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I propose to analyse every goal conceded over the course of a season in order to master the defensive arts! 

I'll look at conceded goals focusing on:

- Player quality (e.g. defender is out-jumped or out-paced)

- Tactics

- Set pieces

I'm Ajax, playing a 4-3-3,and have a very good squad! Won a quadruple including the CL in 2020, last year I lost to Mourinho in the final :mad:

Tactics: 

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I leave OIs to my assistant.

Goal 1: Home to Vitesse

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Part 1: (player quality) Zorro wins aerial battle, but heads straight to opposing midfielder. He had 8 for heading at the time.

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Obvious mismatch for the 18 year old Zorro! Welcome to your new training program:

image.thumb.png.9160181ca7fe27f1805286f425d9a54d.pngimage.thumb.png.e3b3122fe18e2a8d54099d3d2564c747.png

 

 

Edited by pauly15

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Part two (tactical?): Zorro is out of position, De Ligt tries to cover, and their AMC eventually runs through to score centrally. There are a few tactical things to consider:

- Defensive width: standard

- No covering defender

- CWBs with "press higher", and mark tightly.

Means a flat back four:

1.jpg22.jpg

In the final phase, my DMC is there or thereabouts, but it's a good run and good pass so no complaints. Perhaps if he were a half back he'd have stopped it. I could try a stopper, covering defender and half-back system if this type of goal through the middle happens regularly. Or consider narrowing defensive width.

3.jpg4.jpg

 

Another thing I could consider is the pressing by my IF(a) on the right side. Perhaps he needs some more work rate training! ;)

image.thumb.png.e138b5722a8cf6ca31521bc21064962b.png

Edited by pauly15

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A funny realisation: nobody would ever play Totti as a poacher, Keane as a playmaker, or Beckham as an inside forward; but I never really pay much attention to my defenders attributes when selecting a Cover or Defend duty. Perhaps this is because we think of a defensive unit rather than the focus we give to individuals in attacking areas- still, it's silly!

The 4 centre backs I'm using are: 

 

Gonclaves: because of his 8 for heading, the AI recommends a cover role. However to my eye, he has average covering attributes and strong 'defend' attributes (and if aggression improves, stopper attributes), leaving aside the horrible 8 for heading.

image.thumb.png.2fa2f429ca19857bdc846033111e762d.png

 

De Ligt an obvious 'defend' role. Cover would be a waste of his strength/jumping and stopper would tax his aggression stat too much.

image.thumb.png.9461a3cc002fec3f1ce41245ea543184.png

 

Zorro is a young defender who already has 'cover' written all over him. Weaknesses in aggression, jumping reach and heading, combined with emerging strengths in anticipation, and a great positioning score. I'm training him as a stopper to try to balance him out. Maybe I should go all out for a covering defender though?  

 image.thumb.png.6a11905b1b449fdd9abb19eaf735430d.png

 

Wober is well balanced and can play either a cover or defend role. 

image.thumb.png.2f492c700c3b3099bae0d53aee330a5d.png

 

Anyway, solid start to the season:

image.thumb.png.3ee6062b5836915d86bfeda576e93da1.pngimage.thumb.png.03d0c59816232dee511621a758a27ef8.png

Edited by pauly15

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Really interesting reading!  But I'm not able to see the picture of your tactic. 

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5 hours ago, pq said:

Really interesting reading!  But I'm not able to see the picture of your tactic. 

Is it blurry? Sometimes it compresses my screeenshots more than I want it to! How do others do screenshots without losing quality?

image.thumb.png.71e831ae9928450296a5dd7dd3bca6fa.pngimage.thumb.png.f51cdf8cb95539b58c90bdae4ec0bbdf.png

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Goal the second: Weird throw in marking, lack of tight marking, and a lost header in the box.

image.thumb.png.1d42e089479eb912251b865a81888529.png

Tactical:

Phase 1: Weird positioning from Dolberg for the throw in. Should prob go in the bugs forum?

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Phase 1: "tight marking" is off. De Jong is quite loose on his man and they play out easily and effectively:

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Phase 1: My IF(a) on the right acts like a robot and goes to man-mark 10 yards before the half way line, even when it's clear the flight of the ball is to the half way line.

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Phase 1: With regard to my right FB stopping the cross, there's nothing more tactically that can be done to encourage it. Tight marking, higher pressing. I do have "standard" defensive width... perhaps he might've engaged more if I have it wider.

