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Luring the opposition - or How to trick the bus out of the parking lot?


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Hi everybody!

Deriving from a highly interesting discussion here on the forums, I was advised to start a separate thread on the following.

I have some weeks ago made some attempts on creating a tactic which can work effectively against weaker opponents. In my mind the strategy of Atletico Madrid is somewhat similar, as they play according to certain pressing traps. In short this means that they will only press intensively for the ball when the opponent is in a weak posession situation. 

My aim is not to replicate AM directly, but to I wish to a style which makes my team trick the opponent to give up vertical space in their own half also if their strategy is to sit back aka 'park the bus'.

@Experienced Defenderwrote this: Because when you are a strong team, very few opponents will leave you enough space to take advantage of. Instead, they will defend deep and tight, which is likely to make a tactic like yours pretty ineffective.

This led me to think of my meandering attempts from before. Not trying to prove @Experienced Defenderwrong, but in certain situations I believe there could/should be some tactical settings to help achieve vertical space also in these cases. Surely I might be completely wrong :)

So my take on this is starting from having no team instructions (TI) applied in my tactic to singling out the ones one could use to achieve said goal.

I'll probably add some suggestions on which TIs I feel should be discussed and tested later today into this opening post, but feel free to add your own suggestions here, and I'll look into it later.

Cheers!

Edited by nugatti
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I've found that if you give these sides the space to play out into, they will. They'll still do it cautiously or otherwise in line with the mentality they're using of course, which will be difficult to exploit but it's possible. Funnily enough, one of the ways I've seen Simeone's tactics countered is by conceding possession to his A. Madrid side though :brock:

In my opinion, if you're opting to play a more defensive brand of football as a top side, you just need to create a more proactive setup to keep up your sleeve as needed. You can start matches against these sorts of sides in your primary style, then watch how the game goes. If they're not falling into your pressing traps, or whatever the case may be, you switch to the more proactive style to break them down - then you can switch back as necessary.

Take Jose Mourinho's first stint at Chelsea for example. They played a very defensive brand of football as a default but if it wasn't working or a goal was otherwise needed, you would often see Eidur Gudjohnson come into the midfield in place of the more defensively minded Michael Essien. 

Edited by NotSoSpecialOne
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I've had surprising success with an interpretation of the shape below:

XEb11hx.jpg

I went for a 4222 box formation but what caught my eye was the possible movement and passing options around Kaka. Besides it has a firm presence upfront and dependence on very attacking FB's.

bn1DAG7.png

ngj4s4n.png

H4bXmaj.png

We had to use our second strings in most league games but still improved our goal output. It still needs some tweaks in the flanks and we were fairly lucky at Anfield so I changed to a flat 3CM midfield against City to better defend the flanks against their 4231. 

I'm already training a few talented Wingers into CWB's and that will be my experiment next season. If my CWB with 13/14 dribbling and flair can glide past their defenses I'm curious about what my wonder kids can do with their +17 dribbling and pace once they learn the role. 

PS: I didn't post the overall tactic because I still keep changing the DM and Robinho roles. But the basic idea is to give freedom to the 2 CM's, 2 very attacking CWB's, 2 good strikers in the box, 2 Dm's capable of recovering 2nd ball's and making sure you're solid and CB's that can ping balls all over as well.

 

Edited by afailed10
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3 hours ago, nugatti said:

So my take on this is starting from having no team instructions (TI) applied in my tactic to singling out the ones one could use to achieve said goal

That's generally a very good approach to the handling of instructions. However, the key element of any successful tactic is how you set up roles and duties within your system. 

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12 hours ago, NotSoSpecialOne said:

I've found that if you give these sides the space to play out into, they will. They'll still do it cautiously or otherwise in line with the mentality they're using of course, which will be difficult to exploit but it's possible. Funnily enough, one of the ways I've seen Simeone's tactics countered is by conceding possession to his A. Madrid side though :brock:

In my opinion, if you're opting to play a more defensive brand of football as a top side, you just need to create a more proactive setup to keep up your sleeve as needed. You can start matches against these sorts of sides in your primary style, then watch how the game goes. If they're not falling into your pressing traps, or whatever the case may be, you switch to the more proactive style to break them down - then you can switch back as necessary.

