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[FM22] A Day Without Football is a Day Lost


SixPointer
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November 2025

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It's been such a long time since I played these fixtures that I don't have much detail to go on. What i will say, it was a superb month!

Overpowering PSV on their own patch in a five goal thriller was a great way to start the month. Young Misehouy took the winner very well as he looks to stake his claim to become a regular.

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The next two games we showed great character to come from behind and win. First up in Europe we fell behind early before taking complete control of the game, Excelsior however was very last minute and the press are contributing the turn around to a clever tactical shift from Howedes.

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Frank De Boers returned to Johan Cruyff Arena with his Vitesse side, it wasn't a pleasant return for the Ajax legend as his team were completely dismantled and sent packing back to Arnhem. Travelling to Switzerland our character was perhaps called into question as we lost a 90+1 equaliser, losing our 100% record in the group in doing so.

Esposito rounded off a great month for himself and the club as he bagged a brace to take it six goals in five games for himself and five wins from six games for the club, as Almere were brushed aside.

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Had already been quite the month for the young man from Castellammare di Stabia, but he took his chances with both hands on his first cap for his country, hitting his first goal on his debut provided him with a bigger even moment never to forget.

He further cemented his credentials as a full international by netting in his second appearance for his country, he looks like he is up for the fight with Raspadori for that number 9 shirt.

The Italian has really hit the ground running in Amsterdam and looks to have carried his goal scoring form on from Fiorentina, which caught the eye of Howedes and was a huge factor in bringing him here.

It seems he has left the tag of player not fulfilling his potential to really finding his feet and starting to realise his early promise.

December 2025

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From a great month to a terrible month, the highs and lows of football clear to be seen. Perhaps my return to playing after 5 weeks away due to work then my holiday to italy played a big role, as it did take me sometime to get back into the save. Nevertheless I don't like excuses and next month things will need to be put right for certain!

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Of course not only Hasenhutl but Howedes the manager and former starlet Mijnans also tasted defeat at the hands of their former employers, something am sure the travelling supporters savoured.

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This really should never have been a game Ajax lost. Completely dominant in the first half yet went in 1-0 down at the break, a needless error from collander in fact a moment of pure madness allowed the visitors to go ahead.

Mijnans hit his 50th career league goal against his former club, he took the goal well after some nice movement he did however refuse to celebrate against former side showing the respect for their part in his development.

As the game approached the last 5 minutes, Sparta had a small spell of domincase and Mattsson buried a freekick into the top corner to snatch all three points from the man who brought him to Rotterdam.

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A hugely damaging defeat and one that will certainly cause question marks about Howedes credentials to manage a club the size of Ajax, winning trophies is bread and butter at this club and this will certainly cause a stir. Howedes did struggle at first with Sparta in the tournament but finished off his reign with a famous victory, which in turn caught the Ajax's board's attention.

While it was clear that Ajax were by far the better side, some really poor defending cost them dearly, conceding three goals against a team a full tier below them is not acceptable and questions will be asked certainly considering all three came from long direct balls. Howedes was naive and couldn't stop the problem.

I am sure there will be an inquest after this result and being dumped out the cup, his only saving grace is his performance in europe and the league, while his attacking and attractive style of play will have captured a lot of fans imagination who will perhaps allow this one to slide but if current form does not improve am sure this will be cast up.

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When you combine both headlines you understand why the month has been such a disaster. Conceding far too many easy goals and not being clinical enough, a very bad combination. Both are my pet hates, I can handle being beaten by a better team or better performance but I hate when it comes to our own issues. In my next update i'll be taking a much closer look to see what's causing the issues, is it just a lack of form or is there more to it.

Eredivisie Table

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The last minute Tadic penalty ensures we enter the halfway stage top of the pile and may I add with a game in hand, impressive stuff considering the month of december we just endured.

Luckily enough for us Feyenoord, Sparta and PSV all had shaky months themselves but AZ, and Utrecht pounced to fully emerge themselves in a battle for glory. To say it's tight at the top would be an understatement at this stage.

Goal difference is a huge positive and shows the style of play is bearing gifts but we need to make it pay at crucial times, scoring 7 the first time around against Volendam then not being able to hit a barn door the second time around does make me concerned. 11 wins out of 16 games isn't necessarily championship winning form, lucky for us others have not capitalised on it.

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Very happy with our performance in the Europa league, two late goals cost us a 100% record but we did sail into the knockout rounds. Averaged over 2 goals scored a game which is pleasing but we never came up against any world beater.

After being knocked out the KNVB now really view this as a trophy we have to win, while there are some big clubs still in and likely to come into the knockout rounds i really believe we are just as big. The club has a rich history in European football and I would love to add to that, at the first time of asking.

Up Next

Now that I am back in the zone, I plan on a pre-recruitment type update which will merge nicely into an overview of the half season performance, with some tactical aspects thrown into the mix. Thanks for bearing with me as I've been away for some time now, that includes not reading other peoples stuff which I fully intend to catch up on as well.

Hopefully now I can kick on and give the rest of the challenge my all as I am really determined to make a real go of it.

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5 hours ago, SixPointer said:

Now that I am back in the zone, I plan on a pre-recruitment type update which will merge nicely into an overview of the half season performance, with some tactical aspects thrown into the mix. Thanks for bearing with me as I've been away for some time now, that includes not reading other peoples stuff which I fully intend to catch up on as well.

Hopefully now I can kick on and give the rest of the challenge my all as I am really determined to make a real go of it.

Some ups and downs, as you say but that's to be expected with both the time off and the fact that you've built a whole new squad here.

