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Welcome to Manchester

By on Jan 01, 1970   Sep 02, 2009   3587 views   4 comments
After a long hiatus, I want to take some time to blog up what will likely be my final entry until FM 2010. 8) Naturally, I decided to go with the team I was first drawn to when I started playing FM 2009 - big, bad, cash loaded Manchester City.

The first order of business was on the tactics side. For formations, I decided on a newfound favorite - the classic 442. I've learned to like it for several reasons:

1. It's strong with 4 dedicated defenders on the back line. For those that have kept track of my blogs, you'll know that I like to play with a definite defensive bias. In my version of the 442 the fullbacks won't do a lot of forward running to enforce that defensive mentality. They push up when we're in the final third, but it's pretty rare to see even one of my fullbacks in the mix after the ball advances that far.

2. Having 4 midfielders allows for a pleasant amount of attacking diversity. Two side midfielders provide enough offensive punch without giving up too much on defense. I went with a more attack-minded approach for a while with two wingers feeding a target man, but I felt like I was giving up too many goals. One of my center mids usually joins in the attack as a deep sniping option while the other tends to stay back to help slow down counterattacks and to help recycle loose balls back into the attack.

3. Having 2 strikers allows for even more diverse attacking. I like to have one person be a target-man type for set pieces and crosses. My other attacker is the fast one that can skin defenders one-on-one.

---

How does this all work out for City? Defensively they're ok. Richard Dunne is solid at CB and Micah Richards is equally solid at DR where I like to use his athleticism more than if he were to play CB. Wayne Bridge is a nice offensive weapon at the DL spot, leaving only the other CB spot in question. Rather than go with anyone currently on the squad, I made CB a priority target in the opening transfer window.

The midfield has some nice pieces as well. Martin Petrov is a great option at ML, although his lack of teamwork has always been a sour point for me. This always prompts me to sign Yuri Zhirkov (sp?) because he is younger and more talented and blends in with the squad better. On top of that, Zhirkov is able to drop down and play DL when needed. At the more attack-minded MC position, I chose to play Elano. I like his productivity at the MR spot, but he is clearly the best long shooter on the team so he fits the bill at MC. The other MC spot is taken by Nigel de Jong, who is a defensive stalwart for us. The MR position is filled by Shawn Wright-Phillips, who lacks the top crossing ability that I'd prefer but is very explosive athletically.

Of the two attackers, one is more than accounted for by Robinho. At the FC slot, he is lethal. He's pacy, accelerates extremely well, finishes well, etc. If he doesn't draw attention, he is likely to score on any given possession. When he does draw attention, he frees up attacking options around the rest of the box. There isn't a target man on the roster, however, even counting Jo. My first choice is a very capable and very affordable one - Martin Palermo. He fits the bill as a towering strike partner to Robinho.

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Initial transfer goals

1. Dominant DC to pair with Richard Dunne
2. The above-mentioned ST in Martin Palermo
3. Backup to Robinho's FC position
4. Backup to Elano's MC position
4a. New starter at MC to allow Elano to move to MR

My first target at DC was Cristian Zapata, but after some struggles with his work permit, his transfer was ultimately denied because he failed his medical. Luckily, I had a second target lined up for depth at the position. And while David Luiz isn't as polished as Zapata, he's certainly nothing to look down at. The signing of Luiz allows me to have Glauber and Nedum Onuoha as subs at DC and DR/DC.

The signing of Martin Palermo solidifies our attack and allows us the luxury of bringing along Ched Evans a little slower. He was going to be the primary backup to Palermo until I convinced Nikola Zigic to come in as a backup. He is a 6'8" giant and will eventually inherit Palermo's starting ST spot. When Zigic arrives during the January transfer window, Evans will then become Robinho's backup at FC.

To bolster our midfield, I looked for a sniper that will let me slide Elano over to right mid. Having played 12 league games and having begun group play in the Euro Cup, however, I felt it was better to look for a more defensive presence to pair with de Jong. Enter the perfect pairing - Miguel Veloso. He cost us ~20m, but he will be worth every penny. When Veloso arrives in January, Elano will move over and I can hardly wait to see the results.

As I continue in the middle of a congested schedule, we have no other major January additions planned. We still have just shy of 40m still available, so we still have flexibility. Possible targets are:

1. Backup at ML to Yuri Zhirkov who can also possibly play DL (Martin Petrov will be transferring out)
1a. Otherwise, we'll also look for a backup at DL
2. If a premier option at FC is available, we will look to move Robinho to ML and slide Zhirkov to DL instead

---

Tactics

I wanted to take some time to go over some new ideas that I've read about lately. An idea I came upon was to eliminate forward runs for STs completely and to even consider having them set to rarely. The line of thinking is that since the STs operate in the final third of the pitch, they rarely make good use of forward runs, often running into the heart of the defense instead. By setting them to mixed or rarely, it allows them to crash in from further out, much like an AMC or forward running MC.

