Football Manager 2021 Tactics: What changes could SI bring to FM21?

Every manager needs a tactical identity. Will you have to change yours when the new game arrives?

Toby Durant by Toby Durant
football manager 2021 tactics

There is nothing quite like making a tactic in Football Manager.

It requires a mixture of genius, insanity, and pure luck to hit on a successful tactic for your team. Worse, what works for one team might not translate to another.

What could be different in Football Manager 2021?

Gegenpress nerf?

While there are many ways to create successful tactics in FM20, using gegenpress as your tactical style is a common thread.

Using ultra-aggressive pressing tactics with very high lines of engagement and defence is a remarkably effective way of playing football, even if you aren’t Liverpool or Borussia Dortmund.

A vertical tiki-taka 4-1-4-1 DM Wide is best for Arsenal in FM20
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For a few years vertical tiki-taka was the way to go, now gegenpress. Will SI adjust their match engine to punish the high lines? Or will they simply nerf the productivity of ultra-press tactics?

It would be nice to force a few changes to your tactics in the next game, though undoubtedly Knap will still master it!

Set piece routines

One thing players regularly forget to set but can be devastating is set piece routines.

Right up their with the most effectice is the long throw.

fm20 long throw 1
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You don’t even need someone with a high long throw stat to make the most of these set pieces. 11 or 12 is enough to make a difference if you set your team up right.

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The impact of set pieces can feel rather OP in FM20, especially if you devote any amount of time to organising your players appropriately.

This is one part of tactics that may need to change for FM21.

Sideline shouts

While not technically a part of tactics, they are certainly used to reinforce ideas on the pitch, or at least they should be.

Only a handful of the shouts really do much. “Get creative” inspires players, “Demand more” focuses them, and “praise” fires them up.

Everything else shouldn’t be touched, and that shouldn’t be the case.

fm 21 shouts 1
SHOUT, SHOUT, LET IT ALL OUT: Communication in-game is key to making your tactics work

Sideline instructions, shouts, and tactical changes in-game need a tune-up. Player intelligence, communication skill, and even condition should impact how well and how widely instructions are spread around the pitch.

Rather than being a simple one-click and done impact, you should have to grab your winger and tell him the changes to then instruct others. With new teammates or language barriers it becomes harder.

FM already punishes some levels of team cohesion and partnerships if you turn your squad over too rapidly, but breakdowns in communication are very rare. They shouldn’t be.

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Toby Durant