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Need tactical advice - 41212 diamond narrow


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I am trying to perfect my 41212 diamond with Bari to accommodate my two good strikers and good midfielders but I can't quite get it flowing. I'm one of the better sides in the league (predicted 2nd) so most teams sit in deep against me and aim to counter, my possession is regularly 60%+. I'm aiming for short, quick passing and lots of movement and interchanging to draw the opposition out of their positions and exploit the spaces left. The DLF(s) is set to stay wider to draw out centre backs and make space for the AM and the TM My build up into the final third is good, however what often happens is we keep the ball centrally for a bit, it goes out wide to the full back who either crosses into the first man or loses the ball. I've set them to cross less often and sometimes they pass back inside to the midfielder, however they often get it passed straight back to them first time and they're caught offside. I understand that a narrow formation means there'll be central congestion, but I figured retaining the ball centrally and encouraging the opp to step out would create space but I can't seem to make that happen and they just stand still and watch us pass it round until we lose it. I'm top by 3 points but a lot of my goals are long shots, set pieces and scruffy goals. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

2020-03-23 (4).png

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My thinking behind the lower line of engagement and standard defensive line is to invite the opp out and create some space in behind them, rather than just pushing them back into their own box further where they can camp out.

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2 hours ago, brandon.moocarme said:

I am trying to perfect my 41212 diamond with Bari to accommodate my two good strikers and good midfielders but I can't quite get it flowing. I'm one of the better sides in the league (predicted 2nd) so most teams sit in deep against me and aim to counter, my possession is regularly 60%+. I'm aiming for short, quick passing and lots of movement and interchanging to draw the opposition out of their positions and exploit the spaces left. The DLF(s) is set to stay wider to draw out centre backs and make space for the AM and the TM My build up into the final third is good, however what often happens is we keep the ball centrally for a bit, it goes out wide to the full back who either crosses into the first man or loses the ball. I've set them to cross less often and sometimes they pass back inside to the midfielder, however they often get it passed straight back to them first time and they're caught offside. I understand that a narrow formation means there'll be central congestion, but I figured retaining the ball centrally and encouraging the opp to step out would create space but I can't seem to make that happen and they just stand still and watch us pass it round until we lose it. I'm top by 3 points but a lot of my goals are long shots, set pieces and scruffy goals. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

2020-03-23 (4).png

Not a huge fan of your strike partnership.. why the TM-A over something like a AF-A?  I run a pretty similar system and I have my playmaker in the hole at the AM position - play a T-A there and have my front 2 set to Roam and my DLF-S to go wide.  I would really get the LB into the equation so I'd add Overlap Left and change the AP-S there to a Carrileo to support the width and connect with the dropping DLF-S.. nice little overload there and then look to stretch the defense out and go back other side with your TM-A (I'd change to AF-A or I run a PF-A there because I high press with mine).  I'd start without WBIB as well and without whipped crosses.  If you use anything use low crosses for cutbacks.

I don't think you need to invite them that far.. try something like a Standard LOE with a High Defensive Line and to a high block press (set front 5 to close down more) just make sure you DO NOT select Prevent Short GK distribution.  Should create enough space to draw them out and hit them when you win the ball.  Any reason you aren't counter pressing?  I would think you'd have some gaps and wouldn't necessarily want them to exploit your flanks quickly.

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2 hours ago, brandon.moocarme said:

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

I wanted to share some thoughts when I saw your tactic, but then I noticed that you are 1st in the league (in spite of tactical issues), so I decided to hold off. Because it's always risky to make changes to a tactic that produces results (even if it does have flaws). 

Btw, I used this same 442 diamond formation with Man Utd in FM19, but my tactic (both roles/duties and instructions) was considerably different.

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12 hours ago, Kharza_FM said:

Not a huge fan of your strike partnership.. why the TM-A over something like a AF-A?  I run a pretty similar system and I have my playmaker in the hole at the AM position - play a T-A there and have my front 2 set to Roam and my DLF-S to go wide.  I would really get the LB into the equation so I'd add Overlap Left and change the AP-S there to a Carrileo to support the width and connect with the dropping DLF-S.. nice little overload there and then look to stretch the defense out and go back other side with your TM-A (I'd change to AF-A or I run a PF-A there because I high press with mine).  I'd start without WBIB as well and without whipped crosses.  If you use anything use low crosses for cutbacks.

I don't think you need to invite them that far.. try something like a Standard LOE with a High Defensive Line and to a high block press (set front 5 to close down more) just make sure you DO NOT select Prevent Short GK distribution.  Should create enough space to draw them out and hit them when you win the ball.  Any reason you aren't counter pressing?  I would think you'd have some gaps and wouldn't necessarily want them to exploit your flanks quickly.

