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Tom24

Tactical Advice for Gillingham - Scoring more Goals

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Hello everyone. I have been a long term lurker on the forums, despite only purchasing one football manager game in the last 6 years (FM16). I gave up trying to play the game after 400+ hours on FM16 plus, probably just as much time reading and researching, because I just did not see any progress in my tactic building capabilities. However, I have continued to follow the forums over the last few years because I want to be able to play the game successfully, and this year I had read enough to spark my motivation again and purchase FM19.

 

So, I have read plenty of guides from all the leading contributors. And I have decided to take over my local side Gillingham in League 1 and attempted to build a tactic with a few ideas in mind:

-        - Play attractive, passing, attacking football whilst still remaining solid in defence

-        - Create plenty of options in the attacking phase for a variety of goalscoring opportunities

Seems pretty basic, and probably what everyone wants to do in some way, and to some extend I feel like I am getting there. Gillingham are not one of the strongest squads in League 1 by any means, however we seem to have a wealth of average players with no real amazing stand out players. Therefore, I am trying to achieve the basic ideas listed above whilst taking into consideration the quality of my players, and the fact I have absolutely no transfer budget to improve this in the short term.

 

This brings me to the reason I am posting here. The football my team plays in possession is, for the most part, attractive. There is a hell of a lot of passing, and possession, which is great. We are very solid in defence, and would’ve drawn 2 of the 5 games we have lost if it wasn’t for conceding injury time penalties. However, we just do not score any goals. Bar one game away to Portsmouth where after going 2-0 after the hour mark, we brought it back to 2-2, then 3-3. But lost due to one of those penalties I mentioned. Other than that, in 17 league games we haven’t scored more than 2 in a game except for the Portsmouth game. We have 5 wins and 5 losses, with the other 7 being predominantly low scoring draws.

 

My tactic:

 

1870798654_Gillingham_Overview.thumb.png.8f609be60c32d1bb013fa7bb2c99c4c9.png

 

My main thinking here is:

-        - 4-1-4-1 suits the players I have

-        - The DM provides good defensive stability (achieving a solid defence)

-        - Having a DM means my full-backs can advance more frequently (more attacking options)

-       -  The LM is set to sit narrower and cut inside. (Suits Holmes who is arguably my best player, gives support to the lone striker) while my RM stays wide. (different options in attack)

-        - The CM(a) provides an option to break the lines and support the striker, and again, is another option in attack.

-        - The aim of the DLP(s) is to bridge the gap between the defence and the attack minded midfielders, starting the majority of the attacks and allowing the other players to start their different movement patterns.

As you can see, I don’t use a lot of Team Instructions at the moment, mainly because I don’t want to overcomplicate the tactic. Also, I have set the ST, LM, RM, CM(a) to close down more to try an implement a Split Block. I feel like some of my ideas of how I’m trying to implement my plan make sense, however the likelihood is that some of them don’t, which is where I’d like some advice. Also, GOALS. I would like my tactic to be more penetrative, using the possession I am achieving more effectively. I have avoided team instructions such as Work Ball into Box to try and avoid unnecessary extra possession while attacking, but this still happens anyway, and I do not know the game well enough to find a way around this yet.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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Welcome to the forum :).

I think possibly this is at least part of your problem - you're Gillingham and want to do this:

1 hour ago, Tom24 said:

- Play attractive, passing, attacking football whilst still remaining solid in defence

 

-        - Create plenty of options in the attacking phase for a variety of goalscoring opportunities

But having said that, you're actually doing ok.  P17 W5 D7 L5.  You're probably overachieving?

What you perhaps have here isn't really a tactical issue, it's more of a personnel issue.  Your players are doing ok (possibly better than ok) with the system you have (which looks fine btw), so imagine how some better players will do with the system.

So for me the decision you face is either continue to persevere (perhaps with a little tweak here and there) until you can bring in better players; or put this system in your back pocket for now as your "aspirational" target and in the mean time change your system to one that may perhaps be more suitable to your current squad.  That change doesn't need to be big btw - perhaps a subtle change of mentality to be less aggressive perhaps, or a couple of roles to better suit some players for example.

This is also of note:

1 hour ago, Tom24 said:

Also, GOALS. I would like my tactic to be more penetrative, using the possession I am achieving more effectively.

