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Sunday, July 13, 2014

How to Create Space and Chances By Using Wide Players

Using Wide Players to Create More Space and Better Chances in Football Manager

We have been fortunate enough to be able to publish some great tips and Football Manager tactical analysis by Indonesian Ryan Tank. In the first article Ryan discussed how he approaches tactical analysis in Football Manager pre-match, in-match and pro-match using the German Klassiker FC Bayern versus Borussia Dortmund as an example.

Today he will take a closer look on how to create more space and chances by using wide players in Football Manager 2014. Here you will learn how to setup the correct roles and player instructions or in other terms how to create right combinations between the lines to improve movement and player positioning for utilizing your chances through players finding space on the wings.

Football Manager Wing Play
Football and Attacking is a matter of forcing the enemy to leave empty space and we use it as much as possible for the benefit of team. It’s about how you put the right players in the right positions and right roles to create right combination between the lines of motion and position.
    A lot of people, when entering to this topic, will think about playmakers and strikers. That’s not wrong, because, in fact these two roles has the tasks that are directly connected to the creation of space and chances (goals). But, in reality, not just playmakers or strikers can be used for purposes of creating spaces and chances. One other thing you can try is exploiting the opposite's wide areas. You can hit their wides with various ways. The simplest way is using your wide players. Either attacking wingers or your two wing backs. Yes, wing backs. Which incidentally, in particular the wing back, is often to be the forgotten side regard to of how you can create space and chances in attacking phase. It’s obviously giving you more benefits, it's obviously giving you tactical variation, it's obviously raising the chance of winning when you succeed to maximise your wide players. How could it be right and benefiting, it is thing that I wanna show you.
    So, to give some idea of how to create space through my wide players (attacking wingers and wing backs), is the main aim of this write. More specifically, I use the combination of my 2 Inside Forwards (IFs) and my 2 Wing Backs (WBs) to create space and chances.
    I started, as I always did in previous chances, from the idea of play. Of how I want my boys to bomb the opposition. Of how I want to shape my team. Of how I tweak to do something little bit different as the consequnce of different situation. Because my main aim is, I want my wide players to create space and chances, here are what I want them to do:     

    1. I want my 2 IFs to be aggressive up front, narrow play and deep into the opposition defense. I also want my IFs become the team's main source of goals. Based on these two main tasks, IF with Attacking Duty would be logic, I'm sure.

    2. Related to point number 1, I will give WB Role-Attacking Duty to my 2 wing backs. Why? It’s simple. Because, there will be no much cover for my wide sides as my attacking wingers will do a lot of narrow play. Wing Back role is naturally wide coverer role. Wing Back is also able to scretch the opposition wide areas. They tend to hug touchline and press your opponents into submission. By plotting Attacking Role to my Wing Backs, the Run From Deep and Mentality would be high enough for my WBs to explode the opposition wide areas.

    3. To maximise movement for my two IFs and two WBs in the 1/3 area of the opposition, I instruct my 3 central midfielders to use most of their time to play at the outside of opposition penalty box, one would be more advanced near the penalty bos, one would be positioned deeper as the creator, and one to be the deepest. This set up, is my effort to avoid congestion in the penalty area. With my two IFs Sit Narrow and advanced, then my two Wing Backs made a lot of penalty box penetrations, you couldn't debate if I say there was potentially overload if I let my 2 of 3 central midfielders to make a lot of runs into penalty area. Overload can bring much negatives for attacking shape. I've got to reduce it. Let me show you my plan to create more spaces through setting up player instructions below.

Individual Instructions to Implement the Plan to Create More Spaces On the Wings

Football Manager Wing back instructions
The Individual Instruction to be given to my two WBs. With Get Further Forward (which never been used for any of my defenders), I hope my two WBs will stretch the opposition wide areas to the max limit.

Football Manager inside forward instruction
The Individual Instruction for my two IFs. Roam from position offers many advantages when attacking. With Sit Narrower I tend to drag the opposition wing backs out of positions, so my two WBs are having a lot of vulnerable spaces to exploit.

