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About Jambo98

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    Alongside a cold beer, somewhere.

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  1. Part 3 - Euro 2004 Qualifying - The Qualifiers So we head into qualifying, with the group closely balanced. Time for the initial squad, and always when its the first one of a "Version", it gets interesting....my selections: GK - Neil Sullivan has retired, so Rab Douglas will be the clear number 1 here. Gallacher and Alexander represent somewhat younger options but neither is exactly brilliant. LB - Naysmith would be first choice but is injured. Stephen Crainie is starting to establish himself at Celtic, and young Hammell is a top performer at Motherwell RB - Jackie Mac continues to be dependable, if now getting to the "veteran" stage. Graham Alexander has emerged as a solid type who is a good squad body DC - Elvis Pressley is now really at his best, and with several older options out of form or retiring, its a mixed bag here. Webster is raw but promising, as is Wilkie. The Caldwell brothers are starting to look like international players (how did that work out for us IRL...) so Stephen gets the call DM - Lambert is back from an international retirement (must admit, i dont recall this happening IRL!) but we are still short of depth. Brian Kerr of Livingston comes in (yes, really.....this is a bit like Berti's time) MC - Barry Ferguson is probably our best player, and Darren Fletcher is young but emerging at Man U so can play this role MR - Colin Cameron, if he can stay injury free, can be an asset for us. Paul Hartley has joined Hearts, and although IRL he would become an AMC, at the moment he is still a AMR ML - James McFadden is our bright young star / hope and he is first choice. Behind him, Jamie Smith is a young player who can play either side and has promise. ST - Neil McCann is best suited to AML but we dont have one, and Faddy is my ML. Neil can play up top i feel. Alongside him i have to pick between Burchill and Maloney. Kenny Miller, now of Wolves is injured so Paul Dickov is a bit of a desperation pick.... Qualifiers Game 1 - Scotland v Faroe Islands So, the farmers at home. Surely a done deal. I decided to opt for a 4132 wide, but avoiding the diablo system with the attacking CM. I have no idea if this will work, but i wanted my wide men attacking. I am tempted to go 4231 but i dont recall that working much back in 2004! Here is the starting formation and team for this game Via the new fangled 2D pitch view i can actual watch as we start to dominate. Takes us 24mins to break through, and we make it interesting for a bit in true Scotland fashion when we give away an awful goal from a horrid square defensive pass, but in the end we take control and the goals start to fly in. Particularly pleasing to see wee Shaun Maloney get a hatrick. A youngster with much promise. In reality, we could have scored more but it was no more than we expected at home to the m innows. Qualifiers game 2 - Germany v Scotland Brutally hard game against the Germans. Naysmith is fit and returns, as does Kenny Miller at the expense of Dickov and Hammell. Naysmith starts but Miller is kept on the bench by the form of Maloney and McCann Germany are strong and an early goal by Michael Ballack puts us in trouble. They continue to dominate and when Arne Friedrich adds a second after only 23mins we are in bother. I make a change to formation, going to 41221 with McCann going wide left and Faddy wide right, also making us more solid in the middle as Mickey Cameron slides over. It helps us stem the tide a little but we dont threaten much. Into the second half and we create a couple of half chances, i bring on Kenny Miller and also Jamie Smith, and we do get one back through McCann with still plenty time left. The fighback is on! Or not so much, really German then dominate again and hit the woodwork twice. A desperation throw on of Mark Burchill brings nothing and we are defeated. No disgrace, given the quality of opposition. Qualifiers Game 3 - Scotland v Lithuania Here we go, we need a win here and Iceland not to beat Germany, and we are at least in the playoffs. The only squad chance is in goal, where backup Gallacher is injured and Alan McGregor gets the call to be 3rd choice. I stick to the same formation, although i am uneasy with it. Figure its only Lithuania..... In true scotland style, we manage to go behind. Playing awful. We managed to get back level but 1 v 1 at HT will not be good enough for us. I change tactics again, going 433 and bringing on Burchill and it pays off. A quick fire double from Faddy puts us in control, and Burchill adds a 4th just after we had managed to concede again to make it close. Jackie Mac gets sent off near the end which could impact our playoff chances A bit of a mixed performance, and the tactic defo doesnt seem to be right, so will need to consider that for the playoff. So on to the playoff next......some tough teams in the draw. Can we make it to Euro 2004.........
