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FM[21] Finis Coronat Opus


Mandy42
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October 2021

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Game Week 8

Southampton, the team that beat us last season straight after our loss to Everton. I'm pretty bitter, however with them sitting bottom of the table I will be even more bitter if we don't get a result this time. This is a 1st XI game, simply due to the way the fixtures the rest of the month pan out. It might cause us problems later in the month but for now I just want to maximise points in the league before other competitions hot up.

We get off to a perfect start when Reece James finishes spectacularly from a short corner. We have the lead with only 2 minutes played. Then the game quietens down, we dominate but with no end product to show for it. In the 24th minute that changes, as Pulisic surges forwards, he rides a tackle and the referee plays advantage. It pays dividends for us as the American finds Abraham in the box to double our lead. It takes Gyazo longer to upload the replay than it does for us to score our next goal. Reece James with a free kick, just outside the box, in line with the penalty spot. I think it's too central, he proves me wrong, doubling his tally for the game and indeed the season.

Not to be outdone by James, Abraham nearly takes the roof off the net for his 2nd. With only 10 minutes to go in the 1st half we are 4-0 up and the days work is done. A Tammy Abraham penalty to secure his hat trick is the only action in the 2nd half.

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Liverpool and Utd make no mistakes in their chase to keep up with us.

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Vintage 1-0 to the Arsenal

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Spurs struggling again.

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City breeze past Newcastle.

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I doubt we will remain perfect, or undefeated for the whole season. However our win against Man Utd early in the campaign could yet prove decisive as like last season they look to be our closest challengers.

 

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October 2021

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Game Week 9

We survive the international break with little to no pressure on the squad in terms of injury. Mason Mount is being stalked by Hertha Berlin, though he appears to have no interest in wanting to leave. The same cannot be said for Christian Pulisic, who is being serenaded by Real Madrid. He apparently is extremely interested in a move. We will see what January brings as they appear to be willing to offer big money which is always welcome and could make a space for Hudson-Odoi in the 1st XI. I might have changed my mind by then though and want to keep him. 

Crystal Palace is our opponent in our return to league action. With most of the 1st XI playing games in the break, we go with our 2nd team. We are rusty in the opening exchanges and we give away a soft penalty within 5 minutes. I say soft, if it's a penalty at all as the foul seemed to occur off the pitch once the ball had gone out for a corner. Luka Milivojevic's penalty is saved by Livakovic to keep it 0-0. Gyazo yet again messed me about and doesn't record the 1st goal. We score on the 15 minute mark, Marcus Edwards gets the ball from a short corner on the left. He shoots and the keeper manages to deflect it onto the frame of the goal. Unfortunately it bounces down at the back post for Timo Werner to finish from a tight angle.

That settles my nerves after the early penalty scare. One person whose nerves don't need settling is Marcus Edwards, everything good about us in this game seems to be going through him. 10 minutes after Werner scored, Edwards latches onto a long clearance from Livakovic. He goes straight at the Palace defence, I think he's going to play Werner in, but he continues alone. He survives a robust challenge from the Palace left back, but while the defence seems to stop expecting a foul, he continues into the box and smashes the ball home into the far corner. 

A Timo Werner penalty after who else but Marcus Edwards goes down (rather softly) sees us cruise through the 2nd half.

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Liverpool are rolling.

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Same as last week for the Gunners with Spurs hanging on to beat Leeds

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Anything we can do it seems Utd can do.

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Pretty sure I've cursed Norwich after saying I hope they are around the top 6 come the end of the season.

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We went 22 unbeaten out of the gate last season, but that included 4 draws. So at the same point last season we had 2 fewer points.

 

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October 2021

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Group E Match 3

After being unable to break through the Inter defence in our last Champions league game I was hoping to fare better against current group leaders Lyon. As the current main threat to us qualifying from the group I wanted to field my strongest XI. We seemed to be doing a lot of clearing and chasing after the ball for the home side and not really controlling the game. When we conceded 5 minutes before half time it was through a woeful piece of play. It's a simple ball into our box and Livakovic should simply rush out and sweep that up all day long. 

Even more frustrating, berating the players resulted in an instant reaction. A defensive mistake led to Tammy Abraham latching onto a long ball forward. Scoring with perhaps his furthest strike from goal all season.

