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Tactical Challenges #3: Strikerless


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Skipped the last challenge is a rarely use more than 2/3 TI’s anyway these days, but this looks fun :D Makes a change from usually playing with two strikers, to none at all :lol: 

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The Counter Attack

Whilst I'm not setting up to specifically play counter attacking football, it's certainly a by-product of my system.

Cleon discusses counter attacking football here in great detail.  In a nutshell, a counter attack is a product of the Match Engine.  For the ME to trigger a counter attack, there needs to be less than a certain number of opposition players between the ball and the opposition goal when the opposition lose possession.  In other words, when your team wins possession, if there are few opposition players between your player with the ball and their goal, a counter attack is triggered.  For the duration of the counter, your own tactical instructions are ignored and your team goes ultra attacking for the duration of the counter.  Be aware there is a big difference between a counter attack and a long ball forward.  A counter gets players forward quickly and in numbers in support of the ball carrier to outnumber the opposition defence.  A long ball is just that - a long pass to a well positioned player up field.

The likelihood of a counter attack starting can be influenced by the Mentality chosen and your formation.  The Defensive, Counter or Overload mentalities all relax the counter attack ME "rules" and a deep formation - because they can encourage opponents forward, thus over stretching themselves - can also increase the chances.  I'm using both a deep formation and the Defensive mentality.

I don't want to turn this into a counter attacking thread, it's just worth while to mention it here to perhaps help with ideas for strikerless systems.  Below is a video of a counter attack.  The first thing to notice is my midfielders chasing down the ball carrier (Pleguezuelo) which results in a forced error.  Remember I'm using a TI to close down more.  That isn't necessary for counter attacking football, it's just how I choose to play.  When we do win the ball back, note the very fast change of pace - look at how all the green shirts (my team) stream forward and how the Blackpool defence gets overwhelmed.  Play it back a few times as it may not be immediately obvious what's happening.  Don't watch the ball carrier, watch the other green shirts getting forward quickly and in numbers.

 

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Damn you Herne! I've got the best striker in the world on my Leverkusen save! Ideally plucked for the Poacher challenge.

Looking to finish my 4-4-2 season this week then dive into this challenge. I'm already thinking i'll need a shadow striker as I have to utilise Hernandez - so my working week is going to be jotting down potential tactical variations and try to slot Bailey in there too :D 

Nice counter attack, playing strikerless you almost have to counter attack (whether generated automatically through good use of mentality and traps, or manually with right roles, duties). Will be interesting to see if anyone goes strikerless but also possession based or attacking.

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Also - if you are going to keep showing this Sarcevic making great runs and finishing them off, you are going to have to show us his profile and what made you choose him for your CM-A

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43 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

Also - if you are going to keep showing this Sarcevic making great runs and finishing them off, you are going to have to show us his profile and what made you choose him for your CM-A

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Doesn't immediately grab you as a CM-A.  A few things to bear in mind:
1) I'm playing as newly promoted Plymouth with a squad full of League 2 players.  We're pretty poor in comparison to most other League 1 clubs.  For us he's ok, for the rest of the league not so much.

2) He can pass a bit and has decent first touch, which will help when combining with the TQ / other midfielders.  Some mentals could be better but not too bad for the level.  His Pace is worrying but Pace isn't on a scale of 1 = dead, 20 = Usain Bolt.  Even Mertesacker could run a bit.

3) I don't have much in the way of choice, especially if I want to fill a Mezzala slot as well.  These are the other two that compete for the 2 midfield positions with Sarcevic:

VhpNxuz.png

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Ness was going to be my pick ahead of Sarcevic, but I pick on form and Sarcevic is doing well.  Ness is my go to sub at present but remains a strong contender.

Really he's the pick of a (relatively) bad bunch and is an area I need to strengthen asap.  Looking at the squad you wouldn't really choose so many attacking duties in midfield but a) I wanted to try it because I learn more from trying than not trying; and b) I'm using the Defensive mentality which goes some way to modifying the need for players to get forward with massive attacking intent.  Yes Sarcevic will make runs beyond the TQ as the TQ drops deep but the Defensive mentality keeps it in check a bit and helps to pick and choose the moment to do so.  As I always say:- role/duty defines player behaviour, everything else (in this case Mentality) modifies that behaviour.

 

10 minutes ago, mikcheck said:

Why did you decide to go with a BWM? Is it because you use close down more as TI and you want all your midfield players to close down heavily?

Because I want strong protection in front of my relatively weak defenders and I have a super aggressive defensive midfielder on my books who can play the role.  I also love having a BWM in most of my set ups, it's probably my favourite role in the game.

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12 hours ago, herne79 said:

The Counter Attack

Whilst I'm not setting up to specifically play counter attacking football, it's certainly a by-product of my system.

