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BatiGoal

FMM Begs Set Piece Instructions


FMM Begs Set Piece Instructions

 

What's a superb corner deliverer worth when you can't select your best header to be at the end of it? What's an excellent set piece taker worth when you have no say in whether he's to take free kicks near to the box or far, direct or indirect. Such tactical instructions are absolutely vital to a football manager game like FMM. They're the tactical details that can win you games or lose you games, just like in real life. They're the tactical details that can bring FMM to the next level. Some people need the addition of new leagues. I understand that and I'm very happy for them. Others love the attention SI are paying to player and media interaction. I understand that as well and I'm very happy for those people too. Then mentoring comes, then reserve teams, next there's more leagues perhaps or a little more chitchat interaction. It's all very much appreciated, don't get me wrong, but I feel it's time to please the loyal and hardcore fans of FMM. And if it wasn't just for that, it's for adding a core feature of a game that should never have been ignored for years in the first place. It's been long overdue. A lot has been said already over the years regarding one of FMM's biggest "misses", FMM's own "gaping hole" or FMM's deliberate or undeliberate attempt to leave out a vital piece of the tactical puzzle that many football managers of the game have been craving for for years.

Here's a collection of the most important set-piece instructions that the people in this community have written about, discussed into detail or requested in one thread or another.

 

Goal Kicks

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This may not be the most requested instruction in the list, yet in the modern game it's becoming a very important piece to the tactical puzzle for managers seeking to build the attack from the back. Nobody wants to see the pass completion rate of GKs in its current state, 4  passes completed from 17 on a good day. Enable a manager to prioritize his CBs to receive the ball from the GK. Where's my Ball Playing Defender at? Is my Libero having a good game? If no defenders open to receive a pass, a second instruction tells a GK to play it long, center or wide. Obviously, the ability to perform this task to successful completion would very much depend on the necessary skill set of a GK. But being able to choose in slightly more detail how we wish to build attacks would greatly add to the tactical experience of the game. 

 

Throw Ins

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Another instruction that may not have been as heavily requested as some others, we'll get to the more popular ones in a bit, but for teams with the right "pair of hands" this certainly can be a very useful weapon. The little bit of football enthusiast can remember one or two goals that came directly from a throw-in. Or at least one that's tested the opponent's organizational structure at the back. Short throw-ins with the aim to hold possession and/or waste time. Long throw-ins to launch attacks for our headers in the box. Quick throw-ins to exploit the open space or simply to give the opponent less time to re-structure. Again, how well these things are executed would greatly depend on the ability of the throw-in taker. At present, we have no say in the matter. That metaphorical ball still lies in the game's court. 

 

Defending Corners

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So many variables yet no options given when defending corners, not one. Where do we start. OK, just to name a few, do we place a player on the near post or on the far post? Both or neither? Which of my players are burdened with such tasks, and who's assigned to staying near the corner taker(s) as to minimize chances of being surprised with a short version. While we're at it, I'd like to shift the main responsibility of stopping that towering Target Man, who's already on a corner goal btw, to my best Center Back. Sometimes it's best to fight power with power and I'd like to be given that possibility. Across the field, blue Advanced Forward dot #19 is the more technical but less pacier one of the scoring pair up front. An option to swap positions with his pacey cousin would be most welcome. A small detail that enhances one's counter-attacking intentions of turning draws into wins. How can one play a football manager game without setting these instructions for players I know better than anyone else. Instead, having the game somewhat randomly pre-instruct our players for us within the formation we're playing, regardless the circumstances. We as managers need to be in charge of such tactical tweaks. After all, they could be game changers, and at the end of the day it could save our job. 

 

Zone Marking vs Man Marking

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This is basically an extension to my previous point. Very effective when defending corners, especially with the intention of sharp counter-attacking moves once retrieving the ball. Obviously, there are certain risks involved too, but that's the Risk Vs Reward a manager may - or needs, given the minutes on the clock - opt to play for. Examine screenshot above. However amateurish it may look, we're in a top division. I'm the manager of Blue Dots City Vs Atletico White Dots, and we're clearly Zone Marking. Well, or could we possibly be Man Marking 7 vs 2 strikers. A possible parking-the-bus strategy opted for by the AI manager "watching over me". Whatever the above tactical embarrassement shows, I think - correction - I know I can do better if given the button pad. At least 3 out of those 7 should be standing 10-20 yards to the front to occupy midfield and be available for a pass or second ball. This is an addition I'd absolutely love to see in FMM. Even if it were in the simplest of forms, it would add an extra layer of tactical depth to our beloved game.

