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looking for some advice on where i'm going wrong with my current save, managing my hometown club in the 7th tier of English football. first season i somehow got promoted but 2nd season the struggle is real, my team both struggles to score goals and just gets walked all over. main issues being my players just defend so poorly, they seem to stand off too much, they never look like they are doing enough compared to my opponents who seem to close down fast and eliminate passing options so easily, mainly conceding from balls over the top or just straight through the defence and more than anything else long shots, literally every game without fail we concede from outside the box and i just cant find a way to stop it, my team never score long shots. I've tried adjusting the defensive line and messing with the closing down but it doesn't seem to matter much. attacking is just as bad, we score the odd goal from a long ball to my poacher but struggle to create otherwise. I've been pretty limited by who i can sign, i just cant find good enough players so i'm kinda stuck with what i have, i did try a target man but he didn't seem to help at all, this current cm setup is new, i was using a bbm and cm(s) in my first season which worked OK but not so much anymore so i tried to just make it more solid with a BWM. overall mentality i was using balanced but it was somehow even worse defensively and a switch to attacking worked for a 6 game unbeaten stretch but now its back to being poor again.

any LLM veterans who can offer me some advice to get my team playing decently again?

i know a lot of my problems could be down to my players but i don't think they're as bad as our performances. they all look really good when i first sign them and then the coach ratings go down over time, i guess  because the coaches judging PA and CA is terrible but i think my players look comparable to other top clubs players in my division

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This is an extremely defensive tactic that is inviting pressure. The use of lower lines for defense and attack, with regroup as well, is going to let teams attack you. Let's try to break down a couple of the issues.

4 hours ago, mbar8t6 said:

literally every game without fail we concede from outside the box

You are allowing the opposition time and space in front of goal due to the deep line and compact shape. That means they probably have a hard time passing through you when they have the ball in your half, and so players take pot shots at the goal. This is particularly dangerous is the AI player gets time and space on the ball, so look for that happening. This is the thing you need to prevent. Hurried long shots from a player under pressure are okay. Long shots from a player who has time to compose themselves are more dangerous.

4 hours ago, mbar8t6 said:

main issues being my players just defend so poorly, they seem to stand off too much, they never look like they are doing enough compared to my opponents who seem to close down fast and eliminate passing options so easily

This does not surprise me. You have low line of engagement (which is the point at which your players will try to press the AI), and regroup (which makes your players go back to position after you lose the ball). There is nothing you have that is encouraging your players to close people down higher up the pitch. You are pretty much inviting the AI to come have the ball in your final third with this tactic. Which can work if you can defend and play on the counter.

4 hours ago, mbar8t6 said:

attacking is just as bad, we score the odd goal from a long ball to my poacher but struggle to create otherwise.

The goal you describe is the only goal I can see your team scoring (except from set pieces if you get them). Your strikers are entirely isolated from everyone else. There is zero support from either defense of midfield to help them out. You need some attack duties in midfield and/or defense to help out here. You need players who will run forward when you get the ball link the strikers and the rest of the side.  While I understand that you have 4 defend duties in defense to avoid long balls over the top, this is going to hurt your attacking play so much. If I may say so, it seems like you do not have a coherent plan for scoring goals, and everything in your tactic is a thus far unsuccessful attempt to mitigate your defensive troubles?

So a couple of questions for you.

1. You said you got promoted in your first year. What were you doing tactically for that? It obviously worked okay.

2. After promotion, how do you rank in terms of players? Are you significantly worse than others in your league? Are you losing simply because everyone else is better?

3. What, exactly, is the way you want to play? How do you want your team to score goals? How do you want them to defend? To behave when you regain possession, and when you lose it? These are the things you must ask yourself and know the answer to, and I'm sure people here will be able to help you build a tactic that can do this.

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As noted above, the lower defensive line and lower line of engagement means you are very passive with your defending.  It will mean a congested final third - but if you're still shipping goals, then you aren't good enough and have to think about other ways of defending.  Maybe try standard defensive line and lower line of engagement - and at least up the pressing via TI's of some of the midfield 4 and strikers.  If you are shipping goals of the same type, then you need to think how to address this.  You are narrow - so I would assume crosses to a winger/inverted winger at the far post are an issue?  Perhaps normal might be better in that case.  If long shots are an issue, you could try the CD-Stopper / CD-Cover combo option, as long as one of your CD's has enough pace.

Again as noted above, attacking wise, I think as you're playing with a balanced mentality, you can be a little more aggressive with your duties.  I tend to have one winger on attack and then on the other side an inverted winger on support - the full back on that side is set to attacking to overlap into the space created.  The way you are set up, I would have the inverted winger/attacking full back combo on the right, so your BWM can provide some cover vs counter attacks.

