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UD Almeria - Analysis, Stats & Tactics


Matt_1979
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4 minutes ago, Matt_1979 said:

 

I’ve been having a look at GKs this morning. The coaches report for the starter,Belman, is that he’s a good LaLiga2 keeper…. So obviously he needs to be upgraded. 

I play with a standard line so still need a good shot stopper and my CBs aren’t amazing in the air so command of area is a must. 

Is a good Segunda keeper equivalent to a lower table La Liga keeper? Would Belman then be good enough as a backup later if deciding needing a new keeper? Would he take a role as a backup?

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Just now, Sonic Youth said:

Is a good Segunda keeper equivalent to a lower table La Liga keeper? Would Belman then be good enough as a backup later if deciding needing a new keeper? Would he take a role as a backup?

Belman is 3 star current ability and still has another star of progression to go. So I would keep him as back up and play him in cup games and maybe in the B-Team. 

I’m not sure now much difference there is between:

good segunda keeper

leading segunga keeper

decent LaLiga keeper…

Possibly not much but I know which one I’d prefer to have in my starting line up. Haha

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UD Almeria - January 2022 (aka- Beating Barcelona)

LaLiga Managerial Changes

There's been two interesting appointments at the bottom of LaLiga over the short winter break. After Rafa Benitez got sacked by Sevilla he's been replaced by Marcelo Bielsa and Maurizio Sarri has been announced as manager of bottom team, Eibar.

It wouldn't be long before I clashed horns with both as our next two league games were against Eibar and Sevilla. 

No sooner was Sarri in the role before he was giving me grief in press conferences, saying the patient attacking style we'd adopted was boring and predictable. Charming. 

Unbeknown to him, and as discussed in the last update, I'd changed the passing from short to standard to hopefully allow us to get upfield quicker. Another tactical change I'd made is swapping Robertone from an Attacking Midfielder to a Shadow Striker, and it paid off as he broke ahead of striker Pinamonti who played him in for a nice finish. Fair play to Sarri, he'd made 7 changes going into the game and lined up in a very compact 4-1-3-2 which was very difficult to break down and they created some decent chances on the counter attack. We held on for a 1-0 which, despite us being the better team, he went back to the press for another snipe saying they were the superior team. *Eyeroll emoji*.

A routine 4-0 win over Lleida Esportu in the cup 2nd round came before we faced Bielsa's Sevilla who, despite finding themselves in 17th place, controlled most of the game. Luckily for us, we managed to grab a 3-2 win in a really entertaining game.

The Copa del Rey 3rd round draw up us again none other than Sarri's Eibar! And again, he wasn't afraid of slagging me off to the press. We rested a few players and took a while to get going. Luckily we got a wake up call when Kike scored a goal which was ruled offside but definitely highlighted the need for an upgrade at goalkeeper, as Belman should've saved that one. We switched to the 4-3-3 to get control of the game after 30 minutes and were on top from that moment and went ahead with goals from Pinamonti and a free kick by Lazo. Eibar pulled one back on 80 minutes but they couldn't find the equaliser. 

SIGNING ALERT! 

As mentioned earlier, we needed to upgrade on Belman in goal, and after some careful deliberation we narrowed the shortlist down to two players: Tim Ronning from IF Elsborg in Sweden and Sondre Rossbach from Odd in Norway.

Despite costing more that twice what Rossbach would've we we successful in signing Ronning for £4.5m due to his higher ceiling.

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We also managed to scare off the circling sharks who were looking to trigger our left back, Alex Centelles' £2.6m release clause, by signing him to a new contract with a release clause of £24m.

Atletico & Barca in the game week!

Ronning's first game was against Getafe who were unfortunate to face Demir in top form. The on-loan winger contributed massively to a 2-0 win when he scored a beauty after carrying the ball from inside his own half, past two defenders, before slotting into the far corner and then ending another driving run into the area with a lovely square-ball to Pinamonti who finished with ease. Ronning didnt have a shot on target to save.

We'd now won 7 straight games in all competitions but our run came to an end against 1st placed Atletico Madrid. Our best defender, Maras, went off injured after 8 minutes which didn't help but in truth we were massively outclassed. Having reached half time 1-0 down but with only 1 shot, we again put our faith in the 4-3-3 and it nearly worked straight away as Demir, who was AWFUL in the first half (6.2) played a beautiful cross-field pass to Luquihas , who's low crossed was JUST put wide by Pinamonti. We did better than the first half but the tie was put to bed by a Luis Suarez freekick on 78. It's always nice to see substitutions working out though as we got a late consolation goal when Maolida made a good run and found Lazo who tapped it in. 

Bad new: Maras would be out for 6-8 weeks.

More bad news: we have Levante in the cup, just 3 days before travelling to play Barcelona

Due to the Barca game, I rested some key starters and put Belman back in goal for the Levante game, which we lost 2-1 due to an Alioski goal (yes, that one) on 71 minutes giving them the lead. We were out of the cup but had reached the 4th round which was the minimum set out by the board. 

Barcelona: Obviously, I won't need to tell you guys that it's not good when you go into a game against an high powered Barca team with no left back. 

The back up, Rocchia picked up an injury in training and Centelles came down with a virus on game day so was sent home. Unfortunately, the B-Team had played earlier than day so I was without a replacement. Rightback, Balliu, moved over to left back and central defender and occasional fullback, Chumi, started on the right. Amazing news.

As we had some players who'd just played 90 minutes against Levante and we were playing Barcelona, who play with a high tempo and high press, I made the decision to lower our own tempo and bring our passing back down to short in an attempt to make the players stay a bit cooler under the intense press and not be feeling forced into making more direct, risky passes. I also decided to match their 4-3-3 and lower our lines from high, to standard. We kept the regroup instruction in place. Other than that I went with the assistant manager's suggestion opposition instructions. 

As per our first game against Barca, which ended in a 2-0 loss, we kept them very quiet in the first half with the best effort coming to Pinamonti, who was through 1v1 but blazed his shot way over the bar. As expected, the second half saw Barca come out with much more impetus and forcing some good saves from Ronning, before Messi finally found Griezmann at the near post who poked it past the 6'7" Swede. 

Changing our mentality from Counter up to Balanced kicked us into gear and we started creating some chances of our own. Then, in the 70th minute this happened:

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Substitute Aguza lofted a ball over the defence which Pintamonti bought down between two defender and slotted past ter Stegen - who should've probably done better, but hey, he didn't!

Barcelona 1-1 Almeria. 

With most of our players tired, we knocked back down to "counter" to hopefully see the game out. Time wasting went up, and the "more disciplined" box was ticked. Lazo and Maolida came on as subs, but I switched the wings over from what they normally play on as both has been struggling recently.

