Guide to Football
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As detailed in the tactical theory Attacking Structures* guide, attacking structures are tactical structures formed by a team's attacking shape*, off the ball movement* and on the ball movement*.

Appropriate attacking structures can be achieved by considering your use of forward movement partnerships*, as well as your team's penetration score*, solidity score* and support score*.

Example attacking structures are provided in the Role Combinations guide.

1. Forward Movement Partnerships

As detailed in the tactical theory Attacking Structures* guide, a forward movement partnership is a pairing of two players (the partners) who are assigned nearby playing positions* and make vertical movement such that their combined vertical movement creates space*.

Forward movement partnerships can be implemented by assigning suitable tactical roles* to an attacking partner* and an ancillary partner* in each partnership.

Detailed for each of the main positional areas, where relevant, are:

  • Recommended use - the recommended types of (off the ball) forward movement partnership to use. On the flanks and in central attack these depend on your desired playing style.
  • Types of forward movement partnership - suggestions for implementing each type of forward movement partnership that is mentioned in the recommended use.

You may want to select more generalist player roles and duties at this stage and make adjustments later when considering responsibility distribution*, which is analysed in the Central Defence, Central Midfield, Flank and Central Attack Responsibilities guides. Such player roles and duties are shown below in bold italics.

1.1. Central Defence

Forward movement partnerships are not necessary in central defence.

1.2. Central Midfield

Recommended use:

  • If using any wide and off-centre players in a forward movement partnership then use them symmetrically; that is, either use two wide and off-centre attacking partners or two wide and off-centre ancillary partners.

Low Tactical Risk Direct Partnerships

Ancillary partner tactical roles:

Ancillary partner roles and duties:

  • Sitting/holding DM - Defensive Midfielder (DM Defend); Deep Lying Playmaker (DM Defend/Support); Ball Winning Midfielder (DM Defend); Anchor Man (DM Defend); Half Back (DM Defend).
  • Sitting/holding CM - Central Midfielder (CM Defend); Deep Lying Playmaker (CM Defend/Support); Ball Winning Midfielder (CM Defend).
  • Auxiliary sitting/holding DM (narrow and sitting/holding WB) - Inverted Wing Back (WB Defend).
  • Auxiliary sitting/holding CM (narrow and sitting/holding WM) - none.

Attacking partner tactical roles:

  • Supporting* central midfielder if not wide and off-centre; or two supporting wide and off-centre central midfielders.
    • Possible playing positions - DM (if the ancillary partner is also a DM); CM.
    • Possible auxiliary players - narrow and supporting WB or WM acting as an auxiliary wide and off-centre DM or CM.
    • Required active player instructions
      • Auxiliary players
        • WB/WM - Sit Narrower.
    • Required unactive player instructions - Get Further Forward; Hold Position.

Attacking partner roles and duties:

  • Supporting DM - Defensive Midfielder (DM Support); Segundo Volante (Off-Centre DM Support); Ball Winning Midfielder (DM Support); Regista (DM Support); Roaming Playmaker (DM Support).
  • Supporting CM - Central Midfielder (CM Support); Ball Winning Midfielder (CM Support); Box To Box Midfielder (CM Support); Advanced Playmaker (CM Support); Advanced Playmaker (CM Attack); Roaming Playmaker (CM Support); Carrilero (Off-Centre CM Support).
  • Auxiliary supporting DM (narrow and supporting WB) - Inverted Wing Back (WB Support).
  • Auxiliary supporting CM (narrow and supporting WM) - Inverted Winger (WM Support); Wide Playmaker (WM Support/Attack).

1.3. The Flanks

Recommended use:

High Tactical Risk Overlapping Partnerships

Ancillary partner tactical roles:

Ancillary partner roles and duties:

  • Supporting WM - Wide Midfielder (WM Support); Inverted Winger (WM Support); Winger (WM Support); Defensive Winger (WM Support); Wide Playmaker (WM Support/Attack).
  • Supporting WF - Winger (WF Support); Inside Forward (WF Support); Advanced Playmaker (WF Support/Attack); Trequartista (WF Attack).
  • Auxiliary supporting WM (supporting off-centre CM) if using a lone wide player on the same flank - Central Midfielder (Off-Centre CM Support); Ball Winning Midfielder (Off-Centre CM Support); Box To Box Midfielder (Off-Centre CM Support); Advanced Playmaker (Off-Centre CM Support); Advanced Playmaker (Off-Centre CM Attack); Roaming Playmaker (Off-Centre CM Support); Carrilero (Off-Centre CM Support).
  • Auxiliary supporting WF (supporting off-centre AM) if using a lone wide player on the same flank - Attacking Midfielder (Off-Centre AM Support); Advanced Playmaker (Off-Centre AM Support/Attack); Trequartista (Off-Centre AM Attack); Enganche (Off-Centre AM Attack).

