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A Solution for all Scenarios ::: Newcastle League Champions

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Brief Background

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I am a PhD student, passionate football fan and yes you guessed it, a hardcore Arsenal FC supporter (my childhood club). I love the beutiful game and Arsenal play beautiful football. I co-managed my university engineering team in their university league which can get pretty competitive.

Like many other people who post tactics on this website, I have an extensive CV in the virtual world of football management games. I started with championship manager 03/04 and even sampled the dark side by playing other management games like Fifa manager (6). I have had many varied experiences in FM, from shouting at the screen when my players make rash decisions in the box conceding a penalty in the last minute, to running round my university dorm room shouting at the top of my voice because I just turned a match around in the finals of the champions league. Oh the glory days:wub::'(.

This is my first post on FM Base and by nature I am a perfectionist (cliche but true). I like to cover every single detail hence why I did the detailed write up. I want to thank FM Base for hosting this. I hope to write more from my knowldge and experience of the game. I have always checked on tactics and discussions on this website, but have only just decided to register.


Changing Old Ways

Football Manager 2013 is more realistic and incorporates more depth than we have ever seen in a football management game. From the more realistic match engine, to the level of detail added to the man management side of things. The game has changed and so do you. No more one tactic forever.

I personally have never created or downloaded a tactic in this game that has been consistent all through. There is always some ridiculous slump in form at some point in the season or next season. I always find it funny and quite surprising when I see people complaining about this knowing well that they only had a plan A.

Don’t expect to set just one tactic for the whole season and challenge for the title. The game A.I. will figure out what you are doing and counter it (FACT!!!).

I not only have a plan B, I have a plan C, D, E and F (H).

Obviously, if you are managing one of the big teams like Manchester City/United, Chelsea, or have exceptional players in general, then they will be more than able to get results no matter what formation use (Don’t play 2-3-5 though) :p. Majority of the FM population however enjoy a challenge and mostly stay away from these big teams. I fall into this group and would rather develop a smaller team, and at the end of the season, have a real sense of accomplishment when I win trophies.

Before I go on, let me share my achievements with the approach I am currently highlighting. I decided to manage Newcastle United. A team that has potential but is no where near the finished product. In my first season, I reached the Semi finals of the FA Cup and Europa Cup where I was knocked out by Man Utc and Atletico Madrid respectively.

I also won the premiere league (on the last day of the season). Strikers scored a combined 71 goals in all competitions. Other players contribute significantly to goals as well. Impressed yet??(H). Well you should be.


With effective team management and the right tactics, I believe any team can overachieve and gain sucess like I did.


What Makes a Succesful Manager ?

Michael Laudrup, David Moyes, Jose Mourinho (Porto); these managers have been able to consistently overachieve and prove pundits and analysts wrong despite their obvious handicaps. What makes them so successful? Well in football management, two attributes are necessary for success: Tactical Adaptability and Effective Man Management. All managers need to be able to read a situation in-game and adapt accordingly.

You download an attacking, possession tactic for your Everton team and are surprised when Aston Villa beat you by counter attacking. Not really surprising. The ability to change your tactical approach in accordance with how your opposition is set-up is vital to success.

This is an ability that is most improved by experience and involves alot of common sense and observation .The man management side of things in FM has never been more detailed. Individual and Team Training, Team Talks, Press Conferences, Tutoring, Inter-Manager Interactions and so on are all important when building a successful team. Keeping you players happy all season can be the difference between success and failure.


My Tactical Set-Up

Now for my tactics. The part most people want to see. Well, I had many choices. Most modern tactical setups both in real life and in football manager tend to have 5 midfielders. A lot of 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 (AMR/L) formations with the aim of over-running the midfield. But what happens when everyone tries to have that extra man in midfield? They all cancel out don't they.

I guess now, some of you are hoping that I have created the ultimate possession, goals, super defence 3-1-2-2-2 asymmetric tactic. Well sorry to disappoint, but my tactics are just simple variations of the tried and tested 4-4-2.



