99 Problems

I’ve wanted to do a lot more short length pieces for the blog and have a few ideas on what I can do and as a result this is one of the new things I’ll be trying out and getting feedback for to see if it’s worthwhile. The idea is I take a random tactical question or use a common one asked on the forums and try to answer it without going overboard with the details. After a while, I hope it would become like a hints and tips of sorts with snippets of valuable information. It might not work but it’s worth a try. Also not all questions will be about tactics they’ll be about everything Football Manager related.  So please post below in the comments section and let me know if you want to see more of these types of articles or not, then I’ll know if it’s worth carrying on or not.

I see this question asked an awful lot;

Why does my winger not pass the ball and cross like he should? Or why doesn’t he pick out my striker in the box?

So what it boils down to is, why doesn’t the winger do what he should be doing?

It could be a number of reasons why this happens really, BUT the most common issues would be;

  • You use the wrong role
  • Lack of support
  • No-one in the box to cross too
  • Being forced into making a quick decision
  • The winger being too advanced up the pitch

Wrong role

The bread and butter of the winger role is him taking people on and crossing. Those are the two main factors of a winger’s job. A lot of people use a winger but then expect him to do something he doesn’t really do. So if you don’t want him staying out wide majority of the time, attempting to beat his marker and putting crosses into the box then this is not the role you want.

Lack of Support

If the player has a lack of support then realistically his options are limited. This then means the winger needs passing options that are either alongside of him or in front of him, if he doesn’t have this then his crosses could be a bit erratic.  So what you need to do is pause the game when the winger first receives the ball and have a look around at what kind of area he picked the ball up in and to see what your players around him are doing. Then watch the move and see what he does with the ball, again pausing it and looking around just before he releases it. This will tell you everything you need to know about what type of supply he is doing and who to.

Lack of Crossing Options

This is one issue that I must see ten times a day. I see people create tactics that utilises wingers then use striker roles that focus on the player not playing in the box. I’m not saying strikers who drop back never get into the box but you need to realise than if a striker is dropping deep then he’s moving away from the box. The same can also be said if he is starting in a deeper position due to being on a defensive or supportive role, he might not be able to keep up with play and get into the box. So it’s worth looking out for this. It might also be worth noting that you need several bodies in and around the box to make use of crosses, if not, then the opposition can easily defend against one person in the box nine times out of ten due to the numbers advantage they have.

Being Forced Into Making a Quick Decision

If a player is being closed down heavily or forced into a blind alley then they’ll always struggle and it’s not uncommon to see them make a bad decision. Instead of taking their man on you might see them attempt a pass or even a cross from deep. So if you think the winger isn’t doing what he should be then go into the analysis tab and look back at one of the games he struggled in and have a look at what he is doing when he gets the ball and what the opposition are making him do.

Being Advanced

Player positioning is everything, so if he is high up the pitch then this relies on someone getting the ball to him, to stop him becoming isolated. The higher he is the less likely he can influence the game by running at people and putting crosses into the box as it can make him way ahead of everyone else. This can actually be an issue for fast players when they run with the ball if the players in the supporting roles are slower than him. They can struggle to keep up with him or they struggle to get in and around the box. So keep an eye out for where he is positioned on the pitch and ask yourself if he is too advanced? If so try using a support roles. If he’s not high enough then use an attacking one. But also be aware that it’s also the players around him you need to keep an eye and make sure they are linking up exactly how you expect them too.

14 thoughts on “99 Problems”

  1. Fantastic idea! Keep them coming, if you ask me.
    More often than not, these little snippets are more useful than elaborate analyses we often see on the forums.

  2. I like this. Keep it going please. I use wingers and this will be helpful in some way.

    What striker role do you recommend goes best with wingers? Ideas for tall and short (quick) strikers would be greatly appreciated :).

    As Arsenal I have the left as an inside and the right as a winger mostly. Striker, as I have a APM etc behind, is usually a Poacher or Advance Forward.


        1. Still doesn’t change that he will be outnumbered if there is no other support in and around the box though

          1. Thanks.
            What midfield setup do you suggest would help with numbers/support?
            Does a box to box or arrives late pp help or hinder due to speedy breaks on the wings? Or just more attacking roles?

  3. Fantastic. Avid follower.

    Would you say a Treq/F9 is not a suitable forward to have with wingers? Or is it more situation dependent? As you say, watch and see.


    1. Watch and see really because it also depends on the rest of the set up and who is getting into the box. If you have bodies in and around the box then crossing will be okay but if you don’t, then crossing is rather pointless.

  4. Good one, but how can it be explained when everything above is fine and a winger in a lower league with 10 and above in crossing sends the ball in row Z, 7 times out of 10?

    1. I don’t believe this to be true, if everything above is fine then he wouldn’t hit it into row z 7 times out of 10. One of the things I mention above will be at play.

  5. Good idea. It’s good to make some shorter and simpler type of posts among the more complex and long one, it keeps it good for all tastes.
    The question I’m interested is similar to the one exposed and with a piece of player attributes needed. It’s about target men behaving as target men. If I understand things right, a target man is supposed to receive the ball to head (or legs, but it seems traditionally aerial delivery is typically associated to him) and then bring it down for team mates or maybe down to his own feet. Since FM09 I’ve made some attempts of playing with target men, but almost everyone has been a failure because they get the ball and then head it off ahead to where there’s no hope of a teammate being able to get there. I know many of those failures came due to the lack of players to run on the flick ons, but they’ve not done any good either when paired with fast strikers who like to break the offside trap. The only players I’ve seen doing what I expect them to do are Nikola Zigic (heading it indeed to areas reachable by team mates or taking it down to his own feet when teammates are unavailable) and a regen that got a long injury then unhappy and had to be sold before enough time to confirm that wasn’t a lucky match and observe what did he have separating him from other target men. So there, what does a player need to play as a proper target man?

  6. im getting so frustrated on my save I have with Portsmouth I have at the moment as ive got them into the premiership and now in my second season in my first ten games I had four wins two draws and four losses then all of a sudden cant win a game no matter what I just lost 4 nil and had 61% possession and 22 shots on target while the opposition had 2 shots on target and my defenders scored 2 OG’s. sometimes I think FM just doesn’t like me!!! how to stop the rot!!!

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