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Stopping a slump when you've been over achieving

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First up, I'm playing FM17 for this save.  The save is Leeds in the Championship and the board / media expectations are mid-table.

As below, we were going great and got to second in the league.


The wins against Norwich and Wolves were very satisfying, but then the opposition has started to be much more defensive (as you'd expect against a league leader) and you can see the result in the recent matches.

Several things all seem to have happened at once:

  • Antonsson had been scoring for fun but now hasn't scored in 8 games after two weeks injured.  My next best two first team strikers, plus my hot prospect also get injured, so little scope for rotation to give somebody else a chance
  • Opposition GKs playing out of their skin in the past three matches (7.5, 7.5 and 7.6 ratings) - see below
  • Our own mistakes kill us - we gave away a first minute penalty (from a corner) for the Brentford loss.  After that they only had one other shot target (from 25+ yards) (see shot map below) and their GK had four Shreddies for breakfast.


Now the basis of my save is the Trequartista.  It's a role I'd never used in other saves, so wanted to make it the focus of this game and build the tactic around them. I'm happy to adjust other roles though.


Tactical thoughts working back from the strikers:

  • AF is the primary goal scorer but should also make a some assists.  He is offset from the Treq slightly as when both were central, they seemed to be on top of each other at times.
  • Treq - the playmaker for the team, creating and also scoring goals.  The flair player to unlock defences given the hard coded PIs.
  • WM(A) - getting forward to support the AF, running at the defence to cause problems. Has PIs of "Cut Inside", "Dribble More", "Sit Narrower" and "Shoot Less" (my first choice Roofe has PPM of "Shoots from Distance").  Considered a Winger here but didn't want them getting isolated on the wing with the Treq roaming away.  Making runs inside should provide a through ball option for the Treq.
  • BWM(D) - the holding midfielder and enforcer.  Have put a DLP(D) in here for more creativity against teams sitting deep.  DLP doesn't suit Bridcutt as his passing is poor, so if suspension or fitness rotation can force the change.
  • BBM(S) - the runner, has to defend but also push forward to support the attacks and chip in with goals or assists.
  • WM(S) - PIs of "Sit Narrower" and "Cut Inside" to support the attacks but make space for the attacking FB/WB bombing pass.  Needs to cover for the FB when he's up field though.
  • FB(S) - Occasionally offer an overlap or wide option outside the narrower WM(A) but needs to be defensively minded given the WM(A) is attacking
  • CB(D) - Not a lot to say here
  • FB(A) - The attacking FB, bombing past the WM(S) who has tucked in to offer a late runner from deep and hopefully a ball into the box for a somebody to attack 

Standard mentality (risk) - gives scope to adjust higher or lower as needed.  Structured Team Shape so players follow their D, S or A focus.

  • TIs are Play Narrower - improve passing and thus possession by bringing players closer together
  • Push Higher Up - don't want to leave too much space behind the defence for through balls, but wanted to push them closer to the midfield with not having a DM.

Does all that look sensible and sound?

Next job is to look at the recent losses in more detail and try to understand what I could improve.  Even after thousands of hours on FM, I'll admit I do struggle to make what seems effective tweaks and changes during a match.  For instance, if we're taking way too many long shots, I'd consider...

  • Reduce mentality so players have a lower risk, so should be more possession orientated.  Okay if we're winning but unless we're trying to draw out the opposition, not ideal if looking for a goal
  • Reduce overall tempo to give players more time to look for a pass, but too slow means the defence are able to keep a good shape after closing down
  • Change player roles eg FB(A) to WB(A) or BBM(S) to CM(A) to be more attack minded.   BBM to CM(A) could just be adding congestion in the box though
  • Play wider to stretch the defence but I don't want the WMs too wide as I want space for over lapping FBs
  • Turn on "Work ball in the box" but I don't really like the reduction in crossing, especially from if a FB is behind the defence
  • Change the striker to say DLF(A) to hold up the ball, but then we seem to waste crosses with no one attacking the ball.

