ArsenalFan7

Why is the AI so much better at finishing?

601 posts in this topic

average 3 goals game, not always 3+ ofc. 4 goals were conceeded on matches that ended 1-0, 1 due to dc bug, 1 corner because DC thinks it's better to not mark the player and go to top of the area even though he is instructed to mark tall men which was the player who scored, 2 due to awesome crossing near the corner even though he was tight marked and striker is alone 1 yard from the keeper who refuses to intercept the ball. the others matches were good AI corners (no complain), some good long shots without oposition (no complain), and lots of creativity and deadly shots from Villa (hate him so much).

i have a degree in computer software, i'm well aware on how bugs can impact a product and that all software has bugs, even if tiny ones. i'm also aware that a bug that affects the core of how a product works is one of the first that should be fixed before insert new stuff into the product. i'm also aware what happens when a costumer finds out a bug that makes the product not work as it was intended to do, they will ask refund or in most games cases they won't buy next version. i'm also a costumer too so you can pretty much see the outcome.

i wanted to cancel my account so my data would be 100% removed from your database, baning won't do that. if there is a way to erase 100% of my data feel free to use that method

even though we disagree in lots of stuff at least you are one of the mods who have the guts to answer people so: thank you and keep up answering people doubts

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You can't please everyone, all the time. The fact is, FM HAS to be able to simulate the 'bad days', other wise it would be a much poorer simulator. People aren't happy about how its presented to them, but to me, its a simulator trying to simulate a bad day!

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As someone who holds a degree in computer science I am amazed at how little sympathy you appear to have towards the ME coders, surely you must understand how complex the ME is & how difficult it must be to string code that will offer an accurate representation of quite possibly the most fluid & open team sport in the world.

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As someone who holds a degree in computer science I am amazed at how little sympathy you appear to have towards the ME coders, surely you must understand how complex the ME is & how difficult it must be to string code that will offer an accurate representation of quite possibly the most fluid & open team sport in the world.

Put on the box "the ME is very complex so the representation of football will not be realistic enough" instead of "new and improved ME with blah blah" and all will be fine.

Fair, no?

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As someone who holds a degree in computer science I am amazed at how little sympathy you appear to have towards the ME coders, surely you must understand how complex the ME is & how difficult it must be to string code that will offer an accurate representation of quite possibly the most fluid & open team sport in the world.

He has three issues, interpretation, perception and playing method.

Firstly, he interprets a high percentage of goals against as bugged. He may have a valid point, despite the three goals he mentioned not seeming like any of the classic defence bugs to me. However, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and accept they were bugged goals he shouldn't have conceded. He perceives this as being unfair, while forgetting all the bugged goals his team has scored. However, his main problem is not having a Plan B or Plan C in such situations.

Although by now it must be obvious to him that his team has bad days when the strikers can't hit a cow's arse, he continues to play in the same manner, hoping it will get better. There is no attempt to work out whether there are mental / motivational issues stopping the strikers from scoring or to devise methods of scoring in different ways. Ultimately, there is no management outside of buying world class players. As we know from the galactico era, that is not enough in itself. Which takes us back to interpretation and perception.

He perceives that good players are the be all and end all, whereas I believe they are important but not the only piece in the puzzle. Tactical, motivational and media management all play a part. Unless he learns this, then he'll always get frustrated and blame bugs for inevitable losses.

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Put on the box "the ME is very complex so the representation of football will not be realistic enough" instead of "new and improved ME with blah blah" and all will be fine.

Fair, no?

Should SI be the first company in the world, with perhaps the honourable exception of Ronseal, to discard market realities? Perhaps Apple should promote Macs as 'great operating system on overpriced hardware that has a tendency to overheat?' Or Microsoft should market Windows as 'a worthy attempt to copy Apple's ideas on what an OS should be on computers of all shapes, sizes and specs, so please accept the bugs. There's nothing we could do about them'. Or Toyota sell the Yaris as ' a really small car that isn't quite as much fun as Top Gear makes it seem?' Or Pot Noodles be sold as 'attempts to mimic Asian cooking that don't actually have any resemblance to the real thing. So suck it and eat up!' Or Mars 'although you will probably work, rest and play on the glucose our bar provides, the rest of it will make you fat!'

