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[FM22] Pour L'Eiffel - Mission Paris


karanhsingh
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Season ticket sales are very encouraging this season!

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Champions League groups were also drawn (I thought we would be entering in the qualifying rounds but apparently not).

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And so that sweet UEFA money is flowing in...

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Which is already being put to good use:

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Will definitely be good to finally own our stadium!

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So things are great off the pitch, but let's see how the season has begun on it:

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Firstly, after losing our best attacker as Fatawu went back to Villarreal, we went and lost our best defender as well.

Would this affect us?

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The short answer is yes. We are missing both of them badly. The form has been patchy at best, and we just cannot seem to put our stamp on games anymore. There was even a run of 5 games without a win which is my personal worst since taking over at Paris.

Laura is still doing the business with 7 goals, and Zhegrova has 2 goals + 3 assists so far. Everyone else has been pretty poor. I am especially struggling to get anything out of either Arab or Coric in the AMC role.

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All of this leaves us decidedly in mid-table, but at the same time just a few points off the European places. A top 3 finish again is definitely asking for too much but we would like to finish top 6.

As for the Champions League, that's pretty much gone after 3 defeats in 3 games. Even dropping into Europa seems difficult at the moment, but we will see.

I am wondering how come the tactic that did so well last season is suddenly failing, and trying to tweak certain things to see if we can get things back on track.

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1 hour ago, extudassex2 said:

Despite the good signings - Zhegrova is really really good - though start to the season but still close to European places and lots to be played!

Thanks. Yes I'm in the process of tweaking the tactics a bit. 

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I’m finding consistency an issue. Usually by now I’ve got my 3 systems set in stone and alternate them depending on the opponents game plan, strengths and weaknesses. 
 

This year I’m finding my systems falter or get worked out a lot quicker. Don’t get me wrong I have two pretty solid systems that am no happy with but I feel the wheels could come off them at any point 

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I think it was always set to be difficult to repeat the heroics of last season. Your job hasn’t been made easier with injuries and the additional games that Europe can bring. Nevertheless, it’s early days and the table is still very close. There’s a lot of time to rectify things albeit a top-half finish would be impressive in usual circumstances for a club in their second season in the top-flight!

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10 hours ago, SixPointer said:

I’m finding consistency an issue. Usually by now I’ve got my 3 systems set in stone and alternate them depending on the opponents game plan, strengths and weaknesses. 
 

This year I’m finding my systems falter or get worked out a lot quicker. Don’t get me wrong I have two pretty solid systems that am no happy with but I feel the wheels could come off them at any point 

This is true, maybe there is an element of my system being worked out. Either case I am trying to make some adjustments and see. 

3 hours ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

I think it was always set to be difficult to repeat the heroics of last season. Your job hasn’t been made easier with injuries and the additional games that Europe can bring. Nevertheless, it’s early days and the table is still very close. There’s a lot of time to rectify things albeit a top-half finish would be impressive in usual circumstances for a club in their second season in the top-flight!

Yes definitely agree with you there. Although I'd go a step further than a top half finish - now that we have a taste of Europe we do want to be in contention every year. Even if it's the europa or the conference league. Lets see how it all works out. 

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Our annual youth intake preview has arrived, and once again a goalkeeper has been promised.

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We also have a new HOYD, and this one looks solid to me.

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And we are investing even more in our youth facilities. Now, everything is up to exceptional.

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If we don't get at least one top prospect this season, I will be at a loss for words.

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On the pitch meanwhile, we switched from a 4231 to a 433 in order to try and arrest the drop in form. I realized that having an AP in the AMC role was like playing with 10 men on the pitch. This is the new (old?) tactic.

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And the results of the past 2 months:

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Definitely much better overall. Although the first game against Lorient - I was ready to smash my laptop in :seagull: We were 2-0 up only to concede two absolutely stupid goals, first we gave the ball away in our own half, and then deep in stoppage time my goal keeper passed the ball straight to their striker on the edge of the box. He got himself dropped as a result of that.

