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Manchester City Pep Guardiola Tactic Recreation


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  • 2 weeks later...
On 15/05/2019 at 13:11, Mbianco said:

So guys, we know that man city attack in a 2-3-5, a formation that can be achieved in fm in some ways. The easiest is obvs having wingbacks wide and forward and the insideforwards in the halfspaces, but i found this too predictable and one dimensional. Having the wingers wide and the 8s in the halfspaces makes this tactic so interesting

I am trying my best to replicate this and with this formations i'm having some kind of succes and a lot of goal like this 

2048279260_4-3-31.thumb.png.62d9a07032826adbef66dea01ab2d022.png978522354_4-3-32.thumb.png.a3cca74acab2c24c12f50deb1fa871d1.png2099344855_4-3-33.thumb.png.15c7e4b543a58c3e027eccdc894600e4.png235238261_4-3-34.thumb.png.a8a80d8c571134e8225085488e448911.png1465668697_4-3-35.thumb.png.e5da4ac4a1125b993eb822f72980928b.png478273166_4-3-36.thumb.png.4458002b7f447108ebea653880eabec2.png558282964_4-3-38.thumb.png.08f2d753bb2aa9f5c19b02d12095a31b.png

in the 4th image willock is a mez(s), not a mez(a):stop:

the roles 

                     SKd                                     (i don't have a Ederson type keeper, otherwhise i would use a SKs)

IWBd    BPD     BPD 

                                        IWBs

        MEZs DLPd MEZa                         (using the dlp in the midfield trio makes the mezzalas plays in the right position for me)

Ws                                    Ws                 (cross from byline and hold position PIs for both, it makes them wider)

                     F9

instruction 
offensive

much shorter passing, play out of defence, work the ball into the box, be more disciplined, wide

counter, counterpress, take short kicks

higher, higher loe, more urgent, prevent short gk distribution, use the offside trap

in the future i will try WM, meanwhile let me know what you think about this

and srry for my bad english :lol:

This is interesting. 

The formation I have developed is also very similar to this however, I use a Registar, a CM on Attack and a Mezzala on Attack duty with 2 Wingers. 

I might need to spice things up...

Screenshot 2019-06-03 at 09.33.19.png

Screenshot 2019-06-03 at 09.36.14.png

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On 15/05/2019 at 11:11, Mbianco said:

 

instructio 
offensive

much shorter passing, play out of defence, work the ball into the box, be more disciplined, wide

counter, counterpress, take short kicks

higher, higher loe, more urgent, prevent short gk distribution, use the offside trap

in the future i will try WM, meanwhile let me know what you think about this

and srry for my bad english :lol:

You say GK take short kicks but in your screenshot it says throw it or roll it?

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My Pep Tactic Recreation:

19403308_10209197419353269_615860032_o.p

 

4abd56beadb6d349402eb4135cf979ff.png

Cancelo/Walker , Mendy/Zinchenko As IWB, Rodri/Fernandinho As DM-M , better than DLP-D. More Balanced. Sterling Sometimes play as IF-A With Felix on the other flank as IF-S and also Sterling Plays good on the Left side as IF-A With Bernardo/Sane on the right side. KDB IS A GOD, Silva also Creating Chances&Scores from 2nd line. Kun with 8/8 Goals. So far works well. 

359c1a211256cfb050fc8693c7431d6a.png

Positional play 2-3-5 / 2-5-3 / 2-3-2-3

11b8fee045c365da2566854f2db96f56.pngae281e8b73a51890fd2de0bb97397ffa.png

Edited by CR#7
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2 hours ago, Mutumba said:

Player instructions?

BDP - Short Pass, Close down Less ,Shot less, stay wider, dribble less

IWB - fewer risks shot less 

MZZ - Short pass. Shot less & dribble more MCL

W - Shot less , GET FF, Cross by line

F9 - Roam, short pass, shot less

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6 minutes ago, CR#7 said:

BDP - Short Pass, Close down Less ,Shot less, stay wider, dribble less

IWB - fewer risks shot less 

MZZ - Short pass. Shot less & dribble more MCL

W - Shot less , GET FF, Cross by line

F9 - Roam, short pass, shot less

You changed the CF support to F9?

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2 hours ago, CR#7 said:

BDP - Short Pass, Close down Less ,Shot less, stay wider, dribble less

IWB - fewer risks shot less 

MZZ - Short pass. Shot less & dribble more MCL

W - Shot less , GET FF, Cross by line

F9 - Roam, short pass, shot less

What do you mean by MCL? Does the PI only concern the MCL?  Or does the MCR have the PIs but not dribblemore?

