sposfan

Brand new to FM, several game and football questions.

337 posts in this topic

Is there any way to ask my board to allow me to scout more countries? As of yet they are still limiting me to the UK.

Not that I'm aware of. In fact when it does happen you won't even get a message to let you know. The best time to check is at the season-to-season changeover point.

A major question I have is this: does the AI learn my tactics over a season? If so, is this done on a team by team basis, or does the AI controlled teams "share" the knowledge amongst themselves? Does it behoove me to tweak my tactics from time to time,even if it's minor to try to hinder them from knowing exactly what my tactics are. Can the AI "see" my tactical settings even though I can't see theirs (ie, slider settings etc).

You're opening up Pandora's Box with that question icon_wink.gif

The official stance from SI is that the way the match engine works is that it calculates and operates exactly the same way whether it is AI vs AI or Human vs AI. So AI managers see exactly what you can see and thus have no access to your exact tactical settings but alter their tactics based on what is happening on the pitch. For most people whether or not they believe this depends on their experience of playing the game.

In my opinion most AI managers are programmed with a set of tactics based on their individual characteristics. Each AI manager has a set of hidden attributes that relate to how they set their defensive line, team width, mentalities etc. and this affects how they set up whatever formation they choose. IMO this is one of the reasons why against one manager's 442 Short Farrow your tactic might work brilliantly but against another manager's 442 Short Farrow you might get hammered (assuming equivalent quality of players, morale etc.)

Generally my experience of it is that the AI isn't all that sophisticated and seems to operate based on what it expects to get from a game. So they don't necessarily learn your tactics but will adjust based on the match odds, your team's reputation. whether it's home or away, or it is a cup/league match. Basically I see every AI team behave in the exact same manner with regards to their tactical approach. I posted this previously so I'll just cut and paste:-

....the AI continually changes tactics and adapts to what you are doing. How they approach this seems to depend largely on 2 key factors (I say seems as it has never been confirmed by SI as far as I know but when you've played a few seasons you will see patterns emerging):-

1. The Match odds (influenced by reputation and form)

2. Whether it is home or away

They will start with a variation of their preferred tactic based on these two factors. They will go

A.ultra attacking

B.attacking

C.slightly attacking

D.normal

E.defensive

F.ultra defensive.

When they change tactic and to which variation they change to will depend on how the match is proceeding (usually the scoreline) and the 2 factors above. For example if you are heavy favourite at home the AI will typically start with a defensive tactic (in England usually the 442 no arrows or the ultra defensive 4141). In this situation I have rarely seen the AI go to a more positive variation after going behind in a match. In fact often when you gain a 2 goal lead in this heavy favourite at home scenario they will switch to a Christmas Tree formation (3 centre backs, 2 wing backs, 1 Defensive midfielder, 2 central midfielders, 1 attacking midfielder and 1 striker). This is just a case of damage limitation.

The same logic applies to other scenarios. The AI manager will flick between the variations A to F throughout a match based on their perception of whether or not they can get something from the game.

The typical variations in England are

1. Christmas Tree [ultra Defensive]

2. 4141 [ultra Defensive/Defensive] Which type it is can be recognisable by how many opposition players get forward when they are attacking

3. 442 No Forward Arrows [Defensive] (often you will see one of the strikers tracking back or dropping deeper than the other striker i.e. he moves closer to his own box when you are attacking)

4. 442 Short Forward Arrow [Normal/Slightly Attacking] (the difference between these can be very subtle but often it will say something in the commentary that indicates the opposition has gone more attackings e.g. looking for more options in the final third)

5. 442 Long Forward Arrow [Attacking]

6. 424 [ultra Attacking or Gung Ho] (usually in the last 10 to 15 minutes if the AI manager thinks they can get something from the game)

With regards to your question about making tweaks to throw the AI I have seen people post that this is the secret of their success, namely to keep the AI guessing. I do tweak throughout the season but not as a calculated strategy assuming the AI now knows my tactic but more as a realistic response to how different teams approach me. So I'll change things like width, forward runs on full backs, defensive line etc. all within the same formation but in response to how well my team is doing and how that relates to the approach the AI is taking tactically.

I also made a few training regimens. I didn't want to simply download someone else's, since I'd never learn that way. I made about 6 more, and have found a real difference how different type of players respond to different types of training. I try to keep them all just a hair under a heavy workload. Also, I found it extremely beneficial to give players with conditioning under 95% a day or so off (more if lower) so that they would be closer to 100% for gametime. Later in the season, I would give most, if not all of the squad a few days off after each match.

Although I would disagree with the training you use and the resting strategy, the fact is it is proving successful for you so trust in your own judgement and stick with it. I don’t believe in a tactic/training approach that works independent of the team so if what you are doing is working with the squad you have then stick with it.

I also watched real football games whenever possible, much to my wife's consternation! The good news is that with my satellite package there is almost always a game on at bedtime!

Another FM/football widow joins the fold icon_wink.gif

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Thanks yet again for taking the time!

Although I would disagree with the training you use and the resting strategy, the fact is it is proving successful for you so trust in your own judgement and stick with it. I don’t believe in a tactic/training approach that works independent of the team so if what you are doing is working with the squad you have then stick with it.

So do you play with training or just leave the general and GK settings? My thinking behind the resting of players was just to bring them closer to 100% conditioning for the next game, and except near the very end of the season before important games or when I have a cup game shortly after a regular game (or vice versa), I only rest players under 90%. I also keep an eye on my squad and anyone lacking in match fitness gets sent to the reserves "until match fit". Do you think that the short rest I give them really does no good and once again, I'm just overthinking it?

Thanks also for clarifying the AI. I was unsure whether there was also a global AI for lack of better term, that tracked my tactics and tweaked the individual team AI's for them but it's good to know that each team/manager is a seperate entity, so to speak.

Another FM/football widow joins the fold
<VBG> well she was already a sports widow, but now there's yet ANOTHER sport! She's thrilled, obviously! icon_smile.gif

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So do you play with training or just leave the general and GK settings? My thinking behind the resting of players was just to bring them closer to 100% conditioning for the next game, and except near the very end of the season before important games or when I have a cup game shortly after a regular game (or vice versa), I only rest players under 90%. I also keep an eye on my squad and anyone lacking in match fitness gets sent to the reserves "until match fit". Do you think that the short rest I give them really does no good and once again, I'm just overthinking it?

Training in the game is very much a personal choice. It’s about getting the balance between injuries and performance that meets your needs. Personally I’ve found on this version sticking to the default General training with minor changes specific to positions, maintaining the workload at the Medium level just at/below the fifth little white marker, gives me the balance I want. Six seasons in I have not suffered a major injury crisis yet and any long term injuries have predominantly occurred in matches.

