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[FM22 Replication] The Russian Guardiola - Stage 1: CSKA Moscow (Last Update: Season 2 Results 11.01.22)


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I will have to reserve one post for the full tactic and the explanation of it, I wanted to do it in one post, but copying the text from Word to this editor has hurt my brain a lot and I don't have the time now to do the rest for the tactical write-up so I wanted to post that part first so I don't suddenly have lost it when coming back to my laptop.

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Do you use any other specific player instructions than the ones you already mentioned?

Really looking forward to the next episodes of your journey!

Edited by JoOSTAR
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Am 2.1.2022 um 01:21 schrieb JoOSTAR:

Do you use any other specific player instructions than the ones you already mentioned?

Really looking forward to the next episodes of your journey!

I tried to mention everything relevant in the last write-up, some things like mark tighter/tackle harder on the front players are just personal preference if you want that or not. This tactic definitely isn't meant to be plugged into any team to work though in case you wanted to try that. The attacking IWB needs a fitting player for´sure.

I hope I can post the review of the first season today, but I am not sure yet what exactly to show.

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Looks good! A note on the MEZ problem - I found that if I'm playing wide or above width, I get more mileage out of CM(A) with move into channels. As you mentioned, the MEZ tend to drift wide and this gave me better presence attacking the box in the middle.

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vor 15 Stunden schrieb yellowforever:

Looks good! A note on the MEZ problem - I found that if I'm playing wide or above width, I get more mileage out of CM(A) with move into channels. As you mentioned, the MEZ tend to drift wide and this gave me better presence attacking the box in the middle.

Thank you, and I agree, CM-A with either Stay Wider or Moves Into Channels would be my first alternative option.

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At the base this is the same tactic, while using CM-A with Moves Into Channels instead of MEZ. The right guy looks pretty good, but he has the trait Gets Into Opposition Area, so it seems a vanilla CM-A with Moves Into Channels will be too narrow. I don't have a screen but with stay wider it was pretty similar iirc. I feel like the halfspace runs are somewhat hardcoded into the MEZ, so I'm quite hesitant to change permanently at this point tbh.

Edited by FelixCAN
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Posted (edited)

III. 2021/22 Season Review

1. Tactic and Line-Up

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Of course I already explained the tactic with everything I found important to understand, but I just want to show how the players from the screens in the first post slot in the tactic explained in the second post. Magnusson and Fuchs/Diveev as CBs to have them on their right foot, Schennikov as simple FB or IWB-D or S if I want him more central and Mario Fernandes in his Cancelo-like freerole even going as offensive as looking for half-space runs into the box. Akhmetov as a simple DLP connecting the triangles and making more simple passes. Oblyakov and Bazoer are the heart of the system at the MEZ-positions, attacking the box, creating for others, just doing everything in midfield. Ejuke on the left as I said is somewhat comparable to Sterling, but here is more focused on cutting in than going to the line, Berisha on the other side being both footed being able to do everything turned out to be the bigger goalscoring threat due to his attributes. As the striker Chalov was irreplaceable and helped connect the sides but scored quite a lot, more than I would have expected from a False 9, as well.

2. Squad View

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I didn't really know what kind of view would give the most relevant information for you, I hope this one does, shows how great Oblyakov, Chalov and Fernandes were in their roles. Interestingly enough, if you take away Chalov's 6 penalty goals, Berisha is actually the top-goalscorer from the right wing position. Mario actually with the most assists and I am pretty sure that he wasn't the corner taker most of the time, so quite a few good passing assists from his spot.

3. Results

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As you can see, predicted 5th prior to the season, we have carried the league pretty comfortably by 9 points to Dynamo. The 77 points also are the best total for CSKA in a 30 game season ever. Something to consider is, that all the games in the league we didn't win (Dynamo x2, Spartak, Loko, Krasnodar) were against teams with similar or even superior squads and it's quite obvious that we will always struggle with a tactic like this against these teams who are pressing us high. But consistently being able to break down and beat worse teams with our possession system should be the main goal and we definitely were able to do that. Only 13 goals conceded is the best in a 30 game season for CSKA too which is quite astonishing playing such attacking roles.

