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Hi,

I'm having trouble getting my 4141 DM Wide to work well with Brighton - specifically chances created from open play, and getting a proper goal threat as my STC. I've attached a screenshot - I'm trying to create a solid counter attacking tactic for a side like Brighton with very few exceptional individuals.

I'm doing pretty well - half way through the season we're mid table - but it's not convincing and doesn't feel like it's sustainable, as we're low scoring (approx 1 goal p/g) and we're not creating many decent chances from open play. My centre half (Dunk) is top scorer with 5 goals from set pieces. My striker (Murray) has four as a TM-A or P-A, but three have been penalties - so only one goal from open play. My second choice, Andone, only has one goal as a PF-A or AF-A. I've gone out and bought Maxi Gomez in early January to have a different option as a DLF-A.

Defensively, I'm generally solid through the middle - the defensive roles at CB & DM are doing this fairly well. I'm then defending with width so the centre halves are nearer to a marauding winger if our full backs are caught out of position.

In attack, my full backs are naturally overlapping to create width - and both my wingers are naturally using the opposite foot, and inclined to cut inside. This means my AMR & AML are naturally quite varied in their movement - sometimes running wide as a winger, sometimes cutting inside onto their stronger foot. I like this variety but my striker just cannot seem to score, no matter who I play. Either the winger cuts in and shoots from range, or they go to the byline and their cross is usually cut out.

Using the Mezzala is creating decent overloads on the left flank, so my AMR is more of a goal threat than the AML, with more space. However, Gross is not getting into the box in the way I'd like/expect, and I don't want to push my other AMC too far forward in case we're caught on the break.

I'm a decent threat from set pieces, but would like to not have to rely on them so heavily, as I am at the moment.

Can anyone advise what I might do to create more decent chances from open play, especially for my STC? Bringing in Gomez might help as he'll drop deeper and link up with my AMs & MCs, so might not be so isolated - but I'm concerned he'll then be too far from goal to be on the end of chances.

Thanks!

tactic.PNG

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6 minutes ago, brightonrock said:

tactic.PNG

 

7 minutes ago, brightonrock said:

I'm having trouble getting my 4141 DM Wide to work well with Brighton - specifically chances created from open play

 

7 minutes ago, brightonrock said:

Can anyone advise what I might do to create more decent chances from open play, especially for my STC?

I think you already answered your question yourself in the very title of the thread: 

"One dimensional 4141 DM Wide"

So my first suggestion would be - stop being one-dimensional.

Btw, I am managing BHA in one of my saves, so I know the team very well. I play a 442/4411 though, but that does not matter. I'll come back later to analyze your tactic in more detail and hopefully offer some useful advice.

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Just off the top of my head, Run at Defence could be your issue instruction. Maybe players are spending too mcuh time running with the ball and not actually passing it? Experiment also maybe with taking Shorter Passing off and see if that gets the ball moving quicker forward. You have the tempo already which is good but realistically are you, as Brighton, going to penetrate by passing shorter? Probably not. However I reckon you'll see better play already by removing Run at Defence, you honestly don't need it.

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47 minutes ago, Justified said:

Run at Defence could be your issue instruction

Absolutely :thup: (though just one of them).

47 minutes ago, Justified said:

You have the tempo already which is good but realistically are you, as Brighton, going to penetrate by passing shorter? Probably not.

Again spot on :thup:

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Pretty much agree with what the other posters have said and you have spotted your own issue that the tactic is very one dimensional. Mix up the roles and duties of all four of your wide players in line with how you want to play. Cautious mentality with 6 attack duties would seem more in line with wanting to play fast counter attacking football, but shorter passing and a DLP in centre mid could slow that down along with play out of defence and short goalkeeper kicks. I'd also ask you if focus play down left and right is really needed or if it is overkill and also if preventing gk distribution fits in with your overall style of play.

Only other thing I would add is if you want Gross to get into the box more then playing him as a plain old CM on attack duty should do the trick. 

