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OfficerTimFisher

Warning-- Extreme Newb..

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Okay guys, I recently downloaded the demo version of FM08 to test out and I'm really confused...

I'm an expert of OOTP Baseball Simulations, which is also an SI Game so I'm no stranger to sports simulations.

However, I live in the US so despite knowing a lot about the actual game of soccer, I don't know much about REAL soccer that is played professionally outside of the US. All I know is that I like soccer and simulation sports so I was hoping I could have fun with the game and gain an understanding of how the leagues and championship series' work. I know its very complicated but does anyone know of any links that would explain this to a novice... Thanks in advance.

Bobby

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Okay guys, I recently downloaded the demo version of FM08 to test out and I'm really confused...

I'm an expert of OOTP Baseball Simulations, which is also an SI Game so I'm no stranger to sports simulations.

However, I live in the US so despite knowing a lot about the actual game of soccer, I don't know much about REAL soccer that is played professionally outside of the US. All I know is that I like soccer and simulation sports so I was hoping I could have fun with the game and gain an understanding of how the leagues and championship series' work. I know its very complicated but does anyone know of any links that would explain this to a novice... Thanks in advance.

Bobby

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Welcome aboard: as a fellow Yank convert, let me say you aren't the only one!

Really, the only thing you absolutely have to know is to call it football, not soccer, as you're on a primarily British forum. icon_wink.gif

To the meat of you question, here's a handful of links:

1. Marc Vaughan's Hint's and Tips - Introduction to the game, straight from one of the game designers.

2. Total Soccer newbiw needs help - the most recent "Let's teach an American FM" topic

3. Brand new to FM, several game and football questions - probably the most comprehensive thread along that line

4. More newbie questions - same, but relatively more advanced questions; you might want to look at once you've got through the others.

Also useful to know are:

5. Tactics & Training Tips Forum, and especially

6. Tactical Theorems and Frameworks '08, wwfan's authoritative article about how to think about tactics (rather than being a "Hey, here's a tactic to try!" thread)

Oh, you really are going to want to know this stuff:

7. Communication and Psychological Warfare; its very much a man-management game, and that will be very important to you.

Lastly, I've got a (very) long piece of fiction going, which chronicles a young manager going from "novice American" to Premier League manager - if you read it, you can't help but pick up a few things. icon_wink.gif And it may be less intimidating/overwhelming to get it in that form.

8. Sharpening a Rusty Blade

That oughta give you plenty to chew on! icon_biggrin.gif

p.s., Wikipedia is a great resource, too, there's plenty of football information in there.

Feel free to ask away <STRIKE>if</STRIKE> when you hit confusion!!

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(It'll be maddening and frustrating at times, especially the first time you get sacked, but the rewards are very much worth it; its far and away the best game in the sports-management genre.)

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As an experienced simulation player, I think you'll be able to figure that out fairly quickly. If I'm interpreting correctly, your question is about the actual structure of the leagues, which I'll try to answer. Doubtless I'll miss something, but it'll be a start.

I'll use England as an example, because it's one of the deepest, and it's fairly typical. There's differences with the others, of course, but they're fairly minor.

What's important to know is that football has several competitions going on at once, rather than one, like we do in the States.

Domestically, the most important is the league itself. In almost all, each team in a league plays each of the others home-and-away, with three points for a win and one for a draw. The team with the most points at the end of the season wins the league. No Super Bowl or anything like that.

In the top flight of any competition, winning the league is the pinnacle. You get a nice trophy, lots of money, the adoration of your fans, more money, etc. In Europe, you also gain admittance into the Champions League.

In anything except the top flight, the champion is promoted to the flight above it, where it will usually struggle to gain its footing. In most leagues, more teams are also promoted. In some it's two; in others it's four. It just depends.

In England, there are four flights of what's called league football. The Premiership is the cream of the crop, the home of your Manchester United and the rest. As with many top European leagues, it's dominated by a handful of teams, with the rest left fighting for scraps. It has 20 teams

Below the Premiership is the League Championship, a euphemistic name for what used to be called the First Division, and for what before that was called the Second Division. The Championship is followed by League One and League Two. Each of these leagues has 23 teams.

In FM08, you also have the Conference National, which is the top tier of non-league (called the Blue Square Premier under a sponsorship deal, though most still just call it the conference). Below that are two leagues on the same level, Conference North and Conference South. In the real world, it goes on for another 8 or 10 levels, but the game stops here.

The promotion chase is the most important thing in these leagues, all of which decide their last playoff spot with a playoff. Four teams make it; only one goes up.

But the second-most important thing is the relegation fight. If three teams go up, three must go down, and for many teams, the only objective is to finish 17th (or 21st, or whatever). In particular, relegation from the Premiership can be absolutely financially devastating, and it's not unheard of for teams to fall two flights in a short space of time. There are yo-yo teams that bounce between leagues, dominating the Championship, for example, but inevitably finishing rock bottom in the Premiership. (Sunderland are a prime example.)

In other leagues, the promotion playoffs are in fact promotion/relegation playoffs, with perhaps the two worst teams relegated, and the two in front of them entered into a playoff with the 3rd and 4th placed teams from the league below. Whoever wins gets the top-flight spot. (In the Premiership in particular, the team promoted by playoff are almost always relegated right back down, largely because the third-place team often doesn't win.)

Here's the allotment of promotion spots:

Premiership: Three go down.

Championship: Three go up (two automatic, one playoff); three go down.

League One: Three go up (two automatic, one playoff); four go down.

League Two: Four go up (three automatic, one playoff); two go down.

Conference National: Two go up (one automatic, one playoff); four go down.

