Those of you who have followed my Twitter and the blog long enough will know that I’ve achieved a decent amount on Football Manager over the years. You’ll also know I’ve always struggled to achieve one thing: an unbeaten season. And this pisses me off pretty bad.
Since the last blog post, the Dortmund save has pushed on three and a half more seasons. In that time we’ve won literally everything possible; every trophy we’ve competed in, we’ve won at some point in that period. But the thing that still eludes us is the unbeaten league season. At time of writing, we’re in the 2022/23 winter break and we’ve got 39 points from 14 league games, and we’re absolutely dominating all comers. But, yeah, you guessed it, 1 loss.
Despite scoring 41 in that time (3 per game) and conceding only 4 (0.3 per game), we still managed to lose a game. Bayern are in second place, and having played three more games than us, they’re still 8 points behind already. Unless a minor miracle happens, we’ve almost already sown up the league.
Welcome to another article on my Wolves side. I’m going to wrap everything into this post, including my youth development update. It’s been a bit of an exciting season and I’m getting into the save and into the game more with every passing day (week/month/season). However, the season before was a bit of a tricky one in that lots of trainees got injured and I got a bit disillusioned with the game so holidayed the majority of the season. This worked a treat and as the squad regained health and fitness over the Summer, so did my motivation to play. If ever you’re struggling to remain interested in your save game, it’s worked for me. Just make sure you control the transfer windows, wouldn’t want your assistant manager selling that young 5* PA striker.
Basically, keep in mind that the youth development update is effectively Year Four and that Year Three has been skipped.
I suppose a good place to start would be to tell you about the season that just unfolded. Well, it was a bit of a goodie. Those of you who follow me on Twitter (plug: http://www.twitter.com/MrEdsFM) will know that I managed to bag myself a six-trophy haul, or a sextuple, for the first time in any Football Manager game. I was understandably delighted despite missing out on the magical ‘win every competition you possibly can’ mark of seven. However, I found this particularly interesting given the tactical shift I made in the year, from a 4-2-2-2, to a more regular 4-4-2. I’ll talk more about this later on.
The first thing I’ll do is the Year Four youth development update as it’ll lead into my thinking later on in the post. We’ve had some excellent progression from lots of players.
For the Twitter users among you, I’m sure you’ll know that for the past two weeks Sports Interactive have been heavily plugging Football Manager 2014 as they begin to announce new features publically. Quite frankly, their series of ‘feature roulette’ tweets has become tedious and mundane as incredibly irrelevant “features” are announced.
However, today they revealed something that had the potential to be just a bit interesting. And that’s the new tactical roles they’ll be introducing into FM14. There are eight all-in-all; half back, target flank man, limited full back, complete wing back, enganche, regista, false nine and shadow striker.
Initially I got excited that there were changes to the current roles. There’s still so much to be done and I thought FM14 could go some way to addressing this. I think I was wrong. And I’ll try to explain why, role by role.
For years my Wolves side had played a variant of the popular tika-taka football style implemented by Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side during his time at the Nou Camp. As well as this, the squad was built around home-grown talent rather than big-money signings. And whilst this has been largely successful (the side has won the last eight consecutive league titles), a change was necessary. For years my ultimate goal has been to complete an unbeaten league season. Despite all the trophies, cups and awards, it has always eluded me. Be it a shoddy 1-0 loss at the Emirates or a 3-1 thrashing at Old Trafford, I’ve always struggled away at the other major English clubs. My possession-based football has always come unstuck away from home, and I felt it was time to re-create something a bit different in a bid to complete that illustrious unbeaten league system.
Over the past decade and a half of managing Wolves I’ve had a number of incredibly talented players come through the ranks. With this, I’ve had to adapt and tinker with my system over the years in order to ensure they fit the shape and style of the play. It’s led to me creating some very interesting tactical roles, and a number of those fit into this system. I’d like to think they complement each other.
This combination of interesting roles and talented players has really piqued my interest in Football Manager, and this in-depth analysis is something I’ve been thinking of doing for a while. It may not be your style of football, but I’d like to think that it’s still worth the read regardless.
Creating and exploiting space is the key to any successful football tactic. Be it via keeping the ball and stretching the opposition until holes appear, or immediately counter-attacking into the open space, every single successful tactic exploits space in different ways. Over the past few months, I’ve been focusing on something I’d previously never even thought about – the Inverse Wing Back.
The full-back is an often neglected position in football, particularly in a four-man defense. Because of this, I’ve always been interested in tactics that bring the full-backs into play more effectively. So when this thread popped up, I accepted the challenge.