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I've created a very basic 4-4-2 which works well at lower levels in England. It has helped me win the National North with York, finish third in the same league with Alfreton, win automatic promotion from League Two with Walsall and win the Championship comfortably with Leeds.

It does the things I hoped it would do: it's defensively solid, keeps my teams well down the bookings table (which I struggle with when trying to operate the high press in other tactical set-ups) and gives me enough goals to be challenging at the right end of the table if I have a good enough side. It does less well with clubs predicted to struggle, but still well enough to steer them clear of the drop and buy me the time to build a team with which the system can be a success.

That is until I tested it in the Premier League. I've been sacked before Christmas with Arsenal, Leicester and Newcastle using this system. My initial thoughts are that perhaps it's just too simple a system for that level and I'm being out-thought by the better coaches in the game. That a basic system such as mine is just too vulnerable to top flight teams with more numbers in midfield (in a wide 4-1-4-1, or 4-2-3-1) or attacking full/wing backs creating overloads in key areas (such as an aggressive 3-4-3 or 3-2-3-2). But I'm not just being beaten by top sides. I am losing to the less fashionable, less sophisticated teams too.

I can't provide a screenshot from where I am, but this is the shape and roles:

GK (d)

 

DR(s)

DL(s)

CD (d)

CD (d)

 

W(a)

W(l)

CM(d)

DLP(s)

 

DLF(s)

ADF(a)

My instructions are few:

- Positive mentality

- Short passing

- Quicker tempo

- Regroup

- Hold shape

I'm stumped as to an answer to this; hence my post. Happy for people to be as brutal as necessary!

 

 

 

 

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My guess would be that opposition players with Premier League skill find it easy operate in between your static lines. Think about someone like James Madison or Ozil (ok not him) sitting between your back 4 and midfield 4 and causing havoc. Who picks them up? Do midfield drop back and concede space or to defence push up and allow passes to be sprayed around? That's the reason why 4-4-2 has gone out of fashion in real life.

If was you I'd switch the midfield 4 to a diamond. A dedicated DM will stop what I describe above and an attacking midfielder will make it difficult for the opposition. 

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4 hours ago, Major Bantz said:

My guess would be that opposition players with Premier League skill find it easy operate in between your static lines. Think about someone like James Madison or Ozil (ok not him) sitting between your back 4 and midfield 4 and causing havoc. Who picks them up? Do midfield drop back and concede space or to defence push up and allow passes to be sprayed around? That's the reason why 4-4-2 has gone out of fashion in real life.

If was you I'd switch the midfield 4 to a diamond. A dedicated DM will stop what I describe above and an attacking midfielder will make it difficult for the opposition. 

He is playing with 2 holding midfielders so really attacking midfielders shouldn't be a problem.

But you are right the 3v2 in the centre is a problem but not one that can't be dealt with.

For example instead of using wingers wide midfielders can tuck inside.

Alternatively the full backs become defensive midfielders as IWB players.

Fortunately as well we can change line of engagement. By reducing line of engagement we can make gaps between lines smaller whilst also encouraging the opposition to come forwards, which is something an F9 could exploit if the AI does not use a defend duty DM

In attack the F9 or PFs or PFd can offer more support in midfield.

Roles and duties can totally change the shape of the formation!

Edited by permanentquandary

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11 hours ago, funnylittlefrog said:

DR(s)

DL(s)

I see that both FBs are on support duty, but which role (or roles)? 

 

11 hours ago, funnylittlefrog said:

W(a)

W(l)

CM(d)

DLP(s)

 

DLF(s)

ADF(a)

I guess it means this:

AF   DLFsu

 

W??   DLPsu   CMde   Wat

Or not?

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19 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

I see that both FBs are on support duty, but which role (or roles)? 

 

I guess it means this:

AF   DLFsu

 

W??   DLPsu   CMde   Wat

Or not?

Sorry, clumsy typing. Full backs are in full back roles, both wide men are wingers with attacking duties.

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9 minutes ago, funnylittlefrog said:

Full backs are in full back roles, both wide men are wingers with attacking duties

Okay, so this is your setup (from left to right):

AF    DLFsu

Wat    DLPsu   CMde    Wat

FBsu   CDde  CDde   FBsu

GKde

Right?

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10 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Okay, so this is your setup (from left to right):

AF    DLFsu

Wat    DLPsu   CMde    Wat

FBsu   CDde  CDde   FBsu

GKde

Right?

Other than the striker and central midfield positions being reversed, yep.

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Well I can’t see anything wrong with your defensive shape. That’s why I believe your TI are tricky.

maybe you can get passing tempo down a notch that you won’t lose the ball to quickly and get into a counter attack. Also I would drop LOA and DL to standard because then you‘d have less space in the back for opponent counters and more space in the front for your own attacks.

if you want to keep your play high up the pitch I would give your team a backup in DM position. But also would go with passing tempo one or two notches down.

attack wise maybe your team is to easy to adapt because left and right wing are operating the same sheme. Maybe put one W on IWs and the FB behind in FBa duty for natural overlaps. With a DM for security it could work well. In a flat 442 you could set a MCd on this side for defensive support. 
 

