5 Ways To Improve Your PPM Soccer Team

ppmsoccer03The evolution of the Online Sports Manager Game, Powerplay Manager since it’s inception has been quite incredible, so it’s understandable and expected that the game engine that drives the game(s) has also.  For better or worse, the football / soccer and hockey game engines have undergone continual tweaks and adjustments since day 1 of season 1.  I have been involved in different online manager games for a number of years and PPM is by far the most active of all admin, and to me, that can only ever be a good thing.

Of course, the other side to continual tweaks to the game engine is that we as managers need to study the changes and constantly adjust our playing style to ensure we stay on top of our games.  This is part of PPM that I really like the most, as It creates a certain amount of trial by fire to the game.  That doesn’t mean that it’s a guessing game.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Knowledge equals power, and once you know and understand the finer points of the game, your winning percentage will greatly increasel.

So here are 5 things you can do that will help you develop a stronger team and play a stronger game (in no particular order).

1. Dominate The Midfield

In one of the big changes to the game engine in the last few seasons PPM made some major improvements to the way the game looks at, and plays the midfield.  In football, ball posession is often won (or lost) in the midfield, and ball posession is the first step to scoring chances and of course goals.  PPM are always keen to make their games as realistic as possible, so this particular change had a lot of us hardcore football fans nearly salivating!

ppmsoccer01Your midfield (both central and out wide) should be one of your strongest (if not THE strongest) positions on the field.  The quickest way to see the strength of your midfield is to look at your team page and look at your team ratings graph (similar to image on right)

Having core players here could quite literally be the difference between a win and a loss.  In my opinion I believe you should play at least 4 midfielders, 2 in the center position and 2 out wide.  Depending on your opposition (see point 5 in this article), your players (point 2) or how offensively talented they are (point 3) your tactics may vary here.

2. Position, Position, Position!

Left back, right back, full back, striker, forward, center midfield attack… great phrases, but what does it mean in relation to having a strong team?  There are actually 2 things you need to understand when it comes to your players positions. 

The first is to ensure that they are in fact being played in the correct position.  Playing a center defender at left back may sound ok, but in practice the results may be something entirely different.  If you do test different players in different positions be sure to take note of your team strength (ie. team info page) after the daily game update.  This will give you an indicator of any major changes.  I wont get into attributes and EOR in this article as that will take too long, but you need to make sure that your players are where they should be.

The second part to this is your players preferred side.  There are 3 different types of preferences for this; left, right or universal.  While this “mainly” applies to players who are in the wide positions it can also apply to central players also.  Above all else the most important thing you need to remember is to try and NOT play someone who prefers  one side on the opposite side of the field.  For example if you have a left back who likes the left side, don’t play him on the right side!  Research shows doing so could result in an drop of attribute rating for that player between 10% and 20%!

3. Shooting, The Forgotten Attribute

You can have the most talented player in the league but if he has zero finishing skills he’s never going to score a ton of goals.  All too often I see players who train up their team with 1 or 2 scorers (usually forwards) and then wonder why their team scores less goals a season than their opposition. 

The fact is, the shooting attribute applies to ALL players with the exception of only the goalie!  Last season I spent a lot of time training up shooting on my midfielders and defenders to see just how much of a difference it really made.  The image below shows the current top goal scorers in my team so far this season. 

ppmsoccer02

Of those top 6 players, 2 are forwards, 2 are midfielders and 2 are defenders!

How much you train your shooting is entirely up to you.  I would recommend between 40% and 60% of the defense attribute for defenders (depending of course on the quality of the shooting attribute), between 40% and 70% for midfielders (50% – 80% for attacking midfielders) and for forwards 70%+ or their primary attribute. 

4. Use Line Tactics That Suit YOUR Team

Line tactics are another thing that PPM have spent time tweaking within the game engine over the last few seasons.  No longer can you play a crazy (unrealistic) tactic and still dominate a game.  But that doesn’t mean you “have” to play a cookie cutter style of tactic.  While many play a default 4-4-2 style of game, it is my opinion that if you train your team right, you can be far more successful with tactics that are designed around your teams strengths.

For example, if you have a center midfielder who has a very high shooting then you could play a 4-1-2-1-2 tactic, where you have 4 defenders, a defensive midfielder (played back in the central position towards the defenders), a winger on the left and right and the high shooting attacking midfielder at the top just back from the 2 forwards.  This would give your team essentially 3 attacking players while keeping your midfield strong (see point 1 in this article).

