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Inverting the Pyramid: W-M and Hybrids


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So I've spent half a season working on the Danubian Whirl (here - http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/311659-The-Danubian-Whirl) and it's now time for me to experiment and work on shifting ground into the W-M territory. The reason I am starting this midway through the season is because of the collection of different "types" of W-M setups the Inverting the Pyramid book discusses. But let's start the beginning shall we?

Part of football's enduring fascination is that it is a holistic game, that the slightest change in one part of the pitch can have unexpected and radical effects elsewhere

This is the first sentence to the chapter The Third Back in Wilson's book. He has a great article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2011/sep/20/arsenal-herbert-chapman-southampton-tactics?INTCMP=SRCH) talking about how the initial impression of Herbert Chapman's Arsenal being the initial team who played the W-M was misleading. However, for those who like images and diagrams, here's a brief introduction to the formation:

Movement from the 2-3-5 to the W-M:

DanubianWhirl_zps6d85dde0.jpg

This formation, regardless of style of play, was the default strategy in the British Isles and across a good percentage of the footballing world. There was nothing wrong with it and it provided plenty of attacking threat which meant everyone was happy. Except goals started to dry out and the FA panicked. If there weren't any goals then people won't come to watch the teams play and money will be lost! And so they, in their wisdom, decided to change the offside law (where have we seen this happen before?) and after much debate they decided to change the law from needing three defensive players ahead of a pass to that of only needing two (goalie and defender). At the same time there was a growing habit of the Centre Half being made given a completely defensive responsibility during some matches. The change in the offside law required more bodies and it was only natural that the Centre Half would become that player.

W-Mv1_zpsd126019b.jpg

This had the natural effect of pushing the "full backs" wider to where we get the term from and creating a central defender (and why in England it is also called a centre half). The W-M was born.

W-Mv2_zpsf8b50038.jpg

Who was Chapman and what is so special about his W-M?

Herbert Chapman helped develop the W-M when he was manager of Huddersfield. Initially in his managerial career (at Northampton) Chapman wanted to play a game of "finesse and cunning" but soon came to the realisation that a team can only attack so much. That to keep pressing forward and squeezing the opposition backwards can actually restrict your attacking options and so he became a very strong believer in the counter attack. That is, to draw a team out of their area, regain possession and exploit the space that has been left open.

Chapman looked at both ends of the pitch. The centre back typically became a Stopper (limited defender) but he wasn't able using a creative ball player against weaker teams if he thought he could get away with it. As the W-M took off in Britain there was the immediate gravitation towards the stopper and a disregard for the rest of Chapman's W-M. Namely the fact that the inside forwards now had even more creative responsibility with the loss of the Centre Half in midfield. The wingers needed to be fast but there was an attempt to not be overly focused on wing play. However this was another aspect that was quickly ignored in the following years.

And so my first design for the W-M will be to use Chapman's system in my away games in preparation for the future...

Boris Arkadiev and the Organised Disorder:

Just like one 4-4-2 is unlike another, no two W-Ms are necessarily the same. The man who, along with Austrian Wunderteam and Sebes' "Magical Magyars", can be argued as the first innovators of what would become Total Football was one Boris Arkadiev. Like Chapman, Boris was a lover of the counter attack and being in charge of Dinamo Moscow allowed him to put his plans into action. After winning the League and Cup double in his first season he soon came across problems when all the other teams took on the W-M system (~1939). His style would eventually be known as the Passovotchka, a short passing style that allowed for the roaming of all the attacking players to completely confuse the opposition. This would result in the wingers swapping sides, the striker dropping deeper and then the inside forwards moving into channels and any one of the five players becoming the main striker at any point in time.

An additional shift in the style of play is the split between the half backs (DMs) and the inside forwards (AMs). One half back grew steadily more defensive to the point where it's possible that Arkadiev's system bordered on having a back four. In a mirroring of this change was one of the inside forwards (AMs) dropping deeper to where he could be, almost, considered to be a central midfielder. The 4-2-4 was certainly on its way.

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Gusztav Sebes and the Aranycsapat:

I'll let Fifa.com pick up this part of the tale.

Sometimes referred to as the 'Match of the Century', Hungary's 6-3 demolition of England at Wembley Stadium in 1953 is seen by many to mark the birth of football's modern age. If so, then Gusztav Sebes, the manager of the 'Magical Magyars,' was the man most responsible for the game's shaping place in football history.

Though rightly remembered for the beauty of their play and the brilliance of the world-class players in their ranks, the feats of Hungary's Aranycsapat (Golden Team) also marked a turning point in tactics, group dynamics and on-field fluidity. Sebes's side have come to be regarded as a precursor for the most skilled and intelligent teams in the sport's subsequent history. As Hungary's inspirational captain Ferenc Puskas once said: "When we attacked, everyone attacked, and in defence it was the same. We were the prototype for Total Football."

Given the central concept of 'Total Football', it is no surprise that Sebes, the son of a cobbler, was attracted to the philosophy; the notion of every player pulling an equal weight and able to play in all positions fitted neatly with his famous socialist ideals. He even described it as "socialist football", and his history as a labour organiser in Paris and Budapest no doubt honed his equally celebrated ability to inspire his men.

"If we beat the English at Wembley, our names will be legendary," said Sebes. His masterful motivating job in the build-up to the friendly match on 25 November 1953 often drifted into political terms - the unsung eastern Europeans playing in the home of the empire against the aloof inventors of the game themselves. Hungary's goalkeeper of the time, Gyula Grosics, later recalled: "Sebes was very committed to socialist ideology, and you could sense that in everything he said. He made a political issue of every important match or competition, and he often talked about how the struggle between capitalism and socialism takes place on the football field just as it does anywhere else."

The communist government in Hungary allowed Sebes, whose official title was deputy minister of sport, complete control of team planning and, inspired by the Italy side that won two pre-war FIFA World Cups, he duly built his squad around two clubs, Honved and Red Banner (formerly MTK). He developed a tactical system centred on the strength of his best players - Puskas and fellow inside-forward Sandor Kocsis formed a majestic attacking partnership supported by the elusive elder statesman Nandor Hidegkuti.

If Sebes' political language was taken to its logical conclusion, one could fairly say that the 1953 victory under Wembley's Twin Towers was akin to a chilly afternoon revolution. The 6-3 score line barely did justice to Hungary's dominance as the visitors' skill and tactics left their hosts helpless and the watching supporters stunned. They had 35 shots on goal to England's five and their final goal, a Hidegkuti volley, followed a sublime ten-pass sequence. One of England's greatest-ever players, Sir Tom Finney, was on the field that day and summed up the match as "race-horses against cart-horses". He continued: "They were the greatest national side I played against, a wonderful team to watch with tactics we'd never seen before." Another English legend, Sir Stanley Matthews, echoed the sentiment, saying: "They are the best team I ever faced. They were the best ever."

Hungary lent further weight to these words by inflicting further humiliation on England the following May, routing Walter Winterbottom's men 7-1 at Budapest's Nepstadion. The result firmly established Sebes's side as clear favourites to lift the 1954 FIFA World Cup in Switzerland following their impressive displays in winning gold at the Olympic Football Tournament two years earlier. The Hungarians had triumphed in Finland by overcoming four fellow European sides to the tune of 18 goals for and one against. The gold medal was theirs after defeating a high-quality Yugoslavia team 2-0 in the final.

The 'Magical Magyars' also registered what was the longest unbeaten streak in international football history until the 1990s when they went four years and 31 matches (27 victories) without losing. That run continued into the 1954 FIFA World Cup as they thrashed South Korea (9-0) and West Germany (8-3) in the group stage before dismissing the top two teams from 1950, Brazil and Uruguay, 4-2 in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively.

Sometimes even fairy tales have an unhappy ending, however. Hungary were undone in the final by a significantly improved German side from the one that they drubbed in the first round. After the favourites went 2-0 ahead in the first eight minutes, West Germany took over, evening the match in just ten minutes before finding the winning goal six minutes from the end. Sebes, his team and an entire country were crushed. It was "bad luck" the manager explained, and it was hard not to argue given the torrential rain in Berne, the injuries afflicting key players after a pair of bruising knockout round matches and the equaliser that Puskas saw cancelled out moments before the final whistle.

