An [Amateur] Tactician's Chalkboard for FM11

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My TI are almost i identical to yours so am very happy with that (only difference was the went for the aggressive closing down that was evident in the 1st half against real, but then this changes through each game anyway via Touchline shouts)

So is that DLP support and alongside central mid automatic?

looking at your stats you have got their attacking but patient play down excellently

Yeah, but I was thinking of making that position a little more expansive, with him covering the whole pitch (Central Midfielder on Automatic) and moving into channels. I dunno, it's not something they would do in real-life, and I only thought of it because I have Denilson.

Slow tempo and passing, with a higher line makes it easier to retain possession, so that was also a priority.

How-to: Play (decently) successful possession football

  • To discover the main aspects in how to retain possession.
  • To achieve a certain amount of success with possession-based tactics on potentially successful teams.
Article #3: The 'How-to' Series
Tuesday, 25th January 2011

So it's been nearly a fortnight since my last article, which looked at the current style and play of Spanish La Liga outfit, Villarreal, where the el Submarino Amrillo manager Juan Garrido, has been praised for his fluent football in which has been successful this season, leading them to third place in the league - nine points behind Real Madrid C.F. The article can be found here. But this article is going to go into a different series this time, instead of the 'modern series. This article will be based around playing decently successful football, based around controlling possession. I have been working on this for a while after thoughts on the next article and dabbled with a few teams here and there in seeing the main aspects in achieving this. So, lets move on into the article.

Possession in football ...

Arguably your greatest friend in football if you can grab it and use it to your advantage. But it can be your worst enemy if you have a lack of it and are put to the sword every game that you don't have it. It's like oxygen to the lungs - you need it (to be more literal) and, without oxygen, you cannot breathe. The same is in football, where teams cannot be successful in their tactics if their teams hasn't actually had a touch of the ball. If you look at today's dominant teams in Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid - they all play a certain style of football that has been praised over time for the way it is played, regardless of if it's attacking or defensive.

Arsenal play fluid passing and attacking football, week in, week out and they boast (tied with Manchester United) the most goals scored in the Premier League this season. The exact same can be said about Barcelona's dominating, yet inspirational football. Their 64 goals scored this season in comparison to 11 conceded shows that it cannot have been done, to an extent, without possession. It's almost impossible. So the same can be said about it in Football Manager.

I love playing possession football. Watching my team's colour dominate the opposition's colour whilst watching the match on Key and referring back to the Match Statistics and seeing at one point I am dominating over 60% of the play makes me feel calm inside. Domination of the ball, especially in modern football, is key to winning matches, as it would be amongst other things. And I say the word dominate because it is. Possession is a battle and if you lose the battle, you're more than likely to be exposed by the opposition. Even if you park the bus. But if you are to play possession football, it requires a number of things. The first we will cover is the overall team itself.

Requirements from your team to play possession football

If you have played Football Manager 2010 or regularly play the latest out, then when you start a new save, you will often have your introduction to the team (blah blah blah) and then you have advice from your backroom staff. The men parked next to you in the dugout every match giving you tactical and player advice in-and-around the club. Once you go into this, you have them introduce themselves and their best areas of training, recommended players in the team's weakest positions, the players and who should take the free-kicks, corners, throw-ins, the best players at being playmakers and target men but then there is the assessment of the team and what they are best at in comparsion to other teams in the league.

Now, if you are one of the most dominant teams in the league and have probably the best chance of winning the league, you will have your team being one of, if not the best in almost every department. But with possession football, you must achieve 'High' or 'Good' in certain areas - or risk dwelling in the relegation zone three-quarters into the season and your best players out through suspension or injury.

(Instead of bullet-pointing them, I will explain as I go along with screenshots)


Contrary to thoughts, I picked Bayern Munich at random, and like I mentioned earlier, this is the usual screen that you have tactical advice from your new backroom staff. Here, you will have your squad's strengths and weaknesses in comparison to the other 19-or-so teams in your league. You would use this to depict what kind of formation you will use over the coming season and which to improve through the purchasing of players or the upbringing of youngsters through the club's youth system.

