Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Half of season is behind for Southampton

Hello my dear readers! I'm still playing Football Manager 2008 in spite of FM09 demo comes out very soon at the nearest weekend. And here the results of The Saints that I manage 7th season in Premier League:

Southampton fixtures, FM 2008 

I have already described all tremendous events of Champions League including the last very, very disappointing round. Thinking So now it's only about national competitions: Premier League and League Cup. My guys feel themselves very confident in the League Cup reaching Semi Final (Wigan will be our opponent). I used rotation principle allowing second squad players to perform and they were fantastic in the 5:0 match with Everton and 3:0 with Preston.

Difficult task for Premier League of winning title still remains. Southampton can do that I believe. You can be reassured in that just looking to the results. There are only 3 draws and 1 loss in the all Premiership matches on the screen above. Especially good results were shown during "winter rush" face-offs with Aston Villa, Man Utd and Everton. Thumbs-up

Nevertheless the table isn't looking so optimistic:

Premiership standing in Football Manager 2008

Chelsea is absolutely fantastic in this season Star. Their pair of forwards Andy Carroll and Goran Pandev score goals as crazy ones! And, of course, The Blues have the strongest defence led by John Terry with Petr Cech behind... Therefore they have been performing almost perfectly during the first half of season resulting in 6 points of advantage over my club.

Among my players I want to single out two central midfielders: Steven Defour and Demy de Zeeuw. They both are on the top of ratings:

Best players of Southampton in FM2008

Defour won competition for the first squad place against Massimo Donati (the best assister of the last season) by the way.

In the end - small screen shot:

Fiorentina suggestion of job, FM 2008

Fiorentina wants me Smile. This is very pretty football club for me. I managed them twice in the previous versions of Football Manager and rather successfully, I must notice. So it was a bit tempting for me, but, of course, I rejected invitation and am staying dedicated to the Saints. Till the end of the week at least, taking into consideration the latest news about FM09 demo Wink

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Southampton - Without Euro Cups...

There is a resolution of the previous post about Champions League - my last match in the 6th round of group stage. The result is absolutely disappointing - I couldn't imagine worse Crying

Unconcentration by Southampton, FM2008

Match stats with Napoli, Football Manage 2008

Italian champion Napoli was at our hands from the 1st to 70th minute of the match. And the beginning was really hopeful! My guys managed to create efficient combination that ended with the goal of Nicolae Mitea just right after kick-off . We controlled situation on the pitch for 70 minutes missing several goal chances. But afterwards Napoli did enclose my players on our half of pitch and managed to score twice Sad. It was a lack of concentration and class from our side...

As a result The Saints haven't even got to UEFA cup because of Lyon's advantage on the private matches with them. Sooooo pitttty.....

Very pity group table in FM08

Nevertheless I should concentrate on getting Premier League title and winning FA Cup and League Cup.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Champions League battle of Southampton in FM2008

Today is the Champions League day in the real life. Less than 1 hour left till CL match between Porto and Dynamo Kiev that I'm going to watch.

So I decided to write quite uncommon post that includes information only about the current situation of my Southampton in this tournament. As you remember it was told in the previous that the CL draw had been really tough creating "Group of Death" with Valencia, Lyon, Napoli and Southampton.

There are the results of the matches of previous 5 rounds:

FM2008, Southampton in Champions League

FM 2008, Southampton in Champions League

The first two games were described in the previous post in which I was shocked by the strength of Valencia at the starting round. But the home game was totally different. There were amazing finishing and combinations from my guys - especially Jelle Vossen. He is real first touch killer!!! Star

 Great victory against Valencia in FM08

Match statistics with Valencia in FM2008

Though Valencia has perfect squad (9 players with WorldWide reputation!) and therefore they had enough moment to score three times at least (look at the match stats). But my goalie Rune Jarstein made one of the best games in his career providing several saves that helped Southampton to be on the top  of the group table!

I have already played 5 matches and look at the group table, FM2008

Looks crazy, isn't it? Open-mouthed

Any team can finish on any position. Though The Saints have the highest chances due to the best goal difference.

Lets count our chances:

- in case of away victory over Napoli: 1st position

- draw with Napoli: 1st or 2nd position depending on the result of Valencia - Lyon

- loss to Napoli: 3rd or 4th position depending on the result of Valencia - Lyon

How do you think? What position will we get after the match with Italian Champion?

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Start of the season #7 with Southampton in Football Manager 2008

FM08 matches of Southampton

My last season in Football Manager 2008 has started very brightly for the team I manage. My Southampton began to win scoring 3-4 goals per every match (the 4 first matches in the schedule above). Then there was very difficult face-off with our arch rival - Portsmouth. It was even game which result was decided by higher reliability of defence of the opponent. They missed only once, we - twice.