Not that I was watching the clock but the 90th minute eventually arrived....

...and we won a corner....

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Full time: Barcelona 1 - 2 Almeria

Summary:

January has to go down as a success. Our 7 games unbeaten run ended at the hands of top placed Atletico Madrid and we were knocked out of the cup BUT we beat Barca at the Camp Nou, signed a new keeper and find ourselves in 9th position. 

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Edited by Matt_1979
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7 hours ago, Djecker said:

Ronning is a solid buy. He was the Sweden no 1 when I took them over in about 2028 in one save.

Excellent. He’s not had an amazing start but he’s got a lot of growing room that’s for sure. 

And 6’8”!! Wow. 

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UD Almeria - A bit of scouting: The Pascal Groß of Almeria

As I'm in between updates and haven't had a lot of time to play recently I wanted to introduce everyone to the @MattyLewis11 scouting method, if they aren't aware of it already. 

Whilst reading Football Hackers there was a section about how Brighton signed Pascal Groß based off data. He wasn't a player on anyone's radar as he'd playing for the relegated Ingolstadt in the Bundesliga, and has only notched up 5 goals and 4 assist. HOWEVER, what the data showed was that he'd actually created a huge 98 clear cut chances. It was only due to his teammates poor finishing abilities that he'd not notched up double-digit assists. 

Brighton signed him for a meagre £3m and he went on to make quite an impact in the Premier League, with 7 goals and 8 assists.

As a bit of fun I wanted to see if I could find someone similar, of good value who was a top creator.

As we can't compete financially with most at least half of the La Liga sides we need VALUE! The book Football Hackers also suggested the following leagues are good for undervalued players:

Russian Premier League, Austrian Bundesliga, Swiss Super League, Belgian Pro League, Turkish Super Lig. 

So, I set up a player search with the following parameters:

  • Can play in any of the Attacking midfield positions.
  • Plays in the above mentioned leagues (also added LaLiga so I can compare against my own players)
  • Aged 18-26
  • Maximum value of £4m (remember we're looking for value)
  • Minimum of 1000 minutes played

I then put them into Tableau and searched for with a high number of Key Passes per 90, Clear Cut Chances Created per 90 and then Assists per 90.

For examples, here's what the CCC/90 vs Key Pass/90 came back with:

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Clearly, here we're looking for players in the top right quadrant as these are the players performing above average for both the metrics.

The two red circles are my players, Luquinhas and Moalida - both performing below average. Considering I signed Luquinhas to be a creator it's not an amazing sight, however I have to point out that none of the leagues I've used in my search for value are as good as La Liga so it's not all bad news. 

The averages:

For reference, here's the averages for La Liga vs the "value" leagues.

La Liga: CCC/90 = 0.29, KP/90 = 1.74
Value Leagues: CCC/90 = 0.59, KP/90 = 1.48

So really, if I'm to be confident they could perform at the higher level I'm wanting players who are outperforming all four of the above averages.

Off the back of the three Tableau's I've sent me scouts out and will report on what they come back with and if there's anyone who is worth bringing in. 

Any thoughts or discussion points welcomed.

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Poor old Luquinhas, love that you have gone with the data driven recruitment method! 

Just a point to consider when reviewing players of interest I would look out for their attributes in relation to corners and free kick taking as these will most certainly have an impact on the data. 

However saying that I would nine times out of ten go with the players that stand out to myself in the data...the highlight reel from the scouts will give you the additional layer of context to aid your decision making.

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24 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Poor old Luquinhas, love that you have gone with the data driven recruitment method! 

Just a point to consider when reviewing players of interest I would look out for their attributes in relation to corners and free kick taking as these will most certainly have an impact on the data. 

However saying that I would nine times out of ten go with the players that stand out to myself in the data...the highlight reel from the scouts will give you the additional layer of context to aid your decision making.

That's a great point about the set pieces..... will definitely remember that. I'll put the best of the bunch on here anyway so you'll be able to cast an eye.

Luquinhas is struggling. In 20 starts as a left winger he's got 2 goals and ZERO assists...... It's going to be interesting deciding what to do with him....

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UD Almeria - Succession planning Part 1 - Defence

As we find ourselves in March, with just over two months to go I wanted to start doing some succession planning early, to see which players are of La Liga standard and who need replacing.

From this method we might also spot a few undervalued players who we could look to bring in...

Central Defence

Starting with the central defenders we know that many stats can be effected by your team's playing style. Headers won per 90 isn't a good metric to judge players on as a possession-based team wont face as many balls into the box as teams who sit off and try to hit the opposition on the break. 

What we DO know we can judge central defenders on is % of headers won and % of tackles won.

Looking at the below, for all CBs in La Liga who've played over 1000 minutes we have the following visual:

We have TWO defenders in the top right quadrant (JUST) which means they're performing above average. Chumi, our 23 year old who still has a bit of development left just sneaks in, whilst our other entry is Fuentes, who we signed this season. The only issue here is that I'm half planning to utilise Fuentes in the Segundo Volante role next season.

Our "star" CB, Maras, is performing the worse, whilst the veteran Peybernes, who started quite a few games also isn't cutting the mustard.

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Scouting:

The top right quadrant throws up a few interesting options, and remember we're only wanting players under 26.

Yves Dabila from Grenada (£5m), Martin Valjent from Mallorca (£3.5m), Hugo Guillamon from Valencia (£5m), Erick Cabaco from Getafe (£3.4m), Mario Gila from Betis (£3.5m).

Fullbacks

Moving onto fullbacks (who I think are very important in a 4-2-3-1) we can see that the promising Centelles is having a great season. The 22 year old still has some room for growth but will have stiff competition from the Brazilian, Jonathan, when he comes back from loan, who is also progressing well.

Our right back, 30 year old Balliu isn't doing as well. He's performing in terms of his attacking output but his interceptions per game is way below the average, so I'll be looking to upgrade him next season.

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Scouting:

In the "good section" there's no one we can afford or is under 26. If we look just below the average at players who can still improve we have:

Angelo Preciado from Levante (£6.25m) and Joan Sastre from Mallorca (£1.1m). I'll send scouts out to watch them but I don't think I'm convinced by either any may have to look further afield.

 

Thanks for reading.

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UD Almeria - Succession planning Part 2 - Midfielders

Segunda Volante

The SV is a difficult role to compare vs the rest of the league, purely because we're probably the only team who uses one.

Therefore, I've picked out two key stats which I think it would be acceptable for a SV on support to be judged on. Well, actually, three!

