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Ashez

The Final Third Conundrum


The Final Third Conundrum

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Recently a comment about the final third instructions caught my eye and sparked a thought process which turned into a can of worms in my mind. Let's be clear no-one here knows the inner workings of the game bar the staff at SI so 99% of the things posted here are theories or opinions, in some cases they're backed up by evidence and in others they're more opinion or speculation....This is purely speculation. 

However most of the tactical instructions we have available are pretty cut and dry and easy to understand. How high your defensive line is or if you play an offside trap is clearly a style of play implemented by the manager, we have those options to dictate the play in a way we see fit. These options are clearly visible on the engine and easily enforced by your side, sure mistakes will happen and your CB might break the offside line from time to time but the core principle of the order is in effect. Some instructions are a little less obvious however like an intelligent player may decide to time waste late in a match by taking a slow throw in or running the ball to the corner flag, this might not be a clear order from the management but a smart player could take advantage of the situation, just like a goalkeeper on short passing has the option of booting the ball up field if he's under pressure. I think these examples are pretty clear and obvious for why they'd be used or why a player might go rogue and do what's best in the current situation. 

So what about the final third instructions? In my opinion I think this is where the water gets murky, I think we all assume that every option is on the table regardless of if they're selected or not. For example if you don't have shoot on sight selected it's within reason that if the opportunity presents itself a player might take a pop at goal. In my opinion these instructions are more preferences than options set in stone as no team could rely on a handful of these options, as every opposition and every attack is unique requiring a different approach in that moment. So that leads me to believe while we set preferences the actual decision is made by the player on the pitch, that players stats in areas like decisions, creativity, leadership and various hidden stats will dictate how the play unfolds and if your preferences are followed or not. 

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I think that's a logical trail of thought which leaves plenty of things open, however if this is the case what happens if you have an elite team? If we can assume the players stats will help them make the correct decision surely we'd be better off turning these final third instructions off and trusting the elite players to make the right call? Perhaps the players might do as instructed more often than not but what if that means we're making the wrong call? Let's be clear the information available to us is extremely vague and offers hardly any insight but in that moment the player in question will see the full picture, he'll see his options and if his stats are good enough in theory he'd make the right pass or take the shot on instead of trying to please his manager. However this could also already be the case as we've already discussed how all options are always on the table so what if your players just ignore you anyway and trust their judgement making these options redundant? I've never had shoot on sight selected but we all know certain roles like the ISF are basically designed with that trait as their main focus, their entire role is to cut inside and shoot regardless of the options we have selected. Then every player has their own stat spread and player traits which we can only assume impacts how the player performs in his role, so what if they contradict the final third options we've selected? 

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Finally I wonder how much our manager reputation feeds into this discussion as in theory if you're the top rank manager the players would listen to you more than if you were a rookie, so are these instructions useless for novice managers with big reputation players? Yet if you're a world class manager with elite players would you be better off trusting their decision making? Would average players listen to a superstar manager and in fact produce the purest implementation of your ideas and philosophy? 

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Personally I've found speculating on this subject in my own head fascinating so I decided to bring it to the table and see the communities thoughts. Do elite players listen to us? Should we encourage that when they have more information available than us? Do these final third instructions mean anything at all? My head hurts and I'm in deep!

As always thank you for reading, all comments and discussions are massively encouraged. 

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Interesting article that.

Decisions should impact it a lot as a player won’t in a split second think “what would the manager want” he would just do what seems best and it would be instinctive.

I see them as more of a pattern of play that you want the team to implement but in the heat of battle the players will make decisions that may go against that and if they have good decisions they are more likely to be the right choice. Then it’s down to there other attributes if they can successfully do what they intended.

I know you won’t want reminding of this but Pep famously doesn’t like his players taking too many shots outside the area but the other week Kompany used his initiative and cracked in the goal that basically won them the title against what his manager would have wanted. This was an elite player taking it upon himself to try and make something happen outside of any “game plan” and he had the talent to pull it off.

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Interesting thought and what foxy said about Kompany and Pep was actually a perfect example of this.

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Great article Ash.

Would it be more beneficial to not select any final 3rd instructions then if you have world class players and a world class manager reputation?

 

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Great article Ash - really interesting. Just out of interest, where do you (or anyone else on here) think these roles affect? For example,  if you select 'early crosses', does it get applied to standard full backs or just wingers? The same with through-balls - do certain roles play them?

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An interesting article this and it’s something I often think about. I’m with foxy in that I see it as the style of play you are trying to implement but players are not robots and they will at times go against the instructions.

With top teams on FMM I’ve often took the approach of leaving them all off as quality players with good decision making should make the correct decision most of the time and have the ability to implement it.

Of course if I’m going for a goalscoring challenge then I’ll try to select the ones which will hopefully get me more chances for the goalscorer.

