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I've made a formation that uses 2 centre backs, 2 wing backs and two defensive midfielders with a single central midfielder. Defensively this has been working brilliantly but my midfielders have often caused a lot of trouble, it seems almost impossible to get all 3 of them to perform consistently well. I've tried numerous settings and can't get them to perform well together.

My midfielders are Fabregas, Ramsey as central midfielders and Miguel Veloso, Marchisio, Alex Song, Anthony Annan and Havard Nordtveit.

I normally play Fabregas/Ramsey as an advanced playmaker with a support duty, lots of through balls, rarely long shots and few crosses with one of my defensive mids as a deep lying playmaker and the other as a defensive mid on support duty. I want all three of the midfielders to get help the attacking process but it's very rarely that all three of them perform well it's only normally in the big scoring games when they all play well.

Is it just not possible to get three midfielders to perform consistently? Am I better off scraping the idea which I'd rather not do because it seems to be solid at the back I just have to rely on my two wingers and striker to get all the goals which fortunately they do very well.

The way I wanted it to work was similar to how Xabi Alonso and Busquets played in a slightly deeper role along with Xavi in the middle of the park during the world cup, any help would be great

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First off don't judge DMs performance from their ratings. The nature of the system means it is skewed, so as a simple example an 'average' striker will get some goals in a season and so would naturally get higher ratings than an 'average' DM. If in match you see them doing what you want them to do then be happy with it. On my brief use of a 433 my DM got average ratings below 7 but in game he was doing what I wanted him to do as best as he could which was to fulfill the classic water carrier role.

Secondly you really need to post your entire team and whatever approaches you use. I personally won't be able to help as I don't use the creator so I don't know the mentality/RFD settings which is what will determine the shape of your team when you attack.

Third is you are Arsenal and probably face defensive teams fairly regularly so no more than Spain you are relying on your front 3 (or 4 if Fabregas gets in between the lines regularly but with a support setting I don't know if he will be doing this from an MC position). Real life Spain/barcelona movement and intelligence just will not happen in FM so you will struggle in an attacking sense due to a lack of attacking numbers unless your attacking players do pull off some great play but against a defending team with a 442 two banks of 4 compressed onto each other with a striker coming deep almost as a fifth midfielder defending or a 4141 with your lone striker basically covered by 3 men it will be incredibly tough to break teams down or create space for attacking players consistently (or at least isolate them in 1v1 situations).

So to sum up in one sentence, in my opinion the system is too defensive for FM when playing as Arsenal.

But of course all of that is 'in my head' as I've never actually played with the formation you are describing. You'll know more from watching the matches and if you were to give something concrete with respect to a given match it might be easier to get some help. For example put up a pkm of a match or some screenshots showing what your team is doing wrong (in your opinion) and how you would hypothetically like to see a given 'wrong' scenario play out.

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Well I've had a bit of a reshuffle trying to make it slightly more attacking and the two defensive mids seem to be doing pretty much what I want of them (only based from a couple of matches) but Fabregas is a bit of a disappointment at the moment, I've tried changing him to an advanced playmaker with an attack duty with sometimes run with ball and from deep with rarely taking long shots and often through balls and sometimes cross the ball from the byline but he just isn't quite doing the right thing. He's normally getting a bit too forward and into the box where he's basically no aerial threat but when the ball is central he seems to be being marked out of the game, he's never really in space to receive the ball and cut out the killer pass which is what I want of him.

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Fabregas has the PPM to get forward? If so then that will cause him to get into the box or push ahead more than a mixed setting for RFD would do for a player without the PPM. In terms of finding space roaming might help but players are quite stagnant in FM and often you have to manipulate the space yourself. I have a theory about your formation possibly making this more difficult. Any chance you could upload a pkm of a match at home against a very defensive side, one where you were significant favourites? Use www.filefront.com

Alternatively here's the theory and you can have a look for it yourself. First assumption is opposition playing defensive 442:-

1. defensive 442 so deep D Line means they back off and the midfield 4 drop fairly close to the back 4

2. because you have 2 DMs there is no one to draw out the opposition MCs to create space for Fabregas in between the lines early enough

3. so the two MCs stay compressed and Fabregas has no room to work in and probably finds himself coming off their midfield to pick up passes which leaves a congested centre where slipped through balls are going to be difficult

4. the fact you have a front 3 means in situations where this happens the opposition will often be camped out on the edge of their own box hence the two wingers will be in narrow as they tend to do in that situation (width, wideplay, roaming will play into it)

5. again this is a giant compacted area centrally so no passing lanes and probably Fabregas (or indeed the DMs) recycling to your FBs

As I said just theory so could be complete nonsense :D For me a 442 works against defensive sides like this because my MCs draw out their MCs and then my strikers typically play the final ball. This works for me and it's the reason my strikers have a higher assist level than my MCs as they essentially deliver the killer balls either slipping in their partner or a winger in behind the opposition full back onto goal.

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