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17 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

I think you already answered your question yourself in the very title of the thread: "One dimensional 4141 DM Wide". So my first suggestion would be - stop being one-dimensional.

That's fair enough! :lol:

I guess maybe I should reword the question - how can I create more chances from open play and get my my centre forward more involved, rather than relying on set pieces?

16 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Btw, who is Gomez? Can you post a screenshot of his player profile?

Maxi Gomez, from Celta Vigo. I've not got my laptop on me but I've attached a screenshot of his stats at the start of the game.

I've started off using him as a DLF as I say, to try and get him more involved in the buildup and less isolated. But, I'm open to playing him as a complete forward as his stats are very well rounded - if that gets him linking up with midfield and then getting into the box to get on the end of crosses, through balls etc, that would be ideal.

14 hours ago, Justified said:

Just off the top of my head, Run at Defence could be your issue instruction. Maybe players are spending too mcuh time running with the ball and not actually passing it? Experiment also maybe with taking Shorter Passing off and see if that gets the ball moving quicker forward. You have the tempo already which is good but realistically are you, as Brighton, going to penetrate by passing shorter? Probably not. However I reckon you'll see better play already by removing Run at Defence, you honestly don't need it.

That's a good suggestion - my logic for using it was to get my midfielders and wingers driving forward with the ball more (especially in transition) to get numbers into advanced positions rather than them passing to my centre forward and then being 20+ yards behind play. But, it's fair to say my midfielders probably don't have the quality (other than Gross) to move the ball short & quickly, so maybe a more direct pass length and less dribbling would be more penetrative.

8 hours ago, >LJ< said:

Mix up the roles and duties of all four of your wide players in line with how you want to play. Cautious mentality with 6 attack duties would seem more in line with wanting to play fast counter attacking football, but shorter passing and a DLP in centre mid could slow that down along with play out of defence and short goalkeeper kicks. I'd also ask you if focus play down left and right is really needed or if it is overkill and also if preventing gk distribution fits in with your overall style of play.

Only other thing I would add is if you want Gross to get into the box more then playing him as a plain old CM on attack duty should do the trick. 

It makes sense to remove play out of defence, alongside the more direct passing above, maybe it will get my players moving it a bit quicker in that counter-attacking style.

One I'm not sure of is removing the flank focus - I'm trying to channel play down the wings to create the overloads, using wingers and full backs, which seems to be going well. I'd be inclined to leave those as they are and work on getting more bodies supporting the play in central positions.

8 hours ago, >LJ< said:

Only other thing I would add is if you want Gross to get into the box more then playing him as a plain old CM on attack duty should do the trick. 

Re: Gross, I like him drifting into the channels as a mezzala, as him finding pockets of space takes advantage of his good vision, crossing, passing and technique. I definitely want him surging into the box as well though, arriving late on the edge of the box/penalty spot in the way Lampard & Gerrard used to. He has the physicality, decent passing and long shots to be that player, but I've found as a box-to-box midfielder he makes fairly predictable 'vertical' runs, and as an advanced playmaker he seems to be more static outside the box. I'll give him a go as a CM-a, and possibly add a couple of PI, to him moving a bit like a mezzala, and try to get the best of both worlds?

 

I think my main concern is trying not to change too much -  I'll tweak Gross' role, and remove a couple of TI (run with ball, play out of defence). Re: my forwards, would anyone have an opinion on which type of role might fit better; a number 10 style forward who drops deep, or a number 9 style line-leader?

Thanks everyone for their advice!

Maximiliano-Gomez-FM19.jpg

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1 hour ago, brightonrock said:

I guess maybe I should reword the question - how can I create more chances from open play and get my my centre forward more involved, rather than relying on set pieces?

Well, first remove the very "Play for set pieces" instructions. Because it encourages your players to try and win a set piece whenever possible. If you don't want to rely on SPs, why would you use that instruction at all?

But there is more you should look to change in your tactic. As I already said, stop being one-dimensional, to begin with.

