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Jatravartids

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  1. 5/10/17 Malta (WCQ – Game 9) 4-0 This time the squad was picked for the 442 Diamond Narrow formation. I’m not entirely sure about the roles but I can play with them. As I’m new to this formation I’m going to keep it simple and go with Control and Fluid and the TI’s Prevent Short GK Distribution, Play Out of Defence and Exploit the Middle. I also use OI’s to show everyone inside where I’m strong. It all goes well and we thrash them as expected. 5/10/17 Scotland (WCQ – Game 10) 4-0 Their ST is their outlet when they gain possession so we set Tight Marking and Close Down on him. I also add the TI Retain Possession as we’re giving the ball away too much. After 20 minutes I change Harry Kane from TM(S) to CF(S) as he’s not getting much joy. We qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Yay me ... I mean us. ------ I think I prefer club management to national management. I don’t care as much about the players when managing the national side and I can’t shape the team/squad to play the way I want by buying and training players. There’s a lot less faffing about with training, scouting etc but I like shaping the team. I think next year I’ll go back to running a club.
  2. 12/6/17 Gibraltar (Friendly) 4-0 Complete change of team. Camp in their half. Bit of a rout. 31/8/17 Slovenia (WCQ – Game 7) 0-3 Just don’t ask. Really: it was horrific. A complete change of approach is required. 3/9/17 Lithuania (WCQ – Game 8) 4-0 Changed to 442 Narrow Diamond as an experiment, went 3-0 up inside the 1st ten minutes. It went surprisingly well given that I had to rest some players and the squad had been picked for a different formation. I’ll try this again. ------ I find that I’m not really paying as much attention to the players when picking a squad as I did when I managed a club. I’m pretty much just going on stars and familiar names. I Have no idea what anyone's PPM are. I arrange friendlies against Iceland and Australia for November and Cape Verde for March. They’re all ranked 51-100 so should be reasonably beatable but not completely useless. We have dropped 8 places to 19th in the world. :-(
  3. OK, time to reassess tactics and personnel. A quick check shows the national pool matches the scouted list. We also have plenty of 3* players. I’m going to go with 4-2-4 Wide and try to put the players in their best roles, or at least something close. TM(A) DF(D) IF(S) AP(A) RPM(S) BWM(D) FB(A) CD(D) BPD(D) FB(S) With that number of specialist roles I’m going to use a Structured Team Shape[W]. This will be an experiment for me as I normally like a fairly fluid set-up. I’m going to go for Counter Mentality and see how it goes. 24/3/17 Lithuania (WCQ – Game 5) 6-0 As they’re playing 4-1-4-1 I’m going to use a CD(Stopper)/BPD(Cover) pair in central defence. I’ve added the OIs of Close Down + Hard Tackle to anyone with Strength & Bravery of <=10, set their ST to Close Down and Weaker Foot, and their GK to Close Down. Lithuania get pretty much steamrollered. The heat map shows our possession was fairly far forwards but not as wide as I’d expected. This may be a result of using an IF and AP instead of wingers. Our positioning looks sensible. There’s maybe a bit more of a gap behind the strikers than I’d like, but there was usually someone around to pick up the knock downs from the TM(A). I might need to watch the gap behind the left back on the counter. Pretty pleased with that game. I arrange a friendly away against Gibraltar for 13th June (after the qualifier on the 8th) to give the lads a bit of a holiday. We’ve also moved up to 11th in the world. 8/6/17 Slovakia (WCQ – Game 6) 4-0 As they’re playing 4-1-2-3 DM Wide I’m going to use a BPD(Stopper) (Cahill in for the injured Smalling)/BPD(Cover)(Stones) pair in central defence, but otherwise the same system as the previous game. I’ve added the OIs of Close Down + Hard Tackle to anyone with Strength & Bravery of <=10, set their ST to Close Down and Weaker Foot, and their GK to Close Down. Their AML is actually pretty decent strikers and their striker can’t jump, so we’ll show their wingers to the outside so they cross instead of cutting inside and shooting. I’m also going tightly mark Hamsik as their danger man. We dominate the match, looking dangerous on the attack and getting men into the box. I’m not happy about the space in front of the two central defenders, but that’s because I like playing a DM.
  4. 11/11/16 Scotland (WCQ – Game 4) 3-4 Umm ... . This didn’t go well. For a start, the referee was massively biased towards the home side and our defenders were terrible. Also, this is the first time we’ve come up against a side with a decent number of players up front. As it turns out, our five defenders couldn’t cope with their four attackers. They take a three goal lead (including one very dodgy penalty), we yank off Rooney, change to 4-2-4 Wide and claw back to 3-3 before they finish us off. 9/10/16 Japan (Friendly) 0-0 All the shooting accuracy of a stormtrooper. ----- We’re back down to 12th in the world, and I’m going to try 4-2-4 Wide or 4-2-3-1 Wide in the next set of games. At least we’re still top of the group. ----- At the start of January I order new national reports on anyone with a potential of at least 3* (at least those the game will let me).
