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About Fraser

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    Perth, Scotland

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  1. Genoa – 2021-22 to Matchday 17. The last update saw us sitting 3rd in Serie A at the end of October, and with 3 wins out of 3 in the Europa League groups. November: The month began with our reverse Europa League fixture away to Olympiakos, which ended in a goalless draw that sees us very close to qualifying. That was followed by an away trip to Roma, who handed us just our second defeat of the season – Patrick Schick scoring the game’s only goal 10 minutes into the second half. We returned from the November international break with a match against Inter. We were very poor, only getting one shot off in the whole game, but somehow managed to come away with a 0-0 draw. We then qualified from our Europa League group with a game to spare. It was yet another 1-0 win, this time at home to Basel, with Biraschi scoring right on half-time. The fully changed XI have really performed in those games, which has been keeping my ‘key’ players fresh for Serie A. November ended with a trip to an unbeaten Juventus side, who sit comfortably top of the table. We started the better, with Cassata netting the opener and Masiello making it 2-0 just after half time, but Juventus were so strong and came back with goals from Fischer and Higuain. It felt like two points dropped but, in reality, a point at Juventus is a good point. December: Another away trip in the league, this time to Udinese. An even match ended 1-1, with Kishna scoring our equaliser. We then completed our Europa League campaign with a 1-1 draw at Hertha Berlin, which saw us top the group (which could be key when the draws are made). Two first half goals in that game, with Torunarigha opening the scoring for Hertha and Traore levelling for us. Our first home match in a while was an encounter with Fiorentina and an entertaining game. Kishna set us on our way before one of our old boys, Kouame, equalised. We looked to have grabbed the points with an 88th minute Sturaro goal but the impressive Pol Lirola struck back with an injury time goal to make it 2-2. With no league wins in 5 games, and 1 in 8 in all competitions (though the fixture list wasn’t particularly kind) we really needed a win away to SPAL. I felt some change was needed, so moved Caleta-Car, Cicaldau and Favilli into my stronger XI, with El Yamiq, Lerager and Pinamonti making way. The change seemed to pay off, with Caleta-Car and Favilli scoring the goals in a 2-0 win – cue smug manager on the touchline!!!! The year ended with a home match against Verona and a comfortable 3-0 win, with Traore, Cataldi and Favilli on the scoresheet. We end the year in 4th place, 8 points behind an unbeaten Juventus but still ahead of expectations. We have a bye to the second knockout round in Europe and a home cup tie against Sampdoria to look forward to in the new year.
  2. Genoa – 2021-22 to Matchday 10. September: After the international break we returned with a disappointing 0-0 draw at Torino, in a game with few chances. We then had our first European tie for many years, as I put out an entirely changed XI (including both new signings – Caleta-Car and Cicaldau) and managed to get a fine 1-0 away to Basel, with Omeonga scoring the only goal. We returned to league duty with a home game against a very decent Bologna team. Our strong home form continued with a first ever Serie A goal for young Denilho Cleonise and another Criscito penalty seeing us out as 2-0 winners. That was followed by a midweek match at newly promoted Cittadella. Again, we changed the entire XI but were very poor, and were lucky that Pajac’s 92nd minute goal gave us the 1-0 victory. Sunday saw us face Cagliari, who we had just pipped to the last Europa League spot last season. A good performance resulted in a fairly routine 1-0 win, with Lerager netting the only goal a minute after half time. The month ended with another Europa League tie, this time at home to Hertha Berlin. Once more we changed the starting XI and they produced a phenomenal performance, resulting in a 4-1 win. Dalmonte opened the scoring before former Genoa striker Piatek equalised for Hertha, then an own goal and further strikes from Cicaldau and Pajac completed the scoring. October: Our next Serie A game was a tough one, away to Napoli. We stayed in the game and nicked a late lead through Favilli, but Politano made it 1-1 with 2 minutes to go. After the international break we welcomed Atalanta, and managed to run out 1-0 winners in another fairly even game. That man Cassata with the only goal on the half hour. That was followed by our third Europe League match, this time at home to Olympiakos. Our changed XI put in another fantastic performance and handed out a 5-0 thrashing – with Andrea Favilli bagging a hat-trick and Dalmonte getting the other two. Next up was a visit to Virtus Entella in the league. We started well enough, with a 3rd minute penalty from Criscito, but then made hard work of it – only just holding on for the 1-0 win. October ended with a home derby against Sampdoria, who I had beaten on all four previous occasions. That good run would continue in a dreadful game of few chances. Cataldi scored early but Petagna levelled right on half-time and it was left for a heroic substitute to win the points, Andrea Favilli coming off the bench to fire in the goal that gave us the 2-1 win. We ended October sat third in Serie A, and top of our Europa League group (and probably just needing a point or two to qualify).
