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The <insert "cool" name> Sweeper 3-5-2 System

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Download

See bottom of this post for the tactic download file.
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Inspiration

I love Italian football, Juventus especially, and have long held a fascination with tactics which make effective use of a Sweeper. Alas, the system has pretty much died out in modern day football, but for a time the Sweeper was king - and so I began wondering if I could re-create this within FM13. Not a full re-creation mind you - grinding out frequent small 1-0 wins a la Herrera's Internazionale side of the 60's will just get me sacked, when I am expected to play attractive / attacking football - but rather based on the initial concept.

I won't reprint it, but if you would like to know more about the development and use of the Sweeper, the Italian Catenaccio (Door-bolt) style, check this Wikipedia link Catenaccio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

With the success I had with Juventus using the tactic within this excellent discussion thread http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/foot...414-jp-woodys-conte-style-3-5-2-13-3-2-a.html , I took it as my inspiration to create a new Sweeper tactic. A special thank you to JPWoody and drhay53.

Please note - whilst the basic formation remains similar to JPWoody's original tactic, I have changed so many team and individual settings and roles I felt it ok to present this tactic in a new thread. If anyone disagrees, especially JPWoody, by all means delete this thread and revert back to the original, I don't wish to cause any offence here.

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TL;DR

If this is all too long for you, please at least read the "Putting it all Together" section further down, although obviously I encourage you to read the rest as well !

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Results Summary

I'll skip straight to this briefly as many people will be interested in this first and foremost.

Using Juventus in their 2nd season as my test bed, I made a clean sweep of all competitions I entered and remained undefeated all season, winning (in order):
Italian Super Cup
European Super Cup
World Club Championship
Italian Cup
Serie A
Euro Cup (Champion's League)

In Serie A, my team scored 121 goals and conceded just 14. Honestly, it felt like an exploit. Whether it will work for your team or not remains to be seen, however I seriously doubt it will work for low league sides (See below).

View attachment 318363

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Tactical Outline

This is a screenshot of the basic formation. I'll discuss the overall team settings and individual roles in detail below. At first glance this appears a pretty narrow defensive formation, with the Sweeper sitting behind 2 centre backs and no fullbacks. More on this later ;).

NOTE - many individual player settings have been changed, so don't just copy this screenie and expect things to work.

View attachment 318344

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Team Tactic Settings

1) Style and Strategy:- Fluid / Control

With the players at my disposal (Juventus) I expect them to be fit and active with flowing football being played. I'm not paying them so much in wages for them to stick rigidly to a set position without much thought to creativity - they are at the top of their profession, not playing in the minor leagues. As the game itself puts it "The team will be encouraged to play more flowing football with players allowed more creative freedom."

Further, as I expect my team to generally be the stronger side and my opponents to play fairly tight whilst trying to hit me on the break, I have set a "Control" mentality. I aim to pass the ball around, have players move into space yet still keep a wary eye on what the opposition is up to.


2) Playing Style and Team Instructions

Essentially I have gone for a wide formation, playing a high tempo short passing game. Roaming is set to "roam more" to encourage players to find extra space thus helping the high tempo passing. If we lose the ball, the players should "Press More" to attempt to win the ball back, or at least harry opponents into making a mistake. Tackling is set to "More Cautious" as I find it easier to win matches with 11 players on the pitch - I had just one player sent off all season. My preference is to press opponents into giving the ball away rather than kicking them off the ball.

In order to properly accommodate the Sweeper, my defensive line is set quite high up the pitch, and I do not play the offside trap - the Sweeper sits behind the defensive line, so any attempt at offside is pretty pointless.

There is no counter attacking, and focus passing is mixed as I want all aspects of the team to contribute, not just one or two areas. Marking is Zonal (except for the wide players, see below).

Because of all of this, and especially because of the wide, high tempo, short passing, I don't recommend trying this tactic with low league teams - you need to have a squad capable of handling the Playing Style.

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Individual Player Roles and Tactical Settings

I'll start at the top and also include some recommended specific role attributes to look out for.


1) Target Man (Support)

A big, strong Ox of a man, and essentially the same as initiated by JPWoody + drhay53's tweaks, but with the following modifications: passing is shorter to help the overall team style, with through balls set to "often" to help send the Poacher and/or supporting midfielders into a striking position. I also want both my forwards to press the opposition goalie or defenders to try to panic them into just "hoofing" the ball clear, rather than letting them settle on the ball to start build up play from the back. Thus "Tight Marking" is set for the TM and Poacher (the only players in the team who have this setting).

NOTE - despite these settings, my Target Man was my highest scorer this season, with 39 goals from 51 matches and 15 assists.