Again you can influence this with subtle changes.  For example, the DLP could become an AP to help influence things higher up the pitch; maybe have an attack duty striker to pressure the defence better.  Possession vs attacking intent is always a balancing act and can change from match to match, so always something to watch out for.

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14 minutes ago, herne79 said:

Welcome to the forum :).

I think possibly this is at least part of your problem - you're Gillingham and want to do this:

But having said that, you're actually doing ok.  P17 W5 D7 L5.  You're probably overachieving?

What you perhaps have here isn't really a tactical issue, it's more of a personnel issue.  Your players are doing ok (possibly better than ok) with the system you have (which looks fine btw), so imagine how some better players will do with the system.

So for me the decision you face is either continue to persevere (perhaps with a little tweak here and there) until you can bring in better players; or put this system in your back pocket for now as your "aspirational" target and in the mean time change your system to one that may perhaps be more suitable to your current squad.  That change doesn't need to be big btw - perhaps a subtle change of mentality to be less aggressive perhaps, or a couple of roles to better suit some players for example.

This is also of note:

Again you can influence this with subtle changes.  For example, the DLP could become an AP to help influence things higher up the pitch; maybe have an attack duty striker to pressure the defence better.  Possession vs attacking intent is always a balancing act and can change from match to match, so always something to watch out for.

Thank you for your reply Herne, I have read a lot of what you have posted which formed my motivation to try and get back into the game!

 

I understand what you're saying about personnel, our media prediction is 13/14th I believe. After posting this I actually lost the next 3 game conceding 8 goals in the process, but apart from one of the games which was just a poor performance, they seemed like lucky goals from the opposition. E.g. hopeful balls over the top finished off, free-kicks, speculative longshots etc. And I was scoring goals in these games so arguably could have picked up points. Surprisingly, I switched to an attacking mentality for an away game against Scunthorpe who were 2nd and had won 5 in a row, and switched the DLP to CM(s). We won 2-0 and bossed the game. :lol:

 

When the players perform, the system does exactly what I want, so I'm persevering for now! 12th in the league after 22 games, 6 points off the play-offs and 10 points above the relegation zone. 

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2 hours ago, Tom24 said:

      The DM provides good defensive stability (achieving a solid defence)

 

-        - Having a DM means my full-backs can advance more frequently (more attacking options)

Even more so with an anchorman.

Btw, your tactic doesn't look bad. It's well-balanced, nothing jumps out. And I can basically agree with everything Herne said above.

What I am actually most curious about is - why don't you use the Counter in transition? 

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31 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Even more so with an anchorman.

Btw, your tactic doesn't look bad. It's well-balanced, nothing jumps out. And I can basically agree with everything Herne said above.

What I am actually most curious about is - why don't you use the Counter in transition? 

It’s funny you should say that actually, because for the last two games I’ve played, including the game against in form Scunthorpe away from home, I had counter on and I’ve won them both, so I’ll definitely be sticking with it for now! 

 

Based on attributes and coach reports, Tom Eaves is my best striker, and probably one of my best players, however he doesn’t really seem to suit my striker role. He’s very big and strong, and excellent in the air. Is there any way I could potentially accommodate him with a different role perhaps that doesn’t detract from the overall system? Failing that, I may look to sell him in order to get some transfer funds 

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2 hours ago, Tom24 said:

Based on attributes and coach reports, Tom Eaves is my best striker, and probably one of my best players, however he doesn’t really seem to suit my striker role. He’s very big and strong, and excellent in the air. Is there any way I could potentially accommodate him with a different role perhaps that doesn’t detract from the overall system?

If you don't want to play him as a TM  - because you don't want him to act as a ball-magnet - I would recommend a PF on support. I suppose he's not quite technically gifted and/or creative, right? You may post a screenshot of his player profile here if you want.

Btw, in FM19 target-men are (a bit) less of ball-magnets than they used to be in earlier versions.

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5 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

If you don't want to play him as a TM  - because you don't want him to act as a ball-magnet - I would recommend a PF on support. I suppose he's not quite technically gifted and/or creative, right? You may post a screenshot of his player profile here if you want.

