McN7

From Zero to Hero – Los Borquerones (Malaga C.F)

88 posts in this topic

:D The ECL loss hurt though! I ended up being wrong about my keeper. Seems like he's now got a worldwide reputation. Maybe he's come of age duno :) I might carry on with this lot and try make them a bit more profitable lol. Really could do with a new stadium. Still stuck under 29k :(

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Onto the 5th season. Rejecting job offers from both Liverpool and Man Utd. Not sure if I'll regret it. I do think it's time to move on, especially as we haven't been able to invest at all this year. So I highly doubt we'll reach the same heights as last year. I believe most squads irl always need to bring new faces in to keep the form up. We just haven't had the funds to spend this year.

On this basis, I'd be very happy gaining top 4. There's no way we'll be able to retain our crown. But I think we do have the potential to have some good cup runs both domestically and in Europe. Cups always bring the best out of players on the match day.

So I guess for this year, a top 4 finish, 1/4 of the ECL, and 1/2 of the Spanish Cup will do me.

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ECL Group

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Results

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Objectives

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Well unfortunately (though it's always nice to be proved right), it appears my prediction has come true so far. We had an awful league start. Didn't have the easiest of games, but our defence so solid last year was starting to leak in alot of goals. Probably a combination of the lack of transfers this season, along with teams playing differently against us. Inconsistency definitely holds true for this year so far.

We are still doing okay in both cups though. Still in the Spanish cup, and getting through to the ECL knockouts with our group comprising of Man City and PSG. Coming second will make reaching my aim of the 1/4's tricky this year. We've drawn Serie A league leaders AC Milan. But if our team can raise their game and perform as I know they can, I'm confident we can get through this round okay.

Change of objectives for us this year? Still the same. We've actually not done too bad, as we had some awful injuries at the start of the year. That falls consistent with our dreadful start we had. Long term injuries suffered included Toulalan, Witzel, Rodwell, Benzema, Affelay, Gaitan, and Rondon have all meant we were bound to struggle at times. A change of fortunes for the backend of the year would be nice!

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Copa Del Rey Review

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Player Ratings

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Overview

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Perhaps the only bright spot for us this season. It took a bit of luck to bring this trophy home though against the mighty Real Madrid! Without two recognised strikers we had to utilise Diego Costa. He hasn't been happy all year though, expecting to be in the first team. Clearly he's a little disilliusioned. But he did have some game time in this final :) The penalties from Real were quite shocking, along with their discipline in game. Ours wasn't too rosey either. Winning this was a great boost though. After going out in the ECL quarters to Arsenal, a bit of success is always nice. Recapturing the trophy from Real Madrid themselves is even better.

We have more important issues to be concerned with though. Currently struggling in the league, we are in a real battle to secure 4th spot from Sevilla. Miles off the pace for the title, we currently stand tied on points with Sevilla. They've just beat Real Madrid 3-1, and we've just drawn at home to Mallorca. Only head to head sees us above them at the moment with 2 games left of the year....

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Player Performance

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I'm actually quite delighted how this season has ended in the end. We've had alot of injury problems, along with a really bad start. Relating this to our board objectives, we've accomplished every single one, and still been able to bag a major trophy.

The real accomplishment though was getting 4th. Sevilla had a really good season in behind us. We had to win our last game. Took a big gamble, as Rondon had been out 4 months and not 100% fit. But bringing him off the bench with the match only 1-0 to us, he bagged a quick brace giving us a 3-0 home win to send us to the ECL qualifiers once again.

That's only half the story - we had the best form in the league without losing games. This game had made it the 18th league game in a row since we last suffered a loss. Oh boy we needed a great bit of form this second half of the season, otherwise we would have no way made top 4. With the club's finances still not in great shape, this was a much needed boost to the club. At this point, we've gone from 60mil in the red to just under 20mil. Things are slowly improving!

Doesn't appear to be any interesting jobs available. I will aim to try get this club financially stable, in the hope of one day being able to improve our stadium and our fan base. There's alot of work still involved for that to happen though :)

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A little bit more activity this pre-season. Financially we are looking a bit better, not in the red anymore! And so the board offered quite a substantial budget which could be invested. Apart from the Mikel signing, all the players that have come in are no more than 20 years old. Vinicius and Barasoain the players that look like they can become very good players for this club.

We've made the ECL knockouts again - but had a very stiff test against PSG. Still having quality players like Sakho, Pastore, and my old keeper Kameni in their ranks we scraped a 1-0 victory over the 2 legs. The reward is quite a nice group, with Chelsea, Rosenborg, and Fenerbache. I'd be disappointed not to qualify from this group.

