Stracqualursi v Bulut – answers on a postcard…

… Or in the comments box would be fine actually.

So essentially, if you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know that I used Umut Bulut as my lone striker last year and he did rather well – ending the campaign with 17 goals and 5 assists from 32 starts and 6 sub appearances. I did, however, feel like we could do better and so I decided to take a £4.6m gamble on Denis Stracqualursi in the summer. “The Stracq” clearly isn’t the world’s greatest player but he’s a certain type of player and, to my mind, was in a similar mould to Bulut but better.

At the end of October though, Stracq isn’t producing the goods and Bulut continues to out-perform him. I’ve tried to figure out why and now I’m here to ask you for your opinion and/or help. We can try to do this by using the tools that FM provides for us, with the exception of the best tool – watching the game. I have my own theories on why Bulut is performing better for the moment but I’m keen to open it out for others to provide their opinion and perhaps spot something that I’ve missed.

So let’s look at the first and most obvious comparison – the player’s attributes:

Umut Bulut v Denis Stracqualursi attribute comparison

So the obvious areas where Stracqualursi is weaker than Bulut:

  • Dribbling by two points
  • Flair by three points
  • Acceleration by four points
  • Pace by three points

There are others but those look like the key striking ones for me, although it should be noted that Stracqualursi has better finishing, heading, passing and technique.

Bulut has the “move into channels” PPM whilst Stracq has none.

Next, let’s look at the match stats:

So you can clearly see why I’m having a problem. Stracqualursi’s not getting as many shots on goal per game, not scoring as much  and taking nearly twice as many minutes to score each goal.

There are some clues in the stats that might be key. Stracq’s poor dribbles completion per game is going to be down to his attributes but a closer look reveals Stracq’s better ratio of winning headers, making key passes and even assists.

I’m playing them both in the same role – as the supporting targetman in the deep 4-3-3- which is detailed in the previous post.

So am I missing something obvious? Is it just a settling-in issue? After all, Denis doesn’t speak French yet and has been with the club for just 3 months. Should I be more patient and he’ll come good? Or are there warning signs there that would lead you to give up and stick with Bulut? How long do you give a player to show his worth? Or do you think I should look at changing the role to suit Stracq better, am I at fault here and not playing him like I should?

Any and all suggestions welcome…

Suggestions and Responses

Had a lot of people responding on Twitter as well as here and I need the extra characters to respond so have just edited the post. So here goes…

Bulut’s “move into channels” PPM affecting play

@Shrewnaldo maybe the ppm makes bulut more mobile, also creating a 2vs2 or a 2vs1 on the wings? You can try to set wing play to channels

@Shrewnaldo do they have ppm’s. With out seeing the match its hard to gauge a players style

This is possible, however I have tried manually selecting “move into channels” for Stracq with little to no improvement. I can see the thought process here in that the inside forward, attacking defensive midfielder and the striker could overload one side providing the opportunity for the striker to shoot.

Bulut scoring a different type of goals from Stracq

@Shrewnaldo what type of goals is Bulut scoring is also an important thing to understand. I would imagine cos him breaking through the line

@Shrewnaldo Have you compared the type of goals they have scored?It might be that Bulut’s PPM is giving him space thus more chances to shoot

Again, this is possible and I think it comes down to the PPM’s but there hasn’t been enough goals for me to make a consistent judgement on this yet. It’s something I’ll keep an eye on though because Bulut has scored a couple from open play where he’s got “in behind the defence” from a ball played down the side of the opposition centre halves. His additional pace could be key here.

Stracq just needs time to settle in

@Shrewnaldo perhaps it’s just a case of needing to gell with the squad?

My Football Manager Daily (comments section below)

I think is only a communication problem, because Stracqualursi’s is not yet speaking turkish. If that is a real problem the assistant manager will report that during the match.
Can be also an adaptation problem, there are some players that have problems living on other country. When you scout the player that be reported on player weakness points.
I don’t identify any other motive, comparing the players profile.

