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FM16: Arsenal FC - Why Fly When You Can Walk on Water

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Clean sheets: what are those?

Results%20Nov%20Dec_zpssfl8gvse.png

By a strange quirk of the fixture list, we've played a lot of consecutive games at home, followed by a long run of away games. For a short period, we struggled to score goals, but the last month or so has seen the goals fly in and keep us on this great run that's giving us a chance at defending our title.

League%20Table%20Jan%202017_zpspftkqpjf.png

Spurs have been propelled into genuine title contenders by their signings of Silva and Toure from City, and City themselves haven't been bothered at all by the loss of those two and Aguero thanks to the prolific Inaki Williams. Chelsea are there, too, to make it a four horse race at this point. While we still need to go to Spurs, which won't be easy, we do have City and Chelsea at home.

Welbeck is top scorer for us with 11 goals in 22 games, which is more than what I expected from him. Walcott has 10 goals in 25 playing as a Wide Midfielder from the right; his total has been bolstered by scoring in five in four consecutive games. Alexis has 9 goals in 25 games and seems to entering a prolific period in front of goal. Ozil, Alexis and Walcott as lead the way with assists.

Average rating wise, Alexis and Bellerin lead the way at 7.8.

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Finally started my first season on FM16... and I chose my beloved Arsenal! :brock:

Quick overview of transfers and results:

In:

Diego Rolan £14.5m

Adrien Rabiot £21.5m +8.5m addons

Out:

Joel Campbell: £6.25m

Alex Iwobi: loan

Dan Crowley: loan

Ismael Bennacer: loan

note: Both Wilshere & Welbeck are out until January. Rosicky till February.

GK: Cech, Ospina, Macey

RB: Bellerin, Debuchy

CB: Mertesacker, Chambers

CB: Koscielny, Gabriel

LB: Monreal, Gibbs,

DM: Coquelin, Rabiot, Arteta

CM: Ramsey, Cazorla, Flamini

AMC: Özil, Wilshere, Rosicky

RW: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rolan

LW: Sanchez, Reine-Adelaide

ST: Walcott, Giroud, Welbeck

Lots and lots and lots of depth and everyone can swap around positions. Ideally I'd like to keep my squad at 25-26 max but one extra because I started with two long term injuries. Depending on how they go I may or may not have to keep on balancing.

Fixtures:

vs. Chelsea (n): 0-1

vs. West Ham (a): 5-0

vs. West Brom (a): 1-1

vs. Everton (h): 2-0

vs. Sunderland (a): 2-0

vs. Crystal Palace (h): 2-0

2nd) Arsenal 4W 1D 0L 12F 1A 11GD 13PTS

6 goals - Walcott

3 goals - Oxlade-Chamberlain

1 goal - Sanchez

1 goal - Giroud

3 assists - Ozil

2 assists - Walcott

1 assists - Bellerin

1 assist - Rolan

1 assist - Oxalde-Chamberlain

8.47avg - Walcott

7.68 - Oxlade-Chamberlain

7.64 - Bellerin

7.54 - Koscielny

7.46 - Özil

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Since my last update - which can be found further up this page - plenty has happened, much has changed yet I'm still enjoying this save.

We'll start straight away by assessing our performances in the Barclays Premier League and UEFA Champions League from the start of October to the New Year.

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE

Between October and January, we had a number of potentially pivotal fixtures to look forward to, not least away trips to Manchester United and Tottenham, while Liverpool and Chelsea were visitors to the Emirates during a testing festive period. Here are the results:-

Barclays%20Premier%20League%20-%20Results%20-%20October%20to%20January_zpsk7apiiyp.png

Our return to action from an international-induced fortnight's rest wasn't a welcome one: a 1-0 loss away to Swansea. We struggled to really control proceedings, and thus to create chances, and fell foul to a Laurent Koscielny own goal around half-an-hour in. The reaction to this loss was pleasing, though. Two wins and a draw from three games restored some confidence. Both wins, against Norwich and Watford, were courtesy of goals from Olivier Giroud and Joel Campbell, the latter really showing just what he is capable of during this difficult spell.

Another international break, another away fixture to get back into things and another loss - and this one was much more damaging. Manchester United, then managed by Louis van Gaal, exposed our worryingly fragile backline with remarkable efficiency, devastating ruthlessness and ultimately fast, direct football. Our performance, one already hampered by the absence of Alexis Sánchez and Theo Walcott, wasn't that bad, but we submitted to United's power and pace at the wrong moments in the wrong manners. Per Mertesacker and Héctor Bellerín endured particularly torrid games; the former subbed for Gabriel in the 66th minute with a 5.0 match rating. A horrible, and possibly damning, experience.

Again though, I took some solace from the way in which we responded to our dramatic downfall at Old Trafford. Another couple of wins and a draw steadied the club somewhat, with the 4-0 win over Liverpool giving us a then welcome shot in the arm ahead of the North London Derby and the visit of Chelsea. We were absolutely exceptional. Evading Klopp's high press with quick passing and clever movement, we were 3-0 up by half time, with Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil causing havoc. Alberto Moreno's own goal the result of a sliding challenge on a clean-through Alexis which inadvertently sent the ball trickling beyond Mignolet. Alexis then sealed the victory, chasing down a poor Lovren pass and finishing well. The only downer: a hip injury sustained by Nacho Monreal which would see him miss at least two months of competitive football.

