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  1. There is a book called Pep Confidential written by Martin Perarnau detailing Pep's first season at Bayern Münich. It offers quite a lot of insight into his methods and phylosophy although it is a little biased and not as unfiltered as Perarnau will have you believe. There is also a very nice site called Spielverlagerung.com with in depth analysis of matches and teams focusing on the bundesliga. You will find several articles and essays on Guardiola's Bayern there. You can also try to find information on the bigger german version of the site, if you don't know german just have google translate it into english since the languages are similar enough for you to get a decent translation. Guardiola is quite a flexible manager by the way. He will set up the roles of his players differently to pose different problems for different defenses. @crusadertsar has a really good article about overloads, read it. Guardiola's Juego de posición is all about creating overloads, bypassing preassure through passing schemes and generating favourable 2 vs 1s and 1 vs 1s.
  2. I am going to talk a bit about China and the national squad. This was my first game with Team Dragon and although I was facing an inferior 11 I was a little nervous. Would the Overloading 433 work with players less familiar with the tactic? I don't have much choice for the Raumdeuter, Should I use Wu Lei on the left? if so, who do I trust most as a winger? Do I go for the slightly more solid keeper or the slightly better at distributing one? The midfield was easier to choose as was the defence and the central striker but the attacking midfielders gave me a headache. China has quite an ageing squad and some of these players won't make it to the next world cup if we happen to qualify. A constellation of talent must come through if we are to stand a chance in the future. Wu Lei is the star of the national team, a very mobile and quite clever attacking midfielder most suted to playing on the right side of the field but who can be a good Raumdeuter. The Chinese transfer market restricts the number of signings but as soon as I can I intend to bring him to Beijing. In this particular match I decided to use him as a winger and he did a fairly good job even scoring a goal (although a "weird" one). He lacks physical presence and that was the reason for my choice of position, the Raumdeuter acts as a second striker and has to deal with the centrebacks a lot and I believed I would get better results by pairing him against the leftback. This is the goal in question, Wu Xi (my Mezzalla) finds Wu Lei on the left side who has returned from a small knock catching Turkemistan off guard and dribbling through centrewards until he scores a nice goal where he catches the keeper on the wrong foot. That is quite a Raumdeuter move if you ask me so although I am happy for the goal I am also in a bit of a conundrum because Wu Lei seems to be capable of being the Raumdeuter despite his frailty. The second goal was a corner while the third goal was a nice example of what I want to achieve with the overload. Zhang Chengdong, my reumdeuter for the match moves inside, pulling the rightback away from Jiang Zhìpeng who is found by Beijing's halfback Chi Zhongguo and then crosses the ball at his leisure for Zhang Chengdong to head it in. Beign able to score three times against a parked bus was good news for us but the tactic must still be tested against stronger opposition. Zài jiàn (see you again).
  3. This is going to be my main tactic for the very first season in charge of Beijing and China. It is a more refined version of my original 4141 from my very first friendly. The goal of the tactic is still the same, overload the right flank to create 1 vs 1s on the left flank. After all you can't ask the current Chinese rightbacks to stop players like Cédric Bakambu or Jonathan Viera. However I was not happy with our behaviour when not in possession so I tried to have my team be more engaged when defending. Sweeperkeeper Defend/Support: I am playing a highline so I am using a sweeperkeeper. When Chi Wenyi is my keeper I change the duty to support because he is capable of distributing the ball around but in the match I am going to show you I was using a secondary keeper. Inverted wingback support right: A key part of the overload, he tucks inside behind the Mezzalla and helps with recicling possession. In this particular match he played more passes than anyone else: 81 passes with a 79% success ratio. Central defender defend right: nothing much to say here, the simplest role on the tactic, told to pass it shorter so that he doesn't hoof the ball past my midfielders. Central defender defend left: Like his partner he passes it shorter but additionally he is told to stay wide when the team has possession of the ball to cover for the leftbacks runs forward. Complete wingback support left: The man who provides width on the left flank and overlaps with the Raumdeuter. His crosses are not as important as the width he provides for my raumdeuter although he has gotten some assist and generated chances for my strikers. Halfback defend: He drops deep to give my defenders an easy passing option and then marches forward to be part of the overload. This link up play is more important than his defensive duties yet I am using my best defensive midfielder in the position because my more technical players are playing higher up the pitch. Deep lying playmaker left: Renato Augusto will ususally be given this role as my most gifted midfielder. He plays an important role as the main distributor of the team and in the match I am analysing he was the