Jump to content
Sports Interactive Community
fmFutbolManager

[FM17] AEK Athens | The Rise of an Empire.

Recommended Posts

4j7j0Qj.png The AEK Athens Challenge | The Rise of an Empire

Introduction | 1 July 2016

And so, I have arrived in Athens. One of the oldest cities in the world.

This beautiful cosmopolitan metropolis has been home to AEK Athens F.C. since the clubs formation in 1942. The city is home to 25,000 Athenians and now it is home to me, Oliver Jensen, a Norwegian-born manager from Kristiansand.

AEK Athens are rebuilding following their bankruptcy and relegation out of the football league in 2013. Notable fans and former players now own the club under the Union Friends of AEK group. The Union holds a majority stake in the club. AEK returned to the Superleague last year and finished an impressive third in their first season back in the

AEK returned to the Superleague last year and finished an impressive third in their first season back in the top-flight.

The Melissanidis era begins.

It is 1 July 2016. Dimitris Melissanidis, the club owner, has handed me a one-year contract to become the new manager of AEK Athens following the unexpected resignation of Jose Morais just a few weeks before pre-season was due to commence. I am told that there are no club philosophies in place. The only expectation of me is that we finish around the top of the league. Given the league is formed of 16 teams, I'm assuming this is top four.

And so it will be from these four walls—my office at the Athletic Centre of Spata—where I will write about both my tactical analysis and progression with the club. That is, however, until we move to the Agia Sofia in 2018.

So we begin. Day one. We have no money for transfers and we have no room for movement in the wage budget, but I have the brilliant Baltemar Brito at my side who once worked alongside Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.

The Challenge | What I want to achieve

Despite the one-year contract, and the club setting straightforward, short-sighted goals for me, I do have my own personal goals for the club, which I will review at the end of every season:

I. Improve the facilities. Having great facilities in place will help us bring in exciting youth products. Will help us develop the players to the levels we will need them to be at if we're to achieve our objectives.

  • Corporate: Average
  • Training: Good
  • Youth: Good
  •  Junior Coaching: Good
  • Youth Recruitment: Above Average

II. Improve the squad personality and determination levels. At the moment the first team squad only possess six fairly professional players, one professional and one spirited player. In order to develop the youth players to levels where they can come into the first team, we need first team players who can tutor them and help them reach their potential. As the squad personality rises as does the personality of the youth players coming through the team.

  • Squad Personality: Ambitious

The below shows the current squad personalities. As you can see, we're primarily balanced.

5aNpGt5.png

III. Break up the dominance enjoyed by our fierce rivals, Olympiakos. They have won the league 18 of the past 20 seasons. We have won it 11 times in our history, lastly as part of the great 1993/94 season.

IV. Increase the number of Greek youth products promoted to the first team. This might not be immediately possible, given the facilities at the moment and lack of good prospects in the under 20s, but it’s an objective we can start work on now by improving our coaching setup and scouting network. I don't want to be hamstrung by only signing and playing Greek players at this time, but it is an aim to be self-sufficient.

WTc2Juf.png

The Plan | How I aim to achieve it

First and foremost, we must be successful on the pitch. If not, then this story ends quickly. If we can be successful on the pitch in the short term, we buy ourselves time to be successful off the pitch long term. To do this, we need a sound tactical footing.

I have reviewed the competition we are up against, a quick browse through the default tactics for all 16 teams in the Superleague, the Greek top division. Nine are set to 4-2-3-1, five to 4-3-3 and there is an odd asymmetric 4-2-2-2 for good measure. All teams are playing with attacking wingers and a lone striker.

The media believe we are good enough for a third-placed finish. Behind Panathinaikos and the favourites Olympiakos. Not bad considering two years ago we were out of the football league. So, as we expect to be favourites for most games this season. We should look to take advantage of this.

I have a team report offered by Baltemar, we have an aggressive and committed squad. We are hardworking and physical. There is an impressive standard of passing and technical ability and amongst the players, showing excellent first touch. The squad has good depth, but overall I do not think we have the quality to compete with Olympiakos just yet.

ZLzAZcS.png

I decide to go for a 5-4-1 Diamond WB | Standard | Very Fluid

Given that we are excellent at passing (I know this because Baltemar said so), we will play shorter passes and aim to keep possession. I want us to play out of the box, and to work the ball into the opposition box.

The idea is that we recycle possession at the back, feeding the ball through the diamond midfield and into the advanced positions. Given most of our opposition have four players out wide, reducing their central players, I should get some joy here. Moreover, we need to be able to exploit the space our wide when their attacking wingers are out of position. My attacking wing-backs will have some work to do. They also need to keep the play stretched to allow us the space infield to play. My two key roles are at the top and bottom of the midfield diamond, my defensive midfielder, and my attacking midfielder.

The positions, roles, and duties

Goalkeeper. Initially, we'll work with a sweeper keeper to keep him close with the defence to ensure there's no big gap between him and the players ahead of him.

Central defence. I will use a flat back three. I do not want to give away possession so quickly after we recover the ball from deep, so defenders instructed to play shorter passes. I will ask my central defender of the three to cover.

Wing-backs. Their primary objective for me is to stretch play and offer an outlet if the middle of the pitch becomes too congested. I also need them to exploit any space vacated by attacking wingers.

My defensive midfielder. He will be the protector of the defence. We will have three at the back, so he will give some stability in the middle when the defenders split. With a defensive duty, he needs to hold his position and recycle possession when we win it back. I also instruct him to collect the ball from my keeper when restarting play.

