Welcome back to my Football Manager 2019 blog where in this post I’m going to write, for me something a little different. This will be a little review of the tactic I have built for Barry Town United, the first club in my main save this year “The Achievement Hunter”
Those who know me well in the FM world know tactics are my real weakness, I struggle to build something balanced and always struggle to get results, I’ve been known to download tactics before or get advice off others who know more than me to help me build something successful.
This year however I’ve vowed to do more myself, no more going to FM Base to find those exploit tactics, no more DM’ing everyone and anyone for advice and help. I’m GOING to build something myself.
Well I’m now 15 games into my first season with Barry Town United and I have to say what I built seems to be working well. We have only lost one match and the way the tactics plays is exactly how I wanted it to.
Even though we are playing in the top league in Wales the quality of team is still pretty poor, TNS are dominant but everyone else is pretty bad. So my idea from the start was to build a tactic where we exploited defensive weaknesses by putting them under pressure with more direct passing.
With the new tactical creator giving you styles of play I knew exactly what style I wanted to try. Direct Counter was the plan.
When I looked at creating this tactic I firstly looked at the Team Comparison tab. The first thing I noticed was the oppositions defence were very slow, the average for the league was just over 9 for Pace and Acceleration and along with an average of 8 for anticipation I felt long balls over the top could work.
With my midfielders boasting good passing, vision and technique compared to the rest of the league alongside my 2 main strikers having 10+ for Pace, Acceleration, Composure and Anticipation I felt this could really work.
These are the base TIs for the Direct Counter Attack which I felt could work great in a smaller league. Direct Passing to make the most of our good midfielders and pacey forwards, higher tempo to catch the opposition cold. When we are out of possession we sit back, the players in this league aren’t good and 9/10 times they make a mistake themselves, either by hoofing it or playing an errant pass.
Now to the formation:
In my previous post I noted I had some great options in Midfield, up front and also at Centre Back but I have literally no wingers, only one could play on the right but he was suited more to a right wing back.
With this in mind I wanted to try and build a narrow formation but utilising the RWB I mentioned above.
Lets firstly take a look at the defensive structure:
Pretty basic but I’ve tried to give my players their best role whilst giving different options on each side. Southam-Hales is the RWB I mentioned before, his PPMs and attributes make him good at this level for an attacking wingback, not having to worry massively about his defensive duties.
Pace, Crossing, good physicals, work rate and teamwork make him a great asset for this team.
So with an attacking right back I decided to make the left side more defensive and let him sit back alongside my 2 CBs so if a team did catch us out we would have enough stability with the 3 other defenders.
In front of the back 4 is a BWM(d), I’ve always struggled to pick a role for this position previously but find a BWM to be fantastic this year, he covers the back line well and covers that right hand side perfectly whilst also being an asset when the opposition have the ball, he is one of very few players allowed to press when out of possession and wins the ball back numerous times a match.
Robbie Pattern has been my main BWM this season and has been immense, 50 interceptions in 15 games is an average of just over 3 a match.
A solid back line with 1 attacking option, let’s now take a look at the other 3 midfielders.
Again I’ve tried to pick the players best role but also with a view to how they move. In Central Midfield we have a CM(a) and a CAR(s). The Carrilero is a fantastic role and with Southam-Hales being so attacking on that right hand side this roles suits it well as his lateral movement covers that side of the pitch well and it also works fantastically well in a diamond midfield because of the areas it covers.
The CM(a) is a role I wasn’t sure of, I was toying between an attack duty or support but felt with the cautious nature of my tactic we needed another attacking role just to add a bit more pressure and a bit more intent to get forward. I added two extra PIs to this role to stay wider and move into channels to cover the gap with there being no real attacking player on the left hand side.
In front of the CM’s is an AM(s), this is a quite generic role but one I find very effective, he covers the gap behind him if the CM(a) gets further forward but also drifts into the box, the position does get bypassed quite regularly because of our more direct passing but is an extra option in the box when going forward and also helps fashioning out chances when the ball is played forward at a slower pace.
And now to the front two:
A good old fashioned Target Man/Poacher front-line, I picked these roles for two reasons, they are the players natural roles and also those roles combine really well. Touray loves to drop deep and hold the ball up but with our more direct play runs the line fantastically and has scored 15 goals in 15 games, 3/4s of these from long balls over the top, most have come from him challenging in the air, the defender missing it and Touray running onto the same ball! McGlaggon is a natural poacher, has good pace, composure and finishing and also has the PPM “Likes to beat the offside trap” which for this formation is a godsend!
Now to the extra TIs I added after picking the roles and the players:
I added Hit Early Crosses and Overlap Right, this was to make sure my RB got forward as much as possible and also to get the ball into the box as quickly as possible.
I also added Exploit The Middle, it may seem a bit counter intuitive when asking to get the early crosses in but I felt this would help as we are always over-running teams in midfield and also it focused the more longer balls to the centre of the pitch.
When in transition I added the GK to play the ball to fullbacks, this was because my FBs were better on the ball and in the first few friendlies my CBs would constantly give the ball away.
Out of possession I actually took some TIs away, we widened the defensive line back to normal and also just slightly increased the defensive line and lowered the forward line, what I found in the first few friendlies was too much space between the team but the lower forward line meant oppositions defenders pushing up giving my strikers more space in front of them.
So how has this translated onto the pitch? You would expect with this style of play for a lot of the goals to come from deep, well as you can see below with the Assist Locations it has worked a treat:
We totally exploited those balls over the top, 13 of our 44 goals coming from balls from deep and 11 from that right hand side that I wanted to exploit.
Below is a GIF of a typical goal we scored by exploiting that right hand side, as you can see we play it out of defence, into our CM(a) and then to McGlaggon, who is playing as a poacher but has the knowhow to come deep and join in play and he does what he is asked and sprays it out to the right, the early cross comes in and TM(s) Touray scores.
Below is a typical goal from one of our belting direct balls! Prior to this highlight the opposition has played about 15 passes around the pitch not being able to find space, their only option is to play an aimless ball forward which is picked up by CB Hesp, his first thought is to play it forward over their defensive line and McClaggon runs through and puts it in.
So far it has played exactly how I wanted, teams in this league just cannot deal with those long balls. I am now 15 games into the league season and we are storming away at the top losing only 1 game so far.
It will be interesting to see moving forward whether the AI learns how this tactic works and pushes the defensive lines backwards to counter the way we play. Something I am really not good at is reacting to changes in the way the opposition plays!
So there you have it, I hope what I have said makes sense, like I said at the start tactical posts aren’t my strong point. This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a few days now but didn’t feel confident in getting my thought process across. I would love feedback on this if possible. I welcome all kinds whether that is positive or negative.
Anyway thanks for reading and speak to you all soon!