How To: Use Prozone to Assess Average Positions

The Football Manager series for many years has allowed players to learn and develop ways of assessing the effectiveness of the tactics used for the teams they choose to manage. In the latest version of the game Football Manager 2016, Prozone, the most efficient performance analysis tool has been incorporated into the game for even deeper analysis of both whole team and individual player performance. In this post, FM Central show you how to use the average positions and the heat map options within Prozone to assess your chosen tactic.

How To: Use Prozone to Assess Average Positions

Before you progress within this post, I would recommend that you read our Prozone – Key Points post. This post covers all the aspects of Prozone that are essential in assessing your tactic. If you need to understand any of the Prozone options in further detail then checking out that post will be essential.
It is also important to note that the tactical analysis that will be undertaken in this post will be a tactic that has been used during FM16 BETA with Manchester United being the team being managed. Manchester United are a team with a mixture of top players and average players. Players that should be able play with the position and role that they have been given. However, as you will see though this post, regardless of how good the team being managed and the quality of the players there is also room for tactical analysis and thus room to improve the team from the stance of tactical assessment.The Tactic

The tactic that is being used for the based of this Prozone assessment is a 4-2-3-1 with an emphasis on wide attacking play.
As you’ll be able to see, like any tactic there are various positions and player roles selected in this tactic. But, what is important when assessing your tactic is to see how the selection of player role effect the whole team shape linking with over all average positions.With the roles selected in this tactic when viewing players average positions I am look for the creation of triangles. These triangles can be used for passing or the creation of space for both defensive an attacking purposes.

Team Instructions
As already stated, the above tactic has an emphasis on wide attacking play. In order to try and emphasize that it is important to set the right team instructions. The team instructions screen on Football Manager 2016 has undergone a marvelous change. Instructions are more clearer, and for those that are more visual learners it is something to enjoy.In my tactic I have seven very simple starting instructions. These instructions are what I want to see right from the off in a game. It is important to remember that these instructions can and should be changed based on the analysis of your opposition.

Without going into too much detail for the team instructions for a start are:- Attacking Mentality

– Normal Tempo

– Rarely Time Waste

– Width, Fairly Wide

– Normal Defensive Line playing the offside trap and closing down sometimes,

– Clear the ball to flanks build up (this emphasizes the wide attacking play) from the width players look for over lapping players.

– Passing is mixed with an emphasis on expressive play.


The Analysis
The match chosen for analysis is the image you can see on the left:

Manchester United 2 vs  1 Sporting CPA wining game, but a close game in terms of possession. Let’s look at the tactical analysis of this game using Prozone.

To look at the Prozone analysis, simply click on the “analysis” tab, in the drop down menu click on “Teams”. We are looking at Teams for the basis on this post, the tactical assessment of the whole team.

Average Positions – Positional Analysis

Once one the teams analysis section, there are various options on the left side of the screen. A great starting point for tactical analysis is the average positions and the positional heat map. From the picture above you’ll be able to see that on the average positions section there are three options: with ball, without ball and overall. These options are there to allows deeper tactical analysis of players positions based on the option selected. For the purpose of this analysis I shall show you all. From left: With Ball, Without Ball, With Ball & Without Ball, Overall.
What we can see in the pictures of average positions and the embedded heat map is a clear distinction between when Manchester United are in possession of the ball and when they are not. This is made clear by looking at the third image above.When in possession of the ball, all the players push up slightly linking with the attacking mentality of the formation being used. The aim when is possession is to keep possession of the ball. However. when you come to assess the average positions when in possession of the ball, it is important to check the heat map. The heat map will show you were on the pitch the players in possession of the ball have been most, essentially this show you where the ball has been throughout the match when your team are in possession. We can see in the “with ball” average positions and heat map that the main area has been just on the Manchester United attacking side of the centre circle and beyond. Taking an analysis view here, you could either determine that (1) the play during this game has been stuck in near the middle of the park, or (2) the more central players within the Manchester United formation had the bulk of the possession during the game.

Without the ball, you’ll be able see that all the players drop slightly. This dropping from the defensive perspective link with the selected team instruction of have a normal defensive line. When in possession they will push forward to try and play the offside trap, when out of possession they will drop in an attempt to win the ball back from the opposition. When looking at the average positions without the ball, I would recommend turning off possession but keeping the heat map. Turning the possession off, but have the heatmap on will show you were your players have been working during the game you are analysing. We can see here that the heat map shows the attacking players do not aid do much in the way of their defensive duties in this game. If you see this, I would not recommend worrying too much. Your attacking players are not sent out there to defend, unless you have specifically told you whole team to go out there and park the bus.

Average Positions – Team Shape Analysis

One the most important aspect when using Prozone to assess your team’s average positions is to link the average positions of your whole team with the team shape. When I mention team shape, I mean the shape you want to see, not the shape you see immediately on the average positions. The game I chose to analysis for this post was chosen for this very specific reason. I mentioned earlier that with the tactic being used I wanted to see a fairly wide attacking play.

Look at the average positions in the picture on the right I have circled the four players (including subs) that played on the wings during the chosen game. This is were we need to look at everything, and I mean everything when it comes to assessing average positions and team shape. Having a requirement of wanting wide attacking play is fine, but having that requirement and playing inside forwards on the wings is the issues here. From a team shape and player role perspective, the players who have played in the wide positions have stuck to their selected role. The role of an inside forward is to stay wide, but when they receive the ball the inside forward will cut inside to the more central areas of the pitch. Cutting inside will cause the overall average positions to make the players look like that have played more centrally. To change this have the average positions to look more wider, changing the inside forwards to a role that see the wide players stay wide when both in possession and without possession of the ball would be more beneficial.

In conclusion, when reviewing the average positions of your players on Football Manager 2016 it is importance as a manager to consider the decisions you have made as a manager. If you spot something that does fit with what you want to see in your chosen tactic then look at team instructions you have chosen. Just one team instructions can cause your whole team to change their style of play. It is also important to check player’s chosen roles, within this guide we have seen that when wanting wide attacking play using inside forward on both wings does not work as they will both cut inside to more central areas rather than using the width. When selecting player role, it is very simple to click on a player and view the individual player instructions, if one of those instructions does not fit with the your style of play do not use that player role and select one that will better fit the style of football and average positions you will want to see when analysing the performance after each match.

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