I would also look at your front pairing.  Both are very high up the pitch.  As you are going more direct, I would recommend a Target Man on Support with an AF or Poacher.  I've been using a TM-Su recently and have been impressed with the movement, coming deep to receive, hold up play as well as being there for the more direct balls.  I would have the TM as the right sided striker - he can hold up and then involve the full back, inverted winger, or inside to your CM-Su - or an out ball to your BWM.

I've been in your situation in the lower leagues and getting promotion.  It's easy to retreat into your shell too much - but the result will tend to be you are sitting deep and basically looking for a point or a 1-0 win with a long ball counter.  The trouble is, you aren't as good as the oppo, so clean sheets aren't the norm - so you have to be brave and be a little less passive defensively and give yourself greater options as an attacking force.

Good luck, and keep us updated!

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6 hours ago, sporadicsmiles said:

This is an extremely defensive tactic that is inviting pressure. The use of lower lines for defense and attack, with regroup as well, is going to let teams attack you. Let's try to break down a couple of the issues.

You are allowing the opposition time and space in front of goal due to the deep line and compact shape. That means they probably have a hard time passing through you when they have the ball in your half, and so players take pot shots at the goal. This is particularly dangerous is the AI player gets time and space on the ball, so look for that happening. This is the thing you need to prevent. Hurried long shots from a player under pressure are okay. Long shots from a player who has time to compose themselves are more dangerous. 

This does not surprise me. You have low line of engagement (which is the point at which your players will try to press the AI), and regroup (which makes your players go back to position after you lose the ball). There is nothing you have that is encouraging your players to close people down higher up the pitch. You are pretty much inviting the AI to come have the ball in your final third with this tactic. Which can work if you can defend and play on the counter.

The goal you describe is the only goal I can see your team scoring (except from set pieces if you get them). Your strikers are entirely isolated from everyone else. There is zero support from either defense of midfield to help them out. You need some attack duties in midfield and/or defense to help out here. You need players who will run forward when you get the ball link the strikers and the rest of the side.  While I understand that you have 4 defend duties in defense to avoid long balls over the top, this is going to hurt your attacking play so much. If I may say so, it seems like you do not have a coherent plan for scoring goals, and everything in your tactic is a thus far unsuccessful attempt to mitigate your defensive troubles?

So a couple of questions for you.

1. You said you got promoted in your first year. What were you doing tactically for that? It obviously worked okay.

2. After promotion, how do you rank in terms of players? Are you significantly worse than others in your league? Are you losing simply because everyone else is better?

3. What, exactly, is the way you want to play? How do you want your team to score goals? How do you want them to defend? To behave when you regain possession, and when you lose it? These are the things you must ask yourself and know the answer to, and I'm sure people here will be able to help you build a tactic that can do this.

hi thank you for your reply, maybe one thing I'm guilty of is trying to make my team do to little, I always see how LLM tactics need to be basic with as few instructions as possible so maybe I've gone to the extreme a little. i did use a higher line and LOE at one point but it was a change i made to try stop balls over the top being such an issue by not leaving the space in behind for them to run in to and maybe at the same time draw the opposition on a bit and create more space in behind them for my strikers to run in to,  

The lower LOE alone i can see now how that is a problem i just wanted us to be a bit more compact with more players behind the ball but i realise by also being compact i am probably inviting more balls over the top also.

i didn't want to over load my team with attack duties and start adding them at CM and leaving myself exposed when we lose the ball further up the pitch, I thought with a cm on attack id just end up with 2 CMs who were on totally different wavelengths with only one defending and a big gap next to him, same with the wingers, i wanted them to comeback too and help with defending and never felt comfortable with them on attack but maybe i need to rethink on all this and try it out. full backs are on defend duty because they are rubbish basically so i'm trying to limit what they have to do, I didn't see how they'd help going forward and leaving me more open at the back.

1. in the first season i used the route one tactic and just modified a few things, i had a BBM and a CM(s), i did use no-nonsense roles in defence for a time,but only because it was the players best roles same striker roles but both my strikers scored 20+ league goals each, i don't think i have the tactic saved and it evolved over time so i can't remember all the instructions.

2. I actually need to check this again, we were pretty average at the start but I've changed quite a few players so i'm going to look again when i log on after this.

