Pub Team to Manager’s Dream Part 3 – Tactics and Pre-season

Last time, I showed you the players chosen to kick this club off and now we’re going to see how I’ve arranged them and what I’m telling them to do (formation and tactics).


So I ask, what’s wrong with the good old 4-4-2? Personally I think nothing. Generally I think its a great formation, especially if you have the right players with the right strengths.

And in the lower leagues, and they don’t get lower than this one, it just keeps things relatively simple and doesn’t risk weaknesses and failings due to players not having great positioning or not being able to perform more complicated roles. It is also a balanced formation and as we are not yet sure how we measure up compared to the teams in our league and our players have never played together before so they have no cohesion or understanding as yet, things are complicated enough already.

Also, I had a rough idea of how I wanted to play (for the first few seasons anyway) and so the players that I signed were selected to play in this formation.

So the style revolves around direct football aimed to try to get the job done in matches and not risk stagnating and getting stuck in any of the lower leagues because of cautious football. But in order to keep things slightly sophisticated, the directness is mainly focused around a crossing game. So the instructions are…


So as you can see we’re keeping things simple.

A few things to add though are that I start most matches on standard but usually change one way or the other to counter or control depending on how play is going and my judgements on the oppositions ability. Also the reason that hit early crosses is left off to start with is because one of my target men has poor anticipation but at the moment, I usually activate it mid match so I may look to change that permanently in tactics.

Also both wingers are set to aim their crosses at the target man, of which there is two so surely they can’t miss…

So how did this work out…


Here are the results from the friendlies and the problem is they’re not great indicators for a few reasons.

Firstly, we didn’t have a full team of real players for any of them so there were always weaknesses in the positions where there were virtual players.

Also the players had only just began playing together so the team cohesion was poor.

And the familiarity with the tactics was very poor throughout as being an amateur team, they only train a few times a week and therefore only improve these things very slowly.

But there were positives…

In the first friendly we were dominant and the crossing tactic worked brilliantly with 2 goals from crosses in open play and one from a crossed free kick. We only conceded due to a mix up between a defender and the keeper

The goal we conceded in the second friendly was also rather unlucky as a virtual (greyed out) player failed to mark their striker from a cross. The second friendly was the only one that our crossing wasn’t productive.

The 3-3 result came from experimentation with a more attacking version of a 4-4-2, possibly classed as a 4-2-4. Clearly it created a bucket load of chances but also made us more unstable at the back so my plan is to stick to the 4-4-2 for now and see how it settles in with the full team of real players and how the players gel together.

If you’re still reading, thanks for getting through that bumper post and the mild tedium of preseason friendlies. But now it’s time for the first season to kick off!

I hope you’ll join me for it…


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