Ruining English Football! – The Finale

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To those of you who don’t know, about 6 months ago I started a very interesting save on Football Manager 2018:

  • Every team in the Premier League and Championship is given a 50 year transfer embargo.
  • I will look at the English Leagues, National team, European Competitions and then any other big news in the world.
  • I will make the save playable from every point I do an article for.
  • The save goes down to level 10 so any team that drops down that far should still be playable.

You can check out Part 1 here -> https://dictatethegame.com/2018/03/21/ruining-english-fooball-part-1/

It received a large amount of feedback but for some reason I never got round to finishing it! But the wait is finally over!

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How to use the False Nine effectively in Football Manager

false nine diagram

The false nine is intended to work as the above diagram describes it. No surprises there. Instead of battling directly with the centre-halves and making every ball they could win a lottery, the striker drops deeper into midfield. In turn, this causes havoc; the opposing centre-halves don’t want to jeopardise their defensive line’s stability by following the striker into midfield, while the midfield ahead of them is outnumbered if they don’t. It’s a clever way to avoid offside traps, involve the striker without risking the ball being lost, and attack when opposing teams have blocked off your playmakers.

However, when building a tactic on Football Manager, it doesn’t automatically work like that. Continue reading

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Why Football Manager is more than a game?

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This article really comes as no surprise, but after playing Football Manager for thousands of hours I thought I would explain why the Football Manager series is more than just a video game.

I have been involved in the community of Football Manager ever since I started playing Football Manager back in 2012. I have met some people who are life long friends, taken opportunities that I never thought I would and attended a social event in aid of World Child, as well as meeting some of the most well known members in the community.

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How To Score More Goals On Football Manager 2018

So you’ve read our article on How To Keep Clean Sheets and you’ve sorted things out at the back, but now you find yourself drawing every game 0-0 and your fans are dreaming of replacing you with Tony Pulis or Neil Warnock, because their football is much more exciting than what you’re producing. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Today I will share my secrets of how to get your forwards firing in FM18.

First of all, my credentials:

Recently my Ajax side went 30 games without failing to score. I’m trying to recreate Total Football with the Amsterdam side, so attacking possession football is very much the aim.

Goals

I’ve also done a tactical analysis of my Coventry save, in which we scored 114 goals in my first season in charge and won the league by 24 points. Basically, I’m a big fan of scoring goals. As a Newcastle fan, I guess it’s quite fitting that I’d rather win a game 4-3 than 1-0, but I digress. In this post I will try and give you an overview of how I am successful, what tips and tricks you can use to get the best out of your forwards and play that attacking football that get the crowds on your side. Without further ado:

Don’t Be Afraid To Tweak Your Tactics

One of the main mistakes I see beginners make on FM is finding a tactic online and choosing it, even if their players don’t fit the Tactic, and then looking for another when it doesn’t work. This is not the answer. Below is a before and After of my Tactics at Ajax. I made the changes over the course of the season, from things I was picking up on during games. I noticed my Wing-Backs weren’t getting back enough so switched them to support which helped a lot defensively. I wasn’t happy with the contribution of the CMs so switched them both to Mezzala, and switched my Raumdeuters to Wingers to compensate. Huntelaar is more effective as an AF, and he has improved since the change.

Before

The main point here is, don’t be afraid to make changes. If it’s not going your way and you aren’t scoring, try changing players to more attacking roles or tweaking your player roles slightly. Watch your build up play. Are you shooting from outside the box too often? Add Work Ball Into Box. (A necessity this year) Struggling to break teams down? Add Run At Defence.  Try out different Roles and Instructions and see what works for your squad or your desired formation. It might take you a few games to get it right, but stick with it. Don’t throw your whole tactic away if it doesn’t work in the first game. There’s certainly not one trick to scoring goals. Although, having said that…

Play Three Upfront

FM Scout released a tactic a while back that basically broke the game. It was a 5-2-3 Formation and it was a plug and play, instant wins and very easy titles. Normally I wouldn’t use what is essentially a cheat, but with FM19 just around the corner I thought I’d give it a go. I was not disappointed. Below is my Formation from my Coventry save.

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Playing three Strikers gives you a much better platform for playing attacking football. Wing-Backs are essential to compliment the front line. Three strikers works so well because the opposition back four will sit very narrow to compensate, giving your WBs all the space they want out wide. Using this formation with some pretty generic instructions and an Attacking Mentality generates some pretty amazing results. My three first choice forwards at Coventry got 82 goals between them in their first season, most of them assisted by one of the other two.

