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Bracken

[FM13] Turning the Roman Empire into Més que un Club

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September 2015

Fixtures

septfixtures.png

Well, another perfect month. We conceded our first league goals, which is a shame but could've been worse, but so far I've been delighted with the results and performances. The Newcastle game was more comfortable than it looked, we were 3-0 up but conceded two sloppy goals after I put on some youngsters. The United game was great, we went 1-0 down in the first five minutes but fought back really well and deserved the win. The Everton game was probably the most difficult of the month, we were stuck at 1-1 for some time but eventually inched ahead and hung on for the win.

The League Table

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Well thanks to Liverpool managing to pull out a 3-2 win over City, we've pulled three points clear at the top. City are still scoring goals for fun, but our defensive record is pretty fantastic, second only to Arsenal who are having a storming start to the year, only one goal conceded is very unlike them, they've probably been overlooked a little with all my focus on City, but maybe this will be the year they really make a title challenge. Watford look like they could be real whipping boys this year

UEFA Champions League

I forgot to take a screenshot this month (and next month :D) but those two wins have put us in a good position going forward, hopefully we can keep up that momentum and secure qualification at the top of the group early so that I can rotate the squad in the final games.

Next Month

We start it with a big game, at home to Tottenham, before travelling to Watford in the league. We've also got Newcastle away and Stoke at home, and so other than the Watford game we'll be well tested in the league this month. We've got Atletico at home in the CL, but the big draw is Manchester City visit Stamford Bridge in the Capital One Cup. So it's going to be a big month, we'll need to be at our best to stay with City and Arsenal at the top of the league, and the visit of City will be a massive challenge for my younger players in the cup. This update could come pretty quickly as I'm close to finishing the month already :D

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October 2015

Fixtures

octfixtures.png

What a month! We were just sensational this month. The team are playing some absolutely sublime football, the passing and movement is a joy, I think I've really hit a sweet spot with this tactic right now. As you can see from the results, Lukaku is still banging the goals in for fun, but he's now getting so much more support from the rest of the team, meaning we're closing games out really well. Not only that, we're keeping clean sheet after clean sheet, not conceding a single league goal this month.I don't remember every achieving that on FM before. The Spurs and Atletico games were particularly pleasing, we dominated the games completely and could've had more. The City game saw me play all my reserves, and despite that they matched a very strong City team that included Aguero, Toure, Rodwell and others. It took us penalties, but the fact my son scored the winning one makes it all the sweeter :D

The League Table

octleague.png

Usually this sort of record would see you clear and away at the top, but not so this season. While City have dropped another three points, Arsenal have really kept up the pressure, spurred on by their own solid defensive record. It looks like Arsenal could be my main challenger, something I did not expect, it's even more interesting, as they're managed by our old friend Andre Villas-Boas. So that adds another twist in this save, if we can beat them to the title it'll make it all the sweeter.

UEFA Champions League

As before, I forgot to take a screenshot, but our perfect record saw us nice and safe at the top, we look safe for qualification yet again.

Next Month

A month that should see us maintain our perfect league form, we face West Brom and Wolves at home in the league, with Huddersfield away in between. We'll also tackle Atletico and Dortmund away in the Champions League, they'll be our biggest challenges by some way, but if we can win one we should be safe for top spot. Really enjoying this season right now, I'll try and upload some of our goals at some point because they've come from really beautiful team play.

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That is an absolutely superb start to the season!

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Now thats a good start to season! Loving the updates mate.

btw the link in post #242 (Tactical Shifts) doesn't work, well not for me.

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That is an absolutely superb start to the season!
That's a brilliant start to the season. :)
What a fantastic start! Lukaku is on fire :D

Cheers lads, just hoping Arsenal can drop some points soon. Lukaku is just ridiculous :D

Now thats a good start to season! Loving the updates mate.

btw the link in post #242 (Tactical Shifts) doesn't work, well not for me.

Thanks for pointing it out, think I've got it fixed now, should work again

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November 2015

Fixtures

novfixtures.png

So far, so good. While we might be conceding a goal or two in the Champions League, but in the Premier League nobody gets passed us. On top of the defensive solidity, we're playing beautiful free-flowing football going forward. Although we only won 1-0 at Huddersfield, it could easily have been more, and and we're just unstoppable when we decide to put our chances away. The goals are being shared around, but Lukaku is still the main man, and right now the best player in the world. I feel like I've built almost the perfect unit so far this season, the quesiton is, can it last?

The League Table

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The only downside is, Arsenal are having a fantastic season as well. They might be grinding out results at times while we're destroying the opposition, but they're still right on our heels having only dropped points in a loss to Manchester City away. If they keep up this form, then whoever wins the title will probably break the points record at this rate.

Champions League Group

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I remembered to take a screenshot! So we're clear and away comfortably at the top, I've been really shocked by how poor Atletico and Dortmund have been really, especially the Spaniards who are most definitely getting the wooden spoon. The group's proven a lot easier than I expected, and hopefully we'll get a nice draw next year. Unlike in the league, we have been conceding in this competition, so I'll have to perhaps take a look at my tactics and see if I need to tweak them in Europe.

Next

A massive, massive month. We'll play 7 league games, Huddersfield at home in the Capital One Quarters, and Plzen in the Champions League. We've got both Man City and Arsenal away in the league, so our perfect record will definitely be under threat. If we can get two points from those, I'll be very happy, as we'll then have the title in our own hands for the rest of the year. I've gotta hope that Arsenal drop points before we face them, we seem to be alternating on who plays when, so we're yoyo-ing between top spot and second, but I get the sense that it could be decided this month. Big games ahead.

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Fantastic start to the season mate! Unbeaten in the league a third of the way through!