My central midfielders. These two are important as we need them to offer both defensive stability and attacking support. I want them positioned asymmetrically in the middle, creating a diamond where a passing option must always be available in three directions: ahead, to the left/right and behind. I have a central midfielder who I will ask to attack, he will be the main attacking support, alongside a box to box midfielder who will be in and around the opposition area.

Attacking midfielder. I like the advanced playmaker role here. Given that we are very fluid, he is my sole specialist role. He is the pivot for which all play will build around. I expect him to be high in goals and assists. I expect him to have a lot of touches, good movement, receive and make a lot of passes. This role is key for me.

Striker. We have three strikers who can all play Target Man, which is an undervalued role I find. He is a great outlet when short passing options are limited. He can bring in others when we are building play. And more importantly, he will make the space for my advanced playmaker and other players to move into.

iTWwxNr.png

Final Words

I will not be making too many off the field changes. I do not want to completely overhaul the club just yet. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day and this empire will be built the right way. For the next six months, we will work on the tactical side of things and by January I should have us up and running as I need. I may see if I can get a loan or two in before the end of the window. I will also start scouting the Greek leagues to look for players for potential summer transfers.

I will set up training for the first team and under 20s to ensure everyone is training for the positions I need them to play in. It is imperative that we get everyone up to speed on their new roles and positions as quickly as possible.

I will report back on 1 January 2017. Where I will cover how we have adapted tactically, review our strengths and weaknesses and review any back office changes, should I decide to make any.

Oliver Jensen

Edited by OneUnited

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always loved AEK's Imperial crest -- best of luck to you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, thehazeofspades said:

This looks very interesting, definitely will follow :thup:

Thank you. I'll be adding a lot more detail in later posts. I tried to keep the opening brief. 

18 hours ago, ManUtd1 said:

I've always loved AEK's Imperial crest -- best of luck to you!

Thank you. I got a recommendation to check out your save, so I've added that to my reading list. I look forward to getting to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, OneUnited said:

Thank you. I got a recommendation to check out your save, so I've added that to my reading list. I look forward to getting to it.

Cheers! It's been a busy week...and I didn't get to play much last weekend either. Need to get some time in tonight... :onmehead:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've edited the opening page to be more about what I want to achieve. I'll hopefully be getting my 1 January 2017 update done later this evening.

On 22/02/2017 at 21:17, ManUtd1 said:

Cheers! It's been a busy week...and I didn't get to play much last weekend either. Need to get some time in tonight... :onmehead:

 

I've got yours to read tonight! I'm looking forward to getting stuck in. I'm also reading @Jimbokav1971 save, although only just past the first page.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I exported the data for my team into excel. Created a formula to lookup the personality types and return a count and then put it into a radar graph.

The idea is that at the end of each season I'll take another export and show it as a comparison to show how it grows to the more important personalities.

I also average the determination and work rate and then split this by age, too. 

Edited by OneUnited

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WJMJRdU.pngThe AEK Athens Challenge | The Return of an Empire | 01 January 2017

Progress to date

Given the lack of transfer activity, I'm quite happy with how things have gone. We only added one player on loan. We've deviated slightly from the original plan, but overall we're playing how I expected to. We're unbeaten in the league, but we've also drawn almost 50% of our games. Mainly due to late goals. I'm trying to address this at the moment as most of them have come in the final few games of the year. It seems we've suddenly forgotten how to defend crosses and corners.

Our main scoring threat is coming from my Target Man and my Advanced Playmaker. These two have been in deadly form this season, scoring 29 goals between them by the end of 2016. I'll do a more in-depth anaysis of these two in another post. For now, here's the season progress.

2iDoADj.png

VC5MGli.png

Update on Objectives

I. Improve the facilities. Nothing to report here. Not much that can be done in six months.

  • Corporate: Average (no change)
  • Training: Good (no change)
  • Youth: Good (no change)
  •  Junior Coaching: Good (no change)
  • Youth Recruitment: Above Average (no change)

II. Improve the squad personality and determination levels. A slight improvement over last month, but this isn't something that will happen overnight. This will be a slow process of bringing in professional players and training up the academy players and increasing the overall squad personality.

  • Squad Personality: Ambitions (no change)

HoHAiO7.png

III. Break up the dominance of Olympiakos. This isn't going to happen anytime soon. No update to report.

IV. Increase the number of Greek youth products promoted to the first team. I've called up a young 19-year-old defensive midfielder as extra cover, and he's had a couple of games for the first team and done well when called upon and is the most successful at getting his shot on target with an 80% success rate.

Awj7s53.png

Tactical Analysis

As aimed for, we're playing most of our football through the middle of the pitch. Our wing-backs are stretching play nicely and we've scored as many goals via through balls as we have from crosses. Our defence has been fairly solid with my Defensive Midfielder offering extra support. The wing-backs are contributing to all phases of play.

My CMat and BBMsu are all over the pitch, offering passing options as we make our way into the final third with my APat just ahead of them to complete the diamond. He's been excellent, getting on the end of a lot of through-balls and crosses and already has 14 goals to his name.