  2. Thanks - it has been a really enjoyable trip down memory lane to try and play each of these old games. Hard not to get sucked into continuing one for longer! Glad you enjoyed thus far. Without scramjet / diablo, i would say absolutely no way i can win it! But, we do have a good squad this time so be interesting to see what we can do. Yeah the challenge of starting with a new ME will bite harder as we go on i think. CM98 and CM02 were still fairly basic in ME / tactical terms but as they become more complex, the difficulty increases. I actually thought about doing something like this at club level, and that would be an absolute mare at least with Scotland its just a tactic and a set of players who i likely mostly remember anyway. You could certainly argue that "losing to Costa Rica" represents everything that it is to be a part of the Tartan Army!
  3. Part 3 - Euro 2004 Qualifying - State of the nation So (after a bit of a hiatus whilst i was caught up in other projects) we move on to qualifying for the Euro's in 2004, to be held in Portugal. A wee trip to the Algarve lads? Would go down nicely would it now. Ah 2004. The year of Arsenals "invincible" side, the year Roman Abramovic would change the stage of English football by commencing his spending spree. David Beckham became a Galactico. Elsewhere in the sports world, the Boston Red Sox win their first world series since 1918, finally breaking the curse of the bambino and Lance Armstrong wins an incedible 5th Tour De France (sort of......) Outside of sports, the world was not in a good place. The madrid bombings, the much expected formal admission that the second gulf war was not based on any real evidence of WMD, the uncovering of what was going on in Abu Ghriab. Oh yeah and some website called Facebook goes live....... Meanwhile, Scotland are, as always, locked in a battle to qualify. This time, we cannot really complain too much about the draw. Yes, we had a very strong German team to contend with. But Iceland should be beatable, and Lithuania and the Faroes should not worry any decent football team..... As usual, we take over mid campaign. And as usual, we are in bother. 3 games remain, with Germany in charge at the top of the group (although not out of reach). Meanwhile Iceland are a point clear of Scotland with a slightly better goal difference. However the remaining fixtures should be in our favour. Iceland have a double header with Germany, where as we have only to play them once. We also have the Faroes at home, which is surely money in the bank.........Our final game is home to Lithuania which could be nerve jangling.... Be interesting to see how this goes. At this stage, Scotland should have a strong squad. We have McFadden and Naysmith at Everton, Darren Fletcher at Man U, Barry Ferguson at Blackburn and Neil McCann at Southampton. Colin Cameron and Mark Burchill are also in the premier league, so we have very good set of core players. Tactically, some of you might remeber that CM03/04 was very exploitable. It was the time of scramjet and diablo. I shall endevour to keep away from any exploit tactics so as to keep it realistic!
  4. Thats an utterly pointless (in this thread...) and wrong statement to make. The OP has just spent lots of time showing why a tactic without those is working just fine!
