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_Ben_

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_Ben_ last won the day on May 22 2020

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  1. They are improving, yes. I think the combination of luck, an upgraded HoYD and facilities as well as a real focus on youth team training as well as fixtures at the highest standard (for them - the 2nd tier) has helped. Below are the top players, by ability, in my first and u21 squad (although all but one are out on loan!) that came through the academy: It's fair to say that these players, as well as the young players I am importing from other sides, has given us an academy that is the envy of most of Europe...
  2. August 2037 I lost the Sion game but, even after three sets of replaying it, couldn't match up with the draw from previously so I stuck with a narrow win thanks to a set piece converted by Osemene. I want to highlight the importance of the goals by Friday as well as those by Ionesi and Adilovic as they are now our primary set piece threat, as we are without Long Throw specialist Zakharov. We started August with a bore draw against Luzern and a thrashing of Vaduz before we faced off against Champions League winners Juve. Of course it was Nikita Zakharov, the man who we'd just sold to Juve, who ran the show against us. The game was largely even but the class they had told in the end and we couldn't add another trophy to the cabinet. We ended the month with a solid cup win and two league wins, leaving the table in a strange place. The bottom four being last year's runners up and the three historical big sides is a huge shock, even at this early stage. Lausanne have recruited really well and I'd expect them to continue to push but newly promoted Thun are somewhat of a shock. However, when you look at their best XI: You will see that Labyad, Alich, Mpondo and Jelic are on loan from us, with the latter joint top scorer (with Stefan Milosevic) after netting six times already this season. --- Not a lot else to report on really as I am finding my feet again after a tumultuous couple of weeks! I'll dive deeper if I can get any kind of sustained playing time but I don't want this to go out on a whimper....
  3. I've absolutely loved this journey. Wish I'd have taken in more than three sides but Luzern just felt right and I've certainly garnered an affinity for them. Are you planning FM22 straight away or will you see this out? As soon as there is talk of a new game, my focus shifts to that so I really couldn't carry on at Luzern knowing I could be playing a newer FM. As for my games - yes, I do have an idea. I'm going to explore Russia! I'm hoping to hold off until the full game is out and get all the realism fixes as well as some of the lower tiers and just use it as a chance to broaden my geographical and historical knowledge! I want to manage three or four different clubs and continue my learning into the training and development of players as well as recruitment and tactical modules, plus anything new that they throw at us! Do you have any plans?
  4. August 2037 - Breakthrough! After literally having to reinstall Steam and FM every time I turned my computer on and a pretty hectic couple of weeks at work, I'm hoping to be back with a bang. Although this will be my last season of the save, I have just unlocked something that has made me very happy! For the whole of this save, I've accepted a literal 5 minute wait for the game to load and for the in-match animations to be really slow and temperamental - because that it how I thought it was! However, I turned the graphics from Very High to Medium, and now things are smooth and fast! Here's a nice GIF goal to celebrate that, with, you guessed it, Stefan Milosevic putting the St. Gallen defence to the sword. I most like the way his body shape suggests he's going to go to wide of the keeper but instead he pulls it to the nearer post.
