This is a first appearance on our site for guest author Barbosa. Focusing on creative tactical systems, he employs unconventional methods in his designs. Follow him on the above link on the SI forums and leave a comment below 😉
In my previous attempt at tactic building the emphasize had gradually shaped into creating solid defensive structure. This time around I’m looking to smash scoring charts.
Considering that my previous tactic would average 2-2,5 goals a game at the end of the season, I will define “goal bonanza” tag achieved if I’m able to average 4+ a game this time. As I don’t have a squad full of Ronaldos to achieve it, I will create a heavy-attack system, which would require to sacrifice some defensive form to be able to excel in scoring department. So I will be perfectly fine as long as I outscore the opponent. Here we go.
Let’ start from the goalkeeper
Nothing fancy. Despite playing high D-line, I will stick with a regular goalkeeper, as I trust my libero to prevent one on one situations.
Obviously I will be playing attacking football, but still I prefer my goalkeeper to initiate playing out of the defense in a considerate, safe manner. Because I know that my attacking configuration at the top doesn’t require quick balls. I’m happy that opposition will have time to restructure into defensive shape, as long as I can without pressure play out starting from defenders.
So, PI for Gk – slow pace down, roll it out, to specific player (libero), less risky passes.
Now to the defense
When opposition attacking close to my box. Libero will aline with 2 defenders and act more like central defender on a cover duty. HB will act like an aggressive anchor man.
But what’s the benefit of libero and why can’t I just use CD(cover)? I would say that Libero is supercharged CD(cover) on a steroids. He exceptionally senses the incoming through balls over the top, and prevents one on ones almost always. This gives me a chance to raise the D-line to max even on a ATTACK mentality, which already raises it quite a bit. Secondly, libero pushes the CDs in front of him, such that in some transitions in the middle, CDs will look like DMCs. In conjuction with HB, such layout creates – say layers of defense. When opposition attacking with pace through the middle, HB will first try to engage the attacker, if he fails, next in turn there are 2 more CDs, while there is still Libero covering. Any precious seconds of indecision of attacker gives my wide players to slot into FB position, which then forms a proper 5 man defense with anchor man in front.
The fact that Libero pushes CDs forward gives me sweet triangular/romb like passing options. These special shapes will feature more prominently as we open up the rest of the tactic. See, Libero has forward passing option. It’s close, no need to attempt a long low chance pass. It moves ball forward, and makes the progression of ball in safe, short passes to the top.
Given Libero’s apt to step into midfield and HBs natural tendency to cover behind the CDs, this is magnificent combination, which interchanges beautifully during the play. I put Libero close as a receiver on throw-ins, and next to free-kick taker. This makes him involved quite often close to opposition’s box.
Here is his interception points
As you can see, he has the most interceptions. 24 to be precise. And that despite his starting position is the deepest. And he manages to intercept quite a few in the middle of the pitch. Perfect.
As these four defenders deal with a lot of crosses into the box, I will recruit only big, strong, with high jumping and heading attributes. Even HB’s will qualify if only he is in the mould of a proper defender, with height and arial prowess.
Now to the middlemen
My intentions are to bypass the usually overcrowded middle, so it’s either WPs(wide playmakers) or DWs (defensive wingers) on the sides with AP (advanced playmaker) at the top.
This shape in the middle create another triangulars and a romb starting from HB. Considering I choose the narrow shape in TI and make the wide players to play even narrower. HB should most of the times have a short safe passing option.
While WPs attract ball, it in theory should make CDs and HB to target them as a shorter,safer passing option, which in turn makes the progression of ball in considerate, high-success passing manner. And AP at the top again will play out as magnet, offering shorter, safe pass option from the wide players.
I will play WP when facing opposition with wide midfielders. And DWs when I face proper wingers.
