The first Tactical Review that I’ve written for FM13. If there are any of you that would like your tactics analysed in this fashion then drop me a message on twitter and I’ll get it sorted out.

The System

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The good news is that we’re starting with something interesting. I always like taking a look at other peoples asymmetric tactics purely because it gives an insight in to how they play the game and where they believe they can maximise their tactical strengths. The staggered left side is interesting as Jack seems to have decided to compensate or the lack of a wide midfielder by playing a midfielder in the left defensive midfield shot. This will add instant depth to any attacking or defensive phase and it should be interesting to see how it all works.

Information

Creator: Jack

Style: Creator

System: 4-4-2 (Asymmetric)

Twitter: JPainter96

Results

Gladbach 3 – 2 Hannover

Gladbach 2 – 1 Stuttgart

Freiburg 2 – 0 Gladbach

Gladbach 2 – 2 HSV

Mainz 2 – 1 Gladbach

Statistics

Streak: WWLDL

Win%: 40%

Draw%: 20%

Loss%: 40%

Average Shots at Goal: 8.8

Average Shots on Target: 3.6

Average Clear Cut Chances: 3

Average Possession For: 53.9%

Average Possession Against: 46.1%

Positives

Interesting Shape

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As I alluded to in the system section I find the basic shape intriguing and as you can see from the above screenshot the in game play sticks faithfully to the basic shape that we start with, The intriguing part for me is the positioning of the two strikers and the left winger as they seem to set up in an almost horizontal line. This is excellent as it will give the AI massive issues when they try to man mark our players. Should the AI defenders try to get tight they will be dragged out of position to allow acres of space that we can exploit in behind.

You can also clearly see the positioning of the two central midfield players with the right hand side player advanced whilst the left sided player sits deeper. Adding depth to our attack.

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This time we get a more complete view of the team shape in the defensive phase. Again the three most advanced players are sitting in almost a diagonal line, interestingly if we were able to spring a counter and get the ball to the left striker then the positioning would give the AI massive problems as the two wider players in the three would be able to pivot around the striker to exploit space. Since we are in the defensive phase it is also worth pointing out the close defensive connection between right back and right midfielder. Whilst that is to be expected I have also highlighted the space in the pitch that is effectively being controlled by our deep midfielder. As the AI midfielder attempts to move in to a space that would overload our left back the defensive midfielder is able to track his run and nullify the threat.

Strong Attacking Interplay

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This shows the effective interplay between the three most advanced players. The ball had been knocked long to the right striker and he is able to connect with the advanced midfielder with a short knock down. The advanced position of the left winger means that his attacking connection with the second striker is excellent and when the ball is threaded to his feet it takes a simple piece of movement and an even more simple through ball to put our striker clean through on goal.

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Again this shows us the close relationship between the three advanced players. This time the left winger has come infield compressing the attacking play and limiting the space we have to work in. It works to our advantage though as the movement of the two strikers leads to us working a one on one situation.

Superb Connections Down Left Side

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This particular piece of play was an absolute joy to watch. You’ll have to forgive me for the lack of any other colour but there was absolutely no movement involved, well except that of the ball. The left hand side is so well connected due to the asymmetric system the ball moves from back to front in a series of one touch passes that the AI aren’t equipped to handle. The close proximity of the DM to the LB serves us defensively but also does so in an attacking sense as he is always able to offer a passing angle for the left back before he connects with the left winger. Really good football.

Negatives

AI AM’s can be Problematic

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When we played against Stuttgart they lined up interestingly with two AM’s and a lone striker. I was interested to see how our system would deal with the two advanced midfielder. As you can see the right attacking midfielder is looking to make a probing forward run. As we’ve already seen in similar situations our defensive midfielder will move to track the run to make sure that the left back isn’t overwhelmed. This however leaves the left AM in acreas of space and when he receives the ball our centreback is forced to move our of position to engage him. It’s simple then for the ball to be dropped in to space for the AI lone striker to run on to.

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Our left back has just been caught in possession. Immediately our defensive midfielder feels the runner coming from deep and has to maintain his position to engage and block the run. As the ball is moved centrally the Freiburg AM is in so much room that we are in real trouble. The striker makes a move out of the area dragging the CB a few yards out of position and the AI’s AM is able to waltz through our defence to score.

Defence Can be Overwhelmed

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As I’ve said over and over again in my FM writing, building a tactic is all about balancing the positives and the negatives. As long as you have more of the former than the latter then you’ll generally be fine. Given our three man attacking line and the attacking instincts of the more advanced central midfielder we can from time to time get caught defensively. Here you can see that HSV have caught us with a very quick transition and as you can see our attacking and defensive units have become seperated. A quick piece of interplay between three HSV players is all that it takes for our defence to be penetrated as we have been stretched so much by runs from deep.

Conclusion

The part of this tactic that I really love has been highlighted in the positives section. The connection down the left side is really strong with the players being placed to offer maximum cover defensively as well as options in the attacking third. With the right players (a team like Spurs) this really gives us the option to overload the AI down this side.

The three layered attacking players are also very interesting the capacity for movement in and around the box by these three players is enough to give the AI a real problem.

The only real issues are difficult to predict. If the AI does use an AM and use him effectively then we are going to have problems. There is one quick fix for this issue but that’s to be saved for the next section.

All in all I would say that it’s a very interesting system.

What Would I Change?

The first thing we need to do is negate the threat that the AI can bring with an attacking midfielder. Strangely we can also negate the negative of our attacking and defensive blocks becoming estranged with the same simple move. Go all out and push your defensive line right up. You are of course leaving space behind but better that than leave the space in front of the defence to be exploited. In pushing the defence up you will squeeze the AI when they are in possession more effectively too. They will find it harder to play through the centre and their AM will have no room to cause problems in.

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