@Shrewnaldo Straq looks better for a TM role so I think you should give him more playing time, you spent some money on him, have faith!

Yeah I think this is key. Every player needs time to settle in and Stracq doesn’t speak French yet (not Turkish 🙂 ). There is nothing in the coach or scout reports to suggest an adaptability issue but it’s only been 3 months. I’m hoping that simply giving him time will improve him.

Need to amend Stracq’s role to suit him more

Football Manager Daily (comments section below)

Is Stracqualursi’s playing with the best role suggestion on manager report?.
Try to use Stracqualursi’s as deep lying forward. With that Stracqualursi’s will look to hold the ball and pass, avoiding dribbling.

This is not something I’m keen on doing as I think the targetman role suits the rest of the tactic very well. I’m particularly keen on the way it helps me get the ball forward quicker as the other players wouldn’t be set to pass to the deep-lying forward as often as they do now. The supporting targetman already has “run with ball” set to rarely anyway and holds up the ball so I think it suits Stracq well.

Lack of influence being a problem

Crassus (comments section below)

Just throwing this out there, could it be something to do with his influence? I read an article/theory (don´t remember where) a while back and it noted that a new CM (with low inf) wasn´t receiving as many balls as the old one (with higher inf), because the other players didn´t see him as a a key figure. Strac has rather low influenece – maybe your IF are hogging it/ignoring him, and keeping him out of the play. Don´t know if I make sense and I´m far from offering advice, but really great reads here. Thanks alot and keep it up. Also give us an update on how your youth team is progressing or what signings you´ll generally look to make in certain positions. Thanks again.

Now this is something I hadn’t considered at all and, to be honest, not something I’d ever come across. Is there solid evidence that this is the case or “just a feeling someone has”? It could be that you’ve found something if it is the case and I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for it.

My own conclusions

Essentially my own thoughts are two-fold:

  • settling in – like I said, it’s only been 3 months and we all know FM’s hard-on for imposing settling in issues. With time he’ll get better, he might not become particularly good but he will get better
  • dribbling – his “run with ball” might be set to rare but I do get the feeling that his low dribbling attribute is limiting him. He runs into trouble quite often and rarely beats a man. Improving this attribute can only help so I’ll be putting him on a heavy personalised schedule in an attempt to raise it.

In the meantime, I’m also going to put him into a more advantageous area at set pieces. At the moment, he’s just set to “go forward”. Set pieces are an important area for us as we’re a big team and, although I never use the well-known exploits, we do score our fair share from corners and indirect free-kicks. If I can get him to score a few goals using his undoubted aerial ability then it can only help his morale and hopefully improve his performances elsewhere.

Thanks for all the suggestions and keep them coming if you have anything further.

 

Second edit…

Have a look at this and tell me what the hell Stracq is doing? He barely moves!!! It takes him about 10 seconds to realise he’s offside, he doesn’t move to offer himself for the cross and doesn’t even try to get the ball when it come straight at him!!!

What is doing that?!

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14 thoughts on “Stracqualursi v Bulut – answers on a postcard…”

  1. I think is only a communication problem, because Stracqualursi’s is not yet speaking turkish. If that is a real problem the assistant manager will report that during the match.
    Can be also an adaptation problem, there are some players that have problems living on other country. When you scout the player that be reported on player weakness points.
    I don’t identify any other motive, comparing the players profile.
    Is Stracqualursi’s playing with the best role suggestion on manager report?.
    Try to use Stracqualursi’s as deep lying forward. With that Stracqualursi’s will look to hold the ball and pass, avoiding dribbling.