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And that was that. When Maxwel Cornet was sent off for a 2nd bookable offence in 1st half injury time I thought the tide had turned in our favour. It just led to a different type of frustration. We had all of the ball but no penetration at all. They parked two buses in front of their goal and we just couldn't find a way through. Bringing on a 2nd striker in place of a holding midfielder didn't increase our chances either. Feels like a massive missed opportunity to put some daylight between us and Lyon and take control of the group. The only saving grace is that Inter went to Turkey and played for a draw. The had 43% possession and didn't register a shot on target. Meaning they now have 3 points from 3 games and sit 2 points behind us in 3rd place.

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October 2021

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Game Week 10

Pretty much a month after we faced Watford in the Carabao cup we now played them at Vicarage Road again in the league. The 2nd XI was dispatched to get us a result and we were all over the for the 1st 20 minutes doing everything but score. So much so that when a highlight came up for a Watford free kick in a promising position my 1st reaction was I was in for a royal FMing and they were going to score with their 1st attempt at goal. This was not the case however as we cleared the free kick to the halfway line. Where Timo Werner plays a clever header into the patch of Marcus Edwards. Edwards is off, motoring across the grass and uncatchable, 1v1 with the keeper and looks like a certain goal. Except he blasts it high and hard, cannoning the ball off the crossbar and I think the chance is gone. Timo Werner pops up and taps home the rebound to give us a much deserved lead!

Timo doubles our lead from the penalty spot on 37 minutes. Then 4 minutes later he secures his hat trick with a poachers finished from a Marcus Edwards rabona cross after we had kept the ball alive from a free kick. Job done, at halftime I tell the players to guard against complacency, change the mentality and instructions to help us play out the game in the 2nd half at reduced intensity and save the legs. Sadly I had to bring Callum Hudson-Odoi off as he was injured in a challenge during the 1st half.

3 minutes into the 2nd half and I might as well have not bothered at halftime. Absolutely none existent defending at a corner gifts Watford a consolation goal.

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It had no bearing on the game and probably doesn't affect the season but I laid into the players at the time and let them know that the 2nd half performance was not acceptable compared to the 1st when the game was finished. It's little paper cuts like this that are gonna bleed away our chances of filling the record books. Don't they know I'm building the greatest club of all time here!

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Though this comment from a fan after the game is taking it a bit too far!

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The other kind of vintage Arsenal

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Leeds give Liverpool a run for their money

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Man Utd go one better than us this week.

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Think I've cursed everybody, as the top 6 is well the top 6 with the other teams falling away after I commented on their performances.

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October 2021

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4th Round

I will hold my hand up and say last season we were very lucky when it came to our cup draws. Thus I can't moan too much about getting Liverpool in only our 2nd tie of the Carabao this year. We have a strange record against Liverpool, having never lost to them under my tenure in the league. We however find it very difficult to get past them in the cup. Famously (at least to me) James Milner dumped us out of the Champions league semi final last season with an 89th minute winner. I said in an earlier post that there might be some strange choices regarding which team plays which fixture. Well this is it, for me this is a 1st XI game. I know the Carabao is seen as the "lesser" domestic competition and mostly it's not even being judged by the board. In real life Arsenal almost annually played their kids in this competition. However, the long term goal of the save is to win silverware. LOTS and lots of silverware, so lower hanging fruit such as the Community Shield, and the Carabao cup will be of higher importance to us. Basically the less games required to win it, the more I'll be all over it.

Liverpool on the other hand have a more conventional Carabao approach, they field a respectable team but it isn't their best. There's no Mane, Jota, Grealish or new summer signing Martin Odegaard. Which is why I am disappointed with how poor we were in the 1st half. We didn't create anything of real substance though we weren't in any real danger either. Then Mendy, my 1 concession to a full strength 1st XI makes a mess of a simple Robertson cross from the left. Harry Wilson, making his debut for Liverpool, is on hand to tap in the loose ball and give the visitors the lead. That might be Mendy's final game in a Chelsea shirt, he just never seems to perform when I need him to.

