It is no surprise when Jonathan Wilson writes about a tactical development someone will find a way to implement it into Football Manager. Football history just like any history is written by the winners and there is no bigger winner the World Champions Barcelona. The Spanish derby though is what has sparked an interest into the 3-1-4-2.
So I thought why don’t I give it a try, I have similar sort of players that could play the system and if I can impose some good looking football.
So first of all the research.
- The Question: Is the 3-1-4-2 Formation on The Rise? – Jonathan Wilson
- Real Madrid 1 – 3 Barcelona – Zonal Marking
- Valencia 0-1 Barcelona - Zonal Marking
- Barcelona: My Interpretation – WWFan
I have looked at WWFan’s piece which speak more about the old system interpreted in Football Manager. This tactic has come about from evolution rather then revolution, so knowing how Barcelona used to play will lead us to realise how to adapt.
Here is a not so tested start.
I have chosen a counter strategy as WWFan best puts it
My own take on the Barcelona style is that is closest to the Counter Strategy in Football Manager than any other. When Barcelona get the ball, the first thing that happens is the defence drop deeper, opening up passing space between the defence and the playmaking midfield. The Counter Strategy enables this deep move. As mentioned above, they attack in two ways, the slow probe or the fast counter. Again, the Counter strategy allows this.
The rest of the roles are simply straight forward. Bielsa the greatest influence on Guardiola and the 3 at the back formation, it is common to see heavy pressing, hardly given the opposition time to think. This will hopefully mean we get the ball back quicker and also prevent the opposition catching us on the break over the wings.
I have split the defenders. Mainly because I like to do this with modern football with the better defender as the cover because if it all goes wrong you want your best man to be the guy who is the last line before the keeper. Gunter makes it as a ball playing midfielder to help with the possession, patient football.
Sergio Biscuits job for Barcelona is mainly to break up play, but he also offers a consistent passing option. I’d like to think of him as a deep playing Lucas Levia. But he is the guy who starts the attacks off. Anchor man would limit this player where as a defensive midfielder hopefully will re create his role nicely.
This is where I have the majority of dilemmas. Barcelona luckly have Dani Alves who is really a winger who makes tackles and not a full back who gets forward. I have no one in a similar mould, apart from a developing Romario, who I am looking to re-train as the MR. For now I have got a decent player who is in a more of a Kuyt mould in Kevin Großkreutz. I have Therefore given a defensive winger role to Kevin, while on the opposite wing Weiss will be another winger.
An easy bit of selection, a creative centre with a deep-lying player looking to pick the ball up and recycle possession or feeding it into the more advanced play maker who will look to create chances. Though I am not sure whether I need to have Wilshere or Shelvey the attacking play-makers on an attacking role to add more of a link between forwards and midfield, especially with attacking wingers.
When Barcelona took on Real Madrid the chances that were made put Messi in the role of a classic number 10 who dropped pretty deep. This allowed Sanchez to move around horizontally. I have Gotze who has been re-trained to be able to play as a striker and will suit the trequartista role.
Barcelona have had the luxury of great versatile attacking footballers with Cesc, Sanchez, Villa and Messi. I wanted a more of a complete forward up top (but wouldn’t we all?), I have one in the making Ivan Subtic but he is long off in his development. Until then we have to make do and with Paloschi I have one of the best poachers in the league.
This is all a concept at the moment and still not been fully tested and I would love to get your feedback, suggestions and help.