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When playing football manager and selecting player roles, a few individuals choose a role and think that is it and expect it to perform instantly. But in some cases it’s much more than the role you’ve selected and is about the team as a whole, especially for roles that are creative or for the ones you want to be the goal scoring roles. If you use a creative role, then who is the player creating for? Who provides him the ball and what the player do with the ball. Or if it’s a goal scoring role, then who is the one providing the supply and what kind of supply? Who offers the support? And so on.

It’s not a simple case of selecting a role and leaving it at that. There is a much bigger picture. So hopefully in this article I can show you the Inside Forward and how I utilise him. I’ll also be focusing on why he scores, what his play involves and explain why the roles around him, allow this kind of play. But first let’s look at the player and his development first, to understand everything about the player.

Rodrygo

For those who follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that Rodyrgo is my golden boy and is going to become the main man at the club. I’m hoping he will break all kinds of records, especially the goalscoring ones.

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At the end of the first season he had seen quite the change, not only in terms of attributes but also with his personality.

Personality  - Start of the season balanced. End of the season it’s now ambitious. This means his tutoring session went to plan and not only have we seen a rise of his determination attribute from 10 to 14, we also know that his hidden attribute, ambition has also seen a raise.

Role training - For the entire season I kept him on the role training of the inside forward schedule.

Individual attribute focus - I only had him on stamina training for 3 month and then I removed it. I didn’t add another because he was still complaining about a heavy workload due to a poor personality and he was playing a lot of games. I didn’t want to increase the injury risks.

End of Season Two

Rodrygo-2.png?resize=474%2C294&ssl=1

During the second season he improved an awful lot, not only in terms of attributes but his overall game play too. He grabbed a lot of goals and assists compared to the year before. This no doubt had impacted his develop in a good way.I haven’t had him tutored again since the first time as I have no suitable tutors for him.

Role training - Short term he is my inside forward and thriving at the role currently. However due to how he is developing (attribute wise) and my long-term plans for him (I see him as the main striker eventually), I start to training him differently now. I feel the inside forward role no longer really suits him as the attributes that category trains are already getting high now. I could make them even higher but I want to focus on other aspects of his game now to make him even better.

That’s why I now put him on the complete forward schedule as I look to bring his other attributes up to scratch. This won’t be a long-term training though, it’ll be done for 18 months at the maximum, as I don’t want him to become a well-rounded player, I still want him to specialise and favour his high attributes. But I don’t want the other attributes to fall too far behind.

There’s nothing wrong with having rounded players, it’s just I prefer to have players who can do a specific job. The job I want Rodrygo to do is actually quite complex and I need him to develop more before I start discussing that side of things. But this will happen in a later article.

End of Season Three

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By far his best season to date and all from the inside forward spot too. His attribute development is going as I wish and he’s become a world-class player in three seasons time. I still believe he has room to develop even further though. During this third season I gave him a heavy individual attribute for first touch, as I felt it was lower than it should have been in comparison to his other attributes.

So in three seasons we’ve seen these attributes rise;

Technical Attributes       

  • Corners +4  
  • Crossing +4
  • Dribbling +2
  • Finishing +4
  • First Touch +5
  • Free Kicks +4
  • Heading +2
  • Long Shots +3
  • Long Throws +1
  • Marking +2
  • Passing +4
  • Penalty Taking +4
  • Tackling +1
  • Technique +3

So we’ve seen a 43 point increase across all his technical attributes with first touch, being the one that saw the biggest improvement. Which makes sense as this is the only one I focused on apart from stamina in season one.

Mental Attributes

  • Anticipation +3
  • Bravery -1
  • Composure +4
  • Concentration +3
  • Decisions +3
  • Determination +7
  • Flair +1
  • Leadership +2
  • Off the Ball +3
  • Positioning +2
  • Teamwork +2
  • Vision +3
  • Work Rate +2

Here we can clearly see the direct result of tutoring which originally made the attribute be 14 in value. However the increase to 15 in value is down to the squad personality which is now determined, it grew one more point due to this. We can also see that bravery took a one point drop, this was due to a recent injury. On Football Manager 2018 we see this more often, we can sometimes see the bravery take an immediate loss for the attribute when someone is injured. Once he’s fit and playing regular again, it should begin to rise to what it was before.

Physical Attributes

  • Acceleration +4
  • Agility +5
  • Balance +5
  • Natural Fitness +1
  • Pace +4
  • Stamina +5
  • Strength +6

We’ve seen much bigger attribute chances here compared to the mental and technical attributes. The reason being there are less in the physical attributes than the others. When I first posted about this player, some people acted like he was the finished product and didn’t take him being 15 years-old at the time into consideration. They were quick to point out his flaws and focus on what he cannot do. The truth is, players at a young age can be shaped how you want and just because an attribute might be low at the time, doesn’t mean it will be when he’s fully developed.

We can see above how much he has changes in a 3 year time period. When you view a youth player try to think of the bigger picture and see that his attributes could be much higher in the next five or so years.

Rodrygo has had a great three years both in terms of attribute development and performances. I will be going into some depth about the performances in a later article when I get some free time, to show how you can bring youths through without compromising your results.

