What is Man to Man Marking?
“If you mark man-to-man, you’re sending out eleven donkeys.” – Ernst Happel
Man to Man Marking was the first common and effective way of defending which involved the 10 outfield players all having their own man to mark for the whole 90 minutes (or more). As teams become better, they find ways to defeat this type of marking, which means that new types of defending need to used to deal with these issues. Man Marking can cause a team to become uncompact, which in the modern game, can cause large issues like opening up the centre and halfspaces by dragging the players further apart. What this does is make the defending team's goal more accessible for the opposing team, resulting in more chances to score. I am going to share the most common types of Man to Man Marking below.
What types of Man Coverage are there?
There are five main types of marking which you can read more on here, these are the methods:
Strict Man Marking
Space-Orientated Man Coverage
Marking Key Players/Positions and Zones
There is also an interesting take on Space Crunching Marking in the link but I didn't put it in the list as it is not possible in FM, unless a new role is introduced as you can't replicate Raumdeckers (space markers) in game. With the general poor positioning the game has as players prioritise their position over passing lanes, you can't replicate it.
Where is this used in real life games?
The inventor of Man Marking was Arsenal Manager Herbert Chapman in the 20's, installing a loose man marking scheme. It was sufficient if the player kept their opponent in sight and close enough to have instant access to them. With time (and good trainers or intelligent players) this was, of course, adapted. In the finale of the 1975 European Super Cup final between FC Bayern and Dynamo Kyiv, Dettmar Cramer set his marking in line with Kyiv’s changes; the right-back, the six, and the left-back exchanged, the strong defender Joseph White now covered the outside-right Slobodyan, while in the National Champions Cup final he had taken the more central Billy Bremner out of the game. Assignments were no longer limited to marking the opposite position but to finding a suitable marker for the opponent’s key players (often at the expense of their own offensive game).
The tactical weaknesses, in turn, are also at hand. These weaknesses were particularly apparent in games against fluid and flexible attacking lines, especially versus the golden team of Hungary in the early 50s, called “Aranycsapat”in Hungarian. The Hungary vs England match at Wembley in 1953, where the hosts went down 3:6 against the underdogs from the continent, was a key game.
The problem was not the obvious, i.e. the tracking of the opponent and the resulting opening of space, but something else entirely. Jimmy Johnston basically held his position and didn’t track Nandor Hidegkuti at all.
The opponents were ultimately got more right, which probably had to do with the fact that Winterbottom and Johnston had discussed how to deal with Hidegkuti before the game – with the following effect: they decided that Johnston should not track him, as Sweden had done successfully, but that they should use someone from the midfield, probably the left halfback in the 3-2-2-3. – RM
The English were neither surprised nor clueless – they were simply powerless. Hidegkuti had no trackers and set up overloads and combinations; England was shot down. On May 23, 1954, there was a return match, and in an effort to avoid making the same “mistake” the center-half tracked Hidegkuti. The result speaks for itself: England suffered an even bigger 1:7 defeat.
In the Modern day, it is common to see Man Marking, but often without success due to opponents knowing how to drag their marker to create space for other teammates. It is why Pep's Bayern often got high scoring wins like 6-0, 7-0 or even 8-0 in the Bundesliga which has a fair few Man orientated teams as his Jeugo de Posicion is effective at moving the opposition and creating 1v1s with his star players against weak defenders.
It is also quite well known that Bielsa and Sampaoli (particularly Bielsa) prefer Man Marking which includes having 1 more defender than the opposition has in strikers so they can use a libero type defender paired with man marking defenders.
Atletico Madrid under Simeone have often used man orientations with the strikers, midfielders and full backs but with a more Zonal Priority when deep in their own half.
At this year's Euros, most teams preferred to use a type of Man Marking, which lead to boring games as most managers were fairly cautious in their approaches and lacking creativity to open these Man Orientations. This was because they were afraid to take the risk, they could be caught out of position and counter attacked and possibly lose the game.
How can you use Man to Man Marking in FM?
Note: This is FM15 but you should be able to spot these instructions on FM16 fairly easily.
So, what options are there? Here are a few methods and where you can find them:
Specific Man Marking (PI and OI)
Tighter Marking (TI and PI)
Specific Man Marking
In this picture, I have circled the box, Mark Specific Player. This box is what you want to use to get a player to mark 1 player all game.
You can use OIs in FM Full version to tell your team to mark a specific player, all though you do not specify who marks him, what this means (from my experience) is he will be marked by the nearest player once the opposition regain the ball.
You might be wondering, why have you put OIs in the Specific Man Marking section? The reason why is because I believe they have the same behaviour in terms of marking as Mark Specific Player.
I think you can see the issue here Only one person is goal side of their man. The only time this doesn't happen is when you mark the centre backs as they are stationary.
In this picture, I have circled Mark Tighter. What this box does is tell your player to tightly mark anyone who comes into your zone/position.
You can also use this as a TI if you want your whole team to use marking scheme, which is much more effective than Mark Specific Player as the player sticks close to their man. However if the opposition is in a different strata(SW, CB, DM, CM, AM, ST), they will not mark that player unless they enter their zone.
Example of this Problem:
In this scene, I am playing a 5-3-2, they are playing a 4-4-2 with 2 DM.
All players have Mark Tighter.
You can see that 2 CBs (25 and 24) are tightly marking and that the LB is available to cover number 24 if he is beaten by his man while also being not too far away from the winger(8). This is good but, because the opposition are playing with DMs, the CMs don't interact (yellow). If you want your midfield to mark tightly, they need to be in the same strata that a DM defends (AM). This is what you want in a system close to a Flexible/Strict Marking System. This positioning is fine for a system using a Space Orientated Man Coverage.
In the next piece, I will be writing about the team I have picked, the tactics and which marking system I will use. I hope this piece was good to read and I hope you continue to follow this thread.