FM 2011 Progress - How is your game going?


Aug 30, 2014
very interesting to play in Netherlands.

my AZ average team, we have squad worse than Twente and PSV, much worse than Ajax. Twente PSV and Ajax easily beat us in money , and wage budget. This is a challenge, and this is so fun.

this is my 2rd season, and we played well:

my best signing ever:

1.5 million euro for this beast, TY Benfica!

probably no chance to win the title, but we are in Semi Final KNVB (Dutch Cup), playing vs PSV, and if we win i think we meet in final Feyenoord.

ok, here is a tactic what i use. i made some changes after last season, but basic concept remained.



why this formation? no, it not "all about players". if i build my formation based on their Natural positions, it should be 4-2-3-1 or 4-2-3-1 narrow. in my vision this type of formation should get lots of creative freedom, to make players roam, finding space, swaping positions etc. I don't like it. And i dont like to use my wide players on advanced positions, they very rarely track back.

Philosophy: Very Rigid
Strategy: Counter (i change it to Attack when i need to score, or opponent just parking the bus)
Passing style: Direct
Creative Freedom: More Disciplined

conception here: Limited Creative Freedom. only 2 or maximum 3 players have big Creative Freedom, this is guys with good Flair, Creative, Desicions, Determination. Everyone else - "keep things simple".

ok, now players:

GK - defender collect (DR)
Fullbacks (S) - zonal marking, tight, tackling: hard(!), RFD: rare (i change it to "sometimes" if i play vs team with 1 player on the wing), closing down: rare, passing style: short (i change it to direct, if i play vs team with 1 player on the wing, or when i need to build up attack faster).
DC - zonal marking, tight.
Defencive Midfielders (D) - zonal marking, tight: no, closing down: rare, RFD: sometimes (to fill the gap between midfield and strikers), passing style: short (i change it to direct, if i play vs team with 1 player on the wing, or when i need to build up attack faster).
Wide Midfielders ( A )- zonal marking, tight: no, tackling: easy, closing down: rare, passing style: short (i change it to direct, if i play vs team with 1 player on the wing, or when i need to build up attack faster).
Shadow Striker/Trequarista/DLF - mentality same as any forward with duty: ( A ), but RFD: Rare (!). RWB: often, if he is Gaitan. This striker often are my Playmaker. Tons of Creative freedom for this guy.
Second Striker - any support role. i often choose Complete Forward (s) or Defencive Forward, and turn off Hold the ball, if my striker not so strong.

how it works in attack:
we build our attack from the back, often on the wings (short passing to DL+DML+ML and DR+DMR+MR creates triangle) where we pass, and pass the ball, before my striker open in space. this striker make run with ball, sometimes he cut inside, shoot or made throwgh ball to winger or second striker. Or make a simple pass to one of my DM, who start attack again with short pass to DL, DL to ML, ML to DM, etc etc. If opponent are aggressive in pressing, i turn of all of Passing setting in Player instructions, and made to shouts: Exploit the flanks and Clear ball to the flanks.
we score a lot of goals in couter-attack to.

how it works in defence:
loose zonal marking to every player in midfield and Rare closing down allows to keep the shape. Striker with support role track back and sometimes cover opponent DMC. I use Opponent instructions very carefuly, because it can ruin everything.

vs 4-4-2: very easy. just need to exploit space in the middle.
vs 4-1-2-1-2 wide: same, we should use space in the middle, but don't forget about opp.AMC, i mark him with one of my DMC, another DMC get the RFD: often.
vs 4-3-1-2, 4-1-3-2, 4-1-2-1-2, 4-2-3-1 narrow: i have a problem vs narrow formations. they cant score , and i rarely to score.
vs 4-1-2-2-1: my DMC mark opponent Striker, and he end the game with 6.0 rating. It hard to break down them, if they park the buss.
vs 4-2-3-1 wide: in Eredivisie only Ajax play this formation. Can't test properly, because they have much, much better players.
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Aug 30, 2014
season ended. a little bit embarasing, because... because Ajax so strong. just take a look, here we in 2 points from them:

this is... holy sh*t. 24 scored, 1 concede.

final league table:

but anyway, this is a good season for us! we promoted to UCL, i hope in Third Qualification Round we don't get something like Inter or PSG.

