Austria & Rapid – Early days and FM12 striker flashbacks

rapid_1After a series of posts dealing with the periphery of the game, graphics and mods for streamlining FM, I’ve finally played long enough to write a proper update on my actual save. In case you missed it, I’ve started a Club and Country save with Austria and Rapid Wien that I hope will last for some time and form the bulk of my blog articles for the foreseeable future.

I’ve played up to the winter break in my first season which includes 19 leagues games with Rapid and 4 Euro 2016 qualifying games with Austria.

My initial tactical plans have proven impossible to implement due to SI’s decision to introduce the inverted wingbacks as a new feature that doesn’t actually exist in the game. Therefore, I’ve had to tweak the 4-1-4-1 slightly. There are some parts that are working very well and others, like the striker, which aren’t

Apologies if this is something of a statistical overload but, as well as updating on the progress of both club and country, I hope to work through the issues I’ve been having tactically and hopefully come up with some sort of solution.

The starting idea I had was still the same – I wanted a 4-1-4-1 shape in defence and then to break into a more fluid shape when attacking, using two players to maintain the width but also have runners through the middle to create problems for the opposition defence.

That lead to this:

Pitch

The idea is somewhat simpler than the previous plan with inverted wingbacks. The 4-1-4-1 shape when defending should be more or less the same and I’ve opted for MR/ML in FM-speak rather than AML/AMR due to the ludicrous notion SI have that these wide players wouldn’t track back. Their attacking contributions are somewhat different but it’s a necessary price for the defensive input.

Going forward, the wide midfielder on the right is asked to “sit narrower” and “cut inside with the ball” in an effort to empty the space for the overlapping wingback. Said wingback and the left winger maintain the width and stretch the defence whilst the right midfielder and the central runner get up in support of the striker. The roaming playmaker controls play from all over, with the anchorman and two centrebacks protecting us against counters.

When the opposition isn’t using an AMC, I tend to make our DMC the roaming playmaker and switch the MRC to a box-to-box midfielder but other than that the roles shown are more or less my default options.

Has it been working? Well of a sorts:

league

We’ve had what you might class as generous draws in the Austrian Cup with lower league sides USV St Anna, Grazer AK and SC Weiz all being defeated with varying levels of ease.

The Europa League was a different matter as a surprisingly strong Litex side defeated us 4-3 in the home leg and then 1-0 going on 5-0 in Bulgaria to send us out in the playoffs. This was disappointing but not disastrous as our board weren’t expecting progress.

They do, however, expect a title challenge domestically and, thanks to Red Bull Salzburg, we’re some way off that.

The root cause is fairly obvious for all to see – too many draws. The real trick, now, is finding out why. The first thing I did was to compare our home form…

Home form

…with our away form…

Away

Quite the contrast. The recent home form hasn’t been great either with goalless draws against Grödig (8th), Kapfenberger (17th) and Altach (6th) but the biggest problem is clearly the away form so we’ll concentrate here.

Losses to Kapfenberger and Altach (who also appear on the list of home draws) as well as Wolfsberger (7th) and draws with Admira Wacker (11th), Weiner Neustadt (12th), SV Ried (9th) and Mattersburg (16th) saw us drop 17 points on the road.

Seeing as the game comes down to goals, the problem should either be our ability to score them or keep them out. At home we’ve scored 16 in 10 games but good statisticians will try to exclude outlying results and that 5-0 victory over Sturm Graz may be skewing the results somewhat. So, ignoring the 5 we scored against the side from Graz and one of the goalless games (the highest and lowest results), we’re left with 11 scored in 8 games – averaging 1.375 per game.

Away from home, we’ve scored 12 in 9. Removing the outlying results, that leaves 9 in 7 games; an average of 1.29 per game.

Defensively: home we’re conceding 0.375 per game, away it’s 1.42 per game.

