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bamb00zle

I'm almost there but advice needed

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I'm still playing FM 18 so not sure if this is the right place, feel free to move my thread if that's the case.

I'm playing as Maidstone in L1, I've taken them all the way from surviving relegation in the National League to two championships later and we find ourselves top half in L1. 

We got there by playing 4132 but stepping up to this league we got found out and got easily exposed time and again out wide, getting punished off crosses and finding ourselves just outside the relegation zone. I was fed up with the defensive shambles, looked at how we can remain solid but still a threat going forward. I looked at the team report and we have some of the best passers in the league so I took inspiration from Cleon possession thread and made a new tactic, incorporating some of that advice but strengthening the flanks and remaining solid in the centre. We've achieved that and defensively this is an excellent setup, we do concede chances but a lot are pot shots from long range which I'm happy to face all day long.

image.thumb.png.f092dfca10727b6202a55660beff6fa0.png

We've conceded 6 goals in 12 games and won 9 of them. Quite the turnaround, we were expected to fight relegation and we're 10th, 4 points off the play offs, I should be happy, right? Wrong. When we win it's usually 1-0, grinding our way through games. We have a very poor shots to shots on target ratio (around 30%).

We average out at about 57% of the ball which I'm very happy with as I still want the odd direct ball and I ask full backs to provide that at times. We have height and devastating pace in Man U loanee Luke tanner to enable us to break, Hinchcliffe as winger support has pace to burn as well so I want to use that. Otherwise, my Segundo Valente McKenzie gets a lot of the ball, McTominany stays and screens the back 4 and the WM does a bit of everything. I like my midfield roles but the problems are as follows:

The DLF support and AM (att) or SS just do not get in the box when I go forward, we often get the ball up to Tanner, he holds on to it then either plays it wide or spams a shot from long range going nowhere but wide. The movement isn't quite what I want and therefore don't create an awful lot of clear chances. I've tried different team shapes, fluid just brings everyone closer together, structured too far apart emphasising the gap between the DMs and the others. So I settled on flexible. I've got my SV on get further further forward as well as my left winger. It works on the SV, he gets closer to the box. I'm seeing what I want there.

What I want to see in an attacking sense is:

The AM acting on the edge of the area putting in through balls for the striker but also getting into the area as my winger darts to the byline and swinging crosses in. I've tried the AM (s) but he provides no support in the box. I want him to put through balls for Tanner but this doesn't happen. I've used AM (a), the guy there now has 'gets into the area' so he does that but when tanner gets the ball, he never plays him in. I've tried the SS role but he doesn't act as the hook and a presence in the box, he only does the latter. 

I think it's a question of roles and I'm not getting them right. I've tried Tanner as an AF but he moves into channels too much. Maybe it's the players? Tanner is a lethal finisher with height and pace but he's not a natural lone striker but is by far our most important player so I have to keep him in the side.

Can anyone see anything obvious I haven't spotted?

I'm chuffed with the solidity I've created but as we progress we must do better offensively. Any advice much appreciated.

image.png

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A combination of TIs  like shorter passing and play out of defence suggests you want to play relatively patient possession football (especially since you play on the Standard team mentality and flexible shape). Is that what you actually want, or maybe you want to be more direct and counter-attack-oriented in your approach? Unfortunately, I don't know what type of players you have, so I can only speculate. Except for these two guys: 

54 minutes ago, bamb00zle said:

We have height and devastating pace in Man U loanee Luke tanner to enable us to break, Hinchcliffe as winger support has pace to burn as well so I want to use that

What about others? 

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Yes I do want us to build from the back and work our way to the area, I want us to keep hold of the ball but go direct when the opportunity presents, i.e when Tanner is hanging on the shoulder and a ball over the top slips him in. I'm getting the control I want just not the dynamism and movement

I sometimes play on control against weaker teams but I'm just not getting the movement from the AM and striker, we're not good when the ball heads up to the edge of the area. They don't link up well enough and my AM consistently gets 6.5 and 6.6, he gets the ball but makes no significant contributions.

My WM (s)

image.thumb.png.98f86c6d1731396bad4fd05e5384307d.png

My AM

image.thumb.png.7b7c17491daff8446b9343c239e046e3.png

My SV 

image.thumb.png.16e9faa3764ae98d5605f4eca457dd12.png

My striker

image.thumb.png.326ea0a65b50dec92d64220437882fc6.png

Winger (s)

image.thumb.png.4e7d09f55d76a81dac7aaf51ae4d7207.png

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The screenshots of these 5 players are too small and for some reason cannot be zoomed in, so I'm not sure if I managed to see all their attributes well. But based on what I observed, there are a couple of tweaks I would suggest you might try. In terms of roles and duties, I would change Wright's duty to support, whereas Tanner would be a poacher. Tanner would be told to move into channels, and Wright to roam from position.

The next thing you need is a bit more penetration from deep, so that your tactic would not look like insisting on possession simply for the sake of possession. One possible option would be giving your volante an attack duty. But given the relatively low quality of your players (and probably the league overall), that could be too risky from a purely defensive perspective. A better choice would be setting Hinchliffe to an inverted winger on attack duty, and tell him to cross more often. That would make him not only be more of an (additional) attacking threat in the final third, but also more involved in the build-up play by reducing his isolation on the flank.

