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[FM22] Mandy's Thread of Many Things


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The theme song for this year is Thin Lizzy - Don't Believe a Word.

Not that I've had a theme song in any other year.

However, looking back over my threads. Or general comments on the forum. I'm pretty sure every year for the last four years I have indicated "I won't be buying the next version." One look at my Steam library tells a different story. 

I've also started each of those versions with a grandiose plan. For a save that is going to interest people. Get them looking at my content. I'll see all those views and life will be good! Yet I've never really gotten anywhere with any of those threads.

So this years plan is probably the most grandiose yet. Grandiosely simple. I'm going to do whatever the heck I like. And I'm going to keep it all in this one thread. If I start a new save. Then posts about that save will be titled / coloured / marked accordingly. But other than having fun. And starting where I always start. With Chelsea. There is no grand plan.

I'm going to attempt to use the 3-4-3 format that seems to work quite well in real life. But seems like the players in the squad are woefully unsuited for in game. Plus, as some of the problems with me burning out in previous saves have been taking on too much. I'm taking on pretty much nothing. In real life the club has one of the best Directors of Football in the modern era. So I'm going to follow suit in my save. My transfers in and out will all be managed by Marina Granovskaia. 

Which I've never done before. And I might add is already filling me with dread when I see all the players I have that are wanted by other clubs!


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40 minutes ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

Whenever I see your name, this tune pops into my head. THIS can be your only theme tune and I don't care that it's not your name! :lol:


On a different part of the forum it was met with disappointment that I wasn't indeed a woman named Mandy who was 42 years old. Unfortunately it doesn't do exactly what it says on the tin!

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I'm crouched behind a room wide serving hatch that connects a kitchen to a living room. I'm on the living room side. I have a gun in each hand. There's a man on the opposite side of the hatch. He. Is in a similar position.


I lift the gun over the lip of the hatch and squeeze the trigger. Not looking or caring. Just shooting. Then I wait. The rather exceptional acoustics of firing a hand gun into a kitchen fade. There is silence.

"This club of yours. Will there be meetings?" I'm speaking to break the silence. To check whether my rival is still in fact capable of speech.

"Of course!!!" Comes the over enthusiastic reply. Implying that not only is the speaker very much alive. But still bursting with vim and vigor.

"No meetings!" I reply emphatically. 


I further punctuate my displeasure. Both at him still being alive and at the prospect of meetings. With a few more projectiles.


I drift back to reality. There is no gun in my hand. The only banging sound is the much less dramatic drumming of my fingers on the desk before me. There is however the bitter taste left by the phone call I had just taken. Meetings.... WEEKLY! Meetings. I mean. Surely the whole point of having the Director of Football (DoF) do everything. Is to well reduce my workload.

Speaking of the DoF. This setup is going to take some getting used to. In the meeting it is suggested that Antonio Rudiger is placed on the transfer list. To cash in on his current market value. As he seems to have zero interest in renewing his contract. Sounds like a good idea to me. 

However the first bid that comes in for him doesn't meet the DoF's valuation of the player and is rejected. Suddenly I am being accused of standing in the way of a player leaving the club. I have a micro posse of five players outside my door telling me I'm treating him badly. It's my flaming first week! Reign those horns in boys.

Its all very confusing. Rudiger does leave post haste to PSG. Ross Barkley goes to Newcastle. But only for £5M and then only because he failed to agree contract terms with Milan who the DoF was going to let have him for free! 

She has no problem signing players for the future who I've shown no interest in scouting or looking at. But players I've marked as transfer targets she seems to take an age to get round to doing anything about. I refuse to label every one of them as urgent... 

But I've signed a midfielder I wanted. Plus a replacement defender for Toni. However she refused to sign the future defensive prospect I wanted. Because we were in the process of signing another defender! One is for now... One is for later!!! That is even what the different groups say on the transfer target board I've created. I used different colours and everything...

