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In honor of Gary Rowett: A BCFC legend


sclinton

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Team Strengths

In terms of the squad, it's been well built by Rowett (#thanksRowett) with solid options in all positions.  Central midfield is definitely the strongest with four players fighting for the starting places.  There will definitely be a mix up in preseason to find the strongest pair for my play style.  We're also in a good position with what is expected of the team - 16th place.  This means we are destined to over achieve and I'm confident we can do that with a minimum of a play-off place.

Team Weaknesses

For the squad, a solid centre-back and a potent striker are areas definitely in need of improvement.  These will be my priority in the transfer window.  Funds are limited (500k with 10k left in the wage budget) so going out and signing a 20 goal a season striker and a premier league defender are out of the window.  We'll be looking at abusing the loan window somewhat.  We'll also be on the lookout for a left-back as Grounds doesn't quite cut it and Wiggins is unaffordable once his loan ends in January.

 

Tactically I don't think we can set out to dominate possession so my immediate thought is to sit back and counter most teams.  Preseason doesn't offer too much of a test so I'll be aiming to get the squad used to this approach as well as getting everyone match fit.  My initial thought is 4-4-2 with the full backs being predominantly defensive but occasionally overlapping when the chance arises.  To counter these runs, one central midfielder will always sit deep to break up any counter attacks and slow the game down.  Wingers will set out to get crosses into the box and be supported by the centre mids by getting the ball out to them.   One of the big tall men will then be assigned to put the ball in the net.  Che Adams will be the second striker aiming coming short for the ball to dish it out to the wingers.  A 4-5-1 will be utilised for a tough opposition.

`Formation.png

Come on you Blues! KRO.

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Not sure if he'll come to the Championship, but Antonio Di Natale is a great striker when I messed about with him for Besiktas. 

Make sure you develop Che Adams because he becomes a tank, and I still think left back is a position which needs some attention - Grounds is a CB and Rhoys just isn't good enough for me.

KRO

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Thanks buddy, will take a look at Di Natale.  Sure his wages will be through the roof!

Che is a difficult one to fit in 4-4-2.  His stats suggest he's a winger but I'm not willing to swap out Jacques or Cotterill.  Hoping he makes some good runs off Donaldson, and also picks up a few rebounds.  How far are you?

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I'm in 2040 on FM Touch cause I don't have the time for the full version with school. Started the day the beta came out, currently dominating Prem and aiming for all 7 trophies in one season.

I got DI Natale for 11k wages with Besiktas, and you can easily get a season or two out of him with his unreal finishing!

 

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Preseason.png

Preseason went well with Clayton, Che and Jack Storer all in fine form.  Unfortunately, Jutkiewicz picked up a 2nd-minute injury in his first game which kept him out for all of the pre-season.  He'll return before our second fixture of the season.

Feel like I have Che Adams in a role that suits him well, dropping between the striker and midfield to create an option and feed out to the wingers.  Has created a few goals and scored a few to boot.  With Storer in such form, having a headache who to start up-front in our first game against Cardiff at home.

The squad are still getting used to my tactics although they are playing it so well.  Bar U23's and Hampton & Richmond, I sat deep and countered down the wings.  Surprising that it worked so well against lowly opposition.  Against FC Utrech we just didn't turn up for whatever reason.  Looking back I should have filled the midfield more - opted for 4-4-2 which they just dominated.  Giving 4-5-1 ago would have identified weaknesses for me to address before the season starts.  Oh well.

On the transfers front, I scouted and went in for a number of players but funds just hold me back.  Don't think I'll add anyone at this stage but I'll keep looking, and hopefully gain some prize money before January / sell a player - which isn't a great idea tbh.

August looks like this:

August.png

Some tough fixtures at the start of the campaign, although, fortunately, most are at home.

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August update

August.png

So our season couldn't have got off to a worse start.  We were abysmal against Cardiff and then to lose at home to Oxford was devastating.  We were too negative and complex in our approach, deciding to sit back and counter these weaker teams.  Our wingers were all over the place, meaning Donaldson never got a look in.  Our midfield was always getting out of the box when the ball was hoofed up the field, so they just got the ball back and came at us again.

After a review, I decide to change the formation and make the tactics a lot simpler.  The same idea but fewer instructions.  With low morale, I was surprised to go to Leeds and beat them 3-0.  We outplayed them everywhere.  Although we set up to counter we dominated the game.  We had lots of chances in the opening 30 mins but we forgot Donaldson and Cotterill both forgot their shooting boots.  Then once the first goal went in, the pressure was off and we managed to bang in 2 more to my absolute delight.

