I’m writing this mainly for myself, although I know Homer and Taff will probably be interested too. The former will make some suggestions, and the latter will say “lol”. It’ll help me get interested in FM more putting it all out on paper.
As I write this, it’s September 1st 2013. I’m Manchester United, in the Championship. I’m top of the league, having won every game I’ve played so far including a run of 5 clean sheets. I used August to really get familiar with the match engine, as well as the players I have and the roles they can appear in.
With Man Utd having a big squad, and the Championship being brutal for fixtures, my aim at least up until the end of January is to have 2 squads I can swap in and out depending on fitness. Some players will play in both squads but ideally very few.
Should also note age isn’t a massive issue in this as I need real players at all times so I edit the managers ages so they never age above 50, and players will hit 30-31 max.
I am aiming for 3 separate tactics, all very similar and also flexible to accomodate different roles. Pay no attention to the player instructions for each role because that will change depending on the player.
The Base Tactic:
A nice and flexible 4-2-1-2-1. There’s not too much risk to it, it allows us to control the ball in our own half, as well as counter when needed. The 2 attacking midfielders is important due to my squad and those are the most flexible roles of all. For example I could play with Fellaini and Rooney up there in the AMC positions. Or I could bring on Ashley Young or Nani and immediately slot them either right or left, as an inside forward or winger. It will be primarily attacking based.
The Counter Tactic:
As you can see – it’s very similar to the base tactic, with the only difference being a player steps up from DMC to MC. This will allow us to ideally win the ball further up the pitch to allow better chances of countering. The strikers role there will most likely be of an advanced forward, with the idea of winning the ball in DMC/MC position, and pushing it up front as fast as possible.
The Control/Pressure Tactic:
Changes to the base formation are both DMCs step up into midfield.
Here I want to aim with controlling the ball, staying tight and doing short passes ala Barca. However I’d rather we are doing this higher up the pitch – we have the quality being Man Utd after all, and we’ll ideally spend most of the game with that formation with the ball in the oppositions end, stringing passes together.
Okay, on with the ROSTER as my American friends call it. Any players not mentioned I’m not considering much for the squad.
David De Gea: Clearly my #1 for both squads.
Anders Lindegaard: A solid and reliable backup.
Ben Amos: He’s not too expensive at 10k per week. I’ll probably look at keeping him but loaning him out regularly, with the ability to recall him if either goalkeeper gets injured.
Goalkeeper Summary: De Gea will be #1 in both linesup.
Full Backs/Wing Backs:
Note: Both positions will be required to move forward and focus on assisting with the attack, so wing backs are key even if they are deeper in the tactics. It does mean they will tire more and fitness is an issue, so it’s imperative I have 2 for each position.
Rafael: Without a doubt, my #1 RB.
Alexander Buttner: After playing with both him and Evra for the first month, he is my #1 WBL. He is an amazing player who has scored goals, got assists and won man of the match a couple of times.
Patrice Evra: He’ll be in squad #2 as the LB. Obviously quality, and if he can prove his worth there he will be in the main squad instead of Buttner.
Fabio: Solid, and can play both left and right although preferrably in the left position.
Guillermo Varela: I’m not too familiar with him and he hasn’t played yet this season.
Full Back Summary: With Fabio flexible on both sides, I am going to give Varela a chance in the RB position in Squad #2. It’ll be Buttner/Rafael and Evra/Varela. Fabio will be on the bench in both squads, and will be introduced in about 90% of games around the hour mark. If Varela doesn’t pan out, an RB will be on my shopping list come January 1st.
No point going through them all – this is a highly competitive position with 5 top players. Vidic, Jones, Evans, Ferdinand and Smalling. Ferdinands a tad slower and will be on the bench in both squads. I’ll go with Vidic/Jones and Evans/Smalling initially to see how they work out, although may change it up based on chemistry.
Also of note is that Jones can play DMC, so I want him on the bench for the squad he isn’t in, as 2 of my formations have a DMC.
Marouane Fellaini: It’s tough to restrict a quality player like this in the DMC position but it’s something I’ll have to do for now based on available players.
Michael Carrick: Again best as an MC, but he’s a har worker and will do well in the DMC role.
Darren Fletcher: Out for 8 weeks injured.
Phil Jones: Covered above – primarily a DC, but may get a fair bit of playing time in the DMC role with Ferdinand coming on to cover for him in DC.
Anderson: Primarily an MC/AMC, but I’m also going to be retraining him as a DMC as he’s got decent tackling, solid passing, is strong and a hard worker.
DMC Summary: This is a position I am actually quite light in, which is a slight concern as I have 2 DMCs in my base, 1 DMC in my main. But I still want to stick with that formation. Fletcher coming back will be good, and as I said I am retraining Anderson. I want this formation for the EPL big time, so DMCs will be high on my shopping list come January.
My initial formation only has 1 midfielder. The others have 2 and 3 respectively. Thankfully players like Fellaini, Carrick, Anderson and Fletcher will be able to step up with ease into midfield.
The only other player I have here is Tom Cleverley. So he will be playing in every game in that position.
Once I pick up a DMC or 2 in January, it’ll allow more flexibility for this position with all the aforementioned able to step up. In the meantime it will be easy to rotate the squad if Cleverley is tired or injured. This actually works out as I’m not sold on Cleverley as a player yet – so it will give me a good 4 months of seeing him play, to see if he is going to slot into that spot and be that major midfielder.
Whew – do you have an hour to spare?
As I said – this position is flexible. While all the formations feature players in the AMC role – I’ve no problem with putting players into AML or AMR if need be. Rather than describe the players I’ll just list the positions they can play.
Wayne Rooney: Can play in AMC.
Shinji Kagawa: AMRLC.
Antonio Valencia: AMR.
Ashley Young: AMRLC.
Wilfried Zaha: AMRLC.
Ryan Giggs: AMLC.
This is NOT counting the likes of Fellaini and Anderson and Cleverley who are already spoken for. There’s also a few younger preospects such as Adnan Januzaj and Bebe who I won’t factor in at this time. They will maybe get their chance later on although will probably go on on loan.
Attacking Midfielder Summary: So many options. Kagawa is highly rated and being so flexible, I want him in the first team then I can easily move him to another position. I also want to focus on how well he does as I haven’t seen him enough in real life to know him. Rooney is my main one, so squad #1 will be Rooney/Kagawa. With so many options, I’ll probably want to sell at least one of them prior to the EPL and have Rooney in the squad the majority of the time. So Squad #2 will be two different players, and I’ll look at doing at least one substitution per game.
Robin van Persie: Yeah he’s going to be my primary striker in both squads without a doubt.
Others I have are Javier Hernandez, Daniel Welbeck, Angelo Henriquez and Federico Macheda.
RVP is the main man for sure, and with a 1 striker role I’m well settled for strikers. I have Rooney of course, who can slot in there anytime. I’d like to get rid of 2 of the above. Macheda is most likely gone, although I’d still like to give him a chance. So it will be a case of RVP playing hopefully 60 minutes, and with us in the lead taking him off and giving others a chance – which will always work with our counter tactic. Hernandez will be the primary backup.
Here are the two squads with the base formation in mind:
GK: De Gea
DMC: Carrick (Will be Fletcher when he is back)
FC: Van Persie
S7: Henriquez/Welbeck (as both can play AM)
GK: De Gea
DMC: Fellaini (Will be Carrick when Fletcher is back)
FC: Van Persie