It’s been a long time since I wrote anything for this blog so apologies to anyone who has been disappointed by the lack of activity. My absence was caused by a number of factors – a new arrival in the shape of our second child and the need to campaign for a No vote in the recent Scottish referendum on independence, but primarily because I really didn’t like FM14 at all. It was a bad game.
Towards the end of my attempts to make FM14 enjoyable, I tried to implement a truly pompous sounding “Tactical Vision” with my Alavés side. My attempts to do so failed spectacularly, hampered, I believe, by the restrictions inherent in the FM14 engine. However, shining through the usual detritus, filler and sales-pitch bullcrap of the FM15 “new feature” announcements was news of four new “roles” – one of which might actually make my vision workable.
So, ahead of FM15, and because I’m bored waiting to give the new child a late night feed, I thought I’d sketch out what exactly I hope to be able to do in the new match engine. This, for me, is likely to be the yardstick by which I gauge whether FM15 is an improvement on its scandalously poor predecessor. And by god I hope it is.
My previous idea was that I would try to achieve these basic shapes in defence and attack:
However, this time around, I’m going to try and refine it a little. This video shows the starting shape that I want in defence, more or less a 4-5-1 or 4-1-4-1, and then how I want that shape to change when we have the ball and are attacking.
Most of what I am trying to do there is fairly straighforward. It’s a fairly common 4-5-1 starting shape in which a central midfield runner gets up to support a centre forward flanked by two wingers, with the defensive midfielder dropping back alongside the centre backs when we have possession. The latter part of this, the halfback role, was really poorly implemented in early FM14 but I hear that it has improved and I hope that it will be better again in 15.
The really tricky part, and what made it impossible to implement in 14, is the role of the fullbacks. As you can see in the video, I want them defending in the orthodox fullback positions but then breaking into central midfield when we have the ball. If you pause the video after 9 seconds, this is the sort of shape I want when attacking – the central defenders and halfback staying back, a central midfielder controlling play from the base of a loose diamond formed with the fullbacks and attacking central midfielder and the wingers maintaining the width.
I never managed to get the fullbacks to come inside properly in FM14 and my contingency effort of using them as DM’s set to manmark wide players failed due to the poorly implemented manmarking system. However, low-and-behold, there seems to be a very useful new role added to FM15 which may prove useful – the inverse wingback described thus:
The Inverted Wingback will function defensively much like a standard full back or wing back. However, while a normal wingback will offer width in attack, the Inverted Wingback will cut inside and make runs through the centre of the pitch, creating space for players around him.
Acting primarily as a central midfielder when attacking, this role is generally although not exclusively used to facilitate wide play from more advanced wingers.
Well blow me if that doesn’t sound like someone was reading my blog last year and decided to create a role based on what I was trying to do. Nice one. Now to see if it actually works.
To do so, this is the general shape I think I’ll try first:
Most of the roles I’ve chosen are fairly self-explanatory given my explanation above. I’ll be looking to create a terribly fashionable high pressing, high possession game and so I’ve gone with a sweeper-‘keeper to encourage him to intercept any long balls over the top of our high defensive line.
The sitting central midfielder is intended to be the deep creator so I’ve gone with deep-lying playmaker, although I may end up experimenting with some other roles – particularly if the ‘roaming playmaker’ is available at MC. I want the striker to do a bit of everything, dropping back a little to create space for the attacking midfielder to run into (as well as the inverse wingbacks perhaps?) as well as providing a goal threat himself – therefore a Complete Forward, probably on Support, makes sense.
I’m slightly concerned that I won’t have enough goal threat. The centre forward and the running midfielder are the obvious main sources of goals, while I’d expect the wingers to chip in with a few too. With so much possession (hopefully), then I’d expect to see a number of corners and free-kicks around the box so I’ll be placing even more emphasis than usual on ensuring that we have a set piece expert to take advantage.
I was going to go into a bit more detail about personal and team instructions that I expect to require but I reckon I should wait and see the game first – it’s possible that there are new instructions and, of course, there’s a new match engine whose effects are completely unpredictable without game time.
In terms of which club I’ll be trying to implement this with… well that’s still to be decided. I’ve got a few options, in current order of preference:
- Rapid Wien and Austria club and country save… again. This time in a 16 team expanded Bundesliga without amalgamation with any other country
- Ingolstadt – I’m a big fan of the German leagues and I like taking over smaller sides. There are a couple of Austrian players there too
- Alternative club and country games with one of the former-Yugoslav countries – I quite like the idea of Bosnia but am worried they are currently too strong. Cyprus also appeals a little, as does Poland.
- Maybe back to an old favourite like Toulouse…
As an aside, I’ve been trying to think of clubs who play in “foreign” leagues. So far, we have the following: Vaduz, San Marino, Berwick Rangers, Derry City, Swansea City, Cardiff City, Wrexham. Anyone know any others?
Other than that, let me know what your initial thoughts are for FM15. Have any of the new features, particularly the new roles, given you any ideas for the new game? Who do you plan to play as? Anyone planning on setting up new blogs to record your efforts?