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westy8chimp

Leverkusen - Season 6 - Challenge #1 - 442

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Transfer window

At every window opportunity I thrive in the chaos and see high turnover, so why do anything differently. I didn't have a choice in some cases - great form last year saw us all the way to champions league final, and an early wrap up as league champions, with this comes unwanted interest in my players!

Arthur, Malcom, Dias were all stolen for their release clause. But hey, £200m + to spend, so why not.

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Analysis

I'm not very succinct or orderly with my analysis, I'm writing this first update as usual as I hit the Xmas break. Trying to piece it back is difficult, I took these images as I was playing... so here is a smattering of analysis (use the term loosely, it's some pictures of our goals and in some cases with the linked events).

I'll start with my poacher as that's the primary purpose of the thread, here is a lovely hatrick vs Hoffenheim.

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Fox in the box - throughout the season if I pictured every single goal, probably 90% would be within a yard of the 6 yard line.

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Goal 1 - a very typical goal. In this match I have my main pairing up front, 9 - Bailey (winger) crosses in, 17 - Monaco (TM) nods down, 13 - Hernandez (Poacher) smashes it in.

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Seeing the image I remember why I chose this match - here a cross has been cleared by the defender. You can see it's my number 7 - Ndombele (CMs) who picks up the pieces. Same in goal 3...

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Not only is it goals 2 & 3 making the hatrick for my poacher - but it shows the vital nature of having a physical specimen in the centre, doing the leg work of a DM, BBM and AP.

Here are some more lovely knock downs from Monaco, and Yalcin is the poacher;

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(ok this one is a through ball)

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In the OP I mentioned weakness of 442 being one dimensional attack - look at these two goals, virtually identical, does it feel like a disadvantage ;) ?

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Yalcin is really taking to the poacher role, in this match he had 4 goals by half time... and again see the fox in the box radius in action;

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The target man isn't sole provider so to balance things out and remember this is definitely a 2 striker partnership, not a modern 10-9;

I like this goal, it shows another reason why I like the TM, he encourages the early ball, so an attack can be triggered by anyone, from anywhere... in this case the GK. TM wins the high ball, gets into the box and gets on the end of a cross.

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The next 3 are the target man doing what he does best, putting away crosses

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Speaking of crosses...these files are named Keller and Sane so I'm assuming they are some nice wing play resulting in crosses :D

Yes, this image shows a lovely performance from Keller, three assists from three lovely crosses. I've included the team sheet on the left, in this instance Monaco is in the poacher role and Savic is the TM...both benefit from Kellers delivery.

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I probably should have taken more analysis here, so I've made a note to do so for the second half of the season. This image shows, in my opinion, different between the winger on attack and support. In the previous image, and others before hand, you can see the crosses from the left are certainly more advanced than those on the right. Here is a couple of Sane assists, just showing the benefit of some variation and early balls in.

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Found one more image for analysis, though on opening it isn't pitch side... just shows the wonders of a good partnership. Poacher hatrick of goals - TM hatrick of assists. Must have been during Hernandez's month off as again Savic is the TM provider, Monaco is the Poacher scorer.

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Form

Absolutely splendid. Unbeaten in the league;

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Clean sheets in abundance leave us clear at the top

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And things are no different in the cups or Europe. Shaping up to be a great season

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Here is how the goals/assists are being distributed, Bailey just off the screen only has 1 goal and 5 assists. He's had injuries, had his head turned by the big teams and has been a little off form. More than made up for by his understudy Keller. Hernandez and Monaco neck and neck - with good contributions from the B team Yalcin and Savic.

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Edited by westy8chimp

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11 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

barring a Disney takeover or an impending challenge #3

#3 impending indeed ;).

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I wish I knew FM like you :( You're actually insane. You get an idea, work out the plan, execute it perfectly. 

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2 hours ago, Elitee said:

I wish I knew FM like you :( You're actually insane. You get an idea, work out the plan, execute it perfectly. 

Thanks. Its far from perfect... Did you read my struggles in season 1...the plan failed there :D and had a few bumps since. hopefully you can apply some of my simplicity

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Further analysis

This season was about the poacher, but every role works with in a system and if his support and supply isn't sufficient, the poacher may as well not exist.

The Target Man has been my key supporting acts, one of my favourite roles in FM18 (I cant put my finger on what's changed, perhaps a little more mobile, but I'm seeing far more returns this year than previously). I've had two very different TM in my squad, Monaco a young pacey striker with steely determination (comes in at 6'1 so no slouch in the air), and Savic, a big mobile midfielder promoted to TM due to his strength.

It's really interesting seeing how each player plays the role and the subtle, and at times less subtle, way in which they differ. You will see from the final squad view that Monaco actually provided far more for than Savic did... where Savic almost ended with poacher style goal tally.

I think it's fair to say the majority of players and formations centre around short GK distribution and playing out from the back. I've found great success this season by going the other way, route one to the TM who flicks on for the poacher - a move straight out of the 'football book of basics'.

These two are as simple as it gets GK high ball -> TM flick -> Poacher beats the last defender and slots home

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And just as easily, this was a possession turnover to my CB who played a one touch long pass (hoof) TM control and pass to poacher who taps in;

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This one I took pictures as it played out as I could see it coming a mile away, Monaco has received a long ball from the GK;

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Controls it, CB closes down and there is the poacher running behind to calmly slot home just like Owen in his heyday.

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The TM is not just a provider though. Here he is completely running the show with goals and assists vs Liverpool in the CL semi;

One goal the TM receives from throw in - he is always a good receiver - whips in for the poacher. The other circled and shown event is yet another typical assist from deep, collecting from the defence to release the poacher clean through.

