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About JEinchy

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  1. The MCs get attracted to the same player and leave the space for my midfielder to use. The CB charges out because somebody has to close that player down. It looks worse than it is because of the size of the space, but let's not pretend we haven't seen this exact scenario occur in real life, even at the top level. Nor is this necessarily a case of "bad ME", because for all I know they played with a BWM and a stopper with more urgent pressing and that influenced their behaviour.
  2. If they want more examples, I'll be happy to add some. For the sake of balance, I'll post something good from the ME: It's from a throw-in, but West Ham's midfield is bunched together on one side. My three midfielders (Torreira, Guendouzi and Ozil) work the ball between themselves, until Ozil (playing in central midfield as an AP(s)) moves into the yawning space in front of West Ham's backline. Balbuena, West Ham's left sided CB, moves out to close him down. When he does, Aubameyang, who I have playing as an AML inside forward (A), moves into the space (you can see him walk across the line before making the run). Then Ozil, with his 19 passing, 19 vision and tries killer balls often PPI plays the perfect pass and we score. I love this goal because there's a logic to everything. West Ham are tilted because of the set-piece situation. Ozil finds the space because he's a highly intelligent player. Balbuena steps out his defensive line because there's no midfield in front of him, so he has to. Aubameyang finds the space because he has great off the ball movement. Unfortunately, this is the only goal of this type that I've seen all season long. Instead, a lot my chances tend to come from moves like this one: This isn't a bad move at all. The AMR (Inside Forward (S)) offers himself as a passing option, as I want him to. The right back (Full Back (S)) makes a great run that goes unnoticed, and his movement throughout is good. Ozil plays a superb pass to find him, he plays a good cross and the header from Aubameyang is just wide. However, pay attention to the movement of my striker (DLF(S)) and my left sided attacker (Winger (A)) throughout the move. Neither make any effort to detach themselves from their marker. The striker doesn't show for the ball or make any move down the sides of the CBs. The winger doesn't behave like a winger would. I would expect him to be closer to the left side of the penalty box, either dragging the right back with him, or finding space because the right back doesn't go with him. Instead, he seems to move with the right back, as if he's marking him instead of the other way around. If you pause the move at 33 seconds, you can see where the big problem is. Ozil here can open his body out and move into the space to his left. Then, one of the two forwards on that side can move into the big space, while the other moves into the vacated space. It would have been a very basic move for top players to make, but neither forward moves. The striker moves into an offside position while the winger doesn't move. I could be wrong, but because the movement isn't there, Ozil has no choice but to play the ball to the right back instead. After all, the right back is the only one actually moving into space. Here, the roles of two of my forwards aren't behaving as I'd expect them to. They're behaving in a very similar way, despite having very different roles on the pitch. The conflicting behaviour is interesting. In the first example, the forwards make good runs when the space opens up in front of them. In the second example, the space isn't available in front of them, but they ignore the space behind them. This goes hand in hand with the very forward thinking nature of attacking play in FM. Something like a forward taking one or two steps backwards or sideways to open up space - the type of movement that is very important for unlocking deep defences in reality - seems quite rare.
  3. I've logged a lot of hours into FM19 and think that it's not that far away from being a great game. At the same time, I've found FM19 to be dull. It's beatable, and even challenging in some parts, but playing through it has felt like a slog, especially when I've managed a top side - and this is coming from someone who isn't even that good at the game (I can put together a coherent tactic and win things, but I don't achieve the outstanding results that some can). The ME issues are well documented, but they're worth repeating because it's such a vital part of the experience. There are three major issues that have already been posted in the bugs forum that, in combination with each other, make for a very repetitive playing experience: The behaviour of players in the AML/AMR slots. Whether I use a winger or inside forward, anyone I select here plays the same way. The AML/AMR seem to be tethered to the opposition full backs, so if the opposition are using narrow full backs (which, if you play as a top side, they will in nearly every game) they follow them inside. My team ends up with three forwards standing in the penalty area, effectively taking themselves out of the game. This has significant knock-on effects for the behaviour of the other players. For instance, any midfielder in possession near the edge of the box will be unable to play the ball forward, and will therefore either play laterally to anyone in space (usually an advancing full back) or shoot because he has no options. This happens in real life and can be the result of my tactical set-up, but when it happens regardless of player role selection, it gets frustrating very quickly. This issue has put me off the AML/AMR positions. Instead, I now prefer the more customisable ML/MR positions because there's greater variation in how they behave. However, this leads to two more issues: 1) the overwhelming majority of wide players available in game cannot play ML/MR without retraining and 2) the overwhelming majority of AI managers play formations with an AML and AMR. The former isn't necessarily the biggest problem (it's inconvenient but the option is there) but