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A New Roman Empire


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Settembre 2018

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  • Udinese (H): Ünder (25) Dzeko (33) Pastore (55)

  • Chievo (A): Barba own goal (9) Ünder (66)

  • Real Madrid (A): 3’ Ünder sent in the cross, Schick was hauled down and Dzeko converted the penalty! 25’ when Pellegrini took his free kick short to Dzeko I realised the 4-4-2 had messed with my routines, but for the next 30 seconds Real couldn’t get it away and El Shaarawy recovered a saved shot in the box, playing it out to Manolas whose cross found Ünder who forced a full stretch save from Courtois, Schick tapping into the empty net!

  • Frosinone Calcio (A): Kolarov (15) Dzeko (58, 73)

  • Parma (H): Dzeko (45, 52, 75) Ünder (81) Pastore (90+4)

  • Cagliari (A): Schick (19, 52, 62) Coric (27) Kluivert (76, 89)

Edited by zlatanera
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Ottobre 2018

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  • AS Monaco (H): Dzeko (7, 69, 79) El Shaarawy (36, 59). Jemerson went close with a bicycle kick, which I believe is the first I’ve seen in FM19. They seemed a lot more common ‘back in the day’ - I think Danny Ings scored 5 in a season for me on FM15!

  • Inter (H): The first half had a couple of brilliant moments; Perisic sending Karsdorp sliding across the Swiss border before charging 30 yards down the flank, Zaniolo turning and scything open the Inter defence with a pass that was literally straight down the middle, but ended scoreless. 49’ Dzeko came out to the touchline to take down a long ball, paused then played a no-look pass into the path of Ünder, whose cross towards the far post was cushioned past Handanovic by El Shaarawy! 54’ Pellegrini’s free kick from range was too powerful for Handanovic! 59’ another Pellegrini free kick was blocked by Handanovic but Fazio slid in to finish! 90+1’ Florenzi’s throw from the corner was short to Zaniolo, to Karsdorp who drilled it in towards the near post for Ünder, his shot took 2 deflections and went in off former Lazio player de Vrij! 90+3’ Vrsaljko out-jumped El Shaarawy, João Mário sprinted out wide then crossed from deep and Perisic smashed it past Olsen. We went 4 games without conceding, and now we’ve gone 5 without a clean sheet but we’re 3 points clear going into the international break!

  • Milan (A): 9’ Milan got us on the counter, Piatek holding it up then playing it wide for Çalhanoglu whose first-time cross was volleyed in by Calhanoglu. 42’ El Shaarawy whipped in the corner, Musacchio beat out Pastore but headed back across goal and Fazio powered it in off his head! I think the 4-4-1-1 was too cautious here, as we were 10 points ahead of Milan, but we were away from home. I would have gone 4-4-2 but Dzeko was tired, and at least we’re still unbeaten!

  • Young Boys (H): Ünder (12) Camara own goal (70)

  • Bologna (H): Pellegrini (32)

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Novembre 2018

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  • Genoa (A): Dzeko (39, 82)

  • Young Boys (A): Pastore (6) Schick (36, 45+1) El Shaarawy (55)

  • Lazio (H): 47’ Luis Alberto sent in a corner, Pellegrini headed it away, Lulic’s blocked cross fell back to Alberto who crossed again and Wallace powered a header down past Olsen. 53’ Florenzi intercepted Milinkovic-Savic’s pass and gave it to Kluivert, he played it over the top to Pastore who held off the challenge of Wallace before sliding it left where El Shaarawy crossed, Dzeko volleying in from 6 yards!

  • Torino (A): 5’ Moretti headed away Santon’s cross, Baselli’s clearance was intercepted by Pellegrini, headed to Pastore, his first touch took him past Izzo, he took another then smashed his shot past Sirigu! 31’ Meité played a one-two with Rincón, Ünder missed an interception as Meité slid it in for Ansaldi whose low shot evaded Olsen to level it up. 39’ Karsdorp threw it to Ünder, Ansaldi’s block fell into the path of De Rossi who laid it off to Pellegrini at the D, his shot hit the bar, hit Sirigu’s back and trickled over the line! 61’ Torino countered, Falqué spraying it out to De Silvestri, whose cross was half-volleyed in by Ansaldi. 73’ Rincón fouled De Rossi and got his marching orders. 78’ Karsdorp threw to Pastore, to De Rossi, to Pellegrini who switched it to Santon, he stood up a cross for Dzeko whose headed forced Sirigue to palm it onto the bar, when the ball dropped Dzeko smashed it in from half a yard! 85’ Florenzi’s cross, Schick headed against the bar and Pastore turned in the rebound!

  • Real Madrid (H): 58’ Florenzi threw it to Schick, got it back and crossed towards the far post, Varane headed it away and Pellegrini volleyed it in from 20 yards! That win sees us through in 1st and, incredibly, Young Boys through in 2nd!

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Un Altro Mentore

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A notification that Patrik Schick had shaved off 1 Determination due to 'the squad's less desirable characteristics' had me revisiting mentoring. So far, no other personality changes, however I did notice that Schick and Ünder's influence had now risen so that Kolarov wouldn't have much of an effect. So I decided to just go for my initial idea of Dzeko, Schick and Ünder together, Determination drop be damned. Then I figured why waste Schick just to bump up the group so I can mentor Ünder? So I added the Turk to Florenzi's group instead, as Florenzi is accomplished in Ünder's natural position and a Team Leader so I'm not too worried about the social group difference.

Edited by zlatanera
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Dicembre 2018

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  • Napoli (H): 65’ we countered, Albiol the last man taking down El Shaarawy’s through ball and giving it back to Ospina, his clearance was headed down by Kolarov and quick passes by El Shaarawy and Pellegrini got it to Dzeko, his pinpoint pass between Albiol and Ghoulam found Ünder who gave Ospina no chance with his placed finish! 68’ Kolarov played a short pass to Pellegrini then set off down the left, Pellegrini gave it to El Shaarawy who played it ahead of Kolarov, his low cross found Ünder for his 2nd!

  • Atalanta (A): Sadly La Dea are not having a similar season to real life - they didn’t make it to the Europa League group stage, and sit 13th in the league having only scored the same number of goals. 57’ Gómez took a central free kick short to Ilicic, he ran diagonally right to the edge of the box then smashed a shot back across Olsen fo 1-0. We had an absurd 16 shots from outside the box, at least partially because of Steven Nzonzi’s Plays Short Simple Passes trait meaning where he could have slid one in for someone to get a cross away he instead sold Pastore or Cristante down the river.

  • AS Monaco (A): 4’ Silva hit his corner towards the near post and Golovin headed in. 21’ Subasic’s goal kick was intercepted and we went back to Olsen, he played forward to Marcano, Cristante, El Shaarawy, Jesus, he was tackled by Gelson Martins who sprinted the length of the field and crossed, Olsen came out and palmed it down straight into the path of Falcao who made no mistake. 33’ Ballo-Touré threw it to Golovin, Jovetic was then slide-tackled back Nzonzi and the ball shot into the box for Falcao who gave it back to Golovin, his low cross was smashed in by Martins. At half time, 3-0 down, I decided I’d gravely miscalculated with the 4-2-3-1 so switched to 4-4-2, Schick on for Pastore. 54’ Marcano headed away the goal kick, Cristante fed Dzeko in the centre circle, he turned and played it over Jemerson’s head for Schick to half-volley past Subasic! 65’ Santon threw to El Shaarawy, he turned and crossed for Kluivert to fire in our 2nd! 69’ Olsen short to Marcano, to Cristante, El Shaarawy to Dzeko just inside our half, another ball over the top and Schick placed it past Subasic to level it!!

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    When this group was drawn I thought we’d be 3rd, 2nd if we performed well - I certainly wouldn’t have called a Roma - Young Boys 1-2! If we hadn’t turned it around in Monaco the holders would have finished 4th as well!

  • Empoli (H): Dzeko (18, 53) Ünder (35) Acquah own goal (62)

  • SPAL (A): Pastore (pen 8)

  • Sampdoria (A): Schick (70)

  • Sassuolo (H): Dzeko (32, 51, 54)

     

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Pausa Invernale - Il Buono, Il Buono e Il Buono

So titled as unlike last time out I really can't think of anything concerning in this save's progress!

The Good (I):

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  • The club is Campione d’Inverno! We're unbeaten against the top half, with a 3 point lead over Napoli and 13!! points over Juventus! That 2-0 away win in only my second competitive match was definitely my highlight of the season so far. Milan lead the league for clean sheets with 10 but we have 9. More interesting though is that Napoli haven't drawn a single game yet, and I'm pleased to see Marco Giampaolo for once isn't sacked inside the first half of the season. 

The Good (II):

  • As previously stated we topped our group in the Champions League - given we faced the reigning champions and a strong (on FM) Monaco side, this is great! We face an eminently winnable tie against Galatasaray SK, which is lucky when Juventus were a 2nd-place qualifier as well.

The Good (III):

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  • Unlike last time out I've gotten great form out of Edin Dzeko, with 20 goals in 19 starts! He's currently top scorer in Serie A (2 ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo) having already matched his 2017/18 total of 16 league goals. Whilst his 2009/10 (36) and 2016/17 (39) hauls are probably just out of reach, he's perfectly capable of hitting 30 for only the third time in his career! 

 

Chelsea are lurking for Dzeko and given his advanced age I'm likely to negotiate rather than reject offers - ideally I'd get his ~€40m valuation agreed for the end of the season - but really I don't intend to make any first team moves in the transfer window.

I may try bring in some youngsters though as our youth ranks are pretty low on quality. I'm liking the look of Antony Angileri (DC, Palermo), Amad Traore (AMR, Atalanta) and Alessandro Cortinovis (AMC, Atalanta). 

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Gennaio 2019

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  • Palermo (H): Rispoli own goal (30) El Shaarawy (31, 39, 67)

  • Fiorentina (A): Dzeko (26)

  • Juventus (H): Despite being at home, this is still Juventus, so I went for 4-4-2. 21’ Manolas recovered a clearance and found Nzonzi who played a one-two with Cristante before feeding Kluivert wide right, Kluivert cut inside switched it to Perotti, he cut onto his stronger foot and crossed, Dzeko powered a header in! 55’ Alex Sandro picked up a clearance and drove inside to the edge of the box unchallenged, his cross was cut out by Jesus but fell to Dybala, his shot was blocked leaving Olsen stranded on the ground and Bernardeschi with an easy finish. 65’ I started to realise I’d actually overestimated Juventus, thereby playing into their hands, and when Perotti went off injured I switched back to the 4-2-3-1. 80’ we had a free kick deep on the left, Pastore bent it like Beckham towards the 6 yard box and Nzonzi towered over the opposition to head us in front again! 88’ Kluivert swung in the corner, Ronaldo out-jumped Fazio, Nzonzi headed it back towards goal and Fazio diverted it past the keeper!

  • Fiorentina (H): Schick (53)

Edited by zlatanera
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Febbraio 2019

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  • Udinese (A): Pastore (pen 39, 55) Ünder (56)

  • Milan (A): 5’ Suso’s free kick rebounded off the post perfectly for Kessie to turn it in. 27’ Kolarov’s corner was headed away, Kluivert collected and burst into the area, his cross fell to Zaniolo, Donnarumma blocked the first but could do nothing for the rebound! His first goal for the club! 50’ Olsen rolled it out to Marcano, Cristante played into Ünder’s feet, he ran wide then launched a high ball over the defence, dropping perfectly towards the spot where Schick place his volley past Donnarumma! 73’ Rodriguez’ free kick went in top corner to level it up.

  • Chievo (H): Ünder (90+2)

  • Frosinone (H): ...

  • Galatasaray SK (A): 3’ Nagatomo’s cross was headed away but only as far as Belhanda whose low shot beat Olsen. 25’ Kolarov cut back to Pellegrini, Zaniolo, Dzeko who laid it off to Schick just inside the box and his first-time shot went in bottom corner!

  • Parma (A): Ünder (31)

  • Milan (H): 22’ El Shaarawy picked up the ball deep on the left, cut inside and drove to the edge of the box before slipping in the ball for Schick to put us ahead! 51’ we had a free kick just outside the centre circle, played short to Pastore who launched the ball down the right for Florenzi, his cross was headed away from the 6 yard box and Schick got to it first, laying it off to Pellegrini who fired in low from the edge if the area! 69’ we had a throw to the left of the Milan area; Kolarov-Pastore-Kolarov-Pellegrini, he played it square to the D where Cristante fired in! His first goal for us came against his first club!

