Let’s talk about – Attacking Midfielder | Left or right side?

The attacking midfielder position is an integral part of well-known formations: 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2, 4-3-2-1, 4-5-1 and so on.

Of course, sometimes there is no attacking 😏 but the attributes remain the same: determination, technique, acceleration-pace, and crossing.

Without them, the player has nothing to look for in this position because they are the key to everything.

Another indicator that is very important is the height. For example, I like to have a high player on the AML that will easily gain confidence in winning air duels.

In most cases, a goalkeeper usually sends the ball to this side and if my answer is not speed, let it be a strength 😉.

On the other hand, I don’t pay too much attention to the little things about the attacking midfielder right position.

Simply, I’m asking the player to fulfill the minimum conditions and assign him one of the following roles …

Wide Midfielder – MR/L

The Wide Midfielder performs defensive and attacking duties on the flanks, supporting the forwards, midfield, and defence when required.

Generally lacking either the explosive pace or exciting dribbling skills of an out and out winger, the Wide Midfielder relies on teamwork and work rate to get into dangerous attacking positions without compromising defensive responsibilities.

Defend Duty –  he will sit back and launch crosses from deep.

Support Duty – he will stay deeper and play angled through balls into the box from wide positions, although he will still cross when it is on.

Attack Duty –  he looks to play quick crosses in from the final third.

With an Automatic duty, the Wide Midfielder will switch automatically between Defend, Support and Attack duties according to your match strategy.

Winger – (A)MR/L

The Winger aims to best his man on the outside and needs to be technically proficient as well as quick in order to do so.

The Winger hugs the touchline when the team is going forward, ready to surge into space and attack the byline.

Support – the Winger’s job is to try to quickly get past his man and get in an early cross for the forwards.

Attack – he will try and run at the defence in the final third, aiming to cause panic and indecision prior to shooting or attempting to make a through ball/cross to a team mate.

Wide Playmaker – MR/L

The Wide Playmaker will act as the team’s primary source of creativity, drifting inside to find space from which to play the killer ball and create chances.

Coming in from the wing allows the WD to escape the hustle and bustle of central midfield and can result in him being unmarked by opposition players.

Defensively the Wide Playmaker will take up his position on the wing to provide cover for his full-back; however, he is not expected to make too many tackles but instead he should take up good defensive positions and provide another body in the defensive line.

Support – he will come inside to sit in a central midfield position when his team have the ball. From here he will act as the main creator for his side.

Attack – he will come inside to sit in an advanced midfield position between the opposition’s defence and midfield.

From here he will act as the main creator for his side. This may result in the Wide Playmaker being caught upfield and unable to get back into position for defensive phase.

Defensive Winger – (A)MR/L

The Defensive Winger aims to press the opposing full-backs, win back the ball high up the pitch and either hold it up for the rest of the team, drive to the byline or get in a quick cross or through ball for the forwards.

Support – the Defensive Winger’s job is to try to win the ball, get past his man and get in an early cross for the forwards.

Attack – he will try to run at the defence in the final third once he has won the ball, aiming to cause panic and indecision prior to shooting or attempting to make a through ball/cross to a team mate.

Inside Forward – AMR/L

The Inside Forward aims to cut inside from the flanks and run directly at the centre of the opposition’s defence and works best when the player’s strongest foot is opposite to the flank he is playing on.

This movement can open up space for overlapping fullbacks as well as overloading a retreating defender, although it can also end up with the player running into cul-de-sacs.

Support – he will cut diagonally into the space behind the defence and play through balls or take long shots if the opportunity arises.

Attack – he will run directly at the defence with the options of shooting, passing or crossing as he moves into the final third.

Wide Target Man – AMR/L

The Wide Target Man will be the main outlet for clearances and long balls from the back.

Ideally positioned against a smaller and weaker full back, he will be asked to get hold of the ball and keep it before recycling it to a team-mate.

Support – he is best used for relocating a tall and powerful target man to bully a smaller, weaker full-back, offering knock-downs and opportunities to on-rushing central players.

Attack – he will be the main focal point for his team and the outlet for the majority of their attacking play.

Ideally positioned against a smaller and weaker full-back, he will be asked to receive the ball in attacking areas and make his presence felt as he brings team-mates into play in the attacking third.

More information about the Advanced Playmaker and Raumdeuter can be found here.

TOP 5 Preferred Moves – Attacking Midfielder (L or R)

When I choose the right role for my player (depending on tactics, opponents, etc.) then I focus my attention on training.

I must say that the preferred moves (player trait) enhance the efficiency of my tactics, and the result is visible on the pitch.

I could hardly imagine a player in this position without having successfully mastered one of the following tasks …

1. Cuts inside

If a player wants to help attack he must have a good reference: acceleration-pace, technique, dribbling, and finishing. It’s enough to have 2 attributes in order to think about the task.

It is desirable that the mental side of the player is OK. But … It’s an impossible mission 😐.

However, this is ideal for wingers with strong opposite feet (i.e. strong right foot for left sided players and vice versa).

2. Hugs line

Having good players in these positions (AMR/L) allow me to use “exploit the flanks” during the match.

Therefore, it is good to make some space in the middle, and this is a real task for that.

3. Runs with ball often

The most important attributes: dribbling and pace. But … The point is not that player is going forward and loses the ball very quickly!

His task is to buy the time for the arrival of the other players into the goal area. This means he must have some other attributes in order to successfully overcome the obstacle.

4. Likes to switch ball to other flank

This is a demanding task and very difficult for the Winger and Wide Midfielder role.

It’s much better to have a Playmaker in this position because it has a great passing.

It is sometimes better to switch players from CM or AMC to (A) MR/L, but only if they have a good crossing.

5. Gets into opposition area

This is an advanced version of Gets forward whenever possible. For me, this means – to be in the right place at the right time 😊.

Each player has a hidden talent. That is why my task is to find good indicators and eliminate badly.

On the other hand, the game loses its meaning, if the players in the same position have the same tasks. That’s wrong!

We need to look at the little things: the role, attributes, height and weight, international experience and age, injury history, tactics and the like.

Therefore, it is important to have specific tasks after the evaluation of whether a player has potential or not:

  • Dwells on ball (wingers with hold up ball instructions);
  • Looks for pass rather than attempting to score (poor finishing  and long shots);
  • Comes deep to get ball (Wide Target Man);
  • Tries killer balls often (Playmaker);
  • Runs with ball down left/right (depends on the weak foot);
  • Shoots with power (Wide Midfielder);
  • Moves into channels.

That’s it. The attacking midfielder easily finds a place in my system. I like 4-2-3-1, but also 4-3-3 😎. And you? Thank you for your attention and time.

Author: Alen Stefanovic     Game: Football Manager 2017

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