I think the main tactical thing to consider with this whether I want the TI 'tight marking' on.

55555.jpgimage.png.e1ade610a08581213910a2d96643a110.png4444.jpg

 

A good bit on defensive width here from @Cleon I think: 

Quote

Your choice of defensive width is usually a strategy that is dictated by the strength of your own squad. If you have strong defensive midfielders and defenders with good jumping reach and heading, then playing with a narrow defensive width could be a strong strategy. Here you are playing to your strengths. You are allowing the opposition to go down your flanks, knowing that you will probably be able to deal with any cross.  You could turn this into a strategy to draw teams in thereby exposing their flanks to counter attacks. With a deep-lying playmaker feeding off the balls you could launch deep counter attacks.

https://teaandbusquets.com/blog/defensive-shape-the-best-feature-in-fm19#comment-828

Edited by pauly15

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Goal the second: Weird throw in marking, lack of tight marking, and a lost header in the box.

Player quality / Matchups:

 

Kristensen doesn't manage to stop Ismaily getting the cross in. He's slightly outpaced which I guess shows in the clip.

77.jpg

 

Zorro is beaten in the air by Lacazette. Same jumping reach, Zorro is 11cm taller, Lacazette has +3 in heading and some mental stats over him. Continue the training.

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Edited by pauly15

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Thats very ambitious of you. Cant wait to read more!

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Goal the third: Our RWB loses possession on the byline, a switch of play catches us out of shape, they play through us to a winger sitting in the space between our IF(s) and CWB, he sends a good pass to the far post, our keeper comes out and doesn't get there. 

Tactical:

Phase 1: A good example of what switching the play can do! We are caught badly out of shape, and even though the recycle back to their keeper rather than countering, we are still very out of shape when they begin their move. 

7777.jpg

Phase 2: They play to their AMR, who is sitting in the space between our CWB and IF(s). I have "mark tightly", press more, and defend 'higher' on, but because we are out of position I think the instructions take a back seat. The simple fact is we have an attacking RWB who has lost the ball, followed by a good switch of play. I think this goal is more a case of 'well done' rather than tactical problems. 

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Phase 3: Our Sweeper Keeper (support) has no tactical problem, our CWB on the right is positioned OK. If he were a tucked in FB I would be angry but some concessions are allowed given I want CWBs.

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Edited by pauly15

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Goal the third: player quality / match-ups.

The final phase could perhaps have been avoided with better relevant stats for our Keeper and RWB:

 

121212.jpg

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Goal #4: Countered!

Tactical:

Untitled1.jpg

Phase 1: We lose the ball with numbers forward, a direct counter is launched and out CB rushes to press a player who is already marked (bug, known issue).

counter 1.jpg

Phase 2 (player attributes / match-up): Our CB is beaten for pace centrally. Also, amazing central through ball. Well done Match Engine!

counter 2.jpg

 

Phase 3: Our CWB on the right begins to tuck in well, then just stopped rather than tucking in fully. I find this an annoying consequence of player roles: even when they are in the right area, they often don't defend well because of the attacking settings. It happens with IFs on attack duty quite often- even when they're in the right position, with good team work stats, they often choose not to defend.

counter 3.jpg

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Edited by pauly15

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Goal the 5th: Penalty conceded by Gonclaves.

image.thumb.png.d89f5f46cf43f480a1b0e5d15040d92c.png

 

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No tactical reason for it. His morale was average and he was having an average game. Possibly a hidden stat thing? A concentration issue? Unclear!

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These stats are very interesting! PPMs are leading to significant mistakes for 3 of our CWBs, but also significant positives in attacking stats. Marin, our RWB who has no PPMs, is making considerably less mistakes than the other three. He's also failed to make a chance so far! That said, he is young and a worse player than the other three. 

Kristensen: 26 mistakes, 3 chances created. 

image.thumb.png.c808060840526a503627e645a9ff3023.png

Itter: 28 mistakes, 2 chances created.

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Perreyra: 26 mistakes, 3 chances created.

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Martin: 9 mistakes, 0 chances created.

image.thumb.png.fed28e619c153e10b21e7f4a613e6481.png

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After 14 clean sheets, we concede! And it was a truly comical goal. Something straight out of the mighty ducks. 

Goal the sixth! Interesting choice, wall!

