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RCCook

4-2-3-1 Struggles- need some assistance

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Currently playing as Lyon, and using a 4-2-3-1 system (tactic below)

Offensively, I have a lot of quick, creative players, who are good passers, but poor in the air. I'm trying to employ a quick-tempo, high-creativity offense that relies on the front four for goals and assists.

My CM's are there to shield the defense and aid in retaining possession. I do currently have the DLF and AM on attack, but have also tried using the right-sided IF with one of the other two on support duty. Generally, two of my front four on attack, two on support. The duties/roles of the other players have remained the same. 

Defensively, I like to use a high line and counter-pressing to keep the opposition from penetrating too much into my end of the pitch. I know that sometimes can result in too much compression between the lines, but I find that a lower line makes me too vulnerable to teams with good attackers. 

The main issues that I'm having with the tactic: 

- high # of blocked crosses, blocked shots, and long shots

- low shots on target/conversion rate
 

I've experimented with the passing length, tempo, and defensive line, as well as changing up the AMC role (have used both AP & AM), but the same problems continue to occur. 

Can anyone help me see what I'm doing wrong here? We do win more often that not, but seem to have a lot of those "25 shots, 8 on target, 10-12 long shot" games that we'll win 1-0 or 2-0, and I think my players can do better. Thanks in advance for any help! 
 

 

OL 4231.png

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A lot of people are struggling with a 4231 because it's a top-heavy system, so it can be tricky to set it up in the right way. So let's take a look at your tactic and see if there are any glaring issues...

13 minutes ago, RCCook said:

OL 4231.png

The first question you need to answer (to yourself in the first place) is what are your exact reasons for:

- extremely wide attacking width?

- higher tempo?

None of this is wrong per se, but you need to know why you are using certain tactical settings (roles, duties, team and player instructions, as well as mentality, which affects everything else). 

Then, why using the same role and duty up front on both flanks (IF on support)? This makes your attacks too one-dimensional and thus easier for opposition to defend against. 

Also, do you take care to assign the roles to suitable players? Because even if you create a "perfectly" balanced setup, it can still fail to work if you put wrong players in the "right" roles. And even if you put the right players in the right roles, you may fail to set up instructions in the right way. The point is - everything is interrelated and works in conjunction.

22 minutes ago, RCCook said:

Offensively, I have a lot of quick, creative players, who are good passers, but poor in the air. I'm trying to employ a quick-tempo, high-creativity offense that relies on the front four for goals and assists.

If so, why then don't you use the Counter TI in transition?!? This is a question I've already asked so many people btw. Because even if you wanted to play possession-based football, you could still use counter-attacks as an additional attacking tool. However, your in-possession team instructions do not suggest that you want to play possession football, so it's even more strange that you opted not to use the Counter.

Now, given that you are managing a very good team (Lyon), which is one of the top teams in France, I can assume that most opponents tend to play rather defensively against you,right? Which means that they are not going to leave much space in their defensive third for your fast forwards to potentially exploit. Which further means that you need to create that space yourself. 

How? There are basically two ways. One is being patient, keeping possession and camping in their half, and try to create overloads that would draw their defense out of position and then quickly switch the play to the opposite side for a player or two who are looking to attack the vacated space there. 

The other is to go with a quite risky gung-ho attacking style, which means overloading their penalty area with as many players as possible so that they cannot defend against all. But that can be very risky defensively and leave your defense overly exposed (especially in the top-heavy 4231).

So, the first approach is definitely safer. The latter is too hazardous and so should be used only in extreme situations (when everything else has failed).

If you would like me to give you an example of how you could set up a well-balanced 4231 system (based on the info you provided about your team), please let me know :thup:

 

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On the width/tempo/counterattacking- I had actually been using a lower tempo and shorter passing, as well as the counter, to do what you suggested about a patient possession game. Most opponents do play defensively against me, and I'd rather take the safer approach to breaking them down.

My team does break well on counters, so I'm honestly not sure why I removed it. The width was an attempt to spread out the defense and give my players room to set up attacks, though it hasn't seemed to help/hurt either way.

As for role suitability, my wide forwards are well-suited to the IF role. The central forwards are both better as Advanced Forwards, but do have high enough ratings in Passing and Vision to play the DLF role. My thought in using that role was to have the central striker drop deeper to create space for the IF's cutting inside.  With the AMC role, I still have Fekir, who is equally good as an AM or AP. His backup is much more suited for an AP role- he's a great passer, but only has an 11 in long shots and finishing.