Cleon discusses counter attacking football here in great detail.  In a nutshell, a counter attack is a product of the Match Engine.  For the ME to trigger a counter attack, there needs to be less than a certain number of opposition players between the ball and the opposition goal when the opposition lose possession.  In other words, when your team wins possession, if there are few opposition players between your player with the ball and their goal, a counter attack is triggered.  For the duration of the counter, your own tactical instructions are ignored and your team goes ultra attacking for the duration of the counter.  Be aware there is a big difference between a counter attack and a long ball forward.  A counter gets players forward quickly and in numbers in support of the ball carrier to outnumber the opposition defence.  A long ball is just that - a long pass to a well positioned player up field.

The likelihood of a counter attack starting can be influenced by the Mentality chosen and your formation.  The Defensive, Counter or Overload mentalities all relax the counter attack ME "rules" and a deep formation - because they can encourage opponents forward, thus over stretching themselves - can also increase the chances.  I'm using both a deep formation and the Defensive mentality.

I don't want to turn this into a counter attacking thread, it's just worth while to mention it here to perhaps help with ideas for strikerless systems.  Below is a video of a counter attack.  The first thing to notice is my midfielders chasing down the ball carrier (Pleguezuelo) which results in a forced error.  Remember I'm using a TI to close down more.  That isn't necessary for counter attacking football, it's just how I choose to play.  When we do win the ball back, note the very fast change of pace - look at how all the green shirts (my team) stream forward and how the Blackpool defence gets overwhelmed.  Play it back a few times as it may not be immediately obvious what's happening.  Don't watch the ball carrier, watch the other green shirts getting forward quickly and in numbers.

 

It's a great goal it really is. I think what this goal shows more than the actual counter attack, is how the TI close down more made the players chase the ball rather than dropping off and being content in giving up possession in favour of positional play. Then when you have the ball, making it count. The TI will work wonders for how you've set up and I bet you've scored/will score a load of goals all in similar fashion. You can see in the clip how the pressing aggressively (even deep in your own half) works with how you've set up to attack. It's the perfect example of how and why your style of play works and links together.

A lot of people might not realise at first, that the whole move was possible, due to forcing the opposition into a mistake. It's this kind of thing I bang on about all the time. While the end product was great, it's the stuff that happened in the build up that is the most impressive and yet the most overlooked by people. It's why myself, @Rashidi and you always bang on about knowing how a PI/TI impact how you've set up. It's vital to understand this so you use TI's and PI's that compliment your style.

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1 hour ago, Cleon said:

the whole move was possible, due to forcing the opposition into a mistake.

Exactly :).  As I said somewhere above, I don't really like playing too passively.  That's not to say playing in that manner isn't viable - it absolutely is - it's just not my particular style and will only do so if needed in a particular match.  I'm the weaker team (I'll be the weaker team in just about every match I play this season) but this clip shows that even as the weaker team it's still quite possible to play matches on your own terms.  At the very start, there is no way through my defence and the press forces the opposition player to pass the ball quite far backwards.  My continued press then forces a mistake with the counter attack as the end product.  None of that would have happened if I'd just been playing passively.

Risk is probably worth a mention here as well.  It could be argued that playing in that sort of passive/aggressive style might be riskier than just playing passively.  But is it?  I'd suggest it's no more or less risky, just a different type of risk.  My risk is that my players might get caught out of position by having more closing down / higher def line.  (Note I said "higher", not "high").  But playing passively comes with a risk of being stuck under constant pressure which may eventually lead to a lapse in concentration.  So swings and roundabouts.  Personally I'd rather go down swinging :D.

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50 minutes ago, herne79 said:

I'm the weaker team (I'll be the weaker team in just about every match I play this season)

When I do this with Leverkusen it'll be off of back to back titles, will be interesting to see using a strikerless tactic as a team facing packed defences. Looking forward to it, already scratched down some plans.

Passive certainly isn't an option in my case. You've been quite brave with your setup - as the underdog you could have fully relied on automatic triggered counters. Your tactic is clever because I think it would stand the test of time as you progress from underdog to favourite.

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Dropping Deep and Midfield Runners

I could do another video, but thought these few screenshots painted a better picture of build up play demonstrating 1) My "striker" coming deep; 2) Midfield runner to overlap him; 3) Opposition Central Defenders not knowing what the hell to do:

Picture A - Lameiras (my TQ) has dropped off the central defender (Nelson) into the space between the opposition defence and midfield.  Sarcevic passes to him.  Nelson comes forward off his defensive line to meet Lameiras.

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Picture B - Ness is going to run into the huge hole Nelson has left behind him.  Sarcevic is also going to run forward thus the one remaining central defender doesn't know whether to cover his run or move across to cover Ness.  The Fullback at the top can't come across as then he'll leave his own man unmarked.  The 2 opposition midfielders are now playing catch up.

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Picture C - Ness picks up the ball in the penalty area and has a shot.  Keeper saves but Jervis picks up the rebound and scores.  Nelson is so far out of position he's not in the same post code.  This is what strikerless formations are capable of doing with a fair degree of regularity.  It's still possible of course with actual strikers but as said in the opening post, the movement here can become more exaggerated thus helping people understand how players - even comparatively rubbish players such as mine - can move and pull defenders around.