In comparisson to last year, I'm happy with my 3 major transfers over the Summer. So I'm alot more confident we can challenge again for the title this year, providing we have a better start and don't suffer any serious injuries early on. Hopefully we can continue the form we had over in the 2nd half of the season, defending our current 18 match unbeaten run.

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League Table

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ECL Group

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Results

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Things aren't going too bad so far this year. 2nd in the league behind Real, in the ECL knockouts, and just made the 1/4's of the Spanish cup. I get the feeling though Real are just going to have too much for us this year. We lost to them in the Super Cup earlier, and they just seem to have an edge over us with consistency. We also only came 2nd to Chelsea in our ECL group, so getting further in this competition won't be easy either.

My 2 young signings seem to be doing well so far. Vinicius on the right flank is looking very promising, and has already bagged his first hatrick against Real Madrid. In addition, our young Spanish 20 yr old striker Barosoain has been grabbing us some goals. Also netting a hatrick in the last game against Valencia in the cup. Although not a regular yet, he'll be Benzema's long term replacement...providing I can keep him happy. He has already showed some discontent though at a lack of playing time.

What can we achieve this season? With a bit of luck, we may be able to bag a trophy. But a long-term injury to Rodwell in the middle could see us lack some experienced cover in the centre of midfield. He's already missed around 6 weeks so far, and that did lead to a blip in our league form. Hopefully we can stay injury free and have a strong end to the year.

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Copa Del Rey Review

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Overview

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Part 1 of 2 cup finals Malaga were competing in this season, saw us face the working-class side of Madrid, vs Athletico. We had played well against them this year so far in the league, and although with the Champions League Final due only a few days from now, our squad were fully motivated by the time this game came around. Have to find out why that is later :) Unfortunately our left back was suspended for this final, Mr Schennikov. But with David Santon filling in, I don't think we would have lost too much from his absense.

This match happened to actually be quite a dull affair. I can only guess our players had their focus on the ECL final fast approaching. I was very tempted to play a weaker side, but then being a fan of Jose - this was a year I felt we were capable of taking all 3 major's. So I went with the strongest side I could put out.

We took a very early lead. Sometimes that can work against teams. Admittedly we failed to perform from this point. But we were pretty solid and Athletico although had a good 50% of the game, only had 1 shot on target. There were no clear cut chances made from either team. I guess we grinded this one out well. Cesar Azpiculueta getting MOTM for us - a defender getting the prize summed up the game perfectly.

So we've managed to retain a title :) It was no mean easy ride though. We had to face Barca in the quarters of this cup. And I think the potential of our side showed in those games. Playing a strong side at home we trounced them 5-0. We lost 2-0 away, although the team had a handful of first teamers being rested for that one....but could we repeat this feat in the ECL final? Two guesses on who we had to face in that one - Real Madrid.

Not only a Madrid motivated to win an ECL final - but they had other reasons to give us a spanking!

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UEFA Champions League Final Review

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Player Ratings

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Okay, well if you saw our Copa Del Rey Final earlier, you'll notice Mr Benzema took an injury. And unfortunately he missed the final because of this. Brilliant start :) Rondon's had little playing time this year, as our young Spaniard has shown glimpses of brilliance putting him ahead in the pecking order. But he's had a long term injury aswell. So Rondon was leading our line for this one.

Another big blow was MOTM Cesar Azpilcuelata. You'll see Mr Santon took his spot at right back. Fortunately our Russian bloke wasn't suspended, so he took his natural position at left back. Even better match preparations for us here.

But I didn't get these players in for no reason - they've been brought in to do a job and suit the tactical system I've worked on the last couple of years. My concern was our potency going forward. A bit of luck was what was needed - and we had just that.

I checked the Real team sheet - and to my disbelief, Iker Casillas who was fully fit, wasn't picked in the First XI! I'm thinking....we've got a chance here now. Their keeper chosen didn't seem to be as good. Who could be compared to him anyway? And not as experienced either. I smelt we could possibly do it, despite our problems.

--

So the game kicked off, we started off very brightly looking threatening. Hazard on the left, being quite a Hazard. Looked like he was really up for this one. But even better circumstances occurred. Rondon was carried off injured early on in the game! Without a recognised striker, we had to resort to bringing Gaitan on. He isn't a bad player though on his day, and has helped bring the club up the ranks to the glory days. So I knew he'd put his fair share of graft in to try help us grind out a result.