Take Jose Mourinho's first stint at Chelsea for example. They played a very defensive brand of football as a default but if it wasn't working or a goal was otherwise needed, you would often see Eidur Gudjohnson come into the midfield in place of the more defensively minded Michael Essien. 

Thanks for your thoughts!

I'll refer to your tips as and when I get to them in my 'recipe' :)

 

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23 hours ago, afailed10 said:

I've had surprising success with an interpretation of the shape below:

XEb11hx.jpg

I went for a 4222 box formation but what caught my eye was the possible movement and passing options around Kaka. Besides it has a firm presence upfront and dependence on very attacking FB's.

 

Wow, that's an impressive string of results!

1. Did you choose that shape to be able to create vertical space or was it a knock on effect?
2. Other than DMs, what other things do you change from match to match / in game?

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4 horas atrás, nugatti disse:

Wow, that's an impressive string of results!

1. Did you choose that shape to be able to create vertical space or was it a knock on effect?
2. Other than DMs, what other things do you change from match to match / in game?

No, i went for the 4222 because in that image or Brazil i could see Ramires as a mezalla and Kaka as a CM-A with PIs and thus use a formation that has tradition in Brazil. The DMs are expexted to do the dirty work with hard tackling and tight marking and recycle possession. 

I have one DM(d) and the other is support but the role depends on who plays there. I can use a DLP to slow things down and make the play more measured. But basically it's just Positive and play out of defence in possession. Also a much higher line of engagement in most games so the team stays extended throughout the field. I score a lot from quick counters. 

A narrow shape with two forwards works well to stop defensive sides from having +60%. Usually it's around 50/50 sometimes much more for us but we aren't particularly careful with the ball. Usually the opposition advances in the flanks making their whole team advance but it's harmless as they run against my cwb and my CB can easily deal with their crosses. 

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THE BASE TACTIC

I've looked through the different preset tactical styles in FM and there is actually a formation which is recommended for all of them but the catenaccio: 4-1-4-1 DM

On 20/10/2020 at 13:37, Experienced Defender said:

That's generally a very good approach to the handling of instructions. However, the key element of any successful tactic is how you set up roles and duties within your system. 

The 4-1-4-1 DM is set up like this:

image.png.26f3c895719cb3e53a6c731a6469c3ff.png

So I believe this will be my initial roles and duties as shown as well. Since this is a stock tactic within the game, and - from the look of it - this setup should be well balanced roles. It may look like the AF could easily be isolated up top, but i'll give it a go. It makes sense to not line up the team top-heavy, as I want the opposition to advance for me to be able to consistently exploit vertical space. So we can't pin them back.

There is also the option of changing roles and keeping the duties. A W-su could become a DW or WM with the same support duty for example.

Team layout: 4-1-4-1 DM

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THE TEAM INSTRUCTIONS

I'll look through all team instructions to sniff out the options I could or should add in order to make my team play as intended. As I expect most of you to know these settings and options well, I'll only mention the ones I have strongly considered and the ones chosen to actually implement based on the instruction description alone. Even though I want to start with a base tactic, my aim is not to play a 'bland' style, so some TIs should be active in this kind of base tactic.

Team mentality

image.png.551d4b712d2269e0ea493ebf64264373.png

This is the only option which actually mentions quick passes to exploit space behind opposing players. So it makes sense to use a cautious mentality.

TI 1: Cautious mentality

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IN POSSESSION

Approach play

Pass into space - it's an on/off button encouraging my players to 'look to make passes into open spaces for team-mates to run onto'. Looking back at the description for team mentality, my players should already do this. Or maybe this button 'doubles up' the amount of attempts to make these passes. So activating should lead to my players either

  • look to make passes into space too often (and not only when their vision and desicion skills allow them to), or
  • it would not add any element to passing as this element is already added through my mentality

I'll skip this one for now.

Play out of defense - This I believe to be important in my tactic as I want opposition players to seek out of their rigid defensive structures with hope of attaining the ball relatively high up the pitch. If we succeed in making the opposition to frequently over-commit players we have done something right. 

