REBUILDING THE THAMES IRONWORKS – Tweaking

This is the latest post from guest author Herne79.

Watching Matches and Tweaking Things In Play

This is where I know a lot of people have problems, as did I for a very long time.

However, if you have followed this thread, I have already covered making adjustments to the tactic after watching matches, so this simply follows that same principle. The only difference is you now need to change things in a match rather than after one.

BUT, you still have Pause and Rewind buttons. Use them to go back over something you may have missed or want to see again, they really help.

Anyway, I’ll start off this section by looking at my first big challenge of the season – away at Man City. It’s a particular challenge for me as all the players are new, they still aren’t a fully cohesive unit, and the tactic isn’t at 100% fluidity yet.

We ended up winning 1-0, thanks to an 86th minute set piece. But if you look at the stats, we got hammered – it was one of those matches where if I had been the City manager, I’d be cursing at the lucky AI manager

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So, onto the start of the match and the first screen shot – still inside the first minute of the match:

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Here we can see Zabaleta (right fullback) having overlapped Navas (right wing) trying to latch onto a speculative long pass. And, even though one minute hasn’t ticked by yet, that is the 3rd time the ball has gone out to the right. The first, Navas picked it up, ran deep with it and sent in a dangerous cross. The 2nd again Navas received the ball, but this time passed it back infield. The 3rd (above) resulted from that pass back from Navas with Zabaleta overlapping.

From this, my defence are under pressure from the extra players City are getting into and around the box – you can see 3 of them running into the box, with Navas just behind Zabaleta. All my defender could do was clear the ball long – and this is the result:

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Toure easily picks off the clearance and recycles the ball back into a very dangerous looking position. The match is just one minute old, and I can already see where this is going – Toure bossing the midfield, wingers being very dangerous, my defence under pressure and that is indeed how the match started to play out. I could barely get out of my own half.

One other point of note. I always have this little onscreen Widget displayed during a match – it helps me double check the action I am watching, and helps me keep track of developments when I switch to a highlights mode.

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Tweaking

I’m getting hammered by City and I need to do something, otherwise it’ll be a rugby score. Of course it still could be even after I make changes, but I’d rather be proactive than reactive.

My defensive positioning is actually ok – alright we are getting battered, but because I have taken the time to plan how I want my players to act, I can see they aren’t actually doing anything dumb. It’s just that City are coming at me and my team can’t do much about it with their current tactical settings.

Therefore, I decide (rightly or wrongly) that I don’t need to change player roles or duties, but I will change mentality. And for that I have two options:

1) Be more defensive and so tougher to break down. I’ll have to soak a lot of pressure, but I could also hit them on the break.

2) Go on the attack. Attack is the best form of defence as the saying goes. I could still lose, but at least I’ll go down fighting.

Now, I have a decent team, but this early in the season I’m still unsure just how good they’re going to be. If I had confidence in their ability, I’d take the game to City and try to attack them more. But I’m not that confident yet, so I chicken out and switch to Counter.

As expected, I have to soak a lot of pressure – and I probably got lucky as well (although “luck” doesn’t come into a computer program). I did, however see some nice goal attempts by us – 9 shots with 6 on target all from inside the box was actually ok. We defended well, City had some great chances and worked my Goalie, but we gave City a game and put them under some pressure as well. I’m certain that without the change we’d have lost – and lost badly.
Hopefully you found that useful. I’ll do another write up when we faced opposition who just sat back, defended deep and look to hit us on the counter. If you have read Cleon’s Counter Attacking thread, I call it “playing Cleon” .

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