Vertical tiki-taka is a possession-based tactic that combines with counterattacks. FM22 defined vertical tiki-taka as “ A quick passing style of possession and movement, with a narrower, more direct approach than the standard tiki-taka”.
However, I will represent a 4-4-2 diamond custom vertical tiki-taka that I created with Everton FC in this post. This tactic is so fantastic that I’m sitting 6th on the Premier League table with a club like Everton. As always you can try the tactic with your favourite team or you can try it with the following teams; Leeds United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona, Villarreal, Monaco, OM, and Spain National Team. So with no further ado, let’s get into the details of the tactic.
4-4-2 Diamond Custom Vertical Tiki-Taka: Tactical Instructions
We build up play mostly from behind in a 2-1-4-1-2 formation. When the goalkeeper tries to build up from behind, my central defenders spread wide inside the box. The half-back drops back ahead of the CDs, the two central midfielders form a pivot ahead of him while the fullbacks spread wide to the flank.
As we progress the ball, my players focus on plays through the middle of the field than through the sides of the field. Since we play the tiki-taka style of football, the passing directness is shorter to enable us to maintain more possession of the ball.
In the attacking phase, the attacking width is narrow. Our ball movements during attacks are at standard tempos. As we transit to attack, I gave my freedom to interchange positions by being more expressive from their positions. Moreover, even though our whole tactic is based on possession, my players equally go for counterattacks on the break.
As we approach the attacking third, I encourage the team to look for underlaps at both sides of the pitch. Then, working the ball into the box is what we do to get goals.
We defend in a 4-3-1-2 or 4-4-2 formation. We employ the highest pressing intensity to prevent the opposition’s defenders from having too much time with the ball. I instructed my team to use a much higher line of engagement and a much higher defensive line to support the press – offside traps equally work in this tactic.
When we lose the ball, we counter press to win the ball higher up the pitch. Moreover, I employed the players to use narrow defensive width to force the opponents outside at the wide areas.
Jordan Pickford: Pickford is a sweeper keeper on support duty.
Yerry Mina and Michael Keane: Mina and Keane are ball-playing defenders on defence duties. They do their defensive duties within the defensive lines by clearing out through balls and breaking up attacks. The two are somewhat comfortable with the ball.
Vitaliy Mykolenko and Mason Holgate: Mykolenko and Holgate are wing-backs on support and attack duties respectively. They both spread wide at the flanks during attacks, looking to beat their markers and cross the ball. They are both capable defensively but Holgate does less defensively rather aids more offensively and crosses the ball from byline.
Ben Godfrey: Godfrey is a half-back. He drops deeper closer to the central defenders looking to recycle possession, helping to protect the defensive line against counterattacks.
Allan: Allan is a deep-lying playmaker on support duty. He has good passing range and vision to pick up players positioned higher up the pitch via pinpoint passes.
Abdoulaye Doucoure: Doucoure is a box-to-box midfielder. I instructed him to always get forward to support the attackers, positioning himself into a goalscoring channel to score goals. Doucoure equally tracks back to protect the defensive shape.
Donny Van de Beek: Van de Beek is an enganche. He is the prime creator. He holds his position higher up the pitch, looking to create dangerous chances for the attackers.
Richarlison: Richarlison is a complete forward on support duty. He possesses good passing and scoring abilities, He will drop to the midfield to help set up plays and equally drives forward to get the ball into the net.
Anthony Gordon/Calvert-Lewin: Gordon is a poacher. He will sit on the shoulder of the last defenders looking to break free with his pace and score more goals. Due to Calvert-Lewin’s long term injury in FM22, I chose Gordon as the perfect replacement.
At Home, I use a positive mentality mostly, but when I face tougher teams I switch to an attacking mentality.
On Away, a balanced mentality works best.
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