    After that, we need to look to the match itself. I show you some pictures when 4 wide players made a lot of havoc to the opposition back line.
Situation 1
The first screen-shot below is the first example of my LWB (Silvio Benito the regen), moved more advanced, utilized the Julian Brandt creation. Here you can see how Julian Brandt Sit Narrow then dropped a little bit deep to drag the opposite, so Silvio Benito had space to penetrate.
deep lying playmaker initiate attack
From the top, where the attack begun. Regis Barreau my DLP-S would receive a ball, he then forwarded it to Ivan Kujevic the AP-S. See my two left wide players, Julian Brandt and Silvio Benito kept watching the opposition left side. The two had anticipated Kujevic move. And, Kujevic my smartest player had also realized there would be passing option on the left side, as Brandt and Benito stood on the right side.

inside forward creates space
Julian Brandt movement shows us how effective a small step can impact the game. You see, Brandt who were ready to receive Kujevic pass, firstly did a forward move then he dropped deeper to accommodate Silvio Benito movement on the left side. Brandt succeed to drag the opposite wing back. Silvio Benito Get Further Forward instruction made him went more advances into the penalty area.
wingback penetrates penalty area
Julian Brandt then through passed to Benito, as my LWB came into the opposition penalty area. You can see how big vulnerable space left by my opposition. What Julian Brandt did a couple seconds ago contributed to trigger this.
Situation 2
This second example will show you, the combination of my two lines that created a good chance. As I said above, I wanted my midfielders to play little bit deeper compared to my two IFs and my lone striker. They were given Support Duty to make sure they played as what I wanted to.     

central midfielder starts attack
Here you can see several things. First, you can see how my 4 wide players kept their distance to as minimum as possible. Second, take notice how Kujevic and Julian Brandt positioned themselves in this moment then what they did later.

Passing combinations
Kujevic came deep to get the ball. Then, Julian Brandt realized if Kujevic picked up the ball and Brandt followed Kujevic movement, there would be space for him to shoot. That was the thing he did.
Kujevic passes to Brandt
Kujevic passes to Brandt, then Julian Brandt had a go to the goal. And, he scored. Brandt movement, once again, was the movement triggered by Sit Narrower instruction. With Sit Narrower, I tried to help Brandt to be much closer to the goal, as I want him as the IF that acted as the main goal scorer for my team.
Situation 3
This is another sample how my wide players created space and chances. This time was combination of movement from my central midfielder and my two right wide players.

Reith Starts attack
As you can see. Christian Reith started the attack. See Mohammed Ousmane positioning. That was what I wanted to. The Roam from Position and Sit Narrower combination helped this to be possible. Aziz Jbara (my RWB) was getting ready to penetrate into the penalty area. Ousmane as supposed to be the receiver of the pass would do something cleaver with simple decision.
dummy move by ousmane to open up space for through ball
Ousmane did dummy-move as he knew Aziz Jbara was going into the penalty area. He let the ball going through. Simple move but smart decision.
shoots as space is open up
As so much space to do, Jbara then moved more little bit advanced with ball to find a ergonomic position to shoot. He used the Get Further Forward instruction to the right.

Conclusion and Further Tips

I hope what I described since the beginning of this article are able to give you an idea or different perspective of wide players, especially about how to create empty space and make chances making use of a combination of four wide players. In this match my Dortmund team did what are to be their tasks very well. My players did what I wanted to be the source of goal would be focused to my two IFs. And the result? Mohammed Ousmane made 3 goals + 1 assist and Julian Brand made 1 goal. Perfect. But, more importantly than what was achieved by my players, this paper is about how to use the wide players to create space and chances. That’s the main point. I hope you catch the idea.

    In essence, vary your attacks as much as possible, combo your tactic with anything that can be used in many situations. Football Manager is a game, that’s why, the law of probability plays a lot in it. Find and take advantage of all those possibilities. And, you can hope, victory will be much closer to you.
Football Manager Attacking down wings

Passion4FM Guest Writer

This Article was written by Ryan Tank

Ryan Tank is an addict of Football Manager, huge fan of real life football, started to be FC Bayern supporter since 1998-1999 season, and Juventus fan since the era of Roberto Baggio.


