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[FM23] London City FC


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The Story

Back in 2012, just after the London Olympics, the government was struggling to find a new owner for the Olympic Stadium. A reclusive billionaire was looking to form a new sporting academy so this presented an excellent opportunity for them.
After much negotiation and probably a few bribes, the company bought the whole of the Olympic Park to turn into the London City Academy for an undisclosed sum. This includes the stadium (now called the London City Stadium) with a capacity of 66,000, other sporting venues such as the Aquatics Centre and Velopark , plus all the athlete accommodation which will now turn into student accommodation. Other buildings are now teaching facilities.
The park is now called the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and is open to the public. It cover 560 acres of beautiful parklands, waterways and walking trails.
Included as part of the Academy is the London City Football Club. By 2022 they had been promoted from level 10 (the Southern Counties East League Division One) to the National League South. The Club at the start of the 2022 season has a balance of £1 billion, a transfer budget of £100 million and a wage budget of £10 million per week.

The Rules

  • Only sign players 18 or under.
  • Develop the best youth system in the league.
  • Develop the best youth system in the country.
  • Develop the best youth system in the world.

The Manager

I have managed the Club since 2012. My salary is £400,000/week. I live alone in a £175m central London penthouse provided by the club's foreground sugar daddy chairman.

The Club

London City demand four fundamental requirements from all the young players at the club, which is known as T.I.P.S.
T.I.P.S -
T- Technique
I- Intelligence / Insight
P- Personality
S- Speed
TECHNIQUE – Technique is the number one requirement for a London City player. All London City players must be technically good with the ball. The London City way is to play in the oppositions half of the pitch, this means players playing in tight space, which means that the player must be able to play using good technique.
INTELLIGENCE / (Football INSIGHT) - Football intelligence is vital for the London City style of play. London City players must be able to understand instructions and follow out these instructions. London City players must know what to do with the ball in given situations, such as when to hold on to the ball, and when to release the ball. They must know how to create space and when to move into space.
PERSONALITY – Personality is necessary for a team player. Players need strength of character and leadership qualities. The club look for personality in players, to see if they are confident, if they can influence other players and most importantly if they can work within a group. London City players must be able to gel with the other players in the team and not be an individual. The London City team must be as one. Note - London City players must not wear jewellery. Earrings, chains or bracelets are not to be worn on or off the pitch while at the club, players who do so are seen as individuals.
SPEED - Speed of thought and speed of action is a characteristic of London City players. London City players must be able to sum up situations quickly to problem solve on the pitch. The only running London City do in training is 20 - 30 yard sprints, there are no long distance runs. A lot of work is done on the players running technique working on short and long running strides. A lot of training is performed on improving the players acceleration and to make the players more explosive.


Training at London City is based on the controlling, receiving and transporting of the ball. The young London City players at the optimum learning age of between 8 and 12 must perform a lot of 'Coerver' training (working on individual ball skills). London City players train with many different types of ball, they will train with tennis balls, small footballs, balls in a hand held net, and specially designed foam balls. These are continually used by younger players to improve their touch and technique. London City train their young players to make their feet be like their hands, and to make them ‘be the boss of the ball’.
Physical training is also important with the young players, but ball work is most important aspect of training. All training is done within small-sided games, based around the ‘Dutch Vision’ 4 v 4 (small-sided games with different sized and shaped pitches). This is used to teach the ‘Diamond’ and ‘Triangle’ positional shapes which are recognised as part of the London City play. These games help the players appreciation of angles and distances, and to aid them on passing and receive the ball, so they can decide on the weight of pass and touch. 4 v 4 and 7 V 7 games are encouraged at all levels throughout the club.
Training is interval based and covers the following areas:
Ball Control - Passing (always work on short and long passes), dribbling, moving with the ball etc.
Duelling - 1 V 1, attacking and defending, defensive heading etc.
Power of Combination - Sense for position and working with team-mates etc.
Athletic Capabilities - Start speed, sprint speed over 10 metres, 30 metres, agility, staying running and jumping power.
Commanding Charisma.
Creativity, Team Spirit etc.
Before a training session players will do 30 minutes ‘Aerobics’ as their warm-up. ‘Aerobics’ is designed to improve hip rotation, stomach muscles, thigh muscles and coordination. The Aerobics helps the players become more explosive, improves their body rotation and gives them better balance.
Communication is the most important factor for team building and there is great emphasis placed on this area at the club. From a very early age emphasis is placed on learning:
  • The rules of the game.
  • Shoe maintenance.
  • Acquiring an understanding of the London City system of play.
  • Body care.
  • What to eat and drink, and when in relation to matches and training.
The 8 -12 year olds are taught how to run elegantly and economically. The players are taught to adopt sportsman like attitude in respect of opponents, to accept direction and guidance to submit to a referees decision. To evaluate ones achievements with a critical eye. To see football as a team sport. Learn to listen to their bodies and how to inform coaches and parents if the have an injury.
Each youth team which is made up 16 players. The squad has been selected after a lengthy process. During the season each player will take three tests, these consist of 15 physical and skill tests which mainly measure the players physical progress (speed and power). Players are assessed game by game by the coaches, all the information is stored on the clubs database.
Players are also assessed throughout the season with regular meetings with the players parents. If at the end of the season London City see better players around than the players at the club, the players who are not progressing will be replaced by these new players.
Youth players between the age of 8 and 14 will train three to four times a week, play a match on Saturday morning and are expected to watch the first team play if playing at home, e.g. five trips to the ground each week minimum and this increases as they get older. This means a player aged 8 will have almost five hours training and one 60 minute match a week.
At the age of 15, training becomes more concentrated and instead of finishing school at the same time as other children, they are collected by one of the fleet of 20 buses that London City run, i.e. at 1:30 - 2:00pm and spend the afternoon at the club studying, training and eating. The youth teams are rotated on a daily basis so that at various times they are either training, showering, eating or studying with the nine part-time teachers London City employ to help the players with their homework. All study lessons are around one and a quarter hours long. The players are made to understand that school is more important than football, and that London City cannot guarantee that all the youth players will make it, to become professionals, and London City also see that players don't just play football with their feet but also with their brains. If players do badly at school, they have to miss training.
Players must also take a course in Media Studies, to improve personal confidence and how to portray yourself to the public. Players also have to fill-in personality questionnaires.
The club invite top sports people from other sports to talk and lecture the players.