Recommended attributes: strength, jumping, heading, technique, finishing.
Examples: Llorente, Ibrahimovic.


2) Poacher (Attack)

Your goal moocher - think Gary Lineker :p. Doesn't do much except hang around the opposition penalty area waiting for the ball to kick at goal. Again, much the same as JPWoody & drhay53, but with the addition of Tight Marking for the same reason as outlined above. Grabbed 34 goals in 49 matches for me, along with an incredible 28 assists.

Recommended attributes: pace, composure, finishing, anticipation.
Examples: Giovinco, Rodrigo.


3) Defensive Winger (Attack) x 2

This pair will be up and down the wings all day long, so will need the stamina to match. Their duty is to not only provide wide support in attack, but also to cut out the threat of the opposition's full backs or wingers, winning the ball high up the pitch before it becomes a threat and instantly turning defence into attack. They are the only 2 players on the pitch who are set to Tight Man Marking for this reason.

In attack, rather than just have them stick to the touchline and cross balls into the centre, I have them moving into channels to drag defenders out of position and look for the shot or pass.

As the game puts it, with the Attack duty selected, "the Defensive Winger will try to run at the defence in the final third once he has won the ball, aiming to cause panic and indecision prior to shooting or attempting to make a through ball / cross to a team mate".

There are very very few attacking wingers (or even regular wingers) in the game that are capable of handling such a demanding role, so if you find them difficult to locate, look at wing backs as well. Whoever you find to fill the positions, make sure you train them as Defensive Wingers in the left or right midfield position.

My left winger helped himself to 25 goals and 19 assists last season, while the right nabbed 16 goals and 21 assists.

Recommended attributes: stamina, work rate, dribbling, passing, crossing, tackling, marking.
Examples: Asamoah, Ayew, Yarmolenko, Bale, Coentrao, Marcelo.


4) Box to Box Midfielder (Support)

Much like the Defensive Wingers, this guy needs a real engine, as his work rate will be phenominal. He will track back to help the defence, win the ball in midfield, support the attack and pass the opposition into submission. A non-stop dynamo.

Recommended attributes: stamina, passing, work rate, finishing, marking.
Examples: Marchisio, Lampard.


5) Ball Winning Midfielder (Support)

His "main function is to close down the opposition and win the ball. He also needs the technical skills to help the team keep possession and fashion out chances for players with attacking roles".

He's your midfield terrier, biting your opponents heals until they give him the ball, at which point he will be off up the park looking for a team mate or the goal. Great all round ability is needed.

Recommended attributes: stamina, passing, tackling, work rate, determination.
Examples: Vidal, Fellaini


6) Deep Lying Playmaker (Defend)

Essentially the same as initially described by JPWoody. He is set as the Playmaker so will initiate most of your attacks from this deep position. With his defensive duty, he will also support the defence in midfield, looking to break up attacks before they get too far in.

Recommended attributes: stamina, passing, composure, creativity, marking.
Examples: Pirlo, Busquets, Huddlestone.


7) Ball Playing Defender (Defend) x 2

Again as described by JPWoody, your main line of defence with decent passing skills to help initiate attacks from deep. Will also act as cover behind the defensive wingers in case any tricky little wingers get through.

Recommended attributes: tackling, marking, concentration, decisions, passing.
Examples: numerous, most modern centre backs will fit the bill.


8) Sweeper (Defend)

Your last line of defence and the whole point of this tactic. Hardly ever ventures forward, staying in the hole between your defenders and goalkeeper looking to "sweep up" through balls and make last ditch tackles on any attacker who gets through.

Recommended attributes: tackling, marking, decisions, concentration.

Examples: many central defenders or even defensive midfielders can be retrained as a Sweeper. Bonucci is my choice for Juventus where he excels.


9) Goalkeeper

Nothing out of the ordinary, just a good, solid keeper.

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Putting it all Together

The tactic is one thing, using it to best advantage is something else. This is not just plug and play / go on holiday / hope for the best. I encourage you to follow these simple steps to get the most from your team and these tactics.


a) Training and Match Preparation

Team - set to Balanced / Average by default throughout the season. Pre-season, my preference is to set Fitness / High for one week followed by Tactics / High for two weeks.

Individual - set each player's individual training routine to match their role on the pitch at an average intensity. Don't train a central midfielder as a DLP and then expect him to play a Box to Box midfielder on the pitch, by way of example.

