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[FM 21] Arsenal - Still Waiting For Arteta's Tiki Taka!

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I'm currently in March 2023 and we're locked into a close title race with Liverpool, who have been insanely good in my save. They won the league in both 2020/21 and 2021/22, and in the latter season they notched 98 points. In our first two seasons we finished 4th (79 points) and 3rd (81 points), so there is progress. We should finish second at a minimum this season and with a higher points total, but I'm of course hoping for far greater:


Our two defeats came away from home against Manchester City on the opening day of the season, and against Chelsea in January. Since that defeat we've won 10 games on the bounce including notable victories against City (3-0), Wolves (9-0) and Spurs (5-0), all at home. In our home game against Liverpool we took a 1-0 lead late in the game before Lautaro Martinez equalised for them in the final minutes. Unfortunately for me, Liverpool are on a 20-game undefeated streak and it's going to take a seriously strong effort from this team to beat them come May—we'll likely need to better the 90 points the Invincibles recorded in 2003/04, our record total.

Our final game of the season? Liverpool at Anfield. I hope we go into that game with the league still on the line, although my nerves will be shredded.

In Europe, we were drawn with Bayern, Ajax and Standard Liege, and started poorly with a 2-0 defeat in Amsterdam. We recovered well though and won our five remaining games without conceding. The highlight was a 2-0 win in Munich although by that point we had secured qualification as Bayern had previously drawn with Standard, and a last minute goal from Yunus Musah sealed a 1-0 win over Ajax to qualify with a game to spare. Our second win against Bayern meant that we topped the group, although that didn't really do us any favours as we drew PSG in the first knockout round. We secured a commendable 1-1 draw in Paris and have the return leg coming up next after we travel to Spurs in my next game:


I'm not too fussed if we don't progress in Europe as the league in my priority, although getting past PSG would be a major achievement for the club. Last season we beat Benfica in the RO16 before being knocked out by Juventus in the quarter-finals, who went on to lose the final to Liverpool. It's worth pointing out that along with their two league titles in 2020/21 and 2021/22, Liverpool also won the Champions League. Incredible stuff really.

We remain in the FA Cup too, with a tie against West Ham awaiting us in the quarter-finals. Both Manchester clubs are still in the competition and have favourable draws, so we'll likely have to conquer one or both of them if we progress to the semi-finals.

I was able to win the Carabao Cup in both of the past two seasons, against Burnley and Manchester City in the respective finals, although this season Burnley got their revenge and beat us on penalties to knock us out early. We beat Burnley comfortably 3-0 in the final back in 2020/21 and we beat Manchester City on penalties last season in an amazing 3-3 draw. My crowning achievement thus far was winning the Europa League in our first season, again on penalties and against Villarreal. They had two opportunities to seal victory but Bernd Leno dug us out of a hole to help us win our first major European title since 1994.

Our squad looks very different from the one I inherited:


(I've cut off the goalkeepers—Leno is here and our number one, with David Raya our backup. Bailey Peacock-Farrell is our emergency back-up).

I've a young squad but a very good one. In the defence, Bellerin and Tierney have performed brilliantly for almost three seasons now, and Papetti came in from Brescia and has immediately settled and become a star performer in our defence alongside Lenglet, who was signed from Barcelona after a transfer-listing. We had Andreas Christensen at the club for 18 months but I moved him onto Real Madrid for a big profit last summer to make room for Papetti. His low aggression was similar to Lenglet's and I didn't want two centre-backs of that ilk starting for me.

In midfield we've totally transformed, with Camavinga, Tonali, Musah, Aouar and Olmo all joining the club. They've all done well to varying extents. I anticipate Musah being the long-term successor to Partey, and he has already become a better player than him, whereas I imagine selling on Aouar this summer. He's a great player but has never truly set the world alight despite his incredible stats, and brought in Olmo last summer as he is too good a player to pass up. PSG have been sniffing around Aouar for months so I hope to cash in on him at the end of the season and reintroducing Emile Smith Rowe back into the fold, who is currently on loan at Valencia.

Nicolas Pepe has been my best player since the start of the save and I hope to keep him around, whereas both Nelson and Saka have become very competent inverted wingers who chip in with plenty of goals and assists each season. Ebere Eze signed in the summer of 2021 and had a very good first season, leading the Premier League's assist charts, but his progress this season has been hampered by injuries and the arrival of Olmo.

Odsonne Edouard signed for us in January 2021 and has been great, although he's played less this season due to Dominic Calvert-Lewin's arrival, who has been fantastic after Everton sold him to me on the cheap. Aubameyang has become something of a peripheral figure this season in the final year of his contract, and will leave in the summer. Eddie Nketiah, who has played for us in spurts but is currently out on loan at Hertha Berlin, will join the first-team squad in the summer and compete with our other two strikers into the new season—hopefully with us as champions...

I've got some great regens lined up for a transfer, who I'm very excited about. There's also 2-3 players at the club who came through the academy who I think will have great careers here. I'll try and share some of them in another update soon.

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On 18/03/2021 at 12:25, BrickCommo23 said:

No wonder you won the league if you're playing with 12...

Still great work though and I like the signings. 

Oh, FFS. That's what you get for trying to remember off the top of your head :seagull:

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I love the 4-2-3-1 but just lately I am getting caught out at the back with only 2 CB's until the cavalry arrive. I am thinking of changing to a 3 at the back , 2 wing backs, 2 in CM, 2 AF's and a lone striker.

Any thoughts guys, thanks

I know it can be in the players traits to get forward, i.e Bellerin, but is there any way to stop him getting forward as everything I've tried is not working. I am trying to stick with my 4-2-3-1

Edited by RossoneriGunner
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Just experienced three of the most traumatic results I've ever had in Football Manager back-to-back-to-back. This game really tests you sometimes.


Missed a penalty, had a goal ruled out, scored a penalty, have a man sent off and concede two late goals to lose the game. We battered Palace but decided this was the moment to end our fantastic 13-game winning streak.


After securing a fantastic 1-0 victory in the Camp Nou, we dominated them at the Emirates from start to finish. They basically had three highlights, three chances of note, and three goals from an xG of 0.64. Bernd Leno, who has been mostly great for me, decides to choose the most important part of the season to have his worst run in goal for me.


Finally, some respite—a home game against an 18th-placed Southampton side who've lost 9 on the bounce and just sacked their manager. We go behind, but comeback to lead 2-1 after they have a man sent off in the 16th minute. We then conspire to concede a header from a free-kick and can't score again despite battering the Saints goal. Leno again atrocious.


We've ceded control of the title race to Liverpool who have been in incredible form, and it's going to be tough to catch them. We've still to play United and Chelsea at home, before travelling to Anfield on the final day.

Might be the worst I've ever felt playing this game.

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FM21 – Arsenal Season 2 PRE SEASON/AUG


Transfers in – Draxler Depay

Transfers out – Socratis, Ozil, Mustafi

League – 1st – 89 points

Europa League – Quarter-finals – Lost 1-3 vs Roma (1-1a, 0-2h)

FA Cup – Winners – Beat Manchester United 3-1 in Final

League Cup – Quarter-Final – Lost 0-2(away) vs Liverpool

Community Shield – Winners – Beat Liverpool 4-2 on penalties (1-1draw)



Season two began with me attempting to rip up most of the staff and scouting. That didn’t really happen due to a lack of decent options. I sacked Steve Round and In came Mauro Tassotti but I’m not anticipating he’ll last long. The closest I got to a target was Bertrand Reuzeau but despite accepting a contract worth 41k a week (highest I could go) he still rejected me and stayed at Monaco. Bould and Gillard are still manager of the youth teams but now have much better staff to help them.

In terms of signings I tried to sign Alaba who was a free agent but he rejected me without even wanting to negotiate and ended up going to Chelsea. Joe Hart, Jesse Lingard and Theo Walcott were among the released players and I was tempted by all three but in the end didn’t go for any of them. Free agent Ozil is now at Napoli.


Zeki Celik (RB) – 18m

Georgian De Arrasceta (CAM) – 9.75m

Sandro Tonali (CDM) - 15m

Ben Foster (GK) – 170k

I missed out on Max Aarons who went to Liverpool. Lamptey was 50 plus million which I refuse to pay. Celik can also play left back which is handy. I thought for his price Tonali would be a good signing despite having plenty of central midfielders, I didn’t want Runnarson as a back up so brought in Ben Foster who despite being 38 is still a better back up.

