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About Unigo

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  1. Part 3: time to start the season! We're three days away from our first competition match against FC Groningen, so it's time to see what happened and where we are at now. So, what 'minor' things have i done: Recruited a whole bunch of staff members and replaced one or two bad ones. Especially the scouting department and the coaching teams of both youth teams needed some more staff members. The importance of the scouting department is obvious, but the youth coaching teams are also very important. If we can develop a young player well enough to get a place in the first team that saves us spending money on transfers. So, the youth teams are key to my success. I made a slight change in the formation after the first 4 games. I liked the complete forward, but it doesn't seem to match with my current strikers. So, i've went for an advanced forward now. In the player analysis i mentioned possibly wanting to sell Houwen and Klein-Holte. Houwen is still at the club and no one seems interested in taking him off our hands. Klein-Holte did get some attention though. After some negotiating we sold him for €140.000, but are still paying a small part of his wage bill. We did manage to get a clause that gives us 30% of the profit of the next sale, so maybe we’ll see some money coming our way in the future. Also some sad news: Karavaev played in the first friendly of the season but got injured afterwards. He’s expected to be out for 8 weeks with a broken upper arm. When i’m posting this (august the 9th) he’s still 10 to 21 days out of the running and probably won’t be entirely match fit after that. We don’t have a second right back (we’re looking for one…), so one of our youth products (Grotenbreg) is getting some gametime. We’ve also played van der Werff on the right wing with Clark taking his spot at half back, so we do have some options to deal with the absence of Karavaev. Mohammed Dauda is also out of play for a few weeks with sprained knee ligaments, then again he wasn’t really a part of our starting 11/subs anyway. How did we do? Before we dive into the statistics I’ll give you a brief look into our performance sofar. We’re still contending for the Europa League group stage, so not all our games were friendlies. We’ve played 6 games sofar: Friendly: 2 - 1 win against Helmond Friendly: 0 - 2 loss against Karpaty Friendly: 3 - 1 win against FC Lienden Europa League: 0 - 0 draw against Lillestrom (home) Europa League: 1 - 1 draw against Lillestrom (away) Europa League: 2 - 0 win against Partizan (home) I was a bit disappointed with the performance against Karpaty, we were also struggling with Lillestrom, while we should be the more stronger side. The 2 - 0 win against Partizan (Beograd) was good though. We’re not there yet, i think there is another qualification round after this with much stronger teams, so we’ll see where we end up. The good stuff… numbers! Interesting enough Football Manager doesn’t really gather data on the friendly games. The friendlies and games in august are quite useful to me though, because they will give me a look in player performance while i’m still able to transfer/loan players who won’t play or are not performing well enough. So, i’ve made a table for the friendly games, this is added below. For the ‘official’ matches i’m making use of exported football manager data, this is also added. Below the images we’ll look at what stands out. Friendlies Official games Goalkeepers A bit as expected, in the friendly and European matches Pasveer and Eduardo are both still in contention for the spot in the starting 11. Eduardo gets to play in the next game against Partizan, Pasveer will start in the first game in the competition. Maybe those two games will help me decide who will be the first keeper for the next few games. Defenders In the friendlies our Tackling ratio was quite good, our heading ratio does need some improvement though. Then again: in our player analysis we already concluded that heading could be a problem area of this team (and thus the defenders). In the Europa League these conclusions still stand: good tackling, poor heading and great passing. In our defense we have a few players in contention for starting-11 spots. Clarke-Salter got the spot over Doekhi in the European games and has taken full advantage of that chance. He plays well, so will stay in the starting 11 for now. Doekhi will get chances as a substitute though. On the left back position Buttner and Clark are battling over the starting spot as well. In the friendlies Buttner displayed more accurate passing and managed to get two assists in. In the European games Buttner proves his worth by (just as Clark) showing good performance on tackling and passing, and again getting in an assist. Based on this performance i’m feeling i need to keep Buttner around, i might try to give him a new contract in the next few months as well to try to get some revenue out of selling him after this season (unless i keep him..). Clark is on a hefty wage, but i’m not ready to give him up yet. He’ll get some gametime in the next few games both as a left back and as a half back to see how he does. I don’t want to sell him, i think he’s the perfect replacement for Buttner if he leaves or retires. Maybe a loan could be an idea? On the right back position we are lacking players. Karavaev is injured, so we pulled Mats Grotenbreg out of our youth teams to fill up Karavaev’s spot. His attributes are nothing special, nor is his potential that good. He usually plays on the left as an inverted back, but given his right-footedness he’s good on the right back spot as well. In the friendlies and the European games he played rather well! Good heading, passing and tackling ratios, and only three mistakes in the friendlies and none in the European games. Maybe i’ll stop looking for a stand-in for Karavaev… Midfielders As a half back van der Werff is doing a solid job, so he’s certain of his spot for the near future. He did struggle a bit against strong opposition in Europe, but should be good enough to deal with Eredivisie-level players. Serero, Foor and Bero are displaying good passing, decent tackling and (as expected) could do better in heading. Bero is the exception, he did quite well on all three departments in Europe. Serero managed to get get an assist in Europe and played quite well. He’ll be the first choice as a deep lying playmaker for now. Bero really outperformed Foor by scoring 2 goals in the friendlies and another one in Europe. He’ll get the box to box spot for now. Wingers On the right wing Odegaard scored once in the friendlies and another goal in the Europa League games. He’s the only left-footed player capable of playing on the wings, so he’ll be our main pick for now on the right wing. On the left Beerens did play two games in the friendlies and showed some decent passing. He didn’t manage to get an assist or goal though, so that’s disappointing. His contenders did a bit better: Linssen shows equal passing, but managed to get 2 assists in the friendlies. Buitink performed about as well als Beerens and so did Musonda. For now Linssen will be the main man on the left wing. I don’t want to keep Beerens, Musonda and Buitink all three to keep the bench warm. Buitink is a huge talent and isn’t that expensive, Musonda is free due to the loan from Chelsea so i intend to sell Beerens. Strikers And finally, the strikers. I’m mostly looking at Matavz and Darfalou for this spot, Buitink occasionally can play as a striker but is versatile enough to also play on the wings. So far neither of the two are impressing me much: Darfalou only played a little more than one game, but has no assists or goals to show for it. Matavz did get an assist in the friendlies and a goal in the European games, but that’s still below what we need. Their performance might be due to the complete forward role not suiting them though, so let’s see how they do when they can play as an advanced forward. Now, time to start the competition!
