#FM13, Stafford and match engine 1325

Well patch 1325 has hit and the forums are awash with people screaming about super-dribblers. Honestly this is something that has disappointed me. In earlier versions players would complain that the game was too easy and that it was far too easy to outwit the AI manager. I created super tactics in every version of FM that out played the AI Manager comprehensively. So SI decided to do something to make it more challenging to play, but it also wanted the game to become more intuitive and less an exercise in beating an AI. The fact is you can try as much as you like, ultimately you are playing an AI manager. Its just a bunch of instructions, and these instructions are limited, the human mind can create scenarios that may not even be logical but can work. The new engine is meant to be a progression, and to some extent it has worked. In large part its due to collision physics. Its a huge step forward and the implications it has affect tactics in a manner more realistic than any other engine before.

Stafford have managed to achieve consecutive promotions, really only because I managed to “out-attribute” each league in key areas, but they are now in the premiership, for me to get that kind of squad I will need to cheat, its a route I refuse to take, so i choose to try out different tactics and formations within my system. My system is based on a quick short passing game with pressing in the final third. Where I need to survive I have created counterattacking formations, but these have modified setups that allow me to achieve the passing setups that I like. We tend to move the ball around patiently in our third of the field before we explode in the final third with direct passing. 

This season I have opted to use a 4312 formation Image

I have made some minor changes to mentality for the central midfielder, as I want him to drop even deeper when we have the ball, and i have also increased the mentality of the DCr (Boateng) to make him move a bit higher when we have possession, its not an uncommon setup having been used in real life many times in the past. The DC has been given RWB and RFD mixed as well. 

Tactically when we head into matches, there is a need for us to contend with sides with fast wingers or fast trequartistas who make Gerrard-esque runs circa 2006 into the box. Countering both isn’t hard, in fact I’ve been playing this way ever since the OI made its appearance in Football Manager Live, it was the way I shut out real-time managers and I do the same here. What you do is simple, these are the shouts you need to understand first

  • Set Stay on Feet What this does is give you the latitude to use OI in a more aggressive manner.
  • Push Up Higher This is a great shout for compressing the area of the pitch. Graham Taylor introduced this style of play in England a long time ago, but this has been around for much longer. The idea here is to bring up your defensive line of 4 at the back and reduce the playable area of the pitch. Knowing how to use this is even more challenging, but once you master it, its the single most powerful tool in the game. Always look at your fullbacks to decide whether you’ve pushed up too high: if they are tracking back too far, its too high, if they need to step forward then chances are you can afford to go higher.
  • Exploit Middle shout, this shout locks down your fullbacks from moving forward and gets your central midfield players to make those runs. Its a great tool to use, provided your tactic has elements that can exploit it. Formations like the 4411, 41221, 4312, 4132, 3142, 433 can use this shout.

These are the shouts that can play a big role. What I typically do in a game with a 4312, or a 41221 is on match day is to set up OI on the fullbacks, and the wingers. Setting tight-marking and then set hard tackling. This is what I call double insurance. Tight marking will work when the opportunity presents itself, but if the winger or the fullback is running at you at full tilt, then hard tackling will stop them. Closing down is a lot more riskier to use, because the players tend to get ganged up by a pack and this can be very dangerous. Still, it can be used effectively, you just need to know what to expect.

Once you have set the OI up then its just a matter of observing how your defensive line stacks up and paying attention to your players. Stafford have gotten off to a good start.Image

And I am really pleased to see how my youth player stuck in the MCd position acts well to anchor my side



Looking at my fullbacks, it confirms one thing that my FBs are doing everything i expect them to do, where they fail I put it down to simple mistakes.




If a 4312 formation can lock down wingers and fullbacks, then I cant see superdribbers being an issue. In fact we were unlucky to lose to United earlier in the season, I forgot to set up for the lone forward, who scored a late goal through the middle. Their wingers and fullbacks had been neutralized in the game. Our failure was down to my inattention. 








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