Speaking before the final, the 48-year-old Sebes had warned of the challenge facing his team. "Our greatest enemy is not so much physical fatigue as nervous tension. I never suspected that the World Cup could be such a test of nerves." Their nerve failed them at the decisive moment and that 3-2 defeat at the rain-sodden Wankdorf Stadium was to prove the beginning of the end for the Hungarians, even if they subsequently went another 18 matches unbeaten until falling to Turkey in early 1956. That loss was followed by a draw and two more defeats, and Sebes was duly relieved of his duties. Later that year, Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest, Puskas and others defected, and the Cold War slowly swallowed up the lives of many of the Aranycsapat. Sebes stayed active in football, coaching Hungarian club sides until the late 1960s and assuming administrative roles with UEFA and the Hungarian Olympic Committee. Yet for both him and Hungarian football, the golden age was at an end.

Tactics

Hungarian football was at the vanguard of tactical innovation in the 1950s. The traditional 3-2-5 formation (or WM) was turned upside down as club sides and Sebes's national team adopted a prototype of the 4-2-4 system. Where the old WM incorporated two attacking inside-forwards, two wingers and a centre-forward, this new approach saw the centre-forward withdrawn behind two attacking inside-forwards. A midfielder was pulled back to strengthen the defence, while two midfield half-backs helped both the defence and attack. Sebes adopted the tactic and brought it to the international game using Nandor Hidegkuti as the deep-lying forward and Sandor Kocsis and Ferenc Puskas as the central attackers. Sebes also encouraged his defenders to attack and his goalkeeper, Grosics, to act almost as a sweeper. (Grosics was even referred to sometimes as the 'fourth back'.) Interestingly, another Hungarian, Bela Guttman, travelled to Brazil where he turned the nation on to the values of a more standard 4-2-4 with which the Selecao won the 1958 FIFA World Cup.

And Wikipedia's page on the team itself - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Team

In Hungary there was an issue when it came to finding the Big Man up front and in a move that could be said to be mirrored in Barcelona's style, it was decided that if you can't find the right type of striker then you get rid of the position.

Aranycsapatv1_zps37dadb14.jpg

Aranycsapatv2_zps5d7fb7b1.jpg

This withdrawing of the striker (to essentially become an attacking midfielder and the inside forwards to become strikers) meant that he would be dropped into the space used by the two half backs. Just like the Arkadiev system this would result in one of the half backs (DMs) dropping deeper while the other would create a partnership with the AM. In the Hungarian system this would be the fabulous Hidegkuti sitting behind Puskas (yes, THAT Puskas) and Kocsis. Sebes would eventually ask the wingers to drop a little deeper to help pick up the ball from midfielders. The full backs were encouraged to attack down the flanks and to compensate the centre half was asked to drop deeper still (the pre-sweeper of football) with the defensive half back dropping to almost in line with the full backs.

Aranycsapatv3_zpse23012af.jpg

That wasn't the end of the system. It was an incredibly fluid style of play with lots of interchanging of positions, players roaming everywhere and attacks coming from every possible area of the pitch.

The Diagonal, Brazil's W-M hybrid:

It's possible to argue whether Brazil ever really accepted the W-M as Chapman knew it. Their fluidity and love of flair and self expression naturally moved any W-M style into a more natural copy of what Arkadiev was doing with Moscow. The man who introduced the W-M into Brazilian football was the coach Dori Kurschner. However it was a system that wasn't welcomed by Brazilian football (seen as too defensive) and his assistant manager, Flavio Costa, took every chance he could to discredit his non Portuguese speaking manager. After Kurschner was sacked and Costa given the helm, the Brazilian found himself into a bit of a quandary. How could he use an obviously superior tactic when he had spent all his time attacking it? The answer was what he called the "diagonal".

Like Arkadiev, Costa would tilt the square of the midfield into a parallelogram. A very deep lying half back (Volante), a deeper lying inside forward who partnered the remaining half back and the remaining inside forward (the point du lanca) becoming a supportive striker. This "tilt" to the W-M was reversible, enabling a manager to pick and choose which side he wanted to be more defensive or attacking as needed.

And so football was one step away from recognising the 4-2-4 right across the globe.

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After reading Inverting the Pyramid, I was really gripped by the chapter on the Hungary "Golden Team". I tried emulating the tactic myself, going with more of an M-M formation, however it was very frail defensively. I will be looking to fine tune it for FM13 and hopefully produce an in-depth thread like you have produced with the Danubian Whirl and Cleon has with Chapman's W-M.

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Another cracking thread. I love the W-M, it's the first formation I make on any football manager game.

I made the W-M and wrote about it for FM12, do you want me to copy and paste it in here?

Absolutely! I want to hear anything that people know about these formations and/or their experiences using them in FM. I can't deny a sense of unease at the fact of only having one real centre-back for my initial go at the W-M (Chapman's version).

After reading Inverting the Pyramid, I was really gripped by the chapter on the Hungary "Golden Team". I tried emulating the tactic myself, going with more of an M-M formation, however it was very frail defensively. I will be looking to fine tune it for FM13 and hopefully produce an in-depth thread like you have produced with the Danubian Whirl and Cleon has with Chapman's W-M.

The Magical Magyars team was definitely more a M-M than a W-M but I'm looking forward to getting to that variation of the system. If you look at the diagram in that chapter that's copied from Sebes' notebook you can see the sheer movement of the players. That's going to be the most important aspect of recreating it and might take me more than one season of tinkering with players to get each aspect spot on. As far as its defensive frailty is concerned, that's actually a big criticism of the original team and they very much were about scoring one more than their opponents in some games.

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The Magical Magyars team was definitely more a M-M than a W-M but I'm looking forward to getting to that variation of the system. If you look at the diagram in that chapter that's copied from Sebes' notebook you can see the sheer movement of the players. That's going to be the most important aspect of recreating it and might take me more than one season of tinkering with players to get each aspect spot on. As far as its defensive frailty is concerned, that's actually a big criticism of the original team and they very much were about scoring one more than their opponents in some games.

Well I very much look forward to your approach and seeing how it compares to mine.

It was widely accepted that the Aranycsapat's biggest flaw was there all-out-attack nature, it was just an aim of mine to obviously improve that side of the tactic whilst not compromising the attacking fluidity of the team.

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Well I very much look forward to your approach and seeing how it compares to mine.

It was widely accepted that the Aranycsapat's biggest flaw was there all-out-attack nature, it was just an aim of mine to obviously improve that side of the tactic whilst not compromising the attacking fluidity of the team.

I think it's very difficult for any formation to find that balance. Especially since I don't get the impression the Aranycsapat was about keeping possession. Unlike Arkadiev's Moscow which apparently didn't mind defending first.

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I think it's very difficult for any formation to find that balance. Especially since I don't get the impression the Aranycsapat was about keeping possession. Unlike Arkadiev's Moscow which apparently didn't mind defending first.

I agree with you there, it wasn't about possession. I believe there is quote from the book from the perspective of one of the England players (I may be wrong) after the 6-3 annihilation at Wembley, they said they transformed defence to attack in a blink of an eye. I think the illusion is where the Hungarians were technically superior to most sides at that time, that it may have seemed they played a possession based game.

Personally, the positions I have found hardest to emulate are those of the two wide men. There isn't much mentioned on either Budai or Czibor, other than that they would often receive the ball on the opposite flank to where they were deployed.

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From the description in Inverting, I would say the wingers are somewhere between the STR/L and the AMR/L positions. It mentions that they drop deeper to pick up the ball but the diagram itself has them level with the two inside forwards (strikers).

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Well I've just had my first game with a W-M and I thought I'd throw out this interesting observation. When the opposition 'keeper has a goal kick the team ends up lining up in a very strange setup. The CB drops into a sweeper position, the two DMs become centre backs to effectively turn it into a version of Karl Rappan's Verrou (Switzerland's Cattenacio).

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This was my take on the W-M;

The W-M Revisited

The WM system was created in the mid-1920s by Herbert Chapman of Arsenal to counter a change in the offside law in 1925. The change had reduced the number of opposition players that attackers needed between themselves and the goal-line from three to two. This led to the introduction of a centre-back to stop the opposing centre-forward, and tried to balance defensive and offensive playing. The formation became so successful that by the late-1930s most English clubs had adopted the WM. Retrospectively, the WM has either been described as a 3–2–5 or as a 3–4–3, or more precisely a 3–2–2–3 reflecting the letters which symbolized it.

170px-3-2-2-

I’ve always created this formation on every version of the game since about CM 03/04 I think. So this year is no different and because I’ve not wrote about it since 2008 on here, I thought I’d create a thread for it as I know a few other users also enjoy this classis formation. On my current game I didn’t employ this formation until the very end of season two for the Club World Championship’s. I got to the end of season two and was a little bored of playing 4-4-2. I didn’t want to play the 4-3-3/4-5-1 hybrid as that isn’t challenging enough. So I opted for something with a back 3 and I ended up with the W-M. I actually have created two back 3 tactics now; I might post about the other a little later in the thread as well.

