Welcome to the second post in my Anti-Football series. If you missed the first one you can check it out here. At the end of the last post we were just outside the play-offs in 8th. I made some changes, brought in some cover in January and we’ve improved significantly. In this post I’ll outline how I’ve improved my tactic, how I adapt during games, my scouting criteria and plans for next season.
Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.
Firstly the tactic. On the advice of fellow writer Simon Keane, I looked at tweaking my defensive line. As we’re already on a Defensive mentality, I found that dropping the Lower Line Instructions meant my back four sat nicely along my 18 yard box. This meant we didn’t sit so deep, keeping a better shape and good distance between the two lines of defence.
I also removed the Defend Narrow instruction and Get Stuck In. I felt that my defence were being caught out from being so narrow it allowed more space to wide forwards in the AMR/AML slots. Get Stuck In just led to giving away too many set pieces.
I also found the box to box midfielder was getting too close to the inverted winger on the left. I adjusted the roles as you can see above. The BWM and DLP act as a double 6, sitting deep and acting as the first line of defence.
Controlling the Game
During games, If we are ahead (or drawing) I start to make changes around the 60/65th minute.
- 65: More Direct Passing, Lower Tempo
- 70: Regroup
- 75: Waste Time Frequently
- 80: Remove Counter, BWM-De PF-De
- 85: Waste Time Whenever Possible
These changes help us see out the game as best we can. The best way to win, is to try to not lose. A prime example was a 1-0 win away at Salford, where we scored a winner in the 91st minute from a wide set piece.
Anti-Football and Recruitment
We lacked a little depth at Centre Half heading into January. As such, I decided to define a recruitment policy, more in line with Anti-Football. These include Key Attributes for our style of play, Height, Age etc. I’ll outline these in more depth in the next post. There are a few attributes I’ll be looking for in each player we sign:
- Work Rate
Nathan Cameron was brought in to cover at Centre Back. He’s 6’2″ with good values in the Key Attributes. He’s been comfortable since he came in, keeping 5 clean sheets from 7 games.
After finding ourselves in 8th on New Year’s Day, we had a brilliant run which brought us the title.
The 6-0 win at Mansfield launched us into a run of form where we won 11 and drew 2 of our last 13 games. For a team with the 17th lowest wage budget and the lowest net transfer spend, I think that’s an impressive result.
We’ve had a busy transfer window and hopefully we can adjust to life in League One quickly as we look for back to back promotions. In the next Anti-Football post I’ll outline my transfer policy and how I’m scouting players in this save. It’s rather different to my Moneyball series. You can find me @FM_Vars if you have any questions.