Rather than defending the short kick, my players in the wall (AMR and DL) both return immediately to playing their positions. The AMR sprints forward out of the way of the oncoming player, the WBL retreats to DL, leading to comical scenes!!

image.thumb.png.a0e84848ab3ee7a7da329341cc5c7b12.pngimage.thumb.png.96a68c36b65137845503e714a1e81383.png

Edited by pauly15

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11 hours ago, pauly15 said:

Is it blurry? Sometimes it compresses my screeenshots more than I want it to! How do others do screenshots without losing quality?

image.thumb.png.71e831ae9928450296a5dd7dd3bca6fa.pngimage.thumb.png.f51cdf8cb95539b58c90bdae4ec0bbdf.png

I’m not at all able to see your pictures in the beginning of the your topic, which seems to be the tactic.  

All the ohter pictures is perfectly fine. 

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Goal the 7th! Against ten men :mad:

SLB are playing a 4-4-1 narrow diamond. Daley Blind is my CWB on the left due to injuries.

Phase 1:

Blind proves he is not Ronaldo, losing the ball in a high area on the wing. Our midfield are then out of position:

image.thumb.png.6d174a3a60f5d49b1895f72f01681be4.png

Phase 2: Blind gets back, but rather than pressing high and marking tightly as requested, he is sprinting to tuck in next to our CB.

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Phase 3: De Ligt is not goal side, allowing an easy through ball centrally. Why can't I play through balls like this!? ;)

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There's nothing in De Ligt's attributes, PIs, morale etc to explain the above.

Edited by pauly15

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Goal the 8th! 120th minute long ball.

I changed my DCL from defend to cover, didn't help him stop this one.

image.png

Generally speaking though, the covering player is working as he's supposed to:

image.thumb.png.1b51b6f433e860b0cb49d5e7e35aa148.png

Less challenges attempted, more key tackles.

Edited by pauly15

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Interesting one for goal the 9th! Corner: An unmarked player comes from deep to score just outside the 6 yard box, near the far post. 

image.thumb.png.b3ff042fd271e3d2c7f8f8793bf8f9f6.png

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This is totally normal and why I don't leave both posts marked in real coaching! 

2 (or 1 if we leave nobody up front) defenders stay back plus the keeper, plus the corner taker, meaning 7 in the box. 

11 back for us. One keeper, two on the posts, three marking zonally, one on the edge of the area. That leaves 4 man markers to cover 7 players. It only makes sense to remove one player from the post to mark a man. 

 

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I'm following this thread with interest. I hate conceding more than I enjoy scoring and would rather win 1-0 than 6-1. Perhaps when your sample size is a bit bigger you can let us have a general summary of your findings, it would help us less talented tacticians:-)

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3 hours ago, toiletfootball said:

I'm following this thread with interest. I hate conceding more than I enjoy scoring and would rather win 1-0 than 6-1. Perhaps when your sample size is a bit bigger you can let us have a general summary of your findings, it would help us less talented tacticians:-)

Good to know:) I'm learning a lot and will summarise it at the end of the season.

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I love the approach you are taking in this thread and analysing the games. It's top work and a lot of others who are struggling with the game could learn a thing or two from the way you're trying to understand things :)

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More set piece sillyness for goal the 10th!

We are man for man at the back which is a sure way to end in disaster.

image.thumb.png.75d91f4dd0a3d1c7f05eb23b03cfcec2.png

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New setup leaves one more back if needed:

image.thumb.png.e810a3c2792d1c3a665d2f0b6e4b4a7b.png

So far:

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These stats, though very rough, are still interesting!

If you were to split the "attribute / match-up issue" into two, what you'd find is 4+ relate to asking a player to do something that he's not good at, and only 1 or 2 relate to a player being outmatched somehow. Of course this makes sense as I'm playing in the Dutch league with a very good squad, but it's still interesting. If I ask Daley blind to play in my LB (CWB) role and he tries to be Ronaldo dribbling up the left wing, it costs goals. 

Similarly, poor attacking set pieces have cost me 2 goals, whereas a poor defensive setup only cost one.

I'll refine the stats and share later on. I'm about halfway way through the season.

Edited by pauly15

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Goal the 11th! Important discovery! If you're asking players to "man mark" on corners, their "marking" attribute becomes very relevant!

