The Juventus Gambit; Why Hoarding Players Can Pay Off

The title “Juventus gambit” is bound to raise questions. Before I explain, let me illustrate a point upfront. How many transfers do you think Juventus has done this season? Transfermarkt has the answer; 74 in, 79 out, which includes youth players. This isn’t incidental, last season the grand Old Lady of Italian football had 75 incoming players compared to 81 players leaving Juventus. The season before that, the numbers were at 59 incoming, 63 outgoing.

These are staggering numbers, to say the least, mindboggling would come closer to an accurate description of the status quo. When you look at these figures more closely, you can see that they are somewhat inflated by the sheer number of loan deals Juventus does. The Bianconeri seem to loan a tonne of players away every season, despite most of these never reaching first team status. This raises the question regarding the motives of the Turin club in doing so.

This rather straightforward question yields an equally uncomplicated answer; it’s a lucrative business to loan away youngsters like that, with the added side-effect that those who develop spectacularly can be integrated into the first team squad. Let’s take a look at an example taken from real life.

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The dashing youngster above is Vykintas Slivka, a Lithuanian midfielder. Juventus signed him from Lithuanian top side Ekranas, before loaning him away to Modena, NK Gorica, FC Den Bosch and Ascoli. Presumably, most of these clubs paid for his wages on top of a small loan fee. Another example of such a player is Dutch-Moroccan Ajax midfielder Ouasim Bouy, bought by Juventus but loaned to the likes of Panathinaikos, FC Zwolle, HSV, Brescia and Palermo. While we’re dealing with relatively small numbers here, many small numbers will still add up to a rather hefty sum. This strategy is what I have dubbed the Juventus gambit, and in this article, I will show you how to replicate this strategy in FM.

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Tactical Reviews; A New Format

Our last tactical review dates back to 2015 which is a bloody outrage. The concept is still strong, but the delivery is perhaps ready for a new approach. This is where my good friend Matthias (@DerFManager) comes in. We’re going to try a video format now. Both of us have prepared our scalpels and wits, and we dissected the craziest tactic we could find as a warm-up. Give the video a look, like it and share it if you like what you see, let us know your feedback when you don’t, and feel free to suggest other tactics for us to review in the future.

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Wingerless: Tactical Philosophy

Part 2 of the Wingerless Series

 

This is the second part of my wingerless series where I write about how I’ve challenged myself to play football manager without wingers nor to score or conceding from the dreaded cross.

As a Chelsea fan from about 2003 (queue the taunts), I got used to the gritty defensive style of the game where even conceding one goal is considered an ink stain on a white shirt. Unfortunately, in football manager, the defensive style which I love is a disaster to replicate. Sitting deeper and absorbing pressure, which is a hallmark of a defensive masterclass in real life, is just begging for trouble in football manager because of the match engine’s obsession with goals from crosses. I roughly estimate that between 70-80 percent of the goals conceded in football manager are from crosses especially if you don’t set up correctly to defend them. Continue reading

Exploring The Limits Of My Tactical Knowledge; The Stuka Tactic

Back in October, I posted on this site my ‘Revival Of the Four Horsemen’ tactic where I took Guido’s Original tactic as a base and turned it into a winning machine with Arsenal. I outlined at the end of the post that my main save in FM17 will be with Espanyol, and my first season I will be testing the ‘Four Horsemen’ for its reliability. The outcome was a success, achieving a  4th place finish with Espanyol in the first season.

Following that season I outlined in RCD Espanyol 2.1 that our tactics would change into a Strikerless 4-1-3-2 with the same foundations laid from the ‘Four Horsemen’. This tactic was then in use for the next two seasons where we achieved a 3rd placed finish followed by winning the league in our 3rd year, along with 2 Copa del Reys. Something which I thought was somewhat premature. So that is when I decided to test my tactical skills and attempt something completely out of my comfort zone. ‘Out of my comfort zone’ ended up developing a tactic I have dubbed Stuka (reference Guido for the name).

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Wingerless- Anti Crossing Philosophy

I once asked long time Football Manager enthusiasts Guido Merry on Twitter ‘How would you explain the role of the Defensive Forward’ to which he unsatisfactorily replied ‘don’t know, don’t use strikers’. Now call it making the most of few twitter characters, or call it rude but I ended up hypocritically doing the same thing on Reddit when a user asked me in a sub-thread about the use of wingers. To each his own I guess. Guido abhors strikers, and I loathe wingers. But why? You’d have to ask Guido or probably read his first ever football manager blog post, but here I’ll let you know why I call myself the Wingerless Manager.

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Counterpressing In FM17 (Sort Of Anyway)

As an ever-increasing number of foreign managers have sought to make an impression on the English Premier League, more and more attention has been given to the concept of counter-pressing. Previously, such tactical musings were the domain of pretentious hipsters trying to be interesting by brandishing such terms or the odd tactical aficionado. With the arrival of the likes of Mauricio Pocchettino, Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, the act of pressing and closing down the opposition immediately after the ball is turned over is receiving more attention, which inevitably leads to people trying to emulate such a concept in Football Manager.

Counter-pressing is intended to win the ball back as quickly as possible when possession is lost, simultaneously aiming to win back possession as well as snuffing out potential counter-attacks. For the concept to work as designed, the team needs to play as a compact and cohesive unit, reacting as quickly as possible whenever the ball is lost. Can we make this work in FM17?

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Debunking The Formation Myth; The Medusa

When you have followed this blog, you will have noticed that I have a quirky kind of love for strange formations, for peculiar settings and for tactics that are different than they might appear at first sight. The entire blog is named after a rather alien concept in football, so I guess it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that I generally try to think outside of the proverbial box. The Medusa tactic, which is bound to cause a few fits for people with tactical OCD, is a nice example of my desire to push the limits of what FM is capable of.

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