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Saintmat

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  1. Just realised I uploaded the wrong file - sorry! Correct file uploaded. It is called South West (S1, 5).fm
  2. Summary: Goals scored in match engine not being counted in final result Description of Issue: I have been instant resulting through a few games recently in my save, which I presume is just like putting your manager on holiday and letting the AI take over. I was pleased to see we won 3-0 against Crediton United in my most recent game. When reviewing the footage however, I noticed that Crediton United actually scored 2 goals. I thought these might have been ruled out for offside, but they were very much registered as legitimate goals in the match engine. However the final result read 3-0. I am fortunate that this happened to my opposition and not me! Steps to Reproduce: Please see uploaded save file, and go into most recent game. Thinking about it this may have happened in other games (but I did not think much of it at the time), so please do check others if you need further examples. Files Uploaded to the OwnCloud: Matthew Lomas - Exeter University.fm https://oc.sigames.com/owncloud/index.php/s/Kzvhd0MdU3v4Nv4
  3. I'm having exactly the same issue as you I think - I have used the create-a-club option but cannot get my custom logo and kit to work. It has a config file and everything. Other logos/kits seem to work fine. Only thing is I can't find the option for "allow licensed kit". I feel like I've seen it, but can't remember where. Could you point me in the right direction?
  4. 5 Years Later So, what happened next. Year One (2024) Understandably the team start to break up. Matt Targett is sold to Chelsea for £47 million. By January, Danny Ings, Mario Lemina and Stuart Armstrong have all departed. The new man in town is Diego Simeone, quite the coup! Further more, the board go big. Eden Hazard and Christian Pulisic are signed. Most of my young prospects go out on loan to develop. The team has a solid, if not unspectacular season, finishing 4th. Erling Haland and Nabil Fekir finish in the top three goalscorers for the season. Considering what the AI normally manages, I am impressed it has not all fallen apart already! Other News: So a few days after I resign, Pellegrini decides his time is up too. He becomes director of football at Man Utd and they hire Max Allegri as the replacement. Things don't go so well for Max, he is sacked after 200 days in charge and replaced by Antonio Conte. They eventually finish 3rd. The summer see's Euro 2024 come around - incredibly Ukraine win. Premier League: 4th place finish. FA Cup: Out in Semis (vs Arsenal) League Cup: Out in 4th Round (vs Man Utd) Europe: Lost in Round of 16 to Bayer Leverkusen. Year Two (2025) A small degree of further change in year two. My all-American action hero Tyler Adams is sold to Wolves Incoming is Bernardo Silva, and a few promising newgens. This time the club can't quite make Champions League qualification, finishing 5th. There is more FA Cup final heartbreak, becoming runners up once more. Simeone matches my Champions League run the Champions League semis. Fekir has an incredible goalscoring season. More and more of my former players are being pushed to the sidelines now. One breakthrough prospect, Rochel Bantaba has broken into the first team this year and scored 13 goals in all competitions. One to watch. Other News: Man City (now under Ancelotti) go on to win the Champions League, after beating Saints in the semis, for good measure. Premier League: 5th place finish. FA Cup: Runners up (vs Arsenal) League Cup: Out in 3rd Round (vs Man Utd) Europe: Out in Champions League semis (vs Man City) Year Three (2026) Probably the least successful season so far. A 6th place finish and no cup run of any description. The team are fully a Simeone team now. In the transfer market, Panzo, McCrorie and Fekir all depart. The club spend £89m on Alessandro Gallotti, an Italian striker from Roma. He proves a hit straight away. One of my signings, Westerberg, has established himself in the first team now. Premier League: FA Cup: Out in 5th Round (vs Wolves) League Cup: Out in Quarter Final (vs West Brom) Europe: Out in 2nd round (vs Liverpool) Year Four (2027) My team is almost completely dismantled now! Hojberg leaves for Bournemouth. Jankewitz who wasn't getting any game time departs on a free transfer. Jaramilo and Jonsonn are sold off. The club sign a center back from Spurs for £101m! The investment pays off, and they make their way back into the Champions League. Bantaba is starting forward now. Gallotti finishes top scorer. Four years after I leave they win their first trophy too, and in the Europa League again! Premier League: 4th place finish. FA Cup: Out in Semi Final (vs Man City) League Cup: Out in Quarter Final (vs Leeds) Europe: Winners! (vs Dortmund) Year Five (2028) Just 7 players from my time remain at the club now. Most have been sold on, or released. It gets results though.... Saints finish in 2nd place and are the Champions League winners! Simeone leads them to victory (finally) over Man Utd in the final. A fitting place to end I think! Premier League: 2nd place finish. FA Cup: Out in 4th Round (vs Liverpool) League Cup: Runners up (vs Man City) Europe: Winners! (vs Man Utd)
