The second stage of creating your tactic is to choose player role combinations that enable you to balance your playing system. The player roles and duties that you use should also be suitable for your desired tactical style and for your players’ abilities.
You can generate an automatic tactical analysis of the role combinations in your tactic by using the System Analyser below. You can also analyse roles/duties individually by using the Player Roles & Duties Role Analyser.
Choosing role combinations in each of the main positional areas is detailed individually in the following guides:
Central Defence Combinations | Central Midfield Combinations
Flank Combinations | Central Attack Combinations
You can balance your playing system by choosing roles combinations that:
- Give your team good forward movement scores for penetration, solidity and support.
- Form effective forward movement partnerships between different pairs of players, such as direct partnerships and overlapping partnerships.
- Carry out all important positional responsibilities sufficiently, including providing cover, applying defensive pressure, stretching play, playing safe, creating chances and taking chances.
Suitable roles for your tactical style are those that:
- Generally suit your desired playing style – the natural playing styles for each role/duty indicate how suitable they are for different playing styles and can be checked in Player Roles & Duties Role Analyser. However, you do not need all of your roles/duties to suit your playing style, as long as the majority do. Roles/duties that contrast with your playing style can be useful for other reasons and you can adjust your tactical style as appropriate later, taking into account any less suitable roles/duties.
- Implement your desired system specialisation level (optional) – the responsibility specialism levels for your roles/duties will determine your system specialisation level. Specialism levels can be checked in the Player Roles & Duties Role Analyser.
- Implement your desired system fluidity level (optional) – your chosen duties will determine your system fluidity level. Using more Support duties will make your playing system more fluid and using fewer Support duties will make it more structured.
- Form forward movement partnerships that suit your desired playing style and system fluidity level
Use the System Analyser to select any team of roles/duties for automatic tactical analysis. You can also create your own roles/duties for analysis by adding custom player instructions.
The System Analyser calculates for your team the forward movement scores, the positional responsibilities carried out and the forward movement partnerships formed. It uses this information to suggest possible improvements that may help to balance your playing system and form forward movement partnerships that suit your desired playing style.
Explanation of Analysis
Forward Movement Scores
Forward movement scores include the penetration score, solidity score and support score. They assess how well the off the ball vertical movement of your players, when your team is in possession, may help them to penetrate space, retain solidity and provide attacking support.
The scores for your role/duty are determined by the playing position selected and the forward movement instructions shown. You can therefore change them by using roles/duties in different playing positions and with different forward movement instructions.
Suggested minimum total scores (for ten outfield players) are:
- Penetration score – 9.5
- Solidity score – 15.5
- Support score – 12.5 (or 13.5 for short plays playing styles and 11.5 for direct plays playing styles)
Natural Playing Styles
Natural playing styles give an indication of how the player instructions of your players suit your desired playing style. However, roles/duties can still be used effectively in ‘contrasting’ playing styles and player instructions used for particular positional responsibilities can influence the natural playing styles shown.
Suitable playing attributes and traits are also needed for a player to carry out the instructions of your playing style well.
The natural playing styles of your role/duty are determined by how its player instructions relate to the different core styles, attacking styles and defensive styles, as explained in the Adding Team & Player Instructions guide.
Each positional area has positional responsibilities of varying importance that can be carried out by your players.
Your role/duty is considered to carry out a responsibility if it does not have player instructions which contrast with the responsibility, in which case it either ‘performs’ or ‘contributes’. ‘Contributes’ applies only to ‘high’ and greater importance responsibilities in cases where a particular player instruction is needed to ‘perform’ the responsibility. ‘Contributes fluidly’ applies to Support duty roles that ‘contribute’.
Suggested use of roles/duties to carry out responsibilities is:
- Per = performs => one such role can be used to carry out the responsibility to a sufficient extent (or two such roles in the case of essential importance responsibilities like providing attacking cover in central defence).
- Con-S = contributes fluidly => two such roles can be used to work together to carry out the responsibility to a sufficient extent.
- Con = contributes => one such role can be used to carry out the responsibility but may not do so to a sufficient extent.
Suitable playing attributes, traits and positional familiarity are also needed for a responsibility to be performed well.
Forward Movement Partnerships
Forward movement partnerships analyse how the relative vertical movement off the ball of pairs of players may help them to create space when your team is in possession.
The possible forward movement partnerships for your role/duty are determined by the playing position selected and the forward movement instructions shown. You can therefore change the possible partnership types and partner types by using roles/duties in different playing positions and with different forward movement instructions.
Types of partner include:
- Attacking partner – the player makes the most forward movement in the partnership.
- Ancillary partner – the player makes the least forward movement in the partnership.
- Overloading partner – the player and his partner both make forward movement to a large extent.
- Interchanging partner – the player alternates his forward movement with his partner.
In overlapping partnerships the attacking partner is assigned a playing position behind the ancillary partner and moves forward to overlap them. In direct partnerships the attacking partner is assigned a playing position ahead of or level with the ancillary partner who provides support from behind them. Interchanging partnerships involve two Support duty roles with similar forward movement, which can enable the players to alternate their movement such that one player provides attacking cover while the other stretches play.
Partnership types and partner types are based largely on whether the role/duty is instructed to Get Further Forward (higher risk partnership types and attacking/overloading partner type movement) or Hold Position (lower risk partnership types and ancillary partner type movement). Medium risk partnership types include both of these player instructions (one for each partner), while balanced partnership types include neither player instruction for either player.
Suggested forward movement partnerships are:
- For attacking football and short plays playing styles – overlapping partnerships.
- In attacking football overlapping partnerships help to create space in congested advanced areas.
- In short plays overlapping partnerships help to create space when cycling possession.
- For defensive football and direct plays playing styles – direct partnerships.
- In defensive football direct partnerships help to penetrate space quickly from deeper areas.
- In direct plays direct partnerships help to penetrate space directly.
- For more fluid system fluidity – interchanging partnerships.
- Interchanging partnerships allow fluid movement between players.
- In central midfield – a low risk direct or balanced partnership, or any type of medium risk partnership.
- Lower risk partnerships help your team to provide attacking cover, which is particularly important in central midfield.
- On the flanks – overloading, high risk, medium risk or balanced partnerships.
- Higher risk partnerships help your team to stretch play, which is particularly important on the flanks and can also create space in central midfield and central attack by drawing opposition players out of position towards the flanks.
- In central attack – overloading, high risk, medium risk or balanced partnerships, but not overloading direct partnerships
- Higher risk partnerships help your team to stretch play, which is particularly important in central attack. However, overloading direct partnerships can be less effective at creating space by drawing opposition central defenders out of position.
Other Role Combinations Guides
- Central Defence Combinations
- Central Midfield Combinations
- Flank Combinations
- Central Attack Combinations
Related Tactics Guides
- Player Roles & Duties – to analyse individual player roles and duties for use in your playing system.
- Adding Team & Player Instructions – to adjust your tactical style as appropriate, taking into account any less suitable roles/duties.
- Playing System Balance – tactical theory guide.
- Positional Responsibilities – tactical theory guide.
- Attacking Structures – tactical theory guide including forward movement partnerships and forward movement scores.
- Responsibility Distribution – tactical theory guide on assigning positional responsibilities.