Football Manager 2022 review: a football nerd's nirvana (2022)

Like many ingenues of football before me, it was the hubris that did for me early on in Football Manager 2022. After all, I am a stalwart of Sports Interactive’s famously detailed and all-consuming simulation. In FM20, instead of the relegation that befell them in real life, I steered my beloved Watford to a respectable mid-table finish before building towards back-to-back domestic doubles with Norwegian wunderkind Erling Haaland at the spear of my attack. In FM21, I swept the Championship without losing a game before pushing on for Europe in the Premier League.

So I started FM22 with some confidence. Reviving my high-pressing 4-3-3 counter-attack that had served me so well, wondering just why Xisco Munoz and Claudio Ranieri, latest rider on the Hornets’ managerial merry-go-round, were making such hard work of the Premier League back in the real world.

Safe to say I can now empathise with Claudio’s plight; a wretched run of fixtures against the big boys leaving me pointless after five games. My team run ragged; tired out by my high tempo demands, my stock with the infamously trigger-happy Watford board falling as the weeks progress. Not even Everton had the good grace to collapse at Joshua King’s feet in the digital world, former Golden Boy Richarlison bundling home a late winner against my flagging men to secure a fifth defeat on the bounce.

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To say that Football Manager 2022 is harder is true in a broad sense, but is also an oversimplification. There are few sweeping, back-of-the-box changes that appear obvious when you first embark on your career, with players of previous iterations slipping comfortably back into the dugout (a little *too* comfortably in my case, apparently). But once you start playing matches it becomes obvious that more weight is given to your choices and tactics. Every small strategic shift --on the pitch, on the training ground, or even in the makeup of your backroom staff-- can have a noticeable consequence. Juggling those trade-offs is increasingly important, mirroring the real world’s growing fascination with marginal gains. The Pep Guardiola school of minutiae and detail.

I imagine a swathe of you may be put off by this idea. And should rest assured that FM22 doesn’t force anything upon you; delegation remains a plausible option in most areas of the game. But it does place more value on the decisions you make. In general terms this makes for an objectively better game. And much of the reason for this increased consequence is the result of the revamped match engine. It is incrementally improved every year, of course, but this is a major reworking that vastly reduces, if not eradicates, much of the unusual ‘skating’ or odd backwards diagonal passes in previous games that were attached to the game’s ingrained logic.

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Even if it doesn’t look vastly different on the surface, the detail is hugely important as it gives more personality to skilled players and allows you to see your game plan unfolding more clearly on the pitch -- for better or worse. Seeing your high-press easily circumvented,players simply not being up to speed to execute your orders or overlapping full-backs failing to find space beyond the wingers gives you much to ponder.

The knock-on effect is considerable, with you now needing to pay more attention to opposition stars and in-form players as they are likely to turn your defenders inside out if not marshalled correctly. Players get tired more quickly if you constantly play at a breakneck tempo and the effect on their performance is palpable. The game has also tweaked some of its footballing lexicon to both chime with the modern game and help tie individual instructions to your wider game plan. ‘Closing down’ is now ‘trigger press’, which you can assign to individual players and better micromanage your players’ stamina. And maybe you are happy to let the opposition’s wayward passing centre-back a bit more time on the ball, for instance.

As an experiment --for science you understand-- I reran a fixture against Aston Villa. A game Watford won in real life and one in which I should have had every chance of getting a result. But I kept losing, usually to a late goal. I stripped back my reliance on my assistant manager’s overzealous instructions to charge into tackles against every Villa player, managed my pressing across the game and adjusted my personnel and tactics. I moved centre-back Francisco Sierralta out to right-back in order to man-mark the red hot Ollie Watkins and nullify the aerial threat cutting in from the left wing: a regular source of those late goals. Each of these tweaks came separate in each rerun, but you could see the consequence of each change clearer than you could in previous games. Eventually they all clicked into place. Sierralta put in a man of the match performance with Watkins safely in his pocket. Ismaila Sarr (who else?) popped up on the break for a winner.