We get to half time and it feels like a regular occurrence now that I'm chewing the players out in the dressing room. I'm not sure what is more annoying, the reaction in the Watford game where the players basically ignore me. Or the reaction in this game. We equalise straight from kick off, and it's soooooo simple. My mood is lifted slightly, and we do play better in the 2nd period but we just can't manufacture a clear chance to win the game. I've mentally prepared myself for penalties when. Harry Wilson strikes again. This time a well placed free kick into the top corner on 87 minutes. 

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So much for low hanging fruit.

 

 

 

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October 2021

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Game Week 11

When I made the choice to field the 1st XI in the Carabao cup, I thought it might come back to bite me in this game. Spurs at home in the league. My justification for such a choice would have felt so much better if we had actually progressed in the cup. But that was not to be! So here we are, our perfect start to the season and 5 point gap at the top in jeopardy due to my personal priorities. I say 2nd XI, in certain positions it's pretty much whoever is fit enough to play. Ethan Ampadu, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic have all been injured in training to varying degrees. Callum Hudson-Odoi is recovering from a hard tackle in the Watford game and won't be able to play the whole match. Thus U23 players Marcel Lewis and Charlie Wiggett make the bench. 

Calvert Lewin goes close for them in the opening exchanges, a free header clipping the bar and bouncing over. Then on 5 minutes we take the lead. A short corner routine I just love, sees Marcus Edwards finish from close in. I love this for a couple of reasons, mainly the credit of the match engine. For ages I've moaned about goals being called back for offside "wrongly" due to players not involved in the move. But here, the engine acknowledges that Mount knows he's offside and Edwards has to chase down the ball himself. I also like it because I can see it being cooked up on a training ground somewhere, lets fake an accidental offside pass to make the defence pause for a second and then go back to crisp smart passing to get the ball in the net.

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I've no idea how this ended 1-0, with a front 3 of Son, Kane and Calvert Lewin I certainly didn't expect to keep a clean sheet. From our end we had 25 shots, 10 on target in a game which had me biting my nails all the way through but the neutrals will probably put down as a classic for years to come.

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Fortnight ago it was 3, last week it was 4, is next week going to be 6?

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Firmino didn't play against us in the cup either. Man City held though is a good result for us.

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Partey has been in the goals for Arsenal of late.

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Wolves climb above Spurs after we beat them. 5 point gap between 5th and 2nd. Then a further 5 points to us at the top. It took us 13 games to get to 33 points last season with games 12 and 13 seeing us struggle through back to back draws against Watford and Arsenal.

Edited by Mandy42
named the wrong U23 stand in
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October 2021

U18 Update

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I've had my eye on Dane Scarlett sine I took over the youth teams. He bangs in enough goals, but like most Spurs players, he has absolutely no interest in coming to play for a decent London club. Oh well. This game was how I expected the senior fixture to play out, at least more goals. Though the score line is kinder to Spurs than the game was, their stoppage time goal was little more than a consolation.

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This game had snore draw written all over it until we were awarded a stonewall penalty in injury time. I'd tuned out from the game so much I had no idea who I had on the pitch who was best to take it!

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No issues for the youth team in putting European opponents to the sword. Am very impressed with them in this competition what with us being the youngest team in the group.

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Took till almost the last kick of the game to make this result as easy as the game actually was. 

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We are in control of the group at the halfway stage.

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10 point gap sees us very comfortable at the top of the table. For comparison Man Utd are top of the North section also on 28 points. They however only have a 4 point lead in their section back to 2nd place.

 

 

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October 2021

U23 Update

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The striker they said would struggle to play at U23 level bags us a hat trick.

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He then scores 2 in the league, in a result I didn't see coming.

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Not the most inspiring "international" game, but we have Bilbao and Feyenoord to look forward to as the other teams in the group.

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Back to back goals for Valentino show the attacking mentality right wingback is paying dividends.

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Back in the league and a 1st XI performance sees us comfortable winners.

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Disappointing display from the 2nd XI to finish the month. This was our game in hand over Man Utd in the league, could have benefitted from taking all 3 points. Plus the goal we conceded was a woeful punt up field over the top of our defence.

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As each team in the group only plays the others once, we have apparently already qualified before we play bottom of the group Stevenage.

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We maintain a 4 point gap at the top, could have been 6 with a better performance against bottom side Norwich.

