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About bowieinspace

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    Wanaka, New Zealand

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    Athletic Club

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  1. Wow that lad from Real Sociedad is excellent! Are you disappointed you didn't get him earlier or was that not possible?
  2. Yeah that's the crux of it really! It adds a fun challenge, because you still get some transfer interest but it tends to be longer term pursuing players for lengths of time, it makes it much more satisfying when you finally get the player you've wanted for years! You also get to explore different tactical approaches because you don't always have the right players and enough coverage to play any preferred systems you may have (or have to retrain sensibly). It's great if you want that type of long term investment within a save, but it's not for everyone as the transfer side of things is a massive part of the game for many.
  3. Basque only for me, as @dothestrand notes that IRL a random 16y/o from outside the Basque region and no Basque connection would never be given eligibility to play for Athletic like that. Obviously Athletic's policy is self imposed and is done case by case, so you'll get the odd one occasionally who stretches the boundaries, but being able to pluck multiple top players from other Spanish academies every season isn't reflective of the actual policy in any way and FM doesn't have it right at all doing it that way. However I think how people choose to play is totally up to them, and it's a fun save either way. I wouldn't be disappointed in any way if someone chose to utilise signing Spanish 16 year olds - not everyone cares about the realism/policy side of things or has a personal connection with Athletic
  4. @ben carter I'm not familiar with the last two but Oroz is really good! I don't believe Unai Lopez has changed that much but he has had a bit more first team experience compared to FM19, so he may have been boosted a bit. I think he may get another slight increase for FM21 or in the data update in the next few months!
  5. Haha get in there @macca72 it's a great time! Season Review 2029/30 Another amazing season, we won the Champions League for the second year in a row, La Liga (once again narrowly missing out on an Invincibles year in the last few games), Copa Del Rey and the UEFA Super Cup. We lost in the final of the Supercopa. Ojeda won World Goalkeeper of the Year which was cool, and Julen Uriarte got into the World TOTY as well. Also Spain won the World Cup, with Ojeda, Lafuente, Delgado, Fran Gonzalez and Julen Uriarte all getting into the World Cup Dream Team, and the final line up had 7 Athletic players in the 11, with another 4 on the bench. Given we've had quite a few years of domestic dominance now and back to back European titles (combined with the above World Cup excellence), I think I'll take a break from this one as I've realistically achieved all I can. I'd like to see Julen Uriarte get into the Ballon D'or reckoning but it's not enough motivation to keep me going. Most of my squad are mid twenties so I can't see too much change in fortunes. Not sure what to do from here so I think I'll take a bit of time to think about it before proceeding
  6. When you have left him out, what have the ratings of the replacement in his BBM role been?
  7. I felt it only fair to share my best regen (the best at my club of course not necessarily in the game). Note he is completely two footed - what a complete midfielder.
  8. 2028/29 Review - The (Near) Perfect Season So much success, so close to the perfect season and a hint of sadness to just miss out on that. La Liga - 1st place, 101 points. Won 32, Drawn 5, lost 1. 84 goals scored, 14 against. Copa Del Rey - Winners, beating Valencia in the final Supercopa - Lost in semi final to Sporting Champions League - Winners Club World Cup - Lost in semi final to PSG Having only conceded 4 goals at the halfway point in La Liga, I felt we had a chance of the invincible season, which is something I've only done a few times in a life where I've played far too much FM. However it's never easy to avoid that one unlucky result where the stars align for the opposition and things don't go your way. This time it happened 3 games from home - after clutch wins against Real and Valencia away, and coming back from 0-2 down against Atletico with 3 minutes to go, I really thought we had it. Unfortunately Villarreal away was our undoing, on one of those stupid square pitches that make no sense whatsoever. We played poorly, but still did enough to win the game, however didn't take our chances and they scored from one counter over the top - a combination of a poor performance, a resolute performance from them and a bit of bad luck. Definitely a bit sad about that, but it's so hard not to have one slip up like that at some point, so i can't complain. None the less a very comfortable win of La Liga. In the Copa