The Flat 4-4-2 was the standard about 10 years ago and achieved a lot of success. The Arsenal team of 03/04 adopted the setup and we all know what they achieved (Invincibles) Arsenal is amazing by the way. Best team in the world :).... Before I get carried away, back to the 4-4-2.

So why has this tactic been phased out. Modern football tactics were created in order to exploit the holes in the 4-4-2 tactic. So you’d have an AMC operating between the defence and midfield or a DMC like Pirlo operating between the Forwards and the midfield.

4-4-2 however in my opinion is the most versatile tactic out there. All players in the formation can contribute to both the attacking and defensive aspects of the game easily. Two strikers upfront give you more options and gives the opposition defence more to think about.

If the right tactical variation of a 4-4-2 is used for the right situation, it can be extremely successful.


The Tactics

Like I said previously, tactical variation and being able to adapt is paramount for sucess. Different tactical variations allow you to be unpredictable which will always keep the AI on its toes. Enough talk now. Have a look at the tactics

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There are 6 tactical variations that I use for different situations :O.......
OMG!!!!..... SIX!!!. Yes, yes… six variations, get over it |). It’s not six for no reason though. The game has 7 preset strategy options and my tactics are based on 6 of them.

There is a Standard, Attacking, Cautious Attack, All Out Attack, Counter Attack and Defensive. I don’t employ a Contain Tactic as I feel it is extremely counter productive. For Every tactic, the players have different individual roles as would be expected.


Standard Tactic:
This tactic has no identity and there is has a balance between both Defence and Attack. The main offensive outlet will primarily be provided from out wide by the wingers crossing the ball from the byline.

The central midfielders will always sit deep and perform mainly defensive and supportive duties. Wingers perform traditional duties and full backs support them.

Attacking Tactic
:
This tactic is attacking with traditional wingers, offensive full backs and a central midfielder who will constantly join the attack.
It looks to overwhelm the opposition defence with numbers and is more direct in order to quickly exploit the opposition’s underwhelming defensive players. Players are more disciplined and have specific roles to adhere to.


Cautious Attack:
Similar to the Attack Tactic but with a bit §more caution. The full backs hold up the ball to draw opposition players out before passing to more offensive players. The central midfielders sit deeper and are more supportive but occasionally join in the attack.
The creative freedom is high and offensive players are given the license to roam round in order to find space. Tempo is slower and possession is strived for. Useful against counter attacking teams.


All Out Attack:
One of three tactics where the shape varies from the traditional 4-4-2. This tactic throws caution to the wind in order to get a goal.
The wide attackers are moved to the attacking midfield position and operate as inside forwards flooding the box.The fullbacks offer width and cross the ball and the central midfielders offer some stability in midfield, by sitting deeper and distributing the ball to advanced players. Never use before the 75[SUP]th[/SUP] minute


Counter Attack:
Another shape variation. The central midfielders operate in front of the defence. The DMCL is more defensive and will hardly venture forward while the DMCR is more supportive and will look to always make himself available during counter opportunities.
The defensive line is deeper and plays narrow. Central players man mark while wide players zonal mark so that they can maintain their positions out wide for the counter, instead of being dragged around. If you have most of the possession with this tactic, it is a sign that you should switch things up

Defensive Tactic:
Same shape variation as Counter Attack. All players in defensive positions defend and never go forward. Winger sit deeper and each player tightly man marks an opponent.
Players stand off in so that they are not drawn out of position.


General Attacking Setup
The general attacking outlet for all tactics is based on exploiting the flanks and creating space for the more attacking striker. In order to create space, all tactics have a Trequartista. He will draw defenders out before delivering a pass to the more advanced payers. He will also get goals for you.
The Wingers are traditional wide players and will look to beat players and deliver crosses into the box. These 3 players have basically the same duties in every tactical variation and are the assist kings. They will also get the most goals.