I sense an unbeaten league campaign keeping! No pressure! :thup:

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December 2015

Chelsea Fixtures: Pre-Arsenal game

prearsenalfixtures.png

We lost Cech in training for a month at the start of December, so Selby came in. We had the Manchester City game and came away with a creditable draw. While maybe we could've sneaked it, a draw was a fair result, they had a lot of shots but almost all were from outside the box, then Luiz gave away a penalty which they scored, then he did it again and Selby saved it, then Luiz got sent off but we hung on. He really did his best to lose us that game, but the players character showed through. The other games were much more routine, though I'm disappointed conceding against QPR, we were playing really well but got sloppy. That QPR game was played by my backup team, as I wanted everyone fit for the Arsenal match.

Arsenal Fixtures: Pre-Chelsea game

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So it looks like we're facing them at the right time. After 17 games, they've won all but three, drawing two and losing once, but with those losses coming just before we face them, we're coming into the game as the form team. Still, there's just four points between us and they've proven they can go on a run of wins that'll put us under pressure, so this is a huge game, probably the biggest of the seasn.

The Arsenal Game

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A fantastic result. Although we needed two penalties, we could've and probably should've scored more. It's one of those where the basic stats really hide our domination. Take a look at this:

Arsenal Shot Positions:

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Chelsea Shot Positions

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They had a fair few shots but nothing that troubled Cech (back from injury) in fact only two of their shots were within our box, both from corners, while we created chances in the area time and time again, even if we couldn't convert them. What did surprise me is that we didn't dominate possession, we usually do, but it hardly matters, we got the result and that's what really mattered.

Post-Arsenal Fixtures

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A couple more solid results, though Cech is out injured again for a couple of weeks, and we're through what looked to be a really tough month staying undefeated and looking very dominant.

The League Table

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Catch us if you can :cool: this month has really shaken up the table and we're now looking heavy favourites for the title, especially having already played City and Arsenal away from home. The team is on the best run of form I've had under my management, there's almost nothing I can find fault with. We could easily be on to break our points record and goals conceded records, and maybe even the goals scored record if we keep up this form. What a team, and what a first half of the season.

Next

I'm planning on doing a very small mid-season update, just to look at how some of the improvements have happened and what I'm most pleased with (and probably anything else that comes to mind :D), but that will almost certainly have to wait until tomorrow. Still, just delighted with our record so far.

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Fantastic start to the season mate! Unbeaten in the league a third of the way through!

I sense an unbeaten league campaign keeping! No pressure! :thup:

Cheers mate, we're definitely in that sort of form right now and I'd love to do it, it's our last season at the Bridge as well so if we could do something like that I'd be delighted.

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Absolutely brilliant so far and good to see you've opened up a good lead.I lost count with Lukaku's goals though,must be on around 40 though!

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Absolutely brilliant so far and good to see you've opened up a good lead.I lost count with Lukaku's goals though,must be on around 40 though!

Cheers mate, he's only at 34 so far, but he's definitely on track to beat his record of 57, which he actually got in both the last two years, 57 in 44 games both times, now that's consistency!

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Unbelievable start to the year mate, dont look like being beaten!
Great start to the league season! Total dominance. :D
Great read so far enjoying the blog also

Thanks a lot lads, just hoping we can keep up this kind of form, if we can we'll be unstoppable

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Mid-Season Review: 2015/16

A short look at how much we’ve improved

So when I started this year I expected it to be somewhat of a transitional season, but if this is a transition I can’t wait to see next year :D I thought I’d take a look at two of the areas in which we’ve really improved our attacking play, with all of the players now sharing much of the burden. I’ll do this by looking at how we fared over the whole of last season compared to how we’re getting on this year.

Goals

Last Season:

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So Far This Season

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So as you can see, we’re well on course to match or improve upon the results of our key players this year. Although it seems like we’re still reliant on Lukaku, when you think that Mata got just eight goals in the whole of last season and is already beating that target this year. Then Oscar, who only managed 10 goals last year is already well on his way this year and I expect at least 12 goals from him now. Hazard is perhaps scoring a few less goals, but is still an integral part of the team. Keast has scored fewer goals than before, but that’s been in part due to the greater spread coming from throughout that backup team, rather than just relying on him. So, we’ve managed to maintain the fantastic form of Lukaku, but we’ve got more goals coming from the three behind him as well.

Assists

Last Season

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So Far This Season

assists.png

Now this is a really interesting development. Mata and Oscar are already beating their totals from last season, while Baker and McEachran have made a lot more assists than before. Lukaku has also improved his creativity, making six assists so far which is as many as he managed all of last year. I expect Hazard will fall short of his total from last year, but Oscar and Mata will more than make up for that, and I’m really pleased that we’re now scoring goals from different players and from different combinatins of assists. We’ve developed into a more fluid, cohesive unit, rather than a solid team buil around a few standout players.

Conclusions

So that’s the improvement on the attacking side, and you’ll have noticed we’ve also dramatically improved defensively too. That’s in large part due to the development of my use of Opposition Instructions, showing wingers onto the outside, which limits the number of players in the central part of our defending third of the pitch, and limits what my defenders have to deal with. It’s been a real revelation for me so far, and I hope it continues into next season.

Awards

We’ve absolutely dominated in terms of awards this year, lead of course, by that man Lukaku:

Ballon D’Or

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That’s the first time anyone other Messi has won it since 2009. Lukue thanked me for my help in getting him to this award which is always nice and shows the spirit we’ve got around the club.

World Player of the Year

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Lukaku does the double :cool:

World Team of the Year

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Only three Chelsea players in the first eleven, really interesting to see Shawcross in there who has been terrific for Stoke. Had we not had such a poor first half of the year, I’d think we would’ve absolutely dominated this team, but three and one sub isn’t bad.

December Domination

Just to show how well we did in December, we dominated the monthly awards, winning every single one. Luke Shaw claimed thePlayer of the Month, Lewis Lincoln (admittedly on loan elsewhere) was Young Player of the Month, I got Manager of the Month while Eden Hazard won the Goal of the Month competition. Interestingly, we also picked up Championship player of the month with one of my loanees, so real domination there.

