Mechanising the Play – The Defensive Enganche

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A few months ago I wrote a post entitled “Mechanising the Play – Using the Enganche” detailing the use of a creative yet often immobile player in the hole behind the striker. The example that gave the inspiration behind the article was Juan Roman Riquelme, one of the most elegant footballers of his generation. Around the time I was researching this article I came across an interesting piece in which the possibility of using Sergio Busquets as a “false enganche” was discussed. The idea is that Busquets has the idea set of physical and mental attributes to provide a wall in the attacking midfield position in that he can accept possession of the ball before snapping first time passes back in to the feet of advancing midfield players or even slipping the ball through to the strikers as they move through the defence. More

Mechanising the Play – Diamonds are Forever

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It’s one of the accepted tactical rules not only in Football and in Football Manager but also in Chess. Control the center and you can control the game. How though do you best control the center of the pitch in Football Manager? The obvious answer is to have more players than your opponent in the middle of the pitch, this is not however the only answer. I like to use a midfield diamond to secure control over the AI, whilst we are often matched and occasionally overloaded in the MC position the presence of two designated specialists between the lines with the AMC and DMC means that we always have both the passing angles and the defensive connections to pressure the AI in to giving the ball away and allowing us to build attacks centrally. More

Molde FK – The Beginning

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It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these so please bear with me. Since I ‘grew up’ in FM terms posting on forums writing about my save became second nature and indeed it was a way to make the saves more interesting for me. In recent years though that’s fallen to the wayside. I’ve decided though that for FM13 I will use my blog as a vessel to host my updates to try and show you how I play the game and why I make the decisions that I do. For those that only follow or read the blog for the tactical updates fear not, the career side of my writing will not detract from my tactical output.

So where has FM13 taken me? Well the answer is that it’s taken me to Norway and in to the shoes of one Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as I have taken control of Molde FK, in truth I have also taken charge of the national side as this will be a Club and Country save. The first update though will focus on my plans for the club side.

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Mechanising the Play – Emptying Space and Discovered Attacks (Part Two)

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In the last article I gave you part one of my take on emptying space and discovered attacks where we concentrated on making space in wide areas and capitalising on that space with runners from deep. This time around we are going to take a slightly different approach by looking at ways to create space in the central attacking areas but again we are going to exploit this space by moving players on vertical lines from deep.

For me the most successful tactics in Football Manager are those that offer the most options in attack as opposed to those that rely on one area to create and score goals. As such quite often when I’m building a tactic I will look to add in two or three different attacking techniques to see whether when all added together they work or indeed crash and burn. The following is one of my favourites.

The Setup

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The system itself is setup to immediately stretch the pitch horizontally in the attacking third. The two wingers are deliberately set to hug the touchline and create open gaps between the winger and striker. Straight away we are creating space in the channels for our deep runners to exploit. The secondary movement comes from the central striker who is set up with low mentality and low creative freedom allowing him to maintain a slightly deeper position to both pull the defensive players out of position and encourage the midfield runners to burst beyond him. As always though the theory is all very well but does it work in practice.

In Game

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In the above example we have the central striker Fischer dropping right off the line in to the midfield area thus opening a huge gap in the AI’s defensive line.  When he picks the ball up he is able to feed the right winger who has remained wide and isolated the fullback. Instead of looking to go past his man though the winger is able to spot the advancing central midfielder through the centre and with a single threaded pass we have a player through on goal. This isn’t a technique that will encourage a possession based game, instead we are looking to take advantage of the AI being caught off balance by hitting them fast and hard and not being afraid the ball through the centre.

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This time we are attacking from a more advanced central area and the movement is a lot more subtle given the condensed space. Here the central striker and the advancing midfield player perform a simple movement when Fischer drops off the line slightly in to space taking the defender with him. As he does so the midfielder makes a short diagonal role in to the now unoccupied space and Eriksen is the perfect player to slip the through ball in to space to create a goal scoring situation. This highlights the importance of having players get high up the pitch to support the striker, especially if said striker is set to drop off the line instead of going beyond the defence.

You can also see that the wide strikers have maintained their position to offer the wide outlet as well as forcing the AI to give attention to the wide areas detracting from their central strength.

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In this example the ball is out wide left with Ryan Babel in possession. Once again Fischer drops towards the ball to offer a short option, should the ball be played in to him the Babel would be able to dart behind the full back for a one-two. Instead though Babel is able to play a more direct pass behind the defence in to the path of the midfielder that is moving fast in to the space that has been emptied by the movement of Fischer. It is also worth pointing out that Sulemanji has again kept his position wide right and is occupying the AI left back.

By stretching the game wide in this manner we are able to take full advantage of the space in the channels.

As with every other article I’ve written I tend to take it to extremes in order to fully illustrate and drill home my points. In most tactics that I build I tend to try to impose elements of both these central attacks and the wide attacks from part one. As I’ve already said I like to build tactics that aren’t based on possession but instead on hitting the AI hard and fast when they are out of position and off balance. In essence my game is more based on the German style than the Spanish. As ever I hope there are parts of these articles that you can bring out and use in your own games.

Mechanising the Play – Emptying Space and Discovered Attacks (Part One)

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“Football tactics are a world without absolutes. Beyond a few basics there are rarely rights and wrongs. It is about balance, about trading off positives for negatives and trying to shift the way the game is played so that it emphasizes your team’s strengths and your opponents weaknesses.” – Jonathan Wilson, World Soccer, November 2012

The above quote encapsulates everything I feel about football tactics perfectly. The trick of identifying the weak spots in an opponents system and shifting my own to take advantage of those weaknesses is something that I thrive on. In this respect football tactics and indeed FM tactics are closely linked to chess strategy, when I play chess I am completely reactive constantly shifting emphasis of attack and overall strategy to take advantage of any opportunity that my opponent gives me. The close relationship between chess and FM has therefore led me to this topic.

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