  5. 6/10/16 Slovenia (WCQ – Game 2) 2-0 Some of the players arrive tired so it’s a bit of a mixed team but I was always going to have to do some squad rotation anyway. I’m going to try using FBs instead of WBs for defensive responsibility. I also set Tight Marking + Weaker Foot on their Striker, Right Foot on their AML+DL and Left Foot on their AMR+DR. For the second half I change to Counter, bump up the Tempo to Higher and the Passing to More Direct. It seems to work well. Again, the opposition have plenty of shots but mostly from range. Our shooting is much better and we have 2 CCC and 4 HC to their 1 CCC. Also (again) we seem to be holding the line defensively and spread our possession well. 9/10/16 Malta (WCQ – Game 3) 5-1 We’re 10-1 on to win this. We win 5-1, they got battered, we conceded from a set piece. After the match I order reports on any English U21 with worth at least £100K and unknown potential so they can be added to the national pool. ----- We are now up to 9th in the world. Jack Butland is finally shaking off his injury, so he comes in to replace Ben Foster. Phil Jagielka was at fault for the only goal we’ve conceded so far, so he is dropped in favour of Calum Chambers. I also drop Alli and Lallana in favour of Wilshire and Rooney as they’re been fairly anonymous so far.
  6. With an eye to the future, for the next set of two matches I drop Rooney and bring in Sterling. Lallana will move to AMC and Sterling will slot into AML. The day before the match, our best defender gets injured. *sigh* We’re now up to 10th in the world. National reports continue to come in. When they stop I’ll scout everyone under 21. Japan challenge us to a friendly. As it’s after the last WCQ match of the year I’ll accept. Generally I’ll try not to arrange a friendly before a serious game, but afterwards, to give the squad players some game time, it’s fine. I should look for players who aren't English but are eligible for England, but that's something for the future.
  7. 4/9/16 Slovakia (WCQ – Game 1) 2-0 The game against Spain has tired a number of players so there’s a bit of squad rotation. The roles and mentalities have been tweaked slightly to reflect the change in personnel, and the TIs incorporate the changes used in the previous game. We win 2-0. Again the opposition have shots but mostly from range. Our shots are much more threatening. The heat maps show a similar story of our possession to the previous game, being spread across the pitch. The AML was an IF which might explain the bias to the right. ----- In the last two matches we’ve had 26 corners to our opponent’s 13, so I should try to maximise that by improving our corner routine. I’m going to try keysi’s routines for set pieces.
  8. More +'s It's a bit odd, looking at the schedule and only seeing 5 matches this year. On the plus side, haviing an entire nation's players as your available squad means quite a lot of depth. 31/8/16 Spain (Friendly) 2-0 After 15 minutes I change to a Slightly Deeper dline. After 35 minutes I add Exploit the Flanks. After half time I add TIs of Use Tighter Marking and Pass Into Space. When I substitute Henderson for Dyer at DM I change the role to DLP(D) as it suits him better. On 83 minutes I change to Counter just to close out the game. We win 2-0 – yay us! Although they had more shots, most of them were from distance and many were blocked. We definitely had more shots on target (9 v 3). They had 3 CCC and 2 HC, we had 2 CCC and 4 HC, so fairly even there. The shots analysis shows us having shots from good positions, but them mostly being restricted to shots from the edge of the box. The heat map also shows us holding them centrally outside the box. Our possession is much more spread out. Our attacks show a bias towards the left side and I’m not really sure why. I’ll have to keep an eye on that in future matches. Unsurprisingly, given the heat map, their attacks were heavily biased towards the centre.
  9. Initial Tactics James Milner retires from international football before the friendly. When it comes time to decide on my squad, I make sure anyone with a potential of at least 2.5 stars is included in the National Pool. Looking at players in the Pool, we have 3 players of 4* current ability (CA) and another 15 of 3.5* CA. I want to get as many of my best players on the pitch at the same time as possible. We’re loaded towards AM/ST, and Henderson can play DM, so I’m going to try 4-1-3-2 DM Wide. AF(A) DLF(S) W(A) AM(S) W(S) A(D) WB(S) CD(D) BPD(D) WB(A) SK(S) Obviously there is a big gap between the DM and AMs, and fully half the outfield players are in attacking positions, so defence could be an issue. I’m going to try to close the gap a bit by choosing a Very Fluid Team Shape so there’s less of a gap in mentality between the front and the back, which will make us more compact. Following the guidance in [W] I have chosen only 1 specialist role: the Anchorman. With the gap in midfield, I should probably try to bypass it as much as possible, so an Attack Mentality seems like a plan. “A direct style of play works fundamentally on rapid transitioning from defence to attack. This can work either on a slick counter attack, or with an attritional and physical style of play instead. More direct passing is the obvious and notable feature of the style, and often in a system that reduces the number of midfielders because they tend to be bypassed during play, so there is no point playing extra midfielders when they are less likely to play an integral part in play.” [L] I’ve set three attack roles, not the four suggested in The Art of Counter Attacking [C], but we’ll see how it goes. I’m also going to try to keep a defensive trio of A(D)-CD(D)-BPD(D). I’ve added TI’s Prevent Short GK Distribution, Clear Ball to Flanks, Work Ball Into Box and Run At Defence. I also choose Jordan Henderson as my Captain as he has the best attributes and will generally be in the team. I’ve selected Harry Kane as vice-captain as he’s likely to play a lot too.
