My Squad Views
La Orana! (Hello in Tahitian for those in the know). I’ve got some squad views. They might be helpful. They might not be. But they are what I’m using currently. I made mine for FM19 but they should still work for FM20 I’ve also made a special squad view for my By the Numbers series. A lot of the inspiration for these squad views come from views such as Loki Doki’s and FoxInTheBox’s , and from concepts such as Fibra (see FM Grasshopper) and general squad DNA. Although to be honest if you want really good squad views plus awesome spreadsheet to export them to check out The Female Football Manager’s work.
I’ve been using them to help clarify my squad choices. This is really important because all my players are newgens or unknowns. I have no prior knowledge to use and base my decisions on. Alongside this is the issue that all the teams are fairly even so player ability for the first couple of seasons will be quite close from squad to squad. Any slight differences will become advantages or disadvantages to exploit – for the first few seasons a lot of games could come down to very fine margins.
Another reason I’ve set the squad views up is because they give me a balance of attributes and stats. I’m a nerd. I love stats. I’ve got bits of paper that confirm how much I love them and I teach fairly advanced stats. What I want to do over a few seasons is see if I can find statistically significant relationships between some of the attributes and stats within my squad.
To put it another way, I want to know if the mental attributes I’ve picked out are actually predictive of performance across a range of metrics, and I want to do it for a lot of different things. I’m little way away from being able to do that as I need to build the data set (and I’ll cover it in a different series of posts and videos) but by having these views I can export the data I need each season.
General Squad Views – FM19
This is view is just to give me an overview of the squad, so I can pick up on the general makeup, form and performances before delving any deeper with one of the other views I have.
First up with have personality. I want professionals, model citizens, or determined players. Balanced will do in the short term. But I gradually want to shift the personality of the team to something positive so this helps me keep an eye on it. It also is useful if I have a tough decision against two players who are playing equally well – the better personality will be more likely to get a shot at playing in a key match.
Likewise with morale. Ultimately I want them happy so they play well and importantly don’t moan at me.
Training Rating and Average Rating are just there to help with selection, and so I know who to shout at and who to praise. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of shouting done.
The first section has the mental attributes I’m generally interested in. You could consider this to be the club DNA, along the lines of Fibra, but really I just want to see at a glance who has a good head on their shoulders. This is something I ultimately want to see, statistically, if it has a relationship with outcomes like average ratings etc. In this we have teamwork, work rate, determination, concentration and aggression. I’ve got aggression in there because really, deep deep down, I want my teams to be a Polynesian reincarnation of the Crazy Gang. Or a Northern Irish version in the case of my By the Numbers Belfast Celtic save.
The next section or so is bog-standard – apps, goals, assists and the assistants rating of current and potential ability. The last three columns are more important – game win percentage for the player, points won per game, and mistakes leading to a goal.
Game win %age and points won per game let me see which players are contributing most to the overall points haul. It can be skewed though. Players who end up coming on as a sub when we are winning, for example, will have a great percentage and points per game. But generally, I can see who, over the course of a season, is over or underrated.
The mistakes leading to a goal does something similar in that it lets me see if I have any complete liabilities in the side.
Defence – FM19
Slight change of tack here. The first couple of key columns are height and weight. I’m not subtle. I want my defence to be tall and strong. And if they can’t be tall and strong then tall and fat enough to need a substantial detour to get around will do.
The next two sections break down the attributes into the physical (positioning, jumping, strength, acceleration, pace) and the defensive (heading, marking, tackling, long throws). All of these are probably obvious but long throws maybe not so much. I’ve included this as I love a good Rory Delap style throw-in, and I usually want my full-backs to do it.
Next we have some stats. Tackle won percentage, key tackles, headers won per 90 and interceptions per 90 (and mistakes leading to goals again). These should all help identify players who are actually doing well or that are struggling in their defensive duties. The attributes just tell us who should do well, but the stats tell us who is actually doing the job. I can see who is good in the tackle, and who is getting the important tackles in, who is good in the air and who is cutting out opposition balls.