After the first loss my guys managed not to miss goals with Newcastle having very confident 3:0 on a scoreboard. This was the only match of all the reported without missed goals... This is the real problem if I compete for the main trophies, I think. Thinking

Meantime there was Champions League debut of Southampton against Spanish vice-champion Valencia. The game was really stunning.  I don't remember when my team was so weak and helpless... Look at the shots during this match:

FM08 with Valencia 

The main reason of this pity statistics is that Valencia consists of the brilliant players like Silva, Villa, Montolivo, Mascherano, Chiellini. Sigh I don't have any player in Southampton that costs more that $20M. They have even 10 players with price greater than $20M.  As a conclusion I can say that even English grand-clubs are not so cool by their squad as Valencia.

The second Champions League game against Napoli was very successful. We enclosed Italian champion Cool on their half of pitch. 4 goals were created by my winger forwards Nicolae Mitea and Ismael Bangoura. They are actually the best players of the all aforementioned matches.

League table of my group in CL:

FM2008 Champions League, Group of Southampton

You see I have real "Group of Death"! Lyon is the French champion! Napoli - Italian champion! Valencia - Spanish vice-champion! Confused Though now Southampton is the first Big Grin. The battle between our four club in Group G will be very tough! I can get any position from 1th to 4th.

Ok, lets get back to my last Premier League matches. There had been 3 not easy victories over clubs from the bottom - Middlesbrough, Bolton and Birmingham after which The Saints were on the top of table standing (3 points ahead of Chelsea). But then I encountered quite complicated problems in the away face-offs with Liverpool and Man City. 8 goals were missed due to poor performance of my goalie Rune Jarstein and numerous mistakes by all players of my defence...  I have even started thinking that I should buy new more reliable goalkeeper... Thinking

The resulting Premier League table here for you:

FM2008 Premier League Table

The last two failures were in October but in August and September my guys gained 8 victories and only 1 loss. That is the reason why I was awarded English Premier Division Manager of the Month twice in row Happy.

FM08, I'm the best manager of the month :)

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Before the last season in Football Manager 2008...

Yes, I think soon it will be time to say goodbye to my Southampton game and Football Manager 2008 at all. Just because FM09 demo will come out in 2-3 weeks. So I have these weeks to play as much as possible in the last season with Southampton.

Ok, the expectations for this season are the highest! I set up 'Winning title' and got $50M for transfers for that. I hope to get success in Champions League as well getting at least to the quaterfinal of the tournament.

I set up 'Winning title' and got $50M for transfers for that

This time Media Prediction is really competitive - 5th position. This means that the FM engine considers the squad of Southampton being of high Premier League quality .

This time Media Prediction is really competitive - 5th position

Yep, after the previous unexpectedly successful season we have really tough squad that is able to solve any tasks Thumbs-up.  But anyway due to Champions League debut I decided to buy new players for the team. Otherwise, what do I need $50M for? Wink

Sold players

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There are few quite good guys among sold players like Kevin Mirallas, Ferrie Bodde, Damien Le Tallec, Federico Piovaccari. They were just ousted from the first squad and unhappy because of that. The only chance for them was leaving the club.

Bought players

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I have very interesting newcomers during this summer transfer window, I have to say. They will surely compete for the first squad places! I would like to describe the most interesting 5 of them.

Steven Defour

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Attacking midfielder with brilliant mental and technical abilities. Defour is the captain of national team of Belgium having 51 matches played in the past.  He should be substitution for our best assister that becoming older and older - Massimo Donati.

Stephen Ireland

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Stephen Ireland is well-known Premier League player in the real life. He is important part of Man City midfield. In FM08 Stephen is very smart attacking midfielder who can perform well both from right flank and centre. I want to single out his Creativity, Passing, First Touch and his preferred moves:  Tries Killer Balls, Plays Ones-Twos.

Dwight Tiendalli

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Unknown guy from Holland. Tiendalli has good skills for DR position (though very poor Crossing). He was bought to replace Diamoutene on the right flank of defence. Again due to age problem of the last one.

Xavi

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What I can say! Best Euro 2008 player enters Southampton from free transfer! Physical skills of Xavi are poor already because he is 33. But technical and mental attributes are still on the highest level. I believe Xavi can help the team much sharing his fantastic experience and performing his genies passes and long shots!

Genero Zeefuik

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Jelle Vossen will have very competitive partner in attack - Genero Zeefuik. He was described in my blog in this post: Youngsters and their development in Football Manager 2008. Part 2 - Strikers.  Brilliant, intelligent forward with flamboyant technics! But the place for forward in the first squad is only one. Who will be the best: Vossen or Zeefuik? We will see!

 

Among other aforementioned bought players I would also single out Aleandro Rosi from Roma and good old Polish goalkeeper - Artur Boruc. Both are intended to be used from substitution bench.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Football Manager 2008 Tactics - The Best I Created!