Key passes per 90 & Interceptions per 90 - but I've also got their tackles won % in with the players name so I can judge them on three different metrics. 

Reminder, we're only looking at La Liga DMs who've racked up over 1,000 minutes this season. 

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In terms of Almeria players I think it's pretty much where I expected them to be. We have none in the upper right quadrant, but our actual Segundo Volante, Youssef Ait Bennasser, is below average for Ints/90 but quite a bit above average for Key Passes/90. He's also won a very respectable 82% of his tackles. 

Unfortunately, as you'll be aware, Bennasser is adamant on leaving the team after I failed to upgrade the midfield area to his liking. I have Fuentes penned as his replacement, but as he's also a very good CB, I'm disappointed that there's no options who are performing well who are relatively cheap (under £5-6m and also under 26 years old). Mauro Arambarri of Getafe at £10.75m would be an excellent option but I doubt I could afford him. Fran Beltran is performing slightly worse than Bennasser but is only 23 so I'll get him thoroughly scouted, along with Martin Zubimendi (£9.25) who is right in the middle of the chart.

Half Back

This should be easier than the SV to gauge. They're a pure defensive midfielder who stays back and sometimes drops in between the CBs. Not a "destroyer" but someone a little more reserved who patiently sits back and reads the game well. For this one I've gone for Ints/90, Tackle % and then I'll add the headers won % under the name. 

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It's good to see De La Hoz - my Half Back for most of the season - leading La Liga in Tackles won % amongst DMs, but he's only winning 56% of his headers and is well below average for Interceptions per game. This make's be think he's not got as good anticipation and game-smarts as we'd like and is relying on aggression and tackling ability. 

Scouting wise there's the following options who we'll look at as potential targets: Mickael Malsa from Levante (£5.5m) and Cassio Cardoselli from Mallorca (£2.2m)

Summary - the Segundo Volante role is dependant on Bennasser. If he changes his mind and wants to stay I'll keep him there. If he leaves, however I've got Fuentes who can play there but I'd need to replace him in defence.

I'm definitely on the look out for an upgrade at Halfback. I think to play this role perfectly it'd require an older player, probably in his 30's. My policy is not to sign any players above the age of 26, however if it's a free transfer I may make an exception. 

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17 minutes ago, Crazy_Ivan said:

Great thread and I love the data analysis both the Mattys bring to their threads, my one big hope is that the data analysis takes a big step up in FM 22 with a lot more data points.

Oh yeah, that'd be great. I wouldn't want TOO much in there as would possibly make the game too easy....? We'll see.

Thanks for the kind words!

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Is there Spanish players outside the Laliga in these positions playing in a comparable league?

Team is going to become tough to beat if these players become available to you for a reasonable amount.

That keeper signing was very tasty :thup:

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13 hours ago, Matt_1979 said:

Oh yeah, that'd be great. I wouldn't want TOO much in there as would possibly make the game too easy....? We'll see.

Thanks for the kind words!

Not so much huge additions but certainly pressing stats and at the moment i really cant put much weight in to ccc's and XG because there are some glaring holes in these which I would like to be cleared up. 

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13 hours ago, Djecker said:

Would Radoja be one to look at for the SV role too?

Unfortunately he's 29 so too old for my signing policy. Looks a good player though, especially for that money!

9 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Is there Spanish players outside the Laliga in these positions playing in a comparable league?

Team is going to become tough to beat if these players become available to you for a reasonable amount.

That keeper signing was very tasty :thup:

I'm not sure yet. I'll certainly have a look. 
It'll definitely be interesting to see what scout reports come back with and who we've got a chance at. 

The problem with being a smaller team is that not many players want to come!

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Bit late to the party, but congrats on signing Ronning. Is he still a model citizen? I've picked him up in two different Kobenhavn saves. In the first one he was my first choice goalkeeper until I abandoned it (beta save), in the second he would have done the same were it not for the fact that I got a world class regen GK in my first intake that took over after a few seasons. 

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UD Almeria - Feb & March 2022

It seems a while since we last reported on the progress of the team in La Liga, due to the succession planning posts. We left off beating the mighty Barcelona at the Nou Camp, after Atletico had put an end to our unbeaten run. 

February

We started off with an 8 goal extravaganza against Granada! Going behind after 3 minutes we pulled ourselves together and went into half time 2-1 up thanks to Sadiq and Lazo goals. We started the second half as poorly as the first and within 10 minutes found ourselves 4-2 down, after Suarez scored a beauty and then Machis beat Ronning at the near post. Suarez was given too much room and scored a rocket on 55 mins from outside the area. 

However, you don't come back to beat Barcelona, only to be whooped by Granada! Throwing everything we had at them, De la Hoz gave us hope from a direct freekick from 25 yards, and then with the time running out and palms sweating, Sadiq was the hero and scored an equaliser in the 94th minute for a great comeback. Full time 4-4.

What a game. Even having conceded 4 goals, Ronning still got 6.8 OVR.

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We absolutely hammered Levante 4-0 with goals from Sadiq, Balliu, a Robertone penalty, and a screamer from Fuentes, who was given another game at Segundo Volante. 

Looking at the table we were now within sniffing distance of the European places, but Real Sociedad beat us 1-0 in a game we were unlucky to lose. Sadiq forced three top class saves and we won the xG battle 1.37 vs 0.90. We slide from 9th to 11th in the table. 

Lazo, our winger who was in a rich vein of form, with 2 goals and 4 assists in his last 5 games managed to catch a virus and was sent home, ruling him out for 10 days which meant he missed the very tough 1-0 victory against Mallorca

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March

The win over Mallorca put us up to 8th place, just 3 points behind Celta Vigo who occupied the last Euro qualification place. 

Real Betis sacked Unai Emery and I was promptly offered the job, but naturally I declined. 

Maras, our "star" central defender (on paper) finally returned from injury against Alaves who found themselves in 19th place. We were unable to score in the 1st half, despite 61% of possession but luckily we have Demir playing, who early in the second half, dribbled into the penalty area, shot against the post and then ran on to his own rebound to score. I'll miss him next season if we can't get him back on loan. 

Our quest for a European place would be tested next with a game against Osasuna, who were one place ahead of us in the table. Our message was sent to the league in style. The visitors didn't even have a shot on goal until the 83rd minute. Unfortunately for them did had quite a few, with Demir scoring again after 10 mins, before assisting a Maolida goal on 28. A very comfortable win. 

We'd now won 3 in a row without conceding..... and were 1 point off the European places.

5th placed Athletic Bilbao were up next and we got off to a dream start with Demir again involved, winning a penalty after 12 minutes, which Robertone scored. Just after half time Demir scored a beauty to put us 2-0 up and we were looking good!

