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SI Sports Centre - The Discussion

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Please use this thread for any discussion/questions related to this thread http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/394522-SI-Sports-Centre-The-Analysis

Don't be put off thinking this is a daunting experience its not and you won't look silly so there is no need to be nervous. All you have to do is read the thread above and download the match and watch it. Then just make some notes and post them up in here.

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I've purposely left some stuff from the thread which I will post up after peoples had time to view the other thread and participate in the discussion. I will also be adding some extra stuff to it as well over the coming days, especially the bits about changing views and camera angles to view incidents different ways. I'll also be taking a closer look at the individual stats from the game too. But I thought it would be wise to post it up now so people can have time to view the game themselves. Hope you enjoy the thread :)

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Seeing my screenshot of Cruz Azul just made me think of another issue. The advantage of the 4-4-2 is the attacking wingers with 2 strikers up front. To make full use of it against this narrow formation (and I mentioned this in my feedback) they should pass to one flank and as the diamond shifts across, they should switch flanks.

In my screenshot, the playmaker (AP/S ?) moves around too much, eventually joining his midfield partner instead of staying spread out. He's now too far to bring the Left Winger into play. If he stayed in position he would have been able to control the game better.

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Seeing my screenshot of Cruz Azul just made me think of another issue. The advantage of the 4-4-2 is the attacking wingers with 2 strikers up front. To make full use of it against this narrow formation (and I mentioned this in my feedback) they should pass to one flank and as the diamond shifts across, they should switch flanks.

In my screenshot, the playmaker (AP/S ?) moves around too much, eventually joining his midfield partner instead of staying spread out. He's now too far to bring the Left Winger into play. If he stayed in position he would have been able to control the game better.

I actually wrote about the AI doing exactly that (switching the flanks) when I was using a diamond in my defensive thread I did other month. It's how the AI caused me the most issues and tried to stretch me which would cause all kind of issues if they pulled it off a bit more regular.

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These threads have the potential to be great.

Alongside the usual "Here's my tactic, what should I change?" threads we get here, there are often questions along the lines of "How do you read a match?"

This thread will answer it, but in order to take the most from them, you'll need to download the .pkms and watch them yourselves.

Don't be lead by what Cleon, HUNT3R and I have observed - just watch a match and jot stuff down. See how your reading of the game compares.

It's a great idea doing AI vs AI matches, as Cleon and the "panelists" have no bias towards either side as a result. A lot of frustration associated with FM is that it can be hard to accept when your team makes mistakes and / or concedes.

By stepping back from a neutral perspective, you're able to rationally appraise passages of play, and it does benefit your reading of the game.

As you can tell from my summary in the "other" thread, I'm pretty concise and simplistic with what I choose to comment on. However, this exercise has benefited me immediately in terms of how I now choose to watch and consider matches.

Bottom line is that for me, FM shouldn't just be Key Highlights and then getting ticked off when you don't win. If you watch the odd match in detail, or (even better) the opening 15 minutes of each match in detail, you increase your chances of spotting the tactical nuance which can make or break your chances in a match.

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Hopefully all those who always say 'How do I read a match' or 'What do I look for' will all download it and take part. I'm really hoping lots get behind this thread and post what they see. No-one needs to feel silly or stupid or be worried about how inexperienced they are. Just write something short about what you are seeing or maybe not seeing. It's all part of the learning curve then we can all discuss it and try and help others get a better understanding.

I choose AI vs AI for the exact reasons RT pointed out too. I didn't want people to know the players or have any attachment to the sides whatsoever. That way no-one can say things like 'Well its Ronaldo he should be doing this and that' because already you'd be limiting your thinking and it would impact how you watched the match back.

I know this thread might seem daunting at first but it really isn't :)

Also a massive thanks to HUNT3R and RT for helping me with this thread and taking time to look at the PKM and write about it. Much appreciated :)

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Cheers Cleon. You did most of the work though! :D

It was a completely new and very different experience to what I (and I suppose us all) usually do. I've never had to focus on both teams this much. I always know at least how 1 team is playing! After writing half of my piece, I decided to take a step back. I decided that for the second half, I'd focus on 1 team only. Then I would rewind and watch the other team only. That was much more successful and a even went back to the first half of my piece and started editing that based on what I saw.

Cleon, are you getting different panelists for the next match?

By the way, are we now doing all the discussing as well? Come on, join in!

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Cheers Cleon. You did most of the work though! :D

It was a completely new and very different experience to what I (and I suppose us all) usually do. I've never had to focus on both teams this much. I always know at least how 1 team is playing! After writing half of my piece, I decided to take a step back. I decided that for the second half, I'd focus on 1 team only. Then I would rewind and watch the other team only. That was much more successful and a even went back to the first half of my piece and started editing that based on what I saw.

Cleon, are you getting different panelists for the next match?

By the way, are we now doing all the discussing as well? Come on, join in!

If people get involved then I'll do more but if not then I guess I wont. But I'd use the same panel and maybe add to it if you both had the time :)

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Just wanted to chime in and say this was terrific to read. I especially enjoyed the suggestions about what Cruz Azul could have done differently to do a little better and leverage the ways their formation matched up more to help themselves out.

One little thing: I like the flank-switching idea to take advantage of the wide spaces given up by the diamond, but how would it be best to make this happen without someone who has the switches flanks PPM? Would it be through TIs, such as Play More Direct combined with Play Wider?

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Just wanted to chime in and say this was terrific to read. I especially enjoyed the suggestions about what Cruz Azul could have done differently to do a little better and leverage the ways their formation matched up more to help themselves out.

One little thing: I like the flank-switching idea to take advantage of the wide spaces given up by the diamond, but how would it be best to make this happen without someone who has the switches flanks PPM? Would it be through TIs, such as Play More Direct combined with Play Wider?

You could use more risky passes if available on the role selected and more direct passing. Also make sure the players on the opposite side are actually positioned so play can be switched to them. That would require you to check their duties to make sure they weren't too deep or advanced. You could also maybe play around with the sit narrower shouts so it makes it easier to get the ball to them.

You could also maybe mess around with pushing the ML/MR to AML/R and having a look at the wide target man option. Then you can instruct players to cross aim for targetman if you really wanted. There's quite a few different ways really, it depends more on the shape you are using though.

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Hi - I am one of the culprits of making a thread on what to change so it will be rude not to contribute after all the hard work that's been put in. Please go easy but this is how I have seen the game played :

0-15- chivas constantly have 3 men between midfield and defence - leavin Cruz's defence looking vulnerable.

Chivas just overwhelming through the middle.

Are Cruz using limited defs? Always seem to be hoofing it long.

Chivas deep defending? Cruz just can't complete their crosses which happens all game.

15-30- chivas always have men behind ball then almost blitzkrieg Cruz with quick direct and more importantly runners supporting.

Chivas full back marauding forward. Something Cruz fb's are not doing

Cruz 's 2xcm not here or there not attacking or defending just being bypassed

17:50 Cruz have chance to counter but passes sideways instead of direct. Complete opposite to chivas.

Only 1 Cruz player in behind chivas DM

Cruz cm passes to wide players being intercepted by chivas

30-45- Cruz no movement between lines really like 2 rigid banks of def and cm - no movement vertically

Chivas ATt transitions so much quicker than Cruz defending transition

Cruz starting to press more?

45-60- Cruz fb no way as effective as chivas

Cruz no 9 looks isolated and just pumping hopefully balls to keeper

Have chivas dropped tempo? Playing lovely retention football

60-75- chivas dm and cm's work as a good unit just like the am and st's

Cruz fb,s should be attacking more to create overloads - chances there

Chivas am dropping deeper now?

Chivas pumping ball into box before goal scored?

75-90- after goal gone to retain for chivas?

Chivas seem to change shape to a lot wider.

Well there it is. I hope this makes sense.

Regards

Darren

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Am I the only person who is terrified of this? :lol:

Not just trying to work out one side of the balance in the game, but both sides?

Not knowing any of the players. Not having anything to go on at all.

I'm just way out of my depth here.

I suppose that really means that I have to have a go at some point doesn't it? :o

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Hi - I am one of the culprits of making a thread on what to change so it will be rude not to contribute after all the hard work that's been put in. Please go easy but this is how I have seen the game played :

0-15- chivas constantly have 3 men between midfield and defence - leavin Cruz's defence looking vulnerable.

Chivas just overwhelming through the middle.

Are Cruz using limited defs? Always seem to be hoofing it long.

Chivas deep defending? Cruz just can't complete their crosses which happens all game.

15-30- chivas always have men behind ball then almost blitzkrieg Cruz with quick direct and more importantly runners supporting.

Chivas full back marauding forward. Something Cruz fb's are not doing

Cruz 's 2xcm not here or there not attacking or defending just being bypassed

17:50 Cruz have chance to counter but passes sideways instead of direct. Complete opposite to chivas.

Only 1 Cruz player in behind chivas DM

Cruz cm passes to wide players being intercepted by chivas

30-45- Cruz no movement between lines really like 2 rigid banks of def and cm - no movement vertically

Chivas ATt transitions so much quicker than Cruz defending transition

Cruz starting to press more?

45-60- Cruz fb no way as effective as chivas

Cruz no 9 looks isolated and just pumping hopefully balls to keeper

Have chivas dropped tempo? Playing lovely retention football

60-75- chivas dm and cm's work as a good unit just like the am and st's

Cruz fb,s should be attacking more to create overloads - chances there

Chivas am dropping deeper now?

Chivas pumping ball into box before goal scored?

75-90- after goal gone to retain for chivas?

Chivas seem to change shape to a lot wider.

Well there it is. I hope this makes sense.

Regards

Darren

Cheers that makes perfect sense. You've raised a lot of things so you saw quite a lot and picked up on things that were happening. If you had to attempt to fix some of it, how would you go about it? Or more important, if you was Cruz what would you have changed?

How did it compare watching AI vs AI and watching both teams without any bias compared to normal when you watch them?

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Am I the only person who is terrified of this? :lol:

Not just trying to work out one side of the balance in the game, but both sides?

Not knowing any of the players. Not having anything to go on at all.

I'm just way out of my depth here.

I suppose that really means that I have to have a go at some point doesn't it? :o

Why are you way out of your depth? As long as you have eyes you'll be fine as all you have to do is write what you see :D

Nothing to be scared of :)

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Cleon when playing a 4231 there is always chance that the wings will get opposed because the AMR/AML are so high up the pitch and the other teams AMR/AML can get in behind and cause havoc. My question is would you advice on watching who is the most creative player and cut of any chance that player might have in getting the ball to the wingers. Also what are your thoughts on marking full backs and central defenders so do not get the opportunity pass out of defence. What would be the best way of achieving this type of defensive pressure from the front. I dont really like hassle opponents because it drags my defence out of shape.