Things didn't go great though soon after. Ronaldo (the better looking not overweight one), gave Real the lead. A counter attack with Higuain storming down the left, making a fool of Davide Santon, then pitched a perfect cross for him to convert home at close range. 1 down - gotta admit, I thought that was it for us.

Then Raul Albiol did some stupid shirt pulling in the box. I can see why Jose doesn't play him irl! A penalty chance for Witzel - bang, 1-1 it was. A bit of luck we needed. And it came in very soon after we went behind. Four minutes later infact. That gave us the impetus and belief we could pull off a result here.

On the half hour mark - our wonderkid signing from the Barca B team Vinicius (who has had a superb season may I add), ran at the heart of the Real backline before playing a perfectly weighted pass into the fired up Hazard who stroked the ball into the bottom left hand corner. 2-1 Malaga! Normally I come up shouting "WTF" when we go a goal down. Don't think I've ever done that going a goal up. But there's a first time for everything!

We then had a real control over the game. We made sure we weren't gona frack this winning position up. Our defending at times was superlative, with captain courageous Ryan Shawcross holding things tight at the back. He's been chased by both Man City and Chelsea, but I've rid of Samba before - couldn't do it to this guy aswell.

Our ball retention was excellent in this game too. The midfield trio of Rodwell, Witzel, and Obi Mikel 3 real work horses battled well all game. We had 59% possession in this game, which is pretty good against a top class Real Madrid side. Our lacklasture performance in the Copa Del Rey certainly wasn't to see here, as we just outplayed our opponents for the rest of the game. Also having double the shots on target, and triple the clear cut chances, our injury battered side had produced a heroic performance that will go in the history of the Malaga archives for many years to come!

And the icing of the cake came when Erikson, coming on for the tired Witzel grabbed the 3rd and decisive goal giving us some breathing space for the last 5 minutes or so. Created by Hazard, a composed finish by the Dane. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!

So that's 2 cups from 2 cup finals. Did Malaga do enough for the treble this season? The first XI good enough - but was the consistency there?...

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Brilliant season so far, hope you completed the treble.

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The short answer - yes! As with any treble, your gonna need some luck. The game that really came to light from our league campaign, had to of course be our home match vs Real Madrid. 3 points down in the race, and our goal difference pretty much obliterated by them as you'd pretty much expect. We had to win this game, just had to win.

Drama as like in last year's game against them in the cup. This time, Sergio Ramos whose well known for his hothead got sent off in this one. We were 1-0 up at the time. And I thought, this could be quite comfortable now :) O dear was I wrong. Coming into the last quarter of the game, we had only just equalised to make it 2-2. But 2-2 really wasn't going to be enough. The deficit would remain 3 points, and their goal difference would count if we were to make the gap up.

A triple substitution to give us some energy in the last 10. Hoping Real had tired enough to make a mistake - and popped up Real reject Granero off the bench, 3 minutes into added injury time giving us the most priceless 3 points of the year!

This ultimately was the difference maker. We had big problems against Villarreal and Sevilla following on from this game at home. Later winners in both games gave us 3 valueable points. Heroic efforts for the 90 minutes gave us these wins. But it was always demoralising seeing Real's scorelines each week just battering teams for fun.

But I just gotta love the head to heads. Had them in the league, and in the ECL. I can finally say Malaga can now consistently compete with the Spanish big boys. Not financially :) But on the pitch is what counts!

---

Definitely time now to jump ship now. If a job offer does come along I'll have to consider moving onto another nation. I'll be looking to work on another system other than the 4-3-3 here. That'll be a challenge in itself :) So I'm hoping a fairly big club will jump in! And in the hope of bringing some other national league title success to my current count. Hopefully no sackings lol.

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Brilliant season so far, hope you completed the treble.

Yeeh, cheers :) sure did. With Spanish rules at least! I'm not going to try and score more goals than them though lol. I had tried going really offensive last year and that probably caused my inconsistencies in the league. Got the balance right this year. The way of AVB does not work!

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Good question - yeah he is. Well he's never liked Iker Casillas much irl, don't rate him that high. So it makes sense for him to be dropped in the ECL final i suppose! Funny how he brought him on at HT haha

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"From Zero to Hero" – **Part 2 Rossoneri Resurgence (A.C.Milan)**

After the successes achieved at Malaga in his 6 year reign, McN7 has decided it's time for a new challenge. After conquering both Spain and Europe, he now moves onto the Serie A in Italy. A.C Milan, considered one of Europe's most successful and prestigious clubs, now appears to be in great decline. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho, and Alessandro Nesta now aged, the club have not been able to find suitable replacements to continue the success which once was.