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Giovane Lupi

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It may not be a 'golden generation' and there may be no 'potential greatest of his generation' player in the mix but in many ways this is an ideal intake! All the players with high potential have decent or better personalities whilst all the players with poor personalities wouldn't be signed anyway. Perhaps I could have done with that second high potential AMC being a DC instead, but I have no real complaints here. Two of the new crop stand out:

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Filip Capodaglio needs to improve his long shots to make use of that trait, but I'm never going to be unhappy at a hard-working, technical flair player coming through the ranks! If he was actually Totti's heir he'd have been singled out by my youth staff, but he'll definitely have a career with me.

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His Technique needs improvement but right now I'm thinking Busti is a future captain of Roma! With those physical attributes aged 16 he's clearly going to be an absolute beast, but there is no real weakness to his all-round game either. 

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Have been following you're career, and it inspires me to try to start a new game were I will try to play really attacking football. My aim will be to score more than the opponents and rather win 4-3 than 1-0. Just have to find a team, not a team that is on top of the league now.

 

Btw what skin are you using?

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@Number seven It's YACS DF11 Faces skin - I also downloaded the faces, some trophies, badges, kits etc. about 15GB of stuff all in all :/ 

To be honest I probably found the earlier iteration of this save more satisfying - intellectually? No, that's wrong - given I usually play more of a breakneck style. 

But its just I look at attackers like Cengiz Ünder...

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I found myself thinking why am I not trying to turn this guy into a real goal threat? 

I generally play with a team that would usually finish somewhere in the top seven spots in a top five league for this style.

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I've been looking around, and my first thoughts are always Man Utd, Dortmund, Marseille, but they are to close to the top and I end up winning and then getting tired. Villarreal is a team that tempts me, I like Chukwueze and create a team were he is a goalthreat is tempting. Also it will be challenging.

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@Number seven Yeah Villarreal are actually one of those teams I've always wanted to try but never got round to it. I think how your game looks is an under appreciated aspect - I really like this skin with Roma but would probably go back to a default one on my next save - and that yellow is different (yellow goes well with the FM19 purple too). 

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Marzo 2019

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  • Cagliari (H): Pellegrini (2) Ünder (11) Pastore (pen 28)

  • Inter (A): 43’ Marcano knocked a long ball down to Kolarov, he gave it to El Shaarawy who laid it off to Pellegrini on halfway, he looked up and launched a pass over the defence for Schick, whose first-time shot rocketed into the top corner! The referee went to VAR to confirm the goal. 55’ Manolas went back to Olsen whose long, flat pass found Ünder, he turned and ran into the Inter third before giving it to Schick, he turned and played over into the path of Kolarov, quite narrow, his curved cross was volleyed in by Dzeko! 71’ our move ended with the ball in Handanovic’s…hands, he kicked it long, Florenzi just sort of stood there as Martinez spun round him and latched on to it before placing his shot past Olsen. 90’ 3 overhit crosses finished with Vrasljko’s low one being slide-finished by Martinez. We just threw that one away.

  • Galatasaray SK (H): 18’ Kolarov’s corner was met by Dzeko, whose header beat the keeper for sheer power! 37’ a rapid counter saw us go from end to end in 4 passes, El Shaarawy powering a shot low into the corner! 82’ another counter, this one saw Pastore carrying it half the length of the pitch before a quick pass to Schick and on to Kluivert, who crossed low for El Shaarawy! 88’ Olsen completely missed Jr. Fernandes’ cross and Emre gratefully volleyed in. 90+4’ a delayed counter saw Pastore toe-poke in Santon’s cross!

  • Milan (H): 6’ we overloaded the right before Cristante switched it to Kolarov, his cross was headed away and Cristante was there to shoot, that was blocked but at the second time of asking he powered past Donnarumma from 18 yards! 12’ Pastore’s free kick evaded all the heads, Dzeko took a touch then passed it across the 6 yard box and Nzonzi turned in! 24’ four of my players decided to indulge in some schoolyard-style ball-chasing and Milan quickly go it to Suso at the D, he beat his man and curled one low past Olsen. 30’ a few quick passes following a throw and Karsdorp sent in a cross, El Shaarawy was actually running away from goal but let it drop over his shoulder and lashed a left-footed volley in! 90+1’ Calabria got space on the right to cross, Fazio headed it down perfectly for Lucas Paquetá to volley in from 18 yards.

  • Bologna (A): Pastore (1) Dzeko (7)

Edited by zlatanera
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@john1 I can't believe how often I draw them! I drew them in the last season I played with Manchester United, the last two seasons I played with Lyon, this current season with Roma and the second season of the previous attempt with Roma. That's 5 draws over 14 entries to the Champions League group stage, without me looking around the forums for fragments of other saves. I know the Champions League gets a bit same-y, but still that's more than 1/3. 

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Aprile 2019

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  • Genoa (H): Fazio (17) Zaniolo (19) Schick (48)

  • Lazio (A): There are 8 games this month, but I can’t rest players for our European commitments when it’s a derby. After an entirely changed outfield beat Genoa I’ve gone full strength in the 4-4-1-1. In the first half they must have been rotational fouling - 12 fouls but only 1 card - whilst we prevented them from even having a shot. 47’ we had a throw on the left taken by Santon, quick passes from Pastore and Pellegrini made space for him to cross, Strakosha burst off his line but Dzeko rose to head over his despairing leap! 78’ we patiently built play on the right, before Ünder looked up and floated a cross over to the far post where El Shaarawy headed in! 84’ we had Lazio penned in deep and narrow, Nzonzi switched play over to Jesus, who played a one-two with Perotti then whipped in a low cross that Ünder finished with a cushioned volley! That was a perfect away performance - they didn’t get a shot on target until injury time, and were reduced to excessive fouling (20, lucky for them we had a lenient referee). We’re now 9 points clear at the top too!

  • Paris Saint-Germain (A): Kylian Mbappé will miss both legs of this tie, which means we have to deal with *only* Cavani, Neymar, Draxler, Ziyech and Di Maria. Strangely they’ve left both Dani Alves and Meunier unregistered, fielding the monstrous Marquinhos at right back instead. We’re unchanged bar Kolarov returning from injury. 63’ Neymar chased own Manolas near the corner flag, he played a square ball to Olsen who evaded Cavani’s pressure by giving it first time to Karsdorp, he quickly moved it on to Kluivert (on for an injury Ünder) who dribbled into the PSG third before sliding one behind the defence, Dzeko out-muscled Kimpembe before placing his shot just beyond Areola’s reach! 66’ Nzonzi panicked and lumped it forward, PSG quickly coming back at us with Neymar cutting inside and played a diagonal ball that Di Maria smashed past Olsen. 80’ a man in a balaclava paid a visit to the VAR room, a penalty given for a Kluivert ‘push’ on Neymar which Cavani buried. 90+5’ from a throw Kehrer crossed beyond the far post and Neymar headed in from a tight angle. Kluivert had been marking him but as Neymar went towards goal he wandered off towards the edge of the box…90+7’ Manolas played it over the top for Schick, Thiago Silva intercepted but our man kept chasing, he played it back to Areola whose poor first touch narrowed his options significantly, his ‘clearance’ was lashed into the net by Schick!

  • Torino (H): Zaniolo (19)

  • Paris Saint-Germain (H): I decided to go 4-4-2 for this one, as I think the patient build-up of our 4-2-3-1 will just lead to Neymar having far too much space, and the 4-4-1-1 isn’t aggressive enough. 13’ Kolarov’s in-swinging corner was headed down by Dzeko and Marcano slid it in! 19’ Florenzi threw to, shockingly, Kluivert’s feet, he turned and laid it off to Pellegrini who moved it out to Kolarov, he cut in onto his right foot and slid it into the path of Dzeko who made it 2! 27’ El Shaarawy blocked Kehrer’s cross, Dzeko came deep, held it up then launched it into the channels for Schick who drove to the byline then crossed and Kluivert let it drop before half-volleying across Buffon for 3! 31’ Kolarov’s corner was chested down and laid off by Manolo to Pellegrini, his shot was blocked and ricocheted off Schick and in! 44’ Kluivert stopped Neymar dead with a slide tackle, 40 seconds of possession later and he was there to smash in Kolarov’s cross! 51’ Rabiot headed in Neymar’s corner. 68’ Florenzi did the classic FM ‘let’s fling the throw at my team-mate’s head from 3 yards’ move and about 20 seconds later Neymar set up Rabiot for another. 88’ Kolarov’s ‘assist’ (hitting his cross into the first man and it quickly ricocheting off El Shaarawy as well) set up Schick for a snapshot to truly round off the win! But no, 90+3’ Neymar’s corner went to the back post and Kimpembe powered a header in.

  • Napoli (A): Anyone who said the Sole Derby would be a potential title decider (if we win we go 13 points clear) at the start of the season is either a prophet or an imbecile. Ancelotti plays a 4-4-2 in name, but Mertens and Insigne up top give it quite a bit of fluidity. So I decided to go for the 4-2-3-1 and take the game to them. At half time although it was 0-0 a look at the shots showed they were getting them from inside the box and we weren’t, so I subbed the injured Pastore for Schick and matched their 4-4-2. 47’ Dzeko crossed, Luperto flattened Schick and Dzeko converted the penalty! 65’ Kolarov took a throw, quick passes from Dzeko to El Shaarawy to Pellegrini gave him space to square it to Nzonzi who placed one bottom corner from 25 yards! 73’ Olsen took his goal kick short to Manolas, he looked up and played it out to Kluivert at half-way, he burst past Diawara then dinked a ball over the top, Dzeko leapt, knocking the ball from his left thigh to his right foot which shot low past Meret! 82’ Mário Rui played a one-two with Mertens and crossed, Milik’s first header hit the bar but dropped kindly and his second went into the net vacated by Olsen’s leap towards the first. The game ended 3-1 but of course it can’t be all good so after match Kolarov’s agent demanded a new contract, I managed to get rid of the agent but the player still wanted one and I’m just not going to take his wages over the €100k mark aged 33 and declining (his physical deteroriation started in earnest this month) so now he’s unhappy.

  • Atalanta (N): Atalanta are one of only two teams to beat us in domestic competitions so far, and although they’re not qualifying for Europe I think any real-life fans would have preferred a Coppa Italia win. I have to stop that, of course, and went with the main 4-2-3-1 tactic. 14’ El Shaarawy dropped off to receive the ball and burst into the box, forcing Hateboer to bring him down. Dzeko converted the penalty! 18’ Palomino knocked down a corner and Varnier directed it in. For the rest of the 90 we dominated, but had an absurd 22 long shots, so I switched to 4-4-2. 99’ an overhit pass saw Ilicic beat the statuesque De Rossi to the ball, sprint into our half before sending Musa Barrow running against Manolas, and just when the big Greek had him running away from goal…he tripped him. Ilicic converted the penalty. We should have won that - 50 shots (20 on target, 12 blocked, 1 woodwork) and 59% possession against a team 41 points behind us in the league. A fairytale ending for Atalanta though, I’m sure their real-life fans would rather a second ever Coppa Italia than Champions League football!

  • Atalanta (H): …and now we get a much lower stakes rematch. With the champions league semi-final against - who else - Liverpool coming up, I rotated my entire outfield. 11’ Karsdorp stopped Gomez straight in his tracks and played it up the line to Zaniolo, he cut in and launched a diagonal over the defence, Perotti ran onto it, took a touch then placed it beyond Berisha! 13’ Karsdorp took down Berisha’s goal kick and gave it to Fazio, he knocked it left to Juan Jesus who paused, looked up and hit a long, flat pass over the defence where Schick met it, taking a touch with his left before putting it beyond the keeper’s reach with his right! 26’ Zaniolo came inside to receive a pass from Coric, took a touch then smashed one into the top corner! 55’ we countered, but Coric undershot his pass to Karsdorp and with 3 Roma but 9 Atalanta players in the box he pulled it back to the edge of the area where Cristante rifled home! Well, winning the Scudetto is one way to bounce back from a cup final defeat!