Be real!

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I think part of the problem is telling if you are conceding goals because of your tactic or because of bugs in ME, a lot of goals seem buggy to be honest and i know it's not biased towards the AI but it happens both ways.

-Goals from throw-ins to a player free of marking near the line that just crosses the ball for an easy tap-in.

-Goals from free-kicks where the ball is passed quickly to a guy completely alone on the left side.

-Goals on corners where your defenders kick the ball against the goalkeeper for an own goal.

-Goals from a long kick clearance where a header is enough to make a lightning quick counter-attack..this was somewhat fixed last patch but still happens enough to be an annoyance.

-The number of goals scored or conceded after a kick off caused by a strategy switch(this is the worse by far)

Either the match engine is real buggy or the graphical representations are poor and don't translate exactly what it should be happening that's probably what angers people, it's not a matter of losing or conceding goals.. it just feels cheap to lose or draw a match when any of the above occur.

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The problem with defining a bugged goal is that it's all too easy to consider a defensive error or lapse in concentration as a bug. The throw-in one is very annoying not only because it is truly dumb but also because despite having a more or less identical ME neither this or the problem of corner/throw-in takers forgetting to get onside existed in FM11 to the extent that it does on this version, it does however show that even a minor tweak to the ME can have a considerable effect on the overall gameplay.

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As someone who holds a degree in computer science I am amazed at how little sympathy you appear to have towards the ME coders
Customers shouldn't need to sympathise.

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Customers shouldn't need to sympathise.

Yes, because we live in a perfect world don't we :rolleyes:

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i wanted to cancel my account so my data would be 100% removed from your database, baning won't do that. if there is a way to erase 100% of my data feel free to use that method

even though we disagree in lots of stuff at least you are one of the mods who have the guts to answer people so: thank you and keep up answering people doubts

Best PM Neil Brock, deleting an account is at his discretion and a bit of a pain to do:)

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Yes, because we live in a perfect world don't we :rolleyes:
I don't understand. In a perfect world, customers shouldn't need to sympathise, as the product will be perfect. In an imperfect world, customers shouldn't need to sympathise, as this doesn't drive the product to improve. Whether or not the product is perfect has no impact on whether a customer needs to sympathise or not...

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I don't understand. In a perfect world, customers shouldn't need to sympathise, as the product will be perfect. In an imperfect world, customers shouldn't need to sympathise, as this doesn't drive the product to improve. Whether or not the product is perfect has no impact on whether a customer needs to sympathise or not...

Sympathize is probably not the right word, more like common sense and understanding. It's probably fair to say that everyone here wants the game to be better, but because we don't live in a perfect world and the game designers aren't perfect, the game is never gonna be perfect. There are going to be bugs. Accepting that there are going to be bugs that the developers struggle to eliminate doesn't make anyone a fanboy, and it doesn't mean they don't want the game to improve or the bugs to be fixed.

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we need to understand, the game is not perfect, but i can think of more highly rated games by fantastic developers which have some terrible flaws and bugs, this game doesnt have any bar the odd strange one.

Pep Guardiola has the excuse that he forgot to have defenders on that 2nd goal :p, i know it was torres but anyone coulda scored that.

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we need to understand, the game is not perfect, but i can think of more highly rated games by fantastic developers which have some terrible flaws and bugs, this game doesnt have any bar the odd strange one.

Pep Guardiola has the excuse that he forgot to have defenders on that 2nd goal :p, i know it was torres but anyone coulda scored that.

True. I think the bugs in this game are sometimes annoying but not too bad. You just need to create the right sort of chances and not set yourself up for failure.