Pitches and Training Ground

Most of London City’s training and youth matches are played on Astro Turf pitches. As the UK is a very wet country, good playing surfaces are hard to find and even harder to keep in good condition. As London City play a passing game, they need to have a good flat surface for their teams to play on, and astro turf is seen to be the best suited surface for this. The main stadium includes a training centre with indoor and outdoor training facilities for the professional staff. Close by to the stadium are grass and astro turf pitches for the clubs juniors. The grass pitches have been guaranteed to last all year round.
More coming soon ...


Edited by GodAtum
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Tactical Analysis of the London City's Tactics

Playing Style

London City plays a mix of Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Münich team and Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the way we behave on and off the ball. By combining the best of Liverpool’s counter-pressing with the possession-hungry Pep’s Barcelona side, we have impressed Europe with our magnificent style of play!
London City has created a fluid attacking system that is as balanced with the ball as without it. The team moves as one unit. It’s a perfect combination of compactness, triangles and perfect shapes on and off the ball. All in all, it combines the best of two worlds: total control in possession and high pressing. Hard to break down for the opposition team in possession and hard to defend against out of possession.
Our gegenpressing combined with a priority to attack at greater tempo and more directly, have resulted in a unique vertical Tiki-Taka playing style that dominates any opposition. Aided by our structure and positioning in relationship to each other, it provides the perfect foundation for extreme domination of play.
By combining specific passing patterns and the focus on increasing the number of passing options for the player on the ball with aggressive press and looking to win possession as high up the pitch as possible, we manage to dominate the match both in possession of the ball, in transition and off the ball.
A Quick summary of our principles of play
  • Playing to entertain and daring to play their type of game regardless of the opponent,
  • intense pressing and giving the opponent as little time on the ball as possible
  • movements and third man runs to create pockets of space to advance play effectively. These penetrating runs are difficult to defend against as they are often opposite of each other
    • by interchanging positions they look to ensure constant occupation of spaces to link play perfectly to progress the ball through the half-spaces.
  • defensive solidity through great organization and compactness when out of possession
  • playing attacking football in a unique style that is as entertaining to watch as fun to play
  • individual skills (flair and vision) to turn the result in their favor along with the technical abilities in possession of the ball.
All in all, our tactics DNA and football philosophy can only be described as Total Football 2.0!

Our Formation & Shape

The London City system is an attacking football system, the team must play the ball forward, if the ball cannot be played forward, the ball must be played sideways, if the ball cannot be played sideways the ball must be played backwards. “If the front door is closed, try the side door, if that is closed, try the back door”.
The system encourages all of the players to get into 1 v 1 situations all over the pitch, this means all players must have good technique when under pressure from the close marking opponents, this means the London City players need to have better individual technique than the opposition players who are playing directly against. The players must have good individual technique and must have the ability to create space for themselves and their team-mates.
The moment London City gain possession of the ball, all the players must move away from their markers creating space for themselves, becoming passing options.
When the opposition have possession of the ball, every player must react positively the moment possession is lost and press the opposition to win the ball back. The nearest player to the ball must press the opponent who has possession of the ball. His team-mates must take up covering and marking positions, to be able to intercept passes.