Btw, in FM19 target-men are (a bit) less of ball-magnets than they used to be in earlier versions.

That pretty much is the reason, yes. He is not the most creative.  I will upload a screenshot later as i am at work. 

Also, being the lone forward I chose the DLF(s) role to bring him closer to the midfield while building attacks and to try and prevent him from being isolated, and I am assuming the PF would still do this? 

Herne mentioned using an attack duty forward, would this possibly lead to more isolation? How could I negate this?

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4 hours ago, Tom24 said:

being the lone forward I chose the DLF(s) role to bring him closer to the midfield while building attacks and to try and prevent him from being isolated, and I am assuming the PF would still do this?

I assumed that was your main reason to use him as a DLF on support, even if he may not have what it takes for the role. And yes - PF on support (or even defend) duty is a better choice for a lone striker when he's neither creative nor technically gifted than a DLF, F9 or CF, which all require both creativity and good technical skills. However, depending on what playing style you want to implement, there are situations when you can even use the lone striker on attack duty in a 4141 (which Rashidi has successfully been doing in his 4141 system with a lone poacher up front).

 

4 hours ago, Tom24 said:

Herne mentioned using an attack duty forward, would this possibly lead to more isolation? How could I negate this?

A lone forward on attack duty naturally tends to be more isolated than one on support duty, but that isolation can be mitigated in various ways. I always take into account my players's attributes, in order to estimate what he is capable of, as well as his traits, which more closely define his personal style of play. If I believe that my lone striker is good enough to keep the ball long enough (or even do something special on his own) before teammates arrive in support, I can play him on attack duty in a system such as 4141 (my preferred role in that case would be a CF, but it requires a really good player in all aspects of play). How I look to mitigate his potential isolation? Roam from position is a PI I always use for a lone striker on attack (unless it's already hard-coded for his role) in a 4141, to allow him as much freedom of movement as possible (I believe that makes sense). And of course, take care to ensure he has sufficient support from the midfield (at least one midfielder should also be on attack duty, but there can be more, depending again on your style of play and your players' overall quality). Given that your formation is a bottom-heavy one, it should allow you to be a bit more adventurous in the attacking phase.

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5 hours ago, Tom24 said:

Herne mentioned using an attack duty forward, would this possibly lead to more isolation? How could I negate this?

Possibly yes but it can depend on various factors including the role you choose and the player you use.  An Advanced Forward is quite different to a DLF - attack for example.  As is a player with lots of work rate and determination vs the opposite.  Always remember that different players will play the same role in different ways.  The role defines the frame, the player paints the picture.

However me mentioning the striker was merely an option to consider and may or may not be an option for you with your current squad and tactical set up.  Just planting seeds of ideas :thup:.

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5 minutes ago, herne79 said:

The role defines the frame, the player paints the picture

This is a fantastic point :thup:

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15 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

You may post a screenshot of his player profile here if you want.

61874591_TomEaves_OverviewProfile.thumb.png.91b62ab72b19b0667bd746297e6e6809.png

This is Tom Eaves. As you can see, he has some very good attributes, especially for league 1. I'm not entirely sure why he has the amount of red arrows that he does. So far in 23 competitive games he has just the 6 goals and 0 assists which is disappointing. 

 

Thank you both for the feedback you have given me. It's incredibly helpful :) 

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9 minutes ago, Tom24 said:

I'm not entirely sure why he has the amount of red arrows that he does.

Lots of red arrows like that are a short term thing and can safely be ignored.  The long term development graphs are the important ones to focus on which would (hopefully) show overall growth.

Technically speaking, lots of red arrows like that actually mean the player is developing well.  I know right :p.  Sounds back to front but what happens is any given player can only develop by so much during a certain period.  But the growth isn't checked against that "cap" until the end of the period, so if the player develops more than he's supposed to, when he's checked against the "cap" the game will artificially reduce his attributes back down to that maximum allowed.  And rather than just targeting 2 or 3 attributes to reduce by one or two whole points, the game reduces lots of attributes by fractions.  If you delve into those red numbers you'll find he's only gone down by about 0.1 in each case.

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17 minutes ago, herne79 said:

Lots of red arrows like that are a short term thing and can safely be ignored.  The long term development graphs are the important ones to focus on which would (hopefully) show overall growth.