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2 hours ago, funnylittlefrog said:

Other than the striker and central midfield positions being reversed, yep

So DLF is left, and AF is right. And CMde is MCL, and DLP is MCR. Okay: 

DLFsu   AF

Wat   CMde   DLPsu   Wat

FBsu   CDde   CDde   FBsu

GKde

The first thing is - one-dimensional flanks, i.e. no variety in attacks from wide areas.

Another potential issue regarding the flanks is more of a defensive nature - not only that you play both wide mids on attack duty, but also in a fairly attack-minded role (winger). This can leave your flanks overly exposed in defense, especially considering the high-risk team mentality (Positive). 

Therefore, taking both observations concerning your flanks - one-dimensionality and defensive exposure - here is an example of how you can get more variety in attack and more stability in defense:

DLFsu   AF

IWsu   CMde   DLPsu   WMsu

FBat   CDde   CDde     WBsu

On 14/01/2020 at 12:55, funnylittlefrog said:

My instructions are few:

- Positive mentality

- Short passing

- Quicker tempo

- Regroup

- Hold shape

Okay, can you first explain the exact reasoning behind the "Hold shape" TI, especially in relation to higher (quicker) tempo?

What style/type of football do you want to play?

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1 hour ago, Experienced Defender said:

So DLF is left, and AF is right. And CMde is MCL, and DLP is MCR. Okay: 

DLFsu   AF

Wat   CMde   DLPsu   Wat

FBsu   CDde   CDde   FBsu

GKde

The first thing is - one-dimensional flanks, i.e. no variety in attacks from wide areas.

Another potential issue regarding the flanks is more of a defensive nature - not only that you play both wide mids on attack duty, but also in a fairly attack-minded role (winger). This can leave your flanks overly exposed in defense, especially considering the high-risk team mentality (Positive). 

Therefore, taking both observations concerning your flanks - one-dimensionality and defensive exposure - here is an example of how you can get more variety in attack and more stability in defense:

DLFsu   AF

IWsu   CMde   DLPsu   WMsu

FBat   CDde   CDde     WBsu

Okay, can you first explain the exact reasoning behind the "Hold shape" TI, especially in relation to higher (quicker) tempo?

What style/type of football do you want to play?

The 'hold shape' TI was chosen on the basis that it might defensive solidity in that we'd keep our shape. Ideally I'd like to see an attractive counter-attacking style. I like fast, short passing, but recognise it's difficult to implement well. I was trying to replicate a counter attacking style without the counter TI selected, to help with defensive solidity as that's where I normally struggle with a 4-4-2.

Thank you for your help so far.

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442 is fine in the current ME, unless you're playing against a much better team in which case having an extra midfielder might be helpful.

Whilst you say your problem is you're conceding too much, a quick look at this formation suggests you're not going to create enough chances to outscore them, which might be a bigger issue because you're unlikely to keep clean sheets every game in a high tempo 442, especially not with those sides. My guess is that at lower levels you score a lot of goals through simple balls to the advanced forward, or your wingers getting lots of space out wide and their defenders not dealing with crosses properly and they couldn't win the ball back easily from those types of attacks or break down your structured shape, and none of those apply in the Premier League. Also, now you're in the Premier League, your players should be fit and quick enough to counter press and press for 90 mins...

You basically only have two strikers making runs into the penalty area [and whilst an AF/DLF pairing is complete logical I'm not sure the DLF is that effective in the current match engine], your wingers stay wide, your centre mids stay back and you've also instructed them not to counter  or leave their positions. It's pretty predictable to defend against. I'd want one of your wide players cutting inside and one of your midfielders getting forward and lose the hold shape. If you're worried about being outnumbered in midfield, invert one or both of the fullbacks. 

 

 

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52 minutes ago, funnylittlefrog said:

The 'hold shape' TI was chosen on the basis that it might defensive solidity in that we'd keep our shape. Ideally I'd like to see an attractive counter-attacking style

Well, precisely because of that - an attractive counter-attacking style - the Hold shape makes no sense. Hold shape makes sense in slow and patient possession styles, but even then is not always necessary.

Sometimes you can situationally use the Hold shape as a defensive strategy toward the end of a match when you have a result you are satisfied with (a narrow lead, for example) and just want to keep the ball to see out the game (in such cases, the Hold shape is usually used together with Waste time sometimes/frequently and Play for set pieces). 

For defensive solidity, you can use the Regroup (which you already do), but even Regroup may not be always necessary. You basically create solid defensive shape primarily through good compactness (the distance between DL and LOE) and well-balanced setup of roles and duties. Without that, the Regroup alone is not going to help much. 

