If you have been following me on Twitter somewhat, you will have noticed my ongoing digital love-affair with Zlatan Ibrahimovic over the course of my FM21 save with AC Milan. Ever since returning to Milan from his MLS exploits, the Swedish frontman has rolled back the years, playing like a man 15 years younger. I always knew that Zlatan wouldn't last forever and that the time of his impending retirement drew nearer every time I hit continue. Like any manager worth his salt, I saw what needed to be done. Who could replace Zlatan?
Over the past decades, we have seen ample evidence of the long throw-in and its effectiveness. Most notably, Rory Delap's bullet throws long proved a useful piece of weaponry for Stoke City. Launching howitzers into the box towards tall and powerful players turned out to be a winning strategy.
The success of Delap and Stoke proves that football need not be complicated. Find someone to lob the ball into the box and have your strongest players shove around defenders and the goalkeeper. Since you can't be offside from a throw-in, you can bring up your strongest players to cause mayhem in the opposing box.
Earlier I wrote a brief piece on my intentions for FM21. This the first proper article in this series, in which I want to look at the defensive aspect of things. Defensively, I want to look at the three defensive principles forcing the opposition wide, restricting the opposition's space and maintaining a cohesive formation, how I am to achieve those and which performance indicators I use to make sure my players are performing the way I want them to.
Now that we have all been sucked into the enslaving obsession we all know FM can become if the game is good enough, it is time to look at another yearly seasonal tradition; the hunt for superb set-pieces. I am no stranger to the subject, I have tried (and succeeded on occasion) to create successful set-piece routines. FM21 was no exception to the rule and I tried my hand at creating a corner setup. You have probably heard of the famous saying "necessity is the mother of all invention"? Well, if necessity is the mother of all invention, blind luck is the drunk uncle of invention. Not exactly something to be proud of but there's a surprising number of such cases. This is the case of the mysterious throw-in routine that started as a corner setup.
Over the course of FM20 I have at times struggled to get into the flow of the game. It's not that my teams were not achieving successes but something felt off. My tactics were not producing the smooth, silky style of play they used to in other installments of the game. What was up? Were my earlier successes flukes? Were all those comments about exploiting, hacking and cheating correct? It all came down to the shadow striker and how he behaved and interacted.
During our succession save, two most excellent forwards played a major part in the quick ascension of Depor; Internazionale's Sebastiano Esposito and a Brazilian newgen forward called Ruan. While both forwards were formidable forces on their own, our tactical tendency had quickly shifted to a single-forward setup. Neither Ruan nor Esposito was undisputed for all the managers involved. This ongoing mystery plagued the minds of the entire managerial pool. How can two obviously world-class players vacillate between quietly mediocre performances and stellar form within the course of a season?
As any seasoned player of the game knows, you can add and remove leagues to the setup of your savegame. If you have used this feature yourself, you can probably relate that at times the game adds too good, fully developed regens to teams in a newly activated league. The addition of too talented players creates an imbalance in the game world, not to mention the vast potential for human player exploits. Those of you with dastardly motives should pay attention. Strategic manipulation of the game is the point where I come in; this article will feature a few ways to game the adding and removal of leagues within your savegame. I present to you an introduction to the wonderful, majestic yet dastardly world of leaguescumming.
In the previous article in what might become an entire series, I described how you could use a customised squad view FMF-file and an Excel sheet to generate graphics that showed you how many minutes Read more…
After the unexpected success of the shithousing article, I went back for more. This time we are looking at various acts of shithousery one can commit on the transfer market. If you enjoyed the previous part, you will love this one. If you did not enjoy the previous part, I recommend you not read this one.
I am not going to take credit for coming up with this style of graphic, I saw it in one of the articles over at Voetbal International and figured it looked cool enough to replicate. While I am not at all an expert in the usage of Excel, it didn't take me long to whip up something that looked reasonably good. It's a quick way to identify squad management issues and let's be honest, it looks cool in your blog or on your social media page as well.
Over the past years, especially during multiplayer matches, I have become impressed with the various acts of shithousery the game allows you to unleash upon unsuspecting opponents. In itself, shithousery is a muddled, somewhat ambiguous term. For this article, let us define it as the dark arts of football, resorted to gain an advantage over a nominally superior opponent, often by somewhat underhanded means.
