Football Manager 2016: The Sky Is The Limit.

The Sky Is The Limit

If you have not read part 1, i recommend doing so before reading on –

Part 2 – A Mixed Bag.

Still new in the job, i’m still building my staff squad as a new addition jumps on board, the very experienced coach, Wally Downes who has numerous big name clubs on his CV – Welcome to the club, Wally.


Sky Bet League 1 fixtures –

Scunthorpe away – Bitter pill to swallow as we come away with nothing having had a great deal of goal mouth opportunities. 1-0 loss. Sigh…


Chesterfield home – A game we controlled with a makeshift squad due to injuries. 1-0 win.

Bury away – A very even match again see us take nothing away from home as Sam Ricketts gives away a late penalty – Dispatched by Luke Moore. 1-0 loss. Disappointing!

Barnsley home – The league leaders come to The Ricoh Arena, a 1-1 draw is a deserving result – When your captain averages a 5.9 and your best player is Stephen Hunt, you know it’s been a tough day at the office – I’ll take it!

Shrewsbury home – Outplayed, out classed and a very lucky 3 points stay in Coventry. In the same week Marc-Antoine Fortune gets his French Guiana debut, he scores his maiden Sky Blues goal – Desperate times when he plays, 2-1 win…

Portsmouth away – Johnstone’s Paint Trophy duty beckons and an early leads gives us hope of silverware through Adam Armstrong – A dreadful 82 minutes follow seeing us exit the competition at the hands of the Fratton Park club, 2-1 loss – I hope Mr Fisher doesn’t pull me into his office…

Fleetwood away – Highbury calling, and you’d think we just played the “Arsenal Invincibles”, battered, bruised and the less said about it, the better, 1-0 loss – We move on.

Blackpool home – The Seasiders arrive in Coventry and one of our best performances of the season see us take a 1-0 win after loanee Jack Stephens forst goal for the club. 63% possession – Well played!

Rochdale away – A WIN? AWAY FROM HOME? That’s right. A very tight affair was settled by the newly turned 17 year old debutant who scored an absolute rasper (Watch it here > 2-1 victory and new kid is on the block – Remember the name, Dan Smith.


Swindon away – Nicky Ajose was on fire and probably the best player we have come up against this season. We were manhandles. 4-1 loss. We didn’t turn up!


Peterborough home – A tight match ended in a 1-1 draw. Right result between 2 very evenly matched teams. Man of the match performance from our key player, John Fleck – Wanted by Bolton, but recently signed a new contract!

Cambridge home in the FA Cup 1st round – A chance to blood some talent, and they performed, George Thomas bagging 4 goals with an impressive individual performance. We sail through. Carlisle at The Ricoh in round 2. Good draw.

Colchester away – A solid 1-0 victory against a good side, Ruben Lameiras with his second goal for the club. Notifiable losses thus far – All away from home. Hopefully that rot will stop.


League table as it stands. Play-offs the board expectation, with my personal target being the same. So far, its going as expected. Only 7 points away from top spot after 17 games, cut out some bad losses and who knows what could happen…


Players stats –

Andy Rose leads the way with the best average rating, always putting in solid performances in his defensive role.


Loanee Jacob Murphy leads the way with assists, i’d expect the rest of the team to starting chipping in.


In terms of goals, there are no real stand out, with a few players contribution to small amounts – Adam Armstrong, George Thomas and Joe Cole lead the way.


Tactics –

Recently there has been a small change to the formation; i have taken out the AMC and added an extra DM since the return of John Fleck. Also changing is Andy Rose from a BWM to a DM so i could change his player instruction to go easy on tackles as he has picked up a crazy 9 yellow cards already this season. We shall see how effective this becomes over the next period of games.


As ever guys, thanks for reading. If you have any constructive feedback, id love to hear it to help me improve my blogs.

Part 3 out in a few days time…


Football Manager 2016: The Sky Is The Limit.

The Sky Is The Limit.jpg

Part 1

Hey guys, 7 months after my last written piece, i have decided to do my next Football Manager save as a written story rather than my usual YouTube series. So with this being my third save into the current game, FM16, i have chosen  to do this with English League 1 side, Coventry City.

Enough waffling, i have a meeting with Mr Fisher…

A brief chat with Tim, saw me walk out with a small budget to work with, knowing that, i have to be tight with my dealings.

So first things first, i need a team to work with me, on the phone i went and started putting the puzzle together – Welcome on board, Derek Fazackerley (Assistant Manager), David Wetherall (HOYD), Adie Stovell (Fitness Coach), Paul Hardyman (Coach), Jason Dodd (Coach), Nick Dawes (Head Physio) and Steve Martin (Chief Scout) who all join my staff.


So pre-season was imminent and with it being my first at the club we decided to stay at home, and five friendlies were arranged by my newly appointed Assistant Manager, Derek Fazackerley.



