A lot of people on Twitter like to know about tactics and how teams are setup for bringing success and good results. It’s not really something I feel over confident talking about as my understanding of some of the concepts of the tactical system in game is not on the level of some of the other bloggers out there. However, I feel I should show what I’m doing with my system and how I’m setup and my thinking behind it.
Going from the start, I had planned to play a 4231DM system. It’s a tactic that seems to work great for opposition teams in game and I really like the look of it, but for me, it just never works, no matter how I set things up. I evolved that into a 4411 but it wasn’t solid enough defensively for me so that was soon binned. 4141 seemed to be bringing a lot of other people success and I had a look at some of their systems to see what it was that they were doing to gather ideas for my own tactic.
My thinking behind tactics was always attack, attack, attack. You score three and we’ll score four. I recall an FM14 save I had with Nottingham Forest where we won promotion scoring over 100 goals but conceding 68. Somewhere along the line I changed my mind on this approach and wanted to have a more solid approach to my tactics. On my long term FM14 Liverpool save, we dominated England and Europe with great defensive performances and real attacking threat. I’m trying to continue this outlook into FM15.
This is how we’re setup. With Control/Flexible
We tend to play like this every game, I’ll perhaps change a few things depending on opposition, but I always have confidence in the team. Changes will always be subtle. I might use a False 9 instead of a Complete Forward depending on who is available. It’s all circumstantial.
I tend to always play with a back four. I’m not overly trusting of a back three setup just yet. The midfield roles dictated my wide defensive roles in this formation.
Yarmolenko is without a doubt, my best player so the system was setup to suit him. I had other winger options on the left and since I didn’t have a real right sided option, it made sense to me to implement either the Wide Midfielder or Wide Playmaker role in the right midfield position. I liked the idea of the WPM so I used this. I wanted him to get forward to support my striker with assists and goals. This means there would be a big gap down the right hand side for my full back to get into and create overlaps. Yarmolenko drags the left back and sometimes left midfielder out of position so my full back gets plenty of space.
I went with the Ball Winning Midfielder on the right of the two central midfielders, as I thought he could come across to help fill that gap should Yarmolenko and my full back be caught out. The Anchor Man also offers a strong defensive cover a bit further back. I had used a Defensive Midfielder with a defend duty, but switched to Anchor Man to keep him a bit more disciplined.
The left central midfield role is usually filled by who I regard to be my other best player in Roman Bezus. He’s an intelligent player and can be pretty handy going forward. I initially had him as an Advanced Playmaker/Attack. It really suited his attributes but in the long term, it didn’t really suit the team. I changed him to Central Midfield/Attack at the start of the third season, it was no coincidence that he got his highest assist tally that year. This role is actually one of my favourite midfield roles in the game.
Up front I had Roman Zozulya who has been excellent for me since I signed him from Dnipro. I love the way the Complete Forward links with the midfield and scores goals. It’s a role I like using in my tactics because of the way it interacts with the midfield and tracks back when needed.
Seeing it in action
I’d love to be able to post some video clips, but since the export video function isn’t working on FM15 yet, I’ll just be using still images. Hopefully this won’t hinder the information given. I’m going to use my 4-0 defeat of Real Madrid in the Champions League as it was our best result of the season and it was away from home.
As you can see, we’re setup in our 4141 while Real adopted an attacking 442 or a 424 depending on how you or the game sees things. We can see the opposition roles here as I’m using the view match function from the home screen of the game. Their setup is certainly interesting when I see it like this. Using Ronaldo on a support duty is not something I’d do, but I’ll worry about my own team.
You can see that Real have fielded a strong team and we have our strongest available team out. Daniel Amartey was sent off in the first leg after 30minutes so Garmash had to deputise in DM. Otherwise, we’re at full strength.
Within 6minutes you can see the space that the Complete Wing Back has on the right side as Real Madrid go to sleep. Marcelo has tucked in with Yarmolenko and Ronaldo isn’t really interested in my right back. Zozulya has space to run into should the opportunity arise.
On this occasion the cross didn’t go in. When I scroll the game forward a bit, Marcelo and Ronaldo both go to my wing back and Yarmolenko is wide open. That Danilo Silva can create space for Yarmolenko to be effective or vice versa. It’s interesting to watch this back and see how Real deal with it.