  2. Thanks for the replies guys! After the previous opener post it’s time for a tactical break. All the statistics are nice, but we need a formation. Now, as i said i’m not a tactical wizard, so i’ll explain my thoughts, maybe someone can learn me something ;). I’ve put together a formation that i think isn’t too complicated and suits the current squad. Of course everything can be changed based on experiences in the game. My thoughts are: The average heading skill of our defenders is under-average. I’m going for a wider defensive play to prevent crosses. The speed isn’t too good either, so playing too high up the field could result in balls over the defense that our central defenders can’t get back. So, we’re going for the standard line of engagement and line of defense. I don’t want to engage too high, i want to avoid creating too much space between our lines. Our midfield has the highest average acceleration and pace. This is good for the wingers and inside forwards, we also have quite a few players capable of playing on those positions. So, we’re going two inside forwards. The best midfielders have good workrate. This suits Box-to-box midfielders and defensive midfielders, but also a half-back. To get an extra guy in the box if someone manages to get a cross in i’m going for the half back. I want to add a bit of creativity to the half-back and the box-to-box midfielder, so i’m also adding a deep lying playmaker to the squad. With one player left (4 in defense, 3 in midfield, 2 wide players leaves 1 to spearhead the attack) this strengthens my decision to go with inside forwards to get a few more players in scoring opportunity. I want one of the IF’s on a support duty to accommodate the striker, but i put a fullback on attack on that side as well to get another option in attack, namely crossing the ball in. The lone striker will be a complete striker. This might be tricky on the Eredivisie-level, since it requires a well-developed player that can play in different ways, but i want to give the striker the opportunity to both shoot at goal and facilitate our inside forwards. Other than that our goalkeepers are quite good at throwing the ball, and i’m not a fan of kicking the ball up field only to lose it. We don’t have an attacking midfielder and only one striker, i’m not sure anyone is going to pick that ball up anyhow. So i’m telling the goalkeeper distribute to the defenders. When it comes to passing, our midfielders (and defenders and strikers, for that matter) are just below average. I don’t want to lose possession due to long balls that are intercepted, so i’m opting for shorter passing. I’m combining this with a bit higher tempo. This might increase the errors, but could be necessary to surprise and beat our opponents. Finally i’m going for a counter-pressing style of play. This means instructing to counter-press, and make use of the recovery by countering. I think the countering suits our fast players, who can hopefully catch the opponents off guard. I’m not going for a more urgent pressing style, i think that’s over doing it and that the counter-press instruction on its own should be enough. So, what does it look like? Well, like this: Next up (either in this post by an edit or in a new reply) we're going to analyse our current players. Since we don't have any in-game data yet, i might look for some external date as well on past performance of our players. Update: player analysis Right, as promised here is the analysis of our players (this will be a LONG read). I’ve only looked at the ones in the main squad, i’ve also excluded the players on a loan. Since we’re only just starting we have no in-game data that could help us judging our players. But, there was a lot of information on Whoscored.com on most field players. So…. i went a bit overboard… Not all things are filled, because of a lack of data. During the season we’ll use the football manager statistics to fill a new form for the current season. The result looks like this: So, what are we judging our players on? I make a distinction (of course) between the goalkeepers and the fieldplayers. For the fieldplayers i use the same indicators regardless of position, though the importance of every indicator does differ. So, i’ll get a successful-tackle ratio for both the central defender and the striker, but obviously for the central defender this is a far more critical indicator. We also have some ‘base’ information: the games played and the minutes played. The ‘first year’ is referring to the earliest year that had data available on whoscored. For the goalkeepers we’re looking at the following: Clean sheets: this is not only down to the goalkeeper, but is widely regarded as an achievement by the goalkeeper, so we’re keeping track of it. Mistakes made: football manager keeps track of mistakes made for all players. I don’t know when something is a mistake or not, but i’m going to use it. Whether a goal was scored is not relevant to me, in my opinion this is also down to luck and the ability of other players to fix your mistake. Conceded goals: Pretty self explanatory, we want to know how many goals are scored against the goalkeepers. Min / conceded: this calculates how often a goal is conceded (on average). a higher number is better, meaning there is more time between each conceded goal. Saves tipped, saves blocked and saves held are all coming from football manager. on whoscored they are only monitoring saves. I’m not that fussed about the difference between these 3, but we’ll keep track of them. Obviously i do prefer saves held, blocked saves give a chance on a rebound and saves tipped cause a corner kick. Shots / conceded: this one is calculated by adding the conceded goals and the saved shots (total shots to deal with for the goalkeeper) and calculating the ratio of the saves on the total amount of shots. Come to think of it… the title might not be totally accurate. Either Way: this is one of the most important indicators to me, it tells me how many incoming shots are saved (and thus how many are scored). For the fieldplayers we use these indicators: Tackles attempted, tackles won and the tackle ratio: the attempted and won tackles are needed to calculate the ratio. In football manager we have the ratio available, so we won’t fill attempted/won ones. The ratio is most important for the defenders, but is quite interesting for the whole squad. To me this is the key indicator of a well-performing defender. Headers attempted, headers won and the header ratio: this one is kind of the same as the tackle one. In the future we’ll only use the header ratio. This one is also important to us for the whole squad. It’s a must for defenders, but also the midfield has to be able to deal with incoming high passes, for instance from goal kicks. Bad heading could lead to loss of possession. For the strikers the headers won ratio is also relevant in offense. Passes attempted, passes completed, successful passing ratio: same story as the two previous indicators, only the ratio matters to me. good passes equal preventing loss of possession and are crucial to the team. I think this indicator is most relevant to the defenders and the midfield, but it also tells us something about the strikers. Mistakes: Mistakes are relevant for the same reason as explained by the goalkeepers. Assists: Assists are a key part of the game. Over the past 5 years almost 70% of the goals in the Eredivisie was preceded by an assist. For midfielders, strikers and especially players on the wings getting their assists in is crucial. Min / assists: we also want to know how long it takes a player to get an assist in. This allows us to compare player performance. Only looking at the number of assists isn’t good enough, a player could have 10 assists but it might have taken him 1800 minutes (20 games). If a player manages to get 5 assists in 600 minutes he might actually be a better pick. Goals and min / goals: no goals, no wins. So, very crucial stat. For the min / goal number we follow the same reasoning as with the assists. Shots and shot/goal ratio: the last one! this tells us how effective a players shots are. the number of shots isn’t too relevant, it is used to calculate the ratio. In the future i might add if a shot was on or off target, but for now i won’t. Personally i might prefer a player who misses the target more because he always aims for the corner instead of just shooting straight at the goalkeeper. this might lead to more off-target shots. Basically it all comes down to a player having a shooting opportunity which can either be a goal, or not. The ratio will tell us how effective a player is dealing with these opportunities. Now, with that out of the way: let’s look at the players we currently have! Eduardo - goalkeeper Eduardo is quite old and on a loan from Chelsea. He’s a little bit better than Pasveer, but only just. All in all he’s a decent goalkeeper and because of the loan arrangement he’s with us without getting a single euro in wage. So either way, i’m happy to have him around. I might play him and Pasveer both for the start of the season to see who gets the best numbers. The data on his previous seasons is not complete enough to tell us anything. Remko Pasveer - goalkeeper Pasveer is a bit of the same story as Eduardo. Old, quite decent attributes and he’s not too expensive either when it comes to wage. So, he might actually get some games this season! he still has 2 years on his contract, i would consider selling him if i can get a decent offer, but i’d prefer to use him at least for the coming season. Again, the data on previous seasons on the goalkeepers is not telling us anything. Jeroen Houwen - goalkeeper Houwen is definitely quite a step behind Eduardo and Pasveer. But, he’s only 22 so still has 12/13 years to get to their level. Then again, i don’t think he’ll ever exceed just being ‘good’. I might keep him around, but we have a few very talented young goalkeepers coming through the ranks. Houwen won’t get any first team football as a substitute either due to Pasveer and Eduardo being so closely matched. So, i’m going to list him for a transfer (or loan, to cut the wage bill) and see what happens. The data on previous seasons… you know the story by now. Vyacheslav Karavaev - right back Karavaev is rated as a good right back for the Eredivisie level. Also, he’s only 23 years old so still has some room to grow. He isn’t the top earner, but isn’t cheap either. But, given his attributes his wage is more than justified. Based on his attributes he should be one of our starting 11 and would actually be one of our team’s stars. When we look at the statistics over the previous seasons we should be scared. The poor heading isn’t that much of an issue since he isn’t playing a centre back. But his tackling ratio is low as well (56%). Passing is a bit better, but with 72% he’s still below our average goal. These numbers are based on only 1795 minutes, so the sample size is quite low. I expect to see a huge improvement the coming season, but it is something to keep an eye on! Rasmus Thelander - Centre back Thelander is a fine central defender and would probably be in our starting 11 if it weren’t for the fractured ankle that keeps him sidelined for at least half a year. He’s good in the air, strong and has good attributes in every thing you’d want from a defender. He’s not one to use as a ball-playing defender though, but we weren’t intending to do that anyhow. He’s 26 years old and ‘only’ earns €19.000 a month. He still has 3 years on his contract to, so when he’s healthy he most surely will get gametime. In our previous seasons-statistics we only have 8 games / 720 minutes of data. This means we’re not gonna come to any firm conclusions. The first signs are hopeful though: a tackle ratio above 90% is impressive! His heading ratio is only at 64% though, let’s see what he can achieve when he’s playing this season. Jake Clarke-Salter - Centre back Clarke-Salter is on a loan from Chelsea meaning he’s costing us nothing! He’s quite inexperienced though, being only 20 years old. He has decent stats, but is still a step behind Thelander. One thing that stands out is his tackling rating, he surely needs to improve in that area. He has two traits that stimulate long passes, i’m curious to see how that will work. His previous season statistics aren’t numerous enough to draw any conclusions. That’s a good thing, because both his tackling and his heading ratio are below what we need. I doubt Clarke-Salter will start a lot of games, but as a substitute he might get his share of playing time Arnold Kruiswijk - centre back Kruiswijk is one of our oldtimers. He’s 33 years old and that’s reflected in his wage and worth. WIth still 1 year left on his contract i could be tempted to sell him. But, that would be shortsighted: his attributes are still quite good and his mental attributes really stand out. In pure defending he is a tad behind Thelander, but compared to Van der Werff, Clarke-Salter, Doekhi and