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Jambo98

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Jambo98 last won the day on June 25 2017

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945 "To infinity and beyond!"

About Jambo98

About Me

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    Alongside a cold beer, somewhere.

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    Hearts

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    Brighton (FMO) / Athletic Bilbao

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  1. yeah this version seems to be working very well against the big teams. Next "top" team were Utd, and whilst we didnt score the goals this time, the overall performance was pretty great and a very one sided match: and yeah i wanted in this version i wanted more attack from the centre. The Mez didnt really work, so the RPM i was looking forwart to seeing how they attacked. So far, Alberto has been one of the stars of the show: no goals, but a creative force. Auba also knocking them in very regular - having a real goalscorer at ST is helping. Tierney down the left is doing well but seems knackered by 70mins in most games, which is not that unexpected given how much ground he covers, but his stamina is not low (14). Kolasc is fine off the bench late on. On the flipside, Pepe has been rubbish so far. So much so that he is losing playing time to Reiss Nelson, who banged in a hatty in the Europa. Interestingly, something i have never noticed before.......if you go to player instructions, it tells you where an instruction within the role clashes with a trait - see below: Even more confusing, is looking at that screen for Ozil. I get the following: Those listed as "conflicts with role", are not traits, but instructions which are hard coded within the role........ uh what,
  2. Taking it on Tour - The 451 outside of Italy, and tweaks Taken a slight pause on the Fiorentina save, after losing a game in which the opposing centrebacks had over 110 passes each, my patience with that aspect was wearing thin........and anyway, i was curious as to how the 451 might hold up in a different league, with a different style of opponent (and also as to whether the possession hogging in defence thing is more pronounced in Italy, with all the back 3 teams and defensive reputation). My original plan was to "plug it in" to my Athletic save, which is in early season 2, but when i loaded that up, i realised that actually my team was not well built for it, and obviously being Athletic, the chances to modify the squad are very.... limited For a small trial though, i used that save and added myself as manager of Wolves. This was season 2, about 3 days before the transfer deadline and wolves were somewhat picked at random, as a midtable PL side. I hate the phrase "plug n play" but i pretty much did, only for about 6 matches just to see how it played out in PL - the results were good, and actually enough to tempt me to try the system "properly" on a second save. So where to go........well i had 2 thoughts - one to try it out in the lower leagues, or at least in a lower quality league (SPL maybe - it cant be any worse at Hearts than Levien / Stendel.....) but the other was to see how it would perform in the Prem..... Selecting the club So of course, as in Italy, it is important to select a club which the system is at least somewhat suited. I had settled on the prem, and whilst i mused around the Everton / Wolves / Bournemouth types....... i decided i had already done the (somewhat!) "mid table" thing in Italy. I wondered how this woud work in a big team - a team likely to be favourites a lot of the time........ So, top 6 prem side i settled on. I already manage Liverpool in another save (plus the system is not well suited to getting the most out of Mane and Salah!), City were maybe a bit "too big".......so.... Arsenal. I liked this, because they are moderately suited to the system, but are also an utter shambles of a squad, in need of a huge rebuild.....and because they have relatively few new signings, its possible to do it. I also have this wild thought about repurposing Ozil as a Wide Playmaker...... NB - full disclosure, i used the editor to remove all pre-game injuries, since these are outdated in reality and i wanted to be able to run with the full Arsenal starting squad. Suitability wise........its a mixed bag, i identified that there were some key players who would immediately suit roles i use: CWB(a) - Kieren Tierney looks a good fit, if we flip back to the version with the LB as the CWB IW(a) - Pepe seems like he could work here, although he has no familiarity at RM to begin which is annoying. Also has a very odd combo of Traits which include both "runs with the ball down the right" and "Cuts inside from the right wing"... decisive lad he is Striker - Clearly Auba is world class and will play here, although the exact role.......still mulling IWB(d) - So its not a perfect fit, and i would love to find someone better, but Calum Chambers could do a job here. I also have half an incling to try David Luiz here, but then again he is a complete bufoon of a man... DLP(d) - So the game thinks this is the best role for Lucas Torreira..i am less sure. I am sure he is a great asset and will be in my team, but is he a DLP.....14 passing and 12 vision, no speciflc traits to help, hmmmm WP(s) - Well, its a speculative fit, and a bit of an experiment, but i really feel i want to try Ozil here........ Ok so thats a good base for the system. Throw in that we are fine for a keeper, and we have a couple of strong CB options, and some decent depth in midfield and out wide, then things look good. Tweaking the system So, after my early apraisal of the squad, a closer look at Torreira, and looking at what we can do in the transfer market......i decided on 2 key changes to roles and duties, partly to better suit the squad i am building, but also to try out something different. Namely: DLP(d) becomes CM(d) MEZ(s) becomes RPM(s) CB(d) becomes BPD(d) There was a thread on here, many many moons ago, im pretty sure by a user who has either changed names, or gone (something like Ozil-to-the-arsenal?) where he built a system at Ajax. I dont even remember the formation, but what sticks in my memory is he built variations of it which allowed him to "move the playmaker" depending on the game - so sometimes it would be a DLP in the DM strata, other times thay guy became a BWM and someone in the CM strata became an AP (i think this may even be before RPM existed...) and so on - this was in my mind here, wondering if having both versions of the tactic might be interesting to allow us to adapt to different opponents. The last change was partly in response to a bit of squad building, but also something to try out, to see if we can feed our CWB some more passes. I also decided to tweak some instructions, largely based on observing some early games: In Possession - nothing changed: In Transition - Only change here is changing "counter press" to "regroup" - more on this in a mo Out of possession - Removed all pressing related instrucitons, and added "lower line of enagement" So the thought process here - In possession, well it mostly worked well, and i will use the different roles and duties to drive some of this. THe template we use i am ok with. But, the other thing in my mind was the constant question about whether we want to be a team who presses. Very originally when i started in italy, i applied nothing here. We were Switzerland - absolutely neutral. Then i added some more pressing instructions, largely in response to the possession hogging teams. But watching the first couple of Arsenal games........it strikes me that the shape of the team, and the roles and duties are not really suited to all out press. What happened, was the CM(a) and the striker would press, but others would stand off (because playmaker type roles tend to not press as much, unless you go extreme on instructions i think). Obviously work rates i would think also impacct this. So, we decided to back off from this. I didnt want to drop us deep, we are still a top side, but we will stick to our shape a bit more. Lower line of engagement is just to make us more compact when we win the ball back, given the lack of any players in the AM strata Early squad Building So Arsenal dont start with much budget, but we did have a chunk of players, high valued ones, who did not fit into our plans. Plus, this Arsenal team really need to clear house give n the malaize which as set in........so: Some good players in there, and the top guy still has potential but he is not a fit for us and has a very curious set of attributes. Laca was not needed, Bellerin not a fit, Mustafi.....eh aye, Xhaka......i thought of keeping him, but he was not a starter and we need the funs. Holding would make a good backup, but we cant sell Luiz the clown yet, so we need to loan him out to make room for signings. So we freed up a big load of budget, and also significant wages, so we adjusted, and used some instalments and finally did what Arsenal fans have prayed for in recent years- We opened the cheque book: A noteable split here 3 world class signings, and 3 bargain budget squad players. Luis Alberto looks like a load of fun to try out as an RPM Kai Havertz is of course a premium talent, and i intend to try him as CM(a). Until i was typing this, i could have sworn he had one of the attacking traits for it......but oops, no. Might need to use some player instructions Ruben Dias is a classy centreback and one who has "brings the ball out of defence" and good passing stats, so will be used as our Ball Playing defender. Elsewhere, Falk is a bargain backup for Ozil at WP, Majer is a talent for the future and backup at CM(a) - and he does have the traits!, Fischer was an absolute flier - he matched a load of attributes when i was looking for a backup for Auba, so at that price i went for it. 3 games in, he did his cruciates on INT duty and is out for 8 months....oh well! Noteably, we failed to secure anyone to play IWB for us. I tried, i scouted, i made bids but nothing doing, so for now we are going to run with Chambers there, and maybe give Luiz some games. Cedric is here on loan and although hardly suited, he can do in a pinch, or, well, in the league cup. How is it working (early)? Well, i cant lie, it was a sluggish start, but given we were introducing several new signings, i can forgive that. After 3 league games, we had a sum total of 2 points. On opening day, we threw away a win at home to Everton by conceding a 96th min goal.....then we guttted out a nil nil at the Eithad, which was pretty pleasing. But game 3, we lost 1 v 0 to Leicester - That is when i made the changes to the team instructions mentioned above, and added a couple of minor player instructions. Something clicked, a couple of standard wins in the league, then Liverpool came to visit. As a Liverpool fan, this almost pains me....... Will do some more analysis of the movement / chance creation of the tweaked tactic in the next day or so - hope this is not too boring again!
  3. That is quite a nice variation - coincidentaly, i have just been trying out a slightly modified version of what i used at Fiorentina, and one of the changes was moving the playmaker to RCM and using RPM role, and just having a basic CM(d) as the middle CM. Also experimenting with the use of BPD at the back.....