  5. 27th May 2023 - FA Cup Final Just three days after our heroics in Seville, we face Man Utd once again in the FA Cup final. It is frustrating to play the same final opponents for a third time, but they have been hands down one of the best teams in my game so far. Pellegrini is under some pressure. They have not brought in any silverware, and the wheels definitely were coming off at times this season. This will be a big game for them as well as us. To compound matters further, we are going to be without Fekir and Jankewitz, our chief creative players. United meanwhile have a full bill of health, and have had a full week to prepare for this game. The first 7 players on the teamsheet will be predictable, but the front 4 could be made up of any combination of Bernardeschi, Dybala, Isco, Hazard, Bailly, Felix, Rashford, Martial, and Lukaku. So planning ahead will be difficult. Despite beating them at home in January, we have a dreadful record against them in general. Long story short, the odds will most certainly be against us here. The strategy today is to play on the counter. I want to keep it tight at the back in the first half, and I will look at playing more attacking in the 2nd. This is partly driven by the absences of Fekir and Jankewitz, but I have opted for a slightly adjusted shape - 4-1-4-1. Ward-Prowse has not played out wide for me for a couple of seasons at least, but I am hoping he will help keep Martial marshaled. Hojberg is not match fit, but is my best bet in central midfield. He offers more bite than Armstrong. 2:00 - We win a corner, and Diakhaby meets it at the back post, but it goes harmlessly wide. 10:00 - Dalot puts in an early cross from the right, and Rashford gets to it on the 6 yard line. Thankfully the ball screws wide. We are struggling to get the ball up the field in the opening stages. United are happy to keep the defensive players back, and let their talented forward line do the heavy lifting. They have enough quality from just that to punish us. 13:00 - Paul Pogba recieves the ball, turns, and drives the ball down to Jaramillo's right. 1-0 United. There's not a great deal we could do there. Ward-Prowse was close to him, but not close enough. There goes my tight first half. 18:00 - We have a free kick, which is headed clear to West on the left hand side. The ball comes back into the box to Wilson, but he is completely swarmed off the ball. We win a corner at least. 32:00 - The game is all United, but we have restricted them to few good chances. Konradsen gets the ball and curls it, but Jaramillo can get behind this one. 36:00 - Dybala comes forward unopposed, Martial picks the ball up on the left wing and a cross comes in for Rashford. The effort is tame, he is being well marked by Targett. But the header squirms towards Jaramillo. It's an FM goal, as it bounces off the post, then Jaramillo's foot, dribbling over the line. Why does the match engine always save these for the big occasions! 40:00 - Ok, a change of approach is clearly needed here. I abandon the 4-1-4-1. It has done little to stifle Man Utd, and we are not going to score if things stay as they are. Wilson has looked a lonely figure, so I push Matt West further up field, and get Ward Prowse to play an attacking advanced playmaker role in the center. We move to a more positive approach. If we can get a goal before half time, we might be able to salvage something from this game. 42:00 - IT PAYS OFF STRAIGHT AWAY! We win a corner, our first since the start of the match. The ball is headed clear to Lemina, who shoots. His effort is blocked by a defender but the rebound falls to Diakhaby in space on the right of the box. He hits a Cahill esque volley which smashes into the back of the net. 2-1, GAME ON!! 45:00 +1 - United nearly restore a two goal cushion. Martial meets another deep cross from the right, but can only glance it wide. HALF TIME: Well, that could have gone better, but it wasn't an unmitigated disaster at least. Clearly we need to offer more in open play up front. Haland was not fit to start this game, but if we are going to win we need him on the field. Wilson is not a great lone striker, so he comes off for Haland. I also make a second sub, taking West off and bring on Danny Ings. It is not a great position for Ings, but his industry on the left hand side might be crucial. I tell the boys to prove they are winners. I hope they do me proud! 48:00 - We field another United cross, then get a short bit of possession. We are moving the ball nicely, but Panzo receives it and plays a rushed back pass to Jaramillo. This lost us a goal in the Europa League final, but thankfully this time it only goes out for a corner. I switch his instruction to ball playing defender. Perhaps if he is a little more forward thinking, next time that ball goes in the other direction. 51:00 - Dybala whips a free kick wide this time. 57:00 - We are playing ok, but still conceding chances. Shaw hammers the ball at Jaramillo, who can parry it away. It's an improvement on the first half from us, but we need to do more. I remain patient for now. 63:00 - A superb set piece from Isco, drops for Martial who is unmarked about a yard out from our goal. Somehow, his header is straight at Jaramillo. That was a let off. 64:00 - Right from that corner, Benkovic meets it and the ball is scrambled in by Rashford. 3-1. Gutting. 65:00 - Hojberg is showing his lack of match fitness now. I am forced to bring him off for Armstrong. If we will make it to extra time, this 11 will be the ones to do it. 79:00 - I have reverted to our traditional attacking approach. We need two goals in 10 minutes. United make their first sub of the game, Bailly on for Martial. I'll be honest, it feels as though this one is a bit beyond us. 81:00 - Passlack gets up and puts a great ball in. Ings is there, but the angle is tight and the finish not good enough. 87:00 - We have a corner from the right, Diakhaby makes it to the ball. His header goes towards goal and is turned in by INGS! But no - it is disallowed for pushing. Without that break, getting anything near 3-3 is a long way away. My last roll of the dice is to switch everything to the max - and pray. 92:00 - No dice. Full time is blown, the players sink to their knees. They gave it all, but this was a step too far for them. A disappointing way to go out ultimately, but such is life. It was always going to be a tall order. At least I can look back on a Premier League title, and a Europa League victory. An incredible achievement really.
