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Unrealistic formations in the TC?


Which of the following Tactics Creator formations do you think are unrealistic?  

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  1. 1. Which of the following Tactics Creator formations do you think are unrealistic?



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I thought this might be an interesting discussion. I would like to gauge opinion on some of the default TC formations available and how realistic they are according to what we see in real life.

For me, the offending formations on the tactics creator are:

1) 4-2-3-1

2) 4-3-2-1

3) 4-3-3

4) 4-6-0

I'll explain my concerns regarding each below.

1) The default 4-2-3-1 has two MCs and three AMCs. Now, I personally have never seen a side line-up like this on the pitch. The 4-2-3-1 I have seen has nearly always involved two holding players (DMs) in front of a back four, one of which is more oriented towards attack and will sometimes take up an advanced position on the pitch. As for the three AMs, I suppose Spain came closest to this in the World Cup but the majority of sides deploy AMR/AMC/AML as far as I know. The whole formation just doesn't look right to me in the match engine. In my opinion, the most realistic version of the 4-2-3-1 on FM is the deep version (DM, DM / AMR, AMC, AML).

2) The 4-3-2-1 default in the tactics creator brings up a weird formation with only one MC and MR/ML. Whereas, the 4-3-2-1 is basically a variation on 4-3-1-2 where one of the strikers is withdrawn into the hole. I find the idea of playing with one central midfielder a bit strange. It doesn't seem like a realistic shape to me. Surely, it should look like this:

4-3-2-1normal.jpg

3) The default 4-3-3 is an interesting one to discuss. Currently, the default option is a very rare variation (as far as I know) of three tight strikers. However, surely the most common 4-3-3 is this shape:

4-3-3.gif

I'm not sure that I have seen a side lining up with three tight strikers, although I've heard that there is some evidence for this. Perhaps the most common variation on this theme would be a 4-3-1-2 which essentially uses three attackers, with one withdrawn in the hole. I suppose you could perhaps achieve a similar idea on FM by using three strikers with the central forward as a deep-lying forward. I'm still not convinced about how realistic it is, however.

4) 4-6-0. There has been plenty of debate about this over at FM Britain. I'm not convinced anyone really plays 4-6-0 as it is defined in Football Manager. More likely, this would be a 4-5-1 variation with a trequartista or a deep-lying forward as the striker.

I'm interested in hearing other people's opinions. Maybe I am just a bit of an FM tactical purist but I enjoy FM far more when I am using what I see as 'real life' tactics.

So let me know what you think by voting on the poll and feel free to add any to my list.

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1) Yeah, the 4-2-3-1 is a bit odd. I've seen the narrow one a bit other than just Spain, but in formations that are actually defined as this, the midfield tend do be deeper. If anything, the wide 4-2-3-1 with wingers and MCs, is more of a representation of formations which are usually described as a 4-4-2 with one deep striker and advanced wingers.

2) Yep, definately agree that the x-mas tree is a narrow formation.

3) The classic 4-3-3 definately has FR/L, while most modern "4-3-3"s are set up with (in FM terms) AMR/L rather than strikers. The one major exception, Barcelona, do use wide forwards when they play this setup, albeit with a hell of a lot of movement.

4) Not really one I can comment on.

The only other ones I have issue with is the various back 3 tactics with wide midfielders (3-5-2, 3-4-3 etc), not so much in the way the positions are layed out, but in the way the settings make the MR/L play, which doesn't really reflect reality (they're far too deep when defending).

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Good OP and poll

1) 4-2-3-1

I agree with your analysis. I think the intention has been to illustrate the two wider AM's as playing further inflield so the FB's can overlap, but this can just as easily be replicated more accurately by deploying the AM's in proper wide positions and having them as playmakers or inside forwards, both cutting inside, with the FB / WB's being set to make overlapping runs if desired.

2) 4-3-2-1

Agreed, and it can be set in the way you illustrate, with different roles varying along and between the 3 bands to make it work effectively.

3) 4-3-3

Really the forward band should be set up in a similar fashion to the 4-2-3-1 I discuss in 1) but without the AMC.

4) I'm pretty certain Everton deployed a strikerless formation the season before last when they had an injury crisis. It was discussed in those terms and when I watched them stuff Sunderland 3-0, it looked like a strikerless formation. I believe Roma played something like this but I didn't see it first hand.

4) 4-6-0

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What formation were all the champions of each league in europe playing? Every team, that won the title in there respective countries was using a different formation.

Barca you had the 4-3-2-1

Inter you had the 4-3-3

Bayern (different from above)

Lyon (different from above)

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Spaletti is using a similar formation with Zenit to the one he used at Roma which is often considered a 4-6-0. This is the tactic that Fergie adapted for United and won the league and CL double in 2008.