Technically speaking, lots of red arrows like that actually mean the player is developing well.  I know right :p.  Sounds back to front but what happens is any given player can only develop by so much during a certain period.  But the growth isn't checked against that "cap" until the end of the period, so if the player develops more than he's supposed to, when he's checked against the "cap" the game will artificially reduce his attributes back down to that maximum allowed.  And rather than just targeting 2 or 3 attributes to reduce by one or two whole points, the game reduces lots of attributes by fractions.  If you delve into those red numbers you'll find he's only gone down by about 0.1 in each case.

Great, thank you! I'm still learning about a lot of aspects of the game. I think my hardest challenge will be improving the team, as there is no transfer or wage budget and not too many promising young players, so I may need to sell in order to buy. 

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8 minutes ago, Tom24 said:

Great, thank you! I'm still learning about a lot of aspects of the game. I think my hardest challenge will be improving the team, as there is no transfer or wage budget and not too many promising young players, so I may need to sell in order to buy. 

Before you start selling, double check how much of received transfer fees you'll actually get to reinvest in the squad.  If you have big debts the Board will keep up to 100% of all fees and you may get nothing ! 

If you can, ask the Board about a Senior Affiliate.  If they agree you may get a decent Premier League team who will not only pay you some cash each year but you'll also be able to loan some of their players for no loan fee.  Not always worth while but hey, it's free money and players :).

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1 hour ago, Tom24 said:

61874591_TomEaves_OverviewProfile.thumb.png.91b62ab72b19b0667bd746297e6e6809.png

This is Tom Eaves. As you can see, he has some very good attributes, especially for league 1

Yes, he is "naturally" a TM on support (considering his attributes, not because the game says the same), but is absolutely able to play as a PF, which IMO is a role that would suit your preferred playing style better than a TM.

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Hello again. 

I appreciate all the guidance I have been given so far, however I'm returning to ask for a little more. I have continued through the season and results stayed fairly similar, and we were hanging between 10th and 13th. However I've just gone on a run of 1 win in 9 games and the board are giving me 1 month to turn things around or face getting the sack. Personally, I don't think im doing an awful job considering Gillingham are not blessed with talented players, however the board seems to think a top-half finish is a minimum requirement. My defence has started to leak more goals, and I still haven't solved the goal scoring issue, in fact goals have almost completely dried up except for the odd game where we score a few, and often still do not win. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Ive attached my schedule and current set up

2146781020_Gillingham_SeniorFixtures.thumb.png.f94eb331d16a98daa0117771d8a313e7.png1937402735_Gillingham_Overview-2.thumb.png.d1d7f6377efc509656362a4df92b2b0c.png

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1 hour ago, Tom24 said:

1937402735_Gillingham_Overview-2.thumb.png.d1d7f6377efc509656362a4df92b2b0c.png

 

On 01/05/2019 at 20:48, Tom24 said:

1870798654_Gillingham_Overview.thumb.png.8f609be60c32d1bb013fa7bb2c99c4c9.png

From these two screenshots, the difference between your initial tactic and the current (new) one is:

- PFsu instead of DLFsu (which is not wrong, given the type of your striker)

- anchor instead of DM (also okay, and something I recommended back then)

- counter TI added (again something I recommended :thup: )

- shorter passing and POD replaced by standard passing and WBiB (which was not my recommendation, and would like to know your exact reason for this particular change)

To be clear, I do not claim that you should have kept short passing and PoD. With a LL team I would also look to avoid these two instructions (in general, not necessarily in each single match). What I am curious about is - why work ball into box?

Another instruction that makes little (if any) sense in your tactic is Prevent short GKD. You have only one player up front, so there is no point in trying to prevent short distribution. The instruction makes sense only when you use a top-heavy formation (like 4231 or 424), or at least one with three men up front (4141dm wide, 433, 41212 ...), because in that case you have enough players who can put pressure on opposition defense and thus discourage them from building from the back. Btw, I now see that this instruction was in your first tactic as well, but I obviously failed to notice it then.