  4. I guess i would ask, what was your game plan? I look at your first / main setup, and to be honest, i do not understand it at all. It might, of course, be just that im not really that clued up / a bit out of date when it comes to tactic building, but for example: 1) You have "overlap" instructions, with inverted fullbacks and wingers on attack - how does that play out? The IWB, by the very nature, underlap. The wingers will already be high, so the instruction to hold it and wait for an overlap, does not seem to make sense? What was the thought process? 2) You have a single striker formation (obviously!) but what was the plan to get other players in the box? The 2 attack duties are set as wingers, so will stay wide in general. Of course maybe traits would play a part, but no attack duty in midfield, and stay wide type roles on the wide men, kinda feels like your striker would naturally be isolated (Which might be why you felt they were not involved?) 3) You have gone for high press on the main tactic, in terms of team instructions, but the roles chose, and the positions they would find themselfs in during transition, do not, at first glance at least, seem to lend to that - what was the plan in terms of winning the ball back (NB - i realise thats not easy - see my posts above about not having a plan myself!) 4) The second tactic, a bit more varied, but do you think IW and CAR function together? feels like they would be somewhat in the same space? 5) ALso on the second tactic, the right hand side looks nice, the DLP creating space for the IW, the WB on support stepping forward a bit, but i wonder if you could go more bold and have the wing back attacking - really create overloads. I feel like having at least one fullback on a attack duty, ideally with a WB / CWB role is quite important 6) DId you try anything other than PF on your striker? I am not sure who you were playing there, but you might need a role that gives them more guidance around dropping deep and getting involved in build up?
  5. Squad building - Season 2 - Part 3 (Striker) F9 (ST) So, another area where i am not fully settled. Of course as we know, i landed what i still believe to be a great future talent in Thiago Almada for this role, but he struggled a little thrown in as the starter, and is still only 19 and probably needs to develop some more Backup, well, Cutrone remains on loan to us, and will join us perm in a years time whether i like it or not......he was useless for us, in admittedly limited game time last year, but he is around so i guess will sit on the bench As mentioned above though, i am not feeling like we are as strong as we need to be here, in order to try and retain a title and make our mark on the CL (Ribery retired fwiw). SO i am fishing around the transfer market, where 3 options have been identified: Option 1 - The big money solution Nabil Fekir is on the transfer list at 54m. I would probably pay 30m up front, and 24 in installments to make him fit within budget. He is clearly a very good player, more a CAM than ST, but well suited to a false 9 in some ways: However, he would be a long term signing, and would block Almada in the medium term. I am also not sure i am wild about the dribbling traits, and he does have a bit of an injury history......... Option 2 - The experience / short term solution An old FM fave of mine, Dries Mertens, can be had for only 12m. He is 33 and would command a hefty wage, but i love his attributes. He does not have any traits specific to a F9, but i am thinking the role and duty should cover that already The downside here is purely the salary, and the cost in terms of likely only getting 1.5 productive seasons at most out of him. But again, this is modern football....12m and 140k a week is painful but maybe necessary. He could form a nice tandem with Almada over time... Option 3 - The left field solution So whilst filtering through scouting reports, by the attributes i think i want in a striker......to my surprise, Felip Caicedo pops up. I was really surprised at just how strong some of his attributes are, to be honest, given his patchy history IRL. He is also on the transfer list so could be had for peanuts The downside, is he just had a completely woeful season at Lazio (1 goal and 2 assists in 20 odd games) and i have never seen him do well on any FM.......He does not really fit with what i see in my head when i think "false 9" or "link man", but its an interesting selection of attributes.........
  6. Squad Building - Season 2 - Part 2 (Midfield) DLP (CCM) So last window we signed someone here, and the position looked set.....but then, Brescia got relegated, which gave us the chance, at a high price, to sign one of Italian footballs most prodigious young talents........... So, for now our starter in this slot is the impressive Sandro Tonali For the moment, he is backed up by last seasons signing, Gagliardini (Although there are some ideas brewing in my head which might change this........) Mezzala (Support) (LCM) When we introduced this role late in the season, i felt we had a guy well suited - Gaetano Castrovilli is another young Italian and has some real talent, including some interesting traits. Arsenal are interested, but i hope to hold on to him and start him. He scored us some wondergoals, and i hope Mezzala is even more suited to him than CM(a) was. His backup is also someone we had at the club last year, one of the main loanees turned perm, Kevin Agudelo is only 21, has some positive attributes but not one single natural home in our system. He may also see some time at CM(a) given his traits, and there might be an argument that he, and the backup CM(a) might be best swapped around.......tbc CM(a) (RCM) Our pre-arranged big signing, Donny van de Beek is our big hope in this role. Really hoping he can add a big goal threat to us, given how perfect his traits seem for this role. The balance of attributes also means he should help out a lot defensively. Almost a box to box but with added benefit of an extra goal threat His backup, as it stands, is