Thanks for your advice, TM-A was mainly selected as my striker has good heading, I've tried him as an AF-A but he doesn't seem to be getting any space and is marked out of the game. The midfield change to a Carrilero did make an overload on the left hand side but I still have the same problem of the ball always ending up out wide before a cross that hits the first man which is infuriating. 

 

Another issue I'm finding is I'm incredibly vulnerable on the counter, particularly down the flanks. I've set my CM's to man mark the opposition full backs and my full backs to man mark the opp wingers. If I set the full backs to close down more then they move out of position and the ball gets played in behind them, but if I set them to stand off and hold position the cross comes in and I concede a headed goal, with my CB's seeming completely switched off. Any advice on how to remedy this?

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10 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

I wanted to share some thoughts when I saw your tactic, but then I noticed that you are 1st in the league (in spite of tactical issues), so I decided to hold off. Because it's always risky to make changes to a tactic that produces results (even if it does have flaws). 

Btw, I used this same 442 diamond formation with Man Utd in FM19, but my tactic (both roles/duties and instructions) was considerably different.

Thanks for your response, as mentioned I would still be really grateful for advice as the tactic is by no means producing good football with so many of my goals being from set pieces and penalties, and I'm starting to see results dry up as teams become more and more defensive against me. Everything just seems very static and predictable when I have the ball and I can't get the fluidity and interchange that I'm after to draw the opp out.

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1 hour ago, brandon.moocarme said:

Thanks for your response, as mentioned I would still be really grateful for advice as the tactic is by no means producing good football with so many of my goals being from set pieces and penalties, and I'm starting to see results dry up as teams become more and more defensive against me. Everything just seems very static and predictable when I have the ball and I can't get the fluidity and interchange that I'm after to draw the opp out.

Okay, but keep in mind that I "warned" you in advance :brock: :D

So the first thing when it comes to any narrow system (not just the diamond) is - the fullbacks/wing-backs. If you don't have fullbacks on both flanks who are able to constantly get up and down the pitch and equally participate in both phases of play (defending and attacking), then you better don't play in a narrow formation. In other words, FBs/WBs are key in any narrow system.

Why am I emphasizing this particular aspect so much? Because looking at the right side of your setup, I see this: the striker and the mezzala behind him are both set to attack duties, whereas their fullback is played in a fairly conservative role (FB on support), supposedly to "guard" the space left behind the attacking mezzala. But that's not the right way to create a good tactical balance between these particular positions in this particular type of system. Instead - assuming you want to use the mezzala as a role - this would make a lot more sense, both attacking-wise and defensively:

      TMat

        MEZsu

              WBsu

While the left side of your setup is a bit better balanced than the right one - WBsu, APsu and DLFsu - I would nevertheless tweak it as well. Like this:

          DLFsu

      DLPsu

WBat      

Now you have a holding midfielder in the form of the DLP, which - along with the holding DM - allows his fullback to be a lot more attack-minded and thus provide more meaningful support in the final third, whereas DLF and DLP help each other to link up and control the play more effectively.

Remember, there is a notable difference in tactical approach between narrow and regular ("wide") formations. In narrow systems - like yours - fullbacks/wing-backs have a proportionally more demanding job.

Now, this rearrangement on both flanks leads us to potential reconsideration of the DM role. My personal preferred choice would be - the half-back. If there is a system in which the HB role especially makes sense, it's definitely a narrow one with attack-minded fullbacks/wing-backs. Provided, of course, that you have a suitable player (like any other role, btw).

When it comes to the attack-duty striker, I am not sure if the TM is an optimal role in this kind of tactic, but okay - let's leave him alone for now. 

All in all, this is what the setup of roles and duties would look like following the tweaks I proposed above:

DLFsu     TMat

AMat

DLPsu    MEZsu

HB

WBat      CD     CD      WBsu

SK

Whether you have suitable players for these new fullback roles or not is an entirely different question. Which I cannot answer, simply because I don't know your players. 

When it comes to instructions, looking at those you are using, I find it hard to figure out what actually you are trying to achieve? Because they point to different styles of football. It seems as though you want to play both control/possession and counter-attacking football at the same time. 

So you first need to make a clear decision on what exactly you want. If you opt for more of a counter-attackish style, then the setup of roles and duties would also require a new rearrangement. And btw, this particular formation is not optimal for either a pure possession or pure counter-attacking style. It is more suited to what I call "progressive possession" football, but in that case you really need to have good players in all areas of the team.

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3 hours ago, brandon.moocarme said:

Thanks for your advice, TM-A was mainly selected as my striker has good heading, I've tried him as an AF-A but he doesn't seem to be getting any space and is marked out of the game. The midfield change to a Carrilero did make an overload on the left hand side but I still have the same problem of the ball always ending up out wide before a cross that hits the first man which is infuriating. 