 

Attacking Corners

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On the other side of the spectrum we have corners to take the opponent's goal under fire. I could literally waste hundreds of words on this single instruction alone, but I'll shorten it to the two main advantages I see. Firstly, ever since playing my "Scoring With A Defender" career I've noticed a very significant tactical decision the game makes for us. Depending on the formation and the number of defenders, the game selects which of the CBs go forward to support the attack during corners, and which stay put. Trust me, that career led me to delve in detail. Oftentimes playing 2 CBs both get into the box, however, never all 3 when playing a 5-defender formation like in the screenshot above. Not that I'd ever send all three, but I'd like the option to in case of the Hail Mary and all. As I would the option to pick between any of my players. Yellow defending dot #21 is the unfortunate chosen CB who's instructed (not by me) to not get anywhere near their box, regardless his magnificent heading capabilities. Clever managers know how to work around that tactical hiccup and swap CB positions. This time-waste of having to discover why my top defender wasn't ever scoring enough at corners while his fellow CBs were, should never be allowed to happen. A simple corner instruction would help a simple manager to get his message across.

A second point is that we're always seeing the same striker at the near post. And again, depending on formation and number of forwards, this too is a pre-programmed thing kept out of our managerial hands. Why can't I as the boss determine where my best headers go? I'm 100% convinced the fat majority of us managers don't want the game to instruct our players for us. Such instructions are crucial to our challenges and careers, we'd very much like to make those calls ourselves, thank you.

 

Indirect Free Kicks

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The current version of the game makes no distinction between near or far, direct or indirect, provided we're on the opponent half of the pitch. There's little more upsetting than watching your TM taking an indirect free kick far from the goal, where he'd be much better served at the end of it to smash the ball into the net. So this ever returning dilemma I have, and surely many of you alike, is prioritizing free kick takers. Do I go with my long-distance shooter? Trust my set piece specialist? My most technically gifted crosser of the ball? What if either one is my best header? In that case I can't really ever pick the right man for the job if we aren't given all information. How many yards to the goal? Is it a direct free kick? The game in its current state simply allows for no good answer, least damaging at best. This differs per matchday, but what generally happens now is that some free kicks work well and others badly. That's in big part the roll of the dice or the "one size fits all" approach we're forced to take. The lack of tactical options we currently have at our disposal kind of devalues today's crop of set piece Gods. 

 

Direct Free Kicks

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This is in many ways the same as the previous instruction. The exact same questions should be asked yet the exact opposite action taken. With direct free kicks, such as shown above, and at a relatively close range to the goal, also such as shown above, we as managers have all the necessary info to make the best next step for the team. Perhaps the only missing data is whether we're kicking free from the right or the left. In that case we'd like a left-footer for the right zone and a right-footer for the left zone. Unless of course one's managerial preferences lean towards the opposite approach. If (in)direct free kicks is a hard thing to implement, perhaps the zonal set piece system as an alternative deserves consideration. Should work nearly as well, giving the managers the option to select set piece takers according to distance to the goal. This, just like in real life, is how one fulfills the potential of a player's wide range of talents. Not to mention why we decide to buy certain individuals in the first place. Placing more emphasis on such set piece characteristics would undoubtedly put an entirely new spin on a manager's transfer dealings.

 

Select Set Piece-Takers In-Game

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This last one is a bonus. It requires the game already offering us these more detailed set piece instructions, so I don't want to get ahead of myself. At the same time, it's been requested a good number of times so I couldn't leave it unmentioned. A very useful option for a manager to have. For instance, to get a player a third goal for a hattrick, or to change your regular penalty taker in-game because he's having a nightmare of a match. No manager wants to see his low confidence player miss a penalty in any game, competitive or friendly. Another very useful benefit of this instruction could be to allow your out-of-form star player to get an easy goal to boost his ego. And how about letting a new signing score and hit the ground running at his new club. Sometimes it's the simplest of things that can have the biggest of effects. That's the beauty of having such options available. The more casual player could still ignore the extra buttons, much like the case today, while the less casual has an extra button or two to push.

