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I'm hoping for feedback on my trio of tactics below. I'm mid-way through pre-season in the second season as Arsenal. The first season was satisfactory (6th place and losses in the Europa League and FA Cup finals) but there were inconsistencies and we really struggled against better teams so I'm hoping to push on this season. Some of this may have been my own tactical inconsistency in the bigger matches, struggling to find an effective defensive, counter-attacking formation that I could settle on.

 

I appreciate that tactics need to suit the players you have (and I think generally mine do) but I have plenty of room financially to sign any players you would particularly recommend to suit the developed tactics.

 

I appreciate tactics aren't plug and play so will need revisiting/refreshing and can't cover off all opponents, but these are the three bases I am thinking of building from. If you also think the basic visions or aims of these tactics aren't appropriate then I would be happy to hear about this.


 

I play on the Switch and I don't think there are any major differences tactically in the match engine but let me know if that's wrong.

 

 

Tactic 1a

Aim: Positive possession play aiming to control home matches against similar and weaker standard opposition. Ball retention and control are the priorities but I want to allow for a degree of riskier, speculative attacking to breakthrough well-organised, low pressure defences. If I can buy a top-tier F9 then I might switch the DLF role for that.

image.thumb.png.a50c8ed14fb6f856594f2e56aa6c0994.png 

Tactic 1b

Aim: Possession play away from home against weaker teams where I am expecting they will attempt to put us under more pressure. In transition we will look to try quickly counter into the presumed greater space available otherwise we will build up play similar to 1a.

 image.thumb.png.5d02af9e3bcb62af390d17cf61370f17.png

Tactic 2

Aim: Defensive solidity against stronger opposition (e.g. Liverpool) home or away, or where a degree of defensive solidity is prudent (e.g. going into a 2nd leg with a lead against similar standard opposition); however counter-attacking with purpose when possible. I want to invite pressure onto a low block and then counter-attack the spaces left behind quickly, but I don't want to be so passive and accept such sustained pressure that conceding is nearly inevitable. Of course, against a stronger team even the best defensive tactic is no guarantee of success but hopefully if we lose it's a close 1-0/2-0 rather than a 4-0 tonking.

image.thumb.png.883c72d8b77340a42de1ecc3a50b0bbe.png

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If anyone had any thoughts particularly on the defensive tactic it would be greatly appreciated ...

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Great post! This is sort of what im looking for too. Are you getting enough goals on the 1a tactic?

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57 minutes ago, Irn Rvd said:

Great post! This is sort of what im looking for too. Are you getting enough goals on the 1a tactic?

I score plenty, primarily the IF at AML (Aubameyang got over 30 last season and was injured for a bit of it and has made a solid start this season), and then the DLF, IW and Mezzala all chip in with a few too.

Its goal conceded that is a bit of an issue, looking at the tactic I'm thinking the right flank is very exposed so it might be worth swapping the Mezz and DLP around. Or having the RB as an IWB and the LB as the aggressively overlapping full back. 

Others though might know whether there are optimal interactions of Mezz/IW or Mezz/IF that could impact this.

 

My dream would be to apply the principle of a front 5 spread across the width of the pitch and thinking of it in that way it would seem imbalanced with too many players on the right and not enough attacking width on the left

Edited by False Nein

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First off, when you manage a top team - and Arsenal is still considered such, despite their current struggles - you don't need to have so different tactics. Because as a top team, you are in a position to impose your playing style on most of the opponents. Instead, you basically need just one good tactic that suits your players and then you just make small occasional tweaks when necessary.

For that reason, I'll here analyze only your 1st tactic and tell you what IMO should be changed/improved. 

20 hours ago, False Nein said:

image.thumb.png.a50c8ed14fb6f856594f2e56aa6c0994.png 

The most obvious issue here is - your flanks. The right one looks too risky with both WB and mezzala on attack duties, so that's the area where opponents could easily expose you. Advice: change the RB into IWB on support duty.

The left flank - conversely - is a bit too "sterile", meaning it lacks attacking support due to the fullback being too conservative. Advice: change the LB into WB on support

In terms of in-possession instructions, everything looks okay. You use only 3 - which is good - so you can easily add one or two during a match, depending on what you observe. But make tweaks only when necessary. 

In transition - starting with no instructions is a good choice. As with the in-possession, you can tweak a bit when needed.

The out-of-possession part is potentially the most problematic. You play with standard DL and higher LOE, which reduces your compactness when defending. The opposite would be a better idea - higher DL and standard LOE

The Prevent short GKD is generally okay in a 4123 when you are a strong team, although I personally prefer a split block instead.

So that would be it for now. Any questions?

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12 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

First off, when you manage a top team - and Arsenal is still considered such, despite their current struggles - you don't need to have so different tactics. Because as a top team, you are in a position to impose your playing style on most of the opponents. Instead, you basically need just one good tactic that suits your players and then you just make small occasional tweaks when necessary.

For that reason, I'll here analyze only your 1st tactic and tell you what IMO should be changed/improved. 

The most obvious issue here is - your flanks. The right one looks too risky with both WB and mezzala on attack duties, so that's the area where opponents could easily expose you. Advice: change the RB into IWB on support duty.

The left flank - conversely - is a bit too "sterile", meaning it lacks attacking support due to the fullback being too conservative. Advice: change the LB into WB on support

In terms of in-possession instructions, everything looks okay. You use only 3 - which is good - so you can easily add one or two during a match, depending on what you observe. But make tweaks only when necessary. 

In transition - starting with no instructions is a good choice. As with the in-possession, you can tweak a bit when needed.

