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To what extent is it possible to emulate a team’s real-life playing style, on Football Manager?

Using my local team, Norwich City
Started on 22 August 2011 by HINCHY
Latest Reply on 3 September 2011 by HINCHY
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HINCHY's avatar Group HINCHY
12 yearsEdited
We all know that every team has its own particular playing style, whether it be the expressive passing game of the Catalan giants Barcelona, or the dubbed ‘one-dimensional’ style of Stoke City-every team has one.

Most managers tend to bring a new philosophy to a club upon their arrival, otherwise managers will look at what their squad has to offer and use that as the foundations for the clubs particular playing style.

But I want to know is how successfully can team’s particular playing style be emulated on Football Manager. For this challenge I’m going to be using a club that I know in great depth, my local team, Norwich City.

At the start of the 09-10 season Norwich City found themselves the depths of the npower football league, after relegation from the Championship thanks to Glenn Roeder and his team, club legend Bryan Gunn is appointed manager. However, after a 7-1 home defeat to Paul Lambert’s Colchester on the opening day of the League 1 season, Gunn was swiftly sacked (it is worth noting that he did take charge of Norwich’s 3-0 cup win away to Yeovil). 7 days later, Colchester’s manager Paul Lambert is appointed Norwich City’s new manager.

Lambert, against the odds, has lead the club to two successive promotions and Norwich City are now learning to deal with the dizzying new heights of the Barclays Premier League.

With Lambert came a particular playing style, one not seen at the Norfolk club in their 110 year history. The exciting, expressive, expansive passing games seen at Carrow Road during Lambert’s reign have had the clubs loyal supporters drooling, hailing Lambert as a club legend and one of the brightest young management talents in the game today.

Away from home Norwich City play with no fear, the away games often being a more offensive affair than the clubs home games! And all this has been done with a certain type of squad. Lambert is only interested in players that want to win, generally buying proven players from the lower divisions that want a chance to prove their worth at a higher level.

Lambert implements a 4-1-2-1-2 system , mainly to get the most out of play making midfielder, Wes Hoolahan, who sits behind the front two, threading jaw dropping balls through to the clinical, talismanic target man, Grant Holt. Accompanied by the rapid Simeon Jackson, or the natural born finisher, local boy, Chris Martin. City’s expansive passing game stems through the Steven Gerrard like feet of David Fox, a player that Lambert has brought with him from Colchester United. City also occasionally use a 4-4-2 system, this brings about a game with more width, making the most of talented wingers such as Andrew Surman and Anthony McNamee.

I’m going to update my findings on this blog and see just how much one can emulate Norwich City’s real-life playing style.
Interesting post I'd like to hear how you've got on.

I am tempted to do the same with Q.P.R. and their Championship winning side which was usually a 4-2-3-1 formation.

I imagine it'd be rigid with the back four all defensive and clearing the ball up front, no nonsense. Whilst Shaun Derry is a ball winning CM, with Alejandro Faurlin beside him playing as a deep-lying playmaker.

In the 3, you have two wingers like Tommy Smith/Wayne Routledge who can be attacking wingers or inside forwards. With Adel Taarabt in the middle in the AM/Trequista role with individually set to attacking mentality and maximum creative freedom at all times.

Leading attack would be Helgusson as a tradition target man or complete forward.
Yeah, I think if you were to have Helguson as a target man, you would have to have the likes of Tommy Smith and Routledge set as wingers, so you can utilise Helguson's aerial threat! I agree with the taraabt comment (complete creative freedom) good luck taming his ego though!
After a successful pre-season its time to analyse my summer signings.

Millwall's striker Steve Morison completed his £1 million move to Carrow Road. Steve is a player that has proved his worth at a lower level, last season he netted 20 times for Millwall in 43 games, in npower League 1. Steve also provides healthy competition for our other target man Grant Holt, the concept of healthy competition is one that Lambert favours heavily and I agree, keeping players on their toes is of paramount importance. The £1 million pound fee is a hefty one considering it consumes four fifths of our budget, however when you consider Morison's quality I think £1 million could turn out to be abit of a bargin!