That clearly highlights two problems: our defence away from home is shocking and we’re never scoring enough goals.

goalsThe analysis tool suggests that we are particularly vulnerable to the 4-2-3-1 with 2 DM’s (which comes as no surprise to me) and that we are conceding more goals from our rightback area than anywhere else.

Given that our rightback is asked to bomb on, this was to be expected. Perhaps we could make him less ambitious in away games but one look at our goals-for average puts me off that. Rather, I’m considering employing a more conservative overall approach away from home.

Our default tactic is set to “Control / Flexible” with 3 shouts used – push higher up, close down more and play out of defence. This has helped to maintain possession, win it back quickly and dominate territory. Unfortunately, that hasn’t always brought results.

For the rest of this season, I’m going to experiment with a simple change to “Standard” and ramping it down on the shouts a little. I’d be happier if we could get that goals against average down to around 1 per game.

The bigger problem, for me, are the lack of goals scored.

goalscorers

As you can see, we don’t have an outright goalscorer with Philipp Schobesberger, now playing leftwing, topscoring with 5 in 14 league games. That’s simply not good enough.

Up front I’ve used Deni Alar, Dominik Starkl and Philipp Prosenik so far. With 4 goals between them to date, this is clearly a large chunk of the problem. Finding out why is somewhat more difficult.

attacking stats

The screenshot above is a custom view I’ve created for the squad screen showing the attacking stats, this time sorted by the number of shots on goal per game.

Alar, our first choice striker, tops the list with an impressive 6.03 shots on goal per game, and with a 33% success rate that equates to him hitting the target twice per game on average. Is this that bad? Comparing this to my successful ADO save, Bond and Lagendijk averaged 2.74 shots on target per game. But then I did play two up front and, in this save, Steffen Hofmann has the next highest number of shots on target of our regular players – at just 1.37.

No real surprise, then, that we’re not scoring enough goals because we aren’t getting enough shots on target. One thing this does let me know is that the problem is not necessarily with the personnel – i.e. it’s not a lack of finishing capability, it’s more than likely a problem with creating the chances.

Midfield stats

This is the second stats view, this time showing the midfield statistics sorted by average passes per game.

I’ve highlighted Deni Alar, our main striker, down there at the bottom of the list only outpassing our ‘keepers and left winger Schobesberger who has disappeared off the bottom of the list.

I’ve also highlighted a couple of stats which stand out for me – overlapping rightback Pavelic has delivered 209 crosses in 22 games at a success rate of just 10% and, linked with that, Alar attempting over 7 headers a game and winning less than half.

And this is really a microcosm of my problem. What do I want from the striker? Do I want him to drop back and link with the midfield more, increasing those passing averages and playing in the midfielders running from deep? Or do I want him leading the line, threatening to run in behind the defence and getting on the end of all those crosses? Honestly, I’m still not sure.

For the first 15 games or so, I had the striker playing as a Defensive Forward on support as I wanted to experiment with its ability to aid my high pressing game and see how it integrated with the rest of the team. When I looked back at the highlights to check this, I spotted a few problems:

Lack of midfield support for the striker
Lack of midfield support for the striker

Here Alar has received the ball to feet, back to goal and the problem is clear. Where’s the support? Alar ends up turning and hitting a hopeful shot from distance that goes harmlessly over the bar, probably through lack of any other options.

I’ve ringed Schaub, at right mid, and Hofmann, at LCM. Schaub is far too wide here and I’d ideally like to see him narrower – within the shaded area. Hofmann is also far too deep and should be looking to get beyond the striker. This is a fairly typical problem.

So how can we fix it? In the current shape, I’m not sure. The right midfielder is already asked to sit narrower so perhaps the only option is to ask the entire team to “play narrower”? The MCL, as a “Central midfielder – attack”, already has the “gets further forward” shout activated. So there’s nothing we can do there.

Good numbers getting into the middle
Good numbers getting into the middle

Alternatively, when the build up is a little slower and we get the ball wide, we start to get decent numbers into the box. Here 4 players are looking to attack the ball, although there are defenders looking to get back and outnumber us.