GpXjv6l.png

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@herne79 I think one thing people forget to note is that SS or these deeper attacking roles are always very good for putting pressure on opposing deep playmakers. If I wanted to create a system where my strikers tracked back to hustle the opposing deeper playmakers I would play a striker less 442, and turn my team into a mini Iceland

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34 minutes ago, Oxslow said:

@herne79Do you have any trouble against a deep D line?

That D-line in the pictures above is pretty deep ;).

TBH I don't think where the opposition place their defenders matters that much, it's the same principle: AMC drops off, drags a defender with him, my MC runs through.  He'll just have further to run to score :D.

3 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

I think one thing people forget to note is that SS or these deeper attacking roles are always very good for putting pressure on opposing deep playmakers. If I wanted to create a system where my strikers tracked back to hustle the opposing deeper playmakers I would play a striker less 442, and turn my team into a mini Iceland

Yeh agreed.  I'll be doing a post soon to show some defensive play.  Also interesting to note that possession can be a nice by-product just from having the additional player in midfield.

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I had a feeling #3 might be strikerless!

My best saves on the previous FM were downloaded strikerless and I'd been thinking of either doing strikerless or getting an Enganche working (Jorge Valdano's complaints of a lack of pausa in modern Argentinian football sent me to YouTube looking for Riquelme), it'll be good to use this thread to get some inspiration and I'll probably get something going in the next week.

Edited by zlatanera
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I've been using a 4-3-3-0 which I really used to try and play a bit like a Klopp Liverpool a few months ago, tactic is in this thread, it's a high tempo affair that scores goals from either an attacking IF, or thanks to arriving runs from an SS or CMa. I won everything (everything) with Liverpool in the first two seasons before in the third season I blew the Cups and then finished 2nd in the PL and runner up in the CL so it works fairly well. I don't know if it  would translate to a team without high quality players though as I'm one of those awful people who tends to only play as the big guns. 

 

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Basic Inspiration

I mentioned in the opening post I've taken a little inspiration for this system from Roma's 2007/8 strikerless system:

WvoGXlY.png

What I'm not aiming for is a tactic recreation.  I don't know enough about the system to attempt it.  I'm sure there may be some who do know the system may disagree with the picture above.  So all I'm doing is taking an idea and running with it. 

The above picture is from zonalmarking, and they have a short write up there as well.  So how am I using it as a basic idea?  More to the point, why am I using it?

The "why" is fairly straight forward and can help people when designing their own systems - spending just a few minutes thinking about what you want to do, rather than just piling straight into the tactic creator in game can pay dividends.  You don't have to do it - I don't always - but it can help clarify things, especially if you are unfamiliar with the game's details.

The "how" is also fairly straight forward and very, very basic: The Roma team (according to the report) played counter attacking football.  More than likely hence the arrows on the diagram above.  And so sure I could have set up in a similar fashion which would be very similar to Cleon's original 4-1-4-1 in his Counter Attacking thread (linked in the OP).  Simply set a bunch of support duty midfielders and let natural counter attacks happen which would produce the midfield runners as the diagram shows.

But it also gave me an idea - what if I set up my system to produce that sort of effect even when I'm not counter attacking?  How would that look?  And that's where the basic concept comes from.  Attacking duty players in midfield to run beyond my AMC, combined with a low risk mentality (I am a relegation candidate after all) so that they don't just spend all their time far up the pitch and a couple of TIs so I'm a bit more aggressive when defending to force opposition mistakes.  That's it.  I did say basic :D.

Now ok I've also used my own knowledge and experience of playing the game to help complete the concept, so it might not be as straight forward to complete it if I were a new or inexperienced player for example.  But the point here for those people especially is if you begin with a basic idea and thinking it through first, it can help get you started into translating that into the game, rather than just firing blind at the tactics screen.

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Glad I get to go next and follow at @herne79's post as it is so subtly good.  Some stuff you're calling basic about your own approach under plays how fundamentally sound it is both in FM and what you're trying to explain.  Also what with tactical recreations being so hip on the forum even down to the world cup interpretations thread you've even handed out another lesson with the Roma (zonal marking) angle as an added bonus.  Very good mate.

Edited by Robson 07
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11 hours ago, herne79 said:

Basic Inspiration

I mentioned in the opening post I've taken a little inspiration for this system from Roma's 2007/8 strikerless system:

WvoGXlY.png

What I'm not aiming for is a tactic recreation.  I don't know enough about the system to attempt it.  I'm sure there may be some who do know the system may disagree with the picture above.  So all I'm doing is taking an idea and running with it. 

The above picture is from zonalmarking, and they have a short write up there as well.  So how am I using it as a basic idea?  More to the point, why am I using it?

The "why" is fairly straight forward and can help people when designing their own systems - spending just a few minutes thinking about what you want to do, rather than just piling straight into the tactic creator in game can pay dividends.  You don't have to do it - I don't always - but it can help clarify things, especially if you are unfamiliar with the game's details.