The Inside Forward Role

To ensure you have a good goal scorer the first thing you need is someone or multiple people to provide the striker, or in this case the inside forward, with chances he can put away and provide him with support to pass to, create space or even to occupy an opposition player for him. Without any of these then you’ll struggle to have someone who can regularly score 25+ goals a season.

I’ve already mentioned a few aspects of what is needed to create a goal scorer but here are more;

  • Supply
  • Support
  • Space
  • Movement
  • Roles
  • Duties

The supply and support are vital parts of helping someone become a goalscorer. This is what can create the movement both for the player to use and around him so it makes the opposition make a decision. This is how gaps appear for you to exploit and use to your advantage. However another big part of this is the role and duty of the player and those around him, as this will determine not only what the player does, but how the people around him behave too.

To further explain all of these points and how they link together, I should probably show you some examples of how it all works in a game environment. If you want to know about the system I am using then you can find it discussed here

https://teaandbusquets.com/blog/4-2-3-1-introduction

 

Even though I’m using the 4-2-3-1 deep, all the principles I speak about in this topic should be applicable regardless of what shape you use. All the principles are the same regardless of formation.

Passes Received

It’s important to see what kind of areas the player receives the ball, as this will show how involved he is in the build up play and what kind of areas he has taken up as he is about to receive the ball.

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Here we can see the goalkeeper is playing the ball out to my defender Guilherme. But if we look further forward we can see Rodrygo who is moving towards the flank to give himself some space. Due to him being unmarked, Guilherme is going to hit him early with the ball. Once he gets the ball, he knocks it down to the Segundo Volante who is offering support. However nothing happens during this move but the point isn’t to show what Rodrygo does yet, it’s just to highlight and get an idea of who is passing to him and in what kind of areas.

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This is almost from an identical area as the first example but this time he receives the ball from the Segundo Volante. We can also see how unmarked he is and all the acres of space he has to play in, due to the positions he is taking up. Due to me playing on a standard mentality, he isn’t too advanced and cut off from the rest of the side. He is very much a big part of all build up phases and this makes him harder to pick up and mark because he drops deep.

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Rodrygo also offers us an outlet for when we are very deep in our own half, as can be seen above. We won the ball back and due to Rodrygo offering width, we can play the ball straight out to the wing to relieve some of the pressure. It also means we are immediately on the front foot because Rodrygo can drive forward with the ball and stay wide until the rest of the play catches up with him.

Now we’ve seen a little glimpse into where he receives the ball but not let’s have a look how the inside forward works for the system I’m using.

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In the above image we can see both the teams shapes and the positioning of the defenders and midfielders. It’s almost identical to each other. You can see Rodrygo unmarked and in the space between the fullback and the winger. My keeper notices this and can use him as an outlet and do long balls to him. I don’t have the keeper set to short distribution as I’d miss out on this kind of stuff, it also means my keepers passing accuracy suffers a lot because of this but I don’t mind, if on the occasions it works, results in a chance or even a goal being scored.

Now I know what you are thinking here, and it's that if I can do this then so can the opposition seeing how we are matched up and you’d be correct. However, in a proper defensive phase my inside forward would drop much deeper and be helping the fullback out. So in that sense, it’s less risky due to the mentality I am using. Nonetheless though, the keeper hit the ball straight to Rodrygo.

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After Rodrygo held up the ball he played it back to the midfielders who then played it to the winger over on the right. Once this happened the game got stretched because we switched play. Looking at the above though, it seems we lack options upfront but actually I don’t. What happens next is a vital component of why the inside forward role works excellent for me.

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Due to the striker attacking the box because the winger is running towards the byline, this means the oppositions defenders are in panic mode and they’re more focused on the early running, my striker. Which in turns mean Rodrygo has been left unmarked. Not only this, but due to the strikers early run he has created lots of space for the inside forward to use. No-one is near him and no-one is marking him.

The two main reasons why this space was created is because of;

  • The striker who is a deep-lying forward on an attack duty.
  • Using a winger who looks to get to the byline with the ball.

The striker is the one who creates the space and this is the reason I gave him an attack duty and not a support one. As I want him to still be a spearhead when attacking and not dropping as deep in moments like this. Other roles would work too in this scenario. The forward doesn’t need to do anything other than run in this set up, as this is what creates space. Just a simple run into the box without a ball.

The second reason it works so well is the winger and his attacking ability and his aim of going as deep into the oppositions half as possible and picking out a cross. You should be able to see in this example how both the striker and winger role allows the inside forward space, time and creates the movement for him by taking the whole defensive unit away from him. It’s also one of the reasons I like variety in my attacks and don’t like using the same role on both sides. If I used two inside forwards then the responsibility for this kind of play would fall solely on the striker, which is much harder to do. The payoff is also poorer in my opinion as it makes you more one dimension and your play is easier to predict. You basically make things easier for the AI if you only attack in one way.

In the above example, on this occasion Lincoln didn’t provide an accurate ball to Rodrygo or the striker. It was a poor ball but then again I am using a pure striker as a winger for this game due to injuries and suspensions. Things aren’t going to work all the time, that’s not realistic and if it did work all the time, that would be a bug. However it happens frequent and that is how you should measure success on Football Manager and if something is working tactically, by the frequency of how often it happens.