You will also see goals from #17 (Monaco) and his replacement #6 (Savic) from inside the 6 yard box. It's important to note the combo of #9 (Bailey) assisting Monaco for his goal.

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This image builds on that comment, it's such a tight cluster with TM scoring 2 and poacher scoring 2 from virtually the same spot on the field. Notice how the cross from the left (Keller) is from deeper, and inside the box in this instance, than the cross from the right... and that it's again Monaco enjoying the rewards...

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This was part design and part find during my save. Where I had an attack duty winger on the left and support duty on the right... it ended up that Bailey/Keller on the left, when making the additional yards to get to the byline, actually gave time for the TM to make late runs deep into the box. Nearly all of the target man goals are assisted from the left winger... and nearly all of the poacher goals are assisted by the TM or RW. In hindsight this is completely logical - the support winger is described as beating his man and putting in an early cross (naturally the poacher is always on the shoulder so will be ready for early cross), the winger on attack dribbling more and crossing from the byline lends itself nicely to the more physical TM to win aerial challenges in the box.

Also it really doesn't have much impact on defensive shape. In fact looking at avg position ... the left wing is more advanced in attack, as we would expect, but also deeper in defence (albeit marginally).

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The heat maps further illustrate the same - that we see more extreme movement front and back from the LW

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Here's an example in pictures; If Bailey was on support whipping the early ball, Monaco would be out of action on the right wing. As it happens Bailey controls, moves to the by-line and when he delivers, Monaco is on the 6 yard line to head home.

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Back to the poacher and a nod to things to come, enjoy another neatly clustered hatrick from Hernandez;

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crosses poacher two goals tm 2 goals.PNG

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Back to back CL Final

Here we go again. This time just one injury concern, the engine Ndombele recovered from injury 1 day before the final, he takes a seat on the bench

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This time we take an early lead, guess who...

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TM assist, poacher goal.

Ut oh - Madrid score late in the half to change my team talk. Tierney asleep!

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And the second half is off to a bad start, this time the CBs have left Kane completely free;

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Time for my first tactical tweak of the season! RM are dominating the middle with Isco as AP and the wingers happily drifting in. My FB are redundant at this stage. In comes a CB and DM to give us more numbers in the middle. Mentality upped, we need to outwork and outpace them now, Ndombele takes the Mez role that saw him equalise in last years final

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Quick rewards! Guess who.. TM assist, Poacher goal

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Extra time... I can't lose the final again can I?

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Bailey out wide... both strikers moving in to the box

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This time it is an early ball from the left, Bailey sensing the urgency?! This should be dinner time for the TM!

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No - the sneaky poacher again :D Hatrick!!

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Poacher Challenge

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Hatrick in CL final... that does the job surely?

End of season form - stats - squad

We didn't quite manage unbeaten in the league or cup, but just 2 defeats all season in all competitions is pretty good for a basic 4-4-2 setup

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Team stats were completely mediocre, which in an odd way made me happy... we had 11th highest possession, and were top of nothing except clean sheets and crosses.

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But the players tell a different story. Bailey was the stand out player of the division, Hernandez owned the rest of the attacking stats.

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E:

And the squad view, shows Monaco was really important, Bailey improved a lot second half of the season, Savic had no issue as backup striker...

and the poacher Hernandez 39 in 34 starts :D 

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-----------------------

Really enjoyable season backed up with success. I love the simplicity of 4-4-2, play it quick and direct to the target man who releases the poacher... happy days. Or get it out wide and bombard the box with crosses for both strikers to enjoy.

What next?

Challenge #3 taking the worlds best poacher and using him in a strikerless formation! Great ...

Here is how Hernandez looks after another years training... fairly formidable - I can't wait to see him age 25ish. I've trained 'knocks ball past opponent' PPM, it may come even more handy than I thought, as from strikerless position he is going to be dribbling more.

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---------------

any questions or comments on this thread or 4-4-2 in general are welcome

Ta!

Edited by westy8chimp

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The things I like most about this (and your other threads) are having a plan and not over thinking it.

Great stuff westy :thup:.

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The plan is essential, and you've just made a really valid point in the strikerless thread "...before piling into the [FM] tactic creator".

Moving from a simplistic 4-4-2 to a strikerless system is going to result in a lot of change for me... so I'm going to do a very small piece shortly on 'the planning phase'.

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3 hours ago, westy8chimp said:

The plan is essential, and you've just made a really valid point in the strikerless thread "...before piling into the [FM] tactic creator".

Moving from a simplistic 4-4-2 to a strikerless system is going to result in a lot of change for me... so I'm going to do a very small piece shortly on 'the planning phase'.

This will be very helpful for me as i’m doing the exact same thing :D Struggling for initial ideas.. had thought about moving to a strikerless 442 but seems like a cop out

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@westy8chimp just curious, any particular reason you don’t close down more than you’ve chosen to or play the highest possible line on the standard mentality? I tried out your tactic and really liked it, just trying to understand the bits and pieces

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11 minutes ago, Tcufrog said:

@westy8chimp just curious, any particular reason you don’t close down more than you’ve chosen to or play the highest possible line on the standard mentality? I tried out your tactic and really liked it, just trying to understand the bits and pieces

It was probably instinctive... The lack of dm already makes it a pretty high line...so i started with high buy not highest and it worked. 

Im sure a very high line and much more closing down would add risk and reward... You have to find the right balance for your team (pace of defenders etc) and make sure the reward is more than the risk

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1 hour ago, westy8chimp said:

It was probably instinctive... The lack of dm already makes it a pretty high line...so i started with high buy not highest and it worked. 

Im sure a very high line and much more closing down would add risk and reward... You have to find the right balance for your team (pace of defenders etc) and make sure the reward is more than the risk

Sounds good, thanks!

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