Hi, my name is Nick and welcome to my first attempt at blogging. I am 25 years old from the North of England. I have spent the best part of the last 12 years playing Football Manager is some shape or form beginning with Football Manager 2005. A lifelong, passionate Manchester United fan with a strong enthusiasm for the tactical side of the game, I have spent countless hours researching and attempting to recreate many famous tactics from across the decades including Sir Alex Ferguson’s 4-4-2 1999 Treble Winning Tactic, Michel’s 4-3-3 Total Football, Herrera’s 4-3-2-1 Catenaccio plus many more. My FM18 Steam Workshop can be found here.
With Football Manager 2018 approaching an end, my idea behind this save is something I have yet to experience within the game; International Management. My inspiration behind an attempt to ‘Echo England’ stemmed from following England’s successful run to the Semi-Finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. I, like many, was fully behind the “ITS COMING HOME” position and firmly believed that we had as good a chance as any to compete for the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
To win the 2018 World Cup with a minimum expectation of reaching the Semi-Finals stage of the tournament.
The Tactic: Southgate’s 3-5-2.
The Attacking Phase.
England’s 3-5-2 shape becomes a 3-3-3-1 during the attacking phase. The Defensive Midfielder stays close to the back three whilst the outer Centre Midfielders tend to push up and occupy positions behind the opponents midfield line. From there, they can drop deep in their inside channel to form a diamond shape with the nearby outer Centre Back, Wing Back and Defensive Midfielder or they can stay high and offer a passing option between the lines. The Attacking Midfielder would often join the same line as the outer Centre Midfielders, however the Attacking Midfielder is given licence to roam, meaning at times the Attacking Midfielder will crop up in England’s defensive third to receive possession. The 3-3-3-1 becomes more of a 3-1-3-3 when the Wing Backs take up extremely advances positions down their respective flanks. From there, they offer wide out-balls for switches of play and look to make runs on the blindside of the opposition defence. This works well against teams that opt to sit deep and congest the centre.
The Defensive Phase.
Defensively, England shape up in a 5-3-2 as the Wing Backs drop into the back line. Southgate’s side tend to take up a medium block which with the two forwards also dropping back ensures that they are vertically compact. This compactness is maintained by a position-focused pressing game which sees the front two and midfield three prioritise the retention of shape shifting from side-to-side they are mainly interested in denying space and blocking passes to the midfield, only pressing the ball when it goes out to an opposition full-back or when a centre back pushes forwards in possession.
Team Shape: Structured.
Team Instructions: Retain Possession, Play Out Of Defence, Work Ball Into Box, Roam From Positions, Play Much Wider.
Goalkeeper: Sweeper Keeper Support.
Centre Backs: 3x Ball Playing Defenders. 2x Defend. 1x Cover.
Full Backs: Both Wing Backs Attack.
Defensive Midfielder: Deep Lying Playmaker Defend.
Centre Midfielders: Both Mezzalas. 1x Attack, 1x Support.
Attacking Midfielder: Shadow Striker Attack.
Centre Forward: Advanced Forward Attack.
In the next post I will take a more in depth look into how the tactic performs within the FM match engine and what tweaks can be made to provide a more accurate representation of Southgate’s 3-5-2, with a series of friendlies in the build up to the start of the World Cup.
Continue to Part 2 here.
If you have made it this far, I would like to express my thanks to you for reading. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, this is my first attempt at writing a blog of any sort. Any feedback, opinions, criticism or improvements that you think could be made please let me know either in the comments section below or on Twitter: @SCH00LBU5.