First of all, I want to thank SI for finally fixing the broken match engine. The game was borderline unplayable before the latest update. I have been working on incorporating my lupe tactic from fm12 into fm13 and have had some success. Alhough the tactic is fundamentally similar to my old tactic, I have made some alterations that have improved the quality of the football being played and also improved the defence. My league and cup form has been pretty good as you can see from the screeny below.
I use three main tactics depending on the situation but that will be discussed in more detail later. For now lets just look at the tactics. The unique feature to these tactics are the individual player instructions I have set and my very good man management of the team. Because of this, it is important to note that the player roles shown in the images do not tell the whole story. The Home tactic is on the left, away tactic in the centre and defensive on the right. This is the format for all three image links.
A lot of people have been creating 4-2-3-1 (wingers) tactics. Even most AI controlled teams use the tactic a lot. At least now, no one can really say my tactic is boring .
The tactics as seen above are simple variations to the 4-5-1 tactic. The home and away tactics try to play attacking football while the defensive formation is more cautious and is useful when trying to defend a lead. From the names, its is obvious when to use each tactic. As you can see I have opted for symmetry with regards to player roles. My old tactic was asymmetrical but I found that symmetry works better in this game.
How the formations work
I will discussing the player roles associated with the different formations. It should be noted that this is not a barcelona; 100% possession; 10 goal a game tactic. The tactics however involve a lot of passing and off the ball movement. The tactic sometime works as counter attacking against teams who have better players and play possession football. You also need the right players in the right positions.
As you can see from the team instructions for the home, away and defensive there are only very slight alterations. The main changes occur with the individual payer instructions.
These changes coupled with the team instructions changes result in varied tactics with the same passing philosophy.
Pay more attention to the defensive line, width, tempo and style instructions as these have the most effect on the tactic
The home utilises quick passes and width to draw opposition players out of position and quickly exploit openings
The away tactic is slower and narrower with shorter individual passing instructions to slowly probe at the defence with slightly more defensive individual instructions.
The defensive tactic looks to play more cautious although it is not completely defensive. It should be noted that I never start a game with this tactic. I use it only to hold leads.
The entire team apart from the centre backs mark zonally. This helps keep defensive shape while pressing the opposition high up the field. I have found that zonal marking works a lot better with higher defensive lines which is used in all three tactics. The playmaker and target man are the MCR and the STC respectively.
It is not 100% necessary that the players have all the stats and preferred moves recommended. These are just recommendations.
The Defensive Trifecta (CBs and DM)
The Anchor (DM)
This players main aim is to sit infront of centre backs to deal with those pesky AMC's, advanced central midfielders and deep lying strikers that look to drop into the hole between the defence and midfield. When he wins the ball, he will look to play short simple pass to the more creative players or back to the defender to retain possession. He will stay back at all times recycling possession. He cannot afford to lose the ball (Instant attack for opposition).
Strength, Work rate, Stamina, Tackling, Passing, Marking, Aggression, Composure, Determination, Anticipation, Bravery
Marks opponent tightly, plays simple passes.
The centre backs
These two players sit back and mark the strikers and only come out to win headers and also retain possession whilst creative players find space. As a result of this, the player needs to be composed and good in the air. The will look to sweep up loose balls. The more fluid your team gets with the formations the more involved the CB's will be in build up play.
Heading, Marking, Strength, Positioning, Concentration, Acceleration, Agility, Composure
Plays simple passes, Marks Opponent Tightly & Stays on feet
The Supporters (DR/L)
As the name suggests, the main aim of these players is to support the wide players. In all three tactical variations, they will hold up the ball while the more attacking players find space. They will make a large number of passes second only to the mastermind.
In the home formation, they will offer a passing option by sitting behind the attacking wingers who hug the touchline.
In the away formation, they will constantly sit wide to compensate for the attacking wingers who are constantly moving into channels and trying to find space. The will constantly overlap the wingers looking to hit crosses towards the goalscorer upfront. They will also make a lot of passes.
Tackling, Crossing, Passing, Acceleration, Stamina, Work rate, Determination, Agility, Strength, Heading
Plays one two passes
The Mastermind (MCR)
Think Andrea Pirlo. He is your playmaker. He has very important offensive and defensive duties. He will constantly look to find space by moving into defensive channels and offer a passing option for the Anchor (DM). He will also win the ball by putting pressure on the opposition midfield, before delivering either recycling possession back to the defence or deliver killer through balls.
He will also hold up the ball while other creative players find space. He is the main link between the midfield and defence and requires all round stats. This would mean supporting both the attacking players and the DM. If he is having a bad game, your team will probably play bad as well.
