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  1. In the earliest days of football there were no specific formations or designated positions. Football was played like a children’s game of kick and run: the ball was kicked long and all the players ran towards it. In 1863, the offside rule in football was formalized with the creation of the English Football Association. The rule stated that any player in front of the kicker is offside and can't play the ball. The kick and run game was gradually replaced by a game of charge-and-dribble: players dribble the ball as far as they can towards the opponent's goal with several teammates to their sides. Players rarely passed the ball and there was no real formation. Because of excess of dribbling and the poor number of goals scored, the FA amended the offside rule. Forward passes were allowed again as long as there were three players between the receiver and the goal line. With this new rule, teams began to play a more organized football which led to the creation of tactical formations. Below are the most influential formations in the earlier years of football. formation: 1-2-7(1860s - 1870s) The 1-2-7 is the most popular formation in the 1860-70s. With only one center back, two halfbacks, and seven forwards, it reflects the all-attacking nature of football in that era. The strategy at that time was mostly based on long ball to the upfield and charge-dribbling. The English team played with a 1-2-7 formation when they faced Scotland in 1872. The Scots utilized a 2-2-6 formation. Unlike the English, who played a game based on individual skills, the Scots relied on short passing and teamwork. By passing the ball among each other, the Scots were able to grind an unexpected 0-0 draw against highly favored England. formation: 2-3-5 (1880 - 1925) The 2-3-5 formation is popularly known as the “pyramid” because of its triangular shape on the blackboard. The pyramid can be considered the first formation that relied on teamwork rather than individual effort. In defense, the left and right halves mark the opposition wingers and the center backs mark the inside forwards. The key player is the center half, who marks the opposition striker and is in charge of pivoting the team from defense to offense. After retrieving the ball in defense, he organizes his team’s attack and feeds the ball to the forwards. Preston North End used the 2-3-5 formation to become the first winners of the English Double: winning both the English League and the FA Cup in 1889. They went through the entire season without conceding a loss, earning them the nickname “The Invincibles” and encouraging other clubs to adopt the pyramid. The formation continued to dominate English football until 1925, when the offside rules were changed to allow players to receive forward passes if there are at least two defenders between him and the goal line. In the 1930s, a modified 2-3-5 formation was popular in Austria, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. Called the Danubian school, its primary strategy is to distribute the ball through short ground passes. formation: WM/3-2-2-3 (1925 - 1945) The 3-2-2-3 formation was popularized by Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman in 1925 when the offside rule was changed. Chapman countered the increased pressure on defense by putting an equal number of players on the offensive and defensive ends. Three defenders (two fullbacks, one center back) and two halfbacks make up the defensive end while two inside forwards, two wingers, and one striker make up the offense. This 3-2-2-3 formation was more popularly called as the W-M formation because the defenders’ arrangement on the field forms a “W” while the forwards form an “M.” In a game, the W-M formation works with three forwards in front of the opponents’ goal, three defenders in front of the team’s own goal, and four players forming a square in the middle. Teams that have high-endurance midfielders can play this position with seven forwards or seven defenders at a time. This can be done by halfbacks moving up in offense and inside forwards dropping back in defense. formation: 2-3-2-3 (1934 - 1938) “Il Metodo” (the method) was a football formation developed by Italian manager Vittorio Pozzo in the 1930s. Fundamentally, it is a defensive adaptation of the 2-3-5 formation, formed by withdrawing two forwards from the frontline. Two center backs protect the shoulders of the goalkeeper while the left and right halves take up the opposition wingers. The center half marks the opposing striker while two inside forwards lie deep to help on defense. The center half, just like in the pyramid position, serves as the transition from defense to offense. The offensive strategy is based on counter-attacking and long balls, which the center half initiates with the inside forwards. formation: MU/3-2-3-2 (1950s) MU is a flexible football formation that was derived from the WM formation. It places equal number of players on both halves of the field and was popularized by the Hungarians in the 1950s. The formation works with three defenders, two halfbacks, three forwards (two inside forwards & one withdrawn striker), and two wingers. The key player is the deep-lying striker, who draws out the opposing center back to make room for the other forwards. In defense, MU works the same way as the WM formation. It can be considered that MU brought the death of the then famous WM formation, when Hungary defeated England by a score of 6-3 in 1953. Hungarian forwards constantly swapped places, which confused a man-marking English defense and ultimately led to the blow out. formation: 4-2-4 (late 1950s) 4-2-4 is the predecessor of modern football formations and was developed by the Hungarians and Brazilians independently in the late 1950s. It is the first formation that featured a four-man backline. In defense, this formation can become a 4-3-3, with one forward dropping back to defend in midfield. The two halfbacks are tasked to block off counter-attacks. Because of a weak midfield, much of the defending will be left to the back four. The defenders should look to passing the ball as quick as possible to the forwards to exploit their numeric advantage. When attacking, the formation works as 3-3-4, with one defender going up to push the ball. The two strikers give depth to the attack while the two wingers give width. Brazil brought 4-2-4 to prominence by winning the 1958 World Cup. Since then, it has evolved to different four-back formations like 4-3-3 and 4-4-2. Do you think (one of) these formations would still work today? Would they be effective in FMM? Thanks for reading and please share your thoughts with us.
  2. The winter transfer update is nearly upon us (within the next month hopefully) and with it come not just updated transfers, but also boosts in stats for players and clubs who are performing well. But what about those who aren’t living up to expectations? Stats, of course, can go down as well as up. Here I look at five teams you should start a save as before the update, as I anticipate them taking a hit: Leicester Where else is there to start but with the Foxes? Last season’s Premier League champions are in complete freefall, and none of their stars of last season are living up to expectations – the likes of Vardy, Mahrez, Drinkwater and Morgan are all likely to take a bashing in the stats rating, and that will have an impact on the whole squad. Start a save now while they are all still at their peak! Aston Villa Villa are an odd choice, as I also included them in my list of teams to play as post-update, but considering their huge turnover in players in January they are basically a whole different team pre- and post-update. Give them a go and see if you can do better than Roberto di Matteo and Steve Bruce! Piast Gliwice There’s a bit of a theme developing here! Piast Gliwice massively overachieved last season and finished in a highly respectable second place. However, they lost their joint top scorers in the summer and other key players have stopped performing, and as a result they have now plummeted back down the table. Are you the person to get their new strikers and other key players performing once more? Adelaide United Just like Leicester, Adelaide United are another top to bottom story. The 2015-2016 A-League Champions, they are now rock bottom of the division, seven points from safety. Key men Craig Goodwin and Bruce Djite did leave the club over the summer, but two men do not make the difference between top or bottom – or do they? Give the rest of the squad a whirl to find out. Lille The team from Northern France had a great season in 2015/2016, finishing in an impressive fifth position in Ligue 1 and qualifying for the Europa League. Despite retaining the majority of their squad (albeit losing top scorer Sofiane Boufal to Southampton), they are struggling hugely this season, only out of the relegation zone by one point. Why not see if you can keep them in the top half of the league? So what do you think? Have these inspired you to get a save going before the update? Or are you waiting?
  3. For the last couple weeks, I’ve been running tests to try and determine the effects of the Primary Outlet (PO) and Primary Attacker (PA) tactical options. No one here seems to have a good explanation for how to use these options except to say that they don’t like using them. Well, what if I told you that Primary Outlet (PO) and Primary Attacker (PA) tactical options do exactly what you think they do? But, as is often the case, the devil is in the details. While most of my test results have been fairly straightforward, I ended these tests with more questions than answers. I look forward to seeing everyone’s interpretations of my tests. But first, let’s go over the methodology. The test match was the Community Shield match between Manchester United and Leicester City. Each test (7 in all) shown below was simulated 25 times and all match results were recorded unless there was an injury to one of the tracked players or a red card. There were no subs made by me on the Manchester United side for the entire match. I used short passing to maximize the # of passes attempted to help with identifying trends. LC always started in highly defensive formations however MU had little trouble breaking them down as they averaged 2.75 points per match across all tests. I consider this to be a good thing because it ensured that the base case was fairly consistent and overall match results had the potential for relatively little variance. I tracked the stats for the six non-defensive players for my tests. We can have a discussion about the performance of the BBMs later but for the purposes of this topic, I’ll just say that their stats stayed consistently near average for all tactical settings so they’re not included in the results shown below. Control Let’s go through the rows - results are out 75 points, average rating is for the 10 outfield MU players, possession %, passing %, shots, shots on target, clear-cut chances, open-play goals, xG. MU on the left, LC on the right. Table below that is - passes, completed, pass accuracy %, % of total passes between the four players, key passes, assists, shots, shots on target (SOT), SOT%, rating, goals, average of 3 highest passes attempted, average of 3 highest passes+shots attempted. These last two stats indicate the highest range of possible actions on the ball by the player - a best case scenario, basically. As per my xG post, I’m highlighting xG only. Goals scored and assists are not highlighted as those could have a high variance and are listed for reference only. Lastly, a word on the highlights - I’m using excel’s conditional formatting for each player’s or team’s stats on a scale of green (good) > yellow > orange > red (bad). Each field is compared to itself across all tests. So the more green you see, the better the test went for everyone. So with that out of the way, let’s look at the control test. Team average rating is near the top of the range but the rest of the stats are average or worse. xG of 59.390 was second worse out of the seven tests which makes the 71 points earned as a result of a 23-2-0 record a bit misleading due to overperforming xG. Defensively, MU allowed xG of 16.155 which was second worst out of all tests and tied for most CCC per match. Clearly there’s much room for improvement. Across all tests, the two most common post-match messages were that “Wingers were a real threat” and “Midfield showed real creativity” appearing in 77% and 64% of the matches respectively. But what I want to focus on are the three messages that I think were meaningful across tests - “Midfield supported attacked well”, “Attacking midfielders got into the box frequently”, and “Striker didn’t test the opposition goalkeeper enough”. In the control test, attacking midfielders made good runs into the box in 16/25 matches however the striker (Zlatan) didn’t have much of an impact in nearly half the matches (I sometimes got this message even in matches he scored). Schneiderlin as PO Positives: With Schneiderlin as the PO, the results were a bit unlucky. A poor match record 19-5-1 masked some really good things. Under this setting, MU enjoyed their highest average possession %, pass completion %, most CCC at 1.88/match, and great xG of 68.200 (but only 51 goals scored.. a win for xG metric as this tactic clearly seemed to click on the pitch!). Defensively, MU allowed fewest shots and second fewest SOT. Negatives: Despite the positives, there are a few oddities as well. The three attacking players, Mata/Martial/Zlatan, all had a low amount of passes. Total shots by the team were low as well. Martial in particular was relatively ineffective with total shots, rating and and 3xP+S being on the low end of the spectrum. In-game: Here’s my interpretation of the in-game implications. PO acts as a “magnet” with Schneiderlin being the preferred pass target if all things are equal. He attempted nearly 41.8% more passes than in the control scenario with a really high pass completion % as well. This means that, despite the attacking mentality, there were many passes back to him instead of forward to Mata/Martial/Zlatan. This is also supported by the post-match comments - “mid supported attack” and “AM got into box” appeared in only ~20% of the matches. Alternatively, with the ball at his feet, Schneiderlin attempted over 50% more key passes than in any other test. Zlatan, despite attempting a fairly high number of shots, “didn’t test the GK” in 11/25 matches. Mata as PO Positives: With the tactical “magnet” switched to Mata, the attack seemed to operate better. With the ball moving forward, both Mata and Martial played a high amount of passes. The team record was pretty good at 21-4-0 with the team generating the most total shots and SOT of all the scenarios. With the ball at his feet, Mata attempted over 3 key passes per match. The post-match messages about the midfield showed up with decent frequency including “striker didn’t test the GK” only appearing 5 times. Negatives: Team pass % was low-ish due to, probably, the frequent attempts to get the ball forward to Mata. Defensively, MU allowed highest xG and CCC, presumably due to the team being higher up the pitch more often with Mata being the passing nexus for the team which left them open to counter attacks. In-game: The team attempted to get the ball to Mata as often as possible. His 3xP+S (the highest and “best” case scenario) was nearly as high as Schneiderlin’s. Mata and Martial seemed to interchange pretty well however Zlatan was strangely absent as he had his second fewest 3xP+S, only slightly below control case. Martial as PA Positives: This setting made Martial the primary target for many passes. Curiously then, he ended up attempting an average number of passes. However, his shot attempts were through the roof as you can tell by his 3xP+S being highest of all tests. The PA setting seems to give a license to shoot - Martial generated his highest shots per match and there were 3 matches in this test where he attempted 10, 12, and 15 shots (1K attempters - take note!!). He enjoyed his highest average rating of 8.76! With the ball driven hard at the net by Martial, Zlatan also