Although based on what I’ve seen so far from FIFA 17's Gameplay Series of trailers, I have some deep concerns about both player and team positioning. Let’s explore the detail.
As you can see here Dortmund’s defensive shape is actually pretty good. The fullbacks are slightly advanced, and distances between players are okay. Positive start eh?
Things in midfield however aren’t so great with both of Dortmund’s attacking midfielders occupying the same space. I’d expect one of them to be more spread and to illustrate I’ve highlighted a much better position for him to be in. Having two players so close, massively diminishes forward passing options.
Whilst Dortmund’s defensive shape is good, take a look at Man United’s on the mini-map. That bunching of the two centre backs will be exploited later.
Rashford’s starting potion here illustrates an age old problem in FIFA and as I’ve highlighted, he really should be further forward pressing the centre backs, rather than the defensive midfielders. This effectively makes Dortmund’s defenders irrelevant from a passing perspective, and puts six Dortmund players behind the ball before the attack has even begun.
If we roll the same clip on some 50 game seconds, you can see here that Man United’s back four still hasn’t fully recovered, and is now zig-zagged across the pitch with Smalling the deepest of the four defenders.
The Dortmund strikers starting position here is criminally deep. Ramos hasn’t even managed to get past Wayne Rooney yet, so I’ve moved him to what I see as a much better starting position for a centre forward to be. Very similar to the Rashford example in that he's basically in midfield instead of pushed up to the defence.
If you take a look at the mini-map you can see that Dortmund also have a winger out of shot on the right flank. Yet again he’s not even past United’s midfield and would be much better placed in the highlighted circle to offer another forward option.
Same clip, only now Man United’s back four has disintegrated into a back two, with both Blind and Valencia drawn into midfield. One of them going to close the pass I can perhaps understand, but both doing so is defensive suicide.
Which brings us to figure 2). If Blind has moved to close down in midfield, Valencia must hold his position and I’ve highlighted where he really should be to counter this Dortmund attack. A position where he can actually respond to the run of Reus.
Marco Reus actually makes a nice curved run here and finds the back of the net unopposed.
When Juan Mata is your CDM, you have issues.
All three of those screens are from the same clip, and as you can see there are huge positioning issues in attack, midfield and defence. I know the trailer is designed to see Reus score a wonderful goal (which he does) but it should be his excellent movement getting him into these positions and not multiple defensive lapses which didn’t correct themselves for nearly a minute of gameplay. The zig-zagging of the back four is something we’ll see time, and time again in this analysis.