Del Rey we beat all the big teams on route to the final, beating Valencia comfortably on the big day. Valencia are very strong now in my save, finishing 3rd in the league last season and 2nd the year before. In the Champions League, this was probably our finest hour. After an easy group draw consisting of Sporting Lisbon, Celtic and Shakhtar, we proceeded to a first knock out round against Benfica who are a very solid team and have produced a remarkable amount of talent in recent years. Our first Champions League final was a narrow win against them, since then they've sold a lot of players for big money, but seem to have replaced them with another generation of exceptional youngsters. A first leg away defeat 1-0 after a sending off for us mid way through the first half was disappointing, but I was happy to still be in the tie after the sending off. We then dispatched them comfortably in the second leg, to set up a quarter final date with a very strong Man Utd team. I fancied we'd have our work cut out here, but what followed was an exceptional performance away at Old Trafford and a 2-0 win, followed by a 2-1 success at San Mames - potentially our best two legged performance ever. Things didn't get any easier for the semi final though, drawing our nemesis PSG. We came from behind twice in the first leg away at Parc Des Princes, including a screamer in the 92nd minute by Alex Gabilondo - time and time again he pops up with key goals, despite not being the best on individual talent. I still fancied we were facing a tough time in the second leg, as we had been a little fortunate to leave with a 2-2 draw, and PSG's front line of Mbappe, Chiesa, Naci Unuvar and a mexican regen called Juan Huitron is better than anything other front line, and it doesn't get any better elsewhere in the side with world class players in every position (and on the bench). I think Julen Uriarte and perhaps Delgado would be our only players who would get near their team. We managed to scrap through the second leg with a 0-0 draw and an away goals win. We've had to beat PSG in both our Champions League winning campaigns, and I think they've knocked us out in every other year in recent times (or it feels like that anyway). That win led to a final with fellow Spanish giants Real Madrid - I felt confident here as we had beaten them twice in the league, looking pretty good both times, and the final followed suit. A 1-0 win but it should have been more. The Champions League completed a marvelous treble and our best season yet. Following the end of the season we had our first venture into the Club World Cup, in the new format in the summer months. A group of Auckland City and Guadalajara saw us comfortable winners there, including a 12-0 victory against Auckland. We then drew Barca in the quarter finals, going 4-0 up before the game finished 4-3. The game was 48 hours after our last group game and our players were ruined at the end - Barca were in much better condition. We then faced PSG in the semi final after a few days of rest, losing a fairly close game 2-0, their world class talent told in the end. They deserved this one after we beat them in the Champions League (and the subsequently won the final comfortably). We played a young team in the 3rd/4th playoff against Bayern, losing on penalties. I was really looking forward to this competition, but the fixture congestion and timing of it during the middle of the off season made it a bit of a joke to be honest. Transfers We paid decent money for two new players this year - they aren't that good but we have 300million in the bank and I will spend whatever it takes to bring in any decent players at the moment. Unai Pena and Ruben Saenz (see below) are both in our squad now looking towards the future, Pena is a central defender (an area we are desperately short following departures) with a good attribute spread and potential to improve, while Saenz is an interesting attacking midfielder - I'm trying him on the right of midfield in the WM (A) role, hes left footed but perhaps that adds an interesting option so giving it go. We said goodbye this year to some club legends - Yeray retired, Unai Nunez was declining and moved on to Napoli, and Alvaro Odriozola left at the end of his contract. We also sold Aihen Munoz who is now 31 and constantly whinging about first team football despite playing a lot - we had a good replacement in David Sanz so I was only too happy to get rid of him for nearly 30 million so he can waste away in China. Tactic Here is our 4-4-2 that brought so much success this year. Definitely not a plug and play tactic as it revolves heavily around the skills of Julen Uriarte in the AP role. On the left side, we have two supporting roles providing passing options to him, with movement between the lines and runners down the right side for through balls and passing options for him. The movement of the DLF opens up space for the WM (A) and WB (A) to exploit, and the AF is there to finish the cut backs they provide. The CM (D) is there