Klein-Holte he still stands his ground. Kruiswijk is with Vitesse since 2014, i think he still has some games in him so we’re going to make use of him for this season. Hell, i might even try to extend his career with one more year! If we look at the statistics over the previous seasons we actually have quite a lot of data! With 98 games and 7739 minutes we can surely get some useful insights. WIth a heading ratio of 61% he isn’t too much of a killer in the air. He makes up for it with 80% tackling ratio and 88% successful passes though. Let’s see what he brings to the table this season! Maikel van der Werff - centre back / defensive midfielder Van der Werff is basicly a bit younger, bit bigger and bit faster Kruiswijk. Kruiswijk is a bit stronger in pure defending, but van der Werff surely is a good Eredivisie-level player. Even better is that van der Werff can be used as a half back. It’s not his favourite position, but he might grow into it after some games. The issue with van der Werff is that he only has 1 year left on his contract, is 29 years old and currently is worth €1.800.000 with a €23.000 a month wage. Financially it might be a good idea to sell him after this season, but: he’ll be a free-agent by then. For now i’ll see if i can extend his contract by 1 year with some reasonable terms and will try to sell him after this season. If that does not work, i might get rid of him during the winterbreak to still get some profit out of him. On van der Werff we have a lot of data (117 games, 8954 minutes). he has a 81% tackling ratio (great!) and a 58% heading ratio (not so great…). His passing is good though, 84% of his passes are finding their intended destination. A nice extra is that he managed to get 5 assists and 7 goals in over that period. Poor figures for a striker, but a nice bonus from a defender! Joris Klein-Holte - Centre back / defensive midfielder Klein-Holte is a tough one to judge. He’s 21 years old, so still has some growth left in him but also is quite one-sided. His attributes are okay-ish for a stand-in defender, but Clarke-Salter is a lot more well rounded for instance. Klein-Holte is quite big and has good jumping, sadly enough his heading isn’t that impressive. He still has 1 year on his contract and isn’t worth much (€195.000). The issue is his wage: he earns €11.000 a month currently. I’m quite confident i can find decent back-up players who will do just as good for less. I’ll probably try to sell Klein-Holte for a small fee, if that doesn’t work i’ll go for a loan and probably wave him off as a free agent after this season. We don’t have any statistics on his previous seasons available. Danilho Doekhi - Centre back / defensive midfielder Doekhi is 20 years old is a better than Klein-Holte and is a bit like Clarke-Salter. He has decent stats but still needs to grow some more. He’s currently just shy of Eredivisie-level, but has the potential to get there. He still has 4 years on his contract and his wage is quite reasonable as well, so we’ll keep him around. Especially during Thelander’s injury he will compete with Clarke-Salter for the stand-in spot. Regarding previous season data we only have 9 minutes of info, so we’re not going to bother analysing that. Alexander Buttner - left back Buttner is a special guy. Big history at Vitesse, after few foreign adventures at Dinamo Moscow, Anderlecht and of course Manchester United he’s back home. When it comes to speed and technique he’s our best left back. But, he lacks defending quality. Also, he’s a bit injury-prone and an inconsistent performer according to my coach. His situation is complicated: we’ve blown our entire wage budget, so we can’t get any new players. Buttner plays a role in this, because of his €30.000 a month wage. He’s 29 years old and is still worth €1.500.000, with a 1 year contract. It’s a bit like van der Werff but with a even steeper wage. What makes his situation a tad worse is that van der Werff definitely has a place in the starting 11, Buttner has to deal with Max Clark, who is is very decent left back as well. His saving might be the lack of other backs, so if we sell Buttner we only have Clark. Then again: for his value/wage i might find a left AND a right back as back-ups. We’ll see what we’ll do in the near future. Regarding his previous season numbers: we have 84 games / 5838 minutes played, so plenty of information. 72% tackling and 49% heading are a bit below what i’d expect from the starter left-back. His passing is above 80% though and he has 11 assists on his name. WIth an average of 530 minutes per assist he’d get around 5 assists this season if i’d play him full time, every game. Our season-goal is 42 assists, so that could be a useful contribution. Max Clark - left back / defensive midfielder Clark can be used in multiple spots, which is great. He has decent defending attributes and is also a capable freekick taker (then again: so is Buttner). He’s only 22 years old so there is still some potential there too! Clark will surely be useful, but he kind of has to be: he has a wage of €34.500 a month, so he is one of our top earners. This is: if Buttner will play left back and van der Werff plays as the Half back he might not get any game time. Maybe Thelander’s injury might be his luck. As a Half back he might be just as good as van der Werff, yet his height of only 1.80 (meters) is a bit low. I guess his future is depending on what will happen with van der Werff and Buttner, he is too expensive to keep on the bench. Based on the previous seasons he’s falling behind on Buttner. we’re only looking at 2270 minutes played, but his tackling ratio (69%) and heading ratio (54%) are kind of the same, yet Clark has 65% passing ratio and currently no assists. Thulani Serero - Defensive midfielder / central midfielder Serero is one of our top players. Having an extensive history at Ajax shows in his attributes. Good teamwork, first touch and technique stand out, as does his workrate. He’s 28 years old and still has 2 years on his contract. And: with only €23.000 a month he is quite cheap as well for his level. I like his as a deep lying playmaker, but not as a half back. Serero is only 1.64 (meters) in length and also lacks strength. Yet due to his qualities i’m sure he’ll be one of our key players on midfield, either as a deep lying playmaker or as a box to box midfielder. The data over previous seasons confirm our conclusions. WIth 8886 minutes we got a big sample size, so let’s see: tackling ratio is slightly below what we want with 70%. Heading is (as expected) well below adequate with 33%. Now the good stuff: 89% passing is great! He doesn’t have a lot of assists or goals, but when he shoots he actually scores in 12% of the attempts. This isn’t all that bad, only 2 players (Linssen and Matavz) show a better ratio. Martin Odegaard - winger / attacking midfielder / central midfielder Odegaard is one of Real Madrid’s wonderboys. He’s most at home on the right wing and has great attributes for that role, except finishing. That could be an issue, since we expect our inside forwards to score as well. Either way, we’ll see what the season will bring, and if that’s a truckload of assists i’m just as happy. Unlike the loans from Chelsea we do have to pay a chunk of Odegaard’s wage, and it’s a big chunk: €41.000 a month. For that money you can be sure we’ll make use of him, but if he doesn’t give results we might have to send him back: he’s way too expensive to have as a reserve. Vitesse has some decent wingers, but i’m more than willing to give Odegaard his chance to impress! We only have 2975 minutes of play regarding previous seasons, but they do tell us something. His defending (both tackling and heading) are very poor, his passing is at 83% though. He hasn’t racked up a lot of goals and assists, but with his talent he should improve a lot and contribute to our season. Matus Bero - winger / attacking midfielder / central midfielder Bero is a bit strange. His natural position is the right wing, as a winger. Yet his crossing isn’t too impressive and neither is his speed or technique. In other words: he’s not going to play on the right wing i think, and as an inside forward on the left we have better options as well. That doesn’t mean he’s useless though: high workrate, good of the ball skill, bravery and anticipation all help, as does his decent strength. Maybe retraining him to a box to box midfielder might be worth it? He’s only 22 years old and is with us for the coming 4 years, so we have plenty of time for that. It will be costly though: his wage is €34.500 a month. Let’s see how much we use him, if he’s not playing often or contributing he’s too expensive to have around. The statistics are a bit disappointing as well. The tackling is below average with 67%, but that’s to be expected of a winger. His heading is at 28%, which is absolute ****. Passing isn’t impressive either with 72%. His productivity is mediocre, with 2 assists (961 minutes per assist) and 3 goals (640 minutes per goal). If we’d play him every game for the whole 90 minutes this season he’d get 3 assists and 4-5 goals. Not impressive as a midfielder, but surely unacceptable as a winger. Let’s end on a positive note: Bero did score those goals in 38 shots, getting a 8% shot/goal ratio. Not good enough for a striker or inside forward, but not that disappointing for a midfielder. Let’s see what he does this season! Hilary Gong - winger Gong is young, and it shows in his attributes. He has decent attributes for a winger, but would be a bit less suited as an inside forward due to a lack of composure and flair. Then again: he’s 19, plenty of time to grow! The coaches think he has great potential, so we definitely want him to stay with Vitesse. He could be a decent stand-in as a inside-forward on the left wing, but will surely face some competition. I think i’ll give him some minutes in the friendlies and start of the season to decide if he stays with us or will go on a loan (if we find him a spot). We have no data on previous season, sadly enough. Roy Beerens - winger Beerens is a typical wing player. right footed and good as either an inside forward or a winger. He’s an oldy with his 30 years, but still has a contract for the next 3 years. His wage is decent with €21.500 a month, especially given his attributes. great speed, crossing and technique, just lacking a bit in the mental area. Currently Beerens is worth €2.100.000, but that will rapidly decline given his age. He’s also facing a lot of competition on the left wing as an inside forward. Linssen, Gong, Musonda and possibly Buitink are all more than capable of playing on the left. On the right we only have Odegaard as a left-footed inside forward, so there is a lot less competition there. With this knowledge: Beerens might be on the way out… Looking at his past performance his tackling and heading is nothing special. His heading ratio is even below 10%. Passing is above 82% though. In the 11001 minutes played Beerens produced 18 goals and 15 assists. If we’d play him all games for 90 minutes he’d end up with 4 assists and 5 goals, with a shot/goal percentage of 9%. I doubt this will be enough to secure his spot in the starting 11. Navarone Foor - attacking midfielder / central midfielder / winger Foor can play at multiple positions, that might be useful. He’s only 26 years old, has 2 year remaining on his contract and his wage isn’t too high (€21.500 a month). His favourite position (attacking midfielder) is not currently in our gameplan, so that’s a bit disappointing. I think he could play as both a box to box midfielder and a deep lying playmaker, due to his workrate, technique, passing and decent mental skills. Serero is the favourite for the deep lying playmaker spot, but Foor might come out on top when he’s competing with Bero for the box to box midfielder role. Bero is slightly better at most attributes, but his superb vision might seal the deal for Foor. In previous seasons his tackling and heading is nothing to speak highly about. His passing is at 79% though, and he has a 10% shot/goal ratio which is good for a midfielder. All in all i could live with these figures for the current season, though a bit higher tackling would be good. Then again, that might be too much to ask given his attributes. Charly Musonda - winger Musonda is a young winger from Chelsea, meaning no wage bill! He has good technique, is fast and agile, yet lacks crossing or finishing skill. His long shots are good though, so that might bring something to the table. Compared to Bryan Linssen you can see the potential. At only 21 years old he’s almost at Linssen’s level. It is my expectation that Linssen and Musonda will battle for the spot in the starting 11. This also means that Gong has his work cut out for him. The previous seasons show incredibly poor heading, surprisingly good tackling (85%, which is not reflected by his attributes) and good enough passing above 78%. His goal-scoring ability is not that impressive (5% shot/goal