So, I’ve designed my tactic and built my team. Now that I am 10 games into my league season, it seems like a good point to take stock and have a look at how it’s going, and perhaps fix some of the problems I have been experiencing.
4 wins, 1 draw, and 5 losses isn’t too bad. Sitting in 9th is pretty pleasing considering that the board only expect us to avoid relegation. In only one game have we been completely outplayed, losing heavily against Lyon. Even our 3-0 defeat on the opening day was pretty pleasing as we had more than enough chances to get a result. It’s also quite nice when you consider the number of players we brought in as they’re still in the gelling process.
It’s also worth noting that we have conceded the most goals in the league (21), and scored the second most goals (18). Along those lines, lets look at the tactic analysis page:
So far we’ve conceded more chances than we’ve created. Obviously I’d prefer this to be the other way round, and that’s something I should be targeting and using as a marker of success. So lets look at the tactic in more detail.
I’m going to be looking at my 4-3 defeat to Lille, as I think this best represents the attacking capabilities, but also the defensive issues.
The main target of the asymmetric shape I have been using is creating overloads on the left hand side. This has worked well so far in the season, and has been the source of most my goals. After going 1-0 down to a set piece goal vs Lille, Nkoudou equalised with a typical left hand side overload.
Playing with an asymmetric defensive shape was also going to require some tweaking. Lille exploited our problems just 4 minutes after our equaliser.
We lose the ball, and as you can see the circled DW is pushed right up the pitch (also note how spread out the back 3 are). This meant that #7 Alexis Biln was drawn out of his holding midfield position, leaving a large space in front of my defence.
My centre back (#4) then came out of position to confront the attackers, leaving a huge space behind him. A simple pass into the space, and the two running Lille players would easily combine to beat my goalkeeper.
Here is another example of a constant defensive issue I’ve been encountering.
The problem I see here is the huge gaps between the centre backs, and the defenders on the outside. Midfield players with quality have been regularly exploiting these spaces all season, as Mavuba was about to do.
Mavuba found Guerreiro on the left hand side. This drew across my RCB to engage. Because my LB was so wide, he won’t get back to support his CB, who was left isolated 1v1 against the striker, and unfortunately lost the battle.
This screenshot from the analysis screen shows how teams have punished us for the gaps in our defence.
Building From the Back
After looking at the problems, lets finish with something more positive: we are very good at building attacks from the back, and utilising the left hand side overloads.
Traore received the ball from the centre back, and turned. You can clearly see the number of options on the left hand side, already outnumbering the opposition. The striker, and other midfielders, will also drift over to the left to enhance the overload.
The main problem I’ve seen so far is:
- The gaps between my defenders is too easy to exploit. The DW spots attacking runs, but is too far forward to deal with them. And on the left the LB doesn’t sit narrow enough to close the gap.
The solutions I’m going to use to try and fix this are:
- Moving the LB to LCB – This should close the gap on the left hand side. I don’t think I’ll lose much attacking wise as the LB never ventured forward, and the back 3 will spread themselves across the width of the pitch, meaning he will still be an option to the players ahead of him.
- Changing the DW from Support to Defend – I’ve tried this a few times in games so far, and there is a noticeable change in the positioning of the player.
- Change Team Shape from Fluid to Very Fluid – I’m not sure if this is really necessary, but I’m hoping it will make the whole team overall more compact, and plug any gaps.
This means the shape now looks like this:
This is the first analysis I’ve done in a long while, so feedback would be really appreciated. Hopefully this should tighten up my defence without losing any attacking impetus. Thanks for reading!