  5. Definitely a lovely area of the world! I enjoyed posting on FM Now but went through an age whereby I just couldn't log in to the site. It seems that they have a nice little core of posters but not a huge amount of activity - which is a shame as it's great quality stuff. I have spoken to @F0rzaHa few times and have read the books he's written and I occasionally see a tweet from @Shrewnaldo. There are a few people who I haven't heard of since then, such as IJ and there was the whole The Third Half forum who, I believe, set up on new forum. I have documented and shared my tactical journey pretty well over the course of the thread. Plus, we have our overarching principles but things change from situation to situation so it's hard to actually pinpoint and then upload a tactic. Here is my core shape and usual roles, although they too fluctuate widely:
  6. (Early) September 2037 I turned on my laptop and fancied a little analytical work this evening, despite being rather tired from actually having to hold down a real life job and not play FM all day. So I did... Now - we're rather good but not unbeatable, yet three goals conceded in just two games marks a change from our normal defensive solidarity. I wanted to know why. Below are the players who have played for me in the two games: A reasonably settled backline with Osemene, Perez and Ionesi being here for a good while and Addai-Mandela coming through the ranks, joining the first team in January. Obviously, Joksimovic is a new player and is completely new to his position, which, I believe, reduces his Decision making somewhat. However, when I isolate their KPIs from the two matches, I get some interesting results: Because it's such a small data collection, I did this manually - using the match analysis to single out things like Defensive Area (and penalty area) as well as Progressive/Forward passes - this means that I can get a more accurate version of Total Defensive Actions than before because things like 'Gained Possession' don't appear to exist outside of the match analysis tool. What this looks like is that we don't actually do a lot of defending. I knew that because of what I see in the highlights but this really enforces that. We don't really tackle (nor have I wanted that, and it's pleasing to see that Interceptions > Tackles in two of the players) and we are certainly pretty good at stopping shots coming in as we aren't making many blocks, potentially a sign of real last ditch defending. Slightly on a tangent, but I couldn't help it, is to look at the number of times we gain possession and then move forward with it in almost all players except Carlos Perez, who appears to be reluctant to move the ball forward when he wins it - certainly something to explore within his skill set. I'm concerned at the heading numbers from Addai-Mandela yet it appears that three quarters of those headers he does win are key - talk about saving them for an important occasion! I wondered if we'd faced a particularly tall group of opposing players and this was maybe why we'd struggled with those numbers, but that wasn't really the case: Collard didn't feature for Thun as Ocompo and Cuellar (from that list) did, with Borie and Avdic in the Sion tie. ---- So I guess I need to look at the goals: The left is against Thun and then first and second against Sion are next. Now, the first Thun goal, the lowest of the xG, came from a flick on from Cuellar that Osemene misjudged. Whilst the volley was emphatic, I do wonder whether he could have been that little bit tighter. I want to see whether this was poor play by Friday or good play by Eduardo, so here are some comparative attributes, in the sense that I think one could match the other (certainly not gospel, just thinking out loud!): Ocampo OtB 14 vs Osemene Positioning Ocampo Strength 9 vs 13 Osemene Strength Ocampo Anticipation 12 vs 13 Osemene Strength Ocampo Agility 14 vs 15 Osemene Marking Certainly in the favour of my centre back. However, given Ocampo another eight of those, this'd be the only one he'd net from this exact same position. I can't complain too much! --- The first Sion goal came from a through ball, at an xG of 0.23, meaning that one in every 4 from here, roughly, would go in. I feel like the defensive ability of Joksimovic (Marking 8, Positioning 10, Tackling 8) plus the reduced Decisions (is 14 - but that is, presumably, whilst in his favoured role) means that he's just allowed Bognar to move through and put the ball away. My concern does, however, come from the three players moving towards him! We are a little bit disorganised here and that is something I can't accept defensively. Not a mistake, per se, but something that will hopefully reduce over time as he becomes more settled. Certainly I feel that it is worth persisting with considering what he gives us going forward. This is 6'2" Borie beating a man of the same height (comparative attributes - Heading 14 vs 12 and Jumping Reach 15 vs 17) in Addai-Mandela to the ball. Now, my concern again here comes from the fact that EAM, the right sided centre back, with no man marking instructions, is there challenging for that in the right half space, where Perez occupies. What it did was leave a huge gap for Avdic (high Agility, Stamina and Determination, good Off the Ball and Anticipation) to sneak in. Again, I must ask questions of Ionesi's Positioning (15 and normally a strength combined with 15 Decisions) but it was a well taken goal. --- What are my thoughts then? Well, it appears we are doing pretty well as individuals in most areas except maybe aerial challenges but we are just lacking a little organisation and drilling defensively. Nothing has changed tactically over the summer but there is obviously a refresh time in the tactical familiarity and maybe we just haven't found it quite yet. I'm sure it'll be a great season and there'll be many more goals scored than conceded but it's nice to dig into trying to find out why!