And I figured if last nights game between Barcelona and Chelsea would have happened in FM some people would have gone mental, using it as evidence that the game is bugged/won't let you win/why did Messi miss a penalty/AI only has 2 chances and they score both, WTF? etc. etc. :D

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But how many matches like that Barcelona had let's say in last 2 years ? Right now i lost three matches in a row all were unlucky, first one ok it can happen, second time - ok that's annoying but still can happen but third match was joke...chances that i created were great and i made even screens from that one but i can't upload them(it's says that i don't have right previliges or smth like that) and the worst thing is that when riged match mode is on you can be sure that AI will score aroung 90m propably from corner. This is not coincidence that so many people see this problem. Anyway i still love this game and will play but that doesn't mean i can't recognize problems and talk about them.

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and the worst thing is that when rigged match mode is on you can be sure that AI will score aroung 90m propably from corner. This is not coincidence that so many people see this problem.

There is no 'rigged match mode'. There is a certain way of playing that results in this type of match, but it is 100% to do with the user's tactical style being very one dimensional.

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i think the problem is that people wants to win 4-0 every single time because they have the best possible players in fm, which is not possible anyway. there is bug in the ME of course, both AI and humans are victims to it. usually i just take that my team is having a bad day by doing a ramos with every single shot.

if we look at the previous post, human players are more than likely to have better finishing than the AI, just than conceding goals randomly with a "world class defence" dont cut it out for most people. ive concede less than 10 goals per season, ive also conceded 30 odd goals. not much of a problem with the "AI 1 shot 1 goal bug" anyway.

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There is no 'rigged match mode'. There is a certain way of playing that results in this type of match, but it is 100% to do with the user's tactical style being very one dimensional.

Would you consider the following re-wording fair?

"There is no 'rigged match mode'. There is a certain way of playing that results in this type of match, but it is 100% to do with the ME's inability to properly handle certain tactical styles."

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But how many matches like that Barcelona had let's say in last 2 years ?

Have you missed the bit where Barcelona have drawn six and lost three in La Liga this season alone?

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Maybe you guys can help? I'm starting to believe in this - mainly because giant killing is so easy for AI teams. Playing in German Div 1, 2-0 won against Bayern, 1-0 Leverkusen, even beaten Barca 2-1 in Champions. The thing is, lowly Freiburg, which is at the bottom of the league, won 4/5 times (I did reload 5 times :() I played them, usually scoring their second goal or even third goals in the whole season against me!

It's like they're in deep bottom, haven't scored against anyone for ages, the only points they have are from draws, the whole team has abysmal morale... but when I face them, they have no problem giant killing me at all. Defense that saved me against Bayern, offense that managed to test Barca so many times, midfield that didn't allow the most dangerous attacks of Leverkusen... nothing can beat Freiburg. The sad thing is, the same can be said about the other two bottom teams... I find it much harder to play bottom teams for some reason...

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Would you consider the following re-wording fair?"There is no 'rigged match mode'. There is a certain way of playing that results in this type of match, but it is 100% to do with the ME's inability to properly handle certain tactical styles."
Nope, I wouldn't. Unless you recognise that the problem and solution lies mainly with you, then you won't ever get anywhere.

It is not as if your tactical style fails. Everybody who is complaining does extremely well. It is that nobody bothers developing a Plan B or Plan C when the attacking battering ram isn't working. There are so many tools with which you can change things, yet the majority of the complainers sit with their head in their hands doing nothing, then blaming the 'wrong team talk' when they lose.

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Maybe you guys can help? I'm starting to believe in this - mainly because giant killing is so easy for AI teams. Playing in German Div 1, 2-0 won against Bayern, 1-0 Leverkusen, even beaten Barca 2-1 in Champions. The thing is, lowly Freiburg, which is at the bottom of the league, won 4/5 times (I did reload 5 times :() I played them, usually scoring their second goal or even third goals in the whole season against me!

