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lauriedunsire

Recurring Frustration - Match Imbalance

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Hello everyone,

I don't tend to post about Football Manager much, but I've been playing it each year since release and prior to that CM - still a bit of an addict and play it for hours most days (as many of you can probably relate to, my other half finds it ridiculous that I still spend so much of my time on it). Anyway, for years now I've tended to use one favoured approach and build my teams accordingly. It always seems to get results, at least when I've successfully put together my preferred squad, and I've never seen a need to alter it. I play a short passing, low tempo, game which focuses on dominating possession and working the ball into the box/not shooting from range. However, I've found a really frustrating imbalance in my matches that has gone on for a few versions of the game but in particular FM19.

I should stress - my current save is a very successful one. I've taken third tier Raith Rovers into the top flight and actually made them one of the best teams in Europe. I've won the league 10 times in a row, with a few trebles in there, and usually get to the last 8, and a couple of times the last 4, in the Champions League. I rarely lose domestic matches and dominate almost every game. But in a way this makes the aforementioned imbalance even more annoying, even if I can usually still get victories on the board.

As you'd expect from what I've mentioned, I have by far the best players in the division - from back to front. In particular in attack I've found some real gems and actually had a £100m offer for my lead striker recently, who is a Brazilian international. I win some games by a silly margin but time after time the chance conversion rates in matches makes no sense. Again, I'm playing a patient, low tempo, short passing game focusing on working the ball into good positions. And the team does that. I usually get around 30 attempts in a game, sometimes a ridiculous 45+, and the key highlights reel is riddled with chance after chance, and the opposition keeper (more often than not far inferior to my players) having a blinder. About once a month I get the question about "How on earth did your team manage to hit the woodwork an incredible four times" in the post match presser and I'd say on average, in domestic games, my side must get at least 15 shots to each one of the oppositions. Yet I find the other teams, again with far inferior players to me, more often than not score with their first shot, not just on target but at all, and very frequently have a 100%, or at worst 50%, chance conversion rate. I would understand this happening on occasion - after all that's football for you - but this is not a rare occurrence, rather it's the norm. It means I've started going for a second goal in the final quarter of a game, if I'm leading 1-0, even if it's a match in which I've had 70% possession, 40 shots to zero and have not been troubled at all. Because there is a stupid regularity to teams getting a late equaliser with their only attempt of the game.

I would understand if I was struggling to put teams away with this amount of attempts if I was going direct and not focusing on creating the chances patiently - as there could be shots from all sorts of distances or not clear chances. In the same manner I'd understand if my current approach wasn't always yielding comfortable wins if I was just dominating possession but making no chances, as the approach is maybe too slow and not direct enough - but that's not the case, I make a huge amount of chances. I also move from "Positive" to "Attacking" and gradually up the tempo in a game if I've not opened the scoring as well. 

Overall I still enjoy the game and still have a lot of success, however this has been a bug bear of mine for some time and in FM19 I feel it's worse than ever. I can put up with it to a degree but I still feel a heap of frustration, even when I've won matches, when teams with players far beneath my side's abilities can convert 1 in 2 chances and my hugely talented squad often need almost 40 shots to score one goal - all that with a patient passing approach and with "work the ball into the box" always on. 

Has anyone else experienced similar? I can't decide if it's just a flaw in the match engine and match stats (ie, if I had the same possession but only 5-10 shots I could see I needed to be more direct) or the game is just completed flawed in terms of match balance. Funnily enough, when I'm playing better sides in the Champions League - using the same approach - my conversion rate is far better and I often win games more comfortably scoreline wise but with less favourably possession and shots stats. Go figure... 

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You're not. Those one dimensional match stats are first and foremost the result of you attacking, and the Opposition (too? rigidly sitting back, focused on making it harder to score for you. Given your success, things likewise likely don't look near as bad as you claim, same as this guy when he went through all his games.
 