I've made a few changes based on your suggestions (see below) but if you have any ideas on how to improve it, I'd love to hear them! Thanks!

 

2019-05-14 (2).png

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13 hours ago, RCCook said:

On the width/tempo/counterattacking- I had actually been using a lower tempo and shorter passing, as well as the counter, to do what you suggested about a patient possession game. Most opponents do play defensively against me, and I'd rather take the safer approach to breaking them down

Short passing and low tempo used together are an overkill. There is no need to use both at the same time. Use either one or the other.

If you want to play possession football looking to control the game - as opposed to defensive possession football - then just use shorter passing, default (medium) tempo and play out of defence. And if you manage a good team, Positive mentality is a more logical choice than Balanced. Mentality is the most important setting, because it affects other settings (individual player mentalities, tempo, passing style and risk, attacking width, def line, LOE and pressing intensity).

Work ball into box goes hand in hand with possession football, but in certain situations can actually do more harm than good to your attacks (against ultra-defensive opposition that has packed their box, for example). So you should not insist on using it all the time. Watch matches and see when it makes sense, and when doesn't. 

13 hours ago, RCCook said:

As for role suitability, my wide forwards are well-suited to the IF role. The central forwards are both better as Advanced Forwards

How do you assess a player's role suitability? Looking at their attributes and traits (sometimes also stronger/weaker foot), or simply following what the game suggests as the "best" role (the full-green circle)?

Plus, most players can successfully play more than just one role. 

13 hours ago, RCCook said:

With the AMC role, I still have Fekir, who is equally good as an AM or AP. His backup is much more suited for an AP role- he's a great passer, but only has an 11 in long shots and finishing

I guess that he could play as a trequartista as well. And (sometimes) maybe on a flank (instead of the middle). When you have good players, there are so many ways to set up a good tactic that can get the most out of your players. You just need to start thinking out of the box. 

 

13 hours ago, RCCook said:

've made a few changes based on your suggestions (see below) but if you have any ideas on how to improve it, I'd love to hear them! Thanks!

 

2019-05-14 (2).png

Well, this tactic is okay, but nothing extraordinary. You changed one of your IF's duty to attack and your AMC's role and duty. Team instructions basically make sense for a possession style, apart from the already mentioned overkill of short pass and low tempo used at the same time. Also, you now have 2 playmakers, and close to each other at that (DLP in MCR and AP in AMC). That can needlessly slow your play down too much and make it overly sterile. If you want to use two playmaker roles, I would suggest "scattering" them a bit. For example:

DLFat

IFsu              AMsu              TQ

DLPde       BBM

 

FBat    CDde    CDde   (I)WBsu/de

SKde/su

Now you have a more progressive and much less one-dimensional setup. But that also needs to be supported by appropriate instructions. An example:

Positive mentality (instead of balanced)

- shorter passing, play out of defence, default tempo, be more expressive, overlap right

- counter, distribute to CBs and FBs, counter-press

- higher DL, standard LOE, use tighter marking, prevent short GKD (optionally - use offside trap)

As you can see, I've bolded all the changes I've made compared to your tactic. If you are curious to know why, I'll be glad to explain.

And one more thing: when you play in a 4231 system, both central midfielders need to be good defensively (positioning, tackling, stamina, work rate, anticipation, acceleration, bravery, determination...). Because the formation is top-heavy and with none between them and your defense, so these two guys are the backbone of the system

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I think you got a good partner here for help just one thing tho.

You have to get over the "blocked crosses thing" as it is stated as a bug or at least not working as intended by SI at the Bugs/ME forums. So you wont be able to fix the problem.

 

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In all 3 of my saves crossing works exactly how it is supposed to work. As in real life football, some crosses will normally get blocked by defenders, some will be headed away from the box, and some will connect. Some people complain about too many of their crosses being blocked, others complain that almost all their assists come from crosses. Which clearly shows that it's not a ME bug. If it was a bug, then all people would have the same kind of problem.

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12 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

In all 3 of my saves crossing works exactly how it is supposed to work. As in real life football, some crosses will normally get blocked by defenders, some will be headed away from the box, and some will connect. Some people complain about too many of their crosses being blocked, others complain that almost all their assists come from crosses. Which clearly shows that it's not a ME bug. If it was a bug, then all people would have the same kind of problem.

??????????

see quote of SI staff, its a known issue. 

 

Hey guys,

We are aware of the issue, we are looking to make balancing improvements for future iterations of the game.