I don’t have that many AMC’s so I’ve had to opt to use two MC’s instead for my take on the W-M.

Before we look at how it plays in a game, here is a quick overview of it;

w-m.png

team%20instructions.png

The goalkeeper is actually a sweeper keeper but for the game I just played in the picture above I set them to be just a normal keeper. I did that because the opposition’s strikers were too fast. I’ll touch upon that a lot more a little later on.

The fullbacks could be more attacking and probably will be as I develop the tactic further but it’s still early days. I needed some defensive stability on the wings that’s why there set to defend.

The two DMC roles differ as I wanted them to both do different things in a game, so they don’t occupy the same space.

The two MC’s are the heart of the team and most things that happen go through them first. Especially in the deep lying playmaker role.

The front three are quite interesting as I wanted to create something a little bit different in attack. So the left forward is an inside forward who bombs in from the left. The right sided striker is more of a winger and crosses the ball. Although is a goal threat himself from time to time. And the striker is the link player of the three. He is the one who draws the defender out and creates space for the other players to attack.

You’ll see it in more detail and see exactly how the roles work in the next part when we look at the games I’ve used it in and we analyze them.

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The first game I used the W-M I won 3-1. However it was in the second game when it all clicked and I could see how it worked. It was against Chelsea in the Club World Championships. I was looking forward to playing Chelsea as they have a world-class side and even though I have good players I still don’t have the team I want even after 3 seasons. I still have 7 players who were at the club when I joined in my starting line up.

These are the stats from the game;

Match%20stats.png

They don’t look that impressive really do they? But the way I play especially the movement in attack was really nice to watch. It was some of the best football I’ve seen played in the match engine.

Santos%20stats.png

I managed to race into a 0-5 lead by half time; this was the first of those goals;

Anderson%20pass.png

Chelsea try to clear the ball but it went no further than Anderson. Anderson then tries to play a one two with Nem. But Nem is tackled and the ball goes a little wider but luckily Anderson can pick the ball back up.

Anderson%20picks%20ball%20up.png

Anderson shows great dribbling, flair, technique, composure, balance, agility to dribble with the ball into the box. He then shows good vision to spot the pass. Decision, anticipation, teamwork all comes into play.

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He passes the ball to Ganso;

Ganso%20vision.png

Who shows excellent first touch, technique, decisions,teamwork, creativity, passing, anticipation to do a first time pass to Neymar who slots the ball home.

Neymar%20Goal.png

Neymar showed good decisions, finishing, composure, off the ball to get on the end of the pass and score.

Second Goal

For the second goal I score from Chelsea’s kick off from the goal before.

Sandro%20tackle.png

Sandro showed great positioning, anticipation, decisions, marking,tackling, composure, workrate, aggression, strength, balance, bravery,determination, and concentration to win the tackle.

Neymar%20dribble.png

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Neymar showed great
creativity, anticipation, teamwork, workrate, decisions, technique, passing, first touch
to pick Ganso out with the pass.

Ganso%20goal1.png

Ganso then runs home and slots the ball home for 0-2. He showed
good off the ball, workrate, anticipation, acceleration, pace, dribbling, determination, composure, finishing and creativity and flair, technique
because he hits the ball across the keeper.

Third Goal

This move starts from a throw-in.

Neymar.png

Neymar then plays it back to Henrique who took the throw-in. But Henrique
shows poor first touch
and the ball goes in front of him. Luckily there is no one around and he can recover.

henrique.png

Henrique then shows
good composure, anticipation, passing, decisions
to spot the pass.

felipe.png

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Anderson then shows great first touch, passing, flair, creativity, technique and teamwork to be able to spot the pass to Ganso.

Ganso.png

Ganso shows great balance, agility to get the shot off. The keeper parry’s it Ganso shows good off the ball, strength, balance, workrate, determination, composure, acceleration, finishing, first touch to score with the second attempt.

Goal Four

This goal actually starts from my keeper; he showed good kicking, anticipation, decisions to be able to spot Ganso.

keeper.png

Ganso shows good jumping, heading, composure and decisions to be able to pick Neymar out with the header. Then once he wins the header he shows great acceleration, pace, determination, off the ball and work rate to make the run. Watch the clip at the end of the post to see him busting a gut to get forward.

neymar.png

Neymar shows good first touch, technique, passing, decisions, teamwork, and anticipation to pass the ball into space for Ganso to run onto. Ganso then finishes almost exactly like he did for his first goal.

Goal Five

Again it starts with my keeper who plays the ball out to my left back.

Sandro.png

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Sandro then finds Neymar who shows good
first touch, off the ball, anticipation, composure, dribbling and agility
. He then plays it to Ganso.

Ganso.png

Ganso once again was showing great
determination, off the ball, pace, acceleration, workrate, concentration
to keep his eye on Neymar and know exactly to where the ball will be played. Plus great at keeping check so he wasn’t offside. That is intelligent play.

Then Ganso slots home exact same as goal three on the second attempt.

At half time I decided to be more conservative and try and protect the 0-5 lead I had built up. I had to do this really as Chelsea weren’t going to be as poor this half. They would come out fighting and have some quality attackers playing. So I decided to change the strategy to control and use some shouts. The shouts I used were ‘retain possession’, ‘play narrower’, ‘pass to feet’, and ‘stay on feet’. I didn’t want to risk giving away dangerous free kicks or give possession away cheaply. It worked out really well in the end.

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Why does the W-M work?

To get a better picture and understand exactly why the W-M is working, we need to look at the individual and his settings. I’m going to work backwards here and talk about the attack of the tactic first. Seeing as that’s how the tactic was created by me to begin with. I worked from the front backwards; this allowed me to focus on attacking movement to begin with. After all you’re not sure how you need the defence to play until the attack is sorted out do you? This is how I create 99% of my tactics from the front first. As I wanted the attack to be fast and free flowing then it made sense to start there first.

Introducing the Attack;

Gansoprofile.png

Gansoreport.png

Gansomatchperformance.png

gansoposition.png

The above screenshots will help you get a little insight into Ganso’s personality and understand him as a player a bit more than by just looking at his attributes.

Everybody knows Ganso is (will be) world-class and he’s no different on the game. But there is a drawback with players like this on FM and it is how the hell do you get the best out of someone who can play many roles? Well there isn’t a definite answer and for many people these are the type of players they struggle to fit into their own teams. It can be hard to pick a set position or tactical settings that bring the best out of him at times because he is so well rounded. I could have retrained him to play in any position from the midfield up. But as I was managing Santos I lacked a real quality striker. So I retrained him the first season to play as a striker. I know he makes a good player across the attacking positions but I felt for how I wanted the team to play; he could be the quality forward that all teams look for.

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Everybody knows Ganso is (will be) world-class and he’s no different on the game. But there is a drawback with players like this on FM and it is how the hell do you get the best out of someone who can play many roles? Well there isn’t a definite answer and for many people these are the type of players they struggle to fit into their own teams. It can be hard to pick a set position or tactical settings that bring the best out of him at times because he is so well rounded. I could have retrained him to play in any position from the midfield up. But as I was managing Santos I lacked a real quality striker. So I retrained him the first season to play as a striker. I know he makes a good player across the attacking positions but I felt for how I wanted the team to play; he could be the quality forward that all teams look for.

It also meant I saved a fortune in trying to bring someone else in. Especially on the tight budget I’ve had the last 4 seasons. None the less, I’m starting to see my investment payoff now and Ganso is creating quite a few goals as well as scoring frequent. Which is expected really but what role does he actually play in the W-M I hear you ask. Let’s take a look shall we?

Gansotactic.png

Those are his tactical instructions. Now if you’ve been following the thread you’ll have seen some screenshots, pkm’s and match highlights and seen how heavily involved in play Ganso is. The next bit will try and explain firstly why I’ve set him up to play the way I have. As well as to highlight his actual role in the formation.

Many of you would presume that playing him as a Trequartista would be the easy option and you’d be correct. But the W-M is more about team play than individual brilliance. I have no doubts that he’s be perfect for the Trequartista role but I want him to be less gung-ho and selfish in his approach. If not then the attacking part of the tactic will fail badly against teams who are defensive. I need Ganso to be reserved in his approach and yet be able to unlock a defence with his passing and creativity should we need it.

