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crusadertsar

Breaking the parked bus with .... A Targetman?

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In two seasons I developed my Everton side into a top 5 side. We can consistently compete with the big boys and came second to Arsenal in second season. So naturally we are starting to face parked bus teams more to a point where our original simple direct 4-4-2, has become less effective. It's 3rd season preseason and I'm trying to develop a tactic that can break down stubborn defences better. A lot of teams started using 3 central defenders against me, Italian anti - football Catenaccio style. So my idea is what if get a central beast of a targetman and surround him by 2 poachers on both sides. I got Andrea Petagna who is probably the best young targetman after Giroud. Anybody tried something similar? My plan is to get the ball to him quickly so he can boss around the defenders and then with his good passing (14) he can pass quickly to one of the poachers/advanced forwards to whom I can give PI of run wide with the ball. 

Edited by crusadertsar
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The thing about playing a TM against a packed defence is that you're going to need to first of all be able to camp in your opponent's half and you're going to need plenty of craft and movement on the wings because straight, direct balls up the middle have such a low chance of turning into a goalscoring opportunity. I don't think two poachers is ideal, first of all because they will be operating in a very crowded area and will find it harder to find space and be easier to mark.
Ideally what you want is players making late runs into the box for those second balls. If you play a TM and have your side play to that TM in an orthodox way then you also better be sure that he has the beating of the average defender that he'll be coming up against in heading, aggression, bravery, jumping and strength. It doesn't matter how good your TM is, it matters how good he is compared to the defenders he's up against.
I don't want to make it sound like its a terrible idea but its not a tactic that give you many chances. In a sense its playing into the hands of the packed defence because they can just go man for man on your TM and defend the balls coming in.

If you are going to do it my suggestion would be TM through the middle, wingers ahead of fullbacks out wide, midfielders creating a barrier so then that when the ball comes out it is sent straight back out wide for another cross. This way you've created a sort of bombardment strategy. Its best done late on in games though. It would never be my starting tactic.

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Thanks @Atarin ! That's sorta what I feared. I didn't think playing through the middle like that would be ideal too. What do you think if put one of the poachers as Raumdeuter on side (essentially acting like wide poacher) and the other advanced forwards could be switched to a more creative role like trequartista or falsenine and instructed to drift to the other wing and draw defenders out and provide occasional cross or pass. On wings I would have wingbacks in DM strata. Also I would put shadow striker behind TM. 

My original idea of putting strikers around TM was because I heard that TM is most effective when operating close to another more attacking striker and not so well when alone. So hopefully if I put Shadow Striker behind TM and move him closer to the side of Raumdeuter it will mimic the 3 striker effect and will create more space at the same time with more runs from deep

Edited by crusadertsar

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Its true that a TM(s) needs players around them but your situation is one where the opposition are sitting in...so where is the space? Its probably not behind them and it probably won't be between them. You want runners arriving unmarked.

I don't think a Ramdeuter will be particularly useful because wide delivery is so vitally important in this tactic - you will want combination play out wide because your wide player will probably have men to get around as well. Ramdeuters require space to move into, this requires movement ahead of them, and given that you're playing against a packed defence I don't think its the best option.

Your essential problem is that you've got 3 central defenders sitting deep, refusing to be pulled out of position. You need to find a way of unsettling that backline. Intricate movement will be extremely tough so intricate roles like F9 and Treq don't seem the right fit to me,

Also its important that you dominate possession because your team needs to dominated the final third. You can't have the opposition getting out easily. You also need to ensure that your TM has a steady stream of crosses to feed off of which in turn requires dominance out wide. Camping in the opposition half and constantly recycling possession is your best bet.

Again, this is a fairly extreme tactical idea and is mostly seen when teams are chasing a goal late in a game. 

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56 minutes ago, Atarin said:

Also its important that you dominate possession because your team needs to dominated the final third. You can't have the opposition getting out easily. You also need to ensure that your TM has a steady stream of crosses to feed off of which in turn requires dominance out wide. Camping in the opposition half and constantly recycling possession is your best bet.