another loanee turned perm.......and one i would not have chosen to sign myself, but he is not terrible. Alfred Duncan is probably not very well suited to this role, and in writing this i might well swap him and Agudelo in my backup 11, or some other plans may hatch that see him slide in elsewhere, but for now, here he is: WM(d) (RM) I have listed this role as WM not WP......but i am still going back and forth. Either way, as it stands, Giacomo Bonaventura remains our guy in this role. Lovely football player, nice traits. More ideally suited to this role on the left, so one of the slight victims of the flip around, but i feel he can play it just fine from that side. He is 30 now, and i was looking around at replacements, but his balance of attacking traits, nice mentals and not terrible defensive / workrate / team work stuff is hard to find a match At the moment, we have no backup for this role - one of my outstanding tasks. Alfred Duncan could fill in if needed, or Gagliardini, or even Tonali moving over, even Almada got a look in this role in pre-season IW(a) - LM So, our biggest change / gamble........last year, Chiesa was our key man playing off the right. However..........that "hugs touchline" trait was bugging me, he was starting to get unhappy, and Man Utd offered me 50m all up front for him.......so he is no more! Part of my reason for letting him go, aside from the aforementioned, and that he was not suited to "flipping" the system, was that i had an eye on his replacement. Everton joins us from Brazil, and whilst he may not be as rounded as Chiesa in some ways, i am excited to try him out, love the traits, has some lovely attacking attributes Backup, we have yet another former loanee who was signed to a perm deal before i arrived..... Kouame is a bit of a pace merchant who lacks a few things, and indeed i might opt to use Almada here on occasion depending on how some other thoughts play out....... but for now, here he is:
  7. Squad Building - Season 2 - Part 1 (Keeper & Defence) So key questions above not-withstanding, we are well into the squad building for Season 2. We know most of our key roles and duties, meaning we can get to work in the transfer market. First up, we sold off a shed load of the returning loanees, together with one big money departure, meant that we brought in 108m. The board also gave us a generous 30m budget based on last season, so we have some room to spend. Lets go area by area: Keeper Not much to say here, our incumbent, Dragowski did a good job for us, and whilst his attributes dont get me excited, a top class keeper is very hard to find. He is unhappy about his contract, which is not ideal and means i am having a sniff around, but for now, file this under "would not mind an improvement, but not a priority" He is backed up by non descript Portugese dude Claudio Ramos, who is fine for a backup keeper, and we have an HG Italian 3rd keeper, who could be used in an emergency in Ghidotti Centrebacks Our strong pairing from last season, Milenkovic and Luiz Felipe are both still in place and i like both very much. Milenkovic is attracting some interest but i am confident i can hold onto him. Both are young and strong all round defenders, which is exactly what we want. Backup wise, we were a little weak. Luckily last season we avoided defensive injuries, but our rotation type CBs are not of the quality we need, so we hit the transfer market. Former wonderkid, Daniel Rugani was transfer listed at his own request at Juve, and at 5.25m seemed good value. He has never really developed into the world class defender perhaps some expected, but as a rotation choice, at that price, he is very solid and of course home grown italian. I grudge paying 70k per week to a non starting player, but that is the world we live in.......With the CL adding to our fixtures, he will see some game time for sure. Our 4th choice / emergency option is a youth product who is not very good, but will fill a spot in dire circumstances. Pierluigi Pinto is his name Complete Wingback (Right back) So, one big change from last season - we are flipping the system on its side. Last year, LB was the attacking fullback and RB the IWB. That was driven by players available, and with Dalbert returning to Inter (and tbh, his attributes are not amazing) we had an opportunity to look at this differently. Pol Lirola joined permanently from Sassuolo, and he has the perfect traits for the role. His mental attributes are not brilliant, but i am hoping at 23, with lots of game time, he can still imrpove a bit Backing him up, we hit the transfer market and added a bit of experience, and a former favourite, in Lorenzo De Silvestre. He is not going to set the world alight, but is a solid player to rotate, very similar in style to Lirola and hopefully they can work in tandem Inverted Wingback (Left Back) So to our first challenging situation. As anyone who has been sad enough to follow this saga, and my absolute thread hijack, will know, we have never settled on someone to play this role. Our returning loanees does actually have one interesting option, in Slovak David Hancko. He is not amazing, but he actually has a really nice balance of defending and playmaking abilities. No traits, which is a shame, but at very least he will make a capable backup in this role, and i would not be devestated to have to throw him in as our first choice. My actual first choice, the transfer target i would love to land, and whom i think would fit this role perfectly, is Ajax youngster Lisandro Martinez There is however, one blocker which i cannot overcome. Not his price, which whilst high, would be something we could afford at the moment, but unfortunately he is Non EU, and the rules in Italy mean we can only sign 1 non EU player from abroad per season (NB - there is a wierd bug that when i got to bid, it tells me i can only sign 2, and have already met that quota - that is a visual bug, its 1 and i have indeed already signed one - more on that later). So, at the moment, this remains an open question mark.......
