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The Greeks of Verona


Matt_1979
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Hellas Verona - I Mastini: The dogs of war

 

When it comes to great civilisations there's often two which spring to mind: The Greeks and the Romans of Italy. So it's surely a good combination when the two are combined, and that's what happened in 1903 when a new team was set up in fair Verona, with Hellas being the old name for Greece.

Having a keen interest in history, and having just read a book about the Greco-Persian wars, it re-sparked an interest in picking FM21 back up again after a couple of months break when I noticed the connection in the name. One where I could out-think opponents with a solid battle plan, summon the warrior spirit and send the team out to battle in arenas around the country, and hopefully Europe. As I don't fancy a save in Greece, this is the best next thing. The Greeks vs the Italians. 

We're expected to finish in 16th place in Serie A, with only Spezia, Genoa, Crotone & Benevento predicted to do worse, and the board are expecting me to bravely fight against relegation.

Well, if there's anything the Greeks know how to do it's fight bravely! You don't stave off over a decade of carefully planned attacks by the Persian Army, when vastly outnumbered without immense bravery and some tactical nous!

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"If we try to play like the Yankees in here, we will lose to the Yankees out there"

 

We have to do things differently and to create a team which will conquer Italy whilst fending off the sharks who'll be trying to buy our best players. We have to find warriors who will perform as a unit and strike hard and fast when the opportunity arises. 

The board vision of "Sign players from lower levels" fits us down to the ground, we'll send our scouts across Europe and the rest of the world, searching for under-appreciated gems and the next big thing, who can be developed and if the big boys do come circling, can be sold for a handsome profit.

THE SQUAD:

After finishing 9th last season - dubbed massive over achievers - the squad was dismantled and a rag-tag squad has been assembled containing a whopping 14 loan players! 

The best player (on paper) is Mattia Zaccagni but he already has Milan, Roma & Napoli showing a strong interest. Our best striker, Kevin Lasagna, is on-loan from Udinese and our top prospect, central defender Matteo Lovato, looks great..... so I'm expecting a battle to keep hold of him.

It seems there's some good players and we should be able to get a couple of solid, tactical setups in place. However, for the first time ever I've disabled the first transfer window so even if I needed to bring someone in, I can't.

 

I'm going to carry out further squad analysis, get some input from my old mate @MattyLewis11 and post another update soon.

Edited by Matt_1979
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Posted (edited)

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HELLAS VERONA - SQUAD REVIEW

Strengths & Weaknesses

So, what is the team good at? Well, as you'd imagine for a team predicted to finish 16th..... not much.

The only things we're rated as above average in are:

Tackling, concentration & strength. 

So that means there's a whole lot we're god-awful at. We're mostly nearer to the worst teams in Serie A at most things than we are to the league average.

Defence:

We're very insecure at the back and rank the worst in Serie A at tackling, jumping and positioning.... and only just above that at heading marking.......so basically all the main criteria!

Strategic considerations - We need to try to avoid two things: Crosses into the box and playing facing attacking players 1v1. 

Midfield:

Luckily the midfield has more pros than cons. Whilst we're poor at creativity and passing, what we do have is toughness and energy. They'll need to shield the defence well and win the ball back a lot. 

Strategic considerations - I'm normally a fan of a double-pivot in a 4-2-3-1 but it looks like I'll need to adopt a 3 man central midfield. Clearly our main area of strength.

Attackers:

I don't have anyone who can play on the right wing. No one at all. So, that's two wingers out of the equation. Lasagna and Kalinic are both good, all round strikers. For the first time since my first save of FM21, Montpellier, I think I'm going to have to go two up front. 

Strategic considerations - how do we design a system which contains two strikers who are very similar?

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Overall strategic considerations to tackle:

No crosses: So to avoid facing a lot of crosses into our box my first instinct is to play a high(er) defensive line. If we played lower we'd be inviting pressure and with a 3 man midfield we'd be forcing the opposition to wide areas where they'd have time to pick their crosses.... luckily our defence isn't slow. It's not quick, but it's not slow. 

Avoid 1v1's: To stop our defence having players run at them (as they can't tackle and have poor positioning) we'll need to ensure two of our 3 man midfield are defensively minded and can shield the defence by tackling, heading or intercepting. Hunt in a pack and keep them out at all costs.

Here's my initial thoughts.....

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Edited by Matt_1979
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Really looking forward to following this save mate, I know you have a deep underlying love for Calcio :thup: that paired with the historic references twist should make for an interesting read! 

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Hellas(Ελλάς in Greek) is our name and nowadays mate, but the most people outside our country knows us as Greece. Good luck in a very historical club, some greeks played there also, especially Moras who spend many seasons there and was their captain. 

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18 minutes ago, Sheriff7 said:

Hellas(Ελλάς in Greek) is our name and nowadays mate, but the most people outside our country knows us as Greece. Good luck in a very historical club, some greeks played there also, especially Moras who spend many seasons there and was their captain. 

Thanks 👍

Yes, one of my aims is to try to get some Greek players in the squad. Let’s see if I can raid the Olympiakos and the other big boys. 

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HELLAS VERONA - TACTICAL PONDERINGS (Part 1)

As you know, on the last post I was thinking a narrow midfield diamond may be my best option, BUT I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and try a formation with three central defenders. I've never done this before so it'll be a learning curve. Ideally I'd want one of the three to be comfortable on the ball and have the ability to either break the lines by bringing the ball out of defence and committing opposition players OR spread some nice passes to the more creative players further upfield..... but of course we don't have even one who can do either of the aforementioned so we'll need a DLP who can take on the role of linking play as none of our CBs have passing over 11 so they can't be trusted with anything other than short passes.

Battle of Marathon - our attacking principals

Allow me to take you back to 490 BC - yep, a long time ago - and what in my opinion is one of the most important battles ever to have taken place. You'll probably be aware that after battle, a man named Pheidippides, was sent to run  back to Athens as quickly as possible to inform everyone of the victory and warn against a potential counter-attack. Shortly after running the 26 miles he collapsed and died... which is where the Marathon race comes from.

So, the area of Marathon was a flat, plain area which was the only place large enough for the Persian Army to land their 26,000 men. Standing in the between an open route into the rest of Europe was 11,000 Grecians. Clearly outnumbered the boys from Greece needed a plan if they were to succeed.  

