Hello and welcome to the second part of this FM18 experiment; “Sean Dyche Tactics with a Title Contender?”. In part one (http://bit.ly/2D5e4jK) I focused on Pre-Season and the tactics we’re going to be implementing for the season.

I was really hopeful following Pre-Season, we had some excellent results and performances. Whilst I didn’t set a points total or a positional goal, I was aiming for UCL qualification and a solid defence. Going into August I did stick by my 4-4-1-1 shape as shown prior, and defensively this worked a treat in August.

With 5 games played, and 3 in the Premier League, we had only conceded 1 goal and that was an OG at home to West Ham. More importantly, the shape was good.


To start off our campaign we did drop 2 points with a goaless draw away to Swansea. Whilst it was a disappointing result, overall the performance was pleasing.


Out of possession we looked solid and compact, whilst on the Counter with we had real pace to attack Swansea’s back 3. My biggest concern on the other hand is how narrow we played. I was hoping for my STC and AMC to move out wide, which didn’t occur as you can see by our ‘Average Positions Map’


Sticky September…

The month of September proved to be our worst month defensively, but on the other hand, the most important in regards to the remainder of the campaign. As you can see by our results, we had some brilliant ones, and some not so brilliant ones…


3 points against Manchester City, away to Leicester City and success in the Champions League were real positives. However, during those 7 games we did concede 11 goals which simply is not good enough. This prompted me to analyse our shape and one keey thing stuck out, our weakness in the centre of the pitch.

When you look at Sean Dyche’s Burnley, they do a wonderful job of packing the centre of the pitch and encouraging teams to move out wide. Looking at my average positions without the ball at home to Newcastle, it’s clear to see the gaps between the defence, midfield and attack.

Ignore the two circles underlined in Blue, this is a glitch.

I ideally want my 2 central midfielders to be closer to my centre backs and for it to be more of a clear 4-2-3-1, so here is how we lined up for the remainder of our campaign.


As a result of this change in shape, over the next 15 games we did only concede 5 goals, where as previouslly we conceded 11 in 7. Whilst during those 15 games we did go unbeaten, winning 9 and drawing 6.


This run of form was so iumportant as this is what the style of play we’re going for is all about. Solid at the back whilst still carrying an attacking threat. It’s evident how this change in shape has helped us become more solid and organised.

A game which shows this was our Merseyside Derby clash away to Everton. With just 39% possession we managed to have double the shots on target than Everton.


Looking at our average positions map, we did manage to become more solid centrally, with #23 (Emre Can) remaining close to both central defenders throughout.


A Season Analysis…

So now we have our setup, the remainder of the season was very much a ‘plug and play’. This means I wanted to see how the tactic performed, with no real intervention from myself on the training field and in game.

When drawing 0-0, I didn’t change our shape to become more attacking and when protecting a lead late on I didn’t change our shape to become more defensive. Reason being is so I can see just HOW this performs in all circumstances. So, the League Table…


We finished 2nd which is exactly what I aimed for, UCL qualification. It’s fair to say we were the ‘best of the rest’ if you exclude Arsenals wonder season. Noticable is our lack of goals, only 59 from 38 league games. However, we did only concede 25 from 38. Looking into this stat further, since the tactical switch, we only conceded 14 goals in 31 league games!

Even more pleasing was our capabilities from set pieces, we did only conced 2 goals from corners all season with 1 going in from an indirect free kick.


We also managed to keep the LEAST amount of possession in the league, with only 44.63% on average per game. I personally see this as an achievement, as it goes to show this tactic does EXACTLY what it says on the tin in true Sean Dyche style.


After early exits from both the League Cup and FA Cup, we were knoocked out the UCL by Real Madrid. I personally see this as a good campaign, after topping our group we were unlucky to come against such good opposition.


To Summarise

I feel this is a tactic which worked well – I personally would use this if I had a team full of quick and pacey players. Given a few transfer windows, I do believe this is a league winning tactic.

As you can see from my managerial stats, from 52 games we won 29, drawing 17 and losing just the 6. The key stastic is our strong defensive record, conceding just the 33 from 52 league games.


I would recommend this tactic as an ideal defensive option for your saves, one which you could implement to hold on to leads or against tough opposition.

A link to the tactic can be found here > http://bit.ly/2BFXGtL.

Thank you for reading.