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As I mentioned in my "Guide to Formations and Tactics in FM" (Link in my sig. Yes, it's self promotion. No, I have no shame. :p) I would be trying to emulate the Spanish "Tiki-Taka" style employed so successfully by the Spanish National Team. However, I got a little sidetracked and ended up trying to do a direct emulation of the formation of the Barcelona 2010-11 team. Now, this next bit is important: if you want a tactic that will win your matches and destroy your opposition, this may not necessarily be it. It is A) strictly a WIP, and B) a direct emulation of the formation and tactics Barca use, rather than being one that is tuned for aesthetics and FM's match engine.

I'm not exactly acquainted with sharing my formations on this site, so bear with me. I won't be using many pwetty colours, so for that I apologise. ;) Anyway, here is the basic formation.

View attachment 121453

Now, I appreciate that at first glance, this looks like a mess. However, as I said above, I set myself strict guidelines regarding the formation. This is the most faithful you can get the formation in FM. Let's have a look at the team instructions.


Team Instructions

As you can see in the picture, the formation is a very fluid one in which the team seeks to control the ball with short, slow tempo passing. This maximises ball retention. The high levels of creative freedom, high tempo pressing and lots of roaming are all Barcelona trademarks. The rest of the team instructions are fairly obvious Barca tactics, with a high defensive line, lots of width, slow build up play and short set-pieces focused on ball retention. I think we can move onto the formation, can we not?


Formation

GK and Defence

Barcelona's shape at full strength and at its most regular formation is a lopsided 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation, with it being closest to a 4-3-3 (demonstrated wonderfully in this diagram). At the back, Carles Puyol partners the more cultured ball-playing defender, Gerard Pique. At left-back, Eric Abidal is a less dynamic, more solid traditional full-back than his partner on the other flank, but one who still gets forward fairly often. Dani Alves, the aforementioned right-back, is one of the fittest and dynamic footballers in the world right now, and also one of the most dangerous when he is flying up and down the wing. He provides the right-sided width needed from Lionel Messi's drifts inside, which I shall mention later.

Midfield

In midfield, we have the archetypal deep-lying playmaker in Xavi. He makes the side tick, and is ably assisted by Sergio Busquets, a tough-tackling anchor man. Unfortunately I have found it near impossible to recreate his true role in FM (a "modern centre half", see here) but it is reasonably accurate and serves the purpose well enough. Beside Xavi is Andres Iniesta, an advanced playmaker responsible for making driving runs from midfield.

Forwards

Everything has been more or less regulation for a 4-3-3 so far, with the possibly exclusion of Dani Alves' initial position, but this is where it starts getting complicated. Pedro plays a fairly standard left inside forward position, cutting inside onto his stronger foot with the width being provided by Abidal. However, Messi is more permanently stationed in a role between a winger and a classic "No.10". This opens up space for Alves to make his lung-bursting runs from defence. Messi drifts around in a Trequartista role (tweaked, as Messi puts in his fair shift in defence) behind David Villa, an advanced forward.


Analysis

There is a lot of perfecting to do with this formation. However, I am pleased with a few aspects of it:

1) The general shape of the formation.

This is the most important thing for me. As I said, this is an attempt to recreate how Barca look and their formation functions. As seen in this average positions chart, everything functions in the way closest to Barca as possible:

View attachment 121456

As you can see, we have the back four with Alves quite a tad ahead of Abidal, and Pique stepping up ahead of Puyol to distribute the ball into midfield. Busquets is playing an extremely deep role, holding the midfield together and distributing to his partners. We can see the distinct destroyer/passer/creator triangle with Busquets/Xavi/Iniesta, so that works out well. Directly ahead of Xavi is Messi, tucked in on the right, with Alves charging forward to provide an out-ball. Pedro stays wide on the left before cutting inside, with Villa floating around finding space. This is exactly how I want it to work, overall, so I am happy with that.

2) Restriction of shooting chances for the opposition

Can't find a valid analysis board to show you, but so far into my test season (13 games, but I'm starting a new one to properly test) I have conceded 2 goals, and the opposition have had very few shooting chances. This is very good.

3) Drawing of fouls

A typical board: (remember, blue means they were fouled)

View attachment 121457

I don't think this is due to the formation or just the individual brilliance of the players involved (I'm guessing the latter) but either way it is pleasing.

On the other hand, I am annoyed about a couple of other things.

1) Passing

Xavi doesn't get that many passes, and indeed the team as a whole are still a bit too eager to run with the ball for my liking. Most irritating thing is, however, is that Abidal seems to get the highest pass rates for the whole team. Messi's completion rates are also generally low in comparison, but I'm putting that down to the fact that he tries the killer balls often.

2) Profligacy

This isn't a major gripe considering I generally win matches, but generally my forwards are rather profligate. Don't know what I can do to remedy this either.


Anyway. These are just my thoughts. As for now, this is strictly a WIP and remains just an emulation tactic rather than a viable one for use with any team. So, have a playtest, and maybe we can work on making this into a good tactic. In the meantime, I will be putting this on hiatus until I have heard your thoughts and will work on a Barca alternate formation, with Messi as a false nine.

Here is the file: View attachment 121458

Thanks for reading, and have a happy new year.
 
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Try seting freedom to more disciplined that will stop players running with the ball
 
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This is just like mine but mine is classic if u need any advice den i would be happy to help
 
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Try seting freedom to more disciplined that will stop players running with the ball
That completely defeats the point of playing with Barca in this style, unfortunately.
 
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Will give this a try at some point and give you some feedback when I can :)
 
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That completely defeats the point of playing with Barca in this style, unfortunately.
Or setting most players to rarely run with the ball because Tiki-taka is basically pass and move pass and move. I understand it defeats the point but you want the team to follow your instrustions not to do their own thing.
 
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Or setting most players to rarely run with the ball because Tiki-taka is basically pass and move pass and move. I understand it defeats the point but you want the team to follow your instrustions not to do their own thing.
I HAVE done that, it is the most obvious thing to do.
 
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xavi

- run with ball - rare
- run from deep - rare
- teach him pass rather than score and to play out of trouble and to come deep to get ball
 
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