TI 2: Play out of defense

Passing directness - A slider setting allowing me to choose how intense (or relaxed) the passing will be executed. Again looking back at the cautious mentality, I'm not overly eager to place this slider at the extreme right. Quick transitions are already baked into my strategy, so this one will remain a strong candidate for future exploration :)

Tempo - Again this looks tempting to push onto the right side of the slider, but I'll keep it simple and await (the inevitable) future mind-twisting considerations before making any changes. No descritions mentions anything directly on exploitng space, but surely there should be potential here.

Dribble less - This I'll try in order to make my players more inclined to make more passes and movement on the pitch. Players with strong dribble skills could still be given roles to take advantage of this. Or I could even add it as a player instruction. But that will be further down the line, if at all.

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IN TRANSITION

When possession has been lost - Regroup. Yes. In order to give some space up for the opposition to play into, I think this makes sense.

TI 3: Regroup

When possession has been won - Counter. Yes. This options based on the description to 'take advantage of any opportunities' left by the opposition. In my case this will hopefully often be vertical space to exploit.

TI 4: Counter

Goalkeeper in possession

Distribute quickly - I thought of this as a must early on. But reading through my other choices with playing out from the back, I'm not so sure anymore. It does mention counter attacks as a possibile outcome, but that does not necessarily mean counter attacks by means of space behind the opposition defence. Any thoughts on this?

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OUT OF POSSESSION

Line of engagement - I've mentioned already that I believe I need to concede space to give my opponents the possibility to play some football. And in order to invite them towards my half of the pitch, I think the LOE should be lowered a notch. Nothing extreme, but for my team to stand out from the crowd this will be set at 'lower'.

TI 5: Lower LOE

Defensive line - Like the previous TI this is a visual options, and for me the standard DL setting looks just fine. It doesn't even have a specific description when set to standard so the visual presentation is the only guide you have to make your judgement without making any changes. I can see myself changing this in-game in order to trick my opppnents to over-commit.

Pressing intensity - This I am very unsure of actually. Upping this to make my players 'work as hard as possible to press the opposition once they have passed the LOE' seems like exactly what I want. Going into a match lasting 90 minutes, though, will this tire my players out at 70 mins? I don't know how much this will fatigue my players, so I'll leave it as an options for shorter bursts at times when I see my opponent being more tired than my team. 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And that's it!

My base tactic ends up looking like this

image.png.5fb03d4177419f480d7e61b9b2a9e700.png

Slay me if you will :)

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THE MATCH ANALYSIS

Key passes

I have thought about the available possibilities to determine if my team will manage to exploit vertical space often (enough). I have decided to look into the team analysis screens and count the number of forward (aka vertical) key passes produced in the matches. I'll split the halves in two so that the brackets for stats will be from 1'- 23'  |  24'-45'  |  46'-68  |  69'-90'

I think this could give me a solid (but still simple) statistic to compare from game to game to see if tactical changes increase or decrease the chance production without having to watch full matches to actually see the key passes. Ideally the distribution af key passes will be quite even across the brackets. But if my team dominates the matches perhaps I should expect lower numbers in the first and last bracket? I'll also keep any eye on where the key passes are launched from.

Disclaimer: This is not tried and tested over a full season, so this might also flop :) 

If you know of any other statistics which also represents through balls which can be distilled into a simple stat overview, I'll be grateful for any advice.

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All feedback is appreciated, so please put forth your thoughts.

Edited by nugatti
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2 hours ago, nugatti said:

image.png.5fb03d4177419f480d7e61b9b2a9e700.png

 

2 hours ago, nugatti said:

All feedback is appreciated, so please put forth your thoughts

 

2 hours ago, nugatti said:

Slay me if you will

Are you 100% sure you want to hear my brutally honest opinion?

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21 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

 

 

Are you 100% sure you want to hear my brutally honest opinion?

Yeah, I'll take it on the chin :)

Remember i never claimed to master this game. Also, you don't have to be that brutal, you know. Just portion out your frustrations ;)

 

Edited by nugatti
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27 minutes ago, nugatti said:

Yeah, I'll take it on the chin :)

Remember i never claimed to master this game. Also, you don't have to be that brutal, you know. Just portion out your frustrations ;)

 

Okay, don't worry ;) 

So let's start...

The only potential positive of your tactic is defensive solidity thanks to the combination of a bottom-heavy formation, optimal level of compactness (i.e. standard DL/lower LOE) and total "dominance" of defend and support duties within the lower 3 lines (i.e. defense, DM and midfield strata). 

