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Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to eliminate threat with Opposition Instructions

An Example on spotting and eliminating threats with Opposition Instructions

FM13 Opposition Instructions Eliminate threats

Part 2 about Football Manager's Opposition Instructions

A part of our Football Manager Match Tactics Guide.

In part 1 of our Football Manager guide to opposition instructions we looked at the different kinds of categories to choose from and why it is important to spend some few minutes analyzing your opposition players and set up OI's to counter specific threats. Opposition instructions can be assigned for a specific player threats or a specific position threat.

From part 1 we have discovered how Opposition instructions can be a very effective tool to neutralize potential threats during matches and make you able to adopt your playing style and match tactics according to the opposition team while the match progresses.

Opposition instructions adds more value to the match tactics adapting and should be used in addition to touchline instructions. Both tools can be changed and adopted to the opposition teams formation and playing style quickly and effectively during matches.

Previously we have discussed which type of opposition instructions that should be assigned for a potential threat, but in this part we will delve deeper into the wonderful world of eliminating potential threats and target specific players or positions in Football Manager. This will be our practical example of how to spot potential player weaknesses and strength and how we assign Opposition instructions on this player for the next match. We will try to analyze the players attributes and player preferred moves in order to get more knowledge about their behavior.

Example 1: Barcelona - Real Madrid

In this first example we will be starting with how I set up opposition instruction when facing Real Madrid, in my latest El Clasico battle. As you may know, Real Madrid is a team with excellent defensive qualities, quick players when counter attacking and a midfield packed with creative technicians with good passing, dribbling, speed and teamwork.

Preparation for this encounter started two to three days ahead of kick off, as my excellent scout, Luciano D'Onofrio, handed me the next opposition reports and statistics regarding tactics used and team stats.


Pre-Match: Barcelona - Real Madrid Kick off

The Formations and Tactics for the encounter:

Match Tactics and formations Barcelona Real Madrid

From the opposition teams formation I get important information about how they will play, and how they can exploit spaces between my players. I noticed quickly that I had to either position Mascherano deep (in the space between the defensive line and the two midfielders), or set tight marking to Mesut Özil. Real Madrid possess a defensive oriented midfield with excellent tackling, positioning and bravery in Alonso and Essien compared to my offensive line-up in Fabregas and Thiago. I could loose a lot of possession if Alonso and Essien plays at their best. Please note; Alonso had a condition on around 70% when starting the match.
The attacking pace of Cristiano Ronaldo could give some problems as I had to use Martin Montoya.

But lets take a closer look at the Real Madrids starting line-up and their strength and weaknesses.


Opposition instructions and player strength and weaknesses of Opponent

Color explanation OI

First it is important to notice that I wants to win the ball high up in the pitch according to my tactic Barcelona 4-3-2-1 Tiki Taka Domination Extreme, and then I will close down more players in the opposition defensive line.

DR: Alvaro Arbeloa

FM13 Alvaro Arbeloa player attributes

Arbeloa is the perfect example of a player with excellent defensive qualities, and might have been selected as a marker for David Villa.

When you look at the player attributes there are three weaknesses I wants to exploit:

1) Preferred foot right
2) First Touch: 12
3) Passing / Dribbling: 13 / 11

Opposition Instruction assignments
opposition instruction alvaro arbeloa fullback

Closing down always; to try to win the ball back before he have control of the ball and put pressure on the player to do mistakes (see concentration).
Also I have learned from the previous encounter against Real Madrid that setting closing down never on Arbeloa makes him a real threat in passing and crossing, despite having fairly average attributes in these areas of play.
Closing down never should force the player to have much possession of the ball and be the creative force, maybe instead of Alonso or Özil, but as you can see I choose Closing Down always this time.
Show onto left; to force the player to pass inwards where players like Fabregas, Thiago, Busquets all wants to win the ball (highest closing down), and to use his weakest foot to pressurize the player even more to make mistakes.

Passing Result:
alvaro arbeloa passing analysis

DL: Marcelo
FM13 Marcelo strength and weaknesses

Marcelo is one of the biggest threat along with Mesut Özil and Cristiano Ronaldo. He possess eminent attacking qualities and have good speed and excellent crossing abilities. His biggest weaknesses is his defensive qualities and I could try to position Alexis Sanchez higher.

When you look at his player attributes there are some skills I want to neutralize:

1) Preferred foot left (but has a fairly strong right foot)
2) Crossing: 16
3) Passing / Dribbling: 16 / 17
4) Acceleration and pace: 16 / 14

Opposition Instruction assignments
opposition instruction marcelo fullback

I used the same assignments as for Alvaro Arbeloa, as I don't want him to move with the ball into the third half and cross the ball onto Benzema.