It was another stoppage time equalizer against Lille too, but apart from that the league form has been good. In the Coupe de France, we continue our record of drawing Ligue 1 sides at every possible opportunity (:confused:) but this time we managed to stumble through on penalties.

We managed to beat Basel at home 2-0 which crucially meant we had the better head to head record against them. I hoped this would be enough for us to finish 3rd in our group and qualify for the Europa knock-outs.

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But it was not to be. They somehow got a goalless draw against Roma on the final day, which means we finish rock bottom during our first ever Champions League campaign and exit Europe with a whimper.

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That being said, at least the Ligue 1 table is now looking a whole lot better. We now have to concentrate on securing a top 5 finish in the league, and maybe a little run in the cup, unless of course we draw PSG away next (I almost expect this to happen now).

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56 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

 

We also have a new HOYD, and this one looks solid to me.

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Was it the 20 working with youngsters, the Resolute personality or the glorious picture that sold you on him?

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Great Work building the Youth Department.

Too bad your 4-2-3-1 adventure went south. As for the AP Problem in it, I would try using your AP as Trequarista instead and just make sure he has good finishing..... because I think of that role as a AP/SS mash-up. 

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12 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Great Work building the Youth Department.

Too bad your 4-2-3-1 adventure went south. As for the AP Problem in it, I would try using your AP as Trequarista instead and just make sure he has good finishing..... because I think of that role as a AP/SS mash-up. 

Thanks. Treq is interesting but I am always a little hesitant to use in a pressing setup. However right now the switch to the 433 is working well so will stick with it...

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Marked improvement since the tactical switch. I feel your getting some of the same frustrating goals against as me or at least the same frustrating results. 
like the new system as well. 
Love the new HOYD

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10 hours ago, SixPointer said:

Marked improvement since the tactical switch. I feel your getting some of the same frustrating goals against as me or at least the same frustrating results. 
like the new system as well. 
Love the new HOYD

Cheers bud. Yes we need to be a bit better at closing games out. But at least the general play is back to being good overall. 

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34 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

Cheers bud. Yes we need to be a bit better at closing games out. But at least the general play is back to being good overall. 

Yeah definitely both having good success though and seem to be on top of teams. Just the finer margins 

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27 minutes ago, 13th Man said:

Good quality transfer business…even if the CL is tricky. Take the money, the experience and roll with it!

Yes that's the idea... it's all going into the facilities!

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Time for a little change of pace, as we go off to AFCON 2025 with Senegal.

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I consciously decided to not report back on the qualifying campaigns or international friendlies, because, let's face it - they are just boring. However while we are in charge of Senegal, I will do posts about the big international tournaments of course (or report back in case we fail to qualify for one!).

The tournament was the first ever taking place in Guinea. We went into it as the 2nd highest African ranked side, behind Nigeria. After being losing finalists on two occasions, would Senegal finally be able to become champions of Africa for the first time ever?

This is the squad which was selected to try to bring the cup back to Senegal:

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It's a fairly old squad, but the good thing is that there is a lot of experience. We have pacy technical players up front, and physical players in defense. Our top two players definitely are Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly who are 32 and 33 respectively, so while still top players maybe beginning to decline now.

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We got a fairly decent group, with Ghana the only real threat. But qualifying from here should be straight forward, the question being will we grab top place or not.

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This is the tactic that I have been playing with Senegal, which is inspired from a few tactics that I saw online trying to build out one with 3 at the back. There are literally no good play-makers in the team, so the thinking is to pack the defense and take advantage of the strike force by getting the ball up to them as quickly as possible.

It has proved quite successful so far, so hopefully would continue in the same vein at AFCON '25.

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So let's see how we got on shall we?