But even with this "defensive solidity", there is no guarantee that you won't concede goals, simply because you are likely to be under constant pressure from the opposition because your tactic is extremely passive - especially with the cautious team mentality you opted for - while offering almost no attacking threat. Having mentioned "almost no attacking threat", your lone striker is highly likely to struggle a lot and be left to his own devices due to the obvious isolation (the only player with an attack duty + in the most advanced of all striker roles + in a system without anyone near him). Which means that opposition defenses will have virtually no problem dealing with him. 

If your idea is to draw the opposition into your half and then hit them quickly on the counter - which is actually counter-attacking football - then you need not just a very different tactical setup but also a different formation (with at least 2 players up front, either 2 strikers or a lone striker and an AMC behind him). 

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That's a very low risk counter system which as a big club vs small club who's being defensive could just end up with bore draws. 

Even if they push up as a team, they are typically bottom heavy and keep players back.  Whilst a through ball could release the ST, that's it really besides some crosses into a likely packed box with you only having a few players in there.

Rather than thinking "counter" to draw them out, think more about transitions and the middle third.  Think about defensive width and trying to use touchline to press. Consider giving space in deeper areas to it's easier for then to progress the ball forward rather than there short safe passes in area.

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On 21/10/2020 at 23:58, Experienced Defender said:

The only potential positive of your tactic is defensive solidity thanks to the combination of a bottom-heavy formation, optimal level of compactness (i.e. standard DL/lower LOE) and total "dominance" of defend and support duties within the lower 3 lines (i.e. defense, DM and midfield strata). 

As I haven't reached the point of actually playing league matches with my team yet for this, I'll just ask some questions from your knowledge.

I chose a stock tactic with pre set roles, but I am of course looking to create my own style.The tactic creator claims the 4-1-4-1 DM is suitable for all pre set styles except the catenaccio. But roles are not touched upon at all. Forgive my limited knowledge, but which kind of playing style(s) would you say that the stock tactic roles are suited for?

 

On 21/10/2020 at 23:58, Experienced Defender said:

But even with this "defensive solidity", there is no guarantee that you won't concede goals, simply because you are likely to be under constant pressure from the opposition because your tactic is extremely passive - especially with the cautious team mentality you opted for - while offering almost no attacking threat. Having mentioned "almost no attacking threat", your lone striker is highly likely to struggle a lot and be left to his own devices due to the obvious isolation (the only player with an attack duty + in the most advanced of all striker roles + in a system without anyone near him). Which means that opposition defenses will have virtually no problem dealing with him. 

If your idea is to draw the opposition into your half and then hit them quickly on the counter - which is actually counter-attacking football - then you need not just a very different tactical setup but also a different formation (with at least 2 players up front, either 2 strikers or a lone striker and an AMC behind him). 

Yes, I want to invite some pressure, but I did not expect you to label this setup as 'extremely passive'. Is this based on the combination of one notch lower LOE combined with cautious mentality? In my head using two wingers and a box to box CM would mean 3 players should join the FC offensively. Remember I am planning to use this versus weaker teams, and thus I expect to will the ball back often when my players apply pressure.

If none of these elements can be expected, please put down a few words as to why :)

Also on the point of moving at least one player forward to the AM or F strata: Would changing the (as I already commented earlier) AF to another role accomplish much of the same effect? Getting the FC more involved in team play?

 

On 21/10/2020 at 23:58, Experienced Defender said:

If your idea is to draw the opposition into your half and then hit them quickly on the counter - which is actually counter-attacking football - then you need not just a very different tactical setup but also a different formation (with at least 2 players up front, either 2 strikers or a lone striker and an AMC behind him). 

It is my idea to do this in certain periods of a game if - and only if - I need it to create vertical space. 

This means that I'll start matches playing a 4-1-4-1 DM with another TI setup, and then switch to the outcome of this experiment when and if I'm struggling for space. I see now that I have not made this clear in my OP, but this will be used as a kind of 'special tactics' for me along the lines of how NFL teams use them.

Edited by nugatti
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On 23/10/2020 at 00:56, summatsupeer said:

That's a very low risk counter system which as a big club vs small club who's being defensive could just end up with bore draws. 

