Guides/Tips In-game Tactical Tinkering

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In this guide I want to talk about adapting a formation in-game to best take advantage of weaknesses in the opposition. This is very much a work in progress so please feel free to add your comments below and we can develop this guide as more knowledge is added.

In this years game I've noticed that managers at all levels are now adapting their tactics often during games; in previous versions only the very best managers were tinkering more than once or twice and so this year is more of a challenge. However, with the right changes I've started to find some success.

Opposition managers seem to change formations most often at the start of a game, at half-time, after a goal is scored or conceded so check the opposition tab straight after any of these events occur and adapt your tactic accordingly. They will also tinker at other random times though, so make sure you check what they are up to if it starts to look like the tide is turning against you too.

For the purposes of this guide, we're going to split the field in to four areas; wide areas, central defence, central midfield and forward line.

 

Wide Areas

Wide areas include any players in the positions labelled L or R, including Full Backs right up to the Forward positions. In these areas we want to match up the number of players; so if the opposition has two players on each side we want to do the same; or if they are playing with just Wing Backs for example, we can get away with also only having a single wide player on each flank.

I've had success using Wing Backs in the WBL/R positions when playing with a single wide player, or Wing Backs in the FBL/R positions and Inside Forwards in the AML/R positions when playing with two wide players, however this is not to say other combinations don't work and I've also used Defensive Wingers, Wingers and Full Backs in individual games.

 

Central Defence

Central defence is another simple one, where we want to match up the number of defenders with the number of attackers in the FC position of the opposition. This is usually anything between 1 and 3 and while playing with a single Central Defender sounds bat-poop crazy, it does actually work fine.

Roles seem to matter little here; I suggest going with whatever suits the individual players the best or your preference if you have one. I personally tend to use Limited Defenders as until now I have only managed at a lower level.

One aside to this; if an opposition player is sent off they can drop to a formation with no attackers. In this case, do not attempt to use no central defenders; I can tell you from experience that that doesn't work – use a single one instead.

 

Central Midfield

Now that we have wide areas and defence sorted, we want to start putting the shape of our tactic together and this happens in central midfield. Take a careful look at the opposition players and roles in the DMC, MC and AMC positions and mirror them in your own (remember to mirror not copy; so two DMCs for the opposition is two AMCs for you; and switch left to right). This sometimes ends up in a bonkers looking tactic but remember we're looking to exploit areas of the pitch, not produce something that looks good on the tactics screen.

Our next action is to set up the correct roles. The idea behind the following recommendations is to push beyond the opposition midfielders when attacking, whilst not pressing too high when defending. If you imagine a heat map for each of the roles, we want ours to cover all the areas that the opposition players would to dominate the midfield.

Facing

Use

CM

BWM/AP

BWM

BBM/AP

AP

DLP

DLP

BWM/CM

BBM

AP

 

Forward Line

Once we've sorted the rest of the pitch out, we should be left with between 1 and 3 attackers. Here I find that it's best to make use of the players you have available as best as possible, because there's a good chance that the formation has changed significantly since you picked your team.

1 or 2 strikers are best used in the FC position, but an inside forward in the AMC position can also work well behind a lone striker. With three players to play with, I prefer to use two inside forwards wide and a lone striker, or two strikers and an extra advanced playmaker in the AMC position if the rest of the formation allows. Play around with the players you have to find the best fit for each game.

 

Examples

AlbinoLeffe lined up in this game with an interesting take on 532/352:

Screenshot_2017-02-08-23-55-04.png.70b90f2637d727ed55378b64c7ab2041.png

 

I switched from my starting 433 to a 4312 with wing backs so we can move players in-field and not get dominated in the centre of the pitch. Petermann plays as a BBM to tire out the opposition BWM and Bertoni and Cia play as BWMs to put pressure on the opposition CMs who will be doing the bulk of the creative work in the centre. With defence sorted, we had three attackers left over to put pressure on the oppositions' back three, so Fink plays AP in the space behind the opposition defence to create chances for the front two:

Screenshot_2017-02-08-23-55-50.png.3af2e074954a6d75576c84b4f9b9a6fe.png

 

In the next game, Gubbio tried their luck with a 3412:

Screenshot_2017-02-09-00-04-53.png.4364ef99c90512055c8dc5a114cf2cd8.png

 

Using a 4312, but this time with a DLP to sit deep and mark the oppositions' AP out of the game, we took an early lead:

Screenshot_2017-02-09-00-06-51.png.1bcf86787eaaa455a761348621325bdc.png

 

After the goal, Gubbio made a subtle change in switching to a 343:

Screenshot_2017-02-09-00-08-17.png.e915adcb8116ec092303a43fbc6d511b.png

 

And I dropped the DLP back to CB to counter the threat of an extra attacker in the oppositions' forward line. Bertoni is not a Centre Back, but finished the game with an 8 rating and 3 points:

Screenshot_2017-02-09-00-08-28.png.557c0fb74b6f2ddd70016dcef08b119c.png

 

Thanks for reading, I hope it helps someone. Please let me know your thoughts/comments below!

 

Edited by t_gerface
Added detail to examples

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I think it's a good guide but maybe you could say why you swapped to what you did to help us understand more the thinking behind them? For those who may not be as tactical astute a bit of an explanation on why you played a DLP not a BWM who would look to press and physically outdo the APM. That would be my recommendation. Also just more detail on generally to know your thought process on changing to what you did would be very useful for the less tactically astute.

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49 minutes ago, Dec said:

I think it's a good guide but maybe you could say why you swapped to what you did to help us understand more the thinking behind them? For those who may not be as tactical astute a bit of an explanation on why you played a DLP not a BWM who would look to press and physically outdo the APM. That would be my recommendation. Also just more detail on generally to know your thought process on changing to what you did would be very useful for the less tactically astute.

Thanks, I'll add some thought process in.

I think you can use a BWM rather than a DLP but they seem to sit deep and mark the APM out of the game better than a BWM. Sometimes a BWM presses on further ahead and the APM gets on the ball to create chances, without an extra covering player. There's definitely a difference between the DMC and MC positions though and a DLP seems to work better defensively in the MC position so I went for that to keep it simple :-)

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15 minutes ago, t_gerface said:

Thanks, I'll add some thought process in.

I think you can use a BWM rather than a DLP but they seem to sit deep and mark the APM out of the game better than a BWM. Sometimes a BWM presses on further ahead and the APM gets on the ball to create chances, without an extra covering player. There's definitely a difference between the DMC and MC positions though and a DLP seems to work better defensively in the MC position so I went for that to keep it simple :-)

That is quite reasonable, though I would say both would work so maybe include them in your table. BWM would be more aggressive for the biggest problems, where as if there's multiple threats on the team then a DLP would be best as he will give time/space and try to intercept and then make a pass. I can see the pros and cons of both so just depends on how key the other player is.

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The midfield counter table is interesting. I usually try to add an extra player to the midfield if I'm getting overrun. I'll try to experiment with the different roles instead. 

You list only AP as a counter to BBM but wouldn't a BWM work as well to chase him and get him off the ball?

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Interesting that when facing one wide opponent you say we could get away with one ourselves.

 

You are right of course, but I tend to go the other way, and have 2 wide players, a wing back and a winger, and the focus my passing to that flank.

 

Also worth checking the position capability on the AI screen. If I see a Red Full back for the other team, I target them, overloading them and passing down that flank

Edited by TheOldPeacock

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