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Lyssien

Swapping strikers must go

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Hello,

I am thinking of posting this on the Wishlist thread, but I would like to get the community's feedback first in case I am missing something.

Good or bad: AI swapping strikers during a match

When the AI plays with two strikers, they invariably swap them a few times during the match. Depending on the AI coach, sometimes they may swap them 1'852 times. Or so it feels like.

My take: The good side

Swapping players can have interesting tactical effects. For example, one has to consider the consequences of the "Show onto foot" OI, if the 2 strikers are not foot-alike. In addition, the Strong Striker can end up near your Fast Defender and the Fast Striker can end up near your Strong Defender.

My take: The issue

The most obvious problem, imo, is exactly that the Strong Striker can end up near your Fast Defender and the Fast Striker can end up near your Strong Defender. This means that you have to swap your defenders too. Because practically the #1 defensive priority is that the Fast Defender stays near the Fast Striker and the Strong Defender stays near the Strong Striker.

Now, when the AI swaps their strikers 1'852 times, you have to swap your defenders manually 1'852 times too. In my opinion, this is both boring and unrealistic in the way it is applied in-game.

Realism

In reality, when someone plays Zone Defense with 2 CDs versus 2 Strikers, a quick solution to the issue of Swapping Strikers is to tell your CDs "You know what, if they swap positions, you swap positions too. Because I want you, oh my fast defender, to be in the general vicinity of the fast striker, and you, oh my strong defender, to be in the general vicinity of their strong striker. Got it?".

Unfortunately, we can't do this in-game. We have to manually swap our defenders every. freaking. time.

Bad gameplay

It is October in my save, and this season I have already had 2 matches when the AI would swap their strikers every 5-10 mins or something. I spent most of my time looking at their formation and swapping my defenders accordingly. It was tedious and boring. Bad gameplay, in a nutshell. Not to mention that -even if you are extremely careful- there is a significant time interval between their tactical change and your tactical change when bad things may happen. I did not concede, but still I was bored to death with having to deal with their swapping repeatedly.

Possible solution?

Nah, I am not really asking to do away with this option for the AI. It is OK if the AI challenges for our attention a couple of times. It is also a tactical trick that may differentiate really bad AI coaches from the rest (the bad ones should not be doing it at all). However, it should not be so boring. One way to do this is by limiting the amount of times the AI can swap their strikers. I suggest:

- The AI may swap their strikers whenever they make a sub.

- The AI may swap their strikers whenever they change formation.

- The AI may swap their strikers 2 additional (to the above) times to keep us on our toes.

- No more than that though. Then it just gets boring.

Or give us an option to swap defenders automatically every time the AI swaps strikers.

The case of swapping wingers

The case of swapping wingers is more interesting, for various reasons. Firstly, it has greater tactical consequences with respect to weaker feet. Secondly, it is not a usual practice to swap fullbacks so that they track a specific wide man.

However, there is a problem here too: We are not allowed to give OI that depend on the opponent's position on the field. I think this missing option may be harder to implement, but is still something to keep in mind for future version.

What do you all think?

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The OI instructions can be set for position or for opposition player.

I never set OI instructions for position and I never agreed with SI introducing this option. OI instructions are just that to me, personal instructions for the opposition player.

If you set a one of the opposition STs to show onto left foot because he is weak on that side then that order stays with him even if he swaps positions.

EDIT

Although I can see the theory of you wanting to swap your DCs when the opposition strikers swap its not what happens in practice. One example IRL would be John Terry, he more or less always has played in the DCL position and has even talked about the issues from just switching to DCR. When opposition strikers swopped around though he didn't switch and play DCR, he just stayed at DCL.

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My initial reaction was that you are asking players to man-mark within a zonal system, (but I appreciate it's not quite that simple and I do sort of get your point even if I do not 100% agree with you).

My 2nd reaction was as Cougar said, the OI's can be set for player rather than position. It's certainly how I use them. I would never set an OI based on position. (Yes the position suggests things that I may like to do, but the ability of the player determines whether or not I will actually do it. I defend against players and not positions).

Having thought about it some more, I am positive that you can't ask your players to defend zonally yet expect them to man-mark. Thinking about real life for a minute, it;s just not realistic. You are either marking zonally, (in which case an attacking pair swapping zones would just be "passed on"), or you are defending man to man and a set centre-half will stay with a set attacker as he moves into various positions.