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Cleon when playing a 4231 there is always chance that the wings will get opposed because the AMR/AML are so high up the pitch and the other teams AMR/AML can get in behind and cause havoc. My question is would you advice on watching who is the most creative player and cut of any chance that player might have in getting the ball to the wingers. Also what are your thoughts on marking full backs and central defenders so do not get the opportunity pass out of defence. What would be the best way of achieving this type of defensive pressure from the front. I dont really like hassle opponents because it drags my defence out of shape.

I'm all for helping people but you've posted a question that has nothing to do with the topic at all. I'll not be answering anyones random questions unless they are to do with the stuff discussed in this thread. I want this thread to be helpful to those who take the time to watch the match posted and then discuss it and answers questions they have. I don't want it to turn into a thread that people ask random questions in that have nothing to do with the subject at hand and take the thread off course.

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I've got a save going with Crystal Palace on FM Classic; as I'm just trying to educate myself further. I play a 4-4-2 as I believe it gets the best out of my squad, and funnily enough my next match was against Fulham who play a narrow 4-1-2-1-2. So it mimicked the Chivas v Cruz game almost perfectly. I watched the start of the match and agreed that your suggestions were probably the best route to go down. So I made both my DL/R into Wingbacks (A) (previously Fullback (S)) and also assigned both MC roles to Defend (CM & DLP). This worked great and I took and early lead. I then wanted to exploit it further so I added 'Look for Overlap' and 'Exploit the Flanks'. Then finally I added 'Play Narrower' to try and not let my two MCs get Isolated.

I won 4-1 which was great!

However I don't think I would of got away with it if I wasn't playing FM Classic as I did chop and change a lot :(

Anyway great read so far! Looking forward to more instalments! :thup:

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Cheers that makes perfect sense. You've raised a lot of things so you saw quite a lot and picked up on things that were happening. If you had to attempt to fix some of it, how would you go about it? Or more important, if you was Cruz what would you have changed?

How did it compare watching AI vs AI and watching both teams without any bias compared to normal when you watch them?

I like the fact it's the ai teams, so it's purely impartial and shows their own problems and possibly even a lack of a solid starting tactic?

Anyway I am going to answer this as honestly as possible.

At the start of the game I would had it in my mind to use the shouts of 'play narrower' and 'exploit the flanks'

At the start I believe Cruz were playing to their gameplan of getting it wide and whipping in crosses. In fact it was a very entertaining to watch on behalf of both sides.

After that was where it went wrong - the crosses were not connecting from the byline. Was this because of good aerial defence and goalkeepers? Or a

A lack of height from the strikers? I couldn't see the aerial ability of them. Anyway maybe they could of crossed from deep and early for a period to see if that could hit chivas on a quick transition.

Maybe was the 2 cm's on support? I would of moved one on to a defend duty to at least try and deal with the third striker ( the am) but chivas were so strong through the middle so maybe of had the wingers as wide midfielders. Also the advanced forward need more support so get more runners.

After that it may have had to of been a change in shape to be stronger in the centre of midfield - dropping a striker.

Personally I would of had 1 full back as a complete wing back. I love that role it adds so much attacking support.

But also I will now say of my downfall - I believe I am too rigid to the recommended dutys and combinations. I am afraid to act outside the box. The ataaaaack thread by Ackerman has shown that roles used can be wacky, bizarre and still be successful.

Sorry if this is a bit rushed but I have to go to work now.

I hope I have answered as honestly as I would of played the game and this response will get constructively used so we can see my errors as a manager.

Regards

Darren

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Chivas v Cruz Azul.

I purposefully haven't read anyone else's analysis. I wanted to just rely on what I could see. I don't mind looking stupid and naive and hopefully it will encourage others to have a look and do the same too.

Ok, so this is going to be a little bit different from some of the other analysis that I think you are going to get. Quite probably less accurate, but certainly from a different perspective, (probably because I don't spend the same amount of time in here and really only look at the Ajax thread, the World Cup thread and occasionally pop in and out of anything that catches my eye. I am NOT good at the tactics part of the game.

The first thing I want to do is look at/click on the players. I want to see if someone is fast or slow, brave or cowardly, aggressive or timid, left or righty, technical or physical. I can't see anything and am completely blind. This feels like..... proper football almost. Well done Cleon. It's certainly dragged me kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone.

Oh God I'm going to be rubbish at this.

I can't even work out how to start the bloomin game!.

Ok. I am going to write as I go and pause as I do so, but I am going to just write after viewing things for the one and only time rather than review it multiple times. As I am looking at both teams I am sure I will miss things, but that's the idea right?

It's a real shame that I can see the score-line in the top LH corner. I would have loved to have done this without knowing the result, (as I know little about the teams other than Chivas are good and have a huge fan-base I think).

I started off watching the match on comprehensive, (as I might do when looking at a new tactic), but it soon became clear that I would be here all week, (so I swapped to extended highlights after 2 minutes).

Kick-off.

Initial reactions are that Chivas are playing a narrow diamond with 2 up front. Cid appears to be at the base of the diamond and when I manage, this is the position that is key to me so I will be keeping an eye on him.

Cruz look like they are playing a wide 442.

Yes I know I can look at the formation screen, but if this is worth doing, it is worth doing properly.

The first thing I note is that Chivas are playing a short passing, (attractive) game. I like that. They seem to have an early preference for through balls though, (and I like that less).

1:25. Cruz defending set-pieces.

The first thing that jumps out at me is Cruz defending a corner. They just leave Alvarado up and everyone else comes all the way back. They have 4 along the 6 yard box, a man on each post, and 3 players look like they should be man-marking in the 6 yard box, (near post attacker Riojas is already free). I hate this and it is giving me the shivers already. If and when Cruz clear this corner, then first of all it has got to go almost straight to Alvarado, and even if it does, (it's not going to), he is going to have to perform heroics just to keep possession and relieve the pressure. No. This ball is going to come straight back in. It's going to invite pressure again and again until they change it. God this is going to be a long match. The ball is cleared comfortably at the near post, but where does the ball go? Nowhere near Alvarado and Chivas comfortably have the ball again. Cruz need to have someone lurking. (It's not called lurking defensively, but you know what I mean). They must must must have someone in that area to stop Chivas just recycling the ball easily and putting the ball straight back in again.

The next thing I notice, (the game is stopped), is that Farina is slow out compared to the other defenders. No idea what position he is playing in yet. (It's left back).

Straight from the kick-off I see how easy it is for Cruz to play the ball out using the flanks. Both Chivas full-backs seem very isolated out there. If I was the Cruz manager I would be looking to exploit this.

[Edit]

Forgot to say how I would go about doing that. I would literally "exploit the flanks", but also use clear to flanks as a TI. Chivas are massed in the middle. Let's stretch them when we have the ball. The only players on the flanks for Chivas are their full-backs so can our full-backs run more with the ball? (Individual instruction dribble more and run wide with ball?). The full-back on the rhs is playing behind a player who is less attacking than the left winger. I would possibly have the left back on support duty as a result. The right back... I think I would be tempted to set him on an (a) duty and possibly even cross more. From the right i might also be inclined to use the left winger as a target for crosses and aim then at the back post. (Just thinking out loud here).

2:50 Chivas defending set-pieces.

The set-up is similar, 2 on posts, 4 across the 6 yard box and 3 marking. The slight difference is that the markers are not in the 6 yard box, (which makes it a tiny bit better), but without a lurker they too are going to struggle to clear their lines, and first impression is that Cruz left winger bla bla has the beating of the Chivas right back.

4:45. Cruz goal. 0-1.

Cruz attaking the right flank this time but Cid gets over and helps his left back and forces Salgado inside. Chivas turn the ball over fairly simply but then fanny about and Cruz rob them and tuck it away. Mpt a great goal to score, but a poor one to concede. Two Chivas defenders get in the way and then before one can clear it, Alvarado smashes into him and the ball falls to a teammate who slots home. I put this goal down to the mix-up between the defenders and I'm not sure that i would be unduly concerned by it. Not knowing what part of the season and what the familiarity is like, it could be related to that, but it also might just be one of theose things. Either way, (it's a shame I know the score as I wonder if that is affecting my judgement), I wouldn't be too bothered about the goal, (but a little concerned by Cruz attacking out wide, (especially their left). What would I be doing to stop this? Well I am dying to click on the player and check his bravery in the hope that I could go in hard on both wide players and both full backs, and close them down always with OI's. I would happily let the centre-backs have the ball, but I would make them play through the middle, (where we are strong), and not give them the freedom of the flanks, (where we are weaker).

7:17. Chivas attacking.

I don't like that Fabian, (top of the Chivas diamond), is taking long shots. With 2 strikers ahead of him I want him to either run with the ball or play one of them in.

7:17. Cruz shape.

Have Cruz opted to play narrower in the opening minutes after starting wider? Certainly defensively they look much more compact and it actually looke like Chivas have the sdpace out wide. Both full-backs getting forward well in support, (at the same time), and leaving just Cid in front of 2 centre-backs and a very high line. This high line does allow them to win possession in midfield more easily though. I would be looking to exploit this as the Cruz manager by clearing thre ball to flanks and counter-attacking. (Again, it's really frustrating that I know the score because this is obviously impacting on my decision making here).

8:30. Cruz shape.

Rivera on the left is playing wider and is a more natural threat than Salgado on the right. Rivera really wants to get at his man but the less attacking Salgado, (who was instrumental in the move that led to the opening goal remember), looks to bring in the full back and other players around him. Is Rivera a w(a) and Salgado a....... not sure actually. He's not playing in a way I personally recognise. Rivera needs to be closed down more and shown inside. He looks a threat wide on the left.

9:11. Cruz defensive midfield role.

Quintero is playing this role and doing so poorly. He is there, but he doesn't seem to be doing much of anything. I have clicked on him and will be keeping an eye on him now.

14:01 Chivas goal. 1-1.