In the Cup we fell to a late Dynamo winner, losing to them 3 times this season, which is quite sad, but while being predicted 6th they are easily the most dangerous team in Russia for us as it stands, playing a 4-2-3-1 system with high fullbacks and very physically strong players on the wing and up front. Since I'm quite advanced in the save at this point, I can promise you, this won't be the last time we will fight with them. In a simulation I did before starting the save, to see if the AI doesn't just walk the league with CSKA making this a bit redundant, they actually won the league quite easily as well (CSKA 5th btw), so not surprised with it at all.

4. xG and Passing Analysis

I have actually done a spreadsheet keeping track of the passing and xG numbers to be able to analyse them better.

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We end the season with 772:404 passes, equalling 65,76 possession; it's a bit more only looking at the league since the great Akron from the 2nd tier in the Cup could keep our 2nd XI to near equal possession for some reason. As I predicted before, of course the passes are inflated. We concede 180 passes per game more than the City centurions in the way harder Premier League. This is quite sad, but I would say there is nothing that you can do playing a normal 4-3-3 against the ball to combat this and down to the match engine causing everybody to have easy passing around the back before having to boot it, especially with a formation like the 4-3-3 where your highest central players besides the striker are in the CM slot starting quite deep. Now because of that you could probably say that 772 compared to ~650 for City during Pep's reign is even quite low, at least I understand better where people are coming for aiming for 1000. But I would say that lowering passing instructions or overloading the first phase with more players with more conservative roles just to get more passes, would be quite dishonest to the way and the purpose with which City and Pep want to play, where passes are just a way to move teams around to score goals, not an end in itself. Of course that's just my opinion right now.

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I don't want to sugarcoat anything and the xG table shows that yes we were quite lucky, especially getting 4 points against Krasnodar and Spartak after the winter break despite being dominated was quite lucky. You can argue a bit, that because of the big disparity between teams in this league, my strikers will have a better chance of scoring against the goalkeepers of the worst teams in the league and vice versa than xG would indicate. But that's certainly debateable. Also let's be clear, despite being quite lucky with our points total, we would have won the league quite comfortably if you compare everybody's xPts, so not like it was just us being lucky and everybody else being unlucky.

5. Winter Transfers

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I didn't sign anybody now since our budget was more than gone with Berisha and Bazoer. Vasin and Nababkin are old, slow and have no technical attributes at all, so easy to move them on. Zabolotny was the back-up for Chalov and despite being not bad technically for his size is certainly not a typical Pep-striker so when he wanted to leave I didn't have a big problem selling him. Dzagoev is a very technical player and a club legend, but since he wanted a new challenge and had the biggest wage at the club while only going to decline his already bad physical attributes I took the money here with Bazoer and Oblyakov being set in CM anyway.

For the summer we got a pre-contract with Jeremie Boga from Sassuolo who's quite similar to Ejuke/Sterling with Berisha being somewhat makeshift on the wing and in general with his technicals, he should be a good addition.

6. Highlights

While clicking through the goals to find some to show, I have noticed that we score quite some scrappy goals from deflections, long shots and stuff like that. That's just a product of our dominant playstyle I'd suggest, same with corners and penalties. I have 5 clips that show some of the great MEZ movement, overloading the box, scoring with low crosses and most importantly Mario Fernandes' brilliance from his IWB role. I know this looks quite silly with me having to click to start the highlight but clicking space didn't work and I didn't find a software working better than this gyazo.

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I played some other players here so Akhmetov is the MEZ receiving the ball from the DLP, the winger goes into the box that we overload quite nicely, and finds Chalov with a great low cross that Pep loves.

