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Mastering Goalkeeper Distribution in Football Manager

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Enhance your team's attacking play in Football Manager. Master goalkeeper distribution with effective strategies for possession and counter-attacks.
Matering Goalkeeper Distribution Football Manager Guide

Unlock the Full Potential of Your Team's Attacking Play with Effective Goalkeeper Distribution Techniques


Everybody wants their teams to score good goals, building out play in their desired style until creating a big chance that a striker can (hopefully) slot away without breaking a sweat. However, while there are plenty of guides in regards to tactics, playmakers and getting strikers to score, few actually take a look at where the action often starts, the goal-kick. In this guide, we’ll take a look at what your options are when restarting the game from the back so you can get Goalkeeper Distribution Done Right.

Goalkeeper Distribution 101


Efficient goalkeeper distribution is a vital aspect of building successful attacks from the back. The right distribution option can initiate swift counter-attacks or maintain possession, giving your team a competitive edge. Goal kicks are the third most common game restart in a match, only behind free kicks and throw-ins, so it’s vital to understand how to make the best of them. You’ll control how and where you want your team to go about their goal kicks under the In Transition options, in the Tactics Screen.

The first thing to consider is what kind of distribution is your GK most comfortable with. As well as the regular mental and physical attributes field players have, goalkeeper’s have a whole set of attributes that influence their performance. The “Kicking” attribute controls your GK’s ability when restarting from goal-kicks, while “Throwing” dictates how good they are at launching the ball with their arms. If you intend to have them actively participate in build-up beyond the goal-kick, you’ll want to also take a look at “First Touch” and “Passing”. From the mental side of the game, you’ll want a GK with good Anticipation, Composure, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision to ensure they are making the best passes they can.

GK FM24

Another aspect to consider is what type of distribution is best for your style of play. This relates not only to whether you’re playing a possession-heavy or more of a counter-attacking team, but also to the roles and players you have ahead of the goalkeeper. For example, if you decide to go short to your centre backs but you use Ball-Playing Defenders, then they are likely to bypass any playmakers in the midfield, which could be bad for a possession-based team.

Short Distribution


Short distribution is ideal when you want to build possession from the back and maintain control of the game. It involves passing the ball to defenders or nearby midfielders. You’ll want your goalkeeper rolling the ball out or throwing it long, with short kicks a useful alternative too.

In order to maximise the effectiveness of short distribution, you need to ensure your defenders have good passing attributes to execute accurate short passes. Going short will invite the press more often than not, meaning you’ll have to use players with good decision-making skills to make intelligent short passing choices. Attributes like Anticipation, Composure and Decisions are key.

You can go either to your centre-backs, your full-backs, or both. How and when you go to each can either be a consequence of your formation, but also of what you see on the pitch. Generally speaking, going to the centre-backs is a better option, as they’re harder to mark out of the game, since they don’t have the sideline as an “extra defender”. However, against teams who press with a front two, going wide can force them to drop to the flanks, creating space inside.

Alternatively, you can ask your goalkeeper to distribute to your playmaker. This works incredibly well if you are using a DLP or Regista in the DM position, as they will drop between the centrebacks to receive, adding another passing option, which can be helpful against high-pressing sides. This particular instruction handles pressing very effectively, as your playmaker is almost always your best passer – so good under pressure – and immediately has a multitude of options available to him when the initial press comes.

Long Distribution


Long distribution is suitable when you want to quickly bypass the midfield and launch a direct attack. It involves the goalkeeper launching a long kick towards your forwards or attacking players.

This can come as the consequence of two situations. Either you don’t trust (or don’t want) your defenders to build from behind, or you’re being pressed high up. By definition, high-pressing sides will push further up, leaving gaps in midfield and defence, which you can exploit with long distribution. This is when a goalkeeper with excellent Kicking ability and Vision will be required, as you will need him to pin-point players constantly.

In terms of the area of distribution, you can either go to the flanks or to a Target Forward. The wide areas are a great option if you’re going against a team playing a narrow formation with fewer options out there, like a 4-4-2 Narrow or a 5-3-2; it gives your wingers time and space with the ball to either overcome their individual duel or pass it to the free man. Looking for a Target Forward requires a player who you trust to win most of their aerial duels up top (Heading, Anticipation, Bravery, Off the Ball, Teamwork, Jumping Reach and Strength are key), but also players who are ready to pick up the second ball or run into space after flick-ons.

You can also go long to a playmaker who stays high up, although this will require positional advantage in some form, through how the formations matchup.

Distribution to Specific Players


In Football Manager, you can also instruct your goalkeeper to distribute the ball to specific players. This allows you to build attacks around key individuals, but also counter opposition tactics. For example, if you’re playing a high-pressing team where one of the attackers slacks in the press, you can go to his designated player to create an advantage from the get go, ignoring other options.

Distribute to position Football Manager

To utilise this option effectively, you’ll have to identify players who excel in receiving the ball under pressure and distributing it effectively. You’ll also want to adjust your tactics to highlight that player in the attacking phase. For example, you can assign them a role that encourages involvement in the build-up play or movement with the ball. Provide them with the freedom to drop deep or roam into space to receive the ball from the goalkeeper.

Conclusion


Mastering goalkeeper distribution in Football Manager can significantly impact your team's attacking prowess and ability to control matches. Understanding the various distribution options and implementing them strategically will give you a tactical advantage. Experiment with different approaches, analyse their outcomes, and adjust your tactics accordingly; like most things with FM, no one shoe fits them all, and you will have to stay open-eyed to make the changes required, but that’s how you get Goalkeeper Distribution Done Right.

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FM Blog | FM24: Mastering Goalkeeper Distribution in Football Manager
Mastering Goalkeeper Distribution in Football Manager
Enhance your team's attacking play in Football Manager. Master goalkeeper distribution with effective strategies for possession and counter-attacks.
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