The FM15 Learning Curve with analysis Part 1: Real Sociedad v Petrolul Europa League 3rd Qualifying Rnd Leg 1





over the top ball

De Lucas plays a Scholes-esque ball over my DM and LCD to Vechiu – too easy


Vechiu misses a sitter! Luckily for us…

through ball

This time Teixeira plays a ball through but the striker is offside

Canales shot 25mins

Sergio Canales has acres of space. He chooses to shoot but his effort goes just wide of the right post

busca goal

Right midfielder, Busca, makes it 1-0 to the home side! My left back was drawn to the middle but you’d never expect a player to score from that angle.

On the half hour mark I told my centre backs to specifically mark Petrolul’s strikers, one each.

It was either that or drop deeper and, being one goal down, I thought sitting back was the last thing I should do.

  • a big blow hit us on 33 minutes. Ruben Pardo, our best deep lying midfielder, was in poor shape so I subbed him for Esteban Granero
27 minutes after Petrolul scored Agirretxe equalises with a header from a long distance freekick. Direct. There was a reason I decided to employ a big target man

27 minutes after Petrolul scored Agirretxe equalises with a header from a long distance freekick. Direct. There was a reason I decided to employ a big target man

Agirretxe goal

The goalkeeper is stranded and big Imanol powers it home



The ‘experienced’ right back, Carlos Martinez, is robbed


Vechiu goal

To rub salt in to the wound the two fake players link up for Petrolul’s second

As soon as we equalise Petrolul centre back, Geraldo, smashes the ball up field for Dumitru to chase.

Carlos Martinez reaches the ball first but Dumitru is determined and robs my right back.

Dumitru squares the ball to teammate, Vechiu, who makes no mistake this time to score while my defenders have all ignored Vechiu’s threat and pushed up. Long ball – defensive mistake – close range shot = goal.  It was that easy.

Although a defensive error played a big part in this goal it showed how effective long balls can be on FM15.

  • On 42 minutes I decide enough’s enough, I’ll fight fire with fire, and I go from short passing to more direct passing
  • I took a tired Aggiretxe off at half time replacing him with Alfred Finnbogasson


  • On 48 minutes I ask Gonzalo Castro to play as an AM(C), the same with Xavi Prieto, as neither are impacting the game

Moving Prieto and Castro seems to work as the two start to combine within a couple of minutes and we look a lot more threatening in front of goal.

Cabral’s (signed for £1.9m from Sunderland and always impressed me on FM14)  tackling has been brilliant.

The longer the match goes on (55 minutes) I start to think we don’t have enough strength in depth. We don’t have enough attacking players who can offer something different.

  • Prieto looks a stylish player. He’s made some classy touches, you can tell he’s been around

On 65 minutes it doesn’t look good. Still 2-1 down.

  • I’ve reverted to shorter passing & work ball in to box seeing as our passing has improved
  • On 68 minutes I push both my full backs to wing back positions (slightly hit and hope now)
castro miss

Canales finally opens his eyes and puts Castro through but he can’t finish

castro miss 2

He should have scored

Finnbogasson wins a freekick on the edge of the Petrolul area.

Finnbogasson wins a freekick on the edge of the Petrolul area.

A minute after his miss Castro powers a freekick in off the underside of the bar - what a goal!

A minute after his miss Castro powers a freekick in off the underside of the bar – what a goal!

At full time it’s 2-2 and half of the lads look exhausted and I’m starting to realise we went in to the game in poor physical shape.

We were undone by two goals by a fake player which is always annoying.

  • It was a mistake to play Gaztanaga in central defence but Inigo Martinez and Mikel Gonzalez were injured
  • Positives from the game were Castro showed me he can create and score but his finishing could be better and Canales played one or two lovely through balls – I know he’ll be good for me, this is only the first game I’ve managed. Esteban Granero was decent when he came on. I might re-consider selling him
  • Cabral’s tackling was good but his positioning and marking were suspect at times
  • Jeronimo Rulli had a decent game in net for us on his debut and couldn’t do anything about their goals


I learned a lot from watching this single match. I want us to progress as far in the Europa League as possible and we were favourites before the game so to struggle for a draw is disappointing.

