Strikerless 2.0 For FM17; Balancing The Midfield

In the past few weeks since the release of my first FM17 tactic, I have received a fair bit of feedback regarding the initial tactic. Most of it was regarding the defensive frailties of the tactic, the susceptibility of the tactic to quick counter-attacks down the flanks. Whilst I did not experience these problems in a manner similar to the experiences of others, I was nevertheless not entirely happy with the setup I was using.

The balance between the various lines was not quite the way I want it to be. The reason why the setup with two ball-winning midfielders worked for me was probably because I had two world-class midfielders in Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan. As I progressed in the Roma save, I noticed the same defensive frailties others mentioned when one or both were absent from the line-up through injury or suspension. Some of these changes may or may not be the direct result of another SI patch, we’ll not discuss that any further in this article.

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Strikerless Retro Tactic For FM17

Okay, first of all, this is basically an updated version of the Beta tactic I released earlier. As the game underwent several updates, the altered Match Engine forced me to tweak the tactic in a number of places. Most of the article is a re-post, with some tweaks and edits made and a few new bits and pieces.

Everyone has heard the adage “classics never really die.” After all, they became classics for a reason, they have traits and characteristics beloved by all. In reference to Strikerless, it’s a particular brand of football you can create with a strikerless tactic. That daft prick Ruud Gullit coined the phrase “sexy football” during his stint with Chelsea and despite the fact that his managerial performances and qualities are roughly on par with those of a frozen fish stick, his definition of sexy football is quite apt for my own particular brand of football.

That is the kind of football Chelsea played under Gullit and it’s quite similar to my own brand of football. I want to create a style of play that sends waves of enjoyment throughout the virtual stadium, a team of artists that dazzle and mesmerize opponents, fans and pundits alike. Whenever my team gets the ball, I want to feel the buzz of expectancy because as a manager, I know something beautiful might happen, even if it doesn’t always come off as planned. I want to generate poetry in motion, smooth and silky passes, fluid movement through the lines.

Looking at the video above, I have highlighted some moments that are typical strikerless goals. I’ll let you be the judge regarding my own brand of football and it’s degree of sexiness.

Before I start explaining what’s what and how everything functions, allow me to get in the obligatory disclaimer that this tactic is, in fact, a tactic developed and tested during the Beta stages of FM17. I have absolutely no idea if and when SI might update the game and change the match engine, rendering the entire tactic useless again. Having said that, the entire concept works brilliantly so far. The Dark Side is strong in this version of FM and I am looking to bring sexy back, Justin Timberlake style.

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How To Create A Strong Defense; The Phalanx Analogy

Most managers, myself included, prefer aesthetically pleasing brands of football. We are not content with merely winning a game, we want to win in style, preferably a grand style. Okay, I am not really sure if this applies to most managers, but it bloody well applies to me. I blame my Dutch genes for that little quirky trait. The Dutch are quite apt at losing games but declaring themselves the moral winners because their style of play looked better. I mean, Van Gaal anyone?

We played beautiful football! It's not like that Portuguese wanker is doing any better...

We played beautiful football! It’s not like that Portuguese wanker is doing any better…

Anyway, enough of my ranting and back to the topic at hand as promised in the title. What many people seem to forget is that there can be beauty in clean defending. The same ideas and principles so often associated with the attacking phases of football are just as easily applied to the defensive phase. The fluidity of positions, rotations and covering your teammates, maintaining a tight and cohesive formation, it’s just as much a hallmark of a strong defense than it is a characteristic of a strong offense.

That brings me to the concept of the phalanx. As an avid gamer, I played my fair share of the Total War series and well, you can’t play these games without picking up a thing or two regarding shield walls, testudo’s or phalanxes. The phalanx formation was a close-rank, dense grouping of warriors armed with long spears and interlocking shields. The Spartan phalanx was legendary in classical antiquity and renowned for hammering home the importance of keeping one’s shield up. It was not for the protection of the warrior carrying it, but for the warrior at his side. When the shield was dropped it created a gap in the impenetrable defense, which could be exploited.

A classic phalanx formation screenshot Rome 2 Total War.

A classic phalanx formation screenshot Rome 2 Total War.

I want to apply the concept of the Greek phalanx to how I organize my teams defensively. If that sounds intriguing (or just sufficiently hipstery), read on!

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The revival of the Four Horsemen (FM17 BETA)

EDITORIAL NOTE: We have another guest piece on the site, by the most excellent and ever-charming Marc Bowen. Make sure you visit Marc’s site Limited Fullback.