We are, however, keeping 4, perhaps 5, players goalside in that screenshot. All defending against… no-one. The centre backs will always stay back and the anchorman (#25) could happily play a little more advanced, perhaps close to where the ref is whilst we could happily commit the leftback forward without compromising our defence.

I have two concerns with just throwing additional bodies forward, though:

1. It will make us more susceptible to counter attacks, albeit maybe only marginally given how defensive the opposition appear to be.

2. More pertinently, I’m still keen to maintain the high possession, high pressing approach and asking more players to make runs beyond the defence will result in riskier passes and fewer deep passing options – both of which mean we lose the ball more often.

So rather than just go more attacking and switch to more attacking roles, I’m considering actually slowing play down. It may seem counter intuitive but it seems to me that the central midfield roles don’t get forward as effectively as they did on FM13 or 14, meaning that our striker is going to be isolated without some bodies in the AM line. I want to keep the general 4-1-4-1 shape and therefore a lower tempo and changing the striker to a deep-lying forward on support might help tie it all together a bit better.

Pitch 2I do think there is a case to be made for allowing at least one of the defensive players to get further forward, though, and so I’ll experiment with a second attacking wingback from the left. I’m not sure how well this will interact with the winger on the same side but it’s worth an experiment, maybe if there were, I don’t know, an inverted wingback option that’d be good?

The screenshots and clips that I’ve watched also support the change from anchorman to “roaming playmaker” although I’ll monitor how exposed this leaves the two centrebacks and judge whether a “deep lying playmaker” is closer to what I want.

That means the playmaker at MRC is obsolete. I want a tackler to replace the anchorman but still want runs from deep so a “ball-winning midfielder” seems sensible. There’s a good chance he’ll end up with the “gets further forward” instruction but, again, I need to see it all in action before committing to anything.

Will it work? I hope so and it all seems very sensible in my head at the moment. If you have any alternative thoughts, please let me know. I’m open to all ideas and discussing tactics in FM is my favourite part of the game.

I’m hoping to have the structure of the tactic more or less finalised by the end of this season. I disabled the transfer budgets at the start of the game but boards may start freeing up cash now that the January transfer window is looming. I don’t plan to sign (m)any players although I have my shortlist of Austrian prospects to target and if any of them become available…

There are a couple of players whom I would allow to leave – Slovenian striker Robert Beric and German central defender Brian Behrendt – both were complaining of lack of first team football and are decent sellable assets so I’ll be listening to offers for them.

National fixtures

Meanwhile, we’ve had four competitive games with the national side and two friendlies. The game against Iceland was a bit of a worry as we were plagued with the same problems facing the club side – a deep defensive unit that was difficult to break down.

Sweden and Russia, though, were entirely different prospects and whilst I think the draw was justified in Stockholm…

Sweden A

… the home loss to Russia was a travesty of biblical proportions…

Result

Alaba is magnificent in the “roaming playmaker” role but there are clear personnel issues with the national side – primarily up front where we’re in desperate need of a clinical striker. Hopefully one of my ear-marked prospects can step up to the mark.

We absolutely dominated Montenegro from start to finish and I took the opportunity to experiment in the Lichtenstein game, going with a strikerless 4-1-2-3-0 that had the game killed off within 18 minutes. That might be something to come back to but I’m keen to try out new options having “done” strikerless.

Next up is Moldova at home which should be another 3 points to take us to 10 and right in the mix.

Group G Table
Group G Table

Russia look like going on to top the group despite a 0-0 draw at home to Lichtenstein meaning that we’ll probably be duelling it out with Sweden – who still  have to face Russia twice and travel to Vienna – and Montenegro – who managed to beat Sweden in Podgorica.

I’m confident that we won’t finish any lower than 3rd, which puts us in a probable playoff position. Automatic qualification… I’d say 50/50 just now. We still need to travel to Russia and Montenegro whilst the home game against Sweden will be key.

