In the last article I wrote about creating a tactic, I spoke about how I break the match into sections or concentrate on specific time periods to make the game easier when analysing the games. I also gave examples of what I look out for during the games to see if I can spot patterns happening that might be problematic long-term. This article is a follow-up to that one and documents all the changes I have now made and discusses why.
One of the things I noticed a lot during the first season of this save game, was my side kept the ball really well and was hard to break down defensively. We also used the ball really well but something didn’t quite feel right. Scoring goals and winning games wasn’t a problem as we was doing both really well. I even got promoted the first season, so things really were going well. However, overall something felt like it just wasn’t clicking. It’s hard to put down into words but as you likely know yourself, you can feel when something is working but you know you can get more out of it. So I decided to make some changes to take the tactic to the next level and get more out of it.
Inverted Wing-Back vs Complete Wing-Back
The first change I did was change the left-sided inverted wing-back to a complete wing-back. But to understand why this change was made, we need to analyse how the role was playing.
If we look at the above screenshot we can see the position that my left-sided inverted wing-back has taken. It’s not often he will stray from this position but if he does, it’s more likely to be the white arrow route he takes and would hardly ever take the route of the black arrow. This is nothing out of the ordinary and is expected, this is the job of the inverted wing-back. If we take a look at the settings the role comes with, along with the description we can see that this is what the role does.
This is the general description of the inverted wing-back role. As you can see in the description and the very first image I posted, my inverted wing-back is doing exactly this. However depending on the duty you use, it also slightly modifies the behaviour of the role. I use a support duty and here is the description for the support part;
Now because he’s on a support duty, this means he isn’t the most adventurous player in the world. That’s why he’s kind of taking up the position he does in the first image and hanging back. On an attack duty he’d push forward more but would still be taking up this kind of area, it would just be slightly more forward.
Just off the first image we can see that the player is doing what the description hints he should be doing. But to truly understand the actions the inverted wing-back should be doing regular we need to know what settings he has. This is one area of FM where users are disconnected at times in my opinion. As the user thinks they know what the role should do based on real life or their own opinion. However none of that matters at all, the only thing that matters is how the game determines what the role should and shouldn’t be doing.
Some roles do come with some behaviours that are hardcoded, that’s why the descriptions are important as they’ll not show up on this screen below. But the descriptions will allude to certain characteristics.
Now this is the bread and butter of the players role and will show exactly the things he will try often and the ones he won’t. It also shows you the type of movement he will make and show the settings which can be customised to add different behaviour.
I’ve not changed any behaviours for the W-M formation, the above settings are the standard ones for the inverted wing-back role. We can see that the role is told to sit narrow when out of position and that he is allowed to roam from position. What roam from position tells the player to do is stray from his ‘usual’ position. This allows him to move into central areas and other areas. It doesn’t mean you’ll see the player pop us as a striker though. Think of the setting as more a radius around his usual position.
This image is very basic but I think it does the job well. Think of the red circle as an inverted wing-back without the roams from position instruction. He’d generally stay in and around his designated position the majority of the time. He might stray outside of it at various times depending on the scenario but for most parts he’d try and be positionally strict.
If we then think of the yellow icon as the same role but now with the roams from position instruction added, we can see that his movement will stray from the stand position a lot more. He’ll still play in around the natural position but he is also allowed more freedom in going outside of the natural. The players around him and the tactical shape you use will also influence it but the image should give you a general idea of how to think about roams from position.
Now if we go back to the rest of the instructions the role has, we can see he doesn’t do much specific stuff. He has a lot of settings which can be added or removed, so it's a very customisable role. But no matter what you change on the role, it will still do the core basics of what the description says it will. Even if you removed sits narrower instruction, he will still be narrower than a normal fullback or wing-back. And when he has possession of the ball, he will always look to come inside.
We’ve covered the basics of the role now, so it’s time to focus on why I felt I needed to change this in the W-M formation. In the last article you’ll remember I spoke about patterns and seeing if things happen regular or not. The screenshot below is an example of this and what I was talking about.
Things in this screenshot are a total mess and I’m not only speaking about the inverted wing-back who is circled in red. Inside the yellow bow I have my two half backs, mezzala and a roaming playmaker. I’ll be covering this in the second article but this kind of thing also caused me to make two more changes.
But sticking with the inverted wing-back for me, we can see he is very narrow. This means he is blindsided by anything that is happening out on this wing. The opposition have free rein it seems. Ideally I’d like the inverted wing-back to be more were the grey box is. I know that would then leave the player free who Marco is trying to track but this shouldn’t be on him to deal with. In fact, the player is already free. This is a downside to what is happening inside the yellow box.
It’s easy to sort out but I want to make sure the inverted wing-back is offering me what I want defensively first and currently he isn’t. I’ve allowed the opposition a few goals because of not sorting this out earlier but it’s not been costly, not really. But as I was fighting a promotion campaign, I need to iron out all these little niggles so I don’t get caught out more frequent against a much higher standard of player.
When we are attacking teams though, I feel the role is a bit too cautious and safe for what I am wanting.