  5. I think your looking at this a bit wrong. If your vision is to have a FB who sits, narrow, cuts inside, and delivers a ball to the near post, then unless my geometry is wrong........that is neither a cross or a diagonal? Think about it. Lets assume your FB starting point is circa 7/8 yards from the touchline (very few Fb will hug the line, perhaps look for one with that PPM but far more likely to apply to wingers). Now you have asked him to "sit narrower". Its impossible to quantify exactly, but lets assume that moves him in another 5 yards on the pitch. Now you want him to cut inside when he recieves the ball. Again, hard to quantify, but lets be very conservative and assume he only manages to cut in another 2/3 yards. So now we have a fullback who is positioned 20 yards from the touchline. Now, take account of the fact that an average pitch is maybe 75 - 80 yards wide in total. The goal is 8 yards wide. So in rough terms, your FB is only standing 10 - 12 yards wider than the near post. So a diagonal / cross to the near post is well.........not a diagonal or a cross (not to say he cant play through ball, but thats different). I think what you want is something Rashidi1 used in his West Brom tactics - long early missile passes from fullbacks early, which play in outer strikers/ AMCs. As i recall, he achieved it by having "More risky passes" and "more direct passing" added as PIs to this FBs (as well as paying attention to the attributes and PPMs of the FBs) and it worked very nicely. Cross completion percentages tend to be very low in football in general. I cant place any stats off hand, but i would not expect much more than circa 20%, and if you play a crossing intensive game its likely that number will drop slightly again. Also consider how many headed goals are scored from open play crosses in real life by a big striker. At the top level, it is not many at all. The days of prolific big targetmen are mostly gone. Andy Carroll will bang in a few with his head from open play, but not many. Big guys in Serie A like Llorente and Manduzic have not been prolific from crosses to head. In Spain, Adurtiz is a big guy and scores plenty but not from crosses. My advice would be to look at the crossing analysis in game and review each one. A few things could be happening: 1) I suspect cross % includes corners, which skew the the stats (particularly if you play quite attacking, my team average up to 9 / 10 corners a game). 2) With 3 out of your 4 wide men being attacking duty, are they already too far ahead of play by the time they cross? Think about support duty for at least one of the fullbacks. 3) Your using CWB rather than WB - that introduces more roaming as a PI and means that perhaps they are not always crossing from an optimal position 4) Where are they aiming the crosses? you say you have tried all, but have you tried them for enough time, and then watched back to see what the crosses look like? If they are all being cut out and the striker is no where near, then yes probably your setting is wrong. If they are being unsuccessful because the big man gets beat in the air a lot well some games that is going to happen. Unless you have an absolute monster, there are going to be good DCs who are big, tall and great in the air. 5) In real life, a lot of headed goals from crosses will not come from byline type crosses. They wil come from deep / early crosses (even more so in FM, i think SI acknowledge that deep / early crosses are a tad over powered). The best chance most big strikers have of scoring a header is through anticipation and reaction, getting to the ball before the defence. When it is a straight challenge to get to it above the defence its much harder to win. 6) THink about second phase from crossing. A cross can lead to a goal often indirectly. (Guardiola preaches this) - IF you are going to cross a lot, accept that a truck load of these wll be cut out. Even if you optimise your tactic and players, still something like 75% of crosses will not be a success. So how can you setup to best take advantage of the second phase when a cross is cleared or blocked etc? Overall, watch back all the crosses from 3 / 4 recent games and see what you think
  6. I agreed with most of that, but dont think that playing Darmian / Florenzi at LWB as WB(a) is reflective of how Conte played it in the Belgium came (somewhat more so today - Florenzi is far less of a fullback than Darmian, and is much more right footed). Do you believe that playing the way you suggest there gives the back 3 / 4 floating hybrid? I would expect it just to be a bit of a lopsided 352?
  7. I never did progress it any further, got sidetracked by another save last night / today! I will have another look sometime...... Interesting article on Chile. There are a few similar ones on Paulo Sousa at Fiorentina, who has used this system (I alluded to it earlier, but he also incorporates elements of Peps rampaging outer DC approach). I was there there was one on thesefootballtimes about Fiorentina, but i cant find it. This one does give some good analysis of how the back 3 becomes a 4. https://runningtheshowblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/analysing-paulo-sousas-innovative-fiorentina-tactics/ Generally its Marcos Alonso at LWB droping in. Roncaglia at RCB moving across and Bernardeschi moving forward from RWB to be more aggressive. (the example in the article is actually somewhat different because Bernardeschi played LB in that game). The author makes the point that the reason to do it this way is down to the players. Both Alonso the other LB at Fiorentina are natural fullbacks, where as Bernardeschie is a converted winger. The added bonus is that Fiorentina's right sided DC's are both also capable at RB. You could make the same observations with Italy, when considering Candreva v Darmian. Again, Fiorentina use a very different attacking system, but for the back 3/4/5 its almost identical to Conte's Italy.
