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I had too many threads on the go for FM 12 so I’ve decided to not carry on with them anymore and just have the one thread, this. This will mean it’s updated more frequent and won’t be saved game specific. Meaning I can take stuff from any saved game I have and discuss them all in one place. This is an easier way for me to keep track of what’s been discussed. Plus it makes it easier for you lot to ask questions J

This thread will be a mixed of saved games and won’t follow one specific club after the initial first season with Santos. This thread will be the main thread I do from now on. It's easier to just do one thread and all the threads I create all link anyway. So it makes sense to have all the information in 1 thread, rather than several.

So what will this thread offer I hear you ask?!!


I will illustrate what I do on the very first day of taking over a club.We’ll discuss tactics in great detail over the season. I’ll be talking about how the 4-4-2 is flexible and write about how I set up to take advantage of the oppositions weaknesses. As well as talking about the weaknesses in my own side.You’ve already seen one way of setting the 4-4-2 up in The Santos Experience thread, but I’ll be playing a different way this time to show you the many play styles you can achieve by just using one formation. Also we will be looking through each player’s individual position. Discussing why he plays the way he does. This will be very in-depth analysis with player clips and screenshots to better highlight what I’m talking about.


I’m not a training expert far from it but I believe my schedules are good enough to improve players. So we’ll be looking more closely at the player development at my clubs. It could turn out that the schedules are crap and need dramatic change’s long term. So we’ll be going into detail about that. Retraining will be another thing we discuss as I believe this to be important in some cases. We’ve all had a player with the stats to play a role for our club that he can’t play yet. So we’ll touch upon trying to maximise this potential.

Player Attributes

I’m sure most people remember the attributes guide I did, well I think it’s time to update it and give it a major overhaul. So I’ll be adding all new stuff to this thread and give you an idea of how the attributes really work in a match environment. I’ll provide clips of assists, goals scored and conceded and tell you what attributes were used and why.

Problem Solving

Everyone has problems at some point with their tactics no matter how good they are. We’ll be talking about how you can solve some of the issues. It could be something simple like a defender making the wrong choice of pass during a game. Or it could be something more complex like a player shooting far too often and ruining good chances. Whatever the issue I’ll try and tell you how I fixed it (or failed trying).

These will be the main focuses of the thread, but we’ll be talking about a lot more than just the above. The thread will be never ending as it’s something that can always be added to every new instalment of Football Manager. I just want to make a thread that is the focal point of every single version of the game. If anybody wants to help me write the guide or has something they would like to contribute then please contact me. All help will be greatly appreciatedJ

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Taking over a new club and trying to shape it how you want is a daunting task. So clubs already have their own philosophies and are structured to work a certain way. That doesn’t mean you cannot reshape them, it just means the whole process might take a little longer. So I thought it might be a good idea to show you how I go about doing things just to give you a little idea of how I approach the game. I hope you enjoy it J

The first things I do before anything else is go to the ‘Team Policy’ menu and sort out the stuff I have no intention of doing. In the top panel what says Assistant Manager Responsibilites’ and ensure everything is ticket except the ‘handle youth intake’ option. Then underneath in theFirstTeam’ section I ensure the first two options are ticked. Then under the Under23’s and Under 20’s sections I make sure that‘Use the Current First Team MatchTactics’ is selected.


I like all my teams to play the same way, so it makes sense for players to use the tactic they would be using in the first team,should they be lucky enough to progress that far. Some of the things I’ve selected in the team policy menu might change but at the start of the game I have quite a bit of work to do so I tend to allow my Assistant to be more involved at the start.

Then the second thing I do is go to the options and setup the match for how I want it. I select ‘Classic Pitch View 3D’, Match speed full and turn off replays. This just makes things a lot easier in the long run for me.


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Thirdly I go to the training section and import my schedules;


This year I’ve paid a lot more attention to training compared to previous years. I’ve devised pre season training, position specific training and even done some youth schedules. I’ve been trying these schedules out for a while now. In fact I started on FM 11 and then been working on them during the FM 12 beta. Now I don’t claim them to be perfect or anything as that will take several in game years to work out how good they are. But they are avery good starting place for me and seem to be working so far in my game. There nothing fancy or special and still needs quite a few tweaks but generally I’m quite happy with how they are shaping up.

The reason why I’ve concentrated more this year on trainingis the fact that Sheffield United have a few good youth player’s for a change. So I’m focusing on them and trying to use the youth set up and training facilities as much as I can. I always like to concentrate on youths and bring them through to the main squad. On previous versions I’ve not been able to do that but due to how good my current facilities are it really might be possible to get a few of them come through the ranks. I don’t expect to create anyworld-class player that’s not what I’m after. But I’m hoping to get a couple of squad players hopefully.

For pre-season I’ve just made some basic overall schedules and tried to keep it simple. I’ve done schedules for keepers, defence, midfield and strikers. I didn’t see the point in creating ones to be more position specific.










I’ve not had any bad injuries as of yet using these schedules. I’ve had a few little niggles here and there but that is expected due to the physical nature of them.

I use these schedules until 1 week before my opening fixture. I’ve never bothered with pre-season schedules before so I thought I’d try something a little different this time. I saw no real major benefits using these over the normal schedules thus far though. It’s something for me to keep track of for a few seasons though, as training is all about the long term. Long term I think I must see some kind of benefits.

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Season Schedules

These schedules are also rather basic in terms of positions they cater for. As I plan on playing 4-1-2-2-1 and 4-4-2 at some point then I try to fit my schedules around the position I intend to use.









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I’ve just based these schedules on the attributes I intend on using for each position. These schedules are likely to change as I progress and see what effect the schedules are having on my players. Short term they seem to be doing a decent job but it’s too early to see the long term effect just yet.

I’m going to develop the youth schedules over the season as I go along, so I’ll be posting about them at a later date. As I have a lot of trial and error to do first so I have a correct base to build the schedules from. Another reason for this is I’m toying around with the idea of creating specific schedules for all the better youth players I have at the club. This could be more beneficial and allow me to focus on the attributes they will be using at a much younger age.

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Once training is sorted I then go the tactic section anddecide what I’ll be using. For this save I’ll be using this tactic;

The Tactic

It might surprise people this year to see me opt for a 4-42. Normally I avoid using two strikers as it limits the formation you can create when having two upfront. But I thought I’d be a bit different this year,especially as I keep seeing people post saying 4-4-2 is dead, it doesn’t work anymore blah blah. That’s simply not true; it’s still a very formidable formation ifyou know the strengths and weaknesses. Every single formation has advantages and disadvantages. It’s just a case of knowing your own and then making the best of them in games. I’m also seeing people use 4-2-4 and claiming they have no choice but to push the wingers wide as it helps them score more goals and get more assists. Again also not true in my opinion. I can get my wingers very involved in a game and have them score a few goals and chip in with a few assists.

The main disadvantage the 4-4-2 brings is the lack of central midfielder, when playing against 4-5-1, 4-3-3. Not only does it lack the extra man in the middle, it also lacks an extra attacker as the 4-3-3/4-5-1 hybrid pushed wingers up making it a 3 pronged attack. But that doesn’t mean the 4-4-2 is any less effective than it used to be. You’ve just got to learn to adapt to situations and have a plan b should you feel something’s not working in a game. The 4-4-2 does bring its own advantages though and is one of the most versatile formations that you can use. Hopefully over the coming seasons I can show you how versatile and adaptable the 4-42 really is.

So let’s take a look at it;


That’s the formation and starting strategy.


And those are the team settings.

