I was about to post this in the Realistic Formation thread, but it got too long and "articly", so I'm going in the articles section. Sound good?
Let's get this muthafucka down, THE 2013-2014 formation, 2 signings pending. My final word, any further posts I make will be minor adjustments based on transfer news.
New RB-Starting quality if Zanetti's injury really is that bad
Starting quality CF
RB: I prefer Zanetti over anyone, especially that this team could easily lack leadership without him, but if his injury is as bad as it seems, then we need someone to step in.
DM: Current options are Obi, Duncan, Cambiasso, Gargano, and Mudingayi. Cambiasso hasn't played at DM since the treble season, and while I know he's still got all the qualities he needs, mentally he just doesn't seem to want to play DM anymore, so he's out of the question (notice I moved him to CB). Gargano is a situational player, and I don't want him in the same midfield as Guarin, we just can't keep possession that way. King Gaby is still a boss, but there isn't much he offers that Duncan can't eventually offer. So it's between Duncan and Obi, I prefer Obi but his fitness levels are crap, so Duncan it is.
Or a new signing, but I think, between Duncan and Obi (and the occasional Cambiasso appearance), we're fine. Develop someone and spend the money where we have zero options.
RWF: Botta vs. Ricky. I admittedly haven't seen enough of Botta (in fact, I'm pretty sure he never even plays at RWF), so I could very easily prefer Ricky. Having said that, he has the speed and I'm hoping he's got a better passing vision. Ricky's got the work rate and passing accuracy, but he's soooo slow with decision making and spotting a pass.
CF: Let's be real, Milito is my ideal candidate. The new player I want us to sign is essentially a durable Milito clone. His job is almost entirely about interplay and clever positioning, physical presence is important too, and I only rank his goalscoring ability in fourth place on my priority list. Maybe even fifth behind work rate.
Probably pretty obvious from looking at the formation. Very attack-minded team, all about keeping the intensity high and the play fluid, dominating possession then overloading the left flank and forcing a goal in.
Kovacic and Palacio are the two keys, the team is built around Kova and designed to supply Rodrigol. Kova starts off deep to get his stamp on the ball, he keeps it circulating in the middle third, no real ambitious passes or anything (this is why I prefer Obi in DM, his passing is typically neat and simple, good for possession). Meanwhile, Naga charges down the left flank and allows Palacio inside. Palacio starts very high up, almost level with the CF, and moves laterally to get into goal scoring positions. He doesn't have to worry about dribbling too much, he can get away with 1-2ing his way into the box. Kova is tasked with moving up to combine with them (Palacio and Naga) and allowing Palacio to get into the box. Between Palacio and our intelligent CF inside the box, we have two dangerous strikers in the box and a good playmaker behind them, hopefully that'd be good enough for a goal.
Part 2, Guarin. The left flank is our danger zone, that's where our attacks originate, it's where our chief playmaker drifts off to and where the other team's focus will be. So our RB, RWF and Guarin will have a bit of space to work in on the other side. Guarin's role is simple, hang back for a while, then break forward and Hulk-Smash the shit out of everyone. RB's job is to overlap responsibly, he's got to keep the defensive line balanced (this is why I prefer Zanetti), but be able to have an impact when he does attack, especially with his crossing. RWF's job is to keep the width and play Guarin in, and of course be a threat himself when he's in space.
And what's the bench doing?
If we want to counter mid-game, put Cassano and Icardi on. If we want to slow play down and sit on a lead, Kuzmanovic, Obi and Cambiasso. The main thing I don't have is a general-purpose switch to become more attacking and chase a goal, nothing beyond the barbaric "throw extra CF on and hope 4 da best", except maybe replacing the DM with Kuzmanovic for better ball-retention.
As for backups, most of them are pretty standard. There are at least two players for each position, and most of the defensive positions have like-for-like replacements, as well as the new CF and Milito. If Palacio is out, Icardi is the most suitable replacement, quick+good finisher+decent ability on the ball, all I need.
The big change happens if Kovacic is out, unless Benassi is good enough to back him up (no clue, someone else ought to let me know). In that case, either Kuzmanovic and our other natural passer play alongside the DM (so Guarin is out too, and if we have Bessa in the squad then we switch to 4-2-3-1, keep the 4-3-3 with Benassi). Other option, which I personally prefer, is to keep Guarin, but switch to 3-5-2 with Cambiasso in the middle of the 3. (*insert anti 3-5-2 comment here*). Cambiasso in a back 3 allows the team to keep possession calmly, and allows the midfielders to focus more on playmaking. Without Kova's mobility in midfield, that's what you need to get the ball into Palacio's feet in the box. The WBs allow Guarin and Palacio to play unchanged roles.
BOOM. There it is. I got it out of my head.