Eight youth players came in while Nineteen(!) will be arriving over the next few years.


Pablo Mari – 17.25m

Eddie Nketiah – 12m – (PSV)

No major departures although I had offers for Holding and Xhaha. Holding deciding to stay while I rejected the 35 million pound offer for Xhaka. I planned to keep Nketiah but felt it was time he needed a change.

Cedric, Martinelli, Willock, Elneny, Smith-Rowe and Maitland Niles among a few others were all loaned out for the season


SEASON SQUAD (4-2-3-1)

GK – Leno – Foster

DL – Tierney – Kolasinac

DR – Celik – Bellerin

DC – Luiz - Holding

DC – Gabriel – Saliba

MC – Partey – Guendouzi - Torreira

MC – Xhaka – Tonali

ML – Draxler – Saka - Nelson

MR – Pepe – Arrascaeta

AMC –– Depay – Willian

ST – Aubameyang – Lacazette



We travelled to the USA for a training camp. Having not had a single red card all last season we got one I the first pre season game. Nketiah the culprit before he was sold. Xhaka also got his marching orders at AZ in the final game. We weren’t at our best during the matches but dominated all the games having Posession in the high 70's against Barnet and Boreham Wood.

NEW ENGLAND (a) 0-0 – Nketiah s/o

INTER MIAMI (a) 0-2 – Martinelli Aubameyang

BARNET (a) 0-3 – Xhaka Lacazette Saka

BOREHAM WOOD (a) 1-4 – Sheaf Partey Nelson Arrascaeta

NOTTINGHAM FORREST (a) 1-3 – Partey Arrascaeta Torreira

AZ ALKMAAR (a) 3-4 – Draxler 2 Depay Aubameyang Xhaka s/o



Arsenal 1-0 Manchester United – Aubameyang 6

Scoreline might look drab but it wasn’t the case. United had 37 shots on goal with Leno producing an 8.4 rating and Man of the Match. Still happy to win of course although United showed they’ll be a danger this season.



Everton 1-4 Arsenal – Richarlison 16 – Depay 62 71 Arrascaeta 73 Aubameyang 90

Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea – Pepe 68 Draxler 84 – Pulisic 48

Man City 1-1 Arsenal – De Bruyne 43 – Pepe 53 – Saka s/o 90

Arsenal 5-0 Leicester – Pepe 22 54 Aubameyang 40 66 Arrascaeta 70  - Tierney s/o 85

A tough opening four fixtures was well negotiated with 10 points. We began at Everton with Aubameyang inspiring the comeback and finished it with a lovely dink over Pickford having set up the other three goals. Chelsea game was tight, and we were lucky to edge it. City saw the first competitive red card of my reign. Xhaka and Partey dominated midfield and we had nearly 60% possession but we couldn’t get the winner.  City scoring another free kick against me. Leicester was a really great performance to finish the first batch of fixtures before the international break.

League Table

1.      Liverpool P4 P12 GD19

2.      Man Utd  P4 P12 GD15

3.      Arsenal   P4 P10 GD9

4.      Leeds P4 P9 GD3

5.      Leicester P4 P9 GD3

6.      Chelsea P4 P9 GD3

8.      Tottenham P4 P8 GD-8

19.    Man City P4 P2 GD-4

Liverpool and United have come storming out of the blocks. Liverpool beat Spurs 7-0 in the second game and followed it up by hammering Sheffield United 6-0. They’ve so far scored 20 and conceded 1 after just 4 games. United also haven’t been goal shy and beat Spurs (again!) 6-0 while also scoring five against Palace and four against Norwich.

Man City meanwhile have only two points from the first four games. Two home 1-1 draws against us and Bournemouth and two away 1-3 defeats at Wolves and Everton.

Unsurprisingly Liverpool and United lead most of the charts Greenwood is top scorer and rating with 7 and 8.38. Mane has 6 goals, Rodrigo has started the season well at Leeds and also has 6.

Other news

Euro 2020/21

The Euros has a surprise winner in Croatia.

England topped their group beating Portugal 4-1 along the way. Wales had the group of death with Croatia, France and Italy and didn’t even score a goal.

England lost in the second round 1-0 to Belgium. Vanaken getting the goal while scotland also went out losing 3-0 to Spain.


Portugal 1-4 Germany

Italy 0-1 Croatia

Holland 3-2 Swizerland AET

Spain 3-4 Belgium


Semi Finals

Germany 0-0 Croatia – Croatia won on 4-3 penalties

Holland 0-2 Belgium



Croatia 1-0 Belgium AET



The worldwide summer transfer market was busy. Sterling went to Real Madrid in an 86 million deal. City replaced him with Icardi Leon Bailey, Nuno Mendes, Thorgan Hazard and Hermoso ultimately spending 203 million. Liverpools major signing was Lautaro Martinez for 75m but they did also buy Theo Hernandez and Max Aarons. While Man United signed luis Alberto for 80m. Spurs loaned in Mahrez. No big marquee signings from the European powerhouses but lots of movement.

Champions League draw

Back in the champions league we were given a decent draw and will face;



AA Gent

I expect to get through that. Otherwise  City got their usual Uefa helping hand but Chelsea have Dortmund and Napoli while Man United got Barcelona

League Cup 3rd Round Draw

Leeds vs Arsenal

We will play them twice in five days. Should be simple enough for the rest of the top teams. Man City drew one of only three League two teams left in of course. Not just Uefa helping them.


September/October fixtures

Looking forward to playing in the Champions League again but not expecting to win it for this season.


Premier League – Nottingham Forrest (h) Leeds (a) Crystal Palace (a) Norwich (h) Tottenham (h) Brighton (a) Liverpool (a)

Champions League – Juventus (h) Leipzig (a) AA Gent (h)

League Cup - Leeds (a)



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On 19/03/2021 at 17:30, ajw10 said:




And we have two huge matches left to try and complete the treble

Forgot to update this. We completed the treble by smashing Man City 5-1 in the final and comfortably beating Juventus 2-0 to win our first ever CL as a club. Moukoko finished with 46 goals

Fast forward a year and we are one game off of winning the lot as we've just beaten West Ham 3-0 in the Cup Final.

Transfer wise we sold DCL to Real Madrid for £80m and Martinelli to Roma for £40m. We bought in a back up regen left back and a back up regen striker. We signed 3 more regens for the future too.


We lost 2 of our last 4 games to ruin an unbeaten season. To date these are our only defeats in any competition. We got to 46 league games without defeat, meaning we fell short of the 49 the Invincibles set. We did go 64 games in all competitions without defeat

And we have an injury crisis going into the CL final with Chelsea


Transfer wise I have a few more regens coming in so the likes of Leno, Lamptey and Sandry will definitely be moved on. Saliba, Partey and Sancho might be too. It'll be a big summer for changes

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On 25/03/2021 at 10:19, dcaine100 said:

@Telegram Sam Keep going this game has a way of knocking you down but then suddenly surprising you and picking you back up with a suprise result.

Didn't happen for me, unfortunately. We dropped more points at home to Brighton and Aston Villa, meaning we went to Anfield on the last day with nothing to play for. Finished the season in 2nd place on 88 points, 7 behind Liverpool on 95.

A disappointing end to the season and my first without silverware, but undoubtedly there's been progress. We've finished 4th (79 pts), 3rd (81 pts) and 2nd (88 pts), so it's clear to see we're improving. Liverpool won the league in each season with 90, 98, and 95 points, so overthrowing them is a daunting task. 

Edited by Telegram Sam
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As mentioned above, we finished runners-up to Liverpool in 2022/23 and are seeking to improve on our 88-point total last season. These are the moves I've made in the off-season:


The biggest deal of the summer saw Houssem Aouar move to Juventus for a record fee, which I had long expected after speculation mounting about his future all season. PSG had been publicly courting him all year but never made a bid, but Juventus came in with a bid I was able to negotiate up slightly. Aouar is a quality player with insane stats, but I felt that it wasn't worth fighting to keep him as he had never really shone as our main man and felt he was expendable with Dani Olmo arriving last summer and a developing Emile Smith Rowe returning on loan after a good season from Valencia. We also made a £50m profit on what we paid for him in 2020, so it's hard to be too upset about his departure.