Look at the screenshot below. Gaitan with those 29 assissts. I just want to clarify that these goals and assissts are not from a corner exploit or anything. They were mainly in play. I only scored 6 goals from corners and 6 from indirect freekicks in the league.


Note: This is just a general description and goals scored and how they are scored are more varied than this.

The table shows the roles that players are assigned for each tactical strategy. The * indicates players that are given free role to roam from position.
PositionDefendCounterStandardCaut. Att.AttackAll-Out-Att
DR/LFB (D)FB (S)FB (S)FB (S)FB (At)FB (At)
DCR/LCB (D)CB (D)CB (D)CB (D)CB (D)CB (D)
DMCR/MCRDM (D)DM (S)*DLP (S)DLP (S)AP (S)DLP (S)
DMCL/MCLDM (D)DM (D)BWM (D)BWM (D)BWM (D)DLP (S)
MR/L, AMR/LW (S)W (At) *W (At)W (At) *W (At) *IF (At) *
STCRCF (At)CF (At) *CF (At) *CF (At) *CF (At) *CF (At) *
STCLT (At)T (At) *T (At) *T (At) *T (At) *T *


Recommended Player Stats and Preferred Moves

These recommendations are just recommendations. If you find a player that has all these stats, then he will be magic in the position. One attitbute which I feel every player should have is Determination. This attribute governs so many aspects of the game, from trying to pull a goal back during a match, to training at the highest level.
If you can, make sure all your players have at least 14 Determination.Recommended players are off the top of my head.

Fullbacks
: Crossing, Marking, Passing, Tackling, Aggression, Anticipation, Decision, Work Rate, Teamwork, Acceleration, Pace, Stamina.

Pref. Moves: Nothing Specific.

Recommended Players: Baines, Santon, Gokhan Gonul, Filipe.

Centre Backs
: Heading, Marking, Tackling, strength, Aggression, Anticipation, Bravery, Concentration, Positioning, Acceleration, Pace, Strength.
Pref. Moves: Mark Opponent Tightly, Play Simple Passes.

Recommended Players: Steven Taylor, Yanga Mbiwa, Alderwield, Benatia, Rami.

Right Central Midfielder
: Finishing, First Touch, Long Shots, Passing, Tackling, Technique, Anticipation, Composure, Creativity, Decision, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Strength, Acceleration.

Pref. Moves: Comes Deep to Get Ball, Tries Killer Ballers Often, Tries Long Range Passes, Stays on Feet.

Recommended Players: Cabaye, Yttergard Jensen, Capoue, Capoue.


Left Central Midfielder
: Heading, Marking, Passing, Tackling, Aggression, Anticipation, Bravery, Concentration, Positioning, Teamwork, Work Rate, Stamina, and Strength.

Pref. Moves: Plays Way Out of Trouble.

Recommended Players: Tiote, Simao, Wanyama, Fellain

iWingers: Crossing, Dribling, Finishing, First Touch, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Creativity, Flair, Off the Ball, Acceleration, Agility, and Pace.

Pref. Moves: Runs with Ball Down Respective Flank (Run down left for left winger and vice versa), Curls Ball (quality move for a winger), Cuts Inside (only in conjunction run down flank), Run with Ball Often.

Recommended Players: Gaitan, Ben Arfa, Bernard, Lennon, Tadic

Right Striker
: Dribling, Finishing, First Touch, Heading, Technique, Anticipation, Composure, Off the Ball, Teamwork, Acceleration, Agility, Pace, Strength

Pref. Moves: Nothing Specific

Recommended Players: Papisse Cisse, Caicedo, Abel Hernandez

Left Striker
:
Dribling, Finishing, First Touch, Long Shots, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Composure, Creativity, Decisions, Off the Ball, Team Work, Strength.