I know most options are a trade-off though and it's a job of finding the most positives and least negatives!

When I'm watching the matches, which is generally on Comprehensive (one below full match if that's the wrong name), I have the widgets for team formations, stat's and player body language to keep an eye on what is happening away from the highlights.

Preston v Leeds_ Analysis Teams.png

Edited by Harpoon76

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First of all, manage your own expectations.  Hope you can continue in a similar manner, don't expect to continue like it.

Anyway, you clearly have a decent tactical system otherwise you wouldn't be in the position you are in.  There's probably not much change you need and it's good you're analysing things.

There are several different things you do and you're already looking at some.  Another idea can be to add creativity.  You can do this in lots of different ways, although to be honest I don't really like your idea of changing the BWM to a DLP - it's asking a bit much of the DLP to both cover defensively and pass the ball around, plus is a DLP really that "creative"?  How about an RPM instead of the BBM (if you have a suitable player).  You can also do other things: add the Be More Expressive TI; substitute on a more creative player; change Team Shape; one or all of the above.

Or just go Overload and kick the door in :D.*


* Can be high risk, not for the faint hearted.


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Thanks - always good to get a sanity check to look for something glaring you've missed.

My (unrealistic) expectations are win every match 4-0 :D Alternatively, I think I'd settle for a top 10 finish this season as I feel the squad needs some better backup options (we obviously got very reliant on Antonsson banging them in).

I'll review the squad later to see if anyone suits RPM, though from memory I think that has a hard coded "Dribble More" which can end up players going into a dead end rather than taking a better (IMHO) passing option.  Moving the Treq to the right to be asymmetric (With the AF) would give the RPM space in front.

Will also look at perhaps an AP(S) in that slot to give them BWM two playmakers to look for with a short pass.  Perhaps less penetration into the opposite box and also need to watch if an AP trips over the WM(S), though switching the two CMs over might work as the BWM should cover the FB(A) as well.  That said, an AP at the left CM might also pick out the FB(A) more.

Edited by Harpoon76

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This will sound like really boring advice but sometimes you just need to recognise when a 0-0 at home is a satisfactory result. 

In the past I’ve often got “FM’d” trying to force a result. Yet by the end of the season, those draws do add up. And somewhat counter-intuitively, playing more conservatively might actually help you break down a packed defence. 

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On 09/01/2019 at 01:06, AFCBeer said:

This will sound like really boring advice but sometimes you just need to recognise when a 0-0 at home is a satisfactory result. 

In the past I’ve often got “FM’d” trying to force a result. Yet by the end of the season, those draws do add up. And somewhat counter-intuitively, playing more conservatively might actually help you break down a packed defence. 

Wise advice - I have chased games to improve a draw into a win and then got hit with a sucker punch myself :idiot:

To update the thread...

I changed the BBM(S) to an AP(S) and slid the Treq over to right slightly.  We have managed to stop the slump though <cheers>


From memory we got a tad nervous against Rotherham but hung on for the win.  Stevenage in the FA Cup was a nice one to get Antonsson back on form.  I felt we edged the Derby match but couldn't finish our best couple of chances.  Barnsley was also uncomfortable until the late 3rd goal went it.  We utterly sucked against Forest, despite them playing a 4-4-2 as the Treq normally finds some nice between the defence and midfield.  I expected to lose against Leicester but a pearler from Grujic got us going and we saw it out.  Vardy picked up an injury in the second half after they had used all their subs, so the AI put Chilwell up front and Vardy at CB!  Blackburn looked like another struggle at 1-1 until I subbed in new loanee Will Keane and he scored twice on his debut :cool:

I played the Huddersfield match this morning and lost 2-1 <booo> The scoreline flattered us to be fair though.  Normally Nahki Wells scores for fun against my teams but he missed some sitters and we, for once, execute a counter to perfection to equalise.  Disappointing to lose but having looked back through the results, only two of my losses have been by more than one goal (4-2 against Cardiff and 3-0 against Villa) so not getting properly spanked.

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