  3. My view is that Walter Benitez is Champion's League quality and is the better keeper right now. Wuilker Farinez is younger but already a good keeper for mid-table/Europa League level teams - and he often ends up moving to the big clubs after he has developed for a year or two, so if you get him now you can either try to keep him as he develops or cash in on him later.
  4. I think Timo Horn still has a reasonable release clause. You could also look at Wuilker Farinez or Walter Benitez.
  5. Genoa – 21-22 pre-season, transfer updates and up to Matchday 2: An award to be noted, as Marco Sportiello was named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year and subsequently made the Serie A Team of the year. Not bad for £600k. As the 20-21 season ended my first priority was to make decisions on what to do with players who are out of contract in just over a year (July 2022). Contract extensions were agreed with: Criscito (2023), Sturaro (2024), Pajac (2024), Lerager (2024), Omeonga (2023), Cleonise (2024). We also agreed an extension for Ricardo Kishna (2024), removing his £5m Champions League release fee. He was already valued at £6m, so it seemed a smart move. Leaving us at the start of July 2021: Peter Ankersen – the back up right back did a job but I can’t justify spending 20k per week wages on someone who barely plays. Giacomo Calo, who featured from the bench 7 times but is aged 24 now and never going to be good enough. Koray Gunter, my 4th choice centre back, left on a pre-contract for Istanbul Basaksehir. Jandrei, my 3rd choice goalkeeper (after returning from Brazil in January) joined Santos on a free. The transfer and wage budgets stayed broadly the same at £16m and £675k per week. I had not let many players go, and realistically only needed to replace Ankersen (DR) and Gunter (DC). Ankersen was ‘replaced’ by 22 year old Federico Valietti from my reserve squad but I still needed to buy a centre back to replace Gunter. We had a 100% record in pre-season, with wins at Swansea (2-0), Albissola (7-0), Virtus Entella (2-1), St Georgen (6-0) and finally a 3-1 home win against Villarreal. In early August we also agreed extensions to 2026 for Sportiello and Cassata. Always good to get key players tied down for the long term. The first transfer in was the purchase of Duje Caleta-Car from Marseille. The Croatia international defender was listed for £1.1m but I was wary of his £39k per week wages. My first bid was £1.1m, but asking Marseille to contribute £10k a week to his wages. Marseille negotiated, asking for £1.5m if they had to make the £10k contribution. Given that they would pay the £10k until the end of his Marseille contact in 2023, some quick maths had me figuring out that they are basically asking for £400k extra now but it would save me over £1m in the next 2 seasons. Deal done. Serie A: August: We started the season away to the new champions, Lazio. We played okay but went down 1-0 to an Immobile penalty. We then welcomed Milan for our first home match of the season. An end to end game ended with us getting a 3-2 win. The match was settled by Marko Pajac, after Douglas Costa and Duvan Zapata had earlier scored levellers in between goals from Kishna and Pinamonti. We ended the month with a last-minute move on transfer deadline day. I thought I’d maybe try to get a midfielder to keep everyone on their toes, and to have better options for Europe, but didn’t really expect to find a suitable deal. I took a gamble, bidding the £3m value for my only realistic target and, after negotiations, Alexandru Cicaldau (a 24 year old Romania international midfielder) joined for £3.8m from CS Craiova.
