Don't get suckered in by this game's sleek graphics and sweet promises. Mortals like you and I can't comprehend it. This game isn't complex, don't misunderstand me. It just doesn't matter what you do, or what players you do it with, you can't win consistenly in this game. The problem is that the match AI is so mind-bogglingly advanced and sophisticated, a simpleton like me just can't figure it out. At first I fiddled with player stats and tactical arrangements, tweaking this and that, calculating the best man for the best position, but that was not to be. The AI knew better.
I placed one of the best defenders in the world in the center back position, his prefered position, but the AI knew something I didn't. The AI pushed his forward all the way from midfield. My defenders, even the best of them, will sometimes just stand there and watch the opposing forward run past them for a dozen yards before even reacting. Tired? Nope, peak fitness, in fact. I tried pegging a defender on the enemy forward. The AI just sneered at my unsophisticated, rustic ways. The forward ran past my man by seven or eight full steps again before he even reacted. Nevermind the fact that my man was standing in front of the enemy forward when the forward started his run. My man stood still and the AI laughed all the way to the net. It was just too damn smart for me.
A few games later the enemy foward struck the crossbar and the ball rolled right in front of my keeper. My keeper had a player rating of 91 in his goalkeeping position, making him one of the top three keepers in the world, and yet he dives to the ground right next to the ball. Just three inches shy of it, better luck next time; afterall, you're only costing me 6,000,000 dollars a year! No, wait a minute, there won't be any luck in this game. My top defender ran up to the ball from 10 yards away, preventing the keeper from getting it, stopped a second to ponder his next move, and then cleared it -- right into his own net. Granted, this was the Italian league, so someone probably paid him to do that, but I can't help but feel the hopelessness of doing anything in this game. The AI is just too damn smart for me.
When the next season started, I decided to try a different approach. The AI was trying to tell me all along not to focus so much on defense and possession play. Attack is the best defense, they say. For the next season, I put all my resources into my forwards and pinned all my hopes on them. Oh, what wonders they worked! The best passer in the world, a man whose base passing stat was 95, would pass balls with such incredible precision -- right to the enemy players' feet. It was miraculous how effecient and consistent he was at passing the ball to my enemies. Another wonderful trick he pulled, several times, much to my delight, was when he'd pass the ball to a friendly player standing just two feet behind him, the ball would then bounce off of the unsuspecting guy, and then it would roll to the one place you might have guessed -- to the enemy players' feet!
You may think these are flukes or anomalies. Think again. The AI is already reading your mind, right now, anticipating what players you're going to field and it's bribing them before you even buy the game. It's forcing them to pass balls at enemy feet and to stand slackjawed as forwards sprint past them for 20 yards. It's true, you just can't beat this game. You aren't smart enough. Well, maybe you are. But I'm not smart enough, so I'm throwing in the towel and letting Sherlock Holmes figure this crap out.