Naturally a game followed versus the young lads in the U21s, professional job done and we run out 5-0 winners – The less we talk about the better for the youngsters.

Queens Park Rangers, a solid 0-0 at The Ricoh Arena against Jimmy’s boys who seems to be lacking the firepower of a certain Charles Austin. Clean sheet, i’m happy.

Lincoln away sees us score another bagful of goals in another 5-0 victory – Squad rotation, being key in pre-season, so i gave a few of the lesser talented players a chance to impress.

Three more games followed, all away from home -Alfreton 2-0, Stourbridge 4-0 and Nuneaton 1-0.

Hardly challenging, but confidence is flowing among the boys with plenty of goals scored and not a single conceded – Impressive!

The season opener is upon us, well prepared and a play-off spot being our goal is a realistic target for the club this season

7th of August 2015 – No signings made, but pursuing a Goalkeeper as we speak. It’s match day, we welcome Wigan to Coventry. I feel confident.


Confidence shattered. We literally got battered, via X2 world class Xavi-esque passes from Sam Morsy picking out Craig Davies who played on the shoulder to bury both attempts with fine finishing. We registered 1 shot on target throughout the 90 mins – Worrying!


Capital One Cup duties called, with a minimum of round 2 expectation from our board – What a way to start, Blackburn away saw us take a 2-0 win, both goals coming in the first half before we set up our defensive stall around the hour take take away a huge win against the Championship side.

Following this a solid win and second consecutive clean sheet at The Den, former Spurs youngster Ruben Lameiras getting his maiden goal for the club.

Next up was a Crewe side being welcomed and a tight affair it was this game, a fortunate own goal late on seen us park the bus and take our first home win of the season.

Another late goal this time at The Bescot gave us a big 3 points  and a 2-1 win with super sub and former England man Joe Cole getting his first and second goals for the Sky Blues – Fortunate again, i know!

Knockout action again, this time Birmingham at home – You’d think we stood a fighting chance having won 4 in a row but it wasn’t to be as the boys had an off day, never really turning up. Out of the cup we go…

Predicted to finish 23rd, a routine win against Southend was in order, surely? Well yes, just. A third goal in the late stages of the match has seen us take 9 points against Crewe, Walsall and now Southend – Luck is with us. Big up to the young Welshman, George Thomas with his first senior goal, having been promoted from the youth. Future star? You decide. New contract was accepted.


Meanwhile, the Johnstones Paint Trophy South draw for the 1st round was made – Bristol Rovers at  home.

The transfer window has slammed shut and we have made 2 new signings, the Goalkeeper that we pursued signed on the dotted line, for a hefty fee but i can’t stress how badly we needed to fill the position. Welcome, Jak Alnwick, £500k from Port Vale – Big pressure on young shoulders.


Having sent Bryn Morris and James Maddison back to there respective clubs (The latter due to a 6 months injury) this freed up a loan spot and wages, so we brought in the talented young Englishman, Cameron Brannagan, from Liverpool. Incoming deals done.

Lack on intention to use the following and a money saving decision seen the following players leave the club. Good luck, lads.


Tactically, after the initial set-up was made, only instructions have been changed based on opponent and actions through-out matches. So far, its been weird, but wonderful –


This is not our first 11, but as ever in Football Manager, injuries always come:


This tactic has been set up to retain the ball and think about passing as soon as we are in possession – Make teams tire, run, chase and then we look to pounce with the flair, experience and ability we have in the advanced areas of the pitch.

Less is more, they say?


Four key players i am hoping take us to some success this season are the following players, whom all have a substantial amount of ability for this level.





Although, i can’t not mention the unsung ball winning defensive midfielder who has been a rock thus far, such a short time after his move from the US, Andy Rose.



An addition 2 games have been played, the JPT match as mentioned against Bristol Rover – A 2-1 win with Adam Armstrong getting a double and finally being amongst the goals – He must have listened during our personal chat. Portsmouth away in the next round.

Burton away, and this is now becoming a trend -A very late goal saving our bacon once again, this time to take a point.


As it stands, the current Sky Bet League 1 table:


6 games played, unbeaten in 5 matches – Things are looking good. Winners need luck, and luck is what we have been getting. New job, new manager, big ambition, huge dreams – The Sky Is The Limit!

Part 2 to follow…

Thank you for reading.

(All constructive feedback welcome to help me improve guys, it would be very appreciated as i try my hand at writing about my Football Manager save rather than the usual video side of things.)


Football Manager 2015 – Set-Pieces (Defending).

I have been thinking long term about making  blog on my set-pieces. In the end i have decided to break it down into two blogs, focusing separately on defending and attacking.

We start with defending. The most important part of any Football match in the game or real life is not to concede goals, that of course means you don’t loose games.

Corners –

Here is my set up for defending corners, have a look and let me explain.

