A large part of playing Football Manager is actually managing your football team. You can prepare all you want, from carefully designing innovative tactics to scouting and signing players to fit those roles, but at the end of the day, you still need to send your players out onto the pitch and put all those hours (that’s right, hours) to the test.
The match engine in Football Manager has never really compared to its more lifelike brethren in FIFA and PES. Its models are more rudimentary than the console counterparts. Still, nonetheless, it doesn’t stop millions experiencing moments of elation when a last-minute winner is scored by a youth prospect that came from the club’s academy, nor despair when, after dominating a game, concede a sloppy goal from the opponent’s first shot on goal – an occasion referred to as being “FM’d” by the Football Manager community.
With Football Manager 2021, the developers at Sports Interactive have improved the engine to reflect reality better and cut out moments of bizarre hilarity. According to the devs, decision making is one of the aspects that have been improved in this year’s game, as now players can analyze the situation around themselves unfold in the highlight animations and can change their behavior accordingly to suit the situation.
Defenders can react more intelligently, like passing off defensive duties on to another defender as they close down another player or space. They will also work together more coherently as a unit, covering for aerial balls and preventing dribbles in dangerous areas. Goalkeepers will go to the ground more and take weather conditions into account in decisions whether to punch or catch the ball in aerial interceptions, which also have seen an increase in FM21. Attackers no longer try a near-impossible shot at tight angles as much and now look for a teammate in space more. Reflecting on the modern game, players will look to go to the ground when they feel contact from defenders and appeal for penalties to the referee. The midfield will see more turnovers and interceptions as players look to block potential passing lanes. We’ll also see passes through the middle as defenders look to quickly give the ball to more attacking players in central areas.
These are only a small window into the improvements in Football Manager 2021, but hopefully, this means that we’ll see an interesting battle on the pitch every match day. We’ve detailed some of the other off-the-pitch changes made to the game, including its headline features, and now that the beta is out, we’ve seen a lot of positives from people streaming the game on Twitch.
Are you playing FM21 and the Football Manager 2021 Matches? What have you made of the beta so far and how you can do cool things like managing your football team better? Let us know.