ratio, only 1 goal in 1577 minutes) but he needs just shy of 400 minutes per assist. Over a whole (fulltime) season this would lead to 7-8 assists. Bryan Linssen - winger Linssen is quite possibly the best winger we have. Better attributes than Beerens and Musonda, can cross, finish, is fast, very determined and has technique. He has 2 years left on his contract for (only!) €25.000 a month and is worth €3.200.000. He’s 27 years old so he should serve us well for the next few years. Musonda might be waiting for him to mess up, but i’m sure Linssen will play his fair share of games this season! Over the past years Linssen played 13258 minutes. His tackling and heading are below average but good enough for a winger. His passing could use some improvement though, being at just above 67%. The true value of Linssen is his productivity though. he needs around 600 minutes per assist, but only 245 minutes for each goal. With 13% shot/goal ratio he’s a quite reliable shooter as well! if he’d play 34 matches for 90 minutes he would likely score more than 12 goals, but i’m more than satisfied if he gets in the double figures this season. Dauda Mohammed - striker / attacking midfielder Mohammed is new, and on a loan from Anderlecht. Luckely he’s on a €0 wage, because i’m not sure if i’m going to use him. He is quite technical, has okay-ish finishing, but his main asset is his speed. He’s not that well rounded yet, but that’s due to his age (20 years old) i guess. I think he has no role on midfield due to his poor vision, passing and teamwork, so if he plays it will be as a striker. There is no data from previous seasons available on Mohammed. Thomas Buitink - striker / winger Buitink is quite adept at all striking roles, except for the complete forward. Which is strange, given his very well rounded attributes. He can finish, has pace, is technical, can pass and has decent mentals for a 18 year old. He does need to work on his composure though if he really wants to make it as a striker. Currently i don’t think he will be good enough to start as our main striker, but i’m secretly hoping he will fight his way into our squad during the season. He’s amazingly talented and could potentially bring a big sack of money to Vitesse if he ever leaves. WIth his versatility he could be a good stand-in on the wings. Due to his lack of playing time there is very little information on his previous seasons. Oussama Darfalou - striker Darfalou is an interesting player for Vitesse. Good workrate, stamina and mental attributes are all in his favour. He’s not as good at finishing as i’d like to see though, his pace is also nothing special. He’s quite big (1.87) and can jump and head, so he might give us some goals with his head. He’s better than Buitink, but should really watch his back! Compared to Matavz he’s losing out, Matavz is the best striker Vitesse currently has. I’m curious to see what Darfalou can do in the early weeks of my management, with Mohammed and Buitink staying at Vitesse Darfalou is too expensive to keep on the bench (€34.500 a month, worth €1.600.000). We have records on his previous seasons. Tim Matavz - striker Matavz is the best striker Vitesse currently has. He’s already 29 years old, but still has 2 years on his contract. I intend to keep him around for this season and see what happens next summer. Matavz is not that well rounded, but brings great finishing, composure, anticipation and off the ball attributes to the table. The rest of the attributes are sufficient or mediocre, but i’m confident these skills will bring a lot of goals. We do play with a complete forward, which does not really suit Matavz all that well. We’ll see how that progresses during the season. In that sense, Buitink might be one to look out for given his well roundedness. Looking at past performances, it confirms what we already know. Tackling is poor, so is passing. Heading is at 40% which isn’t too impressive either. Yet Matavz manages to score every 244 minutes and scores 14% of the shots he takes. This season he should up that minute/goal ratio, or he’ll be stuck at 12-13 goals, but i’m hopeful of him managing that!
  3. Introduction Welcome to another attempt at actually sticking with a career and topic, something i'm terrible at, apparantly. But maybe this is the one that will keep my interest! The setup of this career (and topic) will be different from the usual ones. I'll start the game as Vitesse (not that new for me), but will play mostly based on data and performance instead of player attributes. Of course attributes still do matter, but this is new for me. Usually, i make a big spreadsheet with average values for crucial and recommended attributes and build my squad around theses values. This time we take a different approach, based on performance (goals, passing percentage, etc.). This is based more on Moneyball (the book and movie), Soccernomics and The numbers game (both books). The purpose of this topic is (of course) to entertain, but also share ideas on this kind of approach to Football Manager. I'm not a data-analyst so my analysis-skills are severly limited, nor am i a brilliant tactictian. Eitherway: let's work together and make this an interesting read, hopefully with some learning effects as well. Principles Of course we need a few principles to work with. I'm not going to re-read all the books to find em out, i'll base mine mostly on Alex Stewart his work (https://thesetpieces.com/features/football-manager-meets-moneyball-pt-1/). What stuck out in Moneyball to me was the way BIlly Beane approached the game. Not focusing on all kind of non-important qualities but on the true value a player had to his team, hit percentages for example. Also, at the start of the season an estimation was made on how many wins were needed to get to the play-offs. It is my intention to use this in football manager. So, we'll look at what's needed to achieve a certain result in the competition and try to get the players that contribute to these things. In Soccernomics and the Numbers Game there are a few useful remarks that we'll (loosely) use here as well. We're going to try to refrain from buying very young players. Also, we're not going to spent money on new players older than 25 years old. Players that are 30 years or older are going to be sold, since their value rapidly drops off after that age. Now, this rule might conflict a bit with the data side of the game. For instance: what will we do when our 30 year old winger was responsible for 50% of the needed assists? In general this means we won't be super strickt regarding the rules, but we'll see what happens during the game. Other than transfer-guidelines it is mentioned in The numbers game that a goal conceded is more costly than the profit from a goal scored. This also goes for players: a bad player is more damaging than a top player can fix. So the advice would be to focus on fixing the weak links first. Now, with these principles we face a few (or more than a few) limitations. Baseball is a vastly different sport than Football. I'm not a baseball expert, but to me baseball is a bit like the penalty shootouts in football. What i'm sure we're going to struggle with is the effect that the tactic has on our results. We can determine we need 60 points to get to the Europa League and that scoring 65 goals in a season should be sufficient to reach these points and that our attacking players should account for these 65 goals. But, if i set up a tactic that fails to enable these players to score we're in trouble. Also, the tactic employed by a players current club (if he's not playing for me) is ofcourse hugely influential to his performance. We'll have to see how this will play out. Another limitation are my poor data-analysis skills. No complicated regression-analysis in this topic (atleast not by me), but i hope i'll inspire folks to more sophisticated calculations. Another limitation is the lack of data. By my understanding i can see quite some stats in the current season, but i can't look at performances in previous seasons regarding minutes played, passing percentages and stuff like that. This will limit our scouting i think. The last thing i want to mention is the effect different leagues have on the stats. A midfielder can have a 95% pass completion in his current competition, but if he's playing on an amateur level and is transfered to Real Madrid he might not get that same result. We have to keep this in mind with our scouting process. Now to the good stuff... We're gonna play with Vitesse, playing in the Dutch Eredivisie. In preparation for this season i've done some data-gathering at Whoscored.com. Unfortunately not all data has been gathered for the Eredivisie, but i think we got some useful stuff anyhow. Now, what have i done... First off: i copied the end-result table of the last 5 seasons before 2018/2019 (the season we're playing). This looks like this: I hope that these results (also did this for the other 4 seasons) can tell us something about points and goals needed to reach our goal. This isn't too complicated, so lets get a bit deeper. What is needed to get these points and goals? I've tried to get a few indicators that can help us to determine a club's performance, that we can distill from the game and that are available on statistics websites. The result looks like this: now what are we looking at: Goalkeeping: saves are (duh...) the amount of saves made during the season. The saves/goals against (should be conceded...) percentage assumes that the goals conceded + the saves equals the total amount of shots a goalkeeper had to deal with. The percentage represents how many of those shots got saved, telling is something about our goalkeeper performance. (Note: i'm not sure if these saves also include the blocks. There is a 'shots blocked' category in Whoscored.com, but since this could be applying to defenders i did not include it). Defense: my first idea was to use both succesful tackles and interceptions as indicators. But, it turns out the top teams have less interceptions and less tackles. I think this is due to them usually being the attacking side, thus not having to intercept/tackle as much. The ratio of succesful tackles is interesting though, so i've displayed the attempted tackles, succesful tackles and the ratio. Passing: passing is (in my opinion) a stat relevant for all field players, but most specifically for the midfield. I was looking for a passing completion ratio, but this wasn't available for the Eredivisie. So i looked how it was calculated for the Premier League and did the same for the Eredivisie. So i took the total amount of passes, minus the inaccurate passes and calculated the ratio of these numbers resulting in the passing completion. Attacking: Goals are hugely important, but we allready have these stats from the league table. I did add the number of assists. A shots on goal percentage wasn't available, so i went with the total amount of shots and divided this by the number of goals. This gives us a percentage on how many shots (either on or off target) lead to a goal. This should be a nice idicator for our more attacking players. Now that we have this stuff for 5 seasons i calculated the average over 5 seasons. This looks like this: In this table we can see what the average amount of points, goals, and all other things was over the previous 5 seasons. Now, we're assuming that a better competition performance equals better values in the different categories. To make this more visible i've created a few graphs based on the table: What can we learn from this: well, the good news: each graph shows a (rough) declining line. Or, in case of the goals conceded an upwards line. This means that we see a rough trend that tells us that the better performing teams (in terms of competition result) are also performing better on the different indicators mentioned. So what? Well, for VItesse we're going to aim to qualify for the Europa League play-offs. This is means we need to finish at least as 7th. We're gonna aim a bit higher than that, also based on the season prediction (season preview) which is 6th. So, let's get 6th as our goal to aim for. When we look at my image-spam from above, this tells us that: we need at least 51,4 (52) points at the end of the season; on average the team finishing at 6th position had 58 goals scored and 48 goals conceded, so a positive goal-difference of 10; the save-percentage is the least linear, so it is difficult to draw a conclusion on it. But, i'd say 69% should be a good goal to aim for; the same goes for the tackle-percentage, but 69% should be sufficient here as well; pass-completion should be above 78%, so let's go for 79%; The assists (table) should be above 40 a season, i'm going for 42; and last: the percentage of shots leading to a goal should be around 11.5%. Ofcourse this is all assuming that if we achieve these numbers on the indicators we indeed will get our treasured Europa League play-off place! Enough for now, untill next time!