 

Final Words

I understand there's a lot up here and I also understand that we're unlikely to see everything implemented we're asking for. I'm not asking for a full fat FM with great in-depth detail that comes with it. At the moment, we're playing a version of FMM that has none of the above. None. No developer can convince me this was how the game was intended to be designed from the start, lacking a key ingredient. I refuse to believe that recipe. So what I am asking is that set piece instructions are prioritized over other low-key stuff as forthcoming features. And sooner rather than later make their long-awaited introduction into FMM, be it in the simplest of forms possible to SI. 

I had a much larger paragraph written here, but to be honest, I didn't feel it necessary to repeat myself. I think you get the point, so instead I'll leave you with the words as to why I felt compelled to writing this piece: "Sometimes I feel like a mere assistant to the AI manager that is making the biggest tactical decisions for me".

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Very good article and a drum I've been beating for years, the fact this aspect of football is completely ignored infuriates me so much! It just makes any set piece goal for or against feel completely unfair and undeserved. It's just cheap. 

To think the PSP game had some of these options :(

Then you remember we don't have these options as SI think we're to thick to understand them......Not surprised the game is so dumbed down now. 

Spoiler

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10 hours ago, Ashez said:

Very good article and a drum I've been beating for years, the fact this aspect of football is completely ignored infuriates me so much!

Thanks Ashez, I think it's a drum we need to continue to beat in order to remind SI how we feel about it. I'm hopeful. 

11 hours ago, Ashez said:

Then you remember we don't have these options as SI think we're to thick to understand them

Must've been a poor attempt at sarcasm as even SI can't come up with excuses this cheap. Surely. 

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I can’t disagree with a word of this Bati, I see people get excited about new features each year but it’s stuff like mentoring which is ok. Its match day is where we should be able to try and make the real difference though and some or all of these features would do that.

My only wonder as to why they might be reluctant to do this especially with corners is just how exploitable set piece instructions can be on PC or at least in the past. I remember around FM15 or 16 it was simply a case of having a big man on the near post who would nod in or flick on for someone else and about 30 goals a season would result (sound familiar?).

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2 hours ago, Foxy said:

My only wonder as to why they might be reluctant to do this especially with corners is just how exploitable set piece instructions can be on PC or at least in the past.

It'd be absurd if they deliberately ignored this feature so I think the only viable answer is what you said. Either that, exploitable, or simply not doing what it's intended to do. 

The mere fact of knowing they're working on it alone, trying to make it click would give me hope. But it feels like they've given up on it, from their replies over the years. 

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Great article especially the throw in set piece, many teams use this feature in RL as a corner and the amount of goals you see from them! Agree SI have to pull there finger out abit. I dont mind that extra 10/15 mins sorting my tactic out to how I like it .

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Just imagine collected set piece stats 😍😍

Hit first man, hit wall, conversation rate, fouls won/conceded, penalty save/score side strength, and so on

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7 hours ago, samhardy said:

Brilliant article Bati really hit the nail on the head. It’s embarrassing that set piece control has actually declined from what it was a decade ago.

Thanks Sam. Never know what you have until it's not there, and all that. But I guess in this case we did know. 

6 hours ago, leedsunited87 said:

Great article especially the throw in set piece, many teams use this feature in RL as a corner and the amount of goals you see from them! Agree SI have to pull there finger out abit. I dont mind that extra 10/15 mins sorting my tactic out to how I like it .

Thanks Leedsman, yeah, the extra minutes are minutes well spent for the tacticians in our midst. While anyone could still opt for shifting that responsibility to the game like is the case right now. 

6 hours ago, Ashez said:

Just imagine collected set piece stats 😍😍

Hit first man, hit wall, conversation rate, fouls won/conceded, penalty save/score side strength, and so on

Oh my god, was that my first FMM org... 😲 

5 hours ago, smoggy90 said:

Great article BG and spot on with your analysis and comments. 