It's easy, this La Liga!!!! 

Well, that IS what I thought momentarily but then was punished for my foolishness when Villalba pulled one back for the visitors on 81 mins and then Capa fired one past Ronning at his near post - again - in injury time. Full time 2-2.

Unfortunately, Demir strained his knee in training and will miss 6 weeks. He was on fire, with 3 goals in his last 3 games, Dammit. Luckily Lazo was back available. 

The final game of the month came against Betis, who I'd turned down a few weeks prior. Sadiq has been very quiet for a few games so I gave young Escobar a promotion from the B-Team for a chance up front, where he'd scored 26 goals in 28 games. I have Pinamonti available but he's on loan and I prefer to see what I have in my own players first. 

He didn't disappoint, putting in a strong performance and scoring a 64th minute goal on the way to a 2-2 draw.

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Summary - A good couple of months! Naturally I'm furious that we've conceded 4 goals in the last 2 games but with 4 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss in the last two months I'm looking forward to seeing how we can do over the last 2 months..... Demir will be a big miss but hopefully Lazo can find his form again. If so we'll really be in with a chance. 

We're still in 8th, 1 point behind Celta Vigo in 6th.... but a win in our next game could really put us into a great position... who IS next....

Oh.... Real Madrid. Bugger.

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UD Almeria - Succession planning Part 3 - Attackers

First we'll look at how our attacking midfielders are doing. Our main formation is a 4-2-3-1 so they're a vital part of the team and can make or break the formation. Mixed in these 3 positions we mainly either want creators or goal scorers. So we can split the 3 positions across 2 charts.

Creators:

We're using the same metrics as we did when looking across the undervalued leagues for a value creator: Key passes per 90 and cleat cut chances created per 90.

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As you can see, we have no one in the "good zone" and in terms of CCC's created we only have Luquinhas above average. Lazo, Robertone and Demir are all above average for key passes per game but these aren't as good as CCC's.

Seeing as Luquinhas has a grand total of ZERO assists this season it's possible, well, very probably, that he's been very unlucky as maybe he deserves a season with a much better striker?

Scouting: In terms of players who we'll be taking a much closer look at as a creator in our attacking lines, we have only Jairo Concha from Mallorca (£1.3m) and Ander Barrenetxea from Sociedad (£7.5m).

Scorers:

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This makes for much better viewing from my point of view. We have Lazo - who judging by the graph could be argued as the best attacking midfielder in the league when it comes to Goals/90 and Shots on Target % - the on-loan Demir and our AMC Lucas Robertone all in the "good zone". HOWEVER, Robertone gets most of his goals come from penalties. 

We also have Luquinhas in the upper left, meaning he's above average for shots on target %, despite only having 2 goals and in the "bad" bottom left zone, meaning he's below average at both, we have Maolida. He's developing quite well though and isn't a starter so I'm not overly concerned.

As both Lazo and Demir (who I doubt we'll get back on loan again) play on the right wing, it highlights that our weakness is the left wing position.

Scouting: So, who can we have a look at and see if we can make transfer targets? Gonzalo Maroni from Elche (£2.3m), Mickael Biron from Elche (£2.9m) and my old enemy Matias Vargas from Espanyol (£4.7m).

Strikers:

The lone striker in my 4-2-3-1 (and 4-3-3) has been an issue due to the inconsistency of Sadiq. He's got 4 goals and 2 assists this season in 12 starts and 7 sub appearances and when he's good, he'll have a few games where he looks great but then he'll vanish for a few.... I bought Pinamonti in on loan who has been great and has 9 goals in 16 starts, but I don't like starting him as I need to see if Sadiq can actually do it. We also have the youngster, Escobar, who is pulverizing opponents in the B-Team. 

Let's see how both my main options up front compare versus the rest of La Liga strikers in terms of Goals per game and shots on target ratio.

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Well, that's come as a HUGE surprise!! Another example of why analysis is so important. Pinamonti is the best performing Striker in the league! And to be honest, Sadiq is also doing much better than I expected. Here's how Pinamonti - on loan from Inter Milan - looks in terms of his attributes.

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I think if I wanted to sign him, Inter would want around £15 million so I think he'll be out of scope, but maybe another loan could be arranged. 

Maybe Luquinhas hasn't been as unlucky as we thought...

Scouting: Ramon Mierez from Alaves (£3m) is the only option in the top right quadrant. Marc Cardona from Mallorca (£3m) is above average for goals per game as is Hugo Duro (£4.3m), Dani Gomez (£8.25m) and I'll send scouts out looking at Enes Unai at Getafe, but he looks like he might be a high volume shooter. 

 

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2 hours ago, KlaaZ said:

Bit late to the party, but congrats on signing Ronning. Is he still a model citizen? I've picked him up in two different Kobenhavn saves. In the first one he was my first choice goalkeeper until I abandoned it (beta save), in the second he would have done the same were it not for the fact that I got a world class regen GK in my first intake that took over after a few seasons. 

Yup - he's still a model citizen

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Nice analysis on your attacking players.

Would it be fair to say that your attackers are more scorers getting on the end of 1-2’s?

Really like Lazo and everyone likes Demir :cool:

I can’t work out Luquinhas, creating above average chances but below average key passes. Is that a location issue? Does he put in lots of crosses?

What is Robertone’s role, not quite scorer or creator. Link player?

It looks like the exception of performance is Maolida who is in bottom left for both creating and scoring. Does he do something else?

I really like Pinamonti’s attribute balance between scoring with his feet and his head. I hope you get as decent a performance with who you get next season.

A big bunch of transfer decisions to make coming up!

 

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6 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Nice analysis on your attacking players.

Would it be fair to say that your attackers are more scorers getting on the end of 1-2’s?

Really like Lazo and everyone likes Demir :cool:

I can’t work out Luquinhas, creating above average chances but below average key passes. Is that a location issue? Does he put in lots of crosses?

What is Robertone’s role, not quite scorer or creator. Link player?

It looks like the exception of performance is Maolida who is in bottom left for both creating and scoring. Does he do something else?

I really like Pinamonti’s attribute balance between scoring with his feet and his head. I hope you get as decent a performance with who you get next season.

A big bunch of transfer decisions to make coming up!

 

Thanks for your input and questions. Let's have a look:

image.png.497967c8e3110721b4188afd6af625de.png
Look at Lazo's xG vs goals  (and don't look at Maolida's shot %)

Looking at the stats for Luquinhas, he does cross quite a lot compared to other attacking midfielders, with only Lazo ahead (I'm put a * next to Robertone as he's on corners so I imagine what's where all his come from), but "Luq" only completes 17% so I'm sure sure it's that which bumps his CCC's up so much...?