  4. Part 4: one more thing to do.... Before i started progressing and scouting around the transfermarket, i had to do one more thing. For some reason i do this every time i start at a new club: i make a spreadsheet. And, this is what it looks like: So, what are we looking at: Based on our previous analysis and the way we like to play, i've created a tactic. Now, i've entered all those positions in the spreadsheet and marked the preferred (blue) and critical (green) attributes. Next, i've calculated the sum of those attributes and multiplied the critical ones by two, because i want those to be of more influence on the end result. The last step is adding those two sums together and drawing an average from them. This gives us the score we're looking for. These scores indicate, based on the attributes only (so no personality, traits, etc.) if a player could do well on a position. Why do we go through all this? Well, it gives some interesting insights, and can be used to rate a scouted player. But, what did we learn from this exercise regarding Sunderland? Well: Tom Flanagan might be a better centre-back than Ozturk currently, so if we regard him as a viable stand-in for that position we already have some more depth in the centre-back department. Adam Matthews not only has a very high wage, he's also the 3rd choice on the right wing. Both Flanagan and Love are quite a bit better. Another reason to sell him. We lack midfielders capable of playing as a box-to-box player. If we buy a midfielder, we have to make sure he is well suited for this role. Jerome Sinclair was previously perceived as the 3rd option as a striker, but if we use an advanced forward he might actually be the best option. Well, Now then... onwards to the transfermarket!
  5. Part 3: tactics and formation time... Now, tactics-time. First off: what did we learn from our player-analysis? At first sight the defenders seemed poor headers and jumpers. But, the closer look showed that this was (likely) caused by our backs, because our centre’s are actually quite decent in this area. So, i was inclined to set my defense up quite wide, to prevent crosses, now i feel we might need to go for a bit tighter defense and hope we can deal with the crosses. This also should help the central defenders in not covering too much distance, since they are all quite slow. Our team has high work-rate which might be a good foundation for a more gegenpressing-like style of play. But, we also lack natural fitness, and have a shortage of players on almost every position. On top of that: we play 46 games in the league this season, and will compete in two cups. This season will be gruesome, so i opt for a less intensive tactic, without too much gegen pressing. Learned from the numbers game: goals conceded are more costly than the benefit of goals scored. So i’m not going for an all-out attacking play. Also, i like my defensive foundations to be solid, so i’m likely to use 4 defenders. I want Cattermole to be able to play his defensive midfield game. Also, i’m inclined to use 1 striker, since we only have 2 decent ones capable of playing on this league’s level (I don’t think Sinclair is ready for the league one yet). So that leaves (next to Cattermole) 4 spots to be filled on the midfield and the wings. Now, the wings are a bit of a headache for me. We have some okay- wingers, but nothing really impresses me. Then again: we have plenty of them (including the slow ones that i described in the midfield-section. So, i think i’ll use wingers. more specifically: one winger, one inside-forward. This leaves 2 spots for the midfield. I want Cattermole to be more defensive orientated, and i like to have a playmaker to distribute the ball towards the wings or directly to the striker. With Lee (Cattermole) staying behind, i think we could use some more bodies in the attacking 3rd, so i might go for a more mobile midfielder there, somewhat like a box-to-box player. But, not on the inside-forward side, i don’t want them covering the same space. So, that brings us down to this formation: A few other things i did: WIth McGeady playing as an inside forward and cutting in from the side, there’s room for the left back to push up and (if we’re lucky) swing in a cross. So, we gave the left back a attacking mentality I went with the ball-winning midfielder role for cattermole, since it suits his aggressiveness. We might tone it down to central midfielder with a defending role if it’s too much We pick a balanced approach for now, i might make a second tactic with a bit more caution for games where we are the weaker side For now i go for standard tempo and passing-directness. I do want to work the ball in the box, to prevent a lot of long-range shots on goal. When possession has been lost we go for re-group, i already explained why i don’t want a more counterpressing style of play. When we win the ball back though, i’m fine with going on the counter. To compliment this i’m enabling the goalkeeper to distribute the ball quickly, where to is up to him. Last, we use a narrow defense with a normal defensive line and less-urgent pressing intensity. I created a second tactic for games where we are being the weaker side (for some reason) with a lower defensive line and line of engagement and a more coutious approach. Next up, we're going to start playing, so i might come back with some transfer news!
  6. Update 2: player analysis Before we setup our tactic, we need to know what players we have available. Then again: i’m not letting it all depend on the players, i have some ideas in mind beforehand as well. But, first things first: who are we having available. I wont post pics of every player, only the ones that seem interesting to me. GOALKEEPERS Jon Mclaughlin If Jon was a fieldplayer, he would be in the last good years of his career given his age. But, he’s not, so good for him. Jon is 30 years old and has on average some decent stats. He’s capable of playing as a regular goalkeeper but is even more at home playing as a sweeper keeper. The only weak points he has are his vision, acceleration and first touch. Which is kind of weird for a sweeper, since those stats are more relevant for that role. Robbin Ruiter Robbin is kind of the same story as Jon. Decent stats, 31 years old, decent stats all around, with only a few weaker points. Command of area is not as good as we’d hope for, he’s also lacking some acceleration and first touch. Maksymilian Stryjek Stryjek is 21 years old and somewhat of a talent. Not nearly skilled enough to play the in the first team yet, but he has 4 star potential. His stats are **** for sweeper, but he might make a decent goalkeeper in a few years. CENTRAL DEFENDERS Glenn Loovens Another Dutchy, i’m feeling right at home already! Then again: Glenn is old enough to be my dad, so that’s a tad worrying. Funny enough, he’s quite decent for a defender. Our average lack of jumping and heading-ability sure isn’t caused by Loovens. Basically he seems rock-solid as long as you don’t ask him to move. He’s worth almost nothing, and isn’t earning too much either, so he might be useful to have around! Jack Baldwin Jack is 24 years old so he has his prime years ahead of him. He looks a bit like a younger version of Glenn: decent stats, not much of a runner and (what a surprise!) even capable of deflecting some high balls with his head. Then again, there isn't much extra in him, so if he’s playing it would be in a standard central-defending role, or even as a no-nonsense centre-back. Alim Ozturk Alim is about the age of Jack and shares the most of his attributes. He’s big, can jump and head, and, as an extra: is somewhat technically gifted. With a bit of imagination he can play as a ball playing central defender. Then again: he lacks in the concentration and decisions department, so that might be a vulnerability. And.. shockingly… that’s it! Of Course Lamine Kone is also one of our defenders, but he’s on loan for the entire season at RC Strasbourg, so we can’t make use of him. In the youth squads there’s no player getting above the 1.5 star rating, so we might need to bring in some fresh blood here. BACKS Donald Love Wonderful name, i have to give him that. He’s a right-back, with decent stats. Nothing really jumps out, except for his workrate and stamina. His concentration is his weakness though, so that’s not too good. He is 23 years old though, so he still has some potential. Reece James Reece is 24 years old, so he too has some potential. Reece is a lefty, he only lacks a bit in composure, other than that he’s quite decent really! Also, just like Love: good workrate and stamina. These two might be a nice pair for the future! Bryan Oviedo Ah, Oviedo, a familiar face from the documentary. He earns a ******** of money, but he’s worth a few coins as well. And, he has something to show for it: he is by far the best left back we have. Might be a starter for us! Tom Flanagan Tom is a 26 year old right back, who is slightly better than Love. I would like to see a bit more crossing ability from him, but then again: we can’t complain. Might be a starter for us. Adam Matthews Someone has been buying too much right backs and should have brought in a centre back… Matthews is a 26 year old right back who is about equal to love. But, if you look at the wages, Matthews makes around 60K more a month. The guy might be a Sunderland-relic, but he won’t be a starter and that’s an awful