Thanks Smoggy, much appreciated.

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What I'd also like to add is goalkeepers scoring goals. So if you have a really windy day, a keeper could score from his goal kick, a free kick from inside or outside his box, free kicks as we know of a few that have taken them and pens! I would love to see this feature on the next FM, and it's a shame we cant see how many GKs have scored etc

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3 hours ago, leedsunited87 said:

What I'd also like to add is goalkeepers scoring goals. So if you have a really windy day, a keeper could score from his goal kick, a free kick from inside or outside his box,

I've seen 100+ yard goals posted before so this doesn't sound that unlikely. A rare event of course IRL but they're there. 

3 hours ago, leedsunited87 said:

and it's a shame we cant see how many GKs have scored etc

This shouldn't be too hard to add to the existing stats on their history page I think. It's a stat based game so any useful stats I welcome.

Since we're talking GKs.. how often have we seen GKs rush forward in stoppage time to salvage a point, or get a goal to avoid elimination. Not weekly, ok, but would be an interesting set piece option to have. 

Edited by BatiGoal

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1 hour ago, BatiGoal said:

I've seen 100+ yard goals posted before so this doesn't sound that unlikely. A rare event of course IRL but they're there. 

This shouldn't be too hard to add to the existing stats on their history page I think. It's a stat based game so any useful stats I welcome.

Since we're talking GKs.. how often have we seen GKs rush forward in stoppage time to salvage a point, or get a goal to avoid elimination. Not weekly, ok, but would be an interesting set piece option to have. 

Scored over 50 goals! Thats quite impressive 

Edited by leedsunited87

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Great article Bati. I love this option in full fat FM, since you can set it once and forget about it. This year's game was very underwhelming in the tactics department and if anything, I'd also love to see more variety in corners - can we not have the Target Man always scoring from the near post!

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Thanks @Thirsk, agree more variety in corners and also free kicks for starters as these come in abundance every game. Well, tbh, I'm just asking for something, anything, cause right now we have next to nothing. 

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Brilliant article Bati, set pieces are such an important part of the game and to have practically no control over them on this game is rather poor really. It’s actually quite an interesting part of the game for many and imagine if say Tony Pulis loaded this game up, he’d be in disbelief I’m sure. The excuse they might have about it being too much time or hassle for the user to set up doesn’t wash with me as the training that they added last year also takes a fair bit of time but can just be left to the assistant for those who don’t want to delve into it. As you’ve pointed out the same thing would be possible with set pieces and if left untouched would probably just be how they are set now I’d imagine.

I do remember times years ago on the PC games when there were some problems with near post corners in terms of exploits but I’m almost certain that they kind of got on top of that at times. Regardless they added the new training last year with the added aerial feature and did nothing about that all year so doesn’t look as if they’re bothered anyway on that front so difficult for them to use that excuse.

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Thanks Ian. 

3 hours ago, Ian said:

The excuse they might have about it being too much time or hassle for the user to set up doesn’t wash with me as the training that they added last year also takes a fair bit of time but can just be left to the assistant for those who don’t want to delve into it.

Which is why their comment of it "being too much too handle" for the user makes little sense. Sounds like the opposite tbh, a little too much for them to implement. But I'd accept that if they came out saying that. Take all the time you need in that case. It's a feature very much worth waiting for. 

3 hours ago, Ian said:

I do remember times years ago on the PC games when there were some problems with near post corners in terms of exploits but I’m almost certain that they kind of got on top of that at times.

I say that's a luxury problem to have tbh. And altho it can be very time consuming to fight the right balance between player role functions and such tactical instructions, it's a final tweak to the end product of a feature that can make a handheld game really stand out from others. 

Well, from from a fan's perspective anyway.

Edited by BatiGoal

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My corners are always scored by the near post player, no other player scores from corners. Gets boring pretty fast

Edited by MohitMax Roy

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4 hours ago, MohitMax Roy said:

My corners are always scored by the near post player, no other player scores from corners. Gets boring pretty fast

A football manager game where the only corner instruction a manager is able to make is selecting the taker. No short corners, no second post options, no placing the ball on the edge of the box, no selecting our best headers, nor our most physically adept players. Nothing of the sort.

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