World Cup previews: Poland v Senegal

Here’s what the Football Manager 2018 data has to say about the likely line-ups for this match. The explanation for this is here but in a nutshell I’ve treated the Football Manager database like a scouting tool and compared the two teams across a range of measures by combining their in-game attributes.


Here’s how the two teams stack up in terms of overall ability according to Football Manager’s researchers, i.e. the game’s hidden ‘current ability’ stat:

This looks to be one of the more finely-balanced matches so far, with little separating the two teams. The star men on either side are Lewandowski and Mane, but each side has quality elsewhere on the pitch. Milik and Zielinski in the Polish midfield look capable, as do goalkeeper Szczesny and Piszczek at right back. Senegal have quality in the centre of the pitch with Gueye in midfield and Koulibaly behind him.

Goal threat

Let’s have a look at where each side’s goals could come from using the various attributes around converting chances:

Milik and Lewandowski are Poland’s primary threats going forward, whereas Senegal lack a strong finisher. Mane is their most capable player in front of goal, with Niang and Sarr on the opposite side of the pitch their next best options, but neither stand out in FM’s attributes.


Here’s who might be instrumental in getting the ball to the aforementioned likely goal-getters by unlocking the opposing defence:

While Lewandowski can carve out chances on his own, I’d expect Zielinski in the Polish midfield to be the catalyst for plenty of their attacking moves. For Senegal it again looks as though Mane will be the main man, with Gueye and Niang also offering a respectable amount of flair.


Finally let’s have a look at which players are the most mobile, both in terms of raw speed and their ability to sustain their movement over the course of a match:

This contest looks finely balanced here, with Senegal possibly even having a slight edge. There are no cumbersome outfield players on either team, so we could see plenty of running, and with Poland lacking a pacy centre back they could be caught out in defence if they’re not careful.