Last season, The Rossoneri came in a miserable 6th place. No European football this year, and a lack of talent in the squad the challenge to bring former glories back will not be easy. However one man remains to symbolise hope for this great side. Brazilian superstar Alexandre Pato still remains loyal to the red part of Milan, along with compatriot Thiago Silva. Two key players in two key positions remain. Can the spine of the team be further enhanced, and will European football be brought back again after the year is over? The pressure will be immense - there is no room for error at a club like A.C

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Club: A.C Milan

Year Founded: 1899

Chairman: Franco Baresi

Fierce Rivals: Inter, Juventus

Stadium: San Siro

Stadium Capacity: 80,018 all-seater

Nickname: The Rossoneri (The Red & Blacks)

===

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Transfers

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Objectives

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===

A very eventful transfer window here. We've only spent a nett amount of 6mil GBP. Not alot of real quality players were interested and available, but more players of experience who should be able to do a job and help us get back into Europe. The board want us to make the European Champions League - I can't expect anything less for a club like AC Milan.

Going with a different system, rather than my trusted 4-3-3. Hopefully Coutinho will excel for my side - it'll be nice to give a kick in the teeth to my rivals Inter :) Nani's 30 years old now, but I'm hoping he'll still produce enough quality despite him ageing. The Italian league though is the league for the golden oldies, hence I haven't been as hesitant to bring some oldskoolers in.

With no European football, we can fully concentrate on domestic success. The Coppa Italia may not be seen as important - but a trophy is a trophy, and with less fixtures than the bigger sides this year, I'm hoping we can put in a strong performance in both competitions.

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League Table

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Results

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The season started off really well for us, taking the league by storm. But things of late have gone a bit downhill. We've had alot of unluck with injuries, even though we have quite a light schedule in comparisson to the other top sides. Long term injuries to Thiago Silva, Pato, Ljajic and Neuton are threatening to ruin our year. Although still in a good position, we've only just recently encountered these setbacks. I'll be forced to play some unhappy players in the side which won't help matters.

In addition, some games we've struggled to score goals. Perhaps we need a bit more potency down the flanks, or a tweak in the way we are playing. At times we aren't the most convincing. Pato's form has been very eratic, so I believe something tactically may need to change. He's a class player, and shouldn't be struggling.

I'll have to await to see how the second half of the season unfolds, and re-evaluate the situation. Hopefully we can keep a good gap between ourselves and 4th, to at least give us Champions League football next season. It looks okay for now, but things can quickly change in football - especially without your top players for 4-5 months.

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Coppa Italia Review

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Overview

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Player Ratings

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Perhaps not the best time for us to play this final. We are in a real dogfight at the moment to make Champions League football - our main rivals though being our opponents this cup final in Torino. We currently lay in third place, with Torino only a point behind in fourth. But perhaps a cup final victory for one of these sides, will give that extra boost going into the last two games of the season.

I wasn't the most optimistic going into this game. We've been really struggling to score goals since Pato's been out for god knows how long. We are currently the league's draw specialists, drawing 14 games so far.

We had a great start though, taking an early lead from our backup winger Kagawa. From this point, we seemed to be in good control and were unlucky not to further our lead before half time. An own goal from their centreback on the hour mark gave us a 2-0 cushion - I couldn't see us faltering from this position. But Torino did battle hard getting a late consolation goal. That it was all to be for them though.

Brilliant to come away from this season with a trophy - it certainly will give the players confidence they can win things. But now we need to make sure we make the ECL's to attract some better players. We are still lacking in some departments to make a challenge for the title next year.

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League Table

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Results

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Objectives

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A hard season to evaluate here. We reached our board objectives, however fortunate we were in our league position of 3rd. 3 teams tied on the same points - quite lucky to come out on top of that tree to secure ECL football. But a very good domestic cup run did see us win a trophy.

With many players missing this season aswell, it was quite tricky to stay in good form. But either way, drawing the number of games we did through the course of the season is a little concerning. I had gone more offensive in the later part of the year, but not with much success. I'll need to invest in better offensive talent, whilst reviewing our style of football. Consistency is the key for winning Championships, but we clearly lacked that this year.

Either way, my job position is in a very secure state with the board. And we should now be able to attract better players next season. Hopefully we'll have the funds to do that, and look to progress to real title contendors next year. Inter take the spoils still for this year though.

