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Meet Josh Blakesley.  He should be my best player, if I was to only go by the star ratings (which I don't), but I'm struggling to get the most out of him. He's natural at DM and CM positions, and I have tried him in all kinds of roles in the midfield triangle of my 4-1-2-3 (most often consiting of DM(D), Mez(A), and Dlp(S)), but he's not really performing well in any of them, gettting 6.5 ratings while the other's are above 7. Also tried him as a BBM and a CM(S) alongside the mezzala. As DM I think his problem is the "gets forward whenever possible" trait, which gets him out of position and exposes us defensively. His positioning and teamwork attributes could be better as well, and although his tackling attribute is high, his tackles won ratio is quite poor (maybe because of "dives into tackles"?) I could try to train him out of the gets further forward trait, but on the other hand that trait could be very useful if I were to mainly play him as a BBM or mezzala. However, I think he lacks the flair, dribbling and passing skill I would want from the mezzala. He should make decent box-to-box midfielder, although his finishing is very poor, and he hasn't really performed well as a BBM when I tried it out. 

I want to hear your opinions, in what kind of role would you use Josh Blakesley? Or would you think he's not worth the trouble and you'd rather cash in on him? 

We are a mid-table premier league team.

 blakesley.thumb.jpg.697a9a6df6c49d314094648b0b34452e.jpg

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Versatile player who can play just about any MF role effectively. Rating is probably more result of the role you have him in within system. Post tactics. 

Not uncommon for an effective MF to have lagging rating if he plays a holding position that doesn’t present a lot of rate-boosting opportunities 

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8 minutes ago, laurentius82 said:

blakesley.thumb.jpg.697a9a6df6c49d314094648b0b34452e.jpg

 

8 minutes ago, laurentius82 said:

I want to hear your opinions, in what kind of role would you use Josh Blakesley?

This guys is very good and can play in a number of roles, so the mots likely reason for his poor performances is that your tactic does not suit him well (not necessarily in the sense of playing him in a "wrong" role, but in how the rest of the system is set up). So if you could post a screenshot of the tactic, it would be more than welcome.

Looking just at him in isolation - apart from the tactic as a whole - he theoretically can be used as a BBM, DLP, carrilero, volante (in a 2-DM system), BWM, CM (on any duty). Could be also played as a HB or anchor (or standard DM), depending on the system he is part of. 

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This how we are set up tactically at the moment.  I occasionally use an F9 instead of the CF(S), depending on the situation. Haven't really been able to settle on RCM position's role in the premier league. In the championship we had good success with an RPM there but I thought that system was not defensively solid enough in the premier league (for a team of our standard).

 

tactic.thumb.jpg.ee0cecf551e5aeaf1d3a4f28bdf5f64a.jpg

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6 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

 can be used as a BBM, DLP, carrilero, volante (in a 2-DM system), BWM, CM (on any duty). Could be also played as a HB or anchor (or standard DM), depending on the system he is part of. 

Yes I also thought he might play well as the more attacking-minded DM of a 2-DM system, where the "gets forward" trait might not be a defensive disaster. Maybe that's something to think about, although as a whole I feel the system is not working badly at all, especially at home. We could try for example having a DM-pair of DM(D) and SegV (Blakesley), and an AP(A) in either CM or AM position...? 

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16 minutes ago, laurentius82 said:

tactic.thumb.jpg.ee0cecf551e5aeaf1d3a4f28bdf5f64a.jpg

Your left flank is needlessly vulnerable with both FB and mezzala on attack duty, and the Overlap left TI on top of that (and btw, you already have a natural overlap with an IF sup and FB att). If you want to use an overlap instruction, it would make a lot more sense on the right flank.

Also, when you play with a high d-line and on high-risk mentality (positive in this case), there is no need for more urgent (team) pressing and aggressive tackling (get stuck in). With a top team, that may work because players are good enough to handle such an aggressive defensive style. But your team is a mid-table one, so why taking too much risk with no apparent reason. Tighter marking would be a safer option btw.

