Since the latest patch (with the updated IWBs), I have been playing around with them in my Benfica save. I have a flexible squad with very technical, intelligent players so knew that they would be able to cope with a mid-season change in tactics. We also have good coaches and training facilities and it didn’t take long to get the players up to speed. If you’ve read this blog before you know that I use an inverted triangle at the back: one CB behind two half backs. I wanted another tactic to play away from home against teams with fast forwards. An issue with my backline is that it can suffer when put under pressure from overloads.
I tried the new tactic with my reserves and youth teams (top of both their leagues!) and it seemed to do well. I then went big and tried it with my first team.
You can see the transitions between attack and defence. 2 and 40 really move into the midfield to support the attack and when defending move back into FB positions to cover the wingers. I was pleased. No, ecstatic. It’s something I always wanted to explore in FM. I fluid, intelligent system. It’s a bit Pep, but once the English media have finished kicking him around, I’m sure that everyone will agree again that he’s a bit of a genius.
This is how I play:
Intense pressing and possession. Look for overlap was intended to use the wingers width but I suppose with the FBs inverted that is a dumb move. Let me show you how dumb it turned out to be.
First 16 minutes against Paco:
Versus the rest of the half (after changes were made):
The result of going a goal down after 7 minutes was an instant reactive move. I changed Maia from a half back to a BWM set to support and, sadly for my experiment, the two IWBs to attacking FBs. I set the TIs to fairly wide, look for overlap, and kept exploit the flanks (now making sense). The scoreline at HT tells you all you need to know. Turnaround:
The assists were by, guess who.. my now wide FBs.
Suddenly, a tactic that looked interesting has raised doubts for me. It clearly, in this match, wasn’t creating enough chances.
Scoring chances in first 15 versus rest of half:
Do I need to exploit the middle, play narrow? I realised teams try to pack the middle against me. I do know the tactic works as a surprise one against teams that don’t know to much about me, and away from home. Should I keep it as a wildcard? It also goes to prove that FM17 has no plug and play tactics and that you must watch each game and adjust to what is happening in game moment to moment. In another game it could work that I switch the other way and turn my wide FBs into IWBs to pack the middle of the pitch. I will keep experimenting.
Watch this space.