Matchdays one of the most exciting times when playing Football Manager, have you prepared? Has training been a good week? How will you set up? So many questions to get stuck into in the week leading up to a fixture. I’m going to show you what I do in my current Lazio save the week leading up to a game.
As you can see we are 4 games away till the end of the season and still in great shape to get that champions league spot that the bookmakers and media said we wouldn’t. I have highlighted Fiorentina also due to them being our next opponents, a huge game for us, a win really nails a top 4 finish for us. Inter Milan are closing in and each game we play now is vital, I really want this Champions League spot in my first season.
So with this game fastly approaching us what do, I like to take a look at?
- Squad Availability
- Opposition Threats
- Opposition Weaknesses
- Tactical Changes
- Review – Did we get it correct
Squad Availability – First thing I always check is what players are available and what players might have a chance to feature in this fixture also who won’t feature.
So we have a huge problem where my star goalkeeper who has the most clean sheets in the league thus far is out injured, along with Luis Alberto and Milan Badelj another 2 of our best players this season. A huge blow for us in the run-up to a tough season finish. Fredrik Gulbrandsen should be fine to play 45 minutes which will suit me as he is our 2nd/3rd choice striker. Acerbi another fine defender is also injured and will not feature this coming weekend. We are light on numbers and will have to dig very deep into getting a vital 3 points with the squad I can put out.
Training – All season I keep a very close eye on players training performances good and the bad, It means a lot to me when a player is enjoying training which will show in his matchday performances.
With my goalkeeper out injured Proto would be close to starting but this week and in recent weeks, his training has been very poor. This gives me a tough decision in whether I should trust him going into such a huge match for the club, I’m already thinking of leaving him on the bench and trusting my younger keeper with the number 1 jersey.
Felipe Caicedo, my striker that rarely gets game time due to Immobile being so good for us is showing in his training, he will be on the bench again this week. Martin Caceres has trained poorly for the first week in a while and with Acerbi out injured it was between him and 22-year-old Luiz Felipe, I think the youngster may get another chance to show me he is ready for the first team.
Every single week Ciro Immobile trains outstanding and his performances match that, what a huge player he is for us. The first name on the team sheet weekly is Ciro and versus Fiorentina, it will be no different. I’m so pleased to see 17-year-old Scaffidi training well after only being bought up to the first team squad 3 weeks ago a place on the bench has his name on it and I won’t be worried if he needs to come on for us. January signing Barella has had a rocky patch of form in his last 5 games so seeing him back training well is a great sight, he has had 1 or 2 small injuries also, I’m hoping now he is raring to go. Barella is a big player for us and someone I like building the team around.
Let’s take a quick look at how I have set up this weeks training schedule…
I have decided to go with this setup for a number of reasons. Fiorentina is in great form winning 4 out of their 5 previous games, a lot better than our record in the previous 5. Whatever happens this game we can’t lose so I wont to make sure we are defensively ready to handle their attacking threat.
I always take a glance of my next opponents squad and see their inform players and who I should be worried about. Simeone worries me with his aerial threat so I wanted to work on that this week along with ground defence. Simeone has scored a lot of headers this season which I need to look at stopping. He is the league’s 2nd highest goal scorer so far this campaign.
I always work on teamwork every week and especially before a huge fixture it brings the squad together more going into the weekend. Fiorentina has a great defensive record in their last few games, not conceding many at all so we need to be patient when attacking and focus a little harder on chance creation. The last training before a matchday I always go with either DEF Shape or ATT shape depending on my opponent and their current form.
This is how I have planned out training on Football Manager 2019 all year and had great success with Velez and I have Lazio looking very sharp. I do training week by week takes a little time but it’s what works for me and what I enjoy. Training in this years game is absolutely brilliant and the best addition, in my opinion.
Tactical Decisions – I don’t like making huge tactical changes weekly but I will tweak it slightly if needed once I have gone over the oppositions recent games.
