In my first season with Newcastle experimenting with a 3-5-2 formation, after 23 games we are a pleasing fifth, giving me ‘untouchable’ status with the club’s hierarchy.
You might be frustrated with me or think I am mad to consider trying a different tactic when the second season comes around but that is indeed what I am doing.
I have French midfielder, Moussa Sissoko, at my disposal but I haven’t been using him due to a wealth of talent in central and attacking midfield areas.
However, I am sure Sissoko can be a monster of Yaya Toure proportions, in terms of scoring goals and creating chances with his pace and physicality.
I have an idea in my head of two attacking midfielders sprinting down the middle of the pitch at a petrified defence. They would be the focal point/s of my attack, a lone striker would drag defenders out of position and gobble up chances the midfielders create.
My idea then ‘evolved’. I remembered the most important rule of FM14: play players in their preferred roles. Sissoko is best as a box to box midfielder so I looked at what formation I could adopt to have the two attacking midfielders and also see if I can get the best out of Sissoko.
So far I have this:
As much as I want my attacking midfielders to lead the team with high tempo and power, I’m determined to continue with the philosophy I started with. I want to make good use of the ball first and foremost, passing the ball out from the back, with composed central defenders.
I also want the vast majority of possession. I know there has been criticism of ‘possession for possession’s sake’ – here’s an example http://www.ja606.co.uk/articles/viewArticle/127504 – people couldn’t wait to find something to blast about the way Spain and Barcelona play.
It’s easy to forget just how dominant Barca and Spain have been playing Tiki Taka football. I don’t care about the critics though, that’s the way I want to play, not because I think it’s unbeatable, although I think it’s very effective, but because I think it’s a mesmerising, attractive style of play when done well and utilising suitable players.
High defensive line
I was apprehensive about some of the team instructions I’ve employed, none more so than the much higher defensive line.
I’ve had no problems though and have conceded few goals from players getting behind my defence. Most of the goals we’ve conceded have been from crosses from wide which we must work on and isn’t a big surprise considering I use complete wing backs and sometimes leave space on the wings.
I’m satisfied with the mix of assist locations on our behalf (seen below in green). Our right back, Daryl Janmaat, might be creating more goals though and I have notice he sometimes struggles to get crosses in due to an apparent lack of skill/ pace.
- Always adhere to the overarching philosophy of creative, composed possession football
- Buy technically gifted players who suit this philosophy
- Avoid harbouring “deadwood” in the squad – use everyone but know your key players
- Take the time to sign the players for an existing role
- Play players in the roles which they are best