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[FM21] Put your arse into it


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It's been a while & then some. After a couple of months of no FM due to real life getting in the way, I am back for one last save on this year's edition. As happens every year, the start of the new football season caught my fancy and I got a data update to bring the game up to speed.

On FM20 my final save was a fun one with Aston Villa and now I will be going back to the Premier League with another struggling club.


This is not my usual type of save but with the crazy transfers in the Premier league I wanted to give it a shot. Arsenal's plight is really unique and I think it might be fun to try to restore them to former glories. I think it's been absolutely ages since I managed a club of this size on FM - if anything it should represent a different challenge. It's often much easier to outperform expectations at smaller clubs than bigger ones. 

I've also used the editor to "nerf" some Arsenal players down to size - which I believe is more reflective of reality. The major casualties have been Leno, Xhaka, Chambers, Holding, Cedric & Pepe. Aubameyang I think anyway had received a downgrade on the update I loaded. With this done and a lot of dead wood locked in on high-paying contracts, I am hopeful it should add to the challenge.


And so, here we go!


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This is what the club's objectives look like. They want Champions League qualification which seems a tall ask honestly (particularly after the edits). Also we can't make any signings first window. Challenging for the title by the 3rd season also seems ambitious, but doable.

My personal objectives for this save:

  • Am going to keep things realistic which means not signing Haaland or Fati even if I could because Arsenal would never be able to IRL. Focus will be on young players who can develop at the club or senior players who aren't fitting in at other big clubs.
  • Developing players at the club has always been the Arsenal way and is reflected in the philosophy of signing players under the age of 18. We will try to do that.
  • There is a good group of academy players at the club led by Bukayo Saka, including the likes of Smith-Rowe, Nketiah, Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Balogun. I definitely want to keep them all around and make them an integral part of the squad.
  • Tactically it's all about playing free-flowing attacking football. In fact, over time I'd like to make my tactics more expressive & allow more creative freedom than I usually do. At this level we should be able to pull it off.
  • Would love to manage at least a couple of genuinely world class players over the course of this save, something I have not done in this year's edition at all.
  • And so, just have some fun!

Let's see how it pans out. Hope to have some of you along for the ride.

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The journey so far

Didn't take long to win our first piece of silverware :lol:


Likely to be the only thing we win this season...

We were also greeted by this news right around the first league game - I wonder if this is the beginning of the end of Lacazette at Arsenal for me.


Have played out 2 months of competitive fixtures so far, and here is how we got on.


We opened up with a nice easy game at Old Trafford which also happened to be Cristiano Ronaldo's second debut. He of course scored within the first 10 minutes. We did fight back and ultimately went down 2-1. 

The Burnley game was absolutely peak Arsenal. We dominated them but conspired to concede 3 silly goals. The best one of the lot is below.


Gabriel inexplicably decides to pass the ball straight to Chris Wood who rolled it into an empty net. You can't make this stuff up! :lol::seagull:

In another "peak Arsenal" moment, Xhaka finally making his first appearance of the season off the bench after spending a month out injured, comes on and then gets sent off for a violent tackle within 5 minutes. This was at Leicester, we somehow held on for a point.

Other inevitable things that happen to Arsenal - getting drawn against Man City in the Carabao Cup and losing to them. I love how they have written all of this into the game.

To be fair, we have been good at home though with a 100% record so far.

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And this is where it all leaves us:


So we are 6th in the league with 13 points from the first 7 games. Will need to improve if we are to actually challenge for the top 4.

Bukayo Saka has been exceptional so far, I really hope he can keep it up. In fact the entire left flank with him and Tierney is top class. Up front though captain Aubameyang has been disappointing with just 3 goals. Next up - the first NLD! I will do monthly updates from now on.

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