It's like they're in deep bottom, haven't scored against anyone for ages, the only points they have are from draws, the whole team has abysmal morale... but when I face them, they have no problem giant killing me at all. Defense that saved me against Bayern, offense that managed to test Barca so many times, midfield that didn't allow the most dangerous attacks of Leverkusen... nothing can beat Freiburg. The sad thing is, the same can be said about the other two bottom teams... I find it much harder to play bottom teams for some reason...

We'll need to know your tactical settings. I can make some assumptions, but I'm getting fed up of being aggressively attacked if I get the smallest thing wrong. Not by you, but by others that I've tried to help out.

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We'll need to know your tactical settings. I can make some assumptions, but I'm getting fed up of being aggressively attacked if I get the smallest thing wrong. Not by you, but by others that I've tried to help out.

http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/football-manager-2012-tactics-training/84547-kofloks-goals-galore-2012-a.html

Everything is just like here except that my striker's a poacher. Do you need anything else?

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That tactics is ripe for being counter-attacked.

The team instructions alone will cause all manner of problems as you're more or less telling your players to leave 40-50 yards of space behind them & to dive in as soon as they get near an opponent then factor in that none of your players are fulfilling a support role it is no surprise that you are having problems.

I'd imagine that most of the goals you concede are due to a missed tackle that leaves your opponent with acres of space to run in.

IMHO you should never use an anchor man when playing such a high line, the space that he normally operates in doesn't exist & as he's the only defensive minded midfield player it makes you very weak in the centre of the park.

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http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/football-manager-2012-tactics-training/84547-kofloks-goals-galore-2012-a.html

Everything is just like here except that my striker's a poacher. Do you need anything else?

A narrow, aggressive, direct attacking tactic which attempts to overload the centre of the opposition defence.

My advice would be scrap it and build a proper tactic based on playing football rather than trying to beat the ME.

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The funny thing is that the tactic would probably work really good without any of the tweaks it shows on the team instructions, maybe having a support striker instead of an advanced forward or poacher but everything else looks like what you would expect from a standard 433.

It can be easier to just make a tactic based on real footballing sense instead of tweaking sliders.

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I don't get it though - how should a tactic be responsible for the amazing finishing the A.I. possesses? If an A.I. is scoring from everywhere, (the wings, centre of the field, corners, fks) a tactic can't change it, it's a bug inherent in the match engine.

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Well.. the thing is.. it works well against big teams. Really well. Should I assume it is so because major teams don't employ counter based tactics? I've noticed that quite a few of my goals are from counters, cause this formation allows to feed the ball to the front incredibly fast.

The weak teams, however, hurt me a lot. The goals usually come from crosses to the penalty area where my guys always seem to leave someone free while double teaming some other players. Screamers too...

Also, I found the anchor man to be really useful, because when I tried another downloaded tactic, JP Woody's Wenger style (http://sadpanda.us/images/936718-20RTDVC.jpg), I was soaking goals through the middle faster than scoring them. All the time too, not just against the bottom teams. Maybe a sweeper or libero would work better than anchor man? I'm already trying a DM with def duty and it seems to be working ok.

By the way, sadly, I have no footballing sense :(. While I did try making some tactics, the game was never as free-flowing and effective as I have it now.

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I don't get it though - how should a tactic be responsible for the amazing finishing the A.I. possesses? If an A.I. is scoring from everywhere, (the wings, centre of the field, corners, fks) a tactic can't change it, it's a bug inherent in the match engine.

Mainly because the chances that the AI gets are gift wrapped & handed on a silver platter, in most cases it would be harder for them to miss.

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Well.. the thing is.. it works well against big teams. Really well. Should I assume it is so because major teams don't employ counter based tactics? I've noticed that quite a few of my goals are from counters, cause this formation allows to feed the ball to the front incredibly fast.

Yes, big teams come and attack you leaving space at the back whereas smaller teams close down that space leaving you to bang your head against a wall so to speak while they counter attack.

Also, sadly, I have no footballing sense :(. While I did try making some tactics, the game was never as free-flowing and effective as I have it now.

