In all my years of playing Football Manager, I’ve never achieved a completely unbeaten league season. Until mid-March, we remained unbeaten in all competitions and I was getting pretty excited at our chance. Then came a loss against Conte’s Bayern (who we’d battered 6-0 and 4-1 earlier in the season). We went on to win the league very comfortably, as well as adding the DFB-Pokal to the trophy cabinet.
With an average of +2 Goal Difference *per match*, it’s fair to say we destroyed the German 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 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.