on the right hand side to provide cover for those players. We occasionally get caught out on that side, generally if the WB pushes up and loses the ball, but the CM (D) (Inigo Uriarte) has great mentals so provides exceptional cover. Squad Goalkeeper - Ojeda, Simon, Galdos - Galdos is coming on well and will replace Simon in the next few years. Right Back - Sanchez, Villar - Two great options here, Sanchez a bit more solid and consistent, while Villar is a great game changer/attacking option. Left Back - Sukunza, Sanz - Sukunza is the main man, but Sanz provides excellent competition. Centre Backs - Lafuente, Delgado, Pena, Jose Angel Martinez - Lafuente and Delgado are world class, outside of them there is a massive lack of decent basque centre backs with no good youngsters I can find. Pena needs to improve or this is a real problem area if I get an injury. Right Midfield - Exposito, Saenz - Exposito is the main man with the young Saenz there to provide an alternative option. Sancet played here last season, but I've moved him to CM (D) after Jose Angel Martinez has been turned into a back up CB. Central Midfield (Defend) - Inigo Uriarte, Sancet - Inigo Uriarte is our club captain and key pivot in the midfield, Sancet deputises. Advanced Playmaker - Julen Uriarte, Oroz - Julen Uriarte is our best player by far and runs the team on the pitch with his attacking play. Oroz is a very capable back up to him and probably deserves more starts. Left Midfield - Gonzalez, Barrenetxea - Gonzalez is my main man here, as he stays wider and does a better job for the team. Barrenetxea cuts inside, so while overall I find this a bit limiting for the system, he provides a alternative and has moments of magic. Deep Lying Forward - Iker Garcia, Alex Gabilondo - Iker Garcia gets at least one fairly significant injury a season, but Gabilondo is one of my favourites and deputises superbly. Advanced Forward - Inaki Nunez, Inaki De Paula, Jose Manual Vera - Inaki Nunez is our main man and top goalscorer - he didn't bag quite as many this season as the year before, but being left footed he's perfect for this role. The others deputise well, and Vera in particular has shown a serious eye for goal. The latter has gone on loan this season to play week in, week out, while De Paula covers the front line. Young talent not mentioned - Eduardo Lasa, Eneko Garmendia. I see these two as our other promising young players, Lasa will eventually replace Sancet in the CM (D) role, and Garmendia I think has potential in the DLF role with a bit of training. His star rating isn't great but there's something about him that tells me he's going to be better than that suggests, from his attribute spread to the way he's developing. The forward roles above stay a little fluid, I prefer to have a left footer on the left side, so, Inaki Nunez dominates that role, and the others kinda rotate in and out a bit with Iker Garcia being his regular partner. I've sent Vera on loan this season as I wanted to keep De Paula at the club for mentoring reasons. Vera I think is the one I'm more likely to keep long term but the game time away from the club will benefit him, meanwhile De Paula needs mentoring due to lower determination and a weaker personality. The only issue I have is that neither really fit what we want to do, unless I play a right footed advanced forward, but that means playing them on the left up front or changing the tactic. There is a left footed striker out there at Alaves, only 16 though, but he is one I want to pick up for the future.
  9. We just came back from 0-2 down away at Atletico with goals on 87 and 90 +1 to salvage a 2-2 draw haha. We're gonna mess it up at some stage surely.
  10. Just reached the halfway point in my season in La Liga... Played 18, won 17, drawn 1. Scored 36 Conceded 2
  11. I did a couple seasons with Villa and had a solid mid table finish followed up with a 3rd place the next year. With premier league money I find it a bit too straightforward to reshape the squad, and I got some ludicrous deals like Tonali and Olmo over the line. After that I moved on to something else. I did find Villa’s squad in the first season pretty tame though, I couldn’t get a tune out of Wesley at all and had to bring in a new striker in January. Some excellent prospects though who can stick around for a while like McGinn and Grealish!
  12. I can't speak for the other non-basque signings, e.g. Fati, but for the Sociedad ones this may be something that is different on touch to the full game. I've never played the other variations, just the main game so I can't say! Sociedad are extremely difficult to get players from normally (partially the club and then also the players themselves). I eventually got Barrenetxea for his massive release clause, Roberto Lopez was never interested. Pardo is a little easier generally as he's normally listed anyway. Oyarzabal is 32 now in my save and despite hassling him about a move for 7 or 8 seasons he has never been interested at all, so now it's too late for him!