Thanks to my new setup, this time the player who wins the ball is marked, however Dolberg doesn't mark well. Chakvetadze wins the header virtually uncontested. The moment it is clear that Dolberg will not contest, other players rush in to try to win it, and our man-marking goes out the window. 

image.thumb.png.1aad9282015837842f0875fb23e17b6f.png

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Interestingly, Dolberg should do fine in the contest (4cm taller, +2 jumping reach, +3 heading, = strength, +3 bravery, -1 aggression, -1 anticipation. The issue is that he never gets into the contest in the first place. This can be put down to: 

Marking: 4

? Concentration: 12

? Positioning: 5

So! It is clear that Dolberg, with his good height, strength etc etc, but poor marking, should be one of my ZONAL markers on corners. 

 

Side question: why was Edilson (set to "mark tall player") marking Sibide (one of their shorter players)? He has nearly full tactical familiarity. Is this a bug? I'll take a closer look in upcoming matches.

image.thumb.png.95358e7382cb07a6359708b8b6b2c738.pngimage.thumb.png.2e55e515a43221a75396da65c8ce8e72.png

 

New setup:

image.thumb.png.00c0d0dcaa76ae055d9b2741d8074d10.png

 

Left:image.thumb.png.81d04553b4d599c7ab1e5a2614867574.png            Right: image.png

 

 

 

 

Edited by pauly15

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Goal the 12th! I've marked this as "acceptable consequence of our style". CWBs will occasionally lose the ball in advanced areas and be out of position as a result. Perreyra tries the hero run, is tackled, they exploit the space and we're dragged out of position. Some nice play quite frankly after that, and I take my hat off to you PSV for your only goal in a 1-5 home thrashing!

 

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As stated earlier, when playing with a strong team it's natural that a lot of goals come not from being outpaced, outjumped or outmuscled but by asking your players to do something they're not good at. 6 of the 12 conceded have come from (for example) putting a player with weak aerial ability in a situation where they're vulnerable to it being exposed, or asking Daley Blind to be Cristiano Ronaldo, or something of the like.

3 of the goals I've classed as "acceptable" because my tactics are willing to risk them (namely CWBs losing the ball up high and getting countered).

The only "pure" tactical error that I think has caused a goal is not having my DLP in CM tight mark. One goal came from a situation where they played out near him and he didn't do a job in a high pressing situation. 

2 goals have come from overly ambitious attacking set pieces, 1 from asking bad markers to mark on defensive corners, and 1 from not having enough markers on a defensive corner.

One goal in the 120th minute had no discernable match-up or tactical issue so I've put it down to tiredness.

All in all I'm learning the importance of bringing out the strengths in players and hiding the weaknesses, keeping in mind that defending is an 11 man issue! I grow more convinced that there's no 'ideal setup', but rather setups which do the above well.

Cmmmmon invincibles;)

image.thumb.png.6c29014ec0c41e7eb1054e434f8d0e12.png

Edited by pauly15

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Great read man, I'm really interested in whats coming up!

I'm also very curious about the PI's you got set up for your players. Did you keep the role of your LCD as CD-C instead of BPD-D?

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53 minutes ago, JoOSTAR said:

Great read man, I'm really interested in whats coming up!

I'm also very curious about the PI's you got set up for your players. Did you keep the role of your LCD as CD-C instead of BPD-D?

Thanks:) 

Yeah exactamundo. 

The (few) adjustments made so far I've written in the far right cell of that spreadsheet. I haven't changed the DLP to mark tightly yet even though we conceded (arguably) one through that. I'd like to see it happen again before I change it;) Or watch on full match a couple of times focussing on that.

I'll do another thorough stat analysis soon and see what I can glean. At a glance... not sure why my left sided CWBs have made significantly more mistakes...

image.thumb.png.d9880d40aac368bf9d41e137fdcf30e2.png

 image.thumb.png.00da453a4d921e7fa6081dc4edd25951.pngimage.thumb.png.25e8b50da9b0181b551c88dbed50d8d1.png

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I'll go through the individual analysis and have a look at some of them. My left side should hypothetically be stronger as the IF is on support duty and the DLP is on the left side of midfield. That said, defending is an 11 man thingo so... yes. TBA!

Edited by pauly15

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Beyond this thread being pure gold.. going through the same exercise myself.  I LOVE your views for analysis.. totally stole them.. well done.

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Just now, Kharza_FM said:

Beyond this thread being pure gold.. going through the same exercise myself.  I LOVE your views for analysis.. totally stole them.. well done.

The views are key!

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1 hour ago, pauly15 said:

Thanks:) 

Yeah exactamundo. 