Wow. Really nice goal. Cruz start the highlight with throw in near the corner flag and while the play is ok, it is cleared by a Chivas centre-half and Cruz are exposed at the back. When the initial header is cleared at the back, Cruz seem to be in an ok position. They have 3 defenders back against just 1 attacker, (but none of them are tight on him strangely), and they also have a 4th player, "lurking" as I would call it. The lurker doesn't close the player receiving the ball on the edge of the area and the lone attacker pulls wide into the space vacated by the right back and nether centre-back go with him. Riojas plays an early ball to the feet of the attacher, (still in acres of space). Both centre-backs seem to be retreating and the left back... well i have no idea what he is doing. The attacker drifts infield into the space that should be occupied by a DM, (as both centre-backs continye to retreat), before playing a really nice reverse ball, (I was expecting him to reveerse it but reverse it all the way wider). Instead he plays a harder ball and it's the correct ball as Fabian slots hime for 1-1. That's a really nivce goal. I like that. Cruz need to get tighter though. They had 3 v 1 and it should never have been an issue. The lurker, (never looked at who it was), also needs to close down more if he is going to be there, (or he might as well not be there). This looks like men against boys. Cruz really poor.

26:48. Cruz shape. (actually it is the 2-1 Chivas goal, but I was initially writing about the poor shape).

Cruz have a throw-in on the right almost up near the penalty area. After just conceding from a similar(ish) position, I immediately notice that they are open again. The left back seems in quite an attacking position considering that the right back has pushed up to offer the MR an option with the throw, leaving just the 2 hapless centre-backs to look after Riojas. Interestingly, the positions are not the same for Chivas at all. For the goal Riojas was the player who received the cleared ball on the edge of the area and played the early ball to the creative attacker, (forgot who that was). Why is the set-up different now? Was it a corner set-up before despite actually being a deep attacking throw by the corner flag?

Oh God this is painful to watch. Chivas clear the ball with a nothing header and you expect Cruz to just mop it up and recycle possession, but it somehow gets to the lonely Riojas who is marked by neither centre-back, (who need shooting), and the left back, (who has nobody to mark himself remember), also seems reluctant to come in. By the time he does ciome in, Riojas has managed to turn and plays what I think is a pretty poor chipped option up to the lsft side of the defense, (sort of IFL position), Chivas nod the ball on and have the option of either of 2 players slotting past the GK. Where as the leveller was a really good goal, this was pants. This was just rank bad defending on a number of levels. The midfield were caught in no-mans land with nothing between the massed defence of Chivas and the lone striker Riojas, (there is no way the initial hopefull clearance should get to him), and then they just never bother to close him down at all. If I was playing like this, (Cruz) I would have the right hump. Get a flippin challenge in!

[Edit]

I don't like wingers taking a throw-in if I can help it. For a start it drags the full-back up on that side and centre-backs seem to struggle a bit in the game in terms of awareness that although the full-back is there, he might need assistance. At least if the full-back actually takes the throw, then he is properly gone and the centre-half on that side seems to be aware that he is gone and reacts accordingly. Also, well a full-back throwing the ball forward to a wide midfielder/winger seems a more attractive opposition than a winger throwing the ball back to a full-back. I don't know why i started doing this, (I just did). now it's just a done deal. It seemed strange to be watching a game, Chivas seemed like my team because they played with a holding midfielder and I could at least relate to that where as Cruz had me tearing my hair out.

45:22. Good defensive play by Chivas.

Chivas centre-back stays on his feet and nicks ball from the Cruz attacker, (with a little assitance from the well positioned Cid).

47:40. Cruz concede penalty from corner that isn't cleared.

In my opinion their set-up at set pieces, corners and throw-ins is causing them all sorts of problems. Everything seems to be all defense or all attack. There is nobody picking up the pieces. At corners there is nobody lurking to stop Chivas recycling the ball and at throw-ins they look lop-sided AND don't have anyone sitting to stop a lone attacker being an easy out-ball.

I know that Chivas have scored from a penalty, but this is not a goal from a pen. This is a goal from a corner!

52:22. Cruz defensive shape.

It's happened again! Cruz are attacking and when the header is cleared to the edge of the box, ther eis absolutely no pressure on the ball and everyone just seems to drop off. Is this caused by too many (a) and (d) duties and not enough (s) duties? I just don't recognise this at all and it's hard to watch. The ball is on the edge of the Chivas pen are and there is just 1 Chivas attacker surrounded by 5 Cruz players, but based on what has gone on before, Cruz could be bang in trouble. Cruz don't do anything fancy and just keep popping the ball off to the man in space, (off the ball movement is decent), and sure enough Fuentes finds himself with a chance from what should have been a nothing situation. Cruz seem to be defending high, butb don't wnat to actually pressure the ball, (which is a must if you are going to do that). Instead they seem to want to just drop-off when they lose possession and there seems a "cavity" almost in the middle of the pitch where the Cruz midfield should be. Chivas are really not doing anything special at all.

54:13. Cruz set-piece set-up.

I have already noticed both defensive corners and attacking throws are an issue but this takes the biscuit. Chivas has a free-kick in a decent shooting position 25(ish) yards out and Cruz have all 10 outfield players back in the penatly area. Before we look at anything else, what happens when and if they win the ball? How do they expect to clear the ball and expect it to stay cleared. It's is just going to invite the ball to be returned again and again and invites pressure. Secondly, although they have all 10 players back, many of them are not actually doing anything! We have 5 players in the wall, (ok). But then their are 3 players seemingly doing nothing. There are 4 Chivas players in the box, (and 2 more lurking outside).While both lurkers are being ignored, the real issue is that only 2 of the 5 Chivas players in the box are actually being marked. What is the point in being back in the box of you are not doing anything? You are either in the wall or you are man-marking. This is ridiculous!

60:22. Cruz defensive midfield role.

I've highlighted this before and it was Quintero who was playing there then, (see 9:11). Now the position seems to be occupied by Suarez. When I say DM, I don't mean an actual DM, but the more defensive of the 2 middle players. He is just playing too far forward and the gap between him and the defensive line is enormous. Riojas can just drop off the 2 attackers, (who obviously don't want to come with him), and basically do what he wants. Someone frommCruz needs to sit or the centre-backs need get closer to the striker, (although I don't like it, would stopper role work here?)

70:33. Chivas goal. 3-1.

This is just too easy. It doesn't matter how the goal was scored. It's all about a lack of bodies in the middle for Cruz. They are playing away, (seemingly against better opposition), and are just being outnumbered in the middle. They afre playing a w(a) on the left, (who is decent), and what looks to be an IF(s) on the right, (not sure about that role), but the issue is in the middle where they are being completely over-run. Get one of the flippin strikers off and play a DM in there and the whole balance of this game changes!

79:01. Chivas goal.

Is this the last goal. I think I have lost count. I fear it might be hiding with my will to live.

Can I stop watching now?

Thank God that's over.

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I like the fact it's the ai teams, so it's purely impartial and shows their own problems and possibly even a lack of a solid starting tactic?

Anyway I am going to answer this as honestly as possible.

At the start of the game I would had it in my mind to use the shouts of 'play narrower' and 'exploit the flanks'

At the start I believe Cruz were playing to their gameplan of getting it wide and whipping in crosses. In fact it was a very entertaining to watch on behalf of both sides.

After that was where it went wrong - the crosses were not connecting from the byline. Was this because of good aerial defence and goalkeepers? Or a

A lack of height from the strikers? I couldn't see the aerial ability of them. Anyway maybe they could of crossed from deep and early for a period to see if that could hit chivas on a quick transition.

Maybe was the 2 cm's on support? I would of moved one on to a defend duty to at least try and deal with the third striker ( the am) but chivas were so strong through the middle so maybe of had the wingers as wide midfielders. Also the advanced forward need more support so get more runners.

After that it may have had to of been a change in shape to be stronger in the centre of midfield - dropping a striker.

Personally I would of had 1 full back as a complete wing back. I love that role it adds so much attacking support.

But also I will now say of my downfall - I believe I am too rigid to the recommended dutys and combinations. I am afraid to act outside the box. The ataaaaack thread by Ackerman has shown that roles used can be wacky, bizarre and still be successful.

Sorry if this is a bit rushed but I have to go to work now.

I hope I have answered as honestly as I would of played the game and this response will get constructively used so we can see my errors as a manager.

Regards

Darren

This is a great post because it shows how you think and you know you must do something, the next bit is trying to fix the issues :),

You say you are too rigid in your own approach and the way you think, so is this things like if you was playing defensive you'd never consider using many attacking roles/duties and so on?

I appreciate the posts btw :)

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I purposefully haven't read anyone else's analysis. I wanted to just rely on what I could see. I don't mind looking stupid and naive and hopefully it will encourage others to have a look and do the same too.

Ok, so this is going to be a little bit different from some of the other analysis that I think you are going to get. Quite probably less accurate, but certainly from a different perspective, (probably because I don't spend the same amount of time in here and really only look at the Ajax thread, the World Cup thread and occasionally pop in and out of anything that catches my eye. I am NOT good at the tactics part of the game.

The first thing I want to do is look at/click on the players. I want to see if someone is fast or slow, brave or cowardly, aggressive or timid, left or righty, technical or physical. I can't see anything and am completely blind. This feels like..... proper football almost. Well done Cleon. It's certainly dragged me kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone.

Oh God I'm going to be rubbish at this.

You can't be rubbish at it :D

Coming out of your comfort zone is a good thing as we are trying to break habits and patterns that the user might already be using. Not to change their mind as such and say things like 'you should do this and play this way' but rather to broaden how we think and give ourselves more tools rather than being limited in our thinking.

By the end of the game how did you feel at being not able to see the players attributes? I know at the start it made you hesistant but during watching the game unfold did it make you maybe view it from a different perspective because you couldn't refer to the attributes?

The analysis you've done too I really appreciate it. You've picked up some great points which I'll be touching upon when I add the next instalment at the weekend or early next week :)

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By the end of the game how did you feel at being not able to see the players attributes? I know at the start it made you hesistant but during watching the game unfold did it make you maybe view it from a different perspective because you couldn't refer to the attributes?

Well by the end of the game I had already made up my mind about certain things and certain players.

I didn't look at analysis stats or heat maps or anything else during or after this game. I wanted just to concentrate on the visual info. Usually I am all about the stats but I wanted to do things differently. (I assume I can see the stats and stuff in a match like this?)

It deffo made me look at things from a different perspective, and by not falling back on the stats it accentuated this. Although some players sort of let the game pass them by, there were others who had quite an impact.

Alvarado (or similar), was the starting Cruz striker. It was him that made the challenge that resulted in the opening goal. I never really managed to work out what sort of role he was playing because he saw so little of the ball on extended highlights. I would expect him to be short, intelligent technical player. I really don't know what role he was playing, but maybe something like a False 9? (I have little experience with that).

I can't tell you anything at all about the 2nd Cruz striker. He was more advanced than Alarado though I think.