Since then we've been unstoppable.  Won each match convincingly and haven't conceded a goal.  It was a shame for Wiggins though as he scored two against Wigan then got injured in the game against Wolves (dirty f#@fers).  Grounds was a solid replacement and hasn't put a foot wrong but Wiggings will be going straight back in the first 11.  The midfield three are also worth a mention.  Davis sitting deep has been premier league quality, with Kieftenbeld supporting him and Tesche given the freedom to take risks.  They are the main reason we are dominating.

On the transfers front, I managed to bring in a few loan signings.  First came Jordan Williams, a centre back from Liverpool.  They didn't want any contribution to his wages and they are happy for him to be backup.  Has good potential and can step in to the first 11 if needs be.  The second player was from advice by the scouts.  They recommended Lynden Gooch, comfortable in centre and right attacking midfield - from Sunderland.  It's nice to have a second option behind Solomon-Otabor as these wingers do a lot of running!  Caddis renewed his contract after an offer came in from QPR, and Fabrini has been moved to the U23's as I put him up for sale and he kicked off.  Made him happy then asked him to find a club, and he got p*ssed.  He bagged a goal and an assist in his debut for the U23's, just a shame he doesn't fit in the structure.

September looks to be a tricky month with three away fixtures on the horizon.

Sept.PNG

Fulham sit 5th, Reading are 1st, Sheff Wed sits 3rd, QPR sit 8th and Preston are rock bottom.

Table - Aug.PNG

Oh, and here are some stats so far:

Stats - Aug.PNG

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Guest El Payaso

Fabbrini has been easily the best player for me in the first two seasons. If he has space to run into, he will work like Messi with the ball. Will be interesting to see whether he can make the jump to the Premier league. 

That is a solid start. Interesting to see how a different style works for the team. The AI often seems really fragile with 4-4-2 but for human player it might be more safe. 

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2 hours ago, El Payaso said:

Fabbrini has been easily the best player for me in the first two seasons. If he has space to run into, he will work like Messi with the ball. Will be interesting to see whether he can make the jump to the Premier league. 

That is a solid start. Interesting to see how a different style works for the team. The AI often seems really fragile with 4-4-2 but for human player it might be more safe. 

 

It took all my will to put him up for sale, but I thought that a more solid midfield would work better in my structure than a guy that needs to free roam.  The funds I would get from him would help massively as there was a left back from Wigan they were willing to loan on with a fee next year, but couldn't afford him.

So far he hasn't sold - even when I offered him for £300k.  Will bring him into the fold for a few cup games and see how he gets on.  Right now, no one is moving Tesche out of the creative midfield role - he's on fire!

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Guest El Payaso

How about down the flank or in attack as a rotation option for Adams? He is worth almost 10M on my save and hot most assists in season 2. Very few of them from crosses as I had him as a playmaker down the right flank and he proved to be able to pick that right pass. In season three he will be fighting for his place in the team. 

Tesche and Storer basically did nothing for me so nice to see you getting something out of them.

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So we basically have oppositive saves, players working for me didn't work for you and vice versa haha.  Storer hasn't started since pre-season, so he'll most likely have to wait until FA cup for a chance, as he's the third choice right now.

As the window is over now, I'll wait until Fabrini's morale improves then bring him in as a rotation option.  Took him off the transfer list which should help.  Where did Cotterill play for you in season one, or was he back up to Fabbrini?  Has been my star man.

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Guest El Payaso

He played as a right winger on season 1 as I used Fabbrini as a striker, inside forward and CM. Cotterill became a rotation option in season two as he is a balanced personality and was kicking off for everything and was extremely inconsistent. Scored a handful of important goals though. 

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Ah ok, btw I didn't recognise your name at first but I came across your thread before I started mine.  So you were somewhat of an inspiration! You were unlucky to miss out on promotion in season one - hope season two ends in good news, although you sit 6th currently, right?

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Good start. Do you reckon the board will emulate RL by getting rid just as you look like actually doing something?
I have no love for the Blues (Walsall fan, so there's "a bit of history", shall we say?), but it was an absolutely shocking decision to get rid of Rowett, IMO. :idiot:

Anyway, following now, so all the best!

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September update

So September was predicted to be a tricky & tough month...

Sept.PNG

And so it was - what a reality check.  Fulham was 1st when we played them, then Reading was 1st when we played them and then Sheff Wed were top when we played them.  We managed to play well and kept our shape, it's a shame that each goal scored against us was either a free kick or from outside the box.  It's hard to stop that, as I was even closing them down.

Preston was the only game where we were favourites, and going down to an early goal got me pretty annoyed.  Only for late sub-Cotterill (who had been out for the previous three fixtures - a massive hit to our goal scoring chances) to go down in the box, and Donaldson to step up and just about beat the keeper.  We genuinely dominated this game after going 4-2-2-2 with Fabrini back in the side on the wing.  He played extremely well (although he got a low rating, for some reason).  We had 54% of the position with double their number of shots - most of them in great positions too.  It was the lack of quality finishing that really let us down.