  7. July 2037 It's been a while! Life has got in the way so just a brief update as I look to get back into the game for what will probably be my last season on FM21 due to more perceived time constraints and the announcement of the new game... We had quite a successful pre-season, gaining match fitness and working on a few tactical and partnership ideas but there was little to really write home about. The league season started well, with a comfortable win over newly promoted Thun, although a silly goal concession just before half-time took the shine off the score line somewhat. Nick Jones marked his debut with a lovely delicate chip over the keeper after coming on as a late substitute, breaking the lines well and converting - something which I will need to see more of as I look to ease the burden on Toni Gonzalez, who, himself, was a delight to watch. Albert Vegas, however, was less easily pleased, or maybe has just, himself, perfected a compact 4-1-4-1 shape that is lethal on the counter, full of young, exciting prospects looking to take their league domination into continental football: Our blushes were spared against Sion by Stefan as we put out an absolutely shoddy performance, lacking any kind of forward-thinking fluidity and defensive stability, going 2-1 down before half time and thanking Stefano Herzog for a penalty save that kept us in the game. Escaping with a 2-2 when we were never in the game is a relief and one we need to address as we move on! --- Just a quick update on Zoran Joksimovic, the striker-cum-full back that I brought in over the summer. He's started pre-season in fine form with three assists and a goal (plus a missed penalty) but the match stats, and I could have taken any of his three appearances to demonstrate this, show the potential he has to be a great player in this role: Getting into some really good areas and utilising good technical skills (Passing: 14, Crossing: 13, Technique: 15) along with some strong mentals (Composure: 17, Decisions: 14, Off the Ball: 18) tells me that he's going to be a really dangerous, and slightly different to Zakharov, prospect down this side. He's got pace, but not as much, so won't be relying on that - more so getting into better areas and making things happen. Plus, his natural striking instincts are going to massively help as we create those overloads in dangerous areas. I still feel that I am only scraping the surface of really utilising attributes to their fullest, regardless of player positions. The only big loss here is the lack of a Long Throw specialist, but I'm going to try and recruit someone else who can fill that role from elsewhere on the pitch.
  8. I absolutely love everything you’ve done in this thread except giving a keeper THE NUMBER 2 SHIRT!!
  9. Thank you! I've thoroughly enjoyed this save - probably the one I've learnt the most from, too. Thanks! Really got into the tactical analysis/tweaking in this one, too. The charts are made in Excel but all the data is easily pulled out and there is nothing I have to do manually. Thanks! I think I'm done with anything long term now in the big leagues (definitely the Premier League) so it's all about these smaller, unusual leagues now. High praise from Mr Strikerless himself! How are you Guido? The Dugout was a long time ago now I think back!
  10. June 2037 (Part 2) Something has changed... But look at the ridiculous knock-on effect that it has had: There is no way in the world that Bednarek and Perez are worth over €30m but clearly that is what the reputation system does... --- You can, obviously, see that I have been busy in the market with Jones, Vallejos and Joksimovic arriving for a combined €14m. I also added youngsters Kraft, Lopes and the really promising Pintaric to the youth team - finding out that signing young Austrian based players does not actually incur a compensation fee. These signings are really laying out the vision for the club here. Jones comes in as an ample replacement for Apollonio, who needs a loan to get first team football and overcome the complacency that has wormed it's way into his game. The young American literally has the perfect set of traits for the Mezzala role, where I believe he played previously and will become, hopefully, a valued backup. As Swiss players, most of the squad speak English but Alphonso Davies, as a natural English speaker, can always help him out. Vallejos, as mentioned, is the second kind of moneyball deal here and, despite the poor passing (probably attributing to the relatively poor pass completion % that I was warned of), he's the real deal. Bags of potential and just oozing with that South American flair meaning that I definitely see some traits coming to his game, too. For now, he's great competition in that midfield role. Wonderkid Joksimovic comes in to become my new left back. It's a deal I've been looking at for a good while now and, being honest, it's only a few attributes for that role that really need developing: He'll train as a WB(a), working on his Defensive Positioning and be part of the Defensive Unit. I do worry that this drastic change may not please him, but I hope he can produce in the same way that Zakharov has done for the last two years. In terms of out-goings, I decided to move Hedegaard on before this ridiculous value boost so only got €8m for him, but that does represent €3.2m in profit. Obviously, Zakharov and Berendt will be joining them two but I now feel that I have a really strong squad with plenty of options now. I'll obviously be scouring the release lists come the 1st July for any experience, as I did with Alphonso Davies, but I don't expect much else from here.