You're making great progress with the challenge - honestly - and fully expect you to complete the Ajax leg this season or next. Now you enter January, do you have any areas of the team or new signings that you're particularly worried about?

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Good to see you back at this mate. That defeat to your old club is wildly unlucky must have had you tearing your hair out! But I'm sure you'll bounce back very quickly. 

Btw what do you need to accomplish at ajax for the challenge? Do you need to win the champions league as well?

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8 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

Some ups and downs, as you say but that's to be expected with both the time off and the fact that you've built a whole new squad here.

You're making great progress with the challenge - honestly - and fully expect you to complete the Ajax leg this season or next. Now you enter January, do you have any areas of the team or new signings that you're particularly worried about?

Em I plan a pre recruitment post, as I do have areas that require strengthening but I want to have in depth look at them. Which is my plan today. So that I’m no just going off my instinct.

On the face of it just now I’m to reliant on Esposito, Suarez is just finished and Tadic seems to prefer the flanks over the F9. So a striker is definitely planned.

Much like Suarez, Blind is in decline and while he hasn’t performed badly when called upon he hasn’t played great. Which in turn has seen me use Kana in DMC, due to a lack of trust in blind.

That’s the two areas I consider before I have some serious reflection on the squad, tactics and performance.

Been a way a while so I need to get to grips with all three squads work out what I need and make sure it’s educated by checking performance (stats) and looking if it’s tactically that’s failing to see certain players perform or if they just aren’t up to the task.

1 hour ago, karanhsingh said:

Good to see you back at this mate. That defeat to your old club is wildly unlucky must have had you tearing your hair out! But I'm sure you'll bounce back very quickly. 

Btw what do you need to accomplish at ajax for the challenge? Do you need to win the champions league as well?

Thanks man. Good to be back. I was worried I would have lost my buzz for the save but after a poor month it’s actually got me intrigued again as i look to solve some problems.

In terms of the challenge I only have to win the league and then it opens the door. @JarheadFM challenge states you can win the champions league between stage 2-4.
 

But Happel in real life won the European cup and intercontinental cup at this stage, winning the first then sealing the Eredivise title the year after. So it would be nice to achieve it at this stage.

Ajax as a club is more than capable of challenging for the UCL. They proved that winning it in 1995 as well as going to the semis in more recent times.

So while jarhead states that the modern format is more difficult than when happel won it I’m probably in a good place to challenge for it. It may come at price as it keeps me at Ajax for 4-5 years but I’m happy with that!

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1 hour ago, SixPointer said:

Thanks man. Good to be back. I was worried I would have lost my buzz for the save but after a poor month it’s actually got me intrigued again as i look to solve some problems.

In terms of the challenge I only have to win the league and then it opens the door. @JarheadFM challenge states you can win the champions league between stage 2-4.

But Happel in real life won the European cup and intercontinental cup at this stage, winning the first then sealing the Eredivise title the year after. So it would be nice to achieve it at this stage.

Ajax as a club is more than capable of challenging for the UCL. They proved that winning it in 1995 as well as going to the semis in more recent times.

So while jarhead states that the modern format is more difficult than when happel won it I’m probably in a good place to challenge for it. It may come at price as it keeps me at Ajax for 4-5 years but I’m happy with that!

Right, I agree with you that Ajax seems like a good club to challenge for the UCL at, and it would also give you something to aim for apart from the Eredivisie. 

Also if I remember correctly you have to win the UCL at a club not from a 4 star league which would rule out the "big 5" I suppose - from the remaining possibilities Ajax would likely be one of the strongest candidates anyway.

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2 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Right, I agree with you that Ajax seems like a good club to challenge for the UCL at, and it would also give you something to aim for apart from the Eredivisie. 

Also if I remember correctly you have to win the UCL at a club not from a 4 star league which would rule out the "big 5" I suppose - from the remaining possibilities Ajax would likely be one of the strongest candidates anyway.

Your absolutely correct my man! That’s my exact thinking. 

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Welcome back!
Rough December but top of the league and and any team will hit a rough patch here and there.

I’m glad to see Esposito doing as well for you as he did for me with Livorno.

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3 hours ago, 13th Man said:

Welcome back!
Rough December but top of the league and and any team will hit a rough patch here and there.

I’m glad to see Esposito doing as well for you as he did for me with Livorno.

Thanks man!

yeah he’s certainly hit the ground running. He did have a good season in Florence before heading here. But he had toiled at inter 

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Posted (edited)

The Halfway Point

On the face of things it's been a reasonable first six months at the helm.

Minus the KNVB Beker exit, we sit top of the pile with a game in hand and are in the knockout stages of the Europa league. Yet I still feel left wanting a little, maybe the poor month has had an effect on my view of things so far.

So as I enter January and the fact I had been away from the game for so long I think it's best to reflect on what's been good and bad so far before entering a big window for the club.

The Numbers

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Most of our defensive actions take place just before the half way line, which coupled with possession gained around the same area, with a higher average than the league.

Defending with a high line and winning the ball before entering the danger zone is a vital part of the game plan and philosophy so it's great to see it being executed. I would like to see us winning it a little bit more in the opposing half, but the key point is we are suffocating play as soon as they enter our half.

Much more passes than average in the league. Another key component of the positional play philosophy, moving the ball between ourselves to shift the opponent out of shape. Passing the ball mostly in the area of turnover alludes to us keeping the ball and allowing the team transition into its attacking shape, again good principle being applied.

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As expected, attacking and defending are well above average in the league.

