Are Traditional Strikers Dying Out?

There was once a time not too long ago that having a dynamic, lumbering striker was almost necessary for success. The likes of Fernando Torres, Carlos Tevez and Robin Van Persie were some of the most prolific goal scorers on the planet in most of the decade spanning from 2000 until 2010.

Since then, however, things have changed. While many of the world’s best clubs still deploy traditional strikers, others have opted for a strikerless attack. In the 2018 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United, Blues boss Antonio Conte opted to deploy a starting XI sans a traditional striker. With Alvaro Morata on the bench, Conte chose to play winger Eden Hazard as a de-facto “striker” instead. The Belgian would go on to score the game’s lone goal in the 1-0 victory.

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Understanding Roles In Football Manager (And Real Life) (Part 2)

Hey there guys, hope you all liked the part one posted last week. As said earlier, in this part I’ll be explaining the roles of the center midfield strata. At first, I thought of including the MR/ML as well, but rethinking it’d be better to put in part three, where we’ll get to see the wide players and the defense roles, as it would make the post way too big and tiresome for the readers. So I’ll pretty much continue to explain the central positions, from the attack to the middle, starting by the AMC strata, then the MC so to end with the DMC roles. Hope you guys enjoy it.

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Understanding Roles In Football Manager (And Real Life) (Part 1)

One of the toughest parts in playing Football Manager (FM) is understanding the roles of the players and how they work in-game. For a better understanding, I’ll be trying to describe each role here, focusing on their movement and their needs in the game. For instance, I’ll start this part one explaining the strikers and Attacking midfielders wide roles inside FM18, then in the next days I’ll be publishing the ones relative from the other positions in the field.

First of all, there is something quite catchy to understand in the FM world that is the duties of the players. Defend, support and attack have their importance in what the player will do but also defines which part of the field the player will act. If in an attack duty, a player might be pushed forward than others in the same position, but with a support duty. Thinking the spaces the players start combined with the pockets of space in the field they will move into is fundamental to the task of perfecting a tactic whilst making the most of your squad.

In the first roles described here, you will see two lines in white crossing the field, to show this spatial distance between players in different duties and how they tend to act. After these few examples, I think the understanding of this concept will be a bit easier and the lines won’t be needed. Having said that, let’s begin with the AMRL roles existing in the game (as of FM18).

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Creating An Effective Battering Ram

Most avid FM players have encountered situations like these before. Whatever the exact circumstances, you desperately need to score a goal but the opposition is stifling your forwards by erecting a living wall of human bodies in and just outside of their own penalty area. Despite hopelessly outclassing the other side in terms of possession and shots on goal, your team is just not scoring any goals. These defensive exploits are frustrating you and your team, as the opposing team refuses to be led to the slaughter. In an effort to break down the opposing defence, you could employ an old-fashioned battering ram. It makes sense; when finesse is not sufficient to break down an especially tenacious and dogged defence, brute force might offer an effective alternative.

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The K O B E

Meet Oscar Ruíz. He’s a 21-year-old Colombian player that we got for less than 2 M from Atlético Nacional. Truth be told, he was one of those bargains that I just couldn’t let slip past me. As it is, we have too many Colombian players in the reserve squad of River Plate or loaned away, due to the foreigner player restrictions of the game.


Oscar was a prospect, a hot one. But I had other great and experienced players in his same positions in the first team, waiting for a chance in the bench, fellow promises in the reserve squad and the magnificent Tovar, out on his 3rd loan at Flamengo. Yet Oscar found a crack, took it and left something bigger than his own name.

Yes, he’s got a first touch rating of 17, a 19 in determination, 16 in vision, work rate and technique and his passing skills are just below 15, but if you look closely, this Midfielder can also dabble as a central defender. So I thought about playing him for his midfielder stats in a Ball Playing Defender role and gaining an extra ballplayer in my 5-2-3. That didn’t cut it.

Before I get into the tactic itself, and how Oscar became pivotal to it, let me give you some context. The year is 2023, it’s my 5th season at River Plate, having arrived from Stoke City in the 2018/19 season. We’ve won it all. Five Argentinean leagues and 5 Copa Libertadores in a row, a couple of Supercups each year and reigning in the Club World Cup (against City, United, Chelsea and Bayern). But I don’t like the way we play. I’m Argentinean and a River Plate fan. That means that the 4-3-1-2 is part of my DNA. Thanks to Oscar, and my eagerness to give him a go, I found the missing link.

