With the release of Football Manager 2023 last week, I thought I’d try my best to replicate the tactics of Steven Schumacher’s league leaders in the game.
This season has seen Schuey establish his own style with an evolution of predecessor Ryan Lowe’s 3-5-2.
The move from 2 forwards to 3 shows an exciting commitment to attacking football whilst still being defensively solid. Schumacher’s 3-4-3 is particularly narrow opposed to other managers who play a similar formation, opting for two ‘number 10’s’ over wingers.
So here is how I have translated this into the game.
In goal we have the best keeper in the league playing Sweeper Keeper (Defend). As a sweeper keeper, Cooper will offer himself for passes a lot more and help build from the back, a key component of Argyle’s identity.
The back 3 I had the most difficulty finding the correct pairings and roles for. In the end I’ve gone with a Central Defender flanked by two Ball Playing Defenders on defend. The two BPD’s will sometimes make runs into the midfield and support the attack with the central defender opting to keep things more simple but still contribute to the build up play. Ideally, keep Dan Scarr as the main central defender, and the rest of the centre-backs can rotate in and out of the BPD role.
Probably the most key position in this tactic is left wing-back and the amazing Bali Mumba. With all other senior wing-backs injured at the start of the game you pretty much have to follow Schuey and play him there. I have him on Complete Wing-back (Attack) because of the incredible attacking side of his game. To make up for playing on his weaker foot I have put on the team instruction to ‘Underlap left’. This has worked perfectly, will Bali floating inside and overloading the central area’s allowing the attacking midfielder on the left side to move into dangerous positions out wide to create space.
At right wing-back we have Joe Edwards on Wingback (Support). Let him run up and down the wing and find space for assists. It’s hard to replicate exactly how Joe Edwards plays in real life as he pops up literally everywhere, even in the six yard box to score goals.
In the defensive midfield we have a Ball Winning Midfielder on Defend and a Defensive Midfielder on Support. The two attacking midfielders in front need a strong defensive base behind them. Butcher and Randell are my favourite combination. Butcher will be defensively solid, while Randell will offer that as well as being the more progressive passer of the two. He has already chipped in with 4 assists in my save. For some strange reason Adam Randell is transfer listed at the beginning of the season, so remember to un-do that or risk losing him to a team in Scotland.
For the two ‘number 10’s’ we have gone with an Advanced Player on Support and an Attacking Midfielder on Attack. These two roles will offer the balance needed in attack. Football Manager is all about balancing attacking and supporting roles. With Bali Mumba set to attack on the left the playmaker will compliment him well on a support role. He will always be looking for that killer ball to play in the striker and attacking midfielder. As Argyle’s highest rated players in the game, it makes sense to play Azaz and Whittaker together. Danny Mayor is a great back up. By November, Whittaker has 10 goals 2 assists and Azaz 3 goals 6 assists. The attacking midfielder will break into the box and score, and the playmaker assist. Perfect.
As the striker we’ve gone with an Advanced Forward. Ryan Hardie has 18 goals for me by November playing in this role. He will always be looking to break into the space behind the defence, to point where he is constantly getting offside, but it works. The team is set up to create so many chances and the striker will convert.
For team instructions we’ve gone with Pass into Space, which suits the pace of Hardie, Whittaker and Mumba in attack. The players are instructed to Play Out Of Defence, this matches the possession hungry philosophy of Argyle. We primarily look for shorter passing movements and look to work the ball into the box.
In transition we look to counter-press when we lose the ball and counter fast when we win it. Cooper is instructed to distribute to centre-backs and build from the back.
We look to play a high-press and a high line, pressing the opposition goalie into kicking it long. Sometimes we might want to stop crosses against target men, and drop off against fast forwards, but it’s a case by case scenario.
Team mentality is positive, always looking to win and back ourselves whoever we play.
And that’s pretty much it.
You can download the tactic on the steam workshop, I’d love to know how you get on with it, so don’t hesitate to let us know on social media.