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[FM20] Fulham FC - re-joining the All Elite sides of the Premier League


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18 hours ago, Emerion said:

Just wanted to leave a comment saying how much I've enjoyed following along so far! Hopefully you can find a consistent striker for next season to push on to the next level

Thanks, appreciate it. Me too, I've had enough of Mitrovic and transfer-listed him, he's never playing for me again.

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April 2022

The youth facilities are being upgraded again, they'll take six months but (I think) once completed they'll be at the top level.

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We're picked up another affiliate club, CD Feirense in the Portuguese second tier. This is to get players from their youth set up potentially coming through for us instead, so that's something to look out for.

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We continued to have a decent little run in the league as we made it five games unbeaten. Three consecutive clean sheets was also nice. We then lost convincingly to two of the heavy-hitters, but in between those ties we gave Swansea a hammering. Lyanco scored a double, and he's now reached eight goals for the season. Off the top of my head, I believe all eight of them have been headers from corners.

And sound the alarm, a striker scored a goal! Nicolas Santos-Clase chipped the keeper for his first goal since the end of December, and the first time any of our strikers have scored in the league in 2022.

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Last year we hit 40 points, so to surpass that with five games remaining showed a definite improvement this year, and I'm glad we avoided the end of season collapse of 2020/21. Our final two games are against Newcastle (6th) and Arsenal (4th), so tough games to end the season but hopefully we can add to our points tally and hold off the teams below.

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Elsewhere in the Premier League: Liverpool already have the title sewn up, they've won six games in a row while Manchester United have dropped points all over the place, and the engravers can get started on the trophy now. Brighton are relegated, Swansea need a miracle or they're joining them, and the final spot will be taken by one of Brentford or Leicester.

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May 2022

I must have done something to upset to upset the FM Gods. Immediately after I praise Lyanco he broke his leg in training. At least it's the end of the season and most of the time he misses will be over the summer.

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Ugh. The loss to Arsenal was hard fought, but the performance against Newcastle was disgustingly poor.

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We were overtaken by Bournemouth in the final month, but still managed to finish in 12th place, a climb of three places from last season. We ended up with four more points, and our goal difference was much improved. Last year it was -37, this time it's just -4. We only scored four more goals, but managed to concede 29 fewer.

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Aleksandar Mitrovic ended the season as top scorer for a third time in a row, this time just about hitting double figures. All of these came before Christmas though, and since then I've just got fed up with him and dropped him to the reserves. I've already arranged to sell him to Norwich in the summer. 

Tom Cairney was the top assister for a second time, one ahead of Sebastian Szymanski. Tom Cairney also had the highest average rating (for a third time), but this was shared with Lyanco who equalled his score. Tom Cairney also won the player of the year award for a third time, and while he's deserving of it, my vote would have gone to Lyanco.

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Chris Jericho (20a) took part in a lot of games this year, although most of them were off the bench. He's now made the most appearances of our academy graduates, but is yet to have any goal contributions to his name.  

Sammy Guevara (20b) and Stewart Gardner (20c) were the only other graduates to get any first-team action this year as they both made a few appearances, mainly in the cup, but were competing for the same right-back spot. With the assist he got this year Stewart Gardner (20c) has possibly put himself further up the pecking order.

Wardlow (21b) spent the second half of the year on loan at Crewe, where he helped them to the safety of 18th in League One. He made a significant contribution with six goals and one assist in his 15 games.

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Elsewhere in the Premier League: A couple of awards were won by Manchester United players, as Marcus Rashford claimed the top goalscorer award with 25 strikes, while at the other end of the pitch David De Gea was the best goalkeeper with 23 clean sheets. Two more awards were claimed by Arsenal, as Lucas Torreira was the top creator with 12 assists, while Hector Bellerin had the top average rating of 7.52. A couple of big managerial names were relieved of their positions after disappointing league finishes, as Pep Guardiola and Frank Lampard were given their P45s by Manchester City and Chelsea.

Elsewhere in England: Giovani Lo Celso came off the bench to score the only goal for Tottenham as they beat Sheffield United in the FA Cup final. Wolves won the Championship, and Norwich and West Brom will be joining them in the Premier League next year. Huddersfield won League One with a mighty 114 points. 

