Tactical Kryptonite To The FM17.2 ME; The Inverted Wingback

In a way, football is a sport of the mind as much as it is of the body. Football thrives on creating and exploiting space for yourself and for others. A successful tactic finds ways to generate space where there was thought to be none. This objective can be achieved by patiently passing the ball around, by hoofing the ball forward to a big guy, by stretching the opposition until holes appear, by immediately counter-attacking once the ball is won or in a dozen other and distinctive ways. The fact remains that every tactic exploits space somehow.

The match engine of Football Manager is no different than an actual football match in terms of tactics, the key to creating a successful tactic is finding a way to generate and exploit space for your team, whilst simultaneously restricting the space the opposition gets. Every version of the match engine has its weaknesses, a specific tactic or approach that is overpowered, a bit too effective. In FM16 you could score for fun just by launching a barrage of crosses into the penalty area, CM03/04 had its Diablo tactic with the insanely effective central midfielder scoring for fun and in the 17.2 match engine you have another example of this tactical kryptonite; the inverted wingback.

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Facing Off Against Superior Opposition; Parking The Bus 101

It’s a phrase that has been around for a bit more than a decade, “parking the bus.” It’s not a phrase with a positive connotation as it is used to describe teams employing a highly defensive minded tactic. These tactics usually involve at least two defensive banks sitting deep in their own half, inviting pressure and letting the opposition keep the ball and passing it around, waiting for them to make a mistake.

When the opposition has made a mistake and lost possession, the team parking the bus only commits a few players to the counter-attack. These advanced outlets further up the pitch will then break quickly towards goal. The tactic is based on the beliefs that when you do not concede a goal, you cannot lose the game, and you can limit the chances your opposition creates by restricting the amount of space in your own final third.

Since this brand of football is generally not as aesthetically pleasing it is often branded as a negative approach to football, anti-football even. That is rather harsh since it is a well-drilled approach, which requires the right personnel, hours and hours of practice, and a good amount of insight into the setup of both your own team, the opposition’s team and various other circumstances surrounding the match.

In this article, we are going to look at what makes up a good tactic to park the bus, how to set one up of your own, various factors to take into consideration when opting to play such a tactic and ultimately you get the chance to download my own strikerless take of parking the bus.

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Project Libero; The Tactic

Back in the days, liberos were a truly majestic sight to behold. Step into your time machine and go back in time a good 20 or so years. Turn on the tv and watch teams defend. The majority of them will feature a type of player that seems to have been lost from the modern game. You’ll see an elegant defender sitting behind the defensive line, picking up stray through balls from an attacker. As he effortlessly brings it under his control, he marches forward with it, stepping past the other defenders and moving into the midfield zone. From there he acts as a modern day deep-lying playmaker, initiating the play and spreading it out to the flanks, or playing it forward into midfield or attack. This is the libero. People tend to get nostalgic about liberos and their style of play and rightfully so, as they were often stylish and elegant players, epitomised by the likes of Franz Beckenbauer and Franco Baresi.

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Brexit Happened; What Now?

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”

-Socrates

Socrates believed that in order to change, one has to accept it. He emphasised that instead of harping on lost time, a change should inspire us to build something new, which leads us nicely to the whole drama that has become Brexit.

Unless you have been living under a rock the past year, you will have heard about Brexit, one of the biggest political decisions taken in the UK since the Second World War. Before the EU referendum, debate raged about what the impact would be of a vote to leave the EU. Now the country has backed Brexit, the consequences and ramifications of this decision are still somewhat murky.

While the rest of the world holds its breath to see what happens when (and if) Article 50 is triggered, Football Manager 2017 features several Brexit scenarios, which model some of the consequences of the UK leaving Europe. In this article, we want to look at these scenarios and what to do if one of these occurs in your save-game.

One of the more radical scenarios
One of the radical Brexit scenarios

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Strikerless Needs You; Become A Patron

Hi everyone, my name is Guido, but you may have heard of me through my blog Strikerless. I am a Football Manager blogger and I produce weekly FM content. I would love for you to support my site on Patreon.

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I started my little pet project sometime early 2014 and I’ve been blown away by the support and feedback I’ve been fortunate enough to receive thus far. What started out as a pet project to hone my writing skills, to work on my English and maybe kill some time has taken off in a way I never expected, culminating in this year’s surprising Football Blogging Award win.

I am not one to rest on his laurels, I’m constantly striving to improve my content and become a better writer slash gamer than I currently I am. This brings me to the point of this Patreon. I’d love a few small contributions to make this happen.

Over the past few years, I have invested a lot of time and a fair amount of money into a decent gaming setup, but there’s always room for improvement. I want to try and work in video analysis of tactics, I want to buy a professional spell-checker (Grammarly!) to help me work on my writing skills (I’m not a native speaker) and further improve the quality of my writing.

I’d love a few minor contributions that eventually build up to help me keep going. The improvements I mentioned above will hopefully come with time anyway, helping me on Patreon would just speed up the process.

I’d be eternally grateful if you were to come onboard the Strikerless train and help me improve what I’ve been doing. Alternatively, just keep on enjoying the articles on Strikerless without spending a penny, and that’s great too. The community support I’ve received has been nothing short of wonderful and I thank you all for making the community as vibrant and creative as it is today.

Thanks very much for your support!

A New Corner Setup; FM17.2

As any team coached by Tony Pulis and the current champions of England have shown, set pieces can be critical and trainable means to pry open a match that is deadlocked. When you can’t break through a defensive line from open play, a corner offers you an extra chance to score that important goal. FM mimics real life in this regard, to an extreme even.

Previous versions have shown us a myriad of exploitable corner routines. Near post exploits, far post exploits, edge of the box exploits, short corner exploits, over the course of the past decade we’ve seen them all. This is the approach I am using in FM17.

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