Michael wrote :My current assumption is that my players have less flair than my opponents - would this be something that may lead to this sort of consistent issue occurring?
Flair is not an attribute which depends on your opponent's flair. If your players have flair, they display it regardless of your opponents having it or not.
Having high flair will help a player to make unexpected moves (passes, runs, shots etc) which those with low flair can't make. But that doesn't mean an automatic increase in chances created. There should be players in your team who can complement that ability. For eg., a striker with high flair is complemented by another player with high passing ability so that he can deliver a good pass when a great run is made. And finally it comes down to the opponent's defensive abilities whether that pass to the runner is good enough to create a clear chance on goal.
Michael wrote :If so - do Direct and Long Ball tactics reduce the need for flair to create shots from possession?
No. Flair works independent of your playing style. Playing direct/long ball just means your passers will take more risks in trying to get the ball forward. There will be less successful passes if you go direct/long ball, but higher chance of catching opponent's defenders out of position especially if the defenders are weak or your opponent is playing a highly attacking formation/style.
Michael wrote :Do Shots created by Direct and Long Ball tactics have less of a chance of being successful goals?
In simple terms you can think like this: direct/long ball means more chances but less quality chances. Possession/mixed means less chances but higher quality chances. But finally it comes down to the skills of your attackers and the skills of opponent's defenders to decide whether a chance results in a successful shot at goal.
Michael wrote :Alternatively does an opponent using Hard tackling reduce possession to shot conversion?
Yes, hard tackling helps to recover the ball better, but at a higher risk of getting cards and an increased loss of fitness.
As a side note, we are looking at data relating cards issued since there were suggestions that number of cards in the game is too low and doesn't deter people enough from playing hard tackles. If required we might slightly change it in near future.
Michael wrote :Why are we not able to see whether opponents selected Hard tackling /off-side/zonal marking in the match summary?
Hard tackling: To avoid relationship issues between managers. Nobody likes someone playing hard tackles against you, and if one of your players gets injured in that match it makes things worse., even though that injury might not be always due to the opponent playing hard tackles.
Offside/Marking style: Number of successful offside traps or closing down a player might not be directly related to these instructions, so creates confusion. By turning on offside traps, you tell your players to try the trap, but finally it is upto your players and the opponent's playstyle which decides how many times they have to actually try it.
If you read the full match reports, it is not that hard to figure out what setting your opponent's is likely to be playing with. But we did not want someone to be 100% sure because of the reasons stated above. We can think of making offside traps/marking style transparent if needed, but hard tackling is very unlikely to be made visible.
Michael wrote :Why does shooting skill not improve the accuracy of shots and is there a hidden attribute that does or is shot accuracy entirely random?
Accuracy of shots depend on two more factors apart from shooting ability: the quality of the chance, and the pressure on the shooter.
Quality of the chance depends on your and your opponent's tactics, quality of the pass, positioning and/or speed of the attacker.
Pressure on the shooter depends on the skills of the defenders around him and how close they are.
There are no hidden attributes related to this specifically, although flair makes a small difference. There is also a small random factor involved as in all calculations in the match engine.