So there we were, on a good start in pre-season. That little Prozone feature had done well, 4 wins 11 goals scored. The opposition were middling at best, but still I got a chance to see the movement of the tactics. I’m still concerned about the fullbacks, but I reckon paying attention to where they engage the opposition players should be enough. We can afford those small adjustments, and I was confident that it could easily morph between counter and control.
The challenge however was going to be the players, I am not entirely convinced these players can play the brand of football I enjoy watching, but some of these goals have so far been exquisite. Now what we have settled on the systems, its time to take a look at the Defiant.
Two more games before pre-seasons ends, two testimonial matches and both away from home. A game against Chievo followed by another against AC Milan. They should be a good test for Defiant. Our 41221 system that was so successful in FM15. Whether it does well a season later, remains to be seen. We will give this a run without making too many changes from the original, I do think however that a change in roles will be needed. I don’t believe Complete Wingbacks are a good idea for average sides. Maybe, if my side was a top side, this could be a feature, I still have my doubts.
My goal for the system is to put ample pressure on their backline. We will have two versions of Defiant, I will most likely settle for a balanced or control version. Switching from the 4141 to Defiant, should be simple enough. We don’t plan on doing anything drastic with the roles of the players, changing only the roles of the AML/AMR and the DLP to a DM. The set up for the Defiant will be almost the same as the one you can find in the Downloads section My fullbacks will be more exposed with Defiant than they would have been with the 4141, and this requires me to capture screenshots of half time with the system. In the first half we will be going counter and in the second we will change to control and note how the team handles the change.
Out of the box, the heat map overlay looks encouraging, but I am concerned with the fullbacks exposure. I will consider adjusting the defensive line to compensate if anything happens. but first we need to see how the team do. Possession wise we aren’t doing that badly, as expected in any counter setup, shots on target seem to be a premium. We have 4 shots on goal and 3 are clear cut chances!. We do score a goal inside 40 mins. 9 of our crosses from the left flank are intercepted, and this suggests that we need to make adjustments to player selection for the role of right fullback and AMR, we just have one slight problem. We have no covers in either position. So I will try and make an adjustment to how balls are played into the box. Since I have a pacey winger and a reasonably fast striker, we will drill the balls in. I gather all this information from the Prozone feature and take that into account. No tactical change needed, yet. Drilling deeper onto my left flank, I noticed the opposition seem to favour passing reception there. The MC role of that position will need to be changed either at halftime or for the next game. Overall I am happy with the WIMBO screens. My only concern is my left flank, which seems under utilised but over worked.
Our fullbacks seem to lose the ball in some really bad spots, and this is another reason why I need to consider increasing the effectiveness of the midfield screen. Its going to be a long hard season for Torino, but teamwork will need to be important as an attribute, if my players have low teamwork, they won’t abandon their jobs to go help a player in need, content rather to sit back and watch. My left fullback has failed to make any cross count in the second half, in fact he failed on each key highlight that was shown.
As the match progresses I continue to jot my notes down when Sbampato scores a goal down our left flank, confirming my suspicion that something needs to change there. I proceed to change the role of the MC there and turn him into a Ball Winning Midfielder on support whilst the other midfielder is made an attacking playmaker on attack. The game now needs water carriers between midfield and attack. Without them the 41221 is heavily reliant on the flanks to make all the chances. Its fine for when you are countering, we are now testing the system on control to see where the gaps in the system are. The AP in midfield is needed.
I look at how the passing metrics of my duo in midfield are looking and am happy to see that the two are stringing good passes as well as making good forays into the opponents half to receive the ball. The Prozone feature confirms that when I check the Players Pass receptions. The water carrier is doing his job well on the right flank. We seem to be favouring the right side of the pitch with most of our attacking players directed by central midfield. This convinces me even further that our left flank can be shored up with a role change. We make the necessary changes immediately, In the 81st minute we score. Torino have beaten Chievo away from home in our first reasonable test of the season. The real test will come against giants AC Milan at the San Siro. I make further notes, reflecting that changes will also need to be made at Player Development. While watching the game, my assistant Lovita Liftsmeup breaks my attention on the pitch, excitedly to inform me that the the Global Youth Developmental Council, led by Sports Interactive, haveimposed sweeping changes to training systems across Europe. Apparently we have a squad personality now, and this should play a small role in development. According to Seb Wassel their Training Evangelist, this and other changes to training should lead to better development of training modules in various clubs. We plan to take a deeper look at how this will affect Torino in the coming weeks. Lovita Liftsmeup never fails to surprise me.
As we leave the pitch the players are surprised at their own performance, I calmly look around the pitch. The Chievo fans have left the stadium, alone with my brood, I tell them the real test will be AC Milan, and our first match of the season. As the players trudge off to the dressing rooms, I wonder which one of them will actually stand out and be counted when the time comes. It’s going to be a long hard season.
We go into the Milan match, deciding to use the Defiant 41221, and we adopt a control set up as well. Within the first 20 minutes I noticed that we lacked the pace to match our prolific opposition, holding them back would be the better option. To do that we swapped out our control system and adopted a counter attacking system in the second half, but only after taking a look at how two of our players were doing in the middle of the park. Over the next few weeks we will try to use every tool at our disposal to make small tweaks to our system. By focusing on our defensive line and where who closes down will be significant, another area i will be looking at is players received. This should give us more information. I’ve already uploaded a video that focuses on this match, and am heading off to the capital to meet some interested parties. Catch you guys again soon.