Low Block, Mid Block and High Block. What's the difference?

Out of possession is just as important as in possession. Whilst people tend to focus a lot on what their team does with the ball, a lot of success also comes from what your players do off the ball as that gives you the base to go and succeed

When it comes to applying a certain block, there isn't really a better or worse system though the high block is most used in Football Manager because people have found the system for it to work and that doesn't mean other defensive systems can't work

Low Block

The low block is seen as an defensive approach. Teams that tend to use this approach are the less technically gifted teams in the league but that isn't a rule. Just like all blocking systems, they can be suited for different situations in 90mins, so it's possible a fairly defensive coach maybe have to adopt a higher block and you will have coaches who play adventurous football apply the low block in certain situations.

Applying a low block means you are now defending closer towards your goal and generally your whole team will defend inside their own half. The aim is to make life difficult for the attacking team by not giving them space to break you down although you are conceding time on the ball. This is also handy against sides that like to attack the space between the defensive and midfield and the space should now be under control by the defending team.

Advantages and disadvantages of the low block

Advantages are that you are reducing space meaning you can become more difficult to break down specially against possession based teams. Also this system can be perfect for counter-attacks. As the attacking team looks to pressure, this can leave them light in defence which can be exploited if the counter-attack is created.

Disadvantages is that you are defending a lot closer to your goal meaning you the attacking team have a bigger chance of scoring a goal and you can be under immense pressure. This would require very high levels of concentration. Another disadvantage would be not having enough attacking outlets. When defending and you win the ball, you may find it hard to get the ball closer to the opponents goal when you have many players in deeper positions.

Player Profiles while implementing a low block in the 4-4-2

Central Defenders - In Football Manager, your central defenders will need to be good in the air with good bravery and a bit off aggression, have good concentration levels, good at marking and anticipation to read the game. Tackling is also a must.

Wide Players - Will be important in stopping or trying to minimize the amount of crosses coming in to the box so for your full backs, ideally, you'd want them to have good concentration and marking. Attacking attributes may not be important as they won't be doing much attacking but it's always a bonus. Your wingers will need to have good teamwork, work rate, stamina and pace. They will be doing a lot of defensive work with your full backs but they can also be vital for your counter attacks so pace is key

Central Midfielders - Your central midfielders will be workhorses. But also will need to be okay technically. But, most importantly is their defensive awareness and positioning so positioning, anticipation, decisions and again, concentration will be key. As they will be shielding and protecting space, they need to always be in the right position to win the ball for team and relieve pressure

Attackers - Generally in a low block system, the two strikers would be similar. Both would be physical players who are not shy when it comes to physical balance. Doesn't mean both have to be target men type players, one would or could be more a static striker, looks to hold up the ball to play pass whilst the other will be more technically gifted, more agile and/or more dynamic. This can be a headache for opponents defence

Mid Block

Standard, or mid block, sounds pretty simple when in fact, it's a lot more difficult than you may assume. In a low block or high block system, you tend to have support so in a high block if one person presses then another will in support. In a low block, you will have plenty of bodies behind you if you lose the ball or lose a battle. If one player makes a wrong move in the mid block then the system can fall apart. This system will look to defend in the middle of the pitch. The defence will have a decent space between them and their goal whilst the attackers will not be too far away from the opponents goal either. Though it sounds basic, when the opponent is building, this system allows them to have time on the ball but then a trap would be set blocking passing lanes into midfield. This can also give space for attackers to counter.

Advantages and disadvantages of the standard block

Advantages of the standard block is that your the team is not too far forward or back which suits adventurous teams who want to keep an defensive shape. When winning the ball back, you also may have a lot of numbers in the midfield area that can help you launch counters or hold possession.

Disadvantages of this system is that you are giving your opponents time on the ball and they can build from that so if one player loses the shape, specially in midfield where the block or trap is, it will affect the whole unit. Your players need to be very disciplined.

Player Profile of a standard block in a 4-2-3-1

Central Defenders – The defenders, like in the low block, would need to be good in the air to deal with crosses that may be coming into the box. Also not bad on the ball, most teams using this defensive system like to play from the back and, for a example, using a double pivot in midfield helps that build up

Full Backs – The full backs will need to be good decision makers. Know when to get forward and also know when to press or mark the opponents wingers. The flanks could actually be a weakness so it's important for them to be switch on and not the worse defenders

Double Pivot – In this position, what you are asking for is near the complete midfielders. Both players to be good defensively and on the ball alongside good decision makers. They need to tackle once players enter the trap, they need to have good positioning but also on the ball they need to distribute and can be key iniating counter attacks

Attacking Mid