I'm in my 3rd season with Middlesbrough (2nd season in the Premier League) and have used this tactic the whole of my 3rd season to excellent results which I will detail further in the post. So here it is an attempt to emulate Van Gaal's excellent Ajax side of the mid nineties.
View attachment 270129
So heres the team set up in its 3-4-3 diamond formation. Aiming to dominate possession through the midfield and with the width provided by our two Wingers. Two stoppers in the defence to step out and engage the opposing team with a BPD in the centre to start to control the game from the back. The Deep Lying Playmaker in front of the defence will drop in and out of the backline acting as a more aggressive version of the half back position. The team is set up in the control mentality which gives it a good balance between attacking and defending whilst lending more to a possession approach. Also have the shape set as Very Fluid as i want everyone to be contributing to all phases of play, I find very fluid also lends itself to provide better pressing as the team act more unified in their movements.
View attachment 270118I feel these instructions are fairly self explanatory for a possession based tactic. I prefer a high tempo to a low one as whenever i play a low tempo it seems to be too easy to defend against. I also can sometimes choose some of the 'Exploit the...' settings depending on if there is an opponent weakness I have seen in the team report or notice during the match.
View attachment 270110View attachment 270094
View attachment 270108View attachment 270107
Above shows the best run of results we went on in the season including wins against Man City and Chelsea back to back.
After finishing 15th in my first season after Promotion to the Premier League we have now finished 4th holding off Chelsea with games to spare and also won the Europa League with a lot of faith being placed in my younger players.
View attachment 270103View attachment 270102
For this formation to work optimally you will also need to assign man marking duties pre match.
Wingers must be set to man mark opposition full backs/wing backs.
Box to Box Midfielders must be set to man mark any wide midfield players on their side of the field. (So right sided BBM to man mark opponents Left Wide Midfielder/Winger and Left sided BBM to man mark opponents Right Wide Midfielder/Winger)
If they have a narrow diamond in midfield only set the Wingers to man mark their full backs/wingbacks. This tactic works very well against a diamond as it essentially takes away the strengths of playing a narrow diamond as you are matched in midfield, have a spare man at the back and still 3 attackers versus their 4 in defence.
Example in action:
View attachment 270099
You can see here I have set this up against Chelsea and their full backs and wide players are being tracked closely.
Key Player (Advanced Playmaker)
View attachment 270093View attachment 270091
Whoever you have in this position must have excellent passing skills as a lot of the key play will be going through him. I have Dutch midfielder Jesper Drost who is good for Middlesbrough standard but if you are a higher reputation team could do much better .He is excellent for me though.
So thanks for reading and hope the tactic works for you!
Would be interested to know if works even better under a higher ability team. I would test myself but having too much fun as the underdog riding high at the minute.
View attachment 270088