December 4, 2013
Mechanising the Play
I blame ‘Inverting the Pyramid’. Since its release there have been countless tactical blogs, websites and twitter accounts created and although many of them are genuinely extremely interesting there are others that seem only to exist to unnecessarily complicate matters and seemingly reinvent language in the process. It’s this breed of blog/site/account that has led to something of a populist backlash against those that like to research and talk tactics with the term hipster in particular being assigned all too readily, from false 9’s to inverted wingers and registas it’s all to easy to lose sight of the fact that football is in fact a simple game. The subject matter of this article however is one that has been a recognised part of football and indeed coaching vernacular long before Jonathan Wilson released his tactical bible (don’t take this as a slight on the book or its author, it remains one of my favourites) this article will look at the nature and the use of a pivot at the heart of the midfield.
There are two types of deep pivot that you can utilise in your games, the single pivot and the double pivot. I myself have a preference to use a double pivot although in truth there is not really one option that is better than the other you just have to decide and choose which of the two options fits your overall strategy better. Before we look at the use of the pivot within FM though it’s worth recognising the use of the pivot in real terms.
November 13, 2013
For me this started in the same way that so many theories on football tactics do..with chess. I’m a huge chess fan and I find the differing strategies within the game completely fascinating. When I play I tend to favour a more measured game building slowly and probing my opponents defences across the board as opposed to choosing a single file to focus my attack on. I guess that in this sense I’m more Arsenal than Borussia Dortmund, strange given my preference for heavy metal over the orchestra.
This may seem a strange preamble to the start of an article on tactics within Football Manager 2014 but bear with me. When I’m building an attack in chess there are a variety of tactics within the overarching strategies that I use. They all tend to revolve around a single piece that I choose to build my attack around this piece is not necessarily always my strongest piece and its range can vary from game to game. At times I choose to use a bishop or rook to sit relatively deep and cover my pieces as they attack, at other times I use a knight or even a rank of pawns to connect my attack in a higher position…wherein we can turn our attention (at last) to football manager.
July 28, 2013
I came to the conclusion recently that I’m in danger of becoming a football ‘hipster’ from my love of Borussia Dortmund and admiration of Marcelo Bielsa to my absolute certainty that Manuel Pellegrini will be a huge hit in Manchester I am a sucker for an interesting story. As such I’m sure that you can envisage my excitement when Barcelona appointed a relatively unknown Argentinian as their new coach, who is Gerardo Martino? Obviously I was aware of the excellent progress that Paraguay had made and their performance at the 2010 World Cup was excellent, I was also aware that Newell’s Old Boys were performing well both domestically and in the Copa Libertadores but I still knew relatively little about the coach responsible for both of these sides. As any other self respecting pseudo-hipster would I turned to the internet for my answer, during my reading I came across an excellent article by Euan Marshall over on his blog imagine my excitement then as I began to realise how closely linked Bielsa and Martino were! This burst of reading though as is so often the case led to a new tactical idea for my Football Manager save. The image towards the end of the article in which the system used by Bielsa at Newell’s in 1991 caught my eye, a 3-4-3 with a lot of vertical play from back to front. I started to picture a way in which I could build this idea in to a working Football Manager system, what would that look like though?
June 5, 2013
Mechanising the Play
Football is a game of transitions, success or failure can often be attributed to whether your side was able to capitalise on mistakes made when your opponent surrenders possession unexpectedly. Creating a tactical system in which you give yourself the best chance of taking advantage of such mistakes is key to doing well in Football Manager 13. What though is a transition? A transition occurs when the ball passes from your oppositions control to yours, or of course vice versa. A lot of the time the AI is at its most vulnerable when they have just lost possession as in the attacking phase they have players moving forwards whom can take time to readjust to a more defensive mindset, this is the simple truth that led to the genesis of the high pressing style of Barcelona et al, indeed managing transitions an extremely important part of the tactical framework put together by Pep Guardiola.
That however is not to say that transitions are only key to tika taka possession football indeed the way that you manage transitions plays an integral part in deciding whether you play a short passing possession orientated style or whether you adopt a more direct approach. In this article I’ll give examples of both slow and quick transitions, both of which occur largely within the same system but with a couple of small tweaks. More
May 28, 2013
Mechanising the Play
First of all apologies for the fact this article will more than likely appear rusty, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything, well anything that I’ve kept. In that time I’ve written roughly 4 articles but each one has been deleted almost immediately. I seem to have got past my period of apathy now though so keep an eye out for more articles appearing on the blog over the coming weeks.
Football Manager today reflects the real world of football in many ways, one of those is of course tactically. It is becoming more and more important to have at least one player that is able to move between the lines of midfield and attack both linking the play and creating overloads thus pressuring the opposition defensive schemes and creating pockets of space that can be exploited by the more creative attacking players in the side. This tactical trend is most evident away from the Premier League with players like Christian Eriksen at Ajax developing the tactical intelligence to perform the role to near perfection for Ajax. In Football Manager the box to box midfielder role is designed to emulate this tactical trend with the designated player supposed to link between the lines and offer both attacking and defensive options. Why though should we use such a player and what does he offer us?
March 25, 2013
After nearly a year and a half and over 117,000 views of FM Analysis it’s time to close the doors for the last time. Far from being something negative I’m viewing this as a huge positive. Plans are underway for an extremely exciting new project that could conceivably benefit the entire ‘FM Scene’. This project is however very ambitious and is very much in the embryonic stages, as such I would ask that you be patient with me.
I would like to leave you all with my heartfelt thanks. The amount of people that have viewed, shared and commented upon this blog has truly taken me by surprise and I genuinely appreciate you all.
I’m leaving this corner of the scene when it’s arguably at its strongest. New blogs are appearing all the time and the quality and quantity of content available is superb. The future of FM blogging is certainly bright.
February 25, 2013
At the moment the FM scene is enjoying an abundance of quality writing both on various blogs and on the more traditional forums. In an effort to celebrate Football Manager Analysis surpassing the 100,000 view mark I thought that I’d share some of my favourite articles of recent times.