My TMat has been the surprise of the season with 15 goals in all competitions. He's been dropping back and offering support and also spearheading attacks and getting on the end of everything. 

oqJNpF9.png

Here's an example of a typical goal we score. The only thing that isn't typical about it is that my APat and TMat are not involved, other than creating space for the other players to move about into.

xSyDvqu.jpg

From a long ball over top, my Central Defender calmly heads the ball to my Central Midfielder, Lazaros. The defensive shape is the solid 5-3-1-1 with the midfield diamond example showing nicely. My Defensive Midfielder also near the defence, ready for when he needs to break up play or be an outlet for the defence.

dlqHSpL.jpg

On the ball, Lazaros has plenty of options with the opposition retreating into their half. He opts to pass it to my box-to-box midfielder to his right.

WoTn5fn.jpg

As the play moves forwards through the middle, my wing-backs make their way up the pitch and stretch play. This leaves a gap for Zazaros to exploit, who receives the ball back from my BBM.

fPxNJeF.jpg

Lazaros is closed down quickly, and the opposition are quick to man-mark the other options ahead, so Lazaros turns and has options to enable us to recycle play, rather than lumping the ball forwards in a hope that one of our players will pick up the ball or win a flick-on. I'm keen that our players do this when faced with limited options ahead. As stated in the opening post, I want options ahead, to the side and behind for this exact reason. In this scenario, play goes back to the DMde.

P7SA9jw.jpg

The DMde then passes forwards to my BBM who quickly spots that Lazaros is in space again. As a Central Midfielder on attack duty, he's always up and around the area.

Hcf3JbE.jpg

Our quick passing has drawn the opposition out and they begin to lose their shape. My wing-back and Target Man now look to move in behind the opposition defence as they go in to close down Lazaros. 

hCT1AeV.jpg

The ball finds his man and we score another goal through the middle of the pitch. A lot of the play comes down this left side where out Central Midfielder is. He works closely with the Box-to-Box midfielder beside him, the Advanced Playmaker who wasn't involved with this play, and with wing-back, who is always causing issues for the opposition.

The plan ahead

We have a youth intake day at some point in February or March, so I will be asking the more professional of the squad to tutor the highest rated players in an attempt to increase the personality ratings.

I have setup scouts looking for Greek players, youth and first team squad so I can improve the depth we have. I will also look at who might be available on a free transfer or loan option to get us through to the end of the season. We're very short at the back now, with my main Central Defender out for 9 months.

Tactically, we'll continue to work on the shape, and see where we can improve defensively, as we're conceding some silly goals from out wide, so I would like to put an end to that if I can.

Other than this, I want to get to the end of the season with what we have and reassess our goals going into next season.

Oh, and a new contract would be nice...

Oliver Jensen

Edited by OneUnited

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great progress and write-up, really enjoying the organized approach to team-building. Good luck for the transfer window and the end of the season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/26/2017 at 11:43, OneUnited said:

I exported the data for my team into excel. Created a formula to lookup the personality types and return a count and then put it into a radar graph.

The idea is that at the end of each season I'll take another export and show it as a comparison to show how it grows to the more important personalities.

I also average the determination and work rate and then split this by age, too. 

That's a very handy tool.  Anyway you can post it somewheres?

Thanks,

Jellico73

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Akkarin said:

Great progress and write-up, really enjoying the organized approach to team-building. Good luck for the transfer window and the end of the season.

Thanks for stopping by. The transfer window is proving a nightmare. Most of my players are under bids and they all want to leave. Trying to persuade them to stay is proving a nightmare. However, it might just speed up our objective of getting a professional squad if we can ditch the balanced players.

42 minutes ago, Jellico73 said:

That's a very handy tool.  Anyway you can post it somewheres?

Thanks,

Jellico73

 

Sure, I could upload it somewhere. I'll have a look at that now. It does need a bit of manipulation, e.g., the personality traits are ones I've selected from my team. But I could talk you through that somehow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good luck with one of the giants of Greece(Olympiakos,Panathinaikos and Paok the others)..Take a look to Mystakidis,Hatziisaias,Tzandaris and Goutas the most of them soon in game become free agents...;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a great thread for me, I'm Greek and I don't see people from abroad playing with team from Greek Superleague. I can't play myself since I hate low TV Revenue leagues, but it's nice to see someone else do it.

AEK produces great regens in my saves, just watch out for Olympiakos-Panathinaikos and their high profile signings and you will be fine.

Definately following!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

Good luck with one of the giants of Greece(Olympiakos,Panathinaikos and Paok the others)..Take a look to Mystakidis,Hatziisaias,Tzandaris and Goutas the most of them soon in game become free agents...;-)

 
 

Thanks for the tip. I will scout these. I'm currently in February and not really made too many changes, but I'll be getting an update out by the end of the weekend I hope.

Edit. I've just had a look and they're all available on a free. So scouting now. Thanks.

1 hour ago, BillHoudini24 said:

This is a great thread for me, I'm Greek and I don't see people from abroad playing with team from Greek Superleague. I can't play myself since I hate low TV Revenue leagues, but it's nice to see someone else do it.

AEK produces great regens in my saves, just watch out for Olympiakos-Panathinaikos and their high profile signings and you will be fine.

Definately following!

 
 

Thanks! Things are going well actually. For some reason Olympiakos are having a really bad season, which is good for me as I could do with sneaking into the Champions League for the money.

I'm waiting for the regens to come through now. Should be any time I think. I'll post them up when they arrive. Thanks for following.

Edited by OneUnited

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greece is one of the leagues I've never tried that's on my shortlist to do sometime in the near future. AEK is a particularly interesting team, which I believe we've seen here in the forum a few times - I think @deltablue managed them once?