Edited by zlatanera
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Maggio 2019

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  • Liverpool (H): Liverpool are top of the league and into the final of the F.A. Cup. If we play out of our skins we can perhaps hold them at Anfield, but I need to get something at home. Tactic was some deliberation, I eventually went for 4-2-3-1 figuring I may as well go down fighting. Inter beat Man City 3-1 in the first leg of their tie so I felt some added pressure to see if we can get an all-Italian final. 22’ we patiently moved the ball around the back and in to Pellegrini whose first-time pass found Kolarov in space in the final third, he played a short pass to El Shaarawy, who cut inside then played a through ball into the box where Dzeko’s low first-time finish evaded Alisson! 68’ a breakneck sequence of end-to-end football finished with Dzeko unleashing Kluivert who darted into the box and was barged over by van Dijk. Dzeko stepped up…and hit it straight at Alisson, the idiot. 88’ Kluivert embarked on a mazy run through the centre before hitting a no-look ball down the right for Florenzi, his first-time cross was headed away by Lovren, sub Zaniolo got to it first and hit it with such fury both of the keeper’s hands couldn’t stop it! 89’ Manolas headed away a goal kick, El Shaarawy collected, drove forward and slid it in to Schick, with the angle narrowing he knocked it 5 yards to his right where Zaniolo was on hand to smash it top corner! 90+1’ a ball from Schick into the left channel found El Shaarawy, his cross from the byline was headed goal-wards by Kluivert, Alisson produced a brilliant stretching save but Kluivert got the rebound past him from an impossible angle!

  • Empoli (A): Ünder (4) Dzeko (90+1)

  • Liverpool (A): We have - incredibly - a commanding lead from the first leg, but I’m not taking any chances so I’m going for the 4-4-2 - and didn’t field a striker until late on against Empoli in order to make sure they’re both fit. 61’ Olsen played a one-two with Marcano, his first-time ball out to El Shaarawy beating the Liverpool press, he dribbling into the final third before playing it central to Schick, he took a touch left then played the ball back into space for Kluivert who finished low from an acute angle! 63’ the next few minutes were pretty much all highlight, ending when Keita and Lallana played a quick one-two before playing it out to Milner, whose in-swinging cross from deep was headed in by Firmino. It quietened down after that, ending at 1-1. We’re in the final! Inter held Man City to only a 1-0 defeat in Manchester, meaning its an all-Italian affair as well!

  • SPAL (H): Ünder (18) El Shaarawy (52) Pastore (56) Manolas (71)

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The previous record of 87 came not in a title-winning season, but 2016/17’s 2nd place.

  • Sampdoria (H): El Shaarawy (48) Pellegrini (83) Schick (86)
  • Sassuolo (A): Schick (72)

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Finale di Champions League

Here we go (again, in a way). An all-Italian Champions League final for only the second time. Inter may have finished 21 points behind us in the league, but in Ivan Perisic they have the top scorer in the competition and are a match for us in every position, with Mauro Icardi being one of those strikers who truly will punish you for giving him an inch. Any 'neutral' locals will most likely be supporting Inter due to the Cholito link too. Still, I feel we have a decent chance here. 

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Luckily for us Samir Handanovic and Sime Vrsaljko are injured - Padelli and Cedric are adequate replacements (emphasis on ‘adequate’ for Padelli) whilst Cengiz Ünder is partially fit after an injury (89%, normally I don’t start people under 92%).

  • 1’ Straight from the kick-off El Shaarawy surged through the Inter right flank before cutting in and trying to slide it in for Kluivert, only a last-minute Dalbert clearance preventing us having a shot inside 15 seconds.
  • 31’ the next highlight began with Kolarov taking a free kick deep inside the Inter half, and other than two brief clearance / passes we held possession for the next 105 seconds, ending when from Kluivert’s cross El Shaarawy played a one-two with Pellegrini inside the area then moved it out to Kolarov, sitting as narrow as an IWB, who passed it over to Nzonzi who took a touch then smashed it into the top corner from the D!

At half time I assertively told the team I wasn’t happy with them - we finished 21 points ahead of Inter, we should be beating them by 3 or 4!

55’ I used the ‘Get Creative’ shout and we promptly created the first highlight of the half.

  • 57’ Inter swapped Politano out for Lautaro Martínez and went for a 4-3-3 with 3 strikers.
  • 58’ Padelli launched his free high and to the right, Kolarov out-jumped Icardi and headed it to El Shaarawy, he knocked it inside to Pellegrini who strode forward before playing it between Inter’s double pivot for Dzeko, he broke into the final third before sliding it to Pastore as the Argentine entered the box, Skriniar dove in and won the ball but only put it as far as Kluivert who placed his shot low into the far corner!
  • 64’ Asamoah threw a one-two with Martínez before dribbling down the left and crossing, Manolas missed his header and Perisic arrived at the back post to give Olsen no chance.
  • 70’ Gagliardini sprung Perisic over the top, his shot deflected off the post and only a last-ditch block from Florenzi stopped Icardi levelling it.
  • 86’ Kolarov headed away an Asamoah cross which Pastore showed off his 19 Technique in taking down before sprinting half the pitch, then played it out wide for Kluivert who crossed waist height to the near post where Dzeko volleyed in!
  • 87’ Literally straight from that kick-off they went back then wide to D’Ambrosio (on for Cedric) who had plenty of time to wait then played it inside for Vecino, who again had acres of space and infinite time to stroll to the edge of the box and fire in low past Olsen.

I made a triple substitution, swapping the tiring Kolarov and Pellegrini for Santon and De Rossi, and bringing on Schick for Pastore as I went for the 4-4-2 to shore us up defensively whilst still taking advantage of their lack of wide players.

  • 90+3’ Nzonzi prevented a hopeful clearance from reaching Inter’s front three and switched it over to Florenzi, he cut in and played a through ball to Pastore - now operating on the left - who shimmied away from his man but could only hit his shot straight at Padelli for a corner.
  • 90+3’ Florenzi took said corner, it was headed away as far as Kluivert who took a heavy touch and was promptly muscled off the ball by Gagliardini…and it wasn’t a highlight. Phew!
  • 90+6’ Asamoah threw it back into play and the referee blew the whistle!

We've won the Champions League!!!

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Live scenes from the Roma bench

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On the pitch

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Zlatan da Era - in club colours as always - parading the trophy!

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Premi del Club e Statistiche della Squadra

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As the statistics screen below will show, there was no surprise about the FPotS podium finishers. Of the many spectacular goals we scored this season Nzonzi's does seem the most deserving of GotS given the context. The thanklessness of the CM-De's task explains his not appearing in the Team of the Season. Fazio getting the nod over Marcano is mostly due to him playing the easier games - with only 10 Acceleration and Pace he only made 3 appearances in the Champions Leagues as I preferred the Spaniard despite him lacking Fazio's outstanding core defensive attributes. The other 9 players in that XI were my first choice players for the season though. A stated aim of this reboot was to get more goals out of the likes of El Shaarawy and Ünder, and with the young Turk almost doubling his previous best league goals tally I'd say that was a success, so he's deserving of his YPotS nod.

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There was a definite bias in the assists towards my full backs as a common move was for the winger to pull it back for them to cross, by which time Dzeko and the opposite wide man were in an ideal position to score. 40 assists came from the 5 players I used in those roles (Juan Jesus got much more playing time at full back than centre back). I had perhaps hoped to get a few more goals out of Pellegrini and Cristante, but unlike in my Ajax save I'd split the holder and playmaker duties so that DLP role probably increased their overall influence whilst decreasing their scoring chances. 

It took Zaniolo until the new year to get his first goal for the club, weirdly meaning in the first half of the season he got 6 of his 7 assists whilst in the second half he switched to goalscoring. Despite the AM role having the highest mentality on the team, both of the players I used there got better numbers in a wide role - Zaniolo on the right for a couple of games just like in real life, Pastore on the left when I didn't have any left wingers. Ünder I've already mentioned - 13 of his 14 goals came in Serie A as repeated twisted ankles robbed him of the chance to contribute in our busy final couple of months, but luckily Kluivert came good at the business end - 6 of his 8 goals were in the Champions League!

Finally I got great numbers out of our strikers. I proved myself to be somewhat prophetic as Dzeko didn't beat his two previous best seasons but did break the 30 goal barrier for a second time in Rome. After an initial fall off in form in the new year he went on a run of scoring in 8 consecutive games from 31st March - 5th May (and the three games before that sequence went Goal, Goal, Assist) then didn't contribute again until the Champions League Final. He could probably have scored more, to the detriment of the overall team performance, had I not so frequently switched to 4-4-2, which saw him gain most of his assists by coming deep and playing in Schick. Speaking of Schick, he was a pleasant surprise as he performed well when rotated in as a lone striker as well as in a duo in Europe, although I found if I played him ahead of Pastore, due to both players having only 10 Work Rate, our press suffered. Both strikers were joint 2nd top scorers in the Champions League with 9 each behind Ivan Perisic, whilst Dzeko's 24 league goals weren't enough for Capocannoniere as Cristiano Ronaldo beat him by two, twice scoring 4 in a game. Didn't win a trophy though, did he! 

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Premi

There were a bunch of awards, sometimes I don't document them at all, other times I'm incredibly through. Its basically just a bunch of pictures that I can't say much new about though so they're going in spoilers.

  • Serie A
Spoiler

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  • Champions League
Spoiler

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Serie A

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I don't think there are any real surprises in who is in the top 6 spots, only the order. Our points total of 96 was the 3rd highest in history after Juventus 2013/14 (102) and Inter 2006/07 (97). Speaking of Juventus, they had a rough start and at a point mid-way through the season they had Thursday nights written all over them as they didn't spend consecutive weeks in the top four until April. Napoli just collapsed in April having previously held 2nd for 16 weeks - their loss to us was their 3rd of 4 in the league that month, and they only won 4 (league) games in their last 16 games in all competitions. 

I do feel bad for Chievo as without their points deduction they would have reached 32 points, but there was no real intrigue regarding who would go down. Empoli did take until match day 18 to fall into the bottom three though, which says more about the dearth of quality at the bottom than anything given they won their 7th point on match day 4 and didn't pick up another until that 18th fixture. 

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Quindi...gli ultras sono pezzi di -censored- ingrati

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I know they made it harder to become a club icon in the more recent editions...but its not like I'm managing Real Madrid here - that's the club's first. ever. European. trophy. The top one at that. Oh, and only the club's fourth ever Scudetto. So surely I should be at least an icon?

Or more to that point, should Daniele De Rossi not be club legend? He went one better than Totti! 

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La 'Nuova' Tattica

Given I've owned this game for almost 18 months - a lifetime in football terms, multiple in Football Manger terms - I find myself struggling to keep interest in save. As I can easily spend 2+ hours on a save before I even considered pressing Continue for the first time, this leads to a lot of my life wasted on set-up, so if I can I 'd like to prolong a save. For this Roma save, with such success so early, the challenge of finding a reason to continue was even greater. 

In the end I decided on a couple of little things, one which will be explained in the transfer summary. The other, was to continue to stretch myself a little tactically (emphasis on 'little' as I rather enjoy winning). Planning the tweak was one of numerous reasons its taking me so long to get into 2019/20 proper. Anyway, I decided to stick to only one formation and mentality, and tweak the Tis rather than the constant alternating between 4-2-3-1, 4-4-1-1 and 4-4-2 in that glorious 2018/19 season.

La Formazione:

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  • Yes, it's a 4-2-3-1. Pretty much the same exact one as last time. But there are a couple of role changes (and some players have personalised roles, which I won't detail).
  • The full backs are now Complete Wing Backs in order to induce a little more chaos and help us break down defences. Plus in Florenzi's case he's really a Winger anyway. 
  •  I decided to merge holding and playmaking duties in midfield, so now our most defensive CM is a DLP, whilst his partner is a BBM (concerns about Cristante's mobility in this role).
  • AMR is now an Inside Forward, in order to get Ünder closer to goal to better utilise his shooting abilities (loss of width being offset by the new full back roles). Roam From Position and Sit Narrower should help create more quick combination play with the central players.
  • AMC is now a Shadow Striker. I enjoy Pastore but Zaniolo needs the playing time and this role better suits his aggressive style. 
  • AML now has a few extra instructions; Cross Less OftenCut Inside With BallShoot Less OftenSit Narrower. Similar to AMR coming narrower should allow for more quick passing play, whilst the reduce crossing and shooting is something like applying Work Ball Into Box to only one player.

La Mentalità:

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  • No point in tearing it all up, as with the formation I'm just tweaking what was already working incredibly well. Tightening up for away games in Europe whilst playing on an Attacking mentality with a top-heavy formation is the challenge.