Amidst this learning curve. Pre season is rumbling along. We've not really played anyone of substance. Nor have we left the country. Nor have I played a single game with my full first team squad yet! They are returning in dribs and drabs after the European Championships. The English contingent come back at the beginning of August. While Jorginho is the last player to come back. Taking an extra days holiday. Probably just to rub it in that he can. Due to him winning the competition.

I did have some screenshots to add! But Gyazo and the work computer seem to be in disagreement. So that will have to wait until later! 



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They say that success breeds success. I think I'd amend that to: Success breeds the opportunity for success. Otherwise it feels like it creates a rod for your own back.

Case in point. My competitive managerial debut is the European super cup. A game you only play in due to winning something else. I've also got the World Club Championship in December. Plus the whole Premier league season is compressed in order to make way for the publicity stunt that is the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The long and the short of it is. I have some amazing players. And I know where I want them all to play. I just don't know if I have enough of them to make us competitive in all of the competitions we are expected to be in this season. There's no more money either. Not that I can complain on that front. Even after resigning Romelu. There was £40M in the kitty. Add in the Rudiger money and our DoF signed the only two players I really asked for. Plus a few I didn't. One I'm not sure I would have been able to find who looks like a star for the future. And another who even if I had found him. I'm not sure I'd have touched him with a barge pole.

Anyway, back to the super cup. Or actually the week running up to the super cup. The game itself was on the 11th of August. With my full compliment of European championship players only all having returned on the 2nd of August. My back room team in their wisdom had organised all of our friendly games for July. So I had a full squad and nobody to play against. I don't even know who the opponent was. But the U23 friendly on the 3rd wasn't (at least for the first 60 minutes) an U23 game. But a full strength starting XI. Lukaku bagged a hat trick and everyone got some much needed minutes on the pitch.

Even so. Come Wednesday night when we played in the super cup. A lot of the players weren't 100% match ready. Not a worry exactly for this game. But our first Premier league game was only three days later on the Saturday! 

Before the game it felt like there was a little mini coup by my backroom staff. They'd all been nodding their heads and smiling at me through pre season. Now though, just before kick off in my first competitive game. They all came to me suggesting we changed the mentality and the formation. Felt like they had been whispering behind my back "surely this plonker is going to change things... he isn't going to stick with this... oh **** he is. Quick get him told!"

Their main concerns were that the 3-4-3 formation prevented us from playing important players in their favoured positions. Possibly. But... that was why I was in charge of training the players to adapt to their new positions! Suck it up fellas. Either it works and you can fall in line and say you believed all along. Or it wont I'll get sacked and you can say "I told you so!" to my replacement.

Though 10 minutes into the game at Windsor Park. When Villarreal had the first real chance from a corner. And they headed just over the bar. I might have been slightly concerned. I had also been concerned that I didn't know where Windsor Park was. Obviously there is the royal Windsor Park, but I didn't think they were going to let us play football there. There is a Windsor Park B&B in Blackpool. But I thought that was even less likely. Turns out its the national stadium in Belfast Northern Ireland. Just goes to show how successful the Irish are at football. 

My nerves were settled a few minutes further into the game. When we put a quality ball of our own into their box. Kai Havertz first time side footed volley clipped the angle of bar and post before bouncing harmless over. They didn't stay settled for long however. It became clear very quickly that we were in a game. Nothing like those pre season matches. Villarreal were not only assured with the ball at their feet. But were very capable of playing around and through our press if we didn't get it quite right. 

It was also looking like being a storming game for the neutral. End to end. Kepa had only just made a one handed save low down to his right. Than we had worked the ball up the other end and Lukaku had powered a header from just behind the penalty spot. Right down the throat of their keeper. 

Villarreal then proceeded to put 14 consecutive passes together. The final one being a whipped cross that flashed in at the near post. The striker got his head to it. Kepa made himself big. But luckily for us it vanished high away over the far post and out of harms way. Then it was our turn. A good combination between Lukaku and Hudson-Odoi saw the latter escape down the right wing. His cross found the former in the box. A vicious first time volley once more found its way straight at their keeper. Hitting him and deflecting wide more than him making a conscious effort to save it. I just hoped we weren't going to rue these missed chances.