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Here a perfect example for the cited magnetic field of City, the RB thinks he needs to mark the winger and by the time he notices that's not the best idea Oblyakov as the MEZ has already gone through to score. Important to note here of course is, that if he'd stay inside to cover the half-space run, you'll have the switch and isolation of the winger going on instead. Great drop from Ejuke to the space vacated by our FB and a crazy pass as well.

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Ejuke cutting in and Mario attacking the half-space like I want him to, slotting it home quite routinely.

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Similar pattern as the Oblyakov goal with Ejuke playing on the right finding Mario as the half-space runner.

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A lot of stuff in this one scene that I want to see. Ejuke hugging the line receiving, with his strong right foot he's again able to find a great pass to Bazoer, who's supported by the dropping Chalov. Mario takes the chane with the LB going for Bazoer and runs through for another chip goal.

7. Outlook To 2022/23

As you could see in the highlights, you'll have a snowy pitch in Russia for quite some time. Due to the World Cup the winter break ends at the end of January instead of February so there will be even more games in these circumstances which are certainly not great for possession football with a subpar team for that. We had some of our worst games in these circumstances with both of the home losses against Dynamo being played in these conditions, so that certainly could be an issue next season.

Another big issue I'm facing here is, that despite winning the league, guaranteeing a CL group stage visit, we only have 9M to spend. That's certainly not what I expected in the Russian League. In combination with the rule, that you can only have 8 foreigners in the squad, this will be quite the issue. Putting in a search filter for the most important attributes for a Pep-Team the only Russians you'll really find already play for the other big clubs so either not wanting to join us because of rivalry or the teams want 20+M that I just can't pay right now.

With Akinfeev retiring now and Diveev and Oblyakov probably sold at some point as they don't want to extend, it will be hard to find players within the principles I want to follow in this save. With the money we have, the best technical players I can sign are from the bottom of LaLiga or even from teams in LaLiga 2. The issue here being though that with Fuchs, Magnusson, Bazoer, Berisha, Ejuke, Bistrovic, Bohinen and Jeremie Boga, I already have 8 foreigners who are at least necessary for rotation meaning I'd have to replace these with other Russians that either don't exist or are far too expensive.

Therefore I expect to cover the next few seasons a bit shorter, since there won't be a lot of room for tactical evolution into a hyperdominant system reminding of Pep's time at Bayern for example as I originally planned to do and would be quite interesting to share here, since I probably have to be careful to even keep the current level of play instead and will stay within the working foundation. Before moving on to another country, I want to win the other two trophies in Russia as well though and Dynamo certainly has a problem with me achieving that quickly.

Edited by FelixCAN
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Following with interest here :thup:

I'm also running a Pep inspired system that is very similar to yours - specifically your right hand flank of IWB (S), MEZ (A) and IW (S).

I actually ask my IW to stay wider, roam from position and get further forward. I'm really happy with the fluidity it provides with the final third. I want all of my front five to providing a goal threat but find the IW (S) without the added instructions to passive.

Here are my results with Barcelona in my first season:

 

104783156_Screenshot2022-01-04at20_24_14.thumb.png.36fbc072e4db3f8345c3c22f27be50fa.png

 

My only issue is that both of the Mezzalas seems to be the main goal threat. Which I don't think is wholly accurate for the most recent Pep teams.

The current Barcelona squad has better goal scorers in the wide positions (Depay, Fati, Coutinho), so I've alternatively swapped the duties around by using a combination of MEZ (S) and IW (A) instead. Has also worked well, but not sure which is the more effective variation.

Edited by Luizinho
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vor 58 Minuten schrieb Luizinho:

Following with interest here :thup:

I'm also running a Pep inspired system that is very similar to yours - specifically your right hand flank of IWB (S), MEZ (A) and IW (S).

I actually ask my IW to stay wider, roam from position and get further forward. I'm really happy with the fluidity it provides with the final third. I want all of my front five to providing a goal threat but find the IW (S) without the added instructions to passive.