  6. 24th May 2023 - Europa League Final Estadio Benito Villamarin, home of Real Betis. We have visited here before, back in April 2021, when we lost our away leg to Betis 5-3. Not a great omen. Our opponents are Marseille. L'OM are a young team, with some standout experienced players dotted throughout the team. Their talisman is Flaurian Thauvin, who will be leaving for Monaco at the end of the season. The 30 year old has scored 11 goals and taken 18 assists in the league this season. He will be the one to stop by the looks of things. A number of promising newgens are around the squad, and looking at their results it may be slightly unpredictable which team we get. They nearly always play 4-4-2, expect in the semi final where they beat Chelsea using a 4-2-2-2. They finished 3rd in the league, but a long way off the mark of Monaco in 2nd and PSG in 1st. Those paying attention will recall this was the destination of young Yan Valery last summer. Sadly we are denied a reunion here, as he is injured. They are also without Lucas Oscampos, who seems to be the other big threat. My lineup includes Dick Leatemia, as Matt Targett is not quite fit enough for this game. I decide it will be best to save him for the FA Cup final, and I have him on the bench in any case. Otherwise the team is as usual. Here we go! 10:00 - A cagey opening. This hasn't been a classic so far. Thauvin shows his teeth, curling an effort at Jaramillo from a good 30 yards. It is caught comfortably, but highlights the danger he poses. 14:00 - Marseille are very.... Burnley like. Two banks of 4. Regimented positioning. They sit deep and wait for us to come forward. Leatemia gets a cross into the box which Haland can meet, but without any great deal of power. I switch Matt West to play his role more aggressively. 16:00 - A little more like it from us. Ings traps the ball from a throw in, lays it off to Ward-Prowse who fires it at their keeper. It is well tipped away. 18:00 - We are growing into the game now. We get a shot or two away from the first one, then win another after approaching down the right. Marseille are diligent and getting bodies in the way. 19:00 - Fekir this time, gets the ball in a yard of space, turns, shoots and it is blocked by Strootman. We're stretching them nicely. 25:00 - CLOSE! We continue our siege, and after a shout for a penalty take yet another corner. Panzo connects with the ball, and it crashes against the foot of the left hand post. So unfortunate there. 26:00 - Marseille win a free kick within shooting range. The young striker Kabangu steps up, whips it over the wall and against our post. A warning sign for us - but then - the clearance comes out to Ings, who turns, advances and waits for Haland to underlap him. He does, and the pass from Ings sends him a little wide. Haland is quick though, the Marseille defender steps in........ PENALTY! Haland will take. 27:00 - COOL AS YOU LIKE! Haland passes the ball straight down the middle of the goal, as the keeper dives to his right. Never any doubt. 35:00 - Marseille seem to be playing for time here, not really threatening a great deal. We advance once more, but then Nabil Fekir pulls up with an injured hamstring. Drat. That will be him out for the FA Cup final. Mario Lemina comes on in his place (instead of the unfit Hojberg). 42:00 - Marseille try to play a little, and we very nearly punish them for it. Some great movement from Danny Ings gives Passlack space on the overlap. A cross field ball from Matt West finds the German right back, but his effort is blasted over the bar. He hasn't scored for us this season, and you can see why with that effort! HALF TIME: A good first half, but I can't help but feel this Marseille team are dangerous. Thauvin is more than just a winger, he's an all action playmaker. He wins the ball and plays the ball. Kabangu clearly can hit a free kick too. I need to be careful not to give them an opportunity to get back into the game. I ask the players to stay on their feet, and switch Leatemia to a support role rather than an attacking wing back. 45:00 - Straight out of the blocks Thauvin means business. Moving across our penalty area at speed, he lets one off with his left foot. It curls just outside the post. Another warning sign. Let's not get any more of those. 49:00 - They are moving the ball nicely here, we seemed penned in. A cross from the left meets that man Thauvin again, but his header falls a long way wide of the far post. My assistant manager tells me they have switched to an attacking approach and with more creativity. You can tell! 53:00 - I remove the instruction to stay on feet - we need to win the ball back here. I also switch Danny Ings to a pressing forward on defend. 54:00 - Great chance! A ball from Leatemia finds Ings at the far post, but his header just goes wide. 58:00 - Matt West has struggled out there today. Thauvin is doing a number on him. I bring him off, and bring on the right sided version of West - Stephen Hunt. The formation switches assymetry. Their left back has looked a little dodgy today so hopefully this bears fruit. 61:00 - Hunt is involved early. He wins a tackle on the right, puts in a great ball for Haland. Honestly he should do better with it, as the ball comes back off the keeper. Ings has half a chance to shoot on the rebound but can't put it away. 67:00 - We have a corner from the right, taken by Ward-Prowse. The ball goes into the far post, where Hunt is lurking. The aforementioned dodgy left back heads it back across goal and BANG. Haland meets it, sending the ball back where it came from and towards the top corner. 2-0!! 68:00 - From the kick off Thauvin takes the ball and tries to run at us. Tyler Adams comes crashing in with a tackle any American should be proud of. Sit down, shut up. 69:00 - We have a free kick which Hunt can get his head onto. Its well connected with, but does not trouble the keeper. 74:00 - The last five minutes have been well controlled, and we cause a little more chaos with set pieces. This time the ball is nearly headed out by Yayi Mpie, but Adams wins the 2nd ball and releases Diakhaby in the box. The defenders shot is hit with power, but parried over by the Marseille keeper. 76:00 - I look at the team and decide to make my third subsitution. Tyler Adams is flagging, and I want him to save some energy for Saturday if possible. Hojberg comes on to sit at the base of our midfield. A little bit of experience here should do us some good. Hopefully his lack of match fitness does not become an issue. 78:00 - AH ****. It's a disaster. Jaramillo recieves the ball from Panzo, but his first touch is heavy. Kabangu crashes in and makes it 2-1. Just what we didn't need. 87:00 - Somehow we stay on the front foot for the next 10 minutes or so. Marseille make their roll of the dice. Two forwards come on and they are now playing a 4-3-3. I could do without this stress quite frankly. I switch up our formation to an orthodox 4-5-1, but ask the team to continue to play positively. Hopefully we can catch them with a swift counter and put this game to bed. 90:00 - Phwoar! Danny Ings nearly kills the game for us. Its in the back of the net, but sadly he is offside from Hunt's cross. 4 minutes of added time to play. CMON BOYS. 94:00 - Marseille are not used to their new system. The hit the ball long to the forwards but we are steadfast at the back. Hojberg is less disciplined than Adams in his position, and a couple of times we nearly find ourselves caught out. Thankfully nothing comes of it. A long cross field ball to their new LB (also dodgy), is badly miscontrolled and it goes for a throw in. A picture of the game for me. Marseille clearly have talent, but the majority of the team did not turn up today. The final whistle blows. Tears roll. Trophies are lifted........................
