Sign in to follow this Followers 5 FMM18 New Role: Inverted Wing Back Foxy January 19, 2018 16 replies 7,223 Views Report · Posted January 19, 2018 FMM18 New Role: Inverted Wing Back This year in FMM18 we get to use every football hipsters favourite player role, the inverted wing back (IWB). I have never used this role either in FMM or on the PC version where it was introduced a few years ago. That is for a couple of reasons the first being that I’m not a hipster be it football or otherwise. I don’t have a man bun or have a beard that a Viking would be proud of, although I do enjoy a good craft beer. The other reason is that I like my full backs and wing backs to stay wide, defend the wings and get crosses into the box, you know all that boring but effective stuff that these players have been doing so well for years. Well today that all changes because today is the day I embrace the post-modern, throw off the shackles of the modern world and unleash my inner hipster. Today I will use an IWB for the first time! We had better get on with this as I’m pretty sure I’m starting to lose the plot. What is an Inverted wing back? In simple terms it is a wing back who plays on the wings in defence and moves into central midfield positions when his team have the ball. The role came to the attention of the world during Pep Guardiola’s time at Bayern even though he wasn't the first manager to use IWB's. He wanted to get the most out of his two world class wingers Ribery and Robben and make it easier for them to create 1v1 situations down the flanks. His solution was to get his two full backs to come inside and join the midfield, this meant that the opposition wingers would need to follow them inside as well otherwise Bayern would have a numerical advantage in the midfield. This left the two wingers out wide with plenty of space to attack the opposition full backs. This had the added advantage of protecting against counter attacks as if an attack breaks down the opposition are now very narrow with their two wide attacking threats drawn into the narrow spaces of the central midfield. It also enables the central midfielders to push higher up the pitch and get closer to the striker and wingers. He has occasionally used the role during his time at Manchester City as well. This graphic from the website http://outsideoftheboot.com shows what I am saying clearer. When his team is without the ball the IWB takes up the same position you would expect a normal full back or wingback to take. The IWB has also been used to counter wide players who like to cut inside, to do this you would play a right footer at left IWB and vice versa. This is because if the inside forward cuts inside he is moving the ball onto the side of the IWB preferred foot and this makes it easier for him to get in a tackle. A number of players have played the IWB role in the last few years with the most famous and probably the most effective being Phillipe Lahm of Bayern and Germany. Inverted wing back in FMM The role was introduced to this years game and is available to select when you have a player in the right or left wing back positions. The in game description tells you that this role should function in a very similar way to how Pep tries to implement the role in real life. I find the words “create space for players around him” a little vague. This is one of those occasions where the game isn’t helping the newbie to completely understand the role. I have created a GIF that I hope will show the different positions IWBs take up when their team has the ball and when they don’t. Notice how they are in what would be considered the traditional full back/wing back positions at the start of the clip and whilst Southampton have the ball but then push forwards into midfield and also move more narrow so that they are playing in a DM position once Manchester City are secure in possession. So what attributes should we be looking for in our IWB? I have chosen to use Manchester City to demonstrate the IWB in this article and the players I will be using in the role are Danilo and Kyle Walker. These are the key attributes to look for in an IWB with the gold being the primary attributes and the silver his secondary attributes. You can find the key attributes for all player roles here, thanks to @PriZe and @BatiGoal. These are the attributes that a player needs to play the role effectively and as you can see Danilo is a little wanting in some of these but he is good enough for the purpose of this article. Technical attributes The IWB is primarily used in tactics that look to play out from the back and retain possession ala Pep in real life. That is why you want good dribbling and good passing and you could also add technique into the mix as well, although if you are going to play that way you want everyone in the team to have a good technique not just your IWB. The IWB moves into midfield to allow more creative players to get further forward and so as he isn’t playing any kind of playmaking role in the team so creativity isn’t as important to go along side passing. In defence he should function the same as a normal wingback and defend the flanks so you want him to be able to tackle. Mental attributes I think I say this in every article I write but you need intelligent footballers in your team. This is a role that if it works in the game correctly should be two roles rolled into one. When your team is without the ball he should be a full back/ wingback and a central midfielder when the team is in possession to do that effectively he needs to be able to make good and quick decisions as to when he should move into midfield and when he should be back in his defensive position. Positioning also comes into this as he needs to be taking up the correct positions on the field at the right times. Physical attributes Pace is important both to be able to move between his two roles quickly but also to be able to keep up with fast wingers and inside forwards. Stamina links in with this as you want him to be able to maintain his energy levels for as much of the match as possible so he can continue to perform his role effectively. We have taken a look at the theory behind the role and I think it is now time we got out on the pitch and see how the role performs. I have two formations that I am going to use to show the role in action. The first one is a tried and tested formation that was kindly sent to me by @sharaziuk and has the advantage that it uses an IWB on one side and a WB on the other so we can compare the differences between the two roles. The second is my take on Pep’s tactics with IWB’s. Tactic 1 A very unconventional set up by sharaziuk but as we all know with this game its not always the conventional formations that get the best results. We can see on the left he has a classic wing back pushing forwards to overlap the