Below we have his Stats vs average for position... the good things are that he keeps the ball well and gets a good % of his shots on target.....(unfortunately his finishing of 6 doesn't help there). 

Any suggestions of what to do with him are welcome!!

image.png.4ead8cf692269abfaf31b320d383a9e3.png image.thumb.png.f1ead8522f0688e1382a620559747329.png

As far as Robertone goes, we can see the same for him. He mainly plays as a Shadow Striker in the AMC position:

image.png.a1fb5d256de572279c9c2c728cf9a418.png image.thumb.png.45c8c09976f7e36c98fc33e199c119d7.png

He's above average, or bang on average for the position in all but shots on target per game, I could get him to shoot more through his player instructions and see how that works out.

 

Is there anything else which stands out to you? It's too early in the morning for me!

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Well that brought out a different way of looking at your attackers! I see Robertone now more as an around box/byline/get-into-box attacker while Luquinhas playing deeper with his dribbling moving your team between zones.

Surprised by Lazo’s PPG too.

What I also see is how hard Demir will be to replace if a loan extension is not possible.

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7 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

Well that brought out a different way of looking at your attackers! I see Robertone now more as an around box/byline/get-into-box attacker while Luquinhas playing deeper with his dribbling moving your team between zones.

Surprised by Lazo’s PPG too.

What I also see is how hard Demir will be to replace if a loan extension is not possible.

Oh I'll definitely be trying to extend Demir's loan for another season! There's no one I could afford who could do as well. Priority #1!!

The problem with Luquinhas is that he's actually better in attacking roles (according to the game) but when he's in an attacking role he has lots of shots but due to his poor finishing most of them are more danger to the corner flag!!   

 

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UD Almeria - April 2022 - A bridge too far?

We enter the penultimate month of the season with dreams of Euro competition on our minds...as we sit in 8th, just 1 point off 6th place. However, the giants of Real Madrid were up next so we weren't hopeful.

The first half was very tight, with not a lot of excitement to report, other than Eric Dier was playing for them after a £47m move. Escobar, our young striker had to go off injured so Pinamonti came on and a few minutes later we went behind to a Jesus Corona header. At half time we switched to the 4-3-3 to try to wrestle control of the game a little more and as both wingers, Lazo and Maolida, weren't doing anything I swapped them over.

The switch worked as just a few minutes into the 2nd half Lazo whipped in a cross which was volleyed in by Maolida to bring us level. Three minutes later, Lazo was involved again as he scored from a tight angle after a Balliu cross to put us 2-1 up!

Madrid turned up the pressure but we managed to catch them on the break and Maolida crossed to Pinamonti who fired into the top corner. 3-1.

Asensio pulled one back for Madrid and they dominated the latter parts of the game as they chased for the equaliser and we could've put the game to bed but Robertone had a penalty well saved by Courtois.

Full time - Almeria 3 - Real Madrid 2

What a great result!! Surely the Euro places were a given now???

Well, then THIS happened....

image.png.3e86d6ace6806c7d9341b8b5ef701b19.png

I genuinely can't even tell you what happened. We looked terrible, lethargic, off the pace.... any other football terms you might want to throw into the mix.

And to make things worse our youth intake was awful.

And then Sadiq pulled ankle ligaments and will probably miss the rest of the season.

We'd dropped down to 9th and our next game was up against 7th placed Celta Vigo. As if this game wasn't important enough, their manager came out and said our defence was poor and they were looking forward to scoring lots of goals against us. Damn him.

In an attempt to switch things up and tighten up at the back we made a couple of personnel changes and moved Fuentes into the SV role to give us a bit more bite in midfield. 

Despite Vigo winning the possession battle, we created some good chances, with Robertone being the best player on the pitch. So naturally, and in-line with our luck over the last few weeks he gets injured just after halt time as has to be replaced. Luckily, it's Demir who replaces him, in his first action after injury.

Still 0-0 after 65 minutes we switched to our 4-3-3 to try to get more possession but not even the best efforts of Lazo and Demir, who both forced good saves late on. 

SOMEHOW the game finished 0-0 but at least we stopped out losing streak and their manager can shut his dirty mouth about our defence sucking!!  

image.png.94ad82797f5859849e17678c9816d3c1.png

SO there we have it.

Two games left and at the critical part of the season we've sucked!! A bridge too far maybe? Couldn't handle the pressure maybe? 

It's possible that the 7th place becomes a Euro place, in which case we need to win our two remaining games, against Valencia and Eibar.

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1 hour ago, Matt_1979 said:

The problem with Luquinhas is that he's actually better in attacking roles (according to the game) but when he's in an attacking role he has lots of shots but due to his poor finishing most of them are more danger to the corner flag!!

I think Ben went through this sort of thing with his Luzern team and some of the attacking players. Can’t remember exactly, but might have been role and instruction changes made.

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1 hour ago, Matt_1979 said:

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UD Almeria - April 2022 - A bridge too far?

We enter the penultimate month of the season with dreams of Euro competition on our minds...as we sit in 8th, just 1 point off 6th place. However, the giants of Real Madrid were up next so we weren't hopeful.

The first half was very tight, with not a lot of excitement to report, other than Eric Dier was playing for them after a £47m move. Escobar, our young striker had to go off injured so Pinamonti came on and a few minutes later we went behind to a Jesus Corona header. At half time we switched to the 4-3-3 to try to wrestle control of the game a little more and as both wingers, Lazo and Maolida, weren't doing anything I swapped them over.

The switch worked as just a few minutes into the 2nd half Lazo whipped in a cross which was volleyed in by Maolida to bring us level. Three minutes later, Lazo was involved again as he scored from a tight angle after a Balliu cross to put us 2-1 up!

Madrid turned up the pressure but we managed to catch them on the break and Maolida crossed to Pinamonti who fired into the top corner. 3-1.

Asensio pulled one back for Madrid and they dominated the latter parts of the game as they chased for the equaliser and we could've put the game to bed but Robertone had a penalty well saved by Courtois.

Full time - Almeria 3 - Real Madrid 2

What a great result!! Surely the Euro places were a given now???

Well, then THIS happened....

image.png.3e86d6ace6806c7d9341b8b5ef701b19.png

I genuinely can't even tell you what happened. We looked terrible, lethargic, off the pace.... any other football terms you might want to throw into the mix.

And to make things worse our youth intake was awful.

And then Sadiq pulled ankle ligaments and will probably miss the rest of the season.