  7. Can you even imagine...! Ok great, I'll do a post on that then too
  8. May 2023 - End of 5th Season League So here we are, top of the Premier League mountain. Going into this final season I never really had any aspiration to win the title, but the second half of our season was really kickstarted by that win over Man Utd at the end of January. From there we dropped 7 points in the league, which combined with some erratic form in our competitors allowed us to take top spot going into May. We had a slightly hectic win against Wolves, then a tight one vs Sheffield United. And as detailed in my last post, the Leicester game looked like it would prove tricky for a short while, but in the end my team came good Europa League The European front of our campaign has seen us through to the final, where we will play Marseille. We comfortably slipped through the one-legged rounds against Betis and Atalanta. Then the competition returned to the two legged format, where we faced Dortmund in the quarter finals. We lost the away leg, but took 3 away goals with us back to St Marys where we sealed our place in the semi final against Levante. The Valencian outfit had made a surprising run to the semis, knocking out Benfica in the round of 16. It was a tough game in the away leg, where we scraped a 1-1 draw. That game was played in the middle of a 4 game week, so I had been rotating quite a lot by that point and was pleased to escape without any great damage. Back at St Mary's, we trounced them 5-0. The final will be played in Seville. FA Cup Once again, we have made it to the FA cup final. I'm sure you can guess who we will be facing... I will cover each of these games in separate posts Key Performers There are a great number of players that have contributed to our title push, but none more so than Erling Haland. 29 goals in the league, 43 in all competitions. I'm just sad that I won't be able to use him in my next save! Shoutouts to a few more. Matt Targett has once again been the picture of consistency for me. His attributes don't stand out as amazing, but he flourishes in my system. Passlack on the right flank has also been great, giving us 18 assists and generally looking like a more competent defender than Valery was. Tyler Adams seemed destined to be the utility man in this save, but in the second half of the season has put in some tremendous performances as a DM/DLP. It has consistently been a problem position for me, so I am delighted with his contribution. Nabil Fekir has offered the star quality we would occasionally lack, and gets an all round hall of 12 goals and 14 assists. Lastly, I do love a newgen - and Matt West has been my guy this year. A left footed left winger, he offered something else when usual tricks weren't working. His partnership with our forwards really kick started the drive after January. 5 Season Review When I set out on this save I wanted to immerse myself in a game, in a way I hadn't for a long while. The experience has been really rewarding. I have learned a great deal about the mechanics of FM, and it has given me a platform to think about football clubs and the machinations of how they are run. I can't honestly say it is the greatest save I have had, but I enjoyed the challenge involved this time. Regarding my original targets, I somewhat strayed from my ambition to find American, Canadian and Chinese talent! Something to learn for next time. Otherwise, I met the rest (and more!) so I am left with the satisfaction of making a plan and sticking to it. Thank you to SI for a great version of FM! I haven't played this much of a version since my Uni days with FM13. Great value for money as always, and I'll be moving on to FM20 soon. Thank you to everyone who has read my posts so far I mainly have been doing this for my own personal satisfaction, but it is great to know people are reading too. The plan now is to play our cup finals, then I might holiday through 5 seasons and see where the game takes my players. I am undecided whether I will post about it, but may do if anyone requests it!
  9. 21st May 2023 - Battle for the Premier League So here we go, it's come down to this. A final day showdown, we face Leicester. Our arch-nemesis Man Utd are facing Everton. It's in our hands, but only a win will do today. This is the team I've selected to take me to victory. Stuart Armstrong has been itching for a move away, and it looks like this will be the last time he turns out in a Southampton shirt at St Mary's. Two other decisions of note; Freeman starts ahead of Passlack, to save legs for some other big games we have coming up(!), and Ings gets the nod over Wilson. I have found Ings to be a better foil for Haland than Wilson is. 1:00 - Everton will do us no favours today. They immediately fall behind to Man Utd. As expected it's up to us! 2:00 - An early skirmish finds Ward Prowse first, then Jankewitz. Both shots are blocked. A positive start though. 7:00 - Eric Lamela pulls up on the ball and is injured, but Leicester decide to keep him on. Perhaps we can make something of this. 13:00 - James Maddison mishits a pass which is easily cleared by Matt Targett. The ball drops to Ward-Prowse, who spots Haland's run - the ball is played with pin point precision to his path and BANG! 1-0. It's in our hands. 14:00 - Leicester won't lie down though. A good ball from the right is headed by Ndidi from just outside the area. There is a lot of power on it, but it doesn't trouble Jaramillo. 19:00 - Jankewitz is found out on the right, and dribbles past two or three players before being caught out by Chillwell. Great intent. 20:00 - Oh no. The injured Lamela plays a wonderfully timed through ball to Fernandez (their FW), who rounds Jaramillo and makes it 1-1. Thought it might be offside, but alas. Much work to be done. 24:00 - A beautiful long ball reaches Haland again. This time he takes a heavy touch though and Schmeichel parries it away, against Haland. 26:00 - Haland is busy today. Freeman has space on the right to put in a great cross, but the resulting header goes just over the bar. 28:00 - A throw in on the Leicester right finds Ndidi. He pummels a shot from distance, which is well parried away by Jaramillo. 