Now were are going to run through what you need to play possession football from your team:

High Aggression

This is required because your team should have it's tackling set to either Default or More Aggressive - whichever floats your boat and depending on the philosophical side of your tactic. A highly aggressive squad should be able to retain possession easily and be better at winning the ball off an opposition who may have players who do that job too. This is probably the most essential requirement from your squad.

Good Strength

Coupled with aggression, strength allows your players to battle the ball off of opposition players and be stronger on the ball. Without it, your team would find it hard to maintain possession and not be as good trying to regain possession - even if they are the most aggressive in the league. Strong teams are better at winning and maintaining possession.

High Concentration

Mentally, better concentrated players are able to focus on having the ball in their possession at most, if not all times. Low concentration means that passes may fall astray or tackles may turn into horrendous ones and actually have players who have poor aggression sent off or suspended on a regular basis. Players who are able to concentrate on the task at hand are then able to pass to the better option, find better ways of keeping the ball in their favour and adhere to the manager's instructions. This is regardless of their Creativity, Anticipation or sometimes Decisions.

High Determination

Essential as a mental stat, even if you're not playing possession football. If a team is highly determined, not only if they the possession rates are in the 60's, they are determined to maintain it. When they don't have it, they are determined to win it back again. Combine it with concentration, and they will concentrate on maintaining it and being successful in their short passes, tackles and attacking opportunities that arise if they are to counter the opposition.

Good Height

A tall squad should be good when winning aerial battles from the set-piece or even just generally. If your team has one of the shortest squads in the league, then you should look at your central defenders, defensive and central midfielders, and strikers being at least 6' 2 and above. At the least. Mix that with decent Heading and Jumping abilities and working on your set-pieces, you should be able to quell the danger quite well after goal kicks or long-passes from back to front.

Good Passing (optional)

Not a necessity, but is useful. A team that can pass the ball well have a good way of maintaining possession at a much better rate, as opposed to those who are just good in the areas that I covered in the abovementioned. Really, at least one of your central defenders, two-three of your central midfielders (or defensive midfielders) and one of your wingers should be accomplished in passing. They can expand the game in the counter attack or when possession is at a large enough rate to take the game to an inferior opposition that are trying to defend as best as they can.

Good Fitness (optional)

Again, optional. Fitness would be prioritised if you're playing a largely attacking game and have players who may not be able to keep up. Possession-based games often have the opposition tire out, rather than your own team, since you're the ones passing it around and them chasing it. Counter-attacking only really comes as a way of addressing this, but having a generally fit squad is useful if you want to start attacking fiercefully during the latter stages of the game.

Formations, formations, formations ...

When it comes to formations, you have an array of tactical set-ups that have their own advantages and disadvantages from the start. The 4-4-2 itself is the most commonly-used tactic in football, but it's use of a two-man midfield and standardised wingers makes it quite bare. To the very least, talented squads will be able to pull it off in a 4-4-2, or teams who address the key areas with flying colours. Here are some beneficial formations to choose from.

  • 4-3-3/4-5-1: Utilises a triangular three-man midfield that can be varied in a workaholic midfielder, aggressive-tackler and a creator from deep. The two wingers can be used on the counter with pace and the lone centre-forward can drop deep to offer options.
  • 4-2-3-1 (Normal and deep) : The two central midfielders (or defensive midfielders if you have them deep) can often be used to destroy attacks from the opposition and give it to the attacking four or the central attacking midfielder, who then passes it on to three more options. Wingers can drop deep to make it two banks of four at times and make it difficult to attack (see Arsenal vs. Manchester City from this year, Emirates Stadium)
  • 4-1-4-1: Has a defensive midfielder sit ahead of the defence and can be played in two ways. A destroyer of attacks as the 'last midfielder' or as a playmaker to create from deep. Can be utilised again because of the two central midfielders ahead like in the 4-3-3/4-5-1 because of the triangular shape. Creates two banks of four and a middle man.
  • 4-1-3-2/4-3-1-2: Often used in Italian football, this formation, with it's lack of width, can be used successfully on the counter-attack, as the fullbacks push up and the attacking midfielder can join the attack and make it a 3-4-3, as one of the central midfielders drops deep to make a third centre half.
There are others but I don't want to ramble on further.