On the other hand, there is nothing wrong in your setup of roles and duties. The problem might be if you haven't assigned (all) roles to suitable players (or vice versa). In fact, maybe a winger on attack and a WM on support would be a better idea in terms of player movement and the way you create chances in general (with the CM on attack positioned next to the WM on support). Like this:

WMsu    CMat    DLPsu     Wat

P.S: I don't know if you have watched Rashidi's videos on Youtube, but in some of them he has used exactly this flat 4141 system, and usually for weaker teams. I think the tactic is called "Ironhide" or something like that (not 100% sure). It also has 2 attack duties in the midfield, but the striker is also on attack (poacher) and one fullback as well. Anyway, you can check it out directly on his YT channel "Bust the net" and see it first hand. I think he is even using attacking mentality (and has a lot more instructions applied).

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20 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

 

From these two screenshots, the difference between your initial tactic and the current (new) one is:

- PFsu instead of DLFsu (which is not wrong, given the type of your striker)

- anchor instead of DM (also okay, and something I recommended back then)

- counter TI added (again something I recommended :thup: )

- shorter passing and POD replaced by standard passing and WBiB (which was not my recommendation, and would like to know your exact reason for this particular change)

To be clear, I do not claim that you should have kept short passing and PoD. With a LL team I would also look to avoid these two instructions (in general, not necessarily in each single match). What I am curious about is - why work ball into box?

Another instruction that makes little (if any) sense in your tactic is Prevent short GKD. You have only one player up front, so there is no point in trying to prevent short distribution. The instruction makes sense only when you use a top-heavy formation (like 4231 or 424), or at least one with three men up front (4141dm wide, 433, 41212 ...), because in that case you have enough players who can put pressure on opposition defense and thus discourage them from building from the back. Btw, I now see that this instruction was in your first tactic as well, but I obviously failed to notice it then.

On the other hand, there is nothing wrong in your setup of roles and duties. The problem might be if you haven't assigned (all) roles to suitable players (or vice versa). In fact, maybe a winger on attack and a WM on support would be a better idea in terms of player movement and the way you create chances in general (with the CM on attack positioned next to the WM on support). Like this:

WMsu    CMat    DLPsu     Wat

P.S: I don't know if you have watched Rashidi's videos on Youtube, but in some of them he has used exactly this flat 4141 system, and usually for weaker teams. I think the tactic is called "Ironhide" or something like that (not 100% sure). It also has 2 attack duties in the midfield, but the striker is also on attack (poacher) and one fullback as well. Anyway, you can check it out directly on his YT channel "Bust the net" and see it first hand. I think he is even using attacking mentality (and has a lot more instructions applied).

I have not watched any of Rashidi's videos for a while, but I think I may start again based on how I'm doing. 

In regards to my tactical changes, I will refer to these stats;

1488022446_SkyBetLeagueOne_StatsTeamOverview.thumb.png.e558681f0049a050cc9a26ba078b7379.png

As you can see, my passing and possession stats are the highest in the league, which in itself is as achievement. However, I'm not using it productively, and from viewing matches I cannot put my finger on what changes to make to change this. I do not want possession for possession's sake, I want possession with penetration. So the changes I have made have been in an attempt to use the ball more effectively rather than short passing between our players around the half way line with no forward movement. I may be wrong in the changes I've made, but I do not know what else to do, hence why I am asking for help here.

484912246_SkyBetLeagueOne_StatsTeamDetailed.thumb.png.435fcef0c2a6c6f5fe1cbed00dc756e6.png

As you can see from this page, we do not score many goals. Even more worrying is that 11 of the goals have come from corners - the joint highest in the league. So currently, my combination of tactics and players seem ineffective at scoring from open play, despite often controlling the ball - which is a big problem that is about to get me sacked.

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20 minutes ago, Tom24 said:

As you can see, my passing and possession stats are the highest in the league, which in itself is as achievement. However, I'm not using it productively, and from viewing matches I cannot put my finger on what changes to make to change this. I do not want possession for possession's sake, I want possession with penetration. So the changes I have made have been in an attempt to use the ball more effectively rather than short passing between our players around the half way line with no forward movement. I may be wrong in the changes I've made, but I do not know what else to do, hence why I am asking for help here.

 

I did not say that you should use shorter passing. To the contrary. Please read again what I wrote:

20 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

To be clear, I do not claim that you should have kept short passing and PoD. With a LL team I would also look to avoid these two instructions

My question was why work into box?

