5th season pre-match and in-match management guide

By now, you have started becoming quite a pretty experienced manager knowing how most basics work and should have assembled a team decent enough to fight for titles and even quad when things go the right way.

With some 4 seasons of matches, you would have come across managers who:
1) only use 1 kind of formation, no matter what
2) uses 2-3 different formations and vary a bit during matches
3) differ in important matches (probably with help) and would actively change tactics against us
4) differ every single match and would significantly change their teams differently and continuously throughout a match (and we could struggle to cope)

Most of you would have understood that formations (macro) and player positioning (micro) play a huge part of the match. However, many of us may not understand how and why the counter formation is derived from. Therefore, here is a simple guide in working out a reasonable basic counter formation:

1) Minimum equal number of our DCs vs opposition STs. Should add extra DC if opposition ST is better, or simply to make our defence more solid (+1 def as abbreviation)
2) When opposition plays wingers (AML &/ AMR), we should also play DR &/ DL to man-mark; could add extra DC or DMC to add defensive power
3) Similarly, when opposition plays AMC, we should play DMC to man-mark
4) We should aim to win the midfield by playing 1 more midfielder than opposition (+1 mid); Exceptions is when opposition plays 4 or 5 midfielders, then we should play matching number of MCs, ignore their wide midfielders and place our attackers into wingers or AMC position along with long ball strategy to bypass midfield line
5) The remaining players after allocating sufficient players to mark opposition then we can place them into the most open space &/ attacking the opposition weakest area or player

With both factors above combined, it is very logical that our best players should be able to play 2 positions to enable change for team shape to be able to form counter formations more effectively.

When we are playing a match, we need to keep checking a few important details (reasons of doing so):
1) match-control bar at the bottom (to identify if change of orders is beneficial to our team)
2) possession advantage (also to identify the same as above, and also would influence on the type of bonus we choose)
3) number of shots (possession advantage should reflect on larger number of shots; if not, our formation &/ orders are not optimal and require changes)
4) proportion of on-target shots (if lower than 35%, it indicates poor attackers’ form, superb opposition defender form &/ unsuitable player positioning - Require formation change, subs &/ orders ASAP)
5) passing success rate (if over 90%+, that means we should go mixed or long for more scoring chances; if under 80%, we should go short to keep better possession to avoid opposition taking control of match)
6) opposition defender ratings (very important indicator - we must change team shape and passing focus to attack areas as far away from that defender as possible when faced with defenders of 7.5+ rating, or else it can be a loss easily)
7) our poorest rating players (so as to prepare earlier half-time, 60-min &/ 77th-min sub)
8) our yellow-carded players (should look to sub asap if suitable [clear exceptions are DC & DMC which are needed to mark key opposition attackers, and our key attackers to maintain threat to opposition - if the live result points to a comfortable win, we should sub them asap to avoid possible suspension or even turning a win to losing with 10-men)
9) opposition formation (so we can change ours to adapt asap too)

Hope the above would help your in formulating formation counters and identify in-match details easier.

Wish you all another fruitful season!