What if… Every team used a 2-3-5 formation

Having seen the masterclass of Pep’s 2-3-5 for Bayern, other managers have started to take note. The world is fascinated by this refreshing take on tactics, and slowly but surely more managers begin to put the same tactic in place. With some subtle encouragement from the FA’s, excited by the idea of fast attacking football, soon the whole world is converted. Everyone is using the 2-3-5. But has the footballing scene changed for the better? Will there be the intense matches everyone craves, or will there be a global tactical disaster?

The formation to be used.

Another simple experiment. The setup for this one is every manager gets the 2-3-5 set as their favourite formation, and the “fits players to favourite formation” characteristic ticked. The idea is that goals will be scored, ideally as many as possible. I’ve heard many times about how football is dull, and the crazy ideas to resuscitate it. This is my (joke) attempt, lets put the focus on attack, and remove any inclination to defend whatsoever.

You may be wondering “why 2-3-5?” or “why not just remove all defenders?”. The quick answer is, 2-3-5 is the most attacking formation you can mass-assign managers. Outside of that I’d have to assign each teams formation individually, and that won’t work on the scale or time frame I’m looking to do. Plus, I’m halving the number of defenders in a game, is that not enough?

Let’s crack on. How many goals will be scored? Will teams fall apart? Will strikers become the new president for countries worldwide? There’s only one way to find out…

 

2014/15

Title Winners: Man City
Cup Winners: FA – Arsenal, League – Arsenal
Average Goals: 97.25

The season opens with Man City battering Everton 4-1, and to be honest, that’s weak compared to what’s about to come. City top the table thanks to scoring a whopping 139 goals, setting a new record for the Premier League. Sunderland ship to me with 127 to finish last. Despite all the goals, top scorer isn’t exactly a high number, with only 29, and the Man City top scorer sitting at 26 (Aguero). We do get a very young goalscorer, which naturally comes from Arsenal, as Michael Palezevic finds the net in a 5-3 extravaganza with Swansea. The biggest positional surprise is Newcastle finishing in 5th, but that’s not important.

Elsewhere the same effect is being seen. Not much change in the big names of the world, just way more goals in every match. Barcelona match their points record of 100 but do so by scoring 153 goals, averaging just over 4 a game. This obviously leads to Messi being top scorer. Both the goal records in Continental competitions are broken, with Tottenham managing to take the record for both goals scored and conceded at the same time.

First every Premier League table where every team uses 2-3-5. It’s a sight to behold

 

2015/16

Title Winners: Chelsea
Cup Winners: FA – Liverpool, League – Everton
Average Goals: 98.8

The same old ridiculously high scoring comes around again, this time with an ever so slightly higher average per team. Chelsea get close to City’s record, but can only manage 135, whilst Falcao does break 30 goals this time round. Leeds somehow manage to concede more than Sunderland, shipping 130 goals to give them a nice -67 goal difference.

The biggest striker signings are Mario Gomez and Falcao for United, but as of right now there isn’t a flood of strikers going around. Fullbacks, however, are universally unhappy, and we’re a short step away from the WBFBU (Wing-Back, Full-Back Union) having an all out revolt. Spurs sell Eriksen and buy Moussa Sissoko… fuck.

Real Madrid attempt to buy Lacazette to fix their scoring hopes, and it does lead them to 152 goals. Unfortunately, they lose out 8-7 on aggregate to Barcelona, with both teams finishing on 91 points. Liverpool claim the top scorers ever for the Champions league with 61, but then get smashed 9-3 by Man United, to also gain the most conceded title. That’s going to hurt for a while.

Euro 2016 sees the third title in a row for Spain as they scored 26 goals culminating in a thrilling 4-3 final victory over England. Lukaku also took over Platini’s incredible record, scoring 11 goals in 6 games. The tournament gets lauded as the most successful ever. No-one questions whether it’s due to the fact that defenders have mysteriously stopped playing.

Liverpool on the way to setting the goals scored and goals conceded records in the Champions League. Both were never broken after this.