We also win the KNVB Cup, very easy, 3-0 vs Vitesse in Final.

i think about sell this guy:

he played well only 1/3 time of the season (and this is because we have good season, if we lose more, i think he perform much worse). hes determination, bravery and team play are terrible. Natural fitness - 6. oh, ye, i sell you in the summer.


Gohou selled to Nurnberg. for this money i buy:

i realy need new gk, and Krul is a good choice.
and in winter transfer window i got:

Real madrid already make a bid (3.5 mln), but i reject it :)
this is our future.
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Aug 30, 2014
fantastic season with East Fife in second division of Scotland. To be fair, i made 2 reloads. In next season i promise never do it.

Media prediction: 9, but we easy win the league.

tactic: 5-3-2, i finally setup tactic with 3 at the back, what works very well.

philosophy: balanced
strategy: standart
marking: zonal

MCL: BWM (s), MCR: BWM(d). it's essential to use roles, what not 'move into channels'. this guys should stay in the middle when we in possession, and help wingbacks when we defending.
AMC: Advanced playmaker (a). Simple here, a lot of teams in Scotland play 4-4-2, we should use this space between their defence and midfield. Advanced playmaker fit this role very well, because he not roam and not make a lot of forward runs.
STL: DLF(s). Striker what can hold the ball and make pass. Nothing special.
STR: Poacher. Fox in the box, without creative freedom, he NOT 'move into channels'. He should always stay in the middle.

+ very good defencivly. If you take a look at my DC, you can see what they are not so good. We concede 26 in 36 games, but ~50% of this goals come from Corners and Free kicks.

+ nice in attack. we have options how to build up our play: in the middle, or throw the wings.
+ teamplay. take a look, how lot of my players score or make assist

- when team tired or not motivated we struggle on the wings, if opponent overload it.
- need good wingbacks, if you want use all the width of the pitch in attack. They should have PPM: Get forward whenever possible.
- lack of the players in the opponent area (3), when my wingback make a cross.

I'm very proud, because with squad like this we made impossible. And i very happy to see, what tactic with 3 at the back works so well in FM11.
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Nov 5, 2017
The Mighty Saints

Usually just play with Man United or Man City or generally just big rich teams but got quite bored of this so said I'd try and find a sleeping giant down the leagues. Well look no further than the mighty saints. Southampton is a club with massive potential for growth if you can navigate your way back up to the Premier League.

I'm just heading into the fourth season now and everything is in place to do something special. Have lived mainly off lots of pretty epic free transfers but in the 3rd and now fourth season I've started to splash some cash(not without some consequences!).

You don't need to really spend much in the first season as Southampton are far too good for league one but I did make a lot of free transfers and loans just to beef up the squad a bit.

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Alex Smithies was of course the first port of call, a tremendous keeper for this level and the Championship. The full backs were the Ghanian Yakubu(FT) and Cunningham on loan from Man City. Fonte formed an excellent partnership with the West Ham loanee Holmar Ejjolfsson which was the bedrock for a very solid defence. 2 more frees Basinas and Richetti rotated the ageing DM slot with Morgs playing most games in CM. Puncheon was recalled from his loan to rotate the right wing slot with the Ox, Lallana on the left with Kaltenberg (FT) his back up. In AM Guly De Prado had a productive season with 14 goals and 11 assists in the league but can be a highly frustrating player. Up front was the main man Ricky of Lambertshire who was backed up at different spells by Guidetti and Wickham(Loans) as Barnard was injured most of the season.

So to be honest the first season was an absolute doddle but we did poorly in the cups going out in the 1st round of the Johnstone's paint trophy to fellow League one side Swindon and second round of the league cup against Championship side Reading. We did manage to make it to the third round of the FA Cup where we were drawn away to Championship opposition Nottingham Forest, but my refusal to change from the attack minded approach that had us dominating league one lead to a 6-3 tonking. The league was a different story though!<)

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So now in the Championship our predicted media finish I believe was 18th but I was quite confident with the right signings we could push for promotion. I had been tracking some higher profile players whose contracts were winding down and come the 30th of June i got a very nice surprise.

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On loan came two young French full backs with bags of potential Appiah and Digne, the Brazilian CB Toloi from Man United and Jack Collison. They added to the great free additions of Italian midfield destroyer Blasi, our new #10 Cani and young Italian hotshot Destro. Later in the season I even managed to convince Michael Owen to join the promotion push, gotts to love the auld take it or leave it contract offer!