Chrissy Ross shares his take on the classic 4-4-2 with us, as it's a tactical with a significant cultural interest to this day. It has given us great teams such as Sacchi’s Milan side and Ferguson’s Treble winning Manchester United team, as well as giving its name to one of the world’s most successful football lifestyle magazines. This article will provide not only an in-depth description of a functional flat 4-4-2 tactic that can win the Premier League with Bournemouth first season without transfers but also will justify and state why we should not look to discount old formations but instead should look to reinvigorate them with our modern tactical understanding of the game.
I decided I wanted to shape the development of my players a bit more. I tried to form the players coming through the ranks to better suit my brand of football, so my U18's needed an overhauled training regime. That meant looking at their development and sculpting it more to my tastes and preferences. These are the training regimes I use to do so.
Set piece plays are an essential aspect of the game. If you are unable to break down a particularly sturdy defence, a well-executed set piece may be all you need to pry open the defence. Hell, you can win games by making sure your offensive set pieces are good. In this blog post, I am running through the plays I am using in FM20.
If Football Manager fora and Twitter are a reliable gauge to the mood of the gaming audience, one of the main gripes of gamers everywhere seems to be deadly accurate long balls played over the top, only for a striker to escape and end up in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper. So how can we fix this?
In the past, we have mentioned the Withdrawn Targetman saga and detailed various tactics built around a deep-lying, playmaking targetman — Guido’s patented targetganche. In their infinite wisdom, however, SI have not added any role Read more…
Football is a game of transitions, as matches can be won or lost by alternating quickly and successfully between attack and defence. Teams like Liverpool base their style of play on these transitional moments, making deadly counter-attacks a house speciality. This shift in style for many real-life football teams has been emulated by Football Manager; ensuring your tactical system is set up to give your team the best chance of taking advantage of mistakes in the transitional phases of the opposition while similarly limiting your own risks is key to doing well in Football Manager 20.
Nicolaj Bur wakes with a start. He was having that dream. Again... A stranger's barbed voice from the other side of the hotel bed, half asleep. “Bad dream, love?” A sigh, followed by a mumbled, half-hearted response. “Something like that.” A comforting pat on the arm. What Nicolaj needs is a more sympathetic ear. Someone who understands him.
We've all come across situations like this one. You spot a talented player worth a few million, you approach his club with an offer, and they fire back with a ludicrous demand fifty times his actual value. I'm sure that rings a bell with most of us. The transfer market is going crazy, in real life as well as in Football Manager. As a result, training and developing your youths become increasingly essential, especially when money is tight. In this article I want to discuss my training regimen.
As mentioned in the previous article, Johan Cruijff has always been a huge inspiration for a lot of Dutch football fans. He’s the godfather of football in the Netherlands, and he has left a legacy which will be carried on in our hearts forever. And even though I am a massive fan of PSV Eindhoven, I do have to say that sometimes I wished that Cruijff has touched our club with some of his magic. But PSV has had her legends such as Romario and Ronaldo. But what if the scenario described above, has happened. What if Johan Cruijff touched PSV for a little while and our club has taken over some of his visions, combined with our own identity, would this bring a Champions League shortly? To find out, we’re going to implement his tactical vision into our team. Attacking, sexy football, which without the position changed could be described as “Total Football”. Would it actually at all be possible to play Cruijffs’ “Total Football” in Football Manager 2019? Johan Cruijff was all about developing young football talents, creating a formidable team of home-grown players which could play attacking football to entertain the fans. The first stop was recreating his 3-4-3 Diamond, and after a lot of experimentation, I have developed a system which I am really enjoying to watch. and became the foundation of the success for the upcoming years.
Ever since I was a little boy, there was this admiration of Johan Cruijff all around me. Who else was, as a Dutch guy, we’re all injected with the Cruijff-virus at a young age. For some the best football player ever, for others the person who gave FC Barcelona the status they have today, and for another person, it’s merely a man who doesn’t make any logical sentences when he was analysing a game of football. But what we can’t disagree on is that he was mainly responsible for putting the Netherlands on the world map of football.
In the previous article I talked you through my new 'VW' tactic based on the car brands logo and my decision to play 2 strikers in my second season with Ajax Cape Town. In this article I will analyse the formation & roles to discuss their movement & give examples via videos & screenshots.
If you look to make an impact on the transfer market, you need to know the products available. Gaining this insight into the available options is where your scouting network comes in, constantly scouring various leagues and Read more…
Tactic Construction When i start to put together a tactic I always start with the bookends of the formation - defenders & strikers. Once I've decided on the number of players I want in these 2 zones then I structure the rest of the team to both protect & feed these key roles. In this series I have also introduced another factor into my tactic construction process - the logo challenge.