Conference North/South: Two go up from each league (one automatic, one playoff); three (I think) go down. (If you go down in the game, you'll be done, because there's nowhere for you to go.)

Most leagues also have at least one domestic cup competition, and some have two.

In England, the main cup competition is the FA Cup. It's open to any organized senior (adult) team in the country. Conceivably, a team that plays in a Sunday beer league could make it to the final against Manchester United. That doesn't happen, of course, but there are always a few upsets every year. It's sort of the equivalent of the NCAA Tournament. There are two preliminary rounds, four qualifying rounds, six main rounds, the semifinals and the final. League One and Two teams come in at the first main round; Premiership and Championship teams at the third round. There's also no bracket; each round, all the remaining teams go into a hat. This year, for example, Manchester United and Arsenal played in the fifth round.

In England, there's also a League Cup, which is open only to league teams. It's not as highly valued as the FA Cup, which in turn isn't as highly valued as the league. A number of top-flight teams play mostly reserve sides, though even that doesn't stop Arsenal or Chelsea winning it most years.

Then, as if all that weren't enough, there are two European competitions, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup. Each country gets a certain number of slots, and can hand them out pretty much as they want. In England, the top four teams get Champions League spots, though the third and fourth placed teams have to play in the qualifying rounds. (Yeah, they're not all champions. Ironic, isn't it?)

UEFA Cup spots go to the fifth and sixth placed teams (check me if I'm wrong), as well as the winners of the FA Cup and the League Cup. That's the main incentive to play a full-strength side in the League Cup, though Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United will always be in the Champions League anyway. In the FA Cup, the UEFA Cup devolves first to the loser, then to the highest-placed team in the league not already qualified. In the League Cup, the loser can't get the UEFA Cup spot. It just goes back to the league.

There's also a cup for League One and Two teams, and another one (the FA Trophy) for the first four levels of non-league teams. There's also the FA Vase, for even lower non-league teams, but that's not in the game. AND there's the Setanta Shield, for Conference National, North and South teams.

That's all I can come up with for now. Out of all this, if you take only one thing, it's promotion and relegation. That's the biggest single difference between American sport and European football.

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Minor correction: The Championship, League One and League Two have 24 teams, not 23. They play 46 games.

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I've always said you can't go far wrong with wikipaedia. Try this page for an excellent starting position.

I'm taking a leap and thinking you already like the game from the little you have played, so your best bet is to go out and buy the full game. The demo is limited so the full game will open your eyes to a lot more; more players, more clubs, bigger db, more leagues to manage. It's an all round bigger experience. You will also get the game manual. Many people might not bother to read it but SI put a lot of work into the manual every year. You may think you are experienced in simulation games but the manual will always point out something new to you. The best thing I ever did was read the manual from cover to cover when I first played FM, or CM as it was then.

I may not need to say this but if and when you do get the full game then you'll want to patch it to 2.0.8 before you start any game. This latest patch has really tidied up the game in a lot of ways and starting with an older version may not give you the best impression. Also try not to listen to too much of the complaining that goes on on these forums. A lot of people are quick to jump in with complaints when they haven't really played around with everything they can.

If you have a woman in tow then pacify her before you start; you know flowers, fancy dinner. Once you start playing you may forget she exists. FM could make me forget I was married to any of the world's most beautiful women. icon_eek.gif

Ok I went a little overboard, but the fact is FM is addictive...very addictive.

And the final, possibly most important thing to remember about FM is? As long as you're having fun then you're ok.

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rlovie, you're wrong about the uefa spots, but never mind. To save me explaining it all at length if you hit world>country>competition and select rules from the side menu (3rd from bottom in my skin, I assume it's the same in default) it's all pretty much explained there.

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I'm starting to think Amaroq does nothing but sit at his computer waiting to see the word "newbie". Whenever it's mentioned he is gauranteed to post first with his list of useful links. icon_smile.gif

Anyway welcome to the game but if you call it soccer one more time I will start a petition to get you banned icon_wink.gif As well as Amaroq's useful links my suggestion would be to simply not be afraid to get stuck in and not feel like the game is too complex. IMO the best way to learn the game is to experience it for yourself and just take your own time with it. You don't have to do everything at once.

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I suggest you read the following PDF:

http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/federation..._game_0708_10565.pdf

of course, read only the useful stuff, I think you'll find pretty much everything about soccer.

Maybe it's the best way to know what the official rules are. Learning the different rules of the different championships is something lot easier when you have the important rules in mind.

I particularly advise you read page 35 talking of the offside position rule, which is a real headache.

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These are my favourite threads. Not because I am a newbie myself, but because it's nice to see a thread full of people helping each other out for once.

95% of threads on here unfortunately degenerate into arguments, whether they are regarding FM08 being perfect/awful, or regarding spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.

Also I find it very interesting to see how complex people who are alien to Football (Soccer) get to grips with the game, and so satisfying once they start to see how great this game (and the sport) is.

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Welcome to the world of FM, as someone told me when I "fell" into it, "kiss you family and life goodbye" icon_smile.gif

I was in the exact same boat as you a few months ago (except I'm Canadian! <VGB>), and the forum was a great boon to me, I never would have stuck with it without the patience and help from everyone here. It's a great resource, take advantage of it! Remember, there are no stupid questions, especially when you come from a totally non-football background. The actual rules of the game are pretty simple to understand, it's the intricacies that people raised with the sport and just "know", that take forever to learn!

Definitely read the threads that Amaroq pointed you to. I personally actually printed out the entire one that I started and reread it from time to time as well as some other posts as well.