After such a performance, I approached the North London Derby with great optimism and hope. And we deserved to at least get a draw from the Spurs fixture. After Harry Kane's fifth-minute goal, we were certainly the better team - even without the in-form Oxlade-Chamberlain who was forced off early on with a serious hamstring injury. We failed to convert a single clear-cut chances, of which we created four; Theo Walcott being the main culprit of said poor finishing.

In various regards, the North London Derby was similar to our 2-1 loss at home to Chelsea: we were the better team, we created the better chances, but we didn't convert them into goals. Both Chelsea goals came about from poor marking at corners. Walcott scored his first in eleven hours of football with three minutes of injury time to play, the last of which saw him squander a big chance to equalise. At least this game was sandwiched in between two comfortable, dominant victories home and away to Bournemouth.

Barclays Premier League table; as of January 1st



Barclays%20Premier%20League%20table%20-%20January%201st_zpsuvvoxu8x.png


UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - GROUP STAGE

Unlike our form in domestic competitions, our form and performances in Europe were consistent and promising - excluding one blip away to the talented and impressive Benfica.

UEFA%20Champions%20League%20-%20Results%20-%20October%20to%20January_zpsnncxzo7u.png

We've qualified for the last sixteen of the UEFA Champions League, doing so in good style and with a relative amount of ease. Following our defeat away to Benfica - who, much like United, overran us with considered, punishing, powerful attacks - we really turned our European campaign around. Oxlade-Chamberlain's well-worked goal, profiting from good Cazorla and Ramsey work, beat Benfica. An important win away to Borussia Mönchengladbach followed, Cazorla impressing in particular with his guile, creativity, third and fourth goals of the season. We clinched top spot with a comfortable victory over Galatasaray, althought a draw would have sufficed.

We've been drawn against FC Porto in the last sixteen round of the competition. It's a tie that I'm optimistic of winning over two legs, but it will certainly be a tough task to navigate.


ISSUES WITH INJURIES

As alluded to throughout the competition reviews, I've been forced to plough through an injury crisis of moderate, yet debilitating, proportions. It has resulted in make-shift elevens and defender-heavy substitute benches. Nacho Monreal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud are long-term casualties, while the duo of Alexis Sánchez and Theo Walcott have been injured for key fixtures but have since returned.

current Arsenal injury list



Arsenal%20Injury%20Table%20-%20January%201st%202016_zpsova5zksa.png

Injuries to forward players has seen Joel Campbell benefit from a prolonged chance in the starting eleven, impressive in the process. Averaging a goal every 175 minutes - five goals in eight starts - his performances have given me something to think about and may have increased his inevitable price of sale. Injuries have also meant that Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaïde have enjoyed greater involvement with the first-team. Reine-Adelaïde made his full Premier League debut in the home victory against Bournemouth and also started the away game just over a week later.


JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW

Already, just a solitary day into the first budget-enabled transfer window, there has been plenty of action. Gabriel, who's impressed in his 18 starts in all competitions, has been the subject of a £10.25 million bid from FC Bayern München, a bid which I flat-out rejected. José Mourinho has been discussing the possibility of signing Calum Chambers, while Manchester City want Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. I remain firm in my stance that none will leave the club in the foreseeable future, especially not in January.

In terms of incomings, there is mounting pressure upon myself, and the squad, to at least try and strengthen the squad during this window - largely because of the multitude of injuries that have already picked apart my squad. I've focussed my attentions on finding players of two separate positions: one being a long-term replacement for Mikel Arteta (a controlling midfielder) and a player who can play on either wing, even through the middle if needs be.

Sergi Samper, Youri Tielemans, Riechedly Bazoer, Mahmoud Dahoud and Mikel Merino have been scouted thoroughly throughout the season, but a wonderfully interesting option has presented itself: Atlético Madrid's Saúl Ñiguez has just six months to run on his contract.

Sauacutel%20Ntildeiguez%20-%20Atleacutetico%20de%20Madrid%20-%20January%201st%202016_zps6fo27bkf.png

He's a player who I admire, one who fits the criteria, still has plenty of potential to fulfil and is available on a free transfer! I've enquired about his immediate availability, but I'm seriously contemplating about agreeing a pre-contract deal for the summer. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts about this. One worry: he's been out all season, and for at least another two months, with damaged cruciate ligaments.

As for a forward, Schalke 04's German under-21 international, Leroy Sané, has been the subject to most of my attention. Highly-rated by Jürgen Kost, Brian McDermott and chief scout Steve Rowley, he's another player who I admire greatly.

Leroy%20Saneacute%20-%20FC%2004%20Schalke%20-%20January%201st%202016_zps1vcuxkie.png

He's having a solid season in the Bundesliga, but he is exactly the type of forward I want to sign: young, quick, technically proficient, dynamic, versatile, imperiously talented. I anticipate that this transfer would be much more difficult than a potential Saúl deal, but I will at least try to complete negotiations during this window.

Another potential possibility is Javier Pastore, who's been transfer listed by Paris Saint-Germain. I'd prefer to sign him on loan with an option to buy, though.