And you won't ever score 50% of your shots if you wouldn't ever aim to have few shots by Focusing on defending -- as the AI very readily, arguably too readily does as it'd be happy with a draw, sometimes not getting thrashed. It's a simple statistical probability to happen that sometimes they will still score. That's also the root cause why "statistically", in particular as a top side, Matches are this one sided, whilst they necessarily aren't all for top Teams in Football. That you don't find the same "struggles" internationally is likely no coincidence, as you will still find AI that try to attack and beat you, so leave more space as opposed to Primary being focused to defending. A side like Burnley didn't Need the best keeper in the world to concede but 12 Goals in 6 months off EPL Football in 2017, despite conceding an average of 20 shots every match. They sat back, blocked and made it harder to score. Whilst this is not to fully replicate in FM, the same principle applies. 
 


That's not arguing against possible flaws. That's just pointing out the logics of the game. I think the valid Arguments to be had were as follows, imo.

- Is it to hard to break open a "parking bus" in the game? Or rather, is it "too easy" to park the bus?
- How often do opponents in-game park the bus, Maybe a bit much?
- Is it possible that it's rather easy to get a lot of mediocre to poor shots off (if we go into the match shot Analysis Tools and click on those dots inside the box, how many of those shots inside the box against a parking bus Team are primarily from set pieces, for a start?)

Edited by Svenc

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2 hours ago, Svenc said:

You're not. Those one dimensional match stats are first and foremost the result of you attacking, and the Opposition (too? rigidly sitting back, focused on making it harder to score for you. Given your success, things likewise likely don't look near as bad as you claim, same as this guy when he went through all his games.
 



And you won't ever score 50% of your shots if you wouldn't ever aim to have few shots by Focusing on defending -- as the AI very readily, arguably too readily does as it'd be happy with a draw, sometimes not getting thrashed. It's a simple statistical probability to happen that sometimes they will still score. That's also the root cause why "statistically", in particular as a top side, Matches are this one sided, whilst they necessarily aren't all for top Teams in Football. That you don't find the same "struggles" internationally is likely no coincidence, as you will still find AI that try to attack and beat you, so leave more space as opposed to Primary being focused to defending. A side like Burnley didn't Need the best keeper in the world to concede but 12 Goals in 6 months off EPL Football in 2017, despite conceding an average of 20 shots every match. They sat back, blocked and made it harder to score. Whilst this is not to fully replicate in FM, the same principle applies. 
 


That's not arguing against possible flaws. That's just pointing out the logics of the game. I think the valid Arguments to be had were as follows, imo.

- Is it to hard to break open a "parking bus" in the game? Or rather, is it "too easy" to park the bus?
- How often do opponents in-game park the bus, Maybe a bit much?
- Is it possible that it's rather easy to get a lot of mediocre to poor shots off (if we go into the match shot Analysis Tools and click on those dots inside the box, how many of those shots inside the box against a parking bus Team are primarily from set pieces, for a start?)

Hi Svenc,

Thanks for the response. I understand the logic of what you're saying and it would all make sense; but my issue is then with both the match stats and the actual match engine. The chances I watch my team miss all look quite clear and a lot of the goals I concede are very good finishes - yet it's my players with the vastly superior finishing, composure etc attributes. Also, the stats for "clear cut chances" don't add up at all, in my game anyway. I've had matches in which I'm 5 or 6 goals up, have been given at least one penalty, and the "clear cut chances" stats still read as "0". 

I'll need to look at the data a bit more to provide detail on where the attempts on goal are coming from but certainly from the highlights and match stats I still feel there is a big flaw in the game logic based on what transpires during a match. Fair enough, maybe part of the algorithm dictates that a team playing a slow, patient, style vs a team parking the bus won't put as many goals away as they should; but then the match stats and match engine need to correspond to that accordingly. Right now I feel like it punishes me for playing that way "just because". 

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It seems like to just struggle to break down very defensive teams. Which is the point of playing very defensively, technically. No team domestically is going to attack you, they are going to park the bus and hope to get a goal on the break. Counter attacking teams typically create only a few chances in a game, but they are usually very good chances. Which is why you often see a high conversion rate for such teams. When I play in a counter attacking manner (but never a park the bus manner) I also see excellent conversion in general (of course there is some variation match to match).