The "how" is also fairly straight forward and very, very basic: The Roma team (according to the report) played counter attacking football.  More than likely hence the arrows on the diagram above.  And so sure I could have set up in a similar fashion which would be very similar to Cleon's original 4-1-4-1 in his Counter Attacking thread (linked in the OP).  Simply set a bunch of support duty midfielders and let natural counter attacks happen which would produce the midfield runners as the diagram shows.

But it also gave me an idea - what if I set up my system to produce that sort of effect even when I'm not counter attacking?  How would that look?  And that's where the basic concept comes from.  Attacking duty players in midfield to run beyond my AMC, combined with a low risk mentality (I am a relegation candidate after all) so that they don't just spend all their time far up the pitch and a couple of TIs so I'm a bit more aggressive when defending to force opposition mistakes.  That's it.  I did say basic :D.

Now ok I've also used my own knowledge and experience of playing the game to help complete the concept, so it might not be as straight forward to complete it if I were a new or inexperienced player for example.  But the point here for those people especially is if you begin with a basic idea and thinking it through first, it can help get you started into translating that into the game, rather than just firing blind at the tactics screen.

I've taken direct inspiration from the Roma Tactic to create my strikerless formation for this challenge. Going in with Stoke, early results are promising, there will be some screenshots and updates when i get home and can update,  but the shape is very similar to yours presented in the OP.

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7 hours ago, khodder said:

I've taken direct inspiration from the Roma Tactic to create my strikerless formation for this challenge. Going in with Stoke, early results are promising, there will be some screenshots and updates when i get home and can update,  but the shape is very similar to yours presented in the OP.

Will be interesting to see your interpretation :thup:.

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86fec546a49a86b7b0b715fc975a24aa.pngWvoGXlY.png

This is what I have ended up with - I've flipped the winger and inside forward. Allen in the De Rossi holding and recycling role. Two central midfielders bombing forward past the AM who has as much freedom as he could want and options to thread the ball through to.

Its very early days, but the system seems to be working so far;

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Xherdan Messi after 5 EPL games (Arsenal, Liverpool, Swansea, Everton, Tottenham)

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Stats from a 2-2 home draw with Man City

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Edited by khodder
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2104656095_FiorentinavGenoa_FiorentinaTeamSelectionOverview.thumb.png.fe0cc5103d6e10a0d130dfd97eaad2f5.png

Hi.  Let me begin by stating that strikerless is heresy.:cool:  Having got that out the way, I enjoyed the previous challenge and thought why not give this a little try.  I had a spare, practice save if you will, with Fiorentina that had reached the end of season one.  So I've used that.  Curious as much as anything to see how I would fare.  Media predicted 7th.

Almost immediately I've reached for a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-2-0 to be more accurate.  Like others I see this as a fit for counter strategy, allowing the wide players and attacking mids to break forward and thus have attacking roles.  I've also chosen a Fluid shape accentuating the withdrawal of forward players but acting as a springboard to blast forward when we win the ball.

TI

Close down more/tight marking.  I think Herne touched on passive defending and that's something I noticed too without these instructions.  Now we are a hard working, low-block, tight defensive unit.

Work into box.  This is to do with crossing.  We don't really have the players in the box nor the height to be an effective crossing team.

PI

None yet.  I think the lack of TI/PI broadly keeps me in line with Challenge 2.  That's more a happy coincidence than anything else.

Roles

First of all no playmakers.  I do not want to force the play though any individual.  I've already seen this play as a fairly conventional counter system.  I don't need a lock picker.  I've also refrained from classic wingers.  I tried these for maybe a game and it was short-lived.  Just like 'work into box' I found wingers and lots of crossing a non fit.

Strengths

Defensively sound.  Conceded just 3 goals from last 8 matches.  Sitting 2nd in the league behind Juve (obviously) and putting a strong run together.  We are a menacing counter attacking machine.  Those wide midfielders lack a number of hard coded instructions and they drift a fair amount and often get in at the back post.

Weakness

Early days so far for any tactic to be fair.  I did notice Genoa sit back though in a defensive looking 4141 and we aren't really adept at probing a side that hasn't come to play.  Outside the parameters of this challenge I'd probably flip into a slightly different second tactic against such a team.

Witchcraft aside, another great thought provoking challenge designed well to help us all learn a bit more.

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49 minutes ago, Robson 07 said:

Witchcraft aside, another great thought provoking challenge designed well to help us all learn a bit more.

Pretty much the whole point of the series :thup:.

The challenges aren't really to say use a Poacher, or not many TIs or don't use the STC position.  You're right, it's to try to give a different perspective on things.  FM, especially for the inexperienced player, can lead us down very specific avenues: use loads of TIs, use the roles which players are "good" at (according to their pie charts), use the STC position and so on.  That can be a decent enough starting point (although overly restrictive in some areas imo) but the game is much more flexible than that whilst still being quite simplistic.  It's just requires a little thinking outside of the apparent restrictions.