  8. Cheers lads ,most fun season ive had this FM for sure - the effort of trying to build and maintain a system, together with switching back to watching in 2D, got me over most of my annoyance with the ME. Its defo still a poor situation that so many sides in Italy in particular, seem to do the hold possession in defence thing. It seems to be quite specific to back 3 teams, and of course Serie A has lots of those. Half tempted to try another country.........but Fiorentina needs quite a big rebuild after season 1, so i am going to stick it out and try and improve the system more. A rebuild, you say? For a squad that just won the league, and barely has 2 players over 30..........well. Its all about the loans. Around half our 25 man squad was on loan to us, and we had about another 15 first team squad players away on loan. Welcome to the madhouse which is Italian footy! So by the time i sort though that mess, accept the pre-arranged deals, sell off the dross that returns........and make one or two other big moves, there is a real element of opportunity! I also have at least 2 key questions about the system going forward, which are somewhat linked: 1) What is the best role / duty for the single striker? F9, of course was the original intention, and what we used most of the season. I dabled with Treq when Almada came in, and tried PF to accomodate Cutrone, but i have not really landed it yet. In my mind, it needs to be something which makes him a link man, but i also want some more goals from ST. Proably a bit greedy......unless your name is Leo Messi or Bobby Firmino, the deep droping striker who also score goals is a bit rare. 2) What is our approach out of possession This is obviously quite major - We had a clear attacking plan last season, and although we tweaked it, the overall approach was consistent, i like the shape, the movement and the roles and duties we landed on. Out of possession though.........do we have an identity? We started off mostly using a moderate low block, but at times we switched to some more urgent pressing and higher line. We never really got the complete right mix. It sounds insane when we had such a great defensive record, but its playing on my mind a little......Part of me says, we have a very attacking midfield shape now. At times we will have a lot of men up the pitch - why not really commit to counter pressing. Equally though, with the DLP and IWB, we might risk becoming quite..detached between the 2 units. Mulling this over still.......maybe its best to vary it by game
  9. Well, we did it in the end! The last 2 games were tense, we had to manage so carefully, but we stuck to the shape / formation and the core system. Some good feedback / tips from the lads above about holding a lead which were usefull - cheers gents. In the end, Lazio actually lost on the last day of the season, so we did even need to win the final game but we played it out very well. The Mez getting a goal and an assist was nice. Our team stats at seasons end make it kinda amazing that we won the league to be honest........ Top scorer with 11 goals only 1 player in double figure each for goals and assists. Proper team effort.............
  10. Key match management - the potential title decider! So as alluded to above, with 3 matches to go, we face a pivotal game against our title rivals, Lazio. Going into this game, we sit 2pts behind Lazio, with 3 games to go each. Lazio have 2 easy fixtures post our game, so in reality, this might be our last shot at the title. As such, it was important to treat this game with the most careful of management, and i thought i would write a bit about how i approached it. Pre- Match - Lazio So firstly, we look at how Lazio setup, and they seem to use only one system: We can see that Immobile is the main source of goals, and that Luis Alberto and Lazzari are the main sources of assists. When we played them earlier in the season, it ended up a dull nil / nil! Looking at the stats, it appears that Lazio, in common with most back 3 teams in Serie A, pass it around loads between centrebacks and keeper......... Pre-match - Us So how do we set ourselfs up? Well firstly, i made some tweaks to the right hand side. Our lack of goals was becoming a real issue, and we are suffering from not enough threat in the box. our CM(a) is a little inconsistent in terms of getting in to the box (Not having great traits does not help). So we had to consider options. I still like how the left side plays out, but the CAR was also a role which was a bit....."meh". Our biggest goal threat had been Chiesa, playing as a winger. He has a very curious set of traits, in that he has "cuts inside from both wings", but also "hugs touchline" - which seem to directly contradict ffs......... So, we decided to try and alter out attacking shape a little. We make Chiesa an IW - with the intention being he gets more into the box and gets in there earlier, as well as driving more into the box than to the byline. To compliment this however, we look at something Sporadic mentioned ages ago - the use of a Mezzala. Castrovelli is very well suited to that role, and ideally he will swap with Chiesa and link with him as our attacks build - that is the theory.... in practice they might just end up stood on top of each other Instructions wise, we have removed "focus play down right" now, so in theory we focus down the left more - in turn though, i am hoping this can open up the right side for switches of play and quick overloads. Transition wise, nothing has changed. Out of possession though, we have added a couple of instructions to add a bit more press to our game. I felt we were a bit passive against weaker sides, and i quite liked how the press was working so we go with it. Also added "defender narrower" on reccomendation from the Ass Man - given w are strong centrally. In retrospect, high and narrow seems an odd combo......... So here is how we line up - personell wise, Lirola gets the nod as IWB - he is not perfectly suited to that role, but he has been thrown in lately and done ok. Castrovilli plays as our Mez, which i see as his long term role, but we lack a decent CM(a). Alfred Duncan gets the nod as the best of a "meh" bunch and up top, Ribery is slowly returning to match sharpness, and we decide to start him today in this huge game. Almada has struggled a lot thus far, and Cutrone also has done nothing. First half - notes I was taking verbatim notes of any changes i made thoughout this game, which i watched on comprehensive......: 15mins - defender narrower emoved - Lazio have no central runners and WBs are a danager - they are getting way to move space. Moved to defend wider - a big change but it was obvious the WBs are the outlets in this team at the moment. 