It’s worrying we only made one clear cut chance while Petrolul and their many over the top balls created four. As I alluded to before, though, once we have our best two central defenders back we’ll be more solid.

We were also missing our best player, Carlos Vela, who will be first choice up front and can also play wide.



I think I made a mistake playing a defensive midfielder in this match. We gave Petrolul’s Pablo De Lucas too much time to spray passes around and over us. I was too cautious, not brave enough.

It highlights a role I could use though. De Lucas was playing what I guess you’d call the Pirlo role but I could never get that working in FM14 so it’s exciting. It looks like it might be possible now. I’m not sure if deep lying playmaker (support) could be the role to use.

I feel I need a better right back after Martinez’s poor show.

We have a 22-year-old called Joseba Zaldua who looks promising so I’ll give him a game soon.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. Follow me on twitter @fmscrapbook.

6 comments on “The FM15 Learning Curve with analysis Part 1: Real Sociedad v Petrolul Europa League 3rd Qualifying Rnd Leg 1

  1. Excellent piece, I love how obvious your passion for FM is, it looks like you’re really enjoying writing these articles. I would like to say that I also like the minimal design, extra points for that 🙂

    There are a few stuff I would suggest to take this to the next level:

    • A brief introduction at the start would be very helpful, it would give the reader some brief info about what you’re tackling in your article. If it’s something that interests them they’ll be even more excited to read it.

    • Consider the header at the top of your page (the image of Parejo), I would suggest you make a more unique logo for your blog something memorable that would make people recognise your blog instantly, right now it seems a bit generic. Adding more familiarity would increase the appeal of the blog.

    • Incorporate more tactical insight into what you’re doing. Conceeding too much? How are you handling this specific defensive issue. Strikers not scoring? What are you doing to solve that problem. The main reason everyone loves FM so much is one thing: tactics, tactics, tactics and tactics! Maybe show us in 2D mode (where I think tactical information is in its clearest form) what is happening, spaces that are being left behind, runs not being made, lack of cover in a certain area. Mark with arrows and highlight space, make it look like a scientific process haha 🙂
    I would suggest you first identify the problem then look for what’s causing it (i.e FM heat maps, individual mistakes, lack of penetration, player roles, defensive line, marking at set pieces ..etc) and post these with the article, that way it would look very professional and it would make the reader learn more about how FM works.

    • This is related to the previous point, after you identify the problem and whats causing it maybe you can then provide the solution you came up with. Whether it’s signing a new player to replace an ageing one, make us feel part of this process too, include the reader in your search for the player: what attributes you want, promising player or established? How the negations went. I personally would love every detail of this process.

    • Instead of screenshots of formations, I would suggest you make your own. It would feel more real and not just a random formation you see on FM. I personally love a blog where the author has made the effort to personalise certain aspects like formations, player pictures, club logos and so on (for example something like this: )

    • I would like to see some info about training methods you’re using, the changes you’re doing to incorporate your philosophy maybe, training is a big part of FM and should be a part of the blog too.

    I’ll have more comments on how you can possibly improve and I’ll let. Don’t let these remarks discourage you, I honestly think your blog has potential and I’m just giving my opinion 🙂
    Have a great day!!

    • That’s an unbelievable comment, mate :] Really appreciate it. What’s your handle on Twitter?
      I can’t thank you enough, you’ve been a great help!

      • Thats me @hungryforFM for twitter mate!

        Ill have more comments whenever I feel something is missing. I’m glad you like the suggestions! 🙂

  2. The information you provide in the analysis is very good and I also agree with everything you said. Really helpful for me who is trying to get into the right mindset when analysing. This is nitpicking but I think it’s really helpful when people draw circles and arrows to mark out the player and the actions you are talking about in the pictures.
    Really nice to find a new blog who I will definitively be keeping an eye on.

    • The idea to use circles and arrows is one I’ve used before. That sort of thing is time consuming but I’ll surely keep it in mind. Thanks a lot 🙂

  3. I loved the article. Especially the pictures. Helps with visualisation (obviously) of the match. I like your narrative style too, FM blogs can often be boring to read. Would like more in depth analysis on direct play, but I’m sure that can’t be encapsulated in one game ;)!

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