Pref. Moves: Comes Deep to Get Ball, Tries Killer Passes Often

Recommended Players: Jovetic, Abel Hernadez

My Title Winning First Team

The Screen shots below are of my starting 11 that won me the league. They played extremely well together and thoroughly impressed all through the season
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As you can see, these players are not world beaters neither are they terrible. By effectively managing them, I was able to consistenly get the best out of them.

Opposition Instructions
Always Tight Mark and Hard Tackle the central attacking midfielder. For Man City who use 3 AMCs, focus only on the most central AMC. Apart from that, wingers who can only use one foot comfortably are shown on to weaker foot.

Example Scenarios of how I Adapted my Approach (Results)

In this section, I have selected a few matches and discussed the decisions I made in game and why I made them.


Stoke at Home (3 – 0) League
I was on good form and so was Stoke. I was playing at home and decided to use the cautious attack because I felt I was the better team, but was still wary of them counter attacking. I was in complete control of possession, but could not seem to get enough CCCs due to their resolute defending. At the 75[SUP]th[/SUP] minute, I got the notification that they started to operate even more defensively.
I took a big risk switched to all out attack and it paid off as my attacking presence was too much for the opposition and they conceded a penalty. I took the lead and I knew that they would try to get a goal back. They did not go all out but still changed to a more attacking mentality. I switched to the standard formation which meant I was operating more defensively but still had an attacking presence. Due to the opposition team attacking more, their defence became more open and I was able to score 2 more goals without conceding.

GOAL TIMES: 73’, 79’ and 86’.



Ludogrets Razgrad Away (0 – 6) Europa Cup
I was the comfortable favourite against a team with significantly weaker players. I started out all out attack. Got an early goal and finshed the first half 3 – 0 up. I told my team at half time not to be complacent and they all reacted badly. Bad decision. Start of the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] half and the opposition came out firing switching to a 4-2-4. They had a few shots on goal and I was under some slight pressure.
At the 65[SUP]th[/SUP] minute, I switched to counter attack because I wanted to deal with their offensive numbers but still wanted to attack. From that point on my team became deadly once again and I bagged 3 more goals on the counter. At that point, they just went ultra defensive 5-3-2.

GOAL TIMES: 13’, 34’, 49’, 68’, 79’, 80’



Fulham Away (1 – 1) League
Fulham were in good form and my form was indifferent. I had a better team though. I started with the cautious attack and for the first 20 minutes, I was in complete control but was only challenging from long range. I got a bit impatient and switched to the attack. Unfortunately I conceded from a combination of their direct play and defenders falling asleep. I switched back to cautious attack and the trend up till the 20-minute mark continued.
At the 75[SUP]th[/SUP] minute I went all out attack and started to get better chances and at the 90[SUP]th[/SUP] minute, the pressure was too much for the opposition and they conceded.

GOAL TIMES: Fulham – 35’, Newcastle – 90’.



Manchester City Away (2 – 2) League
City were in superb form and fighting for the title. Their players were scoring goals and they had just previously beaten Man Utd 4 – 0 away from home. I knew I could not go gong ho against them or would get demolished. I started with the Defensive tactic (trying to get the drew). I was getting absolutely dominated but most of their attempts were from distance. Midwayway through the half though, Aguero (the beast that he is) decided to dribble past two players, get one on one with my keeper and smash the ball into the roof of the net. I went in at half time a goal down.

Changed to my counter attacking formation and set out. I was able to break out of their continued dominance with a lethal counter and got level from a penalty. I continued to soak up the pressure after that but conceded very late on from a corner kick (cheap). City went defensive and I countered by going all out attack. I remarkably got a goal in the final minute.
Look at the match stats. Quite amazing !!!

GOAL TIMES: City – 18’, 86’. Newcastle 63’, 93’



Sunderland at Home (4 – 0) League Rival
This was the first game of the season against my fierce rivals down the road. Passion would be at a high level and players would either play at their best or at their worst. No in-betweens here. I had the better team and wanted to come out of the blocks firing. I started with the Attack tactic and was 3 – 0 up before the 30 minute mark. Ended the half 4 – 0. The second half started and I did not change anything.
I noticed they were getting chances on the counter and they had easy chances which they failed to score. I reacted and switched to cautious attack and dominated them from then on.

