There are certain player roles and formations that most FM players feel comfortable using . These go-to tactics tend to change with every new iteration of the game as players realise what works on a consistent basis. On the other hand, there are always tactical options that don’t appeal as much and you might go the whole year without trying them. In this series of articles I will highlight some tactical features that don’t seem popular in FM17 but I’ve found work well.
I’ve used this role in previous games but I felt it lost its effectiveness so leaned towards the Deep Lying Playmaker (defend) and Defensive Midfielder (defend) roles as their advantages seemed more obvious and I thought there was less chance they would completely fail. It probably is best to stick to what you know in FM until your team’s doing well enough that there’s an opportunity to experiment. I have Sergi Samper, Kristoffer Ajer and Marouane Fellaini who are happy playing in defensive midfield but Samper tends to be there. Although he can’t tackle or mark very well, he’s pretty competent in that deep midfield position. His high composure, first touch, passing, vision, anticipation and decisions make him excellent at distributing the ball to players ahead of him on the pitch and mean he can keep the ball even when pressed. He also has suitable traits: dictates tempo, comes deep to get ball, likes to switch ball to opposite flank (not sure about this last one).
Sergi Samper the Half Back
Admittedly, it’s early days using a Half Back (HB) in my setup — Samper has played three games in the role, he’s played 15 games as a Deep Lying Playmaker (DLP) — but his best game was in the new role. He made 82 passes out of 88 in a 2-0 win against Hull as a HB. His passing success for the season is 90%. He also has made 76% of tackles he’s attempted, which I’m happy with as his tackling attribute is only 10.
The Half Back is supposed to drop in between the centre backs acting as something ‘between an aggressive sweeper and a defensive midfielder’ and that’s what I saw Samper do. It gave me a greater feeling of security and I enjoyed how he’d collect the ball in a deep position and begin our attacks from a position that was hard to close down. Having someone competent in this role allowed the team to build at our own pace, either gradually through defence and midfield to attack or more directly.
Why not try using a Half Back in FM17 if you haven’t already? You might be pleasantly surprised!
For more on the Half Back role read this article about ‘the return of the sweeper’ at Zonal Marking http://www.zonalmarking.net/2010/04/22/is-the-sweeper-set-for-a-return-to-prominence.