But the most exciting addition came in the shape of a nice looking regen from our very own academy. Here he is in my 4th season still only 18!

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The season started with a backs to wall smash and grab 1-0 victory away to Derby which was followed by 2 more wins before our first league defeat in 49 matches (Arsenal anyone!) at home to Brighton. After this we went 12 unbeaten in the league which had us battling with recently relegated Premiership side Fulham for top spot. We made it through the first and second rounds of the league cup before being beaten at home by Premier league Birmingham 2 zip. We got to the 5th round of the FA cup beating fellow Championship sides Sheffield United and Blackpool but Stoke away was where we met our match 2 zip again 2 Walters screamers grrrrrrr.

I blame the defeat to Stoke on the fact that our team was wrecked after a huge win away to Fulham where we played the last 20 odd minutes with ten men and picked up a few key injuries to Appiah, Cani and De Prado. The main man Blasi filled in at right back in what was a tactical setup which took about 30 minutes before I was happy enough to confirm the changes. Lots of time wasting(6).

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After the FA Cup defeat 10 wins from our remaining 13 fixtures meant that we had smashed our predicted finish and won the League. We could now look forward to playing with the big boys in the Premier League! How about Pompey by the Way?!

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So now finally in the Premier league I knew we would need some serious additions if we were to hold our own so once again I had been tracking some fine players whose contracts were close to expiring but was not expecting too much. Amazingly though some real quality players had become free agents with nobody attempting to sign them before their deals finsihed. Feast your eyes on these beauties!

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Somehow we had managed to get our hands on the Spanish GK Asenjo, the solid Senegalese CB Diakhate, the CB Caceres who had left Barcelona no less, the Brazilian midfield maestro Fernandinho from Shaktar as well as proven premier league players in Russian wing wizard Yury Zhirkov and Man City's SWP. As for the tranfer budget that was spent on bringing back the two French full backs Appiah and Digne and CB Toloi who had all spent last season enjoying themselves on loan with us(And now all had Southampton as one of their favoured clubs) on permanent deals. Azpilicueta also joined on loan but the icing on the cake was when I spotted that Alan Dzagoev's contract would expire on the 1st of January so in one last wreckless bit of budgeting I went full David O Leary and gave him his 33,000 contract and while only having to pay a small compensation fee to CSKA.

So the board were not too happy with our finances and we were now 150,000 thousand over our weeky wage budget and had spent every penny of the tranfer budget but I had evil intentions for this season and our media prediction of 19th! Also our plans for new training facilities were scapped (oops) and midway through the season the board took out a 19mil loan even though we were actually making a profit every month and were gradually erasing our negative finances.

So we started our Premier league campaign with two draws against Wolves and Fulham before a tough defeat at home to a strong Everton side. But we bounced back to win 3-1 win at Bolton with academy graduate Davies bagging a brace with his first goals in England's top flight at the tender age of 17. Next was a battling display away to Mega rich Man City where we took an early lead thanks to a rocket of a free kick from Fernan the Man Dinho only to be eventually beaten 2-1.

After this we won 6 of our next 9 Premiership games as all our new players started to gel and we were in a very good looking top half spot after 14 games. But tough times were to follow as we went to Old trafford and were taught a lesson in a 3-1 loss. And more pain followed with two stinging defeats at home to Villa and Newcastle. We needed a confidence boost so perhaps it was the perfect time to face fellow promoted side Reading. Well yes, yes it was!

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So now with confidence restored we headed into our toughest task yet, away to unbeaten runaway league leaders Arsenal. For the first time in my tenure at the club I decided this called for a big change in our tactics. I switched from attacking to counter strategy and moved our defensive line deeper. The plan was to have explosive pace out wide with the two young Frenchmen at fullback and Zhirkov and SWP as wingers to counter quickly.

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Well the tactics worked, an inconceiveable 3-0 win at the Emirates had our fans in dreamland, Zhirkov setting up two and scoring the third for his man of the match award!. We were now firmly in the mixer for a European place after a predicted finish of 19th having just been promoted. Dzagoev joined and we won our next 4 matches including away to Sunderland in the FA cup and were looking strong. But two defeats against Everton and Man City followed to bring us back down to earth.