Some of you might be a little confused or wonder why I’ve chosen some of the settings I have, I’ll try and explain why. I’m a big club in a small league, in this league I am the Man Utd’s and Barcelona’s. Everyone wants to beat me; we are the big name attraction this season. So why not play like the above teams? I know I have a great squad filled with experience and youth. I have a really good blend of them both. So with that in mind I wanted to play attractive football. Some of play players that I have in certain roles don’t have the required attributes to play that role. However it’s more about how I want the team to play as a unit, so I’m hopefully going to demonstrate that you can use the role to good effect even if you don’t have a player who typically fits the mould for the selected role.

We will touch upon that once I actually play a game, but for now that’s the shape and setting I am using.

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Here is the 2



As you can see I want it to play the same style of footballas the 4-4-2 I use. But the roles are slightly different here to give me that something a little bit different.

I'm using the exact same tactic's that I posted in the other sticky thread.

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Another important thing to do while in the tactic section is to create a group of custom shouts to use in game. This makes things a whole lot easier when actually in a game. These are the main ones I use;


That one is used for when I want to try and dominate agame, mainly used against lesser opposition.


I like to use this one for when I feel I’m been over run in the midfield and play on the counter attack. There the main two group of custom shouts I use every game. I’ll end up with a few more before the season finishes though J

I do all this before I even read any of the new items. It’s important for me that I have the structure in place before I see the rest of the club and meet the staff. Then once all the above is done I go to the fixtures screen and take a look at who I’m playing in the friendlies. My first competitive game is on the 19th of January 2011 and the current in game time is 16th of December 2010. I notice that before the first competitive game I only have 2 pre season friendlies set up. So this means that if I want my players to get match fit then I need quite a few more games. Myfirst friendly is on the 26th of December and the second one is on the 29th of December. So what I’ll do is arrange some easy friendlies for the 3rd, 7th and 11th of January.

This should be enough friendlies to get the players match fit. It will also give them 8 days recovery before the first competitive game of the season. I also try and make sure that the last friendly is against very weak opposition if possible. This allows my players to be relaxed and hopefully score a few goals to help with morale. I don’t see the point of over doing it in pre season and play teams of higher caliber. I much prefer the relaxed easy option and I must admit it’s always served me well since Football Manager 2005.

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Once all the above is done then it’s time for me to takea look at the staff screen. I need to make sure I have enough coaches, physio,scouts and so on. Anyone who doesn’t look like their any good, I will fire. If I’m lacking any member of staff I’ll go to the job centre and place an advert.


As you can see, I need coaches and more scouts. I always try and get as many scouts as physically possible. This allows me to get more reports on players and scout other nations. I like to create good database of players. I literally have my scouts work very hard, as you’ll see a little later on. Once I’ve placed the adverts for the new staff I’ll take a look at my new items.

I also like to pay attention to this screen;


So I have a good idea of what my best starting eleven is.

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I then search through all my squads and sell all theplayers that I don’t need. Be aware though and ensure you leave yourself with a competitive squad and don’t leave yourself short for a certain position. Also keep in mind that you might have to use some players you don’t need for a season or so. You can’t just walk into a club and expect to change the full squads straight away. That’s unrealistic and would cost way too much money.



I have far too many players especially youth ones, so I liketo reduce the squad and just keep the ones who look like they might be useful.Over time I’ll only have 2 squads anyway, a first team and an under 20’s. But I won’t have many players in the under 20’s as I’ll keep it for players who can go on and play for the club. Any other youths who come through the ranks and don’t look promising I’ll just not sign them.

Once you’ve sorted out who to keep and who to sell its time to load up your shortlists if you have any and search to strengthen the areas of the squad you need. Once you’ve identified transfer targets and brought people in, then it’s time to look through the other squads and any players who you think are capable of playing for your first team but won’t get games yet,loan them out. It’ll be more beneficial to you in the long run. If they’re not going to play a part for you then the best thing to do is loan them out so they gain the experience needed. Only loan them out to clubs where they will be valuable first team players though and make sure the manager has a good ‘working with youngsters’ stat. As you don’t want to loan your star youth out to a manager who isn’t know for working well with youths. I’ve found out it tends to do more harm than good.

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Another important aspect that I like to do is change the view of what I see on the squad screen. Take a look;


I like it to show me assists, interceptions, match fitnes sand mistakes leading to goals. I’ll add to this as the season goes on but these are the mandatory (for me at least) customized views to show.

Another important thing to do on day one is interact with the board. I asked them to invest in youth facilities, and increase youth recruitment network. And when the option becomes available I’ll also ask them to increase the scouting range. Each club is different and some clubs might have limitations due to funding or goals. But try and get the board to invest in the areas you’ll use the most. It might take a while to get them to do it but it’ll be worth it. I know everything can’t be done from the off and it can take several seasons but keep asking when you have the funding.

I try to do all the above on day one so things get moving faster.

As soon as all my players become match fit, I put then onthe normal schedules posted above. This happened on the 8th ofJanuary 2011 on my game. That’s just before my last friendly. My results inpre-season don’t mean much because I was ensuring my players gained fitness. So I played people out of position, subbed the whole team at half time and so on. Just to make sure everyone was fit.

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Beating the 4-2-2-2

I will be talking about the tactic in great detail and look at how each position in the tactic works. But first I’m going to talk about something to help you understand why the tactic works. What I’m going to do next is talk about what I do when I face certain formations. I’ll show you how I adapt depending on what formation I might come across. As I’m playing in Brazil I thought it would make sense to start with the 4-2-2-2 that many of the clubs use. Remember I’m using the 4-4-2 that is posted further up the thread unless stated other wise J

The 4-2-2-2can be very hard to break down at times as it over powers the midfield if you have fewer midfielders than them.

Take a look at this screenshot;


Just by looking at the screenshot you should be able to see where the 4-4-2 might struggle against it. As the middle of the pitch is far too congested you need to go around them. Playing through the middle 9 times out of 10 simply wouldn’t work, even if you have a superior side. The middle is too packed and your players won’t find the space to break them down. So what I tend to do is go as wide as possible and use the exploit the wings shout. This means my players will focus the player down the wings where the 4-2-2-2 is exposed. Meaning I’m exploiting their weakness. Basically that is all I do and so far I’ve done really well against the 4-2-2-2 formations as you can see on the screenshot below;


I can only beat the opposition put in front of me. To do that I have to prepare and take advantages of other formations and exploit their weaknesses. Its just common sense really that it all comes down to. If you put the 4-4-2 on top of the4-2-2-2 formation then you’d see instant the difficulties and see where the game can be won or lost. 7 times I’ve faced it and scored 17 goals and conceded just the one. Not too bad going if you ask me, especially as the 4-2-2-2 is oneof the hardest formations to break down. Well in my opinion J

I was been lazy yesterday and forgot to prepare before a game as I was posting on here haha. Anyways when I went back to my game (I was playing in highlight mode) I realised I’d not prepared. I think 30 minutes game time had passed and I was getting over played by Paulista. I’d not even had a shot on goal and lookedl ike I couldn’t break them down. Which makes sense as the tactic I posted above(my 4-4-2), as focus passing set to mixed. So my players were still attempting to go through the middle at times which isn’t any good. Anyways, I changed things around and scored within a minute. My side never really looked back and I managed to win 0-4. Here are the highlights from the game;


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Beating other 4-4-2's

Playing a side that plays the same shape as you can be difficult at times because even though the shape may be the same, the actual tactical instructions differ. This can be said for all formations though. So for me it's really important that I view a small proportion of the match so I can see what is happening. It’s vital in my opinion so you can get a more general view of how the tactic is playing out. The same goes for any tactic.


I don't encounter 4-4-2's much playing in Brazil; in fact it’s rather rare that I come across them. This makes watching bits of the game even more important. It was quite clear early on that the way to beat this formation would be to use the exact settings I had started the game with. Which is the tactic posted at the start of the thread. Man for man I had the better side and knew I should be able to cope with any threat from the opposition.