Here are my results with Barcelona in my first season:

 

104783156_Screenshot2022-01-04at20_24_14.thumb.png.36fbc072e4db3f8345c3c22f27be50fa.png

 

My only issue is that both of the Mezzalas seems to be the main goal threat. Which I don't think is wholly accurate for the most recent Pep teams.

The current Barcelona squad has better goal scorers in the wide positions (Depay, Fati, Coutinho), so I've alternatively swapped the duties around by using a combination of MEZ (S) and IW (A) instead. Has also worked well, but not sure which is the more effective variation.

Yes I have to agree the match engine of course tends to give more attacking action to the attack duty MEZ than to the IW on S. Even though I have to say that in my season here F9, MEZ and IW have pretty similar xG and the distribution isn't incredibly different to rl (https://understat.com/team/Manchester_City/2021) only that Chalov even without the penalties has the most, but then it's hard to compare because most these guys play on the wing and/or at the 9 or 8 depending on the game while my players all are locked into one position at this point.

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2 minutes ago, FelixCAN said:

Yes I have to agree the match engine of course tends to give more attacking action to the attack duty MEZ than to the IW on S. Even though I have to say that in my season here F9, MEZ and IW have pretty similar xG and the distribution isn't incredibly different to rl (https://understat.com/team/Manchester_City/2021) only that Chalov even without the penalties has the most, but then it's hard to compare because most these guys play on the wing and/or at the 9 or 8 depending on the game while my players all are locked into one position at this point.

Interesting RL stats those, thanks for sharing.

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  • FelixCAN changed the title to [FM22 Replication] The Russian Guardiola - Stage 1: CSKA Moscow (Last Update: Season 1 Results 04.01.22)

Great Work!

I am wondering about the Right Mezzala isn't that a good role considering the IW-A on the same side? Otherwise, wouldn't a CM-A and IW-A occupy the same space?

 

Also, I am very interested in the 2-3-5 and am trying to wrap my head around it and can't quite do it. How would you set it up in FM22?

 

CKSA is also a good team for a sleeping giant save.

I played in Russia with Baltika (in career updates) and Dinamo and Spartak dominated and CSKA had problems and was on the manager merry go round!

 

 

 

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Cool update! 

I was wondering if you kept the base tactic in play for most of the games or if you did switch to the 3-1-4-2 for the 2 striker formations?

Also, regarding your struggles against the better teams in the league that press higher, did you implement the 4-4-2 to help with the pressing?

Do you ever tinker with TI's/mentality within a match if you are struggling to break down an opponent/see your team being dominated?

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il y a 26 minutes, Shirts a dit :

Cool update! 

I was wondering if you kept the base tactic in play for most of the games or if you did switch to the 3-1-4-2 for the 2 striker formations?

Also, regarding your struggles against the better teams in the league that press higher, did you implement the 4-4-2 to help with the pressing?

Do you ever tinker with TI's/mentality within a match if you are struggling to break down an opponent/see your team being dominated?

I would like too ask a question too, if I may... When and why you choose a different role for your FB sup? You put him on IW D/S if you want him more central and I wonder when and why. 

Thanks. 

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Am 5.1.2022 um 01:36 schrieb Hootieleece:

Great Work!

I am wondering about the Right Mezzala isn't that a good role considering the IW-A on the same side? Otherwise, wouldn't a CM-A and IW-A occupy the same space?

 

Also, I am very interested in the 2-3-5 and am trying to wrap my head around it and can't quite do it. How would you set it up in FM22?

 

CKSA is also a good team for a sleeping giant save.

I played in Russia with Baltika (in career updates) and Dinamo and Spartak dominated and CSKA had problems and was on the manager merry go round!

 

 

 

I don't know exactly what you mean? I don't use an IW-A. And the IWs in this system are meant to stay wide as much as possible in the ME and then cut inside after receiving the ball wide. They can fluently swap with the MEZ in situations, like the low cross goal I've shown where the MEZ receives and the IW goes in the box instead. If you mean IWB-A, yes him and the MEZ can stand in the same space holding hands at some points, but since I can't give them more detailed instructions I live with that in exchange for the other movements they generate, like you can see in the Mario Fernandes goals, how the MEZ does something first to open up the space for him to run into and score.

