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About Kevin_M

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    Southampton, UK

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  1. A final update from me - after guiding the mighty AlbinoLeffe to Serie A with consecutive promotions, our first season in the top flight could be considered a success; a 13th place finish, 10 points clear of relegation: Tactics-wise, I experimented. My usual 4-1-3-2 evolved into a 4-2-2-2 and then a deep 4-3-1-2 and back to the 4-1-3-2. Unfortunately my constant meddling meant a strong first half of the season was followed by a diabolical second half, but it gave me some ideas for the following season. One thing that had been obvious over our first three seasons was an overreliance on the strikers to not only score the goals but to assist one another and I wanted more output from midfield. To achieve this I switched to a 4-4-2 diamond: I sacrificed my central BWM for an AM. My thinking was that by moving a player to the AM position, I've immediately got a third player closer to goal. To balance that, my MEZa became a DLPs who will hold his position. I switched my AFa for a CFs because I wanted both strikers on support to keep mentalities closer together and changed the team shape from flexible to fluid for the same reason. I also added the 'Work Ball Into Box' TI because we take too many long shots. The result so far, a third of the way through the season, has been nothing short of spectacular: Eight goals and nine assists from midfield so far. We're also third in goals conceded, second in goals scored and have a 48% shot accuracy. Not bad seeing as we've only spent £5.5m on transfers and have the lowest wage bill and attendances in the division. This thread has definitely inspired me to do something similar when FM19 comes along, whether it's another community challenge or just my own personal one.
  2. Harry Maguire has clearly been retrained as a Libero with the PPM's 'Brings Ball out of Defence' and 'Gets Forward whenever possible'
  3. An update on season 2 in Serie B: We did it! Amazing. Although, I have aged about 10 years in the process, because with 14 games to go, we played Frosinone, our nearest rivals with the chance to go 10 points clear of them at the top, but a 1-0 defeat triggered a spell of poor form that almost cost us promotion: Thankfully, we scraped over the line and will now pit our wits against the very best Italy has to offer. Tactically, one small change from my previous post, changing the AF to a Poacher as only one of the two players I rotated in that role is any good at dribbling. My DLF actually scored most of the goals, but then he is my best player by a mile. If anyone needs me, I will be having a lie down in a darkened room ...
  4. I don't know about restoring their glory days (I'm not sure they've ever had any!), but I am having a ball attempting to take Serie C/B club AlbinoLeffe to Serie A: and: Eight games into a Serie B campaign and it's not going too badly so far considering that the media predicted we'd finish 19th: The club doesn't have much money and plays its matches at Atalanta's 24,000-seater Atleti Azzuri d'Italia stadium. We sold a whopping 500 season tickets last year, up to 1,125 this year. The place is rocking, rocking I tell you. Jests aside, I chose them because their training and youth facilities are listed as 'great' which is rare at that level and I'm glad I did because this save has been fun so far.
  5. I think it's safe to say we surpassed expectations this season. No money spent (two loans and two free transfers in), a media prediction of a 9th place finish and a board expectation of 10th or above. I only made some small tactical changes from my original post, changing the TMs to a DLFs due to injuries and removing the 'shoot less often' PI's from two of my central midfielders. So basically for the second half of the season we had one PI selected (GK to distribute to CB's) and one TI selected (Retain Possession). Pre-season for the 2018/19 season is well underway, with eleven (yes, eleven) loan signings made to bolster the squad for our assault on Serie B. I'd have liked to have made some permanent signings but my transfer budget amounts to whatever I find down the back of the sofa and the club's financial situation isn't the best, so loans will do for now. I have gone with the same shape so far in pre-season, but with a few roles changed: Staying with my theme of using roles I rarely or never use, I've gone with a BWMs. I also have a young midfielder who has come on leaps and bounds this season who is perfect for the role. To balance that change I've made the MEZ the more attacking midfielder of the three. Also, my attack last season was one-paced, but I had to make do with it. This season I've got a couple of forwards in on loan with decent off-the-ball and acceleration attributes so switched to an AFa to give defences something different to think about. Other than that, it's the same, no TI or PI changes. Onward and (hopefully) upward. I'd be happy to avoid the drop this season, but you never know what will happen. Forza La Celeste!
