Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Promoted or not promoted into Premier League?

This is the question which answer you may know scrolling down the post quickly. Though I advise you not to do that because I described all the Championship playoff matches in a consecutive time manner and with some kind of tactical analysis. Read my post continuosly. Please :)

Playoff semi-final #1. Peterborough – Nottingham Forest

Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson tends to play wide diamond 4-1-2-1-2 tactics. I didn’t manage to beat it with my classic 4-4-2 getting two draws during the season. This is why I prepared my careful counter-attacking 4-1-2-1-2 tactic which is also diamond but narrow.

Peterborough formation Forest formation 

I would say it was an equal match. Though I had feeling the Reds should win it. There were a couple of moments when Simon Cox could score, you may also add disallowed header-goal of Daniel Ayala.

Afterwards we were comfortably leading till the 80th minute when Grant McCann’s long shot changed its trajectory after miserable ricochet from one of my defenders…

Unfortunately, Jonjo Shelvey, loaned talent from Liverpool, got injured for 3-4 weeks in the match and couldn’t help in the reply game.

Playoff match resultMatch stats 

Playoff semi-final #2. Nottingham Forest – Peterborough

Having 1:1 away draw, I had two options in the reply match:

  1. Play careful football, retain possession keeping in mind that goalless draw is good for me.
  2. Follow approach “attacking is the best defence” .

I opted the second variant setting up a maximal level of match training. Thus I tried to get more effect from the match preparation.

More match training

Henri Lansbury replaced injured Shelvey in the starting line-up.

Forest formation[7] Peterborough formation

Match stats

The Reds started in an extremely attacking manner scoring 3 quick goals! Imaging my happiness when we were leading with 4:0 score on the 25th minute!

Suddenly, 4:0 turned into 4:2.

I changed my attacking 4-2-3-1 tactics into classic 4-2-2.

Peterborough had 2 clear cut chances during the last 10 minutes of the first half. I understood they started to play more attacking style using their AMC and my gap between midfielders and defenders. So my third tactics was played after the half time: counter-attacking narrow 4-1-2-1-2. Additional, both yellow card owners Lansbury and Drage were replaced by McGugan and Guardiora.

Another injury decreased my chances to promote to the Premier League in the match. This time I lost one of team leaders Chris Cohen.

Playoff Final

Playoff final with Charlton

Another semi-final results

Charlton beat Blackburn what became a real surprize for me. Their counter-attacks were very efficient in the first semi-final match. It meant I should be careful with tactics and plan for the match. However, my analysis of Charlton players and tactical approach revealed that they play defensive football basing on a classic 4-4-2. My attempts to use 4-4-2 against them in the Championship matches were very different:

  • At home Charlton lost 3:1;
  • Away match was totally different. We could do nothing against confident Charlton players.

So I decided to start the match with control 4-2-3-1 tactics, the same I used in the reply semi-final game with Peterborough.


Forest formation Charlton formation

You saw the video: Nottingham Forest has promoted to the Premier League!!!!!!! Amazing result for me!

Despite the score the final at Wembley was kind of nervous. My control 4-2-3-1 wasn’t working well against organized defence, especially its central part. Moreover, Charlton managed to arrange a good counter-attack taking the lead after goal from cross. I felt I should change something and instructed to use classic 4-4-2 approach. It decreased our vulnerability on flanks, increased ball possession. As a result high class of Forest attacking players brought 4:1 historic victory!

Sincere thanks to Henri Lansbury, Simon Cox, and Billy Sharp for their goals!

I should also thank to goalkeeper Jan Lastuvka who made a couple of saves denying the game to turn into nerves.

Match reportimage

Forest stats in the Final

Player ratings in playoffs final

Celebrating promotion…

It’s so great, I can’t even share all my feelings now!

Forest promotion

But there’s always something bad.

Expansion cancelled

It’s happened due to the negative balance of Nottingham Forest:


Wage budget of $400K + $3M of Championship squad bonuses influenced the total balance much. Though the promotion to Premier League in the first season is more valuable than increase of youth and training facilities…

High Championship bonuses

Excited to blog for you,

Vitaliy Mokosiy

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Author: Vitaliy

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