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Sayyourpray (694577) is manager of  Românian club Craiova Champions.


Sayyourpray has the floor

Original question by relu. Translation by yndy_ (09/11/2009 14:07)

The winner of the current season’s Hattrick Masters, the Romanian sayyourpray (3178524), tells us how he has prepared for the Masters final. You will see from this analysis that every little detail counts at that level!

The third Dacian War has ended (252082619). How was the final? Did your opponent surprise you with the tactic he chose?

The stakes were huge and during the match I was very anxious, especially since the first and crucial goal came 11 minutes before end of regular time. I enjoy tight victories the most and the fact that the game was a close call makes the triumph priceless.

My opponent played what he was supposed to play. It was obvious for me that he would either go for a risky, possibly suicidal tactic, such as a 3-5-2 with a strong emphasis on his central attack (he had two nice forwards in good shape), maybe pushing somewhat one side attack too (using Stögerer – his only midfielder with high winger skill – played normal or offensive, doubled by Farr – a versatile wingback which he has often played offensive or normal) or, he will set his tactics more in accordance with my profile and try to build up defenses and give up to one forward, without relinquishing much possession.

4-5-1 was clearly one of the most realistic options, if not the best of them, with his cannons attacking on one side, hoping also for a Corner+Head event as he had more Head specialists than me (5 vs 2). There’s a comment here though: You don’t have to have a lot of Head specialists in the team, it’s enough to have a decent ratio compared with your opponent. That’s because the Corner+Head event is rarely missed regardless who benefits – so about 3 head specialists among the 11 on the pitch should be ok for any team.

On the other hand, remember that I had a Technical forward and the Technical vs Head events are not rare, especially when you have in front a good number of inners or defenders equipped with Head specialty. Also we should have in mind that the weather for the final was not sunny or rainy, so the weather events couldn’t be triggered, thus increasing the probability of having Corner+Head or Technical vs Head events in the match. From this point of view, the Technical forward was even more powerful in my eyes.

The only player my opponent bought before the match was a defender as his financial condition was quite poor. It was clear for me that Aldo was preparing a defensive formation. I did not believe he was trying to mislead me, because he couldn’t have afforded to throw away the little money he had only to trick me. Anyway it wouldn’t have mattered much because I was supposed to deal the cards in this match. So at the time the match would start he had four nice defenders in good shape and thus the possibility to play Bernabe as central midfielder in a 4 defenders formation (the player was used many times before as offensive central defender, but his playmaking skill was way better than his defending one). I also had to consider another formation he might have used, namely 4-4-2 CA. Theoretically his options were of course larger, but these two were most probable given the players he had available.

There are two matters I’d like to highlight: 1) I expected that Aldo, who didn’t have much money, would transfer list some of his players with the deadline after the final and use early bids to finance a stronger team;

2) I was very sure Aldo will consider changing his neutral coach into a defensive one but I was not certain if he was going to make this move without a future coach ready for the long term (one with passable-solid leadership and at least solid experience). As his tactics converged to be defensive with one side attack, the neutral coach seemed to be a waste of resources as it was much more profitable to increase the defense ratings on all sides, all of them being extremely useful in the final, instead of the three attack sides of which two would be unused, therefore the bonus given by the neutral coach would be useless considering my defense ratings.

Anyway, since the only change to his team was the acquisition of the defender, the expected formation was a 4-5-1 with pressing and defensive coach, hoping that my chances were wasted either by defense or through his possession coupled with the pressing tactic and with the necessary luck to score from a side attack, a free kick or from a Corner+Head event.

Turning to my side, I cruised through the tournament with a fantastic multi-skilled squad that I had built carefully, a squad that was capable to exceed 550 Hatstats with an offensive coach and maximum team spirit. And it is well known that the offensive coach (like my Szymon Machel) squeezes less Hatstats from a formation than a neutral or especially a defensive coach. In the days before the final, my aims were to buy a high-skilled defender with better form than some of my existing ones, capable of entering in my first 11, as well as to get nice substitutes on the bench for every position, including a goalkeeper.

I played the two wingbacks defensively to stop whichever side attack he would push with a forward towards wing in a 4-5-1 formation. But I kept enough defense in the middle should he play with two normal forwards in a 4-4-2 CA or 3-5-2 formation. Because playing with 4 defenders seemed much more likely for Aldo I decided to have some extra attack on one side with Losada as offensive inner on the side of winger Placidi also played offensive. On the other side, I played Bratosin as a winger towards middle, but despite of this order I would have a decent third attack too. Aldo could have used 4 central midfielders, thus I needed Bratosin primarily supporting the midfield.

If I was not winning by half-time, I had a conditional order to have Bratosin playing normal and thus taking a small hit for possession. However with the difference in stamina of the players contributing to the midfield, the average possession should tend to remain unchanged throughout the second half and even higher for me in the last minutes of the match. So by changing orders for Bratosin I was hoping to get the probably necessary boost in attack for getting the victory without risking my possession edge, having also in mind the fact that his wingback Farr might not be played defensive on the Bratosin side. his move turned out to be the winning one because I was unlucky enough to not get any chances on my strong side.

I had a second conditional order in minute 75, if I was down: a divine ++ winger which I bought before the final was supposed to play as offensive wingback on Bratosin’s side. I had two more orders if one of my inners or the central defender were red-carded (I have these changes set for every single match) and one more change in minute 115 to bring the utopian SP defender Francu in the squad for the penalty shoot-out (on a side note, I would have been clearly favorite in the shoot-out).

Aldo chose a clean 4-5-1, without pressing and without a defensive coach. I was a little bit surprised to see Sylva played as winger towards middle whereas his main skill and form would definitely have recommended him as a central midfielder, changing the spots with Angeloni who was in a worse shape. Probably Aldo was careful not to get a negative unpredictable event as Sylva has a very low defense skill and chose to rather sacrifice some midfield rating, especially since he won the semifinals due to a negative unpredictable event of his opponent. However, if the weather had turned out to be sunny/rainy and thus weather special events having a good say at the expense of the “normal” ones, I think Aldo would have played Sylva as an inner because the risk of having a negative unpredictable SE was much smaller.

I tried to keep things simple above without losing any of my major thoughts when I prepared the match. But there is still much to say…