  6. Genoa – 20-21 Serie A Matchday 38. We went into the final day with almost everything still up for grabs in Serie A. Still to be decided was: The champions - with one point separating Napoli and Lazio The Champion’s League places –Inter, AC Milan and Juventus all on 77 points The last Europa League spot – us and Cagliari on 68 points The final relegation place (technically) – Sampdoria 3 points ahead of Benevento with an equal head to head record, but Samp are 19 goas better ff in goal difference. The goals in the key games, as they go in: 1 min: It’s a flying start from Juve, with Betancur netting an early goal to steady the nerves. Juventus 1 Ascoli 0 7 mins: Inter also off to a good start, with a 7th minute penalty from Lukaku. Inter 1 Fiorentina 0 14 mins: Goal in the relegation game that isn’t really a relegation game. Parma lead at Sampdoria through an Esposito penalty. Sampdoria 0 Parma 1 22 mins: An equaliser at the San Siro. Skriniar with an own goal!!! Inter 1 Fiorentina 1 24 mins: Juventus extend their lead. Pjanic scoring to make it Juventus 2 Ascoli 0 31 mins: Inter back in front through Galeno. Inter 2 Fiorentina 1 34 mins: The first twist in the title chase!!! The prolific Immobile opens the scoring. Lazio 1 Benevento 0 39 mins: First blood to Genoa in the race for the last Europa League spot. Pinamonti finds the net!!! Cagliari 0 Genoa 1 43 mins: Another leveller for Fiorentina. It’s Adegbenro this time. Inter 2 Fiorentina 2 45 + 1 mins: A massive goal in the San Paolo!!! Milan take the lead through a Vavro strike, just as first half comes to close. Napoli 0 Milan 1 Quick half time table, as it stands: Lazio------87 Napoli----84 Milan-----80 Juventus-80 Inter------78 Genoa----71 Cagliari---68 48 mins: It’s a disaster for Napoli as Romagnoli doubles Milan’s lead. Napoli 0 Milan 2 65 mins: Cagliari pull themselves back into the Europa League hunt. It’s former Genoa man Pavoletti who levels it. Cagliari 1 Genoa 1 65 mins: It’s another for Juve!! Demiral powering in a header to make it Juventus 3 Ascoli 0 66 mins: A consolation for Ascoli. The Portuguese striker, Eder, with the goal. Juventus 3 Ascoli 1 79 mins: Inter lead for the third time!!! Origi finds the net. Inter 3 Fiorentina 2 87 mins: A goal for Napoli, but surely too late. Ceballos beats Donnarumma to make it interesting. Napoli 1 Milan 2 90 + 4 mins: Another equaliser for Fiorentina!! Chiesa breaks the hearts of the home supporters. Surely this will deny Inter a Champion’s League place, as they slip from 3rd down to 5th. Inter 3 Fiorentina 3 An incredible final day saw Lazio leap-frog Napoli to win Serie A, while Inter dropped from 3rd to 5th (and missed out on the Champions League) due to Federico Chiesa’s injury time equaliser. Elsewhere, it was GENOA who sealed the final Europa League place, with a point at Cagliari (who will play in the Europa Conference League). Relegated are Benevento, Ascoli and Frosinone. Promoted are SPAL, Cittadella and Virtus Entella.