Passing, Technique, Long shots, Tackling, First touch, Off the ball, anticipation, Decision, Teamwork, Work rate, concentration, creativity
Comes deep to get ball, Tries killer ball, Dictates tempo*(very useful)
The Technical Beast (MCL)
As the name would suggest, technical skills are this players strong-point. He is basically the mastermind with less defensive responsibilities and more offensive ones. He will move into offensive channels and offer a passing option for the offensive players. He will also sometimes find himself in the opposition box with one on one opportunities or sit behind the box recycling possession from attacking opportunities.
Dribbling, Passing, Off the Ball, Technique, First touch, Decision, Crossing, Finishing, Flair, creativity
Moves into channels, Tries Killer balls often.
Unconventional Wingers (AMR/L)
These players are usually involved in the attack in two ways depending on the formation. In the away tactic, they will constantly try to find space in offensive positions by moving into channels. They will then run at at the defence either through the centre or down wide. Second is to maintain their postions out wide and receive ball to feet or run onto ball before delivering a cross from the byline.
Dribbling, Off the Ball, Acceleration, Pace, Passing, Technique, Crossing, Finishing, Flair, Determination
Runs with ball often.
Finally......The Goal Scorer (ST)
This player has two main roles, the most important being scoring goals (quite obvious. I know!!!) . He will also receive the ball to feet and play simple passes to other offensive players. He plays the same role in all tactical variations. For weaker teams, Pace and acceleration are very important
Finishing, Composure, Technique, Acceleration, Pace, Long shots, strength, off the ball
- The central midfileders and wide attackers will constantly look to find find space by roaming from their position and moving into channels to increase passing fluidity.
- The fullbacks are less creative and will look to hold their postions down the flanks and play simple passes to the more creative players
- The centre backs and strikers have more defined duties and those are to defend and score goals respectively. The will hardly be involved in much else
Playing against Potentially Difficult Tactics
There are two tactics that I have played against that seemed to work well against me. The narrow diamond and the narrow 4-2-3-1 (3 AMC's). The latter tactic is often employed by Manchester City. The formations would drag my players to the middle while their full backs find a lot of space down the flanks and deliver deadly crosses.
in order to counter these tactics two things need to be done. On all tactical variations, the width instructions need to be dropped down 4 clicks. The wingers (AMR/L) need to man mark the corresponding opposition full back. The would mean AMR marking DL and the AML marking the DR
Some More Precautionary Recommendations
- Man Marking: Instructing the DMC to man mark the opposition AMC, the full backs to man mark the AMR/L and the wingers to man mark the opposition full backs. This improves defensive stability but because players are drawn off postion due to their marking duties, attacking fluidity is reduced.
- Opposition Instructions: These should be used in conjuction with how the oppostion play. For a team like stoke who look to cross the ball from the flanks, wide players should be closed down constantly and tackled hard. Less focus would be placed on central players as they not as involved. With a team like liverpool who play possession football, the central players should get most of the attention.
- Match Preparation: Pre season I set it on very high team cohesion because of the number of players I bought and to help th team familiarise with the tactics quicker. I set my default training focus to attacking movement for the duration of the season.
Other Important things of Note
Training: Try to get quality coaches and sack the ones that are dead weight. Get all your training star categories to at least 3.5. The image below shows my first season training level. I left the training regime as default, but it is up to you to use any custom training system that you have
Finding the right coaches is all about filtering your search. I usually go for unemployed staff as well so that I don't have to spend money to buy out their contracts. Search the forum and google for analysis of training star rating
I did not get any notification to change my pitch dimensions are 104 length X 67 Width. It is not my maximum but I am not sure if it is the minimum. To be honest, I feel the home tactic might have been more effective on a larger pitch but it still works fine anyway
Please use other recommended team talk guides. GOOGLE and THIS FORUM ARE YOUR FRIENDS.
I cannot emphasise how important squad depth is. With lower table teams, I believe the game tries to destabilise you especially when you are doing very well. Your star striker has been banging goals for fun and then all of a sudden decides to miss one-on-ones against the last place team, your most in form player gets injured for two months, you get an inexplicable red card when you are leading a game etc.
Squad depth will help you deal with this. Screenshot of my team below. I did not follow my own instructions however and suffered a bit due to this. Cabaye was injured for a month and lot of my player were suffering from fatigue. I also used some reserve and younger players during the early stages of the FA Cup and Carling Cup.
Results and Analysis
I have uploaded the passing analysis and match stats screenshots of some of the games I have played so far. I can upload some more if people want to see
From the analysis, it can be seen that the reduced passing percentage in defence is due to steven taylor who despite my efforts still tress to play offensive quarter back passes. The is due to his very poor composure
As with any tactic, more testing can only be a positive. This tactic is by no means perfect. i would appreciate it if everyone could share their results with me and suggestions on ways to improve it.