Odsonne Edouard was not someone I had originally intended on selling but after a poor end to the campaign and Eddie Nketiah returning on loan as well, I was happy to entertain bids and felt the £56m we got from Lazio was a good deal. I'll go into the new season with Calvert-Lewin and Nketiah as my two main striking options, although the acquisition of Richarlison was made in big part due to his versatility as a striker and left forward (a position Aouar often played). We also received a great bid from Milan for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who I told I would sell after he became unhappy with a lack of playtime last year. He's never managed to move ahead of Hector Bellerin in the pecking order and even though I'm always loathe to sell a home-grown talent, I felt he was expendable. Nordi Mukiele has been brought in as a capable squad player in the defence, although I did have to agree to play him primarily as a centre-back to get him to join. William Saliba can play at right-back so may deputise there if Bellerin gets injured or needs a rest.

My biggest signing of the summer was Andre Onana, arriving from Ajax. Bernd Leno remains a good goalkeeper but he was poor towards the end of the season and at 31 I felt we needed to start looking for a new goalkeeper. Onana was the last world class goalkeeper available for an expensive-but-not-unreasonable fee, so I decided to pull the trigger and bring him in. His arrival and Leno's demotion to back-up meant I was able to move on David Raya who served as a capable backup for 2.5 years. Finally, I ended up selling Aster Vranckx to cash-rich Hertha Berlin after they came in for him—he spend last season on loan at Bournemouth and would likely have gone out on loan again with Aaron Ramsey coming in for one season, but I couldn't deny the sort of money Hertha were willing to pay. We've plenty of great central midfield options in our youth teams so I'm not too worried about this sale feeling premature in hindsight.

Our squad for the 2023/24 season now looks like this:


1. Bernd LENO
23. Andre ONANA


2. Hector BELLERIN
3. Kieran TIERNEY
4. William SALIBA
12. Andrea PAPETTI
22. Nordi MUKIELE
25. Clement LENGLET


5. Thomas PARTEY
8. Sandro TONALI
10. Emile SMITH ROWE
11. Dani OLMO
16. Aaron RAMSEY
17. Ebe EZE
18. Eduardo CAMAVINGA
21. Yunus MUSAH


7. Bukayo SAKA
14. Eddie NKETIAH
15. Gabriel MARTINELLI
19. Nicolas PEPE
24. Reiss NELSON

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Started a new game as I am rubbish :lol:


Any ideas for starter RCB (Holding will be 2nd choice), backup GK (Leno is 1st choice), backup LB (Tierney is 1st choice) and backup RCM (Partey is 1st choice) please? Ideally at least one of them home grown.


Have looked at Anel Ahmedhodzic as he is HG with high potential for starting cb


Will chuck up tactic tomorrow for advice and critiques.


Thanks all.

Edited by Cam NBH
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Killed the thread :(


Here is my first tactic, have left off a lot of instructions as I am trying to build it bit by bit. Any advice greatly appreciated:




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I used Chambers as my backup RCB until the second season when Saliba comes back from loan and Mari as backup CBL, for a backup DL look at Nuno Mendes.

Eleney was my backup RCM until Guendouzi came back from loan, he has great technical attributes both defensively and attacking.

Edited by dcaine100
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23 minutes ago, dcaine100 said:

I used Chambers as my backup RCB until the second season when Saliba comes back from loan and Mari as backup CBL, for a backup DL look at Nuno Mendes.

Eleney was my backup RCM until Guendouzi came back from loan, he has great technical attributes both defensively and attacking.


Cheers. Going to keep Mari, wanted to sell Chambers, Elneny I can sell for nearly 20m so that is a big sell even though he is decent. Will look at mendes ta.

Tactic look ok in principle?



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Tactic looks nicely balanced, I find that the "work the ball into the box" TI is essential for preventing too many long shot attempts.

Ive sold Chambers and Elneny to once Guendouzi and Saliba returned.

Theres a player in the U21s/U18 called Omar Rekik thats developed into a really decent DLP, he may have a variable PA thou.

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35 minutes ago, dcaine100 said:

Tactic looks nicely balanced, I find that the "work the ball into the box" TI is essential for preventing too many long shot attempts.

Ive sold Chambers and Elneny to once Guendouzi and Saliba returned.

Theres a player in the U21s/U18 called Omar Rekik thats developed into a really decent DLP, he may have a variable PA thou.

Cheers mate, thats very helpful.


I used to make 3 different tactics for different situations so I would have a 451 for countering and a 424 for chasing a game, this time I am making tweaks to that 4231 for those situations to get familiarity up quicker.

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With regards to transfers I stayed with my current cb in the first season and started salliba in the second so can't really help out. I found robin gosens to be a player who could compete with tierney, he was around 20 mil. backup gk was a brazilian gk called hugo souza. has seemed pretty good when played and is still very young. 

Other transfers were getting rid of the deadwood: chambers, mustafi, sokratis, kolasinac, getting a combined 45 million for elneny and xhaka, selling an injured bellerin for 41.5 million (more on that in my update, it was hilarious). bringing in tonali is a good deal especially if brescia don't go up again, and I signed max aarons as a bellerin replacement. don't need many transfers in if you get a good youth intake and are able to develop the youngsters like saka, martinelli and nelson.


The tactic looks very good, although I would set out of possesion high line instructions, tell your team to counter-press and prevent short gk distribution.

 wouldn't use 4-5-1 counter. tried to use it v top teams like city liverpool, united and my win rate is 2 out of 7. Other than that, everything looks good!

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43 minutes ago, Mr. VerticalTikiTaka said:

With regards to transfers I stayed with my current cb in the first season and started salliba in the second so can't really help out. I found robin gosens to be a player who could compete with tierney, he was around 20 mil. backup gk was a brazilian gk called hugo souza. has seemed pretty good when played and is still very young. 

Other transfers were getting rid of the deadwood: chambers, mustafi, sokratis, kolasinac, getting a combined 45 million for elneny and xhaka, selling an injured bellerin for 41.5 million (more on that in my update, it was hilarious). bringing in tonali is a good deal especially if brescia don't go up again, and I signed max aarons as a bellerin replacement. don't need many transfers in if you get a good youth intake and are able to develop the youngsters like saka, martinelli and nelson.


The tactic looks very good, although I would set out of possesion high line instructions, tell your team to counter-press and prevent short gk distribution.

 wouldn't use 4-5-1 counter. tried to use it v top teams like city liverpool, united and my win rate is 2 out of 7. Other than that, everything looks good!


Thank you mate, that is also helpful.

My starting squad is as the picture above but need a RCB.


2nd XI is:

GK TBC Will have Ryan as 3rd choice I think, Runarsson to the glue factory

RB Cedric


CBR Holding

CBL Mari


MCL Ceballos

AMC Smith-Rowe

AMR Pepe

AML Nelson

CF Lacazette


Going to sell Elneny, Chambers and Luiz.

Will listen to offers for Laca, Xhaka and Bellerin if the price is right.


Forgot to add Saka is being played as IW not IF, not sure if that changes a lot?

Edited by Cam NBH
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9 hours ago, Cam NBH said:



Going to sell Elneny, Chambers and Luiz.

Will listen to offers for Laca, Xhaka and Bellerin if the price is right.


Forgot to add Saka is being played as IW not IF, not sure if that changes a lot?

Yeah, that was my transfer plan, and pretty much everyone I wanted to sell except torreira, I have sold. I think maybe soyuncu for centre back would work out.

IW and IF don't make any difference. I use IF when I'm playing a striker on the wing, like aubameyang

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I'm playing without the January patch (only have time for one save this year so I don't have time to start over), and therefore I don't have Omar Rekik in my squad (er even the database). Could anyone show me what he looks like? Preferably after having been developed a little.

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15 minutes ago, Sysiphus said:

I'm playing without the January patch (only have time for one save this year so I don't have time to start over), and therefore I don't have Omar Rekik in my squad (er even the database). Could anyone show me what he looks like? Preferably after having been developed a little.

This is Rekik after a season and half:

Omar Rekik FM21.PNG

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SEASON 2 UPDATE – September/October

Echos of “1-0 to the Arsenal” can be heard.