Over the past few years, I have written numerous tactical articles. Most of these articles finished on the end product, the downloadable tactic. Some of these tactical articles focussed on specific aspects of the tactic. I even had a brief series of articles on how to edit and tweak them. While I am still content with the quality of the material, the nagging feeling that I could have done better still remains. This series of articles is my attempt to do better, to show you how I created the tactic, what I had in mind and how I tweaked it to work as intended.
Off We Go!! So after all the discussions and planning stages, it's time to put it all into action. The main goals were to get promotion out of the 2nd tier at the first attempt whilst stabilising the club financially. Squad wise we were very heavy which meant we were haemorrhaging money, so the first thing to do was pass the reins to Guido to be ruthless and sort the squad out.
In my previous post we have seen that we had a comfortable lead at the winter break. With a seven point lead everything was looking very good and it was up to us to keep Read more…
In this post i will guide you through the first half of the season with 1. FC Köln. In my previous post i’ve showed you my tactical plans and now you will see how my Read more…
You all must have heard the usual story about the hero who got bitter to the system and withdrew himself to the cabin in the mountains to lead a simple life. As always, also in that story, a need arises among the others to summon that hero back to save the day since no one else can. They approach the stoic hermit and at first, the hero always declines to come back but eventually, he just can't help himself and is willing to sacrifice himself for others for one last time.
Some scientific discoveries come about after painstaking, goal-oriented lab work finally yields the result that a researcher is trying to find. But many of the most incredible discoveries in the world came about when someone found something they were not looking for. In some cases, these are the result of a true accident. Lucky accidents have allowed people to discover unexpected but useful side effects. That is certainly the case for my new corner routine.
So after my first foray into football management in this virtual world of FM19 and my first attempt at blogging here on Strikerless, it was time to undertake a more challenging club role. I looked around the globe to find a club that had in my opinion always underperformed and that would be a real challenge of mine ( & Guido's) skills to turn into a powerhouse of both their domestic league & continental competition. I wanted a club that had never won their league but had an interesting story to tell. I was torn between the Far East and the heavy investment pouring into the likes of the Chinese Super League and the more established leagues around Europe, when I stumbled across the famous name of Ajax but in South Africa?!? Surely I was mistaken?
Sdlonners Kram's Huddersfield Town miracle defied expectation, he is the club’s modern day Herbert Chapman. Going by the resources available, and the squad available, Huddersfield should never have been capable of survival. They should have been relegated. So to follow that with English & European Crowns was absurd.
A few years ago, Chris Darwen started playing a formation he dubbed his “Argentine strikerless,” a formation with three defensive midfielders. When I looked back at the last World Cup and the Argentine national team Read more…
In a shock announcement to the press, Sdlonner Kram has today announced his resignation from his role as 1st team coach of Huddersfield Town FC after three highly successful seasons at the club in which he guided the club to 3 Premier League titles, 1 UEFA Champions League, 3 FA Cups, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 1 FIFA Club World Cup, 1 Carabao Cup and 2 Community Shields. Even more surprising is that Kram has decided to undertake a new role in South Africa with Ajax Cape Town F.C.
This article is the first time I've attempted to write anything about Football Manager that isn't a weird story or a basic season update post. This post won't be long and should hopefully shed light on a little trick I suppose you'd call it, to find wonderkids easily. Every person that plays FM hopes to uncover some wonderkid from a far-off country that takes their team to the next level.
In this post i will show you how i’ve build a solid foundation at 1. FC Köln in three steps. I always deem this to be a very important step if you want to create Read more…
1. FC Köln have been a club who have only been successful in the past. In 1962, 1964 and 1978 the club has managed to win the Bundesliga and in 1986 they lost a Uefa Cup Final against Real Madrid. 1. FC Köln have had their 21stcentury ups and downs due to the mixed performances the club recently has had. They have been relegating from the 1. Bundesliga to the 2.Bundesliga and promoting the other way around quite a few times. Their last relegation to the 2. Bundesliga was last season. So I've set out to bring this glorious club back to the top of German football. Once we achieve that milestone European and Global domination are going to be our new objectives.
Following on from Guido’s piece on the transfer structure and signings he made during the close season, the pressure was on me to now utilise the squad he has provided me with and deliver some results. But what would success look like regarding this second season both in the eyes of the board and the supporters, and how would I manage my squad to deliver the goals set? Which competition(s) would / should we prioritise and why?