Welcome to my second Match in Focus. A little aside from my main blog posts where I describe one important, or notable, match from my save.
Date: 8.00pm 15th March 2020 Attendance: 12,068
Squad building is an integral part of any successful FM save and for me it is my favourite part of the game by far. Very often I see managers setting out attributes they want for each position and aim for two players per position. This is sensible, however, I like to take this a little step further when planning ahead. Instead of having two similar players for each position I prefer to have two, sometimes three, different types of player per position. By doing this it is possible to completely change how your team plays whilst remaining within a tactical framework that is largely unchanged.
With that in mind, I had a few key decisions going into this game. Krasnodar, the odds on favourites, normally play a 4231 so, I decided to select a defensive minded DM, Tetrashvilli here instead of Russian legendary playmaker, Torbinskiy.
In a similar vein, I have two attacking full backs and two who are stronger defensively. I again chose the two stronger defensive options as my scouts had highlighted Krasnodar’s two wide men (Wanderson & Ivan) as their best attacking players. My two Mezzala’s are also quite different. Currently, I have Ivanov who I see as more of a playmaker, and my alternative option, Markelov, is a more attacking option getting on the end of things rather than creating. Given the lack of a playmaker in the DM strata, I opted to put one here and selected Ivanov. As I advance through the save one of my core squad building aims will be to have alternative options equal in quality across the pitch.
Onto the match
Krasnodar line up as expected in a 4231. As mentioned I have selected a defensively strong DM to nullify Claesson’s influence. Neither of my full backs are playing with an attacking mentality, something I only do against smaller teams, so I am hopeful they can contain their danger men.
Krasnodar come out of the blocks quickly and put us under a lot of pressure. A number of quick long balls to the flanks resulted in our full backs being left one versus one against their wide men.
37 mins – Stezhko caught hopelessly out of position, we get away with it. I assertively shout, “Concentrate” at him. He appears disinterested.
43 mins – First attacking highlight for Anzhi. Zamdamov beats his man on the outside and crosses for Lescano who heads straight at the ‘keeper.
Team talk, while I always deliver the team talk, I do generally take my cue from my assistant manager. I have a hard time deciphering real people’s feelings so my chances of working out how a piece of binary code is feeling are slim. On this occasion, I decided to take the reins myself and aggressively tell them to “show me something else in the second half”. Green screens across the board…
I also tell my Full Backs to tackle their opposing Winger hard and force him onto his weaker foot. Both Wanderson and Ivan have run us ragged.
58 mins – GOAL!! Anzhi. Xamdamov takes the ball from the halfway line before firing a curling shot into the top corner. This goal was later voted Goal of the Season in Russia!
65 mins – GOAL!! Anzhi. Lescano scores a lovely goal from outside the area.
68 mins – Fantastic run from Savichev sets up midfielder Chaykovskyi who should have scored from 10 yards.
81 mins – Krasnodar switch to a 4-3-3 narrow. I move my fullbacks to defend to help match the three main #hackz strikers.
86 mins – GOAL!! Dangerous free-kick to Krasnodar. Cueva lines it up. Fires it into the top corner, there is pandemonium in the away stands among the 950 brave souls who travelled to Kaspiysk as Krasnodar take a late lead.
87 mins – I move my fullbacks to attack and bring on a fresh winger.
No further highlights, we go down 3-2 and drop to third in the league.
I’m pleased we managed to come back but was a bit annoyed I hadn’t paid heed to the dangerous widemen that were identified before the game. As it turned out, I was able to control them fairly easily through opposition instructions in the second half, unfortunately the horse had already bolted by then.
Some short analysis……
I pay attention to stats but always take them with a ‘pinch of salt’ Generally I prefer to have more possession than my opposition 50%-65% is ideal. I want around 50% of my shots to be on target with no more than around a third being from long-range. I feel if I hit these markers it means we are creating good quality chances rather than shooting out of frustration or lack of options.
If we compare shot locations in this game (left) with those from the reverse fixture (right), which I also lost 3-2, when I was playing a 4231. It is clear that in today’s game using the 4141 we created many more quality shooting opportunities from inside the box. I like to periodically keep a check on where we are shooting from against different sort of teams. As the squad evolves, so do tactics, and shot locations can be the first indication of something not working as designed.
Thanks for reading!