Don't really know the Roma one that well (though I have heard it described like this before), but in terms of implementing it in FM10, I wouldn't call the United one a 4-6-0. While they didn't play with an out-and-out striker, and the most forward player did change a lot, I'd still say that, in FM terms, they had someone in the ST position all the time, albeit probably as a DLF - a position I've seen described as a "false 9".

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Spaletti is using a similar formation with Zenit to the one he used at Roma which is often considered a 4-6-0. This is the tactic that Fergie adapted for United and won the league and CL double in 2008.

Spaletti's formation was most definatly a 4-5-1 variation with a striker droping very deep and dictating play to the onrushing midfielders

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yeah thats daft you would think it woul be MC, MC / AMC, AMR/L / ST

Actually, I think it should be DM, DM / AMR, AML, AMC.

4-2-3-1.gif

That's what we see when we see most sides playing 4-2-3-1, with perhaps one midfield player more advanced off the ball (a support duty in FM terms).

Take the World Cup for instance. I think the Dutch 4-2-3-1 was the most obvious example, with the two DMs clearly shielding the defence and a clear band of two and band of three.

The MC, MC / AMR, AML, AMC is basically just 4-4-1-1 with the wings pushed up. You can, of course, make an argument to link this to the 4-2-3-1 anyway but this is quite different to the properly defined four bands of, say, Rafa's Liverpool. Personally, I think the 4-2-3-1 deep is the most realistic version on FM.

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What formation were all the champions of each league in europe playing? Every team, that won the title in there respective countries was using a different formation.

Barca you had the 4-3-2-1

Inter you had the 4-3-3

Bayern (different from above)

Lyon (different from above)

If you really wanna get technical with it then here we go

Barca played with a 4-3-3 that consisted of 4 defenders (lol i know), a DM and 2 CMs (2+1 = 3), and 2 wide forwards and a central forward (also equal 3). In fact last season it can be argued that many time they played with a 4-2-4 with messi playing a little more centrally, dropping off behind Zlatan, and iniesta pulling out wide.

Inter played with a 4-2-3-1.(In fact its in the post right above me) The same 4-2-3-1 that crouchie mentioned; 2 DMs, AML, AMR, AMC, FC. One of the DMs played a little higher than his counterpart in order to, occasionally, aid the attack. They played very rigid and on the counter and many times they attacked with just Milito, Sneijder, and Eto'o. In fact, many times it was just Milito and Sneijder. The wide players main priority seemed to be helping out defense.

Bayern played with more of a 4-4-2/4-2-4 (Ribery, Robben, Klose/Muller, Gomez/Olic).

Lyon.....didn't win the title :rolleyes:

Anyways back on topic.....I agree with pretty much everything that crouchie said. But then again, it is really up to each person's perspective and opinion. A lot of times, a tactical shape can be called various different formations as football is as not as black and white as i used to think it was.

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Have to agree with what crouchaldinho and aderow said, especially as the Barca/Inter analysis backs-up the point!

For my two pennies, I've voted the 4-2-3-1 (i'm sure I've seen a thread asking this to be as you'd think) and 4-6-0 (as you say, 4-5-1 with DLF) as unrealistic, but:

4-3-2-1: I understand what you're saying, I'm not on FM to check atm however I presume the CM has quite a low mentality? One AM as well? I basically see it as a 4-1-4-1 but with the central midfield triangle pushed up a notch in the formation, so quite possible.

4-3-3: Again would have to check but I assume at least one of the wider central strikers has "moves into channels" wide-play, hence although they start tight, at least one has the freedom to move wider, so it doesn't play as tight as you may think. Second, particularly at lower levels, you do see a tight 4-3-3 being deployed when a team is behind with 20 minutes to go, often with the central one dropping off slightly to receive the ball. I may be wrong but I think Warnock used to do this regularly when managing Sheff Utd's promotion bid a few years ago.

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I have seen so many versions of the 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 that i cant say any of the shapes representing them in the TC would be unrealistic

prior to the infamous injury crisis Spalletti lined up in what can be discribed as a 4-2-3-1 with 2 MC's and AMC, AMR, AML, nether de rossi or pizzaro played particlarly deep at that point in time and the formation was rather fluid and very wide

to give a cuple examples of the narrow 4-2-3-1 we again have Roma, now under Claudio Ranieri, his formation would look very similar to the narrow shape, if it was not for the role of Vucinic, playing in his wide forward possition befor cuting inside, hence this narrow shape mostly comes into play when Ranieri plonk Brighi on the field, often to give Riise defencive backing when Roma is a goal or two ahead, normaly this is done by switching of the not so defencivly aware Vucinic and going for a much more central aproche with Brighi playing AMCl

and well your own post:

Does anyone know how to set up that narrow 4231 with 3 AMC that spain used ?

I'm not sure how to set it up exactly as Spain used it but I can tell you what I would probably go for.

