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bbgunn

Weak defence in a 442 Narrow Diamond

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Hey ladies and gentlemen:

I'm currently running a save on FM Touch 17 with a team called Real Kings in the South African First Division.  The team is pretty bad and picked to finish last in the 16-team division, but has two good strikers and a good AMC.  

I've chosen to run a narrow 442 diamond.  Unfortunately I am at work right now, so I can't provide a screenshot of the tactic, so text will have to do at the moment:

GK(d)

CWB(a) -- CD(d) -- CD(d) -- CWB(s)

HB(d)

CM(s) -- BBM(s)

AM(a)

DLF(s) -- AF(a)

 

I use a Defensive mentality because the team has low mentals (Aggression, Teamwork, Work Rate, etc.), and I don't want them doing any kind of closing down, but I want them solid in defence.

Team Shape is Structured to keep creative freedom and roaming low.  

I didn't start with any TIs set as a base because I wanted to keep things simple, but lately I've had to use Close Down Less.  I'll explain why in a bit.

PIs:

-GK: Distribute quickly and to HB

-CBs: Close Down Less

-Front 3: Close Down Much More

THE PROBLEM

The back four pretty much seem to defend like I want, a solid line of four that stays rigid and stays with strikers even if a full back/CWB goes out to close down a winger.  The front three are awesome.  They open space for each other, and having the right CWB venture farther forward gives the DLF another option and opens up gaps in the opposing defensive line.

The problem is the central diamond, especially on defence.  Now, with this formation, I expect to be bombarded by crosses, and I think this setup can deal with it most of the time unless we're playing a quality team. 

However, what I didn't expect was the central four to drastically shift to the left or right to deal with attacks on the flanks, leaving unmarked opposing central midfielders in the middle.  I expect and want one of the CMs, and maybe another player, to move to the flanks to deal with a threat, while the other mids stay central.  I don't want all four of them doing that.  We've given up goals in which an opposing winger or fullback will draw my central diamond to the flanks, then whip a pass to the central zone outside our own penalty area, where they make easy long shots or cause my CBs to have to deal with unmarked deep runners and playmakers.

I thought with Defensive/Structured the team would be quite rigid on defence, but apparently that's not the case here, so I tried the TI Close Down Less.  The problem still happens.  

Going Fluid would help bring the team closer together and help cover central midfielders, but even on Defensive I find the defenders come up more to support attacks, leaving us more exposed on the counter.  And it still doesn't solve the problem of the central four shifting too far to the flanks like a wolfpack.

The result - especially lately since the AI has started to respond to my tactics - has been results like 2-5 or 2-4.

Any advice would be most welcome!

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I played a 4-4-2 diamond with FC Utrecht (predicted 6th) with one attacking Wingback and the other side was a Fullback-Support to keep the balance. Really covered the space, because I didn't got exposed allot, can post the stats when I'm home. The formation won me the League in Holland. 

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7 hours ago, bbgunn said:

I expect and want one of the CMs, and maybe another player, to move to the flanks to deal with a threat, while the other mids stay central.

I'm just going to focus on this bit.  You have a HB-D and a AM-A in your diamond, which of them do you expect to run out to a flank instead of the Support duty CMs?  If its not the DM or AM who do you expect to deal with the flank threat?

I think you might be better off moving to a 1-3 shape with the AM-A becoming a CM-A so he's deeper more consistently and the outside CMs can help the flanks more.

Finally look at the players whom you expect to help out defensively by tracking back or closing down to see if they have the attributes to do that relative to the level your playing at.

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1 hour ago, summatsupeer said:

I'm just going to focus on this bit.  You have a HB-D and a AM-A in your diamond, which of them do you expect to run out to a flank instead of the Support duty CMs?  If its not the DM or AM who do you expect to deal with the flank threat?

I think you might be better off moving to a 1-3 shape with the AM-A becoming a CM-A so he's deeper more consistently and the outside CMs can help the flanks more.

Finally look at the players whom you expect to help out defensively by tracking back or closing down to see if they have the attributes to do that relative to the level your playing at.