3. I don't really know with the current players i have, i know how i'd like to play, but i don't think that is possible right now, short passing, high line, high press, counter press how i would at higher levels. for now, but i've tried to stay away for more complicated high intensity tactics at least while i'm this low down and throwing teams together every season. I've never even used a 442 so maybe i'm just trying to be to basic and asking my team to do to little

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5 hours ago, duesouth said:

As noted above, the lower defensive line and lower line of engagement means you are very passive with your defending.  It will mean a congested final third - but if you're still shipping goals, then you aren't good enough and have to think about other ways of defending.  Maybe try standard defensive line and lower line of engagement - and at least up the pressing via TI's of some of the midfield 4 and strikers.  If you are shipping goals of the same type, then you need to think how to address this.  You are narrow - so I would assume crosses to a winger/inverted winger at the far post are an issue?  Perhaps normal might be better in that case.  If long shots are an issue, you could try the CD-Stopper / CD-Cover combo option, as long as one of your CD's has enough pace.

Again as noted above, attacking wise, I think as you're playing with a balanced mentality, you can be a little more aggressive with your duties.  I tend to have one winger on attack and then on the other side an inverted winger on support - the full back on that side is set to attacking to overlap into the space created.  The way you are set up, I would have the inverted winger/attacking full back combo on the right, so your BWM can provide some cover vs counter attacks.

I would also look at your front pairing.  Both are very high up the pitch.  As you are going more direct, I would recommend a Target Man on Support with an AF or Poacher.  I've been using a TM-Su recently and have been impressed with the movement, coming deep to receive, hold up play as well as being there for the more direct balls.  I would have the TM as the right sided striker - he can hold up and then involve the full back, inverted winger, or inside to your CM-Su - or an out ball to your BWM.

I've been in your situation in the lower leagues and getting promotion.  It's easy to retreat into your shell too much - but the result will tend to be you are sitting deep and basically looking for a point or a 1-0 win with a long ball counter.  The trouble is, you aren't as good as the oppo, so clean sheets aren't the norm - so you have to be brave and be a little less passive defensively and give yourself greater options as an attacking force.

Good luck, and keep us updated!

I'm going to take a look at the line of engagement and defensive line as i see why it isn't helping. the only goals i concede of the same type are the long shots more than anything, goals from the wings haven't been a problem at all, i'm going to look at upping the pressing intensity, i haven't tried the different CB combo before but if it would help defend long shots then im going to try it out.

I have tried a target man briefly but didn't see it was helping at all but it could have been because of all the issues elsewhere, it was also hard to find a decent TM there were no good ones for my level available, at least not that i could find. my strikers are pretty much the best i can get my hands on playing in their best roles. I'm going to get back on now and  just go back to the drawing board and see what i can do, I will give some of these different roles a go and see what happens.

thanks   

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8 minutes ago, mbar8t6 said:

I always see how LLM tactics need to be basic with as few instructions as possible so maybe I've gone to the extreme a little.

Not necessarily.  I've had some success playing with Hyde in the Vanarama North, utilizing a standard 442, and my TIs (Balanced mentality) are limited to "Play Wider" and "Counter".  

I see where you're going with trying to deal with getting overrun.  In those cases, where the opposition is dominating possession and getting quality shots off from outside the box I'll modify TIs by:

1.  Lower LOE

2.  Increased Pressing

3.  Lower DL (sometimes, if there's evidence they're finding space behind the defense)

4.  Regroup (sometimes, especially if I've done the above but they're still finding space after a turnover because my players are too out of position)

The idea here being that if they're going to dominate possession we'll let them have it, but once they get too close we'll press hard so as to disrupt them.

Interestingly, if I've done the above and we're not doing anything with the ball when we get it, I'll switch the mentality to Positive (as opposed to Cautious).  This will encourage more players forward when we do get the ball, increasing the chance we can actually do something with it.  I found when I was switching to Cautious that it just became an endless series of:  allow them to probe -> take ball away -> toss it up front to one of the strikers -> lose the ball -> allow them to probe, etc....

Also, replace the BWM with a CM-D.  Part of the problem you're describing is because the BWM is routinely vacating the area from where they're taking their high-quality shots.  The CM-D will gum up that area and force them to try other things.

For what it's worth, here's my roles & duties, focused heavily on creating "pairs" of players all over the pitch:

DLF-S  AF-A

IW-A  CM-D  CM-S  W-S

FB-S  CD-D  CD-D  FB-A

GK-D

We mostly attack via the flanks (though the DLF and two CMs can create a nice Triangle of Doom that can end up freeing someone up for a good shot if the opposition defense gets frustrated and out of position).

On the left the IW will drive into the space the DLF has vacated for either his own shot or one for the AF.  If he loses the ball, I've got the DLF, CM-D and FB-S to clean up.