To understand training in the game you need to first understand how player attributes are modelled. Basically each player has a value that determines their Current Ability (CA) and this value itself acts as a control on the upper limit that a player’s attributes can reach. It’s essentially an equation which relates the attributes to the CA involving weightings.

The training module can be used to alter the value of the weightings to redistribute the CA points among attributes. Redistribute is the key word here as you can only move points from one attribute to another (in the case where a player has reached their Potential Ability, PA). There will not be a perfect one for one exchange though if the attributes carry different nominal weightings. For example the nominal weighting applied to the Finishing attribute will be higher than the nominal weighting applied to the Tackling attribute for a striker. So if you decrease the Defensive training and increase the Shooting training for a striker you won’t see the Tackling attribute decrease by say 2 and the Finishing attribute increase by 2.

Basically by increasing the training intensity in specific areas you can get more bang for your buck from the constraints of the player’s CA value. The General (default) training schedule is one that maintains current attributes and steady development speed in the case of a player who has not reached their PA. When you increase the training intensity you can get more attribute points from a given CA but you do so at the risk of increasing the frequency of injuries. Also note that the attributes you see go from 1 to 20 are actually processed by the game under the hood in a larger range so increases in attributes which appear as green arrows in the training screen might not manifest themselves as a visible increase in attribute points.

It is just a case of finding the right balance for a particular player. Some players can handle higher intensity levels of training without suffering for it while others can’t (how well their condition recovers between matches and the frequency of injuries are good indicators of this). The visible attributes that relate to this are Natural Fitness and Stamina. Note that there is a hidden attribute called ‘Injury Proneness’ which has an influence as well.

With regards to resting of players I think the fact that you are using high intensity training then giving players a rest is probably beneficial. I’ve tested it out using the General training schedule and found it had no difference whatever.

And no you’re not overthinking as the game has been coded to replicate real life so applying common sense as you have should have the type of effect you intend it to have. Like I said using the strategy you have helped you to get a team predicted to be relegated promoted, so stick with it and see how it goes.

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Sorry for the lack of updates, I haven't given up, but have been busy as all heck the past few weeks (I know, I need to reorganize my priorities!<G&gticon_wink.gif.

I'm about 1/2 way through my second season, barely staying out of relegation in the chanpionship division, but well set up for the future, with a very young team and ALL my players that I want to keep under contract for at least another 2 years.

My question is this: I remember in my trial game changing my formation midseason and actually getting negative feedback about doing so, but I'm considering going to a bit of a different formation, using WL/R instead of DL/R.

Would such a change midseason lead to problems, since it appears that it would take the squad a while to get used to the new formation?

Also, when is the best time to start a new formation? Common sense would dictate to do it in the preseason during friendlies and then stick with it during the year. Assuming I do wait til next season to change, after playing the new formation in the preseason and the first few games, if I see that it's not working and go back to my old formation, do I take another "cohesion" hit in the change?

Thanks in advance!

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I wouldn't be too leary of that sort of thing. I had a couple years where I switched between 4-4-2 and a (similar-looking) 4-5-1 depending on the opposition.

If all you're thinking of doing is pushing the fullbacks forward a bit, you'll probably be fine.

Here's a question, though - assuming you're still using a pretty vanilla 4-4-2, you'll have something like

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">DL ML -> AML

DC MC SC

DC MC SC

DR MR -> AMR</pre>

Is what you're talking about actually shifting to a real wing-back formation, or do you just want to get your fullbacks involved in the attack more?

I like a formation kinda like this (though I do diamond, not flat mid):

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">DL -> WBL ML -> AML

DC MC SC

DC MC SC

DR -> WBR MR -> AMR</pre>

Combined with a bit of creative freedom, forward runs, and slightly more attacking mentality, my fullbacks will do a number of things to contribute to the attack:

- come up to challenge for partial clearances, helping to keep the ball 'in the zone' to borrow a hockey phrasing

- overlap with the wingers on their side sometimes

- 'sneak' up on the opposite side of play, often reaching a threatening position without picking up a marker.

I like that look, and it doesn't recall really committing to the classic "Wingback".

The nice thing is, its similar enough to the first formation that you're not going to take any sort of 'cohesion' hit switching between them.

The classic "Wingback" formation really relies on the wingbacks to run their guts out, it looks something like this:

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre"> WBL -> ML

DC MC SC

DC DM

DC MC SC

WBR -> MR</pre>

or even:

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre"> WBL -------> AML

DC MC SC

DC DM -> MC

DC MC SC

WBR -------> AMR</pre>

That, obviously, is a lot more radical. I wouldn't be likely to just shift straight to it mid-season, though I might go to it for one or two matches if I were forced to by quality of opposition or injury crisis. If I were going to make a shift of that magnitude, I'd do it exactly as you described: pre-season friendlies.

I don't know how much time you're putting into things, but when I'm playing a "serious" game - which I tend to play pretty close to the LLM Forum rules, relying on scouting, making up my own tactic from scratch for that game, etc - I'll sometimes introduce new formations through Reserve games. I control my Reserve matches anyways, on Commentary Only mode, but when I'm working on a new tactic I may stop and play a Reserve match or three with more detail and use it to 'hone' the tactic before I introduce it to my senior side.

This works only if you've got a fair Reserve side opponent - e.g., if you're Man Utd and the opposition is Kidderminster Reserves, you're going to hammer them, so its not going to tell you much.

Then I'll start bringing it in to the senior side as a late-match tactical change, and see how it works.

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Thanks again! I was thinking of something along the lines of your formation, but this:

WBL-> ML->

DC MC SC

DC MC SC

WBR-> MR->

I do think I want more involvement from my fullbacks on the attack, but my thinking is that they'll be a lot more effective from the WB position and if I get a lead, I can always drop them back.

Most of the pitches I play on (league 1 and now Champ) seem mostly to be a bit on the shorter side and I consistently get the scouting message that space will be hard to find in the middle (or however it's written! <G&gticon_wink.gif and my thinking was that this would give me a bit more strength along the sidelines, and with my DCs playing a little wider apart (and being a strength on my team), I wouldn't lose THAT much defensively. I would also be able to go back to the flat 442 when facing speedier teams.

I really have to start delving a lot deeper into tactics and personal and team instructions. I keep meaning to do that, but get caught up in playing the game! I guess I'm playing a bit of a modified LLM, in that I'm relying on my scouting almost exclusively to find players, but no WAY am I ready to make my own tactic from scratch!