Goal Scoring Movement

Movement is key for any player to gain that extra half of yard or to lose his marker. Here are a few screenshots of how Ganso’s movement works allowing him to score.

movement1.png

On that screenshot he is just jockeying just outside the area. This is one of the reasons I gave him the Deep Lying Forward role to ensure he wasn’t always advanced. It can pay to have players more cautious and reserved; there is no need to always be attacking. I could have achieved this with the Treq role as well but by altering the mentality individually. Something I didn’t really want to do.

movement2.png

That screenshot is of him making the run into the box as late as possible and losing his marker by checking back and going round the back of him. He then slots the ball home.

movement3.png

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The next screenshot is from the same game but the build up to his second goal. Again he is not that attacking in his movement but he is been clever and reading the game well.

movement4.png

By the time we look at the next screenshot Ganso is screaming (well I imagine with the hand gestures) for the ball and timely advancing forward ready for the pass.

movement5.png

Then in the last screenshot you can see his timely run into the box and he just has to tap the ball into the net. Just look at the space he has because he made the run from deep and wasn’t too deep to begin with. As did the Right sided forward but we’ll touch upon him later. By running from deep late, the player is actually unmark able for most parts as the defence has to go back to follow Neymar. So technically Neymar creates the space and Ganso exploits it.

Bringing Others into Play

Now we’ve seen what a threat he can by the type of goals he scored, I thought it be best we look at how he performs with build up play. I can and will show more varied goals that he has scored but I want to talk about what he offers the team in more detail first, other than just his goal tally.

Ganso doesn’t get as many assists as you think he would judge by his stats. But that’s only half the picture so doesn’t show the full story. Sometimes he is the start of a 10 pass move, or 5 pass move. So he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

assist1.png

In the above screenshot that is him playing with his back to goal. Neymar passes the ball to him and immediately he is looking to turn and run into the channels (this is why forwards should have move into channels set).

assist2.png

As you can see he has acres and acres of space to run into and exploit. If you take a look at the goal above what Neymar provided for Ganso, this is almost the reversible happening as Ganso is turning provider this time as Neymar as cut inside.

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assist3.png

He just puts the ball across the box and Neymar lets it run across him and then fires it into the right corner.

You see this happening time and time again. Ganso offers so much upfront, he is more than just goals and assists he is almost the engine room for all attacks. I know in the examples I’ve show above it seems to favour the left side, but it doesn’t as you’ll see a little later on when we look at the right sided striker.

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Very nice, Cleon. The one thing that jumps out at me is the use of two CMs instead of AMs and that's something I didn't think of using before.

Although I'm trying to recreate th e old tactics as much as possible - and so limiting the way I can do personal interpretations - I'm hoping that by the end of these threads that people can take everything and use it as a basis to develop their own versions much in the way you have here and jimbob did for the Whirl. I saw in another thread how one of your W-Ms has been skewed so you have one of the DMs in a WB slot, very clever indeed.

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Very nice, Cleon. The one thing that jumps out at me is the use of two CMs instead of AMs and that's something I didn't think of using before.

Although I'm trying to recreate th e old tactics as much as possible - and so limiting the way I can do personal interpretations - I'm hoping that by the end of these threads that people can take everything and use it as a basis to develop their own versions much in the way you have here and jimbob did for the Whirl. I saw in another thread how one of your W-Ms has been skewed so you have one of the DMs in a WB slot, very clever indeed.

I'd have loved to keep it as the AMC version but I needed the shape to be viable and I felt with the use of AMC's I suffered a bit defensivley as the offensive players didn't help out enough in defensive situations or when I lost the ball. And the only option available to keep the shape without it straying away from a W-M was to drop them back to CM's so they acted like AMC's when in possession but were MC's when not.

It was very successful but I get a little bored after a while and needed a challenge while I was trying to top the hall of fame :D so I ended up creating something else loosely based on the W-M it was like this;

Overview.png

But it was a lot more vulnerable than the W-M at the back due to only having 1 shielding DMC. The formation worked and I was winning don't get me wrong but something just felt 'missing and unstable'. I still managed to win the League Cup while in League One with Sheffield United and won the league with ease. But the following season I decided to revert back to the W-M defence while re-arranging the attack to suit my side so the naturally the formation evolved yet again and ended up looking like this;

instructions.png

Just by been able to create the W-M in the first place and knowing what its weaknesses and strengths was allowed me to create the 2 shapes above and achieve a great amount of success at all different levels. Actually the last screenshot posted above is the probably the best formation I've used in a long time and scored lots of goals and kept cleansheets. It's also the longest I've used just 1 formation for on any FM and was still using it 15 seasons later which is a first for me.

I actually did write up about the 2 formations in a bit more detail so if you want to know more I can post about them np.

Evolution in my games is something I like to focus on and start with a classic like the Swiss Verrou or W-M and make them fit into the modern game. But a lot of times as the game progresses I manage to squad build a particular style of player and I try and incorporate all of them and then the initial shapes start to stray from the original but at the same time still keep the 'core' feeling of the formation.

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instructions.png

Just by been able to create the W-M in the first place and knowing what its weaknesses and strengths was allowed me to create the 2 shapes above and achieve a great amount of success at all different levels. Actually the last screenshot posted above is the probably the best formation I've used in a long time and scored lots of goals and kept cleansheets. It's also the longest I've used just 1 formation for on any FM and was still using it 15 seasons later which is a first for me.

I actually did write up about the 2 formations in a bit more detail so if you want to know more I can post about them np.

Evolution in my games is something I like to focus on and start with a classic like the Swiss Verrou or W-M and make them fit into the modern game. But a lot of times as the game progresses I manage to squad build a particular style of player and I try and incorporate all of them and then the initial shapes start to stray from the original but at the same time still keep the 'core' feeling of the formation.

I'm definitely interested in hearing more about both of the two formations.

I have to say that this second one makes me think of a blend between a W-M and the Brazilian Box. Use the double Reg-double APM in the centre, a deep lying striker with inside forwards and I think you've got an absolutely devastating attacking tactic.

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I'm definitely interested in hearing more about both of the two formations.

I have to say that this second one makes me think of a blend between a W-M and the Brazilian Box. Use the double Reg-double APM in the centre, a deep lying striker with inside forwards and I think you've got an absolutely devastating attacking tactic.

I'll post them up in a few minutes.

Funny you should say that about the 2nd formation as that was the aim. The goals came from my wide players AML/AMR, they'd average a goal a game and the striker would get just under that. In terms of actual goal threats though I managed to score on average 4 goals a game over a 10+ season period.

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The Next Generation of Tactic's

Creating, Maintaining and Evolving

A lot of people are still stuck in the old days of CM03/04 etc and still think the game plays the same way. The simple answer is, it doesn’t and it’s moved on drastically. Long gone are the days where you could just select a tactic and play and dominate games and win them all. Nowadays you have to put a little bit more effort in and adapt based on who you play, your expectations and so on. If you have no interest in watching any games on full or have short attention span then this thread is not for you. As I’m going to show people how to be successful by looking at stats, adapting and general evolving of a formation.

I get a lot of PM’s and posts asking how I’m so successful with any side, a lot of people assume I cheat in some shape or form. That’s not true and if you look throughout all of the SI forums (not only the tactics section) you’ll find plenty of people who have the same if not more success than I do. We all play the game in a different way but we do have 1 important thing in common. Reacting, yes we react to situations in a game and try and take advantage. The AI is very basic even though some of you might disagree. The AI can only do the same as the human user, in fact you could argue it does less due to the AI been very static in its approach. We as the human user have the major advantage over the AI because of this. No matter what detail, style or how fast you play the game, if you react to in game situations then you should always have the advantage. Too many people these days who are struggling with the game don’t even seem to look at the statistics, analyse pages or watch games. How do they except to be consistent? You have to pay attention a little bit to these details.

Some of the regulars of the forum might remember that in January 2010 I did a thread about the ‘Brazilian Fluid System’ in the build up to the 2010 world cup. Sadly the thread no longer seems to exist for some reason. But in the thread myself, SFrazer and a few others all had a big discussion about the upcoming world cup and the future of football in terms of tactics. We pretty much got our assumptions spot on with how tactics would evolve over the coming 2-3 years. At the time we also spoke about how things were changing defensively and that the need for four defenders was becoming more obsolete as the game evolves and tries to adapt new ways of breaking opponents down. Well I say evolving but if you look at when football first started and the systems that was employed by teams, it could be classed as ‘stepping back in time’ by some quarters.

Three at the back is nothing new in itself and many teams have used three at the back for quite a while, Napoli, Chile, Liverpool (at times during this season), Parma, Inter, Udinese and many more including Ajax and Barcelona. Once Barcelona started using three at the back more people have started to notice and take a much bigger interest into it. After all, it’s normally the top sides that set the trend with what formations will be used as all the other teams tend to follow suit and find their own variation of it. This has always been the case for as far as I can remember. People copied the Germans, Brazilians, The Dutch, Milan, Madrid and now Barcelona to name but a few.