 

2016/17

Title Winners: Man United
Cup Winners: FA – Chelsea, League – Man City
Average Goals: 100.4

Chelsea do manage to beat City’s goalscoring record, setting the new bar at 140 goals. Bizarrely Oscar manages more assists (23) than their top scorers, Costa and Benteke (21), so clearly the Chelsea philosophy is to share it around. Spurs get another record to their name, although ideally, they’d be on the other end of the 7-4 goal-fest. It had to be Newcastle they lost too though, didn’t it… Middlesbrough find themselves at the bottom of the table despite scoring 83 goals, which has to be some sort of record.

The first signs of weird transfers creep in, as City spend £50M to bring in both Pione Sisto and Ayoze Perez. Meanwhile Dorlan Pabon somehow earns himself a £17M price tag on his way to Villa. Don’t get me wrong, they’re alright but I’m not sure any of them can claim to be worth that. Still, that’s better than training Cesar Azpilicueta into an accomplished striker. It’s a unique approach from Jose considering Cesar has 5 finishing.

Taking a quick look at the Championship, 4 teams have managed to get themselves non 2-3-5 Managers. All 4 teams finish in the bottom 5. I don’t want to say I’ve revolutionised football, but clearly something’s going right. The normal tactics can’t survive the overload they’re facing.

The Champions League sees an all English duel between Arsenal and Chelsea. I decided to give this one a watch and well… 4-4 at half time, 8-8 at full time, and then 18-year-old Palezevic scoring the winner in extra time for Arsenal. Classic doesn’t quite describe it.

The highest scoring Champions League game ever, both before and after this point. Also an absolute classic to watch.

 

2017/18

Title Winners: Man City
Cup Winners: FA – Man City, League – Man United
Average Goals: 102.55

Players keep scoring, and for some unknown reason the average goal count keeps gently rising. Maybe managers have committed to the idea, and are now refining how best to use the 2-3-5. West Brom go for a goals galore season, taking the biggest loss before finally breaking the highest scoring game record with an 8-4 over Huddersfield.

For a lot of teams, the immediate striker problem has ended, as each team has crammed enough goalscorers into the squad. Transfer focus has now turned to getting the best Wingers, Midfielders and Centrebacks money can buy. City buy Greizmann, United grab Hojbjerg and Villa somehow manage to snap up Tielemans. But no-one buys full backs. Never buy full backs.

Think of two teams that would not have a problem using 2-3-5. If you said Real Madrid and Barcelona you’d be right. If you said any other team, shh I’m trying to segue here. With BBR and MSN getting even more chance to shine, both teams net a new record of 158 goals in the league. The further top that, MSN claim the top three top scorer spots, scoring a combined total of 100 league goals. As if Messi needed more ammunition for a Ballon d’Or.

World Cup time swings around once again, and there’s a nice amount of goals to keep things exciting. The total falls at 335, over double the 2014 edition, at an average of over 10 goals per team or 5.23 per game. Only 6 teams don’t use the 2-3-5 thanks to regen managers, those being the African teams and Australia. Their games still end up high scoring affairs, but only Cameroon escape their group before defeat in the first knockout. The tournament culminates in a Brazil – England final which proves to be an epic ding-dong affair, from which Brazil arise 6-4 victors.

The weekend with the highest scoring game in Premier League history.

 

2018/19

Title Winners: Arsenal
Cup Winners: FA – Man City, League – Man City
Average Goals: 102.55

Arsenal take their turn at the top and do so in spectacular fashion by securing the biggest win ever in Premier League history thanks to an 11-0 victory over Cardiff. The Welsh team suffer throughout the season, and end bottom of the table with 132 conceded.

United go crazy in their hunt for new strikers, signing Lukaku, Martial and Fierro all in one go. In the Championship, Leicester join the non-2-3-5 ranks. They scrape 12th thanks to signings like Monreal, Sagna, Montolivo and McGeady.