20 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

What I am curious about is - why work ball into box?

 

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Just now, Experienced Defender said:

I did not say that you should use shorter passing. To the contrary. Please read again what I wrote:

My question was why work into box?

 

I didn’t explain that very clearly did I! I removed shorter passing because we were having a lot of meaningless possession around the half way line, and didn’t seem to be moving the ball forward effectively. However, as I am playing with a lone striker who is not technically gifted, the logic behind choosing Work Ball into Box was to slow the tempo around the box to allow for the midfield players to get up and support the striker. The logic may be wrong though 

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The logic is not wrong per se. The (potential) problem (risk) with WBiB is that you need players who are good both on and off the ball to be able to play that way effectively. They need good stats for first touch, passing, technique, off the ball, composure, decisions, anticipation, balance (relative to the level of your league, of course). Otherwise, they can lose the ball in the final third and at a point in which too many of your players are high up the pitch (i.e. out of defensive shape), thus allowing the opposition to launch a counter by exploiting the space left behind/between your lines. And given that you are managing a LL team, the risk is even more pronounced. 

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4 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

The logic is not wrong per se. The (potential) problem (risk) with WBiB is that you need players who are good both on and off the ball to be able to play that way effectively. They need good stats for first touch, passing, technique, off the ball, composure, decisions, anticipation, balance (relative to the level of your league, of course). Otherwise, they can lose the ball in the final third and at a point in which too many of your players are high up the pitch (i.e. out of defensive shape), thus allowing the opposition to launch a counter by exploiting the space left behind/between your lines. And given that you are managing a LL team, the risk is even more pronounced. 

That makes perfect sense. I feel like I’m stripping away the team instructions to the point where my tactic is lacking purpose and identity, and this may be the root of my issues. I started with the idea of playing attacking, possession oriented football with a purpose (hence the short passing approach), but have tried to adapt this to the quality of my players and seemingly failed. 

Can you see any ways in which I can make this tactic more efficient going forward? 

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2 hours ago, Tom24 said:

I feel like I’m stripping away the team instructions to the point where my tactic is lacking purpose and identity, and this may be the root of my issues. I started with the idea of playing attacking, possession oriented football with a purpose (hence the short passing approach), but have tried to adapt this to the quality of my players and seemingly failed

Can you see any ways in which I can make this tactic more efficient going forward?

Short passing is not necessarily a wrong choice if your team is lacking in quality. And btw, in your league probably most other teams do not have extraordinary players either, so you should be able to compete at least on a decent level. Of course, given that I don't know your team (except for the striker), I cannot tell you exactly how you should play in order to achieve (implement) your desired style of football. Instead, I can only offer some ideas for you to consider and hopefully find a solution. So let's see what we can do.

On 15/05/2019 at 21:23, Tom24 said:

1937402735_Gillingham_Overview-2.thumb.png.d1d7f6377efc509656362a4df92b2b0c.png

In this tactic you already have a solid foundation to build around. Duties are well-balanced and sensibly distributed throughout the system. A bottom-heavy formation offers a possibility of playing on a higher mentality - and using a bit more attack duties - with less overall risk than otherwise. 

Now, as I said in an earlier post, one thing you could do is slightly tweak the arrangement of your midfield roles and duties. I already gave you an example back then:

23 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

WMsu    CMat    DLPsu     Wat

Now you still have a deep runner attacking the box centrally (CM on attack), but the other attack-duty midfielder is now the winger instead of WM. Why could this could be a good idea? Let's first see what (extra) option this new midfield setup gives us:

WMsu     CMat      DLPsu      Wat

 

FBat          ....          .....            .....

As you can see, the WM on support duty allows for being more adventurous with the fullback on that flank, who is now on attack instead of (previosuly) support duty. The reason I opted for FBat rather than WBat is that FB is inherently more conservative role than WB. Which means that FB - even if on attack duty - will never forget that he is primarily a defender. Of course, if you managed a better team, it might be a WB, but there is no need for taking too much risk.