You'll never learn if you don't try.

Have a look in the tactics forums, put a basic one together then post it up if you want advice on how to improve it.

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Just re-emphasising what the other posters said. When is the last time you saw a top team set out to play the super fast, super aggressive British style game against weaker sides. Let alone try and battering ram them down the middle. In such matches, the better team tends to play a controlled, patient game, waiting for and working their chances. All you need to do is develop a tactic that does that and employ it in those type of matches.

I don't get it though - how should a tactic be responsible for the amazing finishing the A.I. possesses? If an A.I. is scoring from everywhere, (the wings, centre of the field, corners, fks) a tactic can't change it, it's a bug inherent in the match engine.

I think this thread has pretty conclusively proved that this doesn't happen due to anything ME related, but is all down to user tactics and perception bias.

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why not close it then ? if I attack a team like barcelona I get 20 shots at goal, most of them half chances.

if I try to counter and use their weak spots, I get 5 shots in and 2 goals. it´s called counter attacks.

if they have more creativity then you counter by having a strong defence and hit them down the flanks. I had Cavani he scored 3 goals in the two ch. semi finals against them , bot of them where him getting the ball down the right flank and scoring, when they were non stop attacking me.

I won 2-0 . 3 shots at goal, and they had 36. they AI is not better at it , perhaps it´s a better manager than you !

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Just wanted to thank you guys - after consider all you've said, I've made a slightly different tactic with a few minor tweaks and changed attacking to control. While I'm not even close to major teams' scores against the weaklings, it's good enough to win by a goal or two, and that's all I needed :)

I really appreciate your help.

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Thought a little thread resurrection was in order as my game has reached a comical point in respect to how other teams approach matches against my side.

My reputation & dominance is such that every side starts out playing so deep that even using a standard/counter team mentality resulted in my players overloading the attacking third & getting in each others way. The only way to solve this was to change to a defensive team mentality yet we still create 15+ chances per match & it's fairly common for us to create 25+ chances.

Might be time to quit this team as it goes against all logic that the only way to maintain our attacking threat is to go out with a defensive mindset, before I know it I'll have to send the players out using the 'contain' team instruction.

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A narrow, aggressive, direct attacking tactic which attempts to overload the centre of the opposition defence.

My advice would be scrap it and build a proper tactic based on playing football rather than trying to beat the ME.

Agree with this, exploit the space and weaknesses you see during the match.

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Our most recent match using my current defensive mindset, should be pointed out that this is week 17 & after 16 matches Osnabruck are 8th in the league.

rbleipzigvosnabrckstats.png

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My reputation & dominance is such that every side starts out playing so deep that even using a standard/counter team mentality resulted in my players overloading the attacking third & getting in each others way. The only way to solve this was to change to a defensive team mentality yet we still create 15+ chances per match & it's fairly common for us to create 25+ chances.

Might be time to quit this team as it goes against all logic that the only way to maintain our attacking threat is to go out with a defensive mindset, before I know it I'll have to send the players out using the 'contain' team instruction.

Maybe you feel a bit like Barca do in real life :p (Or did - maybe their invincibility aura has lessened a little, although it remains to be seen for how long)

I'm certainly a believer that it's good to give weaker teams a bit of possession, and hope they hang themselves on their own rope, so to speak.

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I'm certainly a believer that it's good to give weaker teams a bit of possession, and hope they hang themselves on their own rope, so to speak.
I would love to give my opponents possession to draw them out & open up space at the back but as I've posted even when using a contain or defensive mentality we still dominate possession & pitch camp in the opposition area.

This is a good example of my tactic dilemma, the match is the Champions League final & even with our defensive mentality we utterly dominated proceedings in a manner that could hardly be described as defensive.

rbleipzigvrclenssplitvi.png

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I would love to give my opponents possession to draw them out & open up space at the back but as I've posted even when using a contain or defensive mentality we still dominate possession & pitch camp in the opposition area.