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20 hours ago, Mutumba said:

What do you mean by MCL? Does the PI only concern the MCL?  Or does the MCR have the PIs but not dribblemore?

MCR - KDB - no PI

MCL - David/Bernardo Silva - dribble,short pass, shot less

btw - move the wingbacks down to normal position , while mensy still iwb-s , cancelo/walker as WB-A / CWB-A its much better now.

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  • 3 weeks later...
En 7/6/2019 a las 19:54, CR#7 dijo:

My Pep Tactic Recreation:

19403308_10209197419353269_615860032_o.p

 

4abd56beadb6d349402eb4135cf979ff.png

Cancelo/Walker , Mendy/Zinchenko As IWB, Rodri/Fernandinho As DM-M , better than DLP-D. More Balanced. Sterling Sometimes play as IF-A With Felix on the other flank as IF-S and also Sterling Plays good on the Left side as IF-A With Bernardo/Sane on the right side. KDB IS A GOD, Silva also Creating Chances&Scores from 2nd line. Kun with 8/8 Goals. So far works well. 

359c1a211256cfb050fc8693c7431d6a.png

Positional play 2-3-5 / 2-5-3 / 2-3-2-3

11b8fee045c365da2566854f2db96f56.pngae281e8b73a51890fd2de0bb97397ffa.png

can you upload this tactic? for tested with Everton

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  • 1 month later...

I am trying to re-create pep's man city. I successfully managed to get the kind of possession i want. What I am struggling with is the fullbacks' roles. I am disregarding zinchenko and delph because they aren't pure FBs and delph was sold. Also, Delph's role was clear to me (Inverted wb (support)). Zinchenko's was pretty much similar, however he was sometimes wider like Mendy. I have been re-watching games when Mendy and Walker started. They seem to have a hybrid between inverted and a bit wider roles. I was wondering if I should put them as IWB defend or support? FM says that on a defend duty he will position himself wide or inside depending on the system around him. I believe this best replicates pep's set up. And when i played them on a support duty they were positioned too high up and too close to my "8s" in KDB and D Silva (which are mezzalas on Attack). HOWEVER, on a defend duty I noticed that they dont press the opposition wingers up high enough. IRL, peps WBs press high up the pitch. Maybe it's just FM, but the WBs just watch the opposition wingers run straight through my defense a lot of the time. Is there a way to also fix this? I've tried man marking them but they simply played the ball in behind my defense.

Thanks!

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2 hours ago, emile heskey said:

I am trying to re-create pep's man city. I successfully managed to get the kind of possession i want. What I am struggling with is the fullbacks' roles. I am disregarding zinchenko and delph because they aren't pure FBs and delph was sold. Also, Delph's role was clear to me (Inverted wb (support)). Zinchenko's was pretty much similar, however he was sometimes wider like Mendy. I have been re-watching games when Mendy and Walker started. They seem to have a hybrid between inverted and a bit wider roles. I was wondering if I should put them as IWB defend or support? FM says that on a defend duty he will position himself wide or inside depending on the system around him. I believe this best replicates pep's set up. And when i played them on a support duty they were positioned too high up and too close to my "8s" in KDB and D Silva (which are mezzalas on Attack). HOWEVER, on a defend duty I noticed that they dont press the opposition wingers up high enough. IRL, peps WBs press high up the pitch. Maybe it's just FM, but the WBs just watch the opposition wingers run straight through my defense a lot of the time. Is there a way to also fix this? I've tried man marking them but they simply played the ball in behind my defense.

Thanks!

Moving them in the DM strata maybe? More urgent pressing? Higher LOE? 

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On 06/06/2019 at 11:27, Gegenklaus said:

My main problem with replicating this Man City side is to get two midfielders to move high up the pitch during the early build up. 

Anyone managed to do that?

That's almost impossible in FM19, which is weird, I mean a Mezzala on attack has almost the same starting position in build up as a CM on support.

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1 hour ago, robot_skeleton said:

That's almost impossible in FM19, which is weird, I mean a Mezzala on attack has almost the same starting position in build up as a CM on support.

Well, in FM the position of players while the team is in possession is determined by their mentality, a few traits and the attributes teamwork and off the ball. Teamwork makes players drop deeper to receive a pass when the team is building from deep so a player with lower teamwork is bound to be higher up the pitch when in build up. The problem with that is that teamwork is an important attribute for teams playing positive possession football so it's not something your midfielders can do without.

Focus play through the middle would increase the midfielders mentality  but I have never tried building a man city tactic so it could have some unwanted consequences.

