This is the season to be jolly. A tonic we haven’t had too much of during 2020, but one thing we have certainly enjoyed is the build-up towards and ultimately the release of FM21. With a much-improved match engine, the game plays a lot smoother and faster than its predecessor.
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.
Some set-piece routines come about after painstaking, goal-oriented research finally yields the result that a creator is trying to find. On the other hand, some amazing routines came about when someone found something they weren’t looking for. This one is definitely the latter. Your drunk uncle accidentally stumbles into something wonderful.
I started with a plain and simple corner routine, aiming to recreate my short corner setup from FM20. A short option, decent headers on the posts, two players to challenge for any loose balls and two players staying back. Pretty straight-forward and nothing fanciful or out-of-the-ordinary here.
In terms of effectiveness, it wasn’t the worst the corner setup out there. A return of 7 goals from 38 games was enough to grab second place in the Serie A ranking of corner effectiveness.
On the other hand, the routine did not do what I hoped it would do. While we scored a respectable number of goals, we didn’t score any via short corners. Instead, we got straightforward goals where one of the players in the box beat his marker and headed home.
The reason I persist with using this corner tactic is the added benefit it brings to the fore. By some sort of freak glitch (don’t worry whinge-brigade, I logged this one during Beta), my throw-ins, which were left vanilla and completely unaltered, turned into a sort of human trebuchet routine which was insanely effective.
The angle and flight of the ball are completely insane. No realistic throw-in should achieve such height yet distance as well. Not to mention the fact that such a flighted ball would be easy pickings for any goalkeeper worth their salt. Yet somehow FM’s goalies turn into the equivalent of a vampire whenever he encounters a cross-sign; they either freeze or flap about aimlessly.
In-game, you see situations like the ones below arise.
You may also notice that these settings look absolutely nothing like either the vanilla throw-in settings FM21 uses nor the corner setup I linked above. Yet somehow, the corner routine causes this to happen. As soon as I change the corner setup, the throw-in one changes as well. Either way, because of the weird flight of the ball, it’s hugely effective.
Since the proof, as they say, is in the pudding, I will show you a few more examples. FM does not keep tabs on goals from throw-ins in terms of its statistics but rest assured I had little difficulty finding these examples. The added output from the throw-ins more than doubles the effectiveness of the corner setup, which makes it worthwhile to use.
The weird part is that the players delivering the throw-ins are hardly long-throw experts. My delivery systems were Alexis Saelemaekers, Diogo Dalot, Theo Hernandez and Davide Calabria, while Jens Petter Hauge got a few assists this way as well. None of them have high ratings for this skill.
|Jens Petter Hauge||5|
None of them have a PPM related to throw-ins either. Yet somehow, they are mysteriously transformed into human trebuchets, catapulting a football into the penalty area in a way that turns goalies into bumbling fools. I’d say that’s worth an article on its own.