A New Vice Captain

I should’ve mentioned this at the start of the year, but with Lampard retiring we obviously needed a new VC. Holland recommended Lukaku, and while I considered that, I wanted to keep a strong, experience leadership team on the pitch, and I’ll probably make a double change when JT retires to a new Captain and Vice. So I selected model pro and great club servant Petr Cech. He’s got good influence and a top personality, he’s proved so far to be a great choice and has lead the team well whenever JT hasn’t been playing.

Conclusions

I’ve really got nothing to complain about with the first half of the season, everything has gone brilliantly. We’ve even overcome a few injury troubles (Cech has had a couple of two-to-three week injuries, while Ramires has missed the last two months and will miss probably all of January too with a torn hamstring), and one serious blow with one of my youngsters out with a broken leg. However, despite those few set backs we’ve just been unstoppable so far, beating pretty much everyone in sight with just that one draw against City. If we can keep this up, I’ll be shocked if we don’t finish the year with a least a couple of bits of silverware.

Next Month

So January is coming around, I don’t foresee any transfer business as we simply don’t need to, with the exception of recalling Martin Smith from his loan spell at Celtic to become my second choice left back, with Bertrand having left in August. We’ve got some big games this month, we start with the FA Cup away at Hartlepool, followed by Brighton in the Capitol One Cup Semi-finals. We have Southampton and Fulham away in the league which could be tough games, before hosting villa and then travelling to Old Trafford for a very tough fixture against an underperforming Manchester United. If we win that, we’ll have played basically all of our tough away league fixtures for the year, and should be home and dry with the title nice and early, and who knows, maybe on our way to an unbeaten season. But I won’t count my chickens just yet :D

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Outstanding start to the season, and Lukaku thoroughly deserves his awards :thup: That Team of the Year centre mid partnership is a touch ridiculous as well!

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Love how the World XI have had to accommodate Messi & Aguero into the central midfield (which clearly they are not) for your front three.

Amazing season from your boys so far and i for one hope that it continues...

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Outstanding start to the season, and Lukaku thoroughly deserves his awards :thup: That Team of the Year centre mid partnership is a touch ridiculous as well!
Love how the World XI have had to accommodate Messi & Aguero into the central midfield (which clearly they are not) for your front three.

Amazing season from your boys so far and i for one hope that it continues...

Cheers guys, should have a couple of updates this evening too.

That team would be so unbalanced it's untrue :D would just have to adopt the 'we'll score more than you' approach

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January 2016

Fixtures

janfixtures.png

So let's start with the two standout results, the FA Cup games. We were really rampant against Huddersfield (now a mid-table Premier League side) with an incredibly young team, which was really pleasing. Then the Newcastle game. We just weren't at the races, it's the first time this season I've seen my team just really not show up at all and offer nothing. Although it was a young team, they still should've had enough quality to get at least a draw, and that performance was just not good enough. Other than that we've been fairly solid but unspectacular this month, not at our flowing best but still very solid at the back with just the one league goal conceded in a game that was already won at Southampton. The United game we dominated and should've got more after Rooney put through his own net in the first ten minutes. Still, we played well and got the win which is what mattered.

The League Table

janleague.png

Still going along very nicely in the league, still on for the unbeaten season, and we could even concede fewer than 10 goals though I think that's unlikely. Watford look a pretty sorry sight at the bottom of the league, no way back for them now, and Reading and QPR are probably gone too. West Brom are doing very well so far this year, Stoke don't look to be matching their top four finish of last year but you never know.

Next Month

Some big games next month. We start with a home game against Everton, before travelling to Spurs in the league. We then face Tottenham again in the Capital One Cup, before the Champions League kicks off and we've got one of the toughest draws in the round, against Bayern Munich, with the first game away in Munich. We finish up the game with what should be a nice easy run out against whipping boys Watford at Stamford Bridge.

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Brilliant thread Bracken, been away from the Career Updates forum for a while and it was nice coming back and seeing a Chelsea thread. Nice to see the development of some of Chelsea's youth players and it's nice to see Lewis Baker developing well at the club. KUGTW.

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Brilliant thread Bracken, been away from the Career Updates forum for a while and it was nice coming back and seeing a Chelsea thread. Nice to see the development of some of Chelsea's youth players and it's nice to see Lewis Baker developing well at the club. KUGTW.

Cheers mate, I keep meaning to post the youngsters developments over in the GPTG forum, will do that at the end of this season

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February 2016

Fixtures

febfixtures.png

Well, bit of a crazy month this one so I'll try and work through it. The game against Everton was fairly straight forward, disappointed to concede, Rickie Lambert has two against us this season now, bit annoying. The Spurs game seemed to be going brilliantly until McEachran got sent off for two stupid yellow cards, and that put us under real pressure. I'm pleased we managed to hang on for a draw, but that's the first time we've conceded two goals in a league game this season, hopefully it'll be the last as well. We should've won the Cup Final in normal time, we definitely should've won it in extra-time, but at least we were able to secure it on penalties, the youngster did really well and held their nerve right at the end.

Then the Bayern game. We were actually 3-0 down at half time, pulled it back to 3-2, then conceded again before Hazard got that late goal. It's so unlike our defence to let them through like that, but Bayern have a terrific team (think of the current squad, plus Falcao. Yeah.) and we just couldn't seem to stop them getting in behind. Still, to get three away goals can never be a bad result, and having been 3-0 down at half time we did really well to claw it back and we should still be able to make it through at home. So overall, we've had worse results. Then the Watford game, and as expected we were back to our imperious best.

The League Table

febleague.png

Clear and away at the top, no problems there really, looks like that dream of conceding fewer than 10 goals is gone, but still could break the record of 18 goals conceded if we maintain our current form. The Spurs game was our last real tough away game this season (though the West Brom game away could be big if they maintain their form), we have City and Arsenal at home, but we've played them all away now and hopefully we can maintain our unbeaten run until the end of the year - would be a fantastic way to send off our retiring stadium.