I think I'm doing a really good job building the actual squad. I have 4 scouts (2 very high JPA and 2 very high JCA) and mu assman also has high JPA nad JCA ratings. I locked up all the players I wanted to last year, while still in league 1, which turned out to be huge since I'm noticing a huge increase in players' demands in the CH league. I'm bringing in players in specific positions on loan every year to save money (and get a better quality), and only try to buy players on frees or very undervalued according to my scouts. I also have no problem selling a player a year too early, especially if I have someone ready (or almost ready) to step in, rather than a year too late. I'd rather let a good player that I'd like to sign get away if the price is too high or the wages he's asking for are out of whack with my salary structure and settling for a player a bit weaker.

While I do have your attention, what are the benefits of overlapping players? There must be some drawbacks as well right?

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The benefit is either creating a two-on-one situation (WBL + ML vs their MR), or better yet, drawing their defense way "out of shape" to try and adjust to it (Eg., my ML over there, here comes my WBL, and they 'overcorrect' with MR, DR, and a DC coming over to help .. now there should be a ton of space central for my strikers or attacking midfielders to find.)

The drawback is much the same as what you're likely to have with that WBL -> ML formation - getting caught wayyyy to far forward. The goal I conceded just before coming on the forum came whem my left fullback overlapped up ahead of my left wing, then lost possession to his opposite number. A quick counter, a striker sliding wide into the vacant space - suddenly one of my central defenders had to come out to meet him, and before the rest of the side could fill in the middle, the striker got the pass off. A midfielder in time and space at the arc? Goal.

It sounds like you're approaching the squad-building exactly right. The Championship is a pretty big step up from League One - a number of people think its the hardest to earn promotion from in FM'08. The Premiership will be an even bigger step up - its tough to keep up with the international superstars on the "Big Four" .. but there should be several other relegation-fodder teams, and all you have to do is keep yourself ahead of them. icon_biggrin.gif

Now for what you're looking at, tactically, personally I wouldn't use an arrow for what you're trying to achieve.

The arrow WBL -> ML basically says "Position yourself like a left wing when we have the ball, and like a left wingback when we don't. No matter what else is happening."

Since an ML can push all the way up to the corner flag in possession, that's a long way to expect him to get back and help out defensively!

I suspect you'll get the "feel" you're looking for from a player in the WBL location with a more "Attacking" Mentality and "Forward Runs Often". As long as he has good Decisions, he should make his "runs forward" only when it looks profitable - e.g., nobody sneaking in behind him, and ideally, nobody covering him either.

I'd strongly recommend that you play with the individual instructions for those players first; if you're still not getting the results you want, you might try longer arrows and/or changing his base positioning.

In my little tactical suite, my fullbacks progress as follows:

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre"> Position Mentality Runs

1 DL Defensive Rarely

2 DL Low Normal Mixed

3 DL -> WBL Low Normal Often

4 DL -> WBL Normal Often

5 DL --------> ML High Norm Often

6 WBL -> ML Attacking Often</pre>

1 is my "defend a lead" tactic; 2, 3, and 4 are in my "normal" tactical suite, e.g., the formations I spend most of my time in, progressing from 'defend' to 'attack'. 5 is my 'Really pushing for a goal in the last minutes' tactic, and 6?

6 I only use for stoppage time - its the same tactic that has the GK come forward on corner kicks. icon_wink.gif

3 and 4, I definitely see the fullbacks getting involved as attacking options, and 4 clearly sees them overlap ahead of the winger in some cases.

That'll give you a starting point, anyways!

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Just a quick bump for a huge thank you to everyone and a quick update. The questions will follow shortly! :)

I definitely have not given up on the game, although there was a brief hiatus as baseball season opened, but I've fallen back into it and am now in my third season. I've been meaning to post, but kept procrastinating, so here we are! In a nutshell, after winning the league, I've managed to keep from being relegated out of the Champions league, finishing lower mid-table and am around there now early in season 3.

Expect a new spate of questions coming soon to a thread near you.

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Woo-hoo!!!

Nice uppage, sposfan! I thought this thread had been lost in the data purge on the old forum software .. I can't tell you how glad I am to see it resurrected on the new forums!!

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Gentlemen,

Apologies for the total lack of updates and questions, don't think I've mastered this game due to my quiet, it's more my laziness hard at work! :)

I'm about 1/3 of the way through 2010, with my squad languishing in the relegation area right now, losing no matter what I do. I can't tell you how many times I've come close to tossing my monitor out the window when a terrible giveaway leads to the winning goal with less than 5 minutes left. Good thing the computer's in the basement! <G>

I *think* I have the managing part down pretty well. I try to wrap my players up under contract before they are expensive and before they blossom and try to keep the youth pipeline full with possible future starters. I've also gotten into the habit of trying to pick up a few free transfers that WON'T be good enough to make my team, but that I might be able to sell for a profit to generate revenue. For instance if their wages are 3k per year and I can sell them for 5k within that year, why the heck not! I've got pretty good depth on my squad in most positions and have taken to getting my top subs some starts and decent game time when there is not a huge disparity in talent between them and the starter.

I've used the transfer wire for most of my depth, picking up older players for a song for 1 or 2 years at a time. I don't really care if they become unhappy with playing time since they're going to be gone quickly anyways and with some judicious subbing it doesn't get too bad.

I'm hindered because my board still only lets me scout the UK and Ireland and my transfer budget is far lower than some other teams. I have asked for another feeder team on the continent to at least get me their knowledge.

Now for my immediate plans. Tactics. Currently I use a more defensive tactic since my team is obviously overmatched in it's first year in the CH league, but it's mainly small tweaks off the default 442, changing the farrows and playing a bit with the sliders and I want to actually LEARN how to develop a tactic.

So, in small words <G>, how would I go about creating a tactic from scratch. I've read and printed many of the helpful threads in the tactics forum, but I just can't seem to properly wrap my head around it. I can easily follow the instructions and plug in the numbers to the sliders, but that doesn't really help me understand the WHY of what I'm doing.

Do I have to start from a basic 442 say, and watch an entire game against another team. Then exit out without saving, make one small change and do it all over again? It seems that it would take beyond forever to do it that way. Some things have managed to sink in. I've learned thanks to isuckatfm that with my MC's one should lay back and the other go up in situations, but there's so much more and the lightbulb isn't going on!

I know a lot of it depends on my players and their attributes, but in broad generalities where should I start to learn not only the what, but the why?

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i would really suggest having a browse through the tactics forum, theres loads in there... pointers to get you started, or ready-made tactics you can just download... forum can be found here be warned though, if you download one, theyre not necessarily guaranteed to be a success

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Welcome back :)

I can understand the difficulty in the 'why'. When you grow up around a sport (playing and watching) it is so much easier to analyse (although figuring out which sliders to tweak can ba a bitch). Maybe this thread will give you some insight into my approach (whether it's complete nonsense is up for debate :D)

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php?t=39102

Just a note for some reason I mentioned 'defending throw ins' settings and there aren't any. You can look at the screenshots and/or download the pkm the poster hosted. Also that type of play is very much 'micro' so the problems and changes are relative to that match. They may hold up in general but you need to look for patterns before coming to that conclusion.