  6. *comes out of lurking* I will have a crack at this. I have just started a new save inspired by @herne79's Attacking and Possession thread, and will attempt to take Serie C/B side Albinoleffe to the promised land of Serie A. Being a child of the late 80s/early 90s, Italy has always been my footballing spiritual home, so this should be fun. Having assessed the squad and found I have almost no players capable of playing as an AMR, AML or AMC, but a plethora of players capable of playing as a CM and/or DM, I've decided to go with a 4-1-3-2, which after some experimenting in pre-season, looks like this: Much like @herne79 did in his thread, I wanted to shoe-horn in some roles that I've used either rarely or not at all just to make it interesting. The same applies to my choice of mentality - apart from a brief flirtation with it in my 10-season+ FM18 Southampton save, I have never used attacking as my ongoing starting mentality. Ever. And I've been playing this game for a long time. But going back to the roles, whilst I wanted to squeeze some less oft-used ones in there, I didn't just pick them at random. The MEZs I chose because two of my CM's are capable of playing as MR's and have good crossing attributes and so fit the bill nicely for this role. In fact, a couple of assists so far have come from one of them drifting out to the right-hand edge of the penalty area and dinking in a back-post cross for the TM. Nice. To balance out the MEZ on the right, I chose a FBs behind, and so to balance that out I chose a more adventurous WBs on the left for a little added thrust. The choice of a CAR in the left CM slot was to provide some lateral cover down that side. The only role I chose at random really was the HB. I have no doubt a plain old DMd would have done and that's one role I will definitely play around with over the course of the season. The striker roles I had to play around with in pre-season. I wanted a TM in there because two of the four strikers in my squad are suited to it and it's another role I rarely use, and after some experimenting I settled on pairing the TMs with a DLFs. They both drop deep and dovetail with each other nicely, assisting each other a few times each so far. The Season So Far The media predicted we would finish 9th, and my board expect us to finish in the playoff positions. For those unfamiliar with Serie C's rules, that means anywhere from 2nd to 10th. Only the top team go up automatically. Ignoring the pre-season results during which I was experimenting and had fixtures against a few Serie B teams, so far we're doing okay: It's still early days but we and the team above us, A.C. Feralpi Salò, have opened up a small gap at the top of the table, so lets see if we can maintain it. Forza La Celeste! ------------------ EDIT: I forgot to add that as well as the lone TI Retain Possession, I have 3 PI's; Shoot Less Often added to the left and right CM's and the goalkeeper is set to Distribute to Centre-Backs.
  7. Man, don't give up. I have been playing a save with AC Milan, using a narrow system (4-3-2-1), and I am just starting my eighth season in charge. Six of those seasons were frustrating, despite winning the league in four of those six seasons. The reason they were frustrating was because, despite a consistently miserly defence ( goals conceded in a season ranged from 17 to 22 during that period) we were sketchy in attack. Teams in Serie A play some funky formations - lots of 3-man defences with wing-backs and DMs in front of them and often struggled to break teams down. We won a lot of games 1-0, and whilst we dominated play overall, convincing wins they were often not. But while we did well domestically, in Europe were not so good (one CL semi in 6 seasons) and I was never really 'happy'. Only three things about the way we played were constant during that time - the formation, mentality (control), and the TI 'play out of defence' - my thinking there being that my full-backs which are my only source of width need to keep up with play, so going forward too quickly would be asking a lot of them. Other than that I was tweaking endlessly, looking for, as you call it, "it". Only small changes mind you - tweaking a role here and there or adding a TI and seeing how it affected things for a few games. It was only in season six, when I changed our shape to flexible and after Carlos Bacca's retirement, changed my AF to a CFs that our attacking play really jumped up a notch. We romped the league by 26 points and the goals for column was much healthier, but still our European woes continued. For season 7, I changed to a standard mentality and fluid shape. I had stubbornly resisted changing our mentality and to be honest, I don't know why. Perhaps my inner Guardiola wouldn't let me. But I did, and 12 months later we had a Scudetto, Italian Super Cup, Italian Cup, Champions League and European Super Cup under our belts. I think that change, allied with the gradual improvement of the squad just unleashed something. I always feel like this game is like trying to balance a set of scales, and for five seasons I had it 80% balanced, one season at 90% and finally, one glorious season at 100%. Keep plugging away, it makes it so much worth it when you do get it right.