  7. Genoa – 20-21 Serie A to Matchday 37. Last time around March had just ended with a defeat by Lazio leaving us in 6th place in Serie A with 8 games left. April: Our tricky mini-run of fixtures continued with a 1-0 loss at home to Inter, with a late Lukaku goal giving them a deserved 1-0 victory. That was followed by a costly 5-0 thrashing at Juventus, in a game which saw Pajac and Kishna injured in the first 25 minutes and Cataldi sent off with 15 minutes to go. Juventus goals were doubles for Betancur and Ronaldo and one for Higuain. We really needed a win vs Udinese, and duly delivered with a 2-0 victory. An even game was decided by goals from Criscito and Pinamonti. April ended with us stealing a point from Atalanta, who raced into a 2-0 lead in the first 12 minutes with gaols from Zapata and Muriel. We responded quickly through Pinamonti and he then added a second in the very last minute to ‘earn’ us a draw. May: The final month of the season started with a home fixture against struggling Frosinone. They couldn’t lay a glove on us as we played out a comfortable 2-0 win, with a Criscito penalty and a Kishna goal giving us the points. Our toughest remaining fixture, at table-topping Napoli, followed.Again we struggled to compete with the big team, as Fabian and Manolas scored in a routine 2-0 win for them. The last home game of the season saw Sassuolo as the visitors. We were still in with a shout for Europe, while they had nothing to play for, but we still made hard work of it. The ever-impressive Cataldi would fire home on the game;s only goal a minute after half time. With one game to go we sit in 6th place, level on points with Cagliari. The final day will decide: The champions - with one point separating Napoli and Lazio The Champion’s League places –Inter, AC Milan and Juventus all on 77 points The last Europa League spot – us and Cagliari on 68 points The final relegation place (technically) – Sampdoria 3 points ahead of Benevento with an equal head to head record, but Samp are 19 goals better off in goal difference. Key final day fixtures are: Napoli (1st) vs Milan (4th) Lazio (2nd) vs Benevento (18th) Inter (3rd) vs Fiorentina (9th) Juventus (5th) vs Ascoli (20th) Cagliari (7th) vs Genoa (6th) Sampdoria (17th) vs Parma (13th)
  8. Genoa – 20-21 Serie A to Matchday 30. Last time we ended matchday 20 in a satisfying 5th place. Level on points with Lazio and a point ahead of Inter. Contract extensions were agreed with Radovanovic and Masiello (both to 2022, with an auto 1 year extension based on games played in the final season and with Dalmonte and El Yamiq (to 2023). We also managed to convince Ascoli to sign Cristian Zapata on a free, removing him from the wage bill. January: TIM Cup. Our second team put in a good performance away to Napoli, taking the lead with a Traore penalty, but goals from Politano and Marcos Llorente gave them a 2-1 win, so we went out of the cup. We returned to league action with a home game against Roma. Once more our form in big games was good, as a 5 minute spell early in the second half saw goals from Cataldi and Kishna give us a 2-1 win (Schick scoring for Roma). That was followed by a 3-1 loss at Milan, their new signing Adolfo Gaich (£9.75m from San Lorenzo) has been phenomenal and he scored twice, followed by a goal from Douglas Costa, before Cassata netted a late consolation. We end January with a disappointing goalless draw at home to Torino. February: It was back to winning ways, with a 1-0 victory against a Verona side who had given us our first defeat of the season. Pinamonti with the game’s only goal. Next up was another disappointing home draw, this time with Bologna. Marko Pajac bagged 2 goals from the bench but Olsen and Barrow netted for Bologna. One of our better performances followed, with Cataldi firing in two early goals, and missing a penalty, in a comfortable 2-0 win at Ascoli. February ended with yet another home draw, this time we pretty much stole a point against Fiorentina, with substitute Pajac getting an 84th minute equaliser after Pezzella had given them the lead. March: We continued our strange pattern of form with another comfortable away win. 3 second half goals from Kishna, Cassata and Pinamonti giving us a solid 3-0 win over struggling Benevento. Next up was out home derby, and a continuation of my 100% record against Sampdoria, who are really struggling in the league. A 10th minute opener from Kishna gave us the lead but we had to wait until the 88th minute for Cataldi to seal a 2-0 victory. March ended with the first in the reverse run of ‘nasty’ fixtures that we’d had in October/November. Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio dominating in an easy 2-0 win, with goals from Lazaro and Escalante. We end Matchday 30 down a place in 6th, level on points with Inter. We are still well ahead of expectations, but the number of draws is really stalling our progress.
  9. As a work-around you could either send your first team holiday (not sure this is that easy) or you could set them to rest for a week at a time. If I remember rightly, you can just select multiple players (not including loans out or red injured players) and right click, then choose "Rest" from the training options. I often do this when there is an international week and, as a result, I rarely have players listed as "needing a rest" late in the season. As an added bonus, they're not going to get injured in training if they are resting.