Pianifica 'A' - Proattivo:

 

Spoiler

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  • In possession the style is the 'vertical tiki-taka'-esque style I always use, I need a snappier name than Jardim-Taka (because it evolved from a Jardim replication) hence renaming my preset 'Proactive'. Only last season I actually forgot to select Pass Into SpaceFocus Play Through The Middle and Overlap are more for their effects on player mentality than the passing changes - in particular because the former gets my DLP's mentality up to Positive - a bit of inspiration from @Ö-zil to the Arsenal! (sorry for all the tags!) to get a more expansive range of passing from a deep playmaker. 

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  • In transitions as my goalkeepers have decent, but not outstanding distribution (for the level) I just want them to kick it short to the centre backs to get us started on the 'tiki-take' part of 'vertical tiki-taka'
  • We Counter-Press to impose ourselves on the game, and Counter because I don't want to waste an opportunity. This was just left over from the initial 4-4-2 DM back in late 2018 but in my head it makes sense to use it with a top-heavy formation as anyone winning the ball back should have either multiple passing options or space to run into.

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  • Again, left over from the initial tactic over a year ago we Defend Narrower as the team's spine is aerially dominant, whilst the other instructions give us a good press, but not a 'Gegenpress'. Attacking sets the lines quite high so no point in ramping it up more as we'd both deny ourselves space and give the opposition more should they go long. When I have an even fitter team I may ramp up the pressing though.

 

Pianifica 'B' - Reattivo:

 

Spoiler

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  • No more shortened passing building from the back. If I do have the ball, I want to get straight at them - if it works, we're that much closer to their goal, and if it fails we're further away from ours but with men behind the ball. 

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  • Telling my goalkeepers to pass it shorter here would seem wrong given we're not looking to play out from the back, so I leave it blank.
  • As I'm designing this game around away games against big clubs and European opposition I don't force counters as combined with More Direct Passing that would be incredibly gung-ho. We still Counter-Press to prevent ourselves being countered though. 

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  • As previously stated our mentality sets us quite high up the pitch as a default. So Lower Defensive Line and Much Lower Line Of Engagement bring us back down the pitch, giving the opponent their half. Setting LoE one notch lower than the back line should make us even more compact. Slightly Less Urgent pressing gives more of a focus on keeping our shape should the initial Counter-Press fail, and we no longer mark tightly as this close to goal one of our players getting turned by an opponent could be devastating. We still look to force them long from a goal kick though - no point making it easy for them to build up!

 

I know for a fact that the Proactive set-up will work, as for the Reactive one though...well, you'll see over the coming days. 

Edited by zlatanera
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Mercato - Estate 2019

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As previously hinted, an incredibly busy transfer window. 12 incoming transfers, 3 pre-arranged for next summer meaning my total expenditure could eventually reach €262.35m, 26 outgoings, 7 outgoing loans, and a further 36 youngsters released by Monchi! The board took a 50% cut of all the outgoings, allowing them to easily pay of the remaining €19m of a bank loan. They made no attempt to reduce the €206m left of the loan from the chairman though, despite an almost €100m balance. I'll be fuming if they start giving out bonuses to the directors.

In order to prolong my interest in the save I knew I needed to do something slightly differently. Part of that was the tactic: as detailed above rather than either just sticking to one setup as in most of my previous save, or constantly switching between 3 different tactics like last season, I decided to use the same formation, roles and duties but change the instructions. But I also decided to operate a bit more like a 'big club' and both ruthlessly get rid of Champions League-winning players and stock up on the best youth talent in the country. I also decided to be extra clinical in deciding which young players to keep and train - as of the end of the transfer window I have only 11 players in each of the Under 20s and Under 18s - hence Monchi being detailed to cut our losses to save me some clicks. 

This is an unnecessarily long post, so I'll use spoilers.

La Partenza:

Spoiler
  • Federico Fazio actually performs very well, his immense core defensive stats compensating for his lack of pace, whilst his ball-playing ability is second only to the Bonuccis and Piques of the world, and I debated holding on to him. But he only has 9 Natural Fitness so could easily become even slower, and was rated as injury prone so I worried if the first season's great luck with that ran out. There were some great younger option available too. I offered him out for twice his ~€40m value, expecting to have to lower my demands significantly as only Chinese clubs were interested at the time. Given he only cost €3.2m and a €1.5m loan fee I wasn't too concerned.. But to my shock Arsenal came in hot, apparently deciding he was what they needed to win the next European final they play, so I managed to get most of that €75m up front with the rest in instalments - that's nearly 1600% profit!
  • Steven Nzonzi again performed really well, hitting a golden period of his career as he'd finally made it to the top level, adding his first club trophies to that 2018 World Cup win. His age wasn't really too much of an issue given he has 18 Natural Fitness, but his Dwells On Ball trait is one I don't like to have, and I knew I could easily replace him with future Italy starter Sandro Tonali, who would benefit from joining whilst De Rossi was still around to welcome and mentor him. I wasn't going to get rid of Pellegrini or Cristante either, so the Frenchman had to go. Valued at €67m I was never going to get double, but I was disappointed nobody would go anywhere near his value. Still, €45m in straight cash wasn't too much short of doubling our money and allowed me to get some signings over the line that had been on hold for weeks. 
  • Diego Perotti was always leaving - injury prone and having already missed half the season I arranged his replacement in February. He refused to go for the first two deals I accepted but eventually moved to London for more than double the €9m we paid for him.
  • Davide Santon was initially going to be kept around, and Rick Karsdorp would be on his way out. But I'd been disappointed in Karsdorp's departure in the first go at this save so I decided to lose the Italian instead and we again doubled our money.
  • Juan Jesus had surprised me greatly, his low mental attributes not leading to any grave mistakes as he filled in both at centre back and more often at left back. But he was on €80k a week for a backup, at a time when only 3 players were on more than €100k. He actually took a wage cut to move to China, and we still almost doubled our money. I actually had to restart the transfer window though, having previously got much more for him to move to England as due to the arcane nEU rules if the transfer went through before June 30th I couldn't register Matías Vargas, whereas if I waited until the new season before offering him out I could. Gotta love the arcane rules of Calcio!
  • The rest were just a case of cutting them loose as fast as possible - doubling the money on Gonalons offsets a significant loss on Defrel, Ponce came and left for the same amount, Verde was pre-arranged at the start of the save and a bunch of players left on frees just to get rid. 

Un'altra partenza:

Spoiler

 

  • One outgoing I actually had no hand in was Zakaria Sdaigiu. On a youth contract, I planned to keep him in the under 20s as although he was never going to be a world beater his personality wasn't dragging the squad down too much. 

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  • When Torino came in my first thought was to offer him pro terms to keep him around, but then I looked more closely at the terms of compensation. Because he's on a youth contract we get €1m up front, €35k for each of his first 40 appearances and 15% of any profit. The rest of the guys I sold on youth contracts went for €0! Vive the poaching of Rome's youth!

 

Alcune partenze interotte:

Spoiler
  • Cengiz Ünder was subject to a bid from PSG. With his Balanced personality when I saw he was ‘incredibly interested’ I feared losing him. When I asked him how to keep him and he said ‘I have to follow the money’ I accepted losing him, but asked how much. ‘€145k’. Two rounds of negotiations later he’s down to €120k (his present deal being €100k). I accept, tell the Qataris where to stuff it, go to negotiate with his agent and in the end I managed to get him signed on for terms identical to the previous contract except for that basic wage increase! That’s the first time I’ve ever asked ‘how much’ and I’m wondering why I hadn’t before now, that was the shortest period of unsettlement ever!
  • On another occasion patience proved a virtue - Rick Karsdorp demanded a new contract mid-June, and wanted to double his wages to €110k / week. Come 1st July, he happily signed on for a more reasonable ~20% increase to €65k!

La mia strategia di negoziazione:

Spoiler

 

A lot of them deals for the youngsters look like eventually becoming quite costly, and the board have low confidence in the deals (a rarity for me) as a result. But when you break them down they're actually still quite cheap. Take Manuel Gasparini's transfer, the first I negotiated:

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The initial fee of €3m is actually €1m plus three annual instalments of €666k - a pittance when you're operating on the scale of Roma. All of the league games clauses are likewise actually minuscule, with only 50 league games and any international appearances costing €1m. Our last starting goalkeeper (Olsen) cost €10m and will most likely make only a maximum of 86 league appearances before he's sold, so again, not much. All the other youth players' deals are just this setup, but increased / decreased dependant on the club's position in negotiations. In hindsight I missed a trick not tying the forward player's deals to goals rather than appearances, but that might have driven the price up further. 

If he doesn't fulfil his potential to the extent of becoming a starter for us though, he'll still end up worth more than any €3m so we'll make a profit either way. 

 

I nuovi uomini:

Spoiler

 

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  • This time around I decided to hell with it, I will ransack Fiorentina. First priority - this monster. Similar in profile to Manolas - slightly slower but better technically - Milenkovic will be his new first choice partner. He had a €29.5m Champions League release fee which all things considered was reasonable given other interesting targets like Milan Skriniar went for around €60m. Just €1m less than the club record transfer for Gabriel Batistuta though.

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  • A real life Roma player, Mancini fits the former Fiorentina theme alongside Milenkovic and Zaniolo. He's going to be my rotation centre back, he has good ball-playing ability but also solid (for the level) defensive attributes. Only 1 inch shorter than Milenkovic too, which fits my desire to have a monstrous core to the squad. 

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  • Potentially the most expensive of the youngsters I brought in, Colombian-Italian Salcedo is similar to Brian Brobbey at Ajax in that he has uselessly high Positioning. He looks to be the complete forward package though - already 6'2" yet may grow further, mobile, intelligent and technical - only his Vision, Passing, Balance and Long Shots need real work and two of those (Balance and Vision) will naturally come as he ages. 

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  • One of the guys seemingly everyone on these forums has managed at some point in the last couple of years, Tonali is an absolute bargain at €8m spread over 4 years - the same as Salcedo's initial fees - yet I still feel like a bit of a mug. Why? Because he had a €6.75m higher division release clause so if I'd moved for him before Brescia got promoted I could have saved a few € (and probably something on the wages too). He goes straight in at MCR alternating with De Rossi. At 6'0" he again fits the desire to maintain that physically dominant centre, and has an aggression that belies the lazy 'next Pirlo' label (although comes significantly short of his idol Gennaro Gattuso's attitude too).

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  • Central defence and central midfield are the weak points of the academy - only Riccardi of requisite quality in the latter positions, and although I'm retraining a young full back after noticing he's massive (6'2" age 16) there was no real quality at all at centre back as I don't expect William Bianda to end up featuring for the first team. I'm training Corbo as a BPD but really I expect him to develop into a good Central Defender who isn't a liability with the ball at his feet. Often ends up owned by Liverpool but loaned out to Europa League and Champions League sides in other saves so I'm glad to get him in early.

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  • In reality I hate that the likes of Atalanta get picked off at increasing rates until they eventually can't keep up, but on here I'm part of the problem. A versatile, two-footed forward player the image suggests the Italian federation agree with me that Cortinovis is a future star. I could easily see him ending up as a Mezzala in the long run due to his not-awful defensive abilities but I'll be training him to maximise his contribution in the attacking phases. Probably among the least likely of all my youth signings to actually feature for the first team though.

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  • With Antonio Mirante's retirement I needed a backup goalkeeper. I only had about 8 goalkeepers on my shortlist yet one of them was Cragno. A starter for Cagliari for two and a half seasons of top flight football he was surprisingly eager to sign a Backup contract - normally I sign goalkeepers on a Rotation deal, barely keep them happy with domestic cup games for a couple of years then sell them - and hopefully he'll remain happy for the next 8 years or so. Resolute personality suggests it's likely!

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  • Perotti's replacement. Arranged way back in February if our luck with injuries holds I may end up frustrating Vargas as despite being on €90k he's probably my 3rd choice Trequartista as I like to give Pastore time out wide too. But he's an absolute bargain at €4m - just the complete attacking package. Another forward with high Positioning, perhaps it'll help when I use the Reattivo tactic. Despite making his debut for Argentina in 2018/19 he didn't qualify for the eligibility-restricted nEU slot though, so is a big contributor in how long its taken me to get into the new season.

