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Hello guys. Started a new save with Boro post patch and our squad has (deservedly) been shot to bits.

Had a brilliant pre-season playing with this. Watched every friendly in detail, conceded no goals, scored hat-fulls. Since the start of the season however I've D1 L4 scoring only once.

92243560cf6d82d6de8c40e39174991e.png

The idea is very simple. We play through the midfield and rely on through balls from Wing or crosses from the 2 wing backs for Britt and Roberts to latch on to. Was working brilliantly in pre-season but struggling immensely since.

Any suggestions?

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I fear this tactic is (a bit) too adventurous for a team like Boro (besides not being optimally balanced in general). 

First regarding roles and duties... if you want to use as attack-minded role on the flanks as the CWB (regardless of their duty), you need more holding/covering roles in outer CM positions. On condition that you have players with the right set of attributes for a CWB in the first place. 

In terms of instructions, your manner of defending seems to be overly aggressive, especially considering the team you manage (more urgent pressing coupled with a high D-line + counter-press). Tight marking is also not a good idea in a tactical setup like yours. 

You are asking the keeper to distribute to fullbacks, but you do not have fullbacks in this formation. You only have wing-backs.

What's the reasoning behind the "Dribble less" team instruction? If you don't want certain players to dribble because they are not good at it, you can use the player instruction "dribble less" for those particular players. 

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Posted (edited)

I've almost finished my first season with Boro using the post-patch database and think they're in a brilliant position, with good senior players and young players with a lot of potential. (If only real life was so kind :()

In terms of the player roles you're using I don't think you're getting the best from the players, particularly Patrick Roberts who is a class above the championship. He is an incredible dribbler of the ball so should be in a role which exploits that strength. I've got him playing as an Inverted Winger on the right and he will regularly cut inside, dribble past two or three players and score or create a chance for another player. If you want to keep him central then try to find a role where he can receive the ball with space to dribble into.

I'm also using Coulson and Spence as wing backs but I'm not sure they're developed enough to be complete wing backs as that role requires good defensive and attacking attributes. Spence in particular is primarily an attacking wing back.

Also, Moukoudi has played almost every game for me and is the best defender in the squad, so I would make use of him if I was you. Fletcher too, has scored 27 goals so far for me, with two games of the season remaining, so definitely use him.

Edited by Harry Tequila

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I get wanting to develop the youngsters, but you're asking way too much of Coulson and Spence. They're not even your second best options. Spence in particular lacks the technical ability to justify being used as a CWB, or the mental attributes to pull it off well. Your WBs are vital in that formation, so far from ideal to be trying to develop youngsters as you go. That's not to say it can't work, but I'd loan them out and play the more developed options in those positions. 

I think Friend could pull off CWB quite well; however, if you're going that route, then I'd want a more positionally reliable LCM. With three (flat) in the middle like that, I'd want the playmaker central, especially an RPM in that formation. If you put the RPM on either flank, then that side will either be vulnerable defensively, or lack the necessary width going forward if you play the WB more conservatively. 

Assuming that's Patrick Roberts, SS doesn't suit him particularly well. As @Harry Tequila said, he's best with the ball at his feet in space, so IW suits him perfectly. Obviously, that doesn't fit what you're looking to do, but I'd think about different options for him. I don't think you can justify that role being a play maker in your current setup, considering you only have the lone striker. You could try 5212 with him as the playmaker behind two strikers, although, #10s are largely underwhelming. If you acquired him (instead of loaning), then I'd be curious about his potential for developing into an RPM. 

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Posted (edited)

CWB can be a fantastic role, with the right player, in the right system; however...

I think it's far overused, and not necessarily for the right reason(s). If they're not technical enough that you'd consider playing them in the midfield, then they probably shouldn't be used as a CWB. Perhaps even more importantly, does it make sense for the system?  What are you trying to achieve with your CWBs?

In any 352/532 variant, your WBs providing width is vital. WB(a) is the best option for that. I get wanting that position to provide goal scoring threat as well, especially if you're playing one striker, but a WB(A) will do that anyways, when the situation presents itself. Just like W(A). The key is creating that space and opportunity in the first place. 

Edited by XuluBak

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This probably overrelies on the wingbacks in attack, especially when you play with a lone striker who's not a great crossing target [and Patrick Roberts, who's not exactly noted for his aerial threat]. And they're not the sort of wingbacks who offer much more than running up and down the flank and putting a cross in when given enough space. Conventional wide WB[a], and runners from midfield (if you're not scoring enough, the Mezzala is ideal for this shape) and is how I'd set this one up, and make sure I get Roberts running with the ball, even if it means pushing him into an IF position.

Not so much to worry about defensively with a back three even if the wingbacks are pretty aggressive, but it looks like you're just not creating enough.

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On 05/03/2020 at 23:31, Experienced Defender said:

I fear this tactic is (a bit) too adventurous for a team like Boro (besides not being optimally balanced in general). 

First regarding roles and duties... if you want to use as attack-minded role on the flanks as the CWB (regardless of their duty), you need more holding/covering roles in outer CM positions. On condition that you have players with the right set of attributes for a CWB in the first place. 