2-3-5 is just simple and very similar to this system but with two IWB-S in my opinion.

Am 5.1.2022 um 10:10 schrieb Shirts:

Cool update! 

I was wondering if you kept the base tactic in play for most of the games or if you did switch to the 3-1-4-2 for the 2 striker formations?

Also, regarding your struggles against the better teams in the league that press higher, did you implement the 4-4-2 to help with the pressing?

Do you ever tinker with TI's/mentality within a match if you are struggling to break down an opponent/see your team being dominated?

I always played the 3-1-4-2 against 4-4-2 and 5-3-2 in this season and I have it in my view as well but that stuff showing your formation can be bugged and show the wrong tactic so I didn't want to confuse anybody with that. To be honest I haven't really found a solution against attacking 4-4-2s of superior or similar teams at this point, since they can overload your 5-3-2 on the wings of course and 3-4-3 can then be vulnerable through the middle and I don't want to use here since it's not something Pep really uses. But playing a back four against these is just something I can't do, whenever I try it the opponent gets 2-3 1v1s every game from goal kicks or long kicks out of the hands as the strikers will block the CBs away and run through. I honestly don't know how other people can do that.

I have used the 4-2-2-2 somewhere in the 2nd half in the cup game against Dynamo since it felt like we are losing control completely in the 4-3-3, but in the end we lost the game and the momentum bar showed basically that allegedly my impression was wrong and we were dominated way more after the switch, even though I'm not certain how accurate this bar is, I've had games in other saves where I felt pretty comfortable the entire game and the momentum bar was for the opponent the entire game. I'm just very hesitant to come back to it at this point, I don't really seem to find combinations of roles that I feel comfortable with calling a honest Pep replication as well.

This season we were kinda fortunate that there really weren't games where defensive teams could shut us down for a long time, so I never did really more than switching the full backs to IWB-S and IWB-A. If we really need a goal and nothing happens, put the MEZ in AM to have more immediate pressure would be something too. Against better or similar teams it's another issue. When I see the opponent having highlights, nothing going for us, I start tinkering very quickly, since it's pretty stupid to wait for them to score or just hoping to be lucky. I don't know how it's for others but I personally develop a feeling for what could help the team in certain situations when I play with them for some time. Here I have the issue, that I never want to abandon the Pep-principles, so I will never play standard lines, Counter, standard passing, take POOD away, even though I know that it would certainly get better results against these teams most of the time at this point of the development of the squad. But that's just because of the theme of the thread and what I am writing about and not what I'd do playing a save to get the best results I can.

Some common schemes have developed in these situations. One is playing a flat back-four with two FB-S on sit narrower since City plays more conventional FBs in build-up this season anyway and while in real-life there's not a lot that I hate more than FBs being pinned on the line in build-up, here they are on the outside of the half space I'd say and not as easily pressed. Then I've used a PF and removed Hold Shape to be more threatening in transition while not abandoning the principles too much. If all that doesn't help I'll look for the midfield roles, either having DM, DLP-S. MEZ, or if that doesn't give control even something like DLP, BBM, CM-S in combination with one IW put on attack, but that's like at the border of what I find acceptable to change and stay true with what I want to show here. Would be pretty stupid and dishonest showing all the great results with the "Pep system", when I never used it truthfully against the good teams as well, so I rather accept some mediocre results than abandoning the principles of the thread.

Hope this helps.

Am 5.1.2022 um 10:41 schrieb coach vahid:

I would like too ask a question too, if I may... When and why you choose a different role for your FB sup? You put him on IW D/S if you want him more central and I wonder when and why. 

Thanks. 