I will be following this with interest, also because I've been recently hovering around 3-at-the-back formations too... Good start, bizarre that Hugo Almeida is doing so well for you. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well remembered, though it was ages ago and not for long. Panathinaikos have always been more of my port of call in Greece. Also, there was never an Athenian Empire as such, it was more an alliance named the Delian League (because the treasury was originally stored on the island of Delos) that Athens just took over.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These are the most promising of my youth intake this season. End of season review should be up in a day or so. With some interesting insight into the training and coaches.

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 06.58.56.png

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 06.59.03.png

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 06.59.12.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could manage Greek national team too..We need someone to lead us to glory days,like 2004...:brock:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't do both, but perhaps if I can build the club up high enough, turning over regular high-quality youth players perhaps the national team will benefit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WJMJRdU.pngThe AEK Athens Challenge | The Return of an Empire | 01 June 2017

Progress to date

The rest of the season went perfectly. Whilst we didn't win the league, we came second and finished first in the European Places Playoff. So we're entered into the Champions League qualifiers. We suffered a few more losses, which was to be expected considering we have a small squad and we tired when we had to play 2 games a week.

We also had a tactical shift from 3-5-2 to a 4-3-3 strikerless. This was forced upon us when Almeida got injured, but the results were excellent, so we stuck with it. And now I'm at a point where I'm considering keeping the strikerless formation for the start of the second season.

These are our results and the league tables.

Fg9tD7M.jpg

U1P4E17.png

dIpnfeF.png

Update on Objectives

I. Improve the facilities. No change. However, we move into a new stadium next year so it will be interested to see how these update.

  • Corporate: Average (no change)
  • Training: Good (no change)
  • Youth: Good (no change)
  •  Junior Coaching: Good (no change)
  • Youth Recruitment: Above Average (no change)

II. Improve the squad personality and determination levels. Small steps. The influx of youth players has pushed these up a bit. 

  • Squad Personality: Ambitious (no change)

9SNUDLO.png

III. Break up the dominance of Olympiakos. Whilst we might not be directly responsible for them not winning the league this year, they did look poor this season, and sacked their manager in the process. However, Panathinaikos were too strong for us so we were not able to capitalise. Winning the league will be a 3 year goal. I don't expect to do it next season, but I would like us to do it when we walk out at our new stadium.

IV. Increase the number of Greek youth products promoted to the first team. I've called up another player from the under 20s. This guy has been getting some game time to try expedite his development. He has slotted in quite comfortably, too.

BT7guLQ.png

The plan ahead

I was offered a new two year contract. So, after accepting that I went about reviewing my scouting and coaching staff. I usually wait a season before changing all of this so that will be my job this summer. As well as reviewing the playing staff. I will be looking to build on the 4-3-3 formation and bring in the players to complement that. One issue might be Almeida, who has another year on his £15k-per-week contract.

As you can see from the below, my coaches are relatively average and we're severely understaffed. However, I can only offer new staff a maximum of £675 per week. This is going to be a big challenge as I'm not sure I'll be able to find enough free coaches who can bring the average up. I've also decided to let Britto leave after this contract ends this summer. I need someone who can add more on the coaching side of things, and as you can see from the below, he doesn't push over 2 stars in any category.

FgSOobz.png

I will post a tactical update at some point, perhaps during pre-season. I have a couple of 4-3-3 variants (contain and standard) so will use these to show how I switch between the two.

Oliver Jensen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As promised, here is an update on my tactical approach with AEK Athens. I have two approaches to mentality, depending on the opposition, but the same approach to team shape. I have moved away from the 3-5-2 I was using and am now employing a 4-3-3 strikerless formation. I find this suits the approach I want to take better. Here is how we setup.

Tactical Analysis Part I : The Control Mentality

In the Greek Superleague OPAP I am usually the favourite for a match, unless I'm coming up against PAOK, Panathinaikos or Olympiakos. The football I want to employ is very basic. Sit back whilst keeping the ball. Draw out the opposition. Work the ball around them in the middle of the pitch using our numerical advantage, and when they opposition is forced to commit more players forwards in an attempt to win the ball back, catch them on quick breaks using a range of quick passes and through-balls.

In the Superleague, most teams play with two central defenders, so we play with three attacking midfielders. Most teams play with two central midfielders, so we play with three central midfielders. What this allows us to do it build up play easier through the middle by making use of the extra man. Because we have this extra man it then pulls in a wide player, and this is where my wing-backs can then exploit the vacant space out wide. Whilst we typically will only play through the middle, it is useful having that option.

I want a controlled build up from the back. I want us to be sitting deep, recycling possession and waiting for the right opportunities to catch the opposition on the break. I want us to exploit the numerical advantage and play through the centre. I want to draw out the opposition from their half and catch teams on the break with a high number of through balls and quick passing in the final third. This is how I think we can achieve that through the tactics creator.

Playing Style

As discussed we are looking to create a playing style that:

  • Has a defensive line that recycles possession, plays with a much lower tempo and draws out the opposition.
  • Looks to exploit the numerical advantage we will have through the central areas with short passing.
  • Affords the players a level of creativity to pick the right passes when unlocking the opposition defence. Not being afraid to play a risky pass due to the high rewards.
  • Free flowing movement, creating multiple passing options.
  • Surging runs forward to break offside traps and create one-on-one opportunities.

To achieve this, I employ a Very Fluid team shape along with the Control mentality. I want us moving up the pitch together when we're attacking and working as a unit together when defending, we we're going to be exploitable on the wings so we need more bodies at the back to protect from the crosses.