A few points I would like to highlight that tie in with the overall gameplan. Attacking is self explanatory and i feel i've talked enough about the principles in attack, as Ajax we are expected to dominate this area.

The key points I would like to note are the opposite end of the pitch, instantly from the strange shape of our diagram. It's intriguing.

Low amount of tackles attempted, expected when dominating the ball. Critically 6th best in terms of tackles won ratio, winning the ball back as fast as possible is a priority.

Interceptions tie in nicely with tackles, while I prefer to intercept as it is more about reading the game, I can't be too fussy about how we win the ball back. Low clearances in the league, again backs up the defensive game plan, defenders being composed and not panicking when under pressure.

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Gravenberch and the evergreen Eriksen lead the way as high scoring midfielders, Mijnans is well above average also. The main reason I've decided to talk about this stat is the fact it's something I have put a lot of time and effort into building into the tactical systems.

The CM(a) and MEZ(a) have produced collect hird man runs, half space dominance and CM's becoming  a serious goal threat, but the combo of a F9 being flanked by two AMC(a) has really set a light on those third man runs. All three systems are designed to provide me with half space dominance and third man runs, So I am chuffed to bits to lead the way here.

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Therein lies the first problem, the forwards outside Espositio are slacking in terms of scoring goals. Tadic has hit four penalties, which down to FM's limitations in the data hub is giving a false account of his actual output. Tsyagankov has been more creative, but I still expect better returns.

Now I do use them as decoys at times as they hold width (like here) and pull players out of position, but my concern is like at Sparta (before the final season) when the wide players weren't up to scratch. Hazard and Tadic are ageing and performing below average, so this will be a key area to address in the coming transfer window.

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All four centre backs are struggling to win their headers, 64% and 65% are well below par from Garcia and Mbete. While Natan and Kana are slightly better, it still sees them fall below the league averages. Which brings more context, it's not as if we don't attempt headers in fact far more than average.

The high press often forces teams long, defenders panic and they launch it, this means it's imperative that my centre backs are capable of winning their individual aerial battles. This was an area of great strength at Sparta, so why the issues?

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Taking a closer look at my four centre backs, I put together eight attributes I deemed most important for winning aerial battles. (Heading, jumping, bravery, positioning, anticipation, concentration, strength and aggression) you could argue for a decision as well but I zoned in on these 8.

The findings certainly point in the direction of the issue, and also back up each individual player's performance. Kana lacks heading and strength but has a good level of aggression, Natan is slightly low on the aggressive front but it's clear to see why he leads the way.

Garcia has an issue with being aggressive but rates highly in all other areas, so he is certainly underperforming on that front. Mbete is definitely the weakness of the four with three areas of concern, the loanee has much work to do in order to make the grade.

The flaws in the players does highlight an issue in my recruitment. Focusing too much on the ball playing technical aspect of my centre backs has seen me perhaps overlook a couple of key defensive factors, especially when I know teams will need to launch it. While all four are still solid enough it does show a potential weakness that teams are exploiting. 

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Looking at our assists types and the lack of set play goals (something very strong at Sparta) is most likely down to these four players being the main targets and not having the aggressive nature to beat their man and score. Ironically the only one to have scored from the corner is Mbete. So I will need to have a look at my set plays and adjust to suit as these four seem to be struggling.

Shortlist

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Armed with the investigation and these ageing player contracts (none will sign reduced terms) along with Gravenberch, Onana, Tsygankov, Alvarez all being wanted there will be a few positions that are going to be looked at in January 

There are a few B team players that are falling just short of being able to step up, in fact I inherited about 7 players in that zone. Good enough for perhaps a mid table team but not title challengers, while I bought some players for the youth side who now look more likely than the current crop.

A new striker is essential, two probably was the plan but I'm prepared to promote young Sam Knapen and give him some minutes, played well for the Jong side (B-Team) which I'll still make him available for. He is one of the players i bought in the summer.

Two wide players need to be sourced as Hazard has huffed and puffed and is on his way out. Tadic is 36 so i may secure someone for the summer, but much will depend on Tsygankov interest if he is sold then a first choice replacement will be required.

Defensive midfield is another area I can look to bolster, Kana has been shifting between CB and DMC when the mighty Alvarez needs a rest, as I have issues trusting Blind.

I have a young Hartmann primed for the position long term so i don't need a wonderkid type as i don't want to block his path to much so, perhaps a 26/27 year old who could fill in if alaverz was to leave, but still gives the younger player a chance to progress.

Thats me back up to speed!

Edited by SixPointer
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1 hour ago, karanhsingh said:

It's a good start but as you say still a lot of changes required in the squad! Especially with the ageing players. That being said Esposito is literally off the charts :lol:

Yeah he’s really smashing them in. Thing is he’s doing it in all three roles (CF, F9 & AF) some goals he’s getting on the end of things, some he is on the shoulder and breaking in behind, others he makes for himself and hits them from distance. He’s proving to be very complete 

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January (early)

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First on the hit list!

Tagliafico attributes wise is still elite as his description suggests, however Kristiansen has more than out performed him and shown he is ready to be first choice. Throw into the mix he wouldn't accept reduced terms and it was a no brainer to accept that sort of money going into his last year.

Milan Ostojic will be promoted from the Jong side to push Kristiansen, he arrived in the summer from Partizan for 5 million euros, so his time has come.

This type of progression should aid getting a more settled 11, I always like to operate with a clear first choice with someone of potential trying to push them. Just now I have too many players on the same level and I feel my tinkering is causing issues.