Next

We start the month with Stoke away int he league, followed by Newcastle at home, then the big match of the month up against Bayern Munich at Stamford Bridge. We need to get a result, or that'll be the last Champions League fixture ever at the Bridge. Then we host Huddersfield, and travel to Wolves in the league. All about the Bayern game in March though, going to be a tough one.

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March 2016

Fixtures

marchfixtures.png

I'd say this month we were back to our best. We started with two good performances against Stoke and Newcastle with two good clean sheets, to go with it, I would've liked more goals but the results were good enough. Then the Bayern return leg and we made it through thanks to a fantastic second half performance from Oscar. We went 2-0 up, they pulled one back which made me a little nervous but we were much better at the back in this leg and could probably have extended our lead. Then in the next three games we should our ruthless side again, dispatching teams with ease, with the only downsides being we got complacent in the game against Wolves, and then lost Azpilicueta to injury for about a month, which is a shame, but we should have this CL tie put to bed and the second leg will hopefully be a formality.

The League Table

marchleague.png

Well we're just one win away from the title. Arsenal suddenly fell away in the last month, so we're now 20 points clear and on the verge of an unbeaten title win. Sadly we have now conceded 10 goals, but that's still a fantastic achievement, and I'm hoping we can keep a few more clean sheets and limit our goals conceded to around 12-15, though I will be playing some younger players once the title is secured. Watford and Reading are really gone, though QPR somehow have pulled themselves into contention of staying up with Wolves having a really poor run. Now it's a case for us of remaining professional and seeing out the season in style, I want an unbeaten season, and we still have City and Arsenal to play, so I want to put on a show for our fans.

Next

So we'll start the month at already probably relegated Reading before we travel to Roma for the second leg of our CL quarter final. Then some big league games, City at home, West Brom and Liverpool away, and finally Arsenal at home to round out the month. There will be rotation and some chances for young players, but but not too much as I want an unbeaten season and these aren't easy games. So, let's do this penultimate month and see just how good a season this will be.

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Brilliant thread, very inspirational! I had a Chelsea save using only youth intake/current players, managed 3 seasons, came 2nd in the league every season and kept getting to finals/semi's in other competitions and then got sacked at the end of the 3rd. It's a tough job if you're not quite getting the silverware... Keep up the good form! :)

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disappointed to concede, Rickie Lambert has two against us this season now, bit annoying.

No matter how good your defence is, you just can't stop that kind of talent. :cool:

Haha, great season so far though. Disappointing to see Villa safe from relegation again, but you haven't even conceded against them, so I guess you're doing your best on that front. ¬_¬ How's Fergie doing? Eight points adrift of West Brom after 30 games can't be good even for his job security. :p

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Looks like the title's yours now :thup: You on track to break the Premier League points record too.

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Excellent work fella. The title is within your grasp.

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You're doing brilliantly so far :cool: Amazing how many goals Lukaku banging in for you :D

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No matter how good your defence is, you just can't stop that kind of talent. :cool:

Haha, great season so far though. Disappointing to see Villa safe from relegation again, but you haven't even conceded against them, so I guess you're doing your best on that front. ¬_¬ How's Fergie doing? Eight points adrift of West Brom after 30 games can't be good even for his job security. :p

Bloody Lambert :D Fergie actually retired a while back, but his replacement Roberto Martinez got the sack after that really poor run, so they've got Carlo Ancelotti now, should be an interesting challenge next season!

Looks like the title's yours now :thup: You on track to break the Premier League points record too.
Excellent work fella. The title is within your grasp.
You're doing brilliantly so far :cool: Amazing how many goals Lukaku banging in for you :D

Thanks guys, it has been a sensational season

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April 2016

Fixtures

aprilfixtures.png

Well a lot to get through this month. We actually won the league before the Reading game due to City dropping points, so I played a really young team and they did brilliantly. Olivier Martinez became the Prem's youngest player and goalscorer at just over 15, I can't see his record being broken any time soon. The Roma result was disappointing but we were basically through already so I wasn't too worried. The City and West Brom wins, while pleasing, weren't as solid at the back as usual, mainly due to rotation and youngsters getting a chance as the league games were meaningless, though I wanted that unbeaten season. Then Benfica, the team that put us out last year and last years' beaten finalists. We were completely dominant in the first leg, but they scored in the last 5 minutes while JT was down injured and they didn't put the ball out. I was really annoyed and determined to make amends in the second leg. Then Lukaku went and got injured in the Liverpool game in the last few minutes, along with Hazard and Chalobah, meaning we were missing some key players. Luckily it didn't matter, and we destroyed them in the home leg, putting us through to the final for the second time in my four years at the club. We finished off the month with a nice easy 2-0 win over Arsenal with Hazard tearing them to pieces.

The League Table

aprilleague.png

So almost everything in the league is settled, except who will get into the top four and whether we can finish the year unbeaten. We've already got a record points haul and record number of goals scored, so that's a great season, but I'd love to hold onto our unbeaten record if we can, and I think we've got a good chance. I'd love Stoke to sneak into the top four again but I think it's unlikely, so it's going to be a good battle between Arsenal and United, providing Spurs win their games in hand.

Some Unfortunate News

mikelnewchallenge.png

It wasn't wholly unexpected to be honest, as Chalobah has over taken him in the pecking order, still it's a real shame. I'll let him go at the end of the season, as I did with Bertrand at the start. Mikel is usually a player I sell pretty quickly, but he's proven himself to me on this save that I really underrated him on FM before. It's a shame to let him go, but I'm well stocked in this area so it won't be a big miss for the squad.