This one gets slightly more complicated. First of all we have some physical attributes (strength, acceleration, pace) that let us know who should tick the basic boxes. Then we have a few key mental attributes (work rate, vision and flair) so we know who will work hard, and who has the creative edge (spoiler – no one). Then we have the technical attributes at a glance (technique, passing, free kicks, first touch, dribbling, and crossing). From this it should be clear who is a good choice for winger, and who might need to be played more centrally, nothing more complicated than that.
Stats-wise we have chances created per 90. Eventually I want to see if this relates to the other attributes of vision and flair. We also have the goals per 90 and mins per goal to see what direct attacking threat they bring.
Finally, we have the stats more directly related to midfield performance. Passes completed per 90, pass percentage, key passes per 90, dribbles per game, and cross conversion percentage. All of these should let me see who is a passenger in midfield, and who is a driving force. Some are more important for the wingers (dribbles and crosses) but all give a good picture of who is more effective.
Attack – FM19
We have a similar breakdown here – physical attributes such as jumping, strength, pace and acceleration so we can see who can meet the basics. Then we have the more attacking based attributes (heading, finishing, composure, off the ball, anticipation, decisions). Across these we can see which strikers are physically good (some), technically good (not many) and mentally ready (even fewer). A fast striker with good anticipation and off the ball movement might serve us better than immobile lumps with great shots in some situations (or vice versa as I love hoofball so there’s a home here for lumps).
Over to the stats sections and we have mins per goal, goals per 90 and mins since the last goal. This combination lets us check who is good value for a goal, who is on a bad run, and anyone who’s stats have been skewed by bagging 5 in a match and then nothing for months.
More importantly though the next stats section we have shots on target percentage, shots per 90, headers per 90 and how many offsides. From this we can see who can’t hit a barn door. Who is terrible in the air, and any players who don’t understand the offside rule (or are playing in a poor position because of my tactical decisions – so many of them).
By the Numbers – FM20
This is much more of a general view that covers a range of defensive, creative and attacking stats, as well as key attributes. It has similarities with the FM19 version but has been slightly refined for FM20.
Initially, we have the basics. Along with a few choice bits of information like height (as I favour tall players because of hoofball), and agreed versus actual playing time. This is quite useful for spotting issues before they happen. Likewise, the games missed in a row can be a good warning.
We also have average rating and training rating to help with picking out players who might need to be rewarded with a run in the first team.
Then we have the next section which deals with the DNA of the team. This is all based on the DNA I worked out statistically for my style of Hoofball. You can read about it on Dictate the Game, and here. It’s not about gut feeling, it’s about data.
These are the attributes that make a big difference. Aggression, Determination, Bravery, Positioning, Jumping, Work Rate and Strength. Your mileage may vary.
We then move onto a combination of general points/win rate stats in points per game and game win percentage, followed by more defensive stats.
This is useful to judging if our defenders are hitting the KPI’s we need. A good amount of interceptions, key tackles and key headers really indicate a standout player for me. Aerial battles won also is a nice marker of how dominant they are.
Creative output is up next with more midfield stats. I don’t worry too much about pass completion, and even key passes per 90 isn’t the be-all and end-all. But they are good ‘traditional’ markers or KPI’s even if they are not hoofball ones.
Perhaps more important are the crosses completed for an indication of the winger’s success (even if the crosses are from deep), assists per 90 and chances per 90. But again, I prefer to look at xA and xG if I can.
Finally we have striker related stats. Shots on target, and shots on target per 90. xG is king still for me but these give me an idea of how lethal a striker potentially is, adjusted for game time. It takes out purple patches.
And as always, a little indicate of potential to remind me what my staff think of them all. So I can ignore them.
Squad Views: Do they Work?
Sort of. There’s plenty that’s missing but these aren’t meant to be in-depth and cover everything. These are to help make initial decisions. Then we get the data after a few seasons to really work out what is important. I have made a few tweaks to team line ups over the two seasons played so far based on these. Such as dropping strikers when their accuracy has dropped through the floor, but nothing drastic. They are a work in progress. I’ll be making changes so if you have any suggestions or stats you think I’ve missed let me know!