  11. June 2037 (Part 1) So, some initial transfer target thoughts - baring in mind that I still have the problem at left back to fix... Right Back I've considered Bjarne's role in the team a lot this year. He's just not really performed, either with the eye test or statistically. As a big believer in youth progress and development through the club, I am thinking about using Alain Kongnyuy, an academy graduate, to replace him. Bocaly, after coming into the team in January, performed arguably better and Valentin Ionesi is also able to cover here, too. Looking at the comparison between Alain and Patrick Bocaly - you can see that I have two quite defensive full backs, but two who aren't too bad at passing (that's around the league average for a defender) but this is in line with Ionesi - who has performed best here. I am thinking long and hard about this role and this move but I think that the IWB(s) experiment is probably over, given the suitability for Hedegaard to play there and I will likely look at a new direction for this position and either move Bjarne on or change him to play elsewhere. ---- Mezzala I think the word Moneyball was thrown around earlier in the thread and I think that this man hits that nail on the head! Nick Jones, who I'm just finishing scouting, plays for Portimonense, who finished thirteenth in their domestic league, hardly pulling up any trees, yet this man is standing out as one of the top young offensive players in Europe and is available for a cut price fee of under €1m due to the significant debt his club find themselves in. They are playing a wonderful game though and have a load of American's in their squad, all signed for peanuts. The analyst report of him is promising so it's now a case of finishing off the scouting as he looks to be an upgrade when compared with Apollonio, certainly in the short term. --- Playmaker This one is a little left field but I couldn't help be impressed with what I am seeing. Valentin Vallejos, of Estudiantes La Plata of Argentina but currently on loan in Colombia. I was drawn his Analyst report, which paints a really great picture of him but, when comparing him with u21 midfielders across the whole continent, it's even better. There are few players who are creating as many chances, moving with the ball, scoring and also contributing so well defensively - especially for someone of his stature. I know that the Colombian Premier League is very different from the Raiffeisen Super League, but, these are great stats and I'm sure there'd be some sell on opportunities, if not - considering that he'll cost around €4m-€5m. Now, I haven't finished his scout report yet and there may be some massive red flags, but, combine the above with the below little bit of news regarding his nationality: Of him being one of those rare Argentine/Swiss dual nationals (thanks to the editor here for letting me see all players in the database), I think he's potentially going to be a great deal for us. It's not an area I need that re-enforcement but three players capable of playing as the playmaker (Qi, Kabashi and Vallejos) would be great. I'd also love it if he could be tempted into playing for Switzerland, too.
  12. I’ve had this before! I set up an affiliate in Poland and had a player travel a thousand miles to my club from that tiny town - yet this was all a coincidence! Watching the whole affiliate thing closely because I’ve been very disappointed with the lack of (I.e zero) players that I’ve had from my own affiliates in FM21.
