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I'm playing as Galatasaray in my 4th season, and I'm struggling to score in CL against teams that should be of similar strength as me, like Shaktar, Club Brugge, etc. The team is really good defensively, even holding out draws or at most 1 goal losses against teams like Man. City and Atletico Madrid. But I can't score for the life of me, even though I get a lot of shots.

I want to play attacking football, and I wanted to create multiple chances for us to score with this tactic through moves like:

1) Wingers and striker making runs towards the box to sneak past the defensive line

2) Wingers cutting inside to take shots just outside the box

3) Wingbacks overlapping to get crosses in

4) Midfielders making runs to just outside the box to provide a passing option for wingers and wingbacks, to either make a quick pass into the box or to take a shot just outside the box.

 

I see some of these happen successfully a couple times per game, but it's not enough. Instead, I'm having these problems:

1) Wingers and wingbacks are dribbling way too much and often end up losing the ball to a defender.

2) Wingers and wingbacks making a lot of crosses that don't end up creating a lot of chances.

2) I only have 1-2 players in the attack for quick counter attacks eg. after opposition set pieces.

4) Midfielders are not getting involved with the attack enough, other than simple passes and the occasional shot.

 

Other than the team tactics, I have player instructions for my midfielders and wingers to make more direct passes and take more shots. What am I doing wrong? What can I do to improve?

Edited by Leoni
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I've never really understood why so many players use the mezzala role when posting a tactic with this formation.

In my mind, one of the greatest strengths of the 4-1-2-3 Wide is the natural width that it offers with 2 players on each flank. Therefore why do you need another player drifting wide from central midfield?

Another issue is who you expect to open the channels for the Mezzala to operate in?

In my view, a Mezzala is best suited to a system with only 1 wide player that runs wide to draw the attention of the opposition fullbacks to open the channel for the Mezzala to run into. I wouldn't play one with a striker that wants to run into the channels too like you have here. Yes, it can lead to overloads in a particular channel but it can also lead to them getting in each others way and being ineffective.

The choice of the Mezzala alone could be a huge factor in why you are struggle to score. The Support duty player in your midfield is a critical component of your system. His job is to link together your DM and attack duty CM. As you are playing with Shorter Passing therefore he needs to be in close proximity to both, in your setup his job is to drift wide which runs against what you need him to consistently do.

I also think that playing with 2 attacking wingbacks is a huge risk especially if you aren't overwhelming favourites in your games. I'd change the DR to a fullback on support to add a little more stability and cover for the two attack duty players infront of him (AP & IF).

Additionally, why play with a stopper duty central defender when you have a defend duty defensive midfielder infront of him? Doing so creates another line of defence which is also very risky when combined with a high defensive line. If your stopper comes charging forward and doesn't win the ball then that creates space behind him which only your other deeper central defender can attempt to cover. Additionally, as you have staggered your defensive line, the use of a sweeper keeper becomes problematic.

There are also a few TIs which don't really make much sense to me.

Shorter Passing - This feeds into what you are saying that you observe that you don't like. The mentality of your players is going to be attacking (your attack duty players are going to be very attacking), therefore if there are no passing options available to them in close proximity they are still going to look to progress the ball forward. If they can't do that by making a pass then they will attempt to do that by dribbling the ball. Similarly with the crossing, if there are no close options to progress the attack they will attempt to cross. Also, why play wider and make the spacing between your players even bigger?

Pass Into Space - This works in contradiction to the shorter passing. You want your players looking for safe short passes while simultaneously all looking to take risks with their passing. Additionally, all the players looking to run into space to receive those risky passes are out wide and your AF but given the shorter passing you are unlikely to see players launching balls over the top for him to chase from deep which means effectively it's just your wide players. So even though you have instructed the team to play through the middle the ball will naturally gravitate out wide which has the knock on effect of generating a lot of crosses. If there is no space for your wide AMs to cut into they will resort to crossing the ball or dribbling into dead ends.

Overlap Right - I don't know how you expect your DR to do this consistently with an attack duty player in the AMR position ahead of him.