The things you can do when playing other 4-4-2's is to try and play a little bit wider to give that creative midfielder a little bit more space. I find this really effective especially when both sides are equally matched. The same can be said for overlapping fullbacks, this can create some really good link up play but can cause a little bit of defensive vulnerability. So you have to find the right balance between attacking and defensive duties.

I can't really add much more about beating this just yet though as I've not encountered any problems yet as I don't play it regular enough. But if I do come across it more I'll be sure to update the post.

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You'll reconise some of the next bit from previous threads, but rather than redo what I've written I thought we can use the stuff already done and I can add to it with new stuff. Rather than disregard the stuff I've done in the past, it makes sense to include it (all though it's done with random teams) and add new bits and examples to it. So bear with the thread even if you've read bits of it. As it will also include more new stuff than old. So here goes


Stephen Ireland the player circled in blue has attempted to do a cross field pass to Shaun Wright Phillips. This was to exploit the space down my right side due to my formation as I lack width on this side. It looks like Stephen Warnock (the yellow arrow) will struggle to get across to cover. But that isn’t strictly true as Warnock is in a good starting position to make an interception. So before anything happened the defenders positioning attribute was already working. Let’s remind ourselves what positioning actually means;

Positioning is the ability of a player to read a situation and position himself in the best possible position to deal with the unfolding events. Anticipation will help him in the first stage but in terms of his actual positioning, it comes down to this attribute. A higher rating will ensure the player takes up a better position.

Anticipation also plays a part due to the player needing to anticipate how Shaun Wright Phillips makes his movement. Because anticipation also plays a part here is how that works;

How well a player can predict and react to an event. If a player has a high attribute here he can read the game well and react to situations quicker than others. This attribute works well with ‘Off the Ball’.

Now we have a general idea of what the first 2 attributes used do we need to look at the move a little closer. I won’t mention off the ball just yet as that is mainly an attacking attribute only as defensive players need positioning instead. They are the only 2 attributes (apart from goalkeeping attributes) that are specific to defensive or attacking players. Off the ball is for attacking players and positioning for defenders.

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Stephen Warnock manages to come across and pressure Shaun Wright Phillips. Even though SWP is the faster player when he was waiting for the pass from Stephen Ireland he was facing the wrong way. This meant that Warnock had the upper hand as he was facing the correct way due to the position he took up. This allowed him to use his acceleration to come across and cover.

Acceleration is how quickly a player can reach top speed (pace) from a standing start. It therefore ties in very closely with the Pace attribute.

There is in fact a fairly obvious superiority of Anticipation, Composure, Determination and Workrate. This is one of the reasons why Stephen Warnock got to the ball first, along with the attributes already mentioned above.

By showing a good amount of composure it allowed him to stay calm and not rush into making a tackle. Here is a reminder of what composure does.

The player’s steadiness of mind and ability, particularly with the ball. When faced with a big goalscoring chance or heavy pressure defensively, a player with high composure will be able to keep his head and more often than not make an intelligent decision which is beneficial to the team.

I also mentioned determination which is;

A commitment to succeed. A determined player will give everything in order to win. This ties in with Bravery – players with a high attribute in one of these attributes may also be high in the other as the traits necessary are similar.

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Once Warnock knew what he had to do he was very determined to get to the ball. His workrate also allowed this to happen.

This reflects the player’s mental drive to work hard. A high rating will ensure a player wants to work his socks off from start to finish, but he will need the necessary physical attributes to actually be able to pull it off. Nonetheless, it is an admirable trait to have in your team.

Then once side by side with SWP it came down to Warnock’s decision making in what he should do.

The ability of a player to make a correct decision a majority of the time. This attribute is important in every position but perhaps more so for central defenders and midfielders, who will see a lot of the ball and have a number of options when in possession.

He decided to make a tackle but he could have quite easily decided to force him wide. But on this occasion he made the correct call to make the tackle. He wins the ball passes it to the striker who then comes deep and loses it. But luckily Warnock was on hand again to repeat the above as SWP looked to win the ball back.

So for me this moved worked as follows;

Positioning – Anticipation – Acceleration – Determination – Workrate – Composure – Decisions.

Sfrazer also made a good spot here in regards to this move;

Also I don't know if you noticed, but just before Warnock plays the ball to Milner, both Milner and Agbonlahor are facing in the direction that the possible move Milner refuses and the eventual move that leads to the goal comes from. That may not have any relevance whatsoever but I thought it might be worth pointing out. It could indicate just how early both players have anticipated the move. Indeed just before Warnock receives the ball after the contest between Toure and Agbonlahor, he turns to face Milner then receives the ball then dribbles infield past the poorly positioned Adrien to pass to the excellent choice of Milner. If you look at how the Aston Villa players involved in the build-up to the goal turn and move, it looks very clear to me that each move has been Anticipated well in advance and that each player has turned and looked in exactly the direction of each subsequent pass quite a few touches prior to execution.

This can be highlighted in this screenshot;


From viewing the clip several times it is clear that Warnock does consider passing to Adrien but realises he isn’t in the best position and decided to cut infield and pass to James Milner. It is hard to show the full movement of the above in just a screenshot. So I’ll also add the PKM to the end of the post so people can download it and see for themselves the events we are talking about.

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Part Two of the Move

Once Stephen Warnock wins the ball for a second time, he then comes infield and picks a pass to James Milner.


As Milner received the ball Manchester City’s defence have already begun to step up meaning I have two player’s off-side. The thing that stands out here is that Milner could play the ball through first time. Had he done so however, Agbonlahor would have been half a yard offside. Beyond the technical difficulty of the first-time pass, I see no reason to imagine that Milner would not have considered it, seeing as how he spots the next pass. Therefore in my opinion Decisions has come into play in Milner before he even touches the ball, to make him refuse the bad pass to the offside Agbonlahor.

The attributes brought into play by receiving the pass goes like this;

Anticipation – First Touch – Composure – Technique

He anticipates he’ll receive the pass from Warnock. Then when he gets the pass his first touch is excellent. Important to the First Touch is the fact that Milner has anticipated the pass. Again turning to look at the ball and the passer before it reaches him. Had he not anticipated the pass then irrespective of his First Touch/Composure etc. the pass would have bounced off him? First touch is;

How good a player’s first touch is when receiving possession. A higher rating will ensure that the player can trap the ball quicker and put it in a useful position to then act upon. Players with lower ratings here will struggle to control the ball as adeptly and may be prone to losing the ball if closed down quickly.

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Composure then comes into the equation and allows him to not panic about receiving such a difficult ball. Technique also plays a part here;

Technique is the aesthetic quality of a player’s technical game – how refined they appear to be with the ball. A player with high technique will be more likely to pull off a tricky pass or a cross-field ball with greater ease than someone less technically able. This in turn affects a number of technical attributes – poorer technique will let a player down.

This is also an important attribute when first touch is used, they go hand in hand.


The next attribute that really sticks out is Determination. Look at how Milner attacks the game immediately after controlling the ball. That is a determined run, by a mile. There is a bit of Agility, Dribbling, Acceleration, and I would say perhaps Aggression and almost certainly Workrate involved. No doubt a bit of Composure and Technique as well, and Anticipation of the challenge of the number 7 Ireland. Overall though, Determination is written all over that move.

The two attacking player’s in this move are way offside that is why Milner makes the decision to run with the ball. His run is determined but he is also anticipating that Agbonlahor will get back on side. For this to happen Agbonlahor needed to show great determination and acceleration to be able to get back in time. Milner’s timing is crucial here because if he plays the ball now then the whole move collapses. So his decision to hold onto the ball and drive forward before picking the pass is down to his decision making and determination to see the move succeed. Another thing is this move is Teamwork;

How well the player follows tactical instructions and works for and alongside his team-mates. A team full of players with a high rating here will work better as a unit. Players with lower ratings will slack off and not ‘buy in’ to the team ethos.