I actually expect one of the support CMs to help on the flanks - preferably the one closest to that flank - and they do.  However, the other three midfielders close down with him.  That’s the problem.  This happens despite my using a Defensive strategy and despite a Structured shape, and despite Close Down Less.  The AM(a) actually has Close Down More as a PI, but that’s to hassle the opposing D-line or DMs.

I don’t want the HB going to the flanks at all.  I want him to shield the back line.

It sounds strange, but overall I want the central midfielders to help out less on the flanks, not as much as they are currently doing.  One CM drifting to the flanks to help would be enough.  I’m happy to give up the flanks and let my wingbacks do most of the work.  What I don’t want is to give up central midfield and allow them easy long shots or unimpeded runs at my D-line.  I’m facing a lot of 4213’s with two DMs, and when they attack on the counter the advanced wingers draw my central mids with them, them their three midfielders advance into the space my diamond vacated.

As I said in the first post, my players’ attributes are atrocious, which is why I don’t want them to close down.  I want them to sit in a rigid shape and make the opposition play through me, instead of us flooding to one flank and leaving space.

The 1-3 shape might work defensively, but my AM is pretty good in the AM position and would need retraining to play CM.  Plus, I’m really happy with how my front three look on attack, and I would like to try to fix my defensive problems by other means if necessary.

Edited by bbgunn

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Here’s a video link showing one of the goals I was talking about.  I’m in blue and orange, and the opponent is in red and white.  You can see, at the beginning of the clip, how my entire midfield has run over to the flanks to deal with the threat, leaving the central area exposed.

https://youtu.be/Tr5utqdpN1w

Sorry... I haven’t yet figured out how to embed YouTube videos.

Edited by bbgunn

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I'm in a simillar situation. Although my team is much worse compared to the division. I mean, my strikers can have 1 technique and 5 antecipation and I'm in the Russian premier league against the likes of Zenit, Spartak, etc. Hell, my team was not even in the top 10 favorites in the 2nd division and the squad got even worse with a few retirements.

About the topic,yes I've been struggling a lot. Even if I nullify opponents CCC I will still concede goals in corners or crosses because my center backs lack positioning, anticipation, concentration, decisions etc.

Sadly this game is not very realistic at all when it comes to defensive mentalities as a true underdog. You'll just be inviting them in. Especially if you play with full backs on the wide areas. Even with a deep 4411 DM I won't stand a chance because my players don't have the skill to come out passing the ball from the back. Going direct or long with such a bottom heavy formation is also pointless.

 

I managed to avoid relegation last season by changing to attack and overload with long balls feeded to a target man,who, in turn, is surrounded closely by attacking forwards. 

A 4-3-1-2 or 4-1-3-2 is rather solid too but even top teams have their golden zone well covered. Besides their superior players cover ground much faster so you have almost no time to play in that area of the field. 

Where there is more space will always be the flanks. So I'm currently experimenting wide targetman setups but ye it's very hard and frustrating. I'll holiday a few games to see if the AI can get some points with my squad just out of curiosity.

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I can see the problems with this formation are defending two flanks. I use the 5-2-1-2 formation, almost likes yours. Actually, my team has the best goal allow record in the league last 3 seasons with this formation. However, I replace the HB with a BPD (stopper) and play in high defensive line. In the center position, I use one BWM or DLP (De) with an AP(s) or Mezzala depending on which team I face but always has one with more defensive role.
When my team loses the ball,  if they launch it to the lone striker, my center BPD will come out to deal with it. If not, the one who receive the ball is their winger and I leave he be, 

Why? Because if he decides to dribble in, my CB will step out. If he decides to cross, my three CB can easily deal with it with their high jumping and heading. That's why I like CBs with high pace to move back quickly to deal with those crosses. Also, you need a SK who can come out in 1vs1 situations.
 

Edited by jasonbuids

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6 hours ago, bbgunn said:

I actually expect one of the support CMs to help on the flanks - preferably the one closest to that flank - and they do.  However, the other three midfielders close down with him.  That’s the problem.  This happens despite my using a Defensive strategy and despite a Structured shape, and despite Close Down Less.  The AM(a) actually has Close Down More as a PI, but that’s to hassle the opposing D-line or DMs.