  8. I think its absolutely worth doing, infact id encourage you to just go ahead and write it up / post it rather than worrying whether people want it or not A suppose a few thoughts come to mind. Firstly, i think your absolutely right that squad development is as important as tactics both in football, and in Football Manager. There are, broadly speaking, 2 schools of thought / management when it comes to this topic: 1 - I have a system / way of playing, and i will develop my squad to best fit with that system. 2 - I have a squad of players at any given time, with differing strengths as time / seasons go by. I will develop my tactics to best fit the players at my disposal. Neither is right or wrong. The very best, i suspect, combine the 2. When you take on a new job / club, the chances of the squad being perfectly balance to fit your footballing ideals / philosophy are slim. You can try and shoe horn your system onto existing players (how did that work out, Mr Van Gaal....) but really you are best served by a slow migration. Start with something which plays to your strengths as they are, and slowly build your squad to migrate towards your footballing ideal. For me, when you think of this it is worth distinguishing "Tactics" from "Formation" - we get very hung up on "formation" at times. Everyone is wondering if Conte will now come in and play 3 at the back at Chelsea, because he won several titles at Juve that way and has Italy playing that way. There is no guarantee that he will play 3 at the back (infact, if you read up on some Conte quotes, you will see that playing 3 at the back started specifically when Juve signed Vidal, and Conte needed to fit 3 central midfielders into his lineup - Adopting his formation to suit his players). What Conte absolutely will do, is demand that Chelsea play in his "style". Whether its 3 or 4 at the back, you can bet he wants high energy/ hard workers, defenders who can pass the ball, and strikers who link with wide men and midfielders to form triangles. Personally, i am much more in camp 1 above - i decide on a system and i will shape my players and squad to fit that. Particularly in places like the Premier League, where the abundance of talent and riches means its not overly hard to go out and get players who fit your system. In more restricted settings, a different approach might be worth considering. When i manage, i want players who are good technically. If i get a physical beast through the ranks, or if one comes on the market and is a "bargain", i wont change my philosophy to accommodate. I will either try to develop the player in a different direction, or i will sell / pass on him. Rather than the DNA thread, i would say the 451 thread from last year gives better examples of it working. Particularly the Hearts save section where i talked about season by season developing the squad, finding better, but importantly well suited players for my system. Really look forward to reading about your approach - I would perhaps caution against calling it a "guide" if i am honest - If you are talking long term, then you will be dealing with scenarios which are likely to be quite specific to your save / team and others are not likely to hit identical situations. The key learning people can take is to look at your decision making process and perhaps apply the principles - Exactly the same as the great tactic threads, people who try to copy it fail and complain. People who look at the process, and apply it, succeed........ I would also perhaps disagree that a tactical guide can be short term at a high cost. You can have sustained success with either of the approaches i mentioned above, and there are plenty examples of people using one system for long periods of time and achieving ongoing success
  9. I would disagree - it is not how Italy defended the flanks. Your system will create a hybrid 3/4 using the DM as the 4th DC. That can be a good system and its exactly how Barca used to do it (although HB rather than Anchor) but it is not how Conte / Italy did it. De Rossi did not drop into the backline - as highlighted in some of the early posts, they created it very much by using Darmian and Barzagli to float across. I cant see any way you can interpret Candreva's position as winger/attack tbh. Interesting on the strikers, i was looking at a similar partnership. How deep do they come for you? any screnshots / analysis to show that? I found that with 2 support duty they came deep, just not deep enough. Its probably a fairly marginal thing though to be fair. The Dline is an interesting one. You are right, the pundits picked up on the high line at times, but at other times, as belgium worked forward, the Dline immediately dropped back deeper. You will very rarely see BBC (in the Juve term) caught out by balls in behind or over the top. Ah my bad - i had not even noticed that. Think they should have renamed it rather than that but hey ho! Yes sorry that was me applying the FM15 description of the role, not the FM16 one. Cant say i have used it in FM16 (i find that CWB cuts inside anyway courtesy of the roaming instruction it has hard coded). The fact that they couldnt get the Alaba / Lahm IWB to work in FM15 suggests there is some challenge in the ME with doing it, but would be nice to see it. Although i confess i was one of those who challenged whether we really should include a role which had so few real life examples of it being used (Even bayern dont / didnt use it often).