So now, you have two players providing width in attack (LB and RW) and occasionally delivering crosses into the box for the striker, attacking CM and each other (because when the left FB launch a cross, the right winger is likely to be somewhere around the far post, and vice versa). Plus, the WM will also be close to provide support and help recycle the ball (along with DLP on support). Because when you are controlling play in the final third, your deeper players (sometimes even a defend-duty midfielder) will (occasionally) be encouraged to get a bit higher up the pitch if they see that the risk of doing that is minimal. 

How then the system could be set up with all this being considered (an example):

PFsu

 

WMsu      CMat      DLPsu      Wat

 

FBat       CDde     CDde      WBde

GK/SKde

You'll notice that I've changed the RB's duty from support to defend. Why? Because now the winger in front of him is on attack duty, and since the winger as a role is already more attack-minded than a standard WM, he will need reasonably more solid defensive cover behind. But in order to make the WB on defend a bit more involved in attacking build-ups, you can add the "Overlap right" team instruction, because it will slightly increase his mentality while also slightly reducing that of the winger. The WB on defend will thus be closer to the midfield, and sometimes could even get more further forward (when the risk is minimal). This also gives the DLP more passing options on the right flank, as the players are now closer to each other.

Which brings us closer to your desired style of play:

3 hours ago, Tom24 said:

playing attacking, possession oriented football with a purpose

Which I like to call "progressive possession football", meaning you look to control possession, but not merely for the sake of possession. Something between possession and attacking football, that is.

Now that the roles and duties are sorted out, how can your playing style be supported by appropriate team instructions, assuming you remain on Positive mentality (and bearing in mind that your team is not a top one, but of average quality at best)? An example:

- shorter passing, (slightly) narrower width (to help retain possession more easily by players being closer to each other), overlap right (already explained why).

These would be basic (starting) instructions. I refrained from adding more, simply because I cannot know what your players are capable of. But you can experiment a bit and see how certain tweaks work. For example, you may increase tempo a notch (to higher). If you see that your players are not making dangerous mistakes (misplacing passes, needlessly losing the ball), you can retain it. If not, just move it back to the default (medium) setting. You can also try with "Play out of defence". This instruction goes hand in hand with possession-based football, but can be risky when the opposition applies high pressing on your defense, especially if your players are not comfortable with the ball at their feet. As with tempo, you can see what happens and decide what to do based on that. Btw, when you use "Play out of defence", you can set passing to standard (medium). 

In transition:

- counter, distribute to CBs and FBs (and in tougher games / against strong teams - regroup)

Defensive (out of possession) instructions are as important as the attacking ones. When it comes to d-line and LOE, you need to think about your team's vertical compactness when defending. The smaller the distance between DL and LOE - the more compact you are. And vice versa. However, you should avoid making an overkill. For example, if you set DL to much higher and LOE to much lower, you'll get the highest possible level of vertical compactness. But at the same time, you are making yourself extremely vulnerable to balls over the top. So you need to be sensible. My personal preference is to set DL one notch "higher" than LOE (e.g. higher DL / standard LOE, or standard DL / lower LOE). And since your formation is bottom-heavy, such a combo should make you more than sufficiently compact.

But here we also need to take into account that you want to be in control of the game (attacking and possession football). Which means that lower LOE wouldn't make much sense, because you don't want to let the opposition have much time on the ball. Standard LOE could serve as a sort of "compromise" between your intention to control the game and the "imperative" of being defensively solid. This can be somewhat balanced by certain player instructions.

So here is an example of possible defensive team instructions:

- standard d-line, standard LOE

Defensive player instructions to help you be a bit more aggressive when defending, but without incurring (too) much risk:

- DM and all 4 midfielders - mark tighter

- the 2 attack-duty midfielders (CMat and Wat) to close down more (the striker is already hard-coded to max pressing due to his PF role)

Or, if you are willing to take a bit more risks, you can go with higher DL and higher LOE.

If you have any questions (or doubts), you are welcome :thup:                                      

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On 01/05/2019 at 19:48, Tom24 said:

- Play attractive, passing, attacking football whilst still remaining solid in defence

          - Create plenty of options in the attacking phase for a variety of goalscoring opportunities

 

There is a contradiction here that you want to have the best of two opposing philosophies (attacking and defending) without suffering any of the negative consequences of either. The problem with this is that it's a spectrum, the better you are at attacking the worse you are going to be at defending and vice versa. The key is finding a point along that spectrum which you are comfortable with and that suits your players best. You also will find it difficult to create variety in terms of goalscoring opportunities when you only have 1 player who is committed to doing that at all times. 