13 minutes ago, lauriedunsire said:

Fair enough, maybe part of the algorithm dictates that a team playing a slow, patient, style vs a team parking the bus won't put as many goals away as they should

A slow and patient style is not always good against defensive sides. You are letting them find their compact shape with a slow buildup. So saying things like "as many goals as they should" doesn't actually mean that. You cannot quantify this in a meaningful way. The best way is to look at the quality of the chances you create. Having 40 shots on goal is no good if 80% of them are from the edge of an area through a crowd of players. Or from strikers under pressure, or weak headers. The number of shots on goal is really not a good metric to decide if you are playing well or deserve to win. The number of quality chances (which is best judged by eye) is the correct metric. If you are being too slow in your build up, you may not create good chances, and so you struggle. Of course you will dominate the possession, but the AI is winning because it is stopping you creating good chances. If you are not changing things when you see this pattern develop, you have to take part of the blame for that.

 

3 hours ago, lauriedunsire said:

Because there is a stupid regularity to teams getting a late equaliser with their only attempt of the game.

This is another thing you should understand if you see it often. The AI uses game plans (you can see it after a while). They will defend for 80 minutes, and if the match is close they will get more attacking towards the end to try and grab a point or a win. If you know this is coming, you should never get caught out by it. Make some changes to make sure that when the AI is attacking more, you become more dangerous. Typically if you are winning by a couple of goals the AI will just shut up shop and try to concede as few as possible. This is an extremely common thing against weaker sides who are setting up initially to defend. Not adapting to things like this is, again, something you have to take responsibility for.

Breaking down defensive sides can be hard. It is much easier to play against an open side (which is, incidentally, why you do better in the champion's league, where sides are more open against you). It is not just a matter of parking the bus, but also the formation can influence things. My standard tactics struggle against sides with 2 DMCs, especially when they are defensive sides. So I make changes to try to mitigate this, so I create chances. If you are playing the same approach, without every making changes, then you are being one dimensional and you will struggle and continue to struggle against the sides that cause you problems.

The point I am trying to make is that this is not really a problem in the game, it is a problem with how you approach it. Do not rely on the number of shots. Watch games, work out what is happening, make changes to exploit weaknesses and create better chances.

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1 hour ago, lauriedunsire said:

Also, the stats for "clear cut chances" don't add up at all, in my game anyway. I've had matches in which I'm 5 or 6 goals up, have been given at least one penalty, and the "clear cut chances" stats still read as "0". 

It's been a bad stat for as Long as it's existed. For once, the scoring rate in an individual match of football is (and should be) massively variable. One match a team wins because it scores a couple worldies, the other week it Drops the Points because a couple missed tap-ins. That' Football -- if you Google for explanations About metrics such as "expected Goals" they back that up. Secondly, it's obviously detached from the actual calculations. Should SI decide that no Header ever should be counted as a CCC (even one in Yards of space and within Inches off the Goal line likely to be converted), then that's not a CCC. As a result, chances that from playing experience are easier to convert than those that are not oft don't count as CCCs, and vice versa. Thirdly, there's a big difference between a tap-in into an open net and a one on one that sees the Forward in Little time and space, and the keeper coming off his line to make the Goal smaller. Yet both would Count as CCCs.

It's hard to tell what the specific issue is. But I think you will likely in parts fall under what was adressed at the back end of the thread. That is, you don't react well to your Forwards just having an off-day (or find it unrealistic). To Quote the thread:

 

Quote
Quote

If you have designed a tactic and developed a team that guarantees you will dominate every match statistically, the ONLY WAY YOU WILL EVER LOSE is when your forwards have an off day and the AI catches you on the counter. That's life. Get over it.

I have to add that at the Point in your save you will EXCLUSIVELY lose matches in which the opposition has far fewer shots, as the AI plays defensive Football too rigidly/oftenly. In actual Football, even top Teams still find Opposition who on the Occasion at least would be trying rather than digging themselves in. Every domestic match of yours you will dominate the shot Counts. Their focus is on not conceding at the expensive of attacking oomph, at least for as Long as the scorelines is still 0-0 (the AI changes Things during a match). You could likely still be able to turn the fortunes around by doing something different in a couple additional Matches -- but not all. That's not Football. Given that you are doing well, it can't happen that oftently, regardless.