  13. Yeah I guess you can be flexible with it depending on the game, I find it works well with the DLF on that side and the overlapping wingback, as even if the WM runs into a congested area, it generally frees up space for the overlap
  14. There you go, but as with any tactic, it's largely based around the players at my disposal, so heres a few notes: 1) I originally set this up with a roaming playmaker rather than an AP, but I found too often this left us with the prime creator of our team sitting two deep, with the wide players all pushed too far up and we couldn't make good transitions...so I changed him to an AP (S) and changed the left winger to support rather than attack to improve the link between midfield and attack. The W (S) and FB (S) on that side provide reasonable defensive coverage. 2) The tactic is heavily focused around our AP (S) who is absolutely world class and easily the key player in the team. The goal is for him to be the main playmaker in the side, with passing options around him. In possession, he normally has at least 3 or 4 passing options. I'm not sure how well this tactic would work without a player in that role who is top quality. 3) We are a top team, 3rd in Europe on the rankings and most of our domestic games in Spain are against lesser opposition. This system works really well against those sides and creates a decent number of chances. I've probably not played enough games against top teams to really have a strong evaluation of it yet, but I will potentially make some adjustments as our pressing instructions are quite extreme. E.g. I would tone down the closing down and stop counter pressing. Right now I am giving it time to see how it works out. 4) I originally had the D-Line deeper but given my CBs are really good, and quick, we were able to play a higher line without too much trouble. This didn't seem to have a major effect on the number of through balls for the AF so it works well for us. 5) The CM (D) is mentally very good, so he is capable of holding position and cleaning up any situations that look dodgy. He's also an excellent passer so calmly deals with high pressure situations on the ball. The reason I was a bit nervous about the AP (S) in this system was the defensive coverage, but with the quality CM D in there it works well. 6) On the right side, the WM (A) is set up to play more like a slightly wider forward, with the PI's to roam and sit narrower to create a nice link with the DLF (S). That allows the WB to overlap on that flank without a specific overlap TI. The CM D being on that side means there's extra coverage for the marauding runs of the WB, but naturally this is an area we can potentially be exposed if they had an attack duty left winger. I'm quite conscious of this and do adjust roles in game to manage that. We had a spell vs PSG where they switched a player into an attacking inside forward role on that side without me realising and it cost us. It's very much risk/reward, but against a team like PSG with insane players, we need to be more cautious and I'm still working through managing that, but it's only limited games where I get exposed to it so not made definitive plans on doing that yet. 7) I don't use BPD's because my CB's are a bit marginal to do that role - they're good but I'd rather they used the play out of defence TI to feed the creative and high quality ball players in central midfield instead of looking for the long through ball (BPD) or clearance you'd get from a more limited CB. 8) Up front we have a left footed AF and a right footed DLF. If the preferred feet were the other way around I would need to adjust the tactic I think. 9) Defensively we are vertically more compact than normal (high defensive line with a standard line of engagement), and we defend narrow to limit space through the middle. Personally I've always felt this to be quite important with a 4-4-2. 10) Apart from the PI's on the WM (A). The only other PI's are on the central midfielders who are set to tackle harder. I want them to be aggressive - basically the way I see it is that when the opposition gets the ball, with a 4-4-2 we are naturally quite weak through the middle so it's likely the opposition will attack us there. The two forwards will press a bit, but with the standard line of engagement and higher D line combination, even with the urgent pressing, usually they're not suuuuper aggressive, just aggressive enough to force passes out from the defensive line without losing all shape. When the ball enters our CM area, I want those two to hammer the opposition players in that area and if that means fouling that's fine. 11) Counter press and counter instructions are inherently risky, however we have the players to do it and we are a good enough team to do it. These instructions are ones I will be looking at vs the bigger teams alongside pressing intensity. I find the counter instruction in particular is quite handy for us, because the goal is to force them to pass out fairly quickly from the back line, to then get trapped by our aggressive midfield and strong centre backs. When we win the ball back in the middle from that scenario, as we aren't using a high line of engagement they have usually moved up enough for us to have space to counter via a quick pass to the AF for example. 12) TI wise going forwards, we use pass into space to encourage through balls to to the AF, and balls down the flanks for our pacey wide players to run on to. We then use the work ball into box TI to slow play down if the quick transition is coming to nothing, this allows our WM (A) to form something of an attacking 3, with the DLF (S) dropping off creating a problem for the CD on that side. We often score from a through ball to the WM who is running into space caused by the movement of the DLF. Low crosses to encourage cut backs and low balls through to our forwards who aren't super strong aerially. Whenever you're looking at a tactic like this, you have to note this is not a plug and play tactic. It's designed specifically based around the players I have and their attributes, and making the most of them, and it was created by watching the team play alongside what 'should' work from a theoretical sense. You could not play a system like this with a weak team, it would be suicidal. Our AP had an average rating of 7.7 last season across 37 league games, and he is one of the best players in Europe, so his output was superb at that kind of average rating. With an RPM role he had a decent average rating, but I found he was consistently too deep when on the ball without enough shorter supportive passing options. Especially from goal kicks I found too often both the central midfielders were coming way too deep, with the AP role instead that stopped.
  15. Personally the 4-4-2 I am using is probably the most successful system I've found against two DM systems, which I've had a lot of trouble with on FM20
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