We'd dropped down to 9th and our next game was up against 7th placed Celta Vigo. As if this game wasn't important enough, their manager came out and said our defence was poor and they were looking forward to scoring lots of goals against us. Damn him.

In an attempt to switch things up and tighten up at the back we made a couple of personnel changes and moved Fuentes into the SV role to give us a bit more bite in midfield. 

Despite Vigo winning the possession battle, we created some good chances, with Robertone being the best player on the pitch. So naturally, and in-line with our luck over the last few weeks he gets injured just after halt time as has to be replaced. Luckily, it's Demir who replaces him, in his first action after injury.

Still 0-0 after 65 minutes we switched to our 4-3-3 to try to get more possession but not even the best efforts of Lazo and Demir, who both forced good saves late on. 

SOMEHOW the game finished 0-0 but at least we stopped out losing streak and their manager can shut his dirty mouth about our defence sucking!!  

image.png.94ad82797f5859849e17678c9816d3c1.png

SO there we have it.

Two games left and at the critical part of the season we've sucked!! A bridge too far maybe? Couldn't handle the pressure maybe? 

It's possible that the 7th place becomes a Euro place, in which case we need to win our two remaining games, against Valencia and Eibar.

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That was, that was…

Real Madrid result :cool:

Post Real Madrid result :eek: :(

Celta game looked like an exciting game for the neutrals. Was it a home game? Is it unusual for Almeria to not have the most possession at home?

Hopefully both Valencia and Eibar have both switched off now they both have not much to play for now.

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1 hour ago, Sonic Youth said:

That was, that was…

Real Madrid result :cool:

Post Real Madrid result :eek: :(

Celta game looked like an exciting game for the neutrals. Was it a home game? Is it unusual for Almeria to not have the most possession at home?

Hopefully both Valencia and Eibar have both switched off now they both have not much to play for now.

I know!! I might try Luquinhas as a wide play maker.... see if that brings anything out of him. 

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UD Almeria - End of Season 2 Review: Defence

May:

We had two games left and still an outside chance of qualifying for Europe if we won both our remaining games and other games went our way.

Well WE didn't and THEY didn't.

A 2-0 loss to Villareal and then a 2-2 draw against bottom team Eibar saw us finish the season without a win for 6 games. 

The disappointing end has put a dampener on what really was an amazing season where we defied all the odds. 

ONE positive though was that I accidentally clicked "add as transfer target" during the scouting report and your DoF went out and signed that player?

I have!!

Luckily, that player isn't too bad and looks a good prospect!! £3.4 million though.... eek!

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We were tipped to be relegated but we actually finished a massive 20 point above the relegation spaces and just 8 points off the European places.

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Early thoughts from looking at the table above is that the attack was ok but its the defence where we really need to improve next season if we're going to qualify for European competitions. 

Let's have a deeper dive into the area:

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Whilst we've made some good improvements in the second half of the season, we can see there's two glaring issues which need attention. Firstly, 1 conceded FIVE goals from corners in the 2nd half of the season and also, we're bottom of the league for possession won. As we're ranked 2nd for tackling %, that tells me we need to be much more aggressive. We've not been a pressing team this season, preferring to regroup, but I need to find a way to make us more aggressive, whilst still maintaining shape. Maybe a split block could work? I think half the division would rip us apart if we implemented a full on press. 

So on the topic of aggression, let's have a look at the defensive actions per game:

image.png.8679abce6ec2f9251bcf4641a0892f86.png

As a reminder we're looking at a total of actions carried out by a player which would be considered a "defensive action" so that's tackle attempts, interceptions and fouls committed. Usually you'd look at these for your attacking players so you can see how effective they are at pressing the opposition. As we aren't a pressing team we're just casting an eye over the whole team to see if there's anyone highlighted as being too passive.... and to be honest, there isn't, apart from the two strikers. I'd definitely like to see them putting more pressure on the central defenders so I may swap the role from Advanced Forward to a Pressing Forward (although I've never had much success with one).

Actions for next season: 

1 - Be more aggressive, maybe develop a split block. 

2 - Change striker role to a Pressing Forward. 

3 - Sort out defending corners!

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UD Almeria - End of Season 2 Review: Attack

I remember when we carried out the attacking analysis at mid-season I was shocked at how deceptively effective we were. 

Here's how we ended up:

image.png.d2740b31cb2621a05f614cc1ca0ade5a.png

Although our goals and number or shots rankings stayed the same and we improved our shots on target %, we declined in out xG and shots on target. It's clear that Sadiq isn't the answer up front as he's too streaky, however he'll be fine off the bench. Pinamonti, will cost too much and his wages are around £65k p/w. I could try to loan him but if I'm loaning I can probably do better.

After our mid-season review we decided we could get a bit more direct with our passing and go from short to standard in an attempts to get upfield quicker, but as we can see, it's not really worked out. I might revert back to shorter passing and give certain players the option of being more direct.

I'm pleased we're taking more dribbles per game and happy that we're still completing a high percentage of our crosses.

Actions for next season:

1 - Passing length back to short with playmakers allowed more direct passing. 

2 - Refresh our attacking corners.

3 - Work on direct free kicks.

 

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Looks pretty good for first season in La Liga. I guess good that the season is over…? I remember one season in an earlier Cm/FM, I lost 8  in a row.

Interesting that your wide players have the higher DA/90.

Also, getting your shot conversion % into the top 10 would be fun too :thup:

Nice accidental signing. Does he have much room to improve? If you can’t get Demir, you might already have an alternative :onmehead:

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1 minute ago, Sonic Youth said:

Looks pretty good for first season in La Liga.

Interesting that your wide players have the higher DA/90.

Also, getting your shot conversion % into the top 10 would be fun too :thup:

Nice accidental signing. Does he have much room to improve? If you can’t get Demir, you might already have an alternative :onmehead:

Hi, Yeah, its a good season which I would've snapped your hands off for if you'd offered me that at the starts. It just feels disappointing as were 1 point off the Euro places with a month to go.

Regarding the accidental signing, he's only 76% scouted but should have at least half a star of progression left....hopefully more than that though!

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UD Almeria - End of Season 2 Review: The Players

A short while ago we compared all of our players against the rest of La Liga to see how they were performing against key metrics for their roles. I know that kind of analysis is very much subject to team playing style but it still gives us a good idea of if they're cut out to take us to the next level or not.

Before we revisit the list of players we're happy with a who needs replacing let's see how the main players performed at the basics. 

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On the face of it, I'm happy with anyone who has an average rating of over 6.90 over the season. However, that doesn't always tell the full story.