Quintero and then Suarez were asked to play the more defensive of the 2 Cruz middle roles. I actually think that both will be decent players. They were both just asked to do a job that left their team really isolated. They looked like they were poor, (and if this was a real game and I was watching from the stand I would be screaming at them), but as the saying goes, "it's their tactics". It's not easy to play a 2 in the middle against a 3, but if you do, then you need to allow for that. You can't just hammer on in the hope that everything is going to be ok. Their partner in the middle was completely anonymous. No idea who he was never mind about what he was.

The Cruz left winger Rivera was a real threat despite playing in a rubbish tactic. Possibly one of the better players on show in this game. he did what he wanted down the left. he was just given little support. Even with 2 bodies in the box, I would suggest that he might have been better off being asked not to cross and maybe cut in himslef and/or link up. I would say that he was very athletic and actually had really good technical ability. There was a lovely bit early on where he too the right back inside and then went back out and left him for dead.

The right winger for Cruz is harder. Didn't see enough of him, (can't remember his name), and when we did he was reluctant to do much apart from bring others into play. lack of pace maybe?

I can't tell you anything about the Cruz centre-backs because all they did all day was drop off, (with 1 exception late on where on acted as a stopper momentarily and drew sarcastic applause from me. Honestly haven't a scooby.

For Chivas it was harder to work out who was playing where because a lot of the play came from counter-attacking opportunities.

Fabian was playing at the tip of the diamond but I think he was on an (a) duty and It looked like he might have done better with a (s) duty, but no idea odf the role.

I liked Cid at DM. He, (or at least his position), was the basic difference between the teams. As I said earlier, if Chivas had dropped a striker and introduced a DM, (absolutely screaming out for a Regista), then it would have completely changed the game. I would anticipate that he be a player with good technical/mental attributes rather than a physical beast.

The other player that I liked was Riojas, but believe this or not, I never actually worked out where exactly he was playing, (never mind about his role). For a while he seemed like he was the more withdrawn of the 2 up front, but there were other times when he was prompting from deep where he looked like he might be an MC with an attacjking role. In gthe end I think he was the more withdrawn of the 2 strikers, but he was tasked with many defensive duties at set pieces, possibly suggesting that he was bigger than his partner and possibly better mental stats.

after Riojas, the best player for Chivas wasn't the other striker, (forget his name), despite his goals. It was the left back Campos. He seemed to have that side completely sewn up. Very good display and whenever I saw him tackle, he then went on to use the ball well.

The right of the 2 DC's looked to be the better of the 2 and I liked on a couple of occcasions that he just stood up and slowed down the attacker long enough to get Cid in on the job to help him. Good mental stats perhaps?

I will be honest and admit that I did struggle with thinking differently. In my opinion, use of OI's is such a key part of the game and I am regularly astounded that so many people, (especially those struggling), can't be bothered to use them. As the game went on it was less of an issue, but of course I wasn't managing, (even though I felt like I wanted to help Cruz). I have recently managed some youth games where the young low rep opponents were based abroad and we hadn't scouted so I had very little to go on. While I didn't like that, it didn't bother me overly in so much as I just focussed on what would benefit my team, (and if it didn't work then I would change it). An obvious example of this was Chivas defending against Rivera at wide left. I know they won the game comfortably, but I don't think they dealt with this threat well at all. had they closed him down quicker and attempted to show him inside would he have been less of a threat? I certainly think so. On the other hand, they could have shown the opposite player inside for the same reason and then close down the full back, (which they actually did well).

In hindsight, I wouldn't say that I managed to view things differently. Instead I think I projected the sort of expected attributes onto all players until such time as they proved it different.

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Thanks for your encouragement cleon and a good post jimbo.

Yes I would say I was too rigid and also obvious to the opposition. With my games before I was the kind of player that would go up the mentalities if I was losing and wonder why I was being countered. In fm13 I believe I nailed it by dropping deeper and passing to feet and playing through the tight defence. So I do miss the play through defence shout. I do toy with mentalities and basing it on my passes completed in the attacking third.

My reacting rigidness on duties and my formation is that I have the recommended duties as per llama's thread, then if I am getting beaten fail to change things in case I make things even worse. For instance, I believe you helped Jambo out by analysing his game and suggested he would give his lone striker a duty more keeping the defence on their toes. I would never of thought of that because I would feel I would of completely upset the balance.

So I need to change my mindset, be more experimental cos what's the worst that can happen. I'll lose anyway :)

Then I need to make notes of what changes I make against certain formations, because I never do so I never have a benchmark of what works and what doesn't.

Regards

Darren

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I've just had a look at the posts by Cleon, RTH and Hunter in the other thread.

1. It seems I'm rubbish at identifying roles, (although really surprised that the Cruz left sided midfielder was a wide midfielder rather than a winger).

2. It also seems that changes in tactics also passed me by. Everyone seems to notice this except me.

I liked reading Letissier's post in this thread. He picks up on some stuff that completely passed me by. :thup:

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I've just had a look at the posts by Cleon, RTH and Hunter in the other thread.

1. It seems I'm rubbish at identifying roles, (although really surprised that the Cruz left sided midfielder was a wide midfielder rather than a winger).

2. It also seems that changes in tactics also passed me by. Everyone seems to notice this except me.

I liked reading Letissier's post in this thread. He picks up on some stuff that completely passed me by. :thup:

I've actually not listed the roles I think they used. I've mentioned in passing what something looked like at the start or due to certain events but I've purposely left out the roles atm. Until more people have viewed the thread as I don't want them to be influenced by the roles I think they play. This will be added in a seperate post which also details the changes the sides made and how this impacted the game :)

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Cleon, are you quite confident you have the tactics and roles nailed down?

I've just had a look at the posts by Cleon, RTH and Hunter in the other thread.

1. It seems I'm rubbish at identifying roles, (although really surprised that the Cruz left sided midfielder was a wide midfielder rather than a winger).

2. It also seems that changes in tactics also passed me by. Everyone seems to notice this except me.

I liked reading Letissier's post in this thread. He picks up on some stuff that completely passed me by. :thup:

1. I think I had the LM as a wide midfielder. No idea if I'm right, because I never look at opposition like I did for this match. We'll have to wait for Cleon to post his thoughts, I guess!

2. It's good that you did this then because it highlights maybe a weakness in how you read the game. I have no doubt that it's because you focus on stats and this was a first for you, so with experience you'll get better at it.

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Hey everyone now i'm going out of my comfort zone as well :)

I think that the bad wing play from Cruz Azul was an important factor in this game. They just didn't have enough movement between the wings and the Central midfield. I made 3 screenshots to show it.

Screenshot1

screenshot2azull9cg43jpiv.jpg

Salgado is the Winger and like the screenie shows he has only 2 options. Play back to the FB or dribble down the flank hoping to beat the FB. All other Players are marked or too far away. If the Fullback would be Lahm for example he woud try to overlap the winger now. But in this case the the FB just stays back and looks what the Winger is doing now. He decides to dribble and makes a poor switch to the other side then it comes to the following situation

Screenshot2

screenshot1azul3blc12vt09.jpg

It is the same thing. The winger has no support neither from the CM nor from the way behind FB. Both Strikers and the right winger stand in the middle of 5 defensive Players. The winger dribbles and gets the best he could think of, a corner.

Screenshot 3

screenshot3azultmeohpcn48.jpg

This time the winger decided to cut inside and pass to the Striker Alvardo. Cutting inside wasn't the worst idea, because the FB has a lot of space in front of him but he just doesn't want to use it and stays back. Now Avalardo has a problem because there is absolutely nobody free and they just don't move. So he has only the option to dribble against 3 defenders and there is only one outcome, he loses the ball. I would say the "off the ball" stats from the players are fairly bad.

Ok that were just my 2 cents

Stonebiter

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Right then, with the approach I’ve taken to FM14 and my desire to develop a greater understanding of tactics (hence my blog and FM-specific Twitter account) this ought to be right up my street.

Here’s my first run at it, based solely on the PKM file, and having read none of the doubtless excellent input from the guys in the parent thread (rest assured I’ll be off there as soon as I’ve posted this). Expect this to be Savage-esque at best :o. The good news is that I know little or nothing about the Mexican game, and also the match has been played in 2021, so I’m not likely to be led by any real-life assumptions here.

Finally I should say that I’ll likely be posting an analysis that – for me at least – raises more questions than answers. I’ll try to stick to those things that I believe can be directly addressed in FM, or will specifically state when this isn’t the case. For all that I enjoy the game, and the depth in which some people analyse these things, there are plenty of little nuances which I don’t think we can ever hope to really influence, and there are plenty that I’m sure we can but I have little idea as to how.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

My first stop is the Match Stats summary, and it looks like it ought to have been a fairly evenly matched game. The only standout is the differential in terms of Clear Cut Chances and Half Chances (but we’ve all been in a situation where we created a bucket-load of these and still only scored one, so it’s not a massive factor for me).

In terms of formations Cruz’s lack of meaningful chances suggests that either their wide men have been unable to find recipients, or have been nullified themselves. Perhaps their central pairing in midfield have both sat to deep and left the strikers isolated against a defensive triangle (DCx2 and DM). As for Chivas, their AM is likely to have caused additional problems for the Cruz defensive pairing, drawing one or other out of position to make space for the strikers.

That’s all so much speculation though, and I guess that this isn’t what the thread’s about, so let’s jump into the action.

8IEmzL2.jpg

Early on, and I get that it might be too early to be really representative, I’m already seeing that idea that the Cruz wide men have no meaningful targets – at least not for building attacking play.

Rivera has driven inside from the left wing, and has nothing on as such. Cruz’s strikers are more than covered by the Chivas back line, and there’s no signs of the fullbacks providing width on the overlap – to the extent that Chivas’ DR is free to stay with Rivera and double up with his MC-R and apply pressure if he wants. I’ve highlighted some of the coverage zones that Chivas players are providing here, but by no means all of them. What I have shown is more than enough to restrict Rivera’s options.

I’d be looking for Cruz’s left fullback to be pushing into the acres of space ahead of him here, where he either gets a ton of room to receive the ball or he draws one of the two men away from Rivera to give him a bit of breathing room. I’d also be looking at the more advanced of Cruz’s two MCs and wanting him a little further over to the right – it would be a risky pass between two Chivas players, but could be played with more pace which would help. Alternatively the MC could sit a little deeper (still more to the right) and one of Cruz’s right flank players could be offering that ball – ideally the fullback pushing on and maybe coming inside a little. Finally that Cruz defensive line seems a little on the deep side too.

Ultimately Rivera does thread a pass through to his striker, but by the time he receives the ball he’s surrounded by three red shirts and has nowhere to go when the tackle comes.