This is a good example of my tactic dilemma, the match is the Champions League final & even with our defensive mentality we utterly dominated proceedings in a manner that could hardly be described as defensive.

rbleipzigvrclenssplitvi.png

That's because retaining possession and passing aimlessly amongst each other in safety is a defensive strategy in FM.

If you want to lose possession, play quick, attacking football and direct passing, with attacking mentalities (so that they shoot rather than backpass).

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Using the attacking mentalities is suicide, all that happens is that the defence pushes up & is more aggressive in attacking defensive clearances which creates the counter attacking chances for the opposition, in attack the team will either camp in the opposition area only this time they will take more high risk pot shots that get blocked leading to the counter attacks or the midfield & attack are unable to retain possession & you end up being camped in your area as the opponents keep winning the midfield battle.

As things stand I am winning & winning well so there is no need to change things, what I'm showing is that reputation has resulted in an illogical tactical situation. If you look at the image you will see that our possession is pretty much all in the opposition half & we are creating a decent number of chances which goes against what you would expect from a safety first passing game that has you retaining possession in your own half.

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Using the attacking mentalities is suicide, all that happens is that the defence pushes up & is more aggressive in attacking defensive clearances which creates the counter attacking chances for the opposition, in attack the team will either camp in the opposition area only this time they will take more high risk pot shots that get blocked leading to the counter attacks or the midfield & attack are unable to retain possession & you end up being camped in your area as the opponents keep winning the midfield battle.

As things stand I am winning & winning well so there is no need to change things, what I'm showing is that reputation has resulted in an illogical tactical situation. If you look at the image you will see that our possession is pretty much all in the opposition half & we are creating a decent number of chances which goes against what you would expect from a safety first passing game that has you retaining possession in your own half.

Isn't that exactly what you want? When retaining possession indefinitely leads to a situation where the opposition has complete control, having midfield domination is worthless. I just ignore the whole midfield battle thing and concentrate on the areas of the pitch which matters, and I don't have problems with ultradefensive opponents at all. So when the goal is to draw the opponents out, which is what you are trying to do when using the preset mentality settings, going counter/defend/contain only increases possession domination - the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve. It is better with 55/45 than 70/30 when it comes to goalscoring. It is also better with 15/10 shot/s.o.t. ratio than 30/20, since the chance of scoring 20 goals is almost zero, and the same could be said for 10 in both cases. I would estimate that the chance of scoring 5 goals is virtually the same in both cases, so 5 of 6 shots in the latter case were worthless, compared to 2/3.

I think that most of the frustration in threads like these would dissipate like vodka in the sun if FM users would just realize that football is not about having the most shots and the most passes in a game, but scoring more goals. Am I the only one who thinks that Bayern Munchen played boring, unimaginative football in 120 minutes on Saturday? The only thing they did was giving Robben the ball, who then cut inside and shot from some distance? Chelsea won deservedly. The match stats surely looks like the above CL final, though.

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Everything you say is spot on & you're right that my team is playing in exactly the manner I want them to, the problem I have is that the current situation is due to the fact that every* team we face has given up before the game has started because they have looked at our reputation & decided to play in the most defensive way possible even if they play an attacking style in every other game.

Other than gradually drawing back the attacking mentality of the team over the last 10 seasons I have not had to change the structure of my formation or player roles & it is very rare that I need to adjust things during the match, this is imo solely due to my club reputation increasing as 10 years ago I used an attacking mentality with equal effectiveness but now that approach would result in a heavy loss.

*the only time I do not face a wall of 10 is when playing English sides away from home, for some reason they go hell for leather at the start.

Edit: I also agree with you about the outcome of the real life CL final although Chelsea didn't 'deserve' to win because they were the better team, they won because Bayern failed to rectify their failings, Robben having 15 shots, mostly when off balance & Gomez once again showing the world that he's not a big game player.

