In the last article I gave you part one of my take on emptying space and discovered attacks where we concentrated on making space in wide areas and capitalising on that space with runners from deep. This time around we are going to take a slightly different approach by looking at ways to create space in the central attacking areas but again we are going to exploit this space by moving players on vertical lines from deep.

For me the most successful tactics in Football Manager are those that offer the most options in attack as opposed to those that rely on one area to create and score goals. As such quite often when I’m building a tactic I will look to add in two or three different attacking techniques to see whether when all added together they work or indeed crash and burn. The following is one of my favourites.

The Setup

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The system itself is setup to immediately stretch the pitch horizontally in the attacking third. The two wingers are deliberately set to hug the touchline and create open gaps between the winger and striker. Straight away we are creating space in the channels for our deep runners to exploit. The secondary movement comes from the central striker who is set up with low mentality and low creative freedom allowing him to maintain a slightly deeper position to both pull the defensive players out of position and encourage the midfield runners to burst beyond him. As always though the theory is all very well but does it work in practice.

In Game

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In the above example we have the central striker Fischer dropping right off the line in to the midfield area thus opening a huge gap in the AI’s defensive line.  When he picks the ball up he is able to feed the right winger who has remained wide and isolated the fullback. Instead of looking to go past his man though the winger is able to spot the advancing central midfielder through the centre and with a single threaded pass we have a player through on goal. This isn’t a technique that will encourage a possession based game, instead we are looking to take advantage of the AI being caught off balance by hitting them fast and hard and not being afraid the ball through the centre.

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This time we are attacking from a more advanced central area and the movement is a lot more subtle given the condensed space. Here the central striker and the advancing midfield player perform a simple movement when Fischer drops off the line slightly in to space taking the defender with him. As he does so the midfielder makes a short diagonal role in to the now unoccupied space and Eriksen is the perfect player to slip the through ball in to space to create a goal scoring situation. This highlights the importance of having players get high up the pitch to support the striker, especially if said striker is set to drop off the line instead of going beyond the defence.

You can also see that the wide strikers have maintained their position to offer the wide outlet as well as forcing the AI to give attention to the wide areas detracting from their central strength.

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In this example the ball is out wide left with Ryan Babel in possession. Once again Fischer drops towards the ball to offer a short option, should the ball be played in to him the Babel would be able to dart behind the full back for a one-two. Instead though Babel is able to play a more direct pass behind the defence in to the path of the midfielder that is moving fast in to the space that has been emptied by the movement of Fischer. It is also worth pointing out that Sulemanji has again kept his position wide right and is occupying the AI left back.

By stretching the game wide in this manner we are able to take full advantage of the space in the channels.

As with every other article I’ve written I tend to take it to extremes in order to fully illustrate and drill home my points. In most tactics that I build I tend to try to impose elements of both these central attacks and the wide attacks from part one. As I’ve already said I like to build tactics that aren’t based on possession but instead on hitting the AI hard and fast when they are out of position and off balance. In essence my game is more based on the German style than the Spanish. As ever I hope there are parts of these articles that you can bring out and use in your own games.