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Transfers

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Squad

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Objectives

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===

A bit of a blow to lose Thiago Silva to Man Utd on a free transfer this Summer. But he is 33, and not exactly the fastest centreback around. Although his experience will be sorely missed, with the board's objectives still to just achieve Champions League football - it's a great opportunity to rebuild the squad.

I've brought in a very promising young Turkish centreback from Genk. He's pretty tiny for a centreback, but he's quick and has very good defensive attributes. Also bringing in a quality right winger Shariqi from Betis, with a worldclass reputation he's bound to be an important signing for us this year.

We've also brought in a 19 yr old Spaniard, who looks to be a promising centre midfielder. He'll be inline to replace the ageing Matuidi, whom I brought in previously at Malaga. And our most expensive signing, Santos. An offensive Brazilian right back from Granada, has great potential. At only 21 years old, he could be a big signing for the club both present and future.

So I'm pretty happy with the investments made over the Summer. I don't think we quite have the right balance to bring instant success this year. But I think if we can have some good performances, and make a good run in the ECL and gain some experience, it will leave us in good sted for next season. I think that will be the year we can finally bring back the Scudetto back to the San Siro.

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Super Coppa Italia Review

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First trophy in the bag this year, although only a pre-season cup. Any game against Inter is always a fiery encounter, meaning so much to the fans. Although it took us extra-time to bring this one home, what was most pleasing is the manner in which we achieved this.

After tinkering with tactics in the offseason, I'm hoping I've finally got the balance right with both the squad and style of play at hand. Inter were quite fortunate with their goal, but all ours were well worked. In addition, we outplayed our opponents for the duration of the game.

It's very early to tell how well we will do in all competitions. But we won't be trophyless, and I'm certainly alot more optimistic for this year despite the loss of Silva at the back. We drew way too many games last year - but I'm hoping we'll turn more of those draws into victories, whilst remaining tough to beat. That'll mean we should put in a good challenge this year.

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League Table

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Results

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ECL Group

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It's been an okay first half of the season. But Inter are still the dominant side domestically it seems. We also threw away top spot in the ECL group letting in 2 goals in 3 minutes at the end of the game against PSG. Still playing around with our style of football, there is still a bit of inconsistency whether it's going forward, or defending. I think part of our problem is the lack of height we have at the back. Both our centrebacks are no taller than 6ft, along with our goalkeeper. We've conceded quite a few goals from corner kicks.

Already quite offensive, I'll be telling the lads to go gung-ho the rest of the year. Clearly we can't defend, so we maywell try and outscore our opposition. We are still in all 3 competitions though at this point in time. Inter appear to still have too much in the tank. But if they suffer half of the injuries we encountered last season, then we've got a chance of stealing top spot if we can get enough 3 pointers second half of the season.

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League Table

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Player Performance

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===

Well, after the disappointment of a 4-1 thumping in France against French side Lyon in the ECL, I was hoping we could at least get some domestic success this year. We trounced Inter in the first leg of the quarters in the Coppa Italia 4-1.

Our league form at times was quite random. Maybe it's just the Serie A, but defensively at times we were highly frustrating. I eventually found a good balance of attack and defense. 2 hard away key games we had in this part of the year was away at Inter, and away to Napoli. The fight for top 3 was immense this year. Juventus eventually falling short, but Fiorentina really put in a strong challenge this season in all competitions. They are to be our cup final opponents after this league season had finished.

Inter seemed in control of the league, always having a 3point buffer to us. But we took the spoils at home, and with an away draw there was always the chance we could pinch things if they slipped up. So in typical Serie A fashion, there was great drama on the last day. Inter had a tricky away game to Novara, whilst AC had Cesena. Fiorentina were also only 3 points off aswell. So one of three teams could win the league.

Despite missing Pato for the rest of the year, we were able to comfortably take a home win vs 18th placed Cesena 2-0. Not an easy game, because a win would see them avoid relegation. But we did a good professional job here. Fiorentina in the mean time cruised to a 3-0 home win against Lazio. They had nothing left to play for, as they had avoided relegation. And then Inter. Novara safely midplaced, but never an easy team to play at their place. In a game with few chances, their 19 yr old kid from the Czech Republic made a name for himself. His goal being the only one of the game, placing Inter to the sword.