If you want to upload a pkm I'll take a look if and when I get the chance (not a time issue at the minute, more motivation) but the types of things I highlighted for that thread is more or less what I do when building a tactic. I still do player by player tweaks though. My first choice centre backs at the moment are reasonably quick so tight marking an equally fast striker is not an issue. But if I have to play my back up I'll usually change that depending on the attributes of the opposition strikers (as well as defensive line).

As you said it does take time to put your tactics together but the AI has a general approach as mentioned before in relation to tactics with respect to match scenario/odds. So once you get a few put together to deal with those particular scenarios they can usually hold up in general.

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What took you so long to reply? :) I will definitely check that out!

Thanks as always!

Here's another question along those lines. In my recent games when going up against a team with an excellent striker, I put my DC on man coverage and put them on him specifically with close marking and closing him down. Sometime it works and sometimes it doesn't ( like anything else). The problem is is that I don't always understand WHY it works or doesn't. If when it works it's just dumb luck or I actually did something right. I try to have some sort of a reason for doing the things I am, whether it is based on any facts is another story! :)

I'll try to match up my fastest DB with a fast striker and so on. Once in a great while when despite that the opponent still seems to get free at will, I might double team them with my dmc if I have one and I outnumber them in my end.

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i would really suggest having a browse through the tactics forum, theres loads in there... pointers to get you started, or ready-made tactics you can just download... forum can be found here be warned though, if you download one, theyre not necessarily guaranteed to be a success

Thanks rinso! I have read through most, if not all of the tactic building threads and such for newbies but as someone who did not grow up with the sport, I'm trying to get my head around the why's of tactics, both in game and real life. If we're talking baseball for instance I instinctively know what tactic works in what situation and the reasoning behind it, but so far in football it's like throwing darts blindfolded and hoping to get lucky! :)

I haven't downloaded any tactics, mainly because I actually want to learn them and just plugging in someone else's work, while it might help me win, won't help me understand and appreciate the sport.

I have been watching a ton of football on tv (which no doubt confuses the wife!) and I'm actually supposed to be going to a live game later this month, so I am getting a better feel for the game (watching full matches also helps a lot, more so than watching real games) but it seems quite a jump to the next level.

Thanks for all the help!

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ahhhh i see... lol i doubt i'll be much help to you then, so i'll wish you good luck, and bow out with grace before i make a fool of meself!!

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Here's another question along those lines. In my recent games when going up against a team with an excellent striker, I put my DC on man coverage and put them on him specifically with close marking and closing him down. Sometime it works and sometimes it doesn't ( like anything else). The problem is is that I don't always understand WHY it works or doesn't. If when it works it's just dumb luck or I actually did something right. I try to have some sort of a reason for doing the things I am, whether it is based on any facts is another story! :)

I'll try to match up my fastest DB with a fast striker and so on. Once in a great while when despite that the opponent still seems to get free at will, I might double team them with my dmc if I have one and I outnumber them in my end.

The thing is sposfan the 'game' is supposed to be a simulation. To reflect real life football there can't be an A then B consistency to what you do. In football chances occur due to players getting free and this is reflected in game. So you can watch a match and see your centre half stay tight for the majority of the match but the one time he loses the striker you get punished. Don't get me wrong I do feel the balance is tipped more in favour of attacking players at the moment but for it to become 100% deterministic would cause it to lose in the realism stakes.

I think there are very few who play this game and know exactly why they go wrong. I've conceded goals where my full back has been all over the opposition winger yet he somehow gets a cross in, and then the opposition striker who my centre half is set to man mark tight sneaks in front of him to get onto the cross and slot it home. For me (others might well disagree) if your players are in a position to cut out a cross/pass or pick up a player and they fail to do so despite your instructions being to tight man mark, then there isn't much you can do about it. There isn't always a why other than what your players do. That's just my opinion and I've seen others post differently :)

The best you can do as you already alluded to is try to eliminate isolation of players but in doing so you usually lose something going forward as this generally requires getting a striker to drop back to preserve the defensive structure of the formation or playing a formation that inherently allows you to outnumber the opposition when defending.

You could post a pkm with some instances of the 'why' and I'll offer you an opinion for what it's worth. Maybe others will jump in and you'll see just what makes this game what it is in that what I suggest might not be what others would do.

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ahhhh i see... lol i doubt i'll be much help to you then, so i'll wish you good luck, and bow out with grace before i make a fool of meself!!

Not so, I do appreciate your help!

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Sorry, I should have been clearer. I totally understand that sometimes things just happen, a player stumbles or just makes a bad decision or is just beaten by a better player, the "why" that I'm looking for is stuff like why play narrow or wide. Why some players play zone and others man mark in the same formation. When should a target man be used or which positions should "hold up the ball" and whatnot like that. Logically speaking I would think that my back line should NOT be holding up the ball since you would want to get it out of your defensive zone as soon as possible, but what about a DMC or a ML? Who should run with the ball? Should a DL with higher appropriate attributes run more than an ML with lower attributes? How should I use closing down and with which positions and the whole formation thing and when to use it. If I have 3 good strikers and 2 good DMCs am i better off with a 442 and no DMC or a 4141 or even a 4132? When is it appropriate to play quick tempo vs a slow one or play wide or narrow. In some instances there must be just certain tactics that are accepted as obvious choices in certain situations and I just don't know the tactics or the situations. A real football manager could be watching a game and realize that his team is playing too wide based on what is happening and have them play more narrow, and I am nowhere close to that! :)

I know to most everyone brought up with the game, this is stuff that is just picked up over years. For instance, if I knew say the why's and whens of playing wide vs narrow, I would at least understand the reasoning and could then build upon it and comprehend why it works or fails in certain situations. Right now I don't and with so many variable settings it's frustrating and I don't just want to win, I want to learn the intricacies of the game.

I've picked up a ton from this thread alone thanks to all your help, much more than I could have by simply reading a book and for that I truly thank you guys!

The thing is sposfan the 'game' is supposed to be a simulation. To reflect real life football there can't be an A then B consistency to what you do. In football chances occur due to players getting free and this is reflected in game. So you can watch a match and see your centre half stay tight for the majority of the match but the one time he loses the striker you get punished. Don't get me wrong I do feel the balance is tipped more in favour of attacking players at the moment but for it to become 100% deterministic would cause it to lose in the realism stakes.