The Team Shape instructions look like this:

  • Tempo: Much Lower. This allows us to retain possession of the ball, without using the retain possession instruction, which is something I don't want to do in the final third of the pitch. I want us to keep the ball at the back and work the ball around the midfield, but when the opportunity comes for a quick break I want my players to have the freedom to play a risky ball to unlock the defence.
  • Width: Fairly Narrow. Whilst we will inevitably be narrow by virtue of the player positions and roles, I want to enforce the mantra of keeping the ball flowing through the middle of the pitch

The Defence instructions look like this:

  • Use Tighter Marking. As I alluded to earlier, we have limited presence on the wings, so I use tighter marking to ensure my defenders stay with their man when the balls are crossed into the box. This is perhaps a contentious issue, given the effectiveness of crossing, but I like to believe the fluid team shape allows for more bodies in the box and this helps keeping the opposition covered. I also want to suffocate opposition attacks and remove passing options for them to force them into making a mistake.
  • Tackling: Stay on Feet. A simple one really. I don't want my players diving into challenges, and as I've learned the hard way, diving in and hard tackling results in a lot of red cards. Moreover, if you're on your feet when winning the ball you can distribute it a lot quicker and maintain possession rather than sliding in and losing control of the second ball.

The Build-Up instructions look like this:

  • Passing: Play out of Defence, Exploit the Middle. With the low tempo encouraging possession football, and the controlled build up I want to employ, it makes sense to ask the defence to play their way out from the back. Our fluid shape allows for options to do this.

The Attack instructions look like this:

  • Dribbling: Dribble Less. I don't want the team looking to retain possession of the ball in the final third by dribbling their way out of trouble. Rather I would prefer them to look to the extra man to make a pass to, or to fire a through ball over the defence to create a better opportunity. It is going to get pretty congested in the middle of the pitch and we don't have a Messi.
  • Freedom of Movement: Roam from Positions. It could be argued that our fluid shape allows for more freedom of movement. But I want to emphasise that we should be looking to move and draw the opposition out of position. The players need to be available for each other in order that we don't concede possession cheaply.

The formation, the player roles and their duties

435Om4r.png 

This is the team starting formation.

The defence: Our back line is fairly standard. Either side of our central defenders sit Wing-Backs on a support duty to offer some width when there the central areas become too congested. My Wing-Backs are afforded a lot of space out wide due to the opposition wide players being forced inwards to cover the extra man we will have against their central players. On a support duty the Wing-Backs contribute to the through balls to the Shadow Strikers further ahead.

The central midfield: A very simple three across the middle. A Deep Lying Playmaker is flanked by two Central Midfielders. I think the Central Midfielder role is so undervalued. It is so dynamic and allows you to make changes to the role in game if you need to as you're not restricted to any instructions imposed by the role type. They will balance their attacking and defensive duties, and are perfect for pinging through-balls into my attacking midfielders. To promote this I ask them to play more direct and risky passes.  

The attacking midfield: The glue that holds our attacking play together is my Enganche. Vieirinha. With 6 assists in 8 games and a 91% passing accuracy he is key to everything in the final third. He will sit in the middle, drawing out the opposition, creating space for my Shadow Strikers to burst through on goal. 

So, with an explanation of the setup, here is how all of that translates where it counts. On the pitch. These shots come from just one game, but our play is typical in that this is how we will normally build up and exploit the spaces.

Analysis of our Attacking play

When we have the ball, we're setup as you would expect. My Deep Lying Playmaker (Enzo Zidane) starts with the ball in the middle of the pitch. My Wing-Backs begin to move forwards and my central midfielders are looking to come and offer options for the pass. In this build up, the DLP passes to his left to the Central Midfielder who forwards the ball to the Shadow Striker offering himself (shown by the red dotted lines)

tDIRJWu.jpg

When the Shadow Striker receives the ball he is immediately looking for the Enganche. And whilst it doesn't look like the pass is possible here, the fluid movement of the team creates space for him to receive the ball.

Xrlvjqa.jpg

Once in possession of the ball the Enganche is facing goal and looking for passing options forward. My Central Midfielders and Shadow Strikers are all running forwards ready for a splitting pass. Already the opposition Full-Backs are far too wide here, meaning their two Central Defenders are going to have to contend with four rushing midfielders. My Shadow Striker receives the ball to the right.

mgFxOZS.jpg

The Full-Back has been drawn inside now, but the Central Defender doesn't have the positional sense to drop infield to cover the on rushing players. As you can see there's a huge gap that has opened up by our quick counter-attacking play. The opposition does not have time to get back into their defensive shape.

j6V9YeO.jpg

The Shadow Striker plays a perfect ball into my on-rushing Central Midfielder for an easy goal.

zqLCDDo.jpg

As you can see from the above, a lot of our play is predicated on slow build-up from the back, fast play in the final third to disrupt the opposition. Retaining possession wouldn't allow us to do this, but playing with a lower tempo and the roles we have allow for this type of play to flow. Here are some more examples from the same game, in which we created 27 chances, despite being away from home. 

Here again we have the ball deep, we've moved it quickly to the Enganche who has spotted the runs of my players and manages to play a lovely ball over the top for the Shadow Striker to run onto. We have a three against one overload here, and although the covering defender manages to get back, the simple pass is on to create an opportunity for the other Shadow Striker.