Mostly against worse teams, where I have the ball a lot in their half anyway, so I don't need that guy standing so wide (as I talked about in Match Engine Limitations I think due to the very wide width he's not a third CB in any form and still kinda wide) but instead want him inside the opponent's formation as well, being another pass option in the centre and also be another body to immediately be able to Counter-Press instead of just standing around on the side doing next to nothing to help our attacking play. IWB-D is more like when I'm 2-0 or 3-0 up anyway and have no issue with having more empty possession by overloading the first phase of build-up.

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vor 1 Stunde schrieb karanhsingh:

How is the back 3 formation working out for you? Did you use it a lot?

It is okay for it's purpose and wins what it should, but as I found in the coming seasons it is pretty vulnerable against 4-4-2 with attacking fullbacks and I don't have an immediate solution for that. 3-4-1-2 is the same and 3-4-3 did not work at all when I tried it once trying to survive in a knockout tie and it's also not quite Pep-like. This is something to think about for sure.

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This is really good! 
 

I use pretty much this formation and system but have the LB as an IWB too, like you say the FB really doesn’t do what I want it to. 
 

How do you find the IW on the left plays? I run identical roles on both sides yet no matter which player the left IW always has a low average rating! 

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Am 9.1.2022 um 16:56 schrieb RPM_01:

This is really good! 
 

I use pretty much this formation and system but have the LB as an IWB too, like you say the FB really doesn’t do what I want it to. 
 

How do you find the IW on the left plays? I run identical roles on both sides yet no matter which player the left IW always has a low average rating! 

I don't see any difference tbh, but it certainly can depend on the footedness and the type of player etc.

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IV. 2022/23 Season Review

1. Tactics

As I hinted in the last post there is no revolutional stuff happening unfortunately, I'm rather very busy trying to keep the level from last season. I want to be as transparent as possible though, since the 3-1-4-2 was too passive against the ball, especially as it's only used against 3-5-2 and 4-4-2 anyway, with this 3-4-1-2 I tried to get another body to press up front, to match back threes and (in theory) to pressure 4-4-2s before they can exploit us with their full backs in wide areas.

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It's not the solution for the 4-4-2 issues and not a very good tactic in general, but since this is about tactical evolution and not a pure career update thread, I wanted to share it here.

2. Summer Transfers

a) OUT

Igor Akinfeev (36) - GK - Retired

The club legend retires directly after our last game of the season pretty much. Was somewhat surprised at that and it certainly gave me a headache with only a small budget available in combination with the foreigner-rules.

Jaka Bijol (23) - CB/DM - Granada - 2.2M

He's miles away from being a good technical player, barely played in the first season and since he's Slovenian he'd need a foreigner-spot that I don't have for him anymore, so he couldn't even be registered. Getting over 2M for that is not too bad.

Ilya Skhurin (22) - ST - Rubin - 1.5M

In hindsight not the greatest deal I've ever done but he didn't want to extend and wouldn't be close to Chalov of course anyway.

Adolfo Gaich (23) - ST - San Lorenzo - Loan

He's a good tall striker who in a vacuum I'd like to have in my team, but he'd only be the backup to Chalov and I have 8 foreigners that are more important than a backup-striker when Berisha and both wingers can play it as well. He's too good to just sell though and could find a spot later in our tenure here.

Ivan Oblyakov (24) - CM - Gladbach - 12M

A sad one for sure, he was my favorite player in the title winning team, his contract would've expired in 2023 and he didn't want to extend and with the in-game conversations in didn't seem to me like he'd suddenly be willing to extend before others could get him for free. 12M is too much to turn down for that especially at a club that gives me 9M budget while having a guaranteed CL Group Stage appearance.

b) IN

Jeremie Boga (25) - Winger - Sassuolo - Free

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I already mentioned this transfer in the last post, he's another Sterling type dynamic winger that can also play as a striker if needed. For no fee definitely a no-brainer.