Tactics_ Set Pieces Set Pieces

Mark near and far posts – I have my full back set to mark each posted, the reason behind it being those two players in particular is because they are almost ineffective in the air against taller player whilst i like to keep my attackers slightly ahead in case i manage to counter attack which is the philosophy of my tactic.

Mark tall players – Both of my central defenders have been instructed to do this as it in there nature to win aerial challenges and of course be able to man mark is part of there training regime as a defender in that area of the pitch.

Man mark – My four midfielders are given no other instruction than basically mark there man out of the game when defending corners, at all costs, do not loose you man.

Close down corner – My striker Carlos has been individually given the demand to close down any short corner giving the opposing team no chance to pick out a pass.

Stay forward – In an attempt to spearhead the counter attack should we be given the opportunity, Diaz who has pace will be the sole focus the wide players should try and get the ball too. Always having my counter attack play in the back of my mind means i have to leave one player forward for all corners defending, this also means the opponent has something to think about.

Here is a screenshot of my team defending a corner with there given set-piece instructions in a Europa League match V Young Boys.


Free-kicks –

Here is how i set up defending free-kicks.

Tactics_ Set Pieces Set Pieces-2

In the exact same situation as corners, i have my two full backs marking the posts as extra protection. Here is the positive of having this in place. After doing this for three seasons an counting, i have only conceded twice with two players on defending free-kicks.


My two central defenders set to man mark, with both of them being young yet having 13 attribute for marking which will only get better, i am confident they can and should do the job.

My two inside forwards i have creating a wall as i believe they will be the players to be most ineffective at defending in other situations.

I have three others players to go back, in this instruction they seem to either man mark or create the wall, the later more often.

In the same place as he was defending corners i have set Diaz to stay forward in case of any attack that may happen.

On a marking note i have to stress i am 100% against any form of zonal marking. I really dislike it.

Granted, i am only ten games into season four but here is some early statistic for you to look at.

Goals conceded from corners –

Liga NOS_ Stats Team

Goals conceded from DFK –

Liga NOS_ Stats Team-2

Goals conceded from IFK –

Liga NOS_ Stats Team-3

Hopefully we can keep this up. It is unfortunate that we can not look back at previous seasons of this.

That wraps it up, and all i have to say regarding defending set-pieces.

I hope you enjoyed the read and i will be back with a blog on how i set up regarding attacking set-pieces.

All feedback, good or bad, is welcomed as a strive to improve for my next and third article.


Football Manager 2015 -Tactical Analysis #1- 4-2-2-2.

Hi guys, James here, aged 26 and have played Football Manager since its birth in 2005 and currently known as the guy from ‘The Football Manager Whizzkids’ Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.

Today, I start blogging about Football Manager 2015, and in particular – Tactics!

Now when it comes to tactics, I believe there is a fine line between what works and what doesn’t, in particular at certain levels and divisions of the game.

Lets be real(or not) for a second – Do you think the fancy ‘Tika-Taka’ that you can generate as Barcelona will work on a cold wet Wednesday night at Boreham Wood? Can you see Blyth Spartans employing the ‘Trequartista’ role? I have doubts. I like to be proved wrong, but having the players to do it is just stage 1 of a successful formation/tactic, sometimes that is not even enough, its how the players and team are functioned that makes things run smoothly.

Enough rambling – Lets talk tactics!

Okay, so Sporting Lisbon, the giants of Portugal was my choice of save.

Season one – Of course starting with the base squad, transfer funds not at the best and a lot of tinkering was done, but it was near the end of the season, the tactic currently employed (end of season three) was found. A tactic out of my comfort zone. Something simple, and common.


I hear you. FOUR-TWO-TWO-TWO? Thinking, everyone does that – As I said previous, it was common.

End of season one with a lot of chopping and changing has seen my finish third in the Liga NOS, while winning the Taca Da Portugal and runner-up in the Taca Da Liga.

Season two – This is when thing started to gel, pre-season went well, formation was settled, instructions seemed to be working. Lets discuss –


Style of play – Like I said, it was out of my comfort zone. This tactic was not my usual controlling the game, retaining possession with short passing, in fact, the complete opposite – Counter. The reason for this > Exploiting the best players and strengths of those players from season one at my disposal (players I never intended on selling). I also had the team set to ‘Fluid’ so they would play free-flowing and creative Football and with the team at my expense, this would work (i hoped).

The aim – What i wanted was to play fast, direct football, using my wide 4 wide players as the main outlet to this formation while keeping men behind the ball on defending but being able to turn that into attack at an instant. These 4 players being Andre Carrillo, Ryan Gauld (as AMR/AML) and Nathaniel Clyne, Jonathan Silva (as CWB(R)/CWB(L).


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These 4 have been with me quite a while now, scoring and assisting in, at an estimation of 70% of my goals so far. Last season saw Carrillo and Gauld get just short of 50 goals between them from wide areas.