At 2m 16s Rivera makes a good run out wide, but again there’s no-one in support of the two strikers. Salgado, on the right wing, is an option at the far side of the box but realistically it’s four against seven Chivas players plus the keeper.

Chivas 0 – Cruz Azul 1

Of course, for all that I’ve knocked them, Cruz go and get the first goal – typical. There is a decent Chivas move before that (4m 10s) but I have a feeling that I’ll get more opportunities to talk about their attacking play.

At 4m 33s Fuentes (Chivas striker) makes a mistake in not playing the ball into the path of Fabian, and instead looking like he’s trying for a ball into feet – it was a first-time pass though, having received a 25-yard pass on the half-volley, so I’ll give him some leeway for the error there. Clearly he had time to take a touch; without knowing the Team and Player instructions it’s hard to pass judgement, maybe I’d be looking to discourage him from playing risky passes but it is an isolated incident.

When Quintero recovers the ball for Cruz (4m 35s) he has Cárdenas available inside his own half, so I’m assuming that he’s playing as the ‘support’ striker of the pair. I was expecting him to drive at the Chivas defence, rather than lay the ball out to the wing so quickly, but Salgado handles himself well and takes on his man before checking back to deliver a pass back to Quintero (4m 47s)

EYE7VO0.jpg

Quintero has at least shown some desire to push up from midfield, and has somehow remained unmarked in the process, but even knowing that there’s a goal coming I’d be concerned that (i) the Cruz left fullback is again leaving acres of open space that he could move into, and (ii) with Quintero pushed up Rodriguez needs to be shifting across to his left to provide some cover.

Del Rio (boxed in red) probably gets the blame for the goal. At this point I don’t think that he’s in a poor position per se (although he is in danger of playing Alvarado on side), but as Quintero advances he decides to close in on Cárdenas, having initially allowed the striker to gain a yard of space by checking his run. Given that he’s facing play, a through-ball is going to cause him difficulties unless he can directly intercept it – in that case all well and good, but otherwise he’s got to recover and spin a 180 whilst the (presumably) quicker striker can judge the path of the ball and ‘just’ run onto it.

This is one of those situation I mentioned, where I’m not sure how much we can expect to directly influence that level of minutiae?

Cárdenas has the advantage and manages to get goal-side of his man, and that’s the root cause of the goal for me. Yes the Chivas defence recovers quickly but now they’re disorganised – not what you’d expect from the earlier action – and the ball is pinging around the area. Alavarado makes a great tackle (4m 53s) and Cárdenas has time to carve out a speculative effort.

It's a slightly fortunate goal for me, and the result of the sort of momentary lapse that is difficult to legislate against even for world class players. On a side note, as is often the case, I have no idea where the Chivas players are coming from with their offside appeals.

CHIVAS BEGIN TO RECOVER

For a couple of minutes Chivas appear shaken, and there are some fairly poor direct balls played. I’ve no idea if the AI manager has tweaked things as a result of the goal, or is about to, but they don’t look particularly well disciplined at this point. There are a couple of Hollywood passes attempted, which would look great if they came off, but as it is just deliver the ball right back to Cruz. Personally, given the lack of pressure that the Cruz back line have been applying, I would be looking at a shorter passing game at this point, probably playing with a Counter mentality to allow for patient build-up.

I’ve seen little to suggest that Chivas shouldn’t be able to retain possession and pick holes in their opponents, and given that Cruz appear reliant on their wide men, when Chivas turn it over they’re likely to have numerical superiority through the middle of the park with their compact diamond and a striker dropping deep. Their diamond is doing a good job of shifting laterally to follow the run of play, meaning that their wingbacks always have options to play the ball inside rather than be reliant on the cross – just what Cruz seem to be missing in advanced positions. Chivas should be looking at rapid short-ish vertical passes to pressure the Cruz back line, with two strikers and an AM running up against a pair of central defenders. The Cruz fullbacks are left covering attacking wingbacks from Chivas, or maybe doubling up with their wingers if they also pick up those threats – if that happens, then Chivas have an overload elsewhere – result.

One notable point during this passage of play, Andrade (MC-R Chivas) looks happy closing down Rivera (ML Cruz). On paper it may appear that Cruz’s adherence to width should be offering them an advantage down the flanks, on their left – at least – that doesn’t appear to be the case.

At this point, watching Chivas playing very much as a unit, and Cruz in more fixed banks, I’m suspecting that the former are close to the Fluid end of the spectrum, and the latter are far more Rigid. Fabian (AM-C Chivas) is the man dropping all the way back to receive the second ball after a Cruz cross into the box (12m 6s)

9m 38s “Eng-land, it’s just like watching Eng-land”...

IcYK0Fv.jpg

Cruz Azul launch a long aerial ball into the corner for a striker to chase. Cold sweats and flashbacks to England in Brazil. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Even if he had beaten the (Sweeper?) Keeper to it, he had one man in support against three defenders.

Called It (Chivas 1 – Cruz Azul 1)

Okay so it doesn’t pan out exactly as I suggested, but it’s pretty close. 13m 45s and a Cruz throw has resulted in the ball being lofted into the Chivas box where the defence outnumbers the attacking players by at least two bodies. The clearing header comes out to Riojas on the edge of the area, Riojas is one of Chivas’ strikers – everyone is back except his strike partner and Cruz have four men between the ball and the halfway line, simple right? But here comes the counter attack.

By the time Riojas releases the ball, five seconds later, he has Fabian (AM-C) racing through the middle and numerous men about to run past him.

kJOLn38.jpg

The Cruz players are in full retreat too, but facing their own goal which means that they have two realistic choices – they either have to get far enough ahead of their men that they can turn and face, or they risk committing a foul to take the ball if their man receives it.

Fuentes runs diagonally with the ball, allowing Fabian (AM-C) and Garcia (MCL) to overtake him, but more importantly dragging Fregoso (DR Cruz) with him. Cue acres of space and a clever little change of direction from Fabian.

xQIpK5f.jpg

Fuentes sticks a through ball into a huge gap and Fabian has time to take a touch and slot it home. By this time Riojas (the striker who started the move) has just about caught up with his partner, and everyone in blue is still facing their own goal trying to get back. Two quick, short(ish) vertical passes separated by a short dribble. Simple and effective.

This is where I probably come unstuck though, as I’m not sure what I could’ve done as Cruz manager to mitigate that one. The play was all in and around the Chivas box, and at the time that the throw was taken there were five Cruz players back around the halfway mark to cover two red shirts – four once Rivera (ML) made a late run to the back stick. (13m 44s). Maybe therein lies the issue, too many back? That guaranteed Chivas numerical superiority in the box and made it unlikely that Cruz would profit – perhaps 3vs2 would be a better number, so a tweak of the Set Piece Creator maybe?

Once the ball was turned over, of course, it was a footrace. Cruz had a lot of players high up the pitch, but still had numbers back as Riojas released that first pass. One has to assume that Chivas just has quicker players, given the outcome of the footrace(?)

It also didn’t help that at least two of the Cruz defence were presumably looking to play for offside – check the raised arms at 13m 58s, one of them being the culprit playing Fabian on.

Possession, Schmossession.

Immediately following the goal we can see why the possession stats looked reasonably even, slightly in Cruz’s favour in fact. They have plenty of the ball but, once again, there’s little or no support for the strikers and wingers. In attack their formation looks to become largely a 4-2-4, and even when the fullbacks do push on they’re rarely moving beyond the central midfield line to offer any sort of overlap/underlap. Cruz are left hitting hopeful crosses into a well organised defence, or speculative efforts from 20-odd yards out.

Even when they do get the chance to counter (17m 45s) there’s nobody busting a gut to make up ground as there was for the Chivas equaliser. Quintero is left with one option going forward – a ball to Alvarado who has a pair of defenders between him and the box. By the time the wingers appear on the scene, and the ball is worked wide, Chivas have men back. Better examples do follow, but rarely do I see a counter that would worry me if I was playing the match as the Chivas manager.

Are Cruz playing a Defensive mentality? Even then I’d expect to see more commitment to the break. I’m beginning to feel like the visitors arrived with a target of just avoiding a big defeat. Not that it’s going to work out for them.

Another observation during this period is that the Chivas central defensive pairing appear to be fairly comfortable to just sit goal-side of the Cruz strikers and let them pass the ball back to what support they do have. I’m not seeing a lot of diving in to tackles so I’m assuming some combination of DC-D and DC-C with instructions that encourage cautious and organised play.

Large passages of Cruz possession go by with little happening (see 22m 9s) other than their possession stat ticking upwards until someone tries an overly-adventurous pass. By contrast (and perhaps my knowledge of the end result is colouring this), Chivas’ possession seems characterised by recycling the ball in advanced positions, and looking for proper penetration.

Chivas 2 – Cruz Azul 1 – Comedy Hour

It all starts with another Cruz throw-in (26m 47s) and, once again, the team in blue should have plenty of bodies back to cover the counterattack. Again I wonder if it’s too many, making a turnover of possession more likely, when Salgado (MR – Cruz) runs the ball into the box he comes up against THREE defenders, and Chivas still have bodies left over to cover their six yard box 4-to-2.

Salgado is short of options because, once again, his central midfielders are sitting far too deep to offer a realistic ball. His attempt to find Quintero is foolish, given that Chivas have a man covering, and when that man (again it’s a Chivas striker, Fuentes) flicks a header over Quintero there’s no attempt to get back by the Cruz midfielder. Riojas has so much time to collect the ball that it’s painful, and as with the equaliser there are red shirts on the charge.

When Riojas turns and launches an aerial through ball (27m 2s) Chivas are 3-on-3 against Cruz’s two central defenders and their right fullback. Farina (DL) is racing back, but the play is moving towards the other side of the pitch so he’s somewhat redundant at this point.

LlpFzvG.jpg

What follows is one of those moments that has you tearing your hair out if you’re managing Cruz. At first things look OK, Monroy (DCR) and Fregoso (DR) track the two runners chasing the ball and, even though they don’t win the header, Henrique (DCL) looks to have Fabian (AMC Chivas) covered. To me it looks like Monroy is the one who books an appointment with the hair-dryer, and I can’t work out what he’s trying to do – I assume it’s a weak attempt at a backpass to the keeper? At this point (27m 7s) Farina (DL) is the last hope but there’s no attempt to track back any further as he presumably thinks that the backpass is safe, I have to assume that’s the reason why he stops and watches as TWO Chivas players run into the box and leave the keeper with no chance at all.

2-1 up, from being behind, and it’s two quick counters through the middle of the pitch that have done the damage.