I think there are very few who play this game and know exactly why they go wrong. I've conceded goals where my full back has been all over the opposition winger yet he somehow gets a cross in, and then the opposition striker who my centre half is set to man mark tight sneaks in front of him to get onto the cross and slot it home. For me (others might well disagree) if your players are in a position to cut out a cross/pass or pick up a player and they fail to do so despite your instructions being to tight man mark, then there isn't much you can do about it. There isn't always a why other than what your players do. That's just my opinion and I've seen others post differently :)

The best you can do as you already alluded to is try to eliminate isolation of players but in doing so you usually lose something going forward as this generally requires getting a striker to drop back to preserve the defensive structure of the formation or playing a formation that inherently allows you to outnumber the opposition when defending.

You could post a pkm with some instances of the 'why' and I'll offer you an opinion for what it's worth. Maybe others will jump in and you'll see just what makes this game what it is in that what I suggest might not be what others would do.

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Wow, I'm going to have to write a novel to give you the answers to this set of questions!

I'm going to take your "example" questions, and run with them a bit:

Why play narrow or wide.

Narrow = clogging space in the middle of the pitch for the opposition, but at the risk of leaving space out wide.

Wide = spreading players wide, making the maximum use of space

In general, playing "narrow" is a defensive tactic, and playing "wide" is an offensive tactic; my homebrew tactical suite progresses from narrow to wide as the other settings progress from defensive to attacking.

There might be some situations where you might be able to attack narrow: the other team is attacking too wide, but you have quality fullbacks and wingers who are shutting down their wide play, and your central players (midfielders, strikers) are much better than their centre backs. In that case, you might play narrow, "Attack through middle", and exploit that set of mismatches, but for the most part I think you just want to think "narrow = defense, wide = attack" for now.

I'd also think of ten-man situations: the team with eleven wants to play "wide" to make the team with ten do as much running as they possibly can. Tire them out, let the ball do the work, etc. The team with ten probably wants to keep it narrow, even if they're trailing.

Why some players play zone and others man mark in the same formation.

This depends on what you view that player's role in your defense. Do you want your player to counter a specific attacking threat, or do you want them to take care of a specific area?

For example, I want my central defenders to stay "home" and defend anybody who tries to attack or run into their space - because a "free" attacker in the centre of my back line is a sure goal. Therefore, my two centre backs are on "ZONE" defending. I also don't set them to do much "closing down", because I don't want them to leave the player they are marking just because the ball gets near them - too often I've seen them do that, and a quick pass into the space vacated leaves them badly exposed. So, low "closing down".

My fullbacks often get set to "MAN" defending, and told to cover their wingers. If my fullback is the faster player, I'll tell him "tight mark", but otherwise its loose marking (stay goalside of him). However, if I notice that the opposition have strikers who are slipping out wide, or fullbacks making overlapping runs into that space, then I need to put my fullbacks on "ZONE" defending, so that they'll work at picking up anybody who is a threat out wide on their side of the pitch.

Same is true for a DMC: in some cases, I'll use him to "MAN" mark the most threatening offensive player on the pitch, whether that's a striker, an AMC, or an MC. Since he's usually ahead of my back line, I'll tell him to "tight" mark, trying to deny service to the player, trusting that somebody else is goalside of the player. (American football: Like having a cornerback play for the interception, trusting that he has safety help). Against other teams, I'll set him on "ZONE" marking, because I really want him ranging around in front of my defensive back line - this can be effective with a fairly high "Closing Down", giving you that sideline-to-sideline middle linebacker type.

Wingers you might want to have zonal, or maybe man-marking the opposition winger (especially if your fullback is on "zone" coverage). Late in a match when chasing a game, you might want them man marking the opposition FULLBACKS, to prevent the opposition from just playing it around the back line.

Strikers I only ever put on ZONE marking.

When should a target man be used

When you have an attacking player who you want to have be the target for crosses and long balls forward. There are three types of target men that I have found effective:

1. Tall - Jumping, Heading, Decisions, Anticipation, Passing, Creativity, Teamwork - "To Head" - In this case, you have a 6'9" striker who is taller than any defender who is going to mark up against him. His Jumping is tremendous. You want your players aiming high balls towards him. The idea is that he will play a "flick-on" header for his teammates, using his head to direct the ball towards a partner. You'll most often see this type of player paired with a speedy striker, but it can also be effective to pair him with two AMC's. He's also good on the "Near Post" during corners, and as an aerial target for your wingers to cross to.

2. Strong - Strength, First Touch, Passing, Decisions, Anticipation, Teamwork, Off the Ball, Positioning - "To Feet" - "Hold Up Ball" - In this case, you have a strong bull of a striker. You think that he can hold onto possession for a while as your other players get forward. So, you want your players lumping balls forward for him, as he plays with his back to goal. He chests the ball down to his feet, or simply traps it at feet, and then uses his tremendous strength to hold off one defender while your players transition from defense to attack. He'll look to dish it out to somebody when the opening presents itself. He will also earn plenty of fouls due to defenders coming in from behind him.

3. Fast - Pace, Acceleration, Off the Ball, Dribbling, Finishing, Anticipation, Composure - "Run Onto Ball" - "Forward Runs: Often" - In this case, you have a speedy striker who you trust to finish the chances. You think that your players can launch balls over the defense, and have this striker time his forward run so that he breaks the offsides trap, outruns the defenders, gets to the ball before the goalkeeper has time to come off his line, and then finish the chance one-on-one. This is the best way to exploit that strategy.

Which positions should "hold up the ball"

Depends. I'd suggest that your slowest players hold up the ball, giving time for your fastest players to get forward - but the only real test is "Is this player losing possession while dallying on the ball?" If so, turn off "Hold up ball". If not, "Hold up ball" is probably acceptable for them.

We've already talked about the strong striker holding up the ball. You could also see a slower winger with plenty of technical ability whose best use of that ability is to slow things down, let his teammates get into dangerous positions, and then play a killer pass. (For example, if you're playing David Beckham as an MR for the L.A. Galaxy, this is a good use of him.) A central midfielder can do well with it if he's getting possession outside of the danger area(s). It can be useful in combination with the "Playmaker" role for an MC/AMC type: get the ball to him, let him slow things down and dictate the pace of the game, then have him play a killer ball when a teammate makes the right run. Fullbacks might hold up the ball to give the offense time to set up, or might not. Central defenders I really don't want messing around with the ball - just get it out of there, please!

You might also think about your tactical approach. Are you trying to hit teams on the quick counter-attack? Then "Hold Up Ball" probably isn't for you. Are you facing teams which are just sitting back to defend, and your players are rushing into the attack and losing possession because they're outnumbered? Then you need to sprinkle around some liberal "Hold Up Ball" instructions.

Who should run with the ball?

Players with Pace + Dribbling + Acceleration

In general, I let my fullbacks and wingers run with the ball, as well as my "pacey striker". If I have a central midfielder who is exceptional at dribbling, he might get to as well.