the latter is, as I've seen high-quality wide players have little effect on the game world. I feel that if the movement of the AML/AMR is improved, it would allow for greater attacking variation. It's not that AML/AMR are entirely useless, though. They're great for scoring at the back post. This tends to result from the extreme narrowness of the back four, even when using the Defend Wider TI. I see a lot of goals where a full back plays an deep cross to the back post to a wide player standing in acres of space, who can just put it in with ease. The full-backs don't seem to track the run or detach from the centre backs in an effort to get to the ball. Again, there are plenty of instances of this in real life, but in real life most defenders make the effort to try and defend the situation and if they can't, it's usually because they've been occupied by another attacker. In FM19, defenders seem determined to hold their positions even when there are obvious threats to mark. Variable defensive positioning, both good and bad, is what leads to greater goal variation but the fact that it's extremely difficult to draw a full back out of position to open up the space down the sides of the CBs contributes to the overall dullness of the ME. Strikers aren't useless, either. My striker has 24 goals. He scores tap-ins, rebounds, headers from close range, pens, and the odd long-shot - all things that I certainly want him to do. However, he, and a lot of AI attackers, doesn't get many opportunities to score what I'd call routine goals - that is, goals from the centre of the penalty area after being on the end of a cross, cut-back or through ball. Players in wide positions never cut the ball back or play a low, driven cross. In my experience, they always seem to blast it to the back post, regardless of whatever instructions I give them to do otherwise. A lot of the time, the striker, who is waiting in space for a pass, is cut out entirely because the cross is almost always hit beyond him. In FM18, I had a lot fun and success with a 4141 that used two very pacey and technical wingers to drive crosses and cutbacks to a striker or late-arriving midfielder. The width of my attack stretched opposition defences and opened up the space between CB and FB for a through pass. This type of play no longer seems possible in FM19. The gaps don't appear in defence and attackers don't use the ball in a smart way. I appreciate that it's a giant balancing act. I also think it's great the defending is stronger in this game. The ability to dictate my team's defensive style using the Out of Possession and In Transition parts of the tactics creator is very much welcome and a step in the right direction. At the same time, it feels like the attacking side of the game has lagged behind. I know from playing the public beta that SI are working hard at correcting the balance, which is why I said earlier that the game isn't far away from being great. Away from the ME, there are a few things that bother me and detract from the experience. Tactical briefings. Not a new feature, but one I've never found any use for and hence have never used. It might be realistic, but it's irritating to have to respond to a message about this before every game when I don't even use the feature. Simply making it a non-urgent message would go a long way to solving this issue. Similarly, being reminded several times that I need to register my squad for competitions is annoying. If I've registered all the players I want to before the transfer deadline and have made no further signings, I do not need to be reminded with an urgent message that the registration window is about to close right after the transfer deadline. Every season, I have to confirm my squad list on at least two separate occasions in the summer and then the winter. One should suffice. Press conferences and tunnel interviews. Not their existence, nor the repetitive nature of the questions. No, it's the relevancy of some of the questions. I once had a reporter approach me in the tunnel asking my opinion about a manager for a team I wasn't playing putting a player on the transfer list. I'll be managing a top side and get asked about a mid-table team who is underachieving, or what I think about their manager being under pressure. It's really tedious. Assistant manager feedback. To be frank: it's rubbish. It wouldn't even be helpful for people new to the game. An opposition player could be a 6.3 rating, smash in a screamer, then be on a 8.0 rating and your assistant will be telling you that the player is "pulling the strings" or "really controlling things out there". No, he's not doing any of that; he was having a poor game and then scored a screamer. Yet if you follow his advice, you'd bend your tactic out of shape for every such occurrence. My assistant kept telling me that Joe Gomez was an "accomplished crosser of the ball" - Gomez has a crossing stat of 8. He's also completely wishy-washy about passing. We could be dominating the ball with mixed passing and he'd tell me we should play it shorter. We could be making chances with short passing and he'd tell me we should be more direct. While it's all ignorable, there's potential for this feature to point out things I have missed or should be aware of. As it is, it hasn't been at all useful since its introduction. Player interactions. I've banged this drum enough, but it's no less frustrating to not even be 10 games into the season and have players with the Rotation squad status complain about lack of playing time and then throw a tantrum when you tell them that the season is long and they'll get their chance eventually. Playing ratings. It's bizarre to me that you can play a great game without scoring and not get a single player above a 6.9, but if you fluke a game with three scrappy goals everyone will be 7.5+. Why does my midfielder who has created a bunch of chances that been missed not get a boost in rating? Why does an under performing player get a massive boost in his rating for scoring a screamer, free-kick or penalty? This doesn't feel as closely tied to the actions of the players as it should. It's too closely linked to major events.