Arsenal 2-0 Nottingham Forrest – Aubameyang 25(pen), 55

Leeds 0-1 Arsenal – Aubameyang 21

Crystal Palace 0-3 Arsenal – Gabriel 26 Pepe 34 59

Arsenal 6-1 Norwich – Aubameyang 19, 50 Depay 24 83 Saka 45 60 – Cantwell 48

Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham – Aubameyang 67

Brighton 1-0 Arsenal – Quaison 6

Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal – Pepe 49, 53

September started with a routine win against Forrest. They only had a single attempt and the score should’ve been wider. The win against Leeds started a run of three 1-0’s in a row. Good wins at Crystal Palace and especially at home to Norwich were followed by edging a very tight and tense North London Derby. On international duty before the game Arrascaeta tore his thigh muscle and would be out for two-three months. We followed up our Champions League game against Gent with an awful performance at Brighton for our first loss of the season. Just nothing was happening going forward. Heading to Anfield for our last game of October the reds had a perfect 10 out of 10 record meaning a win would send them 8 points clear. I decided to park the bus in the first half but Mane went off with an injury early and I decided to go slightly more positive. Two fantastic Pepe strikes and we found ourselves 2-0 up. I wheeled the bus out again and we survived an offside goal and an overturned penalty to gain a crucial win.

Liverpool still two points clear but I’m confident of catching them. Liverpool have Chelsea next followed by Everton and Man City away. Speaking of Man City they and Chelsea have come back well after slow starts.


League Table

1.      Liverpool P11 P30 GD26

2.      Arsenal P11 P28 GD28

3.      Man Utd P11 P27 GD31

4.      Leeds P11 P22 GD10

5.      Chelsea P11 P22 GD5

7.   Tottenham P11 P19 GD-2

8.      Man City P11 P18 GD0



MD1 – Arsenal 1-0 Juventus – Pepe 57

MD2 – RB Leipzig 0-0 Arsenal – Nkunku s/o 29 Gvardoil s/o 90 //

MD3 – Arsenal 1-0 AA Gent – Luiz 83

Despite being the toughest fixture the opener against Juventus wasn’t too bad. They came very defensively despite the attacking talent and only got going once we scored but still didn’t create much. I would’ve taken a draw in  Leipzig before the game but playing against 10 men for 60 minutes we should’ve won. Unfortunately all the attackers were poor. They’d go and score 6 against Norwich the game after though. Our final game against Gent was also frustrating. I haven’t scored many goals with defenders so far but David Luiz got a crucial one.

1 – Arsenal P3 P7 GD2

2 – Juventus P3 P6 GD3

3 – RB Leipzig P3 P4 GD0

4 – AA Gent – P3 P0 GD-5



3R – Leeds 0-1 Arsenal – Lacazette 58

4R – Aston Villa 0-3 Arsenal – Lacazette 29 Cash o.g 31 Pepe 74


Three days after beating them 1-0 in the league it was 1-0 again in the cup. A much changed team of course although Tonali and Bellerin played. At Villa I expected a tricky game but didn’t get one.  



Goals – Pepe 10 Aubameyang 10 Depay 4 Arrascaeta, Lacazette, Saka 2

Assists – Xhaka 5 Aubameyang 4 Bellerin 4 Depay Nelson 3

Av rating – Pepe 7.41 Leno 7.31 Aubameyang, Kolasinac 7.28 Bellerin 7.19

Motm – Pepe 5 Aubameyang 2 Bellerin 2



Premier League – Man United (A) Fulham (H) Burnley (H) Southampton (A) Aston Villa (H) Wolves (H) Bournemouth (A) Sheffield United (A)

Champions League – AA Gent (A) Juventus (A) RB Leipzig (H)

League Cup QF – West Brom (H)

Liverpool vs Burney, Norwich vs Tottenham, Man City vs Birmingham  


Overall a good two months. Just 2 goals conceded in the 12 games with 10 clean sheets (Llama would be proud!) and five 1-0’s.

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17 hours ago, alittletoojack said:

anyone gone full project youth and started the likes of saka, esr, martinelli, nelson and willock from the start?


half tempted for this to be my next save.

Yes thats exactly what I do, Martinelli and Saka down the wings in the league, Nelson and Rowe in the cup plus Hilson, Guendouzi, Willock, Saliba, Rekik and Nketiah get regular game time.

Edited by dcaine100
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FM21 – Arsenal Season 2 DEC/JAN

Good progress made but League is still very close.



MANCHESTER UNITED 3-1 ARSENAL  - Barbosa 1, 44, 90 – Pepe 8

ARSENAL 1-0 FULHAM – Luiz 45

ARSENAL 2-1 BURNLEY – Depay 83 Lacazette 89  - Wood 90 Cork s/o 39

SOUTHAMPTON 2-2 ARSENAL  Elyounoussi 48 Obafemi 89 - Aubameyang 15, 50

ARSENAL 2-0 ASTON VILLA - Aubameyang 31 Depay 72

ARSENAL 2-0 WOLVES – Partey 31 78


SHEFFIELD UINITED 0-3 ARSENAL – Celik 3 Arrascaeta 41 Aubameyang 73


November started with us heading to Old Trafford with Man United just one point behind after 11 games. Game plan worked as we restricted their chances to just five attempts it’s just Gabriel Barbosa kept scoring them. A bad start. We played well against Fulham but only scored through Luiz. Fulham failed to register a single shot. Burnley defended brilliantly with ten men but we eventually got the goal having thrown the kitchen sink at them. They scored with the last kick of the game and their only shot on target. For a second season in a row we drew 2-2 at Southampton. A late equaliser by Obafemi was fully deserved from them. We followed it up with consecutive home 2-0 strolls. Wolves also being a carbon copy result from the previous season before with a like buses brace from Partey. We went goalless at Bournemouth in an awful display before ending a low scoring two months in the league with a solid win at Sheffield United.

Man United have been the stand out performers of the season so far. They lost to Leeds and Man City in their only two blips in the two months and also beat Barcelona home and away in the Champions League to top the group. Their Jan/feb fixtures are kind as well whilst ours aren't.

League Table

1.      Man Utd P19 P45 GD41

2.      Liverpool P19 P45 GD37

3.      Arsenal P19 P45 GD29

4.      Chelsea P19 P41 GD9

5.      Leeds P19 P34 GD14

7. Man City P19 P32 GD0

8. Tottenham P19 P31 GD-2

Four points separate the bottom seven clubs with Bournemouth, Fulham and Burnley currently occupying the relegation spot.


Prem stats

Goals – Rodrigo 16 Rashford 13 Aubameyang 13 Mousset (shu) 12 Greenwood 12

Assists – Salah 7 Bellerin 6 Rashford 6 W-Bissaka 6 Alaba (che) 5

Av Rating – Robertson 7.44 Salah 7.44 Rashford 7.36 Rodrigo 7.34 Greenwood 7.33



MD4 – AA Gent 1-4 Arsenal – Kliendienst 26 - Pepe 28 Aubameyang 34 Draxler 71 79

MD5 – Juventus 0-0 Arsenal – Xhaka s/o 90

MD6 – Arsenal 4-0 RB Leipzig – Tierney 9 Aubameyang 24 Depay 30 Partey 59

We conceded our first goal of the campaign but having already dominated ran out comfortable winners. Of course Juventus away would be the big test but like the home game they didn’t really turn up and Leno had a comfortable night in a goalless draw. We still needed a win against Leipzig to top the group so I played a strong team and we ran out easy winners. Leipzig were terrible.   

1 – Arsenal P6 P14 GD9

2 – Juventus P6 P13 GD6

3 – RB Leipzig P6 P7 GD0

4 – AA Gent – P6 P0 GD-15


All five (yes five) English clubs progressed. Both Madrid sides, Napoli, Inter and holders Celtic fell at the group stages. Liverpool and Chelsea face tough tests to get to the quarters after drawing Dortmund and Juventus. Man United got Club Brugge and Man City drew Zenit.



Quarter-Final – ARSENAL 3-0 WEST BROM – Willian 3(pen) Lacazette 34, 74

No idea why Willian took the penalty but still a comfortable win for a second eleven to take us into a semi final against Liverpool. Spurs vs Man City the other semi final.