FOOTBALL WORLD IN GENERAL

There has been plenty going on beyond Arsenal on my save. Manchester United have sacked and replaced Louis van Gaal with Atlético's Diego Simeone, while Newcastle and Sunderland have also parted company with Steve McLaren and Sam Allardyce respectively. Ajax, a club I keep a keen eye on, sacked Frank de Boer. Wolfsburg, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Feyenoord lead their respective leagues.

Wales also qualified for the 2016 European Championships, which I'm weirdly delighted about, beating Slovenia over two legs in the play-off. Aaron Ramsey at a major international football finals!

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Lost the Community Shield to Chelsea

Won only one of my first 5 games in the league, drawing 2, losing 2.

Lost against Schalke in the first Group game.

Reckon I will get the sack soon.

I do however have 64.80% average possession in the league..

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Just come back to FM after many years out, starting a few Arsenal saves and this game seems a bit of a disappointing and boring mess nowadays. Not sure if the last few have been like this or if FM16 has changed the mould. The assistant manager suggestions during matches seem pointless and contradictory... indeed he often suggests opposing views in the same game. 'We should play shorter passes'... 'we should play a more direct game'. So that feature seems an auto-ignore. The 3D representation of what the match engine generates seems as worthless as it was when it first got introduced a few years ago. Opposing wingers with poor stats dance past my DMs and defenders with ease even with 'get stuck in'. But my world class wingers with high dribbling stats get dispossessed by relegation fodder defenders with ease. 'Dribble more often' achieves nothing of the sort and my attackers just stand there until dispossessed. 'Keep possession' doesn't seem to achieve anything of the sort with long punts to the opposition.

I guess it just feels like the game is a bit random in this iteration of the match engine. I make a whole series of tactical decisions, not really be able to observe any discernible effect on the pitch of those instructions, win a game comfortably somehow with some stunning attacking play but be none the wiser as to why I won. Then I try to replicate those decisions next game based on the opposition and the players will do nothing on the pitch and lose. There doesn't seem to be any concrete link between what tactical decisions are made and what the match engine spews out... unless I'm missing something drastic. And if there's little in the way of finding out why things work or actually observing a difference that a tactical decision makes then it just turns into a slot machine game for all the impact that managing actually seems to have on events.

I think I'm just a bit disappointed that FM doesn't really give the buzz anymore that it did 5 years ago when I last had some big stints.

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Bellerin is probably one of the best RB's I've ever used... Look at them stats

pic

I've just rejected a £26.5 million bid from Real Madrid for him in January. He is superb. My only qualm: he maybe dribbles too much!

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I've just rejected a £26.5 million bid from Real Madrid for him in January. He is superb. My only qualm: he maybe dribbles too much!

He's immense! Can't see any RB's at this game (so far) that's better. 5 goals and 7 assists in 18 games with 8.21 average rating.

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@Llew_Arshavin23: Seems like you're struggling a bit away from home as of late. I'm finding that in this year's game it's a lot harder to win away than it has in previous versions - not sure if you feel the same way. At least you're still in touch with Chelsea in the league. As for your Saul question: if it's for free, I don't see any harm in signing him, seeing how he does, and, should he not meet expectations, selling for a tidy profit.

@css_matt: Hope things improve for you soon. Is the problem, by any chance, having all the ball but not creating enough quality chances?

@Don_69: Bellerin is just unreal this year. Some games he's just unstoppable when running with the ball thanks to that pace and "Knocks Ball Past Opponent". Be prepared for him asking for a new contract, though; he was asking for £200k p/w on my save, and his agent was very annoying to deal with.

@cini6565: Ignore the assistant manager advice as it is, generally, useless and contradictory. If you're playing well with whatever set-up you have, stick with it. As for your winger problem: if you're defenders are being regularly beat, telling them to "Get Stuck In" would make the problem worse, as that'd encourage them to dive in and give the winger a chance to skip past them. Setting your fullbacks on to Defend duty can help or, failing that, you need to double up on the winger. Why your wingers aren't beating players is odd; not sure why that would be the case. If you're players are going direct even after telling them to keep the ball, then the problem could lie in the team mentality and player duties. I've found that playing on "Attack" (as opposed to Control or Standard) sees a lot more forced attempts to get the ball forward. Another potential issue there is a lack of options for the player on the ball.

Admittedly, the last couple of FMs haven't been easy to grasp, as the finer details are becoming a lot more important as the AI becomes more and more sophisticated. The game itself does not offer very good advice on anything, which is a widely acknowledged issue. You'd be better off either asking for help in the tactics forum or giving details about your tactics here so we can help you.

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@Llew_Arshavin23: Seems like you're struggling a bit away from home as of late. I'm finding that in this year's game it's a lot harder to win away than it has in previous versions - not sure if you feel the same way. At least you're still in touch with Chelsea in the league. As for your Saul question: if it's for free, I don't see any harm in signing him, seeing how he does, and, should he not meet expectations, selling for a tidy profit.

I am. I definitely can't impose my style and philosophy as well as I can do at home; maybe something to amend going into the second-half of the season.