The (few) adjustments made so far I've written in the far right cell of that spreadsheet. I haven't changed the DLP to mark tightly yet even though we conceded (arguably) one through that. I'd like to see it happen again before I change it;) Or watch on full match a couple of times focussing on that.

I'll do another thorough stat analysis soon and see what I can glean. At a glance... not sure why my left sided CWBs have made significantly more mistakes...

image.thumb.png.d9880d40aac368bf9d41e137fdcf30e2.png

 image.thumb.png.00da453a4d921e7fa6081dc4edd25951.pngimage.thumb.png.25e8b50da9b0181b551c88dbed50d8d1.png

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I'll go through the individual analysis and have a look at some of them. My left side should hypothetically be stronger as the IF is on support duty and the DLP is on the left side of midfield. That said, defending is an 11 man thingo so... yes. TBA!

Yeah I saw it, it's easy to understand the way you bring it up!

I already saw the PI's for the (complete)wingbacks, but as you said yourself "you defend as a team" I'm also wondering what you've setup for your other players (midfield/attackers and also the central defenders). Or are they just standard?

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2 hours ago, pauly15 said:

I'll do another thorough stat analysis soon and see what I can glean. At a glance... not sure why my left sided CWBs have made significantly more mistakes...

I started with a similar system and process and found myself tweaking the FBs a bit.  Maybe back DL down to CWB-S (I actually went all the way down to FB-S on DL and CWB-S on DR because my DR was making most of the errors related to my analysis).

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Goal the 13th: who is this long ball man?

Edilson (right footed), is playing in my left central back slot. Our DMC passes him the ball and with options available for a first time, simple, left footed pass, he takes two touches with his right, shifts the ball to his right foot, then thumps a 50/50 long ball to our AMR who has 3 for jumping. The 'contest' is lost and Martial scores after a quick counter. 

 image.thumb.png.6fe95f597c6c243a858f3385ab5bc900.png

image.thumb.png.90c33708a4e627c8c7b325a0fb2558fd.pngimage.png.9cb96fe03ce1761f6c84bcb6c7e2f87c.pngright foot!image.thumb.png.54216a37840b728ccae891bd8635c8ed.png

Edilson needing to take a touch invites pressure and after that les jeux sont faits, as they say in France! I've marked that one as .5 attribute, .5 tactical, .5 counter and .5 direct. That's a lot of .5's! 

 

 

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Goal the 14th! This is totally acceptable for our style. Our AMR (19 dribbling, 17 technique, 12 balance) uses his PPM to try to cut inside from the left. He's tackled, a quick counter is played to their AML who gets behind our CWB on the right, and a simple cross finishes it. 

 

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Goal the 15th: a first half hatrick for Martial :S

This is mostly down to their quality. Neuer kicks long, Kristensen wins an uncontested header and directs it to my AMR Lee, he is tackled well by Alaba, Coman does well on the left and plays a nice ball to Martial, good first touch to bamboozle Edilson, nice finish. His right footedness may be a small issue, as may be Martial's acceleration and agility advantage:

image.thumb.png.028b6b7053734928a1d98f488490fdc8.png

I have already been training my young defenders in quickness so no change to be made there. I think this goal is a 75% match-up issue and 25% tactical (a left footed defender may have done better there).

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Goal the 16th: cental midfield blunders. Max Allegri would be aghast at this one. The midfield trio make a complete hash of pressing. 

 

Tonali joins the AML to press their wide player, leaving us 2v1 in CM.                   The press is unsuccessful, Gravenberch pushes in to press but there's a free man.

image.thumb.png.143e7fbc50eb2561efc2d490419a2070.pngimage.thumb.png.e365df65e9ea21c01c68989aab2949a3.png

 

With time and space, he plays a good ball over out WBR (the young Martin) and their AML cuts in and finishes well.

I would say Martin's positioning is ok here, it's just a good ball played with time and space:

image.thumb.png.5957329b12c9fefd2c221ccfd36d34c1.pngimage.thumb.png.e4d30e23260b3c32ab262bd34595037b.png

The key issue is clearly in central midfield here so:

image.thumb.png.7235c1ebea04e5bfa425141d7f2f4a0e.pngimage.thumb.png.553c8c5d040155baf806a17b52ceae4a.png

image.thumb.png.6f32a862e5641aa70b4e4aa7d89d2093.pngimage.thumb.png.547418eb80c4eed5eefa98eed41a2d02.png

This is partly a known issue with the ME (too much of multiple players rushing the ball carrier), but my TI's encourage it, and my PI's clearly discourage it. So... is it an acceptable consequence of our counterpressing style? I think... yes it is, it's just slightly exacerbated by the ME not having pressing working 100%. I'm not going to change anything at this point. I'll mark it as .5 bug, .5 pressing issue.

