Short Plays Attacking

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This starter guide will take you through the process of creating short plays attacking tactics for your team. It includes:

  • How short plays attacking works – a brief description of the mechanics of short plays attacking tactics, as well as important player attributes, to help you to decide whether short plays attacking suits your team and your preferences.
  • Suggested formations for short plays attacking – tips for choosing a formation to use with short plays attacking tactics, along with a list of suitable formations. The formations are listed in order of how attacking they are, with more advanced playing positions being considered to be more attacking.
  • The recommended team instructions for short plays attacking – these are the team instructions that are typically used in short plays attacking tactics.
  • Other suggested team instructions for short plays attacking – these are additional team instructions suitable for short plays attacking tactics that you may want to use. However, it is recommended that you choose your player roles and duties before deciding upon additional team instructions.
  • Useful player instructions for short plays attacking – these are player instructions suitable for short plays attacking tactics that you may want to look for in the player roles and duties that you choose.
  • Balancing risk in short plays attacking – advice on how to balance your use of team instructions and player instructions.
  • Suggested transition tactics for short plays attacking – these are additional transition team instructions suitable for short plays attacking tactics that you may want to use.
  • Suggested player roles and duties for short plays attacking – these are player roles and duties suitable for short plays attacking tactics that you can choose from. Different responsibilities in different positional areas are covered separately, with a list of roles/duties given that can be used to perform each responsibility. Selecting one or more appropriate roles/duties to perform each responsibility in each positional area should give you balanced combinations. Shown next to each role/duty is a brief description of its own natural playing style. The word “short” in these descriptions indicates suitability of the role/duty’s player instructions for short plays attacking, and the roles/duties are grouped in order of how suitable they are in this respect.
  • Overall forward movement – this is an advised method for checking that the forward movement of your players is balanced. It involves adding up a few different scores for your roles/duties and checking that the totals meet suggested targets.
  • A short plays attacking example tactic – this is a short plays attacking tactic that applies the advice given in this starter guide to select team instructions and player roles and duties. You may want to use this tactic for your own team or modify it to suit your own players or your preferences. Reading the rest of the tactics guides can help you to do this.

How Short Plays Attacking Works

With short plays attacking your team, when in possession, will carefully penetrate space and keep possession by cycling possession, mainly creating space by drawing players out of position.

The following variants of short plays attacking have their own starter guides for you to use instead:

Important player attributes:

  • Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision) – for M/AM(C/R/L)s and STCs in particular
  • Good off the ball movement (Off The Ball, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork) – for D/WB(R/L)s, M/AM(C/R/L)s and STCs in particular
  • Good control (First Touch) and passing ability (Passing, Technique) – for M/AM(C/R/L)s and STCs in particular

Suggested Formations for Short Plays Attacking

Tips for choosing a formation:

  • Formations with two MCs and an additional DM/M/AM(C) make it easier to cycle possession in central areas.
  • Formations with D/WB(R/L)s and M/AM(R/L)s enable you to create overlapping movement between D/WB(R/L)s and M/AM(R/L)s or between AM(R/L)s and an STC (the former overlapping the latter in both cases by making more forward movement), which can create space more effectively. However, formations with only D/WB(R/L)s on the flanks can still enable off-centre M/AM(C)s to be overlapped, while also making it easier to cycle possession in central midfield and central attack, which are the two most useful areas to keep possession in.
  • Formations with one DMC (especially if used as a Half Back) make it easier to use D(R/L)s that make more forward movement, such as Wing Back (D(R/L) Attack)s. However, this also makes it more difficult to cycle possession in more advanced central areas.

Suitable formations include:

  • 4-2-3-1 Wide – very attacking
    • 4 Ds / 2 MCs / 1 AMC / 2 AM(R/L)s / 1 STC
  • 5-3-2 WB – fairly attacking
    • 3 DCs / 2 WBs / 3 MCs / 2 STC
  • 4-3-3 Wide – fairly attacking
    • 4 Ds / 3 MCs / 2 AM(R/L)s / 1 STC
  • 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow – fairly attacking
    • 4 Ds / 1 DMC / 2 MCs / 1 AMC / 2 STCs
    • Instruct MCs to Stay Wider to provide support to the flanks
  • 5-3-1-1 WB – neutral
    • 3 DCs / 2 WBs / 3 MCs / 1 AMC / 1 STC
  • 5-1-2-2 DM WB – neutral
    • 3 DCs / 2 WBs / 1 DMC / 2 MCs / 2 STCs
    • Instruct MCs to Stay Wider to provide support to the flanks
  • 4-4-1-1 – neutral
    • 4 Ds / 4 Ms / 1 AMC / 1 STC
  • 4-1-4-1 DM Wide – neutral
    • 4 Ds / 1 DMC / 2 MCs / 2 AM(R/L)s / 1 STC
  • 4-1-3-2 DM Narrow – neutral
    • 4 Ds / 1 DMC / 3 MCs / 2 STCs
  • 5-4-1 Diamond WB – fairly defensive
    • 3 DCs / 2 WBs / 1 DMC / 2 MCs / 1 AMC / 1 STC
    • Instruct MCs to Stay Wider to provide support to the flanks
  • 4-5-1 – fairly defensive
    • 4 Ds / 5 Ms / 1 STC
  • 5-1-3-1 DM WB – very defensive
    • 3 DCs / 2 WBs / 1 DMC / 3 MCs / 1 STC
  • 4-1-4-1 – very defensive
    • 4 Ds / 1 DMC / 4 Ms / 1 STC
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