Scoring in FM18 Explained
Football Manager

So you’ve read our article on How To Keep Clean Sheets and you’ve sorted things out at the back, but now you find yourself drawing every game 0-0 and your fans are dreaming of replacing you with Tony Pulis or Neil Warnock, because their football is much more exciting than what you’re producing.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Today I will share my secrets of how to get your forwards firing and scoring in FM18.

First of all, my credentials:

Recently my Ajax side went 30 consecutive games scoring in FM18. I’m trying to recreate Total Football with the Amsterdam side, so attacking possession football is very much the aim.

Attack- Scoring in FM18
Attack- Scoring in FM18

I’ve also done a tactical analysis of my Coventry save, in which we scored 114 goals in my first season in charge and won the league by 24 points. Basically, I’m a big fan of scoring in FM18. As a Newcastle fan, I guess it’s quite fitting that I’d rather win a game 4-3 than 1-0, but I digress. In this post I will try and give you an overview of how I am successful, what tips and tricks you can use to get the best out of your forwards and play that attacking football that gets the crowds on your side. Without further ado:

One of the main mistakes I see beginners make on FM is finding a tactic online and choosing it, even if their players don’t fit the tactic, and then looking for another when it doesn’t work. That’s not the answer!

Don’t Be Afraid To Tweak Your Tactics

Above is a comparison between my tactics at the beginning and end of the season, respectively. The adaptations all derived from things I picked up up on during games. My wing-backs weren’t getting back enough; I therefore switched them back to support. I wasn’t happy with the contribution of the CM’s, so switched them both to Mezzala, and switched my Raumdeuters to Wingers to compensate. Huntelaar is more effective as an AF, and he’s also improved since the change.

3 strikers- Scoring in FM18
Attributes- Scoring in FM18
Corners- Scoring in FM18
Corner GIF- Scoring in FM18
Counter-attacking GIF- Scoring in FM18
Counter-attacking GIF- Scoring in FM18.

Don’t be afraid to make changes! If it’s not going your way and you aren’t scoring in FM18, try changing players to more attacking roles, or tweaking your player roles slightly. Watch your build-up play. Are you shooting from outside the box too often? Add ‘work ball into box’ to start scoring in FM18. Struggling to break teams down? Add ‘run at defence’.  Try out different roles and instructions, then see what works for your squad or your desired formation. It might take you a few games to get it right, but stick with it. Don’t throw your whole tactic away if it doesn’t work in the first game. There’s certainly not one trick to scoring in FM18. Although, having said that…

Play Three Upfront

FM Scout released a tactic a while back that basically broke the game. It was a 5-2-3 Formation and it was a plug and play, instant wins and very easy titles. Normally I wouldn’t use what is essentially a cheat, but with FM19 just around the corner I thought I’d give it a go to start scoring in FM18. I was not disappointed. Above is my formation from my Coventry save.

Playing three strikers gives you a much better platform for playing attacking football and scoring in FM18. Wing-backs are essential to compliment the front line. Three strikers works so well because the opposition back four will sit very narrow to compensate, giving your WB’s all the space they want out wide. Using this formation with some pretty generic instructions and an attacking mentality generates some pretty amazing results. My three first choice forwards at Coventry got 82 goals between them in their first season; most of them were assisted by one of the other two.

You can be exploited by teams playing wide forwards, as they will find the half-spaces in between your wing-backs and centre-backs, especially on the counter-attack. However, you will win more than you lose, and score plenty along the way. If you’re all about goals, then this is the formation for you.

Take Time To Set Up Set Pieces

Set pieces are definitely neglected in Football Manager, especially on my saves. Using a half decent corner or free kick tactic can get you a lot of goals for minimal effort. Again, you can see my Ajax save corner tactic above.

The general idea is that an in-swinging corner will be flicked on by the man on the front post, and the three guys arriving at the back post will feed off the scraps and starting scoring in FM18. Should an opposition player win the ball, we have a man on the edge of the area to try a shot or play it back out to the corner taker. My DM offers a short option to drag a defender out of position. Feel free to see it in action above!

Spending 5 or 10 minutes setting up your corners and free kicks can be invaluable come the end of the season, and if you’re struggling at scoring goals in FM18 from them, taking a bit of time to test some different ideas isn’t going to hurt. It’s easily worth an extra 10-15 goals a season if you get it right, and that can make a massive difference.

All About Pace

Looking at recruitment, pace is essential, particularly at a lower level. Having quick strikers can really exploit opposition defences, especially when you’re coming up against old and slow centre-backs, who aren’t very good with the ball at their feet. When looking to sign strikers and wingers, always look for good physical stats, like acceleration, agility, balance and pace. Off the ball is also important, as this will help your forwards beat opposition defenders to the ball and starting scoring in FM18. You may find your forward gets flagged offside a lot, but that’s unfortunately just part of the deal. These guys will reek havoc with opposition defences and get you bags of goals when scoring in FM18. If you can find a pacey striker, with good finishing and composure, you’re onto a winner!

A good example from my Coventry Save is Keziah Sterling. He’s picked up 7 goals and 7 assists from 12 starts in League One so far and has the best shots on target ratio at the club, at 61%. Quick strikers will make scoring in FM18 on the break a breeze, and can turn a clearance into a 1-0 lead.

Play Fluid

Playing a ‘fluid’ or ‘very fluid’ team shape can really help you create chances and starting scoring in FM18. Playing a fluid style on FM essentially means you expect players to play in all areas of the pitch. In a structured style, defenders defend and attackers attack. With a fluid shape, more players are expected to contribute to the attacking phase when your team has the ball; this gives you a lot more options in the final third.

With my Ajax side, my RWB is able to push much higher up the pitch. My midfielders push higher up into the box and we overload the back post.

If you’re more defensive and prefer a ‘structured’ or ‘highly structured’ shape, try positions that allow the players to be fluid, such as Trequartista or False 9, to start scoring in FM18. Alternatively, you could try adding player instructions such as ‘move into channels’ to create some fluidity in the final third, whilst retaining your structured shape.

My last piece of advice would be if you have a tactic or a style you want to play, then stick with it. There’s all sorts of extra things to do, such as improving coaching and facilities, and undertaking attacking training, along with adding certain players and instructions to your tactic.  Don’t bin it off after a few games because you haven’t been scoring in FM18 as much as you hoped. Stick to these ideals and your tactic will come good!