Ruben Blanco (26) - GK - Celta Vigo - 800k

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While his vision is somewhat bad he's the only goalkeeper in our price range I could find, that is comfortable on the ball and not too small to also be a good shot stopper. Before him I was keen on signing 39 year old former Pep darling Claudio Bravo on a free, but a wage of nearly 3M and being only slightly over 1,80m made that move not go anywhere.

Lucas Robertone (25) - CM - Almeria - 4.2M

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Even though he was bought about a month before the Oblyakov deal went finally through, he is his pretty much his exact replacement for the vacated MEZ-spot. Very technically-versed player with great vision and OTB, exactly what we need in these positions.

Denis Cheryshev (31) - LB/Winger - Valencia - 350k Loan

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One of the best Russian players available to me on the market and with most of my natural backup options falling out of the Top 8 foreigners in the team I needed someone able to to rotate in for the starters between Champions League games or give them a rest when games are already won, so he was an okay solution for that.

3. Season Prediction

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The game sees Zenit still as the best team in the league, even though they finished outside the Top 5 last year. Even though the CA of the players doesn't seem to be very high, I definitely see Dynamo as the main rival here, with their 4-2-3-1 system with physical striker and wingers is very ugly to play for us and very strong in the ME.

4. Results Until Qatar Break

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The Supercup we lost against our friends from Dynamo again, I continue to struggle to find a system against them and we lose through a longshot from their CM Daniil Fomin. They just feel like the superior squad in these games.

In the league it went okay after losing to Zenit and Krasnodar in somewhat unlucky fashion at the beginning of the season. Another meeting with Dynamo in our Arena ended in a 3-3 draw, where despite leading twice we never felt like the superior team and conceded a late equalizer from their backup striker Jeremejeff. 

In a Champions League group with Man City, Bayern and Napoli with a team of our quality it would be hard to compete no matter what, but my restrictions here limiting me to the possession playstyle make it basically impossible. We can't even dominate the strongest Russian teams away from home, how should we be able to do it against the best teams in Europe? Losses at the Etihad and in Munich are not really preventable with our players and especially not when Bayern scores 5 from 2 xG. The home game against Napoli was a near perfect showing for us, being able to dominate them completely. Unfortunately we threw it away in the away tie with Blanco failing to catch an easy cross giving Politano an easy tap-in in the first minute. A Zielinski long shot in the 32nd ended the game pretty much early even though we didn't look too bad. In the dead rubber last match we could beat a strong City line-up while having 635:541 completed passes but that was too little too late to progress. At least we took the Group Stage money plus 5.4M for 2 wins and hope to be back here next season.

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Napoli game stats (2:0)

5. Winter Transfers

a) OUT

Hördur Magnússon (30) - LB/CB - Gamba Osaka - 1.4M

He was uncontested as LCB and LB in the first season, this season he started to decline and not willing to sign a new contract. Instead of losing him for free I sold him to Japan in February. Frees up a foreigner spot as well.

Georgy Shennikov (31) - LB - Sao Paulo - 400k

Same here, no interest in extending and sharply declining only playing in 9 games. No idea why a Brazilian team comes for him, but I'll take the money instead of losing him for free.

Veton Berisha (28) - ST/RW - Rennes - 7M

He was sold after the European transfer window had closed so he's with us for the 2nd half of the season and then transfers in the summer. It's somewhat surprising knowing that he was one of our top performers in the first season, but his attributes started to decline a bit and he fell down to 2 1/2 star CA with Boga in the team, barely starting any games. He was a makeshift addition and never a real Pep player in the first place. Selling him for over 4M in pure transfer profits when he is blocking a foreigner spot and would not be a significant starter anymore at any point had to be done.

b) IN

Ivan Oblyakov (24) - CM - Gladbach - Loan

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Well, that's someone we know already. Only playing 6 Bundesliga games with no start for Gladbach and they are willing to loan us their 12M transfer back for at least the rest of the season. Russian players at his level and suitability to our system that are affordable are super rare, so a loan we had to make, as soon as it was possible.