It would pretty much be the same as I detailed above. For the unit of 3, I would probably go with attacking midfielder (attack) for both AMCr and AMCl players. For the AMCc behind the striker, I'd think about using an inside forward (support or attack depending on the striker).

and these would be the once that are unrealistic:

I have never seen a team play 4-3-2-1 with MR/ML irl, and like have been metioned no team I know of have played 4-6-0 as such

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Disclaimer: This post is based on what I've seen in some games on TV supplemented with further reading. :)

UAF_85 - I'm talking specifically about what the TC calls 4-2-3-1 (MC, MC / AMC, AMC, AMC).

I haven't used that formation very much as I always thought that AMR and AML must be present. However I've seen some diagrams in the past with average positions of Spanish teams and 3 AMCs seem to be fielded with fullbacks providing width. Also I was confused with articles on club sites regarding "Player X started on the wing" until I figured that that term was used for fullback positions.

Also two DMCs aren't mandatory as in various games I've seen two pivots holding position around center line. Occasionally you could see one of them bursting forward but that would be question of who is playing in that position. For example in some Zaragoza games Aimar was playing as deep play-maker so he would follow his instincts and run forward, unlike when Zapater and Celades/Luccin would play in midfield. I was just checking football-lineups.com but for 2006-2008 Zaragoza period 4-2-3-1 is almost non-existent which doesn't suit actual games I've had taped. Of course play on the bylines was there (I'm referring to teams in general) but it was more of a player drifting out wide than cutting in.

I'll use this picture just for illustration, ignore the teams

80189680.jpg

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I agree with you Crouchy to the biggest extent. :thup:

1) The 4-2-3-1

You are right. The AMs should be lined up as RLC as this is how it's usually played irl.

I disagree on the DMs though. I would insert them as MCs with one defensive and one support duty if I was trying to create a 4-2-3-1 manually in FM. However the truth may in fact lie in between those two positions and very difficult to cover in FM with its limited strata.

2) The 4-3-2-1

Completely agreed. 3 MCs all the way.

Just here again, the line of 3 may as well be positioned as DMs and should propably be positioned in between those.

3) The 4-3-3

I wouldn't remember seeing a formation with 3 central strikers irl. Also on FM Genoa seem to be the only team of note who use it, so I agree with you that the tactic should have wingers in the default setting. (then again it may just be a labelling issue in the TC)

As opposed to your image of the tactics how it should be, we again have a problem with the limitations of FM's positions roster here. I would position the wingers as AM RL on FM and not in the wide striker positions. The difference between a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1, if any in respect of the wingers, would then have to be in the duties of the players. In any way one may come to the surprising result that irrespective of labelling the 4-3-3 is actually more defensive than the 4-2-3-1 formation as the only difference of note is that the 4-3-3 employs a #6 player where the 4-2-3-1 employs a #10.

4) The 4-6-0

Completely agreed. The 4-6-0 is more about trying to pu a label on a tactic with high fluidity in the attacking part of the team. It obviously doesn't mean that nobody is up-front.

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If you really wanna get technical with it then here we go

Barca played with a 4-3-3 that consisted of 4 defenders (lol i know), a DM and 2 CMs (2+1 = 3), and 2 wide forwards and a central forward (also equal 3). In fact last season it can be argued that many time they played with a 4-2-4 with messi playing a little more centrally, dropping off behind Zlatan, and iniesta pulling out wide.

Inter played with a 4-2-3-1.(In fact its in the post right above me) The same 4-2-3-1 that crouchie mentioned; 2 DMs, AML, AMR, AMC, FC. One of the DMs played a little higher than his counterpart in order to, occasionally, aid the attack. They played very rigid and on the counter and many times they attacked with just Milito, Sneijder, and Eto'o. In fact, many times it was just Milito and Sneijder. The wide players main priority seemed to be helping out defense.

Bayern played with more of a 4-4-2/4-2-4 (Ribery, Robben, Klose/Muller, Gomez/Olic).

Lyon.....didn't win the title :rolleyes:

Anyways back on topic.....I agree with pretty much everything that crouchie said. But then again, it is really up to each person's perspective and opinion. A lot of times, a tactical shape can be called various different formations as football is as not as black and white as i used to think it was.

Whilst I agree with what you're saying, this is exactly why I hate formations as such, there is no right answer unless every player is static.

Barca play a 4-3-3/4-1-2-3/4-5-1/4-3-2-1/ etc because whilst you're right in saying they play 4-3-3, UAF_85 is not wrong by saying they play 4-3-2-1 because that's what you're most likely to see when they're being attacked as the CM's drop deep/DM closes down and the wingers come back to support the midfield.

Inter played many formations throughout the season but to call their shape in the final a 4-2-3-1 maybe correct, it could also be called a 4-4-1-1/4-5-1/4-2-2-1-1 etc. See what I'm getting at.

Bayern played different shapes during their games which could be described in the final as 4-4-2/4-2-4/4-2-2-2 etc.

