So, after progressing past Day One, creating a tactic and organising my staff, scouting assignments and training, we are finally ready to begin pre-season. This post will focus on the games throughout pre-season and my analysis of the games. In addition I will speak about any transfers that I make and any other events that occur during the first few weeks of this save.
vs Zulia FC Reserves
In our first match we played our B-team. As you can see from this first photo, they played the same formation as us. We won the game 2-1, however we dominated the game and the scoreline flattered our reserves.
The stat we need to look at throughout our first few games is possession. Is our formation / tactic capable of keeping possession? We had 59% of possession in this match, but we need to remember that this was against our reserve side who we should always dominate possession against. 82% of passes completed really pleases me. Despite this the 14 shots off target does not and it is something we need to work on.
A potential cause of the many shots off target could be the poor finishing attribute of our shadow striker Jefferson Savarino. He had 9 chances in this game and converted just one. I will be looking to play a different player in this position in the next couple of games. The photo above also shows the key passes made from our inside forwards. I am especially pleased with Josmar Zambrano, who appears to have made several key passes after cutting in from the wings.
vs Atletico El Vigia
A disappointing 1-0 loss at home came in our second pre-season match. We dominated possession with an even greater 63%, but created just 2 scoring chances.
The analysis of my teams average positions show that, despite playing much wider, my wing backs do not really provide as much width as I would want. The orange dots above show my team without the ball. The green dots show my players with the ball. Clearly when defending I want my wing-backs to be narrower and further back. However in attack I want width to allow for more space in the middle.
I have chosen to ask both of my wing-backs to stay wider when in possession of the ball. Hopefully this will give us more width in attack and create more space for our central players to take advantage of. I have also changed the wing-backs from attack to support. With the instruction ‘overlap’ in use I don’t want my wing-backs to be too attack-minded. This would leave us short at the back.
vs Club Deportivo Lara
66% of possession but just one shot on target. To be honest I am not too disappointed. Despite losing the match we dominated the game, which is the aim of our tactic. We know that our tactic is good at keeping possession. Now we just need to find a way to be more clinical in attack.
Here we can see that I have changed a couple of instructions. Firstly, I want our team to play at a much higher tempo, aiming to move the ball about quickly to unsettle the opponents. With this comes the threat of losing possession and being counter. Therefore I have chosen to play slightly deeper and close down slightly less than before. Those are the only modifications I will make before our next pre-season match against Valledupar FC.
vs Valledupar FC
A 1-1- draw flattered us here. Too many times we were cut open at the back with direct through balls. This leads me to think that our wing backs are pushing on too high up the pitch and need to sit back a bit more. We had more possession than our opponents but again struggled to create clear cut opportunities.
Our pass completion remains high at 81% which is pleasing. I am going to persist with the same instructions for our next match. However I am going to change my wing-backs mentality to defend, which will hopefully ensure that they are in better positions to recover when the ball is lost.
vs Margarita FC
Here is the first goal scored by Margarita. It comes from Ventre giving the ball away cheaply on the right wing, looking for a simple pass inside to Paiva. Paiva misses the ball which allows Ramirez to hit a simple ball to Naranjo who scores. Our two centre-backs are nowhere to be seen. Numbers 4 and 5 are so far apart for this goal, it is almost unbelievable! As soon as this goal was scored I added the ‘tighter marking’ instruction.
Sadly we were unable to come back from two goals down, losing 2-1. I have to say that this was our best performance of pre-season so far, but for it to be in a losing effort is slightly worrying. However, I will not be deterred, and neither will my players.
I managed to sell my two foreign strikers (there is a limit of three foreign players in my squad) and bought in winger Ventre and box-to-box midfielder Paiva, both Uruguayans. In addition I have strengthened the depth of our squad through bringing in centre-backs Anaya and Osorio, wing-backs Alvarez and Granados and central midfielder Fasciana.
Pre-season is over! Now begins our struggle in making Zulia FC into the dominant force in Venezuela and eventually South America. Will I be able to perfect my 2-3-2-3 possession-based tactic? Early signs are not promising, but persistence is key!
If you have made it this far, thank you! I a really enjoying writing about this save and hope that it can continue. Obviously with the imminent release of FM17 I am unsure as how to continue this save (obviously I want to play on FM17). So perhaps I will start a new save on FM17 with Zulia FC and try to get back to this point. Or maybe I will continue this save on FM16. But either way you can expect to continue to have regular content to read here on vivalavidafm.com.