enjoyed good matches - he attempted a lot of shots, and had best SOT% as well as best rating. Thanks to these two, the team also enjoyed its best average rating, second most shots and CCC generated. Negatives: Not a lot of negatives to speak of here. With the passing focus on Martial, passing % was low and post-match comments regarding the midfield appeared in only 20% of the matches. In-game: The team played well and seemed organized. Mata and Zlatan interchanged effectively combining for nearly 2.5 key passes and 9 shots per match. Team record matched control’s at a great 23-2-0 record while generating a fairly high 64.980 xG. Defensively, the team allowed a decent 14.030 xG as well as fairly few shots and CCCs. With the ball being driven forward to Martial, midfield was curiously absent from the attack. Zlatan as PA Positives: This resulted in the best team record at 24-1-0. Defensively, the team allowed fewest xG of 13.300 and CCC. And, predictably, Zlatan attempted the highest amount of actions on the ball out of all scenarios - passes, shots, SOT, 3xP+S. Martial’s 3xP+S was pretty decent too. Negatives: Besides getting the ball to Zlatan, nothing else seemed to click. This scenario highlighted why I wanted to use xG - despite going 24-1-0, the team generated 55.870 xG, which is worst across all scenarios and scored 56 goals which is pretty poor considering the match record (conversely, take a look above at the Schneiderlin PO test - high xG, only 51 goals and only 62 points). If we looked at the match results only, we would think that this test went great. In reality, not quite - the team’s stats were average or worse across the board. Mata was strangely absent from the match with the balls seemingly bypassing him on the way to Zlatan. And despite the attempts to get the ball to him, the post-match report still said that “striker didn’t test GK” in 8/25 matches. In-game: This seemed like a standard “hoof it to the target man” tactic. When it clicked, Martial/Zlatan wrecked havoc as indicated by their higher than average 3xP+S. When it didn’t, which seemed to be most of the time, the team was ineffective as the standard link-up play was ignored in favor of getting the ball to the “magnet” PA, Zlatan, who did relatively well considering he was a lone target man against a defensive mentality team. Post-match message of “AM got into box” appeared in 12/25 matches so clearly these was some movement in the box by the midfield in support. This is where I originally intended to stop my testing. But the Zlatan test left me very unsatisfied. So I decided to run a couple more tests. The setting with Mata as the PO seemed to work pretty well while Zlatan as PA was poor so I wanted to combine the two settings. Mata PO + Zlatan PA Positives: Uhhh.. Mata had his highest 3xP+S…? Negatives: Pretty much everything. The ball didn’t seem to find Zlatan despite him being the PA. He took fewest shots, SOT and had his worst rating. “Striker didn’t test GK” appeared in 12/25 matches while “AM got into box” appeared in only 8 matches (compared to 13 when Mata was the sole setting as PO). Team record was 21-2-2 and they scored lowest # of goals while xG was also on the low end. In-game: So now that we got the easy stuff out of the way, let’s dive into the hard stuff. This didn’t work at all and I’m not entirely sure why. I assume the team tried passing forward to Mata who then tried to get it to Zlatan (instead of interchanging with Martial as in the scenario when Mata was the sole PO). Since LC lined up in a defensive shell, the forced passes from midfield -> Mata -> Zlatan likely broke down. With that last test failing miserably, I decided to test another scenario - the high possession/passing of Schneiderlin as PO combined with the high attacking prowess of Martial as PA. Schneiderlin PO + Martial PA Positives: Schneiderlin with plenty of time on the ball. Team went 24-1-0 and generated a very respectable xG with 64.375. Team seemed to play well together with a high average team rating of 7.54. Negatives: Individually, none of the attacking players stood out. Unlike in the original test when Martial was the sole tactical setting at PA, here his shot volume was very low with top 3 matches having 9, 9, 8 shots only. In-game: The idea here was to have Schneiderlin’s measured passing to route the ball to Martial and let him dominate like he did in previous tests. In practice, that doesn’t seem to have happened. Martial’s 3xP+S was on the lower end and the other two attackers didn’t seem to fare much better. The post-match message "Moves broke down in the final third" appeared in 7/25 matches so something didn't fully click. However, midfield seemed to do fairly well with Mata in particular having his best rating and nearly 3 key passes per game. Bonus Round Honestly, I’m not sure how to explain these last two tests. Out of curiosity, I ran two shorter tests with Zlatan as CF and PA. I thought that maybe the Target Man role assignment was too constricting for him. So I ran 5x with Schneiderlin as PO, and 5x with Mata as PO. PO’s performed as you would expect them to perform based on previous tests (higher # of passes attempted). However these attempts still failed getting Zlatan into the match. With Mata as PO, he averaged 7.6 passes and 11.40 3xP+S which is massively worse than in any of the previous tests. The team was on pace for 60.25 xG which is not great. With Schneiderlin as PO, Zlatan did slightly better with 11.2 passes and 14.0 3xP+S with the team on pace for 62.95 xG. The only thing that may explain this is that a single striker against a defensive team just doesn’t work. Even if that striker is ZLATAN. Conclusion I think it’s clear that the Primary Outlet and Primary Attacker settings seem to work as you would expect them to. We always ask SI for more tactical options. And I’d say that they delivered here. Now we can argue about how effective these options are but additional options are always welcome. PO & PA instruct your team to route the ball through those players. And while the PO is pretty easy to get right since you’re likely passing to a player under little pressure, PA is a bit more difficult. That player is often surrounded by defenders so his effectiveness is usually dependent on opponent tactics. When using both options at once, interplay between the target players seems to be very confusing and very difficult to get right. But I hope these tests encourage everyone to test these tactical options more frequently. I look forward to seeing everyone’s explanations of my tests as well as future tactics that use PO/PA to great effect. P.S. Fun fact: there were 18 draws in my tests. MU won 17 of them on PKs.
  4. Introduction The wing-back and full-back position in football is arguably the toughest, with both attacking and defensive attributes needed, and enough stamina to get yourself up and down the pitch. Below, I have listed 5 players who play as a wing back/full back who have impressed so far this season, thus deserving an upgrade in the upcoming update. Enjoy. 1. Marcos Alonso - Chelsea Marcos Alonso was quite a surprising signing for Antonio Conte's Chelsea, joining from Fiorentina for £23m. The Spaniard has impressed in the left wing-back position, which was deployed by Conte earlier on in the season. Alonso has already scored 4 goals so far this season for Chelsea, which is the same amount he scored during his 3 year spell at Fiorentina, and assisted 2 times, as he continues to grow under Antonio Conte. The majority of his stats are fairly low, with only 3 green stats. Based on his perfomances this season, I think he definitely deserves upgrades in his stats, including his crossing and dribbling skills. 2. Victor Moses - Chelsea Like Marcos Alonso, this man has impressed hugely since Antonio Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation. Prior to this season, Victor Moses had been spent the last 3 seasons on loan at Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United, with it looking like he'd spend another season elsewhere. However, he was brought in from the cold by Conte, and placed as a right wing-back for the 2016-2017 season, becoming one of The Blues' most reliable players. Moses has already made the same amount of appearances as he did during his loan spells with Liverpool and Stoke City, and has scored 3 goals so far this season. Looking at his stats, he already has some fairly high stats, with key stats such as dribbling and pace all in the green. I still think, however, he deserves some stat upgrades, as he has been one of the best players this season in the Premier League. 3. Seamus Coleman - Everton I know what you're thinking. "Another player from the Premier League?!". This is the last one, I promise. Seamus Coleman is probably the biggest bargain in the history of the Premier League, joining Everton from Sligo Rovers for just £60,000. The same price as a 2 bedroom mid-terraced house in Bolton. Since joining, Coleman has got better and better every year, playing nearly every game for Everton every season. So far this season, he's made 21 appearances, scoring on 4 occasions, and assisting 3 times for his team-mates, as he continues to be one of the first names on the team sheet for The Toffees. I think that he deserves some upgrades to his stats, as they don't really do him much justice. His shooting skills, most notably, certainly need improving, as he's good with long range shots. 4. Mitchell Weiser - Hertha BSC Moving in the Bundesliga now, and to a player who spent 3 years at Bayern Munich, before making a move to the capital back in 2015. Mitchell Weiser had an impressive 2015-2016 season, starring 29 times for Hertha BSC, scoring twice, though it wasn't enough to make the Germany squad for the 2016 European Championships. He's carried his terrific form into the 2016-2017 season, helping Hertha to a good start to the campaign, where they sit just 1 point below a UEFA Champions League place. The young German is definitely be a regular in the national side, potentially becoming a long-term replacement for Philippe Lahm, who retired immediately after the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Although his stats are fairly high for his age, he still deserves a few upgrades to his stats, including his stamina. 5. Nelson Semedo - SL Benfica Nelson Semedo has been a Benfica player since 2012, where he was bought from the Sport Uniao Sintrense youth academy, where he has slowly been fed through to the first-team, with this season set to be his big breakthrough season. So far this season, Semedo has played 20 times for Benfica, already assisting 5 times. The youngster certainly hasn't gone under the radar, with reports suggesting that he is set for a summer move to Manchester United, with FC Barcelona also said to be interested. Semedo has a lot of green stats already, but I think he could still do with a few more upgrades, particularly in the stamina department. Thank you for reading. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
  5. With the winter transfer update on the horizon (expected early March), it’s time to start thinking about how the game will change when it comes. As the January transfer window has now slammed shut (except in China), I’ve put together a list of 11 teams worth starting a career with following their mid-season wheeling and dealing that will come in the update. Hull City – Not many teams are brave enough to sell arguably their two best players in the middle of a relegation battle, but that’s just what Hull did. Robert Snodgrass and Jake Livermore departed in January for West Ham and West Brom respectively. In their place, the Tigers signed the likes of Lazar Markovic and Kamil Grosicki to add some flair, classy defender Andrea Rannochia to provide stability at the back, and Oumar Niasse to add some potency up front. Certainly worth a look at post update. Aston Villa – Nine players in and seven players out – it’s safe to say that Aston Villa did not have a quiet January. Out went the likes of Jordan Ayew, Aly Cissokho and Ashley Westwood, but they were more than adequately replaced with players such as Neil Taylor, Scott Hogan and Henri Lansbury. If Villa had a full season with their current squad, they would no doubt be favourites for promotion – why not give it a go? SV Darmstadt – Darmstadt are rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga table, but they have made some intelligent January signings to try and drag them away from the relegation zone. In have come the hugely experienced Hamit Altintop and Sidney Sam, while they have also managed to get the highly-rated Patrick Banggaard to try and shore things up at the back. Las Palmas – One player does not make a team, but when the team concerned is Las Palmas, and the player concerned is Jese, then that one player can make a huge difference. The Gran Canaria-based team pulled off something of a coup by encouraging former Real Madrid superstar Jese to return to them on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. It’s worth starting a new save as the island side just to build a team around him. AC Milan – I had a tough time picking between AC Milan and Genoa for this list, but plumped for the former Italian champions. They sent FMM favourite M’Baye Niang out on loan to Watford, and replaced him with Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu and young Argentine Lucas Ocampos, both on temporary deals. They both certainly have the quality to make a big impact in Serie A. Besiktas – Turkey has often been a league for former greats to go try and revive their careers, and Besiktas have continued that tradition by welcoming former Premier League stars Demba Ba and Ryan Babel into their ranks during January. Ba comes back to Europe following a stint in China, while Babel arrives from Spanish club Deportivo, and they will be hoping to help Besiktas secure the Super Lig title. Can you do the same? Marseille – Arguably the biggest saga of the January transfer window was that of Dimitri Payet, and it almost seems natural to include his new club, Marseille, on this list. The South Coast club signed their former hero, along with former France captain Patrice Evra, to try and boost them up the table. Was Payet right to return ‘home’? Why not give it a go and find out? KRK Genk – I’ve included Genk on this list not because of the players they’ve bought, but the players they have lost. The club still find themselves in the top six, but have seen highly rated winger Leon Bailey move to Bayer Leverkusen and central midfield powerhouse Wilfred Ndidi depart for Leicester City in return for large sums in the January window. While they have used some of that money to strengthen across the squad, as we all know - quantity doesn’t always replace quality. Benfica – It seems a bit odd to include a club the size of Benfica on this list, but they are another side that were weakened in the January window by the loss of key players. Young winger Goncalo Guedes left for Paris Saint-Germain in a big money move, while Braga recalled Brazilian Danilo and Adel Taarabt went out on loan to Genoa. They did, however, keep hold of Victory Lindelof, so all is not lost, and they have plenty of potential in their ranks. Kilmarnock – I think it’s safe to say that Kilmarnock aren’t one of the most fashionable clubs in the Scottish Premier League, and they currently sit in no-man’s land in midtable. They lost key striker Souleymane Coulibaly to Egypt in January, but made a number of astute loan signings including former hero Connor Sammon , highly-rated goalkeeper Freddie Woodman and promising midfielder Kristoffer Ajer to try and preserve their top-flight status. Those signing certainly provide a solid base on which to start a career. AZ Alkmaar – It may seem strange to include a team that only made two signings on this list, but those two signings could prove to be enough to push AZ into the European places. Dutch international Tim Krul cut short his loan at Ajax to join them, while Norwegian defender Jonas Svensson came in to provide support to a somewhat leaky defence. Key signings can make or break a season and AZ fans will be hoping for the former. Let me know what you think - do any of these take your fancy?