Next

Two more league games to hold onto the unbeaten season, QPR and Norwich (a game I'll discuss more in a moment) and then the Champions League final against...current holders Celtic! That's two finals in a row and they're trying to retain their trophy. In fact, had I not put out Benfica it would've been an exact repeat of last years final! Crazy stuff from those two teams, we should have the better of it, but I won't be taking anything for granted. So, three more games to go, three games to make this the best season in the clubs history in our last year at Stamford Bridge.

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The Perfect Coincidence

So the last game of this season is against Norwich City at home. It's also our last ever match at Stamford Bridge. Norwich don't seem like particularly special opponents, sitting in 9th place they won't be easy but I'll be hoping to put on a show. But in a fantastic coincidence, as if FM has rigged it so that this can happen, the Norwich manager is a particularly interesting character...

zolamanager.png

That's right. The final match ever to be played at Stamford Bridge will be between Chelsea, managed by me, someone hoping to become their greatest ever manager (and with possibly the greatest ever Chelsea team), and Norwich, managed by Chelsea's greatest ever player. It's basically the perfect way to say goodbye to the stadium, I couldn't have written it better. I'm hoping my side can put on a show, and with Norwich already safe and in mid-table we don't have to worry about relegating Norwich or really affecting Zola's season in anyway, so I'll have no feelings of guilt if we stuff them. I can imagine the club would put on quite a show for this event, it wouldn't have been right without Zola there, and now he will be.

Now I just have to make sure we win it.

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Incredible season mate, hopefully you can remain unbeaten. Good luck in the Champions League Final too. :thup:

Thanks mate, final update in a moment!

Gianfranco Zolaaaaa, La La La La La La Gianfranco Zola!

Definitely would've been ringing around the Bridge for one last time ;)

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May 2016

League Fixtures

mayfixtures.png

Two nice and easy wins, I probably went a bit overboard in the Norwich game with trying to thrash them and put on one final show to send off the Bridge, but we still won nicely with Lukaku grabbing a brace and Oscar scoring the last ever goal at our famous stadium. And of course those two wins mean...

The Final League Table

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An unbeaten season :cool: just three draws all year, so only the six points dropped all year. And alongside that, record points, record goals scored and record fewest goals conceded, so about as good a season as it's possible to have really. Interestingly enough, Arsenal, having started fantastically, even managed to drop out of the top four! Which lead to the demise of AB and a very odd choice of manager:[/img]. Yep, the manager of the team who finished bottom of the league then immediately got the Arsenal job. And who could that be? Why, former Chelsea favourite Stevie Clarke! I hope he does well (though not too well) there, as I liked Clarkey, it's an odd choice though.

The Champions League Final

Some Background

Celtic are reigning European Champions, have won the SPL three-times in a row and have a Very Loyal squad personality, so they're clearly a force to be reckoned with who will work hard and fight for each other. After making it out of a tough croup including Stoke, Roma and Ajax, here's their run to the final:

Celtic Run to the Final

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Not the toughest run maybe, but Valencia and Napoli are big clubs with some world class players, and Viktoria Plzen proved themselves to be tough opponents after finishing second in my group.

Usual Formation

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So this is their usual formation, a classic 4-4-2. They seem to use a pretty strong rotation system, with a lot of players coming in and out. However, one thing really gives me hope is that a few of their players won't be able to play in the final. Not because of injury or suspension, but because they aren't Celtic's players - their mine! If you look back at the start of my season, you'll see that I loaned a lot of players out to Celtic this year, and Christensen, Cathcart, Wakeford and Nixon have been important players for them all year, but won't be able to play in the final. So this gave me a lot of confidence, as I knew they wouldn't be at their full strength, but it also concerned me a little, as I worried they might change to a different formation or style which I might be prepared for.

The Lineups

clformations.png

So it seemed I was right, the absences in Celtic's lineup meant they had to change formation to something I wasn't expecting and wasn't used to playing against. I wasn't sure on the best way to counter it really, I generally have two styles in my primary formation, my usual controlling, sitting back, inviting them forwards and hitting them with pace, and my more direct style, looking to hit Lukaku early and beat them in the air before getting in behind. I decided to stick with the first style to begin with and see if we were being successful at creating chances, and shift to the second style if necessary.

The Result

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Boom :cool: I was about to switch style just as Mata grabbed the opener. Then Lukaku grabbed one on the stroke of half time and I knew we had them. Luiz nicked one mid-way through the second half from a free-kick to make it more comfortable, and it was no more than we deserved as we really dominated them from start to finish, to bring home out second Champions League Trophy of my reign, and our third in five years. We've really dominated this competition in recent years, and long may it continue!

Next

It's season review time! That's right, it's time for me to start my epic novellas again, I'll try and get the first up today if I can, I want to crack on with the next season as quickly as possible really, so they may be shorter reviews than usual (then again, I always say that and they invariably get longer), and then I'm considering switching to updates every two months rather than every month, but haven't decided yet. Anyway, season review coming up!

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Absolute great thread mate, very inspiring and a joy to read. This seasons results have been nothing short of phenomenal, have you tweaked your original tactics much ? Would be great to see any changes you made in order to have such a great season long run of form.

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Absolute great thread mate, very inspiring and a joy to read. This seasons results have been nothing short of phenomenal, have you tweaked your original tactics much ? Would be great to see any changes you made in order to have such a great season long run of form.

Cheers mate, there have been a couple of tweaks which I'll cover in the updates, I'll probably post links to all the player/team instructions too, and a link to the tactic download if anyone wants it, that will all come in the next few posts I'd think

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Enjoying your updates your doing very good, I would like to know do you have screen shots of your back room staff in your first season and your current staff cheers :)

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Enjoying your updates your doing very good, I would like to know do you have screen shots of your back room staff in your first season and your current staff cheers :)

Thanks mate, I'm afraid I don't think I've got a screenshot of my staff from the first season, but there haven't been many people leaving to be honest, so I'll post the current staff in one of the reviews

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Season in Review – 2015/16

An Invincible Team, Champions of Europe, The perfect way to say goodbye to The Bridge

The Barclays Premier League

finalleaguetable.png

Records all over the place. An unbeaten season, a record points haul, record numbers of goals scored, record fewest goals conceded, records everywhere! Just a fantastic league season, it’s really set the bar for the rest of my save, the main league aim now has to be trying to match and then beat this performance. Really couldn’t have asked for more from the team, especially in the first half of the season where we were nigh on unplayable.