Concentration played a very important role in the move as well. The Concentration aspect of the move can be shown in how well each player anticipates each other’s movements throughout the move. As this move is early in the match, the final action in the move is a matter of split seconds between pass and run. If this was later in the match then both players might lose Concentration in the later parts of the move and mis-time or even fail to spot the final run or final pass of the move.

Concentration is;

This reflects a player’s concentration on an event-by-event basis. A high rating here will mean the player can concentrate harder for longer and be able to respond to incidents late in the game just as well as he did early on. Lower concentration will see players lose focus and perhaps become liable to mistakes at crucial times in the match.

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Part Three


It’s quite clear that Milner and Agbonlahor are working together here because of what happens next. Agbonlahor gets back onside and is on the defenders blind side. As soon as Agbonlahor is back on side he starts to move forward again. Milner then plays a worldclass ball over the top for him to run onto. For him to be able to do this he has shown good anticipation, concentration, teamwork and decision making. In fact Milner looks to be waiting for Agbonlahors runs, showing Concentration and Teamwork, and the Anticipation of the precise timing of the pass is very good. Almost perfect give or take a few milliseconds and quarter of a yard. Concentration plays a large role here in my opinion.

The Teamwork aspect of the move can been seen in how many of the components of each players movements are linked together, in how early they both start playing the move together even before the pass and the run. A low Teamwork player might only spot the run, or the pass, instead of actually moving around before hand to assist his teammate in making the move easier to pull off.

The above is vital and you need to watch the PKM and view the first goal, to get a good understanding of what happened here. No amount of pictures or explanation can describe exactly what happened like viewing the clip would show.

Agbonlahor shows good off the ball due to his movement throughout the move. He knows exactly where he should be and knows the run he needs to make. Anticipation once again is also important. Here is what off the ball does;

A player’s movement without the ball. Similar to Anticipation, this is how well a player, particularly attacking ones, can assess a situation and then move off the ball, making themselves available to receive a pass in a dangerous position.

Once he gets back on side then he uses his agility to turn and make a run onto the ball from Milner.

Agility reflects how well a player can start, stop, and move in different directions at varying levels of speed (pace). It ties in with the Pace, Acceleration, and Balance attributes as they work together in the match engine, especially when a player is running with the ball.

As you can see agility uses a lot of other player attributes and it’s them all combined what makes the difference. However for this move it doesn’t matter than Agbonlahor doesn’t possess great balance or agility because the defender is on the back foot. Due to Agbonlahor running back from an offside position he’s managed to get onto the blind side of the defender. So already he has the advantage. All he needed was for Milner to execute the ball well and he would be away. And that’s what happened.

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Once the ball comes over the top of the defender the striker already has a good 5 yards advantage and would never catch someone as fast as Agbonlahor up. He doesn’t even need a good first touch for this as he lets the ball bounce in front of him. He almost runs onto a dead ball by the time he gets on the end of it. Then he picks his corner and fires it home to make it 0-1.

So this move came about using;

Off the ball – Anticipation – Agility – Acceleration – Pace – Strength - Composure – Decisions – Technique - Finishing

Apart from pace and acceleration, Agbonlahor is quite poor in the other attributes. But that didn’t matter this time due to him getting into a position what allowed him time and space without been under too much pressure.


The player circled in red is trying to attempt a last ditch tackle just as Gabby is about to fire the ball home. The other defender Toure is just behind Agbonlahor and from viewing the clip several times you can see he tried to out muscle Gabby off the ball. But Agbonlahor is quite strong so he just dismissed Toure’s attempt and shrugged it off. Toure had one attempt to muscle him off the ball as he was behind the attacker so couldn’t tackle him as he would have given the penalty away.

The finish was also important. Finishing is;

The player’s ability to put the ball in the back of the net when presented with a chance. A high finishing attribute will put the shot on target a majority of the time as a bare minimum but compared to a player with poorer finishing will find the places where the goalkeeper can’t save it. This is purely the ability of the player to perform an accurate shot – Composure and Decisions will also impart on the ability of a player to score consistently.

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The next bit of this guide will look at certain moments from the same game. This should allow me to pick out key things that will highlight the rest of the attributes I’ve not mentioned yet. Plus the PKM is already uploaded should people decide to watch the game.

So far I’ve mentioned;









First Touch



Off the Ball





In this screenshot it is a simple move that Fernando Gago does. He gets the ball and runs past Lee Cattermole. For this he used composure, technique, concentration, dribbling, balance, decisions, creativity and pace.

Dribbling is;

This refers to the player’s ability to dribble with the ball. This is purely his proficiency with the ball at his feet – his Pace, Acceleration, Agility, and Balance will all aid his dribbling in different circumstances, and whilst a higher dribbling attribute will also help him in different situations, dribbling alone isn’t enough to get by.

I also mentioned balance which is;

Balance reflects simply how well a player can keep his balance in situations both with and without the ball. With the ball, it refers to how balanced he is running with it and evading opponents, without it, it refers to his balance when facing a player running at him, or his stability when turning/jumping.

As the player is not instructed to run with the ball in his settings, then it is obvious his creativity played a part in the move.

This refers to a player’s vision and ability to see a potential opening, not necessarily exploit it. A player might be able to see something to take advantage of but also requires the technical proficiency to pull it off.

He saw he had a good chance of running past Lee Cattermole (due to his creativity) and then used hisdecision attribute to decide to do it.


Then he gives the ball to Fabian Delph and drops back. For this he used passing, composure, teamwork, workrate and positioning.

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Fluid System


Adebayor who is circled in red is just about to receive the ball. Now if you look at my defensive midfielder you’ll see he is in a good position, especially as Adebayor is facing the wrong way. Then Adebayor starts to run towards the flank as he looks to turn and run towards my goal.


But he shows a bit too much of the ball allowing my defensive midfielder to slide in and take the ball away from him. For this Gago showed good
positioning, marking, anticipation, bravery, determination, aggression, tackling, acceleration, concentration, workrate, and decisions.

We’ve already covered positioning so let’s move straight onto

How well players, mainly defensive types, mark an opponent. Marking alone will see them do a good job if the attribute is high, but remember that other attributes – Strength, Off the Ball, Anticipation – will play a part in the effectiveness of the marking, as well as the comparable physical statures of the two players.

He also needed to be brave as he did a sliding tackle;

How committed and indeed, brave, a player is. Braver players will risk injury more in situations a lesser-minded player may shy away from. They’ll go in where it hurts and lay it on the line for the team.

We’ve not mentioned aggression before so here goes;

This reflects a player’s attitude in terms of playing mentality but is not necessarily a dirtiness indicator. A more aggressive player will look to involve himself in every incident and get stuck in, perhaps at the expense of a yellow card or two. A less aggressive player may shy away from situations and merely drop into his comfort zone.

And finally
which does exactly as it says on the tin;

How successfully the player is at winning tackles and not conceding fouls from such situations. Players with a high tackling rating will consistently win the ball cleanly and be a more capable defensive player

What we are beginning to see here is that a lot of the same attributes are used in all moves. Thing’s like decisions, anticipation, positioning and concentration seem to be more prominent than other attributes and are required for all actions a player does on the field. This is why it can hard to see how attributes work in game.

There are a lot of other factors involved in how attributes work, namely the team and individual settings you have instructed them to follow. But we will talk about the link between attributes and settings once all the attributes have been covered. This thread is just a basics understanding of what each attribute does before we move onto the more difficult stuff regarding player settings. That requires a lot more time and attention due to the sheer amount information we need to squeeze into them. But for now we’ll continue with the attributes and hopefully have this finished by the start of next week

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The other outfield attributes that I’ve not mentioned so far are;


This attribute reflects how well the player takes a corner. Taking advantage of set-pieces is important, and having a capable corner taker to put the ball into key areas is useful.