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The group stage was fairly straight forward, and we even got in a nice thrashing of Ghana to grab top place. At that point, I honestly felt like we will just blow away the opposition, we were definitely playing like favorites to lift the trophy.

We had more than one scare against The Gambia, where they could have taken the lead. We were huffing and puffing, but unable to find the break-through. Finally, our captain & talisman Mane struck the winner on 78 minutes to take us through to the Quarters.

Up next, a difficult fixture against Cameroon, 5 times winners of the AFCON. In this game we actually went down to a goal on 15 minutes from Lucien Agoume. However we did not lose our composure, and battled back to grab a 2-1 win, with the winner once again coming from that man Sadio Mane.

We were supposed to have a semi-final date with fellow favorites Nigeria, until Tunisia dumped them out of the cup on penalties. Which was great frankly because Tunisia definitely a lot weaker, and they would also be tired. 

The first half of the semis was absolutely rubbish with neither side creating anything of note. We were definitely far stronger, so I guess maybe it was nerves. Finally, Dia strikes on 68 minutes. Going into the final 10, I decided to shut up shop and go ultra defensive. Obviously, it did not work, as Tunisia scored from a corner on the 85th minute. I was dreading what was to come. However a couple of minutes later, Wague went on a mazy run down the right and crossed it in for Dia to grab his 2nd of the game and the winner.

And so, we were into the finals. And it would be against the Ivory Coast. Definitely the two best teams of the tournament.

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And so onto the final. AFCON 2025. Ivory Coast vs Senegal.

I literally played this out at 1:30 am last night. I really should have been sleeping, but could not possibly go to sleep one game away potentially from glory.

And I must say, that this turned out to be probably the craziest, most dramatic, and best match of my FM career, certainly FM22 at the very least. It's a miracle I did not scream out loud and wake my wife up :lol:

Just as against Cameroon, we conceded a nice early goal to set up the challenge. This time out, Pape Cisse who was playing LCB in place of the injured Abdou Diallo, gave away a needless penalty which was tucked home by Franck Kessie. However, we immediately fought back, as Wague crossed the ball in for Dia to grab his 6th goal of the tournament. The rest of the half we were absolutely on top of the opposition, but just could not score. On 36 minutes, a highlight popped up and Ivory Coast had a free kick. Of course, I knew what was going to happen. Man Utd youngster Amad Diallo curled it home, and they would go into the break with a very lucky 2-1 lead.

Time to fight back again, in the 2nd half. However, not the kind of fight I had in mind. Our best midfielder, Mamadou Coulibaly got himself booked in the 56th minute. Now I should have immediately got him to ease off tackles, but being in a combative mood, I didn't. 5 minutes later, he made another aggressive challenge and any hopes of the referee being lenient were dashed as he was shown a red card.

2-1 down, one man down, with half an hour to go. It was not looking good, and indeed was looking like yet another final loss for Senegal.

We had to switch to 2 up front, there was no way to persist with a front 3 being a man down. To make things worse, Sadio Mane was absolutely exhausted. I had to sub him. I went to sub him. But before it could go through, he somehow popped up in the box and converted a cut back from N'Diaye. Absolutely mayhem! The 10 men of Senegal had equalized!

Now of course, I decided to go a little defensive, but still keep 2 men up front to be a threat on the counter. Nampalys Mendy came on to shore up the midfield. However, apparently he had something else in mind! As the Ivory Coast pushed for a winner, Mendy got the ball in midfield and swung in a brilliant long ball over a tired defense to that man Boulaye Dia. He was dragged wide by his defender but made no mistake, smashing the ball in at the far post to put us 3-2 up in the 88th minute! 

Now it was all about hanging on... ultra defensive, full time wasting, playing for set pieces, and all of that. And hang on we did! What a win! I don't think I will ever experience something like this again!

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:hammer:

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is definitely an ageing squad with a number of star players being 30+, so the win was certainly well timed. I think we should still have the band together for the 2026 world cup, but not sure about the next AFCON.

