Busy few weeks so far, just moved house so time to write up was minimal and I’m still getting an internet connection… Let’s not talk about it. Instead let’s focus on what you’re here for.
I’ve been toying with a 4 man front-line for a while. Each time has been an utter bust though. When I envision a four man front-line my initial thoughts are of quick movement, overwhelming the opponent due to the sheer weight of numbers. A situation where you’re matching four defenders vs four attackers and removing the numerical advantage your opposition would usually enjoy.
Changing Lanes isn’t that.
Changing Lanes is more cerebral, built upon strong inter-linking play in the final third to create easy chances in the box.
The Principles Changing Lanes Embodies are:
- Above average Possession and ball control (55+% possession)
- Intense Movement Off the Ball by key attackers
- Heavy emphasis on Playmakers
How it Works
I like to think of it as a twin, or even a quasi-three Pivot system. The DLP and the Enganche engage as our primary playmakers, both at different stages of transition. The DLP let’s us control the tempo of the game, and serves to also unlock Atal out right, or our CWB in general allowing him to surge from deep more effectively.
The Enganche with the SS and IW running off him has two active movers/attacking threats. Positioning him inbetween them was designed in order to maximise their respective spaces. This is due to the fact that Enganches don’t really move. Much like the DLP it’s a static player. Positioning him between the IW and the SS pushes the SS onto the shoulder of the Deep Lying Forward.
This is reflected in our Average Positions With the Ball.
Yes… You’re looking at it right. When we’re attacking it becomes a wave of 6 attackers. Number 10 or the SS, does as predicted and sits slightly to the right of our Striker and creates a balanced wave of attackers from all sides of the pitch. Our enganche, Number 34 plonks himself right in the middle of the park and has 5 men he can fashion chances for entirely according to his whims.
But what about the Third Pivot? Or the Quasi-Pivot as he was called earlier?
DLF’s according to their role fashion chances for themselves and also for their own attacking team-mates. While his primary role is going to be goals, he also plays as a last-gasp playmaker. He’s not who I want to have starting all of our attacks, but it adds a touch more creativity in the final third which is never unwelcome.
While the attack doesn’t lead to a goal, it does display entirely what we’re looking to do with this system. The IW cutting inside opens up Ntenda our Left Back. We use our wing-back to allow our front 4 to all charge into the box to maximise our lethality. The system operates under the premise that the more numbers you can get into the box, the more chances you theoretically have to score.
I’m actually going to break down some key positions here.
The play in this gif starts out with the players heavily slanted to the left. But that slant also allows Atal to play entirely unopposed on the right hand side. In fact, at the start of play our RWB is the second highest player on the field only behind our striker. Our entire midfield has dropped in order to help us build from the back. From the onset, it looks like a 2 v 2 with Sarr and our Opposite CB the only players sitting deeper than the oppositions two attackers.
If we freeze the frame though, losing the ball in midfield would just make it a 2 v 5 as our CMs and LB are very, very deep. The LB of course should be there, but our emphasis on Playing out from Defence as a TI also forces our Central midfielders to drop in order for this to be a feasible possibility. Their roles in BWM and DLP are also tied into either substantial movement to make this drop possible (BWM) or their explicit role (DLP) which has a heavy emphasis on getting the ball from DEEP (Fancy that) to launch it forward.
The Complete Wing Back
Atal runs rampant because Reims don’t have an offensive threat on his side of the pitch. There’s realistically no need for him to have sat deep for this set-piece and so he plays as a winger right from the onset of play. It also helps of course, that Atal doesn’t really care about defence to begin with.
OTB of 16, but Positioning of 8. Add his player traits to cut in from the left wing and he comes off as an attacking midfielder who just got shifted to Wing-Back one day and somehow made it work well enough that no-one ever told him to go back to what he was better at. Until we did of course.
His high speed and work-rate also play a pivotal role in ensuring that he runs all day, doing both his offensive and defensive duties. While his exemplary attacking attributes lead to highlights above where he just sits as high as he wants and functions very much like an out and out winger.
His statistics also embody this. Across one season Atal contributed with 16 Goals. 8 scored himself and assisting with 8 as well. He ended up as our third highest goalscorer next to our Inverted Winger and DLF who reaped greater rewards. He thrives off the fact that we’ve left him enough space to run rampant and he returns that space with effectiveness in the final third.
Atal’s also not just an anomaly. Across other saves I’ve run with this system. Dresden, Venezia for example the CWB’s even while being nowhere near as attacking minded as Atal still managed to be amazingly productive.
Wahlqvist and his backup Kreuzer combined for 24 Goals/Assists and Adjapong finished our second highest scorer.
The way I envisioned Changing Lanes on the defensive end, was defence that starts in the top third of the pitch. The way I also envisioned it, was three banks of three.
And the tactic actually reflects those banks. It creates a sliding screen of six players. This screen covers the midfield and our central midfielders/CWB have also dropped deep enough that the LB and the CWB aren’t entirely out of alignment.
In defence work rate and fluidity are key. In this particular highlight, you can also see that the DLP asserts himself into Wahlqvists role and Wahlqvist in turn slots into the DLP slot. Good team cohesion and a fluid system allows this swap to happen with minimal impact on the team. The rate which we’ve tracked back also turned a 3 v 4 on the counter to a 2 v 5 in the box by the time Misidjan actually gets his cross off. We’ve forced so many players back through the sheer weight of numbers we attack with, that the opposition is nearly useless countering us.
Of course, how does this hold up in the League?
Nice start as a Top Ten Team, generally aiming for 6-8th so we overachieved fairly marginally. The main trick of course is the 34 goals conceded. 2nd least in the league against the obviously superior PSG.
In that vein, Dresden is more impressive. Predicted 12th we conceded the third least amount of goals. Added in, we also finished with the highest GD by a considerable amount while outscoring everyone.
In a way, Changing Lanes plays similarly to Raumpress. Particularly the heavy focus on Wing-Backs getting forward. It’s a staple of Raumpress and largely a staple of any tactic I’m liable to run. The main difference however, is that Changing Lanes is a slower, more methodical system that lumbers towards you and crushes you with either ingenuity, or with the sheer weight of numbers. Raumpress is a dagger, clean and incisive. Changing Lanes is a battering ram that’ll punch through anything you put in front of it.
It’s a high pressing system, slanted to one side but that slant allows the Wing Back an entire side of the field to be his own virtual paradise and with the right player in your personnel you can wreak havoc. If you don’t have the right player, they’ll still put in a shift so there’s nothing to lose!
Oddly enough, the general feel I get from this is that you don’t NEED strong dynamics. They’re useful of course but I’ve been running this everywhere and even with dynamics in the Red, it punches through whatever’s in front of it. Could be the six man midfield overwhelming everything, or it could just be the fact that it’s that potent in the final third. Either way if you run it, you’ll get more nice flowing football and bags of goals. Enjoy!
In the meantime…
Download: Changing Lanes