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11 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

No. FPTM increases the mentality of CBs, DMs and only defend-duty CMs.

Thank you for the correction, I was under the impression it also affected midfielders, is there a page or topic were you found this information? just to check if I am not wrong about other things.

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10 minutes ago, Bernkastel said:

is there a page or topic were you found this information?

You can see the mentality change directly in the game (when you click on the "Edit player instructions" button). So you can compare the mentalities of the aforementioned players (positions/roles/duties) before and after turning on the instruction :thup:

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20 hours ago, robot_skeleton said:

That's almost impossible in FM19, which is weird, I mean a Mezzala on attack has almost the same starting position in build up as a CM on support.

Yeah, I even tried using them in the AM strata, but then I don't like the defensive shape, and I still dont see them get high and between the lines early enough. FM 19 is a really great game, but can't really emulate one of Guardiolas basic principles to use as few men as possible to build up while the attacking band of players goes high and between the lines.

7 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

As a Utd fan it pains me to say as much but this might be the best FM19 thread to learn from.  Packed with stuff you can gain from.

Agreed. I learned so much from following this thread. It's a great discussion.

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On 01/08/2019 at 20:56, BadAss88 said:

Moving them in the DM strata maybe? More urgent pressing? Higher LOE? 

I play on much higher LoE, you would think that would help but not really. If i play them DM they will be wayy out of position when the opposition have the ball in our half. IDK if playing them in the wingback position makes much of a difference because I havent seen any when I tried it..

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On 07/06/2019 at 19:54, CR#7 said:

My Pep Tactic Recreation:

19403308_10209197419353269_615860032_o.p

 

4abd56beadb6d349402eb4135cf979ff.png

Cancelo/Walker , Mendy/Zinchenko As IWB, Rodri/Fernandinho As DM-M , better than DLP-D. More Balanced. Sterling Sometimes play as IF-A With Felix on the other flank as IF-S and also Sterling Plays good on the Left side as IF-A With Bernardo/Sane on the right side. KDB IS A GOD, Silva also Creating Chances&Scores from 2nd line. Kun with 8/8 Goals. So far works well. 

359c1a211256cfb050fc8693c7431d6a.png

Positional play 2-3-5 / 2-5-3 / 2-3-2-3

11b8fee045c365da2566854f2db96f56.pngae281e8b73a51890fd2de0bb97397ffa.png

why are the the fullbacks positioned as wingbacks? do they press higher up? i tried and i didnt see much of a difference

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Might be just me, but I have noticed that fullbacks and wingbacks (the positions, not the roles) always press less or later than other positions no matter what tactic is used. It could be a flaw in the ME but I haven't researched the rest of the forum to see others complain about it or being acknowledged as a ME problem.

Maybe if someone has more time can search if that is the case. It's my personal observation. 

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13 hours ago, yonko said:

Might be just me, but I have noticed that fullbacks and wingbacks (the positions, not the roles) always press less or later than other positions no matter what tactic is used. It could be a flaw in the ME but I haven't researched the rest of the forum to see others complain about it or being acknowledged as a ME problem.

Maybe if someone has more time can search if that is the case. It's my personal observation. 

Yeah I feel that way too. Concede quite a few goals where a winger has ended up deep (usually because they were left behind on a counter) so has loads of space to run into. DM/CM might try to slide out to cover but full backs retreat in line with the centre backs even if there’s only one guy forward, so the attacker drives towards the defence then pops one off from range or plays that rare central through ball for the opposite wide player to rush onto and score 

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Thank you for this topic, it has made me rethink several concepts. I only have one question: how is Mendy's movement with, for example, Sterling? Does the accumulation start closed to support the CB and the DM, and in the last third, with Sterling in the area, does he become the widest player?

 

Sorry for my bad english.

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  • 3 months later...
Il 3/6/2019 in 07:37 , Trimisiyu ha scritto:

This is interesting. 

The formation I have developed is also very similar to this however, I use a Registar, a CM on Attack and a Mezzala on Attack duty with 2 Wingers. 

I might need to spice things up...

Screenshot 2019-06-03 at 09.33.19.png

Screenshot 2019-06-03 at 09.36.14.png

file tactic please? tks

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Il 8/6/2019 in 00:54 , CR#7 ha scritto:

My Pep Tactic Recreation:

19403308_10209197419353269_615860032_o.p

 

4abd56beadb6d349402eb4135cf979ff.png

Cancelo/Walker , Mendy/Zinchenko As IWB, Rodri/Fernandinho As DM-M , better than DLP-D. More Balanced. Sterling Sometimes play as IF-A With Felix on the other flank as IF-S and also Sterling Plays good on the Left side as IF-A With Bernardo/Sane on the right side. KDB IS A GOD, Silva also Creating Chances&Scores from 2nd line. Kun with 8/8 Goals. So far works well. 