Halftime came and went without much input from me. And the second half continued much in the same vein. Both teams kept the ball well. And both teams created chances. Slightly alarming was Villarreal's apparent change to counter attack and hit us on the break. From our corner. They rushed the ball up the field and Kepa had to make a smart save. The attempt was a good height for him. But strong enough that he had to push it away to his left rather than claim it. 

70 minutes played and I thought we had scored. Some clever interplay saw Kante with the ball on the edge of their box. I thought for a moment he was going to shoot. But he slid the ball into Mason Mount. Who had ghosted in at the back post in front of his defender. A cool, controlled, side footed finish and we had taken a worthy lead. But no, their keeper got down low and clawed it away before the whole ball had crossed the line. The goal line technology replay made it clear it wasn't a goal. Even if it had looked nailed on from my angle in the dugout. I went from being certain he had scored. To fuming over how he could have missed. But then a big screen replay showed two defenders cluttering up the far side of the goal. In reality Mason hadn't had much goal to aim at and had done very well to get that close to scoring!

Ten minutes to go and it was Kepa's turn to make a fantastic save. The tinniest of flick on headers in front of the near post from a corner. Saw the ball screaming for the top corner. A finger tip from our Spanish keeper saw it onto the bar and over. By now both teams had been forced into making multiple substitutions due to player fatigue. There was also one eye towards extra time and then ensuring the best penalty takers were on the pitch. In that vein with seconds left in the 90 I exchanged N'golo Kante for Timo Werner. 

Into stoppage time at the end of the game and we had the ball on the left wing. A deep hanging cross from Alonso is coming down in the general vicinity of Hakim Ziyech beyond the back post. But the ball bounces harmlessly on the turf and spins out for a goal kick. I think nothing of it and go back to conversing with my assistant about our plans for the additional periods. But then the whistle goes. And the referee is jogging over to the pitch side monitor to watch something on VAR. I catch the eye of the fourth official and he mouths at me "Possible penalty." It takes a few seconds for me to process those words. I hadn't seen anything in open play that suggested we deserved a penalty. Even if we won a penalty I felt slightly conflicted. Yes it was a golden opportunity to win my first game and proper piece of silverware. But it almost felt a shame to conclude such a contest in that manner. Once again I tilted my head to the big screen and watched the video replay. 

It became clear very quickly what the infraction was. Like a pass interference penalty in American Football. The Villarreal defender just didn't turn around to make any attempt to play the ball. His entire focus was on stopping Ziyech from getting any meaningful contact on it. If he'd made any kind of attempt to acknowledge the ball was coming in his direction he probably would have gotten away with it. As it was the referee. After making the obligatory hand gestures. Signaled a penalty to us due to obstruction by the defender. 

Lukaku stepped up to take it. In all honesty the way their keeper had played to this point. I more than half expected him to save it. Lukaku's penalty was a bullet into the top right corner. The keeper went the right way. He looked like he'd done enough to get to the ball. But it went past too quickly for him to get his hands into any kind of position to save it. 1-0 up! With only two minutes of the added on time left to play. My only remaining fear was I'd taken off Kante for Werner. When I needed the former to sure up the midfield in these dying minutes. Though my fear was misplaced. And almost fittingly it was our German forward who finished the game off for us. Running the ball past a beleaguered Villarreal defender and seeing the final seconds out by the corner flag.

Next step. Only five premier league games to play in the 20 remaining days of August! 

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Tactics time.


Might not be the final personnel. But its definitely the number one formation. It is either going to be absolutely wonderful. Or its going to crash and burn because of my stubbornness to stick to one principle. That 3-4-3 means three defenders and four midfielders. You could get pedantic and say well I have six midfielders because two of the three forwards aren't actually forwards. Makes my stubbornness even more pointed now. But to me. The 3-4 bit is just that. They aren't wingbacks, its not a 5-2-3. They are midfielders, and the challenge is to get a system that works defensively, and also works with the players I have in the squad.