The thing I’m finding difficult to understand is how Cruz are committing so many men forward at set pieces, but rarely seem to have those numbers up there when they’re building up the flanks in open play. Here they are a couple of minutes later, with the banks of their 4-4-2 highlighted. The fullback on the attacking side is now starting to show more intent, but there’s still little support in the middle of the park with midfield and defence both sitting relatively deep.

SN1BRZ6.jpg

Any second ball dropping into the highlighted area is almost certainly going to come for a Chivas player, and the speed at which they transition from defence to attack means that Cruz are going to be on the back foot despite their numbers. I’d prefer to see Quintero closer to level with the red shirt to his immediate right, and the Cruz defensive line at least up to half way in this picture - the D-line is simply far too deep, especially when it's creating room for an AMC to roam around.

Shortly after this Cruz get another throw, again have five men covering two, and again turn the ball over. Chivas break but not as quickly as before (28m 58s), and on this occasion Henrique picks off the pass. Had the Chivas players shown the same hunger as n the first two goals, then I think they’d have been looking at a two goal cushion inside 30 minutes.

Despite their early goal, things do not bode well for Cruz Azul.

Rest of the First Half...

NOTE: I need to speed things up at this point, so far I’ve spent about 2 hours watching and making notes on the first half!

Much like the above, lack of support in the middle of the park (AM areas) for Cruz going forward, outnumbered at set pieces, and struggling to cover the combination of two strikers and an attacking midfielder at the back. Chivas continue to look threatening, but perhaps have slowed things down a little and are happy to settle for their lead at the break?

Second Half – Early Doors

Chivas continuing to play a patient game, happy in possession and looking to unlock the killer ball (chance at 47m 10s is a good example). The early penalty is a bonus that I’m not sure I would attribute to anything tactical so much as to the mental traits of the Cruz defender – I’m assuming that he was probably somewhat wound up by then, and lashed out.

There's a chance for a Cruz counter at 50m, but again Chivas are just that much quicker in the transitions. I guess that this is, to some degree, affected by your choice of tempo but they seem to be playing quite a slow one otherwise so I’m not sure – maybe it’s more the Mentality or the balance of Fluidity/Rigidness?

At 3-1 up, and Chivas clearly in control, things starting to get a bit niggly at the back for Cruz – a bit of discipline slipping, which will again be primarily down to the players’ mental traits. When they are on the attack, there’s still little or no intent from the Cruz fullbacks. I’m suspecting that they’re both set to either FB-D or FB-S.

I’d be looking to make at least one of them a wingback (still in the D-line) at WB-S or WB-A and, given the lack of attacking intent from the central midfielders, encourage them to come inside (especially if we’ve got a left-footer on the right, or vice-versa) whilst the MR and ML maintain the width. Cruz need someone to contest the second balls dropping to Cid (DMC Chivas).

For Chivas the interplay between their two strikers is great, and I’m suspecting that at least one of them has been asked to ‘Move into the Channels’ which makes some sense with an AMC also pushing into the front line. There’s a great example here at 60m 17s...

WXjyRG1.jpg

As Riojas prepares to receive the ball Fuentes, his strike partner, drops wide off his marker whilst staying the right side of the Cruz DR (out of shot just below him). Somehow the two Cruz DCs had got switched over, and when Riojas makes the pass Henrique is going to open the door even further by trying to move back towards the DCL slot. It’s a ridiculous move, and my assumption is that it’s got to be a combination of poor mental traits (Decision Making) and a Rigid outlook (his primary focus is to regain his allotted position). He will recover once Fuentes is through, and may do enough to force him to maintain his width – which contributes to Borrego making the save, but I’d still be furious.

Even when Cruz recover possession from the ensuing corner, there’s no apparent desire to get forward and they end up passing the ball around for too long.

INTERESTING NOTE: Cruz corner at 64m 30s and they have better numbers forward to contest the ball in, whilst still having three back to cover Chivas’ lone man – has the Chivas AI manager tweaked Set Pieces mid-game to push less men forward? It's a better approach for Cruz, than for their earlier throw-ins in advanced positions, as they’re closer to parity in the box and have a better chance of winning the ball. They have to transition quickly if they lose the ball though, although it’s not an issue in this case as the Chivas Keeper holds it for a while.

Chivas definitely looking much happier to just soak up the ‘pressure’ such as it is, and to push forward slowly, but there's no lack of movement when they’re in the last third. AMC definitely very much part of the attack, likely an AM-A or Treq rather than an AP or Enganche? (not shy about getting ahead of the strikers).

If there’s a ‘playmaker' role in the Chivas midfield, then I suspect that it’s Cid (DMC) with one of the central guys focusing on a more defensive duty (covering across to pick up Cruz’s wide man) and one pushing on to add yet more support to attacks – looks like that might be Castillo now (on for Garcia).

Cruz Azul seem to have gone into damage limitation mode, defensive line appears deep and midfield sitting close to them – their strikers are somewhat isolated until Cruz push into the final third.

Chivas 4 – Cruz Azul 1 – The Coup de Grace

My assumptions about Castillo look like they may be confirmed as the Chivas midfield diamond play a blinder for their fourth. Cid (DMC) to Fabian (AMC), touch wide to Castillo (MCL) and a run into the box that takes FIVE! men with him (73m 17s).

uJoDvSo.jpg

If you watch the PKM you’ll note that Fuentes, the deeper lying of the Chivas strikers (DLF-S I suspect?), drops off as Castillo drives into the box. Whilst it won’t be necessary, with Riojas banging it home, Fuentes is now one of three red shirts in place to pick up any loose clearances.

Cruz Azul are sitting ever deeper and deeper, with Alvarado dropping beyond Cid (DMC Chivas) to try and offer a ball to the midfield.

Chivas 5 – Cruz Azul 1 – Overkill

Not a lot to say about this one, it’s a well delivered deep cross to the far post with Castillo on the end of it. The Cruz defence are guilty of breaking out too quickly following the free-kick moments before, and only three of the back four are in the area when the ball comes in – trying to cover five Chivas players.

Game. Set. Match.

Conclusions:

Cruz Azul’s 4-4-2 looks to have been very rigid, and played with a deep defensive line. They were overly reliant on wide play from their midfield, which was rarely supported by fullbacks or the midfield. I suspect a Support and Defend combination for the MCs. Their defence was particularly vulnerable to Chivas’ man in the hole. They must have been very fearful of their hosts, and set out with a very cautious gameplan that backfired. Generally speaking, when I've got nothing to lose, I'll look to be a bit more adventurous and rely on making the opposition defence do some work.

Chivas looked to be playing a more Fluid game, and their diamond midfield shifted well as a unit to cover for their lack of width. Wide play came courtesy of deep-starting wingbacks, with the defensive triangle of DCx2 and DLP(?) at DMC holding the line. I suspect that Chivas were odds-on favourites from the off, and played a patient game on the counter during the first half – confident that they’d get their chances.

The second half saw a much more possession based game from Chivas (I'd be interested to see the possession share at the break, my guess would be even more in the visitors' favour), and Cruz Azul were getting frustrated at the back. Chivas were free to pick the visitors apart as and when they wanted to.

Throughout the game Cruz gave Chivas far too much time and space to dominate in midfield and their compact diamond took full advantage.

So that’s my reading of it. As I said at the start I’ve probably raised more questions than answers, in terms of FM tactical management, but I do feel like I’m getting a decent reading of games as a whole.

Feel free to chip in and point out all of the places where I'm talking codswallop :D

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I like your observations, stonebiter and flipsix.

If either or both of you (or anyone else, really) want to answer (I know Cleon will ask), what would you do differently if you were Cruz Azul?

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Conclusions:

Cruz Azul’s 4-4-2 looks to have been very rigid, and played with a deep defensive line.

Like you said elsewhere, I think there are many similarities between what we both identified.

I'm curious at this bit though. I saw Cruz with a high line again and again, then backing off much much more when they lost possession. Does the fact that they back off on a consistent basis make it a deep line, or does the fact that they were high up the pitch, (albeit in possession), suggest it is a high line, but one which is being played poorly with defenders standing off rather than making a challenge?

I'm quite confused about that.

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Like you said elsewhere, I think there are many similarities between what we both identified.

I'm curious at this bit though. I saw Cruz with a high line again and again, then backing off much much more when they lost possession. Does the fact that they back off on a consistent basis make it a deep line, or does the fact that they were high up the pitch, (albeit in possession), suggest it is a high line, but one which is being played poorly with defenders standing off rather than making a challenge?

I'm quite confused about that.

I suspect, like many things in FM, it's a matter of personal interpretation. To me they looked quite deep at the times when I was concentrating on their position - but perhaps just deep compared to how I'd like to see them play. Having gone back and watched again I'll grant that they do get further forwards at times, but if you look at their goal as an example, even when their forwards are playing in the box, the DCs are back beyond the halfway line and somewhere between 10 and 15 yards deeper than Chivas' most advanced player. The other issue, which perhaps exaggerated it for me, was that as the game wore on their midfield seemed to drop deeper to the point where the two lines of four we almost on top of each other.

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I think me and HUNT3R should take a back seat for the next panels! - some terrific stuff since I last looked in here :thup:

To those who have viewed the .pkm and commented - do you feel the exercise was worthwhile? Has it helped you step back and think about things in a broader manner, or was it just painful?

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I like your observations, stonebiter and flipsix.

If either or both of you (or anyone else, really) want to answer (I know Cleon will ask), what would you do differently if you were Cruz Azul?

That's where I perhaps fall down, certainly in a 'real' game situation (i.e. playing a match in my own save). You have to bear in mind that I watched this one on 'full match' and skipped very little - although I will nearly always play on Comprehensive, so I do see plenty of action.

I also, in between doing stuff for work, spent nearly 3.5 hours watching the match and stopping/reviewing to make notes. I enjoyed doing so for the purposes of this exercise, because part of what I'm trying to do is better appreciate tactical nuances outside of FM. In terms of playing FM matches that's just not going to happen, so I'm likely to spot a lot less of what's going on in the detail, and have less to work with in my decision making.