For example in my double trouble attempt I’m going with Work Ball into Box to hopefully stop the midfielders from going for goal and Through Ball to try and get the strikers in on goal as much as possible. I left the Early Cross or Look for Overlap off as I can see a time and place for both. 

I’ve got a few more theories on the workings of the instructions but it might all be hogwash so I’ll leave it there for now.

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1 hour ago, Foxy said:

Interesting article that.

Decisions should impact it a lot as a player won’t in a split second think “what would the manager want” he would just do what seems best and it would be instinctive.

I see them as more of a pattern of play that you want the team to implement but in the heat of battle the players will make decisions that may go against that and if they have good decisions they are more likely to be the right choice. Then it’s down to there other attributes if they can successfully do what they intended.

I know you won’t want reminding of this but Pep famously doesn’t like his players taking too many shots outside the area but the other week Kompany used his initiative and cracked in the goal that basically won them the title against what his manager would have wanted. This was an elite player taking it upon himself to try and make something happen outside of any “game plan” and he had the talent to pull it off.

All excellent points mate, my concern is however we have no influence on this. Yes Kompany scored a worldie to win the title but that could have just as easily gone into the stands and potentially cost them an attack that could cost them the league. Yes it's small margins and that's football but are we truly saying our control is even more limited than we first thought? 

1 hour ago, Gunners Rishi said:

Interesting thought and what foxy said about Kompany and Pep was actually a perfect example of this.

Thanks

1 hour ago, Woody said:

Great article Ash.

Would it be more beneficial to not select any final 3rd instructions then if you have world class players and a world class manager reputation?

 

That's the point I was attempting to make, in that situation are we better off just letting the players do as they like? We can't influence it anyway if we assume the settings are an outline and not a rule and that players do as they like. It's not like we know they went against our wishes or the results of their actions be them positive or negative. 

What if your tactic isn't working purely because a key component does what he likes more than he's told? Like it's impossible for us to know. 

1 hour ago, Rob said:

Great article Ash - really interesting. Just out of interest, where do you (or anyone else on here) think these roles affect? For example,  if you select 'early crosses', does it get applied to standard full backs or just wingers? The same with through-balls - do certain roles play them?

Your guess is as good as mine mate, especially as I play com only and we don't have the stats to have any idea. 

You may select through balls but what if that's not a trait of you CM? Or you might not select it but you CM might do it anyway as it's his trait. 

Like I said this shit goes deep and it's fascinating!

27 minutes ago, 1759 said:

leaving them all off as quality players with good decision making should make the correct decision most of the time

So what is our purpose outside of player selection and pressing continue? 😛

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12 hours ago, Ashez said:

All excellent points mate, my concern is however we have no influence on this. Yes Kompany scored a worldie to win the title but that could have just as easily gone into the stands and potentially cost them an attack that could cost them the league. Yes it's small margins and that's football but are we truly saying our control is even more limited than we first thought? 

Thanks

That's the point I was attempting to make, in that situation are we better off just letting the players do as they like? We can't influence it anyway if we assume the settings are an outline and not a rule and that players do as they like. It's not like we know they went against our wishes or the results of their actions be them positive or negative. 

What if your tactic isn't working purely because a key component does what he likes more than he's told? Like it's impossible for us to know. 

Your guess is as good as mine mate, especially as I play com only and we don't have the stats to have any idea. 

You may select through balls but what if that's not a trait of you CM? Or you might not select it but you CM might do it anyway as it's his trait. 

Like I said this shit goes deep and it's fascinating!

So what is our purpose outside of player selection and pressing continue? 😛

If i remember correctly the lost boy that is @BatiGoal posted a tactic that had no final 3rd instructions selected. 

 

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Since you posted this I’ve been thinking about role traits. I’ve played the game a lot this year and I’d like to think I’ve learnt something but I can honestly say I’ve taken little to no notice of role traits.

I was never sure if they did anything so just stuck to attributes but you’d like to think they do something. 

I’ll pay more attention to them now though to see if I notice anything with them.

Looking at Brewster’s there with shoots from distance and knowing that the shooting attribute is split behind the scenes to finishing and long shots so maybe that trait indicates that his shooting is slanted more to the long shot side. Of course the trait might just mean he likes to shoot from distance and isn’t particularly great at it but it’s interesting none the less.

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32 minutes ago, 1759 said:

was never sure if they did anything so just stuck to attributes but you’d like to think they do something

Personally I stick 100% to a players attributes and never ever look at role traits. Partly because I don’t think they mean much and secondly I just never think about it tbh as they are hidden away on a page a rarely look at.

Maybe it is something I should pay more attention to but unless someone can convince me that they do what they say and have an impact I’m not sure I will.