In DM, I would prefer an anchor-man, because it's a simple role whose first priority is to protect the back-line and keep it simple in possession. And since you have a lot of players bombing forward, the anchor makes even more sense.

Now specifically on your "problem" guy (Blakesley). He definitely can play as a BBM, so the role is not an issue here. What I would consider is adding the Overlap right (instead of the left) - as I already suggested - in order to get the right FB closer to the midfield and the final third, which would also help Blakesley have more options around him. Another thing to consider is changing the striker's role to either F9 or DLF on either duty, so as to make him a bit less roaming, given that you already have 2 roaming roles behind him (BBM and MEZ). Another option is to let the striker remain a CF on support, and instead change the mezzala to CM on attack. 

In fact, given that you have an attack-duty winger on the right, perhaps the most logical role for the striker would be a DLF on attack or PF on attack (a poacher could also be an option to think about).

IWB on support on the left (instead of FB on attack) is also something that could not only improve the tactic defensively (as a cover for the mezzala), but also help the very Blakesley have more passing options in the midfield to work with. For example:

DLFat

IFsu                                            Wat

CMat      BBM

ACM

IWBsu     CDde     CDde     FBsu

                                                    (overlap right)

Or (with just a couple of tweaks):

PO

IFsu                                         Wat

MEZat     BBM

ACM

IWBsu      CDde      CDde      FBsu

                                                      (overlap right)

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51 minutes ago, laurentius82 said:

We could try for example having a DM-pair of DM(D) and SegV (Blakesley), and an AP(A) in either CM or AM position...?

That can work, but would again depend on how the whole system is set up, not just these 3 roles.

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Tha

3 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Your left flank is needlessly vulnerable with both FB and mezzala on attack duty, and the Overlap left TI on top of that (and btw, you already have a natural overlap with an IF sup and FB att). If you want to use an overlap instruction, it would make a lot more sense on the right flank.

Also, when you play with a high d-line and on high-risk mentality (positive in this case), there is no need for more urgent (team) pressing and aggressive tackling (get stuck in). With a top team, that may work because players are good enough to handle such an aggressive defensive style. But your team is a mid-table one, so why taking too much risk with no apparent reason. Tighter marking would be a safer option btw.

In DM, I would prefer an anchor-man, because it's a simple role whose first priority is to protect the back-line and keep it simple in possession. And since you have a lot of players bombing forward, the anchor makes even more sense.

Now specifically on your "problem" guy (Blakesley). He definitely can play as a BBM, so the role is not an issue here. What I would consider is adding the Overlap right (instead of the left) - as I already suggested - in order to get the right FB closer to the midfield and the final third, which would also help Blakesley have more options around him. Another thing to consider is changing the striker's role to either F9 or DLF on either duty, so as to make him a bit less roaming, given that you already have 2 roaming roles behind him (BBM and MEZ). Another option is to let the striker remain a CF on support, and instead change the mezzala to CM on attack. 

In fact, given that you have an attack-duty winger on the right, perhaps the most logical role for the striker would be a DLF on attack or PF on attack (a poacher could also be an option to think about).

IWB on support on the left (instead of FB on attack) is also something that could not only improve the tactic defensively (as a cover for the mezzala), but also help the very Blakesley have more passing options in the midfield to work with. For example:

DLFat

IFsu                                            Wat

CMat      BBM

ACM

IWBsu     CDde     CDde     FBsu

                                                    (overlap right)

Or (with just a couple of tweaks):

PO

IFsu                                         Wat

MEZat     BBM

ACM

IWBsu      CDde      CDde      FBsu

                                                      (overlap right)

Thanks very much for your ideas! You're right about the high risk on the left flank, and I do indeed usually put the left back on support/defend and turn off the overlaps for away games and against the big 6.  Previously I also used and anchorman, but I switched to a DM(D) in order to involve the DM a bit more in buildup play, as the player (Gennaro Ruggiero/Blakesley) is capable of contributing a decent pass or two. What I wonder about your suggestion is having both an IFsu and IWBsu on the left flank... with both wide players cutting inside, won't that leave the whole flank uncovered and vulnerable (aside from an occasional run wide by the mezzala, who really can't defend to save his life)? 