Former Sheffield United youngster Kyle Walker has also joined the club on a 6 month loan deal. Kyle will provide more than adequate back-up for ever present right back Russell Martin, his pace and desire to get forward will also bring about a new dimension to our marauding full backs. On reflection I think I should have tried to get Kyle Walker on a season-long loan deal, as he is a quality player and in the long term I think he would be in consideration to start instead of Russell Martin. However there is always the option of extending the loan period after Christmas.

I mentioned that Norwich have talented wingers by the name of Andrew Surman and Anthony McNamee but talent on the right side of midfield is lacking and so former Brighton man Elliott Bennett was recruited to fill that void, costing £450,000. Elliot is another player who has mesmerised fans at a lower level and I feel he is ready to make the step up to Championship level; he is a determined individual who will fit comfortably into the squad.

The left back situation at Norwich is a difficult one, the ageing Adam Drury certainly has the quality but in the past has suffered some serious and lengthy injuries. Backup for Drury is Steven Smith, but with Smith out for 3-4 months himself, backup at the left back spot is non-existent. At first I showed interest in Colchester's Marc Tierney but after spending my budget on Elliot Bennett and Steve Morision, plus the £600,000 Colchester wanted for their man I reviewed my options and decided that Villa's Shane Lowry would be a cheaper and more flexible member of the squad. Shane will fill this backup role for the 3 months he is on loan at the club. I chose to target Shane after he impressed me on his loan spell at Leeds United last season, making 11 appearances in his time at Elland Road.

It is also worth noting that I snapped up 17 year old Paudie Quinn on a free transfer, my scouts say he shows promise and so Paudie is now developing his game in the Norwich youth team.

I will now update my blog monthly (in-game time) showing results and airing my views.
August Update

We have started the season well and find our selves lying joint top of the npower Championship.

Norwich City 2-1 Bristol City
We started our campaign at home to Bristol City, running out 2-1 winners, after goals from youngster Korey Smith and an unfortunate own goal from the Robins Liam Fontaine.

Bradford City 1-4 Norwich City
The League Cup draw pitched us against Bradford City, the game taking place at Valley Parade. We ran out 4-1 winners after goals from Simeon Jackson, Wes Hoolahan and Grant Holt, Holt grabbing two.

Leicester City 1-2 Norwich City
After a mistake at the back from Adam Drury, Darius Vassell pounced and tucked the ball away after only 6 minutes. However we held firm and pushed on and in the second half reaped the rewards, goals from Korey smith and Grant Holt. Both goals coming from crosses, pleasing me as I had opted for 4-4-2, rather than 4-1-2-1-2; in order to get the most service for our two targeet men Grant Holt and Steve Morison.

Norwich City 2-0 Crystal Palace
Palace were next up to visit Carrow Road but on 32' minutes Palace Center back Julian Bennett was sent off and from that minute on the Canaries never looked like losing. Goals from Leon Barnett and Simeon Jackson secured the 3 points.

Bolton Wanderers 4-0 Norwich City
The second round draw of the League Cup was considerably harsher to us than the first. Matching us against he Premierships Bolton Wanderers. After a struggle we finally went down to Bolton's greater class and ended up losing 4-0. This result showed us how much hard work is needed to reach the Premiership and consolidate within the best league in the World.

Sheffield United 0-1 Norwich City
A hard fought game. Going into the 90th minute the teams were level but a brace from young winger, Elliott Bennett, a new edition at Carrow Road during the summer helped grab the win.

Norwich City 0-0 Watford
A little disappointing as I felt we were by far the better team but we failed to take our chances. Despite this I saw positives in our performance, we kept a clean sheet and Watford never looked like scoring, this was very pleasing.

Overall, I am delighted with our performances throughout the month of August, the consistency of the performances from all my players has been the most pleasing factor.

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