GOAL TIMES: 16’, 27’, 29’, 45’.



Manchester United Away (1-0)
Man Utd were in great form and so was my team. I did not get carried away and started with a counter formation. As would be expected, I had no posesession, but united had no clear cut chances and I could see potential for a counter. Then Rooney steps up with a bit of magic and scores the most amazing banana long range shot. I stuck with the counter tactic and at the start of the secon half, I started to get more chances on the counter and my players managed to waste some easy opportunities to score.
Changed to all out attack but Man U were good enough to see the game out. Game ended as a loss. Sometimes, no matter what you do, the unpredictability of football gets the upper hand. I guess thats what makes the game so fascinating


These matches could have been handled very differently leading to either better results or worse results. Knowing what to do and when to do it is something I find very interesting in this game. It is an ability that I learnt over time with practice and experience.Other authors on this site however has come up with a strategy that could help you decide what tactical strategy to use.

This was done by JP Woody and the link to this thread is below

.http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/football-manager-2013-tactics-training/118206-jp-woodys-understanding-odds-playing-right-way.html

Now that the Tactical Side of things is done, lets move on to the man management.


Man Management

Player happiness is almost as important as the tactics you use in a match. Your players happiness is governed by so many factors in this game and being able to effectively manage these factors could be the difference between a world beating team and an average team.

Backroom Staff:
The first thing I do whenever I takeover a team is evaluate the backroom staff. I always want to have the best staff available to me in my team. The coaches in my team must always be able to reach a coaching level of least 3.5 stars.
Even if I have to offer mutual termination to current staff in order to bring new ones in, I will do it.

The screenshot below show my coaching star level. 4 attribute are usually important in searching for a new coach: Level of Discipline, Motivation, Determination and the specific attribute for the stat you want to him to coach


Get a new assistant manager if your current one is rubbish, I believe the assistant manager is the most important backroom staff at any club.

I also get quality physios that can help deal with and reduce injuries at the club. Finally, I get quality scouts. You should however note that scouts don’t directly affect player happiness as far as I know but I still get them.

Training
: Once you have signed your coaches, you need to give your players there individual training roles. This should be done either for a tactical role or a specific attribute. Team Training should be left to the assistant manager but it is important to focus on team cohesion and tactics on a very high workload during the preseason. I also retrain players for the positions I need them to operate. I dont stop training a player until they are accomplished in that position. This is wht I did to Nicolas Gaitan who I bought for my team.


Training Workload and Player Happiness:
One thing I have found with training is that players always seem to be unhappy with their training workload. No matter how much I adjust the workload, the just seem unhappy. Well I figured out how to fix it.All you do is talk to the player, and inform him that he needs to step up his training or else would not be first team or will be asked to leave the club depending on his squad status.
I spoke to every single player in my team in this way and all of a sudden, they were happy with their training schedule


Team Talks and the Press:
I personally leave these to the assistant manager when I have a really good one. This was not the case for my assisstant John Carver who was average at best.
What I did was to follow other authors on this website however have provided strategies for team talks and had great sucess with it.

Squad Depth: I cannot stress how important this is to a team that wants to challenge for trophies. This game has a knack for injuring your star players when they are in form. Having players that can effectively fill in for first team players when they are either injured or tired is very important.

Try to sign players that can play in multiple positions. Loan players as well. Rotating players could also help deal with complacency as the players know they will always need to work for their first team statusGet rid of players of that do not fit your game plan. If you are never going to play them, why have them in your team. They will only become unsettled and this can filter through the whole team.


A Final Word

I am hoping that after reading this that you will be motivated to not only download and plug in a tactic, but be ready to think and adapt to different situations. I also want everyone to always consider the management side of the game. Have a go at not only using my tactics but creating yours. Come back to this thread, share your sucess and help your fellow managers by giving them advice.Sucess is something everyone can achieve if we all work together.