  6. Hey guys, I wanted to share a little side project I've been toying around with. What is expected goals ("xG")? It is a method for estimating the quality of chances that a football team creates or concedes in a match. In real life football, there is plenty of historical data on the location of the shot, the type of a pass that assisted that shot, whether the attacker dribbled before trying the shot, etc. By aggregating all of these factors, an estimate can be calculated of the likelihood of scoring from all the different shots. For example, if your team takes 10 shots during a match, and each one of those shots has a historical goal rate of 0.2 (aka 20%), then on average, your team would expect to score 2 goals in that match. In FMM, the data that we get is very limited however that doesn't mean we can't have fun and use the idea behind xG to create a model that suits the game. There are a few uses for this but let me list the ones I like most: Sometimes it feels like you got unlucky (or lucky) in a match. A difference between actual goals scored and expected goals will answer that question (and by how much!) Sometimes you will think "my team is creating chances but not scoring". A simple calculation will quantify that in a single number which could help provide an explanation as to how much of that is perception and how much is fact. xG is a good way to discuss and compare the effectiveness of a tactic, especially over time. If you are inclined to keep track of your results for fun, or if you're testing something, or for a career narrative, xG can provide insight into how well a given tactic is working for you. Arriving at xG in real life is an extremely complicated calculation that takes into account a dozen factors. However, we don't have many of the same key data points in FMM so the math is much simpler. All we can use is shots, shots on target ("SOT"), and clear-cut chances ("CCC"), plus a few secondary statistics. After experimenting with the data, I decided to primarily focus on SOT and CCC. I made this choice because it's simple while still getting the job done and because FMM is a simulation and real life analogies don't always apply. While a high number of shots is nice, it doesn't force a save from the goalkeeper where an extra check need to be made to determine a goal. By comparison, in real life xG calculations, all shots count because even the act of getting a shot off can be an indication of the potency of attack. In FMM, the link between the two isn't always clear because players often fire off shots without any rhyme or reason. As this is a simulation, the goal of any tactic should be to force a goalkeeper into making saves as frequently as possible. This is also a good place to mention that penalty kicks and own goals do NOT count toward goals scored when using this metric. Open play goals only (including free kicks). The basic idea is then xG=(SOT*x)+(CCC*y) where x and y are constants of how often each action is expected to result in a goal. Now let's take a brief look at the data. It comes from three sources: Season 1 from my career with El Ejido (49 matches) Match screenshots from @BatiGoal's Villalibre career (138 matches) Tests I've been running recently with MU & Leicester in the Community Shield (125 matches) After evaluating all the data sources, I've settled on the following constants: SOT = 0.15 CCC = 0.73 (note: this may be slightly higher than actual goal rate from CCC's in-game) I also thought that shot attempts, while minimal, should have a small contribution to the formula as a proxy for successful possession, therefore Shots = .005. What this basically means is that you should, on average, over time, expect to see a goal from CCC about 73% of the time. Same logic applies to SOT - a goal can be expected from about 15% of shots on target. So our final formula becomes xG = (Shots*0.005)+(SOT*0.15)+(CCC*0.73). And remember, open play goals only! This formula seems to scale well across saves and formations. Here are the results for the three data sources mentioned above: El Ejido - goals scored 82 (xG = 80.110) / goals allowed 50 (xG = 46.325) BG save - goals scored 527 (xG = 531.255) / goals allowed 207 (xG = 269.895) (I've noticed that with good GK's, actual usually underperforms xG, especially in AI's case) Test - goals scored 297 (xG = 311.860) / goals allowed 48 (xG = 75.330) A fun observation - in BG's save, I show 70 home games in which he had 288.925 xG (4.123 xG per game) while in the 68 games on the road he had 242.330 xG (3.564 xG per game). Field advantage is real in this game! And it's worth about a goal every two games! I plan on using xG in my career thread for El Ejido when it suits the narrative as well as a key comparison metric for some tests I've been running for a future article. I welcome your comments to help refine these numbers.
  7. This is the second part of an experiment I did a couple of months ago, to know more about it you can read the first part here Based on the suggestions I got in the first part I decided to do it again with the following 2 changes: • I removed technique and added dribbling • The player was the key striker in the team during the experiment unlike in the first part where they were all in the team at the same part. The attributes taken into consideration are dribbling, shooting, movement, decision and pace. The basic stats of the player looks like this. First experiment The first experiment is about looking at the attributes individually to see who performed better. Dribbling The first player we are going to look at is Dribbling, in the first season he played 40 matches and scored 15 goals with 4 assists coming out with a goal ratio of 0.38 Shooting The second player, Shooting, played 34 games and scored 25 goals with 1 assist with a goal ratio of 0.74 Movement The third player Movement played 44 times and scored 24 goals with 4 assists making his goal ratio 0.55 Decision The forth player decision played 40 times and scored 19 goals with 2 assists making his goal ratio 0.48 Pace And the last player Pace played 38 times and scored 6 goals with 4 assists coming out with a goal ratio of only 0.16 Second experiment The season experiment is to combine the attributes two by two to see which one is more lethal in front of goal and here are the results. Shooting+Movement The first attribute combination to look is shooting and movement. The player played 43 times, scoring 24 goals and 8 assists which makes his goal ratio 0.56 Shooting+Decision The second combination shooting and decision played 44 times scoring 21 goals and 3 assists. Goal ratio of 0.48 Shooting+Pace The third combination of shooting and pace played 41 times and scored 23 goals and 4 assists making his goal ratio 0.56 Movement+Decision The combination of movement and decision played 44 times and scored 18 goals with 2 assists making his goal ratio 0.41 Movement+Pace The combination of movement and pace played 33 times, scored 6 goals with 4 assists coming out with a goal ratio of 0.18 Decision+Pace The combination of decision and pace played 35 times scoring 15 goals with 5 assists making his goal ratio 0.43 Dribbling+Shooting The combination of dribbling and shooting played 40 times and scored 32 goals with 5 assists coming out with a goal ratio of 0.80 Dribbling+Movement The combination of dribbling and movement played 41 times scored 23 goals and 3 assists making his goal ratio 0.56 Dribbling+Decision The combination of dribbling and decision played 40 times and scored 15 goals with 5 assists making his goal ratio 0.38 Dribbling+Pace And finally the the combination of dribbling and pace played 43 times and scored 22 goals with 7 assists making his goal ratio 0.51 Conclusion Bearing in mind that the players basic stats suggest his a decent striker the surprise in the first experiment was that the player with pace came last. People would normally rank physical stats over mental stats but that was not the case. In the second experiment the worst combination was movement and pace which was a surprise for me because if I was supposed to say the best combination I would have gone for that after movement and shooting but I think after looking at the first experiment it makes sense but that doesn’t explain why the combination of decision and pace did much better since movement was the better player in the first experiment. And when I was thinking that shooting and movement would have been the best I have to take back my words because the combination of shooting and dribbling smashed the others by far, and that's the only attribute I don't look at when signing strikers so I may have to consider it more . The other results makes sense to me so based on this experiment I’d say that if I was to sign a striker and the options I have, have similar stats I would say the best to go for is the one with better mental attributes. Thanks for reading, if there is anything you spotted that I didn’t see let me know and bare in mind the experiment reflexes what the game thinks are the best attributes so it might not be like this when you manage the players yourself because a good human manager would build a tactics to cover the weaknesses of his players so the poor performance in the experiments would end up doing much better.
  8. The January transfer window came to an official end last night, which means only one thing. A new database update. Amongst all the player transfers and manager movements, players are bound to be given upgraded (and even some downgraded) stats. Here are 8 goalkeepers that I think should be given an upgrade in the new database update. 1. Jordan Pickford (Sunderland) There is absolutely no doubt that Jordan Pickford has single handedly kept Sunderland in games this season, as without him, The Black Cats would probably already be relegated by now. His excellent reflexes and agility is exactly why Arsenal were rumoured to be sniffing around for the 22-year-old, with Sunderland facing a possibly tussle in the summer to keep the in-form goalkeeper, whether they remain a Premier League team or not. With Pickford one of the top performing goalkeepers this season, I think he deserves a boost to his stats. 2. Tom Heaton (Burnley) Burnley have done exceptionally well in this Premier League campaign, sitting very comfortable in 10th place, and most of the credit lies with this man. Tom Heaton, like Pickford, has kept The Clarets in games, and saved them vital points this season, with the 30-year-old going from strength to strength. Although his stats in FMM 2017 are quite high anyway, I still think he deserves a little increase in some of his stats, especially agility. 3. Yoan Cardinale (OGC Nice) Football fans often refer to Ligue 1 as a 'boring' league, with Paris-Saint Germain dominating the league in the last few years. This season, however, is a little bit different. OGC Nice sit second in the table and are currently battling with PSG and AS Monaco to gain the crown of French champions. Dante, manager Lucien Favre and Mario Balotelli have all played their part in Nice's rise to the summit of French football, but one players who goes under the radar is Yoan Cardinale. The 22-year-old got his big break last season, making 25 appearances before claiming the number 1 spot for the 2016-2017 season. Yoan Cardinale certainly deserves an upgrade in his stats, including key stats such as agility, reflexes and handling. 4. Andre Onana (Ajax) Ajax have a long and proud history of producing some of football's finest players, including the likes of the late Johan Cruyff, Dennis Bergkamp, Wesley Sneijder and Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen. The next name on the long list could be this man. Andre Onana. The 20-year-old Cameroonian started the 2016-2017 in the Ajax reserves, but was promoted to the first team, where he looked to battle for the number 1 shirt with Newcastle United's Tim Krul. Krul's loan stay was cut short, as he was then loaned to fellow Dutch club AZ Alkmaar, giving Onana the perfect opportunity with just 3 months of the season left. The youngster has produced some sterling performances this season, and he'll only continue to grow. Looking at his stats, he definitely deserves upgrades in some areas of his stats, including his handling and reflexes. Remember the name. 5. Gianluigi Donnarumma (A.C. Milan) What a year and a half Gianluigi Donnarumma has had. Making his competitive debut for AC Milan back in October 2015, he then went on to make his Italy debut in September 2016, as he's gone on to become one of Europe's top keepers, and certainly a long-term replacement in the national side for Gianluigi Buffon. At just 17-years-old, he's already become AC Milan's first choice goalkeeper, appearing in every game since his debut. He made a blistering start to the 2016-2017 campaign, saving a penalty to deny Andrea Belotti to give his side the 3 points. The picture above shows the amount of saves per game Donnarumma has made since October 2015, all the way to May 2016. As you can see, he made roughly 4 saves per game throughout the whole of last season, excluding the 9 he made at the back end of the season. His stats are already high, including his communication, handling and reflexes, but I still think he could do with a few more upgrades in the reflex department. This lad will only keep growing. Hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to leave comments below. Thank you!