Premier League Stats

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Interestingly, despite our total dominance of the league this year, it was probably our worst year in terms of the individual stats. However, I see this as a very positive thing, it means we’re playing much more as a team, with different players contributing different things to our play. For example, look at the assists. While Silva finished top of the charts, we had both Hazard and Oscar just behind him, with Mata and Lukaku finishing joint 6th as well, so while we didn’t have on standout player, we had four each proving themselves highly capable in this area. Pass completion surprised me a little, as McEachran is our more attacking central midfield player, yet he claimed the top spot, with Chalobah down in 9th. A great achievement for Josh to be sure. Lukaku of course made it to the top of a number lists, including Average Rating and Goals, which is hardly surprising as he’s again had a monster year, but I like that he’s not alone now, he’s ably supported by the whole team.

Premier League Awards

Footbal Writers Player of the Year: Romelu Lukaku

PFA Player of the Year: Sergio Aguero

PFA Young Player of the Year: Jack Wilshere

Barclays Golden Boot: Romelu Lukaku

Barclays Golden Glove: David De Gea

Baclays Premier League Goal of the Season: Johan Elmander (Hazard 2nd, Oscar 3rd)

Barclays Manager of the Year: Me

Team of the Year

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I do feel that we deserved more players in this team, but we’ve certainly got the left hand side covered :D Think we deserved a few more awards too, especially Young Player, as Wilshere is already 24, when we’ve got Chalobah and McEachran who deserved it a lot more. Still, a few awards are always nice, and as usual Lukaku dedicated all of his to me.

Goal of The Season

[video=youtube;5A5SVHCn_wY]

Difficult to pick one this year, as we scored some really fantastic goals. I’ve picked this one not because it’s particularly special, but because it shows the way my team moves the ball through the opposition, slick on-touch passing and smooth finishes. This goal itself isn’t maybe that special, but it shows some nice smooth build up play.

The UEFA Champions League

Winner: Chelsea

Runner Up: Celtic

A great campaign. I thought we would come unstuck against Bayern in the first knockout round but we made it through after coming back from 3-0 down at half time in the first leg, to bring it back to a 4-3 away defeat, before dispatching them 2-1 at home to get through on away goals. The tie with Roma was a lot easier, we took a 3-0 lead to Roma, and despite losing 3-2 at their place we were still comfortably through. Then I thought history was going to repeat itself, as Benfica who put us out last year beat us 1-0 at their park, but we demolished them 4-0 at home to prevent a repeat of last years final and to book us our spot in Turkey to face Celtic. The rest, as they say, is history.

UEFA Champions League Best Player: Romelu Lukaku

UEFA Champions League Top Goalscorer: Romelu Lukaku

UEFA Champions League Team of the Year:

clteamofyear.png

Dominated this team and deservedly so, I think Chalobah deserved a place in central midfield, but the game never really appreciates defensive midfielders. Cech probably would’ve been the goalkeeper had I not given Selby chances in the first team in some of the group games this year.

The FA Cup with Budweiser

Winner: Southampton

Runner Up: Tottenham Hotspure

A truly horrible performance in the cup from us this year, out in the 4th round. However Southampton had a great run beating Newcastle, Arsenal and City on the way to the final before grinding out a 1-0 win over Spurs. A great achievement for them, building on their Capital One Cup win last year, they should prove interesting opponents in the Community Shield next season

The Capital One Cup

Winner: Chelsea

Runner Up: Tottenham

Some very good performances by the youngsters saw us through to the final (we had a knack of scoring 2 goals a game, 4 games in a row in this competition). The final was a very tight affair, but we eventually grabbed the win on penalties and I think on balance we deserved it.

The Community Shield

Winner: Chelsea

Runner Up: Manchester City

The one competition we’ve actually been consistent in! 3 times in a row for us now, this one wasn’t a sparkling performance but we did enough, and given City’s start to the season that followed, I think it goes down as very good win.

Other Competition Winners

nPower Championship: Sunderland

nPower League One: Millwall

nPower League Two: Gillingham

Blue Square Bet Premier: Luton Town

Blue Square Bet North: Worcester City

Blue Square Bet South: Chelmsford City

Clydesdale Bank Premier League: Celtic

Danske Bank Premiership: Linfield

Airtrcity Premier Division: Dundalk

Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League: Bangor City

La Liga: Real Madrid

Bundesliga: Bayern Munich

Serie A: Napoli

Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain

Eredivisie: AZ Alkmar

SOGAZ Prem’er Liga: CSKA Moscow

Jupiler Pro League: Anderlecht

Liga ZON SAGRES: Benfica

FIFA Club World Cup: Celtic

UEFA Super Cup: Barcelona

UEFA Europa League: Celtic

UEFA NextGen Series: Bayern Munich U19s

Next

Next up will be a 2015/16 First Team Performance Review, where I’ll take my customary look at the top stats in my team and exactly how and why we did so well this year. It’ll include some info on my tactical changes too for those who are interested.

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Congratulations on a excellent season,love the effort you put into your updates.Keep up the good work :thup:

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A quite fantastic last season at the Bridge. Lukaku looks unplayable with his goalscoring record under you, he has started well for me too with 4 goals and 4 assists in 5 games. Can't see him scoring just as many goals as he has for you but I'm not complaining with that start.