As for Saúl, I agreed a £4 million deal with Atlético for an immediate transfer, but the board vetoed the transfer because he failed a medical. Out for a further two months with damaged cruciate ligaments. Will explore other options and keep Saúl - providing he doesn't renew his contract - as a contingency plan.

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Hi BJG,

I'm using your tactics that you uploaded. I've played 7 EPL games: W5 D1 L1, however im conceding way to many goals home and especially away. Ive scored 24 goals and conceded 12.

Did you have the same issue as well with your save or is there anything you did to prevent too many goals being conceded?

Cheers

Mike

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It's definitely a bit of a leaky tactic, you won't be keeping the most clean sheets in the league with it! Once the team is accomplished with the formation you should see a drop in goals conceded (I did at least). Just gone to load up my save to find out how many I conceded and it's corrupted :( I think I ended up conceding about 30.

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Still in January and weighing up a number of options, particularly in defensive midfield.

As alluded to earlier, my £4 million (immediate) deal for Atlético Madrid's Saúl Ñiguez fell through as he failed a medical, but another opportunity has presented itself: Youri Tielemans has been transfer listed, by request, for £15 million.

Youri%20Tielemans%20-%20RSC%20Anderlecht%20-%20January%2021st%202016_zpsmrz7bssp.png

I've never used him in any Football Manager, but he's very much of the profile that I want: young, talented and plenty of time and ability to shape him into the type of midfielder that I ideally desire. My main issue though is his horrifically low natural fitness, something which I always look for in potential signings. I have explored the option of loaning Tielemans until the end of the season, assessing his performances and possibly taking up an option to buy. Your thoughts on this would be much appreciated.

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Can play anywhere across the middle or in an advanced role too.

Is quite possibly one of the best young talents in the last 2 incarnations of this game franchise. Go and give him a try. especially on a loan with option to buy basis. you can do no wrong on that imo.

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I would give him a miss Llew. I have a policy to never sign a player twice, or one you have previously managed in older iterations.

Also, his suspect positioning, work rate , stamina and natural fitness will mean he will never be a top top central midfielder and he's become more of a luxury number 10. Kind of like the worst of Yaya Toure IRL.

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Hi Llew_Arshavin23, I can say from experience that Leroy Sané is a cracking buy man. I've had him for Arsenal before. My only problem is his determination.

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Can play anywhere across the middle or in an advanced role too.

Is quite possibly one of the best young talents in the last 2 incarnations of this game franchise. Go and give him a try. especially on a loan with option to buy basis. you can do no wrong on that imo.

I would give him a miss Llew. I have a policy to never sign a player twice, or one you have previously managed in older iterations.

Also, his suspect positioning, work rate , stamina and natural fitness will mean he will never be a top top central midfielder and he's become more of a luxury number 10. Kind of like the worst of Yaya Toure IRL.

Thanks for the replies. I've never actually bought Tielemans on any FM before and that's one of the main attractions for me. I'm a bit unsure what to do now. I think I could mould him into what I want, but his natural fitness and other attributes Swills highlights are worries. I've made a loan bid regardless.

Hi Llew_Arshavin23, I can say from experience that Leroy Sané is a cracking buy man. I've had him for Arsenal before. My only problem is his determination.

Cheers for the feedback! He looks very good, but with Welbeck and Wilshere returning to match fitness, I'll probably hold fire until the summer. It should be a bit easier to sign him then.

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Thanks for the replies. I've never actually bought Tielemans on any FM before and that's one of the main attractions for me. I'm a bit unsure what to do now. I think I could mould him into what I want, but his natural fitness and other attributes Swills highlights are worries. I've made a loan bid regardless.

Cheers for the feedback! He looks very good, but with Welbeck and Wilshere returning to match fitness, I'll probably hold fire until the summer. It should be a bit easier to sign him then.

Yeah man, definitely. I actually sold Welbeck for £26M to Man City as he got more injuries after coming back. Re-trained Wilshere as an AML & he's been really good.

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A really good start to my FM16 career. First time I've played it even though I bought it like a month or so ago I just haven't had the time. Used similar tactics to what I had during FM15 which is a variation of the same tactic I've been using for a few years (two sets of 433, one regular, one when I need to shut games out or start games slowly but is rarely used).

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Walcott had a smashing start to the season with 25 goals in 24 games (16 goals in 15 league games) but after getting injured Giroud has stepped in and forced me to adjust my tactics slightly which has made Sanchez (or the LW position in general) come to life.

I'm in January and thinking about selling on Debuchy but I might keep him till the end of the year.

Finally got back Welbeck and Wilshere and hoping they remain injury free for the rest of the year. My new backup winger/third striker Diego Rolan got a 4-month injury as soon as Wilshere got back so I pretty much have to make sure I pay close attention to training and breaks during the Christmas period. One of those games was literally only a day break (Man City home - which I won 2:0 thankfully).

I've already had to use some of my youth like Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Donyell Malen and Kristian Bielik but the one I'm waiting for is Ainsley Maitland-Niles! He looks real classy in my save and is ripping it up in the Championship.

I'm still in contention for the quadruple in my first season even though I escaped the UCL groups by the skin of my teeth!

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Okay was going to wait until mid season to post this, but since the board has insisting I collect 11 points from the next 5 games, I feel as though I need an inquiry.