Player Roles & Duties of 4-2-3-1 System


Sweeper Keeper Attack: To sweep up through balls and crosses between the penalty box and the high defensive line, I’ve gone for a sweeper keeper – attack duty. When the team is in possession, he will stray outside the penalty box providing an option to retain possession at the back and help the team to change their angle of attack from one flank to the other depending on the opposite press.
The sweeper keeper needs to be good with the ball at his feet. His First Touch, Passing and Technique alongside a two-footed goalkeeper is desired to retain possession at the back and play out of defence effectively. If you got a Sweeper Keeper with good Kicking, you could opt for a SWK-Support to make more counter-attacking passes towards the TF-A.
Selected Player Instructions: Pass Shorter
Fullback Support (Left): His discipline and awareness will be important as the team build-up play. His positioning will form a triangle on the left flank with either the DCL and MCL or MCL and AML. Due to his mentality he will occasionally sit back and protect from breaks when the team is in possession. As play enters the final third, he will tuck inside and play more centrally but if needed make overlaps to get into crossing situations from the byline. By sitting narrower almost like a IWB it will make him available for a pass very often. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see him making the most passes!
You need a player with great tactical awareness, intelligence and smartness. Good Teamwork, Anticipation, Positioning and Decisions is favor. He must also be Composed with the ball and got the passing technique to effectively retain possession / create chances from deep, as well as good Marking, Tackling and Positioning to be a great player in defensive situations.
Selected Player Instructions: Sit Narrower, Get Further Forward*
*Can be removed for defensive solidity
Complete Wingback Support (Right): The right wingback will occasionally make overlaps or underlaps depending on the situation and will play in close proximity to the IF-s. My desire is that he should not mainly be a threat with the ball, but cause chaos in the opposition defensive organization by unpredictable runs – mainly trying to overload the right half space.
The ideal CWB requires good Stamina, Flair, Off the ball and Acceleration. It helps if he also got great Vision, Crossing, Dribbling and Technique to make good use of the ball in possession either he tries to carry the ball into the penalty box, cross from byline or make a diagonal through ball into the penalty box towards the forwards.
Selected Player Instructions: Take More Risks, Cross More Often, Cross From Byline, Cross Aim Far Post, Close Down More
NB! There’s no problem using Wingback support either.
Ball Playing Defender Defend: The two Ball Playing defenders will need to be as good out of possession as in possession. Ideally, you want players with good First Touch, Passing, Technique to aid ball circulation when playing out from the back. Especially their First Touch will be essential as you’ll be asking your team to go about their businesses with great urgency (slightly higher tempo).
Since you’ll be playing with a high defensive line, these defenders needs to be quick enough (Acceleration and Pace) to quickly recover into defensive positions and intercept runs and counter-attacking initiatives if attacking play breaks down. Their Concentration, Positioning and Anticipation are all favorable skills.
One of these BPD are asked to Dribble More – meaning he will look to bring the ball out of defence to overload the midfield line if other passing opportunities are blocked.
Selected Player Instructions: Close Down Less, Pass Shorter, Dribble More (DCR), Mark Tighter (DCL)
Deep-Lying Playmaker Defend (MCR): The deep-lying playmaker will be the heartbeat of the team. His primarily task is to provide balance to the team. In possession he will look to offer passing options for everyone around him. Out of possession he will look to protect the defence with great positioning. He’ll do an important job to block off passing lanes and intercept passes played into the center.
I’ve selected the DLP-D in this instance, simply to see the player move into the center more often – acting more like a single holding pivot as you’ll encounter in a 4-3-3 system.
He requires first and foremost great Positioning, Anticipation and Work Rate. It’s not uncommon to see the player making over 100 passes completed per game which makes him require good Passing, First Touch, Technique and Composure – being able to retain possession effectively despite coming under immense pressure.
Selected Player Instructions: Pass it Shorter, Tackle Harder, Mark Tighter
Box to Box Midfielder Support (MCL): I’ve gone for the BBM midfielder – a role that typifies the modern midfielder – both press resistant, having defensive capabilities to regain possession effectively whilst also being an attacking threat with his late runs into the box. He will cover larger ground and needs the Work Rate and Stamina to run up and down the left half space – offering passing options and making overloads.
Besides that, my reason for settling down for the BBM in the 4-2-3-1 system was the ability to select Moves into Channel something that will make him able to run between the centre back and the fullback, as well as making deep runs behind the opposition’s defensive line. His inclination to roam around the pitch will also make you see him often take up positions in the center of the pitch – making him able to thread passes towards the forward or the AM.
Selected Player Instructions: Moves into channel, Dribble More, Pass it Shorter, Mark Tighter
Attacking Midfielder (support): He will stay in the pocket but will have the license to roam around the pitch looking for space to receive the ball. His movements and third man runs will often make him receive the ball in dangerous positions to thread balls into goalscoring opportunities, unless he finish off the chances himself. In fact, he will be as present inside the box as the Target Forward – meaning he needs good Finishing and Long Shots.
Since the AM-S will make lots of key passes and through balls, you need a player with good Vision, Passing, Technique. His Creativity (Flair) and Off the ball movement will be necessary traits as he moves between lines. It’s not uncommon to see the player making the highest traveling distance – often over 13.5Km!
It’s essential, that the AM-S got great Stamina and Work Rate. Since he also needs to close down very often, it helps if he got good Aggression too!
Selected Player Instructions: Moves into channel, Get Further Forward, Take More Risks, Mark Tighter
Inverted Winger – Support (Left): I’ve asked the Inverted Winger to stay wider. By adding hold position, the IW-S will be more disciplined in staying close to the touchline until play enters final third. From the wide channel, he can receive the ball without pressure to make lots of crosses into the box, or through balls for the BBM or TF to run onto. If the opposition tries to man mark or close him down, there will be space inside for an underlap from the BBM.
Once play moves closer to the penalty box, the IW-s will tuck inside making a front three with the TF and the IF on opposite flank.
The player in this position requires first and foremost good Crossing, Vision, Passing and Technique. His Off the ball Movements and Decisions will be valuable as you look to overload the left flank.
Selected Player Instructions: Cross More Often, Cross Aim Centre, Hold Position, Stay Wider, Take More Risks
NB! In the initial testing of this tactic I used a Winger-support along with Team Instruction Hit Early Crosses to increase the number of crosses taken. It’s recommended if you got a player with excellent Crossing skills.
Inside Forward Support (AMR): The player in this position, will stretch play in the build-up phase but will play more centrally in the final third becoming more of a second forward than a creator.
By staying wider, he will look to isolate the opposite defender. From his position he can make diagonal runs inside, wait to receive the ball before trying to bypass his defender in a one-on-one situation, or make through balls to the onrushing forward as soon as he receives it (e.g one-two between TF and IF).
He needs to have good Acceleration, Off the ball Movement, and Flair as well as good Anticipation and Decision. His capabilities in the final third is essential too. He will receive the ball in goalscoring positions and come to chances so he requires both the Technique, Finishing and Composure to place shorts.
His abilities to make through balls from wide can also be valuable, as he will make passes behind the opposition’s defensive line that the BBM, IW or AM can run onto – coming up in a one on one with the goalkeeper.
Selected Player Instructions: Stay Wider
Target Forward Attack: Up front, you’ll have a traditional Target Forward who will lead the line. You’ll need a tall physical player who can dominate both on the ground and in aerial situations. While most of the movements comes from behind and to the sides of the Target Forward, it’s essential he got the Teamwork, Strength and Balance to hold up the ball before passing short to a player nearby.
If coming up against a team who holds a high line, threading passes to the TF can be useful. In these situations it helps if he got great Acceleration and Pace. Since he will basically be a player who holds up a position inside the box in the attacking phase, the player needs good Anticipation, Finishing, Composure and Off the ball to get into a scoring position.
Selected Player Instructions: Pass Shorter, Move into Channels