As for roles and duties, there are basically 2 principles I always follow:

- roles and duties within any system should be set up in such a way as to create good interaction between them, while keeping the overall balance and defensive stability (e.g. players bombing forward need to have someone who will cover for them defensively)

- make sure each role is assigned to a suitable player (look at his attributes, traits and in some cases also footedness). If you don't have a suitable player for a certain role - don't use that role.

Of course, roles and duties are just one element of a tactic. A very significant one though, but - like everything else - need to be properly integrated with the rest of the system (mentality and team instructions). Otherwise, even if a setup of roles and duties is "perfect", the tactic could nevertheless fail. Player instructions then serve to fine-tune the tactic.

1 hour ago, brightonrock said:

Maximiliano-Gomez-FM19.jpg

 

1 hour ago, brightonrock said:

I've started off using him as a DLF as I say, to try and get him more involved in the buildup and less isolated. But, I'm open to playing him as a complete forward as his stats are very well rounded - if that gets him linking up with midfield and then getting into the box to get on the end of crosses, through balls etc, that would be ideal.

Considering his attributes, he definitely can play as a DLF on both duties. Which duty would be a better choice is - as always - dependent on what playing style you want to implement. If you want to draw opposition onto you and then hit them on the counter - a DLF on attack duty would be my preferred choice (as you already use him). But then you also need to set up the rest of your tactic properly (logically). 

Btw, speaking specifically of this Brighton team, I would rather play with a CM on attack than mezzala. But even if you want to use a mezzala, Propper would be a more logical choice than Gros (because Gros is too slow and his dribbling ability is pretty poor).

Let's now analyze your mentality and team instructions.

If you use the Cautious mentality because you want to play a counter-attacking style of football - it is absolutely not necessary. You can generally play very nice counter-attacking football even on high-risk mentalities (like positive or even attacking), though I would not recommend that with a team like BHA. My preference in this case would be Balanced

Team instructions I would immediately remove from your tactic are:

- run at defence (for a couple of reasons: first, you don't have enough players that are good enough at dribbling; secondly, it can cause defensive issues when a player lose the ball because he can end up too far from his position while running at the opposition; third, why would you tell the whole team to dribble, when you already have roles up front that will run with the ball anyway, and you can also always tell a certain player to dribble more in his player instructions)

- shorter passing (if you played possession football, this would make sense of course; otherwise, there is no reason to limit your player's passing style options; btw, you already use the Play out of defence, which will make the initial phase of attacks a bit more patient anyway)

- defend wider (there is no sense to defend wide with Brighton's defense that is so dominant in the air)

As for Focus play down the flanks, it can make sense if you have a very clear reason to use the flanks a lot. But then you need to know that this instructions increases the mentalities of your fullbacks - and given that they are both on attack duty, it leaves your flanks potentially very vulnerable defensively). On that score, I would avoid having both FBs on attack duty even without the Focus play TI, because Brighton is not good enough as a team to handle so much defensive risk.

Role-wise, I play both CBs as standard CDs. Dunk can play as a BPD in terms of his attributes, but his trait "Brings ball out of defence" has a couple of times almost costed us conceding a goal as he lost the ball in a dangerous area trying to dribble under pressure (so I immediately asked him to unlearn the trait). Since then, I use him as a standard CD.

In defensive midfield, my preferred role for Brighton would be an anchor-man (and Stephens is a good choice). Simply because anchor is the most simple DM role that primarily looks to screen the back-line and keeping it as simple as possible when the team is in possession.

Up front, Knockaert is left-footed and - as far as I remember - has the trait "Cuts inside from the right wing", which makes him a "natural" IF (or IW in a 442). But even so, using him as a winger on the right is not a bad idea at all. Because in that way you virtually make him act as a "hybrid" between an IF (due to his traits and stronger foot) and winger (due to the role selection), thus basically getting an IF that likes to cross the ball whenever possible. On the left flank though, I would look to make a different dynamic. Even though Izquierdo is a right-footed player on the left, using him in the same way as Knockaert on the opposite flank would be needlessly one-dimensional. Therefore, my preference would be - Knockaert as a right winger on support and Izquerdo as an attack-duty IF on the left.

