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Christopher S

[Beta v2031] Looking for help with my newly promoted squad

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Hello folks!

After being promoted to the Premier League after rocketing through the divisions of English football, my Gateshead side is struggling heavily currently sitting at 20/20th position a few points clear of the 19th placed team. 
I relied heavily on my 4-2-2-2 Wide (2 DMs, ML+MR) going up, which worked wonderfully. HOWEVER, after opting into the Beta the tactic is now ineffective. In retrospect, it was clear my previous setup exploited defenders not tracking over the top balls resulting in results I probably didn't deserve - as well as Attacking + Gegenpress being generally overpowered. I've experimented a bit, but nothing seems to work. Therefore, I am coming to you for help. I realise I am asking for a lot, but I have a lot to learn - I've been 'out of the game' for a few years, and never really found a 'home' with the role system as opposed to the sliders of old.   

Here is my current squad:

af1d7cd16a02725760a9183b4eb40eee.png 

As you can see, it was tailored towards the 4-2-2-2 system I mentioned. I have a plethora of natural DMs, though most of them can play CM too. At this point, I'm not picky in terms of what system or play style to put in - I just need to stay up. I will admit that getting relegated probably isn't a disaster, as I have some doubts the squad is actually good enough to stay up. I have about £20 mill to spend come January, keep that in mid when responding - in case you see a system/set-up that is missing a crucial component or two. 

Some key notes regarding the squad: 
- Wim De Rycke is arguably the best player in the squad (bar Downing). 
- Lopes + Gudmundsson have a several year long partnership going, and should be a solid striking pair - even in PL. I realise having two strikers might not work if I want to keep it solid defensively. Feel free to indicate which to start over the other. 
- While having a plethora of DMs/CMs, none of them are too adept at going forward (ie. Mezzala, CMa, BBM). Probably an area to spend money on?
- Pau Rubio is mainly intended to play ML, not MR - he's training there and being played there when fit (was out with injury for some weeks).  

I'm at a complete loss at this point and would appreciate anyone taking the time to help an old FM veteran with this. :)

Cheers!

 

Edited by Christopher S

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Well, you don't give us too much information, but based on the images, your team can play a nice 4-4-2. Judging from the star ratings, you are one of the worst teams in the division, so keep it simple.

I would play De Rycke as a W(a) on the left with a FB(s) behind him. The other flank would feature an IW(s) and a WB(s) - a player with acceleration, crossing, dribbling, off the ball plus the required defensive attributes. Since you have a bunch of natural DLP's, that's one of the central midfielder roles. The other one - well if you don't have anyone who can play BBM or Mezzala, go with a BWM(s). Up front, Lopes is a real good player, he can play anything, even complete forward. Give him an attack duty and tell him to dribble more (not that he wouldn't  do that anyway). I would be real tempted to play Gudjohnsen as a TM(s) with those physicals. If only his bravery was higher. The heading, too. Train him Aerial as the individual focus training, I think it will improve both of those. Put the TM(s) on the same side with the W(a).

Based on the measurables of your CD's, they have strength and jumping reach, so you can defend narrow. If they're slow, keep the d-line at standard. Go with higher tempo to speed up the transitions, hit the early cross to get the ball to strikers as soon as possible. Ideally, De Rycke will bomb up and the down the left flank and cross the ball, but also get to the end of crosses by the IW and the WB. He and Lopes can feed off the TM(s). The DLP can play through balls and the BWM can get long shot opportunities. If it's working, that's at least four routes to the opposition goal without giving up defensive solidity.

I would tick counter and regroup, the latter of which is really strong in the beta patch.

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22 minutes ago, Enzo_Francescoli said:

Well, you don't give us too much information, but based on the images, your team can play a nice 4-4-2. Judging from the star ratings, you are one of the worst teams in the division, so keep it simple.

I would play De Rycke as a W(a) on the left with a FB(s) behind him. The other flank would feature an IW(s) and a WB(s) - a player with acceleration, crossing, dribbling, off the ball plus the required defensive attributes. Since you have a bunch of natural DLP's, that's one of the central midfielder roles. The other one - well if you don't have anyone who can play BBM or Mezzala, go with a BWM(s). Up front, Lopes is a real good player, he can play anything, even complete forward. Give him an attack duty and tell him to dribble more (not that he wouldn't  do that anyway). I would be real tempted to play Gudjohnsen as a TM(s) with those physicals. If only his bravery was higher. The heading, too. Train him Aerial as the individual focus training, I think it will improve both of those. Put the TM(s) on the same side with the W(a).