That is why you can't say stuff like "The 4-4-2 is dead", "The 4-3-3 is the best" because there are no teams in the world that stay in one shape throughout the match which is mostly highlighted by Barca who play 3 at the back when they go forward despite their shape of 4-1-2-3 and they are narrow despite having players in the winger slots and attacking fullbacks because of this fact.

A more contriversial team Liverpool use a 4-2-3-1/4-4-1-1/4-2-2-1-1/4-3-3 etc because there is alot of movement in all systems so it can never be a formation. That's where alot of people go wrong when they do the whole adapting every match which I do because they try to adapt to the opponent's formation rather than the players at the oppositions' disposal and it is fine saying "I'll play 2 DC's to your 1 striker", if that striker is Peter Crouch and you're playing two 5'10 defenders it's not going to end well regardless is it?

I hope this post made sense as I'm trying to say that formations do not mean much now, teams play so many varying shapes during the match it is impossible to call it a 4-3-3 or whatever.

Back on topic, I think that apart from any ME issues, 2 MC's with deep-lying playmaker defend and ball-winner defend whilst having inside forwards or whatever on the wngers in a 4-2-3-1 system could be what Liverpool played this season too possibly so you can't call it "wrong" but I understand what you are getting at crouchaldinho.

The 4-3-2-1 looks strange with the ML/R so I agree there :thup:. The 4-3-3 is a perculliar one and I agree that they should be FL/R but they have no forward roles there only "Inside forward", "Winger" etc. rather than "Complete Forward", "Poacher" etc. so I think it's designed to accommodate that. I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion on the 4-6-0 but I suppose an AMC trequartista wouldn't be too different in terms of how it plays out.

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If you really wanna get technical with it then here we go

Barca played with a 4-3-3 that consisted of 4 defenders (lol i know), a DM and 2 CMs (2+1 = 3), and 2 wide forwards and a central forward (also equal 3). In fact last season it can be argued that many time they played with a 4-2-4 with messi playing a little more centrally, dropping off behind Zlatan, and iniesta pulling out wide.

Inter played with a 4-2-3-1.(In fact its in the post right above me) The same 4-2-3-1 that crouchie mentioned; 2 DMs, AML, AMR, AMC, FC. One of the DMs played a little higher than his counterpart in order to, occasionally, aid the attack. They played very rigid and on the counter and many times they attacked with just Milito, Sneijder, and Eto'o. In fact, many times it was just Milito and Sneijder. The wide players main priority seemed to be helping out defense.

Bayern played with more of a 4-4-2/4-2-4 (Ribery, Robben, Klose/Muller, Gomez/Olic).

Lyon.....didn't win the title :rolleyes:

Anyways back on topic.....I agree with pretty much everything that crouchie said. But then again, it is really up to each person's perspective and opinion. A lot of times, a tactical shape can be called various different formations as football is as not as black and white as i used to think it was.

I think a lot of this is actually down to labelling. Many tactics are very fluid today which makes it more difficult to point at the precise starting position of each player. The best example may be the wingers and the issue of whether to count them in midfield or attack.

Most 4-3-3 formations could actually be described as 4-x-x-1 as well and a 4-1-4-1 can have many different shapes as well.

Bayern for example refer to their own tactic as 4-4-1-1. I'm sure they could sell it in a more popular way if they agreed with you here ;)

But they are actually a good example as you could label it 4-2-3-1 or 4-2-4 easily as well as 4-4-1-1.

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Whilst I agree with what you're saying, this is exactly why I hate formations as such, there is no right answer unless every player is static.

I hope this post made sense as I'm trying to say that formations do not mean much now, teams play so many varying shapes during the match it is impossible to call it a 4-3-3 or whatever.

Agreed, as said above. You can use various labels for the modern hybrid tactics and the chosen label doesn't really mean or change anything.

Yet, I think that for the purposes of a video game we have to live with the need for putting players into certain positions.

I think the way FM does it with so many options available to us is just great. They allow us to recreate most of what we see irl and better than any other sim. :)

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Whilst I agree with what you're saying, this is exactly why I hate formations as such, there is no right answer unless every player is static.

I can't really agree with this statement. The truth is that the vast majority of sides play with a relatively easily recognised shape, with certain players given particular duties and responsibilities within that system.

Inter played many formations throughout the season but to call their shape in the final a 4-2-3-1 maybe correct, it could also be called a 4-4-1-1/4-5-1/4-2-2-1-1 etc. See what I'm getting at.

You wouldn't call it 4-2-2-1-1 because formation notation does not use five bands. We talk about formations in four bands. As to whether you can call it 4-5-1, 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1; well, the latter are both variations on 4-5-1 with the midfield staggered in different ways.

I hope this post made sense as I'm trying to say that formations do not mean much now, teams play so many varying shapes during the match it is impossible to call it a 4-3-3 or whatever.