In defence, we have Peybernes, Maras and Balliu who all scored over 6.90, however the Tableau analysis shows they performed below average in the key metrics so I wouldn't be comfortable with them being regular starters going into next season, although I may be forced to stick with Maras for another season. Especially when we've just identified the defence needs improving on. 

Chumi performed well but he's not yet good enough to start for a season, but he's a capable back up and can also provide cover at DM.

The midfield was given a boost when Bennasser decided that actually he quite liked it here and withdrew his transfer request. So he'll remain as the Segundo Volante, but a decision still needs to be made at the other DM position which will depend on if I can find a better player at DM or CB for the cheapest amount, as Fuentes will slot into the other. 

I'm not going to go into the problems we have with the attacking four..... ok. I'll do it quickly:

  • Do we try to get Demir back on loan for the RW position, or do we trust Lazo (who has impressive stats).
  • What do we do at LW? Luquinhas isn't the answer but would be a good back up.... Do we give Escobar a shot as starter? He scored 28 goals in 32 games for the B-Team, but as a striker, however, this preferred role is out wide. 
  • Despite me saying Sadiq isn't good enough to start, he's still got a decent scoring record and over a 38 game season as a starter could have around 15 goals which I'd be happy with.

LOANEES

We also have quite a few players out on loan, who will be returning to the club and some of which could certainly contribute. Here's the more interesting ones:

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None of them are playing at La Liga level but there's been some good performances. If Oliviera's option isn't picked up he'll be a good option at RW and would negate the need for Demir. Jonathan performed well but he's not quite as good as Centelles so may be sold to raise desperately needed funds, the same goes for Vada who is surplus to requirements to the signing of Oristanio. The performance of Appiah, in the Championship, shouldn't be ignored either. 

THE B-TEAM

Our B-Team had a really good season buy slowly, most of their players were loaned out. There's still a couple of decent options though who, as per the loanees above, could come in a do a job in filling out the squad:

1781923329_B-Teamplayerstats.JPG.267414c8272d781670ef4d5f506d9de7.JPG

Vasilj came in for the Copa Del Rey games and got over 7.00 in each game. 

AWARDS

Let's finish off by seeing who won awards. Fuentes with a clean sweep is good to see. As is Lazo getting the most assists and POM awards. 

image.png.e2090a96c1d093a99aa3afb5b6211191.png

 

THE PLAN & BUDGET

We've just found out our transfer budget is only £5m (I was expecting about £10 to be honest) but I suspect that's due to the Board's announcement they are building a new stadium and also upgrading the training facilities.... so I can't complain.

With the budget in mind I think this is what we're looking at:

image.png.079786fa44db7d66d6b87b445d8cb86e.png

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UD Almeria - End of Season 2: SIGNINGS

We've made some signings!!

With our whopping £5m transfer budget we've managed to make a few new signings. There's some younger players who are ones for the future who I haven't included here.

Jonas Wind - Striker
We've bought Wind in from FC Kobenhavn. Eventually the deal could be worth £4.9m if all conditions are met. Big and strong and equally as good with his feet as he is in the air. Also a creative forward so will give us tactical flexibility going forward.

Gaetano Oristanio - Attacking Midfielder
Yes, he's the accidental signing but what a signing he is from Inter! 19 years old with 5 star potential. £3.8m could be a steal!!

Nayef Aguerd - Central Defender
Being a fan of Rennes and using them earlier in FM21, I know all about Aguerd. A cultured centre back, who will be effective at corners & set pieces on both ends. The scouts don't rate him as highly as I do but I'm sure they'll be eating their words. Joins in a deal which could rise up to £2.6m. And he’s a left footed centre back.

Otar Kiteishvili - Attacking Midfielder
Otar is actually a signing who was highlighted in our Tableau sessions in the search for a creator! The scouts love him, and when I went to watch him play for Sturm Graz he scored FOUR goals. His attributes aren't that impressive but he was a free agent who notched up 10 assists in 29 games in the Austrian Bundesliga. One for @MattyLewis11 to keep an eye on!

Fernando Costanza - Right Fullback
I had it in mind to notch the incumbent right fullback, Balliu, down to a back up since we did our succession planning and he was in the bad lower left quadrant. He's also 30 now so won't be getting any better. He managed to annoy me when demanding a new contract and refused to be anything other than an "important player". Which he isn't. Anyway, I went out and signed what I'm hoping is an absolute bargain: £625k for Costanza from Real Betis. I was looking at alternatives who weren't as good attribute-wise who were going to cost me £2-3 million. 

Marco Brescianini - Central Midfielder
Marco comes across on loan from AC Milan with an option to buy for £9m. We have Aguzo, who can back up Bennasser, however Bennasser has four teams sniffing around and I think his £4.6m release clause may be activated, so I wanted to have someone ready to step in and develop should the need arise. Brescianini's favoured role as DM is the Segundo Volante. Perfect.

image.thumb.png.fc70681933752542c3b7dabcb948e5e8.png  image.thumb.png.0462103a958874f57fad3192362e1784.png

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Would love to hear your thoughts on these signings and how you think they might make an impact, or not.

Thanks for reading.

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9 minutes ago, Chris_ANZFM said:

What a time to play catch up! Tableau for days. Another excellent read sir! 

It’s only Chris!! haha. Cheers mate. 
Any observations on the new signings that I might have missed?

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45 minutes ago, Matt_1979 said:

It’s only Chris!! haha. Cheers mate. 
Any observations on the new signings that I might have missed?

Haha about time I showed up eh 😂. Nothing missed I don’t think. Got bloody lucky with Gaetano though. Call it a happy accident hah

45 minutes ago, Matt_1979 said:
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Some good signs there. They look like they’ll take you up a level. Raised expectations I bet :brock:

Are you going to retrain out Breschianini’s shoots from distance?

a lot of your mid now has nice base passing/creativity mix either with attacking or defensive combinations. Quite a few have reasonable long shots too.

I always overlook players like Kiteishvili because there isn’t one outstanding technical ability. Tableau brings a new perspective to his scouting, an hoping he does a job for you :thup:

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13 hours ago, Sonic Youth said:

Some good signs there. They look like they’ll take you up a level. Raised expectations I bet :brock:

Are you going to retrain out Breschianini’s shoots from distance?

a lot of your mid now has nice base passing/creativity mix either with attacking or defensive combinations. Quite a few have reasonable long shots too.

I always overlook players like Kiteishvili because there isn’t one outstanding technical ability. Tableau brings a new perspective to his scouting, an hoping he does a job for you :thup:

Yes, I’m definitely interested to see how he does. He’ll be handed the starting LW slot, so I’m hoping he can turn into a good creator. 
 