  9. Dimitri Payet. A name that rang through the terraces of Upton Park last season, with the Frenchman scoring 12 goals in all competitions, carrying his form into the European Championships in the summer as France reached the final, with Payet scoring 3 goals. This season, however, has seen things turn a bit sour. Payet has scored just 2 goals in the league so far this season, and to make things worse, West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic admitted that Payet wanted to leave The Hammers, with former side Marseille being the most likely destination. If the move happened, how will Payet do? Will he re-discover his form of last season? Let's see what FMM 2017 has to say. Dimitri Payet - Profile This is what Payet's stats look like in-game. Technique and passing are his highest stats, closely followed by his dribbling and movement stats. At 29-years-old, a value of £12.5m is pretty good, considering the fact he's probably past his prime. Position-wise, Payet can play as an attacking midfielder in the number 10 role, or on either wing, with him adding plenty of flair to the team. He is also strong with both feet, making him very useful. Let's see how the season unravelled... It was probably not the best of seasons for Marseille (Although it was a bigger improvement on last season's 13th place finish). An 8th place finish for the French side saw them finish just 5 points behind Lyon, who finished in the last remaining Europa League place. On a personal level for Payet, he suffered a foot injury in late April which put him out for 3 weeks. It was his only injury of the season, as overall, he had quite an impressive first season back at Marseille. Making 29 appearances in all competitions, Dimitri Payet scored 9 goals, with 7 of them coming in the league, the same tally as last season at West Ham United. Furthermore, he assisted 7 times, while averaging a match rating of 7.39. On an International level, Payet made 3 appearances for France, scoring twice and assisting on 1 occasion. Not bad for a 30-year-old 'one season wonder'. And finally, some of Payet's stats have improved. His passing attribute has gone up by 1, from 17 to 18, his decision attribute has gone up to 15 from 14 and his movement has gone up from 16 to 17. On the other hand, his value has gons down from £12.5m to £11.75m. So, not a bad return for Dimitri Payet. If he did return to Marseille, how do you think he'll do? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. As always, thank you for reading.
  10. First of all, please let me apologise for the awful 90's wrestling pun in the title. Here we are with another transfer simulation. West Ham seem to be at the heart of everything happening in this transfer window, and while most of the focus seems to be on Dmitri Payet's impending departure (or not), the other long-running saga is their purchase of Brentford's star striker Scott Hogan. After returning from nearly 18 months out with a serious knee injury, Hogan has been in blistering form for the Bees, scoring 21 goals in 32 games. That form has prompted the Hammers, who have struggled for goals, to put in a bid, and it is expected that a £15million deal will be completed by the end of the window. So what are they getting for their money? The answer is a half-decent forward. His finishing is excellent and his pace and dribbling are pretty good too. With a bit of coaching, his technique and decision making could improve too. Hogan works best as an Advanced Forward and is left-footed, a rare commodity. Is he in good form? The answer is - not really. 3 goals and one assist in 13 games does not scream 'sign me up', but his rating is decent enough and with the stats above, he has the chance of making an impression at the Olympic Stadium. Speaking of them, how are his new team getting on? Like in real life, West Ham are bobbling around mid-table, and are still in the position where one result going their way (or against them) could have a big impact on their league position. So does Hogan fire them up the table? Let's fast forward to June... The answer is a most definite 'no'. The Hammers finish outside the relegation zone by just two points, winning only four of their last 17 league games. What about their new striker? Has he made an impact, despite the team's struggles? Again, a bit fat no. Making just five appearances, and scoring just one goal, Hogan is very much a bit-part player for a struggling team. Could that indicate he's perhaps better off in the second tier? Let's see how his stats have improved. With Premier League-level coaching, Hogan's finishing has gone up by one....and that's it. While that is a good thing, his finishing was good enough to begin with, and the other areas of his game haven't improved. I wouldn't be surprised to see Hogan shipped out in the post-season. West Ham fans will be hoping that Hogan doesn't turn out to be a flop like this (if the transfer happens, of course!), but I suspect he may do a little better in real life. So, looking at the above, would you sign Hogan for your team?
  11. Gerard Deulofeu has had a strange career to date - one of a long line of players to come through the ranks at Barcelona with the potential to become a superstar, he was loaned out to Everton three and a half years ago to develop his game. After a pretty successful spell with the Toffees, he looked set to become part of the first team squad at the Nou Camp, before being shipped out on loan again, this time to Sevilla. A disastrous campaign followed, and Barcelona decided he wasn't going to make the cut - Everton picked him up for a minimal fee. After a largely inconsistent 18 months on Merseyside, Deulofeu has the opportunity to reboot his career in Serie A with the somewhat fallen giants, AC Milan. Can Deulofeu finally fulfil his undoubted potential and return Milan to their former glory? Let's see what FMM thinks. First things first - the quality is undoubtedly there. High scores in crossing, dribbling, passing, technique, pace and others beside - what more do you look for in a winger? And are all of those attributes translating into performances? Not as much as I would like, certainly. Everton are sitting in the top half of the table, having played 21 league games, so it's clear that Deulofeu has been a regular in the side - but a return of 3 goals and 2 assists, with a rating of 6.88 and a red card, isn't what I'd expect from a player of his quality. Maybe a move to Italy will perk things up? It certainly does! In two fewer games, the Spaniard has two more goals, nine more assists, and a 0.38 increase in average performance. What a turnaround! Have his stats improved? Or has he just started showing his worth? Tacking, positioning and leadership are down by one, while decision-making is up by one, which I find a bit strange - although none of those stats will have a significant impact on his performance or the way he plays the game. His upturn in form is also reflected in his value, which increases by £1.5million. So in summary, it seems that the Italian life suits Gerard Deulofeu. Does he have what it takes to become a San Siro legend for years to come? I certainly think so.
  12. The January transfer window. Where out-of-favour players move to seek new career challenges, where clubs at the top bulk their squad up to make it over the finish line first, and where relegation-threatned sides make their last gasp effort in order to avoid the trap door. Yesterday, Watford completed the signing of former West Ham United player Mauro Zarate for an undisclosed fee from Italian side Fiorentina. Watford also completed the signing of 22-year-old M'Baye Niang from AC Milan on a loan deal. How will these 2 do? Will they steer The Hornets away from any sort of trouble? Well, I did a little simulation on Football Manager Mobile 2017 to see how they fared. Overview of Their Profile M'baye Niang is rated as one of the most promising youngsters in the Football world, which reflects perfectly in his FMM 2017 profile. Firstly, he has a value of £11.5m, which is a pretty big amount for a 21-year-old. Furthermore, he poses impressive stats for a young striker, with his 'dribbling', 'technique', 'movement' and 'pace' attributes being the highest out of his stats. The only downside to Niang's stats is his 'positioning' stats, which should be higher considering he's a striker. Let's now have a look at Mauro Zarate... Unlike Niang, Mauro Zarate is getting on a bit in terms of age. At 29-years-old, it's fair to say that the Argentinian is past his prime. Despite that, he is still capable of doing a job for Watford, or a club with the same calibre. With a value of £5.25m, he is more than affordable for clubs at the bottom end of the Premier League. 'Technique' is Zarate's highest stat at 17, followed by his 'dribbling' and 'movement' stats. A concern with Zarate is that he has a lot of orange stats, including 'strength' and 'aerial', which is more of a concern considering he's an attacking player. So, now we've had a look at the 2 new signings, how much of an impact will they make? ... Italian Job Gone Wrong After a disappointing and depressing first-half to the season, Watford manager Walter Mazzarri was sacked after finding his side hovering just above the relegation zone. Sam Alladyce was brought in to replace the Italian, with the former England boss tasked with saving The Hornets from the drop. End of Season Table After an awful season, Watford narrowly avoided the drop to the Championship by just 2 points, to the expense of Hull City. Although Watford finished 17th, the attackers weren't to blame, with The Hornets scoring the most goals out of the bottom 7 teams, racking up 58 goals. The problem was with the defence, leaking a massive 81 goals all season, 21 more than bottom side Bournemouth. 2016-2017 Player Stats M'Baye Niang managed to score 5 goals all season for Watford, making 21 appearances and assisting on 3 occasions. Mauro Zarate experienced a much more disappointing season, making just 3 appearances and scoring 0 goals. So, in conclusion, it was a disastrous season at Vicarage Road, as both new signings failed to make any sort of major impact at the club. Let's hope they do a lot better in real life. Thank you for reading. Leave your thoughts below.
  13. Lazar Markovic has had something of a mixed career to date. Signed by Liverpool for much fanfare two and a half years ago, he has played only 19 times for the Reds and has spent much of that time out on loan at the likes of Fenerbache and Sporting. He now faces arguably the biggest challenge of his career - keeping a struggling Hull City side in the Premier League. Still only 22, does he have what it takes to save the Tigers from relegation and earn the chance to make an impression back at Anfield? Let's take a look. (To make this a little realistic, I've started this from the January transfer window, rather than the start of the game.) So we can see that Hull are taking on a tricky attack-minded player, with strengths in pace, movement, crossing, dribbling and technique - everything you look for in a winger. He lacks a little in the tackle and in the air, and his stamina could be better, but it isn't he end of the world. And how has he got on in the season so far? Two goals and two assists in nineteen games for club and country - while he's performed well for Serbia in his three games, his club form (at least in the league) leaves something to be desired. How are Hull getting on when he joins them? The answer is not well. Just one win so far leaves them nine points away from safety. Not impossible, but a big ask in anyone's book. Is Markovic the man to save them? Let's skip forward to the end of the season and see how our young playmaker has got on... First things first - crossing, decision-making and movement have all dropped by one. Everything else seems to have remained the same, so Hull still have a very good player on their hands. With those skills, how has he performed? Safe to say he has done well, playing some part in 13 of the Tigers' remaining 17 Premier League games and becoming a key player in the process. He scores more goals and provides more assists than in the first half of the season, despite appearing in five less games overall, and his overall rating is 0.34 better than at Sporting. Not bad. And crucially, last but not least, has he done it? Has he helped keep Hull up? In short, no. Despite them picking up five more wins in the second half of the season, Hull are still comfortably the worst team in the league, needing 15 more points to save them. It's worth noting that his time on Humberside has caused Markovic's value to drop by over half from £20million to £9.5million, and I would not be surprised to see him make a quick return to the top flight. What do you think? Is Lazar Markovic the right sort of player to keep Hull up? Or is he one too many stepovers and not enough substance?