I haven’t touched on any of the “rules” I set for the club yet. I want to get the tactics sorted before I start tinkering with the personnel. We have successfully asked the board to improve our junior coaching, though, so I’m looking forward to our first (randomised) newgen delivery.

Other than that, I’ll be trying to overcome our problems in front of goal and watching Red Bull Salzburg extend their massive lead at the top of the table. At least we have some decent competition to catch!

Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any comments in the boxes below!

Forza Rapid!

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45 thoughts on “Austria & Rapid – Early days and FM12 striker flashbacks”

  1. Brilliant absolutely brilliant. Detailed, informative, engaging writing. Great to see you writing and making me remember why I started playing FM in first place. Keep it up 🙂

  2. Never followed one of these C&C’s from the start before, but will definitely be keeping up now! Also its funny you should mention the problems of facing 4-2-3-1’s with DM’s, I’ve started an FC Midtjylland save using it and its worked an absolute charm, I find the Raumdeuter an absolutely brilliant role for providing that support going past the defensive forward. Then again maybe I’m just getting lucky! Look forward to the next update

    1. Thanks Connor. Unfortunately, I haven’t has the opportunity to test the Raumdeuter yet as I haven’t played with high wingers much, will need to give it a shot later. How did you find the defensive forward? He didn’t seem to do much on the ball for me

      1. The Ram works great for me, along with a winger on the other side – the main striker is a def forward and between them they are scoring and assisting for fun.

      2. He seems to do quite well for me, maybe he just works better with an AMC or something? To be honest I’m mainly using it due to the lack of technical talent in my striking options, but I like the fact that they harass the defence when not on the ball, so I think I might keep using it even if I look at buying a new striker

  3. Regarding your Rapid tactic, never considered to use your covering Dc to protect your right flank?
    I saw you conceded more down the right, your wing back probably leaves you a bit exposed.

    1. Yeah that’s maybe something worth trying but I’ve always liked the “Nike” approach to the back four as I thought it gave better cover. Will test your plan in one of the friendlies after winter break

      1. another thing that supports thomas suggestion is the MC configuration: play the most pressing CB on the same side your most attacking MC plays. if done as you posted, there will be a huge gap between attacking CM and covering CB that will make the single DM move more on that side of the pitch, leading to your other flank being unprotected.

      2. Hi Xavi, thanks for the comment and sorry for taking so long to get back to you.

        I haven’t had a problem with what you’ve suggested there. My experience with the DC roles is not that the covering player actually sits deeper than the DC(D), but rather that he is less willing to push out and close down. So he shouldn’t create a bigger gap by sitting deeper and the DMC usually stays nice and central.

        I’ll keep an eye on it, though, in case I’m wrong.

  4. Great read again, one thing I have found this year which may help a C&C is there seems to be a lot of Regens who start as unattached and have decent stats more so than in years before. I’d post some up if I could work out how to screen shot on a MacBook.

      1. Only stumbled across it when I was looking searching for Dutch regens on the search page and found a unattached regen. I’ll get a screen shot up later and show you, high determination, teamwork and physical attributes.

  5. Wow, that is incredibly detailed – fair play!! I am getting success with the inverted full back thing, but not in the way I expected. I was also suffering from a lack of goals, so kept tweaking the midfield and attack until I found the right combo, but always looking to play direct, attacking, fluid with plenty of crosses. My results seem to have been stumbled upon, rather than this level of indepth analysis – but with the 433 I have finally settled on I seem to be on a great run, just one defeat in ten since the final iteration!

    1. The IWB doesn’t work though, does it? I mean they just act like a FB(S) and don’t come inside in to midfield like they are supposed to? Unless I’ve missed a change in the latest patch?

      You playing as Oviedo this year?

      1. No, it doesn’t work in the way I would have expected, but I am getting lots of good stuff from them so I decided not to change them – they are tackling better and providing better support somehow.

        No, I am planning a big Oviedo project next month – something that has never been done before from what I can see, currently playing as Altay in Turkey.