Be glad that the game doesn't much simulate actual more pronounced of such streaks. When Zidane's Madrid trailed Barcelona by a dozen Points plus in January 2018 -- Ronaldo and his Peers barely scoring for months had a big influence on that:D Such streaks aren't at all uncommon. Personally I think that's a shame, as the game generally is more predictable than Football to me (which could go our favor as well -- for any Team dropping Points, there's another climbing the table temporaily ). However, you can imaginen what the reaction would be like should Players ever be on the "receiving end" and why SI may not be particularly keen on simulating such...

Edited by Svenc

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1 hour ago, lauriedunsire said:

Also, the stats for "clear cut chances" don't add up at all, in my game anyway.

Forget about "clear cut chances" or "shots". There is only one important thing : shots from the penalty box. And, very important, blocked shots should not be considered.

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9 minutes ago, GreenTriangle said:

Forget about "clear cut chances" or "shots". There is only one important thing : shots from the penalty box. And, very important, blocked shots should not be considered.

There's shots from the Penalty box and there's shots from the Penalty box. Imo this West Ham Player on FM 2015 had no much Right to complain. (Spoiler: Count the amount of shots within the box from actual open Play rather than a Corner, throw in, free kick... with each of those set pieces eventually being the result of a defended open Play attack -- the defending side successfully getting a foot into Things, to simplify).
 


Interestingly, this particular Kind of Player has been complaining that it was exclusively his AI opponents who would ever score "lucky" Goals. Lucking at that West Ham Goal of his, that's rather interesting...

Edited by Svenc

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What I'd like to see from FM20 are fewer monstrosities like the below. Painful to watch and laughable match stats. Users' tactics are often blamed for certain statistical outliers (i.e - too many shots from distance). The fact is that the AI is the cause of this with their absurd approach to matches. In reality, Brescia below would have at least tried for an equalizer late on, but instead played with 11 players defending their own penalty area for the entire match.

BTW, as per usual, their keeper was springing around like Zebedee from the Magic Roundabout, making saves that defy physics.

I guess I'm also going to be asked about how many times I hit the woodwork, to which I give the same answer as I did the fifty million other times it was asked (half a dozen this season already and counting)

image.thumb.png.b0cadde70a939e7eebdfcb62528e1a38.png

 

 

 

Edited by rdbayly

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37 minutes ago, Svenc said:

There's shots from the Penalty box and there's shots from the Penalty box.

Of course. But the first indication that something is wrong with chosen strategy is the large number of shots from outside the penalty box or the large number of blocked shots (including those from the penalty box).

 

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1 hour ago, rdbayly said:

What I'd like to see from FM20 are fewer monstrosities like the below. Painful to watch and laughable match stats. Users' tactics are often blamed for certain statistical outliers (i.e - too many shots from distance). The fact is that the AI is the cause of this with their absurd approach to matches. In reality, Brescia below would have at least tried for an equalizer late on, but instead played with 11 players defending their own penalty area for the entire match.

BTW, as per usual, their keeper was springing around like Zebedee from the Magic Roundabout, making saves that defy physics.

I guess I'm also going to be asked about how many times I hit the woodwork, to which I give the same answer as I did the fifty million other times it was asked (half a dozen this season already and counting)

image.thumb.png.b0cadde70a939e7eebdfcb62528e1a38.png

 

 

 

I agree that the AI should be trying more. Still whatever the cause that was -- that's 31 Corner kicks (which after all is but a fraction of the set pieces). As a point of reference: Top Teams parking inside the Opposition half for most of the season average but about 8. Matches on FM too last About 90 minutes minus stoppage time, ergo 60 minutes. I doubt in the remaining time there was much Football played at all and the keeper had that many difficult saves to make. Often times it's a combination of ME ( (crosses blocked for Corners too easily?) and tactics, mind (from both Ends of the Party).