Goals – Aubameyang 16 Pepe 12 Depay 7 Lacazette 5

Assists – Tonali, Bellerin 6 Xhaka, Nelson 5 Aubameyang, Depay 4

Av rating – Holding 7.29 Leno 7.24 Pepe 7.23 Bellerin 7.21 Partey 7.16

Motm – Pepe 6 Aubameyang 3 Leno Depay Tonali Bellerin 2



With their contracts running out at the end of the season I cashed in on Lacazette and Kolasinac. I'm also trying to get rid of Guendouzi.

I've replaced Lacazette with Diego Costa who’s coming in January. Will be interesting to see how he fairs in an Arsenal shirt. I'm still yet to find a decent left back to cover Tierney.

A few players out of contract in the summer. Among them; Ramos, Luis Suarez, Dembele, Benzema, Isco, Aguero, Bailly, Bale and Perisic. Some decisions to make. I’m not even going to attempt to get Ronaldo.



A quick word on some of the loan signings that are playing at other clubs. A mixed bag.

Willock (PSV) P16(+5) G1 A6 AVR 7.21

M-Niles (Lyon) P17(+3) G2 A4 AVR 7.16

Elneny (Valencia) P19(+1) G1 A7 AVR 7.36

Martinelli (Aston Villa) P15(+8) G7 A1 AVR 6.88

Cedric (Bournemouth) P16(+4) G0 A2 AVR 6.83

S-Rowe (Mallorca) P16(+1) G2 A1 AVR 6.72



With an influx of new players and staff the youth team should’ve improved.

The Under 23s are 2nd in the league two points behind Chelsea and still in both domestic and European competition. Goals and assists spreaded around.

The Under 18s is a bit of a different story with regen John Buttler hitting 27 in 27 to fire the team to the top of the league. At just 16 he has an average rating of 7.58 and looks like the gem the coaches thought he was. They are also still in both competitions.



Premier League – Everton (H) Man City (H) Chelsea (A) Leicester (A) Nottingham Forrest (A) Leeds (H) Crystal Palace (H) Norwich (A) Tottenham (A)

League Cup Semi Final – Liverpool (H) Liverpool (A)

Champions League 1st Knockout Round – Hoffenheim (A)

FA Cup 3rd Round – Rochdale (A)

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Arsenal end of second season review:

After a first season of clearing out the deadwood (Partey £50m, Xhaka £25m Torriera £26m, Cedric £25m amongst others) I went all out with the big signings, signed Robertson (transfer listed at Liverpool) £54m, Bellingham £95m, Camavinga £60m, Felix £90m and Haaland £100m.

We managed to win all 3 cups 😎 but unfortunately only finished 3rd in the league but im going for a youth based save trying to develop as many of the Arsenal youth as possible and aiming more long term plus we kept drawing away from home:  



Signed this amazing wonderkid the perfect inside forward for my 3rd season league push :cool:



Squad for forthcoming season, first XI and Cup XI, also have Martinelli (whos very injury prone plus Lopez and Rekik from our U21s who are developing nicely:

       image.png.5ef2a827c0cd9a7241f3763c80045b66.png  image.png.bcbc0aca67fa44012beb40b203f50b4b.png

Overall very pleased with the cup treble but its all about the league next season.

Edited by dcaine100
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Started my second save, won every game so far, beaten Burnley, Southampton and Chelsea in the league, Burnley and Man Utd in the league cup

Playing a 4231 with ode pulling the strings. Has anyone managed to sign him? He’s the best cam I’ve ever used. He’s got Laca scoring and works well with saka and pepe

Can anyone advise me if they got haaland or mbappe? Hopefully by the end of the season I can sign some extra special quality 

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3 hours ago, bigman said:

Started my second save, won every game so far, beaten Burnley, Southampton and Chelsea in the league, Burnley and Man Utd in the league cup

Playing a 4231 with ode pulling the strings. Has anyone managed to sign him? He’s the best cam I’ve ever used. He’s got Laca scoring and works well with saka and pepe

Can anyone advise me if they got haaland or mbappe? Hopefully by the end of the season I can sign some extra special quality 

Yes i signed Haaland for £100m and 240K p/w wages at the end of season one.

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I have Martinez of inter on my earlier save when the game came out


i couldn’t afford haaland at that time but want to try him

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On 22/04/2021 at 13:40, bigman said:

Started my second save, won every game so far, beaten Burnley, Southampton and Chelsea in the league, Burnley and Man Utd in the league cup

Playing a 4231 with ode pulling the strings. Has anyone managed to sign him? He’s the best cam I’ve ever used. He’s got Laca scoring and works well with saka and pepe

Can anyone advise me if they got haaland or mbappe? Hopefully by the end of the season I can sign some extra special quality 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Started a new Touch save with Arsenal, finished runners up in the Prem but won the Europa. Didn't make any transfers first season but the rebuild starts now, unable to renew Odegaards loan but have managed to sign him fulltime for £80m rising to £99m after appearances. Trying to offload Auba and Laca but proving hard due to wages, both players performed very well last season but want to try to cash in now as age is not on their side and the values will soon drop.




We now play 'Clark-ball' :brock:


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Very busy window that didn't go exactly to plan as ended up having to loan out players as really didn't want them in the squad. Kolasinac must have turned down every team in the game ffs.



Not the best start to the season...


This is probably the 11 I'd like to start with as my best but as of yet injuries have not made this possible.


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FM22 will be the first time I manage Arsenal without European competition.

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5 hours ago, Harper said:

FM22 will be the first time I manage Arsenal without European competition.

It won't be the last.

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I scrapped my previous save with Arsenal as I thought they were too good/overrated. 
Does anyone have an idea on how make them worse (through the editor that is) to make it more realistic? I tried to lower all player’s CA by 10 and lower the clubs reputation by 1500 but they are still very good (5-0-0 in the opening five games).


Any suggestions to make them really bad🤷🏻?


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19 hours ago, SortitoutsiVP said:

It won't be the last.


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On 07/05/2021 at 08:18, meuwlenburg said:


I scrapped my previous save with Arsenal as I thought they were too good/overrated.
Does anyone have an idea on how make them worse (through the editor that is) to make it more realistic? I tried to lower all player’s CA by 10 and lower the clubs reputation by 1500 but they are still very good (5-0-0 in the opening five games).


Any suggestions to make them really bad🤷🏻?


Honestly? You're probably doing the most you can realistically do. I've gone 5-0-0 in my starting games with a Blyth team in their third year in the Premier League who still has a Championship-level squad. If you're going 5-0-0 with them, that's just an FM thing.  If you're seeing the AI do it, I'd suggest changing manager attributes in some way.

On 06/05/2021 at 18:51, Harper said:

FM22 will be the first time I manage Arsenal without European competition.

It'll make my yearly Arsenal save a bit more interesting, at least. A bit more work to get to the top

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Season 2





Season 3 Transfers and Squad



Balogun scored 4 against Totenham in a 5-2 win after being 2-0 down. This goal was vintage Ian Wright.


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Lost in the 2025 FA Cup semi-finals on penalties to Championship side Watford, who had brought in Rúnarsson as their keeper. 

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Posted (edited)

Good old fashioned beat down.

7-1 to the Arsenal.

Seymour, 19 year old academy product, first PL game for the Arsenal replacing an injured Zaniolo at half-time. Moved Saka to the right, Seymour scored from the left wing; when Saka was exhausted moved Seymour to the right, scored again. Finished by sending a long ball counter from a Chelsea corner for Haaland to get his hat trick. Would have been POM if not for Haaland's 3g, 1a performance.

Not totally green player. He spent his age 17-18 season with QPR in the Championship (28GP 10g, 6a) and age 18-19 season with Fulham in the Premier (24, 11-6). Looking forward to seeing him develop (technique is only 11, hope that rises).


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Finally started my annual Arsenal save, left it late this time, due to family illness and the lack of inspiration from our real life Footballing shenanigans, usually that motivates me to get right into FM Arsenal and tear it up, but anyway here we go finally!

Upon arrival I purged 95 percent of the staff, starting with our most fraudulent of frauds, Edu, sadly no way to sack Captain Flop-sweat Venkatesham.