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November 2021

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Group E Match 4

With only 2 points from the last 6 available in the Champions league, it is safe to say I'm not that impressed with our performances in the competition. Not simply because it leaves qualification from the group up in the air. But at over £2M for a win and "only" £800k for a draw, we are bleeding potential cash as well. Worse is we have Lyon in this game and Inter away, having only managed to draw against them in our home fixtures.

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Though before we get into the action, last months awards. With Timo coming back strong from his shoulder injury to take the player of the month. Though I've just noticed it says he's on loan with us? He better flaming not be!

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What happens when you maintain your perfect record? You get the manager of the month again. 

Anyway, moving swiftly on before either Jurgen or Ole make a claim for a share of the award! For some reason, Lyon seem less "up for it" in the opening stages at home. Maybe the pressure of being the home side and being expected to take charge of the game? I have the cure for that, always expect your players to take control of the game. Marcus Edwards seems to love minute 5 as he scores in it for the 2nd game running. Left the front of the video un edited to show we don't always get the fake offside short corner right! Marcus Edwards though, he's making a push for that 1st XI spot with Hakim Ziyech injured.

One player who has very much played himself into the 1st XI and secured himself a new 5 year contract is Tammy Abraham. He bags us our 2nd before the hour mark in an otherwise pretty uneventful game. I almost missed this highlight video as I was sure it was going to be called back for offside. But Abraham is behind James when he crosses  the ball. Even though he is beyond the defender? And the ball goes forward? No matter, 0-2 up with 30ish minutes to play. This is the kind of performance I was expecting in the home game.

That is until we concede this sloppy monstrosity 10 minutes later. Slack passing at the beginning, not the most controlled clearance in the middle. And I've absolutely no idea what the defending in the box is. Then in stoppage time we succumb to a swift counter which ends up with the ball in our net. This is good play from Lyon, and I have to take partial blame for this. I've kept the mentality on attacking and not made the usual changes to try see out the game, as we were bossing both chances and possession. Sometimes it scores us late goals, sometimes it costs us late goals.

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Marcus Edwards probably won't be making a play for Hakim Ziyech's position in the 1st XI, as Lyon nearly killed him in the 2nd half. He's out for at least 2 months with a fractured upper arm. I don't mind dropping points, or conceding late goals. But I do dislike this trend that teams think it's ok to beat the crap out of my players. That's 6 on the injured list now. Oh and Inter beat Fenerbache in Italy, so all of us but the Turkish whipping boys are sitting on 6 points.

 

 

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November 2021

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Game Week 12

Fulham away in the league before the international break. Hopefully just who we need to right the ship. While yes we've only lost 1 competitive game so far this season. We've conceded 6 goals in our last 5 games, and drawn 3 in a row in the Champions league. This is not acceptable to me and I'd rather get back to winning and not conceding... thank you very much.

Unfortunately, with the growing injury list, especially in the wide positions I am forced to play Mason Mount as an inverted winger on the left. With Timo Werner available as his replacement, even though Timo still has a couple of days left on his own injury rehab. Mason nets us a penalty in the 19th minute after Milik is bundled over from a corner. Most amusing as he was pushed as the corner was taken, when anyone who has watched any video on us at all this season knows we've never put the ball into the box direct from a corner this campaign. 

Fulham had a few half chances, but were limiting themselves by keeping players behind the ball to restrict our chances of grabbing another. This only intensified when they had a player sent off for a 2nd bookable offence on the hour. Then much to my dismay they attempted to make a game of it in true smash and grab fashion right at the death. Milik made the game safe in the last few minutes. But the 1st part of the video shows that Fulham hadn't given up trying to get something from the game near the end.

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Liverpool ain't messing around.

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Burnley move into a European spot with this win.

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Not 6-0 then.

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City didn't play. The gap stays at 5 points, feels like it's been 5 points forever.

 

Edited by Mandy42
forgot the month :p
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November 2021

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Game Week 13

Unlucky for some, and that someone might be us. We have to go to the Etihad and do what we were unable to do in 3 attempts last season, get a win against Man City. That however was against Pep. Pep is gone and Bielsa has shifted across the Pennines from Leeds to Manchester. 