  10. Last year I chronicled my struggles with tactics in my Anatomy of a Liverpool Save. For FM17 I’m going to try to get the hang of another area of the game I struggle in: national management. I’ll lay out the details of my England save as it progresses, from team selection, to tactics, to scouting and friendlies (and the thinking behind it all), in the hope that wiser heads can point out where I go wrong and struggling managers everywhere can learn from my mistakes. I’ll warn you up front, this is likely to be a bit sporadic and infrequent. I have a new baby and I’m not going to get the time I’d like, but hopefully I can snatch a few hours here and there. National vs Club There are some obvious differences between club and national management: +’s You can get through the seasons quickly. No need to worry about transfers and money. -‘s No real squad building. You have no control over the pool of potential players. If your country has no decent left backs then you have none: you can’t just buy one in. As you don’t control the players’ day to day training, you can’t influence their development and mould them to suit the roles you want them to play. I’m going to start as the England manager as the job has recently become available. I’m the perfect choice: less dodgy than Big Sam (only because I have no choice), more personality than Gareth Southgate (a man who makes wallpaper paste look interesting). Resources I’ll mainly be using wwfans How to Play FM: A Twelve Step Guide and llama3’s Pairs & Combinations. I’m also likely to dip in and out of Cleon’s The Art of ... series. They’ll be abbreviated as [W], [L] and [C] respectively, and can be found in the Tactic Building and Training Guides sticky at the top of the Tactics, Training & Strategies Discussion board. --------------- I’m playing FM17 Touch. I’ve set up as below. The additional leagues are enabled to make it more competitive ... and to give me somewhere to go if I’m sacked. The National Pool does not contain all eligible players. There are no reports on most of the players in the National Pool. I order National Reports on all eligible players worth at least £1M. I’m told we’re ranked 13th in the world. Hopefully the board will bear this in mind when setting expectations. Our first friendly, and only game before the World Cup qualifiers, is against Spain which could be tricky.
  11. 2016/17 EPL Game 1 – Brighton (A) As they’re playing 4-4-2 I convert both central defenders to defend duty and don’t use Exploit The Flanks. Despite being at home, they’re playing much narrower than us, so I add Exploit The Flanks. Later, Run At Defence helps ball retention. We go 1-0 up, and to deal with their more attacking approach, I convert the RPM(S) to CM(D),the AM(S) to AP(S) and remove Look For Overlap. I really want to go to something with a DM but I need to get the hang of 4-4-1-1-, so I’ll stick with it. The changes stifle our attack a bit so I add Pass Into Space because they’re leaving more space than before they conceded. We’re 2-0 up at half time. Looking at the analysis, there’s a clear difference between the positioning of the RPM(S) and CM(D) when we have the ball, the CM(D) definitely reinforcing the centre against counter attacks. Generally, our possession is decent (61%) and we’ve had the better chances. I give into temptation and bring on Dier for Firmino and after a few minutes push the ML up to AML as W(S) and the MR up to AMR as IF(A). Shortly after that, the IF scores but it’s disallowed. It’s downhill from there, they keep lobbing balls over the top or getting behind our fullbacks and run the 2nd half. We still win 2-1, but I should have stuck with 4-4-1-1- and maybe use OIs to improve things. 2016/17 EPL Game 2 – West Ham (H) According to the scouting report, they usually play 4-4-1-1, so I’m going to stick to 4-4-1-1. It’s now Very Fluid and I’ve changed the two central midfielders and defenders. AF(A) AM(S) W(S) DLP(D) BBM(S) WM(A) WB(A) CD(D) BPD(D) WB(S) SK(D) I’ve set the OI to mark and close down their AMC and show their ST onto his weaker foot. The first half is as complete a domination as you’ll see … without scoring. Our average positions are nice and the defensive line is high, which means our pressing is good. West Ham, in contrast, are barely getting out of their own half. My fullbacks are running down the flanks, my wide midfielders are putting in crosses from the byeline. Defensively, we’re making many interceptions So, if we’re so awesome, what’s the problem? Their goalkeeper has an 8.1 rating already, my striker Sturridge is 6.4 and Firmino, despite having Finishing 15 and Composure 12, had yet to hit the target in 5 attempts from inside the 18 yard box. At half time they pull both midfielders back to give Defensive 4-4-1-1 2 DM. In response I change to Counter to lure them forward, remove Look For Overlap and set the OI of Close Down More on both their DMs. We still dominate without being able to score. On 66 minutes we bring on Lukaku who scores 12 minutes later, occupying two central defenders and turning when a through ball is played to one side, striking a first time shot. [video=youtube_share;oEWXjOyA29A] .We’re largely holding on for the last 15 minutes but manage to run out the clock. I’ve also been scouting u19’s in various countries, and pick up PA 3.5-4.5 ST from Middlesbrough and PA 3-4 ST from Birmingham. I’m going to train the both as Complete Forwards to ensure a well-rounded skill set. In the League Cup we’re drawn against West Ham at home. In the Champions League we’re in a group with Napoli, Sporting CP and Ludogorets. Not the easiest group ever.
  12. SEASON EXPECTATIONS Champions League: Reach 1st Knockout Round. Premier League: Champions League Qualification. FA Cup: Reach Final. I follow the same approach to arranging friendlies as the previous season, but have issues due to a compulsory tour to Hong Kong and players' international commitments. 1st Attempt at 4-4-1-1 AF(A) AM(S) WM(S) AP(S) DLP(D) WM(A) FM(A) CD(D) CD(D) WB(S) SK(D) Standard. Fluid. Slightly Higher dline. Prevent Short GK Distribution. Play Out Of Defence. Work Ball Into Box. Use Offside Trap. I've changed last season's SK(A) to an SK(D) purely to stop him lumping the ball long. I'm not using Retain Possession to encourage players to take a slightly more adventurous passing approach than last season. 1st Friendly – Lam Pak (Hong Kong Tour) v 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow I add Exploit The Flanks. Due to international commitments and needing a rest, I’m short 8 first team players. After 30 minutes I add Look for Overlap. After 60 minutes I substitute all 11 players. We win 4-0. I'm not convinced by the way we play during the next three friendlies, even though we win them without conceeding, so I add a bit of variety. 5th Friendly v Cliftonville Slightly tweaked 4-4-1-1 against their 4-2-3-1 Narrow, AF(A) AM(S) W(S) CM(D) RPM(S) WM(A) WB(A) CD(Co) BPD(St) WB(S) SK(D) Our wide men absolutely kill them 9-0. 6th Friendly v Partick Thistle They’re also playing 4-4-1-1. We take off Look For Overlap and Exploit The Flanks. We’re very comfortable (3-0), playing the ball around nicely and out shooting them 21-2. 7th Friendly v St Pat’s Athletic V 4-1-2-3- DM Wide, we use the same system as the previous two games with the addition of Close Down on their ST. A comfortable 3-1 win (conceeded due to Mignolet error). I'm fairly happy with the 4-1-4-1 set-up. It could be changed to 4-2-3-1 by pushing MR to AMR and converting to IF(A) and pushing the ML to AML with the same W(S) role.