On the right the W & FB work to get their opposing counterparts out of position and then get in some sort of cross for either of the strikers (or even the IW, unmarked at the back post!) to put away.

In defense it all sort of collapses into two solid banks of four with the DLF providing some harrying in midfield.

It might not work in the EPL, but it's been decent in LL so far.  Hope that helps! 

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39 minutes ago, mbar8t6 said:

maybe one thing I'm guilty of is trying to make my team do to little,

Keeping things simple can be a good thing for lower league sides. Players tend not to be well rounded or particularly good, so they will struggle can struggle if you ask them to do complicated things. In fact I find that keeping things simple is better all the way through the pyramid. Too much complication makes it very hard to understand when things are not working.

40 minutes ago, mbar8t6 said:

i didn't want to over load my team with attack duties and start adding them at CM and leaving myself exposed when we lose the ball further up the pitch,

Football is about balancing risk and security. Right now you are on the side of extreme caution. You are right to say you do not want to go the other way either, as scoring 3 goals a game does not matter if you concede 5. Finding that balance is the important thing. And you always have to keep in mind that the balance will be different for different teams, for different players, and even when playing different sides. You will play safer against title challengers than you would against relegation fodder, for instance.

 

42 minutes ago, mbar8t6 said:

1. in the first season i used the route one tactic and just modified a few things, i had a BBM and a CM(s), i did use no-nonsense roles in defence for a time,but only because it was the players best roles same striker roles but both my strikers scored 20+ league goals each, i don't think i have the tactic saved and it evolved over time so i can't remember all the instructions.

A BBM would do you the world of good I think. A player who is willing to get forward to help out the attack, but who also will get back and defend in the center of the field is a good thing to have. No nonsense CBs will also probably help you in your current tactic as it is. They tend to just lump the ball forward as soon as they get it (without any aim). Since you have two strikers, and are inviting the AI on to you, your strikers will probably have a lot of space to chase those long clearances. You are set up as a long ball team with the two attack duties up front.

45 minutes ago, mbar8t6 said:

2. I actually need to check this again, we were pretty average at the start but I've changed quite a few players so i'm going to look again when i log on after this.

If your players are just not as good as those around you, then struggling is normal. Tactics can only get you so far. I am not saying it is a lost cause, because you can extract the maximum from players and overachieve. But for your side overachieve could even just be avoiding relegation. While we all always want to have huge success and win most games, it is important to remind yourself of your actual goals (not saying you have too high goals, just a general comment, I have to do it to myself all the time).

47 minutes ago, mbar8t6 said:

I don't really know with the current players i have,

This is something I would work out. You can have an ultimate goal, but if you do not have a clear idea of how you think your current players can succeed, it will always be difficult to translate a tactic into success. When I am working with a new side (particularly one where I cannot play how I ultimately want to), I try to work out what my players can do, and then what I need them to do. For example, if I have a striker with 16 for pace (which is huge at your level), I am going to try to feed him balls into space to chase. Or if I have a striker with high jumping reach and heading, I will try to get the ball on his head as often as possible. Even a midfielder with good long shots would encourage me to get him to try to shoot often. It can be easier to create mismatches at lower levels, because a player who can do multiple things is very rare.

So let's assume you will stick to route one football (which is underrepresented here anyway). There are a few things I would change about your tactic.

1. I would have a striker who dropped deeper to pick up the ball and initiate counter attacks, and the second striker being more aggressive and running to space. A classic target man - poacher combination could do this (assuming you have players capable of doing this). I play counter attacking from a single striker formation where I used a DLF(A), for instance, and it works because he drops a little deeper when we are out of possession, but looks to attack when we win it back.

2. One or two players from midfield getting forward to support these forwards during a counter. Your second wave of attackers who are running into the space the AI has left before they have got back into position. A W(A) and a BBM (on opposite sides), for instance, will provide this kind of support. Plenty of other roles would suit as well, it depends on the players you have. The BWM(D) you currently have would serve as cover, and then you can use the other wide player as a support player. A WM(S), for instance, could provide a little extra central protection.

3. In defense, you can go one of two ways really. You can keep the 4 defend duties to stay in shape at the back. This should limit the damage counter attacks of the AI can do if you lose the ball during your own attacks. You will have support for your strikers. This would be suitable when you are not confident, or looking mainly to not concede. Or you can put one FB to attack, to provide another body when you attack (probably the opposite side to the attack duty in midfield. It is riskier, but you can use it when you are not worried about conceding, or conceding simply does not matter.