Before kick off I am not so silently cursing the international break. I'm having to field a right ragtag team of vagabonds because all the players who weren't fit enough to play for me 2 weeks ago, well they still got selected and played for their countries in the meantime. That and it seems the England international was in the last set of games to be played. So all my England players are knackered before we even get going. To add insult to tiredness the Man City line up looks fresh as a bunch of daisies. It shows in the opening half hour, bring back Pep! Last season City were ponderous and as scared of us as we were of them. This season it's like trying to wrestle a rabid badger.

The players are definitely agitated, rushing passes, if not making mistakes then making bad decisions. On 37 minutes When Tammy volleys us in front it's a real smash and grab. But the exchanges at the beginning of the clip show how City are hounding us for the ball and our passing being wayward. Multiple times before we scored City took the ball off us in such fashion and fashioned a chance at goal.

We stagger to halftime under immense City pressure. Never mind the 100% perfect record, if you'd offered me a draw in the dressing room at halftime I'd have ripped your arm off. Instead we have to go back out and face the 2nd half storm. City have 2 goals chalked off for offside. Kaio Jorge their 19 year old Brazilian forward is like a rocket, he just doesn't seem able to time his runs. After the hour mark we double our advantage with a Timo Werner strike. He's on the left wing, with Mount now in the box to box midfielder role as Kante and Kovacic have been removed before they get themselves sent off.

I make it to about 75 minutes before I drop the mentality and try bunker down to see out the rest of the game. We hold on until the last few minutes but can't keep a clean sheet. Jorge gets on the end of a through ball. It's been coming, and that goal has been on since the opening 10 minutes. I'm afraid this is going to go the same way as the Lyon game and we are going to give up a 2 goal advantage. A Hudson-Odoi volley surely seals it for us as I demand more from the players to get us over the line with all 3 points.

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13 wins from 13. Man City hold the record for 18 consecutive wins on the bounce.

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We have Liverpool next in the league at the end of the month.

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Man Utd stay in contention 

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An amazing 16 points back to the Champions league places which is the minimum board requirement for the season.

Edited by Mandy42
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November 2021

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Group E Game 5

Speaking of the Champions league, that  was next. Group whipping boys from Turkey were coming to the bridge. We needed a win to go into the final match against Inter with as much of our destiny in our own hands. However, with this game sandwiched juicily between Man City and Liverpool in the league, it  was 2nd XI all the way. That is, the cobbled together 2nd XI due to injuries.

Hudson-Odoi got us underway and calmed down just after 10 minutes played Ghosting in at the back post after Loftus-Cheek had crossed low. 5 minutes later and the lead was 2. This time Loftus-Cheek going down in the area, the ref and then VAR gave a penalty. Though the commentator indicated Ruben must have dived. Timo Werner converted the spot kick. 5 minutes later and we were coasting at 3-0. Livakovic with a majestic assist, though their keeper should have done better.

Through to halftime and then to near the hour mark without further incident. I make changes due to fatigue one of them is Timo Werner for Mason Mount on the left. However Timo has other ideas. He nets us our 4th, so when the journalists ask after the game what it felt like to take him off on a hat trick. Actually, I took him off when he'd only scored once, he's the one who made it awkward by scoring again. The fresh legs of Mount and Pulisic don't waste anytime combining to score our 5th.

We settle down after that. But with only 5 minutes left on the clock. We can't resist going the full length of the pitch from another Fenerbache corner. This time Loftus-Cheek finds the net for his 2nd of the game.

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Inter grabbed a late winner away in France. Which due to them drawing with Lyon at home and beating them away, they cannot be passed by them. Meaning they will qualify regardless of our result in the final game. Lyon having drawn with us both home and away can still leapfrog us if results go their way. Basically, keep it simple and don't lose to Inter, that way they can't equal our points total.

 

Edited by Mandy42
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November 2021

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Game Week 14

Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. The only team to beat us so far this season in a competitive match. However they have never beaten us in the league. Also other than the wide positions the team is pretty much back to full strength. We also get off to another dream start. The 1st time Hudson-Odoi gets the ball on the right he goes straight at the Liverpool defence. He is bundled over for a penalty in the 4th minute that Mason Mount converts. It's a cagey 1st half with both teams creating chances but not finishing them off. My nerves are shot as I tell the players to keep going through the 2nd period. We get an early breakthrough. From a promising free kick position. We get the bounce of the ball with the initial challenge against Pulisic. Hudson-Odoi reacting 1st and sweeping it home to put us 2-0 up. Trying out the "TV replay" angle for the video highlights. I am torn, I like the angle, but it doesn't show as much play as the other view. Will probably switch between the 2 depending on the type of goal.