I’ve had a look over the players passing stats and these are a bit ‘safe’ for my liking. When I say safe, I mean majority of the passes in this game are either backwards or sideways. Some of this is expected because of what the role entails. It’s not a bad thing actually as it’s allowing me to strangle the opposition in central areas and overwhelm them. This strategy is working really well but I know things can be much better if on the left side of the tactic, the wing back was more forward thinking.
The main reason for wanting to make changes is to add more variety to my play. As it currently stands, things are very samey on both sides of the pitch.
If we go back and look at the tactic I am using in the above screenshot, we can see what I mean about everything feeling the same. I lack a bit of variety and if you’ve read my stuff before, then you’ll know I always hammer home that a successful tactic should always have a variety of ways to attack. The reason behind this is, what happens if plan A isn’t working. How do you change things without making wholesale changes? Were as, if you concentrate on attacking in multiple ways then you eliminate the risk of teams stopping you from creating chances should your plan A get cut off.
Everything at the moment comes from central areas mainly and I want to address this so we use the whole pitch much better without compromising my overall play. Because overall we’ve been great this season. I also only want to change the left-sided inverted wing-back, I will keep the right-sided player as he is.
This is the player who I’ve been using on the left side of the pitch, as you can see he’s had a good season. He’s chipped in with a few assists and a couple of goals. I’d say he is doing what is expected of him with the instructions he currently has. But what happens when we make him a complete wing-back who is more front footed and focused on forward passes and crosses into the box.
The same player a year on after the screenshot above. In this screenshot we see he played more games, scored one more goal than last year and got four more assists. It should be noted that this year he played in a better league too after we gained promotion. But while his stats might look similar to last year, the actual play and what he offers the team was a lot better overall.
After gaining promotion I actually didn’t strengthen that well due to having no money. I brought in more depth but in terms of the starting eleven, ten of them all started last season. So it’s not like the team got much better after promotion either.Last season we scored 82 goals in all competitions. This season we scored 116, which is a massive improvement. But why? Let’s take a look.
We still have some sideways passes but nowhere near as many and just look at how active he is in the opposition's half compared to when he was an inverted wing-back. You can see he is more proactive going forward and they all mainly come in the opposition's half compared to his own. Some of you might think it’s not that different, that’s why we now have to see what this equates to for the rest of my team and see how it’s changed how we attack.
Here we have my complete wing-back just about to receive the ball. Meanwhile the inside forward is also about to make a run, once Marco receives the ball. Automatically we double up on the oppositions wing-back. Not only this but we are using the width of the pitch and not coming inside to attack, compared to when using an inverted wing-back.
A little later in the move this is what we see the complete wing-back doing. He’s making a run for the byline and we can see the roles around. Now the reason for highlighting these roles are to let you know which player is which and to show you their positioning. The reason this is important is because of the complete forward, he’s far too deep and taking up space that the inside forward or mezzala could use. The striker should be in the box or on the edge of the area at least. If not then the complete wing-back has no-one to really aim for.
But like a little earlier in the article, this issue doesn’t fall on the complete wing-back, he is doing exactly what he should be doing. However because I’ve now changed the role of the wing-back, I need to readjust the striker role maybe to take advantage of what the complete wing-back does. What’s the point of someone crossing and making runs towards the byline if he has no target in the box to aim for. Despite all of that, this play is really good and offers something I don’t get on the right side of the pitch. I’m now using the pitch better by using the full width.
Just by changing one role the whole dynamic of the way I attack has changed. Let’s take a look at the settings and the description of the complete wing-back to find out more about why this happened.
Like before, we get a gist of what he offers. But what about the settings the role comes with.
Straight away we can see he stays wide and gets further forward and runs wide when he has the ball. He also has roams from position just like the inverted wing-back does. But that’s were the similarities end. We know this is a very aggressive role and is focused on hurting the opposition by staying wide and using the width, in the hope they can put crosses in from the oppositions byline.
We can kind of see why we attack differently now and why I need to revise a few other roles in the tactic. Before we only attacked centrally and didn’t really have any emphasis on attack, so it didn’t matter if there was no target in the box initially. But now it does, or it’s a waste using this role.
I’ve already made the changes I need, I just haven’t wrote about them yet. But I hope to have that completed this weekend. I also don’t want to focus too much on the W-M itself just yet as the important thing is evolving the base that I started with and discuss the steps as I go alone.
I’m hoping that in the next one to two weeks I have this series finished now. I think there is only two more parts planned and that should be enough to wrap it up. Then I can start on the Ajax stuff that you are all waiting desperately for. To give you a little spoiler of what is to come in the next two parts of this series though, here’s what’s included.
Roaming Playmaker vs CM Attack - It’ll be like this article and follow a similar theme.
The W-M End Product - This last piece will focus on the W-M in its entirety and show you how all the roles link together to bring me the football I see happening in my game. It will highlight what exactly each roles does, who creates space and why, which players are using this space and how and so on.
That should cover all the basics of tactic building and the steps we’ve done along the way. And also explain how the W-M actually plays. This won’t be the end of the Paysandu series though, it’ll just be the end of the tactic creating sections of it. I’m hoping this then allows me to focus on the scouting stuff you are all waiting for, as I discuss the system I created for identifying and signing players.