29:00 - Jankewitz goes down injured. I think it is time for Nabil Fekir to have an impact on the game, so he is replaced. 38:00 - Things aren't going great. United are 2-0 up, and Leicester are growing into the game. Shaqiri picks up the ball on the counter attack, and puts in an effort from a tight angle. Thankfully nothing comes from it. This team needs a rollicking at half time. 44:00 - To get us into the break at 1-1, I switch up the pressing a notch and ask Danny Ings to track back a little more. It pays off better than I could expect. Ings gets the ball and allows us to come back up the field. Freeman overhits a cross, and it comes out to Ings on the left wing. Cutting inside he whips a ball onto the penalty spot. Stuart Armstrong is on-rushing and has time to take a touch, then curl it into the right corner of the net! 2-1 And a perfect goal scorer too! HALF TIME: I tell the players to buck their ideas up. We might be winning, but Leicester are dangerous and we will need to be at our best to see this out. I've also decided that Freeman can't cut it here. He was at fault for the Leicester goal, and hasn't looked particular competent with Shaqiri running at him. Perhaps with Fekir on the field he isn't getting quite as much cover as he did before. I'll see what I can do to resolve that... 52:00 - A long ball from Targett finds Fekir in behind, but he can only get a head on it from a tight angle, which rolls harmlessly across goal. United go three up. 64:00 - We have a counter attack on the right hand side. Passlack crosses to Targett, who in turn puts another devilish ball into the box. Armstrong is involved again, and forces a header at Schmeichel - who can't hold it! The ball drops right into Haland, who can't miss! 3-1 BABY!!! 67:00 - We're flowing now. The ball is rolled back to Adams, who plays a great ball to Targett on the left. He steps in and hits a cross-shot. The ball crashes off the inside of the bar back into the box - but straight to Haland! It's hammered home. Haland has a hat trick. 4-1. 68:00 - Leicester rally, bringing on Calhanoglu and Harvey Barnes. Calhanoglu plays a great ball into Fernandez, but this time the striker hits it straight at Jaramillo. We got away with it a little there. I pop into the tactics window and make my final adjustments. Armstrong is brought off to a standing ovation. A dream performance from a great servant to the club, what a way to go out. Our young winger Matt West is coming on so we shuffle the pack. Fekir drops into midfield and I flip the asymmetry of the team so Ings is on the right hand side and West can play off the left. I instruct the players to dial down the urge to counter attack, and try to see the game out by winning set pieces and controlling the ball. I think that should be manageable here. 74:00 - Maddison hits a free kick from range, but it flies over the bar. 80:00 - "We know you don't believe us, we know you don't believe us, we know you don't believe ussssssss........ BUT WE'RE GONNA WIN THE LEAGUE!!" 81:00 - Targett wins the ball on the edge of our area and feeds it down the line to Haland. The Norwegian turns, and plays the ball in-field to Ward-Prowse. It moves up to Ings, then quickly back to Haland who is out on the left now. He doesn't have great options in front of him, so swings the ball out to Passlack on the right. A first time ball comes in, and Ings crashes in at the near post. 5-1............... 82:00 - We're crushing Leicester now, it's basically animal cruelty at this point. They are deep in their own area, and a headed clearance only makes it as far as Fekir. The ball is slotted in to Matt West, who on his weaker right foot slides the ball past Schmeichel for the 6th (sixth!). The veteran keeper has had an absolute shocker today and has posted a 5.4 average rating. To be fair to us, we've given him a lot of business to deal with. FULL TIME: Wow. Well that couldn't have been any more perfect. A hat-trick from Haland, who is head and shoulders the top goal scorer in the league this season. A goal for Armstrong on his swansong. Danny Ings the home-grown lad getting one, then Matt West, very much the future, getting the final nails in the coffin.
  10. January 2023 Fixture Review Highlights: WE BEAT MAN UTD! FINALLY! It's been a great month really, but the cherry on the top of the cake was this win, with Haaland really turning on the style. A hard fought draw with Chelsea was pleasing too, and a nice 8-0 in the Europa League to get us back up to speed after an inconsistent mid-season run of friendlies. Lowlights: We are however, out of the League Cup to Watford. Revenge was gained not long after fortunately. Overall: Triffic stuff (as 'Arry would say). We sit in 4th, but it's tight at the top. World Cup News Brazil won, England came third. Transfers Nothing major to report. I have sent Gianluca Busio out on loan. Unfortunately his explosion onto the first team at the end of the previous season was something of a false dawn, he has struggled for form since then. Key Performers Our good form in January has mainly been the result of Erling Haaland starting to deliver what I hoped he would. He has scored 10 goals in the last month, and relegated the previously untouchable Wilson and Ings to the bench. I have also found space to give Matt West, our newgen LW, time in the first team. He offers a directness and seems to play with the confidence of youth. I must also give a shout out to Panzo and Adams, who have stepped up recently too. One negative of note has been the form of Nabil Fekir. Admittedly there is not really a consistent position for him in the team, but I have expected much more of our record signing. Upcoming Fixtures So, the packed season continues. The Europa League seems to have become one-legged, which is news to me but well received. The objective is simple - win something, finish in the top 4. Then, that will be that (and I might be able to move onto FM2020...)