Early returns on my team have been extremely positive. What I've noticed is that it does in fact allow for more forward runs in a roundabout way - since my STs are set further back, they have more room to operate in. This gives Robinho space to make use of his dribbling ability and lets Palermo often wander into the 6 yard box lightly marked. Comparitively, when I used to set my STs to often/mixed, I would get a lot more consistent scoring from my mids. Granted, this could have as much to do with the talent I'm playing with now (Man City vs Newport County), but I've watched enough game film to see the logic working firsthand.

I have since adopted similar tactics across the entire pitch. Nobody is set to having anything more than mixed forward runs, with my ST and DC tandems set to rarely. My attacking moves look no more restricted than in the past when I had multiple players set to forward runs. My back line still pushes up when we cross midfield. My mids all get into the the mix when we start attacking the box. My STs still challenge the keeper.

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Set Pieces

Corner Defense
Best header/jumper (ST) - mark tall
Second best header/jumper (DC) - mark tall
Fastest player (FC) - stay forward
DR/DL - near/far posts
All else - man mark

Corner Offense
Best header/jumper (ST)- challenge gk
Second best header/jumper (DC) - near post
Best finisher (FC) - far post
Good crosser/passer - short option
DL+DR - stay back
All else - lurk

***Distribute to 6 yard box.

***Make sure all kicks are in-swinging by having left-footed players take right side kicks and right-footed players take left side kicks.

Freekick Defense
Back four + MCd - man mark
Fastest player (FC) - stay forward
All else - form wall

Freekick Offense
Best header/jumper (ST) - challenge gk
Best long shooter (MCa) - stand with taker
DR+DL - stay back
Both DCs - disrupt wall
All else - stay forward

***Mixed distribution

---

Training Schedules

Full-time
GK:
Ball control, defending, shooting, set pieces - 0
Strength - 7
Aerobic, goalkeeping, tactics, attacking - 19
DC:
Goalkeeping, shooting, set pieces - 0
Ball control, attacking - 7
Strength, aerobic - 13
Tactics, defending - 19
FB:
Goalkeeping, shooting - 0
Ball control, attacking - 7
Strength, aerobic, tactics, set pieces - 13
Defending - 19
MR/L:
Goalkeeping, defending - 0
Strength, shooting - 7
Aerobic - 13
Tactics, ball control, attacking, set pieces - 19
MCa:
Goalkeeping, set pieces - 0
Strength, defending - 7
Aerobic, tactics, attacking - 13
Ball control, shooting - 19
MCd:
Goalkeeping, set pieces - 0
Tactics, attacking - 7
Strength, aerobic, shooting - 13
Ball control, defending - 19
Target Striker:
Goalkeeping, defending - 0
Set pieces - 7
Strength, aerobic, tactics, ball control, attacking, shooting - 13
Forward Center:
Goalkeeping, defending - 0
Strength - 7
Aerobic, tactics, set pieces - 13
Ball control, attacking, shooting - 19

Youth
GK:
DC:
FB:
MR/L:
MC:
Target Striker:
Forward Center:

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Team Instructions
I only use two tactical variations - one for short pitches and one for long pitches. Before, I had gone quite in-depth and had tactics set for all pitch combinations: short/wide, short/narrow, long/wide, long/narrow. With the 442, however, I've found that I don't have to adjust according to pitch width. My DR/DL and ML/MR find their way out to the wings on wide pitches just fine.

On short pitches, I push my line up a good bit (high normal), play fast (low quick), and rely on shorter passing (low mixed). The result is usually quick play that puts a ton of pressure on opposing defenses. Once we get into the final third, my back line is hovering at midfield to snuff out any long clearance attempts. We are prone to quick counterattacks, but it takes a really organized team to pull it off.

On long pitches, I set my line deeper (high deep), play slower (mid normal), and go with more direct passing (high mixed). I generally don't like playing this style of defense because it allows for more organized opposing attacks. I'd rather force one player to break free on a counterattack than allow a team to set up an attacking move with several players.