This indicates a player’s proficiency at crossing the ball from wide areas into the penalty box.


This is a player’s competence in aerial situations. Heading applies to all situations and is only about the player’s ability to head the ball well. Jumping (and to a lesser extent Strength) plays a big part in combination with heading to utilize the attribute to a greater level, as well as a player’s height.


This attribute related to how high a player can jump from a standing start.

Natural Fitness

How fit a player is as standard – his base level of fitness. It affects how many games he is likely to be able to perform to peak physical fitness in before becoming noticeably tired and susceptible to injury.


A natural talent for the creative and occasional unpredictability. A player with a lot of flair will be one of the key attacking components in any team but at the same time may need tactical restraint to get the best out of him. Flair and Creativity work well together.

The reason I’m not showing you how flair and creativity work in game just yet, is because I can discuss it more and put the point across a lot better but showing you how it works with the individual and team settings we choose. I feel it will be better served expanding on this when discussing those aspects.


Influence is the player’s ability to affect events or other players without any intentional effort. Players with high influence will be leaders on the pitch and team-mates will tend to rally around these players.

Free Kick Taking

This reflects how good at taking free kicks the player is. It applies to both direct shots at goal and deliveries into dangerous areas from wider or deeper positions. A player who is proficient in taking free kicks can be a valuable commodity – scoring five free kicks a season and adding five more assists from them can be a huge bonus.

Long Shots

This is the player’s prowess at shooting from distance – from outside the penalty area. It is largely a stand-alone attribute but pay attention to any PPMs the player may have which complement their long shots rating.

Long Throws

The ability of the player to perform a long throw, which can be taken advantage of in attacking situations.

Penalty Taking

The ability of the player from the penalty spot. A player with a high rating here will be more confident and capable from 12 yards.

These attributes are easy to see in game and are simple to understand. So there is no need to show how these work in a game situation. These are the easier attributes to see.

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Goalkeeper attributes are probably one of the harder set of attributes to see in game. I’ll go into detail about a few of them now but a lot of them will be more visible to see and understand how they work when we talk about how attributes affect what we’ve instructed a player to do.

Aerial Ability

This is a goalkeeper’s ability to deal with the ball in aerial situations – punching and catching. Goalkeepers with higher ratings here will be able to deal with these potentially tricky situations more capably. Taller goalkeepers may have an advantage as well, but that isn’t to say smaller ones will struggle.

When you see a keeper coming for an aerial ball this is what he uses. Agility, balance, strength, concentration, determination, jumping, positioning, composure and anticipation all have an effect. All these attributes are used to determine if he will get to the ball, whether he gets the ball all depends on his handling.


How securely the goalkeeper holds onto the ball when making a save or coming for a loose ball. Greater handling will be beneficial in unfavourable weather conditions, but in general a goalkeeper who doesn’t give up rebounds will be useful.

Command of Area

This affects how well the goalkeeper takes charge of his penalty area and works with his defensive line. A goalkeeper who commands his entire box (i.e. has a high rating) will be instinctive and look to take charge of situations, especially coming for crosses (therefore working in tandem with Aerial Ability). Do note, however, that a high rating only increases his penchant for coming for crosses and not necessarily claiming them all.


How well a goalkeeper communicates with his defensive line and organises the defensive side of the team. A higher rating reflects a better communicator and will allow your back five (or more) to work better together, ensuring better defensive stability.

This is vital for sorting out defensive free kicks, a higher communication will allow for the defensive wall to be set more accurate with the right number of people in it.


This attribute represents the likelihood of the goalkeeper to do the unexpected and typically act completely un-like a goalkeeper. Things like dribbling out of his area will be commonplace if the eccentricity attribute is high.

Ever seen your goalkeeper do something weird for no apparent reason? This could be the reason why.


The physical capability of a goalkeeper to kick the ball – this purely defines the distance he can reach. His Passing and Technique ratings will define how accurate his kicks are.

One on Ones

The ability of the goalkeeper to do well when faced with an opponent in a one on one situation. Higher attributes will see goalkeepers attempt to impose themselves and win the ball with confidence.

When faced with a one on one situation, anticipation, decisions, composure, concentration, balance, agility, positioning, reflexes and rushing all will all come into the equation at some stage of the move. The higher the attributes for all those then the more likely he would be to deal with the situation.


How good the goalkeeper is at making instinctive reaction saves. If he has a high reflexes rating he will be able to respond to the unpredictable with more success and be able to pull off the highlight reel saves.

Rushing Out

How good the goalkeeper is at coming off his line to react to through balls and similar situations. A goalkeeper will benefit from Pace and Acceleration here as well.

Tendency to Punch

This determines whether a goalkeeper will catch the ball when he can, or punch it clear. A higher rating reflects a tendency to punch most things clear even when it may be possible to hold onto the ball.


How good the goalkeeper’s distribution with his arms is. A higher rating will increase the accuracy of his throws, although Strength imparts on the distance he is able to reach.

Trying to show these attributes working in screenshots wouldn’t get them across well enough. So I am working on some videos to illustrate this better. But that will take a while longer, so I’ll edit the thread and add the links once finished. Might take me a while though as I’ve never done videos before.

Now I’ve covered the rest of the attributes I can move onto showing them in practise in a game and illustrate exactly what impact they have on the settings you select.

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Next we take a look at the impact that attributes have on the style of play that you choose to use.

Looking at the attributes of your players is also a good way to determine what type of football they can play. Whether you want to play defensive or attacking football the attributes are very important to determine if they can play this way. I think this is an area that is overlooked by most folks and they just tend to pick how they want to play off the top of their head. Regardless of if they have the right players available to play this way. This is why so many people struggle to find consistency in my opinion because they don’t have the correct players. So let’s take a closer look at the attributes and see what you should look for.


To play a defensive type of game it is important that your team is able to keep the shape at all times. This will make you hard to break down and mean you are well organised. When playing defensive if you don’t keep the shape it will mean you have holes in your tactics and the opposition will exploit them. Plus if you don’t keep shame then the whole philosophy is flawed to begin with. The players must be alert for the full 90 minutes and be on-the ball so to speak. Any lapse in concentration can be very costly especially late in games. It also requires you getting men back behind the ball. Remember also that someone defensive minded will be less ambitious with their passing.

Technical Attributes

Tackling – This is important for all players who will be back behind the ball.

Marking – You’ll want the player’s to be able to pick up their man and stick with him. One slip up by not marking properly and you could start to see gaps appear in your shape.

Heading – Because you’re defensive the chances are a lot of balls over the top and crosses from the wings will be a big issue. So you’ll want the defenders to be able to cope with these. Heading across the field in general will be a big bonus but it’s vital for the defence to be able to deal with aerial threats.

Mental Attributes

To be able to stay focused and keep the team shape players need to be mentally aware of problems and potential problems. So they must have good mental attributes to excel under pressure and reduce the amount of mistakes they make.

Anticipation – Player’s need to be aware of danger before it happens

Composure – The calmer the player is on the ball the less hurried his next action will be. You want people who won’t panic on the ball and give possession away cheaply. Especially when in your own half

Concentration – It’s no use having players who might switch off at any moment. You need them focused at all times.

Positioning – You want them positioned well enough to force pressure if it’s needed. This also helps the players keep the shape of the formation.

Teamwork – As the team will be playing as a defensive unit then it’s important all players are on the same page and working together.

Workrate – Players need to have a good work ethic as they’ll have lots of running about to do. You need the players to want to work hard for the result.

Physical Attributes

Acceleration – You need people to be able to be fast over short distances to cover other players. Or for them to pick up and loose balls quickly. It will also help with getting across to mark a player or to close him down.

Balance - A player who falls over easily and isn’t on his feet is out of the game.