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  • His deal was previously explained, but surprisingly this is the first time I'd even considered Gasparini - my preference for a Sweeper Keeper meaning I normally discard him early on. Olsen's performances showed that's not going to be too much of an issue though, and he can still distribute the ball well. A slow-burn signing this, as he's a goalkeeper. For some reason youth goalkeepers seem to be really physically lacking so as well as training as SK-At he's working on his Agility & Balance. I intend to keep him in the under 20s until he's, well, 20, then loan him out for a few seasons. As I have an outstanding candidate coming in to replace Olsen (spoiler alert, he's on Fiorentina's books) he may not get his chance for us until about 2025. Should be worth it though.

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  • Another Atalanta youth product, ironically in my Lyon save it was Roma who beat me to the signing of Amad Traore. Hopefully his welcoming period gets that Determination up, but he's just looking like such a talent I sort of ignored it when bidding. Assuming incredible squad and tactic stability, he'd be 22 and ready to set the world alight as Ünder's backup right as El Shaarawy would be 31 and ready to go to the retirement home in the Far East. Obviously things never work out quite that easily even in a simulation, but the boy's going places.

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  • Finally, the least likely to appear for the first team and also not coincidentally the cheapest, Angileri joins up to partner Corbo at the back for the Under 20s. A proper ball playing defender, I'm actually training him as a Su duty Libero as I think I can get him to 12 Dribbling and train him Brings Ball Out Of Defence. Given Corbo is a better defender, Elio Capradossi is out on loan but on a long contract in case of an immediate need for an extra body and I'm retraining that aforementioned young full back in the Under 18s his time may never come for us though. He'll definitely be playing in Serie A for most of his career though. 

 

I future gladiatori:

Spoiler

 

I was tempted to just completely jettison the core of my squad immediately following the Champions League triumph, but given I didn't know just how much money I was going to make I decided to postpone replacing Olsen, Kolarov and Dzeko until next season. I think you'll agree I've got some outstanding candidates to do it though:

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  •  Alban Lafont rapidly becomes one of the best goalkeepers on the planet, and won't be hurt by another season acclimatising to Serie A in beautiful Firenze. They still have Federico Chiesa too so hopefully Pioli can get them back into Europe at the expense of Lazio. 
  • Gayà was actually my second choice to replace Kolarov, as I wanted Italian-Brazilian's Alex Telles (Porto) or Emerson (Chelsea) who are both stronger, taller and can take a mean set piece. But then I only actually let Kolarov take right-sided direct free kicks, wide and deep free kicks so its not too much of an issue, and both Telles and Emerson signed new contracts meaning they'd probably want ~€180k to move, not what I'm willing to pay when I want to rotate them with Luca Pellegrini. I've been wanting to use Gayà since FM15 though (an FM17 Valencia save only lasted about 6 months) and he's an ideal CWB so I'm confident in this. 
  • Both Gayà and Lafont's deals are entirely cash, spread out to minimise the hit, and are like-for-like replacements. Jovic though, is a completely different player to Dzeko, and his deal is also different. He had a €45m release clause, but they don't apply when you set a future date for a deal. I was willing to go to his €21.5m valuation in instalments, perhaps all the way to €30m but Benfica weren't playing ball. He kicked off though, and although transfer listing would have been ideal they would still most likely have asked for €45m only now half of Europe would be trying to muscle in on the deal. In the end I got him for €4m + €11m instalments, €1m after 10 goals & international appearances, €2m after 20 goals & international appearances, €3m, €4m and €5m after 30, 40 and 50 goals & league appearances. The club's previous record purchase was a striker who had one good season left in him and helped bring in a Scudetto, Jovic's deal could take him well over that but only if he's an outstanding success. Again, like Gayà this is one who I've really wanted to manage since I've started playing FM and never got him remotely near his peak. Now is the time!

 

 

Edited by zlatanera
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I Mentori - Secondo Anno

In July 2019 of my Roma save my belief that ‘Spirited’ and ‘Fairly professional’ players wouldn’t kick off very easily (partially due to managing the ‘Spirited’ Juan Mata at Manchester United, who really seems like a “Model Pro” in real life speak) was shaken, with Kostas Manolas (new contract) and Patrik Schick (Manchester United want him even though they can’t find a buyer for Romelu Lukaku yet and barely played new signing Willian Jose in the second half of last season) both becoming unsettled, Schick even requesting a transfer (denied, I think I’ll do a sort of three strikes policy regarding transfer requests). Anyhow, that got me consulting Guide to FM's Personality Guide more seriously than I had in the past…warning, this post gets very game-y.

Spoiler

 

Firstly, I made a spreadsheet:

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Consulting the guide allowed me to fill in all the boxes, in some cases narrowing attributes down to a set value (well, within a spectrum as bar Determination these aren’t numerical values).

Lo and behold, both Manolas and Schick are Outspoken when it comes to press communications, meaning they have a high Controversy attribute, a pure negative. If Kostas Manolas looks like becoming a Team Leader I may need to move him on as he’s not really suited as a mentor.

I chose Daniele De Rossi to welcome Sandro Tonali, Nikola Milenkovic, Matías Vargas, Alessio Cragno and Gianluca Mancini in spite of my assistant’s recommendations. In the case of Tonali, Vargas (potential to reduce Temperament), and Cragno (potential to reduce Controversy) this may have been a mistake given any hidden attributes De Rossi could improve were already at good levels.

Justin Kluivert meanwhile is also unsettled due to wanting a new contract, but in this case its most likely due to his Good< Ambition. That Dismal<Fairly Poor Loyalty can’t help either. It does look like he and Rick Karsdorp were well-matched to Alessandro Florenzi for mentoring though - all three have similar Temperament and Pressure, and Karsdorp changed his personality from Light-Hearted to Spirited with an increase in Determination that whilst attributed to ‘the squad’s less desirable characteristics’ means he matches personality with his mentor.

De Rossi’s mentoring group was reasonably well thought out too, quite a bit of similarities between himself and Cristante, Pellegrini (who he did influence by +1 Determination and from Fairly Professional to Resolute) and his high Determination and Professionalism meaning he was most likely the best match for Zaniolo too (his +1 Determination increase credited to ‘squad’s less desirable characteristics’).

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In addition to Schick and Kluivert, I identified only two other players who really need mentoring: Zaniolo as he may only have Average Ambition, and Ünder as the defining trait of a Balanced personality is that he doesn’t really have any outstanding attributes.

I therefore chose to do what I should have done last season and set up a mentoring group of Dzeko, Schick, and Ünder. Although Dzeko’s Controversy has a pretty wide range (just ‘Fairly Poor or better’, that’s still an improvement over Schick’s, and as I needed a second mentee anyway I put in Ünder as I wouldn’t mind him increasing his Professionalism slightly to match Dzeko.

I knew I was going to put Zaniolo back with De Rossi as it was clearly working, but had some deliberating over who else to add in - whether to add in Kluivert as he and Zaniolo are friends (the squaaad is Karsdorp, Kluivert, Luca Pellegrini and Zaniolo) or if I should keep Kluivert with Florenzi (which would then mean I’d need find two extra mentees instead of one). In the end I decided to go for De Rossi - Zaniolo - Tonali to double down on Tonali’s welcoming, and Florenzi-Karsdorp-Kluivert and hope that the blank I have for Florenzi’s Loyalty obscures a higher value than Kluivert’s.

 

Edited by zlatanera
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Agosto 2019

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  • Chelsea (N): 4’ we broke, Dzeko held up the ball on halfway, was robbed by Azpilicueta who launched a through ball that found Wilson in behind and his finish gave Olsen no chance. 54’ Kolarov took a throw short to Pastore, he drew a challenge close to the byline then gave it back, Kolarov’s right-footed cross to the 6 yard box was headed in by Dzeko! 69’ we excellently built from the back: Olsen - Manolas - Cristante - Zaniolo - Ünder - Dzeko - Zaniolo - El Shaarawy - Ünder - Florenzi overlapping, his cross was headed away by David Luiz, then Kanté out-jumped Pastore but it dropped perfectly on the edge of the area and Zaniolo’s rocket of a half-volley was so powerful both of Kepa’s hands couldn’t stop it!
  • Parma (A): Pastore (17) Schick (21, 35)
  • Inter (H): Nicolò Zaniolo captains the side, aged just 20, against one of his former clubs. Straight from the kick-off he drove into the Inter third before laying it off to Ünder…the move broke down though. 7’ Gundogan’s clearance down the flanks was picked up by Manolas and moved on to Karsdorp, he knocked it inside to Tonali, who shielded the ball then gave it to Pellegrini, he found Zaniolo on the right of the D,  he ran to the left of it then hit a thunderous low drive across the face of goal and in! 59’ from an Inter corner we countered through Ünder, he put it into the path of Schick in the centre, Vrasljko robbed him with a sliding tackle but Cristante then had the time and space to pick it up, put it onto his right foot 18 yards out and power it in at the near post! 81’ Luca Pellegrini picked up the ball deep on the left, underlapped El Shaarawy then hit it diagonally into the box, Ünder’s first touch took him round Asamaoah, the second widened the angle as the goalkeeper advanced and the third lifted it above him into the roof of the net! With Inter playing a narrow three striker formation since the second goal, that was my cue to drastically lower the tempo and passing, remove Pass Into Space and bring on the experienced De Rossi and Florenzi to see the game out. A MotM performance from Zaniolo!
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Settembre 2019

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  • Milan (A): With the return of André Silva combined with their business in the summer Milan may actually be stronger this time out. 24’ Kolarov whipped in the free kick from the left, Mancini headed towards goal, it was blocked but Donnarumma had already dove, and Manolas volleyed in off a defender! 45+1’ Milan countered through Lucas Paquetá, he laid it off to Silva just after halfway, his through ball found Bonaventura whose shot from the edge of the box was perfectly placed into the corner. 51’ Kolarov crossed form deep towards the box, Donnarumma charged out and Romagnoli was best-placed to get to it but Schick got a touch that carried him clear of both to finish into an empty net! 76’ Florenzi threw a one-two with Zaniolo then crossed, Caldara got a touch, Kluivert knocked it into the D and Cristante half-volleyed low into the net! That makes 5 goals he’s scored for us, 3 of which are against Milan! Again I soon brought on De Rossi and dropped the tempo to try and kill it. It was working too, until 90+2’ Zaniolo sprinted out to the flank deep in the Milan half to challenge Suso, lost out, and the Spaniard sprinted into our half before hitting a perfect ball just into the box where Silva took a touch and powered his shot across Olsen and in.
  • Napoli (H): Our tough start continues with last season’s most persistent threat, Napoli. Carlo Ancelotti is now at Old Trafford unsettling my players, and José Mourinho is in charge of sucking the spirit out of San Paolo…playing 5’4” Lorenzo Insigne as a lone striker and loaned youngster Ethan Ampadu as his holding midfielder. Hmm…Matthias Sammer as DoF is clearly exercising control. 20’ as Zielinski rushed into the box after a rebound - but with no real options should he get it - Ünder lunged and conceded a penalty which Insigne blasted into the top corner. 31’ we had a free kick outside the box towards the right corner. Kolarov got it up over the wall and down again, curled into the bottom corner! 48’ we had a free kick dead centre but quite far out, Kolarov stepped up again and hit a rocket into the top right corner! 56’ another free kick, closer to goal but central again and Kolarov put it top left! 72’ Verdi got away countering down the right, played a one-two with Diawara and crossed for Zielinski to volley in from 6 yards. 84’ they now were in a 4-2-3-1 with Alberto Grassi as the striker, so I went for my ‘kill it’ tactic and we saw out the win. Kolarov saved me there though, Mourinho is perfectly set up to counter my tactics.
  • Fenerbahçe (A): Cristante (36)
  • Atalanta (H): 31’ Florenzi’s cross was headed away, Pellegrini played a one-two with El Shaarawy and shot, it was blocked into the path of Ünder who touched it to Pastore and his first time shot low into the corner beat the keeper! 66’ Dzeko was hauled down under a cross and duly converted the penalty! 70’ a cross was headed away, Pellegrini collected, took a touch and placed his shot low from 18 yards into the bottom corner! 79’ Pellegrini sprayed it out to Florenzi, his cross was *shock* headed away, Cristante knocked it back to the top of the D where Pellegrini powered it in! I then went to the TIs  I’m now calling Signore Lentamente. 83’ our throw was worked to De Rossi 30 yards out in the centre, he played a standing one-two with Pellegrini, took a touch then curled one low!
  • Brescia Calcio (A): 5’ I noticed the ME shows Luca Pellegrini as a ginger. I can’t un-see that. Also 5’ Alfredo Donnarumma went through the back of Tonali near half-way, receiving a straight red. I guess he wasn’t wishing him well when the move was announced! 7’ Zaniolo played it forward to Kluivert who burst down the right, evaded a sliding challenge then smashed his cross into the first man, Zaniolo took it down, drove into the box and powered it in through the goalkeeper’s hands! 21’ a from our corner the ball got loose and Tonali crashed it into the roof of the net! 32’ Pavlovic pushed Kluivert and Dzeko converted the pen. I know we have a historic rivalry and bought their best player but…Brescia are all over the place. 70’ we had a sustained period of pressure, Tonali sprayed it out to Karsdorp whose looping cross dropped perfectly for El Shaarawy to volley in at a tight angle! 88’ Kluivert curled in a free kick from deep on the right, Zaniolo headed back across goal and Cristante volleyed in!