Look forward to the Performance Review. On your last post, under the Next section it says 'Next up will be a 2012/13 First Team Performance Review' whereas it should be 2015/16 :thup:

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Congratulations on a excellent season,love the effort you put into your updates.Keep up the good work :thup:

Cheers mate, appreciate it

Wow man, this is amazing. Only wish we were like this IRL :(

I know me too :(

A quite fantastic last season at the Bridge. Lukaku looks unplayable with his goalscoring record under you, he has started well for me too with 4 goals and 4 assists in 5 games. Can't see him scoring just as many goals as he has for you but I'm not complaining with that start.

Look forward to the Performance Review. On your last post, under the Next section it says 'Next up will be a 2012/13 First Team Performance Review' whereas it should be 2015/16 :thup:

Nice catch, thanks for that, this is the problem of writing this while watching a match :D Good luck with Lukaku, he's just incredible on mine.

Next post coming up.

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First Team Performance Review – 2015/16

A look back on the performances and development of the first team, through the eyes of some of the stats.

Performances

I’ll take a look back at the first team’s performances this season, again looking at the best performances in terms of what I believe to be a few key stats. Hopefully some of them will be a bit interesting.

Attacking:

Here’s a look at some of the key stats about our attacking play, and how we’ve improved dramatically since last year.

Goals

goalsl.png

Much happier with this area this season. Although Lukaku still lead the way by a long way, we’re no longer quite so reliant on him as Mata, Hazard and Oscar all got a great number of goals this year. Keast didn’t quite match his performances of last year, although he did have fewer games in fairness to him. Last season I was incredibly worried what would happen if Lukaku got injured, now I know we’re still able to get goals from a lot of areas of the team, so I’m really pleased with the overall spread this year.

Assists

assists.png

A couple of interesting things about this stat this year. Firsly Hazard has lost his place as our premier assister to Mata, which doesn’t say much really, just a couple of assists in it. Then we’ve got Oscar in third, a much improved performance from him all-round this season. Next up, and it’s Lukaku! That’s much more like what I was hoping for from my main striker, I’ve always been happened with his goal scoring, but now he’s added creating to his game too, he’s really the whole package. Azpilicueta is proving he’s still a great provider form the right back spot, and Billy Britton looks like he’ll be able to match those stats sometime in the future. Then we’ve also been getting a few assists coming from the Deep Lying Playmaker, which is great as while I haven’t seen that as the primary focus of that role, I was hoping to get a few more and so it’s proved.

Key Passes

passess.png

Well the most interesting thing about this certainly is that Lukaku is at the top. This shows the great strides he’s made this season in becoming a more creative force, the fact that one player can score that many goals and be that involved in the build-up is fantastic I think. I maybe would’ve liked to have seen more key passes from Oscar but it’s not been a real problem, and the central midfielders have been giving us a nice number of key passes as well. I’m a big fan of this stat, think it really tells you a lot about a team, certainly one of the more useful ones.

Defending:

So here’s a look at some of the stats regarding our defending, I don’t feel I need to delve into it as deeply as I did last time, as we were superb this time around.

Tackles Per Game

tackles.png

Much better this season, with the full backs now just behind the central midfielders in terms of tackles per game, which is exactly what I want to see. I like my centre backs to represent the last line of defence, so they shouldn’t have to make too many tackles per game, the midfielders should do the most, then the full backs, with the centre backs only the last resort. That’s now exactly what’s happening, so I’m very pleased with how that’s working out.

Key Tackles

keytackles.png

This again lays it out perfectly. Four of the top five in terms of making Key Tackles are centre backs. They make fewer tackles, as the opposition is less likely to get through to them, but the tackles they make a more important. It really shows that when you come in with a philosophy and slowly tweak your tactics, you can get the team performing exactly as you want them to. Really pleased with the defence this season.

Overall

Average Rating

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The only two surprises here are probably that John Terry is still racking up fantastic performances, while Scott Devonshire has proved that he’s a perfect ready-made replacement for the aging skipper. I’m unsure when to start phasing JT out of the squad, if he keeps racking up performances like this it may have to wait another year!

The Squad

So here’s the squad I used this season, along with their stats. There were a few youngsters who got appearances as well who aren’t included, but this is the main bunch.

topsquad.png

bottomsquad.png

Those are the stats, and there are some really great performances in there to go along with a great season.

Tactical Tweaks

So those are the performances, but how were they achieved? Well I made a few changes to the tactics this season and I’ll talk you through them for those who are interested as to how I’m probably going to turn this into a blog post over on my WordPress site too.

The Shape

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So the basic shape is the same, but some of the roles have been moved around. I’ve swapped the Covering and Stopper CB’s around (Cover is now DCL and Stopper DCR), and I’ve done the same to the Central Midfield (Ball Winner is now MCL and DLP is now MCR). This is because of the preferred feet of some of the young players coming through, and I don’t think it will have had too much of an effect on most of the performances, perhaps it will have improved McEacrhan’s performances as he’s now able to move from outside to inside and remain on his preferred foot.

I’ve also made a couple of changes to the individual instructions. They’ve only been very slight tweaks, but they had big impacts.

Instructions:

Goalkeeper

Right Back

Stopper Centre Back

Covering Centre Back

Left Back

Deep Lying Playmaker

Ball Winning Midfielder

Right Winger

Attacking Midfielder

Left Inside Forward

Target Man

Firstly, I’ve changed the full backs closing down so they start very slightly higher up the pitch with their closing down, in an attempt to prevent opposition wingers getting the chance to cut inside before the full backs are close enough to them

Secondly I’ve changed a couple of things in the attacking sense. I’ve changed the Wide Play instructions of Oscar, from Hugs the Touchline to Normal. Then I’ve increased Lukaku’s Through Ball frequency to Often (which has definitely affected the number of chances he’s creating and his improvement as a creative force). I also stopped Oscar from roaming from his position as much. I increased Mata’s running from deep to try and improve his arrival into the box and make sure he gets more chances to score. He got over 20 goals this year, so I’d say it was a success.

