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About SFraser

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  1. Yeah I got it. I'm sorry I don't have time to watch PKM's and analyse tactical issues. If you have any specific questions I am willing to offer my opinions.
  2. Yes, infact you could say that the "Tactical Challenge" at this level of football is to avoid being nullified, whether through Complacency or opposition parked buses or key epic players getting older and retiring. The aim of every single opponent team, manager and player in the game at that level is not to beat you, not to equal you, it's simply to nullify you. The point and purpose of my ongoing tactical tweaks and changes and alterations to my team is to fight against this tide of nullification, to keep improving my side so that I don't end up facing a 1-2 scoreline after dominating the match. In terms of tactics or tactical instructions there are some options but not as many as you would hope. The main one is increasing Mentality of key players to increase the "risk taking" decision factor, for example pumping up a CM's Mentality should encourage him a bit further forward but crucially encourage a lot more risky/attacking passes. This is something I use regularly because my CM's are brilliant playmakers. This also works well with the FC who can find himself either too deep or too advanced, likewise you might think he is being too greedy or not taking enough risks, Mentality again is the tool to tweak this behaviour. Though perhaps the key thing you can do is change a players game away from a general all-round pass-and-move based game and tell your awesome dribbly winger to start running at players with a passion. If passing wont break through the team, maybe passing to get the ball to the toe of some 19 dribbling winger and getting him to plough headlong at defenders will break through the team. Where it is really at in my opinion is in attributes, and partnerships. It sounds like you need a "Cantona moment" regularly in your team, and being honest we all do. It's incredibly important to get the correct attributes spread across the team. Things like Workrate and Off The Ball and Flair really are vital attributes. A striker with high Workrate is always a pest, a striker with low Workrate can go missing. A combination of Workrate and Movement is always crucial, particularly against better teams. But the thing that really above all else dominates is finding yourself a couple of players that simply thrive on each others playstyle. This happens in FM and when it happens then teams can be near unstoppable. I was lucky enough to have a few seasons where I had Rooney as FC, Aguero playing Left Wing and Berbatov at AMC. That was quite simply a stunning attacking line up and not many defences could handle those three, let alone the other 7 outfield players. In the short term try to work with what you have got, find yourself a plan B such as asking your widemen to forget pass-and-move and just attack defences with the ball at their feet, and asking your CM's to play much more direct passing football. In the medium to longterm it's all about finding players that are not simply good or even great, but are good/great but absolutely thrive playing with your other players. An average AMC that somehow plays amazing with your Striker is a lot better than a great AMC that doesn't. Ideally you want a great AMC that does. This is the part of managing a team that is seemingly never ending and along the way you will find things happening you didn't want or expect but that work brilliantly, different players will bring different things to your team, and you realise that a solid 50% of every result you ever get is based solely on the players you select for that match.
  3. To break down teams that park the bus you need two things: 1. The Ball. 2. Effective threats. The more the better. The first point requires a good defence, good defensive ability, so that you can quickly win the ball or atleast minimise the time the opponent has it. It all means that you need a good core of players that can keep the ball, pass it around under pressure, and get the ball to wherever your threats are. Some teams may take this core group of passing players and turn that into the threat by making the whole team really lethal at pass and move football but that's a stage above first of all building an effective team. The second point seems harder than it actually is. Take a good old fashioned English 4-4-2 as a starting point. You have your big man upfront for sticking crosses into the net, bullying defenders and knocking the ball down to your poacher. Your poacher/pacey guy is sharp to sweep up any loose balls in the box, or take up good positions un-noticed inside the box, or make dangerous runs behind the defence as it pushes up to deal with the targetman. You have your more attacking midfielder that is generally the playmaker for playing good throughballs to your striker or sweeping the ball wide to your wingers. Your wingers tend to be a mixture of crossers and dribblers that can deliver a good ball or skin a few players and score a peach. But you also have your defensive midfielder, and a lot of these players in the old school English 4-4-2 have a heck of a shot from range to bury a screamer from 25 yards when the defence has left him un-noticed due to the immense pressure of dealing with your winger/targetman combo. The fullbacks in the English 4-4-2 like to play a bit more possession with the DM/midfield but also have a good cross on them. Simply putting together a proper old school 4-4-2 will furnish you with a vast amount of attacking options. Get your holding midfielder to blast rockets, your wingers to dribble and cross, your targetman to bully defences, your poacher and playmaker to float around and look for space and your fullbacks pushed up to assist the midfield and flanks. This is huge range of attacking options coming from all over the pitch, in multiple different ways from multiple angles and from deep as well as high up the pitch. So long as your midfielders are capable of decent passing, ideally good quality passing, then you should be able to move the ball around and shell the opponent from all over the pitch. Once you understand these "basic rules" of threat, of making sure all your players in your team can contribute something no matter how little to the attack, then you can start being more creative without ever ignoring or altering these "basic rules". Having a DM or holding midfielder or defensive CM that has a left peg like Koeman is always a great attacking option in any team in any system against any opponent in any match.