  10. Genoa – 20-21 Serie A to Matchday 20. Last time we finished near the end of October with Genoa sitting in an unexpected 4th place in Serie A, having just won the derby at Sampdoria, but with a nasty run of fixtures coming up. October: Just one last game to finish the month, with a home game against a strong Lazio side. We ended up with a 2-2 draw, which I’d have taken before the game, but we dominated and so it feels like 2 points dropped. Our goals came from Pinamonti and a club first from Kishna, Lazio’s strikes came from ex-Genoa man Laxalt and from Lazaro. November: We started November with a bit of a trouncing, with a Pochettino-led Inter far too strong for us. Lukaku gave them an early lead and we kept ourselves alive for most of the match, but late goals from De Vrij and Perisic gave the score a fair reflection. Our response was good point at home to Juventus. We took a first minute lead through Cassata, who is growing in influence each game, and Juve equalised in the first half through Ronaldo. We end November by getting back to winning ways, with a hard fought 1-0 win at Udinese – that man Cassata with the winning goal after 31 minutes. December: TIM Cup – we go through to the next round with a 2-1 extra time win at home against Carpi. I changed all 11 players, to see how the fringe players did and the answer was not that good. Pinamonti came off the bench to open the scoring before we let Carpi back in with a last minute goal. It was down to Pinamonti to win the tie with a penalty in extra-time. Back to the league and an ‘easier’ fixture at Frosinone. Goals from Cassata and Favilli gave us enough of a lead that their late goal to make it 2-1 didn’t matter. Next up was a dull 0-0 draw at home to Napoli. We then went to Sassuolo and escaped with a draw against a resilient opponent. Locatelli gave them the lead but Criscito smashed home a penalty with 5 minutes to go to make it 1-1. December ended with a much needed win at home to a Cagliari team who were playing well. Pinamonti striking with the only goal of an even game, just before the hour. January: The month began with another dull goalless draw, this time away to Parma. We controlled possession but carried very little threat going forward. Matchday 20 was a re-arranged midweek game at home to Atalanta. Another even game, not pretty to watch, was decided by El Yamiq coming up to head in from a corner and give us a 1-0 win. We end matchday 20 in a satisfying 5th place. Level on points with Lazio in 4th and a point ahead of Inter in 6th. We do get quite a few draws, but are really grinding out results.
  11. I'm leaving everything to my backroom team in this save (it speeds things up ) so I can't say on the mentoring but I imagine he'll do well. He's solid for me, doing everything I want. I'm playing him as a DMs alongside Cataldi (who is a SVs) and his defensive attributes suit what I need. Surprisingly, he is also leading the team in key passes - I suspect because everyone ahead of him is moving and he's just giving them the ball!!! I'm not sure he has the technical skills for an all-action role, but if you need a defensive midfielder who is reliable and tidy in possession, and you can get him at a decent price, then he's certainly one of the better players of that type in Serie A.
