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Han Solo - Asymmetric strikes back

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Other tactics:


After last year's tactical experiments, I thought I will continue to come up with some more weird but functional systems. The goal is simple - construct distinctive playstyles that work in fm framework. They may not resemble any real-life tactics or even be realistic but why restrict ourselves when stepping over the boundaries is more exciting?

As the title suggests, the main attribute of the new system is being asymmetric.  Some benefits of such systems could be the possibility to overload specific areas of the pitch to gain a numerical advantage at that point. The drawback could be the requirement to have too many specialist roles to fit into the system, so that team rotation could be a little bit trickier.

Ok, now straight to the league results


Chances created


Having most chances created with most average possession stats - it clearly manages to shine in a league format, while champions league will be the next test.


The system:

I generally prefer 3 man defense format as it allows me to be more extreme in other areas without being too much exposed at the back. So instead of fullbacks - wingbacks and defensive wingers come into play while the system can still be balanced overall and be able to withstand opposition's counter-attacks. It also simplifies or even releaves me of readjustment to be done depending on opposition's attack layout and when chasing an equalizer they start to overload the central area. So I won't be dealing with numerical disadvantage during fast counter-attacks. But you could argue that when facing only one striker - 3man defense would too much and one defender is wasted. Well, maybe. And there is a solution for that.

The defense:

o9e7es.jpg     eq2znr.jpg


When facing 2 striker systems - 3man defense is the choice. Nothing fancy. Stopper could help out on the wing if midfielders are late to the party during counter-attacks and still there will be 2 defenders left in the middle.

When facing 1 striker - libero or sweeper is the choice depending on player's capabilities, while stoppers will push higher to occupy DM's spot and giving me the opportunity to play high defensive line while being well assured at back with sweeper at guard. Libero(s) and Sweeper won't differ much in terms of positional play, it just that libero will be more inclined to make higher-risk passes.


The midfield:



No point in playing FB with 3man defense. WB(s) carries higher attacking threat while not being exposed against a winger with the right marking instructions. Defensive winger carries even more attacking threat than a regular WB, while an excellent teamwork will compensate for DW's occasional defensive blunders. Let' compare WBs and DWs stats for the season:


Those are left wing-backs stats: When both were unavailable, a regular CD covered for them for several games. All in all the offensive contribution from them: 1 goal, 16 assists, 35 chances created.


Now the DWs contributions: 12 goals, 18 assists, 56 chances created.

Defensive wise - I didn't notice that right side was more prone or even more suspect during counter attacks. here the assist locations I faced:


While it cannot be conclusive because the assists could come from inside the box but as a result of poor defending on one side, but it is still some numerical measure that states that DWs are not more defensive liability than WBs.

As a DW is a specialist role and hardest to find, I generally look for a true winger who will be retrained into the role. Wingers generally have better attributes for acceleration/pace. Coupled with better mental attributes such as anticipation and decisions it can greatly compensate for low positioning/marking attributes. Making him to specifically mark opposition's winger position coupled with team instruction "mark tighter" it lessens its defensive vulnerability. With tight marking, DW will try cut out straight passes to a winger thus sometimes rendering the opposition's winger to useless. But being glued to a player it can invite through balls onto wingers path. And here DW quickness comes into play.

It should be noted that having greater match cohesion increases/boosts player's positioning as seen in "dynamics page" which greatly helps DW to handle his defensive duty. I suspect this feature was always there in previous fm iterations, but now clearly demonstrated with dynamics page. This must the explanation for why teams with only players that came through the club youth system - while being inferior could still punch above its weight. So is the partial explanation as to why my previous extreme systems could function properly when on first sight it looked unbalanced. So longer players stay together - attributes are boosted and some weakness in a system could be somewhat compensated with greater teamwork.

Now the central mids.


New addition - Segundo volante will generally act just as BBM, the difference being its starting position is deeper. That's an excellent role as additional body going forward, while in defensive phase who reverts back into dm position. asymmetrical nature of positioning goes in line with our main goal. They carry an attacking threat, they defend together. Having a high pressing system won't make them chase the same player as it happens with regular two CM layouts. They also don't get into each other's way. And it makes ball progression from the back easier even when facing high pressing teams as there are always players around and close to a player with the ball. In this case, DW is not only an attacking threat as a crosser but as a central player who helps out with ball retention.