Even if they push up as a team, they are typically bottom heavy and keep players back.  Whilst a through ball could release the ST, that's it really besides some crosses into a likely packed box with you only having a few players in there.

Rather than thinking "counter" to draw them out, think more about transitions and the middle third.  Think about defensive width and trying to use touchline to press. Consider giving space in deeper areas to it's easier for then to progress the ball forward rather than there short safe passes in area.

Interesting points with both 'defensive width' and 'use touchline to press' Could you describe this a bit more? Is it my or the opposition defensive width?

How would you set up the TIs to 'give space in deeper areas'? I think I have done this in lower LOE, but it can surely be done in smarter ways? :)

 

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27 minutes ago, nugatti said:

I chose a stock tactic with pre set roles, but I am of course looking to create my own style.The tactic creator claims the 4-1-4-1 DM is suitable for all pre set styles except the catenaccio. But roles are not touched upon at all. Forgive my limited knowledge, but which kind of playing style(s) would you say that the stock tactic roles are suited for?

I never use preset tactics, not least because most (if not all) of them are full of tactical overkill (of one kind or the other). Speaking specifically about the flat 4141dm as a formation (regardless of the preset tactics), I would consider that formation if I wanted to play either a passive defensive style (e.g. park the bus or catenaccio) or so-called defensive possession football. 

 

27 minutes ago, nugatti said:

Also on the point of moving at least one player forward to the AM or F strata: Would changing the (as I already commented earlier) AF to another role accomplish much of the same effect? Getting the FC more involved in team play?

Even if you change the striker's role to make him more involved, you still need to tweak elsewhere in order to get some penetration as well as dynamic. 

 

27 minutes ago, nugatti said:

Yes, I want to invite some pressure, but I did not expect you to label this setup as 'extremely passive'. Is this based on the combination of one notch lower LOE combined with cautious mentality?

Yes, because low LOE coupled with a low team mentality - plus a bottom-heavy formation on top of those -  is a typical example of a passive defensive style. 

 

27 minutes ago, nugatti said:

Remember I am planning to use this versus weaker teams, and thus I expect to will the ball back often when my players apply pressure

Even worse then. Because weaker teams will be happy to be able to pass the ball endlessly in their own half, which is exactly what your passive tactic allows them to do. And an additional problem is that your players won't be able to apply effective pressure on the opposition - precisely due to all these passive elements of your tactic (the type of formation + LOE setting + low mentality). 

 

27 minutes ago, nugatti said:

If none of these elements can be expected, please put down a few words as to why

I think I already explained/answered all that above. 

But if you have any additional questions that haven't been covered by my previous comment(s), please feel free to ask :thup:

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36 minutes ago, nugatti said:

Remember I am planning to use this versus weaker teams,

Using this against a weaker team I would expect about 80% possession and 0% penetration in the worst case. When you get the ball you are going to have it and keep it without posing any kind of goal threat here. That is perfect for a team who want to set up for a draw. Even in the case where the AI has a bunch of possession because you are passively defending and inviting them on, you still do not have the setup to exploit that here. You are ceding space to the opposition without actually challenging them in any way. So they would be able to play risk free essentially. They do not need to push players far forward to gain an advantage, so they will not. I simply cannot see it working the way you want. And as ED noted, the AI will also be happy to keep the ball forever in their own half to see out a draw if that is the result they are happy with. This tactic cannot stop them doing that at all. 

The issue here is that if you want to draw the opposition on to you, you need a definite plan to get the ball off them, and to hit them hard and fast before they can reset. That means either being able to win the ball back high up the pitch, or being able to flood forward after winning the ball back with attacking players. This tactic does not appear to me to be able to do either of those things. The AI could just leave 3 players back and that is your AF nullified and there is nobody who is going to burst forward to help him out. 

That is not to say a bottom heavy tactic like this cannot be effective for what you describe, but you would want to be very aggressive with the roles and duties, and probably the mentality too. Really for this to work you would need to be able to win the ball in midfield somewhere and get 3-4 players immediately running forward on an attack to exploit any space the AI leaves before they can get back into position. You cannot have slow build up play for this to work. To be honest in this type of formation I would probably have 4-5 attack duties spread around the team to do this. 