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48 minutes ago, 1759 said:

Since you posted this I’ve been thinking about role traits. I’ve played the game a lot this year and I’d like to think I’ve learnt something but I can honestly say I’ve taken little to no notice of role traits.

I was never sure if they did anything so just stuck to attributes but you’d like to think they do something. 

I’ll pay more attention to them now though to see if I notice anything with them.

Looking at Brewster’s there with shoots from distance and knowing that the shooting attribute is split behind the scenes to finishing and long shots so maybe that trait indicates that his shooting is slanted more to the long shot side. Of course the trait might just mean he likes to shoot from distance and isn’t particularly great at it but it’s interesting none the less.

 

13 minutes ago, Foxy said:

Personally I stick 100% to a players attributes and never ever look at role traits. Partly because I don’t think they mean much and secondly I just never think about it tbh as they are hidden away on a page a rarely look at.

Maybe it is something I should pay more attention to but unless someone can convince me that they do what they say and have an impact I’m not sure I will.

I'm with @Foxyhere as traits mean next to nothing. We know they're tied to the players stats (pretty sure Marc or a SI account said this somewhere) and they change on a whim as the stats do. 

I spent hours and I mean hours stat searching for the perfect player for an idea and I paid attention to the traits. Eventually I found a less than perfect player stat wise (with potential though) but he had the perfect traits for what I wanted, unfortunately a month into the save he lost that trait and the entire reason why I picked him. You have no idea if final third instructions or traits do anything as you can't see them visually and we don't have the stats to have an opinion otherwise. It's one of them where you're sceptical like myself or you blindly trust SI's word, personally I do feel there is some smoke and mirrors surrounding traits especially. 

If traits were important I think we'd be able to influence them and we'd be able to search for them. Imagine how improved the feature would be if you could decide positive and negative traits per role? It would at least give us some input into how they're played, then obviously you'd have players more or less likely to listen. 

Rafa famously had a disagreement with a Madrid player who continuously did out side of the foot passes, Rafa didn't like this as he wanted more guaranteed and safe passes which is apparently one area where Rafa list the dressing room. Managers would tell a player how to play the role, yes every player will have their own traits but a manager would encourage and discourage them. 

Not the best example as I'm on the spot but we bought Keita due to his trait of being an energetic engine who was a pressing demon, that trait made him stand out to us as his stats in that area were untouchable. However another trait of the African in Germany especially was his rashness as he got alot of red cards which thankfully he's not had for Liverpool yet. 

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interesting piece, Ash

i have some thoughts, not extensive though, and i suppose they can be taken with a fair pinch of salt as i clearly suck in general 😭

but i've been plodding along for quite a while now with just "Through Balls" selected. to be honest, i should probably reconsider that, as FMM loves a dribbler, but i like the idea of slipping balls through for the striker to be one-on-one. i don't put much thought into having amazing playmakers or attackers with good movement and a note that they make good runs, though - maybe if i did, it'd be more effective...

if i'm chasing a game, i'll stick Early Crosses and Shoot on Sight on, with the theory of getting the ball in the box and testing the keeper. but i don't start with those for fear of wasting possession (pumping the ball in early rather than looking for a better position, and bad players shooting too early).

i started on the game as Expressive but everything got better when i went Disciplined, so i've stuck with that in general now. but when i break through and become the awesome top-level dominant sort of team, i go away from Disciplined because it feels stupid to tell top-level players to stick to a rigid system (as you guys have discussed a bit). and then, much like Man City now or the classic Arsenal team trying to walk the ball in, I'll switch to "Work into Box", with the theory that my players are good enough to get through, and the modern XG philosophy that i want to get as close as possible so that i create a high-percentage opportunity - passing up a good shot for a great shot.

i don't generally use wing-backs, so i've never been too bothered about "look for overlap".

to use City and Arsenal as examples again, that's how i take it - they have a clear "Work into box" philosophy, so they'll mostly try that, but not exclusively, like you say.

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I'm currently managing Real Madrid and the tactic has no final third instructions. In the three seasons at Madrid I have managed to get 296 league goals 184 in cup competitions which is not unusual considering they are world class players. My midfielders tend to score a lot and that's due to their roles possibly as they are BBMs and APs. When I tried with tactics that had final third instructions I didn't score a lot. When not using any instructions in the final third it gives players more freedom to do what they see fit. 

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Amazing article. It’s ideas like this that drive my desire for the AI managers to be significantly improved. We discuss whether a particular calibre of player would make decisions based on our own managerial reputation but consider how it should affect the AI too. A player is much more likely to completely take what Sir Alex Ferguson instructed on board than, perhaps, Tony Adams.

Think how much more fun the game could become if AI managers were able to get the ‘best’ out of the players after recruiting their particular ‘type’ of player and whilst using their own tactics designed around these players.

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