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Eden's spell in Amsterdam was very short lived, he now heads to Mexico for his swan song. He showed flashes of his brilliance with a few killer balls, but when he agreed to a pre contract i offered a sale now of 1 million euros. While it's not big money his 90k a week in wages certainly was.

This will likely mean dipping our toes in the market for a left sided forward. van Axel Dongen is out on loan and i'm tempted to bring him back.

He falls into the category of players i've been talking about, not really first team quality but not a bad player either. If he was 17/18 instead of 21 I would be raving about him.

There are another 5 players like him that have been neglected and it stunted their growth and hindered their chances of becoming first teamers.

Do a give him a gamble? i think i'll see what is out there, as he hasn't been playing out his skin on loan either so i'm concerned he just won't be up to the task.

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1 hour ago, SixPointer said:

Do a give him a gamble? i think i'll see what is out there, as he hasn't been playing out his skin on loan either so i'm concerned he just won't be up to the task.

I like him! How are Kortijk doing in the league? I’ve got a couple of lads out on loan who are struggling but that’s because their team is, too. 

Attribute wise, his two-footedness skews those attributes and a run in the first team could certainly give them a boost. You’re a strong team and I’d be using him in the last 20 to either kill a game off with his pace or give him that experience he needs. 

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1 hour ago, _Ben_ said:

I like him! How are Kortijk doing in the league? I’ve got a couple of lads out on loan who are struggling but that’s because their team is, too. 

Attribute wise, his two-footedness skews those attributes and a run in the first team could certainly give them a boost. You’re a strong team and I’d be using him in the last 20 to either kill a game off with his pace or give him that experience he needs. 

I really don’t like the OFB of 10. I know what your saying am really spilt at the minute. When am back on tomorrow am going to be finalising my shortlist for the window. So I’ll see what else is there. But I may give this guy his chance. First team football may ignite something 

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21 minutes ago, SixPointer said:

I really don’t like the OFB of 10. I know what your saying am really spilt at the minute. When am back on tomorrow am going to be finalising my shortlist for the window. So I’ll see what else is there. But I may give this guy his chance. First team football may ignite something 

Without making it too gamey, his two footedness is potentially skewing his CA by upwards of 10 points and that's the difference between a solid Eredivisie player and, well, not one. Yes, that OtB is a little lower than you want but it's not going to be too far below average for youngsters in that division, which is a big step of realisation I've made this year. Plus, there are a lot of other good attributes at the 12/13 level and that, used well - which I know you're good at - could be just what you need at certain parts of the game.

On a side note, he's actually a left back in my save but, at 33, I'm just giving him a scout as he's available on a pre-contract and could add some depth! Will share a screenshot when his attributes are uncovered...

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8 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

Without making it too gamey, his two footedness is potentially skewing his CA by upwards of 10 points and that's the difference between a solid Eredivisie player and, well, not one. Yes, that OtB is a little lower than you want but it's not going to be too far below average for youngsters in that division, which is a big step of realisation I've made this year. Plus, there are a lot of other good attributes at the 12/13 level and that, used well - which I know you're good at - could be just what you need at certain parts of the game.

On a side note, he's actually a left back in my save but, at 33, I'm just giving him a scout as he's available on a pre-contract and could add some depth! Will share a screenshot when his attributes are uncovered...

I think I will most likely give him a go. After all it’s the Ajax way. That leaves me two 21 year olds on that flank. But Tadic can always shift to that point. 

 

1 hour ago, karanhsingh said:

I agree with the point about the two footedness, if he was one footed his attributes would "look" a lot better. Definitely think he can be given a go!

I have to admit this is the first I’ve heard about the two footedness skewing attributes.

everyday is a school day. 

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Nice breakdown.  As you say, the attacking stats are lovely, but to be expected.

17 hours ago, SixPointer said:

Focusing too much on the ball playing technical aspect of my centre backs has seen me perhaps overlook a couple of key defensive factors, especially when I know teams will need to launch it. While all four are still solid enough it does show a potential weakness that teams are exploiting.

This is an issue Benjani had at Portsmouth for a while.  At a club with limited resources, you're going to have to accept flaws in the players - but as a bit of an old school person myself, I found myself enraged by the lack of strength and heading in those CBs.  Ajax doesn't have the buying power of the top top clubs, but I think you'd be able to find some players that can throw themselves about and play football.

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2 hours ago, SixPointer said:

I think I will most likely give him a go. After all it’s the Ajax way. That leaves me two 21 year olds on that flank. But Tadic can always shift to that point. 

I have to admit this is the first I’ve heard about the two footedness skewing attributes.

everyday is a school day. 

Yes, essentially if you went into an editor and changed the weaker foot of a player from say 15 to 1, in some time you will notice all his attributes rising. 

However personally I prefer two-footed players and I think now in the ME on FM22 it makes more of a difference than it used to. You see one footed players being able to effectively use their weaker foot a lot less than before.

So just think of it as an attribute like the others. The weaker foot rating. And of course, one of the most important ones.

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3 hours ago, SixPointer said:

I think I will most likely give him a go. After all it’s the Ajax way. That leaves me two 21 year olds on that flank. But Tadic can always shift to that point. 

I can see he’s underperforming his xG but what are his key pass/chances created stats like? I’m still backing that theory that Kortijk aren’t a great team and that’s skewing his performances but that he’ll come back and smash it into a title winning side!

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14 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

I can see he’s underperforming his xG but what are his key pass/chances created stats like? I’m still backing that theory that Kortijk aren’t a great team and that’s skewing his performances but that he’ll come back and smash it into a title winning side!