  4. Form can also affect attribute growth/decline. If a player has been at his absolute peak for a few months and then hits a bad patch of form he can drop in attributes.
  5. Player "manipulation" is definately a fun part of FM, and once you get the hang of it it becomes more than fun, it becomes incredibly immersive. It's one of those parts of the game where reading a lot of football news in real life and trying out a few experiments in FM really pays off. There are plenty of little tips and tricks like the one above for many areas of FM, but you have to be careful using them. Chucking around a few comments without thinking them through can swiftly cause a lot of problems for you. On the other hand if you aim some well weighted comments in the right direction at the right time, you can reap immense rewards. I have had transfer fees reduced, squad discipline problems clear up, players banging in hat-tricks after being out form, not to mention the general benefits of a nice and happy squad through good use of these options. There are no X+Y=Z rules for this kind of thing, or atleast that's not the way I get success from these options, and yes they can backfire and be scary. But if you can get a feel for how they work and learn to use them at the right times I think they add a whole lot to the game.
  6. When it comes to something like six for Decisions it's going to be in force whatever he does. If you tell him to try more throughballs then he is going to be picking the terrible option rather than the guy clean through on goal on the edge of the box screaming and stamping his feet for a pass. The way I would define these "action instructions" is to base them on technical abilities while trying as hard as possible to build a team that is mentally strong. So a team with good solid mental attributes, with a playmaker than can hit passes, a striker that can finish, a winger that can dribble and so on, would be the perfect "non generally awesome" team to strictly set up. When it comes to glaring deficiencies in core mental attributes, I'm not sure how you can "rescue" a player. You will never get good movement out of an AMC that has poor Off The Ball regardless of whether you ask him to RFD Often, Mixed or Rare for example. When it comes to core mental deficiencies either you accept the weaknesses are "character traits" or do everything possible to control their specific behaviour. For this Gotze chap you might want to set him up so that his passing is short, he tries through balls more often and you have a targetman set, and probably reduce his CF a bit. This should get him hitting throughballs to the targetman close to him. Ofcourse setting a targetman might negatively impact other areas of your team. The real question is does his lack of Decisions make him significantly inferior to other players in that role, or does his strengths make up for his incredibly poor choices. I.e. will he miss 90% of the great choices on the pitch and leave you shaking your fist at him, but then pop up with a random piece of magic that makes you forgive him? Personally I have my "philosophy" of how I want my football played but I tend to let players get on with it. So they can do pretty much what they like so long as they do it well and it contributes to the team. Most intelligent players fit in very well in my system, if someone doesn't then I tend to lose faith with the player. I could probably make this specific player play better but the question is does that enhance my team? And the answer tends to be no, because the rest of my team is set up to benefit from individual flashes of genius and a free, creative but above all else intelligent game.
  7. Stop using FMGenieScout. Problem solved.
  8. That's less than ideal. I know that inactive leagues tend to "simulate" a rough activity but I would only send players to an active league that is also being played in Full Detail. That's just me though, I want the most accurate simulation of my players development, and also I want the most accurate reports and outcomes so I can adequately study and make decisions on this players future.
  9. Agreed, also if you use attacking fullbacks it's quite important that they use the ball well. The last thing you want is your fullback powering 50 yards up the pitch and then laying the ball off to the opponents deep lying playmaker. I haven't used a similar formation no, but with regards to attacking fullbacks and particularly those that become an advanced part of a possession based game, it's incredibly important to set up their ball usage and wide play instructions effectively. Two very effective but under rated instructions for attacking fullbacks are Hold Up Ball and Cuts Inside. These instructions both tend to get your fullbacks playing the ball infield rather than sprinting down the flank and whipping in a cross, although they achieve this through different means. HUB tells your fullback to slow down a bit and take time to weigh a better option, which will tend to be a midfielder in space, whereas Cut's Inside will ask your fullback to run inside the opponents wide men and produce behaviour more like Evra, or Cole or Roberto Carlos that like to drive at defences almost as wingers or inside forwards. Genuine attacking fullbacks should always be given the same offensive consideration as any other attacking player, no point telling X fullback to simply "go attacking" if it means he is asked to use his rubbish dribbling skills to sprint down the touchline and use his rubbish Creativity/Technique/Crossing to aim a ball into a packed penalty area.
  10. It never occured to me that it might be "cheating". I always though it was a reward for using a small first team squad and relying on under-21 players to make up the difference. After all that is the point in the HG rule.