I can't agree totally with this. I understand the point you are making but of course players move and the shape changes when they attack. It always has. This hasn't anything to do with modern football at all. In the 1966 final, Nobby Stiles was seen shooting from the inside forward position and Bobby Moore popped up on the left flank at one moment! England still played a 4-4-2 diamond shape. Whether you call it 4-1-3-2 (as Stiles does in his book) or 4-3-1-2 (as it rather appeared to be with Charlton advanced behind the strikers) is another matter though. So I can accept your point but only to a certain extent, and in fact you might even argue that what we are referring to as modern football can often be even more rigid than the football of the past (with players given far more restricted and clearly defined roles)!

Back on topic, I think that apart from any ME issues, 2 MC's with deep-lying playmaker defend and ball-winner defend whilst having inside forwards or whatever on the wngers in a 4-2-3-1 system could be what Liverpool played this season too possibly so you can't call it "wrong" but I understand what you are getting at crouchaldinho.

I disagree with this. In FM terms, at least, I would classify the central midfield players as within the DM strata. In real life terms, call them what you will, they're basically central midfield players who shield the defence.

Teams like Liverpool and the Netherlands at the World Cup played their 4-2-3-1 with four clear bands. This matches most closely with the FM formation called '4-2-3-1 Deep'. I'm not saying a version with MCs is 'wrong', it just doesn't match with the most common version in real life in my opinion. I'm talking in FM terms though and in terms of what the match engine gives us. And anyway, the main point was to talk about the 4-2-3-1 narrow version with two MCs and three AMCs. To me, this just looks bizarre in the match engine. It doesn't look right or realistic to me. And yes, you can make an argument for Spain, as I did in my opening post, but they clearly played with two DMs in FM terms. The fact is that I haven't seen a side line-up and play as the 4-2-3-1 with MCs and AMCs plays in the FM match engine.

Nowadays there is so much movement and flexibility that you can make a claim for anything being anything.
Agreed, as said above. You can use various labels for the modern hybrid tactics and the chosen label doesn't really mean or change anything.

Again, I can only agree to a certain extent. I appreciate the point that you are all making. However, you certainly can't make a claim for 'anything being anything'. Football isn't as anarchic as you are making out. Players go out on to the field of play with defined roles and responsibilities within a system. Formation notation is a perfectly adequate and acceptable way to classify a team's shape. I find it interesting to talk about football in this way and I certainly see no reason to abandon it.

And most of all, it's fun to talk about football in this way! The best football discussions are often ones in which you begin talking about a line-up, saying something along the lines of ''I'd have [insert team here] playing [insert formation here] with [insert player here] playing wide right............' and so on and so forth! Maybe even with a pencil and paper writing down the players names in positions! Or the salt and pepper pots! :D So you can't take my formation notation away! :mad::D

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Again, I can only agree to a certain extent. I appreciate the point that you are all making. However, you certainly can't make a claim for 'anything being anything'. Football isn't as anarchic as you are making out. Players go out on to the field of play with defined roles and responsibilities within a system. Formation notation is a perfectly adequate and acceptable way to classify a team's shape. I find it interesting to talk about football in this way and I certainly see no reason to abandon it.

And most of all, it's fun to talk about football in this way! The best football discussions are often ones in which you begin talking about a line-up, saying something along the lines of ''I'd have [insert team here] playing [insert formation here] with [insert player here] playing wide right............' and so on and so forth! Maybe even with a pencil and paper writing down the players names in positions! Or the salt and pepper pots! :D So you can't take my formation notation away! :mad::D

I agree with not agreeing with aderow's quoted statement.

My point is not that tactical instructions are vague or even anarchic. I'm sure that players get fairly precise instructions and follow them.

My point is that nowadays it becomes increasingly difficult to put a simple label on the tasks given to many players because modern formations are very fluid and the differences between an offensive 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 are nuances at max and there are many formations which could be described in many ways, like the Bayern one. The difference between a winger being classed in midfield or in attack may be nuances in his duties or even just arbitrarily. As long as we keep few categories, then fitting roles into these categories becomes more difficult the more these roles are varied in nuances.

While the role blending midfield and attack has been solved by using the trequartista label (now how many people were familiar with that term berfore FM10?) an equivalent for a winger does not exist yet.

So in the end it is not decisive how you would label a formation and difficult to correctly describe one just by entering figures in up to 4 strata.

But to come back to the initial point, the common perception of how certain formations should be translated into the general spreading of players over the pitch is different from what SI chose to do in the examples you gave and I particularly wonder why some of those tactics which we actually see irl have not been entered under another label either. Fair enough, let the 4-2-3-1 stay how it is if SI think that is the correct label for the tactic, but the 4-2-3-1 which imho is the regular rl version is lacking. That, along with the comparable inefficiency of wingers in the game, is much more of a problem than different opinions on labelling certain formations.

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My point is that nowadays it becomes increasingly difficult to put a simple label on the tasks given to many players because modern formations are very fluid and the differences between an offensive 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 are nuances at max and there are many formations which could be described in many ways, like the Bayern one. The difference between a winger being classed in midfield or in attack may be nuances in his duties or even just arbitrarily.