Continue the counter pressing! 

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Goal the 17th! The final stage is clearly an "attribute" issue. My left back has 2 for jumping reach and.... doesn't make it! The build up is interesting though, as two of my players attempt futile direct passes. 

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Tonali, my DLP(s) in LCM, has just received the ball from D'amico, my DMC. He doesn't have clear short options, so he tries a direct pass which comes off poorly. I have already coached him out of trying killer balls and looking for long passes. In response to this I think I'll train him to "play one-twos". Maybe with that PPM he'd have given the ball back to D'amico to achieve more of the "one more pass through midfield" style we want. 

Marin then finds himself in a similar situation, and does exactly the same thing. I don't want to introduce a "slows down play" PPM or PI to stop this kind of action, because he'll do it too often. I think the first one is more 'fixable' than the second. 

As for the final ball:

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Jumping reach clearly plays a part... positioning etc.. possibly too. I think, sadly, Pereyra hasn't developed as I'd hoped and he may not be good enough to continue at mighty Ajax.

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Goal the 18th: I am in set piece hell!

Sabbe needlessly clatters Costa from behind, picking up a booking and giving away a FK in a bad area:

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Interestingly his aggression and bad tackling get the better of his "does not dive in" PPM. I'll increase his tackling training to match his aggression.

The set piece:

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Well this is just rank. There is a booking, so plenty of time to organise. The FK is not quick. They put 6 in the box and Mane on the edge of the area, who Kritensen picks up. We have 5 man markers VS their 6 players (one of whom, Kristensen picks up mane outside the box), actually, we have 4 man markers in the box VS 6 liverpool players. Plus three zonal markers. Dolberg is supposed to be marking the far post but doesn't get around to it so they are 2v1 vs Tonali and score easily. 

New setup: 5 Man markers, one bad marker instructed to "go back" but not mark, and Dolberg on the edge of the area.

image.thumb.png.00ae148fb8f9e9c56ea9fe719420cc30.png

 

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19th and final goal of the season! Kristensen gives a defensive masterclass, slicing up Douglas Costa on the byline for no reason:

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Kristensen has 18 for aggression and 12 for tackling. A bad combo. More tackling training for you sir. 

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Season stats:

image.thumb.png.10b65820336d8cc1159bc73b1c7f5984.png

- The cover role (mainly Zorro) is working as intended, with far less fouls and far more key tackles.

- De Ligt is a beast in the air.

- Pereyra is the weaknest link (defensively) with the highest # of mistakes, lowest tackling and aerial battle stats.

- Our wide players are making a lot of challenges, they have 12-14 tackling  (11,10,11 and Kristensen 18 for aggression). They seem to be doing a decent job although if I replace Pereyra I'll perhaps look for a more aggressive player and better tackler. 

 

In terms of attacking output from our full backs, the stats are interesting:

image.thumb.png.b691c241161040bdb92a829231e2cb7a.png

- They are all poor at shooting (8-9) and instructed not to, however still take too many shots per 90 mins. I may add a "don't shoot" PPM.

- Kristensen and Itter's increased attacking output can partly be put down to their work rate attribute. Other key attacking stats are comparable between Pereyra and Itter especially. PPMs also play a considerable role. Where FBs are concerned, Attacking PPMs fit right in with our strategy so if they fit I'd always train them. Contrast with: I've avoided giving good passers "play killer balls often" as it's a poor fit with our overall strategy. 

 

Mistakes: time to analyse why our CWBs on the left are making significantly more 'mistakes' than others. 

The majority of the mistakes appear to be losing the ball in our defensive half, and occasionally missing an interception:

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Leaving aside throw ins, the majority of these appear to be when the opponent players long, the LWB challenges for the ball, and he tries to hit Tonali, our DLP(s) in LCM. In RCM, Gravenberch is an MEZ(a) and perhaps the temptation is not there:

 

 

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Defence – what I learned from analysing every goal conceded in 2021/22

Nobody would ever ask Francesco Totti to play as a poacher, David Beckham an inside forward or Rui Costa a battling midfielder; but do we afford our defensive players the same consideration? Before analysing in depth every goal I conceded over the course of a season, I certainly didn’t.