Formation and Shape

London City uses a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation.
The DLP holds position in front of the two centre-backs and covers the larger area in front of the defence, The BBM is given the freedom to join the attacks and take up advanced positions as play enters middle third – moving into the channels on the left side trying to overload the left half space.

The role of the BBM is highly important to the teams structure. His duty is to balance the midfield and connect the defensive unit with the attacking unit. At the same time, he’s a press-resistant player who can make progressive carries and look to both cause havoc in the oppositions defensive organization by dribbling forward with the ball, and give his forwards time to recover in their correct positions.

The BBM is the one often initiates counter-attacking moves. When progressing forward with the ball, the BBM will tend to move into central areas whilst the front four stretches play by covering each channel on the pitch. In these situations, the shape will look like a 2-3-1-4.

As a box to box midfielder, it makes him better connected with the IW and the AM and more able to utilize his creativity and ability to progress play into the final third by carries – something that attracts the attention of the opposition and free up space for the IW, TF or AM to run into.

Essentially, it’s the defensive stability the DLP provides, that lets the BBM now play to his strengths further up the pitch – using spatial awareness, magnificent Paul Pogba-ish flair with the ball and excellence touch and vision to control the ball in congested space. By having the FB tucking inside behind him also free up the defensive responsibilities of the BBM. He doesn’t need to drop as deep to be involved with the build-up.

As play enters the final third, the forward runs of the AM on the right side of the pitch, alongside the forward runs of either the BBM between the channels or the FB overlapping on the left of the IW, creates a 2-3-5 formation. This creates a numerical superiority against the traditional back four defense. If facing a back five, the duty of the BBM and frequency of his forward runs can increase, making it to six players getting into positions in or around the penalty area, since you got the CWB who tends to underlap and make progressive runs into the left half space – moving between the oppositions fullback and central defender just like an complete wingback.

Since the BBM and the AM moves into the channels on either side of the TF with the IW and the FB stretching play, the shape tends to look like a 3-2-5 in possession.

Up front, London City uses a traditional target man. With the TF they now had a more direct route to goal. Besides providing more depth to the team’s structure, it gave London City more options when entering the final third.

Edited by GodAtum
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  • GodAtum changed the title to [FM23] London City FC

5 Principles of Play – Attacking Strategies


A. Recycle Possession Effectively

At the heart of the team’s playing identity you have a strong focus on keeping possession of the ball by moving the ball in intricate passing patterns.
At it’s most effective, London City is more decisive in possession than for instance the famous Pep’s Barcelona side. The teamwork and attacking fluidity of the team helps the players to create lovely one and two touch passing moves. Their pass and move style of play is simply astonishing to watch!
Instead of a slower build-up based on patiently waiting on the right moment to enter the final third, London City is a bit more direct. Rather than recycling possession at a low tempo like Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona and patiently awaits gaps to appear in the opponent’s structure, London City wish to progress the ball forward by exploiting openings in the opposition’s shape quicker and earlier.
At their best they can score goals, or create major chances after as few as 5 to 6 moves – showcasing how to zig-zag the ball in perfectly executed combination play by exchanging passes at a higher tempo to lure the opponent.
Like Manchester City, they use passes to move their opponent. With quick flicks, one-two’s and short passes made in quick tempo, they want to get the ball between the lines, into the channels and behind their opponent.