I send a scout out to look at the teams last game so I can work off that feedback on what I need to change tactically. I then personally take a glance at the squad and see the top performers in the last 5 games so I can take a closer look at them.
I, of course, take a quick look at the lineup and the tactic used last game and notice it’s similar to how they have been all season. My tactic should be fine against this and I don’t see no major issues with it.
Before we look at the report I have jotted down that Simeone and Chiesa need to be tightly marked throughout the game, they’re having great seasons. Chiesa also has a bad disciplinary record so I will be tacking hard on him to try to wind him up.
The report is back with me very quickly and I have noticed a couple of points that may play to my advantage.
Last game they beat Napoli 2-0 and was very impressive in doing so but I noticed when they have the ball they like being in central areas with their wingers cutting in rather than staying out wide. I can tell my team to stay more narrow when we are out of possession. I do this anyway but I want my wing-backs getting some width when we have the ball they have conceded a good number of goals from crosses this season so I will try to add to that. When we have the ball, the width will be a huge part of what we do wing-backs attacking I believe will cause them problems.
Another small thing I noticed was the number of times they lost possession, I think with our high tempo and us getting stuck in we can really trouble them on the ball and win back the ball for counter attacks. The wing-backs I use are great at interceptions so this will hopefully work well come Sunday.
Their first goal is something I took a look at and wanted to see how the wingers played a part, as they have 2 very good players out wide and they’ve pulled the strings all season, linking up perfectly with Simeone. The movement map on the first goals showed this…
Both wingers cut in to create a goal and both of them got an assist last game. I need to tightly mark these 2 players and hope they have a bad game. My back 3 and 2 wing-backs hopefully should deal with the cutting in, we have a solid defence this season lets hope it continues.
I do this for every match but the bigger matches and versus tougher opponents, I do take a little extra time. I’m not saying you will win every game by analysing your opponents closely, but it will give you more of an advantage than a disadvantage.
The reason I looked at the stats above is that I know the wingers are lethal for Fiorentina so knowing what they do with the ball gives me a chance at trying to handle them. When my team doesn’t have the ball we defend narrow and do most games unless the team play very wide so knowing their average position in possession once again helps me set up my defensive line. I always take a look at the goals from their last game and seeing what movement was used especially from the inform targets I jotted down earlier. I haven’t taken a huge interest at their defence set up all I know is they use a back 4 but will have a second choice right back involved, due to a suspension. I said earlier this game would be fine if we just didn’t lose, a point is great hence why I have concentrated more on their attacking ability rather than defensive ability.
We hit Fiorentina at the wrong time, they’re the best team on current form at this stage of the season. My weakened squad needs a really good team talk to get them fired up for a huge occasion.
Matchday is here training has been good this week and this is my chosen 11 to hopefully grind out a result.
Here is how we line up for today’s fixture, I have put everything in place we talked about earlier. I usually play with an attacking mentality, but today we are going positive instead. My wing-backs on attack duty to try to spread a little width when we have the ball.
Did all the hard work of analysing Fiorentina pay off? Did we handle their inform threats?
YES, we did a cracking 1-0 result sees us in a great position to grab a top 4 spot.
The width I wanted was executed perfectly we had so much space just like I imagined, the goal came from this that won us the game. Durmisi had a great game and they really struggled to handle him all game.
Simeone and Chiesa had shocking games due to the tight marking I ordered. They had no time on the ball and we doubled up on them.
The poor ratings above show how well we dealt with them, I couldn’t be happier with how we went about our business targeting their major threats. Not one of their players managed to get over a 7.0 rating and the last 5 games before us they have been fantastic.
We kept them down to 9 shots and 0 clear-cut chances, we had an impressive 60% of the possession. Chiesa also got another yellow card like I wanted him too early on. Overall the homework I have done has been a huge part of why we got three points today. Finding out about their narrow play has won us this game and it could have easily been 3/4 goals to us.
That’s all for today hope you have enjoyed how I act on my week before a game. Doing this every game won’t mean a win every game but it will certainly help.