So here is the tactics screen on default. The formation is the 4-3-3 because it's my favourite for playing possession football. Now, when playing possession football, you can only really pick two styles, but they can be expanded on if you really want to. There is the fluid, controlled-based type, where you control the possession but, when you have the majority of it, can attack fiercly without many consequences. This is popular in most cases because you can turn the possession into goals, and with that, win quite comfortably. My experiment with such will come up soon.

Style 1


Like I said, there are two styles. This is the first style. If teams that have a decently aggressive, strong and tall team, they will most likely pick this. It compliments their attributes in playing an organised game in which frustrates the opposition by maintaining possession and tires them out at the same time because they are continually chasing the ball. Why do you think defenders pass it across their line every now and again? Not all the time obviously.

A rigid philosophy enforces organisation and good positioning (especially by the defence) so that they cannot really be exposed at the back and only a couple of players can really come out of position. It varies. A controlled strategy is kind of the key to the door. If you don't have it on Control really, you are going to struggle in maintaining possession. Hence it's name.

And as it goes along, short passing, a disciplined game and aggressive tackling really enforces organisation. That is the key to style one. Organisation. Marking zonally allows defenders to just mark the space, rather than the man, and doesn't drag them out of position, unlike man-to-man marking. Floating crosses was just done because your playing a slow tempo anyway and if you are playing a tall target man (as you should in defensive formations) then he is most than likely to win a good amount of headers - provided the aerial service is good.

A deep defensive line, again, allows them to not be exposed very easily, narrow width keeps the middle of the pitch congested and midfielders finding it difficult to get around because they will be outnumbered and a slow tempo, coupled with moderate time wasting keeps the possession in-and-around the defence and midfield. Focused passing down the wings allows the wingers to use their pace when needed and catch the opposition off-guard. Ticking the 'Counter-Attack' box allows your team, when defending a corner, defending a goal kick or having just retained possession, to again, catch the opposition off-guard and get a quick and sneaky goal to devastate them. Especially useful away from home.

Style 2


Style two is actually interesting because it's what I, amongst others, like to call 'controlled attacking'. You have the possession, in which benefits you in several ways. But it benefits you the best because you can actually choose when to attack. The ball is literally in your court, or to an extent, your half of the pitch. Whenever you really want, you can take the game to the opposition and force them to sit deep and endure the onslaught, or tire them out by passing it around your defence and play to your crowd whilst they laugh and jeer the opposition players who slip and slide from failed attempts in gaining possession.

The philosophy in 'controlled attacking' can vary, because it really depends on your team's abilities. If your squad boasts some of the best players continentally, then playing fluid football will, not only be attractive, but utilise the abilities of your 'world-class players'. Again, the Control strategy is essential because, really, you want to have as much possession as possible in order to take control of the game. You can, however, change this during certain stages of the game where you feel that your team is just not doing enough to trouble your opponents.

Like style one, short passing benefits because your passing to the closest option. Concentration is needed here, as you want to be sure that the closest option is also the safest option. He could be man-marked, and that then gives a striker that may resemble Carlos Tevez to poach the ball and put it in the back of the net within seconds. Expressive freedom is needed because you want to have the ability to take the game to them, but in style. It benefits creative players or players with large bouts of creative freedom in their PI's and then make your team quite unpredictable.