I hate to keep going back to Spain, but that’s where all the action is happening. Real Madrid break their own scoring record with an insane 172 goals. That’s an average of 4.5 per game… They also only concede 71 throughout the season, meaning they earn a goal difference of 101 to go with their point total of 100. None of their players even managed to get top scorer…

Man United’s spending spree, bringing in the foundation of their attack for years to come.

 

2019/20

Title Winners: Liverpool
Cup Winners: FA – Liverpool, League – Man United
Average Goals: 101.05

Despite their new top 3 netting an impressive combined total of 81, United were way off the pace of Liverpool. The scousers became the fifth team in 5 years to take the English title, in what has been 5 fantastic years of football. Outside of that most things remain the same in this new era of football.

The Champions League sees an unprecedented 5 players equal as top scorer. Orjuela, Ronaldo, Aboubakar, Barbosa and Falcao all score 10 goals, with Ronaldo taking the Golden Boot for doing it in only 9 games.

England qualify for Euro 2020 with a record of 52 goals in their 10 games and then breeze their way to yet another final. It’s defeat again though, as France amend their re-life woes to win the final 5-3. Iceland manage to make their mark on the tournament yet again. This time it’s for conceding 17 goals in 3 games as they lose 4-1, 5-1 and 8-0 to Ireland, Germany and France. A bit less of a fairytale.

Real Madrid’s incredible 172 goal season (from 2018/19, not 2019/20).

 

2020/21

Title Winners: Man United
Cup Winners: FA – West Ham, League – Arsenal
Average Goals: 102.7 (Only 2-3-5 teams: 104.1)

Liverpool continue their free-scoring, taking the biggest win and highest score of the season on the way to a new record of 147 goals in 38 matches. To compliment that Middlesborough concede 147 goals to earn a GD of -84 and a ticket to the Championship.

Hull become the first team in the Premier League to use a formation other than 2-3-5 as an un-brainwashed Rickie Lambert takes charge. Robertson and Jenkinson rejoice as the chosen fullbacks, but a 4-1-2-3 is only enough for 15th.

Over in Germany Bayern finally break the scoring record with 132 goals in 34 games as Lewandowski continues to fire them in. Considering the shorter league length, that’s actually a better rate than Liverpool’s record, but it holds no flame to what’s happening in Spain.

The title winning Liverpool squad.

 

2021/22

Title Winners: Arsenal
Cup Winners: FA – Middlesbrough, League – Everton
Average Goals: 95.8 (Only 2-3-5 teams: 99.2)

Crystal Palace bring in Neal Ardley, which brings the total of different formations in the league up to 3, and the average goals in the league down to the lowest point since the change. Hull persist with their crazy 4 defenders and it costs them dearly with relegation and the lowest number of goals scored for a team since 2013/14. Arsenal take back the title, but it’s Championship Middlesbrough winning the FA Cup which rustles some feathers.

Serie A gets its first new title winner in over 10 years, as Napoli manage to break the Juventus spell. The Italian league is managing to hold up its defensive reputation despite the major shift in tactics. It’s averaging 82.9 goals a team even with the non 2-3-5 teams removed. Messi is stopped from earning his 12th Ballon d’Or by Eden Hazard, and with the Argentinian midget getting older, that may be his last shot. Newcastle meanwhile, score 79 goals in the Euro Cup as they win the entire tournament. I mean they score 26 goals in qualifying, but still.

World Cup year means more chances for some high scoring international football. Argentina and South Korea set new continent records by scoring 82 goals in their 18 qualifying games, but Italy manages to top them both by scoring 50 from their 10 games. It proves to be a sign of things to come, as the Italians ride all the way to the title, beating Argentina 4-3 in the final. Berardi takes top scorer, scoring 8 to go with his 15 from qualifying.

South American World Cup qualifying proved particularly chaotic, with a lot of sides posing a strong goalscoring threat.

 

2022/23

Title Winners: Man City
Cup Winners: FA – Man United, League – Newcastle
Average Goals: 93.5 (Only 2-3-5 teams: 98.8)

Reading and Swansea join the formation revolt, although it’s still stuck to the bottom half of the table. Things seem to have slowed down, with Man City scoring just 125 goals on the way to their title. I don’t want to point fingers but the new formations are dragging football back to the dark ages.