Good luck! You'll soon find yourself calling it football and will find the words "whilst" and "farrow" sprinkling your conversation! icon_smile.gif

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Thanks for all of the great information guys.

As Amaroq said, I will be sure to call it Football from now on, and not soccer.

I'm starting to dive into the info now, and my university has been on break all week, so I have no work to do over the weekend. In addition, my girlfriend is at home, 3 hours away, so I will be going over all of this trying to get as much info as I can before I totally dive into the game too much.

Thanks Again, you guys are great, very helpful.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by LFC Lloydy:

I'm starting to think Amaroq does nothing but sit at his computer waiting to see the word "newbie". Whenever it's mentioned he is gauranteed to post first with his list of useful links. icon_smile.gif

Anyway welcome to the game but if you call it soccer one more time I will start a petition to get you banned icon_wink.gif As well as Amaroq's useful links my suggestion would be to simply not be afraid to get stuck in and not feel like the game is too complex. IMO the best way to learn the game is to experience it for yourself and just take your own time with it. You don't have to do everything at once. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I saw the word Newb and popped open the thread. I only saw the opening post with my screen and (honestly) the first words out of my mouth were "Read Amaroq's stuff" by using the feature "view posts by..."

I scrolled down the screen to see the first response and saw "Amaroq" weighed in right away. I laughed out loud.

Kudos to all the veteran mentors with constructive feedback for the newbs! I feel like I'm a youth player getting tutored by the senior squad members. Obviously, like the game itself, some of the senior players are more "influential" than others. Additionally, I've even got some "personality differences" with some of them. However, I can still learn something from them and "I'll give it a go" in the hopes of picking up some "preferred moves".

The only suggestion I have for the newb is to view the website www.skysports.com/football

This will give you a quick dose of the real world and how stuff works on a daily basis. This website along with Skysports' Evening Update on Fox Soccer Channel via satellite has deepened my appreciation for the world's game and helps me to appreciate even more just how realistic this game has become. Be warned that it may take about a month of viewing to "learn the jargon" associated with the game.

Kudos to SI and all the unsung volunteers/researchers who help make the game great!

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icon_smile.gif

LFCLloydy, it was just luck this time. I came home from dinner, hit the forum, and the post was top of the forum, 0 replies, 0 views. icon_biggrin.gif How could I resist?

My first year on the forum I got so much help from so many intelligent people, so I'm just trying to pay it back TBH.

Plus, I've a soft spot for any American who's trying to come to terms with the Beautiful Game: I know first-hand how difficult it is. I put CM2 down because it was too hard, if you can imagine that!! icon_biggrin.gif

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I'll add one other thing - watch the real thing whenever you can, especially on Fox Soccer Channel (sorry, my Brit pals, but that's what they call it). If you watch on ESPN (which will be mostly MLS or US National team), make sure you keep the sound muted if O'Brien is doing the game. Also get a hold of one of the better weeklies. Soccer America is not bad, although World Soccer is better. For a real taste of the way the Brits follow the game at the intense fan level, I would also recommend When Saturday Comes if you can find it.

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And I have to agree with those enjoying this thread. The TT&F threads in the Tactics Forum are consistently good for the same reason.

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I'll agree with gunnerfan about watching as many games as possible. With DTV I get 2 24 hour football channels, and I try to watch at least part of a game every day, even if it's in bed (the watching of the game, not the game itself! icon_smile.gif ) I found it really helped my understanding of the game and FM and after a bit, FM actually helped my understanding of the actual sport!

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by soundian:

rlovie, you're wrong about the uefa spots, but never mind. To save me explaining it all at length if you hit world>country>competition and select rules from the side menu (3rd from bottom in my skin, I assume it's the same in default) it's all pretty much explained there. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Oh, I figured I'd have fouled up something along the way. UEFA Cup spots are tricky anyway, depending on who wins or doesn't win the League Cup, whether a team enters the Intertoto (if they're even calling it that anymore), or if they win the Fair Play spot (does FM have that? I don't even know).

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Your explanation was quite good, rlovie; I'll certainly be adding this thread to my "list o' links" precisely to pick up your explanation of the league system.

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I decided to pick Arsenal to start out with. I know they are one of the top EPL teams so I figured it would make things easier to learn.

I've had 2 friendlies, beating WS Wolume 2-0 and coming to a 0-0 draw with R Antwerp FC (despite having 11 shots to their 1). My fans seem to be disappointed with both results so I'm probably not doing a very good job so far.

I'm running the standard 4-4-2 right now with a pretty fast paced spread out approach. I'm getting far more shots than my opponents but they seem to be controlling the ball 60-70% of the time on me. I'm thinking the reason for their possession being higher than mine is because I'm running high tempo offense, spread out, with alot of longer passes and I'm not wasting time.

Is this a correct assumption? And, since I'm Arsenal, should I be blowing these teams away rather than winning 2-0 and coming to a scoreless draw. (In my draw, Antwerp controlled the ball 65% of the game, but only got 1 shot and it was off-target. I had 11 shots, 7 of which were on target. It seems like they were dodging bullets the whole game.)

I'm going to start my next friendly against KV Mechelen right now, and wait for input. Thanks!

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I'm running the standard 4-4-2 right now with a pretty fast paced spread out approach. I'm getting far more shots than my opponents but they seem to be controlling the ball 60-70% of the time on me. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

If you watch matches in FM where you are heavy favourites (as you will be alot of the time playing as Arsenal, particularly in pre season friendlies against far inferior opposition) you can usually see the opposition just literally passing the ball amongst themselves, at the back or near the edge of the box or in and around the half way line. This is the AI using a combination of higher time wasting and a more defensive mentality.