Again, this is a fairly extreme tactical idea and is mostly seen when teams are chasing a goal late in a game. 

What do you think would be ideal setup to dominate out wide? Would an inside forward (S) and winger(s) feeding TM and Shadow Striker running in late work better in this case maybe. With another midfielder like mezzala too maybe arriving late unmarked. Thanks for all the suggestions by the way. It's been very useful 

Edited by crusadertsar

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A lot would depend on what exactly it was that the opposition were doing. Generally I'd want a wide player who could whip the ball in from wide and hold it up for a supporting fullback. Remember dominating possession is vital, I don't mean endless sideways passes, I mean blocking out any opportunity for the opposition to launch counters - and regained the loose balls immediately and restarting the barrage. I'd probably go 4-1-4-1 (because I want a coverage when the opposition clears the ball.)

in terms of roles I'd look at what I had and what the opposition had, I'd be thinking about W(s) and IW(s). Both roles cross the ball and also combined with fullbacks. This covers our wide control. Centrally I'd not choose a SS because they are so aggressive, getting ahead of the TM early. Your goals are going to come from the TM getting his head on the ball and scoring or the ball coming out to a free midfielder who can shoot. My philosophy with this game is always KISS, keep it simple stupid. If I'm not absolutely sure why something is there then it shouldn't be. A couple of CM's should suffice.  You could throw one onto Attack and one Support or even both on support because you are going to have control of the ball in the final third which is the trigger for a CM(s) to push up.

I don't see any need for Mezzalas or anything of that funky stuff. I've even used a DLP(s) with surprising effect as a late arriving central midfielder.

This is all in my opinion, obviously. I play the game a certain way. I don't mess around with OIs and PIs unless I want something incredibly specific. I stick with Roles, Duties, Mentality and the very occasional TI just to add some flavour. I've almost stopped using Shape entirely. Flexible seems to do the job 90% of the time for me.

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I should add that given that its 4-1-4-1 its crucial that you play on a higher mentality. By default the 4-1-4-1 is a very bottom heavy formation which lends itself to countering and consolidation. The reason I've not suggested a 4-2-3-1 which would be the most obvious choice is because it pushes the wide midfielders up into the AM strata which leaves a gap between fullback and winger which can be exploited for release balls, also it puts a lot more strain on the fullback to get and back to support and cover. 

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56 minutes ago, Atarin said:

I should add that given that its 4-1-4-1 its crucial that you play on a higher mentality. By default the 4-1-4-1 is a very bottom heavy formation which lends itself to countering and consolidation. The reason I've not suggested a 4-2-3-1 which would be the most obvious choice is because it pushes the wide midfielders up into the AM strata which leaves a gap between fullback and winger which can be exploited for release balls, also it puts a lot more strain on the fullback to get and back to support and cover. 

I think I'll try that. Maybe with Inverted winger on left and regular winger on right with simple cm(d) and cm (a) combo in middle. Not sure what to do with defensive midfielder. Maybe make him into halfback so that fullbacks can be more attacking 

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I see no reason why you can't just keep the 442, with a bit of adjustment. If the opposition are playing 3 central defenders, chances are they will be more vulnerable down the flanks. So a flat 4 across the midfield with two wingers, and supporting full backs all encouraged to cross the ball should be ideal for a target man to attack, maybe with a deep lying forward with a support duty, or shadow striker to get on the end of knock downs. Probably with a cm support or attack with a ppm of getting into the box late. I'd keep the direct play with a high tempo so you don't give them time to settle, but maybe play deeper to try to draw them out a bit and create some space to attack.

Alternatively, with 3 cbs if you play a lone striker (AF or CF if TM isn't good as a lone striker, I've never tried) then they are wasting 3 players to try to negate your 1, so you can overload them in other areas of the pitch with your extra players, possibly drawing out at least one of their cbs.

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