  13. 2016/17 SEASON PLAYERS The picture shows players I want to keep (with a 3 star rating or better) and kids with good potential (who are in italics). Potential I have Jordan Williams DR (CA 1.5 stars PA 3.5-4.5 stars), Ojo MC (CA 2 PA 3-4), Origi ST (CA 2.5 CA 3.4-4.5), Gomez DC (CA 2 PA 4-5), Kent AML/R (CA 1 PA 2.5-3.5) Formations: 4-4-1-1 which can easily morph to 4-2-3-1 Wide just by pushing up the wide men. 4-1-4-1 which can easily morph to 4-1-2-3 DM Wide by pushing up the wide men Required Players by position GK: Either a replacement for Mignolet or a decent young player who can improve beyond him. DR: Decent young back up for Clyne (lend Williams out for 6 months to gain 1st team experience and consider for next year). DC: 1st team DC. Gomez is a decent young player as the 4th DC and Skirtel should be a decent 3rd DC but, at 30, is going to start declining. DL: Decent young back up for Moreno. DM: A good DLP/RG. MC: I wouldn’t mind a decent defence minded MC, and Milner isn’t going to last forever, but it’s not a priority. MR/AMR: I have two players who can play there so I’m OK. ML/AML: I need another player to cover that because I only have Coutinho. AMC: Very covered. ST: I need an upgrade on Benteke. Origi is going to be given some games to help his development, but a decent Attacking Forward would be useful. Searches: Attributes at least 10. Age no more than 29. GK. SK(D) role + Determination. DR/DL WB(A) role + Determination + Strength. DC: DC(D) role + Acceleration + Pace + Stamina. DM: DLP(D) role + Determination + Tackling + Strength + Stamina. MC: CM(D) role + Strength + Vision. ML: WM(A) role + Strength + Dribbling + Acceleration + Pace. AF: AF(A) role + Strength + Stamina. Anyone with a known PA of at least 3.5 stars or an unknown potential gets a Scout Report done on them. I’m notified that our facilities have been downgraded and our youth training setup is category two. I use the options given to request we improve the training facilities and youth setup, which the board agree to. The stadium expansion has been completed and Anfield can now hold 54,000. The Transfer Window Much deadwood offloaded. £30M Eric Dier DC (Tottenham) (CA 3.5 star PA 4 star), he’s fast, only 22 and can play DM as well as anywhere along the back line. We have to pay a bit over the odds but he fits the bill and a good central defender was our highest priority. £160K Ben Chilwell DL (Sheffield Utd) (CA 1.5 PA 3.5-4.5). Promising young full back, can play central defence at a push. £850K Petar Stojanovic DR (CA 2 PA 3.5-4.5). I know, another young DR, but I couldn’t resist. I’ll lend him or Williams out for six months once he’s had some training. £12.5M Geronimo Rulli GK (R.Sociedad) (CA 3.5 PA 4). More expensive than Timo Horn but also with slightly more potential. Also, a goalkeeper called Geronimo! £35.5M Jose Gaya DL (Valencia) (CA 4 PA 4-5). I can’t believe we got this guy. I’d obviously put him on the shortlist at some point the previous year as I was notified Man City had bid for him. He looked great so I took a punt on him, expecting to lose out to Man City, and he decided to come to us. It wipes us out until I can offload some players, but he’s really good, only 21 and can play anywhere up the left. Moreno will now become my second ML and sometime DL. I’d like a DM and ST. Everton got relegated (heh!), so I wait for the start of the new season and pick up Stones and Lukaku for less than they’d have cost before relegation. In no way am I motivated by a desire to rub in Everton’s relegation by stealing their best players … honest. £26M Lukaku ST (Everton) (CA 3.5 PA 4). An upgrade on Benteke. £29M Stones DC/DR (Everton) (CA 3.5 PA 4-5). Quality young DC as a replacement for the aging Skirtel. Youth Intake PA 4-5 GK and PA 3-4 AMR/C/L. Not too bad.