On 15/05/2019 at 20:23, Tom24 said:

 

2146781020_Gillingham_SeniorFixtures.thumb.png.f94eb331d16a98daa0117771d8a313e7.png1937402735_Gillingham_Overview-2.thumb.png.d1d7f6377efc509656362a4df92b2b0c.png

 

 

From my perspective, a flat 4-1-4-1 isn't best suited for the style of play you say that you want and would not be my go-to formation if I wanted to play attacking football.

It's very bottom heavy which doesn't mesh well with the default settings that you get from playing on higher mentalities. Playing on the Positive mentality which you have done has the impact of raising the tempo of your attacking buildup play which for me works against the formation you have chosen. What you require is patience in order to give your deeper players enough time to get up the pitch and support attacking moves. Similarly, higher mentalities push up the LoE, defensive line and increase the intensity of the pressing. This again isn't synergetic as you only have one player who might be able to contribute to making this work which isn't good because effective pressing needs more than one player.

The thing is, you are being given an awful lot of clues as to what is going wrong even in the tactics screen you posted which you are ignoring.

- Long-range Shots

Players tend to take a lot of long range shots when there isn't anything else on. This would indicate to me that your striker is being isolated and needs closer support and/or your midfielders are taking a load of pot shots because there isn't any decent movement in front of them for them to attempt to make a pass. Besides your CM(A) who will arrive later in attacking moves who is consistently looking to run in behind or even make runs which give your players forward passing options? 

- Opposition Goals from Shots in Penalty Area

This is a big red flag as it indicates that the opposition is getting into dangerous areas far too easily. For me the reason is simple, the higher mentality depends on defending from the front with a high block in an attempt to force a turnover of possession. The formation you have chosen practically has no high block at all so the opposition can build easily from the back. The problem arises as the higher pressing is a universal instruction that applies to all your outfield players which means that in your defensive third you are going to have players charging out of position to press which is highly undesirable as it leaves gaps which the opposition can exploit which it has been doing effectively by getting so easily into your penalty area. You either need to play a formation which is more effective at utilizing a high block if you want to stick with the positive mentality or you need to play on a lower mentality in my opinion.

- Touches to Goal Ratio

I think this is a symptom of a lack of penetration in the team. There is no cutting edge in the tactic so eventually, players will just dwell on the ball and eventually take a long shot or worse still lose possession. You need players taking risks and posing a threat as that is the only way you are going to score goals from open play. For e.g. why do you need a DLP (S) in your central midfield when you have a lone striker desperate for help? Have him get up the pitch and support him. You also need the threat of having another player who might enter the box. If you still want a playmaker use one that doesn't have the restriction of staying behind the ball all the time.

- Opposition Final Third Entries - Central & Lost Possession Location - Defensive Third - Central

These two are probably the most damning of the lot. The area of the pitch where you should be strongest defensively is actually the area where you are weakest. From my perspective, the Anchor Man doesn't make a lot of sense in this system. In a tactic where you aren't pressing when the opposition has the ball and you are looking to hold your defensive shape and look to win possession by blocking off passing lanes and by marking the opposition tightly it would make sense. In a tactic where you expect to press (higher mentality) and move out of your defensive shape, it makes no sense to have one player who doesn't want to do that. If I want to press I need a player in that area who is more mobile. The fact that you are losing the ball centrally in your defensive third is very troubling. You have the GK set to give it to your defenders but what do you expect them to do with it when they receive it? Another question you should be asking yourself is whether your defenders are actually good enough to play from the back and whether the opposition is playing with a high press.

- Goals from Shots in Penalty Area

I would use the analysis tool to look at the shots my players took in the opposition penalty area to find out why shots from so close in weren't hitting the back of the net. 

- Final Third Entries - Left Wing

This is rather surprising considering that your most advanced wide player is on that flank. Can you post a screenshot of the players who you play in that role? I'm curious as to why that is happening.

Hopefully, I've given you some food for thought.

All the best

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