Alternatively, if you only have 1 quality striker but have a strength in the midfield you could play something like a 4-1-2-2-2 or 4-2-2-1-2 where you have 5 players in the midfield with either 2 back as defensive central midfielders and 1 attacking or switch them and have 1 defensive mid and 2 attacking mid.

The line tactics you play should always match the strengths of your team. Just remember, don’t play crazy lineups!

5. Know Your Enemy

Updating your game tactics and lines everyday can take less than 5 minutes and can be a major decider in you winning or losing.  But before you do that, take a look at your next match and check out your oppositions analysis.  See what tactics they play, how they manage their energy / game importance and which of their players are the biggest scoring threats. 

Once you’ve done that, take a look at your lineup and decide what (if anything) you need to change or tweak.  Doing a little research can go a very long way with PPM!

Tomorrow I will be posting an article touching on the same issue but with regards to your PPM Hockey team.

Not playing PPM yet?  Why not join today?  It’s 100% free and you can play either Hockey or Soccer! 

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PPM Sponsor Offers Strategy: Marketing Manager Specialists

Staff MembersAs we fast approach the end of season 5 at PPM Soccer, it’s time to start thinking about preparing for the off-season, and the end of season sponsorship offers.

Specifically, one key factor your team will need are two good quality managers, specifically trained in marketing.

From the guide: 2. Marketing – this attribute indicates the ability to negotiate better contracts with general and media sponsors.

Depending on your managing style you will already have managers, so the question is how good are they, and how big an impact will they have on your potential offers?

My suggestion is to train or buy off the market 2 managers specifically trained in marketing (attribute 2). There are always plenty of managers on the market, but the prices tend to increase the closer to the end of the season we get, so i recommend you start looking now.

What are your thoughts on this strategy? Do you do something different? Leave your thoughts below.

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Play To Your Team Strengths… But Don’t Forget Defense

How is season 5 looking for your PPM soccer teams?  If you’re like so many other managers, during the short off-season you probably made a few tweaks to your team to help make them better going into this season.  When preparing for this season, did you have a particular strategy in mind (other that winning, of course)?

Wayne-Rooney-and-Team-7
Wayne Rooney of Manchester United; a team that wins games by prolific offense

Like most team sports, the key to a successful football campaign at PPM is to make sure you play to your team strengths.  Naturally strong teams down the front are going to want to put emphasis on their strikers and focus on winning games by out-scoring them.  It’s worked well for Manchester United in the opening games of this seasons Premier League, has it not?  Teams who are weak up front but have much stronger midfield and/or defense are going to want to play a style that allows for their strongest players to dominate the game.

Playing to your teams strengths brings 2 related topics to relevance.  The first is that of formations, and which ones are best to use for your team.  A highly offensive squad may opt to play 2 or even 3 guys up front and leave the back-end a little open. This will offer a risk of being scored on, but if you have good strikers you will be out-scoring your opponent anyway so it’s not a “huge” issue.  Strong defensive squads may opt to role as much as 5 defenders with 3 down the middle.  This will often work great with 4 midfielders and just 1 forward, but naturally your ability to score goals could be heavily reduced.  Then again, this type of formation is great against those 3 forward type offensive squads.  The important thing to remember when selecting your formation is to use one that plays to your teams strength first, and then to what your opponent is doing.

The other topic that comes up is the topic of defense.  One of the “tweaks” PPM did to the soccer game engine was to have more influence in the attacking zone.  To you this means 2 things; your forwards need to be better than your opponents defense and more importantly your defense needs to be as strong as possible to shut down your opponents forwards.  It is better to draw games than to outright lose them.  

Just something to keep in mind when planning your next match.

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Is Your PPM Soccer Keeper A Head Above The Rest?

How much do you pay attention to how you train your keeper on your Powerplay Manager soccer team? As with most team sports, a good keeper can make or break a season for your team.

The guide suggests that technique and speed have a major influence on a goalies skill, and the passing and head attributes have a small, or little influence. But the guide is just that, a “guide”. Research done by others and myself however suggests that the head attribute may have a much larger influence on a keeper than many believe.

Edwin Van Der Sar makes a saveThe “head” attribute influences a players ability to play the ball off the head, which also means a players ability to jump for the ball. So the argument could be made that the head attribute could also influence a keepers ability to jump for the ball to make a catch or save.