My current form is utterly horrendous. And I was thinking this squad will walk the league with a prudent tactical set up.

aXl04QU.png

This is my current set up and I'm looking for what I think is letting me down and making ship goals - leading me to having a goal difference of just +3

J4JD33Y.png

Having key players out a various points with medium to long term injuries hasn't helped with Ozil, Coquelin, Walcott and Giroud spending time on the phsyio table.

This was the previous starting eleven, which scrapped a 3-3 away draw to Norwich.

The back four picks itself usually, with Gabriel, Gibbs and Chambers. filling in when given the opportunity. Bellerin is the outlet and main attacking threat, with 40 key passes (only behind Ramsey and Sanchez on 44 and 56 each). I think the issue is a structural one, which is why we concede horrendously.

Ramsey is the only mainstay in midfield. Started off trying the Cazorla and Coquelin partnership like real life, but injuries swiftly put an end to this. I usually employ Arteta as a DLP(D) next to a box to box ramsey which seems to work reasonable well. However, the below screenshot suggests that the right sided attacking intent of the team is being exploited by the AI, I think playing the DLP(D)on the right should fix this. I'm just concerned whether Ramsey, Sanchez and Ozil will get in each others way or just lead to more triangles between them, which can only be a good thing.

Yhx25n6.png

Having a major issue getting the AMC performing. Previous versions of the game allowed Ozil just to be slotted in as a Trequartista, and he will be a guaranteed performer. This time he is really struggling. Here's some stats.

Ozil Stats 1 | Ozil Stats 2 | Best Key Passers

As you can see, 4 of his 5 assists came in two games, one of which was due to an exceptional performance from Sanchez who scored 4 in 15 minutes. His 24 key passes is below par for what is essentially the teams best player. Compared the the rest of the squad. He has been injured for a few games so it may just be down to that and the team as a whole not performing.

V8574ar.png

It's pretty evident that I only want the the team to play a short passing game, with slight tweaks here and there. For example, when Giroud plays Mixed crossing is enabled, other they are low. I don't like the idea of retain possession or pass out from the back as the former I perceive as a negative match management instruction and pass out from the back negates Giroud ability to win the ball from goal kicks. I also don't like using this unless I have a DLP in front of the back four to bring the ball out.

I do feel as though improvements such as committing to a high line, with an offside trap alongside a more pressing game would help. I'm also fairly certain I selected these already, but obviously this is not the case. The best performances have come with Sanchez as the main man up top as a complete forward (attack).

So essentially, I may have answered my own questions here, but feel free with any tips you may have.

Next 5 games are reasonably straightforward win, so 11 points should be achieved. Will take me up to the transfer window, so I will be able to strengthen were I can then (if i'm not sacked :D)

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HETsd2u.png

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I think part of the answer probably lies in the most common assist type being through ball and the most common assist area being left wing. Playing a slightly higher defensive line with Mertesacker in defence and Bellerin beside him, where he's likely pushed further up the field due to his attacking mentality, is a recipe for pace to exploit the gap in behind your defence. Additionally, having attacking roles on both the left and right flanks probably leads your wings to be easily exposed. Try dropping your defensive line back to normal and your AML to a support mentality.

I also wonder if the higher defensive line and less closing down is a slight contradiction in instructions. Normally a higher defensive line is used to press the opponent and give them less time on the ball, whilst less closing down would be used to maintain defensive shape at the expense of trying to win the ball back more aggressively or proactively.

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At a glance, it looks like your set-up wouldn't produce the best defensive shape. The AML and AMR on Attack duties won't track back as often, so your full-backs are open to overloads. The DLPs doesn't perform its defensive duties as well and wouldn't give adequate cover on that side. Also with an attacking full back on that side there's going to be space in behind. It's likely a combination of these things that has lead to high percentage of assists coming against you from the left hand side. An opposition forward will exploit this space.

Playing a high line with no pressing also leaves you exposed to the ball over the top.

There's a couple of things you can do. You can drop the AMR/L down to MR/L to ensure your full-backs are better protected, or you can play with more conservative full-backs to ensure you have cover back there. If you want to play with Bellerin on Attack duty, I'd recommend putting your DLP onto Defend duty. I'd either drop the defensive line or play with more pressing, too.

As for as your AM problem, I'm not sure what the answer is there. I've also struggled to get the position to work and have scrapped it altogether at this point.

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your 4-4-1-1?

I cannot for love nor money get someone someone (anyone) working behind a striker. I have to use Sanchez as a tranquista up top on his own.

what roles do your top 2 have please?

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My set up is quite similar to yours, Swills417, and I've had a lot of success with it.

My midfield is BWM (s) and a BBM, and, despite being contrary to what a lot of people say, provides decent cover. I have pressing on high.

Ozil was up and down for me first season, averaged 7.14 as AP (s), but was invisible in a lot of games. Second season he improved to 7.56 and third season the arrival of Gotze seems to have spurred him on and he's averaging even higher.

The biggest difference between us, I think, is that I used Giroud as my number one pick up front, as a CF (s). With the strength of wide play in this ME, he benefits much more from crosses into the box than Walcott. He top scored in the Prem my first two seasons, 28 and 36.

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STUFF

Hi Swills,

I hope I can assist here and hopefully emphasise what I have learnt from Cleon and how to get your team working as you want.