  11. October 2022 Fixture Review Highlights: Nothing hugely of note, but we do win games we should win. The goal spread across the team seems to have returned. The Europa League campaign is going well. Lowlights: We don't win games against anyone with a backbone... still... (can you sense the frustration?) We coped ok with the absurdly harsh opening four games, but I wanted to get one win at least from those games, which we didn't achieve. Generally performances haven't been great, which perhaps owes something to a few changes in personnel this year and the chaos meaning we've spent about 2 weeks of the last 3 months actually training (as opposed to match prep and recovery). My main gripe is that we are conceding too many goals (21, 8th in the league). There are some things to be fixed. Overall: We go into the World Cup break in 4th place, so really I shouldn't complain too much. But this is my final season, and I want to leave the team in a good spot, and with some silverware. Tactics I have reset my tactical load-out. Partly because I have tinkered so much the in-game listings have a very confusing order of players, and partly so I can return the team back to a few fundamentals. I have decided that while the 4-2-2-2 (midfield box) formation was working ok defensively, we did not create enough chances of note. So I am using the direct counter attack style offered by the game with a 4-5-1 in those games. Key Performers JWP, the usual cornerstone, has only managed a 6.9 average this season so far. I need much more from him in the rest of the season. Panzo has replaced Wesley Hoedt comfortably as I thought he would have. Passlack has been a relative success, although picked up an injury which hampered his consistency. Jankewitz has found his shooting boots again this year. Injuries to him, and Danny Ings, have left me looking around for options up front in this crazy period, so Southwood has broken into the team on a few occasions. Youth Progress and Squad Development For once there is not a great deal I want to show off. Many of the young players in the squad have been performing well, without any drastic attribute rises. Perhaps the lack of time on the training pitch has something to do with it. I've been pleased with the progress of the new recruits this year and suspect they will be useful to the club for the long term. Sadly, I don't think I will get to make the most of them! Upcoming Fixtures With the World Cup to come this is our fixture list until the end of January. Fortunately we don't have a repeat of our hellish opening fixtures, and they have spaced out slightly more. That said, Spurs, Chelsea and Man Utd all feature and I'll be hoping to pick up some more points this time.
  12. Possibly because they are historic awards and no longer in existence? GoTM and GoTS I think are represented by some other award, the rest of them I haven't seen awarded for many years.
  13. Pre-Season 2022/23 It's been a busy old summer... Squad Changes It's been a summer of revolution at St Mary's. In my attempts to win a trophy, I have made a few big calls and the personnel has shifted considerably from the team that finished last season. First - the outs. A few big names have departed, Wesley Hoedt possibly the biggest. He has been superb for me in the game (if only he was as good in real life), but we have Jonathon Panzo pushing him on and as he wasn't getting any older I decided to cash in. I do slightly wish I got a bit more than £30 million, but the AI weren't budging any higher than that. The other big name to go is Yan Valery. Frankly, he is a very good player but also a frustrating one at that. He'd been tapped up a few times already, and in the end I decided a £33 million fee was worth it, especially when I sourced the upgrade... Josh Sims had been kicking up a fuss about a lack of game time, and with the way the squad has developed I didn't see that changing for him. I'm pleased with the money Wolves paid. Patrick Roberts was brought in on a free a couple of seasons ago, made a handful of appearances, and has been sold on for £12 million to Villa. Jan Bednarek was not one I was planning on losing, but when a good offer came in I decided that this was a good time to cash in on a player not likely to improve further. I am very, very excited about some of the replacements... Erling Haland, baby!!! The guy hadn't yet left Salzburg, but is clearly one heck of a player. I paid quite a lot, but I think this ought to kickstart our forward line's goal scoring output. Ross McCrorie is the replacement for Jan Bednarek. Strong, good in the air and good on the ball, I think he will be ample cover for Diakhaby. Passlack is the other major signing, replacing Valery of course. While he might not be as quick as Valery, he looks better in almost every department is only a year older. I'm delighted to have him in. The last first team signing has been Ruffier, cover at GK and a good mentor for Jaramilo. The remaining four are all newgens. I raided Malmo some more, and I am particularly excited about Getge. We outcompeted with the rest of the Premier League for Kenneally. Zouaoui is a newgen from the one of the US academy clubs, and must hold a record for most vowels in one name??? Seems a good little player too, and worth a punt. Pre-Season Pretty straightforward pre-season, if not a somewhat compressed one. Of course this being 2022, we are preparing for a winter world cup and a very early start to the season. Speaking of which... Season Expectations HOLY MOLY That start! The fixture gods have decreed we must face three of last season's top four (and Chelsea) in our opening four games. Part of me is actually pleased, it may give us a chance to capitalise if any of them are slow starters. Nevertheless it is a daunting task, and we have very little recovery time between games with the mid-season break (November through December) looming. Our ambition this season is of course to win a title. The Europa League ought to be entirely achievable, so I am targeting that. With any luck, we will have a good run in one of the cups. And lastly, I'd really like to send us back into that top 4. To do so, we will need to mount an enormous points tally. Fingers crossed!