Do you think top flight keepers like Manchester United’s Edwin Van Der Sar (right) don’t train in jumping? Of course they do.

Which brings me to the attributes themselves, and the ratio allegedly best used. The most common attribute used for goalies at PPM is 4-3-3-1-1. This is based purely on the suggestion in the guide as I mentioned at the top of this article. I believe however that a goalie performs better if the head attribute is increased to 50% of the primary, which would lead to a 4-3-3-1-2 attribute ratio (goal-tech-speed-pass-head). Does this mean the guide is incorrect? Not at all. PPM make it clear that the guide is a reference only, not a “set in stone” sure fire way to train your players.

Something to think about next time you train your keepers.

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New To PPM Football? An Introduction To Soccer Formations

Soccer is among the worlds most played sports. As you can imagine, there are a great number of managers on PPM who actively play the soccer manager game. There are however, also a great number of hockey people who are getting involved in the soccer game who naturally have loads of questions. One of the more common questions has to do with formations.

So, what exactly “are” formations?

The term formation refers to how your players are positioned on the playing field. A field is divided into 3 primary zones; Offensive, Midfield and defensive. Each of those zones is then divided into 3 areas, 2 wings (left and right) and a center. When describing a formation, the order is Defensive-Midfield-Offensive, and represented by numbers defining how many players in each zone. For example if you had 4 defenders, 4 midfielders and 2 attackers, you would describe that as 4-4-2.

Soccer Formations

Common Formations

The most basic of combinations is the 4-4-2 formation where you have 4 defenders, 4 midfielders and 2 attackers. This gives you a well balanced game.

Another common formation is 4-3-3. This one gives you strong defense and a powerful attack but does leave you very weak in the midfield. This formation is popular if you have a few very strong midfield players.

A less popular formation is to run with 3 defenders, which gives you an offensively minded playing style. 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 are the 2 best options if you opt to go with this formation, however make sure you have good quality defenders if you’re going against a stronger team.

Advanced Formations

Once you get more comfortable with the idea of formations you can start to play with the more advanced formations. these often require training your players a certain way.

The most common style of advanced formation is to split the center midfiend zone into 2, where you have midfield defense and midfield attack. Quite often managers will train midfielders with high shooting and technique and use them as an attacking midfielder. The same goes if you train defense in midfielders, and put them into the center midfield defense position. This gives you more options in the midfield as you can have your midfield staggered to cover more of the field. When you do this, you end up with a 5 positioned formation such as 4-1-2-1-2 (4 defense, 1 midfield defense, 2 side midfield, 1 midfield attack and 2 attackers).

My Soccer Formation using multi-midfield positions
This is a 4-1-2-1-2 formation using midfield attack and midfield defensive positions

You can also stagger your attack and defensive players so your wing defenders are positioned slightly closer to the midfield zone, or have your wingers back on the end-line and your center defenders up a bit. As you may have guessed, you can essentially use any formation that you so wish.

At PPM the field positions you have available are varied, as you can see from the image of my current football formation above. This is the 4-1-2-1-2 formation that I previously mentioned.

Winning games is about having good players and playing good formations. If you have a team with weak midfielders, play a formation that puts more strength in the midfield (ie. more players). If you have incredibly strong midfielders but weak defenderrs, look to play 4 or even 5 defenders and only 3 midfielders.

As with everything PPM related, trial and error is the best way to play the game. You might be surprised just how much better your team can be if you find the perfect formation for your players.

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Managers Breathe Again As PPM Soccer Season 3 Ends

If there was a song for each day, todays would have to be Queen’s “Another one bites the dust”. That’s because another hard season of soccer is over at Powerplay Manager, or at least, over for the majority of managers. There are still relegation and promotion rounds to play of course, so some teams are still very much in the midst of serious footy battles.

One of the key elements to season 3 to me was the development of my young players. I finally started to see the results of 3 seasons of hard work and careful training. It showed with my team, Trueblue F.C. coming first in the Oceania Div I.1 league and my center striker, Thomas Hartge finishing the season with 66 goals; the best in my league.

How did you do?

Season 4 will bring new challenges for all of us. I fully expect PPM to “tweak” the game engine prior to the start of the new season which could change how well our players act on the field or how our training regimes affect a players ability.

Until that though, enjoy the off-season. If you’re still involved in relegation / promotion rounds good luck in your upcoming matches.

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