  14. EPL 2015/16, Game 30 – Manchester Utd Knowing we’ll be up against it at their place I try Cleon’s The Art of Counterattacking. It works well, we succeed in boring them to death (even though I accidentally use Standard instead of Counter). I also used Milner and Moreno as MR and ML to add defensive solidity. I may have to try this approach again against Chelsea and Arsenal later. UEFA Cup - Benfica They’re most likely to play 4-2-4 DM with a Passing Playing Style and a Closing Down Pressing Style. Our set up of Counter + Very Fluid 4-2-3-1 Wide ensures a very end to end game, we have 18 shots (2 CCC 5 HC) against their 10 shots (2 CCC 1 HC) but it ends 0-0 with their goalkeeper getting MoM and a 9.1 rating. I didn’t like leaving my 4 defenders against their 4 attackers, but if their players get dragged back to defend … . EPL 2015/16, Game 31 – Aston Villa They’ve started the last 20 games 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow, but their preferred defensive formation is 4-2-1-3 DM Wide and we’re at home. We use the same set-up as against Southampton so I can rest some wide attackers. It’s a game of very few chances, we take the lead but they catch us with a simple ball over the top for a 1-1 draw. EPL 2015/16, Game 32 – Sunderland They play a defensive 5-4-1, so a calm 4-1-2-3 DM Wide, Control + Very Fluid, with Exploit The Flanks should give us plenty of possession. I add Close Down and Hard Tackle to their lone striker and keep a high line with plenty of closing down to try to force them to lump the ball up to their lone striker who we can then rob. Despite resting a number of key players we dominate the game, they have very few chances but it’s the usual problem with a team parking the bus: getting a clear sight of goal. We’re helped by them losing a man after 53 minutes and eventually find a way through and get a couple of goals. EPL 2015/16, Game 33 – Chelsea We’re away and they’re only a point behind us in the league. I think this’ll be another ‘backs against the wall’ game, so the counter attacking 4-1-4-1 from the Man Utd game will make a reappearance. I add Prevent Short GK Distribution, at the start and within a few minutes Close Down + Tight Marking against the ST (Costa) and set my DM to tightly man mark their AMC. We’re having trouble getting time on the ball so after 10 minutes I change mentality to Standard to up the tempo a bit. Nothing seems to dramatically improve things, we’re outclassed throughout and lose. :-( FA Cup – Manchester Utd I try the same trick as last time we played them, but they aren’t as attacking this time so I change to the normal 4-1-4-1 until we take the lead, then go to the counter attacking 4-1-4-1 and win 1-0. EPL 2015/16, Game 34 – Arsenal They play a 4-2-3-1 Wide, and my 4-1-2-3-DM Wide lasts all of thirty seconds when I see how attacking they’re playing. However, the counterattacking 4-1-4-1 DM Wide, whilst not terrible defensively, fails to generate any real counter play as we don’t commit enough people forwards when we do have the ball and end up playing long hopeful passes. A change to a more possession oriented 4-1-4-1 improves things but they still cut through us at will and it ends in a 3-1 loss. Rerunning the game a couple of times afterwards, we’d have done better to accept we couldn’t cope with their attacking skill and attacked them instead with 4-2-3-1: they can’t attack us as much if they’re pinned in their own half. I tend to react defensively to situations, but I might be better off attacking as a first reaction. --- Now that we’ve reached May, time to get new scout reports on shortlisted players and search again for new players who’ll fit the bill. EPL 2015/16, Game 35– Everton Four games to go and six points will secure Champion’s League qualification. Everton have started the last 20 games 4-2-3-1 Wide, but their preferred defensive formation is 4-1-4-1, we’re at home and 15 places above them. They’re also missing three regular players. I’m going to tweak the roles to maximise the players’ start ratings and see how that goes. I’m going to go for 4-2-3-1 Wide. They’re packing the centre so I add Exploit The Flanks, and soon remove Run At Defence because the runs aren’t really working. We control the game, taking the lead from a corner in the 15th minute and sealing the win with a second in the 88th minute. EPL 2015/16, Game 36– Crystal Palace We play the same as the Everton game with the same result. The board set an initial budget for next year of £2.7M for wages and a transfer kitty of £48.6M. EPL 2015/16, Game 37– Tottenham Hotspur We play the same as the previous match and win 3-0. Chelsea get humped 3-1 by Man City, so we’re suddenly top with a game to go. I was going to rest players during the next game to concentrate on the FA Cup final but now I’ll have to play a full squad. EPL 2015/16, Game 38– Southampton We’re unable to beat relegation threatened Southampton and draw 0-0, while Chelsea win 1-0. Clyne wins FWA Player of the Year, Mignolet wins the Golden Glove Award, and I win Manager of the Year. Both my award winning players get into the PFA Premier League Team of the Year. FA Cup Final– Man City Fairly even game, their finishing and goalkeeper were just a bit better than ours. Despite not winning anything, we achieved our objectives for the seaon so I'm not too unhappy with it.
  15. Thank you kindly. I'd best get off my arse and post some more stuff.
  16. Ipswich 4-2 West Ham 1-1 FC Thun 3-0 Crystal Palace 1-0 FC Thun 2- Swansea 2-2 Stoke 1-0 Leverkusen 1-1 Home game. They started 4-4-2, we used a possession oriented 4-2-3-1 Counter for an hour and then a direct 4-2-3-1 Counter. Despite dominating the game it ended 1-1 with their goalkeeper getting an 8.1 rating. FA Cup– Southampton With the previous game only three days ago and the next only four days hence, I’m going to field a rotated squad and take a chance on going out before the board target. Against their 4-1-2-3 DM Wide, I use an asymmetric 4-1-2-3- DM Wide. Firmino works best in the middle but Ibe works best on the flanks. ------------------------ Benteke CF(S) ---------------- Firmino AM(A) ----------------- Ibe W(A) ------------------ Can DLP(S) Milner BBM(S) ----------------------Lucas BWM(D) Enrique FB(S) Skirtel CD(St) Sakho BPD(Co) Torosidis WB(A) ---------------------- Mignolet SK(A) The only modification to the normal possession based instructions is to Exploit The Right Flank. Other than that it’s the usual Counter + Very Fluid. We lead 2-0 at the break, Benteke scoring two headers and Ibe tearing their full back a new one. I change to Control at half time as I think they’ll have to come after us and I want to be a little more positive but I change back twenty minutes later for defensive solidity. Not much happens in the second half and we comfortably win 2-0 away from home. That win means we’ve met our FA Cup target. We’ve already exceeded our UEFA Cup target so if we can finish in the top four of the EPL I’ll get to keep my job. [uEFA Cup] Leverkusen 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) Same as the first leg, except we got an extra goal and played Gomez to replace the suspended Sakho. EPL 2015/16, Game 29 – Norwich They’re likely to play 4-2-3-1 Wide. I think I’ll stick to our Counter + Very Fluid 4-2-3-1 and see how it goes. I’ll have Can in central midfield and Lima at AMC so I can change to 4-1-2-3 DM Wide without changing personnel. We completely dominate the game … they take the lead on 7 minutes, have a man sent off after 67 minutes, have 3 shots (0 CCC 0 HC) to our 22 (2 CCC 4 HC) and somehow beat us 1-0. Aarrgghhh!!!!!