Lennart Czyborra (23) - LB - Lazio - 4.9 + 1.1M

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Since I sold the two players who could play LB at a solid level I needed reinforcements here. His bad right foot is the only issue with him. He's comfortable playing as a normal full back, inverted, or even as a half back in a back three. Exactly what we need in the full back positions, great transfer.

6. Rest Of Season Results

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The title battle was close fought, the 8 points look very comfortable, but that was certainly not the case. After our typical loss against them due to a typical header from their star striker Grulev (1,90m, 17 JR, 14 HEA, 14 ACC, 14 PACE) gave them an early lead we weren't able to equalize they only were behind 3 points with 3 games to go with them having the H2H meaning on equal points they win it. In the end they lose away to Rubin and only draw in Krasnodar so with us winning our remaining games we cruise the 2nd consecutive league title home. Worse point total than last year and as predicted lucky to not fall down too much with additional CL games and a deeper Cup run with a squad that is significantly thinner than last year.

Then the Cup... I want to win the Cup and the Super Cup at least before moving on to another country here. We beat Rubin away and Zenit in tough games to set up a final with, of course, Dynamo. Not being able to win against them once in this save, this is a huge game. For once we get lucky, going in front with a Chalov Penalty. In the first half we have 2-3 more good chances, unable to convert. So of course, in the 63rd minute Fomiin steps up and hits the equalizer with a long range freekick. After that it's really an even game that finds no winner though. In the Russian Cup there's no extra time so it goes directly to penalties. Jeremejeff misses their first, while the next 8 convert their penalties. Robertone can win it for us and misses. Podence and Magkeev score for them in the sudden death and while Berisha scores too, Bazoer misses and once again we lose to Dynamo and miss out on the Cup.

7. Squad View

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Chalov as the False 9 stays the top scorer. This should not be overinterpreted though, from his 29 goals 12 are penalties. 12 assists from him as the striker are very impressive though. Behind that, the players in the MEZ position clearly are the main goal-threat. Now since this was talked about here before you can debate how much is the tactic and ME and how much are actually the players. Intuitively I'd agree that the wingers on Support duty will be less of a goal threat in the ME than MEZs on Attack duty. But last year when Berisha as a striker type of player played in RW he scored more goals than the MEZ and Ejuke and Boga both are more dribble and pass or cross players so this could be explained a lot only with the type of player you use. Also Robertone and Bazoer overperformed their xG while Boga underperformed drastically. This could even out a lot in another season. All 4 and Mario as the RB have solid assist numbers too, while Robertone was the corner taker iirc so that should be seen in context for what it's worth. Quick mention to Mukhin here, I've never really done something like this before, training him as a playmaker and passing as focus, for example is work rate went from 18 to 17 but the important attributes so he can play the DLP role seem to be developing to an acceptable level, where he could play there more reguarly soon. Never did such a drastic change in a players playstyle and certainly interesting the trade-off in attributes and how it will end up.

8. Highlights

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I don't think I need to say a lot here anymore, just wanted to show again that it actually produces a lot of what I wanted to achieve. These goals are just a few more lovely half space runs and a great short pass goal from Chalov against Napoli.

9) Outlook to 2023/24

I hope we finally can turn around the rivalry with Dynamo. We'll meet them again in the Supercup of course. We need that and the Cup so I can move on to another country in peace. But we still only have a budget of 9M and with Diveev unwilling to extend his contract another Oblyakov situation is looming. There still won't be much room for tactical revolution with us being unable to defeat Dynamo in any shape or form and struggling away against the other big teams.

Edited by FelixCAN
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  • FelixCAN changed the title to [FM22 Replication] The Russian Guardiola - Stage 1: CSKA Moscow (Last Update: Season 2 Results 11.01.22)

Enjoying this thread. Got me inspired to begin a Pep Guardiola save but with my non-league Irish side. Expect it to fall flat on its face but if I can get one or two highlights of nice football a game it will be a success for me. Youth-focused save though, so a few good regens might allow for this football to be played over the seasons. 

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