More detail-oriented players than I may scoff at such a revelation, having made such painstaking intervention in games past. But they should be delighted that their own deep level of tinkering should now reap more rewards and find more satisfaction in watching plans unfold on the pitch. There is a slew of new stuff on hand to help too; with a new data hub giving far more detailed visualisations and match graphics than I would know what to do with. But it is granular and customisable enough that I can drill down into areas that I am particularly concerned with, requesting specific reports from my analysts or ‘pinning’ particularly useful graphics. It is, to put it in simple terms, a football nerd’s nirvana.

Other changes are more subtle. Player agents are now a trickier mob to deal with. Should you ask about a client’s availability, rather than giving you all the details you could possibly want to make a transfer bid, agents now expect a commitment to putting in an offer lest their noses get put out of joint. Transfer deadline day has been given a bit more swizz to add excitement to football’s most ludicrous day (complete with Sky Sports inspired yellow makeover), while asking prices are more accurately marked if you have done your scouting right.

Less impressive is, again, the interaction with the media. The dialogue is long overdue an overhaul, particularly given the high frequency of press conferences and phone calls, while this year it seems very easy to annoy journalists. I understand we can be a sensitive type, but I found I was the subject of ‘fierce dislike’ from a local hack quite early on in my career, presumably because he didn’t much enjoy my cheerful platitudes about my out-of-form players. It’s all rather obtuse, which is at odds with a game that is at pains to offer you more feedback and data than ever.

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Still, it is not the most consequential part of the game (and you can always fob off media duties to your assistant if you trust them enough not to say something dumb). The bulk of the work in this year’s edition is focussed on what is most consequential: the work on the pitch. More casual players may need forewarning that hitting ‘gegenpress’ on game day and nipping off for a cup of tea isn’t going to get you very far this year, as Sports Interactive strive to further replicate the pressure of being a football manager.

But each year should offer something slightly different. Partway through my Watford season, having somewhat steadied the ship and learnt more intricacies than I had in previous editions, I had the overwhelming urge to try something different. I began a new game, made myself unemployed, and got a job to start a root-and-branch revolution at Carlisle United; revamping the backroom staff as much as my miniscule budget would allow, building a squad around youth and poring over lesser known opponent’s stats in order to figure out the week’s gameplan. Plenty of other players would have taken a similar path in previous games, for sure. But I think that’s the point with Football Manager. And that it can still inspire different approaches from different players each year is impressive, even if it might not look hugely different on the surface.

I’m currently knocking on the door of the playoffs. You can’t keep a good gaffer down.

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Is it worth upgrading to Football Manager 2022? ›

Football Manager 2022 is the absolute best game in the series, adding great new features to already solid foundations. The likes of the Data Hub and Staff Meetings may not alter the fundamentals of the game, but they do help to heighten the immersion while also making some quality-of-life improvements.

What is the best Football Manager game 2022? ›

Below, are the top 5 football manager games:
  • Soccer Manager- Android and iOS. ...
  • Top Football Manager- Android and iOS. ...
  • Top Eleven Football Manager- Android and iOS. ...
  • PES Club Manager- Android and iOS. ...
  • Football Manager- Android, iOS, Windows, and Switch.
22 Mar 2022

How accurate is Football Manager 22? ›

Football Manager 2022 ramps up the emphasis on the modernness of today's game. It's the most accurate, most joyfully compulsive entry yet.

Is FM better than FIFA? ›

Let's be clear on something: when it comes to simply being a 'manager' in the debate of Football Manager vs FIFA, FM wins without contest. The game is far more in-depth, has a much bigger database, and is tactically more flexible. Unlike FIFA, you simulate games, you don't actually play as the players.

Do coaches improve FM 2022? ›

A staff member's attributes can increase over time with experience. In particular, improvements can occur for those attributes related to his role and, for a staff member employed in a coach role, those attributes related to his coaching assignments.

What is the best Football Manager Edition? ›

Despite incremental upgrades, FM 2022 retains the addictive gameplay for which the franchise is famed. If you are a football fan, this is one game you should definitely buy.