You need to look at your closing down settings for your central midfielders, wingers (left and right midfielders) and your strikers. Try increasing these so that your midfield and strikers put pressurs on the opponents when in possession. A shortcut to this is use opposition instructions and set closing down to always for the opposition central midfielders, centre backs and full backs.

Also look at your individual players mentalities and how they are positioned when the opposition is in possession. If there is too much of a gap between your midfield and their midfield you might want to consider increasing your central midfielders mentalities to get them closer to the opposition and capable of gaining possession back. Or you could also lower one/two of your strikers mentalities so that he drops into the gap between the opposition midfield and defense, thus acting as a barrier to the passing lanes.

Coupled to this is the defensive line setting which affects where the last line of defense drop back to, i.e. your centre halfs. The higher up this is the higher up the pitch your whole team will be as a unit. But I must stress that all 3 of these work in conjunction and if you get the mixture wrong it can lead to gaps in your formation that are exploitable, and general imbalance between attack and defense. Essentially a combination of:-

1. Mentality

2. Defensive Line

3. Closing Down

4. Opposition Instructions

will help to alleviate that issue of possession. Also with the right type of player (high tackling attribute, high decisions) putting them on hard tackling can give them more bite but be wary of using this setting for players with high aggression as it can be a sure fire way to quick bookings and sendings off.

When you get these combined right you should see your central midfielders pushed further up the pitch and closer to the opposition thus pressuring them into mistakes or tackling to gain back possession.

Also the fact you are using a more direct passing style (longer passes) is making this easier for the defensive opposition as they are probably just sitting back as two banks of four (maybe even one of their strikers is tracking back) and soaking up the pressure. If you don't have a big man up front to win those long balls then with a direct style and high tempo you are just banging your head against a brick wall. The high number of shots off target against Antwerp suggests that in many cases their defense cleared the ball, which was picked up by one of your midfielders who had a crack from long range (that's just a guess based on how you say you were playing and the way the possession stats infer Antwerp were playing, so if I'm wrong say so icon_smile.gif).

What I would suggest is run a lot of test games yourself to get a feel for what the sliders do. Taking control of both teams makes this easier. Taking screenshots and comparing different settings can help in seeing how settings work. When you do this the various tactical tips you read in the threads linked previously by others will become much clearer than just reading them on a page.

Also you might want to invest in a back up mouse icon_wink.gif In PC mouse heaven there's a whole lot of them standing at the pearly gates...

'How did you bite the bullet?'...

'My owner was playing FM and the AI went 424 in the last five minutes to win 2-1 in the Champions League final'...

'Ha!Ha! Me too!'...

'Same here!'...

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by OfficerTimFisher:

Okay guys, I recently downloaded the demo version of FM08 to test out and I'm really confused...

However, I live in the US so despite knowing a lot about the actual game of soccer, I don't know much about REAL soccer that is played professionally outside of the US.

Bobby </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, you're one of the few that may understand the MLS icon_smile.gif

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OfficerTimFisher, don't be misled by isuckatfm's username: he gives great advice. icon_wink.gif

The style of play you're describing - quick tempo, longer (direct) passing - is the way you might wish to play with the weaker team, against a strong team: it means every time you get the ball, you're going to look for a quick attack and try to catch them out of position. (It's exactly the style I favor: Counter-attack!)

When you're Arsenal, however, the opposition managers are telling their players "Make sure you don't get sucked out of position," and sitting back in a massed defense.

Think of it as, almost, "My guys are rushing into the teeth of a packed defense, and losing possession."

A slower, shorter-passing, more patient build-up may seem to give them more time to "get set", but it also gives you sort of a "half court offense" like you might see in basketball: the opposition piled into the final 25 yards of the pitch, and your guys patiently passing around the perimeter, spreading the field. (High "Width")

If the defense "Closes Down" to challenge too much, your guys play a "Through Ball" into the space vacated.

If the defense doesn't close you down, they'll be giving your guys too much time to set up a "Long Shot" - and given time and space, almost everybody on the Arsenal squad can score from twenty-five yards.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">originally posted by Amaroq:-

OfficerTimFisher, don't be misled by isuckatfm's username: he gives great advice. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks Amaroq icon_smile.gif

I was going to mention about using his choice of tactical settings with a quality side, but I probably would have ended up with a post going into the next page.

To use another basketball analogy the idea of dribble, penetrate and dish has an equivalent in football and relates to what Amaroq mentioned about the defense closing down and leaving gaps. In FM a quick player with decent dribbling skills can be very useful in this way. Central midfielders who beat their opposing central midfielder, and draw the centre half out as they continue towards the box can create nice gaps for strikers. Similarly a winger who can beat the full back and draw out the centre half can leave gaps for the striker or forward running midfielders to exploit.

I often use this when playing as a big team against weaker opposition who I expect to sit back. So instead of going with the traditional Attack minded central midfielder and defensive minded central midfielder partnership, I'll go with two quick, technical central midfielders and look to break the opposition down by beating players 'off the dribble' and dragging opposition defensive players out of position to create space.

Equally you need to consider these implications from a defensive perspective as well when faced with quick opposition players.

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Hey Amaroq,

I did try to do more of a slow down, short pass and ball control type offense in my 4th and final friendly before I read this.

I was playing with 75% reserves in the lineup, and had all of my key players on the bench for all but 15 minutes and I played a little better in my mind. The result was another 0-0 tie, but I got 9 shots with my opponents getting 0. I had 5 corner kicks to their 0. I controlled the ball for 68% of the game as well. I was going up against Lierse SK, an inferior club, but with all backups and a new approach I wasn't totally upset with the result even though my fans were.