Spreading their lines out to match the length of the Persians to avoid being flanked (playing wider and using the full width of the pitch to stop a barrage of crosses) the two armies were around 1,500 meters apart. 

The next issue was closing that gap without being picked off by the feared Persian Archers. Well, there's only one thing to do.... get from back to the front as quickly as possible (more direct passing). A sprint through the "danger zone" saw them coming eye to eye with an opposition so surprised and confused by the onrushing Greeks (attackers pushing back the defence with runners from midfield looking to overload) that the Athenians flanks were able to cause mayhem by attacking the Persian centre from wide positions (cross more often)

Overwhelmed, the Persians turned and fled back to their ships across the swamp land. It's estimated that 6.400 Persians perished compared to only 203 Greeks. A victory for valour and strategy. 

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So, there we have it. The Battle of Marathon has helped come up with our offensive plan: Have two strikers pushing back the opposition defence, with help from two runners from midfield. Width will be provided by two wingbacks. The defence will then have to choose between:

1 - staying narrow to pick up the four central attacking players, allowing wingbacks to whip in plenty of crosses, or

2 - Drift out wide to challenge the wingbacks and risk leaving someone open in the half spaces who can pick out a pass or break beyond the defence in the available gaps.

Here's how we're looking to line up, which will no doubt change through pre-season.

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Thank you for reading 

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Interesting idea getting your tactical concept from ancient history.

Did you also know that Melbourne Australia has the largest demographic of Greeks outside of Greece?! Not sure that would show up in the game though.

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HELLAS VERONA - Tactical Ponderings (Part 2)

So in the last post we established out attacking philosophy, in this one we'll have a brief look at our defensive plan and have a look at what we expect to be the line up in week 1.

Defence

Being one of the teams tipped for a relegation battle it's safe to say we'll be facing superior opponents each week. We've already set out our aim of limiting the amount of opportunity the opposition have to cross into our box but that's the easy part, the main question is how to we stop opposition players who are technically better, quicker and probably earning much much more than our players?

Well, once again we can look to the Greco-Persian wars for inspiration in another example of where an allied Greek army was vastly outmanned but through out-thinking their opponent managed to come up with a victory. But this time it wasn't on land. It was at sea.

The Battle of Salamis took part in 480 BC, ten years after the battle at Marathon, and was part of the same Persian invasion that saw the 300 Spartans become legendary figures at Thermopylae. 

Around 370 Greek ships were tasked with stopped a water-based invasion by between 600-700 Persian ships (with some estimates putting their numbers at over 1,000).

Fighting a much larger fleet, containing much more experienced sailors, in open waters would be suicide.... so the Greeks realised the only way they could stand a chance is by picking where the battle would take place. The only way to negate the numerical & skill based advantage they faced was to make the battle area as small as possible, much like the Spartans did in choosing a narrow pass to defend. Luckily the Persians took the bait and sailed into the straits of Salamis. 

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The Greek ships backed away, drawing the Persians further into the narrow waters, before they attacked when noticing their opponents were becoming disorganised and panicked due to the lack of space. Before long, the Persians turned and fled, giving another resounding underdog victory for valour and strategy!

How do we translate this into FM terms?

Well, as you can see from our projected line-up below, our strength is in the middle where we have three midfielders and three central defenders. It's here we must make the battle take place and it's here we must outnumber and be physically dominant over our opponents. 

Two of the three midfielders must have good aggression, bravely, positioning, anticipation and tackling. The third, whilst being more creative and technical must also be adept at the dark arts.

 

 image.png.9e210fd301fed005fcbf9a90177193de.png

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21 hours ago, Matt_1979 said:

 

2201.png.f629b0e99c6b78ebc452b79e4ca75d90.png

HELLAS VERONA - Tactical Ponderings (Part 2)

So in the last post we established out attacking philosophy, in this one we'll have a brief look at our defensive plan and have a look at what we expect to be the line up in week 1.

Defence

Being one of the teams tipped for a relegation battle it's safe to say we'll be facing superior opponents each week. We've already set out our aim of limiting the amount of opportunity the opposition have to cross into our box but that's the easy part, the main question is how to we stop opposition players who are technically better, quicker and probably earning much much more than our players?

Well, once again we can look to the Greco-Persian wars for inspiration in another example of where an allied Greek army was vastly outmanned but through out-thinking their opponent managed to come up with a victory. But this time it wasn't on land. It was at sea.

The Battle of Salamis took part in 480 BC, ten years after the battle at Marathon, and was part of the same Persian invasion that saw the 300 Spartans become legendary figures at Thermopylae. 

Around 370 Greek ships were tasked with stopped a water-based invasion by between 600-700 Persian ships (with some estimates putting their numbers at over 1,000).

Fighting a much larger fleet, containing much more experienced sailors, in open waters would be suicide.... so the Greeks realised the only way they could stand a chance is by picking where the battle would take place. The only way to negate the numerical & skill based advantage they faced was to make the battle area as small as possible, much like the Spartans did in choosing a narrow pass to defend. Luckily the Persians took the bait and sailed into the straits of Salamis. 

image.png.28de2e4ce34af62e1f6511b9f5721f5d.png

 

The Greek ships backed away, drawing the Persians further into the narrow waters, before they attacked when noticing their opponents were becoming disorganised and panicked due to the lack of space. Before long, the Persians turned and fled, giving another resounding underdog victory for valour and strategy!

How do we translate this into FM terms?

Well, as you can see from our projected line-up below, our strength is in the middle where we have three midfielders and three central defenders. It's here we must make the battle take place and it's here we must outnumber and be physically dominant over our opponents. 

Two of the three midfielders must have good aggression, bravely, positioning, anticipation and tackling. The third, whilst being more creative and technical must also be adept at the dark arts.

 

 image.png.9e210fd301fed005fcbf9a90177193de.png

This is exactly the kind of content which I enjoy reading.

With Dimarco replicating the heavily artillery, his left foot is/should be the go to weapon from your arsenal in terms of delivering those crosses/corners which I have no doubt will be utilised. (Play for set piece) 

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Also in Marathon when Persians return to their ships (for rest and to organized) Greeks made the unbelievable and attacked! They didn't gave them any chance to return in battle. Probably a counter attack logical in fm. :D

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1 hour ago, MattyLewis11 said:

 

This is exactly the kind of content which I enjoy reading.