  13. May 2037 (Part 4) The season wrap up in what has been the busiest month (for big games and posts!) A wonderful league campaign where we smashed the goals record and, despite being pushed for three quarters of the season by them, finished well clear of surprise runners-up Sion. It was joy for the club, as a whole, as our u21 squad finished second in their league. We've witnessed some shocks in our domestic cup, but the Aktiv Cup (the cup of Liechtenstein, for those unaware!) was not won by Vaduz this year, so Eschen/Mauren, of the fourth tier, experience life in the Conference League. With our sixth league title in a row, I don't want to spend much time actually analysing the team as, clearly, our statistical data is going to be far superior to everyone else in the league. I also haven't collected this year on year (in raw numerical form, at least) so can't really compare how our change in tactical approach has impacted our actual game play this year. Therefore, I'll just focus on the players... --- I spent quite a long time looking at my defenders throughout the season, looking at defensive actions. The standout weak-link there was Perez, although he has come out of the overall game play with the second highest average rating - although this is likely to be because he (4G and 1A) and Osememe (7G and 1A) have been involved in considerably more goals than the other centre backs. It's an area that, right now, I'm not unhappy with but one where there may be some movement, especially for Ionesi. With Hedegaards underperformance (more on that later), Valentin spent a considerable chunk of time at right back, as seen here: Now, I'm less concerned about his average rating and more interested in the fact that he is making more defensive actions there than any of the centre backs. Whilst not a great comparison, he's clearly been effective when we need to defend - often in those bigger European ties. Some food for thought! Elsewhere, Goran Adilovic missed a big chunk of the season after becoming unhappy about a move to West Ham being blocked. This was poor from him but, after apologising, has made his way back into the team. On paper, he's the most suited to the role, attribute wise, but needs to sort his performances out next season or he won't be here much longer. A big area of concern here, if you look at AR alone, however, I am not too unhappy. Bocaly, stepping in from January, played well and got himself three assists and a goal - something that I had mentioned when I talked about him coming into the first team. In a direct comparison with Hedegaard, he was less useful with the ball but much more solid defensively - but that is maybe to be expected as the Dane is probably more of a converted midfielder. Neascu has shown his quality by marking Riquelme out of the game in the Europa League final, among other jobs and has rotated well with Bednarek, who, to be fair, didn't quite have the debut season I was expecting. I'm going to think about what I do with Hedegaard as, on paper, he's the perfect type of player for the IWB role but really hasn't set the world alight. Maybe it's the role. Maybe it's first season syndrome. I will have a think. Toni has turned into a world class playmaker and I'm so lucky to have him. This is a nice settled area as Zhao Qi will take over from Berendt who will be moving on this summer, as previously stated. He was great in the league but literally went missing in Europe - with his 6.9 against Arsenal by far being his best performance: We can't have such a key role being held by a player who dreads these big matches. He's not the best player in the team but can be the heartbeat and we all know what happens if that doesn't work! Elsewhere, I am concerned about the lack of impact Apollonio has had. Niggly injuries and not much off the bench worries me, to the point where I think I'm going to play the market for a backup for him. I've been monitoring some players over the season and want to weigh up my options next month, whilst the mid-season holiday is in full swing. Nikita has genuinely become one of my favourite players and has been amazing this season. 21 goal contributions from LEFT BACK is insane. Davies has been a great backup but, at nearly 37, won't be around much longer. Magola and Marta have rotated brilliantly and have been used in different situations - contributing to 40 goals between them. I have plans afoot for a replacement for my mercurial Russian and I'm hoping I can stretch another year out of Davies, but I'm not too confident. There is not a lot else I can say about Stefan that hasn't been said or seen in his GIF goals. He's been amazing and, considering it's his first season in the country, even better. Freire is developing really well and was the best of the 'January promotions' - really putting himself in the reckoning as second striker, ahead of Costa, who's now here on the basis of versatility and sentimental reasons. I expect nothing to change here. --- There are few plans for the summer, just a left back and centre mid needed but some other things to consider! Time for the players to get a well-earned break.
  14. Thank you so much. It just felt right making those tweaks and it's really been an extension of how I play this game. I spend way more time watching the games now and then even more looking at the analytical data, trying to tie up those thoughts in my head - "he seems to be making dangerous runs, I need to stop that" etc etc. I love it!
  15. Thank you! Interesting ideas - Mexico is definitely underplayed in FM and produces some great (albeit expensive) newgens. I had thought about Austria too, after I had some success years back with First Vienna and I am loving the small league currently but it just feels a little too close to Switzerland. My current thoughts are Russia as I've been enjoying some geopolitical stuff on it at the moment and the fact that it's so vast and encompasses so much might make a nice addition to the thread. This year, I jumped straight in on the beta but I want to wait until some lower leagues are added as well as all the realism fixes and stuff, too. As soon as I didn't do it live, I knew that I'd just start with the result. However, as has been the case on this save, I've got so in depth with the how, as you say! Glad you enjoyed. Thanks! Here are the Arsenal managers: Both Arteta and Zidane brought some cup success but nothing in the league. It is ex-Roma boss Lupini, though, who has taken them to the next level with consecutive leagues in 33/34 and 34/35, although a 6th and a 5th placed finish will surely put some pressure on him, given how strong his side is.
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