Things are Spain are returning back to the normal boring days even quicker, with 7 teams now breaking the formation. The highest profile is Atletico, who score a measly 85 goals on their way to 3rd. Breaking things didn’t help so they should go back to the new way and stop ruining my experiment.

It’s not too obvious which season I started this, is it?

 

2023/24

Title Winners: Man City
Cup Winners: FA – Man City, League – Man United
Average Goals: 92.9 (Only 2-3-5 teams: 98.7)

Man City become the first time in 9 years to retain the title, as all the trophies head to Manchester. The formation revolt is halted briefly as the 3 teams are struggling to keep their heads above relegation, and so find themselves rotated with the Championship sides on a regular basis.

The Liga BBVA title finally breaks away from the big 2. An Andrea Belotti led Valencia side is the team to do it, thanks to an impressive 92 points and 130 goals. Atletico fall to 8th, so resort to bringing back a manager from the school of 2-3-5.

On the international scene, things are still going up. Both goal records are broken at Euro 2024, one by each of the teams in the final. Croatia bumble their way through by outscoring their opponents, setting a record for goals conceded. France meanwhile smash everyone in their path, including Croatia, to take their second Euros in a row, scoring 29 goals along the way.

The Euro 2024 winning squad. Complete with an entirely regen based front three.

 

So what next?

Well, it’s clear to me where things are going. 2-3-5 has proven a sweeping success, but the ever expanding core of managers that use 3 or more defenders is slowly taking back over. How about we speed things up and see if it ever gets back to “normal” levels?

But quickly before that… I noticed some interesting lineups as players got retrained, or lesser known players rose to prominence. Harry Kane takes age in his stride to become a relaxed central midfielder, whilst certain fullbacks like Carvajal and Jonathan Silva chose the centre back route. On a more interesting note, Markovic, Otamendi and Azpilicueta find themselves retrained as strikers, regardless of the fact they can’t hit a barn door. In the transfer window I laughed at the Sisto/Perez pair, but they teamed up with underdog Bonazzoli sensationally. Jovic and Vietto far outperform their usual level, but FM legends Berardi and Fierro steal the show with an even more exceptional level of performance.

2024-2030

To be honest the most exciting thing to happen league-wise is QPR finishing 2nd one year. The usual suspects take the league titles, although we do get the first team to win with a formation other than 2-3-5, that being Liverpool in 2029/30.

All across Europe scores are falling lower and lower, with teams falling way short of any records. Average goals in the Premier League now sits at 81 per team, with 2-3-5 teams averaging above 90 still. Both figures remain way above the usual average of 58, but the decline is evident.

Further afield things remain very much as were. Palermo attempt to take the challenge to Juventus with a title win right at the end of the era, but that’s the only power change to make note of. PSG take 3 Champions League titles in 4 years, as Guardiola sets out to prove he can do it with any team. Aston Villa meanwhile take a Euro Cup victory in 2028, despite being in a relegation battle throughout.

World Cup 2026 in Mexico sees a massive shock, as the cup stays put somehow. Carlos Fierro leads the Mexicans to a 3-1 victory over Italy in the final, sending Mexico City into raptures. Euro 2028 and Gold Cup 2025 both result in unlikely winners, as Denmark beat Romania, and Trinidad & Tobago beat Guatemala in the respective finals.

Several players retire having set international records, including Messi (110 for Argentina), Neymar (122 for Brazil), Muller (120 for Germany) and Berardi (93 for Italy). Messi and Ronaldo also leave behind club records, having set them at 542 and 446 respectively.

Dominance in the Champions by PSG, in the 26/27, 28/29 and 29/30 editions.

 

2030-35

Fulham establish themselves as a top 4 team, but most of the silverware goes to Man United. At this point only 5 teams in the Premier League remain using the 2-3-5, those being Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Palace and Millwall. Goal average falls to below 75, signalling that the era will have completely ended in around 5-10 years.