Elsewhere in Europe: Leicester won the inaugural Conference League, Arsenal won their second Europa League in three years, and Liverpool completed the English clean sweep by beating PSG 3-1 in the Champions League Final. PSG smashed all comers in the league though, winning Ligue Un with a 33 point gap over 2nd place and Kylian Mbappe scoring 30 times. Bayern Munich made it 10 Bundesliga in a row. Under the Zinedine Zidane/Cristiano Ronaldo management dream team Juventus won back Serie A. This also helped Zizou up to 16th in the all-time worldwide Hall of Fame. Further up the list Carlo Ancelotti jumped into 3rd after winning La Liga with Real Madrid, and Jurgen Klopp is now in 8th after Liverpool's success.

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Have really enjoyed catching up on this thread. Hopefully you'll be able to find the answer to your problems in front of goal this summer and kick on in to the top 10. 

3 Seasons of continuous improvement is definitely something to be happy about (Even if this side makes you mad at times)! 

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On 19/07/2021 at 10:36, smplfc123 said:

Have really enjoyed catching up on this thread. Hopefully you'll be able to find the answer to your problems in front of goal this summer and kick on in to the top 10. 

3 Seasons of continuous improvement is definitely something to be happy about (Even if this side makes you mad at times)! 

Thanks! That second line is spot on - I know things are going well with the upward trend, but the individual results and performances at times makes it easy to forget that. 

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June 2022

We got a bit of cash for a couple of academy graduates who left to try and find first-team opportunities elsewhere, but by far the biggest name to leave this month was Aleksandar Mitrovic. The fans were unsure about the decision to get rid of him, but I'd just had enough. It was time for him to go. Selling him to another Premier League side isn't ideal, but we've got a lot of money for him which was swiftly re-invested in replacements. His Premier League record under me was 15 goals in 55 games, which isn't terrible, but was frustratingly inconsistent.

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Four new players arrived, though one was already at the club. The loan spell of Paolo Ghiglione was made permanent due to a clause in his loan deal. He wasn't spectacular by any means last year, but was fine as a back-up option on the right-wing, and can also cover right-back if needed.

We went big on not just one, but two strikers. First was Danylo Sikan, who was listed as a wonderkid when he was first scouted at 20. Has yet to really show his immense potential, but that could just be due to lack of gametime. Scored a few goals in the Russian top tier a couple of seasons ago, and in the most recent season provided four goals and four assists in just 11 league appearances for Shakhtar.

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I had to pay a bit more than I wanted for Abel Ruiz, but it looks he should be a very good player, with more improvement to come. He's instantly equal with our top earner, so there'll be pressure on him to justify his wages. He came through the Barcelona set-up where he never got a chance, but after a £7 million move to Braga he scored 29 goals in 79 games. Has been prolific for the Portugal Under 21s, but no senior cap yet.

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A potential gem here. Roman Yershov was found by my Russian scout and he has bags of room to grow. Already looking pretty decent, he made 11 appearances for Zenit in his debut season. 

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Elsewhere in the Premier League: Chelsea brought in Quique Setien as their new manager. Jose Mourinho has added another top Premier League team to his CV, taking over at Manchester City,

Elsewhere in England: The national team got off to a bad start in the Nations League with a 1-0 loss to Slovakia, before a 94th minute winner was needed from Raheem Sterling to beat Turkey.

Elsewhere in Europe: Quique Setien resigned from Barcelona after finishing 2nd in La Liga. Manchester United weren't messing around, spending over £180 million on three new players. 

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July 2022

Our bank balance is looking very healthy, and our facilities are either at the highest level possible or well on their way to reaching that point. Although our reputation or stature hasn't reached the next increment, it must have improved a bit as we are now the 14th most reputable club in the country.

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Our success so far is reflected in the increased expectations around the club, as the board now want a mid-table finish, and the media think we'll finish 13th. The bookies have us at 250-1 to win the league, I'd suggest going for Liverpool at 2-1 favourites is probably a better use of your money. They still think relegation can't be ruled out, with odds of 8-1 to go down.

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A few players left at the end of their contracts, no one who'd played much during my time at the club though.