Attacking partner tactical roles:

  • Offensive* deep wide player.
    • Possible playing positions - FB; WB.
    • Possible auxiliary players - none.
    • Required active player instructions - Get Further Forward.

Attacking partner roles and duties:

  • Offensive FB - Full Back (FB Attack); Wing Back (FB Attack); Complete Wing Back (FB Attack); Inverted Wing Back (FB Attack).
  • Offensive WB - Wing Back (WB Attack); Complete Wing Back (WB Attack); Inverted Wing Back (WB Attack).

Wing Back (FB/WB Support) and Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support) can also be used for the attacking partner. However, they are not recommended because they use a relatively low risk mentality*, which is more suitable for the ancillary partner in an overloading partnership*, as explained in the tactical theory Mentality Systems* guide.

Medium Tactical Risk Overlapping Partnerships

Ancillary partner tactical roles:

Ancillary partner roles and duties:

  • Sitting/holding WM - Wide Midfielder (WM Defend); Defensive Winger (WM Defend).
  • Sitting/holding WF - Wide Target Man (WF Support).
  • Auxiliary sitting/holding WM (sitting/holding off-centre CM) if using a lone wide player on the same flank - Central Midfielder (Off-Centre CM Defend); Deep Lying Playmaker (Off-Centre CM Defend/Support); Ball Winning Midfielder (Off-Centre CM Defend).
  • Auxiliary sitting/holding WF (sitting/holding off-centre AM) if using a lone wide player on the same flank - none.

Attacking partner tactical roles:

  • Offensive* deep wide player.
    • Possible playing positions - FB; WB.
    • Possible auxiliary players - none.
    • Required active player instructions - Get Further Forward.

Attacking partner roles and duties:

  • Offensive FB - Full Back (FB Attack); Wing Back (FB Attack); Complete Wing Back (FB Attack); Inverted Wing Back (FB Attack).
  • Offensive WB - Wing Back (WB Attack); Complete Wing Back (WB Attack); Inverted Wing Back (WB Attack).

Wing Back (FB/WB Support) and Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support) can also be used for the attacking partner. However, they are not recommended, as explained above for high tactical risk overlapping partnerships.

High Tactical Risk Direct Partnerships

Ancillary partner tactical roles:

Ancillary partner roles and duties:

  • Supporting FB - Full Back (FB Support); Inverted Wing Back (FB Support).
  • Supporting WB - Inverted Wing Back (FB Support).
  • Auxiliary supporting WB (supporting off-centre DM) if using a lone wing back on the same flank - Defensive Midfielder (Off-Centre DM Support); Segundo Volante (Off-Centre DM Support); Ball Winning Midfielder (Off-Centre DM Support); Regista (Off-Centre DM Support); Roaming Playmaker (Off-Centre DM Support).

Attacking partner tactical roles:

  • Offensive* advanced wide player.
    • Possible playing positions - WM; WF.
    • Possible auxiliary players - none.
    • Required active player instructions - Get Further Forward.

Attacking partner roles and duties:

  • Offensive WM - Wide Midfielder (WM Attack); Inverted Winger (WM Attack); Winger (WM Attack).
  • Offensive WF - Winger (WF Attack); Inside Forward (WF Attack); Wide Target Man (WF Attack); Raumdeuter (WF Attack).

Overloading Partnerships

Ancillary partner tactical roles:

Ancillary partner roles and duties:

  • Offensive FB - Full Back (FB Attack); Wing Back (FB Support/Attack); Complete Wing Back (FB Support/Attack); Inverted Wing Back (FB Attack).
  • Offensive WB - Wing Back (WB Support/Attack); Complete Wing Back (WB Support/Attack); Inverted Wing Back (WB Attack).

Wing Back (FB/WB Support) and Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support) are particularly suitable for the ancillary partner in an overloading partnership because they use a relatively low risk mentality*, as explained in the tactical theory Mentality Systems* guide.

Attacking partner tactical roles:

  • Offensive advanced wide player.
    • Possible playing positions - WM; WF.
    • Possible auxiliary players - offensive (wide and) off-centre CM or AM acting as an auxiliary narrow* and offensive WM or WF if using a lone wide player* on the same flank.
    • Required active player instructions - Get Further Forward.

