The BETA match engine is indeed an interesting beast. I've completed a full season in League 1 as Portsmouth, and these are my general observations:
- The ME is falling woefully short of potential in terms of its ability to represent distinctive styles of play. Systems are barely distinguishable from each other, especially in the final third.
- The absence of off the ball movement from strikers and subsequent central forward passing from attacking midfielders is killing the experience; especially when a system depends on this pattern of play to function effectively.
This is a typical example that can be taken from any match, showing my No.9 (DLF) electing to take up, and remain, in an unreachable position sandwiched between two CBs.
The tip of the arrow shows the position he should take up or at least attempt to move to. In doing so, he offers himself as a genuine passing option for the player on the ball, my No.4 (BPD). This movement would also drag a defender out of position for a possible forward run from my No.6 (AM). The effectiveness of this system hugely depends upon the DLF acting as a focal point; holding the ball up, creating pockets of space, laying it off, or spraying it wide before attacking the box (literally the in-game description of the bloody role). Who you play their is irrelevant, as their static and ineffective nature unhinges the whole system and is brutally displayed in the analysis tool.
- There have been large runs of matches in my season when the DLF received zero passes in the box due to their unavailability.
Typical example grabbed at random rather than cherry picked. 63 passes made by my AM, zero of them forward into the box.
- Passing triangles frequently indicate zero passes even attempted between the AM and DLF.
- Match ratings for the AM and DLF frequently plummet at similar rates to 6.4 as a direct result of their non-involvement in play.
- Goals from set pieces dominate and are still grossly over-represented.
- Whatever changes were made in the 19.2 build, goals from long range for both me and the AI are flying in from everywhere. Players are not getting closed down sufficiently outside the area, irrespective of pressing / OI / marking instructions.
- Crosses and shots are still getting blocked on about 80% of highlights, which results in farcical numbers of corners.
Despite winning the league with nearly 100 points, I've come to realise that for me, winning is irrelevant. How you win is everything. Players have a fundamental need for the ME to pay them off for the hours of work put in to craft their team's identity. The current build is a million miles away from delivering this.