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The move wasn’t lost though and the ball was cleared from the initial cross but then found it’s way to my Segundo Volante seconds later. I use a creative Segundo Volante who has the players preferred move of ‘tries killer balls often’. I love this PPM as it means he does stuff like the above all the time, he is constantly hitting the space the inside forward is in and either plays the ball in between the space of the fullback and wide player. Or he attempts to put the ball into the area between the fullback and the defender. On this occasion, he chooses the wider options, so now Rodrygo can become the winger and provider. He receives the ball and drives forward for a second then just hits the ball across the goal for the striker to turn home.

While the inside forward is normally the highest scorer in the side, he’s also one of the most creative and gets a ton of assists. His play isn’t all about scoring goals and he can often be found becoming provider like in the above example. It’s not forced creativity though and is all natural, meaning it's an added extra rather than funneling play through him, like a playmaker role would. I speak about it all the time but having a variety way of creating and scoring goals makes the game much easier. Too many people play one-dimensional these days and that’s why they come up with the ‘The AI has worked me out’ stuff that people come out with. The AI doesn’t ever do that, but if you only create and score in a specific way then when this doesn’t go to plan you have no plan b.

Which means you struggle and why you have to change stuff so much. I’m not saying you can’t be successful that way but it brings an awful lots of negativity with it, playing that way and makes the game harder than it needs be. It’s also one of the reasons you should think of a tactic as a whole, rather than focusing on specific individuals or roles. Because in isolation it’s meaningless if it doesn’t actually fit how you play.

 

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This time we see the inside forward scoring a goal. The rightback combines with the right winger who then passes the ball to the Segundo Volante, who then in turn passes to the attacking midfielder, who then plays in the inside forward. So again we are seeing the team combine and use the pitch in different ways to offer support and create. There is actually another component at play here too though and that is PPM’s. I have two players who play this role;

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Now depending on which of these players I play in the attacking midfielder spot, determines how different we attack. If I use Alexandre Tam, then quite often I see him doing stuff like the above, where he plays the inside forward in. This is because of his PPM’s, he is tailored to be a pure passing outlet and these make him attempt different types of balls. Yet when I play Lucas, we don’t see those type of ball at all. I don’t mind that as we attack slightly different then and the onus is back on Rodrygo to make the intelligent moves. To give you a better indication of just how badly this impacts Rodrygo’s stats here are some stats;

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Now if we ignore the goals scored in the first season, as he was only 16 years old and was still really underdeveloped. However if we look at the last two seasons, we can see he scores a similar amount of goals but the number of assists he gets is very different.

Can you guess which season the above AM’s were paired with Rodrygo the most based on assists? The 2019 season is with Alexandre Tam and the 2020 season with Lucas. One of the reasons why the number of assist differ drastically is down to the fact that Lucas isn’t as selfless as Tam and doesn’t try killer balls frequently. So without the killer balls often, it takes away from Rodrygo’s all round game. One of the reasons why is because of the gif example I posted above. When he receives those type of balls he can normally square it for the striker, winger or an on running midfielder to put the ball in the net.

It doesn’t mean Lucas isn’t as good as Tam, it just means they play the role different and this impacts the overall play. The goal tally is roughly the same though, the 2020 goal scored seems a bit better but he had two games were he scored 5 goals so it’s padded the stats out slightly. I think this kind of stuff might be better explained in another article though as this one is already getting quite long and I’ve not covered everything that I want just yet. Just after Christmas, I’ll look at finishing off part two with a lot more examples and explanations.

 

 

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Meet The Segundo Volante

One of my favourite additions to Football Manager 2018 was one of the new player roles, the Segundo Volante. There has been a lot wrote about the role already but none of what has been written is that accurate and doesn’t really highlight what the role does and how it behaves. Hopefully this article can clear some of the misconceptions up.I actually wrote about the new roles briefly and what they did when Football Manager 18 was released.

The article can be found here;

 

Out of all the midfield roles we have available currently on the game, the Segundo Volante is probably the most complete role of them all. It’s a demanding role and takes a certain type of player to pull it off. The player must have the attributes similar to those of the Box to Box midfielder for attacking situations. Then when the ball is lost he needs the attributes that you’d expect to find in a Defensive Midfielder, hence why I class it as a complete midfielder role.In recent years players such as Ramires, Paulinho, Hernanes and Elias all played this role while still playing in the Brazilian leagues.

A more recent European player you might be familiar with, playing this role, would be Bastian Schweinsteiger.

In Game Description

The ‘Segundo Volante’ is different from the Deep Lying Playmaker in that their role is primarily a defensive one, and is also different from the Ball Winning Midfielder, in that they often run with the ball, or arrive with a late run, into the opposition area in much the same way a Box-to-Box Central Midfielder does. It’s a common role for those familiar with Brazilian football and team often field two of them or pair them with an anchorman. You can also only use the role from the outer defensive midfield positions i.e DMLC/DMRC and is unavailable from the DM spot.