Taking a look under the hood a bit. The keeper has potentially a lot of ground to cover. Which is why he's a sweeper keeper. Though I don't want him going full Rambo and coming for balls on the halfway line. So I'm leaving him on a support duty. 

The three centre backs in front of him. From a positional stand point are quite simple. They again all have defend duties to try and instil in them a sense of what their job is. Yes I need them to be ok with the ball at their feet. Yes I need them to be involved in possession when we have the ball. Which likely means they will be up around the half way line. But when we don't have possession I want their initial thought to be defensive in nature. More important than their duties and roles. Is who plays where. My slowest defender should ideally be in the middle. So that he can benefit from the cover duty and hopefully benefit from the extra amount of time that affords. My best defender needs to be on the right hand side. As the marauding right sided winger is likely to leave the right hand side more exposed than the left. 


Moving into midfield and this is the left wide midfielder role. As a defensive winger the players job is basically to **** up the opposition full back on his side of the pitch. Basically press him into making mistakes, off the ball. In the games I've played so far there hasn't been a forward pass from the right sided defender so far. It goes back to the keeper or a centre back. Its basically protecting the defensive line without being in the defensive line. In my opinion. In order to do that successfully he can't be beyond the opposition defender. If we lose the ball and he is down on the left byline from putting a cross in. Then there is nothing but green grass and wide open space for their wing back to run into. Not a good idea. So he holds position. In practice it sees him about 10 yards either side of the halfway line. He takes fewer risks with the ball. If I had the option to tell him to take no risks with the ball then I would choose that. Cross often and cross from deep. I want him to play passes with a high percentage of success. From where he is on the pitch. 

Take the ball off the opposition player. Cross onto the head of Lukaku. Score. Repeat. Yes please.


To the other side and the complete opposite. This is one of only three positions in the formation with a default attack duty. An old fashioned swashbuckling winger. Think Ryan Giggs. But also an actual decent human being. Offensively I want him doing everything more often. Be it dribbling at defenders. Either to create a chance for himself. Or a better crossing position. I also want him doing this as far forward as possible. One because that is where the opponents goal is. But also if he loses the ball. I want it as high up the pitch. So that the more defensive minded players responsible for the gaping hole he leaves in my formation. Have ample time to react.

The right sided central midfield player is designated as the ball winner for exactly that purpose. Basically N'golo Kante is responsible for enforcing his will on the entire right hand side of my midfield four. 


But what about the left sided midfielder. Well we will get to them later. But for now we are moving further forward. This position is hopefully the heartbeat of the team. The dictator of play, and thus the only designated playmaker in the formation. With a support duty, hold up the ball and roam from position instructions. I want them to identify which of the three players that surround them with attack duties should get the ball. Then as the play and attacking movement around them develops. They deliver the ball where it can do the most damage. 


The Shadow striker is potentially the deadliest player in the line up. As the playmaker holds the ball up in the pockets of space between the opposition midfield and defence. The forward will be leading the line and occupying defenders. The shadow striker will be the one making runs that will hopefully be hard to pick up. Hence why they have the roam from position instruction. I want them to be an absolute nightmare to pick up and identify just exactly where they are coming from. I want them further forward. But ideally I want them wide as well. With the defensive winger on our left side. They basically have the whole attacking left of the pitch to themselves. Plus from a wide position they could drift in to take up a more conventional second striker position when it suited. I'm sticking with run wide with the ball as an in between instruction and see how we go. Hopefully it allows them to exploit the space they have on our left, and means they don't get in the way of our striker.


