This is the third article of our FM24 journey with Þór Akureyri in Iceland. In this article, we will be focusing on the system we use and explaining why it all fits together like it does. Before we dive into the Meet the System FM24 article, I’d highly recommend reading the other two chapters first. This will help you understand what our aims are and what we are trying to create long-term.

The first part discusses the DNA of the playing style we are creating and talks about who we are basing it on.

Fernando Diniz’s Philosophy In Iceland On FM24

The second one talks about the different systems we can use with the above framework. Giving a bit of insight into the actual tactics I’ll be using:

Þór Akureyri Tactical Strategies

 

Meet The System FM24 – The Jigsaw

When discussing tactics, specifically the player roles, I always liken them to jigsaw pieces. The analogy of football tactics being like jigsaws is an interesting way to describe the strategic aspect of the game. Let’s explore this analogy:

Pieces Fit Together

In a jigsaw puzzle, each piece has a specific place and role in completing the picture. Similarly, in football, each player has a specific position and role. The success of the team depends on how well these pieces fit together and complement each other.

Formation as the Framework

The formation in football can be likened to the framework of a jigsaw puzzle. It provides the structure for the team, determining the positioning of players on the field. Coaches often choose formations based on the strengths of their players and the style of play they want to implement.

Strategy and Planning

Like solving a jigsaw puzzle, football tactics involve strategy and planning. I analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing team, devise a game plan, and adjust tactics as the game progresses. Each move is strategic, aiming to outmanoeuvre the opponent.

Adaptability

Just as you may need to adjust your approach when solving a jigsaw puzzle, football teams must be adaptable. Tactical changes during a match, such as substitutions or alterations to the formation, are akin to finding the right pieces to fit unexpected challenges.

Attention to Detail

Both jigsaw puzzles and football tactics require attention to detail. Every small piece or tactical decision can impact the overall outcome. You need to know how your players are playing, the context of the match flow, and so on. If you just base it on ratings, then you need to grasp how the game is going or what the players are doing.

Patience

Jigsaw puzzles and football games both demand patience. The puzzle is solved piece by piece, and success in football often comes through a gradual buildup of plays and adherence to the game plan.

 

While the analogy helps understand the interconnected nature of football tactics, it’s essential to remember that the dynamic and unpredictable nature of a live match adds an extra layer of complexity compared to a static jigsaw puzzle.

 

To understand this tactic and how it functions, we need to break it all down into smaller chunks. This helps see what each individual does in all phases of play. Often, when watching Football Manager videos or reading blogs, this is a part of the game most people miss out on explaining. For this reason, I want this to be in-depth.

Meet The System FM24 – The Defence

The best place to start when talking about Meet The System is at the beginning, and that is the goalkeeper. At some stage, I’ll have a full article about goalkeepers. When playing Football Manager, we never really hear about how people utilise goalkeepers in the game.

The Keeper

You might see the odd person mention they’ve had their keeper score a couple of goals over the years, but for most parts, all we hear about keepers is people saying they ask theirs to distribute it to the defenders. I’d say that is about it for how people detail how to use goalkeepers; no one ever really talks about the other ways you can use the goalkeeper. I’m guessing most people see a goalkeeper and think, ‘There’s nothing much I can do with them’. But they can be a great tool. Some of the ways you can utilise them are:

  • Ballplaying keepers
  • Free kick-takers
  • Pinpoint accurate balls into the channels
  • Starting attacks
  • Putting the opposition on the back foot
  • Playing out of defence

People keep requesting that the game add ballplaying keepers to the game as a new role. But they already exist; you just need to unlock the ability by using the correct type of player in the role along with the team settings. This is why it needs to be a standalone topic, as it is a 4000+ word article.

 

For Meet the System FM24, we use a sweeper keeper on an attack duty.

FM24

If you think back to the previous article I wrote before this Meet the System one, you’ll remember I was quite aggressive. We use a high defensive line, a high press, and so on. So you want the keeper to reflect that and not be stuck on his line waiting for the play to come to him. We want him to be reactive to what is happening.

