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FM20 | Anti-Football | Part 2

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:

  • Aggression
  • Bravery
  • Determination
  • Teamwork
  • Work Rate
  • Stamina

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.

Looking Ahead

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.

Written by FMVars


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    • Good question! I just felt we weren’t using the wide areas as much and the heat maps were showing we were really narrow. The narrow instruction combined with wingers means they aren’t constantly hugging the touchline but they do stay a little wider than an IW in defence which is important

      • Great that makes sense. I’ve actually really enjoyed switching to this style of play from a high pressing 442, helped me seal the title win for Sporting. Could switching the target man to a complete forward on support duty work for clubs with higher skill players?

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