  4. I've decided that I hate the player interaction system. It's not a new feature by any means and I know why it has to be there, but my big problem with it is that the game gives you no feedback on what choices would be good or bad, so it feels like a complete shot in the dark as to whether you'll get a desirable outcome or not. As an example, I'll outline a scenario I just experienced. I'm playing as Southend United during the 2023/24 season. We've been in the Premier League for four years and finished 6th, 6th, 6th and 8th. I've got a 20-year-old forward with huge potential who's a key part of the team, and we've just received a £50m bid from Manchester City for him. His agent makes it clear that he wants to go and there's little chance I can convince him to stay, so I accept the offer. A few days later, the player leaves. Two days before the deal happens, we sign his replacement. As far as I'm concerned, the whole thing is sorted. Apparently not. One of the team leaders (according to the dynamics) is upset about the sale. I have a chat with him. I tell him the deal was too good to turn down. He disagrees, which is fine, but I want to examine the wording of this: Player: You can't put a price on what *Player Sold* offered us as a team, this was a mistake and you know it. This guy's personality is Balanced. He's "media friendly". I don't expect a balanced, media friendly guy to be this confrontational, especially after addressing him in a calm manner. As the player, I'm already fearing a tantrum and that I've "lost" the conversation because nothing short of complete acquiescing to his opinion will diffuse this. As the manager, I don't think I've made the wrong decision, so naturally I'll defend myself. I tell him to forget about it, that no player is bigger than the team, etc. He responds: Player: You can be as dismissive as you want, I'm not backing down here. My options from here on are to apologise, try to diplomatically diffuse the tension, or play the big scary authority card. I didn't want to go to either extreme, so I went for what seemed to be the safe choice and tell him to move on because what's done is done. Player: We're getting nowhere with this so I'm going to leave it there, you have dealt with this terribly though. Well, great, that's useful. The feedback I'm getting here is that I made three wrong choices and got the worst outcome. The problem with that was that the game, at no point, communicated no advice on what the "right" choices would be. How should I talk to him? What does he want to/not want to hear? In real life you would obviously know the player the better and can make these decisions easier, but in game personality amounts to a single word description. What is a "balanced" personality? How do you deal with those type of personalities? And so on. To muddle this further, when I go into the player's happiness page, he has "Feels the manager deserves even more support from the dressing room" listen in the positives. Yet he's just gone and complained to everyone because of one bad conversation! So there are two big issues for me. The first is the randomness of every conversation. I'm not looking to be correct every time, but there's not information in the game that I can use to inform my conversation choices. The second is the language, which is often times unnecessarily confrontational and is used by all players, regardless of personality.
  5. My impressions of the latest beta update so far: I like it. There's a notable improvement in the movement of the forwards, to the extent that it's now possible to play two up front again. I still don't see many "traditional" through passes from the centre to a forward, but I am seeing more passes between the centre back and full back to a winger. Crosses are still the easiest way to score, but no longer the only way. There's enough variety now to prevent a save from getting too stale. I've been keeping an eye on the AI's performances after reading concerns about low scoring and a lack of goal variety. So far, after playing about 20 games on the new patch, I can report that scoring hasn't gotten too low. I just saw Arsenal beat City 5-0 in the Champions League (during the 2022/23 season) without scoring a single goal from a cross. One came from their striker threading a ball through to an AM, one was a full back driving forward and slipping the ball between City's CB and LB to a RW, and another was a solo run. What is a bit disappointing is that wide players struggle to hit big scoring numbers. When I look around the big leagues, the scoring charts are dominated by strikers and the odd AM, but there're barely any inside forwards. Salah, for example, has posted very low numbers since the start of my save. In my experience, this has made playing 433 or 4231 with inside forwards a lot less viable than in previous editions. I'm not sure why this is the case. I'm about to enter another transfer window and I'm seeing some worrying rumours about big clubs signing players they don't need. I'll report back if I see any extreme movement.
  6. I'm pleased that it's working out for you. As for what role I use for AMC: it depends on the match situation and what players are available to me, but my objective usually is to avoid that classic 4-2-3-1 issue of having four players crowd the same space. I typically go with Attacking Midfielder (S) while changing my IF(S) or CF(S) into an attack role. However, sometimes I like to move my IF(A) into an AMC spot (since he's accomplished there) and play him as a Attacking Midfielder (A) or even Shadow Striker, while changing the IF(A) to an IF(S). This effectively makes a 4-4-2 without playing two out-right strikers (which I've always been reluctant to do because it gives up midfield numbers). On a related note: I've poked around the bugs forum and have seen that this ME is having issues with the movement of strikers and inside forwards. While I'm not certain about this, it's possible that some of the goalscoring issues are being caused by that, rather than anything tactical.