      2. Decent, I might have to take a look in these friendlies. When I tried them in beta, they were just completely broken and I raised a bug thread in SI. They acknowledged that they didn’t work but concentrated in “other priorities” for the release… Annoying.

  6. Stumbled across your blog while doing some research for my SK Rapid Wien save – don’t know too much about them but I prefer a blank canvas. Nice read and thanks for the tip about editing so they move into their new stadium in 2016.

    Seems like to me your main tactical issue starts with not throwing enough caution to the wind. Rapid are one of the better teams in the league so I think you can be a tad more adventurous. You are blessed with gifted wide players so get them in their best areas – even if it means putting them in the AM strata. Change the Roaming Playmaker to a DLP( D) so that you have somebody dictating play from deep in a supporting role and giving you the numbers when attacks break down. I’d even change Hofmann to an Advanced Playmaker (A). Make one of Wing Backs support. That should give your side more balance.

    Team instructions look fine to me, expect that you should aim to have a Much Higher Defensive Line or at least Push Higher Up. An absolute must for possession tactics. Perhaps you’ll find your team defending from the front and winning balls much closer to the opponents goal.

    Anyway that’s just my advice. Best of luck with your save!

    1. Hi and thanks for the comment. Always nice when people take the time to comment.

      Re your suggestions – I’m already using “push higher up” and I’m pretty happy leaving it at this for just now rather than “much higher” as my centrebacks aren’t lightning quick. Combined with the “close down more” setting, we’re doing pretty well at winning the ball back and regularly maintain domination in terms of possession, it’s just ensuring quality of chances that seemed to be the problem.

      As I covered in the article, I’m going to match up the wingback instructions for the leftback, as you’d suggested too, which is working out quite well without giving up on solidity against the counter attack.

      I’m shying away from an AP role in the MC line as I don’t want to: a. have too many playmaker roles and b. I’m trying to get the MCL role to get beyond the striker rather than act as a creator.

      The ML/MR v AML/AMR is just personal preference for me. I prefer the defensive contribution of the ML/MR but it is certainly an option to push them up late in games if we’re really in need of a goal. Similarly, I’ve had the same thoughts re DLP v RPM for the DM slot. At times the RPM does wander a bit and can close down a bit too high up the park so I’ve considered a DLP for games where I need a bit more positional responsibility.

      Always nice to see other interpretations of how to get the best out of the team, though.

      1. No worries and please do keep us updated on your progress – very interesting to read. Perhaps it will be even more interesting to compar and contrast our ideas and success (or lack thereof).

        May I ask why you’re looking to offload Beric (9 goals in 13) and Behrendt who looks like he could make a good ball playing defender? Apologies if this is something you’ve already covered in your post.

        It’s also quite funny how most of the Rapid team are actually taller than the recognised centre backs.

      2. I know but Sonnleitner and Dibon are pretty good so who are we to argue! 🙂

        Re Beric and Behrendt – because I’m playing a club and country save, I’m always looking to prioritise Austrian players to help the national side. If I’d been playing a regular game then I’m sure both would have had more game time. As it is, I’ve favoured Max Hofmann (who is excellent) and Starkl when I need back-up in those positions.

        What sort of system are you going with?

      3. That makes total sense – always love a domestic player bias philosophy. Rapid Wienseems to have a fruitful youth team as well which always makes a save more exciting. Upon further inspection it looks like Beric has some pretty suspect finishing and composure stats but he fits a Defensive Forward role pretty well so I’ll give a chance. Especially since he’s banging them in IRL too!

        I’m going to use a very 4-3-3 du jour system that worked well for me on my Hajduk Split save (really want to make the most of those young wide players so I imagine boring, boring Barcelona etc.) but I was reading into the history of Rapid and want to give the fans something a bit more direct and exciting. I’ll try to prepare Pep’s Bayern and a W-W system and see which of the 3 works best in pre-season and work from there.

        Also want to do something that harks back to the great Austrian sides in the early 20C so I’ll try to work in a False Nine in there too. We’ll see, could be a mess but that’s part of the fun.