I understand your point but I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one because I can only accept it up to a point. For instance, the difference between a wide player being classified as part of the midfield or part of the attack is often pretty clear. For starters, is that player expected to play box-to-box, or is he a true forward who has only a defensive responsibility to press his fullback? The truth is that football is not really as complicated as you are making out. Sides are rarely so fluid as to make it impossible to describe their shape on the field of play. That's why sites such as this one - http://www.football-lineups.com/ - exist to record and classify line-ups.

While the role blending midfield and attack has been solved by using the trequartista label (now how many people were familiar with that term berfore FM10?) an equivalent for a winger does not exist yet.

Anyone with a passing interest in Italian football would have heard of that term prior to its use in FM10. Also, an attacking midfielder already blurs the distinction between midfield and attack. We didn't need the word trequartista to make a decision about that.

So in the end it is not decisive how you would label a formation and difficult to correctly describe one just by entering figures in up to 4 strata.

It will always be a matter of opinion and that is fine. I have no problem with that. But the idea that formation notation is somehow not applicable to football is not something that I can agree with.

As this diagram illustrates, there are really only so many positions that a player can take up:

300px-Football_positions.png

We can meaningfully talk about these positions on the pitch and discuss the team shape/formation according to this. It's true that it's not rigid as it perhaps might be in other sports, and it's also true that it could be a matter of opinion whether or not you might define a player in a certain way according to what you see. What we can be pretty sure about though is that there are systems of play (the 4-4-2, the 4-3-3, the 4-2-3-1 and so on and so forth) that managers and players learn to play. That's why St. Albans City's 4-4-2 doesn't look a million miles away from England's 4-4-2. And why I could spot the same duties and responsibilities in Egypt's 3-5-2 as I could in St. Albans City's 3-5-2 when they played that formation.

What I am saying is that, of course, you are right in what you are saying to some extent. However, it is also important to note that all systems have certain characteristics and requirements. Ultimately, certain players within the system are pretty much always expected to fulfil the same duties. And we must have some way to describe how a side lines up on the pitch, how they approach the game and so on and so forth. The ancient art of writing players names down in positions on the field of play (coupled with the occasional arrow pointing into space!) is a time honoured tradition for goodness sake! You'll never, in a million years, convince me otherwise! :p:D

Anyway, agree to disagree or whatever. I have no intention of repeating myself and arguing the point. My opinion is that it is a very useful starting point when discussing a team's tactics and that the game is certainly not so complicated or 'fluid' as to make it impossible or even terribly difficult. On that final point, I disagree entirely.

But to come back to the initial point, the common perception of how certain formations should be translated into the general spreading of players over the pitch is different from what SI chose to do in the examples you gave and I particularly wonder why some of those tactics which we actually see irl have not been entered under another label either. Fair enough, let the 4-2-3-1 stay how it is if SI think that is the correct label for the tactic, but the 4-2-3-1 which imho is the regular rl version is lacking.

Moving on, and yes, this is basically what the thread is all about. I agree. :)

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1. Fiorentina play like that sometimes.

2. It's just a 442 narrow diamond, with the DM pushed up, which is reasonable when a big club plays a small club, so you don't need the extra protection from the DM, but could use the extra support/attack from AM.

3. Uruguay played 433 for most of the WC, their strikers were wide, but still strikers.

4. See Roma vs Manchester United. In the TC, they use 2 AM, but the reasonable thing to do is move 1 to MC. 4-6-0 is just the 4-5-1 with the striker droped to AM.

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  • 3 months later...
I agree with you Crouchy to the biggest extent. :thup:

1) The 4-2-3-1

You are right. The AMs should be lined up as RLC as this is how it's usually played irl.

I disagree on the DMs though. I would insert them as MCs with one defensive and one support duty if I was trying to create a 4-2-3-1 manually in FM. However the truth may in fact lie in between those two positions and very difficult to cover in FM with its limited strata.

Just coming back to this thread, I must say that I agree with this post regarding the 4-2-3-1. The 4-2-3-1 version with MCs and AMR/AMC/AML as the unit of '3' can be set-up in such a way as to create a deep-lying effect with the two midfielders. If you have one MC as ball-winner and another MC as a DLP, the mentality/forward runs set by these roles will give the same kind of effect as the typical 'double pivot' of the 4-2-3-1. For me, this deep-lying midfield/double pivot is the important factor in the 4-2-3-1. For what it's worth, I notice many of the FM sides in Spain are set to a wide 4-2-3-1 with MCs as default. However, most of the squads in Spain have midfielders with DM and MC competency.

In my book on 4-2-3-1 (by Massimo Lucchesi) he does indicate that the midfielders can place themselves in front of the backs to shield the defence (as DMs). I think the real truth comes from your statement that the true position may, at times, lie in between the DM and MC position in FM terms.