B. The Importance of Positional Play

With a fluid attacking system, London City have lent ideas from Johan Cruyff’s, Rinus Michel’s Total Football and Pep Guardiola’s principles of positional play to create a balanced system that helps to overload the opposition with movements and off the ball runs into multiple channels to break down the opposition team’s defensive organization in possession, whilst being compact and defensive solid to regain possession quicker and higher up the pitch.
By adhering to the principles of positional play, London City’s system focuses on creating numerous triangles and diamonds for the player with the ball along with numerical superiority around the ball zone. Players help each other to create better angles to pass the ball, as well as providing defensive solidity if play breaks down, by their positioning and focus on adding a spare man around the ball zone to build up fast and more vertically.
Everyone knows where to run and be, and when to do so, depending on the location of the ball and the movements of their teammates. Everyone understands how to provide cover for each others movements to remain a similar structure and shape.
As the principles of positional play dictates, player’s positioning and movement must follow strict rules – all depending on the location of the ball on the pitch. With different rules and strategies depending on which zones on the pitch the ball enters, players have the freedom to move and rotate positions within a specific framework dictated by the manager’s desire.
To quickly recap the concept of positional play, there can never be more than three players on a horizontal line or two players down a vertical lane. This means that there can never be more than two players in the wide channel, down the half space or centre channel at all times.
This means that regardless of who moves where, there are restrictions. All zones must be occupied by a player, whether we’re talking about the lanes between the lines or the five channels across the pitch. This requires great understanding of each others role and positioning within the framework and what’s makes positional play so difficult to adopt.
The understanding of space and the focus on maintaining a good balance within the structure is one of the keys to effective combination play and why positional play is favored.
If applied perfectly, there will be multiple players around the ball zone with a number of players in a perfect angle to play that pass and move type of football that has seen London City carving through the lines of the opposition in such an effective manner – moving the ball further into a more dangerous zone on the pitch in a decisive manner.
Time and time again, we’ve seen players having as many as five passing options or routes to goal. Often different opportunities, different attacking strategies that means the opposition team have to guess London City’s next attacking move, and where they will penetrate.
Aided by taking advantage of the concepts of positional play, London City manage to both keep possession effectively and open the opposition’s defensive structure with passes and movements.


C. Third Man Runs & Decoy Movements

The interchanging of positions by constantly looking to create triangles and diamonds aims not only to increase the number of passing options for the player with the ball. Also, it aims to disrupt the organization of the opposition’s defensive structure by off-the-ball runs.
By combining numerical advantages with positional superiority and qualitative superiority, London City’s intention is to create space to attack in by freeing up space in specific zones depending on the ball location.
The focus on third man runs is one of the mandatory principles of London City. Even though the team defends and attacks as a coherent unit, the team needs off-the-ball runs to free up passing lanes and create space, especially centrally and between the lines.
What they will often do is to stack up players on one side – creating overloads and numerical superiority around the ball zone before having a player running into space on the opposite side of the playing area. It could be combination play on the left flank with the FB, the BBM and the IW exchanging passes before the AM moving diagonally into center – attacking the space left behind the BBM.
The scenario is often a back pass to a player in support who makes a defensive splitting pass to a breaking player. The aim with these supporting passes is to ensure the closest marker pushes out of his line to press the player on the ball – something that leaves space behind.
By using lay offs and cut backs, London City wish to draw opposite markers out of their position which they eventually can attack in. The exchanges of passes serves a particular purpose – to create space to attack in!
That’s why they wish to create these triangles. Basically, you’ll have three players attracting attention with their short passes while a fourth player making a run behind which the player in the bottom of the triangle can make a diagonal through ball / progressive pass onto.
In the end, these runs will cause chaos, and they will disrupt their organization!


D. Playing between the lines

To lure the opponent, and create space, London City wish to apply, what thhe refers to as c"reating several 10’s". The team aims to set up the AM and the BBM between the lines. Their off the ball task is to offer the team an opportunity to progress play into the final third by making third man runs, carries and thread passes to the more attacking-minded players; the IF, the IW and the TF.
Their spatial awareness and especially the BBM’s importance to the team to offer passing options further up the pitch – connecting the defensive and attacking unit is of utmost importance.
Often we see both the BBM and the AM trying to position themselves between the lines when the team builds up play. From their more central position, they look to make either underlaps between the central defender and the fullback – trying to move behind the back of the man pressing the ball, or move towards the center running diagonally behind the striker.
What you’ll often see is that both the AM and the BBM makes opposite runs of each other. If one underlaps and moves diagonally towards the flank, the other moves centrally.
These runs have two purposes.
At the one hand, they shall try to disrupt the defensive organisation of the opposition by causing chaos. In practice, London City looks to take advantage of positional superiority with these runs. As they move forward and make runs into space, they will create numerical superiority in that area – giving an opportunity for the player with the ball to either make a quick pass into space or take advantage of the space opened up in the center to cut inside or cross towards the center.
At the other hand, it could be seen as a decoy run: a run with the only purpose to attract the closest markers attention and drag him away from zone 14 (the area where most dangerous chances are created). The result of these opposite runs is that they help each other to get space to receive the ball.
At the same time, their runs can also be aided by attacking runs from deeper positions, whether it’s the FB moving inside or the CWB underlapping whilst the AM or the BBM moves wide.
One of the biggest advantages of these third man runs and focus on making underlaps is to basically free up space elsewhere on the pitch – whether that means more time for the player on the ball to pick out dangerous passes or create space for another player to receive in a more dangerous position.
Actually, by holding position between the lines, they become a great base for attacking play. Instead of underlapping they can benefit from their positions by making key passes and through balls towards the IW, the TF or the IW due to how they create the base of an triangle on each flank. This takes into account the wingbacks overlaps on the flanks while the wingers tucks inside.
At the same time, it maintains the desire to play pass and move football by working the ball through the lines of the opposition as passing triangles and perfect angles are maintained via great body shape and positioning.


Focus of Play

The focus on creating triangles and diamonds to increase the number of passing options for the player with the ball is only one of the keys to London City’s success.
A major contributor to the success at London City is how the team manage to provide a perfect balance between width, depth and compactness both in and out of possession.
The mandatory focus for London City in possession is to exploit overloads, often down the wide channels and through the half spaces.
London City favors to focus play down the flanks. The left flank is often used for combination play and create overloads. Often the BBM moves to the left to create 3vs2 situations, while the overlapping runs of the FB creates 2vs1 against the opposite fullback.