There's been a development this morning

After checking the performance of his loan (second bottom) club this morning, I made the decision to give him the chance. I've also followed suit with another player which I'll update on shortly. After all, the Ajax model is mainly to promote within.

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Not a bad way to introduce himself, smashing one home on his debut. Beautiful team moves as well. From the opposite side I had planned to deploy him, so thanks for the heads up on the two footed twist. Never realised it has a bearing on attribute growth!

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Posted (edited)

January 2026 (Part One)

Hectic month to say the least, lots to cover.

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Talk about turning a profit, 130.5m Euros made in january, from five sales!

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Blind and Hazard joined this trio, both accepted pre contracts and i opted to sell them now, the pair head to Mexcio to see out their careers.

Armed with the advice from @_Ben_  I decided to use Enzo Lie A Kwie to cover for the departure of Blind. He lacks in a few key areas (tackling & passing) but with him being both footed he falls into that category, it's also the Ajax model, player leaves, youth player promoted, more often that not this is the system.

Similar idea behind Onana replacement, Luka Podlech will step up to number 1. The 20 year old German is ready in all honesty. I signed him in the summer as the long term replacement, the move is just a few years earlier than i had first imagined. I did bring in Mamardashvili on loan as cover.

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Gravenberch smashes the Dutch record, it's a lot of money when you consider Bayern nipped him for less than 20 in real life, he's worth every penny as well, world class at 23!

That sort of fee Ajax wouldnt turn down in real life, likewise the Onana deal who only had two years left. So I applied my realistic approach, accepted the offer, and offered a new contract, then it was in the players hand. "The club would like you to stay but we cant turn down a fee of such size, we can offer you this though" that's my thinking.

Few issues with this replacement. I had planned for it to bid for my long term replacement Adam Karabec , activating his release clause of 16.25m, bargain! However he opted to join Real, which left me chasing for another player, before the Gravenberch deal was even through. Slim pickings for a realistic deal or someone with as much quality and with no one ready to step up I had to change the plan.

I found a younger player who would suit an Ajax type signing perhaps, a younger player not the finished article but reasonably enough priced, this would shift Eriksen into starter.

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Santos arrives from Sporting CP, 27 million with 5 million on performance add ons, respectable price for a 20 year old full of quality. The scout report pointed towards some really good pro's (fairly consistent, professional, versatile. 

While my only concern would be injuries, after a quick check of the history it was more frequent than serious, which I see a lot in young players.

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DNA - Score of 141, with no real glaring weakness for the attacking roles in the middle of the pitch. The physical qualities were a big draw for me, I like a playmaker type to have good balance and agility, they often receive the ball in tight areas or get man marked so these two are very beneficial, evading such ploys.

This now gives us two great prospects in him and Mishouey, in comparison Santos shades it but Gabriel knows the club and league, however they both have real quality, and provide excellent competition for Mijnans and Eriksen.

The deals went through on deadline and while I was sweating on Santos, I covered my ass with the loan singing of Ísak Bergmann Jóhannesson.

The Icelandic sensation has failed to make the grade at Real Madrid after his move there, much like Odegaard did. A 21 million optional fee may be interesting if he performs when called upon and it adds more depth for the time being, while not blocking pathways.

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A similar idea I took for my striker problem, as I loaned Gabriel Barbosa. The fans went wild and he is a big player, but again he's failed to settle in Europe firstly with Inter and lately with Chelsea. Perhaps he can come and find a home but at 29 he isnt really what am after, at 26/27 differnt story, really just a stop gap. with Knappen not quite ready, Suarez being finished and if Esposito was to get injured I would be in a struggle.

 The market not throwing up any Ajax type of deals and i really fancy an aggressive pressing forward type to offset what i already have, still with reasoble ball playing qualityes but someone who will run through brick walls and I have my eye on a couple but wouldn't be available till summer.

Conclusion

Two really big players have left, commanding huge fees, along with a few older players. I've tried to replace them in the most realistic ways. As i try to do with every transfer. It adds more immersion for me.

I never really got involved in the stats, mainly because it was all loans bar or player promotion bar one. Santos has only just started to break onto the scene so it is a gamble on the statistical side, but it felt right and felt Ajax so I moved, especially after my Karabec disappointment. 

The squad looks healthy for now, but with loans and younger players supplementing things if performances don't live up to expectations, I need to be more prepared for summer. While I do have a lovely under 19 side just blossoming together, so it may be a few of them are chucked in at the deep end next season. Ajax style!

I'll be back with the match reports update for January tomorrow, I decided to split it as it would be lengthy. So really good things to view on the match front as well so see you tomorrow.

Edited by SixPointer
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That is a lot of money coming in and, as you say, very realistic. Going to be interesting to see how the replacements fare, but maybe a good thing that Podlech can step up and truly develop - could be huge for him. Back in FM19 I think, I had Esposito at Southampton and he was progressing but when Ings went down with a bad injury (surprise!) he suddenly started to progress in leaps and bounds and basically took over. It’s much harder to rotate keepers too!

Santos looks a good player, maybe a little light defensively, but technically and physically good and with room to grow.

Edited by 13th Man
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8 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

166caede631112d226894d48632297df.png

Classic Ajax...:lol:

A bit more like it! long may it continue.

9 hours ago, 13th Man said:

That is a lot of money coming in and, as you say, very realistic. Going to be interesting to see how the replacements fare, but maybe a good thing that Podlech can step up and truly develop - could be huge for him. Back in FM19 I think, I had Esposito at Southampton and he was progressing but when Ings went down with a bad injury (surprise!) he suddenly started to progress in leaps and bounds and basically took over. It’s much harder to rotate keepers too!