42vhuSz.jpg

Another simple goal.

gLbc1sG.jpg

And this time slightly deeper, my Central Midfielder who is instructed to play more direct and risky passes, picks out my Shadow Striker yet again.

i21FApR.jpg

Another simple goal scored by being patient, keeping the ball and then being explosive when the exploitable opportunities arise.

JfJ7asl.jpg

Analysis of our Defensive play

It's a lot easier showing defensive shape and play with videos. Unfortunately SI are yet to fix video exporting for mac. So, I will highlight with a picture and a GIF to try show you how we are always swarming the opposition, giving them no time or space on the ball. Restricting their options before forcing them into a mistake. Defensively the shape is quite standard as you'd expect from the formation and instructions. Our back four is easily covering the onrushing attacker. The midfield three create a second wall for them to try pass through and the attacking three block the ball moving backwards. 

The only option is the inside ball (which is this scenario was cut out by my player) or a long cross field ball to the spare two on the other side of the pitch. But the ball isn't there so we don't worry about that.

YSpT2Li.jpg

From the below it is easier to show the players movement towards the man with the ball. Always staying on their feet waiting for the right opportunity to nip the ball away before launching into a quick counter attack. This starts from a throw, they manage to move the ball about quite nicely, but we remain patient and when the right time comes we step in, take the ball away and then we're launching into another devastating counter attack and create a new opportunity to score. 

OX5YtXP0kl.gif

In this example, their wide player has no space to move in-field and no passing options. He is forced out wide where he eventually crosses into the box for an easy catch for my keeper. 

9wOViEe4ak.gif

Finally, the opposition works the ball wide again here, but their wide player has no options ahead. He has a choice to dribble wider or pass in-field. He managed to find a player to pass to, but our numerical advantage is too much and again we easily win the ball back from them.

mxVX257j3b.gif

I think I'll end this part here now. I will do another one of these for my Contain strategy, which is working excellently against the larger teams in the Champions League. If anyone has a questions or notices anything not quite right, let me know.

Oliver Jensen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surprise first year for Olympiakos and also for Panionios(they made great work with young Greek talents)...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys. Panionios are keeping it simple and holding their own. A good little side. I should hopefully have my half yearly update out later today. Things are moving along but monetary restraints are restricting my ability to improve the coaching staff at the moment. It's a shame as I have some great kids coming through but the coach levels aren't as high as I would like. It might take a while for me to build the funds to afford me a little more room to offer more wages to staff.

I built a tool to enable me to do a scout search in-game and export it showing star ratings for all areas. Unfortunately, I cannot get any of the staff as they all want a lot more than I can pay them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WJMJRdU.pngThe AEK Athens Challenge | The Return of an Empire | 01 January 2018

Progress to date

It is safe to say that we've had an indifferent season this time around. We're making good progress on the squad development side of things. However, some of the results have been less favourable. We've been creating a lot of very good chances, but we're lacking the composure needed to finish them off. Most games we're creating around 5 clear chances to score, but at the moment the chances aren't being taken.

Tactically, I'm happy with how we're doing. But we have to be more clinical. The strikerless system is working as expected (see above), and the below is a testament to how we're controlling this league. If only the league table matched our dominance.

These are the team stats from the league. We're ahead in almost every area. Interestingly, we're also top for most passes, most passes completed and highest average possession. Although, the main stat is the fact that we finished bottom of the group.

bDQFniz.png

These are our results and the league tables.

lkOivY9.png

dUpN9zu.png

Update on Objectives

I. Improve the facilities. No change. However, we move into a new stadium next year so it will be interested to see how these update.

  • Corporate: Average (no change)
  • Training: Good (no change)
  • Youth: Good (no change)
  •  Junior Coaching: Good (no change)
  • Youth Recruitment: Above Average (no change)

II. Improve the squad personality and determination levels

  • Squad Personality: Highly Professional. We've made some new additions and that has increased the squad personality overall to highly professional. You can see from when we started we're moving towards a more professional set of individuals, but we still have quite a way to go yet.

qbHWubp.png

III. Break up the dominance of Olympiakos. This is going to take longer than expected. We're finishing ahead of them again this year, I know it. We have to. We're playing much better than them. But I'm starting to think that Panathinaikos have been underestimated too much.

IV. Increase the number of Greek youth products promoted to the first team. I have been playing a few youth prospects in games, and perhaps this is why we're not quite killing games off. But I will stick with them in a hope it speeds up their development. My only hope is we can keep them here long enough to enjoy the effort we're putting into their development.

The plan ahead

I've been offered a few interviews. I've turned them all down though as I have unfinished business here. I want to improve the coaches still, but unfortunately they're all asking for far too much money. I can only offer my coaches a maximum of £1,000 per week, which has increased from £675 but it's still too little to increase the quality. If we can get Champions League football again then we should be able to increase this. We have increased our finances tremendously with out Champions League exploits, but it isn't enough at the moment.

Oliver Jensen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent write-ups, man. I haven't had much time to play my own save. And am falling behind in keeping an eye on what others are doing...glad I ducked in here this afternoon to catch up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just started a save Panathinaikos i made a few transfer but im wondering if i should only use youth players and not buy players 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, ManUtd1 said:

Excellent write-ups, man. I haven't had much time to play my own save. And am falling behind in keeping an eye on what others are doing...glad I ducked in here this afternoon to catch up!

Thanks man. I'm really enjoying this save. Even with the crap results at the moment. We're playing some really good football and I can see that with the right players the results will come. Just hope the board don't have unrealistic expectations and sack me before then.