That said, the most ridiculous Matches I personally had on FM I've seen was when I tried some of the download "super" tactics. The trend in exploiting in more recent years was it to Keep the field super tight and narrow, and just shove Players Forward. The parking bus Team gets a foot into every other move, in particular if the centre is cluttered with Players (depends on the AI and Formation, etc.), and presto... most awful watching, in particular if the AI wouldn't make a Change even at 1-0 down, like in yours. :D Still, no sane Manager in real Football would Approach a Team cluttering the middle of the pitch that way. This can go up to 50- 60 shots without scoring if you're unlucky. The latter part of the Story actually has been going for ten years running and I can't ever see it going away unless SI would Limit Managers to making actually "sensible" choices. A side effect of this was that the scope of Input was limited, so Things could be tested more easily too.
 

That said, given that in actual Football top Teams managed by top Managers don't score off 30 shots in sequence, scoring but one off 50 isn't that outrageous (in particular considering that in actual Football, most of those shots can still actually be from actual PLAY as opposed to a set piece Festival). :D The frequency of this, is naturally going to be influenced by AI....

Edited by Svenc

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47 minutes ago, Svenc said:

I agree that the AI should be trying more. Still whatever the cause that was -- that's 31 Corner kicks (which after all is but a fraction of the set pieces). As a point of reference: Top Teams parking inside the Opposition half for most of the season average but about 8. Matches on FM too last About 90 minutes minus stoppage time, ergo 60 minutes. I doubt in the remaining time there was much Football played at all and the keeper had that many difficult saves to make. Often times it's a combination of ME ( (crosses blocked for Corners too easily?) and tactics, mind (from both Ends of the Party).

That said, the most ridiculous Matches I personally had on FM I've seen was when I tried some of the download "super" tactics. The trend in exploiting in more recent years was it to Keep the field super tight and narrow, and just shove Players Forward. The parking bus Team gets a foot into every other move, in particular if the centre is cluttered with Players (depends on the AI and Formation, etc.), and presto... most awful watching, in particular if the AI wouldn't make a Change even at 1-0 down, like in yours. :D Still, no sane Manager in real Football would Approach a Team cluttering the middle of the pitch that way. This can go up to 50- 60 shots without scoring if you're unlucky. The latter part of the Story actually has been going for ten years running and I can't ever see it going away unless SI would Limit Managers to making actually "sensible" choices. A side effect of this was that the scope of Input was limited, so Things could be tested more easily too.
 

That said, given that in actual Football top Teams managed by top Managers don't score off 30 shots, scoring but one off 50 isn't that outrageous (in particular considering that in actual Football, most of those shots can still actually be from actual PLAY as opposed to a set piece Festival). :D The frequency of this, is naturally going to be influenced by AI....

Yes but this wasn't using a downloaded tactic; it's a fairly 'sensible' rudimentary 4-1-2-2-1, with the potential to operate across a range of mentalities depending on the match situation. I don't even play that aggressively.

The ridiculous corner count is simple to explain; blocked crosses. Wide players refuse to cross when they have time, space and targets in the box to aim for. Instead they elect to dribble slowly towards the full back that comes out to meet them, and cross when the opportunity to do so is no longer there. This is how 95% of corners are won. You can layer on all the PIs and TIs you want, it can't be prevented. It is hardwired into the very fabric of this ME.

I thought it would be useful to look at the quality of chances in this match via the analysis tool. There were indeed a huge number of saves from set pieces; many of which were point blank headers from corners:

image.thumb.png.58f7e01ba879ccdd1823f6b782f54801.png 

 I counted approx 17 shots on target inside the box; 50% of them from open play (there were a lot more in injury time, but the tool is still broken and doesn't include these)

My point is this - Actual football matches have an ebb and flow that this ME simply cannot reproduce. It operates solely on the extreme ends of mentality; which leads to the inevitable patterns of play you describe above. I think it's unfair that the blame for this always ends up at the feet of the user.