  12. Genoa – 20-21 Serie A = to Matchday 10. TIM Cup: We began the season with a 1-0 home win against Perugia, with the only goal being a penalty from Pinamonti mid-way through the second half. We were the better team but the performance was no better than average. August: The first league game was a Monday night match at home to Parma. In what was a fairly even game, we came out on top by virtue of being more clinical. Goals from Traore (playing right midfield) and Pinamonti giving us a 2-0 win. The second match was a fine 1-0 win away to Roma. They dominated possession but were restricted to shots from distance and, coincidentally, it was a shot from distance by our left back Pajac that gave us the win. September: We returned from the international break with another fine 1-0 win, this time at home to Milan. Cassata gave us the lead early on and Milan struggled after having Douglas Costa injured and Kessie sent off in the first 30 minutes. We could even afford a missed penalty from Pinamonti. That was followed up with a 2-1 win away to Torino. Once more out opponents were restricted to shots from distance and we got a last minute winner from Pinamonti, after early goals from Torino’s Zaza and a Criscito penalty had left the score at 1-1 for most of the match. Our first defeat of the season was a very disappointing 1-0 loss at home to Verona in what may have been the worst match ever played. Stepinski hitting the only goal for the visitors in the 88th minute. The month was closed out with a 2-2 draw away to Bologna, with Pinamonti and Traore bagging our goals.. We didn’t make many chances, but hopefully it’s a good sign to go away from home and get a point when playing badly. October: We bounced back with a dominant victory at home against lowly Ascoli. Two goals in the first 12 minutes, from Radovanovic and Cassata, giving us a comfortable 2-0 win. Next up was Fiorentina away, and one of our better performances brought us a point from a 2-2 draw. Cataldi opening the scoring with his first goal for the club and then Cassata getting the equaliser after Lirola and Chiesa had turned it around for the Viola. The third match of the month was a home game against Benevento. Once more we made a great start, racing in to a 3-0 lead in the first half hour with goals from Pajac, Cassata and Cataldi. Benevento scored an injury time consolation goal, but it was very comfortable 3-1 win. Matchday 10 was a Tuesday night derby, under the floodlights. We opened the scoring through Pinamonti on 10 minutes before Depaoli hit an equaliser for Sampdoria 5 minutes before half time. His night would go downhill from there, as it would be his 62nd minute own goal that sent the Genoa fans home happy. After 10 games we sit 4th in Serie A – a much better start than expected. Our next run of fixtures is less than friendly with Lazio (H), Inter (A), Juventus (H) and Udinese (A) in our next 4 games. The next update will take us through to early January.
  13. Agreed, these days I never have a save long enough to make the most of them coming through, so it's a pointless exercise. I'm probably 5 seasons tops for a game (in my younger days it was 15-20 seasons average for a game). A mate and me had a 2 player game past season 70, but that was 15+ years ago!!!!
  14. Genoa – summer 2020 transfer business. I didn’t renew any contracts in the first season, and decided to let go anyone who was out of contract in June 2020. The only tough decision was Ghiglione, who did well enough at right back but SPAL were willing to pay him £18k a week and I wasn’t. Major moves out were: Pandev (Astana on a free), Ghiglione (SPAL on a free), Behrami (AEK Athens on a free), Gumus (Hamburg for £1.3m), Schone (Galatasaray for £700k), Lapadula (Brescia for £3.9m). I can’t get rid of Cristian Zapata and his high wages, even offering him out for free resulted in no takers. Transfers In: Firstly, I’d like to tell Simone Inzaghi that I love him!!! You’ll understand why in a minute. Right midfield: Ricardo Kishna was released by Lazio. A very good ball carrier, signed on a 3 year contract but I did have to give him a £5m release fee for Champions League teams. Centre midfield: Adama Traore was released by Monaco. Another good ball carrier who can play through the centre. Despite being a Mali international he does have French nationality as well, so doesn’t count as a non-EU player. 3 year deal. Defensive midfield: Danilo Cataldi. I though Inzaghi was kind/crazy releasing Kishna, but he released Cataldi as well!! A super all-rounder, I did have to make him my highest paid player but got him on a 5 year deal, before any of the other interested parties even put a bid in. He wanted a relegation release clause of £5.25m. No problem, we’re not going down with likes of him in my team. Goalkeeper: Marco Sportiello for the princely sum of £600K from Atalanta, who had him transfer-listed. Very reasonable wages and in on a 4 year deal. Right back: Nathaniel Clyne was released by Liverpool. Unsurprisingly, there was competition for his signature so I had to make him one of my top earners. 3 year deal. Second choice goalkeeper: Simone Colombi joined for Parma on deadline day. A good backup for only £155k and on low wages. 3 year deal. Very happy with the business done. All bar Colombi should be in my first XI and I only spent just over £750k in transfer fees, though I am at my wage budget limit (Clyne and Cataldi took up quite a chunk of my remaining wage balance). Next up, time to get the 20/21 season started!!!
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