  14. The January transfer window. Where out-of-favour players move to seek new career challenges, where clubs at the top bulk their squad up to make it over the finish line first, and where relegation-threatned sides make their last gasp effort in order to avoid the trap door. Perhaps the biggest transfer rumour this time round is France and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, who has been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League, with Manchester United. If the move happens, questions will be floating around the Frenchman's head. How will he do? Will he suceed? Will he flop? Well, I have those answers. Kind of. I moved Griezmann to Manchester United via the in-game editor and simulated a full season just to see how he coped. Here are the results. Enjoy. This is what Griezmann's stats look like just after he was transferred to United. As you can see, he has a lot of green stats and high blue stats. Understandably, as he is a striker, his 'movement' stat is highest with 19, which reflects on the pitch. His 'crossing', 'dribbling' and 'shooting' stats then stand at the second highest, all with a score of 18. His value also stands out, with a huge £73m pricetag hovering over Griezmann's head, making him one of the most expensive players on the game. Also, as you can see on the far right of the screenshot, Griezmann can use both his left foot and his right foot, making him a dream for pretty much every manager. Position-wise, he is also very useful, as he can play as a centre forward, attacking midfielder, and out wide on the left. Everything looks decent... The French Daniel Sturridge? At first glance, the title looks crazy. But bear with me. 2 months into the season, Antoine Griezmann suffered a calf strain, which put him out for 2 months. Not exactly a brilliant start to his Manchester United career... He'll come back stronger. I'm sure of it. Another injury for Griezmann in December then put him out for a month. This time, it was a sprained ankle. Nothing seems to be going right for Griezmann at all. It doesn't end there. Not quite as bad as the previous two injuries, Antoine Griezmann then sprained his neck, which left him out of action for a week. Someone in the physio room at Manchester United aren't doing their job properly... Griezmann then had 3 months of footballing action, before this happened. A twisted ankle in May meant Griezmann was out of action for another month, suffering a twisted ankle, missing important matches including the semi-final matches against Borussia Mochengladback in the UEFA Europa League. All these injuries meant that Griezmann was out for a total of 4 months and a week, which is almost half a season considering a season lasts for 10 months. Not a great season for Griezmann at all. Despite all these injuries, however, Antoine Griezmann still managed to rack up 7 goals in 19 appearances for Manchester United, assisting his team-mates on 3 occasions. He also averaged a rating of 7.26 in his matches, which isn't too bad in the end. End of Season Profile It's fair to say Antoine Griezmann had an injury cursed season at Manchester United. Although he missed almost half of the domestic season, he has still managed to improve his stats, and rapidly increase his value. Griezmann's value has now gone up feom £73m to £92m, which is almost a £20m increase. His stats have also increased, with his 'movement', 'crossing' and 'dribbling' stats now all standing at the maximum of 20. Pretty much all of his stats have improved, which isn't too bad for a player who suffered 4 injuries. Hope you all enjoyed this little simulation. Thank you for reading and don't forget to leave your thoughts in the comments below.
  15. Hello everyone, this is going to be a very different type of article than I usually write. I've come across several members lately who are either lacking the motivation to pick up the game and start a career, or who can't find an exciting league to play in or player to play with. There are so many options for us and things such as tactics and players to (re-)discover in the game that there's bound to be something that flares up that FMM fire of yours. Here's a few suggestions that hopefully give you the needed motivation and excitement to start playing the game again. Some of the things I especially look for when I seek to revive my FMM experience: Teams Leagues Players Challenges Teams Look at some of those gorgeous logos. Dagenham and Redbridge is one of my favourites (formed in 1992 through a merger between Redbridge Forest and Dagenham). As if every game is a battle of war. Just Awesome! Always loved (2-time Italian champions) Lazio's as well with that beautiful skyblue color. Salford's, nicknamed The Ammies, is brutally cool as well with that lion's head planted on the logo. Then there's the Dutch Sparta Rotterdam that I've always loved as well. A simple footballer with the club's colors but such a magnificent history like any other club. Bala Town, Melbourne City and Whitehawk are really pretty logos and seeing the bottom two teams logo-less reminds me I need to get myself that logopack as soon as possible. Fallen giants Parma are a different story altogether. Most of us know their history. Once terribly great and now in the lower regions of Italian football. So many nice teams to choose from, there really is something for everyone out there. But the one that is just sick in a great way are Wrexford Youths. That color scheme of this Irish team is painfully beautiful. Have a look at their top player's profile page. Candy pink at its best! This is actually a very nice team to play with btw. A very average player with tremendous shooting and movement. Leagues If you're bored with the regular leagues and top leagues, the same teams over and over again how about this 8-team league? Sometimes we managers need a bit of a change and this is perfect. A lower division in Belgium but just look how weird this is? There's a First Phase where you'll need to play each team twice (14 games) followed by a Second Phase where you'll play another 14 games. Reminds me of Brazil where they play a similar style of league. Man, I hope that league makes its re-appearance someday..Anyway.. Hyundai A-league in Australia is another unusual league where you'll get to play every team three times (27 games). The top six teams qualify for the Hyundai A-league Finals series, the 3rd-6th qualify for an Elimination Final and the top two qualify for the Semi Final. There's a similar type of league in Holland where teams get to play in a play-off at the end of the campaign competing for the final European tickets. Any of these leagues would be a great alternative if you need a different FMM experience. They are really fun leagues to play in and if you've never played in any of these you definitely missed out. Players Find your legend. Players such as Drogba, Lampard, Klose..or this guy, Ronaldinho. It's great fun to find them and play them perhaps one last time before they hang up their boots. These players have had fantastic careers and given us so much in real life as well as during FMM careers. Not trying to be too emotional or romantic here but I truly feel like we owe these players 'one last goodbye'. It is what they deserve. We may not think much at the time but I for one will really miss players like this Brazilian legend. Just look at his career. It's absolutely phenomenal. Beautiful teams. Gremio, PSG, Barcelona, AC Milan. He's been everywhere and he's shown the world over and over again what he's capable of. Playing these legends is really fun and if you're looking for motivation to pick up the game again to start a career..well look at this beautiful career up here and give him one last season with you as a manager. Maybe two. Challenges This is Johnny Lafferty. He plays for a team that's got one terribly difficult name in Ballinamallard United in N.Ireland. He's just like any other below average player with exceptional shooting. What strikes me about him are his stats. They're just unbelievable. Have a look.. A striker. A professional since 2007. Goals: 3. Man that's just weird. I love finding these ultra non-prolific players and just help them out. 3 goals is what you'd expect to see on a GK stats page. Either in his home country or somewhere in Wales or the lower tiers of English football, this man needs goals and it's a great challenge to get him 100 goals before he retires. Or more. And there's so many other players and challenges either posted in Vibe Community or just waiting for you somewhere in FMM. Goals challenges, Assists challenges etc etc, just explore the forum or the FMM database and with a bit of imagination a challenge is born. This Lafferty one (and there's so so many players like him in-game) is really great fun! A few suggestions and ideas to get you back into playing mode. Hope you enjoyed the (unusual) read and feel free to leave behind a comment, opinion or experience. Thank you!
  16. Euro U21 2015 Team Of The Tournament - Where Are They Now? Hi fellow Vibers, after an intense speculation on Victor Lindelof transfer to Manchester United recently, I went on Google searching details about this Manchester United target, and found that he had been nominated in the Euro U21 2015, which he won the tournament with Sweden. Then I recalled that I had done an article about the Euro U21 2015 TOTT back in 2015, it made me wonder if Lindelof had gain some success in his career with a potential move to United, how about the other players nominated? Have they fulfilled their potential? Or did they turned up into another flop? So today, in this article, I will look at the player's stats then and now in FMM, and see if they have fulfilled their potential. Enjoy. First of all, let's look at the team. A very decent team, a few well-known wonderkids here. So let's move on to look at the players one by one. GK : Jose Sa FMM 17 Jose Sa was in Maritimo back in FMH 15, and is now in Porto B, signed by Porto for a fee of €1,5 million in January 2016. Looking at his attributes, he had a few greens and few reds in FMH15, but now in FMM 17, most of his attributes are blue, but with no greens. A decent improvement, right? As for his potential ability, that's definitely a huge improvement for him. In total, he can be a decent goalkeeper for most mid-table teams. DR : Victor Lindelof FMM 17 Look back to what I comment on him back in 2015, I said that he can be a decent player for lower league teams, and now he is already a target of Manchester United, what an improvement. Back in FMH 15, he's never the type of players you will look to sign, but now in FMM 17, he's one of the best right back in the game. He can play in both CB and RB position, and had a green attributes for Positioning, and with a few blue attributes for Crossing, passing, and tackling, which made him a perfect right back for any club. And he's only 21, I'm very sure that he will have mostly green attributes after a few years of training, with that high PA. Definitely one of the most improved player in the TOTM. DC : Filip Helander FMM 17 f The Swedish center back was not in the game in FMH 15, but after making a move to Verona and then a loan move to Bologna, he is now being included in FMM 17. He had some decent attributes as a center back, with a 15 in Aerial and Tackling, as well as a 14 in Positioning. While in real life, since his performance in U21 Euro 2015, he had been signed by then Serie A Verona, and was loaned to Bologna, with an obligation to sign outright. He definitely had gained himself an improvement, in both reputation and ability since U21 Euro 2015. DC : Jannik Vestergaard FMM 17 Shocked to see that Vestergaard was one of the few ( if not only ) players to be downgraded. The then Werder Bremen player is now in another Bundesliga team, Monchengladbach, joining the team in summer 2016, with a fee of €12 million. His green attributes in FMH 15 remained green in FMM 17, but with a few tweaks. Despite his downgrade, I'm sure that Vestergaard can still fit into most teams as a starting center back. DL : Raphael Guerreiro FMM 17 What a huge improvement for Guerreiro, in terms of both reputation and ability. From a mid table Ligue 1 side to a Champions League side. Guerreiro had been well-known since his performance in Euro 2016, winning the title for Portugal, just one year after U21 Euro 2015. His attributes had have a huge improvement, from mostly yellow in FMH 15, to mostly blue, and had the potential to reach green. He can also play in more positions now, since being deployed as a midfielder by Thomas Tuchel. As he is now in Dortmund, I believe that it's quite difficult to sign him if you are a mid table side, but if you are leading a big team, you can get him into your team by paying more. Definitely someone to watch in the future. DMC : William Carvalho FMM 17 He had a minor drop in terms of PA in FMM 17, but still a more than decent midfielder. Most of his attributes remain the same with those in FMM 17, but his Tackling attributes had been raised to 15, which made him someone reliable in the defence, with a 18 in Positioning as well. He also had a very high Strength attributes, I think he can also play as a nice BWM with that strong body. In real life, he's part of the Euro 2016 winning team, and he may soon be in a bigger league, with West Brom very close to signing him. DMC : Oscar Lewicki ( Not In Game ) Still in Malmo AMR : Nathan Redmond FMM 17 The player that scored against Liverpool for Southampton just yesterday. He had gained himself a slight improve in PA. He can be a decent winger with that attributes. Meanwhile, he can also play in more positions now, compared to in FMH 15. He's now a regular player for Southampton, and hopefully can improve more in the future. A future England international in the making? AMC : Bernardo Silva FMM 17 Already a wonderkid in FMH 15, and now just get better. He had all the stats for becoming a world-class attacking midfielder, definitely someone to sought for in any big teams. In real life, he had been targeted by Manchester United, and may be joining the Red Devils. If the move to Manchester United really happen for him, I'm sure he will soon be a world-beater under Mourinho. Definitely someone to look out in the future. AML : Ivan Calaveiro FMM 17 From Benfica, he is now in Championship side Wolves. A slight improvement in PA, his attributes looks decent, but believe me, he will get even better. I'm using him now in my Porto save, and he's scoring and assisting all around the pitch, playing as an INF. He will normally get transfer listed in the second season, and you will get to snap him up with a rather cheap transfer fee, probably below 10 million. ST : Kevin Volland FMM 17 Top scorer in the U21 Euro 2015, and now a record signing for Leverkusen from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim. He can now play in both left winger position and as a striker. Despite his slight drop in PA, he's still one of the best wonderkids in game. However, his time in Leverkusen seems not too well, having just scored 1 goal in 10 appearances, and had already been tagged as flop. Will he fulfilled his potential, and hopefully be one of Germany's star in the future? Well, that's all for today. As a conclusion, most of the players included in the TOTT had get themselves an improvement. The most improved player IMO had to be Raphael Guerreiro. With the next U21 Euro to start in summer 2017, I'm sure that there will more talents emerging out. Finally, I would like to hear your ideas about the players. Please leave your comments and ideas. As always, thanks for reading.