Thank you for your information,

Cheers,

Hugo

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1 hour ago, CARRERA said:

??????????

see quote of SI staff, its a known issue

 

Hey guys,

We are aware of the issue, we are looking to make balancing improvements for future iterations of the game.

Thank you for your information,

Cheers,

Hugo

Yes, I saw that reply from SI, but honestly... I assume they decided to acknowledge the alleged "bug" only to appease people who are complaining (because they fail to set up their tactics in a proper way). Maybe I'm wrong, but I really haven't encountered any noteworthy issues with crossing in FM19.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Short passing and low tempo used together are an overkill. There is no need to use both at the same time. Use either one or the other.

If you want to play possession football looking to control the game - as opposed to defensive possession football - then just use shorter passing, default (medium) tempo and play out of defence. And if you manage a good team, Positive mentality is a more logical choice than Balanced. Mentality is the most important setting, because it affects other settings (individual player mentalities, tempo, passing style and risk, attacking width, def line, LOE and pressing intensity).

Work ball into box goes hand in hand with possession football, but in certain situations can actually do more harm than good to your attacks (against ultra-defensive opposition that has packed their box, for example). So you should not insist on using it all the time. Watch matches and see when it makes sense, and when doesn't. 

How do you assess a player's role suitability? Looking at their attributes and traits (sometimes also stronger/weaker foot), or simply following what the game suggests as the "best" role (the full-green circle)?

Plus, most players can successfully play more than just one role. 

I guess that he could play as a trequartista as well. And (sometimes) maybe on a flank (instead of the middle). When you have good players, there are so many ways to set up a good tactic that can get the most out of your players. You just need to start thinking out of the box. 

 

Well, this tactic is okay, but nothing extraordinary. You changed one of your IF's duty to attack and your AMC's role and duty. Team instructions basically make sense for a possession style, apart from the already mentioned overkill of short pass and low tempo used at the same time. Also, you now have 2 playmakers, and close to each other at that (DLP in MCR and AP in AMC). That can needlessly slow your play down too much and make it overly sterile. If you want to use two playmaker roles, I would suggest "scattering" them a bit. For example:

DLFat

IFsu              AMsu              TQ

DLPde       BBM

 

FBat    CDde    CDde   (I)WBsu/de

SKde/su

Now you have a more progressive and much less one-dimensional setup. But that also needs to be supported by appropriate instructions. An example:

Positive mentality (instead of balanced)

- shorter passing, play out of defence, default tempo, be more expressive, overlap right

- counter, distribute to CBs and FBs, counter-press

- higher DL, standard LOE, use tighter marking, prevent short GKD (optionally - use offside trap)

As you can see, I've bolded all the changes I've made compared to your tactic. If you are curious to know why, I'll be glad to explain.

And one more thing: when you play in a 4231 system, both central midfielders need to be good defensively (positioning, tackling, stamina, work rate, anticipation, acceleration, bravery, determination...). Because the formation is top-heavy and with none between them and your defense, so these two guys are the backbone of the system

On the role suitability, I do look at attributes rather than the circles. 

Definitely agree on the CM's- I've always taken care to have good defenders in both of those roles, exactly for the reason you noted. Thanks for the suggestions- I'll give them a try! 

Edited by RCCook

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14 hours ago, RCCook said:

Thanks for the suggestions- I'll give them a try! 

But don't just simply copy the tactic from my post. Rather use it just as a starting point for building your own system.

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Posted (edited)

Update: I've been using the tactic below for most of the current season, and while we are winning most matches, we win a lot 1-0/2-0 with goals coming mostly from set pieces or the CM/AMC scoring a 30-yard screamer. My defense has been excellent (3 goals conceded in 18 league matches) but we're averaging less than two goals a game, are in the bottom five in the league in shots on target and cross completion, and my strikers have six goals between them in 26 matches- two of those coming on penalty kicks. Not getting much from my AMC's, either, aside from the occasional goal from distance.

Still having a ton of issues with blocked shots/crosses, as well as excessive long shots. At this point, I'm not sure if it's my tactic, or an inability to break down ultra-defensive sides. This is a bit of an extreme example, but this is the kind of defensive set-up I'm facing in most domestic matches:

bunker.thumb.png.6ca1522db09928bac6c84b3099c84f44.png

Here's the tactic I've been using for most of the season:

formation.thumb.png.c202e31af4efe5cbbb35f278868b8c81.png

Individual instructions:

CM: Shoot less often (both players I use here have a 10-11 rating in long shots, and are even worse finishers)

AMC: Take More Risks, Roam From Position

I currently have two strikers- one is well-suited for the DLF role, but can also play AF/CF. The other is primarily an AF/CF; he can play DLF, but is a poor passer. I generally play him as a CF-A in this tactic.