This change would in turn require some tweaking at the back. I would put McTominay in the left DM position and change his role to an anchor-man, so that he would be primarily occupied with protecting the defense now that the wide midfielder on that side is given an attack duty. Your left back Chicksen might then be changed to a WB on support (instead of FB), but I don't know his attributes, so cannot tell you if that would be a good idea. You can try and see whether that makes your left flank too vulnerable or not.

The volante would now logically move to the right. Also tell him to get further forward in his PIs. So the new setup would look like this:

PO

AMsu

IWat                                       WMsu

ACM      VOLsu

FBsu(WBsu?)      CDde    CDde      FBsu

GK

As for team instructions, leave them for now as they are and see how the tactic works after these tweaks to roles and duties have been made. If you don't see any significant improvement, I'll tell you what you could try next.

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Posted (edited)

First of all, thanks your message and detailed advice. Much appreciated.

The AM with roam and poacher moving into channels I've seen has potential, we're definitely getting more possession in the oppo's half. I'm still not quite seeing the movement I wanted in the OP. The IW again, I like that he's offering an option in more central areas and stays out wide when he has to but Hinchcliffe there is left foot only so not a natural at cutting inside. We have forward thinking FBs and WBs so the squad I have can definitely have a dynamic left flank.  I'm thinking that I might make the IW on the right flank as I have a guy who can use both feet there although he's more a central midfielder but can play there.

Interested why you mention the FB to sit narrower? 

Some good tips but while we have more presence in the final third we're not really creating more chances than before and/or having 'better' shots on goal. Maybe the team shape could be tweaked? Still averaging out around 13 a game with 3 or 4 on target.

Interesting to see the AI playing 4231 more against me and that's definitely a more dangerous formation to play against mine although we're still keeping loads of clean sheets.

Edited by bamb00zle

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1 hour ago, bamb00zle said:

I'm thinking that I might make the IW on the right flank as I have a guy who can use both feet there although he's more a central midfielder but can play there

You mean Goodchild (your current WM)? If you are referring to him, I fear he does not have the right attributes for an IW role. 

 

1 hour ago, bamb00zle said:

The IW again, I like that he's offering an option in more central areas and stays out wide when he has to but Hinchcliffe there is left foot only so not a natural at cutting inside

I know he's left-footed only, but that does not necessarily have to be an issue for an IW, especially when played on attack duty (the same is true for an IF on attack). Because he can also cut inside from the left while using his left foot, which makes him more likely to put not only crosses but also nice cut-back passes into the box. For me at least it works well.

 

1 hour ago, bamb00zle said:

Some good tips but while we have more presence in the final third we're not really creating more chances than before and/or having 'better' shots on goal. Maybe the team shape could be tweaked? Still averaging out around 13 a game with 3 or 4 on target.

This partly also depends on the quality of your players (relative to the league of course). You may try with the "Work ball into box", but that can be a double-edged sword, because if your midfield and forwards are not generally good enough on the ball (first touch, passing, technique) and/or lacking intelligence (off the ball, anticipation, decisions, composure), there is the risk of losing possession too often. But anyway, it could be worth trying (just be careful and watch what happens). Alternatively, you may completely change your tactical style and play more direct and counter-attacking game instead of a possession-based one (but I'm not sure you would want that).

As for the team shape, I think flexible is quite okay for the style of football you want to play and with this setup of roles and duties. Maybe you could try with a slightly higher mentality (Control). You already use a bottom-heavy formation, so I guess upping the mentality a notch should not be too risky defensively.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Experienced Defender said:

You mean Goodchild (your current WM)? If you are referring to him, I fear he does not have the right attributes for an IW role. 

I have an MR who was out injured who I could try.

Will let you know how I get on, we've surged up the table now in 6th with 4 games to go so the squad is overachieving considering we were predicted 18th. Really good shout for the play offs to the Championship. Just grinding out clean sheets for fun, some of the defending is really heroic has to be seen to be believed. Bodies on the line stuff. Even in the current setup we're good for 1 or maybe 2 goals on a good day just frustrating to see the breakdown. Better quality players with relevant PPMs may address that.

Edited by bamb00zle

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9 hours ago, bamb00zle said:

Interested why you mention the FB to sit narrower? 

Sorry, I failed to answer this. For two reasons: to cover for the volante and to be closer to the midfield during the build-up phase of your attacks, which is generally advisable for a possession-oriented style.

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Starting to get the movement I'm looking for now

I'm running with a TM (attack) and an AM also on attack. The IW (a) is causing havoc. The TM stays central which is what I was looking for, holding it up for the AM to run into the area.

We have lost some defensive solidity as you might imagine with those 3 on attack duties so that's something to address.

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1 hour ago, bamb00zle said:

We have lost some defensive solidity as you might imagine with those 3 on attack duties so that's something to address.

Well, you cannot have everything at once. It's always about pros and cons :onmehead:

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