  2. Just throwing this out there, could it be something to do with his influence? I read an article/theory (don´t remember where) a while back and it noted that a new CM (with low inf) wasn´t receiving as many balls as the old one (with higher inf), because the other players didn´t see him as a a key figure. Strac has rather low influenece – maybe your IF are hogging it/ignoring him, and keeping him out of the play. Don´t know if I make sense and I´m far from offering advice, but really great reads here. Thanks alot and keep it up. Also give us an update on how your youth team is progressing or what signings you´ll generally look to make in certain positions. Thanks again.

  3. Have you thought about increasing Straqs mentality by a few clicks. Is it possible that although straq is providing more key passes his pace is hindering him catching up with play? Where as Bulut has the acceleration to get back into position after a lay off to a winger

  4. This whole debacle is really pushing me towards the idea I had previously of dropping the striker to the AMC position and playing with no strikers… or even inverting the front three with AML / AMR pushed into the striker line and the striker dropped behind them…

    More to come I’m sure.

      1. 😀 Have a look at the next update… I’m already on it although early signs are inconsistent. Think this could lead to procrastination of epic proportions

  5. Similarly to you, I’m also fond of Straq and his playstyle. He is suited best to the supportive role, and the problem may not lie in the striker himself but the roles dictated to the players around him. While Stracq’s finishing is relatively high, his lack of flair, dribbling, agility, pace and acceleration prevent him from establishing chances for himself and thus the balance of the team needs to be shifted by encouraging greater forward runs by the IF’s.

    Alter the inside forwards to the attacking role so they make regular runs beyond Straq thus he can pick them out with his supportive attributes. Changing his role To a DLF-Support would place him deeper down the pitch, meaning the IF’s are more often the forward players, yet maintain connection with the Straq. Their aerobic attributes lead to greater success in piercing the backline in comparison to Straq’s poor off the ball movement and lack of pace, while his passing, teamwork and workrate will allow him to fashion chances for those beyond him.

    Being positioned deeper means Straq can utliise his workrate, bravery, teamwork and aggression to close down the DM who is a pivotal role in the French Ligue 1 and is evident in the tactics of most league teams; closing down the DM whose long shots and deep distribution can cause trouble for your tactic which sit relatively deep and in defence conforms to the area of your 6 yard box.

    Hopefully this tactical tweak brings you further success in you Toulouse save.

    1. First of all, thank you very much for the comprehensive comment – it’s greatly appreciated.

      I agree with you that the key to making the most of him is the players around him and I think we started to get that more or less how I wanted it – your suggestion of getting the inside forwards to run in behind him more often being the main beneficial change.

      However, even when I feel like I got the system right, Stracq’s performances were just not up to scratch – as evidenced in the video above. I think there’s definitely a settling in problem there but I also wonder whether there is something in his attributes, i.e. the low flair, agility, etc, that is making him worryingly ineffective.

      I’ve stuck him out on loan to help the settling in and he’s done ok at OM. They might activate the future fee in which case I get my money back, they might not in which case he should be more settled when he returns.

      Your other suggestion re the deep-lying forward is something I considered but not something I particularly want to do. Similar to my experiment with a treq in the AMC role, I felt that the game was too compact in the midfield area and we weren’t getting the ball forward quick enough. By using a targetman who is closer to the opposition defence then the team are encouraged to move the ball towards the final third quickly. With the wide DM’s providing vertical movement into the space between midfield and up front then we aren’t too weak there (although there are exceptions such as defensive clearances).

      If he comes back after the loan then I may well experiment a bit further.

      Once again, thanks for the suggestion.

  6. I know this is an old post but could it be aggression?
    Straq doesn’t look to involve himself as much as bulut.

    1. Sorry, been away with work so only just getting round to replying.

      You could well be right. It’s been something that I’ve seen mentioned a few times across the scene but I haven’t seen it confirmed anywhere so I’m hesitant to take it as fact.

      As you’ll see from the subsequent posts, I got a great deal of success from Fletcher and Bezus with ‘agility’ being touted as one of the more important factors in this. Having said that, I think it is worth while looking into the influence of aggression.

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