September 18, 2014

FM Experiments: Man U's Formation Problems, Part 4

In this series we have forced Ryan Giggs to coach some awful teams in awful formations, so today we're going to just let him pick a formation of his own. How will Manchester United do if left completely to their own devices?

September 5, 2014

FM Experiments: Man U's Formation Problems, Part 3

Today we look at Van Gaal's "favored" system, the 3-5-2 or 3-4-1-2.

September 3, 2014

FM Experiments: Man U's Formation Problems, Part 2

Yesterday we tried out the 1-7-2 formation at Manchester United, putting all the attacking talent on the field at once. Unfortunately, half of that talent got injured in our Football Manager 14 simulation, and I was replaced as manager by November. Today, we're going to simulate another parody formation: A lopsided 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 or something, pictured to the right.

Like the 1-7-2, this formation is drawn up to put all the best Manchester United players in their natural position. Because of the weird assortment of players Man U has available, this results in three left backs. Let's give it a shot in Football Manager.

September 2, 2014

FM Experiments: Man U's Formation Problems, Part 1


Manchester United are a lopsided team. While every soccer fan or analyst from the most amateur to no less than Van Gaal himself cried out for better defenders and holding midfielders, Manchester United's Ed Woodward went out and bought two of the best attacking talents available in the transfer window: Angel Di Maria and Falcao.

A team that already had two world-class strikers and two tremendous backups added the best forward on the market. A team that lined up in a 3-5-2 with wingbacks added an attacking winger. These big buys didn't fill gaps, so the internet jokes turned to this: Designing formations which would accommodate the talent being brought in to Man United.

This lovely formation to the right was my favorite, a 1-7-2 "inverted umbrella" including (almost) all of United's starter-quality attacking players at the expense of every defender but one.

That formation will be my starting point in this new series in which I simulate Manchester United's forthcoming season in Football Manager 14. In this series, we'll find out which formation best suits Man U's lopsided set of players for the year to come. In Part 1, we will tackle the 1-7-2.