Speaking of our striker. Here are his instructions. Basically, out of possession he's the central equivalent of the defensive winger. Terrorise the opposition players around him into giving up the ball. But when we have the ball. I only want him going one way. That is forward. He can run with the ball if he likes. But if he has the ball I want him shooting. I don't want him playing any pass he has to think about. Can I pass it and retain possession. No? Then shoot. Basically if he gets the ball. Shoot. If he doesn't get the ball hopefully its because the playmaker has decided another player is better suited to get it. 

Right back to the left sided central midfielder. Whose instructions I have left completely alone. Basically because I could write an essay of instructions and still not be happy. For me that is the most intelligent position on the pitch. His play is completely based around the players around him. If the defensive winger has the ball then I want him available for a low risk pass. If the playmaker and shadow striker ahead of him have roamed wide then I want him to make use of the space ahead of him to either bring the ball into it or run into it to receive the ball. Basically I've left him with a support duty and I get what I get out of him. Though I might tinker with it later.

I'm pretty happy with the instructions. And in theory in my head it all nits together well. Much more focus has gone into what we do with the ball than what we do without it. And obviously how it works in practice we will have to wait and see!


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August. You will see why its a red month later! 


Think Spurs fans were definitely seeing red after this opening day performance.


No real surprises in  the rest of the fixtures. 


Our opening day line up away against  Southampton

A rather sedate start until 27 minutes. When a 2 footed challenge from James Ward Prowse saw him see a straight red card. To add insult to the dismissal. Romelu Lukaku scored his first premier league goal of the campaign. (His second of the season as apparently Super cup goals count!) From the ensuing free kick.

Amusingly my Gyazo replay failed to  capture the challenge. Oh well. A Andreas Christensen header from a corner only three minutes later saw us double our advantage. That was how the game finished as I took the liberty of taking the foot off the gas in the second half and introducing those players who needed to gain match fitness. Hench why I'm not too concerned that we created very little from open play. Not yet anyway.


CR7 is back with 4 as Man Utd hit Burnley for 6 in the late game.

Our first game at Stamford Bridge saw us entertain the Watford side who beat Spurs on the opening weekend. Time to see if they are real contenders or Spurs are just well typical Spurs. A heavily rotated side took to the pitch.

We struck just after 10 minutes played.

A quick finish from Timo Werner after a sublime through ball from Mateo Kovacic. In previous iterations of the game I bemoaned the fact that there seemed no point to the VAR goal review system. As I never saw a goal reviewed that was given. Nor did I see a goal line technology check that awarded a goal. Well in FM22. There were a total of three VAR goal checks (this being the first) all of which resulted in goals. 

Though amusingly. Yet again my Gyazo replay skills need work. As I missed the tight offside replay. Though I think the slow mo replay does enough to show Werner is onside.

Now I'm not going to record and show every goal as I have in previous saves (unless people want to see them all!) But if a goal really grabs me. Or it demonstrates something I want to talk about tactically. Then I will put it in. I mean I don't even know if any of you click on these links in the first place!

Our third goal I liked for multiple reasons.

Hakim Ziyech finishes well from a majestic ball over the top from N'golo Kante. Firstly its nice to see Kante has that in his locker. As I doubt I'm alone in pigeon holing him into a purely defensive role. Secondly, that is exactly the kind of central, hard to pick up, between the lines run I want my shadow striker to be making. Very happy to see that so early on in our adoption of the tactic. And finally. At around 13 seconds in when he shoots. It is exactly what I want to see. The three furthest forward players are the three on the pitch with an attack duty. In this instance Ziyech, Werner and Pulisic.

We were 4-0 up by halftime. Shipping a goal in the second half wasn't ideal. But general squad fatigue and the fact I'd again rotated in players who weren't entirely match sharp didn't help. Though once again our opponent had been reduced to 10 men. This time midway through the second half for two yellow card offences. 4-1 at the end wasn't to be sniffed at.

Thus when we scored a fifth in the final minutes of the 90. I was indeed rather happy

Timo Werner rounding out his hat trick with a great strike. Though I can't decide whether the change in camera angle adds or subtracts from it. This goal would go on to net him 3rd place in the goal of the month competition for August. But we get ahead of ourselves.