  11. I see it a lot now in my save, it's almost as annoying as the 5-4-1 midfield diamond. The big deal, as you mentioned, is the fact that the formation concedes a couple of wide players for six players playing through the middle which makes it pretty difficult to create chances around the box. On the other hand it lacks numbers down the flanks so if you have good wingers/inside forwards and good attacking fullbacks and maybe a good football playing striker/AMC/MC that likes to pull a bit wide and play football with your wide men you can open them up on the angle of the box. Also their fullbacks have to do a lot of running, and if you have a good DLP and a good winger/inside forward on the other flank you can tire out their wide players and ping 40-50 yard passes to each flank with your DLP and hopefully catch one of them sleeping when most of their team is still getting back from the other side of the pitch. Definately not an easy formation to create chances against, but you can use the space they leave out wide by playing goalscoring inside forwards and getting your DLP to switch the ball from flank to flank constantly.
  12. No and no. Yeah that's hugely annoying, but it's all part of the game. My advice is to load up those leagues that produce awesome youngsters but don't allow transfers until the player is 18. Brazil, Turkey etc. And then it's up to you to sign the best. Thanks to my awesome skillz at FM I signed up an amazing young Brazillian fullback when he was sixteen, but he couldn't join me until he was 18. The player developed amazingly at his home club and turned into an awesome fullback within months of joining me. He is 20 now, and is already classed as World Class. It's just a test of your ability. It's a question of your awareness. You can sign them early, they just can't play for you, and sometimes this is actually a benefit to the player in question. Don't hate the game, play the game and enjoy the challenge. Brazil is a cunning nation, it always produces great players yet it has strict rules for transfers. That's not a nightmare scenario, it's an interesting feature of our mutual footballing world. EU nationality =/= Homegrown. Players that have been on your books long enough, even if on loan, will become homegrown. The only benefit to sending players on loan to these countries in realistic terms is if their level of football is sufficient to develop your youngsters, and you have the league on "full realism" or whatever is it called. When it comes to FM quite simply feeder clubs are not well simulated. Simulated well enough so that you can force a player on loan if he agrees but not much else. The way I do it as Man United manager is that the Championship is king for multiple gameplay reasons, it's always fully simulated anyway for a more realistic season, but plays English football etc. etc. etc. However the Championship doesn't have epic reputation and so if my players don't like the Championship I look for the "Premier Division" of other countries that is active but likely has a low Reputation, for example France. Keep the French top division active, find a team that is a bit rubbish but never gets relegated and there is your awesome club that players that refuse the Championship will go to. Another option is to try and strike up close friendships with managers in your own league and then offer out players on loan in the general way. But to be honest I never find this works well. That awesome Chelsea youngster scoring for fun at Bolton just doesn't seem to happen in FM. That's not how Homegrown works, it's not how loaning works either. The absolute key to Homegrown status is realising that if you are asked to name a 25 man squad and you name a 23 man squad, those two spare slots are AUTOMATICALLY home grown. If you need 8 HG players then 6 HG players + 2 spare slots is perfect. And this totally ties into everything I have ever said about "small" robust, functional, logical squads. Never failing the HG requirement + epic youth development because of a small(er) First Team is a mutually reinforcing, and might I say profoundly useful, situation. The truth of your entire post is that the game sets you tasks, it sets you challenges, it sets you stuff you wish was different but isn't. You can either fight against them or you can accept them. But if you are really good at this game you can exploit them all to your advantage. Need a certain level of HG players? Have fewer first teamers and force yourself into using youth. Signed a Brazillian but he can't join you for another two years? That's two years for Darren Gibson to prove his worth. Got yourself a First Team squad that doesn't meet the 25 player rule? Forget about Belgium, send players to France instead. WIN That's all you need to worry about.
  13. Well looks like it might have changed for FM11. It wasn't the case for the previous FM's and my slightly physical schedules for FM10 are testament to that. Still not as bad an error as forgetting to add Concentration and Composure to the training categories.
