Aug 15, 2010
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I wanted to develop a tactic that relied on high possession and pass completion and IRL that is the Tiki Taka style of play employed by Barcelona and the Spanish international team. Both teams have used this style of play to great success in recent years so it should be a good tactic to use on FM.

I have seen and read a number of other threads on other versions of Tiki Taka and people's emulations of the tactic employed by Barca, but I want to start from the ground level not working off others work. And can there ever be too many options of a way to play the most beautiful football in the world? No, I didn't think so.

I am going to work with the Spanish international team to develop my version since they are one of the two teams that employs this style of play to its near perfection. And also it will rely on highly skilled technical players like Xavi and Iniesta. I am starting this thread not because I am done with the tactic but I will be needing some assistance in developing it in areas like player roles and instructions.

The first step is to make the basic formation. For this I took the example given by GodCubed in his guide, I like the look of it and enjoy trying to work out strange looking formations.

My ideas for player roles are as follows:

Goalkeeper is set to Sweeper Keeper to allow me to play a high defensive line so that the team pushes forward and closes down the opposition quickly when possession is lost.

DCR is a Ball Playing Defender to take advantage of Gerard Pique's technical and passing abilities using him as a form of a very deep lying playmaker.

DCL is a simple Central Defender. Puyol's numbers would make him a good stopper but I don't need him going ahead of the line to close down players when I have two defensive midfielders. I am considering playing him in a cover role, to sweep up behind a high defensive line.

DL is currently set to Full Back automatic. I believe that Capdevila is used more defensively then Ramos on the right, so I don't think much change will be made to this position.

DR is currently on Full Back attack. I remember seeing Ramos constantly making runs up the field to support the attack and sometime getting ahead of Iniesta on the right wing. To get this effect I am wondering if it would be better to play Ramos as a Wing Back instead of a Full Back. I am guessing I should allow him to roam from position and run from deep and with the ball.

Those are my basic ideas for how the defense will be organized. Now the important part, the midfield. Its full of technical players and is responsible for controlling the ball with a high number of passes. I have read a number of threads that all say the same things, its impossible to get high enough passes made. Lets see how that works out for me.

Starting with the 2 defensive midfielders:

DMCL is where I currently have Xabi Alonso playing as a Deep Lying Playmaker with a support role. This is definitely the right role for him based on his attributes.

DMCR is a Defensive Midfielder Defend, played by Busquets. In reading a couple articles on Spain at the World Cup, Busquests had the third highest number of passes made in the squad. This suggests that Busquests filled the role of Deep Lying Playmaker rather then Alonso but that does not seem appropriate based on attributes.

Ahead of the two defensive midfielders is Xavi at MCL as an Advanced Playmaker Support. This is the important position for the whole team, the heart of the pass and move set up. Xavi is the best playmaker in the world but the hard part will be getting those huge numbers of passes made.

AMR is another Advanced Playmaker, this time it is in the Attacking role and played by Iniesta. Iniesta is an outstanding playmaker as well but his dribbling numbers make him better at running at defenders while Xavi is better at dictating play.

Those are the 4 midfield positions that I have currently set up, now the forwards.

First, the odd one. STL very wide is an Inside Forward Attack played by David Villa. This is the role he played at the 2010 World Cup and left the tournament tied for the most goals. Watching the World Cup it was obvious to see that he was playing as an Inside Forward based on goals like this against Honduras where he cut in from the left wing for a superb right footed finish: YouTube - Spanien-Honduras 1:0 David Villa

Finally, STC is a Complete Forward Attack played by Torres, simple.

That covers the positions and roles employed by the players on Spain. I think I got those pretty much right, just not sure about the defenders.

Now the team instructions are a little more difficult I think. Not too sure about how I am going to get these right. Opinions here will be appreciated.

Philosophy: Too me the idea of pass and move means either Fluid or Very Fluid.

Starting Strategy: Control sounds right, "move the ball around the park and patiently probe the final third" describes, in my opinion, how Spain and Barcelona play.

Passing Style: Short, obviously.

Creative Freedom: Based on player attributes I am leaning towards playing More Expressive but allowing too much freedom to break from the mold of pass and move may not be right. Default with slider adjustment will probably the right solution.

Closing Down: Press More

Tackling: More Aggressive would fit into Spain's ruthlessness in getting the ball back when they loose possession.

Marking: Currently set to Default

Crossing: Currently set to Drill Crosses

Roaming: Currently set to More Roaming to promote movement off the ball.

There is the basic lay out for my attempt at playing Tiki Taka. Will be getting some test matches in to give it a go and see how it works before playing with those sliders.

Suggestions are appreciated and will be taken into account. Please be thoughtful before posting something and all requests for the tactic will be rejected because this is just the beginning. I will let you know when I think it is done.
I've got to play one friendly so far, and there is a high number of passes being made but the majority of them by the defenders. The back four had over 40 passes each, and Xavi had only about 19.

How have other people gotten one player to get the majority of the passes in their tactic?
I'm witnessing the same thing. For me this is because my goalkeeper distributes the ball to the full-backs, the fact that throw-ins are counted as passes. (!) and that I focus on playing over the wings.

You might want to change his passing to mixed (so that he will pick whatever pass he can manage)

I'm striving to achieve this myself so if I find a setting that works - I'll post it :)
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Interesting formation and has a lot of potential. I'm playing a similar system with a modified Everton side, and finally managed to get it right with a a couple of changes.

First, try Basquets as either Anchorman or DLP (defending), depending on the opposition. The main reason why is that with high closing down for your entire team, the rest of your midfield will be all over the place, and that's good, but you still need someone making the simple pass and shielding your back four. High closing down for your team and a Defensive Midfielder doesn't leave you much space or provide an outlet for the intial, easy pass.

Control strategy, in theory is good, and the line about patiently probing screams Barca, though once Xavi is tight marked or closed down, his only options are passing to a fullback, lumping it forward, or as in your case, back to the defender. Personally I found more success with Attack strategy, shorter passing, and possibly deeper defensive line, thus forcing more space from the opposition, When your defensive line is deeper, the forward runs made by your attackers become more pronounced, and with Attack strategy, you're adding more pressure to the opposition. After taking a lead or full control of a game, control strategy works better.

An example of this would be in the World Cup where Spain labored and struggled too often until late in the game when a tactical "misfit" was brought on and kept the opposition more busy. Think Switzerland game where they had the lion's share of posession and won a huge number of free kicks, but no alternative, or the Portugal game where the addition of Llorente gave the opposition a more direct threat to deal with. Llorente didn't change games by scoring, but by opening a bit more space for Villa and (when not crocked) Torres.

In your set-up, having Torres as a Complete forward would work well when you have a lead and playing against teams who will also attack you. The problem is, against well organized, physical teams, you'll be left with Torres looking for space, getting fouled, and nobody there to head the free kicks or corners. Putting Torres on Deep Lying Forward (attack) may work better as he'll still pull defenders, but will be slightly more central and direct, thus always giving an outlet to score.

Finally, team blend is very important for this type of tactic. As in real life, part of what makes Barca so nice to watch is the players' almost telepathic familiarity with each other. Give it enough time, and at least in the beginning, DO NOT explicitly use playmakers or target-men. Those roles will develop naturally and you'll be able to see them based on what happens in the match. Also, be prepared to change them around based on opposition.

Sorry for the long winded post. In summary, try changing the role of your other DMC to either anchorman or DLP, Torres' role to DLF, and playing around with your defensive line. Also attack mentality as opposed to control in order to force the opposition to give you more space.

Good luck