lot of money to pay for a benchwarmer. MIDFIELD Lee Cattermole Lee is somewhat of a special case: he earns 145K a month, which is almost 12% of our total wage budget and is 30 years old so will likely decline in form from now on. But, he really is a solid defensive oriented midfielder. Great stats in aggression, marking, teamwork, workrate, positioning, bravery make him a giant pain in the ass for our opponents. On top of that: he’s playing for Sunderland since 2009, played 204 matches and has great leadership skills. He might earn more than our defenders combined, but might be worth it if we use him wisely. Luke O’Nien O’Nien is a young player (23 years old) who recently joined Sunderland. And to be honest: i wonder why. He’s not that impressive, though he has some good workrate attributes and is two footed. He might be more of a back-up than a starter for us. Max Power Max Power… what a name! 24 years old on a loan from Wigan, but joining us permanently in the winter. And, he’s quite great! decent stats, good workrate, stamina and a decent penalty taker. For most of the midfield positions he doesn't have any major holes in his game it seems. Dylan Mcgeouch Dylan, age 25, is worth 4.1 million and recently joined Sunderland. One of our most valuable players and not even earning too much! He’s more of a playmaker type, and has the stats to show for it. Great passing, composure, decisions and vision will work for him. He’s not much of a workhorse, and is quite small and light, so he won’t fit every midfield slot, but he sure is valuable to have around. Chris Maguire Chris is somewhat weird. He can play on both wings, but is about as fast as a turtle. So, attacking midfielder or a more controlling role on the wings is more suiting to his attributes. He has some decent stats, but nothing really stands out except for his free kick taking. On top of that: he’s 29 years old, so any dramatic improvement won’t happen here. George Honeyman Honeyman is comparable to Maguire. Not really a winger due to a lack of speed, but also capable of playing in attacking midfield. He’s not as slow as Chris, but for a winger we would like to see a bit more speed. He lacks any defensive skills whatsoever, but brings good technique, workrate, stamina and teamwork to the table. And: he’s only 23 and can still grow. Also important: he’s been with us since 2011, which is something to appreciate. WINGERS Lynden Gooch Lynden is a young guy with great acceleration and decent pace, capable of playing on the right and left wing, although he’s more at home on the right one (and being a rightfooter). The first thing that i noticed is the lack of crossing or finishing ability. He has decent workrate, technique and dribbling, but if he can’t convert those runs to assists he might be less useful to us. Something to keep in mind. Aiden McGeady Aiden is a legend, and has the age of a legend as well. More comfortable as an inside forward than a winger, which (again) is weird given his average finishing rating and great crossing ability. His passing and technique are good, but being 32 years old shows on his physical skills and lack of speed, acceleration and workrate. Also, he’s tempted to cut inside and shoot from distance which compliments his above average long range shooting. But i’m still a bit worried about his declining physique. Duncan Watmore Duncan is 24 and still has his prime ahead of him. He’s incredibly fast and quick in acceleration, Crosses are incredibly **** though. which is a shame for a right winger who’s right footed. Dribbling is good, technique is not, Workrate is also above average. That’s about it… he’s great in some aspects, and poor in others… STRIKERS Jerome Sinclair Jerome is with us on a loan from Watford. He’s young, technically gifted, with decent finishing. Other than that: nothing really stands out. Charlie Wyke Wyke is a typical target man. Strong, slow, great heading and good jumping. Also has some decent workrate. Other than that: nothing really stands out. He’s 25 years old and has played his fair share of games before coming to Sunderland, playing 200 games and scoring 64 goals. Especially at his last two clubs (Bradford and Carlistle) he scored 54 goals in 133 matches. Josh Maja Josh is (if we can keep him) our main man for the future. He’s 19 years old and has some real talent. His finishing could improve, and so could his technique and mentals, but makes up for it in speed, balance and determination (20, anyone?). And, that’s all! So all in all we have some decent players, but we might need to get some fresh blood in almost every role, depending on the formation we use of course. Next up: building a formation!
  7. Introduction So, after watching the documentary ‘Sunderland til i die’ i couldn’t stop the urge to start a career with the black cats! Of course our mission is to (eventually) play premier league football again, but for now the aim is to stabilize the club. After two relegations in a row we got a lot of work to do, so we need to be realistic. So not too many fancy transfers and aiming for straight promotion, i’m fine laying the foundations for long-term success. Over the next few posts i’ll try give a rough view on my managerial style, the tactics i will use and an analysis of the players. But before all that, let's get an overall feel of what we’re dealing with here. Finances With Ellis selling the club to Donald, Sunderland is now debt-free. And our healthy financial situation is reflected in the transfer funds: we have a budget of 4.45 million, and a wage budget of 1.16 million a month. On top of that: we can use 90% of our transfer revenues to buy new players. But, it isn’t all positives here. We’re not exceeding our salary cap, but are close to it. And it’s not the amount of players causing this but a few guys with hefty wages. So, that might be something to deal with sooner or later. Facilities This is where the true potential comes to light: a stadium with 48.000 seats, good corporate facilities, superb training facilities, good data analysis facilities and excellent youth facilities. All in all this seems like fertile ground to plant the seeds for long term success! Staff Not really anything special here. Quite some spots are filled, but we have a few empty seats. This goes for the senior squad, the -23 and the -18. Squad - global In the near future we’ll look into the squad with a bit more detail, but a brief overview shows us a few things: At first sight it seems we have a sufficient amount of players, but i’m still a bit worried. Playing in league one can be brutal and a deep enough squad can prove to be the difference between a **** season and a successful one. If you don’t believe me: ask any Sunderland fan witnessing last years relegation… Our average player wage is at 39.5K a month. The average in the league is 12K. So, on average we’re paying THREE Times more for our players than the others. That can’t continue! Then again: this also goes for player value, so we might be sitting on a goldmine. (or a expensive pile of ****…) Our goalkeepers are slightly above average, compared to the rest of the league. Our defenders are average, but are lacking in heading, jumping and strength Our midfield has good passing, technique and vision, but is average on the other attributes. We have some decent attackers, apparently capable of some good headers as well. Overall, the lack of natural fitness should be a concern. especially with the intensive calendar in the UK. Other mentals seem to be above average, though we are lacking some leadership. Last but not least: INJURIES! I don’t know if Sunderland has been on a combat-mission to Syria, but for some reason 7 of the senior squad’s players are out with an injury, most of them for more than a month. That’s a lovely start to a season... Next up: tactics and a squad analysis!
  8. Update 5: Oktober Right, this update took me longer than i thought. I'm not going to blame that on Red Dead Redemption (and work), but...it was because of RDR and work. Now, let's see how we did: Results League: Vitesse - Heracles 1 - 1 League: Excelsior - Vitesse 1 - 3 Cup: Vitesse - Top Oss 2 - 1 (in extra time) League: Vitesse - Fortuna 3 - 0 So, all in all, we did what we set out to do. Heracles proved to be a big challenge, they are still sitting at 2nd spot in the Eredivsie after 10 games. The win over excelsior and Fortuna are solid results though. We struggled against Top Oss. Partly because of using some B-players, but also because of trying a new tiki-taka tactic the first half. This resulted in 75% posession, but no goals. Other news Khalilou Fadiga and Henk van Hout join us as our new scouts. Isaac Sackey is doing quite well! In total we paid 1.2 million for him, but he came in at a worth of 2.9 million. Currently he's worth 3.2. He played all 10 eredivisie matches as a starter, and has an avarage rating of 7.17 in those games. I'm glad this transfer works out! Next month November is going to be a tough month for us. We start of against PSV, who should be among the title-favourites. They are currently in sixth place, but let's not get our hopes up. After that, we face FC Utrecht, who are currently in 1st position in the eredivisie, so no easy challenge either. We finish off the month with Willem II and FC Emmen, both in contention for relegation. We should at least get 6 points in the last two matches, any points above that are a bonus.
