So, with everything covered up to this point, it’s probably time to play a match.
Preparing for the Match
Before you click ‘Submit Team’, it’s advisable to make a few checks and observations. The information made available to you on the ‘Pre-Match’ screen indicates which players are unavailable from each team for the match, as well as the referee and weather, and details of historic records between the sides. Take this all into account when settling on the team you’re putting out. Consider whether you’re at home or away, your respective records, and indeed the opposition’s.
Once you’re happy with the team for the match, click the ‘Submit Team’ button to Continue the game and advance to the pre-match build-up.
The first stage of the build-up are the Line Ups and Match Analysis screens. The Line Ups screen displays the formation and personnel deployed by each team for the match, whilst the Match Analysis screen is given greater emphasis, informing you of any potential milestones which could be reached in the match as well as Key Battles between standout players. This screen also holds the predictions information; match odds, key players and a pundit’s prediction of what’s ahead over the next ninety minutes.
This is also the opportunity to give your team specific instructions to take to opposition players, from the ‘Opposition Instructions’ option. Select a player from the pitch to apply specific instructions to him or implement your choices by position in the adjacent panel, ensuring that whoever plays in that area of the pitch will be treated the same. Alternatively, ask your Assistant Manager to implement his or her advised instructions.
When you progress from this screen, you’ll be taken to the Team Talk screen. This is your final chance to talk to your players before kick-off, a chance to give them some final instructions and words of wisdom. What you say to them now can have a massive effect on what happens over the next 45 minutes, so choose wisely.
As is the case with all interactive comments, you can assert your choice of tone over the squad. From the ‘Overall Team Talk’ panel, select a tone and appropriate comment before confirming it.
You will receive feedback on what you’ve had to say in the ‘Reaction’ column, whilst a member of your backroom staff (of your choosing via the ‘Ask Advice’ drop-down menu at the top of the screen) will offer their opinion on how to approach the team talk.
You can set an overall team talk to the entire squad, or talk to each player individually, or a mixture of both. Alternatively, you can have your Assistant Manager take the team talk.
Once you’ve done this and have exited the team talk, you’ll be taken to the match screen ahead of kick-off. You might be asked a quick question or two in the tunnel before heading out for the match as the media attempt to get one final word before the action gets underway.
The Match Screen
The match screen has a number of different views, all available from the Menu Bar, and a number of different items you can interact with during the match.
The menu options are as follows:
Overview: The standard and traditional view for a match. Holds the current score, goal-scorers and key events from the match, as well as miscellaneous information like data, venue, competition, weather and referee. As its name would indicate, this is an overview of the match.
Formations: Displays the respective formations in use.
Report: Contains the match play-by-play text report.
Assistant Manager’s Feedback
Your Assistant Manager will provide regular feedback on what’s going on during the course of the match.
Latest Scores: Select this option to view the latest scores from all games going on in your saved game at the same time as yours, and for up to the minute goal updates.
Latest Event Updates: This differs slightly from the Latest Scores panel as it presents the events as they happen, vidiprinter-style.
League Table: If you are in a competition where a league format is used, a live league table will be present here as well, so for those tense last day of the season games you can be right up to date with where events place you.
The Pitch View takes you to a match screen designed specifically for the 3D match view. The primary and majority focus on the screen is, as you’d expect, on the pitch and what’s going on. The scoreboard is to the very top of the screen, and below in the action bar are a number of match day options designed to make your visual and managerial experience easier. For example, the ‘Settings’ button – indicated by the traditional mechanical cog icon – allows you to configure the Match Speed, Highlights, Cameras and Replays amongst other items.
Towards the bottom right is an icon with a pop-up window displayed within. This allows you to select any number of the items usually found on the tabs menu and display them as a pop-up box in the Pitch view. These are all completely free to be positioned anywhere on the screen and can be closed at the click of the ‘x’ button towards the top right of each widget.
Throughout the course of the match you will be able to make quick tactical adjustments on the fly from the ‘Instruction’ menus at the top of the screen. If you want to make a quick switch of tempo, or adjust to an opponent, or any number of other tactical fixes, you can do it from here without taking your eye off the ball. If you want to make more detailed, wholesale changes, click the ‘Go to Advanced Tactics’ option from the tactical changes icon (the one with the two arrows located towards the top left of the screen) dropdown or select ‘Tactics’ from the title bar to go to your full tactics mode.
Along the bottom of the screen is the match time bar, which will log moments of note and incident for quick reference when playing the match back.
The ‘Settings’ button expands to allow the user further control over what they watch. The ‘Camera’ dropdown presents a list of different views from which the match can be watched – for example, a 2D top-down view is still available, but so is a TV camera, and a Main Stand camera, and a number of others. From here, you may also configure whether replays are shown or not, whether sound is on or off as well as toggle the speed of the match action, and the saturation level of highlights shown.
The split view screen allows you to view any combination of the screens available side-by-side (except any match action view). From the dropdown at the top of each panel, select the screen you want to use in that area.
Towards the bottom right hand corner of the 3D display is an icon with inward or outward facing chevrons, indicating that the view can be maximised or minimised. This simply enhances the visual match display area by toggling the amount of Title/Menu Bar you see.
Use this menu as your shortcut to make any necessary tactical changes. For more information on Tactics please click here.
The Stats section holds the match statistics, action zones and detailed statistical references for both teams from the match in progress. Hold the mouse over a column header to see what the abbreviation refers to for that statistic.
The Analysis dropdown allows you to break down a number of incidents from the match. For example, the Analysis screen itself allows you to see where key incidents occurred as well as who was involved and what the outcome was. Select different events from the dropdown to see them appear on the pitch graphic. The Action Zones screen indicates the proportion of the match that has been played in each third of the pitch.
In addition to all of the match options, the Actions area has some controls to control what exactly you see.
Using the match speed slider, the user can also toggle whether replays are on or not and the saturation of highlights they receive. If you’re ambitious and have some time on your hands you can view the ‘entire’ match (note, this is not actually 90 minutes), extended highlights, just the key events, or none at all and watch the game with just commentary text.
During play, a series of informative notifications will pop up on the screen as part of the Match Feed. This can range from key events in the match you’re watching to events elsewhere and advice from your assistant manager. The full range of notifications can be toggled from the ‘Match Feed Settings’ button found within the ‘Match Feed’ itself.
Once you’re happy, kick off!
At half and full time you will have the opportunity to offer a team-talk to your players. The half time team-talk will generally be about what has happened in the first half and what you expect to happen in the second half, whilst the full-time one will be of a reactionary nature to the result. As with your pre-match team-talk, take care in what you say to your players, as it can have a strong effect on how they handle things from that moment on, particularly half-time team-talks.
If, at the end of the match, you wish to save it for later viewing in the external match viewer (available from the ‘View Match’ option on the Start Screen), click ‘Save Match’ from the ‘Match Controls’ menu and you will be prompted to save the match .pkm file to My Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2017\matches.
Edited by Philip Rolfe