Should a DL with higher appropriate attributes run more than an ML with lower attributes?

Sure.

When I'm trying to defend a lead, I keep my DL and DR on "Forward runs: rarely", "Run with ball: rarely", and no arrow. I want them to stay home, cover their zone, and basically focus on defense .. that way I don't get caught out when the AI switches to the 4-2-4.

When I'm trying to score, I like to get my DL and DR involved in the attack, so either a farrow to WBL/WBR, "Forward runs: mixed", or no farrow, "Forward runs: often" ... but never both at the same time, as they'll crowd the winger on that side.

How should I use closing down and with which positions and the whole formation thing and when to use it.

Back line: closing down fairly rarely. You don't really want them haring off out of position.

Midfield: closing down more often. They're the ones you want working to close down the ball.

Strikers: closing down rarely. Its not often a good use of their energy to hassle the defense. (If you have a specific defender or goalkeeper who is young, nervous, or just awful on the ball, use the Opposition Instructions "closing down always" to put pressure on him and try to force a turnover.)

In general, you want more Closing Down while trailing a game (we need to get the ball back, lads!) and less while leading (stay to your positions).

However, players who are experts at Long Shots might deserve a "Closing Down always" instruction, especially if you notice that they're banging them in from range against you. I'm a little leery of Closing Down always against opposition strikers or midfielders, though, because I have seen that override the low Closing Down that I give my central defenders, so the DC goes haring off to Close Down, leaving a striker wide open where he just was.

If I have 3 good strikers and 2 good DMCs am i better off with a 442 and no DMC or a 4141 or even a 4132?

When first taking over a club, suit your tactics to your players ... and eventually buy to suit your preferred tactics.

When is it appropriate to play quick tempo vs a slow one

Quick: when you want to launch quick counter-attacks

Slow: when you want a patient build-up against a packed defense

Late in a game, you might go to:

Quick: desperation, "hurry up" offense

Slow: protecting a lead, take your time as we kill off this game, with high "Time Wasting".

Also:

Quick: if you have a teamful of talented Brazilians who can play one-touch football, and you really do want them to move it around that quickly.

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Woah, going to have to print that out and digest it properly! Thanks for the time AND the tome! :)

One question first, what style of play is best on a wet pitch?

Now onto the main course! I'll address one part of it at a time - the narrow/wide settings. Wouldn't a narrow setting simply open up my flanks? Would a team's conditioning also be part of the decision process? If my team is all at 100% and the opponent isn't AND my team is built on speed and pace would I be better of going wide and forcing the opponent to adjust to me? In my specific case now, that isn't an issue since I'm barely hanging on!

Also if one team is playing wide and the defender narrow, would the defenders move out wide to cover the offense or would the defense stick to their zone (obviously if playing man to man they would stick on their man right?)? What if I set tactics to narrow and use man to man defense, which instruction takes precedence?

What about pitch sizes? If it says the pitch is on the short size and the middle will be congested, do I go wide for defense since its narrowness will clog up the middle or do I stay the narrow course?

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Right and this is what I've done (well except for the part about having preferred tactics! :) ), but I've also picked up players with tremendous upside for a song who don't always fit my current tactic, but are both excellent footballers AND bargains to boot that I just can't allow myself to pass up. I'll either sell them off for a profit later or adjust things to have them fit in.

When first taking over a club, suit your tactics to your players ... and eventually buy to suit your preferred tactics.

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One more question (hey, they're free, what the heck! <G>), how much time do you spend scouting the opposition? I do read the scouting reports on them ( have 4 scouts, 2 with extremely high JPA and 2 with extremely high JCA and have a 20 JCA scout with high tactics doing those), but otherwise I'll take a quick glimpse at the opponent, making note of those with bravery of under 10 ( for hard tackling) and their foot strength (I'll use the weaker foot tactic on FCs, AMs and the odd M, but that's about it. I suppose I really should scout harder, but sometimes I just want to get to the game!

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One question first, what style of play is best on a wet pitch?

Depends on the wind and whether the pitch is "waterlogged".

A waterlogged pitch will lead to middle-length passes along the floor (e.g., "To Feet", "Through Balls", etc) stopping in puddles. It will slow down any attempt at counter-attacking. In that case, long balls tend to be best. Also, fancy footwork is troublesome, so your high-flair, great dribbling players tend to struggle with "Run With Ball often" instructions. However, low shots may skim along the water, arriving with more pace than they would have on dry grass. That, combined with the difficulty that the keeper will have holding on to the wet ball, will make "Long Shots: Often" a more effective technique. You should also be sure to play two strikers with good Acceleration and Anticipation so that you have a better chance of capitalizing on rebounds.

In high wind, however, long passes are going to go all over the place, and long shots can get blown well off target as well. This pretty much nullifies the "long shots" strategy, as well as the "Target Man: to head" strategy. The long-ball-to-run-onto strategy gets harder as well, but may pay off if you get lucky. You may also see strange goals like a cross being blown into the net, a corner-kick being blown into the net, or the goalkeeper falling down. Storm conditions are going to make Condition drop very quickly, but you may also be able to capitalize by putting pressure on people, so its tough to say.

No "sure solution", I'm afraid!

Wouldn't a narrow setting simply open up my flanks?

Yes! That's it precisely.

Your fullbacks should still drift out there if needed .. but their first responsibility is making sure that nobody slips into the gap between them and the centre-backs.

The opposition wingers should, especially if they're pacey, be able to exploit the wings, and doubly so on a wide pitch.

However, you're relying on the idea that that isn't so dangerous. They still have several things to do to turn that into a successful attack:

- fake out your fullback to be able to send in a cross

- get the cross to a dangerous position

- prevent your keeper from catching it or punching it clear

- win the resulting header (ST vs DC)

- put the header on target

- put the header past the keeper

In theory, especially if you have plenty of folks clogging the middle and defensive-minded, is that you'll probably have numbers in the box when they go to hit the cross .. which means you're more likely to win the header, and more likely to be first to any resulting rebounds.

You might not want to do this if you have a pair of short central defenders and a GK who won't come off his line to punch clear or catch a cross .. in that case, those crosses are going to be very dangerous!

But for most teams, its a lot safer to concede that wide bit than take a chance on positioning the fullback too wide, and giving the winger the ability to cut it inside ... if he's gotten inside of your fullback on a diagonal run with the ball, you have a big problem, because the opposition have two strikers plus the winger racing into the box, and you only have two central defenders who now have three threats to deal with.

(This is part of why Cristiano Ronaldo is such a dangerous asset for Manchester United: he's so good on the ball, so pacey, and such a strong shooter, that its almost impossible for a single player to take away both the cross and the cut-inside opportunity ... and whichever one you leave him he can make tremendously dangerous.)

