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New FM player first tactic, Narrow attacking vertical tiki-taka

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Team: Excelsior Rotterdam

League: Keuken Kampioen Divisie (Dutch 2nd Division)

Background: This emerged from following the tutorial prompts to create a tactic and then shifting some things around based on bits and pieces I had picked up from YouTube videos and what it looked like I could get out of the roster I started with. The only major roster change since the pre-season was the addition of 2 talented (for the division) wingbacks. This tactic is due for some revisions now that I've learned a little more, but I wanted to see how the original creation would hold up before I began improving it. It was intended to enable me to fully utilize 2 strikers with enough support to keep the ball in the opposition's side of the field against equal or lesser opponents. Defense is knowingly sacrificed a bit with only 2 CDs and wingbacks set to attack.

Results: After some awful friendlies against higher league clubs, we have gone undefeated in league play after 20 games. We were predicted to finish mid-table but will likely achieve automatic promotion instead. I have to say, though, that I am now less impressed with this after learning that the real Excelsior Rotterdam also won promotion in the very same season I am playing (Maybe they just have a good starting roster relative to their peers and the tactic has less to do with it?).

Non-scientific Observations: Offensive buildup tends to happen in a fairly even split through 1 of 2 pathways. 1) the wingbacks will run the ball down the sidelines to the edge of the box before passing or crossing inwards, or 2) the ball is worked through the network up the middle until it reaches the AP - At who conducts the show from there. Occasionally, the other midfielders will bypass the AP - At and send the ball directly to the forwards instead.

The lion's share of goals are scored by the AF - At (also set to "dribble more" to try to get him behind defenders and closer to goal before he shoots), with the TF - At having fewer but still scoring regularly. The AP - At has a few goals of his own, in addition to having the most assists. We have the highest xG and goals of the league.

Defensively, this has been unexpectedly solid in league play. We have the lowest xG against in the league. The one thing that seems to consistently beat us defensively is athletic forwards making well-timed runs between the 2 CDs. Less commonly, athletic wingers have also run into the box from the outer lanes, though they usually get held up at the edge of the box or further up the field by the wingbacks. Mostly, play seems to stay in the opposition's end of the field. It could be that offense is serving as the best defense in this case.

Against upper league competition, it has been a different story. I don't really count the friendlies at the beginning because the players were still learning the new tactic and we hadn't picked up our star wingbacks yet, but we just lost 4-0 to AZ (one division above) in the Dutch Cup. Granted, for the first 45-60 minutes of the game, I used a defensive tactic, as suggested by the AI advisors. AZ scored all 4 of their goals during that time before I switched back to this tactic (I think the goals stopped because their defense was finally being pressured). We actually ended the game with a significantly higher xG than AZ, though my tired and less-skilled strikers couldn't seem to find the back of the net. Maybe we will perform better when we have more squad depth overall, a striker with better finishing, and CDs who are actually athletic and get beat less.


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  • Narrow Vert TT screen.png
    Narrow Vert TT screen.png
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