  • With a support duty, the Segundo Volante will look to support the attack whilst picking and choosing his opportunities to arrive late in the opposition’s penalty area.
  • With an attack duty, the Segundo Volante will get further forward and frequently look to arrive late in the opposition’s penalty area as well as attempting more shots on goal.

You’d expect a Segundo Volante to help start and support attacks, while also chipping in with assists and scoring too. The role suits systems where you might lack central midfielders like in a deep 4-2-3-1. The player would play like a central midfielder in possession of the ball but should act like a defensive midfielder when out of possession. It’s worth noting that if you use this role on an attack duty the player might seem ‘reckless’ in a positional sense because he will be going very high into the final third of the pitch and taking up those kind of positions. So if you lose the ball, you could find him struggling to regain his natural position.

That’s the basic overview of the role. But the role is so much more than the above and is a very demanding role. If you use this role then you need to make sure you have a player who is fit above all else. Even the most fittest player will still get low condition at times due to the role being that demanding. In my own saves, I often find myself having to substitute the player in most games due to condition reaching -70% around the 70-75 minute mark.

People think the role is overpowered or superhuman but it’s not, those people don’t really understand the role and the drawbacks it brings both physically and from a tactical standpoint. If you use the wrong kind of player in this role then you might increase the risk of serious injury due to the high demanding nature of the role.

One thing to note about the Segundo Volante and it’s behaviour is that its different to any other role on the game. The weighting of the role underneath the hood are different, meaning it’s more ‘reckless’ and can’t be replicated via a different role with player instructions added, it’s unique. So let’s take a look at how the role actually works from an in-game perspective.

Analysis

In case people are wondering what formation I am using, it’s the one that I’ve spoke about in the 4-2-3-1 Deep series I’ve been doing. This is actually the fifth article in that series. So if you want to know more about the tactic I’m using then check out the previous ones.

 

All of those should give you an insight into how I'm playing. It's better to link those pieces rather than going over the tactical aspects again. This means I can focus solely on the role of the Segundo Volante in this article.

Before I jump into the examples, it’s worth having a look at a few individual stats from a game to see a quick snapshot of how he performs statistically and to see what kind of areas he is taking up.

Passes Received

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Here we can see the area’s he receives the ball. Nothing sticks out here and it all looks how you’d expect it to be. 89 times he received the ball.

Passes Completed

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Here we can see that when he received the ball in deeper areas, he brought the ball forward before distributing it. You can see how forward thinking he is in regards to his passing. Again though, all this is expected and nothing sticks out as being out of the ordinary.

Passes Intercepted

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Looking back at these clips, all of these were silly interceptions and balls he’s shouldn’t have been playing in the first place. So it’s something to note and look at a little further in the article.

Gained Possession

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In this last screenshot we get a little glimpse into his defensive side of the game and can see the areas were he gained us possession of the ball.

Match Analysis

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In the first part of this move, we can see that the Segundo Volante (Victor Yan) makes an initial run from deep. But when Lucas Lima gets the ball, Victor’s marker leaves him free and goes to deal with the threat from Lucas. This means Victor is left free and he knows this, it’s why he stops his run to become a supporting passing option.

Yan2.gif?resize=474%2C267&ssl=1

Then in the second part of the move he turns into provider once he received the ball from Lucas Lima. He passes it down the wing to the rampaging left back who is totally unmarked. Once the ball leave’s Victor’s foot he then turns into a supportive player again by becoming a runner. Just look at his run and how no-one at all is picking up his late run. Everyone is focused on the ball and not the runners from deep. It’s so simple yet effective, I love these kind of moves because it creates chaos for the opposition once they realise the player made a run.

Unfortunately he doesn’t get picked out with the ball again and the move falls flat. But already we have seen how he juggles being;

  • Supportive player
  • Provider
  • Creator
  • Runner

The creator and running side of the things in this example happen because of each other. You don’t have to have the ball at your feet to become a creator. By making late runs after passing the ball he automatically becomes a runner which in turn created lots of space to run into. When I speak about having runners and support players from deep in past articles, this is the exact type of thing I am referring to.

Yan3.gif?resize=474%2C267&ssl=1

Another short example of him becoming a runner from deep and going beyond the initial play so that when the ball is in higher positions he again becomes an option. He also checks his run again because he’s aware the attacking midfielder, is also running into the same area.

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Once again he is in acres of space and has so much time and space. It’s nothing amazing he does here, it’s all simple basic stuff. But look how he attacks when the ball is more advanced than he is, he bursts a gut trying to get further afield to get involved with play again.

As you’ll be seeing, he is very much the one making the entire team tick so far just by picking the ball up in deeper areas then passing it further forward and putting the opposition on the back foot. He is also running around a lot and moving around into empty space.

To get the most out of a Segundo Volante it’s imperative you allow him to thrive. This means the shape you use and the roles around him will all impact what he does. In the above examples I am using the deep 4-2-3-1 meaning he has lots of space to run into which helps. In other shapes his movement might be more restricted based on the roles around him. You’d also notice a big difference if you use a playmaker of any kind in the same side too, as that can possibly take the ball away from him as the play, is more channeled through the playmaker instead. In this current setup that I use, he is a natural playmaker and making things tick all on his own.