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Luca Pellegrini...definitely not looking kissed by fire

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The previous record was 11 games 21st December 2005 - 26th February 2006, the first of the three consecutive seasons Roma finished 2nd to Inter.

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Ottobre 2019

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  • Dortmund (H): I remember once reading a claim that a perfect match of football would end 0-0 as nobody would make any mistakes, in which case this was a perfect match. Dortmund erected a yellow wall in front of their goal, which stopped us creating much, whilst every time they broke we fouled them before they made it out of their half.

  • Spezia Calcio (H): Mancini (3) Ünder (6) De Rossi (pen 24)

  • Verona (H): Javier Pastore came back from international duty and promptly fractured his lower leg, he’ll not play until 2020. At least he’s in a position of depth…but age 30 with 10 Natural Fitness this will be the beginning of the end - his skills were never in the physical realms at least. 76’ Ünder received a long pass on the touchline, burst past his man then lofted it back into the centre for Cristante, he played it to Zaniolo’s feet in the D, he took a touch then blasted it into the top corner!

  • Olympiakos (A): Zaniolo (16) Cristante (26) Ünder (67, 81) Schick (70:00)

  • Torino (A): Since Ranieri took over at Torino they’ve become even more negative - my scouts predict Defensive mentality in a 4-1-4-1 where both wide men are full backs. Still, Belotti has 7 in 8 and they’re up to 4th so they’ll pose a danger. 11’ Ansaldi pushed De Rossi, VAR gave a penalty and De Rossi converted! 13’ a succession of needlessly loose passes saw Belotti break from half-way, Milenkovic cut out his cross but Rincón recovered and gave it to Baselli who finished low past Olsen from just inside the area. 16’ Kolarov hit a free kick from the left into the top near corner! 25’ Baselli stopped El Shaarawy dead in the middle and played it out left, Danilo Avelar switched it to Cuello, who used his 2 Flair to jink his way into the centre before giving it back to Baselli who curved an equaliser low from distance. There wasn’t a highlight in the second half. That ends our win streak at 15!! I doubt its a coincidence the last time we didn’t win we drew…at home…to Claudio Ranieri’s Torino…1-1 with their goal scored by Daniele Baselli…

  • Sassuolo (H): Manolas (81) Marlon own goal (90+1)

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Novembre 2019

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  • Udinese (A): Schick (4) Vargas (55)

  • Olympiakos (H): Dzeko (9) El Shaarawy (13) Pellegrini (32, 53)

  • Juventus (A): Our little blip means Juventus are only two points behind us, with an insanely tight defensive record of only 3 conceded in 11 games. They’ve only conceded to Brescia, Torino and Lazio who all play direct football. This is the first game this season we’re not favourites. In others words, its finally time to try out Reattivo! Luckily for us Cristiano Ronaldo is missing, however sadly so are Zaniolo and Pastore, with a few others not match fit either - my only midfield subs are De Rossi (statuesque) or Riccardi (18 years old). It ended a stalemate, the only CCC coming when Kluivert broke and got all the way to the D before Rugani stopped him dead, Milenkovic getting to the clearance first but a poor touch sending Dybala through from half-way, our athletic centre backs recovering enough to at least keep him right of centre giving Olsen a better angle to make the save. I think their fielding Daniele Rugani at DM meant long balls were just not going to go anywhere, but I wouldn’t like to face their pace countering at me either so I think the tactic was the right choice. Heat maps back me up with not many touches in the box for either team.

  • Cagliari (H): Kolarov (21) Dzeko (89) El Shaarawy (90+6)

  • Fenerbahçe (H): Schick (79, pen 89) Karsdorp (83) Marcano (90+2)

  • Bologna (A): Vargas (59). That goal came under 5 minutes after we’d gone down to 10 men, the boys are showing some real spirit through this unbeaten streak!

Edited by zlatanera
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Dicembre 2019

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  • SPAL 2013 (H): De Rossi (pen 3)

  • Dortmund (A): If we lose this we go into pot 2 in the knockout rounds, making progression significantly harder. The Club World Cup is also coming up (at the same time as our first Coppa Italia match, moved because of the Supercoppa - something will have to give) so of course Robin Olsen sustained a 6 week injury in training. Its after the CWC registration deadline too so if Cragno goes we’re done. Anyway back to the matter at hand…25’ Zaniolo dawdled in the box, Diallo robbed him and launched it up to Alcácer, he switched it out to Bruun Larsen then busted a gut into the box to volley in the cross. 35’ Pellegrini sprayed it out to Florenzi who stood up a cross at the near post, Dzeko’s header was parried by Onana but he poked in the second ball! 45’ Diallo took a throw short, they moved it across to the centre where Witsel hit a rocket shot from outside the box. 47’ our corner was head-tennised to the edge of the box where Pellegrini took it down on the spin and blasted it through Onana’s hands into the net! 57’ we countered, Ünder hitting a teasing ball over from the right, Dzeko cleverly left it to go over to El Shaarawy who finished low! 69’ another counter, Dzeko scything open the Dortmund defence for Zaniolo, Onana rushed out and stood strong against his shot, Golovin slid in to block the rebound but El Shaarawy was at hand to fire in! 73’ I brought out Signore Lentamente. Twice it nearly backfired as Tonali dawdled and was - somehow legally - slide-tackled from behind. 90+3’ Diallo headed in Golovin’s corner.

  • Genoa (A): El Shaarawy (60) Dzeko (62) Ünder (79). Genoa’s goals were a Milenkovic own goal (under pressure from our loanee Elio Capradossi) and a header from Capradossi himself.

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The previous record was 30 games from 30th November 1980 to 22nd November 1981.

  • Shanghai SIPG (N): The Club World Cup is in Japan, certainly one of the less offensive locales the tournament has visited. Shanghai SIPG actually dumped Real Madrid out of the tournament last year before losing to Chivas in the final. Dzeko will have to win his battle against former Roma man Mehdi Benatia at the back whilst our defence will have to stop Oscar and Hulk. 13’ we had a throw on the right of their box, Karsdorp - Ünder - Tonali - Pellegrini - Tonali - Pellegrini - Ünder just inside the box, he cut out to the corner of the D and hit a rocket shot that deflected off Benatia on its way in! 90+1’ Ünder played a one-two with Karsdorp then cut in before unloading from 30 yards into the net!
  • Seattle Sounders (N): Seattle beat De Rossi’s beloved Boca Juniors on penalties in the semi-final which was a disappointment for me - there’s just a bit more glamour in facing the historic Argentine giants than an American club founded in 2009. Boca have at least 11 real players as well.They get an extra day’s rest too. Boca at least nabbed 3rd place 2-1 against Shanghai. Seattle did decide to at least line up in an interesting 4-2(DM)-2(CM)-2(ST) formation. 4’ we countered, Luca Pellegrini hitting it 35 yards to Zaniolo in the centre, he played it out right to Ünder whose cross bounced on the penalty spot and was half-volleyed low into the corner by Schick! 43’ Ünder sent his corner to the near post and Milenkovic headed in! 47’ Ünder got it inside our half, beat 3 men and crossed for Schick to volley in! 50’ Camilo (real player) hit a knuckleball free kick into the near top corner. 56’ Schick got his hat-trick with a penalty! La Roma è Campione del Mondo!

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Yeah, suck it Conte!

  • Sassuolo (H): Dzeko (6, 45+3) Ünder (29, 59)
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Pausa Invernale 2019/20

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I noticed after the Club World Cup board confidence had dropped somehow. Why? Because our expectation is to win Serie A (can't fault the lack of ambition!) yet we're 2nd...but with 3 games in hand! Instead of putting one in of those games in the week between CWC and Coppa Italia (having already shortened Sassuolo's winter break) they've instead put 6 Serie A games in May, including 3 away games in a week, and an extra two in February as well. If we make our expected (by the board) deep runs in Europe and the cup, this is going to get intense. Its good job my Under 20s are a solid Serie B outfit! 

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A word for Aleksandar Kolarov. His physical decline has set in in a big way, and I've had to play him in a more reserved role as a result. But he's also scored 5 free kicks so far this season, giving him a ratio of 1 goal in every 3 games, and making him our top scorer in the league! 

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Gennaio 2020

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  • Atalanta (N): Why is this in January? Why is it in a ruthless dictatorship that sponsors international terrorism? Nobody knows. 4’ Gómez cut in to the centre and played it out to Castagne, Musa Barrow - currently in contract talks with Napoli - headed in his cross at the far post. 15’ El Shaarawy came all the way back to our defensive third to intercept a switch of play to Castagne, we patiently build up that left flank before coming centrally to Pastore at the edge of the box, he slid it over to Karsdorp and Dzeko rose at the back post to head in his cross! 28’ another patient move, this time Luca Pellegrini crossed from the byline, Berisha spectacularly leapt out to punch it and Pastore - in his first start since his leg break - headed it back over him and in! 46’ straight from the kick-off Candreva crossed from deep, Karsdorp got ahead of Gómez but hit it straight into him and it bounced past Cragno to level it up. 57’ Candreva switched it to Gómez, again Karsdorp got it but gave it straight back, he put it into the middle for Barrow, who widened the angle to Cragno before sneaking a shot in from close range. 75’ Luca Pellegrini threw a one-two with Zaniolo then played it into the centre, 25 yards out, where Tonali arrived and hit what the game described as ‘a banana shot’!? which went in the bottom corner! 78’ Cristante robbed Candreva in our half and gave it to El Shaarawy, he sprinted down the left before hitting a low curled pass into the box, Dzeko arriving 6 yards out to power past the keeper! That proved to be the winning goal as I slowed it down for the last 10 minutes, bringing on the experience of De Rossi and Kolarov to keep it together.

  • Fiorentina (H): Ünder (5) El Shaarawy (59) Milenkovic (89)

  • Parma (H): Dzeko (63) Milenkovic (85) Ünder (90+1)

  • Napoli (H): 26’ Zaniolo moved it forward to Dzeko who played it out to the right, Karsdorp headed the pass on then crossed towards the 6 yard box, Zaniolo got in front of the defender and headed in from a tight angle! 28’ Ünder floated a free kick towards the far post and Manolas looped a header back over Meret and in! 69’ Insigne hit a free kick on the edge of the box, it deflected off the wall and went in the opposite way to Olsen’s dive.  73’ Meret launched a goal kick up to…well, nobody - Insigne as a loan striker isn’t going to win headers and is also nowhere near Karsdorp, whose feet it landed at perfectly. 10 seconds later Kluivert is in a dangerous area and is brought down, Dzeko converting the penalty! 82’ some patient play from Napoli saw Ounas get the ball on the edge of the area, turn and fire a left-footed shot low into the far corner. 90+2’ Kluivert got the ball on half-way, spotted Ünder’s run and hit a flat diagonal cruelly just over Ampadu’s head, the Turk taking a touch to widen the angle and thrashing it into the net!

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Heating Up!

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Mercato - Invernale 2020

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William Bianda wasn't getting a game for Carpi as they struggled in Serie B, so I recalled him and sent him to Vicenza, 10 places higher up the table. Gérson likewise wasn't playing enough for Sevilla as he mostly appeared as a sub. I like the look of him but he'll never have a role in this team so I transfer listed him, initially to no avail. Then I loan listed him and Fluminense were willing to take him back for a year and pay all of his wages, before Gladbach then came in with an offer of €13m with a 20% profit clause that is highly likely to come good given his talent. Bruno Peres returned from an 18 month loan to São Paolo (from the start of the save) and was never going to play - mentally and (defensively) technically deficient, his €60k/week wages were far more than he's worth too. I cut his asking price pretty fast and he took a wage cut to move to Genoa, where he'll be pretty good for their stature in Prandelli's 5-3-2 formation.  