The rest of Europe shows similar signs with Germany having 4 2-3-5 teams and Italy just 2. The top 4 of La Liga (Valencia and Athletic as the other 2) have formed some sort of pact. They’re all still using the overload formation, and are maintaining a sizeable gap to the rest of the table with it.

The two World Cup editions follow a very similar script. Both finals fall between South American giants Brazil and Argentina, with the winner scoring 4 goals each time. Brazil take the 2030 edition 4-3, before Argentina avenge the defeat with a 4-1 victory in 2034.

We’ve reached a point where some surprisingly era-defining players are retiring. Carlos Fierro retires with a world record 147 goals in 162 international caps. Palezevic also retires, having spent his entire career at Arsenal, claiming 302 goals from 449 league games.

The career of Palezevic, a legend amongst the regens of his era.

 

2035-40

Red continues its domination of England, with Arsenal, Liverpool and United as the only title winners since 2027. Chelsea and City spend a couple of years as the only 2-3-5 teams before both lose their managers. Luckily Villas-Boas signs for United, making them the one and only 2-3-5 team from 2038/39 onwards. With no more bottom-half teams using 2-3-5, the goal averages get a little skewed. The overall average drops to 65, whilst the 2-3-5 number rises to 107 with only United to account for.

Outside of the Premier League, Shaun Derry (Barcelona), Luca Vigiani (PSG) and Ronny Deila (England) remain the only users of the best formation. Vigiani takes 2 German titles with Wolfsburg before moving to PSG where he takes every trophy France has. Derry leaves from City to Barcelona in 2038 having won a Champions League, whilst Delia manages to continue the mediocrity of England.

In 2038, Italy takes it’s 6th World Cup title thanks to an assured 3-1 victory over Portugal. Not much else happens, the world seems a very boring place without thousands of goals scored every game.

Top scorers of the Euro championship. Things take a notable rise in 2016, before slowly sinking again.

 

2040-45

The last guardians of the 2-3-5 leave the game. Derry leaves Barcelona for Schalke, where he experiments with the old/new/realistic ways of 4 defenders for a few years before retiring. Vigiani adds a few hundred more trophies to his cabinet before also retiring at PSG. Deila leaves England in Jamie Vardy’s hands after an unsuccessful Euro 2040. Meanwhile in the Premier League, Villas-Boas goes out with a bang, taking 1 Champions League and two Premier League titles in his final three years. And with his retirement, an era of football is closed.

In terms of actual results, United’s run of three trophies in a row is ended by the first blue team win in 20 attempts, as Man City take a title home. Brentford somehow spend some time at the top, finishing in 3rd at one point to earn themselves some Champions League football. Unfortunately their first foray earns them a group with Real Madrid, Porto and Zenit, so they do well to come out 3rd. Villa meanwhile have fully established themselves as a top 6 team.

Elsewhere Dortmund, Wolfsburg and Schalke team up to dump Bayern out the top 3. Serie A sees three teams finish on identical points in 2044/45, but results between teams sees the highest GD get 3rd and the lowest 1st. Empoli meanwhile win a Europa League trophy, including an impressive win over Arsenal in the final, and wins over Benevento and Nottingham Forest in knockout rounds.

In the World Cup 2046 Portugal edition, the hosts manage to make it all the way to their second final in a row. This time its Argentina in their way with a 3-2 victory. Portugal can’t catch a break.

The last ever Premier League table with a 2-3-5 team participating (Man United).

 

2045-50

A final update to see where the dust has settled, but mostly to end things on a round number. The north keeps the battle for the Premier League in house, sharing between both Manchester clubs and Liverpool. Chelsea have fallen to obscurity, replaced by the miraculous recovery of Nottingham Forest. The historic club relive their glory days with a Premier League win and a couple of Champions League appearances. Both attempts provide great runs, ending in a Semi-Final to Juventus and a Quarter-Final to Inter Milan.