  7. A quick update on my progress with this. We're in December in 2022, having only played 15 league games because of the World Cup. My side sit 3rd, having only lost once all season (a 3-0 hammering away to Arsenal). Apart from that defeat, we haven't conceded much, been dangerous on counters and have found various ways to goal. So this approach is still ticking a lot of boxes. That said, there are areas I want to improve. My IF(A) and centre forward are bother averaging between 6.8 and 6.9, which is okay, but not outstanding. The IF(A) has seven goals in the league, while the striker has 5. At their current rates, they might breach double figures, but I'm not expecting anything amazing. As the two main goal threats in the team, I feel like they should be scoring more. I'm not entirely sure why they're not posing more of a threat yet. In general, it seems quite difficult to get an IF(A) scoring at a high rate. I looked around at the best in the position, and only the truly world class players were putting up good numbers. Even guys like Salah have poor scoring records. It's making me question if sacrificing my striker is worth it in the long run. I think him being on a support role is probably the main reason why he's not scoring at a better rate. That, and the set-up encourages narrow play and relies on the full backs as the only source of crosses. So, I'm debating changing one of the IF roles to a winger and seeing if that helps. My RPM at the moment is Morgan Sanson, who I got from Marseille for a modest price. Not the perfect fit for the role, but he's a mobile midfielder with strong work rate and creative skills. He's doing a decent job in the role. Currently, my IF(A) is my top scorer, closely followed by the CF(S). The rest of the midfield contribute a decent amount as well. I haven't seen any noticeable difference in which way round I play the RPM and BBM. No PIs. Sweeper Keeper current has a defend duty. I've found games against the top English sides very difficult, even at home. I wish I could tell you what the solution is, but I'm still finding it myself. Sometimes, the talent gap is too big to overcome. However, I'll at least share some ideas. A couple of times, I've been fined for picking up too many yellow cards. "Get Stuck In" doesn't seem as useful against top sides, so next time I may remove it. That could encourage the team to stay on their feet and keep their shape more, which in turn might stiffen the defence up. I've had decent success in flipping the midfield triangle when trying to create more chances. The DM(d) can be limiting, so either changing his role or bringing on another creator might help. I don't have the players to do this, but changing one of the IF roles to a winger role might also help. Apart from those ideas, don't be afraid to drop the mentality down to Cautious if you're coming under pressure. Sometimes you just need to ride out a storm and Cautious can improve ball retention.
  8. Here are some screenshots of some key players and stats. B2B Mid: One of my backup mids for both CM positions: Inside Forward (S): Complete Forward: Goal Assist types: Assist Locations:
  9. It's true that my strikers tend not to score a lot, though I should also mention I haven't had a high quality striker yet. My first choice striker scored 18 goals last season, but 11 of them came in the Europa League against sub-par opposition. My B2B midfielder scored 14 n all comps, but 12 in the league and only one in Europe (which is an interesting contrast that perhaps shows PL defenders are better at limiting space for my striker, hence a larger reliance on midfielders for goals). The striker role in this set-up is largely a unselfish one. His job is to create space and bring runners into play when we're in possession, and to run channels and be an outlet for counters in transition - neither are which put him positions to be prolific. It's a set-up designed with multiple scoring threats in mind. However, he does get chances, and I think a good player in this position will score. This season he has 3 in 7 while my IF(A) has 4 in 7. It's a balancing act. I reckon if I changed his role to Complete Forward (A) he'd probably score more, but I'd see less goals else where and become a little more one dimensional. I don't quite have the quality to pull that off just yet. To begin with, my priority was simply signing better players that I had since we had one of the weakest squads in the Championship and then in the Premier League. I made an effort to improve the technical quality of the squad, but it wasn't easy with a £300,000 transfer budget and a low wage budget. It wasn't until we hit the Premier League that I was able to target more specific types of players. Goalkeeper: Preferably has good distribution, but not essential. Centre Backs: Again, preferably have good passing skills, but primarily need to be strong defenders as they'll be getting through a lot of work in games. As we don't play a high line, there's less importance on pace, which opens up my options. Finding a quick, strong, defender with good passing skills is tough for a club in our position. Full Backs: Have to have an all-round skill-set with good pace and stamina. The Automatic duty means they'll be contributing to the attack, so having full backs with good Dribbling, Crossing and Passing is a big help. Defensive Midfielder: Historically, I've preferred a DLP, but for this set-up a good old-fashioned destroyer is good enough. Needs good strength, stamina, positioning, anticipation, and tackling as a bare minimum. Good passing (anything in the 13-15 range) is also a plus. B2B Midfielder: Strong physical attributes and work-rate make this role. Acceleration, Stamina, Work Rate, and Off The Ball are the main attributes. A