But what followed was a mighty 16 game unbeaten run which would amazingly put us in contention for a champions league spot as well as taking us all the way to the FA cup final. In the middle of this run came a tricky looking 4 games LIV A, CHE A, MUN H, MUN(FA). But we managed two draws with LIV and CHE before beating MUN 2-1 at St Marys. Prior to the FA cup semi against MUN they played the 2nd leg of their champions league quarter final against Shaktar which they lost 3-2 on agg. So I expected to see a slightly tired MUN side at Wembley but instead I was greeted by quite a surprising line up from Fergie.

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So thats Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Carrick, Fletcher, Rooney, Hernandez and Berbatov not even in the squad. Needless to say they were dispatched comfortably 4-0!

We lost our last two league matches of the season but results in other fixtures meant we had somehow clinched a 4th place position after being widely predicted to go straight back down. We faced off against Man City in the FA cup final but unfortunately we couldn't make it 3rd time lucky against Rafa Benitez's side as we succumbed to a 2-0 loss. Still despite the heartbreak of a cup final defeat I knew we had had an absolutely massive campaign and we could look forward to rubbing shoulders with some of the real European Heavyweights next long as we get through the qualifiers!

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Now lets see whose contracts are expiring...

So I've managed a few nice signings so far

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Trying to get Nigel De Jong on loan from Man City as he is transfer listed, it's between me and Villa but there is one player I have my eyes on big time!

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Aug 30, 2014
Hello guys, I play in Netherlands again, I love this league in FM.

Now it's Go Ahead Eagles, and i want to share my tactic, because i think you should try it.

Philosophy: Balanced
Strategy: Standart
Passing: Direct

This is deep 4-4-2, and you can ask what special here? Mentality + RFD sliders and instructions what i give to my wingers.

Mentality - this is player position on the pitch with more (or less) desire to make risky decisions.
RFD - how early/often player make attacking runs as moves develop.

Using this 2 instructions together creates a magic!

my strikers partnership:

#10 - DLF(s) : he starts from deep position but makes some runs (RFD: sometimes)

also i gived him +3 to mentality, because on standart/balanced he drops very very deep, especially when our opponent in possession.

#9 - Poacher: he plays with high mentality slider but does not make runs.

How it works: DLF(s) starts deeper but he makes RFD Mixed, and will look to feed the ball to the advanced striker, then make runs past him. Once the deep striker gets past the advanced striker, the advanced striker will bomb forward and try to stay high up the pitch because of his mentality.

This is works very well, thanks Sfraser from sigames forum for this setup.
In this setup i added winger-striker and fullback-wingback partnership.

My winger play with high mentality (higher on 1 notch than my DLF) but RFD - never. Why this: i like when my wingers play very high and when they come into opposition penalty area. But with standart setup (high mentality+rfd often) they often become isolated and not included in possession. With my setup they always help my team to build attacks, and also they always try to find space into the box.

Winger-DLF partnership: same as DLF+Poacher, winger dont make runs but always will stay higher than DLF. When DLF got the ball they run past him, when Winger got the ball - striker make run forward. It works like a charm, especially in counter-attacks.

Fullback-Winger partnership: my fullback

i noticed what playing with defenders what have all same mentality give you more solid defensive block. My fullbacks on defend duty have a same mentality with my DCs, but i dont like this boring role, and i give him RFD, RWB, through balls and of course cross ball instructions. Because his low mentality he rarely will make risky decisions (like dribbling on his own half), but when he see good, safe opportunity - he will do it.

How it works with winger - winger play high, fullback mostly stayed in area from there he can make cross from deep.

My winger. It's like inside forward on AMR slot, but on MR :)
Sometimes i use 2 inside forwards, but mostly one my winger - standart winger with RFD - rarely.

My 2 DMC not modified, because they provide defensive stability and transition. But sometimes (when we need to score) i give my DMCR - roam from position: yes and RFD: often. Be careful with this instruction, if you play vs 3 or 4 in the middle.

No playmakers or targetmans.

Narrow Width always, because i dont like when my players stay far from each other. It also give us defensive stability if opponent intercept the ball.

When we need to score i change strategy to attacking, but also need to change winger/dlf(s) mentality, give them +3 to mentality.
When i want to play safer i change strategy to counter, but again need to change winger/dlf(s) mentality, give them -3 to mentality. Use creative freedom: more disciplined, if you see your DMC like to leave his position. Use closing down: stand-off more if you see your players dragged from their defensive positions.
Also if we can't keep possesion i change our passing to default. When we try to contain result i always use: contain strategy, short passing, more disciplined, stick to position.