In terms of instructions, your manner of defending seems to be overly aggressive, especially considering the team you manage (more urgent pressing coupled with a high D-line + counter-press). Tight marking is also not a good idea in a tactical setup like yours. 

You are asking the keeper to distribute to fullbacks, but you do not have fullbacks in this formation. You only have wing-backs.

What's the reasoning behind the "Dribble less" team instruction? If you don't want certain players to dribble because they are not good at it, you can use the player instruction "dribble less" for those particular players. 

I've always found my experience on FM to be that the best way to over-achieve is to never set up 'defensively' as might suit your team. I've always had far more success taking it to teams (especially since FM19 introduced the pressing mechanic.)

But I can see what you mean, especially about the CWBs. The thought behind Dribble Less was that the only good dribbler in the team (Roberts) was hard-coded to dribble anyway, and I wanted the rest of the team to try and keep possession (which the board stipulates I must, despite the team having awful passing in general).

The full backs thing I did not know, so thanks for that. I will try and tweak a little bit and then get back.

On 06/03/2020 at 10:50, Harry Tequila said:

I've almost finished my first season with Boro using the post-patch database and think they're in a brilliant position, with good senior players and young players with a lot of potential. (If only real life was so kind :()

In terms of the player roles you're using I don't think you're getting the best from the players, particularly Patrick Roberts who is a class above the championship. He is an incredible dribbler of the ball so should be in a role which exploits that strength. I've got him playing as an Inverted Winger on the right and he will regularly cut inside, dribble past two or three players and score or create a chance for another player. If you want to keep him central then try to find a role where he can receive the ball with space to dribble into.

I'm also using Coulson and Spence as wing backs but I'm not sure they're developed enough to be complete wing backs as that role requires good defensive and attacking attributes. Spence in particular is primarily an attacking wing back.

Also, Moukoudi has played almost every game for me and is the best defender in the squad, so I would make use of him if I was you. Fletcher too, has scored 27 goals so far for me, with two games of the season remaining, so definitely use him.

How've you managed to get Fletcher to score that many? Always been awful for me. Any chance you could share your formation mate? Cheers.

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On 07/03/2020 at 13:27, Smokedsalmon said:

How've you managed to get Fletcher to score that many? Always been awful for me. Any chance you could share your formation mate? Cheers.

Sure, here's the tactic. Only player instruction is Hold Up Ball on AMC, although I've removed it in recent games as the build up is slow and patient so I'm not sure how much effect it's having.

933752567_Screenshot2020-03-08at18_39_57.thumb.png.c86e39dac9d7b0f5c2b4481e6462afeb.png

Here's Fletcher's stats with one game left of the season:

690805407_Screenshot2020-03-08at18_46_59.thumb.png.7e4949fe6127bbf51425868ea2b73400.png

Most goals come from the wings, with passing between the wing backs and wingers creating opportunities to cross. I don't think it would be anywhere near as effective without Roberts moving the team up the pitch and cutting inside from the right.

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On 07/03/2020 at 07:27, Smokedsalmon said:

I've always found my experience on FM to be that the best way to over-achieve is to never set up 'defensively' as might suit your team. I've always had far more success taking it to teams (especially since FM19 introduced the pressing mechanic.)

I'd simplify that by saying aggressive gegenpressing is horribly overpowered when implemented correctly. And the margin for error on such, is far greater than other approaches, which is absurd and counterintuitive. 

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I've just taken Boro up, after 3 consecutive play-off appearances playing a 3-5-2. Granted I started my game before the patch (so I had a better starting squad at my disposal) but tactically it felt  bit more balanced than your formation. 

Like you I was relying on Wing (EFL player of the Year) as an RPM on the left and crosses in to the box. The problem with Roberts as an SS is that I don't think he'll give you as much penalty box threat as even a deep-lying forward. I'd be tempted to try Fletcher up to as either a DLF-S or a PF-S with Britt on the last man drifting in to the channels to make space. Wildcard try Roberts as a Trequartista for a true free role higher up the pitch - this has worked for me against bottom half Champ sides.

The real difference between my promotion team and the previous two was on the right side of midfield. With a solid CM-D alongside him I've had great success with a Mezzala on attack but crucially one with 'arrives late in the box' and a threat from long range - like Wing.  Getting three bodies in the box for your wing backs to aim for is a must. I fear at the moment they are struggling to hit Assombalonga, if you still lack height consider low crosses too.

As for the Wing Backs themselves I agree you should be looking at just standard Wing Backs, you are probably asking too much of them. I've not tried Spence on the new db but he still looks a bit weak for such a crucial role. In a 46 game season I find they get knackered running up and down the wing so rotation is important. Sam Byram was a wonderful signing for me - rounded but with good enough technical stats to provide assists - only Wing has more - quite often providing for a marauding WB-A on the left.

As for TIs I've found plying narrower to be more effective. When the WBs push forward they still have plenty of space plus if your controlling possession you want to make it easier for your midfielders to find each other, even better you want your limited players to get the ball to Wing. This is true in defence also. With 3 centre backs you want teams to play around you as you have the safety of three tall, strong defenders in the box at all times. Nothing wrong with distribute to centre backs either, a really safe option as they have many options and one that allows quick ball to Wing or the Wing Backs.

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