inside forward who will cut inside and make a third striker. On the right we have a winger and then the IWB who will cut inside and bolster the midfield where the tactic is light on numbers when the team is in possession. I haven’t shown all the team instruction as it’s up to Sharaziuk if he wants to share them himself at some point but as I’m sure you can guess from looking at it, it’s an attacking and high pressing tactic. I have used this tactic in a few games to make this article and have to say I have been impressed by some of the results I have had not least a 7-1 away win over West Ham that I will show you some screenshots from. We are going to start with a shot of us defending. You can see that it looks like a very conventional back four with our left back Mendy and our right back Danilo both defending the flanks as you would expect. We can start to see the difference between the wing back and IWB role in this next shot. The IWB (ringed in red) is sitting far more narrow compared with his teammate out on the left. We are playing against a 4231 and the West Ham left winger is charged with marking our IWB, the problem he is having is that he really doesn’t know how to handle him and is left in a no mans land. The West Ham right winger isn’t having the same problem with our left wing back (ringed blue) and you can see he is marking him very closely. City are on the attack again and Danilo is in the thick of the action. This is where the role actually frustrates me because as I’m watching the action I’m wanting him to lay the ball out wide for an overlapping wingback except he is the wingback. On the other hand he did pass the ball on to our right winger (no7) who got a cross in and set up a goal so what do I know. If we take a look at the player stats for this and another game I played with this tactic versus Hudderfield we see some interesting numbers. In both games and in a few more games I played with this tactic we see the left wing back make far more tackles compared with the IWB but the IWB tended to make more interceptions except for the West Ham game. I wonder if the interceptions is because the IWB spends more time in a midfield position and can intercept passes as he move back out wide. With the tackles it may be that the wing back finds in self in more 1v1 situations out on the flanks or simply the AI sense a weakness in Mendy and where focusing more attacks down his flanks. What I can definitely say is the IWB saw far more of the ball than the wingback does in this tactic and you only need to see the passing figures as proof of this with Danilo attempting twice as many passes in both games than Mendy. Tactic 2 The second tactic I tested the IWB role with was an attempt at a recreation of the shape that Pep often used at Bayern and now at City. What I hope to see is the two IWB’s moving into midfield enabling the two AP’s to move forward and get closer to Aguero up front. Ideally I would have used a left footer on the right and vice versa but Mendy has zero ablity at right wing back. The screenshots are from a league game against Arsenal that finished as a 2-2 draw with Arsenal scoring from two set pieces. The first shot is similar to the West Ham game and shows the two IWB’s are in conventional wing back position just as they should be. This shows how the IWB can contribute to the attack by running with the ball in the midfield. Just as we saw in the West Ham game the opposition winger isn’t sure how to deal with the IWB. I’m sure that if you found a wing back with good shooting you could pick up a few long shot goals with him from situations like this. I have ringed the left IWB as well as earlier in the article I mentioned how the IWB can draw the opposition wingers in field and neutralise the impact they can have in a counter attack and we can see this here. If Walker loses the ball and Arsenal launch a counter the right winger is out of his comfort zone and is covered both by Mendy but also our left centre back behind him. I said that I wanted see the two AP’s in central midfield to push up and get near the lone striker with the IWB’s creating a solid base from midfield. I think this shot shows that it did just that as although the move has broken down we can see that both AP’s are inside the Arsenal's box. If we take a look at the positives from this game we can see that “the midfielders supported the attack well” so that proves that the situation above wasn’t a one off.. I have put a big question mark next to “wingbacks had a lot of joy down the flanks” simply because that doesn’t make sense as the wingbacks where playing in midfield in possession. I have took this to simply mean they had a good game, which they did as they both had 8 ratings. Its probably a case of SI needing to add a positive to the list that has more relevance to IWB’s. If we take a look at the player stats from this game and one other against Southampton we can see a similar pattern with the IWB’s being very involved in the game both with the ball and without. In both games the IWB’s made more tackles than the centre backs did and also had a good number of interceptions with Walker getting an incredible 10 during the Arsenal game. I felt it would be a good idea to play a couple of games with the same formation but to change the IWB’s into wingbacks so we could get an idea if IWB’s tend to make more passes, tackles or interceptions than standard wing backs. I played the same team with Walker and Delph (Mendy was suspended) playing as wing backs. I think the stats we saw in the first tactic where just a nuance of that tactic as we see the conventional wing backs get very similar numbers as they did as IWB’s. Conclusion As we can see the role does what it should in the game and could definitely have it uses especially if you are trying to play high possession football as they are always available as a short passing option when they move into midfield. I much prefer traditional wing backs myself as they are one of my favourite roles in the game and in real life. I love to see them on surging runs forward as they overlap the midfield and get crosses in. I would definitely like to experiment with IWB’s more and get a tactic built around them in a future save but that will have to wait as they won’t be much use in my current Barcelona tactic. I hope that you have enjoyed this look at the inverted wing back role and I would love to hear whether you have been using them this year in your tactics or will you give them a go after reading this. I would also like to hear your opinion on my use of the GIF. Did it help you understand the role a little better and would you like me to include more in future articles? Thank you to @sharaziuk for providing me with his tactic and thank you for reading. 5 Share this post Link to post Share on other sites Share this with others!