  17. EPL 2015/16, Game 23 – Man City Used the same tactics as the Bournemouth game against their 4-1-2-3 DM Wide. We had plenty of possession and were solid enough but, despite them creating no clear cut chances, they converted one of their half chances and we didn’t convert our clear cut chance. We even hit the woodwork. Feeling a little bit robbed by the 1-0 loss. FA Cup - Ipswich Rested as many players as I could and couldn’t buy a goal. 0-0 draw. EPL 2015/16, Game 24 – West Bromwich Albion Against their 4-1-4-1 I’m going to use 4-2-3-1 Wide, same as against Bournemouth. I‘m going to use Tight Marking and Close Down on their lone ST and Close Down on their DM. They’re set up in their preferred defensive formation and I want to force them to commit men forward by denying them an upfield outlet. I have my injured players back so hopefully we can put up a good show. Within 10 minutes I’ve changed to Control as we’re tending to punt the ball a bit, dropping Passing to Shorter and Tempo to Lower, dline to Slightly Higher and added Exploit The Flanks. I also add Hit Early Crosses and remove Run At Defence to add a little zip to the attacks. We take the lead after 25 minutes and I remove Tight Marking from their lone ST as they’ll have to come forward now and I want them to punt the ball to their striker. At half time I switch to Counter and we completely dominate, attacking again and again, the slightly more direct approach fitting in well with the extra space. We only score one more, their GK getting a 7.0 rating despite letting two goals in. EPL 2015/16, Game 25 – Newcastle Somehow they seem able to carve through us at will. I try 4-1-4-1, 4-1-2-3 DM Wide, Counter and Control to no effect. In the end I adopt a direct 4-2-3-1 and pretty much hump-the-ball-forward-and-chase-it. We benefit from a marginal offside call in injury time to rob them 2-1. It got so bad that I told the wide players to just cross the ball early to Benteke and hope.
  18. I’m given the opportunity to change our season expectations to EPL Winner, and get £5.52M transfer money, but after the update I have no confidence in our ability to do this so I’m going to keep it at Champion’s League qualification. Bayern want Lovren, and are willing to play market value for him. If I can offload Ibe as well I might be able to afford a decent defender. EPL 2015/16, Game 21 - Bournemouth They’ve started all 20 games 4-4-2. Normally I’d play 4-1-2-3 DM Wide, but I’ve been unable to get it to work defensively since the update despite many training games (replaying the same game over and over in other words), so I’m going to use a version of the 4-2-3-1 formation. Counter + Very Fluid but still short passing and possession oriented. After going 2-0 up I switch to 4-4-2 to deal with Bournemouth’s attacking intent. Initially we try a direct approach but it’s not really effective so we go back to a controlling approach, pushing up the defensive line when they take the speedy Wilson off. We sneak a third and come away with a decent win. FA Cup - QPR Routine 3-0 win. EPL 2015/16, Game 22 - Watford I respond to Watford’s 4-2-3-1 DM Wide by playing 4-1-4-1 Wide using Counter + Very Fluid with a Slightly Higher dline, Normal Tempo, Mixed Passing and Exploit The Flanks. I expect them to play defensively and try to hit us on the counter so I’m going to try to keep the ball and lure them to us. Also, 4-1-4-1 places players in the stratum their formation vacates in midfield. It works a treat, we win 3-0. Although we only had 55% of the possession, the ball only spent 12% of the game in our third and 33% in theirs, which explains our 17 shots (3 CCC 5 HC) against their 5 shots (0 CCC 0 HC 4 Long Shots). On the downside, we’ve picked up injuries and I’ll be missing 3 first team players (Sturridge, Lallana and Coutinho) for next week’s match against Man City.