If I was happy with 4-1. Then I should have been ok with 5-2, which indeed was the final score. However I will admit that it rankled a little to concede right at the death in a game. 

Interestingly our second game was the only game to be played. Possibly as we try to squeeze in the fixtures from December while we are away at the Club world championships. Either way we went top of the table with 6 points. I overlooked the fact that we were the only team who had the opportunity to get 6 points!

Crystal Palace were next at Stamford Bridge. With Liverpool at Anfield to round out the month. I definitely rolled out a weaker side against Palace. And in the pouring rain was made to pay in the opening exchanges.

This is going in not only to prove that I don't just record our goals. But also to point out something tactically

Hudson-Odoi is tracking back into the right full back position. I have no issue with him doing that. Nor do I take issue with him being beaten so easily with the cross. While he can try to cover in that area. I have no real expectation of him being overly successful. However, having two of my central defenders go for the same header and both miss it. Thus allowed Jordan Ayew with a free attempt at goal at the far post. That is unacceptable. The whole point of forcing players outside and defending narrow. Is that I want attacking opposition players committed to wide areas of the pitch where they will be ineffective when we win the ball back. Plus that three central defenders whose job it is to police the penalty area. Should be more than capable of dealing with the majority of balls that come into our box!

The video also shows I'm not shy in shouting at my players. Straight at them demanding more. 

Thankfully the response wasn't long in coming. My earlier frustration being wiped away by getting back on level terms. But also by what was in my opinion our best goal so far.

Once again from a tactical perspective it has most of what I want to see. Mount as the shadow striker runs wide with the ball to the left wing. But also has the presence of mind to work his way back into the box. Jorginho the support midfielder is there to well support the move. 12 passes sees Marco Asensio finish first time. I guess perfection would be the Mount and Asensio roles in the move reversed. As I don't want the later shooting that often. But when I'm down in a game I will take it!

Into the second half and we dominate but it takes a Marc Guehi own goal to put us ahead. In his first start for Palace. The former blue who was at Stamford Bridge since the age of 7. Turns a Chalobah drive from a corner into his own net. Hopefully his career with improve going forward. We run out 3-1 winners by full time. Helped in the run in by. You guessed it. A palace midfielder seeing red for another reckless two footed challenge.


Finally other teams are playing games! Though Arsenal might wish they hadn't as Burnley overturn a poor start to take the points.


Man City need an injury time Jack Grealish goal to not drop points against Leeds.


Spurs seem to be sleeping their way into the season.

Our final game of the month came at Anfield. And I was exceptionally nervous. I bowed some what to my backroom staff and their pressure to adapt the way we played for this occasion. I went with a 5-3-2 formation. Cautious mentality. Emphasis on keeping the ball as a form of defensive counter measure. In the first half it worked. Yes Liverpool had chances. But they weren't good ones. We had the most clear cut chance right at the end of the half when Lukaku blazed a header over the bar from a corner. We had 85% possession and were basically killing the game.

My mistake was that in the second half I opened it up a bit trying to go get more than a draw. While we were still decent money for our performance. It definitely improved the quality of Liverpool's chances. A killer through ball which Sadio Mane threaded neatly past Mendy was the one outstanding piece of quality they produced all game. 

In the closing 15 minutes I went to a 4-3-3 to try grab something out of the game. Werner this time blazed over the bar. While Lukaku forced a smart save out of Alisson. But in the end we suffered our first defeat of the campaign 1-0.


For the first time there wasn't a red card in our game. But there were three across the rest of the match week. Southampton held on bravely to take points off Man City. While Arsenal bounced back from the Burnley loss and going a goal down against Norwich.


At the end of August the table looks like this. Man City and Arsenal sit under my hamfisted mouse over of Chelsea. It is early days. But we could drop to fifth depending on how many goals Arsenal win their game in hand by.



Edited by Mandy42
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