Match Prep - set the default to attacking movement, simply so that you have something set up if you (like me) forget about it.
Home games: always attacking movement.
Tough away games: teamwork or attacking set pieces (you might nick a goal from a corner).
Easier away games: defensive movement or def. set pieces. If it is a really easy match, attacking movement.


b) Man Management

Players need to respect you if you are going to get the best from them. This means giving credit where it is due but also telling them when they need to perform better, both during matches (see below) and between games. Between games talk to players and praise their recent form if it has been good but also tell them they need to improve if they have been poor. Don't over use the "improvement required" speech though - too much and all it will do is pee them off. Better to just drop them for a couple of matches if they don't improve after your talk.


c) Pre-Match

Opposition Instructions - I don't use them.

Team Talk - always assertive + I expect you to win, except if you are playing one of your listed rival clubs, in which case switch to passionate + for the fans.


d) Half-Time

Team Talk - if losing or drawing, aggressive + show me something else. If winning by one goal, assertive + you are doing well but you are capable of better. Winning by 2 or more, assertive + don't get complacent.

Individual Talks - scoring less than 6.0, assertive + I have faith; scoring more than 8.5, assertive + very happy with your performance. Less than 5.0, substitute them.


e) Substitutions

After 60 minutes, substitute anyone with a score less than 6.0 or their condition is less than 60%.

If you have a decent lead, now is also the time to bring on any youngsters you are looking to bring into the first team squad.


f) Full-Time

Team Talk - if won, assertive + very happy, If draw or loss, sorry I can't say!

Individual Talks - rating 9.0 or better, assertive + Very happy. Between 8.0 and 9.0, assertive + you did well. Less than 6.0, assertive + not happy.

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Shouts

I never use them, with one exception. Only against very good teams that play a narrow 4-2-3-1 formation (with 3 ACMs, see picture below and for example Man City), I set the "Play Narrower" and the "Exploit Flanks" shouts - set the shouts up on the Team Talk screen pre-match.

This will encourage my players to squeeze the ACM space where the opposition attacks will stem from, and then help my team to focus their attacks down the relatively unprotected wings.

NOTE - make sure you always watch your opponents formation during a match. If they change it during a match to a wider formation, cancel these shouts.

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Away Vs Top European Sides

Pre-match, on the Team Talk screen, set the Strategy to Standard or even Defensive if you really feel you are a big underdog. Then during the match, pause the game after 20 mins to check how you are doing and adjust the Strategy accordingly. Don't keep changing the strategy every 5 mins as this can confuse things.

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I think that covers everything, let me know if you have questions :)
 
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Great OP, results look fantastic, might give it a whirl later!
 
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A fantastically written OP! I'll definitely give it a go when it's been approved! Hopefully gets approved soon.
 
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If the tactic is as good as OP, I'll of course try it.

Well done mate.
 
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What's with the last SS of another tactic? :)
If you had read the OP properly you'd have seen this;

Shouts

I never use them, with one exception. Only against very good teams that play a narrow 4-2-3-1 formation (with 3 ACMs, see picture below and for example Man City), I set the "Play Narrower" and the "Exploit Flanks" shouts - set the shouts up on the Team Talk screen pre-match.
 
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Any chance of screenshot of training schedule m8
Team - set to Balanced / Average by default throughout the season. Pre-season, my preference is to set Fitness / High for one week followed by Tactics / High for two weeks.

Individual - set each player's individual training routine to match their role on the pitch at an average intensity. Don't train a central midfielder as a DLP and then expect him to play a Box to Box midfielder on the pitch, by way of example.


You don't need a screen shot.
 
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You use 13.3.2 or other ?

great tactics i will try thanks !!!
 
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Just like to point out that you said the EURO Cup is the Champions League, when it is infact the Europe league (Fairly sure of that, apologies if not :))
 
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First game battered Wigan at home but Al HAbsi was inspired and kept it down to one nil, 75% possession and 20 attempts at goal 10 on target. That was with Arsenal, football looked good as well.
 
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First game for me was with Wolves, first season in the Premier, at home in the Europa League to Marseille, lost 3-2, I had 24 shots, 11 on target, with 52% possession, they scored their 3rd after I switched to counter by mistake instead of standard, didn't get a sniff once I'd changed to standard, plus I don't really have the players for the formation, Doyle as a TM is terrible, Wanyama as the sweeper doesn't really suit him.
 
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Just like to point out that you said the EURO Cup is the Champions League, when it is infact the Europe league (Fairly sure of that, apologies if not :))
I get confused. I mean whatever the games equivalent of the Champions League is :)
 
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Do you have recommendations for PPMs?
Personally I just train whatever PPMs my staff recommend during our fortnightly meetings, so they probably could be better if I looked into it more.

I think one of the mods (Raikan?) posted a link that detailed the best PPMs per position.
 
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FM calls the champions league the "european champions cup"
 
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