FM21 | El Fortín | Rickety or Rock Solid?

Introduction

Welcome back to the blog! The first season of our FM21 save in Argentina has come to a close. What happened in Liniers during the 2020/21 season? Let’s take a look and find out.

Tactics

In my opening post, I talked briefly about the tactical style that I wanted to introduce to Velez Sarsfield which would emulate that of Diego ‘El Cholo’ Simeone and shared with you my initial tactic.

I’ll level with you, the tactic did not play well and we had to move away from the concept of a flat 4-4-2 pretty early doors.

The flat 4-4-2 blossomed into two formations which we used throughout the season. I opted to try and keep the mantra having a rock-solid defence but veered away from deploying such a compact defence.

Instead, I opted to try and have my team defend by retaining possession, that’s a real thing right? Moving on to the tactics the first one would see us operate with a lone striker supported through the middle mainly by Velez wonder boy Thiago Almada playing as an advanced playmaker.

We operated in this setup in 31 of our 45 games this season, and saw us create a chance every 62 minutes but also saw us concede a chance every 87 minutes which per my analyst works out as giving us a +8 clear cut chances for.

The other tactic which was introduced midway through the season was probably more in the mould of the 4-4-2 in terms of positioning and produced a great deal of success for us in the 13 games we setup like this.

It led to a chance being created every 32 minutes but a chance conceded every 58 minutes which led to a +16 clear cut chances for.

When you look at the average position maps for both the one striker and two striker formation, you can kind of see that it isn’t actually too far away from being a 4-4-2 as I initially wanted but I’m not too sure how Almada (#10) drops so deep in the one striker formation as this isn’t noticeable watching on comprehensive highlights.

General performance

I wanted to touch on is the new statistics graph that has been introduced into the game, which provides some nice visualisations.

Whilst the stats in this game might be inherently flawed, shout out to FM Stag for sharing this with the community. I think these visuals are pretty nice to look at when they come through on a monthly basis from my analyst.

It’s good to see that across the three competitions highlighted here that we are above average in the expected goals against and goals conceded per game in each of the competitions which correlates with our mantra of being rock solid at the back.

Despite performing above average in expected goals against and goals conceded per game our defensive efficiency at the end of the season was worse that I expected.

The green square identified is where I’d like us to be each season in line with our mantra and the blue square is roughly where we were for the majority of the season before we trailed off in an underwhelming end to the season.

Season 2020

It’s been a largely interesting season which saw us compete across four competitions, if you count the two separate league stages as two competitions.

The Primera Division is the main stage of the league in Argentina consisting of 23 games, which then splits into two twelve-team Superleague Cup stages which consists of 11 further games and the results combine from both to give you an overall league table.

I am very happy to have outperformed the media expectation which predicted us to finish fifth in our first season in charge and we well outperformed the board’s expectation who only wanted us to finish in the top half, but now expect us to push on towards winning the league going forward.

From here, we went into the Superleague Cup, and this is where I felt like we underperformed, despite only losing three games meaning we slipped down to fourth in the overall league table, which is frustrating as beating either Independiente or Newell’s Old Boys would’ve lifted us to a second place finish but would’ve still left us considerably behind Boca Juniors still.

The other competition worth mentioning is the Copa Libertadores which is still going on as it bridges the end of one season and the start of another, which has taken some getting used to for me.

Something I found difficult with the Lbertadores is that unlike managing in Europe I know very little about the teams in my group so didn’t know who would give me the most challenging game. Thankfully, my in-house South American experts Nestor and Rock’s End were able to assist me with some further information, and told me that this was a rather challenging group.

Despite the toughness of the group we did manage to qualify for the second round, however, it wasn’t without its drama with us scoring an 82nd minute penalty against Independiente Santa Fe to take back second place on goal difference.

The second round match which will be played next season sees us take on another Chilean outfit, and probably one of the easier draws left in the competition where we face TedRedwood’s Sporting Cristal.

Key performers

So, overall a good season exceeding expectations initially set out whilst somewhat staying in line our proposed mantra. Here I’m going to look at some of my top performers from 2020 (all competitions):

  • Goals: Lucas Jansson (12 goals), Juan Martin Lucero (12 goals) and Thiago Almada (9 goals)
  • Assists: Thiago Almada (10 assists), Marcos Enrique (7 assists) and Francisco Ortega (6 assists)
  • Average Rating: Lautaro Giannetti (7.21), Francisco Ortega (7.16) and Marcos Enrique (7.12)

I don’t think this blog would be complete without some #GIFgoals which you may have seen featured on my Twitter page.

Further to these stats, I felt there was a player I couldn’t go without mentioning as he cemented his place in my heart and featured in 35 of our 45 games only Thiago Almada (41 games), Pablo Galdames (38 games) and his centre back partner Lautaro Giannetti (36 games) featuring more than him, but this is mainly due to him being called upon by Peru on numerous occasions.

Sadly, he will not feature for El Fortin at all next season, due to him rejecting our contract offer in favour of a move to Jiangsu Suning (China), who offered more than three times what we could. It will be a shame to see him leave, but I wish Luis Abram the best of luck.

Next time…

I wanted this post to give an overview of the first season and be really focussed on that.

Hopefully, to bridge the gap between this blog and the end of season two blog, I plan to write a piece on youth development, and the youth players who I have integrated into the first team. So, I am happy with what we’ve achieved in 2020/21 but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Once again, thank you for joining me in outlining our opening season at Velez Sarsfield in Football Manager 2021.

P.S – Come and join me over on Football Manager Slack at #cc-fm for more of an in-depth record of my stewardship of Club Atletico Velez Sarsfield or on Twitter where you can find me @CCFM19

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