4. Stop the AI from having too much time on the ball. You could get rid of regroup (so some players chase a bit), or raise the LOE, or use opposition instructions to target certain positions. You could also tell both your forwards to close down more so they are not so passive when you defend. I mean when outnumbered in midfield you could even get the striker to man mark a midfielder. It will draw him from position, but it gives an extra defensive body and will leave this striker in a better position to receive the ball and start a counter attack. Mostly this is to stop so many long shots going in, because in general you will still want to invite the AI to attack you so you can counter attack them. You just want to be a little less pourous.

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Ok I’ve got so much stuff to take in here and try to digest, I’m going to get back and try to change some stuff up and see what I can come up with, I’ve only got 7 games to go until the end of the season so at least I can go out and target some more specialised players for certain roles which I just don’t have at the moment, I’ll come back and post my changes and give an update on how things are going 

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Ok so I thought I only had 7 games left but it was actually 11, didn’t realise the season was longer. But it still seemed no matter what I try we concede goals the same way with a 442. I set more aggressive closing down, tried it both player instructions and team instructions but my players still just don’t do enough, I don’t feel they close down fast enough or make any effort to win the ball back. Tried various CM roles but I don’t have ideal players for some of them. I switched over to a control possession 4141 dm wide and strolled through our last few games of the season. I would switch to 4141 dm wise more permanently for next season but I always end up with the issue of my strikers don’t score when I’ve used it previously. I’m not sure how to prepare for next season now I don’t want to go out looking for certain player types if it’s still just going to set me up to fail. Besides my club is skint and it’s a struggle to pay what most better players want. Maybe LLM just isn’t my thing 😂 

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OK so 7 games or so into the new season, won 3 of the first 4 then its been draws and a few draws in the cup too, i'm still running into the same problems, the long shots are just ridiculous at this point, its every game without fail and no matter how i try to press or use the defensive line we are always vulnerable to long shots. Balls over or straight through my defence have been an issue too. funny thing is my team never create these kind of chances yet even with worse players the AI score so easily. a few games we have created some good chances but struggled to convert them but for the most part creating chances is seeming difficult. media prediction is 4th for this season so we should be right up there winning games, in the player stat comparison tab thing my players are well above average for the most part. I will post a pic of how it looks now and some of the players the star rating deem to be 2-2.5 star. i'm not to sure about good players for my level but I've got the best i can get, finding rounded players is near impossible and these are the best i can get.

edit; i should add that I've tried other things like lower LOE and different pressing settings, team on standard but Pi's telling midfielders and strikers to be more urgent but it doesn't seem any different at all, for my liking i still don't feel mt players do enough and are too passive defensively.

I don't want to be a long ball team if i can help it or a short passing possession team, just somewhere in between so we can pass the ball around a bit but also be direct enough to score with one defence splitting pass or 3 quick passes

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Edited by mbar8t6

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I know that feeling....  :(  A few ideas:

1.  It might just be a slump.  I wouldn't panic yet.  

2.  Consider trying your Poacher as an AF and see if he contributes more.

3.  How new are the two centre backs and the CM-D?  Sometimes I find the long shot thing comes from a this group not acting as a team in terms of closing down, which is mainly due to lack of playing time together.

4.  Your keeper's stats for Reflexes, Anticipation and Agility are terrible.  With those stats, I can definitely see occasions where a long shot is taken, he might be unsighted for a bit of it, but once he sees the ball he just doesn't have the reaction time or ability to get to it.  

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Hey. I thinki I can help. I'm currently doing a San Marino save with only academy products (no signings.) First season was a nightmare until I put together a really solid counter attacking strategy. But beware, a strategy that focuses on soaking up pressure then hitting on the break relies on the opposition creating your attacking opportunities so there is a lot of in-match micro management. Even then, I still rely on my players being clinical and theirs having an off-day- as well as set pieces. 

16 hours ago, mbar8t6 said:

my players still just don’t do enough

This. I originally had a strategy that focused on imposing my style of play but even though there was nothing wrong with the tactic my players couldn't do it because the opposition was just so much better.

First of all, I'd develop a plan B tactic for when you need to win against opposition similar to yourselves (relegation battlers etc) or to use late in games-- if you're two nil down with 20 minutes to go, your main counter attacking strategy isn't going to do much for you. I'd just lift @flere-imsaho tactic for your plan B. Also train attacking set-pieces every game. 

I use a 41221 but you can adapt the principles to your 442:

                                        GK

               DFB          CB           CB          FBd

                                          A

                             RCM*        BWM

                 Ws                                          Ws

                                         S*

Team instuctions: Stick to Positions, Be More Disciplined, Stay on Feet. 