Attacking partner roles and duties:

  • Offensive WM - Wide Midfielder (WM Attack); Inverted Winger (WM Attack); Winger (WM Attack).
  • Offensive WF - Winger (WF Attack); Inside Forward (WF Attack); Wide Target Man (WF Attack); Raumdeuter (WF Attack).
  • Auxiliary offensive WM (offensive off-centre CM) if using a lone wing back on the same flank - Central Midfielder (Off-Centre CM Attack); Mezzala (Off-Centre CM Support/Attack).
  • Auxiliary offensive WF (offensive off-centre AM) if using a lone wing back on the same flank - Attacking Midfielder (Off-Centre AM Attack); Shadow Striker (Off-Centre AM Attack)

1.4. Central Attack

Recommended use:

High Tactical Risk Overlapping Partnerships

Ancillary partner tactical roles:

Ancillary partner roles and duties:

  • Supporting CF - Deep Lying Forward (CF Support); Target Man (CF Support); Complete Forward (CF Support); Defensive Forward (CF Support); Trequartista (CF Attack); False Nine (CF Support).

Attacking partner tactical roles:

  • Offensive* attacking midfielder.
    • Possible playing positions - AM.
    • Possible auxiliary players - offensive, and narrow*, roaming* or inverted*, WF acting as an auxiliary offensive wide and off-centre AM.
    • Required active player instructions - Get Further Forward.
      • Auxiliary players
        • WF - Sit Narrower, Roam From Position or Cut Inside With Ball.

Attacking partner roles and duties:

  • Offensive AM - Attacking Midfielder (AM Attack); Shadow Striker (AM Attack).
  • Auxiliary offensive AM (offensive, and narrow, roaming or inverted, WF) - Inside Forward (WF Attack); Raumdeuter (WF Attack).

Medium Tactical Risk Overlapping Partnerships

Ancillary partner tactical roles:

Ancillary partner roles and duties:

  • Sitting/holding CF - Defensive Forward (CF Defend).

Attacking partner tactical roles:

  • Offensive* attacking midfielder.
    • Possible playing positions - AM.
    • Possible auxiliary players - offensive, and narrow*, roaming* or inverted*, WF acting as an auxiliary offensive wide and off-centre AM.
    • Required active player instructions - Get Further Forward.
      • Auxiliary players
        • WF - Sit Narrower, Roam From Position or Cut Inside With Ball.

Attacking partner roles and duties:

  • Offensive AM - Attacking Midfielder (AM Attack); Shadow Striker (AM Attack).
  • Auxiliary offensive AM (offensive, and narrow, roaming or inverted, WF) - Inside Forward (WF Attack); Raumdeuter (WF Attack).

High Tactical Risk Direct Partnerships

Ancillary partner tactical roles:

  • Supporting* central attacker.
    • Possible playing positions* - AM; CF (if the attacking partner is also a CF).
    • Possible auxiliary players* - offensive* CM acting as an auxiliary supporting AM; supporting, and narrow*, roaming* or inverted*, WF acting as an auxiliary supporting wide and off-centre AM; offensive, and narrow, roaming or inverted, WM acting as an auxiliary supporting wide and off-centre AM.
    • Required active player instructions
      • Auxiliary players
        • CM/WM - Get Further Forward.
        • WM/WF - Sit Narrower, Roam From Position or Cut Inside With Ball.
    • Required unactive player instructions - Get Further Forward (except for CM/WM); Hold Position.

Ancillary partner roles and duties:

  • Supporting AM - Attacking Midfielder (AM Support); Advanced Playmaker (AM Attack); Trequartista (AM Attack); Enganche (AM Attack).
  • Supporting CF - Deep Lying Forward (CF Support); Target Man (CF Support); Complete Forward (CF Support); Defensive Forward (CF Support); Trequartista (CF Attack); False Nine (CF Support).
  • Auxiliary supporting AM (offensive CM) - Central Midfielder (CM Attack); Mezzala (Off-Centre CM Support/Attack).
  • Auxiliary supporting AM (supporting, and narrow, roaming or inverted, WF) - Inside Forward (WF Support); Advanced Playmaker (WF Support/Attack); Trequartista (WF Attack).
  • Auxiliary supporting AM (offensive, and narrow, roaming or inverted, WM) - Inverted Winger (WM Attack).