Aboubakar Kamara didn't get much of a look-in last year and I don't fancy his chances this season either, no one wanted him on a permanent basis but Huddersfield have taken him on loan for the year, with an optional £5 million fee I hope they activate. Wardlow (21b) turned down going to either of my League One affiliates, but agreed to go to Wigan in the same tier instead.

Liverpool made a couple of bids for Lyanco, I've knocked them back for now but this has unsettled him which is worrying.

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I wanted a new central midfielder and Jude Bellingham was my main target after Brighton's relegation. But it wasn't happening, they wouldn't shift on their £50 million valuation, and we can't afford that.

Instead I ended up taking Ronaldo Camara on loan for the year from Internazionale. He had a poor season last year with Hellas Verona, but there's tonnes of potential and he was impressive when he was with the Benfica B team before his transfer to Italy.

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This is what my squad now looks like going into the 2022/23 season.

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Due to the upcoming winter World Cup the league season started early. The goals didn't though, as we kicked off our campaign with a bore draw.

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Elsewhere in the Premier League: Massive news in Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp resigned after three title wins in a row (plus two Champions League victories) to take over at Barcelona. Any disappointment Liverpool fans were feeling would quickly have turned to excitement though, as a week later Pep Guardiola was unveiled as their new boss.

Elsewhere in Europe: Lots of big business around Europe, in particular from PSG as they signed five players at more than £30 million each, including N'Golo Kante and Georginio Wijnaldum. To replace Wijnaldum Liverpool bought Declan Rice from West Ham. Kante was part of an exodus from Chelsea as they sold five players for a total of £240 million.

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August 2022

We continued our slow start to the season with a bore draw against Watford, so I hoped the EFL Cup game against Birmingham would be a good chance to get on track. Things looked good in the first-half as both of our new strikers got off the mark for the club, but we fell apart in the second-half and allowed the struggling Championship club to draw level. The game went to penalties, Joe Bryan missed the decisive spotkick, and that was the end of our participation in the competition. Disappointing, not just to go out to a side we should have beaten easily, but also to miss out on further games we could have given to our backup and young players.

But as the cliche goes, it meant we could concentrate on the league. We went to Southampon and Abel Ruiz pounced on a poor backpass to score for a second game in a row, before Lyanco added a second late on (a header from a corner of course). Speaking of Lyanco, he put in two transfer requests during the month, and I turned them both down. With four years still on his contract there's no need to panic about him wanting out.

Chelsea continued their reign of supremacy over us (six games, six losses), but we ended the month with a slightly fortunate win over Everton. They went to ten men late in the first-half, also giving away a penalty in the process. Abel Ruiz put it away to score his third goal in six games. Yes, one was against a Championship side, one was a defensive mistake, and one was a penalty, but after last season I'll take strikers scoring however they can. The second-half felt like it was one way traffic, as pretty much all of the highlights showed our goal being bombarded, but Marek Rodak put in a sterling effort between the sticks to keep a clean sheet, and hold on for the win. 

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A fine start so far, even if it's not been the most exciting to watch. We only have three goals in five games, but that's been enough for two wins. And four clean sheets in this time is an excellent achievement.

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Elsewhere in the Premier League: Chelsea are top with a 100% record, and already have a +15 goal difference. Arsenal are two points behind in 2nd, with 17 goals of their own. Leicester, Everton, West Ham, Watford, and Bournemouth are all yet to register a single win.

Elsewhere in Europe: Liverpool have added a couple of big signings, bringing in Dejan Kulukevski and Caglar Soyuncu. Hopefully signing a centre-back will cool their interest in Lyanco. Touch wood, it looks like this may be the case, as he's decided he's no longer unhappy about the transfer offer being rejected.

Spoiler

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September 2022

Chris Jericho (20a) had only been getting a few substitute appearances this year, so when our Polish affiliate asked to take him on loan it made sense to let him go. Jagiellonia Bialystok are top of the Ekstraklasa so it might be tough for him to get gametime there too, but if they can keep it up a winner's medal would be a good experience for him.

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We were 2-0 down against West Ham before a change of formation and personnel at half-time. Ronaldo Camara came off the bench to score his first goals for the club and draw us level, before we conceded a heartbreaker in the 89th minute. But we didn't give up, and Alfie Mawson scored a header from a corner during stoppage-time to steal a point.