Schalke and Wolfsburg share the Bundesliga titles, Juventus fight off Empoli and Inter for all 5 Serie A wins, and in La Liga, Mallorca and Espanyol try to establish themselves at the top. Espanyol only manage a top 3 finish, but Mallorca claim a sensational title victory. In the Champions League, Juventus try their best to relieve the glory days with a 9-4 victory over Wolfsburg in 2046/47. I swear both are using “normal” formations too.

On the international scene Portugal manage to take their second Euro title in a row, perhaps foreshadowing the real future (although I doubt it, Eder or not). Brazil beat Argentina to prevent their rivals taking a 4th Copa America in a row. World Cup 2050 gives German yet another title to add to their collection. More importantly though, Jamie Vardy brings the World Cup home for England in 2046 with a 2-1 win over Spain. JAMIE VARDY’S HAVIN’ A PARTY.

Of all the people to do it… it had to be Jamie Vardy didn’t it. The stuff of legends.

 

Success or failure?

I… don’t know? I mean the original aim was to spice up the league with goals so I guess in that regards we can cause it a resounding Success. There was a good 5 seasons or so of glory years which were incredibly entertaining to watch before things started to fall back to normal. 29 seasons with at least 1 attacking team isn’t bad going though.

 

Again I’ve got a nice little graph to show off a few things. Naturally goals scored starts off higher than a usual season, but from their it continues to rise for a little while as teams bring in the right players. From there things start to fall as teams introduce 4 defender formations back again. I noted this in the summary, but around 2035 only top half teams are left using 2-3-5. This shrinks further to top 4 teams around 2038, which explains the sudden rise towards the end of the formations life. The sheer difference in goals scored is exactly what I wanted, so I’m pleased with how this went.

 

The state of the world

Spain

Very little surprise in the early title winners, with Barcelona and Real Madrid taking it all. The biggest shock is Atletico falling to mid table so quickly. From the mid 20’s Valencia join the party taking a large handful of titles to establish themselves at the top. Mallorca attempt to join in the 40’s, but a single title is all they get out of it.

Italy

Juventus dominate as expected, dropping one title between 2015 and 2029. Roma and AC Milan try to provide a consist challenge, whilst Palermo, Empoli and Torino provide a fun rotation of dark horse. Palermo are the only one of the three to ever take a title, once in 2030 and another in 2036. Napoli fall from grace heavily, dropping to Serie C by the late 40’s.

Germany

The first half of the era goes to Bayern, with Dortmund and Leverkusen fighting over what’s left. From 2030 onwards things get competitive, with Wolfsburg putting up enough fight to talk half the titles. Schalke replace Leverkusen in the fight for 3rd. The surprise packages are Koln (yay) and Paderborn grabbing one 3rd place each.

France

With all the money in the world, and the world clearly valuing the ability to purchase attackers, PSG win all but two titles. I can’t say as I’m surprised. Monaco and Lyon take a single title each, but content themselves with battling for second.

Portugal

Admittedly the Portuguese (and the French) league wasn’t loaded, which may explain the uncompetitiveness. But still, Benfica and Porto take all but 1 title, that going to Sporting. To make it worse, a team outside those three only appears in the top 3 twice in the entire time, as Braga take a couple of 3rd places.

Europe

Most of the biggest Europe results and/or shocks were covered previously. With no forced shift in power, the Champions League remains as is. The Europa League harbours a couple of surprises, with Empoli, Hertha, Hamburg, Palermo and Villa all taking titles. Nottingham Forest, QPR, Genoa and Swansea all make a final, but fall at the final hurdle.

The result of every Champions League final. Lovingly edited in Google Sheets to include scores.

International

Again, the big news stories have already been covered. Some lesser covered stories: Zambia take two African Cup of Nations, Costa Rica win as many Gold Cups as the USA, France and Portugal both take 3 Euro trophies and all but 1 Copa America goes to Brazil or Argentina. The last part is the least surprising, with the new found importance of goal scorers. The biggest World Cup shock award goes to Mexico, who manage to surprise their home fans by taking home the top prize.