There isn't much need to press. If you play a high line, then pressing is already done. And besides, you're already playing possession football, so pressing them will leave you exposed, rather than them. Aggressive tackling is quite a necessity because you are really wanting to have as much possession as you can, and playing cautiously won't necessarily do the job as well as aggressive tackling. Again, zonal marking keeps your team watching the space, rather than the man. But, if your team if your defenders are very good and highly efficient mentally, you can vary this in setting it to Default and just focus on players who may not be that good marking-wise. I forgot to put 'Drill Crosses' so forget that and More Roaming, coupled with More Expressive, gives that fluid football feel and unpredictability.

Like I mentioned earlier, playing a decently high defensive line presses into their half anyway, and the fullbacks push into their territory. And also, Press More with More Aggressive will have you booked a lot more times than if you were to leave it on default. It should only be equipped if you're playing extremely attacking, which is ill-advised.

Keeping the width narrow has benefits because you're congesting the midfield and making it difficult for the opposition to move around and just generally, for them, unable to expand. You don't have to play a slow tempo, but somewhere close to it allows you to control the game and it is recommended. You want to control the game, so playing a slow game can be beneficial. You cannot control the game possession-wise if you are playing a fast tempo. Put Time Wasting to about mid-way, mix around the passing so that it, again, makes it unpredictable and tick the 'Counter-Attack' box so that you are essentially ready whenever they are. Cover all corners of the pitch.

Defensive organisation - in both styles


With testing tactics comes saves where you need to play at least half a season and tweak. I did this with F.C. Porto and have had great success. Here is a screenshot of when I played Sporting Braga in Liga ZON Sagres (and beat them 4-0) where we are off the ball. Braga have taken a goal kick and the ball has been headed down. Fernando wins the header, but that is not what I am focusing on. I am focusing on the defensive organisation of the team.

At the back, there is Jorge Fucile (#13) Nicolas Otamendi (#30) Maicon (#4) and Rafael (#2). Infront of them are strikrs Elton (#81) and Meyong Ze (#81). Now, the team is zonally marking the strikers infront and maintaining a defensive shape, yet high line in order to exploit them with the offside trap - to an extent. Played with Fluid philosophy, they still maintain their shape and line, whilst the ball is trying to be recovered.


A few seconds after, Porto are in possession. Belluschi (#7) plays the ball onto energetic fullback Rafael as he starts to run down the wing in order to supply the overlap, as Belluschi is not a very fast players unfortunately. Now, in response to the movement of Elton, the striker, Maicon has dropped deeper to, not man-mark him, but to mark him within the zones that have been instructed. Otamendi, somewhat parallel, has his sights on Meyong Ze and is keeping tabs on him with zonal marking. Fucile, further up the pitch at left-back, is not necessarily in-line with Maicon and Otamendi, but because of the tactic, is allowed the ability to roam in certain lines of his position. Creative freedom, mixed with the freedom to roam, gives him this opportunity.

It is critical to have good defensive positioning in such styles of football, because leaving yourself exposed at the back allows counter-attacking football from the opposition to work successfully and to then make you owning the possession, seem like nothing. The attributes that would be required for such defending (your centre halves usually) are:

  • Concentration
  • Decisions
  • Anticipation
  • Marking
  • Tackling
  • Team Work
  • Heading
  • Jumping
  • Determination (optional, but useful)

The playmaker, and his role


Yes, I have stressed it in my other two articles, but in these modern times, you cannot really argue. There is always the need of some-sort of creativity. Regardless.

Now that you know why I chose Joao Moutinho are the cover for this article, Moutinho has been central to my Porto midfield and to my advances with a possession-dominating tactic. His passing abilities are uncanny to the majority of playmakers in the Portuguese top-flight and has already attracted interest from Spanish outfit Valencia - but I am not interested. With my three-man midfield always comes the need of variation, and Moutinho's role as a playmaker is expanded heavily because of his contribution to the team. Just look at his statistics so far:



Incase you cannot see the numbers and writing, the blue lines going across, generally mean a good thing. Moutinho has played every match for Porto this season in the 25 we have played, coincided with having completed 1,171 passes out of 1,271, which averages 92% of his passes being successful. That is actually better than Xavi's passing rate on my current game, who has, although completed more successful passes than Moutinho, has a 73% passage rate. 19% decrease from Moutinho's.