On a related note, the golden boot for the tournament was shared between 3 players who all finished on 7 goals - Mane & Dia from our side, and Nicolas Pepe from the Ivory Coast.

And now, it's back to Paris FC :)

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1 hour ago, SixPointer said:

Congratulations on the African cup of nations win. While playing a lovely tactic as well may I add. No chance of Paris implementing it?

Thanks! For now the 4-3-3 is working well. As you know a switch to a back 3 would involve a lot of changes in personnel, so maybe somewhere down the line we may look at it.

Also while the Senegal tactic was very effective, it was not too aesthetically pleasing on the eye. I will definitely be continuing it with them though, let's see how it fares at World Cup 2026.

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5 minutes ago, Sheriff7 said:

Congratulations for winning African cup nations,and with 2 players of Olympiakos in your team. :D Tremendous  final.:applause:

Thanks! Yes the 2 Olympiakos defenders are very solid. Cisse was first team and Ba was a sub mostly. 

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So guys, would love your advise. I tried to get Zhegrova in on a free transfer at the expiry of his contract, but he wanted too much money.

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We offered him the max we could which was 25k per week. So for the second time in two summers, we will need to replace arguably our best player. I have narrowed it down to 3 options - honestly none are as good as either Edon or Fatawu, but I believe we need to confirm one of them.

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First option is former Dortmund wonderkid Emre Mor. Many things to like about him - the dribbling, acceleration, technique, flair, vision. He could be a good creative force for us just like Zhegrova has been this season and our leading assister. Also he is coming fairly cheap, just 2.3m due to his release clause. He does not however speak the language so may need some time to settle in perhaps. And during his career he has been fairly inconsistent till date.

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Here is the second option, a French/ Tunisian/ Egyptian youngster on the books at Villarreal but not played much for them. I must say he also looks very good, maybe a little less mercurial than Emre Mor but would probably be more consistent. I am however only able to get him on loan (2 million fee) with an option to buy for a further 9m. So while he looks the "safer" option, I am not so sure about (yet) another loan deal?

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Finally, this is a complete wild card option found by my scouting teams in Eastern Europe. It would mean changing the way we play, as he is better suited to an attacking IF role, but I can always make Geubbels on the left play more of a creative role. As you can see his physical attributes are amazing and he has become a star player at Red Star. He has a 5.4m release clause in his contract and seems to have good potential ability. Obviously does not speak French but the presence of Ante Coric may help him settle in.

So who would you'll go for from the above 3 options?

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I'd go with Emre or Tumbas, Emre has the better attributes right now but his pace and passing is a little worrying and his work rate is pretty bad. If he's inconsistent then I'd stay away from him.  Love Tumbas's speed along with his technique and dribbling should make him incredible dangerous up front, just gotta work on that finishing and passing but he's 19 so still plenty of time to mold him into what you want. My vote would be for Tumbas. 

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23 minutes ago, JaytheGreat said:

I'd go with Emre or Tumbas, Emre has the better attributes right now but his pace and passing is a little worrying and his work rate is pretty bad. If he's inconsistent then I'd stay away from him.  Love Tumbas's speed along with his technique and dribbling should make him incredible dangerous up front, just gotta work on that finishing and passing but he's 19 so still plenty of time to mold him into what you want. My vote would be for Tumbas. 

I am inclined to agree with you. Thanks for the analysis.

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The January transfer window was very quiet this time around, with just one signing below:

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Mouhamed Correia came in from Yeggo Foot in Senegal for a cheap deal and immediately went out on loan for the remainder of the season. He needs to work on his strength & quickness but we could have a good defender on our hands here.

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Meanwhile, the in-take also arrived in March and it looks pretty similar to last year. Some good talents, but nobody who is going to be threatening the first team squad anytime soon.

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I am still waiting for that one beast to come through :) well, hopefully next season. We are now up to 19/20 on every facility & have a great HOYD to boot.