second player with the most touches on the ball (68). He is told to close down more Mezzalla attack right: A key part of the overload, he drifts wide and high into dangerous areas where he will try risky passes. He is told to close down more Winger support right: The width provider in the right flank, he is told to get further forward and cross the ball for my striker or raumdeuter. As is the case with my leftback, the width he provides is even more important than the crosses he manages to pull off. He is told to close down more Raumdeuter attack left: The man tasked with beating defenders and getting himself into dangerous zones exploiting the overload on the right. This role will usually be given to Jonathan Viera or Cédric Bakambu with the later being the more clinical option and the former the more creative. He is told to close down more Poacher attack: A good old regular poacher, adding another goalscoring threat for my opposition's defend to think about. He is told to close down more, completing the split press. I have chosen not to tell my team to counterpress because I think it will be a little to risky. One thing you will notice is that I am not employing any foreigner in the first eleven for this game, the reason for that is my fear that these players were so good in relation to the opponents that they were camouflaging a bad tactic. If I couldn't win without them then I couldn't really trust my tactics. I was playing against a Korean team that deployed in a 442 diamond so I was unsure about my midfielders ability to win the possession battle but it turns out my worries were unjustified. We had 66% of the possession playing 493 passes and an 80% succes ratio leaving us with no less than 396 completed passes. We managed to get several shots inside the penalty area (including that really weird shot from Nº19 towards the corner flag) and were denied twice by the woodwork. In this our second goal the Mezzalla just made a great pass for our Winger who was unmarked because every Sangju player was busy marking the poacher and raumdeuter. Our first goal was a penalty. Nº18 was their leftback who rushed to meet the mezzala living the winger unmarked and ready to receive the pass. Sangju's narrow defensive block was unable to cope with the right overload Both winger and wingback found acres of space for them to operate on although this particular case is extreme in the danger Ba Dun presented by being unmarked inside the penalty area. I hope to find even better examples of the power of the overload in future games. Special thanks to @crusadertsar for his article on Overloads and to @herne79 for his article on the 433 both of which served as inspiration for this tactic. If I have seen this far is because i am standing on the shoulders of giants.
  4. To properly bring the ideas of the chinese school of chess into football we must first compare chess and football Chess is a turn based boardgame played in an 8x8 square grid. each player starts with 8 pawns, 2 bishops, 2 knights, 2 rooks, 1 queen and 1 king. The goal of the game is to checkmate the opponents king but in praxis promoting a pawn into a queen gives a player such a material advantage that most players capitulate if a pawn will inevitably promote. This two goals in praxis leads to two different kinds of players: Swashbuckling all or nothing attackers who go on especulative kinghunts and solid grinders who minimize the risk of defeat and try to get a pawn promoted in the endgame to win. Draws most often occur because both players agree that there is no way of winning in said position unless a blunder is made and above a certain level of skill such blunders only occur once every couple of years. Football is a non-turned based game where two teams composed of ten outfield players and a goalkeeper each try to score a goal on a pitch of varing size. Unlike in chess it is hard to calculate the value and capacities of an outfield player or a goalkeeper because their level of performance can change from match to match for several reasons such as health, psychology or the level of the opposition. In terms of style there are many ways of categorizing teams the main two being passing-length and the mentality of the players on the pitch. From this two axis we can determine 4 main styles of play: cautious possession football, counter attacking football, pass and move football and direct attacking football. The main difference between football and chess is the nature of time and actions. In chess each action is taking in turn and your opponent can't change anything in the particular scenario until you finished your action, in football every player is free to move and act at the same time as his teammates or opponents. However there is a sense of turns in football thanks to the fact that yyou play with only one ball. One of my earliest football coaches would usually yell at us "The team without the ball can't score", it was his motto. He was right, when a team has the ball said team is on the attack and we could say that it is said team's turn. Unlike in chess such "turns" can be wasted since they can end before the team on possession shoots thanks to an interception or tackle by the opponent or even an off bounds pass by a teammate. The fact that possession can be lost before something useful can be done with introduce Mourinho's concept of "fear of the ball". Fear off the ball is the idea behind philosophies such as geggenpressing which try to force this mistakes by pressing players and not letting them operate at their best. The other main difference between chess and football is that football is not an even game. In chess both contenders start