So we had a 3 way tie for 3rd place. Perhaps we won by alphabetical order :) It certainly wasn't goal difference! Fortunately just like in Spain, placings are the result of head to heads. We beat Fiorentina twice, and Inter once at home with a draw away. How vital those games turned out to be, as it enabled us to pinch the title away from Inter :D

The irony being our best player throughout the campaign, happened to be Coutinho. An Inter reject - clearly gave him great motivation to succeed here at Milan, and he really thrived in our 4231 system this year. So we've stole the title from our enemies grasp, and now we look forward to a Coppa Italia final. A domestic treble could be on the cards...

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Coppa Italia Review

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Player Ratings

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Match Stats

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2 goals in extra time for Babacar, a deadline day buy for A.C gave Milan their domestic treble for this year. These happened to be the only goals he's scored for his new club, as the Milan boss had him 3rd in the striker pecking order.

Sounded like a close fought game. The scoreline I suppose, with the need for two extra time goals would say it was. But this was a highly polished performance from McN7's Milan outfit. The team now knowing exactly what they are doing on the pitch, and now well organised at the back saw the game well controlled, and quite frankly never looked like losing this game.

Fiorentina's main highlight was that they had a 100% success rate of shots on target. Quite an achievment indeed. But it wasn't enough to grab them a goal to give them some hope in this final. Although without Pato, we created enough to gain a well deserved victory here. A really pleasing performance.

A few weeks earlier, the Milan boss rejected an offer to take over at the helm of his favourite club Real Madrid back over in Spain. The 350mil budget offerred was quite tempting, and the success already brought back to the Rossoneri in such a short space of time gave a good reason to offer the job.

But the time isn't quite right yet. There are still other European adventures to look at. Perhaps a better ECL challenge is the next stage at A.C, or being able to retain a league crown. But if a good job offer did come in over the Summer, that would also need to be evaluated. For now, the Milan job is at an untouchable state.

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Transfers

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Squad

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Objectives

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===

Quite a busy Summer again with transfers. A few players ageing has led to some further investment and a few offloads. Generally quite happy with my purchases, although I found it hard getting a good left sided player to replace the sold Nani. Brought in a Brazilian called Junior. Although some good attributes, he's apparently quite selfish and he might not suit the system we are playing. There wasn't alot else in the market for that position though. It probably didn't help with Milan clubs got KO'd out the CL in the 1st knockout round last year. Not easy to attract the better players at the moment to the Italian leagues.

I have quite a promising young striker though Salami, who may eventually replace Pato whose now hit 30. Perhaps feeding him some Pepperoni might turn him into a world class striker. I certainly hope so. I've also gone back to one of my old signings, and also another Inter reject Davide Santon. I doubt he'll be first team this year, but he'll be a decent backup. Silvio was getting on and losing a bit of pace, so here's his replacement.

The board expect us to win the title this year. We were quite lucky really last season, and I'm not convinced we are actually stronger. We may have a bit more experience in general, but we've lost a bit going forward I think. I may need to have a real rummage through the market in January if things aren't going our way. But we'll see how we get on first half of the season. Hopefully Junior may shine, and we'lll be up there challenging again this year.

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League Table

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ECL Group

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In comparisson to other years, so far this has been our best 1st half of the season, albeit we lost twice in our ECL group to last year's runners up Man City. We were behind in the league to Inter for a while, but a lucky win at the Meazza saw us close the gap. Since that game they've dropped a few points, but our league form has been perfect. We currently have a 3 point gap advantage with a win under our belt against them, which is always nice to have just incase the league gets tight at the end of the season.

Junior's been doing okay. It's been our new sub striker Salami, who at times has shined. He certainly knows how to put the ball in the back of the net, and is a very adequate replacement for when Pato isn't available. Also really performing, infact surpassing Coutinho's performances last year is 20 year old Frenchman Durin. Although primarily an attacking midfielder who likes to get forward, he's playing the trequartista role very nicely in behind Pato. Also great attributes both from delivering free kicks and corners, it's another weapon we've added to our armoury this year. This being the difference between alot of draws in previous years, to more 3 pointers this year.

There won't be any need to invest in the January market. We were quite unlucky against City, especially in the first game which we completely outplayed them. Just a wonder strike separated us there. Our new guys would have probably settled in by now, so I'm eager to see how we finish the year off. Hopefully we can get further than the first round like last year. It won't be easy though, as coming 2nd in the group again will mean a tricky tie.

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Doing very well in the league after the not too good first season. Do you have loads of cash at Milan?