Guardiola even said this recently;

“The midfield is a crucial part of any team,” he told FIFA.com this week. “Midfielders are intelligent players who have to think about the team as a whole. They’re selfless players who understand the game better than anyone and the more midfielders you have, the easier it is to slot them into other positions. That’s how they become versatile and that helps us to have smaller squads that are still able to offer more options.”

Link to the full article - http://www.fifa.com/clubworldcup/new...262/index.html

For those of you who might not know what I’m on about then have a read of these;

http://jouracule.blogspot.com/2011/0...gaal-love.html

http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/12/...lub-cup-final/

http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/08/...si-false-nine/

http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/08/...rreal-tactics/

http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/12/...elona-tactics/

All the above links are relevant to this thread and are a fascinating read for anyone who enjoys the tactical side of FM. I also like to take real life tactics and put them into FM, sometimes they work sometimes they don’t. Actually I should rephrase that, sometimes I’m more successful than others. But all in all, they always work to some extent.

This thread is about the creation of a tactic and what you do once you find a formation you like. Tactic building never stops and tactics should always be maintained and evolving. Hopefully this thread will put across my approach and some of you might find this useful. This thread will be part of http://community.sigames.com/showthr...-Know-About-FM but I thought it warrants a separate thread for now as a lot of people don’t know how to create tactics.

A lot of people are looking for a plug and play tactic but in all honesty they don’t really exist anymore. Why? Because suppose you use a plug and play tactic, yet in the game the AI switches formation or changes the way it was playing. How do you expect to counter it without changing anything? This is one of the main reasons why so many people squander a lead as they don’t adapt.

For every tactic I create I like to get a little inspiration from zonal marking or other sources on the internet. I was on zonal marking and wasn’t really looking to make a new tactic I was just generally reading. Then I came across this http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/12/...club-cup-final and thought why not create it. I’ve been following Barcelona a lot this season as I like how they are evolving tactically. Guardiola is trying to use more and more midfielders due to the importance of them. I’ve heard him mention a few times over the last few weeks that the midfield is vital. Which makes sense with the creative quality he has, it must be a nightmare trying to fit them all into the side.

So how would we implement this into FM? Well I’m not going for a carbon copy of it; I’m just using the ideas and going to play my own way. I hope to play the way described in the link but that takes time as I don’t have the funding or players available currently to implement the described system. It takes quite a bit of time and needs a lot of effort put into the game to be able to play a certain way. It requires you to watch games on full and fully understand exactly what the formation you use does. Understanding how anything works is always the key. That’s why plug and play tactics fail on this level as all the tactical work is already done, no matter how flawed it is.

My immediate goals are to gain back to back promotions to the Premier League. But to achieve this I will need to play different both seasons. You’ll see what I mean as the thread develops past the first season. First season I’m favourites to win the league. Next year I doubt I’ll be anywhere near those odds to win the league, I’ll be classed as a ‘decent’ mid table side.

Remember that to play the style I want to and envisage I first need to create something stable. Then over time I can slowly evolve the tactic and get it playing like I see. So to start with you need to open up the ‘Tactics Creator’ and make the shape you wish to play. This is the shape I have chosen;

Overview.png

For the way I am building this tactic it doesn’t matter what roles or duties I choose because I will change everything based on what I see happening in a game. Visuals are very important and the only way that you can create a consistent stable formation. If you don’t watch games or portions of games then how are you supposed to know if it’s working or not? What I’ve done is just choose roles and duties that I think would be good for a starting base. I find it best to start conservative and work from that.

Once you’ve done the shape and general roles and duties of the players then it’s time to see what your players are actually capable of. Even though friendlies are pretty pointless other than for the purpose of match fitness, I still like to see how my players play during these. Although by no means is this any indication of how the players and formation will work once the competitive games start. But it can give you a general idea of strengths and weaknesses in your formation.

For this experiment I decided to go with Sheffield United. I accidentally saved over my 4th season as Santos so got a little frustrated and decided to go with the team I support. Although I’m also using the same system with Santos as I replay the season. So I’ll be updating the thread with both teams at some point.

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Season one might seem a bit of a letdown for you tactically but bear with it, things pick up for season two I promise you. When been favourites and actually playing that way you don’t find many faults because the players I have are strong enough to carry me even with a flawed tactic. However the first season will be more about my amazing FA Cup run rather than the league. Due to me playing a lot stronger teams, so you’ll learn a lot more. But season two will pick up from the league again as I adjust to play at a higher level and standard. There’s no doubt that it will be a lot harder and we’ll see a lot more changes tactically.

Now you’ve seen the actual shape that I am attempting to play it’s time to fine tune it for the season and make it a solid base. There are many ways to do this but I’m going to do it in real time during games. For help with how to create a tactic by looking at a players profile then I highly recommend you read this thread;

http://community.sigames.com/showthr...cal-discussion

Before we actually get onto the settings and how I changed them in game I think I should point out that this saved game was actually started a while back but I’d hardly played it due to playing the Santos save. In fact for the first 17 games (including cup games) I was actually using a 4-3-3/4-5-1 but I just wasn’t getting the enjoyment out of the game. This wasn’t because the tactic wasn’t working, far from it. I just needed more a challenge and was trying to make the game more difficult for myself. These were the results while I was playing the 4-3-3/4-5-1 hybrid;

Results.png

As you can see I was comfortably winning games and was clear at the top of the league by around 8 points. But after reading the articles I linked a bit further up the thread I began to want to try the ideas in my own games. So I decided ‘what if and went for it.

Due to the season already have started it becomes more difficult to change things during the season especially to a brand new formation and a play style that the players need to adapt to. This was the challenge I craved and was looking forward to. You already know what shape I’ve decided and left the roles basic for now, so that’s the easy bit.

The first game I used this formation was away to Oldham. I had to watch the game on full due to me wanting to change a lot of things throughout the game and been able to react. The only way to do that is watch the whole game. I found out quite a lot about the tactic and how it was playing in this game. I decided against changing the majority of roles just yet as I wanted to see it throughout several games to get a better general idea of if it was working. What I did though was write down all the negative things I saw and they were;

The goalkeeper could be doing a lot more he could easily mop up some of the long balls. So after about 5 minute’s in-game time I changed him to a sweeper keeper.

The Fullbacks are not helping out deep enough defensively. There great going forward and do enough interceptions higher up the pitch which is great. But I’m vulnerable to quick wingers are balls over the top.

The central defender just doesn’t feel right for some reason. I actually can’t put my finger on what just yet. But from aerial challenges he was rock solid. It’s more of his general movement what’s the issue I think. It just feels a bit static at the moment so this is something to keep an eye on.

The defensive midfielder was seeing a lot of the ball and seemed an integral part of attacks. That’s great but I want him more reserved and need him to act more like a defender. He was actually very solid defensively but didn’t act nothing like a DC. For this game luckily this didn’t seem to matter all that much as I retained possession. But in other games this could be a real problem as I’ll get caught out at the back a lot. Especially if the fullbacks are attacking like they did.

The two central midfielders were just too similar, it wasn’t working. They saw a lot of the ball especially the defensive minded one. But the play just seemed negative and while they had a lot of possession all of it was in their own half. That isn’t going to hurt anyone, all the play was in the middle and served no threat to the opposition.

My central attacking midfielder just didn’t see the ball. He wasn’t involved but that was due to the central midfielders been to negative. If the AMC doesn’t get the ball or support he can’t do much as he’s isolated.

The wide players were a lot more involved and everything they did was good. They weren’t fantastic but they showed some good play and caused the opposition quite a few problems.

As for my striker he was far too advanced for where play was actually happening. Again making him isolated. The AMC not been involved didn’t help him much either as this is the player who’s supposed to link up with him and play balls through for him. In fact the AMC is the striker’s main source really.

As you can see I learnt quite a bit and not all good. The only role I changed was that of the keeper to make him a sweeper keeper. The rest I felt I needed to see them over the full 90 minutes or even the next match. You have to remember that I’ve completely changed shape and settings for this match. So the disruption the players have seen is quite huge. So they need time to adapt and get used to the new style and shape.

However despite all that I managed to win the game 0-2.

