Ok lets continue with my “Adapting” series. Lately I have been focused on making minimal changes to a game,relying on observing how the AI has set up and then adapting to these changes. In today’s example, West Bromwich Albion are facing Manchester United in the FA Cup.
WBA are currently top of the table and are on a 30 game winning run stretching from last season. Going into this match, we have elected to rest 2 of our prolific players with a view of keeping them fresh for our champions league clash away to Shaktar.
United have gone into this game with a 4141, we haven’t really made many changes and the screenshot above is the same tactic they used at the start. We are using the same 4312Samba system I use, with the same shouts I’ve always used. If you are wondering what these are just refer back to my older posts. Nothing has changed.
The reason why I am sticking this screenie is to make a point, even though my 4312 has been set to narrow and there aren’t really any wide men to speak of apart from my fullbacks, you can see that they wingbacks do take up wide positions. and its positions i like to see. I keep it narrow because almost every ball thats a 50-50 has at least a few players to recover. We are still playing our attacking mentality set up; there is no real reason to sit back and try and hit them on the counter, we want to dominate possession in midfield and deny them the chance to build any kind of momentum.
In fact for some reason the AI makes one odd change, it decides to change their DLF to a TQ after going 2 goals down, the only slight change I made was to counter the attacking fullback on the right flank by asking my wingback to go FB(S). Even then, that wasn’t really necessary.
We managed to dominate the completely, in fact at this point I was only focused on checking on how two players were doing, my cameo AM and my fullback on the right. I was very pleased with the performance of the cameo AM, Goddard. He managed to score a brace and his goal scoring positions were perfect.
My wingback had an amazing game as well, by working his socks off playing down the line when required. Overall it was the perfect performance. I stayed on attacking from beginning to end.
Total number of tactical changes made: 1, excluding substitutions
Next Match Shaktar
Heading into this game we are the defending 5-times champions of the European Champions League. We are expected to win this game, but as is the case in FM, anything can happen so we won’t be taking anything for granted.
This is what the match day screen looks like before I submit my team. Note that my tactic is defaulted on Control and the familiarity of the tactic is fluid, and our shouts are the same as they have always been.
The Miners are setting up shop to defend, if anything else they are looking to get the ball up quickly to their lone striker. They do have a playmaker in the middle, but I won’t bother looking at the attributes of the players to see if they are a threat on the counter. We will observe how they play before making any changes to the system.
I will pay attention to several things during the game, and these will tell me if a change is needed. We need to see how quickly the flanks get up to support the lone striker. If this becomes a problem I may tell my backs to switch roles to FB.
We do the usual team talk and I change my mentality to attacking, remember if your familiarity is fluid and you learnt it on control, then changing this to either attacking or counter will have a slight drop in familiarity, but you should still be fluid. Maybe not maxed, but still 🙂 You see how long this takes…damn now I need a break.!@!
10 seconds in and I am only looking at their flanks to see how they push up, 5 mins in and I lose my main man in midfield, this is not going well. So reducing tempo is an option to take, we wait. Our attacking mentality and our narrowness ensures we are better positioned for 50-50 balls. We win the ball in their half and my wingback surges into the box to score. We go up a goal and the Miners abandon their defensive posture. We respond by changing the roles on our wingbacks
They have definitely gone more offensive, I don’t know how much, but we will be observing how their strikers stand, whether they are on the shoulders of our last line, and if needed we will drop to counter. For now we observe its 5 mins in., 2 mins later we score another as we remain camped in their half. Time to reduce tempo. They have 3 players on attacking duty, and I am tempted to go counter, but unless i see surges from their flanks, this remains an option.
We are definitely losing the possession battle, so we drop to counter and I remove the close down more shout. This doesn’t work, we have ceded control of midfield to Shaktar its time to return to attacking and see if we can win the battle in midfield, maybe the possession numbers will improve. Their attacks are coming from deep crosses from the flanks. Its time to give their flanks more to worry about. This is getting annoying we lose another player to injury and the half hasn’t ended yet. Good news we are now firmly in control.
I am worried that a long ball from the back will find their strikers and it does for them to get a goal back. We score a third goal from a set piece and then a fourth from some fine play inside their half. Sticking to an attacking mentality worked, there was some pressure from the strikers but by forcing play in their half, I relied on them missing their long ball strategy. Its a good win, not as great as the ones before, but good nonetheless. My only concern now is that two key players were stretchered off. Ones out for 3 weeks!, damn.