Tactics Tested | The Libero Diamond Tactic

It was a majestic sight. Go back 30 or 40 years and watch teams defend. The majority of them will feature a type of player that seems to have been lost from the modern game. You’ll see an elegant defender sitting behind the defensive line, picking up a stray through balls from an attacker. As he effortlessly brings it under his control, he marches forward with it, stepping past the other defenders and moving into the midfield zone. From there he acts as a modern-day deep-lying playmaker, initiating the play and spreading it out to the flanks, or playing it forward into midfield or attack. This is the Libero.

That passage could have been about any number of great players; the late Gaetano Scirea, Velibor Vasović, Ruud Krol, Matthias Sammer or the archetypal libero, Franz Beckenbauer.

In trying to create a tactic that showcased the Libero, I wanted to accomplish a few things:

  • Give the Libero room to work
  • Create diamonds to enable passing options
  • Make sure we have enough possession that the Libero can work his magic
The Diamond Libero
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FM19 | Moneyball | Part 1

I start a Masters Degree in Data Analytics this September, and recently I’ve been looking at how I can use Analytics to impact my favourite game, Football Manager. Cleon recently tweeted about Moneyball, and how no one has replicated it correctly when it comes to FM.

Now, I had heard of Moneyball, and knew it involved using Analytics to scout players, but I didn’t know the true extent of Moneyball, or where the definition came from. So, I watched the film.

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Saving English Football! – Part 1

So last year I created a series in which I tried to Ruin English Football. I basically created an alternate world in which top teams lost their ability to sign players meaning they relied heavily on their youth in turn creating a quality generation of English talent. However what ended up happening was League One and Two teams became huge and took over and Wigan and Blackburn won everything. If you want to read about that you can check out parts here:

England managed to win another 4 world cups, a European Championship and 4 Nations League Titles in around 50 seasons.

So this save has some similarities but I decided that instead of ruining another country or another simulation, I’d try and make up for what I’d done previously. This time round I’m going to save English football. I know the current national team is doing fantastically, its kind of sad that around this time last year I wrote an article on Why England won’t win a major competition in our lifetimes. That makes me look really pessimistic in retrospect. However despite how much I applaud Gareth Southgate; I’m stealing his job.

I have a few things on my ‘checklist’ that I’d like to achieve in this save: 

  • Climb the Leagues with the Unicorn, relying on young English talent either from my academy or an extensive scouting network provided by the national team. 
  • Keep the average age of the national team 24 or lower, without losing quality of players. Keep older players for key roles and rotate teams during friendlies/easy qualifiers. 
  • Improve the facilities as early as possible, as that is paramount to early climbing. 
  • DO NOT GET ATTACHED TO PLAYERS! Players will stay for a maximum of two years. 

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FM19 | 10 Alternative / Lower League Teams to Manage

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With the Football Manager winter update approaching in the coming weeks, and some saves going a little stale, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to suggest some ‘alternative saves’.

In this particular list I have chosen teams that aren’t in the biggest leagues, and more lower league standard. Every club has a unique selling point, some for their history, some for the decline in recent years and other clubs for many different reasons.

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Dynamo Project FM19 – The Golden Generation | Youth Development

Every year, around January when the arrival of the Winter Update is imminent, I start asking myself the same question, and this year is no different; who should I manage on football manager 2019? Now that the game is fully-updated what long-term definite save do I do? Do I start a Lower League Management saga, or a campaign to revive a Sleeping Giant? Do I manage in top 5 Leagues with their guaranteed riches, or in one of the more obscure ones and try to build them up to greater glory? All these are the questions that go through my mind in the month of January.

Sometimes restarting multiple times with different clubs, it might take weeks before settling on a save. This year the process has been somewhat easier as I finally realised what I enjoy the most in all my saves; to develop players from youth academy to the heights of continental football. Seeing these youngsters progress, sometimes rising up the leagues with the club, gives me the ultimate feeling of reward. This article is not only an informal guide to my philosophy of youth development but also a guide to those with less time or patience to start their own golden generation and rather jump into a club already possessing one at the start of the season.

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Serie B: US Triestina – the battle to avoid relegation. Thirteen games down…

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Having secured the Serie C title by 16 points, my objective in the 2019/20 season was simply to avoid relegation. This post will cover the pre-season and first thirteen games of the Serie B season.

Although I didn’t have any philosophies on which the Board would judge me, I had my values that I wanted to maintain in my second season. These would be:

  • Signing good, young footballers with a balance of technical, mental and physical skills
  • Loaning where possible, since finances remained perilous. I would need to make heavy use of my senior affiliate Udinese
  • With the ball, playing attractive football with multiple threats from wide areas and central midfield, with predominantly one striker
  • Playing a high pressing, high energy game without the ball, looking to win it back as soon as possession is lost.
  • Improving the quality of my coaches and scouts.
  • Hire a new Head of Youth Development to improve the quality of my U-20 and U-18 teams.

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Who’s the best at Football Manager? – FM19 mid-season records

So we’re at Christmas! Usually in a Football Manager game this is the mid-point of the season and usually at the point where we get a jump in player numbers (at Christmas) and then people get time off of work/school so they play a bit more. At this time I’m going to look at the records in the game on the official SI Games website to see who’s holding the records and whether any of you can beat these feats.

I will also be looking at these records at the end of the season to see if anyone can top any of the records. I myself will be (hopefully) submitting a few records to the site throughout the year to engrave my name in history.

At this link you can see all the records for yourself, but I’m going to look at a few specific records to showcase the level of competition this year:

https://sortitoutsi.net/records/fm2019


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US Triestina – Season 1: Performance Analysis

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In my previous posts I spoke about how I evaluated the squad at my disposal and then, how I shaped this squad into three systems.

Here I will look at how the season played out, then I’ll go into more detail about my usage of the 4-1-4-1 DM Wide, the 4-4-2. I’ll analyse how my attacks are built from the back, whilst also analysing the team in transition and also out of possession.

I’ll round off by analysing my usage of the 4-4-1-1 system versus Sambenedettese.

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US Triestina – Welcome to Serie C

Around every October, FM fanatics turn their thoughts to their next FM save, with the new game just around the corner. I had always fancied the idea of turning a minnow into a European superpower; on previous versions I had a very enjoyable save in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen and in the UK, with Oxford United. I gave some thought to managing overseas and settled for a career in lowly Serie C in Italy. I prefer to begin as an unknown manager in the lower leagues, working my way up and building a reputation.

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Dynamo Project: Part 3 – Highlighting the Pressing Forward in FM19

I was torn between two formations for my gegenpressing tactic: 4-2-3-1 DM wide or 4-5-1. In the end I ended up choosing 4-2-3-1, with 4-5-1 moving to my backup tactic when faced with superior sides in Champions League. Why did I not use Lobanovsky’s classic 4-4-2, you may ask? For one reason, I’ve used 4-4-2 extensively in both FM 2017 and FM 2018 and while I always had some success with it, I nevertheless noticed that Number 10 strikers never played as I wanted. No matter his role, he would not drop as much as I needed to link up the midfield and attack as well as attacking midfield would. When I decided upon using defensive midfielders (although sometimes I experiment with having one of each) instead of midfielders then I became convinced even further that I will need an attacking midfielder in order to link up play better. I’m planning to play more of a natural striker than playmaker in that position, one who will not just pass the ball around but will also work hard to make late runs into penalty area.

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