Sitting down for the first time with the BETA and what a better way to start my FM17 endeavor with my beloved Arsenal. Throughout the summer all pundits, fans, and media were all calling out for Arsenal to sign a striker, in typical Arsenal fashion they disappointed in the transfer market and signed a relatively unknown forward in Lucas Perez. Not something that would excite the fans and terrify opposing defenders. So when sitting down and analyzing the squad and how we were going to play, I took a little leaf from what the Gunners have been doing in the real world. A makeshift 4-2-3-1 system with Alexi Sanchez as the lone striker (well let’s call him that for now). They are continuing to play the fast flowing football with intricate passing through the opponent’s defense, with an added element of pressing from the forward players, making the whole side more solid defending from the front.  Observing the way that Sanchez plays as the lone striker he generally doesn’t seem that far advanced from the 3 attacking midfielders, not like Giroud would, looking like more of a target man, and distancing himself from the 3 behind him. Pundits call this Sanchez role as the False 9.

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Strikerless’ FM17 Beta Tactic

I’ll start us off by referencing the old adage that classics never really die. After all, they became classics for a reason, they have traits and characteristics beloved by all. In reference to Strikerless, it’s a particular brand of football you can create with a strikerless tactic. That daft prick Ruud Gullit coined the phrase “sexy football” during his stint with Chelsea and despite the fact that his managerial performances and qualities are roughly on par with those of a frozen fish stick, his definition of sexy football is quite apt for my own particular brand of football.

That is the kind of football Chelsea played under Gullit and it’s quite similar to my own brand of football. I want to create a style of play that sends waves of enjoyment throughout the virtual stadium, a team of artists that dazzle and mesmerize opponents, fans and pundits alike. Whenever my team gets the ball, I want to feel the buzz of expectancy because as a manager, I know something beautiful might happen, even if it doesn’t always come off as planned. I want to generate poetry in motion, smooth and silky passes, fluid movement through the lines.

Looking at the video above, I have highlighted some moments that are typical strikerless goals. I’ll let you be the judge regarding my own brand of football and it’s degree of sexiness.

Before I start explaining what’s what and how everything functions, allow me to get in the obligatory disclaimer that this tactic is, in fact, a tactic developed and tested during the Beta stages of FM17. I have absolutely no idea if and when SI might update the game and change the match engine, rendering the entire tactic useless again. Having said that, the entire concept works brilliantly so far. The Dark Side is strong in this version of FM and I am looking to bring sexy back, Justin Timberlake style.

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Liberotastic

I’ve been meaning to write this up for ages but never really found the time until now. This is my take on a strikerless formation featuring a libero, something I wanted to try for a while but had to wait until I found a suitable player to retrain as a sweeper. This came towards the end of my tenure as C.D. Torrevieja boss, I had some of the world’s best players at my disposal and it seemed the perfect time to give this a try.

Before I get into the tactic I have to say I would have never been able to get this to work without the sterling work of Guido on this site, particularly Project Arrowhead and The Four Horsemen, and another tactical write-up I borrowed/learned from As Cunning As A Box With A Tail On It Calling Itself A Box over at the higher tempo press. If you haven’t read the articles I’ve linked here you should do yourself a favour and check them out.

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Rewriting History: Scottish Strikerless

An introduction to start us off. My name is FM Samo and you can find my own inane ramblings on all things Football Manager over on my site, Occasional FM. One thing you’ll notice very quickly if you follow me on Twitter or read my blog posts, is that I’m Scottish. When I first came across the brilliant Strikerless site Guido has built up here, my initial reaction was that someone had set up a shrine to Craig Levein and the one of many painful nights it was to be a fan of the Scottish national team. This proved, of course, not to be the case, but if you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, read on to find out!

In March 2016, Scotland traveled to the Czech Republic for an international friendly. As our opponents, the rest of the home nations, and 19 other countries are preparing and gearing up for a summer competing in France to become champions of Europe, we’ve got a summer of crying into our Tennent’s to look forward to.

T

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The evolution of my 4-4-2-0

I will try to keep my introduction short and sweet, because boy, have I got a treat for you. I am really into interacting with the people who read my inane ramblings and sometimes, these interactions result in a thing of beauty. People giving their own unique perspective on my ideas. They add their own specific flavour to the exisiting ideas and damn, it’s lovely. This time, I am proud to showcase work by Edward (@edwardbomb) and his strikerless and semi-strikerless 4-4-2. Give it a read, give it a go and don’t be afraid to comment.

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DerFM’s Interpretation of Strikerless

I’m all about sharing quality content and one of the better tactical videos of the past few months is one made by Matthias (@DerFM on Twitter, +DerFM on Tifo), where he looks at the tactics he uses for his Austria Vienna Wunderteam. Since this is Strikerless.com, it is all about the Dark Arts, but Matthias has his own take and damn, does he explain it well. I highly recommend you watch this video and if you like what you see, I reckon you should watch the other videos he makes as well. Some of them are criminally underrated.
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Strikerless’ Classic Revival

Yeah, let’s just get this one out of the way. I’m honest enough to admit that no matter how much I try to look at things objectively, I am a human being and I bring my biases to the table. As a child of the late 80’s and early 90’s, I grew up in a golden age of gaming. While these classics are awesome and have stood the test of time far better than I suspect most modern games will, I fully admit that part of the appeal is that I grew up with them. After all, you never forget your first love. Strikerless Sexy Football…

revival

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