  14. May 2022 - FA Cup Final Pre-Match So, here we are again. Silverware is one of my key targets, and after a hard fought cup run we find the opportunity to challenge Manchester United once more. Positives: We have a nearly fully fit squad, with some players in good form from the end of the season. Tactically my approach to these games is a lot more refined, and the gulf in quality is minimized against teams of similar stature. Negatives: United are good. Very good. Irritatingly good. I mean christ look at their squad... Alongside some familiar names, you'll note they have accrued Tah, Semedo, Sessegnon, Dybala, Hazard, Bailey, Felix and Isco. Not only that, but players like Rashford, Martial and Pogba are all at their peak. The salt in the wounds is Bo Konradsen, a Danish newgen who despite the aforementioned luminaries is good enough to cement a CM berth at the tender age of 21. Our record is dreadful against them, so if we can get ourselves to extra time I will consider that an enormous success. So how do I go about this? Well, taking a cue from some early-season Hasenhuttl strategies, I have deployed a 4-2-2-2 cautious shape that aims to frustrate space in the middle of the park and force the play out wide. Hoedt and Diakhaby are excellent in the air and should hoover up crosses like noot noot. The trouble of course is that even with an 8 man block, these opposition are more than good enough to find space anyway. We will need more than our fair share of luck today. My one less than typical call is to play Jankewitz in central midfield. He is not typically used here, but I fear without him we won't create the chances we need for Ings and Wilson. If push comes to shove I can resort to a more typical 4-3-3 and force him up front, without having to make a substitution. Unfortunately Fekir is cup-tied having already played for Chelsea in an early round. Without his contribution, my attacking options on the bench are somewhat thin on the ground. Redmond has suffered from irregular game time and injuries this season, Busio and Slattery can offer something, but are young and still developing. Armstrong is ok, but not an improvement in anyway on the starting midfielders. Set pieces are checked, and I set my opposition instructions to tightly mark and close down every single player in the attacking half (dw I wouldn't normally do this, but if I don't then I'm going to be punished here). No space, no time. I send the boys out with the knowledge they are underdogs, and we can take it to them. I get a good response. Man Utd line up like so: The Match 2 mins: An early chance for Isco see's Mario Lemina covering Matt Targett at LB. Looking back he seems to have wandered completely out of position and decided to be a RW briefly. There is nothing in his instructions telling him to mark a weird position or to invert his runs. I tell him to stay wider when we have the ball and decide to keep an eye on things. 4 mins: A long throw from Valery makes it into the box, is headed out and the ball is shifted back to Valery. He puts in a great ball, which sadly no one is on the end of. Dodo covers and puts it out for a corner. JWP takes, but it doesn't beat the first man. 6 mins: ****. We push slightly too high, and Rashford turns and moves the ball to the penalty area. His ball is deflected out to Shaw, then they quickly move it to Pogba, then Konradsen and finally into Dodo who has overloaded our left hand side. He cuts into the box with the whole goal to aim at and smashes it past Jaramilo. 1-0 United. Dreadful start. I continue on as before, but ponder moving Ings to LW which may give Dodo something else to think about. 7 mins: Dodo is full of beans today. A long ball up to Ings and our man is bundled over by the Brazilian right back - into the book he goes. JWP steps up and OOOF, a great save from De Gea at the near post. Nothing comes of the rebound. 14 mins: Noticing that Dodo is weak in the air, and on a yellow already, I move Ings to play as a wide target man on his side. Straight after the tactical switch, a throw in from that flank is delivered into the box and a back peddling Ings gets his head to the ball. Nowhere near enough power and De Gea gratefully collects. 16 mins: The switch to LW for Ings nearly pays off! We defend well and quickly get him in behind Dodo. Ings switches the ball again quickly to Wilson, who has a moment of opportunity to get his shot away. He duly does, with power, but it will take more than that to beat De Gea. Another corner for us which gets cleared, moved out to Targett, and a great ball in the box which Wilson get's agonisingly near too. Frankly I don't feel we deserve to be 1-0 down given the chances so far. I have confidence we can get back into this. 20 mins: Another long throw get's Diakhaby under the ball, but it deflects out for another corner. 24 mins: Dybala this time with a free kick, goes narrowly over the bar. 27 mins: A ball shifted from right-to-left by Pogba gets former Saint Luke Shaw on the ball in the penalty area. A drop of the shoulder puts him one-on-one with Jaramilo, but unlike his Brazilian counterpart he powers it straight at the keeper. Pogba is getting far too much time on the ball, and that is a direct result of having Jankewitz in that position. I am slightly regretful I did not put in someone like Adams instead at this point. It is much too early to make a substitution, so for now I ask him to directly mark Pogba and hopefully negate some of that influence. 28 mins: United are growing into the game and now should be 2-0 up. Dodo charges forward and crosses for Rashford, who somehow finds himself free on the penalty spot. Miraculously his shot cannons straight off Jaramilo. I bellow at my players for more energy. If we do not keep up they will be out of sight before half time and I do not want that. 30 mins: Another near miss. Jaramilo fires the ball out to the flanks with haste, but it goes straight to Dodo, then Dybala. The Argentine pings a cracking ball to Hazard, but the shot is well deflected by my keeper. Jaramilo has been a busy boy today. Looking at his instructions, I accidently seem to have left him looking for the full backs with his distribution. Now is not the time for those risks, so I ask him to find Wilson/Ings if he can and knock his risk taking down for good measure. 36 mins: Another great long throw finds Lemina this time. De Gea is off his line but gets a paw to it and it goes behind. We have not had a shortage of chances. 43 mins: The game settles for a little while, before a flurry of pinball football around our box. A buoyant Dodo jinks past Targett, the shot is parried out to Dybala, his shot deflects off Hoedt into Hazard's path who again fires into Jaramilo. Christ. If we can keep it to this scoreline at half time I will be satisfied. HALF TIME - Jankewitz has not had the freedom I need to make a difference, so he has to come off. The more experienced Armstrong is in his place and he will be setup to harry Pogba and hopefully nick the ball quickly to our forwards. I tell the lads they've been fine, to stick at it and send them back out there. 50 mins: Jaramilo fields a few crosses well. We get the ball out to Ward Prowse with an opportunity to thread one through to Wilson. I know he can do it, but inexplicably passes backwards, straight to Pogba, who gets it to Hazard then Rashford. The shot thankfully goes wide. I go into JWPs instructions and ask him to take some more risks (but hopefully not the wrong kind of risks!). 54 mins: Ings has been terrific out on the left flank, hassling Dodo. Unfortunately his clearance doesn't find Wilson and instead a lofted ball comes in towards Hazard. Valery is so far out of position I want to tear my hair out, but his pace and strength allow him to recover and get the ball behind for a corner. The first corner nearly reaches Tah, the second is well caught by Jaramilo. 60 mins: Dodo is out in space this time, a long ball comes across and they win another corner. This one is dangerous, dropping right to Rashford at the far post. So far, we have been very lucky and once again his shot is buried right into Jaramilo's stomach. 