After my friendlies, I came away with 1 win, 1 loss, and 2 draws. Not exactly what the Arsenal faithful were looking for but I think I have a better understanding of the game and my players after the friendlies. I'll find out more with my first Premiere league game in a few minutes how the approach will work against a good club.

One Big Question I have is --- Why are my players always tired before games even though they have had a few days to rest after the last game. Is this because its early in the season and they need to get in match shape, or do I need to turn the training frequency down (its on the default). Also, how much should I sub in league games? What is the usual standard for subbing?

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">One Big Question I have is --- Why are my players always tired before games even though they have had a few days to rest after the last game. Is this because its early in the season and they need to get in match shape, or do I need to turn the training frequency down (its on the default). Also, how much should I sub in league games? What is the usual standard for subbing? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

icon14.gif about it being pre season. Players have a value that measures their 'match sharpness' and it takes about 4 or 5 matches to get that up. Once it does you should see a difference in players' condition during matches and after.

With regards to subbing everybody has their own method and opinion. For me it depends on the quality of my squad and how well a player is playing but as a general rule of thumb for me it's 70 to 75% condition.

Also playing as Arsenalyou will be involved in European competition so you need to be aware of which matches hold importance when deciding on rotation of players and subbing. I'm not sure what the best general method would be since alot of my decisions on when to rest players is based on actual knowledge of my real life opponents.

Generally:-

1. where in the league the opposition are

2. what's their form like (and squad morale)

3. does their squad quality measure up with their league position (difficult to judge as a newcomer to the game but sometimes your scout will mention this if you have him set to 'scout next opposition')

4. is it home or away, home games against weaker opposition being favoured for resting players.

Also as Arsenal when it comes to subbing players you have a number of very pacy attacking players who can be used as a strategic tactical substitution against a tiring defence.

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Thanks for the advice, I was going to wait to post until after my game but after numerous scoring chances, Robin van Persie scored on a free kick from 26 yards out that the wall deflected. At the 63 minute mark, I've drawn first blood and lead Middlesbrough 1-0. I think I'm already addicted...

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Came away with a 1-0 win after dropping into a very defensive formation and game plan for the final 30 minutes. I'm very satisfied with winning my first Premiere league game but my Assistant recommended my post-game talk as being disappointed with my team.

My game plan was very conservative and after getting the lead I played keep away and didn't let the opposition have any scoring chances, so I was happy with the club despite my assistant's disappointment. Is Middlesbrough that bad that I should be upset with only winning 1-0?

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Amaroq:

Your explanation was quite good, rlovie; I'll certainly be adding this thread to my "list o' links" precisely to pick up your explanation of the league system. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Much obliged, good sir. If anyone with the ability to edit a post wants to fix whatever I've messed up, I won't mind a bit.

And OfficerTim, I think the consensus is that preseason friendlies are a PITA. You don't tend to do very well.

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How much to sub in league games? .. that can really depend. You're only allowed 3 subs, and different managers have very different ideas of when and how to use them.

First, I'm a condition fan. If I'm doing well, I tend to sub my three lowest-condition players on or after the hour mark, so maybe 63rd minute, 70th minute, 75th minute, as an example - usually replacing "like for like", in other words, a striker replacing a striker, a winger replacing a winger, etc. In fact, I've got a percentage (70%) below which I'm certainly thinking of bringing a player off. The theory here is "fresh legs can work harder" - its especially useful to bring on fast attacking players to face an already tiring defense in the final twenty minutes.

I've also made substitutions based on upcoming matches: for example, subbing off my striker at 65 minutes on Saturday so that he's in better condition for the big European match the coming Wednesday; this is especially true if I think the current match is well in hand.

In other matches, I might use substitutions to change formations. In other words, it might be: start out in a 4-4-2. Go up 1-0 at the 63rd minute? Great, bring a striker off for another midfielder, play in a 4-5-1 for a while. The opposition equalized in the 75th minute? Time for another sub: midfielder off, fresh striker on. Normal 4-4-2 now. No! The opposition got an 85th minute winner! Now its time to attack: defender off, midfielder on, 3-5-2 to try and get an equalizer...

Still other matches I've approached subs in a tactical manner based on their attributes. 60 minutes have gone by, and its still nil-nil on a game I think I need to win. Time to take my defense-minded left back off for a more attacking-oriented wingback who can help the offense. The opposition is really bunkered down now? Bring off a defensive midfielder for, as isuckatfm alluded to, a more attack-minded midfielder with better technical attributes.

Other managers on the forum swear by performance: there's a theory that the team chemistry can be greatly improved by pulling off the one player who is on a 5 or a 6 when the rest of your side is on a 7. I didn't use to subscribe to that theory, but in the past season or so I've several times brought of players who I thought were playing below their level, and seen an improvement in the performance of the rest of the team.

Finally, of course, you'll have forced substitutions due to injury and/or red card. (For example, if one of my defenders gets a red card, I'm likely to pull a striker off, sub on a defender, and play in a 4-4-1.) Some managers even advocate making only two voluntary substitutions, so that they have the flexibility to make the third sub if a player is injured, or if the goalie gets sent off.

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p.s., congrats on the win, and even bigger congrats on the budding addiction.. icon_biggrin.gif

No, 'Boro aren't bad enough that "only" winning 1-0 should be held against you. As Arsenal, you're basically the equivalent of the Yankees or the Patriots: in the fans' minds, its not just enough to win, you need to win every game by lots.