However the biggest problem in doing this with FM20 is that defensive teams will just pass the ball around at the back forever if you let them. It is a sound defensive strategy for them. They keep the ball away from you and do not take many risks. 

 

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21 hours ago, nugatti said:

Interesting points with both 'defensive width' and 'use touchline to press' Could you describe this a bit more? Is it my or the opposition defensive width?

Narrower width can give some more space to opponents when they have the ball to progress it.  Then they typically have fewer options since they have to take on the defender (dribble) or go inside with the pass.

For example could do narrower and OI to press FB, this means DM/CB's won't always get pressed but once it goes to the FB.  You still need players in position to cut off inside passes and not just all sitting deep.

21 hours ago, nugatti said:

How would you set up the TIs to 'give space in deeper areas'? I think I have done this in lower LOE, but it can surely be done in smarter ways? :)

I mean space deeper in your formation, your 4141 DM packs GK+9 outfield players compact deep behind the ball, thats really hard to for opponents to pass into, especially if they're playing safe/low risk and have no reason to take game to you.  Giving them space to pass it around easily between there defence and defensive midfielder(s) and then once you get the ball your being so low risk they can get back and organized before you attack, hence I think will just result in bore draws.

If your aim is to draw opponents out to then attack, you need players in position and told to attack quickly before the opponents regroup and drop deep. If you attack too slow, you might as well press more as they'll drop back before you attack them and do a possession style system.  Do you really need that extra shielding player against a defensive/park the bus side?  Consider the difference moving the DM to AM so he's instead able to disrupt passing through the DM area, making those passes riskier and giving the opponents more opportunity to pass forward.  Then you have another player in position to attack quickly if thats your intention.

Not saying doing these with your current system fixes everything, more concepts to think about when designing your system.

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9 hours ago, sporadicsmiles said:

Using this against a weaker team I would expect about 80% possession and 0% penetration in the worst case. When you get the ball you are going to have it and keep it without posing any kind of goal threat here. That is perfect for a team who want to set up for a draw. Even in the case where the AI has a bunch of possession because you are passively defending and inviting them on, you still do not have the setup to exploit that here. You are ceding space to the opposition without actually challenging them in any way. So they would be able to play risk free essentially. They do not need to push players far forward to gain an advantage, so they will not. I simply cannot see it working the way you want. And as ED noted, the AI will also be happy to keep the ball forever in their own half to see out a draw if that is the result they are happy with. This tactic cannot stop them doing that at all. 

The issue here is that if you want to draw the opposition on to you, you need a definite plan to get the ball off them, and to hit them hard and fast before they can reset. That means either being able to win the ball back high up the pitch, or being able to flood forward after winning the ball back with attacking players. This tactic does not appear to me to be able to do either of those things. The AI could just leave 3 players back and that is your AF nullified and there is nobody who is going to burst forward to help him out. 

That is not to say a bottom heavy tactic like this cannot be effective for what you describe, but you would want to be very aggressive with the roles and duties, and probably the mentality too. Really for this to work you would need to be able to win the ball in midfield somewhere and get 3-4 players immediately running forward on an attack to exploit any space the AI leaves before they can get back into position. You cannot have slow build up play for this to work. To be honest in this type of formation I would probably have 4-5 attack duties spread around the team to do this. 

However the biggest problem in doing this with FM20 is that defensive teams will just pass the ball around at the back forever if you let them. It is a sound defensive strategy for them. They keep the ball away from you and do not take many risks. 

 

Based on this thought provoking write-up along with the somewhat surprising reveal from @Experienced Defenderthat stock roles and duties in stock tactics are pretty useless place to start out, I have decided to 'turn on the spot' and changed a lot of roles and duties in my team.

This is now my masterplan:

image.png.f1138613f7c99b88f3e0ccaf9a31cb0c.png 

As those of you having read the OP can see, I still have the same TIs in place, but the mentality is changed to Balanced and there are now 2 ATT duties on the wide positions in the M strata and my FBs have become WBs.  Also here another ATT duty is in place.

Also, as both wide players in midfield are set to cut inside through the nature of their roles, the WBs can hopefully stir up some waves on the flanks. These changes all together should help my players - given they get familiar with the system - be able to perform.