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Apologies in advance for the long post, but my philosophy is to do detail on any club that we / they consider to have a rivalry with us, and knockout football except the earliest rounds of the domestic cup. 7/8 games this month fit that criteria.

Febbraio 2020

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  • Sampdoria (A): …

  • Bologna (A): 47’ we were camped around the Bologna area, Pastore went back to Tonali who slipped the ball through an invisible gap between two men to Bamba whose one-touch pass gave Karsdorp space to cross, González headed it away only as far as Cristante outside the box and he did him, making it 1-0! 88’ Falcinelli equalised from the spot.

  • Milan (H): At the start of the game we’re 4 points and games behind Juventus, which I like the symmetry of. 14’ a bit of congested, scrappy midfield play finished with Florenzi making an interception on half-way, striding forward a couple of yards then hitting a ball into the box where El Shaarawy arrived a lashed a left-footed volley past Donnarumma! 48’ Pellegrini played a one-two with El Shaarawy then lifted it out left towards the byline, Kolarov drilled a cross over to the near post and Schick headed in! 54’ Pellegrini and Kessie battled for 20 yards back out of the Milan area, Pellegrini winning out and giving it to Tonali who laid it left to Kolarov, he burst forward then crossed high, it dropped over Caldara and bounced so high Ünder had to jump but managed to glance a header back across Donnarumma and in! 60’ we had a free kick high and wide on the right, Ünder whipped it in dropping in the centre towards Pellegrini, whose marker deflected it in! Ünder gets credit! I dropped the tempo on 70’ and Milan, spirits broken, didn’t threaten much bar Carrasco getting his 2nd yellow for throwing Pastore off the ball. A great win, marred however by Dzeko pulling up early on - he’ll miss a month.

  • Napoli (A): Eddy Salcedo gets a debut start up top - I need to rest Schick for the Champions League and whilst El Shaarawy theoretically can lead the line in (FM)reality he struggles. 4’ from a throw near the left corner we worked it back through Cristante and out right to Florenzi, he crossed to the back post, Vargas headed at goal, Meret parried but he managed to knock the ball back across goal and Salcedo dived through the crowded area to poke it in! 19’ Florenzi threw it down the line to Zaniolo, he played it short to Ünder, he played it to the top of the D where Pellegrini fired it low into the far corner of the net! 68’ Salcedo bust a gut out left to get onto a long ball, brought it into the middle for Pellegrini who played it back out to Kolarov, Meret came out to grab his centre but missed and Salcedo headed in! 90+3’ Luperto crossed from the left, Kolarov headed it away as far as Diawara, he gave it to Corchia who crossed low across the 6 yard box for Callejón. That’s his 1st of the season which is an indictment of Mourinho. We paid Genoa €100k for Salcedo’s debut, I’d say it was worth it! More symmetry too, as that win puts us 2 games in hand but 2 points clear of Juventus!

  • FC Porto (A): Conceição’s side are back-to-back Liga NOS winners, also adding the Taça last season. 33’ Karsdorp hoofed the ball clear, Osorio recovered and for some reason two men chased towards him just inside the Porto half, he launched a long ball forward, Brahimi beat Karsdorp to head the ball on and with nobody around him Manolas powered a header past Olsen. Their 4-4-2 proved impossible to break down after that. Gah, what a stupid way to lose for the first time since the 2019 Coppa Italia Final.

  • Atalanta (A): Speaking of which…31’ our corner was cleared away, Candreva chasing after it and although I leave two men back and they left only 1 forward, neither of my guys tried to beat him, so then he was running forwards, they were running backwards, when Kolarov finally did engage in our final third Candreva lofted it over him and Florenzi for Gómez to power a finish past Olsen. 52’ Pastore took his free kick short to El Shaarawy, his cross was headed away, Cristante knocked it over to Ünder on the left of the area, he cut in and ripped a shot through the crowd into the net! 59’ Gómez swung in the free kick, Marcelo headed towards goal, Schick headed it straight at Palomino who volleyed it in. 60’ a lovely move as a loose ball down the left was played back to Olsen, then we came down the right, Ünder cutting in and feeding Schick, recovering the rebound to Pastore who gave it to El Shaarawy with his back to goal, Ün25 yards out der had stayed central and when space opened up he gratefully received the lay-off and smashed it in! 69’ I noticed their players were tiring, swapped off De Rossi and Kolarov for younger legs and decided to run them into the ground. 86’ Florenzi over-hit his cross, worried about El Shaarawy behind him Hateboer foolishly headed forwards instead of out for the corner and Zaniolo - one of my subs - headed over the keeper, wrong-footed by the screen of Schick being double-marked!

  • Bologna (H): 14’ Gonçalves curled a free kick over from the right, in the crowd Pulgar got a shot away that ricocheted off the bar, off Olsen and in. 45+2’ Karsdorp threw to Cristante, heavily marked he managed to hit a cross-field pass to Luca Pellegrini, he gave it to Zaniolo in the D, he turned, dribble three yards to the left then smashed a shot low into the far corner! 57’ Pastore found Karsdorp out wide, he played it in to Cristante, sprinted down the flank and found an inviting ball coming over from Pastore again, whipped a cross towards the near post and Schick diverted it in with his head! 73’ some short passing play down the left before we recycled it back through Cristante the DLP and out to Karsdorp for another near post cross and another Schick header! 80’ Signore Lentamente returned. 86’ Play For Set Pieces paid dividends as Schick tortured Pulgar into fouling him on the left and picking up his second yellow.

  • Brescia Calcio (H): Dzeko is back from injury, and the 19th place team seems like the perfect fixture for it. Due to injury risks I also fielded the old-young combo of De Rossi (DLP) and Tonali (BBM) together for the first time. 23’ we won a penalty for a push, De Rossi converted! 40’ we countered, Dzeko dropping deep and spraying it out to El Shaarawy who dribbled all the way into the box before being tackled, Ünder recovered the loose ball and knocked it over to the late-arriving Tonali who powered a shot in the top corner! 2 in 2 against his old club! 43’ De Rossi paused, then gave it short to Tonali just inside the Brescia half, he burst forward then unloaded from 35 yards, the ball dipping just under the centre of the cross-bar!! Like Cristiano Ronaldo vs Porto in 2008! 69’ Zaniolo tore his hamstring, just as I was considering subbing him too. He’ll miss two months. Lucky we’re now up to 9 games in May then! (Coppa Italia Final currently scheduled for a Wednesday).

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Giovane Lupi (2020)

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Well, after last season's stellar intake the one position I bemoaned having no depth in was centre back. I then realised one of the right backs could be retrained as he's huge, but still, that was the one position I was hoping for a strong option to come through. As you can see above, I've potentially got two! Overall though this intake sucks and I'll most likely sign only four; Andrea Marcato and Giuseppe Coppola for their potential, Riccardo Piccione and Rosario Romano for their personalities. I am interested to see that we have a Brazilian-Italian (Renan) and a Croatian (Goran Santini) in the intake however, and that Coppola is already 6'5" aged 16!

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Massimo Tarantino rightfully highlighted Marcato as the best of this year's intake. Of the two centre backs of equal potential his personality means he is much more likely to make it. No messing around with positional versatility or anything, he's getting trained as a Ball Playing Defender [Defend] with an extra focus of Agility & Balance. If his Stamina doesn't improve with age I'll focus on that too, and if I can get those physicals improving as fast as hoped there'll be a Passing focus to improve those Serie C-level technicals. But I think he's got a future here!

Edited by zlatanera
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Marzo 2020

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  • Spezia Calcio (A): Kluivert (16, 50) Karsdorp (76) Schick (78)

  • FC Porto (H): After our glorious 18/19 season the board expect the semi-finals, and I’d at least expect to make the next round. Not ideal that we went down without scoring an away goal then. 88’ any hope we had of turning this thing around ended when Ünder decided to go through the back of a guy receiving a throw deep in the Porto half, receiving a straight red (and later a 2 week’s wages fine from me). I had no idea how to break down Porto - they’re like Tony Pulis’ wet dream, with only 3 outfield players (barely) under 6’0” meaning going more direct wasn’t going to work (Dzeko got a 6.3 as every time we tried he got out-fought), but given how well they defended going even deeper wouldn’t work either, and with the ageing Dzeko and low Work Rate of Pastore I didn’t even feel like ramping up the press would work. I still can’t believe that this is what sent us out though:

Oh well, we just have to get back on track for the remaining 14!! Serie A games.

  • Sassuolo (A): Pellegrini (70)
  • Torino (H): 25’ Djidji cleared the ball, Boyé nodded it down and Tonali intercepted, giving it to Ünder who dropped deep before turning and sprinting through the centre towards goal and firing in low from outside the box! 36’ from a throw on the left we worked it quickly across to Florenzi who cut into the box and fed the waiting Ünder, he got his shot off from a tight angle and Sirigu blocked the first but was powerless for the second! 55’ Florenzi threw a one-two with Ünder, saw nothing was on so played another, then crossed to the near post where Dzeko headed in! 73’ Ünder floated in the corner, Wallace tripped Milenkovic and Ünder converted the penalty! 78’ Luca Pellegrini threw a one-two with Pastore then crossed to the far post where Schick headed in!
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Finanze della Serie A

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Hmm...we could really do with a Premier League-level influx of tv money given in terms of net spend no teams are breaking the bank (Milan's €23.41m top ahead of our €20.92m). Juventus' poor finances are no doubt due to spending more than twice as much as us on wages - an absurd €230m per annum (although a certain Portuguese superstar counts for 1/4 of that).

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Aprile 2020

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  • Lazio (A): 11 points behind us in 3rd Lazio don’t necessarily pose a threat in the overall title ‘race’ but I still don’t want to lose. I had a rethink about how I use my strikers - I’d been using Dzeko in home games figuring it’d boost his numbers, and Schick in away games because of his pace. But I already have so many runners I should probably be doing it the other way round - Schick’s acceleration would get him room against a massed defence whereas Dzeko’s style lends him to knitting together counters by dropping deep and spraying passes to the aforementioned runners. Should Lazio actually attack us, I’ll see if I’m right (or rather if I was previously wrong). 11’ Tonali lost then regained the ball near the corner following our throw, played a one-two with Schick (playing in Ünder’s role) then threaded it through to the D where Pellegrini took a touch and fired one in! 46’ straight from the kick-off we went at them, Luca Pellegrini overlapping on the left then cutting in and firing a right-footed cross over to the far post where Schick volleyed in! 56’ we countered, Dzeko’s ball from half-way putting El Shaarawy through and he placed his shot past Strakosha! Just as I planned it, mu-ha-ha!

  • Verona (A): My 100th game - another victory and I’ll have an incredible 77% wins. 37’ we countered, Dzeko dropping deep then laying it off to Florenzi at half-way, he advanced 20 yards then crossed, Caracciolo missed his interception and it sailed on through to El Shaarawy who finished from a tight angle at the far post! 62’ we got a penalty - don’t know why, was watching a movie - and De Rossi converted!

  • Udinese (H): Kluivert (9) De Rossi (pen 28) Vargas (36)

  • Juventus (H): My assistant tells me to expect a defensive 5-flat3-2 formation. I know we’re 11 points ahead but still…I’ve got expect It’ll be more aggressive than that. 5’ Florenzi threw backwards to Tonali who switched it over to Luca Pellegrini, he burst forward and crossed to the far post where Ünder volleyed in! 6’ Pjanic crossed in a free kick and Alex Sandro headed in. Kluivert missed a golden chance to win it late on, but given I just forgot to play Kostas Manolas I’ll take the draw!