Santos looks a good player, maybe a little light defensively, but technically and physically good and with room to grow.

Yeah at 20 he’s still young for a goalkeeper, but he is certainly at level to play first time. He already had played two seasons as Schalke 04 number one, in the Bundesliga 2. 

Santos definitely not as complete as I would have liked but in all fairness, Mijnans, Eriksen, Mishouey and Gravenberch himself were not unbelievable in defence.

That’s why Edson “the rock” Alvarez is in for contract talks. he is sublime In front for the back 4, Breaks up play, lays it off, wins headers. Does all the dirty work of the other two CMS. 
 

 

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Realistic transfers are always the way to play.....Ajax bringing in Mbappe or Halland would be just wrong.

I think that the team will be good enough in the Eredivisie, but in reality, it is Champion's League that is your goal.

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1 hour ago, Hootieleece said:

Realistic transfers are always the way to play.....Ajax bringing in Mbappe or Halland would be just wrong.

I think that the team will be good enough in the Eredivisie, but in reality, it is Champion's League that is your goal.

The Champions league is a four year plan, I inherited an ageing squad which is being  overhauled. Bringing players in that have room to grow into a UCL contender all while trying to turn a profit, whether that be players from the academy or transfer market.

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You've got the Ajax model spot on here! Nobody should be turning down that amount of money and you've replaced really well, in my opinion.

I love Lie a Kwie and think he'll be great, as will Van Axel Dongen and they should be the next players off the production line after Gravenberch. My one area to really dig into though is about your loan signings. Now I know that you're following a similar approach to me in terms of realism and player stats > player attributes but what made you go for those players, who, presumably, aren't getting first team football at their club?

Looking forward to the next update and also seeing how the trajectory of my time in Holland matches yours: whether it'll be the Sparta model or the Ajax model.

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January (Part Two)

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The perfect response to a poor month, 4 wins from 4 and a 5 point lead with a game in hand.

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Willem II

A very complete performance, the conductor's 2-3-5 attacking shape wreaked havoc on their defence. leaving their fullbacks 1v1 on many occasions, but most importantly the central overload allowed the IWB's to get on the ball and make things happen.

Victor Kristiansen took advantage of this with not only one, but two sumptuous assists in behind their full backs. Dongen finished off the lovely team move (seen previously) to get the third.

FC Utrecht

A much tighter affair, both teams failed to make many clear cut chances. Natan headed home a corner, He is now the main target off all corners after the inquest into the centre backs. Speaking of inquiries in centre backs, Garcia fails to win the header (again) and then Natan doesn't track the run for their goal, Garcia has a cheek to complain about game time!

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Esposito was back to goalscoring ways, netting a superb volley after an incredible team move, nine players involved, only the LCB & DMC missing out on the move. The ball was worked from right to left over multiple zones and lines, then finished expertely. What a goal!!

VVV-Venlo

The trip to the German border resulted in a 4-1 victory and some superb football being played, Venlo's goal was probably the best goal of the day which is saying something.

Espositio hit a brace taking his tally to 21 for the season, quite the return already, for some who never quite made the grade at Inter Milan. Axel Dongen supplied the pass for his second goal, a great ball in behind matched by the Italians movement and finish.

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Yet, the star of the show was young gabriel mishouey, 95% pass completion with 7 key passes and assist to boot, 75% of shots on target one of being a goal, and four dribbles completed. An outright menace in that half space, all while Gravenberch sat on the bench looking on as his work permit was processed.

AZ Alkmaar

Very cagey affair in the Noord-Hollandse derby, but revenge for an earlier season defeat is served, in a must win game against a league challenger.

A Christian Eriksen wonder strike separates the sides, assisted by the in form van Axel Dongen who is proving given youth a chance even if the slight weakness can be effective. This was his most impressive performance but while he laid it on it was his defensive performance that really caught my eye.

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Analysis clearly pointed out that AZ would be strong down their right hand side, Marvin Park has 13 assists for the season from the CWB role.

This alone was enough to prompt a defensive response from Howdes. Axel Dongen would be asked to man mark and tackle hard, as would the opposition instructions for the dame, while also showing him onto the right foot. Evjen would be given similar treatment, but he would be shown down the line closing off the space for the overlap as best as we can.

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AZ's pass map shows how they had to favour the left hand side, the man marking ploy shut off the danger area. Kristiansen had a blinding performance in defence with 7/7 tackles, 10/10 headers and 2 interceptions which kept the door shut. Axel Dongen tracked back and worked extremely hard, putting the hard tackling to use on more than one occasion and winning 10/13 headers. As Sir Alex would say "im very proud"

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This is my favourite screen to depict the plan coming into action, on show is tackles won, headers won, interceptions. You can see how hard our left hand side pairing had to work, it wasn't a case of AZ changing the plan, it was a case of us being ready to stop it. In comparison to the right hand side it's incredible the difference.

Now this wasn't solely the reason Ajax won this game, but in such a tight affair stopping their main threat has proved a major part of the puzzle. As I always say this is my favourite part of this beautiful game we all play, yes wonderkids or hidden gems are great, but when it comes to making tactical decisions and they pay off that's the one, what a feeling.

Conclusion
A great month, and it was needed especially after last. Opened up a nice gap and now it's full steam ahead, I'm definitely back in the groove, back to analysing each game individually and preparing properly, and the first 20 minutes on comprehensive. 
Going back to my old habits has paid off and it re ignited my buzz for the save, rather than last month after my holiday when I was sort of drifting through it. 
 