decently rounded set of technical attributes helps, but deficiencies in some areas aren't necessarily crippling. I've discovered recently that this role can be very potent with a powerful dribbler in there (who I'll post a screenshot of later). Roaming Playmaker: Acceleration, Dribbling and Work Rate + the usual playmaking attributes. The second most demanding role in the tactic and one of the hardest to buy for. Inside Forward (S): Dribbling, First Touch, Technique, Passing, Flair, Vision, Acceleration and Agility are the most important attributes. If you can find someone with good shooting as well, then great, but this role is closer to a wide playmaker role than it is to a wide forward role, in practice. Inside Forward (A): The second striker of the team. Less emphasis on passing and vision, more on finishing, anticipation, off the ball and composure. Complete Forward (S): The most demanding role and the hardest to buy for without some major cash. Needs to be strong, decently quick, have a good first touch, decent vision and work rate plus the usual striker skills. Although we have "Get Stuck In" on, good tacklers aren't essential. Work Rate and Stamina are more important for an aggressive defence. The BBM and RPM will be doing a lot of tracking back and countering on top of their usual duties, so they need to be strong runners.
  10. This isn't a plug 'n' play tactic, nor a thread on how to set-up the perfect tactic. I've found something that's working for me, and thought I'd share it, along with some general observations about this year's ME, in hopes that it might be useful to some people. Context This year, I gave LLM a go with my local side, Southend United. We were promoted to the Championship in season one, finishing 2nd with 92 points while playing a safe, possession-hungry 4-1-4-1 (with an LM and RM instead of an RW or LW). In the Championship, we reached the play-offs using a 4-4-1-1 or 4-2-3-1 and were promoted to the Premier League. Our first season in the Premier League saw us finish 7th and enter the Europa League, and we followed that up with a 6th placed finished in season four. It's in these two seasons that I switched to my preferred formation: the 4-3-3. In my current season, we're top of the league, having won five and drawn two of opening seven games. I have to mention this because in every season bar the first, we've been predicted to go down. This is important because it effects how the opposition play against us. As a so-called "weaker" team, the majority of teams are happy to attack us rather than set-up up in very negative formations. We're not a "top" team by any means yet (even now, my wage bill hasn't even touched a million, while City's is £5m+) and I think we benefit from that. However, I believe some of the principles I apply can be useful for people playing as top teams. Formation, Roles and Instructions As mentioned, the set-up is a 4-3-3. I use the following roles: GK: Sweeper Keeper CB: Central Defender (for both positions) RB/LB: Wing Back (Automatic) DM: Defensive Midfielder (D) CM: Box-to-box Midfielder CM: Roaming Playmaker LW: Inside Forward (A) RW: Inside Forward (S) ST: Complete Forward (S)/Advanced Forward (A) (depending on the profile of the striker) And the following instructions: Mentality: Balanced In Possession: Shorter Passing, Higher Tempo, Narrower, Run At Defence In Transition: Distribute Quickly, Counter Press, Counter Out of Possession: More Urgent, Get Stuck In You may observe that the roles and instructions resemble the Fluid Counter Attack preset tactic. I used that tactic as a basis, and simply knocked off the instructions I didn't think were necessary or useful for what I wanted. The presets are useful as a starting point, but not necessarily the best tactics for your side. What you have to remember about them is that they're for very specific styles, which require specific types of players you won't always have access to. They use a tonne of instructions, a lot of which you won't ever need to use. So if I could give one tip here: pick a style, then eliminate what you don't need. That aside, while this was inspired by the Fluid Counter Attack, it's not a counter tactic. Counters are certainly a prominent feature, but we actually keep a lot of the ball, have a lot of the play in the opposition half and score team goals. This is because of the Balanced mentality, plus the aggressive nature of the roles in the team. The BBM will attack the penalty area, the RPM will carry the ball and also play near the edge of the box, and there are three forwards in the team. Depending on the match situation, the full backs might also join the attack by making late runs down the sides. Throw in Shorter Passing and Run At Defence, and voila, you get a fairly aggressive, high possession, offensive approach, even with a weaker team. However, while we keep the ball, I didn't want to kill the direct ball forward. Hence, I don't use Play Out of Defence, Work Ball Into Box or Slower Tempo. These instructions encourage slower build-up and players to find close-by options, while ignoring any runs made by your forwards. A lot of my goals come from a lofted pass from midfield to my striker or inside forwards making a run in behind. It's not the "perfect" goal, but it's a potent weapon that makes the tactic more dangerous. The more routes to goal you can engineer, the more effective your tactic is going to be. As evidence of this, my top scorer last season was my B2B midfielder. An important part of this is not stifling the opposition. Players often express frustration about being unable to break teams down when using attacking styles. To avoid this, I like my side to not play high or press, as we want the opposition to spread vertically by attacking us. If we play