Why you should be utilising the Mezzala role | Wednesday Wisdom
We're back with another edition of Wednesday Wisdom and this time we're focusing on the Mezzala role. We've brought in @JLAspey to explain how to best deploy the sophisticated midfield role.
When the Mezzala role was introduced to Football Manager, I was a strong supporter of its inclusion, believing it would go on to be a popular and important role that was selectable for any central midfield player.
In FM19, the Mezzala (described as ‘a central player that likes to drift wide, essentially a central/half winger’) has proven to be one of the most important and effective roles… if used in the correct system and with the right player. This article will cover what the Mezzala is, how it’s best used and the type of player you need in order to make the most of it.
In game, the Mezzala can adopt one of two duties, Support or Attack. Both roles make the Mezzala extremely effective and impact how far forward the player will go and how aggressive he is – although both of these elements are also impacted by mentality and team shape.
In terms of specific instructions, the only difference between the Support and Attack roles is that assigned to attack are told to ‘take more risks’.
The core instructions that you need to utilise the Mezzala effectively are:
Dribbling, Finishing, First Touch, Long Shots, Passing, Technique
Anticipation, Composure, Decisions, Flair, Off the Ball, Vision, Work Rate
Acceleration, Balance, Stamina
When we look at these attributes, it gives us a clear indication of what kind of player is best suited to this role. You need a technically-gifted midfielder (I tend to prioritise Dribbling, Passing and First Touch) who is good at decision making and movement off the ball – something that can turn a decent Mezzala into a truly great Mezzala.
The next thing we need to discuss is, what should a Mezzala look like? We’ve discussed the key attributes, so we can now assess some player suggestions and the right kind of player that you need to play this role.
One player that fits the mould is Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech. As you can see from the screenshot, I’ve highlighted the key stats for the Mezzala role and he fits them very well.
There are certainly some areas where he’s not so strong (such as Finishing and Decisions) but his other attributes (Passing, Dribbling, Off The Ball and Acceleration) more than make up for this. There are some potential issues such as ‘Shoots From Distance’ as a preferred move, but Ziyech should excel in the Mezzala role. The Moroccan would be a top signing for anyone managing a big European club in FM.
Other players who would work well in the role are Golovin at Monaco and Lazio’s Milinkovic-Savic. Also, while I haven’t tested this as yet, I strongly suspect David Neres at Ajax could be out of this world as a Mezzala. Wingers who are capable passers often retrain well to Mezzala, that’s one of the beauties of this versatile role.
Now you know what makes a Mezzala tick, the next step is to incorporate the role into a system that makes the most of it. The Mezzala is effective in the vast majority of formations and systems in the game, but there are specific formations that I believe give the role more freedom.
Two of the best formations for the Mezzala are 4-1-3-2 and the wide 4-3-3. As you can see, both of these systems make good use of the role’s Support and Attack duties.
In the 4-1-3-2, my Mezzala needs to float wider and combine with the CWB on his flank, being in a Support role allows him to do this without being overly aggressive.
In comparison, in the 4-3-3 system, the Mezzala is focused on his Attack duty and therefore far more is expected from him. In the 4-1-3-2, the Mezzala is a cog within the system, whereas here the Mezzala is the main driving force, exploring attacking spaces, combining with the Inside Forwards and the Deep Lying Forward who leads the line.
The main thing about the Mezzala is that he must have players around him that he can combine with. There are plenty of other systems that you can use to benefit from, but these are the two that I’ve used so far in FM19.
The Mezzala is one of the most useful and effective roles for a midfielder in the game. If used correctly it can take your system to the next level. In this article, I’ve shown some of the ways to use it, but this certainly isn’t the exhaustive guide. Use this guide to begin, but experiment, use different players in the role and you’ll see how the Mezzala is one of the best and most useful roles within FM19.
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