  14. For genuine Inside Forwards, yes. For goalscoring wingers, not so much so long as they have effective goalscoring/delivery abilities. The footedness question has a lot to do with what the rest of your team is doing. A right footed winger on the right wing might be a lethal goalscorer receiving throughballs, but if your forwards are poor in the air and the defence is sitting deep and numerous then his crosses will have to be perfect. However on the counter-attack he can be devestating even with poor crossing. What's more dangerous on the counter attack? A player skinning a fullback and sprinting up field to deliver a cross to three players running into the box against three defenders, or cutting inside against the opponents DM? The ideal "correct footed" Winger in a creative, playmaking, possession based attacking system is someone that can score goals but whose primary strength is delivery. Beckham for example. The lower the quality of his delivery, the more powerful your targets have to be in the box. And at the higher levels of the game it's incredibly hard to overpower Centrebacks. Instantly and easily. Backed up by sufficient playmakers a genuine striker pulling off a fullback is utterly lethal. Consider the mess a lone striker has to plough through. A team playing an aggressive continental formation will play two Centrebacks and a DM. A conservative continental formation is 2 Centrebacks and 2 DM's. Your lone striker has to find space, and your playmaker has to find passing gaps, to create a goalscoring opportunity. A wide striker simply has to attack behind the "modern attacking fullback". Make a run behind a player that tends to be not the greatest defender ever and also tends to get upfield, and he is inside the box with no marker. And if he is "wrong footed" then he is instantly in an ideal position to hit a great shot from a slightly awkward angle. But here is the real kicker. Against an "aggressive continental" formation of 2 Centrebacks and 1 DM, the natural passing angle for your midfield playmaker is on the outside of that triangle that leads straight to your inside forward. The awesome central defensive structure absolutely begs for passes on the outside of the DM, on the outside of the CB and on the inside of the FB. If you don't mind and you have the patience, let me indulge in a bit of tactical theory. The Front Two Is Not Dead It's just no longer directly infront of the goal. The perfect examples of modern attacking solutions to defensive problems come, rather obviously, from the worlds best teams. All of the best teams, the most exciting teams, the team that make the biggest impact on football and on peoples minds are quite obviously those that make the biggest scoreline impact against their opponents. The recent World Cup just passed was noted for it's defensiveness, it's staleness, it's lack of excitement, and yet a team that is legendary for it's lack of flamboyancy and it's commitment to rigid, robust tactical principles made the best matches to watch. The Germans were the most exciting team to watch in the World Cup. The Germans... The German reputation is for rigorous adherance to tactical principle, immense workrate and team ethic, and abhorance for what could be called "The Madrid style". While Brazil might have the reputation for carnival football, the Germans have the reputation for anything but. Yet it was the Germans that did what Brazil could not, annihilate the majority of their opponents on the football pitch. Produce the most exciting attacking football seen in the last World Cup. That the free scoring Germans were eventually knocked out by perhaps the most un-exciting winners of a World Cup there has ever been speaks volumes. The Germans were beaten by a team that almost completely refused to attack, refused to give the ball away, refused to take risks. But most interestingly the Germans were beaten by a team that played the same fundamental system they did, but played with a completely different philosophy. What made the Germans exciting to watch was their goals, and they scored many goals. And all the goals that Germany scored were premised upon the brutal German tactical efficiency. The highest scorers of the last World Cup was a team that didn't care a hoot about philosophy and free flowing football, that cared only about tactical mastery of the opponent. That tells you EXACTLY where football is today. It's Catennacio versus Total Football MKII. See this is what the World Cup offers us. Where was Messi? For all it's staleness and lack of excitement, the World Cup always offers us an insight into football where money doesn't matter and years of playing together is irrelevant. The World Cup is always the tactical employment of the luck of the draw. And that's why it will always be the greatest footballing show on Earth. The German system was simple, play a defensive system, a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1 and let the opponent try to get past your central wall. Then when they fail and give the ball away attack with absolutely huge numbers down one flank at immense pace while the rest of the team shuffles over into the middle, and play a goalscorer on the opposite flank to the vast flood of players down the other flank. The tactical weakness of modern defensive formations is not the centre with its 1 DM, 2 DM, 3 potatoe, four. The tactical weakness of modern defensive formations is the attacking fullback, the players that simply must get forward to build an attacking threat in a team that is defending the ball off the middle. Jonathan Wilson tells us that the Attacking Fullback is the key to modern football, because the middle is so well defended and the second striker is dropped into midfield, liberating the fullbacks and requiring the fullbacks to join the attack. Well it's the key to modern football for another reason because when the middle is packed and the flanks are attacking you don't attack the middle anymore. You plough through the flanks, completely avoid the middle, and if you can't create a goalscoring opportunity by making Maicon hallucinate thanks to the pressure he is under by half the team attacking him, then you look for your mate at the far post. Germany destroyed teams that didn't realise that attacking fullbacks might actually be a weakness, which seems to have been most teams Germany faced. They attacked one flank at pace with huge numbers of players, and if that didn't completely ruin the "amazing central defensive system" outright, then when all these central players rushing over to try and deal with Klose, Ozil, Lahm, Khedira, and Mueller demolishing the left back left Podolski is left in a rather choice position on the other side of the pitch. I would go into more depth and explain how Manchester United with Ronaldo, Spain with Villa and Iniesta, Barcelona with Messi, Barcelona with Villa, Holland with Robben, Inter with Eto'o, Arsenal with Van Persie, Liverpool with Kuyt, even Chelsea with Anelka and Torres etc. etc. fall into the same fold, but I'm drinking a few beers and not really up for an essay right now. Make no mistake though. Germany's World Cup football, as it always is, was tactically brilliant. Just this time they humiliated a lot of teams. And that says everything about football today IMO. Anticipation, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Determination. The last attribute applies to all players.
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