This update I will hope to bring you a little closer to my mind by explaining how I have devised my WM formation.
From the off I looked at the tactic that Herbert Chapman had implemented at Arsenal and set about working out which roles and positions would suit the game (FM). Now I must stress I know @Cleon is playing as Paysandu with his interpretation of the WM but didn’t want to just rip off what I had seen. I wanted to grow something from my own set of test tubes. And this is what I have created so far;
The Goalkeeper – I have set this role as Sweeper Keeper Defend. My reason behind this is I not only what the guy to fill between the sticks but I also want him to act like a the “last man” in the defence when stretched on the counter.
The Back Three
The notes I had seen about the Grande Torino was that the central defender was none as “de facto” or the stopper. I have simply gone for a Central Defender on defend, no bells no whistles, just defend.
The Full Backs are a position or roles that I see could change as I learn more. But I have naturally looked at the enormous weakness of the tactic and I have thought that the fullbacks need to be drawn inside so I have plumped for both the play the Inverted full back role and both have been set to defend. To further safe guard them from disappearing down the other end of the pitch, like all modern full backs like to do. I have also set them both to man mark their opposing positions. So, RB vs Left winger/ midfielder and LB vs Right winger/midfielder.
The central midfield square
The right defensive midfielder has been given the role of Halfback which can only be selected to defend. The Half Back will act like and aggressive sweeper looking to stop the opposition where he can or dropping back to add numbers to the defence. He will also look to distribute the ball quickly to start attacks.
The left defensive midfield has been given the Anchor role, again this role can only be selected as defend. This guys job is to win the ball back from the opposition and simply pass to a team mate. This is a role that I briefly tweeted @Cleon about. He had noted that in his tactic the anchor would drop back to cover his advancing left full back. I have taken the obvious lesson from this as I want my two defensive midfielders to be defensive monsters, in an aim to build a five-man defensive wall when defending. Also, this is a role I want to keep an eye on as I would like to see if there is any real difference between the HB and A roles. The anchor will also be given the specific job for man mark the AMC position if the opposition deploy one.
The two “Central Midfielders” the two roles are open for debate. I have seen in some literature that the “inside forwards” that occupied the roles in the real-life WM were also known as Mezzala. But I had also read that one of the “Inside forwards” would normally be the playmaker of the team. Which leads me to think that in game an RPM (Roaming Playmaker) would be this role. But for now, I have altered between a RPM(S), CM(A), a Mezzala (A) or BBM(S) or Carrilero. The reason behind the indecision is that without seeing what is happening on the pitch with these role I will not know which is best for how I would like to see that tactic play. As my aim out of the two positions will be to get one of them to break into the box late and score plenty of goals and the other to act as the advanced playmaker, dictating the play and marshalling where and how the ball gets into the box.
The Front Three
I have taken from the original tactic and put out and out wingers on both sides. My Right Winger is a right footer and the Left a left footer. The idea behind this is to give our attack a little width to what is already a narrow tactic, I also want these players to cross into the box when on the ball or support the centre forward in the box when the ball is on the other side of the pitch. One of my other tactics that I have used in this save (The TS 4141) used out and out wingers on support that not only provided plenty of assists but also backed up the main striker by scoring plenty of goals.
The main striker is also a Complete Forward set to attack. This is because I want this guy to do everything from act as a focal point or targetman to take the defence on and drive at goal. By allowing this position to have a rounded approach I hope to see the players of this position to be heavily involved throughout the match.
You’ll also notice the tactical style is set to a “custom” vertical Tiki Taka “style” The aim in my head is to keep the ball but press forward rather than aimlessly just keep the ball without a treat on the opposition’s goal. With that there are the pre-set TI’s for that style along with the extra PI’s that I have mentioned above.
In a nutshell that is my WM. It will take time and perseverance to understand it’s pros and cons and to learn about how to minimize the cons and maximize the pros.
The first match was against the local boys from the other end of town. Juventus under 20’s. We won 4-0 away. (Don’t get carried away, Juve under 20’s are awful, they are bottom of the league). I didn’t expect the result we did, although to be fair we did score three goals from set pieces so I can’t really say the tactic overwhelmed the opposition. But I can’t be too critical either. The key negative that I see here are the number of clear cut chances that the opposition had. Thankfully they squandered them but I do need to look at how they came about and whether there is anything I can do to stop them.
The first clear cut chance happens after only two minutes of play. Juventus enjoy a good spell of possession in our half but then receive a freekick for a lazy foul conceded by our right winger (Fratoni) just outside the penalty box. The resulting freekick is struck to the far post and finds the Juventus striker free to head at goal.
Looking at this I clearly need to see what is in the set piece settings. Something I had not looked at with the under 20’s.
The second is due to an individual error cause by our right back. Who looks to clear (head) the ball from a goal kick. But due to a lack of power or good direction in the header the ball is picked up by Juventus’ left winger who then passes the ball forward to the Juventus centre forward who runs through the channel and shoots at goal.
Looking at the player who made the mistake I can straight away see that he lacks heading ability (according to my coaches). The second weakness down states he is poor in the air.
Looking at the two incidents I can see that both stem from giving away the ball cheaply either through giving away a foul or the just ball away through lack of ability. The two individual errors are probably to be expected due to the players age, ability and level of understanding of what has been asked of them (the tactic).
Next was a home match at the Filadephia against Lazio under 20’s. This would see a couple of changes to the line up. The key numbers that I see in this result are the number of fouls that we gave away.
Twenty-four is rather high. Looking deeper thankfully none were anywhere near our penalty area. I then look at the team instructions and see that neither the get stuck in or stay on feet instruction are pressed and can only assume the high urgency in pressing along with the desire to counter press must be behind the reason for the number of fouls committed. That or Lazio were playing the ref by falling after every tackle.
The other concern in the Lazio match was how we conceded their goal. The graphic below shows that we pressed the opposition back deep in their own half. But they then used a well hit long ball to catapult an attack down our left hand side. To then cross the ball centrally for the Lazio striker to take full opportunity of the space that was created to slot home a well struck shot.
The slideshow below shows how Lazio pull the left back out of position by getting their right winger to hold his movement. Which in turn means the centre back has to move left to cover. in doing so he leaves a big, big gap in the centre of defence that Lazio exploit with a well measured cross. Note the Right back is also too advanced to assist in any form of defending.
A part of me is now considering whether I should turn off the specific marking instructions set for both fullbacks.
Our Third match is away against Empoli under 20’s. A very solid performance across the team. We won 3-0. Yet, the performance of the CM(a) Frazzi leads me to substitute at half time in search of improvement from his replacement. De Rossi is brought on and is deployed to play as a Mezzala(A) in a shift of role due to De Rossi being a more natural Pressing Forward. Due to a lack of midfielders in the Under 20’s I am looking at retraining De Rossi as a Mezzala, in a bid to build on the players natural pace and ability in running the channels. De Rossi’s performance is not much better than Frazzi’s by the numbers (Stats) but by playing the game in Full mode I can see that Di Rossi is certain more involved than what Frazzi was. Which to me was a vast improvement.
To summarise the Under 20’s have played three matches. Won two and drawn one. We have score eight goals and conceded one. We are playing attacking possession based football which is what I had hoped. But it is still too early to say that the tactic is an outright success or even too early to say I need to stop faffing about and get back to a 4141 formation. I may want to consider removing the player specific instructions that have been assigned to my full backs when playing against a 4231 formation. Yet, this may also be deemed to early as we have only played against this tactic once. What I do know is, we need to continue and look at being brave with the first team and push this tactic onto them.
Arrivederci for now and join me next time when we look at the first team.