 

Using him as a sweeper keeper on attack duty allows him to come off his line to sweep up any balls down the channels or over the top of the defensive line. Allowing us to react better to situations and events around us.

 

Not only that, but during the build-up phases, he will also come out of his box. This gives us an extra man at the back to pass to, and it’s not unusual to see him play the ball to those attacking players making surging runs. Or he becomes another passing outlet. It can be used to beat the press.

The team instructions you use here can limit and hinder this type of play, as can the player you use. Someone with a higher eccentricity attribute will see him come out of the box more often. Using team instructions, such as playing out of defence, can impact how frequently or often he comes off his line. 

 

Especially if you want the player to move up into the defensive midfield areas. These limit that because you’re instructing players to do something specific, like pass the ball to the defenders instead. All of this takes away from the build-up phase of what a sweeper keeper can offer.

Another Example

In this one, I saw that the opposition liked to commit people forward, and their wingers stayed very high and quite central. So I asked the goalkeeper to slow play down and roll the ball out to my outer centre-backs.

What this did was give us a free man in defence when they pressed us. Not only that, but it allowed us to pass around the wingers into free space.  Along with this, it means that when you start the transition to attack, the opposition has to bring other players across to make up for the winger’s bad positioning.  This creates chaos centrally and lots of disorganised movement.

The Inverted Full-Back FM24

This is one of the new roles added to FM24, and one that I see confuses a lot of people as they don’t see the difference between this role and the inverted wingback. In essence, the distinction is not always easy to spot, and the specific roles can vary based on the team’s shape and team/player instructions. The in-game descriptions are more about describing the general movements and positioning of these players during matches.

 

It’s also worth remembering that the new role, inverted full-back, is part of the new positional rotation feature in FM24. Positional play is a new feature in the match engine and changes the way tactics work. Certain roles now rotate; this is done automatically in transitions.

Roles that trigger rotations:

Defenders

  • Inverted Wing-Back ( From FB & WB to DM )
  • Inverted Full-Back  ( From FB to CB )
  • Libero ( From CB to DM )

Midfielders

  • Half-Back ( From DM to CB )
  • Segundo Volante ( From DM to AM )
  • Roaming Playmaker ( From DM & CM to AM )
  • Box to Box Midfielder ( From CM to AM )
  • Central Midfielder Attack ( From CM to AM )
  • Advanced Playmaker ( From CM to AM )
  • Mezzala ( From CM to AM )

There is now space for three players in each area of the central pitch in transitional phases in FM24. So, for example, if you have two defensive midfielders, one as Segundo Volante and one as a defensive midfielder, with two inverted wingbacks in transition, the SV will move forward and the DM will shift centrally, making space for the two IWBs, and so on.

Here we can see the inverted full-back on the right side of our defence. He is a lot more central than the left wingback is. But you can also see he is quite advanced. Our team instructions include a high defensive line, which impacts how high we are up the pitch. You need to be aware of how our team instructions can impact the different behaviours of our players, especially on FM24. They won’t always play the same way in every match. The opposition’s formation will also further change the behaviours.

 

While attacking, the inverted full-back doesn’t compromise defensive solidity. When out of possession, they revert to a more traditional defensive role, providing an extra layer of protection in central areas. This allows the team to seamlessly transition between offensive and defensive structures while offering defensive compactness.

 

Additionally, their central positioning enhances the team’s chances of winning back possession in key areas. Or it allows them to offer more stability against counterattacks or cleared balls without sacrificing a midfield role to be more defensive.

In the FM24 video above, we can see how important he was here by being central and playing as the second centre-back. When the ball is cleared, it allows us to regain possession and keep the attacking players high up the pitch. Allowing us to carry on building an attack via the inverted full-back.

 

Their late runs into the box can catch defences off guard, adding an element of unpredictability. This goal-scoring threat forces opponents to track their movements, opening up spaces for other attacking players.