Based on the measurables of your CD's, they have strength and jumping reach, so you can defend narrow. If they're slow, keep the d-line at standard. Go with higher tempo to speed up the transitions, hit the early cross to get the ball to strikers as soon as possible. Ideally, De Rycke will bomb up and the down the left flank and cross the ball, but also get to the end of crosses by the IW and the WB. He and Lopes can feed off the TM(s). The DLP can play through balls and the BWM can get long shot opportunities. If it's working, that's at least four routes to the opposition goal without giving up defensive solidity.

I would tick counter and regroup, the latter of which is really strong in the beta patch.

Thanks a lot for some great feedback! I somehow didn't fully consider a traditional 4-4-2, will look at it. 
It's worth mentioning that De Rycke is extremely left footed, meaning he wont really find many crosses from wide angles on the right side without cutting in first. Early crosses might be really awkward for him, no? I suppose I could have Pau Rubio play on the right side (which is his natural side), though that would leave De Rycke with nowhere to play for the time being, as he can't play ML at the moment, I can set start training him for it and just play him in that position regardless. What do you think?

Everything else sounds solid, thanks again - will give updates when I have them.

If there is any other information you'd like to have to give more insight, shoot - I'll screenshot and/or elaborate! :)

Edited by Christopher S

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Yeah, I figured. I've currently got this set up (Morris would play instead of McDonald, but he is injured):

image.thumb.png.5d9599c93d4f13ee01099620097cb904.png

I've played two games so far, one against Chelsea and one against Leicester. 

image.thumb.png.9e3b4b7b35b88f4c69d6c57d44d9ef41.png

image.thumb.png.9e8853badb966b01c948a975d9eb4aaa.png

While we had some promise in the Chelsea game, the game against Leicester was disastrous (as you can probably see). Some observations so far: 
- Players have seemingly lost the ability to pass, even to open teammates, and instead hoof the ball upwards in a random direction. If only it was towards one of the strikers...
- In both games, opposing CM's would simply get the ball and carve open my entire team with one pass, repeatedly. When I tried to stop that through lowering the defensive line, problem just shifted - crosses onto the back post completely undefended every time.
- Pretty much no link-up play whatsoever. Especially both CMs struggling to do anything of value on the ball. 

Will continue working on it tomorrow. I ran a vacation on a backup save to see how much leeway I have with the board, and it seems I won't get fired for a while even if I keep losing. It's something... :)

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Well, I would guess both Chelsea and Leicester are far superior to your team, so it's not that bad a start.

Some suggestions to try out:

- overlap right is fine, but I would lose focus play on the left. the whole idea is to build up play on the right, so the W(a) can act as a third forward and be a terror at the far post

- I'm not a fan of a DLP(d) at central midfield as he won't ever move. you need the entire midfield to contribute in the final third, so a support duty should work better.

- if your players keep hoofing, consider adding shorter passing until you get better players. it won't go against the counter-attacking style. I had the same issue in my LLM save with a tactic very similar to what I suggested, but that in combination with distribution to full-backs more or less solved it. 

- low d-line won't do you any good. experiment with higher d-line and hard tackling if you see the opponents coming at you at will.

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I'd recommend the following in beta:

Change dlp to s duty, bwm to bbm, left winger on attack, right winger on attack, left back iwb but keep him left footed, right back also iwb and right footed, both put on automatic, both strikers as af, for ti defensive line on higher, line of engagement on much higher or higher, defensive width all the way to the left on narrow, slightly shorter passing, counter and much higher pressing intensity, remove hit early crosses as they are ineffective, but check cross from the byline for iwb's, and most important, set mentality to cautious, if you are loosing go for attacking instantly, also higher tempo all the time and overlaping on both flanks. It all may and will seem contraintuitive given you are managing a inferior team in epl, but judging by those statistics, your team seems to be too stationary and conservative, not looking to exploit the open opposition. You need the goals, and the more you attack, less will the opposition. Let me know how it goes if you try this for a game or two.

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Wim De Rycke looks very average at best for a player in the premier league, I can only assume if he is your best player your squad is in trouble bearing that in mind maybe Balanced is too aggressive? Maybe Cautious would be a better mentality.

 

Also your winger and forwards are quite pacey, maybe direct passing and lower line of engagement would better to encourage balls over the top for your forwards to run onto. You want to counter every team you play against as they will be all pushed high up into your half.