Have three AMC's- Fekir, who can play pretty much any role, but is getting old and injury-prone, and two others whose attributes/PPM's are well-suited for either an AM or SS role.

I feel like my roles/duties are well-balanced, but just can't get the striker or AMC going, and getting frustrated with grinding out close wins. All suggestions appreciated as always!

Edited by RCCook

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1 hour ago, RCCook said:

Here's the tactic I've been using for most of the season:

formation.thumb.png.c202e31af4efe5cbbb35f278868b8c81.png

Individual instructions:

CM: Shoot less often (both players I use here have a 10-11 rating in long shots, and are even worse finishers)

AMC: Take More Risks, Roam From Position

I currently have two strikers- one is well-suited for the DLF role, but can also play AF/CF. The other can play AF/CF, but lacks the passing/vision to play as a DLF. I generally play him as a CF-A in this tactic.

Have three AMC's- Fekir, who can play pretty much any role, but is getting old and injury-prone, and two others whose attributes/PPM's are well-suited for either an AM or SS role.

I feel like my roles/duties are well-balanced, but just can't get the striker or AMC going, and getting frustrated with grinding out close wins. All suggestions appreciated as always!

I would assume that Balanced mentality is what makes your tactic a bit too sterile. I believe you have players that are good enough to play with Positive mentality most of the time. That would make your players more willing to take risks and would also speed up play a bit. In tougher matches though, you can go with Balanced (at least until you see how the match is developing on the pitch).

As for roles and duties, your setup is well-balanced. However, with the AM turned into a quasi-PM (take more risks), your striker's role should be more of a runner/scorer than a creator. So the roles I would consider for your striker in this system are poacher and PF on attack (AF might work as well, but these other two roles would be my preference as more simple ones). Another role you may consider is a trequartista in AMC (instead of the standard AM).

If you want to employ a SS, then DLF on support or F9 would be good roles for the lone striker. 

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And here's a match I just played, against Lille. Not as defensive as Marseille, but this is generally what I'm up against in most domestic matches:

 

581326797_bunker2.thumb.png.bebd9f6e556e9559e086b29ce29efa7f.png

statslille.thumb.png.68fe5747b89f90335ca8136de95d3869.png

I did make one small change for this match- changed the CM-S to a BBM- and won 3-0, with my main striker scoring twice, but similar results in terms of shots on target, and blocked/long shots.

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3 minutes ago, RCCook said:

statslille.thumb.png.68fe5747b89f90335ca8136de95d3869.png

This statistic is pretty good - 1 CCC and 2 half-chances against an ultra-defensive side. And these stats in general show a total domination by your team. I don't know what you expect. FM is a realistic game (unless if you use exploit plug-and-play tactics), so your expectations also need to be realistic ;)

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10 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

I would assume that Balanced mentality is what makes your tactic a bit too sterile. I believe you have players that are good enough to play with Positive mentality most of the time. That would make your players more willing to take risks and would also speed up play a bit. In tougher matches though, you can go with Balanced (at least until you see how the match is developing on the pitch).

As for roles and duties, your setup is well-balanced. However, with the AM turned into a quasi-PM (take more risks), your striker's role should be more of a runner/scorer than a creator. So the roles I would consider for your striker in this system are poacher and PF on attack (AF might work as well, but these other two roles would be my preference as more simple ones). Another role you may consider is a trequartista in AMC (instead of the standard AM).

If you want to employ a SS, then DLF on support or F9 would be good roles for the lone striker. 

I was looking at the PF role- it looks similar to an AF, but with more closing down. Since I play a pressing/possession game, I'll give that a shot first and see how it goes. Might try the TQ role with the AMC, too, as all three of my AMC's have high Vision, Finishing, and Flair attributes. I do use Positive mentality at times, but probably do need to use it more consistently against smaller sides.

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9 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

This statistic is pretty good - 1 CCC and 2 half-chances against an ultra-defensive side. And these stats in general show a total domination by your team. I don't know what you expect. FM is a realistic game (unless if you use exploit plug-and-play tactics), so your expectations also need to be realistic ;)

True. We are in 1st right now, and just won a very tough CL group, but I'm a perfectionist, so I always want more out of my team... :)

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2 minutes ago, RCCook said:

True. We are in 1st right now, and just won a very tough CL group, but I'm a perfectionist, so I always want more out of my team... :)

Well, as the saying goes, "be careful what you wish for" :kriss:

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