67 mins: An overhit cross reaches Dybala, who buys a corner from Targett. The first one falls to Shaw, but it deflects for another corner. This one takes a little nick from Dybala in the box and Rashford has the goal at his mercy. It takes another deflection, Jaramilo jumps the wrong way but Ings is on the line! It cannons into the crossbar, then to Hoedt who pushes it out further. It only reaches Hazard and the ball comes out to Pogba who tries to curl one. Fortunately it is a few yards wide and we can breathe. I need to figure out a way back into this game. I decide that I will bring on Gianluca Busio, for Hojberg and shift up formation a little. Busio will sit in the hole and act as a conduit between midfield and attack. To compensate defensively Valery and Targett are asked to hold back and we will focus our play through the middle. Ings will remain out wide and Lemina will now need to cope with managing the AMC position on his own. It's a tall order, but we need to find a goal from somewhere. 75 mins: I see nothing for a few minutes, then United are on the attack. Targett loses out to Isco, and he finds Dybala in some space in that position I have freed up. The ball fortunately goes wide. I am pleased however as we look well coiled for an effective counter attack, and this is the risk I have to accept. 79 mins: Still nothing more, and now Hazard finds Isco with a good cross from inside the box. His shot is tame and well gathered by Jaramilo. I notice we have not created any chances of note this half. I move from a cautious to a balanced approach and shift the engagement line higher. I ponder my next move and wonder if it might be time for Redmond to come on. I could replace JWP and put him into RW. I hesitate for a couple minutes more. 80 mins: Finally some aggression comes in. Targett and Valery continue to explore up the pitch, and a cross comes in from Ings. Wilson is offside. I decide my last throw of the dice will be to take off Wilson for Redmond. I need more of a threat out wide but cannot sacrifice any more control in the middle of the park. Ings goes to Advanced Forward and Busio is moved out to play Inside Forward from the right flank. I shift up to attacking, and pray. 83 mins: DRAMA. My tactical instructions don't even have time to take effect. We shift the ball into Callum Wilson, who brilliantly turns Luke Shaw. The cross comes across the box to an on-rushing Ings. Dodo struggles to keep up, and much like in the 10th minute, bundles Ings over. We have a penalty! In my head I am demanding a second yellow for the right back, but Mike Dean does not give me the satisfaction. Ings will step up. 84 min: BURIED!!!!!!!!!!!!! DANNY INGS YOU BLOODY BEAUTY!!!!!!!!!! With 6 minutes of normal time to play the ball is smashed into the bottom right hand corner of De Gea's net. If we can defend this, we will make it to extra time. I cancel my previous instructions and revise my thoughts. United will certainly be looking for a winner. Weighing up my options, I decide that James Ward-Prowse needs to be one I sacrifice. Thinking a long way ahead to penalties, bringing off a forward seems a bad idea. JWP hasn't had the greatest of days, but with Adams slotting into a DM slot and Armstrong shuffling around for space in front of him and Lemina, I can see a counter attack working. I stick with my team instructions, and hit the play button. 89 mins: As we move towards added time, I ask Adams to stop tracking Dybala. His opposition is too clever and pulls the American all over the pitch. Discipline is needed here. 90 mins: 3 minutes of added time... 93 min: A cross comes in from the United left, but it is comfortably headed away by Armstrong. Mike Dean's whistle blows and now we are into extra time. EXTRA TIME I said before the game that reaching this point would be a huge achievement, and it is. But glory has never felt closer, and I have to find a way past this United side. The scary thing is they take off Rashford and bring on Martial, who has a terrific record against us. They still have another sub to use as well. A monumental effort will be needed. I decide to stick with the current setup, and drive it home that we need to fight for this one. Opposition instructions are adjusted, and away we go... 92 mins: A huge chance! Valery with another long throw, and Tah gets his head to the ball. However it drops, right into the path of Busio with about 5 yards of space. His shot is hit with power and precision, but De Gea is still too good. Unlucky. 97 mins: Adams over stretches for a ball, but fortunately does not pick up a niggle. United make their last roll of the dice. Paul Pogba off, Joao Felix on. If only I had these resources... 99 mins: We are moving the ball well when we have it, but Felix is busy when he comes on and tidies up after himself. A corner is cleared and Dybala is one on three of our defenders. Valery isn't taking any chances though, crashes into him and takes a yellow card. Not sure I can blame him. 100 mins: The ball is played short, then wide and Isco gets a shot away from the edge of the area. Straight into Targett though and we clear. 102 mins: I'm an idiot. Man Utd make their fourth substitution and I remember the new rules about extra time. They bring Semedo on for Dodo, who has had an up and down game (in that order). To directly combat that, I bring off Targett and bring on Panzo. As a left back he is not bad, and offers some more solidity. It does leave Valery on a yellow card and waning condition, on the other flank. However he has been ok today, and I fear the threat down our left flank more than the right. 106 mins: Half time, in extra time. 111 mins: Disaster. We push high but are caught out, as Isco finds some space to ping a delicious pass between Valery and Diakhaby. There is too much space between them, and Martial charges through. He doesn't need an second invitation, and buries it into the near post. 2-1 and 9 minutes to play. I switch to attacking, but fear this game may be beyond us now. 112 mins: There is good desire in this team. We move the ball out to Valery and cross comes in for Ings, but his header is straight at De Gea from a tight angle. 115 mins: CLOSE! Valery throws it in from the right, Panzo meets the flick on. Wilson is an inch away from tapping it in but someone gets a block in and we have to settle for a corner. Diakhaby gets on the end of the corner at the near post, and De Gea catches comfortably. 120 mins: We enter two minutes of added time, with another long throw into the box. De Gea claims authoratively, and it pings around on the counter for a United corner. The ball is whipped in and Konradsen crunches one straight at Jaramilo. As it canons around we get it clear. But there are just 30 seconds left... FULL TIME Heartbreak again. We were agonizingly close to penalties, and I am proud of how far we came. Sadly, United are completely overpowering with their talent and there is only so much you can do to contain it. My hope is that Pellegrini opts to retire and this team is broken up, but I cannot see it. On the bright side, there is more than enough motivation now for me to take on a 5th season. Up the Saints!
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