  17. How To Nurture Your Talents Let me take you on a little experiment I did the other day. I went on a journey with 4 talents I had in my squad in order to find out which specific journey works best for their development. It works really simple. I inherited a very strong squad in FC Barcelona and the sheer talent in that squad is mind-blowing. Setting up a formation and tactics is pretty easy with that sort of quality in the squad but with an eye on the future as well I wasn't sure what the best path was to take for some of the other players. Once the starting 11 are set and the bench filled with subs for all positions, what do I do with the 'leftovers'? Just leave 'em there? Throw them into the Reserve Team? Loan them out? Well, to be fair, they aren't exactly 'leftovers', they're talented players that we need to keep for the future but since the competition is immense at certain teams such as Barcelona it may take a season or two before they're ready to become a regular or even a key player for the team. In the meantime? We have three options Join The Reserves Keep in the squad Send on a loan spell Let's meet our talents! Our GoalKeeper Only 1 GK at the time on the pitch. Our friend Jose Aurelio Suarez has competition from A.Ter Stegen, J.Cilessen and J.Masip. That's lots so I'm taking Jose on 3 journeys and I'm eager to find out which one's going to make him a better Goalkeeper. Our Defender No lack of competition here either. T.Vermaelen, S.Roberto, G.Pique, J.Mascherano, J.Alba, J.Mathieu..our defender Umtiti looks really nice with many 13s and 14s. Let's bring friend #2 on this journey with us in order to find out what suits him best. Our Midfielder Looks great. But..He's no S.Buquests, no A.Iniesta, no A.Turan and no I.Rakitic. But he could very well be one day. He's a really promising talent so let's take this midfielder and friend #3 on this journey as well. Our Forward Great numbers here. If you find a way to implement him into your formation then that's settled. But what if you can't guarantee playing time with guys like Neymar, L.Messi, L.Suarez, Rafinha and others already in your team? This is going to be our 4th member for this all-revealing journey. The Journey The journey is very simple as I explained earlier. These 4 players happened to be on the wrong side of the cut but the manager has big plans for the future with this group. They need to develop into mature players and be ready when they're called upon. The first journey is taking them 1 full season into The Reserves (Barcelona B). They'll be getting plenty of games versus weaker opposition but the amount of gametime may just be what these talents need. The second journey will keep them with the squad and while training with the very best in the world is very educational, the lack of gametime opportunities may very well stagnate their development, or part of it. The third journey will split the group. Each will go on a seperate adventure to a new club (on loan) where they'll get new teammates and play regular football in a top division against top opponents. Let's start this experiment with our GK, followed by the CD, the CM and lastly our F. GK - Jose Jose played nearly every game in The Reserves, 0 games with the main squad and 39 games on loan with Rayo Vallecano. Where did he learn the most? Let's look at those digits below. Far right column are Jose's starting attributes. His technical attributes developed nicely in save 2 and 3. No difference there which is perhaps surprising. Mental attributes actually decreased in save 2 and 3 which to me is odd but telling. Physical attributes increased really well in save 3 with strength being really useful for a GK on certain ocassions. I would therefore say the Jose's third journey has been the most succesful one. CD - Samuel Samuel joined Barcelona B and played only 23 games due to injuries. Second journey took him to the main squad where he played nothing. Third journey was with Sporting Gijon where he managed 30 games in total. Which journey was best for him? Far right his starting numbers. He did ok in The Reserves, better with the main squad but clearly the best in save 3, on loan. Physical attributes jumped up, mental ones too in 'decisions' and 'positioning', which are pretty crucial for defenders. What about 'passing' and 'tackling' for his technical attributes. Those went up nicely so that's pretty clear that once again save 3 wins it. CM - Andre Same as the others. Started at the Reserve Team. 29 games versus weaker opposition. 15 goals. Very good for a midfielder I'd say. Then main squad, 1 game there. Lastly, Sevilla which are a strong team so that's perfect getting 29 games there. Let's look at the numbers. You can instantly see too much blue on the two most right columns. Then save 2 and 3 are close but the physical attributes' improvement in save 3 nicks it. Quite significant ups too with +2 +2 +3 for 'strength', 'stamina' and 'pace' respectively. That's a lot in 1 season. Small wins on mental and technical attributes too makes this an clear win for save 3 again. F - Paco Same journey here apart from the loan spell. Reserves brought him a massive 38 games with a whopping 29 goals. That's great despite the weaker league. Then main squad. Just like our CM, 1 game. Then the, what's becoming clearer, all-important loan spell with Valencia. 30 games and a chunk of goals. What do the stats have to say? First thing I see are those physical stats. Save 1 (The Reserves) are instantly out of contention. Mental stats are better in save 3 and so are the technical ones with 'shooting' being one of the most important for our forward. 'Technique' up as well and so is 'teamwork'. Great up in 'pace' btw during his loan spell. There's no question here. Save 3 wins! Conclusion: There's not a whole lot to conclude here anymore. I think we all know that playing your talents regularly at your very club is the best for their development. If they're just lacking that quality or maturity in the first few seasons then placing them on the sub bench + regular playing time is a fantastic alternative. But if you happen to have "too many" talents which is a welcome luxury of course then looking at our 4 friends' journeys the loan journey is the best option. I think the reason save 2 (staying with main squad) won it over The Reserves is because the 4 were probably too talented for a lower division playing weak opposition so there was little to learn for them in the end. They had quality players on the training ground to work with on a daily basis which proved more educational. I'd like to put the latter on a test for future expirements as I think there's more to take from these but for now I think I can safely conclude that opting between going to Reserves, the squad, and on loan, the loan spell is the best choice for your future stars. Thanks for reading and feel free to drop a comment, opinion or experience.
  18. Real Madrid's Martin Odegaard joins Heerenveen on 18-month loan Martin Odegaard has pledged to "prove what he can do" after joining Dutch side Heerenveen on loan from Real Madrid until June 2018. Odegaard, 18 was unveiled to the media on Tuesday after the Eredivisie club announced they had reached an agreement for his temporary transfer. The Norwegian attacking midfielder, who failed to break into Zinedine Zidane's senior squad, is eager to earn regular playing time and said: "I just want to say that I'm very happy and that this is an opportunity for me to show what I can do. I'm very excited." Odegaard had been strongly linked with a move to Rennes since the summer but believes he has made the right choice in moving to Netherlands. "I heard great things about this club and what they expected from me," he said. "The most important thing is my development and that is why I'm here. "Real Madrid is the best club in the world but the best play there and that is why I decided to come here." Odegaard has played just one game for Real Madrid in La Liga, a 7-3 victory over Getafe last season, since joining the Bernabeu outfit in January 2015 from Stromsgodset.... Ok Ok let's stop there. That's all I needed you to know. So Martin's going to Holland. Having lived there myself for two decades and knowing the Dutch Eredivisie quite well I'm very interested in seeing how his move is going to unfold. From Mighty Madrid to tiny Heerenveen - From La Liga to Eredivisie - From a squad with Ronaldo, Bale, Ramos... to one with..hmm..one with..that guy..what's his name again?? Ok, I should've done my homework on this one..but anyway you get my point. So what did Odegaard say exactly during his interview? ..an opportunity.. ..show what I can do.. ..I'm very excited.. ..my development.. ..that's why I'm here.. These are the bits we need. Well, primarily the 'development' bit but the rest sounds re-assuring too. So what do we do? We use FMM for a simulation in order to predict his future. It is that simple, people so let's get straight to it. M. Odegaard after 1 season at R.Madrid and Heerenveen Ok, so let's see. Far right column are his starting attributes. Left ones, well, I think that's fairly obvious. 1 season with R.Madrid Technical Attributes - Dribbling +1. That's it??? Mental Attributes - Creativity +1. Well ok, he's still young to up these that fast. Physical Attributes - Unchanged. Unchanged?? Ouch. These should've bumped! 1 season with Heerenveen Technical Attributes - Aerial +1. Oh..these attr. need their time then. Mental Attributes - Decisions +1, Leadership +2, Movement +2. Ah look good increases seen here. Physical Attributes - Stamina +2, Strength +1. Nice. Decent increase of essential attributes. Looks like Heerenveen is the clear winner here. At his still tender age those physical attr. are expected to bump the most, followed by both technical and mental ones. So why the difference? Well at R.Madrid he played 6 games only vs 22 at Heerenveen. Training with the very best in the world in Spain with the Benzemas, the Iscos, the Bales, the CR7s etc but not getting any opportunities on the pitch is clearly not as effective as training in Holland with the likes of..the likes of....here we go again...with.. the likes of lesser quality guys..but getting essential time on the pitch proved crucial for his development. I didn't say it. FMM said it. But let's give Mighty Madrid the benefit of the doubt and see how things pan out 5 seasons into this Norwegian Wonderkid's career. M. Odegaard after 5 seasons at R.Madrid - Attributes M. Odegaard after 5 seasons at R.Madrid - Stats Ok this looks pretty abysmal to me. This stings even for the most optimistic in our midst. Attributes? Hardly moved in 5 seasons. He simply stagnated. Stats? Oh dear..I don't even want to say it. This is definitely not what he signed up for when he joined this Spanish club. Simply Shocking! M. Odegaard after 5 seasons at Heerenveen - Attributes M. Odegaard after 5 seasons at Heerenveen - Stats Look! Much better. See those Attributes? Strength +5!!, Stamina +5!! Movement +4, Passing +3, Some other attr. +2 and +1's as well. Now that's some decent development. Stats? Really good too. Plenty of games, he made Sc Heerenveen champions (and that my friends hasn't happend in the most loyal Heerenveen supporters' wildest dreams, I tell ya!) which resulted in a move to Serie A. Fair amount of goals and assists for Fiorentina all due to his hard work and the opportunites he got at Heerenveen. I see nothing but positives here. Conclusion: FMM17 says: Games: Lots in Holland vs Few in Spain Attributes: Big ups in Holland vs Small/No ups in Spain Stats: Enough goals and assist in Holland/Italy vs Not enough of 'em in Spain Conclusion: A move to Heerenveen is the right choice. BatiGoal says: No-brainer. Of course he should do it. The Dutch Eredivisie isn't as strong as La Liga but no way this kid is ready for such a competitive league. One step at the time. One step and only then do you stand a chance to give your talents free play. The Eredivisie ain't so bad just look at the talent it has produced over the years, decades, generations. Some real worldclass players. So if this kid is as good as the world proclaims he is then he'll have no problem showcasing this passes, his tricks, his genius in the Dutch stadiums in front of the Dutch football fans for the coming 18 months. I've always believed that training is great. It is, but it's no match for real competitive league games, Cup games, European games. You just can't replicate what's going on in a real game. The pressure. The Intensity. That desire to beat opponents. The RIVALRY!!! That terrible feeling after a loss. The crowd cheering and demanding a better performance. That manager in front of the dugout shouting his players forward. Those things are crucial for any player's development both technical, physical or mental. No training ground can match any of that which is why I've come to my conclusion : "Yes, Odegaard, go to Holland, you'll come back a much better, mature and improved player." So for any managers out there who are reading this, please guys, don't bench your talents if you're not giving them enough gametime. Either do give them enough games or loan them out. It's clearly the better option for both player and manager. And to you Martin: "Goodluck at SC Heerenveen!". I hope you enjoyed the read and comments most welcome as usual. Thank you!