Oldham%20match%20stats.png

Oldham.png

Overall I didn’t create much but what I did create was good and I scored from them. So that was a plus. I was happy with the possession and overall passes completed. The headers I won and tackling though both need improving if I’m to make this formation work

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For the second game I kept the goalkeeper as a sweeper keeper and I made one of the central midfielders into a ball winning midfielder. I also decided to give my fullbacks a defensive duty to help out and be more defensive during a game rather than always bombing forward. I decided all this due to the feedback I got and wrote above about the first game. I don’t want to change to much in one go as you don’t know if something is working if you do that. You should change things a bit at a time in my opinion so you can keep a track and analyse how the changes you’ve made are working or not.

So the problems I saw in this game where;

Keeper – While he was better at sweeping balls up and helping out a lot more compared to the first game, I’m not happy with his distribution of the ball. He gives it away needlessly and costing me quite a bit of possession. Not in dangerous areas but I’d rather he passed to someone on my team rather than hit it and hope for the best.

Fullbacks – They tended to play same as in the first game which is good but less effective going forward which is what I was trying to achieve. They stayed back more and in position a lot better which helped out defensively.

Centre-back – I’m thinking of changing him to a limited defender due to him having only average composure, concentration and decisions. Which means I should try to limit the time he spends on the ball to avoid him been forced into making a mistake. By making him a limited defender it should mean he wins a challenge and will look to clear the ball instant. It means the teams overall possession will go down but I’d rather that than forcing him to have the ball at his feet while he’s not comfortable with it. If the opposition’s attacker were pressing him high up the pitch then they could easily force a mistake due to him only having an attribute of 12 for both concentration and composure.

Defensive Midfielder – Still the same problems as in the first game really which means I need to change him slightly for the next game. As his current settings just aren’t working. He saw less of the ball compared to the game before. But in this game he wasn’t in as much space compared to the previous game.

Central Midfielder – Even though he saw nowhere near as much of the ball as he did in the first game I was still happy with his contribution. Why? Well Stevenage caused more of a threat going forward compared to Oldham. So my team had more defending to do meaning the midfield needed to track back a lot more.

Ball Winning Midfielder – This change seemed to be a really good one. The midfield seemed to be more solid overall due to them picking different players up to mark due to playing in different space.

The rest of the players worked pretty much same as they did in the first game.

These are the match stats;

Stevenage%20Match%20Stats.png

And the player stats;

Stevenage%20game%20stats.png

I won the game but overall it was a poor match but I still learned quite a bit from the things I listed above. So going into the next game I’ll try and implement some of the changes to see how it goes.

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The next game I had to win at all costs due to it been a derby. I had to win yet at the same time try and fit the rest of the changes needed into the tactic. It’s not an easy task to do when you have to win a game. What I decided to do was I’d use a ‘control’ strategy for this game as I believe I have the better side man for man than Sheffield Wednesday. But I do consider them to be a threat from counter attacks, that’s why I choose the ‘control’ strategy.

For this game I made the following tactical changes;

I made the centre-back a limited defender.

I reduced the mentality of the defensive midfielder by 3 notches so he’d be a lot more restrained and stay positioned exactly where I want him to.

They are the immediate changes that I made before the game started.

Match Stats;

Owls%20Match%20stats.png

Player stats;

Owls%20Game%20stats.png

I have no complaints with how this game went. Okay I didn’t create that many chances but what I did create was quality chances and my team took them. I dominated possession in every single area of the pitch which was pleasing. I retained the ball well and stopped Sheffield Wednesday from playing their game due to not allowing them to have the ball.

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I think the general tactic is taking shape now and over the next few games hope to make it more stable and get it a bit more settled. In the league the tactic is working great with all the changes I’ve done and documented so I’m going to talk a bit about the cup games now. The reason for this is I am a big club in League One and have a very good side. So even if the tactic is flawed it won’t really get exposed until I face a team who has higher quality of players than I do. But I won’t find that in league games with me having the best squad by far.

First up is the league Cup;

westham%20match%20stats.pngwestham%20gamestats.png

As you can see it wasn’t the best result and if I’m honest I’m a bit gutted. I thought I could go on a decent cup run in the League Cup and get a bit of extra income. That wasn’t to be the case but I did learn a few things tactically. So what did I learn here?

I shouldn’t have let players condition get as low as it did for some of them. I don’t know what I was thinking; I guess I took my eye off the ball.

I really need to sort the keeper’s distribution out. I’ve mentioned it a few times but not done anything about it. Now it’s cost me this game as West Ham scored from a ball that was hoofed up field from my keeper.

The striker needs to get more involved. He’s involved now but I believe I can get more out of him if I change him to a target man and have the ball played to his feet. He’s not winning headers if you look at his stats; he loses more than he wins. Plus it would mean he held the ball up and the left sided attacking midfielder and central attacking midfielder would benefit from someone holding play up for them.

I’m creating good chances I just need to put more of them away and try and implement the above changes into the tactic.

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The FA cup draw was kind to me to begin with. In the 1st round I got Yeovil at home and won comfortably 4-0. In the 2nd round I got Brentford at home and won 1-0. Then in the third round I got Aldershot at home and won 4-0. Then things got interesting in the 4th round when I got drawn at home to Aston Villa. This would be the first real test of the tactic since I implemented all the things listed in this thread. So let’s take a look at how I approached this game;

This is the formation they used;

Villa%20overview.png

As you can see the shape isn’t that different to mine. In fact going forward it’s the same its only defensively it’s different. And this is where I believe I gain the edge. Because I use a defensive midfielder I should be able to stop the attacking midfielder of Aston Villa a lot easier than they can mine. Why? Well due to the positioning of the defensive midfielder he’ll be able to man mark him easier without been pulled out of position.

I’m going to use specific man marking for this game so I can force player’s to track back and case them to push Villa’s player’s back and not allow them to much attacking space. How do I do that? Take a look;

Dobbie will man mark Hutton and Flynn will man mark Warnock. The idea behind getting my attacking wide player’s to mark the opposition’s fullback is simple really. If I don’t do it then Villa’s fullbacks will just advance and help with attacks. But if I apply my own pressure on them and try and push them back it takes away from their attacking play and makes them focus on a more defensive role. They’ll still get forward but just not as much. Well in hindsight they shouldn’t.

Morrison will man mark Jenas. I choose this as Jenas is the more attacking of the two Villa midfielders so he’s more of a threat.

Doyle will man mark Albrighton and Quinn will man mark Yarmole. Hopefully this won’t drag me too wide.

And lastly Frimpong will man mark Ireland.

For this game I decided to start with the standard strategy as I don’t know much about Villa and the way they play. Plus it gives me a chance to see how the game progresses and alter the strategy in game based on certain scenarios.

And this was the end result;

sufc%20match%20stats.png

Out passed them, out tackled them and out crossed them.

sufc%20player%20stats.png

I was unlucky with 2 of the goals I conceded but I was playing a side two divisions above me and I was the underdog. It was an easy game in the end even if the score line is quite flattering but I never really looked like I’d lose it.

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A lot of people have been asking to see PKM's of the 3-1-2-3-1 so I've decided to upload a few for people to look at. Please remember though that most of these are against far superior sides. Most of them are from the cup run in season one. However there are a few from the Europa League in the 2nd season. Again I'm still only a Championship side and don't have quality player's really.

http://www.gamefront.com/files/21308...+Sheff+Utd.pkm

http://www.gamefront.com/files/21308...ttm+Forest.pkm

http://www.gamefront.com/files/21308...v+Standard.pkm

http://www.gamefront.com/files/21308...+Sheff+Utd.pkm

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I wouldn’t have posted about this just yet but seeing as something happened in one of the games that I want to discuss I thought it be best to explain how I play first so it all makes sense.

As I is talking about my Santos save I thought it might be a good idea to tell you how the formation has evolved in the last 2 seasons or so. I’m still going to update on the Sheffield United but in my Santos save that formation has now evolved. In 2014 the world cup was on and I had 27 players all away on international duty. Now in most leagues this wouldn’t be an issue really. But in Brazil it is bang in the middle of the season and games still go ahead. The 3-1-2-3-1 what is posted above is what was been used. But once the players were called up for international duty I had to change the formation as my 7 attacking midfielders were all called. So I took drastic action as I had to play a lot of 16 year olds who aren’t developed yet for about a month of fixtures, which in Brazil are about 12 games.

I have a lot of defensive midfielders in the under 23’s and under 20’s so I decided to use this to my advantage. I decided to drop the attacking midfielder from the 3-1-2-3-1 back to the defensive midfield position so the formation would now be a 3-2-2-2-1. There was another reason for deciding to make this change; as I was playing a lot of youths I expected them to get over run at times so I wanted to stabilise the defence and make it more solid and hard to break down.