Some may argue this is because there is simply “so much more” to attacking. But defending today is an 11-player affair, it’s about what we do with the ball and without it. It relates to how aggressively we position ourselves to try to keep the ball and score goals, how and where we press… and deciding as a coach what type of goals we are willing to concede and what type of goals we aren’t.

My Ajax team are far superior to our Dutch opponents, and went undefeated, conceding 8 goals in 34 games:

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What’s the point of a defensive test when you’re rarely going to be under pressure? Rarely outpaced, outjumped, outmuscled or just beaten for quality, you might ask? I think this test answered an important question: what causes can one find for goals when you are better than your opposition? The results it provided were interesting!

The following table shows that of the 19 goals conceded on the way to a quadruple (8 in the league, 2 in the Dutch Cup, and 9 in the CL) 9 came from what I’ve classed an “attribute issue”. This is distinct from a “match-up issue”, where a player is simply better than their opponent in the relevant situation (faster, stronger, better aerial ability).

An “attribute issue”, as I’ve defined it, relates to a player being asked (or forced) to do something they are poor at. A young centre-back asked to play a role where he’ll have to win aerial battles; a wing-back with poor dribbling asked to carry the ball up the wing… these types of situations cost 9 of the 19 goals conceded.

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Examples of “attribute issues”:

A young CB playing in DC-D comes forward to attack the ball. He wins it, but an attribute of 8 for heading means it goes directly to an opponent. His fault or mine?

 

After some injuries, I ask an aging Daley Blind to fill in at LB in my CWB role. As instructed, he attempts his best impersonation of Cristiano Ronaldo and we pay the price!

This last one is a bit trickier, but… have my tactics done the best they could do hide my GKs relatively poor “command of area” attribute? Does my DLP (s) in the left CM slot allow them to work the ball to their winger too easily? Perhaps this example is overkill, but the general point is valid: how can we make systems that hide our player’s weaknesses, and bring out their strengths?

 

ACCEPTABLE GOALS – What type of goals are we willing to concede?

We were hit 5-6 times on the counter in 2021/22, and three of these counters came after a CWB lost the ball near our opponent’s byline. We conceded one from an IF(s) with great technique using his PPM to cut inside, albeit from a deep position. A coach can have no problem with these types of concession: they are simply an acceptable and foreseeable consequence of the style you play.

 

Set Pieces:

Marking matters.

Previously, when assigning defensive roles at corners I would simply look at jumping reach & heading.

There are two parts to defending a corner: Firstly, the contest. In which height, jumping reach, strength, heading and perhaps aggression and bravery play a role. Secondly, there is being in the contest at all! If a player has a poor marking attribute, the above may not even figure, if they lose their man before a physical battle has even began!  

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Here’s an example of Dolberg (who is superior in the contest to the guy he’s marking) costing us a goal not by losing the challenge, but by losing his man due to his marking attribute of 4.

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Current setup:

I’d encourage anyone to set up a “defensive corner” view like the one shown above. My current idea is to ensure that players who are good in the contest, but poor at marking, occupy zonal roles in defensive set pieces. A target man will likely be a good example of this. Tall, strong, good aerial ability, but a poor man-marker.

Like with everything in FM, there is no “ideal corner setup” – it’s about creating setups which maximise strengths and hide weaknesses. There are always opposition setups which will catch you out. After changing all my set pieces to reflect the above zonal marking idea, I copped this goal:

 

As you can see, having three players mark zonally for the FK didn’t work out (mainly because they didn’t follow instructions!) but it’s worth considering dropping a zonal marker to a “go back” role if you’re outnumbered in the box and zonal marking isn’t dealing with the problem. Regardless, the old mantra applies: how can you create a setup that works, hides player’s weaknesses, and puts them in positions to maximise their strengths?

 

DEFENDING FROM THE FRONT – Sounds good… are you set up for it?

In a great article on defensive shape, @Cleon writes the following about high pressing systems:

              When playing with a high press, the goal is to camp in the opponent’s half, force them into mistakes and essentially pummel your way to a goal. You will need to be tight marking the opposition, making it hard for easier passing options to appear and you will need to be playing further away from your own goal.