  19. The 31st edition of the African Cup of Nations gets underway this Friday, with hosts Gabon taking on Guinea-Buissau in the official curtain raiser. Here is a list of 5 players who are almost certain to light the 2017 tournament. Enjoy! Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Gabon This tournament has Aubameyang's name written all over it. Although he first starred for France U-21's, Aubameyang made his Gabon debut back in 2009, scoring 20 goals since. With Gabon, he reached the quarter-finals of the 2012 African Cup of Nations, finishing as top scorer of the tournament with 3 goals. Disappointment followed for the striker, however, as Gabon were eliminated in the group stages in both the 2012 Olympics and the 2015 AFCON. Aubameyang bagged 15 goals in the Bundesliga last season, with him already scoring 16 this season with Borussia Dortmund. Can Aubameyang continue his hot form this season and fire Gabon to glory? Riyad Mahrez - Algeria The Leicester City man has put his name on the map within the last 16 months. Moving to The Foxes from French side Le Havre in 2013, he has been influential in Leicester's surge to the top of English football, winning the Premier League back in May 2016, scoring 17 goals from the wide position as he also picked up the PFA Player's Player of the Year, along with the African Player of the Year. Mahrez didn't have the best of starts to his Algeria career, after he was dropped after their first game of the 2014 World Cup, where they were eliminated in the last 16. 2015 was a brighter year on the international stage, as he starred in every game in the 2015 African Cup of Nations as Algeria reached the quarter-finals of the tournament. Can Mahrez fire Algeria to the pinnacle of the African continent? Sadio Mané - Senegal Signed by Jurgen Klopp from Southampton for a fee of £34m in the summer of 2016, Mane has made himself one of the first names on the team sheet for Liverpool. Previously playing in Austria with Red Bull Salzberg, Mane joined Southampton before the 2014-2015 season, and instantly became a fan's favourite at St Mary's. Scoring 10 goals in his first season for The Saints, he went on to score an additional 11 in the next season, helping Southampton finish 7th and 6th respectively. He has already scored 9 goals so far this season for Liverpool, including a last gasp winner in the Merseyside derby. Quarter-finalists in the 2012 Olympics, Senegal had to go without Mane for the first group game in the 2015 tournament, and couldn't prevent them going out in the group stage. Will Africa's most expensive player step up to the plate for Senegal? Serge Aurier - Ivory Coast The Ivory Coast are notorious for producing some of the world's finest players, including ex-Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Manchester City's Yaya Toure, with Serge Aurier's name potentially being the next one on that list. Starting his career of at Lens, Aurier was shipped to Toulouse, before joining Paris-Saint Germain on loan for the 2014-2015 season. He experienced a rocky first season at the Parisian club, with injury and controversy problems with UEFA overshadowing the season. Despite this, he secured a permanent transfer to PSG in April 2015, as he began to impress Laurent Blanc in the right-back position. He bagged himself league goals against Nantes and Lyon, and Champions League goal against Shakhtar Donetsk in the group stages. He found himself in hot water again, however, after he made a remark towards team-mate Angel Di Maria, and a homophobic slur towards manager Laurent Blanc, leading to him training with the reserves for the majority of the 2nd half of the 2015-2016 season. Can Aurier put his past problems behind him, and help Ivory Coast to the AFCON title? Andre Ayew - Ghana Since arriving in England back in 2015 with Swansea City, Andre Ayew has arguably been one of the Premier League's best strikers in the last 2 years. Marseille was his first destination as he signed his first professional contract in 2007 with the French side. 2 loan moves followed for the Ghanian, as he temporarily moved to Lorient and Arles-Avignon in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. He returned to Marseille for the 2010-2011 season, before signing for Swansea City in the summer of 2015 after scoring 44 goals in the 5 year period. Ayew spent just 1 season at Swansea, as he moved to fellow Premier League side West Ham United in 2016 for a club record £20.5m. On the international stage, Ayew has managed to rack up 11 goals for Ghana, whom he retired from in 2013 after a dispute with the Ghana FA, only to return 7 months later. The 27-year-old may not have much time left to win silverware with Ghana. Will 2017 be their year? Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. The African Cup of Nations starts this Friday, on ITV 4 at 4pm.
  20. With the January transfer window about to swing open, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the transfers which are rumoured to take place and how they play out in-game. First up is Swedish defender Victor Lindelof, currently plying his trade at Benfica, but who has been linked with Manchester United. The Old Trafford club have denied the move, but that doesn't mean anything in this day and age. Let's look at his stats at the start of the game: Nothing outstanding there (decisions and positioning aside) but for that asking price you're looking at potential, and this boy has it in spades. So, moving on to the transfer itself - in real life, the cost of the deal is rumoured to be £42million. In game? Not so much. After going in at his January asking price of £21.5million, I took part in a bidding war with Juventus and finally managed to see them off at £27.5million - a near £15million saving on real life. The kicker? Despite being on less that £7k per week at Benfica, the young Swede demanded £110k per week for me, and wouldn't budge. However, it might all prove to be worth it, as.... The fans are delighted to see the Swede come in to the club - I'm not sure the reaction will be the same if this comes off for real, but I might be wrong! So, how does his first half-season at Old Trafford shape up? Well, with an intensive training programme, his stats shoot up: All of the key attributes for a defender are there - aerial ability, tackling, positioning, stamina, strength, and pace as well. He can't shoot and his aggression is low, but that isn't too bad. His value has also dropped from £47.5million on signing day to £29million at the end of the season, so still more than he was signed for. How do his stats translate into performances I hear you ask? Great form in the league, but not so much everywhere else. Looking at the number of appearances, it's clear that he walks straight into the team instead of sitting on the bench. It might be worth noting that most of those games were played in defensive midfield, rather than in defence, so could that attribute for the better-than-expected return on goals and assists? Maybe so. Finally, what do the staff think? A whole raft of positive comments and not one single negative? I'll take that. So it looks like Victor Lindelof, should he move to Manchester United, could develop into a very good player indeed. But will the transfer come off? Only time will tell. Let me know your thoughts? Are there any other rumoured transfers you'd like to see previewed?
  21. BG's FIFA FIFPro World XI 2016 The 2016 FIFA FIFPro World XI will be announced in Zurich on 9th January 2017. The FIFA FIFPro World XI is decided by the players. It involves votes from nearly 25,000 professional footballers from about 70 different countries. Each player can select 1 goalkeeper, 4 defenders, 3 midfielders and 3 forwards. In this year's edition nine players make their debut on the 55-player shortlist that FIFPro announced for the 2016 FIFA FIFPro World XI. The nine debutants are Serge Aurier, Hector Bellerin, Leonardo Bonucci, Kevin De Bruyne, Paulo Dybala, Antoine Griezmann, N’Golo Kante, Dimitri Payet and James Vardy. The nine household names replaced by the debutants in this year’s shortlist are: Iker Casillas (5 World XI awards), John Terry (5 awards), Andrea Pirlo, Arjen Robben and Wayne Rooney (1 award each), Branislav Ivanovic, Yaya Touré, Vincent Kompany and Carlos Tévez. Two players make their comeback after missing out in 2015, Claudio Bravo and Mesut Ozil, while Gonzalo Higuain returns after his only appearance in 2010. It is also the first time that Andrea Pirlo and Wayne Rooney have not been picked for the last 55, leaving Gianluigi Buffon and Cristiano Ronaldo as the only two players who have always been chosen by their peers in the 12-year World XI history. The 2016 FIFA FIFPro World XI 55-player shortlist: Goalkeepers (5) Claudio Bravo (Chile/FC Barcelona/Manchester City) Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/Juventus) David de Gea (Spain/Manchester United) Keylor Navas (Costa Rica/Real Madrid) Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich) Defenders (20) David Alaba (Austria/FC Bayern Munich) Jordi Alba (Spain/FC Barcelona) Serge Aurier (Côte d’Ivoire/Paris Saint-Germain) Hector Bellerìn (Spain/Arsenal) Jerome Boateng (Germany/FC Bayern Munich) Leonardo Bonucci (Italy/Juventus) Daniel Carvajal (Spain/Real Madrid) Giorgio Chiellini (Italy/Juventus) Dani Alves (Brazil/FC Barcelona/Juventus) David Luiz (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain/Chelsea) Diego Godin (Uruguay/Atlético Madrid) Mats Hummels (Germany/Borussia Dortmund/FC Bayern Munich) Philipp Lahm (Germany/FC Bayern Munich) Marcelo (Brazil/Real Madrid) Javier Mascherano (Argentina/FC Barcelona) Pepe (Portugal/Real Madrid) Gerard Pique (Spain/FC Barcelona) Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid) Thiago Silva (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain) Raphael Varane (France/Real Madrid) Midfielders (15) Xabi Alonso (Spain/FC Bayern Munich) Sergio Busquets (Spain/FC Barcelona) Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City) Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea) Andres Iniesta (Spain/FC Barcelona) N’Golo Kante (France/Leicester City/Chelsea) Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid) Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid) Mesut Ozil (Germany/Arsenal) Dimitri Payet (France/West Ham United) Paul Pogba (France/Juventus/Manchester United) Ivan Rakitic (Croatia/FC Barcelona) David Silva (Spain/Manchester City) Marco Verratti (Italy/Paris Saint-Germain) Arturo Vidal (Chile/FC Bayern Munich) Strikers (15) Sergio Aguero (Argentina/Manchester City) Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid) Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid) Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid) Paulo Dybala (Argentina/Juventus) Antoine Griezmann (France/Atlético Madrid) Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina/Napoli/Juventus) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United) Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern Munich) Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona) Thomas Muller (Germany/FC Bayern Munich) Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona) Alexis Sanchez (Chile/Arsenal) Luis Suarez (Uruguay/FC Barcelona) Jamie Vardy (England/Leicester City) It's an incredible list of the world's finest footballers in 2016. Quality-wise you can hardly go wrong with any 11 picks but I'm sure every Viber here has their favorites, me included. So with a little wisdom and a little heart here goes my FIFA FIFPro World XI for the year 2016. BG's World XI Goalkeeper He's just developed into such a fantastic keeper. And he somehow (remember the dodgy paperwork issues on transfer deadline day back in 2015?) managed to stay at my favorite English team (Man Utd) so had to pick my favorite GK. Defenders 4 worldclass defenders. I love Godin's workrate and his no-nonsense attitude. Ramos has got to be respected for his winning-mentality as he just never gives up until the referee blows the final whistle. Pepe is just one mean dude but altho sometimes crosses the line he's a great strong defender in any team. Mascherano was my first pick re defenders. He's the unsung hero in the Barcelona as well as the Argentina team. Such an incredible hard worker and great reader of the game. I love watching creative forces at play, beautiful dribbles, phenomenal technique just as I love watching fair but firm tackles and the physical side of the game that this man possesses to near perfection. For the FMM test I placed him in DM spot to make a 'workable' formation. Midfielders Tough pick here but eventually had to go with Iniesta for his fantastic technique. He makes every move and pass look so beautiful. He had to be included. Kroos my not be on everyone's radar re World XI line-ups but he's a very smart player. He knows where to run and when to run, precision passes and a threat in front of goal as well. De Bruyne has improved a lot in the past years playing in the EPL moved to the Bundesliga and back to EPL again. Great talent who flourished in the past year directing play in his teams with his great endurance and vision. An unselfish player too. He completes my midfield. Forwards I can't say anything that hasn't been said already about these three. Messi. Magical Messi. One of the best ever. In terms of sheer talent I'd say he's at the very top. That's my opinion. He's in my team! CR7. He's competitive, he's a winner and he delivers. In terms of game mentality and professionalism one of the greats, if not the greatest. Gotta have him too. Suarez completes the forward trio. I remember him from Holland playing for FC Groningen moved to Ajax and then gutted gutted gutted he move to Liverpool despite being on Man Utd's radar. I was aware of his talents and was hugely disappointed Man Utd failed to sign him. We know what this man does on the pitch so he's more than deserving to be included in the team. The Simulation I've decided to create a team in FMM17 with My Club and Scrapbook -BG's World XI- to see what this talented mix of players would and could achieve. Will they be a unified team and perform if played alongside each other? Are my 11 picks the very best or do other players have a different opinion? Will the AI manager be able to make it click with 'my team' and win titles or cups? I created this World XI team in the English Premier Division (replaced Leicester City) and let the game run itself. See the results below how they fared in the The FA CUP, the Champions League and the Premier League. FA CUP Winners! Awesome run and this concludes that every pick was fully deserving and justified. Champions League Not Europe's best unfortunately. Lost 1-2 on aggregate to Bayern after winning 5 games in the group stage. I still stand by my picks. English Premier League After a rough start to the EPL campaign the AI manager steered BG's World XI to a close but stunning EPL championship! I'm very interested in hearing about your 11 picks and the reasoning behind it. Who is your goalkeeper with the safest hands? Who are your top defenders battling for clean sheets? Who are going to link play and showcase killer passes in midfield? Who are the forwards scoring the most spectacular goals for the billions of viewers around the world? Feel free to leave a comment and if you want to run a similar simulation with your FIFA FIFPro World XI 2016 please share it with us and post your results below (or I will do one for you if you drop a comment with your World XI). I hope you enjoyed the read. Thank you!
