Scoring from set pieces has always been one of my club’s philosophies. Why not tick that box? It can give you extra credit and doesn’t come in the place of another philosophy. Surely, banging in loads of set pieces is doable if you spend a bit of time on your tactic?
It can be hard in some circumstances.
You might like to buy younger players. You might prefer more technical or creative players than meatheads who call themselves footballers. The simple answer might just be that these are all excuses and nothing is working for you.
I know you might feel like set pieces don’t need the attention in your save. Maybe, you’re winning enough games anyway. But you shouldn’t be going a few games without scoring any goals from set pieces and you shouldn’t be scared whenever the opposition has a set piece.
If your team are guilty of either of those problems, you’re not using set pieces correctly. If that’s the case, don’t worry; I’m not perfect, but I have some tips that might help.
Set pieces in FM19 don’t work as they do in real life. They don’t even work as they should do in the game. Search ‘throw-in glitch’ to see what I mean.
You can’t assign men to specific opponents or tell them to make particular runs. I’d say you can only determine the players’ starting positions, but that’s generous; unless you count ‘go forward’, or ‘go back’ as a starting position. And don’t tell me that there are other options, like putting your players on the post. That’s because your set piece routines will invariably rely on some extent on players set to ‘go forward’ or stay back’.
There’s another reason why setting set pieces up like England did at the last World Cup is almost impossible. FM19 expects you to deliver the set pieces to certain zones, as opposed to where the players are standing. If you don’t have players standing at both posts, hard luck: the ball will probably be delivered there.
Of course, this is mitigated by the option of delivering the ball to the edge of the area. However, as you can see, this envisages a player dropping off in possession. However, apart from the near post, far post, or the edge of the area, you can’t direct your players to approach these designated areas.
What’s the answer then? Shove tall guys on the far post and hope they manage to lose enough teeth to beat their opponents to the ball every time?
That’s an option; it’s worth remembering that your centre-backs are nearly always your strongest players. However, there are other ways to make set pieces less of lottery than swinging the ball in and hoping you find one of the players set to ‘go forward’.
The Edge of the Area
What do you hate opponents doing, especially when you defend set pieces with zonal marking? Hitting the ball to the edge of the area where some dynamic attacker bamboozles everybody by receiving the ball on the edge of the area and running inside. You could also have good long-range shooters receiving the ball on the edge of the area.
If you do this, there are pros and cons to having players situated on the posts. The advantage is that opponents are less likely to push their players up. The disadvantage is that any goal you score might be ruled out for offside, if your players attacking the posts are in the way of the strike.
The Far Post
If you want to score from delivering the ball from the far post, then you can either rely on your towering centre-back scoring directly or put someone lurking at the near post ready to tap in. You can see this on the screenshot above. It’s how my WBA side, who are currently second in the league, score most of their goals from corners.
Also, while I’ve mentioned my frustrations with them, players set to ‘go forward’, can provide some use if you’re hitting the ball to the far post. If your player set to attack the far post does not receive the ball, the other player lurking around might be able to pick the ball up. From there, you can see what happens.
Whatever you do, don’t have players on the edge of the area if you’re instructing the taker to hit the ball to the far post. They won’t provide much use; they’re in a static role and won’t be very close to the attackers. Defensively, they won’t be able to press the opposing team into not being able to clear the ball.
- Experiment with where your team delivers the ball. As explained above, the deficiencies with the game mean that no way is perfect.
- Make sure your players provide an easy target. If you deliver the ball to the far post, try to have somebody lurking on the near post.
- Make absolutely sure you watch the video below (despite the excruciating music):
You might want to experiment with leaving a post completely free, as teams often do in real life. However, players not assigned to a particular post rarely win the initial header.
If you’re still reading and enjoyed the piece, that’s amazing. Soon, me and a couple of the writers will have a piece up about a totally different topic on the official Football Manager website.
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