I was in France during World Cup '98, and overheard three Frenchmen talking about how unhappy they were that France had only won their match, 3-0, over South Africa. "We should have won by six," one told me, and another "It wasn't the score, it was how they played, very poor," another said. I'd watched the same game and thought that France had been in complete control throughout - and of course, as it turned out, they went on to win it all.

You'll find fan expectation in the game to be similarly over-the-top, but if you bring home the titles, you should be all right. icon_wink.gif

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Just played a game that I think was one of my more "important" ones. It was a Eurpean Champions Cup Game. It says I am in the Third Qualifying Phase right now, facing off against Beitar Jerusalem.

After looking at the rules, I figured that it was a two game series and the total score (aggregate?) would determine who moved on. It appears the first tiebreaker is away goals, so since I am the home team in game one, I wanted to play a very conservative game despite being a 4-6 favorite to win the game based on Sky Bet.

I played the 4-4-2 with a defensive mentality using short passes and slightly narrower than normal width. I closed down often, used tight marking and focused on the counter-attack. I came up with this game plan based on some things people said above about being a favorite and based on the fact that I didn't want to allow a dreaded away goal right off the bat. The result turned out to be astounding to me...

I beat the Jerusalem club 4-0. Goals by Eduardo (30), Tomas Rosicky (34), Gilberto Silva (79), and Robin van Persie (83). If I have interpreted what this 3rd qualifying stage is, then I have virtually locked up my spot in the next round because I will play an even more conservative game in 2 weeks when I see them again. I don't really need to win, just as long as I don't lose by 4, I advance, right?

A couple newb questions...

1) I'm guessing it was last year, but how did I qualify for this European Champions tournament?

2) Is this one of the "Big" tournaments that I should focus on, and prioritize over my premier league matches?

3) Is my interpretation of how to advance correct?

4) I keep wondering how good teams are before I play them, is there any way to see an overall rating score for a team, or something like that?

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Qualification in the EC is based on league performance the previous season, if you check the coefficients tag on the competition it tells you how many European places are given to each league.

Your quite correct this is one of the big tournaments and a huge financial windfall for the teams competing in it.

Your interpretation on how to advance is correct, who ever scores most over the two legs. If the away goals are the same then extra time is used and finally a penalty shoot out.

As for judging how good a team is theres no overall rating available to you but the odds presented should give you a hint, also your scouts report and finally take a quick look at there squad yourself.

Good to see a new convert to FM enjoying it and also people being so helpful on the forums rather than the usual arguments.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by OfficerTimFisher:

Just played a game that I think was one of my more "important" ones. It was a Eurpean Champions Cup Game. It says I am in the Third Qualifying Phase right now, facing off against Beitar Jerusalem. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes - IRL that's the "Champions League", and making sure that you get at least to the "Group Stage" of the C.L. is very important financially: the TV revenues from competing at the highest level are a huge part of the "big four" clubs' revenues. (The "Big Four" in England are Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United.)

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">After looking at the rules, I figured that it was a two game series and the total score (aggregate?) would determine who moved on. It appears the first tiebreaker is away goals, so since I am the home team in game one, I wanted to play a very conservative game despite being a 4-6 favorite to win the game based on Sky Bet. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yep. "Aggregate" scores in a home-and-home series are the most common form of "single-elimination" game in European play.

(Domestically, it'll usually be a single game, not a home-and-home, so who draws home field advantage is very important!)

You're right that away goals are key, but the way that that typically winds up looking is "Make sure you win it at home, then try for 0-0 away".

Your tactical approach for the match sounds quite sound to me. I'd suggest you save that tactic, so that you can load it again some day in the future, if you want it again.

(Personally, I keep a library of about four to six "saved tactics" so that I can easily switch to them during a match, or pre-match.)

Yeah, with the four goal lead, you've all but got that second game locked up. I'd suggest playing a "Counter attack" game, and possibly even just using the exact same tactic you just used - you don't want to just sit back and let them dominate possession, and you can afford to "make a mistake".

I'd probably feel confident enough to play some younger players, backups and fringe players, in that second game, because I think its important to get them experience - and it lets me rest my stars for "more important" matches. I'd totally understand if you don't (yet) feel comfortable doing that.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">A couple newb questions...

1) I'm guessing it was last year, but how did I qualify for this European Champions tournament? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The only way to qualify for the Champions League is:

1st in EPL -> Champions League group stage

2nd in EPL -> Champions League group stage

3rd in EPL -> Champions League qualifying rounds

4th in EPL -> Champions League qualifying rounds

Win the Champions League -> automatic berth.

There are several other European spots available:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Amaroq at Sharpening a Rusty Blade, Book III, pg 7:

European qualifying, if you're American or otherwise unfamiliar with England, works like this: the top four teams from the Premier League qualify for the Champions League - or at least for one of the Champions League qualifying rounds.

Then, there are three spaces which qualify for the UEFA Cup. The first of these goes to the League Cup winner, while the second goes to the F.A. Cup winner, and the third to the fifth place team from the Premier League. If, however, you have a situation like last year's, where first-place Chelsea and fifth-placed Manchester United won the two Cups, the places 'default' out. The F.A. Cup place is awarded to the runner-up (if they haven't also qualified). Then, the places are awarded to the sixth and, if applicable, seventh-place finishers in the League. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Really, that's all you're going to need to know, as Arsenal: if you don't finish in the top four of the league, you're likely to get sacked, so what you'd qualify for is hardly going to be relevant to you. icon_wink.gif

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">2) Is this one of the "Big" tournaments that I should focus on, and prioritize over my premier league matches? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Absolutely.