With Dimarco replicating the heavily artillery, his left foot is/should be the go to weapon from your arsenal in terms of delivering those crosses/corners which I have no doubt will be utilised. (Play for set piece) 

He should be a key player - getting lots of injuries pre-season so hopefully he can stay fit!

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1 hour ago, Sheriff7 said:

Also in Marathon when Persians return to their ships (for rest and to organized) Greeks made the unbelievable and attacked! They didn't gave them any chance to return in battle. Probably a counter attack logical in fm. :D

Yeah, it’s part of the plan can’t wait to see how it all pans out in the season itself. Pre-season has been good. 

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On 08/08/2021 at 11:53, Matt_1979 said:

Battle of Marathon - our attacking principals

Allow me to take you back to 490 BC - yep, a long time ago - and what in my opinion is one of the most important battles ever to have taken place. You'll probably be aware that after battle, a man named Pheidippides, was sent to run  back to Athens as quickly as possible to inform everyone of the victory and warn against a potential counter-attack. Shortly after running the 26 miles he collapsed and died... which is where the Marathon race comes from.

So, the area of Marathon was a flat, plain area which was the only place large enough for the Persian Army to land their 26,000 men. Standing in the between an open route into the rest of Europe was 11,000 Grecians. Clearly outnumbered the boys from Greece needed a plan if they were to succeed.  

Spreading their lines out to match the length of the Persians to avoid being flanked (playing wider and using the full width of the pitch to stop a barrage of crosses) the two armies were around 1,500 meters apart. 

The next issue was closing that gap without being picked off by the feared Persian Archers. Well, there's only one thing to do.... get from back to the front as quickly as possible (more direct passing). A sprint through the "danger zone" saw them coming eye to eye with an opposition so surprised and confused by the onrushing Greeks (attackers pushing back the defence with runners from midfield looking to overload) that the Athenians flanks were able to cause mayhem by attacking the Persian centre from wide positions (cross more often)

I was, literally, the other day making notes for an FM22 save in Greece whereby I based my principals around historical stuff, using the game to learn/convey about this! However, you've beaten me to it and done an utterly wonderful job of making it readable and engaging!

Keep up the good work for you and back to the drawing board for me!

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32 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

I was, literally, the other day making notes for an FM22 save in Greece whereby I based my principals around historical stuff, using the game to learn/convey about this! However, you've beaten me to it and done an utterly wonderful job of making it readable and engaging!

Keep up the good work for you and back to the drawing board for me!

Oh mate. Apologies. 
 

Dont let this put you off. You’ll no doubt do a much better job than I!!

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3 minutes ago, Matt_1979 said:

Oh mate. Apologies. 
 

Dont let this put you off. You’ll no doubt do a much better job than I!!

Don’t apologise! It was more out of shock! I’d even come up with the thread title of ‘It’s not a sprint, it’s a Marathon’ to go with it. I’m actually a little unsure about their system as it’s only 4 levels deep with a completely amateur 4th tier so it may not even be a sensible long term game. 

Just caught me by surprise with how similar it is!

Keep it up! Italian football was my ‘entry’ to this sport, back on Channel 4 with James Richardson so this is the icing on the cake for a thread, personally. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, _Ben_ said:

Don’t apologise! It was more out of shock! I’d even come up with the thread title of ‘It’s not a sprint, it’s a Marathon’ to go with it. I’m actually a little unsure about their system as it’s only 4 levels deep with a completely amateur 4th tier so it may not even be a sensible long term game. 

Just caught me by surprise with how similar it is!

Keep it up! Italian football was my ‘entry’ to this sport, back on Channel 4 with James Richardson so this is the icing on the cake for a thread, personally. 

Well hopefully I don’t disappoint. 
 

And yes, that would be a slog!

Edited by Matt_1979
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Despite currently managing city rivals Chievo Verona, I wish you nothing but good luck. Loving the historical references. 

It'll be interesting to see how Serie A plays out in your save and hopefully you can beat the odds and get a good first season under your belt.

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40 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

Despite currently managing city rivals Chievo Verona, I wish you nothing but good luck. Loving the historical references. 

It'll be interesting to see how Serie A plays out in your save and hopefully you can beat the odds and get a good first season under your belt.

It will be very interesting. Will be keeping an eye on your signings too. Haha

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Hi, I have good experience with young, generally good Greek striker, Eleftherios Theocharis, you can get him very cheap from Dortmund U23, sometimes free.

He has balanced personality, but good finishing and balance, worth to try!

Edited by awitalife
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51 minutes ago, awitalife said:

Hi, I have good experience with young, generally good Greek striker, Eleftherios Theocharis, you can get him very cheap from Dortmund U23, sometimes free.

He has balanced personality, but good finishing and balance, worth to try!

Just done a search for him and he's not showing up in my save unfortunately. :(

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Posted (edited)

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HELLAS VERONA - SEPT & OCT 2020

The defensive lines held....and held....

After a good pre-season which saw us win all five games and only concede three goals I was confident that our defence, ranked one of Serie A's worst, could do a good job going into the season. 

From the previous post we know that our defensive plan is to force teams into the middle where we have the numerical superiority in our two strong banks of three.

Offensively we'd look for our two strikers to push the defence back and keep them occupied with additional help from midfield runners, whilst our wingbacks took advantage of the space and whipped in some deadly crossed and through balls. 

Let's find out how the plans worked out when it came to league football. 

Whilst pre-season was kind to us results wise, it was unkind to us when it came to injuries. We'd go into the league campaign missing Dimarco and Lasagna from the starting 11, and four substitutes who all picked up various ailments. 

The league season

Our first game of the season was at home to Roma, a team who I never know what to expect from, but things were looking good when Kalinic scored a 1v1 after 8 minutes but was judged to be offside. Our bright start soon declined and sank into what became a very dour game with the next GOOD chance for either team not coming until the 62nd minute when Kalinic, again, hit the post on another 1v1. Clearly the Roma defence hadn't learned their lessons and Kalinic again burst through their lines only to be hacked down for a penalty which he calmly slotted away against his old team. Thankfully we held on for the 1-0 win. Thank the gods that match is over!