---

Season 1

Transfers

In:
7.15.08 Martin Palermo, Boca, 2m - starting ST
7.26.08 David Luiz, Benfica, 10m - starting DC
8.10.08 John Fleck, Rangers, 2.5m - young talent at FC
8.22.08 Yuri Zhirkov, CSKA Moscow, 29.5m - starting ML
1.1.09 Dalton, Fluminese, 1.4m - young talent at DC
1.1.09 Miguel Veloso, Sporting CP, 20.5m - starting MC
1.1.09 Ivan Marcano, Racing, 19.5m - starting DL
1.26.09 Giuliano, Internacional, 17.25m - young talent at MR
1.28.09 Marco Cassetti, West Ham, 9m - backup at MR

Out:
1.1.09 Martin Petrov, Olympique Lyonnais, 10.5m - replaced by Zhirkov at ML
1.25.09 Shawn Wright-Phillips, Chelsea, 23m - for 23m, you can have my backup MR
1.27.09 Gelson Fernandes, Everton, 8.75m - excess depth at MC

12.10.08

Premier League:
1. Man U - 16 played, 42 points
2. Man City - 16 played, 41 points
3. Arsenal - 17 played, 37 points
4. Liverpool - 16 played, 34 points

EURO Cup - 1st in Group D, group stage complete
FA Cup - heading into 3rd round vs Southampton
League Cup - heading into quarterfinals vs West Brom

2.26.09

Premier League:
1. Man City - 21/3/2, +39
2. Man U - 20/5/1, +42
3. Chelsea - 18/3/5, +32
4. Arsenal - 17/6/3, +25

EURO Cup - Up 2-0 aggregate against Udinese in 2nd Knockout round
FA Cup - heading into 6th round vs Chelsea/Portsmouth
League Cup - heading into Final vs Chelsea

4.28.09

Premier League:
1. Man U - 27/6/1, +56
2. Man City - 27/3/2, +48
3. Arsenal - 23/6/5, +36
4. Liverpool - 21/10/3, +30

EURO Cup - heading into first leg of Semifinal round vs Benfica
FA Cup - heading into Final vs Liverpool
League Cup - winners!!!

5.30.09

Premier League:
1. Man City 32/4/2, +53
2. Man U - 29/7/2, +59
3. Arsenal - 26/6/6, +38
4. Liverpool - 23/11/4, +31
5. Chelsea - 23/8/7, +42
6. Aston Villa - 17/9/12, +6
7. Everton - 16/11/11, +13
8. Tottenham - 17/6/15, +7

Champions Cup - didn't qualify last season. Winners - Chelsea
EURO Cup - winners!
FA Cup - runner-up. Winners - Liverpool
League Cup - winners!

Final thoughts on season 1
My first season at the helm of City was successful beyond my expectations. Our team really came together toward the end of the season, which was evident in our fantastic run during cup competitions. We ended the season on a bit of a down note, however, after being thoroughly outplayed by Liverpool in the FA Cup en route to a 0-2 loss. Looking at the big picture, however, I have zero reason to complain.

It will be interesting to see how our success plays out going into the summer. While we were able to land several quality players during the two transfer windows, there were several big name players that wanted nothing to do with City. After an absolute banner year, I'm expecting a lot of players to change their tune when we come calling a second time.

Ending job status - untouchable

Promoted teams
Birmingham - 23/16/7, +35 - Champions
Nottm Forest - 24/6/16, +7 - Playoffs
Reading - 18/15/13, +14 - Playoffs

Relegated teams
West Ham - 6/8/24, -38
Stoke - 5/10/23, -36
Wigan - 5/8/25, -38

Awards
Footballer of the Year:
1. Martin Palermo - Overall: 43 apps, 38 goals, 10 assists, 7.41 rating
2. Wayne Rooney
3. Diddier Drogba

Top Goalscorer:
1. Martin Palermo
2. Wayne Rooney
3. Carlos Tevez

Manager of the Year:
1. Me!
2. Alex Ferguson
3. Rafa Benitez

Premier League Team of the Year:
GK - Jose Manuel Reina
DL - Ashley Cole
DC - Nemanja Vidic
DC - Rio Ferdinand
DR - Micah Richards
ML - Yuri Zhirkov
MC - Frank Lampard
MC - Michael Essien
MR - Cristiano Ronaldo
ST - Martin Palermo
ST - Wayne Rooney

---

Season 2
*Stadium expansion to add an additional 12000 seats, bringing seating capacity to 60000.
*Rather than play friendlies, I decided to go on two tours. First tour was agains a random team in Japan. Second tour was against the LA Galaxy.
*I had a 10 day lull between league games, so I scheduled a tour with the New York Red Bulls.

