Strikerless FM15; The Next Generation

For FM14, I went all-out in my magnum opus regarding strikerless football within the match engine of said game. A new year and a new version of the game, which pretty much means a new match engine as well. That means we get to re-evaluate the way we work. The theories and ideas, in fact the premisse behind the entire concept of strikerless football has not changed. What has changed is how to achieve these goals, how to make it all work within the FM15 match engine.

The premisse and foundation of strikerless

As I said before, the actual premisse of a strikerless formation has not changed. Instead of a traditional forward, you play a trequartista or other sort of attacking midfielder as your most attacking man on the pitch, position-wise. These attacking midfielders, be it a trequartista, an enganche or an advanced playmaker, tend to move into the space between defence and midfield to receive the ball, thus overloading the central midfield, establishing domination in terms of possession and creating space for surging runs by wingers or other midfielders.

Now to get this to work in Football Manager, your tactic will rely on four pillars. Four parts of the game that have to work in order for you to be successful with a strikerless formation. I have briefly touched upon some of these concepts in a post explaining why I was struggling to create the style of play I wanted to see within the Beta match engine. These are pillars all interact in some way and they form the foundation of the entire strikerless philosophy.

A brief summary of what I want to see:

  • Movement;
  • Pressing;
  • Cohesion;
  • Possession.

I’ll work out each and every part of these pillars more detailed, including match clips and analysis. I also intend to work out the formation, the team instructions, the player roles and I’ll finish the article with a download-link to the actual tactic as well.

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Heresy! A Diamond/Box Hybrid With A Striker?! (Sort Of)

Initially, I agree that it sounds odd, almost sacrilegious to feature tactics with strikers on a site called Strikerless and dedicated to playing without actual forwards. If you allow me time though, I hope to explain why this diamond formation is not really that different from the usual strikerless style of play.

The diamond formation provides a solid platform through the center of the field. The staggered diamond in the midfield allows the team to keep possession of the ball with intelligent player movement and good short passing. The whole formation thrives off of mobility, vertical movement and physical prowess. That really sounds like a lot of the concepts I mentioned in earlier articles.

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The Running Regista Applied To A Strikerless Formation; Turning A Back Three Into A Back Four (Occasionally)

From a tactical viewpoint, the successful implementation of a Running Regista hinges on building a balanced team, a cohesive unit. As I quickly discovered when I started my experiments, you cannot have your defensive midfielder running all over the place without being exposed in defence a few times by opposing attacking midfielders. In order to combat this, I had to re-shuffle the entire formation. Using the formation I used for Sexy Strikerless wasn’t going to work, as the Complete Wingbacks were needed going forward and if the Half-Back got turned into a Regista, the team would be incredibly vulnerable on the counter. In order to gain some stability, I had to field a second defensive midfielder, which meant sacrificing the formation I had previously used. I came up with the following formation, which allowed for defensively stability in the midfield area, even when the Regista started roaming about. (more…)

The Running Regista Or Withdrawn Central Winger

My friend Jonathon Aspey (@JLAspey) has written about the Central Winger before, whereas I have written about the intricacies regarding the implementation of the role in a Strikerless formation. The next idea is pushing the idea a bit further and withdrawing the Central Winger from his central midfield position, de facto creating a sort of hybrid between the wandering midfielder we wish to see and the generally more static defensive midfielders we are used to. (more…)