So the shape I’ve ended up with is;

Formation.png

instructions.png

It’s important that I play high to keep everyone as a unit. I know I’m very attacking and normally you’d play a high pressing game to match. But I don’t see the need for this as it’s more important I play high up and stay in position than get stretched and allow gaps to appear for the opposition to exploit. That’s the reason why closing down is set to normal.

I also need to play slightly wider to stretch the opposition a little bit more than normal. Not by a lot as that would cause problems for me and leave big gaps. But a lot of sides I play have a similar set up in the middle as I do. So I like a little bit of width to help with the trying to create space to exploit.

As you can see the formation is a hybrid of the W-M and the 3-1-2-3-1. It has all the attacking capabilities of the 3-1-2-3-1 but has the defensive stability of the W-M with the use of the defensive midfielders to help the centre back out.

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Very nice, Cleon. The one thing that jumps out at me is the use of two CMs instead of AMs and that's something I didn't think of using before.

Although I'm trying to recreate th e old tactics as much as possible - and so limiting the way I can do personal interpretations - I'm hoping that by the end of these threads that people can take everything and use it as a basis to develop their own versions much in the way you have here and jimbob did for the Whirl. I saw in another thread how one of your W-Ms has been skewed so you have one of the DMs in a WB slot, very clever indeed.

Ill try and get my variation on here at some point tonight :) had some trouble with my fm over past couple of days so progress has been slow and when I have managed to play it has been very poor. Will try my best to get a full in depth post and screenshots on tonight although it may have to wait untill tomorrow.

Loving following this thread though, keep up the good work 7Bestie7

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One thing I find fascinating is that in watching my games when I'm using these classic tactics is that the issues that were noted in the past and what caused a shift in change are still as obvious and dangerous in today's game. You mentioned how the 'keeper's distribution can actually lead to conceding a goal and this is something I've found as well. The Pyramid is far too reliant upon individual battles which can give you great or bad performances but generally not a steady supply of good ones and anything with the "M" defensive (LB - CB - RB) is extremely vulnerable to a very quick cross field pass that leaves an attacking winger in plenty of space.

And I want to emphasise something you (Cleon) mentioned in your posts. If someone is wanting to use a classic tactic or just use one as a basis for developing their own, then they absolutely MUST watch as much of the game as possible. There are going to be weaknesses and issues for a team that modern tactics don't highlight which means most people won't be aware of them. They'll start conceding and/or not scoring and with no real working knowledge of what tactic they're using, they won't have a clue as to how to fix the problem.

And cheers Jimbob. It'll be interesting to see your interpretation.

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A not really WM but close

wmstartingpoint.jpg

So thats what I started with in a season with Chelsea using the new update. I think it is similar to the original WM, the differences are detailed withing 7Bestie7's original thread so if anyone is interested in them head over there. It evolved very quickly due to a very lacklustre first few games of pre season, so that why there are some very radical changes which I will detail. IM just going to jump straight into my hybrid formation though:

wmfirstevoloution.jpg

Key Differences

- The full backs, i've switched one full back to a more attacking role, this is to get up and keep the play stretched when the Inside forward cuts inside, a pretty standard setup really. The other one is defensive simply just to provide cover. If im playing against one striker I may give him a bit more license to get forward as I don't need three defensive players

- The midfield, some pretty wholesale changes made across the midfield. I moved my DM to DMCL to cover for the attacking fullback, dropped one of my AMC's back to MC to provide a bit more midfield solidarity whilst still trying to keep an attacking input (hence the b2b role) and an AMCR, I wanted him closer to the right side to stop the left side becoming crowded when the IF Cuts inside. The AMC should also be a treq but is is a mistake with the screenshot.

- The front three, Ive gone for an Inside forward to cut inside the full back, an AF to stretch the play vertically and a Winger to stretch the play horizonontally. Im hoping the winger and the STC will stretch a hole for the AMCR to work his magic in.

Just a very quick update, absolutely knackered but wanted to get something up tonight. I know its not actually a WM in any sense but the title does say Hybrids ;) if you don't want me to continue updating 7Bestie7 just let me know mate. Not actually sure which classical tactic this is close to sort of a hybird of a few different styles. Got some in game screenies to get up, they will be up at some point tomorrow.

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That's definitely a W-W variation there. Although I like the long diagonal right across the pitch in the second image.
I can clearly recognize that tactict, it's the Zorro! :D

Yeah your right. I was getting beat 2-1 off Panithinakos (spelling?) in my last game and switched the B2B to a MC Attack and brought on Lampard, that did make it very W-Wesque. Although I would much prefer it to be a zorro ;)

Just working on a short update with in game screenies, should be up by lunchtime.

Attacking Movement

A quick in match update of the formation detailed above. This is in a pre season friendly vs Rotherham. So pretty weak opposition but opposition all the same.

firstevoloutionattackin.jpg

The ball has come into Cavani from No.6 (Essien) he has his back to goal. No.8 (Ramires) who is actually my B2B midfielder, he has started to move ahead of No.11 (Mata) who is my AMCR and drive into the space. I want Cavani to turn and try to go round the defender as detailed by the red arrow. No.7 (Hazard) has tucked in pretty close to Cavani which does overcrowd this area ever so slightly. The space for Ramires has been completely created by No.9's (Sturrdige) width on the near side.

firstevoloutionattackin.jpg

Cavani has turned just how I wanted him to. He has now drawn in three defenders to try to tackle him, leaving space for No.7, No.8 and even No.9 on the far side although that isnt really a passing option. If Cavani can find either No.7 or No.8 then we are in business.

firstevoloutionattackin.jpg

We do actually get a stroke of luck. Cavani is tackled but the tackle simply pushes the ball through to Hazard as seen here. Hazard manages to hit the bar but the ball rebounds brilliantly for No.9 at the back post who slots home with ease. This is exactly the sort of movement I want, plenty of off the ball runs giving players options, a positional fluidity as seen in the last screenshot as my AMC is sitting in the MC spot covering for the marauding B2B. A final note is the defensive setup. We have kept three defensive players back against their two strikers so bar a defensive disaster we are covered for a quick counter if dispossed. No.2 the RB is also well positioned to stop a quick winger countering down the line. All in all perfect

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After all of the above theory from myself and Cleon, I think it's time for some actual discussion about turning the W-M into practice.

Chapman's W-M

Team Instructions:

ChapW-MTeam_zps77074a5e.jpg

Rigid - There were almost no fluid teams in England.

Control - My initial thoughts on Chapman's version of the W-M was to use a Counter Strategy but within the first half of the first game it became apparent that this was not going to work at all. Instead I've chosen Control which is all about "controlled attacking", the very essence of Chapman's counter-attacking style.

You will notice there is one big thing about my team's instructions and that is I have made an actual change to the Defensive Line. In fact the D-L is set exactly where it would be if I was to use Counter. This deep line, the counter attack box ticked and the Control instructions should mean that I will invite teams onto me when they have possession and if I regain the ball, my team is attacking enough to launch a quick counter attack to score a goal. Essentially Chapman's philosophy in a nutshell. Even if I am against a more powerful team and drop the strategy down to Standard, the core instructions of a deep D-L, counter attack and exploiting the flanks is still there.

And that's it. No, really, that's it.

The thing that anyone must understand (before the disappointment sets in) is that the W-M used by Chapman is actually one of the most tactically fluid in the entire Inverting the Pyramid repertoire. The Centre-Half from the 2-3-5 was already being phased into becoming a central defender which was pushing the full backs wide. The inside forwards of the front 5 was naturally dropping deeper and almost nowhere except at the most Old School of English clubs were the attackers still being used as a Front Five. Chapman simply cemented both of these concepts and included the counter attacking mentality when he formed his W-M.

Players and their Roles:

Goalkeepers - Standard. My only change is the distribution is set to my DML.

Centre-Back - CD, Defend.

Full Backs - Defend duty. We are still talking about a time when defender defended and attackers attacked. Both my full backs (Evra and Rafael) have the mentality of wing-backs and it is possible to lower their mentality to keep them back. To do this move all three defenders (LB - CB - RB) into the SW strata (Wide LSW - SW - Wide RSW) and simply "lock" the mentality into that position. Then move the positions back to the normal strata and you'll find that the full backs stay back even more than they otherwise might and it doesn't impact balance of the team's overall mentality structure.

Half Backs - DMR is an Anchor Man while the DML will alternate between a DM Support or Regista Support. The idea is to stagger this pairing almost in the same way you would do with a centre-back partnership (or you would for the two in a 4-2-3-1). One hangs back to defend, the other is free to push forward if he wants.

AMs - Very much like my Whirl, the AML is a Support APM and the AMR is an Attack Inside Forward with both having no roaming allowed.

