Tactical Review – Stu’s 4-5-1 Possession

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The System

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The most striking aspect of the setup is the midfield balance. With two playmakers around the same zone – albeit one deep and one advanced – it is entirely possible that the game could get congested in the centre. Whether that’s the way the analysis plays out though remains to be seen.

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Reactive Tactics: Against Napoli’s 3-4-2-1

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This is the first time I’ve written on reactive tactics for this blog so I best give a little by way of explanation as to what all this entails. I think the first time I really became aware of the potential of reactive tactics within FM was during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. I completely fell in love with Chile and of course with their coach Marcelo Bielsa. Following the Chilean match against Honduras in the group stage Michael Cox of Zonal Marking wrote;

Because Honduras started with the one up top, Bielsa did his usual in these circumstances – fielding a four-man defence, rather than a three-man defence. His logic was this is that he always wants one extra centre-back against the opposition forwards. If the opposition are playing with two strikers, he uses three centre-backs, if they are using one, he uses two, with the wing-backs dropping back slightly to become more conventional full-backs (although they still have a license to attack). This means that the shape changes from a 3-3-1-3 to a 4-2-1-3, with Millar playing as the second central midfielder.

The idea of switching defensive setups depending on your opponents formation to always make sure you have the extra man was an intriguing one. As we all know having an extra man in any area of the field leads to an advantage in keeping possession of the ball and putting your opponent under pressure. The importance of the ‘extra man’ can be seen all over modern football with big clubs and astute managers using the extra midfielder especially to control matches as well as to strengthen defensively.

The AI within the FM12 match engine is sophisticated enough to change formation in real time as the game is in progress in order to react to your tactics. This means that by keeping open a window showing the AI formation I am able to change as quickly both to negate their threat and take advantage of any obvious weakness. In some games I change formation upto three times before winning comfortably.

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Tactical Review: Deano’s 4-3-3 NB

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First of all apologies for the relative lack of articles of late. It’s been an extremely busy month but as we are coming into May soon my productivity should increase – I hope!

The System

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A relatively straightforward 4-3-3 system that at first glance seems to offer balance in both attack and defence. When I started to analyse the matches played though it became apparent that the tactic is a little too attacking leading to defensive frailties.

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4-4-2 Lobanovskyi’s Legacy

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4-4-2, A formation that in today’s game conjures an image of English pragmatism at its very peak. Week in week out those watching would be lectured on the need to have two banks of four players in order to make it difficult for the opposition to break you down. Commentators, analysts, journalists and coaches all agreed that this was the optimal way for a team to be set out in order to make them “difficult to beat”. It wasn’t always this way though and indeed football revolutionaries like Arrigo Sacchi and Valeriy Lobanovskyi remained adamant that 4-4-2 was the formation that best encapsulated their groundbreaking football theories. More