359c1a211256cfb050fc8693c7431d6a.png

Positional play 2-3-5 / 2-5-3 / 2-3-2-3

11b8fee045c365da2566854f2db96f56.pngae281e8b73a51890fd2de0bb97397ffa.png

file tactic please? tks

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  • 2 weeks later...
18 minutes ago, burnum said:

Yes, I've tried but failed miserably...

im playing as Man City currently, but I'm creating my own tactic as opposed to emulating Pep.

But just on a general level, a lot of the positional play, player traits and movement is so "Pep" nuanced that its difficult to recreate.

I believe it may be a reason why AI Pep has a tendency to struggle.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 08/06/2019 at 01:54, CR#7 said:

My Pep Tactic Recreation:

19403308_10209197419353269_615860032_o.p

 

4abd56beadb6d349402eb4135cf979ff.png

Cancelo/Walker , Mendy/Zinchenko As IWB, Rodri/Fernandinho As DM-M , better than DLP-D. More Balanced. Sterling Sometimes play as IF-A With Felix on the other flank as IF-S and also Sterling Plays good on the Left side as IF-A With Bernardo/Sane on the right side. KDB IS A GOD, Silva also Creating Chances&Scores from 2nd line. Kun with 8/8 Goals. So far works well. 

359c1a211256cfb050fc8693c7431d6a.png

Positional play 2-3-5 / 2-5-3 / 2-3-2-3

11b8fee045c365da2566854f2db96f56.pngae281e8b73a51890fd2de0bb97397ffa.png

Works Amazing on FM20 With 4-line Defence

Roles + Pl :

SK-S - Ederson

CD-D - Stones - Short Pass, Close down Less ,Shot less, stay wider, dribble less

BDP-D - Laporte - Short Pass, Close down Less ,Shot less, stay wider

CWB-S - Cancelo - fewer risks shot less 

CWB-S - Mendy - fewer risks shot less 

DM-D - Rodri 

MEZ-A - De Bruyne

AP-S / MEZ-S - David Silva / Bernardo - Roam Pos , dribble more, short pass

IW-S - Bernardo / Mahrez - Roam Pos , Shoot Less , Risky Passes

IF-A - Sterling - Roam Pos

AF / F9 - Kun Aguero - Roam Pos, short pass

 

will Upload Some Screenshots later

Edited by CR#7
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Attacking, Very Fluid

 

 

                                                                       False9/DLF-S

        Inside Forward-A

                                                                                                                          Inside Forward-S (hold position, stay wider)

                                                                                     MEZ-A

                                           AP-S

 

Wing Back-S                                   DLP-S                                     Inverted WB-s

 

                                     CB-D                                  CB-D

 

                                                          SK-S

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On 15/01/2020 at 07:17, Mitja said:

Attacking, Very Fluid

 

 

                                                                       False9/DLF-S

        Inside Forward-A

                                                                                                                          Inside Forward-S (hold position, stay wider)

                                                                                     MEZ-A

                                           AP-S

 

Wing Back-S                                   DLP-S                                     Inverted WB-s

 

                                     CB-D                                  CB-D

 

                                                          SK-S

what TI's would you use for this tactic? 

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  • 4 months later...
Posted (edited)

@Experienced Defender had some suggestions regarding offensive aspects of my Man City tactic in another thread and I wanted to funnel that discussion here but also set a broader context.

First off, this thread has been a lot of fun!  A big thank to @LeonardSnart who started it way back on Nov 11, 2018.

There's been so many great contributions to it over the years.  It is hard to pick out specific members given how many have contributed  I think we can all agree that this thread has both helped us better understand and appreciate the intricacies of how Man City play and also have helped us better understand Football Manager.  In addition to what's been posted in this thread, there's been some links to some outstanding content.  I for one have learned a ton from all the links that are included here.

That said, I feel compelled to point out that I don't think we've actually "accomplished" recreating the tactic in FM yet.  As a way to evaluate this, I'd like to focus on the quantitive assessment of Man City's Tactics rather than the qualitative.  Let's look at those statistics and some of the data behind them courtesy of our friends at WhoScored.com's Man City Page.