 

 

Edited by rdbayly

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2 hours ago, rdbayly said:

What I'd like to see from FM20 are fewer monstrosities like the below. Painful to watch and laughable match stats. Users' tactics are often blamed for certain statistical outliers (i.e - too many shots from distance). The fact is that the AI is the cause of this with their absurd approach to matches. In reality, Brescia below would have at least tried for an equalizer late on, but instead played with 11 players defending their own penalty area for the entire match.

BTW, as per usual, their keeper was springing around like Zebedee from the Magic Roundabout, making saves that defy physics.

I guess I'm also going to be asked about how many times I hit the woodwork, to which I give the same answer as I did the fifty million other times it was asked (half a dozen this season already and counting)

image.thumb.png.b0cadde70a939e7eebdfcb62528e1a38.png

 

 

 

31 corners is a joke. It is my least favourite thing about FM19. A dominant team keeps the ball, probes the opponent, and then almost invariably tries a cross (which is often blocked for a corner). Teams attempting 70+ crosses a game are too common, and I'm pretty sure 31 corners would break a record for most ever in an EPL match (not sure about Serie A).

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4 hours ago, rdbayly said:

 I counted approx 17 shots on target inside the box; 50% of them from open play (there were a lot more in injury time, but the tool is still broken and doesn't include these)

Did you count shots on target from the penalty box for, let's say, 20 matches in a row ?

Edited by GreenTriangle

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8 minutes ago, GreenTriangle said:

Did you count shots on target from the penalty box for, let's say, 20 matches in a row ?

This was just the most recent match I played today. I'm not labouring the point about this happening in every game; I'm simply providing this as a snapshot of the AI contributing to ridiculous match stats. 

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12 hours ago, GreenTriangle said:

Please try to count. You'll see something very interesting.

Would be interested here as well.


That said, in General balancing SI likely have never much looked at how much of their shots actually are from open Play vs set piece based Affairs. Users did rack up ridiculous Corner Counts in the past (and it was rarely, ever, a sign of a good Thing).  This is vital as to balancing though, as -- if you will -- each and every set piece is the end result of an open positional Play attacking being defended (a blocked cross too, is after all a defensive Action, as would be a deflected shot, or anything).

They could actually "overpower" their (open Play) defending without realizing if they wouldn't make that distinction. It's no much mistake though that there's still no much rage this release. The set piece exploits this Season are powerful. They get Players up to averaging a Corner Goal each match -- and then there are also exploity Long throw routines. With those in place, eventually, the AI Team rigidly sitting Deep will just concede / collapse. (Probably one of the reasons why there are user Reports of their only ever Goals being set pieces… even if exaggerated, popular "exploit tactics" just flooding the middle and pushing everyone Forward would naturally contribute to this…. it would make Things even easier for the defending Team to get a foot into the move.)

If you'd draw a circle around all Players having advanced -- the smaller that is, the easier it is to engage the ball carrier. To illustrate this, a screenshot of one of the more popular Providers from the download Scene. Obviously by keeping the pitch this compact, it is much harder for the team to drop the ball, further helping to keeping the Opposition pegged back. If players spread out more, the chance of the ball being lost rises. Still in an attacking sense, there is neither width nor Depth, so in the final third whoever gets the ball next is immediately pushed and as the Team sitting Deep also has to never push up again to engage, there is no space anymore opened up in General.


won5LZe.jpg

Edited by Svenc

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On 13/09/2019 at 17:50, rdbayly said:

ide players refuse to cross when they have time, space and targets in the box to aim for. Instead they elect to dribble slowly towards the full back that comes out to meet them, and cross when the opportunity to do so is no longer there

Are you using work ball into box? This makes players less inclined to cross. It can be a good idea to get rid of this if you have games where crossing is an issue. Playing against a team who is defending narrow and leaving space out wide is going to make it worse, because play funnels that way. If you want to stop crosses, you need to get players to support wide players so they have passing options. It is one way to break down a stubborn side. Flood one side with players, draw defenders, and have runners on the other side to exploit space. Blocked crosses are annoying, but you are not powerless before them.

On 13/09/2019 at 17:50, rdbayly said:

This is how 95% of corners are won. You can layer on all the PIs and TIs you want, it can't be prevented. It is hardwired into the very fabric of this ME.