So, considering all of the above, how would my basic 4141DM Wide tactic for BHA most likely be set up (taking into account my knowledge of the players from your staring 11 and their overall strengths and weaknesses)?

First, roles and duties in my system (using your starting 11):

DLFat

IFat                                          Wsu

DLPsu      CMat

ACM

WBde      CDde    CDde    WBsu

SKsu

Now, mentality and team instructions:

Balanced 

- default passing, play out of defence, higher tempo, overlap left (to slightly increase Bernardo's mentality and slightly decrease Izquierdo's in order to make them closer and thus create more dynamic interplay on the left flank when attacking); optional/occasional instruction - hit early crosses (if you want to encourage a more regular delivery into the box looking to utilize the presence of players attacking the box from different areas).

- (only) counter; optional/occasional instruction - regroup (against strong teams, to help make your team more solid and compact when defending)

- standard d-line, lower LOE, default pressing urgency, use tighter marking and defend narrower; optional/occasional instruction - get stuck in (if you notice that your players - especially in the midfield - are too "soft"/not aggressive enough when engaging the opposition)

Now, why this particular setup of defensive (out-of-possession) team instructions:

1. with a combo of d-line and LOE in which the distance between the two lines is reduced, you have better vertical compactness, which helps your defensive solidity as players are closer to each other and thus able to help out a teammate potentially in trouble (e.g. missed a tackle, dropped out of shape etc.). 

2. lower LOE serves to deliberately give the opposition some more space and thus encourage them to move higher up the pitch, which can create space behind their lines for you to try and exploit via quick counters.

3. narrow defensive width - already explained (you may go with standard, but certainly not wider)

4. use tighter marking is a safer way than high pressing to put additional pressure on the opposition in an attempt to thwart their attacks, especially when coupled with good vertical compactness (the distance between DL and LOE)

Finally, would I use some player instructions to fine-tune the tactic? Yes:

DCR/CDde (Duffy) - take fewer risks (due to his poor technical skills)

DM and both CMs would be told to mark tighter (because they are supposed to defend the the area where winning the ball and launching a counter-attack is most likely to take place)

MCL/DLPsu (Gros) - dribble less (his dribbling stat is not good enough, so there is no reason to risk losing the ball in potentially dangerous areas)

MCR/CMat (Propper) - take more risks (to utilize his good passing, vision and decisions, along with good technical skill overall)

AML/IFat (Izquierdo) - sit narrower (to make him more of an additional goal-threat) and shoot more often (since he is generally good at shooting)

ST/DLFat (Gomez) - roam from position (to make him more involved in the build-up phase and reduce potential isolation of playing on attack-duty, especially as he has good mental attributes - off the ball, decisions, anticipation - that make roaming a good choice)

The striker and the more attacking CM (Propper in this case) could be told to close down more, in order to create a bit more cautious version of the so-called "split block/press".

I think I've now explained (more or less) everything. But if you possibly have any questions, you are welcome of course :thup:

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@Experienced Defender - thanks so much, that's very detailed! A lot of that makes good sense, I will take your suggestion and make some changes.

One thing I'm not 100% sure about though is using tight marking Vs pressing. Both obviously have the potential to cause the team to lose shape; especially against very good opposition players who can either pick passes through a press, or use movement to drag a marker out of position.

Would you therefore think to tweak/swap between the two, depending on the opposition personnel and shape? I.e. mark a weaker side like Cardiff to take advantage of their inferior passing/creativity, but play deep, narrow and vertically compact with a press against a stronger side like Liverpool, to minimize the space and time for their players to pick passes?