Letting the staff go cost the club £16million in compensation which thankfully didn't come out of the Transfer Budget!, which brought me to my next problem, building a squad with £25mil and £150k remaining wage budget, so I set out to raise funds through the only way we can, getting the lads all set up on Only fans and hot tub streaming! and watch the money roll in! I was informed by my assistant manager that this would not be a speedy enough process to raise the funds we needed, or at least I believe that's what he was trying to tell me as he doesn't speak a word of English but has 4 and a half stars in Attack Tactical coaching and quite frankly that's all I want from our relationship.

So I wandered over to the players enclosures and after some quick evaluation I decided on who would be staying and who would be going, there was some interest from Ajax for our Egyptian Labradoodle Elneny, so he was promptly offloaded for £24million, followed swiftly by David Luiz to Real Sociedad for £9mil + 40k of his wage, and Willian to Napoli for £20mil(£10mil up front) + 25k of his wage, with the three most questionable barnets at the club, out of the club, I had a chat with the physios to discuss the possibility of Cedric remaining injured for the rest of his contract so he didn't ever feel the urge to come and whine to me about game time, sadly I was told he would be eligible to play again very shortly and it was only his cheekbone that was injured, how this hindered his ability to a kick a ball puzzled me, but also the thought of Cedric kicking a ball had me spiralling rapidly into depression...
in a sudden state of despair I did the only rational thing a man in my position could do, I got on the phone to my pal Nuno at Wolves, Nuno I said, I got a Portuguese player here, you like them right? he's got legs and everything, Nuno was so thrilled he immediately offered me £16million but requested I pay £10k of his wage, fair do's. I then decided it was time to repay Chelsea's kindness of selling us such wonderful players over the years, by offering them Granit Xhaka for £31 million (£20mil upfront) On the call Frank didn't sound too enthused, but part way through the conversation he put on a German accent and suddenly was all for the deal. fantastic, I thought, and the Chelsea fans get to see not one but two midfielders outpaced by a 60 year old referee, we all win.

With around £105 million available to spend, my attentions turned to incomings at the club, firstly I was fully aware of impending changes to football transfer rules in the UK thanks to brexit that would hinder the mass signing of youth, so I targeted around 30 youth players who due to much appreciated loop holes in youth contracts enabled me to basically steal them from their respective clubs and families, they might not all work out but the one's who don't at least have a future working in Heccy B's fashion sweat shops, a win win.

On the way to the recruitment meeting I passed by the kitchen's, double taking at the sight of Mat Ryan struggling to reach a can of soup on the top shelf, losing balance and bringing the whole unit down, cans of soup flying everywhere some erupting and spilling on to the floor, just then Dani Ceballos arrived, horrified that his stock of Paella and Estrella had also been damaged, unsalvageable and through Ryan's inability to secure the area for health and safety, Dani slipped and injured himself, leaving me no option but to terminate both loans then and there. (Basically Mat Ryan has terrible balance, aerial reach and command of area stats :p).

I was late to the recruitment meeting, upon arrival I was greeted by newly re-hired Chief of Scouts Steve Rowley and the Owner, who was really earning his nickname of Silent Stan by not communicating through out the entire meeting, there was a moment I thought I was starring in a remake of Weekend at Bernies as he sat there stone faced behind those thick tinted glasses and bushiest of bushy moustaches.

In the following days we promptly put in offers and contracts to key targets, completing deals for - 

Nicolo Zaniolo - Roma, £16mil + £34mil over 3 years and 50% sell on clause.
Dominic Livakovic - Dinamo Zagreb,  £3.3mil + £6.5mil over 3 years.
Houssem Aouar - Lyon, £6.5mil+ £14mil over 3 years and 50% sell on clause.
Alex Grimaldo - Benfica, £5.75mil + £7mil over 3 years.
Lautaro Martinez - Inter,  £13.5mil + £28.5mil over 3 years and 50% sell on clause.
Merih Demiral - Juventus, £13mil + £26.5mil over 3 years and 50% sell on clause.
Max Aarons - Norwich, £10.5mil + £22mil over 3 years and 50% sell on clause.
Nico - Barcelona, £5.5mil release clause.
Eric Garcia - Man City, Loan.

A total of £74mil.

With the squad assembled, I moved on to the start of the season, first facing Liverpool in the community shield, which we won 2-1, thanks to a thunderous volley from outside the box by ESR.


Martinez is on fire in front of goal and Odegaard is ranked the highest player in the league on rating currently.

Deadline day, arrived on the same day as the Villa win, I decided to try and offload Chambers and Mari who had both entered rehabilitation phases of their injuries (I have no shame) Dortmund came in for Chambers and we agreed a deal for £18.5mil and 40% of profits made of his next transfer, Mari received an offer of £11mil from Lyon, he's valued at £22mil so I asked them to include a transfer listed Memphis Depay in the deal to which they agreed, and I sent Reiss Nelson on loan as a sweetener for them. At this point I remembered that foreign clubs would be able to offer Eric Garcia a contract in January so this made me hesitant to overplay him and bring unwanted attention, so I plan to stick him in a cupboard and hope for the best, this of course leaves me with Demiral, Gabriel and Holding as my CB's, so I recalled Ben Sheaf from loan...
 ..And opted to put in a bid for the slightly injured Luiz Felipe of Lazio, who signed for £7.5mil + £14mil over 3 years, my plan to have him as the right side in a Brazilian duo with Gabriel.

I'm overall very happy with the window, my transfer budget is sat currently at £53.3mil and my wage budget is at £85.19k.

Heavily leaning towards signing Odegaard permanently ASAP.

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Having just concluded the 4th season (2023/24) , an easy way to summarize this is to say we were very far away from being competitive. We finished 4th on 73 points. A massive 23 points behind runaway champions Manchester United, who cantered to their first title since 2012/13.

We were also unconvincing in Europe and were lucky not to be dumped out the groupswhere we finished 2nd before being dumped out by a very average Inter Milan side.  Tottenham dispatched us in the FA Cup quarter finals again and Manchester United knocked us out of the League Cup in the 3rd round. No additions to the trophy cabinet this season after 2 years of winning the league. We really fell away in the final stages of the season, winning only 4 out of the final 11 games. We were pathetic in the final game of the season, losing 1-0 to Burnley enabling Brighton to leapfrog us into 3rd place in the league.

Its clear we need to undergo some major changes to be competitive at the elite level. We need to make off the pitch changes including a churn in staff, training schedule changes, streamline the scouting set up and re-balance the books. Obviously, there will be lots of changing in playing personnel. A glance at the squad comparison charts illuminates some obvious areas to improve upon.

We are below average in the following attributes:


Bravery (20th in the league – 11.65)
Determination (14th in the league – 13.27)
Leadership (15th in the league – 9.77)

Positioning (18th in the league – 10.96)
Vision (13th in the league – 11.88)
Work Rate (12th in the league -13.65)


Crossing (14th in th league – 9.65)
Marking (16th in the league – 8.73)
Tacking (17th in the league – 9.65)


Stamina (15th in the league 13.08)
Strength (17th in the league 11.58)

Core Social Group Personality - Fairly Ambitious

As a gegenpressing team, the makeup of our squad does not match our playing philosophy. Technically, our strengths are our long-shots (perhaps why our 2x title wins were dependent upon outscoring our XG) and teamwork. But that wasn't enough this season. 

Financially, we are in worse state than last season. Gambling big on Raphael Varane , David Neres and Julian Weigl in January to take us to the next level backfired. £168m was spent on fees on these players alone, with their wages taking up £25m p/a – alongside a few other players whose wages outstrip their productivity on the pitch. We are currently spending £184m per season( (including bonuses), which I would like to reduce this to the £150-160m range to make the clubs a little more sustainable.


Contradictory to our finances page, the team stats in the Premier League we only have the 5th highest wage bill, about £50m off the leading spenders on salaries – Manchester City. Perhaps there is more wiggle room here for a few stars. Furthermore, the Emirates only sold out 14 times in the league this season (against Manchester United’s 19) – not a massive hit. Maybe a consequence of a lack of key games towards the end of the season.


In all, a disappointing season financially. All but 1 of the end of season figures had decreased (with sponsorship only increasing about £2m p/a). The biggest hit being a near £47m hit because of reduced prize money and broadcasting revenue. However, good news in that shirt sales were up about £6m and we sold nearly 120k more shirts than least season. Also good to see that the planned departures are not big shirt sellers.