Our next test was an away trip to face Inter - naturally I was nervous...we've all been at the wrong end of a drubbing to both Milan teams... We had Kevin Lasagna back, not the easiest of debuts for the 28 year old loanee from Udinese. As will come as no surprise, Inter dominated the game but any scoring chances were kept to a few long range efforts thanks to our defensive game plan working a treat. Until the 32nd minute, that is, when Skriniar poked home a goal mouth scramble after a corner. It was very nearly 2-0 when Hakimi waltzed his way through four Verona players but luckily scuffed his shot wide. Going in at half time only 1-0 down was pleasing, even more pleasing was the 46th minute when deep lying playmaker Veloso spotted Kalinic making a run and fed the ball beautifully past the hapless De Vrij and Bastori to allow his team mate to slam the ball into the far top corner for an equaliser.

Silvestri, putting in his second man of the match and team of the week performance of the season kept us in it with two amazing saves. Still managing to frustrate the Milan giants their tempers got the better of them when goalscorer Skiniar hacked down substitute Favilli and was sent off for his second yellow card. Unfortunately, that came in the 89th minute and we were unable to capitalise on the man advantage.  Full time 1-1. The game ended with 26 shots to Inter (2.67xG) and 1 shot to Verona (0.27xG).

You can see from the image below how our game plan worked. Whenever we forced Inter inside they were immediately surrounded. My three centre backs are circled and you can see the stopper coming out to challenge Lukaku who also has the three midfielders around him. 

1493146846_veronajammiddle2.thumb.jpg.acc94d92cb569210c8909e981c61350c.jpg

There's a well known saying in life: what goes around, comes around. Well apparently it's true! Up next came Torino who we dominated for the entire 92 minutes and had a penalty goal from that man Kalinic after wingback Faraoni was bought down marauding into the area. Unfortunately, the game lasted not 92 minutes but 93. And that 93rd minute was when Sanabria found himself unmarked on the 6 yard line and had all the time in the world to head past the helpless Silvestri. Full time 1-1.

Up next came Bologna who had only 1 point from their first three games, although they were against Milan (0-1), Juventus (1-1) and Atalanta (0-1) so I knew it was going to be a tough game. And it was!! Their press was brilliant. Even when I made changes and thought I'd out smarted them they adapted and overpowered us again. Both teams hit the bar, both teams hit the post, both teams missed 1v1s. Full time 0-0.
 

The defensive lines holding, and holding....

image.png.3fb6e8ce89a568128596fd91b501c8a0.png

 

The defensive lines broke...

Everyone has heard of "tempting fate", right? Well going into the game against newly promoted Benevento I'd changed my mind about the need to stop crosses; given the very nature of a three man defence is that you leave the wide areas open. The plus side, of course, is that when crosses DO come in you have three 6ft+ centre backs to deal with them. I'd even made a note to comment on it in this update. Crosses aren't really causing many issues. 

Well....we lost 3-2 to Benevento who scored all three goals from crosses. Lasagna scored both out goals and I don't want to talk about it anymore. 

Ok, I'll give you a bit more: midway through the 2nd half we switched to a 4-2-3-1 (my favoured system) and we looked much better... although we were 3-1 down at that point so it's hard to gage if we did well or if Benevento stepped off the gas.

And then the defensive lines broke again...

Next up came the cup against Serie B side Frosinone. I made a load of changes, tinkered a bit.... we lost 2-1. I'm not bothered. Their winning goal was in the 89th minute when a shot rebounded off a defender, the keeper had dived, and the ball fell to Rohden to tap into an empty net. I AM bothered. I lied earlier.

Player of the month (and a half): Marco Silvestri

image.png.5a01d01175ddcc4499d4dcc1f83c834f.png

 

So there we have it. Started well but ended badly. It's my first time using a 3 at the back system so will take some time to iron out the creases. Our attacking game plan isn't working well and I'll post some stats in the next update to see if I can get some root cause analysis done. 

image.png.16c06589e65fdf5aaa55a3911db3fcf9.png

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Edited by Matt_1979
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Such a great start to the season, rule number one of FM...do not make any knee jerk tweaks to formation without training tactical sessions to aid familiarity. 

Lasagna is going to be your go to guy, fingers crossed you can keep him fit! 

Enjoyed the visual to highlight your tactic, are your CB's of the no nonsense mould or do they have the ability to play the ball? 

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3 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Such a great start to the season, rule number one of FM...do not make any knee jerk tweaks to formation without training tactical sessions to aid familiarity. 

Lasagna is going to be your go to guy, fingers crossed you can keep him fit! 

Enjoyed the visual to highlight your tactic, are your CB's of the no nonsense mould or do they have the ability to play the ball? 

Only Ceccherini is listed as a Ball Playing Defender.... however with passing of 11 and vision of 9 I'm not having any of it! The rest are all standard/no-nonsense types. Hence I've been using Vesolo as a DLP just in front of them. 

I won't make any knee-jerk changes to the defensive side of things. However, it's looking like I may need to mix things up offensively.

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5 minutes ago, Matt_1979 said:

Only Ceccherini is listed as a Ball Playing Defender.... however with passing of 11 and vision of 9 I'm not having any of it! The rest are all standard/no-nonsense types. Hence I've been using Vesolo as a DLP just in front of them. 

I won't make any knee-jerk changes to the defensive side of things. However, it's looking like I may need to mix things up offensively.

Passing 11 and Vision of 9....most definitely not a BPD! What's the league average for a defender in Serie A? 12,13? 

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3 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Passing 11 and Vision of 9....most definitely not a BPD! What's the league average for a defender in Serie A? 12,13? 

 

3 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Passing 11 and Vision of 9....most definitely not a BPD! What's the league average for a defender in Serie A? 12,13? 

For defenders the Serie A average is 12 for passing, 10 for vision. 

My centre backs are:

Ceccherini: 11 & 9
Magnani: 10 & 9
Lovato: 12 & 11
Cetin: 12 & 11
Gunter: 11 & 9
Davidowicz: 11 & 10

So two potential options.

All right footed too. Naturally. lol
 

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Posted (edited)

Here's our attacking stats:

image.png.41c9d1084e77dae23aa9e862d0bafd3e.png

As you can see, we aren't creating enough chances for our strikers and our crossing needs work. I've made a few adjustments which I'll judge over the next month of games and report back.

Edited by Matt_1979
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Superb stuff reminds me a little of one of my favourite threads from the past a chap who created a club in Romania based on the Spartans. 
 

Keep it coming !

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11 hours ago, Matt_1979 said:

Just done a search for him and he's not showing up in my save unfortunately. :(

Too bad! I attach his attributes.