If you are searching for Football Manager 2013 tactics, please take a look at FM 2013 tactics used in Nottingham Forest story.
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Hey, my dear readers! Today I want to share with you my Football Manager 2008 tactics... It's really my best one! This is the tactics that brought my Southampton to the 2nd position of English Premiership overtaking Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea! Hot
My tactical approach consists of the two distinct variants: for Home matches and for Away matches. Both have the same formation as shown below:

Formation of my FM 2008 tactics for Premier League

Home Tactics: Team Instructions

Away team instructions of Football Manager 2008 tactics
It's home attacking variant with maximal Closing Down, Short Passing and Tight Marking. Actually, these three components are used in the away tactical instructions as well. Tempo is quite low here that allows to loose the ball rarely and have a good ball control. Average value of Defensive Line increases the intention of attacking force in this case. It give effect of closing an opponent on its side of a pitch. Time Wasting has the lowest value because I don't like to waste the time :). Normally I change it if there is need to hold up ball in the end of a game.
Settings of individual instructions are very important in this home tactics (as well as the one for away matches).

Goalkeeper

I use standard instructions from Set To menu with Distribution=Quick Throw. Nothing special here.

Wing Backs (Right and Left Defenders)

DRL individual instructions of Football Manager 2008 tactics
They are the players that not just for defending. They can always support attack through the flanks (it's a large advantage of this FM tactics! Star).  Therefore they have all 5 first settings inherited attacking team instructions here. Plus Forwards Runs=Often and Crossing Ball=Often.

Central Defenders

DRC
DRC instructions for Football Manager 2008
DLC
Central defender instructions for Football Manager 2008
My central backs appear near in attack only during corners, free kicks. In all other cases their work is to prevent opponent's forwards score goals. I wasn't inventing wheel with their instructions and used the standard 'Centre back' set available from 'Set To' menu. There were just few changes Marking = Team and my own combination of Set Pieces settings shown on the picture above. My DLC (Federico Fazio) scores goals quite often from corners and freekicks due to Challenge Gk setting.

Defensive Midfielder

DMC instructions for Football Manager 2008
A tough guy should be used on this position because of Tackling=Hard. I would also advice if DMC is rather creative person - that allows to make good passes through the centre what his Through Balls=Often is set for. From my personal experience I can say that DMC should quite quick: Speed > 13.
He tackles the ball and tries to deliver it forward. More often DMC passes it to 2 MC that go to attack through the centre. Moreover, he comes up to opponent's box for ball rebounds when my team attacks! Light bulb

Centre Midfielders

MRC
Central midfielder instructions for Football Manager 2008
MLC (difference with MRC)
 MC instructions for Football Manager 2008
Central half-backs are probably the most important part of my Football Manager 2008 tactics. They really rule the game making performance. What's interesting - MLC is more offensive than MRC having Run With Ball=Often and Long Shots=Often. You understand that for MLC position in this tactics you need a guy with good technique, dribbling, pace, long shots and creativity.
Pay attention to Mentality setting - both MC are aimed at attack independently of team instruction changes during match. Hard Tackling is a significant factor as well because when MC tackles the ball good and quick counter attack comes out. And, of course, Passing and Creativity of midfielders have to be on the highest level! Soccer Ball

Wingers

Instructions for wingers for Football Manager 2008
The main attacking flank force are my wingers. Classically, they should be fast, brilliantly technical, with good passing, crossing, creativity (Creative Freedom=15). But there is another requirement in this tactics for Football Manager 2008: good Finishing and Composure are really necessary to allow to score goals more often Light bulb. Actually, wingers act as 2 forwards in my tactical scheme moving from the flank closer to the centre of opponent's area (look at their arrows on the formation screen shot in the beginning of the post!).
Free Role setting is also one of major things here. It allows to make attacking moves of wingers more unpredictable and dangerous.

Striker

Striker instructions for Football Manager 2008
My tactics demands having the only striker ahead. He can be of two types (it was found out on the real experience): 1) quick striker with good composure (Jelle Vossen); 2) average speed forward with preferred move Shoots Ball With Power (Marius Niculae).

Away Tactics: Team Instructions

Away tactics for Football Manager 2008
Actually the difference between home and away tactics is concluded in the team instructions. For away matches I have the following differences:
- normal Mentality (not attacking)
- more low Tempo
- Defensive Line is more close to goalkeeper
- Target Man usage. Striker is set as Target Man. Target Mans Supply=To Feet.
- Counter Attacks!
These 5 features make Away tactics very distinct from its Home prototype. Away tactics can be used for Home matches against very strong teams but I haven't been do it in such way during the last championship. Just because Home variant allows to score more goals and provide offensive style of playing.

Links to download

 4-1-4-1 Southampton Home Tactics
 4-1-4-1 Southampton Away Tactics

In the end I need to tell that the above described Football Manager 2008 tactics was not created from scratch. It evolved from previous ones used in Premier League and Coca-Cola Championship:
- Download of my defensive 4-1-4-1 tactics for Football Manager 2008
- My Southampton attacking tactics in FM 08 - 4-3-3 TFM Quick