  8. This. I won't go into huge detail because this is Herne's thread and not mine, but I wanted to share an example that highlights how reading others thought processes can be so helpful. I am just starting my 3rd season of a save with AC Milan, and it's the first save I've played on FM17 that wasn't an adaptation of someone elses tactic. This time I looked at the squad I had and thought really hard about what its strengths and weaknesses were and tried to devise a shape and playing style that suited it. It took me a season and a half to get it 90% where I wanted it to be, but I just needed an idea to spark something off to get that last little piece of the jigsaw. I came to the forums and found this thread and the spark I needed: I came up with a control/structured narrow 4-1-2-2-1. It suited the squad I inherited and in the back of my mind was a loose interpretation of Carletto's Milan side of 03/04. Anyway, the system was stingy in defence but my front 3 were inconsistent. We won a lot of games 1-0 but were really struggling to break teams down. My AMC's were an AP/a and an AM/a with an AF/a ahead. Keisuke Honda was playing really well and banging in quite a few goals in the AP/a role so I left that alone and toyed with the other two roles unsuccessfully until finding this thread and herne's quote above. Then the lightbulb came on. I had been reluctant to change Honda's role because he was playing so well, but really that was the crux of the problem. My regista or the mids ahead of him would always look to hit the AP/a which is why he saw so much of the ball, scored a lot and was POM a lot, but it caused a logjam through the middle against packed defences. Changing his role to an AM/a changed everything - the deeper players started choosing the best option, looking wide if necessary or going through the centre if that's what was needed and our goal tally started to improve. Honda's performances weren't quite so spectacular after that, but the goals started to spread around the front 3 a bit more, to the benefit of the team as a whole. In the end we won the league. We may have done so anyway without the change in tactics but it would have been closer than the 7 point margin it became. All because of one tiny tactical change. And after a solid transfer window where we aquired some players more suited to certain roles rather than we'd had before, our start to the new season has been spectacular; five wins from five games, 19 goals scored. Top work, herne.
  9. This isn't necessarily a tactical problem IMO. I have found this to be a recurring theme in various versions of FM, including this year's version. And while I do think these occurrences are a little on the high side, I would also say it's not always one-way traffic; sometimes the early big chance or goal falls to my team too. Ö-zil, congrats on another stonking write-up. I only got FM17 on Christmas Day, and immediately started a save with my beloved Southampton, with a ton of ideas in my head. I tried a Conte-style 3-4-3 and a 4-1-2-1-2, but results (and individual players) were inconsistent, and I started to suffer from 'tactician's block' but after reading this bit in your OP, I had a 'light-bulb moment': My board want me to play a possession style (as do I) and both of the formations I was experimenting with had 3 players in the AM strata or further forward. So I started again using your 4-1-4-1 as a base and tweaking it here and there. Instead of an RPM(s) and a CM(d) I use a DLP(d) and a CM(s) as I feel this suits my players better. I also changed the winger to a WM just to keep the number of crosses in check. I also dropped the d-line a notch, because Van Dijk is the only CB I've got with any pace. Results have been, erm, quite good! We are scoring goals for fun. Charlie Austin has 13 in 10 and my CM's are scoring too, something I could never quite get to happen consistently on last year's version. In the past I have always used standard/flexible for my tactics, and this is the first time I've ever used very fluid and I like it. We play as a unit, and the use of generic player roles means I have more options when it comes to transfers and using players from my academy. This thread has got my brain bubbling so now I want to start a couple of different saves and experiment more. Top work!
  10. A bit of a mixed bag. a few Balanced, lots of Fairly this and Fairly that. A bit meh really. Probably time for him to go. Luckily this chap is available: It's a no-brainer.
  11. This is top stuff, herne. I already play FM in a very (scarily!) similar way to you, but I've still picked up a few ideas and things to try. For example, the thought never crossed my mind to check and see what personality my Head of Youth Development had, and how it might reflect on the youngsters we bring through. What do you reckon of this guy: His personality type is determined.
  12. I actually did switch them from season three onward. And yes, I came pretty close to quitting myself! But I'm so glad I didn't. Because without wanting to jinx it, look how we've started season five: The only changes I made to last season's tactics were to instruct the F9 to shoot less - it sounds weird asking your lone striker to do that but whoever was playing there just kept taking pot-shots from outside the box - and I told the IF to pass it shorter because he kept wasting possession with Hollywood passes. That's it. I'm so glad you said that. That's exactly why I posted it.
