Welcome to my latest post, in this post I am going to talk about how Hakim Ziyech has become my false 10 in the system that is evolving over time by trial and error. After watching and analysing game after game using my Cruyff inspired diamond it was clear to see the quality of my Moroccan playmaker Hakim Ziyech and his influence in most of the games we play. Ziyech was playing at the tip of the diamond for me as a Central Attacking Midfielder and whilst he was flourishing in this position I noticed that the AI was starting to continually play 2 Defensive Midfielders against us limiting the space of my Moroccan playmaker especially so in Europe so I decided to change things up a bit and started to experiment playing Ziyech in a wide position with the aim of him coming inside to weave his magic in the Zone 14 strata.
If anyone who does not know what the Zone 14 strata is, here is a brief explanation.
Many modern day coaches split the pitch up in to 18 zones starting at Zone 1 the left back strata and advancing through to 18 like the graphic to the left shows. The Zone 14 area is the classic number 10 area of the pitch. This is the area of the pitch were I want Ziyech to influence the game however instead of him starting in this position I would rather him arrive in this position from either a deeper position or from out wide. Now in FM there are many options in terms of position, roles and instructions both team and individual to play around with and trust me I like to experiment with them and not always with good results.
The graphic to the right illustrates the position or positions that I would like Ziyech to take up with the goal of arriving in Zone 14 to weave his magic thus creating the False 10 title although I am not one for fancy names sod it he is being called a false 10 for the sake of this post. Now Ziyech is comfortable on both flanks but for the purpose of this graphic I have used the left side however my tactic is mirrored so I can switch in game. So my first job was to find the right position / role to assign to Ziyech. Like I said earlier there are a few options including: Raumdeuter, Wide Playmaker,Enganche and Advanced Playmaker Central / Wide. So what am I trying to achieve?
Here are the descriptions of the roles I considered has defined by the excellent www.guidetofootballmanager.com which I would like to thank for giving me permission to use their material. You can check them out by clicking the link.
- Overall I want us to dominate the ball
- Playmaker starting out wide before arriving in Zone 14
- Playmaker to have a lot of touches
- Most Passes / Assists / Key Passes
Taking all of the above in to account I chose to assign Ziyech the Wide Advanced Playmaker role which recorded these numbers over a period of 10 games:
- Goals Per Game 0.714
- Key Passes Per Game 1.90
- Assists 0.790 per Game
Advanced Playmaker In Action
Here are a few screenshots of Ziyech in action taken from each of the 10 games I tested playing in the Wide Advanced Playmaker Role: game by game Ziyech is influencing our play starting out wide and receiving the ball in and around Zone 14 since I assigned this role to the Moroccan we has a team are averaging 64% possession compared to 56% Average Possession before I made the change. To accommodate Ziyech in this role I am using our full back mostly Kenny Tete as a Wing Back Attack taking advantage of the player instructions of Get Further Forward, Cross From Byeline and Run Wide With Ball. The idea is to overlap Ziyech and occupy the opposing full back whilst creating a wide option for us. This seems to be working well so far. Another positional change that I a have made is to my front man is changing from a DLF to an Advanced Forward again in my brain I want my Forward to stretch the play vertically to open space up for Ziyech to occupy the Zone 14 space were up to press he is winning a lot of 2nd balls when our attacks break down in the final third which is a real bonus and something I had not envisaged. Back to the role of the Wide Advanced Playmaker on an attack duty he will run at the defensive line from deep positions which Ziyech does with aplomb. So far my little experiment is working well and everyone who plays FM will know it gives you a good feeling to get something you visualise working, however Ziyech himself has picked up an injury that will force him out of Football for a couple of months so it will be interesting to see if I can get the same outcomes for his replacement.
My Next Post will be taking a look at our Jong Ajax squad who are my development squad. Ajax have traditionally tried to get 3 players from their youth system in to their first team squad over a 2 year period. We all know the story of this great club and their history of youth development so next time I will be looking at who will be stepping in to the first team squad next season. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and reading this post.