Transfer Budget - 151m
Wage Budget - 3.15m p/w
Media Prediction - 1st
Board Expectation - 1st
My expectation - 1st

Transfers

In:
8.16.09 Sergio Aguero, At. Madrid, 73m - starting FC
1.1.10 Juan Roman Riquelme, Boca, 14m - starting MCa

Out:
8.1.09 Vincent Kompany, Tottenham, 8.25m - not offensive enough for our midfield
1.28.10 Glauber, Newcastle, 5.5m - excess at DC

Season snapshot

Here is a quick look at my rotation:

GK - Given, Hart (only in extreme circumstances)
DR - Richards, Zabaleta
DC - Dunne, Onuoha
DC - Luiz, Glauber
DL - Marcano, Bridge
MR - Elano, Massetti
MCa - Riquelme, Zabaleta
MCd - Veloso, de Jong
ML - Zhirkov, Robinho/Fleck
Target striker - Palermo, Zigic
Forward Center - Aguero, Robinho/Fleck

Premier League:
1. Man City - 31/6/1, +64
2. Chelsea - 27/9/2, +58
3. Liverpool - 24/10/4 +31
4. Arsenal - 22/9/7, +39

Champions Cup - winners vs Inter
EURO Cup - not entered yet
European Super Cup - winners vs Chelsea
FA Cup - lost in semifinal vs Arsenal
League Cup - winners vs Chelsea
Community Shield - winners vs Liverpool

Final thoughts on season 2
Season two was another successful one for us at City. We successfully defended the championship in the Premier League and the League Cup; all while adding silverware from the Champions Cup.

We don't look to be slowing down, either, with Mario Balotelli set to join the squad at the start of next season. Our starting eleven looks as strong as ever, with probably only minor additions to be made here and there. I'm excited to see the continued development of our youth and training facilities with an eye toward the future.

Promoted teams
Queens Park Rangers - 26/10/10, +33 - Champions
Stoke - 25/12/9, +32 - Playoffs
Cardiff - 22/10/14, +15 - Playoffs

Relegated teams
Nottm Forest - 6/9/23, -40
Hull - 5/8/25, -35
Birmingham - 5/5/28, -47

Awards
Footballer of the Year:
1. Yuri Zhirkov
2. Miguel Veloso
3. Michael Essien, Chelsea

Top Goalscorer: - notice all three are Argentinian!
1. Carlos Tevez, Manchester United
2. Rodrigo Palacio, Fulham
3. Sergio Aguero

Manager of the Year:
1. Me!
2. Rafa Benitez, Liverpool
3. Guus Hiddink, Chelsea

Premier League Team of the Year:
GK - Gomes, Tottenham
DL - Juan Manuel Vargas, Chelsea
DC - Andre Bikey, Reading
DC - Daniel Agger, Liverpool
DR - Darijo Srna, Chelsea
ML - Yuri Zhirkov
MC - Michael Essien, Chelsea
MC - Miguel Veloso
MR - Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United
ST - Carlos Tevez, Manchester United
ST - Sergio Aguero

---

Season 3
*Youth facilities to be upgraded. Currently: good youth facilities + youth academy.

Transfer Budget - 158m
Wage Budget - 4.1m p/w
Media Prediction - 1st
Board Expectation - 1st

Transfers

In:


Out:


Season snapshot
In an attempt to globalize the team in terms of shirt sales and income (because we all know City needs a bigger budget), I've decided to go with another trio of tours instead of friendlies. My initial offerings were all accepted by the following:
*LA Galaxy
*Tokyo Metro Feliz
*Beijing Guo'an


Here is a quick look at my rotation:

GK - Given, Hart (only in extreme circumstances)
DR - Richards, Zabaleta
DC - Dunne, Onuoha
DC - Luiz, Glauber
DL - Marcano, Bridge
MR - Balotelli, Zabaleta
MCa - Riquelme, Elano
MCd - Veloso, de Jong
ML - Zhirkov, Bridge
Target striker - Palermo, Zigic
Forward Center - Aguero, Robinho

Premier League:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Champions Cup -
European Super Cup - winners vs Liverpool
FA Cup -
League Cup -
Community Shield - winners vs Arsenal

Final thoughts on season 3


Promoted teams


Relegated teams


Awards
Footballer of the Year:
1.
2.
3.

Top Goalscorer:
1.
2.
3.

Manager of the Year:
1.
2.
3.

Premier League Team of the Year:
GK -
DL -
DC -
DC -
DR -
ML -
MC -
MC -
MR -
ST -
ST -

---
Random notes:

joannes3000's avatar
About joannes3000

joannes3000


Discussion: Welcome to Manchester

4 comments have been posted so far.

  • joannes3000's avatar
    Thanks for the heads up on Sneijder! Amazingly, he isn't interested in joining City right now. :no
  • HenriPage's avatar
    oh yeah, other than that great thinking on the tactical front with the restricted runs. I might give it a go as well!:beer
  • HenriPage's avatar
    Sell Elano and bring in Sneijder, and give him license to shoot as much as possible. He averages around 20 goals a season on my game and can play anywhere in midfield so he is good back-up as well. Also Madrid arn't keen on keeping him in my game, I got him for 25 mil, which is a steel really.
  • nikepro300's avatar
    Good Manager...keep it up
    8)
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