Team instructions –

*More direct passing.

*Pass into space.

*Run at defense.

*Much higher tempo.

The are all used so that my team operate in a quick fashioned manor, looking to exploit the gaps that the opposing team may leave and potentially looking or that killer ball.

*Exploit flanks.

*Clear ball to flanks.

*Whipped crosses.

*Look for overlap.

*Play wider.

*Be more expressive.

These are there for the wide men to be alert knowing that more of the ball will be going to them or there area of the pitch, also they can look to play quick crosses via Wingers or Complete Wing Backs(hence overlap) with plenty of pace looking to catch our opponents team off guard. Being expressive could also bring out the best in players with good flair attribute (Carrillo 16, Gauld 13).

*Push higher up.

*Play offside.

These basically go hand-in-hand for me, I want my team to play higher and in the opposite half but looking to catch the opposing attackers offside if/when we loose the ball.

*Stay on feet,.

*Close down more.

*Prevent GK distribution.

Again, these go well with each other i feel simply because i want my team to hound players who have the ball without being overly aggressive, making tackles on there feet. I found when using these without ‘stay on feet’ option that i was receiving more yellow/red cards than usual. As for the Goalkeeper, I want him to have no time or space on the ball to make a pass and try to force him into making errors.

*Roam from position

I do not want my players being static and picked up very easy, and man marked almost out of the game, in particular the wide men who are almost everything to this tactic.

Moving on.

Player roles/instructions –

Here are the roles i set my team, they will be different for everyone depending on the players at your hand formation you use.


Lets get deeper into these.

Goalkeeper – For me, the single most important player to be given roles. Many people complain that they see the Goalkeeper make many of mistake, punting the ball long and being countered and conceding goal and there for blaming him (match engine). Here is what I do with him. I can assure you with these set,you will see no more(very little) mistakes being made by the GK and he will follow these almost to a tee.


Complete Wings Backs/R/L(Support) – The best form of defense is attack(so they say), well these guys are massively important to that term. Almost playing as Wingers with very little defensive responsibility, these guys are expected to create many chances form my wide men and strikers, defending only when they don’t have the ball yet still being high up the pitch.

Central Defenders – With one of them being a standard defender, I always like to play a BPD(Ball Playing Defender), as it has always been a favored role of mine – Someone who can play a pass, come out of defense and be comfortable on the ball while being solid at the back, of course(Rio Ferdinand at his peak). That player for me, is Paulo Oliviera –

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Central Midfielders – The spine of the team. The creators. The ball players. Natural to me, i use a box-to-box CM, i want him to be someone who can defend while being bale to get forward and be apart of the attacking phase. Beside him, my current preferred role in FM15 – The RPM(Roaming Playmaker), the heartbeat of the team. He is the outlet that you want to take a hold of the game, control what happens, dictate the tempo, and be  on the ball more often than not, i also prefer him to be a very good passer of the ball. Here is a passing map of my RPM, Andre Martins in a Liga NOS win against Moreirense, 6-1. (Not the best of opponents).

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A.Martins was instrumental in this game picking up an 9.1 average, making 57 passes(more than anyone in the game), completing 50 and getting 5 key passes, from all areas of the pitch too, just want you want him to do.

Wingers/AMR/AML – I have set both of mine to play as inside forwards, and then during the game have them swap over throughout the game causing problems. IFs are best on the opposite wing so they cant cut in and be able to shoot easier(Thierry Henry-like), i think this is wht they got so many goals between them in season 2.

Strikers – Pretty simple for me to be honest, Poacher + Advanced forward, that seen a return of nearly 60 goals from loanee Angelo Henriquez and John Guidetti.

This positional heat map of a 6-1 win over Olympiacos in the UEFA Europa League shows how my team is set up, with the defense being really high looking for that offside trap, my 2 CMs just ahead with the remaining 4 players in a very advanced position.


Season two finished with my team picking up a domestic treble.

I continued this formation and tactic to the end of season three as i won the domestic double, loosing my Liga NOS crown yet only losing 5 games. Is that a bad season? Not really. Just not as good as Benfica. We are yet to conquer Europe. I had planned on moving to pastures new, and trying this elsewhere, but i can not leave without that crown. Lets see how i get on in season four, shall we?

Here is my personal record so far – I would like to get goals conceded in future to cut down, but being so attacking i can understand it. I also hope to continue to outscore my opponents at all costs. In 3 seasons i have 7 cup and 1 league honors.


Thank you for reading.

This is my first time blogging about Football Manager as i usually do videos – All help, feedback, comments are welcome as i strive to improve for my next blog.

Tactic download link, if you would like to try or adapt it, which i would >

Next blog – Set pieces!

Thanks again, James Beedie – The Football Manager Whizzkids.

Tactics Board.