30mins - this is the dullest game of football i have ever seen.......pretty much nothing is happening 40mins - BUT WAIT. We get a free kick mid way into the Lazio half, fairly central. Bonaventura floats it in, and Milenkovic gets a head to it, floating it into the far corner. YASSSSS Half Time Analysis So the bare stats: As you can see, really not a lot happened, very few shots, Lazio have all the ball, but htat is because they pass it around the defence and keeper, as the heatmap shows Not a lot i can do really, i am not unhappy with our shape and our build up, and we have the lead so im not going to try and force anything. Second half - notes 52mins - WELL LOOK AT THIS. Lets go with the animated version: What did we say about bodies in the box? Our IW to our MEZ, both inside the box (not exacly how i pictured it.....but hey ho!) 55mins - Ok now with a 2 goal lead, lets notch down the mentality a touch. We go to "balanced" - it is too early to be thinking all out defence, and we do not want to invite too much pressure 62mins - I notice that Lazio seem to have changed shape, and a quick look at the formation screen confirms this: So they have gone to 4 at the back and a diamond. Time for some changes to combat that: Remove "pass into space" - i want us to hold the ball a bit more Reduce passing directness to "shorter" - as above Reduce pressing, lower Dline and lower line of engagement - time to start to sit in a bit and create a low block against that diamond Move defensive width back to "balanced" - we can expect more central runners now and the wing backs less of an issue 66mins - Well, that worked a treat.......Lazio work it to Lazzarri, who is way advanced down the wing, he works a pass inside and Luis Alberto slams it home. 2 v 1.............uh oh. No tactical changes immediately, but 2 subs - Ribery off for Almada for fresh legs up top, and Badelj on for Duncan at CM - a slightly more possession type and more legs. 75mins - Ok Lazio are coming at us now, we are looking ok, but its time to get sensible and try and see this out. We move down to defensive mentality, we switch our LB to a FB(s) and our LM to WM(d) and our CM(a) becomes a BWM(s). We also make our last change - Caceres on for Lirola for more solidity at RB. 80mins - Lazio have lots of the ball, but have resorted to pot shots and whilst i am fairly happy, one additional tactical tweak - move timewasting to "whenever possible" - just common sense really to go full on Simeone at this point 85mins - Badelj almost drops us right in it, giving it away needlessly, but Immobile blows a good chance. I move us down to "very defensive", whilst making a mental note to send Badelj on loan to North Korea at the next possible chance 91mins - WHY SO MANY DAMN HIGHLIGHTS SUDDENLY. go back to passing it around the back please Lazio........ah, its okt, we have the ball and taking it to the corner......surely. 95mins - GET A NEW WATCH REF FFS........and there we go. Full time. We win. we go top of the league.......phew That was hard work and needed a lot of ingame management. Not a vintage performance, but the win is what counts
  11. Cheers man, a bit of both to be honest - i have made a number of small tweaks lately i just need to write up, but player traits can certainly help and getting Donny in with that perfect mix, i am hoping......will help!
  12. So how is it going in Serie A i hear you ask (ok, i did not hear anyone ask........but @sporadicsmiles did a great job in this thread so im trying to keep it going!) Well, my last actually result update was just after the Inter Milan game in Jan. Here are the results since: All in all, not dominant. A few too many draws against lower sides in Feb, then in April, could be costly. Loses to Roma and Milan are painful, and overall our biggest issue is very apparent - we do not score goals freely. Not scored 3 in a single game since the turn of the year. That does suggest that we need to look at the system, and throughout April i have implimented some changes in a desperate attempt to keep us in the title fight. So where does that leave things.......... Tight as a ducks...... That defensive record Our attacking record is actually not that different to most of the teams around us. Just Lazio are running riot. They have scored 20 more goals than anyone else in the league ffs. Of course, as you might note from the first image above......our next game, with 3 league games remaining, is home to Lazio......
  13. The best laid plans and all that.......... I had the above post plans in action, Pulgar had started i think 4 games at IWB and was starting to get some level of familiarity........although his performances defensively were sometimes suspect. Then this happened: It was tough decision. They bid on the last day of the Chinese transfer window. Entire fee upfront and his agent indicated he would be unhappy if he was not allowed to talk to them.........I weighed it up. He had been surplanted by Gagliardini at DLP and the IWB experiment was not exactly working brilliantly thus far. I also had an eye on a different plan, which i needed funds for.......and so, i accepted, and off to China he went. This also frees up a non EU player slot, i think, although i still cant get my head round that..... I will do another post on how we are evolving tactically, but in essence i had made a couple of tweaks in midfield which mean i was probably lacking a real true thurst / goal threat from the middle of the pitch. The funds from selling Pulgar, plus some installments, meant i have secured the ideal man for that job ahead of next season: I really want to see this guy play as a CM(a)...........
