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07.08.19

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The Perfect Number 10 | Wednesday Wisdom

This week's Wednesday Wisdom comes courtesy of @FM_Grasshopper and focuses on the role of the Enganche in FM19. It's a role that can sometimes be overlooked but could help get more out of your number 10.

The Perfect Number 10 | Wednesday Wisdom

The Enganche: The Perfect 10?

The classic #10 - there's a certain romanticism around the concept of a classic number 10. The position reserved for that one player who can turn it on at any moment, who can win games on their own through craftsmanship and guile. It was never essential for this playmaker to track back and help with the defensive side of the game, his teammates would 'carry him' and in return he would pay them back with magic, plying his trade 'in the hole' behind a central striker or two.

Two things happened that made the classic 10 largely redundant.

First, defences got wise to the player in the hole and then teams started to press the opposition high up the pitch. Suddenly the playmaker was expected to press from the front – the emphasis now is not just on what the playmaker does with the ball, but also how he performs without it. Thus, over time, the make-up of the traditional 10 has changed from elegance to function.

But the role is, of course, retained in Football Manager 2019 and classic number 10s still remain in the game… today's Wednesday Wisdom therefore looks at the Enganche: The Perfect 10.

Why use an Enganche?
Player Mobility

In order to get the best out of your squad, sometimes you have to ask yourself what players can’t do. You may find an attacking midfielder in your squad that simply does not have the mobility required to cover ground. Players in roles like the Advanced Playmaker, who love to drift about, or the Shadow Striker, who move into channels, may not be suitable and could mean your man struggles to cope with the physical demands placed on him.

It’s therefore necessary to choose a role that allows a player’s strengths to flourish, rather than expose their weaknesses. We often see this dilemma posed on a team’s elder statesmen; those who have learned the game and therefore remain technically and mentally suited to the top level, but have weak physical attributes. The Enganche role is therefore perfect for them, because they will stay high up the pitch and look to make through balls.

Miralem Pjanic's profile in Football Manager 2019

A good Enganche should have high values in Composure, Decisions, First Touch, Passing, Technique and Vision. Some desirable player traits to have would be ‘Dictates Tempo’ (so the Enganche can change the tempo up-and-down as the game suits), ‘Plays One-Twos’ (to facilitate a passing style) and ‘Tries Killer Balls Often’ (because… well… it’s awesome).

Footballing Style

The playmaker is a vital cog in conveying your footballing philosophy. It’s essential you pick the right role, otherwise you are in danger of diluting your style. For instance, if you want to choke the opposition and control the game with possession then the Advanced Playmaker role will be suited. However, if you want a riskier/more direct style of football then the Enganche will be a good choice. You’ll also notice from the above screenshot that the Enganche is hard coded to dribble less and hold position… this is rather unique in today’s playmaking world, where touches and successful dribbles are paraded as desirable post-match statistics. But think of it this way: the more touches/dribbles a player makes… the slower his attacks will be.

Example Tactic

It’s also worth noting that the Enganche is not expected to drive into the box, he will be more stationary than other 10 roles (such as the Trequartista, for example). So, for this reason, he needs players around him that can make those runs. We therefore need a formation and tactic that allows the Enganche to flourish.

As a lover of Argentine football, the formation that traditionally utilises the Enganche is the 4-3-1-2. In this formation, the Enganche has the protection and runners of a three-man midfield behind him, plus two forwards ahead of him to stretch the play and give our classic 10 space to operate. On the flanks I have one Complete Wing-Back on Support Duty who is key to providing much needed width and an option for the Enganche to spread the play wider should the central balls not be available. On the other side I have a Full-Back on Defend Duty, who ensures we have adequate security for the opponent’s counter attacks.  Here is my interpretation in Football Manager 2019:

 

A 4-3-1-2 tactic in Football Manager 2019

 

You can see that I have slotted my 10 behind a Complete Forward on Attack and a False Nine. The Complete Forward will look to roam from position and also move into channels for the Enganche to find him. I also felt it important to have a role close by our Enganche that will drop a bit deeper and provide knock-downs and help get the ball to the Enganche’s feet, I have chosen a False Nine for this. Another attraction for the False Nine is that it will help draw out opposing defenders, thus creating more space for the Enganche to thrive.

 

How the Enganche Performs

In this 4-3-1-2, the Enganche benefits from our Team Instructions which funnels the play centrally.  Our lower line of engagement also brings our central midfield closer to the Centre Back pairing who are told to Play Out Of Defence. The two wider central midfielders are instructed to stay wider and pass it short… the aim is to move the ball forward and build around the Enganche, but still remembering that the Complete Wing-Back is always there as a great ‘out ball’.

Analysis of player passing in Football Manager 2019

You can see from the above that the Enganche operates centrally. Here are the 50 passes he received during a 4-0 home win; I’ve also included his Key Passes (which he led in the game with a total of three). He played the full 90 minutes with two assists and 177 touches.

The Enganche won’t be everybody’s favourite 10 role. It won’t demonstrate too many mazy dribbles or explosive surges into the penalty area, but it can offer a certain amount of luxury and panache if you build around him. Why not try and do the same right now?

Thanks for reading,

FM Grasshopper