He writes now on his site and it is a gold mine of information:

http://sisportscentre.com/

Now the first thing I note is that you have a wing back at RB ( Bellerin ), not dissimilar to mine, but you have an inside forward infront, why would you not want a winger to push on forward and then they can overlap or simply play short and push together down that flank? I agree that Bellerin is the best outlet you have there but why if Ox or Walcott will play there are they not going wide too?other wise you simply put another person in the middle in the way of the ball entering the box and over crowd it.

Try an inside forward support on the left, taking advantage of Sanchez out there with his superior mentals and dribbling and positioning etc. and a winger attack on the right With bellerin Wb / FB attack.

Also please not that both CM's on Defend is leaving a huge space in front and behind them. I would keep with the deep lying playmaker on defend as you have but then have some one on support to sit in the hole ahead. In my tactic I have a BWM, such as Coquelin or a modified one with Ramsey / Flamini. This coupled with an Advanced playmaker that high up the field will leave gaps in that hole. If you wish to have a player in that role ( The Messi / Ozil irl ) , put them on Enganche or Treq, although my opinion is Treq with what you are doing in that tactic would mean he would shift too wide and not do what you are trying to accomplish.

You mention you are trying to play keep ball so why not pass into space and work into box?

AS you can see from mine:

http://prntscr.com/96kpop

I set up in similar way. the difference is I am setting up to press high up with no spaces and as my dlp is so deep , forced to by my BWM's role, it means he can sweep or become a 3rd CB,

http://prntscr.com/96kru6

Hope this helps to under stand what you are trying to accomplish and why it isn't working imo.

Bonus pic of my form so far, as you can see i'm not 100% with my formation but it's showing signs of good now coming through http://prntscr.com/96kqu9.

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Jon Toral or Dragomir will both do a job if you work on them early enough mate.

If you don't feel like waiting, Kristoffer Ajer is exactly the man ready in 1 year. This is him less than 3 months in and already gets some games in the prem for me .

http://prntscr.com/96lcsh

If you can keep Wilshere fit, he is a great DLP. if none of those take your fancy :

Marcelo Meli : http://prntscr.com/96ldy3

Or

Louis Reed if you want a young English man with 4.5 star potential compared to my team: http://prntscr.com/96lenp

Or

Julian Wegl looks like possibly the most ready man replacement in the whole game for the DLP Cazorla role there is: http://prntscr.com/96lf4x

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anyone got suggetions for a Cazorla replacement?

Assuming you use him as a central midfielder, probably as a deep-lying playmaker, then there's a number of more obvious options, but I'd encourage you to explore more FM obscure players.

Mahmoud Dahoud looks to be a very good central midfielder on my save and is getting plenty of starts at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Real Betis' Dani Ceballos is a player I've scouted a lot throughout the season and I've received very good reports back from Francis Cagigao. Both are very good technically, relatively capable defensively and shouldn't cost much more than £12 million.

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It's definitely a bit of a leaky tactic, you won't be keeping the most clean sheets in the league with it! Once the team is accomplished with the formation you should see a drop in goals conceded (I did at least). Just gone to load up my save to find out how many I conceded and it's corrupted :( I think I ended up conceding about 30.

Ye i guess i'll wait and see how i go this season. If not wait for those tinkerman tactics to come out, they work wonders.

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In terms of incomings, there is mounting pressure upon myself, and the squad, to at least try and strengthen the squad during this window - largely because of the multitude of injuries that have already picked apart my squad. I've focussed my attentions on finding players of two separate positions: one being a long-term replacement for Mikel Arteta (a controlling midfielder) and a player who can play on either wing, even through the middle if needs be.

Llew, in terms for your Arteta replacement, have you looked at Lewis Cook from Leeds? Young, can place both DCM & CM, good stats across the board with plenty of room for improvement, he's got 3 gold star & one black star potential for me, my scouts say he can be purchased for aroud GBP 10mil, and he's home grown, which is always a bonus for Arsenal

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Anyone signed Lukaku? ive seen most sign Moratta or Higuain but I like someone with strength pace and a presence up top. I play my lone striker as a CF-A. Has anyone has any experience with him or can suggest someone else? Can Dybala play that role?

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I play Breel Embolo in that role and enjoy a lot of success with him there when Giroud is on rotation or not fully fit.

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Into 2017 now, and it looks like the title won't be retained:

Results%20Jan%202017_zpskbusrwsy.png

The back-to-back defeats to City and Everton were very damaging to our title hopes. The City game, in particular, was a real blow as we lead the game, were much the better side yet conspired to throw the win away. Progression in both domestic cups and comeback victory against Chelsea has given us a timely boost. I haven't given up on the title just yet, but it'll certainly take a big effort from this point. That we're in the COC final and are still in the FA Cup and Champions League means this can still be a successful season.

League%20Table%20Feb%202017_zpsqdyxtomx.png

The danger is, of course, being pulled into the scrap for 4th place and even finishing outside of it since this end of hte table is so competitive.