Aside from passing, his abilities as a team players is of similar success, having won 71 tackles from 97 attempted, averaging 73% success. He has won 29 headers from 48 attempted (averaging 60%) and covered 255.2km in distance, averaging also 10.3km over 90 minutes. Out of the 25 games he has played so far this season, he has won 23.

Now, my saves ...

Having seen screenshots from my F.C. Porto save, I want to now show you the success I have had on it. I am currently unbeaten all season, having won almost every game I've played and only drawn twice (three times if you count pre-season) . In the league, I am top of it, having won 11, drawn two and never lost, scoring 36 goals and conceding four (giving me a 32+ goal difference) and ahead of the team below me, S.L. Benfica, by six points. I have qualified for the next round of the Champions League after going unbeaten against Dynamo Kyiv, Maccabi Haifa and Stabaek IF. I beat S.L. Benfica in the Supertaca, whilst making it to the sixth round of the Taca de Portugal and third round of the Bwin Cup. Here are screenshots.

Also, I have a Sevilla save in which I have had success in, but nowhere near as good as the F.C. Porto save. Also half a season, I have managed to get into sixth place, now challenging for fourth spot whilst having a tough challenge in beating Inter Milan and getting a step closer in one of my board's expectations and make the semi-finals of the tournament. I have also faced Barcelona three times out of six this season, only winning once and have to face them another two times in a Copa del Rey semi-final double and one more time in the league to a rapturous Sanchez Pizjuain crowd. Not to mention that I am around a similar time to the present times of Sevilla, who in real-life, are eigth.

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And finally, when you play possession football ...

  • Play a narrow pitch to attribute a congested midfield.
  • Listen to your coaches. Vary your defensive line when playing away from home and adjust the width of your play to make it either contained or expansive.
  • Balanced and Fluid philosophies when adapting Style 2 don't really matter, but Fluid football just gives you that edge.
  • You don't need to play an offside trap if you're adapting Style 2. You are already pressing high enough to attribute an offside trap.
  • Possession football requires good attackers, and good attackers get you goals. So beware of that.
  • Don't press and play aggressive tackling, it will get you into hot water with referee on more than several occassions.
  • Be safe.
i started using style 1 and it works just as you described it i kept possesion and my team played well

good work and hope you continue this thread

Creating the 'modern Second Striker

  • Analysing the key attributes needed to emulate the role of a second striker from modern day into Football Manager.
  • Utilising the position of AMC to become a link-up from the midfield to main striker in passing, movement and creation of chances.
Article #4: The 'modern Series
Wednesday, 26th January 2011

Ok, so yesterday we looked at how to play possession football, and it's benefits towards the modern game, what teams can play it and how it is often used by big clubs in order to dominate the game against smaller, and much more inferior opponents to themselves. We looked at how successful possession football can be within the game, and it's ability to even turn a small team into a much more threatening team - just by controlling the ball.

Today, we are looking at the modern day second striker, and it's evolving from just being a 'second striker' (that's all) into a pivotal partner to wards the centre forward of today. It's contribution to the game cannot be overshadowed and put down because of top strikers in the game starting to bag a good 15-20 goals a season, in which they are gifted the role of becoming a loan striker, whilst the team revolves around them. Sometimes, second strikers are used in ways of which helps link up play from the midfield, to the frontman, in which they are then able to attack more frequently. Take for example Ashley Young of Aston Villa, Tim Cahill of Everton - even Clint Dempsey from Fulham Football Club, arguably one of, if not their most prized player in terms of attacking players.

Second strikers are not out-and-out strikers (a common misconception that will be looked at further as we go along) but rather a partner to the evolving forward. The likes of Francesco Totti, Dennis Bergkamp and Filippo Inzaghi didn't always have to score as frequently as the main striker, but rather contribute to the play in which actually platforms them to go on in scoring those odd-15-20 goals per season and being within contention for the Ballon D'or or FIFA Player of the Year. It cannot be stressed enough that second strikers cannot be expected upon to be the #10 and to score just as many goals as the main frontman. Their assists alone are equally important as the striker's goals.