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Love the crucial focus in that AZ game plan. As you say, may not have “won” the match, but made it so AZ couldn’t play the way they wanted to. Nothing more satisfying than seeing that work out the way you want.

An excellent month overall as well. Was this all before or after the departures?

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5 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

You've got the Ajax model spot on here! Nobody should be turning down that amount of money and you've replaced really well, in my opinion.

I love Lie a Kwie and think he'll be great, as will Van Axel Dongen and they should be the next players off the production line after Gravenberch. My one area to really dig into though is about your loan signings. Now I know that you're following a similar approach to me in terms of realism and player stats > player attributes but what made you go for those players, who, presumably, aren't getting first team football at their club?

Looking forward to the next update and also seeing how the trajectory of my time in Holland matches yours: whether it'll be the Sparta model or the Ajax model.

The loan players I never really dipped to much into stats other than their history’s. All three made big moves to top European clubs and it never quite worked out. So I thought that was worthy of a chance at redemption.

They never really had stats due to not playing, but that’s why I opted for loans. I’ve got a players at 16/17 years of age who have potential to break into the side come the summer so I don’t want players blocking that, so loans made sense. If they don’t play and get upset no big deal. If they do play and do well it gives me options. 

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18 minutes ago, 13th Man said:

Love the crucial focus in that AZ game plan. As you say, may not have “won” the match, but made it so AZ couldn’t play the way they wanted to. Nothing more satisfying than seeing that work out the way you want.

An excellent month overall as well. Was this all before or after the departures?

This was during the January window bud. I just split the updates as I wanted to cover the month in good depth! Without it being way to lengthy and a rough read. 

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4 hours ago, SixPointer said:

The loan players I never really dipped to much into stats other than their history’s. All three made big moves to top European clubs and it never quite worked out. So I thought that was worthy of a chance at redemption.

They never really had stats due to not playing, but that’s why I opted for loans. I’ve got a players at 16/17 years of age who have potential to break into the side come the summer so I don’t want players blocking that, so loans made sense. If they don’t play and get upset no big deal. If they do play and do well it gives me options. 

Perfect answer - makes sense!

Love the focus on not blocking young talent, too. 

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12 hours ago, SixPointer said:

This was during the January window bud. I just split the updates as I wanted to cover the month in good depth! Without it being way to lengthy and a rough read. 

Yeah yeah, just wondering when in the window the players left, and if you think the level up play will drop as a result.  Like I'd have to imagine those big names would be gone by that AZ match...

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10 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

Perfect answer - makes sense!

Love the focus on not blocking young talent, too. 

I’m trying to be as close to the Ajax model as possible. 
 

1 hour ago, 13th Man said:

Yeah yeah, just wondering when in the window the players left, and if you think the level up play will drop as a result.  Like I'd have to imagine those big names would be gone by that AZ match...

So far form has continued… update should be out by the end of today. 

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2 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Nice transfers, i like that you sold Gravenberch would have been totally unrealistic to keep him. The Portuguese youngster looks like a good long term replacement. 

Thanks man! I’m trying to be as realistic as possible and their is no way Ajax woulda turned that money down. 

1 hour ago, DavidBeckham said:

That Esposito goal was exactly how Ajax's football should be played! :applause: Excellent move! KUGTW mate!

Was a thing of beauty!! Thanks bud 

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On 01/08/2022 at 09:35, SixPointer said:

I’m trying to be as close to the Ajax model as possible. 
 

 

It's a shame the game cannot impliment that correct when the AI controls the club. See all the old players like an agiing Hazard etcetera. 

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48 minutes ago, rich ruzzian said:

It's a shame the game cannot impliment that correct when the AI controls the club. See all the old players like an agiing Hazard etcetera. 

Yeah it's pretty poor, but it also added a new dimension for me taking over and sorting it out!

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Posted (edited)

February 2026

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Four wins, eight scored, two conceded, 11 point gap. Great results for the month, mixed performances.

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Superb month for Christian Eriksen, who signed on the dotted line to finish his career here. While Marco Kana morphed into a goal scoring centre back for the month and Axel Dongen continues to shine!

Fc Twente

Great performance and result on our travels to the border on our east.

The passing combinations were too much for FC Twente to handle, as you can see from the interchanges of play in the clip below of the first goal. The 2-3-5 shape is clear to see, with the false 9 dropping in like this instance and then being overlapped by an AMC, with the neat one, two and finish. Positional play at its best!

Excelsior

The trip back to Rotterdam for Howedes was somewhat different from usual, this time taking on newly promoted excelsior and boy did they give us a game. Quite easily could have lost this match, and would only have had ourselves to blame.

Poor defending and even worse goalkeeping sent us behind early on, a lucky equaliser got us back in the game, and it took a special cross from Kristiansen and a blistering header from Axel Dongen to rescue three points. 

A poor game in truth for Luca Podlech, conceding 2 from an XG of 0.42 isn't good enough. He is 20 and I expect there to be bad games here and there. He's still learning the game at this level. I kept him in the side and he rewarded me with two clean sheets in the following fixtures.

Almere City

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For all the pressure and dominance I wouldn't have expected to rely on two goals from corners, against our neighbours. One positive as we now looked a huge threat again from them after a slight rework in january. Five goals from five sets plays in the last five games tells a story.

Almere didn't threaten at all with no shots on target whatsoever, I would just have prefered to have taken a few more of our many chances. Running into the Alemere keeper in fine form never helped, 13 saves and all within striking distances except for two. 

