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Please please help me. Form plummets every single season.

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Hello guys,

Okay, first of all I'll start by saying that I don't mean to criticise the game. I'm sure most of the people on this forum have a great fondness for FM, as do I. But I struggle to accept that FM is anything other than profoundly flawed, and has been so for many years. If I am playing as anything other than a dominant team in any given league then I can give a cast iron guarantee that my season will take precisely this pattern:


First 15-20 games - Very comfortable, very happy dressing room, great results and performances, very good league position.

Next 10-15 games - Hopeless, very little chance of beating anyone, very little chance of maintaining a lead, very little chance of scoring, morale plummets as a result, we fall out of play-off places. 

Next 10-15 games - Miraculous change of fortunes, can suddenly beat anyone we play, morale goes up, we climb up the table again. 


The dip in form usually happens at some point between the end of November and the end of January. 

I mean this is basically set in stone. This will happen. It isn't a matter of if. It's almost as if the game realises that I'm doing better than I should be so corrects it by destroying my form, and then 15 games later it realises that i'm not doing quite as well as I should be so I go on yet another ridiculous "12 games unbeaten!", having been absolutely hopeless a month before. This kills the game for me. I want to stress though this only happens when I'm a good side, if I'm a very good side this isn't anywhere near as obvious. But what am I doing wrong? Because I have put thousands of hours into FM games and I am still completely oblivious. I've looked this up and plenty of people have asked the question in forums like this and the response is usually completely dismissive "this doesn't happen!", or "oh your tactics are too predictable". The first answer is simply false. I know that this happens, I can see it coming a mile off and even so I cannot do anything to change it. The second answer just doesn't fit the bill either; if it is simply a matter of the other teams in the league getting used to my tactics then why does this disastrous run of form suddenly end, like *poof*, a sprinkle of fairy dust and your utterly abysmal team of hopeless idiots that could barely beat Eastbourne at home suddenly beat Chelsea in the cup and go on a roll of 15 games with only one defeat. 


I have tried to bludgeon my way through these dips in form, resolutely sticking to my tactics, the run of bad form eventually ends.

I have tried having a number of tactics that my squad are very comfortable with and changing things up when the dip in form occurs, the run of bad form lasts for just as long.

I have hired the best fitness coaches I could possibly get, the bad run of form lasts for just as long.

I have tried resting players, it seems to make no difference.

I have tried to stick to a solid starting 11, it makes no difference.

I have tried bringing new players in during the January transfer window, it makes no difference.

I have tried bringing no new faces in, still no success. 

I have tried team meetings, team bonding, praising players that are performing well.

I have offered new contracts to my underachieving stars. 

I have brought young players through.

I have let my assistant take over team talks and squad selection. 

I have threatened to put under performing players on the transfer list. 


I have tried all of these things many times. Nothing works. I could happily enjoy being a mid table team if only the season arc wasn't so brazenly obvious. This does happen in real life, but not every single season. I'm not really sure why i'm typing this because I don't expect anyone to acknowledge that this is a problem with FM, or that anyone is going to be able to help resolve this problem. Because as I say, I have tried everything. It's just like the game has its mind made up: you are going to go 15 games without a win, there isn't a thing that you can do about it, so grin, bear it, and enjoy pulling your hair out. 

 So how about this. I challenge anyone to give me a 5 bullet point list of what I can do to avoid the inevitable dip in form. If I do a full season without the ludicrous and deeply unrealistic dip, i'm forever in your debt. Because frankly right now I think it's time that I gave up FM forever, and I don't want to because I know how fun it can be. But I am just so jaded with it, because for me every season is like reading a script. It strikes me as deeply unrealistic and it can't just be me because I have approached so many games in so many different ways. 

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Welcome. First of all, this is what usually happens, in your first season particularly, but it happens throughout the save too:

AI teams adjust match to match BUT usually around the halfway mark, they tend to re-assess and make bigger adjustments, if needed. This is more prominent if you're using a mid-table team or relegation favourite and you're top (or around top of the league) by the halfway point. Before then, teams will treat you as that and so they'll be quite attacking and expecting a win. By halfway, they now realise this is more than just a blip. You've been in good form and you're high up in the league (this happens even if you're a top team) so teams adjust and start respecting you more. They won't be as keen to just pump players forward, leaving gaps for you to counter.

It does happen. If you're a top team, it's almost definitely your tactics in the sense that, yes, you did well until now but the space available to you is different and you likely have more defenders to cope with in transition. If you're struggling, it's likely because your tactic can be improved - usually what we see in cases like this, is a tactic that's extremely attacking and moves the ball forward quick. That works if there's space to do it. If there's less space and more defenders, that may fall flat and the risky through balls or dribbles just intercepted or tackled. Not saying that's what you did. Just giving an example. In the case of being a weaker team and facing the AI adjustment? That's more tricky. It's also usually (again, not saying you, because we don't know) because teams hit the space quick. Now with that space gone, you have to work for it more and that's often difficult because your player quality doesn't match up. It's not impossible of course, but if it was me, I would not expect to hang around the top still if I do not have the players for it.

Now that we know what's going on, dealing with it is another matter. I rarely have to make any adjustments, but my 'style' is more hard tackling but patient possession. I don't tend to let my teams rush forward and then have 2 attackers vs 5 defenders, for instance. A starting point would be to look at this in your case. Are you rushing things? Do you have scenarios where you have 2 or 3 attackers rushing forward, but there are 5 defenders waiting? Are your players trying risky passes or dribbles that are easily handled by the defence? You need to do some analysis.

If you do want more specific advice, it's going to be best to start a thread in the tactics and training section and give as much detail as you can. Who you're managing, where you're predicted to finish, what happened, what your issues are, how you're setting up tactically and anything else you can think of that's relevant. :thup:

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