      4. Yeah I’ve been following Austrian football for a while now, since “getting into” Rapid after an FM09 journeyman save. It’s nice to replicate real life things like their youth policy and Rapidviertelstunde. I’ve nearly always had a plan to have a Wunderteam style tactic with a Sindelar type focal point but this usually ends up becoming a playmaker at AMC, simply because I love them so much!

      5. Managed to do pre-season and the first 5 league games. After beating RB Salzburg away (they’re 9th on my save and playing horribly for some reason), I’ve drawn the rest so it’s a miracle I’m top of the league. Everyone is just bloody drawing. Big problem seems to be fitness and concentration (keep conceding leads after 80 mins) but I put this down to having a young, inexperienced team in a new system.

        Beric is thriving as a Defensive Forward, averaging a goal a game. Deni Alar, though, had been thoroughly underwhelming. Everyone in midfield (bar Petsos) has been inconsistent but I’m confident this will improve once tactic familarility is full and we get a full, healthy team again. We’re dominating matches, just not able to bury them.

        Major blow has been losing Pavelic and Sonnleitner to 3-4 month injuries! And Hofmann to homesickness. So I’ve called up Jovicic and Fila…considering playing a 3-1-4-2 in the mean time but ideally I want to be watching the first system and tweaking it around performances. Plenty of playing time for the young ones though – always exciting.

      6. I also had Hofmann complaining of homesickness. Anyone with any real-life knowledge of Rapid will know that’s just a ridiculous notion. He’s been in Vienna for 12 years other than one season back in Germany and was desperate to get back. Loves it in Austria!

        Alar also underwhelming for me and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Will be updating soon but we finished 2nd (of 16) with RBS walking the league and cup double. Decent season overall.

      7. Second in the league is a good result, especially given RB Salzburg’s depth so I bet the team is more than happy. I remember the team balking at the idea of finishing in the top 2 in the start of season team talk. How did you fair in Europe?

      8. Just briefly mentioned it in the article but we were knocked out by Litex in the playoffs. They were surprisingly good, I initially thought we’d had a kind draw but they battered us in all honesty.

    2. Oh yeah, my bad, I have a terrible memory. Congrats on second place though – that’s a good achievement for the first season.

  7. Great post! I was very inspired by your analysis aimed at finding out why you were dropping points. I tend to go with my first instincts on those sorts of things, rather than a careful analysis, but seeing your reasoning made me realize that the tools are there to make a much more educated guess.

    As for your tactical reasoning, may I suggest you look into how the “flexibility” setting influences midfield runs? The CM/A role does have “get further forward”, but in another flexibility framework, he might have a higher mentality – thus increasing the willingness for him to make forward runs. May be worth a look.

    Finally, I’d like to hear your initial thoughts on this years game. I know you were rather critical of FM14 (which I actually ended up liking quite a bit – eventhough I found it difficult to achieve good consistency throughout a save), but how do you like this years game? I haven’t been able to find the time to play more than a handful of games so far, but my initial impressions is that it lacks some sort of quality that make me get hooked. Maybe it’s just the new graphics design (which I find horrible) that makes it a bit more difficult for me to get into the right mindset… 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment Fabian.

      That might not be a bad shout on the flexibility actually. It’s something, I’ll be honest, that I just totally forgot about so I might give that a tweak and see how we get on.

      My impressions of FM15 are pretty good so far. I don’t want to give much away as I plan on doing a proper review post but the things which bug me about it are fairly minor whilst the most important thing, the match engine, isn’t half bad.