  13. Season 3 - Moving Up But Going Nowhere Transfers Having been resisting bids for Khouma Babacar for two seasons, I finally cracked; Everton made a bid, which I negotiated to £45m + £5m, and like Napoli did with Luan, they agreed to it. In came Andrea Belotti as his replacement. Veterans Gonzalo Rodriguez and Pedro Lopes were allowed to leave on free transfers, with Chancel Mbemba and Almamy Toure replacing them, making us significantly younger and quicker in defence, albeit less experienced. Vitolo came in to replace wantaway Dries Mertens and fan-favourite Valero was allowed to join Benfica - who's going to turn down £9m for a 33yr old? Not me. Marco van Ginkel arrived as his replacement. All in all, another good window. Less than £1m net spend, but we're getting younger, quicker and bringing in more players with the attributes I like; work-rate, determination and stamina. Tactical Changes At first, I didn't change anything from the end of last season. I wanted to see how the new recruits would fare. I really needed them to bed in quickly, because as I said in my opening post, at one point I was given five games to save my job, and that moment came after last season's eighth place finish. Gulp. Luckily the boys did me proud. We smashed our opening three league games 3-0, 3-1 and 2-1 which gave me the required nine points to save my job. We went on to collect 19pts from our opening nine games - five wins and four draws. But then the goals dried up. Belotti and Vitolo, who had started the season like a train, went from being ruthless in front of goal, to toothless. We went on a horrible run and frustration nearly got the better of me again, but I took a deep breath and thought about it. We seemed to be snatching at chances - especially against the smaller teams who were sitting back. I remembered something from a thread I'd read on the forums (I think it was Cleon who wrote it), that sometimes the way to break stubborn teams down is by being less adventurous and I decided to try something. I switched from Control mentality to Standard. Knowing this would drop my D-Line back, I pushed it up via TI because I still wanted high closing down and a lower D-Line would mean players running further to do so and tiring more quickly. I also switched to a Flexible shape to increase our creative freedom. I added the Retain Possession TI not to aid possession (we were keeping the ball well already) I just wanted us to be a bit more patient. I also changed my CMa to a BBM hoping that would help defensively, too Thankfully the changes worked. We scraped a few 1-0's with a few 0-0's sandwiched in between. From then on were okay results-wise. No awful runs of results, just a bit up and down. But crucially still picking up points. Summary Finished 6th. Scored 43, conceded 33. Average Possession: 55% (1st) Completed Passes: 81% (Joint 1st) Bleh. Well, we made it into Europe, which counts as progress I suppose. But in terms of wins/losses/draws, points accrued and goals for and against, we were not progressing. More frustration, but I will not give up. Season 4 - Turning The Corner Transfers Belotti did okay last season had a habit of missing absolute sitters, and Mario Gomez basically had a season-long goal drought so with Gomez' contract up and Dortmund making a fat offer for Belotti it was time to let them go. Before I'd even had a chance to think about a replacement, an agent offer popped up in my inbox for a Korean striker named Kim Shin-Wook. 30 years old but had good all-round stats and was a bargain at £850k. The scouts looked at him and liked him, so in he came, swiftly followed by a bid for Werder Bremen's young wonderkid, Johannes Eggestein. Liverpool came in with a frankly ridiculous £30m bid for injury-prone Marco van Ginkel - no way was I turning that down. Young box-to-box midfielder Iver Fossum was recruited to replace him. Nenad Tomovic had been hankering after a move for a couple of seasons, and when the opportunity to sign transfer-listed Martin Montoya for £5.75m cropped up, I let Nenad go. Tactical Changes Despite only being 19, Lincoln had done okay for me last season playing as a RMD, but his stats and PPM's seemed more suited to AP role so I changed it. An experiment with a False 9 in pre-season went well so I decided to stick with that. Having added the Retain Possession TI during our bad spell the previous season, I decided to remove it again to see how things would go. I also removed the Lower Tempo TI, as our switch to a Standard mentality last season had lowered the tempo already, and having this on had made us a bit ponderous at times. Summary Finished 3rd. Scored 46, conceded 26. Average Possession: 57% (1st) Completed Passes: 82% (Joint 1st) On the face of it not a lot has changed from last season. Defence was better and attack was about the same. But something has definitely changed. Between August and December we lost twice. TWICE! We had a ropey spell around New Year, then had another good run until a little stutter at the end. This was infinitely more encouraging than the weekly rollercoaster of previous seasons. The profile and DNA of the group is coming together, with lots of professional or resolute personalities, high determination and work rate, not to mention a lot of young players with lots of room to get better and some really promising youngsters doing well on loan. Financially we're doing well too - across the four seasons our transfer spend has actually been a profit of £88m. For the first time in this save, I am actually chomping at the bit to get the next season started. Onward and upward!
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