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R5 Stretch Big Tactic 1

This tactic was inspired by the idea of “Stretch Bigs” in basketball; I wanted to figure out a way to make positionally defensive players my key attacking threats. In basketball, this involves training frontcourt players (e.g. centers and power forwards) to shoot from mid-range or beyond the three-point-line. In football, I came up with this idea to have my DMs functioning as creative and scoring outlets, by making use of the channels to take shots, or dropping wide to put in crosses.

The primary engine for chances in this tactic is the four-man midfield diamond. This is comprised of an DM-A(D) flanked by two DM-SV(A)s, who form the main attacking threat from midfield. The midfield is completed by a CM-AP(A).
  • The anchorman instructions are pass it shorter, close down less, and tackle harder, with an emphasis on maintaining defensive stability and recycling possession quickly. The advanced playmaker is further instructed to get further forward, tackle harder, and mark tighter. This allows the central midfielder to provide a little more support to the forwards.
  • The segundo volantes are the key to the entire tactic. They are instructed to take more risks, dribble more, move into channels, tackle harder, and mark tighter. The emphasis here is on moving into vertical half-spaces between the opposing fullback and center half. They can then drop wide to put in crosses, or come inside to pass to a striker, or take a shot themselves. The players most successful in this position will have good long shots, passing, and off the ball, while a decent amount of pace and stamina also helps. It also helps to play them on their preferred side.
A few screenshots:
heze possition.png

The SVs (Hezze, in this case) often make late runs into the box, which allows them to benefit from crosses from WBs.

DM cross.png

SVs (again, Hezze) can also pull wide and make crosses into the box; though this is less effective if your DMs haven't got very high crossing stats, it can still create some useful chances.



The interplay between the CM-AP(A) often results in nice through balls for SVs running into space. In the first screencap, Pastore plays Capaldo through after driving into the final third; in the second screencap, Bernadou receives the ball on the edge of the box and makes the pass for Baningime to run onto.

This is a formation whose effectiveness really depends on the quality of the players at your disposal. While it will certainly improve chance creation across the board, strikers with poor finishing will struggle to get into games, and DMs who can't pass or shoot with some competence are probably best left in the DM-A(D) role, if at all.

That being said, I've used this tactic to some effect with Boca Juniors, Tottenham, and Red Star FC .Give it a shot, it might be just what you're looking for.

NOTE: Portions of this tactic, particularly the setup of the three DMs, arose from a combination of trial and error and adaptations from Andy Ward’s 4-3-1-2-0 tactic.
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