On the right, they try to use isolation’s to dominate the opposition by setting up the IF for one-on-one situations. This concept is referred to as qualitative superiority regarding positional play. The idea is that you have a player that is better than his direct opponent and isolates them in an one-on-one situation.


E. Stretching the Pitch: Overloading vs Underloading

According to the principles of positional play, London City wish to create as much space as possible in the center of the park to aid ball circulation by stretching the pitch as much as possible. The players will look to try to open up passing lanes for each other with their positioning.
In the London City system wingers look to stretch the opposition laterally by staying wider – close to the touchline.
This strategy is used to make it more difficult for the opponent to cover all passing options on the pitch. If the opponent stays narrow and tries to avoid passes into the central areas of the pitch, London City got direct passing options to the flanks. Similarly, if the opposition tries to cut off the passing lanes to the wide players, there will be space between the channels to move the ball into.
At the same time, by instructing the wingers to provide the width, it will create advantageous 1v1 situations in wide areas as they try to isolate one of the defenders via movements in the half-spaces.
The positioning of the FB (left) and the CWB will often decide the positioning of the wide players and movements of the midfielders. If they moves inside into the half space to free up the passing lane to the wide player (the IW or the IF), either the BBM or the AM must move towards the center to draw attention away from play, or make progressive runs . Then, the positioning of the wingbacks, whether they invert (underlap) or move wide (overlap) will depend on who is in possession of the ball, in which zone the ball is in and the movements and positioning of other teammates close by.
Although London City’s desire is to play out from the back using short simple passes, they are no strangers to making direct passes over a greater distance forward. When the central defenders or the wingbacks is in possession of the ball, they have several options.
When the FB (left) or the CWB (right) is on the ball, they often tend to make progressive passes to the IW (left wing) or the IF (right wing). Even, the BPD can look for passes to the wide players.
To do it successfully, it’s important that the two central midfielders free up passing lanes to the wingers – dragging the attention of the opponent in to the center. At the same time, the wingback on the opposite flank will move inside the half-space, just like an inverted wingback, while the wingback closest to the ball zone will drop deep to receive the ball to ensure he can progress the ball out wide.
However, on the opposite flank, the positioning of the wingback in the half-space channel will aim to better the quality of the passing lane to the winger – helping the team to progress the ball into the final third quicker and earlier.
Actually, they are pretty brilliant at unbalancing the oppositions team with movements and rotations, and using change of tempo both in passing directness and speed of exchanging passes to attack the opponent.


The concept of Stressbringers

When London City is in possession, the two wingers, the IW and the IW will stay wider, almost hugging the touchline. Whether the team is playing out of defence or the ball advances into the final third, at least one of the wingers will stretch play.
Their duty to stretch play off the ball is highly important to the team’s attacking strategies. Erik ten Hag refers to them as“Stressbringers“. The initial aim with their wide positions is to try to stress the opponents out. The defender must have to keep an eye on both the ball, his marker and teammates positions as play enters his zone.
Passing options and attacking strategies to use on the left flank where London City aims to overload
For instance, if play is located on the left flank, the right winger (the IW) will look to move away from where play is located. His positioning and movement is simply a decoy run to lure the opponent. The aim is to draw attention with his positioning – increasing the space between the channels and lines in the opposition’s defence.
It’s a perfect combination of overloading on one side while underloading on the other.
If the opponent shall have control of the IW’s future runs, he must keep him in his sight. That means positioning himself in an angle that spots his runs and is close enough to intercept his move.
If the opponent moves too much into the centre of the pitch, the winger will be free to receive the ball – either via diagonally passes where London City switches play quickly, or have the opportunity to make runs behind the player’s back to be the receiver of London City’s low crosses and through balls from zone 14.
It’s here the importance of the third man runs from the 10s or (8’s in the 4-3-3) comes to its force. By using positional superiority to get players between the lines or behind the opponent’s defensive line, they aim to force one of the defenders to move wide – creating space in the center for runs into channels from the attacking midfielder, or the box to box midfielder. All the time, the opposite defenders far from the ball must make a decision to either follow the movements of their teammates to contract space, or become isolated against the forward and/or the winger.
By letting the IW play to his strength and utilize his Dribbling, Flair, Acceleration and Agility against his direct opponent can quickly lead to a goal scoring opportunity.
If the IW receives a pass and comes up in an one-on-one-situation, he got several options to progress play. If the opposite marker has full control, then the IW can be aided by the CWB’s run and positioning, who tends to hold position inside the right half-space, but who also got the freedom to make underlaps or overlaps. the IW can either make a supporting pass to the CWB, or get help to overload on the right flank as these two players creates a 2vs1 situation.
The IW can also look for direct through balls and diagonal passes towards the center, where the AM moves into the channels behind the back of the direct opponent. Finally, he can try to beat his marker by either cutting inside or move towards the byline for a cross.



