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Playing with a lead

Donnelly1

Member
Jul 17, 2010
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Basically I was just wondering how you guys go about your tactics when you are in the lead. How do you grind out those 1-0 victories late in a game. Or if you blitz the opposition early for a couple, how do you react?

I ask because of my recent experience. I've been reading some of Cleons threads over on the SI forums, in particular about using the Defensive strategy while still attacking well. It's early season but I like how my tactic is developing.

So I go into the game against Arsenal (Title candidates) with my Leicester City side (Relegation candidates). 35 mins in and everything is going perfect, we are 3-0 and coping well. Then Arsenal go more attacking a nick 2 back before half time and proceeding to win the game 5-3. Knowing that they were going to throw everything at me I wanted to exploit the space they leave. So I used the Pass into Space shout as well as dropping retain possession in favour of more direct. But alas my players got nervous, Wenger inspired his players at half time and they bulldozed through me.

So how do you react when leading so comfortably so early on. Its far too early to park the bus completely and my tactic was already a defensive set-up to begin with? I know these sort of things happen, and I'm not angry or blaming the game for the result. I'm just eager to learn how to better deal with these situations :)
 
Oct 30, 2013
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It depends on all on how the team comes out, if I feel like I'm attacking and defending well then I tend to keep it as it is. If I see my team are suddenly getting pinned back I may change mentality. So with my side, I usually play on the control mentality, which I know is a high risk with attacking full backs as they will get forward at almost every opportunity whether it is safe or not.

If I feel the team I'm playing against are keeping the ball but causing no real threat, while I'm attacking very well then I won't change it.

If the team seems to be pinning me back a lot but I nab an early goal I'll move to Counter mentality, if they are still pinning me back I might go to Defensive (or Contain in the last 5 minutes of a game), but again I still have to watch closely as maybe still on the counter they are purposely attacking my flanks, then I would move my full backs from attack duty to support.

If they pose no threat but my attack is seemingly poor, then I may use work ball into the box.

If they pose no threat but I'm giving the ball away I might suggest pass it shorter.

It's hard to gauge but it really is all about watching the game and seeing how the opposition is hitting you and where. Sometimes a mentality change could be all that is required, or maybe a change to a player duty. Other times I may need to add or remove a TI (I only have one on at the start of the game so it is easy for me to see what I may require). Sometimes I may need a mix of all of them. I find when I pay close attention to the game, I'm much more likely to be pro-active to what I'm seeing and change it, sometimes I may change something then change it back a few minutes later as it is having a worse affect on the team. I always play on Comprehensive now because of this, because you see a lot more of the highlights and can see exactly what points you need to change. If I don't pay close attention, nine times out of ten, these are the games I won't perform well in and it's my own fault for not watching closely (every now and then you might get lucky and run riot however).

I very rarely feel the need to drastically change formation, which surprised me as I use a 442 Narrow Diamond, which I thought I'd often have to change to a more defensive formation, but when you watch the game, you realise you can improve just by changing mentality, I've scored a lot of goals despite being on defensive mentality in the last 10 minutes, just because my team is more careful with possession, and a tired team chasing the game end up leaving places to exploit and my team capitalise on it. I do however have a backup 4141 formation, but this was mainly set-up just in case I get an injury to the player at the tip of my diamond, or if I need some fresh legs but don't have another striker to bring in, I have only ever changed to this formation twice during games to see the match out though.

I'd say the key thing is to put the highlights on comprehensive and really pay attention, watch the game closely, can you see where your team may be showing a weakness to keeping the lead or can you see an area where you could exploit doing something differently. Key highlights just don't show enough in that regard as you only see goals/close chances, while comprehensive you may just see the odd midfield end to end battle and those are normally where you will spot something you could win from, just by changing one tiny feature.
 

Donnelly1

Member
Jul 17, 2010
1,854
0
36
Yeah I always watch the first 10/15 mins in full then comprehensive for the rest. I'm usually good at holding on late in a game but this game being 3-0 up so early I was just stuck on what to do really.
 
Oct 30, 2013
169
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It sounds like this game may have been a one off, which is entirely possible, I imagine your team as players possibly got complacent being 3-0 up so early, then 1 goal came but they still felt comfortable, followed by the 2nd which then set fears in your side, which Arsenal could have been taking full advantage of, they may have had your players rattled. I don't use them often, but maybe one of the touchline team talks could have benefitted here, possibly asking your team to tighten up/stay composed. Hard for me to say as I don't really know what the touchline team talks do, but my guess is that they help with the little info screen you get between highlights where it says "Looking complacent" "nervous" etc.
 
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