Soccer formation tactics on a blackboard

The Analyst – Taking Your Time Part Three


In part two I spoke about various defensive and attacking issues I saw when viewing the game back, so now we can concentrate on how I will tackle those issues and try to fix them. Let’s have a quick recap of some of the issues from the above post;

  • The more defensive minded midfielder was being quite aggressive at times and shifting all the way across the defensive line which was leaving me exposed at times.
  • Quick changes in play against sides who use the full width of the pitch was causing me a few headaches.
  • Through balls between my centre backs could have been more costly and long term this would be an issue.
  • Throw-ins!!! The players positioning is all wrong and poor in general.
  • The deep lying forward was becoming very withdrawn at times and far too deep for my liking.

So how exactly do I approach fixing these issues now? It’s not an easy task but the first thing I do is look at the settings of the players having the issues as well as looking at the team instructions I use.

Let’s start with the central midfielder on a defensive duty;


The highlighted options are the ones that are already active on the role. Before I talk about what I could possible change here lets have a reminder of the team instructions I use;


If you remember at the start i claimed these were probably overkill and I was using far too many. Well I still think this is the case and its actually causing me a few issues so I think I need to drop some.

The defensive minded central midfielder is clearly closing down far too much and he has the individual shout selected for closing down more automatically. Couple this with the team instruction of close down more and its an issue. Shouts were changed in FM15 compared to previous versions and are now layers rather than the old overriding of team instructions. It’s quite complicated how they work now as its not a 1+1=2 kind of equation either. This is for another post though. But because both of these are selected then its an issue, we saw this in the examples posted above. I could just add close down less PI to the individual but as a whole I think my team is pressing far too aggressively at times and I’m losing shape due to it, especially centrally.

As I’ll be removing the close down shouts I think it makes sense to remove the stay on feet shout as well, as my players shouldn’t be as aggressive so there is no point encouraging them to tackle easy now they have less space to over in getting to the player to close them down. It removes the risk of badly timed challenges. Also I’ll remove the much higher defensive line shout as I don’t need to be higher up the pitch to close down as much or as fast now. These three shouts were only added as they compliment what I was doing so if I remove one of them then it makes perfect sense to remove the other two.

The logic behind them initially was if I’m closing down aggressive then you want to be pushed higher up the pitch for that to be more effective and I didn’t want to risk people giving fouls away or getting cautioned if they didn’t make up the space in time, hence why I also had stay on feet activated. That meant they’d only tackle if they were confident of getting the ball.

I’m also hoping these changes might solve the other issue with me being caught out with quick switches of play. Due to being less aggressive in my pressing, players should be a lot more stricter positionally and be in the areas that I highlighted in part one about being wide open. So I won’t be sure if this is fixed or not for a few games. Any changes you make, you have to give it time and see it over several games and not just the one, as players can have off days.

Due to these changes I’m also wondering if it might have some knock on effect with the throw-in issue I have? I’m a bit unsure how to tackle that and still think it’s a bug of some sorts with players positioning in general. I’ll keep an eye on it for a few more games and then either update you all on what I’ve done or submit the appropriate bug reports.

In fact I’m hopeful this might sort out the centre back issue too. After I watched the game back and talked about it, I watched it again and felt they pushed up a bit too much or closed down in the wrong area initially making them ever so slightly out of place. Again, this is something I’ll be keeping an eye on.

The deep lying forward issue with his coming deeper is a bit more tricky as I can do quite a few things here. I could change his role completely but seeing as I bought a specific type of player to play this role that kind of rules that out for now. So my options are;

  • Keep him as he is and see how it goes for three or four games rather than just a single game
  • Switch him to a deep lying forward with an attack duty and switch the complete forward to a support duty

I Think I’ll try the latter for now as I think I’ll benefit him being positioned higher up the pitch. This will mean in the next game though I need to really study the movement and link up play of them both yet again as the dynamics compared to the first game will have changed.

This post is quite short as I don’t like to make wholesale changes in one go when for most parts it plays the way I want. It’s much easier to keep changes minimal at first as its easier to track if something has or hasn’t worked out. I will do another post about the changes and how it all worked out or didn’t at a later date.

In the next article I do though I’ll be talking about the different types of opposition i face and how I set up to play them. This will then hopefully address a lot of issues I see where people play Man Utd and beat them and then lose to the bottom of the league. They seem to miss the point that these teams play differently even if the shape is the same. That will likely be posted at the weekend or the beginning of next week.

2 thoughts on “The Analyst – Taking Your Time Part Three”

  1. The point you make about PI’s being layers instead of overriding TI’s in FM15 is something I wasn’t aware of. I like my teams pushing up, but I want my dc’s and defensive midfielder to keep their shape and not be too aggressive in their pressing. What are your thoughts on keeping a high line, but set the closing down individually, so you have three stages of pressing?

    Like this in a narrow diamond:

    GK: Default
    DR: Close down more (because of the space in front of him)
    DC: Default
    DC: Default
    DL: Same as DR
    DMC: Default
    MCR: Close down more, get stuck in
    MCL: Same as above
    AMC: Close down much more, get stuck in
    CFR: Same as above
    CFL: Same as above

    1. It depends really. You might find the team is split too much and not really a unit if you have a few players pushing up and offers not. It can leave you exposed in certain areas against different formations. So if I did go with something like you suggested above I’d keep an eye on it and see if it works like you think it will.

      Although, in a narrow diamond you can be severely punished if you close down heavily as retaining shape is very important.

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