We were rubbish in both of the next two games.

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September was a tough month with three away games, especially with two of them being against big sides. Disappointed with just the one point though, we should have beaten West Ham. Conceding 10 times in three games has given our goal difference a distinct turn in the wrong direction.

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Elsewhere in the Premier League: Chelsea still have a 100% record at the top, with a five point gap over Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Newcastle. Bournemouth are stuck at the bottom with just one point, while West Ham and West Brom join them in the bottom three.

Elsewhere in England: The national side has their Nations League campaign back on track, picking up a win over Italy and a draw with Turkey.

Elsewhere in Europe: Only four major moves on deadline day. Chelsea and Manchester City both brought in talented young players, while West Ham spent a lot of money on two players probably past their best.

Spoiler

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October 2022

I've requested for our training facilities to be upgraded. This will take a year, and cost nearly £5 million.

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Utterly inept against Liverpool. Crap in every way possible. Lucky not to lose by more.

After a tough run of fixtures a home game against bottom-of-the-table, managerless Bournemouth made for a pleasant change. We scored early but then made life difficult for ourselves, not pushing on and allowing Bournemouth to equalise. The game-changing moment came when Ronaldo Camara was summoned from the bench, and we went to an attacking 4-2-3-1 formation. In his 30 minute spell on the pitch he provided two assists for Abel Ruiz to complete his hat-trick.

We kept this formation against Burnley, and produced another very good win. Abel Ruiz scored again, but star man was Sebastian Szymanski with a double. This was good to see, I get plenty of training updates saying he's developing well as a footballer, but rarely does he provide the on-pitch performances to match this hype. An early mistake from Lyanco left us 1-0 down after just five minutes against Leicester, but we were the better team, even if weren't taking our chances. I told the team at half-time to keep going, and we got our just rewards. An Abel Ruiz penalty levelled the scores, and deep into injury-time Igor Diveev scored a header at a corner to grab all three points.

Abel Ruiz did pick up a knock late on which will put him out of action for a couple of weeks, but luckily with the World Cup beginning in November he'll only miss one game.

Current tactic below. Taking a DMC out of the team and adding in an AMC has helped a lot with giving the striker more support. It also gives the wingers another option (although invariably they still choose to hit the defender every time).

Spoiler

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I'm very happy with the improvement this month. We've had a gentler run of fixtures and with that we've put together three successive wins in the Premier League wins for the first time during my time here. Eight strikes in four games also gives our goals scored column a nice boost.

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Elsewhere in the Premier League: 12 games, 12 wins; Quique Setien's Chelsea are flying at the top of the league. Under Pep Guardiola Liverpool have put together a run of nine wins in a row, but they sit five points behind. Brendan Rodgers was fired by Bournemouth (20th), and under new manager John Terry they finally picked up their first win of the season.

Elsewhere in England: Bristol City top the Championship, Derby lead League One. The national team beat Slovakia but lost to Italy, finishing 2nd in the Nations League.

Elsewhere in Europe: Jurgen Klopp has won all 12 of his La Liga games with Barcelona so far, stretching out a 13 point lead already. Thomas Tuchel also has a 100% record with PSG this season, 10 wins from 10 in Ligue Un.

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November 2022

We've added a fifth affiliate club as League Two Salford join the ranks. A little underwhelmed by this, was hoping for another foreign club.

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The work being done on our youth facilities was completed and they are now classed as excellent. So I immediately requested a further upgrade, for just over £5 million.

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Just the one game and it was against Arsenal, so obviously we lost (five games, five losses). Two second-half goals made the scoreline look a little better, but in reality they battered us. 

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We had three players called up for the World Cup. Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa and Daniel James both have a load of caps already, but if Lyanco plays he'll be making his debut.

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Elsewhere in the Premier League: With the World Cup giving everyone seven weeks off, a few chairmen used that as a chance to ditch some underperforming managers. Aston Villa (17th) booted out Erling Moe and replaced him with Regis Beunardeau (from Lille), Leicester (18th) got rid of Robert Siboldi and brought in Antonio Conte, and West Ham (19th) gave Roberto Martinez his marching orders to bring Frank Lampard back to the club.