a high line and press, the opposition are less likely to get up the pitch, and are therefore less likely to leave space for us to exploit on counters. Instead, we "get stuck in", which is a risk/reward approach that encourages players to put their foot in at the expense of giving up more fouls and picking up more cards. I accept these risks as winning the ball back is the first step to successful counter attacks, and I dislike a passive, stand-off approach as it forces my side deep and hands the initiative to the opposition. So to summarize, this approach gives us: Good ball retention in the opposition half Quick counter attacks A tough-tackling defence that could pick up a lot of cards/give away fouls Plenty of dribbling, as determined by TI and player roles Balanced vs Positive, or why you should always pick Balanced The in-game text for Positive claims that it's a good mentality for a team who are usually favourites, as it encourages control in the game while not leaving yourself exposed for counters. Sounds perfect, doesn't it? No wonder a lot of people like to use it. Positive encourages your team to take more risks, but not so many risks as to be reckless. However, what you might not realise is that this "risk" translates into a more aggressive style than the text suggests. In fact, one of the reasons they changed the name from "Control" to "Positive" was to communicate this fact. It's less a control-the-game style as it as a bang-on-the-door-until-you-score style. In the ME, a positive style will see a lot of passes being played forward. You'll see players ignore good passing options to get the ball up to a striker, even if the striker isn't in the best position to receive a pass. You'll see a lot more dribbling. And, more annoyingly, you'll see a lot of attempts from distance. Unsurprisingly, a higher risk style encourages your players to take riskier actions with the ball - in other words, dribbling, long shots and difficult passes. This can work. In fact, you'll probably win more with it than without it. However, you'll also see a lot of wastage. One sign that my team is wasting a lot is a high possession + high shot count. You know those games where you have 60% of the ball and 30+ shots vs the opposition's three? On the surface, that seems like you're dominating. In reality, it means a lot of shots taken from bad positions, and a sign your attack isn't functioning as well as it could be. It's for this reason that I vastly prefer Balanced. Balanced advertises itself as a watchful approach that is neither risky or conservative. However, consider the effect that roles will have on your tactic. If you have a lot of attack duties, or forwards, or playmakers - basically any role that encourages players to attack or create - your side will take risks. It's an inherent part of their role on the pitch. You don't need to tell your playmaker to take more risks because that's already part of his job. Balanced sees my shot count fall between 15-25, depending on the opposition, but the quality of shots go up, as my players take a more measured approach to chance creation. Less throwing it forward, more working it around and picking out the player in space. I've had success with a smaller team tipped for relegation and big teams expected to dominate using a Balanced mentality. It's only in certain situations that I'd need to take more or less risks. Every other time, I let the roles, duties and my players do the heavy lifting. Long Shots, the eternal conundrum Having said that, long shots are still a thing. They'll never go away, and that's not a bad thing. Long shots can be the difference between a frustrating 0-0 and a deserved 1-0. Attacking players will take shots from distance if the space opens up, even with good passing options. That's just how football, and how FM especially, is. So I don't actively discourage long range shooting. I do, however, use it a sign of whether my approach is working or not. If we're creating good chances on top of long shots, I leave it. But if we're only shooting from distance and not making a good chance, it's a sign I need to change something, be that the players or the roles. The thing about football is that even a good tactic that works 90% of the time will still have problems in some games. There's no shame in changing it up when the situation calls for it. Conclusion This isn't a perfect approach, and I'm sure there are things I can iron out and change. However, I hope some people come away from this with a few ideas in mind. To finish, I just wanted to share my general approach to things. Keep it as simple as possible. Before the introduction of the three phases, my tactics only ever had 2-4 instructions. I did this because it placed more emphasis on the roles in the team and how they synergise with one another, something you might not notice if you have 10 TIs to sort through. For example, if my striker isn't getting enough chances, I would know it's down to the roles in the team, and not because I have Work Ball Into Box/Shoot More/Slower Tempo/etc. ticked. Sign players for the roles I use. Sounds obvious, but it cannot be understated how important it is. It took three seasons with Southend for me to get the right players for the style I wanted to play. Until then, I had to adapt to what I had. It's no shame to adjust your approach based on the players at your disposal. Even the most logical tactic can fail if your players don't have the right attributes to carry out your instructions. Adapt when I need to. Every game is different, and the opposition carry threats you have to be aware of. Losing a game won't necessarily be a sign of a flawed tactic, but a sign that i made the wrong in-game decisions or didn't give enough attention to a specific threat.