Also with the average quality of player in the first team going up, it is getting harder & harder for youngsters to break in. I have a lot of players out on loan this season which seems to be working well for the most part, so it seems like that will be the plan for the academy boys from now on.

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On another note, I think I made a mistake :( 

In my excitement, I asked my board to buy back our existing stadium, rather than build a new one. They agreed.

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I guess it's not the end of the world. This is still huge progress for us. However I would have really loved a shiny new stadium for Paris FC.

Now it's about seeing how much we can expand the current stadium, because this season we have been averaging 90% of capacity (we have come a long way since the days of having 3000 fans in to see us).

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Massive expansion underway of a full 1500 seats :lol:

I think this tells me that the expansion capacity of the current stadium is limited, so many in another 2-3 seasons I can try to get a new stadium again.

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6 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

As for Emre Mor I remember him from Olympiakos. Pay attention in some of his mental stats, he is very talented but...

That's true. Also it seems like half my players have some connection to Olympiakos :lol:

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Well then, let's see how the  second half of the 2024-25 season went:

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Almost perfect. Since the tactical change to a 4-3-3, I must say that we have been fantastic. Some of the play on the pitch has been superb.

Of course the result that stands out, is the one right at the end.

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Yes, THIS happened. 6-1 (!!) at home vs PSG. TWO hat-tricks, for Laura & Geubbels.

Now a couple of disclaimers. I didn't actually play this game - I IR'd the last few fixtures because we had pretty much secured a top 3 finish but the title was out of sight. Also PSG had already won the league so they were rotating a little bit. But we still had no right to beat them, let alone thrash them! What a way to end the season :cool:

And here is the final league table:

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That run saw us improve our league standing to eventually finish in 3rd place again. But this time, the gap to PSG had been narrowed down to just 5 points.

As you can see, we also finished the season with the lowest number of losses (just 3) but I suppose the draws cost us.

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We were absolutely on fire the 2nd half of the season, as this table shows:

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(as were Lille though)

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For the 2nd season in a row we have out-performed our xG, indeed grabbing 13 more points than we would have been expected to. Although we still would have finished 3rd. Let's see if we can keep this up!

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That run which actually extends until December is a new club record for all competitions. Although this news article popped up in April, I actually counted and by my calculation, we are on 27 games unbeaten in the league, as our last defeat was against Reims on 25th September. 

The league record is apparently 36 games unbeaten, set of course by PSG between 2015 and 2016.

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Sadly, it wasn't all great stuff though. As this happened too.

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We crashed out in the quarter finals of the Coupe de France away against second division side Dijon. For some reason, we just could not get going in this game. And when we finally started pushing forward, Zagre got injured in the 74th minute and we had of course made all 3 subs. So we limped across the finish line with 10 men.

It went down to penalties and after having two successful shoot outs already luck finally caught up with us.

Now what made it immensely more frustrating is this:

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This is the season that PSG had suffered a shock early exit in the cup. Which means, this was a huge opportunity for us to win it.

If we had only beaten Dijon, we would have faced Rennes in the semi final, and potentially Brest in the final! Finally it was Rennes who won it.

So a massive missed opportunity. Oh well.

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You're doing crazy well!  3rd again???  Helped to be out of Europe I imagine but still!

Side note, and probably already too late, but I'd definitely go with Tumbas.  I agree with @SixPointer the well below 10 workrate/teamwork on both the others is something I don't like to see!  Plus he's young and already quite good.

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What happened to PSG in the Coupe de France!

Also, I must admit I often IR Games I "know" I am likely to lose and sometimes get results like yours against PSG.

PSG's rotated team was nothing to sneeze at, but without Mbappe they are not quite the same.

Mbappe or Haaland are arguably the best players in the game according to FM22 and what happens in saves.

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2 hours ago, 13th Man said:

You're doing crazy well!  3rd again???  Helped to be out of Europe I imagine but still!

