FM13 Recommended Reading

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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.

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Mechanising the Play – The Defensive Block

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For a number of years now I’ve been reviewing others tactics in a bid to help them tweak and improve. One thing that has stood out for me over that time has been that most issues found are defensive ones. It makes sense really, when we create a tactic in game the emphasis tends to be on what we want to achieve going forward with the defensive side of the game almost overlooked. There is however one large aspect of the defensive game that we can look to put in place that will go a long way to negating those defensive issues if it’s implemented properly – that aspect is the defensive block.

What though is a defensive block? Well for the definition I find it’s best to refer to the ever reliable Michael Cox of Zonal Marking “A ‘high block’ means pressing with a high defensive line, a ‘low block’ means sitting deep. A medium block is, obviously, in between.” It really is that simple! By deciding which of these three defensive blocks we are going to use when building a new tactic though we can give something of an identity to our side in the defensive phase and that in turn will give us an effective base to build upon going forward.

These articles tend to hint somewhat at my obsession with Barcelona and indeed with Sergio Busquets but they are once again the tactical model to watch. Barcelona play with a very high defensive block with the defensive line pressing deep and forwards applying the initial phase of pressure, if you watch Busquets during a match though then you can clearly see his influence in setting the depth of the block and leading the side. How though can we implement this in Football Manager?

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Mechanising the Play – Ajax 2-3-2-1-2

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It will probably come as no surprise but my favourite part of the game is creating and tweaking tactics, occasionally this leads to the creation of a tactic that is slightly out of the ordinary and that you aren’t likely to see on a Sky Sports graphic. In a sense that’s how this tactic has come in to being, as always though there is a degree of theory behind the apparent madness..

The Shape

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In my head this all makes complete sense. If we start in the attacking area I have set two wide strikers both of whom are set basically as inside forwards and are tasked to cut inside to attack the penalty area. Instead of a central striker we have a player in the deeper AM position, by doing so we are looking to draw the AI centre backs out of position to create space for the wide strikers. The rest of the midfield is positioned in the diamond, a setup that gives us strength and flexibility throughout the centre of the pitch. In the wide areas the wingbacks will be expected to advance in to the advanced areas to take advantage of the space vacated by the wide strikers. Does the theory work though? More