As Arsenal, I'd rank the tournaments you're likely to be in as follows:

- 1. Champions League (aka Champions Cup)

- 2. English Premier League

- 3. F.A. Cup

- 4. Club World Championship (aka Club World Cup)

- 5. League Cup (aka Carling Cup)

- 6. Community Shield (aka Charity Shield)

IRL, most managers use the Carling Cup to get young players experience, and to some extent may even do the same with the F.A. Cup, at least in early rounds.

The Club World Championship, for all its gaudy name, is much less intense than the Champions League, because it pits the champion of each of the 6 continental competitions. You get to it by winning the Champions League, but the quality of competition is much lower - most of the best players in the world play in Europe.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">3) Is my interpretation of how to advance correct? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Spot on. If you lose in Jerusalem, 0-3, you'll advance "on aggregate", 4-3.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">4) I keep wondering how good teams are before I play them, is there any way to see an overall rating score for a team, or something like that? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not really.

For now, assume that any team you meet from Spain or Italy is freakin' awesome. These clubs especially should strike terror into your heart: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan, A.C. Milan.

The next tier down would be Germany and France; everybody else you should outclass with relative ease.

Domestically, the only clubs to really worry about are Chelsea, Liverpool, and United, for now, though as the game develops obviously teams can wax and wane in skill.

Once I'm a few seasons down the road, I use past performance as an indicator: each team has a History section and you can see what their league standing was for any given year, and/or how they've done in any active tournament.

So, say you find yourself in the fifth year of your save-game facing FC Bayern Munich. They're a German team who - hypothetically, in your save game - have built their way into dominance and won the Champions League the past two seasons.. you could find that out by looking at the team.

Also, as grahamf says, the pre-match "odds" will help you tell that, and a scout report of the squad can too. Likewise, simply looking at the quality of players on their side might help. (I like to look at their top scorer and top assist-generator, and might think of playing some specific Opposition Instructions if I don't like what I see)

References:

1. wikipedia: UEFA Champions League

2. wikipedia: English Premier League, includes section on "Qualification for European competitions".

3. FIFA Club World Cup

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Thanks guys, that really helps me get the picture of what games I should be most concerned about and what the games mean.

I played 2 games this morning as well, both Premier Division matches. The first was a disappointing 0-0 draw at home against Derby despite outplaying them and having numerous scoring chances while they didn't muster a single shot. I followed this up by going on the road to beat Manchester City 2-1 in a fairly evenly played match. Current Record in Premier play is 2 wins and 1 draw, good for 4th in the Division.

I still need to do some research on tactics, the only one I really have the hang of is the defensive minded counter-attack type game I've been playing. I'd like to open things up and be a little bit more offensive minded so I'll see if I can come up with a solid gameplan for that.

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When you've got the counter-attack working like you do, it can actually feel "easier" to win matches away from home. When they come to London to face you, teams are really thinking "God, I'll be happy to get out of here with a nil-nil.."

Thus, your experience against Derby.

If you didn't read "Tactical Theorems and Frameworks" (linked earlier), go back and do that now. If you did read it, try re-reading it now that you're starting to feel more comfortable.

Pay close attention to the differences he describes between "Attack" and "Control" as philosophies: I suspect that, to succeed in the face of those nil-nils, you're going to need to develop a "Control" philosophy.

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I think post like this, and the links contained within, should be stickied for all FMers, not just newbies. The descriptions of the user problems, the quality of the answers and the writing, the step-by-step progression of the 'newbies' understanding level provide well-rounded insight into the playing copmplexities of the FM experience. Many 'this sucks' posters could learn a lot about playing the game in the manner intended by following such a thread.

An interesting side-note: all newbie threads of this quality are American. Obviously, this is partly down to Amaroq. However, that cannot be the entire reason, as the questioner is always American too. Could it be because Americans understand and enjoy sports from a statistical perspective they find the stat/attribute side of FM naturally compelling and more easily combine statistical apprecation with tactical decision making? Do Brits (especially the English) perceive sport (especially football) from a too emotional perspective which blinds them from what they are doing wrong? Are we simply too passionate and emotional about sport to try and understand it from an intellectual or statistical perspective? Is that why we have no decent English manager and an underperforming national side?

As Thierry Henry once said when questioned about the England football team's greatest strength 'their passion', and on their greatest weakness 'their passion'. Maybe that is the case with FM players as well.

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I like the way OTF is trying to come to terms with FM08 and football in general and everyones posts are helpful to him and i hope he comes good in his managerial quest but his game is no short route to success and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make a really good team in this game, but im sure people will help you with what you need to know.

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wwfan,

hey watch it bub, some of your Americans are CANADIANS! <VBG>

In all seriosuness, I think that one of the reason that most newbie threads like this one and my own, are by north americans is maybe because we are complete newbies to the sport. Yes, it's a quickly growing sport, but it still lags way behind the major sports here and most of us aren't really exposed to it, and definitely NOT at the level you're used to.

I think one thing we have going for us, is that we go in with no preconceived notions of how things should be done, which opens us up to trying things that people who were brought up with the game would never try. It's easy to grasp the rules of the sport, but the intricacies take a long time.

Also, in most of our major sports, there seems to be a lot more statistics, especially baseball, and it seems like many of us here come from that baseball background, where stats are king.

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The last thing I would want to do is confuse a Canadian with an American. When I lived in Copenhagen a lot of my best friends were Canucks, so I know from first hand experience how much they resent it. I hope you can forgive me and you didn't get too upset aboot it icon_biggrin.gif

Living in Sydney, I probably get to watch even less English football than you do. I see less than a handful of games a season on average. Fox Sports is too expensive for me as I am surviving on a research scholarship right now (which is close to the poverty line icon_smile.gif ) so I only get to watch CL matches at circa 4.00 a.m.!