14 hours ago, alaouskie said:

I just started a save Panathinaikos i made a few transfer but im wondering if i should only use youth players and not buy players 

They're a really good team in FM17 and have some great players. Berg is outstanding and he always scores against me. Let me know how do you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, OneUnited said:

Thanks man. I'm really enjoying this save. Even with the crap results at the moment. We're playing some really good football and I can see that with the right players the results will come. Just hope the board don't have unrealistic expectations and sack me before then.

They're a really good team in FM17 and have some great players. Berg is outstanding and he always scores against me. Let me know how do you.

Just finished year 1 and finished 3rd but top of Euro Places Playoff meaning i get Champions League meaning im in third qualifying AEK won the league i endedup getting 1 really god regen and 2 decent regens 

lightshot.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AEK won!? That's just rubbing it in. To be fair we should be winning most of our games, but despite all the possession and all the shots we just cannot find that extra goal to lead with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As you can see from the below. We're pretty dominant. Nearly double the amount of passes compared to other teams. And it's not just pointless passes, as you can see we have the most shots and we're the best at hitting the target.

5Ja0UTG.png

Edited by OneUnited

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your system is highly interesting and well thought, but there's one thing that strikes me from those screenshots which is how high the opposition is playing their defensive line. My limited experience with playing strikerless, tells me that's pretty much the ideal scenario - it gives you space to run into, and it also means the opposition is taking risks with their defence which is ideal to drag them out of shape.

What I'm trying to get at, is how do you perform vs more defensive, resilient sides who aren't quite so easily baited to move out of position? I suspect you might struggle to break them down and get clearer chances, which might explain why your results lately aren't quite fully reflecting the perceived dominance - sometimes things get recorded as "clear cut chances" but with a defender nearby it is enough to unsettle the forward.

Nevertheless I think you're on the right track here with an impressive attention to detail!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @noikeee thanks for stopping by.

Interestingly, we've never struggled in drawing out opposition defences. Even against those teams lower than us who we are expected to beat. We're consistently creating quality chances, just struggling to find the net with a lot of them due to the calibre of player I have available. I'm not sure if there is an issue with one-on-one chances in the game, I know a few others have complained about missing too many, but that certainly seems to be my downfall at the moment.

I play on a very low tempo, which naturally will look to retain possession of the ball. This will invite the opposition out to you, much like playing counter attacking is supposed to. So, in this respect when the ball meets our midfielders they have the licence to play direct and risky passes to unlock the stubborn defences. I find with the running of the Shadow Strikers and the static Enganche the opposition are often draw away from their defensive responsibilities, which allows us to use the vacated space.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, OneUnited said:

I wish the fans were like this in-game!

Little update for me i was 1 point above AEK with 2 games left and i play AEK on the 2nd last game i win i win title i lose i probably lose it ended up winning 1-0 :) winning the title during the Athens Derby 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WJMJRdU.pngThe AEK Athens Challenge | The Return of an Empire | 01 June 2018

Progress to date

We recovered well, finishing third, which isn't the best. But we finished first in the European Playoffs so we're back in the Champions League qualifiers. It was a tough season. A really tough season. I've played a lot of the young kids this year, and they're coming on really well. Except now they're raising interest from the likes of Man United, so it will be interesting to see if we can hold onto them.

We also have a couple of exciting players arriving over the summer, including Colidio. Who I hope will be retrained successfully as a Shadow Striker to compliment the players we already have at the club.

As you can see from the below, we're pretty dominant in all the right places, if only we could score more goals and concede less. The goal for next season has to be that we win the league. We need to spend wisely and get that top spot.

aCcCsk5.png

These are our results and the league tables.

jVnJv5d.jpg

I4dpmwP.jpg

Update on Objectives

I. Improve the facilities. No change. The new stadium is in a month, so I'm hoping that we have some improved facilities.

  • Corporate: Average (no change)
  • Training: Good (no change)
  • Youth: Good (no change)
  •  Junior Coaching: Good (no change)
  • Youth Recruitment: Above Average (no change)

II. Improve the squad personality and determination levels

  • Squad Personality: Highly Professional. No change from last month. But I'm not sure how much higher I'm going to be able to take the squad.

9oS4gdv.png

III. Break up the dominance of Olympiakos. I think it is fair to say that their dominance is broken up. I think we need a new goal here to establish ourselves as the dominant force.

IV. Increase the number of Greek youth products promoted to the first team. We have promoted 5 players to the first team who have all got a lot of game time and have done really well for us. Here are some of those who have made a positive impact.

kGG1RFV.png

kvoCR5C.png

CFPfJ6B.png

YauTMLi.png

The plan ahead

More interviews turned down, including the Lazio role. We have to buy wisely in the summer. I have a £10m budget this year, and I've got to get some good defenders. Unfortunately, a few of my key first team players have expressed an interest in leaving so it could be a busy month ahead.

Oliver Jensen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The results since January are pretty convincing, on that form you could be champion, I think you did the damage earlier on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want post more details about youre European results...Keep up the good work..:brock:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WJMJRdU.pngThe AEK Athens Challenge | The Return of an Empire | 01 January 2019

Progress to date

We have certainly started this season with a bang! I have made some key signings and these players have propelled us into an excellent position. It is also clear that the 2 ball winning midfielders defending against attacks are making us formidable in defence. It gives the front 4 players the freedom to attack, with support form my wing-backs.