  • Inter (A): The title’s pretty much in the bag - 11 points and a game over Juventus, with Lazio a further 7 behind them. But I have one eye on Sacchi’s absurd 58 game unbeaten streak, so I think now is a time for caution and a second run-out for Reattivo. 8’ Ünder took the corner and Manolas nodded in! 12’ Olsen launched his goal kick long, liberated from Play Out Of Defence to do some old-school hoof-ball goalkeeping, and to my surprise Ünder won the first, second and third balls…what followed was a two minute spell of penning Inter back into their own area, finishing up when a clearance down the left was quickly recovered and moved centrally to Tonali, who slid it down the right for Karsdorp, his cross was headed in by Dzeko - a deflection off Thiago Silva crediting it as an own goal! 45+1’ Politano’s free kick from deep was headed towards goal by Perisic, Olsen parried it but Perisic somehow finished from almost a 90 degree angle to the goal. 45+2’ Marcano threw a one-two with El Shaarawy then crossed, Vrsaljko and Dzeko missed it, it seemed to take a slight nick off someone and Ünder thrashed it into the net via Dzeko! 87’ we countered, Ünder carrying it into the Inter third before sliding it on to Pastore, he laid it off to Dzeko who took a couple of touches to the edge of the box and fired a left-footed shot past Handanovic!

  • Bologna (H): 23’ Goncalves gave Bologna the lead with a free kick. As we dominated without creating for the rest of the game I honestly thought it was going to be the end of our streak - despite being unbeaten against Mihajlovic’s team every game has been tense - going more direct in the 2nd half. 90’ in a wild punt I used my final sub to bring on Ünder for Kluivert due to the latter’s negative body language. 90+3’ (of 2 minutes added time) Ünder swung over a corner from the right to the far post and Dzeko, another sub, powered a header past two defenders and the keeper!

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Maggio 2020

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  • Sampdoria (A): Pellegrini (51)

  • SPAL 2013 (H): Vargas (22)

  • Inter (N): I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect Spalletti’s Internazionale to so soon become a significant rival. They come into this game in much worse form, but their squad is in better shape: whilst we’re missing Karsdorp (suspended), Luca Pellegrini (suspended) and Schick (injured) with Zaniolo only just back to being even fit to be in a stadium, whilst Zinho Vanheusden is their only injury. 4’ from a free kick 30 yards out in line with the right edge of the box, Kolarov powered it in the top centre of the goal! 13’ Olsen took his goal kick short to Milenkovic on the right, he played it forward to Florenzi who cut in past Nainngolan and played it to Pastore’s feet, he put one between the left back and centre back for Dzeko to run onto, he took a touch which narrowed his angle but his shot had a lot of power and Handanovic parried to the opposite side of the 6 yard box where El Shaarawy gratefully smashed it into the net! 54’ Ünder’s near post corner was headed onto the upright by Milenkovic, off the body off Handanovic who had rushed across to cover, and in! Handanovic redeemed himself moments later with a double save from the same routine. 75’ Inter’s goal kick was headed away by Kolarov, flicked down by Pellegrini to El Shaarawy who drove infield to the D before caressing it into the path of Ünder, who took a touch and then hit it low past the keeper all with his weak foot! We’ve won the Coppa Italia!! I kinda field bad for Luciano Spalletti now though - in his first spell at Roma he won this trophy twice but was also runner-up once (to Inter) and was also runner up to them three times in the league (and runner up again to Juventus in 2016/17), and now he’s Inter manager and Roma have beaten him in the Coppa and Champions League finals as well as winning 1 (99% sure it’ll be 2) Serie A.

  • Cagliari (A): Pellegrini (44) Pastore (81)

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  • Genoa (H): A ‘penalty’ converted by Domenico Criscito and an admittedly impressive snap-shot from what I call ‘the Lorenzo Pellegrini zone’ (within 1 yard of the D) from Felipe Carbello ends our unbeaten run at ‘merely’ an Arsenal-equalling 49 games (Milan’s 58 games can’t possibly be reached until, at earliest, 2022).
  • Fiorentina (A): This game had it all: future Roma goalkeeper Lafont gifting us goals at the start (Ünder 11’) and end (Dzeko 87’) us conceding to an identical move twice in 7 minutes to go behind, all the while Manolas was just hoofing the ball long like Leonardo Bonucci with a 19th century defender’s brain transplanted into him, except for the time he decided to to pass it to the man between him and Marcano, and Andrea Petagna scoring a header off a corner then 75’ with Fiorentina 4-1 up and cruising deciding to elbow Zaniolo in the face and receive a straight red.
  • Lazio (H): A quirk of our Club World Cup-altered fixture list is we play Lazio twice in the final two months of the season. I had feared playing them on the final day should anything go down to the wire, now I’m cautiously optimistic we’ll drag ourselves out of this sudden slump. If not, it’ll be one hell of a downer to end De Rossi’s career with (his 500th league appearance for Roma too) as well as Kolarov and most likely Dzeko’s Roma careers. 5’ Ünder took the corner and Milenkovic rose at the near post to power in a header! 10’ Kolarov’s free kick was stopped by the keeper, he also proved equal to Dzeko’s first rebound, but Dzeko got it in at the second time of asking! We dominated the rest of the game without creating anything else, but that’s all right!
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I Mentori - Secondo Anno: Risultati

Again I'm getting quite game-y in this, something plenty of people think isn't in the spirit of the game so I'll put it all in spoilers.

Spoiler

 

As a reminder, here's the personalities of my entire first team in August 2019:

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Daniele De Rossi’s welcomes changed Cragno and Milenkovic’s Determination by +1 each but no personality differences that we can detect.

Bryan Cristante’s Determination increased by 1 just through being in and around such a determined, highly professional group of players.

After eliminating anyone who wasn't changed, or responsible for said changes, I had this for May 2020:

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  • Alessandro Florenzi’s mentoring of Justin Kluivert changed his personality descriptor from Ambitious to Spirited. Although this now means I can’t technically see his Ambition we can assume its still going to be at a decent level. Similarly I can’t see his Loyalty but would hope it’s improved. But I can now see his Professionalism ranges [Fairly Good - Good], Sportsmanship is Fairly Good or better and Temperament ranges [Good - Excellent] - matching up with Florenzi. So I can’t actually say whether or not, other than the Determination increase over these two seasons, this mentoring was a worthwhile endeavour or not but it definitely worked.
  • Luca Pellegrini, returning from loan, wasn’t welcomed nor was he mentored as I was quite happy with his original personality. As it was the influence of the squad has seem him change from Resolute with a Level-Headed media handling style to Spirited, Evasive and Unflappable when dealing with the press. His Pressure, previously ‘≤Good’ is now ranging [Good - Excellent] suggesting it was Good to begin with (most likely still is), this combination of personality and media-handling allows me to narrow down his Professionalism to Good, his Sportsmanship may have seen no change whilst previously knowing his Temperament was ≥Fairly Poor meant it could have been pretty rubbish, I can now see it ranges [Good - Excellent].
  • Edin Dzeko’s mentoring of Cengiz Ünder and Patrik Schick saw no change in the former, but the latter saw a 2 point drop in Determination (deemed an acceptable risk, if I got the desired pay-off) and his media handling change from Outspoken to Level-Headed (the desired pay-off!). That change allows me to fill in blanks in Loyalty (≥Average), Sportsmanship (≤Fairly Good) and Temperament (>Fairly Poor). More importantly though, that Controversy attribute that I figured was the root of his unsettlement, previously ranging [Poor - Dismal] is now ≤Fairly Poor!
Spoiler

An explanation on that - the guide I’m working for effectively judges all the hidden attributes on the 1-20 scale but then gives a description instead (I’ve found a place that calculates it all but that’s too much even for me). Controversy is a negative attribute meaning a high rating is actually bad so 20 would be described as Dismal whereas 1 would be Excellent. Hence this is a reasonably significant positive change in Schick’s hidden attributes as a result of Dzeko’s influence!

  • I was slightly concerned that De Rossi may actually be a slightly negative influence on Matías Vargas (welcoming) and Sandro Tonali (welcoming & mentoring). In any case, he did alter both’s personalities quite significantly in terms of the descriptors in any case. Tonali joined the club as a Spirited individual with an Evasive and Reserved media handling style and 11 months later is Resolute with 2 more Determination than previously and a Reserved media handling style. Vargas was Light-Hearted, and Evasive with the media and is now Resolute with 1 more Determination, and Level-Headed with the media. In Tonali’s case I technically now don’t know his Pressure (but can guess its still ≥Very Good) and everything else visible may have stayed the same (although the open-ended guidelines for his Temperament mean it may have decreased and I’d have no idea). With Vargas I know get a scale for Loyalty (≥Average), lose the Sportsmanship info and similar to Tonali his Temperament may or may not have decreased. So with those two I can conclude that despite my efforts to turn it into an exact science, I still haven’t!

 

Unless I go back to a proper youth save I’m not going to talk about this subject much more as I have no desire to go to an admittedly excellent resource than can narrow down the whole shebang for you. I hope anyone who did read found it informative though. 

Edited by zlatanera
can't count
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Premi del Club e Statistiche della Squadra

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No strikers anywhere near F'PotS this year I'm afraid - partially due to teams sitting even deeper against us I think, giving them less space to work with. Luckily the tweak to Ünder's role allowed him to thrive, as will be seen below in the statistics he's deservedly featured twice on the club awards. Milenkovic was immense, but I can't believe Tonali didn't get anywhere on that screen, you wouldn't think he'd not played at the top level before. I wouldn't have expected to see Kolarov up there at the start of the season, but as we all know he more than lived up to his ability as a set piece taker this time around.

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Alessio Cragno is cut off as nobody really cares about goalkeeper stats. As I said before, I did not expect Kolarov to be so productive but dropping him into a more conservative FB-Su role meant he generally wasn't exposed defensively and gave him more space to cross, hence the double figure assists, whilst all 6 of those goals were kicks including - in case anyone forgot - a Free Kick Hat-Trick!! 

Daniele De Rossi scored 6 penalties and 1 screamer, he was only 1 goal away from retiring with an extremely satisfactory to look at 50 goals in 500 games. Still, 49 in 500 ain't bad! Pellegrini and Cristante both prospered against defences that had retreated all the way into their own areas. Zaniolo isn't setting the world on fire just yet but there was an improvement in performances as a more aggressive SS compared to his old AM role. Pastore however didn't enjoy it as much - I blame the role, as I don't believe removing penalty responsibilities is the only reason he didn't average ≥7.0 

Cengiz Ünder was definitely our MVP, contributing to 20 more goals than last season! El Shaarawy continued to be consistent as well, but I was disappointed with the production of both of their backups. Vargas perhaps just needed time to settle, but Kluivert lost out as a result, if we'd made another deep European run he would have had more games and more space to run into to get his totals up beyond last season. He's developing well, though he spent most of the 2nd half of the season unsettled by Man City and now he's happy but PSG are lurking, so I may end up letting him go without ever fully enjoying him. 

Our strikers' production dropped off a little, although in Schick's case that is entirely due to my not switching to a 4-4-2 so often. Dzeko meanwhile is just ageing. He still got 10 in the league though, so on his career stats summary it currently has him with 160 games and 87 goals for Roma, which is pretty incredible given he signed for the club at 29 having not hit 20 league goals in a season since 2010 (although part of that is due to being behind a certain Sergio Agüero during his time in England). My biggest deliberation in regards to personnel going forward is whether to let his contract expire in a month's time or sign him on for a little longer - on the one hand I really want to ramp up my pressing game, yet on the other if I can get him cheap enough he'd be a brilliant 'plan z' whilst being a good influence in the dressing room.  

 

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Serie A

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We dropped 2 points from last season, which I blame on the weird fixture reshuffling - we could have had one of those extra games from May in December after we'd been to Japan, when the players were less tired. Juventus meanwhile gained 7, so I have to hope Cristiano slows down drastically over the summer as he's been Capocannoniere both of his seasons in Italy so far with 26 goals in 2018/19 (29 all comps) and 19 in 2019/20 (22 all comps). I'll be honest, I keep feeling the pull of managing him for only the second time ever (got him signed on in 2019 at Manchester United on FM18). 

The top 7 is surprisingly almost exactly who you'd expect (unless you're really down on Fiorentina's squad on FM) and looking down the table...nope, the only surprise is by inducement of chaos by turning Roma into winners. Frustrating as I could have done with one of the better mid-table clubs getting relegated so I can grab some cheap depth options - the only reason we made a profit in 2018/19 was the Champions League run, which then meant we had a €35m shortfall this year. I'm not under pressure to sell players or anything, but I don't like that we're presently not expected to make a profit until 2022, and will resist putting more guys on ~€100k / week wages to only be backup / rotation options like Pastore (€125k/week) and Vargas (€90k/week) were this season. Good to see Atalanta rebound slightly and Parma continue to solidify themselves as a Serie A club again!

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