Ideally, I want to bring Adams back into the mixture also he had his chance when Cotterill was out.  Didn't have much of an impact so trying him out as a poacher now that Cotterill is back.  Donaldson and Jutkiewicz have been absolutely useless and apart from a pen, have missed left right and centre.

On the plus side, I brought in a new coach and Director of Football, who can both help to push the club forward:

Our coach, Steve Cooper who was available for free:

Coach.PNG

And our Director of Football, Martin Hinshelwood , also available on a free.

DOF.PNG

Moving into October brings the best derby in the world, BCFC vs AVFC - who are currently 15th in the league, although their four losses have been against tough opposition.

October.PNG

I would expect to beat all of these teams however anything can happen.  In terms of the league table we're just outside the play-offs - aiming to be in the top three by November.

 

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October update

October.PNG

Starting off the month against an off form Blackburn was a nice boost from September.  We took a hit to our promotional run without winning in five allowing rivals to gain ground.  We started brightly and were 3-0 up by half time and cruising,  Che Adams & Maghoma were on fire!  Two sloppy goals were scored however we were playing more fluidly so our structure was quite easily broken down.  Unfortunately in midweek Che got injured and was out for four weeks, meaning the rest of the season would be quite tough.

We gained a credible draw against Notts. Forest although we were 1-0 up and beyond the three minutes past 90 after only two minutes were supposed to be played.  That man Nikolas Bendtner managed to pick of a rebounded header from a corner and slot it in.  That was soul destroying.  The next two games we didn't play well at all.  We scraped a fortunate win against Rotherham, although we dominated we had a minimal amount of attacks.  Then tipped to be relegated Burton beat us away from home, their fifth straight victory so I wasn't too salty about this.  They played incredibly well and it was hard to stop their fast wide men.

Then came the big one.  Birmingham City vs Aston Villa at St. Andrews.  The media were on my case up until kick off, we had our main goalscoring threat out and Villa were just hitting some form and were two points behind us.  This certainly led to an entertaining game, with the full score being...

vs Villa.PNG

Not one save have I seen were Blues have lost to Villa at home, which is impressive considering the team they have.  Ross McCormack was a threat throughout the match and should have scored at least three but fulffed all his chances.  Kodja was kept quiet as we marked him out the game, which was the man I was most scared of.  We played well however, setting out to control the game which we did up until the 70th minute  when we sat back a bit to cater for the tiredness of the players and the constant counter-attacking threat they posed.

We're well into November now and have started strongly with one more game to play.  Next update will be in a few days as the Christmas party is today :].

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OH and Fabrini is back in the first team coming off the bench.  Trying him on the left wing cutting inside, and playing more expressively.  This seems to be working so if Maghoma drops form then I'll bring him into the main 11.

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Tactical update

As we're through the first quarter of the season, I thought to share my most used formations and tactical approaches.

I break it down into two areas: the strength of opposition and how well they are playing recently.  For instance, take Huddersfield who I beat 2-1 away from home.

They had a very attacking formation and had won their last two matches.  They had set up as a 4-2-3-1 for most games so those three attacking midfielders were going to be a pain (which they were).

So in return, I set up my back four to sit back and defend - no attacking runs from the wing backs.  This stopped them breaking beyond my back line on the counter as they had a fast team.  We set up with five across the middle - two wingers were slightly more attacking, so we could overflood the midfield and not allow them to outplay us here.  The main goal of the match was to hit them on the counter and stop them scoring.

My usual attacking approach to matches is down the flanks and get early crosses into Donaldson.  This varies game by game, as if the opponent is weaker or we are at home, I'll put Che Adams behind Donaldson as a shadow striker to run off his flick-ons.

One tactic I struggle against is closing down.  We don't have the fastest team to beat the man, nor do we have the most amazing strikers.  So I speed the tempo up which opens up spaces when they close you down.  I ask the team to be more expressive in their movement, but be structured when we are being attacked.  The problem is we just don't have the players to be effective against this!

The most important part of my team has been the midfield, who are the heartbeat of the team.  In every formation (apart from against Rotherham who we just about beat) I have one midfielder sit back constantly.  This stops the ever effective counter attack and allows us to get our shape again.  The second midfield is a mixture of a box to box or deep lying playmaker, dependent on whether we are expected to control the game or not.  The third midfielder - usually Tesche - is our main attacking outlet.  He's tasked to push the ball out to the wingers or play through balls.  They work so well together and will be a force in our promotion chase.

Our more offensive formation looks like this.  We set out to control the game but be structured in our approach.

home formations.PNG

And when we are up against it, I turn to this setup and counter the opponent whilst being defensively structured. (Davis is injured, so Gleeson will sit there).

Away defense.PNG

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