I am also looking at the possibility of not only using this only as a 'special tactic' for certain match situations, but maybe even for longer spells during a game. But I'll also use another variant of the 4-1-4-1 DM to keep my opponents guessing.

Thank you to all contributors here so far.

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I wouldn't use a mez next to a WP and eventually get in his way. A WP usually has a great range of tools at his disposal be it passing and/or dribbling, so the best you can do is to give him space and passing options. A forward running into the box, an overlapping FB taking the oppo fb with him, a wide man on the other side mids behind. 

If you really need a WP in there I suggest another combination of roles but try it first it might work as an overload. 

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1 hour ago, afailed10 said:

I wouldn't use a mez next to a WP and eventually get in his way. A WP usually has a great range of tools at his disposal be it passing and/or dribbling, so the best you can do is to give him space and passing options. A forward running into the box, an overlapping FB taking the oppo fb with him, a wide man on the other side mids behind. 

If you really need a WP in there I suggest another combination of roles but try it first it might work as an overload. 

Yes, at first I had a B2B in that CM spot, but with the security provided by DM I thought a MEZ could be given a chance.
 

And I also first put down the WP as support and MEZ as attack, but switched them around to mix it up, as my initial ideas seem to go againt the logic of FM :)

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1 hour ago, Experienced Defender said:

That looks a lot better and more sensible to me than your current setup. 

Yes, this will be tinkered with for sure.

It ended up like this for now because I wanted support roles in front of the HB for defensive purposes and a possibility of the DLF, IW, MEZ and WP to create a (most likely tilted) diamond in attack.

Update: If the role descriptions are anything to go by, A WP on attack does not venture more forward than if set to support, so he should slot nicely in behind the MEZ with both duties. The only differing PI is dribble more when set to attack.

Edited by nugatti
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41 minutes ago, nugatti said:

If the role descriptions are anything to go by, A WP on attack does not venture more forward than if set to support

Any role on attack duty will be positioned higher up the pitch - and be less responsible defensively - compared to that same role on support duty, because its individual mentality is higher. I play the game on another device, so I cannot check out the role description at the moment, but I am absolutely confident that WP on support and WP on attack will not behave in the same way when it comes to the role's behavior in terms of attacking movement and (relative) positioning. 

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11 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Any role on attack duty will be positioned higher up the pitch - and be less responsible defensively - compared to that same role on support duty, because its individual mentality is higher. I play the game on another device, so I cannot check out the role description at the moment, but I am absolutely confident that WP on support and WP on attack will not behave in the same way when it comes to the role's behavior in terms of attacking movement and (relative) positioning. 

Yes, you are absolutely spot on. It says the support duty equals a position in central midfield, and the attack role advanced midfield.  I looked only at the PIs for the roles, as I imagined it would include the get further forward PI.

This tactic has come no longer than being on the drawing board, so I'll experiment with this when my team has reached a good level of understanding of it.

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On 26/10/2020 at 16:43, nugatti said:

Based on this thought provoking write-up along with the somewhat surprising reveal from @Experienced Defenderthat stock roles and duties in stock tactics are pretty useless place to start out, I have decided to 'turn on the spot' and changed a lot of roles and duties in my team.

This is now my masterplan:

image.png.f1138613f7c99b88f3e0ccaf9a31cb0c.png 

As those of you having read the OP can see, I still have the same TIs in place, but the mentality is changed to Balanced and there are now 2 ATT duties on the wide positions in the M strata and my FBs have become WBs.  Also here another ATT duty is in place.

Also, as both wide players in midfield are set to cut inside through the nature of their roles, the WBs can hopefully stir up some waves on the flanks. These changes all together should help my players - given they get familiar with the system - be able to perform.

I am also looking at the possibility of not only using this only as a 'special tactic' for certain match situations, but maybe even for longer spells during a game. But I'll also use another variant of the 4-1-4-1 DM to keep my opponents guessing.

Thank you to all contributors here so far.

I like it a lot more! I can now start to see the plan of how you actually want to score emerging! Next step is to let us know what worked well and what did not when you tried it out. If FM has taught me anything, it is that there is always flaws even in my best thought out tactics. Either because something simply does not work as intended, or my ideas were flat out bad! 

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