Would a team's conditioning also be part of the decision process?

For me, its not so much a part of the narrow/wide decision, but it is a part of my overall tactical decision.

These things consume more energy than their converse does:

High Closing Down (vs low Closing Down)

Forward runs: Often (vs rarely)

Mentality: Attacking (vs defensive)

Arrows: forward or backwards (vs no arrow)

Also, tracking back from a corner kick consumes energy, so if you have a defender with poor Stamina and/or Natural Fitness, you might not want to send him forward on corners. Use "Stay Back" for him.

If my team is all at 100% and the opponent isn't AND my team is built on speed and pace would I be better of going wide and forcing the opponent to adjust to me? In my specific case now, that isn't an issue since I'm barely hanging on!

Typically, the better team will "dictate" the match, so yes if you felt like you were going to be the better/stronger side and your team was built on speed and pace, or you had two great wingers who you wanted to make sure to keep involved .. yeah, wide wide wide.

Also if one team is playing wide and the defender narrow, would the defenders move out wide to cover the offense or would the defense stick to their zone (obviously if playing man to man they would stick on their man right?)? What if I set tactics to narrow and use man to man defense, which instruction takes precedence?

What you should see is your defender "staying inside" his man, on the flanks. In other words, he'll be positioned between his man (or the man in his zone) and the opportunity to get in a cross.

If the opposition insists on the "Run with ball: often", "Cross ball: often", and "Cross from: byline" instructions for the wingers, you'll see a lot of crosses knocked out for corner kicks.

(Dropping those to "Mixed", "Mixed", and "Mixed" can help alleviate that problem for the attacker, by giving the winger more choices.)

By not staying as wide, they're allowing service to reach those wide attackers, but hoping to cut off their inside options once they're ready to try and bring the ball inside.

What about pitch sizes? If it says the pitch is on the short size and the middle will be congested, do I go wide for defense since its narrowness will clog up the middle or do I stay the narrow course?

A short pitch I find has the biggest impact on long breakaways. Its a lot safer to play an offsides trap and a high defensive line on a short pitch, because there's not a whole lot of room between your offsides trap and the area that the goalkeeper can cover.

So, those matches, a slower, patient buildup tends to work better than the long-ball, run-onto-it style of play.

I haven't really worried wide / narrow based on the width of the pitch we're going onto ... in general, though, a narrow pitch will suit the defense and be more likely to lead to a nil-nil .. while a wide pitch will suit attack and be more likely to lead to a 5-4 type of game.

Let's jump to one last question on the wide play:

So, the opposition has a Cristiano Ronaldo. How do I shut him down?

I'd offer a couple of strategies.

One: double cover him. I was getting hammered by one team's left winger until I set up both the MR and DR to explicitly Man Mark him. I put the MR on "Tight Marking", with the DR loose. The MR tended to sit between him and the ball-carrier, denying him service, while the DR stayed goal-side and in-side of him, denying him the cut-in and positioned to block the cross.

Two: three central defenders (five-man back line). Not my ideal solution, because I like having more attacking options, but your fullback can afford to get burned a couple times because he has the closest central defender able to come pick up the winger while the other two are able to cover the strikers.

Three: take away his best foot. This won't work for C.R., but for the top wingers at the Championship level, you may find that they are "Right Foot Only" players. In that case, you can do wonders by "Show Onto Right Foot" .. this should take away the cut-inside, and if your fullback is good enough, he can also block the cross. I've really taken some oppo. wingers out of the game with that alone, but it takes a good fullback.

Four: Hard Tackling Always for him, and hope he loses his composure, stops trying as hard for fifty-fifty balls, or gets injured. But you'd better have a good fullback, otherwise he's going to pick up a yellow in the first ten mintues, so this isn't often the best way to approach it.

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One more question (hey, they're free, what the heck! <G>), how much time do you spend scouting the opposition? I do read the scouting reports on them ( have 4 scouts, 2 with extremely high JPA and 2 with extremely high JCA and have a 20 JCA scout with high tactics doing those), but otherwise I'll take a quick glimpse at the opponent, making note of those with bravery of under 10 ( for hard tackling) and their foot strength (I'll use the weaker foot tactic on FCs, AMs and the odd M, but that's about it. I suppose I really should scout harder, but sometimes I just want to get to the game!

Depends.

In my current game, I'm trying to "move quickly", so a quick glance at the scouting report is all I'll do.

For a "detailed" game, when I'm playing with a lot of focus and really taking my time, yes, I'll choose my starting lineup based on what I think the strengths and weaknesses of their projected starting lineup are (e.g., start a good Jumping striker if their DC's are both short ... start the faster of my two DR's if they have a pacey left winger ... etc). Then I'll go through the actual eleven that they do start, and set up Individual Instructions for them.

Hard Tackling: vs low Bravery

Closing Down: vs teenagers, also vs low Composure, low First Touch players, occasionally vs a Long Shot expert.

Foot Strength: as you describe, but all through the lineup

Tight Marking: vs their slowest attacking players, e.g., a slow Striker or Winger

I think I score about three to five goals a season through "forced errors" in their back line, e.g., closing down a GK whom I had identified as a weakness and forcing him into a mistake, so its worth doing when I'm "playing for keeps".

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Thanks again (getting redundant aren't I? :) )!

1 more follow up question in regards to foot strength. Is there any drawback to forcing every player to their weaker foot? I'm pretty sure this was asked and anwered before, but I cannot find it or think of anything, except for possible forcing a player on the flanks to his inside foot to make crossing more difficult since he won't be able to do it mid-run but that's it. If there is, in fact, no possible drawback, would I ALWAYS set that to weaker foot?

PS. Where should I send you my bill for all the printer ink I've used? :)

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Thanks again (getting redundant aren't I? :) )!

Depends - I start every response with "Depends" so either I support the diaper company or I'm as redundant as you are. ;)

And .. you're welcome.

1 more follow up question in regards to foot strength. Is there any drawback to forcing every player to their weaker foot? I'm pretty sure this was asked and anwered before, but I cannot find it or think of anything, except for possible forcing a player on the flanks to his inside foot to make crossing more difficult since he won't be able to do it mid-run but that's it. If there is, in fact, no possible drawback, would I ALWAYS set that to weaker foot?

I've never done it in-game, but IRL there is a big disadvantage - because you are leaving his other foot pretty much free. You're essentially saying "Look, you can do whatever you like with your left foot because I think you're pretty much incompetent with it."

If, in fact, he's competent with his left foot as well, you're going to be in trouble .. especially if you're forcing their players towards each other. E.g., if I'm forcing one central midfielder to his left foot and the other to his right foot, in such a way that that forces both of them "inside" .. there's a wide open space for the first to pass into and the second to run onto. If they're both able to do what they need to do with their off foot, I've just let them get off a great shot.

