The new football season has begun, which has us turning our minds to Football Manager 2021.
FM20 is still well-loved, with strong reviews and a growing community of players, streamers, and armchair managers.
But that doesn't mean there isn't a wishlist for FM21...
Latest news - FM21 release date confirmed
Football Manager 2021 has a release date!
The new game will arrive on 24 November. Of course, there will also be two weeks of Early Access, formerly the beta, which should start around 10 November if you pre-purchase via Steam or Epic Games Store.
The game will also be coming to Xbox for the first time in over a decade!
There is an endless number of tactical options in FM20. It is safe to say that some are better than others.
The Gegenpress system is legitimately OP for most teams in the upper half of their league. High lines of engagement and high defensive lines provide a huge amount of turnover possession and counter-attack opportunities.
THE ONE: A custom Gegenpress can be devastating in FM20
There will always be some methods to exploit Football Manager's match engine and Sports Interactive are doing a good job at limiting them, but these need to be addressed in FM21 to allow greater tactical innovation in the game.
Speaking of the match engine...
The reworked marking system was a big hit with FM20 and did close off a lot of those game-breaking tactics from FM19.
However, at the top of the pitch there are still plenty of issues that need to be addressed.
Even world-class forwards and wingers make some truly baffling decisions when it comes to shooting angles or consistently missing one-on-one opportunities.
Some of this is, of course, confirmation bias from players, but there is little doubt that the match engine needs a few tweaks if FM21 is to keep improving the franchise.
The change made to the training system in FM in recent years has made it remarkably difficult to concentrate time and effort in one direction or make adjustments on the fly.
IN THE WEEDS: It can be tough to quickly make training adjustments
Plans are often locked in up to a month in advance, which means a poor run of form can be hard to arrest with extra emphasis on one aspect in training.
It can also be hard to add extra rest sessions after you reach a new round of the cup or have a particularly busy schedule.
Staff & coaches
This is not a part of the game some players really interact with.
Often it comes down to the time it can take to revamp your staff and the opacity of some of the menus.
The coaching assignments are hidden deep in the training menu, while building out a staff can be tricky thanks to the mental attributes rarely aligning with coaching ones.
Adding in some more specific coach attributes like communication or time management would help. As would making key pages like coach assignments more accessible.
Wonderkids & potential
Every FM player goes hunting for teenagers that could be the next Lionel Messi. When we find one they become our go-to buy in any save (hello Eduardo Camavinga & Sebastiano Esposito).
One of the reasons we love them is that teenagers come with a fixed potential ability range. While the 20+ players have a rigid PA that can't move.
WONDERKID: Esposito is a can't-miss thanks to his PA range
While this is great for creating super-teams, it makes it unrealistic. Retraining an AM(L) player into ST should impact their potential, but it doesn't. A good development plan with plenty of individual focus in training, the right mentoring group, and playing time can help a teenager reach the top of their potential.
If that potential is capped at 140 though, even an elite plan with a player from the age of 15 won't improve upon that which seems unrealistic.
Having dynamic potential for very young players would be more realistic. It could rise and fall with injuries, mentoring, and other input in FM21.