Jumping – This will help in defensive situations. Remember this is needed for the heading attribute and works hand in hand with that.

Strength – Having a high attribute for this will ensure he can hold his own against the opposition should they get close to each other. You don’t want your players to get out muscled and knocked off the ball.

Stamina – You’ll want players who won’t get tired after 20 minutes of a game. The higher the attribute the more they can cope with high level physical activities.

Some might argue that other attributes should be on the list and that could possibly be the case. But for me these are the important ones for playing defensively. A few of you would have probably put decisions on the list and I'd agree to a certain extent. But for me playing defensively is more about getting the players to follow my own instructions I've set rather. So for this reason I omitted decisions from the list.

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A Normal Approach

A normal approach is neutral and doesn’t concentrate on one aspect more than the other. It will provide the right balance between defence and attack. Meaning the players are less likely to take risks defensively or attacking.

Technical Attributes

First Touch – You want the players to be comfortable when receiving the ball. This prevents risks if they can control the ball at first time of asking.

Passing – It’s important that the players don’t take risks and lose the ball needlessly.

Tackling - The midfielders will need decent tackling so they can win the ball back and start attacks early.

Mental Attributes

Anticipation – This attribute is important for all most everything. So it’s no surprise I think its need here again. Much for the same reasons already mentioned further up the guide.

Aggression – Having a high attribute for this will make the player more likely to get involved in an incident and get stuck in.

Composure – The calmer the player is on the ball the less hurried his next action will be. You want people who won’t panic on the ball and give possession away cheaply.

Decisions – Making the correct decision is important for any good football player. As you are playing a more neutral game its important they make the correct decision.

Teamwork – It probably feels like I am repeating a lot of attributes and that would be the right assessment. But a lot of them do tie into all aspects of the game as hopefully we are beginning to demonstrate throughout the guide. Teamwork is important in that you want the team as a unit. So anything that requires you to work as a team and not individuals will always require a high teamwork attribute throughout the team.

Physical Attributes

Stamina – This is the only attribute I’d put for this part for the same reasons as the defensive one.

Playing a normal game means teams won’t excel at one particular area of the game. They should try and be competitive in all areas equally and not be ‘really good’ at anything.

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Attacking football is all about player movement and how well you distribute the ball. You look to put pressure on the opposition and commit players forward. Then when the time is right you’ll look to carve open the defence with intelligent play and skill. While at the same time been aware of how open you are for the counter attack.

Technical Attributes

Dribbling – You want players who are comfortable with the ball at their feet and who can commit defenders. This will help create space and openings.

First Touch – Is vital ingredient for any player playing attacking football. Players who lack good first touch will miss good opportunities for running at defences or important passes.

Passing – You want people in the side who can distribute the ball well to take advantage of situation in the game. Poor distribution will lead to missed opportunities.

Technique - Technique is the aesthetic quality of a player’s technical game – how refined they appear to be with the ball. A player with high technique will be more likely to pull off a tricky pass or a cross-field ball with greater ease than someone less technically able. This in turn affects a number of technical attributes – poorer technique will let a player down.

Mental Attributes

Anticipation – You’ll want the players to anticipate the movement of others around them as well as the type of ball they might be about to receive.

Composure – This will help with how comfy a person is on the ball in hurried situations. So when under pressure from the opposition will still attempt their ‘original decision’.

Creativity – For cutting open those defences you’ll want people who are creative. Plus it will help it spotting an opening or a different type of pass.

Flair – This goes hand in hand with creativity so can’t have one without the other.

Decisions – A player should be able to make the correct decision if more than one option is available. As you’ll be attacking then making the right decision is important and will be the difference between a goal and defending a counter attack.

Off The Ball – Movement is the key to all attacking formations and play. If an attacking player has a low rating then he’ll be less likely to find a little bit of space and make the right movement to beat his marker before he receives the goal. Sometimes it can be the difference that gives you that extra yard.

Teamwork – Again this is needed to play as a unit. But if you have a few special talents in your side that might be better playing as individuals then this isn’t as important. But very few teams have that kind of luxury.

Physical Attributes

Pace – I like to play fast paced attacking football so for me pace is essential. Especially for player’s who like to drive forward and beat their man. It’s important for me that they can reach the top speed.

Acceleration – This will provide that little edge in gaining an extra yard on the opposition. This and pace are very important.

Agility – Provides the player the ability to turn fast if needed. Ideally all attacking players should be agile when playing an attacking game. As they’ll be receiving the ball a lot and sometimes might find themselves with it when they wasn’t expecting it.

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Counter Attacking

Counter attacking is a speciality and requires you to exploit space and get the ball forward fast and early. If you fail to get the ball forward quick then you’ll have wasted the opportunity.

Technical Attributes

Crossing – Whether it is from deep or the by-line, it’s a weapon that you can use to devastating effects. An early cross to an attacker can instantly put the opposition onto the back foot.

Dribbling – To take advantage of any space that appears you’ll want players who are able to bring the ball forward.

Finishing – To make the most of any move you’ll want to put it into the back of the net.

Long shots – Players sometimes find themselves with a good opportunity to shoot from distance, especially when counter attacking.

Technique – For the same reasons I mentioned in the attacking one.

Mental Attributes

Aggression – Players should want to be involved in everything. This can also help with winning the ball back early and starting quick counter attacks.

Bravery – You don’t want players who bottle it when trying to win the ball back early do you?

Off The Ball - Movement is the key to all attacking formations and play. If an attacking player has a low rating then he’ll be less likely to find a little bit of space and make the right movement to beat his marker before he receives the goal. Sometimes it can be the difference that gives you that extra yard.

Work rate - Players will need to work hard both in defence and attacking situations. They will be up and down the field all day long, so should be prepared to put in the hard graft.

Physical Attributes

Pace – I like to play fast paced attacking football so for me pace is essential. Especially for player’s who like to drive forward and beat their man. It’s important for me that they can reach the top speed. Plus the players will be back and forth all match long.

Acceleration – This will provide that little edge in gaining an extra yard on the opposition. This and pace are very important.

Stamina – As the players will be up and down a lot, they need to be fit.

Strength – Having a high attribute for this will ensure he can hold his own against the opposition should they get close to each other. You don’t want your players to get out muscled and knocked off the ball. It will also help you win the ball back.

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Season One Summary

Season one was quite hard for me as I was trying to reshape the squad from the bottom upwards. Especially when I had hardly any transfer funds, I had to sell a lot of players who didn’t have a part in my plans. This raised a little bit of money but not enough to buy anyone to improve my team from the off. I decided to concentrate on youth and brought a couple of good youths in.


The transfers of Romario and Toloi were to add a bit of depth to my side. Plus I have very high hopes for both players. The rest of the transfers were regens and players my scouts recommended to me, so I signed them. After all I am building for the future.


I used the 4-42 for the whole of the season and it proved to work very well. These were the results;



And this was the league table at the end of the season;


The league was hard work don’t be fooled by the table. A lot of effort went into the games and some teams proved very difficult to break down. I also was retraining Ganso as a striker to partner Neymar up top after selling Borges. So the goals didn’t come as frequent as I had hoped. Plus I’m not sure how many of you have ever played in Brazil but you have a game every 2-3 days most of the time. So you have to rotate a lot. Plus you have a lot of players away on international duty which can be a massive pain in the arse. Especially when 7 of my first team are all away and the game still go ahead.

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Season Two Summary

Season Two I kept the same shape and used the same settings as in the original post. I wanted to see how the scoring fared this time around as now Ganso was a natural striker after training the position for the past 11 months. I had a lot more games this season though and had even more players away on international duty.


I think I did well to strengthen the squad in the transfer window. I had £8.5 million to spend and got a few established players in and invested in youth yet again.

.................................................. .......



I won that quite comfortable in the end.


