Somehow, I’m still alive. I thought I was a certainty to be sacked in my Coventry City career on FIFA09. It was a dreadful start to the season. 4 straight defeats and 1 draw saw me receive a warning from the board. Then I crashed out of the League Cup, going down 0-2 at home to Shrewsbury.
I couldn’t seem to get to grips with the game. I was coping well, mostly, but not creating many chances, and those I did create were poor ones. I rarely crafted a one-on-one opportunity using the patented nextgen FIFA method of a quick give-and-go followed by an aerial through-ball. Such chances, and the goals they led to, were my bread and butter on FIFA08.
Ah, but on FIFA09 I’m utilising semi-assisted and manual control settings—something I never actually got around to last year. That’s something worth remembering as I struggle on. The manual aerial through-ball in particular is not the same as its fully-assisted counterpart. It takes ages to charge up, allowing the CPU players ample time to close you down. And it’s the damnedest thing to aim properly.
Last year in FIFA08 probably 50% of all my goal-scoring chances came about through the use of aerial through-balls after playing a one-two. In FIFA09 that figure has got to be less than 5%. For now, at least…
A league match against Nottingham Forest was make or break for the season. Somehow, I contrived to win it 2-1. Forest went down to 10 men early on and I capitalised. I switched my formation to a 4-3-3 and gradually wore the 10 men down. The result improved my standing with the board, but it was still in the danger area.
My next match was against Birmingham City, one of the division’s top teams. In FIFA09, Birmingham are billed as Coventry City’s big local rivals. They’re not. Aston Villa are. (Or “Aston Villa is“, as EA Canada would undoubtedly put it…)
This was a similar game to the Forest one, with Birmingham going down to 10 men early on. Again I switched to 4-3-3 to capitalise on the space,and again I scored two goals—more through attrition than through any real skill. They were scruffy, ugly goals, but if winning ugly is what it takes to survive, then that’s what I’ll do. This time I shut-out the CPU completely. I was very happy with the win—my second in succession, and enough to take my job security out of the red zone and back up into the (precarious) safety of the orange zone….
I think the overall message that these two games have given me is: play 4-3-3 again. My usual FIFA09 formation of 4-4-2 (with wide midfielders making it more of a 4-2-2-2) was very effective with Atletico Madrid and that squad’s ultra-talented players. But it wasn’t really getting me anywhere with Coventry City. So I’ve made the switch to a full-on 4-3-3. I’ll grab some screenshots and post them next time, assuming I continue to avoid the sack of course.