  1. Omar Basiony14:24

    very good article

    but i have several questions

    1- using IFA and WBA will make my team bad defensively from wide areas?
    2- the roles of middle field players are APS & DLPS & CMD ?
    3- using attacking roles with high defensive line could make alot of troubles for the team?

  2. Omar Basiony14:26

    i think it should be CMD as to stay in front of defense because BWD will try to cut ball from above areas which mean your defense is in great danger

  3. 1. Makes sense. This is an aggressive combination, with High
    individual Mentality and RFD.. So, wheter it exposes your wide areas,
    there're always possibilities. But on the other side, If you can build a
    cohesive team, you can reduce such threat.

    I give you simple
    example. I set my WB to A duty and my IF to Roam and sits narrow. This
    will trigger my WB to RFD as often as he wants. As far as I know, the
    two CMs of mine, are the kind of players who have great combination of
    Attacking and DEFENSIVE Attributes (ant, dec, pos, strength, quickness,
    workrate, and the likes). And my two CBs? They are the CBs that will
    give great cover, because they are quick and got all what a central
    defender needs (Ant, Dec, Pos, Quickness). I have a team with amazing
    combination of mental attribute...

    With such players and Very
    Fluid Philosophy (for the example), team will be moving as a unit, they
    will press and defend together.One other think I can say is, This set up
    is the set up that suits to team with right players attributes (Highly
    Reputation Team).... If you comply to the criterias, then your players
    will do what tou tell them to the right.

    One another important
    thing to do is, you can judge wheter the setting exposes your wides by
    seeing whatexactly happens on the pitch (watch the match in full or
    comprehensive). Is your Defense exposed, as theconsequence of this set

    2. you can see my answer for Rumblefish question :-D the
    main principles are, I want to avoid congestion in the opposition
    penalty area, and have my players to cover the aggressiveness movement
    of my 4 wide men.

    So, make sure you combine the 3 CMs to sit
    deeper (AP-S/Eg maybe as I never test it, CM-D or S, DLP S or D, or you
    can plot BWM-D, as long as the instruction doesn't ruin your shape).

    That's right. Attacking role in Attacking Mentality will trigger a lot
    RFD and Atacking Intention. It could create vunerable space between GK
    and last defenders.

    But, If you have the team as I have now (I
    mentioned above), with great Anticipation, decision, and Quickness (plus
    amazing Teamwork), you don't have to too much worry. Just see how
    Dortmund, Barcelona, or Bayern when they implement the High D-Line. With
    resource they got, all the 3 teams can still play extremely well.

    my team, I Instruct them this way :Short pass, Pass into space, play
    out of defense, run at defense (optional), Drill Cross (or default),
    Exploit Flanks, Play Narrower, Push Higher Up, Roam From Position,
    Hassle, Stay on Feet, no Offside Trap, Higher tempo..

    You can
    instruct your CM with all "save" instruction such as hold position, less
    closing down, less dribble, or anything else as you think appropriate
    to give good cover to your Defense..

    4. Playing through Middle or
    wide or sit deep, etc is something i use for specific situation. based
    on opponent analysis. You can Exploit middle by Number game concept. one
    example If you play with 4-2-3-1 you can hit the enemy by exploit
    middle if they play with 4-4-2 (3 v 2).

    Or, you can hit them by exploiting flanks when they play 3-5-2 or 4-1-2-1-2 narrow (as they just have one layer on the wings).

    you can exploit the AI middle (exoploit the middle, hard tackle, press
    more), if they are Playing Nervous or Very Nervously. Just analyse it
    carefully. Hit the AI weakest point with your players strength....

  4. You are right about BWM. The default character of BWM, is not as defensive as what people thought. A BWM will try to win the ball as what SI named it. He will run "whereever" he wants. But, by seeing my team play. When I have a smart one, he will play his BMW role without I need to be much worry of his attitude. For the pre consideration avoiding BMW role can be logical if you want "safety comes first" for your defensive line