All that being said, here's a few ideas of how I might have approached this for Cruz (some repetition of my analysis in places):

  • I'm not a big fan of wingers, as anyone following my blog will have seen. I did see some cutting inside, but both Cruz players seemed intent on mainly staying wide and looking for crosses that were ineffectual. I either encourage one of them inside more, or both and drop a striker. The latter would be pretty close to my Karlsruhe save at the moment, and would let me drop an extra body into midfield where Cruz are desperately weak in this match.
  • Given that Chivas are reliant on wingbacks for width, I'd be tempted to move one of my MR/ML pair into the AM line. Set him as an Inside Forward, with Cross Less Often, and Cut Inside With Ball (or whatever it is). Pushing him that much higher in the shape will hopefully keep one of Chivas' wingbacks honest.
  • On the other side either tell the wide midfielder to stay wide, and encourage his fullback forward with Cut Inside as a PI, or tell the wide mid to sit a little narrower and give the fullback the wingback treatment, getting forward more and looking for the overlap.
  • Take the second striker that we've dropped and either make a flat three in midfield (one on DM-D set to manmark Chivas' AMC), or play with our own DMC.
  • Do something about those set piece routines. I like Jimbokav's approach to these, and indeed my routines in FM14 are based on Twitter conversations I had with him. There needs to be more defined duties for our players, both attacking and defending set pieces. I'm not sure that I'd go to the extent of tweaking mid-match, as Chivas appeared to do, but I guess you could have several copies of an identical tactic saved, just with slightly different set-piece setups.
  • Finally, given that we are (I'm assuming) rank outsiders for the match I'd be less inclined to go Defensive and/or Rigid. I'd want a bit more fluidity, and a team who weren't afraid to get forward and make Chivas defend.

Overall maybe something like this...

IJkc89W.jpg

Being FMC, assuming you've got the players, you can get away with that of course. In the 'full fat' version I'd always want something like that as one of my three tactics on the board to ensure that we were fluid in it. Potentially you can go a little more adventurous with a couple of Roles/Duties - push the DLP to Support for instance, or make the BBM a CM-A, but that's my overall feel. More bodies in midfield and a bit of variety to the wide play.

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Some fantastic analysis so far. I'm actually away atm so can't do any detailed posts atm but I can't wait to update the thread and talk through some of the analysis that has been done in this thread.

I might also add the analysis people have done to the main thread too, to give it a clearer picture.

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Overall maybe something like this...

IJkc89W.jpg

That's a much better shape.

From a personal point of view, I might prefer different roles in the 3 central midfield positions, but that already is a HUGE improvement on what we saw in the game.

The only thing I would argue over would be the idea of Rivera playing a more defensive role on the left. I know we haven't seen him, (I don't even know if he is a real player), but he is the one Cruz player who offered anything for me. The contrast of that was on the other side where Salgado seemed ineffectual.

Either way, the above shape and attention to set-pieces and this game would be completely different.

I know it's probably a long way off, but I can't wait to see what Rivera looks like.

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I never made a tactical analyse before but it is a lot of fun and i think i learn much more from it than only reading the forums. This thread is realy a good idea. By the way i have never used a 442 or the narrow diamond formation.

Ok let's see how we can get a better 442. It's funny that both formations counter each other perfectly. The 442 has it's strength in the width of the formation and the diamond have +2 in the middle. Well, with the 442 we need to close the middle but also provide more width. Firstly i suggest to play narrower because so you restrict the room in the middle then it is easier to cover it with only 2 CMs and there it is not much danger on the wings from the opposite Players. There are only the CWBs and if we can hold them busy then we won't get a problem on the Flanks. To give them something to do we should prever playing down the Flanks and the Fullbacks should look for overlap the Wingers. I don't know if it is good when the wingers cut inside because there are already a lot of players from the opponent. I would go for 2 DWs which sit narrower. That restrict even more the space in the middle and the opponents Fullbacks become closed down a lot. To restrict even more space i would set up a higher line. It also helps nothing if the Strikers sit the whole time in the middle and it doesn't matter if one of them drops deeper, at least one of them has to do some horizontal movement to provide more passing options to the wingers. I don't know if the PI "roam from position" does exactly that. But if i'm not wrong then the Treqartista does this special movement. So i would set up one striker as Treqartista. Ok let's do a summary. That are my suggestions:

- play narrower

- exploit the flanks

- look for overlap

- higher line

- use defensiv Wingers which sit narrower

- use attacking Fullbacks perhaps even CWBs

- use a trequartisa striker role

- Perhaps change the CM set up to DLP/d and CM/d to cover the middle but i think Cleon have already mentioned that.

Then it would look like that

screenshot4gcrbtn9qwu.jpg

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That's a much better shape.

From a personal point of view, I might prefer different roles in the 3 central midfield positions, but that already is a HUGE improvement on what we saw in the game.

The only thing I would argue over would be the idea of Rivera playing a more defensive role on the left. I know we haven't seen him, (I don't even know if he is a real player), but he is the one Cruz player who offered anything for me. The contrast of that was on the other side where Salgado seemed ineffectual.

Either way, the above shape and attention to set-pieces and this game would be completely different.

I know it's probably a long way off, but I can't wait to see what Rivera looks like.

Good call on Rivera, he was definitely the more incisive of the wide men, so you could easily mirror my setup to put him up at AML. Agree about the central roles, they really do come down to personal taste (and the players at your disposal)

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I haven't watched the whole match, but I have watched the first goal from Chivas (the equalizer) and have a somewhat different take that I haven't seen mentioned. Perhaps I'm seeing things that aren't there in which case hopefully I'll learn something.

In summary, to me this goal has 2 main causes: a frankly bizarre setup for the deadball situation (deep throw-in) that sees them trying to regain their normal shape just as the counter begins, and then a series of mental errors and poor decisions in defending the counterattack. I will go through all of it in some detail.

13:36: Cruz Azul are looking good with a throw-in deep in their opponent's end on their right side. Their DR (Fregoso) has pushed up to support. Bizarrely, 2 players are covering his spot, and they are both left-sided players. Rivera, the ML, and Farina, the DL, are both off to the right. This doesn't seem too striking at first, but in 26 seconds, they will watch the ball go into their own net.

13:41: Salgado gets the ball back after throwing in. Fuentes, the man who will eventually get the ball in space for Chivas, is upfield, but 3 players from Cruz are reasonably tight to him: the aforementioned Rivera and Farina, plus Henrique, the DCR. Curiously, the DCL (Monroy) is well off to the left side, covering Farina's spot. Cruz's defense has everything covered for now, but in 21 seconds they'll watch the ball go into their net.

13:44: The right back, Fregoso, gets the ball near the corner of the box. At this point, a switch seems to flip in the minds of the Cruz players who were back covering. It is as if they have switched from set piece mode to normal play mode, and realized they are out of position. Rivera in particular begins a dead sprint diagonally across the field. He's an attacking player on the left and suddenly wants to make a run for the back post. Farina likewise realizes he's a left sided player and heads back to position. Curiously, Henrique also drifts away from Fuentes, despite being a DCR and having no other responsibilities. Perhaps it's that Monroy is still so far away that Henrique drifts too far left. Cruz are still in possession, but in 18 seconds, the ball will go into their net.

13:46: Fregoso crosses, and Fuentes is by now already wide open. In 16 seconds, Chivas will score the goal.

13:49: The cross has been headed away and is now received by Riojas. Quintero decides to close him down, but never has any hope of getting there. But just in that moment, the eventual goal scorer Fabian will surge past him. Quintero will never catch him. Rivera has just run 30 yards in the wrong direction and taken himself out of the play. Meanwhile Henrique still hasn't spotted the danger that Fuentes poses. Likewise, Farina is still watching the play, failing to anticipate what's about to happen. To his credit, the right back Fregoso does now realize that he's far out of position and shows good dedication and legs to hustle back. Nevertheless, in 13 seconds, he'll watch the ball go into his net.

13:55: Fuentes receives the ball from Riojas and begins to dribble. At this point, Quintero and Fregoso both make an error. Fregoso has shown great work to get close to Fuentes, but it's Quintero who is closer and has the chance to close him down. But Quintero is chasing Fabian instead, and Fregoso chases Fuentes when he should be covering Garcia, who has drifted out to the Chivas left wing. Quintero has 3 teammates behind him with a chance to cover Fabian, and he can't catch him anyway. Trying to chase him is a bad decision. Both players are leaving a player they could mark to chase a player they can't catch. Henrique and Farina have both been sprinting back towards their goal, not even looking at the ball. Henrique finally turns now though, which slows him down. Fabian can thus surge by him and remain onside. As a result, Henrique is only 7 seconds away from seeing the ball go into his net.

13:56: Farina finally turns to look at the ball. Until this point he's been blithely unaware of Fabian's run, and now can only hold up and put his hand in the air. Too late for that, and in 6 seconds he'll see the ball go into his net.

13:57: Fuentes plays the ball into Fabian's feet. This play is more mental than technical. It's a pass into his feet, but well-spotted and timed. None of the defenders picked up the run, so no one has bothered to mark him. Mental errors all around. Fabian's Off The Ball and Fuentes' Creativity and Decisions have got the better of the Cruz defenders' Concentration, Anticipation, Positioning, and Decisions. In 5 seconds, the ball will go in the net.

13:58: Fabian controls the ball, dribbles, and scores easily 4 seconds later.

To recap, this all goes back to the bizarre positionin on the throw-in, and the confusion that results when they try to transition back to normal play at nearly the exact moment the game situation also changes signficantly. I don't know why Cruz were in such a crazy shape for the throw-in, with their left sided players all the way over to the right, but it pulled their whole team out of shape and left the other defenders totally bewildered as to how to react.

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It's a good call Trepanated, definitely worth considering - when setting up your set pieces - how your players will react when they switch out off set piece mode. And I do think that's exactly what happens, at some point a trigger fires to say "not a set piece any more" and (potentially) all hell breaks loose.

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I haven't checked, but that's a good spot, Trepanated.

Some of you are much more confident than I am. If I managed Cruz Azul, facing Chivas at their ground playing a 4-1-2-1-2 with such an aggressive AMC, I wouldn't dare play without a DM! I'd call it risky to even play a DM on Support duty!

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Wow. This is just fantastic.

I will defiantly be involved for future matches, just wanted to pass comment on a superb idea, as well as some cracking analasis. I will be following avidly.

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Wow. This is just fantastic.

I will defiantly be involved for future matches, just wanted to pass comment on a superb idea, as well as some cracking analasis. I will be following avidly.

You do realise you are praising something I did right? Is that allowed? :D

Joking aside, cheers for the comments :)

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I haven't watched the whole match, but I have watched the first goal from Chivas (the equalizer) and have a somewhat different take that I haven't seen mentioned. Perhaps I'm seeing things that aren't there in which case hopefully I'll learn something.

In summary, to me this goal has 2 main causes: a frankly bizarre setup for the deadball situation (deep throw-in) that sees them trying to regain their normal shape just as the counter begins, and then a series of mental errors and poor decisions in defending the counterattack. I will go through all of it in some detail.

