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About _Ben_

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  1. October/November 2028 We continue our good form into the third and fourth month of the season, with just one defeat, albeit a defeat against a title challenging club and our nearest rivals, at home. Whilst the loss has closed the gap at the top, at present Las Palmas are our closest foe as Sevilla's B side can't get promoted anyway. What has pleased me most over this spell is our ability to perform with a rotated squad and beat teams that are of similar quality to ourselves: Numancia were hot on our tails before our comfortable victory and Atletico Madrid B and Las Palmas are within the top sides in the league. --- With our good position here, I have instructed my scouting team to look for players who will be good enough to feature in a potential La Liga squad next year - with the ongoing look at Determination, Decisions, Concentration, Anticipation and the ability to use both feet.
  2. August/September 2028 A really promising start to the season, as usual, where we have found our scoring feet - in particular, that man again, Brian Pena, with nine goals already. Most pleasing from this start is the wins over Valencia Mestalla and Espanyol, two teams who will be challenging at the top of the league this year. I have been able to rotate and keep my players, meaning that I've suffered very few injuries and have been able to build up a bit of competition between my more experienced starter and younger backup. I, for some reason, am really struggling to get good ratings from the AMR who plays as a W(s) - in an ideal world, I'd actually have the 'blank-slate' WM(s) in the midfield strata but that would really make a defensive looking 4-1-4-1 AM and maybe even be a little too cautious. --- I was met with this news on deadline day - my first choice centre back moving for just about 10x his market value, but, as his minimum release clause was met, I had no say in it. Orriols was a really good ball player but it does give me the chance to fully integrate my second academy prospect, Alberto Ropero, into the first team. He joins Miguel Angel Villalba as the second Guadalajara graduate to be an important first team player and this is really a sign of what we want to achieve.
  3. I agree and I hope that Penalillo will be that man, but he was injured a bit last year and missed over a month with a youth competition for Chile. He's in his second season and hopefully can provide some goals. In terms of set pieces, I've made a call that, direct free kicks aside, we don't focus on them for goal scoring opportunities as, percentage wise, their yield is just too small. We, instead, keep the ball and look to work it into the box. It works well with keeping a solid shape, which turns into a 3-2-4-1ish (2 cb + HB, 2 IWB, two CM and wingers, T) and we don't have the tallest side too so we have struggled to win much from offensive corners, for example. I did look for a direct free kick taker but haven't really found anyone of note, yet. As for the attack duty - I've thought about a midfield runner but I've noticed in games that this crowds the centre meaning we are more likely to go direct and pump the ball into the box. None of the central players are tall enough to be real dangers in the air. Likewise, I though about going for an IWB(a) on the side I have the Mez(s) and W(s) to further overload that but I don't have a player proficient enough for it at this point. -- I'm hoping we have learnt from mistakes against specific opposition and can really put it all together this year, but time will tell..
  4. 2028/29 Season Preview I've set some pretty straightforward goals for the next season: Aim to earn promotion from La Liga Give young players a chance within the first team as that will be harder if/when we are promoted in the next few years Weed out those players who are not of the required standard for a promotion push/playing in La Liga. Re-negotiate contracts for players good enough to stay at the team if/when we are promoted, removing wage rises upon promotion etc. Maintain a transfer profit if possible, as this will be offset by the new contract deals. With that - here is the squad that I'm going with: Javi Sanchez (29 year old CB), Ignasio Vilarrasa (28 year old LB), Thiago Ojeda (25 year old AML) and Maxi Yamin (19 year old MC) all depart on free transfers or for small fees, but with no losses made on the prices they were brought in for. The plan it to give as many youngsters as possible a chance within the first team - namely Olawale, Bono, Francisco and Angel. I've included the star ratings as it's hard to conceptualise how my players look season on season, especially when I don't post screenshots of them all every season, and, although I don't necessarily base my own judgements on them, it is a decent base for comparison between them and my best players. Whilst I look at the squad and see seven teenagers, the first team actually is pretty experienced and of good quality - so it's more that my bench is younger and more inexperienced. As mentioned - there is little chance of being able to allow these players a huge amount of game time, at this level of development, if or when we go up so by playing them now, I'll either find out whether they are good enough to perform at that level by seeing them develop and fire us to promotion or they'll fail, be sold and not cost us too much as my own vision is slightly more ambitious than that of the board. -- This is a big gamble and one I'm not sure I could take were I to be a real life football manager - but let's see how this goes!
  5. Cohort Five Youth Development Just the two players to track this year - and both fall a little short of what I've had in the previous intakes based on their current ability. Anticipation/Concentration/Decisions will be focused on again as well as the technical attributes.
  6. 2027/28 Statistics A really good season for Guadalajara, as a club more than anything. At one end, Brian Pena is truly cementing himself as a great, with a fantastic goal scoring performance but the most pleasing part is the amount of minutes graduates have been afforded. The first team saw Villalba, Ropero and Septian each rack up significant time, with the latter actually being the second top scorer following some good end of season form and the former being an absolute stalwart in the middle. --- We have seen a lot more turnover of staff that I'm used to and that I'd actually want but there are seven players that have played in each of our four years in this league. I feel, out of these lot, that Willian Santos is the weakest, both on paper and how his performances have dipped in what can only be described as our best season. He must perform for us next year or he'll almost certainly be shown the door. --- If I had to pick one thing to work on - again, it'd be goal distribution. Whilst Pena has been superb, rating the highest player in Spain with goals per 90 (Kylian Mbappe has scored two more but played a few more games), he has also scored more than half of our goals. Penalillo was brought in to alleviate that and started fantastically but has since really dipped in form - coinciding with a large spell away on international duty and a couple of injuries. He'll have to find his form next year or we'll go another year being completely reliant on one player.