I don't know if you've ever read my 4-4-2 thread I wrote for FM16 (it's linked in the "Please Read" pinned topic at the top of the forum) but that was a turning point for me.  I was struggling to get the movement I wanted from the striker I wanted to come deep.  A friend said to me "try putting him in the AMCR position instead" and it solved every issue I was having.  It was such a simple solution but the "STC" label was basically blinding me to it.  From that I learned with a little logical thought there are so many more possibilities.  Yes some may argue my 442 turned into a 4411, but again - labels.

Good luck with Fiorentina :).

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2 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

Weakness

Early days so far for any tactic to be fair.  I did notice Genoa sit back though in a defensive looking 4141 and we aren't really adept at probing a side that hasn't come to play.  Outside the parameters of this challenge I'd probably flip into a slightly different second tactic against such a team.

I've noticed the same thing - Doing very well against some of the bigger sides, struggling to break down some of the smaller sides at times, though Id think that would come with a few more creative players in the squad.

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Normally I'd start a new save, but inspired by @westy8chimp's excellent threads showing him constantly chopping and changing tactics, I've decided instead to restart my previous attempt at a Libero tactic (I made a thread in career updates, but then I lost the save) and then change to strikerless after one season. I'm currently at 30th Oct 2017 on my 1st season with 100% board confidence, so that's going well, but I thought I'd come to the thread and ask for advice on my tactic before i get it going next season and ruin whatever I accomplish in this one.

This is my current tactic:

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Standard / Fluid, GK roll it out / distribute to position (Libero), CF move into channels.

I decided to effectively just port it to strikerless as such:

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Same TIs and GK PIs as before. BBM is my role in away games, MEZ in home games so sorry for any confusion there. My thinking with the Enganche was that I don't need as much lateral movement  for...some reason, might just change it back to Treq. 

So can anyone spot some obvious holes in the tactic?

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19 hours ago, herne79 said:

I don't know if you've ever read my 4-4-2 thread I wrote for FM16 (it's linked in the "Please Read" pinned topic at the top of the forum) but that was a turning point for me.

I probably have.  Done a fair bit of back reading here - I like a lot of Thog's very old posts - so I'll seek it out.  Definitely going to take a look at the one.

18 hours ago, khodder said:

I've noticed the same thing - Doing very well against some of the bigger sides, struggling to break down some of the smaller sides at times, though Id think that would come with a few more creative players in the squad.

Yep that will help for sure.  There is definitely some squad crafting that needs to be done to get the right sort of players for strikerless.  Not sure I have the ideal balance either.  I also have some ideas tactically to resolve the situation that I want to try without breaking from the challenge.  Think it will involve less attack duties.  Going to play a bit and I'll report back.

@zlatanera I'm not sure I can add value just yet to your setup.  Quite a lot of moving parts to it, libero, enganche, MEZ in; MEZ out :) ...it might be a case of see what results and performances are like first and then go from there.  Sorry for the cop out, best of luck mind.

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6 hours ago, zlatanera said:

So can anyone spot some obvious holes in the tactic?

Its quite hard chopping and changing... But if you can take the sentimentality away from your players its also a lot of fun (high turnover of players). Im now at a point where i have the rep and budgets to sign great players... So i think i could put the core team into any formation and win (think how versatile players like messi and ronaldo have been over the years) 

I think your front three will be lethal, its a combination i used in FM 17 to good effect. If anything you can tone the rest down a bit... You may not need a bbm or attacking wing backs

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ad1b85a6dc301c19126a2b64181a003b.png

I've added this into my tactic pool to play against a 442 - Gives me a spare man at the back. Have the two outside CB's set to Man Mark the strikers; the DLP drops into the space to pick up the ball so it works pretty well.

EPL Table 29 games into the season;

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It was looking much better a few games ago, but hit a blip in form with two losses and a draw in the last 4.

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Completed the first season with Stoke - Cup runs were non-existent as I went out in both the Carabao and the FA cups.

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Finished 7th in the EPL and before losing the last two games of the season were in with a chance of Champions League football. Give we had a media prediction of 12th and my only two signings were Ryan Babel and Miguel AlmirónI'm pretty damn happy with where this save has ended up.

My top 11 had a pretty good season - though there were definitely some defensive frailties the front 3/5 were amazing and some of the football we created was breathtaking.

d847d217658aea5d7f43eb5aeba9dc62.png

I will be pushing on and hoping to take Stoke to a Champions League near you.

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7 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

 

@zlatanera I'm not sure I can add value just yet to your setup.  Quite a lot of moving parts to it, libero, enganche, MEZ in; MEZ out :) ...it might be a case of see what results and performances are like first and then go from there.  Sorry for the cop out, best of luck mind.

No need to apologise, even I'm not 100% sure on most of those things. MEZ / BBM is home / away as I've concluded from my previous attempt at this save that Fiorentina are so mid-table that teams significantly alter how they're playing against us - home I need the MEZ to create more link play with my wing back and attackers, away I need the BBM to defend slightly more centrally.

