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At the same time, I disliked negative football. I've come to appreciate it more recently, but also understand that it takes such a well-tuned team and a tactical wizard, like Diego Simeone or, *ahem*, Sean Dyche, to achieve success with it.
This is why I created a tactic that not only attempts to be clinical, not be under massive pressure and score goals, but doesn't require the greatest players in the world to achieve success.
When starting my most recent save, I knew I wanted a challenge. After searching for a few minutes, I found my team: Cheddar, currently competing in the Western League Division One (or as it's more commonly known, tier 10). In 11 seasons, I won 9 promotions in a row and then survived my first season in the Prem on the final day. The 11th season comprised of many ups and downs, and an 11th placed finish, 9 spots higher than our 20th placed media prediction and 2000-1 odds suggested.
All the while, I used only one tactic, and it is the tactic you see before you now.
Important Info: Tweaks/edits
Throughout the rise up the leagues, the tactic was largely the same. The only difference was some individual roles and some simplification/directness removed over time. BPDs did not exist, so NCBs were my way forward. Similarly, WBs or FB(a)s did not exist, but NFBs did. It was minor tweaks like this based on your player's best roles and positions which will help you get the best out of the tactic.
Best/Worst - Positions:
Lower Leagues (t10-t6, amateur/semi-pro):
Down in the lower leagues, when players are of similar quality, but a small bit of scouting can get you a player that is miles clear of everyone else, I completely stormed the leagues. I had a striker score 60 goals, then +40, +30 and +20 upon promotion each time, and it's not like he was amazing in terms of quality, either.
As you'd probably expect, fullbacks in the lower leagues aren't overly important. Just get someone with half-decent defensive qualities and a bit of pace, and you'll be fine.
Middle Leagues (t5-t3, professional, lower)
Once again, the striker prevails. After my 60 goal per season striker started to fall off, I got a new one and I was back to 30+ goals again. The striker was pretty important to the way that we played at the time, as whenever they were injured or unavailable, we struggled to score at all.
The defensive midfielder should be the heart of the team, but at the lower level I had the tactic simplified slightly, as such, they were not an anchor, but a BWM(d) and the system was more direct, meaning less of the passing and creative activity would go through them.
Upper Leagues (t2-t1, professional, top)
As soon as it got challenging, my defence started to shine. xG wise, it wasn't amazing, but consistent defenders and a strong keeper surged us up the table and kept us up on many occasions. Having defenders that can play with the ball is good, but not overly important
The polar opposite of the lower leagues. This formation isn't the most creative, especially when you're the underdog, and that left the attack to get lacklustre average ratings. It wasn't all doom and gloom, though, as the goalscoring was either enormous or dry, no in-between. One quality player can change this, though, and bring upwards of 15 g/a all by themselves.
It's throwback time! Don't we all love Rory Delap's beautiful long throws? These worked a charm for him, and completely broke the match engine back in older iterations of FM. If you get a player with 10+ long throws, IMPLEMENT THEM. I cannot stress this enough. Never conceded from a break following one, and they've led to around 3-7 extra goals per season.
*Note: Roles are not exact. Feel free to edit them to suit your own team. The same goes for corners
And finally, corners. You guessed it, near post, big man, goal. You know how the script goes by now.
I don't mess with them, but it's up to you
Recommended Attributes per Position:
GK: High shot-stopping is the most important thing. One-on-ones, positioning, aerial reach, handling and anticipation should be top of the list whilst choosing the keeper. Solid passing isn't necessary but is recommended as they will be required to find the playmaker in the midfield when playing out from the back.
See: Two important keepers in our history (James did not develop after selling):
FBs: Defensive qualities should be prioritised, as the attacking fullbacks are not required to get the formation ticking. Looking for high tackling, marking, work rate and of course pace and acceleration will keep the defence solid.
CBs: Put it simply, all you need it marking, tackling, heading, concentration, jumping reach and a little bit of pace will be okay. Passing is optional.
DM: Strength, stamina, tackling, passing, positioning and bravery
CMs: The CAR will need defensive attributes as well as decent distribution. Think of them as a BBM, but slightly more defensive and slightly more of a playmaker. Focus on work rate, marking, passing, stamina, pace, agility and first touch.
The CM(a) should effectively be treated as a playmaker. Think of passing, vision, dribbling, technique, composure and first touch.
Wingers: Pace and acceleration are imperative. You need them to be able to burn and turn a player. Strong dribbling, technique, teamwork, positioning and work rate will help them get into the right positions and score/create goals, becoming a provider for the team as well as a clinical goalscorer.
See: Star player of 11th placed underdog Prem side
ST: They are by themselves for a lot of the game, so they cannot have poor pace or acceleration. Solid first touch, dribbling, composure and technique should also be priorities.
So, to conclude. This tactic is very fun. It's balanced, and can be implemented across any league, for any quality team, all it required is a few major tweaks.
Good luck everyone, have fun