  7. 2027/28 LaLiga 123 Playoffs One step too far, sadly. Our poor form running into the game meant we had to adapt our game plan in the first leg. We came away with a 1-1 draw and lifted spirits somewhat. A 2-2 home draw with them saw us head out on away goals. Overall, a disappointment - but a much better showing than last year and grounds to be confident for next season. I'll wrap up the statistics in another post.
  8. Cohort Four Youth Development Another group through and another year with some fantastic progress being made (excuse the technical, mental and physical average on the middle table which appear wrong, yet the correct values have been pulled for the overview table) and two players who I will be using in the first team a lot more next season. We're now 'good' at passing, first touch and technique, and are significantly closer to my mental targets thanks to exceptional development with anticipation and decisions. Concentration will come with game time, I believe. --- Olawale slots in as the third best developer (the top seven are now all 'first season youth academy graduates' so this puts a bit more context behind it) and Samuel ends the season as the fourth best overall player to leave the 'development plan' but is the youngest to reach a double figure average of attributes. --- I'm interested now in how this overview table will look once we have improved facilities and staffing as I feel that these developments are already really promising.
  9. April/May/June 2028 We have kind of ran out steam, unfortunately and, given our recent form, do not class us as favourites to now go up. April started really well, as we took ten points from a possible twelve but, surprisingly, we failed to turn up against a Valencia side we normally fair very well against. We then have stumbled across the finish line with, annoyingly, the majority of our top players falling out of form. We head into the playoffs against Vallecano with confidence that we have beaten them before but a worry that we aren't in good form.
  10. 2027/28 Youth Intake A 'golden generation' but one that, truth be told, does not live up to that tag. There are very clearly two standout youngsters, who, even themselves, are far from the finished product, but there isn't a huge amount of depth or interest from anywhere else down the list. Of the players, I've made a decision to keep four of them - Idrissa Mendy, Antonio, Juan Francisco Moreno and Alberto Herrero. --- Idrissa, whilst not being too proficient in any area of the pitch, aside from his physicality, also does not have any glaring weaknesses and, as such, will be utilised as an all-action midfielder in the RPM role. He'll work on being less reliant on his right foot and we'll go from there, trying to mould his personality through firstly the team route and then a mentoring group. Not your stereotypical Spanish midfielder, which, nicely, brings me to another quote from the Michael Cox book, called 'Zonal Marking: The Makings of Modern Football:' Whilst not entirely the same - I know that the archetypal Spanish newgen will probably be quite small, technical and good on the ball. Utilising the Senegalese heritage of Mendy, which is much more of a physical game, will provide us with opportunities for players I'd otherwise have to recruit. I am very happy with this addition, and I hope that he does have enough potential to feature within my team. --- Antonio is the other player of note. He's not great but has a good personality, which will hopefully aid his development. If I can get his finishing to be good, he can maybe work as another Trequartista.
  11. February/March 2028 These are the months where we have struggled, and I knew it was coming. January took it's toll on us and, if it wasn't for some fortuitous late winners from Pena and Villalba, we may have only recorded one win in this time. The game against Real Soceided, our reward for the fine Real win, was just a step too far. We had already played pretty much two games a week for the entirety of January, so another midweek fixture forced our players into a succession of, what can only be described, as lethargic performances, against a very poor and almost relegated Cadiz and, now-in-form, Vallecano. We somehow blew a 3-2 lead against Eibar and didn't turn up against mid-table fallen 'giants' Gijon and, with that, have probably kissed our automatic promotion chances goodbye. We have to travel to the Riazor to play Depor and we also go away to Mestalla as well as entertaining Castilla on the last day of the season - but aside from that, have a reasonably steady run in. As I previously mentioned, the bottom of the playoffs are probably out of reach, however badly we play from now on, so I'm hoping that 27-goal Pena, et al, can solidify entry to the end-of-season lottery. Youth intake up next...
  12. As to be expected - to be fair. They were very attacking and, I think, used their best player, right winger Vanaschen, to target Angel - my left back. They had a lot of chances to be fair, but we didn't do too badly in terms of creating good chances ourselves. We did adopt a bit more of a physical style as the game went on as I was conscious of being caught out of the break and probably were lucky to keep 11 men on the pitch through the 120 minutes of football. I can't recall us ever having a penalty shootout before so I am happy we held our nerve and converted all of them!
  13. December 2027/January 2028 We've had an incredibly busy couple of months and we have just about been able to hang on to our good form - but have had to rotate hugely to meet the demands of a decent cup run, which has seen us record our most famous result to date, a penalty shootout victory over a strangely strong Real Madrid side. --- Brian Pena has, as he has in every year, come good when we needed him the most, playing around a couple of injuries and generally still being awesome despite not being 100% fit. His attacking partner, Jorge Penalillo has featured just once side the 5th December thanks to an injury and being away with the Chilean U23 squad and we have definitely felt this absence, only scoring more than once on one occasion in January. --- A fifth round Copa del Rey tie against Sociedad awaits but I can't afford to allow my attentions to be diverted from the league as we are in danger of dropping out of the automatic places. The playoffs, however, given the strength of the B sides this year, look a very strong possibility. We would need a huge summer if we were to make this work - and that is going by my own club vision and not the boards, but I, obviously, would not turn down the glitz and glamour if we were offered it. --- A golden generation, you say?!
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