  14. Ok so its been a while, but i am stil slowly plodding away at this. There is work to do on the system i think, but firstly a post on squad building. It goes without saying, or at least it should, that in order to have success with any given system, you need the right players to suit the way of playing. Clearly at the very top level, there is more wiggle room, in terms of the fact that your upper echelon players can perform well in most roles / duties / tactical systems but when you move down a little, and when you are trying to overachieve with a squad, then it becomes more vital to have the right player types. Obviously, i chose Fiorentina after looking at the squad, and determining they looked well suited for a 451 experiment. I then supplimented that with 1 single signing, the best suited / high attribute player to fit in a specific role where we had a gap (Bonaventura, as WM or WP). That said, things happen over a season, and come January, we identified a number of squad building challenges: Challenge 1 - The Centre Back Situation So as we know, Fiorentina start with 2 very good centrebacks in Nikola Milenkovic and German Pezzella. I mentioned in an early post, that we had a small issue starting up with Pezzella, who wanted a new contract. I stood firm on not giving one and this caused his morale to drop which rippled across the squad. As the window opened, Pezzella remained unhappy. This left me with a decision to make. He is 27, a very good, albeit not great centre back, and probably not much room for further growth. He was on a reasonable wage, but not outrageous, and his value was probably at its peak. So what to do? Well this comes down to succession planning - As the season started, i had no reason to think i had any upcoming need in the CB department, but i still scouted my share. Always good to know you have a plan to pivot to, and in this situation, i had a scouting report on someone i liked very much as a replacement. Early in the window, a 20m bid arrived for Pezzella from Leicester. The fee was to be paid upfront in full. A check of my scouting reports for potential replacements, showed that my number 1 CB target, Felipe Luiz was likely to be available for the same, if not slightly less of a fee. He would likely want a bit of a higher wage, but that could be offset by the transfer fee gain, and i would also be adding a much younger more promising player. So the deals were done, and here is a comparison of the old n new: Lots to like about the replacement, and also he comes from Serie A so should have no adaptability issues or language issues. So yes, the lesson here is always have a succession plan in place for each position in your team, even if you have no immediate plans to sell / upgrade. Challenge 2 - The striker situation I also alluded to this in an earlier post, but in early December we suffered a crushing blow when Frank Ribery was ruled out for 4 - 6 months through injury. Ribery was our first choice False 9, and was quite integral in linking our system together. His stats were not actually that impressive, with 4 goals and just 1 assist in 13 games, but he was always active in our build up play. When he was initially ruled out, of course, the window was closed. We have 2 other strikers in our first team squad as it stands, both on loan to us, and both with deals agreed to join us permanently next season. We have Kouame - A pace merchant with pretty poor technical attributes for this level, and not wonderful mental......best suited to an occasional supersub it feels We also have Wolves Flop, Cutrone...... He is not a bad striker by any means, fairly well rounded, but does not have the look, or feel, of a false 9 really. Passing and vision a little lacking and has none of the Traits we would like. So, we turn again to our scouting reports. With some funds left over from the defender swap out, and the board shaking loose another 4m or so, as well as the use of some installments, we had the money needed to secure a bit of a south american wonderkid. Thiago Almada is someone i have eyed in other saves, and he really looks built for a False 9 type role. His Traits are perfect as well: Runs with the ball through centre Moves into Channels Curls Ball Comes deep to get ball Cuts inside from both wings He is obviously not the finished article, but that personality type also lets us dream on just how quickly he might grow. Ideally, i wanted to bring him in, pair him up with Ribery for half a season, slowly introducing him as a successor. As it happens, we have to throw him in a bit, and hope that maybe Cutrone can pick up some slack..... Challenge 3 - The IWB backup issue To be honest, this one should have been addressed before now, but a 5 week injury to Dalbert forced my hand......... As covered earlier, our first choice LB, for the CWB(a) role is Dalbert, a flying winback type. Our first choice RB, for the IWB (d) role, is Caceres, a converted centreback who is far from a wingback. However, the backups for each position as it stands.....our backup LB, is Igor, who is essentially a hybrid CB / LB with none of the attacking traits and limited attacking abilty. Our backup RB, is Pol Lirola, who is a flying wingback type......... The solution here, i guess is blindingly obvious Create a mirror version of the tactic with all roles / duties "flipped". So when we need to play our backup fullbacks, we play each in a role that is well suited. Of course this also mandates changes in midfield, but this is not a huge issue. Both Bonaventura and Chiesa can swap sides without losing too much, and whist its not optimal, its also not something we would use every week. Its also not ideal that it makes it tougher to only rest 1 fullback at a time, but both Lirola and Igor are among the hareem of players loaned to us, with perm deals already arranged that i can't escape from....... so for now, we make do. Challenge 4 - The IWB long term issue So as mentioned above, our primary starting RB, as an IWB (d), has been former Southampton