Very Rigid/ Counter

Ok, starting with the TI's-- I don't want my players leaving their positions because that leaves space for the opposition--keep men behind the ball. I also don't want dribbling in their own half or whatever- so discipline. Staying on Feet is used because there are a lot of times where the opposition will work the ball right into my box-- I don't want to give away penalties or dangerous free-kicks- this is essential because when I fustrate the opposition, they will use dribbling or working the ball in the box to break me down. 

You notice there are two positions with *. These are the two positions I adapt depending on the opponents tactics. I look at the opponent's deepest lying midfielder. If he sits in front of the centre-backs like DLPd, BWMd or CMd does then my striker is a TMa or Poacher with my RCM a CMs. My entire strategy relies on my midfield being able to find my striker from deep- a sitting central midfielder will intercept those balls which means I should look to play over him.

If the opponent's deepest lying midfielder is joining the attack-- I guess on some type of support duty- I use a TMs with my RCM a CMa because there is space for my target man to collect the ball in front of the defense. My RCM can make a lungbursting run from deep to get in behind. This switcheroo is where I win most of my points. If I successfully fustrate the opposition for long enough, 9 times out of 10 they will push their holding midfielder forward to overload me. I can exploit that space ruthlessly. 

Everything else in my tactic stays the same. I need wingers on support at all times to provide cover for my fullbacks who are also very deep--putting either one on attack is suicide because I'm sitting deep and not pressing the ball. I'm experimenting with adjusting the Anchor man to a DMs for some formations I struggle with but no big results yet. 

Now for your tactic here's a few things to experiment with keeping the fullbacks on defend.

First of all, try both wide men as supporting wide midfielders not wingers. You need cover in centre of the pitch and for your fullbacks. I use wingers in my 41221 because I have a DM. That means if there is space or an overload in the wide areas my CM's can get across to help out without opening up space in the middle of the pitch because my DM got it covered. Also, if my fullbacks must leave their positions to close down a winger-- my DM can drop into defence. You don't have this security in a 442. 

Your two central midfielders should be one defend duty and one support duty. In my (limited) experience of a 442 the adaptable role in that midfield is the defending one. Against some opponents he is best sitting in front of the defence, against others he may be better off on a support duty to limit the opposition midfield's time on/ space on the ball. Hint--When you get this wrong you'll see your supporting midfielder next to him get pulled all over the pitch.

Your strikers are the most important part of your tactic. Right now, one (the advanced forward) is going to sit on the shoulder and also run into wide positions. The other is sitting on the shoulder. You don't have runners from deep, so there's not much point in having the advanced forward run wide. I'd get roles that both play close together so you have an attacking partnership up there. Maybe TMs/ DLPs and a Poacher. Your adaptable role up front is the TMs. Against some formations you might want to put him on an attacking duty--when the space is in behind ;)- against others you want him on support to link the midfield to your poacher. You may even need to swap the positions round depending on which side the opponents sitting midfielder is. 

Team instructions-- I can see exploit left and right flank, clear ball to flanks and hit early crosses working quite well here. 

This is an essay, lol. I'm looking forward to seeing what your result is--post the tactic after because I could use a counter-attacking 442 as a plan C definitely.

 

 

 

Edited by Guerin

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Just to add-- Bear in mind that with a strategy like this I rely on the oppenent attacking me and my strikers being clinical. The opposition will (nearly) always make a half chance, or score a long shot, or win a peno, or score a set-piece so you have to accept dropping points sometimes. If the opponent decides not to attack you at all, it's time for plan B.

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24 minutes ago, flere-imsaho said:

I know that feeling....  :(  A few ideas:

1.  It might just be a slump.  I wouldn't panic yet.  

2.  Consider trying your Poacher as an AF and see if he contributes more.

3.  How new are the two centre backs and the CM-D?  Sometimes I find the long shot thing comes from a this group not acting as a team in terms of closing down, which is mainly due to lack of playing time together.

4.  Your keeper's stats for Reflexes, Anticipation and Agility are terrible.  With those stats, I can definitely see occasions where a long shot is taken, he might be unsighted for a bit of it, but once he sees the ball he just doesn't have the reaction time or ability to get to it.  

I will give it more time, the CBs are new signings and the cm-d came in late last season. 

I better find a new keeper then :lol:

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13 minutes ago, Guerin said:

Hey. I thinki I can help. I'm currently doing a San Marino save with only academy products (no signings.) First season was a nightmare until I put together a really solid counter attacking strategy. But beware, a strategy that focuses on soaking up pressure then hitting on the break relies on the opposition creating your attacking opportunities so there is a lot of in-match micro management. Even then, I still rely on my players being clinical and theirs having an off-day- as well as set pieces. 