7 hours ago, westy8chimp said:

Its quite hard chopping and changing... But if you can take the sentimentality away from your players its also a lot of fun (high turnover of players). Im now at a point where i have the rep and budgets to sign great players... So i think i could put the core team into any formation and win (think how versatile players like messi and ronaldo have been over the years) 

I think your front three will be lethal, its a combination i used in FM 17 to good effect. If anything you can tone the rest down a bit... You may not need a bbm or attacking wing backs

Yeah, part of the reason I went with Fiorentina - the club has high player turnover and other than Chiesa (and perhaps Astori and Simeone, the latter depending on his form) everyone has a price for me, and the starting squad is fairly versatile - all my central midfielders are all-rounders, 1st choice RWB can play 6 positions...budget shouldn't be an issue as long as I get good performances from everyone.

Most of the previous downloaded strikerless tactics I used had the SS-EG-SS combo and its incredible, I'm quite pleased that not every post on this thread is using it as it's showing me different ways to do strikerless. 

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On ‎30‎/‎06‎/‎2018 at 12:10, herne79 said:

I don't know if you've ever read my 4-4-2 thread I wrote for FM16 (it's linked in the "Please Read" pinned topic at the top of the forum) but that was a turning point for me.  I was struggling to get the movement I wanted from the striker I wanted to come deep.  A friend said to me "try putting him in the AMCR position instead" and it solved every issue I was having.  It was such a simple solution but the "STC" label was basically blinding me to it.  From that I learned with a little logical thought there are so many more possibilities.  Yes some may argue my 442 turned into a 4411, but again - labels.

Okay :) had a read, liked it, in fact a very interesting interpretation of gameplay.  Not read all six pages yet but I suspect you were pointing me towards -

  1. How you used the creative freedom element of team shape to become more, er, creative :D
  2. Short passing & retain possession to compact structured setups
  3. Breaking down West Brom's awkward and disciplined 4141 (similar to my Genoa conundrum)

Nothing to contradict and plenty to get the grey matter working.  In particular no.2 is one to ponder on.

Let me explain why I went fluid but it perhaps should be flexible.  In my 4420 I refrained from wingers, preferring wide mids.  Had I chosen wingers I would definitely say it was a more structured setup.  As a matter of fact I have such a save, with a regular structured 442, in my FM folders,  I think creative freedom could be renamed as positional freedom (fluid) or in the case of structured shapes, positional discipline.  Wingers are meant to stay wide, hug the touchline, exploit the flank and cross from wide.  To me that is all about shape, maintaining lateral width in your formation  - structured.  What's more there is typically more room on the flanks, a less crowded part of the pitch, a quicker part of the field in which to transition, supporting direct play and dribbling.  It's structured shape.  I could go on about certain formations and roles with shape (and I'm not harping back to a specialists and generalists debate.)

In my team I went with wide midfielders which to be fair is arguably looser than wingers in terms of shape but not necessarily fluid either, maybe flexible.  Not trying to say this is some kind of rule but players that cut inside, encouraging overlaps and allowing positional freedom is a step toward fluid football and positional (creative) freedom.  Hey look, someone will jump on that statement and lambast it.  Shape is perhaps the most contentious element of FM and who am I to stray into such well trodden and argued waters.  I don't want to open myself to some sort of shape debate, no doubt someone will tell me my opinion is just that...and that it is categorically incorrect.  No problem, and furthermore I completely acknowledge that FM16 442 thread, it is simply a different eye and way of working. 

Maybe FM is adaptable to a couple of schools of thinking, or even more.

Anyway for now I'm going to try flexible and look at team mentality and duty.  Mentality is going to provide me more intent but its a balance as aggressive mentalities will see my attacking duties become more direct and those players will only exacerbate opposition compactness.  Need to find the balance.  Blimey, hope I haven't confused myself or anyone else with this post..

 

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On ‎26‎/‎06‎/‎2018 at 14:56, westy8chimp said:

I think it would stand the test of time as you progress from underdog to favourite.

Well, lets try it with someone else - Borussia Dortmund :thup:.

First match of the season in the DFL SuperCup against Bayern (ok, we're not exactly favourites but we're not massive underdogs tipped for relegation either).  These are the stats and I'm especially pleased with the number of shots we didn't let Bayern have:

7GxMUjS.png

I'll attach a video of the key highlights (no sound again).  It's all much the same as I saw with Plymouth - nice pressing to force mistakes; the "striker" coming deep with runners going beyond; good build up play and a variety of goals.

It's all worth watching (imo!), but keep an eye out for the build up to Pulisic's near miss starting from 1:52 video time (match time 59:40).  All the key players are named and when Reus eventually gets the ball, check Gotze and Pulisic's movement.  (Pulisic will make a great Mezzala btw).

I also want to mention (and perhaps this should be challenge #4) that I find it quite interesting how even just a little inspiration to spark an idea can help us develop tactical systems.  Both this system and the challenge idea started with just a picture of a formation:

3qIeVNq.png

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So I’ve been playing strikerless for most of FM18 with a 4-5-1-0 setup. Mezzalas and Inverted Wingers on attack to both sides of a DLP on defend. Up top is a shadow striker in amc. Ive been really surprised and pleased with how the Mezzalas and Inverted Wingers interact moving into the final third. Lots of times I’ll see the inverted winger start with the ball out wide,then cut inside and the mezzala will overlap to the outside. Been really effective at overloading retreating fullbacks especially if the shadow striker has dropped deep and dragged the Centre back with him. No idea how to take or post screenshots otherwise I’d post the setup. Playing on defensive/flexible by the way. 