The easiest place to start when post-morteming a season are the statistics. The attacking team metrics suggest we are creative, but lack a clinical edge. With the 2nd highest expected goals for of 73.16, but only scoring 61. We were also 2nd  for  clear cut chances created with 60. We also took the most shots, but had the worst accuracy with a conversion rate of just 8%

Defensively we were also reasonable, with the 3rd best defense and outperformed our XG for goals against. However for a gegenpressing side, our tackles won ratio was 7th (79%, behind league winners 84%). We placed 9th in the chart for number of times possession was won and 9th in interceptions. We conceded the 2nd least shots on our goal and were joint top in preventing them from going on target.

Player-by-Player Analysis:


Bernd Leno – won the world golden glove at for 2023. Suffered a major injury in march ruling him out for the final quarter of the season. The undisputed number 1, however I would not turn down a generous offer if any of the elite clubs around Europe were looking for a new goalkeeper.

Matvev Safanov – having joined us in the summer window of 2022, the Russian featured 22 times on the starting team sheet following Leno’s injury. Having discovered him after watching a Tifo football Youtube video, he does not have the massive capacity to develop beyond solid deputy and pushing Leno for the number 1 shirt. Has the useful “Uses long throw to start counter attack” preferred move which I hope the younger goalkeepers pick up from him. No massive development from him, in attribute terms. He has become slightly braver since we signed him.

Lukas Fabianski –  he did not make an appearance. He will retire this season and move onto pastures new to start his coaching career.


Kieran Tierney – the ever dependent Scottish defender has another solid year, making himself a fans favourite. An average rating of 7.04 over 40 appearances in all competitions suggests a high level of consistency. His output has been okay, with 6 goals and assists in the league. His mental attributes have slightly improved with slight increases in decisions, off the ball and vision. Perhaps lacks the stamina and natural fitness to complete the 38 game season. Quite often fatigues during busy parts of the season.

Aihen Munoz – the Spanish deputy to Tierney made 10 starts and 10 sub appearances. Unspectacular but a reasonable 6.80 average rating. Not bad £875k – Napoli and Bournemouth are interested and it might be time to move him in and give his back up role to a younger homegrown option.

Hector Bellerin  - this was likely to be Hector’s last season at the club. Having suffered a broken ankle and broken lower leg in 2022 it’s amazing he still have good physical attributes (16 pace!). However, he has lost 2 points in bravery as we look to cash in on him. Managed 13 league starts before injury struck.

Dorukhan Tokoz – after finally becoming natural at right full-back, we have converted the Turkish ball-winning midfielder into a starting premier league striker. Signed as a moneyball esque option costing £3.7m from Slavia Prague in the January 2022 window, he has proven to be a Tierney’s equal on the right flank. Plays a more conservative role at full back and occasionally as a inverted wing back.

Raphael Varane – arrived from Real Madrid for £77m with a lot of expectation. Had an initial shaky start but soon shook that off to be a solid leader at the back. Expecting more next season, performed well in an average side.

Gabriel – Solid if unspectactular partner for Varane at the center of defense. His physicality has increased massively and is always a threat at set pieces.

Koopmeiners – displaced by the marque signing of Varane. The more technical of our central defensive options and was even deployed in central midfield. Doesn’t come close to matching his 10 league goals in the previous season having been replaced as our first-choice penalty taker. Still a more than capable backup.

Mustafa Rahuma* - made 5 appearances as a teenager. The Libyan-English left sided central is perhaps best suited to a full-back role in the future. Averaged 7.22 in his 5 appearances. Will be deputy to Tierney next season.

Daniel Ballard – will leave when his contract expires. The northern Irish academy prospect had a few loans but never quite progressed. Will offer him out to try secure a future percentage fee.

Brooke Norton-Cuffy – the unlikely appearance of him in a few premier league games due to injury at right back. Did okay, might keep on the books and loan out.



Franck Kessie – A slightly below par season for a player considered a world-class midfielder. In his first season he formed a devastating partnership with Partey but now I feel they just get in each other way. The securing of Julien Wiegl in January suggests a future of the team who like to control possession more. Kessie’s dynamism will be key, alongside his off the ball movement and ball carrying ability. Only behind Willock for dribbles per game (for central midfield) with 0.64

Thomas Partey – definitely a season where his powers have diminished. His goal contributions have dried up. A team leader now, but in the last year of his contract. Will be a casualty of the rebuild.

Joe Willock – agitated for a move all season, despite rejecting numerous offers from clubs. Has improved his attributes slightly this season despite being a poor trainer. Seems to be able to grab a goal on the odd occasion and has good attacking statistics per 90. Will try again to move his on to generate some funds.

Julian Weigl – a January deadline day signing. The intention was to deploy him as a deep-lying playmaker to use his passing range to unlock defensives that has appeared to sit deeper because of our previous successful seasons. A 6.75 average rating suggests a very limited impact. Jury is out, will get another season in a more settled first eleven, set up to exploit his passing range.

Emile Smith-Rowe – an impressive 2021/22 season led to him being awarded a regular starting spot as a number 10. Failed to impress in any metrics with poor key passes, chances created or goal contributions. Is unlikely to be the world class number 10 our 4-2-3-1 tactic required of him. Will be moved on.

Bakayoko Saka – not quite the talismanic player we expected him to develop into. His versatility perhaps affects the attacking metrics we judge him by. 10 goal contributions over 27 starts in the league is reasonably impressive and is to be expected by a player still developing. Not quite the first name on the team sheet, but usually included in the team sheet somewhere. His role is dependent on how we do in the transfer market.

Kendal Jack* - signed for an initial £2m from Chelsea at the start of the season. At 16, he made 7 appearances in all competitions. His development may continue on loan next season


Nicola Pepe – including wide forwards in this category as they seem to be quite productive in terms of goal contributions. The winger was limited to 19m starts in the league this season as he was frequently injured and our wealth of options on the right flank meant he had a limited impact this season. Having turned down a move to Real Madrid the previous summer, he will be moved on this window. Outstanding player, but it is time to cash in. Expecting about £30m for him.

Memphis Depay – our outstanding performer this season. Despite scoring only 10 in all competitions and 7 assists, he was by far the highest rated in terms of attacking output by all metrics. Leads the club by a distance in terms of key passes (156 passes) and most chances created. His per 90 metrics are not as impressive as Pepe and Saka were better in these categories. Only 0.65 dribbles per 90, suggests he does more of his attacking work off the ball. He will be 30 next season and has a £99m release clause for foreign clubs (£144 for domestic clubs). I am tempted to offer him out for a vast profit on the free contract we signed him. We are also only paying him £5m p/a which is laughable considering his importance.

David Neres – one of the summer marque signings. He performed well despite heavy rotation in his position. He suffered a cruciate ligament injury in March which ended his season. We will most likely see a more impressive campaign next season after he is settled. 11 goal and assist contributions in 28 games is a solid start. More to come. Has a £66m price tag to match up to!

Joao Pedro – he was signed from Watford after I saw a YouTube video of him being named Ballon D’or winner numerous times in a row in their save. He rotated in and out of the side, will go out on loan next season. Needs game time to develop.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang – we have finally seen out the final year of the once talismanic striker’s contract. He mostly appeared off the bench and I was disappointed that his time here did not end with a trophy. Good to get that £13m p/a contract off the books, he failed to retain much of his CA and his physicals while still reasonable, they have not been converted into better mental attributes. I had hoped to make him a specialist Raumdeter.

Timo Werner – probably the most frustrating player in my side. He was our top scorer and for a period was on course for the golden boot. However, he is such a streaky player and quite often scores in braces. Played 35 times in the league and scored 16. Amazingly he has a XG of 20.95 but scored 24 goals in all competitions. Metrics suggest he is clinical but all I seem to remember are anonymous performances against deep blocks and missed 1-on-1s. I am tempted to cash in on him and finally give the starting striker position to one of our players out on loan who impressed.

Omari Hutchinson – the player who unexpectedly has developed quite well from the academy and is looking like he could develop into a solid premier league winger. Scored our goal of the season on his debut. Spent some time on loan in the Greek League with an affiliate.

Leo Salifu* - the best player to come through the academy so far, at 18 and has made 10 premier league appearances from the bench so far. I won’t bore you all with the details of his development. He has high flare and teamwork that makes him look like a good option for a future false 9.