  10. Or even 2 x AMC could arguably be the ME replication of that ;-) Lots of good points in your post, will reply properly in a bit, for now beer o'clock is calling
  11. I might be off on this, and would need to look back on the game, but i dont think Giaccherini was overly attacking. He shuttled back a fair bit, in line with Conte's absolutely love of B2B players. I think CM(a) is probably too attacking to represent him, but i think adding "get further forward" as PI to the B2B would be a fair compromise? Yes the strikers were defo not right in that first attempt. I was trying to recreate how deep the came when Italy defended, but F9 also didnt keep up enough with aggressive wide attacks by Candreva. I did think of DF, but i am not sure that Eder and Pelle did as much pressing. As i say, the real parallel for me with the strikers was Athletico - you often see their strikers very deep when they defend, but they still get forward very quickly. I will need to have a think. I agree, he is not an IWB at all (people are also very confused by that role - It is not simply meant to represent a wingback playing on his wrong side, its meant to re-create a very specific type of position, which was mainly operated by Alaba and Lahm at Bayern a year or two back. A FB who moves deliberately into DM / CM when in possession. It doesnt work properly on FM yet, but thats what the role is intented to be. Darmian is in no way that type of player). The one thing your shape would not do, i suspect, is create the back 3 / 4 hybrid? Interesting choices on the strikers. My second attempt is actually TM(s) / F9(s). I have used Very Fluid" for the sole reason of compacting the side. Italy were very compact from front to back. I added the TI "Be more disciplined" to try and negate the crazy things. I also would not say "push higher up" is reflective of Italy at all. The DCs step forward a lot when they are in possession, but when italy lose possession they drop deep and refer to a deeper midfield press rather than a Pep / Klop Gegenpressing high line setup. Also wouldnt be too sure about "pass into space" - i can see it for the wingbacks, at times they played the ball ahead of Candreva, but when it came to balls to the strikers, it was almost all in to feet / chest.
  12. Yeah the shape looks good, although perhaps the offset in midfield is not quite right, it does leave a big gap and ends up with Parolo and Giaccherini close together (as you say, if i could add "run wide with the ball" to Giaccherini it would be perfect). I actually "cheated" for the purpose of this mess around. I set the tactical familiarity to max right away (pretty much impossible to get it above awkward at international level i find). Barzagli does drift a little more right than in real life but not so much it makes a difference. I think with the full squad, Italy could have had Veratti as a Regista, Marchesio as the ultimate B2B (one of the best in the world at that) and possibly retained Parolo as a bit of a hybrid BWM / B2B alongside. The interesting thing about that is that whilst Veratti for De Rossi you would think improves any team, and certainly adds creativity, would it upset the overall balance? Conte has a philosophy of "attack with 5, defend with 5" in terms of his players. In the system against Belguim, i would split it as: Defend Barzagli Bonucci Chiellini Darmian De Rossi Attack Parolo Giaccherini Candreva Eder Pelle Now Marchesio for Giaccherini is a straight swap, but if you add Verratti for De Rossi, do you create an imbalance? You would not put down Verratti as a defensive player in the same way as De Rossi. Of course Conte had Pirlo at Juve, very similar in terms of playing deep but not in any way a defender. At times he balanced that by having moderately less adventurous wingbacks, so the RWB becomes more part of the "defend 5" and the DM becomes more of the "attack 4". We will never know of course! Will be interesting to see as the tournament goes on whether Conte sticks to the same system, or if he tries to find a way to work in Insigne, who is there best attacking player IMO.