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I think you should be able to assign your centre halves to mark an opponent just in certain areas, so you don't get the "drag" effect you get with specific man marking. For example, you say to your strong centre half "you mark their strong striker whenever he is within 30 yards of goal, but not wider than the penalty area". So you still get the zonal effect and your centre halves don't get dragged to full back or midfield areas, but they still automatically swap sides when the strikers do.

(I probably haven't explained that clearly enough, but it shouldn't be as black and white as pure zonal or following a man all over the pitch.)

Perhaps a solution is each centre half's "zone" should be both centre half positions. So as long as the striker is in a central position, he is picked up by the right defender, even if the AI keeps swapping their front two.

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I think you should be able to assign your centre halves to mark an opponent just in certain areas, so you don't get the "drag" effect you get with specific man marking. For example, you say to your strong centre half "you mark their strong striker whenever he is within 30 yards of goal, but not wider than the penalty area". So you still get the zonal effect and your centre halves don't get dragged to full back or midfield areas, but they still automatically swap sides when the strikers do.

(I probably haven't explained that clearly enough, but it shouldn't be as black and white as pure zonal or following a man all over the pitch.)

Perhaps a solution is each centre half's "zone" should be both centre half positions. So as long as the striker is in a central position, he is picked up by the right defender, even if the AI keeps swapping their front two.

I understood what you meant :thup: I think that would fall under having more defensive options in general

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This is something I've always thought would be useful, but as others have suggested, since it's not something that I've really seen happened in real competitive football, I'm not sure how valid it would be to implement it.

The rule set involved to implement this would be difficult. You'd almost need some sort of position tracking option. Say assign a defender to the central defensive position nearest player x (perhaps with the caveat that he only moves if the player tracked is still in a forward position).

What's certain is it's definitely a difficulty in the current set-up as if you only man-mark, you have players out of position when possession changes sides. If you go zonal, as OP has stated, you get a lag time when the players are not tracked.

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Although I can see the theory of you wanting to swap your DCs when the opposition strikers swap its not what happens in practice. One example IRL would be John Terry, he more or less always has played in the DCL position and has even talked about the issues from just switching to DCR. When opposition strikers swopped around though he didn't switch and play DCR, he just stayed at DCL.

Very interesting, and it would be great if you could find and post that interview.

I have 3 objections though:

1) You are thinking John Terry, I am thinking Joe Beerbelly at the lower leagues. I can imagine Terry (and every player around him) having really intricate guidelines/orders on how to act in different defensive situations. In lower leagues, however, you keep your tall guy near their tall guy or you are dead meat.

2) Still, let's keep it at Terry a bit and imagine the following situation: The opposition has a dangerous tall and strong TM, and their winger has just found some space with the ball. He is ready to cross. How will Terry act? Won't he move towards the TM?

3) Now I am returning to FM universe. In one of the matches I mentioned in the OP, the opposition would swap their strikers and then they would play long balls to their TM (at the edge of the area) to flick them on to their fast striker. I had 2 choices: Either alter my whole defensive setup in order to stop the long balls (which is much easier said than done) or just move my tallest defender near their TM (my tall DC had superior aerial ability). I think the best and simplest solution is obvious.

My 2nd reaction was as Cougar said, the OI's can be set for player rather than position. It's certainly how I use them. I would never set an OI based on position. (Yes the position suggests things that I may like to do, but the ability of the player determines whether or not I will actually do it. I defend against players and not positions).

The point is that I don't want the "show onto foot" OI to follow the player all over the pitch.

Having thought about it some more, I am positive that you can't ask your players to defend zonally yet expect them to man-mark. Thinking about real life for a minute, it;s just not realistic. You are either marking zonally, (in which case an attacking pair swapping zones would just be "passed on"), or you are defending man to man and a set centre-half will stay with a set attacker as he moves into various positions.

I do not agree, even in zonal marking when there is a cross coming in you may want your defenders to be looking at opposition attackers and not at the ball (as MBarbaric also mentioned above). This does not alter the fact that the defense is zonal in all other situations. How do I replicate this in FM14?

This is something I've always thought would be useful, but as others have suggested, since it's not something that I've really seen happened in real competitive football, I'm not sure how valid it would be to implement it.

I am surprised you don't see it IRL, I see it all the time. Zonal defenses often switch to man-marking in specific situations only (e.g. against crosses), just as man marking defenses sometimes switch to zonal when someone loses his man. The question is, how do we replicate this in-game?

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