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A new version of our data update was released with 196780 changes from 642 contributors.
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JP O'Sullivan Comments
I use a similar yet slightly more attacking version of this, which rigidly could be called a 2-3-2-1-2 but floats in the space somewhere between a 4-4-2 and a 3-5-2. The third defender you've shown there, I've moved up into defensive midfield as a very defensive yet very creative deep lying playmaker to link the play better. Before I came up with this I was actually using something similar to your 'Cobra' but found myself in a quandary. I like to use a short passing style with only selected members being allowed to use a longer passing range but I found in the 3-5-2 that it's a bit more incisive to play longer into the 2 strikers and if you use a short passing style then you end up with lots of easy possession with the 3 defenders but struggle to get the ball forward enough to cause a real threat in behind. So what i did was push the most central of the 3 into defensive midfield and have the diamond you have but with 2 strikers ahead of it. The only other difference I have is instead of wide players being in the midfield line I have them playing as wing backs but on full attack so they get forward like wingers and stretch the space high up but have a starting position slightly deeper for defensive cover. With all of this now I have over 60% possession in literally every game and even against the 'big teams' away from home rarely drop below 55%. Some games at home I've had up to 80% possession and 20-30 shots on goal. I think this formation could be slightly better than the 'Cobra' as it will control a match for you and possession is held in midfield rather than the defence and can be moved forward into strikers quicker. Although the play this I think maybe you need 2 world class defenders or atleast 2 defenders who are comfortable in the air and fairly quick over the ground (min. jump 15/16+, min. accel 13/14) because like you said when you press so high with the midfield all they have is the long ball and once you shut that down then they don't have much going forward. At the moment I've been playing this formation for about a season and been tinkering with the 3-5-2 for about 2 and a half seasons and I'm now in 2038 and what I've started to find is teams will start to go long in order to avoid the high press especially if they have a big man upfront and that can get a bit dangerous as I only sit 3 (CB's and DLP) and press the rest which leave me at times 3on2 or 3on3 which unless you have an equally beastly centre back then it ends up being a tough game. But overal great post but I still think you will come to the same conclusion I have after a while of playing the 3-5-2(1-1), especially if you watch alot of the games, too much possession with the back 3 and if they aren't top grade on the ball then can get slightly dangerous when teams want to press high themselves. Reply if you want me to add some screenshots from my current FM13 season (I'm waiting until xmas to get FM14 as a present to myself lol).