 

Shout out to @herne79, your posts about attacking duties in a defensive set up really helped me refine my play style and start seeing the type of football I was after

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5 hours ago, herne79 said:

Well, lets try it with someone else - Borussia Dortmund :thup:.

First match of the season in the DFL SuperCup against Bayern (ok, we're not exactly favourites but we're not massive underdogs tipped for relegation either).

While the vid and those stats are very, very impressive, and your system is fun to watch, I think that is still very much a situation that favours strikerless. IMO it's much more suitable to play strikerless when the opposition plays a high-line and presses which Bayern is doing there - the defenders go out of their positions to press and spaces open up for the players to rush from deep. When the AI really parks the bus, it can be much harder to break them down.

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3 hours ago, noikeee said:

While the vid and those stats are very, very impressive, and your system is fun to watch, I think that is still very much a situation that favours strikerless. IMO it's much more suitable to play strikerless when the opposition plays a high-line and presses which Bayern is doing there - the defenders go out of their positions to press and spaces open up for the players to rush from deep. When the AI really parks the bus, it can be much harder to break them down.

This is true, you just need to keep an eye on it and make tweaks and adjustments to exploit the space given up.

Tempo, Width, Risk (Pass into space)

Fact is, in football, you're going to face a team that frustrates you and you draw 0-0 or lose 1-0 on a set piece or counter attack goal. Things happen.

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10 hours ago, noikeee said:

While the vid and those stats are very, very impressive, and your system is fun to watch, I think that is still very much a situation that favours strikerless. IMO it's much more suitable to play strikerless when the opposition plays a high-line and presses which Bayern is doing there - the defenders go out of their positions to press and spaces open up for the players to rush from deep. When the AI really parks the bus, it can be much harder to break them down.

I'm unclear if you're referring specifically to my system, issues you are seeing with your system, or commenting on strikerless systems in general?

If my system then I'm seeing almost the exact opposite, to the extent where I actually prefer playing against parked buses / deep lines.  As shown in screen shots above I see the same movement from my AMC and midfielders regardless of def line position, except in the situation of a deep line it's in a far more dangerous position.  Defenders are pulled out of shape on the edge of their box which gives them very little time to recover - less time than if they were higher up the pitch.  And specifically with that Bayern match, Bayern were more than likely using a Standard mentality, which sets a neutral def line by default, coupled with a 2 x DM formation thus pushing their D-line deeper (they used a 4-2DM-3-1).  They may have used a TI to push higher, but if they did it wasn't noticeable when playing the match.

If you're talking about your own system, post the detail and we may be able to give you some ideas of how you could adapt things during the course of such matches :thup:.

And if you're talking in general terms about strikerless systems. then generally speaking there are ways and means to combat such defensive sides by adapting to create space and movement.  From simply making a substitution through to altering Team Shape, and many other ways in between.  But of course that's true of any system - not just strikerless ones.

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24 minutes ago, herne79 said:

If my system then I'm seeing almost the exact opposite, to the extent where I actually prefer playing against parked buses / deep lines.

Yep. And that is what I observed in your first analysis, and exactly why I said your tactic is great... it'll stand the test of time because you can break down a parked bus when you are favourite... or break an aggressive team if you are underdog.

On the whole I agree with Noikee that Stikerless really exploit the better teams who play high line. That's why I like your setup and the way you showed the ability to pull out defenders from a deep line, it's much harder to do.

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I was talking in general.

I don't necessarily mean higher lines specifically, but rather willingness of the opposition to track attackers rather than prioritizing keeping shape. I haven't played strikerless much on FM18 or haven't tried this challenge, but mostly in FM17 I found it was way harder to play that way when the opposition wouldn't fall into the trap of tracking decoy players, to then open up space for others to run from deep. Because that's essentially what you'd always aim for in a strikerless system really, create space through confusing the opposition. But if the opposition ignores your movement and just stays in shape it's way harder IMO.

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37 minutes ago, noikeee said:

I was talking in general.

I don't necessarily mean higher lines specifically, but rather willingness of the opposition to track attackers rather than prioritizing keeping shape. I haven't played strikerless much on FM18 or haven't tried this challenge, but mostly in FM17 I found it was way harder to play that way when the opposition wouldn't fall into the trap of tracking decoy players, to then open up space for others to run from deep. Because that's essentially what you'd always aim for in a strikerless system really, create space through confusing the opposition. But if the opposition ignores your movement and just stays in shape it's way harder IMO.

Ahh ok gotcha :).  Yeh broadly speaking I see where you're coming from.  Adapting such systems in those situations could perhaps be more tricky where space would be at a premium.  Still should be doable but may require more thought and adjustment.

31 minutes ago, Keeper14 said:

@herne79 I like you're strikerless 4-4-2-0 in defence. Can you give more of TI and PI to see how you setup this?