For me, the following statistics define Man City. if we acknowledge Match Engine limitations and differences and how stats are calculated, I still feel any tactical recreation has to get close to these figures over the course of a season to be representative:

  • Average Shots per Game: 18.6 (6.8 on target)
    • 5.9 from outside the penalty area
    • 1.9 from inside the six yard box
    • 10.8 from inside the penalty area, excluding six yard box
  • Average Possession: 61.2%
    • As high as 77% in some matches
  • Average Passing Accuracy: 89%
    • As high as 92% in some matches
  • Average Passes per Game: 674.6
    • As high as 830 in some matches
    • 95% short passed and 5% medium / long passes
  • Average Dribbles per Game:  13.1
  • Goals / Game: 2.37
  • Allowed Goals / Game: 1.1

Although not a published statistic, I estimate Man City opponents average no more than 300 passes / game.

I'd like to encourage us to explore ways in which we can create a tactic (or set of tactics) that over the course of 30-40 games can get close to the above numbers.  There's a lot more detail in terms of who records what stats and in what situations / areas of the pitch but if we can't accomplish the above top-line stats, then I don't think we've accomplished the objective.

---

As far as formation, position and roles, again I'd like to turn to the data to create some guiding principles.  Here's the WhoScored data for a recent match that I think is pretty typical of what we're after.   Let's start with the calculated formation, which is based computed average positions:

image.thumb.png.a3c4bcb0f6c45ba3d40e0de560d8b3e7.png

 

Let's also look at some heat maps for City's Players. 

Otamendi (CD-R)

image.thumb.png.cf01b4c98c8dae7e12534b4802937f21.png\

Laporte (CD-L)

image.thumb.png.0016c464aed3be8a59349a2f19c2d9d2.png

Mendy (DL) and Walker (DR)

image.thumb.png.ced3ade8e5525d865c10fe1f8d37721e.png

De Bruyne (CM-R)

image.thumb.png.0e0ac0a86fb410e1436e13bab86a5559.png

David Silva (CM-L)

image.thumb.png.272e7c9ea650db643ecfd9b961de3427.png

Jesus (AM-L) and Bernardo Silva (AM-R)

image.thumb.png.4d0b8e381aaf5f81d63efaf9abf9a9c4.png

 

From this, I take away the following points, which have been articulated in a number of articles, videos and posts in this thread:

  1. The CB-L (Laporte) typically plays a bit higher up than the CB-R (Otamendi)
  2. The FB-L (Mendy) typically plays quite a bit higher up and wider than the FB-R (Walker) who plays deeper and more inside
  3. The CB-L (Laporte) and the FB-R (Walker) often end up looking like mirror images in a back 3 with the CB-R (Otamendi) deeper and in the middle 
  4. The CM-L (David Silva) typically plays a bit higher up than the CM-R (De Bruyne)
  5. Both CMs play a bit wider in the channels.
  6. One of the AMs plays higher than the other and one plays wider while the other plays narrower (typically the inverse of the FBs' width and depth).  In this case the AML (Jesus) played deeper and more narrow while the AMR (Benardo Silva) played higher and wider.

---

Edited by Columnarius
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Posted (edited)

As many people have talked about on this thread and in some of the linked media, City play a variety of formations that utilize similar tactics.  Also, City sometimes make subtle adjustment to their tactics despite a similar looking formation.

In this post, I'm focusing on the 4-1-2-2-1 version with average position similar to what I outlined in the previous post.  Basically that means we're focused on a tactic where one FB plays narrow while the other plays wide, the DM plays in the middle, the CMs play high and in the channels one of the AML|Rs play wide while the other plays more narrow (opposite the FBs) and the CF comes deep between the Defensive and Midfield line of the opponent.

The version of City where they play 4-4-2 Box Diamond will have to wait for another day!

Starting off with team shape and roles / duties, this is the best I've come up with so far:

image.thumb.png.6e570caa679c3efaf334be5e2919ad74.png

I think there are two big considerations as far as formation positions.

The first is whether the two FB/WBs should play in the FB L|R or WB|R strata further up and in-line with the DM.  I can't quite say i have a strong opinion about one vs. the other here and I haven't really noticed a big difference from my testing.

The second is whether it should be AM L|R or M L|R further back  and in-line with the CMs.  As mentioned in this thread, the key difference is that the players in the AM L|R strata will achieve pressing higher up the field, which has a positive effect on getting closer to the desired stats.  But player in the AM strata don't really spend much time out wide compared to players in the M L|R strata, meaning the average positions are likely to be more narrow

Regarding roles and duties, I go back and forth as to whether the FB-L (Mendy) should go on an IWB role with a Support duty as the IWB seems to get wide as much as it gets narrow however the WB better mirror the actual heat maps and improves possession and passing accuracy percentages.  Likewise, I wonder about whether the DM should be given the Defender or Support Duty but based on the average position, Defend feels more accurate.