The last thing I've wondered about is whether it might be an idea to remove the playmaker role altogether, as that is obviously one-dimensional to a certain extent in that build-up play will be more likely to channel through that player, and it has the potential to slow down the counter attack. Ideally I'd like to utilise and balance the good passing skills of Gross and Propper (who in a different squad would be well suited to the DLP or AP roles) versus my tactic being varied and unpredictable.

In your save did you ever use a Mezzala/Support with a Central Midfielder/Attack, especially with the DM as an Anchor Man as you suggest, and reduced full back mentalities? That might leave good cover in defence in transition when losing the ball, but also allow both CMs to find pockets of space and to drive forward when attacking?

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My suggestion would be use the DM as your deep lying playmaker support and use a cariliero instead to play with your Mezzala. I presume your using 1 of the counter attacking preset tactics? And if not,why not? 

The DM position has so much more space to playmake from, he should come deep and split ya cbs which will add security when your wing backs go forward. He will also hold the ball longer and bring the ball out allowing your mezzala time to get Higher up the pitch and play his game. He doesn’t need to be so strong defensively, just good enough off the ball to slow the opposition attacks down and disrupt your opponents that way. Add to this a cariliero though and magic will happen. He moves between lines of midfield just helping out the other 2 in the trio, gives an option to your playmaker, wins the ball, keeps the ball and provides just enough attacking threat so the opponents do glue themselves to your mezzala. It’s my favourite trio on fm I mainly play possession but I’m sure your could adapt it to counter attacking. 

Finally you’ve created a real life Brighton, they are good from set plays and don’t score 3 or 4, 2017/18 season they had 1 of the best defences outside the top 6 with Burnley. It’s a good solid base to build from

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6 hours ago, brightonrock said:

One thing I'm not 100% sure about though is using tight marking Vs pressing. Both obviously have the potential to cause the team to lose shape; especially against very good opposition players who can either pick passes through a press, or use movement to drag a marker out of position.

More urgent pressing carries the risk of losing (disrupting) defensive shape. Tighter marking does not (unless you tell your players to specifically mark certain opposition players as a player instruction). But all these instructions work in conjunction with others, so you should not think about them in isolation. Btw, I recently published a detailed thread (guideline) on defending, so you can have a look at it here.

 

6 hours ago, brightonrock said:

Would you therefore think to tweak/swap between the two, depending on the opposition personnel and shape? I.e. mark a weaker side like Cardiff to take advantage of their inferior passing/creativity, but play deep, narrow and vertically compact with a press against a stronger side like Liverpool, to minimize the space and time for their players to pick passes?

Against weaker sides (when I am a clear favorite), I would be less conservative in approach than otherwise. For example, I may move both DL and LOE up one notch (to higher/standard instead of standard/lower). That way I am keeping the same level of vertical compactness, but putting pressure on the opposition in an earlier phase of their attacks. In a system like 4-1-4-1 DM Wide, I could even go with both DL and LOE set on higher (because the formation is well-balanced enough to allow for a bit more distance between the lines), but in that case I would probably remove the "Use tighter marking" team instruction and instead just leave the TM player instruction for my midfielders. I would also remove the Regroup TI. Which does not mean that I would opt for counter-press instead. Rather, I would use split-press by telling my striker, both wide forwards and the more attacking CM to close down more in their player instructions. 

Against (much) stronger (top) teams, I would logically be more cautious, but not in the sense of dropping extremely deep and thus inviting more pressure than we can realistically handle. I would also change a couple of roles and duties to make the players more defensive-minded, but would still look to have a couple of potential attacking threats. One possible example (in a 4141DM Wide):

PFat

IFsu                                         Wsu

CMsu     APat

ACM

NFB        CDco     NCB        (I)WBde

SKsu/de

Mentality - (still) Balanced (with the possibility of reducing it to Cautious if I feel it could be necessary)

- slightly more direct passing, higher tempo, hit early crosses (optional/possible instructions - pass into space, overlap right); if playing on cautious mentality, I may also consider a bit wider width

- counter, regroup

- standard DL, (much) lower LOE, less urgent pressing, use tighter marking, defend narrower (optionally get stuck in); on cautious mentality pressing urgency would be left on default (medium).