This is just not true. As I just noted, lots of things influence crossing. Work ball into box is one that discourages crossing. If you get a player into wide positions early, they have to wait for players to be in the box, delaying the cross. You will always get some blocked crosses, because it is football, but to suggest you cannot do something about it is absurd. Really it means you do not know what to do about it. Getting the ball out wide later to an advancing FB when you already have 2-3 players in the box, for example, will lead to earlier crossing.

On 13/09/2019 at 17:50, rdbayly said:

counted approx 17 shots on target inside the box; 50% of them from open play

And how many of these chances were actually good? Where the player is in space, not hounded by a defender. Not rushed to make a shot. On his preferred foot? 

On 13/09/2019 at 17:50, rdbayly said:

My point is this - Actual football matches have an ebb and flow that this ME simply cannot reproduce. It operates solely on the extreme ends of mentality; which leads to the inevitable patterns of play you describe above. I think it's unfair that the blame for this always ends up at the feet of the user.

Most games I play on FM have an ebb and flow. I just finished a game where the AI came out from the half with a rocket up their arse and they battered me for 45 minutes. I could not get anything going. That was after a first half where I was on top. I can count many other things like this. The AI does have quite predictable behaviour when it comes to how it approaches games. It uses match plans, I think. You will often see a team sit tight for 80 minutes and then switch to be attacking if the game is close, for example. There are other examples. Once you spot them, you pretty much know what will happen. I'd like to see this improved to make it more unpredictable. The AI could also be better at playing more progressive counter attacking tactics that are not simply park the bus and hope. However, very often in cases where a user fails to break down an AI side that is defending deep and narrow, the user does have to take a large share of the blame. It is not super 'keepers, or stupid players, or the like. It is simply because it is hard to break down defensive sides. You have to create space yourself. And the way you have to do that may change depending on the teams you play. This is why it is often easier to play as a smaller side.

Thing about the reverse situation. The user is trying to park the bus and the AI is attacking. Think of how many times you get infuriated that your players are being dragged out of shape and space is being created for the AI. That is the AI intelligently attacking a defensive side. This is the kind of thing you can watch and try to learn from.

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This often happens to FM managers when they start getting good success. The AI opponent/manager  will recognise this success and set up their formation not to lose. We can see this happen also in real life. The defensive team creates very few chances, maybe score a freak/against play goal and the offensive side, will have lots of chances but sometims find the defensive side hard to break down. The challenge is on the FM manager to think of how to get behind a defensive opposition.....

I think FM also struggles to correctly record clear cut chances so you may think you had more than you really did, 

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Things typically aren't that one-dimensional for the "favorites" though in footie. Even Barcelona can get reasonably attacked by the likes of Eibar. In-game, Pretty much any AI considered a reasonable "Underdog" would try just not to get "trashed" and shut up shop completely -- in a way that is akin to an approach say the Faroe Islands would take against England, perhaps. That's the tendency. Too many spoilsports. That said, I've had AI Portugal sticking half their Team on defend Duty behind the ball 90 minutes and hoofing it to CR7 as far back as FM 2015 - in an Euro semis (even by their defensive Approach more recent, that's a bit of a stretch). :D 

So that's an absolutely viable Point by rdbayly. It's a bit extreme. That said, not every time the Team "packing it" and actually scoring off the few shots may be fortunate. Pep's City also had a lot of shots against Wigan in that Cup Shock, and that's a top class managed team -- but metrics such as xG actually argued the match were quite even an affair.  (Same as how Germany despite the most attempts by far from all Teams competing in the WC Group stages apparently didn't create anything "easy", that is xG 0.5+ -- whilst versa it was apparent just from watching that every time they dropped the ball against Sweden and Mexico, first 30 mins in particular their Opposition could walk into their box). It seems obvioius why SI don't give more detailed data btw: everybody would just funnel their Play to the chances that are the easiest to convert. Or -- if they'd "park the bus", Limit the Opposition to those that are most definitely the hardest to score. "Under the Hood", there must after all calculate a Pretty precise number whether a specific attempt will find the back of the net… :D 

Edited by Svenc

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