  9. Update 4: september We start the month with the wonderful news that the board thinks i should do my job slightly better. Well, that does not come as a surprise to me, given the results we booked so far. Let's see how we did this month. Results League: Vitesse - Ajax 1 -1 League: PEC Zwolle - Vitesse 0 -1 League: Vitesse - ADO Den Haag 0 - 0 Cup: Helmond Sport - Vitesse 0 - 3 League: Feyenoord - Vitesse 4 - 1 All in all i'm not unhappy. The result against Ajax is good, but Feyenoord proved too difficult to beat. The win against Helmond is not surprising, but those matches are ones you can only lose anyhow (if you win, it's normal, if you lose, you're in trouble). Other news I was negotiating with a few clubs for Maikel van der Werff, but with no result. I'll still try to get rid of him, he's not performing well and is allready out of the starting 11. the UK leaves the European Union. The coming weeks we get more details on rules, this might play in our advantage if the rules are quite harsh on English clubs. We lost Janus van Gelder as our most experienced scout, i'm working on bringing in 2 new ones. due to a good financial situation our retained transfer revenue was upped from 55% to 75%! Next month Next month will be crucial to our season i think. We've got matches lined up against Heracles (currently 2nd), Excelsior (12th) and Fortuna (17th) in the Eredivisie. Despite their current positions these teams should be below Vitesse, so i'm hoping for atleast 7 points out of these games. There's also a game planned against Top Oss for the cup, they are one division below us and are 16th, we should be able to fairly easy beat them. With the board getting more and more grumpy i think they will demand my resignation if i fail this month. The topic title won't be fitting for this career in that case, so let's hope i can stay!
  10. Thanks! I hope so too, but i figured there's a reason i could get him for a relatively low transfer fee. If he had good mentals too Vitesse would be way below his level i think. Update 4: a rough start for the team A short update now, to finish of August and the transfer-period. After that i’ll switch to monthly updates. Results After qualifying for the 3rd qualifying round of the Europa League we went on a bad spell. Although the way we played looked promising, it didn’t give is the results we needed: 0 - 1 loss against Molde (Europa League) 0 - 2 loss against FC Groningen (Eredivisie) 1 - 1 draw against Molde (Europa League) 1 - 4 loss against sc Heerenveen (Eredivisie) Now, the results against Molde knocked us out of the Europa League. This means we’re missing out on the much needed extra payout that international competitions generate, but also cuts us short of games against good competition that we could use to develop our players. If there is some positive to get out of this: we made it past one qualifying round, and the lack of European football means we can fully focus on the competition. Which, given the results we’ve booked sofar, is needed. After these results i decided to switch tactics. I’m not going into a completely different direction, but you will see some changes in formation. This tactic still uses a higher defensive block, a lot of pressing, wingers and 4 defenders. The changes are that the defensive backs are less attacking-minded, the wingers are dropped back to midfield (though still providing with and going forward in attack) and we dropped a midfield spot to give us an extra striker. My idea is to alter this tactic depending on the opponent, so one game i might play with a central midfielder and a defensive midfielder, the next game i could opt for a attacking midfielder and a central midfielder. To give you an idea of what this looks like: We have only played one game with this new shape so far. We played AZ Alkmaar, who at that time (after two games, so it does not say much) were first in the league. This resulted in: Despite 3 goals conceded, i’m quite happy with the way we played. Let’s see if this tactic indeed works for us in september. Transferwindow Now August is over, the transferwindow is also over. On our side there’s nothing new: no one sold, nor anyone contracted. There is one transfer that that caught my eye though, because it involves a player from the Eredivisie and Chelsea… If De Ligt indeed has the potential everyone thinks he has, Chelsea just made our mission a whole lot harder... In the next update: September!
  11. Nice one, very clever! Update 3: the first two matches and transfer developments... Staff upgrades The past few weeks we've been busy with confirming a bunch of new signings in the staff department. Now we can confirm that Bauwens, Liddell, Schuiteman, Heatubun, De Haan and De Buyser are all confirmed. Friendlies We've also played our first two (and only) friendly matches. We won with 3 - 2 against Hibernian, but lost 1 - 3 from Rostock. Based on these two games (might not be a big enough sample though) i’ve added shorter passing for the whole team. To not totally cripple the team i gave the regista the ability to use more direct passing. Reason is that in both the games i regained possession quite well, but i lose it rather quickly as well. I hope to avoid this last part with the shorter passing. Transfers: out Buttner sold for 1.300.000 and 130.000 in two installments to FC Utrecht. We do contribute 3.900 a month to the wage bill, but that’s a small part of this original 30.000 a month salary at Vitesse. This adds 700.000 to my transfer budget. Mukhtar Ali sold for 130.000 to Dinamo Moscow, also adding around 70.000 to the budget. Transfers: in We also brought in a new player: 24 year-old Isaac Sackey signed a 3-year deal with Vitesse. We bought him from Alanyaspor where he played 25 games last season. Isaac is estimated to be worth 1.100.000 before the deal was done, we paid 975.000 for him. Additional signing costs set us back a bit more, so 1.200.000 was deducted from the transfer-budget. He will make 27K per month with Vitesse, but the contract also contains an optional 2 year extension to be triggered by the club. So, for the curious ones: this is him: As you can see he has some growth potential left in him. We bought him to compete with Serero for the DM spot. Serero is technical and gifted, but lacks in defensive skills and is quite small with his 1.64m and 58 kilos. Sackey is a Ghanese giant of 1.90m and 88 kilos. So, i imagine both will get decent playing time, with Serero also competing for the other central-midfield spots. This is how they compare: Competitive matches After the tactical adjustments it was time for the first competitive matches of the season. We played AIK in the 2nd qualifying round for the Europa League. The home game resulted in a 0 - 0 tie, the away game we scored two goals and won with 0 - 2. This puts us in the 3rd qualifying round against Molde!
  12. In this next post we're getting into all stuff i usually do when starting at a new club. No matches yet, and a lot of developments in a short amount of space, but at the moment of posting this is where we stand. In the next post i'll give you a brief update on recent events (contracts that have been accepted, players that have been sold, etc.) Building the club Before we get to players and tactics, i want to make sure the infrastructure of the club is suited for the task at hand. So, that means looking at the trainers, scouts, medical team and the staff at the youth teams. I tried talking to the board about the data-analysis facilities, but got no positive response there. The coaching staff is lacking a fitness trainer and a head of youth development (if i choose to get one). Fortunately we have space for 3 new staff-members, so that gives us some for much needed colleagues. At this point we have offered a contract to Andy Liddell as a fitness coach, and have contracted Jan Gosgens for a general coaching spot. When looking at the scouting staff, we also need some fresh blood. We currently have a chief scout, a chief data analyst, and three scouts. To find the (underpriced) gems that we need to grow, we need more scouts. At this point we have offered contracts to Gery de Buyser, Roy de Haan and Marc Schuiteman. In the medical department we have some decent physio’s, a doctor, but no sport scientists. So, we offered a contract to Koen Bauwens and Dirk-Jan Heatubun as sport scientist and head of sport science. Squad overview Now, when we look at the available players, the A, B and youth squad looks as follows: Main squad B squad -19 These images give you a general idea of what kind of quality we have at our disposal. This leads to two conclusions We have a ton of talent coming up. A few are ready for first team time (Gong, Doekhi, Faye, Karavaev, Buitink), but even among the players that are not ready yet for first team football we have some amazing talents! In the main squad 4 players are with us on a loan. Eduardo who is likely to be the main choice in goal, Clarke-Salter who could be handy in defense, Odegaard, a big talent from Real Madrid who can play on the midfield and on the wing and last but not least, Musonda who also can play on the wing. Odegaard and Musonda are both in contention for a starting 11 spot. Tactics For starters: i am creating my own style. Based on the squad and its qualities i want a few things to come back in the way we play: utilize the quality we have on the wings Play a pressing style, that our aggression and workrate should suit We have some quality on the back positions as well, i want to make use of this as well. Based on this, we will play with 4 defenders, 1 striker and 2 wingers. This leaves us with 3 spots in midfield. How i’ll arrange the midfield positions will be decided during the season, we’ll see what works. For now i go for Regista in DM position, a box-to-box midfielder to create some movement and support in both boxes and a ‘normal’ midfielder. All three players have a support duty. The attacking-three are an inside forward on the left, on support duty to (hopefully) cover the back a bit, a winger (we have no decent opposite-footed players on the right except Odegaard, but he has 4 finishing) on the right with the attacking duty. The striker is a deep-lying forward. In defense we will start with two fullbacks. Maybe we’ll switch to a complete wingback if the attacking influence is too low. But, i’m a bit cautious here, i don’t want my backs to be too committed to their attacking duties resulting in defensive gaps. On the left we have an attacking duty, to (hopefully) overlap the inside forward, on the right we work with a support duty. The two centre backs are set on a defensive central defender for now. Now, including team instructions, this is the tactic we’re working with for now. During the season we will see how things work out and what needs changing. Transfers I’m a bit reluctant to start bringing in players right away. We’ll see how the first few games go to decide if i need some new players. Now, knowing myself i’m always quite tempted to start spending money, but in this case i want to force myself to look at our available talents first. Also, having learned from reading Moneyball, the numbers game and Soccernomics I’m not that enthusiastic about spending a lot of money on a 28-year old striker. If i buy, i’ll try to get relatively young players (minus 25) for a good price. When i arrived Navarone Foor is listed for a transfer. He won’t get a starting 11 spot, but he might be useful as a stand-in. And, i think we don’t have too many decent midfielders yet, so he might get some time this year. I’ll remove him from the transfer-list. Regarding selling players, there are a few ones on the nomination to leave us if i can get a decent price for them: Alexander Buttner: Alexander is a Vitesse-icon and is a quality left back. Mostly attacking minded, fast and a great crosser. His issue is that he’s 29 years old, earns 30K a month and that Lassana Faye is a decent replacement. Buttner is a bit better in crossing, But Faye has a slight edge in defensive qualities. On top of that: Faye is 20 years old and has a bright future with the team. On top of that we have Max Clark who is quite versatile and is a good player for the midfield and the left back position, so for back-up we don’t need Buttner either. If we can get a decent offer for him, we might have to let him go. Khalid Karami: Khalid has joined Vitesse this summer. Truth be told: i wonder why. Julian Lelieveld is a decent back-up for the right back position, but he is currently on a loan at Go Ahead Eagles. Julian is 20 years old and needs playing time, which he won’t get with Karavaev being the first choice on the right back position. For now i might keep Khalid, but any decent offer and he’s off. Yoel Thode is a young talent in our -19 squad that can play on the right pack position as well, so we do have some choices to make on that position, so it’s not like we have a major issue if he leaves. Maikel van der Werff: Maikel is a main pillar in our defense and incredibly important. But, he's 29 years old and his contract runs out in 12 months. I don't want to risk him walking out of the door on a free, especially since he's worth 2.200.000 at this moment. Renewing is contract is very costly, since he demands a salary of around 40k a month. If i get a good offer and can find a replacement, i might let him go. Mukhtar Ali and Wellington Verloo are young players, but with little growth potential. They do earn a decent wage though. So, if we can let them go (or loan them out) we will surely go for it.
