Ajax 3-4-3 Diamond - The Holy Grail

anderson36015

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Nov 17, 2013
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AJAX 3-4-3 Diamond - The Holy Grail

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I have been looking to create a possession tactic for some time now and usually settle on a 4-3-3 but grew a little bit bored playing the same formation so thought lets try something new. I'm a massive fan of dutch football so settled on looking at emulating one of the most tactically fascinating and exciting teams of all time. Van Gaal's Ajax team of the mid nineties.

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.



The Tactic


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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.


Team Instructions

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.


Results

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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.



Opposition Instructions


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*Very Important*

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:

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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)

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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.


Tactic

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anderson36015

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Nov 17, 2013
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Where would you put Pogba in this tactic? DLP or B2B?
I'd probably go with B2B as Pogba's good going forward and the DLP doesn't really venture too far forward so you'd lose his attacking ability a bit. He could still do a good job DLP as well though.
 

anderson36015

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Nov 17, 2013
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Also what do you do for pre season and during season general and match training?

Pre season I do fitness on high intensity for first 2/3 friendlies then do team cohesion until around start of September. After that I leave it on tactical with average intensity for rest of the season.

For Match training I generally go with attacking movement at Home and Def Positioning for Away games.
 

argenmik

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Apr 30, 2015
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maybe you could even turn this into a 4-2-3-1 somehow?
Would go against the point of the tactic in the first place in my opinion.

Very clever way of using the box to box midfielders to split using the man marking tool. Think this would be a perfect system for bayern Munich as this is effectively what lahm and alaba do under pep.

great work. Innovative. Just don't change it into another boring 4-2-3-1
 

Tripoligate4

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Jul 8, 2014
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Would go against the point of the tactic in the first place in my opinion.

Very clever way of using the box to box midfielders to split using the man marking tool. Think this would be a perfect system for bayern Munich as this is effectively what lahm and alaba do under pep.

great work. Innovative. Just don't change it into another boring 4-2-3-1
cant say boring..most of them dont work so good...at least most of them...boring became 4-3-3 3 st...
 

kallemannen

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Nov 15, 2014
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Would go against the point of the tactic in the first place in my opinion.

Very clever way of using the box to box midfielders to split using the man marking tool. Think this would be a perfect system for bayern Munich as this is effectively what lahm and alaba do under pep.

great work. Innovative. Just don't change it into another boring 4-2-3-1
4-2-3-1 is not boring.. actually its been quite hard to get it right this year, and it all depends on you as a manger, what you like.
personally its my favourite tactic.. cause well im a "4-2-3-1 guy" u know

If I look at this tactic I wonder how a 4-2-3-1 could do with 2 BBMs, it looks intresting, or maybe the need the protection of the DLP behind them
Or maybe It can be solved with 2 stopper CBs and so on..

I will see, so instead of 3 CB + 1 DM I will try to make a full 4 at the back with overlapping wingbacks...
Might not work but then I have to tweak it
 

argenmik

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Apr 30, 2015
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you know what i mean though, the whole intension to recreate another tactic if anything i would change it to a 3-3-3-1. with wide players as wingbacks and wingers

each to their own its just interesting when people have 3 defenders.

haha youre right 4-2-3-1 isnt boring this year but playing with 3 strikers is i think!

any tweaks planned for this tactic anderson36015? ive found it to be pretty successful.
 

anderson36015

Member
Nov 17, 2013
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maybe you could even turn this into a 4-2-3-1 somehow?
Would go against the point of the tactic in the first place in my opinion.

Very clever way of using the box to box midfielders to split using the man marking tool. Think this would be a perfect system for bayern Munich as this is effectively what lahm and alaba do under pep.

great work. Innovative. Just don't change it into another boring 4-2-3-1


It could possibly be changed into a 4-2-3-1 yeah you could either move one of the BBM's or move the DLP but if you changed it to 4-2-3-1 you probably wouldn't need the man marking settings as they should already be in those positions. I have experimented on different saves with a double BBM partnership it can work as they have a broad range of player instructions so you can mould them how you want thats why I love using the BBM's.

But for myself I wouldn't change it as it would defeat the point of me using this tactic for inspiration. You can take the concepts like dominating possession but it wouldn't be a true recreation.

4-2-3-1 can be seen as more common I wouldn't call it boring but I did get bored of using it just as it just felt too normal for me after a while of playing FM, I usually try emulate Klopps 4-2-3-1 which I consider exciting football. But each to their own if you manage to tweak it slightly to a 4-2-3-1 I'd be interested to see how its turned out always open to looking at different formations.
 

anderson36015

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Nov 17, 2013
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you know what i mean though, the whole intension to recreate another tactic if anything i would change it to a 3-3-3-1. with wide players as wingbacks and wingers

each to their own its just interesting when people have 3 defenders.

haha youre right 4-2-3-1 isnt boring this year but playing with 3 strikers is i think!

any tweaks planned for this tactic anderson36015? ive found it to be pretty successful.

I agree with you on the 3 striker statement definitely. I dont think its truly realistic compared to real life football as no team really plays with 3 out and out centre forwards, Barca would come closest to that but its a very fluid front 3 also going wide rather than 3 central strikers.

One tweak I do have in mind but will be very difficult to re create is Bielsa's Chile team. They used a similair formation and concept with the man marking BBM's but its hard to recreate vertical football that will also retain possesion. And I've played a few games where I've gone man for man all over the pitch like Guardiola did vs Barcelona the other week but that has had mixed results so far.
 

argenmik

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Apr 30, 2015
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would love to see a bielsa tactic. hard to create though especially as his tactic is usually different per players and clubs he is at
 
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