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FM20 Tactic: The Steel Curtain 3-7-0

3-7-0 formation that floods the centre of the pitch, stopping goals conceded, whilst still scoring a healthy amount. A tactic for FM 2020 aiming purely on ball retention. Tested with Benfica & Norwich.

By on Jul 04, 2020   26292 views   11 comments
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Downloads: 2238 / Size: 87.7 kB / Added: 2020-07-04
Football Manager 2020 Tactics - FM20 Tactic: The Steel Curtain 3-7-0
The idea behind this tactic was purely on ball retention, using technical and intelligent players to interchange positions and create chances through movement and overloads. I have been experimenting with several formations without a striker to some success, but without being able to fully control the ball consistently over a season.

During Benfica's campaign in the Portuguese Premier League, they were able to comfortably win the league. Conceding only 9 goals! averaging just 0.26 goals a game easily the best in the division. this was not in detriment to the goals scored with a total of 61 goals being outscored by Porto.

This mentality is to control the ball and for the whole team to be fluid contributing to attacking and defending, Therefore the whole team was set to support roles apart from the shadow striker who is going to be the main goal threat and the two ball-playing defenders who can only be deployed on defend. I decided to use the Libero instead of the halfback as I wanted the added security but also the ability to step into the midfield and help create attacks with his support duty which is not available on the halfback.

There are no fullbacks or wingbacks instead wide midfielders are used a winger to help provide the width and a wide playmaker to help create and recycle possession until an opportunity presents itself. The DM supports the build-up and helps to cover for the libero adding strength to the centre of the pitch forcing teams wide preventing quick counters. The BWM aims to win the ball back and play simple passes to the DLP or AP who will look to supply the shadow striker.

A high line is deployed with a much higher line of engagement compacting the middle of the pitch with urgent pressing the aim is to force the opposition to turnover the ball by either kicking it long or trying to play down the sides. As we have no out and out striker we do not counter-press as we do not want our players to lose their shape. Be expressive is used to help the team be more imaginative and use flair to make up for the lack of a focal point.

After experimenting with different variations of the principles of this tactic it became obvious that it would be highly effective for playing fast counter-attacking football full of midfield runners.

The mentality was adjusted to be very attacking and the player roles became attacking rather than supporting. The passing and tempo were adjusted to short and much higher. The team was now instructed to counter-press as we are reducing the defensive line and line of engagement to invite teams to commit more bodies forward enabling us to counter to devasting effect.

The formation is adjusted to help us to counter the wide players have been converted into IWB that will fill the spaces vacated from the midfielder runners breaking through the lines, helping us to defend the centre of the pitch from quick counters.

Using this counter-attacking tactic Norwich finished 4th in the Premier League with 74 points and won the FA cup.




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Downloads: 2238 / Size: 87.7 kB / Added: 2020-07-04
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Discussion: FM20 Tactic: The Steel Curtain 3-7-0

11 comments have been posted so far.

  • YAMS's avatar
    & if the user doesn't know how because what you are suggesting is a complete minefield how would they accomplish this?

    I don't want to be seen as singling you out, I appreciate the conversation & I do get that for many a 'plug and play' style is what they want, they don't want the great detail.

    Some though want that great detail, they want to understand what they are seeing on the pitch & know how to affect the situation. This is the kind of education tactical experts should look to provide.
  • Boroboy116's avatar
    @Si49 No tactic is plug in and play, therefore it's down to the user to make tweaks and adjustments to suit their own needs.
  • YAMS's avatar
    Did you mention the slight adjustments for the bigger teams in your write up?
  • Boroboy116's avatar
    @Si49, Of course, you would make slight adjustments in-game and on a game by game basis, such as being more defensive against bigger teams. The system was all about getting the team to attack and defend as one hence why so many support roles were used.
  • Boroboy116's avatar
    @P19END - no player instructions.
  • P19END's avatar
    What are the individual player instructions, if any?
  • YAMS's avatar
    Ok, but for that to work effectively you need you DM on defend duty, not support. Wide midfielders track wingers only so far. A team with direct inverted wide men on their Att Mid strata will have a field day against you.

    Don't get me wrong, I like the system a lot. I love a back three. Just seeing what I would do differently.
  • Boroboy116's avatar
    Si49 - The wide midfielders will help to track the wingers and the dm also slots in making it very difficult to be broken down due to the sheer numbers of players in the midfield area.
  • Boroboy116's avatar
    Sazzy - The wide midfielder variant
  • YAMS's avatar
    How does the back three & your wide midfielders handle attacking wingers/4-3-3 formation?

    Love the theory behind this. Nice work.
  • Sazzy's avatar
    which of the two tactics was used to concede only 9?
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