Attacking partner tactical roles:

  • Offensive central attacker.
    • Possible playing positions - AM (if the ancillary partner is also an AM); CF.
    • Possible auxiliary players - offensive, and narrow, roaming or inverted, WF acting as an auxiliary offensive wide and off-centre AM.
    • Required active player instructions - Get Further Forward.
      • Auxiliary players
        • WF - Sit Narrower, Roam From Position or Cut Inside With Ball.

Attacking partner roles and duties:

  • Offensive AM - Attacking Midfielder (AM Attack); Shadow Striker (AM Attack).
  • Offensive CF - Deep Lying Forward (CF Attack); Advanced Forward (CF Attack); Target Man (CF Attack); Poacher (CF Attack); Complete Forward (CF Attack).
  • Auxiliary offensive AM (offensive, and narrow, roaming or inverted, WF) - Inside Forward (WF Attack); Raumdeuter (WF Attack).

1.5. Penetration Score

As explained in the tactical theory Attacking Structures* guide, a team's penetration score can be used to assess whether the typical vertical movement of its players enables them to penetrate space* effectively.

Along with the solidity score and support score, the penetration score can be used to fine-tune your team's formation and attacking structures.

Details of how to calculate your team's penetration score and the recommended range of scores are provided below. Included in each part of the calculation are the relevant player roles and duties, if used with their default player instructions, as per the analysis in the Player Roles & Duties guides.

Recommended score: 2.75 to 3.25

Calculation:

1.00 x (the number of offensive* CFs), being ...

  • ... Players assigned a CF playing position* and instructed to Get Further Forward, such as ...
  • ... Deep Lying Forward (CF Attack); Advanced Forward (CF Attack); Target Man (CF Attack); Poacher (CF Attack); Complete Forward (CF Attack) ...

... + 0.75 x (the number of supporting* CFs; and offensive AMs and WFs), being ...

  • ... Players assigned a CF playing position and not instructed to Get Further Forward nor Hold Position, such as ...
  • ... Deep Lying Forward (CF Support); Target Man (CF Support); Complete Forward (CF Support); Defensive Forward (CF Support); Trequartista (CF Attack); False Nine (CF Support) ...
  • ... And players assigned an AM or WF playing position and instructed to Get Further Forward, such as ...
  • ... Attacking Midfielder (AM Attack); Shadow Striker (AM Attack), and

  • Winger (WF Attack); Inside Forward (WF Attack); Wide Target Man (WF Attack); Raumdeuter (WF Attack) ...

... + 0.50 x (the number of sitting* (or holding*) CFs; supporting AMs and WFs; offensive CMs and WMs; and false-nines*), being ...

  • ... Players assigned a CF playing position and instructed to Hold Position, such as ...
  • ... Defensive Forward (CF Defend) ...
  • ... Players assigned an AM or WF playing position and not instructed to Get Further Forward nor Hold Position, such as ...
  • ... Attacking Midfielder (AM Support); Advanced Playmaker (AM Attack); Trequartista (AM Attack); Enganche (AM Attack), and
  • Winger (WF Support); Advanced Playmaker (WF Support/Attack); Inside Forward (WF Support); Trequartista (WF Attack) ...
  • ... And players assigned a CM or WM playing position and instructed to Get Further Forward, such as ...
  • ... Central Midfielder (CM Attack); Mezzala (Off-Centre CM Support/Attack),
  • Wide Midfielder (WM Attack); Winger (WM Attack); Inverted Winger (WM Attack), and
  • False Nine (CF Support) ...

... + 0.25 x (the number of sitting (or holding) AMs and WFs; supporting CMs and WMs; and offensive DMs and WBs), being ...

  • ... Players assigned an AM or WM playing position and instructed to Hold Position, such as ...
  • ... Advanced Playmaker (AM Support), and
  • Wide Target Man (WF Support) ...
  • ... Players assigned a CM or WM playing position and not instructed to Get Further Forward nor Hold Position, such as ...
  • ... Central Midfielder (CM Support); Ball Winning Midfielder (CM Support); Box To Box Midfielder (CM Support); Advanced Playmaker (CM Support); Advanced Playmaker (CM Attack); Roaming Playmaker (CM Support); Carrilero (Off-Centre CM Support), and
  • Wide Midfielder (WM Support); Winger (WM Support); Defensive Winger (WM Support); Wide Playmaker (WM Support/Attack); Inverted Winger (WM Support) ...
  • ... And players assigned a DM or WB playing position and instructed to Get Further Forward, such as ...
  • ... Segundo Volante (Off-Centre DM Attack), and
  • a Wing Back (WB Support/Attack); Complete Wing Back (WB Support/Attack); Inverted Wing Back (WB Attack).