with the same pieces and it is the intelect of each player that determines the outcome, in football not all 1 vs 1s are equal. Imagine asking my righback Jiang Tao to defend on his own against Neymar, Reus or Hazard and thinking it would be a fair and equal duel between them. To sum up. Chess is an even, turned based game and football is an uneven game played in real time where turns are more of an abstract observation than a hard fact. One could even go as far as to say that chess and football have nothing in common, but that wouldn't be entirely true because football has a tactical side. If to the Chinese School of Chess chess is the art of thinking how 8 pieces and 8 pawns can mate the opponent's king then to the Chinese School of Football football is the art of thinking about how eleven players can score more goals than their opponent for 90 minutes. Now that the differences have been spelt and the one irrefutable similarity has been worded I would like to talk about the Chinese Chess thought. The chinese school of chess builds it's particular idiosyncrasy around three Ss: Space, Structure, Strategy. Space in chess refers to the number of squares controled by your pieces and pawns, because space is limited in an 8x8 board an advantage in space for one side leaves the other side cramped. An advantage of space is an asset when attacking because of the greater movility afforded to the attackers pieces and the cramping effect on the opponent limits the defender's posibilities This board position was taken from a recent game by one of my students, in green are the squares controled by white, in blue the squares controled by black and in black the squares that are still disputed. A red line indicate in a rough, debatable manner the frontline of battle. White's advantage is clear because it's spatial superiority on the centre and the kingside and because the queenside is still mostly to be disputed. In fact black fails to properly control a single square past its second rank and his position is cramped because of it, black lacks good squares for the pieces, or in other words lacks a counter plan to white's aggression on the kingside and must resign itsef to passive defence. Structure refers to pawn formations. In the position above black has the better pawn structure in the long term because white's left pawns are weak while black has a healthy structure. But just like possession for possession's sake is meaningless a healthy structure is useless if it has no repercusion on the battlefield. While it is true that with no pieces in the board other than the kings black would be better because of the weaknesses in white's structure white has accepted this weaknesses in exchange for space and a closed centre, factors that cramp blacks position and are key in white's overall strategy. Strategy refers to a plan of action, in this position white intends to free up the back rank in order to connect its rooks, put it's white squared bishop in the same diagonal as its queen, keep the king in the centre and break in the kingside thanks to its most advanced rigth pawn. Black has no plan, there is simply no way for black to marshall its pieces into a coherent formation that can neutralize white's ambitious kingside strategy. When my student talked about his plan to open the kingside another student of mine asked "Doesn't black get a turn?". The answer is that black does get a turn but doesn't get to actually do something about white's plan. According to computer analysis white is two pawns up despite material equality on the board because of the space advantage, the more proactive structure and the existence of a plan of action that all pieces will take a part in. This is ofcourse a position from a game between a weak amateur and a not so weak but not that good either amateur. No regular tournament player will allow himself to reach such a bad position with black but it is an ideal position to show how important superior space, structure and strategy are. You may either find this interesting, boring or hard to comprehend but you will surely ask: What does this have to do with football? in very rough terms space corresponds with Heigth + width, structure refers to positions + roles and strategy corresponds with team + individual instructions. According to the Chinese School of football: Space: teams must play high and have a source of width in either wingers or wingbacks to create spaces. Aditionally formations must be set up in such a way that different depths can always be occupied so that the central space created by the width is exploited. Structure: Formations and roles must be combined in such way that a ful dominance of the pitch is achieved, A full dominance means that ball circulation through relatively simple passes can be achieved. Strategy: As in elite chess, instructions will vary to best adapt to the particular opponent. Because Liu Wenzhe like to attack I will aim to implement proactive tactics My very first friendly will serve as an example of the three principles: This is my very first tactic for Beijing, it is just a prototype at the moment based on a very simple idea, Overload the right side and middle of the pitch to then find Li Lei with space to cross the ball for Bakambu or Jonatan Soriano. I will play with more or less instructions as the pre-season develops. Huaxia's goal came from a penalty converted by Hernani, or star of the match was Jonathan Vieria with a Goal and an Assist. I will publish a more detailed analysis of the tactic once I am happy with it. I am afraid I may have failed to explain how I intend to translate the three Ss from chess to football so feel free to ask questions.