  19. The January Transfer Window With the January transfer window opening in a few days, and a few players’ contracts ending this year, I should review the squad and see who I want to keep for next year and what positions I need to fill. Strikers My attacking line up is decent. Improving it would cost a fortune and I think there are other areas which need the money more. • As I now have Sturridge, Benteke and Ings fit I’m going to sent Origi out on loan as he’s promising but not yet ready. • In the summer I’ll sell Ings as he doesn’t enjoy big matches which is a disadvantage I won’t have in the team. • Balotelli is already transfer listed as he’s lazy and selfish. • None of the strikers on loan are promising. Wingers Treating Firminio and Milner as central players, I have Lallana as AM® and Markovic back from loan at the end of the season so I’m covered there. Ibe will have to go as he has the backbone of limp lettuce (Determination of 5) and I’ll get rid of Canos as he’s very inconsistent and not promising. Treating Firminio and Milner as central players, I have Coutino as AM(L) but a lack of decent rotation options. Still, Firminio and Milner can play there if needed so it’s not an immediate problem. AMC Firminio and Lima cover this well, and with Coutino and Lallana able to play there as well as the returning Makovic I have plenty of options. MC Allen, Henderson, Lima, Milner, Can and Lieva can play there with others to fill in. DMC Can and Lieva have this covered. D® Clyne is excellent, but Torosidis is 30 and will decline so he’ll have to go. Flanagan’s contract expires at the end of the year and, although he’s been injured all season, he’s only 22 and not normally injury prone so he can be Clyne’s back up. D(L) Moreno is good. Enrique is OK but his contract is up at the end of the season and he’s injury prone: I’m inclined to let his contract run down and see what’s available in the summer. DC Skirtel and Sakho are good and I don’t trust Toure or Lovren. This is where I think I’ll be spending the bulk of the summer transfer kitty. Toure and Lovren will be offloaded. Gomes has promise but isn’t ready yet so I’ll send him out on loan to gain some experience. GK I only have one decent goalkeeper. At some point I’m going to have to pick up a promising youngster. Expiring Contract Players Of the players whose contracts run out at the end of the season, only two have even a 2.5 star potential. Flanagan is the only one there's any value in keeping Loan Players Sell • Anyone with a potential of less than 3 stars. • Luis Alberto, AM©, suffers from Liverpool having a wealth of options in AM and is inconsistent, so I’ll sell him to bump up the transfer kitty. • Balotelli, S©, goes if I have to drive him to the airport myself. • Wisdom, D(RC), doesn’t enjoy big matches and therefore must go. Keep • Markovic, M® AM(RCL) WB®, great potential. • Ilori, D©, could be a decent back up defender. • Wilson, AM(RCL), has some potential. • Kent, AM(RCL) ST©, also has potential but needs to be more consistent. He may go if someone makes a decent offer. • Williams, D(RC) DM© M©, looks a decent prospect for a BPD. • Ojo, M(CL) AM(CL), has potential but needs to be more consistent. Like Kent, may go if someone makes a decent offer. Outline of squad next season Italics indicate development player ST Sturridge Benteke Origi AML ---------- AMC ---------- AMR Coutinho ----- Firminio ------ Lallana Lallana ------- Lima ---------- Markovic Wilson ------------------------ Kent MC(A) --------- MC(S) Milner ---------- Henderson Lima ----------- Allen Ojo ------------- ? DM Can Lieva DL -------- DC -------- DC ------- DR Moreno --- Skirtel ---- Sakho --- Clyne ? ---------- ? ---------- ? --------- Flanagan ? ---------- Ilori ------ Gomez --- ? ? ---------- Williams GK Mignolet ? I have two players for most positions but I'm going to have to buy two central defenders and try to pick up a cheap DL. I don't have any money for new players in January, but I might be able to sell Ibe and pick someone up.
  20. Varying Team Shape and Mentality Control + Very Fluid Control + Fluid (Closes down a little less than Very Fluid) Standard + Very Fluid (Lower tempo, narrower, deeper dline, slightly less closing down than Control+VF. Lower tempo, narrower, deeper dline, same closing down as Control+F - for a setting of More) Standard + Very Fluid (modified to be closer to Control + Very Fluid. Slightly lower tempo and a lower dline.) Anchor Man (Control+VF -> Control+F ->Standard+VF) As the Control+VF -> Control+F -> Standard+VF chain is followed, mentalities drop going from Very Fluid -> Fluid for non-attackers (i.e. the striker, winger and CM(A) mentalities don’t change) and drop for everyone going from Control+F -> Standard+VF. Players’ closing down is reduced but closing down is also affected by duty: a covering defender’s closing down changed by more than a stopper’s This is where I miss sliders. I could just have dropped the Anchor Man’s mentality and not affected the rest of the side. I’m going to have to go with Control + Fluid and play about with the roles and duties a bit.
  21. EPL 2015/16, Game 20 –Leicester City Leicester again. They play 4-4-2 again so I stick with my Control + Very Fluid 4-1-2-3 DM Wide, but with a Normal dline as Vardy’s quick. Watching at real-time speed I can see that again the Anchor(D) isn’t shielding the central defenders as he should, so I change the Team Shape to Fluid which, as I understand it, increases the mentality difference between the back and front players – it does lower the Anchor(D) mentality but also decreases the amount of Closing Down. An alternative would be to drop Mentality to Standard but keep Very Fluid, which would drop his mentality even more, decrease the Closing Down, decrease the Tempo and make us narrower – if I wanted to keep the same level of Closing Down I’d have to go to Much More which would decrease the Tempo further unless I change that to Normal. It’s quickly apparent that he’s now sitting much more where I want him, as the apex of a triangle with the two DCs. When we have the ball they’re quite defensive, getting everyone bar the forwards behind the ball, so I’ll add Run At Defence (as we’re unlikely to be able to pass through them) and remove Work Ball Into Box as, with that many people in the box, there’s a tendency to over elaborate and try to walk the ball into the box. I undo the changes 15 minutes later as they made things worse. *shrug* shows what I know. I’ll try Sturridge as a DLF(S) instead of CF(S) and see how he links up with the rest of the team. We score from a corner and a lovely 1st ever Liverpool goal from Torosidis from the edge of the 18 yard area. Leicester are going to have to commit more players to the attack if they want to get anything out of the game but I’ll leave my tactics as they are for the moment and see how it goes. They get one back from a free kick and are committing more players forward so I go to 4-1-4-1 which controls the game very well and we generate many chances. They score against the run of play to level the match but all is not lost until the ref decides to earn his bribe and sends one of my players off and a minute later gives them a penalty. I join the crowd in loudly questioning his parentage and sexual habits.