Second strikers in England

Although more common in Italy, there are a few obvious second strikers in the English game that have moulded into the role of being the partner to the main centre forward. Everton, Fulham and Aston Villa are the main culprits, but also even in second, third and non-league football within the English footballing pyramind is this common. The better way of actually describing it is a 'Big man, little man' partnership between two strikers. One is the tall, aerially-dominant target man who can hold up the ball and bring others into play, the other is quick, technically efficient and is a constant thorn in the side of defenders with his movement into the almost-impossible places to mark.

For Aston Villa, this would be either Emile Heskey or John Carew, with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young being second strikers in a 4-4-2 or offset 4-3-3, Fulham with either Bobby Zamora and Moussa Dembele (to a certain extent) and the injury-prone Adam Johnson or Clint Dempsey to supplement the attack. And lastly, Everton. Yakubu or Louis Saha are the main men for service, but Tim Cahill, Jermaine Beckford and James Vaughan are the second strikers.

Go even further by saying the likes of Tottenham. Peter Crouch and Jermaine Defoe sound familiar? Think about it. Chelsea used to have it with Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, Liverpool and Arsenal to an extent with Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt or David N'Gog, or Robin van Persie for Arsenal and Andrey Arshavin or Theo Walcott just in-behind. Manchester United with Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney, which has sort of swapped around to have Rooney the second striker, but Javier Hernandez taking this on.

In the Premier League ...

A couple of matches in this year's Premier League have seen the second striker role used. As such, I am going to use ZonalMarking to press on with my case. Here are three matches from the past couple of months that proves my point.

Liverpool 2-2 Everton, 16 January 2011


The recent Anfield clash between Liverpool and Everton saw Beckford the main striker for Everton whilst Anichebe dropped into the channels, as Leon Osman tucked inside. Whilst Kenny Dalglish opted to have Torres alone upfront in a 4-2-3-1, Everton had a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1, where Moyes looked to use Anichebe's pace to an advantage.

Manchester City 1-2 Everton, 21 December 2010


In Everton's away match to Manchester City at Eastlands, Cahill is played just off the frontman (Anichebe) to then make an offset 4-4-2. Just like in the match vs. Liverpool at Anfield, Anichebe is pushed into the left channel of play, whilst Osman tucks inside and Baines looks to overlap the Nigerian in play. Cahill then becomes a main striker when Anichebe drops left.

Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea, 12 December 2010


Redknapp opts to play Jermain Defoe as a channel-moving striker, just off the main striker (Pavlyuchenko) to become a dangerman to the Chelsea defence in Ivanovic and Terry. With this, Bale and Lennon attack their respective wings, Modric holds deep to play passes up to the four attacking options in a 'Creator-Destroyer' partnership with Wilson Palacios in the centre of the midfield. Defoe tracked back into his own territory to leave Pavlyuchenko to wait upon service, which could then be provided by Defoe at times.

Converted to FM ...

It'd look like this:


Or this ...


Notice how the Second Striker position has to be an AMC(R) because Football Manager isn't at the stage of which it can allow players to put more advanced positions. It is unfortunate and, by making it an AMC position, it allows it to be more dynamic, because, if you were to try and do this with a Deep-Lying Forward on Support, it wouldn't be able to link up to the midfield as well as if it were to be in an AMC position. This is because the second striker, when in normal position, sticks to the same line as his counterpart, thus not being able to really drop deeper and use it efficiently unless they had the mental stats to do so.


Some of the sliders are attributed to the Deep-Lying Forward (Support) role. Others are just customised to actually attribute Tim Cahill's/Clint Dempsey's movement (as I did a save with Fulham and Everton to test this theory) With them both not having large amounts of creativity, I kept it at the normal creative freedom that a Deep-Lying Forward on Support duty would have. This is however then consolidated with an ability to roam a lot more freely around their area, and not have to stay in the same sort of 'box' that a normal attacking midfielder would. Running from deep is put to often because they are linking up from the midfield to create chances. The playmaker (Mikel Arteta in this case) would be able to supplement Cahill the ball, in which he would pass it on to another player and get into a scoring position, or take on the shot himself if he felt confident enough that he would get the shot on a decent target.