The attack:

2hhmxrp.jpg    107s587.jpg


When playing against a team with 2 central defenders, I find positioning main attackers in half-space increases their attacking threat which will happen with the first layout. At first, I went with F9 in the middle instead of AP, expecting it could pull out one of the CDs during fast transitions thus letting one of my attackers to attack the free space left behind. But F9 doesn't do that trick as advertised, so I went with more stationery AP in the middle. CF will position himself between the FB and CD and my SS will do the same trick on the other side, albeit starting a little deeper. So my playmaker will have 2 receivers who are on a different phase of attack each time. Having my attackers on the sides gives them better chance not to get into offsides too much as FB and CD don't coordinate their defensive line as good as CDs do between themselves, so my attackers will have it easier exploiting the space behind the FBs.

When facing 3man defense - there is less advantage of the first layout so increasing attacking presence in the box is more desirable. DLF won't roam as much as SS so my DW will take more prominent role as crosser on the wing, while I will have 1 more attacker in the box to receive a perfect cross.

When facing an opposition with two DMs and sometimes even 1 DM I will change the role of AP to a simple attacking midfielder or an enganche, because AP attracts the ball as playmaker and DMs will lessen the benefit of the playmaker in the hole in a crowded area. AP receives and passes on average 2 times more the ball compared to other roles in his positions, so when playing against 2 DM it's better to prioritize the wings.

The whole system:

1qia9y.jpg  Depending on oppositions some of its variant can morph into 1ibnsg.jpg



Team instructions:



Nothing out of normal with team instructions except for the high pressing style. Having a libero/sweeper gives me increased confidence with executing such pressing and high line. Having players spread out relatively evenly helps with ball progression and retention so control mentality is executable and favorable. Tighter marking helps DW to carry his defensive duty.

A little adjustment may be needed for Champions league games but that's in the next post.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.



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Interesting set up. Do you use many PIs?

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14 hours ago, djpdavey said:

I really like your midfield setup. 

Me like it too ;)

12 hours ago, ramie said:

Interesting set up. Do you use many PIs?

Yeah, I forgot to include them. They are not that important in this case, as they won't affect the playstyle much. The most important PIs which are already mentioned are for WB and DW to man-mark AML(R) positions. And on opposition instructions page to tick "tight marking" to always. During important matches like in knock-out games, I may instruct to personally man-mark the wingers instead of marking the position as in this case I find them carry the instruction more diligently. Like... really... they will be glued to them.

I also include the PI "shoot less often" to all players. It doesn't affect negatively the shooting stats, cause when a probable shooter is in a nice position to shoot, there is nothing stopping him from attempting to score. So in theory that PI may lessen the low-chance long shots. There is no way of definitely proving the difference that this PI brings, so it's just my preference.

I also give all central mids "more risky passes" PI as I expect them making the most accurate passes as they are the most technical players in my side with the best combination of decision/vision/passing/technique. And I make them learn that as a personal trait. I find it doesn't affect their passing stats negatively. After the season is concluded my Volante and BBM still got one of the highest passing accuracy in a league with 90/88% passing accuracy.

WB and DW to "aim far post". DW personally "go further forward" "cross more often", "cross from beeline". Both to learn "mark tightly" trait and also "play one-twos".

And for GK "roll it out" "pass shorter", pass to a specific player - right-sided defender.

That's about it.

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Interesting to see how you've come up with approach to adjust both defensive and attacking numbers according to what you're facing.  Some good 'out of the box' thinking judging by the number of goals you've scored.  Did one player get a lot of the goals or were they shared around?

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20 minutes ago, Robson 07 said:

Interesting to see how you've come up with approach to adjust both defensive and attacking numbers according to what you're facing.  Some good 'out of the box' thinking judging by the number of goals you've scored.  Did one player get a lot of the goals or were they shared around?

Yeah, I had no choice but to adapt. Generally, 3man defenses are harder to break down, so increasing my body count inside the box and picking more stationery/less roaming striker would invite my wide players to play a more prominent role in attacking, thus increasing my chances. Likewise at the back libero/sweeper becomes a suspect when facing 2 out and out strikers, so that was also an easy decision.

Goals wise my CF averages more than a goal a game(44 that season). SS 1 in 2 and the rest are shared among the other players. And it should be noted SS is my best assists provider.

If you are impressed with goal numbers you should definitely check out my other tactic  Suicide Squad - Breaking scoring records

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