Elsewhere in the World: Flamengo won the Brasileiro for an 8th time.

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December 2022

Very similar youth preview to last year. A good group of players apparently, with nothing to back that claim up and a wall of yellow instead. Might be time to look for a new HoYD.

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I set up a couple of friendlies in December so the players would be ready for returning to competitive action. It didn't work, they were ****ing awful.

It was amateur stuff against Newcastle, like they'd never even met each other before. Unbelievably bad. Rotation was always on the cards for the cup game, but as a punishment every single player was dropped and I made 11 changes. The second string were just as bad, and our FA Cup run, just like the League Cup run earlier in the season, was over before it even started.

After the West Ham game Danylo Sikan complained about my team-talk, and swiftly found himself on the transfer list.

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We're back to being completely useless. We're ten points above 18th place, and if we don't get a good amount of points from our next three games (Wolves, Norwich, West Brom), I can easily see us being sucked into a relegation battle.

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Elsewhere in the Premier League: Chelsea have finally lost a game, getting hammered 3-0 by Tottenham. They still have a two point lead at the top though.

Elsewhere in the World: There were some big casualties in the opening stage of the World Cup as Germany, Portugal, and Argentina all fell at the group stage. The largest win of the tournament also came at this stage, when the Ivory Coast destroyed Saudi Arabia 8-2. England were knocked out in the second round by Belgium. Brazil beat Turkey 2-1 in the final to win their 6th World Cup, the goals being scored by Fabinho and Casemiro. Fabinho was also the tournament's top scorer with five, all from the penalty spot. Lyanco made one appearance, playing the last 15 minutes of the semi-final.

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January 2023

A few younger players who were on the outskirts of the first-team were sent out on loan to get some senior gametime, and a recent academy graduate still on a youth contract was stolen away. The bigger deals though involved a couple of players in the senior squad being allowed to move on to sides in China.

Harrison Reed was integral to our promotion from the Championship, but since getting to the Premier League he'd been playing less and less each year, and had been little more than a bit-part player this season. He asked to leave and I wasn't going to stand in his way. Shenzhen originally offered £12.5 million, I upped it to £22.5 million, and it was a done deal. 

The second player going to China was Marco Friedl. He was our first choice left back and not someone I was looking to sell, but at the same time he was solid and dependable rather than spectacular, and there were definitely better options available. So when Wuhan Zell came in offering silly money it was an easy decision to accept it.

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We went shopping for Manchester United cast-offs, bringing in one player on a permanent basis and one on loan to the end of the season. The money for selling Marco Friedl was immediately used to bring in his replacement at left-back, Brandon Williams. He'd been scouted a long time ago but I'd dismissed the chances of being able to sign him, and he was a regular for Manchester United in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 season. But over the last 18 months he was rarely getting picked. I wondered if he'd been injured but there was nothing in his history, so I guess he'd just fallen out of favour with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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After the Harrison Reed sale we were looking a little light in midfield, but there weren't any candidates I wanted to bring it mid-season. But James Garner was available on loan, so he'll work as a stopgap until the end of the season.

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The third signing for the senior squad was Boris Radunovic. I wasn't necessarily looking for another goalkeeper, but I was starting to get annoyed by Marek Rodak and his habit of conceding at his near post. The Serbian's contract was running out in the summer so I was lining him up on a free, but after we got stuffed by Liverpool I started to consider an earlier move, and then I noticed he had a release clause for foreign clubs of less than half a million. His value has gone up 1600% after joining us.

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We also brought in two younger players for the Under 23s. Mikkel Bjerg and Jeremie Charpentier both have a lot of room to grow, although the potential of the latter has dropped since his initial assessment.

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I said we needed good points from our next three games, and we got them! Three straight wins for a second time this season, and 10 goals in this time. Abel Ruiz got a couple of these and has already reached double figures for the season. We were still a bit leaky at the other end though, in particular the Wolves and Norwich games being end-to-end action where both teams could have scored half a dozen times.