And.... I might put his name wrong, try search for Elefterios Theocharis.

theocharis.PNG

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2201.png.4b1079e837c1ff114bffc11f2de5f82d.png

HELLAS VERONA - November 2020

In the last update we started off happy with our defence but ended up mildly annoyed at them after shipping 5 goals versus Benevento and Frosinone. But, we forgave them and moved on as it was our attacking phase which was causing more concern. You no doubt scanned the stats table above showing how toothless we were, with 5 goals in 5 games - 2 of which came from penalties.

I made some adjustments - don't worry @MattyLewis11 they were only slight - to see if we could get a bit more forward thinking emphasis.

The first game was up against Udinese. I always find them a tricky and underrated opponent. De Paul always plays well and Deulofeu can be brilliant on his day. Udinese were all over us in the early stages and could've scored 3 in the first 5 minutes, but against the run of play Dimarco crossed to Kalinic who scored with a bullet header on 7 minutes. De Paul then took over the game and scored an absolute thunderbolt on 14 minutes and then won, but missed, a penalty just before halftime. The second half was a bit more even with both teams having good chances, but with Udinese starting to get back on top, at the 70 minute mark I swapped our DMC to an AMC to give us another attacking option as the xG battle sat at 2.33 vs 0.51. It made little difference. Udinese had a very good penalty call declined on 84 and then on 88 minutes the inevitable happened when our "star player" Zaccagni gave the ball away on the edge of our box, Deulofeu picked it up and slammed it past Silvestri. 2-1. I thought we'd rescued a late point but Kalinic's 94th minute goal was judged offside. 

We has now lost three games in a row and I was getting nervous, plus our latest 2-1 loss should've been 5-1.

Next up was Parma and the pace of Gervinho can cause real problems, especially against a back three with marauding wingbacks. The boys REALLY wanted this game, and you could tell. There was extra zip in the passes, they were flying to challenges and busting a gut for their teammates. Unfortunately you could tell early on it was going to be one of those games where nothing goes right. We dominated throughout but it took until the 80th minute when substitute Ronaldo Viera dispossessed Gervinho, playing it out wide to Faraoni whose cross was headed home by Lasagna

One minute later our joy turned to tears when Parma won a penalty for a handball from a corner which Kuco scored past Silvestri, who got a hand to it but the shot was too powerful. FT 1-1.

Feeling we still weren't clicking going forward I made a couple more changes:

  1. Both wingbacks put to attack.
  2. Changed the two central midfielders to Mezzalas (one on support, one on attack)

I was hoping this would allow more creative players to shine and cause more overloads in wide positions and half-spaces.

We took on Crotone, away, and things were looked promising. Left wingback Dimarco took advantage of his new more attacking role and drove into the box and fired one into the far corner and then Barak, in his first start of the season as the attacking mezzala, headed home a Zaccagni cross for some mezzala to mezzala action. Lasagna made it 3 on 62 minutes with a simple tap in.

The last 10 minutes weren't as comfortable as the previous 80 as Crotone scored two absolute wordies! First from Benali (83 mins) and then Marrone (87 mins), both from 20+ yards. We held on. FT 3-2.

Young warriors stepping up:

The final game of the month came versus Sampdoria - who found themselves on a bad run and 20th in the form table - Claudio Ranieri played some mind games with me before the game. He shouldn't have. Kalinic missed a first half penalty and it looked like we were going to dominate another game and have nothing to show for it until I subbed on a pair of 19 year old loanees. Eddie Salcedo from Inter and Ivan Ilic from Man City (who I have an option to buy on). On 81 minutes Ilic won the ball in midfield and found Kalinic, who teed up Salcedo who placed it into the bottom corner from 16 yards. Silvestri then made one of the best saves I've seen in FM in the 88th minute to deny Candvera. Ilic then showed why he deserves a place in the team again by winning the ball from Adrien, playing a one-two with Kalinic and slotting past Audero in goal. Not to be outdone by Ilic, Salcedo picked up a loose ball, drove into the box and with the defender committed, played a simple ball to Kalinic who converted. FT 3-0.


Ivan Ilic: 76th minute sub who changed the game
image.png.29f8e877d31727639cadafca8e48be1c.png

Results in November

image.png.610aff410b292ada7cf090c90db24e71.png

Thanks for reading.

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Posted (edited)

Did the attacking tinkering work?

Ok, it's only been four games since we looked at the next set of stats BUT next month is a month from HELL which would definitely skew the figures.

The changes I made over all were:

  • both wingback moved onto an attacking duty
  • Two central midfielders changed to Mezzalas (one on support, one on attack)
  • Passing changed from standard to short
  • Tempo from high to standard
  • Attacking width from wide to extremely wide.

image.png.5290fc1b62f89faca560494923736787.pngimage.png.70945a432cfaac8bf4341eabb47070db.png

As you can see we've made massive improvements. Granted the opponents weren't the best but its good to see we're creating more chances and whipping in better crosses. And, most importantly, when the strikers are getting chances they're making more of them. We're out-performing our xG (which included Kalinic's penalty miss) so hopefully we haven't just been lucky...

I'll do another of these at the end of December, however don't be hopeful. December looks like this:

image.png.cb8b7d475f4279a5bab57924d01de1fd.png

 

Up next: How to get the most (or anything) out of Mattia Zaccagni....?

Edited by Matt_1979
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This is a fantastic thread. Love the Greek battle plans and historical tie ins. I’m a total history nerd (okay, just a nerd in general who was big and athletic enough to escape that moniker) and love to see the translation to tactics in FM.
However, I will not be wishing your side well. As my avatar is managing political rivals Livorno, I’m obliged to raise the fist of the proletariat against your fascist salute!!! 
In all seriousness, I’ll be following this one! [But I still won’t wish you good luck…]

Edited by 13th Man
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Posted (edited)

2201.png.ff427eb3928df50ffbd5baa1f5cc7ea7.png

HELLAS VERONA - The ballad of Mattia Zaccagni

When I first loaded up this save for the very first time and paid a quick visit to the squad screen, the first player who stood out was Mattia Zacaggni. 

THERE, I thought, is the man who will pick this team up by the scruff of the neck, with his excellent playmaking abilities and technical abilities. My mouth watered at his 17 vision and 15 passing and dribbling and my in my mind I could see him slotting beautifully weighted passes to Kalinic and even more so Lasagna, with his 16 pace & acceleration.

He would be my talisman. 