13:36: Cruz Azul are looking good with a throw-in deep in their opponent's end on their right side. Their DR (Fregoso) has pushed up to support. Bizarrely, 2 players are covering his spot, and they are both left-sided players. Rivera, the ML, and Farina, the DL, are both off to the right. This doesn't seem too striking at first, but in 26 seconds, they will watch the ball go into their own net.

13:41: Salgado gets the ball back after throwing in. Fuentes, the man who will eventually get the ball in space for Chivas, is upfield, but 3 players from Cruz are reasonably tight to him: the aforementioned Rivera and Farina, plus Henrique, the DCR. Curiously, the DCL (Monroy) is well off to the left side, covering Farina's spot. Cruz's defense has everything covered for now, but in 21 seconds they'll watch the ball go into their net.

13:44: The right back, Fregoso, gets the ball near the corner of the box. At this point, a switch seems to flip in the minds of the Cruz players who were back covering. It is as if they have switched from set piece mode to normal play mode, and realized they are out of position. Rivera in particular begins a dead sprint diagonally across the field. He's an attacking player on the left and suddenly wants to make a run for the back post. Farina likewise realizes he's a left sided player and heads back to position. Curiously, Henrique also drifts away from Fuentes, despite being a DCR and having no other responsibilities. Perhaps it's that Monroy is still so far away that Henrique drifts too far left. Cruz are still in possession, but in 18 seconds, the ball will go into their net.

13:46: Fregoso crosses, and Fuentes is by now already wide open. In 16 seconds, Chivas will score the goal.

13:49: The cross has been headed away and is now received by Riojas. Quintero decides to close him down, but never has any hope of getting there. But just in that moment, the eventual goal scorer Fabian will surge past him. Quintero will never catch him. Rivera has just run 30 yards in the wrong direction and taken himself out of the play. Meanwhile Henrique still hasn't spotted the danger that Fuentes poses. Likewise, Farina is still watching the play, failing to anticipate what's about to happen. To his credit, the right back Fregoso does now realize that he's far out of position and shows good dedication and legs to hustle back. Nevertheless, in 13 seconds, he'll watch the ball go into his net.

13:55: Fuentes receives the ball from Riojas and begins to dribble. At this point, Quintero and Fregoso both make an error. Fregoso has shown great work to get close to Fuentes, but it's Quintero who is closer and has the chance to close him down. But Quintero is chasing Fabian instead, and Fregoso chases Fuentes when he should be covering Garcia, who has drifted out to the Chivas left wing. Quintero has 3 teammates behind him with a chance to cover Fabian, and he can't catch him anyway. Trying to chase him is a bad decision. Both players are leaving a player they could mark to chase a player they can't catch. Henrique and Farina have both been sprinting back towards their goal, not even looking at the ball. Henrique finally turns now though, which slows him down. Fabian can thus surge by him and remain onside. As a result, Henrique is only 7 seconds away from seeing the ball go into his net.

13:56: Farina finally turns to look at the ball. Until this point he's been blithely unaware of Fabian's run, and now can only hold up and put his hand in the air. Too late for that, and in 6 seconds he'll see the ball go into his net.

13:57: Fuentes plays the ball into Fabian's feet. This play is more mental than technical. It's a pass into his feet, but well-spotted and timed. None of the defenders picked up the run, so no one has bothered to mark him. Mental errors all around. Fabian's Off The Ball and Fuentes' Creativity and Decisions have got the better of the Cruz defenders' Concentration, Anticipation, Positioning, and Decisions. In 5 seconds, the ball will go in the net.

13:58: Fabian controls the ball, dribbles, and scores easily 4 seconds later.

To recap, this all goes back to the bizarre positionin on the throw-in, and the confusion that results when they try to transition back to normal play at nearly the exact moment the game situation also changes signficantly. I don't know why Cruz were in such a crazy shape for the throw-in, with their left sided players all the way over to the right, but it pulled their whole team out of shape and left the other defenders totally bewildered as to how to react.

I read this post and it made me smile. The reason being is you've spotted something that is in the next instalment that no-one else has picked upon yet. Great shout and a great spot :)

I can't wait to update this thread now during the next few days when I'm back home. I was nervous at first and thought people wouldn't get involved as its a thread that can only work if people watch the game which in itself is daunting and not something people want to do. It's basically a thread where you put more in and you should get more out of it. So a big thank you to all those who have took part in this project :)

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I know I'm poor at reading what's going on in a match but I would love to change this. Thanks for all the effort in making this thread.

Anyway my feeble attempts to make observations on this match.

Chivas - I thought the left back pushed up quite high and was probably on attack mode. I also thought the defensive line was pushed up higher than the Cruz Azul defensive line. The attacking midfielder was probably on attack mode as he sometimes was more advanced

than the deeper of the two strikers who was probably on support.

Cruz Azul - Thought the LM played more narrower but was isolated quite a lot. Didn't think the full backs pushed up much and as I mentioned above thought the defensive line was quite deep. That may be because of the gap between defence and midfield. Cruz Azul seemed to be the more assertive team in going forward but because of the space they left open were punished for it.

Sticking my neck on the line here but I judged Chivas to be playing a Defensive Fluid formation but with the defensive line pushed higher up. Cruz Azul were possibly playing Control, Rigid and with a deep defensive line.

Haven't read the responses to this post as I wanted to keep an open mind.

Appreciate I may be off the mark with most of what I've wriiten but felt I should make the effort.

Really want to be able to judge the positions of the defensive lines but for some reason I have trouble with this.

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This is a fantastic post and the bizarre throw-in positioning may be something worth bringing to SI's attention.

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Arab. I don't think it particularly matters that you can't identify what role a player is playing in and with what duty. All that is important is that you can see some things that an opposition player does and do things yourself to either defend against that or exploit it. I would say that I am completely and utterly rubbish at identifying roles. Part of the reason is because there are roles that I just don't understand myself having never used them.

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OK, I am rubbish at reading the match engine (I can never tell if I am doing well or not), so this thread is definitely here to help people like me.

Chivas

4-1-2-1-2, will look to dominate the middle of the pitch and take advantage of the man in the hole. Using a more cautious mentality or dropping deeper will create space for their AM and will force Cruz's lines away from each other (a problem that Chivas will never have due to their DM and AM).

Indeed, they seem to have played with a Counter mentality.

Their 2 CMs would need to be hard working in order to help defending the flanks. However, in the match Andrade (their MCR) probably was a playmaker, which partly explains why Rivera was able to bomb 20 crosses in. I guess Chivas decided that they could cope with the crosses, especially with their DM helping out inside the area. I would probably be too scared to make such a decision myself, although of course I don't know the attributes of the participants.

The right striker dropped deeper. That wasn't enough to stop Rivera crossing, but it may have helped with the midfield tracking their men better in defense and also created space for Fabian.

Fast team, probably with better players than Cruz.

Cruz

4-4-2 with Cardenas (the right striker) dropping a bit deeper. Cruz need to be a bit aggressive in order to reduce vertical space between the lines either by adopting an aggressive mentality (which they probably did) or by pushing higher up. I think Salgado was a W(A) and Rivera a W(S), possibly with dribble more and cross from byline. The MCL also dropped deeper, may have been a CM(D).

In the attacking phase, Cruz should have looked to overwhelm Chivas on the flanks and thus drag players out of position. If I were managing them, I 'd have started with a CWB on the left and a WB(A) with cross from byline on the right. The wide midfielders would have been a W(A) on the right and a W(S) or WM(S) on the left to keep Andrade under check. All wide players should probably have more direct and more risky passing, so that they look to switch flanks as per Defensive Arts thread. More direct passing for the 2 CDs too to get the ball the hell out of there fast. I would probably have made Rodriguez (the MCR) a BtB so that he makes some runs for the crosses without being too attacking.

Defensively, there is alot to think about. I already mentioned pushing higher up to reduce space. I would have probably made Cardenas a DF to keep Cid under check so that the rest of the midfield don't have to close him down. Quintero (the dropping MC) should have been man-marking Fabian. Then Rivera would hopefully gravitate towards the middle to keep Andrade under check. If that didn't happen, I 'd make Rivera a WM(S) and if that wasn't enough either I might tight mark Andrade with Rivera.

One of the main questions defensively is who are the wide midfielders going to mark. I already mentioned Rivera possibly tight marking Andrade. What a about Salgado? I 'd maybe put him on close down less and make him my unofficial playmaker (depending on attributes, of course) or just let him find someone to mark on his own.

Cruz's defensive project is quite complicated due to the shapes of the two teams, so some trial and error in the starting minutes might be in order. A first thought would be that I might need to switch the roles and marking instructions on my 2 flanks.

In the match, Cruz's players often seemed confused as to who they should be marking, and that was a very real danger right from the start.

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I've been thinking about the great observations from Trepanated, and also looking back at how I saw the same situations.

It's interesting that I saw that something was wrong with the attacking throw-ins deep in the corner, but never looked to see what exactly it was.

Why is the set-up different now? Was it a corner set-up before despite actually being a deep attacking throw by the corner flag?

I know that free-kicks in positions have the set-up changed to that of a corner. Is it possible that the same thing happens to throw-ins? It would make sense in certain circumstances I suppose, (remembering that there can be no off-side from a throw-in and I think that's the thinking behind the move on some level). The ball starts off so deep that playing off-side isn't an option for a free-kick.

I'm not going to watch the game again until we are ready to move on to the next match and then I just want to watch it after reading everything and see what I can pick up after the event. I will certainly be looking at my own team, (which i am obviously far more familiar with), at these deep attacking throw-in situations, and seeing if I can see if the revert to a corner set-up at some point.

Anyone got any other suggestions as to what was the reason for the swap well identified by Trepanated?

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From what I observed Chivas are playing a quick tempo short passing game playing through the middle, this worked really well for them and they were able to counter attack very effectively often having 3 players pushing up against 4 Cruz defenders. When in a wider position crosses are hit early in hope of a striker running in. This didn't happen much and didn't seem to be effective. Defensively Chivas looked to hassle opponents often and get stuck in and play a high line, this seemed to nullify most Cruz attacks and then helped create attacks on the counter. Apart from the goal which should have been defended better, they were perhaps unlucky that ball broke to the onrushing Cruz midfielder.

Cruz liked to get the ball to the wings and attack, nothing much came through the middle and Chivas defended the wings fairly well, often having two defenders quickly coming in, with plenty of players in the middle to defend any crosses. From goal kicks Cruz played the ball through defence and tried to get the ball down the wings. When the keeper had the ball in his hands he cleared long but Chivas doubled marked where the ball was going and easily defended.

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