Which is No 1 football game? ›

If you want to download a football game, which boasts a lot of best-in-class features, then you must undoubtedly go for eFootball PES 2021. The PES here means Pro Evolution Soccer, and in case you didn't already know, it is the primary competitor of the legendary FIFA.

What is the most realistic Football Manager game? ›

PES CLUB MANAGER is a free game for Android and iOS that simulates soccer game in your mobile. You can enjoy realistic gameplay with the solo mode or online with players worldwide, and also manage the whole team.

Do real coaches use Football Manager? ›

Plenty of footballers and managers alike play FM. Many coaches have said that the game has taught them things, while it's fascinating to think that there are stars out there who have managed themselves within the game.

Do real managers use Football Manager? ›

This is just one of a few real-world examples of FM being used as a tool by scouts and managers alike, as it has also been a force for employment in the case of Vugar Huseynzade who, thanks to Football Manager, became the coach of the FK Baku reserve side, having supposedly impressed the officials with his knowledge of ...

How can I make FM22 more realistic? ›

Making Football Manager more realistic is possible by installing a number of addons created by the community. And no, this is not about logopacks or facepacks. Most of the addons featured below are custom data files that either tweak certain aspects of how the game works or add more depth to what's already there.

Do coaches improve in FM? ›

At first, your new coach's attributes may be quite low, especially if they have few (or no) coaching badges. Those attributes should improve in time, but you may want to start them off as a reserve or youth-team coach, rather than throwing them straight into management or senior coaching.

Do you actually play in Football Manager? ›

Players themselves play it, people who aren't really into soccer play it, it's a real phenomenon. Football Manager is also a soccer simulation game, but instead of focusing on playing as the players in a real sim, you play the manager and do the work.

Do coaches affect cap space? ›

NFL coaches' salaries do not count against the salary cap. The cap is just a limit on how much your team can spend on player salaries per season.

Do Scouts get better Football Manager? ›

A scout's knowledge level for a nation improves as he spends time scouting that nation. However, his knowledge levels for previously scouted nations also gradually decrease.

Is Football Manager 2022 scripted? ›

The game isn't scripted, we've given clear explanations in relation to this in a number of threads. Will do so again here for the benefit of doubt for those of you who have missed it previously: Remember with the match engine it's a representation of football. It isn't 100% perfect.

Who is the best FIFA manager? ›

Thomas Tuchel

Which Football Manager has managed the most games? ›

Alex Ferguson, who took charge of a total of 2,155 competitive games between 1974 and 2013, holds the world record for the most games as a manager, starting with East Stirlingshire in Scotland and finishing with an enormously successful 27-year spell as manager of Manchester United, also including an interim spell as ...

Is Football Manager better on PC or mobile? ›

The Mobile version strips things back as far as they'll realistically go, and is the ideal choice if you just want a quick distraction. While both PC and Touch editions are much more immersive, FM Mobile definitely falls within the “pick up and play” bracket.

Has there ever been a 1/0 football game? ›

As per Pro Football Reference, 73 games in pro football history have ended in a 0-0 tie. However, the last time that took place was almost 80 years ago, meaning there's been no scoreless ties in the Super Bowl era.

Who is the best 7 in football? ›

Arguably the greatest player in football history, Ronaldo is the best number 7 of all time.

Who is the top 1 player in football? ›

#1. Lionel Messi (PSG & Argentina) (Total Football Goals: 769) The Argentine great turned 35 this June but even at his age, the veteran hasn't lost his ability to weave magic on the pitch. In his first season away from his childhood club Barcelona, Messi finished with 11 goals and 15 assists in 34 appearances overall.

Who is the best tactician in football? ›

#1 Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola is widely regarded as one of the greatest tacticians of all time.

Who is statistically the best Football Manager of all time? ›

The number one manager is arguably Carlo Ancelotti of Real Madrid. Others with impeccable records are José Mourinho, Louis Van Gaal, Jürgen Klopp, Diego Simeone, Antonio Conte, Marcello Lippi, Pep Guardiola, Arsène Wenger, and Mircea Lucescu. The world of soccer is pretty competitive.