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Creating A Quarterback From Your Defence

Those of you who follow the blog or my Twitter feed are well aware that I enjoy creating “new” roles by tweaking existing ones or using regular roles in extraordinary situations. I have dabbled with the Targetganche in the past, which was basically a Targetman-type player in the attacking midfield stratum but I was looking for something new and interesting for FM18.

In terms of football tactics, I try to think outside the box, which also means making use of underutilised resources. This train of thought automatically leads me to look at the central defenders. When your team is on the attack, the central defenders are almost always tasked with remaining behind to protect the defensive line and ensure the team is not caught by a counter-attack. The wing-backs are often tasked with adding to the offensive phases of the game but what if we could get the central defenders involved somehow to gain an extra edge?

When the team is pressing an opposing side, the offensive line is generally the first line of defence, as they pressure the opposition defence and try to either win back possession or force a long ball. When we mirror this idea, there has to be a way in which the defensive line or at least elements of the defensive line can act as the first layer of the offensive phase. The idea I had was hardly an original one, as people like Guardiola and Klopp use the same principle. I was going to use one of the central defenders as a sort of quarterback.

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Three Carat Diamond; A Lopsided Midfield

The tagline for this site is “dare to think outside the box”, which is both a play-of-words on the idea of not fielding an actual striker as well as a metaphor that means to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective. For my new tactic, I have decided to create a spin on the traditional diamond tactics. Naturally, the formation has a strikerless twist. Playing in this formation offers you a midfield diamond, which in turn enables you to pass the ball and play between the lines of both back four and midfield, as well as midfield and forward line. If you have followed the site somewhat regularly, you can see that such a concept of play appeals to me and suits the strikerless style.

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Three AM(igo)s

Over the past few years, I have been an avid follower of the Strikerless blog. In a way, you could consider me a disciple of the strikerless path to darkness. Initially, that meant that I downloaded the tactics available on the blog and slightly altered them to suit my specific needs. Although I have had some measure of moderate success in the past with developing my own strikerless tactics, this is the first one I have actually felt any pride in. This my strikerless tactic; the Three Amigos.

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The German Way: Kampfgeist

Whenever we hear the word “Kampfgeist” the mind almost instinctively wanders back to the days of the German national football team of the 1990s, before the now-famous reboot. Players like Oliver Kahn, Jürgen Kohler, Jens Jeremies, and Stefan Effenberg were not known for their silky technique or tiki-taka play. No, they were primarily known for one thing: Kampfgeist (fighting spirit). One of the best showings of this almost mythical quality came during the Euro 96 final against the Czech Republic when they called upon Kampfgeist to come back from going 1-0 behind to win it 1-2 in the last fifteen minutes of the game and sudden death. This was but one example of a game the Germans managed to turn around based on their fighting spirit. Another famous and fitting quote here belongs, one that can be attributed to Gary Lineker.

Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.

Even though the German national football team has transformed immensely since these days and has indeed become the hipsters’ favourite for the 2018 World Cup, not every team can put Mesut Özil, Leroy Sané, and Toni Kroos on the pitch. There are quite a few times where you will manage a club on FM which cannot call upon the immense qualities of a hugely talented pool of players. In such situations, Kampfgeist could be your ticket to success. @LeonTrotsema of RouteOneFM and @MerryGuido of Strikerless investigate this fascinating, intriguing concept and look at how you can apply it within the confines of the FM18 match engine.

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Why I Prefer Strikerless Over More Traditional Formations

Over the past years, people have asked me why I play the way that I play. Besides the obvious answer that it works, there are actually some valid reasons, some actual benefits to losing your forwards and replacing them with attacking midfielders. I never gave this any real thought as it just felt right on an instinctive level. Lately, something Cleon said got me thinking about this very subject, which ultimately led to this article.

Nothing really, I just wondered if you’d ever considered doing a piece on why you prefer strikerless over strikers and what they offer you better in comparison. I guess a bit like I’ll be doing with the DMC vs MC’s in the 4231

I always relish the challenge to delve into my own mind in an effort to try and grasp and phrase concepts that have become somewhat of a second nature to me, almost instinctive in a way. So this is my effort to explore the dark depths of my depraved mind and shed some light on why I do what I do, besides the obvious reason that I am a deranged madman.

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