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Sarriball 4-3-3/4-3-2-1 | Sarri Tactics for FM20

Recreating and replicating Maurizio Sarri's sophisticated style of play, known as Sarriball or Liquid football, on Football Manager 2020.

By on Aug 12, 2020   27379 views   3 comments
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Downloads: 3933 / Size: 89.1 kB / Added: 2020-08-12
Football Manager 2020 Tactics - Sarriball 4-3-3/4-3-2-1 | Sarri Tactics for FM20

Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri did not play professional football; instead, he worked as a banker while playing and coaching amateur football. Sarri coached many teams in the lower leagues of Italian football, and it wasn't until 2005 he manged in the Seria B for the first time with Pescara.

Sarri then bounced around clubs again until he took the Empoli job in 2012, this was his breakthrough job In his three seasons Empoli finished 4th losing in the playoffs before achieving promotion with a 2nd place finish. In his final season, Empoli finished 15h after six years away from the top flight ensuring they would maintain their place in Seria A the following season.

Sarri moved to Napoli the next season, and this is where his reputation rose, as Napoli finished 2nd and 3rd twice, in his final season before moving to Chelsea Napoli ran Juventus all the way and eventually finished 4 points behind the old lady.

Sarri's Style of play

Sarri is considered an intelligent coach taking a meticulous approach when preparing for matches paying particular attention to set-pieces, often having his players practice many different plays for the same set-piece.

One of the main trademarks of his highly organised system is a four-person back-line. His teams usually play a high defensive line and adopt the offside trap and a zonal marking system.

Sarri requires his defensive players to be synchronised in their movements, anticipates plays, and look at the ball as a point of reference, not their opponents.

Essentially, Sarriball is a method of high-pressing play (though not to be confused with Jurgen Klopp's gegenpressing) that forces defenders into making mistakes, which are then punished by the counter-attack.

The other vital components to a Sarri system are the use of a deep-lying playmaker who dictates the play most famously Jorginho for Napoli and Chelsea. Sarri also needs overlapping wingbacks to provide the width to his linear system.

On the ball

Sarri's teams are known for playing an attractive, exciting, and attacking-minded brand of football, based on retaining possession, movement off the ball, and many quick, short passes on the ground; This style has come to be known as "Sarri-ball" or "liquid football".

The essence of Sarri-ball is a brand of possession football where ball retention is critical, but not just for the sake of it. Sarriball relies on quick interchanges to move the ball up the field, making it a form of vertical tika taka. Players use their individual quality to make things happen in the final third of the pitch.

Sarri mostly prefers attacking through the left, a flank stacked with attacking prowess, and his players need particular tactical identities to be a success in his system. Sarri wants his teams to build from the back and success depends heavily on his defenders holding possession to begin the first instance of attacking threat.

Sarri's defenders are the first instigators of the attack – as seen through his use of defender Kalidou Koulibaly whose passing and ball control was integral to the Italian side's push for the title. Sarri instructs his defenders to play quick triangular passing combinations to beat the initial press and draw the opponents midfield out of position.

Sarri's Napoli's modern, innovative, and creative playing style, as well as their mentality, ability to move up the pitch quickly on counter-attacks and score many goals, won praise from several pundits, players, and managers, including Pep Guardiola and Cesc Fàbregas.

In 2018, former manager Arrigo Sacchi praised the style employed by Sarri's Napoli side as "the most important thing seen in Italy in the last 20 years.

Recreating Sarriball

The images show how I have implemented the principles of Sarriball in-game at both Napoli using the 4-3-3 system and with the 4-3-1-2 system he has used with Juventus. As Sarriball is a complex system that involves high possession with quick interchanges, I went with short passes with a higher tempo, although you could argue, the Lower tempo could be used instead.

As Sarriball uses fast combinations, the first thing I did was train all players to develop the plays one-twos trait. The regista is the sole playmaker, and he will look to dictate the game. To create the overload that Napoli used the left wingback is set to attack with the left-winger playing as an inside forward.

Sarriball FM20 Results

The results were fantastic especially with Napoli, however, with both teams playing against teams with a low block proved difficult to break down which is evidenced by the high amount of draws.

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Downloads: 3933 / Size: 89.1 kB / Added: 2020-08-12
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Discussion: Sarriball 4-3-3/4-3-2-1 | Sarri Tactics for FM20

3 comments have been posted so far.

  • Boroboy116's avatar
    @Connorc14 Hey man, I didn't have any such issue, I found that the wide players scoring more goals especially the LW. I did have them set to roam and the system was fluid so maybe that had something to do with it.
  • Connorc14's avatar
    On the 433 formation did you have problems with your wide attacking midfielders getting into the game playing with a very narrow width? I had serious problems with mine playing a similar style
  • LugoManager's avatar
    This Napoli Team With Sarri could have won the league if sarri did signed lacazette or someone else as higuain replacement
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