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FM15 – Its just an easy jigsaw puzzle

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With a baby due anytime soon, my updates are going to be few and far between, at least for the next 2 weeks. So I will be responding to queries and doing my best to answer them. A recent post on the forums got my attention. Someone asked me what attributes I looked for in my strike force for my 4312 formation. Interestingly enough I got started on it, wrote a fair bit about what to look for in players and then I played a game and realised the answer isn’t as simple.

When selecting players to fit into your system its clear that certain attributes are more important than others, if you look at my 4312 system you will see 3 clear strikers upfront. Designed as a unit teamwork is vital for them as they create chances for each other. In isolation the unit is useless. Whats the point of discussing their attributes when its the rest of the players that work the ball up for them, and this is my point: When determining what attributes are important, its vital that you establish a style of play and its this style of play that defines the attributes that you need and the players you will depend on.


We were playing a game and I didn’t have the luxury of picking my best midfielders; we almost lost the game, winning at the death. My side depends a great deal on the 3 central midfielders and my two fullbacks or complete wingbacks. Without the ball winning grit in the middle, the pace and guile down the flanks, the balls will never get to the feet of my strike force. The key is not identifying the best traits for your strike force, but the best traits for your team!

In our case, first touch, concentration, bravery and passing are critical attributes. Teamwork and workrate are also important, in fact its these 5 attributes that form the central core of who we are. This means that my 3 MCs and my two fullbacks along with my strike force are the ones I focus on. They all need to have good doses of these attributes. If they all have great teamwork I am smiling, but there will be times when teamwork is a rare commodity so I decide by looking at key battle areas. If I go into a game thats going to be tough, then even my AMC needs good teamwork, tackling bravery. If its a game that isn’t as bad, then I will drop bravery and tackling for him only.

The way my 4312 is set up, the demands on my AMC are clear: He also needs to win the ball high up the pitch against good sides. When we play on an attacking mentality, I expect them to work hard in the opponents half. So when I go into these kind of games I start isolating my attributes:

Tough Game

AMC – Bravery, Off the ball, Passing, Decisions, Teamwork, Finishing, First Touch, Composure, Dribbling, tackling

Easy Game

AMC – Off the ball, passing, decision, teamwork, finishing, first touch, composure,dribbling

My DLF has typically been someone who has bagged the second highest number of assists in the team and will usually finish the season with at least 20 goals or close to that. He is expected to be a team player with intelligence

DLF – Passing, finishing, composure, first touch, passing, teamwork, balance, workrate, teamwork, bravery, off the ball

My F9 usually ends up supporting the fullback, and he also tends to get into positions that take him out wide

F9- Finishing, Passing, Crossing, Off the ball, Crossing, First Touch, Composure, workrate, teamwork


So those are the numbers I like to look for, and here are some of my players. Discussing them in isolation is going to be dangerous, these guys are only good because of the rest of my players. So here’s the dude who sometimes plays as the AMC in games where we are expected to get as good as  we give



He hasn’t done too badly.


He had started out as one of my 3 MCs in the early part of his career, last season we moved him in as the “tough” AMC, and he did ok.



My first choice AMC is usually this player who has the attributes I value for goals and assists.




My DLF role is all about chances and goals. In fact if it hadn’t been down to my aggressive rotation policy he should have bagged in access of 30 goals by now.


F9 is almost the same except I look for crossers of the ball as well

Yeah but these players are useless without these 3 kingpins in the middle:

My playmaker



And my two ball winning midfielders



At the end of the day, if I don’t have those 3 guys in midfield and my two wingbacks I can to a large extent expect to struggle. So the important thing isn’t the attributes of your strike force, but how you fit all these pieces together

Once you figure out the jigsaw puzzle that is your team, and have fit all the pieces together, then how well your team does is going to be a function of the quality of players you have, how well designed your system is and finally how well you handle match events. Handling match events is easy, if they are attacking you, go counter, and don’t over commit. If they are defensive and looking to build up in your half, deny them the midfield and go attacking. Its that easy. I got to admit this is the easiest match engine since 2000. I had predicted that the advent of the tactical creator would dumb down the game, but I didn’t expect it to go this easy.



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About BusttheNet - Rashidi (177 Articles)
Rashidi is an mod from the SI forums who began this site as a way to collate all the information and guides he's written for Football Manager over the years.

1 Comment on FM15 – Its just an easy jigsaw puzzle

  1. Yes you have indentified the point: the predictability and the tactical iteration of similar tactics, and teams year after year in the game.

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