 I played two matches, the first against Arsenal at home using my normal tactic. Tough match, but we won 2-0. Blakesley had a very average game again playing as a BBM (although I dropped him to the DM position late in the match), no glaring mistakes but nothing great either, 6.8 rating.

arsenalgame.thumb.jpg.b91e9b6470811038bae0f7c919945247.jpg

For the second game away at Burnley I took your advice and changed the striker's and DM's roles to a poacher and an anchorman, respectively,  and moved the overlap from the left flank to the right. Again a 2-0 win. My right back seemed to especially enjoy the tactical tweaks, and had a really good game. Blakesley got injured and I took him off at half-time, but his half-game performance was a business as usual, a 6.7 rating. Now he'll be out 3-4 weeks.  

burnely.thumb.jpg.9b7d4f36ff9fc8903147849e23efff48.jpg

 

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3 hours ago, laurentius82 said:

What I wonder about your suggestion is having both an IFsu and IWBsu on the left flank... with both wide players cutting inside, won't that leave the whole flank uncovered and vulnerable (aside from an occasional run wide by the mezzala, who really can't defend to save his life)? 

Depends on whom you play as an IWB. Defense-wise, the player needs to have good acceleration, anticipation, decisions and work rate in the first place (decent positioning and tackling are also welcome, of course). If you don't have such a player, then better don't use an IWB. A standard WB on support with the "Sit narrower" PI can be a good option.

 

3 hours ago, laurentius82 said:

Previously I also used and anchorman, but I switched to a DM(D) in order to involve the DM a bit more in buildup play, as the player (Gennaro Ruggiero/Blakesley) is capable of contributing a decent pass or two

Have you considered a half-back?

 

3 hours ago, laurentius82 said:

Blakesley had a very average game again playing as a BBM (although I dropped him to the DM position late in the match), no glaring mistakes but nothing great either, 6.8 rating.

 

3 hours ago, laurentius82 said:

Blakesley got injured and I took him off at half-time, but his half-game performance was a business as usual, a 6.7 rating

6.8 and 6.7 are not bad ratings. They aren't extraordinary of course, but certainly not a reason for worry. You can set up a tactic that would be focused primarily on Blakesley and built around him, but by doing that you run the risk of ruining a generally good tactic for the sake of a single player (no matter who and how good he is). I would personally never do that.

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Posted (edited)

In isolation: with his high tariffs for tackling, anticipation, decisions and his physicals - and workable positioning - he'd be a halfback for me. With the caveat that I would be concerned about the third of his PPM's.

As a second option, box-to-box midfielder to utilise his first PPM, physical fitness and solid all-round game.

I wouldn't entertain a '6' finisher as a mezzala personally, as that is a role where I want a good finisher to contribute heavily to the team's goalscoring prowess.

Edited by AndySummers

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Your tactic is incredibly similar to mine (very).

These players are always interesting as you tend to look at the key skills and they are great.,.... passing, tackling, physical etc. However when you look under the hood they are missing the primary supporting skills to excel in any role and for me it more often becomes about what you can train rather than where he fits.

He is missing some key stats that would make some stand out roles/positions perfect.

In the BBM role he is lacking in finishing, flair and creativity. Thats a lot of skills to work on.

In the DM role he is missing positioning and aggression. Aggression is hard to train.

I don't know your players but I know that tactic as it is very similar to mine. He would be great in the DM(D) role. An enforcer with great physicallity who can just continually recycle the ball over and over. Many would be tempted to switch to DLP due to his decent passing but he doesn't have the vision for it and it would mess with the tactic.

If he is the strongest of your players then the BBM will be fine but for me he is not rounded enough for that.

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