Edited by lim

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To take a different approach from some of the others, I'd opt for a 433 with two DMs and an MC. It should allow for excellent defense in most games. Play Gudmonsson up top as either a Poacher or a False 9 then play De Rycke and Lopes as the AMR and AML respectively (I'd suggest trying them both as IFs but you may want Lopes to be an out and out Winger if he's very left footed). If you can scrounge up another DC to play next to Galli, my preference would be for Morris to be one of my DMCs but you're probably going to end up playing McDonald (Volante-S) and Christmann (BWM-D or Anchor) behind Tropi/Pinheiro/Pamies at the DLP-S MC slot. 

Play deeper with a tighter line to compress the field (don't play all the way back with your defensive line) and try to sit a little narrower with overlaps on for at least one side (Looks like your left side is more attacking so I'd start there). I like using roles to create some assymetry in my attack because it makes it more likely that at least one of the sides will do well during a game. 

Try to find a good out and out striker and a good Central Defender. Also, whenever you change tactics, make sure to slip in some "Match Prep - Tactics" in there to help build the familiarity with the team. 

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Solid advice @laxrulz7 - much appreciated! However, it so happens I've managed to scrounge up enough points to be almost secure to stay. I headed some tips I got here and after much tinkering between 4-4-2, 4-1-2-2-1 and in some games 5-2-1-2, things have gone better. 
06e1e6e0d10b391923bcca5497b63976.png

None of the wins were with a 4-4-2, so that was dropped. Most of the games were played in a 4-1-2-2-1, but the last 3 wins were all in a 5-2-1-2. Which brings me to the follow up. 
I've decided to start looking ahead, and to start building a conscious identity for how we play. IRL, I've always fancied systems with 5 defenders (on paper), due to the sheer amount of flexibility it offers positionally. Therefore, I'll be going with that. 

I've made a (poor) draft of how I want things to happen: 

b93762e2d48ce3c172119fb40ff6ab6b.png

Some key things to note: 
- Yes, that's a Libero. Yes, I want him to move forward when we attack. Yes, I want him to function as a DM in possession. Yes, I know I'm being silly and it probably won't work.
- I want my 5-2-1-2 to essentially morph into a 2-1-4-1-2, aka how a 4-1-2-1-2 usually looks like on the attack. We're talking triangles EVERYWHERE. 
- Alternately, when needed, I want to be able to use the WBs to retain width for recycling possession, but focus through the middle on the break. Ideally against weaker teams and/or teams with weak central cover. 
- The right striker will need to be able to do a little bit of everything. Link up with AMC/MCr/WBr, drift wide to provide width, hold up the ball and dribble to create disruption. 
- AMC is crucial, imo. In games we have possession, he needs to be able to get free and/or exploit space, as well as be an attacking pivot. I suppose it's better for him to drop back than press himself out of position?

System I have atm: 

0049f4fc8633522717a163ae116bb018.png

We want to use all the players we have available to play the ball out from the back. The big question for me is how we make sure we can reliably play through the enemy press, so that we have a viable option to smacking it wide and running it. 
If we can't play through the midfield, we become extremely one dimensional. To summarize:

- I need to make sure we can both use our Wingbacks AND midfielders to break the press and move the ball upfield. If we can't, we become super one-dimensional.
- AMC needs to be solved. What role(s) function best to make sure he takes part in link up, but still moves into channels to exploit space?
- General role and TI tips based on what I've mentioned so far! 

In regards to players, my current squad fit the system. I will spend the money in summer to strengthen the weakest components. Happy to take opinions on which roles are the most crucial, though I suspect it's Wingbacks, Libero and AMC?

Thanks! :)

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Solid start! Completely neutralized Arsenal for 80 minutes of the match, with 4 of their shots coming in during the last 7-8 minutes of the game. Easily the best game we've had all year defensively.

image.thumb.png.41961396fc5103764cb6c32b72919711.png

 

 

Edited by Christopher S

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Glad the 41221 worked out (same principles really as the 42121 I suggested just a different midfield balance). 

I considered some version of 532 as an option but it didn't seem like it would fit what you had. Glad to hear it worked out (I was mostly concerned with your CD depth and Wingbacks). I use a Libero in mine (pretty much reserved for really tough games against strong wingers) and he does really well but I have an absolute beast for that position so I don't know how it would work with someone who wasn't ideal. 

I think you've got the recruiting priorities mostly right although I'd say that an out and out striker should be on your list and (at least for me) the supporting MC does better than the AMC. I play a combination BWM-D and DLP-S there (like I said, it's my "defensive solidity" formation) but I think a MEZ would be fine to help with the width (especially since your WB on that side is set to defense). Alternatively, the striker on that side could be told to stay wider if he has decent crossing/dribbling/passing. 