  13. Yes Anchor is possible. Its quite difficult as Conte does not generally play that type of system. If you look at the build up games, it was totally different personel / roles. Darmian was in the back 3, Giaccherini played LWB at times, Candreva played further forward with Florenzi in behind. The centre midfield was varied, but generally not including an anchor as such. When they got destroyed by Germany with Motta an Montelivio as the CM's it seems like something clicked for Conte and he realised he cant get away with so little energy in the middle. To be fair, its also likely that Italy would not line up in the same midfield setup if they had their 2 best CMs available (Marchesio and Verrati). I did add those PI as you say to the RB. Couple of early shots of how it plays out: defending with a 4 Attacking with a 3 at the back
  14. I think thats an en excellent interpretation and way of creating the right shape in defence and attack. It very much creates a back 3 / back 4 combo, although the back 3 do tend to sit just a little "offset" even in attack, but not enough for it to be an issue. If i were trying to recreate Italy, i would use exactly that back 5 setup. As you say, it is similar to Fiorentina (early season anyway, later they evolved to more of a Bayern type, where the outer DCs play like Alaba and bomb forward). Infront of the defense it gets interesting. De Rossi's role is a little hard to define, if for no other reason than he was probably the one Italy player who had a relatively poor game. He was barely involved, made only 2 tackles and no interceptions, and was not exactly the guy driving the play either (that was Bonucci most of the time). He was certainly in the DM strata, but based on that performance was neither a ball winner nor a playmaker. I would probably opt for BWM for Parolo, he was much more fiesty in winning the ball back, in common with how he plays at club level. Giaccherini did his share of defending but it showed that he is less of a natural in that art than Parolo, and he also got further forward. All in all, i ended up with this in my attempt to recreate the shape in defence and attack: The midfield offset reflects that Giaccherini more often drifted left, than Parolo did right (balance the fact that Candreva is far more attacking than Darmian. The forward roles i am very unsure on. If you watched how Italy defended, there were shades of Athletico at times. The entire 11 were inside their own half often, the forwards dropping very deep when out of possession. I was torn between DLF, even F9 (purely for positional purposes, neither strikers are exactly messi!) or even puting them in the AM slots with an attack duty. I actually think the latter would be more accurate, but might play a game with this shape first. Thats just the basic shape, before considering instructions, of course, but i think its probably close.
  15. I watched that game in detail, and i would not say that Candreva was in any way playing inverted. Quite the opposite, he gave Italy real width in midfield. At times he cut inside in the final third, which was often because he was as advanced as any player on the park by then. He also did not defend as deep as Darmian at all. Italy used a defensive system similar to how Fiorentina played this season. One wingback (Darmian) dropped in, the rest of the defence shuffled across and it became a back 4. Barzagli often ended up in the RB Slot, nominally (Belgium played with zero width, so he was less pronounced than a normal FB defending). I am not sure how easily you can make it work in FM, but you would really want to have Darmian and Candreva playing in different "slots". Either LB / RWB or more likely LWB / RM. I also think you are somewhat off on the strikers. They played very much as a pair and not a false 10. Watching the game my thought at times was "they are playing with 2 targetmen, thats unusual". Italy fissed a lot of early balls into the head and chest of both strikers. Eder is far less physically imposing that Pelle but they both played in very similar ways. For me, there is no doubt this was a true 2 striker tactic from Conte (as it nearly always is). I have not watched as much Italian football this season as i have in the past, but i have rarely seen Eder play as a winger of any kind. Particularly since the move to Inter, he has played either up front with Icardi in a 2, or central with the likes of Perisic and Ljajic wide. I have seen him roam a bit more with Inter than with Italy, but still very much playing as the striker. Insigne is very much a winger / False 10 / AMC, but he didnt play a single minute, so not sure thats overly relevant. Infact when Conte did make a change up top, it was Immobile, another "proper" striker.