What is the most unrealistic game? ›

Blood Bowl 2. At number one, we've got one of the most amazingly unrealistic sports games ever created.

What is a ghost game in football? ›

Ghost games are so-called for a simple reason – they do not exist. No players, referees, substitutes or coaches took to the field of play, and no spectators were in the stands. The two actual physical teams may have been many miles away from where the match was reported to have been played.

Is it worth buying FM22? ›

That (very sports game-centric) caveat aside, FM22 is one of the best, recent series releases. This edition brings advanced analytics, noticeable upgrades to the match engine, and an attractive visual overhaul, all of which heightens the experience.

What is the difference between Football Manager 2022 and Football Manager 2022 Xbox? ›

Modelled on Touch, the Xbox Edition is streamlined for faster play and fully optimised for console play. Stripped-back and simplified for speedier seasons, with a focus on the managerial essentials.

Do you need a good PC for Football Manager 2022? ›

Your PC can run Football Manager 2022 even on the most minimum specs. However, it doesn't mean you have to endure a subpar PC. By opting for mid-range hardware, you will definitely be able to run Football Manager 2022 on your PC or laptop and many other popular games too. Plus, you don't need to spend that much.

Is Football Manager 2022 Easy? ›

Football Manager 22 has a tough learning curve for newcomers. Here's how beginners can get the most out of the game, and take their team to the top. Football Manager 22 was released on November 9, 2021 to a positive reception by critics.

Is Football Manager better on PC? ›

You also won't have as much control over training, staff or your youth team setup, so you'll spend much more of your time actually playing matches. The depth and scope of the PC version can seem overwhelming to new players, but the Touch edition slims everything down and has you absolutely flying through the seasons.

How much does FM22 cost? ›

Football Manager 2022 is now fully playable for free on a variety of platforms.

Is it worth upgrading from FM21 to FM22? ›

I can say yeah it will be worth it, for me its much better in comparison to FM21 espec. enjoying again watchting games with a variety of nice plays.

Will There Be a Football Manager 2023? ›

The Football Manager 2023 release date is Tuesday, 8th November 2022, the developers of FM 23 have confirmed. That's right, Football Manager 2023 is out today.

Is FM22 free on game pass? ›

Football Manager 2022 Xbox Edition is available with both Xbox Game Pass for PC and Game Pass for Console, allowing you to master the managerial essentials on the platform that suits you.

Is FM good on console? ›

Conclusion. Football Manager 2023 Console is a great experience on Xbox once again this year. A meaningfully improved UI helps with navigation and overall accessibility, while the addition of Team Talks along with UEFA Champions League and Europa League branding are welcome new features.

Is 8gb RAM enough for Football Manager? ›

FM 2023 has modest RAM requirements, which means that older laptops that normally come with 4 GB RAM should handle the game well. In this day and age, 8 GB RAM is a decent option that can manage moderate multitasking while playing FM 2023.

Can most laptops run Football Manager? ›

Football Manager is a CPU-heavy game, and laptops with APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) can run the game without any hassle. If you're on a tight budget, you can get a cheaper laptop that can run the game; however, you will have to compromise on graphics, and future-proofing will not be guaranteed.

Is Football Manager 2022 hard? ›

Football Manager 2022 is out and first-time players often find it difficult – so we have the perfect guide for beginners on starting the game. There are plenty of challenges to take on in the new game, depending on what you want from the game.

Why is Football Manager so hard? ›

It goes without saying that Football Manager 2021 is a challenging game that requires players to devote a lot of their time and attention to understand many of its intricacies and unleash the full potential of the teams they manage.

How do you deal with unhappy players on Football Manager? ›

If a player is unhappy about a specific issue then you may have the opportunity to talk to him about the problem. You can also talk to your captain or vice-captain about the general morale and happiness in your squad by selecting Ambassadorial Duties from either player's Interaction drop-down.


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