After tinkering with a few different formations, it became clear to me that scoring goals isn't the problem. It's doing so whilst keeping the gates shut at the back.
Like everyone else I've tweaked and altered several tactical facets, but it's only now that I can claim to have found the optimal balance. I can also boast having tested this over 6 seasons, so the validity of the results is beyond refute.
The main inspiration for this tactic stems from American Football. As a big fan of the sport, the technical nature of gridiron is far more complex than football, but can still be designed in a way (through a playbook) to offer versatility in attack and defence.
The area that caught my eye was the difference between the shotgun and pistol offences. In this example it's the difference between two strikers and one, but keeping the same approach in the AML/AMC/AMR region.
Shotgun Formation - Home
I use this in my Newcastle save having sold all my established stars, whilst having replaced them with regens. An important point here is that my regens are only half way developed, and still managed to secure 2nd place in the league...consecutively.
The formation at home is proven to dominate possession whilst creating CCC's. Crucially the formation stifles attackers, and it's main defensive advantage is leading the league in interceptions and key headers.
Bearing in mind I'm using players no older than 19 and have current ability no higher than 2.5 stars (potential ability of 4.5 - 5 stars) the formation still tears fools up.
It's essentially a 4-4-2 diamond formation, with the shotgun reference alluding to the dual strikers, with the creativity bottlenecked through an AMC. The CM's and DMC kill themselves winning the ball, and funneling it straight to the AMC.
Pistol Formation - Away
Named with the reduced firepower in mind, the second striker slot reverts to a CM with a defensive mentality. The ethos of the side remains intact, with the AMC receiving the same style of possession from the swollen midfield.
This is where the team really excels. After playing the beta and the new release, I couldn't have dreamed of going 16-17 games unbeaten away from home, even with a quality club. However my regens are killing it, maintaining defensive discipline and letting the poacher execute.
Firepower - Goalscoring
There are plenty of threads bemoaning the lack of goalscoring consistency for the top players (RVP, Cavani etc).
Well this formation creates enough CCC's that even my half cooked regens are running at a goal per game over the season.
Firepower - Assists
Same goes for assists. Everything is channeled through the AMC, but he doesn't have to be world class to make a massive contribution. If you apply this with the popular candidates for this role (Silva, Gotze etc) then you'd be off to the races.
The download links are below, but before you click, take a look at the average ratings for my players over a full season. Those of you sick of having 7.1's for world class talent will enjoy this.
Let me know how it goes.
Shotgun - https://rapidshare.com/#!download|72...tgun.tac|1|0|0
Pistol - https://rapidshare.com/#!download|72...stol.tac|1|0|0