Take a look at this goal and see if you notice any potential problems in pressing:

 

My setup for Ajax used a higher defensive line, higher line of engagement, and counter-pressed:

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We played a 4-3-3 with an aggressive Mezzala in RCM, and a deep lying playmaker in LCM. We didn’t use the ‘tight marking’ TI. Whilst the DLP (s) in CM helped us build play the way I wanted, there were times when I questioned whether the role was causing problems for a complete pressing system.

 

As in most 4-3-3’s, the #10 is asked to join the front 3, and press the opponent’s #6 aggressively:

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(Perhaps I should add a “mark tightly” instruction here)

However, my DLP(s) in LCM, wasn’t asked to join the party:

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PIs, Tis, attributes, formations and roles must all combine as part of a system if they are to function. Pressing involves all 11 players. If there is one player not doing is their job, the whole thing is compromised. Next season, I’ll consider changing my DLP(s) to a different role, slightly higher up the pitch, and perhaps ask them to mark tight.

 

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point! When designing any “defensive” setup, ask yourself:

-         What system best suits my players?

-         What pressing style?

-         What individual roles?

-         What are my individual players weak at, can I engineer a way for it to be exposed less often?

-         What are my individual players strengths, can I engineer a way for them to be played into?

-         And never ask for anyone’s tactic, because it is totally reliant on the players at your disposal!

 

Edited by pauly15

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@pauly15 very good. Now a season without conceding please :D

The analysis is great, you can always improve (even after an invincible season) ...

The best part  of the thread is isolating the difference between goals you feel are within your control... Vs those that will just happen, especially taking into consideration your tactic. I. E. If you are the best team and attack a lot, you will concede on the counter, and thats acceptable because you dont want to change your overall approach. Whereas an individual keep losing out in an aerial challenge or making mistakes etc can be replaced or developed. 

Excellent :thup:

Edited by westy8chimp

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13 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

@pauly15 very good. Now a season without conceding please :D

The analysis is great, you can always improve (even after an invincible season) ...

The best part  of the thread is isolating the difference between goals you feel are within your control... Vs those that will just happen, especially taking into consideration your tactic. I. E. If you are the best team and attack a lot, you will concede on the counter, and thats acceptable because you dont want to change your overall approach. Whereas an individual keep losing out in an aerial challenge or making mistakes etc can be replaced or developed. 

Excellent :thup:

I have always wanted to pitch the perfect game..... ;) 

I remember playing CM and trying for a 38 win premier league season and ALWAYS getting screwed by someone. It was agonising to go 30+ games.... have the end in sight then bang!

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1 minute ago, pauly15 said:

I have always wanted to pitch the perfect game..... ;) 

I remember playing CM and trying for a 38 win premier league season and ALWAYS getting screwed by someone. It was agonising to go 30+ games.... have the end in sight then bang!

Same, and by xmas you have won all the tough away games and think you are going to cruise it... Last game at home to bottom of the league and draw! Managed 38/38 a few times.. Never gone a season without conceding... I had a milan save where i was 17 seasons unbeaten (going back to when pato was the star wonderkid)... And had a couple of seasons with just 2-3 conceded. Havent got close on recent fms

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On 16/11/2018 at 17:23, pauly15 said:

image.thumb.png.d9880d40aac368bf9d41e137fdcf30e2.png

Is this "filter" something you can upload? Really helps analysing defensive flaws and challenges.

 

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Very interesting stuff! :thup:

Would love to see how this would pan out with a team that just got promoted to a higher league.

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On 18/11/2018 at 06:32, pq said:

Is this "filter" something you can upload? Really helps analysing defensive flaws and challenges.

 

yeah but honestly it's easier to just make it for yourself rather than download and import it...

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8 minutes ago, BadanieLuck said:

Very interesting stuff! :thup:

Would love to see how this would pan out with a team that just got promoted to a higher league.

I suspect all of the above would be similar, however you'd concede a lot more "match-up" related goals where your players are simply beaten for pace/strength/jumping etc.

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True, but then again you would set up your team in a way where "match-up" situations would happen less and how you would deal with it would be great to read. Nonetheless one of the best reads on here in months.

Have you thought about moving your FBs forward to the WB position? For some goals (e.g. 7th goal) you pointed out they didn't close clown the opposition winger and rather regroup with the back four. You could still use them as CWB but that way they might be closer to the opposition wingers, put more pressure on them and it's more likely to trigger the closing down.

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