  13. Introduction A new game means a new career. Vitesse is always a tempting club to manage for me, i’ve been a supporting them for a good few years, even before all the takeovers and the strong link with Chelsea. Now, this link has provided us with great players of the years and still does. But, i feel it’s time to (slowly) take control back again. So, we’re going to attempt to make Vitesse an equal force in international football compared to Chelsea. In the first few years that might still require some Chelsea-rental involvement, but i expect them to drop our relationship when i become more of an international competitor (or else i will…). What this means exactly i’m still working out, but for now i think the goal should be to finish above Chelsea in the Champions League. The club Now, Vitesse, founded in 1892 is one of the oldest clubs in Dutch professional football. They have access to a fairly modern stadium and have recently renewed their training grounds and facilities. With Russian ownership of the club the financial situation isn’t bad either (at least not as bad as before the takeovers…). To summarize, we are handed a club with no debt other than a state-loan with 5 miliion remaining and the following facilities: All in all a very good basis, though i’d prefer a better data-analysis facility. and eventually the rent of the stadium is costing quite a bit of money. So, in the future these might need a different approach. Over the past few years the club performed quite well. Last season Vitesse took 6th place and in 2017 they took there first big price in winning the Dutch Cup. But, Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord are traditionally the biggest clubs in the Netherlands and for the spots below them Vitesse are having some fierce competition. The trainer I want to stay a bit close to myself in selecting the stats for the trainer. So, as a basis, i went with the highest coaching-credentials, but the lowest football experience. I’ll never be a footballer or play on any decent level, but (in theory) there is a chance i’ll get all these coaching credentials. The lack of reputation might be bit of a challenge at the start of the save, but we’ll see how it goes. Next time we go a bit more in depth into the squad and possibly a brief look at a fitting tactic...
  14. The season ends... There we are, the season is over. We've finished 5th in the league, qualifying us for the play-offs for promotion. First we would have to play 2 semi-final games against Mansfield. The first game was a delight: a 1 - 3 win sure gave us a headstart. The home game was a slight disaster though: we lost with 1 against 4, knocking us out of the race for promotion. The table looked like this: To make things worse, the board decided that the money i'm able to spend on transfers was cut down to 40% of the profit we would make. After failing to achieve promotion, they also scrapped the planned upgrade to the youth update. Player performance I won't give you the stats on all the players, but a few ones are worth noting: Timi Elsnik Timi, being on loan from Derby for sure was the most valuable player. Being a winger scoring 17 goals and giving 15 assists earned him a rating of 7.3 over all games. Also, he earned 11 player of the match awards. We're sure going to miss him! Other notables: Keshi Anderson, striker: 24 goals and 13 assists in 50 games, average rating of 7.08 Paul Mullin, striker/winger: 13 goals and 15 assists in 44 games, average rating of 7.00 Kaiyne Woolery, winger: 11 goals, 15 assists in 48 games, average rating of 7,15 Ellis Iandolo, midfielder: 4 goals, 10 assists, 6 player of te match awards, playing 48 games average rating of 7,24 Jessy Galvez Y Lopez: starting 6 games, substitute in 13 games: 5 goals, 1 assists, 3 player of the match awards, average rating of 7,19 How did the transfers do? Jessy Galvez Y Lopez Above i mentioned Jessy Galvez allready, but he performed really well. Being a pure left-winger he had to wait out till Elsnik was injured, on national duty or needing a rest, so he didnt get a lot of game time yet. But, the first results are positive! Especially the rating of 7,19 over all those games is pretty good. Javier Vet Javier played 18 matches in the starting 11, and came in as a substitute in 3. he managed to get an average rating of 6.75, which isn't too good. On the bright side: he has the highest pass-completion ratio of the entire team (86%). Joe Riley Joe played 35 games in the starting 11 and came in as a substitute in 2 games. He has an average rating of 6.76, which is about the same as the other players on his position (Purkiss and Knoyle). In those games he did manage to get 2 player of the match awards. Raheem Hanley Raheem played 17 games from the starting 11 and came in as a substitute in 18. He has the lowest average rating on his position with 6.63. This might be due to me using him all over the pitch, not giving him the chance to live up to the expectations. The future... Now, it's easy to see Swindon is in a bad place. We're within our player-wage budget, not spending too much on transfers, but the financial situation is quite bad. Now, the scrapping of the youth-academy upgrade is bad, but not vital. The low returns on transfers though is crippling. We'll see what goal the board throws up, and i'll have a long talk about it with them. I'm prepared to go for another season, but the circumstances have to be just right. I'm a journeyman, not a Swindon-man for life. So if something better might come along, i might not be able to contain myself...
  15. Time for a new update. It's February the 1st and we've just gone through the transfer period. First, the Results Sky Bet League Two 0 - 2 loss against Yeovil 0 - 1 loss against Grimsby 1 - 1 draw against Newport County 0 - 0 draw against Chesterfield 2 - 3 loss against Accrington 3 - 3 draw against Colchester 1 - 2 loss against Crewe 2 - 2 draw against Luton 4 - 4 draw against Notts County 1 - 0 win against Barnet 1 - 2 loss against Stevenage 1 - 1 draw against Forest Green 0 - 0 draw against Coventry 2 - 1 win against Crewe Checkatrade Trophy 0 - 0 win (penalties) against Bristol Rovers 1 - 0 win against Southampton -23 (2nd round) 2 - 1 win against Chelsea -23 (3rd round) 5 - 3 win against Southend (qtr final) As you'll see, we've had a quite bad period. The first few months we were still in contention for automatic promotion, currently the table looks like this: With 16 games left to play, everything is possible. But to be realistic i've still got my hopes up for a play-off position. Tactics After the disaster of the past few months i've changed a few things. Neither the 4-3-3 or the 5-2-3 seemed to work, no matter what i tried. So, i went back to basics with a 4-2-2 formation. I figured if i could put a bit more pressure on the opponents that might prevent some goals as well. I came to realize that, based on the numbers game, conceded goals are worth more (negative) than goals scored, but that does not mean you have to play a defensive game. If by applying more pressure and a standard mentality i concede less, that's also fine. The tactic we are currently using is still in development, but looks something like this: Transfers Now, since the transfer period has passed, what has happened to the squad: Out: Matty Taylor has been sold for 3,3K, while being worth 7,5K. This does not bother me though, since i allready found a replacement and this lift a burden on the wage budget. We're still paying 6K a month to Port Vale (where he went), but that's only for the remainder of the season. And with his original contract being worth 12,25K a month, i'm not too fuzzed about that. Rollin Menayese has requested to be released from his loan and wanted to return to the Bristol Rovers. I haven't used him that much, so i let him. Morale was under pressure allready due to the results, i can't affort more unhappy players. Besides, i was required to pay around 2K a month for him, so we've cut those costs as well. I had hopes to sell more players who i had listed. But, Donal McDermott (worth 29K, 28 years old), Chris Robertson (24,5K, 32 years old), Ben Purkiss (6K, 33 years old) and Marc Richards (14,25K, 35 years old) are still at the club because no one was interested. The good news is that all of their contracts will expire at the end of the season, which will free up a nice chunk of the wage budget. In: I allready mentioned Javier Vet in the previous post, he came in at a 3 star rating. The best signing so far though, is 22 year old Jessy Galvez Y Lopez from Belgium. I signed him as a free agent, after some scouting and a trial. He is a 3,5 star left winger with a 4,5 star potential and is worth 165K. He signed a contract for the next 3,5 years worth 4,3K a month. With him we have the replacement of Timi Elsnik allready in our ranks! Other news Nothing major, but i managed to convince the board that investing in a youth academy would be a good idea. So, it might take half a year, but we should see an upgrade in the (currently basic) youth facilities coming our way.
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