Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Fortunate to be among promotion contenders

Forest story today for you my dear readers. I have already played 10 Championship fixtures in total and find myself quite lucky to see Nottingham Forest in 3 points from league leaders. As you see below there is a tough competition at the season start. You can’t see at least one team performing stably well to lead the Championship.

Championship table standing

Championship matches

Played matches

I had a very good match series in September which included 3 wins and 2 draws. I would like to make a short overview of these matches.

There were somewhat similar away draws against Blackburn and Barnsley in spite of their very different squad strengths. In both of them Forest wasn’t able to take off ball possession. Both games could end with our win because:

- We were leading against Blackburn with 2:0 score.

- Barnsley club is one of Championship outsiders.

Blackburn - NF 2:2 

image Blackburn used 4-4-2 formation.

Barnsley - NF 1:1

image
Barnsley used 4-1-2-1-2 wide diamond formation.

 

NF - Crystal Palace 3:0. First large victory!

Frankly speaking we didn’t deserved that score having only 8 shots and 4 shots on target. 54% of ball possession and almost complete neutralization of Crystal Palace attackers helped to control flow of the game.

The key in this success was our main 4-4-2 tactics which worked great against their 4-2-3-1 scheme without central midfielders. Their gap in the midfield was a key for my victory.

Forest formation Crystal Palace formation

5:3 goal galore with Bristol City

Sudden Championship leaders experienced 3:5 loss at the City Ground. You can find a video highlights with all goals here: 5:3 goal galore.

It was completely equal game with large amount of goal chances for both sides. We were more lucky. Both clubs used 4-4-2 formation.

Uncertain matches

Then there were 2 weird games against Brighton and Birmingham. Forest was really fortunate to grab 3 points in away game against Birmingham but then failed home match with Brighton that turned into another equal game.

Forest fortunate to beat Birmingham

Tactical win against arch-rival Derby County

The special post’s part is devoted to my first derby. I won’t afraid to say but the result is completely my merit. The point is in that I spend much time analysing opponents. This time I went to Report->Goals and saw the following things:

Tactics used

Assist locations

Assist types

Derby’s tactic formation 4-1-3-2 with full backs on flanks only and goals stats hinted me to set up Expoit Flanks touchline shout from the very match start. We were playing better than Derby in the first half but didn’t score. After that I used Pass into Space shout in the 2nd half to add more keenness to our performance… It worked like charm.

Meanwhile Forest defence was very confident allowing to create one clear cut chance only and make Derby to shoot from long range.

Match stats

Triumph in East Midlands derby

Reaction on victory

Players

Ok, now it’s my player list sorted by average rating.

Forest players

Forest players 2

Forest’s defensive line - Harding, Collins, Ayala, Halford -  has the highest average ratings here. I can’t say my defenders do miracles but I feel they do their best rarely making mistakes. So they play at maximum and I should not expect more.

Other players can perform better. I wait more consistency from strikers and goalie Lee Camp. Midfielders have the highest potential at all. It’s interesting to see what will change in the next months in sense of their performance.

Greg Halford

Greg Halford in FM 2013

My award of the best Forest player of the reported interval goes to Halford. He played all his 7 games as right defender showing excellent confidence level.

Player stats

For some reason Player stats screen has no statistics about headers. Though in case of Halford, he really impressed me in his ability to be a winner in air. Playing as right defender, Greg won 97% of all headers making 19 key ones. Thus he helped to defend well during set pieces and long passes coming from opponent’s pitch half.

Headers of Greg Halford

Upcoming matches

Upcoming matches

The Championship is very even league. There are no absolute leaders and outsiders. So all the next matches seem to be equally important.

18 points in the 9 games would be good results for me.

Excited to blog for you,

Vitaliy Mokosiy

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Author: Vitaliy Mokosiy

Playing Football Manager since 1996. Blogging about it since 2007.