DWs starting positions are deeper, and they are more inclined to excel in defensive department. Thus they are safer bet when playing against wingers. I’m perfectly happy for them to decide for themselves when to make crosses. But to add variety I will instruct on to one of them to “go further up”, “cross from byline”. Second DWs PI “cross from deep”. They both are naturally eager to dribble their way up, which perfectly fine by me. And additional PI for both of them “stay narrower”, “mark tighter”.
WPs are naturally stay narrower, and they cut inside and with additional PI “dribble more” they will occasionally end up in AM strata, which results in 3 AMs operating behind my striking force. Sometimes it will pan out really scary, when they all charge forward close to the middle.
WPs should do a decent job defending and covering, when opposition playing with wide midfielders instead of wingers.
AP is a chief operator. He will have so much options on sides and in front of him, he will end up being the channel, initiator, creator, footballing god letting the goal festival to play out during the 90min of personal concert. He will assist, he will co-assist, and co-co-assist. He will always be heavily involved.
And now the striking force
Each variant will play out as third triangular/romb like shape.
As I’m eyeing up a lot of goals, who can I trust to deliver them? Yes, you are right, strikers.
Who has the best combination of Finishing, Composure, Off the ball? Yes, strikers.
Who will spend majority of his time in opposition box, and end up shooting from a closer position? Yep, yep, strikers.
Who will minimize the shambles of a striker who is having an off day? Yes, his partnering strikers, who hopefully didn’t colluded with each other to act like monkeys on a same day.
And now the whole system revealed
Well, tell me thruthfully, aren’t you impressed with absurdity of this set-up? I bet now Pep or Mou is anxiously contemplating to implement this in real life.
The romb like passing options are depicted below
This eases greatly the ball progression to the top safely, as players are in close proximity to each other and are prominent in every imaginary tactic floor/vertical strata.
Here is average position of the players after the game
The magic of Libero/HB partnership
The WPs creating 6-pack hellforce
The good thing Of DWs crossing even from deep, that there are always 3 highly positioned strikers in hand, where the opposition defense will have hard time dealing with.
The possession stats are surprisingly pleasing.
TIs for league games for tactics with 3 strikers
TIs for European games with SS(shadow striker) tactic
Shape – very fluid. The gaping hole in the middle forces me to address it via compressing the set-up both vertically and horizontally. Shape and width instructions will achieve this.
For league games I’m choosing attacking mentality. Yep, As I recall correctly, the aim was to rip apart the opposition’s net. Dough.
Highest D-Line. Captain Libero for the rescue.
Tempo- Normal. Well it will be quite quick on attacking mentality.
Width – Narrow. Don’t call me narrow-minded, it just that on wide systems, my wide players are hiding behind opposition making them useless most of the times. And it’s crucial to push wide players into friendlier zones, as they are the only the middle men connecting defense to attack. Dough.
Play out of defense, exploit the flanks. To insure the safe ball progression. Dough. Are you irritated yet?
Closing down – On default. Well, it’s attacking mentality, so it’s already higher than usual. I’m still not sure about increasing it. At first I thought I will be having less possession and too much pressing would result in more bookings. But now I see I can easily dominate possession at every game. So maybe max up the pressing? Well, there is still a fragile defensive structure to consider. When one departs from that romb like shape, there are no CMs to slot-in to cover. So keeping that shape intact seems like safer option. But who am I to tell you? Maybe you will enjoy better results with different pressing.
Work into box. Having constant mobile strikers making runs inside gives me a luxury to be patient and considerate in choosing the right moment for a killer pass. No game passes, without my striker getting into one on one situation. That instruction also curbs unnecessary low-chance long shots.
Run at defense. Well on average higher dribbling attributes are in strikers and wingers. To my delight my offensive players are consisted mostly of them. So I will happily encourage them to do fancy stuff a little bit more often.
Here you can see that my HB passing to AP who is instantly is pressed by opposition’s middle men. Their 4 back-line can only cover my 3 strikers+1 winger, while 1 obviously ends up unmarked and in dangerous position.
Such scenarios are the textbook goals of this system, as most defences cannot cope consistently with 5 runners into the box.