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I have played the game on full and watched how the opposition are playing against me and I can't work out how to stop them. I notice they overlap so I try to exploit the flanks and play wider but that doesn't work. I watch how they scored and most of the time I just feel that it is what it is. I couldn't think of a way of how I could have stopped them even if I mark their wingers or full backs it doesn't prevent them from scoring. I try counter attack or defensive and it doesn't work. Tighten up with only minutes to go and the opposition still score.

I've noticed that any team in that are struggling all of a sudden have players that can launch balls into to penalty box, even teams that don't have throwers who can throw long. In past editions I've seen teams desperately needing a goal scoring from a long way out constantly. The game is there to beat you and we need to find ways of beating it so I do believe the game will try any trick to make it hard for us and to be fair, it wouldn't be much of a challenge if we could just make a super-tactic and win everything (although it would save me getting p*ssed off a lot).

The only thing that keeps me going is that there are people that have been successful at the game and understand how it works and maybe one day I might be like that. But it does seem like there's an awful lot of reading needed and probably spending an hour just to analyse one game, which is great if you're a casual gamer.

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Keep tweaking, it can be done & more importantly it can be done without the aid of folk from the T&T forum.

Once I started watching full matches it became clear where the AI was vulnerable & what player roles worked at making the most of those vulnerabilities,

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I have played the game on full and watched how the opposition are playing against me and I can't work out how to stop them. I notice they overlap so I try to exploit the flanks and play wider but that doesn't work. I watch how they scored and most of the time I just feel that it is what it is. I couldn't think of a way of how I could have stopped them even if I mark their wingers or full backs it doesn't prevent them from scoring. I try counter attack or defensive and it doesn't work. Tighten up with only minutes to go and the opposition still score.

I've noticed that any team in that are struggling all of a sudden have players that can launch balls into to penalty box, even teams that don't have throwers who can throw long. In past editions I've seen teams desperately needing a goal scoring from a long way out constantly. The game is there to beat you and we need to find ways of beating it so I do believe the game will try any trick to make it hard for us and to be fair, it wouldn't be much of a challenge if we could just make a super-tactic and win everything (although it would save me getting p*ssed off a lot).

The only thing that keeps me going is that there are people that have been successful at the game and understand how it works and maybe one day I might be like that. But it does seem like there's an awful lot of reading needed and probably spending an hour just to analyse one game, which is great if you're a casual gamer.

That is not necessary. No analysis is necessary at all - just watch the Key Highlights and see if your players make the right decisions. Then everything is ok. The central thing to realize when making (Classic) tactics in FM is that the more - and the more specific - things you tell your players to do, the more will rely on your skills as a tactician. If you tell your wingers to cut inside and try through balls and not go out wide and cross, you have deprived them of a good and very valid option and thus limited your chances of success.

In every situation there is a correct choice and a wrong choice. Make sure your player chooses the right one, and you won't have any problems with either good or struggling teams.

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That is not necessary. No analysis is necessary at all - just watch the Key Highlights and see if your players make the right decisions. Then everything is ok. The central thing to realize when making (Classic) tactics in FM is that the more - and the more specific - things you tell your players to do, the more will rely on your skills as a tactician. If you tell your wingers to cut inside and try through balls and not go out wide and cross, you have deprived them of a good and very valid option and thus limited your chances of success.

In every situation there is a correct choice and a wrong choice. Make sure your player chooses the right one, and you won't have any problems with either good or struggling teams.

I'm thinking about starting a new tactic. I'm not going to mess with the Sliders, although there are somethings that I like to tweak a little bit, unfortunately I tend to mess with the mentality and closing down as I'm afraid of my players running around like headless chickens trying to close down the oppo. I probably should leave them well alone as I still have poor understanding of them no matter how much I read up, I just can't get my head around them.

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Can't believe how much posts this has. The AI isn't even better I bone the AI regularly. Maybe you're not making the right chances. The game has different types of chances and highlights, You always know if the ball will go in or not because you have seen that type of chance. Some look really good chances but you know that type doesn't go in. You need to make sure you make they types that do.