The Segundo Volante doesn’t actually dribble with the ball much in the system I am using, he’s more focused on using space and running which is what I want from him. He does get in the box though and score goals as well as assisting people.

 Assists

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Goals

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You can see that he is very good in and around the oppositions box and all his threatening play happens here. The opposition just don’t know how to handle him because he runs from deep and joins the attacks at the very last possible opportunity. Scoring goals and getting assists are a big part of his game. The clips above show the types of things he does in those situations better than I could have explained in words myself.

Defensive Situations

The player still does all the usual defensive work of a defensive midfielder when attacking. So he will close down, chase balls and help protect the defence if he is able to drop back to his natural position quickly enough. It can be risky at times though especially if he doesn’t get back in time, which is rare, but it does happen.

That’s why you should pair him with someone who is more positional strict than he is, so you aren’t totally exposed. On the flip side though if you use an aggressive tactic then you could use two of them to dominate the middle and really take the game to the opposition. It’s risky but if your side is one of the strongest in the league and expected to win most games, then it is possible to use two Segundo Volante's.

Player Development

The Segundo Volante is a player who will be heavily PPM based. The ones he will eventually have are;

  • Gets forward whenever possible.
  • Dictates tempo.
  • Plays one twos
  • Runs with ball through the centre

The reason behind this is, I want the player to be aggressive and his role already allows this. However if I use a support Segundo Volante instead of the current attack duty I use, I shouldn’t lose any of this natural attacking ability. Another reason behind these PPM’s are that I want him to slow or speed play up when he sees fit.This will add another dimension to the role and allow the player to decide when he thinks play needs to be quickly or slower. It can be a really good counter attacking player trait. By allowing the player to also play one twos this will give me a quick change of pace at times and hopefully create space and movement, just by playing one twos.

Season One

I was fortunate enough to have a player in the youth ranks of Santos who would become my long-term project for the Segundo Volante role. This was him at the very start of the season;

dev1.png?resize=474%2C251&ssl=1

He is a bit weak in places but being only 15 years old, this is not an issue at all. Due to his age he could realistically be moulded into any role that I wanted him to play. One of the first things I do is work on his personality type, as he was only a balanced one himself at the start of the game. So I had him tutored with Renato who was fairly determined. As for the rest of his training he was just placed on the Segundo Volante training schedule and nothing more.

By the end of season one he had made a remarkable progress on his personality and with his attributes.

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His personality type had gone from balanced to a fairly determined one due to a successful tutoring session. And he’d also picked up a players preferred move during the process too, which was another reason I had selected Ranato to the tutor in the hope he picked it up. This means he has saved me six months trying to teach it him. As for his attributes, you can see almost everyone has changed by at least one attribute gain but a lot of them have seen an increase of two or more attribute point gains.

During the second half of the season he also found himself getting a lot of game time. I’d have liked to play him earlier but I can’t until he reaches 16 years old due to the league rules. However that wouldn’t have made much difference to his development as training is the driving force for attribute development for players under the age of 17 years old. It’s only once a player reaches 17 that game time becomes one of the main factors. Below that age it all comes from training.

Second Season

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By the end of the second season Victor Yan had shown he was developing extremely well and surprisingly, at a very fast rate. During this season I had gave him the following individual training;

  • Strength for 2 months
  • Stamina for 2 months
  • Passing for 2 months

The reason behind this was, I felt being more powerful and working on his strength would help with those surging runs he makes. It would also help his defensive side of the game too and allow him not to be bullied around. I feel for the Segundo Volante, a little bit of strength makes a huge difference as you want him to be able to hold his own and shrug off challenges.

Working on his stamina was also needed and it’s already at a good standing but long-term it’ll likely be the most important attribute he has. Especially if you don’t want to substitute him half-way through every single game you play.

In the game examples above you’ve seen how important he is and the positions he takes up. That’s why I also worked on his passing so he can take advantage of that. There’s nothing worse than seeing a player take up great positions time and time again yet lack the technical skills to make the most of it. By working on his passing and trying to bring it up to a higher standard, it will hopefully benefit his team mates.

His season overall was really good and he grabbed a few goals and assists which is always good to see. Even at such a young age he is showing how important he is becoming to the team and he is only going to get better in the next couple of years.

Season Three

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I'll be adding to this a lot over the coming weeks once I get the time to finish off the other sections I've started writing

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Exciting read. Looking forward to the forthcoming analysis - especially on the segundo volante role and how He acts in this system. 

As always you inspire my own thoughts on tactical creativity. Especially the mentality side of the game. I've never been good at making tactics, But thanks to guys like you, Cleon, Ji-sung Park, Özil to the Arsenal and - last But not least - Rashidi I've come far. 

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6 minutes ago, Gegenklaus said:

Exciting read. Looking forward to the forthcoming analysis - especially on the segundo volante role and how He acts in this system. 

As always you inspire my own thoughts on tactical creativity. Especially the mentality side of the game. I've never been good at making tactics, But thanks to guys like you, Cleon, Ji-sung Park, Özil to the Arsenal and - last But not least - Rashidi I've come far. 