Attributes for such a position would be (these attributes must be at least over 13) :

  • Off the ball: To be more freelance in their ability to get into scoring opportunities.
  • Decisions: To be decisive in their passes and shooting so that they are at least given the license (metaphorically) to shoot from that range, or risk scathing attacks from team-mates, the manager and the virtual fans.
  • Team-work: Critical since the frontman is probably their best friend, and the need to link up midfield play requires the ability to work as a 'team player' rather than a lone ranger.
  • Technique: Doesn't need much of a description. Just needs to be technically-gifted one way or another.
  • Finishing: If they make it into a good scoring opportunity, then their finishing (coincided with Composure and Technique) should have them slotting home some beautiful and important goals.
  • Composure: Needed with Finishing.
  • Work rate: With team-work, your looking at another Carlos Tevez with his never-say-die attitude when chasing the ball. Like a dog with a bone.

In-match play

Tim Cahill vs. West Bromwich Albion


This screenshot is just an example of what kind of role this makes players do. Cahill, pictured, has left his partnered frontman (Yakubu) upfront in West Brom's territory to pick up on any passes that may come from the midfield - especially from the playmaker, Mikel Arteta. The wingers push up because they want to receive the ball and knock it past the fullbacks and have the opposition on the backfoot. Cahill would then seize on the opportunity to run into the box and have a possible scoring opportunity on a plate.


From a free-kick way out into West Brom's territory, Carson takes the free-kick, looking to knock it long into path of the centre forward, already just offside by trying to play on one of the Everton central defenders. Cahill, circled, has Fellaini to his left and Arteta behind. When the ball comes into Everton's half, the ball will then be picked up and, hopefully for Cahill, passed to him to then initiate an attack. Yakubu is line with the West Brom fullback, so a header forward would not have the linesman flag him off.

Goal vs. West Bromwich Albion


Although this leads to Cahill scoring, it takes a few minutes for it to begin. I just wanted this to be shown because it's another example of playing deep, rather than staying forward and being in-line with Yakubu and the wingers. He's inside his own half, which allows him to pick up the ball from deep and not be offside. He is not the furthest forward (inside his own half because Yakubu is off-screen and just onside, played on by defenders) and in the centre of the park, but close enough to be passed to and have a chance of knocking it on to either Bilyatedinov or Pienaar.


A couple passes in, Arteta puts the ball in for Yakubu, as the attack is initiated. Cahill, circled, now has the ability to roam past the West Brom defenders and get in within a chance of scoring. Eventually, the ball is passed to Bilayetdinov, who then follows on to turn on the pace.


With six blue shirts in attack against seven black shirts back to defend, Cahill has the opportunity to utilise his unusual heading ability (for a person of his size) and put it in the net past Carson. He only got into this position seconds after Yakubu passed it onto Bilayetdinov, so his movement needed to be spot on to do this, as mentioned earlier.


Find the net son.

Tim Cahill vs. Newcastle United


This goal starts brilliantly by Cahill making the first pass of the attacking move and finishing it off. Here, he is at a throw-in, offering Neville a short option from the throw, whilst having several options thereafter. Despite having #3 (Jose Enrique) looking at him, he's convinced he can get away. Barton is the same (#7).


After a couple more passes, Cahill is in possession of the ball, as Williamson (#6) looks to barge him off the ball. He has five options to pass to, and also the ability to dash into the penalty area in a desperate attempt to put the ball past the goalkeeper and actually put Everton in front.