Development – Loans



As you can see, a number of hale end players spent time out on loan this season. The outstanding player being Gabriel Martinelli, scoring 25 times and making a massive 48 appearances. The second highest scorer in the Bundesliga. Nelsen also joined him at Hamburg and was also impressive and deserves minutes for us. Villalibre was a panic signing and failed to impress with us, I am hoping Gent take up the option they have for him. Vlahovic was solid for his club, as we signed him and loaned him back. He is not quite the prolific player he is in real life, but has am really good spread of attributes. Saliba was solid again at Osausun. The time is now or never for him. He could either stay with us as a 4th choice or move on. If we move him on, I would like an option to buy back or a future percentage of a transfer. Another Arsenal duo appeared for Valencia, Nketiah seems a similar player to Werner, insofar he either scores buckets or matches his XG and scores a solid amount, but a better player would contribute more. Maitland Niles was reasonable and hopefully we can get a solid fee for him.

We had a massive 41 players out on loan and a number of them including Florian Wirtz and Charlie Patino made quite a few players for their temporary clubs without making a massive impact. We will do a Real Madrid-esque assessment of these players, where they all return to the club and we will make a decision on them then.


I will be making changes here, a number of members of staff are still here from the start of the save. A new assistant manager will be needed, this could be internal or a new recruit. Im tempted to make a few of the positions dual roles – could Per Mertesacker also be our new assistant and head of youth development?

In terms of scouting, we have several average scouts we need to bin off. We also need to adjust our approach and target specific leagues and player types.


Tactical Approach:

We deployed the 4-2-3-1 in 68% of our games this season; this apparently generated a chance every 37 minutes. With the rest of the time using a 4-3-3 deep, a 4-2-4-0 (think Manchester City 2021) and 4-2-4 and 4-4-2. The analytics suggests when chasing a game the 4-4-2 is best or 4-2-4-0 is best and the 4-3-3 kills creativity.

I think there needs to be more evolution, than revolution in a tactical sense. We underperformed compared to previous seasons, but fundamentally the tactic is solid. In a sense, we need to withdraw slightly from absolute gegenpressing and integrate elements of creativity. Shorter passing, a little more width, reducing the very high pressing line and engagement to just high, slightly reduce intensity and factor in some creativity.



With the need to strengthen the squad to regain the pace of Manchester United, we may have to go to the market in a big way to eliminate our weaknesses. A world class number 10, who can also play as a false 9 or mezzala is the priority. A few other positions also require decisions, but these are also dependent on any players leaving.


In the end of season meeting, I mentioned I wanted to win challenger for the title next season. Not a massive jump in expectation given the previous 3 seasons, we have won it twice. This might be down to squad personality, as the core group is fairly ambitious, and the secondary group is fairly determined. I think we need some new personalities in the side to drive up the overall image. I’ve made promises to reduce the size of the squad and make some cuts, while improving the back room staff. This is a time for streamlining.


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  • 4 weeks later...

So prior to EURO 2020 kicking off I decided to purchase FM21 and I’ve been playing whilst enjoying the 8pm games. I had an Arsenal save on FM20 and really enjoyed it so I decided that Arsenal would be my 1st save on FM21. I’m playing the 21.4 update and I disabled the 1st transfer window - 


  • What is going on with the staffing situation at Arsenal? 1 physio and no sports scientists at the club when I join. Why of course this makes sense. I’ve now filled up these positions but the physio wages are not enough to attract the best candidates so I’ll ask the board at the end of the season for an increase (they turned me down at the start)

  • Staff - I’ve mutually terminated 3 staff members who had poor scouting knowledge (12 or less for judging ability and potential). Also managed to get the board to agree to more scouts so I now have a total of 15. Brought back Gilles Grimandi as a scout as we had no scouting knowledge of France. Jose Boto is now Chief Scout after I paid compensation of £400K to get him. Also brought back Dennis Bergkamp as a coach. I don’t get how other FM players like to bring back former players to the club when their stats aren’t very good (other than a nostalgia thing) but I’ve always liked Bergkamp as an attacking coach as he has good stats. 

  • Edu - I seem to remember reading an article on the Athletic about how Edu had extensive knowledge of the Brazilian transfer market. So of course this translates to less than 15 for judging ability/potential and minimal knowledge of Brazil. His contract runs until 2024 (!) and I’m loath to pay him off yet. As with much of the club I will see what financial position we are in at the end of the 2021 season and then I’ll decide if I want to get rid of him or not.

  • Squad - I think there is a decent core of a team at Arsenal. Leno is a good if not class-leading goalie. The full backs are good and I think Gabriel looks like a great player to develop. Luiz will leave at the end of the season but Saliba will return from his loan and I will see how he plays alongside Gabriel. Luiz wages will be saved. I’m not as down on Xhaka as others so he’s a 1st choice along with Partey. Sako is AML, Odegaard is AMC and Pepe is AMR. Auba is ST. Yes I’m playing 4-2-3-1.

  • Youngsters - I’m less enamoured with the youngsters than I think some on here are. I don’t think any of the players at the club under 21 have the potential to be anything other than squad players for me long term. Sako I think has the most promise, I also like the fact that he can play WBL and AML. Nelson I don’t think is going to get much game time as I have Pepe and Willian who play AMR. Smith-Rowe I have given a new contract to, bumping his pay from 10k to 50k per week but I’ve extended his contract from 2023 to 2025 so I have a couple of seasons to try and develop him but I think I will probably end up selling him inside of 3 seasons. I don’t think his stats are particularly impressive and the same for Nketiah. He’s a backup for me but will get some time in cup competitions and the Europa League but probably from the bench. Nketiah's report card shows lots of potential though so I should probably give him time.

  • Transfers - Didn't sign anyone in January 2021 but I'm bringing in Depay on a free (not sure where I'll play him yet, might replace Odegaard) and John Stones. City transfer listed for £20 mil when he's worth £30 mil. The day after the January window closed they lowered their ask to £15 mil. So he'll join in July 21 probably to replace Luiz (Saliba's report card isn't promising. I think I got a bad draw on his potential in my save). I'm paying in 3 x £5 mil instalments so the cost is well spread out. I’ve loaned out Nelson, Chambers and Martinelli as they’ve all had little game time.

  • Misc - Lacazette looks like he has been nerfed significantly from FM20.  He’s my Europa striker 1st choice and scored 5 goals against Rotherham in the cup. I’m scouting alot of players and despite what I said above about not being as down on some of the players as others are, I’m not above selling them. Guendouzi will be sold. Torreira maybe. Maitland-Niles, Mavropanos and Willock definitely. I’m hoping I can raise about 50 mil in transfer fees to start a partial rebuild. Tierney is the only out and out FBL at the club (of the required level) and I’ve been looking at the Sporting wonderkid Nuno Mendes. I want to buy players under 23 that I can develop and potentially sell for higher prices than what I bought them for. Compared with earlier FM games Arsenal don’t seem to have the cash reserves (looks like 150 mil on FM21 compared to nearly 300 mil on FM20 but I haven’t checked this so can’t be 100%).

  • Clubs in trouble and sackings - Everton are flirting with relegation. At one point they were 5 points away from 17th place but they are now 2 points. Ancelotti has been sacked and Michael O'Neill appointed. If they go down I will bid for DCL and possible Allan. Mou was sacked by Spurs in January with the club 8th in the League. Wolves sacked Nuno after something like 10 games. In Ligue 1 Rennes are bottom which surprised me. If they go down I will bid for Camavinga but it still might take a huge bid to get him (£50/60 mil+ I’m thinking)


Lots to get stuck into. I hope everyone is enjoying their Arsenal saves.

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Started arsenal save ıt would be nıce to brıng them to old days and play attractive football agaın also hope to wın more trophies image.thumb.png.39e6a7417b9f9179715f36bae6b0293b.png:) Won the league first season liverpool was leadıng nearly whole season by 3-7 points ı kept winning they start droppıng poınts and won (for the 12-17 games ı created much chances but cant convert many of them)won the euro league also at fınal agaınst porto ın penalties.2 season ı bought neves maddison ndidi and grealish much better midfield now but ı cant get enough performance from saka ı play him as inverted winger ar right side but he plays average 

this is my tactic mostly


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