  8. Great article… goes without saying these days!

    Some thoughts on tactics:

    1. I think changing both wingbacks to attack duties is a good move otherwise I find they move too far apart from your wingers / wide men and then don’t offer enough support. The fact you are using ML / MR rather than in the AM stratum should mean there is enough defensive cover if you lose the ball.
    2. I’m interested in the thought process behind the CB (defend) and CB (cover) combination along with the sweeper keeper? I always thought a cover was best used to help sweep between a stopper and the sweeper keeper was used best when playing a high line, but you have the covering defender to help clean up behind? I would have used a CB (defend) x 2. With both your wingbacks being attacking, you may want to have a good offside trap which is difficult with a covering defender, in my view
    3. There are a lot of players on “attack” duty (5 out of 10 outfielders). This might cause the tactic to get stretched with big holes appearing in transition when you lose the ball.
    4. The midfield – I think this is the key area which can help boost your attacking options. Perhaps you can try this as a second option: a DM (support), a B2B midfielder (RCM) and a deep lying playmaker (LCM). I find the DM (support) will press more than your anchor man will (he generally stays pretty still) and will also step forward when in possession which will allow the B2B midfielder to run forward to support the attack without you losing too much shape. A deep lying playmaker with a bit of added creative freedom will help recycle possession and keep bodies in midfield while the other players bomb forward.

    Great read, and I look forward to a successful second half of the season!

    1. Thanks for the comment (again)!

      1. Agreed
      2. I don’t actually think the covering CB plays behind the other centre back physically, it’s just that his closing down is lower and therefore he is less inclined to push out to meet an attacker. I like having one more conservative centre back as the “last line of defence” – usually the cleverest and probably the quickest.
      3. A few people have mentioned it but I’ve found it ok so far. We tend to have so much possession now that there is very rarely any gaps
      4. That’s quite similar to what I used in previous 4-2-3-1’s and it does work quite well. Might be a shout for later.

      Thanks!

  9. Great Read. I took your line up and ran it through a few trial games and found that if you “Squash the RM into a Midfield 3 and have him on CM [Def] Close Down Often shouts then it will cover your rampant forward thinking Right Wing Back. You can then tinker with your other two midfielders to find the fit to help your attacking play.

    1. Thanks Lambert, that’s a decent alternative. How did you find it affected your defence? Was the opposition leftback given too much room as the midfielder on that side was now playing centrally?

      1. It was a struggle against sides playing 4-2-3-1, but a bit of playing with the Pre-Match Instructions sorted it out. My narrow sitting RM player now covers the Get Further Forward Wing back as he is assigned to close down the left wingers. I have a small save going on with MK Dons and currently with a few changes to your original tactic am running 2nd in League 1 after 12 games. It’s an interesting tactic and something very different to my normal 4-1-4-1 formation that I like to play.

  10. I hit “second season syndrome” with a similar tactic, so I was casting about for ideas to reinvigorate/re-examine my tactic. It’s already very similar to what you ended up with, so I incorporated a lot of what you’ve done.
    I hadn’t tried the RP before, since none of my players are rated well for it, but I have to say, it’s worked a charm. My decent DLP has turned into a Fabregas-level RP (at least for my Liga Adelante level team.) So, another lesson learned about trusting the game’s ratings.
    I also turned my DF/CF-S (couldn’t decide which I liked) into a DLF-S, which I didn’t think would work, but has worked swimmingly. They’re not scoring more (never scored a lot) but they are invigorating the offense in the final third.
    And lastly, one tweak I added to my team instructions you might consider. I’m playing Standard/Flexible as you are, but with shorter passing and higher tempo. Granted, my team is lower than average on decisions and higher than average on first touch, so it probably fits me well (as far as I understand how those sorts of things work,) but it’s been … amazing. I tweak it from game to game, and situation to situation, but it’s been nothing short of amazing.
    So thanks! For helping cure my second season syndrome. 🙂

      1. Seriously. This formerly defensively solid tactic is now a freaking sieve. Through balls are turbo powered now. Last three games I’ve let in 4, 4, and 8 (!!!!!!)

      2. I think this patch is one of the worst I’ve ever seen from SI. Taken a really decent game and returned it to near-FM14 levels. Seriously ridiculous amount of bugs and errors.

        I’m not having so much a problem with my defence as I am now having a problem scoring. May be some post-patch tweaks required.

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