  11. I've completed two seasons with Southend United and would rank my experience as "mixed". It's been enjoyable, but there have been a number of puzzling occurrences that have tarnished the experience somewhat. This is mostly to do with the game world and the ME. To start with, I've always liked the variation of FM's world. It's cool that some teams can do better/worse than real life because it throws up some interesting scenarios (for example, Fulham have suffered two straight relegations to League One on my save, and players like Seri and Anguissa are still there). On the other hand, clubs and players who should, by all accounts, be good end up being strangely not good. For the past few editions, the team that seems to suffer the most from this is Manchester City - or anyone managed by Pep Guardiola. It's one the weirdest paradoxes that the most successful real life manager ends up being not-so-successful in most of my saves. In my first season, City finished fourth, well off Champions Liverpool, despite adding Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (who looks an amazing player) to their squad. Guardiola was duly sacked. He then rocks up at Tottenham, of all places. Still doesn't get close to the league. In the third season, Tottenham go on to sign Arthur from Barcelona for £89m, despite not being anywhere close to Barcelona's level. What's going on? Unfortunately, this isn't the first instance of bizarre AI squad building. Manchester United signed Mauro Icardi for £95m in January of the first season. Despite having Icardi and Lukaku (two of the game's best forwards), they then spent £105m on Harry Kane. Then, in the third season, they spent £150m on Paulo Dybala. That last one is a little less egregious because United were Champions and Dybala can play multiple positions, but it still seems weird that the AI thought that, after signing Icardi and Kane, United needed yet another forward. Meanwhile, the best defensive reinforcement they could manage was Callum Chambers for £50m. On the other side of Manchester, City sign Romagnoli for £89m a season after they spent £75m on Milan Skriniar. In London, Chelsea have transfer listed Samuel Umtiti, who they signed for £75m from Barcelona in the first season. Again, somehow. The prices aren't so much the issue here, but the names certainly are. The game isn't wrong in thinking that Chelsea might need a centre back, but why Umtiti, why would Barcelona sell and why would the player move? The answer would be because Barcelona's and Chelsea's reputations are similar and the move isn't considered a step down by the game's metrics. Likewise with Juventus > Manchester United and even Barcelona > Tottenham. There doesn't appear to be enough nuance there that would make these moves more logical. It's also interesting how the AI's logic for squad building is to go "need more depth" > "sign best available player in position that needs depth". Hence City signing two more world class centre backs despite already having two world class centre backs. On the flip side, despite money being thrown around like crazy, selling players you actually want to sell remains a challenge. I've constantly had to offer out my unwanted players at a very reduced price just to get someone to buy them. More often than not, I get the dreaded "club x doesn't see transfer as viable currently", which is frustratingly vague, as it doesn't tell me what I need to do to make the transfer possible. Asking the player to speak to clubs doesn't seem to do anything, either. So, back to poor old Pep. I have a theory that the reason he seems to do so poorly in these games is because, as of late, the ME hasn't favoured sides who try to play with high possession and with through passes. Most goals seem to come from crosses. At Southend, I play a 4-2-3-1 with my best and most creative player in the AM slot, and with "Pass Into Space" active. Yet very rarely do I see him thread a through pass for my striker to run onto, despite their being opportunities for him to do. More often than not, he'll play the ball out wide instead, who will then proceed to loop the ball into the box (even if I ask to cross low instead). I've sworn off the Inside Forward roles because of this issue. In a test save with Arsenal, I had Mkhitaryan dribbling inside, beating players for fun, only to opt for 25-yard pot shots instead of slipping a ball through to my striker or opposite winger who have made runs for him. So I can't help but wonder if the same happens to any Guardiola team, which typically lines-up in a 4-3-3 with Inside Forwards, and that's why they don't win as often as they should. It's frustrating because it limits how I can build my team. Last year, I had tremendous success with a 4-1-4-1, playing with two out and out wingers crossing from a centre forward. I did that because trying to play any other way didn't seem to work. This year, it seems to be the same again. It works the other way, too. Every goal I concede comes from a cross, as my defenders seem incapable of marking someone, and the smallest of players can win headers. I play against some great attacking teams yet never have to worry about a through pass, at all. There is one annoying exception: the straight ball over the top. I don't play with a high line yet have seen turnovers routinely punished by a punt over my defenders' heads that lands magnetically onto a opposition striker's foot.