  5. Liu Wenzhe in 2010 (one year before his death) The man in the photo will be unknown to most if not all of you, he is none other than Liu Wenzhe the first chinese chess player to beat a western grandmaster in a chess game. It happened in 1978, Mr. Wenzhe defeated his rival in a 20 move miniature (most chess games start by move 20), an agressive and unorthodox strategy answered by overly passive means led to this historic triumph for the man who would become the father of the Chinese Chess school. A chess school is a philosophy that regiments the way a player plays chess, until the start of this our 21st century the soviet chess chool dominated the chess world but thanks to the state-backed efforts of Liu Wenzhe a great generation of chinese players has arrived in full force with the last women chess champions all being chinese and Ding Liren (The chinese champion) ranked nº3 in the world and taken seriously as a candidate for the world championship. In 2003 Wenzhe wrote a 200 page book called the The Chinese School of Chess where he explained his training methods and game philosophy that led to China's meteoric rise in the chess world. I recently finished reading it and asked myself: How far could china go if they dedicated great efforts at excelling in football? When this question of mine combined with my desire to manage a team outside of europe this thread was born. Welcome to the Chinese Super League. the highest division of professional football in china. The Chinese Super League has some very interesting rules: The league is composed of 16 teams with the bottom 2 being relegated to the first division and the top 3 playing the asian champions cup (a 4th team will battle its way in the playoff round). During matches there you can only field 3 foreign players and must field an U23 chinese player. There can be no foreign goalkeepers and the first tiebreak is not the goal difference or the number of goals scored but the results of the reserve team. Because Liu Wenzhe started his career in Beijing I decided to manage them rather than the bigger Guangzhou. The league's rules were clearly designed with the idea of promoting young chinese talents and that is just what I intend to do during this save. Welcome to Beijing Guoan Football club. Founded in 1992 it has only won the chinese super league once in 2009. It plays in The workers stadium a big stadium with capacity for 66000 people. Despite the lack of silverware in recent times Beijing is one of the biggest clubs in china and there is a lot of potential in the club with enviable finances, good facilities and some young promises already in the reserves. The club is blessed with the presence of 4 foreign players in its squad: Cédric Bakambu, Jonathan Viera, Renato Augusto and jonatan Soriano. On the national side of the squad the main players are Zhang Xizhe and Chi Zhongguo. The reserve teams have potential future players such as Liang Shaowen, Aysan Kadir, Wu Guichao and Guo Quanbo. All of these people will be introduced to you in due time. The goal of this project is the raise the status of chinese football through time, improving the quality of chinese players and the national team until the can dominate Asia and challenge the west such as chinese chess players have done. In order to do this I have taken charge of both Beijing and the chinese national team. But how can such a thing be done? It won't be an easy task and this is going to be perhaps my longest save ever and also the hardest both in terms of demands and scale. Liu Wenzhe highlights several factors as critical in the birth of the Chinese School of Chess: Support from society: Football is already pretty popular in china with chinese clubs boasting big stadiums and a growing reputation in world football. However stadiums are not entirely full and some work should be done in this area. Continental triumphs should help here. Tradition: Whilst during the Han Dinasty a primitive game similar to footbal was played modern football was introduced quite late in china. This is a disadvantage because it means that we will have to catch up with the current footballing powers who enjoy a long history of triumphs in the sport. System of training: Chinese clubs facilities and staff are not amongst the best in the world but the money exists to change that. Coaching: foreign coaches will have to be signed in order to improve the quality of chinese players. and the most important factor of all: A constellation of talent: Aa group consisting of five or more individuals that could be considered geniuses at what they do and mark the way forward in a particular field, both the women and men chess teams in china found this individuals but chinese football lacks as of now this "Constellation of Talent". It is going to take a lot of time to improve the facilities at Beijing, recruit good enough coaches and improve the reputation of chinese football and even more time before I see the fruits of my labour but if things go my way this could be my most rewarding save in a Football Manager game to date. In my next post I will try to translate the principles of play developed by the chinese chess school into a footballing philosphy that I can implement at Beijing,
  6. My latest save file got corrupted. Not a horrible loss since I save often but I am going to use this "chance" to start a new project that has been on my mind. Will be rotating a season of each save.