The other positions all feel pretty correct to me both in terms of vertical depth and horizontal spacing.  We could achieve similar positioning with different roles - for example the CM-R (De Bruyne) could be a MEZ or a CM with a Support duty that is given the "Move into Channels" PI as opposed to RPM (with Move into Channels) that you see in the screen shot.  Also the CF could be a F9 as opposed to a CF-A and get even deeper in order to offer options between the defensive and midfield lines but then you you'd pretty much. never seen Aguero break the last line.  With his Comes Deep To Get Ball Player Trait, I feel he offers a good balance of vertical movement. 

Lastly, the IF / IW seems to work well in terms of balance between offering passing support in our half with making runs in their half and I find I can play left or right footed players on either side of this setup.

We can get into movement (back, forward, sideways) as it relates to roles and duties but if we just focus on average positions and if you refer back to the heat maps, does this look right to you?  What would you change, if anything?

Edited by Columnarius
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As I mentioned, this thread contains so many different contributions to understanding City's tactics that it is hard include everyone but I'd like to point out a few sources that I think have had a big influence on my thinking as it relates to attempting re-creation in FM.

@Rashidi created an example of Man City's play in the following tactical breakdown for FM19 that several others on this thread have referenced and I have personally found incredible useful:

Likewise, this outstanding tactical analysis of City emphasizes a number of key points to consider (I'm not as sold on the FM re-creation part of this video as I am about the analysis part).

There is a great write up with embedded video examples here:

https://www.footyanalytics.net/post/manchester-city-playing-philosophy-game-model-positional-play

This is another excellent writeup on tactical analysis and has a highly useful analysis of the defensive side:

https://spielverlagerung.com/2018/01/02/how-peps-citizens-have-taken-over-england/

Finally, this video focuses in on the nuance of how City Press when in defense:

The 9 pages (as of the writing of this post) in this thread add to these three information sources but this is a good refresher for anyone who skipped ahead to this page.

I'd like to point out, as others have in this thread, that it may be impossible to replicate Man City but I'm hoping we can collaborate on getting as close as we can and I think we can get close with a combination of a couple of different tactics.  The first is how we start the game and the second is how we finish the last 25-30 minutes, assuming we are winning.

Note: When playing away against an equal or better opponent, I basically think we have to look closely at how Pep adjusts.  For example, away to Real Madrid on 2/26/20, we see some significant differences in tactics and statistics.   Likewise if you look at away to Liverpool on 10/19.  This post won't cover these scenarios but maybe we can work together on tactics for these challenging away game situations.

Starting Formation

The starting formation is intended to mirror both many of the team's statistics and the average player positions.  If one was to use it for an entire match, it could easily win you the game and we can pretty much nail the shots per game, goals per game, goals allowed, and shot / assist locations.  Where it would frequently fall short is in terms of total passes and possession % compared to the numbers above.

Building on the formation in the above post, here's what I've come up with in terms of mentality and team instructions:

image.thumb.png.33438c10662e6e47d21ffa1dd943a4d1.png

Personal Instructions I've found to make a meaningful difference compared to the defaults include:

CF, IF, W, Mez

- Close Down More

- Tackle Harder

RPM

- Move into Channels

DM, WB, CDL, CDR, IWB

- Take Fewer Risks

Below are some comments on my observations relating to my tactical instructions.

Mentality

I've tried endless combinations of team tactics, including changes in mentality and as far as I can tell, I can achieve similar results with Very Attacking, Attacking, Positive, or Balanced, which is kind of confusing to be honest!  But Positive seems to be the post consistent against most opponents when the game is 0-0.

In Possession Team Instructions

I've tried attacking widths and the default of Fairly Wide seems to be the most consistent from my testing.  Width is a strange setting.  It doesn't actually limit the absolute width of your players in that a Winger or WB with Get Wider will still move close to the sideline when the ball moves to their side of the field.  Instead, it affects how close players will move to one another relative to where the ball is.  Given we want 2v1 / 3v2 overloads on the wings, the tactic doesn't benefit from a Wide or Extremely Wide setting, which I think is probably more appropriate for a direct / long wing play tactic (think Ferguson and Man Utd circa 2005).

I leave Pass into Space unticked. As @Rashidi says in his excellent videos, this setting is situational.  I agree and I experience more success without it on average so I don't enable it.

I've tried focusing play through the middle vs. the left / right, utilizing overlaps / underlaps, and dribbling more / less with more or less creative freedom none of these seemed to make a material improvement in outcomes so i've left them all blank.