RKC Waalwijk

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Axel Dongen with a superb far post header back across goal from a David Beckham esk ball from Hasenhutl, great way to get three points. Once more another clean sheet but no shots on target so hard to judge Luka at this point.

Another game that should really have been more convincing, in the second half I switched to Salida to try to effect the game on the flanks, creating one huge chance that went a miss. A win is a win and while we are dominating and keeping clean sheets it isnt and issue, but i would be concerned a bigger team would have given us a bigger scare, that's why we need to be more clinical.

The Human Shield

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Massive deal for the club getting this one over the this, with an optional extra year as well, always a useful tool for starving of interest. 5% sell on for the player sweetened the deal, at very little cost for the club.

The unsung hero of the team, fabulous number 6, breaks up play beautifully and controls the tempo by playing simple passes to keep play ticking over and links everyone together.

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(Frequently wins the ball, reliable in possessions, lots of accurate passes)

Nothing spectacular just goes about his business, reading the game. Think Busquests, Fernandinho for Pep, Edson is of a similar mould, exactly what i'm wanting from my number six.

  • Over 90% pass completion
  • Average of 94.3 passes per 90
  • 80% of headers won, out of 161 attempts
  • 31 interceptions, average of 1.52 per 90

The perfect defensive screen, clever on the ball, and crucial to the whole positional play philosophy when he drops into the back line or anchors the middle, the heartbeat of the team. No wonder the likes of Real Madrid have been watching him.

Edited by SixPointer
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Interesting to see Edson shine in the "6". In real life his ball playing ability is what is not so good. 

Looking at your teams dominance just as you say, the not scoring is not an issue. If i look at the XG you dont seem to create really big chances while you dominate. But maybe i am looking at this completely wrong 

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#6's are often the most important player on the team especially if they are playmakers.

You can often make an anonymous player with decent stats a Pirlo or Iniesta! .....with the right role and PPM's. (See Nael Jaby in my FM20 save with Clermont. Best Playmaker (Key Passes and Assists) in Ligue 1 but couldn't sniff the French National team because of Pogba!)

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That is some excellent play, nice results…yeah you don’t seem to be missing the sold players do you!

Also a word on Alvarez - even a positional play, possession based side needs someone to break up opposition moves before they start, keep things simple, and allow their teammates to play to their strengths. Love the interceptions too with possession heavy sides’ Achilles heel being the counter! Big deal to keep him around. 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, rich ruzzian said:



Looking at your teams dominance just as you say, the not scoring is not an issue. If i look at the XG you dont seem to create really big chances while you dominate. But maybe i am looking at this completely wrong 

I would have to look through all the results to give you a bigger sample. Most of our chances do come from 1v1 situations as the third man breaks through after some positional rotations. I’ll get some data out.

This month certainly wasn’t our best attacking displays, but the results came and that’s the most important. Especially as I would like to be in a position to give some of my youth games towards the end. So I need a buffer of points for that.
 

Edited by SixPointer
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12 hours ago, rich ruzzian said:

Interesting to see Edson shine in the "6". In real life his ball playing ability is what is not so good. 
 

His ball playing isn’t spectacular to be honest, it’s simple passes to the more creative players. Hence why he has such high completion and numbers. He has only made one key pass all season. 

12 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

#6's are often the most important player on the team especially if they are playmakers.

You can often make an anonymous player with decent stats a Pirlo or Iniesta! .....with the right role and PPM's. (See Nael Jaby in my FM20 save with Clermont. Best Playmaker (Key Passes and Assists) in Ligue 1 but couldn't sniff the French National team because of Pogba!)

Totally agree, at Sparta to begin with in the 6th was a regista role and was deigned to be a quarter back, in time the need for a more disciplined role has come to light. The transition from a pure creative aspect into a metronome type has allowed the midfield runners more freedom.

12 hours ago, 13th Man said:

That is some excellent play, nice results…yeah you don’t seem to be missing the sold players do you!

Also a word on Alvarez - even a positional play, possession based side needs someone to break up opposition moves before they start, keep things simple, and allow their teammates to play to their strengths. Love the interceptions too with possession heavy sides’ Achilles heel being the counter! Big deal to keep him around. 

This exactly what he is doing and doing it perfectly. That was the issue I mentioned above, before I wasn’t doing this and it was allowing teams to counter effectively through our centre. Most teams now run into Edson who’s positioning is perfect for stopping these at source.

The IWB’s in the conductor system further back him up and they often become the three to recycle play, and as they are deeper while the front 5 roams it makes for fantastic overloading.

I’m due to put out a tactical heavy post it’s been a while, now things are settling down at Ajax and my game time is increasing again it won’t be to far away! 

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49 minutes ago, SixPointer said:

The IWB’s in the conductor system further back him up and they often become the three to recycle play, and as they are deeper while the front 5 roams it makes for fantastic overloading.

We’ve said it a few times - whilst our playing styles are different, the building blocks for them share some commonalities; this being key in my style too. 

Looking forward to your tactical thoughts!

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1 hour ago, _Ben_ said:

We’ve said it a few times - whilst our playing styles are different, the building blocks for them share some commonalities; this being key in my style too. 

Looking forward to your tactical thoughts!

Definitely very similar aspects of playing styles even though the overall philosophy is different.

Will most likely be a Sunday special for the tactical update to give me some time to build a good amount of information to share. 

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20 hours ago, SixPointer said:

I’m due to put out a tactical heavy post it’s been a while, now things are settling down at Ajax and my game time is increasing again it won’t be to far away! 

Yes!!! Always enjoy the tactics posts!

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