You can be exploited by teams playing Wide Forwards (AML/AMR), as they will find the half-spaces in between your Wing-Backs and Centre-Backs, especially on the counter. However you will win more than you lose and score plenty along the way. If you’re all about goals, then this is the formation for you.

Take Time To Set Up Set Pieces

Set Pieces are definitely neglected in Football Manager, especially on my saves, but using a half decent corner or free kick tactic can get you a lot of goals for minimal effort. You can see my Ajax save corner tactic below.

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The general idea is that an in-swinging corner will be flicked on by the man on the front post, and the three guys arriving at the back post will feed off the scraps. Should an opposition player win the ball, we have a man on the edge of the area to try a shot or play it back out to the corner taker. My DM offers a short option to drag a defender out of position. Here it is in action:

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Spending 5 or 10 minutes setting up your corners and free kicks can be invaluable come the end of the season, and if you’re struggling to score goals from them, taking a bit of time to test some different ideas isn’t going to hurt. It’s easily worth an extra 10-15 goals a season if you get it right, and that can make a massive difference.

All About Pace

Looking at recruitment, Pace is essential, particularly at a lower level. Having quick strikers can really exploit opposition defences, especially when you’re coming up against old and slow Centre-Backs, who aren’t very good with the ball at their feet. When looking to sign strikers and wingers, always look for good physical stats, like Acceleration, Agility, Balance and Pace. Off The Ball is also important, as this will help your forwards beat opposition defenders to the ball. You may find your forward gets flagged offside a lot but that’s just part of the deal. These guys will reek havoc with opposition defences and get you bags of goals. If you can find a pacey striker, with good Finishing and Composure then you’re on to a winner.

Sterling

A good example from my Coventry Save is Keziah Sterling. He’s picked up 7 goals and 7 assists from 12 starts in League One so far and has the best Shots On Target Ratio at the club, at 61%. Quick strikers will make scoring goals on the break a breeze and can turn a clearance into a 1-0 lead.

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Play Fluid

Playing a Fluid or Very Fluid Team Shape can really help you create chances. Playing a fluid style on FM basically means you expect players to play in all areas of the pitch. In a structure style, defenders defend and attackers attack. With a fluid shape, if you are attacking then the whole team is attacking, and this means you have a lot more options in the final third.

Fluid

Here you can with my Ajax side, my RWB is able to push much higher up the pitch. My midfielders push higher up into the box and we overload the back post.

If you are more defensive and prefer a Structured or Highly Structured Shape, try positions that allow the players to be fluid, such as Trequartista or False 9, or try adding Player Instructions such as Move Into Channels to create some fluidity in the final third whilst retaining your structured shape.

My last piece of advice would be if you have a tactic or a style you want to play, then stick with it. There’s all sorts of extra things to do, such as improving coaching and facilities, training Attacking and adding certain player and team instructions to your tactic.  Don’t bin it off after a few games because you haven’t scored as many as you hoped. Stick to these ideals and your Tactic will come good.

Other articles you may enjoy:


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Top 5 players to have played below the Prem

We all know that the best players play in the top divisions. Some go even better than this and get to play in the Champions League or even the World Cup. So it seems only logical if you can play at this level, then you should do so. But in this article we are going to look at the 5 best players to have played in any league under the Premier League in England. At number 5 is…

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Rambles Top Five For FM19!

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During my time playing the Championship Manager & Football Manager series, I’ve never been afraid of trying something new. Wether it be managing in the 6th league of Germany or the only league in Taipei, its always fun to manage teams outside your comfort zone. In this short little article I’m going to give you my top 5 teams to manage on Football Manager 2019.

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The Absurd Numbers of Lars Stindl

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Germany’s 2018 World Cup was really bad. They hadn’t been knocked out of the competition at the first stage since 1938, but after masterclass performances from Mexico and Sweden, the Champions were booted out of the competition. A lot of the blame was passed on Joachim Low and not selecting Leroy Sane despite being involved in over 30 goals in all competitions last season. He wasn’t the only key component missing from Germany’s squad, 29-year-old Lars Stindl who suffered a syndesmotic ligament tear in April. He may not have the highest of goal scoring records, just 6 times in the last Bundesliga campaign and 47 top-flight goals in his career, but Stindl’s defensive work makes him one of the most unusually gifted forwards to work with. 

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