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I'm thinking about starting a new tactic. I'm not going to mess with the Sliders, although there are somethings that I like to tweak a little bit, unfortunately I tend to mess with the mentality and closing down as I'm afraid of my players running around like headless chickens trying to close down the oppo. I probably should leave them well alone as I still have poor understanding of them no matter how much I read up, I just can't get my head around them.

Meh - load a bog standard flat 442, convert it. Just set the Mentality, Closing Down, Width, Passing Style and Defensive Line sliders perfectly aligned with each other somewhere between 11 and 15 (first click of Attacking) for the entire team. Put Long Shots to Rarely for all players, set the tempo to somewhere between 5 and 10 and leave the rest alone.

Now, play the first friendly match and see if the following happens:

1. The midfielders are caught in nowhere land and the opponent exploit space between defense and midfield in the middle.

2. The strikers start their forward runs too early.

3. You struggle to regain possession after losing it, and the midfield and defense are backing off when run at.

4. The wingers are helpful in defense but will only help the attack when you have been in possession for a while.

5. You are countered upon.

If so, which I expect you will see, do the following:

A. Set one or both central midfielders to run with ball and run from deep rarely.

B. Set one or both strikers to run from deep rarely.

C. Depending on where you set mentality and defensive line, increase closing down on all but the defenders. If in vicinity of 15, max it out. Hard tackling on all four midfielders.

D. Set both wingers to run from deep often. If still not enough, increase mentality. If still not enough, run with ball often and through balls often, increase creative freedom.

E. Set both full backs to run from deep rarely. (I assume no CDs are ever told to run forward or anything)

Now you should have the framework of a balanced 442. Using sliders is easy if you keep things simple (aka avoid Often settings on runs with or without the ball, crossing and through balls - when it is not necessary). The instructions for these central midfielders, for instance, can allow you to play both a deep-lying playmaker type and a hard-working tenacious midfielder type together without changing anything. The high passing skill and creativity of the former will make him play a more advanced passing game than his more simple-minded partner, so both will choose correctly precisely because you have not told him to do or not do anything (besides waiting with the forward runs). The same with the strikers; if you give them a bit more creative freedom they will choose to run forward quickly when that is the correct choice to make, despite being told to do so rarely. While a target man with no skill on the ball and no speed should of course be told to not run with the ball, if he is strong and has decent technique he will function nicely as a target man with these settings because he is strong and good in the air and he comes deep. If you don't have fast strikers, you will play differently, but it will still work because they will choose what is best on their own.

Why try to outsmart the opponent with lots of tactical changes and whatnot when you can have your players do it for you?

I think people who don't believe they know enough tactical theory to succeed in this game have just veered off on the wrong path. There is no need to read page upon page on tactical theory at all - there's so many variables in football (and in FM) that the very idea that there's a correct tactical choice for every situation is ridiculous. The answer to the question "what do I do now; I am overrun on the flanks and the cross on me all the time" is simply let your players have the options available to them that would let them stop the doubling-up on the flanks. Maybe their closing down is too low, so they back off, or maybe their mentality is too high so they tackle when they should have stayed on their feet, maybe you should drop deeper to deny them the space, maybe you should play narrower to plug holes between the CD and the DR/L, maybe wider to make the distance to close down smaller, maybe it has nothing to do with flank play at all but that you can't keep the possession, maybe it is nothing tactical at all - your team talk made them nervous or confidence is low because you are over your head as a rookie-reputation manager and your players don't trust you. Reading giant articles about this will probably confuse you more than help you, since when to do what require more than what can be written down in them.

So, make it simple; don't tell them what to do in every situation. Avoid elaborate game-plans and the reliance on specific players doing specific things. Give them the option to do what must be done, but restrict them when it is necessary.

If your slow, lumbering target man must be a quick poacher because a through ball was played in his direction, why not let him try? You might be surprised...

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