We got hammered by Manchester City, not helped by Lyanco getting sent off for two yellows. We rebounded nicely with a comfortable win over Sheffield United, and Brandon Williams impressed with a MOTM performance on his debut. The games were coming thick and fast and with another game coming on 1st February, I played the second string against Liverpool, with just Marek Rodak keeping his spot and Lyanco playing on his return from suspension. Danylo Sikan scored in the second half, but we were already five down at the time. He was the only player to come out of this game with any sort of credit though as everyone else embarrassed themselves. Marek Rodak conceded a couple at his near post and a couple from long range, while Lyanco got sent for two yellow cards for a second game in a row.

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I'm very pleased to be taking a screenshot that includes the European places. I'm under no illusion that we'll stay quite this high, but we are on track for a top-half finish and should easily surpass our previous season totals of 40 and 44 points. 

The Manchester City and Liverpool thrashings did horrible things to our goal difference though, and we've conceded at least 13 more than each of the six sides directly around us. We're racking up a lot of good results, but we just can't stop the big teams. I think at the end of the season I'm going to check the previous meetings tab against each of the sides left in the Premier League, to see just how bad our record against the top six is.

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Elsewhere in the Premier League: Chelsea are still top, but Liverpool are now only one point behind and have a game in hand. West Ham, Leicester, and West Brom make up the bottom three. Mason Greenwood and Sadio Mane are top-scoring with 11 goals each.

Elsewhere in Europe: Real Madrid have won six games in a row, Atletico Madrid five games. It doesn't matter though, Barcelona are 15 points clear with 17 wins out of 17 in La Liga. 

Elsewhere in the World: A ridiculous transfer window saw three players move for more than £100 million. Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City all spending massive money probably explains why they thrash me every time (and the tactically competent managers of course). 

Spoiler

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February 2023

I didn't have a clue what the result was going to be against Tottenham. We took the lead, then immediately they equalised with a great solo goal. Then we went 2-1 up, and again within minutes one of their players had travelled 70 yards with the ball before hitting a cracking strike to pull level. It looked like the game was going to fizzle out for a draw until we won a corner deep in injury-time, and Igor Diveev buried a header in the bottom corner. The Bournemouth game was much more straightforward and we also managed a rare clean sheet.

The midweek fixture against Manchester United saw a lot of rotation and with that came the expected loss, and that quickly turned into three successive losses. We were simply abject against both Sheffield United and Aston Villa. At Bramall Lane Marek Rodak again conceded at the near post for the first and then everyone switched off at a corner for the second. When we hosted Villa they scored in less than a minute and from there it was always an uphill battle. We did equalise after half-time and when Villa went down to ten men the game was there for the taking, but if anything they played better a man down and punished us.

With a bit of a gap until our next game I scheduled a friendly against Bromley, to get us back into the winning routine and get our scoring boots back. We won 5-0, and I also set a couple of additional chance conversion training sessions that week. Then we played Watford, and went 1-0 down within two minutes, another terrible start to a match. But we showed our spirit and fought back to go 2-1 up less than 20 minutes later, and from there we held on. The stats would suggest this was a comfortable win, but we had to make two goal line clearances to take all three points.

Sebastian Szymanski was on fire this month with four goals and two assists. This is by far the best season he's had with us, with 15 goal contributions so far he's already equalled the last two seasons combined.

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I'm annoyed by the losses to Sheffield United and Aston Villa, but that is mitigated by the win against Tottenham. We haven't had many wins over the big six, so that's one to enjoy. 

Next month is a short one due to international fixtures, just three league games in March. We have Manchester City at home, then trips to Norwich and Wolves. I'd hope for at least four points from the latter two matches, if we can beat Norwich that could be very important in the battle for a top-half finish.

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Elsewhere in the Premier League: Chelsea are still top, but Liverpool now have two games in hand and sit only three points below. Aston Villa have dropped into the bottom three (doubly annoyed that they beat us now), joining West Brom (seven losses in a row) and Leicester (eight losses in a row). 

Elsewhere in England: Brighton are top of the Championship, Millwall lead League One, and Blackpool are top of League Two. Naby Keita and Paulo Dybala scored as Liverpool beat Arsenal 2-1 to win the EFL Cup.

Elsewhere in Europe: In the 20th game of the season Barcelona have finally dropped points in La Liga, drawing with Real Valladolid. 

Elsewhere in the World: The Asian Cup was won for a fifth time by Japan, beating Lebanon 2-0 in the final.

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Edited by DaneBramage
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