This is great to hear and helpful feedback, especially for me. I always set out with the main aim of all my articles with the idea that they make you think and get you questioning your own decisions. So it's good to know that this does come across like this at times :)

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Awesome Cleon. 

Cant wait to give this a read when i have the time, i'm sure it will inspire me for my deep narrow 4-2-3-1. Thanks for sharing this with us ;)

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I have never dared to use an amc (s) behind a dlf (a), it's spectacular combinations of passes and generate attack moves that can be done, thanks a lot

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52 minutes ago, Cleon said:

This is great to hear and helpful feedback, especially for me. I always set out with the main aim of all my articles with the idea that they make you think and get you questioning your own decisions. So it's good to know that this does come across like this at times :)

Pleasure is all mine. I have throughout FM17 generally tried to emulate Thomas Tuchels system at Dortmund under his first season. Tried various formations but could never get the Gundogan role quite right. Maybe the movement of the segundo volante might do the trick. :)

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Really interesting article, I too have never been fond of the 4-2-3-1 but I did give a go last year for one season.  Your analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the system is a good read.  My only problem is that the pictures don't load for me in either firefox or IE.  Anyone else having that problem?

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4 minutes ago, WhyMe said:

Really interesting article, I too have never been fond of the 4-2-3-1 but I did give a go last year for one season.  Your analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the system is a good read.  My only problem is that the pictures don't load for me in either firefox or IE.  Anyone else having that problem?

The pictures should be working fine, they are my end and on the site. Anyone else having this issue?

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Just now, Cleon said:

The pictures should be working fine, they are my end and on the site. Anyone else having this issue?

Yes, in Chrome.

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1 minute ago, Bantamtim said:

Yes, in Chrome.

You can see them or can't?

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I honestly don't know the issue, I've literally got loads of people on social media telling me its all fine for them and on the site everything is working as it should nothing is hidden. So not sure what the issue is.

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Can't wait for the next part either!

Your writing is smooth and the tactic building progression makes a lot of sense. Truly enjoyable :thup:

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1 minute ago, Mitja said:

four attacking duties on standard mentality? how many AI uses on standard?

1-2 probably. Not sure why that matters though?

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it doesn't metter. just seems a lot more than AI would use. I like to play with same rules as AI. 

nevermind.

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18 minutes ago, Mitja said:

it doesn't metter. just seems a lot more than AI would use. I like to play with same rules as AI. 

nevermind.

I didn't know the AI had specific rules when it came to the number of duties its supposed to use.

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2 minutes ago, kingjericho said:

I'm using Chrome and everything is working as it should.

As it it for everyone else it seems, thanks for that :)

If you can't see the images then there are two reasons, 1) It's an issue at your end. 2) You're one of the banned IP's from the blog for being abusive over on there. There are 5 banned people so far. Those are the only two reasons why someone can't see the images, it has to be one of those.

Quote

Can't wait for the next part either!

Your writing is smooth and the tactic building progression makes a lot of sense. Truly enjoyable :thup:

Thanks, hopefully the analysis will follow suit too :)

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54 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

I didn't know the AI had specific rules when it came to the number of duties its supposed to use.

No I think he read something related in Cleon's Counter Attacking thread where he said the AI usually uses a number of attacking duties per each duty.

 

Btw one thing that made me curious @Cleon when I saw the deep 4-2-3-1 was that if a DLP-S in DM strata will stay deeper in the attacking transition than a DLP-S in CM strata (logic would say it should stay deeper because of lower individual mentality).

 

And if, because of this, you decided to go with this formation which can look like a 4-3-3 in attack?

Edited by Armistice

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8 minutes ago, Armistice said:

No I think he read something related in Cleon's Counter Attacking thread where he said the AI usually use a number of attacking duties per each duty.

Correct yeah. The AI does follow certain rules but isn't strictly tied to them and will go beyond them at times if its needed. But as a general rule, what was posted in that thread is still correct in terms of the mentality and duties used. 

As for the edited part, that's the beauty of a 4231, you can make it morph into different shapes with just a simple duty or role change. That's why its very versatile and been a popular choice irl for so long.

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Great article Cleon. Been using some of your advice and my 4231 with Huddersfield has morphed into a 4411. Still, it looks like a 4231 during a game.

And i have just beat Man city 2-0

Edited by wicksyFM

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I'm looking at having a 4-2-3-1 shape in a  save and wanting it to be secure first and foremost so going for the deep option. Appears I've always fallen into the trap of thinking they have to be top heavy to get the attacking hape but when someone actually writes it down that its just how you're setting up defensively of course it makes sense. Now for the fun part trying to get the balance of defence and making sure the striker doesn't get isolated correct :-)

 

Thanks @Cleon great write up as per usual :applause:

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Interesting on the IF-A with a WB-S combo and then a WB-A and W-S combo on the other flank, was trying to work out how these would look on the pitch in my head as for some reason the opposite combos make more sense to me.

IF-S who vacates space on the left and then the WB-A bombs past him on the overlap, then the W-A runs at his man on the right going for the by line whilst the WB-S is ready behind him to give him an out ball and maybe cross from deep or work the ball into the middle. 

