#FM16 : SEARCHING THE STATS © V2.0 – COMPLETING THE PROFILES

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Firstly, thank you to everyone that has taken time to read and comment on the “SEARCHING THE STATS © V2.0” series so far.  As FM16 unfolds, this will be a rolling series with a model that I aim to continuously evolve as the year goes on.  Having covered my recruitment of a central defender and two defensive midfielders, I am going to walk you through the profiles of the other positions I use in #TheArgentineStrikerless

The three remaining positions in the system are the full backs, the central midfielder and the attacking midfielders.  As ever folks, the stats I am interested in for each are not rocket science but they do tell us a hell of a lot about player performance.

Let’s start with the full backs.  In #TheArgentineStrikerless they are CWB/S with the additional PI of mark tighter.  I cannot for the life of me remember my original thinking for that PI, but it works so I am not changing it!  Now, in the formation these guys are absolutely bloody crucial as they provide the width.  In FM15, with Boca, I often converted a winger to play there as I was more interested in their offering going forwards then defensively.  With that last comment in mind, you might understand a little more of what I am interested in profile wise.

These guys are active, so I am looking at their average distance covered in a game.  I believe that with our style of play, we will out-run most sides and last season the average distance covered by my wingbacks was 12.5km.  Therefore I always look for players that have experience of doing that.  The second thing I look at is average dribbles per 90 minutes.  Traditionally in this formation, only the CM/A makes more dribbles over 90 minutes, so ideally I am looking for a full back that makes over 1.25 per 90 minutes.  These guys are also often the starting point of our attacks as the ‘keeper distributes to the full backs, therefore I look for a high pass completion % as well as a high number of passes completed.  The average last season was 42 passes completed per 90 at 83%.  Finally, because they also have to do bit of defending, I do look at something that is defensive!  Those that read the piece on central defenders will remember that I preferred interceptions for centre backs.  For full backs I do actually prefer tackles completed per 90.  I will tell you why.  Central defenders play in the middle, therefore have more things going on around them which means a missed tackle means they are out of the game with minimal cover.  Therefore I prefer not to see a central defender committing to a tackle, ideally forcing the play out of the central areas or just intercepting the ball.  Full backs, well.  The way we set up is that we congest the central zones with bodies, therefore the way to beat us is to get down the side, beat the full back and cross.  Therefore a full back for me that can tackle the winger on a 1v1 basis is a good full back.  My full backs complete the highest amount of tackles per 90 in the team, on average 4.5 per match.

All this leads to the recruitment profile below:

Average distance covered in a game:  12.5km+

Average dribbles per 90 minutes:  1.5+

Pass completion %:  83%+

Passes completed per 90:  42+

Tackles completed per 90:  4.5+

Now, I am not currently looking for a full back but as mine are playing very well I am conscious that we might receive a bid I cannot turn down at some point.  Let’s pretend I am looking for one right now, would I be able to find one meeting that exact profile?  I am searching this season on limited data, annoyingly.  I should have saved some screen shots over the summer when I had a season’s worth of data, but let us pretend.

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 14.30.11

As you can see, the lad at the top hits some targets but not others.  Let’s say I needed a right back urgently, would I go for this guy?  He ticks the distance covered box, gets very close to the dribbles per game and his passes completed per game number isn’t disgraceful – at the end of the day, it is unlikely that his side expect him to play exactly like we do.  His pass completion % stat does worry me though.  The scouts rate him as a 4* signing.  To play the game, I had a look to see what I could get him for.  £200k was the offer that got accepted.  In all honesty, the only way I would pay that money for a right back replacement was if I sold the current one for at least three times that figure, so this would not be a signing for me in Hungary.

What is my point with that summary?  Well, you might not be able to find a player that ticks every box.  At that point you have a choice I guess.  Go all Arsene Wenger and promote from the youth team, which is what I do tend to do if I cannot find value for money in the market who meet my profile.  If that promoted player fails, I look again.  The second option is to sacrifice some of the preferred stats and go for the one who ticks the most important boxes in your opinion.  For me, in this scenario, if there was a player out there was dribbling, completing passes and winning tackles, I would sacrifice distance covered as I think the role might force them to cover the distance.  I hope that makes sense.

Ok, on to the CM/A.  I love this position in #TheArgentineStrikerless.  At Boca in FM15 it was taken by Mauro Gonzales who I retrained from the left wing to play in this central winger role.  This role has the PI’s of dribble more, tackle harder, roam from position, move into channels and close down much more and these should give you an insight into the profile.  In the game, this guy will often be attacking the opposition from deep positions, taking people on.  He will also arrive in the box in the classic Frank Lampard way and get plenty of goals.  Therefore I am interested in distance covered, as this shows me if that player is capable of roaming from the position and moving into the channels.  The CM/A covers the most distance in the team, an average of 13km last season.  He also dribbles the ball, so I am looking for a good average on that.  Passes completed and % are important, as he is a creative player but as he carries a goal scoring responsibility too I am looking for shots per 90 minutes as well as shots on target %.  Even as I write this, it sounds like a very complete player.

The profile for a CM/A.

Average distance covered:  13km+

Dribbles per game:  1+

Passes completed per 90:  50+

Passes completion %:  85%+

Shots on target per 90:  1.5+

Shots on target %:  50%+

Right now nobody like that exists, even if I sacrifice a few of the key points – which is actually a concern as people are monitoring my current CM/A and the other one is injured.  Hopefully by the time of the January transfer window some more data will have been gathered so I will have options, otherwise I shall promote from within.

Finally, the attacking midfielders in this strikerless formation.  Both are expected to score goals and create goals and not a lot else.  So, these guys are simple to profile.  Shots on target per 90, shots on target % obviously figure.  Passes completed total and passes completed % are crucial, but this is where I add in a piece of tactical knowledge.  So often these players are deep with other players running past them into the spaces they have left.  Therefore they are often playing a key pass, so I am interested in this stat.  Anything else, well that would be a nice to have but I am not that bothered.

The profile:

Shots on target per 90:  1.5+

Shots on target %:  50%+

Passes completed per 90:  45+

Passes completion %:  85%+

Key passes per 90:  3.5+

With this profile in mind, I was able to recruit a new player in the summer.  Istvan Timko cost me £64k from Diogsyor having ticked each box.  So far he has 5 goals in 12 games with 2 assists.  He is coming along nicely.

Don’t forget what I do once I have found a player that fits the profile, go back to Part Two to refresh your memory.

Ok, I think that are all the profiles – the point to remember is at no point have I looked at their skill attributes, all this is off player data.

These profiles are only my own opinion, and they work in combination with #TheArgentineStrikerless – the idea is to get you thinking about your own team, your own recruitment and your own profiles.  I would not suggest copying this exactly, but tweak it to your own club.

Any questions, as ever, I will try and answer on