We have been sensational in Europe, qualifying top of the group and earning a next round match against Porto.

I would like to say this is all evidence of the planning, training and shift to a more professional squad, but it is also down to the key players we have brought in to cover the key areas for me. Which is the midfield three. Without width in midfield this shift has given us more wide support as they move to cover the flanks more and offer a bit more support.

Since the league is the priority, I'll show the main details from there. But if anyone else wants to see anything else let me know and I can post those details up, too. I'll also be writing about my tactical shift on @LPQR's blog in the coming week.

hIqQWX4.jpg

The league table and stats.

QC84lEE.jpg

yG55MPa.png

Update on Objectives

I. Improve the facilities. We have finally moved into the new stadium so our facilities got a bump!

  • Corporate: Average Top Corporate Facilities
  • Training: Good (no change)
  • Youth: Good (no change)
  •  Junior Coaching: Good (no change)
  • Youth Recruitment: Above Average (no change)

II. Improve the squad personality and determination levels

  • Squad Personality: Highly Professional. No change from last month. I'm also having issues with exporting data from the game. After several failed attempts I'll have to leave this section for now, but we've been training and tutoring players and we've bought in some new ones with good personalities so hopefully this should be reflected in the youth coming through.

III. Break up the dominance of Olympiakos. This season we have certainly held our own. Hopefully we can continue with our development and hold on to secure the league title.

IV. Increase the number of Greek youth products promoted to the first team. We have continued to play a youthful team. And as some of the older players start winding down their careers we'll be looking to bring in some new young players. Our average age is 24 which I think has a good balance. We have also been given £17m to spend, should I need it. If anything this will be used to bring in more young players we can develop.

Our current squad is looking like this.

VXby7g0.jpg

The plan ahead

Hold on to this lead at the top. That has to be the main objective for the remainder of the season. The first half is always packed with Champions League, Cup, and League games and we've done well to come through that unscathed, relatively. I will start scouting and planning which players to move on, and who can come in to make us stronger. Tactically, I'm pleased with how things are going so I will keep things as they are. I also need to work on the coaching, but budgetary constraints are making it hard to improve on the coaches we have at the club.

Oliver Jensen

Edited by OneUnited

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great season so far! Topping a Champions League group with teams from England, Spain and Italy is particularly impressive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @noikeee

We have hit a little speed bump along the way in the second half of the season, but hopefully we can get things back on track soon! 

Edited by OneUnited

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WJMJRdU.pngThe AEK Athens Challenge | The Return of an Empire | 15 May 2019

Progress to date

First league title secured! We absolutely romped it, too. A few key changes tactically, including two 'backup' tactics for changing things up when needed.

In the league we were unstoppable (except for this one time, against PAOK). We had a fantastic run in the Champions League, getting through the group stages. Only to lose, unfortunately in my opinion, to Porto. In terms of the cup I really messed that up tactically. We were hammered 4-0 in the first leg of the semi-final against Olympiakos and couldn't do anything against them in the return leg.

In terms of the club, we've moved into our new stadium. And now we're about to get under soil heating installed. In Greece. Yeah, I don't understand either.

The problem I have now is all of the youth players I've been giving chances to in order to aid their development are attracting attention of the big boys. Aronis, for example, is being chased by Man United and I fear it won't be long before others are gone, too. Which will make this challenge, well, challenging.

3pfC6DH.jpg

The league table and stats.

kH7MlVF.jpg

uvu6FM5.png

ZZmpEi8.jpg

Update on Objectives

I. Improve the facilities

As discussed in the last update, we've moved into the new stadium, and now we're getting undersoil heating. For what it is worth.

  • Corporate: Average Top Corporate Facilities
  • Training: Good (no change)
  • Youth: Good (no change)
  •  Junior Coaching: Good (no change)
  • Youth Recruitment: Above Average (no change)

II. Improve the squad personality and determination levels

  • Squad Personality: Highly Professional. Still unable to export my squad to do this how I was, which is very frustrating. I don't know if it's due to the larger squad or not. The overall personality is still highly professional.

III. Break up the dominance of Olympiakos

  • They haven't won anything for a while now. I think it's safe to say their dominance is broken up. However, it would be good if we can now go ahead and get a few league titles under our belts. 

IV. Increase the number of Greek youth products promoted to the first team.

  • We now have five players in the first team squad under 20 with this number set to increase next season as a couple of the other youth products move into the squad for first team experience. We continue to improve with the new players we are bringing through, however, this year was rather disappointing in terms of the young players we received. 

Our current squad is looking like this.

TKnVzMQ.jpg

Our current under 20s squad is looking like this.

oAxuNLk.jpg

The plan ahead

I need a couple of wing-backs as we're losing the influential Galo, who decided to go to FC Twenty. Not sure what they have to offer that we don't, but he wouldn't renew and agreed a contract with them. On the left we have aging players, with Vila turning 30 and having a sharp decline on his attributes.

So, planning for the future I will go looking for some promising wing-backs who can be ready for first team duties in a year or so, but could also offer some cover now. We may need to bring in an extra central defender as I'm still unsure about some contract renewals for some of the older players.

Oliver Jensen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just finished reading this. Top work, I love the amount of effort you put into presenting the analysis. Keep it up. :thup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been knocking around these parts for a while and since my request to make this career update forum around 8 or so years ago, this is one of my favourite threads.  Great in depth analysis and a lovely presentation style which is easy on the eye :thup:.  Great work :applause:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×