Strikers - The STR and STL wingers are both on a Support duty with Normal wide play regardless of which strategy is being used (Chapman was not a fan of great English winger style of play) and once again, no roaming. The central striker can be either a Target Man or Advanced Forward as long you make sure his wide play is Normal and his roaming is No.

Chapman's W-M was tactically fluid because he allowed the usage of a Ball Playing centre back who could push forward into midfield if the team was that much better than the opposition or revert to a true Stopper that just booted the ball out of bounds whenever it came close. The creativity came from the DML and the APM and leaned heavily on individual talent and performances than anything complicated.

For anyone who has never tried a W-M, both Cleon's tactical breakdown above and Jimbob's W-W show potential ways of using the W-M as a base for an individual tactic. Chapman's version is extremely basic and I would be changing a lot of player instructions if I were to turn this into my own system but it works as is.

My next focus of the Organised Disorder of Boris Arkadiev will require a much more detailed tinkering to the W-M in order to get it to work.

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To expand on my previous post (in case any of you feel short changed after the big build up) let's talk about the PPMs for Chapman's version of the W-M and how you can change it to suit your needs.

Defence:

Defend! I'm serious. The concept of an attacking full back would come soon enough but this was still the time when defenders defended and attackers attacked. Ideally you will want to have central defenders who can play (or are retrained) to play out wide if the full backs you have are the attacking type. I'm not suggesting that they have the "Stays Back" PPM but you definitely don't want any personal moves to have your full backs bombing up the wings to provide crosses. Which also results in them not having the Runs With Ball either. The centre-back has a little scope here as the transition between the old style centre-half to centre-back is happening within the tactic so a ball playing CB or even someone with a Regista playing style and talent is perfectly acceptable to be used. Just remember that if this option is used then it should be kept to games where you are a very strong favourite. The half backs are split between Defend and Support roles and this is essentially the accepted way of playing that partnership back then and if you have anyone who likes to move forward, they need to be the Support so that there is always a disciplined man next to him.

If someone is wanting to move away from the Chapman style and have some type of attacking full backs then it is very important to make sure you adjust the DMs to keep them close to the defence. Any wide three-man defence is open to being caught by a cross field ball that can leave a 1v2 at the back and lead to a goal. Any personal changes or players used should be thought about with how this will impact any counter attacks against your team.

Midfield:

The major thing here is that your two inside forwards (AMs) do not roam from position or move into channels. The W-M was built upon the "box" in midfield and any roaming breaks that foundation if you are looking to be true to the Chapman system. Long shots, dictates play or anything that influences finishing makes no difference to Chapman's style so you're fine here.

Generally the old W-M was not about retaining possession so players were comfortable with long passes and long shots. I've scored a number of goals from long range but it (obviously) does lose possession and with the weakness of the defence, I'd suggest limiting this to make sure you keep the ball. You have have them both as playmakers, inside forwards or even trequartistas and this will subtly influence the build up play for your attack. However I will suggest having at least one of them who bombs forward to become an almost secondary striker.

Attack:

Chapman wasn't about wingers bombing to the touchline and crossing for the big man up front (even though many of the W-Ms which proceeded did). However roaming from position (channels/cutting inside) weren't part of his game plan either and he wasn't above using the strong attacker up front. This means your wingers need to stay where you put them and your striker can't be allowed to drift around nor come deep. He should be strong even if he isn't a bulldozer since there was a massive distrust of the small guy up front at that time.

Outside of the Chapman still this part of the team is the most open to being changed according to your personal preferences. Wide players crossing for your big target man to score/knock down for the onrushing AM, low crosses for your advanced forward/poacher or even Inside Forwards cutting in to find the space left by your TQ/Deep Forward. Your choices are exactly the same as any front three within a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 formation and should work well enough.

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This is a brilliant thread! I was a huge fan of the WM + hybrid introduced by Cleon and I have implemented my own spin-offs in my career game. I'm nearing 2019 and after a long journey taking me from France to Holland and UK... I have finally settled as Australian national coach and also manager of Perth Glory. I started with 4-1-2-2-1 in the early part of my career which has now evovled into a 3-3-3-1 counter and a 3-4-3 WM attacking. This combination made me achieve a world cup quarter final beating e.g. Russia and Portugal along the way.... And I'm currently in the quarter final of the Asian Champion League with Perth.

My starting point has been more of a fluid philosophy and it has produced very nice football but it also has some obvious short comings which 7Bestie7 has already pointed out. I'm going to look at especially the thoughts around the defensive setup because I sometimes struggle to keep a lead or close down a game even though I totally dominate possession and play which ultimately cost me a world cup semi final.

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It was so interesting untill all the silly attribute crap got involved .

I'd rather not have a comment if all you've got to say is this. The "attribute crap" is Cleon's method to make sure people understand the mechanics of how a move is made within the game, something that many people still don't fully understand.

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Quick update on how the variation is going. First two games of the season, kicking off with Community Sheild vs City. Iknew this would be a very very tough game and a real test for the new formation. Safe to say the first 20 minutes were abosoloutely dreadful, City came out and pressed like headless chickens leading to us giving the ball away very cheaply and ending this period with 15% possesion. Tweaked it a little bit to try and create more options, namely playing narrower and playing down the wings to try and create space for my wide players to at least have time on the ball. Came into it a btit more after this but was very lucky to make it through 90 minutes and ending up winning on penalties, one of the most undeserved cup wins ive ever had in the history of FM but a win all the same.

Second competitive game being QPR away, with the new squad updates this could be a tricky fixture so I was cautious going into the game. I shouldnt have been run out comfortable 3-0 winners, not much more to really say on this game as tactically it wasnt very interesting. QPR used a pretty standard 4-4-2 with Cisse tending to drop very deep leaving my two DC's easily dealing with Zamora. They did get in behind a couple of times in the first half but once I went 2-0 up I dropped deeper and let the game see it self out.

Happy with how the tactic performs against teams who dont come out and attack me as there are enough attacking options and talent to break down the most stubborn of defences, Im cautious now playing against bigger teams. Got United at home coming up next so an early test of my chances of the title. Just wondering how to tweak the formation to adapt it against a stronger team anyone any ideas? All I did for the City game was change my DL to a support duty to give him a little more defensive duty.

wmfirstevoloution.jpg

Thought I'd repost the formation save people keep scrolling up and down. The AMCR Should be a treq as well

It was so interesting untill all the silly attribute crap got involved .

Surely the attributes are probably the most important thing to consider?

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It was so interesting untill all the silly attribute crap got involved .

There the most important thing on the game, the whole game is based on attributes. I'm quite fed up with your constant ability to post crap comments and never really contribute to a thread. I suggest you think really careful about your next post as it is likely to be your last on here for a long time, considering you already have 2 infractions. A 3rd and its bye bye.

Either contribute to a thread and be constructive or don't post.

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Arkadiev's Passovotchka

The very first thing about the Passovotchka was the pulling back of one of the half backs until the team was essentially (but not quite) playing with a back four.

Game 1:

HM-1.jpgHM-11.jpg

Game 2:

HM-2.jpgHM-21.jpg

The above four diagrams focus on two different pre-season games in which I'm playing the embryonic Passovotchka system. The defence is made up of defensive LB - CB - RB with two half backs (DMs) comprising of DMs - ANCd. The black circles show the relationship between the CB and the Anchor Man (the 'four defender'), the red circle is showing the positional relationship between the two half backs and the yellow ellipse is joining the LB, Anchor and RB together to show how they are working as a defensive unit.

All but the LB are the exact same players in both games (at least highlighted) with the centre back and the anchor man playing a full 90 minutes in each case. The main difference between the two games is that in Game 1 I used a Rigid philosophy whilst Game 2 is on Balanced (unfortunately I can't remember if Game 1 was Control or Standard like Game 2 however this isn't such a big shift since the relationship between the positions should be roughly the same). My initial thoughts were that using a Balanced system would allow the Anchor to form a closer positional relationship with the centre-back than a Rigid system would however as the images clearly show, this is not the case.

However the bonus of this experiment is that I now know how to make the "sweeper/centre-back" system of Sebes' Hungarian team without actually using a sweeper+centre-back pairing (which he didn't actually use). If you look at Game 2 you can see that the centre-back has dropped significantly deeper than the full backs and the Anchor Man is now taking his position in the centre of the two wide defenders. This is the exact type of defensive movement that Sebes' Hungarian side used which means I already have the basis of how to set that up once I finish the Passovotchka.

The next aspect that needs to be worked on is the relationship between the DM and the APM to makes sure a potential midfield partnership can be formed.

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