The man to lead us into battle, the catalyst of our attacks.

zaccagni.JPG.f25cf3afbfa191acdddbf86eb7f2c5a6.JPG


Well..... 

Games: 9
Goals: 0
Assists: 1
AVG: 6.69

Pass %: 88%
Passes completed per game: 35.06
Key passes: 13
Shots: 2
Shots on target: 0

Not exactly setting the league alight - in fact he's barely keeping his place in the team.  When he came to me at the start of November asking for a new contract I hope this would kick his backside in action, especially as he settled for nothing less than a Star Player status.

1189114435_zaccagniatts.thumb.JPG.3304cc64573652cc1b49ae306d31a154.JPG

Of the 9 league games he's played 6 as an advanced playmaker as a central midfielder and 3 as a mezzala. He's also been used as an advanced playmaker in the AMC in various games but has been invisible.

I thought playing as a playmaker in the deeper MC slot, behind two strikers pushing the defence back (AF-A and PF-A) would leave him lots of room to work his magic but as you can see, it's not to be.

Here's two games picked at random, the 1-1 draw vs Parma, where he played as a advanced playmaker, and the most recent game over Sampdoria which was a 3-0 win. In both games the other MC was a mezzala on attack (#40 and #7). These images show the in possession average positions.

1236833828_Zaccagnianalysis.thumb.jpg.9263fea22dc7ee02e29d1328383792a1.jpg

As you can see he's go plenty of space in front of him and with his dribbling, vision, passing and technical abilities I would've thought he'd be causing havoc.


1145798046_Zaccagnianalysis2.thumb.jpg.c14a5f1a4ec696eae9fa35642294429a.jpg

Clearly having his as an advance playmaker alongside an attacking Mezzala is the best option of the current set up in terms of getting him on the ball and so should give him the most passing options: RWB, ST, ST, MEZ, LWB. 

Edit- looking more there seems to be lots of passes to both wingbacks…some to the mezalla… Not many into the strikers…


Any thoughts welcome....

Edited by Matt_1979
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What do Zaccagni’s mentals and physicals like?  He a hard worker? Aggressive? If he’s not both of those, it’d make sense that he’d be a better AP than MEZ. Just a guess as to why it’s not working for him. I feel like the MEZ is a hybrid (tribrid?) role, part runner, part creator, part finisher. Best ones arent always the best at all three but are good at all, and work hard with the aggression and stamina to match.  Maybe he’s more suited to just creating?

I just looked him up on [gasp! Horror!] FM Scout to get an idea and it looks like he’s got the workrate but not the aggression/bravery - is that about right?

Edited by 13th Man
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He-s not far off from his real stats last season (37 games, 5 goals, 7 assists), but what I found last year playing with Inter in FM20: playing 5 at the back with wingbacks really favors them as the main attacking force and the midfielders are set a bit back. I had Candreva and DiMarco havin the highest no. of assists, while Eriksen and Barella im the middle struggled. Dunno if that is relevant to your squad, just my 2 cents.

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2 hours ago, 13th Man said:

What do Zaccagni’s mentals and physicals like?  He a hard worker? Aggressive? If he’s not both of those, it’d make sense that he’d be a better AP than MEZ. Just a guess as to why it’s not working for him. I feel like the MEZ is a hybrid (tribrid?) role, part runner, part creator, part finisher. Best ones arent always the best at all three but are good at all, and work hard with the aggression and stamina to match.  Maybe he’s more suited to just creating?

I just looked him up on [gasp! Horror!] FM Scout to get an idea and it looks like he’s got the workrate but not the aggression/bravery - is that about right?

Apologies, thought I'd added his attributes to the post - forgot!  They're on there now!

Yes, bravery isn't great (11) so i've put him on arial training so might improve hopefully. Aggression (13) and work rate (15) are ok...

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47 minutes ago, Muttley84 said:

He-s not far off from his real stats last season (37 games, 5 goals, 7 assists), but what I found last year playing with Inter in FM20: playing 5 at the back with wingbacks really favors them as the main attacking force and the midfielders are set a bit back. I had Candreva and DiMarco havin the highest no. of assists, while Eriksen and Barella im the middle struggled. Dunno if that is relevant to your squad, just my 2 cents.

Hi, yes I was wondering if this might be the case. I'm not a 5 at the back kinda guy so not up on it's pros and cons, whereas I know everything about the 4-2-3-1... 

With the January window coming up I'll see what's out there in terms of a decent right winger to give me options.

Although the state of this squad is amazing.... will have it's own post shortly....

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Posted (edited)

2201.png.37072cd1e86952b877a6f4f87f53d7b7.png

HELLAS VERONA - December 2020

“The Spartans are the equal of any men when they fight as individuals; fighting together as a collective, they surpass all other men.” 
— Spartan king Demaratus to Persian king Xerxes

If there was a time when team spirit was needed it was the month of December. For in the month of December, 10th placed Hellas Verona - heavily tipped for a relegation battle - would face 7th placed Lazio before then taking on 4 of the top 5 in the space of 11 days.

 image.png.cb8b7d475f4279a5bab57924d01de1fd.png

 

Luckily, Lazio had played Liverpool 3 days before so didn't quite have a full strength team, so I was quietly confident we could pull off an upset. Their heavy legs were apparent in what was a slow and laboured first half, which saw only 7 total shots from both teams combined. We took the lead when Lovato headed home a Zaccagni corner after 58 mins, then 10 minutes later the score was levelled through an Acerbi header from a corner of their own. We took the lead again with another corner(!) when Lasagna scored from a Veloso in-swinger.... We looked like we'd hold on but AGAIN we conceded at the death when Immoble won, and scored a penalty in the 90th minute. I'd have been delighted with a point before the game but went away disappointed. FT 2-2. All goals from set pieces, as you can imagine, hardly a visual feast for the casual fan.

Milan were up next and their immense class was there for all to see as they dominated throughout, taking the lead through Saelemaekers sneaking in at the back post on 23 and finally putting the game to bed with a Leao goal on 80. We were never in it and to make things worse, we lost Stutaro for 6 weeks with an ankle injury. FT 0-2.

Naturally, after the Milan game, you'd fear the worse going into an away game with Juventus. That sense of foreboding increases when you see their starting line up. So, after a pep-talk and some confidence boosting, I sent the warriors out into the battlefield.