As for the narrow 4-2-3-1, I guess from what others have written that this can be justified. So perhaps all versions of the 4-2-3-1 should be in the creator as defaults.

From my point of view, I still don't like the 4-3-2-1 with MR/ML, the 4-3-3 with tight strikers and the 4-6-0 though!

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Everton arguably played 4-6-0 when all our strikers were injured. We had Felliani and Cahill as our most advanced players neither of which were playing as out and out strikers. With many of our goals in that period coming from crosses and late runs in to the box as well as direct ball for Cahill and Fella to knock down to the other midfielders. It is an odd one and IRL very very unlikely, but this is a real life example where it was certainly close and also sucessful.

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Just coming back to this thread, I must say that I agree with this post regarding the 4-2-3-1. The 4-2-3-1 version with MCs and AMR/AMC/AML as the unit of '3' can be set-up in such a way as to create a deep-lying effect with the two midfielders. If you have one MC as ball-winner and another MC as a DLP, the mentality/forward runs set by these roles will give the same kind of effect as the typical 'double pivot' of the 4-2-3-1. For me, this deep-lying midfield/double pivot is the important factor in the 4-2-3-1. For what it's worth, I notice many of the FM sides in Spain are set to a wide 4-2-3-1 with MCs as default. However, most of the squads in Spain have midfielders with DM and MC competency.

In my book on 4-2-3-1 (by Massimo Lucchesi) he does indicate that the midfielders can place themselves in front of the backs to shield the defence (as DMs). I think the real truth comes from your statement that the true position may, at times, lie in between the DM and MC position in FM terms.

As for the narrow 4-2-3-1, I guess from what others have written that this can be justified. So perhaps all versions of the 4-2-3-1 should be in the creator as defaults.

From my point of view, I still don't like the 4-3-2-1 with MR/ML, the 4-3-3 with tight strikers and the 4-6-0 though!

that should also sum up my thoughts on the subject

this was how zonalmarking put down the formation misslabled "4-6-0"

roma08.jpg

what we can see here is a pretty regular modern 4-3-3 (which should be pretty spot on even if Perrotta often played a bit ahead of the other central mids), what Spalletti did was to use a very unortodox central striker role, that pretty much revolutionized the system

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Problem with 4-2-3-1 is that in real life, managers don't have to skewer their player on one of predefined 5 kebab-like strata, but can instead position them naturally :p In case of 4 strata formations like 4-2-3-1 they are going to be distributed to cover the whole field from defenders to strikers evenly, meaning 2 DMs would be somewhere between DM and MC and AML/R/C somewhere between MC and AMC positions as they are shown by FM. So I don't think that either the 2 DM or 2 MC variants would really be representative, both leave what appear to be huge gaps in the formation, although of course, those can be plugged by giving players deeper/advanced roles so it works better than it looks on formation screen. So, I wouldn't call any of those 2 variants more realistic, it's probably down to preference, until the time SI gives us the ability to set it up in real 4 strata.

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I'd like there to be a 4-2-3-1 version with MCs and wingers (essentially 4-4-1-1 with the wingers pushed up). Most of the Championship sides who use an AMC use this formation, with central midfielders rather than defensive midfielders. That could be called "4-2-3-1 advanced" to distinguish it from 4-2-3-1 deep, I suppose?

I've not seen a side start with that narrow 4-3-3, but it's something I've seen sides change to when they're chasing a game, often when bringing on a big striker from the bench.

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In some respects, I would say that when used in conjunction with certain other settings, the actual starting formation is irrelevant, or perhaps even a loose guideline. That's more how I would look at it anyway.

I don't recall one occasion in the last three or four releases of FM, in which I've placed such a large degree of emphasis on what the formation looks like on the tactics screen. I'm more interested in what it does during play more than anything. During the course of a match and especially so in open play, you can make your "default" formation flow into something else entirely. We have the tools for the most part, to do that.

Indeed, I often remember posting a tactic a few years ago, that lined up and looked like an orthodox 4-4-2, but during open play, would shift into two or three different shapes based upon individual movement of players, that I had specifically instructed. I actually recall that when watching the matches, it would shift into something more akin to 4-5-1 or 4-3-3, 4-2-4... and so on. Had a casual observer not seen the starting line up and formation screen, they probably wouldn't have said or believed it was a 4-4-2.

Of course, if you want your team to play to a static formation shape, then some formations may look strange or not quite right. Until such a time that pre-set era or team specific or "famous" formations, accompanied by their associated settings, are included as defaults, I think it's up to us to shape the rest really.

I'm not trying to be facetious about this, really I'm not. But what I would ask, is how many times do the "expert" pundits show a formation in pre-match commentary on the TV, only for the teams to play or shape nothing like them? Lots. :)

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Good thread.

Remember that all those tactics and screens are a formal expression of basics.

Players goes forward and backward (oh really?) so it's hard to image Anelka put as side midfielder or offensive right. He's striker but it plays there when he needs.

Same for Vucinic on the left.