Liverpool wake up and peg us back immediately Diogo Jota getting in behind our high line and finishing well. The game goes back to being cagey though Liverpool are in the ascendance. To say we are the home team, they are increasingly dictating the flow and tempo of the game. Unlike other games where we have flown out to a lead and then been pegged back. In this game Livakovic twice pulls off impressive saves to keep us in the lead. But blood is in the water. Liverpool can sense the momentum shifting and commit more players forward chasing a decisive goal.

With 15 minutes to go and my players are beginning to flag. Once again I've had to withdraw Kante due to him being booked and yet still going about doing his thing and breaking up play. Mount is on his knees. Pulisic is limping, so I have to swap the latter for Timo Werner. I'll be damned if they let up though. The only thing keeping Liverpool at any kind of arms length is our pressing hurrying their pressing. Werner's 1st touch is to slide Tammy Abraham in after we press Liverpool into a mistake. We are 3-1 up with 10 minutes to go. Mentality change and park the bus now.

But even in our more defensive shape. Chilwell still has the PPM to get forward whenever possible. Werner is fresh on, his position still runs with an attacking mentality. Abraham hasn't scored 15 league goals in 14 games by resting on his laurels and gets in the box to head home the cross for 4-1.

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14 from 14

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Was hoping Spurs would cause a problem for Utd but not even with them playing 10 men for 86 minutes.

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Wolves into a European spot.

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Liverpool beat Arsenal, Arsenal beat City. Happy for them to take points off each other.

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I feel on another day both City or Liverpool, or both, could have annihilated us. Next month on paper is considerably easier. That will be where we drop points. Or if we make it to New Year with a 100% record intact it will be all on for Utd to keep up.

Edited by Mandy42
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November 2021

U23 Update

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This was a good result for us. Especially for our defence as the Leicester team had both Iheanacho and Batman (on loan from us) up front.

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Less impressive. We deserved to be behind, and we struggled to remain on terms once we got back level. Potentially worrying about the character of the squad as they are used to being ahead in most games.

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We had already qualified from the group before we played this game. So good showing for what for us was a dead rubber.

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4 points might separate us at the top of the table. But nothing could split us on the day. We also have to play them in our Premier league cup group next month. Good job 2 teams qualify.

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Nervy last 30 minutes against the Dutch side. Though we top the group on goals scored, as Bilbao beat Palace in the other fixture to match us on points.

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Once again we had the game sown up and we let the other team back in.

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No such problem in the EFL Trophy 2nd round after we came out of the group stage.

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Have to keep the pedal to the floor in the International cup as only 1 team progresses.

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Looking good in the league. Which is awesome to say we play little to no senior squad players in our team.

 

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November 2021

U18 Update

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No problems in France for the U18 team.

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Rolling on in the league as well.

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Held in the cup though with a last minute Norwich equaliser.

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Late goals again in the next game. But this one was ours early.

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Unbelievable result in Europe.

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Ended the month with a hat trick for Lindo playing on the right wing. Trying to find a way to get him and Maguire in the same line up.

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Utter domination of our European group.

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And a comfy lead in the league. The Fenerbache result kind of brings it home. This group of players has the potential to be very very special. I've purchased 4 of them from other clubs. Then another 5 from our academy all have a minimum potential of 4 stars. Already, 3 or 4 of them are judged as "having a useful rating" for the senior team. Never mind the U23 team, but the full senior squad. I will see what comes through our intake this season but don't think I will augment it with any players from outside the club. Might try steal youngsters from elsewhere every couple of years so the talent is nicely layered over time and not all in one blob then gone again. Might need to look at the U23 squad for gaps though, as compared to the U18s they are kinda "ordinary"

 

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December 2021

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Game Week 15

As I noted at the end of last month, December is a much easier month on paper regarding who we play. Wolves to start with probably the hardest game going by the teams relative positions in the league. Though to say we fielded our 1st XI for this game it was a slog to get a result. It required a soft penalty just before the hour mark for us to go ahead. Tammy Abraham getting us on the scoresheet. Only a few minutes later and Reece James, scores a fine direct free kick. Patricio might feel he could have done better, but I'm quite happy.