We did well in the first half and kept them at bay. Our shields took a lot of punishment but they held strong and remained unpenetrated going into half-time. Apart from Dyballa hitting the post on a 1v1, they had to resort to a few long shots which rarely troubled Silvestri, who was up to the challenge when they did!

The second half carried on in a similar way until Kalinic picked up the ball in his own half and played a beautiful long ball over the top of the Juve defence for Lasagna who calmly put the ball past Szczesny to give us a 1-0 lead in the 59th minute. 

This prompted Juve to pick up their game and they created some excellent chances but still the defensive lines held firm, until that god-like figure of Ronaldo rose above two defenders and released a bullet header which left Silvestri with no chance. 70 mins. 1-1.

Having enough of my midfielders being outclassed and outfought - and none having a rating over 6.4 - I replaced all three straight after the Ronaldo goal and we clawed our way back into the game and had a little more possession, but it was Juventus who were still creating the better chances. The 90th minute came and I was delighted with what was looking a 1-1 draw.

But then....
 

Chellini tackled Kalinic but the ball went straight to Lasagna who fed it back into the path of Kalinic. 

Kalinic controlled the ball and unleashed a shot at goal..... which we'll say was so powerful that Szczsney couldn't stop despite getting a hand to it.

Absolute scenes. 

Final score: Juventus 1 - 2 Hellas Verona.

A few days later we played Atalanta at home, as expected they were full of energy, we weren't. They beat us 2-0.

What you want after a tough few games and the game after facing a team who play at a very high level of intensity is to face another team so full of energy and intensity. Our brave boys were tired and three players were rested for the trip to Sassuolo. Luckily, they'd only won 1 of their last 3 and it turned out to be a comfortable 2-0 win for us. Kalinic and Barak both scored headers. Sassuolo didn't really threaten. FT 2-0.

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Seven points from the month of hell is gladly accepted!!
 

The battlefield:

So after 14 games, we reach the end of December in 10th place. The busy schedule in December really caused some upheaval at the top of the table and where Juventus faltered, Milan stepped up. I'd be tempted to say it'll be tough for Juve to get back to the top, but hey... look at the players they have. It'll be fascinating to see how it all plays out. 

image.png.dd1b3d886caac0f787545d2f99660c54.png

 

Up next: Dissecting my rag-tag squad of hired help and mercenaries 

Edited by Matt_1979
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SPARTA!!!! Great result against Juve, and Lazio too. AC Milan always seemed to tear apart my 3atb, though I did beat them on the fourth time of asking! Tough run but great stuff.

On the CMs, I wouldn’t say that 3atb automatically decreases the CMs effectiveness.  Like any formation, it all depends on the tactic! My CMs are generally among my best performing players, but mine is a narrow, central overload tactic.
I don’t think you went into all your TIs specifically but your Battle of Marathon game plan was about attacking the flanks (wide play), playing direct (bypassing midfield), and crossing. Your midfield will naturally be less involved with this style - which otherwise seems to be working well for you!

Giving Zaccagni a playmaker role, though, counteracts some of that with him specifically by making him a “ball magnet”.  To make him keep attacking the channels, though, you could add the “stay wider” PI. You’d also generally still keep the width and directness, but he’d give you another dimension to your attack - so long as it doesn’t disrupt the rest of the tactic.

 

Edited by 13th Man
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2201.png.dc111db899857105831ed044c384884a.png

HELLAS VERONA - Mid-season Squad Review

The Loan Sharks

Unless you're a lower division side who have affiliations with teams who boast great academies or are just overloaded with so much talent they don't know what to do with it all...the LAST thing you want to see when logging onto your squad view is lots of blue. And that's just what I see. Loanees everywhere! And even more purple

Here's the make up of our 31 man first team squad:

Permanent Verona players: 18
Players in on loan: 13

Plus two more loanees in the U20s and one more in the U18s.

Out on loan at various clubs across the great continent of Europe we have a whopping 28 players!

What makes the matter even more confusing is that some of the players, both loaned out and loaned in, have permanent deals arranged to join their current clubs, and some have options to buy.

Here's a list of players I have on loan in the first team squad, their situation and also their season stats so far.

image.png.846bcbb0939c0bbcedc5c61cf2437098.png

*Benassi has been injured most of the season so far.

Of the centre backs available, 5 are all very similar with none standing out attributes-wise. Magnani has been injured on and off and will certainly get more first team chances now he's fit again. 

From the 13 loanees at the club we have 4 joining permanently. Cetin has been our best defender so far and is still young so the £7.25m fee is money well spent, as is Barak who is a big, physical attacking midfielder with plenty of skill and I'd not hesitate to pay the £6m which was agreed for him. 

The pick of the bunch who we have options to buy on is Dimarco from Inter. We look better when he's in the team so I have to hope we have enough money to sign him permanently. 

The jury is still out on Ronaldo Vieira who could be a steal at £6m. Colley and Ilic will also get more game time for the rest of the season and whilst £11m seems a lot for Ilic, he's got the potential to be really good player. 

Whilst I love the combative style of Sturaro, I can't justify £12.5 for him, and the same for Lasagna..... I know he's scored 6 in 12, but £8m for a 28 year old when I highly doubt I'll get more than £10m to spend is stretching it. Maybe Colley can develop and be a better option at £2.3m.

Of the players out on loan (all 28 of them), we have young defender Kumbulla who has a £20m transfer to Roma arranged at the end of the loan spell and striker Stepinski who has a £5m option on his loan at Lecce. If the option isn't picked up he could be another replacement for Lasagna
 

The Squad Breakdown

image.png.83630afc74edd92b5c78c056b85dc63c.png

EIGHT centre backs, taking up a quarter of my wage budget, none of them even that good.

Two wingers, both under 21, both in on loan, both can only play on the left. 

What train is this and how do I get off?

For a disciple and avid promoter of the 4-2-3-1 in it's various forms (and yes, a fan of Jose) this is not a good situation. I even have a mild aversion to the 4-3-3 but will begrudgingly use it should the need arise.  Yes, I shall be using the January transfer window to bring a right winger in just so I have the options available if needed.

The squad is clearly built to be strong through the middle and perfect for a solid, defensive 5-3-2 or 3-4-3. 

 

The War Chest:

Now, I'm going to assume that the money has already changed hands for the pre-arranged loan transfers... not that it matters much as the players coming in is a fraction under £20m which is what we're getting from the Kumbulla sale. We currently have around £2.5m transfer budget (remember I disabled the first transfer window) but with only £18m in the bank I'm guess that unless we get into Europe, the transfer budget for the summer would be around £10m... if I'm lucky... and I desperately want to bring at least Dimarco in (£6m).