I think you might have a point re those who have played football struggling to come to terms with managing in FM (or in real life for that matter). A lot of the better modern-day managers are people who weren't great footballers. Taking the English game as an example, the better managers of recent years were all average players at best. Ferguson had a few years at top clubs but was made very much a scapegoat for poor team performances, Weneger made only 11 first-team appearances, Mourinho failed as a professional footballer, Eriksson played Div 2 in Sweden, Benitez was a Segunda B player, Moyes a journeyman midfielder, Allerdyce a Second Division player with one honour. There are exceptions, with Martin O'Neill, Mark Hughes, Gordon Strachan all having been good footballers and tasted some level of critical success in the English game, and the new England manager, Capello, was a seriously good player.

However, what of Bryan Robson, Glenn Hoddle, Kevin Keegan, Graeme Souness and Ruud Gullit. All have tarnished their playing reputations through poor management ability. I think a lot of it is down to the fact that players they manage can't replicate how they played themselves and thus they are unable to interact with them at the required level, whereas the less good players understand how difficult the game is and learn how to get the best out of their side. FM players are a different kettle of fish. They have played football at a semi-decent level and conflate that with understanding how top flight football is played. That blinds them to the inadequecies of the football strategy that their experience has taught them (a trained incapacity to use Veblen's terminology) and inhibits their ability to see how football 'really' is at the highest level. North Americans will never have that incapacity and thus can better adapt to the FM experience.

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Well, I tinkered with my approach a little bit and played a more offensive game at home against Aston Villa.

I had a fast-paced offensive strategy with a lot of short range passes with a little bit more narrow than normal spacing. I played pressure defense that pushed up a lot, especially on Aston Villa's midfield and defense.

I dominated possession in the first half but was still tied 0-0 at half. Aston Villa did have a few scoring opportunities on the counter attack so I lightened up on the pressure on midfielders and allowed my defense lines to sit back a little farther.

After this, Aston Villa did not generate any scoring chances and I continued to outplay them. With two second half goals, I defeated them 2-0. Since I'm used to baseball and a stat-based analysis, I took a look at some eye-popping match stats after the game.

Possession: Arsenal 64%, Aston Villa 36%

Shots: Arsenal 18 (10 on target), Aston Villa 3 (0 on target)

Fouls: Arsenal 3, Aston Villa 19

After looking at action zones of the game, I was happy to see that 25% of the game was Arsenal possession in the opposition's zone and 31% was Arsenal possessing in the midfield. In my analysis, it was very good to have 56% of the game when I was in possession in the midfield or on the attack, compared to 22% of the time Aston Villa being in possession at the midfield or attacking.

I feel like I'm learning a lot and I'm happy with my progress. However, I'm going to have to continue to learn quick because I unluckily drew Chelsea in the English League Cup 3rd Round. I'll play them in a Premier Division game on 22.9.2007 and then in the English League Cup on 26.9.2007. That'll be a difficult couple of games.

The only question I have is I was wondering if it is alright if the other team is fouling me like crazy and I continue to avoid tackling them. It gets me a ton of free kicks and avoids them having kicks and my players getting carded but is it like hockey where the other team will bully you around and possibly injure your players if you don't fight back?

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Just like to say you are a fantastic quick learner and I offer you my greatest respect. Anyway some advice, Villa seemed to absorb your attacks considering you got 10 shots on target. Try a more patient build-up slowing the tempo and playing shorter passes to start of with to try and breakdown an oppositions offense. As you have probably learnt by now, Arsenal are considered a big team, so if you are expected to win try using the patient tactic more often.

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The key variables are

- Bravery

- Aggression

- Composure

- Tackling

They're all going to play together, just about as you'd imagine that they would.

If you have any players on low Bravery, they may be very intimidate by players who come in for hard tackling.

If you have players who are on high Aggression, and you give them hard tackling, they're more likely to go in rashly and pick up a card.

If you have players with low Composure, they may lose their composure when a foul is called against them and argue their way into a yellow. (Captain with Composure is key too).

And tackling skill itself is what enables your player to go in hard, and still not pick up a card.

I'd say "If it works, what you're doing is good."

Personally, I tend to play hard tackling, and tune it down if I notice a referee who likes to dish out cards, so I can't tell you if you'll get a long-term negative out of not doing so - but free kicks conceded are always very dangerous against me, so I can see the benefits to your style.

You may find that it breaks down when you come upon a hard-tackling opponent combined with a "just let them play" ref, in which case you can probably safely go up to Hard tackling without fear.

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Hello, OfficerTimFischer, and welcome to the forums! I think you're learning pretty quick, at least the results show that icon14.gif

As for tackling: Amaroq said that some refs are likely to tolerate almost everything. Well, some others like to show a card for everything. I found it pretty useful to check out the statistics of the ref before the game, as it shows a hint of his strictness. If the red cards/game avg. is nearing 1 or the yellow cards/avg. is about 5/game, I surely wouldn't advise hard tackling.

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Night class couldn't come at a worse time. I just took a 2-1 lead on Chelsea at the 75 minute mark and I have to leave the game on pause for 2 1/2 hours.

This is truly an addication! I can't believe I'm screaming at little red dots on the screen. I even get angry with the referee when he makes calls I don't like.. (even though I can't see anything other than 2 dots running into each other) icon_biggrin.gif

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*grin*

Yeah, welcome to the addiction!

"Hi, my name's Amaroq, and I'm an FM addict..."

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