Side note, and probably already too late, but I'd definitely go with Tumbas.  I agree with @SixPointer the well below 10 workrate/teamwork on both the others is something I don't like to see!  Plus he's young and already quite good.

Thanks! And nope you're not too late. Looks like my decision has been made! 

59 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

What happened to PSG in the Coupe de France!

Also, I must admit I often IR Games I "know" I am likely to lose and sometimes get results like yours against PSG.

PSG's rotated team was nothing to sneeze at, but without Mbappe they are not quite the same.

Mbappe or Haaland are arguably the best players in the game according to FM22 and what happens in saves.

PSG went out on penalties to Metz in the 9th round I think. 

Yes Mbappe and Haaland are easily the two best players in the game. Luckily neither as PSG now. Although they did just buy Vinicius Jr for 100m :lol:

They have a bit of an ageing squad though with Neymar, Lewandowski, Griezmann, and some more. Will be interesting to see what they do. 

 

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The squad stats for this season obviously make for some great reading!

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We have to talk about Gaetan Laura. What a season! 41 games, 36 goals, 7 assists. He was playing like a man possessed. Honestly he is quite limited ability wise, so I cannot even understand how he is doing so well. In fact every time I ask my assistant to pick the team, he drops him :lol: I think this is where FM has a huge problem as it fails to recognize performance over ability - ideally his transfer value should be a LOT higher now, and there should be clubs wanting to buy him.

The second best player is probably our replacement for Fatawu - Edon Zhegrova - who topped the assists chart with 15 and also chipped in with 6 goals. Unfortunately as already mentioned earlier he will not be staying at the club. Geubbels had a good first season finishing 2nd top scorer with 14 goals. He will be staying with us next season too, as will "El Chad" who was once again arguably our best defender.

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For the second year in a row, a Paris FC player won the award for The Most Promising Player in Ligue 1. This time it was free signing Arthur Zagre who has made the LB spot his own and really is coming along well. He also contributed 8 assists in the league and 9 in total.

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Zhegrova topped the assists charts for the league, finishing level with Bamba from Lille.

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Incredibly, Laura's 32 league goals only saw him finish 3rd in the golden boot rankings, behind Jonathan David and Lewandowski.

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In other news, finally got a decent(ish) budget for next season after consecutive top 3 finishes.

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Commercial revenues continue to trend in the right direction with substantial increases.

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And so does the attendance!

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Kind of crazy how little money there is in France. In Italy with little Livorno I still got a transfer budget of €20m+ after qualifying for the CL in my second year in the top flight, and I felt like that was nothing compared to England!
Makes it more fun in a lot of ways, though.

Edited by 13th Man
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2 hours ago, 13th Man said:

Kind of crazy how little money there is in France. In Italy with little Livorno I still got a transfer budget of €20m+ after qualifying for the CL in my second year in the top flight, and I felt like that was nothing compared to England!
Makes it more fun in a lot of ways, though.

Exactly, it makes it more fun. Plus the youth is great (although not so much for us as yet). 

I think this is reflective of real life because the French clubs are struggling financially due to the collapse of their tv deal. It seems like the best way to make money is to make a big transfer out every season or two. 

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Young Player Development  - 1

"El Chad" has been on loan with us for 3 seasons now. This is him around when he joined:

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Now during this period he has had 2 long term injuries (4+ months) but still through playing regularly for us as we moved up the leagues, glad to say that he has really made some strides in his development.

Here is he now:

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As you can see, he is now rated as a "wonderkid". 

We have done a lot of work on his defensive & mental attributes, with most of them going up by 2 points and in some cases even 3 like positioning & decisions.

His physicals would surely have been higher but for the injuries. And that is the reason the bravery fell as well (to 8, now back to 9).

We had a bid accepted for him in the summer but could not agree a contract. I will definitely try again next season.

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