It was a very hard season in the leagues; in total it was a 77 game season for my players. That’s without counting games at international level. Some of my players played 10+ times for their country. The Brazilian league is very demanding and you need a big squad to cope.

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I’m sorry for the lack of detail regarding the first two seasons, I did have it all written up but the problem with the screenshots mentioned in another thread really messed it all up. I just can’t be bothered to go back over it all and add about 100 screenshots, it would just be too time consuming and I didn’t have the energy to do it if I’m honest. I might put the game up for download though if anyone is interested?

I’ll also be going back over season one and two a little later as I want to show you some of the players I bought and explain why. I also want to track their development for you. I’ll revisit that aspect of the game at the end of next season for you. Hopefully you’ll be a lot more pleased with the level of detail in the thread from now on. As I’ll write it all up as I go along.

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The W-M Revisited

The WM system was created in the mid-1920s by
to counter a change in the
in 1925. The change had reduced the number of opposition players that attackers needed between themselves and the goal-line from three to two. This led to the introduction of a centre-back to stop the opposing centre-forward, and tried to balance defensive and offensive playing. The formation became so successful that by the late-1930s most English clubs had adopted the WM. Retrospectively, the WM has either been described as a 3–2–5 or as a 3–4–3, or more precisely a 3–2–2–3 reflecting the letters which symbolized it.


I’ve always created this formation on every version of the game since about CM 03/04 I think. So this year is no different and because I’ve not wrote about it since 2008 on here, I thought I’d create a thread for it as I know a few other users also enjoy this classis formation. On my current game I didn’t employ this formation until the very end of season two for the Club World Championship’s. I got to the end of season two and was a little bored of playing 4-4-2. I didn’t want to play the 4-3-3/4-5-1 hybrid as that isn’t challenging enough. So I opted for something with a back 3 and I ended up with the W-M. I actually have created two back 3 tactics now; I might post about the other a little later in the thread as well.

I don’t have that many AMC’s so I’ve had to opt to use two MC’s instead for my take on the W-M.

Before we look at how it plays in a game, here is a quick overview of it;



The goalkeeper is actually a sweeper keeper but for the game I just played in the picture above I set them to be just a normal keeper. I did that because the opposition’s strikers were too fast. I’ll touch upon that a lot more a little later on.

The fullbacks could be more attacking and probably will be as I develop the tactic further but it’s still early days. I needed some defensive stability on the wings that’s why there set to defend.

The two DMC roles differ as I wanted them to both do different things in a game, so they don’t occupy the same space.

The two MC’s are the heart of the team and most things that happen go through them first. Especially in the deep lying playmaker role.

The front three are quite interesting as I wanted to create something a little bit different in attack. So the left forward is an inside forward who bombs in from the left. The right sided striker is more of a winger and crosses the ball. Although is a goal threat himself from time to time. And the striker is the link player of the three. He is the one who draws the defender out and creates space for the other players to attack.

You’ll see it in more detail and see exactly how the roles work in the next part when we look at the games I’ve used it in and we analyze them.

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The first game I used the W-M I won 3-1. However it was in the second game when it all clicked and I could see how it worked. It was against Chelsea in the Club World Championships. I was looking forward to playing Chelsea as they have a world-class side and even though I have good players I still don’t have the team I want even after 3 seasons. I still have 7 players who were at the club when I joined in my starting line up.

These are the stats from the game;

Match stats.png

They don’t look that impressive really do they? But the way I play especially the movement in attack was really nice to watch. It was some of the best football I’ve seen played in the match engine.

Santos stats.png

I managed to race into a 0-5 lead by half time; this was the first of those goals;

Anderson pass.png

Chelsea try to clear the ball but it went no further than Anderson. Anderson then tries to play a one two with Nem. But Nem is tackled and the ball goes a little wider but luckily Anderson can pick the ball back up.

Anderson picks ball up.png

Anderson shows great dribbling, flair, technique, composure, balance, agility to dribble with the ball into the box. He then shows good vision to spot the pass. Decision, anticipation, teamwork all comes into play.

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He passes the ball to Ganso;

Ganso vision.png

Who shows excellent first touch, technique, decisions,teamwork, creativity, passing, anticipation to do a first time pass to Neymar who slots the ball home.

Neymar Goal.png

Neymar showed good decisions, finishing, composure, off the ball to get on the end of the pass and score.

Second Goal

For the second goal I score from Chelsea’s kick off from the goal before.

Sandro tackle.png

Sandro showed great positioning, anticipation, decisions, marking,tackling, composure, workrate, aggression, strength, balance, bravery,determination, and concentration to win the tackle.

Neymar dribble.png

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Neymar showed great creativity, anticipation, teamwork, workrate, decisions, technique, passing, first touch to pick Ganso out with the pass.

Ganso goal1.png

Ganso then runs home and slots the ball home for 0-2. He showed good off the ball, workrate, anticipation, acceleration, pace, dribbling, determination, composure, finishing and creativity and flair, technique because he hits the ball across the keeper.

Third Goal

This move starts from a throw-in.


Neymar then plays it back to Henrique who took the throw-in. But Henrique shows poor first touch and the ball goes in front of him. Luckily there is no one around and he can recover.


Henrique then shows good composure, anticipation, passing, decisions to spot the pass.


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Anderson then shows great first touch, passing, flair, creativity, technique and teamwork to be able to spot the pass to Ganso.


Ganso shows great balance, agility to get the shot off. The keeper parry’s it Ganso shows good off the ball, strength, balance, workrate, determination, composure, acceleration, finishing, first touch to score with the second attempt.

Goal Four

This goal actually starts from my keeper; he showed good kicking, anticipation, decisions to be able to spot Ganso.


Ganso shows good jumping, heading, composure and decisions to be able to pick Neymar out with the header. Then once he wins the header he shows great acceleration, pace, determination, off the ball and work rate to make the run. Watch the clip at the end of the post to see him busting a gut to get forward.


Neymar shows good first touch, technique, passing, decisions, teamwork, and anticipation to pass the ball into space for Ganso to run onto. Ganso then finishes almost exactly like he did for his first goal.

Goal Five

Again it starts with my keeper who plays the ball out to my left back.


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Sandro then finds Neymar who shows good first touch, off the ball, anticipation, composure, dribbling and agility. He then plays it to Ganso.


Ganso once again was showing great determination, off the ball, pace, acceleration, workrate, concentration to keep his eye on Neymar and know exactly to where the ball will be played. Plus great at keeping check so he wasn’t offside. That is intelligent play.

Then Ganso slots home exact same as goal three on the second attempt.

At half time I decided to be more conservative and try and protect the 0-5 lead I had built up. I had to do this really as Chelsea weren’t going to be as poor this half. They would come out fighting and have some quality attackers playing. So I decided to change the strategy to control and use some shouts. The shouts I used were ‘retain possession’, ‘play narrower’, ‘pass to feet’, and ‘stay on feet’. I didn’t want to risk giving away dangerous free kicks or give possession away cheaply. It worked out really well in the end.

Here are the goals from the game;


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Training Update

I thought I'd take this time to update you with a couple of my players and show you how they are improving. I'll show you some of the players and their screenshots from season one to season four. So then you'll be able to see the long-term effects of the schedules. You might be surprised with a few of the screenshots.

These screenshots are took from the end of the first season.


Ganso has been injured and is been retrained to a striker to be more effective and get the best out of him for the way I play. Not the best first season but he did okay.

Next up is one of my regens;


I have real high hopes for him.

Next up the beast that is Neymar;


A really good solid season and a slight attribute changes from him.

Another regen;


He has very poor mental attributes but with the right tutoring and training he can develop really well, at least I hope he will.