I'l be waiting for vote...can you make a picture of what you intend as the unrealistic 4-2-3-1? I'm not sure about what you said.

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Good thread.

Remember that all those tactics and screens are a formal expression of basics.

Players goes forward and backward (oh really?) so it's hard to image Anelka put as side midfielder or offensive right. He's striker but it plays there when he needs.

Same for Vucinic on the left.

I'l be waiting for vote...can you make a picture of what you intend as the unrealistic 4-2-3-1? I'm not sure about what you said.

I think we've essentially reached the conclusion that it's really down to one of the limitations of FM as it currently stands because many modern formations can not be reflected by using the pre-determined positions available. In my opinion, the sarrows and short farrows/barrows meant that we were able to cope with these inadequacies. For instance, in a 4-2-3-1, the DM/MCs could essentially play somewhere between both positions with a short barrow or farrow depending upon their ultimate placement. Equally, the 4-3-3 could be more accurately reflected, with either farrows or a combination of sarrows/farrows to create the effect of a wide player who advanced to become a makeshift forward but who gets back on the wing when defending. Or in a 4-3-1-2/narrow diamond, where the two MCs could be drawn out to play between the MC and MR/ML positions in a hybrid position. Finally, as in your Anelka example, one could use the old farrow/barrow/sarrow system in order to get him to play in that way.

Ultimately, for me, personally, FM still hasn't managed to cope with this issue and, in my opinion, it means that some formations are just flawed/unrealistic in the match engine. I'm not arguing for the return of long arrows or anything like that. I'm really making a case for the short arrows, which would allow us to get a player to play the middle ground between two positions.

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I'l be waiting for vote...can you make a picture of what you intend as the unrealistic 4-2-3-1? I'm not sure about what you said.

As for this question, I was talking about the narrow 4-2-3-1 (default 4-2-3-1 in the tactics creator) which has 4 defenders, 2 central midfielders, 3 AMCs and 1 ST. However, someone has posted up this screenshot in the thread above:

80189680.jpg

And this would seem to show a narrow 4-2-3-1 being played by Spain with three AMs. While the Dutch, in this shot, are lining up in the more common 4-2-3-1 (4-2-3-1 Deep in FM terms).

My main argument in the OP is that the 4-2-3-1 Deep, as shown in the screenshot of the Dutch line-up on the pitch, is the more typical 4-2-3-1.

For what it's worth, I wouldn't argue that this one is necessarily unrealistic. However, I still feel that the 4-3-2-1 with MR/ML, the 4-3-3 with tight strikers and the 4-6-0 don't really seem realistic to me (that is, on the tactics board or in the match engine). But that's just my opinion.

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As for this question, I was talking about the narrow 4-2-3-1 (default 4-2-3-1 in the tactics creator) which has 4 defenders, 2 central midfielders, 3 AMCs and 1 ST.

Ok I've got, it's weird to me too. I mean the classic 4-2-3-1 has players on the wings.

My main argument in the OP is that the 4-2-3-1 Deep, as shown in the screenshot of the Dutch line-up on the pitch, is the more typical 4-2-3-1.

For what it's worth, I wouldn't argue that this one is necessarily unrealistic. However, I still feel that the 4-3-2-1 with MR/ML, the 4-3-3 with tight strikers and the 4-6-0 don't really seem realistic to me (that is, on the tactics board or in the match engine). But that's just my opinion.

You're right, they seem unrealistic, but I think they are specific tactics for specific situation.

4-6-0 when you don't have attackers, 4-2-3-1 (2 CM) when you want to put more pression in the middle of the pitch.

Think at Lippi's Juventus when they won Champions League. Del Piero Vialli and Ravanelli, it's a 4-3-3 in terms of FM and with that kind of player you can do it.

I can't think Ravanelli as Anelka/Iaquinta put as RMF...it's a 4-3-3.

One of things I miss in FM (and I agree that back arrows were useful) is setting the attack.

In a 4-4-2 my two strikers (move into channel and creative freedom 9 circa) they move too often on the side for example.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just read a quotation from Marcello Lippi in one of my books where he talks about 'three types of 4-3-3'. One is the 4-3-3 with two wide players and a striker. Another has one withdrawn player behind two strikers (essentially 4-3-1-2). The last one he mentions has 'three tight strikers'. :eek:

So now we know. :D

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Well, I don't think that anyone says that 4-3-3 doesn't exist in such manner, it's just that it is pretty much a relic of the past, 50 years ago it was used in that way, but nowadays practically no team in the world is using it as a normal (non desperation) tactic. So putting it as one of default formations in modern FM is much like putting WM or 2-3-5 as one of default options :p Although to be honest, Paraguay did play something that looked a lot like narrow 4-3-3 at WC, but that is certainly dwarfed by amount of teams playing modern 4-3-3 with wide forwards/wingers that is either nonexistant in the default formation listing, or mislabeled under 4-5-1.

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