We have now seen how London City uses overlaps, underlaps, movements between the lines and third man runs to manipulate space to come to goal scoring opportunities. Even though they favor to thread passes into the penalty box either to the TF or the AM who moves behind the opposition’s defensive line, one of their preferred attacking strategies is to take advantage of in-swinging crosses from wide positions.
A frequent strategy London City uses when entering the final third is to cross early into the box, often by the IW or the FB. These crosses aren’t merely coming from deep, but within the wider areas of the penalty box. As soon as the wide player is on the ball, he will without hesitation look to make either a hard low cross towards the center or an in-swinging cross.
London City often look to the IWs strengths in possession of the ball to unlock the opposition.
On the ball, the runs from the AM, the TF and the IW, along with the positioning of the BBM gives the IW several options. He can make a cut back to the BBM, which looks to retain possession and better the angle for a through ball in the next stage.
Then, he got the option to make an in-swinging low cross towards the centre of the 6yard box, or a diagonal low cross towards the penalty spot where the AM often arrives. In these situations, the movements from the TF is important. He creates the space for the AM by dragging his marker away from target area.

Decisiveness in the Final Third

What’s important to note, is London City decisiveness in the final third. In attacks, London City’s playing style differs quite a lot to Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona Tiki Taka style of play. Rather than patiently await for gaps to penetrate in, London City favor to attack quickly and rapidly.
Once the ball enters the area around the penalty box it’s not uncommon to see the players taking an immediate shot on goal. Whether it’s a cross or a pass leading up to the situation, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even need to be a clear goal scoring opportunity. They prefers to fire it away, rather than play the ball from side to side. In fact, it looks more like they tend to ‘Shoot on Sight‘ to use a term we know from the team instruction in Football Manager, than working the ball into the box.
There are mainly two reasons why I believe London City prefers to shoot more often.
  1. To avoid loosing the ball in dangerous situations which can lead to quick counters. Despite having players in cover, their attacking intent provides a vulnerability against long balls forward and balls over the top which quick agile players can exploit
  2. The number of London City players inside the box provides opportunity to score from rebounds. Even if a shot is blocked, they got enough players to recover the possession of loose balls inside the 6 yard area.
PS! That’s not to say there have been cases where London City seemingly pass their way into the goal with quick short passes. All in all, it shows the number of strings London City have in their attacking vocabulary.

Defensive Strategies

Defensive Structure

Out of possession, the defensive structure of the 4-2-3-1 remains rather similar. However, rather than the wingers staying wide and the double pivot split, they will stay much more compact and narrow. The narrow shape looks to avoid passes into the central, and will make the team defend very similar to a 4-4-2 – creating a box of 4 players in zone 14. This will outnumber the opponent, especially if they are playing with a 4-3-3 or a wide 4-2-3-1 formation.
Out of possession, London City is a fairly man-oriented team who wish to push constant pressure on the ball. It’s pressuring out of line to minimize the playing area. It’s not uncommon to see London City press with five players up front.
Often, the BBM tight mark the opposing midfielder or pushes up to compress the space behind the attacking line – making it more difficult for the opposing team to build out with ease. At the same time , the DLP will tight mark the opposing attacking midfielder, while the AM tight marks their playmaker. Essentially, it’s a mix of blocking passing lanes and keeping control of their direct marker.
By remaining fairly compact in the center it will concede space in wide areas and invite the opposition team to play out wide and down the flanks.
Nevertheless, it gives a great foundation to put pressure on the wide areas as they can set up pressing traps. By using the touchline as an defensive approach, they look to decrease the playing area for the opposing fullbacks. With fewer likely passing options, the opposing teams attacking play will become more stagnated.


Intense High-Pressing

The extraordinary possession stats is aided by London City’s desire to win possession as high up the pitch, and as quickly as possible. Through relentless pressing and swarming the opposition with an aggressive high press and a high defensive line, London City looks to disrupt the build-up of the opposition team by limiting the number of obvious passing options for the player with the ball forcing them to make more risky passes.
Often, we see two to three London City players closing down the space around the opponent on the ball, limiting his time and space to make clever forward passes, while the other teammates cover the defensive zones behind the press.
At London City, the forwards are the first line of defense. Their aggressiveness and acceleration to close down opposing players on the ball is essential in their desire to regain possession as close to the opposition’s penalty box as possible.
The TF, the AM, the IW, the IW and even the CWB and the FB will push out from their position to chase loose balls, cut off passing options and put pressure on the ball carrier by closing down players much more often.
When the opposition goalkeeper is in possession of the ball, London City wish to force play to one side – normally towards the channel where the AM protects. In these circumstances, it’s all about closing down passing options for their opponents by sticking particular close to their direct opponent.
The task for the wingers at this stage is to shut off any passing angles towards the fullbacks meaning the opposition team must work hard for openings to play out of defence.


Essentially, London City tries to overload the opposition out of possession, as well! As this illustration shows, with a combination of tight marking and numerical superiority, London City forces the opponent to play sideways passes at the back or be more individualistic – making it easier to intercept passes that’s not 100% accurate both in strength and length, or carries towards the center.
According to the illustration above, there are none obvious passing options for the opposition team due to London City’s intense high pressing. The opponent could try to make a supporting pass to his central defender, but the forward runs forward to block off that option. He eventually decides to run with the ball inside, as London City’s winger forces the ball on his left foot (the opposite of his playing position). The attacking midfielder, who initially tight marks their defensive midfielder wins the ball by closing down as soon as he initiates the carry of ball.
Suddenly, London City have five players against the oppositions four. The inverted winger on the opposite flank is free to receive the ball, and with a quick movement so is the central player. With only a few passes, London City is clear on goal!
The Art of Counter-Press
The key to counter-press effectively is compactness and great balance despite players will interchanging positions. By decreasing the space between the players, and playing much more narrow, it’s easier to regain possession in the next stage.
The positioning of the players is the key here. Since the structure remains rather similar despite how the players have interchanged positions before they re-group, their compactness and balance within the defensive/attacking structure means that the team can counter-press effectively. When possession is won, they can immediately restart their attack right away and try to counter-attack.
The result is that the transition periods between attack and defend is reduced – a strategy we have come to know from Pep Guardiola’s tactics. The team looks like it’s always in possession.