Welcome to the forum :).

I didn't use any TI/PI.  One thing I'll add is don't be afraid of trying out different positions and roles.  So for example: if putting midfielders in the MC position isn't working out, try the DM position instead; you could try Inverted wingers or Wide Midfielders instead of wingers; a Segundo Volante as one of your DMs; and so on.  Try things out, experiment - you don't always have to be shackled to what the game tells you to do.  See what you think works for your system, not what the game's "labels" tell you.

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Thank you, mate. :D

I like zonal defence, play behind the ball, be aggresive. Italian style of football. I always try to play like that on FM, but I thing the game favors attacking and possesion football, it's hard for me to made solid defence. Whan you watch football on TV, you se it is difficult for some teams to score against disciplined teams like Burnley, Atleti, Man Utd (it's different styles, but simular philosophy on defence). But in the game it's crack often...

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I have been very successful previously in FM18 with a strikerless 4123 with Barca B. I decided to start a save with Newcastle and implement the same shape but change almost everything else.

 

ftaqhgr.jpgep5wz7X.png

I really like what I've seen from the first few games. The tactic so far seems very decent despite the relatively poor squad that newcastle have. Hopefully the form continues! Atsu and Ritchie have been much better than I expected.

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I haven't really gotten into the groove with FM for a long time, but since I just picked up FM18 this week and this challenge caught my eye I figured I'd give it a go.

My West Ham team operating with this frame work are currently unbeaten in competitive fixtures and is sitting fourth in the PL with a media predicted finish of 9th. So far so good.

OnJXEvR.jpeg

This tactic has become my primary tactic, it began development after a very nail biting result at Liverpool showed me that the original tactic developed during preseason probably wouldn't cut it against the top teams. It's primary focus is to frustrate and break up the opponent's attacking play in the defensive unit and limit the opposition to shooting from disadvantageous positions. In attack the focus is the "front three" of treq and wingers, who are always looking to one another when it comes to creating chances.

The central midfield pairing is a bit fluid and their roles depends on who I'm facing, however what they do never changes too much. They make a nuisance of themselves during defensive play and then when we're attacking they provide support to the front three and offer an illusion of an attacking threat even though they very rarely act on it, they still come close enough to pull some heat from the Treq.

The wide players have 16 goals between them and are heavily the focus of my attack. No small part of the inspiration for how I want them to play in attack is from my memory of the Ljungberg/Pires days of Arsenal.

8FcDzf0.jpeg

This is the tactic I started with. It generally moves the ball around in a manner that is more aesthetically pleasing and produces more goals, however it also gives up more chances in return. The wide men are usually deployed further back as regular wingers on attack duty, I decided to return to an experiment with the specialist roles that I started in friendlies but abandoned when Fernandes got injured since nobody else was quite getting as much out of the role as he did. The first return to IF and RMD for them yielded a really good result at Brighton, but I'm not convinced it would've mattered either way in that game since Brighton are struggling hard on my save.  Will probably persist with them at least at the start of games, if I see increased fragility then I at least know what to expect from moving them deeper.

Results to date:

8vRPIpT.jpeg

I'm still trying to get to grips with how the tactical system works in the modern games and this is undoubtedly the best result in a long time that I've seen from attempting to create my own tactic instead of just downloading something. There are still things I need to iron out (like how to get the attack a little more direct since we still take too many touches right now, if pass into space and run at defence instructions on my 5 and 4 man defence variants respectively add any value, and if the RMD and IF roles really even add anything) but for the first time in a long time I feel like I'm finally equipped to deal with implementing my theory into practice, it's a nice feeling.

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4th at Christmas, ended up 8th. Total collapse second half of the season. My AMC and AMR were consistently awful. Atsu got the majority of goals and assists. Does anybody have any role suggestions for the AMC, AMR and RCM?

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Season 2 update

After a disappointing end to the previous season, I decided to chop and change the tactic. I ended up going for this:

e9SCDik.jpg

The ideas behind it were:

  • Atsu was my stand out last year so I wanted to continue to use his pace in behind and get crosses into the box.
  • My AM and AMR were not linking up well. I wanted more of a goal threat so opted for a shadow striker to use the space created by my Treq. 
  • I used an attacking right wing back to offer attacking support and get crosses in from the right.
  • A carrilero to help cover the lateral space as well as helping to get the ball to the attacking players.

Luckily for me Newcastle were taken over going into the end of the season and I was given a sizeable transfer kitty to spend. I really needed to add quality throughout the whole team so I made the following signings for the following roles

  • Dani Olmo - 7m - Shadow Striker
  • Orbelin Pineda - 8.5m - Utility midfielder capable of playing Mez, Car, Treq, SS reasonably well
  • Davide Zappacosta - 10m - WB
  • Fred - 8.5m - Mez/ Car
  • Bastos - 20m - CB
  • Thomas Strakosha - 17.5m - GK

Offloaded 25m worth of dead wood too.

My first choice team going into the season looked like this:

B4Bty7Y.jpg

 

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