I don’t want the HB going to the flanks at all.  I want him to shield the back line.

It sounds strange, but overall I want the central midfielders to help out less on the flanks, not as much as they are currently doing.  One CM drifting to the flanks to help would be enough.  I’m happy to give up the flanks and let my wingbacks do most of the work.  What I don’t want is to give up central midfield and allow them easy long shots or unimpeded runs at my D-line.  I’m facing a lot of 4213’s with two DMs, and when they attack on the counter the advanced wingers draw my central mids with them, them their three midfielders advance into the space my diamond vacated.

As I said in the first post, my players’ attributes are atrocious, which is why I don’t want them to close down.  I want them to sit in a rigid shape and make the opposition play through me, instead of us flooding to one flank and leaving space.

The 1-3 shape might work defensively, but my AM is pretty good in the AM position and would need retraining to play CM.  Plus, I’m really happy with how my front three look on attack, and I would like to try to fix my defensive problems by other means if necessary.

All 4 midfielders go after the same player with the ball? That doesn't sound right, I don't think i've ever seen that happen, maybe 1 or 2 but thats usual in a high risk position.  Even if your sitting deep, eventually someone has to engage the player with the ball regardless of closing down settings.

Your thinking about how to play with "atrocious" attributes is a bit flawed.  You have to look at them with regards to the other players in that league, a positioning of say 10 might be good in a league where the average off the ball rating is 7 or 8.  You still should look at the balance of the players attributes to see if they are good at sitting deep or if they're better at pressing. I don't think its right to say they're low level players so just park the bus, you still need to be good at parking :brock:

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6 hours ago, summatsupeer said:

All 4 midfielders go after the same player with the ball? That doesn't sound right, I don't think i've ever seen that happen, maybe 1 or 2 but thats usual in a high risk position.  Even if your sitting deep, eventually someone has to engage the player with the ball regardless of closing down settings.

Your thinking about how to play with "atrocious" attributes is a bit flawed.  You have to look at them with regards to the other players in that league, a positioning of say 10 might be good in a league where the average off the ball rating is 7 or 8.  You still should look at the balance of the players attributes to see if they are good at sitting deep or if they're better at pressing. I don't think its right to say they're low level players so just park the bus, you still need to be good at parking :brock:

I understand that somebody has to close down in my own third, but I don't want my whole midfield to do so, if at all possible.

You're probably right about how I look at my team's attributes.  While they are bad, I remember when I looked at the comparison screen that very few of them were near the bottom of the division.  They were all average or below average, with some good attributes overall like acceleration, off the ball, finishing, jumping.  I'll take another look and reevaluate.  It could be that the team is not suited well towards sitting back and absorbing pressure, but perhaps another strategy might work.

1 hour ago, D_LO_ said:

I've seen this before where a ton of players get drawn over to one player/side. I would pay particular attention to OIs (a personal cause at times) and possibly your PIs. If these instructions aren't relevant it's probably attribute related, i.e. high aggression and/or poor positioning, an often over-looked attribute in midfield. 

Well, I never use OIs, and PIs are listed above: just Distribute Quickly and to the Half Back for the GK, Close Down Less for CBs, and Close Down More for AMC and the two STs.  That's it, other than the default ones for roles such as the Complete Wingback.

I'll have to look at the attributes when I get home today, but you might be right that there's high aggression and/or poor positioning.  I do remember, though, that my ass man said aggression was pretty bad on our team, but whether bad means high or low, I don't recall.

Edited by bbgunn

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9 hours ago, jasonbuids said:

I can see the problems with this formation are defending two flanks. I use the 5-2-1-2 formation, almost likes yours. Actually, my team has the best goal allow record in the league last 3 seasons with this formation. However, I replace the HB with a BPD (stopper) and play in high defensive line. In the center position, I use one BWM or DLP (De) with an AP(s) or Mezzala depending on which team I face but always has one with more defensive role.
When my team loses the ball,  if they launch it to the lone striker, my center BPD will come out to deal with it. If not, the one who receive the ball is their winger and I leave he be, 

Why? Because if he decides to dribble in, my CB will step out. If he decides to cross, my three CB can easily deal with it with their high jumping and heading. That's why I like CBs with high pace to move back quickly to deal with those crosses. Also, you need a SK who can come out in 1vs1 situations.
 