Download Link
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Edit: Please change the closing down on the attacking tactic to press more!!!!!. And the complete forward (S) to Attack in the standard tactic

Changed it in my game but did not save it and uploaded the wrong thing. Thanks
:)
 
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One of the best posts that i have seen around here.

Congratz
 
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Wow, amazing write-up and I love the idea of using the 6 different 'templates'. I am currently finalizing my own tactic but may test this out after that.
 
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Wow, amazing write-up and I love the idea of using the 6 different 'templates'. I am currently finalizing my own tactic but may test this out after that.
Thanks mate.
 
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Forgive me if I sound like a noob, but since you can train only 3 tactics at a time, how is it possible to get all 6 strategies fluid at the same time?
 
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what you put in the tactical section tactrique three but which
 
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A fantastically unique idea and the Best Opening Post ever written on a Tactical Page...
Have Bookmarked this for thousand times of Future References
 
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Forgive me if I sound like a noob, but since you can train only 3 tactics at a time, how is it possible to get all 6 strategies fluid at the same time?
what you put in the tactical section tactrique three but which
Good question. You will never actually get all tactics completely fluid. I personally had one slot for Cautious attack, one for
standard and one for counter. No point having either all out attack or defensive as you will rarely use these. All the tactics still however remain fluid enough to be switched around quite easily
 
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Depite you being a Gooner and the small piece of fiction you have put in there about Arsenal being the greatest side this is a fantstic write up. You're spot on with your approach to the game and like in real life the need to adapt to different situations. I think there are a lot of people looking to find a plug and play tactic and win everything from the Premier League to the Grand National and the X Factor. Those days have gone and the future of the game is man management, having a plan a, b, c etc and using the tactic creator and not classic mode. Quality write up up
 
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Good question. You will never actually get all tactics completely fluid. I personally had one slot for Cautious attack, one for
standard and one for counter. No point having either all out attack or defensive as you will rarely use these. All the tactics still however remain fluid enough to be switched around quite easily
Good post, have just started a Newcastle Save
Is your cautious attack the one called "Breakdown" from your tactic zip?
Cheers
 
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You my friend are a genious!:) You should download yourself some recording software and get a FM youtube series on the go.
 
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Hello Capt Gunner,

do you think it's possible to use your set in LL? Had been successful with Eintracht Frankfurt in German Bundesliga (2nd place, qualify for Champions League). But with the right players could it work in 3. Bundesliga also?
Would be easy to find players that would fit in this tactic, but there won't be many complete strikers at this level, so could it work with tall TM / quick poacher combo upfront?
 
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Hello Capt Gunner,

do you think it's possible to use your set in LL? Had been successful with Eintracht Frankfurt in German Bundesliga (2nd place, qualify for Champions League). But with the right players could it work in 3. Bundesliga also?
Would be easy to find players that would fit in this tactic, but there won't be many complete strikers at this level, so could it work with tall TM / quick poacher combo upfront?
It should work in lower league divisions. The tactics in the pack are different and none of them try to play like Barcelona or madrid so you should be fine.

With regards to striker combinations, I would advice always using a Trequartista if you can to link between attack and midfield and help fluidity. You could however try it with the way you suggested and let me know how it works for you.

Also keep in mind that if you remove the Trequartista, then the playmaking responsibilities fall to the MCR. So make sure he is comfortable and smart on the ball as if he looses it, your defense would be under immediate pressure.

Let me know how you get on
 
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Testing these with my Wolves team. Still in first season but dropped out of the play off spots in Feb due to teams knowing my tactics! Hoping it helps :) I'll leave feedback at the end of the season
 
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Testing these with my Wolves team. Still in first season but dropped out of the play off spots in Feb due to teams knowing my tactics! Hoping it helps :) I'll leave feedback at the end of the season
Thanks
 
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