Post by jla on Jul 1, 2020 8:24:41 GMT
Hello everyone. This is my first post on this forum, but I've lurked around for quite a while, checking out the saves that are written here. I just want to say there are some great saves here and I'll start and post in them soon. I'm Cheeky Deeky from The Dugout, or JLAspey from Twitter if you know me better from there. I have written my own blog for years (thetacticalannals.com) but after a few years now of slowly falling out of love with Football Manager, growing to be bored of the match engine, and being unable to stick with a save for more than a couple of seasons, I wanted to really strip things back, leave the blog alone for the time being, and really just post about a save and enjoy talking about it with people (something that never really happens when you run a blog, as people just want to read). I don't want to do big long blog style updates, but use this thread more as a diary to note down my thoughts and major events in my new save in the Championship, with Blackburn Rovers. I'm still getting the hang of how to write posts on a blog again, so give me some time
One of my major criticisms of football in general - and also the FM match engine - is that it has become far too homogenous. Both in FM and in real life, it feels like everyone plays pretty much the same way. Nick and I were talking about this a few days ago, because everyone on FM seems to play that short passing aggressive counterpressing style now, much like everyone was playing possession football say five years ago. The match engine seems very clearly geared up for that kind of football, and (apart from in FM20 pre-patch) it has been very successful. My issue is that I always feel like I end up playing that way, and it quickly becomes a little bit dull for me. So one of my biggest aims with this save tactically is to be different, and move away from doing the 4-3-3 counterpressing system, or 4-4-2 counterpressing. On top of that, I obviously want to return Blackburn to the Premier League, establish them as a top division team, before beginning to challenge the big boys in England. I also want to largely focus on signing home nations talent, so from England, Scotland, Wales and both Irish countries. I'm not saying I won't sign foreign players, but I've been reading Michael Cox's The Mixer in the last week or so, and it reminded me of a time where there were a lot more British players in the Premier League.
Tactically, this 4-4-1-1 is what I'm using thus far. It's intended to be an updated version of a classic English system. The TI's are a tweaked (and massively simplified and more cautious) version of a 4-4-2 tactic I developed with a Madrid team compromising Haaland, Gabigol, Hazard, Neves etc. The use of the Target Man with the Number 10 is what really interests me about this tactic. I love the Target Man role but haven't used it for years. In this system, the TM serves as a static focal point around which the Number 10 and wide players can maneouvre. I have given the Number 10 (mostly Bradley Dack but sometimes Lewis Holtby) the freedom to roam as well, and create havoc around the Target Man. I really like this system so far. I'm not claiming it to be perfect as it stands, but it's a very good base to develop from. I could also see me switching the TM to a more mobile forward as we move up to the PL, but right now I really like the role, and Danny Graham has been fantastic there so far.
In terms of expectations, the club is predicted to finish 9th, but the board want us to finish in the Playoffs, so there's a little bit more pressure in season one, but I do think that this should be achievable for us. I was only given £1m with which to achieve that position, so signed only Nyles Kenlock from Ipswich to fill in a glaring lack of quality and depth at left back. I should mention as well that I've really streamlined how I play this save too (again, I think FM has become FAR too complicated in recent years), also in an attempt to play the game realistically, so I simply told my DoF that I wanted Kenlock, told him how high he could go, and he signed him for me. I neither have the time, nor interest anymore to sit and negotiate contracts and transfers for half an hour. I want to actually play the game.
Pre-season went well, with wins against lower opposition, but it was a draw against Parma (Serie A opposition) that showed how well things were going. We dominated the game, and Parma only had one shot on target the entire game, and equalised from a penalty. We were fantastic, and it really showed me we could do well this year. We play nice football but it isn't massively focused on possession, or pressing, but it's just nice looking passing football. We work the ball gradually forward, using either the flanks with our wide players (who have a considerable amount of pace) or the Target Man to bounce off in the final third. It's really nice to watch.
The first game of the league season also went absolutely fantastically, in an easy 4-0 win over Ian Bowyer's recently promoted Charlton side. You can see from the goalscorers that it's our front 4 (the TM, AM, and wide players) that are our danger, and it was an effortless performance. I've played a few more games of the league season and things are still going well, but I'll keep that back for a later update. Most importantly, I think this save might actually be a keeper! Hope you guys enjoy the read and I look forward to chatting about the save with you all, and some good old TD nostalgia.