Defensively, I like what you're doing.  I like to set up my defense the same way, except I keep the d-line normal.  I think I can deal with crosses in the box, so I would happily give up some space on the flanks in exchange for dominance and good defense in the middle.

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3 hours ago, bbgunn said:

Defensively, I like what you're doing.  I like to set up my defense the same way, except I keep the d-line normal.  I think I can deal with crosses in the box, so I would happily give up some space on the flanks in exchange for dominance and good defense in the middle.

Every formation has weak spots and strong spots. I think the strong spots in this formation is the two wingbacks and the font three. I keep the high defensive line because I want to press them more on the own half. This formation works brilliant in attacking phase, score a lot of goals. I want my team has full control of the match.

Let's talk about your problem. When your team lose the ball in attacking phase, i sure your CWB is caught of position, then who will deals with the winger? The HB will and if the winger manage to cross the ball in the middle, there are only 2 CBs are left to deal with it because two CM don't have enough time to move back. 2 CBs are not enough to deal with a striker and an AM (or maybe more). The different between a HB and a CB is, with 3CBs, the center CB won't go out to catch the winger, 3 CBs just keep the d-line, move back and wait for the support of the middle and 2 CWBs. IMO, don't use HB in defensive metality, use them when you want to control the match.
In some matchs I use 1 DM and 2 CBs, and when they lose the ball, the DM is caught of out position, leave a ton of space in the back even though I use an Anchor man and I tell him to hold his position. I think that is because they play more aggressive and the DM goes further to help in possesion. That's why I like 3 CBs. 3 CBs and one man in the middle with defensive role is enough to deal with any threat.
Actually, I allow more goals by through ball than crosses. Last season my team score 126 and allow 16. You can't lose if you score more goals than them, right?
 Right now the most formation I face is 4-1-4-1 and the AI even uses 3 CBs and 2 DMs. Thinking of switch to 2 CBs and 1 DM and use more long ball right now.

Edited by jasonbuids
give more infomation

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I have some success with the 442 diamond in my Athletic save. Carrilero role is a god send :D

 

Put them both on the side of the AP (a) with a HB behind and voila, that midfield was unbeatable for a while

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Yes, Carrilero is a great role for 442 diamond, but it doesn't help as it's not available in FM17.

I had the same defending problems with 442 diamond in FM17 and noticed that a 4132 defends much better as the CM doesn't switch to the other side. You could give them instructions to mark specific players to avoid to movement to the other side.

Edited by YasoKuul

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On defensive mentality you'll be deep, so the opposition wide players will have a lot os space which will draw out your midfielders, it might be worth looking at playing a bit higher up sometimes so you engage wingers before they can pull your midfield too close

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Thanks for all the replies, guys.  Yeah, it could be that I'm playing too deep, giving the opposition too much space and forcing my midfielders to close down.  

I'll try a higher line or higher mentality and see if that helps.  I'll also look into running a 4132 for more stability.

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In FM 2018 the ability to make the forwards defend left and right fullbacks is awesome. Not sure if that is possible in 2017? 

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23 hours ago, paganizer said:

In FM 2018 the ability to make the forwards defend left and right fullbacks is awesome. Not sure if that is possible in 2017? 

Yeah, you can use OIs on opposing fullbacks, or the PI to man mark specific players.  I just don’t like to use those if I can because they can pull players out of position or mess up a team’s shape.

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14 minutes ago, bbgunn said:

Yeah, you can use OIs on opposing fullbacks, or the PI to man mark specific players.  I just don’t like to use those if I can because they can pull players out of position or mess up a team’s shape.

Pulling forwards out of position to cover fullbacks is nice though. I would rather have opposition centrebacks on the ball than fullbacks roaming uncovered on the flanks.

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On 5/4/2018 at 17:04, paganizer said:

Pulling forwards out of position to cover fullbacks is nice though. I would rather have opposition centrebacks on the ball than fullbacks roaming uncovered on the flanks.

That is a good point.  OK, I’ll give it a try.

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