  22. Hello and welcome to a new series of simulations, where I will holiday through major events to see what the outcome is, according to Football Manager Mobile. The second article of the series will be concentrating on the upcoming FIFA World Cup, which is to be held in Russia in 2018. The Groups Costa Rica qualified for their second consecutive World Cup from the North American section, while World Cup 2010 3rd placers Uruguay qualify once again. Repiublic of Ireland are in their first World Cup since the 2002 tournament which was held in South Korea and Japan. Holders Germany are expected to win this group, which contains first-timers and 2022 hosts Qatar, Slovakia and Tunisia. Algeria are in their 3rd consecutive tournament, while Romania qualify for the first time since 2002. Iran feature once again alongsidw 5-time winners Brazil. The group of death of the tournament is no doubt group D, which contains Euro 2016 winners Portugal, Colombia and Belgium, with Saudi Arabia qualifying for the first time since the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the last to be held in Europe. Group E contains Euro 2008, Euro 2012 and World Cup 2010 winners Spain, with Alexis Sanchez' Chile, with both expected to slot into the top 2. Poland and Mexico make up the rest of the group. Euro 2016 hosts France qualify looking for their first silverware since the 1998 World Cup, as they are set to battle it out with 2010 hosts South Africa, 1994 hosts USA, and Croatia. Group G sees 2014 finalist Argentina and 2006 champions Italy go head-to-head, with Australia and Egypt making up the rest of the group. Last but certainly not least, group H sees a repeat of Euro 2016 as England and Wales face each other once again, while 2002 joint-hosts South Korea and African nation Ivory Coast make up the rest of the group. The Opening Game The opening game of the tournament saw hosts Russia play out a dramatic 3-3 draw with Costa Rica. Ex-Fulham player Bryan Ruiz scored the first goal of the World Cup, with Pavel Mamaev pulling Russia level 3 minutes later. Jason Jimenez steered Costa Rica back into the lead after the break, but again, Russia struck level straight after through Mario Fernandes. Dmitry Kombarov looked to have won the game for the hosts, but it was Costa Rica's turn to pull level when Oscar Campos scored with a minute remaining of normal time. Last 16 Group B runners up Tunisia shocked Costa Rica, while Germany comfortably beat Uruguay 3-0. There were no surprises in the next 2 last 16 matches, as Portugal and Brazil both ensured their place in the quarter-finals. France and Spain beat Chile and Croatia respectively. England were beaten on pens by Argentina, while Ivory Coast produced the shock of the tournament as they beat Italy in extra-time. Quarter-Finals Tunisia's fairytale came to an end as they were knocked out by Portugal, and Germany knocked Brazil out 3-1. It was Argentina's turn to suffer penalty heartache as France went through along with Spain, who eased past Ivory Coast 3-0. Semi-Finals In the semi-finals, France won on penalties for the second game in a row, as they beat Portugal, while Spain narrowely beat favourites Germany 1-0. The Final So, France vs Spain in the final. The 2 sides have never met in a World Cup final, as France look to put the final defeat of Euro 2016 behind them, while Spain will want to win their first World Cup since 2010 and prove to the doubters that they are still the best in the world. It was France who won in the final, with a 1-0 enough to etch their name onto the famous trophy. Germany took 3rd place as they beat Portugal 2-0. Top Scorers Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema topped the scoring charts with 5 goals, which included the winning goal in the final. Bryan Ruiz and Paulo Dybala make up the top 3 with both players bagging 5 goals each. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this simulation. Have a good new year everyone!
  23. Here’s a list of several players we’re looking forward to playing with on FMM17, through their form in real life... Jamie Vardy - Leicester City Depending on who you’re managing, Jamie Vardy might be a rare occupant in your squad. Having rejected Arsenal in the summer, the England international went onto sign a new deal with Leicester. Vardy has become a national hero in the last year. Having been instrumental in keeping the Foxes in the Premier League, he then scored in 10 consecutive games as he soared Leicester above the competition and helped them win their first ever Premier League title. His sheer pace and accurate eye for goal makes him a mouthwatering prospect to have leading your line. Flanked by either wingers or inside forwards, Vardy is bound to score a large portion of your team’s goal. His age is against him though, so enjoy his peak whilst it lasts. Franck Kessie - Atalanta Ivory Coast have a habit of producing some of the world’s best players, and Kessie might be the next in line. At 19, the Atalanta midfielder is still incredibly raw and far from the finished product but that’s not to deny his ability. Temperamental issues aside, Kessie is a machine in the middle of the park. He’s able to play in front of the back four, as a box-to-box midfielder or just behind the attacking line. However, his versatility isn’t the only strong point of his play. His energy and stamina, matched with his power makes him likely to be one of the most in-demand midfielders in your game next year. In fact, if you’re not starting as Atalanta, you might want to make your move earlier - the Ivorian has been linked with Manchester United in real life. Bernard Berisha - Anji Makhachkala Anji’s season last term wasn’t a lot of fun. Having only just scraped relegation, the team needed a revival coming into this season to make sure they avoid last season’s scare. However, every cloud has a silver lining and that lining was the emergence of Berisha, the Kosovo-born winger. At 25 years old, he’s not the youngest player around but that isn’t to knock his ability. His pace and dribbling makes him a tricky customer. He’s already scored three goals in 12 for Anji this season, two more than his total from last term. Though he’s not likely to tear up the top of the Premier League, he would certainly do a job for a mid-table side. Purchase him for your Championship team, and you’re in for a treat. Christian Pulisic - Borussia Dortmund It was only January this year that Pulisic made his debut for Borussia Dortmund, but he already looks like a player who has been playing for years. Having featured as a substitute, the young American started in the Revierderby and hardly looked phased. After 73 minutes, he was taken off. “He's a teenager in his first year of professional football,” said Thomas Tuchel after the game. “He has looked really good recently which has been proved today. It is completely normal that he could not have played with this pace and this intensity for over 90 minutes.” At only 18 years old, the midfielder has only just begun a career which is bound to be filled with plenty of experience at the top level of European football. He’s already courting the interest of major Premier League clubs. Speedy and quick, Pulisic is a defender’s nightmare. He has been chasing out onto the field with nothing to lose, and he’s been thriving with that mentality it. Versatile too - he can play on either wing. No doubt Pulisic is a name you’ll want on your team sheet and not on the opponents. Antoine Griezmann - Atletico Madrid When Diego Simeone signed Griezmann for £24m, a few people outside of Spain raised their eyebrows. Few complained though, for if Simeone was prepared to spend that much on him, he must have seen something special. Indeed he did: in his first season in Madrid, Griezmann scored 25 goals; last season, he scored 32, taking Atletico inches within Champions League glory. Unfortunately, Atletico won’t be wooed easily; this is 2016 remember, where Pogba is worth £89m. However, at 25, there is time to persuade the French international to join you (unless you start with Los Colchoneros). Griezmann was known as a wide player earlier in his career, but he has been moved into a more central position but Simeone has still used him from out wide from time to time. The fact of the matter is: you could put him anywhere in your front line and he would most likely still be a success. Andrea Belotti - Torino I say Torino, you say Joe Hart - and I don’t blame you. However, at the other end of the pitch, there is a young Italian doing wonders for Torino. With Italy struggling for goals at the Euro’s, it’s almost unsurprising to see Bellotti chase out of the gates at the start of this season, as he aims to prove former Torino and current Italy coach, Giampiero Ventura, that he’s worthy to lead his nation’s line. The wonderful thing about Belotti will be his price (hopefully). Hoping you don’t offend Torino with your bids too much that they set the bull out of their logo and onto you, Belotti should be yours for a fairly affordable price. Once again, his energy and determination makes him a handful for any defender and at 22, he’s still got plenty of time to make himself a continental household name. Unfortunately, you won't ever be able to see his bizarre celebration - but we consider that a good thing. What player's are you looking forward to managing in FMM17? Let us know below!
  24. Hello and welcome to a new series of simulations, where I will holiday through major events to see what the outcome is, according to Football Manager Mobile. The first article of the series will be concentrating on the upcoming January transfer window, which opens in just over a weeks time. Top 5 Deals 5. Marcelo Brozovic joined Atletico Madrid from Inter Milan for £32.5m. The Croatian internation racked up 2 goals and 5 assists in 25 games for the Italian side. The 24 year-old is likely to be deployed as attacking support for striker Antoine Griezmann. 4. At number 4, it's another recruit for Diego Simeone's side, as they completed the signing of centre-back Kostas Manolas from Roma for £32.5m. In 21 appearances for Roma, the Greek managed to bag a goal and 2 assists from defence. Manolas will likely play alongside club vice-captain Diego Godin. 3. Barcelona completed the signing of midfielder Jorginho from Napoli for £34m. 3 assists in 22 games was enough for the Catalan club to snap up the Italian. Jorginho is unlikely to have a starting place in the Barcelona starting XI, as Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic would probably remain as the midfield partnership, but Jorginho could be a replacement for Iniesta once the Spaniard retires. 2. Xherdan Shaqiri quit Stoke for Valencia as he moved for a whopping £36m. It took Valencia 2 bids to lure the Swiss away from the Premier League, after a previous bid of £30m was turned down. 2 goals and 5 assists in 22 games for Stoke City resulted in Shaqiri's departure to Spain. Shaqiri will no doubt be a starter for Valencia, as he can either play on the wing, or as the number 10 role behind loanee striker Munir El Haddidi. 1. Finally, at number 1 as the biggest transfer of the 2017 January transfer window, it's a defensive recruitment for Bayern Munich. Alessio Romagnoli joined the German champions from AC Milan for £40m, and has been touted as one of the best young defenders in the world. Romagnoli is likely to play alongisde fellow new signing Mats Hummels or Jerome Boateng. Other Major Deals Let's have a look at the other major transfers that took place in January 2017 : Bayern Munich clinched another 2 major signings in Fabinho and Carlos Vela for a combined fee of £51m. Juventus signed both Julian Weigl from Borussia Dortmund, and Sporting CP's Rui Patricio. Staying in Italy, Lucas Biglia and Newcastle United centre-back Chancel Mbemba both signed for Roma. Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly moved to the red half of Madrid to beef up the defence. And finally, after rumoured interest from Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid, Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang signed for the latter, for a bargain fee of £18.75m. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. Part 2 will be out next week, where I look at the 2017 summer transfer window. In the meantime, I hope you all have a great Christmas!
  25. Introduction 10 years in football is a long time. Teams either rise or fall, managers come and go, and ultimately, some players become world superstars. In this new series, I'll be simulating 10 years into the future of Football Manager Mobile 2017, to see just how much the football landscape changes. The third part of the series will be focused on Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Jonathan Tah. 2016 As always, let's have a look at Jonathan Tah's stats as of 2016. As you can see, Tah has a lot of green stats, including aerial, tackling and strength, which are probably the 3 most vital stats for a centre-back. Understandably, his 2 weakest stats are shooting and movement, which stand at 7 and 8 respectively. Lastly, his £10.25m value makes him one of the most expensive centre-backs under the age of 21 on the game. 2026 And this is how 2026 looks in Jonathan Tah's world.. Now a Tottenham Hotspur player, Tah has blossomed into one of the best, and most expensive players on the game, with his value shooting up to £56m, just over 5 times his 2016 value. A lot of his stats have rapidly improved, with his tackling and stamina being the most improved, both increasing by 4. Although it isn't really important, it's also worth noting that he is now earning £140,000 per-week, much more than his 2016 wage of £19,000. Transfers Jonathan Tah was involved in 2 big transfers during the 10 year simulation, moving to Real Madrid in 2018 for a fee of £27m. After what looked like 2 succesful years in Spain, he was shipped to his current club Tottenham Hotspur for £38.5m in 2020. Achievements 5 major trophies for Tah, which includes the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid at the end of the 2018-2019 season. He also won La Liga and the Club World Cup during his time in the capital. On a personal level, Tah won the Youth Player of The Year at the end of the 2016-2017 season, showing the recognition of his potential that he has since fulfilled. Thanks for reading part 3, and I hope you enjoyed. Part 4 will be out next week.