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Yeah, been a bit of progression each year generally. At the same time changing things here n there slightly with my system. Finances our secure - but u know how it is in Italy at the big clubs, always willing to make money available. Tends to be around the 30-40mil budget mark each year. But I can't really attract any top players, the clubs haven't been doing so well in Europe it seems. Having to look for some more expensive younger talent. Struggling in the Champions League though. But in the league, currently on a 31 match unbeaten run.

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Coppa Italia Review

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ECL Final Review

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League Table

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Two cup finals this year. A third successive win in the Coppa Italia saw Milan stamp their dominance of late on the competition. However it was a very fortunate victory over a very well drilled and motivated Napoli team. With Cavani at the helm and captaining their side, they made it very difficult this year. It required an equaliser, and some woeful penalties from Napoli to give us the win. Coutinho our goalscorer, played quite an important part for the last 4 or so months of the year, as an unfortunate injury to our wonderkid who had been performing superbly till his injury, left us short in the AMC role.

Then after some huge fortune against Man Utd in the 1/4 finals of the ECL, we made it to the final. We had quite a nice draw in the first round playing Leverkussen. The tie was decided in the first leg after a 4-0 thumping in our favour. But against Man U, we got completely outplayed. Jose Mourinho now the boss there, must have felt quite unlucky to see his side go out after creating 3 times as many chances in the game. We rode our luck, but clearly our team spirit that had been building since the start of the year came to the fore.

We had the German league leaders in the semi's. Both playing the 4231 system, it was an extremely tight affair. A 0-0 draw at home made things tricky. But we knew getting an away goal in Germany would give us a good chance of making it through - which is what we did fortunately. An early goal from Pato did the damage, and we held on taking a 1-0 in the second leg.

Inter had Marseille in the mean time, but the French Champions knocked out our arch rivals. Shame, as that would have been a nice final! Again, as against Man Utd and Dortmund all sides were playing the 4231. This led to a very close final. We took the lead, but at no time were we safe. They looked very threatening, and the longer the game went on, the more likely it seemed they would get the equalising breakthrough. But going gungho at the end, left us with a counter attacking opportunity. With a perfectly weighted ball from Kagawa after a good run to the edge of the 18 yard box, Pato's timing was perfectly made, finishing with great composure in the 90th minute to give us a 2-0 win. Scoreline flattered us, as this was definitely a 50/50 game. We had a good 61% of the possesion, but we only created a few more chances. Fortunately having the quality of Pato up front told, to see us complete a treble of cups this season.

.....And there was of course the league - tight till around 24 games. But then we started to pull away. Inter made a fight of it a bit later on, as we dropped a few points when the ECL had recommenced. A few nasty injuries here and there halted our progress slightly. But they also had a good run in the competition, so both sides needed to utilise their squad to the max. Browsing through their squad this year, they certainly missed a couple of world class players which they had last year. Noticeably at the back, which had brought them so much success previously.

Our long unbeaten run came to an end against a stubborn Lazio side. But our consistency this year was very pleasing, with quite a few of the younger players getting some game time. They'll have gained some much needed experience this year, and they'll know what is needed if further title's are to be brought to The Rossonerri's way.

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"A Change of Policy" - Arsenal F.C

Still underachieving in the English game, McN7 has decided to return to his homeland of England after being out of management for over 2 years. With Arsenal languishing in 7th in the premiership, the owners have decided to give the x2 Champions League Winner a crack at managing the Emirates outfit. Money generally hasn't been a huge problem so far in this career, although Malaga did face it's challenges from time to time. But whether the owners here at Arsenal will be willing to go with the "spend to succeed" policy will be the question everyone will be asking.

The squad looks pretty decent, but is lacking in the two key areas as from the Wenger days....and the year is now December 2022!!! I'll be looking to invest in a top class goalkeeper, and a solid defensive midfielder. The offensive talent looks pretty impressive, so I'll be going for an adventurous gung-ho 4-2-4 formation. It's a bit of an outdated formation, but if it's going to work in any league - it'll be the naive English league.

===

Club: Arsenal F.C

Year Founded: 1886

Chairman: Michael Hardy

Fierce Rivals: Spurs, Man Utd, Chelsea

Stadium: Emirates Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 60,361 all-seater

Nickname: The Gunners

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Current Table

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Current Squad

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===

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Superb career so far, hopefully you can continue winning cups with Arsenal. Keep up the good work. :thup:

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Cheers. Definitely going to be hardest in England to win things. Alot of competition, bound to be more injuries. I'm sure the game will jinx Arsenal's ability to win things aswell. It's in the club's nature to lose lol

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**Newsflash - "Discontent at the Arsenal"**

The new Arsenal boss is already facing problems at his new club. Thirty year old and previous club captain Jack Wiltshere, was reported to be dismayed when the captaincy was handed over to worldclass centreback Nahul Avila. Looking to build for the future, Wiltshere felt this was a sign he isn't in the boss' current plans.