The out-of-possession part is potentially the most problematic. You play with standard DL and higher LOE, which reduces your compactness when defending. The opposite would be a better idea - higher DL and standard LOE

The Prevent short GKD is generally okay in a 4123 when you are a strong team, although I personally prefer a split block instead.

So that would be it for now. Any questions?

Thank you for the advice. I had thought the same thing a few minutes ago but considered switching Mezz and DLP, would you have a preferred option to re-balance the flanks? My thinking is that Bellerin is a more gifted attacking full back and I think his PPMs reflect that (off the top of my head I'm fairly certain he at least has "get further forward whenever possible") - so he might end up buccaneering up the flank anyhow.

I've never tried a split block before but I will find some implementation advice on the forums and give it a crack and same with the defensive line/LoE.

Say you're playing a Liverpool or Barcelona (especially away from home)  - would you tweak the mentality/TIs/roles & duties but stick to basic defensive formation? For example, I would hope an IF(s) would be more inclined to track back and avoid the catastrophic situation of say Trent Alexander-Arnold completely unmarked and pinging in deadly crosses where the IF(a) is lingering up field as basically a second striker.

Edited by False Nein

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3 minutes ago, False Nein said:

I had thought the same thing a few minutes ago but considered switching Mezz and DLP, would you have a preferred option to re-balance the flanks? My thinking is that Bellerin is a more gifted attacking full back and I think his PPMs reflect that (off the top of my head I'm fairly certain he at least has "get further forward whenever possible") - so he might end up buccaneering up the flank anyhow

Well, the fact that he has the trait to get forward often is just one more reason to tone down his duty (from attack to support). Because the trait itself already makes him more attack-minded than his role (whichever it is) allows by default.

On the other hand, if you would like to take advantage of him being the more gifted attacking FB, then you should try what you already mentioned - swapping the MEZ and DLP around (in terms of their positions). Like this:

MEZat    DLPsu

HB

                                   WBat

In that case, I would suggest you change the AML's duty to support. Perhaps even switch the roles of AMR and AML - IWsu on the left, and IFsu on the right. The striker can then be changed into DLF on attack. That would give you a nice distribution of attack duties and consequently good balance overall. 

16 minutes ago, False Nein said:

I've never tried a split block before but I will find some implementation advice on the forums and give it a crack

A split block is easy. Just tell your 3-5 (optimally 4, if you ask me) most advanced players to close down more in their player instructions. In your system, these 4 guys would logically be the striker, both wide fwds and mezzala. 

 

18 minutes ago, False Nein said:

Say you're playing a Liverpool or Barcelona (especially away from home)  - would you tweak the mentality/TIs/roles & duties but stick to basic defensive formation?

When I have a tactic that generally works well for me, I tend to avoid tweaking it too much, even against these strongest opponents. A mentality change itself has a pretty big impact, because it automatically affects all other instructions. So I generally prefer not to change the mentality and instead tweak a couple of roles/duties and/or TIs.

I'll give you an example. Let's say this is my/your basic tactic:

DLFat

IWsu                             IFsu

MEZat  DLPsu

HB

IWBsu   CDde  CDde   WBat

SKsu

Positive / short pass, PoD, BME, WBiB / higher DL, standard LOE (and split block with 4 players)

I need to play a strong opponent. How do I tweak the tactic to start the match:

PFat

IWsu                                 IFsu

MEZat   DLPsu

Ade

FBsu    CDde  CDde   FBat

SKsu

Positive / short pass, BME / distribute to CBs and FBs (instead of PoD) / higher DL, standard LOE (and instead of the regular split block - only the mezzala and striker are told to close down more, which the striker does by default when he is a PF).

As you can see, I made very few tweaks, but nothing special. 

A more cautious version would mean dropping both DL and LOE just a notch (standard DL/lower LOE). Roles and duties can also be tweaked slightly in that case:

PFat

Wsu                                    IFsu

APat   BWMsu

Ade

FBsu   CDde   BPDde   FBat

SKsu

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As always, you have gone above and beyond and the help is much appreciated. I will try out switching the Mez/DLP and AML/AMR roles then bumping the DLF to attack duty with the changes in TI discussed.

I like the other two setups also so I can see me using these in harder & much harder games. Luckily I've kept both Torreira and Guendouzi so will use them. For a BWM, would you say Torreira's lack of strength limits him even if his defensive technical are better than Guendouzi?

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1 hour ago, False Nein said:

For a BWM, would you say Torreira's lack of strength limits him even if his defensive technical are better than Guendouzi?

The lack of strengths is a factor, but I think his other relevant attributes are good enough to compensate for it. 

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4 ore fa, Experienced Defender ha scritto:

PFat

IWsu                                 IFsu

MEZat   DLPsu

Ade

FBsu    CDde  CDde   FBat

SKsu

Positive / short pass, BME / distribute to CBs and FBs (instead of PoD) / higher DL, standard LOE (and instead of the regular split block - only the mezzala and striker are told to close down more, which the striker does by default when he is a PF).

As you can see, I made very few tweaks, but nothing special. 

A more cautious version would mean dropping both DL and LOE just a notch (standard DL/lower LOE). Roles and duties can also be tweaked slightly in that case:

Can you explain the choice of PFat instead of DLFat? I understand the more conservative roles for fullbacks and defensive midfielder but not this change of role upfront. Thanks

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2 hours ago, sovy666 said:

Can you explain the choice of PFat instead of DLFat? I understand the more conservative roles for fullbacks and defensive midfielder but not this change of role upfront. Thanks

You can go with either role. Depends on what you want from your striker. DLF is a more creative role, whereas PF is simpler and will put more pressure on the opposition defense due to the nature of the role. With a mezzala in CM, I personally would prefer the PF, but nothing wrong with the DLF either. So it's up to your personal preference. And of course - the type of the player.

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