Here are some real-world stats to compare agains in terms of overall passing accuracy of Man City's defenders:

  • Stones - 94%
  • Otamendi - 92.4%
  • Laporte - 92.1%
  • Zinchenko - 91.5%
  • Cancelo - 89.4%
  • Walker - 88.9%
  • Rodri - 92.2%
  • Fernandinho - 89.8%

Play Out of Defense definitely seems to help get closer to these desired passing accuracy stats.

Interestingly, I find that the Standard passing directness doesn't hurt my defenders as far as their passing accuracy and it it actually gives them license to pass a longer if they need to when under pressure, resulting in an overall Increase in passing accuracy compared to Shorter passing, which works fine but slightly lowers overall passing accuracy due to the times a player can't find a shorter passing option and clears the ball rather than making an intentional long pass.  In theory, you want to go shorter passing when you are facing a defense that puts a lot of bodies behind the ball so you are not passing long to an isolated player but I don't see setting the passing directness to Pass Shorter resulting in any noticeable benefit.

Regarding Tempo, Slightly Lower seems to be ideal but I want point out that there are a few different stats that are in tension here.  When tempo is lower, passing accuracy goes up assuming the opponent is not pressing aggressively.  That said, when facing teams that press aggressively, I've sometimes needed to increase it to avoid having the player on the ball pressured too the point that they clear the ball in a panic or even worse, lose it to an opponent's tackle.  Teams can employ aggressive pressing regardless of their overall mentality, so it is something to watch out for even if the opponent is playing Cautious as opposed to Attacking.

A lower passing tempo means the player on the ball holds it a bit longer, allowing more off the ball runs by team mates, which City thrives on.  But if we are too slow, then the defense can adjust, resulting in fewer goal scoring chances and we don't hit our 18.6 shots or 27 goals / game target.  Finally, lower tempo does not appears to result in fewer passes per game even though the team is moving the ball a bit less quickly.  This thread has seen a lot of debate as to whether City use a Higher or Slightly Lower tempo and after watching games closely and testing the different on stats, I think Slightly Lower is the way to go most of the time.

City averages 13.1 dribbles / game.  I think it is important to be wary of too much dribbling at the expense of total passes as it is easy to rack up 20+ dribbles (and a lot of failed dribbles) in a game while seeing far lower total passing numbers. I know real world and FM stats are calculated different but here's the average number of dribbles per game for City's Players

  • Sterling - 3.7
  • Mahrez - 2.9
  • De Bruyne - 2.5
  • Cancelo - 2.4
  • Bernardo Silva - 2
  • Aguero - 1.8
  • Jesus - 1.7
  • Silva - 1.3
  • Walker - 1.1
  • Foden - 1.1
  • Rodri - 1

So just to emphasize the point, Sterling only has 3.7x dribbles game compared to Rodri and averages less than 4 dribbles per game.  This makes me think our tactic should try to limit dribbling for these players in their respective positions to similar numbers.

I also haven't seen that increased dribbling TI or PIs improve the team's chance of achieving the real-life statistics (although it does result in more goals) and generally speaking, I feel that it is easy to dribble too much and lose the ball, killing any chance at achieving the 62% possession and 674 passes / game city averages. 

That said, I haven't found that the "Dribble Less" TI results in a material improvement in overall pass vs. dribble statistics relative to the target either, which is why I haven't ticked it.

In Transition Team Instructions

I tick Counter-Press as I think this helps the team achieve its desired shots on goal and goals / game targets.  I do not tick Counter because Man City are so aggressive and are often the favored team and I realized the Counter TI wasn't really helping.  As far as I understand, ticking this increases the percentage of times the team will try to counter attack after winning back the ball.  As a refresher, when a team counters, they ignore team and personal instructions and go into. special Counter set of instructions that involve a lot of dribbling with the ball, extreme forward runs and use of through balls.  Not ticking this still results in some counter attacks but only when there are fewer defenders back and more favorable opportunities for the counter attacking team.  The end result that I believe I see from my testing is that by not ticking it, I keep the ball more and score just as many goals.  if I was a less favored team and my opponents were more aggressive, I think it could help but that isn't City.

For similar reasons to @Rashidi's point of view, I do not tick the distribute to position options in order to allow Ederson to make his own choice based on what the defense gives you.  Most of the time, this is a pass to the CDs but if an opponent is pressing, then it can be to the FB L|R or even the AM L|R stratas instead.  I pretty much never see passes to the CF despite some amazing highlights of Ederson assisting Aguero in real life.