Therefore some players will need to leave. Luckily I don't need 8 central defenders or 9 central midfielders so I'm hoping there's interest and I can move some of them on. 

It's going to be an interesting January.

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On 11/08/2021 at 18:40, Matt_1979 said:

2201.png.ff427eb3928df50ffbd5baa1f5cc7ea7.png

HELLAS VERONA - The ballad of Mattia Zaccagni

When I first loaded up this save for the very first time and paid a quick visit to the squad screen, the first player who stood out was Mattia Zacaggni. 

THERE, I thought, is the man who will pick this team up by the scruff of the neck, with his excellent playmaking abilities and technical abilities. My mouth watered at his 17 vision and 15 passing and dribbling and my in my mind I could see him slotting beautifully weighted passes to Kalinic and even more so Lasagna, with his 16 pace & acceleration.

He would be my talisman. 

The man to lead us into battle, the catalyst of our attacks.

zaccagni.JPG.f25cf3afbfa191acdddbf86eb7f2c5a6.JPG


Well..... 

Games: 9
Goals: 0
Assists: 1
AVG: 6.69

Pass %: 88%
Passes completed per game: 35.06
Key passes: 13
Shots: 2
Shots on target: 0

Not exactly setting the league alight - in fact he's barely keeping his place in the team.  When he came to me at the start of November asking for a new contract I hope this would kick his backside in action, especially as he settled for nothing less than a Star Player status.

1189114435_zaccagniatts.thumb.JPG.3304cc64573652cc1b49ae306d31a154.JPG

Of the 9 league games he's played 6 as an advanced playmaker as a central midfielder and 3 as a mezzala. He's also been used as an advanced playmaker in the AMC in various games but has been invisible.

I thought playing as a playmaker in the deeper MC slot, behind two strikers pushing the defence back (AF-A and PF-A) would leave him lots of room to work his magic but as you can see, it's not to be.

Here's two games picked at random, the 1-1 draw vs Parma, where he played as a advanced playmaker, and the most recent game over Sampdoria which was a 3-0 win. In both games the other MC was a mezzala on attack (#40 and #7). These images show the in possession average positions.

1236833828_Zaccagnianalysis.thumb.jpg.9263fea22dc7ee02e29d1328383792a1.jpg

As you can see he's go plenty of space in front of him and with his dribbling, vision, passing and technical abilities I would've thought he'd be causing havoc.


1145798046_Zaccagnianalysis2.thumb.jpg.c14a5f1a4ec696eae9fa35642294429a.jpg

Clearly having his as an advance playmaker alongside an attacking Mezzala is the best option of the current set up in terms of getting him on the ball and so should give him the most passing options: RWB, ST, ST, MEZ, LWB. 

Edit- looking more there seems to be lots of passes to both wingbacks…some to the mezalla… Not many into the strikers…


Any thoughts welcome....

Embracing the analytics I see! 

I liked how you broke the wage bill down across the positional units, clearly identifying that your squad is bloated in two areas....both of which need cutting...especially if you are to afford Dimarco! 

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11 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Embracing the analytics I see! 

I liked how you broke the wage bill down across the positional units, clearly identifying that your squad is bloated in two areas....both of which need cutting...especially if you are to afford Dimarco! 

Haha there’s more on the way. Watch this space. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, 13th Man said:

SPARTA!!!! Great result against Juve, and Lazio too. AC Milan always seemed to tear apart my 3atb, though I did beat them on the fourth time of asking! Tough run but great stuff.

On the CMs, I wouldn’t say that 3atb automatically decreases the CMs effectiveness.  Like any formation, it all depends on the tactic! My CMs are generally among my best performing players, but mine is a narrow, central overload tactic.
I don’t think you went into all your TIs specifically but your Battle of Marathon game plan was about attacking the flanks (wide play), playing direct (bypassing midfield), and crossing. Your midfield will naturally be less involved with this style - which otherwise seems to be working well for you!

Giving Zaccagni a playmaker role, though, counteracts some of that with him specifically by making him a “ball magnet”.  To make him keep attacking the channels, though, you could add the “stay wider” PI. You’d also generally still keep the width and directness, but he’d give you another dimension to your attack - so long as it doesn’t disrupt the rest of the tactic.

 

Milan's very talented wingers - with two excellent wingbacks behind them - are set up perfectly to ruin a 3 man defence. Especially with the strength and movement of Zlatan keeping defenders occupied. 

You are so right about the Marathon tactics and the "negative" effects it could have on Zaccagni.

My plan for the second half of the season is to play him in the AMC role, sacrificing the DMC safety blanket. I love the security of the two banks of three, but it's not a fun visual experience in the match engine.

image.png.fd5788f7ad38275ab9be01cd3cf1f123.png

Taking a look at the defensive stats we're performing well - especially for what's ranked as Serie A's worst! The number of interceptions could be higher and is something I'll look at, as is the number of shots faced - although I guarantee most of them are long range efforts with at least 5 defensive players in front of them which count for a very low xG. Therefore I'm comfortable swapping the DMC to an AMC - hopefully without too much of a drop off.

Onto the offence stats, to say how very little we have of the ball and how many quality chances we don't seem to create we're ranking surprisingly high.

image.png.fc099c671fb20be1e786fa2ba8d37cfe.png

Our goals have mainly come from the centre, which is no surprise when our two strikers are told to keep central. Hopefully having Zaccagni in the AMC slot will not only add another target for the wide players but also should provide a goal threat from outside the box. 

image.png.7ee48ca479dfb90f62248da1d0acd39a.png

I'm also surprised that only 4 goals have come from headers.... I thought it'd be much more than that.

image.png.0b583162a3f19a0720d7d6e5a9d20504.png

 

Edited by Matt_1979
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Work ball into the box by any chance?

Just noticed that the 17% cross completion ratio is 12th...is this due to most crosses being stopped at source (block) or are the big lads in the middle losing their aerial battles? 

Would be good to see this from the Serie A player detailed stats.

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39 minutes ago, smplfc123 said:

7 points from that December run is very impressive :applause:

Enjoying the thread!

I think playing good teams who had a cramped schedule AND euro games helped. 

But I’m happy!!

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