 

The inverted full-back’s central position facilitates rapid transitions from defence to attack. Upon winning the ball, they are already well-placed to initiate quick counter-attacks or distribute the ball efficiently to more advanced teammates. This differs slightly from the inverted wingback because the inverted full-back doesn’t sacrifice himself for being in the first line, compared to the inverted wingback, who pushes up to midfield.

 

Inverted wingbacks are usually in more central midfield positions, whereas the inverted full-back stays a defender. This allows us more flexibility with the roles we use in midfield too, and we can use those to create a more direct threat immediately from deep areas.

FM24

In possession-based systems on FM24, inverted full-backs move into central defensive areas, effectively becoming somewhat natural playmakers in deep areas. This strategic positioning adds an extra layer to the team’s build-up play. Their ability to receive, control, and distribute the ball in central zones helps maintain possession and initiate attacking sequences.

Left-Sided Wingback

On the left, we use a wingback on a support duty. The main responsibility of this player is to be more direct in his approach. But not so direct that he is more advanced than the other players, hence the support duty. I need the team to move as a unit.

FM24

As expected, he is one of the main sources of assists for the team, often being the most aggressive player on the team in terms of what he does with the ball. He is also the one keeping the width to stretch defences in a system that is very narrow in general. This allows him to get into great positions, often unmarked.

FM24

We have an example here in the image above. The ball-playing defender is on the ball and has all the time in the world, as we are dominating possession and forcing the opposition back due to our aggressive playing style.

 

When the ball is played to the wingback, the inverted winger makes a run towards the box and takes with him one of the markers about to come across.

FM24

This then creates space and time for the wingback to give us width and stretch the opposition. Meanwhile, the three-pronged attack of the IW, DLF, and SS are in really good positions to get on the end of the cross.

 

It’s just a simple move, but one that is part of our attacking style and is part of the jigsaw I mentioned at the start. This pattern of play is part of our DNA. But it wouldn’t be possible were it not for the inverted winger, deep-lying forward, and the shadow striker movement. 

 

We will talk more about those roles in the next article, as well as how they all link together and are part of a well-oiled machine.

 

The wingback does a lot of other stuff too, but I only want to cover the basics of the defence in this article and leave the more intricate stuff for the other articles. Especially as I want to use videos to show what actions they take, track their movements, etc.

Centrebacks

On the left side, next to the wingback, I use a ball-playing defender. Although we favour a playing style heavily focused on possession, I still want someone who can break the lines from deep and do progressive passes. This way, we then have options. The ball-playing defender can easily play a direct ball into the inverted wingback or the wingback when they are in advanced areas.

 

I’ve written about ball-playing defenders a fair bit in the past year on the blog, so I don’t want to go over old ground.

 

The other centre back is just a standard one. Someone who is more disciplined than the ball-playing midfielder and will keep things simple. Again, this gives us options, as he does different things when on the ball. He’s more likely to pass the ball to the defensive midfielder or midfield.

 

Our overall defensive play on FM24 is based on short passing and building from the back. But if an opportunity arises, we can mix it up and go longer or more direct. This is where the wingback and ball-playing defender come in.

 

In the next article, we’ll be talking about the midfield while also further linking the defence to the midfield. It’ll include analysis, videos, and a discussion.

 

Author

  • Cleon

    Cleon is a distinguished figure in the Football Manager community, known for his tactical acumen and profound understanding of the game's intricacies. With a penchant for sharing knowledge, Cleon has authored "The Football Manager Playbook," offering a deep dive into crafting effective tactics. He's the brains behind the well-regarded blog "View From The Touchline," where he elucidates on football philosophies, game strategies, and more. Beyond the written word, Cleon engages with enthusiasts through social media, making complex football management concepts accessible to many.

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4 thoughts on “Meet the System FM24

  1. Was nice to meet this system . Tried slow play down for my goalkeeper against a gegenpress opponent and worked wonders

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