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1 hour ago, Armistice said:

No I think he read something related in Cleon's Counter Attacking thread where he said the AI usually uses a number of attacking duties per each duty.

 

Btw one thing that made me curious @Cleon when I saw the deep 4-2-3-1 was that if a DLP-S in DM strata will stay deeper in the attacking transition than a DLP-S in CM strata (logic would say it should stay deeper because of lower individual mentality).

 

And if, because of this, you decided to go with this formation which can look like a 4-3-3 in attack?

Yeah it was a knee jerk question to a thread I just closed which seemed to suggest hard and fast rules for the game. The AI is guided by a combination of duties, and the important word here is guided. So while its good to have a good balance of duties in your side, its really dependant on the overall formation and what you are trying to do.

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10 minutes ago, tajj7 said:

Interesting on the IF-A with a WB-S combo and then a WB-A and W-S combo on the other flank, was trying to work out how these would look on the pitch in my head as for some reason the opposite combos make more sense to me.

IF-S who vacates space on the left and then the WB-A bombs past him on the overlap, then the W-A runs at his man on the right going for the by line whilst the WB-S is ready behind him to give him an out ball and maybe cross from deep or work the ball into the middle. 

Remember who I wanted to be the main scorer. It's also worth noting that even though what you say can work, it really doesn't fit in with the rest of the roles I've selected. I'd rather the winger be the player who overlaps because if I reversed it, I don't want the ball to be behind or on the side the IF is running from. This would mean he has to stop/turn around to get involved again. Doing the opposite way, the majority of the time he will be running onto/towards the ball which means he can cause more options and use space that is created. Having a player stop or have to turn around to get the ball can see the movement and momentum halted prematurely. I don't want to be wasteful. 

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Just finished my first season with playing mostly 4-2-3-1 and some 4-3-3 with Inter.
Best home record in the league, but I really struggled in away games. The worst thing is it can't be explained with stats. I always had more shots, shots on target, chances but it just wouldn't go in.

Anyhow, in the second season I'm going to try and use an aysmetric approach.
On the left, attacking wingback and inside forward (maybe a winger cutting inside depending on the player's preferred foot) on attack duty, with MCL covering the side.
On the right, conservative fullback and a supporting winger(again, depending on the preferred foot, could be an inside forward).
One defender is a BPD who gets the ball from the keeper and starts everything.
The two roles I'm trying to figure out are MCR and AMC.

I got Sergej from Lazio in the squad and I want to recreate the Nainggolan in roma role.
Similar to Lampard for those of you who  don't follow the Serie A. Complete midfielder which surges into the opposition are and scores quite a few goals.
The third midifielder is a pure playmaker who doesn't need to score or get into many chances himself, just connect everything.

Icardi upfront, no chance I change any roles there, he scored nearly half of my goals in the first season.

My dilemma is if I should use a MC advanced playmaker with attacking midfielder on attack or AMC playmaker with box to box midfielder having get further forward instructions.
Control mentality, flexible structure.

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9 minutes ago, Cleon said:

Remember who I wanted to be the main scorer. It's also worth noting that even though what you say can work, it really doesn't fit in with the rest of the roles I've selected. 

Presumably this is because of the AM on support who would be competing for similar areas on the pitch as an IF-S? 

Quote

I'd rather the winger be the player who overlaps because if I reversed it, I don't want the ball to be behind or on the side the IF is running from. This would mean he has to stop/turn around to get involved again. Doing the opposite way, the majority of the time he will be running onto/towards the ball which means he can cause more options and use space that is created

Could you explain this more as I am a little confused on the issue, who is the winger overlapping? Is this to do with starting position? 

Also the DM-S, I note your comments here, would not a defend duty be something between an anchor man or DM-S

Edited by tajj7

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Great stuff as always Cleon, I shall be following this with interest.  Your work on developing youngsters and training changed the way i play. 

I decided to start a save yesterday before i had seen any of this, with Brighton, the idea i had was to play deep and out of the back when in possession but with the ability to ping the odd Hollywood wonder ball from deep when under the cosh. I came up with a tactic while i was at work which i tested out last night.  

Initially i set up as follows

Goalkeeper: Standard Goalkeeper - PI's for short kicks and distribute to the centre backs.

DL: FB S - No PI's

DCL: BPD C - More risky passes to try and bring out the occasional hollywood ball from the back.

DCR: CD S Pass it shorter

DL: FB D No PI's

DMCL: Anchor D Pass it shorter

DMCR: Roaming Playmaker S More risky, and more direct passing.

CM: BWM S No PI's

AML: IF A More direct passes

AMR: IF S More direct passes

CF; CF S More direct passes.

Counter mentality and Structured shape.  We had drop deeper, Play out of defence, More Disciplined, and shorter passing as the team instructions to draw teams onto us, keep our shape and and building from the back when in possession also had playing out of defence.

This formation proved to be solid as a rock at the back conceding only from set pieces.  The building from the back wasn't working well in possession though and the majority of our chances and goals were from long shots and most games finishing 1 nil to us.  Even against weaker opposition.

So i made some tweaks, added work the ball into the box to try and reduce the number of long shots the two inside forwards were taking and changing the shape to flexible to bring the players in the final third a bit closer together.