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We weren't at our best, but we were good enough. Which is fine by me. 

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Chelsea retirement home 2, Norwich 1

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Everton are the real strugglers so far this season. Man City piling on the hurt.

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Would have preferred this to go the other way. But Utd look good!

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Even without counting any chickens. Surely it's only a 2 horse title race now at best?

 

 

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December 2021

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Game Week 16

Norwich up next, the team I have seriously cursed since suggesting they might be in and around the top 6 come the end of the season. What with them slipping all the way to 18th since I said it. Today when they play us as Carrow Road is not the day for lifting said curse thank you very much!

We are however the late game on the Saturday, meaning we know the majority of the other results before we come out to play.

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Goals galore at St James Park.

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Liverpool have Wijnaldum on the transfer list. Along with a lot of their older players. In an attempt to drum up January funds for Haaland. Shame they still play them!

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Potentially massive penalty in the Manchester derby sees us with the opportunity to steal even further ahead at the top.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek settles the early nerves and sets us on our way in the 4th minute. Norwich aren't playing like a cursed team however. It takes them until just before the half hour mark. And it needs a top quality strike from Tom Trybull to beat Livakovic. But Norwich are good value for being level. It stays level through half time, the 2nd half is a much scrappier affair than the 1st. We get a penalty on 65 minutes after a very rash challenge on Pulisic results in the ref having no choice but to point to the spot. The challenge ends the American's afternoon. However Werner is unable to convert from the spot, the Norwich keeper guessing the right way and the strike hits him smack in the chest and deflects away to safety. Our 1st unconverted spot kick of the season. 

Justice for the Pulisic injury comes 5 minutes later. His replacement Hudson-Odoi arriving at the back post for a tap in after good work from Sarr on the left. The game descends further into carnage as Ethan Ampadu is forced to limp off after a robust challenge from a Norwich player. We finish the last couple of minutes with 10 men due to having used all our available subs.

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We've extended our advantage at the top to 8 points. 

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December 2021

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Group E Game 6

Despite our domestic league dominance this season, our Champions league form has been patchy at best. While we haven't lost a group game so far in the campaign. We find ourselves in the strange position of being top of the group, but the team below us in 2nd place have secured qualification while we ourselves haven't. The simplest equation is, we need a minimum of a point from our last game to secure qualification. If we lose and Lyon get a win in Turkey then we would slide from top of the group all the way to the Europa league.

We get off to a shaky start. We don't always concede own goals, but when we do. It's the player complaining about his lack of playing time and star player status Mateo Kovacic who concedes it. Letting the ball comfortingly pat him on the backside before it drops into our net. 5 minutes gone and we are behind against a renowned defensive counter attacking team. Joy. Luckily we steady the ship and begin to get a foothold in the game. It takes us until the half hour mark to level. Hudson-Odoi finding space between the Inter defenders and wrong footing the keeper with his eyes to finish at the near post. 1-1 our destiny back in our own hands.

Little to nothing happened up to halftime. As we were on track to qualify I was only slightly interested in what was happening in the other group game. Fenerbahce were holding firm and it was 0-0 in Turkey. 2nd half underway and disaster struck just 10 minutes into the 2nd half. Ivan Perisic somehow scoring a header with 4 of our players between him and goal

I threw caution to the wind, zero confidence that Lyon wouldn't find a winner in the closing stages of their game meaning it didn't matter how many we lost by, not losing was the aim. Inter bent and buckled but didn't break. Until in the dying minutes of injury time at the end of the game. Inter rubbed salt in our wounds with a goal from some vintage counter play.

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It's the joint biggest loss of my time here at Chelsea. Tied with the same result against Juventus in the group stage last season. However last season we overcame that setback to qualify from the group under our own power. This time we would need some help. Fenerbahce held Lyon to a 0-0 draw at home, securing only their 2nd point of the group stage. End result, we qualify 2nd from the group and I can breath a sigh of relief. 

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  • 2 months later...

December 2021

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Game Week 17

Just a quick bump to hopefully stop the thread from being locked. Normal service will resume when real life is no longer kicking my ass!

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Good bounce back from the 2nd XI after the defeat in Europe. 

 

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