As far as Breschianini and his shoot from distance, no I’ll leave it in. Should be a decent thing for a SV to have as they tend to arrive late around the edge of the box. 

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UD Almeria - Season 2: Ready to go

It's been a busy off-season. Firstly, let's get into a departure and an arrival:

Going

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As predicted, Bennasser's release clause was activated by Getafe. It's fine - he was steady without pulling up any trees and spent most of last season annoyed at me! This is the reason we bought in Brescianini who will move up into the starting Segundo Volante role.

New arrival

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I'd had Chong on my shortlist for a while. He was released by Man Utd and became a free agent. I was very tempted by in the back of my mind we have Lazo the Legend and Oliviera who spent last season on loan at Penarol and looks decent. Chong came in on trial and looked good in a couple of pre-season games: very direct and takes people on.... what's not to love. His trial ended without signing him and after a chat with the boys on the discord and seeing he'd dropped his wage requirements he was swiftly signed.

He'll start as back up to Lazo but I'm sure he'll be a threat off the bench.

Expectations

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Both very achievable based on last season. We've definitely improved the team, and squad. 

I prefer to play backups in the cup so it could depend on the draw for the early rounds.

Tactical changes

I've made a couple of tweaks to a couple of roles. Firstly, I've changed the Half Back to a Defensive Midfielder on defend, hoping that it'll be a little more aggressive than the HB, which is quite a passive role. Secondly, I could never decide if I should play Robertone as an Advanced Playmaker or a Shadow Striker; luckily, the Attaching Midfielder role is quite customisable so I've created a hybrid of the two roles. Am interested to see how it does. He's been injured most of pre-season so haven't been able to see how it'll work with him so it's something to watch in the first month.

I also swapped from "regroup" to a split block. I've selected neither of the pressing options but have altered the role instructions to make the front 4 press, whist the rest hold position. I'm hoping the height of Fuentes (6'5") and Brescianini (6'2") and the increased aggression of the DM role will let us win any stray balls in the air or on the ground. 

Pre-Season

I had a less strenuous pre-season schedule than I usually do as a result of getting quite a lot of niggling injuries in the pre-season of the last 2 seasons. Fingers crossed it's worked as we've only had injuries to Robertone (3 weeks), Sadiq (8 days) and new right back Costanza (2 weeks). 

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Expected Line-up

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So there we have it - ready to head into the season....

 

First game.... Real Madrid......  splendid.

 

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UD Almeria - Season 2: August & September

August

We start off with one of the worst games we could have. Real Madrid. Towards the end of last season we beat them with an injury time goal from Maolida. Hopefully they won't be too eager to get revenge. 

As we generally do versus the top teams we try to match up with their tactic, so we started in our 4-3-3 and we started quite well, with the first few chances all falling to us. As usually happens for the big boys, they get the rub of the green with referee decisions and were awarded a penalty after a perfectly good tackle by Centelles. Hazard converted and after 15 minutes we were 1-0 down. 

It wasn't all doom and gloom though as Brescianini, starting in the Segundo Volante role in his debut, slotted a lovely ball through to Lazo who smashed it into the top corner from 18 yards, just 10 minutes later. 

That moment, when I punched the air, and got a roll of the eyes from the mrs, would be the peak of my happiness as Madrid went on to hammer us. Viniscius Jr put them back in front IMMEDIATELY. Ramon scored a header from a free kick on 47 and Benzema finished the rout in the 88th minute. Full time 1-4.

The loss was made worse by the fact new striker, Jonas Wind, was injured in the game and would miss 3 weeks. 

Up next, we had another tough game as we welcomed Valencia, who smashed us 4-0 at the end of last season, AND had just drawn with Barcelona. Due to our less-intense pre-season, in the hopes of not getting as many injuries, some of our players were still a little jaded so I rotated a few and we went back to our 4-2-3-1. Valencia were well on top for the first 30 minutes, with new signing, Fred from Man Utd, pulling the strings. However, Omar Sadiq found himself on the end of a lovely pass from new right back Costanza on his first start and slipped it past the helpless keeper to give us a 1-0 lead. Our hopes of keeping the lead for the HT break were shattered when the talented Koba Lein scored a beauty from 20 yards with literally the last kick of the half. 

As Valencia has 63% possession we switched to our 4-3-3 to get hold of the ball more and it worked with Sadiq and Lazo having some good chances. We had chance to put the game away when we won a penalty in the 83rd minute which Robertone missed. Although in fairness it was a great save, right in the bottom corner. However, I made the decision there and then that Robertone would never take a penalty again. Full time 1-1.

Despite going 1-0 down very early on we managed a 3-2 win against Real Sporting with all the new signings staking coming up big. Firstly, Aguerd headed home a Robertone corner and then Brescianini danced by two defenders before slotting into the far corner. Costanza got to the byline and whipped a low cross towards the penalty spot which was met by Kiteishvili. Full time 3-2.

It was the next game, against Viera's Getafe, that I started to get excited. When we sold Bennasser  - who was playing for Getafe - I was a little gutted as he was starting to play the Segundo Volante role quite well. Turns out I hadn't seen ANYTHING! Brescianini put on a MASTERCLASS and showed his predecessor how to REALLY play the role as he scored a hattrick to give us a 3-0 win

Full of excitement and optimism we then played out a laboured 0-0 against Osasuna.

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September 

Just as we started the season against Real Madrid, we started September with welcoming Barcelona to the coast. 

Now, I've noticed previously that the best way to play against Barcelona is to jam the middle of the park, slow your tempo down, and pray. So that's what we did. Using a 4-4-2 Diamond, we took the game to Barcelona and although we didn't get a win we didn't get a 0-0 draw and the end of game stats were good. It wasn't an exciting game but I'm more than happy. Out shot them and out xG'd them.

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As the next game was against 2nd placed Villareal who, according to the journalists in the pre-game press conference, are playing some beautiful football, I decided to stick with the diamond.

I'm glad I did:

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Jonas Wind was back from injury and played well as a DLF and we were let off when Ronning saved a penalty after just 6 minutes. From that moment we destroyed them!

An "accidental" new formation which looked great!!!

Surely then, in the next game against Elche it would continue....... No. 

Just like last month when we were on a high and then played awfully against Osasuna, we again were unable to score and got another 0-0 draw. Still, its a clean sheet!

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Summary

We can't complain. After losing the first game we are not unbeaten in 7 and the new guys are looking good and settling in well. Wind hasn't scored yet but he's not properly fit, and Constanza looks good at right back despite being injured twice.

The bright spark has obviously been Brescianini and if he carries on like this, that £9m loan option is looking like an easy decision. I've just got to find £9m.......

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