Passing Result:
marcelo passing analysis

DCR: Sergio Ramos
FM13 Sergio Ramos strength and weaknesses

Sergio Ramos is one player I don't want to have much possession of the ball, as he possess good passing (for a defender) and good long shots abilities. He is able to dribble past the opponent and has excellent heading - a real threat in attacking set pieces. Thanks to Lionel Messi, who will force the player to focus much on the defensive job instead of helping in attacking, I can neutralize some of his threats.

Weaknesses I want to exploit:

1) Preferred foot right (but has a fairly strong left foot)
2) First Touch: 13
3) Passing / Creativity: 14 / 12

Opposition Instruction assignments
opposition instruction Sergio Ramos

Yet again I want to close the player down always. If he starts to roam I want the closest player to tackle (normal) him a bit harder than instructed in my tactic, as he has good long shot and dribbling.
Last I want him to pass the ball inwards instead of passing the ball to Luka Modric, who possess excellent technique, dribbling, creativity and passing, by assigning Show onto left foot.

DCL: Raphael Varane
FM13 Raphael Varane strength and weaknesses

Raphael Varane is only 19 years old and might be very nervous before El Clasico. He possesses good defensive qualities (positioning and marking), but lacks technical skills regarding ball control and passing.

When looking back I regret I didn't put more pressure on this kid. I should have taken advantage of his poor technical skills and creativity, and his reasonable skills when using his left foot.
Maybe I overlooked the player, just because of his young age, but then I've learned. I instructed my players to get stuck in the player and tackle hard, as he has average bravery.
P.S. Raphael Varane got later voted man of the match.

Opposition Instruction assignments
opposition instruction Raphael Varane

How I should have set up Opposition instructions:
- Either Closing down always to pressure him, or taken advantage of his poor skills and let him be the playmaker in defense by using closing down never.
- Show onto left foot (Reasonable)
- Tackle hard


Passing Result for Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane:
central defenders passing analysis

MCL: Xabi Alonso
FM13 Xabi Alonso strength and weaknesses

When Jose Mourinho selected Xabi Alonso I got very surprised, as he had fairly poor condition after a three month long injury.
Xabi Alonso have excellent positioning and passing in additional to excellent long shots and creativity.

Strengths I want to neutralize:
Passing / Creativity: 18 / 17
Long shots: 17

Weaknesses I want to exploit:
Condition: < 70%
First touch: 12
Acceleration / pace: 9 / 11

Opposition Instruction assignments
opposition instruction Xabi Alonso

I instructed my players to pressurize the player because of his excellent passing and creativity, and exploit the weaknesses in first touch and condition by tackle hard and closing down always.

Result: Hot injured after 10 minutes of play! Pass completion ratio for the 10 minutes: 100%(!) Fabio Coentrao replaced Alonso.

MCL: Fabio Coentrao (Sub - 10min)
FM13 Fabio Coentrao strength and weaknesses

Fabio Coentrao is pretty average player compared to Xabi Alonso, but his passing, crossing, off the ball and pace is pretty good. I should be glad he played in the middle of the pitch instead of on the left wing.


Weaknesses I want to exploit:
Preferred foot left (right foot weak)


Strengths I want to neutralize:
Passing / Dribbling: 15 / 15
Crossing: 16

Opposition Instruction assignments
opposition instruction Fabio Coentrao

To counter his good passing and dribbling I wanted to put pressure on him by closing him down always. If the player should roam i wanted the next player to tackle him hard, so he wouldn't shoot from long or cross the ball. Finally I tried to reject Luka Modric of getting the ball and tried to show the ball onto his right foot, as his foot is very weak.

Passing Result for Fabio Coentrao:
fabio coentrao passing analysis

MCR: Michael Essien
FM13 Michael Essien strength and weaknesses

Michael Essien have excellent defensive qualities, but lacks pretty much when having the ball and in attacking situations. His passing and speed is fairly poor, in additional to his creativity and dribbling.
I had to options when assigning opposition instructions; leaving more space to him or stay close to him.
I decided to close down the player always and show the ball onto his left foot Opposition Instruction assignments
opposition instruction Michael Essien

Passing Result for Michael Essien:
Michael Essien passing analysis

AMC: Mesut Özil
FM13 Mesut Ozil strength and weaknesses

Mesut Özil might be Real Madrids best player when it comes to handling the ball. He has excellent passing, creativity, technique, dribbling and flair. He has also good anticipation and off the ball, which makes him likely to roam an pop up just behind the defensive line.
As he possess good composure it would be stupid to let him get to much space in front of the goal.

Weaknesses I want to exploit:
Bravery / balance / aggression: 8 / 10 / 7
Finishing: 12
Preferred foot left (right foot reasonable)

Strengths I want to neutralize:
Passing / Dribbling / Creativity: 19 / 17 / 19
Off the ball / Anticipation: 18 / 15

I decided to tight mark him always, hopefully by Mascherano who is instructed to man mark tight. If he should roam I wanted to let the player get the space he wants, by closing down never, as he would normally pass the ball instead of finish himself. If it should be too dangerous I have instructed my players to tackle him hard.
It could turn out bad, but hopefully Mascherano would do the job (tackling 20 / marking 17). To neutralize his passing abilities I want to show the ball onto his weakest foot (right), which makes him likely to pass the ball onto Cristiano Ronaldo, if facing goal.