Goalkeeper: Standard Goalkeeper - PI's for short kicks and distribute to the centre backs.

DL: WB S - Mark the AMR - Changed from full backs to get them involved more in the build up play when in possesion.  This seems to have worked well.

DCL: BPD C - More risky passes to try and bring out the occasional hollywood ball from the back.

DCR: CD S Pass it shorter

DR: WB D Mark the AML, same as the DL position but more conservative than him.

DMCL: Anchor D Pass it shorter

DMCR: Roaming Playmaker S More risky, and more direct passing.

CM: BWM S added Get further forward and more direct passing.  This guy wasn't getting forward and supporting the attack much and was running around with the ball looking for a short pass.  He's now still winning the ball in the final third but is also popping up in the box and having a shot.

AML: IF A More direct passes

AMR: IF S More direct passes

CF; CF S More direct passes.

We are having huge amounts of possession and still only conceding from set pieces and we are having huge numbers of shots per game but still from outside the box predominantly.

I would like to encourage more link up play between my attacking 3 and the RMP and BWM who are performing as i would like in terms of positioning and stop the AMR and AML popping off so many long shots (which they are terrible at)

Things i am considering tweaking next are change the AMR to a winger support to reduce the cutting inside and long shots and give us a crossing option on the right side.  Changing the CF S to either a TM S or a DLF S, probably the latter as i don't want to channel long balls to the target man but more have all 3 forward players as options.  I don't really want to ask the AML to shoot less often if i can help it as i want him in the box scoring not passing.  

So the tactic tonight will look like this:

Goalkeeper: Standard Goalkeeper - PI's for short kicks and distribute to the centre backs.

DL: WB S - Mark the AMR

DCL: BPD C - More risky passes to try and bring out the occasional hollywood ball from the back.

DCR: CD S Pass it shorter

DR: WB D Mark the AML

DMCL: A D Pass it shorter

DMCR: RPM S More risky, and more direct passing.

CM: BWM S More direct passing, get further forward.

AML: IF A More direct passes

AMR: W S More direct passes

CF: DLF S More direct passes, more risky passes.

Mentality: Counter

Shape: Flexible

Instructions: Play out of defence, shorter passing, work the ball into the box, Drop Deeper and be more disciplined.

So my question is, am i on the right track for trying to play out of the back and springing counter attacks when the opportunity arises?  Would would you consider changing here and whats your opinion on replaing the RPM with the new Segundo Volante?

 

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Just now, tajj7 said:

Presumably this is because of the AM on support who would be competing for similar areas on the pitch as an IF-S? 

Could you explain this more as I am a little confused on the issue, who is the winger overlapping? 

1) I'd be having two players do similar things and attacking the same kind of areas. Not only this but it would be happening at the same time. Remember earlier in the article when I mentioned wanting to create a variety in the way I play, well this is one of the reasons. I want to attack the opposition from different areas at different times. Think of it like when you watch MMA or boxing. You don't see fighters hit the same area constant, not normally. You see them go for head shots, body shots and so on. Well tactics are the same, the more areas you attack from in different ways the more successful you are likely to be because the opposition cannot defend them all. Football is all about making the opposition make a choice and having that choice always be the wrong one.

An example would be lets say that the opposition is caught out of position and there are two centrebacks vs my AM and IF. If both my players are on support and attacking the same areas at the same time, then when one of the oppositions DC's step up to deal with it he's be close to both players meaning the other DC can pick up whichever player breaks through first etc. But if my players stagger the attack and my AMC runs at the same two defenders then the opposition has a real issue here. Do they stay compact and back off? Do they step up and try to deal with the situation? If they try to deal with it then a gap now appears for either the IF to run into if the oppositions DC go for the AMC. Or if one defender decides to go across to the IF and mark him, then we now have two 1v1 situations and in these cases the momentum should be with the player who is running at speed. He will either get a foul, create a chance or get disposed. But the important thing is creating different options.  It might not sound that great but then when you add a striker into the mix, you can really sense how that changes the dynamic again can't you?

2) The winger doesn't overlap, the Wingback on that side who is on an attack duty overlaps the winger. I create a 2v1 on the wings. Again its about making the AI make a decision and commit to it. If someone has to go across to cover whether it be a defender or midfield a huge amount of space will appear :)

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Also, I bet if @Rashidi spoke about his deep set up we would both be saying the same thing but his tactic will show another way of doing it compared to mine. But both would have many different ways to attack. This is the main difference between an okay tactic and a good one. It's the difference between being consistent and inconsistent. To be consistent you need variety. 

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Interesting stuff, will be following.

I don't really see the point in a wingback on attack rather than just  fullback. In my experience, fullbacks work a lot better with wingers as they occasionally underlap the winger if he is very wide. 

 

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Great thread Cleon.

I'm thinking of setting up a 4-2-2-1-1 (2 DMs, MR/L, AMC) to replicate my version of a 4-2-3-1. Been trying 4-4-1-1 but the gap between the DCs and MCs is a real problem defensively. I'll probably go without the extra closing down due to my wide players not being in the AM strata.

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