This. I originally had a strategy that focused on imposing my style of play but even though there was nothing wrong with the tactic my players couldn't do it because the opposition was just so much better.

First of all, I'd develop a plan B tactic for when you need to win against opposition similar to yourselves (relegation battlers etc) or to use late in games-- if you're two nil down with 20 minutes to go, your main counter attacking strategy isn't going to do much for you. I'd just lift @flere-imsaho tactic for your plan B. Also train attacking set-pieces every game. 

I use a 41221 but you can adapt the principles to your 442:

                                        GK

               DFB          CB           CB          FBd

                                          A

                             RCM*        BWM

                 Ws                                          Ws

                                         S*

Team instuctions: Stick to Positions, Be More Disciplined, Stay on Feet. 

Very Rigid/ Counter

Ok, starting with the TI's-- I don't want my players leaving their positions because that leaves space for the opposition--keep men behind the ball. I also don't want dribbling in their own half or whatever- so discipline. Staying on Feet is used because there are a lot of times where the opposition will work the ball right into my box-- I don't want to give away penalties or dangerous free-kicks- this is essential because when I fustrate the opposition, they will use dribbling or working the ball in the box to break me down. 

You notice there are two positions with *. These are the two positions I adapt depending on the opponents tactics. I look at the opponent's deepest lying midfielder. If he sits in front of the centre-backs like DLPd, BWMd or CMd does then my striker is a TMa or Poacher with my RCM a CMs. My entire strategy relies on my midfield being able to find my striker from deep- a sitting central midfielder will intercept those balls which means I should look to play over him.

If the opponent's deepest lying midfielder is joining the attack-- I guess on some type of support duty- I use a TMs with my RCM a CMa because there is space for my target man to collect the ball in front of the defense. My RCM can make a lungbursting run from deep to get in behind. This switcheroo is where I win most of my points. If I successfully fustrate the opposition for long enough, 9 times out of 10 they will push their holding midfielder forward to overload me. I can exploit that space ruthlessly. 

Everything else in my tactic stays the same. I need wingers on support at all times to provide cover for my fullbacks who are also very deep--putting either one on attack is suicide because I'm sitting deep and not pressing the ball. I'm experimenting with adjusting the Anchor man to a DMs for some formations I struggle with but no big results yet. 

Now for your tactic here's a few things to experiment with.

First of all, try both wide men as supporting wide midfielders not wingers. You need cover in centre of the pitch and for your fullbacks. I use wingers in my 41221 because I have a DM. That means if there is space or an overload in the wide areas my CM's can get across to help out without opening up space in the middle of the pitch because my DM got it covered. Also, if my fullbacks must leave their positions to close down a winger-- my DM can drop into defence. You don't have this security in a 442. 

Your two central midfielders should be one defend duty and one support duty. In my (limited) experience of a 442 the adaptable role in that midfield is the defending one. Against some opponents he is best sitting in front of the defence, against others he may be better off on a support duty to limit the opposition midfield's time on/ space on the ball. Hint--When you get this wrong you'll see your supporting midfielder next to him get pulled all over the pitch.

Your strikers are the most important part of your tactic. Right now, one (the advanced forward) is going to sit on the shoulder and also run into wide positions. The other is sitting on the shoulder. You don't have runners from deep, so there's not much point in having the advanced forward run wide. I'd get roles that both play close together so you have an attacking partnership up there. Maybe TMs/ DLPs and a Poacher. Your adaptable role up front is the TMs. Against some formations you might want to put him on an attacking duty--when the space is in behind ;)- against others you want him on support to link the midfield to your poacher. You may even need to swap the positions round depending on which side the opponents sitting midfielder is. 

Team instructions-- I can see exploit left and right flank, clear ball to flanks and hit early crosses working quite well here. 

This is an essay, lol. I'm looking forward to seeing what your result is--post the tactic after because I could use a counter-attacking 442 as a plan C definitely.

 

 

 

thanks for this, looks really well thought out. I will let my system play out a while longer and see if anything starts to click a bit more but if nothing changes then i will come back to this and try to set something up and give it a whirl

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Thanks. I just saw your media prediction is 4th which means the majority of the league is going to be trying to counter-attack you! In which case, you'll be much better off having a more positive strategy as your Plan A, and a counter-attacking strategy as a plan B for using late in games once you already have the lead (or in the cups!)

Edited by Guerin

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41 minutes ago, Guerin said:

Thanks. I just saw your media prediction is 4th which means the majority of the league is going to be trying to counter-attack you! In which case, you'll be much better off having a more positive strategy as your Plan A, and a counter-attacking strategy as a plan B for using late in games once you already have the lead (or in the cups!)

