Welcome to the FM Lab! Where statistics and FM collide

Welcome to the FM Lab!

Statistics and myth-busting are the aim of the game in our FM Lab. We have set up a database and league to let us test what impact changing certain variables have on the actual game, to gather lots of data, and then test it statistically at the end. If like me you like seeing simulations and experiments, but also like me you want more hard figures then this is the experiment series for you.

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Wide players in FM19: How to harness them in your ball-hogging side

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Like watching your wingers bomb up and down the touchline, getting crosses in? Or your full-back beguiling the entire opposition, manoeuvring his way into the box unmarked? Well stop reading right here.

We’re looking for passing and moving, people. No player can move without passing first.

That’s how I developed this spectacular tactical system.

WBA tacticDid you think any of that was true? It couldn’t have been further. Continue reading

Dictate the Game Podcast 005 | Moneyball Part 2 + The Libero Diamond Tactic

This week on the Dictate The Game Podcast we talk about the much-anticipated Moneyball Part 2 and how to apply a sabermetrics type view of scouted in Football Manager!

Plus, we talk about The Libero Diamond tactic from the website and how to use a Libero in your FM saves…

… and, Dom gets mercilessly bullied by Eric, Guy, and Ryan… don’t miss it!

Join Eric, Dom, Guy, and Ryan for this week’s DtG Podcast on Apple iTunes and at the links below.


Dictate The Game on YOUTUBE

Dictate The Game on SOUNDCLOUD

Dictate The Game on SPOTIFY


Livin’ the Dream | FM19 Story | Start of the Season

Livin’ the Dream is the third and final installment following the journey of Mason Bradshaw’s football manager career. His most recent role was with Braintree Town FC, in the Vanarama South, where he managed to keep them up. He’s now down under managing Sydney FC, living on the harbour with his wife Sophie, and young daughter, April.

The start of the season is upon Mason – will he lead the club to the title – or will his perfect dream begin to crumble….?

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FM19 | Moneyball | Part 2

First I want to start out by saying thank you to everyone who read Part 1. The response was really overwhelming and while I tried to respond to most comments, there are undoubtedly a few I missed. As promised, in this post we will be looking at my January Transfer Window activity, the stats for the players I signed, and a closer look at my KPIs and statistical setup.

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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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Dictate The Game Podcast 004 | Dynamo Project Fantanista Project Part 2 + Stansted FC Coach Mark Benterman

This week on the Dictate the Game Podcast we talk to Ihor Crusaderstar about his Dynamo Project article recreating the Porto Champions League winning tactic in 2004!

Plus, we’ll talk to non-league manager of Standsted FC Mark Benterman about how he got into coaching and what his philosophy is when it comes to setting up his side at Stansted.

Join Eric, Dom, Ihor, Ryan, and Luke for this week’s DtG Podcast on Apple iTunes and at the links below.


Dictate The Game on YOUTUBE

Dictate The Game on SOUNDCLOUD

Dictate The Game on SPOTIFY


FM Guide | Different signing strategies for big and small clubs

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During any Football Manager save you want to keep improving, and one way of doing this is by signing new players to your club. This doesn’t matter what division you are in, the same rules apply. However, depending on your club, signing players may be a little harder due to a number of reasons.

I will write down several different subcategories that change depending on the size of your club and reputation. These are just a few of the categories I have noticed when trying to sign players at various levels on Football Manager.

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Dynamo Project: Season 3 – Recreating Porto’s Dream Team of Underdog Heroes

2019 will likely always be know as the year of the Underdog. With Ajax’s fairy-tale Champions run, lovers of the beautiful game will have great moments to remember. Who can forget the time that we saw European lightweight Ajax thump Real Madrid’s Galacticos 4 goals to 1? For me the giant-killer stories of football’s Davids beating the game’s Goliaths are always the most satisfying to read about. It is even more rewarding to experience them yourself with your favourite club. Some of us stay hooked to our virtual hobby just to relive the joy of bringing continental glory to the underdog. I tend to devout a lot of time, devising tactics for such clubs. Lately I read a lot about Mourinho’s Porto, envisioning how I could apply Jose’s ideas to my own save. The following is the result of my musings. It is not only an attempt to recreate Porto’s 2004 Champions League winning tactic but also a continuation of my search for the next world-class player to wear the fabled #10, a fantasista for the new era!

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FM19 | Youth Development | Lucky Leipzig’s Golden Generation

To add a bit of context to this piece, I’m currently managing RB Leipzig and I’m in my second season. After finishing a respectable 4th place in the league and reaching the Europa league final (but losing to PSG) I made some good additions to the squad including a transfer listed Reuben Loftus-Cheek, Benjamin Henrichs from Monaco and Donny Van de Beek from Ajax.

After the summer we set out on another season in the Bundesliga and to my surprise, we’ve done incredibly well and found ourselves top of the league at the mid-way point. After signing Rafinha on a free-transfer come the summer I continued the save. I was originally thinking of uploading my tactic, showing off how brilliant my team was but then came 29th February, 2020: I struck gold.

Christmas in February for my Leipzig side!

I’ve been lucky enough to have a son before in Football Manager, but this feeling was completely different. I realised quickly how lucky this was. I received a youth academy team of young starlets. It completely restructured my youth set-up and made me realise how good this bunch of kids could be if I put my mind to it. So this series of articles will follow the lives of 8 youngsters, either from my youth academy or brought in for less than 300k. I’m not expecting all of them to become world class, but I’m hoping a fair few of them will become regulars at my title-challenging side.

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