"I'm quite shocked by the professionalism shown by Mr Jack Wiltshere. Just because he's had over 100 England caps, doesn't give him the right to believe his is bigger than the club. Yes he's had a good career so far, and he was in my plans to bring this club back into the European Champions League where it should be. But his attitude and unwillingness to play his role for the team, quite frankly means he isn't needed here. Until he sorts his act out, he won't be starting in the first XI. Gael Kakuta is fully capable of playing the role wide on the right, and from the game's we've played so far the squad is capable in performing without him. If he doesn't wish to be apart of this club, then as far as I'm concerned he has no place here any longer"

This is bound to be a shock to some of the Arsenal fans. Initially upbeat over the new managerial appointment, some doubts have already begin to rise as to whether this appointment was the right one.

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FA Cup Final Report

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Player Ratings

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===

A first trophy for us here at my new club. After purchasing some key players in January, the new players have gelled together very nicely, without disrupting too much of the current squad I had inherited when I took over just before Xmas. We came up against a Leeds United outfit, that didn't have premiership status. And the non premiership side were unlucky not to have taken the lead, having a goal disallowed early on in this encounter.

That was probably just what the side needed. We've got quite a few players missing, but I knew when I took over we had alot of worldwide repped players in our squad. This quality told, and we never really looked back after netting the first goal. A convincing 5-0 thumping over the Elland Road outfit has brought me my first English trophy. Kakuta had a great game coming in for the injured Wiltshere - who is now happy at the club after being given some harsh treatment when I first came in.

We have also been on an excellent EURO cup run, and even the league title is in our grasp despite the 10 point deficit inherited from when taking over from the previous boss.

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EURO Cup Final Review

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Player Ratings

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===

My 2nd time competing in this final, and a second time lifting the trophy. Funnily this happened to be against my previous employer A.C Milan. After being out of management for quite a while, the team had changed quite substantially from my Champions League winning side. Also spending huge money to bring in my old keeper Xaripinho, this has happened to be a great buy as he's fitted in really well with my really solid backline.

This was a much tighter game than against Leeds in the FA Cup, and it required a 20 yard free kick winner from my Ghanian international striker Agyemang to give us the victory. They did pile on quite a bit of pressure on at the end, but for the most part out side played a good controlling game for this final and I think it was a well deserved victory. We had a good 55% of the ball for this match, and it was two fine strikes that was the difference maker for us.

Still with some key guys out, our strong squad is still grinding out the results and in the big games. We've got one league game left at the time of this final, in which a victory against already relegated Everton will give us the title. Even a draw, our goal difference from our gungho 424 style this year will likely see us do the treble. We just need to avoid defeat, to complete quite an outstanding season given I've only managed the side for 6 months.

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Final Table

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Player Performance

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===

And here came the game against Everton. After taking a shock lead against us at the Emirates, we battered them for the remaining 90 minutes. Having 70% possession, against there only shot all game, it would have been a footballing injustice if we weren't able to win this one and win the league...

Fortunately the constant pressure and desire shown by the lads told in the end. The important Kakuta scored a belter after 25 minutes to ensure we weren't going in down at the break. Super sub purchased in January, another Ghanian international striker full of pace and enthusiasm gave us a late lead, which we held until the end. The only team who could catch us if they won, being Liverpool drew at home 2-2 to Spurs. So after being 10 points down from when taking over, we've ended up with a 4 point gap over 2nd placed pool.

I knew making a few good signings in January would get us a top 4 spot with the quality we had, but I never envisioned we would overturn that kind of deficit. Fortunately there wasn't any other English side that showed any dominance throughout the year. If there was, we wouldn't have made up the gap. Man City looked like they were going to win the league, but they ended up drawing too many games. We have ended up being the form side in the league, without a defeat in 16 premiership games. From within those 16, we've only drawn 2. So that's a good 44 points from 48 points available.

We don't have the player of the season though - that title goes to my old youngster I bought at Malaga, Vinicius. The Brazilan winger who I signed at 19 years old, is now at Man City. Considered a world-class winger now, I'm a bit jealous he's at my rivals! But glad my side still beat them to the punch this year :)

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