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Oh... and to answer the AMC question, maybe just try a straight AMC and set the instructions. My guy is a little slower and Enganche works well for him but if you're trying to get him to move either a customized generic AMC or a Treq maybe?

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My right side Striker has 16 dribbling, 14 passing, and 8 crossing. His crossing isn't ideal obviously, but he should do well drifting wide. It's this guy: https://gyazo.com/6653b8799b07eed9e17479e529afca22

CD Depth is pretty bad and I'll address that in summer. Short term, as long as players are fit, I'm fine. I've been using this guy as my Libero: 
image.thumb.png.d8aa665e8f78722c6b0189c8c32f6d0f.png

He has the stats for it, bar not being able to jump over a pebble. 

I've not had much experience with BWM - a few years back, even on (d), they would press themselves out of position. Is that still the case? The CM(d) seemed to be in the right place most of the time, although maybe a bit too deep compared to the DLP(s) - maybe a BWM works better? I swapped the CD(s) to a DLP(s) before the Arsenal game, btw. 

In regards to out and out Striker, I'm not sure I share the notion that I need one? Gudmundsson (linked further up) is a pure Striker and has never played elsewhere. 14 goals this season in PL, and 20+ in every previous season.
Goals: https://gyazo.com/190b9b74f39cdea03afcea392b505de7
Stats: https://gyazo.com/d3670c2be26cc602e1a12b31ad12bd31
As a Poacher, he should be fine imo. His physicals makes him relevant in all phases of the game, and his Off The Ball + Workrate + Decisions means he generally takes the right runs, and often. I might be wrong here, ofc. 
 

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As long as he's solid bright green on ST that's what I mean. I find that being a natural in a position is most important for strikers. I'm used to them just saying ST vs. AML/ST but if he's doing well then, by all means, stick with him. He's probably better as an AF but he looks pretty good for this level. The AI Assistant Managers are going to tackle him hard because of that low bravery. Hopefully his injury proneness is low ;)

Your "drift outside" wing guy looks pretty solid too. My gut tells me he's going to outperform Gudmundsson (not in goals but in average rating). 

I find that my Libero needs a good bit of stamina. Also, don't do Libero Attack with this guy because that will make him go sprinting off downfield on dribbling runs which would probably be bad here (I can't picture the individual player instructions but "Dribble Less" is an individual option too, right? I'd flag that for him... you want this guy stepping up and helping with the build up and taking advantage of that passing and vision.

As to BWM - D... The only problem I have (and I don't know how to stop it) is on really forward throw-ins on the left side he comes REALLY far forward to provide a throw-in option. It creates a crap ton of space behind him that is problematic. Not really sure how to fix it. I do have a BPD-ST playing as the CDR (so behind and to the right of the BWM-D) so there's a guy that sort of occupies that Libero role for me that will step up into the space. My team kind of becomes a 3232 in attack which I kind of like. 

I think  you've mostly got it though. You really just need to upgrade in some key positions and hope some of your younger players develop. I guess there's no place for De Rycke in this formation which is a bit of a bummer (or can he play AMC for you?)

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Will adjust Libero to Support to see how it differs. 

As for De Rycke, he's actually equally rated as a Striker as Gudmundsson and Lopes. He's already decent as an AMC, and I can probably train him up in that role too. So there is room for him. :)
I've noticed that the tactice functions pretty well at home, but away from home I can barely string two passes together - averaging like 4 shots total. Also, against teams pressing high we can't seem to break the press, especially against 4-1-4-1 teams. Any tips?

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I use it on the road and I'm currently running this (I think the BPD on the right is normally a straight CD but it's basically the same). I built it originally from an FM18 523 formation with 3 actual strikers... dropping the man into midfield seems to work a little bit better since the beta ME patch though. To beat the press, you can try changing your distribution options (long throws to flanks can be especially good). Also stretching the field a bit and telling them to dribble less can both help some.

image.thumb.png.3d200b601d0acf92826d99ccf3e634a4.png

Edited by laxrulz7

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Will give that setup a run. Treq for AMC might actually be the best one, come to think of it. I'm still expecting away games to falter, so pre-season is gonna be one hell of a crunch. This is a puzzle. I've also been considering setting the system up as a 4-3-1-2, and have my strikers mark the opposition full backs - effectively shape shifting from 2-1-4-1-2 in attack to 4-1-4-1-0 in defense.
Regardless, in either cases, ending the attacks is going to be key. With the amount of positional fluidity I'm going for, we cannot afford to lose the ball in transition. I need to have end product - goal kicks, shots on goal, throw ins, tactical free kicks on defense - whatever it takes for my player to reposition.

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