Cahill eventually puts in a fine pass to the winged Steven Pienaar, who then gets to the byline. Cahill, alongside two other team-mates are looking to get into the box, and the poorly drawn circle of where the cross would approximately be would be, roughly, where Cahill should be getting his head to. Within seconds, Cahill, through team-play, has established an attacking move, as the Newcastle back four struggle to keep hold of Bilayetdinov and Yakubu. Despite Newcastle's efforts, this happens ...


Well, isn't it obvious?

Tim Cahill analysis

As you would, I went over the game and looked at how Cahill played. Achieving an 8+ rating for his contribution to the game and goal, I was able to find that Cahill managing to gain a 75% passing success rate. Bilayetdinov and Saha got worse passing rates, whilst Pienaar, Fellaini and Arteta managed 80+. 40 passes completed by Cahill, 30 of the passes were key passes. 30. I stress that with happiness that he could achieve such.


Then, as you can see, was able to have his average position on the pitch close to the half-way circle and play just off the frontman. What I have been wanting to achieve since the start of this experiment.


And to conclude a good 3 and a half hours of writing and picture taking ...

It's a wrap. For the fourth time. I hope you enjoyed reading it, like I always say, and I wait upon your feedback from the last four articles. I am looking to complete the two shortlists soon, but these articles needed to be done, and you should be seeing some tactical templates to go with this like it did for the 'modern Centre Forward. Again, I thank you, and just leave some constructive criticism in the thread.

By any chance do you want to be a coach, you seem to have the tactical awareness etc for it..
excellent stuff, will be doing the modern 4-4-2 for you at somepoint if you are interested?
excellent stuff, will be doing the modern 4-4-2 for you at somepoint if you are interested?

Yeah, sure. Just PM me whenever and we can start looking into it. Post it as a co-article.

By any chance do you want to be a coach, you seem to have the tactical awareness etc for it..

Have been thinking about it for quite some time, and wouldn't mind it. Coaching and then management. Maybe even open up an academy in England an do what Hoddle's doing - but better.
Just a thought could the modern centre forward describe a false nine in lone striker formation?
Just a thought could the modern centre forward describe a false nine in lone striker formation?
Yes, it can. If you tinker a bit more with the PI, it can be developed further into a 'false nine' and have more benefits.
Could you do something with Barcelona and Xavi that would be good. Keep up the good work really good read.
Well first game using the "controlled attacking" instrustions and the modern centre forward settings beat sevilla 5-0 1st leg of euro semi final very solid defence lethal attack and I had Augero started as a modern centre forward (maybe false nine hopefully INickStuff could do article) and forlan as a inside forward swapping and both played a blinder. Looking forward to any future articles, Great work mate
great work mate :D

Thank you oneunited, appreciated.

Could you do something with Barcelona and Xavi that would be good. Keep up the good work really good read.

It will come in one of the following articles, looking at playmakers in the modern game, in the 'modern series. But there I, alongside Mike. (themadsheep2001) are working on the modern 4-4-2 for now.

But thank you for your comments, it's appreciated.

Well first game using the "controlled attacking" instrustions and the modern centre forward settings beat sevilla 5-0 1st leg of euro semi final very solid defence lethal attack and I had Augero started as a modern centre forward (maybe false nine hopefully INickStuff could do article) and forlan as a inside forward swapping and both played a blinder. Looking forward to any future articles, Great work mate

That's great to hear Donkarlito, I am happy that it worked so well for you. Thank you, and everyone for their comments. It's appreciated.

I will be looking into the false nine soon, but before that, I am working on the modern 4-4-2 with Mike.
That's great to hear Donkarlito, I am happy that it worked so well for you. Thank you, and everyone for their comments. It's appreciated.

I will be looking into the false nine soon, but before that, I am working on the modern 4-4-2 with Mike.

Looking forward to it always dismissed it but after looking how fergie plays I fancied trying one but always fail so i will be giving yours and mike's a shot
Control style 1 is just as good as 2 using it with Nottm Forest played 12 games W 10 D 2 L 0 scored 32 conceded 9
great thread helped me lots with my aston villa team

you should be a real coach aha
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