Little is more annoying than being restrained from implementing your finest tactical ideas on FM by the limitations of the tactics system. Don’t get me wrong, I realise the chaos that you could cause if you could place your players willy nilly but I’d quite like to be able to place players between ST and AMC, or between WB and FB. What you can do is place players in positions that don’t really look nice, but as I’ve recently discovered, you can use this to develop lovely interchanges and lines of movement. Throw away the shackles (kind of) and try something new.
The usually used striker positions are STCL and STCR in a 2 striker formation, and STC in a 1 striker formation. But you don’t have to comply with these default positions. In the image to the left, I’ve set Alexis Sanchez up as an STCR next to Leo Messi in the STC position. There is an emphasis on overloading the right hand side in this tactic, so as to leave Pedro, the best finisher I’ve got who can play on the wing, open in space when we attack. By shifting Sanchez and Messi over to the right like these, I’ve maintained this right-side bias and opened up a lot of space for Messi to pull deep and allow Pedro to attack the space left by him in turn.
Sanchez is an Advanced Forward meaning he will be bursting forward trying to get behind the defence, pushing his marker back with him. His positioning is further right than would be achieved as a narrower STCR so he is better positioned to run at the channels and pull the LCB and LB out of position.
At the same time, Messi is perfectly central and stationed between the two CBs. If a marking crisis isn’t already happening between the LCB and LB as they fight over who should be grabbing Sanchez, the two CBs now have a decision over a) whether Messi should be followed and b) who should follow Messi. That defence is going to part like the Red Sea.
The final piece of the jigsaw is Pedro, unmarked at the back post. The shift of Messi and Sanchez to the right has forced the opposition to focus their attentions on that side of my attack, so it is unlikely, very unlikely that their RB is watching Pedro. If, on the off chance, their RB is on the attentiveness level of Gary Neville (I’m only half joking), he will have a hard time making an interception when the rest of his defence is all ends up and his man is speeding inside like a rhinoceros.
From altering the expected positions just a tad, we’ve caused chaos. You could do a similar thing in midfield and leave space for a runner from DM, or put your AM close to one of your wingers. Experiment.