Everyone apart from Ganso and Neymar are on the position schedules I posted at the start of the thread. Ganso and Neymar were put on an individual schedule to help them develop. Neymar has individual focus on finishing trying and raising it faster rather than concentrating on that area through actual schedule training. I leave him on that constant.

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I couldn't post more than 4 images in a post, so here is the schedule that Ganso and Neymar are currently on.


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End of Season Two Training Results



I didn't fine Marcao on a few occassions when I really should have, as a result his determination has reduced dramatically. I'm gutted I didn't spot this sooner. Apart from that you'll notice he has improved loads.



Rogerio has kind of stalled because he hasn't played or been on loan. Next season he must play games to develop or his development will be ruined. You can tell because his mentals are still too low and he'll be 18 next season.

Romario has improved greatly too, I'm really pleased.

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Romario has improved quite a lot, no doubt that this is down to the exposure of first team football.


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Season Three Training

The next lot of screenshots are not from the end of the season.

The reason for the changes was I wanted to focus on each player as an individual and get the most out of each player. I'm at that stage of my saved game now that general schedules are no longer useful as I need to players to play a certain way, so I need to develop different attributes based on the player himself. Ganso, Romario and Neymar are still on the same ones for now though. I've created individual schedules for almost everyone at the club now. I'll not update with the progress until end of season four though, to give them time to work.




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These screenshots also include the individual schedules for both players. I do have more screenshots of different players, but will post them at a later date as not all of them have been at the club that long. So not much of a comparison just yet.






That's all the training updates for now.

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The Analysis Tab

For me this is the most important page in the game, this is where you can see how the tactic is working overall. Even if you don’t know how to spot things in game, you should be able to easily identify issues on this part of the game. It really is black and white and does exactly as it says it does. What I’m going to do here is show you exactly how I use the analysis tab to see how my tactic is performing.

A good tip is to not be scared of the analysis tab and during a game you can pause the game for a while and go and look at the analysis tab. Have a quick look at player positions, shots etc and you’ll have a lot better idea of how the team is playing. Rather than just looking at highlights or the match stats. Match stats can be very misleading.

Remember that I am using the W-M formation posted further up the thread. And I was playing against a 4-2-2-2 formation. Depending on what formation you are up against then the analysis tab can look very different each game. So always be sure to know how your own formation plays against the different formations you face each week.

Let’s take a look at a game I’ve just this second played;

Average Positions

Average Positions.png

This seems like a good one to start with as you can see the shape your team takes during a match. As you can see it doesn’t look very stable at the back during play but don’t be fooled I was very solid in this match. My right back (14) ended up playing as a Wingback due to the opposition lacking any real threat. I decided to give him higher mentality and tell him to attack due to the opposition sitting back. Were as my anchor man (12) played slightly deeper and not that far in front of the central defender.

Even though my midfielders play the same positions you can see how mentality and individual instructions like run with the ball, hold up ball etc effects their position on the pitch during a game. This is one of the reasons why the tactic itself is working great because everyone plays a slightly different role and each player has his own little space to occupy. Then when it all comes together it works a whole and as a unit very well.

If in your own tactics you want players to play deeper or higher up the pitch then you can see on this section of the tab if they are playing as you visualise in your head. During a game if you’re not happy with anything then you can pause the game and try and change things slightly and keep doing that until you are happy with the player position. If you just want to check out a specific player then click the selected only option under view. Then highlight the player and you’ll just be able to see that particular player’s average position.

This part of the analysis is pretty simple so there isn’t too much to discuss on it compared with other sections of the tab. So I’ll keep it short and sweet for now.

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As you’ve probably gathered from the screenshot above I don’t really cross the ball a lot. I like to keep the ball on the ground and pass it about. Not because I don’t think crosses work but because I lack any real aerial threat so I encourage more pass and move into the W-M formation. Don’t get me wrong I still do have players cross the ball just not as often as I could and the reason why is pretty self explanatory in the screenshot above.

Marcao is the worse culprit for bad crossing and not finding him man in the screenshot above. But that isn’t down to him been technically poor far from it (although 13 for crossing aren’t great, so it did play some part). It was due to the opposition sitting very deep with a back four and two defensive midfielder very deep. So in essence I was trying to break down a very flat and solid back six at times. It’s almost impossible to play your way through 6 defensive players who are very compact, so you have to try something different and go around them if you can. Hence the amount of failed crosses.

If in your own tactics you are finding players crossing far too often or not been effective then the first thing you should do is check if the player is capable of crossing to begin with. Then you could maybe try to play narrower to try and bring the play more inside instead of playing on the wings. You could set people to cross ‘rarely’. Or it might not even be an issue with the person crossing the ball. He might be crossing it perfect but the movement of your striker might be poor or he might be simple outnumbered when been marked. Something which is quite familiar with lone striker formations, due to the opposition having an extra defender if they play with a back four or more.

If you’re unsure take a look at a few of the crosses by clicking on the coloured dots on the pitch. This gives you a great idea on why the cross didn’t happen.

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I gave away quite a few fouls but not in a dangerous place really with the exception of maybe 2. Again you can view the clip to determine why it happened. Was it due to been caught out of position? It could have been because the player in question was tackling too hard, or mistiming his challenge.

This section kind of goes hand in hand with the tackling section which we’ll be discussing shortly. If you have a player who regularly gives free kicks away then it suggest he’s either tackling too hard, mistiming challenges or been caught out of position. This could be a big worry especially if it’s happening in dangerous position. It can cost you points. So like mentioned above, check out the clips to determine exactly what’s wrong.

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This is a very important bit of the analysis to determine how the defence is working and to see the positions at which tackles are been made by players. As you can see in the screenshot above I didn’t lose any tackles in important areas. You’ll also notice that the opposition attacked me down the left a lot more than they did down my right. This is due to Neymar cutting inside more and my left sided central midfielder been more advanced. The right side of my side is more balanced and compact compared to the left. Hence why the opposition had most of their possession down that side. It’s nothing to worry about and perfectly normal. You only want to worry if you see red dots in important areas or close to goal. That indicates that your defensive players aren’t doing their job properly and is a real cause for concern.

I know I keep saying it but click the dots and watch the clips back. You can learn so much from viewing key incidents during a game.

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This also goes hand in hand with fouls and tackling. All three of them combined tell the defensive story of your side. So pay close attention to all of them.

If you see a lot of yellow dots on this section then you have real problems. It means you aren’t keeping your defensive shape and bad player positioning. This can cause many problems for the team as a whole and give the opposition a free run at goal if you’re really unlucky.

Things that can cause missed interceptions are bad positioning from the player. That could be caused by poor attributes or too high closing down. You could also check to make sure he isn’t tackling too hard. Even if he’s set to normal tackling and missing a lot of interceptions don’t be afraid to give him easy tackling to increase the likelihood of him tackling when he’s confident of winning the ball 100%.

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Headers are tricky to try and correct I find from tactic settings. In fact I’ve seen lots of threads on this issue over the year’s right here on the forums. From a defensive point you have two options to cut losing header out. You can either try to cut the supply off from the people who are providing the crosses i.e. fullbacks and wingers. Or try and drop off the players who are winning the headers so that you’re positioned slightly deeper to pick the ball up. You do have a few options to help you with this; you can use opposition instructions so you don’t mark the tall players tightly. You can also try reducing the defensive line so that you’re behind the player defensively.

From an attacking sense if you’re missing a lot of headers try and reduce the crosses from the wide players. It might be a case of you needing to play it on the ground more like I do in the W-M.

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Set Pieces

Set Pieces.png

I don’t really use this part of the analysis. The only thing I look at here is the defensive free kicks part to see how I’ve set up. The defensive bit of this page links closely with fouls, tackles and interceptions. I’ve already explained how to combat the defensive errors already in the sections mentioned already, so I’ll not repeat them here.

That’s all I use this page for sadly so can’t offer any more detail on this part just yet.

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