I did quite a bit of business in January. Monreal, who was having a poor season, was sold after Athletic Bilbao made a decent offer. Debuchy asked to leave to find first team football, so he was sold to Swansea. Arteta also asked to leave, and he's been loaned out to Eibar. Coming in are Javi Martinez for a whopping £26.5 million (Coquelin will fill in at left back) and Aleix Vidal on loan from Barcelona to cover Bellerin at right back. A promising regen left back has arrived, too.

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Llew, in terms for your Arteta replacement, have you looked at Lewis Cook from Leeds? Young, can place both DCM & CM, good stats across the board with plenty of room for improvement, he's got 3 gold star & one black star potential for me, my scouts say he can be purchased for aroud GBP 10mil, and he's home grown, which is always a bonus for Arsenal

I have; I sent Steve Rowley to scout him yesterday actually! He definitely fits the Arteta-mould and the facts that he's still very young, homegrown and available for <£15 million are big attractions. Have you (or anyone else on here) used him?

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petr Cech's injury cost me from a perfect 6 wins from 6 games with no goals conceded to just 1 win and 2 losses with 6 goals conceded thankfully he back for the next game

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@ heryellowribbon , Llew_Arshavin23 & Kieran87 thanks for the suggestions from those only Rabiot , Ceballos , Jorginho & Mel are interested and likely to be good enough - I'm also scouting Lewis Cook (after see gholliday87 reply to Llew) and Bazoer. p.s I already have Ajer

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I have; I sent Steve Rowley to scout him yesterday actually! He definitely fits the Arteta-mould and the facts that he's still very young, homegrown and available for <£15 million are big attractions. Have you (or anyone else on here) used him?

I've been scouting him most of first season, just got to Jan and he's Leeds best player, but they are 21st in the league. So hopefully they'll get relegated and I can snap him up for even less!

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bf097613-79f4-453c-843f-72bbde684679_zps6e4bc9d1.jpg

September Report

12/09/15 | Barclays Premier League | The Hawthorns

Arsenal 2 ( Alexis 75 & 77 | Assts: Cazorla/Oxlade-Chamberlain x1)

West Brom 0

19/09/15 | Barclays Premier League | Emirates

Arsenal 2 ( Alexis 80 | Assts: Alexis/Giroud x1)

Sunderland 1 ( Larsson 1)

23/09/15 | Capital One Cup(3rd Round) | Stamford Bridge

Arsenal 1 ( Giroud 73 | Asst: Oxlade-Chamberlain x1)

Chelsea 3 ( Zouma 5, Teryy 28 , Ospina O/G 65)

26/09/15 | Barclays Premier League | St Mary's

Arsenal 1 ( Oxlade-Chamberlain 51 | Asst: Camacho x1)

Sounthampton 2 ( Claise 7 , Fonte 35)

30/09/15 | UEFA Champions League( Grp stage) | Georgios Karaiskakis

Arsenal 3 ( Alexis 12 & 15 & 66 | Assts: Ramsey/Oxlade-Chamberlain/Walcott x1)

Olympiakos 0

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How are people doing for regens coming through the academy? I replaced Jonker with Rodolfo Borrell, and I just got a couple of promising talents in my second season:

Gary%20Harrison%20Mar%202017%20Regen_zpsise2ogsq.png

Ugur%20Yildrim%20Mar%202017%20Regen_zpseb0velow.png

20 and 17 Determination from the start is a major bonus.

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My best is a centre back with 6 jumping. Almost two years in it is now 7, and he complains if I focus on Jumping Reach for his training. I don't think it will ever reach a level I would consider acceptable for a centre back, and his other attributes don't really allow him to be retrained in another position.

I also have a left back who I thought may reach the first team, just sent him out on his first loan and he is averaging 5.97 after 3 games...

Into March of the third season, hoping for more from the next batch.

edit: Got this guy:

2015-11-26_00003_zpsstmqbl7n.jpg

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Six games to go. We screwed up a chance go top for the first time this season, and City are now well in control of things. At the same time, there's very little room to drop more points with three other teams creeping up on us:

League%20Table%20April%202017_zpsgxxiwve4.png

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I think I'm done, I usually don't mind the games you dominate but can't quite win, it happens, but FM really does take the wee sometimes, this is just farcical.

2015-11-26_00004_zpsfediz2uj.jpg

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I'm out the Champions League after some very poor displays against Atletico Madrid, but we're suddenly back in the title race:

Title%20Race_zpsjuhskbje.png

City have drawn their last three, and we secured a late win against Reading, thanks to Donyell Malen scoring his first ever goal for the club late on. Southampton (H), Palace (A) and Villa (H) are our last three games.

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Now the first thing I note is that you have a wing back at RB ( Bellerin ), not dissimilar to mine, but you have an inside forward infront, why would you not want a winger to push on forward and then they can overlap or simply play short and push together down that flank? I agree that Bellerin is the best outlet you have there but why if Ox or Walcott will play there are they not going wide too?other wise you simply put another person in the middle in the way of the ball entering the box and over crowd it.

Usually I do play either Walcott or Chamberlain there, I think it's just because Chamberlain is out injured, and Walcott is our only fit striker. Hence Joel Campbell playing as an inside forward. However, he is showing some real form notching some vital goals.