1.6. Solidity Score

As explained in the tactical theory Attacking Structures* guide, a team's solidity score can be used to assess whether the typical vertical movement of its players enables them to retain solidity* effectively.

Along with the penetration score and support score, the solidity score can be used to fine-tune your team's formation and attacking structures.

Details of how to calculate your team's solidity score and the recommended range of scores are provided below. Included in each part of the calculation are the relevant player roles and duties, if used with their default player instructions, as per the analysis in the Player Roles & Duties guides.

Recommended score: 4.00 to 4.50

Calculation:

... 1.00 x (the number of sitting* (or holding*) SWs, CBs and FBs; and half-backs*), being ...

  • ... Players assigned a SW, CB or FB playing position and instructed to Hold Position, such as ...
  • ... Sweeper (SW Defend),
  • Central Defender (CB Defend/Stopper/Cover) Ball Playing Defender (CB Defend/Stopper/Cover); Defensive Centre Back (CB Defend/Stopper/Cover),
  • Full Back (FB Defend); Wing Back (FB Defend); Defensive Full Back (FB Defend); Inverted Wing Back (FB Defend), and
  • Half Back (DM Defend) ...

... + 0.75 x (the number of supporting* SWs and FBs; and sitting (or holding) DMs and WBs), being ...

  • ... Players assigned a SW or FB playing position and not instructed to Get Further Forward nor Hold Position, such as ...
  • ... Libero (SW Support), and
  • Full Back (FB Support); Inverted Wing Back (FB Support) ...
  • ... And players assigned a DM or WB playing position and instructed to Hold Position, such as ...
  • ... Defensive Midfielder (DM Defend); Deep Lying Playmaker (DM Defend/Support); Ball Winning Midfielder (DM Defend); Anchor Man (DM Defend); Half Back (DM Defend), and
  • Wing Back (WB Defend); Inverted Wing Back (FB Defend) ...

... + 0.50 x (the number of offensive* SWs and FBs; supporting DMs and WBs; and sitting (or holding) CMs and WMs), being ...

  • ... Players assigned a SW or FB playing position and instructed to Get Further Forward, such as ...
  • ... Libero (SW Attack), and
  • Full Back (FB Attack); Wing Back (FB Support/Attack); Complete Wing Back (FB Support/Attack); Inverted Wing Back (FB Attack) ...
  • ... Players assigned a DM or WB playing position and not instructed to Get Further Forward nor Hold Position, such as ...
  • ... Defensive Midfielder (DM Support); Ball Winning Midfielder (DM Support); Regista (DM Support); Roaming Playmaker (DM Support); Segundo Volante (Off-Centre DM Support), and
  • Inverted Wing Back (FB Support) ...
  • ... And players assigned a CM or WM playing position and instructed to Hold Position, such as ...
  • ... Central Midfielder (CM Defend); Deep Lying Playmaker (CM Defend/Support); Ball Winning Midfielder (CM Defend), and
  • Wide Midfielder (WM Defend); Defensive Winger (WM Defend) ...

... + 0.25 x (the number of offensive DMs and WBs; supporting CMs and WMs; and sitting (or holding) AMs and WFs), being ...

  • ... Players assigned a DM or WB playing position and instructed to Get Further Forward, such as ...
  • ... Segundo Volante (Off-Centre DM Attack), and
  • Wing Back (WB Support/Attack); Complete Wing Back (WB Support/Attack); Inverted Wing Back (WB Attack) ...
  • ... Players assigned a CM or WM playing position and not instructed to Get Further Forward nor Hold Position, such as ...
  • ... Central Midfielder (CM Support); Ball Winning Midfielder (CM Support); Box To Box Midfielder (CM Support); Advanced Playmaker (CM Support); Advanced Playmaker (CM Attack); Roaming Playmaker (CM Support); Carrilero (Off-Centre CM Support), and
  • Wide Midfielder (WM Support); Winger (WM Support); Defensive Winger (WM Support); Wide Playmaker (WM Support/Attack); Inverted Winger (WM Support) ...
  • ... And players assigned an AM or WF playing position and instructed to Hold Position, such as ...
  • ... Advanced Playmaker (AM Support), and
  • Wide Target Man (WF Support).

1.7. Support Score

As explained in the tactical theory Attacking Structures* guide, a team's support score can be used to assess whether the typical vertical movement of its players enables them to provide attacking support* effectively.

Along with the penetration score and solidity score, the support score can be used to fine-tune your team's formation and attacking structures.

Recommended score: 6.75 to 7.50

Calculation: penetration score + solidity score

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