  22. Crewe want to extend Harry Wilson's loan. He's played 12(4) with an average rating of 6.81, so he's getting good playing experience. He's only worth £375k, so there's no benefit to bringing him back to sell him. He has a CA of 1 star and a PA of 2.5-3.5 stars, so he's not going to get into the team, especially as he's a winger and I have plenty of those. I'm going to leave him at Crewe. EPL 2015/16, Game 19 –Southampton Boxing Day we have a home game against managerless Southampton, with 1 point from their last 7 matches. Although the scout report shows they have started 18 games 4-4-1-1 and only 2 games with 4-1-2-3 DM Wide, they sacked their manager 2 games ago and the caretaker manager’s preferred attacking and defensive formation is 4-1-2-3 DM Wide. He has a Cautious Playing Mentality, a Closing Down Pressing Style and a Direct Playing Style, so I’m expecting defensive, counter attacking football. They have their first choice goalkeeper and three defenders out injured and no 1st team player who can play left back. I smell a banana skin. --- Again, post-update, my defence is shocking and an inferior side can play through it at will. We go 1-0 down, 2-1 down and end up playing a direct counter-attacking 4-2-3-1 Wide in an attempt to outscore them. We win 3-2. In the first 16 games we conceded 10 goals. Since the update we’ve conceded 5 in 3 games. Being a mean-spirited sort of chap I don’t like the opposition scoring so I’m unhappy with this: I’d rather win 1-0 than 3-2. Still, top of the league at the halfway point is nothing to complain about so we’ll just have to go back to the training ground and understand how the game of football has suddenly changed.
  23. Update 16.2.0 installed EPL 2015/16, Game 17 –Crystal Palace They’ve started 19 of 20 games 4-2-3-1 Wide so I’ll stick to 4-1-2-3 DM Wide and see how things go. According to the scouting report, their best player is 3½ stars, one other is 3 stars, so we outclass them but they’re favourites and at home. After 10 minutes I go to 4-1-4-1 DM as their wingers are getting in behind us. We’re much improved defensively and I change to Control to help ball retention, drop the defensive line back to Normal as their striker is timing his runs well and use my DM to man mark their AMC. We get a penalty and go in 2-0 up. They get one back after 52 minutes. They seem to be able to play through us at will in a way no other team this season has been able to. I’m going to remove Work Into Box, add Pass Into Space (as they’re still a goal down and will have to attack) and close down Cabaye. After 82 minutes I bring on Coutinho and he scores within 2 minutes. We end up winning 3-1. I hope Palace’s ability to play through us at will was a one-off rather than an effect of the update. EPL 2015/16, Game 18 –Leicester City They play 4-4-2 so I go with the normal 4-1-2-3- DM Wide. After 10 minutes I add Run At Defence as they’re quite cautious. We take a 3-0 lead but they get one back from a set piece. No changes at half time. They get another back so I change to 4-1-4-1 and that kills the game. The update has definitely changed things: Pre Update (16 EPL matches) Liverpool: 24 CCC (1.5/game) 28 HC (1.75/game) Opposition: 18 CCC (1.125/game) 22 HC (1.375/game) Post Update (2 EPL matches) Liverpool: 7 CCC (3.5/game) 9 HC (4.5/game) Opposition: 5 CCC (2.5/game) 6 HC (3/game) Obviously, two games are not enough to be conclusive, but normally the only time we get high CCC and HC is when we shut the opposition out. Now both sides are getting plenty of CCC and HC.
  24. Sorry luka_, I have no idea. It's always been like that for me. I'm using one of the default skins (Football Manager Touch - Dark) if that's any help.
  25. EPL 2015/16, Game 16 –Arsenal They’ve started all their games 4-2-3-1 Wide, have an attacking mentality and speedy wide players. This is going to be a tricky one. I’m going to start with the usual 4-1-2-3 DM Wide but I expect I’ll need to go 4-1-4-1. They start as expected, but their AMC and DR are in need of a rest so hopefully they’ll tire quickly. I’m going to use my DM (Can) to try to mark their AMC (Ozil) out of the game and stop him running the show. I may need to pull the dline back if we’re getting skinned by their wingers but we’ll see how it goes. --- We have lots of possession and look better in attack. They press but don’t tackle so we have plenty of time to play. By half time we’ve had 5 shots (1 CCC 3 HC) to their 0, 66% possession and 78% pass completion to their 57%. They aren’t getting at our fullbacks or playing on the counter so I’m not going to change anything. Oddly, after 51 minutes they take off Giroud for some kid. They seem to be a bit more defensive so I’ll add Run At Defence. When they substitute the DR for a slower player I switch my AML to IF(A) and AMR to W(S) to see if Coutinho can run inside Debuchy. Also, remove Work Ball Into Box to get more shots at the so-far-unbeatable Petr Cech and bring on Firminio for Lallana(AMR) who hasn’t had the best day. In the 84th minute Coutinho finally breaks the deadlock - the DR and DCR are drawn to Benteke when the ball is played to him, the DL and DCL are covering my AMR and Coutinho moves into the space between to receive the through ball. I immediately go 4-1-4-1 and tell Mignolet to slow play down. We play keep ball and run out the clock. In the end we bossed the game 13 shots (5 CCC 4 HC) to their 4 (2 HC) and 63% possession. Groud and Ozil were completely anonymous and they got nothing down the middle. I’m not sure why we were so much better than them, it seems they just didn’t turn up. We played a higher line, and had more width, but it might be that their full backs were entirely defensive but ours were much more involved in the attack. They played the very flattest of defensive lines and there's not much difference in their positions with and without the ball. Our DR/L show a significant difference between average position with and without the ball. It also nicely illustrates the difference between the left sided WB(S)-W(A) combination and right sided FB(A)-IF(S).
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