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Feb 18, 2011
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A brief history between me and Football Manager…
With FM 2007 I created a tactic that proved hugely successful, however since then I just have not got to terms with FM. More often than not just losing the desire to even play the game after several unsuccessful attempts. With FM 2011 I decided to go back to my old 2007 formation and theory’s.

The Formation and theory…
The formation as it was in FM07 is 5-2-3.
The theory as it was back then is to push the Defensive Line up and play the Offside Trap with having enough numbers at the back to cover for any errors. Up front it has changed dramatically since FM07, it had to. Now instead of ‘hoofing’ the ball up to the target man I try to play it into the channels with the two wide forwards running into space. It appears to work a dream so far.

The whole team do a lot of closing down from the back to the front. What happens is when the opponents attack everyone looks to hassle them. Oppenents do get shots but mostly they are wide (off target) or blocked. They rarely get a Clear Cut Chance.

Attacking is great to watch because rather than taking it to the opponents head on, you really stretch them. All 3 forwards cause problems but the central striker is the real glory seeker.
Since playing as Sunderland with various tactics Asamoah Gyan has not really been anything special, but I chose him for the centre role as him is fast and decent both in the air and on the ground. From 4 games he has scored 11 goals. Darren Bent, Frazer Campbell and Danny Welbeck have all chipped in with goals.

The team as a unit…
The midfield needs to be good at closing down and tackling. In fact there are important attributes throughout the team required. In Defence, Midfield and Attack you need PACE. Two defence midfielders are better suited. Stamina, workrate all help.
Keep a watch on each players condition during the game. Due to the amount of work they do they are going to tire. A tired player will be less effective late in the game. It hasn’t been a major problem but I do usually need to sub at least one of the midfielders each game.

The only difference I have made so far is between Home/Away or rather Favourites/Underdogs.
When I am the Favourite I play slightly less Attacking to the underdog games. Attacking a team that is an underdog makes them sit back and harder to break down. Whereas attacking a team that are favourites catches them unguarded.
Later in games if you are winning it is good to crank up the Time Wasting as this allows you players to get a breather but is still effective. I often score even after pushing up the Time Wasting.

This tactic needs a team to be built around it. At Sunderland most players are naturally suited it to it. The pace in attack, two D/M’s and plenty of Centre Backs. Other players like attacking Midfielders or wingers are best sold and re-invested.
I’ve never tried it with other teams and to get it to work at lower level will take some effort to get the right players in.

I’ll include some pictures tomorrow morning.
Home (Favorites)
Away (Underdog)

I'm not saying it is a world beater, but more intersted to see how it works with other teams.
PITCH SIZE = Minimum to make it easier for your players when closing down.

I have also started a new season with Blue Square North team Hinckley to test it at this level. Hinckley are a great Challenge because they have no funds for transfers. I asked the Chairman to make some avaiable but he made it clear that the answer was NO. I was also rejected any chance of funds for wages to be increased. This meant i had to be very shrewd. My wage budget would not allow me to bring players in, but luckily most players are out of contract so i released any that i thought did not suit the tactic. Anyone with Pace lower than 9 was released. This allowed me to bring players in on free transfters that had small amount of ability but a minimum of 10 pace.
I did not have a good team at all on paper but i believed they suited what i wanted.
Anyway the first game of the season, i was away to title challenging Alfreton. We won 4-1.
Next game at home to Boston ended 0-0, and then beat Stalybridge 2-1. I'm having massive problems with fitness so i have to change my team selection to suit fit players but it is still working. Sitting 3rd after 3 games.
With Sunderland i beat Wigan 4-1 at home in the first game, drew away to Everton 0-0 then beat Man Utd 2-0 at home. Sitting top after 3 games.

---------- Post added at 07:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:41 PM ----------

At Hinckley, I have no coaches other than an Assistant Manager which is why the fitness levels are so bad. Chairman blocks any attempts to bring coaches in but i've managed to increase my playing staff by releasing any reserves so at least i can always play 11 fit players. Hopefully as the season progresses and as players get fitter then i will use the players who are in better form. With other Non League teams where some sort of budget is available then this tactic SHOULD be a dream if handled correctly.
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