brief visitor, Martin Caceres: Caceres is......well, a fairly solid defender to be fair to him. He is however 32, and already showing some decline. What's more, as i analyse the system more and watch lots of games, its clear that the IWB is actually quite crucial. He sees a lot of the ball and makes as many passes almost as our DLP. In effect, he is acting like a double pivote / second DLP. Caceres is not exactly a playmaker. As already covered above, his notional backup. Pol Lirola, is also not particularly that type. So, we need to do some thinking. Firstly, what do we now want in our IWB role, knowing what we know about how the role plays? - We of course, need someone who is solid defensively. At times he will act like a 3rd centreback, covering for the fact our LB has gone marauding - We also need someone who is good in the passing side of the game, a playmaker from fullback almost. Seems suitable, given that Lahm pioneered this role somewhat - We are not overly worried about attacking. Pace, crossing / dribbling et al are not really a consideration - Some playmaker-esque traits would be a nice bonus A search of both my scouting reports, and all the players in our player search DB however, reveals very little by way of suitable candidates, and those we can identify, are either not interested in us, or will cost a huge price. That is a bit of an issue, since we have maybe 10m at most available to spend..... So, we get creative. A seperate browse of my scouting reports when looking at midfield succession planning, had shown me that one of my fave Italian DLP types, Roberto Gagliardini was on the transfer list. At the moment though , i have a surplus of DLP types in my squad.........but hmm, wait, we need a DLP type to play Right back........why dont we look to retrain one of our existing ones to RB....... The candidate, is Erik Pulgar: I really like his Traits for an IWB and his tackling is solid, as is his defensive positioning, and of course we know his playmaker skills are pretty good. So i can retrain him to RB, and replace him at DLP with Gagliardini, and be within budget.....sounds like a plan! Gagliardini: So the lesson here, i think, is always be open to retraining possibilities. Doing it mid-season is far from ideal, as playing Pulgar at RB when he is unfamiliar will impact performance, and he will not learn the role without significant game time.....but in the interests of long term success, it is the approach we will take. So there we go, January transfer business concluded. We also added a backup keeper (Claudio Ramos, for about 700k from portugal some place) as we had nothing of quality to back up our first choice, and when he got injured in early jan for 3 weeks, i had a mild panic!
  15. Hitting a blip, and how do we react? So after a blistering start, it was somewhat ineviatable that we wuld come back to earth at some point. And so it was: (ignore the friendly i guess - it seems randomly schedule for our winter break, and i played all backups for fitness!) So, we have 2 nil v nil draws, then a 1 v 0 defeat, and then after a brief return to form, another goal-less draw. So how do we react....... It is at this point, that most people (e.g. me, most saves...) would start to lose faith, they would start to panic, make changes, think "oh its not working, i need to change my approach". For me though, sometimes a more measure approach is needed. So before we even get into looking at each individual game, we look at the wider picture. What factors should we consider, well: Before the Samp game, we lost RIbery to a long term injury (5 months). Whilst he does not score lots of goals, he is quite vital to our system and we have no replacement - our backup strikers (Cutrone and Kouame) are totally different player types Lazio are absolutely flying themselfs, and 3rd in the league, a very tough game away from home The Sassuolo game.......well Chiesa got sent off after 74mins, and he is our best and probably most important player. Prior to the Lazio game, we had a morale hit when one of our Centrebacks (Pezzerella) kicked off about wanting a contract, i didnt bite and he spread some unhappiness Inter are also flying, and as hinted above, they were actually above us in the table even after our insane start. So away from home, a draw there is a very good result So, we have to take that into account to start with. Context is important. A small sample size does not mean our system suddenly stopped working. We also, of course, look at the games. I lack the time to do full write-ups, and im sure you are all bored of that anyway......but briefly: Fiorentina v Sampdoria So essentially, in this game, we did everything right. Played well, dominated.........just ya know, we didnt put it in the net. Sometimes that happens, as already covered, we were missing our main link man, and we just couldnt get a goal. Move on....... Sassuolo v Fiorentina So the bare stats say we were ok here.........but i watched this game closely -we were quite simply.......poor. Our passing was not on point, we made some bad decisions and overall, we looked lacklustre. We had played a lot of games, our squad was a little stretched......and morale a little on the down after the Pezzerela affair. It happens. I did not see any specific weakness in our system / approach. So, how do we respond to that bad patch? We do........nothing, in tactical terms. We keep the faith. We do some squad building related things (more on that in another post), but largely speaking, we ride it out. We keep a very close eye on things of course, because we cannot be complacent, but if we are going to need ot change something, we will do it from identifying paterns and specific weakness, rather than over reacting to simple results....... State of the nation So the inter game actually brought up the half way point in the season nicely. Here is how things stand: Cant grumble at that with Fiorentina in season 1, with just 1 signing (Bonaventura)
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