Underlap Left - If you want underlaps then you shouldn't be using a wingback and also why do want your DL cutting inside anyway considering he is the only real width on your left flank? How does that movement help support the IW or Mezzala ahead of him? 

Prevent Short GK Distribution - Why do you want this and how do you expect a lone striker to perform this task anyway? He goes and closes down one central defender, the other is completely open therefore he can't prevent the GK distributing it short. Besides you want the GK distributing it short to make your high and hard pressing game work. If the GK is constantly pumping the ball long over your press it severely reduces its effectiveness. 

I hope what I've written is helpful to you

Best Regards

Edited by pheelf
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When you use overlaps/underlaps it makes your more central players who have the ball lower their mentality in order to wait for the overlap/underlap.  Something to keep in mind.  Doesn't really make sense to focus play through the middle, and then lower their mentalities, does it?  Pretty sure that focus play through middle might also lower the mentality of your wide players.  If that's the case, can you see how your overall mentality in match could be awkward?

Pass into space should only be used when it makes sense.  Never start with that by default.  Why would you choose that option if there's no space to pass into?  You'll just give the ball away, and not score.

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12 hours ago, Leoni said:

Wingers and wingbacks are dribbling way too much and often end up losing the ball to a defender

Which is no surprise given that all 4 wide roles in your tactic are hard-coded to dribble more. On top of that, an extreme imbalance of your tactic - especially the setup of roles and duties - can only make things even worse. 

Instead of crowding the pitch with so many attack duties - plus attack-minded roles all over the place - you should better think about how your players can create space for one another in attack, who is supposed to help recycle possession from deeper areas, who and how should provide defensive cover when you lose the ball and the opposition launches a counter-attack... and so on. 

If you think that an overload of attack duties (i.e. players bombing forward like crazy) will help you create more or better chances and/or score more goals, then you are under a big illusion. Because only plug'n'play/exploit tactics work that way. Normal tactics, however, require a lot more balance, logic (a.k.a. common sense) and i would also add simplicity. 

Once you start thinking in these simple terms, you'll see how the art of tactical creation can be easy. 

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On 05/09/2020 at 20:42, Leoni said:

I see some of these happen successfully a couple times per game, but it's not enough. Instead, I'm having these problems:

1) Wingers and wingbacks are dribbling way too much and often end up losing the ball to a defender.

2) Wingers and wingbacks making a lot of crosses that don't end up creating a lot of chances.

2) I only have 1-2 players in the attack for quick counter attacks eg. after opposition set pieces.

4) Midfielders are not getting involved with the attack enough, other than simple passes and the occasional shot.

I love this formation, but it can be precarious if your striker is in poor form. This is especially true if you give him an AF(a) role. If you do this, make sure your striker is in good form. If in poor form, play him out on the wing until he scores again, or better yet, save him for a cup competition.

For wingbacks, I like using support duties because it gives you much more opportunity to customize their behaviour. If you don't want them crossing or dribbling as much in a particular match then give them those specific instructions. If you use attack duties, you are stuck with them dribbling/crossing as much as possible.

I like an HB(d) for the DM. He positions conservatively, which is what I want with forward-moving wingbacks out wide and he does a solid job of recycling possession. He doesn't even need great vision, and he will still regularly find overlapping wingbacks with key passes because the opportunities are so obvious.

Ahead of an HB(d), I like an aggressive combo of RPM(s) and CM(a). The CM(a) provides much needed support in the box for your lone striker and needs good finishing, acceleration, and mental attributes. The RPM makes himself available for the ball in a more dynamic way than an AP and keeps the formation fluid.

The other point of consideration is what to do with the front three. Many modern implementations would involve two inside forwards and a support duty striker, and that's perfectly valid. But be careful with this because if your striker is focused on support, he might go a few matches without scoring, and then the "poor form" factor kicks in to make him struggle in subsequent matches. I like using a PF(a) in this spot, with at least one of the wide forwards on support. A winger isn't a bad choice, but then I'd be more likely to use an FB(s) or IWB(s) behind him.

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