 

Another issue I'm finding is I'm incredibly vulnerable on the counter, particularly down the flanks. I've set my CM's to man mark the opposition full backs and my full backs to man mark the opp wingers. If I set the full backs to close down more then they move out of position and the ball gets played in behind them, but if I set them to stand off and hold position the cross comes in and I concede a headed goal, with my CB's seeming completely switched off. Any advice on how to remedy this?

Did you end up playing a higher line and pressing a bit more (at least Standard LOE with High Line and split block press.. front 5 with close down more)?  If so try changing your Striker to a PF-A combo'd with a DLF-S.  Can your #10 dribble?  If so move him to the CM and change him to a AP-A so you have a line of 3 CMs CAR-S, AP-A, MEZ-S with the HB behind.  Change the LB to CWB-S and add overlap left instruction.  Instead of man marking to prevent wide.. which I'll assume is their fullbacks joining the attack just add Opposition instructions to close down the fullback that is attacking (if both are then add it to both and make sure MEZ and CAR have close down more PIs) that should help with the wide areas a bit more but that is the weakness of the formation so you need your CAR and MEZ to be able to put in a shift.. high work rate but the manual man marking will mess with your defensive shape too much (I used to do this too but have since went with the opp instructions and it's better).

One tweak to TRY (meaning make sure you watch the game to see if this changes behavior) is to add the TI hit early crosses and I sometimes combine that with shoots on sight when I have lots of shot blocked or haven't generated any shots or chances.  Try removing any crossing instructions too and go with Mixed Crosses as default especially if you have good headers that get in the box.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 24/03/2020 at 14:09, Experienced Defender said:

Okay, but keep in mind that I "warned" you in advance :brock: :D

So the first thing when it comes to any narrow system (not just the diamond) is - the fullbacks/wing-backs. If you don't have fullbacks on both flanks who are able to constantly get up and down the pitch and equally participate in both phases of play (defending and attacking), then you better don't play in a narrow formation. In other words, FBs/WBs are key in any narrow system.

Why am I emphasizing this particular aspect so much? Because looking at the right side of your setup, I see this: the striker and the mezzala behind him are both set to attack duties, whereas their fullback is played in a fairly conservative role (FB on support), supposedly to "guard" the space left behind the attacking mezzala. But that's not the right way to create a good tactical balance between these particular positions in this particular type of system. Instead - assuming you want to use the mezzala as a role - this would make a lot more sense, both attacking-wise and defensively:

      TMat

        MEZsu

              WBsu

While the left side of your setup is a bit better balanced than the right one - WBsu, APsu and DLFsu - I would nevertheless tweak it as well. Like this:

          DLFsu

      DLPsu

WBat      

Now you have a holding midfielder in the form of the DLP, which - along with the holding DM - allows his fullback to be a lot more attack-minded and thus provide more meaningful support in the final third, whereas DLF and DLP help each other to link up and control the play more effectively.

Remember, there is a notable difference in tactical approach between narrow and regular ("wide") formations. In narrow systems - like yours - fullbacks/wing-backs have a proportionally more demanding job.

Now, this rearrangement on both flanks leads us to potential reconsideration of the DM role. My personal preferred choice would be - the half-back. If there is a system in which the HB role especially makes sense, it's definitely a narrow one with attack-minded fullbacks/wing-backs. Provided, of course, that you have a suitable player (like any other role, btw).

When it comes to the attack-duty striker, I am not sure if the TM is an optimal role in this kind of tactic, but okay - let's leave him alone for now. 

All in all, this is what the setup of roles and duties would look like following the tweaks I proposed above:

DLFsu     TMat

AMat

DLPsu    MEZsu

HB

WBat      CD     CD      WBsu

SK

Whether you have suitable players for these new fullback roles or not is an entirely different question. Which I cannot answer, simply because I don't know your players. 

When it comes to instructions, looking at those you are using, I find it hard to figure out what actually you are trying to achieve? Because they point to different styles of football. It seems as though you want to play both control/possession and counter-attacking football at the same time. 

So you first need to make a clear decision on what exactly you want. If you opt for more of a counter-attackish style, then the setup of roles and duties would also require a new rearrangement. And btw, this particular formation is not optimal for either a pure possession or pure counter-attacking style. It is more suited to what I call "progressive possession" football, but in that case you really need to have good players in all areas of the team.

why two linking players on the same side? i always thought they should be on the opposite. i mean the dlp and the dlf.

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46 minutes ago, DimitrisLar said:

why two linking players on the same side? i always thought they should be on the opposite. i mean the dlp and the dlf

I already explained that in the very post you quoted: 

 

On 24/03/2020 at 13:09, Experienced Defender said:

Now you have a holding midfielder in the form of the DLP, which - along with the holding DM - allows his fullback to be a lot more attack-minded and thus provide more meaningful support in the final third, whereas DLF and DLP help each other to link up and control the play more effectively

In this particular case (system), such a combination makes more sense (as far as my tactical approach is concerned). In a different system, an optimal combo might be different. 

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