The only "sure" stop is somebody who says "Right Foot Only" .. you've got to figure his left foot is so weak that he's just not going to be a threat to pass or shoot with it. At lower divisions, I'll tend to try and take advantage of outside players who are, say, only "Right Foot", or powerful finishers ("Shoots With Power", high Finishing, maybe high Long Shots, etc) to try and limit their best shots, but other than that I'll let the central players get marked straight up.

PS. Where should I send you my bill for all the printer ink I've used? :)

The same address you're sending me the cheque for my time in writing the answers. :cool:

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I've never done it in-game, but IRL there is a big disadvantage - because you are leaving his other foot pretty much free. You're essentially saying "Look, you can do whatever you like with your left foot because I think you're pretty much incompetent with it."

Tying a couple of thoughts together: let's say the opposition MR has "Right Foot", and I set my fullback to take away his Right Foot.

My fullback is now positioned a bit wider - he's going to try to get closer to the MR, and when the MR is in possession, he's going to try to make sure to take away the right-footed cross.

That leaves him vulnerable to the MR instead cutting inside, on that diagonal run I described earlier .. coming horizontally along the eighteen with the ball now on his left foot, or even or even "cutting it back", from near the by-line heading away from goal with the ball on his left foot. In either case, my fullback is not positioned to stop him - and if he can shoot or cross with his left, my defense is going to have a real problem.

If the winger really is only good with his right foot, he could still shoot from that diagonal run, or from the horizontal run, he might be able to play a dangerous through ball towards the six for a striker, or cut it back to the top of the arc, teeing it up for a trailing midfielder ... none of which my fullback is going to be able to do much about.

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I don't know if any of you are still looking for a good book on the history of football tactics, but I recently read one by Jonathan Wilson called Inverting The Pyramid. He starts out in the 19th century and follows tactical developments around the world up until the present day. He describes the transition from 2-3-5 to the WM in England, the development of catenaccio in Italy, Total Football in Holland and Ukraine, the invention of the 4-2-4 in Brazil, and plenty of other stuff. It's more focussed on the history part than the tactics part so it's not as in depth as I was hoping, but it was still an interesting read.

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The other footedness issue that is rarely mentioned is to take into account who the winger is supplying. If the FCs are short but quick, you should show the wingers onto the outside as high balls into the air will be meat and drink to your DCs, whereas TBs from an angle will be dangerous. If the FCs are tall and slow, then showing them inside is going to help as the through balls will be easily mopped up whereas a decent cross is going to cause problems. If the FCs are tall and quick then the best option is to get wingers onto the wrong foot as much as possible so the execution of the ball in is as difficult as you can make it.

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Oooh - that's actually a completely new thought for me, wwfan. Thanks for the tip!

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Hey! stop trying to learn things in MY thread dammit! :)

wwfan, thanks for the post!

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Quick update, I've decided to take a break from my season so to speak and try to build a tactic best suited to my club. I'm going to start with a base 442 although I might also do a 4141 at the same time since I have a solid DMC and 3 solid strikers and might alternate the two formations based on opponents and other factors.

I'll try to document it as I go along with my reasoning for comments and general hilarity! :) I might try posting some screenshots of my squad's attributes for further analysis, but that might have to wait for next week as the wife wants to go away this weekend. Luckily (for me at least!), I'll hide my laptop in my luggage! :)

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Was just playing a game the other day (looks like I'm heading for relegation, but since I've ben paying more attention to tactics, my team has been playing better lately, but it looks like we're running out of race track) and I have a question.

I've been playing with time wasting set higher, but what I would like to do is set it so that my back line plays the ball quicker and the rest of the team plays a slower paced game. The way I figure it is that the lss time my guys play with the ball in our own end and clear midfield, the less chance for an error that leads to a quick goal. I don't mind if my midfield slows down the ball however.

I don't see any way to set that up though, or more importantly if it's a good idea in football, but in hockey, when you're playing a defensive game against a stronger team, the defense's first priority is clearing the defensive zone.

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Was just playing a game the other day (looks like I'm heading for relegation, but since I've ben paying more attention to tactics, my team has been playing better lately, but it looks like we're running out of race track) and I have a question.

I've been playing with time wasting set higher, but what I would like to do is set it so that my back line plays the ball quicker and the rest of the team plays a slower paced game. The way I figure it is that the lss time my guys play with the ball in our own end and clear midfield, the less chance for an error that leads to a quick goal. I don't mind if my midfield slows down the ball however.

I don't see any way to set that up though, or more importantly if it's a good idea in football, but in hockey, when you're playing a defensive game against a stronger team, the defense's first priority is clearing the defensive zone.

Set the tempo to just a click into quick and set your defensive players IE DL,DR,DC,DC,DMC or whatever formation you choose to direct passing then the rest on short passing ;)

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That strategy is perfectly valid, and WHS ^ should work.

Personally, I have my DC's set somewhere between Direct and Long - just get it out of here! - with my fullbacks set right around the line between Direct and Mixed, and my DMC would be a bit under Mixed towards Short, and the front lines get plenty of Short passing.

Regarding the Tempo, there's another way to approach it. You could give your team a higher tempo in general, but use liberal sprinkling of "Hold Up Ball" instructions to convince the players whom you want to take their time on the ball to take their time.

Alternately, you could go with a lot more direct- and long-ball passing, a deep defensive line, counter-attack ticked, and a pacey striker set as a Target Man - Run onto Ball .. in theory, you suck the opposition into your half, and most of your team will just concentrate on hoofing it forward, but your pacey striker runs his tail off (Needs: high Acceleration, high Pace, high Stamina) and he may get lucky in breaking the offsides trap. That's probably the most common IRL approach to being severely outclassed .. in-game, and IRL, it works very well if you can bring on a replacement for the pacey striker between the 60th and 70th minutes, as the first guy tires the defense out, and the second guy, with fresh legs, may be able to accomplish the breakthrough.

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Thanks megafan and Amaroq!

Of course this leads to another question. megafan suggested to "set my defensive players to direct passing then the rest on short passing" and Amaroq said that "you could go with a lot more direct- and long-ball passing".

I checked the game screen and also the game manual in case I missed something, but I'm assuming that direct passing means long passing? Logically, I would think that it would be the opposite, that a short pass is more direct and a long pass more just a long kick in the vicinity of a more distant player or to a specific zone down pitch.

One other follow up question too! Is Hold up ball the same tactically as slow tempo and is just a way to get the tactics the way I was describing or is it something different and just a kind of work around?

Finally, Amaroq, you've kind of described part of my tactic that I've been using from day 1, which is to sub in a pacey striker, to take advantage of the fresh legs. I'll do this even if I'm up sometimes to keep the DLine honest.

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