Team Instructions

teaminstructions.png

Finally, I stopped using Lukaku as a target man in the team instructions. I think previously we were too eager to get the ball to Lukaku that we didn’t create as many chances for the rest of the team. This has definitely improved our play, we’re still using Lukaku and creating chances for him primarily, but we’re not afraid to use other attacking players and get goals for them instead. Also, I’ve stopped using the Counter-Attack option, it makes very little difference though to be honest, as with the pace and directness of our play, we do counter-attack anyway.

So that’s my tactic, if you’re interested in downloading it, it’s here

The other thing I’ve done is that I’ve really changed the way I use Opposition Instructions. However, this is something I’ll be doing a blog post on, so I won’t go into too much detail here, the main thing is, don’t always listen to your assistants ;)

Next

So that’s the review of the First Team Performances, as well as some info on my tactics. Next up will be the review of the Club, looking at any changes in personnel, structures, Ethos and Style, before I do my Player Development overview.

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Club Review – 2015/16

As we depart Stamford Bridge, a what kind of club are we?

This is where I’ll take a look at the Club structures as well as how we’re progressing in terms of the Ethos and Style that I’m after.

Style Update

Couldn’t be happier with the style of football the team is playing, it’s exactly what I wanted when I started the save. We’re playing superbly up front, with a single focal point in the style of Drogba and Osgood, someone who’s our primary goal-scorer but also a creative force. We have someone just behind the striker in the style of Zola, technically gifted and capable of scoring or creating something at the drop of the hat. We’ve then got pace down the flanks to get at full backs and opposition central defenders, while the midfield is packed with power in the form of Chalobah or Ashton joined by my bullish fullbacks Shaw and Azpli. Finally all of that is built on a rock solid defence comprising a solid central partnership and two full backs who can bomb up and down the line while being very strong defensively. So stylistically, we’re at pretty much the peak of what I could hope for, the question now is whether we can maintain that as the squad changes over the years.

Ethos Update

Professionalism

We briefly lost our status as a Highly Professional squad when I had a few youngsters in the first team who hadn’t yet been tutored enough, so the personality was briefly ‘Highly Ambitious’ but it’s gone back now. Thought I’d take a quick look at exactly what my squad is comprised of personality wise, so here it is:

1 Born Leader

5 Model Professionals

7 Professionals

2 Resilient players

2 Fairly Ambitious players

3 Determined Players

1 Fairly Determined players

4 Resolute players

1 Spirited player

So all bit 6 players have personalities that reflect a good level of Professionalism. I also have all but 2 players with above 15 in Determination. So the squad have a great level of professionalism. This, I believe, has also been shown by their reaction to adversity. Admittedly we haven’t seen much adversity this year, but they’ve had men sent off or conceded a goal they’ve bounced back quickly. They’ve also never been complacent when facing lower league opposition, they’ve handled the ‘smaller’ games with professionalism and dedication to the cause. So in terms of professionalism I’m very pleased.

Loyalty

The only hiccups in terms of loyalty this season really have come from players looking for new challenges. Ryan Bertrand left in August to persue a new challenge at Southampton (where he won an FA Cup, so that’s nice) and Mikel will be leaving at the end of the season to pursue a new challenge at a destination yet to be decided.

We also have had two staff members poached. Tore Andre Flo left to join Steve Clarke at Watford, and left for a coaching role at Leverkusen. I probably could’ve convinced both to stay, but that’s not really what I’m going for in terms of staff members. I’m hoping that eventually I’ll see a lot of former Chelsea players becoming managers, and if they simply stay here they’ll never progress enough that they’ll get top jobs. So if my former-players are offered promotions elsewhere, and I’m not prepared to promote them myself, then they’ll be off to pursue their careers elsewhere, and I’ll hopefully clash with them as managers in the future.

Other than that, I think my squad seems pretty loyal so farm I don’t expect any other requests for new challenges, I think there could possibly be requests from Luiz or Mata in the future but I hope not as I’d like to keep both until they retire. But we’ll wait and see on that one, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Club Structures

Stadium

Well obviously the big development is that (barring any developments) we should be moving into our new stadium – Chelsea Stadium – on the 23rd of June. 58,000 seats which is a very nice 15,000 improvement. The only downside is the name, it’s utter pish, and I wish I could edit it or change it somehow, I’d even use FMRTE but I’m on a Mac so I don’t think I can. Still, a new stadium will do nicely.

Facilities

Our youth facilities were downgraded this year due to technological developments, but Roman immediately agreed to an increase, so that shouldn’t cause us any issues. Other than that, the facilities are top class.

Staff

As requested, a look at my entire backroom staff:

staff1zx.png

staff2q.png

staff3x.png

A big staff I’ll admit, but they’re all there either because they play an important role or because they’re ex-players, so I’m pretty happy with it. We can handle a big staff anyway as we’re in a good financial position, as you can se…

Finances

financesr.png

A combination of tight control of the wage budget (aided by the retirement or departure of some big earners) and consistent prize money put us in a solid financial state. The growth from there on is down to very low transfer spending and high receipts. All my transfer deals are spread over 48 months, meaning we earn around £4m a month simply in transfer fees coming in from players I’ve already sold. That means I can afford to spend a decent amount on wages for the next couple of years, and then the extra stadium income should make up for the reduction in transfer income. So a very good financial position for the club now, we’re basically finally independent of Roman which is a nice bonus.

Conclusions

Right now we’re exactly where I’d want the club to be. They’re playing fantastic football, all build off the back of a professional ethic at a loyal club which is moving forward due to its’ financial stability. Basically, we’re exactly what Chelsea isn’t in real life: we’re a fantastically stable club.

Next

Next up it’s Development time! I’ll take a look at how the first team and young players have developed, including those out on loan. This is always the biggest post so it’ll definitely have to wait until tomorrow at the earliest, should be an interesting one though.

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