Without the ball you can see that we’re a sort of messed up 4231 or 451. Real’s 424 is pretty clear here also.
Real Madrid get a chance on 13minutes. It comes to nothing, but I just wanted to point out that my left winger is tracking the opposition full back into our own half. He has no man marking duty set.
After watching 25minutes of the game, I’m actually surprised we weren’t 1-0 down. Real were getting in behind our defence, but they had no support for the player with the ball and we always shut them out. Then we had our first real chance of the match. Again, Danilo Silva with acres of space down the right, Bale has now swapped with Ronaldo and has ignored my full back. Marcelo is too interested in Yarmolenko. Sydorchuk dinks it over the top into the space, Silva beats the onrushing Marcelo and Zozulya just heads it over. Close. Good use of space and movement.
Our first goal comes from a set piece in the 29th minute. Nothing exciting to see there, but I’ve decided that I’ll include the match file if you want to view it for yourself.
Goal number two comes after a broken down Real Madrid attack. Zozulya picks the ball up in the middle and Yarmolenko has loads of room to run into. Zozulya passes it into the space, Yarmolenko picks it up, gets past Marcelo and Cabaye before slotting it into the corner. Great to see the forward linking up so well with the midfield.
The more I watch this game, the more I think we rode our luck. Madrid had chances, but couldn’t score.
Around about the 60th minute I remember thinking Zozulya was playing a bit below what I expected of him. He missed a sitter on the 54th minute that I could have scored.. and I’m terrible! I made the decision to take Andrija Zivkovic on as I had no striker on the bench. I am pretty sure I changed his role to be a False 9. Garmash also came off around then as he had a yellow card. I couldn’t risk going down to ten men away from home.
If only to prove that not all of our chances came down the right, Zivkovic got this one from the left hand side and tucked it in at the near post. A few seconds later he was down in our own box blocking a shot from Ronaldo.
Next we had a pretty exciting counter attack. Bezus had gone off by this point and Domen Crnigoj (look him up, he has great potential and is a bargain) had come on in his place. Zivkovic played a tasty through ball into space as we caight Real on the back foot. He got to the edge of the box and was snuffed out by the defence. Great opportunity. I always feel that when you’re getting into these sort of positions, you’ve got a great chance of getting a goal.
The fourth and final goal was a nice link up between Crnigoj and Zivkovic.
On the whole, it was one of those game where if you had been Real Madrid, you’d be steaming mad at the chances you wasted and sort of in awe of the opposition goalkeeper. It was our best result, perhaps not our best performance though.
We created plenty of space and a good amount of chances. We could’ve had a couple of more goals if we’d taken those chances on the counter attack.
I’m really sorry if this is not what you expected from a tactical post. Like I said, I’m not great at the tactical stuff. I can put one together and get it to work quite well. Some people might look at this and think that it’s terrible, but whatever works and gets the results you want is what matters.
There are some great bloggers out there who post great tactical FM content. I can highly recommend Cleon, Shrewnaldo and Ed‘s blogs for good insight into the way they play the game.
When you get the tactic and it inevitably doesn’t work, I set my team up to play with it and bought players to fit the system. It’s not a magic fix for your problems in game.
Click HERE for the match PKM.
Click HERE for the tactic download.
Thanks for reading.
Really great write up mate. Seeing a lot of 4-1-4-1’s being written about, it seems to be very popular. I’d be really interested in seeing how you get on defensively over the long term with that formation. Outside of my Clapton save that I blog about, where I use @merryguido’s Strikerless, I have just about given up on clean sheets and decided to try and outscore everyone. Your set up has given me some ideas though, thank you.
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FM15 Blog: www.comeontheoviedo.wordpress.com
Author of the “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager” series available on Amazon here
Read the first chapter of “The Second Season Syndrome” at www.chrisdarwen.com
Hey, thanks for commenting. Last season we only conceded 17 goals in 26 league matches. We kept 23 clean sheets in 46 games overall.
4141 seems to be the tactic of the moment for this game I agree. I’m having a bit of success with 4411 at Dortmund on another save and 433 on a Liverpool save. To me, it’s all about getting the style and the players to suit that style in place.
Yeah, I agree that you kinda should look at the players then design a formation to suit. I’ve always preferred the method of “you will play my way whether you like it or not” and hope I keep my job long enough to embed my longterm visions!
Appreciate you blogging thiss