  7. This second season saw us winning the premier league for the first time since 2004. we raised our goalscoring tally to 74 (4th in the season) and only conceded 27 goals (joint lowest in the season). This time it was a two man race between us and previous champions Liverpool. We have yet to win against Chelsea. We started the season struggling to score despite our solid defensive efforts so I gradually changed the 5-1-2-2 until it looked like this: I tailored the crosses for my strikers, told my team to be more expressive to exploit the intelligence and technical ability of my midfield and increased tempo and width to see make defending harder for the opponents. Everything else remained the same. We got knocked out of the champions league by Borussia Dortmund who are playing the final against Bayern Munich, retained the Carabao Cup and once again lost the FA cup final only this time against Zidane's Manchester city. This next season I will finally introduce the Libero in my tactic but I am not sure I can replicate the 1990 German team yet so I will simply be following the next logical step in the road to my desired goal and build a tactic with the Libero even if it won't be a replication just yet. With things going the way they are I will have finished this project by my 4th season at the club.
  8. If you don't have a clear idea in mind look at your players, compare them to the rest of the league. What are they good at? Are you a top tier team in the league or an underdog? From there on you can work out what kind of tactic is well suited for the team.
  9. Our goals are either headed crosses, shots from outside the penalty area or one on ones between the Keepers and a Complete Wingback attack . Although I will say that my chances are better than what the number of CCC I do feel our attacks could be better. I am currently experimeting with Whipped or Low crosses to see if there is an improvement to our offensive output. I also need to experiment with corners. We are getting a lot of corners in our favour but because I haven't really touched upon them I can't say I am happy with our execution.
  10. What kind of football do you want to play? The 4-4-2 and the 4-4-2 diamond might look similar but they are infact completely different formations that are better suited for different types of tactics
  11. De Jong is my Libero, that is clear but as of now he is either playing in midfield or as a BPD because I am using a DM. I am using a DM because I still don't believe in my central defenders as individuals, the Libero is a very demanding role for your defence so I am sticking to using three at the back + a defensive midfielder until I train/buy some better defenders. The thing about their possession is that it is sterile possession, my split press makes it hard for them to both bring the ball out of the back and make dangerous passes once they get their attack going. Once possession is won we don't simply hoof it into counter attaacks but find a near pass from which to start building our attacks. The whole point of our attacking structure is to either: A) cross the ball to our strikers B) Make space for our midfielders to shoot Everything passes through our WBs so it is a good thing that I enjoy the services of both Bellerin and Tierney.
  12. I am writing about my progress in replicating the team in a thread titled "FM19- German guns". It is best if we keep the original purpose of this thread.
  13. Julian Nagelsmann is the most promising manager not only in the Bundesliga but in all the footballing world. That is a bold thing to write down but one that I believe to be true, if I am not mistaking the man is only 30 years old and he can already be considered an astute tactician despite his youth and relative lack of experience when compared to his peers. This is even more surprising given he claims that coaching is "30% tactics 70%social skills". What I am most interested in replicating is his success at Hoffenheim a team that was facing relegation when he picked it up and which he developed into a european classification contender until he was signed by RB Leipzig. With Hoffenheim he employed a proactive yet balanced 5-3-2 based around careful build up play from the back and intense yet organised pressing. This is my current interpretation of it: Sweeper keeper support: Pass it shorter. Central defender defend right: pass it shorter Ball playing defender cover: none Central defender defend left: pass it shorter Complete wingback attack left: pass it shorter, close down more Complete wingback attack right: pass it shorter, close down more Defensive midfielder Support: none Central midfielder support left: get further forward, roam from position, move into channels, close down more Central midfielder support right: get further forward, roam from position, move into channels, close down more Deep lying forward support right: close down more, roam from position Advanced forward attack left: close down more, roam from position When we are in possession we invite the opponent to press our defenders who with the help of the DM and the keeper will bypass this first line of pressure and give the ball to our more offensively oriented players. The WBs are important not only as ball crossers but as finishers, because of our naturally wide shape and the DM helping with ball circulation our WBs can often find themselves in one on one against their markers. What I like above all else about this tactic is it's solidity something that we severely lacked during the previous season and which cost us the league almost at the end. That is the same Bournemouth that finished 6th last season scoring 60 goals.
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