I’m trying to play positive at the moment but even in games I dominate I can’t create good chances and end up losing from the ball over the top or a free kick. Never really set up a decent counter attack system before but I’ll give it a go. I think part of my issue is I can’t get players any better than I already have. My club is in debt and I can’t pay the wages for real quality players so it’s almost like there’s no way I can improve 

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1 hour ago, mbar8t6 said:

My club is in debt and I can’t pay the wages for real quality players so it’s almost like there’s no way I can improve

Sounds like you need a promotion. 

 

1 hour ago, mbar8t6 said:

even in games I dominate I can’t create good chances and end up losing from the ball over the top or a free kick.

As an Arsenal fan under the Wenger years this would happen all the time. Teams sitting deep while we dominate possession, then a hopeful ball over the top and bam- 1 nil down. Rinse and repeat. The best modern managers actually avoid that kind of possession football now- where you try to create space in front of the penalty box and work your way in. Pep and Klopp both use faster transition football with the focus on getting the ball into the channels behind the defence for cut backs. If you play on the front foot, you will always be susceptible to long-balls over the top-. I'd say you're better off focusing on incisive attacking play than worrying about the long-balls, get that right and they won't matter so much.  Some of your players creating space by moving during build up, others moving into the spaces they make--partnerships basically.

For what its worth, this is my Plan B tactic when I need to (or believe I can) win the game with San Marino. 

                                   SK

         FBd          CB           CB            WBs 

                                 DMd

                      APs               BBM

          Ws                                             IFa

                                DLFs

I haven't really tweaked it so there is still alot to do but might be worth a try. The SK can hopefully help out a bit with the long balls. 

EDIT: Just to add. The hardest formation I come up against with a counter attacking strategy is 4231 with two DMs. Whenever the opponent sets up like this I really struggle. In the match engine looks like they are both on support duties or perhaps the opposition is playing super high line. Either way they both tend to hold position creating a little box between the two DM's and the CB's with my striker slap bang in the middle. They often carve me up attacking wise and give away few chances on the counter.

Edited by Guerin

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Just a quick point, everyone says with a high-line you need fast intelligent centre backs but if you put a stop to the balls being played over the top of the line in the first place, you'll have nothing to worry about. You never see it happen to the likes of Liverpool because they don't give the time to the opponent to pick out the pass 

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24 minutes ago, Guerin said:

I'd say you're better off focusing on incisive attacking play than worrying about the long-balls, get that right and they won't matter so much.  Some of your players creating space by moving during build up, others moving into the spaces they make--partnerships basically.

This is what I want but I don’t know how to make it happen, I’m getting tempted to ditch the 442 and play 41221 style but it’s never been a good system for me, I can’t ever get a striker scoring goals regularly enough, I probably have the right players to do it now but I’m not sure on my strikers 

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1 hour ago, Johnny Ace said:

You never see it happen to the likes of Liverpool because they don't give the time to the opponent to pick out the pass

Almost never ;) 

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4 hours ago, mbar8t6 said:

This is what I want but I don’t know how to make it happen, I’m getting tempted to ditch the 442 and play 41221 style but it’s never been a good system for me, I can’t ever get a striker scoring goals regularly enough, I probably have the right players to do it now but I’m not sure on my strikers 

It's up to you. If you're sticking with the 442 I'd suggest going very attacking from the outset. In my opinion, you get the most from a 442 by moving the ball really quickly and just blitzing the opposition--that's not to say you can't make a possession 442, but the shape lends itself better to higher tempo attacking than patient buildup. If you're going 5 man midfield, start from the striker- is he a poacher, an advanced fwd, a target man etc and work your way down from there. Any striking role can work in any shape- its just a case of picking one and sticking with it until you find the right supporting cast. Simple things an attacking striker will need is someone to feed him through balls or risky passes, a supporting striker needs the opposite, someone from wide or midfield to overlap him and get into the box when he drifts out of position. Add the ti's once you've got all the roles and duties right. Again it depends on the players you have. If you have a lethal striker build a setup around making him chances. Striker doesn't have to be the main scorer tho- Firminho doesn't score many but Mane and Salah do because of him.

I had a lot of success in LLM by using a 4231 shape which steadily changed to a 41221 as I moved up the leagues. At the lower levels I find the opposition has less ability to exploit the weaknesses of the 4231 whereas in the prem they show no mercy.

EDIT: had a quick peek at your strikers. Neither of them are aggressive enough for a 442 in my opinion. Josh boorn has a really low work-rate. too low for a 442. Boorn's movement is great tho. I'd put him up top as a poacher and make a 5 man midfield to supply him with the bullets.

Edited by Guerin

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