(I forgot to do the regens this time. Sorry to the person who requested that way back. I have a couple from 2035, a load from 2050, and retirement career numbers that I can share if anyone wants to see them)

 

One final test

Let’s go a little bit further… let’s give everyone a 1-1-5-3. I want one defender in their to maintain a tiny grain of realism, after that its 3 strikers, 5 in behind and a lone central midfielder. This actually took a lot of effort to do, because 2-3-5 is the “craziest” formation you can assign to managers. So instead I had to take control of every single Premier League club, set their formation and then holiday through. It better be worth it…

… and it so is. This time the season kicks off with Arsenal beating Man City 8-7, and once again it pales in comparison to results that come later. The records for the biggest win and highest scoring game get set at 17-3 and 15-11 respectively, results which are by no means anomalies. The season the culminates in United, Chelsea and City all sitting on 83 points, with United taking the title thanks to their 97 GD. This comes from their 358 goals scored (the record), through from Falcao (79) and Van Persie (75).

Take it all in, big numbers everywhere you look. Apart from clean sheets, with not a single one in the entire season.

Both United strikers fall short of top scorer though, which goes to Danny Welbeck. The Arsenal striker notched 84 goals in his 38 league games, to lead his team to 4th with 81 points. 5th place goes to Newcastle on 80 points, support by Riviere setting a new record for assists with 74. One of the greatest seasons I have ever seen on Football Manager, even without the goal frenzy. The top 5 sat within a point of each other with two games to play, leading to an incredible run in.

It’s a tiny picture I know, but this is the run in I mentioned. As close as can be with 2 games to go.

At the other end of the table, Villa, Burnley and Sunderland were the teams to suffer the drop. Burnley took the crown for “most battered”, setting the record for goals conceded (373) and lowest GD (-117). As an interesting aside, the goals scored/conceded records page broke very early on, with numbers over 255 being ignored.

Europe went about as badly as can be expected, considering all other teams are still playing “sensible” football. In the Europa League Spurs manage a 10-3 victory in qualifying, but fail to advance from their group. Meanwhile Everton suffer a 21-5 defeat in their Europa group to Dynamo Kiev. The Champions League proves even worse, with Liverpool losing every single game, and Man City conceded 47 goals. This includes a 14-2 loss against Feyenoord, and a 19-2 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid. Chelsea are the only team to advance in any way but get stopped short with a 14-8 beaten by Leverkusen in the first knockouts.

Group G proves to be an absolute bloodbath. I’ve never seen so many conceded in a group.

The two English cups go to Championship teams, as even Norwich and Watford are able to handily beat every Premier League team that’s chucked at them. That’s mainly because there are no defenders to stop them, but that’s not the point.

This is the biggest summary I’ve ever done for an extra test, but there’s so much to talk about its worth it. Broken records galore, interesting results every week, and absolute chaos all round. My only regret is that I can’t take this experiment further, or expand it wider. Considering how fun the 2-3-5 was, 1-1-5-3 on the same scale would have been a blast. A mild warning though, this doesn’t hold up to usual tactics in the same way the 2-3-5 does. Don’t actually try and use it, it’ll fail miserably.

 

Final thoughts

I’m not going to say I fixed football by doing this but… nah I fixed it. FIFA take note. Encourage or enforce a 2-3-5 system and you’ll get cracking matches like a 9-8 Champions League final and 150 goal seasons for some teams. If you think Messi was scoring a lot now… But on a serious note, it’s amazing how crazy this made games. Very few deficits were too big to save, goals came from everywhere, and I found myself watching a lot more games than usual in these. Plus the non 2-3-5 teams didn’t exactly smash the 2-3-5 teams so it’s clearly viable in FM if you do it right. I’d very much consider giving this scenario a go if you want things to have a little more spice in them.

Away from the topic, this one is late. Very very late. If you want a bit more of an in-depth explanation then look here: link. But the short version is: life got busy, and 3 experiments fell apart. I hope this one proved as interesting as the previous now that it’s out there. As I mentioned previously it was a lot of fun to watch, and I hope that shows.

Comments, either positive, negative or overly neutral, are always welcome, so shoot them my way.

Thank you for reading, hopefully next time won’t be as long a wait.

 

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