Shouts: hassle opponents and high defensive line when we meet team with 3-4 central midfielders (to compress space what their AMC want to use). Play Wider vs teams what play without wingers.

+good for everyone. I played in Erestedivisie and got promotion in first season.
In Eredivisie after 3 games we got 9 points, we beat PSV (3-1) Utrecht (2-0) and Vitesse (3-1).
+great movement
+fast transition

-only 2 central midfielders. This is problem, especially vs teams what like to drag them from their positions (4-1-2-1-2 wide for example). Zonal marking works here very well.
-gap between strikers and dmc (this gap felt only when your opponent in possession and he play with DM, need DLF with good workrate to put pressure on opponent DMC).

You can download it from here: 4-4-2 SV (Go Ahead, Aug 2013)

sorry for my english, not my first language)
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Aug 30, 2014
In continue to my post

This is very impressive:

My modified 4-4-2 vs Inter 4-3-1-2

btw, we all know how overpowered narrow formations in FM 10, 11.

My Bologna, first season with 2 signings from free - Gagnon (2 star winger with potential, but now he not good enough for Seria A), and striker that injuried. Trust me - we have weak squad for relegation battle.


Team instructions: strategy - standart, float crosses (my wingers very bad in crossing, and every cross to the near post intercepted by defender or gk, but from crosses to the far post we scored ~ 3-4 goals in 17 games. well, crossing not our strong side),

Player instructions:

Tactic in details: I realy like 4-4-2, maybe oldschool 4-4-2 now outdated, but modern 4-4-2 still used by some teams, especialy like defensive system with high counter-attacking potential.

To understand why i use this roles/duties you should look at formation from this perspective (dont look at arrows).

Players in triangles work together, in attack, in defending, in closing down. The only player that I use in two zones would be the wide midifelder who is expected to support both attacking and defensive phases whilst shifting up the field, this is why I use them with support duty and with disabled roaming - they should always be in this position to provide support.

Because we have only 2 CM, this is will be hard to keep possession in midfield, but because we have static wingers to link up play it make our central midfielers more opportunities in attack. My wingers also will stretch opponent midfield, what give my CMs more space to exploit. This is why i give to both my CM - roaming: yes. They will play deep, because their duties, but if they see space ahead of them - they will run in this space. To better understanding, look here:

It's typical situation vs 4-3-1-2, imagine my ML with ball pressed by Inter MCR, and my MCL (d) with roaming makes run to exploit this space. It works very well.

Like someone said: I always score more goals when the box is clear and people arrive from deeper positions rather than starting in higher positions.

I use trequarista because i want to have playmaker upfront, and because i want striker who will drop deep to get the ball. But dont be confused, trequarista will score too, in this game he made hattrick. Btw for trequarista i disabled roaming.

My low defensive line connected with low closing down, it's logical. Low tempo and low timewasting made great ball circulation. Counter-attack - yes, because i'm a fan of counterattacking football, and because it works very well with roaming settings.

You remember I use 'standart' strategy, but I changed mentality ladder for players. Why?

Like a team we play 'standart' strategy, but every player got his own mentality in Player instruction, his own mentality from 'defensive' strategy!
This makes them to track back, to play deep in defending, but because 'standart' team strategy they play without cautious, like if you use default defensive strategy. No more gaps between my DC and MC!
Low closing down, from defensive strategy with more closing down on the wings. Tight man marking for everyone, except #9, because we play very deep.

I like how my team play now. But ofc we have some issues, especially with low closing down. And it hard for us to break down 3-5-2 or teams what defend very deep (maybe this is players issue, our squad not good enough).

p.s - because players got low mentality in PI doesnt mean they will play with low risk, they not, because we dont use 'defensive' strategy. It also doesnt mean they will play very deep - player mentality it's his position in the TEAM SHAPE, not on the pitch. You can't make your CM to play like halfback, giving him '1' mentality. Team shape ranges from DC to ST, less mentality between them - less space between lines. If your DC got '1' mentality and your ST '7' mentality - he will drop deep while defending, because of shape, but when your team got the ball - lines will move together, team will move together.
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