London City’s Vulnerabilities

Often, the opposition have to look for direct balls forward. This is one of the vulnerabilities with London City’s high defensive line and pressure on the ball. By conceding lots of space at the back they are fragile for balls over the top. It requires that the central defenders must be quick, have great awareness and is positioned correctly to intercept the forward runs by the opposing attacker by getting his body between him and the ball.
In Football Manager, especially when coming up against teams who wish to play highly direct, trying to counter-attack by long balls over the defensive line it might be useful to lower the defensive line one to two touches: from ‘Very High’ to higher or Standard.
This is also a case if you’re playing against better teams, so you don’t risk them playing in behind you through a combination of quick passes, runs from quick players á la Mbappe or Mane.
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5 hours ago, Maw74 said:

I love a create-a-club game, nice back story as well, £10m per week wage budget? :eek:

Where ate those squatters West Ham playing now?


Lol I think I might have to make a stadium in the editor, probably put them back in their old ground!

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43 minutes ago, phnompenhandy said:

I'm intrigued to find out how you'll get your kids to play Pep and Klopp ball, with all that gegenpressing. Don't the current rules prevent you buying U18s from abroad? Can you only scout England, or what are your parameters?

I think I will sign players who are 18 or younger by the start of the 2013/2014 season (born after 2 Sept 1994). So really anyone under 27 for the First team. I'll be changing their history in the editor. I might get rid of the Brexit rules or use the FM22 World Super League db.

Edited by GodAtum
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At the start of 2022, UEFA and each country's FA have decided to merge their leagues into the World Super League. 400 teams from 50 countries (32 in Europe and 18 in the rest of the World) divided in 20 groups through 8 levels of competition. London City will be starting in the bottom Tartarus League. I've attached screenshots of the main screens.

















Edited by GodAtum
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

The board have also updated our Club Philosophy.

-In the middle of London, a sports club for the hearts of the citizens-

As a club that represents the heart of London, we have made it
our social mission to improve the status of sports . Take a step forward.

Core Values
Community platform through sports

  • In urban life, where human relationships tend to be weak, provide opportunities for people to connect and interact through sports.
  • Contribute to the realisation of the “Sports City London” advocated by Peter Weyland by creating a lifelong sports culture through the provision of sports opportunities and health promotion activities for London's residents.
  • In addition, we want to be a place where connections beyond the framework of sports are born (sports & business, sports & technology, etc.) and new values are created.

Lifelong development club whose mission is to produce human resources

  • Continue to be a place where people can grow and be nurtured by all people involved in the club pursuing learning from sports (practicing the fusion of literary and military arts, embodying sportsmanship, etc.).
  • Develop and produce tough human resources who are needed by society even after leaving the club and who can become London's "breakthrough power".
  • The top team will enter the top tier of the World Super League in the near future, aiming to eventually become the best in world.

Contribution to a healthy and long-lived society

  • Continue to be a club that promotes physical and mental health and contributes to the extension of healthy life expectancy of those involved by having sports close at hand throughout life.
  • More specifically, a community is formed through sports, and intergenerational connections and contact points in the form of “doing, watching, and supporting” sports will help people involved in the club to develop their own lifelong passion. It will be a place where you can find your place.
  • We want to continue to be a club that contributes to the “realisation of a healthy and long-lived society” by ensuring people's mental and physical health.

Our Spirit



Team Goals

  1. To improve the competitive level of football in London.
  2. To revive the tradition of "the football capital of the world - London".
  3. To contribute to the revitalisation of the sports culture throughout the city.
  4. To create exchange between regions and between people, to contribute to the revitalisation of the regional community.

Be a good member of society, be a good football player

The London City Group aims to become the leading football club in the world in all categories, based on a three-pronged structure that includes top professionals aiming for the top league in the near future, top amateurs aiming to become the best amateurs in the world, and academies.
Under the consistent club identity of "Be a good member of society, be a good football player" from the academy to the top team, it is a lifelong development club whose mission is not to aim for professional players but to produce human resources.

Future Vision

We value not only the professional category, but also the amateur category, including the academy. We will create a world-class football club. 

Football is also a part of society, and we plan to continue to develop human resources who can think about how clubs and soccer itself will be needed in society while having the eyes of ordinary members of society.

It goes without saying that the academy is the future of the club. Academies are not there for top categories, top categories are for academies. In the academy age, results are important, but "education through the pursuit of victory" should be more important. In addition, the top category is the goal of the academy, and whether or not it can continue to be a role model is an issue that the club should address as "education through continuous demonstration of the pursuit of victory".

Finally, the style of a club is not necessarily the model of play that unfolds on the pitch, but rather the common pride held by the academy to the top categories.
"Be a good member of society, be a good football player"
Football is also a part of society. Before being a football player, I am a social worker. The mission of this club is to establish a trilateral system of academies, top professionals, and top amateurs, and to continue to develop human resources who are needed by society and who can provide value to society.

Edited by GodAtum
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