  12. So what's happening away from home that isn't happening at home? I think discovering that is the first step towards fixing the problem, because then you'll know what needs to be tweaked. For example, maybe you're not keeping the ball as well as you would do at home. Perhaps the opposition are more positive and attack your weaknesses more than they would at your place. It could be a number of things, but without knowing what the problem is exactly it's difficult to offer precise advise. I'll take a stab at one problem: you're probably not creating enough chances (you haven't scored four straight away games - could be luck/poor finishing, but it looks like a chance creation issue). What stands out is that you have a False 9 but one of your wide players will mostly stay out wide, while the inside forward is on support, so won't attack the space as aggressively as he would on an attack duty. Pass Into Space and Retain Possession looks contradictory to me, because you're encouraging your team to play the ball into space for runners but also not take as many risks. Look For Overlaps slows it down more, because it encourages your team to wait for players to make those runs. So what you could do is put the Get Further Forward PI onto the IFs (assuming you want him to track back, otherwise just use an attack duty), and maybe tweak one of the midfield duties to attack as well so you have more support through the middle. Also, try dropping a couple of your TIs. I'd suggest going a couple of games without Retain Possession and Look for Overlap to see what sort of effect that has on your attacking play. Another thing you could look at: sometimes I have a problem with sometimes is building through the midfield against teams playing a 4-2-3-1, because they have four players between my defence and midfield, and the 2-1 midfield matches up well to the 1-2 midfield of a 4-3-3/4-1-4-1. On the analysis of your tactic, does it say "lost possession - middle" by any chance? So you might not be playing out of defence effectively, which can leave your forwards isolated as they're high and wide.
  13. It's no bug, because I've only lost once away from home all season. I get a fair few draws, but I've never felt I had to park the bus just to keep the opposition at bay. If there's any problem, it's breaking the opposition down. I'm in a second season with Arsenal and have a good squad but it's not the strongest in the league yet. Looking at your tactic, you're playing Attacking/Fluid, Close Down More and a top-heavy 4231. Fluid pushes you're defensive line higher and encourages pressing. Chances are, your players are pushing high into the opposition half and leaving too much space in behind. If you don't keep the ball in the opposition half they can bypass most of you're midfield with just one pass. I don't know what your average possession is, but your set-up encourages a lot of wastage. You're playing Attacking + More Direct Passing + Pass Into Space, which means the ball is going forward all the time. It's a risky approach. Combine it with your team pushing up, you're probably turning the ball over the lot and getting done during transitions. Teams are at home are going to be a little more adventurous than they would be away to high reputation opponents. So your approach needs to be a little more cautious because even weak opposition can hurt you if you give up too much space. My suggestion would be to invert the midfield three so it's a 4-3-3, and focus on keeping the ball better. Maybe drop More Direct Passing to Mixed, and Attacking down to Control or even Standard. I'd probably remove Lower Tempo too. That should see your players take less risks in possession and build-up play more.
  14. I've always found the CCC stat to be one of the most deceptive available. Very few of the CCC's present in-match are what I'd call high quality chances i.e. shots taken from the centre of the penalty area <15 yards out. A lot of time, one of players might have a chance on the right or left side of the box, which IRL isn't considered a clear-cut opportunity, but in-game almost always is. I've lost count of the amount of times my player misses from there, with the commentary telling me "it was easier to score than miss". There's a clear disconnect between what the game interprets as a good chance and what I interpret as a good chance. I've seen so-called half-chances that are better chances than some CCCs. So, you're probably better off ignoring the numbers are looking at the chances individually. Firstly, are players with high composure, finishing, etc. getting those chances? Are they taking shots with the right foot? Are they under pressure from the opposition, taking the shot from a tight angle, etc.? Are they rushing their decisions in front of goal? There are lots of things to consider when examining why you don't score as much. If you're making a lot of good chances but aren't scoring, it's likely a personnel issue rather than a tactical one.
  15. Less a stupid question, more a general advice question. I just came up against a team playing 5-2DM-2-1-0 and really struggled to make good chances. My team started on Standard/Very Fluid, but I dropped it to Standard/Fluid and stopped closing down to try and draw them out and create more verticality. Didn't really work. I tried using maximum width as well, but if anything it made us less dangerous. So how would you go about breaking down such a set-up? FWIW, this is a diagram of the shape: GK RB - CB - CB - CB - LB DM - DM RM ----------------- LM AM 0
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