The more attacking CM (APat) might be told to close down more, though not necessarily. Both wide forwards would be told to get further forward when we are in possession. APat to roam from position. NFB and WBde to sit narrower.

6 hours ago, brightonrock said:

The last thing I've wondered about is whether it might be an idea to remove the playmaker role altogether, as that is obviously one-dimensional to a certain extent in that build-up play will be more likely to channel through that player, and it has the potential to slow down the counter attack

This may sound counter-intuitive, but I actually prefer having a PM in an underdog team than in a top one. Because if you are an underdog but have a player (or two) that are good enough technically and mentally for a PM role, then it's absolutely not a bad idea to actually use them as a playmaker, simply because most of your other players are not good enough to know what they should do with the ball in any given situation. Therefore, having a PM makes it easier for them. Contrariwise, in a top team you have so many great players, many of whom could be playmakers. But exactly because of that, an actual  playmaker (role) is much less needed than in a weaker team. And in Brighton we have two really good (potential) PMs in Propper and Gros.

And btw, having one PM will not thwart potential counter-attacks, especially those triggered by the Counter TI. Only if you use a DLP on defend (especially in a DM spot) it can slow play down to an extent. Otherwise, PM is not an issue (I personally use a PM role in my BHA save and haven't had any attacking issues so far).

6 hours ago, brightonrock said:

n your save did you ever use a Mezzala/Support with a Central Midfielder/Attack, especially with the DM as an Anchor Man as you suggest, and reduced full back mentalities? That might leave good cover in defence in transition when losing the ball, but also allow both CMs to find pockets of space and to drive forward when attacking?

I play a 442/4411, not 4141DM Wide, so I cannot use an anchor (except in the toughest matches, when I sometimes switch to a flat 4141 - I then play Stephens as an anchor). But even if I used your 4141dmw formation, I would not use a combo of MEZsu and CM attack (even in a much stronger team than BHA). Which of course does not mean that you should not try and see how it would work for you.

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On 14/05/2019 at 05:35, Justified said:

Just off the top of my head, Run at Defence could be your issue instruction. Maybe players are spending too mcuh time running with the ball and not actually passing it? Experiment also maybe with taking Shorter Passing off and see if that gets the ball moving quicker forward. You have the tempo already which is good but realistically are you, as Brighton, going to penetrate by passing shorter? Probably not. However I reckon you'll see better play already by removing Run at Defence, you honestly don't need it.

Run at defence is not a bad instruction for players to break through tiers provided of course there are players to pass to, otherwise they could just end up without options. 

The challenge here is there are already 4 roles in his system that are attacking so they are bombing forward naturally in the transition. Secondly he is playing on a very low mentality that makes the run at defence very one dimensional. It’s like telling a player to take the safe option when dribbling which makes little sense to me and then depending on which player does it he could be challenged to find the pass when the 4 attacking outlets are on attack duty.

While there may be overloads there isn’t much time to set these up. There are way too many attacking duties here.

A counter attacking style of play can happen on any mentality, the styles will be affected by the mentality you are on and the roles and duties you have chosen (not directed at @Justified :-))

The 4123 or the 4141 can be played in many variations. My advice would be to remove the attack duties on the areas you want to Overload. The natural option is the left. This makes the team work the ball there effectively while waiting for the attack duties on the right to bomb forward.    

If you want to attack teams in space learn how to use LOE that’s really the only thing one needs to master to create a counter attacking element in your tactic. 

The LOE basically tells your team when to press when the opp has the ball. So a counter attacking system would play on a standard LOE if they want to win the ball in midfield or lower if they want to win the ball in their own half. 

By using the LOE you can then just look at Mentality. A lower mentality would probably see more sideways pass then on a higher mentality. Then choose a mentality to suit your style. Finally defensive line. How comfortable are you? If your team is the sort you feel isn’t suited to playing too high up on the pitch choose a standard defensive line.

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