Opposition Instruction assignments
opposition instruction Mesut Özil

Passing Result for Mesut Özil:
Mesut Ozil passing analysis

I got very impressed by my players. They neutralized Mesut perfectly and neglected him zero shots!

AMR: Luka Modric
FM13 Luka Modric strength and weaknesses

Luka Modric is quite similar to Mesut Özil when it comes to his technical skills when handling the ball (passing and dribbling). Modric might have too bad crossing and speed to be the real threat when attacking. He also have abilities to pop up behind the defensive line as he possess good anticipation and off the ball.

Weaknesses I want to exploit:
Crossing / long shots / finishing: 12 / 8 / 7
Bravery: 13

Strengths I want to neutralize:
Passing / Dribbling / Creativity: 17 / 16 / 18
Off the ball / Anticipation: 15 / 15
Preferred foot either

As his opponent player is Alba, who have pretty average tackling and marking, I decided to tackle him normal and instead close him down always

Opposition Instruction assignments
opposition instruction Mesut Özil

Passing Result for Luka Modric:
Luka Modric passing analysis


AML: Cristiano Ronaldo
FM13 Cristiano Ronaldo strength and weaknesses

Cristiano Ronaldo is the biggest threat in this match. He has the ability to score goals from many positions and in various situations (long shots, heading, finishing). He has also excellent speed and off the ball which makes him a real threat if counter attacking.

Weaknesses I want to exploit:
Crossing / Creativity: 13 / 13
Bravery: 13

Strengths I want to neutralize:
Finishing / Heading / Long shots: 18 / 16 / 17
Off the ball / Anticipation: 17 / 19
Acceleration / Pace: 16 / 19
Preferred foot either

Opposition Instruction assignments
opposition instruction Cristiano ronaldo

As his opponent player is Martin Montoya, who have pretty average tackling and marking, I decided to tackle him normal and instead close him down always to pressure him to pass the ball backwards. I could have instructed them to show the ball onto right foot, but I didn't.

Passing Result for Cristiano Ronaldo:
Cristiano Ronaldo passing analysis

By closing him down Cristiano Ronaldo was forced to pass the ball short and often back in support. Check out his passing completion ratio: 61,7 (!)

Shooting and Crossing Result for Cristiano Ronaldo:
Cristiano Ronaldo shooting analysis


ST: Karim Benzema
FM13 Karim Benzema strength and weaknesses

Karim Benzema struggled hard, as Real Madrid struggled to keep possession on the ball. Karim Benzema is a fairly good striker with excellent finishing and technique. Like Cristiano Ronaldo, he has abilities to pop up behind the defensive line.

Weaknesses I want to exploit:
Acceleration / Pace: 13 / 14
Bravery: 11

Strengths I want to neutralize:
Finishing / Heading: 18 / 15
Off the ball / Anticipation: 18 / 15
Passing / Creativity / Dribbling: 16 / 18 / 16
Preferred foot either

Opposition Instruction assignments
opposition instruction Karim Benzema

With the success of opposition instruction and tactic, Karim Benzema didn't have one single shot on the goal (!), which I was very very proud of.


Top article image is taken by Arne List from Kiel, Germany (HB Tórshavn vs. NSÍ Runavík) CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons and modified by Admin at My Passion for Football Manager


Match Information and statistics

I will promise you this section will be short. The match ended 0-0.
Lionel Messi had many chances to score (SA 4/ST 3), while Fabregas had to shots on target.

Check out the basic match statistics:

Barcelona Real Madrid Match Statistics
Barcelona Real madrid match stats

Match Situations Analysis

Trying to win possession of the ball high up and quickly:
Putting pressure on the opposition teams defensive players:

Opposition instruction pressurize defense


Closing Down Marcelo...
Closing down Marcelo
Marcelo forced to pass inwards to Alonso
Opposition instruction Marcelo
Xabi Alonso forced to pass to Cristiano Ronaldo.
pressurizing Xabi Alonso
Arbeloa forced to play back to GK.
Closing down Alvaro Arbeloa
Marking Mesut Özil tight...
Tight marking Mesut ozil

Tackling hard on Michael Essien, to win possession of the ball...
Tackling Hard on Essien

Real Madrid where lucky to get the draw, as I felt my team where superior both in defending and attacking. Real Madrid got a penalty but missed, but that was the only dangerous chance. On the other hand, this example was maybe not the best, as Real Madrid almost never had possession of the ball!

Sorry guys! Love my Possession tactic Barcelona Tiki Taka Domination Extreme 4-3-2-1 , though!


1 comment :

  1. KimyVanManchit Bigik15:32

    real madrid>barca

    ReplyDelete