The Origin of Look for Overlap

Where did the instruction “Look for Overlap” actually come from?  We will need to go back really far into the history of the game to find it, and if you can go back that far you will also find this.

Yeah those are the names of some of the people who had a part to play with the game back in the day. Basically I am rewinding back to FM12, where we had an entirely different tactical creator. We had specific player set ups and team setups.

Understanding team instructions was simple, we had notches, sliders and we even knew that certain instructions had a scale from from 1-20. Player instructions weren’t very different either, and the team instructions we are now familiar with, well they were different back then. They could be combined into specific shouts.

Whoever played the game back then probably remembers that prior to this, there wasn’t any overlap instruction in the game. In fact if you wanted players to overlap you would need to do something like this. Tell the fullback to assume an attack duty, give him forward runs often and tell the midfielder in front to have a lower mentality and ask him to make forward runs sometimes.

In this image the fullback on attack has been asked to make those kind of runs, also note that back in the day, passing was on a slider that we could control very specifically. Essentially most things on that slider were from between 1-20 in increments. Mentality for example was from 1-20. 

It’s important to revisit these when I want to explain look for overlaps. 

There are several kinds of overlap runs in the game. Natural overlaps and Forced Overlaps. A natural overlap occurs without the use of the team instruction and the Forced overlap happens when the TI is being used.  The natural overlap can happen when we have a role like a wingback on attack playing off a wide midfielder on support. The naturally more aggressively role of the wingback will make overlaps down the flank when an opportunity presents itself. The role itself has “Get Further Forward” on it as a result of the attacking mentality. The role is also more aggressive than a normal fullback.  The use of playmaker roles and your width and passing instructions can help influence whether players will be able to seek out these overlapping players with good passes.

Natural overlaps like this can also occur when we are using a formation like a narrow 442 diamond.  Since there are no other roles down the flanks, the space encourages the fullback to overlap.  Prior to introducing the overlap instruction most players had to do a combination of things in the game to make this happen.

  • A higher mentality for the overlapping player
  • Forward runs often for the overlapping player
  • Reduced mentality for the overlapped player
  • Reduced forward runs for the overlapped player

However it didn’t always work with some roles, so Sports Interactive decided to introduce the overlap instruction. Some of the common ways the best players were able to make these work were then embedded into the instruction. These would include reducing mentality and increasing forward runs.  These all wend “under the hood”. The overlap instruction in the game simply modifies things under the hood that older players who played games prior to FM12 are now familiar with.

How does this apply to FM20?

When you play FM20, you need to understand just a few things to understand this instruction.  

Look for overlap changes:

Mentality –  increases the mentality of the overlapping player and reduces that of the overlapped player. which in turn affects the behavior of the overlapping player and his starting position on the pitch
Runs – increases the chance of forward runs for the overlapping player and reduces that of the player overlapped player.

Between FM18-20, SI also improved the way players used space, if there was space to move into that space would get used.

Since look for overlap affects individual mentality and forward runs, one can use two support duties on one flank, an attack and a support duty or even an attack and attack duty to get the overlap to happen. As long as there is space on the flanks, the overlap will happen.  Have you ever seen a Wingback on defend duty overlap? Since mentality can affect a players risk appetite, and if you are playing on positive or higher, if space opens up and the risk of getting caught is not high, even a wingback on defend will attempt an overlap.

The look for overlap instruction has certainly come a long way. From being completely cryptic prior to FM12 and now turning into one of the most powerful team instructions in the game. Something tells me this is going to be dialed down for FM21.









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