Out of Possession Team Instructions

After much experimentation and consultation with others on this forum, I've realized that one can be too aggressive with their out of possession pressing and positioning, resulting in your opponent keeping the ball in their own third for long stretches of the game.  Although this doesn't really hurt our chances of winning, it does not help us achieve the 61.2% average possession, the 674 average passes, or the opponent's 300 average passes.

By dropping off a bit through use of the Higher Line of Engagement and Higher Defensive Line settings while using the default Slightly More Urgent Pressing setting and not ticking Prevent GK Distribution, it actually reduces the opponent's possession in their own third by luring them further up field where there is less support.  This means the opponent gives the ball away sooner and my possession and total passing numbers go up.

I do not tick either Stay on Feet or Get Stuck In as neither helps due to the different in tackling aggression between my forward and back players that I describe below.

This is an area where I still can't replicate real life entirely where a weaker Premier League side might only pass 250 times in a game against City but this combination of TIs (and PIs) is the closest I can come up with as it relates to limiting the opponent's possession and passing.

I leave Defense Width on Standard as my testing suggests this is the best combination of denying passing lanes out wide while limiting space through the middle.  Narrow is similar but allows more overall possession down the flanks.  Wide doesn't really seem to work at all.

Personal Instructions

There are basically two sets of PIs. 

The first focuses on helping us achieve our desired passing accuracy, overall possession percentages and build up play style.    I tick Take Fewer Risks on the WBL, CDL, CDR, IWBR and the DM in order to encourage them to keep their passing simple and to stay patient as they look for opportunities to get the ball to our two CMs to initiate the attack in the final third.

I have not found I need to set Shorter Passing for similar reasons to what I outlined above as far as TIs.

Interestingly, I have not found I need to set Dribble Less on the WBL or IWBR and that this actually hurts our possession and passing accuracy.

The second focuses on helping us achieve our desired possession percentages and opponent's total passes / passing accuracy as it relates to our pressing.  I believe this is often referred to as a Split Block, in that a block (group) of attacking players press aggressively while the defenders hang back.  To achieve this, I tick Close Down More and Tackle Harder for the CM-L (Mez-A), AML (IF-Su), AMR (W-A) and CF.

I have not found I need to tick Mark Tighter

The final PI is for the RPM.  I tick Move into Channels in order to encourage De Bruyne to get further wider and create the desired 2v1 / 3v2 situations down the wings, while also spreading out the defenders to allow runs that split them by the AM L|R / CML / CF.

I have not found I need to ticket More Direct Passing  as this seems to lead to an increase in overly ambitious balls without any meaningful return on goals despite the reduction in passing accuracy and possession %.

---

One thing I'd like to experiment with a bit more is what effect, if any, hold up ball has for the AML|R players in terms of preventing them from mindlessly dribbling into defenders and in terms of creating more 1-2 passes.

 

Edited by Columnarius
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Closing Up Shop Formation

If you watch City Play, you noticed that when they are winning, somewhere around the 60-70th minute, they get a little slower and a little less aggressive and start to ping the ball around endlessly.  I think this is actually a pretty critical aspect of achieving their passing accuracy and possession percentages.  To approach replicating this, I adapted the starting tactic to a City-version of shut up shop as follows:

image.thumb.png.5b8ce899bb7813b5d4ad008c7136e9b8.png

The positioning and roles are intended to spread the field and make it easier to move the ball around until time expires.

Mentality and Team Instructions are as follows:

image.thumb.png.a9e5839d54da8ca91d57d5c211ac074d.png

PIs are the same as the Standard Tactic as the motivations remain relevant.

CF, IF, IW, Mez

- Close Down More

- Tackle Harder

RPM

- Move into Channels

DM, WB, CDL, CDR, IWB

- Take Fewer Risks

With this tactic, you can add 100-150 additional passes, safeguard your lead and get a lot closer to the stats mentioned above.

Edited by Columnarius
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With the above, I can get the following kinds of results:

image.thumb.png.0089e6705300a7f349c84269e3206eab.png

293050955_Image2020-05-3022-00-07.thumb.png.6d9b5f82e956e04c80ceb8e0af0e6dca.png

image.thumb.png.987b58f6bfd9524911c069703425527a.png

image.thumb.png.dd680ab150cba64915a60078a085139b.png

 

I would say that it still remains challenging to consistently balance things in order to get both the desired # of total passes, passing accuracy, possession %, total shots and goals / game but this feels close.  This game had 20 dribbles vs. the avg. 13.1.

 

Edited by Columnarius
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So that's what I've been able to figure out so far but I'm not sure its the best and most accurate way to reflect what City do.  Keeping in mind the quantitative stats, how else might you approach it?

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