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When I come to work I touch myself


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In an effort to maintain some form of sanity, I have installed FM Touch on my Ipad which I take with me to use on my breaks at the hospital. I'm back at Chelsea, this time in FM20 with the proper transfer embargo not one I've made up myself. It's busy, difficult, and uncertain at work at the minute, we have all been encouraged to find ways to take a break and switch off. Any input as the season gets going will be gladly appreciated, an injection of humour or company could be just what the doctor ordered (no pun intended!)

Anyway enough lamenting my real life job and onto the perils of my FM job:

Hazard is gone.

Reece James, Tony Rudiger, Marco Van Ginkel, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi are all on the injury list. Rudiger is back in days, the rest are weeks, with an unlucky couple still months away from being healthy.

The transfer embargo is in effect until 31st of December 2019, which is only 4 months away.

The bank balances is ridiculous, with £275 million in proft, a cool £115 in the transfer pot when we get the green light.

The only outstanding business is Hakim Ziyech coming to us from Ajax, but that isn't until July next year. Alvaro Morata joins Athletico Madrid permanently at the same time.

Pre season was all about getting into shape to kick off the competitive campaign, easy run outs against Birmingham and Luton led onto more taxing affairs against Monaco, FC Koln and Inter Milan. We won those 5 games, scoring a total of 17 goals and conceding only once, our last friendly against Atlanta we lost 1-0, only three days before the start of the Premier League season, a result I wasn't happy with and slightly knocked my confidence.

For the current season, Bruce Buck and the board want us to qualify for the Champions League via the Premier League. The Carabao Cup is not seen as important, however the FA Cup and Champions League they expect a minimum of the Quarter Finals in each competition. Looking further ahead, challenge for silverware and work towards challenging for the Premier League is expected by the end of 2020/21 season.

Challenge for the Premier League in 2021/22

Work towards winning the Premier League in 2022/23 season and Win it in 2023/24 if my contract has been renewed.

However back down to earth and the present moment, we open our campaign at Stamford Bridge against Newcastle. 

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We are going with what I call a 4-3-3, but FM wants to call a 4-1-4-1 Defensive midfielder, Wide formation. Due to the style of play the board wants, we are going to play attacking football, with a focus on vertical Tiki-Taka to forge a balance between possession and entertainment. 

My 1st 45 minutes in charge tick the boxes for possession, attacking and entertaining, but they also get a huge fat tick with an underline for frustration. Newcastle have not come to play, not to play to win anyway, they are sat in a compact 5-4-1, which is more frequently two banks of 5. 

At halftime I up passing directness to increase the tempo, instruct the players to attack with extreme width, to try create as much space as we can to play. Finally I inform the wing backs to overlap, force their fullbacks to go with them into the corners and give us hopefully a man on man situation with their 3 center backs and our 3 forwards.

On 55 minutes it pays dividends as a cut back from the right finds Tammy Abraham on the edge of the area, a 1st time volley soars into the top left corner. Tammy wheels away, sliding ecstatically to the corner flag, overjoyed to celebrate his 1st Chelsea goal on what is shockingly his debut at his parent club.

Newcastle don't change their approach, they offer nothing going forward, confident if a little annoyed that while we will likely win, we aren't going to do our goal difference any favors, I make changes to improve the overall fitness of the squad. Lewis Baker, one of those changes slotted home a beauty of a free kick in the 81st minute to cement the victory and get our season off to a winning start.


Chelsea 2 Newcastle 0

Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori, Marcus Alonso, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic, Willian, Tammy Abraham (55), Emerson, Lewis Baker (81), Michy Batshuayi.  

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On the 29th of May 2019 Chelsea won their 2nd Europa League Final against Arsenal, which booked them a place in next seasons Champions League, but also earned them a spot in the Super Cup against Champions League winners Liverpool.

Much has changed in the 75 days since that final and the date of the Super Cup. Manager Maurizio Sarri has left, 1st team starters for that match David Luiz and Eden Hazard have also left. From the subs bench that night in Baku, Davide Zappacosta, Gary Cahill and Gonzalo Higuain have all moved on. 

Chelsea scored 4 goals that night, conceding 1, of their goal scorers, only Pedro and Olivier Giroud remain, neither are fit enough to play the full 90 minutes.

The game is open, both teams have chances, the Inonu Spor Kompleksi is awash with red and blue, punctuated by the noise of local fans elated at getting to see their sporting heroes, backed up by the few domestic fans who have paid the money and trekked the distance to be part of the far away spectacle.

Both teams look their most dangerous in transition, when the other team has lost the ball and are scrambling to recover. It is during one such moment, a 50/50 challenge on the edge of the Liverpool area which sees the ball spring free in the red teams favor. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pounces on the ball and drives with it all the way to the edge of the Chelsea area. Emerson has just about caught up to him and about to put a challenge in on the ball, when the "Ox" lets fly, a rising, swerving strike that smashes into the back of the net just off center, yet Kepa isn't at fault, the shot is so fast and moving so much it was impossible to determine where it might end up.

75 days ago Chelsea scored 4 and conceded 1, tonight they do not score at all and concede 1, losing the Super Cup to Liverpool.

Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori, Emerson, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic, Willian, Tammy Abraham, Marcos Alonso, Antonio Rudiger, Olivier Giroud. 


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4 days after Chelsea were in action in the Super Cup, they came back to London for a potentially tasty away fixture against rivals West Ham. Chelsea came to the London Stadium looking to build some consistency as their single league game of the season (the 2-0 win against Newcastle) was sandwiched squarely between two 1-0 defeats, one the friendly against Atlanta, the other the Super Cup.

In a what could be a worrying trend moving forward, this game very closely mirrored the Newcastle game, the home team seemed to have no interest in coming out to play, sitting at times with 6-7 players across their own penalty area and content to just frustrate and deny Chelsea as they came forward. That changed moments before the end of the 1st half when Pablo Fornals, West Ham's Spanish advanced playmaker, was caught in possession by Mateo Kovacic. The Spaniard acted rashly, attempting to regain possession with a poorly timed, scything two footed challenge, which gave the referee no chance but to show him a straight red card and send him off.

At halftime the Chelsea manager, much like in the Newcastle game, made changes in the hope of opening up the stubborn opposition defense. Once more the players were instructed to attack using the maximum width of the pitch, they were also told they needed to move the ball on as fast as possible to exploit what space there was and tire out the West Ham players. Finally, Jorginho was withdrawn and Michy Batshuayi was sent out for the 2nd half, changing the formation to a 4-2-4 in an attempt to have more of a presence in the box.

Chelsea turned the screw, but West Ham held firm until the 63rd minute when Marcos Alonso over lapped on the left hand side in acres of space and with all the time in the world delivered a cross with more whip than a dominatrix's basement. Batman flashed across the near post and managed to get his head to the ball steering it into the net to give Chelsea the lead.

From then the victory was never in any doubt, and as the West Ham players grew more and more tired, pockets of space began to develop, especially on the edge of the area. Mateo Kovacic was able to exploit one such pocket, with time to control the ball, take a touch to move it out of his feet, before curling a cracking effort into the top far corner.


West Ham 0 Chelsea 2

Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori,  Marcos Alonso,Mateo Kovacic (83), Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic, Willian, Antonio Rudiger, Mason Mount, Michy Batshuayi (63)


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Frustratingly, in what was Chelsea's 3rd game away from Stamford Bridge in a row, they were to play Everton at Goodison Park.

The really frustrating thing was, that either I played this game in my sleep, or the IPAD jumped forward in my bag.


Everton 0 Chelsea 0


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End of August saw the draws for two cup competitions, firstly the 3rd round of the Carabao Cup.

Chelsea were the 1st name out of the hat in an all Premier League match up against newly promoted Sheffield United. The remainder of the draw looked like this:

Leyton Orient  v Burnley

Norwich  v Bournemouth

Aston Villa v Cambridge

Huddersfield v Brentford

Liverpool v Man City

Fulham v Crystal Palace

Arsenal v Wolves

Blackpool v Everton

Swansea v Tottenham

Watford v Peterborough

Newcastle v Middlesbrough

Bradford City v Reading

Man Utd v Gillingham

Leeds v Leiecester

Southampton v West Brom

Later the same day the Champions League group stages were drawn. Chelsea as one of the 8 top seeds were drawn in group F. The full draw looked like this:

Group A: Athletico Madrid, Liverpool, Lyon, AIK

Group B: Barcelona, FC Salzburg, Inter Milan, FC Porto

Group C: Real Madrid, PSG, Benfica, Lokomotiv Moscow

Group D: Tottenham, Zenit, Bayer 04, Galatasaray

Group E: Man City, Napoli, Lille, Celtic

Group F: Chelsea, Shakhtar, FC Kobenhavn, RB Leipzig

Group G: Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Genk, Dynamo Kiev

Group H: FC Bayern, Valencia, Atlanta, Ajax

The consensus was that Chelsea had been handed a straight forward group.

Edited by Mandy42
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Chelsea began September with a home game against 17th placed Crystal Palace. There was a fear before the game that this would be the 3rd opponent in a row that parked the bus and did everything in their power to stifle Chelsea and stop them from playing. The same line up that started the West Ham game started this game, however Pedro and Reece James, both returning from long term injuries were named on the subs bench in the hope they could get some minutes if the game allowed.

This game was nothing like the previous two Premier League games, in that Chelsea were ahead within 5 minutes. An indication of things to come, Mason Mount delivered a free kick from wide on the right, which the Palace keeper flapped at, before Michy Batshuayi pounced at the back post, with his 2nd headed goal in two games. Chelsea continued to dominate possession and chances, with it taking until the 39th minute before Crystal Palace registered their 1st attempt at goal. In that same period of time they had however committed 14 fouls.

Shortly after halftime Marcos Alonso fired in a sublime free kick from a fairly central area to double Chelsea's advantage. Crystal Palace continued to try and disrupt play, in the end committing a total of 24 fouls throughout the game. Both Pedro and Reece James got themselves on the pitch for 30 and 10 minutes respectively.


Chelsea 2 Crystal Palace 0

Kepa Arrizabalaga, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori, Marcos Alonso (47), Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, Michy Batshuayi (6), Reece James, Pedro, Lewis Baker


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