Now, as you said you want a counter-attacking style, these are instructions I would recommend you start with if you play on the Positive team mentality:

In possession - higher tempo and shorter or standard passing

In transtion - counter (and sometimes regroup)

Out of possession - standard DL, lower LOE (and get stuck in as an option)

So this is a starting point for a good counter-attacking tactic. Then you can make small gradual tweaks to get it closer to the specific type of counter-attacking football you want to implement (simple and direct or more fluid and attractive). 

If you need more suggestions on that, please let me know :thup: 

1 hour ago, funnylittlefrog said:

I was trying to replicate a counter attacking style without the counter TI selected, to help with defensive solidity as that's where I normally struggle with a 4-4-2

Okay, you can achieve a counter-attacking style without the Counter TI, but certainly not with the Hold shape. So the Hold shape is not a good idea in terms of what you want anyway. 

Also, if you want a counter-attacking style using a 442, then it's advisable to have both strikers on attack duties, but in different and mutually complementary roles. On the other hand, you don't need an attack duty in your midfield (unless you play on a lower team mentality such as cautious or defensive).

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On 14/01/2020 at 11:55, funnylittlefrog said:

Eu criei um 4-4-2 muito básico, que funciona bem em níveis mais baixos na Inglaterra. Isso me ajudou a vencer o National North com York, terminar em terceiro na mesma liga com Alfreton, ganhar a promoção automática da League Two com Walsall e vencer o campeonato confortavelmente com Leeds.

Ele faz as coisas que eu esperava que fizessem: é defensivamente sólido, mantém minhas equipes bem abaixo da tabela de reservas (com as quais luto ao tentar operar a imprensa alta em outras configurações táticas) e me dá objetivos suficientes para ser desafiador. do lado direito da mesa, se eu tiver um lado bom o suficiente. Ele se sai menos bem com os clubes previstos para lutar, mas ainda assim o suficiente para afastá-los da queda e me dar tempo para formar uma equipe com a qual o sistema possa ser um sucesso.

Isso até que eu testei na Premier League. Fui demitido antes do Natal com o Arsenal, Leicester e Newcastle usando este sistema. Meu pensamento inicial é que talvez seja um sistema simples demais para esse nível e estou sendo superado pelos melhores treinadores do jogo. Que um sistema básico como o meu é vulnerável demais às principais equipes de vôo com mais números no meio-campo (em um amplo 4-1-4-1 ou 4-2-3-1) ou atacando as laterais / laterais criando sobrecargas áreas-chave (como um agressivo 3-4-3 ou 3-2-3-2). Mas não estou apenas sendo derrotado pelos lados de cima. Também estou perdendo para as equipes menos elegantes e menos sofisticadas.

Não posso fornecer uma captura de tela de onde estou, mas esta é a forma e os papéis:

GK (d)

 

DR (s)

DL (s)

CD (d)

CD (d)

 

W (a)

W (l)

CM (d)

DLP (s)

 

DLF (s)

ADF (a)

Minhas instruções são poucas:

- Mentalidade positiva

- Passagem curta

- Tempo mais rápido

- Reagrupar

- Mantenha a forma

Estou perplexo quanto a uma resposta para isso; daqui meu post. Feliz por as pessoas serem tão brutais quanto necessário!

 

 

 

 




 
It makes no sense to use positive mentality if you want a counter attack style...

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10 hours ago, Kripster said:


 

It makes no sense to use positive mentality if you want a counter attack style...

Can you please explain this claim?

Because it is absolutely possible to play a counter style on higher mentalities, including the Positive, which has been proven a number of times. If you don't believe me, you can ask @Rashidi for example as a top-class FM tactician.

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@Experienced Defender

Hi. Would you suggest any changes to the recent tactic you suggested if I was playing with a CM(s) or a non-holding role next to the CM(d)?

 Thanks. :)

"DLFsu   AF

IWsu   CMde   DLPsu   WMsu

FBat   CDde   CDde     WBsu"

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1 hour ago, 3LionsFM said:

@Experienced Defender

Hi. Would you suggest any changes to the recent tactic you suggested if I was playing with a CM(s) or a non-holding role next to the CM(d)?

 Thanks. :)

"DLFsu   AF

IWsu   CMde   DLPsu   WMsu

FBat   CDde   CDde     WBsu"

Don't know your team, so it's difficult to tell exactly. But if you replace the DLP in MCR with a CM on support (or BBM), I would consider something like this:

DLFsu   AF

IWsu     CMde   BBM/CMsu    Wsu

FBat   CDde  CD/BPDde   FBsu/IWBde

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2 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Don't know your team, so it's difficult to tell exactly. But if you replace the DLP in MCR with a CM on support (or BBM), I would consider something like this:

DLFsu   AF

IWsu     CMde   BBM/CMsu    Wsu

FBat   CDde  CD/BPDde   FBsu/IWBde

Cheers for your advice.

I understand that role & duty variety is important in a system but can I find success using two IW on both flanks? 

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1 hour ago, 3LionsFM said:

I understand that role & duty variety is important in a system but can I find success using two IW on both flanks?

Why could you not? Just don't look at them in isolation, but within the context of the whole setup and tactic. 

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