wide.  Thirdly, if players look to be creating good combinations but not taking enough risks then consider your mentality/team shape, maybe Control will see a bit quicker forward thinking play (maybe remove d-line/pressing TI) or a more structured shape will make the forwards take a few more risks and add more depth?  Probably jumping a bit ahead here with this point.

Edited by summatsupeer

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Thanks @summatsupeer, i'll give your suggestions a go and see what i can come up with. 

The ratings you're seeing is the result of my save scumming and aren't indicative of the overall quality of play.

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