As I detailed in my previous post, Hapoel Ashkelon’s season has fallen apart – 8 points out of 27. I was seriously worried that, when the Israeli Premier League split into two mini-leagues after 26 matches, we wouldn’t make the cut. And then, if we went into freefall, we could even go down.
But we scraped in (and so are safe from relegation). In the final few games of the 26, I demonstrated decisive leadership by taking bold action.
Or, rather, I panicked.
During the first half of the season, we used the three formations (not very different from each other) that we’d seen out the previous season with. Initially, this was a positive: it provided us with continuity during a time of extreme change in personnel.
But then we grew stale. You could see it in our game. Other teams had sussed us out. And our players looked jaded and unexcited, as if they were playing for England at Wembley. I was bored too.
Time to act. I recalled a blog post I’d read on FM Pivot (fmpivot-dot-wordpress-dot-com). The author, Josh, had tried to recreate the tactics of the famous Hungarian team of the early ‘50s.
His formation is best described as MW. It looks very odd, having both a wing-back and wide midfielder on each flank. But it intrigued me – I like borrowing from historical tactics ITRW – and I figured other teams wouldn’t be prepared for it, so decided to give it a go.
I won’t describe the formation in detail – best to look at Josh’s post (easily located on FM Pivot: the title of the post is ‘Aranycsapat ─ The Mighty Magyars in Football Manager 2015’). The formation can be summarised as 2-3-2-1-2 (two CBs, two WBs, one DM, two WMs, one AM(C) and two STs).
Normally I prepare for formation-change very gradually. But I was in a panic. So, one mid-week friendly and then we went for it.
Results from the first two competitive matches are, unsurprisingly, inconclusive. An away win, followed by a thrashing. But it’s refreshing – and that win proved crucial: we’re staying up.
Since I now have the unrivalled luxury of being able to play ten matches without needing to worry unduly if we lose all ten, I will play with it unless and until the wheels fall off.
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