If you haven’t read the first post where I discussed the parameters of this FM17 test to establish what I am trying to do you really should. You can find it here
So why did I run this experiment, it was for a simple purpose, could the Ass Man do a decent enough job without me being fired. Naturally I felt like running back and forth between the computer, cos I really don’t want to end up looking like a fool. As the calendar wore on, I saw one image. Wolves(1st) in Jan playing against Norwich. So I want to grab a drink go watch television. This actually reminded of the days of playing with super tactics.. I would run what we like to call “soak” tests, then at the end of the season, I’d get up go through the squad make some transfers and wait to start playing in the promoted division. Well this test for just to find out what the results would be with the assistant manager. What was I looking for:
Would the team perform well? How would they perform, stats etc
- Would the Ass Man make the right selections
This was important, for one thing, if he didn’t then SI would need to know about it. To some extent I would expect him to play the “best” player for the role. However my definition of best is specifically tuned for two attributes. The Ass man uses “role-based” choices so he could be looking for the best role across several attributes.
Wolves finished as Champions of the league. The test was stopped just before the playoffs. All league games have been played. So lets first take a look at how they did from a macro point of view. In terms of league position they finished 2 points ahead of Newcastle who should be regarded as favourites
They had the best passing numbers, possession numbers which I kind of expected. Wolves was also provided with a custom corner routine meant to maintain possession and a custom free kick routine as well. I play with a short corner routine, its currently my preferred option for possession centred systems. The one stat that stood out for me was the passing one. They had 28023 passes completed in the league, Newcastle their nearest finished 8000 passes behind. And Wolves average possession was 60%, now that’s big for an ass man run game. The thing about setting an ass man in charge, is that he can only use that tactic you have given him. He can’t adjust the defensive line, he can’t change tempo and he can’t do mentality changes. I would assume that a human manager who could would have generated an incredible run.
What stood out for me was Wolves poor SOT, that’s what I was worried about when running the test. Wolves don’t have good strikers, so them finishing 4th in goals scored wasn’t that bad. They capped that off with conceding the least number of goals. There were some interesting matches, and this is what stood out for me. The key to playing well, lies almost entirely to how you select your players and also role selection. Most tactics, let’s be honest, they are fine. You can create a decent tactic almost on a whim. What distinguishes good managers from poor managers in the game is role/duty selection and player selection.
Against Newcastle Away Wolves did fairly ok. They managed to control possession, keep a tight ship and win the game. Now I will be analysing the games closely on my next YT show, but what was interesting was their home game. At home the ass man made decisions on player selection I never would have made.
My first instinct when choosing players to play in this system is that they have Teamwork and Work-rate. For my midfielders this is paramount, because I track their interceptions every few games to ensure the best player is there. It was good to see that the Ass Man generally kept to the lineups I was hoping to see. However he never played my No 1 choice where I would have played him, nor did he play the midfield permutation I wanted. In the loss against Newcastle, he played Prince and Romain together. Prince is my 4th choice. I would have played Romain in the key position I needed but Romain was always played in a position I never wanted him to play. So as far as I could tell, the ass man wasn’t perfect with player selections, which to be honest I entirely expected.
In terms of interceptions I was happy to see the numbers. My midfielders did 5 per game on average. The outlier was Prince who did 10. He had 234 interceptions
in 22 games. That is around 10, a really high number. So generally I was pleased with how the team did with interceptions. Apart from the anomaly that is Prince, everyone else performed within expectations.
What I also expected were the losses, the ass man picked a few players to play who I would never have played. I daresay that if the AM had used my 4312 system the championship win would have been even more comprehensive, because of the way I designed it to control space.
Well the ass man’s hands were tied, in every game. He had no choice but to play counter. If I had been in charge, I would have played with mentality a bit and definitely with the defensive line, to take advantage of specific systems, like Newcastles 4231. This does reassure me that the ultimate decisions you need to make in a game are actually simple ones – Mentality, Roles and Duties and perhaps defensive line changes. Now I wonder should I let this challenge continue? How will Wolves do with an absentee manager in the premiership. They certainly won’t win it, but I would safely say they’d have relegation fight on their hands without any changes to the side.
The next time you play your game, have a good think about the players in your side, do they have the right attributes to fight for the win?
And by the way you can find out more about the system on my Youtube channel Bustthenet : Counter Pressing – The Wolves Experiment, and guess what the Ass Man won Manager of the Year!!
(This is part of a series, it follows what happens after we make changes in efforts to control the game) Making the Good Transition Part 3 Faced with a defensive 424 that [...]