However, I can't help but feel the above sounds a bit contradictory, with what generally gets the best out of attacking full/wing back is space to attack. With Ox/Theo playing as a winger and Bellerin attacking from deep and being the outlet. Not to use the match engine as evidence of this, as it is an imperfect simulation of real football. IRL, it's no coincidence that the trend towards inside forward replacing the classic number 10 as elite footballers occurred in conjuncture with the attacking wing-back replacing the conservative full-back. However, I do view the winger role in the game as a classic Jesus Navas type player, who simply has pace to burn, goes past the defending fullback on the outside and crosses in.

Perhaps the Winger and Attacking wing back serves to perform an overload mechanism, which the engine hasn't perfectly balanced. Hence the strength of wing play on this. Or perhaps that due to full-backs occasionally wondering off.

Another thing I've noticed, Cech does seem stupidly weak at his near post. I think most of the goals I've conceded I've been surprised he hasn't saved.

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Season Update

The season is over, and somehow we pulled it off:

League%20Table%20May%202017_zpsrbg8sx31.png

Man City well and truly bottled it. They lead the way for most of the season, right to the final month, when they drew twice and then, amazingly, lost 3-0 at home to Aston Villa. Previously, we spurned opportunities to close the gap on City, but this time we found that "Champion mentality", won our final three games and usurped City at the top to retain our title. This is all the more remarkable when you consider our record against the big sides this season has been awful: we lost to City twice, lost to Chelsea away, drew with Spurs twice and drew with Man Utd twice. We also lost to Everton and drew 4-4 at Leicester. So in 12 games against the rest of the top seven, we only won three times. On the other hand, after our defeat to Everton on the 14th of January, we didn't lose a single league game.

While back-to-back titles is great, it's not going so well in the Champions League. We broke the Last 16 Curse by beating Schalke 7-3 over both legs, and when we drew Atletico Madrid I fancied our chances of progressing further, especially as Simeone had left them to become the new City manager. Sadly, we lost both legs 2-1. Gabi and Koke scored almost identical screamers over both legs, and Cech had a poor game in both legs. It took me a while to win the CL on FM15, and it seems it'll be the case again this year. Which is fine, because it keeps me motivated to continue this save.

We won the Capital One Cup, but lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup final.


Player%20Stats%20May%202017_zpsczsgzozt.png


Youth Development

Calum Chambers - He played more of a first team role this season, racking up 39 games at centre back. He's improved a fair bit over the season. The aim now is to get those 13s up one or two points, and to get those 15s into 16s and beyond.

Emanuel Mammana - A really exciting prospect, by the looks of things. Looks like he'll be the new Koscielny, only with better ball-playing ability.

Hector Bellerin - Just a fantastic player. I don't think he'll get any better than this, attribute-wise.

Krystian Bielik - Spent the season on loan at Birmingham and averaged 6.5. Attributes look very solid for his positions, so I think he can perform better than that. Will likely go on loan again next season.

Ismael Bennacer - Developing steadily. Now reader to spend some time out on loan to get games.

Gedion Zelalem - His attributes didn't develop much over the season. My plan is to use him in the first team next season, as backup to Martinez.

Dan Crowley - Didn't play enough out on loan. My priority for him is get him somewhere where he can play regularly.

Vlad Dragomir - Responded well to further tutoring from Cazorla and then from Alexis. Again, terrific mantels and physicals for his age; now I just need to work on his technical stats. Won his first caps for Romania, too. I started using him more in the first team during the second half of the season, and will aim to do so again next season.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles - Got nearly 50 games under his belt at Newcastle in the Championship. I'm not sure where I'll be playing him in the first team, but I'm planning to keep him at least until January so I can get his Determination up.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide - Had a decent loan with West Ham in the Premier League. Likely to go on loan again.

Serge Gnabry - Played very well for Marseille and will replace Joel Campbell in the squad.

Donyell Malen - Coming alone nicely. A loan could be on the cards for him next season.

Chuba Akpom - Now or never time for him. Could replace Giroud in the squad should I decide to sell him.

Yassin Fortune - Played in Ligue 1 for Stade Brestois and scored a few goals. Like a lot of these youngsters, he'll probably go on loan again.

Regen Corner

These three were all scouted and signed by Wenger.

Roberto De Bellis

Ron Black

Sam Brown

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Sacked. Not the first time in football manager, but only the second as an Arsenal manager. My final game being a 1-0 away defeat by Stoke. It probably didn't help that I could only bring on Kaylen Hinds instead of a half fit Giroud when chasing the game.

I'm left at an interesting crossroads. Do I reload and go again, potentially tainting the save? Continue with the same manager and same save and look elsewhere? Or start a new fresh Arsenal save - although I feel I would have to commit to either a complete youth project or an overhaul of the squad to keep it fresh.

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JEinchy - truly superb effort to win the league from such an unlikely position. Easy to say that Manchester City bottled it, but to remain unbeaten in the league from mid-January to season's end is a fantastic run of form.

Following the development of your younger players is also good fun, especially when I compare the differences between your players and mine. Ismaël Bennacer looks to be a real player for you; I'm seeking to mould him into a Verratti-type midfielder and, to date, his development has been encouraging. Nice to see Donyell Malen and Vlad Dragomir coming on well too. Only supports the belief that this is the best batch of youth players Arsenal have had for some time, especially in Football Manager.

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